What is a holiday?

It was my first “Merry Christmas” since I can remember. 

When I was younger, I’d miss the boyfriend in my life as we went off to our separate family’s for Christmas day. 

In my twenties it was filled with “Is this my step dad’s last Christmas?” to “I’m not going to spend Christmas with the one I thought I would.”

There where those Christmas’s running away from heartbreak and depression, hiding out of town and sobbing into the lawn on Christmas eve at my sisters place and once as far as to a tropical island of misery, teaching me that sadness follows you wherever you go and joy and appreciation can light the darkest room.

Then there were gradually less and less people around for Christmas. Loss after loss after loss, year after year. 

Holiday times are heavy times for some. And that’s the way I knew it. So much so that this year I didn’t bother taking leave, “let it come and go” I said.

Until this Christmas came and surprised me with peace and joy, togetherness and love.

                                       • • ♡ • •

It still leaves me thinking, what is a holiday though?

So, many of us set out to make the 24th – 25th – 26th of December THIS WONDERFULLY JOYOUS occasion. 

HAPPY FUCKING HOLIDAY !

May it be filled with love and happiness 

ALL AROUND YOU 

Fa la laaaaa 

La laaa

La la.

Make your own holiday. Choose your time.

What does a holiday mean to you? Does a celebration have to fall on an agreed holiday?

The “holiday-feeling” is something you can feel at any time when you are centered, filled with appreciation of the gifts of your present moment. But when you assign it to a specific day, we all arrive with our own expectations, self-imposed and society-imposed pressures… and that’s a recipe for all kinds of disaster.

My 2018 reflection crashed and burned and was just a forced reflective word vomit because I was actually so caught up with what the end of year should signify, how I SHOULD feel at 6pm on the 31st of December, as well as lulling in my sweet gratitude for the surprising peacefulness of the festive season this time round, that I struggled to get deep about it.

But here it is from inner peace to outer dynamism.

Let 2018 revolve around:

Wisdom•Celebration•Service•Commitment

Stay Tuned in ~ Tapped in ~ Turned on ~ To your highest possible frequency.

And when in doubt. Never underestimate the power in the voice of silence. In a bit of quiet, you’ll find the answers and reconnection.

WISHING YOU A WISDOM-FILLED 2018.

                              • • • •

Footnote.

Tonight’s medicine for a tired mind:

+ A spoonful of David Attenborough wildlife documentaries

+ 1 spoonful of Guruji wisdom 

+ 1 spoonful of Abraham Hicks 

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Authentic relating.

Authenticity: The quality of being genuine or real.

There are things that we all resent about the antisocial (dis)connection of social media, but what I can definitely praise it for is the “So and so is interested in this event” newsfeed feature, because, whether ‘Joey’ made it to the event or not, I certainly  did.

Conversation HUB: A day of meaningful conversation at a beach house. Now, that’s exactly the kind of event that catches (and keeps) my attention.

Why? Because Meaningful Conversations are rare. And I’m so aware of that since I’ve been teaching ESL “Conversation class” over the last 3 years. Colleagues hate teaching  these sessions, exclaiming “There’s no lesson focus!” and “What is the aim of the lesson? What are the students actually learning?”

My fellow-teachers and management staff of the English Language School I work at all know that I love this slot. Students who have been in my communication classes know why too and the feedback I’ve had for my method of teaching has continued to inspire me.

There is no focus, you say.
‘Well, what is conversation?’ I usually open my courses with.
I get a lot of answers.
“Speaking, listening, answering questions, asking questions.”
I bring the students attention to ‘responding’ without planning what you are going to say while their partner is talking. How often do we do that? Um… constantly….  no longer listening simply preparing our next injection of words and opinions. To respond to what your someone says to you, once they have finished saying it to you, that’s a good habit in communication worth practising. don’t just talk at them.

What’s the aim? you ask.
Giving students the freedom to just go for it. To speak freely and openly, voice their opinions, to talk about things in depth that we often brush over or don’t even indulge in in regular daily chatter. Some topics that are exciting and wholesome, some controversial, some socially awkward. All real.

What are they learning? They are learning life skills in English. Communication skills that they haven’t even been taught to do in there mother tongue. How freakin’ meaningful is that language and expression? How much more true and authentic do you get? How to say what they feel, what they believe, to formulate their own beliefs and express them (in a foreign language as well) to learn about other minds and opinions and have a space to change their minds if they wish, update their point of view.

