therapy journey

My journey to better mental & spiritual health

Tag: meditation

The active mind.

“How wild it was, to let it be.” ― Cheryl Strayed, Wild

At last night’s meditation class, I had a startling realisation. I can’t meditate! It was freeing. Things we had learned were reiterated: meditation is the ability to look inside yourself. Breath is connected to thought. Sound is to do with emotion. You become the observer of your thoughts, like an audience watching a play, without making the drama a reality. Meditation is said to give energy, and for this reason it is wise to meditate in the morning.

We were instructed to focus on the sound of the heartbeat without consciously trying to stop, slow, or control thoughts. Apparently, by carrying on like this, eventually during the meditation and perhaps after some practice, it is possible to transcend them. It seems like an impossible game. It seems exactly like ‘the game’ – that you lose by remembering the fact that you’re playing the game. During this session’s 45 minute meditation, I believe I truly meditated for no more than 15 seconds. I started feeling a little sleepy towards the end but that was drifting off, not meditating.

For all the talking and writing I do about hardcore meditating, even running a group in which guided meditation is an important part of it, I have never really been able to do it. I enjoy trying and I like the idea of it, but it’s beyond my spiritual capabilities at the moment. I sit there and think, think, think, about every subject under the sun from pop trivia to people I know to mundane matters. I cannot sit still. This is the hardest part for me. I know it’s going to be 45 minutes and I feel every second of it and it practically aches. I don’t have the discipline when it comes to sitting still, doing nothing, thinking nothing. It is literally beyond me.

I know meditation isn’t easy, in fact it’s incredibly difficult. But I have tried it so many times with many different leaders and approaches. Nothing sticks. I’m fine with that, it’s not my time, it’s not in my scope of possibility yet. I’m stubborn so I probably will continue with it, only now I have no expectations.

I think my path is going to be one that’s more jubilant, joyful and active. I’ve heard of ecstatic dance in a few cities and it’s something I’d like to try, maybe in California. I would rather connect outwards than inwards, and use and feel my body and be joyful rather than focussing on the impossible. I’ve started going to acting improvisation classes, which is wonderfully terrifying. It’s early days but I enjoyed the first session and felt like I was alive and not wrapped in the suffocating comfort of home.

There were many exercises including forum theatre, where the two actors improvising a scene change their situation on the audience’s command. There was an activity in the round which a new participant would join a scene and when they do, they change it, and then when the whole group was involved, the same process each time an actor left. There was an activity in which one person reads lines from a script without deviating from that, and the other adlibs. That particular one was such a hoot and I laughed uncontrollably – not great when it was my scene but a real chance to give in to the moment while watching the other performers. There is a chance that down the line we may be able to put on a show at the theatre space where we meet.

So my mind is like that drunken monkey being bitten by a scorpion. It’s hard to shut it down through meditation but I’m not truly ready, willing or able to do that yet. And that’s just fine. It will come as I break free, as I grow up, and I pull in influences, and I experience more life, and when the time’s right. For the minute I’d rather direct it into pursuits that help connect me with others, have fun and fulfil my goal of overcoming fear.

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Fear and loving.

“The seat of fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Life continues on its mad meander, always. Finding myself returning to a community I always thought of as indifferent, I’ve made efforts to reach out and feel a sense of oneness on a par with true nature. I launched a group which aims to help other people to explore themselves, exchange ideas, embrace spirituality, engage with our fellow adventurers, and let go of fear, negativity and anything else that holds us back. I would like this group to unlock participants’ childlike inner states such as joy, creativity and being outside of time. It is my fond hope that as we build momentum through deeper connection and diverse activities, we find some measure of peace, happiness and unity.

We met for our first session a few days ago and had a great connective experience, meditating and reading. One participant read from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Freedom, according to the speaker in the story, is in rising above physical concerns. Freedom is painted as a strong, glittering chain, as a ‘yoke and a handcuff’. There was a line that refers to casting off ‘fragments of yourself’ in order to become free, which highlights the absurdity of that which, through sentimentality, materialism or notions of ownership, we think of as part of ourselves. All that we need for freedom is already an intrinsic part of the self, though expressing freedom requires self-discipline, integrity and sacrifice. Casting off the shackles of the slave’s imprisonment becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.

Peace and freedom are very noble, but days like yesterday remind me that I still have a long way to go on my little journey. I felt the resurgence of anger, and I took it out on someone. A stranger, who happened to get my goat and validated every stinking rotten suspicion I had about the people in this village. Of course, that makes me a hypocrite: what happened to engaging with community? The feeling of love for all is not automatic; it’s beyond hard, and for me right now, impossible. Not being able overcome the instinct to lash out makes me worry. I worry that all the time I’m being nice I was merely pretending. I wonder whether loving and respecting everyone ever can become automatic.

It comes from consciously choosing what we want in our lives. It comes from choosing what thoughts to have. So, I made a decision to become angry. While I regretted it almost immediately, I have to accept that it’s OK to feel less than OK. With everything I’m doing, I am learning. I haven’t yet had an experience that has changed me fundamentally. The last thing I would want is to miss out on my own humanity in single-minded pursuit of high-end spiritual programs.

When I am utterly frustrated, which seems to be happening a lot lately, I don’t feel very myself. For someone who runs a group about being authentic, this could be troubling. But what I want to say to myself is, “it’s OK”. Sometimes I sit and feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I silently sulk and stew. Sometimes I act like a giant baby. Sometimes I cry with epic frustration and total sadness. I both love and hate the fact that my life is so comfortable at the moment. I hate what that makes me.

To step out of my cushy comfort zone, I’ve developed this game in which every day I try to do something that scares me. I’m going to try and push through this every day I am in England. Years ago I attempted to commit to a guiding mantra of “let nothing and nobody scare me”. It was conceived at a time when alcohol provided me with a handy Invincibility Cloak. I’ve carried it around all this time. Now, rather than that motto be full of spurious braggadocio, I’m coming at things from a humble and loving standpoint. I’m seeking out fear, challenging its very existence and staring it down. It’s shown to be nothing more than a figment of my imagination.

Into the heartspace.

We’re bored. We’re all bored now. But has it ever occurred to you, Wally, that the process that created this boredom that we see in the world now may well be a self-perpetuating, unconscious form of brainwashing created by a world totalitarian government based on money and that all of this is much more dangerous than one thinks? And it’s not just a question of individual survival, Wally, but that somebody who’s bored is asleep, and somebody who’s asleep will not say no? – Andre, ‘My Dinner With Andre’.

