Twelve Days of Reflection and Change

We could really do with a bit of happiness as we come to the end of year one of C-19. It has been great putting up the decks and the lights and a joy seeing all the homes around doing the sam thing. I was going through olds files and found a copy of The Happy Newspaper.

In 2016 The Happy Newspaper ran with the idea of “12 days of happiness” not just twelve days of Christmas. I love this play on ideas. In the Christian Cannon the twelve days started with the feast of Stephen on December 27th. If you remember… 

…”Good Kind Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen”… 

…and went to January 6th, the day when the three wise men turned up in Bethlehem to visit Jesus bearing their gifts. So Ed and I thought these twelve days should extend to 365 days, a whole year, of kindness and happiness. So maybe this Christmas we could start with the twelve days and see if we could carry it on?

The song or hymn “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was designed to teach the Christian faith to younger people. The interpretation of the exact meaning of each day, the numbers and the gifts vary but in general were used as a mnemonics to aid both memory and learning. So, “on the first day Christmas my true love sent to me”, is assumes to be True love = God, the Me = you the receiver of the gifts and the gifts are the message of Christianity in symbolic form.

Well, if the Christmas is about living a positive giving and happy life and the message of renewal and new beginnings perhaps we could each create our own message if twelve days or twelve steps. It would seem probable that the original pre-Christian festival was the solstice on December 21st which is the longest night and the shortest day of the year, after which the world gets brighter or the day gets longer. Whatever your beliefs structure or basis my suggestion for twelve day of Mindfulness would be to use the following as topics to meditate, think about and act on. Some things you cannot act upon but you can clear the negativity out of yourself and allow some light into your darkness.

The idea for these meditations come from the Live In The Present book and the ten steps course. Some of these meditations may lead to action and you may need to keep a pen and paper by you so that you can list any actions that might need to take. You might simply want to record what you are feeling after each meditation. Ideally each meditation would last for thirty minutes or more.

1: Forgiveness

Use this day to meditate on forgiving all those that have done you wrong. A time to let go of everyone and everything that you are holding any negative energy about. in your meditation allow the people or events to come before you and actively and consciously let them go. This is like a spiritual detox getting ready for a New year.

2: Self forgiveness 

Use this day to meditate on being honest with yourself about anything or anyone that you have wronged and might need to apologise to. As with day one bring those people or events before you and actively and consciously apologies and let them go.

3: Gratitude

Use today’s meditation to review all the positive things, events and people who have influenced your life and bring them before you. Actively thank them for what they have done, for who they are and openly feel the positive emotions of gratitude and thankfulness.

3: Live in the present

In today’s meditation review your life as it is right now, all the people, all the situation, that make up your life as it is right now. As you observe your life pay attention to how it feels. Do you need to change it? Is yes, then what do you need to do? This might be a time to make a list.

4: Who are you? 

Today in your meditation take a look at how do you see yourself? What is your level of self esteem? Do you love yourself? It is important to remember that the way that you see yourself is a learned habit and if you don’t like the way that you see yourself then you do have the ability to change and create a version of you that would serve you well.

5: Creating change

In today’s meditation consider that if you were to create the ‘you’ that you would like to be, what would you need to change? This might mean jobs, locations, attitudes, relationships. What would you change and how would you change it/them?

6: Creating an intention

Today meditate on if you do make the changes that you considered yesterday where is your life  going? What do you intend to do with your gift of life? If you were at a birthday party, ten or twenty years hence, and someone is giving speech about what it is that you have done and achieved what would you like to be hearing? What would they be saying? Having completed this meditation you might like to write the speech yourself right now.

7: Making a plan

Today meditate on how you will put your ideas from yesterday into effect. To put anything into effect requires a plan. A plan does not need to be fixed but it sets you off in the right direction. A plan is a map that can be varied and changed according to need. For most of us it is the lack of a plan that keeps us trapped and immobile. It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Many of us fail to progress because we do not plan we simply have an intention as a fanciful idea that we will, maybe, do one day. The plan that never happens.

8: Resource your plan

Today meditate on what you will need to bring your plan into action. What resources do you need? These may be practical things like equipment or supplies. It might be that you need knowledge, advice, or information. It may that you need the help and support from others, perhaps as a mentor. You may need forms of energy like money. Most importantly become aware of other people who may have done something similar to what you want to do. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, don’t waste your time doing what other people have done before. Try to learn from other people’s mistakes.

9: Check it out

Today meditate on how you might try out your idea/project. This is research. Traditionally this would be a focus group or a test group. Your idea might require other ways to test it. How can you try out your plan? Once you try it out see how it works and decide how you can adjust it or fine tune it?

10: Time for live action

Today meditate on how you will present your idea/project. This is the step prior to the actual enactment of your idea/project. It might mean organising a launch or a presentation. Who will you announce it to? Who will come to your event, what do you want them to get from it? What will happen next? 

11: Feedback

Today meditate on the reaction to your launch. What have you learned? How can you increase the effectiveness of your project/idea.

12: Reality

Today is the reality test. If during the last twelve days you have used contemplation and visualisation to consider who you are, where you are, have considered what it will take to get you from where you are to where your need to be and have taken your self through a plan of how to get there, you will now be ready to begin the process of change.

Realistic change takes at least ninety days and it may be that each of these mediations need to be done for one week or even for one month. Overall the only thing that will ensure that you achieve what you want is to be persistent and consistent and to never, never, never, give up.

Let me now how you get on.

Take care, have a fabulous 2021, have a fabulous life.

Sean x  

Did I hear that right?

…or should that be ‘correctly’?

Twice, in the last month. I have had to deal with couples who have got to the point of being about to part company because one person misheard what the other person said and the following miscommunications tumbled into a battle. The impression that I get is that in the lockdown/furlough process many of us are switching off emotionally and not paying proper attention to what is going on around us. The potential for miscommunication just grows. This shutting down is an understandable coping mechanism to deal with the potential boredom and monotony but not helpful in maintaining a relationship. When ‘that hitch’ is heard as ‘fat bitch’ we have a problem.

Recently I cooked a birthday meal and printed a menu for the diners. In doing it I remembered that, back in the London of my childhood, people would accidentally, or deliberately, get words wrong. So, Aperitif became ‘a pair of teeth’ and Hors d’ oeuvres became, ‘horse’s doovers’. Then today Chris Abouzeid made me laugh when he tweeted…

…‘So evidently our 13 year old thought ‘prima Donna’ meant anyone born before Madonna (i.e. pre-Madonna). Please send oxygen. We cannot stop laughing.’

