Why I Love Meditation

Why I Love Meditation

As you can probably gather I am a massive fan of meditation. It has helped me through my darkest times, and is always there to ground and balance me when I need it. It’s free and it’s wonderful and I think everyone should try it at least once.

Spending twenty minutes per day listening to my breath has been a daily practice for me since March 1997. Those twenty-one years (how is that possible?) have flown by and I still feel that I am a beginner in many ways.

At the heart of my practice is a compassion for myself – a willingness to sit with myself and just BE with whatever arises. There are many layers to this process and I have discovered many parts of myself (both good and bad) that I didn’t know were there. Knowing and acknowledging myself unconditionally has been one of the greatest gifts that meditation has offered me.

As a highly sensitive and empathetic person, it is often hard for me to deal with the energies of those around me, as I can be a psychic sponge for all the feelings in a room. And the problems and pain in our world can often seem overwhelming to me.

That's where meditation helps. It gives me back to myself daily. It helps me to protect myself in a loving way so that I can find my balance and fill my own tank, before I offer my energy to the world.

It helps me to know what boundaries I need and helps me to set them without guilt.

It’s endlessly fascinating to me how meditation is able to turn my day around. For example, I find that if I miss meditation in the morning I will undoubtedly be contacted by someone I would rather not speak to, or lock my keys in the car, or get a parking ticket, or have a fight with my husband.

The list goes on and on.

Just by giving myself the time I need to balance, ground and centre myself, I am sending that message out to the world ahead of me. When I can relate to the world from this calm place it is much easier to let life unfold as the gracious dance it can be.

That is not to say that meditation has made my life easy, it’s just that when I meditate I make better decisions. I am more focused and grounded and I attract the people and circumstances that fit with the way I am now feeling. Life seems to flow better.

I think meditation also gives me a chance to put some space around those things that make me angry and push my buttons. After meditation, I can take situations less personally, and understand them in a more heart-centred way, without letting my reactions and judgments run ahead of me.

When my beloved mother Pamela was dying we meditated together as much as we could. This was a beautiful way of coming together in a place not dependent on the material world. In this place, we realized we are connected in ways that are not limited to these bodies we wear, and we found peace, even through the darkest of our days.

Since her death, I have started to meditate twice a day, once in the morning and again at the end of the day. This practice has been a great help in navigating the intense grief that has come with the loss of my mum.

Our relationship continues in a spiritual way. She is always close when I need her and I hear her advice coming from my heart whenever I tune in to listen but I still miss her physical presence deeply every day.

Meditation is my port in a storm, my willow, my place of centring, the heart of humility, humour, and love.

Just try it once and see what you think.

How to be grateful when life sucks...

How to be grateful when life sucks...

In these crazy times in which we live, we have somehow come to believe that life should be easy and that we deserve for things to go our way. And if they’re not there is something wrong with us and we just to believe more fully in The Secret, or pray for longer, or win the Lotto, all our trials will just disappear.

No other generation has believed this dangerous theory of the world.

Life was never meant to be easy, and no one with any wisdom has ever told us it should be. Our experience on earth is about the light AND the darkness, the joy AND the sorrow, the pain AND the ecstasy. We are deluding ourselves if we believe that our lives can be anything but a balance of the good and the bad.

And if this is true and all our experiences are a valid part of our human journey, can we stop vilifying our pain and accept it as a necessary part of our human life.

Can we stop running away from it? Can we stop distracting ourselves when we feel anxious? Can we accept our tough emotions as a necessary part of being human? Can we learn to embrace them as a valuable and lesson rich part of life?

Imagine if we could even start sharing our pain and the lessons we have learned from it, and the strength and courage it has given us. Imagine if it wasn't shameful to admit our pain, that we could trust each other with our precious and raw truth instead of pretending that all is well, when inside we are suffering.

And when we are in pain, can we, (even in the midst of our trials) find a little spark of light in our lives that we can be grateful for. And then can we let this spark grow until we can rest in gratitude and let this feeling lead us to all the other places in our lives that want to reveal their blessings.

