Dedicated to my mama, Carlota. Thank you for your compassion, your beauty, your generosity and your rebel streak.
Little Book of Life Tools
6) Creating Sacred Space
7) Love / Metta
8) Day time / Night Time
12) Fearlessness/ Strength Meditation
15) Colourful tools
19) Mother Earth
22) Bliss Meditation
23) Dream Life
24) Ancient Wisdom/ Modern Science
26) Sacred Sites
27) Kindness/ Friendship
28) Visualization /Manifestation
30) Animal Meditation
35) Magic wand
36) When things are bad.
38) Truth/ Akashic Records/ Universal laws
39) Change- The only certainty.
40) Adventure/ Freedom
41) Ultimate Dinner Party
42) Balance. Yin yang
Over the years, I have come across, used, and sometimes invented ‘Life Tools’ that make the journey easier and more enjoyable. I decided to collate them all together many years ago to have them handy in one Little Book of Life Tools for reference, and also as a gift that I can share with my friends, family, clients or readers. That way it’s also portable for travellers and nomads like me. I have continued to add useful tools to it ever since, which have all been tried and tested in advance by me and enhanced my life.
It’s the kind of book I wish I’d been given as a child. I didn’t grow up with this knowledge, (but then I wouldn’t have had all the fun of discovering them myself, and experimenting with these techniques.)
There’s something for every situation, and I hope it shows clearly that there’s always hope and we are more powerful than we sometimes think and never alone.
My underlying assumption is that everything is energy and that our thoughts and intentions direct that energy and create. Intention is everything so the intention behind each tool is key. Any activity, from lighting a candle or drinking water to going to work or running a marathon can turn into magic when done consciously, from the heart with positive intent, making life more purposeful, fun, and sacred.
I use these tools all the time. They are almost second nature to me now, and they have unquestionably made my life easier, and more magical than it would be without them. My hope is that by sharing them with you, your life will be improved and your journey be blessed with much light, love, truth, protection, health, success, peace and joy and oneness. If even one person’s life is improved by this book, it will have been worth creating it.
Pick any tool that resonates with you or one for a particular need, or read through them all, experiment with those you like the most, ignore those that don’t grab you as they are all simply friendly suggestions, and choose some favourites which might become regular ‘Life Tools’ for you. I hope you find some inspiration here, to use during good times or bad. Enjoy!
Where appropriate, I have added an applicable yoga tip and essential oil tip to the end of each life tool.
To see any of the meditations, yoga sequences, life tool tips, breathing exercises, or essential oil tips demonstrated visually or to follow along online, visit www.luminoustrails.com
1 – Light
I’ve always had a thing about Light, ever since I can remember I’ve been drawn to it in all it’s many varied forms, physical and non physical. So the very first Life Tool I offer here is the first I remember using, just instinctively, and it’s still probably my favourite.
It involves, quite simply, just invoking Light to fill you, and surround you in a protective bubble, and guide you always.
Visualize being filled and enveloped in a healing, protective, loving golden white light. See this light filling every cell of your being, and imagine that anything that is not of the light, or not serving you, is dissolved and transmuted by it. No harm or negativity can enter this bubble of light that surrounds you, yet you can let your light shine brightly from within.
Phrase it as you like, or just imagine it, but I just mentally think something on the lines of:
“Light, please fill every cell of my being, envelop me, protect me and go ahead of me guiding me.”
So simple yet so effective!
Light acts like a powerful shield of protection and energetically it is very high frequency.
I have used this technique ever since I can remember. I don’t remember ever learning it from anyone. It was innate in me as a child, as if remembered, and I have always been drawn to light. I also like that it’s just energy. Invoking Light, a non-denominational, open to anyone, accessible anywhere, universal energy that belongs to no one and needs no intermediary to connect with, appeals to me as an empowering yet palpable and portable way to connect to the mystery, the bigger picture. So call on it and marinate in liquid light all day long.
When I was young and riding a horse through a field, the horse lost his footing and instinctively I heard myself whisper “Light please shine.” Others might say a prayer, or swear, but for whatever reason Light, or energy for want of a better word, has always been what I turn to for guidance or protection.
You could just as easily say: “Let there be Light.”
The definition of Enlightenment is ‘being filled with light,’ so help the process along with this simple yet profound exercise. Light is a very high frequency vibration. White light contains all colours and is the essence of life.
Shower daily in this magical light. Carry it with you wherever you go, and send it out to others too. Do this and notice your world get brighter!
“Among the trillion mysteries of the cosmos, the most phenomenal is light.”
“The sun shines not on us, but in us.”
“The object of man is to make daylight shine through him.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Thou art light. Let that light shine.”
Always remember that the Light is always accessible and available, just as the sun is always shining, even at night time, or when you are under cloudy, rainy skies. Up above, there it is, shining away, all the time, because that is its nature. Through most of human history people have believed the sun was conscious or even a deity, a god or goddess and honoured it, as a representation of the greater ultimate light.
“Even when the skies are cloudy, still a light it shines on me.”
Beatles ‘Let it be.’
Darkness is transformed by Light
As the saying goes, better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of that candle will not be shortened.”
This is an excerpt from my journal in 2004, written in Nepal during the festival of light:
If I’d ever been asked to invent a festival, it would definitely have been a festival of light because, very simply, light transcends all differences, beliefs, religions, science, ages etc and I’ve always just had a thing about light, ever since I can remember. However some other genius thought of that a good few centuries before me! But what a great thing that is because it is the best festival in the world (in my humble opinion,) and so much fun and I can enjoy it! I was lucky enough to experience Tihar (the Nepalese festival of light, the equivalent of India’s Diwali festival,) in the beautiful, ancient city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu valley in 2004. Every building there is hundreds of years old and a work of art, and during Tihar the entire place is illuminated at dusk and transformed into a fairytale-like city all awash with light. It looked so magical, there were candles and butter lamps everywhere; along the streets, on every window sill, even floating on the lake. Music filled the streets while children were singing and dancing all around with candles inside lotus flowers. We even managed to find ourselves in the middle of a peace parade. Flickering candles were handed to us as we joined a long line of Nepalis singing ‘let there be peace in Nepal and the world’. Not your average night out, but one I’ll never forget!
It also makes deeper sense of the lovely Nepalese/ Eastern greeting with palms pressed together: ‘Namaste’ meaning ‘the light in me salutes the light in you.’ They carry their spirituality into normal everyday life with such gestures (amongst paying bills, working, getting ill, suffering like anyone else.) They are always reminded of their light within, their self luminous Atman or Buddha nature, a spark of the big bang within them, as at the atomic level, everything, from a tree to us or the stars, is made up of the same stuff, of energy or light.
No wonder so many cultures around the globe throughout history, from the Egyptians, Tibetans and Mayans, to the Hopi, Aboriginals, Incas and Aztecs have honoured and worshipped the sun, our planet’s physical representation of that light, and in yoga we literally do so through sun salutaions, a way of physically paying homage to the sun, and taking in its light, warmth and life giving energy. I could go on about light endlessly but suffice it to say that I think festivals of light rock, and remind us to honour the light of the sun, moon, stars and cosmos, candles and fire, but also our own internal light, and also to let that light shine fully.
“It is always sunrise somewhere. Eternal sunset.”
For the following meditations, and any others in this book, to see them visually as videos go to www.luminoustrails.com
Trataka Candle meditation
Sit comfortably with a lit candle, placed so that the flame is at eye level. Begin by centering yourself and taking a few deep breaths. Then focus your gaze intently on the brightest part of the flame, usually just above the wick, and keep your gaze steady trying not to blink. The light of the candle represents the light within you, your spirit. After a while your eyes might start watering but try to continue for 30 seconds to a minute. Then close your eyes and visualize the candle flame in your mind’s eye, around the region between your eyebrows, the third eye area. You might see nothing, or a flame will appear and might move while you focus on it. Just go along with whatever happens. After some time, another 30 seconds to a minute or so, open your eyes again to gaze at the candle flame in front of you. Repeat this exercise four or five times.
Trataka meditation is an ancient practice and one of my favourite meditations. It is said to help bring about single pointed focus and concentration. When you become well practiced at it, it can also be used to help with manifestation, as you can focus your mind on something you wish to manifest and then close your eyes and see it within your mind, until you see it in reality also.
Either do this outside using the actual sun as your focus (eyes open or closed depending on time of day) or sit in meditation and visualize the sun in your mind’s eye. Inhale reaching your arms out to the sun, pause holding the breath as you gather the essence of the sun in your hands, then exhale drawing the light, warmth and life giving force of the sun into your body bringing your hands to rest over your heart. Repeat this 9 times in total (the number of completion.) On the last round, just keep your hands at your heart a while longer as you imagine the light and life giving energy of the sun flowing through your whole body, and perhaps ask the sun’s light to fill you, and teach you to shine as the sun does.
Moon Meditation/ Rituals
Let’s not forget the light of the moon either. A different kind of light; less constant, more subtle. It’s light is constantly waxing and waning, and we can tune into and celebrate those changes, as we too, connected to the moon, like the tides, constantly change. There are four main phases of the moon. A new moon, when it is not visible in the sky, which is a good time to plant new seeds or intentions. A waxing moon (half way to full) when we can focus on creating and nurturing those seeds, A full moon, where we dream the seeds into being, manifesting them, and a waning moon, a time for letting go and surrender.
Yoga tip- Salute the sun! Surya Namaskar:
Gayatri mantra. Om bhur bhuvah swah, tat savitur varenyam, bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prachodayat. The oldest mantra in the world, is dedicated to light and means:
You, whose light illuminates the whole world, illuminate also my heart, so that it too can do your work.
Salute the moon. Chandra Namaskar:
Essential oil tip- Try diffusing any of these oils to lighten the atmosphere. Melissa- the oil of Light, or Helichrysum. Or try lemon or any citrus oils, that are sunny and uplifting in their essence.
2 – Gratitude
For those of you who think you’ve already got this tool nailed, here is a wonderful example to use as your gratitude barometer. This is based on words shared with me by my friend Stewart Pearce. He associates them with the ancient pharaoh Akhenatonof Egypt and the husband of Nefertiti.
From the God and Goddess of my being, I give thanks for the love that I am, for the love in my life, and for all the love that surrounds me, thank you.
Thank you for the miracle of life that I am, and for the miracles of life that I see reflected in all about me, thank you.
Thank you for the gift of life that I am, and the gifts all around me, thank you.
Thank you for my perfect health and wellbeing, I say thank you.
Thank you for the abundance that I am, and the abundance and treasure I see reflected all about me, thank you.
Thank you for all the intelligence that I am as a spark of the Divine, and how this energy pervades all living things, thank you.
Thank you for the excitement and adventure of the millions of wondrous possibilities and probabilities in creation, thank you.
Thank you for the richness of the wonderful people in my life, both near and far, thank you.
Thank you for the animal, vegetable, and mineral compositions that are within me, and surround me in such beauty, thank you.
Thank you for the beautifully lustrous Planet Earth on which I live, and which I love in all its diversity, thank you.
Thank you for bringing such divine intelligence to the form of my human-ness, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Perhaps you could write your own gratitude prayer to match it, but make it more personal to you, remembering that what you appreciate appreciates. Studies have shown the people who are grateful are not only happier and more satisfied with life and less inclined to depression, but are also more generous.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is Thank you, that will suffice.”
Some of the best life tools are the simplest and this is one of the most simple, yet most powerful of them all. Being grateful is an incalculably important tool and unquestionably one to make a daily habit, but to really reap its benefits you have to constantly practice tuning into the frequency of looking for things to appreciate throughout your day. Gratitude raises your vibration instantly and has you looking through a glass half full rather than half empty, which, in itself will have a positive effect on your life. Being grateful for what you already have brings more for you to be grateful for; and being grateful in advance for what you will have helps to attract it to you. Knowing that is empowering.
Start with the small things, like the precious air that you breathe and the trees that give off oxygen, the life-giving sun shining or the fact that you are able to read this book (ie you’ve had an education and your eyes are healthy.) Good friends, your favourite flower or item of clothing, laughter, a beautiful sunset, someone who smiled at you, your favourite food, a piece of music that you love, your favourite animal. All these things are blessings you can give thanks for.
Be grateful, give thanks and watch the universe bestow more gifts on you to be glad about. When you start seeing things to be grateful for, your brain starts looking for more things to be grateful for, as a form of confirmation bias, creating a gratitude cycle.
Starting each day with gratitude is quite simply one of the best things you can do for yourself and everyone around you, even if it’s just thinking of any three things that you are grateful for before getting out of bed. That will set you up well for a good day. It has long been a habit of mine to then regularly check in throughout the day bringing to mind things I’m grateful for. Train yourself to look for the good everywhere you go.
Give thanks for your health regularly, it’s the greatest gift. Thank your cells and your organs for thriving. Give thanks for your eyes and perfect vision, for your ears and perfect hearing, your nose and perfect sense of smell, your mouth and perfect sense of taste, your skin that feels and your third eye, and perfect intuition- your sixth sense. Feel blessed that your feet and legs carry you around this earth and you are free to wander. Trees can’t do that.
Be grateful for this precious human life. In Buddhism it’s considered to be an enormous privilege to have been born human, and an opportunity to be treasured. There is only one of you out of seven billion people on the planet and you are utterly unique and irreplaceable, so give thanks for that.
Having a roof over your head, fresh water, electricity and food to eat are things not to be taken for granted. So many people do not have these basics. They are not a given so try not to feel entitled but rather grateful for them and wish the same for everyone else.
Other things you can be grateful for are your family (the good times and the lessons learned from them,) or friends, your home, your animals, your work and the money it brings, anything you love or that makes you smile.
Nature is an endless source for gratitude. The luminous sun, the silver light of the moon, plants and flowers, herbs and fruits, rivers, mountains, jungles, deserts, rainbows, birds, stars, the scent of a rose or jasmine. Mother Earth herself! She is a living being who provides for us abundantly; and happens to have just the right conditions for life, which is a miracle too. Be glad of that.
Your mind is like an exceptional and complex computer to be hugely appreciated and used wisely, as thoughts are creative. Spend time getting excited about the way you would ideally like your life to be in detail, with gratitude and draw it to you. Wayne Dyer said: “You’ll see it when you believe it.” It’s a better choice than imaging all the things that could go wrong as what you focus on tends to manifest.
Gratitude stimulates the hypothalamus which regulates anxiety. Also tests done on the range of human emotions with people connected to EEGs, have shown that love and gratitude are the two highest vibration emotions, so to raise your vibes, be grateful. When Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto saw the affect the words Love and gratitude had on water he’d frozen, forming the most exquisite symmetrical beautiful crystals, he said it changed his life. We are 70% water, so everything we think and expose ourselves to has a profound influence. He concluded that what the world need now is gratitude
Give thanks for any transportation you use and everyone who designed and built them, for food you eat and whoever grew it , harvested it or sold it to you. For the clothes you wear and the people who designed and created them. There are infinite things to be grateful for and thinking of them is much more useful to you than dwelling on all that’s lacking or complaining about your life. Any spare moment whether you are waiting in a queue or sitting in a car or lying in bed or during any pause, you could choose to use as an opportunity to focus on things that you appreciate.
Gratitude costs nothing yet is priceless. It’s a choice. You can do that or you can focus on what’s annoying you. Each will bring you a different result, more of what annoys you or more good to be grateful for. When anything good happens, say thank you. When something not so great happens, try being glad that it wasn’t worse and carry on.
“A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which everyone has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which everyone has some.”
“If you have only one breath left, use it to say Thank You.”
Choose to believe that the universe is rigged in your favour. It is.
Did you know that it is impossible to feel grateful and angry at the same time, so starting and ending your day thinking of all the things you have to be thankful for is a very wise move for a happy life. Recently I made a simple mason jar into a ‘gratitude jar,’ and every night I write down one thing I’m grateful for and place it in the jar by my bed. In time it will be a beautiful thing to dip into to be reminded of all the blessings in life, which in turn, will bring more.
Why not create a Gratitude Jar, and fill it daily with one or more things you appreciate on small pieces of paper? That way, you are reminded to be grateful every day and once it’s full, you’ll always have the jar to dip into any time you feel down or want to be reminded of the many blessings in your life.
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
Yoga Tip- I always begin my own yoga practice and my yoga classes by thinking, or getting other people to think of, 3 things to be grateful for. This shifts the whole yoga practice onto another, higher level starting with an open, grateful heart.
Essential oil tip- Spikenard – The oil of gratitude. You can blend it with Clove and Frankincense, or Geranium and Lavender. Rub into hands and breathe it in, whilst thinking of a few things for which you are grateful. (If you don’t have spikenard, just use any oil you love the aroma of, as that in itself will fill you with gratitude.
In Sanskrit, the word Prana translates as ‘Life force’ or ‘vital force.’ It permeates us as individuals as well as the universe at all levels. It is the stuff which we are made up of, without which we would not exist. One way that we interact with it is through breathing. We draw in oxygen and send that life force into every cell of our being. It is very empowering when you discover that simply by using your breath, you can change how you feel. Prana-yama is conscious and deliberate regulation of the breath. It literally means ‘extending the life force.’ With practice, breathing techniques can be used to energize us when we’re feeling sluggish or calm the nervous system when we are stressed. We can use it to our benefit without needing a single external prop or tool, which is why this is such a valuable tool.
When the vagus nerve is inflamed your breathing becomes shallow and quick. You’re in fight or flight mode. Consciously guiding our breath, we can override this by breathing deeply and calmly and restoring equilibrium. Equally, if we are feeling super lethargic, we can use the breath to energize ourselves and wake ourselves up. So pranayama can be used as yoga therapy, and to help prevent illness.
These are practical and useful breathing techniques we can use anytime, anywhere.
Tortoises and elephants breathe slow, and live long, so we can learn from them and extend our breaths and our lives.
Our breath is always with us, from the moment we are born until we draw our last, and the life force goes out from the body. The breath can be used as a wonderful tool because it is always with us, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, whether we’re in a prison, a castle, happy, sad or indifferent. It is a portable tool, always accessible that we can use as an anchor to centre ourselves.
Here are just a few breathing exercises that can have a profound impact in a very short time. Bear in mind that working with the breath is very powerful, so go easy starting with just some seconds and gradually working up to minutes.
1) Four-part full breathing exercise:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor about hip width apart. Take your hands on your belly. First just breathe normally and observe what’s going on in terms of your belly, notice if your belly is moving as you breathe. If not then gently encourage the belly to rise up into the hands on an inhale and to drop back down naturally on the exhale. Continue doing this for about five long breaths.
Now bring one or both hands to your side ribs. Keep inhaling into the belly but also notice if your side ribs expand out sideways into your hands on the inhale aswell. Actively invite the breath to press into your hands along your sides. Continue for five breaths.
Next place one hand under your lower back where you have a natural curve in the lumbar spine. Inhale into the belly and side ribs. Can you feel the breath moving down into that hand beneath your lower back too? See if you can send your breath downwards towards the floor, into that hand for five breaths.
Now take a hand to your upper chest. Breathe in to your belly, side ribs, lower back and feel the chest rising up into the hand on the inhale too. If not, encourage the breath to rise up into your chest until you can feel that. Take five breaths there.
So now you are inhaling into your belly, your sides, your back and your chest areas. It’s as if there was a balloon of light deep inside you, and with each inhalation, it expands outwards concentrically in all directions. With every exhalation it naturally contracts back in towards your centre.
Now see if you can consciously inhale into the belly, side ribs, back and chest and then exhale from your chest, back, sides and belly, so you reverse the order.
In this exercise you experience ‘full breathing.’ You are using your full lung capacity, which really oxygenates the body and invigorates you. Many people in the modern, busy world tend to have shallow breathing, short breaths into the chest, which don’t reach any deeper into the body. This exercise is wonderful for ensuring you are breathing fully and deeply and receiving all the benefits of extending your life force.
Once you’ve mastered this form of breathing, you can do the exercise sitting upright with ease and it will come naturally.
2) Sitting comfortably, grounded and relaxed with the spine nice and straight, bring your attention to your breathing. Begin to gently lengthen both the inhale and the exhale equally, without ever forcing the breath. For example if when you breathed naturally, you were inhaling for 3 counts and exhaling for 3, inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 4. If this happens easily, try extending it to a count of five or six but it’s important never to overdo it and strain your breathing. Simply extend and lengthen the breath a bit and keep it even for both the inhale and exhale.
Once you have established a few rounds of that, add a short retention of the breath at both the end of the inhale and the end of the exhale, so for example you inhale for 4, hold the breath for 2, exhale for 4, hold the breath for 2 and continue like that for a few rounds.
This breathing technique brings calmness, equanimity and a sense of stillness. The ancient Yoga texts speak of the pauses, or silences between breaths as being where the magic lies. They are powerful and it’s in the pauses that we can access that eternal, fearless part of ourselves, and of course that place is within. There is no need to search for it externally. It is right inside of you, and that’s very empowering.
“Obstacles can be lessened by concentrating on the exhale, and retaining the prana in the pause following the exhale.”
The Yoga Sutras 1;34
Yoga tip – Nadi Shodhana/ Alternate nostril breathing
This breathing exercise shifts us more predominantly into our more passive, lunar, feminine channel, known as Ida in Yoga. This helps the body relax and calms the whole nervous system.
Sit comfortably, either cross-legged or on a chair with your head, heart and hips aligned and the back straight. On your right hand, keep the thumb lifted, curl down the next two fingers and leave the smallest two fingers lifted (this is the traditional mudra, or hand position to control the breathing through your nostrils.) Let the left hand thumb and forefinger tips touch and rest that hand on your left thigh, palm facing up. Then gently cover your right nostril with your right thumb. Exhale any air from your left nostril and then inhale through the left nostril. Cover both nostrils by gently touching the small fingers over the left nostril while keeping the right thumb on the right nostril, and pause for a count of four. Then release the right thumb and exhale through the right nostril. Inhale right. Pause covering both nostrils, exhale left. Inhale left, pause, exhale right. Repeat for a few rounds, without ever straining, and make sure you finish by exhaling through the right nostril. Then just rest both hands on your thighs and take a moment to notice any shifts in how you feel.
Make sure you always start by breathing through the left nostril in this exercise to get the desired calming effect.
Essential oil tip- Eucalyptus or peppermint. Either diffuse the oil in the room or place a drop of oil onto your chest area as you do the breathing exercises (use a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil if the essential oil is not therapeutic grade.) These oils help to open the air passages and invite deep, nourishing breaths into your body. Breathe deep.4.
This is a magical life tool, which you can return to at any time for multiple purposes; to create, to heal, to invite people in to talk to, to learn or just to go and be alone and take some time out.
I created my own mental sanctuary as a child, where I knew I could retreat to at will to relax, learn something new, visualize dreams, meet with whoever I wanted to or heal something. Later in my life I came across actual sanctuary meditations, so I had been doing it naturally without knowing such a thing existed, and subsequently discovered ways to refine the experience.
What I share here is a mixture of my own way with a few suggestions from elsewhere added in. Feel free to alter any aspect to make it your own, personal, private sanctuary with everything you want and need.
Sit or lie in a comfortable position where you won’t be disturbed for 20 minutes or so and take some deep breaths to relax. Imagine yourself being transported along a special rainbow bridge to another place. You float upwards and away, as if flying to another dimension. On my way, I like to sprinkle light over my house, my loved ones, the oceans and continents, the whole planet as I go. See the earth in the distance as you keep journeying. When you feel ready you come across an entryway or special door that only you can open and pass into using a special password or key. Once in, you are bathed in a golden light from above and you move into your sanctuary. It is a beautiful, natural environment of your choice. It can be anything that deeply appeals to you, from a mountaintop or a beach to outer space, under the sea or any futuristic place of your own imagining. It should feel pleasant and comfortable to be there, and only you can decide whether to invite anybody else there or not via your special ‘beam me up’ device of your making. If you do invite someone to come, they too, get instantly cleansed by light on arrival.
Notice or create the details of your sanctuary. You can have a home there, whether it be a cave, a tree house or a palatial mansion or castle. See the surroundings. You can have a healing centre there with the latest and best healing modalities and healers available with a beautiful candle-lit path leading up to it. Perhaps have a cinema room where you can sit and watch a film of your future life and imagine it how you want it to be. You could have a special library with all knowledge in it and any books or information imaginable accessible to you. There might be a creativity room where you paint, or write or play music to the level you have always wished to or learn a new language with ease.
Outside explore the various personalized aspects of your sanctuary. You could have a beautiful horse or your dream car or be able to fly to get you around your island or estate, you might have dolphins swimming in the sea beyond. There might be meadows with wildflowers or a jungle lodge or desert landscape or a mountain chalet. Somewhere in your sanctuary, perhaps have a special space to entertain or have group meetings with those you’ve invited in. For example it could be a round table for discussions with wise ones or your mastermind group of anyone dead or alive that you admire and want to communicate with.
The possibilities are endless! The only limit is your imagination. And it can be a constantly changing place as your ideas evolve. Get creative and have fun with it.
Know that you can return whenever you wish and that it is always protected and your special, sacred place. When you leave return down the rainbow bridge back to where your body lies and open your eyes refreshed and inspired by your sanctuary visit.
“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary, to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
Herman Hesse- From Siddhartha
Yoga tip- Child’s pose. This pose feels super comforting and safe to many people. Go within and breathe deep in your own space.
Essential oil tip- Diffuse Sandalwood or frankincense in the room while you travel off to your sanctuary. These oils have been used for centuries to induce a meditative state and calm atmosphere.
This is a vital tool for life, for anyone, especially more sensitive people who tend to pick up on energies around them. Being protected from heavy or negative energy is the best way to avoid life’s pitfalls, can save you lots of trouble, and is therefore invaluable.
One of the easiest and simplest tools for this is to mentally surround yourself in a bubble or egg shape of pure Light. This Light fills and envelops you from your centre to arms length away from you so your entire being is fully protected. Light oscillates on a very high vibration and transmutes any lower vibrations held within it. No heavy or negative energy may enter that bubble but you can still spread your light far and wide from within it.
Another very simple method is to project love and positivity out into the world. That deceptively simple practice is in itself a fantastic protection as everything is energy and your vibration will be so high if you are radiating out love, the most powerful force in the universe, that no negativity can possibly penetrate you. Love is stronger than fear and both cannot exist in the same space. So embody love and radiate it out wherever you go and you’ll be sure to have a wonderful time and stay safe. (I share these simple tools with you as someone who has travelled the world, to over 90 countries, often solo, and stayed in African refugee camps for several weeks or been in places most people consider dangerous, without having experienced any real trouble. You could claim that was luck of course but I was instinctively using these techniques along the way.)
Another powerful way used by many for centuries, for those open to the idea is to call upon and invoke Archangel Michael to be with you, and protect your house or car or the plane you are flying in. Archangel Michael is considered to be the Archangel of protection. If you are open to Angels, then call on him asking him to be with you in the name of Light and love, or ask him to place his blue cloak of protection around you, and see that happening in your mind’s eye.
In a situation where you feel you need extra protection, visualize a mirror ball or bubble around you. This repels any negativity or psychic attack heading towards you and returns it to the sender.
A general good way to keep your energy body and aura free from heavy energy or psychic debris, is to regularly take an Epsom salt bath. Just add a cup or so of pure Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) to your hot bath and soak while you are cleared, then rinse off afterwards.
Sometimes, in the middle of getting on with life you might detect a bad vibe. (We all know the feeling when our gut tells us that something isn’t right or the hairs on our body stand on end.) If that happens, breathe. Cover your solar plexus by just crossing your arms (no one need know what you are doing) and then acknowledge the feeling and in your own mind let it know that you are aware of it, and that anything that is not of the Light is not welcome. You could mentally say ‘I send any negative energy up to the Light to be transmuted instantly.’ Then tune in to a happy memory or thought and start sending out good, loving vibes or do any of the other tools here. Sometimes the best protection is to simply walk away if you sense trouble brewing.
One last general one, which you could use anytime, and is particularly useful when travelling, is to recite the following in your mind:
Angels before me,
Angels behind me,
Angels to my right,
Angels to my left,
Angels above me,
Angels below me,
Angels right here with me.
Then just relax and give thanks for living with an entourage of Light and protection. Feel free to replace the word Angels with Light or safety or whatever works for you.
Obviously many people choose to pray when they feel threatened and if you have a favourite prayer, reciting that to yourself could bring great comfort and protection.
Yoga- From Downward Dog, Inhale lifting the right leg up into the air behind you. As you exhale take your right foot forwards between your hands, allowing the left knee to come to the floor. Then with both arms reach forwards, up and back until you have created a bubble of protection around yourself. You can visualize it being pure light on bring in an appropriate colour if you choose. Step back to Downward Dog and repeat on the other side.
There’s a Scottish Gaelic word, Caim, pronounced Kyem. It’s definition is ‘a sanctuary; an invisible circle of protection, drawn around the body with the hand, to remind one of being safe and loved, even in the darkest times.’ That’s the idea for the above sequence.
Oil- If you have an Epsom salt bath, add 4-6 drops of lavender oil to it, or use a lavender oil on your body afterwards which helps with protection.
Alternatively you could make your very own lavender bath salts. You will need:
Pure Lavender essential oil
A glass mason jar
Fill the jar about halfway with Epsom salts.
Add 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil. Put the lid on and shake.
Remove the lid again and add 1 tablespoon of dried lavender. Replace the lid and shake again.
Add more Epsom salts to fill the jar, and then close the lid and give it one last shake.
Finally, for an optional last touch, drop in a small amethyst crystal so that the bath salts are infused with its soothing, protective vibration.
6) Creating Sacred Space
There are many tools for helping create sacred space. In truth it can be accomplished simply by lighting a candle with the intention of creating a sacred space for ceremony or peaceful inner work, but there are many ways to thoroughly clear the space from any heavy energy and draw in the highest and best energies to create the ideal environment which I share here.
1) Firstly, de-cluttering the space or your whole house is always a good idea as everything has energy, so if something is not being used or contributing to the beauty or good vibrations of the environment, it’s just stuck energy taking up space. This is particularly true if you are sensitive and feel everything around you. Your environment is crucial and should be kept simple, clean and beautiful. Clearing things away clears the energy of the space. Be ruthless. Throw away rubbish and give the good things to a charity shop or friend who will enjoy them so it’s good for everyone.
2) Burning sage is a very effective way to clear the energy of a place. This technique has been used for millennia by indigenous people in sacred ceremonies and is called smudging. White sage is used, and these sage sticks can be made using dried white sage and string, or bought. You light the end of the sage bundle until it’s burning well then blow it out and walk around the space with the smoke wafting around it mentally asking that any heavy energy be cleared and only the highest vibrations remain.
3) The same can be done with another wonderful natural item from Ecuador, called Palo Santo, meaning holy stick. Again you just light it and allow it’s delicious, cleansing scent to clear the space.
4) Another method, particularly good if it’s not wise to have matches or fires due to fire alarms or children using them, is to using space clearing sprays. Again these are readily available today. You can get sage sprays or sprays called Aurasoma. Another option used mainly in Peru by shamans is using Agua de Floridita. It comes in bottles with a screw top lid but I like transferring it into a glass spray bottle, diluting it with filtered water and spraying it wherever a space needs clearing. I make my own sage and palo santo sprays. See the oil tip at the end of this chapter.
5) Tibetan bowls or bells can also be used to clear the energy in a room. As can crystal bowls. When struck with the appropriate stick, the bowls give off healing sounds and frequencies. Using a rattle also works to clear a space and can used for journey work.
6) Drumming is often used to clear space. As is chanting or singing.
7) Placing beautiful images, crystals, plants or sacred objects in the space lifts the vibration and creates a more pleasant environment. Rose and amethyst are great in a bedroom, citrine in a living space…
8) If it appeals, set up an altar in your home. It can just be a small corner of the house or perhaps you’ll have a whole sacred room for yoga/ meditation/ rest. Place images that inspire you, a candle, try to have the four elements represented there. For example some water, or holy water, a candle for fire, incense or a feather for air and a crystal or rock for earth. This is a place you can go to sit and be still, or to daily align with the Divine. Make it special and unique to you and the more you use it, the more the energy of that space will be magnified.
10) Here is a wonderful invocation for opening sacred space, which, I was taught by Alberto Villodo. Shamanic societies have used this method for centuries. This particular one comes from Peru and was handed down from the Incas. When I lived in Mexico, I was invited to partake in a monthly ceremony for world peace every full moon at the Tulum Mayan ruins, before opening and we used the same invocation to open sacred space to great effect. Some cultures use elements instead of animals and others start facing a different direction so use you own intuition to determine what feels right for you. (Substitute the word me, with us where appropriate.)
Stand in the centre of the space, facing South to begin:
“To the spirit of the south. Be here now great serpent. I honour you. Teach me to shed my past as you shed your skin, and to rise up to enlightenment. Ahom.”
Now turn to the West:
“To the spirit of the West. Be here now mother sister jaguar. I honour you. Teach me to protect Mother Earth, to be fearless, without enemies in this life or the next and to live beyond death. Ahom.”
Now turn to face North:
“To the spirit of the North. Be here now hummingbird. Teach me to suck the nectar out of life and to face any challenge unhesitatingly knowing that anything is possible. Ancient ones, grandmothers, grandfathers, my children’s children. I honour you. Ahom.”
Turn to face East:
“To the spirit of the East. Be here now great Eagle. I honour you. Come from where the sun rises. Take me under your wing and teach my spirit to soar to the Great Spirit. Teach me to fly and to have the highest and clearest vision to dream the best world into being. Ahom.”
Now bend your knees placing one hand down on the earth/floor:
“Mother Earth/ Pachamama. I honour you. For all your relations; the stones, the plants, the four legged, the two legged, those that crawl. The finned, the furred, the winged ones. May all beings be healed and whole. Help us to live in harmony with you. Ahom.”
Now stand up and face the sky, reaching one hand up:
“Father Sun. Spirit of light. Grandmother moon, star brothers and sisters. Be here now. I honour you. Creator, you of a thousand names and yet nameless, thank you for letting me sing the song of life. Let there be light, love and truth gathered here in sacred space. Ahom.”
Now the space is cleared and charged for sacred work and can be used for ceremonies, rituals or healing work. It is customary to close the scared space when finished by simply turning to each of the six directions and saying something along the lines of:
“Thank you for your presence and blessings here and for teaching me your ways. Ahom.”
