Global Mind Virus Infection Millions – How to recover

memelincoln I am concerned that we are all infected with varying degrees of a dangerous virus.. The TWATTERGRAM virus has spread across the world at ‘warp’ speed. . People infected experience depleted, distorted and degraded information. This virus has set us up to be meme dependant.

Susceptibility to this virus has been cultivated by the repeated exposure to twitter and instagram and an acclimatisation to receiving information in tiny nibble portions.

We read a headline or a meme, or at most a paragraph and instantly draw conclusions. These conclusions,based on virtually zero information, generate fear and lead to behaviours based on irrational and unsupported conclusions.

And on top of that, we also pass on that headline, often without any preamble. Our exposure to endless information through social media has diminished our capacity to go deep to the truth and kept us skimming the illusory,slippery surface of reality.

I recently posted something on Facebook from my phone, which I rarely do,. It was a piece from the Mirror [tabloid UK newspaper], about Moscow-like winter weather hitting the UK for the next two months. I got twattered. I didn’t read it all. Most of the time, I read stuff before I put it out and in many cases I do further research.

I nearly always write something about what I post, often a comment plus a quote from the article, or my thoughts about it. I know a lotof people don’t read the whole thing and stop at the headline or the first paragraph. We are exposed to a lot of information and no one has the time to research all the stuff we come across.

Read Brodie – The Virus of the Mind for more.

mindvirusThis is common knowledge to marketers, and most marketing nowadays is based on language patterns of hypnosis installing carefully chosen sounds and images, well researched for specific emotive effect. It has been the basic tool of the media, politicians, PR folk, marketers and advertisers for years.

So, here’s the rub.

Given this knowing and the fact that we are all purveyors of information, might we now have two responsibilities. One is to check things for ourselves and build a form of psychic defence that allows us to stop forming any conclusions before we know more.. maybe a lot more… especially when it comes to headlines that are potentially viral. We have to learn to stay out of the trance.

In the same way that we smell food before we take it in, we have to be more aware and able to ‘smell out’ the information before it gets unconsciously incorporated into our beliefs.

mndvirusbrodieWe need to do this for ourselves, to protect our consciousness from dangerous information that could lead to unnecessary emotions and potential spiral of potentially dangerous and painful actions.

We have to accept that we are susceptible to this virus and immunise ourselves as much as we can by doing due diligence.

And it would be cool to also recognise with compassion, that some folk are more susceptible to, or more deeply inflicted with, the virus and likely don’t go much further than headlines

We could say ‘buyer beware’ but if we are to move towards oneness as one of the goals of our life journey… then isn’t it also good karma for us to ask ‘who is vulnerable out there, who might draw the wrong conclusion and what might that be?. And am I right in presenting this?

I make mistakes and when I do, I’m good at learning from them, processing and finding a way to turn them around..often as a lesson..cos I’m a teacher in my bones.. [all teachers are rabid learners BTW].

One time in a workshop, I asked who was passionate about their work. I’d pick someone and then ask what they did. There was purpose to this, as I could then use what went on as a demo of how we access specific somatics when we’re ‘being truly ourselves’. But I digress.

One lady said ‘I remove unwanted entities from people’s homes’. I, too quick off the mark, sparked back Oh’ so you’re a Ghostbuster’. Her face fell, omigod. Instantly I got what I’d done and turned it around. ‘Did you see that I asked the group? Then I told them what I’d done, changing her words for what was precious to her to my words which happened to be words that she did not like. Thus my mistake became a lesson. ‘Use it all’ is my motto.

In the case of the weather post, I now see that the headline could make some folk believe it is relevant to the entire country. So had I read it first, which, as I said, I nearly always do, I might have not even posted it. It is quite normal to have arctic temperatures and moscow like weather in Scotland, which is what it refers to mostly if you read the article…

However, it is also great when I do something like this and other people respond, because I am always open to correction, opinions, etc..

And finally, even though we need to take care of others, it shouldn’t become a nanny thing. Compassion is best served with a dollop of awareness raising.

Memetics – “Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation”

Read Richard Dawkins and Robert Brodie for further information. I’ve just re-ordered The Virus of the Mind, secondhand. It was in my book collection.. and one of my faves

We can all participate in responsible meme propagation when we realise that what can be used for devious, selfish, evil purposes can also be used for the greater good..to promiote, awareness, upliftment, inspiration and hope. Still learning… still waking up.. a lifetime journey

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2001 – What an amazing year for the Flirt Coach

Whe had an annus mirabilis or an annus horribilis.. in terms of what has come your way, it’s not what happens but how you face it.      What’s next?

Singing in 2001 African style

The New Year began, not to the tune of auld lang syne to a group rendition of an African song at friend Tom Morely’s party.   Tom specialises in group work using drums and African chants.  It’s energising as well as great fun learning the rounds.. All night as we ate yummy food and sipped bubbly we were practising the song for midnight.   It was a unique start to another unique year for me.   [NB dated 2017 – Tom Morely is a songwriter, activist, team-building facilitator, drummer- Instant Teamworks]

In search of ‘exercise’.

I suppose it might be down to New Year’s fever that I joined a gym in January.  I’d been a regular gym goer from 92 to 97 but when I went freelance and moved from a friendly but scruffy gym to a high tech cold chain one, the magic was lost.  I wasn’t motivated to go.     In the spring I’d done a fair amount of running along the seafront but not for long.    One knee had gone kaput after my second rollerblading lesson last year and was just about healed when the other one gave way..Walking was a pain and running was out of the question.

I started to accompany my boyfriend, Paul, on a pushbike when he went running.  With his encouragement I got my cycle in shape, took it to Eastbourne and rediscovered the joys of cycling.  It might be a sleepy seaside town, but its wide low-traffic treelined roads and the seafront are ideal cycling territory.

I rarely use my car now when I’m down here and thoroughly enjoy the long ride along the seafront to the supermarket with a rucksack on my back..  It seems more natural for me to be exercising in the course of my daily activities.   I take particular pleasure in cycling along the seafront in defiance of the ‘no cycling’ notices as a protest against cyclophobia!

Probably the most empowering form of exercise that I have discovered this year is Chi Kung. It is a simplified offshoot of tai chi and is used widely alongside conventional medicine as part of the healing process in hospitals throughout the Far East.

Chi Kung involves very slow movement performed in a continuous flow in harmony with deep pelvic breathing and various meridian point on the body. For me this is the most calming, meditative and energising stuff I’ve ever done.

I bought a video from a local Chi Kung teacher, I attend a class when I’m here and  I often do a little routine in my garden in the morning or when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed or tired.

It can be done anywhere and for 5 or ten minutes or two hours.  Sometimes a few movements are enough to revive flagging energy, reduce stress, or calm a busy mind.    It’s brought calm, acceptance and an emotional stability to my life.  I heartily recommend it to anyone.