Some time has passed since the last time I wrote on therapy journey. In that time, therapy journey has turned one year old, and a new calendar year has also commenced with haste. It has been a period of readjustment and coming around. It has been a time of cold winds and hot baths; long goodbyes and short days; high hopes and low pressure; a time for shining brightly in the dark. I feel like I’ve been gathering myself up, and expressing what I am in all that I do more clearly than ever before.

I’ve cast out the old. In a literal sense, I’ve got around to a task I’d been putting off for years, namely selling, giving away or throwing out hundreds of old possessions that I no longer need. This has been a difficult operation to get my head around, as many of the things I’m disposing of still fit, are current or have plenty of use left. But I’ve realised I simply have too many of these things – mainly clothes and accessories – and rather than hang on to them while they depreciate (and for it to cost me, in various resources, for the privilege), I made the decision that it would be better for them to find a new home while they still hold some value.

It’s been a shaming but humbling experience. From the spiritual side of my being, I can say with certainty that things don’t matter. But from the point of view of minimising waste, allocating resources efficiently, enabling others, sharing my prosperity and respecting the abundance of the planet, it has been important to me that my unwanted possessions go to homes where they too can find a new lease of life until planned obsolesce kicks in, as it inevitably will. I aim to live not only more frugally but with what I already have, which is perfectly adequate in every way. Items may need to be replaced over time but at a more ambling pace. It is my hope that while adjusting to less, for every new item in my wardrobe I get rid of two already in it.

I wrote on this blog some weeks ago about the awful situation that befell me when I unexpectedly ran out of anti-depressant medication. Recently I wrote a letter to my GP informing him of exactly what my predicament was. I chose the letter format to express this because I didn’t want to miss anything out, and one can be more formal and cogent in writing. It also served to express how cut off I was when I requested his help, as I was rebuffed contact by phone and email, leaving only the medium of fax which has been entirely useless for the past fifteen years. I was jubilant after delivering the letter, if only with the hope that the doctor thinks twice about prescribing this medication without a well-thought out weaning-off method worked out. It was my own fault however, to leave for an extended trip without thinking through how to resupply, but I naively thought it would be easy.

In that letter I was able to express some of my darker moments which while I am not proud of, were important to keep hold of during my recovery. “I had an episode where I became convinced that I would kill myself, not out of depressive thoughts but because I became paranoid that the drug was intended to kill me, control me and rot my mind and I would never be free of it. I phoned a couple of my friends and they talked me round.” I am more grateful to the people (and dogs) that surrounded me and comforted me, than to the medical establishment and its wider structure of red tape and loopholes which let them off the hook.

These matters are behind me now, thankfully. Tonight I took myself off to a local meditation group in its second week. This meditation aims to go deep into the heartspace, using sound and our ability to listen to our own heartbeat to focus on emotion. This is in contrast to breath meditation in which mental thought is channelled or invoked. We allow our inner processes to interact with the outside. But we wore earplugs, so all we heard was within ourselves.

Others reported peacefulness, space around them, seeing flowers and wanting to smell them, being enveloped by a cushion that turned liquid. I have to admit that during the powerful 45 minute meditation, I didn’t feel anything profound, no vital energy bubbling up within, nor visions nor even a clearing of the mind. I felt acutely aware of my body and of time passing. I didn’t “go” anywhere. It was beyond me, a beginner, to give into the fullness of the meditative experience, especially one that wasn’t guided. We are meant to learn about our inner nature but I only learned that my energy is not settled in this place. It is shifting, it is unsettled. No matter what I do to gloss over the fact – and I am not consciously aware of it, but I found out tonight that it is wanting to return to a place that is more home than this one.

And then I realised I was the earthchild.

The title of this post comes from a creativity meditation I attended a couple of nights ago. I felt it strongly and powerfully and it made my aching soul sing just a little bit. I’ve been feeling strangely misaligned recently – that really is the best word for it. My intentions are out of kilter with my reality, my perception isn’t in accord with true nature, and I’m failing to see abundance and joy some of the time. I’m experiencing anger rising sometimes. I’m rubbing up against people’s bad sides. And I’m experiencing that most ungodly of all emotions: fear.

However this is just one small part of who I am today. Yes there’s fear, neuroticism, panic, worry, anger, paranoia and doubt. But there are also measures of true authenticity, joy, laughter, the ability to see absurdity, as well as magnetism, happiness and the pure sublime. Above all the feeling is freedom, which propels me forward in a world without limits.

My wishes for this most sacred of times, the winter solstice of the year 2014, are to trust myself, to live with authenticity and to see the abundance that is all around. I also wish to be kind to myself, although I find this concept the hardest to understand let alone put into practice. I wish to acknowledge some of my struggles of the past as I work hard to put them behind me. There is literally no time for the past.

A friend sent me the link today to an article which puts everything I wanted to say better than I ever could on this auspicious day. We learn that by facing up to our deepest, darkest emotions we can move forward.  I believe that no-one is broken and ‘healing’ is a redundant concept but I agree with the sentiment that self-forgiveness leads to the release of toxic and self-sabotaging patterns. However challenging this may prove to be, writing about it here is one of the steps to making it reality.

As part of the ‘releasing the darkness’ stage, we are urged to write an intention, and then burn the paper on which it is written, followed by smudging sage. I am not doing this myself because I can’t get my head around rituals yet, coming as I do from a tradition full of them, and finding pain and inauthenticity there. Rituals still freak me out. Nevertheless the words Syma Kharal uses are beautiful and I wanted to share them here:

“Dear Higher Self/God/Spirit/Universe: No matter what has happened in the past, I am now willing to release everything about it that brought me fear and pain. I surrender to you all that no longer serves me for healing, cleansing and purification. Help me to forgive and be forgiven by all involved. Align my vision that I may see everything from your enlightened perspective and move forward with wisdom, grace, strength and love. So be it.”

Speaking of rituals, it is my fond hope that in the future I overcome my fear of ritual and prayer, and participate in spiritual rituals in order to experience what’s called “liminality”, derived from the Latin limen meaning boundary or threshold. These boundaries might separate the sacred from the profane. A ritual is a dynamic and engaged creative prayer that allows us to set aside the time to recognise, honour and celebrate seminal aspects of life. I’m currently reading about this in ‘The Red Book’ by Sera Beak. The book is all about igniting one’s divine spark and is intended as a no-nonsense guide for young women.