You can create your own shorter invocation from the heart on the lines of:
“With deep respect I ask to open sacred space. I call upon Mother, Father, God, Goddess, Light, Divine Love and beings of light. Thank you for being present and holding the space in the highest vibration of love and light for the purpose of healing, transformation and service work. So be it. So it is.”
Yoga- I find that by starting a yoga practice by dedicating it to someone or something bigger than myself, or most often for the benefit of all beings everywhere, that instantly makes it a sacred practice, as intention is everything. You can do this on its own or alongside spraying the room with a sage spray or burning sage or palo santo or chanting Om, or lighting a candle.
Oil- Lemongrass. Oil of cleansing. Simply rub a drop in your hands (you can dilute it with a carrier oil if necessary.) Rub your hands together, breathe in the aroma, and brush the air around your body with your hands.
Why not make your own Sage spray to clear a space?
1/3rd of a cup of Rosewater
6 drops of sage essential oil. Preferably white sage
4 drops frankincense oil
1 teaspoon of Pink Himalayan salt
Combine all the ingredients in a dark glass spray bottle.
Or give a simpler recipe
As you do, and whenever you use the spray, intend that the spray will clear away any heavy or negative energy leaving behind only the highest vibrations of love and light.
Rosewater transmutes negative energy into a delicate loving energy. Sage powerfully clears and purifys a space. Frankincense lifts the vibration creating a sacred space and Himalayan salt has many beneficial qualities . You could also pop a small quartz or smoky quartz crystal into the bottle to increase the power of clearing the space.
7) Love/ Metta
“All you need is love.” The Beatles
Love is the most powerful force in the world. Love, as they say, makes the world go round. Or in religious terms God is love, and we are made in the image and likeness of God, therefore we too are ultimately love. It seems these ancient maxims are being proven to be true by modern physics. Everything is energy and vibrating at certain frequencies. Emotionally we can simplify those energies down to two emotions; love and fear, and the two vibrations cannot co-exist together in your mind, so we can choose one over the other.
The heart’s electromagnetic field is 5,000 times stronger than the brain’s. It can be read up to 10 feet away. Love is connected to the heart and as we feel love in our heart centre and send it out from us, that has very real and palpable effects. Tibetans have known this for centuries and practiced the wonderful Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation, and now science has a clearer understanding that it works. When EEG readings were taken of Tibetan Buddhist monks seasoned in practicing Metta meditation, it registered very high levels of gamma brain waves, the fastest and the left anterior portion of the brain was activated, associated with joy. The monks had trained their brains for happiness. As a comparison people well trained in mindfulness activate the attention and observation portions of the brain.
Before taking you through the Metta meditation of Loving Kindness, I will share with you a super simple but very powerful technique corroborated by science and used by the Heart Math Institute to bring about heart and brain coherence, as taught to me by Greg Braden. Try this:
Bring your attention to your heart. Place a finger or hand on your heart as you do this. Keeping it there, take some deep, slow breaths into your heart area. Then gradually introduce elevated feelings like love, joy or gratitude. Feeling appreciation for people or things in your life that you love, for nature or food, a pet… anything. Keep breathing long deep breaths in your heart area. Allow yourself to keep feeling gratitude and love whilst your attention is on your heart for at least 3 minutes, at which point you will reach head heart coherence, the effects of which can last up to 6 hours. Do this often daily to shift your biology and energy field into a more coherent and whole state.
“Hatred cannot co-exist with loving kindness, and dissipates if supplanted with thoughts based on loving kindness.”
I do the Metta meditation daily in the morning and have done so for years now. I would not be without it due to the way it feels and the benevolent ripples it sends out. I like to share the story behind it. It is said that once Buddha instructed some of his disciples to go to a particular forest with the instruction to meditate. Soon after, they returned to him, terrified, full of fear, saying that the forest was full of frightening spirits. Buddha told them he would send them back to that same forest, but would provide them with the only protection they would need. He then taught them the Metta meditation of Loving Kindness. This time, the spirits in the forest were so moved by the loving energy emanating from the monks that their heart’s melted and they chose not to scare them anymore but instead to take care of them. A mind saturated in loving kindness cannot be overcome by fear, but a mind filled with fear can be penetrated by loving kindness. Love is stronger than fear, and there’s quite a lot of fear out there these days, so this is a very good meditation to practice.
Deep within us is a limitless source of the energy of love, which can be accessed at any time. This beautiful ancient Tibetan Buddhist practice allows you to spread that love to yourself, others and ultimately the whole world. Try it for yourself and see.
Metta/ Loving Kindness Meditation.
Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. Take a few deep, relaxed breaths to centre yourself. Bring your attention to your heart centre (you could place one or both hands on you heart as you do so.) Conjure up a feeling of loving kindness at your heart space. To do this you could use a memory of someone who loves you dearly or that you love dearly or a pet or a deity that represents love to you. Allow that loving feeling to open up and expand. I like visualizing a pink flame or ball of love at my heart shining and imagining it expanding outwards until I am filled and enveloped in a pink bubble of loving kindness or Metta.
Now, first we send it to ourselves. Use this mantra in your mind to do so:
May I be happy and free from suffering
See and feel yourself filled and enveloped in this loving energy as you say these words to yourself.
Then imagine someone who you would like to send this love to, a loved one. Visualize them sitting right in front of you and send that loving kindness from your heart to theirs until they too are filled and enveloped in a pink bubble of Metta. The mantra becomes:
May he/she be happy and free from suffering
After a while see that person moving off and invite in someone neutral. Someone that you see every now and then but you don’t know well, like the postman or someone at the till where you shop for food. Again, visualize the metta energy flowing from your heart to theirs until they are filled and enveloped in loving kindness, mentally saying:
May he/she be happy and free from suffering
After a time that person moves away and bring in someone you have had difficulties with are having difficulties with, and repeat the process:
May he/she be happy and free from suffering
I like to then expand it out further and visualize the earth in front of me with all beings on it and repeat the process.
May all beings everywhere be happy and free from suffering
Finally bring it back to yourself, going back to the first mantra.
May I be happy and free from suffering.
So, to clarify, you conjure up a feeling of love in your heart and then send it to:
2) Someone you love
3) Someone neutral
4) Someone you have difficulties with
5) The world and all beings
6) Back to yourself.
Once you get used to it, you might want to change the wording slightly to what feels best. I tend to use the following mantra:
May I be happy, free, peaceful, safe and well and awaken to the light of my true nature.
Then continue using ‘May he/ she/ they… be happy, free, peaceful, safe and well, and awaken to the light of her/his/their true nature.
Use any phrase that feels right and sends benevolent energy to yourself and others.
The Metta mantra in Sanskrit; Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu, means: ‘May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words and deeds of my own life contribute towards that end.’
“You are love itself when you are not afraid.”
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Every culture throughout history has believed that ‘What you give out, you get back’ or what goes around, comes around.’ So give out love and kindness to yourself and everyone else, really feeling it, knowing that it’s real and palpable, and you will also attract more love and kindness back to yourself. It’s a beautiful win- win situation! As The Course in Miracles says: “Only Love is real.”
Everything is a reflection of the condition of your own heart. Get into your heart and live from there. Be love and you’ll be surrounded by it.
Humans are very good at spending much of their time berating themselves for all the reasons they are not good enough, or not worthy enough. This practice encourages you instead to send yourself and others love despite our foibles and to marinate in that loving kindness until it overrides any feelings of unworthiness. Love yourself completely and help others have more compassion for themselves. That way you can truly leave a legacy of love.
“Wherever a lamp goes it sheds its light.
Wherever a flower goes it sheds its fragrance.
So also spread your love wherever you go.
Try to live your life like that.
Wherever you go,
Just spread your love.
Just keep your candle of love going.
Whenever you find a candle unlit, light it up.
Get it going, everywhere.
There’s no other way than that.
Remember this principle.
Hold on to this principle,
All answers lie with love.
Yoga- Hrydiya mudra. Sit comfortably with your spine straight. Curl your middle and ring finger tips to meet your thumb tips, keeping your little fingers and index fingers open and outstretched. Rest the back of your hands on your thighs. This hand gesture is said to divert energy to your heart and help release any held emotions. Bring your attention to your heart space or Anahata Chakra and breathe deep. This is a wonderful mudra to use for the Metta meditation of loving kindness.
Yoga: Here are some heart opening yoga poses; Bow or Dhanurasana, Camel or Ustrasana, and Wheel or urdhva dhanurasana.
Oil- Geranium- The oil of self-love. Dilute with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil and use as a massage oil. It blends well with bergamot, lavender or jasmine.
You could also diffuse rose or pink lotus oil, both connected with the heart and love.
8) Day Time/ Night Time
How you act on waking and before sleep can profoundly affect your day and if you create a healthy routine or ritual in the morning and evenings, that can affect your whole life, so here are some tips I’ve learned or made up which invite the best possible experience each day. Use any you find useful. You can do just one or a combination of them as it suits you. Remember these are all just friendly suggestions which I have tried and tested. Take what’s useful.
Amongst other benefits, these practices assist you in keeping your body’s natural circadian rhythm healthy. As Joe Dispenza explains in Becoming Supernatural, every morning as you wake up and your eyes perceive light, the optic nerve sends a signal to your brain which gets the pineal gland to release serotonin, the daytime neurotransmitter. This shifts your brain waves from delta, through theta, on to alpha then beta, gradually shifting you from your inner world of sleep into the outer world of alert consciousness, letting your body know it’s time to wake up.
We no longer live in sync with the sun’s light and natural rhythms so these are ways we can help ourselves feel invigorated in the morning ready for the day ahead and relax at night in order to sleep well.
Morning- On waking up
1) Give thanks. Gratitudes at the start of your day set you up very well. Just think of 3-5 things you’re grateful for
2) Drink hot water with lemon juice (It hydrates you. Restores pH balance, and is antioxidant.)
3) Meditate (Perhaps the most important one here.)
4) Do a short yoga practice of your choice or stretch for 5-10 minutes
5) Visualize the day you want to have. Intention is everything
6) Place protection around yourself (see chapter on Protection)
7) Take a refreshing shower (see oil note at end of chapter)
8) After you brush your teeth. Try oil pulling. Take about a teaspoon of coconut oil (which is anti-bacterial and helps whiten teeth) and swish it around in your mouth for a couple of minutes, then spit it out. (If you have food grade peppermint essential oil, consider adding a drop or two to the coconut oil.)
9) Have a healthy breakfast (See nutrition chapter)
10) Have a handy uplifting roll on to rub on and feel energized. (See oil tips at end of chapter.)
11) Remember that life is short and precious so choose to make the day a special one. Have a wonderful day!
“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
At nighttime a lack of light causes the pineal gland to transmute serotonin into melatonin, the nighttime neurotransmitter, which reverses your brain waves from beta, through alpha, into theta and finally delta, allowing you to move from the busy outer world into the calm inner world where you are in restful sleep.
Stress, which is so prevalent in today’s world, causes adrenal cortisone levels to go up, and melatonin levels to go down. This is why people can’t sleep when they’re stressed, and there’s a lot of stress in the world. But if you lower levels of cortisol, breaking the stress response, using the various tools in this book and any others you find helpful, then melatonin levels will increase. Melatonin also strengthens the immune system, repairs DNA, stimulates the anti-ageing hormone DHEA, stops the excess secretion of cortisol, the stress hormone and inhibits hardening of the arteries. Some of the reasons why a good night’s sleep is vital to our wellbeing.
Evening- Before bed
1) Have a relaxing bath with calming essential oils (see oil note at end of chapter) and use a relaxing roll on before bed to soothe you as you sleep (See oil note at end of chapter.)
2) Turn electronics off at least an hour before bed. (Blue light from our devices keeps the brain active.)
3) An obvious way to help you relax is to listen to some relaxing music, like chilled or classical.
4) Have a bedtime drink. There are several good options. You can get magnesium, which is calming and promotes rest, in a soluble form to add to a hot water if you like. Or drink Chamomile and / or lavender tea or heat up some oat milk and add dried chamomile and lavender flowers to it, then strain it into a mug for a good night’s sleep. (Alternatively dip a Pukka Love teabag into the oat milk.) Oats release melatonin, which will help you sleep. Or drink oat milk with Ashwagandha, or a hot cacao drink.
5) Do a short restorative, relaxing yoga practice for 5-10 minutes (see my yoga DVD or www.luminoustrails.com)
6) I find this is a great time to do Trataka Candle Gazing Meditation. (See Chapter 1. Also on my yoga DVD)
7) Do Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, always starting through the left nostril for a restful, calming affect! (see chapter 3)
8) Practice Yoga Nidra for a deep, healing relaxation. (See my yoga DVD)
9) Once in bed, review your day. Do a mental ‘Spring clean.’ Try to forgive and release anything that might otherwise go around and around in your mind all night.
10) Finish with gratitudes, as you drift off into a peaceful sleep. Maybe try the gratitude jar mentioned in chapter 2.
11) Bear in mind that your subconscious mind never sleeps so can be working for you all night while you sleep if you plant the right thoughts. So in the moments before falling asleep imagine the life you most want to manifest and feel as though it is real now, tuning into how you feel in this new life emotionally. Imagine your ideal future self in detail as you drift off and let your subconscious mind accept it as real and get to work drawing that reality to you. (Alternatively this is also a time where you could take a mental trip to your sanctuary. See Chapter 4)
Yoga- Day time – Kapalabhati breath/ or short morning yoga practice (See www.luminoustrails.com)
Yoga –Night Time- Yoga Nidra or short evening yoga (See www.luminoustrails.com yoga section.) Add short yoga nidra script here.
Oil- Day time. Try adding a few drops of Peppermint or Eucalyptus oil onto the floor of your shower for an invigorating start to the day. You could also hang peppermint or eucalyptus leaves in the shower area. Also diffuse uplifting oils like orange and /or peppermint into the space you’re in.
Oil- Night time. Rub a little lavender oil diluted with a carrier oil or a blended relaxing roll on onto the soles of your feet, temples, wrists and behind the ears before bed. You could try my Love Gaia Relaxing Roll On here. Diffuse calming oils like lavender and / or chamomile in your bedroom.
If you have a bath before bed, add 1 or 2 drops of Lavender, Vetiver and Chamomile oils into your bath, perhaps diluted in a little oat milk to relax you before bed.
There is a famous story about two monks, one older and one younger boy, walking together along a river, near their monastery. At one point, they see a woman looking distressed as she tries to navigate crossing the river. Without hesitation, the older monk offers her help, lifts her up and carries her across to the other side, putting her down gently. The two monks continue walking in silence until the younger monk can hold it in no longer and says to the elder “how could you do that? We are monks. We don’t touch women. Why did you do that?!” The older man calmly responds “I left her on the other side of that river. Are you still carrying her?”
That story beautifully illustrates the importance of letting go of the past and living firmly in the present, and for many people, one thing that is crucial for that to happen, is leeting go of the past and practicing forgiveness.
I heard that when the members of the Beatles were learning meditation from the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whenever any of them went to him with a question or a problem they were facing, he always replied: “Let it be.” That advice turned into a major hit song. Whether the story is true or not, the sentiment is a good one and you get the point.
In The Course in Miracles it says that in any situation you find yourself in that doesn’t feel right or that’s not ideal, ask yourself ‘who am I not forgiving?’
Whether it’s someone from home, family, or a memory from the playground, or a comment that hurt from a friend or a terrible life changing traumatic event that took place, we all have someone or something or several people to forgive in our lives.
Forgiveness does not mean condoning whatever has occurred, but rather letting it go so your head space is no longer taken up with it, and you can live fully in the present peacefully. Since we are all one, and on a quantum level we are all made up of the same stuff, then your unforgiveness towards anyone is hurting you yourself. It is empowering to release it and no longer give that person or situation any power over you. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind. Sometimes there needs to be a little process and maybe a little time before you feel you can forgive, but as soon as you can, do it for your own peace of mind and healing. As Buddha said: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.”
Don’t forget to include yourself in your forgiveness. Remember we are all human and we sometimes make mistakes. Guilt or self loathing help nothing and no one, so forgive and feel the weight lift off your shoulders and unburden your heart. Learn whatever lesson you can from the experience, and move on with a clean slate.
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew that if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
I feel that if Nelson Mandela could forgive those who put him in prison for 27 years and the guards who tried to make his life hell, we can all find forgiveness and understand that it’s ultimately the only way forward for your peace of mind.
Make a decision to let go of the idea that your past should have been different. Trust that everything has unfolded as it was meant to from the highest perspective, try to accept that and let it be, as though:
“Life happens for you, not to you.”
Can you get to a place where you see that from the highest perspective, everything that has happened to you has served you in some way; whether it led to healing, or growth in terms of cultivating patience compassion or forgiveness or getting better at having boundaries, empathizing with others who’ve been hurt or knowing what you no longer choose to experience. It’s all for your own growth and to help you learn and grow and better create your new story of your best self NOW.
So, how do you forgive? There are many recommended ways out there but the one I have found to be the most profound and powerful is the following Forgiveness prayer that I got from Roberta Herzog, who directly accessed The Akashic Records. To forgive someone, firstly bring them to mind and remember the hurt briefly, then say this prayer, inserting their name into it, and with the intention of freeing yourself from holding onto the pain any longer and being free:
‘I forgive ………… for any ways in which they have hurt or upset me, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, in all times and dimensions. They are free and I am free.’
‘I forgive myself for anything I’ve done that’s hurt or upset ……… knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, in all times and dimensions. I am free and they are free.’
If you want to do a more general forgiveness practice, say:
‘I forgive anyone who has hurt or upset me, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, in all times and dimensions. They are free and I am free.
I forgive myself for anything I’ve done that’s hurt or upset anyone, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, in all times and dimensions. I am free and they are free.’
So be it.
To make this exercise even more powerful, write it out on paper, and then after saying it with feeling, put the paper into a fire or get a fire proof bowl and set light to the paper inside it, or place it on a bonfire outside. Fire is known for its ability to transmute energy, so like a phoenix rising from the fire, you can then begin again free of everything that you just released. Obviously, depending on the nature of what you are wanting to forgive, you may feel it all clear after doing this exercise once, or over time you could do it several more times. The acid test to know that its worked is that you can think of that person with kindness and wish them well. Then you know all is forgiven and you’ve truly let it go.
Another thing you could try is something I got from a book by Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Forgiveness. (He knows a thing or two about that topic having grown up in South Africa during apartheid!) He suggested going out into nature and finding a stone or pebble. As you hold it, think of the person, people or situation that needs forgiving, and think or speak it into the stone. Let it all out into the stone knowing that it can take and hold that energy. Then when you feel ready, with the intention of forgiving now and letting it go, bury that stone in the earth. (In shamanic traditions they do a very similar practice with stones and the understanding is that we do not harm the earth in any way by giving her our heavy energy, on the contrary, the earth takes it and instantly transmutes it turning it into food or fertilizer and putting it to use, so it’s a win win thing where you release the pain and suffering you’ve been holding onto, and the earth benefits too.)
Something else to ponder on is that the world acts like a mirror reflecting back to us aspects of ourselves, so for example if someone was unkind to you, can you think of a time that you were unkind to someone? Maybe you could release both, using the prayer above. Or if you feel you want to ask forgiveness from someone for something, try the beautiful Ho’oponopono prayer from Hawaii. Just hold the person, people, animal or even the earth in your mind, and say:
Please forgive me,
I love you.’
Again, remember that everything is energy so on an energetic level there will be a shift and a healing. You might find that the person suddenly calls you, but even if they don’t, trust that on some level they received the message.
“Every time you forgive, the universe changes. Every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, the world changes and will never be the same.”
From The Shack- by William P Young
Here’s something else you can try: Imagine a violet balloon. Mentally fill it with all the things you no longer choose to hold onto, the things you want to let go of, things that no longer serve you. See the violet colour saturating all of that. Then release it in your mind. Let it go. Watch it disappear off into the sky and beyond, whilst the violet light within it transmutes the contents.
Another powerful thing you can do is to cut any negative chords connecting you to whoever it is that you’re forgiving. The traditional way of doing this is to call upon Archangel Michael and ask him to use his sword to cut any heavy or negative chords connecting you to them, and visualize it being done. Alternatively just visualize any negative chords connecting you to another person and see them being released from their root then being dissolved by violet light until they have disappeared. You could also physically use your hands to intentionally cut away the chords and release them into violet light. Then in the space where the chord was imagine pure white light filling that area. Give thanks and get on with life feeling lighter and more free.
Yoga- Come into a squat position by having the feet wider than hip width apart and bending the knees. Interlace fingers leaving your second finger and middle finger up, like the Charlie’s Angels’ pose. Now think of whatever it is that you’d like to forgive or release, then point your fingers down at Mother Earth and imagine releasing it all to her, to be instantly transmuted. (In Peru, I learnt from shamans there that Mother Earth or Pachamama as they call her, always gladly receives any heavy energy or ‘Haucha’ given to her, and transmutes it into ‘Sami’ good energy, which she uses as fertiliser or food.) Then sit cross legged, palms resting on your knees palms up, and visualize healing energy or white light flowing into you filling up the spaces that you just created by releasing those things.
Oil: Thyme/ Bergamot. These oils are said to help with forgiveness and letting go. Dilute them with a carrier oil, rub them in your palms and breathe them in, or these days there are ‘forgiveness’ blends that you could diffuse.
Meditation is a fundamental life tool with countless benefits. I have meditated first thing on waking for many years now and would not do without it as it sets up my day and benefits my life in so many ways. It took some time to make it a daily ritual. The hardest bit is just showing up and sitting, even if it’s for 5 minutes at first. I found that it helps to have a specific place in the house dedicated just for meditation or sacred practice. To begin with I used a tiny corner with a cushion, and now I have a yoga room that I retreat to and sit for 20-40 minutes daily without fail. Having said that, needless to say you can meditate anywhere, including on the move. In fact the goal is ideally for life to become one long meditation, or a constant practice in mindfulness, of living in the now, present and aware. That’s the ultimate idea.
It’s as though every time you meditate you dip yourself into the unified field, and like regularly dipping a cloth into coloured dye until it becomes that colour fully, each time you emerge from meditation, you have more fully embodied that limitless energy. Of course the results do depend on what form(s) of meditation you are practicing.
Since there are so many different wonderful meditations, I am sprinkling them throughout this book, but in this chapter I’ll focus on why you might want to do it and offer a few meditations that I use all the time.
Benefits vary depending on the kind of meditation you practice but here are some general benefits of meditation:
Slows down brain waves
Brings the left and right brain hemispheres into coherence
Establishes more coherent brain waves, synching the four regions of the brain
Calms the mind
Deactivates the ruminating , worrying mind
Lowers the heart rate
Lowers blood pressure
Increases capacity for empathy
Brings you into the present moment
Reduces fight or flight response to danger
Connects you to your true inner self and to all that is
Brings equanimity, balance
(Metta Meditation increases the Gamma brain waves.)
From a more scientific perspective, from Buddha’s Brain- the practical neuroscience of happiness, love and wisdom by Rick Hanson, meditation increases grey matter in the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and insula; Brain regions that handle attention, compassion and empathy. It improves psychological functions and reduces cortical thinning due to ageing, and strengthens the immune system. Rupert Sheldrake’s book Science and Spiritual practices cites Harvard studies showing meditation causing increase in grey matter to auditory and sensory areas of the brain and the temporoparietal junction concerned with perceiving alternative perspectives.
Also group meditations have been shown to be extra powerful and have a profound benevolent effect on the area where they are happening. For example, over 20 studies have been conducted on large numbers of people doing transcendental meditation in different cities, and there was an unusual and noticeable drop in the crime rate of the area during that time. So the effects can ripple out far and wide, the more of us doing it. They say that the square root of 1% of a population holding a thought or meditating on peace will shift things and create critical mass. So everyone counts and the more of us meditating the better.
When I met Scilla Elworthy in 2014, she told me a wonderful story about when she had managaed to get the world’s top nuclear weapon policy makers in a room with their critics who were against nuclear, for a discussion about disarmament, which was an incredible feat in itself. What she didn’t mention but had arranged previously, was that in the room below she had 5 of the world’s most seasoned meditators sitting in peaceful meditation throughout. The result was a very significant nuclear disarmament, which had her nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!
So now that you know why to meditate, how do you meditate, or which meditation should you try? I offer a few suggestions here:
A very good initial focus point for meditation is your breath because it is always there with you, wherever you are. It is portable and always accessible and requires no external props to work with. Here are a few breath meditations to try:
Sitting comfortably with your spine straight, bring your attention to your breathing. Simply observe it, following every inhale and exhale like the waves of the sea. Just ‘watch’ the breath without trying to change anything. If your mind wanders, which is very common, just notice that, without judgement, and gently escort it back to your breath again as your anchor.
You might want to try saying mentally ‘Inhale’ or ‘I am inhaling’ as you breathe in, and ‘Exhale’ or ‘I am exhaling’ as you breathe out to keep your mind focused, at least initially.
Another way you can work with breath meditation is to count the breaths mentally. Inhale-1, exhale-2, inhale-3, exhale-4…etc. until you get to 10, then start again at 1. If you lose count simply start back at 1 and keep going.
“You should sit in meditation for about 20 minutes a day. Unless you are busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”
This involves focusing one-pointedly on a specific object. The object could be anything, but traditionally you would use something like a candle (as in Trataka meditation in the Light chapter,) or an image of a deity or yantra (a physical image of a mantra, or an Om sign.) It’s best to choose something beautiful and pure. You could try a single rose or an image of a dove for example.
Place the image in front of you. Sit comfortably with your back straight and begin to deepen your breathing. Then focus your eyes on the pre-determined image and just gaze at it deeply. Thoughts will come and go but try to keep your mind focused on the object; its colour, texture, meaning and size. Then close your eyes and ‘see’ it in your mind’s eye, on the inner screen of your consciousness. Then open your eyes again to look at the image imprinting it on your mind so that when you close your eyes it’s still there at your third eye. Do this a few times and keep practicing. Ideally, with time, even thoughts about the object will dissolve as you merge with the object and become one with it, to the exclusion of all else. This can take time and patience, but just keep looking at the object as a means of fine tuning your levels of concentration and one-pointed focus, and the rest will come in its own time. (This could also be in the Manifestation chapter as, when you get good at this, you can do it in reverse, ie visualize what you’d like to manifest – for the highest good for all- in your mind’s eye, and eventually see it in the physical. It works both ways.)
Another popular form of meditation consists of silently repeating a word or mantra over and over in your mind. This could be a simple word that resonates with the state you wish to reach, for example ‘Peace’ or its Sanskrit equivalent ‘Shanti’ or ‘Calm,’ or ‘Love.’ It could be a traditional mantra such as ‘Om’ or the Tibetan ‘Om Mani Padme Hum,’ or one that you have been given by a master. It is best to stick with one, especially if given it by a guru or master, as they have specific vibrations that resonate with you, and use it regularly.
A mantra is very powerful yet from the subtle realm of space. In the beginning was the word. like an affirmation repeated whilst feeling the essence of the mantra. The words and feeling must be aligned. The mantra is released in the mind but felt in the heart. The mantra tunes our body with its vibration. It aligns you closer and closer to its reality and can help bring about Self Realization. A mantra is also ‘that which protects.’ It helps create an inner sanctuary and is like medicine, It’s self nourishing. The idea with mantra meditation is that your mind is bathed in the mantra to the point where it cannot be dwelling on other thoughts, and ultimately the mantra cancels out, not just other thoughts, but the mantra itself, leaving behind pure silence or emptiness.
You can also measure your breaths with a mantra. Combining mantra and breath you are using two of the most powerful forces as one, and that’s more exciting than counting in your mind. Eg say it in your mind with each breath: inhale Shanti. Exhale Shanti.
For those who say that they don’t have time to meditate, the truth is, that’s when you most need to, as Gandhi playfully put it: “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.”
Yoga- Repeat a mantra over and over during your yoga practice to focus the mind, or try this idea by Thich Nhat Hanh. He recommends a way to make any moment more mindful or meditative by mentally saying to yourself: ‘breathing in’ as you inhale, and ‘breathing out’ as you release the air. Let this be your focus to keep you anchored to the present moment. The only moment that matters.
Essential oil- Diffuse Frankincense, or Sandalwood oils to create a calm, meditative atmosphere to help you focus.
“There is no such thing as coincidence.”
Neale Donald Walsch
I’ve had so many wonderful synchronicities in my life that I have absolutely no doubt they are more than mere coincidences and that there’s something larger at work. To me, they are always a sign that life is on track and all is well, or I’m in the flow (or perhaps that’s just when I notice them more.)
You have to have an open heart and pay attention to notice the synchronicities that come your way.
I once heard it said that if you hear something once, take note. If it comes up a second time, it wants your attention. Three times and your angels are positively shouting at you!
I tend to believe that we live in a friendly universe where seemingly magical synchronicities can be part of a life in flow. It’s not something that we can force though, so to illustrate the point I’m sharing some examples of synchronicities in my own life here that have really led me to pay attention and to hone and trust my intuitive skills and trust in the synchronistic flow of the universe.
Whilst I was at Exeter University, a guy called Jeremy Maxwell Kramer from California came to study with us for a semester from UCLA. He became a good friend. One day he came into class and told me I’d appeared in his dream. He said we’d both been walking along Venice beach chatting animatedly as the sun went down. I said I liked his dream as I’d never been to Venice beach but was glad I’d been there in his mind at least. Years passed, and I did go to California for some time. One day I was walking along Venice beach at sunset, when suddenly I spotted Jeremy just as he also saw me. We were so excited to have crossed paths that we talked really excitedly as we walked along the beach, then simultaneously we both remembered his dream and that we were living it out in reality!
Another one involves the same friend. This time I was in London showing my Venezuelan cousin Daniela around. At one point she asked if we could go to an internet café. I’d never been to one in England as I lived there but we found one near Leicester Square and I sat by the window looking out while she sent some messages back home. Suddenly I heard someone say “Oh my God! I came in here to send you a message to tell you that I’m in England!” I looked up to see Jeremy and with a smile, said: “Well, it looks like you don’t have to. Here I am.”
What are the chances of those two coincidences?
Magical week in Venezuela
Another time when I was 18 and on a gap year, I had a dream week in Venezuela. I had been there three months, staying with family and having a wonderful time and was approaching my last week there, which I wanted to make super special. My plan was to fly to Los Roques for two days, and then the next day leave to spend three days in Canaima National Park where Angel Falls is.
I boarded the small six seater plane for Los Roques, and within half an hour, at first sight of it from the air, I had fallen in love. Below me was an archipelago of islands made up of cool turquoise crystal clear waters and the purest white sands I’d ever seen. To this day, it’s my mind’s first go to place for an image of paradise. We landed on a tiny airstrip on Gran Roque, the main and only inhabited island with it’s laid back vibe and colourful houses and posadas, with strains of salsa music filling the air. Then I got on a boat for a tour of some of the islands and to sleep for one night. The entire day I had a permanent grin on my face. I was in awe at the beauty all around me and just wanted to stay forever. I went snorkeling amongst parrot fish and angel fish and bright corals, and did a night dive where I saw a puffer fish puff up and my guide Luis caught a lobster and fresh fish for dinner. We ate on deck and were blessed with a night long display of shooting stars. It must have been a meteor shower as it went on and on, yet I only really had one wish, which was to stay in Los Roques.
The next morning, we were back on Gran Roque, where I reluctantly said goodbye to Luis and boarded the plane again. We took off and about five minutes into the flight, the holder in front of the pilot, where our luggage was, started flapping open and closed. Other passengers looked worried. I was smiling as I knew what that would mean. Sure enough we had to turn around and return to Los Roques, where to my delight I spent two more days exploring more islands until the plane could take us back to Caracas.
Of course, with the delay I knew I’d missed my trip to Canaima, but I was so full up with bliss from Los Roques that I was ok with that. However, my aunt Carmen picked me up and announced to me that the Canaima trip had been delayed by two days and I was leaving the next morning. She called me ‘chica de la suerte.’ Lucky girl.
So, the next day, I found myself in a 4×4 with three other, older passengers. One of them was a photographer for National Geographic. We drove through stunning landscapes amidst table top mountains called tepuis and camped that night with hammocks hung around a fire. While we ate I told the others about a tepui my cousin had mentioned to me called Roraima, which has flora and fauna unique only to that mountain and has a crystal valley and incredible rock formations that look like huge carved animals. It sounded otherworldly and by the time the fire went out, we were all dreaming of Roraima.
Two days later we were driving near the border with Brazil, when we came across the only person we’d seen on the road. We got talking to him and it turned out that he was a helicopter pilot. When he said he was about to fly up to Roraima there was a pregnant silence. Someone explained that I’d told them about it and they all wanted to go. He said that for $250 per person, we could. I knew immediately that that counted me out but I said to the others that they should go and tell me all about it. The next thing I knew, the man who was a photographer came over to me with a small spare camera and said: “would you do me the honour of taking some photos for me while we’re up there. We are not going to Roraima without you. They’d agreed amongst them to pay for me to go too!” I was so moved and so excited and immediately said yes of course.
We took off. The pilot was a bit of a maverick so he landed on a ledge in the middle of a waterfall on our way up, for fun. Then we were on top of Roraima, which had never been on our itinerary. We each went off exploring. I saw huge rocks in the shape of an elephant and a lion. It was true. I took photos as I went as a thank you to the others. Then I found the crystal valley. It was mesmerizing, to say the least, like a huge flower bed of quartz crystals sparkling up at you. I gazed at it in awe for a long while. I was alone. I confess to having the thought of taking a tiny piece as a momento. I toyed with the idea briefly but instinctively knew I shouldn’t as the place felt sacred to me and I knew it wouldn’t be right. I didn’t. Soon we all met up again as we only had a brief window of time there. One man had seen a frog that rolled instead of hopped and another had seen a flower catching insects. Everyone was stunned and elated at what they’d discovered.
We flew back down, our minds full of incredible visuals. As we walked back towards our 4×4, I hung back, taking in everything that had just happened, when the most amazing thing occurred. Out of nowhere, an indigenous Indian local, wearing only a cloth around his waist hanging to his thighs, with black hair in a bowl shape, came towards me. He said nothing, but opened my hand, placed a large quartz crystal in it, and walked away. I had tears in my eyes and intuitively felt that he had done that because somehow, on some level he knew what had happened up there on Roraima. He knew about the conversation I’d had with myself about taking a crystal and what conclusion I came to. I just intuitively felt that it had all been witnessed and this was my reward. I still have that crystal today and that was the culmination of one of the greatest, most magical weeks of my life and a great example of being in the flow from start to finish and how the universe rearranges itself for you when you are in sync with it.
