Tag Archive: meditation

  1. Full Moon Meditation

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    It’s time to Express and Create from our Truth

    The full moon lunar eclipse in May puts a huge cosmic push into expression and creativity that are birthed from a place of truth.  It’s time for us to show up fully in the light, placing our most inward feelings into manifestation in the world.

    With the moon in Scorpio, there will also be no hiding place for what is deceitful or inauthentic. As we see feelings expressed into life, we may get some surprises when it comes to existing structures and relationships in our personal lives. We are to take these are wise guidance, as we make choices going forward.

    Meanwhile, the sun in Taurus shines a light into our hearts and what leading a life founded on what feels easeful, loving and like home to us, truly is. Certain things have been building inside at an intimate level and now is the time to release them into lifer, supported by the energy of the cosmos. This is a loving energy which puts a glow around all you have been working towards and hoping for in terms of your daily health and lifestyle and your individual offerings.

    Allow yourself to move with this universal energy and be an open channel for spiritual and creative downloads. This is an exciting and pivotal time for conscious and spiritually-connected humans.


    The full moon is a time of powerful illumination and energetic charge. Certain stories in our lives seem to climax at these times, while others begin. If we want to be in a receiving state to soak up the energy and direct it to where in our life it is needed, then meditating during full moon is a gift. It allows us to harness, assimilate and benefit from these cosmic energies in positive ways.

    Whatever you might have been looking to clear and release, whatever visions and dreams you still have waiting inside of you to manifest, wherever within you there are things asking for compassion and acceptance, and those blessings you wish for your loved ones and the wider world, this is a powerful and magical time to bring them into your meditation.

    I will guide you gently and deeply into your own deep experience, to fill your being with this cosmic light and allow it to support the healing of what needs to be healed and the expansion of what is ready to grow.

    Investment: $35
    Inna Bliss Yoga – Bulimba Studio

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    Modern humans are little armies of marchers.  We “get through” things, we move on, we keep going – ideally in a forward direction.

    We don’t pause very often, we no longer do as our forefathers did and tell each other stories of past heroic achievements, to remember and pay respects to our ancestral history and lineage.

    Even the much used Be Present trope seems to be a command against looking back.

    “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way” wins the award for bumper-sticker-most-likely-to-be-spotted-in-a-traffic-jam.

    Picture Credit: Zach Minor on Unsplash

    There is a problem with refusing to look anywhere but forwards and its name is self-doubt.  When we are self-doubting, we can come up with any number of reasons why we might not be able to do something in the present or future.  Self-doubt is powerful, it can be overwhelming.  And yet throughout each of our lives is a path of perfect evidence to suggest that the idea that we cannot do something, or will never be able to do something successfully, is quite plainly false.

    Looking back is exactly what we should be doing.

    Once upon a time there were things you couldn’t do, and now you can.  How often do you celebrate those triumphs?  How often do you remind yourself that you have the resources to move beyond fear, to turn things around, to create new opportunities for yourself?  How often do you celebrate your recovery and healing?

    Once upon a time there were things you couldn’t do, and now you can. How often do you celebrate those triumphs?

    When I was a lot younger I had a car accident, after which I refused to drive again for ten years.  I felt I could not trust myself in the driving seat.  I did not feel safe at the wheel.

    Now I drive everywhere and all the time.  But I never forget what it took to get me there.  I never forget my courage, my determination and what it took to rebuild my trust and sense of safety.  Every now and again as I am driving on the highway, windows rolled down, singing along to the radio at the top of my voice, I hear a voice in my head saying “Girl, look at you now!”

    I will never forget how amazing it is that I returned to a place from which I thought I would be exiled forever.

    In those moments, I feel the steering wheel between my hands, I hear the roar of the traffic around me and I see the road stretched out in front, and a life-affirming, celebrating voice resonates through my whole being:

    “Wow, look at me!”

    It may be a small things to most people – driving a car.  An everyday, ordinary thing. But to me it is a big thing, an extraordinary thing that represents hope and healing and the capacity we all have to do the things we think we cannot do.

    This voice is telling me I am the embodiment of healing. This voice is telling me I can take charge of change.  This voice is speaking to me of the power of belief in inner resources, this voice is reminding me I am a transformer and therefore I can never be stuck.  This voice is singing a mantra to me: “Wow – Me”

    It is because of this that I encourage all my clients to have a personal “Wow-me” meditation in their repertoire. It simply involves acknowledging all the things you have done that you once thought you would never do. It is a much-loved one in the repertoire.

    I suggest they might even keep a journal by their bed, much like a gratitude journal but in this case a “Celebrate Me” journal.

    Celebrate your spirit and your spirit will celebrate you back and empower you in those moments when  self-doubt attempts to lure you away from what is your to follow.


    My album Strong Sensitive Soul has a track “Inner Strength” – a meditation which may help during those times when you need to reclaim your “wow me”.  I also recommend “I Am Proud of All  My Efforts” – a free-to-listen meditation on my Soundcloud.


    #selflove #personalgrowth #mentalhealth

  3. Someone Loves You: Listen

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    A Sweeter Softer Voice Lives Inside You

    A Sweeter Softer Voice Lives Inside You

    There is a sweeter, softer voice inside you, waiting.

    All you have to do is go inside and listen.

    Listen to the beat of your own heart, listen to the whisper of your breath, listen to the call of your longings and desires, listen the roar of your love.

    The love that flows through you speaks to you and shows itself this way.

    For a moment, leave the commands and opinions of the world and be with the life inside you.

    There is a sweeter, softer voice inside you, waiting.


  4. Live Your Bliss – Level 1 Teacher Training

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    Are you interested in being a meditation and or yoga teacher? I am excited to be part of a new teacher training offered by the highly experienced and gifted senior teachers at Inna Bliss. I’ll be leading the meditation teacher training.

    Inna Bliss Yoga is delighted to present ‘Live Your Bliss’, a unique and transformative approach to Yoga Teacher Training for the devoted Modern Yogi.

    We invite dedicated yogis to invest their heart and energy into this 3 month intensive training, including a 4 day luxe immersion retreat, as well as an ongoing small group mentoring program led by Riss Carlyon, Amy Wilkinson & Martin Collyer.

    With an emphasis on contact hours, in depth study, practice and functional application of yoga in a modern studio setting, this course is designed to enrich your life, taking you deeper in your practice and empowering you with the skills, confidence and knowledge to rise up to your highest potential, both on and off the mat.

    This one of kind training offers an inspiring fusion of postures, alignment, anatomical precepts, sequencing, philosophy, meditation, mantra, myth, mudra and the practice and magic of embodying and living your yoga blissFULLY.  We acknowledge the traditional roots of yoga, and deliver the teachings in a practical and accessible way, encouraging you to embark upon your own journey of personal growth and conscious transformation.

    If you are ready to take your practice to the next level, and are dedicated in immersing yourself in a time of growth & expansion, cultivating lasting change in your life, then this course is for you!

    This is a course of 9 weekend sessions starting in August and ending in November.

    For further information click here.

  5. ‘Embodying Bliss’ Bali Yoga & Meditation Retreat

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    Join us as we immerse in a deeply rejuvenating & soul inspiring week away in the paradise that is “The Shala Bali”, situated amongst rice fields and coconut palms in gorgeous Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali.

    We will soak in the serene magic this beautiful island has to offer as we immerse in morning & afternoon yoga & meditation, within a stunning open air yoga shala, enjoy healthy & delicious local cuisine, indulge in pampering and self care rituals, laze, journal, explore, relax by the pool, and maybe sip a cocktail or two as the sun sets.

    The focus will be around discovering and affirming what is it to truly embody Bliss in your body and in your life as we travel through each day with an intention to open to our truest, most authentic self. Off the Mat we will explore Bliss in nourishing and uplifting ways as we relax into the beauty, support & transformational healing that such a retreat and location ultimately brings to body, mind & spirit.

    Each day will commence with sunrise mediation followed by a rejuvenating vinyasa class where we will expand and develop our practice throughout the duration of the retreat. Later in the afternoons, surrounded by the beauty &sounds of nature, you will experience the complete nurture of yin yoga & meditation to rejuvenate the body and mind.

    Whilst there will be plenty of yoga & meditation on the retreat, we will also create lots of space for you to luxuriate, rest and rejuvenate with time for you to do as you please.

    I N C L U S I O N S :
    – 5 night twin or double shared accomodation at the luxurious Shala Bali in Ubud
    – daily morning yoga & meditation classes
    – afternoon release & restore yoga sessions
    – 2 hour meditation workshop with Alison Potts, Innate Being
    – daily fresh & organic vegetarian breakfast
    – 3 dinners at some of Ubuds finest restaurants
    – one 90min spa treatment at luxury spa in Ubud
    – use of all yoga props – including blankets, straps and bolsters
    – 10 class yoga pass to Inna Bliss to be used upon return from retreat to maintain your practice
    – bali airport transfers

    A  T Y P I C A L  D A Y :
    6.30am Sunrise Meditation
    7.00-7.30am Fruit & Juice
    7.30-9.00am Morning Vinyasa class
    9.30 Organic Buffet Breakfast
    10.30-4.00pm Free time
    (2.00pm Spa treatment at luxury spa in Ubud)
    4.30pm Afternoon restorative / yin yoga practice or a Meditation
    6.30pm Depart for dinner in Ubud restaurant

    P R I C I N G :
    $1599 – Standard Shared Room – Only 2 rooms left – either Single ($1950) or Twin share ($1599)
    $1850 – Deluxe Shared Room – BOOKED OUT
    For further retreat information & to register email us

    Places are limited for this very special retreat, so we do advise you to book in early to avoid missing out.

