Saturday, 28 February 2009

After the dark.....there is always the light.....

I had dreaded going into college on Friday because of how isolated and lonely I had felt on Thursday. I desperately wanted to clear up about what I had written but didn't see how. What I realised is that I don't get second chances. In the past when I have upset someone by something I have said or done the other person killed me off by rejecting my attempts to re-open the conversation to sort it out so that a new level of relationship could be established.

My restraint around people is the result of feeling that I won't be given a second chance if I upset them and so I am cautious and restrained around what I say. My true self-expression is reserved for this blog. Friday came and mid-way through the morning the person who I have upset came to me and said 'I want to speak to you about your blog'. This was the outcome I had hoped for but never believed I would get. I said 'absolutely, talk to me'. She acknowledged that as it is my blog I can write what I like and that I was pefectly entitled to my opinions but that I had misquoted her and it was this that had most offended her. I understand as a trainee journalist that to misquote someone is a complete no, no in the writing world and I was surprised at this because I consider myself to be a good listener.

Then I suddenly had an insight into how my point of view may have made me mishear what she had said. I misheard her when I thought she said about 'kundalini not being that powerful'. I misheard her because my point of view was creating me to be separate from her and this comment increased the separation thus strengthening my point of view. I was really amazed to see this and I take complete responsibility for it and through this blog want to be clear that I have misquoted her in that blog entry.

She also spoke about feeling invaded and of not feeling easy with me anymore. I can understand this. I don't think I would feel comfortable spending time with someone I knew wrote a diary blog and that I could appear in it favourably or unfavourabl in any entry. I totally understand this and I have given a commitment that in future blog entries, no mention will be made of her and I will stay true to this. I see now that I have come out of a dark place. From really believing that I don't get second chances I see now that I do. One person has been willing to re-open the lines of communication and not want to kill me off and this is just so brilliant.

On Thursday night I was looking for something in my rucksack and I came across a business card from a woman who does vortex healing. I was so low and desperately looking for some way to shift something and this card had been shown to me by the mother of the family I live with. The moment I looked at it I was drawn to it. I asked her if I could keep it. I believe that when things like this happen that there is something there for me. I spent a couple of minutes looking at the card before I picked up the phone. I dialled the number and this woman with a not English accent answered the phone. I explained that I was drawn to her card and wanted to know about vortex healing. I understand that my experience in Devon was like being drawn up into a vortex of energy and I wanted to know more. It turns out that she is planning to do a four week course on vortex healing which isn't going to be very expensive. I told her about my experience of being drawn into a vortex and she seemed to understand immediately what I was speaking about which was such a relief to me. I asked to be contacted when she has decided on the dates for this course and after I put the phone down felt a peace and calm that had been absent up to that point.

I have since had an email with her confirming that she is going to have this course. It makes sense to me that as it was an experience of a vortex that I had that I should learn more about it and how to be a clearing for it. On the spiritual journey it is so important to be vigilant and alert to all the ways that the universe shows us the next step. I knew the moment I saw the card that this is my next step....but my next step to what.......

Thursday, 26 February 2009

The cold at college.....has nothing to do with the weather...

It was too much to hope for that what I write wouldn't cause offence and I take complete responsibility for the siberia like atmosphere there is from this woman who I came clean to about this blog and what I have written. I accept that I haven't been responsible in my writing and now I am paying the price. I have always been at pains to write that what I say is only my view or opinion, it is not the truth. It saddens me that something has been made of it to the point that I have lost the friendship of someone I really did value. It makes it awkward at college because there aren't that many of us but all I have to do, like all of us these days, is to stay steady and be in each present moment. Whether that moment is painful or not. Today was a tough day and there was no blog entry last night because I was worried. I knew when this person didn't show yesterday for college that it was in someway connected with this blog and I didn't have the heart to write. I was also preparing for a shorthand exam which we had today.

If I keep going like I am going this blog is going to be my only friend. Why is it that I can be surrounded by people and yet feel so alone. I have this deep deep loneliness and I can't explain what it is or why I have it. I know at the moment that there is a deep inner battle going on within me, I can feel it and also see it because of the witness who watches everything that is happening to me as though it is happening to someone else. This is why I can be so calm with everything that's going on. But my fingers tell another story, my nails are bitten to the quick and they are unsightly. I feel like I am being stretched out on a rack....but for what. I've been here before. I know this dark place of fear and uncertainty and I know that out it will come growth. It is a place where I am alone and nobody can enter. My identity is in full control which is why I am feeling so powerless around everything at the moment. But I trust in the journey I am on and won't resist any of what is happening. What is happening at the moment is exactly what is meant to be happening. The people in my life are there for a purpose and if it is a challenge and I don't know exactly how to deal with the situation I find myself in then this is where I am meant to be.