Years later in 2004, I travelled alone through Nepal, Tibet and India. I spent some time in Pokhara in Nepal helping out in an orphanage doing a meditation retreat. When it was time to leave I got a bus to Lumbini on my way down to India. A backpacker from New Zealand sat next to me and we chatted all the way there. We arrived late at night and the Kiwi guy very sensibly said he was going to find the nearest hostel, did I want to join him? Bizarrely my intuition was telling me to go walk about, so we went our separate ways. Soon I saw some flickering lights in the distance across a field so I walked towards them. Turns out it was a Tibetan monastery. I asked the first person I saw if I could stay there for a night. “Are you here for the festival?” he said. “What festival?” I replied. It turns out that the very special annual Sakye Monlam festival for world peace was about to be held there. He told me that I was clearly meant to have shown up as they had just one bed left if I vacated the room early for a high Tibetan Lama. I agreed. I left my things in my room and went exploring and felt an inexplicable déjà vu about the place so powerfully. I came across a young monk who invited me into his room and told me about the place and the festival and we swapped emails. The next day I found myself being the only woman and only non monk in a room full of people chanting for world peace. It was surreal, magical and profound. I also met Chogye Trilchen Rinpoche, the teacher of the Dalai Lama and he gave me a multi coloured string bracelet. Then it was time to move on to India to meet a friend in Agra.
Fast forward three years and I was living and working in Primrose Hill in London. Standing on the top of the hill one day, the Rinpoche came into my mind very strongly. Then again twice later during that day. I decided to write to the monk I had made friends with at the monastery to tell him that and to wish him well. I got an almost instant response saying it was no coincidence that the rinpoche had come to me that day as he had just passed away and that his blessings increase manifold to those he is connected with in the few days after his passing. Two days later, the multi coloured string bracelet fell off. I still have it.
These examples serve to show me that life has a deeper meaning and that everything is interconnected.
“Pay attention to coincidences and synchronicities in your life.”
Albert Einstein was once asked in an interview “what’s the most important question in the world?” He replied: “The most important question is do I live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe?” When the interviewer asked why that was the most important question, he replied that the answer you choose is what you’ll create.
I was ten when live Aid happened, and I remember being very much aware that it was something major and positive. News of a famine in Ethiopia had touched heartstrings and Bob Geldof put on the biggest global concert to raise awareness and money for the cause. I liked what I was seeing and I remember promising myself that if anything like it ever happened again I’d be there in person, and be a part of it. Fast forward twenty one years and there was talk of Live 8, another global set of gigs for Africa, this time focusing on making poverty history. I had since read Bob Geldof’s autobiography and admired him all the more, and I just instinctively knew I had to be there. There was no doubt in my mind. However it was balloted and I didn’t get a ticket. They were like gold dust and unobtainable and even if they were, I was strapped for cash at the time having recently returned from Asia, yet that didn’t disappoint me because somehow I knew I’d be there. I realize that must sound ridiculous and the obvious solution was just to give up and watch it on TV, but sometimes you get a strong feeling about something and I’ve learnt to trust my instincts.
As the day approached, I just kept seeing myself there in my mind’s eye, being a part of that historic global gig raising both awareness and money for Africa, unperturbed by the lack of a ticket. Then the night before, literally about 15 hours before the event, I saw a post online from an American man about a ticket for sale. Something in my gut told me to call the number. An American voice answered. He was already at the airport about to leave for London. I took a breath and a chance and spoke from the heart, telling him of my deep urge to be there, and my love of Africa and admiration for Geldof ever since Live Aid, and finally, that I didn’t have the money he was asking for but had just felt I had to call him. There was a pause on the phone. You’d imagine he was thinking I was cheeky, crazy or both and was about to hang up. I paused as the universe recalibrated. The short silence was pregnant with infinite possibilities. The next thing I heard was: “Sometimes, some things are just meant to be. My friend had to pull out in the last minute as his son is ill, and he told me he hoped the ticket would go to someone who really wanted to be there. I had no idea how I’d find that person and had assumed it would just be a wasted ticket, then, you just called me. I would be very happy for you to have it, for free, and accompany me to the gig. It’s yours.” I was almost speechless and deeply grateful. I thanked him profusely and we agreed to meet at 10am the following morning.
Of course things could still have fallen apart, he could have found someone to sell it to or not shown up at the appointed hour, but it seems it was fated and he and I met as planned, got on brilliantly and had an incredible day. We stood right at the front for the whole 13 hours or so of world class music including U2 and Paul McCartney playing Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club band, Annie Lennox, Coldplay, REM, Sir Elton John, Madonna and The Who and inspiring messages from the likes of Nelson Mandela. Pink Floyd reunited for a one off phenomenal set which had everyone mesmerized and my new American friend in tears. We left in a euphoric state knowing we had been part of something extremely special. When I asked him why he had given me the ticket instead of waiting to find someone who’d pay, he just told me that it felt right (fortunately he also trusted his instinct) and he added: “what you give away, you get to keep.” I’ll always remember that. I later helped set up a Book Bus in Africa and have helped other people fulfill their dreams in small or large ways. Sometimes if you put things out there to the universe, it responds beautifully, confirming the universal adage ‘what goes around comes around.’
During my third of four years at Exeter University, I decided that for my final year I’d try to find a rustic farmhouse in the countryside around Exeter to share with some university friends. I had borrowed my grandma’s car for a bit, so one day I just spontaneously decided to go on a mission to find that house for the following year.
I got in the car with no map and no specific plan and just opted to follow my instinct. I found myself heading towards a town called Crediton, then onto a small village called Newton-st-Cyres. It had some thatched roof houses, a river running through it and a pub. I noticed a tiny road more like a dirt track to my left just past the river and I took it. It led me up and up a windy narrow track. I remember an old classic car parked to one side, and each time I saw a gap in a hedge I saw nothing but endless fields in all directions.
The sun was beginning to set which turned the sky shades of tangerine and yellow, when the narrow track came to an end and joined an empty country road. I turned left and there on my right was a farmhouse with smoke coming out of the chimney and 360 degree views over glorious Devon countryside with a luminous sunset backdrop. In that instant I thought to myself: ‘That’s it. That’s the house.’ I got out of the car and etched the image into my mind. I know it sounds ridiculous to have that thought, especially as there was smoke coming out of the chimney clearly indicating that someone was living there, and there was definitely no sign suggesting it was up for rent, yet I was sure deep inside. I was mesmerized.
Gradually of course my logical brain kicked in and clocked the craziness of it. Oh well, it was a lovely thought and a fun little adventure. Once the sun had set on that magical scene, I got back in the car and drove home then met some friends for a drink and didn’t mention it or give it any more thought.
A week later I went to a party I’d been invited to in London. During it I met a woman who had previously been a student at Exeter University too. We had a good chat swapping impressions of the place, all positive. Just as I was leaving, she saw me and said: “let’s stay in touch and by the way, here’s the number of a good land lady down there in case it ever comes in useful. Her name is Mary Quick.” I thanked her, agreed to be in touch and left.
Back in Exeter a few days later I gave that number a ring. Mary answered so I told her that I was looking for a farmhouse to share with maybe four or five friends for my final year, did she have anything? “No I’m sorry, I don’t” came the answer. I said “oh well, no worries, thanks anyway,” and was just about to put the phone down when she said “wait!” I brought it back to my ear. Mary went on to say that there was this one place. She’d never rented it out before because it was her own house but it was really too big for her and her two kids. She added: “the view is to die for.” We agreed that I’d go and see it a few days later and she said she’d send me the address and directions. The house could have been anywhere in a 20 miles radius and I just thought I’d go with it and see what happened.
On the appointed day, an unusual thick fog set in. I set off a bit early so I could drive slowly and followed the directions, which happened to be towards Crediton. Soon I took a left towards Newton-st-Cyres and it crossed my mind that the house might be near the one I’d found on my little house hunt adventure, however the directions took me past the little windy steep dirt track and beyond. Oh well, I thought. It was a nice dream and this place is obviously close by. I kept driving with my fog lights on. Visibility was awful. The directions told me to take the next road on the left after the village beyond the Beer Engine pub. I did, and it was a steep climb straight up a hill. I could hardly see two feet ahead.
Suddenly I noticed the sign I’d been looking for: ‘Woodly Farm’ and I drove in. As I did, my whole body got chills. Then through the fog lights the front of the house and chimney came dimly into view. Then it dawned on me in a perfect moment. It was the exact same farmhouse! It was the one I’d found and fallen for. Not a similar one but the very same house. My body tingled and I smiled, took a deep breath and went to the door. Mary was very welcoming and showed me around the large house. There was a fireplace in the living room crackling away, an aga in the kitchen (I’d always loved agas but never had one) and there were five bedrooms. I had to take her word for it about the view as we couldn’t see a thing outside the windows but my mind was already made up. Outside she told me, there was a vegetable garden and a hay barn, good for parties, and miles and miles of great walking through the surrounding fields, and a tree house, which was ideal for picnics and spotting deer.
Then over a cup of fennel tea I decided to tell her the story. (I hadn’t been sure if I should. It might freak her out, or make me seem like a stalker, or make her decide not to let me rent the place,) but I did. When I finished, she simply put down her mug, smiled and said: “then you’re clearly meant to live here.” Which I did, for a year, for a mere £40 a week, and had the most wonderful, happy time there with friends. Some things it seems are just meant to be.
Another time, in 2019 I found another home in a fun way. I had been staying with my great friend Evy and her family in Topanga, California, in their guest cottage at the back of their property for a month or so. Her husband is a music producer and occasionally bands record there and stay in the guest cottage, which was fair enough. At one point he told me that a well known band was on their way, so I needed to vacate the cottage and quickly find somewhere new for 3 weeks. I tried to come up with a plan B without panicing. I sat quietly breathing deep, then felt that I should go to a cafe called Topanga living, and as I sat there pondering where I would go, a cute little dog jumped up and sat on my lap. It transpired that her name was Nala, and her owner (or companion) was a lovely young lady called April. We got talking and for some reason I opted to share my predicament with her. She just said “Hmmm, auspicious timing as a room in my house very close by is becoming available for 3 weeks in a couple of days. I feel like you’d fit in perfectly there.” I went to see it and sure enough within 3 days moved in. I loved my time there with 3 soul sisters who were yoginis, musicians and healers. We all felt that it was fated and really enjoyed each other’s company, and I loved going hiking every day on the trail just outside the house leading into sacred Chumash Native American land.
Had I panicked and stayed in my room getting down instead of going to that cafe, that would never have happened, so try to just trust the universe. Trust that everything happens for a reason and you are being guided, but you have to listen and follow up on your intuitive guidance.
Always follow your intuition!
“Love what is.”
The Earth and our bodies are 70% water, so fluidity is our nature. Flow with life.
Yoga- Flow! Of course! Here’s a lovely flow sequence:
12) Fearlessness/ Strength Meditation
“There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”
Franklin D Roosevelt
When faced with a challenge or difficult life situation, butterflies tend to emerge in your stomach. Then there’s a choice; to succumb to fear or to encourage those butterflies to take flight. Fear has its uses. In our hunter gatherer days it alerted us to imminent danger, like a sabre toothed tiger running at us. When a sound scares us, a signal is sent to the thalamus then the amygdala which releases neorotransmitters including glutamate, the chemical behind fear. The adrenals release cortisol and adrenaline and glucose is released in the bloodstream. All of that prepares the body for swift action in a crisis which is a positive, but it can also be debilitating and sometimes stop us from doing what we really want to do in life. I read somewhere that we are only born with two natural fears; the fear of falling and fear of loud or sudden sounds. The rest are learnt. So when fear surfaces, if it’s not due to an immediate crisis, you can use that energy to your benefit, by reframing it as excitement. The two feelings are very interconnected and related to anticipation. Athletes before a race have those butterflies which could be both fear and excitement. You can either let it make you quit or fly.
There are countless examples of fearless actions undertaken by people. Were they simply free from fear? Absolutely not. No one is exempt from feeling it, but they felt the fear arise and made the choice to use it to their advantage, as a fuel to do whatever they were doing. Sir Ranaulph Fiennes, considered to be the world’s greatest living explorer, climbed Everest despite having vertigo. He was scared the whole way up but did it anyway. He was the first to transverse the globe on land covering both poles. I’ve come across him various times at the RGS (Royal Geographical Society) and other places and heard him telling his many tales of adventure. I remember one night when he was meant to be one of the speakers, but he was absent, and the person introducing the evening said: “but he’s got a bloody good excuse, he’s running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents!” And he did that 4 months after having double heart bypass surgery. At age 58. As one does.
Ernest Shakleton led the famous Endurance expedition to Antarctica. It’s a phenomenal story right from when he advertised it in a newspaper in England to the end. The advert read: “Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honour and recognition in case of success.” Loads of brave nutters signed up. They arrived in Antarctica but their boat got stuck in the ice and they were forced to camp on the frozen water where they were stranded for months. Shakleton was an exemplary leader and remained a pillar of strength and good humour throughout. He was always willing to work harder than anyone, lead by example and never give up. The boat later sank forcing them to go in tiny boats across rough seas to Elephant island, but it was uninhabited so knowing he had to avert catastrophy, Shakleton and five men took another boat to South Georgia and risked their lives crossing the island in treacherous conditions to get help for his crew. When he knocked on the door of a fisherman’s hut there, the man who opened it recognized him, under the beared and weathered features and cried. Everyone in the world thought that they’d all died long before. The result was that they all survived and returned to London to tell the epic tale.
Never give in- never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”
Yet strength doesn’t always mean being tough or leading or even having physical strength. For some, the greatest act of strength is getting up and carrying on whilst going through a very difficult time, or having the strength to have a difficult but important conversation with someone, or bringing up a child solo or getting through an illness gracefully, giving up a bad habit or not reacting in an argument but staying calm. Strength comes in all shapes and sizes. One time Aun Sang Suu Kyi of Mayanmar, was faced with a wall of soldiers with their guns lifted and pointing at her. She approached them slowly and consciously until she could reach one of the guns and she gently pushed it down and continued walking past them. The other soldiers lowered their weapons in response to her brave act coming from the heart. Gandhi showed strength by going on a hunger strike to bring about peace during the journey towards India becoming independent, top surfers take on 60 foot waves, and everyone has heard stories of ordinary people performing extraordinary acts to save a person or an animal in peril. An old grandma lifting the front of a car to save a cat that had been hit or a man practically turning into Spiderman climbing up the outside of a building to save a baby from falling.
Fear not, but be full of light and love. Ben Okri
There is a lot of fear in the world, some would say it’s the predominant emotion on the planet. Facing fear can turn it into laughter. Whenever you get a nervous fearful feeling in your belly, welcome it like a guest and ask: ‘what is it I am to learn from you?’ Can you reframe the challenge as an opportunity? In any moment where you feel fear, as soon as it is triggered, see if you can shift your vibration into love. The two cannot co-exist together.
Tune into your heart and ask: ‘What would love do?’ Love and fear cannot co-exist in the same space at the same time, so choose love. Or as Susan Jeffers says: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
“If there is one word that you find coming out of the Upanishads, bursting like a bombshell upon masses of ignorance, it is the word ‘fearlessness.’ The only religion that ought to be taught is the religion of fearlessness.”
So, whenever you feel you could do with some strength, or you are feeling down, scared or weak, or if you have a big challenge ahead of you, try the following meditation.
This is one of my all time favourite meditations. It is very powerful and a very useful life tool. It was originally taught to me by TKV Desikachar and his son Kausthub; The son and grandson of the legendary yogi Krishnamacharya, who was instrumental in spreading yoga around the world.I have tweaked it a bit to make it my own.
Before starting, reflect for a moment and bring to mind an image that to you personally, represents strength. As examples, it could be a person, a mountain, a lion, Archangel Michael, a diamond, a deity or whatever most resonates with you.
Once you have your image, sit comfortably with your spine straight and take a few calming breaths. Then on an inhale reach your arms directly out in front of you and cup the hands, facing up in a receiving gesture. Imagine your image of strength in your hands as you hold the breath for 1 or 2 counts imbibing its essence, then as you exhale bring both hands to your heart, palms facing you one on top of the other and imagine that strength flowing into your body. Repeat this process 8 more times, 9 is the number of completion. The last time your hands come to your heart, leave them there and just visualize that strength flowing into every cell of your being, filling you up with its energy.
Obviously the arm movements are great if you’re on your own, but feel free to just imagine them if you’re in public.
Now go out into the world ready for anything!
“As fear did her no good, she ceased to be afraid.”
Be strong for those who can’t be. Be a voice for those who don’t have one.
Another good tip is to regularly get out of your comfort zone so you keep growing and expanding your life experience and never get stuck in fear. They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone so try to do something, even a small something, everyday, that scares you, whether it be start that book you’ve been putting off, phone that person you really want to see or try sky diving or diving with sharks. Life is to be lived fully, and you won’t know what you’re capable of until you try. The more you face your fears, the more likely you are to fulfill what you came here to do, like Joan of Arc, who at age 18, leading an army to victory said:
“I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”
Joan of Arc
Finish this sentence:
“If I were not afraid, I would…………”
Yoga- Dancing Warrior
Spiritual Warrior from Jivamukti yoga
Oil- Vetiver, cedarwood, sandalwood or frankincense are all grounding oils which could help if you feel fearful, and rose, bergamot, or geranium can bring in a loving vibration to counterbalance any fear. Pick whichever one/s you feel drawn to. For example you could mix frankincense and rose with a carrier oil and rub it on your body and breathe in the calming, loving, grounding scent.
I have collected inspiring quotes my whole life. I have always been an avid reader, and what began with me writing down a quote that inspired me while I was at school, turned into a huge A4 folder filled to overflowing over the years with my handwritten collection of quotes. I still have the folder now, and know many of them off by heart now. Little did I know then what I might use them for other than to just dip in whenever I needed a little inspiration, but since I started teaching yoga in 2007, I have found that folder to be a treasure trove of inspiration for my classes. I always find some piece of wisdom or humour relevant to the theme of my class. I love sharing them, and I know they are appreciated. If there are a lot of quotes in this book it’s because they are one of the resources I turn to for inspiration or comfort, having collected them all my life, and I like sharing them in the hope that they might do the same for others.
Here is a small sample of some of my favourite quotes from over the years:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition. To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Why not create your own definition of success?)
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
“This above all; To thine own self be true.”
“Life is really very simple. What you give out, you get back.”
“Let Nature be your teacher.”
“I am that. You are that. All this is that, and that’s all there is.”
“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
Herman Hesse- Siddharta
“Dream what you dare to dream. Go where you want to go. Be what you want to be.”
It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.”
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
“Maintain a portable paradise within yourself.”
“Life’s much too important to be taken seriously.”
“Travel light. Live light. Spread the light. Be the light.”
“Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
“There is no need for temples or complicated philosophy. Our own hearts, our own brains are the temples. The philosophy is kindness.”
HH The 14th Dalai Lama
“I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something, then I realized, I am somebody.”
“The secret to living is giving.”
“How long are you going to remain oblivious of the immensity of yourself?”
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
“I am realistic. I expect miracles.”
“If you can sit quietly after difficult news; If in financial downturns you can remain perfectly calm; If you can see your neighbours travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy; If you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate; If you can fall asleep after a day of running around without the need for a drink or a pill; If you can always find contentment wherever you are. You are probably……. A dog.”
“I hate quotations.”
Sorry, I couldn’t resist that last one. He did say it though. Followed by “tell me what you know.”
Find quotes you love and have them handy to refer to anytime for a quick boost, or for inspiration.
Yoga- Start your Yoga or meditation practice by reading a quote or scripture to inspire you, or connected to whatever theme or issue you are working with at the time.
Oil- Lemon for focus. Just rub a drop in your hand (can be diluted with a carrier oil) and breathe in the scent.
“Abundance is not something you acquire. It’s something you tune into.”
I believe that I have lived a very abundant life, but interestingly I have never had much money in the bank. I spent a lot of life in that area between a small amount in the bank and a small amount overdrawn. So abundance isn’t really just a physical cash thing, but rather a state of mind. I would obviously prefer to master the cash side too (I’m sure all of you are much better at that than me,) yet what I can share here are ways to energetically attract abundance.
I once did a 21 day Abundance meditation experience created by Deepak Chopra and it had wonderful mantras and affirmations to bathe yourself in the energy of prosperity, like: ”From this moment forward I invite unlimited abundance into my life,” or ”through the law of pure potentiality, I can create anything, anytime anywhere.”
Essentially this chapter is really about generosity as ultimately, at least energetically, what you give out, you get back. And what you give out doesn’t have to cost money. You can give compliments, smiles, cook for someone, give help, give a flower, your time, or financially you could give generous tips or pay for something for a stranger, give to charity or treat friends to gifts or meals. There are endless ways to give.
This Abundance meditation came from Gill Edwards:
Sit or lie comfortably and deepen your breathing to begin.
Imagine yourself at the mouth of a cave. It is a crystal cave. Feel your feet walking along the ground into this cave. It opens up into a fantastic cavern, which glistens and sparkles as though it were lit by an invisible light. Gaze at it, stunned by its wonder and beauty. A tinkling music fills the cave, like wind chimes.
Walk deeper into the cave, hearing your footsteps echo. Ahead, a brilliant white light is shining. You walk towards an opening to a passageway and find yourself in another crystal cavern, dazzling in its magnificence. Your higher self is in there too.
In the centre, is a crystal column, on which stands a chalice, which glistens in the light. This is the chalice of abundance. It is full to the brim with a wondrous liquid, which brings abundance into your life. Go to the chalice and touch it. Pick it up. As you hold it, become aware of any resistance you might have to drinking from it. Notice your thoughts or fears. Then see those resistances become bubbles, which float away into the cavern, burst and are gone for good.
When you are ready, drink from the chalice. Drink and drink, for, were you to drink a whole ocean‘s worth, the chalice would still be full to the brim.
If you have any specific needs or desires, imagine throwing a symbol for that into the chalice, For example, you could toss in a gold coin for money, or a heart symbol for love, perhaps a bright star for success. Be creative, and drink away.
When you have finished drinking up all the abundance of your dreams, replace the chalice and thank your Higher Self for providing this abundance for you.
With the knowledge that you can return to this cavern whenever you wish, exit the cave, and start bringing your awareness back to the present moment. Open your eyes feeling abundant and knowing that thoughts become things!
Citrine is the crystal of abundance. Maybe get a piece and keep it with you if you’re aim is to attract abundance.
A few useful affirmations for abundance are:
Abundance is my natural state
Money is energy and there’s enough for everyone
I give what I want to receive.
I live in prosperity consciousness
I have wonderful gifts to give. I choose to give generously and am rewarded lavishly
The more money I have, the less of a burden I am on others, the more I can enjoy life, be generous and share
Something you could try is, when you have money in your hands, silently bless it, give thanks for it and ask that money always flows freely and easily in your life knowing that money is energy and confident that there is enough for everyone.
Everything is energy and like attracts like so focus on what you want and avoid dwelling on what you don’t want.
The secret to living is giving.
Ask yourself: How can I be more generous. What can I give?
What you want to experience, give to another. Generosity brings wealth and success. It is the karmic seed if you like.
Gratitude helps immensely with abundance. Being grateful for what you already do have, makes you feel abundant and in turn, invites more things into your life to be grateful for.
Richard Branson’s philosophy is to first discover what you love, and then find a way to make money from that, and that preferably it is something that adds value and helps others. That way, if you enjoy it, it’s fun for you and helping the world then money will flow more easily. By all means live a truly abundant life but have Gandhi’s quote in your mind: “The world can cater for every man’s need, but not for everyman’s greed.” There’s enough for everyone if we know what enough is.
More practically, it’s obviously useful to be conscious of how much money you spend every month, on fixed things like rent and bills and food, and have an idea of extra money you might want to spend on less fixed, more fluid things like clothes or treats or luxuries, and if you are able to save around three to six month’s worth of money as savings, it will add to your peace of mind.
Yoga- Focus on an abundance of energy, or of strength or whatever quality you feel is needed in your practice on a given day and imagine yourself being immersed in that quality in abundance.
Oil- Wild Orange. Dilute with a carrier oil if necessary, rub it into your palms and inhale the aroma.
15) Colourful tools/ Pink Bubble Technique
If you are quite a visual person, you will love this section. I use the following meditation very frequently. If I’m on a plane or train, it’s a fun and creative way to pass the time. If I have something I particularly want to manifest or a problem, this is my go to life tool. I first tried it over 15 years ago after reading Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization.
Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and take some grounding, centering breaths to begin.
Imagine something that you would like to manifest. It could be a job, a relationship, a home, a trip away or anything else that you would like to see happen. It could also be a problem that you would like to see work out right. Focus on one thing for this exercise.
Now imagine that situation as if it were already manifest or solved, exactly as you would like it to be. Use all your senses and imagination to create it in as much detail as possible, and make sure you place yourself in the picture if appropriate.
Once you have created it exactly as you wish, then surround your goal in a beautiful pink bubble. Pink is the colour of the heart so by placing your dream in that colour, it will bring you only that which is in affinity with your highest good, and the highest good for all. Once you’ve done that, all you have to do is just let it go! Watch the pink bubble float off into the universe containing your wish. This represents that you are no longer attached to it. You are letting it go to be worked out for the highest good. So now you can just forget about it for a while and relax.
Pink is the colour of love, so you can place that colour around yourself or anyone else who could benefit from some love. I also often do that during the Metta Meditation, placing myself, then others, then the whole earth in a pink bubble of loving kindness.
I’ve mentioned the idea that there are fundamentally two emotions, fear and love. Why not try a visual exercise to breathe in love as a pink mist, and breathe out fear in the form of a grey or black smoke. Repeat until your mood has shifted.
Yellow is associated with intellect and a bright, positive, alert feeling, so imagine yellow around you when you need to be sharp or when studying, or work in a room with yellow walls.
Green is the colour associated with healing, so another tool is to visualize an emerald green light over yourself or anyone who would benefit from healing.
Blue has a calming energy so visualize blue around yourself or others when stressed or anxious.
In the same way, you can place or visualize violet light around yourself or anyone else if you sense and heavy energy that needs clearing or transmuting. Violet is the colour with the highest vibration in our spectrum, and higher vibrations always transform lower ones. The Violet Flame transmutes negativity so call upon the violet flame to fill you and envelop you or anyone or thing for that purpose.
Light is the highest vibration of all. Pure, white light can be used as a shield of protection (see the chapters on Light and protection.) Simply visualize bright light within you and around you, or another person for protection.
Higher vibrations consume and transform lower vibrations, so become an alchemist by transmuting heavy energies with lighter ones. Lighten up!
Yoga- Before beginning yoga or a meditation, if your mind is busy chattering, imagine a beautiful violet coloured balloon floating beside you and visualize your thoughts flowing from your mind into this violet balloon. Then imagine seeing it float away with your thoughts inside it, transmuting them as it goes. Then begin your practice with a calm mind, knowing that you can deal with any pressing issues later, but that for now you choose to be free of them and in the present moment doing yoga.
Oil- Try an oil corresponding to whatever colour you’re working with, for example maybe rose for pink or lavender for purple/ violet, or a herb or tree oil for green.
For thousands of years the supreme Deity and creatress on earth, globally, was the Goddess. The Divine Female. Before any of the current known religions, the Divine was worshipped as a female entity, from around 35,000 years ago until relatively recently. During those times, everything was considered sacred and interconnected, more in line with present day indigenous views of the world. There were also some matriarchal communities and sometimes matrilineal cultures with empowered women ruling compassionately for the good of all. I don’t want to over glamourize those times or see them through rose tinted glasses but the fact is they were very successfully destroyed and driven underground and almost out of sight and written out of history. Her story was suppressed for a very long time now, almost successfully deleted by those who wrote His story (history) and this is finally the moment in time for her re-emergence. Not to take over again because now what is needed is balance. A balance of Yin and Yang, of God and Goddess living and ruling together as one with mutual respect and power for the people, all beings and the earth during this crucial transition time on the planet. It’s literally either that, or we may all perish.
So, cooperative yin rule was replaced by dominating yang rule, and over the centuries, the wise women, healers, priestesses, seers, midwives and those who worked with plants and remedies were branded witches and killed, tortured, raped and silenced. Many women alive today still subconsciously feel the energetic effects of those times in their cellular memory and thus find it very hard to not play small and hide their light for fear of what might happen to them. But we are now living in a different time where we are moving out of the yang dominant cycle and into a new era of yin yang balance and harmony where it is actually safe again for women to shine, for their voices to be heard, for their healing hands to get back to work without fear, and as each woman heals herself and allows herself to fulfil her potential and shine her light, she paves the way for others and makes the transition easier. It is also, of course, now easier for men to be more in touch with their intuition and tuned in to their more yin qualities like sharing their feelings openly too.
As Sophie Bashford says in her book ‘You are a Goddess:’
“We are in the midst of a sacred feminine resurrection that is restoring earthly order and balance and reawakening those who have vital ancient links to the Goddess. The mission is to return the core elements of the feminine vibration to the spotlight; unconditional love, connection to nature, nurture, compassion, trust in the flow of life, intuitive wisdom, emotional intelligence, sensitivity and receptivity.”
The following two quotes come from the book When God was a Woman:
“In the beginning there was only Isis; Oldest of the old, She was the Goddess from whom all Becoming arose. She was the Great Lady, Mistress of the two lands of Egypt, Mistress of shelter, Mistress of Heaven, Mistress of the house of Life, Mistress of the word of God. She was the unique. In all her great and wonderful works she was a wiser magician and more excellent than any other God.”
Egypt. 14th century.
“Thou Sun Goddess of Arinna art an honoured deity; Thy name is held high among names; Thy divinity is held high among the deities. Thou alone O Sun Goddess art honoured; Great art thou alone O Sun Goddess of Arinna. Nay compared to Thee no other deity is as honoured or great.”
Boghazkoy. Turkey. 15th century.
It’s now time for women speak up, get some justice, to forgive and let go of the past and all the suppression that came before, and allow themselves to shine, to be seen. To own their magnificence and put their gifts and talents to good use as part of the awakening of the Divine Feminine and healing of the planet. As Kaia Ra put it in The Sophia Code it’s time to step into our sovereign divinity and help create heaven on earth, a new golden age.
“There is currently an awakening going on on this earth, a re-awakening of the Divine Feminine principle, or Goddess, and of her receptive, gentle Yin qualities. This awakening is a much needed and very welcome change to the largely male dominated age that came before, with its predominantly ‘yang,’ active principle.”
What is important here is balance. Having Yin and Yang equally balanced and in harmony with each other. Male and female, solar and lunar, passive and active co-existing as one together. Neither quality is better, rather it’s just time for them to be balanced.
There is a connection between the way Mother earth has been treated and the way women have been treated. A long disregard of the feminine. But it’s now time for both to change, for the feminine to be honoured again, and female qualities like nurturing, caring, compassion, healing, gentleness and love. And to balance them with male qualities like action, logic, strength, discovery and protection. Educating girls and empowering women is vital. Look at Malala Yousefzai as an inspiring example. Also, their education and empowerment will naturally lead to living more in harmony with nature and taking care of the earth.
In terms of being a woman and wanting to live to your highest potential in a world where the feminine has been suppressed, consider looking to the Goddesses for inspiration, as there are less earthly role models than there should be, but that’s changing. Better still, go within for inspiration.
I myself have spent many years now teaching Yin Yang Yoga, which is a beautiful balance of both active, dynamic, invigorating, flowing solar yoga, with by gentle, passive, lunar stillness using longer held poses encouraging introspection and mindfulness. I absolutely love doing it, and teaching it as, to me, it makes so much sense to find a healthy balance of both of those energies in our lives every day, and I believe that, as it’s a holographic universe, with the whole being affected by each part, then the more of us who find and maintain that balance, the better for everyone and the world.
Now it’s time for balance, and a healthier, more wholesome unity of both energies. The healed feminine and the healed masculine.
Yoga- Goddess pose or Utkata Konasana
Oil- To help you shift into goddess mode, make a Goddess perfume using Jojoba oil with rose, jasmine and pink lotus essential oils.
Many people swear by affirmations. I think that, along with other tools, and as long as they are believable and practiced correctly, these positive statements can have a powerful impact on your life.
Affirmations are positive statements made in the present tense as if already true, usually beginning with the very powerful creative words ‘I Am.’ It is said that whatever comes after those two words, will be. Affirmations are repeated often until they become programmed into your subconscious mind and manifest. When I say it’s important to practice them correctly I mean that the intention within the affirmation needs to be matched vibrationally by emotion, otherwise it will not be as powerful. So if you can open your heart and feel as you would feel if the affirmation were already true, then your body and energy can shift to match the reality of the affirmation. Intention plus emotion creates reality. So with that in mind, write down some affirmations relevant to you and say them accompanied by an elevated emotion like love or excitement, gratitude or joy, then see miracles unfold in your life as you reprogram your subconscious mind to make the affirmations real.
Here are some examples:
I am always in the right place at the right time
I am always protected and guided
I live and speak my truth authentically
I am whole, happy, and well
Abundance is my natural state
I love life and life is very good to me
I am in perfect health, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, now and always, for which I am very grateful
Everything I do, think, eat, believe and say, prospers me in every way
I Am Love
My life is abundant in all ways
I Am Light
Life is one big adventure
All that I need comes to me easily
I bless everyone and everything, everyday
I deserve the very best in life
I have a healthy body, a peaceful mind and an enlightened spirit
I attract only happy, healthy, harmonious relationships into my life
I Am loved and loving
I live my best life and contribute to making the world a better place
Yoga- Self talk during practice. “I am strong and flexible, powerful and supple.”
Oil- Spearmint gives confidence in speech. Dilute a little with a carrier oil and rub it onto your throat, or just breathe it in.
I am a believer that our bodies have an inherent healing ability of their own, given the right conditions. Nature strives for harmony and everything should be thriving if it’s not interfered with in a way that upsets that natural balance. We are much more in charge of our biology than we sometimes think. I’ll go into that a little more later.
First though, here are some common sense ways to keep ourselves healthy and thriving:
1) Get fresh air. Spend time outdoors, preferably in nature.
