A Charmed Life


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this kiwi girl muses about… Easter

I went to Christian schools so I had it drummed into me from a young age that Easter was about Jesus sacrificing his life for my sins and then rising again from the dead on the third day so I would have eternal life. I remember being very confused about someone I never knew dying for me. It is a heady concept for a child to understand and I have to say as an adult it never felt much clearer; but then religion is all about the interpretation and interpretation is why I do not do religion.

Still I may not do religion but that has not stopped my brain working overtime all bank holiday contemplating on the meaning of Easter. It would have been more comfortable to muse over Easter eggs but I am not a chocolate eater so it holds no interest, or to talk about the Easter bunny but I am not American so have never taken part in any bunny activities; no instead my thinking has been all about Jesus and about these events that may or may not have occurred and this is kind of a big deal for me, for although I am happily content with my spiritual path, I remain vehemently anti religion. This means I choose not to veer towards religious dogma. I am the first to say ‘for one day would it not be nice to not have to read about some religious crap in the news.’ Before I come across all blasphemous, apathy aside, each to their own I just do not see why I have to know about it.

Anyway about Easter. In adulthood Easter has always been a welcome respite from hectic work life no further thought heeded, yet here I am fresh from this Easter break thinking what is the lesson of Easter.
And my takeaway is this – and I have to say I think it was a case of when the student is ready, the teacher will appear because I am surprised how easily it came to me, and it may be a little simplistic but here goes – you do not need to be Christian or religious to deduce that Easter is about love. I believe that the idea of someone giving their life for me is an act of kindness and the idea of that someone rising from the dead fills me with joy and gives me hope for the redemption for all of us. And I am rather happy to bask in that feeling for as long as I can.

 Sat Nam

And…  Issues, Movements. I am feeling an exuberance for justice I have never felt in my lifetime, a wave of change upon us. Whether it is Mental Health Awareness or the fight for Equality or Black Lives Matter, whatever the issue it will not be ignored. And nor should it. Pepsi managed to balls this current feeling up royally, first by hiring Kendall Jenner, the idea that anyone from that family gives a damn about anyone other than themselves is an obvious fallacy. Then the ad itself is a WTF! There is a bit in the beginning of the ad of Kendall blithely handing a blond wig to a bemused African-American woman – that says it all #I’mNotInThePepsiGeneration BUT for incite and context look no further than I’m Not Your Negro, a documentary film, based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript. James Baldwin was one of the most important voices to document the civil rights movement and to hear the words of this man who knew Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr is a thrill for anyone interested in history but why I believe this documentary is required viewing is because it speaks to the present moment with greater clarity and force. I watched it thinking ‘when will we ever learn!’  I am somewhat confused who is whom in the Syrian conflict. There’s Assad. There’s IS. There’s Iran. There’s Russia. There’s Saudi Arabia. There’s the US and somewhere there in the mix are Britain, France, Turkey and Qatar. I don’t understand what motivates Assad anymore; his country is in ruins, it has been six bloody intractable years. Assad has to go and so do IS but I have concerns about other countries being involved, you don’t just fire missile strikes on another country but more importantly you don’t just fire missile strikes on another country without a game plan. The strikes just feel like that thing at the White House thought to do on a whim and because he could. It doesn’t demonstrate a move to resolve the conflict and it certainly was not out of concern for the Syrian people. And speaking of airstrikes on what possible realm does it make sense to threaten North Korea, launch a MOAB on Afghanistan, and then go off for a golfing holiday. Every day it is like watching a James Bond movie but from the psycho villian’s point of view. You never know what is going to happen next but you know it will not make sense and you know it will not be any good. 

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why I think HE will make a great president

2017Yeah right! No I have not had a lobotomy since I last wrote nor have I lost my liberal do-gooder instincts, I just thought the title would make for a laugh. Seriously though – can anyone think of even one reason! 

I love the idea of a new year, a time to start afresh with new hopes and dreams. A rebirth so to speak. It is at this time of year I like to get in some extra guidance of the mystic variety, so this past weekend I took myself off to have my numerology chart done and a tarot card reading. I won’t go into what was said as it is uninteresting to anyone but me except I will say from past experience they have been eerily bang on. It is what was said at the end of the session that was particularly appealing to me ‘whatever happens remember you are a spiritual being having a human experience.’

We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Not for the first time have I heard this but it feels rather timely to have heard it now because who knows the trajectory 2017 will follow: Everywhere you turn, there is this feeling lunatics are running the asylum WHERE fake news is the order of the day WHERE we are days out from seeing a man-child take the office as leader of the free world WHERE (arguably) the world’s best healthcare system the NHS is increasingly in crisis to the point of collapse WHERE the tenet of democracy is being tested WHERE the next Great British Bake Off will air without Mary Berry WHERE previous cold war enemies are now in cahoots WHERE Katie Hopkins is still being employed to spread her unique brand of bigotry WHERE climate change is still being denied even when we see proof of decline everywhere. Who knows. But if we are spiritual beings having a human experience it really does not matter what reality looks like, all that matters is how we show up, what is in our souls – that part of us that observes quietly behind what we do, think, believe and feel, that part of us that existed before this human life and that will continue to exist after our present physical form transitions.

