Healing Our Traumas

Many of us have experienced trauma and hurt from abusive, harmful or dysfunctional relationships of all descriptions and types in our lives. I bow at your courage to try and move beyond it and heal. Equally if you're not quite there in your journey that's okay, I honor that too. I feel conversations about this topic are so vital so that we can explore these sorts of things together, both individually and in a broader sense within our communities and society at large. This is where I think healing happens, through open dialogue and exploration and I believe a lot of healing needs to happen overall as the world seems to have a lot of traumatised people who in turn perpetuate and carry on this cycle. Shutting the conversation down isn't the answer, opening it up is, even though it opens up those wounds. Those wounds need to be seen and given some TLC to be healed so that the cycle can finally come to an end. But it doesn't mean it's an easy topic to talk on, the courage and vulnerability it takes to even go into this subject from any angle (and as reader or writer) is not…

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Not a Safe Space

This is not a safe space. I am not a safe space. If safe space to you means that you will not be challenged, and that you cannot challenge me, then I am not a safe space. I want to fully lean into life, have no stone unturned. No sacred cows that cannot be found. To me the only way to deal with this life, is to learn how to live it without a safe space. To learn to live it without the need to avoid. To meet everything, in every moment, fully. I'd rather meet and be met then avoid. No matter how painful, how raw. I'd rather live in openness, not closed-ness. So IF I offer a safe space, it's the space where anything can be explored, anything can be embraced, with compassion and tenderness. But especially those things that trigger us, because how can you expect those triggers to ever be healed if you're not willing to go there, to look at them. They will forever be in the corner of your existence, just there within reaching distance, never far away. Leaving you with an ever-present sense of insecurity and danger. So to me a safe space…

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Walking in Old Wounds

Here I am again, holding space for the palpitating panic that I'm experiencing. Giving it the space to roam free. A safe, embracing, loving space of not trying to fix it. A shaky space of unknowing. The need to fix, to help, to soothe, to solve, taps into my deepest struggle of a core wound. It still comes up, especially in the role I find myself in. Somedays I feel like life is playing one big cosmic joke on me. The joke of putting me front and centre in the fire of my biggest struggle. Making me face it again again until it's accepted, healed, dissolved, seen through, felt fully.... I don't know what, all of the above and more probably! The need to fix so as not to feel this burning, this sense of helplessness, the uncomfortable, unbearable pain and heartbreak. The deep feeling for another's struggle. My need to fix is my escape, an escape which solves nothing, certainly not permanently. But can I walk my talk? Can I hold space for this? Can I let myself fall into this burning, into my own heartache? Can I let go of this escape route? Yes. Because what is the…

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Buckle Up!

I find it funny that the further into this journey of life I get the less and less 'spiritual' I become. Granted, I never self-identified as particularly spiritual, but at least outwardly I certainly was a card-carrying member of the 'spiritual seekers brigade'. I was brought up surrounded by spiritual types, I meditated from aged 6, I went to a spiritual consciousness-based school and university. I worked for companies where every single employee was a meditator and spiritual seeker. I've lived in spiritual communities and Ashrams. I've lived like a monk, albeit a married one, but a monk nonetheless (and I still do pretty much live like one). For a while my focus was well and truly on the abiding recognition of awareness, consciousness, the absolute, the silent awareness at the heart of all experiencing. Seeing that the kaleidoscopic arisings of the content of life was just that, an arising, a happening, a dream. And while I find this to be true, the primordial ground of life as I know it.... but also there IS a life as we know it and that's not to be ignored or denied, it's to be LIVED. So now I find myself focusing instead…

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The Difficulty of Pretending with Others

I was asked the other day how I deal with being around others, particularly when there's a level of pretending or not speaking your truth that seems to be required of you. --- I too know all too well this feeling of suffocation in the company of others. The subtle unsaid permissions of what you can say, which topics you can touch on and how deep that can go. The unsaid permissions that someone can't give for fear of threatening their own sense of Self, views and place in the world that they hold so tightly so as to keep the facade of security and knowingness intact. I think this is why the idea of Sanghas can be so enticing, a place to commune with others who were of like mind and place in their journey of unfoldment, of seeing. A place when you can find common ground and openness, common experience and views. Alas it's not as easy as it sounds to find the 'right' sangha! You are lucky if you can find this in a partner or in a close friend or two - this is what I have with Martyn and this is what I am eternally…