2) Drink lots of water. (Filtered or boiled or mineral if you don’t trust tap water.) Consider silently speaking an intention into the water to cleanse and purify your body. Why not add lemon or mint to your water bottle for their taste and health benefits, or a small rose quartz crystal to infuse it with a loving vibration? Every little helps.
3) Eat a mostly, if not totally, plant based diet, with foods from the earth (rather than tins, or processed. Processed foods include white sugar or white bread, tinned food, ready meals, soft drinks etc…) The closer to the earth the source, the better.
4) As far as possible source your food from local markets or organically grown produce.
5) Do some exercise. It doesn’t have to be a lot, (unless you want it to be.) Just 2 or 3 times a week of moderate exercise will do, and make it something you actually enjoy so it’s not a burden but feels good. It could be yoga, walking, swimming, horse riding, surfing, tennis, running, a triathlon or whatever appeals to you. It has been shown that the happy chemicals serotonin, dopamine and endorphins are increased when you move, so that’s a great natural incentive to do some exercise. Also it means that if you’re not big on exercise but you do it a few times and feel these chemicals running through you you might find that you want to continue exercising.
These days it is also a very good idea to cut down on the toxins in your environment, as well as your food. Consider replacing harsh, chemical filled cleaning products, with natural brands, or even making cleaning products yourself. See the oil tip below. You could also place black tourmaline crystals or EMF shields by routers and computers, on your phone for EMF protection.
Also try using natural, herbal remedies or flower essences, as nature intended, as far as possible. Using nature and the healing properties of plants to prevent getting ill and keep you healthy and balanced. Nature is a living pharmacy, and the wisdom of how to tap into that has been passed down for centuries if we would just listen to it.
Many people swear by a book by Louise Hay called ‘You can Heal you Life’ to heal themselves by looking into the underlying root causes of illness for example injuries could be connected to anger towards the self and joint problems connected with not wanting to change direction, not going with the flow. She suggests working with affirmations which she provides in her book.
Another popular recent addition to a healing toolkit is to be aware of healing sound frequencies like crystal bowls and the wonderful Solfeggio healing meditations, which use specific sound frequencies to restore balance to our systems, as these days we know that, for example music with a 528 Hz frequency emits a loving, soothing vibration. Even just walking barefoot on the earth can connect you to the earth’s slow, healing electromagnetic frequency of 7.4Hz, the Schuman resonance, which has been shown to ground and balance people in tests. In terms of music it is believed that 432Hz is the frequency of nature and harmony. Allegedly Vivaldi, Mozart and others wanted it to become the standard for music, but later, in the 1920s the USA went with 44Hz, and the rest of the world followed. It’s the most common sound in the West but more dissonant than 432Hz. Why not explore listening to different frequency music and decide for yourself?
Consider learning or experiencing alternative therapies such as reiki. The best healers are the ones who ‘get out of the way’ and allow themselves to be channels for a greater, benevolent healing energy to work though, whilst setting the intention that healing energy flows to exactly where it needs to go, the for patient’s highest good.
One of the things I love about teaching healing practices like restorative yoga, meditation or Yoga Nidra is that they are designed to help shift the body into the parasympathetic nervous system, where it is totally at rest and happy chemicals like seratonin and dopamine are flowing within you. (As opposed to being in the sympathetic nervous system where you are on alert, ready for fight or flight with adrenalin and cortisol flowing through you.) It’s like hitting the recharge button. Then the body is able to focus on things like healing, growth, fertility and the general wellbeing of the whole system, but it can only do this when it is at rest.
In today’s fast paced modern world, it can seem counter culture to suggest taking time to yourself to rest and rejuvinate, but it is also crucial for your general wellbeing. The concept of Yin Yang highlights the need for balance. Fast and slow, active and passive, light and dark. If you’re going full pace all the time and lack the balance of rest and calm, then your body may well be forced to make you rest, through illness or an accident making you lie down and take time out. The ideal scenario is obviously to rest consciously and prevent such a thing from happening.
I am in perfect health, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I am whole, loving and strong
I choose to age well
Believe that it is your birthright to be in perfect health, feeling vital, alive and well. Belief is essential. We’ve all heard of the placebo pill which is essentially just sugar. When patients are told it will help them and they take it, they get better, because they believed they would. A lot of research has been done on this idea of the power of mind over matter. Also, epigenetics shows us that we’re not controlled by our genes, which are merely blueprints, but rather we are in control of our genes through our thoughts, beliefs, consciousness and decisions around our environment, what we eat, exercise etc. Environment and consciousness are key when it comes to health. Bruce lipton who wrote The Biology of Belief and Spontaneous Evolution is an expert in this field. You could also look into the work of Joe Dispenza where spontaneous healings occur, recorded scientifically, brought about purely by meditation with heightened feeling which changes the body’s blueprint.
If you are currently not in good health, try these affirmations:
I am already healed.
Every cell in my body is healthy, happy, hydrated and working in harmony with every other cell.
Daily visualize yourself as healthy and vibrant, along with taking care of yourself through a healthy diet, positive thoughts, some gentle movement or exercise and remedies. Whatever you can do to reduce stress in your life is vital as stress is ultimately the cause of disease, and there are lots of ways to do that scattered through this book. As they say how you do anything is how you do everything. Even something as seemingly insignificant as drinking a glass of water, done with conscious intention, turns into magic. Consider silently speaking an intention into the water to cleanse and purify your body, and why not add mint and lemon into your water bottle or a small rose quartz to infuse the water with its loving vibration?
Yoga- Send love to every cell and every organ in your body as a meditation. Imagine a healing emerald green light filling every cell and travelling through your brain, heart and lungs, liver and kidneys, large intestine, small intestine, stomach and spleen, and your skin. (If it helps, look at a diagram of where the organs are first so you can visualize it more easily.) Allow every cell and organ to be saturated and bathed in this healing light.
Oil- Eucalyptus (encourages individuals to take full responsibility for their own health, to claim wholeness.) Diffuse it or just breathe it in. Perhaps place a drop on a tissue and keep it handy to inhale as desired.
Immune system support- Eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, lemon (or orange) and Clove are a well known combination to keep your immune system functioning optimally. If you are familiar with doTerra they have a blend called On Guard, which you can take internally, and Young Living have the equivalent called Thieves.
An easier alternative could be to use just cinnamon, clove and Orange. You could use actual cloves, cinnamon and oranges in your kitchen in hot water to drink or diffuse the oils in your room in the Winter.
Other things that naturally help with immunity are elderberry, vitamin C, Vitamin D3 and Zinc.
Tummy- Peppermint oil. Dilute with a carrier oil like almond or jojoba oil, and rub it on your stomach in circles.
Cold- Lemon, ginger, cinnamon (make a drink using these from the kitchen with honey, or diffuse the oils in a room.)
Try making a natural, chemical free cleaning spray by getting an empty 30ml glass bottle and placing distilled water with 7 drops of lemon and 7 drops of tea tree oil inside.
19 Mother Earth
“People protect what they love.” Jacques Cousteau
Mother Earth, Gaia, Pachamama is our one and only home and what we all have in coomon, what connects us all. It also happens to be full of abundant wonders and the only habitable planet that we are aware of, making it incredible precious. We are part of nature and being in nature feels good and is beneficial for us.
In 1966 James Lovelock came up with his Gaia hypothesis, suggesting that the earth is a living, self-regulating organism. As such, she is alive and needs to be nurtured and protected, as we would look after our own home, which the earth is on a larger scale. Without her, we die, yet without us, she would regenerate and thrive. So we have a choice to either live in harmony with Mother Earth, honouring her needs and using resources in a wise, sustainable way, or if we continue as a race to pollute her with toxins, chop down the trees which are her lungs and pour toxic chemicals into the soil we use for food, then essentially we can all collectively win the Darwin award.
This idea of the earth being alive, being sentient, is a view similar to the indigenous one. In South America she is known and personalized as Pachamama. Many indigenous people and intuitive souls believe that we are one with Mother Earth. They are very close to the land in a way that many people today can’t even relate to. It’s very much alive to them. The river, sun, wind and land are relations to them. They see Mother Earth as a great spirit being disrespected by man. To give you an example, I met some Navajo elders in America once, who lived in Black Mesa in Arizona. Thousands of Navajo had been subjected to forced relocation from their ancestral homeland so a mining company could access coal and uranium. There were however some hardy resisters, including a lady called Rena lane who was 96. She had been threatened and beaten for resisting but was a tough cookie and wouldn’t leave, nor should she have to. She would rather die fighting for her land. She explained to me in her beautiful language, translated by her bilingual daughter, that “they are taking a precious thing from her body which should stay where they are. The coal is the earth’s liver, uranium her lungs. You can’t just remove these things and not expect consequences. She’s in pain. We need to protect our Mother. When they take her oil and her organs, she dies a little. When they turned something sacred, our water, into a commodity that you sell. That’s when our problems began.”
Ab Origine means from the beginning. The Aboriginals are, along with the Bushmen in Africa, the oldest tribe in the worls and they see themselves as custodians of Mother Earth and they believe that everything expresses different aspects of the Divine, or the One.
We are made of stardust. We are one with nature.
“Every tradition includes teachings that expand the self in widening circles of identification. You can learn to draw the circle of the self so wide that the body of earth becomes your larger body, with the rivers like your veins, the rainforests your lungs. Through our desire to protect what we love, we can recognize our interconnectedness with all life.”
The Native American tradition has a legend about White Buffalo Woman who came to them and taught them that the earth is our mother and should be honoured as such every day, and all beings that live upon the earth are our brothers and sisters, our relations. Life is sacred and every day a gift to be honoured and every night an opportunity to give thanks. Today we can see that we have not been living her teachings, somewhere along the way humans lost their reverence for life, but it is now time according to her prophecies for the ‘mending of the sacred hoop,’ and for balance to be restored. In Peru, before people drink water or beer, they offer the first few drops to Pachamama, out of respect, just one of their ways of making their reverence for her a daily ritual.
In the same year as Lovelock’s theory, the first black and white images of the whole earth taken from space were revealed. Then in 1967, the famous Earth rise photo emerged, the first colour image of our one and only home, a precious blue circle, or ‘spaceship earth’ as Buckminster Fuller called it, surrounded by space. A global shift in consciousness began as humanity began to see our shared home with our brothers and sisters, in all it’s delicate beauty, with its invisible man made borders. The seeds of oneness were planted, along with a sense of guardianship towards her. A need to protect the earth.
In 1969 Friends of the earth was founded to protect the planet and its environment. The first Earth Day came in 1970, followed soon after by the first Earth Summit in 1972. There seems to be a need for humanity to have a common uniting morality or spirituality that we can all believe in and practice together as one; one that unites all people and nations, without dogma or corrupt authority figures. Perhaps that could be as simple and yet profound as honouring the miracle that is our home, Mother Earth, and focusing on being kind to her and each other and ourselves, as well as all animals and flora. The choice seems to be either that, which could be a wonderful evolution into oneness and sanity, or all of us collectively winning the Darwin award.
I am very passionate about this earth and the environment. As a child, I got so upset at the thought of us cutting down all the trees, polluting and over-fishing the oceans, filling the air with chemicals and treating animals badly. To this day it is still my main concern in terms of ‘a cause.’ I feel best away from concrete in nature, it regenerates me and I feel that sense of everything being connected, of oneness more readily in nature. When I first came across Emerson’s essay on nature in my late teens, and the writings of Thoreau and Whitman, I found kindred spirits in that regard.
“So much beauty we need to look after.”
I love Mother Earth! I always have done. It’s why I created a book called ‘World of Wonder,’ with photographic highlights from my travels and an underlying theme of oneness and cherishing the earth. It’s why I bought the domain name ‘Love Gaia,’ and make 100% natural products under that name. She is so magnificently beautiful, abundant, varied and wonderful, and we could choose to keep her that way, reverse some of the damage and help her to thrive with solutions that are already known about and are achievable and now even cost effective. These include things like switching to renewable energy, organic farming, going vegan or vegetarian or less meat and dairy consumption, sustainable fishing, and a large reduction in CO2 emissions, planting trees on a huge scale, driving electric cars or cycling or walking, using green energy companies, water filters, using ecosia as a search engine, recycling, travelling responsibly, making homes more efficient, changing lightbulbs and changing laws.
Most importantly we need a global evolution in consciousness in order to live in harmony with nature and each other and to have a bright future, we need to deeply understand that everything is interconnected and we are all one and part of nature rather than separate and superior to it, to reconnect with that ancient knowing. This shift is happening, but slowly, and is connected to the re-emergence of the Divine feminine.
A wonderful meditation we could all do as often as possible is to sit for 10 minutes and visualize the earth whole and thriving, with clean waters, clear air, green forests, thriving animals and humans living in harmony with each other and acting as guardians and stewards for nature, using renewable energy and growing organic food. See the earth as a living being, treated with respect, being honoured and cherished, loved and protected.
“Everyone should have themselves regularly overwhelmed by nature.”
Walk barefoot in nature frequently to connect to Mother Earth. This grounds you and allows you to sync with her electromagnetic field, and be energized by nature. I’m not really someone who has to wait for scientific evidence about certain things. Sometimes you just inherently know that nature is good for you, that animals have feeling, that we are one with the earth and it’s all alive and wondrous.
Often when I’m out in nature, particularly by the sea I often find myself silently connecting with the elements in gratitude, mentally saying:
“Thank you earth for holding me and healing me physically. Thank you air for every breath and for clearing my mind. Thank you water for healing my emotions and teaching me to flow with life on the path of least resistance. Thank you fire, sun for healing me spiritually and giving me passion for life and helping me transmute the old, and thank you ether/ akasha for reminding me constantly of my connection with all things, of oneness and that what I give out comes back to me. Thank you elements. Thank you Mother Earth and Father Sky. May all our relations be blessed”
“As humans explore the universe further, it has become apparent that our earth is the most beautiful place and the only habitable planet that we know of. Every one of us, regardless of our nationality or religious faith, can experience a feeling of admiration, love and reverence when we see the beauty of the earth. These feelings, based on firm evidence, have the power to unite the citizens of the earth and remove all separation and discrimination. Caring about the environment is not an obligation, but a matter of personal and collective happiness and survival. We will survive and thrive with Mother Earth, or we will not survive at all.”
Thich Nhat Hanh- Love Letter to the Earth
Here is a lovely morning invocation from the Native American tradition:
1) I must learn at least one meaningful thing today.
2) I must teach at least one meaningful thing today.
3) I must honour and respect all living things.
4) I must do something for someone else, and it would be best if they didn’t know I had done it.
Every morning in meditation, I connect down to the core of Mother Earth to get really grounded and centrerd, and connect up to the infinite. Here is what I do so you can try it yourself:
Sit comfortably or stand (it’s wonderful to do this outside in nature barefoot but it can of course be practiced anywhere.) Take a few centering breaths. Imagine you have a chord going from your sitting bones (if sitting) or from your feet (if standing) and visualize it going down through the floor, into the earth, down through all the various layers of earth until it reaches the very centre or core of Mother Earth. You might want to imagine the chord connecting to a crystal there keeping you grounded throughout your day. I then imagine nurturing, grounding, healing, unconditionally loving energy flowing up from the core of the earth into every cell of my body. It fills me up and then continues up along the chord up my spine, out of the crown of my head and goes on up to the Infinite, the Light (or whatever word works for you.) Now imagine a shower of light coming down from above, filling you and enveloping you, dissolving anything that’s not of light, and it goes down through the chord to Mother Earth. She can send it wherever she wishes. So now you are a conduit between Heaven and Earth, or between love from below and light from above, and these two energies meet at your heart center. You can place a hand on your heart and ask “what do I most need to know now?” The answer may come immediately or later in the day. Then start your day feeling grounded, connected and ready for anything.
“Nature is always teaching us. We are part of her and can learn from her. Roses coax us to open and soften our hearts. The oak teaches us to drop our roots deep in order to stand tall. The sand assures us that change is inevitable and we are always altering form. The frangipani reminds us of the sweetness of life. The shell whispers secrets long forgotten. The butterfly proves that there is life after loss. The volcano tells us that if we hold it all in, eventually we will explode.”
Come up with examples from your own experience. For me, the stars in a night sky always bring perspective, watching a lion kill an impala teaches that life can be painful yet seeing flowers bud and bloom every Spring after having wilted and died in the winter teaches me that there are natural cycles of death and renewal. Dolphins show the importance of joy, clouds remind me of thoughts that come and go whilst the mind is like the sky.
As the Native American Chief Seatle said: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
Yoga- I love doing yoga outside in nature. Experiment with outdoor yoga or focus on poses named after nature, such as:
Mountain – Tadasana
Oil- Myrrh is the oil connected to the mother or the feminine, which could be your own mother, the goddess or Mother Earth. Diffuse it, or dilute it with a carrier oil and massage it into your body.
“The best advice I can give anyone is never complete a negative thought.”
When I was about 14 years old and at school, I somehow got £20, maybe for a Birthday and I remember exactly what I spent it on. Not sweets or magazines or cigarettes (I never smoked) but two books. One was on dolphins, because I loved them (and still do,) and the other was a book I saw called The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr Joseph Murray. I resonated with it hugely and it had a major impact. It confirmed my natural inclination to focus on the positive, to believe in good and imagine the future you desired, as if already manifest. It was quite Bible based but the underlying message installed into my brain at a young age, years before The Secret, that everything is energy and our thoughts create our world and are our most powerful asset, and they play a huge role in how our lives turn out. That book had a profound influence on me and I’ve read it a couple of times since then whenever I needed reminding.
How you think and talk to yourself sculpts your interior reality. Your consciousness is creating your life as energy follows thought, so the greatest thing you can do for yourself is watch what you think and cultivate positive and loving thoughts over fearful ones, because our thoughts create our world. In every moment of now if you notice yourself being immersed in negative thoughts (it happens to us all frequently but choice is involved.) Think again. Literally. Choose to focus on something positive. That, done consistently enough can change your whole life.
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”
What thoughts do you want to be wiring your brain? Are you thinking them? Thoughts become things and will act like boomerangs. What you give out, you get back.
As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.
What is willed with strong emotion will be created and become reality. There is no such thing as an idle thought. Choose each thought wisely, knowing that its vibration goes out into the world and creates. Every thought you think produces corresponding chemistry in your body equal to that thought, so mind what you think!
“Good thoughts will produce good actions and bad thoughts will produce bad actions. Hatred does not cease hatred at any time; hatred ceases by love.”
Once when I was 19 years old, I was in Kenya, on my own, having decided to use the money I earned from working at Elstree Film Studios over the University Summer holiday to go to Tanzania and kenya solo. Everyone had thought I was mad and that I’d geti ll, hurt, money stolen or worse out there on my own. I did it anyway. On arriving, I had to spend the first night in a hotel in Nairobi on my own before joinging a safari group the following day. I remember thinking to myself ’I can either stay in this hotel room, which is much like any other hotel room in the world, or I can go out and explore Nairobi a bit and have dinner. I decided to do the latter. As I walked towards a cafe I’d read about, I could feel eyes on me and had thoughts of what everyone had said to me before I left in my mind. I felt vulnerable and like I stood out. Then suddenly a quote from a film came into my head, on the lines of: ”If you project fear, you’ll draw aggresion, if you act like you belong, you’ll be welcomed.” From that second I changed how I was walking, remembered that I chose to go there and was happy to be there, belonged, and felt ready to open up to Africa, discover its wonders and enjoy myself. Instantly people’s reactions to me changed. I was not being watched or followed just occasionally smiled at. That was my first day of travelling alone in the world and it set the precedent for all my future travels. Needless to say, I had the most incrdible trip full of blessings and didn’t even get a mosquito bite! I made a mental note to myself that day never to listen to fearmongerors or dream stealers but to live fully and fearlessly following my heart. It has served me remarkable well ever since.
“Think the thoughts of Angels, and do as Angels do.”
Your mind can only hold one thought at a time. Choose thoughts of love, kindness and hope, over fears or negativity. You get to choose in each moment which thought to give your attention to. You cannot be both unhappy and grateful at the same time, so you decide.
Plant flowers, not weeds. We sow the seeds for what comes later. Plant good seeds, not negative ones. Be a gardener of your own mind. As Voltaire said: “You must cultivate your garden.” Consciously and purposefully design and build your own future paradise garden (life) with your thoughts.
Choose what you want to happen and then plant the seeds to make that true. We know that top athletes mentally rehearse their races or activities in their brains to install the neurological hardware there. They prime their brains in advance what the future looks like before it happens.
“As we think, so we become.”
“Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Everyone’s thoughts are based on their perspective. A pencil to you, might be something you can write with, but to a cat it might be seen as something to chew. A scribble on a paper might appear as a number 6 to one person or a number 9 to another person seeing it from another angle.
Your subconscious mind is 1000 times more powerful than your subconscious mind.
Today, the information revealed to me in that book when I was 14, and many subsequent books and films, is mainstream, but I believe we can take it so much further, to a whole other level. That priceless information doesn’t just mean we should focus on how much money we can make or what stuff we can buy, it’s a powerful invitation to all of us todo nothing less than create the world we want to live in. What if every day we all sat for just 10 minutes visualizing an ideal future for this planet and blasting that image with love?A future where humans, animals and the earth thrive, where fossil fuels have been phased outand we live off renewables, trees are everywhere, all acrs are electric, people grow and share their own vegetables and have mostly if not fully plant based diets, women and men live as equals and stewards of the planet; where love has conquered fear, Light has dispelled Darkness and separation consciousness has been overridden by unity consciousness. A world led by kindness for the wellbeing of all.We could literally raise the collective consciousness and bring in a new paradigm. A new world, a Heaven on Earth. That’s how powerful our thoughts and imagination are if focussed on with elevated feeling.
Keep choosing Love, even when things look bleak. Especially when things look bleak. Can you think of a better way to spend your time? Imagine that new world. Believe it’s possible and take steps towards creating it. The more of us doing that, the more likely it’ll manifest!
Yoga: Mindfulness in yoga, especially slower practices like Yin/ Restorative. Observe your thoughts, notice them come and go. If your mind wanders, which is normal, just observe that without judgement and escort it back to the breath as an anchor. Be conscious of your thoughts whilst practicing. For example, replace “I’m no good at this” with “I am open to exploring this.” Or I am constantly improving.”
Oil- lemon or rosemary are known to help with focus and clarity of thoughts for focus. Dilute a drop or 2 of your preferred oil in a carrier oil, then rub it into your hands and breathe it in. Or diffuse it in the room.
Peace of mind is the greatest blessing. And world peace is a personal thing, an inside job. As within, so without.
Stress is the idea that you’re here but would rather be there. They say that if you are depressed you’re living in the past. If you’re anxious, you’re living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present, so the best way to cultivate peace is to be fully here, now. Despite imaginary mind projections into past and future, ultimately all we have to deal with in real life is this present moment.
“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life exactly as it is, rather than as you think it should be.”
The importance of being able to stay calm in a fast-paced, sometimes crazy world cannot be overstated.
“The best way to navigate times of great change, is to cultivate the things that do not change. In the midst of a speedy world, learn stillness.”
You could use the prayer of St Francis as inspiration. ‘Make me an instrument of your peace.’ (For the full version see the chapter on prayer.) Become an instrument of peace by literally breathing in peace, breathing out the hatred, breath in love, breathe out injury, inhale pardon, exhale doubt, inhale faith, exhale despair, breathe in hope, breathe out darkness and invite in light, and finally release sadness and welcome in joy.
By doing that (which just came to me one day as I was reading the prayer,) it literally becomes an alchemical sacred practice, and you indeed become an instrument for the positives which you use to transmute or override the negatives. Try it. Breathe the prayer of St Francis and feel the change in yourself.
“Don’t let people pull you into their storm. Pull them into your peace.”
Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. This is a very important point to commit to memory. Greats like Mother Teresa knew that well. She once famously responded to an invitation to an Anti-War protest, with “I will never attend an anti-war march. Invite me to a peace march and I’ll come.” Similarly, Gandhi’s stance was never anti-British, but rather just pro-independence. There’s a subtle but powerful difference. What you focus on, you manifest.
I like this exchange between a Zen Master and his disciple: Student: Master I am very discouraged, what should I do? Master: Encourage others.
“Seeking and finding peace within, were it done by everyone, could end all wars, eliminate conflict and bring everlasting peace.”
Neale Donald Walsch
Sit comfortably with your spine straight. Feel grounded and connected to the earth beneath you and deepen the breath.
As with the Strength meditation in chapter 12, bring to mind an image that to you personally, represents peace. For example it might be a dove, or a tranquil sea or a person like Mother Teresa, the colour white, a deity or a still lake. Try to stick with one image.
As you inhale, reach your arms out directly in front of you to arm’s length with the palms cupped upwards in a receiving gesture. Visualize your chosen peace image right there in your hands as you hold the breath briefly.
Exhale, drawing your hands to cover your heart, with one hand on top of the other over your heart, palms facing your body, and imagine the essence of that peaceful image entering your body and filling it.
Repeat this until you have done 9 rounds if possible. If you are in a rush, just do 3.
The last time your hands move to your heart space, keep them there and allow your entire being to be filled and enveloped in peace. Visualize your body being bathed in peace.
(This meditation can be practiced substituting whatever quality you feel you’d like or need to invoke, for example joy or clarity, using the same method. Also if you are in a public place, obviously you don’t need to do the arm movements. Just imagine them!)
Then continue on with your day or go to sleep feeling deep peace within you.
“Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their shining light on you.
Deep peace to you.”
If it helps, perhaps try visualizing meeting up with yourself as a young child. Just sit comfortably with your spine straight and deepen your breathing, then let your imagination take you to a peaceful, natural meadow, meet you as a child, maybe around age 4 or 6. Notice how you look, whether you are sad or content. Let the child know you are there as a trusted friend and all is well and let the child talk and release any fears or thoughts. Make sure they feel safe and peaceful and loved. You can revisit your inner child anytime and see the transformation that love brings to them and how that affects your own life now.
“Let there be peace and let it begin with me.”
Jill Jackson Miller
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
“Within the soul of man, there lies an insular Tahiti, full of joy and peace.”
I particularly love that quote, because, for whatever reason, Tahiti has always represented ‘paradise’ in my mind. I have not yet made it there yet but I do know Fiji, Hawaii and Easter Island which, I imagine, are not so very different from it. Tahiti is, to me, symbolic of a place of beauty, peace and sanctuary, yet the quote is reminding us that ultimately that place is within us.
One good way to help get peaceful is to simplify your life. Remove distractions and clutter as much as possible, cancel magazine subscriptions you don’t read for example. De- clutter and downsize. Everything has energy, so anything you own that you are not using or don’t love, is just stagnant energy taking up space. Let it all go. Take quality old clothes or books or stuff to a charity shop. Someone else might love them and use them. Throw the rest away. Clear up some space and energy in your life, and observe things get quieter in your mind too.
We live in a fast paced, busy, overcrowded world. Modern culture seems to encourage or even worship ‘busyness’ and the acquisition of ‘things,’ and having bigger and better, but I believe that less can truly be more.
Any time life feels too hectic or tense, try repeating this line from The Course in Miracles:
“I choose peace instead of this.”
Mexican Rat Race Story
There’s a Mexican fisherman lying in his hammock outside his beach hut, watching the sunset, while his wife is inside cooking the fish he caught that day for their dinner. A boat pulls up on the beach and an American tourist gets out and walks down the beach. The two men get talking. The American asked the Mexican what he did. He said he was a fisherman. “How many fish did you catch today?” The Mexican replied that he got enough for his family, his neighbour and a friend along the beach. The American man asked what he did with the rest of hid day and the Mexican told him he went fishing early, then went into the local village to meet friends, had a siesta and spent time with his wife and kid. The American man says “I went to Harvard Business School, I can help you. Firstly, you need to go out fishing for longer and bring back more fish?” “Then what” said the Mexican. “Then you can sell your fish in the village and make some money.” “Then what?” He repeated. “Well, then you could buy a second boat and get two boats worth of fish and sell all that.” “Then what?” “After that, you could export your fish around the country and buy a house in Mexico City.” “Then what?” Then you could sell your fish abroad and travel the world.” “Then what?” “That’s the best part. Then you could retire and live on a beautiful beach and relax, and watch sunsets and spend time with your wife, kid and friends….. Oh….. Hmmmm. That’s what you’re doing.”
“We need to know what enough is.”
“If we are more accepting, more peaceful, less judgemental, less selfish; then the whole world is that much more loving and peaceful, that much less judgemental and selfish. Our mind-body is a vibrating, resonating energy system. Of necessity, how we are affects everyone around us.”
When the world feels too loud, we must be quiet. When the world feels too violent, we must be peaceful. When the world seems evil, we must be good. The harder life is, the softer we must become. It all starts with us. Peace within, peace without.
“Everyday the world will drag you by the hand yelling ‘this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this! And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say: ‘No, this is what’s important.”
“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers. And when they realize that at the centre of the universe dwells Wakan Taka, the Great Spirit, and that this centre is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this.
The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between nations, but above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is known that true peace, which, as I have said, is within the souls of men.”
Yoga- Sit comfortably with your spine straight. Inhale for a count of 4, Exhale for a count of 6 or 8. Keep this going until you sense a shift into a more relaxed state. Extending the exhale has a calming effect on your whole nervous system.
Yoga: Restorative yoga (or listen to Yoga Nidra. See www.luminoustrails.com yoga section) Here is a Restorative Yoga practice:
Oil- Lavender, rose, geranium and Vetiver are all relaxing oils, which blend well together in a diffuser or diluted with a carrier oil for a massage.
Another wonderful ritual you could incorporate into your life is to make your own teas from dried herbs. You can buy the herbs from places like Neal’s Yards Remedies. Place them in a teapot, pour on boiling water and brew for 5-8 minutes to get the full relaxing effects. Try this recipe which helps induce peace and calm:
5 parts lemon balm,
3 parts skull cap,
1 part rose buds / petals
1 part liqourice powder to sweeten.
Or equal parts chamomile, lavender, rose buds and lemon balm.
22) Feel Good/ Bliss Meditation
This is probably my favourite meditation in this book, along with Metta and Trataka and the strength meditation…. Ok I like them all! It is very simple yet powerful and leaves you feeling joyous. It’s a Bliss Meditation:
Sit comfortably with your back straight, grounded into the floor or your chair and begin to deepen your breath to begin.
Recall a peak, happy experience in your life. A beautiful moment or special time of joy. Try to stick with just one memory. If you cannot think of something, perhaps imagine a beautiful sunset you’ve seen that evoked a sense of awe, for the exercise.
Once you’ve chosen your happy memory, you are simply going to re-live it as if it’s happening in the present moment, in all its glory, using all of your senses. Immerse yourself fully in it. What can you see? Is there an aroma, a scent connected with it? What sounds do you hear? Is there a taste involved? How do you feel? Take time to fully saturate yourself in this blissful moment.
Gradually, after a few minutes, remove the specific details and circumstances of that experience, but keep the feeling. Dwell in that joyful state. Be in that joy.
I hope that feeling stays with you for the rest of the day, if not much longer. And know that you can close your eyes and do this exercise anytime, anywhere.
“Follow your bliss.” Joseph Campbell
Do things that make you feel good, as often as possible.
I often revisit a memory of swimming with wild dolphins and it’s as if I’ve been doing ita gain for real, as the same euphoric emotions emerge. It’s like dipping into bliss.
As I immerse myself in the memory, and I come out feeling wonderful, which is the idea.
Life is short and precious, so take all the joyful moments you can and store them for future memories of joy. A great life is made up of such moments. Once when I was living in Tulum- Mexico, I had a decision to make about whether to take a job in Costa Rica teaching yoga or one in Peru leading a community trip. I went to a café to meet a local friend and he said: “Before you know it you’re dead, so follow whichever one makes you feel most happy when you think about it.” Blunt but good advice. If you do things you love, you’ll have plenty of what my friend Mark Dougal calls ‘death bed memories’ to dip into later.
“Do only what you love. There is so little time!”
Neale Donald Walsch
We all tend to think we’ve got a long time here. We can do the good stuff later, after dealing with the stress and paying all the bills, but it’s very common for people on their death beds to say: “I wish I’d worked less, worried less and enjoyed myself more, doing what I loved rather than what others thought I should be doing.“
What do you love doing? What excites your spirit? What makes you feel good? Do those things as often as possible. They will be unique to you, but for me it’s things like:
- Reading inspiring books
- Travelling and discovering new places, people and things
- Horse Riding
- Swimming outdoors in the sun
- Walks in nature
- Chilled /classical music
- Cooking healthy vegetarian meals to share
- Watching inspiring films
- Meeting inspiring people
- Playing guitar
- A relaxing bath
- Taking photos
- Creating natural, healthy beauty and home products
- Deep chats with great friends
- Painting (even though I’m not very good at it. Who cares if I enjoy it!)
Try doing them as often as you can, especially if you don’t have time. I know that sounds odd but that’s when you most need to connect to feeling good. You have to make time to feel good, prioritize or get up earlier, like Gandhi who once said: “I have so much to do today that I must meditate for 2 hours instead of one.” Feel good, not just in a hedonistic or reckless way that ultimately will make you feel bad, but coming from a place of love for yourself and life.
Why not create a ‘Feel good’ book, or collage with uplifting, encouraging words, photos of happy times, favourite quotes or whatever feels appropriate as a portable ‘pick me up?’
“Be happy now, for no reason.”
Dan Millman- A spiritual martial artist
Focus on what you love. Your energy follows where your attention goes so if you ever feel bad, try to just change your mind, literally. Focus on something you love, whether it’s a sunflower, a person or an animal. Try to mentally go through lots of things that you love, and that, in turn will shift your vibration instantly and remind you that you are largely in control of how you feel, which is very empowering.
“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endevour.”
Believe that you are here to thrive, that you deserve to life a great life and make you feeling good a priority. It’s the best thing you can do for you, people around you and the world.
They say that 90% of our problems are trapped emotions and trying to surpress those emotions, but if we heal them through using whatever tools you’ve got or through things like the Emotion Code or Psych-k, it frees up so much energy where joy and gratitude can then reside!
The Yoga Sutras set out a system of how to live well following various precepts in detail. I couldn’t help smiling when one day, reading a summary of the Yoga Sutras by Swami Satchitananda, he concluded that the advice boiled down to four words:
“Be good. Do good.”
That’s simple enough to remember.
There’s an Ancient Egyptian belief that when you die, you will be asked 2 questions, to determine your path in the afterlife:
Did you find joy?