I had my first shorthand exam today. I studied hard for it and had learned most of the words that were in the book. The lecturer read out the first sentence which sounded familiar and wasn't a problem. Then she dictated a sentence with words that were not in the book aagh....I could feel the anger welling up in me as I rumaged around in my memory bank for information that was not there. It wasn't there because I hadn't learned that word. I was expected to improvise mind went blank, my stomach felt sick and I wished I was anywhere else in the world but sitting at a desk with a reporters notebook, a pen and a blank mind. It's not rocket science to put together a word from the letters that I learned but for me having no past experience of the word or what it looked like, making an educated guess was out of the question. The shorthand finished and I had a splitting headache. I made an attempt at conversation with the person who is obviously upset about this blog and asked whether she was upset about anything. I received the enigmatic answer 'no, should I be' which is total code for 'yes I am'. I didn't pick it up though. All I said was 'no, but I'm not in your head'. This was greeted with a stony stare and skid marks left at the door with the speed with which she took off.

My state of mind after this episode together with the nightmare shorthand exam was not good and I suddenly had such a burning desire to find a window that had a view of the sea. I did this and the moment my consciousness connected with the sea all the turbulence in my mind diminished and I felt once again the deep peace and bliss that I can only get when I allow my consciousness to connect with the beauty and majesty of nature. Being connected to the sea gave me such reassurance and I felt an inner intuition urging me to stay steady, that I have done nothing wrong. I went into my next lecture in a very different frame of mind. This lecture was learning how to design magazine pages and we were learning now to sub writing and fit it onto a page. I really enjoyed this. I got lost a few times because I made changes not understanding what these were and then the copy wasn't the same as everyone elses but in spite of this it was a very enjoyable 3 hours.

So as I write this I would be lying to say that I am not apprehensive about tomorrow. I am so pleased that it is Friday. I have a team meeting in London tomorrow evening and am staying with a friend which will be good. These days I just feel so uncertain that all I want to do is to listen to people. This blog is the sum total of the level of my self-expression these days. I recognise that I am incredibly stuck. But out there in the world the level of turbulence is far greater. So much that was hidden is coming to light and the pace at which it is happening is breathtaking. It is so important to remain steady in the face of it all. It is heralding the great shift that is coming. The old has to go to make room for the new. Stay close to the Source whatever that might be for you. These days I feel much closer to something that I definitely connect strongly with through nature but which is always close to me. The important thing at this time is not to resist anything in what is happening. To resist only makes it stronger.

Last night I did an interview with a woman who has just launched a website for people who are on restricted diets. I was so inspired by the woman because she has been living with MS since she was 20. What inspired me was her love for life and her determination to provide something for those people who are on or cater for people with restricted diets so that they can have the same enjoyable experience of eating as people on non-restricted diets have. Listening to her speak and seeing the passion she has for the website she has just launched awoke something in me. But what.....I have published my book. I truly don't know what is next for me.....

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

At some point.....the truth will out.....

In a blog entry some time ago I wrote about a conversation I had with a woman who is in my course who is what I call spiritual. This is a major inauthenticity of mine because all of us are spiritual. This underlying spiritual essence is covered over by a human veneer which comprises ego, and identity. For a long time now I have seen certain categories of people, those who work in healing or alternative therapies as spiritual. All of this came to a head yesterday when I came clean to the woman in my class about this blog, what I had written and it felt good to finally say what I think. She was absolutely brilliant. A couple of hours I had spoken with her about how restrained I am feeling at the moment. She gave me some great advice about how to do a ritual to say goodbye to that identity which has made me restrained and to welcome in the new unrestrained me. I knew after that conversation that I had to tell her about this blog and clear up with her what I had written. I explained that I found so called spiritual people to be prickly around me. What she said in response to this resonated. She said 'that this was all my stuff' which is perfectly true.

I felt great relief to finally be able to say to someone spiritual how I felt. What I want to do through this blog is to clear up how I have been dividing people up into spiritual and non-spiritual and what I see is my identity doing this to keep me small and separate. People are people and the blocks I feel are to do with myself. There is a battle going on in the deepest parts of me, I can feel it. The identity is becoming so strong in some ways and yet my possibility or Soul is also getting strong. I am so grateful for this woman's honesty to me yesterday over coffee in Costa, it has really shifted me and given me a fresh connection with people without any separation or division. Through this blog.....I want to thank her for that gift......

Monday, 23 February 2009

Finally...hitting earth.....

I received my first feedback on an article that was set for us during the feature writing lecture at the end of last week. The lecturer passed around 2 examples of very good writing, mine was not one of them. All kinds of things went through my mind when I saw that mine wasn't one of them. These things were thoughts and they were not empowering or powerful. For the first time on this course I had a doubt about my ability to be the brilliant journalist I am creating myself to be. All of a sudden this course lost some of its attractiveness. Yet I know that this is just my identity that once again saw a point of weakness in my own self-doubt and was in there double quick ready to provide more limiting and disempowering thoughts. How clearly I see how it operates now after the weekend.

We were set another task to write a review of a programme that is on TV. This sent me into another tail spin because I haven't got the time to watch the telly so haven't really a clue as to what is on the box these days. This gave my identity even more fertilizer as when I turned to the computer I truly had nothing but fear and dread in my mind. Luckily someone asked if they could do a DVD or film instead and the lecturer said 'fine'. I was saved.....I've been so inspired by the DVD The Secret that I wrote a review on that. During the lecture we were all called up to be given feedback. When it came to mine he told me that my writing was 'too restrained'. Funny, how this fits with me and my life. The Reiki healer when I was on work experience said the same thing to me that I kept myself apart instead of throwing myself into something. I do the same with my writing in that I don't allow the free flow of my thoughts. Instead I write a couple of sentences and then go back and edit them. This results in a restrained way of writing.