It made me laugh as well. It was the tweets that followed that made me think of how we so easily miscommunicate. The child, who’s mother was a potter, went into panic at the news the baby sitter had been ‘Fired’. Laura who had thought that euthanasia was a young people’s place in Japan. I recall my younger sister, in her teenage, stunning us all when said ‘what is the point of oral sex? Why would you just to want to talk about it?’ Mind you, these days in the various forms of Covid lockdown many people have little else to do than talk about it.

Madam de Gaulle stunned a post war BBC interviewer when her answer to his question ‘what would you like with your retirement’ sounded like ‘I just want a penis’. She was actually saying ‘I just want happiness’ but with a strong French accent.

In the vagaries of Cockney rhyming slang the word used would be the one that didn’t rhyme. So ‘apples and pears’ meant stairs but you would only ever use the word ‘apples’. ‘Could you go up the apples and get my titver?’ = Can you go upstairs and get my hat? (Tit for tat = hat)

I think about the problems that we have communicating the simplest of everyday things in our relationships and then I look at the immense mis communication taking place over Covid-19 and Brexit. When I look at the government floundering around making u-turns and rewriting the rules day on day it would be fair to say that they are making a right orchestra of it all.
(Orchestra stalls = Balls).

In everyday conversations we often only hear want we want or expect to.

Said: ‘Wow, I think you are really good at that’.
Heard: ‘Oh, so you now want me to do it all the time do you’.

Said: ‘You look really curvy it that’.
Heard: ‘So you think I am fat.’

Oronyms are when we completely mishear a sentence. It is assumed that this is something going on in the brain though I suspect that lack of attention might be the real culprit. (audicus.com Diana Michel )

Said: ‘I got a new Toyota’
Heard: ‘I got a new toy Yoda’

Said: ‘What is the biggest hurdle you have overcome?’
Heard: ‘What is the biggest turtle you have overcome?’

Chinese whispers are when the words of a message get changed as it is passed from one person to the next. The classic is the First World War example of a commander sending a message back to HQ, ‘send reinforcement we are going to advance’. By the time the message was passed from one to person another down the line the message that HQ got was ‘send three and four pence we are going to a dance’.

Even worse that verbal communication is the text or email that we know can communicate as little as 7% of what the sender intended. The chance to mishear digital communications is huge.

There would seem to be three elements when we attempt to communicate. The first is what I said, the second is what you heard and the third is what you thought I meant. They may all be different.

There is only one way to be clear about the words used and meaning behind them and that is to ask. So, my resource for this week is try this on the people around you…

‘When you said that I heard ………………………. Is that what you meant?’

You will be amazed at how many times you get the wrong end of the stick. Either way you might be elated or totally disgruntled by what you thought you heard and in. both cases be completely wrong.

So, this week take a breath, stop and check what is going on around you, you may have it wrong.

Take care and be happy

Sean x

Giving and Receiving Is Not Just For Christmas

Christmas will soon be here and we begin to talk about giving and receiving. ‘It is the season to be Jolly’. Why do we wait until Christmas to be jolly and to enjoy giving gifts or enjoy receiving them? This happiness that we expect at Christmas should be with all of us all the time, every day of the year.

The law of attraction states that we need to give in order to receive. This law is identifying that to receive requires a space for things to flow into. If, for example you give money to charity, you create a space in your financial energy that allows more energy, or money, to flow to you. Science tells us that the universe abhors a vacuum, whenever one occurs energy will flow into to fill the empty space and create a balance in the energy. What we experience as wind is nothing other that air moving form areas of high pressure to balance an area of low pressure, it is the low pressure that creates the wind flow, it is the partial vacuum that air flows into. It would seem that in everything the universe prefers a balance of energy, this is true in all systems.

Are you a giver or a taker?

It is often said that people are one or the other, givers or takers, and that is often the way that it is. In my occupational health role in organisations I see the ‘minimalists’ who will take all that they can while doing as little as possible and the ‘maximalists’ who will do all that they can to ensure that the job gets done and that the customer’s needs are met. In society it is those that are doers, givers that are proactive and are carrying those that do little or nothing and are the ‘done to’. The takers who are inactive in life are carried. Y the givers. 

The ability to to give unconditionally to others is often the basis of happiness. We know that the act of giving benefits the giver through the production of happy hormones in the brain. It also can make the receiver feel good for the very same reason. Just like all universal energies the system only works when the energy of giving and energy of receiving is in balance. I am not implying that there need to be the takers so that the givers can give, I am suggesting that we should each have within us a balance of both giving and taking. That means that the givers need to learn to receive and the takers need to learn to give.

What can I do for you?

President John F Kennedy talking to the German people when they were rebuilding their country after the second world war famously said “Don’t ask what can my country do for me, ask what can I do for my country”. He was restating this universal principle that equates to the idea that if were all to give then all of our needs will be met.

The magic of giving  

When we belong to any group, workplace or family and so on, if we all give, that is, look after each others needs, then everyone’s needs are met. If, on the other hand, we all sit back and expect our needs to be met by the rest of the group then no one’s need will ever be met. This is true on all levels, in all situations, all of the time. 

When we learn to give we realise that there is enough of everything for everybody. There is enough food, enough water, enough money, enough love and so on, all we need to do is to learn give to each other. This is hard for most human beings, especially at this time of uncertainty, when fear deprivation and loss and lack of things. That in turn can lead to greed and hoarding, ownership and meanness as we can see by the endless queues outside shops as people make sure they have enough food and toilet rolls to last out the pandemic.

The crazy thing is that if we all learned to give we could have heaven on earth right now!

The magic of receiving

Well if the law of vacuums and the natural balance of energies is true then it is not enough to simply be able to give we also need to be able to receive.  For some receiving can be difficult. How do you cope when people buy you presents? Perhaps it is Christmas or your birthday how do you feel about getting gifts? Are you able to open them in front of the giver and feel comfortable? Being able to receive a gift in itself and a gift and a skill.

Love is all there is

When it comes right down to it all that we ever give is love. It may be in the form of charity as money to the poor, needy or homeless, as food or water aid or disaster relief. We may volunteer our time or resources. We may give gifts for birthdays, Christmas, weddings and so on. We might see these as material giving but behind each act of giving is an act of loving. All we ever give is love, love is all there is.