Can our trials become our strengthening moments that teach us about our own humility and our connection to every other human being?

I know it is a very challenging thing to do. It’s easy to be grateful when life is going our way, but when things turn to crap it's a lot harder to be thankful.

I can remember in the depth of my grief after losing my Mum, gratitude was often the last thing on my mind.

I dragged myself along the beach and sat on my rock as often as I could, waiting for relief that sometimes never came. Weeks turned into months and at some point along the way I started to understand that even in the midst of all my sorrow and pain there was still a little bit of room for gratitude.

At first finding something to be grateful was tough. I scrolled through all the aspects of my life and at that time there didn’t seem to be many bright patches, but the more I looked, the more I could identify a little spark of light.

Once I found my little spark I gave thanks for it. And once I gave thanks it was as if that little bit of gratitude helped me to see another blessing and then another one. And that was the beginning of my slow journey back to the land of the living.

I think that our sadness and our pain and our sorrow can isolate us and maroon us on an island of sadness, where we believe we are the only person in the world going through such a hard time.

But this is completely untrue.

Every one of us has our share of pain and sorrow. Every one of us will go through hard times in our lives. If we trust in this we can navigate these times with more peace of mind, knowing that this very pain is what unites us together in our human family.







Can we be silver foxes?

Can we be silver foxes?

Okay, so I'm at the hairdresser wasting yet another 120 minutes of my precious life with toxic chemicals on my head looking at my face in the bright lights and thinking for the 100th time about letting my hair go natural - ie: white/grey.

It sounds like a pretty easy decision to make, but it is anything but.

As women, we live our lives under the male gaze and this starts early on and continues until we are old and no longer worth looking at in a certain way anymore. Maybe due to this function of the patriarchy, (or just because we have a deep yearning for perfection) we have become terrified of ageing and encourage ourselves and each other to look as youthful as possible.

There is nothing wrong with this but there is also nothing wrong with living into our laugh lines and our wrinkles and our silver hair.

I am seriously considering waiting for my hair to grow out while we are travelling for the next few months and come back with a whole new "silver fox" look.

Apart from the fact that women aren't called silver foxes for some reason, and as soon as we go grey we become invisible according to a number of wise and resigned brave women who have opted to go natural.

I'm a pretty natural girl, I love nature and eating healthy food and meditating and staying grounded and yet every month I sit in the hairdresser's chair with toxic brown paste on my head because I'm afraid of my own ageing process.

And there's a lot of pressure on me to keep dyeing my hair. My ever supportive best friend tried to cheerlead for me but I could tell she was horrified by the prospect of my silvery short hairdo. 

And then there are my fabulous Lebanese aunties who look decades younger than their years and would not even consider letting their hair go grey even though they are in their 80's.

My gorgeous mum dyed her hair most of her life. I always told her she would look amazing with white hair, and she did. But she only got a very short time to live into it and enjoy the new look, and ironically those last months of her life were the time she seemed most vividly herself.

So there is a lot of emotion tied to our hair and the face that we project to the world. I feel that if I can go natural I may feel a great sense of liberation and relief, or then again I might just feel like a little old lady and run straight back to the hairdressers and beg them to cover my mistake with their toxic goop.

I suppose in the end it comes down to being true to myself. And if I want to live in a sustainable way on this planet then being responsible for gallons of dye going into the environment, let alone onto my skin, is not the way forward.

And perhaps it is time to embrace my ageing process. I am a great advocate of embracing the truth rather than running from it and if this is the case then my true colour should be the one that looks back at me from the mirror.

But as usual, life is a mixture of ideals and reality. I'm interested to see whether I go through with my radical idea and only time will tell.

Thanks to my lovely hairdresser Sara from Luxe and Duke for giving me some insight and agreeing to be in the photo.

I would love to hear from you about what you think of this topic and how you felt when you did decide to finally let go of the dye.