I see that my identity is using this fear of me not allowing myself to go in writing to keep my writing ordinary and not extraordinary. What there is for me to do is to set my clock for let's say 30 mins and just write, write, write. The temptation for me to is to go back and edit immediately and I know that the edits make for sharper sentences but somehow something is lost. The pace on this course is really speeding up now. In shorthand we are up to joining up groups of words. There is a real thrill in being able to read what I am putting down in real spidery outlines in myshorthand notebook. I find myself not wanting to write some words at all now in longhand because the shorthand version is just so easy and quick. Yet I know I have a long way to go.

I received a lovely email from my work experience placement saying that they hope to work with me on more articles. This was a great boost to get when I came home yesterday. I fully accept that I am not a creative writer in the way that some of the people are on the course. If I have something to say, I say it without any embellishment. I miss this creativity when it comes to painting a picture of the mystical experiences I have like yesterday when I was driving out to the garage to collect my car. I rounded the corner and beauty of the sea totally absorbed my senses. I was so lost in the grandeur and majesty of the sea. I had a real job to keep my consciousness focussed on the road. The sea holds tremendous power and gives me such a sense of peace and bliss. When I see the sea, nothing else matters. The greatness of the sea humbles me and makes me so pleased and privileged to be a part of something greater.

I know I can get this qualification. What it is going to take from me is to be out there and finding the stories for the features I need for my portfolio. I have to start to build up a contacts book and use these people. I have my own style of writing and it is powerful in its way. My dream is to write for Psychologies magazine because I like to write how things work i.e. how does meditation work as a relaxation for the mind. When I know how things work then I trust and will apply them more. I have never been for blind faith but am for reason and working out things.....

Sunday, 22 February 2009

I finally understand.....the Buddhist concept of Avidya or ignorance

What an amazingly powerful weekend I have just returned from. This weekend was the global team management and communication programme and present were Tel Aviv, Amsterdam and London. I was so moved by the fact that everyone of us there has the aim of bringing about a peaceful and harmonious world through communication. Everything can be resolved in communication, in being authentic and in taking responsibility for how we communicate. The new model of communication that I am being trained in is about having integrity and generosity and responsibility in all of my communications so that I create love and affinity from me to others, from others to me and from others to others. At the start of each quarter all of the regions meet together as a global team and share the results of what they produced that quarter. The results are in terms of the number of people who registered to get trained in the new model of communication. It is not about the numbers, the numbers reflect how much communication is being transformed out there in the world.

Last quarter Tel Aviv came in as high performing. This means that as a region it was highly successful in inspiring others to get the distinctions from the new model of communication for themselves. London came in as effective and Amsterdam similar. I had spent this quarter thinking that once again Tel Aviv would come in as high performing and I would get an insight into what worked and what didn't. However this time as a region - Europe and the Middle East we all did pretty poorly. In order to begin a new quarter the old one must be completed. This involves taking a hard look at the results, not in terms of good or bad, right or wrong, but in terms of what was missing in who we were being that people did not feel inspired to seek out the model of communication for themselves. Each team leader from the region declared what was missing. I was rocked to my core when the team leader for Israel said 'we stopped playing' and in this quarter there was war'. That really shocked me. I don't know if it is true or not, that when Tel Aviv stopped speaking about the power of new model of communication for bringing about peace and harmony that the fragile peace that had been maintained was shattered. But it has really made me think, what if that resistance I feel towards sharing myself and making myself really vulnerable is the conversation that will bring about world peace, how can I not push through the fear of not looking good and not wanting to step up if me speaking out might make the difference. These few words from the Israeli team leader shifted the context within which I speak about the power of the communication curriculum.

Something else was said that for me was very interesting. I have often spoken in this blog of the spiritual journey being about the game being played between the ego identity and the soul. The game is that the identity will never be weak enough for the Soul or possibility to shine through to begin to be a co-creator with the Divine. Not only do our own individual identities fight and resist this continuously but when someone steps up to be a leader the identity will conspire to bring the leader down so that it can continue to remain small. In one of the teams there was a breakdown with one of the team leaders. A member of team declared that this was done intentionally so that this person could be the team leader. When I heard this I was shocked but then realised that this is the nature of human being, it is the fight by the identity not to allow greatness in the world and its a fight to the end of life as we know it for a human.

This weekend I realised what the Buddhist concept of Avidya or ignorance is truly about. Avidya is not the usual kind of ignorance of not knowing. It is an ignorance that distorts the nature of reality. It makes reality appear as it is not. When we are young we form a point of view about ourselves and the world. This point of view then gives us the life that matches that point of view. It's usually put in place the first time an event happens to a child and they say something like I said 'I'm not loved, I'm alone'. Then from then on until the point of view is distinguished it gives me my world. It is as a result of me distinguishing my point of view and wanting to have control over it that I made the move to return to college and live in another city. For a few weeks now I was an under-study for a play that we were doing. I felt close and related to everyone in the play and they to me. On Friday night the person who I was an under-study for returned and I left. Nobody said 'wait' or 'where are you going to be later'. As a result I left with my point of view very strongly in existence 'I'm not loved, I'm alone', with 'I'm rejected and don't belong' thrown in for additional drama! What I got to see so plainly the next morning was that it was my point of view that created those people as not wanting me, it isn't the truth because I know each of them and know that this is not how they see me. But my point of view was straight in there and created these people to be that way for me. This I assert is what the Buddhists mean by Avidya, it is a nasty distortion of reality. It is done by the identity that uses the point of view whenever it senses that there is a weakness or a loss of possibility or an empowering context.