  6. Practical Magic Session 3 : Meditation For When You Forget Who You Really Are

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    We can all lose track of ourselves in the turbulence of life force, in desperate need of a way to find the path back home to our hearts. We can feel disconnected and alienated from our real selves and unable to greet life with a whole hearted embrace. How can we come back to ourselves and our motivation? Life is a current, a continual pulsation. It does not stand still. It does however, renew itself, sunrise to sunset, breath to breath. Life force energy pulses inside us, and we too have been given the intelligent inner wiring geared for self renewal. We can stay animated when we discover our own rhythms and learn how to sync them with the rhythms of our lives, so that life becomes a dance, not a battle and we remember again who we really are.

    $55 per individual module

    Photo credit : Juliet Wioland

  7. Instinctive Meditation Workshop

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    Are you interested in exploring a meditation practice that is so vibrant and enjoyable that you will want to do it every day of your life?

    Join Alison Potts for this 2-hour meditation workshop and learn a practice where you are allowed to be who you are and are encouraged to learn how to love and enjoy your mind, rather than judge or limit its activity. In this workshop you’ll learn an approach to meditation which celebrates your individuality and instincts; brings a feeling of deep connection to yourself and life; imposes no rules on your practice (you don’t even have to sit still!); and activates the parasympathetic nervous system to allow for healing, integration and renewal. Suitable for first time meditators and those with a regular practice. Cost $45. Click here to book.

  8. Practical magic Session 2: Vacation Meditation For A Life of Action

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    The theory of a daily meditation practice to deliver those well-documented benefits of health and happiness is great. In reality though, many people just can’t see a fit for a meditation practice in their own minds, bodies and lives. The cliché of meditation – an image of someone sitting in lotus at 5.00am in quiet solitude for an hour – is not only unattainable for most of us but, if we are honest, not necessarily appealing.

    We live lives of action, love and adventure. We extend ourselves, like an octopus, in at least eight directions at once. Our lives work best when we feel relaxed and alert, dancing deeply with the natural rhythms of action and rest, fulfilled by the action phase and made whole in the rest phase. We need meditation but we need an approach which answers the inner call of our very unique selves to meet the outer call of our particular lives and which answers a need, delivers a result and does so quickly and effectively.

    At its most powerful, meditation isn’t about running away and hiding from life, only to go right back into the very onslaught you were retreating from. It is about allowing your mind-body system to do what it knows how to do in a way that suits you and your life best so that you can love more strongly, express more freely, relax more deeply and remember why you are alive. Meditation does not lose its profoundly sacred aura when it is approached in personal and and accessible ways. People have been meditating with their own personal instincts and rhythms since the beginning of time. This is the Practical Magic of this ancient practice and it is the perfect approach for modern lives.

    Did you take a holiday this summer? In your relaxed, renewed state, did you rediscover the you that you most want to be and think to yourself: “I like this Me and I want to keep her/him?” Did you feel ideas and plans flowing from your state of holiday grace? And when you got back, how long did that sense ofintimacy with your desires, your best self and that anything is possible last? This is the holy grail that meditation done with the right approach, can create the path to. We are our best selves when we are alert and relaxed in our lives of action. Vacation Meditation is the perfect medicine for those times when we feel depleted and demotivated – and you don’t even have to leave home!

    $55 per individual module

    Photo credit : Juliet Wioland

  9. Time Passages – The Power of Being Away & Returning

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    When I was a little girl living in Oxford, England, we used to go for a fortnight’s holiday to France every year, staying in a simple villa near a beach. Our lives in the city morphed into days of salty water, bright, bright sunshine, smells of bakeries, peaches and French cigars. The difference in the language, the food, the supermarkets and even the types of cars people drove made everything feel so exotic and all of this contributed to a feeling of special atmosphere, of having been lifted out of ordinary life, that I felt even at the ages of eight or nine years old.

    But it is the coming back that I remember. As we switched from driving on the right hand side of the road, crossed the time/space boundary of the ocean between Le Havre and Southampton and found ourselves suddenly, increasingly, in more and more familiar territory I would press my face against the car window and feel something so profound it stands out to this day.

    I had a sense that while nothing had changed, everything had.

    That while we were only away for a mere two weeks, something inside me had shifted and the territory around me, though familiar, seemed to have shifted too.

    It is fascinating that whenever we leave the routine and familiarity of our day to day lives and for however short a period time, we experience a sense of life touching us differently. As human beings, we take the energy of life deep inside us every time we breathe, and this creates a particular atmosphere inside us.

    The scenery is enhanced somehow – the sights, sounds and smells more vivid. We can experience different parts of ourselves when we are away from home – feel new things blossoming and old things asking to be released. The common components of many of our holidays are the same and they include feeling relaxed, having more rest, doing more of what we love – reading, enjoying special company and meals, playing – and having an emerging expanded sense of time and space in which we feel comfortably at home.

    We often have more immediate access to sources of intuition and inspiration, guiding us to having thoughts about things we want to do in our lives or change in our lives, when we get home. In short, our creative ability is ignited.

    And with all of that, in this easeful sense of pleasure, a strong belief, an understanding – a knowing – that we can embody these feelings and experiences consistently, not just while we are away. Because they are closer to our natural state. We can take them home with us and they can take us home to ourselves.

    But how? And when we step out of alignment with our natural state, how do we find our way back?

    The Tantric meditation tradition has shown me that there are numerous techniques and practices to relocate me in this natural body of love. From accessing imaginable ability (meditating with photos and music and tastes and memories of your holiday) to using cellular memory (which is like muscle memory) to keep the vital energies that have been awakened coursing through our beings daily. These practices are simple, life enhancing and joy bringing. They involve meditating with our real selves and understanding how the overall sense of authenticity and belonging we often feel when we are away are, counterintuitively, showing us where our home truly is.


    Next time you are away from home and feeling a sense of wider perspective and deeper self connection, explore through a journal or your own thoughts and meditations what those feelings are and where you are getting them from. When our beings are relaxed, our real needs and desires – the callings of our soul- come forward. On holiday, we can understand better what we have been missing in our lives and begin to explore how we might recreate that at home.

    Write a list of some of those life enhancing qualities you have discovered.



    Your list, for instance, might look a little like thislist

    While we can’t recreate the exact conditions of time away, once we identify the specific soul nourishing components, we can be more mindful of bringing them into our lives, even in bite sized pieces. It’s amazing how small gestures towards ourselves can turn on inner lights. For instance, just going to the library or bookshop and getting a good book and placing it on your bedside table so you know it’s there; taking an extra five minutes for yourself here and there; going to bed earlier, taking up a new activity you enjoyed on holiday, gazing at a beautiful view.

    It’s an interesting thing and the truth that when we start giving ourselves the things that nourish and nurture us, the response in our being is so positive we are encouraged to give ourselves more and more. And the harvest we reap from planting all these little seeds is higher vitality, deeper meaning and a peaceful and joyful experience in precious lives.



  10. Five Meditations for Children

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    Recently I’ve been spending time in schools as well as one to one with children, exploring their meditation space.

    When it comes to meditation, kids know best.

    Children are often so much closer to their natural, healthy, instinctive state than we are as adults, that they make wonderfully creative meditators and their meditation experience is rich.

    It would be an easy trap to fall into, when offering children meditation, to offer it from the framework of what we as adults think they “need”. Usually this framework is more about what we feel we need. A lot of children therefore learn to meditate with quiet and stillness and focussing and this can work against their natural state. I don’t know about you, but most school aged kids I know are “in the office” 24/7. There can be a relentless vibration of being marched -or commanded – from task to task. “Get up, brush your teeth, put your clothes on, have breakfast, get your stuff together, get in the car…GET. In. THE. CAR”. And from this schedule into the school schedule – with a little time-capped “Play time”, and then into after school activities based around structured learning and performance – Martial Arts, Dance, Sport, and so on. And then homework, dinner, get-ready-for-bed and bedtime. And in the morning, it starts all over again.

    How are we going to allow our children opportunities to get back into their own natural instinctive rhythms of being, doing and resting?

    That’s where making sure their meditation space is a proper sanctuary for them – in other words, it is all about them and their needs, cravings, individuality, dreams and desires – is key.

    Silence and sitting still and concentrating on breathing or following the teacher’s demonstrations of stretching, it seems to me, are the last things our children will be craving and won’t provide the opportunity to recover and restore that is needed. And if any of us aren’t getting what we crave in meditation, then meditating at all is a waste of our time and energy. More importantly, it could even be injurious – in the same way as forcing your body into a yoga pose that isn’t right for it would be.

    We come to meditation to nourish our souls, restore our beings and come back into our bodies. If your soul had been subjugated to this amount of imposed-structure, wouldn’t it be craving a chance to be in a free space again of deep play and freedom to roam?

    A child who has been sitting the majority of the day and supressing the natural urge to move that all children are intimate with probably isn’t going to want to sit. A child who has been asked to pay attention to a variety of externally imposed experiences might well be craving a spontaneous, individuality-affirming inner experience. Kids are close to their imaginative instincts. Daydreaming is refreshing, it takes us home, and about as soul nourishing as it gets.

