Rebooting Mummy (The Joy Of Meditation)

Tonight's Sunset (well it's kind of meditative)

When I think of meditation, a part of my mind conjures up images of kaftan-wearing hippies sitting cross-legged, fingers making little “o”s in the air, chanting “om”.  Another part of my mind says “BORING!!”  Which is odd, given that I’ve been enjoying meditating for many years and been interested in altered states of consciousness my whole life!  I guess my default images are a testament to how the practice of meditation has generally been regarded in our society.

As a child of eleven or so I borrowed library books on hypnosis (which I tried out on my little sister; according to one book, as a sleep-talker she made a good subject).  At fifteen I would sit cross-legged in my bedroom facing the wall, chanting “nam eh oh oh ren geh key oh” (I got the words from an article in teen magazine “Just Seventeen”) – this was maybe the closest I’ve ever come to the stereotype; my mother and siblings still giggle about it.   But object of ridicule or not, it worked for me – I would focus on my latest crush being at the pub that night, and there he would be! 😉

In my twenties I briefly toyed with “watching the breath” as recommended by a Buddhist friend in Spain – that one was NOT for me! – before I discovered the joy of guided meditation, beginning with Shakti Gawain’s classic Creative Visualisation (on cassette!).

It wasn’t until I trained in neuro-linguistic programming and hypnosis, in my mid-thirties, that I began to understand the science behind these altered states. When we meditate, our brains are flooded with theta and alpha brainwaves, precipitating a state of profound body and mind relaxation in which the parts of of brain responsible for creativity, clarity, memory, insight and calm are stimulated. (See Resources below for a fuller explanation of the science.)

Meditation is now a key part of my life, all the more so since we’ve been a homeschooling, and my family accept my daily 15 minute mini-retreats as part of who I am.  In fact my children have been known to tactfully suggest “why don’t you go and meditate, mummy” when things are a little fraught  😀   I sometimes think they see meditation as a “Mummy reboot” button.  They’re probably spot on!

Resources

At the moment I love Esther and Jerry Hicks’ Abraham meditations CD, which contains four 15 minute meditations focusing on general wellbeing, financial wellbeing, physical wellbeing and relationships respectively. I just pop in my earphones, breathe, and let the soothing words and music wash over me – bliss!

Brainsync produce both guided meditations and music only products, available on CD or as MP3s. Kelly Howell has a deliciously soothing voice, and the music is specially created to induce beneficial brainwave states.  I’ve enjoyed using Brainsync recordings for a long time.

This short article  explains more of the science.

Things That Help Me Have A Better Day

There are some things that, no matter what else is going on in my life, when I do them, I seem to have a better day.

(Kittens Don't Need Lists)

Here are a few of the things on my list:

  1. Meditating for 15 minutes
  2. Exercising – doing something that gets my heart rate up for at least 10 (ideally 20) minutes
  3. Writing a blog post
  4. Decluttering an area of my house
  5. Spending time outside
  6. Connecting with my friend Sarah
No matter what else is going on in my life, I almost always feel better when I do any or all of these things. (And there are more that I can’t think of right now.)

Having them on this list helps remind me to do them, because they’re not necessarily things I “feel like” doing in the moment.  I don’t wake up in the morning gagging to go for a run or sort out the hall cupboard; when the phone rings, my automatic (introvert) reaction is to recoil, even when I see my best friend’s name come up on the display; and in the depths of winter (or autumn, or early spring…oh ok anytime the sun’s not shining) I really do have to generate myself to leave the comfort of home!   I can even find myself putting off meditating, which I LOVE!  Come to think of it, however much I may procrastinate about doing any of the things on my list, something they all have in common is that I almost always enjoy actually doing them (yes, even sorting out the hall cupboard.  Weird, I know).

I’ve done this exercise (which I learned from Michael Neill; I think he writes about it in his great book You Can Have What You Want) with coaching clients and I’ve noticed that everyone’s list is different.  Lists might include going for a walk in the woods, taking 30  minutes to read over a cappuccino in Starbucks, writing in a journal, meeting up with a group of friends, doing an exercise class, or taking special time out to play with a child or cuddle up with a pet.

What’s on your list?