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My Role

There's so much focus on enlightenment and awakening in the abstract. In the projected ideas and ideals of what people, seekers, see in their idolisation of gurus, teachers and enlightened sages. In the goals and focus of wanting never-ending bliss and happiness, and superhuman abilities and powers because they think that's what it's all about. The person becoming bigger and better, the person becoming enlightened. But what is enlightenment really about? What happens when someone awakens, how will their expectations match the reality? This is what I'm interested in, exploring this, the lived experience, the embodiment of awakened living. Not the projected and imagined experience and the constant trying (and failing) to match up to this - but the actual lived experience. That lived experience can't be codified, it's a moment to moment exploration without rules. It's a free-fall through the groundless experience of life. As a spiritual mentor I'm not interested in making promises, I'm not interested in creating students who feel they need to learn from me, I'm not even really interested in 'awakening people' as a goal. I'm interested, or rather I find myself being called to be totally present to those that find themselves knocking on…

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Being Human

The only way forward and through this life is to embrace our humanity, not run from it. It's no good hiding in "nothing is effecting me" and "I am beyond it all." While true on an absolute level, it doesn't account for the lived, embodied experience of being human. To be beyond it all is to accept it all. You can't hide from it, you can't run from it, you have to lean into it, breath into it and feel it all, right from your fingers to your toes. What does it mean to embrace our humanity? It means to accept all and reject none. It means that even in the midst of messy, ugly, complicated life that you embrace all of it as part of you. Does a tree reject its gnarly root? What are we afraid of? What is it in our humanness that we don't want to look at, don't want to accept? There's a darkness in all of us. A devil, a serial killer, a narcissist, a hateful, arrogant, egotistical bad boy or girl waiting to show itself and most people can't, don't or won't see this. It's those people who see this, accept this and…

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My Heart Hurts Today

My heart hurts today. The loss of a loved one is never easy. Tender, broken and so wide open. So full of love, so beautiful. The waves of emotions, energies and memories break over me when least expected. Life is a precious thing, but so is death. Death brings up so much to the surface The unavoidable mirror of change and the inevitability of loss. The lack of certainty and control, and the great unknown. Emotions are high, everyone dealing with it in their own way, messy and inelegant. The appreciation and love for those who are both gone and those who are still here. All parading past in my heart. Every moment filled with equal intensity of love and pain.   In memory of my dear Uncle Andrew, 1951-2019

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Taking off the Mask

There is a mask that we've all experienced. Many even have several masks, each for a different set of circumstances, a different set of people. The mask that you wear for your boss is not the same mask that you wear for your grandmother, which is not the same mask you wear for your friends. All a partial view of who you are, what you're feeling, what you're thinking. But what happens when the cracks in the mask begins to show? What happens when that mask full of pretense and fake smiles becomes heavy and suffocating? When the toll of not showing the full range of your human experience, showing your whole vulnerable self becomes unbearable. What happens when you find that mask slipping off or not fitting anymore? So what then? Can you leave the mask off, let it fall away, step out from hiding behind it and accept your reality? Or do you go back to trying to shove it back on and avoiding? What if it was supposed to crack, can you accept that? Accept that life has other plans for you right now, plans that you maybe can't see, and certainly can't control. Can you be…

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Where Does Your Loyalty Lie?

What if your true Self was something your mind rejected, found disgusting or worthless, what then? Would you spend your whole life rejecting what is at the core of your Being? Or would you give up the constant resistance and accept what the mind won't? It's exhausting to be in resistance to what is. What is it in you experience that takes no effort? What is it in your experience that you cannot NOT be? Discover this and discover the natural omnipresent awareness that is you at the center of all. The unshakable core of your Being. It may not, no - it WILL NOT be what your mind dictates it should be. It might not even be something your mind likes or even respects. It might not be something you mind can grasp and relate to. But does this make it any less true? Where do you go from there? Where do you go when the insight and discovery of who you are doesn't match up to the mind's view? Which will you find yourself choosing? Where will your loyalty lie? With yourself, or with the thoughts and concepts of the mind?

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Embracing Your Totality

We deny our humanity. We hide in the ideals of 'The Absolute' and yet it's the absolute that contains all of humanity. It's the absolute (field of awareness) from which all of this springs. Does awareness have such distinctions? Does awareness *need* life to look a certain way. No! That is the small limiting notions of the human mind, too feeble to comprehend the magnitude and the mystery of how life is playing out. It's easier to think that we don't have to deal with difficult emotions and wounds. It's easier to think that all our problems will be solved when we are established in silence, in the absolute. But silence is only half of the equation, silence may be the ground of experience but from that ground springs forth the full diversity and experience of life. And included in that is the story of our personal life where wounds and traumas and relationships have a deep impact on our emotional, physical and energetic experience of life. So we can't hide in the silence expecting that those experiences of life will fade away. What does happen is that when established in silence, in Being, in the Self, when faced with…

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Acceptance = Love

In my travels it’s become very clear to me that to talk about acceptance is to talk about love, and to talk about love is to talk about acceptance. They are one and the same. They are the key to peace and freedom. They are the key to the recognition of your own nature. They are the key to everything. And they are happening right now, right under your nose – whether you recognize it or not.