    Our children are great teachers for us on how to meditate. It’s a fun and rewarding space to explore with children and see what their ideas are. Here are five of the most popular among the children I work with.

    1. What Do You Need?

    At the start of any meditation time with children, cue them immediately that this is their space, their time and they are in their power here. Effectively, hand the baton back to them so that they know they can and should have their own experience in meditation – this is not another thing that’s going to be imposed on them from the outside – this is about them coming home to themselves. Let them know that they are already meditation experts and that when you were a child, you were too, but as an adult need some tips. Ask them” “if you could be anywhere right now, where would you be and what would you be doing?” This is a great pathway back into their beings. Ask them, when they are thinking and talking about their “perfect right now” what feelings of “things waking up” or “lights going on inside them” they have and in what parts of their bodies. This is a way of teaching children how to self tend.

    2. Move & Groove

    Get a few ideas from the kids on what music they like. Create a playlist and then get them to vote on which piece to play. Invite them to move in any way they feel…moved to! Moving or dancing to music can be a great way of getting bodily into one’s inner rhythms.

    3. Shake It Out

    Little do we know how much children’s emotions are responding, below the radar, deep inside them, to things which are happening in their daily experiences of life. Emotions like resentment, fear, frustration, disappointment and exasperation are all emotions expressed time and again by the children I work with. First, we bring the emotions into awareness – the healing state of attention alone. Then we affirm is good to know how you feel! Then we get them to shake it out in any way they like – with as much craziness as feels right to them. I have seen children just use their hands and arms and others use their whole body in a crazy dance. They love this one!

    4.  Voice It!

    Taking it one step further. So often, children want to voice how they feel but are afraid that isn’t allowed. Energy then gets trapped in parts of their being to an uncomfortable degree – often their throats, chests or in their bellies. This is a practice to empower children’s voices, to release unhealthy blockages of emotion and to give the kids a chance to let it all out vocally. It is great to focus on feelings of vibrations when we use our voices in harmony with our feelings. Get them to notice words and feelings as they vibrate through their bodies. Singing, chanting, sighing, humming are all expressions of feeling the music of life. This is Mantra practice for kids.

    5.  Mythical Worlds

    Probably the best gift we can give our children is simply to allow them their right to dream. And dream and dream and dream and dream. Dreaming is a deep instinct and like all our instincts, deeply connected to surviving and thriving. You can honour daydreaming by exploring together some of the great contributions made to our lives by “Dreamers” – artists, architects, songwriters, musicians, inventors, people who have transformed world situations from a dream of peace and harmony. We need to dream and we can’t be scrimpy with ourselves when it comes to dreamtime. After the movement and voice meditations, children will feel relaxed and in their beings – the perfect context for settling back into their inner world of adventure. You could even get them to tell stories of their day dream, or draw pictures afterwards, if they are inspired to share.

    Above all: make it friendly, make it fun, make it about them, not you. Let them guide you, teach you, inspire you. I love this comment from a teacher whose class I went into recently: “They came so alive when you unlocked some things in them! It was wonderful to see them getting so much out of the session. Personally this session had a big impact on me, I went home and started painting again after a 5 year gap!”





  11. Your Full Radiant Female Self – A Meditation for Women Workshop with Alison Potts

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    “Sometimes I feel everyone gets the best of me except me.” Have you ever had this thought?

    Feminine energy is enviable. As women, we are innately wired with the major life-enhancing qualities that create, nourish and drive families, communities and societies. Our passion, our resilience, our wisdom, our creativity, our connection to joy, our sense of harmony, our adaptability and ability to deeply nurture are just a sample of our rich natures. As women, we are constantly extending these qualities in every direction, in everything we do. We are generous in our giving out, but skimpy in our receiving of ourselves. No wonder do we so often feel that urgent inner uprising – something in us threatening to explode -the deep need to replenish and reconnect to ourselves.

    This is the call, the craving, for self experience, bathing in the energies of own essence to the point of obscene luxury, pleasuring ourselves in meditation.

    Women love to meditate, need to meditate and make expert meditators. But there are pitfalls. Much of what is known and taught about meditation was brought the West by monks – celibate males who taught what they knew. They deliberately chose to live apart from women and knew nothing of the experience of a busy householder’s life. When meditation is imposed from the outside like this, the needs of our true natures and our lifestyles are not met, and we can feel we are “failing at meditation” when in fact, the technique we are using is failing us.
    Meditation is an innate state, not something that we impose from the outside.

    When we meditate from our true individual, natures, we find ourselves in a profound meeting with the reason we exist. There are innumerable gateways to meditation. People have been meditating naturally and instinctively since the dawn of time, before there were any formal schools of meditations. We
    can assume women accessed the meditation state in myriad ways – from singing, dancing and making love to nursing their children or walking alone in nature.

    The earliest texts on meditation emphasise the huge numbers of gateways to meditations that we as humans have and the importance of experiencing and celebrating our individual nature and the way each finger of life touches us uniquely. There are no pre-ordained “rules”. This is the unique freedom of
    meditation. This is a perfect approach for the 21st century female meditator.

    Modern women need an embodied meditation practice that connects to their whole nature, is easy to access, thrilling, pleasureable and deeply nourishing.

    It needs to be a practice that naturally grooves with the rhythms of their daily lives, is quick and effective, and fills them with those life enhancing energies that feel so natural and wonderful to the female state.

    Join Alison and explore some of the ways you can dive deeply into your inner world, in a daily practice of self tending as a means of giving yourself everything you need to feel full, peaceful and alert, in every expression of your life.

    Where: Clear Skies Yoga Geebung, 98 Copperfield St, Geebung.

    When: Saturday February 20th, 2.30-4.30pm. Stay for nibblies and tea afterwards.

    Earlybird $60 before Feb 1, $70 after that.

    Email Alison – clearskiesyoga@gmail.com
    Ph 0423 104 989

  12. No time to mediate? Take three breaths

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    No Time To Meditate? Try This

    This is so simple and yet so powerful and I’d love for you to try it.

    It only takes three breaths.

    It can be done at any time, anywhere.

    The Take Three Breaths meditation is for any moment in life where you feel the need to pause and check in with yourself.

    You might be at a crowded, noisy airport, office or your own home. You might be stuck in traffic. Or you might be in the middle of a challenging conversation and need to centre yourself.

    You can make it a special, regular moment of sanctuary just for you to enjoy – maybe sitting in a favourite spot in your home or outside or gazing at the sky or water if you love to do that.

    It is lovely to take a Three Breaths moment with yourself at the very start and very end of every day.

    The call to meditate is the call to notice and deeply feel how life’s energies are flowing in our beings right now.

    Our primary relationship is with ourselves. As in any relationship, there is a craving within us to spend more time with ourselves. As with a lover, we feel the urge to connect, to discover and simply to “be with”.

    Try it now.

    Each breath is a full cycle of an inhale and an exhale.

    You might have your eyes open or closed.

    Take three conscious deep breaths and as you do so, let your loving attention move straight into your heart space.

    Our breath enjoys a fullness there.

    Take your time with each breath. Luxuriate. You might find yourself softly smiling as you meet yourself again.

    You may have a sense of gazing or feeling or diving within. You may have a sense of being at an inner meeting with your eternal self, your unique essence. Or you may simply feel the peaceful, groundedness of the moment.

    This three breath technique is both a union and a reunion.
    It can become a delicious, supportive, self-connecting practice we can bring into our lives, several times a day, every day.

    This simple and super feel-good practice has all kinds of benefits which reach beyond that moment and infuse our lives. It builds an emotional confidence. Your unique being feels nurtured, heard and seen. You know you are there for yourself.

    I’d love you to try the gift of Take Three Breaths and let me know what you find.

  13. There’s no sanctuary in an unwelcome heart

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    Have you ever found yourself gazing at the most beautiful sunset or mountain or spectacular coastal view, yet been unable to take in the beauty because you were feeling so miserable inside? I know I have been in situations in life where I have been struggling so much on the inside that being in the most magical place in the world has not been able to lift my mood. I know how exquisitely painful that contrast is between inner and outer landscapes. It’s the sense of loneliness in a crowded room. It’s a heartbreaking rejection from life itself. How isolating it feels to be amidst beauty but not feel welcome there.

    We often talk about making a sanctuary for ourselves to meditate in. We talk about choosing a favourite spot, in our home or in nature. We talk about making our special place, our inviting, super-comfortable. We suggest bringing in special objects to make it inviting – flowers, candles, oils. We might play music that we love.

    The thing is, we can create the most welcoming and inviting space in the world for ourselves, but it all falls down if we are not providing that welcome and invitation on the inside. It’s our inner sanctuary that really matters. That’s the one we carry around with us. That’s the one that need to be available to us to dive into when life is calling us in challenging ways.

    How can we take the beauty into a space which has no welcome, whose gates are closed even to the gatekeeper? We open that space when we welcome all of our life force – welcome thinking, welcome breathing, welcome emotion, welcome sensation. Not just tolerating it, but greeting, touching, embracing, enquiring about and cherishing everything thing flowing through us it with our tender attention.

    Creating an unconditional welcome for ourselves in meditation can be a challenging practice and a journey, but a profoundly powerful and rewarding one.
    Imagine loving yourself and life that much. Imagine how much beauty you could take in and how that beauty – all of life’s pulsating energies – could flow through you, refreshing, renewing and restoring you to that awareness of the sacredness of life, the sacredness of you.