Blessings

1. New shoes.  Sparkly! Shiny! Perfect for the wedding Big J and I are going to next week 🙂

2. My lovely friend of a year, A, the Universe’s perfect answer to my requests for a friend with a heart filled with love and light, who lives 5 minutes away, whom I can text when I buy shiny new shoes!

3. C playing guitar, a week after I gave up asking her to 🙂

"THIS is how I like to play my guitar"

(You can see why I drove to Wales for that lazy-boy sofa.)

4. Our tomboy C has been playing with her dolls! Not dressing them in pretty clothes, exactly (Grandma did that at the weekend), but she did colour one of the casts a nice shade of purple 😀

5. J has been listening to Sara Book 1: Sara Learns The Secret About The Law Of Attraction! C listened to all three Sara books two years ago when J was a bit young to follow (and of course too young to have forgotten all that stuff anyway ;-)).  I read him a chapter last week,  soon after that he rounded up the CDs from around the house – and now he’s hooked!

6. While he listened, J joyfully arranged his Yu-Gi-Oh cards into “attack-ical” order 😀

7. My new friend C. Oh my, the BLISS of sharing ABRAHAM! A fellow home-educating deliberate creator! I appreciate myself and C SO much for allowing law of attraction to bring us together!

It’s All Unfolding Beautifully

Two summers ago my dear friend Sarah visited us at the coast.  It was a windy summer and on that particular day the high tide sea was completely wild, but having made the journey from London, Sarah was keen to try the water.  Once we’d mustered our courage and run down the steep slope through the point where the waves crashed mercilessly down on the beach, we found ourselves in deep, deep water, waves as tall as us hitting us every few seconds.  Once we were in, I realised this was the roughest sea I’d ever “swum” in (I decided not to share that observation with Sarah until we were safely back on dry land!).

We spent an exhilarating 10 minutes making split second decisions as to whether it was safe to let ourselves be lifted up high by a still-rising wall of water, or whether an approaching wave had passed the point of being safe to float over and had to be dived through.

My experience of home-educating over the last few weeks has felt a bit like that day in the waves.  Making a decision about whether C is to take up an offered place at a local (“outstanding”) junior school has put our homeschool under a magnifying glass, at a time when it’s probably not wise to look at it very closely at all!  It’s been a very intense few weeks, with some highs – I’ve loved researching different homeschool styles  and exploring some of the wealth of practical and inspiring home ed information out there – and some more, as we deliberate creators say, “contrasting” experiences!

Listening to an Abraham workshop CD in the car earlier (one that just happened to be still in my CD changer – my boot is so full (I’m not sure what of 😐 I don’t change the CDs often), I was reminded that “it’s all unfolding beautifully”.  After over four years of school (including nursery), C has been at home for just five months.  I’ve only been home-educating for a year, and the changes I’ve seen over that time have been profound and wonderful.  The children are happy, bright and confident, they have plenty of friends, and they participate in a broad range of activities at home and within our community.

That day two summers ago the children played happily on the beach as we grown-ups were tossed around by the wild sea.  I would probably never have gone in if I’d known quite how scary it would be, but it was also one of the most fun experiences of my life.  And so is home-educating my children.  It’s all unfolding beautifully.

The beach that evening

To The Coast

I love where we live.  We’re close enough to London for the capital’s culture to be part of our lives, yet an eighty minute drive through some of England’s prettiest villages brings us to the beach.  Best of all, my wonderful brother and sister-in-law and their scrumptious 10-week-old son live around the corner.  (Though my brother and I were born five years apart, our lives have shared many synchronicities, one of which is that we moved to the same town – 150 miles from where we grew up – within weeks of eachother.)

C and J at Brack Feb 11We came to the coast today to look at a house we’d like to buy.  It’s been a while since I’ve felt such strong desire for a material thing, but as with any desire, I know the key to its manifestation lies in feeling good.  I spent the journey to the coast listening to Abraham-Hicks recordings and focusing on good feeling thoughts, and sure enough by the time we arrived I was less attached to the outcome of the house situation and looking forward to a nice family weekend by the sea.

Jas at Brack Feb 11The rest of the day unfolded beautifully.  My brother spontaneously decided to come surfing, after which we had a delicious fish and chip supper with him and his family.  As regards the house – a call this afternoon from a friend put us in touch with a cash buyer for our current property, leaving us in the perfect position to make an offer on the new one.  And the children’s shoes are, once again, drying out on the radiator!