Media madness

Flirting and I had our first media appearance in the Guardian on Jan 10th 1999.   That article generated a flood of media interest  that has continued to flow in on a regular basis and as a result I’ve done a lot of media work this year.    It seems that Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s, and summer holidays are great times for flirting!

I’ve had journalists on all my courses and appeared in magazines and newspapers on radio and TV in the UK, Amsterdam, the USA, Australia, India and god knows where else.     I’ve been written up in glossy men’s and women’s mags, gay mags, party mags, mags that go into posh homes and even Forum magazine [I was assistant editor of the mag 1974].

I’ve had pieces on me in most of the national daily newspapers and appeared on umpteen radio shows in the States, the UK and even Tasmania!

I’ve also been published and paid as a journalist.  The Sunday Post printed two articles by me on ‘kissing’ and ‘sex in the office’  and they did a piece on me this month.  Apparently the Post is somewhat of an institution in Scotland .  I also got paid for a piece on social flirting for WH Smith’s Greatest Party book.

TV

This was the year when TV flirted with me, teased me and then didn’t come across with the goods!     Earlier in the year I’d done quite a lot of TV stuff to publicise the book.  As the year wore on,  GMTV, This Morning, Big Breakfast and Esther all called me to take part in shows and all cancelled. BUT, even as I write, GMTV has already asked again if I can do a show in the new year on finding a husband. It’s just the way it is.. and I’m happy to do it or not as the case may be.    I suspect something much more exciting is waiting for me around the corner.

‘The Science of Seduction’ a superb and well researched scientific study of seduction was made by the BBC Natural History unit under commission from the Discovery Channel. I was featured in the programme which  was shown in the States and Canada on Valentines Day.

Radio

I absolutely loved doing all the radio 99% of which is live.  It gives me a chance to get some nice message across without being edited out. And I’m good at getting in the plugs I want to.  And best of all,  you can do radio from home without having to worry what you look like.  That’s very freeing.   The two half hour ‘agony aunt’ slots I did for BBC Southern Counties radio [Note 2017 – Southern Counties has now separated into Radio Sussex and Radio Surrey] really allowed me to get my teeth into a meaty subject after which listeners phoned in.  I chose ‘Philandering Men’ and Is there Love after 40 as my subjects!

Flirt Coach is launched on Valentine’s Day

I handed in the final draft of my book last summer and now, nine months later, it was about to be unleashed on the world.   I had great fun going round bookshops and finding it on the shelf.  My friend Lesley spent half an hour in Brent Cross rearranging the display to favour Flirt Coach!    It was an amazing experience receiving my author’s copies of the book .    I also received a bit of a shock when I discovered that several books had been printed with pages missing.  What’s really ironic is that the missing pages were the chapter on SEX!

Thorsons, my publishers, had arranged a load of publicity.. choosing Valentines as the perfect launch date.     I spent two or three weeks running around doing all kinds of media stuff and got to stay in a hotel for a week.

The only downer was that I’d been charging for doing broadcasting work  before  and now I had to do it for free! It was worth the exposure and fun and the book started to sell well.

I went on Channel  4’s Big Breakfast and experienced a Donna Air ‘interview’. She’s one of those interviewers who ask a question and then answer it themselves.   But in the true silly, outrageous spirit of the programme I just made sure to wave my book  around a lot along with the pink and blue feather boas I’d bought because they matched the book.

Ready Steady Cook!

I’d pre-filmed this programme last year to be shown this Valentine’s day.  I was on the show with a wonderfully larger than life girl called Heather.  She was a nightclub singer and had the same raucous down dirty sense of humour as me.   Ainsley Harriot the show’s host is the world’s best flirt.  The producer warned us not to engage him in any of this naughty talk otherwise he’d outdo us and they wouldn’t be able to edit out the programme.

I had a fabulous time and Paul came along too.    He helped us scoff the prawns in garlic and the other delicious stuff they’d cooked up and he took some brilliant photographs of Heather, myself and Ainsley.    A great day out and fantastic publicity for me and the book. Heather became a friend and came along and brightened up our June flirting day.

Big Brother was watching me

Like most of the nation  I too couldn’t resist watching Big Brother from time to time. But Big Brother, it appears,  were also watching me.  In July I found myself at the Big Brother studios in the back of beyond appearing on an E4 programme called Big Brother, Little Brother. It’s a magazine type show devoted to all things Big Brother!!!

I got to see all the TV monitors for all the cameras in the house.  There’s a team of people who watch them all day.  There are other people who are going through the tapes choosing juicy bits for the next transmission. I also got to meet the guy behind the Geordie accent of the Big Brother commentator.

My task was to point with a long stick [looked great with my leather jacket!!]  to a large screen showing cuts of Helen and Paul’s encounters and talk the audience through the heavy flirting that went on between two housemates..They even asked me to predict ‘will they snog or won’t they’    Great fun and they paid me. And the bonus was that other media people got in touch after seeing it!!

Flirting in Amsterdam

I love Amsterdam and this year I got to visit twice.  As part of the launch PR for their new no frills airline, KLM took me and several reporters to Amsterdam where I ran a ‘flirting seminar’ in the press lounge at the airport.

We ended up in an Amsterdam restaurant flirting with waiters and glasses of champagne As a result Zoe Williams did a great piece on it in the London Evening Standard.   I even got to work with a paying coaching client while I was there. I had fun teaching her to smile at workman from behind the plate glass of the hotel window.

I worked with a lot of clients this year and seeing each one of them and the people in my seminars change was a source of joy to me.   The girl I worked with in Amsterdam is now in a relationship with someone she likes a lot!

I’d run my first flirting weekend in Amsterdam in Jan 2000 and it was such a success I decided to repeat the experience. I had a lot of help from fantastic Dutch friends Hanni and Arjan.  Hanni found the venue and Arjan did a press release and also wrote up the weekend for a men’s magazine!     Another friend Teresa did the dance sessions.   It was a blissful few days.

I went by plane a couple of days before the seminar and Paul planned to ride there at the weekend on his scooter.  We stayed in a rented apartment that belonged to a gay artist who’d painted murals throughout ever room.    What an amazing place.. paradise.    David my neighbour and ‘adopted’ son and Adrian came along to hang out and have fun in Amsterdam.   The venue was very feng shui and spiritual with lots of space, wooden floors, fountains and light.  Couldn’t have been better and it was on one of Amsterdam’s prettiest canal streets and 5 mins walk from the apartment.

The seminar was a wow and I did a lot of press interviews while I was out there and some TV.   There was a huge piece in a Netherlands daily ‘Der Telegraf’.  During one of the TV things, I found myself in the street with a presenter who thrust a mike into the faces of passers by and shouted ‘Do you flirt well?’. Most of them ran away.

I had to give him a quick lesson in approaching people and showed him how.  Flirtjen je welle?  I think was what I had to say.   After that we got some better responses and it was shown every hour throughout the evening on the  local news channel.