What gives me perspective everyday are four separate realities – the plight of the Chibok girls who were kidnapped in April 2014 by Boko Haram in Nigeria, the imprisonment and sentencing to death by beheading and crucifixion of Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, the war in Yemen and the ever growing refugee crisis all over our the globe – the universe lead me to them and now I have made it my mission to be involved in these plights and as insurmountable as each situation seems, the people who I meet spiritual beings just like me whose only prerequisite is that we care, the acts of kindness I have witnessed make me hopeful for peaceful resolution, make me feel hopeful for our communal human experience, make me feel like maybe just maybe 2017 might be a bit of alright.

Happy New Year. May your 2017 be perfect and blissful in every way.

Sat Nam

And… Award season has began and I have but one word Moonlight. Moonlight is a raw, thought provoking, emotional, graceful, important experience. Moonlight reminded me that great cinema is about the storytelling. Moonlight deserves every award it has won and will win. Moonlight is not for everybody but everybody should see it. Moonlight ~ step into the light, witness the magic and be transformed  Every time I hear of oldies coming back I feel this nervous excitement. I want them back but I want them back good and preferably with the same original line up. I remember seeing Duran Duran live once with just Simon and Nick, it was just wrong without John, Roger and Andy. Then there was Bewitched the movie version, okay original line up was impossible but to leave out key characters and go completely off script was a dumb move. So it was with nervous excitement I awaited the Cold Feet and Gilmore Girls revivals (thankfully both were perfect in their warmth and nostalgia) and it is with nervous excitement I await Twin Peaks but if truth be told when you have been waiting 25 years for more like I have, nothing could actually stop me from returning to Twin Peaks because even when David Lynch is not good he is still kind of brilliant  I really really really did not want to write this year about the above mentioned man-child nor about loss, 2016 had far too much of both. I had every intention to go forward with that which makes my heart sing but as I have already spoken of the former I might as well go the whole hog as it would be remiss of me not to mention George Michael or my husband, as he was referred to in my circles growing up. Precious George, Its done then, god gave you the voice of an angel a generous heart and the most tormented soul. Ever since standard four you have been there with me through all the key moments in my life; when I needed to dance you had the moves when I was torn you helped put me back together. And even though I knew this day was coming here I am completely torn you are not in my orbit anymore and this time you can’t heal me, not right now anyway. Does it feel good to be free at last? I hope you can see how much love there is for you. Thank you macushla for the trail of magic you created, you sing with the angels now #HeavenSent #HeavenStole


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a love story

For those old enough – do you remember playing elastics at interval when you were at school? Do you remember the ditty that went along with it? ‘England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, inside, outside, puppy dogs tails.’ This is what went through my mind as I learned of the EU referendum result.

The possibility of this foursome splitting up saddens me.
The chaos that has ensued since the vote was counted saddens me.
Brexit saddens me.

I am a faux Brit. I am a kiwi but I am also a faux Brit, to know me is to know I love all things British. For tis the land where Charlotte Bronte wrote my favourite book, the land where two magnificent queens called Elizabeth have reigned, the land where buildings and bridges tell stories, the land where great plays were written, a land where history is made over and over and over again, the land where all the great Banks congregate to do big business, a land from whence came the likes of Shakespeare, Judi Dench, Malcolm McLaren, Captain James Cook, Alan Turing, David Attenborough, Christopher Hitchens, John Lennon, Margaret Thatcher and my beloved David Bowie, it is a land that likes to tea, it is the land where for a time I got to live in the same city as Madonna, a land of many accents none of which I can do faithfully and it is the land where I found the love of my life.

My sadness for the current discombobulation that has taken over my adopted country is about the themness of the Brits, this is what I fell in love with when I was a youngin in New Zealand singing ‘god save the Queen’ at school assembly or while watching Coronation Street with my grandma or when pouring over Mothercare catalogues my mother would have sent to her. That pulsating heartbeat that beats throughout the land. What I fear most with Brexit is the loss of this feeling – economies adapt, politicians come and go, Europe will survive – but this feeling once altered or lost can never be got back. The Brits must never lose the themness of them, take it from this faux Brit who knows she will never be able to capture it no matter how much she will keep on trying.