Cordie at Brack

Stuff

I love Stuff.  Books, clothes, gadgets, stationery, toys, tools, utensils, candles, plants, appliances, linen. I derive enormous pleasure from bringing home a new scented candle, a silicone trivet, a pretty and snug thermal vest, a new set of lego, a non-spill cat food bowl, a long-armed stapler (I’d yearned for one of those for as long as I can remember; I can now create perfect little booklets out of A4 paper.  I’m sure I’ll find a use for them at some point.)  Stuff is fascinating, beautiful, life-enhancing.

Stuff can also clutter up my space and eat up my time and energy.

The equilibrium I aspire to is what Abraham-Hicks refer to as “a passing parade of stuff”:  let it in, play with it, let it go.  I’ve got the first two steps sorted, but when it comes to the third I appreciate all the help I can get.  That’s where Flylady comes in.

Over the last six years Flylady (reformed SHE (“Side-Tracked Home Executive”) Marla Cilley) has been (virtually) by my side, gently reminding me that I am not behind, to clear my hotspots, that babysteps are the best way of sustaining progress,  and that anything can be accomplished 15 minutes at a time.

I fall on and off the Flylady wagon, and when I’m serenely in my wellbeing I probably don’t need her. But on days like this, I love that by the simple acts of clearing some surfaces, straightening the tablecloth and putting some junk aside for recycling, I can move up the emotional scale from overwhelmed to contented in just 15 minutes, measured to the second on my kitchen timer.

Transforming Emotions

I woke up this morning with a dark, heavy feeling best described as “foreboding”, and since I begin each day with an intention to make feeling good my most important priority, I knew I had to find a way to move up the emotional scale.

I knew the foreboding was related to a particular person, and that distraction was only going to take me so far towards wellbeing, so over breakfast, with the help of my journal, I began to examine the feeling.  It came to me that I was terribly worried that this person was going to judge me, find me wanting (in their opinion) in some very important ways, and make it their business to tell me about it, and that consequently there was going to be horrible tension between us, and I was going to feel Very Bad.  No wonder the sense of foreboding!

Next, how to transform it… I took myself off to Marks & Spencer where, among the soothing T-shirts and cardigans, I allowed my unconscious to ponder how I could begin to claim back the power I was giving away.  As I pondered and admired blouses, my husband texted me that J (5) had been made to to sit out during rugby practice because of his angry outbursts at the coach. My heart went out to J – it’s tough learning to handle big emotions, but he’s been making good progress lately and I’m proud of him.  And then it came to me – how would I feel if the person I was making responsible for my sense of foreboding were my child, instead of someone I perceive as having power over me, whose approval I crave? In the reframed situation the problem literally shrunk in my mind, from something that had taken up almost all of my headspace, to something benign and managable.  If this person were my child, I wouldn’t take what they said as meaning anything about me – I would just love them and unconditionally support them through whatever suffering was causing them to lash out.

And so another “story” disappeared, leaving all that really is – love. And with me back in wellbeing, of course my communication  today with the person this post is about has been loving and light, on both sides.

Deliberate Creation

My blog byline (if that’s the correct word) describes me as a “home-educating deliberate creator”.  I use the words “deliberate creator” in the sense given by Abraham-Hicks in their body of work on the law of attraction.  I believe I am the creator of everything I experience, both positive and negative, which I attract by my thoughts and feelings. Since I came to understand this I have been playing a game of gradually training my focus towards what I want and away from what I don’t want.  I was born an optimist, which helps, but it’s amazing how much attention most of us (me included) give to unwanted conditions and situations.  As children we are brought up to tell “the truth” (tell it how it is), but while I can see the folly in sticking a happy face sticker over an empty petrol gauge, I’ve come to realise that giving my attention to unwanted things, for example by talking or writing about them, just keeps them in my life.

So this blog may seem a little Pollyanna-ish, and writing a post can take a bit longer than it might, on those days when I first need to focus my thoughts towards positive inspiration, but when I reflect on some of the incredible changes in my life since I started playing the deliberate creation game, there’s no question in my mind that it’s a price worth paying.

My Library Thing

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