Paul arrived on Saturday night and joined in the after course party  which was a riot.  Most of the younger contingent sloped off to sample the rich night life of the city.  We spent half of the next day in the Amsterdam sex museum.  Makes you realise there’s nothing new and people have been doing ‘strange’ things for as long as records have been kept!

Holidays

I love my work so much it’s like play most of the time and I’m able to organise my life so that I seem to have lots of time to just enjoy myself. But come August,  I hadn’t had a holiday abroad for two years..

Paul had just gotten the use of a massive big trail bike, a Triumph Tiger, complete with lime green tiger striped bodywork and matching panniers so we decided on the spur of the moment to take a trip to France.   We hopped on the bike, crossed the channel at Newhaven, about 10 miles from where I live, and started riding in the direction of La Rochelle

Paul called some friends he’d not seen for 17 years and they invited us for dinner and a bed for the night at their home in the Dordogne.   4 hours and some hard riding later we were eating al fresco on the patio of Johnny and Jackie’s amazing restaurant come home in the heart of the countryside.     We stayed for 3 nights and had a great time. Fantastic food, lots of sunshine, dogs, cats, kids and even a pig!    Sadly we missed the moment when the pig escaped and wandered into a restaurant full of people.

The company was stimulating and the sunflower strewn countryside relaxing.  We visited some fascinating towns, Chartres for one, and villages full of history and beautiful buildings.    We set out for home after a feast to remember out on the patio in the midday sun and rode hard and fast to Dieppe.

Our hovercraft was cancelled but we ended up getting a free cabin on the ferry so we arrived back a little rested.  It was an exhilarating, fast paced four days of fun.

PR galore

I found a new string to my bow this year.  I began to get calls from companies asking me to get involved in PR campaigns for various ‘flirty’ products.   I spent a whole morning giving radio interviews talking about ‘what women want’ to promote the release of the DVD of Mel Gibson’s film.  I co-interviewed with Peter Stringfellow and we got on really well.

I promoted Flirtboat, a flirting game on the internet and I wrote a flirting booklet for Pink Lady Apples and now I’m being hired by Match.com, the internet dating agency, to facilitate monthly events for them.  They’ve even threatened to give me a title like ‘VP of Flirting’.   Whatever next.

The Daily Mail hired me to do some makeovers on women and the first one appeared in October.  They’re storing up the rest for next year.

I also met with Edward de Bono, someone I admire a lot for his creative thinking and ideas on education.   We planned to launch some flirting codes in the new year… and that’s still underway.

Scooting about

peta-and-richard-branson

The Flirt Coach re-encounters Richard Branson who used to be a customer in her restaurant in the 70’s

Paul is a motorcycle journalist and he’s always getting scooters and bikes to test for the magazines he writes for.  He encouraged me to get my CBT, which means I can ride 125cc  bikes with L plates instead of being restricted to 50 ccs.   I made a commitment to myself to get a full bike licence by my 50th Birthday  which is Feb 22nd 2002.

I took a few lessons locally on a geared bike, but got fed up with having to use a kick start.  Meanwhile, I’ve been riding around with him sampling new scooters, being photographed and photographing him. I even got to go to a celebrity scooter auction and my write up got published in Twist and Go.

As a ‘hobby’ I plan to write about riding clothes, test a few scooters and maybe even write stuff for women’s mags on the subject.    It’s a very trendy and rapidly growing market for women.   I think I’ll even persuade some sassy scooter manufacturer to give me something to ride around as publicity. I can just see it now, a shocking pink body, with Flirt Coach in blue… and the website.    We’ll see how it pans out.

Endings and Beginnings

This year I experienced some very contrasting life and death events.  In January my uncle Terry died and I went to Devon with my parents and brother to attend his funeral.

The joyous outcome of that was a reunion of all my mother’s family, and I got to meet relatives I’d never met and renew acquaintances with my cousins and their families.    The day after the funeral my friend Andy Smith married his partner, Jules.

In September Paul’s mother died but not before she’d seen in her 81st birthday a few days earlier, with family and a couple of close friends in her garden on a lovely sunny day.    On the day she died,  across the ocean tragic events were unfolding as the twin towers burned and collapsed in New York and thousands perished

Two days later my friend Rita, in New York, gave birth to Noah on September 14th.

And three days before my December flirting seminar I received a mail from Teresa, who had helped out on the Amsterdam seminar after attending the first one. She had met a man right outside her front door and married him at the end of November.

Death is often followed in this way by births and marriages offering hope and joy for the future

It’s been an eventful and fun year and something new has come up whenever I’ve thought  I needed a change.

Above all I’ve run several flirting seminars that have sent people out into the world more hopeful, more playful and more daring and more themselves.   I don’t have children but each time someone writes to me with a success story, and I get a lot, I feel my heart swelling with as much pride as I imagine any parent would do on hearing of their own child’s success.

My parents have been so supportive all this year and it’s been wonderful living so close to them. I’ve really enjoyed being in a seaside town and especially one that is as peaceful as Eastbourne.

At the same time I’ve been living it up in London, attending press parties, seeing friends and doing all kinds of strange and wonderful activities.  I’ve acquired a false tooth, some new friends, lost weight, had fun with my boyfriend and spent time with my friends, and my fingers have flown across the keyboard connecting with people from all over the world throughout the year.

And on January 8th I’ve an appointment at the smoking cessation clinic.   And I’m looking forward to being 50 and being splendid.

I look forward to more of the same and more of something new.. and I wish for everyone the joy of doing what they love and loving what they do.

Love, hugs, smiles and nice thoughts to you.

peta

December 2001

 

 

 

 

 

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Blogging and the ultimate pleasure

Written in 2004

Now I know that in some circles I’ve got a reputation linked with sex.  And in the past, I have taken great pleasure in concocting sexually arousing stories that on the surface sometimes appear to be not as they truly are..but first let’s go back in time..

As a 12-year old I was writing very naughty stories about the teachers at school.  My friends Felicity, Lesley and I would get together at the weekend and write the next episode for the coach ride to our games field on Monday.   The storylines were excuses for sexual scenes.. rather like a bad porn film.

The structure and content was largely based on Harold Robbins’ The Carpetbaggers, a book I’d read under plain cover because it was pretty sexually explicit and opened our young eyes to a new world of penetration, dirty sex, raunchy sex, sex in wild places, urgent sex and slow langurous anticipated sex…

We learned of what it was like to be a woman hungry for men and how men lusted after women.. and we even got scenes of women with women…

Robbins was my first writing mentor.  He wrote in such detail that the reader was able to identify deeply with the experience.. if you know what I mean.

Although our writing was explicit it was not horny it was rip-roaringly knicker-wettingly funny.  This was largely due to our lead characters..the  Misses Letcher, Nash and Woolley [our elderly teachers] and Stringer [the equally elderly porter being the only male presence and therefore featuring in all sex scenes with all characters!]… These ancient crocks [to us] were the absolute antithesis of characters likely to be featured in a porn film

It is obvious now that the seeds were beginning to grow inside me..