It’s a very inspirational book that I wish I could have read fifteen years ago. But – no regretting the past in any way, shape or form, as the present time is all we have. That’s why the present is a gift. Beak writes that when we open ourselves up to the divine,

“[…] life becomes much  more flavorful. Profound meaning illuminates even the most mundane of events. My relationships deepen. My voice becomes clearer. My work excels. My personal issues become less draining and dramatic. I am less affected I require less outside approval. My self-confidence beams. I laugh more. I judge less. My sexuality roars. Random acts of kindness become a necessity, not just a whim. […] My perspectives are amplified. I see the world around me at much more than face value, and as a result, I make clearer choices across the board […] I realize I’m not just some well-dressed biped trudging through life but actually an incredibly powerful and integral piece of the divine pie.”

She’s a spunky chick and I aim to go deep with my learnings into my divine spark and how to enhance it and be true to myself. Remembering always that authentic divine truth never separates people from each other, countries from each other, religions from each other. I’m receiving the tiniest spark of divinity but it’s possible to smother it with too much kindling, or to let the fire go out without the right nurturing. I want to see this through. Intention is everything. There will be times when I am rude to people. There will be times I am frustrated and utterly disappointed. I will continue to be angry some of the time, because this is a divine part of me, but these will be fewer and further between, I hope, as intentions and reality align. I am the earthchild, I am divine, I am myself, I am everything and nothing.

“It’s all about paradox, mystery, meditation, sexuality, long walks, and momentous haircuts.” – Sera Beak, ‘The Red Book’.

abundance

I have no self. I am not a self. There is no I. There is nothing.

I chanced upon an entirely philosophical idea recently that has mind-boggling power. There is a universal notion that we all take for granted – the notion of I. Me. That is, the first person self or “unified being which is the source of consciousness”. The thing I refer to as I is separate from the whole. It is unique and we each have a special personal duty to our individual Is. It is almost impossible to dispense with oneself as the source for the individual’s thoughts and actions. Every society has the idea of accountability or personal responsibility once we become adult.

It is interesting to see what happens when we shift our understanding and start to see this I as a fictional creation. What happens? We now the world as the seamless, dynamic and discrete organism that it is. Now consider that I am a part of this thing without an enduring ego or self. Suddenly there are no static pieces of the puzzle to be removed, reassembled and replaced at will. There are no meaningful boundaries between one organism and another. There is just what is. The detail dissolves into the bigger picture. It helps if we imagine consciousness as a mistake.

Of course we need Is in order to function in society. On the whole, we avoid what is threatening and seek out that which is beneficial to our survival and personal fulfilment. I search for ego validation constantly to confirm my sense of self. We all do. Self-affirmation proves that people that matter understand me, love me, accept me, respect me or whatever it is I’m craving at any given moment.

I’m considering the idea that the I is not real in an ultimate sense. It’s a meaningless fiction that only exists in our minds in the manner of a useful collective delusion. It represents a shallow and restrictive way of being that for many people, is absorbing to the point of obsession.

I know I am quite deep and self-obsessed. I like the I that… well, I have constructed. Not only does it serve me well in my interactions with other people, but it is endlessly fascinating. But suppose for a moment I consider the alternative. The Śūnyatā is a beautiful Buddhist concept which refers to emptiness, vacuity, openness. I have been watching a lot of maths programmes lately and an interesting connection is that Śūnyatā comes from the very culture that gave us the zero (śhūnya). The scriptures of the Theravadan Buddhist tradition, called the Pāli Canon, uses the Śūnyatā term in three ways. Firstly as a meditative dwelling. Secondly as an attribute of objects. And lastly as a type of awareness-release. It’s Śūnyatā as awareness-release that I’m most interested in.

One simply notes what is present without identifying those things with one’s own self. It is achieved through intense concentration and increased awareness of shifting and subtle levels of disturbance. This is an exchange between the Buddha and his attendant Ānanda:

Ānanda: It is said that the world is empty […] in what respect […] is it empty?
Buddha: Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: thus it is said, Ānanda, that the world is empty.

I love this idea of emptiness as a huge positive affirmation of life, its interconnectedness and oneness, rather than a sadness. Tonight I went to a creativity meditation class, in which we focussed on feeling awareness in our bodies rather than minds. It was a welcome relief as my mind has been chattering incessantly since I stopped taking paroxetine a week ago. The good news is the withdrawal only lasts between 2 and 6 weeks. I’ve started a heady cocktail of herbal medication which should combat some of the side effects of the withdrawal. The remedies I’ve started are Omega 3 EFA complex (for head zaps); B-Complex 100 (to boost mood as well as supporting metabolism and nervous system); melatonin (for sleep); ‘Scullcap’ (Scutellaria lateriflora for sleep, relaxing and overcoming anxiety); and an anti-anxiety blend of kava kava, passionflower, bacopa, albizia & lavender. I took my first dose of the anti-anxiety stuff a few hours ago and feel a little better already, plus the head zaps have abated touchwood as my brain readjusts.

Last night was one of my worst experiences. I didn’t fall asleep until 11am and then only for two hours. During the night I took six herbal sleeping tablets I had lying around to no avail. By 7am I was cold, bored and at my wits’ end so decided to go for a run around the neighbourhood. It helped warm me up, but I just couldn’t feel tired. The insomnia wasn’t even the worst part. That was saved for the fog of confusion in my head, the uncontrollable crying, feeling sadness so palpably, sheer irritability, feeling nauseous, diarrhoea every few hours – and the mind zaps.

That’s one of the worst things. Mid-morning, before I fell asleep, I counted how often they came. There were between one and four zaps every five seconds on average and this is for a few hours. Coming off paroxetine it feels like my mind just does not work. It takes a long time to do very simple things, and they feel utterly pointless. Earlier all I wanted to do was curl up and shut the doors on the world, but I’m making a huge effort to go about my life in a normal way, meeting friends for coffee, going to spiritual meet ups, doing my artwork, feeding myself, writing, playing with the dogs etc. I have faith I’ll get there, even if I have to go about everything in a slow and forced way for the time being.