    It’s a practice we can do every day when we meditate. Learning not to resist ourselves, understanding where we might have a tendency to do so. Learning to greet whatever is calling us from our hearts. Learning to feel, learning to listen, learning to care. Just as with the beautiful outer scenery, being inspired, being moved, being overwhelmed with awe at the life-force within. All of these things are in the architecture of the inner sanctuary we want to claim for ourselves and we are the architect. Every time we say “I welcome my whole self”, we are placing a building block for our inner temple.

    Both meditation and life are much easier and more joyful when we create this healthy, supple, free and sacred personal space. This is the very opposite of detaching, deleting, annihilating or alienating any part of ourselves. We can thrive in a meditation practice like this and thrive in life. It’s so, so important.

    This continually evolving practice of self welcome has changed my life and truly allowed me to receieve the fullness of every one of life’s moments.

    The truth is life’s energies are always welcoming us. What we have to remember is the skill of welcoming them back.
    I think after all that is what our attention was made for, what it’s sacred purpose and its gift is. To keep welcoming ourselves back.

  14. Honour your preferences

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    We all have preferences. Preferences are our individuality

    Animals have preferences – a certain spot on the sofa, certain kinds of touch, certain food.

    I don’t like coconut but I adore avocados. Climate-wise, I prefer warmth to the cold.

    We are supposed to have preferences. They come from our essential nature. We strengthen when we know intimately what our preferences are and respond to them – know when to say yes, when to say no, when to join in, when to stand alone and when to compromise.

    Preferences are instincts. All relate to our individual nature, our unique essence. We can fall out of connection with our instincts when we say too many yeses when we feel a no, when we join in when we really don’t believe in the community we are joining, when allow ourselves to be drawn into conversations, when we give our power away in whatever fashion. In a meditation practice where we cherish every instinct, listen deeply to every inner calling, we can bond with our innate, instinctive self again and that changes everything in life for the better.

    At some level, our preferences are actually reporting on what our internal organs prefer, what our internal organs need to be balanced and happy.

    Honouring our preferences as instincts creates healthy boundaries for ourselves. Think of our boundaries as like connective tissue, like a “second skin”. That’s our aura. Boundaries are infinitely nuanced. How much energy do I have, how much time, which part of myself have I lost or stopped tracking and how I can find and reclaim it?

    Individuality, preferences, boundaries – all are ultimately about honouring our individual nature. When we meditate from our individual nature, when we live like this, we live in harmony with ourselves. We are less likely to get into fights with ourselves in or outside of meditation.
    And that is the ultimate path to inner peace.

    *Read on if you’d like some tips for meditating with your own individuality and personality:

    – What would make meditation feel most easeful and natural to you: sitting in a chair? Lying in the grass or on a sofa? Walking, dancing, moving? In the shower, the bath or the ocean?
    – What are your favourite songs or pieces of music? See how you feel if you meditate with these playing?
    – Do your eyes feel like being open or closed?
    – Do you want to meditate on a particular issue or affirmation? Or with your breath, or with your sense of taste or smell (using food or a fragrance you love). Or do you simply want to let your mind drift, daydream and unfold?
    – How long do you want to meditate for today? When does it feel like enough? When does it feel like too much?
    – If your instincts are telling you to fall asleep during meditation, don’t resist them. Most of us are chronically sleep deprived. We can enjoy a deep meditative rest. Studies have shown these are more refreshing than a night’s sleep.
    – Do you want to meditate with others or by yourself? Use a guided meditation or let your inner guide take you on an adventure…
    – Do you feel like moving, singing, shouting, crying, laughing during meditation? If so, can you embrace that expression of inner flow and go with it?
    -…and so on and so on. For every individual on this earth – and that’s about seven billion of us – there is unique way into personal meditation. Listen to your instincts, play, experiment, journey, get curious and explore in your personal space. Own it. Make it yours.
    Welcome Home.

  15. The world is kind and loving

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    The World Is A Peaceful, Kind and Loving Place
    The world is still kind.
    Nothing has changed that.
    Seven billion people are still peacefully going about their day.
    .001 % are murdering others

    If the world’s population were able to stand in one room, this fraction would be less visible than a grain of sand.
    The powerful feelings that rise in our hearts when we witness any kind of cruelty is a manifestation of the supreme presence of Goodness. These impulses of love, of goodness, of compassion, of caring, of cherishing all life ARE the universe. So we can be thankful we feel these things, we can infuse ourselves with this naturally arising love and kindess and cherishing of life and in doing so, raise that vibration into the world. The world which remains loving, kind, luminous and flowing with grace.
    (Gratitude to my teacher Dr. Lorin Roche for our conversations about kindness.)

  16. Fear is Only A Problem When It Defines Our Limits

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    Fear is Only A Problem When It Defines Our Limits : How Yo Meditate With Fear For Freedom From Fear.
    When I was growing up, the book “Feel the fear and do it anyway” was very popular. Having just done a check on the web, I see that it is still a top seller.
    What that tells me is that – and this is so reassuring – most, if not all of us, have fears bubbling away that are strong enough to stop us from doing things in our lives.
    Fear is a chemical feeling.
    It can feel edgy and tense. It can feel like a deep dread. It can rustle underneath us like an animal stalking through the woods, or it can swell from our bellies into our throats and paralyse us from speaking up, from moving, from acting. Fear can literally freeze us.
    It can be unreasonable to the point of irrational, but the feeling of fear is powerful enough it does not seem to yield to logic.
    We all have this experience.
    It is part of being human.
    We need never fear being singled out or picked on while most of the world swims on fearlessly.
    There is a reason for fear. And a reason why its chemistry needs to be so strong. The biological reason for fear works at the deepest level of our survival. It is there to protect us. We need this protection. We need, when we enter the powerful domain of the ocean, to be fearful of strong currents and sharks. Fear keeps us alert, and safe.
    For that reason alone – because fear can save our lives – it needs to be felt strongly. There are times that to survive, we have to run fast. At other times, for survival, we have to stay silent and rooted to the spot.
    Every wild animal knows this.
    So we can reframe fear and welcome it, respect it as a powerful inner instinct which is there to empower us, to protect us and above all, to keep us alive.
    It can make us feel powerless when in fact its innate purpose is to empower us.
    The challenge for us is to know which fears are really keeping us safe (the fear of water if you know you can’t swim) and which are fears that we have learned or encoded, because of things we have picked up or learned from our experiences. If an experience makes us fearful once, we may withdraw from the experience or environment which produced that reaction. We may never want to do that thing again – whether that thing is speaking in public, being vulnerable with another person, or changing direction in life.
    This is when fears can start to over protect us, stifle us and threaten our sense of freedom to be who we truly are and live in the wide open space of adventure, opportunity, experience and growth that is our birthright.
    We can meditate with fear. When we are meditating, we are creating a sanctuary – a loving, kind and endlessly expansive space from which we can open our arms to the universe and to our inner lives.
    We can practice feeling the physical sensation of fear and tension until we become comfortable with it.
    Simply allowing something that we normally feel resistance to, to enter our space freely, has a counter-intuitive effect of reducing, dissolving and softening that thing. Literally, taking the sting out of it.
    Allow it to move freely – let it move on the peaceful, relaxing, resting state that is always pulsing in meditation underneath all the cares and concerns that will spontaneously come up for healing, processing and integration.
    We can ask the fear where it comes from and what it wants.
    Spontaneous memories may arise in meditation as we are called to understand and witness where that fear arose from.
    So often, we will see the fear was not ours to keep in the first place – but belonged to a person in our lives who passed it on, from an impulse to protect us.
    We can release ourselves from that person’s fear, simply by being aware it is not ours and was a gift offered to us with good intentions, but which we do not need to hold onto.
    We might imagine ourselves passing back the fear to its owner.
    All the time we are honouring the impulse, but exploring whether is one that serves us in our lives now.
    We can choose a quality that we would like to take into our beings to diffuse the strength of the fear and create a new chemical and sacred energy. That quality might be Love, Trust, Power, Wisdom, Balance, Harmony or Peace.
    We can say this word quietly to ourselves as a mantra. Then breathe with it. We can spread our arms to receive that quality from the pure loving energies of the universe and draw it into our hearts and inner bring, filling ourselves with grace.
    Fear is not here to harm us or to set us back – but it has a strong energy that can make it feel like that, because its reason for being an instinct is to protect us from harm: from being eaten by wild animals, from drowning, from falling into a ravine.
    In that sense it is one of the loving energies of life, gifted to us by a universe that wishes us no harm and to have life in abundance.
    When fear is reframed like that, how does it make you feel? Do you sense any shifts in your physical and emotional body?
    The above is all a meditation for you to explore and rest in the currents of, and see where it takes you and what shifts your being might experience that you can take into life so that you can “feel the fear” but when you know it’s not really there to hinder you -is just an automatic warning light on your dashboard, a just-in-case – you can know you really are free to “do it anyway” and enjoy!


  17. New Moon, New Plans, Old Visitors

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    At times of new moons, we are extra-supported in moving forward in our lives in ways which feel truer to our individual selves and nature.
    However, does this ring true for you?
    Does it tend to happen that, whenever you feel in a space of manifesting new creations and forging new pathways which you know are going to bring you closer to what you makes you feel peaceful, happy, healthy and most alive… “The Voices” come up? The gatecrashers at the party. The critics, the queriers, the nay-sayers, the fear-mongers, the ridiculours and the saboteurs? The ones you feel with every bone in your body don’t belong here and yet someohow make themselves feel so comfortable and welcome. Maybe they are saying
    “this will never work”
    “you don’t deserve this”:
    “Feel that dose of tension and fear and insecurity we have brought with us as your party gift? Clue: this is a warning about what will happen if you make these changes.”