Many people that are able to live in privileged positions in our society are often those that have been the takers. Often they have gained their wealth by taking it from others. Sometimes that have gained their power by taking power away from others. I have no problem with people leading rich lives, we should all be living rich lives. Money, like all universal energies works best when simply flows around the system. There is enough for everyone if we share it and do not hoard it.

Enjoy your giving and learning to receive, remember that I order to receive well you need to give well.

Take care and remember that giving and receiving is not just for Christmas it is for everyday all year.

Sean x

Dealing With Uncertainty

So, will lockdown end on December 2nd? Will we be able to have a normal Christmas? Is it okay to book a holiday for next year? Do I need to go out and stock the house with all the products that we might need if all the shops run out of everything? Will my job be safe after the furlough ends?…. The list of anxious questions goes on forever. The bottom line is that nothing is certain. We are in the land of uncertainty. My teacher once said to me…

…enlightenment is living with total uncertainty and being totally secure.

Now that is a thought. In reality all of the world alway is and always will be completely uncertain. None of us know what tomorrow will bring. We can not be sure of anything moment to moment. The human mind seeks positive and affirmative things as anchors to create security that in the end is an illusion. Sadly certainty seldom happens and this leads us to feelings of anxiety and in the extreme anxiety disorder. Uncertainty is always a form of anxiety. Anxiety is living an imagined future right now in the present moment. To be anxious is to not live in the present. Anxiety and uncertainty are bed fellows. Even the most focussed and determined of people can never be 100% sure of the outcome of life or their endeavours. Yet, we are not all anxious why is this?

I recall reading a study of men being kept on death row somewhere in the USA. The research showed that while under the threat of execution the inmates would produce high levels of stress hormones and feel high levels of anxiety. However, once they had been given a death date, even if it was a while in advance, their production of stress hormone would drop. The conclusion of the study was that uncertainty creates stress and anxiety but knowledge, knowing what will be happening, even if it is awful, takes away the stress. It would seem that certainty, even is we are certain of difficult outcomes is less stressful that simply not knowing. And, guess what?, in lockdown and with Covid we simply do not know.

Whatever will be, will be – the path of acceptance
There is another way of approaching the future and that is in accepting that whatever will be, will be. There are things that we can change and things that we can not. It is helpful to know the difference. Though in knowing we need to let it go and live in the present.

Serenity

Is the state of calmness where there is peace and untroubled thoughts or feelings is what we call serenity.

According to Wikipedia the Serenity Prayer was authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr 1892–1971 The best-known form is:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

In the 1930s and 1940s the above prayer was adopted and popularised by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs. The original prayer requires some belief in a religious Godliness and looked more like this…

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

The Law of Allowing
In our, live in the present, work we use the law of allowing to avoid engaging in thankless tasks that will only wear us down or wear us out. Allowing the mad people to be mad without joining them or needing change them leads to serenity. When we can accept the world, and others, as they are the uncertainty, anxiety fall away.

This is not fatalistic
To be fatalistic assumes a lack of control. In the law of allowing to be the observer of events does not make use powerless or inactive. It is more that when we choose to engage we do so mindfully with a clarity of vision and purpose. We do not engage with headless chicken syndrome running around in panic and worrying about things that we cannot effect, or that we cannot effect ‘yet’. Though we may get all angry and vocal about it and demand that others see and understand our point of view.

Become a positive script writer
In mindful psychology we know that we are each writing our own experience before it happens, we are choosing how we respond to life. When we wake in the morning feeling bad about the day we write the bad script and then go and experience it. Afterwards we can congratulate ourselves on how right we were . ‘I knew today would be bad and just look I was completely right’. Perhaps, had we chosen a better script, the day could have been better.

We are not effected by events
We are effected by our response to events

We have choices and anxiety, to be anxious, is a choice. It may not feel like that at the outset and in extreme cases we may need medication to help us reset our system. Anxiety is never the way that we are, it is the way that we have learned to be, we can learn to be different, to not be anxious.

Thoughts become things

We don’t have problems we have opportunities
When we realise and embrace the amazing creativity of human consciousness and our ability to solve problems, whatever they are, anxiety and uncertainty does not exist. When I know that whatever happens I will be able to deal with it there is no fear. It is only when we loose that perspective that uncertainty and entirety take hold.

Catastrophisation
Often the things that we do become anxious about are neither here nor there. It is simply that by focussing on them they have got bigger. We can make a drama out of a crisis.

What you feed grows and what you starve dies

OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, is the result of focussing exclusively on something and allowing it to grow so large that it takes over our entire perception so that now we cease to be present, in the moment, and live in fear, uncertainty and anxiety.

Our friends uncertainty and anxiety
Uncertainty and anxiety are our friends they have been with us through out our evolution. They have kept us safe in our quest to survive by not be eaten by predators or falling from trees. The awareness that comes with normal anxiety is good, not scaring and does not create uncertainty. When appropriate anxiety gives us the awareness that we need to stay safe. When we over focus and over think we develop anxiety disorder. This is not helpful and becomes a problem.

Meditate, be serene and be happy

Sean X

The Joy of Pets

I have always see animals as humans just with more legs and fur coats. Hence I have been veggie most of my life and move ever more towards veganism. I note, from those I am talking with, that the family pet, cat or dog, is the things that is keeping them sane. Either it represents company in the home or the excuse to get out and go for a walk, stretch your legs and get some exercise. Pets have become very important to us. 

Just before this lockdown I was dropping off a sourdough loaf to someone’s house and I got talking to her dog, as you do. The dog ‘Poppy’ is an older lab who was not looking that happy about things. She lay and was pawing at me to get my attention. Her intense eyes were locked onto mine and as I stroked her she moved her body so that my hand was on her tummy. Her owner said ‘That odd’, apparently Poppy does not like men, never makes eye contact and my hand was right over her cancer. It was as though Poppy had just seen me and thought ‘I’ll have a bit if that” and need some energy, healing or love which I was more than happy to give.

When we can see all being as equal to ourselves the universe has a opportunity to live in balance and harmony. Anyone who has had a dog or a cat will know how much they simply become just another member of the family. Their arrival is a joy and there departure has the same  sadness and bereavement of losing any other member of the family.

It reminded me of when I was running with my trainer Conrad. Up ahead of us was a medium sized brown dog. She saw us coming and stopped to allow us to catch up with her. As we passed Conrad and I both naturally greeted her and she fell into step running between us. She seemed a perfectly nice and happy person very comfortably joining in with us and it led to wonder what was it that was going in her mind. Did she feel that she had joined the pack? Was this the natural instinct of a pack animal off for the hunt. Perhaps she thought ‘two mad humans here running around, I wonder where they are going? I’ll go with them and see’, perhaps she thought, or didn’t, think of anything that I, as a human could conceive or understand.  