The identity means business and it will use every means most of them foul not to have us experience and be the greatness that is within all of us. As a result of this weekend I am so much more aware of my point of view and of how it not only gives me the life I have but also how others occur to me. None of this is the truth and this is why it distorts reality. It was a tough but incredibly valuable insight I got this weekend. From this trainig I am really gaining first hand experience of how the identity operates and just how ruthless it is. It is not openly ruthless everything operates at such a subtle level and it requires vigilance and alertness to be able to see when it is at play. The only way to cut down on its effectiveness is to always have a possibility which is realm of being that you generate and an empowering context and to keep these alive at all times. The identity cannot co-exist in a space of possibility and empowering context.

I've returned from this weekend quietly determined to make a difference in the lives of those I speak to. I am committed that everyone has what they want in their lives with freedom and ease. I believe that this is possible through this training because it is a training and study into what it means to be a human being and what stops us from being the powerful human beings we are designed to be. I come back again to the game, there is only THE ONE playing the game and I must remember that when I'm going a bit too gung-ho for the identity with its ego which then gives the personality. It is only a game. I just wish more people would win it........what does it mean to win the understand, realize and experience that the identity is not who we are.....

Friday, 20 February 2009

At the airport....going to Amsterdam..

I've just been so busy trying to get everything sorted out to go to Amsterdam today. Yesterday I went to collect my car from the garage. I had forgotten that I had a big desk in the boot which meant that I had no back seat space. This would have been fine if there was only going to be me travelling in it but one woman had said that she wouldn't have a car to travel to a seminar which the magazine was putting on. I totally forgot about the desk and in my usual 'how can I be of contribution here' said 'we can travel in my car'..thought of desk nowhere near my consciousness'. When did I think of the desk....yes you guessed it at about 11.30pm when I was just about to drop off to sleep. Aagh...sat bolt upright in bed...what was I going to do. I wouldn't have enough time to get my car, go back to the house, take out the desk and be in in time for work. To take the desk out 50 miles away would be ridiculous to have to go back down and collect it. Then I had a brainwave....I would request the garage to be a minder of the desk until Monday when I would come and collect it early. Delighted with my problem solving skills I coasted off to sleep. My final thought was a wistful thought about keeping the courtesy car because I was used to going on the long journey to my work placement.

I had one moment of temptation with the thought 'call them tomorrow and say that you can't come and collect your car'. But I immediately dismissed this, my car was ready to be collected and to do that would have been so out of integrity. So berating myself for being so no bending of da rules I went off to sleep. I woke up early and me and my trusty sat nav set off to the garage. I made my request for the desk to be kept and explained why and the man was must so lovely, 'that wasn't a problem'. Thrilled that my desk challenge had been resolved. I waited for the man to bring the keys to me. I waited....and waited.....and I saw a couple of huddled heads together. Eventually mindful of how much time I had allocated to getting my car I said that 'I really had to go and what was the problem'. The problem was that my car keys were proving elusive! The same man saw that I was desperate to get going and said 'look keep the courtesy car, no charge on either rent or insurance and return it to us on Monday'....reeesult....I just couldn't believe it. This is the result that I had secretly had hoped for.....or given the powerful distinctions I now use on a daily base......did I create it so that I would have the courtesy car for the final day of my work experience.

I set off with my heart singing with gratitude. The morning was very foggy and the combination of fog with the beauty of the rolling hills meant that I really had to focus to keep my consciousness on the road. I just wanted to stop and lose myself in the beauty of what I was absorbing. Blue skys are lovely but there is something about not being sure about whether or not certain shapes are there. It is somewhat illusory and my consciousness absolutely loved it. The rest of the day went well. I wrote an article on meditation for the magazine. I realise that it's not mind, body, spirit, more health and wellbeing so I was very careful to write it in a style that people who don't meditate or know very much about it would like. I was thinking about the kinds of things to include and when it came to types of meditation the first thought I had was 'write about walking meditation'. This was strange because it is sitting meditation that is most common. But as always and ever I will listen and act on these inner instructions so I wrote about the power of being aware every time the foot leaves the earth and returns to the earth. That first point of contact is powerful.

I finished the article and put it into the folder I was requested to. Later that morning the features editor said how she had read it and liked and was intending to do some articles and promotion on feet and walking and that it would tie in well!!! When she said this I felt like I was in some strange kind of zone. It is like now that I am finally in integrity and not selling my soul for a paycheck that the universe is bending over backwards to show me what is possible. Or is it that now my natural abilities to tune in and create the world I really want to have are not being constrained by anything. The truth is that I don't know. I do know that once we are true to ourselves that everything begins to work in ways that didn't seem possible. I have even had a play with an In design programme which given my dislike of spreadsheets and moving things around and making things fit, I should really hate. The truth is that I got really involved and interested with it.