Sat Nam

Also… I don’t understand the brouhaha about the new Top Gear, I thought this was a show about cars, why then does it matter who is driving them! If you had the misfortune of interacting with Jeremy Clarkson like I did when we were stuck together receiving treatment by the same specialist you would find him an odious man who thinks a bit too much of himself, he is not a man to be admired #Joey TribbianiCanActuallyDrive ♥ 2016 the year of loss continues. Elie Wiesel has been described by President Obama as “the conscience of the world” which is apt as he helped to develop mine. I read his book Night when I was a teen, in all honestly it is an awful read, gut wrenching in the way a book about life in a concentration camp could only be but reading this seminal work planted the activist seed in me and it continues to burn bright. If you don’t know who Elie Wiesel is please take the time to give this Holocaust survivor the respect of reading his work or at least one of the many obituaries that have been written in recent days. This man mattered. Elie Wiesel you mattered to me. I will end with his words that seem very appropriate for this world we live in today ‘We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.’


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i’ve never seen a rainbow i didn’t love

blogcolour

This past weekend was bookended by the very best and the very worst of humanity. It feels like all I have done this year is mourn. From 10 January (the day I lost my beloved Starman) through to today there has been a steady flow of tears… as I type this I am listening to Anderson Cooper list the names of those beautiful SOULS who lost their lives at Pulse nightclub, as his voice falters my tears have blinded me… I can’t. I’m just so tired of my heart breaking over and over and over again.

The vicious senseless act that transpired in the early hours of Sunday morning in Orlando has fuelled me with anger, remorse and deep deep sorrow. I have been a champion of the LGBT community for over thirty years (part and parcel being a Madonna lover). I have many friends in this community so I have always known the bigotry actually lets just call it what it is – HATE – I have always known the hate that has been endured. There have been times in my life when I have struggled and it was this community that helped me find my way so I will love, honour and protect this community till the day I die.

The US has a gun problem. The rest of the world sees it. Most Americans see it. But there are others NRA hardliners and extreme right wingers who don’t seem to and yet they hold the lives of their entire nation in their hands. I thought for sure after Sandy Hook there would be real change. The correct reaction to children being massacred would surely be to ensure it never happened again but no it wasn’t to be and mass shootings have increased in the time since. As someone who comes from New Zealand and who has lived in Australia it is hard to understand why the US cannot adopt some kind of variation of these countries’ gun control legislation; legislation that both countries amended back in the nineties when they each experienced a similar type of senseless act. Some twenty years later both countries are proof that robust gun control legislation works.

And yet, yes the US has a gun problem.
But the planet has a HATE problem.
And where there is hate, violence can always find a way. Guns or no Guns.
And we can put this atrocity under the umbrella of religion, terrorism, radicalisation but there is only one actual reason it happened – Bad Parenting.

Too many people think their job as a parent is done if they feed, clothe and school their children; but giving them the confidence to be themselves, teaching and showing children generosity and kindness and how to communicate effectively, to love, respect and tolerate ALL life regardless of race, creed, gender, shape, who one chooses to love – inclusive of all creatures and mother earth – this is good parenting. I am a child of Indian descent, I know the specific homophobia that exists for people of the diaspora, it is a hostility that is deeply rooted in the culture. I have friends who still today cannot be honest about who they are to their families. This will not change until we attack the root cause.

Hatred of any kind is a choice.
A child is taught to love.
A child is taught to hate.
The seed is planted at a young age.

If one lacks the appropriate parenting and does not know their own mind, lacks confidence, is disillusioned they are open to being brainwashed by religion, terrorism, radicalisation whatever you want to call it, and as this seed gets watered regularly it grows and the reality is you reap what you sow. Hate crimes will not stop until we grow a different seed.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this weekend for me began with seeing the very best of humanity – Muhammad Ali’s interfaith memorial. This colossus of a man wished for his passing  – as he had his life – to be a teaching moment. If you saw the service you will understand how magnificently he achieved this, if you haven’t I beseech you to watch it, listen to the words and let the sentiment wash all over you for this is how you plant a different seed.

To my brothers and sisters of the LGBT community you forever have my heart; to steal words said so eloquently on Sunday by Lin-Manuel Miranda “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love. Cannot be killed or swept aside.” And nor shall it be.

Sat Nam

Also… Muhammad Ali – what a gift of a man – the one person on this planet who transcended race, religion, gender to unite all in their love and respect for him. There is no one left who comes close to achieving this. On a personal note, I owe him gratitude for because of him and his wondrous life I achieved my highest mark in all my academia when in college I did a History paper on his civil rights contribution. It was a joy to research him. It was a joy to listen to him riff. It was a joy to watch him in and out of the ring. Muhammad Ali – a masterclass in what it means to be human and so pretty too. To have lived in your time, how lucky am I #IamAli #G.O.A.T. #AliBomaye ♥ And so the BREXIT campaign enters into the last week, it’s been a minefield figuring out the right way to vote – you only have to look at Greece and Portugal to see that austerity has not worked and that the EU has completely failed to deal with the refugee reception crisis yet being in the EU is like being a part of a cosmopolitan club with trade, employment and travel benefits #ShouldBritainStayOrShouldBritainGo ♥ And my girl Hills – Whop Whop the FIRST WOMAN to be a major party’s nominee for President of the United States. Proving there is no ceiling too high to break. Next stop 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue #I’mWithHer #Hillary2016


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the answer is always LOVE

Peace

All weekend I have been trying to make sense of the senseless and I have come up with nothing. Zilch. Nada for my woe so here I am stuck in this weltschmerz state of mind.