    I’ve got good news.

    This is meant to happen.

    It happens to everyone.

    It is a sign things are really shifting – when you can see the beings inside you who have, in the past, created the very obstacles in you that you wish to address now as you make plans to shift and grow and move forward.
    When this happens, you can welcome it. You can make these seeming enemies your allies.
    As adults, within each of us are the Old Tribe Rules and The New Tribe Rules. When we are children, it is wired into our sense of survival that our brains imprint and encode what our tribe tells us is true about life. “Don’t expect to much, you will only be disappointed.” “Don’t shout, don’t be too loud.” “Be brave, don’t cry.” “You may want to be an artist, but artists don’t do well in life – get a real job.” “Be careful.” “What a silly idea.”
    And so on.

    These are the Old Tribe rules.

    As adults, we get the glorious and also challenging opportunity to create a new tribe with new rules that allow us to be fully ourselves – from small changes to new changes.
    We need time and some self attention to allow our brains to relax into the new ways so they can encode them, just as we did the old rules.
    This is where meditation comes into its own. When we are children, all of this encoding is unconscious. It happens automatically and surrupticiously. It creates literal physiological neural pathways. We just imbibe what the members of our trive tell us and show to us, over and over again until it travels in our bloodstreams.

    As meditators, we are conscious and awake. Meditation is a state of relaxed alertness. It is the perfect space for healing the wounds we were caused by old programming and to form new neural pathways. Science has evidenced this again and again. So you can trust this process of being awake and holding space within you to get a good understanding of the voices that are coming up – where they really come from, what they really want for you. Originally, however it was manifested, they were there to protect you from something.
    So one thing you can do, is to reframe them by seeing them as old protectors who leap up to help you because they are from the old tribe and that is what they know.
    You can do this by saying, every time you feel that tension in the background, ” Thank you for trying to protect me but I don’t need that protection now. That was how the old tribe did it. In my tribe (or my family) we do things this way.”
    You can be very specific:
    “In my tribe, we encourage and support each other.”
    “in my tribe, we know there is space for everyone to do their own thing and no one is a threat.”
    “In my tribe, it is not selfish to care about ourselves.”
    Or use the word family –
    “in my family, we don’t tell each other to shut up.”
    You can even add…
    “…in fact, I am not even going to tell you (the Voices, the feelings of tension) to shut up.”
    I have used this enlightened technique for years. I still do. Let me tell you, it is very powerful and joyeous athe more you practice it, the more you can be at peace to forge your own destiny, no matter what wants to “speak up.”
    Meditation gives us space, it gives us choices, it shows us things tnhat give us powerful understanding of ourselves and our lives. The trick it medtate effortlessly – which means creating the space where you can honour and allow everything that comes up for healing – rather than use even a smidgeon of effort to resist, block or silence any part of yourself.

    I will soon be recording a guided meditation for Creating Space For Yourself.

    In the mean time, Happy New Moon.

  18. One Life Can Contain A Thousand Lives

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    “I have realised that you can have a thousand lives in one life.”
    It was my birthday recently – quite a “big” birthday, as they say. I find myself reflecting on my life to date and on these words in my head, spoken to me by one of my dearest friends, who passed from this earth in his fifties. He really did live his thousand lives in one life and remained happy and free even through extremely challenging times – he was a huge influence on me. These words are profound. I believe you don’t have to colour code yourself in life, you don’t have to stick to the one route. Changing direction isn’t something shameful, it’s what every adventurer does.
    Walking a number of different paths is the life of the explorer. Feeling the spectrum of emotions is the life of the heart. I have had thousands of lives in this one life. I love both the familiar and the comforting. I also love the unknown, the unpredictable and surprises. Sometimes I want to snuggle into my comfort zone for a while and that is perfect. Sometimes I want to push out of that same zone and feel a little bit terrified, a little bit thrilled, and that is perfect too. I want to grow, and when there are growing pains, I want to rest. Sometimes I want to take my time, sometimes I want to dive in. Sometimes I want to know all the answers, sometimes I want only to feel the tantalising mystery of life. I keep learning – every day. I have learned above all, that to fully appreciate and explore these thousand lives, I need to honour my impulses and instincts. They are the soul’s messengers. No one can tell you how to live but you. Anyone can tell you to enjoy your life, but it is your permission to yourself that counts. Have great days. Full days. Fully-being-you-days. That is my birthday wish for everyone.


  19. Your Evolving Meditation Experience

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    Your meditation practice can and should evolve. We know that we are in a dynamic flow of life. Both our outer and inner worlds are defined by motion in every sense. The universe is not static, creation is not static, we are not static – we as humans are active, creative, evolving, transitioning, changing.

    Women especially experience profound changes in their hormonal patterns and physical beings at different times of life. This means that no one technique will work for us forever. We need to be constantly exploring and developing meditations for ourselves that keep us in healthy, in balance and full of mojo whatever stage of experience we are in. We need to be athletes – sensitive to how we need to prepare and live in order to move with strength, flexibility and artistry enjoy the sport in our individual life. In this sense, meditation is a place we can go to in order to receive nourishment and personal training uniquely matched to our own spirit, and to all the ways in which we we want to express and create and receive in the dynamic flow of our own rich lives.

  20. It’s Not Selfish To Work On Yourself

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    Some people think that doing our inner work is naval gazing or selfish. For meditators, this can be a big force of resistance we need to work on melting so we can open up fully and dive more deeply in the meditative space which is so healing.

    The thing is, wall human beings desire to be healthy and in balance, at home in their own skins and able to show up in the world , feeling full in all the ways we are called to and long to, as individuals. Our work as meditators can involve melting, dissolving, shifting and moving skilfully, moment to moment in our lives and in our meditation skills, as if negotiating a path in which there will be all kinds of “Shoulds” “should nots”, shame, guilt, feelings of being selfish or unworthy and undeserving of the time and space we crave. Lets get this straight – lets remind ourselves – working within ourselves mindfully, heartfully, sensefully and sou-fully is HOW we are being called to live. It is in our wiring – the fields of science, psychology, neuroscience, biomechanics, anthropology, sociology and the arts all back this up. We are called to live from within, to exoplore within, to heal within….for the greater good of healing for the world.

    Think about it like this – when you feel at home in yourself, happy, healthy, balanced and in love with life – do you feel more able to able to give? More able to forgive? More able to respond to others? Able to uplift? To create and live in vibrations which are healthy, happiness and harmonious for the whole world? That is why inner work and meditation are the least selfish practices on the planet.

  21. What brand of meditation do I teach?

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    People often ask me what “brand” of meditation I teach. Like what “brand” of laundry powder do you use; what “brand” of jeans is on trend right now.

    I guess that is part of our culture, to think of brands, trends and buzzwords. What is my “brand” of meditation called? It is called meditation. It requires no books, no guru, no strict practices and no control. All it asks of you is to be you. Which is the most sacred of all practices. And while brands and trends are subject to outside factors and come and go, meditation like this has always existed and will keep evolving forever. And you are wired to do it, you already know how to do it – though you may have forgotten. How does the drum of your own beating heart express itself to you? Let’s start there, That is the meditation I teach. The one that arises from your own unique essence. Both your classroom and your teacher are within, and while trends come and go, the desire and ability to turn inward, self-nurture and self renew are eternal.

    The question of style or brand then turns back to you: “what does it feel like when you are meditating in your own way?”
    But if I had a brand, my tag line might be: “Meditation. Where will you go today?”

  22. Jumping for joy

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    Such a great example of how life animates us from within. How emotion moves us. Literally. Sometimes life seems so full it just wants to burst out of us. When we gesture, when we are animated in our speech, we are watching meaning come alive. Deep love, or deep sadness, move us to reaching for each other and embracing. Stirred by a song we love, we dance. In poignant moments, we may touch our own hearts.

    Prana pulses in our physical beings.

    Prana pulses in life.

    Feeling and moving with prana connects us in a rhythm from inner to outer to inner.

    Movement is a natural response to the rhythms of our inner life. It is also the body’s instinctive healing response. Movement invokes the prana body – energy flows, emotion moves in a rhythm with life.
    Let life stir you all you want. Move it!

  23. Balance – what is it?

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    It’s different every day.
    If you are tired or feeling overwhelmed, sometimes balance can be hard to find.
    If your body is sick or injured, it can be hard to be balanced.
    But our inner selves, deep down, know they have a centre. A homing signal. A grounding point. A place of deep stability where we can not only be held, but which can hold all that we experience.

    I am interested in physical balance as I have chronic health conditions that challenge balance, yet have also learned – through these – the gift of FINDING balance. Coming into centre, wherever I am at.
    From a meditation point of view, I am interested in “balance” too. When we allow our inner lives to come forward and be seen and heard- so often we see “opposites” at play. Things that we may mistake for “conflicts” calling for resolution, but are in fact the natural rhythms of the opposites of life, as day is to night, and sun is to moon, youth is to age, sweet is to sour.
    In meditation, I have begun to think of “balance” as harmony. As coming into a healing rhythm within oneself, where nothing needs to be fought against or avoided.
    Try it. Try relaxing into all the “opposites” within you. Let them speak to each other and be heard. Let them dance in a rhythm of moving together and dissolving away.
    Be with your wholeness in this way.
    Then afterwards, notice how you feel in relation to yourself and the world.
    Think about balance – how does it feel to you?
    ….this I have learned. Every day balance means something slightly different. Every day we can find it a-new.

