Freedom through mindfulness, how to still the mind and find inner peace

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I love tea! Every morning I take time to mix teas, add a squeezed lemon and stevia for sweetness, gather the dogs and head outside.   A comfy couch awaits, with soft blankets and light that is just rising. On cold days we don jackets and snuggle, as we watch the sun rise. There is such a wonderful symphony of song as the birds begin their day.

Mindfulness if being conscious of how the tea tastes, how the birds sound, how warm I feel, how it feels when the dogs snuggle close. This brings me into an easy place of peacefulness that sets up my day.

Mindfulness is bringing our attention to experiences, feelings and thoughts that occur in the present moment.  We can grow this in us by  bringing our attention into anything we're doing, feeling or experiencing. Just stopping in what we're are doing, bringing our attention to how it feels and what is going on for us, can give us incredible ease in life. Mindfulness is part of Buddhist traditions, where it's utilized to grow self-knowledge, consciousness and to access to our natural wisdom. 

When we stop and bring attention to what we are doing, our mind stops! When our mind stops, we have an instant moment of peace. Then off we go again, do this often and slowly, slowly we find greater ease and peace in our lives. So, when you're having your tea or coffee do it mindfully and it can bring a moment of meditation. 

Here are a few steps to help:

  • Bring awareness to what you're doing...like drinking tea or coffee. Feel the warmth or cool, feel it slipping down your throat.
  • Every so often stop and become aware of your breath. Notice how it feels as it goes in and out.
  • Walking can a wonderful mindfulness exercise. Be aware of your feet and how they feel as you move them; how your breath feels as you walk. 
  • Just bringing awareness to any moment is so helpful.

How I found my way out of the struggle with depression and back to my childhood enlightenment

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Okay we all know that really it's not about suddenly finding enlightenment. It's rather finding the moments in our life where we can use spiritual keys, techniques and meditations that open us to our natural state. The state or enlightenment.  A client once asked my, "Are you enlightened?" "Sometimes," I said, "Like everyone else." 

How I found my way out of depression

Most of my childhood was lived in an inner place of comfort and happiness, on a farm in South Africa. There was a knowing that I was good and right and accepted. Then at 8 we moved to Australia and I went to school. Slowly sitting behind a desk that felt like a prison, with teachers who spoke to us harshly and who beat children, I began to disappear. A crawling depression took me over which lasted for over twenty years. I searched and quested, looking for a way back, but I only found glimpses of that feeling of lightness and ease. After college I travelled the world searching. In the Himalayas of Nepal, I waited for a teacher to come down and say, “Aha at last I’ve found you.” Someone who could show me the way back, but no one came. I even felt alone in my relationships.

Finally after twenty years of searching, trying all sorts of techniques and studying with many spiritual teachers, I realized the depression was gone. When did it go? What date had it left, I couldn’t remember. Here is the beginning of that journey.

I grew up in the northern part of South Africa, my parents were anti Apartheid political activists (Mom was in the Black Sash and Dad was a part of organizing political rallies). They had a farm way out in the ‘bush’ and Dad who was a naturalist, wrote about nature for the London Times. Life was gentle on the farm and I felt easy and happy most of the time. I knew I was loved and accepted. Although we knew there were dangers, (we were to run and hide if we saw a strange car coming. The authorities might be coming to get us, because we were Home Schooled and I guess we were supposed to be in regular school) life felt pretty safe. Really I don’t remember all of the ins and outs, except we left because of the dangers of recriminations for their political work. I was eight when we left and emigrated to Australia.

The journey was for me amazing, so many new sights, new people, new tastes and new feelings. My family was with me and even though I could feel that they were sad sometimes, we were still together. I sat on the decks of the ship and watched the ocean, it was so beautiful and made me feel very light and happy. After a trip from Perth to Adelaide in a train and having my first delicious milkshake (strawberry), my parents purchased camping gear and a car and we drove around Australia. We sang and told stories as we travelled the east coast looking at towns, to see which one suited us.