Spiritual Structures. Energy. Earth

Wednesday 5th November 2014

The San Francisco Bay Area, where I currently reside, is said to express different manifestations of the Earth’s soul. The unique geology and seismology of this place invokes a spiritual connection. Once, all the continents were one, and then Earth’s consciousness divided the form the familiar planet we know today. If we were somehow able subtly to decipher what each continent is doing and giving, we can understand what expression of the Earth’s soul is taking place. The session I attended sought to discover and engage Earth soul’s life-flow, her expression in different landscapes and how it is reflected in each of us. Taking as our end place the sacred land around St. Mary’s Cathedral, the group stimulated personal healing and development, and contributed our responsibility to bringing balance to the land and the world.

Andrej, the group’s leader, said a possible way of understanding what expression of soul is manifesting is by using the chakra system. Different parts of the city (and the earth) correspond to different chakras. Not all places on earth have a planetary function but the Bay Area does. This area acts like engine chugging away in the background – a combination of the reproduction of each cell mingled with consciousness. The place is responsible for the Earth renewing herself an evolving being, apparently. That’s why this area is so diverse, it’s reflected in the culture and the innovation. Most of these innovations, being technological in nature, aren’t in sync with the spirit of the planet and misrepresent her authentic expression, but we are still learning and always expressing.

I love the Earth, I really do. I loved standing in Jefferson Square Park, tittering at a drunk woman who looked like Marla Singer in a ‘thrift store bridesmaid dress, that someone loved intensely for one day, and then tossed’. She was incredibly drunk and inadvertently funny. She picked up rubbish and gave us a running commentary of how she came to wake up in an umbrella in the park. Then there was an old guy who after parking his car made a special effort to come over to us meditators to tell us to get a life. Then there was the fat guy in the superhero outfit who lost his skateboard under Andrej’s car. There were the two young guys making eyes at me while I had turned around to face them and stepped into my soul. I couldn’t help smiling manically at them.

I felt the breath of the universe. I felt it in two specific places within my body. The first place is in my cervix, where I sometimes feel a physical pain. I think it signifies a misalignment between the earth’s purpose for me and my earthly concerns. But it could be my cysts, polyps, bad cells and copper coil. It is a reminder of the cosmic connections of cycles, tides and zodiacs. The second place I feel the earth’s beat is in the soles of my feet. Now I connect with something I learned at a body language session months ago: keep your feet on the ground in order to remain in the moment. (‘Apparently we take in 30% more information with our feet squarely on the ground compared with legs crossed.’)

We walked over to the grounds of the beautiful cathedral and I felt the Earth being happy and receptive. It wasn’t a clear reading as I was put off by the strong energy I felt from people crossing my energy field and driving across the little car park, but she felt calm, settled and welcoming. For me there was no conflict in this place, though others in the group told a different, far more conflict-ridden story.

I loved feeling the Earth’s spirit and knowing she was happy to have me here in her sacred land of San Francisco. I’ve quietly felt since I came here that it’s meant to be. The spiritual shift that I underwent before coming here was filled with trauma. Things fell apart so that they could be put together in a better way. My relationship with J came to a dramatic and irreconcilable end. I had no home, nowhere to go except back with my mother for the first time in twelve years. This, I believe was one of the signs that a spiritual transformation was about to take place. One of the keys to making it through a spiritual transformation is having faith in your understanding of why the chaos had to occur — and get past it to a better state of being. Many people get lost in the chaos and feel that their life is falling apart. Many give up and don’t see the spiritual journey through, and that is their biggest mistake. Not once have I ever wanted my ‘old life’ back for more than five seconds.

Many believe that the same thing happens on a geological level. As our planet undergoes a spiritual shift, there will be physical manifestations that accompany it. The vibration of the planet is rising as more and more people undergo spiritual awakenings. As a result, the energy on the planet is shifting and that is leading to changes that may feel chaotic and destructive, such as the earthquakes in this area. There is nothing to fear. Ever.

mono no aware

I am filled with gratitude for the love that I am here to create.

Monday 3rd November 2014

On the same day I attended TJ Woodward’s Authenticity Group, I went to a meditation and conversation group run by Claudia on trusting your intuition in order to improve your outcomes. I have written about my previous block in this area. In contrast, the new me has promised to trust myself. There were long stretches in my life when I truly believed I was less than human. I heard so many positive messages around me and I didn’t miss out on the one about trusting yourself, but I thought it didn’t apply to me because I was ‘different’, a cosmic mistake somehow. I sought direction and validation from other sources, everywhere but within.

I feel very relaxed when I attend these groups. Even though typically I don’t know anyone else there, because I am trying a lot of things for the first time, I feel more filled with confidence than if I were alone. I speak, I share, and I really get in touch with my deep spiritual self. I receive great responses from people which make both my ego and my soul sing. I connect. I write down avowals like ‘I so want to be true to myself’ and ‘I so want to leave behind the spiritually vacuous’.

In this Intuition group, we sat on a comfy sofa in a homely environment. I was 45 minutes late because I had overslept and so was late for my lift, but even so I felt instantly welcomed. Claudia speaks so fluently and with deep conviction. She said that we are God and we are created in his image. The body is part of who we are but we are so much more than that. It allows the God within us to exist on this plane. As the only vehicle we have, the first gift back to God is to give our body temples our ultimate love. She gives us the gift of life so we give her the gift of health. Today I promised to look after my body.

The guided meditation was beautiful and peaceful. To trust our intuitions and call into being greater things, we seek oneness with our higher selves. Of course, without negative emotions we wouldn’t have access to the doorway that leads to oneness. Without ego we would not exist. But when seeking the God within us, the way is silence. It’s a straight and very simple line between me and God. We love and respect our ego but we sometimes we turn it down, tune it out and listen to the higher self. Organised religion is created by man and isn’t pure. In fact it’s pretty filthy and most them are as far removed from spirituality as it’s possible to be.

Claudia calls the meditative state one of being in-between. I now see the benefits in and of itself. Three minutes every day is enough, though one member of the group meditates for three to four hours each day. When you practise, Claudia reckons, what comes will be greater than our imaginations. I believe this. Trust, faith and belief are what comes. Don’t let doubt creep in. One technique she used was visualising white light flowing into the crown chakra or through the third eye. It’s very powerful imagery that helps when entering the in-between state.