  24. Seven Ways To Make Meditation Delicious

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    The beauty of meditation is once you have decided you are going to meditate, you don’t have to decide anything else. You can start to relax, let yourself be, and enjoy the journey.

    Here are seven things to consider as you take your journey, to make your meditation as delicious and rewarding to you as it can be.

    Be Yourself. In the words of the old song “There’s no one else to be.” You don’t have to strike a lotus – or any other – pose to be a great meditator. Meditation is rich when we cherish, rather than resisting, our instincts. This can be the best “me time” you ever have so make it work for you.

    Be physically comfortable. Meditation is a time when the parasympathetic nervous system does its awesome job of rest, repair and re-set. It works best when we cooperate with this process – that means listening to your instinct to relax. Some people feel more relaxed when walking in nature or swimming in the ocean. Others feel most at one with themselves when they are dancing. You might like sitting but there are many who get sore sitting for long periods and prefer to lie down. Make yourself super comfortable and at ease so you are not “holding on” physically or resisting yourself in any way. We are not meant to be “enduring” in this space – meditation is where we come to heal suffering, not increase it.

    Delight in your senses. Our senses are pathways to all our rich connections with life. Rather than trying to shut out background noise, actively bring the outer soundscape inside yourself. Keep your eyes open if you prefer and watch the clouds making shapes in the ever changing sky. The same with taste, touch, smell. Allow yourself to be absorbed in each sense as it arises. This way you can absorb and be nourished by the elixir of the universe through all the pathways you have been gifted with.

    Greet everything that comes up with a loving heart, moment by moment. Think about when you invite an old friend into your home for a chat. Do you open the door partially, then ask them not to talk about things, do you make them feel uncomfortable? No of course you don’t. You want them to feel welcome, make them comfortable, and give them all your spacious attention so they can talk about all that is going on with them. Give your thoughts, feelings and sensations the same active, loving attention. They are coming into a healing space – open the doors of your inner temple wide and give them a positive greeting.

    Make it delicious and compelling for yourself so you will want to come back again and again. “You know what you love. Go there” (Sutra 98. The Radiance Sutras. Dr Lorin Roche.) We all have experiences where life seems to resonate with us in very personal ways and thinking about what you love to do, where you love to be, whom and what you love are all ways to get straight into your own soul. This can be the life force infusing your meditation – spending a few breaths filling your being with this state of love – savouring your aliveness.

    Practice not flinching as you feel any tension in your body and your mind. As we start to relax and release tension, we feel everything we have been tense about. This is a natural part of the healing rhythm of meditation. Let yourself feel fingers of fatigue, the buzz of stress, the tugging from any unwinding – this is all Prana (life force energy) moving freely through your body. As you feel it, you heal it – things shift and you other notes and nuances are free to come through in your spontaneous meditation.

    Try tiny bite sized moments of meditation throughout your day. 21st century meditators find great efficacy in this. We are really busy people and while we crave the relief and release that comes from meditation, we often get put off by the idea of “having to find the time.” Five minutes, absorbed in a loving moment with yourself and life can be all it takes. Cloud watching. Letting your mind drift, unfettered. Cherishing a few feel-good breaths – big inhalations, relaxing sighs. Eating a few squares of dark chocolate slowly, luxuriating in texture, flavour and the awakening of your pleasure centres. Having your favourite daydream. Pausing to really listen to a song that stirs you deeply. A series of spontaneous meditative moments arising during the day can be as deeply nourishing – if not more so – than one long session.

    © Alison Potts August 2015

    Photo by Juliet Wioland. (c) www.julietwiolandphoto.co.uk



  25. How Often Do You Tell Yourself To Shut Up?

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    There is a fabulous scene in the 1999 film “American Beauty” in which Annette Bening’s character Carolyn Burnham – an estate agent who feeds herself all day with positivity mantras from the self- help industry to mask her total lack of self esteem – has a brief, private meltdown after failing to make a sale.

    Alone in an empty house, she starts to cry and as she cries, she berates herself for her “weakness”, physically slapping herself and screaming at herself over and over again, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut Up!”

    Within seconds, she stops crying, dries her tears, smooths her clothes and walks back into her world where appearance and image are everything and fearful walls have been built around that image to protect it from anything as chaotic as real feeling and emotion.

    Bening’s character is modelling the “inner shut up” – the dominatrix that demands you suck it up, push it down, pull yourself out of it…do whatever it takes to make sure your inner experiences go unregarded and your real self, completely disrespected. Using the double poison of self repression and happy-clappy, manufactured positivity, she ironically casts a spell of bitter unhappiness on herself and all the others in her life.

    How would you react if I suggested to you that every day it is likely you are investing a lot of energy in repressing and silencing yourself?

    That the exhaustion and fragmentation you feel at the end of the day comes not from what you have experienced that day, but from what you haven’t allowed yourself to feel?

    It is so easy to push ourselves and our feelings and reactions aside unconsciously, to overlook ourselves or, even worse, deliberately slap ourselves when we begin to feel our own self-expression rising up within us. There are all kinds of reasons why we do this: we often encode values at a very long age – values we have been given by schools, churches or critical parenting. We may have a deep fear of being seen to be “weak” by those around us; fear of being our real selves and thinking it better to project an image of someone stronger, better, more successful.

    The trouble is, it backfires. No one likes to be hit. No one likes to be told to shut up. Imagine someone in your life were doing that to you all day, every day. How would you feel?

    Pretty downtrodden, sad, lost and wounded, I would think.

    Also, that which goes down, must come up. And sometimes it comes up at times and in ways we wish it wouldn’t – when we lash out at loved ones, snap at our kids, when our bodies get sick from all the slap-wounds and all the blocked energy of repressed feelings.

    Every time we say to ourselves “I am wrong to think this”, “I shouldn’t indulge in this feeling”, “I can’t think about this now”, “I need to get over this and get on with it”, we are giving ourselves the slap down. And it is true, there are times in life when it is necessary and appropriate to park things. If you are a doctor about to perform brain surgery, you want to keep your mind focussed on the task. If you are driving a car, you don’t want to be drifting off into warm, fuzzy daydreams, you want to have your eye on the road.

    But at some point, there has to be time to catch up with yourself fully, to play the full inner drama, to relish in every emotional connection you have made to life.

    This is how we human beings have been designed for healing. We are meant to digest, process, experience, feel and heal.

    This is where meditation is our biggest support, our therapeutic space, our perfect “me time”, our birthright healing space.

    The danger is, that we may have got so used to avoiding and shifting away from our thoughts and feelings, that we bring this unconscious attitude into meditation. We may feel automatic shame or guilt when we have thoughts we think we are “not supposed to have” while meditating. When intense feelings and emotions rise up, we may try to escape them by deliberately turning our attention away from them onto something else – be it the sound of Om or a vision of emptiness. Meditation can be used as medication – as an anaesthetic – just like any other drug or disinfectant.

    All those myths about “mind chatter”, “monkey minds” and “inner stillness” can dangerously impede the natural rhythm and flow of meditation. The inner shut up can actually stop us from meditating and subvert meditation itself into a place for control and discipline – the inner slap.

    Your meditation thrives in the sacred space of your most tender, most open and curious and compassionate attention.

    It can take a little patience and self- tolerance to cultivate an inner embrace and welcome all of yourself in meditation, but let me tell you, it is worth everything. Imagine being liberated from that constant inner put down. Imagine being able to live your life in a relaxed, easeful flow, experiencing the most intense things in life and the most ordinary, with an expansive and life-affirming field of awareness. Imagine being IN your body and soul, not parted from them. Imagine being IN your life, not separate from it.

    I take my “catch up time” in a series of brief pauses throughout the day. As a busy working mother, this is has great efficacy and potency for keeping in touch with myself, and feeling healthy and inspired. As soon as I wake up, I spend five minutes allowing whatever is calling my attention to come forward. I have a “bring it on” attitude. Fragments of dreams mix with the motor of the to-do-list and hum in and out of concerns, tensions, anticipation and desires. It is like tuning up an engine before you start the car. I also bring in my own spiritual practices – prayers and protections for me and my loved ones. During the day, I can take breaks to pause and feel the touch of life on me. Anything from a moment’s trance or daydream to simply enjoying the touch of sunlight on my skin, the sound of bird calls or a song I like, the taste of my favourite tea.

    If you feel you only have time to “come together with yourself” – to meditate – once in your day, my top tip is to make it at that time you transition from your action phase into your resting-and-unwinding phase. For many people, this means when you enter your home (or your commuter train or your walk to your house) after your day at work. Sit or lie somewhere alone, or take a walk, and begin to feel your whole being relax. As tension unwinds from you, you will feel it, so let it be felt fully. Remnants of unfinished conversations, moments of success and triumph, concerns, insights, plans – let them all come out to play and dance, process, communicate, meet and dissolve. Your nervous system loves this. It is in this way, your exquisitely wired inner healing system does its work. And let me tell you, it is worth the sacrifice your loved ones may need to make to wait five or ten minutes to tell you about THEIR days, for you to spend time catching up with yours. That way, everyone is happy and no one gets asked to shut up.