I  slide sexual undertones into some stones that I write therapeutically and when I work with clients there is always a sexual undertone designed to generate sometimes dormant sexual energy… And it’s done with complete integrity and never taken too far.. just enough to light the pilot light and always diverted away from association with me.

I talk to people and add in vocal tones that are flirtatious and sometimes sexual, but always with a sense of what’s right and a sense of fun and just going a little bit further.

And sometimes words seem to mean something else as well..AND  it gives me deep pleasure to do this, because,of course, in order to bring in the flavour of sex into writing, a writer has to in some way recreate the  experience in his or her body in order to find the words to express it truly..and without device.

If there’s a sexual connotation to be found, I’ll find it.   My friend Judith says she sorts for ‘weird’ and judging by the stories she tells, that’s very accurate!  Me I sort for ‘sex’.   Just as tiny specks of dirt on the carpet jump out at my mother, sexual connotation and double entendre jump out for me.  Hmm, which one would you rather be blessed with….

It seems to amuse people and it definitely amuses me to be like this.  In fact it delights me to be naughty and playful.

Sex has been a major part of my life.    You can smile wickedly here which is what you might do were you to hear the voice tone and body language that comes out when I’m talking like this!!     But I’m not talking about my sex life here..

When I was 22 I was the assistant editor of a sex magazine called Forum.  My job was to cull the newspapers and find the sex related stories which I then revamped and compiled into a column ‘Forum News’.  That wasn’t all I did and there’s a whole host of topics for a blog on that micro-era of my life alone.

As for the rest, well I’ll just say for now that there’s a legacy that in some way I have drawn on to create what I create.. but I’m not talking about sex anymore…

I’m talking about blogging…it fascinates me..as does writing in a way that’s pleasurable and delightful and draws people in.. not all… I don’t want them all.. just those who resonate, vibrate and feel the connection…. as I’m sure you’ll understand… we only want to be with people who think we’re amazing because we are the way are..

When I first heard of blogging I realised that it is what I’ve been doing for ages on lists and in emails and newsletters to people across the world … for me [I am blessed with the skill of touch typing]  it was a natural environment for the writing down and publishing of my  thoughts on the internet.   It’s what I’m doing right now.

Blogging will no doubt be brought up in the printed media under the headline ‘Is blogging the new.. I’m not going there.. but to somewhere much deeper in the psyche of what’s happening in this online world.

Blogging is just the tip of the surface of the deep seated volcanic human potential and thought that is as yet unerupted and unleashed…

There is powerful passion waiting like the coals of the fire for the passing of air to fuel them into action… It is there, and it’s important to know that it is there.. and in some ways it has been contained too long.. it is waiting for release… out into the world.. it is seeking to express itself.. in the same way that people come together driven by that DNA program to unite and create..

In eastern holistic bodymind traditions,  the hara or lower dantien the area just below the navel, the second chakra is considered to be the storehouse of all energy.. and it is associated with reproduction, sexual power AND creativity of all kinds and there are many ways to unite and create..which can be as deliciously pleasurable as that way..

Blogging is part of the massive wave of social change that is happening across the community of people belonging to the micro-cosm of the connected world.

The internet is a powerful tool with unlimited potential to spread possibility and hope and love

When people begin to connect in this way, drawn to those words expressing ideas that appeal to you and make sense to you.. a wave begins.. and word spreads like wildfire across the weblands.. and you begin to come together.. in sensational ways..

And I thought, in a way, a blog could be thought of as a  B(e) log.

We are part of a world where people all over are beginning more and more to indulge in the art of expressing themselves freely..on topics from arranging a funeral to how the world came about.

The media has simply been feeding a long-spun deep rooted  hunger for real life stories.  It’s not new.   Truth is stranger than fiction is one of those ‘folk wisdoms’ that have been handed down through the ages.

When I lived in a small village in Portugal, gossip, stories about what people are up to was a form of entertainment.  Throughout time people have been connecting through the media of stories about their families, ancestors and ways, villages thrived on  gossip but also created an intimacy where people looked out for each other and cared.

News was carried from one town to another via the medium of human storytelling.    And as the media evolved and opened out all that came after and then TV slowly took over as a major controller of information.

TV concocted stories for us, fiction based on some kind of perfect fantasy of how life is. It plied us with pictures of the body beautiful and oozed sexual promise from it’s tiny tubelike cathodes…. and yet the when the fantasy came to an end and there was no substance… in the end, it’s someone else who gets the girl or gets to express themselves.

BUT times have changed.  Now the media no longer controls information.  We the people control it. TV is opening out to the public and there’s always been radio talk shows where people could phone in and have their say, but NOWHERE has so much space for public expression been afforded to so many people as on the internet.

The internet is a hotbed of freedom to be…freedom to indulge your fantasies, build your dreams and connect with like minded people… uniting to create pleasure, delight, joy and anything you wish..

People are not just expressing themselves they’re beginning to tell truths.    The world is waking up for years of sleepytime media hypnosis.    But beware there’s just as much hypnosis out there as there is on the TV.

It’s for you to choose the way that’s a match and fit for you and to follow the words that delight and excite you always checking for integrity and truth..you’ll know..when it resonates.

Blogging is part of the new wave of freedom of expression that the internet has afforded us..  As the internet has been growing over the years, people who might never have had access to normal publishing have over the years been able to express themselves in writing on the internet first via e-mails, then lists and websites.

Now more and more of us than ever have our own sites.. your own shop window exposing in various ways who you are.    Lists have continued to grow affording an ease into the idea of writing a blog and going public.    For some a list is a place where they can begin to take those first tender steps to showing a little of yourselves and meanwhile..Instead of thinking someone might read it, we’re thinking.. I want people to read this..I want to show them who I am.. because I’m delighted to be me..

People are exposing themselves like never before..  It’s no longer sensational to discover someone has a web cam in their house and is doing an Osbornes on the net, exposing their lives in ways more intimate than we ever dreamed of doing until now..

And finding its natural medium, the sex trade has embraced the internet with all the excitement and glow of dollars in the eyes of a Madame being offered a lifetime lease on premises in the world’s top hotels with a double page free advert in every airline magazine [and probably in all the alumni/old-boy magazines too]

But I digress… alongside the sex trade and business ordinary people are taking their rightful place on the podium of the internet.  No longer is the mass exposure of ideas dependent on TV or radio.   Politicians watch out..