We often treat animals anthropomorphically, just as I did with the dog, and project our own feelings onto them and assume that we know what they are feeling or thinking. The worst thing that I ever hear is when a human projects a lack of feeling and emotion onto an animal. In an assumption that animal have no feelings at all. Fishermen tell me that when they stick a hook through the mouth of a fish, and pull them by the line from the water into the air, something that is suffocating for the fish, that the fish doesn’t feel a thing ‘because they are cold blooded’, interesting thinks I.

I find it strange that we divide up the animal kingdom into different emotional categories to suit our human selfishness. 

Nature

There Are those animals that live in the wild. These might include primates, the large cats, lizards, birds, elephants, rhinos, zebras and so on. We humans make documentaries about them and wonder at their life styles and antics, their social connections and disputes and their various mating rituals and habits.

Vermin

Vermin are those animals that we as humans have decided have no use for us, not even as objects in documentaries and certainly not to eat. Those that we decide should be removed from the planet. So we trap them poison them and kill them in any way that we can. For householders these include rats, mice, spiders, ants and so on. Non householders might include the coypu, mink, snakes, foxes, badgers, crows, magpies and so on.

Food

The animal group that we have defined as food varies from one country to the next and we can share our disgust at each other’s habits. When a country eats frogs, dogs, or horses Brits can become very angry or disgusted. A while ago horse meat was found in British mincemeat, cow meat, which upset a lot of British people. yet the French will happily take our horses for their dinner table while we will take their cows for ours. The staple meat diets of the western world has been cattle, sheep and pigs plus the occasional goat. We will eat chicken and ducks but we will be disgusted by those that eat song birds. We make the distinction between Kentucky Fried Chicken and Kentucky Fried Rat, though they would probably taste and feel very similar once the spices had been added to the coating. For some rabbits are simply four legged chicken while for others they are cuddly bunnies and venison may be seen as strong beef or the murder of Bambi.

Fashion

If you wear a leather pair of shoes or a leather belt you are wearing an animal for fashion. The reality is that there are many alternatives to leather but if you eat the meat I guess that you might as well wear the skin. However, this does not seem to hold true in the case of fur. Would a fur coat be more acceptable if we ate the meat as well as wearing the skin? The British army has spent generations wearing bear skin hats, the Busby, I doubt if they ate the meat. 

Pets

Pets are animals that we assume like to be with us. We use animals without really understanding what it is that they want or need. Before a horse allows a rider to sit on it’s back it has to be ‘broken’. This means that it’s will to resist, and simply be a horse, is stripped away from it until it will tolerate the rider and respond to being directed by a piece of metal in its mouth, often kicked in the sides and being beaten with whip. We put birds in cages to prevent them from doing what is natural for them, flying. We take the doggie-ness away from a dog until it believes that is a part of a human pack.

The symbiotic connections

We hear stories of the dolphin who appeared in the sea and held a human up in the water until help arrived or they had taken them to the shallows so that they could then stand. There are those moments when an animal and a human just connect, as I did with Poppy. Many dogs do have a symbiotic relationship with a human being. Their intuitive connection allows them to know and understand the humans feelings and to respond in a sensitive manner. This may also include bereavement at the loss or death of a human that they are close to. We see this as a wonderful example of how a dog can have deep feelings for a human. Perhaps we should realise that this is how dogs live in their normal situation and that the deep emotion that we see, and assume is for us, is really the emotional power that keeps the pack together. Just as dogs belong in packs horses belong in herds and were never designed to live on their own or with just a few other horses or human beings. 

Unless an animal comes to you willingly, just like the dog who chose to run with Conrad and me for a while, we are interfering in it’s naturalness to make it be what we want it to be.

I often see pets who are not experiencing joy, the joy of pets is all on the part of the human who ‘owns’ and ‘controls’ them. As I sit in my studio I often hear two dogs in the gardens around me. One is very unhappy and cries a lot at being abandoned by it’s human owners who have gone to work. The other howls in a desperate attempt to call to other dogs as though it is playing out some strange memory of the pack. As it howls other dogs, even distantly, respond and on the air they have a conversation that I will never understand but I keep hearing the plaintive cry of ‘tell me I am not alone’. Perhaps I should call this ‘Howling Dog Studios’.

If you have pets, eat meat or wear skins have a think about the joy of pets and other animals. Is the joy one sided? Is it all played out for the good of us human beings? Do the animals have feelings and if they do are we responding to them?

Food for thought!

Take care and be happy

Sean X

 

Let’s look on the bright side

As we go into another lockdown we have two choices as to how we deal with it. We can either put on our negative head and develop bad feelings or we can look on the bright side and decide that’s we are going to have a good time and and work out how best we can do that, so that ion the end we have the best time that we could possibly have.

Even in the worst of situations there is always a bright side, it is just that it may be a bit hard to find at the time. Retrospect is a powerful tool but looking back and seeing how far we have travelled can be a very powerful experience. It tells us what we have learned and how we have grown. The most negative of situations can be a powerful teacher if we have the eyes to see and the ears to listen, then we can grow. People say to me “well it’s couldn’t get any worse.” I think, ‘don’t say that. You have no idea how bad it could get’. It can be helpful to look at the current difficult situation as…

…well it’s not as bad as it could have been.

It is never as bad as it could have been. Most difficult situations develop from the thought or feeling that we are out of control or have no control over what is happening. The first step to getting better, or getting a handle on it, normally begins with taking some control. This means developing an awareness of the things that we can control and the things that we cannot. We cannot control the weather but we can control what we are wearing. We cannot control what other do but we can control how we respond.

Get into a positive vibe and energy. Be with people who are positive and won’t collude with your negative ideation. Most importantly listen to them and where possible take their advise. Being with others can raise you mood, give you purpose and ideas.

Listen to your mind. We all ruminate. When you are feeling bad about things you are negatively ruminating. It is time to get some positive thoughts and feeling going in your head. When I get down I play the…

…I’m so happy and grateful game.

I begin with the above phrase and then I add positive in, they usually rhyme so it might be…

…I’m fit and healthy, rich and wealthy

Then I play with it and often makes me laugh…

…I’m slim and sexy

Then I play the rhyming game. So what rhymes with sexy?