    The link to the American Beauty scene is here:


    For more on meditations to suit the rhythm of your day, I recommend Dr Lorin Roche’s wonderful little book “Meditation 24-7”

    You can download glorious, short guided meditations from this book, here: https://radiance-sutras.bandcamp.com/album/meditation-24-7

    If you are interested in learning more about a delicious practice in which you can reunite with yourself at the deepest soul-level and which is massively practical for modern lives as well as deeply spiritual, my next Instinctive Meditation Workshop is in Brisbane on 29th August. More info here https://www.facebook.com/events/1023100621043196/

    Thank you to my mentor Dr Lorin Roche for alerting me to this scene from American Beauty and the great discussion which followed.





  26. Chocolate Meditation: Cherishing The Flavours of Life

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    chocolate meditaion

    In this meditation, I offer the experience of tasting and savouring a small bite of chocolate to open the sensory pathways – a fantastic way to expand inner and outer awareness and to fill all the levels of your being with an experience. I use the example of chocolate as so many people find it pleasurable, but you can use any food or drink that you especially look forward to savouring.

    In life we often race through pleasure and yet dwell and ruminate on pain. As one meditator recently said to me, “We press the fast forward button instead of Play.” We often make pleasure something we have to “earn” or “deserve” and in doing so, undermine our enjoyment with feelings of anxiety over worthiness.

    Life is full of special treats. On some level, all of life is a treat, a gift, an invitation for us to fill our beings with experiences of wonder, awe, gratitude, thrill and adventure from a place of feeling natural with ourselves. We are invited all the time to suffuse ourselves with these experiences and let them play on inside of us long after the experience is over.

    This meditation is really about savouring all the flavours of life, not just a few. When we meditate this way, we really get to feel so many inner awakenings and to sense an expansion, an illumination, on the inside. With this style of meditation, every touch of life becomes almost psychedelic. Colours, flavours, sights, sounds, touches infuse us and we feel touched by all the fingers of life.

    This practice is also great if you are someone who loves being in the “highs” of life but feels a crash afterwards which leaves you feeling a little flat, empty or lost. In this meditation, we learn how to sustain all the sensations of the experience, long after it has gone, using the great meditation secret of “infusion”.

    There is so much to this meditation – which I offer as a practice frequently in my classes and workshop – that the feedback from meditators afterwards is incredible in its range of experiences, surprises and spontaneous arisings. I have quoted some of the feedback I have heard after the chocolate meditation, at the end of this piece.

    To take this meditation a step further, you can actually meditate on savouring all the flavours of something you love to eat or drink but without actually having that thing available. This is using imagination to awaken sensory pathways and inner life and is incredibly powerful. The last time I offered this meditation to a class, there were two people who cannot eat chocolate. They each instead, imagined they were sipping a glass of their favourite wine. You will see their feedback along with the others at the end of this piece!


    Take your chocolate, still wrapped, and place it in front of your gaze. Look at it for a few moments, savouring the feelings that come with the anticipation of unwrapping it and then biting into it. Let your attention bask in whatever feelings, thoughts and sensations come up as you pause on this threshold. These may be eagerness, curiosity, excitement, anticipatory pleasure or a feeling of gratitude for the self-awarded permission to enjoy yourself and feel pleasure. That itself can feel relaxing and a relief to your nervous system.

    Then slowly unwrap the chocolate, listening attentively to the sounds the paper makes as it crackles open, feeling its texture in your fingers, watching it unfold and beginning to sense any scents that come up from the chocolate as it is unwrapped.

    Be luxuriously unhurried with this opening and revealing. Be aware of any emotion, visualisations, sensations in your physical body and memories that arise as you unwrap it.

    Then lift it to your nose and reach inwards and outwards with your sense of smell to experience the full scent of chocolate. Be aware of your sense of vision, smell and hearing awakening, opening and expanding when you give them all your attention.

    Now take a small bite from the chocolate and hold it on your tongue. Don’t chew it yet. Let it melt in your mouth for a few moments, feel it and taste it as it spreads around your mouth. Savour the melting and the spreading for as long as you feel you want to before you chew and then swallow. Allow yourself to feel fully everything awakening in your body and your mind – your pleasure centres, taste receptors, the readiness of your intelligent digestive system as you salivate, the feeling of your throat receiving the chocolate as it moves down inside you. Savour the swallowing.

    Eat the whole chocolate this way and notice the rhythms of the experience within you moment by moment.

    When the chocolate is finished, rest there in the afterglow. You will find the taste, the texture, the feelings of eating the chocolate remain with you long after the actual chocolate has gone and you rest in pleasure, enjoying all the awakened energies inside you, body sensations, feelings in your heart, thoughts, dreaming, memories. Pause in pleasure here, with curiosity and wonder, for as long as you like.

    This meditation is of course about much more than chocolate. It is about savouring and cherishing all of our instincts and about savouring and cherishing all the flavours of life. Savouring the feelings of anticipation before you even unwrap the chocolate is “pausing on the threshold”, a practice in life which is very rewarding and very conducive to nervous system repair and balance. Paying attention to all thoughts and feelings as they arise is king in the practice of meditation – that way we learn to know, understand and tend to ourselves and all of our needs and most cherished desires. “Savouring the afterglow” is about “infusing” and processing an experience. We know that nothing is truly over – that the cells in our bodies hold every memory, experience, thought and feeling. This is true of every exciting, pleasurable, life-affirming, surprising, hilarious, joyful, poignant, tender, loving moment or experience you have ever had. When you have an experience that lights you up, take time with it and in its afterglow (reflecting on it, journaling about it, meditating with it) as if bathing in essential oils. By calling into the sacred, infinitely tender glow of your awareness, the full range of your senses, emotions and bodily sensations, you can be filled with and nourished by life itself.

    Some Experiences reported by “chocolate meditators

    “I often eat several chocolates in a row without really noticing them. This way, one chocolate is enough, more than enough. I was totally fulfilled and satisfied by it.”

    “I could still taste the chocolate, even hours later.”

    “I had a memory from childhood, when crinkle cut potato chips first came out, of eating them that way – taking tiny nibbles with my front teeth – being so excited about this new taste and texture and wanting to make every part of it last.”

    “It made me think of that scene from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory where Charlie unwraps his first bar of Wonka chocolate…that scene always gives me goosebumps.”

    “I went to other places for a while. I actually went to Mars for part of that.”

    “I was amazed at how long something that wonderful could last and how deeply I could take it in.”

    “I can’t believe how much I experienced inside myself just by eating chocolate.”

    “I feel refreshed and invigorated.”

    “Tt really made me think about how I rush through everything in life and in doing that, don’t really enjoy it as much as I could.”

    “If I sipped wine like that, I am sure I would drink less and this would be good for me.”

    “I imagined I was drinking a top shelf shiraz. I poured the glass and when I offered it to my nose to smell, my nose actually tingled! I really do feel like I have had a delicious glass of wine.”













  27. Dive Into Life: What Rebecca Taught Me About The Necessity of Joy

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    rebecca blog

    “Life is full of possibilities and you must always dive in,” said Rebecca.

    From the moment I met Rebecca, I knew she was a diver. We were 24 years old and we met at the BBC, where we both worked, on her first day. I had one of those supremely rare and inexplicably certain moments that she and I were destined to meet. We were soulmates.

    Rebecca – without being in any way flamboyant or over-the-top – expressed the most literal interpretation of joi de vivre I have ever seen. She exuded joy, without waiting for the conditions to be right. She could light up a darkened room in neon.

    She had a technicolour appreciation for the simple pleasures of life. These were her pleasures: good friends, Prosecco, sunny days, the reddest red lipstick, clothes, shopping for clothes, dressing up in lovely clothes…..   When she didn’t love something, instead of getting dark about it, she infused it with what she knew she did love. So when her work situation got her down (as happens to all of us) she instinctively ramped up her contact with the things that connected her to her inner joy, which gave her light and faith and perspective.

    One of her biggest joys was writing. That first day I met her, she told me that. It was something she and I shared. Unsurprisingly for someone so focussed on their loves, she left a very successful career at the BBC to pursue an even more successful one as an author. “Do what you love” is a motto many of us uphold, but how many of us really follow that guiding light of what we love, with the courage and trust and passion that Rebecca showed?

    She gave birth to three delicious, abundantly joyful children – her son and twin daughters – and she infused them with the spirit of joy, of course she did, she could do no other. And they gave it straight back to her. Hers was the household you went to when you needed a bit of cheering up.

    She was intimate with joy. Her dominant vibration was joy. There is a Sanskrit word anandarmta – “joy-nectar”. That was Rebecca. Of course, she was also connected to all the other vibrations of life – to frustration, weariness, bewilderment, pain. She was the most human of humans, making her so genuine and compassionate. She wore no masks. Her bright red lipstick was an expression of her vibrancy, not a piece of armour, as lipstick can be.

    Something I still find unfathomable happened about 18 months ago. My beloved ray of light, my dearest friend, was diagnosed was terminal cancer. She lived for about a year from the initial diagnosis. We talked every day and I flew back to her home town of Brighton to spend precious time with her. Her suffering is unimaginable but it was visceral. She was full of grief because she loved life – “I don’t want to die, Ali!” I remember her crying in a desperate, almost-begging tone. Every moment she looked at her children, filled with love and pride, she was equally filled with grief and fear. Bad news after bad news came her way – the hope of a new drug made her elated, she felt as if she had been given her life back. The same drug nearly killed her. Throughout her whole journey, she remained full of light. She remained completely herself and more so. She continued to wear her favourite red lipstick, to exercise the plastic in the online shopping community, and she love, love, loved spending time with her friends and family – often with a glass of Prosecco.