This is just so beautiful, isn’t it? Living a life of giving to receive automatically. Being a conduit for whatever energy is waiting to be expressed. I felt it when I meditated there. This was a day that I realised how powerful energy is. I knew for the first time that I am made from the same spirit as the universe.

We were created in the image of God to thrive, not just survive. The reality of making a living is illusory and the result of indoctrination. We are all already hypnotised. We multitask by driving, talking on the phone, listening to the radio and drinking coffee all at the same time. The unconscious does all the work! Harmony comes when the lower and higher selves work together.  Ask your higher self whether something is real or not and you will know.

During one of the meditations Claudia used a well-known NLP technique (called anchoring or the power button as I like to say) in which we learn to associate a happy memory with bodily sensations of happiness. Coming back to the memory using the accompanying bodily trigger creates a neural pathway which supposedly allows us to relive the happy time. It’s never really worked for me, but one thing at a time.

The experience was wonderful. It is lovely to speak openly, to meditate together, to learn so much, to feel connected and to meet others. I feel very calm after these events. I know I have used my energy to improve my entire life.

always the sun

Authenticity, energy, abundance, the universe.

Saturday 1st November 2014

Today was all about energy. I learned something very special today, that energy is real and I am very susceptible to it. I have been given a gift, like every sentient being, that means I am a conduit that can sense the energy of others. I gave even more than I received today which has been extremely tiring and fulfilling. Straight after the experience I’m about to describe took place, I returned home and fell asleep making me late for my next appointment. I’m new to energy exchange and I think that because my receptiveness is so high – and I am so keen to give of myself – I end up wearing myself out. This is probably why being in amongst big crowds is my worst nightmare. They take so much from me.

TJ Woodward’s Authenticity Group offers sharing, support, guidance and the opportunity to transform your life as part of a nurturing spiritual community. The group is part of the same program as Awakened Living. I am part of that group and my contribution was one that only I could make. We started by meditating which is simply to recognise the oneness that exists in the universe and our inner selves. I acted a conduit for the universal. It felt amazing. I opened up after that in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible when I was plagued by lack of confidence and depression. I talked from my heart about recognising the resources within me, loving the abundance that surrounds me, trusting what I feel, doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing, connecting with energy, and feeling the light. I am free and true. I am calm and centred.

We are not here to be healed. We are already perfect and whole. We paired up and thought of a question that our partner would ask us again and again. My partner had some revelations about what it means to have it all, and that letting go of many things is part of this process. My question was how I can be at one with the universe – something that I am beginning to feel as of today, but have struggled with. The answers if they are answers cannot be put into words. They are a feeling to be nurtured. Trust and radiance.

During another meditation I felt again as if I was not only channelling the divine but it was magnified fivefold by the other participants. There was time to think on what we wanted to share next and TJ knew that two minutes in I had mine. He turned straight to me as soon as I opened my eyes and there it was, this revelation about energy – he had felt it. From that we decided to use the Tibetan practice of Tonglen, giving and receiving to centre in the spiritual self. Usually with conventional meditation we are encouraged to breath in love and light, and breathe out fear and anxiety, but with the Tonglen practice we use our energy altruistically, giving focussed relief to somebody in need. Someone who was going through pain sat in the centre and for three minutes we channelled to her. I gave her as much of my energy as I could, just giving and giving. At the end of it I knew that the light had shone into her soul and I would be pleased to know if it has.

It’s the ego that clouds us all and makes us experience sadness, fear, doubt and regret which are not part of the natural order. It’s the stories we choose to believe that makes it so. Connecting to our inner selves, that heartbeat that is part of the very essence of the universe, is such an incredible experience when you know it is there. With this knowledge I can overcome any challenges in my life. With the law of attraction I can call into being only that which is right for me. I have lived blindfolded for many years, paralysed by pain and fear that I mistakenly thought were real. I know this is not my purpose and I am capable of greatness just be virtue of realising what I already am, and forever have been.

It’s hard though, as doubt, fear and emotional pain are part of what it means to be human. Without these tangible emotions we would have no beauty, love and happiness. The domineering mind wants to shout ‘But this is all claptrap!’ ‘This is just a phase, a moment, like the depression was!’ I am doing my best to silence the doubt and give in to abundance which means sharing, giving, forgiving, receiving, trusting, listening, accepting, loving, appreciating. Doubt is not part of my purpose here. Repeat to fade.

forget

Kundalini. The curl of the lock of hair.

I’ve started a new class in Kundalini yoga which is known as the ‘yoga of awareness’, utilising life force energy located at the bottom of the spine and combining breath and a lot of movement. Kundalini is a relatively new branch of yoga, based on the writings of spiritual teacher Sivananda Saraswati who founded the Divine Life Society on the banks of the Ganges in 1936. Influences come from tantra and shakta schools of Hinduism. It was popularised in the 1960s by  Harbhajan Singh, also known as Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini yoga is said to strengthen and balance the body, give clarity to the mind, release tension, make contact with your infinity and innate inner wisdom, and help you to feel peaceful and fully charged.

According to Saraswati’s treatise, it aims “to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others.” This sounds absolutely beautiful. The name ‘kundalini’ has a poetic metaphor behind it, meaning “the curl of the lock of hair”, a reference to the energy and consciousness that flows within us.

The long class uses a blend of postures, pranayam, music, mantra and meditation, which teach the art of relaxation, self-healing and elevation. You get very deep into the soul of yoga. One of the exercises was to move from baby position to caterpillar on your belly with spine curled upwards, then back into baby and up into a downward dog, which is like a triangle shape with your bottom in the air and head down, feet flat on the mat. It’s going to take some practice. This and all the exercises were done with breath being the momentum that carries you onward, and so the movement of the body. and the inhale/ exhale is totally synchronised.

It felt very good performing the breath of fire. This isn’t when you’ve had too much vindaloo but a step away from Western breathing using just the chest area. The breath of fire is awareness of your breathing using the diaphragm to its full extent. Taking intense rapid breaths through the nostrils you fill your abdomen with new air and quickly expel the old. We must have looked like a class of hyperventilators. The technique is said to be good for clearing deposits from the nasal cavities and extending lung capacity, both of which are great for me as these are two problem areas.

