I’ve been working through a lot of issues of victimhood that I didn’t know I had. I started to realise that in the regime the guru guided me to, he wants the victim well and truly knocked out of me. It’s like bootcamp. I’ve never done everything on the list before, all at the SAME TIME. One by one I’ve come off all of my stimulants : coffee, then black tea, then green tea. I haven’t had a drink in several weeks. Sugar went by the wayside. I started a fitness regime. I started taking all my supplements religiously. I started cleaning my house top to bottom, sorting and deep cleaning.
Even though I’m not done yet, I’ve been able to make certain observations along the way.
When I gave something up, I felt like a victim.
The guru banned me from fasting for a time, saying he wanted me to nourish myself. I felt as if I was force feeding, and cue feeling like a victim.
I was told to fast again. I found myself feeling like a victim.
The guru told me to join a choir. I joined two.
They are great. Uplifting, balancing, bonding, but part of me felt like a victim as I am now so busy I don’t know where to look.
The guru said that’s how he wanted me: busy, so that I didn’t have time to think.
I still had time to feel like a victim.
This is not about poor me. I am having a great time, and my sense of assurance is increasing with each week that passes, but this is about the bits in between. Someone doesn’t acknowledge me, I feel like a victim. I learn to love my daughters more deeply and instead of enjoying it, I start worrying more about their wellbeing = victim.
Someone else is down or having a hard time...I’m an empath so part of me feels like a victim.
If you don’t like my social post, I’ll feel like a victim. If too many of you do I’ll also make myself a victim.
When I studied Health Kinesiology a few years back, I came across an energy correction called ‘being / not being’. These corrections deal with the phenomenon of people not being able to find a state which is safe for them. For example ‘being angry’ is stressful, and ‘not being angry’ is also stressful. ‘Being healthy’ is stressful and ‘not being healthy’ is also stressful. It’s very common. If you are stressed, on some level you are being a victim. There is more than one way to tackle just about anything, but it makes you think, doesn’t it? You are overweight and take action to reduce it, then suddenly everyone around you without fail is concerned you will ‘overdo it’. Where can you find your balance if you are not ‘safe’ anywhere?
When I empower, none of this happens. It is like flicking a switch. Nothing has changed in my life, but ‘too busy’ becomes ‘abundant’. ‘Demanding’ people become people I can serve and empower. ‘Annoying’ people become people with whom I can guide, teach or share wisdom. ‘Threatening’ people become people with whom I can co-create. I find my quiet in my centre.
The ‘victim’ is getting really boring. I don’t like false deadlines, yet I have given myself until the end of the year to finish off all the half-finished jobs I’ve started, even if I have to stay up half the night. The uplift will be worth it. Osho defines karma as incompleted action, and when I first read that some years ago, I wasn’t entirely sure I could relate. But now, yes.
I still need to be at ONE with my humanity and limitations. Nothing is ever done. There will always be something undone, so it’s a balance between taking control, and surrendering to the moment and how things are, in itself a form of completion.
How to find this balance?
For me it’s about listening to the moment, feeling it in the body, feet on the ground and energising. Not trying to be in the future where the job is ‘done’, but enjoying the DOING as an act of BEING. This is completion. This is grace and peace and gratitude and all the good things. In this state I float effortlessly from one task to the next knowing that I’ll be empowered to deal effectively with it.
I like this place. I hope the 'victim' is listening.
It was the first day of Ramadan last Thursday, and my eldest daughter, who is nearly 12, decided to fast for the first time.
This is kind of a big deal.
For those of you not familiar with Islamic fasting, this means no food OR drink from sunrise to sunset. And with it being May, that’s quite a long time. It evoked some unpredictable reactions in our family - I am a big fan of liquid only fasting, but my initial reaction was to recommend she save this for a weekend. She had two school assessments that day and we didn’t know what effect it would have on her. My husband, who is Muslim, but often not the most enamoured with my free-spirited fasting, decided it was ok if she really wanted to test herself. He, after all, started fasting with his family from a similar age.
Not that it mattered what we thought. Her mind was made up.
Why did she want to do it? Mainly to keep company with one of her best friends who was fasting. Also, to see what it feels like. To see if she had the willpower. To manage her intake.