I've been so busy with everything that my organisation to get to Amsterdam this morning was pathetic. I didn't have any directions with me to get to the hotel. I created that I would find somewhere with an Internet and get the directions with freedom and ease. What do I find here in Terminal 1 but a computer terminal operated by Zurich insurance which is wait for it........TOTALLY FREE! this day and age to get free internet access with the biggest most plushest computer I have ever used is just pure magic for me. I knew that I had been sent an attachment with the directions from the airport to the hotel so I went on my email. When it came to opening up the attachment I couldn't do it. I called the man over who managing this work area and explained what I wanted. Really I should have thought about the risk to the system of opening attachments so I understood when he explained why I couldn't open it. He then said 'let me see what I can do'. A couple of minutes later is back standing beside me with a couple of pages of handouts. On it are all the directions I need to get myself from the airport to the hotel. Like being left the courtesy car, I am just speechless. How is life so like this at the moment.

I've been looking at other blogs and at how other people write and this blog is more a diary. There isn't much analysis. To be honest by the time I've finished waxing lyrical about me there's more than enough written! I guess what I want to get across from this blog is the importance of courage how we sell out on ourselves and what the universe wants from us by staying in safe, secure jobs that we hate. But I am clear that I could never have done what I am doing if I hadn't had the breakthrough into how I had to control everything. Give that up and all of the energy that had been trapped in trying to control everything is freed up and it's freed up to create and create and create.......

I won't have access to the computer until Sunday night but I'm so excited about this weekend. It's my last quarter of this programme and what I have received from it, words don't do justice's gonna be a fun and exciting weekend.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

A truly amazing day.....the third day of my work experience placement

I woke up early this morning and my first thought was ‘I’m going to be interviewing the person who developed the idea of mind maps and I felt this great sense of excitement. I got up and did an hour of shorthand. The garage called me to tell me my car was ready and to come and get it after 8.30am. This wasn’t going to work for me because my placement is an hours drive outside of Brighton so by the time the paperwork would have finished I would have been late. I called them and made a request to keep the courtesy car and to collect my car at 8am when they open tomorrow morning. The girl was fine about this which I was really pleased about.

I set off and it was the most beautiful morning. I know the way now so I can relax and really connect with the beautiful scenery I drive through every morning. There are a lot of rolling hills around the area and they are truly beautiful. I experience my greatest happiness and bliss when I am in the company of nature. I see nature as being the form of the Divine, for me it can’t be other, the perfection and beauty of nature can’t be anything but Divine. When I connect with nature, I connect with something that is far bigger than me.

I was driving along when I had a strong inner urging to stop the car and send a text to someone on myTeam programme. I will always listen when I get a strong inner prompting so I pulled over onto the hard shoulder of the motorway. I made a couple of calls and sent some texts and then I set off. I rounded the corner and all I could see was an ambulance and a build up of cars. It turned out that a couple of minutes earlier there had been a crash involving 2 cars. From what I could see there wasn’t anyone injured but the car had taken a battering. I couldn’t believe it. I’m not saying that there’s any connection between me having this strong urge to pull up when I did and this crash but for some reason it really rattled me. I chose to take a moment out to generate a deep feeling of gratitude for the fact that I was safe whether it applied to me or not.

I arrived early for my placement and got myself ready for my interview with Tony Buzan. The interview time was scheduled for 11.30am and at 11.29 I called the number I had been given. A male voice answered the phone and I said ‘hello this is Margaret’. The male voice said ‘hold on I’ll put you onto Tony’. Then the man himself came on the phone. His opening line to me was ‘you’re punctual’ I was taken aback but said the truth that he was willing to give the time for an interview the least I could do was to honour the time that was agreed. He then asked me if I was taping the interview and I said ‘no’ he then said in a questioning tone ‘shorthand’….ah…now was a moment of truth for me. I could say yes and look good or I could tell the truth. I chose the latter. I told him that I was on a work experience placement and that this interview would form a part of the portfolio I needed to put together for my exam as well as be for the magazine and that the interview would be more longhand than shorthand.

He was great about it, gave me some tips on how to use a Dictaphone! Then the interview started and it went very well. I was able to repeat back things to him so that he knew that I was listening and the more I showed I understood exactly what he was talking about the more relaxed and self-expressed he became. We finished the interview and just as I was about to thank him he said ‘what were you doing before doing this work placement’, I told him and he said ‘you sound very happy and relaxed and I enjoyed doing this interview’. He asked for a copy of the magazine to be sent to his PR agency when it was published. I was on such a high when I put down the phone. The others in the office all gave me a high five as they had heard it all as it is only a small office where I am working. To have such a great feeling in a work environment was so great. What I love about writing is that it feels like it is pure creativity. That interview will never happen again in the same way. It is unique and that is what makes every interview special. What came through from this man is the happiness he feels when he makes a difference. Mind mapping is growing rapidly throughout the world and the man who made it all possible was so generous to someone who wasn’t a fully fledged journalist…that to me speaks volumes about the man.

Driving home this evening I couldn’t hold back the intense feelings of happiness and gratitude that I was given the courage to make the move I have done. I am determined to do everything I can to be successful…..