Another exercise that I found surprisingly strenuous was lying flat on your back with hands placed under your bottom so the lower back is flat against the mat, then lifting straight legs to a 60 degree angle and opening and crossing them closed, with alternate legs being on top. You do this exercise at a fast pace in a sudden 3-minute burst of energy, which is very taxing when your body hasn’t the discipline for any sustained physical activity whatsoever.

All the physical exercises were tough for me. My body felt tired afterwards and a little achy rather than rejuvenated. All the more reason to stick at it, so that perhaps in a few sessions’ time I can actually feel the benefit. The day after (today) I have no aches but have become more aware of the awkward ways I hold my body, in particular my tense right shoulder.

Aside from the physical exertions, there is also a more meditative aspect to the class I attended. There are spiritual affirmations that are repeated – either chanted in a way that exercises the voice and you really feel your voice; or sung in a way that clears out old air from your lungs. You do feel a bit silly doing the Hindu chanting, but it’s easy to suspend that feeling and just give in to it, like when you dance and after loosening up a little your inhibitions go.

Kundalini yoga uses the energy locks system and focusses on the locks around the lower back. All that energy is contained within the spine – Kundalini wakes it up and shakes it out of its office-life imposed sloth. Sometimes a pose or an exercise will involve connecting the tips of your thumbs together or connecting your thumb and index finger as if circling an imaginary egg, which seemed arbitrary before but I’m beginning to see how this all makes a big picture.

I’m not a natural yogi, I even found sitting cross-legged with a straight back too much at times, but I saw the goodness that is at the core of this teaching and I will endeavour to continue whenever I am free on class night. I feel really lucky to have discovered this amazing way of tapping into inner resources and seeking all that I wish inside my very soul.

Body and mind.

It’s time to start focusing on the physical body as well as the expanding mind. As often happens in life, you devote your energies to a current project that interests and consumes you, but logically there has to be something else that suffers. For me, I have clearly been addressing my psychological wellbeing, and on top of that have spent more time cultivating existing friendships, working on my relationship, excelling at my job, eating and resting well, and generally being super. What is lacking is any sustained physical exertion, or attempt to train my body. I bang on about a holistic approach to therapy, yet neglect how important the physical body is to mental wellbeing.

Yesterday I was given the once over by a Tanita Body Composition Analyzer and the results were predictable. Most of the time I feel like I’m wasting away. When I stepped up onto the scale, I felt like the 7-year old with too-big clothes. My weight had dropped again. I have an ongoing health issue that has given my lungs a battering in recent years. The infection has become something else from the disease I had in 2011, but it doesn’t affect my day-to-day life very much except having to take medication every 12 hours. I am sure that the medication or the disease itself causes weight to drop off me. I have always been skinny but there is less of me now than at any other point in my life.

Being skinny is something I don’t really think about. Sure, I know I am lucky to be able to wear skimpy things without rolls of fat hanging out, and it’s great being able to eat like a horse and not pile on the pounds, and also there’s something very efficient about taking up less space, that really appeals to me. But for me, my current uber-skinniness is connected with the unpleasantness and uncertainty of being long-term ill. It’s the suspicion that I might be disappearing, gradually, almost imperceptibly.

Tanita complete

I’ve included some of my data here, including blood pressure (some diastolic readings were red-zone low, but overall, normal). I was shocked that my ‘ideal body weight’ whatever that means, is 15kg more than my current weight. I have to remember that this kind of meaningless garbage is purely theoretical tosh based on averages and is only meant as a guide. But just so I can get it out, here are the stats. Fat mass: 7%. BMI: 16.5. Degree of obesity: -25.2. BMR (how many calories I need at rest to function effectively): 1146kcal. On the plus side, my metabolic age is 14. So lots to build on for a fitter, happier, more toned future.

I went to a Pilates class last night as a baby step. I had been told during the day during an exploratory neck and shoulder massage (combining Eastern techniques and Chinese meridian points with Swedish deep tissue massage), that I have a tendency to raise my right shoulder a little when in repose. As soon as the masseur said it, I realised he was absolutely spot on. My body holds tension in that right shoulder and I can feel it right now as I type. It’s not to do with being right handed, just a bad habit. The lop-sidedness is no doubt terrible for my energy flows.

The Pilates class was incredibly fulfilling, and while I couldn’t hold all the positions for as long as others did, I certainly felt very eager to learn and to try. I can see myself getting better at it. The feeling afterwards was of being incredibly refreshed, in mind and body. A tightened core makes you feel good from within. I didn’t feel tired until late last night, despite a demanding professional event I attended post-class.

Life has really been amazing recently. Life is amazing, but I mean I’ve really stopped to notice it and to revel in how lucky I am. The book, by Jon Kabat-Zinn continues to inspire me. This is about the character of awareness.
“Awareness is not the same as thought. It lies beyond thinking, although it makes use of thinking, honoring its value and its power. Awareness is more like a vessel which can hold and contain our thinking helping us to see and know our thoughts as thoughts rather than getting caught up in them as reality.”

And this is about the dangers of positive thinking.
“If we decide to think positively, that may be useful, but it is not meditation. It is just more thinking. We can as easily become a prisoner of so-called positive thinking as of negative thinking. It can be confining, fragmented, inaccurate, illusory, self-serving, and wrong. Another element altogether is required to induce transformation in our lives and take us beyond the limits of thought.”

Be a light unto yourself. Reflections & cultivation.

“Initiate giving. Don’t wait for someone to ask. See what happens – especially to you. You may find that you gain greater clarity about yourself and about your relationships, as well as more energy rather than less. You may find that, rather than exhausting yourself or your resources, you will replenish them. Such is the power of mindful, selfless generosity. At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, and no recipient… only the universe rearranging itself.”
– Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

There are so many simply beautiful sentiments in this book, they almost bring tears to my eyes. The above passage makes me weep with the joy of being alive. You start with giving gifts and blessings to yourself such as self-acceptance. You practice accepting these gifts feeling deserving and without obligation. Give away energy. Direct it towards others and yourself with no thought of gain. Kingly giving is to give as if you had inexhaustible wealth. Share your abundance of all kinds – your best self, your vitality, your spirit, your openness and your presence. Share it with yourself, your family and the world.

We have rough edges of self-cherishing, which lead us to feel that giving won’t lead to adequate reward, won’t be appreciated or will leave us depleted. This is fear-based self-protection. It causes us distance, isolation and diminishment. In practising mindful giving, we discover expanded versions of ourselves.