That human beings are capable of such awful atrocities towards their fellow brothers and sisters is not something I – a believer in all things peace and love – can even begin to comprehend AND yet here we are again AND we will be here again and again until… until what I don’t know. All I know is the world we have come to know, the times we are living cannot be changed by normal allopathic means. The time is upon us for that awakening. That energy shift. That big fat bloody miracle.

‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’~Martin Luther King, Jr.

How many of us have been fortunate enough to fall in love with Paris, well now the time has come to fall in love again. Whatever you believe in; a god, the universe, an energy vibration, an ing (as I call it) or even if you have no belief system, believe this:  We – as the wonderseekers, global citizens, inhabitants of planet Earth, lovers of life – have a challenge before us, these attacks in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad seek to divide us. They aim to turn us into an us-versus-them society. We cannot allow this to happen nor can we rely only on the leaders of the world or ‘someone else’ to resolve this. The revolution of LOVE starts with you in every breath you take, every thought you think, every word you say, every prayer you pray, every action you make, every time you meditate – it’s on you. If I sound like I am repeating myself from other posts that is because the answer is always LOVE and I will keep going until I feel that seismic change which humanity needs in order to thrive.

So are you with me? If your answer is anything but yes – what is the alternative? Wait for that elusive someone or something else to heal our world and change your FaceBook profile picture every time something senseless happens. Solidarity matters but from where I’m standing it is not enough. I don’t think there is a choice. In the words of Michael Jackson and a legion of others ‘There comes a time when we heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one… We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones to make a brighter day so let’s start giving. There’s a choice we’re making, we’re SAVING OUR OWN LIVES…’ #LetsDoThis

Sat Nam

Pour tous mes frères et sœurs à Paris and to all my brothers and sisters in Beirut, Baghdad and in all the world amour et la lumière tant d’amour et de lumière pour nous tous love and light so much love and light for us all xxx (thank you to my father who insisted I continue with French lessons instead of taking up typing or computer studies at school – it has come in very useful in the last few days, merci beaucoup père)

Also in the news:  “No one puts children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” Home by #WarsanShire. As we have been told, the diaspora of refugees has had a causal impact in the Paris attacks as, at least one of the people responsible used the refugee route to get into Europe. How many more reasons does there need to be to resolve this crisis! #RefugeeCrisis #TheTimeisNow #GivePrayLove ♥ Adele’s new song meh! Yes she has a phenomenal voice and yes her previous work was fab but that doesn’t mean everything she sings is worthy of number one. I did enjoy seeing Dixon from 90210 in the video though #TooMuchHype ♥ Election victory for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. About time! I love the countenance of this woman, I feel peaceful when I look at her face, obviously this has nothing to do with her leadership but any person who sacrifices precious time with their dying spouse for the love of their country and its people gets my vote. #ItsFinallyYourTime #WhoRunTheWorld

 


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good bones, needs work

I consider myself a fixer upper – good bones, needs work but potential to make magnificent if done right and that is why I am happily on my spiritual journey and as such very much a student, open to anything and everything but lately I’ve become deeply disappointed with my teacher (my spiritual guide), the one who in the past few years I’ve relied on to help me change my life. She’s introduced me to Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini yoga and guided me through A Course in Miracles, so you can see then how this about face would have me in a state of bother.

The self help market is saturated with well intentional spiritual teachers, life coaches, gurus whatever they call themselves and I recognise they have a right to earn a living so I am comfortable with their message parlaying into a sell – book, course, talk, app, tarot cards, t-shirts and the ilk but what happens when the scale begins to tip more and more in favour of the person than their ideology – when that monster called fame takes over?

We live in a world where we adulate nobodies who seek fame by sharing their sex tapes online, we give them ‘celebrity’ status and they go on to have television shows created for them heightening their fame into the stratosphere. This idea of celebrity comes about because of our perception and embrace of an individual and as much as I might loathe everything about it, I understand it is not on the vapid person who released their sex tape but on their following that has elevated them from a lay person to a celebrity and it’s everywhere not just the domain of Hollywood folk and rockstars. I once spent a weekend with my guru and I saw how fanatical people got, practically elevating him into god status; hell I myself have been preaching at the altar of Madonna for the last 32 years and yes fanatical is a word I’ve had bandied about when it comes to me and her but in both examples it is on me or others not on the person being emulated.