When you fall in love with another person you accept that person, you accept their differences, you accept who they are. Similarly when you love an aspect of yourself, you accept that aspect of yourself. Equally, when you hate an aspect of yourself you are attempting the futile rejection of that part of yourself. In this way love and acceptance are seen as synonymous. (more…)

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Notice and Return

You have all the tools, all the things you need in life. You are not lacking in anyway. You are not broken, you just need to accept all that you are... accept even the seeming imperfections into the wholeness and you will see that your light was there all along... hidden under the rock of self doubt, strategies and egoic-mind. But the light of your true Self is far too infinite and vast to be hidden by a rock. Emotions, traumas and experiences, all of it are life's way of showing you that it's alive and kicking. Don't be tempted to create separation where there is none. You contain multitudes and that's a beautiful thing...not something to run away from, minimize or control. But something to be embrace, accepted and integrated. When you notice the pernicious tricks of the mind creeping in, simply let go and return. Let go into the unknown. cast aside the tendencies of the mind to grasp and 'know'. Notice this dynamic and let go, anything other than this simple act is a distraction. So notice and return to the core of your being... everything you are, everything you think you need, right there at the…

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Clues

What is the ground of your experience?
Is it the world?
Is it the body?
Is it the thoughts?
Is it the sensations?

Or is it the simplest form of non-conceptual awareness, aware of all of *this*.

Search for the gap in between the content. (more…)

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Life Is A Mirror Of Self

We are all figuring out life best we can, in our messy and imperfect, perfectly human way. Life includes in it the whole spectrum of experience and there's no guidebook or rule book, there's no one way to live life. A lot of the people I meet along the way are looking to others to give them answers. But other people/ gurus/ teachers (even life) are only ever a mirror, a reflection of your own awareness, your own subjective experience of life, pointing you back to Self. That mirror can be crystal clear or that mirror can be partial and muddy. I encourage each and every one of you to look into your own direct experience, use your discernment, listen to what others have to say and mark it against your own internal compass and intuition. Drop all your judgements about what you think you know and take a careful look, take a look prior to your assumptions, observe. See if whatever they (or I) are pointing to stands up to scrutiny, does it point back to Self? But don't take my word for it.... go looking for yourself!

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Dig Deep

In those moment when you can't see a way forward through the darkness and confusion, breathe all the way through to the ends of you fingers and toes. Notice your aliveness, your awareness of that aliveness. Don’t be afraid of the shadows in the dark night of your soul. Embrace that darkness, lean into it. Bring the light of awareness, your light, into the dark. The shadows call for attention and recognition, they call for love not rejection. Give them the attention they seek don’t hide from them. You can't hide from them. Breathe deep and boldly move forward one foot in front of another, even if that boldness is full of fear don’t let fear stop you. Don’t become a slave to doubt and fear. See that they are arising and falling as naturally as you breathe, as naturally as happiness and joy or sadness and sorrow. See that all that arises is fleetingly held in the sweet embrace of your being and then dissolves whence it came. So dig deep, belly breathe through ALL of life's experience one foot in front of another without reference to past or fear of future.

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Conversations & Questions: 25/09/18

Q: Is the whole old spiritual paradigm collapsing? The old way of doing things may well be, the very strong hierarchical Guru-lead spiritual organisations as an example. But I feel there will always be the search for connection to, or rather awareness of Self (it's like consciousness forgets itself, just to for the delight and play of remembering itself too!) and those 'big' answer-less answers will be searched for as long as there is suffering in the world. What that search looks like, and if it's so widespread that it's not to be seen as 'special' or different (fringe) anymore... yes I think this world is changing, but then it has done before and it will do again. Q: Is it time to truly realize that there is no need to heal, to transmute, to work it out at all? To "heal" others, to "heal" ourselves? Is the healing subject rather antiquated even though it seems to be such a part of mine and others journeys, to attend workshops, classes, .....to give workshops and sessions... As long as it's taken as a personal "I am healing" or "I am being healed" there will be suffering, because sometimes healing happens and we…

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We Are Already Enlightened: Taking It off the Pedestal and Back into Reality

“We are already enlightened”

This statement seems overused in many spiritual circles and is in serious danger of creating concept fatigue. It’s been placed up on the spirituality pedestal as something teachers, gurus and seekers alike say but for many it has become an abstract ideal to aim to understand but never truly a reality to reach. So what use it is other than to dangle a carrot and perpetuate the seemingly endless cycle of seeking?