It is not even necessary to give anything away. Generosity is an inward state. It is a willingness to share with and trust in the world and ourselves. Isn’t that beautiful?

Apart from generosity, Kabat-Zinn also talks about trust. If we trust ourselves or another, we find a powerful stabilising element encompassing security, balance and openness. If we don’t trust in our abilities to be mindful, we will not persevere in cultivating the qualities of observation, attending, knowing, reflecting, sensing… and they will wither away.

And I love the chapter on letting go. While ‘high in the running for the New Age cliché of the century’, real letting go is an invitation to cease clinging to any ideas, things, events, perspectives and desires. Release with full acceptance the stream of the present moments as they unfold, without getting caught up in our attraction to or rejection of them. Kabat-Zinn calls it ‘the intrinsic stickiness of wanting’. Letting go means choosing to become transparent to the strong pull of our own likes and dislikes.

Patience is another of the qualities that lead to mindfulness. ‘Patience is an ever-present alternative to the mind’s endemic restlessness. Scratch the surface of impatience and what you will find lying beneath it, subtle or not so subtly, is anger. It’s the strong energy of not wanting things to be the way they are and blaming someone (often yourself) or something for it.’

Personally I think that humility is the most essential virtue needed for mindfulness practice, as lots of the other qualities stem from that. It’s the one I have trouble with myself as for someone with low self-worth, I certainly have an inflated sense of the importance of my own feelings! There is a chapter in the book called You Have to Be Strong Enough to Be Weak. In in, Kabat-Zinn talks about people that give the impression of being invulnerable to feeling hurt. I’m afraid I am (or should I say was?) one of these people. For years I had a complex that I can’t let anyone see my weak emotions. I felt I couldn’t ever tell someone they’d hurt me, whether a kid in the playground, or a partner or friend. I felt I had to be impervious to all. This was probably in part because of my upbringing. My parents (the only family I had) didn’t talk about feelings and that was that. I’m not placing blame, just locating something specific and true.

Kabat-Zinn makes a clever leap between those who hide behind the powerful shield of their image; and those who believe they are wise meditators, who mistakenly believe they have everything under control and are invincible as a result of their meditative experiences. To be truly strong, there is no need to advertise it to others or yourself. That was quite an unexpected but obvious message of practicing mindfulness and meditation – that shouting it from the rooftops would defeat the point of it. So I will just cultivate it quietly, carefully, slow growing from within.

Here I am. The bloom of the present moment.

I’ve just started reading a fantastic, potentially life-ameliorating book called ‘Wherever You Go, There You Are – Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The book is filled with beautiful thoughts and words, like ‘the bloom of the present moment’ ‘fog-dispelling clarity’, ‘stringing moments of awareness together’, dwell in stillness’, ‘shelter from the winds that agitate the mind,’ and from Thoreau’s Walden, ‘I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars’.

Wherever you are in life, that is where you are. Whatever you do, that is what you do. There is no past and there is no future; the present is all we have. If we learn to pause in the present moment, feel it, let it sink in and hold it in awareness, we accept the truth of this moment, learn from it and move on. The task of being mindful is a systematic cultivation of wakefulness. It is simple, but not easy.

In NLP teachings I learned about the filters we apply to reality. This book states that ideas and opinions that we normally harbour are silently colouring our lives without our full awareness. We fall into the trap of believing that our personal fictions are how things really are, that we know what is going on ‘out there’ and ‘in here’. Unless we can see that the dream-dictated reality is a mere fabrication of our minds, we cannot break out of ignorance. By seeing the outside world how it really is here and now, and appreciating the interconnectedness of all things, we wake up and take precautions against the pull of past and future, which are dreamworlds masquerading as reality.

When I think of some parts of my past, particularly living with depression, it does seem like a dream-dictated, fog-enshrouded blindness. This weekend I had a look through some of my old sketchbooks and diaries – always a bittersweet ordeal – and was amazed by how much negativity and lack of awareness in the outside world I possessed. Everything was ‘I can’t’, ‘I am not one of the lucky ones’, ‘It’s impossible to change’. One of my favourite little sayings that I would bandy about in artworks whenever I was feeling particularly sorry for myself was, ‘I regret the past, fear the future and cannot live in the present’. I actually thought that giving power and meaning to these thoughts was helping me somehow! I can see now that I was in a bad place, flirting with suicide, convinced that I was worth nothing, living only to create art. And I dread to recall what was going on in my life during the long expanses where there are no diary entries and sketchbook pages.

I was very inward-looking, and quick to be discouraged when looking outward didn’t give me the instant boost I craved. I was almost looking for a reason why I shouldn’t look to other people or external experiences for validation, so as a result, time after time they failed to provide me with any comfort. I was looking in the wrong place however. I didn’t start each day, or indeed live any moment, with a sense of gratitude and humility. I only felt happy when I was going to sleep or creating artworks about rather depressing feelings I remember the feeling of always wanting to be somewhere else, to be alone in the dark. I remember hardly being able to stand the journey from A to B, as I just wanted to get there, right away. I didn’t realise that the journey is actually all there is.

“It is possible through meditation to find shelter from much of the wind that agitates the mind. Over time, a good deal of the turbulence may die down from lack of continuous feeding. But ultimately the winds of life will blow, do what we may. Meditation is about knowing something about this and how to work with it.”

26 Feb 2014

Release and gather.

I went to a guided meditation ‘rest stop’ class yesterday evening. It was as lovely as I was expecting, with twinkly fairy lights and little tea lights strewn across the stage of the large warehouse-type building with vaulted ceiling. It was made intimate by the low lights and the calming Eastern music.

We started by meditating in the traditional sense, assuming the lotus position with straight back, upturned palms, considering your breathing carefully while focussing on good feelings while inhaling, and letting go of the bad ones on the exhale. The good feelings we were asked to focus on centred around four things. We thought of a time in the past when we felt an abundance of the feelings in question: Calmness, Confidence, Love and Gratitude.

After that we performed a kind of shaking meditation which I really enjoyed and found the most satisfying, probably because of its physicality. You stand with your feet level with the line of your hips. You imagine the ground you are on starts to shake. These tremours cause your legs first to shake, then your hips, your arms, your chest, your fingertips, your shoulders, your head. Your whole body is shaking in a crazy way and it really feels like letting go. Also you have your eyes closed during the shaking which makes you even less inhibited.