Did you spread joy?
How would you answer that question?
My hunch is that by focusing on the second, the first happens naturally. Or, as the Dalai Lama puts it “Bringing joy to others is the fastest way to experience joy oneself.”
Do what brings you joy! Life is too short not to. What brings you joy? Think about that often, then do those things. Make sure they are things that harm no one and are ultimately good, then enjoy them to the max. And bear in mind that the best way to bring joy to yourself is to give it to others. Follow your Joy.
You can also help it happen in the simplest of ways, for example, making the facial expression of an emotion, heightens that emotion. So smile a lot, and feel joy emerge. This is also a wonderful opportunity to tap into a childlike joy that is often diluted in adulthood. Keep your inner child alive and happy. Remind yourself of everything that inspires you and makes you smile and invite some more joy into your life.
The Dalai Lama is a wonderful example of a man who is naturally filled with joy despite having undergone great hardship. His book with Archbishop Desmond Tutu The book of joy, is a favourite of mine, filled with ways to access deep joy in a world full of suffering.
Yoga- Yoga- For some people a blissful practice would be a dynamic flow full of invigorating, heart-opening poses, for others it would be a 10 minute restorative pose lying back over a bolster just ‘being.’ So here are suggestions for both:
Or for joy just play with doing handstands!
Oil- Use Tangerine, Lime, Wild Orange or Peppermint for a joyful and uplifting feeling. Diffuse whichever ones appeal.
Use Rose, lavender, Ylang Ylang or Bergamot for a blissful chilled feel. Again it’s ultimately down to what you love. Either diffuse them or dilute them and rub them into your skin.
Or just wear an oil that you love and that brings you joy. For me, that’s jasmine.
23) Dream Life
What if you could hold the perfect vision in your mind for yourself and the world and keep choosing the same thing consistently, as masters do? Keep believing the dream and persist until it manifests. Contrary to normal thinking, as Wayne Dyer put it, you’ll see it when you believe it, not vice versa. Here are some ways to make that happen.
How much good are you willing to accept?
Create a bucket list. This is a list of things you’d like to do, see, have or experience before you ‘Kick the bucket,’ or die. In order to create your dream life, you have to know first what you want. Write a list of all the things you’d love to experience in this life. Places you’ve longed to go, things you’d like to obtain, or even people you’d like to meet. Don’t restrict yourself at all. Have fun with it and then try to narrow it down to a top 10 list.
Then try creating a Vision board. Find images, photos, quotes, cut outs from magazines…… of your ideal life or of a specific thing you’d like to manifest, ‘as if’ already real. Place them all on a collage or board. Have it somewhere you can see it daily, and then sit in front of it and visualize that manifest. I have personally manifested loads of wonderful things partly thanks to this method. Have fun with it! You are the artist creating your life. Create the life of your dreams.
These days you could also use Pinterest to create an online bucket list.
“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of reality.”
Indigenous people around the world gather together every full moon to ‘dream the world into being.’ They trace the luminous strands that make up the energetic realm of reality to see various futures for the earth, then they choose the best, most favourable one and then collectively envision it to ‘Dream the world into being,’ by visualizing that most positive future together. This is potent, powerful stuff which we could all be doing individually or as groups every full moon. It is believed that the energy of the full moon enhances whatever is strongly felt and thought at that time, so be careful what you focus on and why not consciously choose to dream your world into being once a month.
Bear in mind that, to the universe or Great spirit, or the infinite power of your mind, manifesting your dream life is super easy. It’s like a tiny detail, a miniscule dot, from the biggest perspective. The main limitations are in our own minds, and often self-created.
It’s a good idea to have a kind of ‘North Star’ ultimate goal or overall vision to guide you. As Einstein said: “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
In the last chapter I shared the Bliss Meditation. Well, after I had practiced it for several years it occurred to me that if I could do that with a past memory, why not also do it projecting into the future. I could adapt it to creating a ‘Future Bliss Meditation’ simply by focussing on a future dream, or my ideal future life rather than a memory from before, as though it were already a reality in the here and now, using all the senses in the exact same way as we did for the Bliss meditation. Remember that the mind is super powerful and the subconscious mind cannot differentiate between past, future, reality or imagination, so plant the seeds of your dream future in your mind as though it were real now, with elevated feeling and using all your senses, to make it real for you in the future. Give it a try and create your future reality while sitting comfortably in meditation.
Sit comfortably with your spine straight, or lie down and deepen the breath. Maybe place a hand on your heart and think of a couple of gratitude’s to raise your vibration, then imagine a scene from your future as you would like it to be or your ideal future life and step into it as though it were really happening here and now, immersing yourself fully in it. What can you hear? Taste? Smell? See? How do you feel? What emotions are you experiencing? Take your time, dwell in that vision fully and joyfully for as long as feels appropriate, and then come back to the present moment, knowing that you’ve planted a seed to grow into your future reality.
If you do this consistently with elevated emotion and belief, you will connect energetically with your future / parallel Highest self living that dream life that you are imagining. That reality already exists in infinite time and space and by matching the frequency of that reality with continued focus you will draw yourself to it.
“Don’t die with your music still in you.”
Yet why stop at your dream life? The ultimate expression of this would of course be visualizing and dreaming up in meditation the best possible future for the whole planet. Why not immerse yourself in an Ideal Future World Meditation, where the skies are clear, the oceans are clean, animals thrive, humanity lives in harmony, kindness rules or whatever feels right for you. Feel free to use this as a starting point or go freestyle with your own benevolent vision for the most beautiful world we could create.
When enough of us love, fear will dissolve. When enough of us shine our light, darkness will be dispelled. When enough of us find peace within, wars will cease to exist. When enough of us realize we’re all one, all sunbeams of the same sun and waves of the same ocean, unity consciousness will override separation consciousness.
So why not prepare for meditation as above and imagine, as if already reality, the future world as you would ideally have it. Don’t limit this vision in any way at all, really imagine it exactly as your utopian view would be, with feeling. The more of us doing this frequently, the more likely some version of that ideal world will manifest. Remember that thoughts create.
Yoga- Just do your favourite practice, or if it’s on your bucket list to master a specific pose, like handstand, find a sequence building up to achieving that.
Oil- Wild Orange. Diffuse it or dilute it with a carrier oil, rub it in your palms and breathe in its scent. Or if your dream life involved living somewhere exotic, why not diffuse jasmine oil or an equivalent aroma to help you imagine that you are already there.
24) Ancient Wisdom/ Modern Science
Ancient wisdom and modern science agree. The universe is an ocean of energy. We are all, quite literally made up of the same stuff on a sub atomic level, and therefore connected. We are all One. This concept has been passed down from the ancients for centuries yet it wasn’t until quantum physics emerged, that it was scientifically verified. It is very exciting to be living in a time where ancient wisdom and modern science are coming together more, and the latest science is proving and corroborating much of what the ancients have been saying for centuries, yet there was no scientific evidence.
“I am the universe experiencing itself temporarily as a human.”
Yogis and spiritual practitioners of old knew about the power of mind over matter and of techniques to calm the nervous system, access usually dormant parts of the brain and work with their bodies energy centres to raise consciousness ultimately towards enlightenment, oneness with all that is, a state of pure bliss, or Ananda. In recent years science has come to acknowledge the validity of these ancient practices, partly thanks to the Dalai Lama, who is fascinated by science, collaborating with neuroscientists in America in the 1980s to carry out scientific tests on Buddhist meditators. That and more recent research on Mindfulness, particularly by John Kabbat Zinn has validated the ancient’s techniques for better equilibrium, wellbeing, healing and spiritual progression.
I like to think that the universe is alive, conscious and full of purpose.
Following a profound spiritual experience of unity consciousness in space, astronaut Edgar Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences as a vessel for parapsychological research, exploring evidence on phenomenon such as meditation, remote viewing, distant healing, consciousness, telepathy, alternative forms of healing, many of which the ancients were familiar with.
We only see 1% of the visible spectrum and only hear 1% of the audible spectrum. We all know that dogs hear sounds that we do not hear, that electricity and radio waves exists even though we can’t see them, that some animals have a far greater sense of smell than we do and pick up scents we are oblivious to, that female turtles return to the exact beach they were born on to lay their eggs and whales and birds navigate enormous distances through some mysterious internal GPS system unknown to us. There is much to learn in the spirit of curiosity and humility. As Shakespeare had Hamlet say: “there are more things in heaven and earth Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
(Image of visual and sound waves- & human range)
Here are some basics ideas regarding energy that seem to fit both the ancients understanding and the modern scientific view.
Everything is energy
Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it merely changes form
All energy runs in circles. What goes around, comes around
All is consciousness. Thoughts are energy. Mind gives rise to matter
There are no such things as idle thoughts. Like attracts like
We are all one, part of one vast energy and interconnected
Our point of power is now, in the present moment
As above, so below
“Nothing rests; Everything moves; everything vibrates.”
“If you want to know the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, vibration.”
What we experience in life has a lot to do with what frequency we give off, what vibration ‘vibe’ we are attuned to. Our inner thoughts and emotions determine the level at which we vibrate, and what we attract back into our lives, that resonates with you.
Pay attention to the vibration of everything, including what you think, say and do, and what you eat, listen to, watch, read, the environment you live in and who you surround yourself with.
“If we’re more accepting, more peaceful, less judgemental, less selfish, then the world is that much more loving and peaceful, that much less judgemental and selfish. Our mind-body is a vibrating, resonating energy system. Of necessity, how we are affects everyone around us.”
“You are full of Heavenly stuff.”
As I mentioned in Chapter 6, the Heart Math Institute has proved that by brining your focus to your heart, which can be done simple by placing your hand over it, and then spending a minute or more focusing on positive emotions like love, appreciation, peace or thinking of things that you are grateful for, you can easily attain head-heart coherence and this has a positive impact on the rest of your day.
Non locality shattered the foundations of physics. As Lynne McTaggart, Greg Braden and others confirmed, a field exists, a living matrix or web of energy where everything is interconnected as one in the eternal present moment and affected by consciousness (which is not confined to the brain) and emotion. An infinite intelligence underlies everything and we are part of it and powerful co-creators of life. Not only that but as all time is eternally present, our consciousness can affect both the future and even the past!
So it seems that science and spirit are not mutually exclusive at all, but rather can make very good bedfellows. New science has become the modern day language of mysticism.
Yoga: Interesting fact: the ancients had deep wisdom, much of which is only being proven scientifically now. For example, they have been chanting Om for centuries, and scientists only recently had the technology to show that, as the ancients had always said, when Om is chanted, it manifests visually as a Sri Yantra.
Oil: Sandalwood. The ancients used it in ceremonies, medicinally and as incense and perfume for thousands of years. We now know that it does indeed have calming, meditative, healing effects. Diffuse it when taking a quiet moment to meditate. Blends well with Frankincense.
We all have a sixth sense and would benefit greatly from using it to our advantage. Intuition is your priceless inner guidance and one of the best gifts you can give yourself in life is to tune into it, be open to it and follow your heart, or gut instinct, rather than outside opinions.
When you just know something without necessarily knowing why you know, that’s your intuition speaking to you.
Every message that catches your attention has meaning. Intuition is your tuition from within, or your inner teacher. Think of it like that.
How many times have you had an intuition and dismissed it as unimportant, only to later wish you’d acted on it? Don’t dismiss your hunches, however subtle. They are there for a reason. Always follow your gut instinct. Train yourself to act on it if it feels right. There is no higher guidance than following what feels true in your heart.
True intuitive guidance is always loving, practical, and feels right. It’s in the present tense and rings true. If it’s saying ‘go and get revenge’ you can be sure that’s ego, not your inner guidance working. Be discerning. It can help to place one hand on your heart, tune in and ask what your spirit or higher self says. Trust what comes.
The universe is always communicating with you in some way. Always pay attention. It could be a poster you see, a song lyric you hear, a conversation you overhear, or a page you turn to in a book or magazine that gives you a message you need to hear.
Just as we exercise our muscles to prevent atrophy and stay strong, we can exercise our innate intuitive knowing. You could for example pick up a book, and ask ‘what do I most need to know now?’ Then open it up to any page and see what comes up. Be playful with it. When the phone rings, try to guess who it is before picking it up, or if you are walking and come to a place where you have to decide whether to go right or left, take a moment, tune in to your instinct and ask your inner self, which way would be the best for your highest good today? Or something similar. You could keep yourself out of trouble and have a lot of fun by checking in with your inner guidance all the time.
I am especially tuned in when travelling alone, which I have done a lot of, and my intuition never fails me. Here’s one example. One day I was in Quito, Ecuador, at The South American Explorer’s Club. It was time for me to return home to where I was staying, so I left and hailed the first taxi I saw. I got in, and told the driver where I needed to go, in Spanish, then suddenly all the hairs on my body stood on end, as if warning me to be ‘on alert.’ I caught a glimpse of the man’s eyes in the mirror, and noticed his voice was slightly slurred, so instead of gritting my teeth and hoping for the best, I paid attention to my intuition and politely said that I had just remembered that I had something else to do first, so sorry but there was a change of plan. I thanked him and got out. Now I obviously cannot tell you whether anything bad would definitely have happened had I taken that taxi ride, but my point is that I followed my gut instinct and therefore didn’t wait to find out! As soon as I was out of the taxi, my body relaxed. I thanked my intuition and got another taxi home safely. Don’t wait to find out why you felt a bad vibe.
Another time, I was about to go to LA for three months to stay in a friend’s guest cottage in Topanga and collaborate with another friend on a documentary. I hoped I would also find yoga work while I was out there. Two days before leaving England, I was sitting on my bed reading when I suddenly had a very strong intuition in me which said: get up, go to your computer, check the website Yoga Trade, there’s work for you in LA. I thought that it was ridiculously specific and shouldn’t be ignored so I did get up, go to my computer, check that website and sure enough the second posting was for freelance yoga in Santa Monica- LA, close to where I’d be living. I applied. A woman called Pamela got back to me asking if we could meet in Santa Monica the day after I arrived in LA. We hit it off. She said she’d seen three other people for the job but hadn’t resonated with them. It involved teaching flow and yin yoga in corporate venues. I got the job, really enjoyed it and it sustained me while I was out there.
Soon after, I flew from LA back to London, arriving to sunny Spring weather during a very exciting time there for the environmental movement, with the extinction rebellion protests in full swing, David Attenborough’s film Climate Change- The Facts being aired on TV and the arrival of the 16 year old girl from Sweden, Greta Thunberg. My gut instinct immediately told me that I needed to go and listen to Greta talk. I’ve leant not to ignore it. I went to Marble Arch and was impressed by the non violent atmosphere, the 3 clear goals of XR, demanding that: 1) the Government tell the truth about climate change, 2) to reduce reaching greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and 3) to create a citizen’s Assembly to ensure ecological justice. Most inspiring though was Greta herself. She seemed devoid of ego despite being the catalyst for an enormous movement to stop climate change. She said: “We are making a difference. You, the protestors and we the children striking. It shouldn’t be that way, but since no one in power is doing anything, we have to, and we will never stop fighting for this planet and for our future and our children and grandchildren’s futures.” I left feeling that a real palpable shift was finally taking place and things would not be the same again. No more business as usual.
My intuition however was not satisfied and kept strongly urging me to be present at a talk she was giving the following day at Friend’s House in London, along with the Green MP Caroline Lucas, whom I also admire greatly and had met in Hove when I lived there. One minor detail though. The event was sold out. Most normal people would just sigh and let the idea go, but I just had an inexplicable knowing that I would be there and acted accordingly. I put feelers out by email to the people running the event, to Caroline Lucas’s people, and others. Nothing. So I just imagined myself there in the room.
On the morning of the talk, I wondered if I should just stay at home. No, said my intuition. Ok. I headed to the train station with a little sign I’d made saying: One spare ticket please? I’d be so grateful. (I have never done that before and probably never will again.) The train was delayed by half an hour, I would arrive only about 10 minutes before the talk. Then I saw that the circle line had delays too. Should I just go home? “No. Go” said my gut instinct. Ok. I finally made it to Friend’s House, and then I handed it over to the universe. Ok I’ve got myself here, now you take over. There was a huge queue of people with tickets. I walked along it and dug out my sign. Within 30 seconds a young girl said “Look dad.” The dad told me that he had one spare adult ticket. I smiled saying I guessed it was for me then, and he agreed that it seemed I was meant to attend. I took it gratefully, went in and was super inspired by what felt like a historic event and turning point from apathy to action.
I hasten to add that I’m not recommending trying to get into sold out events, especially if you are with anyone else. I’m simply giving examples of times when I’ve manifested things despite the odds by trusting and following my intuition and perhaps with a bit of luck.
Muscle test- Kinesthiology. Here’s a technique you can use if you are on your own and want instant guidance. Place your thumb and first finger of your left (or non dominant) hand together to create a circle. Place the first finger from your other hand inside that circle. Ask a question eg Is this food/ environment good for me? Then quickly flick the finger sideways to try to open the circle. If it stays strong and closed, it’s a yes. If it opens or is very weak, it’s a no. Again, no one need know you’re doing this. But your body doesn’t lie. (For more information on this read the book Power vs Force by David R Hawkins.)
They say that your most important guidance comes from your Higher Self; your fully realized, eternal, fearless, indestructible self. So get to know your Higher Self and ask it to take over. How? Maybe invite your Higher Self to your sanctuary (another tool) or, and I got this from Sonia Choquette, considered the world’s best authority on intuitive guidance. Wear a bracelet like a crystal bracelet on a band that you can pull. Every day and whenever you remember or have an important decision to make, snap it and mentally say: ‘Higher Self. Please take over. Move me, guide me in everything I do.
Another thing you can do is use a pendulum . They are not magic in themselves but conduits to your Higher Self. Just
another tool to try. Before using it, set it to get your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and ‘other’ or ‘not certain yet.’ To begin, set the intention that you are a pure clear channel for Light and that anything not of the light be cleared away completely
Then ask your question making it specific.
Yoga: Just do whatever feels right intuitively with no preconceived plan, whether that’s an active, dynamic flow, sitting quietly breathing deeply, a gentle stretch or your favourite meditation. Listen to your body and go with what feels right.
Oil: Just see which oil grabs you today. Without looking at the name on the bottle, smell a few oils and go with whichever one appeals. Breathe it in and notice any effects.
26) Sacred Sites
This whole planet is considered sacred by indigenous communities. They preserve the wisdom of a time when all plants and animals had souls and a greater intelligence governed the cosmos, yet somewhere along the way many in the modern world have lost that connection to and reverence for the earth as being sacred. However, there are certain specific spots on the earth that are universally considered to be special sacred sites and places of great power which people go to visit as a form of pilgrimage, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. They seem to have a certain special energy which was either there inherently in the land itself or was developed by so many people visiting a site of significance in the spirit of reverence.
In my yoga classes, I teach that whether you’re stretching forwards, arching backwards, twisting sideways or upside down, the ultimate direction is inwards.
I find that it’s the same with travel. Whether you go East or West, ascend mountains, dive oceans, traverse humid jungles or arid deserts, or immerse yourself in fast paced, sprawling cities; particularly at scared sites, ultimately the journey is inwards. But going inwards in a way that connects you with the wider world around you. With all people, all places, all experiences, in fact, everything.
I have visited a great deal of sacred sites myself and sensed the heightened energy in these places and have experienced many special sometimes inexplicable moments and synchronicities whilst there. Perhaps you feel inexplicably drawn to one or more of these places. Why not see which one(s) resonate with you and then read about them or watch a programme about them or maybe visit physically going on a spiritual adventure. Whichever way you connect, just spend some time imbibing the wonderful unique energy of the site.
The difference between travelling to these sites as a tourist versus going on a journey there in the spirit of a pilgrim is simply your intention. Are you approaching in the knowledge that the place is considered to be sacred? Do you approach with reverence and maybe make a little offering or give thanks in a little ritual and try to tune into the unique energy of the place and connect with it? Do you look deeper than just with the eyes, and feel the place with your heart, eyes closed for a moment? As Antoine de st Exupery says via The Little Prince “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Or are you going just to see it, perhaps learn a bit about it, get a photo and tick it off a list? The way you approach such a place might affect the experience you have. As I keep saying throughout this book, intention is everything.
There are countless sacred sites in the world but here are just some of the many possible locations:
Stonehenge in England or other stone circles
Angkor Wat in Cambodia
The Taj Mahal in India
Lourdes in France
Delphi in Greece
Mayan pyramids in Mexico, Guatemala or Belize
Axum in Ethiopia
Zen gardens in Japan
Petra in Jordan
Santiago de Compostela in France and Spain
Assisi in Italy
Fatima in Portugal
Jerusalem in Israel
Bodh Gaya in India
Borobodur in Indonesia
Tiahanaco in Bolivia
Lhasa in Tibet
Easter Island in the Pacific, owned by Chile
Boudhanath in Kathmandu, Nepal.
If travelling isn’t an option or doesn’t feel appropriate for whatever reasons, moral, physical or otherwise, why not discover and visit the sacred sites in your own country. For example in England there’s the Druidic tradition and several stone circles including Stonehenge, as well as many sacred springs and hills, ancient forests and cathedrals, often built on previously sacred sites. There’s Glastonbury where legend says King Arthur and Guenivere are buried and Joseph of Arimethea went and planted a thorn tree, and there’s an active Goddess tradition. Every country has its special magical sacred places to be discovered.
I haven’t really gone into chakras in this book, mainly because much of the world works with 7 chakras, and I have for many years worked with 12, and their corresponding earth chakras. Just as we have chakras, so too does the Earth. As above, so below. As within, so without. Lists on the Earth’s chakras vary so if interested I suggest you do your own research, but here I’ll just leave you with one list and a few other potential chakra points for your information.
Earth Star Chakra- London. England
Base Chakra- Gobi desert, China/ Mongolia
Sacral Chakra- Honolulu and Haleakala crater, Hawaii
Navel Chakra- Fiji
Solar Plexus Chakra- South Africa
Heart Chakra- Glastonbury. England
(Cosmic Heart Chakra- Lake Atitlan. Guatemala)
Throat Chakra- The Great Pyramid, Luxor and Mt Sinai, Egypt
Third Eye Chakra- Afghanistan
Crown Chakra- Machu Picchu. Peru
Soul Star Chakra- Agra. India
Stellar Gateway- Arctic
Other potential earth chakras are:
Mount Shasta- California
Lake Titicaca- Peru / Bolivia
Uluru or Ayers Rock and the Olgas- Australia
Mount Fuji- Japan
Mount Kailash- Tibet
Regardless of which are the exact earth chakras, all of them are powerful sacred spots on this earth and wonderful places to connect with and ways to connect to the greater mystery of life on earth.
“If one is going to travel; the particular place you go matters less than what it leads you to explore within yourself. In the end, a mountain is just a mountain and a river is just a river, unless you approach it with open ears and eyes and, especially, an open heart.”
27) Kindness/ Friendship
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind.”
“It’s embarrassing to have spent one’s entire life pondering the human situation and find oneself in the end with nothing more profound to say than try to be a little nicer.”
“Try to be nice to people…..to live in harmony with people of all creeds and nations.”
Recent studies have shown that kindness produces oxytocin and nitric acid, two substances that directly affect our arteries, softening them, dilating them, reducing blood pressure, clearing them of free radicals and increasing blood flow to the heart.
David R Hamilton says that kindness changes our brain chemistry. It boosts levels of dopamine and seratonin, which are chemical messengers involved with positive emotions. It produces oxytocin, the ‘bonding’ hormone, and endorphins, the brain’s natural morphine. Kindness really does give us a totally legal high.
Essentially the hope is to generally do good, and at least do no harm. This kind of philosophy can be put to use particularly within our friendships.
My friend shared with me that when she lived in Myanmar as a child, on her Birthday, she would take her parents out for breakfast, and she would invite her friends for lunch. I thought that was a really interesting cultural tradition and a wonderful idea that on your Birthday you get to treat your friends and show that you appreciate them and get to learn that the secret to living is giving, rather than the norm globally of expecting lots of presents on your Birthday, and perhaps being disappointed if you don’t get what you want.
My own mum is the best example I’ve had in my life of kindness and giving. It is simply what she does. She gives. Endlessly. She always has. She’s just very giving by nature and very compassionate. She has worked for the Red Cross for decades and Anti-Slavery International before that, she never shows up to meet anyone without taking a gift of some kind. She’ll take a cooked meal to a neighbour who is ill. When the husband of a friend of hers died she drove over to her house and stayed the night with her to hold the space while she was in shock and grief. She’s the one an elderly neighbour called when his wife was stuck in the bath, so she ran over, they both helped her out discretely then she left and carried on with whatever she was doing. She is living proof to me that the secret to living is giving or that what you give out you get back, as good things seem to come back to her in wonderful, often unexpected ways. Having said all that, the one thing she’s not great at is asking for help herself or sharing her own woes with others, so I initially created this book for her many years ago and left a copy of it with her while I was away for years working abroad. I hope it helped. She claims it did.
“Always be a little kinder than necessary.”
There are countless ways to give, and it doesn’t ever need to involve spending money. Anytime you can give a smile, or a hug or a compliment, or a kind word, a kind note, or your time, all of which cost nothing but could have a real impact on the receiver. You could volunteer, or make something for someone. I personally love making natural products like creams and candles or bath salts or cards painted by me to give as presents. I also like giving people cards that I have painted. Certainly not because they are masterpieces but I just find that it’s lovely to give something that I have made as it makes it that bit more personal and tailor made to whoever the recipient is, and that tends to be appreciated. It’s also nice to give unexpected gifts.
Another very simple yet very powerful practice is to decide to send blessings to everyone everyday. Perhaps make it a New Year’s Resolution or set an intention from this day forward to do that. It might seem really difficult at first or you could start with just sending blessings to one person everyday and gradually expand it out, but all it involves is invoking blessings and sending them out from your heart to others, firm in the knowledge that what you give out, comes back to you magnified. You might imagine sending wishes for health, abundance and happiness from your heart to all those who you encounter. This work might be invisible but that does not mean it’s not real or palpable to those who are on the receiving end.
“If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as Angels give.”
Try it and see how your own life changes.
There is so much goodness in the world. If you just turn off the news, which blasts you daily with constant doom and gloom and all that’s bad in the world, to keep you fearful, and go out into the world to see for yourself. Here are a couple of examples of random acts of kindness towards me that I’ll never forget:
1) African Angels. The kindness of strangers.
At the half way point of working with the Book Bus at Meheba Refugee Settlement in Northern Zambia, I headed 3 hours South to Ndola to drop off some of the volunteers who’d done the first three weeks and pick up new volunteers and a new driver. It never ceases to amaze me what strong bonds are created when living and working together 24/7 as a group, especially in basic conditions in Africa, so goodbyes involved tears and I was given several thank you letters before the volunteers left. I was genuinely sad to see them go. The new volunteers seemed very enthusiastic and raring to go and the new Malawian driver, Douglas, struck me as a lovely soul, a really good, kind person.
All went well to begin with. After sorting out logistics like visas and changing money, we set off in the Book Bus, heading North towards Solwezi on route to the Refugee Camp. I sat in the front with Douglas to get to know him and because, although he’d driven the same truck before in Malawi, this terrain was new for him. We were going along fine and chatting away when suddenly about 20 minutes into out drive Douglas started feeling ill. He stopped for a bush toilet visit, I told the new volunteers all was well and we’d be off again soon. When he returned Douglas said he was ok so we carried on, but a little further on he needed to vomit and squat again. He was keen to do his job well and continue but I started to worry when about 140KM from Solewezi, the truck started swerving and it was clear that he was very unwell and unable to continue. I knew he was fighting it to show willing to do his job which I appreciated, but I insisted that he stop driving and suggested he go to the bush while I came up with a ‘plan B’. But what would Plan B be?! We were in the middle of nowhere on a hardly used road with new volunteers in the back, many of whom had never been to Africa before and the sun was setting. I started to worry about our predicament. I mentally went through our options. Would I have to end up driving the truck? I considered it but I didn’t have the relevant qualification documents to show at the various check points along the way which I knew would cause us more problems with the authorities. We did have tents and food on board, so in theory we could have all ended up spending the night there on the side of the road, but was I willing to let that happen to these new volunteers on their first night in Africa? Who might come along, or what animals? It wouldn’t exactly be the warmest welcome to Africa.
While Douglas was back in the bush, delirious, I found myself closing my eyes, breathing deeply and silently asking for help. Then a car pulled up right in front of us, (the first car we’d seen in hours,) and three large Zambian men got out and came up to my passenger window. I was caught between fear and relief. They asked if something was wrong. I felt inclined at first to say that we were fine, the driver felt a bit ill but we’d be OK, then suddenly something in me shifted and I felt strongly that I could trust these men. After all, Zambia had taught me that kindness flows in the very veins of its people. So I took a risk and told them our predicament. By some miracle it turned out that one of the men was a doctor who had a clinic nearby, another ran a truck business and drove trucks. The third was involved in the Ministry of Health organization and even knew Meheba refugee camp, as he’d once worked there! In short, we’d been sent Angels!
The angel’s names were Brian, Kennedy and Bupe. Kennedy and Bupe took Douglas by car to a clinic to get medical help and Brian got into The Book Bus beside me and drove us all the way to Solwezi whilst we chatted. I made sure that I rang two people with him listening, telling them what had happened and exactly where we were with details, but to be honest I instinctively trusted these guys by this point so it was just a precaution. Douglas got treatment (at first they suspected malaria but it transpired that it was food poisoning from a chicken wrap he’d eaten at the airport.)
These men quite literally saved us from an otherwise potentially awful situation of being stuck on a remote road in Northern Zambia, with a very sick driver, nervous new volunteers and open to all kinds of dangers, at night. I was, and I remain unspeakably grateful to them. What’s more, they asked for nothing in return for their kindness but of course I gave them some money and took their numbers and we stayed in touch. They later came to visit us at the refugee camp to see the work we were doing there.
That night, I finally got into my tent feeling good, happy, relieved, tired and grateful to our African angels and for the kindness of strangers.
2) Another episode that springs to mind is once when my boyfriend and I were in Kyoto, Japan. We loved so much about Japan and the kindness of its people but one example in particular is worth noting. One day there was a strong typhoon (hurricane to some) heading our way, and we were walking the streets looking for a particular place in the pouring rain and heavy winds, and essentially we were lost. Suddenly, out of nowhere a Japanese man showed up, very well dressed pulling a small suitcase behind him (clearly on his way to or from an airport,) and yet he stopped to see if he could help us. We clumsily said the street name we were looking for, and to our surprise and delight, he went on a 15 minute detour down various pedestrian streets, with such patience and determination, in the miserable weather until we found ourselves at the right building. He spoke no English and our Japanese was limited to hello, goodbye and thank you, so we didn’t get to tell him what a hero he was to us and how very kind he had been, but our body language and constant repetitions of “Arigato Gosaimazu” hopefully got our message across. He smiled, turned and disappeared into a wall of rain. It’s moments like that that you don’t forget, and that restore your faith in humankind.
One last example. Not once but twice I experienced how help seemingly miraculous help comes when you need it while I’ve been in a car. The first time was simply a case of my car breaking down on a road near Exeter, but when I stopped and looked up to see where I was, I was right outside a mechanics, and they were very quickly able to get me safely back on the road! The other time I was in my boyfriend’s car in Cerne Abbas, Dorset at night in heavy rain, and his car had been blocked in by someone while we’d had dinner, so had no option but to go up onto a flint curb at a strange angle. There was an almighty noise as his tyre practically exploded and punctured, and he managed to move just a few meters along the road. That car was going nowhere….at which point a car pulled up beside us and rolled down the window. A man asked if we needed help. Turns out he was a mechanic called Marcus and he and his girlfriend were just going for a drive. They’d never been down that road before but he’d just felt a nudge to take that route, and therefore turned into our angel for the night. He very kindly and heroically put on a temporary spare tyre under the relentless rain and they followed us the couple of miles home to make sure we got back ok. I invited them in for hot chocolate to say thanks and my boyfriend gave him the cash he had on him. I asked why he’d stopped on a dark, rainy night for us, and he said that he knew he could help and he hoped someone would do the same for him someday. He gets how it works, and I’m sure someone will. What are the chances of those two situations happening?
We’ve all heard the idea that for every act of evil, there are a thousand acts of kindness. I truly believe that to be so.
I’d like to imagine a world based on survival of the kindest. Let’s start a kindness epidemic.
“If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.”
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Here’s an idea which just came to me as I write this, for a friend or someone you love’s Birthday or a special occasion. Arrange a gathering of people close to them, either small, two or three close friends or a larger group. Buy a mason jar with a lid, and then bring a rose quartz and piece of coloured paper for each person who’ll be there. At some point, get everyone to write down the Birthday person’s best quality or a happy memory with them, or something they love about them, and to hold the crystal infusing it with that thought or memory or quality. Then place all the crystals and papers into the mason jar as a Birthday gift for them. They’ll always have that jar as a lovely memory and can dip into it anytime for a heart warming reminder of their good qualities or of good memories shared.
Good things that come to us are created by us taking care of others. What you give out, you get back.
“ We are related to each other.
By taking care of myself,
I take care of you.
By taking care of you,
I take care of myself.
This is my prayer for knowing how to help.”
To attract the right people into your life, your ‘soul family’ or tribe, try sitting comfortably with your spine straight and taking a few deep breaths. Then visualize being on a beautiful beach sending out beams of light from your heart, asking that the ‘right’ people, those who are of a similar vibration to you, or who have a shared vision, come to you. See yourself magnetizing them in towards you. Perhaps you get a sense of how many people show up or some particulars about them. Then trust that at the right time they will appear in your life. Come back to the present moment firm in that knowledge.
I sometimes ponder on the fun notion that one day there might be a new breed of burglar, a benevolent kind who sneaks into people’s houses to stuff money into their wallets, or clean up a bit and put flowers and kind notes around the place, in the knowledge that what we give out, we get back. A world that would create endless circles of kindness. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?
“My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.”
His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
Yoga: Metta Loving Kindness meditation. See chapter 6
Tip: Why not make a delicious and super healthy treat for your friend or loved one? Chocolate pieces made from super foods and full of yumminess.