…I’m supple and flexi

The game raises my mood and takes me to a feeling of gratitude. Positive thoughts, feeling and gratitude all run together. It also reminds me of the importance of humour. You may not feel like laughing right now but watching a comedy show or movie can help.

Then it takes me the positive self talk. Once I play the game I begin to change the negative rumination into positive rumination. As I said we all ruminate. The choice is making it positive or negative. Once you become aware of your ruminating mind you can choose to go positive or negative. My option is to not give the negative head space. Any negative thoughts observe them, don’t fight them, let them go and return to some positive thoughts.

If you have problems getting started visit the site and download the morning focus meditation. It is just five minutes to get you head on the right way around and get the best that you can from your day.

Reinforcing the positive helps to build the positive. At the end of each day try the evening review meditation. This allows you to review the day and dump the negative stuff and reinforce the positive. If you really want to build your positive energy start a gratitude diary and record positive experiences from your day. If it is only 

‘today I am still breathing’, 

well, that is a start. You can build from here.

When we get too negatively self obsessed it can help to think about or help other people. There are always those worse off than us that could benefit from our help.

If you are at home with your family during lockdown think about what activities you can do together. It could be anything from decorating the house to cooking together, playing games, going for walks or runs. As the winter nights draw in a board game around the fire can be a lot of fun. 

It is often said, ‘the family that eats together stays together’, and there is truth in that statement. In there current situation we might find that the family who play together and laugh together are the ones who get through this in one piece. 

Listen to your mind and your thoughts and do your best to keep them positive. And remember my favourite phrase…

…if we all look after each other we will all be okay

Take care, stay safe and be happy

Sean x

Forgiveness and love

During C19, the various restriction and lockdowns I have seen more and more cases of conflict, argument and ruptured or severed relationships. The relationships have been both personal and professions. It is as though some people are running out of that magic glue that stick families, friends and communities together. For many of us tolerance is in short supply and we feel at the end of our fuse.

This week someone asked “This Covid is driving me mad, I feel so frustrated, how can I stop feeling so angry about everything and everybody”. I had a think and suggested that to overcome the negative feelings that they were hold about others, and also hold about them self needed forgiveness. The response was rolled eyes a tut and “you always say that but, how do you do it?” My response was… 

…Forgiveness is the application of love over retribution.

Retribution is the punishment that we inflict, or would like to inflict, on another person for what we see as their wrong doing. This wrong doing we may believe is against us or against other people that we may identify with or see as vulnerable and needing our support.

It can sound very hippy to talk about love. Perhaps it is easier to think about the two simple and fundamental forces of nature. They are attraction and repulsion. Things are either drawn together or they are pushed apart. At a psychological and emotional level these are simply love, the energy that pulls us together and hate, the energy that pushes us apart.

When we exercise love we have cooperation and tolerance. We work with each other to get things right and resolve our problems. When we exercise hate we find reasons not to cooperate with each other and we become intolerant. We are not prepared to work with the other person or people to find solutions. In short love creates peace and harmony and hate creates strife and disharmony.

In both love and hate there is a spectrum of feeling from mild to severe. We may simply like someone and fee that they are a nice person through to we might feel passionately and emotionally connected with acts of love. Or, we may simply dislike someone and avoid their company through to active feelings of revulsion, anger and even acts of violence or hurt towards that person. In both cases of love and hate the deep feelings may be real or virtual. It is easier imagining killing someone than actually doing it. Though it is probably nicer to make love that just imagine it.

In the Buddhist Cannon the philosophy is that thoughts come before things. That as a thought is the precursor of an action then, to think of feel something is no different to doing it. In quantum physics, the Intention Experiment, suggests that our feelings towards other can affect them directly which would make sense of prayer and the consistent belief that forgiveness is good for both the object of the forgiveness and the forgiver.

The nature of emotion is that once someone is lodged in our emotional mind we will use our natural ability rumination to feed and build our feelings. It properly doesn’t surprise you that your emotional memory is visual. It the case of love you can picture the person that you care about and can imagine all the good things that you could be doing together. In hatred you can visualise the person that hate and can imagine, or replay all the bad things that they have done. You may even fantasise on how you would meter out the punishment that you feel that they deserve.

In neuropsychology we know that positive feelings lead to the excretion of positive endorphins in the brain and negative feeling to negative stress related endorphins. 

In short we know that those of us who can let go and forgive with a dollop of goodwill and love are getter positive brains and bodies are likely to live longer and suffer less illness. Those who hold negative feelings and hatred end up with negative brains have shorter and sicker lives. There will always be the story of the miserable old bugger who live to be a hundred and used their negative hatred to keep going, “he stayed alive just to spite his enemies”, that sort of thing. Though, overall happy feelings equal happy brain, eg=qualms happy body and happy life.

When looking at who you might like to forgive right now there will be people who recently pressed your button. If you look a little deeper you might need to go back to your early years to clean out your negative cupboard in your head. This is what we call ‘Step One’ and is my resource for this episode.

For give who you can and avoid holding negative emotion. IN the end the only person that it damages is you.

Take care

Sean x

The Colours Of You!

In modern psychology we tend to look at people from three aspects. These are thinking or cognition, feeling or emotion and behaviour or doing. In the Ayurvedic system people are seen to have eight aspects or facets, that are denoted by the chakras or colours of the spectrum, red to violet plus magenta. This blog is an audit of these different faces or colours of you and a chance to consider each part of yourself and decide what you might need or like to do about each or all of them.

The one gift that Covid has given us is the opportunity for self reflection. For many of us life is generally so busy that we have little time to think about ourselves or our wellbeing. Those people that get involved in mindfulness learn to take some time to observe themselves and the world around them and are subsequently more likely to be attentive to their own needs as well as the needs of others. 

When looking at these colour, or facets of your self, you may find that some are more important to you than others. In fact some may have no importance at all. The magic of being a human being is that we have all of these colours within us. If you think of them as lights then the colours that are working strongest will shine with the brightest light while those that are not used so much will be a dim light. As these colours mix we can see that although we are all composed of the same facets they are mixed in such a way that we have individuality. In the Ayurvedic systems when all of the lights are shining at their brightest so that we are full of light we would be described as ‘enlightened’. 

Because some facets or colours shine brighter and are more natural for us to access the Rishis, or scientists, developed the eight paths of Yoga one for each colour. Yoga means to yoke or gather together. All yogic paths are designed to lead, eventually, to the same place of enlightenment. The yogas are Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Raja Yoga, Tantra Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga.

What are the colours of you?