That anyone can be a celebrity I get, here’s my problem with my teacher, that’s not who she was about and it’s not what I bought into. When I first discovered her, it was soon after she had written her first book which highlighted her journey from addiction (drugs, work and codependency) to self help book author, her message was authentic because it was from the heart. She was committed to guiding people through their spiritual bottom back to the light and magnificence within because she had been there herself. Fast forward to now – do I need to know what she is wearing out on date night with her husband? Or what paint colours she is debating on for her living room walls? How many selfies with Oprah does one need to share? And enough of the holiday pics already, I get bored looking at holiday snaps of people I actually know – why on earth would I want to see yet another shot of you in a bikini – how is that contributing to my spiritual journey? It reeks of narcissism and haven’t you been teaching me to transcend the ego.

Enough already. I’ve reached the tipping point. Drastic action required – I have blanked her. I have shelved her books (they usually sat on my bedside table), unfollowed her on social media, unsubscribed her emails, deleted her app and I decided against attending her workshop this year. It’s sad to me that someone in the role of a teacher should have turned out to be such a disappointment, reminds me of my school teachers – the ones that weren’t any good – I have always wondered why they bothered to become teachers if they weren’t interested in teaching. It’s such an important job. I wonder if she even realises how she be might be perceived now. Would she even care! Is her fifteen minutes worth it? You will have noticed I haven’t mentioned her name, it was intentional for whilst it feels right to do this detox right now, I still believe in her message and she has a way of communicating that makes me listen and motivates me to action so I hold high hopes to reconnect with her again someday and anyway as she taught me to name and shame would be the ego speaking and that’s just not what I am about.

Sat Nam

Also this week: It’s no surprise that the refugee crisis is a very contentious issue, people I have spoken to tend to get very animated when discussing whether they think their country is doing too much or too little, or even whether it is their problem to deal with and everyone is entitled to their opinions BUT this crisis is not something you will hear in the news for a while and then will just magically go away. I don’t know the right solution but I think it just plain wrong this has become a problem for democratic nations to fix whilst neighbouring countries stay stum, and while they do nothing – someone has to do something. A lot of someones. #DoSomething #RefugeeCrisis #YouDon’tHaveToLiveLikeARefugee • Speaking of neighbouring countries, as I write in Saudi the execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is imminent. Ali was arrested in 2012 for his participation in Arab Spring protests when he was just a child. I live in a country where I have free will to express myself; the Arab Spring protests were pro-democracy, people expressing their wish to have that same free will I enjoy everyday. Ali is to be killed by beheading and crucifixion. In this day and age forget about how no one has a right to take the life of another human being NO ONE forget that for second – beheaded and crucified – how fucked up is that! And these barbarians who make these decisions are the same people that litter the hotel foyers in Beverly Hills, the same people whose fancy cars are seen outside Harrods but I guess that’s okay because oil is more important than the life of a human being #ThisIsNotRight #EveryLifeMatters • On a much more happier note loving having Kathy back on the Square on Eastenders, best comeback of the year #IanGotHisMammaBack • And that Dem debate – or as I like to call it the Sanders/Clinton show – now that’s how you debate with clarity, substance and grace – GOP hope you were taking notes. Hillary proved yet again why she is the right person for the job, I just love hearing that woman talk. Intelligence is sexy #EnoughAboutThoseBloodyEmails #Hillary16 • And last but not least, how about that game on Saturday! My first game of this tournament and what a game to witness. This kiwi girl was screaming, crying and just so so so proud. I’ve started to dream about the doable. Bring on the saffas – sorry to my SA family I love you long time but we are gonna kick your arse and it’s going to be so lekker #RWC15 #AllBlackEverything


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one size fits all

Do you think you breathe properly? I’m here to tell you, chances are you probably don’t, most likely you are a ‘shallow’ breather (as in you only use your chest). Unless you specifically seek it out, learning to breathe properly is not a life skill we are taught, mores the pity for breathing properly creates a positive domino effect in every aspect of your life and who’s saying no to that right?

I say this from experience for, it wasn’t until I took up meditation that I discovered a) just how lousey a breather I was b) the benefits gained in getting this breathing gig right; and as someone who suffers from anxiety I can’t tell you enough how this – to be able to apply a breathing technique to counterbalance any threat of a panic attack – has changed my confidence and all round mental health. The reason for this, as Yogis have always known and the medical profession finally agrees with, is because breathing is intimately connected to the autonomic nervous system and the mind. Don’t worry I’m not going to go into the science of why you should be using your diaphragm when you breathe or why breathing through your nose is much better for your health, that would be too much for a science dunce like me to explain, I’ll leave that for you to GOOGLE, instead I am just going to share my go-to breathing practice for anxiety.