Finally deciding on Adelaide, our parents purchased an old stone house, with a wonderful almond tree that was over the leaky septic. There was a huge fig tree in the back and a field of oxalis or sour sobs as we called them. The pretty yellow flowers danced in the wind and we lay in them watching them dance above our heads.

Relatives told my parents to send us to a private school, so off my sister and I went to school for the first time. She was 13 and I was still 8, for a bit neither of us understood what was happening. We had never been spoken to like this before, had never seen people hitting children before and it terrified me. Our family was splintering, my parents had to work and start a new life at over 50, not being able to take much money out of South Africa. My sisters 11 and 13 years older also needed to work. I began sinking inside to escape, for awhile, in the beginning I could still find the place of happiness and ease inside. Then it got covered up completely, with a deep impenetrable ocean of depression.

A quest began, a search, to discover how to return. Traveling all over the world, I searched, looking for teachers who could lead me, looking for ways to remember. Depression still hung over my mind like a tornado of emotions that I couldn’t get through. Nature was a haven, for a little while I could touch the place and then the tornado returned and it was gone.

After twenty years or more of questing and searching, practicing, trying to find the way back, I found that I was able to consciously return to the place I had in Africa. What I found was that it wasn’t through trying, or struggling.

Here are a few ways I discovered, a few keys or pathways that really helped. In the next blog, I’ll go into them in more detail and share a bit more of the story.

MEDITATION: didn’t help when I did it for long periods. In fact it made the separation between the two a chasm. Worse depression. The space between the vastness of the world beyond the outside world, my inner joy and peace and the crazy outside world seemed greater…but when I took moments of mediation I began to lift out more and more.

NATURE: Has always been a key for me. Taking time to be with nature first thing in the morning, a cloud outside an apartment, a little flower growing in the cement, a tree an animal. These bring me for a little while back to the joy of life

QUESTIONING MY THOUGHTS: We think thoughts are real…did you know that you change your thought each time you return to it as Dr Hansen, in “Hardwiring Happiness” tells us. Byron Katie came out of massive depression through just questioning her thoughts. www.thework.com. Your thoughts are just thoughts, question them.

MINDFULNESS: Take time today to be with everything you do when you remember and be present in what you do. Feel the water on your hand when you wash them, feel the tea slipping down your throat as you drink it, be with the moments of your life.

SET YOUR DAY UP: Before you get out of bed decide how you want to feel today, then remember a time when you felt this. I sit outside with the dogs and watch the sun rise each morning. when I set up the day, it usually goes well, or better.

In the next blog I’ll explore how to navigate relationships. Listen to our podcasts. www.earthtriberadio.com

We walked out with our dogs and our computers, our house and everything else burnt in the Californian wildfires

The fire was for us all a powerful and transformational experience. 

Here you can see them knocking the chimney down of our home that burnt in the Californian wildfires. We had around 20 minutes to get the animals into the car, grab a few things and leave. The winds were swirling and sometimes going horizontal at 70 or 80 miles an hour. What your seeing is our living room. The fire burnt at about 1800 degrees. 

It was amazing to see the over 200'  wall of fire smoke and ash coming towards us as we left with most others on our street. Horses and a donkey were being led up the street to a rescue area at the school. Floats were pouring up the hill to help rescue animals as we were going down. 

We heard at about 5am that our house was gone. The only area that survived was our meditation area. There all of the trees and plants survived.

Going up the coast and then to LA we went, until just before Xmas when we moved to the house across the street, which Heather had offered for us to rent.  The community came with food and gifts. I don't think we had to cook for a week! 

 

It's not always been easy, we decided not to speak about what we lost. Although every so often we'd think oh no, I lost 25 years of Qi Gong notes....or all of our mementos. 