And as these so-called ordinary people put themselves out there.. they are of course not ordinary.. they are by expressing themselves already opening to the extra-ordinary and all the previously unleashed desires begin to seep out.. and slide and sometimes explode  into and across the bosom of  world.. creating their own channels, driven in a way to connect and commune in many pleasurable ways with people like them…

The potential of this is mindblowing.    And one of the results of this is that when you open a little and coyly allow the world to see that first glimmer of the corners of your mouth turning up.. following the train of energy that started at another level and rises… you tenderly put yourself out there, little by little and the more you are like this, yourself…the more your scent floats on the airwaves your intimate spores carried in the wind.. primed to sniffout and magnetically connect with  people who are a match and fit for you… and they too have their antennae extended and are sending out their pheremonic messages.. this is who I am.. and the purer the message, the purer the match.. and like this you will begin to attract people who are like you…

I am already coming up with exciting ways to express myself on unusual yet very potent mediums so that I will be much more exposed in truth thus attrating someone who is fascinated and delighted by me and I by him enough for us to travel along some or all of our ongoing mutual journeys through life.. and all the pleasures as yet folded in are I sense, already in the process of unfolding..because I am like this..You too can access this way… of becoming juicy enough inside to attract the be es…

And as you pursue your way to delight it is also useful to keep in ready but relaxed awareness that people who are not so nice connect with people who are not so nice and there are places you know not to go and at the same time it’s possible to comfort yourself fully in the knowing that you have a chance to stem this tide and be part of generating another wave.. a much more powerful and delightful wave of ever expanding energy around wanting the world to be wholly complete… and to dream the dream of everyone having access to the pleasures that you are beginning to taste and are juicily savouring…before you swallow..the pleasures of being yourself and releasing your unqualified potential into the world as you are fully experiencing this thing we call life..

The web and this new world of blogs is the space in which we can make a huge difference.. influencing people with thoughts that have positive intentions.

Author’s comment – 2017 – at this point I went off into a hypnotic trance which has to be read in the flow.. it is designed specifically.. using all manner of wordskills

It means that the energies of people who want good things for the world will begin to swell and grow…tickling slowly on the edge of the darkness as slowly it feels the pleasure and the urgency of the de-light and the urge to open out is almost irresistible and it might.. be only a light sensation at first as the idea of what is possible begins to tap at the edge of lower awareness..slowly gently prodding the dark depths..sliding in..and back out…waiting in readiness.. for readiness..reaching for the spot… where you are generating readiness to be..come.. and from within the dark the sparks begin.. setting off vibrations, micro-moments of pleasure, binding together and increasing., pulsating a rhythm as the enormity of it all touches the depths of desire waiting wanting rising and crashing on this  this delicious wave-like sensation of being..purely, yourself.^.^.^.^.^.^.^.^moving to the beat of  the rhythm of you, the perfect tone and timbre, resonating feelings rising and falling heart beating faster, breath drawn from deep deep down…. connecting you to the deepest possibilities of passion within and as you open out completely and utterly your body becomes one with the experience mind and body melded in a huge somatic wave after wave flowing through and over you and at that moment there is nothing else..simply deep, pure and absolute pleasure.. the pleasure of you..at your best..out there, tickling and titillating  the fancy of others as you go through your daily life.. sending out the spores of delight.. here and there in the way that is right for you…. … ‘leaving no one behind..’

And as you begin to come back to the regular rhythm^.^.^.^. there is the knowing that there  is ALWAYS an opportunity to release and shine a ray of hope or interest or delight or connection on someone, ^.^.^.[smiles work wonders as does learning to laugh at life and yourself]..and there are imaginations waiting for you to fertilise them with a tiny speck of an idea…or a gentle move in the right direction.. or allowing those pleasurable thoughts to flow through you… and like this I wonder what ways you will find  to put yourself out there in the world..in all your juicy glory…

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Jail Tales – The aromatherapy saga

When I was in jail I wrote letters out asking for friends to send in letters or just a piece of paper soaked with essential oil. The stench of the officers’ cheap perfume was ghastly and I knew some healing essential oil smells would cheer me up.

I didn’t know it at the time, but one of the sergeants [the highest rank in that jail under the captain] whose job it was to read our outgoing mail was also an aromatherapy freak.

One day on my way to the dentist [I was allowed out because I was able to pay for the dentist] she came out of her office, opposite the bench where I was waiting for a jailer to collect me, and handed me a tiny plastic zippy bag. Inside was a piece of cotton wool smothered with the most divine mixture of aromas.. all natural oils and a little note saying ‘what do you think is in this?’.

Returning from the dentist, Ms Josephs, the over made up female jailer [lowest rank] who was nice one moment and nasty the next, found it as she searched me. She said ‘where did you get this?’. I said ‘someone gave it to me’.  I was searched in the same place I waited for the jailer. My angel was sitting at her desk, with the office door open.  She overheard and piped up ‘I gave it to her’. As she was the senior officer the jailer was reluctantly forced to gave it back to me.

Later on I had a set to with a girl who was lying on a bunk in the outer pod, out of it.  She’d been brought in the night before.. I was trying to talk reasonably to Brandy, the bully, about the TV. This girl suddenly sat up and said  ‘This is JAIL.. we don’t need your f*ing Cadillac ways here’. Then she sunk back into her stupor. The next day I approached her – she was still woozy but more awake. I smiled and said ‘I come in peace’. Then I told her that I was a writer and I thought her ‘Cadillac ways’ line was superb and I would use it in a story.  She looked at me and smiled ‘I’m sorry she said, I was out of it’.

She then told me she was facing two years inside. I went back to my cell and gave her a little bit of the cotton wool soak.. I said ‘this will make you feel better’. From that day we became firm friends.

I started giving the oil to other girls and showed them how I’d rubbed into the pages of my bible. Soon we all had nice smelling bibles.

The bully, who hated me, got her manky cellmate and another girl, who followed her like lambs, to sign a complaint. They said the smell gave them headaches. I was called out by an officer – he didn’t search my cell which he could have done – he just asked politely ‘can you bring that out to me as we’ve had a complaint’. I brought him a tiny bit. By this time my angel had already smuggled more stuff into me.

Naturally, the cell pod still smelt of this delicious aromatherapy so Brandy complained again. A voice came over the tannoy [this is how they announce things] saying ‘bring that stuff out’. One girl piped up and said ‘I have some but it’s rubbed into my bible’. Then two or three other girls joined in ‘It’s in my bible’. What could they do. This was the Southern bible belt and the bible was sacred. It made me think of Spartacus when they all cried out ‘I am Spartacus’.

I continued to receive aromatherapy in the next jail. The women who opened the mail and who also reeked of cheap perfume said ‘what’s that ghastly smell we’re gonna throw it away if you don’t stop getting it sent in?’. I begged them and said ‘my husband sent me a letter already with stuff on it.. I promise it will be the last’. They let it through. It was soaked in cedarwood oil. I gave little bits of the envelope to people and everyone loved it. I found it the other day. It still smelt of cedarwood.. even after all this time.

I see this as a kind of rebellious triumph.

The girl who called me Cadillac Ways and whose street name was Sunshine, became my cellmate by chance and we spent many an evening in our cell laughing our socks off. As soon as they announced the ‘move’, Brandy the bully, commiserated with her on becoming my cellmate. She just smiled and said ‘actually I like her.. a lot’. Yet another triumph. I soon realized that she was a sort of top dog well respected on the outside and inside everyone wanted to be her friend. She had a heart of gold and a horrible background that you couldn’t make up. The morning I left for the next jail, she helped me pack up and we cried as we hugged goodbye.