Here goes:
♠Close your mouth. Breathe in through your nose counting to four as you inhale.
♠Hold your breath again counting to four.
♠Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of four.
♠Pause for four.

This is one breath. Repeat the cycle as the practice gains in power with repetition. Continuing this breathing for one minute or for four full breaths is good start for a beginner. As you improve you can increase your counts to six then eight and your body will tell you when you are ready to stop.

This one size fits all tool has served me well. It’s easy once you get the hang of it AND it really works in alleviating stress and restoring calm AND it is so handy to have up your sleeve, ready to use whenever wherever you are aware of any internal tension.

Sat Nam

Also this week: My favourite instagram follow HUMANSOFNY is currently sharing stories from refugees in Europe/Middle East. I urge you to read/follow if you haven’t already, en masse the crisis feels daunting and impersonal but reading these individual stories provides context – feel your stomach clench in knots and the tears roll down your cheeks – its hard to digest but it’s real and if it projects you into doing something proactive to help PLEASE DO #HealtheWorld #MakeItABetterPlace • As a rule I am anti religion, spiritual yes but religion can go do one as far I’m concerned but this Pope Francis he seems a bit alright; progressive and remorseful in all the right places #ImaStMarysOldGirl • And at the very other end of the progressive spectrum – this Putin guy, I don’t get his motivation at all. If I ruled a country I would push my country to thrive in all areas. Putin has done the opposite over and over; LGBT rights, freedom of the Press, Ukraine, Syria and okay you hate America but learn to communicate in English effectively – seriously you’ve been around too long not to, surely that must be a prerequisite for world domination 101.  #WhatWouldTolstoyThink • RWC15 the All Blacks are through to the quarter finals, no surprises there. I won’t say anything about England except that I was gutted #ImaFauxBrit but #aRealProperKiwi #goABs


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imagine

I am an emotional person. I feel very strongly about everything often to my detriment. I have never been able to see any kind of upset or joy and not feel affected. I’m a crier. Big time crier. I actually had to learn emotional intelligence to get a grip on my emotions, even still, at times life happens and I find I get lost in the emotion of it all. When I’m in that state there is no point in trying to write anything of consequence so I tend to stay away from that which leaves me raw for the purpose of this blog.

Today I’m breaking this rule.

Today I’m writing about something that is happening right now.

Today I need to be emotional, in fact we all need to be emotional.

‘Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too. Imagine all the people. Living life in peace…’

John Lennon was bang on with his vision of how the world should be. Just think how beautiful it would be if we made every decision with love. Utopian it maybe but, just for one second imagine how it could be. We are living in perhaps the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II and as global citizens we cannot plead ignorance, dwell on a feeling of helplessness nor think ‘it doesn’t affect me’ because on a human to human level it absolutely does affect us. Each and every one of us.

Who hasn’t had a visceral reaction to the image of three year old Alan Kurdi. This beautiful boy who drowned along with his mother and brother; leaving behind a father to now grieve this loss as well as having to cope with being a displaced person. It would break the best of us. This is just one story out of millions. I feel heartsick.

I don’t know the best solution to resolving this refugee crisis; there seems to be a lack of ownership globally, the work of NGOs like the Red Cross is being stretched by financial constraints and the political games being played and the band aid solutions that are coming out of everywhere are… well they’re band aids then what! All I know is that these people deserve to exist as much as you and I do and we have a moral responsibility to make sure this happens.

So bear with me, here’s where I get all whoo whoo. If what we speak about we bring about, it gives then if we focus on peace and love for our fellow brothers and sisters then it must be. So please let us raise our vibration because….

♥Prayer works
♥Meditation works
♥Mantras work
♥Hope works
♥Peace works
LOVE works is all that matters

AND If you can do so donate what you can; clothing, time, and of course much needed funds. There are so many reputable NGOs out there working miracles – Oxfam GB  Unicef UK  UNHCR US  NZ Red Cross  Red Cross Aus (you can click on any of these should you wish to donate now).

‘You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will be as one.’

I hope that day is today. Ubuntu. Human to human.

Sat Nam

Also this week: My very first spiritual/self help teacher Dr. Wayne Dyer has left us for his next adventure. In memory of him let me share a quick funny story about how this inspiring man came into my life. Many many moons ago my father paid for me to go on a motivation seminar, Dr. Dyer was a keynote speaker. Impressed with his words I bought his book. That night there I am all snugly in bed and excited to read my new book I pull it out of the carry bag it came in, imagine my shock when I read the title of the book Your Erogenous Zones. In those days I was very much an innocent I didn’t even know what a vibrator was, as such I was so embarrassed I hid the book away and didn’t pick it up again for years and when I did, I had to have a laugh… you see I had read the book title incorrectly it was actually called Your Erroneous Zones, which of course made so much more sense in relation to his presentation. D’oh! Anyway I devoured the book and became  a fan. I will miss the conversations between him and Abraham. I’ll let Dr. Dyer have the last word as its completely relevant to today’s post ‘I fill myself up with love, and I send that out into the world. How others treat me is their path: how I react is mine.’ #InstantKarmasGonnaGetYou 


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debunking

Med

I meditate. Morning and night and anytime in between if desired. One of the questions I get asked a lot is how do you find time to do it? My response – do you have time to breathe? It really is that basic, well it is to me at least and as I believe meditation should be an essential part of every soul’s journey I’ve set about debunking (love that word) some commonly held myths about meditation – myths I myself held at one point in my life – and by doing so just maybe (if you haven’t already embraced it) convince you to give it a try.