And she did it.
We didn’t even get up for a pre-sunrise meal in the early hours as many do. At just before 9pm when I got her favourite dinner ready a little victory shimmy was happening in the kitchen.
Sometimes life just throws out a surprise. The daughter who grazes every time she walks past the fridge or cupboard managed something most adults would find challenging...
The funny thing is, I have been fasting a lot recently, just not this kind of fasting. Initially I thought I might get the blame for setting a 'bad' example, but as we've seen, this wasn't the case. I find fasting more effective than almost any other practice, for almost everything: being present and in the moment, peace, increased levels of bliss and balance, clarity of guidance, clearing karma without struggle, letting go, slaying demons, breaking patterns, increasing devotion, self acceptance, manifesting something outside my comfort zone etc. etc.
When I say 'fasting', some people think this is quite extreme, for others my kind of fasting is probably a little tame, but generally, a not too arduous fast for me is 3 - 7 days of fasting until evening meal. Plant-based gluten free. No caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, or chocolate. I also avoid soy. On a couple of occasions I’ve gone all the way through without evening meal making it around 48 hours in one go but this is rare and depends on not having people around who are alarmed by this. I’d like to do more, if only out of curiosity, as after a fast that long I start to feel ready for pretty much anything. And it’s easier to keeping going once you’re in the groove and feeling the benefits than it is to get started. But people get concerned I'll waste away so what’s to do?
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I always knew that one day I’d try a Ramadan-style fast. What I didn’t know is that my daughter would beat me to it. So on Monday when she decided to do it for a second day, I joined her.
It’s not that bad.
After all those years of concern over the lack of liquids for so many hours (I drink a lot compared to most people), it just wasn’t that hard. I didn’t really feel that hungry or thirsty.
It was quite revealing - just how much of a displacement activity eating and drinking is. I have never sat at my desk and focused for so long - no tea breaks, no toilet breaks, just working and not thinking too much about it.
Coming home and not getting dinner ready immediately was also challenging as this is something I look forward to. By the time sunset at 20.57 arrived we had amused ourselves by preparing more food than we could eat and arranging it on the table beautifully. I was struggling after half a plate which doesn’t happen during my usual fasts. Admittedly, this would be a lot more difficult in a hot climate, or as a manual worker, and this is nothing on those who do this every year for a full 30 days, but it was an experience. And there are benefits to not drinking, as even water carries a certain energy which can be positive or negative depending on the source. When you consume nothing, you have your breath and nothing else.
So now we know what our Turkish relatives experience every year, and will be prepared to join them if our visits coincide with Ramazan. And we’ll probably test ourselves a few more days before the current month is complete.
In case you haven’t noticed, I highly recommend fasting.
As long as you’re fit, healthy, not insulin diabetic, pregnant etc. it's a great practice with many benefits. It’s not to be confused with a health detox or diet as the attitude and goals are different although some of the benefits may overlap. Fasting as tapas (austerities) is to be carried out with a humble attitude and devotion for a spiritual purpose. Intermittent fasting for can also be used for weight management - you will reap many benefits from this as well, but it is good to be clear about your purpose before starting.
If you’ve never tried it before, I’d recommend trying a 1-3 day fast with water and evening meal as described above. When I first started, I this I was still eating fish, dairy and wheat and still found it to be highly beneficial, so I wouldn't worry too much about the content of meal you use to break the fast as long as it's 'clean'.
Give it a go, and see what changes in your life.
You can learn a lot from children. You’ve heard it said no doubt, that to enter the kingdom of heaven you must become like a little child...
Well, you know, it’s actually true.
Thing is, this is rather difficult when you’ve gone through all the bother of growing up in the first place. You’ve bought into all the ideas about what life should be like, what success is.
Education, job, family, lots of likes on Facebook. Being #soblessed.
It’s hard work. You’ve put your back into it. You’ve got stuff to show for it.
Children are like little animals. Forces of nature.