Don’t be tempted to throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet; what is being pointing to is the fact that our inherent or primordial nature is one of open awareness (consciousness). Within this arises the sensory phenomena of experience – thoughts, feelings, sensations (body/world). Included in that are all those beliefs, views, conditioning, embodied memories, traumas and concepts – everything that we experience and call ‘life’. (more…)

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Transgressing The Prescribed Spiritual Path

In my life journey thus far I've had to transgress two* major spiritual paths/groups/movements that were both whole-life encompassing - Guru, lifestyle, friends and family, home, job, it felt like a lot could and would be lost. It's was for sure a very difficult thing to navigate but I feel it's important to share and talk about as I see a lot of people dealing with this, particularly in the realm of spiritual organisations. Over time I've actually come to see that it's a totally normal and healthy part of 'spiritual' development (I say spiritual lightly as I actually believe it's not spiritual, it's LIFE). Moving beyond our seemingly secure boundaries of experience, paradigms and conditioning - the known. It's a hugely vulnerable place to be - the unchartered territory of our life, where we let go of the known and step forth into the openness of the unknown. "You're losing your way", "you're falling off the path" these were ideas that were offered up and I became fearful of, that I would 'miss my chance' for enlightenment and make a wrong turn/decision. Choose the wrong door, and therefore closing the other doors forever. Take an irreversible action. Being judged…

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Nothing To Hold On To

Can anyone else relate?.... The feeling of nothing to hold on to, of no solid ground, of no control and no stability, can bring terror to the forefront of our experience - particularly when we find ourselves in resistance to this free-fall. And yet when you realise that this free-fall actually brings with it the total freedom of no limits and no boundaries, when you realise that this groundless-ness brings with it the capacity for any and everything to show up - there, there is the moment that you sink into the feeling of pure joy that there is nothing to be fixed, just a new norm to be enjoyed.

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When The Chatter Ceases

When the story drops away When the chatter ceases to be When the drama and ups & downs dry up When the endless dissatisfaction and seeking stops When the feeling of next, next, next is gone What are you left with then? This Just this This that is everything and nothing This that is life Everything that you once knew Or thought you knew Cease to feel relevant And yet here you still are Aware Alive Here Its a leap into the unknown A free-fall in life Nothing to hold on to Nowhere to put a stake in the sand Fresh in every moment No past No future No next No present No now Just This Beautiful, alive Isness

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An Exploration of Vulnerability

This exploration of life requires great vulnerability, earnestness, openness, radical honest and deep inquiry. It’s a truly destructive process, one that burns everything that you are not with such a fire that not even a whisper of the false is left. But what this can mean is that which we hold so dearly, so tightly, for so long doesn’t fit into this new paradigm that is tenderly cracking open. Our once core beliefs and truths don’t feel like ours any more and so we’re required to drop them, to move on, to take a leap of faith into the unknown.

It’s this continuous release into the unknown where freedom lies. It’s not a position to take but a (more…)

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Stop And Smell The Roses

Life is such and unbelievable gift, how often do you stop and smell the roses? Appreciate the little simple ordinary moments? Without reference to the past or thoughts to the future.

We miss the beauty of the moment so easily. Ordinary life has become so throwaway, so undesirable. Instead marked with the next glamorous instagram shot, the next big ‘experience’, the next enviable goal. Next next next. We miss the sheer joy of this extraordinary, but divinely ordinary moment.

Whether that moment be filled with anger, joy, sadness or bliss it doesn’t matter. Just the fact we are alive, that we bear witness to all of this. Oh the magnificence that (more…)

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Getting In The Mud

This morning I came across a beautifully articulated post on Facebook by Unmani (one of many I might add). She recently unexpectedly lost her husband and has been sharing openly her journey/processing throughout this difficult time - it's beautiful, raw and brave and I see that this is very much what she is being called to do, for the benefit of herself and for all those who read what she writes. She writes: In yesterday's online open meeting someone asked me a very interesting question that I feel has been coming up for many people around my recent sharing on Facebook. What is true spiritual attainment if a so-called spiritual person can be so human? Usually being or attaining a spiritual state is assumed to mean that you rise above the ordinary human emotions, sensations, thoughts etc. Here I am, as a so-called spiritual teacher, revealing that actually I am very human and have a wide range of human experiences that many people can relate to. If you have put me, or any spiritual teacher, up on any kind of pedestal as being the ideal to aim for, then you will most likely be disappointed by my down-to-earth humanity. I am…

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The Elephant in the Room

GETTING PERSONAL There's so much of my spiritual path/story that I haven't yet shared on this blog or social media. Not because I feel the need to hide it, I'm not particularly attached to privacy even, but because I'm still living it each and every moment. The implications not yet seen, the fullness of understanding not yet known. And yet the more I walk this path, this world, the less and less the need to understand, the need for certainty seems to matter to me. These days I find the words are there less and less. The *need* to communicate less and less. But somehow these last few weeks it feels like there's an elephant in the room that I've not been addressing, in the past few months its been somewhat stopping me from publicly writing more than a few snippets here and there. More and more my private writings seem to be addressing this. There's been a shift in my focus, but somehow to talk of it I feel the need to contextualise it with my story a bit more. Two and a half years ago I experienced a life shattering shift (just over a year after the first…

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