Myth No. 1: I can’t because… I don’t have time. If you have time to check Facebook then you have time to meditate. If you have time to sit in front of the tele then you have time to meditate. If Oprah and Rupert Murdoch have time to meditate then you have time to meditate. There is an old Zen saying: ‘You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.’ Here’s the reality: Meditation actually makes you more efficient, present and productive with your day-to-day. Author Peter Bregman writes that “Meditation makes you more productive. How? By increasing your capacity to resist distracting urges.” He continues, “Our ability to resist an impulse determines our success in learning a new behavior or changing an old habit. It’s probably the single most important skill for our growth and development. As it turns out, that’s one of the things meditation teaches us. It’s also one of the hardest to learn.”

I currently meditate 43 minutes first thing in the morning and eleven minutes before bed and in between I add in mini meditations (one-three minutes) just to bring some awareness into my day. Now it comes easy but it took years for me to get into this routine, I chose to commit then made a conscientious effort to keep at it. If meditation becomes a priority in your life, you will find time for it. Start small, even just a few minutes at a time is better than no minutes.

Myth No. 2: I can’t because… I can’t be sitting crossed leg. The lotus position is the ideal position to sit but it is not the only acceptable position. The Lotus Pose or Padmasana is the über pose when meditating because, by aligning the spine and opening the channels that run through the centre of the body, upright sitting encourages an unimpeded circulation of prana (energy); which in turn contributes to wakefulness on all levels — physical, mental, and spiritual AND it is a very balanced and symmetrical posture, which means the body can be held motionless with the least distractions.

However lotus position does require open hips and a lot of practice seeing as most of us won’t have sat cross legged much since leaving school. Meditation is meant to be calming and relatively easy so if lotus causes discomfort in any way you can stand up, sit on a chair or even lie down (just watch you don’t fall asleep), just as long as your spine is reasonably straight.

Myth No. 3: I can’t because… I don’t think I can still my thoughts. There is this idea that meditation is about banishing or controlling thoughts but just like you cannot stop hearing you cannot stop thinking. Try it. The more you resist the more it persists. The practice of meditation is to observe what happens in the mind in a non-judgmental way, and by focusing your mind on something else (an image, mantra, your breathing) you consciously withdraw your attention away from these thoughts, this allows the mind to slowly calm down. Anytime you catch your monkey mind wandering then you bring it back to the present moment (to your meditation) again and again and again and again. As you continue to practice, in time you will notice that although thoughts are present you aren’t getting lost in their content.

Myth No. 4: I can’t because… It’s not for me. For years I held the preconceived idea that meditation only worked for the devoutly religious or tripped out hippies and whilst being a tripped out hippie has always appealed to me, even as meditation grew into a global widely known practice I stubbornly resolved ‘I wasn’t that type of person.’ However it is my belief that you can talk yourself in or out of anything, so if you think meditation isn’t for you than it probably isn’t but I think if you feel a calling for it like I did or just simply want to give it a go – then it is absolutely for you. There is no right type of person when it comes to meditation. All that is required of you is that you show up and commit to the practice.

Myth No. 5: I can’t because… I would feel silly chanting. Then don’t or do and feel silly anyway. There are so many types of meditation and ways to meditate, some involve chanting of mantras but there are plenty others that don’t. I have a friend who says running is her meditation and another who says he feels he is meditating when he is out hiking. At different stages of my study I have learnt mindfulness meditation (non chant), mantra meditation (chant), guided meditation (non chant), kundalini meditation (chant) and transcendental meditation (chant). That said don’t discount the merit (and fun) of chanting altogether, the silliness won’t last but the feel good sensation you have inside will. I’ve always found when I take myself out of my comfort zone that’s when l thrive.