The picture shows what I think was the back of the jail. We had windows that looked onto the street. Having a window wasn’t always such a good thing.. looking out was sometimes more painful than having no view at all.

fannincountyjail

 

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Yoga Sutra study – Obstacles we face in our yoga journey

8limbsofyoga-treeWhen the dogs come for the day, I spend the morning in bed with them. Perfect setting to study yoga. It feels so calm and peaceful, and my pratyahara [withdraw senses from outside distractions] earplugs serve to blot out the sounds of traffic.  This study is an ongoing one, little bits at a time – ethics and practices, asana and pranayama.. and within those so many avenue of exploration.

Today I started reading Mark Stephen’s book ‘Sequencing Yoga’sequencing-yoga-stephens which is another treasure trove that I know will come in useful as I progess towards teaching. Discovering how much you have to know and have experienced and how thoroughly we have to integrate before we teach is a helpful lesson to learn at the beginning of the journey… I also found a heap of really cool sequences for specific purposes, chakra balancing, relaxation, energising, balancing the Ayurvedic doshas.  As I develop further my own practice I sense that this is gonna be a much thumbed and pored over book!

Something in this book led me to pick up Desikachar’s The Heart of Yoga. I found myself reading about a couple of Patanjali’s points in the Yoga Sutras .

antaryaObstacles [antaraya] or ‘what stops us?’ and Avidya [incorrect understanding] which in this construct is categorised as the roots of our obstacles.

Worth remembering that these categorisations are semantic structures, models to help explain the human condition and may be replicated in many other fields of personal growth. i.e. Yoga is NOT the only viable journey to Be-coming.

ayurvedic-doshas

Ayurvedic doshas – constitutions – one small part of Ayureveda

That said, it offers so much healing in all areas of our life. It is very complete especially when embraced alongside Ayurveda. Ayurveda which focuses on healing and wellness via food, herbs and various ancient medicine practices is linked to yogic principles.. and also focuses on strengthening and balancing our ‘energy flow’

This is beneficial stuff for anyone, not just people into yoga.. As I read about each antaraya, I paused to examine my own behaviour, noticing which of the pesky blighters have gotten, or still get, in my way at one time or another. Wow! So revealing.

As we become more aware of what blocks our spiritual growth, we will begin to notice it consciously as opposed to it just happening and disturbing us. Once we start to notice it we can can work at catching ourselves doing what isn’t working before it goes too far , taking a moment to let go and focusing on doing something different – something that works!

AT various times I have experienced and still do all of the obstacles, not just in my yoga practice but also in my everyday living.

The first one is Illness [vyadhi]. As I get older I find myself looking for natural ways to heal myself. There are still some actions that I take which contribute to illness and I want to stop. Sometimes Lethargy [styana] stops me.

Been there felt that – depression, not wanting to do anything but sleep or engage in comfort eating, tobacco. The good news is that yoga practice, eating healthier food, getting outdoors and exercising all help to alleviate it but it’s a bummer to take that first step when you’re mired in all that crapola.

doubt-samsayaI’ve had moments of Doubt [samsaya] but it is probably one of the least prevalent antaraya for me and I definitely have to watch [pramada] Haste.. wanting to jump, finish.. get on to the next.. oops! Yesterday I was hasty to suggest something without the facts, as I did to someone in our cookery group sigh!

Arrogance which comes from ignorance [bhrantidarsana], thinking we’re done, got it, reached our goal is a big stopper but not so much for me any more because of many years of working with a mentor, studying and working with clients, learning more more.. the only thing I get is that there is a universe more of learning out there, and I still fall prey to it… This is not to say we can’r recognize and celebrate our small successes and value our experience, knowledge and skills

panchakarmaThat Frozen, [alabdhabhumikatva]  deer in the headlights feeling is something I’m experiencing a little of right now. I want to book onto a 14 day Ayurvedic Panchakarma healing retreat.  I have to find a shortest time flight without long layovers in an airport AND I have to get a visa.

I’m never sure I’ll be granted a visa[ doubt] now that it’s all online and after my experiences in the US.. I came to the computer today to book it, go for it and then I realised, I haven’t got the photo and if I get it wrong, I’ll lose the money.. and so on and so on until I couldn’t act. The key of course is ‘just do it’.. just get that photo right, get the visa form filled in, pay the money and see what comes back. Won’t know till I try.

Fatigue or alasya can also be an obstacle, something I’d class as part of illness but Desikachar sees it as a separate antaraya.

I have also been known to lack Staying Power [anavasthitatvani]. I start something and don’t see it through because I’m plagued by Distraction [avirati] – so much out there to get excited about.

hasteHaste [pramadha] in our yoga practice is prevalent in our asana work and often arises from not being present, wanting to get through something, not letting it unfold. I find that yoga helps me overcome this as I really revel in the journey of asana rather than the goal.. But in other areas of my life, I need to watch it.  Slowly slowly it blends together..

Linked to the concept of antaraya is what Patanjali describes as the root of these behaviours or emotions – Incorrect Understanding[Avidya]. Not a great translation when you consider the roots.. and can probably make your own connections… I see it as basing our actions on illusions, not the deep truth

There are 4 of these incorrect understandings – Ego [asmita], Fear [abhinivesa] Avoidance [dvesa] and Desire [raga].

desikaschar-heart-of-yogaPatanjali and subsequently Desikachar suggest some remedies for overcoming these obstacles and that’s where we have to be careful not to get stuck in the ‘Yoga is the only way’ model. There are many fine and powerful practices and models which do much to dissolve our challenges.

He advises Pranayama [working with the breath to balance energy] and when we understand the specific benefits of different types of breathing, it can be an effective banisher of the obstacle [which is either a construct in our mind or a physical imbalance].

His third remedy is to study the concept of purusa [the god within us] which the Upanishads described as the lotus flower shaped centre of our heart.. I call that the ‘jewel within’. Mostly the yoga approach is based on ‘stilling the mind’ letting to the incessant chatter that generates the obstacles.

yoga-sequence-1-desikacharAfter all that, I was drawn to a yoga flow sequence visually depicted in The Heart of Yoga, so I took to my mat, accompanied by Bob the Bichon, and went through it.. doing the final alternate nostril pranayama bit sitting on my meditation stool [this has been a huge kicker for me to meditate as I am so comfortable whilst maintaining a straight spine]

I had my breakfast, a Vitamix smooth blend of eggs, cavolo nero and mustard leaf [grown by me] cooked in butter to become a bright green scrambled dish after which I sat down to write this out with Fred the Jack laid out at my feet in a ray of sunshine.. sounds idyllic? Ha!