That’s the safe space I call my classroom. Where no one is wrong or right. Only, different.

I won’t elaborate on my techniques of guided conversations, conversation journeys or conversation rotations but I will highlight how I ended up at the “meaningful conversation HUB” on Sunday 15 October. Alone, stepping into yet another Unknown – out of pure curiosity and need to experience possibly what my students get to.

You see, I see these meaningful conversations happen so often because I facilitate them, and I suppose my lessons have taken on this description out of my own need for deeper connection and sharing. As a facilitator, I witness the magic but by being removed I don’t get to experience it as a participant.

Driving to the beach house on Sunday I was thinking about how I feel about certain topics and realised I don’t really know… because I’ve only ever thought about it briefly but never had the opportunity to put feelings to words to verbalised it. Students have asked me before, “But tell us, how do YOU feel about this? What do you believe?”

I brush it off, saying that it’s not my conversation to have, it’s theirs – a bit of a cop out, but I rarely want to label myself with an opinion I haven’t had time to mould.

So, there I was. It was a small group of mostly strangers. And I was asked to “check in” with why I was there. Which was most of what I’ve shared above. I want to gain skills and I’m open to any opportunity for personal and professional growth.

What I learnt about human conversation and interaction during our “authentic relating” task was that I was really listening and really present in what my group was saying. And when I felt how I was truly able to engage and listen to another, not for any other purpose other than to hear them, a thunder bolt of realisation struck me: people listen to me everyday but “I don’t feel heard”. This was a very emotional moment as I also had to face the fact that I listen to respond, I listen to form an option, I listen to react with advice or show empathy through my own personal experience. We don’t just listen to hear one another.

And it’s a HUGE pothole in the road of connection and communication. Authentic relating is all about giving someone the space, not to speak. But to be heard.

It started with chai… 

Memories of my month in India this time last year~

Can’t wait to go back but also so grateful to that journey for the shift that took place… for the silence and time “alone” (Yet, never alone!) that spoke to me and inspired true and deep healing, growth & transformation.
Realising that when I left, I could find a way to take my piece (peace) of India with me and keep it forever ~ Feed it and nurture it and expand on it ~ was the key!

It started with the commitment to myself to keep up the daily ritual to make fresh masala chai every morning. Just as I learnt to in Pushkar, with the traditional pestle and mortar I bought there. Bashing together fresh ginger, black pepper, cardomen pods, cloves (And my added Western flavour, cinnamon sticks) and boil away with strong black tea, milk & lots of sugar.

This daily practice was sacred to me at the time. It reconnected me to a feeling, to a state of being, a presence, a mindfulness that I’d started to experience in India.

Realising that when I came home, I could find a way to build on the internal and spiritual work that started in India is what somehow led me to the Art of Living Organisation. And become a part of a group of beautiful humans who are also on the path of spiritual growth and expansion. My Monday group Kriya (mediation) is what centres and sets me up for my week.

I’ve recently started practicing Vinyasa yoga twice to three times a week and after a strenuous practice where mind, body and spirit merge into a central light, quietness and joy come so naturally. I spend at least an extra 7-10 minutes seated in stillness on my matt relishing in this glorious state of being and awareness.

Thank you India for really cementing this in me.

I never really knew why I had this INNER pull and longing to visit you for so many years… but *courage* is a love affair with The Unknown.

• Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of the things you really love • It will not lead you astray•
That I know for sure!

The heart knows the answer.

A year ago, things hadn’t gone exactly as planned. In fact, ‘the plan’ crashed and burned in the most spectacular display of chainsmoking, shaking, shock and disbelief. And after an almost unhealthy dose of tears and disappointment for the loss of a fantasy, for the humiliation of having even taken such a blind risk for ‘love’, for having to face the failure. I remember repeatedly saying to myself “it’s just such bad timing!” (Right before my India trip!)

When I verbalised to a dear friend via a sobby WhatsApp message on the train to Heathrow, she responded with,

Maybe the timing IS RIGHT” 

And the penny dropped. The timing WAS right.

The heartbroken setback propelled me into the most glorious spiritual comeback. 

I doubted “the process” of this journey. Because YES! the heart needs a moment to just FEEL it all. The highs and the lows… But I’ll never doubt it again. It couldn’t have happened in any other combination or string of events.

A year ago today, when I thought it had all fallen apart ~ it was in fact a massive turning point, the dramatic climax that every incredible narrative must have before resolution begins.