Myth No. 6: I can’t because… I’m already a better person Maybe you are but isn’t there always room for improvement. Meditation came into my life when I was living an unhappy chaotic existence. I’ve mentioned previously that it was calling, I’ll explain why. Years ago I was walking down the high street near my home and I walked passed a monk, not an usual occurrence I didn’t live near temple or anything like that, so he was noticed by moi. Next day same again, this time he smiled at me. Then the next day I said to myself before leaving home ‘I wonder if I will see that monk again.’ I walked along the same street looking out for him but to no avail so I went about my business and forgot about him. Three hours later eight tube stops away I bumped into him outside Pizza Express in Baker Street. He caught me staring at him, we smiled at each other as if acknowledging a comrade. That night and for the following four nights I dreamt of that monk, each time he would be in meditation. After that fifth night I woke up feeling a call to meditate, I actually said out loud ‘that’s what I’m going to do.’ I never saw that monk again in real life or in my dreams.

To put this story into context at this point in my life I was looking for something – meaning, purpose anything… I’d read so many books The Art of Loving, The Celestial Prophecy, The Secret, a little Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh and on and on, learnt The Kabbalah(some), seen tarot card readers and psychics, dabbled in yoga but hadn’t found a practice I enjoyed yet, had my astrology chart done, you name it I was trying it or at least thinking about trying it – all the while I was ‘finding’ myself  I was also engaging in destructive behaviours – nothing was sticking. Then I had this experience and I just knew. Something had finally stuck. It was one of those moments I could feel the universe had my back. Does meditation make me a better person? It definitely helps. I found my way in meditation and my regular practice leaves me feeling energised and this incredible feeling filters through into all areas of my life. I see it as an addenda like eating greens and drinking water.

I find myself going into a meditative state in the most unlikely places like when I’m dancing or more recently colouring, as in colouring in books (yes its a thing, adults do it now too) and that’s because there are no rules when it comes to meditation, no right or wrong way, all it takes is commitment but then so does anything worth having in life.

Sat Nam

Also this week: Gold for Jessica Ennis-Hill at World Championships in Beijing, whop whop! #WonderWomanlives • And while we are in China… how about that stock market! Aiya! #DominoDancing • ‘Straight Outta Compton’ in memory of my brother’s pet frogs Dre, Tupac, Snoop and Warren G I think I want to see this movie #BoyzntheHood #OldSkool • 1D to split, to you fans – I feel your pain, I went through it with Wham #ItDoesGetBetter #1DAnonymous

 


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this kiwi girl muses about… the words of others

lovewriting
What would Gwyneth do? Not sure how this turn of phrase came about but this is a ‘thing’ on social media; and while I think she certainly knows how to rock a frock and has some very cool friends, I’m not sure I see her as an aficionado of anything in particular, but then again these things do tend to take on a life of their own in these days of twitter, instagram and the ilk.

I do often use the expression though, only depending on my mood I replace the Gwyneth bit with one of the many writers who inspire me.
You see, I like to write.
I have never really given much thought to whether I am any good at it.
I just like to write.
And it is a privilege to be spurred on by so many greats.
 
Dr. Seuss taught me that just because a word is not in the dictionary does not mean it is not a word. The art of whimsy came to me by way of Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis, not that this was a happenstance for I was born a dreamer but reading their books stretched my imagination beyond the world I was growing up in.

Jane Austen instilled in me the premise of the sisterhood and the strength which came from within that bond. Through the steely yet passionate character of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte gave me a heroine of my own sex to admire; whilst the autobiographical storytelling by Maya Angelou taught me that the heroine or rather shero I should believe in was me.

A spiritual awakening of sorts came by way of The Alchemist and more poignantly By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. These works of Paulo Coelho along with much of his work throughout the 90s resonated in my soul, even though it would still be another decade before I would consciously walk my spiritual path.

Speaking of spiritual awakening, when I read this sentence ‘Davie brightened up as the insidious comfort of the plum jam stole into his soul’ written by Lucy Maud Montgomery (in the second book of the Anne of Green Gables series), I had my first epiphany about the power of words to evoke emotion for this one sentence stole into my soul and still remains there today.

The discovery in the importance of the structure of a sentence came from the journalistic stylings of Ernest Hemingway and Joan DidionBryce Courtenay’s stories interwoven against a historical backdrop ignited my interest in history. The poetry of Paolo Neruda versed me in romance in a way Keats and Byron had failed to ignite. F. Scott Fitzerald taught me to love a narrative, Kipling gave me my love of prose, from Tolstoy I learnt perseverance and from Wilde irony. On and on it goes for many great writers have lived and still do today.

In my wildest dreams I could never wish to be as good as them nor do I aspire to be, as I said I just like to write. Sometimes though when inspiration is not forthcoming and I suffer bouts of writer’s block I call upon these maestros and say to myself what would (insert here) do? If I feel melancholy I ask what would Dickens do? If I feel a want for romance I ask what would Neruda do? And eventually from no thought comes my muse and I know in no small part that it is down to invoking the spirit of the said writer. Got to love those winks from the universe.

Sat Nam

And lastly before I leave you, I couldn’t resist jumping on the bandwagon, especially as it is my favourite magazine  – Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair… simply stunning #yougoGIRL #BeautifulMomentinHistory