So here are some questions to ponder and decide which colours are strongest in yourself. It is important to remember that you can develop any, or all, of the facets or colours of you, at any time if you wish to. When you look at yourself in this way there may be things that you can see that you need to change or develop. It may be that you need help to do this from a teacher, coaches, therapists and so on. 

During lockdown and covid restrictions paying attention to our needs on every level or facet of ourself is very important.

Red – Physical – Karma Yoga

Your Red world is about what you do and how you act. Karma is the consequence of how you have acted. Karma is neither good nor bad just simply the consequence. The counterpart to Karma is Dharma. Dharma is to do the right thing or to act in the right way. Those that act Dharmically do not create so many negative Karmas. Related to the body, the greatest Karma that we all have to face is how have we treated our body? What we eat, how we exercise, how we work and so on will all take a toll on our body and in the end will dictate how we live, how long we live and how we will die. For the Karma Yogi their body is the temple of their soul that they treat with great respect and gratitude. Related to our body are other bodies. How do you treat you own body, how do you treat other people’s bodies, how do you treat the environment and the world around you? These are all aspects of the Red facet.

Self Audit

  • Are you fit, are you healthy?
  • What exercise do you do?
  • Do you eat a good diet?
  • Do you look after your immediate environment?
  • Do you consider the wider environment of the world?
  • Do you care for other people’s physical wellbeing?
  • Do you physically bully or intimidate other people?
  • What do you need to change in your red facet to improve your body and your behaviour?

Orange – Social – Hatha Yoga

Your orange world is about vital energy. Red bodies live in groups that we call families, communities, societies, cultures, nations or even the whole of humanity. What holds people together is the ‘glue’ energy. Orange energy is called bio-energy, prana, chi. Ki and so on. When that energy is in tune we have harmony. When the energy goes out of tune we have conflict and problems. The balance of energy starts within us and then moves out to others. Hatha Yoga is the balancing of personal internal energies. Ha and Tha is positive and negative, symbolised by sun and moon, also described as yin and yang or Purusha and Prakritti. Hatha Yoga is the balance of energies. In our families, communities and society we need a balance of social energies to create collective harmony, wellbeing and happiness.

Self Audit

  • When and how do you come together with your family and friends?
  • Do you have enough friend time?
  • Do you have enough family time?
  • What do you do to ensure the happiness of those around you?
  • What do you expect from those around you to make you happy?
  • What do you give to those around you that need your support at this time?
  • How could you help them?
  • What do you need to change in your orange facet to feel more connected with those around you?

Yellow – Experience/Intellect – Jnana Yoga 

The magic of the intellect is its ability to discriminate. If you present the yellow facet with a list of pros it will instantly come up with a list of cons and visa versa. The intellect is the tool of perception unlike the blue conceptual world of thought. Yellow is external observation and blue is internal construction. 

Jñāna yoga, also known as Jnanamarga, is one of the several spiritual paths in Hinduism, which emphasises the “path of knowledge”, also known as the “path of self-realisation”. It is one of the three classical paths for moksha [is a word used in many disciplines to denote enlightenment]. The other two are karma yoga and Bhakti yoga. Wikipedia

In the everyday sense the Yellow world of experience is all about having fun. It is okay going out for a good Orange social jolly but unless you have a good flowing Yellow facet to your personality it may not be that much fun.

Self Audit

  • Is you life fun?
  • When did you last have fun?
  • What were you doing?
  • When did you last have a new experience or go somewhere completely new?
  • What are you reading at the moment?
  • What are you studying at the moment?
  • If you could go anywhere and do anything where and what would it be?

Green – Emotion – Power – Service – Bhakti Yoga

The Green facet is about self power, self esteem and self worth. When you can go to the mirror look yourself in the eyes and say ‘I love you”, and mean it, your Green esteem is shining. This should not be mistaken with arrogance that is when we expect other people to tell us that they love us and that over all we feel that we are better than them. Green is about the ego and how I see me. The interesting fact is that some peoples egos are so large that they can include other people within them. Mother Theresa of Calcutta had an ego that was so big she could include all the poor of Calcutta within it and treat them as if they were herself. That is Bhakti Yoga the Yoga of Service. The obvious famous ones are people such as Gandhi, though they are everywhere all around us doing what they can to help others. When the ego goes the other way it becomes self serving and egotistical, demanding attention, needing to be showered with admiration. This is a problem exhibited by many celebrities and politicians.  

The Green facet for us includes money and power but also the power of emotion. The Matriarch may dominate the family but it is mostly through positive power of green love. Often when we look at love we are looking at Greenness and the easy sharing of emotions.

Self audit

  • Do you have self confidence and self esteem?
  • Do you like yourself?
  • If yes what is that you like and why?
  • If not, why not and what can you do to make this better?
  • How do you know that you are loved?
  • Do you feel loved?
  • How do show someone that you love them?
  • Who do you include in your ego bubble?
  • Who would you look after as though they were yourself?
  • What can you do to increase your sense of self esteem?

Blue – cognition – thinking – organisation – status – Mantra Yoga

The Blue world is the internalisation of the Yellow world. Yellow is built of Percepts and the Blue is built of Concepts. Precepts are what we perceive out there as our experience. Concepts are what we internalise as our thoughts and our memories. Internalisation requires ordering and organising. The mind can be like a filing cabinet. If you have a good Blue facet you will be able to recall events going back many years you will be able to order your thoughts and feelings and present them in a calm and logical way that may baffle those that are more emotional.

The Blue world likes status and position. The honours system was designed to fulfil this Blue need for status and position. For Green the currency is power but for the Blue it is status. When someone calls you and says ‘this is Mr Sean Orford’ they are claiming a simple title and not simple being Sean Orford. If the handle could be bigger than Mr perhaps, Doctor, Director, Manager, Duke, Lord, Lady it would maybe gain more status. When someone asks you ‘Who are you’ we normally respond by giving them a list of what we do and from this list they will give us status. The important point here is that we give ourselves and other people status, not by who they are but by what they do.

Self Audit

  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What roles do you play in life?
  • Do you feel that what you do gives you status in your own eyes?
  • Do you feel that what you do gives you status in the eyes of others?
  • Would you like more status?
  • What would give you more status?
  • How could you do this?

