Tuesday 26 March 2013

Mindfulness retreat

So, earlier this month I led my first mindfulness retreat. A weekend in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and we were blessed with lovely weather. Nine of us settled into a barn conversion that was home for the weekend and shared meditation time, mindful eating and walking and many moments of being. The simplicity of being was appreciated by everyone, especially those who tend to live an overly-busy life the rest of the time. And this is the point of the retreats, to give space in our days, time to our activities and calm to our hearts. Doing this in the company of other like-minded people makes it so much easier to meet what arises and to enjoy the miracles of each mindful moment and each mindful step.
If you would benefit from a similar process of
or you know someone who would, have a look at the details on the York MBSR website
It might just make for a happier life!

Sunday 17 March 2013

Beyond the veil of tears

I cried when I heard
about the woman raped in the woods,
whilst her husband, beaten and tied up,
was forced to watch.
I cried at the hardness of men's hearts
that could treat people so cruelly and viciously.
I cried for the men
who have been taught to be
so lacking in compassion.
I cried for my lack of understanding
at how their lives must be,
at what fear and ugliness they have witnessed,
that makes them believe what they did is ok.

And I remind myself that each being
is worthy of  honour, respect and love,
no matter how ugly or frightening their actions.
For how else will they learn
to honour, respect and love others?

Beyond the veil of tears of outrage
is a heart yearning to understand.
It is not enough
to hear the news and cry,
but if it helps
this fragile heart to be more open,
more loving and more truthful,
and if it reminds us to demonstrate
to our sons and daughters
that the way of compassion and love
is the only way,
it is a beginning.

© 17 Mar 2013

Saturday 16 March 2013

Being imperfect

The tulip bulbs are terrifying
as I sit before them
ready to draw.
Not in themselves are they terrifying,
in themselves they are innocent,
and free of terror.
They are glistening, creamy bulbs
shedding paper-brown skins
and yielding forth
odd green spikes
that are folded, and rounded
and slightly bent.
What could be terrifying about that?

But I have elected to draw them
and in the sitting and the looking
a huge wave of emotion arises
and I start to cry.
And as I sit before the tulip bulbs
and try to breathe through the emotion
I find I cannot sit with
the terrifying tulip bulbs.

They remind me of being twenty
and being told not to draw!
Oh the wounds from such a
casual, throw-away remark.

Last time I drew,
in this very place,
it was magical,
as I was led by the hand
to recreate on paper
the undulating and bracken-filled
scene before me.

This morning,
the tulip bulbs are terrifying
as they provoke and feed
a deep sense of failure.
in seeking for perfection
I cannot begin.

Those circles, oh those circular pots
are terrifying!
I long for straight lines
and squares that I can relate to.
These circles and spheres and orbs
provoke great fear
in their seeming harmlessness,
and pencil dare not touch paper.

What is this fear that rose
so ferociously and unexpectedly?
The fear of being found out,
of being revealed as a charlatan
who has all kinds of creative talents
but cannot draw a tulip bulb!
The fear of being seen as less than I am.
This ego that is often acquiescent
and so small as to be barely noticeable
suddenly roars, and protests
and does not wish to be revealed,
does not wish to be seen as imperfect,
does not wish to be seen as human!

© 16 Mar 2013

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Botton Retreat

Wind howling through the stove pipe
stove tinkling
wood popping
bodies shuffling
Sangha energy
being together
we have been here before.
Have we?

Chair creaking
throat clearing
wind still howling
stove still tinkling
pencils on paper
a new moment
of Sangha energy.
Sitting in a circle
noticing thoughts
a quiet moment.
We have not been here before.

© 12 Mar 2013

Monday 4 March 2013

When the talking stops

When the talking stops
and the rustling of coats are stilled
and the feet silenced,
you can hear the call of
the bubbling brook
and discover the magic of
the tiny waterfall
that is secret,
hidden to those who stay on the path.
Just across the grassy stretch
is a secret, hidden pool
of clear, transparent water
undiscoverable to those who stay on the path.

When the talking stops
and the rustling of coats are stilled
and the feet silenced,
magic happens
as the group disperse
to each find their own miracle.

© 4 Mar 2013