Organic dark chocolate 70-90% – 200g
Goji berries- 2 dessert spoons. Chopped
Mulberries- 2 dessert spoons. Chopped
Maca powder- 1 heaped teaspoon
Ashwaganda powder- 1 heaped teaspoon
Chia seeds- 2 heaped teaspoons
Himalayan salt- just a pinch
Chopped nuts- 2 dessert spoons
Using a bain marie method. Place a glass bowl over a pan of water. Heat the water. Melt the chocolate in the bowl. Then add all the other ingredients to the liquid chocolate. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pour the mixture in. Pop it in the fridge until it has set. Then break the chocolate into pieces and enjoy!
Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. This is not philosophy, this is physics
The above quote says it all for manifestation. Some say Einstein didn’t say that but I think it’s genius so I’m happy to attribute it to him
To entrain with or get resonance with something, get on its wavelength
In 2018 I met Monty Roberts, known to most as The Horse Whisperer..
When he was at school his teacher set the class an assignment to write down how they saw their life in 20 years time
Monty wrote down his whole vision of having a thoroughbred horse ranch in detail how many horses he’d have and how much land His teacher handed it back with a D grade saying she knew his family and it wasn’t realisticMonty was heartbroken and showed his mum who fortunately told him if it was really his dream he should leave it exactly as it was and hand it in again He did 20 years later that same teacher visited Monty on his huge thoroughbred horse ranch which was exactly as he’d described it and took a class of children with her to tell them she had thought it unrealistic but that they shouldn’t let anyone else decide that and must follow their dreams Something she’d learnt from her pupil Monty
Validate the inner experience Your imagination Energy follows intention What do you intend to have happen?
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
“How do I navigate between the world as it is, and the world as it should be or as I would like it to be? Keep one foot in reality, whilst imagining something better.”
Anything in the physical was first imagined, so get visualizing the things or experiences you want to create.
When I led a 15 week trip through South America, without telling the people in my group I would daily visualize us all safely arriving at the hotel at our final destination in Santiago Chile. When we finally did, all in one piece having had an amazing adventure I told them all and they were touched by that and vowed to visualize what they wanted in the future.
Here are some examples from my life of manifesting things, even when the odds are against you, to serve as inspiration. All the tools for how I manifested them are in this book:
Manifesting a job in the South Pacific
In 2011 I was based in Africa for five months, both working in Zambia and Malawi on a Book Bus project which I had helped set up years earlier, and also exploring Southern Africa in my spare time.
At this point in my life I had been working and travelling abroad for five years (in Central and South America) and was on a roll and loving it. I didn’t want the adventures to end. I knew that my stint in Africa would finish in about a month’s time and I wondered what I might do afterwards. I suddenly felt inspired to do something about it rather than just see what unfurled. I made the one off crazy decision to post something to the universe on Facebook, putting out feelers for possible dream ways to keep the travels and adventures going. It was cheeky and fun, something I’d never done before and haven’t done since, but it got me exactly the result I’d wanted.
This is what I posted on Facebook from Lilongwe in Malawi on September 24th 2011:
“My current stint in Africa is running out in a month’s time, so I have some inspired ideas to put out there into the universe for what it’s worth. Some are sensible, some more crazy as life is short:
1) Anyone want yoga classes or privates in England?
2) Anyone want to help me get a travel documentary going?
3) Anyone fancy a trip to the Northern Lights?
4) Anyone feel like publishing a travel adventure book, or a little book of life tools to make the journey through life easier?
5) Anyone have a funky place for me to rent at a good price?
6) Anyone feel like sponsoring The Book Bus?
7) Anyone want to host a travel photography exhibition?
8) Anybody got a job on a boat heading to Antarctica?
9) Anyone up for playing with Orang Utans in Indonesia or riding horses through Mongolia?
11) Any jobs going in the South Pacific?!
12) Any other inspiring, light filled ideas welcome.”
I hit ‘post’ and got on with my job in Malawi. Little did I know what would begin stirring in the universe. The next time I went online, I had received a plethora of responses. A friend in America wanted to make a film with me about this earth and its wonders (which we later began filming during the Earth Summit in Rio.) VentureCo, a company I had led several trips for offered me to lead a horse riding trip in Mongolia someday (which happened in 2013 and then again in 2016, and were amazing experiences.) A couple of people offered me places to use for yoga retreats, I did later go and see the Northern Lights in Arctic Norway with my father and spend time with Orang Utans in Indonesia, (you know what happened to my Little Book of Life Tools idea, as it’s in your hands now,) but the response that jumped out at me on that day was from Daniel Ponce Taylor at Global Vision International. (I’d previously worked for GVI in Mexico teaching English and Sustainable Development as staff at their Tulum base and also in the Amazon in Ecuador working as staff at an environmental research base and had a good relationship with them.) His comment that jumped out of the screen at me was: “Do you want a job in Fiji?”
My heart skipped a beat. Was he just joking? Of course I did. Yet I was wondering if it was a Dive Master job. Much as I loved diving and had my PADI open water training, I wasn’t qualified to teach other people to dive so that might not be ideal. I wrote enthusiastically asking him to give me more information. His reply got me really excited as he said that they were looking for someone to run an education project on the remote Yasawa islands in Fiji. It would involve working in schools, working on a rainwater harvesting project so that those living on the more remote islands would have clean drinking water during the dry season and maybe also getting involved with creating a marine protected area, and working on a wild dolphin project. I’d be living on a tiny island with local Fijians helping run the GVI base there as staff, keeping the volunteers happy. As if that wasn’t enough, he added: “I’ve just got back from there, and it’s a bomb!” He added that if I was serious I should have a Skype interview with the Fiji country manager soon. He’d already mentioned me to him.
My brain’s mantra was ‘I want that job!’ It fitted me like a glove. It had long been a dream of mine to live on a South Pacific island, the job was varied and suited all of skills I’d gathered along the way, it didn’t involve teaching people to dive but I would get to dive there anyway. I loved everything about it and truly believed the job had my name on it. I started imagining myself in Fiji.
Of course I hadn’t got the job yet. Dan Lund and I agreed to Skype when our time zones and schedules permitted it. So I had my job interview with him in Fiji and me in Addis Ababa- Ethiopia. The more I heard about the job, the more I was sure it was what I wanted to do. After a second interview when I was back in England, (where I had incidentally already packed for Fiji as if it were already a done deal,) I was officially offered the job and within two months, amazingly, I was living on Nanuya Lai Lai island in the South Pacific doing a job I loved in paradise and getting to know the locals and great volunteers.
So that’s the story of how I manifested a dream job. Of course even a perceived paradise has the same problems as anywhere else and I found two of the staff members hard work, but it was a wonderful experience and a dream come true. I’m so glad that I put it out there in that spontaneous way. It taught me that if you want something enough you’ve got to put it out there. Ask and you will receive, or as Paolo Cohelo put it in The Alchemist, if you really want something: “All the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”
The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. London 2012
I have always loved the Olympics. There’s something magical and special about it to me. It’s about humans coming together to celebrate humanity at its best, to redefine what’s possible and break records and have one huge global celebration. I always watched as much as I could of it and promised myself that if it was ever in my home country in my lifetime, I’d be there and attend some of the events, the ultimate being the opening ceremony.
When I was living with two friends in London in 2005, I was surprised and delighted when it was unexpectedly announced that London had won the bid for the 2012 Olympic Games! Paris had been the favourite but I think a couple of badly timed comments from the French president who took it for granted they’d won, and an amazing bid by the Brits shifted things in the last minute. I was so excited! It was still seven years off but I promised myself I’d be there and I was secretly determined that I’d be at the opening ceremony (even though I knew much of the world would also have that same dream.) I wrote a vow down on that day that I’d be at that ceremony and also attend a number of sporting events ideally including equestrian jumping, gymnastics and diving.
Fast forward seven years and I was living and working literally on the other side of the world, in Fiji! It was a dream job for me and I was largely loving my time there, but in the back of my mind I knew that the Olympics were not far off miles away in England and I couldn’t live both dreams simultaneously. I had applied to get tickets for my preferred events but had not heard that I’d got any, so I was enjoying myself in Fiji and assuming I had no tickets to any Olympic events.
After several months there I had a break for a couple of weeks with an option to return or finish my time in Fiji and so I decided to take a good friend up on his invitation for me to go and stay with him on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, America for a while and took all my stuff with me in case I didn’t return. Even though I truly loved the job and the location, I had different views on how best to run the volunteer projects than a couple of other members of staff who seemed to think the volunteers were essentially just an inconvenience. That and the fact that it was cyclone season and the Olympics loomed in London, made me just about willing to consider leaving Fiji behind to pursue other dreams. I went and stayed with Tony and had a wonderful time in that very civilized part of the world, and enjoyed having hot water, and luxuries beyond the basic necessities we’d had on a remote island in Fiji. We had much to talk about. Tony runs The Humanity Initiative and thinks very globally and compassionately so he is always a pleasure to be with and we get on like a house on fire. I met many of his friends too who are wonderful souls who I’m still in touch with.
The Olympics came up in conversation as Tony knew how much I’d always wanted to be part of it. I went online to confirm that I had no tickets, only to discover that in fact, I had by then been allocated tickets to Diving and Equestrian jumping events! That was a game changer and made me rethink my plans. All excited now that I might be heading to London imminently for the Olympics, I of course started putting out feelers for the opening ceremony. The responses I got were comments like “They are gold dust! Keep dreaming” or “Even if you suddenly win the lottery, unlikely.” Unperturbed, I know that miracles happen and held the belief quietly in my mind that I would indeed be there no matter how in demand they were or how many people wanted them.
Decision made, soon enough I was back in England. It had been hard to say no to returning to Fiji and I would sorely miss the local people there, but life was taking me in another direction now. Wimbledon was on and I was super excited and enthusiastic about the Olympics. I soon discovered that most people weren’t. They’d succumbed to the depressing ideas in the newspapers that security would be a nightmare, crime would go up, transport would be hell and it was all a waste of money. I was disappointed in my fellow Brits and remained totally optimistic about it myself whilst visualizing myself at the opening ceremony too.
In the two weeks leading up to the games, I managed to get two tickets to gymnastics as well so that was my three ideal sporting events covered, now I just needed the miracle. As the date drew nearer a few doubts started to creep in, but not enough to stop me pursuing the crazy, impossible notion that I would be present in the athletics stadium with all the athletes when the Olympic flame was lit.
It was now the day before the Opening Ceremony and still nothing. Well, I had my other tickets and it’s good to dream, you can’t have everything right? Or actually, perhaps sometimes you can. The night before, I went online and saw a post that one ticket was available, with a number to call. A young boy answered the phone. He told me he, along with several other school children had been given a ticket by the Mayor, but he wasn’t interested in sport and would rather have a bit of money for it. I politely questioned his sanity checking that he really didn’t want it. He insisted that it was true, then I asked a few questions to confirm the ticket was real and the amount he wanted for it, which was not much over the original asking price. We agreed to meet the next morning at the station by the stadium.
I hardly slept that night wondering if the ticket was real, hoping I wasn’t doing something wrong or illegal by taking him up on his offer, and nervous that I was about to get my dream fulfilled so to have it go wrong now would be even worse than if I’d never had the possibility of being there. The morning of the Opening of the games, I went as planned to meet him. He was a young, sweet but nervous looking boy. He showed me the ticket which looked legit enough but I couldn’t help wonder if it might be a fake. I bought him a tea and double checked that he really didn’t want to go, (when he said yes I didn’t press him any further as I now finally had the ticket in my hand!) Then I managed to get him to agree to me paying him half the money there and then, then if I got in successfully for the event, I promised to meet him at the exit to give him the rest. He was reluctant, but eventually agreed as he had my number and knew the exit point where I’d come out from and seemed to believe I meant it. So that’s what we did. I paid half, and had butterflies in my stomach at the security entrance. It looked like the whole army was there. All kinds of scenarios flashed through my head. What if it was a fake and I got stopped or even arrested? I almost chickened out in the last minute but then remembered how for seven years my dream to be there that night had been incubating and these crazy circumstances must just be how the universe was able to make it manifest.
Beep beep. My heart almost stopped as the ticket was scanned. Was that the right noise? “Thank you madam, have a fantastic evening!” I let out a sigh of relief. I was through!!! It was real and I was in for the biggest show on earth. I was at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in my own country, it was really happening. I phoned the boy to tell him I was safely in, thank him, and restate my promise to meet him where we’d agreed as soon as it finished. Then I let myself relax and go into the stadium. The atmosphere was electric. Everyone was super excited and even the weather participated. It had been forecast to rain but the skies cleared for the event.
It turns out, of course, that my ticket was not just sitting in the stadium but in the stadium, inside the athletics track, right in the action of the ceremony! I couldn’t believe it! I was in what they called the mosh pit, on the stage for the entire night. What transpired was one of the most magical and unforgettable nights of my life. The ceremony went immaculately well, was euphoric and beautiful and inspiring. I took it all in with all my senses as the world’s greatest athletes walked around me and Danny Boyle’s genius show unfolded, including the top moment where The Queen and James Bond arrived by helicopter and she parachuted down into the stadium to roaring cheers. What fun, it was genius. My favourite part was the lighting of the flame. I’ve always had a thing about light, and I loved the symbolism of the Olympic games torches and flame. It was breathtakingly beautiful and illuminating in every sense. 207 individual flames (one representing each country taking part) were lit from the official torch that had just arrived from its epic journey from Athens. In an unforgettable moment they rose slowly and gracefully to form one flame, one light, one people, unity in diversity, humanity coming together to shine. Pure magic!
True to my promise, as Paul McCartney sang Hey Jude to close the show, I began to leave before there were huge crowds to meet the boy. I was elated. He was happy to see me, I gave him the rest of the money and an Olympic games hat that I’d bought for him, and we both went home happy.
The whole thing was a huge success and thankfully raised the spirits of the whole nation for the entire Olympics. Everyone was happy throughout the next two weeks, the whole country was on a high and we hosted the games with style and grace and fun, and put in an amazing sporting effort too to come third in the medals table. I will never regret keeping the vision alive and manifesting being present at that opening ceremony. It was truly magnificent.
Hold onto your dreams, even the impossible ones, in fact especially the impossible ones and never let the naysayers, fear mongers or dream stealers get you down. Keep the belief and anything is possible.
So what are you going to manifest?
Refer back to the sections on bucket lists and vision boards in chapter 23 and the pink bubble technique in chapter 15.
Yoga: Visualize yourself doing a pose or sequence you would most like to master every day for 21 days. Then see if it comes more easily in the physical. You might surprise yourself, as the subconscious mind doesn’t know if what you’re visualizing is real or imagined so the body muscles and tendons go through the process as if you are doing it for real. Olympic athletes use this technique with great success. If you go there in the mind, you’ll go there in reality
“The universe is written in the language of mathematics.”
The sacred science of numerology has been around for a very long time, and its wisdom has been passed down through the ages. Pythagoras taught numerology in his Mystery School, and those in the know say that numbers affect and influence everything, so it’s worth learning about them.
Everything has a vibration of its own, and that includes letters of the alphabet, words, dates, the number of your house, your car number plate, the day you were born, your phone number, every single thing in existence. You can explore these through numerology.
Here is a simple guide to the basic meaning of different numbers. If it interests you, there are many books available that go into it in much more depth.
Numbers and their meanings:
1) Leadership. Individual. New beginnings
2) Partnership. Balance. Soulmates
3) Creativity. The Trinity
4) Foundation. Stability. Practicality
5) Free spirit. Adventure. Visionary
6) Love. Unconditional love
7) Magic. Higher consciousness. Luck
8) Abundance. Infinity (Eight on its side is the infinity sign)
9) Humanitarian. Completion
Then there are various Master numbers. These are numbers with the same number doubled, therefore doubling the power of the vibration, and containing the qualities of both the single numbers within it and the double, higher vibration.
11) Illumination. Inspiration. Mastery. Intuition
22) Master Builder. The most powerful and potentially most successful number. Bringing Heaven to Earth. Manifesting dreams in reality through service to others
33) Healing. Christ consciousness. Master teacher
44) Grounded. Material goals. Golden Atlantis. Angels
55) Higher learning. Freedom
66) Love as compassion
77) Deep spiritual understanding. Path of the mystic. Luck. Being on the right track. Spiritual leadership
88) Mastery of the material world
99) Leadership. Motivation. Completion of a journey or path
Look for clues in the numbers around you, by investigating your own life’s numbers:
-The number of the day you were born on.
-Your Birth Path Number- adding the birth day, month and year together. (Remember to always reduce numbers down to a single digit, unless you get a Master Number.)
-Adding up your full name using the table below, gives you your Soul Number.
Here’s an example using my own name and numbers. For whatever reason I have a lot of Master numbers in my life.
(Incidentally, people with Master numbers sometimes feel overwhelmed by the pressure to live up to them and often hide their light by living at the reduced number, e.g. 4 for number 22, until sometime later in life when they feel more able to step into their mastery.)
My birth day number is 11. (It happens to be my favourite number, and I have mentioned in this book that my whole life I have seen 11.11 daily.)
My Birth path number is 22, as my birthday is August 11th 1974. 11+ 08+ 21 (3) = 22, which has the foundational, grounding aspects of the number 4, and the illumination of 11 doubled.
My Soul Urge Number is 44. You get this by adding up all the vowels in your full given birth name.
My birth name is Jacqueline Mary Wigglesworth. When each letter is added up, it gives the number 5. The Free spirit, traveler, adventurer. Intellect. (In my case this certainly rings true, as I have travelled to over 90 countries and read over 2000 books!) I only know that because I kept all my books in boxes in my parent’s loft, all with sections that had inspired me highlighted, and when I came to move house, I counted them. (You could also look into the name you use which is generally without your middle name. Mine Jacqueline Wigglesworth, again adds up to 11.)
The phone number I’ve had all my life ends in 333
Have fun working out the numbers in your life, and what they mean, and see if they resonate with you. Here’s a numerology table to help you out.
Give some more non-master number examples
Numbers Table image below
Add the Eneagram?
30) Power Animal
This meditation (or journey, in Shamanic speak) has been used for centuries to meet and connect with your power animal or totem animal. Some say you can have various animals with you throughout your life but here we hope to connect with your main one who is like your guide and protector. Try not to have a preconceived idea about what your animal will be. A favourite animal is not necessarily also your power animal (although it can be.) Don’t preempt, just let what happens, happen authentically.
If you have a CD of rhythmic drumming to a steady beat, you might want to put that on in the background, like the one provided with Sandra Ingerman’s Shamanic Journeying.
Sit or lie down and deepen your breathing to begin.
Imagine being transported to a beautiful natural spot surrounded by all that nature has to offer. Sit on a rock near a cave where you can see the sea and meadows, and jungle, maybe desert and mountains, or whatever feels right for you to meet your power animal.
Ask your animal guide to appear to you in this place and communicate with you. Trust whatever happens next. You might, hear, feel or see or be aware of its presence initially. Then gradually the animal comes into view and moves closer to you. Allow yourself to communicate with this animal, and it with you. Ask it if it is your power animal. If the answer is no, wait for another animal to emerge. If yes, ask your power animal any questions you might have. Does it have a name you could call it by? What is it there to teach you? What qualities does it share with you or might you need to acquire with its help? Take your time for all to be revealed.
Once you feel satisfied that the encounter is over, thank your power animal and perhaps make an arrangement to meet again in the same place another time. Then return to the present moment. Perhaps write down what happened.
Once you know what your spirit animal is, research and learn all you can about that animal; What it represents, what its main characteristics are. What they symbolize. Perhaps you’d like to put an image of that animal in your room or draw it to connect with it further. Yet impotantly, the best way to get information about it is to get it directly from the animal yourself as it may have a particular lesson for you that you would not find in any book.
Ask your animal spirit to send you signs that it truly is your spirit animal. You might find that you turn on the TV and see it, or open a magazine to a page with it there, or you hear someone at the table next to you in a coffee shop talking about your animal, one comes to you in a dream, or indeed a real one comes to you. All of these would count as signs.
Draw on it’s particular energy, and lessons in your life.
Here are some of the qualities of some animals. If yours doesn’t come up, have fun researching it yourself, but remember to trust your own intuition and guidance more than what you find in your research.
Horse– Strength. Grace. Freedom. Power- Physical and unearthly. Wisdom of walking in other’s moccasins. Travel, including astral travel.
Dolphin -Love of life- Joie de vivre. Play. Enthusiasm. The wisdom of Atlantis. Manna or breath of life. Freedom. Communication and sound.
Eagle– Soaring high with the great spirit. Conquering fear. Grace. Freedom. Homing in on your goals. Spirituality. Honour. Clear vision.
Butterfly– Transformation. Cycles of life. Transition. Growth.
Turtle– Mother Earth. Goddess energy. Protection. Grounding. Retreat into self. Getting there in the end, slow but steady.
Deer– Gentleness. Love and compassion. Conquering darkness and fear with unconditional love. Disarming fearful energy.
Black panther– Embracing the unknown. Facing fears. Leaping into the void with trust. Mysticism. Dark feminine.
Whale– Record keeper of the history of Mother Earth. Allowing your song to be sung. Psychic. Wisdom from the stars. Accessing records.
Turkey– Selfless. Benefits all. Many virtues. Sacrifice. Enlightenment. In giving, you receive.
Buffalo– Abundance. Prayer. Gratitude. Humility. Considered very sacred.
Jaguar– Walking fearlessly, without enemies. Integrity. Impeccability. Protecting Mother Earth. Moving beyond fear. Working during the night.
Snake– Shedding your past as it sheds its skin. Sacred. Kundalini energy rising. Transmutation. Death and rebirth. Healing. Moving gently on Mother Earth.
Hummingbird– Sucking the nectar out of life. Joy. Love. Beauty. Adaptability. Delicate. Anything is possible (they can fly across a sea with their tiny wings!) Carpe Diem!
Wolf- instinct, intelligence, an appetite for freedom. Also a fear or lack of trust towards someone.
If you don’t know what your animal represents, go to your first thought about that animal, ie Dove- Peace. Cat- Independent. Dog- Loyal, etc. Rabbit- Love and fun. Swan- purity, grace, light. Open up your heart. You’ll probably intuitively know their message for you, or of course, you can look up their meaning.
Animal guides might come to you in three ways:
1) In the physical. Pets or animals approaching you or flying past at a significant moment
2) In dreams, bringing messages on the astral plan
3) As your totem animal. Allowing you to access their particular energy or power.
Animal spirits choose you, not the other way around.
Notice recurring animal appearances in your life. Look up what they represent.
If this topic interests you I recommend ‘Medicine Cards’ by David Carson and Jamie Sams, if you want to delve into this further.
Yoga- Pick a yoga pose with an animal name and work on. Work your practice around embodying the qualities of that animal and mastering the pose/ asana. Here are some possible poses to try:
Add on- Shamanic drumming for journeying.
Of the many ways to get connected to your true self, get healthy and access the still place within, Yoga is a very effective and ancient one that I am particularly familiar with. Yoga is both a process and an end in itself. It’s about union, connection; uniting with your sovereign, infinite self, uniting your mind, body and spirit, and ultimately uniting yourself with all that is, that is, Enlightenment or Self Realization. Uniting your individual consciousness with Divine consciousness. (This can be represented by a hand mudra where the tip of the index finger, representing yourself, joins with with the tip of the thumb (representing All that is.)
Yoga is not merely exercise, like the equivalent of going to the gym. It is a vast subject that goes way beyond the physical. Nor is it a religion but it is open and accessible to all, non-denominational and inclusive. Ideally though you would dedicate your yoga practice to something bigger, to spirit or the universe and practice it from the heart to really call it yoga. Ultimately it’s about self realization or connecting to your true nature, but you can certainly get fit and have fun along the way.
Yoga is an ancient system of health and self-development. The first reference to it is in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras from over 2000 years ago but it’s much older than that, from the Vedic or even pre-Vedic tradition, yet its benefits are being enjoyed by millions globally today. It caters for everyone and affects each of us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, as we integrate its wisdom and embody its essence in our own individual practice.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of practicing yoga:
Calms the mind
Calms the nervous system
Improves balance, flexibility and strength
Oxygenates the body
Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
Improves lung capacity
Tones the body
Helps the body, mind, spirit connection and our connection with ourselves and all that is
Make sure you find a practice that works for you and is appropriate for your constitution and temperament amongst the huge array of possibilities within the yoga tradition. “Yoga must adapt to the individual, not the other way around” said the legendary yogi, Krishnamacharya, who incidentally was never ill and once, at 62, not to show off but just to demonstrate it was possible to scientists, stopped his heart at will or 2 minutes to demonstrate his control of mind and body. When asked why he only practiced mantra and breathing techniques at 92, just to show he still could, he went through a demonstration of all the yoga asanas.
Yoga is very self empowering. If you go for a massage or have surgery, you remain passive. With yoga you take total responsibility for your wellbeing. You actively participate which can help self esteem and confidence too. Our bodies are vessels for our spirits or life force, and yoga deals with connecting and looking after both. Ultimately it takes you from suffering into happiness.
The meaning of Hatha (the umbrella term for physical yoga practice) is Ha meaning Sun in Sanskrit, and Tha meaning moon. Therefore, practicing hatha yoga is about balancing our more solar or Yang strength and activity with our more lunar or Yin gentleness and passivity. Yet importantly, the physical aspect is merely one eighth of the wider system of yoga, as set out by Patanjali as the eight limbs in The Yoga Sutras. It is suggested that if you can directly connect with all that is, that’s the best route but here are guidelines to get there. Here are the eight limbs:
Outer observances- Yamas:
1) Non violence or not harming- Ahimsa
Truthfulness to self and others- Satya
Not stealing, being generous- Asteya
Containment of you energy including sexually- Bramacharya
Non possessiveness. Sharing- Aparigraha
2) Inner observances- Niyamas
Purity, of body and mind- Saucha
Contentment with what is and what you have- Santosha
Spiritual discipline and practice- Tapas
Self study, self awareness. Know thyself- Svadhyaya
Surrender to the Divine, to something greater that yourself- Ishvarapranidhana
3) Yoga postures – Asana (what most people think yoga is)
4)Breathing- Pranayama (deliberate regulation of breath)
5)Withdrawal of the senses- Pratyahara
6) Concentration- Dharana
7) Meditation- Dhyana
8) Enlightenment. Bliss. Oneness with all that is- Samadhi
According to the yoga tradition we have an energetic body consisting of 72,000 nadis or channels (the equivalent of Chinese meridians.) Of these there are three main channels which we are concerned with. Shushumna nadi- the central channel that runs down the centre of the spine, and one either side, pingala nadi on the right, the solar, active channel and ida nadi on the left, the lunar, passive channel.
Through yoga we create balanced energy, not too active nor too passive, directing energy into the central channel, the middle way. There at the base of the spine a dormant force is awakened and rises up the spine leading to the crown chakra and to the ultimate goal of enlightenment.
There are 3 blocks, psychic knots or ‘grantis’ which obstruct free flowing energy. One at the base of the spine, known as Mula, which is connected to attachment to material, physical possessions. One at the heart centre, Anahata, connected to emotional attachments to people or animals, and one in the head, at the third eye, Ajna. This one is connected to mental attachments, through yoga, whether consciously or unconsciously, we release these blocks to enable a free flow of life force energy up the central channel, subhuman nadi. This is sometimes referred to as kundalini rising and this has a powerful effect on our whole energy body, raising our consciousness and leading to an experience of unity consciousness, bliss and oneness with all that it.
It is also worth mentioning the 3 Gunas:
Rajas- ambition or over activity
Sattva- Sweet balance
Tamas- Inertia, lethargy
The goal is to abide in Sattva, sweet balance. Not too much striving nor too little effort. Just right, like in the Goldilocks story.
These three Gunas are correlated to 3 qualities or gods.
Here are a few definitions of Yoga:
“Yoga is union of the individual self with the universal self.”
“Yoga is about the mind. Just do yoga and you will heal the mind.”
“The practice of yoga is fundamentally an act of kindness to oneself.”
“Yoga is restraining the fluctuations of the mind.”
“Yoga is a protection.”
“Yoga is a light which, once lit, will never dim. The better the practice, the brighter the flame.”
“One hundred years from now, people will acknowledge that yoga is the greatest gift to the world from India.”
“The physical practice or asana, is a way of organizing the body geometrically in such a way that the longevity of your mental health is ensured.”
Dedicate your yoga practice to someone or something bigger/ greater than yourself, or to Divine consciousness within you. You could, at the start of every practice, humbly dedicate your yoga practice for the benefit of Mother Earth and all beings everywhere. This immediately shifts the whole focus of your practice into a sacred offering, sows good seeds for you to reap and turns it into so much more than just physical exercise.
Here is a Hatha flow yoga sequence. (See www.luminoustrails.com yoga section)
“There’s only one religion, though there are hundreds of versions of it.”
Since it is my belief that we are all one, and all part of one interconnected energy, I offer prayers here from various traditions, which are all inclusive. Perhaps you’ll find one or more that speaks to you. You don’t have to be religious to pray. It’s perfect if you are of course, but anyone can choose to connect with the essence of all that is, in whatever form resonates with you, whether for you that means Energy, Light, God, Goddess, Great Spirit, Infinite intelligence, Divine Love, Mother Earth, Allah, Nature, Yahweh, Buddha, Jesus, The Universe, Divine mother, Life force, Source, your Higher Self, Wakuntanka, unconditional love or your own mind or intuition. It’s very personal to each individual.
“I am a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim and a Jew, and so are all of you.”
Studies have been done on the efficacy of prayers for people who are ill. Those who were prayed for by many people regularly recovered much more than those who received no prayers. It seems belief and intention play a large role in prayers being fulfilled. But here I am not sharing prayers asking for anything, rather just general prayers from around the world.
If you are not comfortable with the idea, perhaps see prayer as another way of giving thanks. Give thanks for life and all its wonders, or give thanks in advance for what you wish to experience, as if it were already so. That is key. Pray from the heart with feeling and thankfulness in advance.
Greg Braden has done a great deal of research on the art and science of prayer, and in an original Aramaic script, he found it described like this:
Ask with no hidden motives, surrounded by your answer, with gratitude.
In other words, be real, imagine that your prayer is already answered with feeling and gratitude.
There is no one right way to pray. Just do what feels comfortable and good for you.
“The lamps are different, but the light is the same.”
I myself am not religious, but I have always been deeply spiritual; in a heart centered way that encompasses all that is as one interconnected energy, open and inclusive of different countries, cultures and beliefs, of science and spirit intertwined as one, and in a way that honours and respects nature or Mother Earth. I’ve always been interested in the underlying essence of different religions, and philosophies. I am tolerant of all, yet feel no need to belong to any and as a global person that works perfectly for me as I can happily mix with anyone anywhere without religion becoming an obstacle to my interactions. I believe we are all one. We are all human brothers and sisters, with no need for more labels to separate us. I respect everyone’s beliefs and tend to get the same respect back. If prayer just doesn’t grab you, move on to the next chapter. Don’t worry. Be happy.
“Ask and it is given. Seek and ye shall find.”
They say prayer is speaking to the Divine or Energy of the universe, and meditation is listening to it.
“Prayer is the conduit of miracles.”
A Course in Miracles
“Whatever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
However, as we’ve all heard the phrase “be careful what you pray for, you might just get it,’ I would add here that if you are asking for something in prayer, it’s always a very good idea to add: ‘For my highest good and the highest good for all concerned.’ As we cannot always see the bigger picture and might not know that something else or another path would suit our highest life better than what we are asking for. A healthy attitude is to have preferences but choose what shows up.
So, here are just a few prayers that I like. Maybe collect your own and keep them somewhere special and accessible in a little sacred book.
The Serenity Prayer
God. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
You, whose light illuminates the whole world, illuminate also my heart, so that it too can do your work.
The oldest Sanskrit mantra
Dear God. Please make me who you want me to be. Take me where you want me to go. Tell me what you want me to say, and to whom.
From A Course in Miracles
O Light all pervading
One with All and All with One,
Flow through me.
Enter so that I may be free.
Make me one with the All Soul.
Free let me be of space time
I am a child of the Light
Prayer for Good Humour
Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humour to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humour.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.
St Thomas More
(Pope Francis reads this one to himself every morning.)
I call upon you now. Please surround me
with your love, guidance and support.
How may I serve you today? I ask to be aligned with
my highest path for contribution in your name.
I ask for your direction and am surrendered
to the way I am shown.
Please enter my mind, heart, body and soul
so I can truly open to the contract I have
to live as an ambassador of your love.
I let go and allow you to lead the way.
(From You are a Goddess by Sophie Bashford.)
Let me be a vessel for you. Do your work through me, that I may shine light and love wherever I go.
Hawaiian Huna Prayer
The Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, Light
Where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console. To be understood, as to understand. To be loved, as to Love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The St Francis Prayer is my favourite prayer, for several reasons. I could write at length about it. But, one reason is that it highlights the concept that bringing higher, more benevolent energies or qualities to lower ones or their opposites, transforms the lower vibration to a higher one.
Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery. Teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my sacred space and love beyond my fear, and thus walk in balance with the passing of each glorious sun.
Or, as I’ve said befoe, sometimes the simplest tolos are the best. Try:
“Love, use me.”
Here is my own prayer or wish for the future:
May love win over fear
May light dispel darkness
May unity consciousness override separation consciousness
May Mother Earth be valued and protected
May wellbeing take precedence over economic growth
May health be the norm and truth be a given
Maya all beings everywhere be happy, free, peaceful, safe and well and awaken to the light of their true nature.
Why not write your own prayer and keep it with you or by your bed.
Yoga- See your yoga practice as one long body prayer or offering to the Divine in whatever form, moving very consciously and offering up the practice to someone or something bigger than yourself. This shifts the whole feeling of your yoga and brings more depth and authenticity.
Oil: Frankincense or sandalwood- Diffuse them in the room to create a sacred atmosphere.
Food glorious food!
I never thought that I would be writing about nutrition, as for much of my life I didn’t have much interest in cooking or other such ‘domesticated’ things. I was too busy travelling or more interested in being outdoors having adventures. However in more recent years I have come to hugely appreciate the joys of home and cooking in a huge way. I have always loved food, and had a healthy appetite and have been fortunate enough to be able to eat what I like, but I tended to like what is healthy anyway. I have also always been generally active. However, having said all that I genuinely believe that the information here could benefit anyone, whatever shape, size and beliefs. As with everything in this book, if it resonates with you, take it, if not, leave it.