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Day 2 of my work experience placement…..

Day 2 of my work experience placement…..

I woke up early this morning and got up to do an hour of shorthand. I am determined to get between 80 -100 words per minute and the only way to do this is to do some every day. I get a buzz now out of being able to read it and in some ways find longhand tiresome now.

I had a shower and went downstairs to get some breakfast. I am really excited because I am organising a home introduction for the Landmark Forum here on Monday night. I’ve been sharing everything that I have been getting from the training and it has inspired the mother to have a home introduction. I have had 2 since I began this training and they are magical evenings. People see what’s possible for themselves and their lives and get excited about seeing that whatever it is they want for themselves and their lives is available from this training. I firmly believe that I am wearing the T-shirt to prove it. From it I have had my book published which I had written for 2 years but wouldn’t publish. I got the courage to leave a job I had no integrity to pursue a career I am passionate about. I have an ease and a peace with people and the ability to be at home and happy no matter where I am. I make requests from people and they say ‘yes’ without any hesitation. All of this and so much more I got from this training.

In the past I have written that the universe will always reward courage. I wrote that but the truth was that I really didn’t know what I was talking about because I had never showed any courage. I worked in a safe job and lived in a safe flat and my life was small. Now I feel I am authentic when I say the universe WILL AND DOES reward courage. Today I secured an interview for tomorrow morning with the person who developed the technique of Mind Mapping – Tony Buzan. I was given his press details, I called the agency and made the request to interview him and she rang back an hour later with the time and number to call him tomorrow. I couldn’t get over the speed or the freedom and ease with which it happened. I called 2 other people today for the article I am writing. Both were available and ready and willing to speak to me. I feel so fulfilled and happy and I know that it is a reward for the courage I showed to give up my safe job and safe flat.

The tenants moved into the flat on Sunday and usually there is something that isn’t right and so I had one eye on my mobile half-expecting a call from the letting agent about something or other but the mobile was silent. Concerned I called the agent today and he phoned me right back saying ‘no, they are very happy’ – again such freedom and ease when the life that is being lived has integrity. For the first time I really feel like I am true to what I say and what I write. I also got some great news about my book. I received the review that is going to be published in May and it has a ‘warmly recommended’ rating which I was delighted about. Not as delighted as my publisher who did some research and found that the catalogue is mailed out to about 50,000 people!

I’ve had some trouble with the link for the publishers website. It is all OK now so here it is if any reader wants to buy a copy. I can’t in integrity publish the review until it is officially published in may.

Yesterday I spoke to a Reiki healer and we got talking about channelling. She told me that when she is doing a Reiki healing that she always receives information from a higher power. I explained how I never hear anything like this and she said it is because I won’t allow myself to feel or experience the energy to the depth I would have to to be a channel for higher spiritual consciousness. This resonated with me and I realised ‘yes, I’m far more comfortable in my head, thinking and intellectualising about all of this stuff than I am to actually get in there with the spiritual people I speak about being connected to. There’s still such a huge amount of fear for me around things psychic and yet I think I realise that I can’t really achieve the spiritual until I am master of the psychic.

In the past I thought the spiritual path involved choosing between the psychic and the spiritual. I now think that embracing the psychic is necessary to achieve full spiritual awakening and expanded consciousness. I want to skip the starter and get to the main course. But what if the starter is necessary to get to the main course and the reason why I am feeling stuck spiritually even though everything is flowing with an ease and harmony is because of my fear of the psychic. So perhaps what there is for me to do is to immerse myself in the psychic. Go to medium evenings and things like that. If I am to start doing that, it will make for an interesting blog because my natural inclination for things like this is to be sceptical. But my scepticism is not getting me very far in terms of being able to write with authority on spiritual matters above a certain point. I have reached that point and laboured it ad nauseum so now it is time for something new……

Monday, 16 February 2009

My first day of work-experience……and I absolutely loved it……

Today I drove an hour out of Brighton to my weeks work experience placement. Last week my car was leaking diesel. On Friday evening before I left Brighton for London I booked my car into the garage in London to be looked at. Shock…horror I then drove the car to London knowing that it was leaking diesel. I got to London without any problems and went to my team meeting.

When I woke up on Saturday morning my first thought was to cancel my appointment with the garage. I had a strong intuition that if a part was needed which meant that I would have to leave it there I would have no car to drive back to Brighton and no car to drive to my work experience placement. There was no way that was going to happen. I thought that it wasn’t leaking that much diesel and that it would be fine to deal with it after I had finished the work experience.

I set off from London and something didn’t feel right about how it was driving. Maybe this was psychological because I had realised that something was seriously wrong and I was waiting for some punishment from the universe for doing something that plainly had no integrity and was quite honestly illegal. I reached to my home in Brighton and got out of the car and looked under it – there’s no other way to describe it…but there was a torrent of diesel coming from under the car. I found the number for a garage here and called them up. I explained the problem and that I desperately needed to have a car to take me to work the next day.