Indigo – Intuition – Meaning – Raja Yoga

For any one of us to feel right and a sense of wellbeing our Indigo facet needs to be at least functioning and preferably shining. Indigo is meaning. What is it all about? Up to this point our different facets are concerned with questions of ‘what’ and ‘how’. When we get to Indigo the question changes to ‘Why?’ Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you go to work? In fact, why do you do anything? When life has meaning we are motivated towards doing things. When the meaning has gone we become depressed or even suicidal, ‘what is the point?’ The currency on the Indigo world is intuition. It is that sense of knowing without needing to know why, you just know. That knowing can include the reason why you are alive or your life purpose.

This intuitive facet is introspective. It can be reached and developed in practices such as mindful meditation. Unlike the previous facets that are often active and even noisy Indigo is often silent. This is a knowing silence in which you can hear the answer to your questions and your problems. The self audit at this level maybe a bit challenging and often creates the need to talk about our deep intuitive feelings and thoughts.

Self Audit

  • Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
  • What is the purpose and meaning of life?
  • What is the purpose and meaning of your life?
  • What do you believe happens when you die?
  • Does the answer to the above question affect how you act or live?
  • Do you meditate?
  • Would you like to learn to meditate?
  • What could you do to create more calm, tranquility and silence in your life?

Violet – Imagination – Creativity – Tantra Yoga

Let me start by saying that when most people hear the word Tantra their first thought is sex! Well, the word Tantra in Sanskrit simply means to weave together or to become as one. The sexual act is a good way of understanding how two people could weave together to become as one. Imagine if a family, society, community, culture, nation, group of nations, or even the whole of humanity could become Tantric and be as one. There would be no wars, no starving, no prejudice, no unhappiness. When I say ‘if we all look after each other we will all be okay’ I am describing this Tantric relationship.

Imagination is the key. In modern psychology we use phrases such as ‘what you think about you bring about’ or ‘what you feel you create’. What we really mean is ‘what you imagine you will create’. When we wake in the morning we will imagine the day ahead, we will see it in pictures on the screen in our mind. These pictures create a forward memory that we then go and play out. The Violet facet is the script writer of our life. When faced with a problem we can imagine ourself overcoming it or we can imagine ourself failing. The image creates the action and the outcome.

Self Audit

Project forward to your birthday ten years from now. Someone is reading out a speech about your life and your achievements. The speech that they read is your forward memory, it is your imagination in action, it is your script. Write that speech now so that the speech says exactly what you would want to hear then, now go and live your life and create what you want it to be.

Magenta – Fantasy – Doesn’t exist

We all dream and we all daydream. None of the dreams are real. The dreams that do become real are really the images of the Violet facet. A Magenta dream is just a fantasy. It may be a good light fantasy or a dark negative fantasy. The whole point is that it is not real it doesn’t exist. Yet, we have the ability to take these fantasies and play with them in our mind and feed them and develop them so that they feel so real that the dominate and overwhelm our lives.

The vast, vast, majority of anxiety is nothing more than a Magenta fantasy.  Our worries and fears about what other people may think about us, how they see us, that they are talking about us, that the plane will crash, the bus will be late, we won’t get the job, we will all…. fill in the blank. Once this Magenta facet becomes activated it has no limits from monsters under the bed to every conspiracy theory you have ever heard. Obviously, some rumours (Orange) will have a basis in truth and some report (Yellow) will be true. However much of what we hear on the news and read on social media is Magenta and needs to be taken with a pinch of salt unless it is backed by research or facts (Blue).

We all have this Magenta fantasy facet, It is really good for informal stress management and you walk away from the boss who has just told you off and you replay the conversation in your head but use Magenta to change it so that you told him where to go and exactly what you thought about him.

Self Audit

  • Keep a daydream and a night dream diary and enjoy what you are dreaming about?
  • If your dreams becomes dark, negative or violent you might be holding unresolved issues and need some psychotherapy.
  • Become an active dreamer or day dreamer and create the fantasies that make you happy and enjoy them.
  • Write a book. Many ideas for books began as a daydream or a fantasy.

During this time, we have a rare chance to examine ourselves in ways we have not been able to before and may never be able to again. Many of us have time and that is when the mind wanders. All the different facets of ourself that we have looked at in this block could do with some attention, some more than others. Take the time that you have to do a bit of positive self examination and develop the bits of you that could do with some attention.

Be whole and be happy.

Take care

Sean x

How to work on your mental health

I am worried, here we go again, another lockdown.

The feeling that there will be light at the end of the tunnel is disappearing to a dot on the horizon. My first reaction is that gut wrenching frustration of ‘oh no’, followed by flat depressive feelings. I know how devastating this is going to be for so many people that I have been talking to online. There is a philosophical oracle called the ‘I Ching’ that makes suggestions on the best course of action that you should take. A common phrase in the Ching is ‘it favours you to have somewhere to go’. This means to me that we each need a goal or a destination, a meaning or a purpose to life. This is what seems to be missing right now. In lockdown with continued restrictions and closures it can be hard to see a future. If we feel that there is nowhere to go, that there is no future, then there is no meaning and it can easily become ‘what is the point?’

Because I know how my mind works and how easy it is for the negative monkey in my head, that I call Eric, to come out and throw negative bananas at me, I am vigilante and at times like this and I do my best to not give Eric any head space. It is the living reality of…

…thoughts become things.

I know that once I start to ruminate on the negative it will grow and get even bigger in my mind. Once the rumination begins I am lost so I either, don’t let it happen or I nip it in the bud as soon as possible.

Mind control

It was hard for me to realise that I was responsible for my mind and for what I was thinking or feeling. Now I know how real this is. Either we are on autopilot and simply accepting and reacting to what we are told by media or other people or we are mindfully observant and respond to events in ways that serve us well. This is the living reality of…

…it is not what happens that is important,
it is how we respond to it that really matters.

You have a choice

How are you reacting or responding to the news of more restrictions?

First time around we faced without knowing what it would be like. We played with ideas of working though box sets and taking training, learning to cook or catching up on that pile of books that need to be read. First time around we were naive this time we have knowledge. For those on furlough what will you do.

Let’s get real

Okay, so have a look at the first lockdown. What went well and what didn’t? What do you need to do this time around to make it better?

When life loses its meaning and we lose our motivation the best thing that we can do is make a plan. In the non lockdown world the days of the week have a meaning that is mainly dictated by what we would do on those days. Most of us would work all week which made Sunday a good day to sit around and do very little, take it easy and not feel the need to do anything. The problem is when everyday becomes a Sunday it can feel like there is never anything to do.

Let’s make a plan

Think of it like this, every morning the universe gives you a time cheque, you now have twenty four hours. How will you spend this free windfall? How will you invest your today. What you do will dictate just how you will feel at the end of today. How you feel at the end of today, when you go to sleep will dictate how you will feel tomorrow when you wake up. How about you make a plan?