Next was a different exercise. We all lay on our backs and the leader repeated a positive affirmation three times, which we had to internalise as we spoke the words in our minds three times. The words were about choosing abundance over lack; choosing to believe all is well instead of worry. Other commands told us to focus on each and every part of our body separately in turn. And strange and wonderful things like the imperceptible channel of space between our bodies and the mat. We imagined the troubles weighing us down dissolving into the plane of skin that we rest on and into the mat, into the earth.

But my head was swimming and I could not find a focus or any meaning behind these or any other words. My back felt twisted and crippled during the meditation class. I could not give myself up to the words and get lost in them. I found myself painfully aware of every passing second, writhing around, unable to keep my eyes closed, choosing to be distracted by the rafters above me or the meditating individual to my right, who had surrendered entirely. I found myself screwing up my face and shedding a tear believing that I am beyond repair, and I cannot do any of this without the support of the person who matters – because I cease to believe any of it myself. Doubt is toxic.

It was my first time and I will go again. The aim of the class is complete calm in the core of your being, through a meditative journey of total and deep relaxation of body and mind. To be able to gain any benefit from it would be wonderful, and I think will take a few tries. Bringing a clear and happy mind to the session helps. The memory of the morbidly negative weekend that I have just endured will pass and only learnings will come from it.

Confused & racked with self-doubt. Good feelings on tap.

My EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) session today went absolutely great and I felt even more relaxed about talking to C, my practitioner. When I walked in the room, I was aware I was giving her a huge smile. Again I felt like my issues had shifted so much since last time. Instead of being all about anger and anxiety, this time it was more about self-esteem and being OK with myself. I feel that it is a very accepting space she has created, one in which I can be myself warts and all.

As part of her practice she records entire sessions and plays them back to herself later as she might miss things during a meeting. She had listened back to my previous recording and had picked up on something. I was talking about my verbal communication with my boyfriend, and I had said something along the lines of “I know I shouldn’t say it”. She read this as self-censorship which was  a little jarring for her as she comes from a place where it’s OK to express yourself.

What I meant by that was that I find it difficult sometimes to express myself in the most loving way I can. My ego gets in the way too much. But the difference is, now when I have said something rash, I feel it. I know I have hurt someone, whereas before I was quite insensitive – something I probably set up a long time ago as a coping mechanism.

So the main issues to come out of it were about blaming myself, self-censorship, self-worth issues, self-sabotage, being distrustful of goodness and offerings. I can see how they are all connected, too. This formed the basis for the tapping part of the session, which is I guess around half an hour, after we’d spoken about the issues on my mind and what I needed help with.

An interesting thing she said was that anger, frustration, impatience and other unwanted feelings that people struggle with, are often masks for unresolved wounds that come to the fore when we are feeling small inside. Anger is a life force, an explosion of energy. But it has a root cause, something that preceded it which is sometimes harder to fathom. Anger turned inward has nowhere to go apart from making you feel depressed. It’s important to let the anger out – not by having an angry outburst but by working on yourself, understanding the causes and accepting yourself, and slowly you might actually, physically, feel it leaving you.

The affirmations today were so many again, it felt like a hundred, each one different and new. During the tapping part of the EFT session, I was so zoned out I barely took in the words I was saying. It felt amazing.

Blog 7 Feb 2014

I think the meditation breathing that we do right after the talking part, and before the tapping itself, has almost magical calming qualities. I am so incredibly transported while C does taps the meridians, it takes a while to come back to life afterwards. It’s not as if I can feel or sense energy flowing through me – perhaps I don’t know how to do this yet – but it’s more like an overwhelming feeling that everything is alright in the world. It really is the most serene thing you can imagine, kind of like a massage but it’s your own personal emotional issues that are being dealt with and you’re encouraged to talk about them very openly. I also like C’s message that everything is acceptable, in life in general. I find a lot of hope in that. Means I’m not a lost cause.

Breath, chakras, energy, NLP.

Something I was reading about in ‘Change Your Life With NLP’ really made me think. It’s such a simple idea, about breath. “Our energy comes from our breath. What’s the difference between someone who is alive and someone who has just died? The person who has just died will no longer be breathing. Breath carries life and energy through the body.”

I know that I don’t utilise the fullness of my lungs and find that I tend to take relatively fast, shallow breaths so I dread to think what this is doing to my energy flow. Quite often when I pause I realise I’m holding my breath! My heart beats fast normally too, like a startled fieldmouse. I’ve only very recently been introduced to the breathing techniques of meditation and it makes a lot of sense to me. Just listening to your breath, being aware of it and deepening it, can bring a certain peace. It’s also a part of the mindfulness teaching as we learn to slow down and take in all that is around us and within us, without judgment.

A technique I read about (but haven’t tried yet) is to bring your attention to the sensation of breathing, focussing the mind on a spot where breathing is easy to notice. This could be the chest, the abdomen, the nose, the belly etc. You are then meant to notice how that spot feels as the breath is drawn in, fills the lungs, then is expelled slowly. The mind will wander, more so at first. If it wanders, bring it back each time and eventually it will listen to you. Then you focus on other areas of the body and relax any tightness as you go there with your mind.

It’s easy to overlook, but the breath is always there though we choose not to hear and feel it with our conscious minds. What a wonderful thing it is.

Now, while not strictly part of NLP teaching, there is a link between energy, chakras (our seven energy centres) and NLP. Taking control of our energy gives us an opportunity to take control of our mood. The chakras are like valves that open or close depend on how we choose to respond to situations in life. The chakras are aspects of consciousness, and are as follows: crown, brow, throat, heart, solar plexus/power, sexual and root. I would like to explore this in more detail in the future.

Energy is therefore something that can be focussed, and like our thoughts, can be channelled into whatever we choose to turn our attentions to. I struggle with this slightly, as in a general sense this may be true, but there are so many other mysterious physiological aspects that may contribute to one’s energy levels, despite best (and positive) intentions.

I say this because yesterday after having had a very busy and tiring day… I was tired! I had trouble communicating and didn’t really want to. Even watching TV with my boyfriend seemed like too much of a chore, too much brain processing power which I didn’t feel I had available. Times like this it’s possible to slip into a bad mood or get snappy, but the point is, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that and I must stop berating myself over stuff like that. I cut the day short and had an early night which is sometimes all you need to do.