It is not a positive thing though to say an adult is like an animal. So we try to civilise children, divorce them from their primal energy, and work on getting them to perform to external standards.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but kids don’t actually like ‘performing’. Like when Grandma or auntie comes round and you say: ‘Put on your nice dress’, ‘Why not play us that little tune you learned on the recorder?’, or you say ‘Come on, let’s hear a bit of the Spanish you’ve been learning’.
Ha, ha, ha....
That’s right, they tell you, usually by the look in their eyes, to get lost.
On the other hand, a child is very spontaneous, and will do any of those things they can do as and when it pleases them, when the mood takes them.
But if we want to become like children, we need to start doing more of what children do.
Start saying get lost when someone asks you to perform, and then use your energy to excel at something they never even dreamed of.
A child will say what they think because they haven’t yet learned that it’s not done to be truthful.
A child is innocent and trusting because they haven’t yet learned that the world is cynical of this.
A child is hopeful because they haven’t yet learned to manage their expectations.
A child is quick to point out an injustice and expects something to be done about it because they haven't learned that's not how the world works.
What would a child say about living the life you live right now?
If you actually try to ‘become like a little child’, you’ll come up very quickly against your own cynicism. What does that voice in your head say? Where did that feeling originate? Where did you learn that? Do you need to keep believing it?
If you stick with it for a bit, you’ll actually realise that innocence can be its own protection. Watch the people around you do a double take. Giggle. Try it some more.
Treat yourself with the same compassion as you would a little child and you’ll find yourself opening to life in a much richer way.
'Do more of what you love'
But I looked at my life
As there were no more
Minutes to be found
And I know you're not sadistic
So this must mean
Something more profound
I looked again at the strictures
And the activity
I could not have arranged it better
If I was deliberately
There was nowhere to go
Nothing to do
You told me 'Do more of what you love'
So I went back to you and said:
There is nothing left
There is no other way
You need to show me
How to make love to my life
Teach me how to make love
To my day
How can you measure abundance? I love the way this lady turns the tables on most definitions and measures it in her sassiness, laughter, and the 'diamonds' between her thighs. Added to that her mischief and her sheer irrepressibility, she's looking pretty wealthy.
Maya Angelou: 1928 - 2014
And check out the live performance at the end. She switches up her own words and brings it sparklingly to life.
Still, like life, I'll rise
I like to play with my own stuff too. How about:
Still, like love, I'll rise...?
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
There is a lot of chatter about 'abundance' these days on the airwaves. A lot of talk about removing blockages to this abundance. What they are usually talking about is financial 'success' aka performance, and often a successful romantic relationship. If you're really lucky you'll meet your 'twin flame'...
The trouble is, these desires are mostly a result of projection, and therefore lack. You want these things to compensate for what you don't currently have as a permanent state.
Try thinking about abundance in a different way. How much bliss do you experience when you meditate? How many layers of appreciation do you feel when you listen to a piece of music or watch a movie? How deeply into your own body can you go and how much of the universe can you find there? How many nerve endings are activated when you interact with another who is not your lover. How much self-compassion do you have?
When you start to truly have abundance in this inner way, you could choose to live in a cave and feel as if you have the whole world.
For me, abundance is characterised by a pomegranate seed. It's a little red, juicy jewel in which you can find everything. Try looking at one with appreciation. When I was teaching myself this, I spent some time clocking little 'jewels' that I found in my life, and endowing them with appreciation, collecting them like trinkets - gifts to me from the Beloved.
It's a good practice - how much 'juice' can you squeeze out of a little pleasure? Can you find pleasure in something you would normally resist? Make it into a game.
When abundance really happens, it would be unusual for your external circumstances to not reflect this. But that's not why you do it, because a critical aspect of this is surrender and letting go. You let go of your performance-led goals, and start living like a poet or an artist. Celebrate your own creativity in any way that pleases you. If you treat yourself with something nice, do it in full consciousness out of self-compassion and make sure you enjoy every drop. Re-define abundance, and it will be more likely to work with you.
I wrote a poem about these jewels of abundance a while back.
Always a good reminder.....
Jewels that I find:
Shining pomegranate seeds
French fancies, battenburg and Swiss roll
Our love in these
Like rubies and pearls
Shared moments of laughter
Glasses clinking and tinkling
You make me coffee
And I kiss you
confidence - freedom - passion