    It was the joy and the vibrancy of that joy that kept her – and actually, everyone around her – going. And it wasn’t a fakely mustered, “I’ve got to put a brave face on this”; it was the true spirit of joy. Yes, it went alongside these horrible feelings of grief and fear and anxiety and sadness, but her vibrancy went so deep, all of these could be held by it, be infused by its healing and energizing current.

    And when we – her friends and family – talk about Rebecca…when I remember her, if I just bring her to light…what I feel is not pure sadness. Amongst the sadness I feel the joy, buoyantly rising up inside me. I can hear her throaty chuckle, warm against my shoulder. I can feel the very vibration of joy, filling me up.

    The practice of connecting to joy is a necessity. It is a life changer. Where we place our attention trains our inner compass. Joy is not just for the good times. Joy can be a satellite, a homing signal. Maybe joy is a literal survival instinct? But like all instincts, to truly keep them honed and useful, you need to keep using them. Maybe joy is like a muscle – if you stop using it, it loses substance, and it becomes weak so that when you most need that muscle to strengthen you, you collapse. Rebecca’s practice of joy was uncomplicated, but it was frequent. She exalted the little things, the simple things. She worked out in the joy gym. When she most needed it – it gave her supreme strength, foundation and support. It was so powerful, it held all of us up too.

    And here’s another very important thing. Rebecca was not in any practices of life denial. She did not get into inner conflict about whether she could have a slice of cake or a glass of wine or whether that new colour in the red lipstick range at Mac should not be hers. She loved what she loved with her whole heart and without conditions, which is why we – her friends, her family, her husband, and her children – have been so lucky. To be loved that unequivocally and freely.

    Meditation is an opportunity self-connection and connection with that “deeper” “higher” that expresses to itself to us in ways which are personal and individual. When I teach meditation, I always say the fastest, most direct route to thriving in your meditation practice, is to invoke what you love. * And to approach meditation in a life affirming attitude, which can be challenging for people in life denying practices – but keep practicing and it gets easier and easier, especially when you see how deep and delicious it makes your meditation practice become.

    Rebecca is a stunning example of how the practice of joy is in fact a necessity. And it’s the same in meditation, too. It’s important because it makes meditation delicious and we want meditation to be delicious and inviting, so that we keep doing it. And it’s important because it makes meditation about us – you – as an individual. And we want meditation to be about us as individuals – about our personal connection.

    But it’s also important because it’s about harnessing a power: a strength that we sometimes really, really need, and we would struggle to get it if we are either out of practice or have a practice of doing the opposite. If we have a conscious practice of eradicating joy from our lives, from our meditation practices – and there are lots of ways we can do this, accidentally often – then we are in trouble when we really need to call on something powerful and vibrant to keep us going through adversity in life. It’s a problem to disconnect from joy because it’s a disconnection from self – what we love and what makes us feel joyful to be alive – it’s us receiving the elixir, us receiving the abundance.

    I am very clear I am not advocating a “Pollyanna”, spin- it, make- it- happy, approach. Because that doesn’t hold when life gets tough. It wouldn’t have held Rebecca. It’s something else. We already have this current of joyful connection. When babies smile and laugh, they are expressing this. We’ve had it since birth. It is hard wired into us. It’s the flame that doesn’t go away. But we can suffocate that flame, we can leave the fire untended so it whittles to embers, and we want to be careful about that. Equally, it’s our fire and we can keep it burning, sometimes just by remembering it. (Below this blog are some meditation practice suggestions for connecting to joy, and “remembered joy” is one of them and a powerful one.) It’s keeping it alive in the midst of everything else, not spinning everything to pretend that there aren’t certain tragedies in life, you can’t spin them into a joyful thing but you can somehow keep going and find your joy.

    Rebecca danced the dance of life so perfectly, so gracefully, authentically and with compelling magic which drew us all in. She knew how to keep her inner flame burning, before the time came when she really needed to know. She stayed close to her inner vibrations. She lived in the practice of joy, in every tiny bite sized taste of it (her lipstick, binge watching Sex in the City), as much is in the huge heart expanding explosions of it (the birth of her children, her love for them and her husband every single day).

    “Life is full of possibilities and you must always dive in” is the quote on the handout from the celebration of Rebecca’s life which was held in December last year.

    Today is her birthday. She would have been 50. Now she is eternally whatever age she has picked (she will have had fun with that one). The best thing of all about her embodiment of joy, her being the vibration of joy, is that her vibration truly is eternal. There is another Sanskrit word nityanandarasa – “essence of eternal joy.” That’s her. Happy Birthday, Becca. Lifting my glass of Prosecco toward the sun.




    *My teacher and mentor Dr Lorin Roche, who is an expert on meditation from decades of teaching and interviewing meditators, talks a lot about how we thrive in meditation when we think of the things we love and which make us excited about life, with great wisdom and insight in his books and on his website lorinroche.com which I urge you to dive into.

    * I emailed Lorin this morning asking for some Sanskrit words for joy, to which he replied There are lots! Here are some examples which may be gateways for you into feeling the different currents of joy.

    antarmoda – “inner joy” attamanaska – “whose mind is transported (with joy)” anandajala – “tears of joy” ahlada – “refreshing, reviving, joy, delight” brahmananda “joy in brahma” the nature of absorption into the one self-existent Spirit” nava “a shout of joy or triumph” moda “joy, delight, gladness, pleasure” unmudra “unsealed, opened, blown (as a flower), unbound, unrestrained, wild (through joy)


    Meditation Practice: Joy as a Gateway

    Pause In Pleasure

    During every day, if you are doing something that gives you pleasure or thoughts of pleasure, take a pause with it. It need only take a few breaths as you gaze on an inner picture or feeling that accompanies the thought you are having. I get a lot of pleasure from writing. So much so, that mid-piece, I am compelled to get up and walk around “in pleasure”, just really feeling and enjoying a moment of happiness with myself. Whatever your thoughts or feelings of pleasure are and arise from, be intimate with them for a moment. It only takes a few breaths It won’t waste your time. On the contrary, it could make it more vibrant and productive.


    Little Bites of Joy

    A bite of a cookie or a ripe peach, a sip of your favourite drink, a moment to sit stretched out in the sunlight, the warmth toasting your feet. A song you really love that makes your body want to leap up and dance, or one that gives you a beautiful daydream. What feels good to you? Can you have some bite sized pieces of feel good every day? Completely in the pleasure of the taste, the feeling, the sound, the smell? These little, regular infusions build up inside you like soul vitamins, to make you healthy and strong on the inside.


    Meditate on Your Great Loves

    “You know what you love. Go there” Sutra 18. The Radiance Sutras. Dr Lorin Roche.

    At the start of your meditation practice, think of something or some things you love. It may be something you love to do like painting or dancing. It may be a place you love to be – the ocean or a certain city. It may be a person or pet. Anything that brings forward a vibration of happiness, fullness, love and joy within you. Allow yourself to really dive into all the sensations and imagery that come with the thoughts of what you love. Remember there are no taboos and nothing is prohibited. This is about you and is your time. After a while spent like this (as long as you like) allow everything in your being to come forward unfettered. Just let your mind loose, feel arising sensations and emotions with an attitude of welcome. If some of what is coming up seems too hard to tolerate, you can always go back to invoking your Great Loves. When you meditate like this (1) Things will come forward which actually want to join the current of joy and be in a rhythm with it. Put it another way, your tough stuff may come up, but it is coming forward for healing and to be infused by the healing current of joy. Welcome it with open arms. (2) If things become particularly challenging to tolerate, you have a tool you can use, a balm – the warmth of your joy vibration can keep you in connection with yourself, whatever is happening.


    Remembered Joy

    If you are having a hard time finding joy at any point in your life, try this. Think of a joyful experience you have had in the past. Or, think of a person (or an animal) who has a high vibration of joy and what it feels like to be in their company. Or, think of a character on TV or the movies – or a celebrity – who seems to carry that kind of joy that is contagious. Take some time with these experiences or people, in meditation and allow the currents of energy arising, to move through your being, healing and refreshing.


    Ways of Meeting Joy

    There are so many ways of meeting joy, as many as there are individuals on the earth. What do you really like eating, drinking, doing, seeing, smelling, hearing? How do you like spending time and with whom? Maybe you like it best when you are on your own. It is important to remember, in meditation and in life, there are no rules about joy, no rights and wrong. Ask yourself” What is life enhancing for me in this moment?” Go to your instincts. They won’t betray you. If this sounds “selfish”, think about the people who make you feel good, who are uplifting and energising. The fantastic thing about joy is it spreads like wildfire through the universe.

    I teach at Shri Yoga, Teneriffe every Thursday at 7.30pm. Please come and join us! I offer private sessions by appointment and run workshops throughout the year, news of which will be posted on Facebook (Innate Being) and on the website innatemeditation.com.au. My next workshop is on The Power of I : Individuality, Instincts and Intuition as the Gateway to Inner Healing and is on June 14th in West End, Brisbane, Australia.

    Eternal gratitude to Dr Lorin Roche. Lorinroche.com