I remember posting the following words on Facebook as I checked-in to my London-Dehli flight. This narration from an India-based movie that moved me sooo deeply, that I cried through and scribbled down many years beforehand.

This collection of truths at some point had sung out to me in one way or another. And on this day, a year ago I knew a tremendous shift was happening. I knew this because each and every line was relevant to me at that moment in time. 

The penny settled onto the Heathrow INTERNATIONAL terminal floor:

The only real failure is the failure to try.

And the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment. As we always must. All of us, in our different ways.

We get up every morning, we do our best. Nothing else matters. 

But it’s also true that the person who risks nothing, does nothing; has nothing. 

All we know about the future is that it will be different. But, perhaps what we fear is that it will be the same. 

So, we must celebrate the changes. 

Because, as someone once said, 

“Everything will be all right in the end. And if it’s not all right, then trust me, it’s not yet the end.” 

~ The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

 

The heart knows the answer.  And I trust it.

When the heart isn’t clear. The soul’s knowing will eventually shine through. I trust that.

And the Universe has a plan. I trust it.

To your dear soul

It’s been nearly two years and you eventually visited me in my sleep. I really felt the connection. It was so real. But I felt like it was hard for you to come through and communicate at that frequency.

There were so many other people around. Giving gifts and money.
I looked up.
And walking toward me from my 1 o’clock there you were Les, finally.

I was surprised.
But you didn’t say anything.
Your face was calm and almost expressionless, neutral
I said “I didn’t think you were gonna come”
You still didn’t respond in words.
Your hair was long and very dark and you rested your head on my left shoulder and hugged me.
I put my arms around you and you put your arms under mine and your hands flat against my back. I feel like we stood as one.

And we stayed like that for a while. Or a moment. Or forever.
All I felt was relief.
I felt that you were tired as if it took a lot for you to get to me. And all you could do was hug me… but not talk.

But that’s alright. That’s all I needed. It’s all you needed. And I think that’s all you could manage too.

When everything comes through to me in my dreams I wondered why you couldn’t. I didn’t want to lose faith in something I believe in with all my heart. I convinced myself your soul had other more important work to do. And know I now that was true.

Soul connection at a higher frequency is something I have always believed in. With people on earth and beyond. Because I’ve experienced it and it’s an absolute truth for me… so it bothered me that you hadn’t. But at the same time I also knew you so well, and I know your soul is a young one and I think moving into different frequencies to communicate takes experience. Possibly even a lot of practice on the other side.
I felt as though it took a lot of work and focus for you to come through to me.

But YOU came.
YOU came when you were ready.
And I was more than ready too.

Hello?

Hello? Were you even listening to my story?

Of course I was.


Well… You didn’t say anything.


WELL… I was absorbing & processing what you just told me…
But that was a pretty loaded question: Were you EVEN listening?


It wasn’t loaded.

It was insinuating that I don’t listen to you. When do I ever not listen to you? I was remembering the last time you mentioned “this topic” and recalling what you had said about “this topic” and then thought how it connects to what you just said about “this topic”  so that’s why I didn’t respond instantaneously.


Oh. Ok.


You seem to be forgetting who I am. I’m not your ex who never listened to you. I’m not the girl who ignored you, underappreciated and undervalued your worth and your words.


So please, next time, BEFORE you revert to a defensive automated response, remember who you’ve grown to know as ME.

And don’t insult me by assuming I’m the one who came before, that just shows up your insecurities.

Cause I’m not that girl and I’ve never been that girl to you ~ so don’t be like all those other guys who came before you, who were left shocked and dismayed when I walked away from them … for thinking that I suddenly dropped my pride when I started falling in love.

I’m proud of who I am and I’m proud of my heart and I’ll be damned to be confused with your ex-unsatisfying-and-unsuccessful relationship.


Yes ~ I am always listening…
But it seems YOU haven’t been.

A Father’s Day.

 One-day I want kids

And I want those kids to have a dad who’s their hero
I want him to be my hero too

Not in the sense of needing to be saved in any way
But wanting someone who always would be able to
And ultimately someone who is looked up to, adored and trusted completely

One-day I do want kids
And I want them to have parents who are so in love with eachother they say it’s gross but on the inside feel such security and love

I want mother’s day and father’s day to be celebrated equally.
I want to celebrate that I created a family and chose for my babies, the best dad.

I want nothing less than that.
A hero or nothing at all.
Everyday.
Forever.
Universe hear me.