Either get some paper, or use your device, and set out a calendar of your week. First entries need to be about sleep, exercise and food.

1: Set your alarm – set your sleep pattern
The first thing that tends to go astray is our sleep pattern. It can be easy to think what is the point in getting out of bed. Then your sleep pattern slips and you are awake until the early hours and getting up at lunchtime. Decide on the best time to get up that is pretty similar to your normal regime, count back eight hours from there, that is your bed time. Don’t take phones, tablets and computers or televisions into the bedroom. Your bedroom is your sleep room. We now know that if you are sleeping for less than seven hours this could be due to worry or stress, feeling anxious and if you are sleeping for more than nine hours this could be due to low mood or depression. Either way exercise can help.

2: Move your body
Go for a walk. Go a bit further each day. Decide on your step count, make sure that you do at least that. At least three times a week, but preferably 30 minutes each day, raise you heart rate. If you can run or dance even better. Find an exercise dvd or check out youtube online to see what resources they have. We know that if you raise your heart rate for at least twenty minutes your brain will release happy hormones and you will feel good.

3: What is going in your mouth and when are you doing it?
So many people put on weight in the last lockdown.

The joke is ‘are you doing the lockdown 5k?’. That is not the 5k race it is the 5k of weight that you can put on if you are not careful. One problem that we have identified with people who do manage their steps each day is that they then often feel justified in eating whatever they want. Sadly it doesn’t work that way. Weight is like a bank account. If you deposit more calories than you spend the balance just keeps on growing. It is so important that we all maintain regular meal times and avoid snacking. We now know that when you eat carbohydrates your brain secretes serotonin, the happy hormone, and you feel better. So when you are craving those carbs you are really self medicating to make yourself feel better.

So, the deal is that to survive another lockdown we all need to get organised, plan what we going to do and create a purpose and meaning to each day. In the next podcast I want to look at the seven levels of our human egos and personalities that need to be tended to maintain our sanity.

Take care and get that weekly diary sorted.

Sean x

We can’t change history

What is done is done.

During lockdown and the COVID restrictions I have been listening to the themes that people have been sharing with me. I have noticed that time to ruminate has, for many, been time to go over old, raw and unhealed wounds. This reliving of unresolved past events can easily poison the present and become the seeds of depression and future anxiety. We say that the devil finds work for idle hands. I say the idle mind find space for negative rumination. In Covid many of us have had too much time to think. Unless you are able to mindfully control your thoughts and feelings the monkey in your head will go bonkers and throw negative bananas at your thoughts and feelings.

I see this being played out across the board by various people from around the world.  It becomes so easy to criticise and blame for past events. From racial discrimination, through to the Holocaust, bad Covid decisions, to current failing relationships. We can never change what has happened and we cannot change what will happen, we can only change what is happening right now.

I understand that many groups of people feel, and rightly so, that they and their ancestors have been badly done to by previous generations. This is real and requires both that we acknowledge what has taken place as a real part of human history. But it would be wrong for us now to grab a German teenager off the streets of Berlin and blame them for the Nazis misdeeds, the Holocaust and the Second World War. They may be the right race but they are out of that time, it is nothing to do with them.

Equally we cannot blame a teenager in the streets of London for the misdeeds of ancestors building the British Empire. The Common Wealth Organisation went some way to normalising these negative events as did the United Nations after the Second World War. Yes we need to learn from history but we do not need to keep reliving it.

I realise that this works both ways and that the deniers of bad events are also responsible for keeping the past alive in the current human awareness in the moment. Through the development of human kind there have been bad and wrong things done by one group to another. This was not only the European Empires it was equally local groups. The atrocities that stick out most is the way that the whole of Africa was mistreated by the European Empires, the abuse suffered by Native American Indians, the Aborigines and Maoris. But it goes on today in every case of ethnic cleansing that has taken place on every continent from Yugoslavian right up to the present day, Myanmar and the ethnic ‘re-education’ of Muslims in China. Even the Celts in the UK would have a case for reclaiming the whole of England as their land that was token from them by the past conquest of the Angles and the Danes.

The same attitudes still prevail in smaller groups and communities. As a Londoner I am aware of the antipathy between those born south or north of the River Thames, or those from West or East London. The same thing is true in family groups whether they are extended or nuclear.

Whatever the group that we are looking at, when we allow the unresolved issues of the past to intervene in the present we are lost. This is where vendetta and the holding of grudges develops and may last for so many generations that we forget why or how it began and why we don’t like a particular group of people we just know that we don’t like them.

With Covid and the governmental decisions there will probably be recriminations for many years to come about who should of done what and who is to blame. The arguments have already begun and are partisan as we seek to blame whoever we can for the current state of things. When Trump describes Covid as the Chinese disease he may be talking from some inner knowledge that we do not know. Equally it could be that the pandemic could have originated in any particular country. It often suits the human mind to have something or someone to blame for how we are feeling for what is happening to us.

When we look in the ‘Now’ the past has gone, we cannot change history. We also cannot or live in the future it has yet to be. However, we can play a large part in what happens next. This is called creativity… thoughts become things. However if we are to create a future, positive or negative, we can only do so by starting to own the now. It is the thoughts, feelings, actions and attitudes that we manifest in the now that will create what happens tomorrow. Today we plant the seed and in the future we can reap the crop. The harvest will either be luscious and abundant or weak and failed depending on where we planted the seeds and how we tended to the crop while it was growing.

This is true on every level of human experience. We do have some control over the pollution of the planet and my favourite topic is our over use of single use plastics. We also have control over the air quality and what we are breathing in and is Eds favourite topic ‘get out of your car and onto your bike’. We can blame whoever we want for the state of the planet, we can only act in the now to make it different. We can blame whoever we want for the mistreatment of one human group by another, we can only act in the now to make that different in the future and value each other. We can blame who we want for the state of our families or how we are feeling. We can only act in the now to put it right.

Live in the present, be here now. In the end that is all that we have. As soon as you read this it has become the past. Living in moment requires precise concentration. The last breath that you took was your past and the next breath that you take will become your future. It is only the breath that you are taking right at this moment that is your now.

As my resource for this weeks Podcast I have chosen Elkhart Tolle ‘The Power Of Now’. This is a fascinating read that goes some way to explaining that all we have is in the present moment.

Take care, be happy in your present, let the past go and stop worrying about what will happen next.

Sean x