Sitting here I’m accompanied by another obstacle, a fag and a cup of coffee – which is one of the reasons why I want to go on an Ayurvedic Panchakarma healing retreat before I start my yoga teacher training in February 2017.

namastelonghair

#yoga #sutras #patanjali #desikachar #pranayama

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Finding my Warrior – chaotic lesson planning and more

nikejustdoitI joined the Yoga Foundation course to immerse myself deeper into yoga.  That sounds poetic, almost Nike’ish – just go there.  Not quite as easy as it sounds because I’m challenging an enduring pattern of resistance.

I was tested when Janet [Janet Bond is the trainer on the British Wheel of Yoga Foundation Course I am about to complete] gave us the task of preparing the hour-long physical part of a 90 minute yoga session.  The physical session was to be designed in an arc format starting from the end of the initial relaxation, adding in poses that would support a specific peak pose, the peak pose, and lead back down to final relaxation.

Janet asked us whether we’d like to work in pairs or alone. I blurted out ‘alone’ mumbling something about how we’ll have to do it on our own when we start teaching so we might as well start now.

Now I think about it there was probably a further, deeper motive driven by my obsession with ‘freedom’ and what that means to me.  I think I likely resisted working with someone else in case it cramped my style and in my imagination, my freedom.

I also missed out on a bonding opportunity with one other person and that’s interesting in itself, because now I find myself exploring different people in the time we socialise and finding out more.. it will be an interesting journey for we are all going to be each others teachers, [and not necessarily in yoga!] big time, in a course like this, which continues for two years.

Given we were 9 people in the class, and someone had to do it alone, it made complete sense for it to be me.

creativeflow1I know how the creative process works for me.  When you read the acknowledgements of a novel you’ll likely find a eulogy from the author to the editor about how they made something beautiful out of their chaos.

I’ve had 3 books published by Harper Collins and part of the deal was professional editing services – initial feedback from my publishing editor and extensive feedback over several months from a copy editor who challenged, questioned and suggested and became a friend.

I create chaotically – sensing bits of disparate information and instinctively finding ways to pull them together, often randomly, so it’s not easy to keep up with me… And it’s stifling for me to have to be edited, or edit myself too much as I do this.  BUT, I love being edited after the flow has subsided.

warrior123Janet also alloted our peak pose.  Mine was a 3-in-one. Warrior/Virbhadrasana  1, 2 and 3 .  First thought was ‘oh no, I hate Warrior 3’. It’s a balancing pose, standing on one leg straight with the other lifted and parallel to the floor while the body bends forards arms arms parallel stretched out in front. Forming a T shape.   I have challenges with balance.  Ha Ha.

The words of the Stones song came to mind ‘You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you get what you need’.

I started the creation that evening when I got home. Sitting in an armchair, I closed my eyes and saw an arc of movement to the warrior poses, easily done and flowing’.  Right, I thought, that’s done.  Er um.. not quite..

That was two months ago, I think. It could have been three.  I can’t even begin to order how I got this finished, because right now, I am still playing with it..

In order to create the arc and facilitate it elegantly in a group, the teacher has to have practised it through layers of learning and depth of detail that is quite scary.

Here’s some of the stuff I did randomly and in no particular order.

I wrote it out, in a table in word, with 4 columns. Column 1 was the Sanskrit name of the asana/pose.  Part of the experience for me is knowing the Sanskrit names, being able to pronounce them easily and to understand the root structure.  I guess learning Latin primed me for that, even though I didn’t enjoy it.  I find it fascinating.

yogalessonplan

An example of a lesson plan – neat, simple, visual. I have a lot to learn

The next column was for the common name of the pose/asana.  I like the idea of being able to teach using both names.. I had teachers that did that and I unconsciously learned the names because associating the words with a physical movement over and over puts the knowing into the muscle, using kinaesthetic and auditory input both of which contributed to my ability to re-member.

The notes column was designated that because I wasn’t quite sure what it would be, but I knew I needed notes.  It ended up being a dialogue.. sentences that I might speak, things I needed to remember.. far too much for one column on an A4 page.. but that’s how I learn.

That was the technique I used to create my workshops.. Initially I wrote down all the stages, things I wanted to put in, talk about, prompts, ways of saying things.. sometimes whole dialogues that I never read out loud, but it helped install it in me.

After so many years teaching in a flow without notes, because I’ve got a lot of building blocks and know how they work with each other, I’ve now had to go back to doing a lesson plan.  You might understand why that feels a little uncomfortable.  BUT, it has to be done.

Teaching yoga is not the same as teaching an interactive, experiential workshop.. it has to be more disciplined to be successful. There are so many new and different things to consider.

The poses leading up to the peak pose have to prepare the body for that pose and the asanas which follow that peak pose should be designed to wind the body down into final relaxation

yogapose-category

A physical yoga session ideally includes a pose or poses from each of these categories

  • Balance
  • Lying
  • Inverted
  • Seated
  • Standing

The sections have to be timed so that the Peak Pose appears in the middle.

We are required by BWY [British Wheel of Yoga] to design lessons with this structure in this order – the other stuff can come later as we get more confident.

  1. Demonstrate while the group watches and listens
  2. Do the pose with the group
  3. Talk the pose into the group but don’t do it yourself so you can observe

Asanas can flow one from to another or they can be repeated or held. The time they are held can be counted in breaths or in seconds.  The number of repeats has to be decided and may vary from pose to pose.

The poses have to be sequenced in a way that makes for easy transition.   Even if you’re not doing a flow, it makes sense not to go from a lying asana straight to a standing balance pose [to exaggerate somewhat] Contrastingly, there is an ease in moving from seated to standing, from lying to seated and so on.

It is important to be able to dialogue the asana [speak it into the students] without having to do it at the same time.  The teacher has to be able to play those moves in their head and feel the effects in their own body so that they can translate it into accurate auditory instructions. That takes practice.

warrior1-anatomy

Warrior 1 – Anatomy

You need to be able to tell a student where to expect sensations as they go into and work within the pose, like knowing that you will feel a stretch in the hamstrings in a forward bend.

It’s also vital to know where people might overstep, move from the wrong part of their anatomy or stretch too much putting  themselves at risk of injury.  This is challenging because the competitive spirit ground into us in early childhood and reinforced throughout or lives is counter-productive to accessing the deep benefits of yoga.

Most poses have some kind of counterpose – pratikriya. A counterpose serves to rebalance. For example a backbend might be countered by an asana that folds the back forwards in some way.

If a pose requires twisting to one side or using limbs non symmetrically [as in one leg is bent and the other is straight, it has to be performed on the opposite side as well so that each side of the body gets worked on equally.  And, it’s important that students are encouraged to notice how different one side may feel from the other.

Here’s a great article on pratikyra or compensation poses.

While you’re teaching the pose you have to include breathing as well as movement instructions

yogapropsIt’s also important to have a toolbox of variations and props for each pose because bodies are all different and you don’t want to alienate a student because they can’t reach the floor or twist in certain way or balance, especially if they don’t have the ‘perfect yoga body’.