He confirmed that it was not safe for me to drive!!..(this was rich after me driving it both ways at the weekend) and gave me the number of a hire company that would come to drive it. Without thinking I called this company and when I said it was leaking diesel they told me to call the fire brigade!!! I said ‘OK’ knowing that I had no intention of doing this. I called the garage back up and said ‘I’m going to drive it to you’. Me and my trusty sat nav set off and then I was so stressed that at one of the roundabouts I got completely confused as to which was the 2nd exit!!!, this is the why blind panic operates, it closes down any reason, logic or clarity. The sat nav went a bit crazy when I obviously didn’t do what it had said, but that was nothing to the barrage of hooting that went on when I tried to do a Herby rides again and do a U turn to get to the exit that I wanted. Eventually I found the garage and the man was so kind. There were no mechanics there being that it was Sunday, but when he saw me and how worried I was he relented and opened up the back and took the car there to have a look.

He returned after a few minutes and explained that it looked like it needed to have a part. I was committed that my work experience is going to happen come well or high water so I explained for the 2nd time the urgency of me having something with 4 wheels and a engine that would take me to work the next day. There must have been something in the way I spoke to him about all this because he offered me a no-charge courtesy car. I nearly wept with relief. What was amazing also about all of this is that I never carry my driving licence with me. That weekend I had brought it because I thought I needed to send it away as documentation of proof that I needed to get my number for my book from the Public Lending Office. So I had brought it to London to put it in with the other documentation. In the end I didn’t need to include it which is the only reason that it was in my rucksack.

Thrilled to bits with my courtesy car I drove it back to the house where I am living. I was so grateful that all of the family were not so that they didn’t see the drama queen that I was while I tried to sort it all out. I suddenly felt so drained and tired. I had had a full-on weekend in London and it all suddenly became too much. Before I slept though I took minutes out to express my deepest gratitude to how the whole thing had ended. I am clear that it was my non-negotiable stance on having transport to my work placement that made it happen. I don’t think I have ever been as intentional as I have been about that. It has shown me that when something is wanted badly enough that everything possible will be done then everything is achievable. I am so convinced of that now given what I achieved against all the odds.

I left the house early to find the address for the work placement and typical me, got there way too early. I sat in the car and tried to do some meditation. But that didn’t work. My mind with its thoughts was all over the place. I then took out my shorthand notebook and drilled some words. I know that I have to do my shorthand religiously every day for 1 hour otherwise I’m not going to get my words per minute. I finished up with the shorthand and made my way to the magazine office. When I walked in I was greeted by a woman who had the bluest of eyes. She said ‘Margaret’ and I said ‘yes’. She introduced me to another man who shared the office and then suggested a chat in the room next door. We talked for a bit about the magazine and what I wanted to get out of the week. I explained that I wanted to do a feature and perhaps an interview and she said that was OK. I told her about going to Amsterdam for my final weekend of the Team Management and Leadership programme and to my surprise she said that she had friends who had done the Landmark training.

I settled down at the computer and to my horror noticed that it was a MAC…aagh…I’m so computer illiterate with a bog standard PC but a Mac that I have never used is going to drive me to distraction. I explained with a laugh (better than bawling my eyes out) that I had never used a Mac but it didn’t seem to bother her. She asked me if I would proof-read the copy that is just about to go to press for the next issue. I agreed willingly. This is the great thing about this course in that not only will I get tooled up to be a red hot journalist but I will always get the skills for sub-editing, proof reading and page design. All of these will make the chances of me getting work on a magazine easier than if I didn’t have them. The pages were printed off and I immediately set to work. I was struck by how much I enjoyed doing it. It’s like alternative words to say something that were more powerful were just flowing. I was careful not to do too much editing and stuck very much to the basics of spelling and grammar but I really enjoyed it. I finished it and brought it over to show her the changes I had made. She commented on how quick I was. This sent me into a bit of a dilemma ‘was I so quick that she thought that I wasn’t thorough’. Maybe I should have asked and really what I did there was withhold…..which is to think something and then not say it. I do that a lot and I think it’s about not wanting to look bad. Holding back saying something is usually a looking good thing or not wanting to upset someone but it’s inauthentic and instead of the energy once again flowing after I said that, it gets stuck in the withhold and hangs around like it is doing on this blog. I am aware that withholding communication is something I do rather a lot.!!
I then started to write a feature. I was given a book that a man has written and asked to read it and think about how to put together a feature on the book and the author. So tomorrow I'm going to be able to do one of the pieces that I need for my portfolio and I am so excited about it.....

Sunday, 15 February 2009

I haven't written for a while....and the truth is...that I'm having to rein in my self-expression

What I am finding out on this journalism course is how careful I have to be with what I write. I was under the impression that this blog of me making assertions that I never claim to be the truth would not land me in hot legal water. It seems that this is not true and that full self-expression is confined to the land of Utopia. This insight has made me pull in the reins of my self-expression and it has also made me angry that I am not free to write what I like. As many of you who are reading this blog on a regular basis know, I have been writing it for almost 4 years. It's purpose is to be a record of what I am calling a spiritual journey. The spiritual journey is predominantly about the challenges and tensions of identity/ego versus possibility/soul. This is a journey that is about the transformation of human to spiritual. It's very nature is such that it deals with the dynamics of how the human identity has been put together and the lengths it will go to to survive and play small. As it is my spiritual blog I speak about this tension as it occurs for me and the circumstances in which it occurs. These incidents do not happen half-way up a mountain where I am the only species of homo sapiens. No, I have chosen to have this spiritual journey in the midst of life and not away from it.