I do not believe in diets. I have never been on one. I have never counted calories and have no intention of ever doing so, and I do not believe in fads. You are what you eat. And eating should be enjoyable, as life should. I feel zero guilt for loving dark chocolate or Kettle salt and balsamic vinegar crisps, and enjoy them occasionally balanced with a generally very healthy intake of food. Enjoy your food, don’t make your decisions out of fear or guilt but out of love for yourself and your body, and the gift of life. That’s coming from a whole different and much healthier energy.
My basic beliefs and advice on food have always been the same, and are very simple:
- Eat mainly, if not all, plant based foods. The closer to the Earth its origins, the better. The further from the earth its source, the less nutrients.
2) Drink plenty of water to hydrate. Preferably filtered, spring or mineral water. We are 70% water after all.
3) Avoid processed or manufactured food products as much a possible (that includes things like white bread, white sugar, fast food, tinned food, packaged ready meals etc)
4) Ideally, make food yourself from scratch. Many healthy, nutritious meals can be created quickly and easily.
5) Enjoy it. Give thanks for it. Some people don’t have food. Share it with friends or family or enjoy it alone.
Actually, not quite…. Sadly, the general quality of soil has deteriorated in recent years with the result of less nutrients in the food grown, and many chemicals have been used on fields, so to counterbalance that, if you don’t have access to good, organically grown food or the funds for it, which many people don’t, then I would also recommend that you consider taking these things on top of that:
1) A multi vitamin and mineral supplement in the form of a capsule with real ingredients in it
2) Vitamin B
3) Vitamin C supplement
4) Omega oil in some form or other like flaxseed oil
5) Also consider taking a probiotic
Obviously it might not be practical to take all of the above, especially when travelling, but if you can, I suggest you do. Some people also find it helps to cut down (or cut out) the following: gluten, caffeine, sugar and alcohol. It’s a very individual choice. Experiment with these if you want to and notice how you feel as a result. You could also consult a nutritionist to help you work out what foods work for you and which don’t. The last thing worth mentioning is that a predominantly alkaline diet is a good idea as acidic diets have been shown to lead to certain illnesses. If interested you could research this further yourself. Ultimately though, I’d say that your body often knows what it needs and as long as you make generally healthy choices and enjoy your food, all is well.
Give thanks for, or bless your food before eating it, a simple ritual that has been practiced around the world for centuries. This can be done silently and quickly. No one need know you’re doing it, unless you want to do it openly and in more depth, perhaps with family or friends, which is also perfect. You could thank Mother Earth for providing it, the sun and rain for helping it grow, anyone who sowed and harvested it, those who transported it so that you can enjoy it.
In the last few years, after travelling a great deal and finally settling a little bit, I have got into cooking in a big way, and am absolutely loving creating delicious, healthy, nutritious meals. I never thought it would happen but I have become a (somewhat wild) Domestic Goddess. I find it empowering to know what’s in your food and where it comes from, and believe that making it yourself makes it more special. Then there’s the joy of sharing. Even better if some of the ingredients come from your own garden. I’m happy to share a few of the recipes I love making the most here, and they all help to create health from the inside out, starting with some drinks:
1) Mayan hot chocolate
400ml Almond/Oat or Coconut milk
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
tiny pinch of cayenne pepper
Whisk everything together and warm gently in a saucepan. Pour into mugs and enjoy this rich, aromatic mug of bliss.
(Cacao is very antioxidant, high in iron, magnesium and calcium, and is a mood elevator, it releases endorphins and seratonin. It’s considered to be a superfood.)
2) Raspberry smoothie
180g frozen raspberries
4 medjool dates- pitted
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
250g coconut (or normal) yoghurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend on a high speed until smooth (add water or adjust sweetness with more dates if necessary.) Pour and serve.
3) Blueberry smoothie
250ml Almond milk
Handful of blueberries
Sprig of mint to decorate
Blend the milk, berries and seed until smooth in a blender. Pour into a glass and add the sprig of mint.
4) Turmeric latte
250ml Cashew milk
1 tsp ground turmeric
grind of black pepper
1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
(optional ¼ tsp each of ground cinnamon, ginger and clove)
Heat ingredients gently in a pan, whilst whisking. Pour into a mug and reap the benefits.
(Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, anti bacterial, antioxidant, anti depressant, and has many other potential healing qualities.)
5) Matcha Latte
½ tsp matcha powder
250ml Almond or Oat milk
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
A little grated nutmeg
A pinch of ground cardamon
Make a paste of the matcha with a little hot water
Heat the milk in a pan with the honey, cardamon and coconut oil
When warm, whisk in the matcha paste
Pour into a mug and enjoy.
(Matcha increases seratonin, the happy chemical, levels. It has the same antioxidants as 10 cups of green tea and it has slow release caffeine for a sustained focused, alert and calm mind, rather than a spike. That’s why some Zen monks drink it before meditation.)
6) Ginger, lemon, cinnamon and honey drink
A few small slices of ginger
1 stick cinnamon
½ a Lemon
1 tsp Raw honey
Add boiling water to a mug or jug with the ginger and cinnamon. Wait a couple of minutes, then add honey and squeeze in the lemon juice and the lemon itself.
(This is a great tonic in general to stay healthy but particularly if you have a cold or sore throat or an upset stomach.)
Some healthy delicious meals
1) Peppers stuffed with Tomatoes (my mum’s recipe)
4 large peppers (2 red, 2 yellow)
30 small red and yellow tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees
Cut the peppers lengthways. Deseed them and place in an ovenproof dish
Fill the peppers with the small tomatoes. Red ones in yellow peppers and vice versa
Dribble honey and olive oil over them
Season with salt and pepper
Tear off a few basil leaves and sprinkle them on top
Cook for 1 hour or until the flesh of the peppers are soft
Serve with fresh wholemeal bread to soak up the delicious juice.
2) Healthy Full English Breakfast
2 Portobello mushrooms- sliced in chunks
8 Asparagus spears
10 small tomatoes, whole
A handful of spinach
3 Garlic cloves
2 teaspoons olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
(2 eggs – optional)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Place parchment paper on a baking tray
Place the mushrooms, asparagus and tomatoes on the tray with a teaspoon of olive oil. Cook for 20 minutes
Just before it’s ready, if you want eggs, poach or cook them to your choice. Place spinach a hot water for a couple of minutes, then drain
Plate up the mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes and garlic (and eggs) on top of bread
Crumble feta cheese on top
Pour a little more olive oil and the lemon juice
Season with salt and pepper
3) Coconut and raspberry porridge
400g porridge oats of choice
150ml Oat or Almond milk
1 tbsp Coconut oil
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
Place the desiccated coconut in a small pan. Toast over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring often until they turn a light gold colour
Place the milk and oats in a pan over a medium heat. Simmer, stirring often for about 8-10 minutes until it thickens to your liking
Once thick and creamy, stir through the raspberries, coconut oil and honey or maple syrup
Sprinkle the desiccated coconut on top
4) Quinoa and roasted vegetables
2 peppers- seeded
2 Sweet potatoes
3 whole garlic cloves
A little rosemary and thyme
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
Slice the leeks, peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes and beetroot into small chunks
Break the broccoli into florets
Place all the vegetables and garlic into a large roasting dish
Pour the rapeseed oil over them
Sprinkle fennel seeds
Roast for 45 minutes or until cooked to taste
When there’s 25 minutes left, rinse a mug full of quinoa and place in a pan. Add two mugs of water and a tbsp of vegetable bouillon and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until fluffy.
Serve the quinoa and vegetables adding salt and pepper to taste
Crumble a little feta cheese on top
5) Pea, potato and herb soup
500g new potatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 litre vegetable stock
(Keep a little of each herb for garnish)
Simmer the vegetable stock in a pan
Add the potatoes. Return to a simmer for 10-15 minutes
Add frozen peas a couple of minutes before its ready
Stir in the garlic
Add the herbs
Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust to preference
Ladle into bowls
Pour a little rapeseed oil on top and sprinkle any remaining herbs
6) Pear, walnut, mushroom and goat’s cheese fettucine
1 ripe pear
500g mixed mushrooms
200g soft goat’s cheese- crumbled
Toasted walnuts- chopped
3 Garlic cloves
A handful of sage leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
a handful of baby spinach
2 tbsp olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Cook Fettuccine in a pan until al dente
Chop the rosemary, sage and garlic. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and sauce the herbs and garlic for a minute, until fragrant
Slice the mushrooms thinly. Add to the pan. Saute for 5 minutes
Remove from heat and stir in the spinach and goat’s cheese until cheese has melted
Season with salt and pepper
Fold the fettuccine through the sauce
Place the pear, walnuts and parmesan on top with a drizzle of oil and vinegar
7) Blueberry, raspberry and coconut mousse
100g Coconut cream
225g Blueberries (leave a few for garnish)
225g Raspberries (leave a few for garnish)
3 tbsp Almond butter
1 tsp Vanilla essence
2 tbsp honey
Remove the avocado stone and place the flesh into a blender
Add the coconut cream
Add the vanilla essence
Blend or whisk until smooth
Pour into glasses and cool in the fridge for an hour
Serve with a couple of blueberries and raspberries and a touch of honey on top
Yoga: Eating healthily and doing yoga are very compatible. They say you are what you eat and when you’re working with the body as a channel for energy, you become much more conscious of what you consume daily, and tend to make more ethical choices about sourcing your food too.
Oil- Only if you have food grade essential oils, like doTerra’s, consider adding a drop of Wild Orange into your hot chocolate, or having hot water with a drop of peppermint or lemon oil, or add a drop of cinnamon to your porridge in the morning.
“Beauty is not in the face; Beauty is a light in the heart.”
Humans are like flowers in a garden. All unique in shape and size, colour and gender; All beautiful in their own way, and ultimately beauty comes from within.
Your body is a magnificent temple for your soul, and is miraculous in so many ways. Think of the trillions of cells in your body all working together 24 hours a day to keep you healthy and all your organs filtering and processing and detoxifying your system around the clock without you needing to get involved consciously, leaving you to be able to get on with other things you chose to do.
My only real advice here on beauty is something that I have moved towards in the recent years, which is to be conscious of what ingredients are in products that you use on your body or indeed in your environment. It’s as important to know what you’re putting on to your skin or hair, as it is to know what you’re putting into your body through food and drink. (See chapter 33 on nutrition.) There are some chemicals in ordinary everyday products like aluminium and parabens, triclosan and propylene glycol in deodorants or cosmetics with formaldehyde or mercury that you might not be aware of, which are linked to illnesses, so, just err on the side of natural to stay healthy and beautiful from the inside out and the outside in. I now make my own products under the name Love Gaia, (creams, shampoos, roll-ons, sprays, mouthwashes, bath salts, soaps, candles, face oils etc, some of which I have shared in this book,) using all natural ingredients and pure essential oils.
“I invite beauty to be my guide, to be the weaver of my thoughts and speech.”
I have long admired Anita Roddick, who set up The Body Shop in Brighton, England in 1976 as a way to survive and take care of her children while her husband went on a riding expedition through South America. She had no business training at all, but knew instinctively that there was a lack of natural beauty products at reasonable prices without all the unnecessarily fancy packaging. She also knew that beauty products can’t really deliver the miracles of eternal youth that they sometimes promise, but that using natural, non toxic products from sustainable sources and helping local indigenous people who source those products and selling them at decent prices without testing them on animals was a good idea for everyone. She was right. She was a visionary, way ahead of her time.
One of the best gifts you could give yourself in life is to accept and love yourself as you are. Some people are brought up to think that way, but it can be a long journey for others (hopefully tools in this book will help.) Be kind to yourself along the way as you learn to value and love yourself. Beauty doesn’t come from the products you buy or the clothes you wear or conforming to societies or anyone else’s ideals, but from being uniquely you; from your attitude to life, your inner light, from being the best version of you that you can be, choosing to be happy and letting your unique light shine. You are the only you that will ever exist and therefore utterly unique and irreplaceable. Celebrate you just as you are. Don’t waste time not liking aspects of yourself or comparing yourself to others unfavourably when life is so short and precious. Just be you fully, expressing your uniqueness, and love yourself. Know that you are worthy and valuable and beautiful exactly as you are. That in itself will make you feel better and look more beautiful from within.
“Beauty before me,
Beauty behind me,
Beauty to my right,
Beauty to my left,
Beauty above me,
Beauty everywhere I go.”
Navajo Indian prayer
Create a beautiful environment around you too as far as possible. I love making candles with rose and jasmine oils and petals, or perhaps cinnamon, clove and orange. I diffuse oils to fill a space with lovely aromatic scents, and have crystals like rose quartz or amethyst in my rooms which raise the vibration and look beautiful. I put beautiful or inspiring images around me, wear comfortable clothes, and play music I love, all of which contribute to the beauty before me, around me and most importantly, within me.
I heard somewhere that in ancient Egypt they would communicate with their bodies. Encourage the cells to thrive, send them love and appreciation, imagine them sprinkled with light or bathed in a pink loving, healing energy. That makes sense to me. It certainly beats constantly thinking your body is rubbish or focussing on what’s wrong with it. Choose to walk the Beauty Way.
Beauty is certainly not an ideal in a magazine, but the essence of your soul, your unique inner light. I think of beautiful images of wise old faces of people in Tibet or Africa as an example. Their faces tell a story of the depth of their lives and the accumulated wisdom. In my opinion, that holds more beauty than a falsely lineless face, which is sold to us as the ideal in the modern Western world and makes us unsatisfied with the way we are naturally and encourages people to spend large amounts of money unnecessarily, instead of embracing our true beauty au natural. Of course I’m all for looking after your skin and nourishing your body and letting yourself look good, I’m simply suggesting that the natural way is the route I choose. Ultimately it all comes down to personal preference. There’s a lovely Greek word- Kalon, which means ‘Beauty, beyond skin deep.’
My mum who has always been a beauty and has aged very gracefully swears by this top tip. Always clean your face thoroughly day and night. Place an oil on your face first and rub it gently onto your face in upwards motions. This also removes any make up. Then rub soap on to get a lather, and have fresh water in a bowl, and, using your hands splash your face several times with it . Then with new fresh water in the bowl with a little apple cider vinegar rinse again.
A simple top tip is to start the day with a hot water and fresh lemon drink. Just slice a piece of lemon, squeeze the juice into the hot water and drink that to start your day. It helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your body and is hydrating, full of vitamin C and good for digestion and the skin.
I’ve always loved Audrey Hepburn for who she was, her beauty, style and grace and her humanitarian spirit. Here are her favourite beauty tips:
“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.
Contrary to what some may think, Audrey Hepburn did not write this beautiful poem, Sam Levenson wrote “Time Tested Beauty Tips” for his grandchild, and it just happened to be one of Audrey’s favourite poems. She read it to her children on her last Christmas Eve.
Yoga- Send loving kindness to your body as you do yoga or in meditation. Bathe every cell and all your organs in a pink light of loving energy, or an emerald green healing light, or just pure white light, and let them marinate in that healing energy.
Oil- Another simple way that you can honour and nurture your body and enhance your wellbeing and sense of beauty is to treat yourself to a self-massage with warm almond oil and relaxing essential oils (like lavender and or jasmine,) or to rub magnesium cream on yourself before bed for a luxurious rub that will also help your rest deeply through the night.
Why not try making yourself a face and body cream to pamper yourself with a natural home made treat?
You will need:
1/2 cup of coconut or almond oil
1/4 cup cocoa butter
1 tablespoon beeswax
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 cup rose water
10 drops each of Frankincense and rose essential oils
Small rose quartz
Glass jar with lid like a mason jar
Add the coconut oil, almond or coconut oil and cocoa butter to a glass mixing bowl. Melt using a bain marie method, (glass bowl in side a pan of hot water,) constantly stirring with a whisk until melted.
Remove from heat and place in the fridge to cool.
Once almost solid, add essential oils and use a hand mixer or blender to whisk until creamy. Add the rose quartz to infuse the cream with a loving vibration and immediately spoon into a glass jar and seal with an airtight lid and label it. Enjoy!
“I’m going to make everything beautiful. That will be my life.”
Elsie de Wolfe.
35) Magic Wand.
“Let us fall in love again and scatter gold dust all over the world.”
Imagine you had your very own magic wand and could create little miracles with it easily. Well, in many ways you do have such a thing, using tools to turn things around or make life easier. Often we can become the solution to our own problems if we think a little outside the box and realize that higher vibrations transmute lower ones.
Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
“See luminous energy emerging from your heart, extending outward to touch all things. Cast the light over your childhood home, cast it over your physical body, Cast it over warring nations, Cast it over people you love. Cast it over the entire planet…. Allow the light to flood your body, to illuminate your mind, your emotions, your relationships, your career. Congratulations, you have just learnt to use your magic wand.”
Fly through the air in your mind, waving your wand, sprinkling golden light and blessings on people and places wherever you go. As everything is energy, don’t underestimate the power of visualizing sending light or good wishes to people, or an animal, plants or even places. It’s real and palpable. Act as if it makes a difference. It does. When athletes do ‘mental rehearsal’ of their races before the event, their muscles fire as if it were really happening, so it’s clearly not just a mental activity but energetic.
Another way you could use your magic wand is to invoke the essence of a deity or person who has qualities you would like to have in that moment, or invoke the quality itself. For example, if you are about to give a speech you could invoke a great orator dead or alive, or if you need confidence for a certain task perhaps invoke a great leader, or if you yearn to be more loving, you could invoke Mother Mary or call upon the quality of love itself. If it’s strength you’re after, perhaps invoke Kali the goddess or a benevolent warrior. Whether it’s wisdom or peace or anything else you are wanting to tune into, call upon the highest representation of that quality that you can imagine.
So to do this, fine a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed and sit comfortably with your spine nice and straight (of course you can do this anytime, anywhere on the go too, but here I’m offering it as a meditation.) Bring your attention to your breath for a few rounds to get centred. Then bring to mind the deity, person or quality you want to invoke and visualize the being emerging and you being saturated in their energy, or feel yourself being enveloped in the quality and breathe it in or maybe you’ll merge with them as one. It might take on a particular colour. Whatever comes up, go with it. Allow yourself to be immersed in the energy of the quality or being you called upon and then as the energy fades, bring your attention back to the present moment now infused with the quality you invoked.
Did you know that the sun gives off more energy in a day than the world uses in a year! Surely that’s something we could harness in a way that’s great for the planet, phases out oil and brings plenty of new jobs in renewables.
Some years ago I wrote the following list and kept it by my bed. I decided that each night I would sit and imagine that world as if it already existed in reality, using all of my senses. Why not write your own version or join me in imagining mine. The more of us visualizing such a world, the more likely we are to manifest it.
If I had a Magic Wand… and ran the world, I would create the following:
1) Instill a love for Mother Earth in people. Get everyone to honour, respect and cherish her. Stop polluting her with chemicals and toxins and not giving back. Use renewable energy, plant trees and create a symbiotic healthy relationship with her where we all thrive. The skies are clear, the oceans are clean and the forests abundant.
2) Instill kindness and tolerance for all, teaching that race, class, sex, religion, beliefs and preferences are irrelevant, as we are all brothers and sisters of one human race. This kindness would also alleviate poverty, as people would help each other and share resources, understanding our interconnectedness.
3) Disarm the world and make peace sexy.
4) Have everyone spend time in nature, learning how things grow, which plants are medicinal, how to make things with natural materials and how to live more organically in harmony with nature.
5) Have humans eat a plant based diet for the sake of animals, their health and the environment.
6) Have de-salination plants to ensure there’s enough drinking water for everyone.
7) Have everyone know that they can find peace and happiness within themselves, to avoid them searching for them externally through abusing drugs, alcohol, over eating, over shopping, smoking etc.
8) Make it abundantly clear that women and men are equal. They are the yin and the yang. The feminine qualities like nurturing, compassion, intuition and gentleness and the masculine qualities like action, strength, logic and resourcefulness are both needed in equal amounts. Everyone suffers if there isn’t a balance.
9) Instill a knowing in everyone that everything is energy vibrating on different frequencies, and energy cannot be created or destroyed, so death is not something to be feared, and what you give out you get back so you have a say in how life goes.
10) Once that’s all done, I’d have myself a little rest on a beach in Tahiti, with a fresh coconut to drink and a friendly dolphin to swim with.
What would you do? Write it, then imagine it as if real now.
“If we did all that we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”
So dream big and live as though you know you have a magic wand and are truly powerful to affect the world in a positive way, whilst enjoying yourself.
As Claire DuBois of Tree Sisters put it, celebrate the future already and plug into that so no other future is possible.
36) When things are bad
Sometimes you just feel blue, or sad or even depressed or in despair. That comes with life and it’s ok. Try not to beat yourself up about it. If you have someone you can talk to about it, do. If you feel that talking to a professional would help, do reach out. If you need to be alone to cry, do that. Do anything that helps, like take a walk in nature, or have some dark chocolate or scream at your pillow. But my point in this chapter is that we all sometimes feel down to varying degrees, that’s normal, but you don’t have to keep feeling bad long-term. There are ways to work with it and improve things, no matter how bad they’ve got. As the horse says in the beautiful book ‘The Boy, the mole, the fox and the horse:’
“Sometimes just getting up and carrying on is brave and magnificent.”
One thing I have done naturally over the years and found helpful to keep the bigger picture in sight, which is especially helpful when you’re feeling down, is to imagine increasingly expanding outwards to get the widest perspective as described below. I tend to do this lying in bed at night but it can be done from sitting or from wherever you are (although not whilst driving!)
First surround yourself in a protective bubble of light. Then imagine yourself flying up from your bed or the place where you are and see the scene around you. See yourself lying or sitting there and the space around you, then leave the room flying above your home or location, taking in your surroundings. Keep going. Fly further and higher over your home, village, city, country and beyond. Feel free to sprinkle light on your loved ones and places as you go. Don’t stop there, keep flying over your continent and expanding outwards until the whole planet becomes a small, beautiful dot in the distance. Keep sprinkling light onto the earth. Just float out into space and take in the magical view of earth from space in all its wonder. Now think of your problem or whatever has been bothering you lately and see it from that perspective. Does that change your attitude somewhat? Whenever you feel ready gradually fly your way back closer to earth, over your continent, to the country and location you started in and return to your bed or chair with a new perspective on your life. Ground back to the earth with a few deep breaths imagining a chord going down through your feet into the core of Mother Earth.
Astronaut Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud describes the change in perspective that occurred to him and fellow astronauts when in space: “The first day or so we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day, we were aware of only one earth.”
Here’s a more grounded, practical ritual from the Inca tradition of Peru that you can do to release heavy energy you might be feeling that is weighing you down. I was taught this by the Shaman called Jorge Luis Delgado.
This is best done out in nature, preferably by a running stream or river. Find 7 small pebbles. Each one is going to represent a different aspect in your life:
Mother/ Mother Earth/ The one who raised you
Father/ Father Sun/ The one who raised you
Family. Biological and extended
Neighbours/ Friends / Global Community / Animals
Hold the first pebble around your navel and identify the heavy or negative energy that impedes this relationship or where it is not in harmony. Ask that this disharmony be released. Blow the heavy energy into the pebble trusting that a transfer of energy is truly taking place. The throw the pebble into the river or bury it in the earth. Releasing it to Mother Earth allows it to be transmuted and turned into fertiliser or food for her.
Repeat this process with each of the seven pebbles, either one at a time or all in one go for a huge release of heavy energy from your life. Repeat this process periodically, whenever you feel you are accumulating heavy energy which needs releasing, with the ever present assistance of Mother Earth.
This simple but powerful practice is an empowering way to deal with the heaviness in our lives in a holistic way, helps us release dense energy from the root to bring about a lightening of energy. It also fosters forgiveness, brings deep healing and creates harmony in all our relationships. And it’s free!
I love the symbolism of a lotus flower. They are so beautiful and a symbol of Enlightenment, but they grow in muddy pools and have to navigate their way through that dark mud to reach the sunlight and bloom into magnificent flowers. No lotus is exempt from this journey. In the same way, we all have to go through our muddy, dark times to reach the light and blossom into our best selves.
No mud, no lotus.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Nobody; not a single soul alive, escapes the difficult times in life, the challenges, the losses and struggles. The exact circumstances differ but every soul’s curriculum includes challenges to face and overcome in order to grow and learn. Most often, those challenging times are what make us stronger and mould our character for the better. They certainly make us empathize with others more and become more compassionate. Just knowing that gives a certain degree of perspective and compassion for ourselves, and anyone else who is suffering. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put it perfectly:
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
So, firstly know that you are not alone when you’re having a bad time or feeling sad. If we can come from a place of knowing that life will flow through good times and bad, we can learn tools (such as the ones this book is full of) to keep our equilibrium throughout the journey of ups and downs, and stay as centered and calm as possible through it all.
Some pain, whether physical or emotional is inevitable in life. That’s just part of what life throws at us that is unavoidable. In Buddhism those experiences are known as the ‘first darts,’ which are often unexpected and unwanted. However humans have a tendency to dwell on these unfortunate occurrences, judging them and resisting them to the point of doubling their suffering with their own thoughts. We have all done this. Pain is the first dart, suffering is the second dart and according to Buddha, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
It’s important to acknowledge the darkness, accept it as real, but try not to be inundated by it. Don’t dwell there too long. Let the light in through the cracks. How about the radical idea of being grateful for the suffering you experience? That it is there to lead you to open, heal and grow, and to become more compassionate to other being’s suffering, to have more empathy? Like alchemy, suffering turns lead into gold. There is a Japanese art form which takes broken pottery or vases and uses a process called Kintsugi (or golden repair) which covers the cracks with powdered gold, treating the breakage as part of its history to be made beautiful rather than something to be ashamed of or disguise. I love that. It’s akin to another Japanese concept called Wabi Sabi, which encourages acceptance of imperfections and transience. These are wonderful and inspiring gifts from Japan that we can adopt in our philosophies.
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, a master calls a butterfly.”
Why not try this ‘gold mining’ practice. Write down one negative or sad thing that has happened in your life. Then, underneath it, as if repairing it with gold, write down something positive that came from it that you are grateful for. For example, if someone you loved dearly died, can you be grateful for the good times you shared together. Memories that will always be yours to keep? Or can you perhaps be grateful for the fact that everything is energy and energy cannot be destroyed so your loved one lives on in some form or another and can still be connected with energetically? Or if you have split up with a partner can you be grateful for something that they taught you or positive experiences you shared? Or that you can practice the art of forgiveness and have more empathy for others in a similar situation. If you’ve lost your job, can you perhaps be grateful for the free time you’ve had which has allowed you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t have time for? See if you can come up with at least 5 positives that you can be grateful for, which will slightly shift the energy from sadness to appreciation. Be an alchemist of your own life experiences. Remember that everyone suffers. Are you going to choose to reside in the darkness or are you going to paint the cracks with gold?
Another simple but powerful practice is to just pause wherever you are and whilst taking some deep breaths from your belly inhale love and light, imagine a beautiful golden pink mist filling and enveloping you, then exhale fear and darkness, see it as a smoky grey cloud being released with each out breath. Repeat 9 times, or until you feel a lightening of the spirit.
As Epictetus said: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
I am not for one moment claiming that suffering is not very hard to navigate, or that it’s easy not to judge or resist ‘what is’ sometimes, we all do this frequently. I’m simply, lovingly sharing the wisdom that learning not to do so, or to do it less, eases the suffering. It’s something that we can all remind each other about and that might take a lifetime to master.
This too shall pass- is a good phrase to keep in mind when things feel like a rollercoaster. Time cannot take away what happened but it can eventually lessen the pain and bring new perspective and hopefully the lesson to be learned from what happened.
Perhaps the best advice for times when you are feeling really low or struggling, is this:
Just take things
breath by breath,
step by step,
day by day.
The nature of life is change, and the better we get at navigating change, the easier life becomes.
There are many ways to calm a negative energy without suppressing or fighting it. You can recognize it, observe it, smile at it. Know that others have experienced something similar, whether it’s physical pain, disappointment, rejection, loss or grief. Invite something nicer to come up and replace it, read some inspiring words, listen to beautiful music, go out in nature, do yoga, watch a comedy, meditate, look at an image of earth from space for a bit of perspective. Get creative with small things you can do to make yourself feel better.
In his book ‘Buddha’s Brain- The practical neuroscience of happiness, love and wisdom, Rick Hanson explains how every time you weave positive feelings and views into painful, limiting states of mind, you build a little bit of new neural structure. Over time, the accumulating impact of this positive material will literally, synapse by synapse, change your brain.
The brain’s capacity to learn and thus change itself is called neuroplasticity.
To gradually replace negative implicit memories with positive ones, make the positive aspects more prominent and relatively intense in the foreground of your awareness, while simultaneously placing the negative material dimly in the background. Imagine the positive contents of your awareness sinking into old wounds like honey or golden liquid light, or the sun’s warmth, filling them up. Slowly, gradually replacing negative feelings and beliefs, with positive ones. A memory without emotional charge become wisdom. That’s when you can say that you learnt the lesson from the experience and let the pain associated with it go so you’ve got to a point where you don’t regret the past, in fact you wouldn’t have had it go any other way, and your life journey makes sense which is when it’s all worth it.
Attention shapes neural circuits. What flows through your attention, sculpts your brain.
Remember the research at the Heart Math Institute which showed that, with practice, we can produce, regulate and sustain elevated feelings and emotions independent of our external world and current reality, and they in turn will shift your electromagnetic field making you vibrate on a new, higher frequency which will attract to you more things to make you feel those elevated thoughts. So try to let your imagination fly with your hoped for future, whilst living in the ‘mud,’ the grim reality of your current circumstances to help draw you out of them and into a brighter future.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
There’s a well known story about a Native American Cherokee man telling his grandson that there’s a battle going on inside him. “The battle is between two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, serenity, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The same fight is going on inside you, and every other person too.” The grandson sat in thought for a minute and then asked“which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee replied: “The one you feed the most.”
When I feel really down and need perspective, I always try to look to the greats in history. All of them overcame enormous suffering on their journey to greatness. Let them inspire you to keep going.
Stephen Hawking is an inspiring example. Given two years to live at age 21 when he was diagnosed with ALS or Motor Neurone Disease, he gradually lost movement in his entire body except for one muscle in his cheek, which he used to communicate via a computer. That one muscle enabled him to share some of the greatest questions and answers in the universe and remain actively engaged in life. He chose to focus on what he could do, not on what had been denied him. He was not embittered by suffering, but enobled by it and that was a choice. He alchemized it. He had such a strong will to live and a phenomenal sense of humour. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, he travelled the world, even getting to remote places like Easter Island and Antarctica, and he even experienced zero gravity flight at NASA. He defied science and lived to the ripe old age of 76. He was truly an inspiration. And I feel very fortunate to have met him and called him a friend.
Another obvious shining example is Nelson Mandela. Can you imagine being in prison for 27 years for standing up for what you believe in, which was essentially equality for all? The fact that he survived that and managed to forgive those who imprisoned him , including one prison guard in particular who tried to make his life hell (Mandela later said he felt sorry for that guard!) and then come out to freedom to become the President of South Africa and a force for unity and peace amongst his people and an example of humility, forgiveness and leadership for the whole world is a phenomenal achievement. He was not hardened by the hardships of his life, instead, like a diamond, he became stronger under all the pressure and difficulty he faced.
I have admired him my whole life and again was blessed with meeting him once in London, which I will never forget. On that day, he said to me “In life, it’s not so much just the good we bring, but also the bad that we prevent.” Perhaps when you are feeling down, you could channel your energy into trying to come up with ways to bring good to the world or your immediate surroundings, and ways to prevent bad things happening.
In 2011, I was working with a charity I helped set up in Africa called The Book Bus. Word of mouth spread and we were asked if we’d take it to an African refugee camp in Northern Zambia. There seemed to be no answer to give that other than yes, so I found myself living within a refugee camp for 6 weeks. Even the UN who ran the place, lived outside, so it was the real deal; we camped, walked to a water pump to collect water along with the others, made a makeshift bamboo partition shower using a jug, had a long drop toilet and just got stuck in with the work. It was an intense, profound, humbling and ultimately very inspiring experience for everyone involved. One day I met an 18 year old boy called Chocolate. He had a smile that lit up a room (or in this case, a UN tent.) One day I saw that he was intrigued by a camera he’d found but it had no batteries so I made a mental note to take some the following week. He wasn’t there that day so I asked a friend of his to pass them on.
To my surprise, that night he walked for 2 hours to where my camp was to say thank you. We went and sat up on an old ant hill at sunset and talked, in a mixture of English, Swahili, French and body language. This became a weekly ritual and after a while, he told me his story. He grew up in DRC, The Democratic Republic of Congo. When he was 6 years old, he witnessed members of the opposing tribe marching into his small village and killing his mother, and others with a machete. They then raised the village to the ground. His father had been away that day, so with no family left and in the presence of those terrifying men, he felt he had no option but to become a child soldier. I sat there listening to him, staying strong on the outside yet crying within. Nobody should have to experience such a thing, least of all children. Yet there he was at age 18 with that big smile, and all he wanted to do was go to school to catch up, play football and have friends. I asked what it felt like now when he remembered those days and he described it as like a big wooden door that he carries around on his back, but also that now, every new day was a new beginning and a bonus, not to be taken for granted. His maturity and perspective were mind blowingly impressive.
As Victor Frankl said:
“Everything can be taken from a man, but one thing; the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
None of these stories or examples are here to make you think your own suffering is not equally valid and very painful, but rather to illustrate that part of the human experience involves suffering, sometimes great suffering, and yet we can, with time and some life tools, overcome it, and allow it to make us stronger, maybe even use it to help others as a result of that experience. Often our deepest wounds become part of our greatest purpose.
“True understanding is to see the events of life in this way: ‘You are here for my benefit, though rumour paints you otherwise.’ And everything is turned to one’s advantage when you greet a situation like this: ‘You are the very thing I was looking for.’ Truly, whatever arises in life is the right material to bring about your growth and the growth of those around you. Everything contains some special purpose and a hidden blessing.”
While you are going through difficult times it can really help, if you are able to, to take care of your physical body. Simple small things like adding supplements like B vitamins, especially B6, magnesium, selenium or potassium could help greatly as deficiencies of these are linked to depression. St John’s wart has been known to help ease depression. Avoid sugar replacing it with maple syrup, honey or xylitol, eating leafy greens, a short walk in nature, or brief meditation can all help. If you feel you need more, of course consult with a therapist or doctor.