We have had a several miracles happening. Bob lost both his pianos, which was heartbreaking for him. One day we went to the HELp of Ojai Fire relief store....where we can take anything that people have donated....and there was a piano all covered in stuff.  He played it, it had a good sound and we asked if we could take it. Jayne at first thought no and then she said "Yes." So I called our piano tuner and his son gave us a movers name. He was going to charge us 200, the next morning the piano tuner called to say that he was moving it for free himself. It arrived two hours after the pieces of the burnt piano were loaded onto the dump truck. It's a beautiful piano and he loves it.  We've had several amazing things happen like this. 

We also realized that many of the things we have been affirming have happened because of the fire. We still have moments where it's harder, but we've created places for our meditation and almost never miss our affirmations together.

Through the ashes are rising little growing things and everything seems to be breathing better. We all seem to be coming back into balance more and so thankful for all the help and love we've been given. 

 After the clean up...tons of ash and rubble removed....new beginnings

After the clean up...tons of ash and rubble removed....new beginnings

 Our home....

Our home....

Harvey Weinstein and Sexual Harrassment

 What makes a person take advantage of another person?

What makes a person take advantage of another person?

Harvey Weinstein and others have been in the news concerning sexual harassment.  Most of the women (including both of us Jill and Fiona) and many of the men we know have experienced this, or worse. On a global awakening level the fact that this has opened up so publicly is good. It can potentially help those who have not yet been able to open the trauma into their consciousness, to finally speak about it and find ways to free themselves of these experiences. There are so many amazing therapists who are so skilled with this, as well as Tapping and NLP practitioners, who can help to unwind the trauma. 

 Below find a show we did on Harvey Weinstein. Just a note! If we turn this into a witch hunt, we'll defeat the growth we can attain from this. 

Be yourself everyone else is taken

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So often we are trying to pour ourselves into a mold someone else has given us. Not to say they knew that they were doing that ...but lets today become aware of how we truly want to be. Let's make today the day we speak and act form our heart, from who we are and if we don't know who we are? Then focus on the heart and move through the day from there. It's amazing how we find things and people changing when we do that. Heart Math has done some serious research about the heart (heartmath.org and heartmath.com) and how powerful it is to move from our heart. 

You know most of us are operating from an idea of who we are that was given to us by someone who didn't know who they were. We can change that by operating from our heart. We can change that by stopping throughout the day and asking, " What is really true for me right now?"

So often we are moving and living form a robotic place, push a button and I'll react from old patters, but in the same way each time. We are broken records, but we can change that. We can stop in our day and ask," What am I thinking, or what am I doing? Also do I want to be doing this?" Just stopping, can give us the consciousness to change that reaction to an action. Try it and you'll be surprised. 

Why are relationships so hard

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We all have relationships, some close, some passing, yet for most people they are the most challenging part of life. Why is that? 

Relationships are our playground for transformation and light gathering. In relationships all of our buttons are pushed and the energies that we've chosen to transform and expand emerge. During our struggles with our partner, we expand energies and find greater light. Even when it doesn't feel like it. In our relationship program, we give tools and techniques to help you to make life easier. 

Plant Spirit and Communication

 Plant Communication and plant spirit are powerful shows that can help us all unwind who we think we are and return to who we truly are. 

Plant Communication and plant spirit are powerful shows that can help us all unwind who we think we are and return to who we truly are. 

We are surrounded by plants, even when we are in the city or desert (provided we aren't in the Sahara). Plants are a touchstone to who we are, they can help to bring us back into a place of joy,peace and love. They hold clear access to the oneness, their source. The other day someone said, "I just want to find out who I am before I die." I suggested that they close their eyes, put the corners of their lips up and tell me how they felt. "I feel good, she said. "Well, that's who you are. That's you." She stopped for a second and smiled, "Wow, thanks me?" "Yes that's you, it just gets more vast, the more you do it."  We are all fully enlightened, we often think it's something huge to struggle to find, it's not. It's simple and easy and amazingly vast.