And the session has to be timed. If you run out of time, you’ll leave the class unbalanced…

One reason to do a proper lesson plan is that, given the sorry state of ‘I’m not responsible for anything that happens to me’ and the growing propensity to ‘sue grabbit and run’, it makes sense that, should something go awry and someone wants to blame the teacher, being able to show that you had a properly designed lesson plan and worked with it will be evidence that you are a responsible teacher. The Insurance folks like that!

 

 

The plan is a work in progress. I have revised, rewritten, written anew that plan so many times.. I’ve gotten so far and left it and it’s still not complete.  I am a dynamic starter but I am not a great completer. Sigh.  Always that resigned sigh as I’m made aware of yet another thing I know I need to work on.

Overall I am loving this process, the exploration, the discoveries and overcoming the voice that says ‘nah, you can do that later’ and just doing what has to be done.

Janet said this wasn’t a compulsory assignment, ha ha, clever move there, but that it would be useful to do it and offer it for feedback.  I’ve started to get into such detail. I think I have to do that before I can come back and reduce my plan to a drawing of an arc and the names of poses and times.

I likely won’t be presenting this to the group given the number of sessions we have left.  Janet did say that we could fit it in, but I thought that doing 3 physical sessions in a day might be a bit taxing.

learningyouI wonder if that’s the case, given most of the group have an ongoing yoga practice and are not beginners!

Half of me wanted to present and do a good job, to put in all the stuff I think I know I can do.. but a counter voice said ‘Not presenting might be good work for your ego. I know I am not trying to wriggle out of presenting. I have NO problem presenting, which is why it might be useful not do it and even deeper down is the thought that I might not do a good job so why try..

Update: I was asked to present my session two nights before the course and although not really prepared I decided to go ahead and do it… I blog about it here [link to follow]

failurefeedbackI am wise enough to know that by opening out and being vulnerable and being OK with that we will be able to enjoy and rejoice in feedback as well as untangling any that might not be well voiced or putting aside something you disagree with for good reason.  And I get my own feedback, I can tell what went well and what stopped me from being as good as I can be and shine my own unique jewel.

 

ourdeepestfearMarianne Williamson’s words come to mind… ‘Who are you NOT to be brilliant’… your shining gives others permission to shine..

 

 

 

I see that in doing my plan I have incorporated two asanas which I am drawn to, they help me get grounded and relax my back..the forward bend and the wide stance forward bend

5pointedstar

Utthita Tadasana – 5 pointed star

The great thing is that they work perfectly as counter poses between warriors and the wide stance forward bend when followed by a rise up into the Five-Pointed Star/Leonardo [standing like the da Vinci man] asana Utthita Tadasana to use the Sanskrit name, is easy to learn, powerful and ideal as a precursor to the Warrior.

The warrior poses are strong, they open the heart and they require groundedness.. they reach out and upwards and they are perfect poses to lead into if you’re trying to build inner power/confidence.

findingawarrior And that’s cool given that I am feeling to revive and regenerate the confidence workshops I used to run and intermingle them with yoga.. so I guess being given the Warrior as my task was absolutely perfect.

And now it’s time I stopped writing, 2,200 words is plenty enough and probably way too much for most people to read.. but if you’ve got to the end here, yay!

namastelonghair

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Studying Yoga

studyyoga1There is so much to learn and experience and the yoga teacher training is pulling me deeper.  I am enjoying the exploration.  Rather than overwhelm myself, I am studying and practising when the feeling takes me, choosing one topic and seeing where it goes.

I’m a smorgasbord, meze kind of person, so I digest little bits of each area. It helps me continue, leads me down all kinds of interesting associated paths and doesn’t bore me!  Eventually it will all come together..

I sat down to write this after waking at 5.30 am cooking a flageolet stew, preparing my lunch,  washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, then getting back into bed an hour later to read yoga books.

I pulled the Yoga Pradipika from the pile of books on the floor by my bed and then opened up Teaching Yoga by Marc Stephens. The Pradipika sent me on a more current explanation which was where the Teaching Yoga book came in handy.  And then something would attract me, like a specific pose or an awarenss of Sanskrit name structure..and reading about the pose this inevitably leads me to consider the anatomy.
yogaanatomy

The Yoga Anatomy book is also in that pile and it’s useful in one way but my anatomical awareness was much clearer when I also checked Dorling Kindersley’s The Concise Human Body.

I got lost in reading that because it brought back studies I’d done on the brain and functions and fired my interest in digestion.  I saw the patterns of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems along the spine and in the organs and drew some similarities with the Yogic/Eastern concept of energy flow around the body

yogasubtleenergyThen I found myself trying to instill the Sanskrit names for some of the yogic concepts and foundations as well as for a few poses, I read the chapter in Teaching Yoga on Subtle Energies, studying the explanations of chakras and bhandas and doshas and gunas, using coloured pens to highlight and add notes or symbols/drawings.

Some of this stuff I am already familiar with. I’ve used chakras in meditations and am aware of their significance, but I never knew the Sanskrit names.  I’d learned about doshas delving into Ayurveda exploring my predominant dosha [vata] and the kind of food that will give me balance.

A glimpse later today on Marc Stephens website revealed some amazing videos with detailed instructions for teachers and for those who are interested in exploring asanas in further depth.

Marc Stephens Yoga Teacher Training Videos

I find Marc Stephen’s book is full of really useful teaching tips..Today I learned ‘don’t ask students to pull out their sitting bones when they’re doing seated poses’ [and a reason why]  and engaging Uddiyana Bandha [one of the energy locks] fully is more common as a pranayama [breathing] technique and not always useful for certain yoga poses as it restricts breathing.

Find out more about bandhas here

patanjali-what-is-sy-ogaThe other day I took my Yoga Sutras book [philosophical spiritual stuff put together by this guy Patanjali] and underlined each one.. reading the explanation offered by the author.  That’s a beginning of a long study if one chooses that route.   Yogis who delve deep into that part of it are like the Rabbis who study the Torah.. debating the meaning of each ‘sutra’ or chapter in the ‘holy text’.

Whether you go deep or remain just below the surface, simply reading the sutras will shine some light on your your own behaviours and ethics.  Self-awareness is the first step on the journey to grow into more of who you are.

And when I feel it, I start to do moves, leading to some kind of practice, often interspersed with chi kung.

I write stuff out, for my blog and for my own understanding and clarity.

I draw pictures to help me understand concepts visually, like the 8 limbs of yoga..

And I practice breathing in synch to my movements whenever I remember.

I also attend a weekly yoga class because it’s a real gift to me to lay back and let someone else direct the moves and I enjoy the people in the group..

Yoga is becoming a more intrinsic part of my life, slowly, day by day.. a few steps forward, a lull.. all part of building a daily practice and integrating it into my life again.

 

 

namastelonghair

 

 

 

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