Ashwagandha is an ‘adaptogen’ which means it balances and regulates the adrenal hormones which can help keep you on an even keel. Other adaptogens are liquorice and lavender.
It might seem counterintuitive at the time but very often the best way to help ourselves and feel better is to help others, to volunteer on a project or charity that resonates with you and in doing so, perhaps be exposed to issues and problems greater than your own, which helps you to put things in perspective at the same time as getting you out of the house and experiencing the fulfillment of being useful to others and giving back a little to something bigger than yourself. It is known that focusing on the self too much can be detrimental to overall wellbeing whereas being ‘other centered’ reaps many rewards. Ultimately since we are all one and connected, helping others is helping yourself and vice versa. Volunteering has been shown to combat depression and boost happiness, so you’re not just helping others, you’re helping yourself too.
From my own life experience, in hindsight, times when I have been abroad working on community projects with local people whether it was building a house or a weaving workshop, or planting trees in the sacred valley of Peru, or installing rainwater harvesting tanks on remote islands in Fiji, or helping out in an orphanage in Nepal, or helping set up and work on a Book Bus charity in Zambia, Malawi and Ecuador with children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to books, or teaching English and sustainable development in Mexico, even though the work was not well paid, it was super rewarding and fulfilling working with local people, living with them, getting to know them and being of use. I was very content during those times.
Once, when I was travelling in Argentina, I stayed in a hostel in Mendoza, owned by a larger than life character called Ariel. Bizarrely it had both red and white wine on tap by the pool, a detail you remember, as his brother owned a vineyard nearby. Talking to Ariel I gradually got to hear his story. Not only had he been shot down in a plane during the Falklands war and survived after suffering serious injuries, but one day in 2001, his daughter’s birthday was coming up and he had gone to the bank to get money out for the weekend to celebrate. He went to the cash point but no money emerged, so he went inside, only to be told by a nervous looking man in a suit that there was no money. Of course he didn’t believe such nonsense so he walked straight into the manager’s office saying he wanted to get some of his money out. He had the equivalent of 60,000 US dollars in his account. The manager turned red and was sweating as he confirmed that there was no money. The financial system in the country had just crashed. Ariel held the man by his tie, lifting him off his feet saying “that’s impossible. Do you expect me to go home to my daughter with no birthday present, no cake, and have no money for the coming days and weeks? Where is my money?!” The manager could only look at him helplessly.
Ariel told me that he went from the bank to a park nearby and sat on a bench and started to weep uncontrollably. He had no idea what to do and felt desperate and hopeless. As he sat there crying two young German tourists approached him. They had heard about the financial situation in the country. One of them said to him “do you have a car?” He was baffled and said that he did but what did that have to do with anything. The man said “if you show us around Mendoza today, we’ll pay you well for the service.” Ariel saw a small solution at least for that weekend so he accepted. He interrupted anxiety with gratitude. He was a very charismatic man and did a great job with the tour. Then the young man said to him “if you have space in your home for us, we’ll pay you to stay there.” And that was how on a day of true crisis, Ariel came to start running a hostel and found his way out of desperation and into a new life in a totally unexpected way, and he loves his new life and work which arose out of such a bad situation and the fortunate appearance of those German tourists as ‘angels.’ Of course that’s just the story of one man in a country where the financial crisis affected everyone but life can surprise you and turn things around in the most unlikely ways, when you least expect it.
Another thing you can do is go into a meditation to meet your older, wiser self (whatever age feels appropriate. For the sake of this meditation they are vibrant, healthy and wise.) Get advice from them and some perspective on what you are going through now.
In a similar way you could go and meet your younger, innocent self, or inner child to give them advice from your perspective and listen to anything they have to say, comfort them, or maybe be reminded by them about what you wanted to do when you were young.
Both of those meditations can be found on www.luminoustrails.com
Yoga: It’s when you’re going through a really difficult time that it’s most important to take good care of your body, mind and spirit yet you often feel the least inclined to. So make a superhuman effort to just sit and breathe deeply right into your belly, hand on your heart and send love to yourself. This is a time for real self-care. Another option might be to go to a class and let someone else lead you through a practice in a safe environment.
Oil- Frankincense, Jasmine, Neroli, Melissa (lemon balm,) Ylang ylang and Pettigrain are all mood balancing oils that can help lift the spirits. Comforting oils like lavender and geranium and bergamot are also wonderful when you feel low. Just diffuse your chosen oil or oils or dilute them with a carrier oil and massage them into your body. The fastest way to get them into your bloodstream is through the soles of the feet.
So, just know that you are not alone and there is always hope, even if you can’t see that in the moment, and if appropriate try to remember to reach out for help.
“If you only knew who walked beside you, you would never feel alone.”
A Course in Miracles
Inspiration is so important to me. I’m always looking for and discovering things that inspire me, whether they be books, people, films, places or ideas. I do it naturally, but I’ve discovered that doing so keeps life exciting and makes it impossible to ever be bored.
What, who or where inspires you?
Why not take time to think about them all, or write them all down. Have fun with it. Make a list of films and documentaries that have inspired you and books that have inspired you, that you can return to when you need a pick me up. I like learning about people that inspire me, nature is an endless source of inspiration. Being creative inspires me. Good chats with friends, acts of bravery, honest vulnerability, resilience, music, learning, uplifting stories. So many things can be sources of inspiration.
I have far too many to mention but here are just some examples of my own inspirations in no particular order:
People- Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Leonardo da Vinci, Anita Roddick, Jane Goodall, Marianne Williamson, Einstein, Greta Thunberg, Walt Whitman, Audrey Hepburn, ….
Documentaries- 1 Giant Leap, Baraka, Salt of the Earth, Tribe, Human Planet, For All Mankind, The Age of Stupid, Planet Earth, Blue Planet, An Inconvenient Truth & sequel…
Films- Chocolate, Out of Africa, Amadeus, Erin Brockovich, The Motorcycle Diaries, Midnight in Paris, Gandhi, Avatar, The Big Blue, Moana, Good Will Hunting…
Books- Freedom in Exile- The Dalai Lama, Reason for Hope- Jane Goodall, Business as Unusual- Anita Roddick, Nature/ Self Reliance- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Leaves of Grass- Walt Whitman, The Power of Now- Eckhart Tolle, Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte, Tao The Ching- Lao Tzu, Losing my Virginity- Richard Branson, One Hundred Years of Solitude- Gabriel Garcia Bernal, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem- Wayne Dyer, The Wind is My Mother- Bear Heart, A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens, Siddharta- Herman Hesse, Man’s Search for Meaning- Viktor Frankl, becoming Supernatural- Joe Dispenza, The Book of Joy- Desmond Tutu and The Dalai Lama
Take some time to think of your inspirations, add other categories you’re drawn to like Art or Music and any time you’re not feeling perky go to them to brighten up your day.
It’s a great idea to always have a notebook handy (or use the notes on your phone) to jot down ideas that come wherever you are. I’m always having ideas about all sorts, and I try to write them down. Some are things that I’ll probably never get around to doing like someone needs to invent better umbrellas with soft curved edges without spikes that go in people’s eyes, or there need to be cinemas with healthy food and drink options that don’t come in packages that crackle and make noise. So if any of you are inventors, you can fly with those and let me know how it goes.
Yoga: Use a passage from a book or film that has inspired you as your theme for your yoga practice.
38) Truth/ Akashic Records/ Universal Laws
Imagine that at the end of your life, you get to watch a film of your time on earth as you. You would see scenes from your life flow by and re-live what you were thinking at the time, what you did, what you said, and to whom. Everywhere you went, everything you did, or didn’t do, seen as one movie of your life. How would that be?
Well, allegedly, that’s exactly what happens in your life review when you die. This experience has been reported globally by people who have experienced ‘near death experiences’ and esoteric knowledge calls the ‘celestial library’ which records all of the information, the Akashic Records, or the Book of Life. Everything is stored in the Akashic records; every thought, word and deed, the true history of this planet and others and also of your individual soul over countless lifetimes. Everything. Now, whether or not you believe that to be true, wouldn’t it be better to live ‘as if’ it were? Not out of fear of punishment, as allegedly no one judges your life at the review but yourself, but so that you can watch back a film of your highest and best life, one that you can be proud of, where you overcame challenges, were honest and kind, experienced success and loved fully.
“The Truth will set you free.”
Since every thought, word and deed is stored in the Akashic records, it is wise to choose your thoughts carefully. Fortunately there is a get out clause built in, if immediately after thinking or saying something that you wish you could take back, you can instantly say:
“Cancel, cancel, cancel.”
This also applies if someone else says something negative near you or to you.
Also, if you ever notice that people who say things against the mainstream narrative are, not only not listened to but actively silenced, I would say look into what they are saying, as someone’s interests have been threatened by what they are saying, and that trail often leads to corruption. If the truth sets you free, we should all tune into our truth and all be willing to hear everyone else’s truth and be brave enough to expose corruption.
“Even if you are a minority of one, truth is truth.”
1) The Law of Divine Oneness- The All, or God, is mind. We are all one, and co creators with our thoughts.
2) The Law of Vibration- All is one thing, one energy, vibrating at varying frequencies. Higher vibrations transform lower vibrations.
3) The Law of Action- Discipline and single-pointed focus bring results. Commit. Plan. Visualize/ fell. Take action.
4) The Law of Correspondence- ‘As Above, So Below.’ We are microcosms of the macrocosm. All affects everything else.
5) The Law of Cause and Effect- Nothing happens by chance. There is no such thing as coincidence. What goes around, comes around.
6) The Law of Compensation- Blessings given return tenfold. Give and receive freely.
7) The Law of Attraction- Our thoughts create. Choose thoughts, words, emotions and deeds wisely.
8) The Law of Transmutation- Forgive. Higher frequencies transmute or change lower ones. Violet flame.
9) The Law of Relativity- Choosing to see challenges as opportunities, and our ‘enemies’ as our greatest teachers turns us into masters.
10) The Law of Polarity- To remove an undesired vibration, focus on its polar opposite. eg hate /love. Balance is key.
11) The Law of Rhythm- Walk the middle way. Stay balanced and centered. Avoid extremes as one leads to the other.
12) The Law of Gender- Balance the Yin and Yang aspects within you. Mind and heart, strength and gentleness. Everything is both masculine and feminine. Find balance.
39) Change- The only certainty
Truly, the only real certainty in life is change, so it’s crucial to get good at adapting to life’s circumstances and going with the flow through the cycles of change.
Stephen Hawking said: “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
Whether things are going swimmingly and you want to hold onto that forever or if you’re going through a dark patch and yearning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Yet change will come.
There’s a Sufi story about a king who gathered the wise men of his court to tell them that he was having a very special ring made, and he would like have a short inscription inside the ring, a message that would help him in moments of despair and that would also help his heirs in the future. All who listened were great wise scholars who could have talked for hours on such a topic, but they all struggled to put it in a small concise few words. They couldn’t come up with anything.
The King had an old servant that he was very fond of and trusted so he asked him. The servant told him that he was not a scholar but that while he’d been serving the King’s father before him, a great mystic had visited and as a parting gesture had given him a small piece of paper with very wise words on it. He knew it was the answer and passed the paper to the King to have it engraved on the ring, but told him that he mustn’t look at the words until he felt desperate and couldn’t find a way out. That time came shortly afterwards. The country was invaded and the King lost his kingdom and had to flee on horseback to save his life. He felt trapped, with a cliff edge in front and enemies behind. He suddenly remembered the ring and quickly took it off and read the words:
This too shall pass.
Somehow it gave him a deep sense of peace. It was as if time stopped and everything went silent. When he came back to his predicament he couldn’t hear any hooves pursuing him. They must have got lost. He felt enormous relief. He returned to his Kingdom and reconquered it. There was a great celebration with music and dancing and the King felt very happy and proud. At the moment the old servant approached him and said: ‘this moment is another good one to read the message on the ring.’ The King, surprised, asked why, saying he was not desperate, quite the opposite, everything was fantastic. The servant replied that it’s not only for when you feel defeated but also for when you feel victorious and elated. The King looked again:
This too shall pass.
The same feeling of peace enveloped him in the midst of the crowd. His pride melted. The King finally understood the message, and became Enlightened in that moment.
Everything passes, no thing, no emotion is permanent. There’ll be moments of joy and sadness for all. Accept it all as part of life and you master life.
Nature beautifully demonstrates how change is the natural order of things. Spring morphs into bright sunny Summer, giving way to Autumn when the leaves on the trees change colour then gradually fall as Winter moves in, bringing colder weather and darker nights, only to transition back into Spring and new beginnings.
Equally the earth goes through changes with the solstices and equinoxes, or the lunar and solar cycles. A rose bud blossoms into a beautiful, colourful, fragrant rose, but the blossoming doesn’t last forever, instead it naturally fades. The petals drop to the earth and the rose seemingly dies, only to be resurrected the following year in the natural order of things. Observing these constant flowing changes in nature can bring some relief and sanity to us when we are going through times of change in our lives. The only real option is to accept change and flow with it.
Sometimes we are asked to adapt a great deal to change, and it can happen suddenly too, but the good news is that we humans are very good at that. We might not always like it but we are brilliant at adapting to circumstances, environments, different foods and situations. It’s one of our great strengths. Once slavery was accepted and seen as economically viable, now it’s looked upon as an atrocity. Women were considered inferior citizens and the suffragettes brought about a vote for women and more equality and apartheid and segregation was once normal and then desegregation happened. We adapt, we evolve.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
As the saying goes you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf. I hope this book is full of life tools to help you learn to surf, so to speak. The following is a story about the importance of adapting to new information and adapting around it.
Allegedly this is an actual transcript of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. This radio conversation was released by the Chief of Naval Operations on 10-10-95.
Americans: “Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.”
Canadians: “Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.”
Americans: “This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.”
Canadians: “No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.”
Americans: “This is the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States Navy fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I demand that you change your course 15 degrees North. That’s one five degrees North. Or counter measures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.”
Canadians: “This is a lighthouse. Your call.”
It’s possible that the above anecdote isn’t entirely true, probably more an amusing tale, but you get the idea.
So, whatever life brings, the ideal is to flow with it, try not to resist it, whilst imagining what you’d ideally have happen next.
“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
Yoga- Try a style of yoga you don’t usually practice. If you are always drawn to a fast paced dynamic practice, why not try a restorative or Yin class? If you love lying on your back doing yoga nidra, how about going to a flow class for once and see if you like it? Or just get your mat and move however your body wants to move. Go with the flow and see what happens. (See www.luminoustrails.com yoga section for options.)
Meditation watching thoughts come and go like clouds in your sky mind.
Oil- Rosemary. Rub it, diluted with a carrier oil in your palms and breathe in the scent.
40) Adventure/ Freedom
“ I wish to speak a word for Nature. For absolute freedom and wildness.”
Henry David Thoreau
By going within, we can go everywhere. By travelling the world, we travel into ourselves. We expand from inside. Barriers dissolve, any preconceptions melt away, fears are faced and overcome. Even less pleasant experiences around the globe build our resilience, teach us valuable lessons, make us a little wiser. Witnessing suffering or heartache makes us a little more compassionate, kinder, more understanding and loving. As we travel, we perceive the invisible, luminous threads that connect us all through our shared humanity, that dance around like fireflies uniting us with mother earth and all beings.
If we travel with a sense of trust in the process and a sense of awe at this world full of wonder, the wave of life takes us on our personal journey. There may be a little resistance or a few falls to begin with, but gradually we let go and learn to surf. Ideally we eventually find that elusive union, we go with the flow and become one with it all.
That’s the invitation. Accepting it takes you on the greatest adventure there is. The journey of life.
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
I have always loved this world and had ‘wanderlust.’ It was really exciting for me when I discovered that I could be paid to work by developing portable skills like teaching yoga or teaching English as a foreign language, which also led to me leading trips and expeditions with community, environmental or wellness angles globally. As a result, I’ve been lucky enough to travel extensively, mainly for work and occasionally for pleasure. At present I have been to 92 countries, and I hope to make it to over 100 countries and all 7 continents (I’m on 6. Antarctica, I’m on my way!) I have lived and worked in Tulum, Mexico teaching English and sustainable development, and teaching yoga on the beach, I have led several community based expeditions through South America which involved language school, a community project like building a weaving workshop or house or planting trees with locals and adventures like trekking through Patagonia or 9 day treks to Machu Picchu. I worked in the Amazon in Ecuador on an environmental project and in Fiji on education and rainwater harvesting projects. I have, as work, done two challenge horse rides across the steppe and Gobi desert of Mongolia with nomadic locals raising money for animal welfare, I’ve volunteered in an orphanage in Nepal and I helped set up and later run a Book Bus for children in Zambia, Africa to help bring the joy of literacy and reading to children there. I presented a documentary about a sustainable community in Jamaica and I’ve led many yoga retreats in places like Kerala- India, Turkey, France, Spain, the Azores and Hawaii. It’s all been one huge adventure and all of these tools helped make them happen and make them go smoothly. I still hope there are more adventures to come.
“Having no particular home, but equally at home
Why? Well, what I love about travel is the sense of freedom, adventure and discovery that it brings, and the fact that everywhere new brings with it new vistas, new people, places to explore, new foods to taste and new scents and sounds and sights. It is a veritable feast for the senses. I have always felt global and as though the whole world was home and waiting to be explored. After all the borders are invisible, man made creations, not real in and of themselves. The greatest thing about it, though, for me is how it highlights our inherent oneness as a human family, the underlying unity in our diversity. It reminds you that we are all one and should be kind to each other and the earth.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.”
Ultimately, life is one big adventure, to be lived fully. Things don’t always go to plan but travel teaches you to adapt, improvise, be resourceful, wing it! Having these portable life tools handy, makes the whole idea all the more enticing, knowing that you’ll very likely be just fine wherever you go and whatever you find yourself doing. I have used these tools throughout my life on all my travels and have, for the most part, kept myself out of trouble, safe, healthy and well.
Where do you most want to go? Use the manifestation tools in this book to make it happen.
“Life lived without zest and adventure, is not a life at all.”
F.A. Mitchell Hedges
The entire world is home, and we are all one big human race of brothers and sisters living on this beautiful planet, our only home. Go and see the unity in our diversity for yourself, and whilst doing so, look after yourself, others and our earth.
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
Of course, I’m not suggesting that in order to live a full and happy life, you have to travel. Not at all. Only that in my own life, from personal experience it has been a wonderful highlight and an important part of my life, yet I totally understand the desire to stay home too and travel in your mind whilst enjoying home comforts or travel in your own country. If for whatever reason travel is not an option for you, you can use the greatest gift, your imagination to fly anywhere on earth or beyond that you choose to. There are no limitations, and you’re even luckier as you don’t have to deal with airport security, vaccinations or delays! Happy travels!
As Rousseau said: “The world of reality has its limits, the world of imagination is boundless.”
He also wrote, whilst in prison:
“No one can prevent me from being transported there (to an island in Switzerland that he loved) every day on the wings of imagination, and tasting for several hours the pleasures as if I were still living there.”
Stephen Hawking travelled in his mind too, and also physically despite his limitations. He didn’t let his disability hold him back as he loved discovering new things, people and places. He had the spirit of adventure very much alive within him.
So wherever you are, have adventures, be spontaneous. There are many ways to do that; Try new foods that you wouldn’t normally taste, try on clothes different to what you normally wear. You don’t have to buy them just try them. Just get a bit out of your routine, mix it up a bit. You don’t have to explore the world but you can definitely explore your own area. Drive down a different road or walk somewhere new or go into a shop you usually walk past, talk to that bus driver or cashier.
You can also travel vicariously through TV or films, watch a foreign film with subtitles, try Anthony Bourdain’s series Parts Unknown, or learn survival skills from Bear Grylls whilst he travels the world, or enjoy discovering all about nature through David Attenborough’s travels, or my book World of Wonder!
Yoga- Flow! Or a challenging pose/ sequence eg try Crow. Bakasana or Ashtavakrasana or handstand. (See www.luminoustrails.com yoga section for flows.)
Oil- Make a portable roll on to take on adventures with you, or to give as a gift on your journey. I always take a few of the natural products I’ve made with me on my travels as they make wonderful thank you gifts for kindnesses received along the way.
1 empty glass roll on bottle
Fractionated coconut oil or almond oil
Up to 30 drops of the essential oil/s of your choice.
(Try orange and peppermint to uplift you on the move or lavender and bergamot to soothe you when feeling anxious.)
I wrote this chapter years ago. Today, the climate crisis makes travel much less appealing and evokes guilt in people rather than pleasure. This is something I have pondered on at great length and one day recently I had an idea, which my friend Sarah in New York had during the same week. What if everyone on earth planted just 1 tree each. It could literally turn climate change around and reverse two thirds of all human based carbon emissions, as well as reforesting the world, giving children back their future and importantly, bringing the people of the world together as one to make positive change rather than waiting on politicians or governments to do so, who have known the facts for decades and halted solutions with endless conferences and or in some cases, deliberate obstruction or denial of the problem. Huge scale reforestation has recently been shown to be the single biggest and cheapest way to tackle climate change. Everyone wants to breathe fresh air and drink clean water, to have shelter and a future and everyone can plant one tree.
This idea gave me great hope. Thus our project Love Gaia- 8 Billion Trees was born. The goal. Plant one tree and simultaneously plant a heartfelt intention for the earth to heal and for a future where we live more in harmony with the earth, each other and all beings. The two options are to plant a tree yourself and we can help provide a saplings, or to sponsor the planting of a tree. Also if you know someone who cannot plant a tree like a baby or elderly person, why not sponsor us to plant one in their name?
“We will survive and thrive together with Mother Earth or we will not survive at all.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
41) Ultimate Dinner Party
For many years I have pondered on the possibility of being able to invite, and converse with anyone from the past or present, dead or alive in one time and place. Imagine being able to invite them to a special private meeting or dinner party! The idea fascinated me. I think it originally came from hearing many years ago when I was 18 in Spain that Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Freud, Alfred Hitchcock, Luis Bunel, Federico Garcia Lorca and Walt Disney all used to know each other and occasionally meet up. That sent my mind racing about that fascinating, eclectic bunch of people together in one place, and wondering what the conversations would be about, (the same applies, for example with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Firestone and others in America who would come together and ignite each other’s creative minds.) Although they were all obviously very much alive, why stop there! Why not, (as we all can in our imagination or dreams; indeed science itself suggests all time is not linear but instant,) blur the line of time and create our ultimate group of inspiring individuals from any time or place together in one space. People who inspire or fascinate us. Who would you chose?
I thought for a long time about who I would invite, and what I would like to ask them, and I asked friends to do the same. Who would they invite and why? I got many wonderful, inspired responses, it seemed to set people‘s imaginations on fire. Some chose very famous icons from history, others more obscure, equally fascinating characters who inspired them or had touched their hearts, or of course members of their own family or friends. A few wanted to put Hitler next to Gandhi to see what would happen! Some started worrying about the menu because a couple of their guests were famously vegetarian and others loved banquet feasts and fine wine! Others couldn’t narrow it down to 14 guests including themselves (the number I suggested) so they started wanting to cheat by having John Lennon or Elvis as the waiter! The joys of the imagination!
So, I finally settled on my table of invited guests (of course it’s almost impossible to choose out of infinite options and it keeps changing) but at least my table for this moment would be the group below. In my case, it was almost like forming my ideal council of friends or advisors with whom anything could be possible and all the advice necessary to make the world a better place could be at hand. The group I chose come from Italy, India, England, Germany, Egypt, Nepal, America, South Africa, Italy, Holland and Vienna, and include an artist, a scientist, a musician, an actress, spiritual leaders, a saint and activists, a poet, a queen, and a president. All are humanitarians. In my opinion they represent humanity at its best.
Why not form your own unique, ideal group of inspiring individuals? (Perhaps there’s someone you wished you could have met who you thought could provide you with answers, or someone who would be fun and exciting to spend time with.) Get others to do the same and compare your choices. There is endless fun to be had with choosing and pondering on the possible topics of conversation and interactions. Of course you might want to drag it out for a whole weekend or longer in order to get the most out of each invited guest! There are no limits to the imagination and your list of invitees can change any time, as mine have over the years. Enjoy!
I have been fortunate to meet many of the world’s bright lights in reality in this life, including Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Anita Roddick, Richard Branson, Eckhart Tolle, Al Gore, Bruce Lipton, Monty Roberts, great spiritual leaders and yogis and indigenous elders…. Perhaps those meetings came from years of pondering on who I would invite to my ultimate dinner party? You can read about these encounters I had in my book ‘Little Book of Wisdo
St Francis of Assisi Attahualpa
Audrey Hepburn Nefertiti
Nelson Mandela Leonardo da Vinci
Of course many people had to be left out in the narrowing down process, some of the others that came to mind were:
John Lennon, Jesus , Richard Branson, Mother Mary , Al Gore, Elvis, Thoth, David Bowie, Indigenous tribal elders, Sir Francis Bacon, Oprah Winfrey, Bono, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, J. K. Rowling, Princess Diana, Anita Roddick, The Dalai Lama, Issac Newton, Aung San Suu Kyi, Pythagoras, Madonna, Krishnamacharya, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Bob Geldof, Winston Churchill, Bob Marley.
42) Balance. Yin Yang
Try a Yin Yang practice (see www.luminoustrails.com yoga section)
Buddha suggested The Middle Way. Not being swayed too far one way or the other into extremes. Try to live at the centre line of the Yin Yang symbol, mid way between those two energies.
“The greatest happiness is to know peace unchanged by changing conditions, unshaken by all the fluctuating joys and sorrows of the world.”
“If you wish to go to extremes, let it be in sweetness, patience, humility and charity.”
St Philip Nori
Ultimately, even whilst using all the tools to proactively to create your best life, perhaps the highest tool is to surrender your life to something greater than you, (not separate from you but greater than you,) whether that be a greater intelligence, a vast energy, Light or the Divine for you. Sometimes life has a bigger plan for you than you have envisioned, or can even imagine, so certainly, have preferences, but it’s wise to also let go a bit and trust, accepting whatever happens as part of your soul journey and choosing whatever shows up.
When it comes to the question of fate versus free will, I like the idea that we come here with a destiny, or with a contract to fulfil, but we can go about it however we want. It’s like you set your GPS in a car for the ultimate desired destination, but when you take a detour or stop for petrol or get lost along the way, the GPS just recalibrates to get you there from where you find yourself at any given moment. So it’s almost like the best thing to do with free will is to surrender it up to Divine will for your best life. To use your free will to choose to live in alignment with the highest plan for your life or your Higher Self’s plan for you. I’ve heard that called the choice of no choice, or the highest choice.
This, of course doesn’t have to involve being religious, although it works perfectly if you are. We all know there is a force greater than us that we are connected to which orchestrates the whole cosmos perfectly, whether you call that energy, nature, the universe, infinite intelligence, God, your higher self or anything else. Whatever or whoever you address, simply surrender your life to something greater than yourself, or bow to the universe within you, asking for guidance on your path, for the highest good. Ask to be put to use, to do no harm along the way and ideally to leave the world a little better through your existence. Try phrasing it something like this:
Higher Self. Guide me to live my highest life.
How may I serve?
Mother Father God Goddess, show me the way
Love- Use me.
Light- Guide me.
Universe- Bless me into usefulness.
Or, as suggested in The Course in Miracles, try:
Please make me who you want me to be.
Take me where you want me to go.
Tell me what you want me to say, and to whom.
… Then trust, and see what happens.
Interestingly, when caught in a tricky or dangerous situation like in a rapid on a river, the best thing to do, counterintuitively, is to throw up your arms and let go, surrender down into it, to be freed up and brought back to the surface, rather than trying to force your way out. It can be the same with life. Instead of trying to force a path the way you think it should go, be open to surrendering it to something greater and trust that the way that evolves is for your highest good. Often when we let go, things flow beautifully and synchronistically.
And while your surrendering, why not also surrender any attachment to suffering and let that go to have it replaced with learning all your life lessons through joy! Wouldn’t that be a good idea.
Yoga- Before beginning your practice, take a moment to surrender it up to something bigger than yourself. It could for example be dedicated to the wellbeing of Mother Earth and all beings, or to the divine. This gives your whole yoga practice a deeper meaning and purpose and keeps your intention and focus pure throughout.
“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.”
Child’s pose. The ultimate pose of gentle surrender.
Oil: Arborvitea or Chamomile. Dilute with a carrier oil or diffuse
As the song says: This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine! Let it shine, let it shine let it shine!
….. and yet so often it is much easier to hide or dim our light for fear of upsetting others or being judged or due to experiences that taught us to stay hidden or silenced when we were young; or we self-sabotage and don’t show our light to the world thinking it’s safer that way, so it requires a brave decision to shed all of those layers and step into your luminosity and fully shine your light, unapologetically. Yet it might be the greatest thing you do, as the world needs your light!
You just happen to have within you the eternal light of the universe. If light is who you are, nothing and no one can dim it. If you dim your light to make others feel better, the whole world gets darker, so shine on. It’s important to give yourself permission to shine. Chances are no one else is going to do that for you. It’s time to remember and reclaim our full potential as humans.
You are here to shine your light in your own beautiful, unique, particular way. Where what you’re passionate about and what the world needs meet, therein lies your purpose and way to shine. In the past there were plenty of reasons to hide, but now it is safe to remember and reveal who you really are. Nothing can separate you from source or the ultimate energy of the universe, from the Light or your Divine essence.
“Nothing exterior can dim the Light that shines within you.”
Contrary to what many of us are led to believe growing up, you are not here to play small or hide, just as nature is not here to be tamed. Smallness is an insult to who you really are. You are here to be sovereign, free and let your light shine. Can you allow that to happen? It involves peeling away the layers that block your light, by acknowledging them, accepting them, (maybe they were just trying to keep you safe and now it’s ok to let them go,) shining the light of awareness on them until they willingly melt away, along with the darkness, leaving your sparkling and shining true self beneath. Do the world a favour and let your light shine. If it helps, think of it as not being about you, but rather that the world needs all the light it can get, so it would be wrong not to do your bit to that goal.
I love this poem:
Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
It felt the encouragement of Light
Against its being.
We all remain
There have long been prophecies speaking of an epic battle between Light and Dark. The dark won the first few battles, keeping people in fear and separation, but now is the time where the prophecies say the light wins and banishes the darkness, leading to a world filled with love, unity and led by light. A golden age of miracles, but we all have our part to play.
Time to ignite your Light. Here’s a beautiful final meditation to help you tune into your inner Light anytime and make sure you let it shine:
Sit comfortably and deepen the breath to for a few rounds to begin. Imagine a light glowing in your heart center, flickering gently. Then visualize that inner sun gradually getting brighter and expanding outwards until your whole being is filled and enveloped in this golden light. Let your breath act as a bellows expanding this light outwards within you and around you. Call on the spirit of the firefly to teach you that your light is within you and accessible anytime, and how to turn this light on at will whenever you want or need it and how to emanate that light out into the world. Stay bathing in this light of yours for as long as feels good. Enjoy the ability to both ignite and spread your light with your firefly friend. Then just imagine a protective bubble around you, and go out into the world shining your light.
Your true self, your Atman, is immortal, indestructible, fearless and self luminous, has never been born and will never die.
You are not like a candle needing to be lit, rather you are like the sun. Self luminous. Your nature is to illuminate.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? There is nothing enlightened in shrinking so that others will not feel insecure around you. You were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within you. It is not just in some of us. It is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Yoga- Sun Salutations/ Sun meditation (See chapter one on Light.)
Oil- Helisychrum- the oil of light. Dilute it in a carrier oil and inhale its essence or diffuse it in a room.
How about making a candle of your own? I love making them, and they will light up your life or you can give them as presents.
You will need:
Bees wax or soy wax
A glass container for the candle
Essential oils of choice
Glass mixing bowl for the bain marie preparation
To measure, fill the container you plan to use for the candle with your wax flakes to about an inch from the top. Pour them into the mixing bowl and do the same measurement again, and pour that also into the mixing bowl. (When you melt the wax it reduces by about half the amount.)
Use a bain marie method to melt the wax down to liquid. While it’s hot, dip the candle wick base into it so it can act as glue to stick to the bottom of your container. Keep the wick upright using pencils or chopsticks for now.
Once all the wax is melted, remove the bowl from the bain marie (use gloves!) Set it down to cool for a couple of minutes. Once it’s cooled a bit but still liquid, add your essential oils of choice. About 50 drops for a small candle and 100 for a large one. You could try cinnamon and orange or perhaps rose and jasmine.
Mix the essential oils well into the melted wax and then carefully pour into your container and leave to cool and set. Once set cut the wick top.
Light it up, let it shine and enjoy your luminous, scented treat!
“Darkness seems like something that is hard to stand up against, but light is much stronger. Just a small light dispels the darkness.”
Carry your toolbox with you through life
In Lakesh –Mayan for “I am another you.” In that spirit:
‘To me in the form of you,’ I sincerely hope that these life tools that I have collected or invented throughout my life and shared with you here are of use to you and help to make your life’s journey a little lighter and easier to navigate, more abundant and blessed. Now that you have your toolbox to carry with you through life, may your journey be peaceful, may you live full of wonder, always be safe and protected, walk lightly through life, and be of use to others. I hope you walk confidently and happily knowing that you, like every good craftsperson, have a box of tools with you always to help in any eventuality and create a heaven on earth.
I repeat that everything I have offered here in this book are merely friendly suggestions of tools that I have found helpful in my own life. Use what works for you, ignore the rest, and do get in touch with any good ways in which the tools have helped you.
Blessings on your journey.
“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
“With two hands joined, I appeal to you to make the rest of your life as meaningful as possible.”
HH The 14th Dalai Lama
Perhaps the best advice I can leave you with in this book is the simplest:
Be Kind- To all beings
To Mother Earth
“ What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Enjoy using these tools and I’d love to hear from you at:
Little Book of Life Tools
6) Creating Sacred Space
7) Love /Metta
8) Day Time / Night Time
12) Fearlessness/ Strength Meditation
15) Colourful tools
19) Mother Earth
22) Bliss Meditation
23) Dream Life
24) Ancient Wisdom/ Modern Science
26) Sacred Sites
27) Kindness/ Friendship
28) Visualization /Manifestation
30) Animal Meditation
35) Magic wand
36) When things are bad.
38) Truth/ Akashic Records/ Universal laws
39) Change- The only certainty.
40) Adventure/ Freedom
41) Ultimate Dinner Party
42) Balance. Yin yang