Given this, I write about events as they occur and my reaction and analysis to them. I never mean to be offensive and if I inadvertently am will not hesitate to issue an apology. I have always said that what I write is just my view or opinion and is not the truth. I don't plagiarise in that I always acknowledge where I get the insights that I write about so that I continue to be in integrity and authentic. But in spite of all of this the dire warnings that 1 of our lecturers gave to us a couple of weeks ago has made me re-consider how best to continue this blog for the future. One way out of this would be to close the blog down and re-start it under a fictitious name, but to me is this is not honest. I don't want to hide who I am and play safe because it is easy. Yet on the other hand I really don't want to land myself in legalese. The compromise that I am going to try out is not to name anybody and to distort the events that I write about so that they are unrecognisable. This still doesn't fit very comfortably with me but I am loathe to close down this blog and start here goes.

Life since I have begun this course has just opened up and explanded in ways I never dreamed possible. This weekend contained the like-it, or loathe it V day. A day when those who are loved feel even more loved and those who are lonely even more lonely. I had a team meeting on Friday night and drove to London. I called my good friend to ask if I could use his computer given that I had left mine in Brighton. I thought that my V day would be spent in my flat doing the final cleaning required before the new tenants took over today. To my surprise my friend invited me to a dinner party that a friend of him (who I also knew) was giving. This was totally unexpected and delightful. It was strange again returning again to the flat that had been home for so many years. Once again on Saturday morning I found myself in that black space and I suddenly realised that it was because I missed Brighton. Far from thinking that I have made a mistake doing what I am doing I realised that it was being back in London that was creating these feelings. I missed the sea, I missed Brighton.

I called to my friend and after collecting another friend we drove to where the evening was being held. I've noticed such an ease and a peace around myself. We walked in and I didn't feel any tension and awkwardness, I was completely relaxed and at home. We opened a bottle of champagne and it was so lovely. I had a thought that I was never this happy and relaxed while I was working in the job that I was working in...why was that....Had it something to do with not having any integrity in that job. I wondered then if it's true that if integrity is out in one area of life then it's out in every area. Since I made the choice to re-train for a career that in my world has integrity given who and what I say I am opportunities seem to be coming up everywhere. I spoke openly and honestly about my book and the process I went through to having it published. Hearing myself speak I realised that I had never had such full free and passionate self-expression. Then came the ultimate moment for me. My friend had brought a couple of magazines and he started to flick through the pages. I immediately remembered what I had learned about the design of magazines and suddenly I was in full flow about the front of the magazine and what the different panels were designed to do. In that conversation I had the experience of being authentic and present and it was very powerful.

I am clear that I didn't have any of this while I worked in a job which didn't bring out my strengths. I did it to the best of my ability but I knew that I didn't have integrity. With this course I have huge integrity. I'm determined to do everything I can to get the qualification at the end of the course. I had an interesting experience on Friday night when there were elections for various positions of leadership. One of these positions is Integrity accountable. This involves making sure that team members keep their promises. I consider myself to be integrity guru or maybe integrity rottveiler might be more honest, and I was fully confident standing up. I was sure that those members of team that were at the meeting would see me as the next natural integrity accountable. I stood up with 3 others and said from the heart who I would be for the members of Team if I was privileged to have this accountability. We were asked to state who Team is for us. As I tried to compose something I suddenly lost my self-expression and became tongue-tied. I realised with a mounting sense of horror that I don't really know what or who Team is for me. I don't know this because I am not playing as a team, but small separate and alone. This playing small, separate and alone is nothing more than my identity asserting itself and until it is distinguished it operates unfettered.

I suddenly saw this and the impact on me of not being connected to Team and the hypocrisy of me then writing lyrically about all of us being connected without any separation and yet my way of behaving around members of team was showing the direct opposite. This was a very sobering moment for me on Friday night. This is my final few months of this programme and even though I do not have a leadership role my commitment is to being related and connected to every person on the programme by the time it finishes in May....... As I wrote that I could feel my identity go into orbit with such thoughts like 'yeah right, let's see about that'. I have learned that whenever I feel resistance to something that this is the work of the identity. Possibility never has resistance just the excitement that comes with growing and expanding. This is why it is so important to feel the resistance and do whatever it is one was going to do. As Susan Jeffers says 'feel the fear and do it anywhere'. On the other side of fear is freedom.

So hopefully there's nothing in this blog entry that will cause offense....I really don't like to have to monitor and censor myself in a new way. By doing this it becomes all about my survival and not about being the stand to make a difference by being bold and taking the risk of upsetting other identities for what is possible......I'm going to have to think some more on this......

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

To be OK with a worst case to live a life of freedom....

I had my first tutorial today. The purpose was to discuss the 6 feature articles I have to write as part of my journalism portfolio. I experienced the cold, clammy hand of fear as I realised that I don't have a bank of contacts that I can call on for a feature article. One feature has to be an interview with someone of newsworthy quality, another is a analysis feature and another has to be a feature written for B2B or trade magazine. After the tutorial I felt a little deflated at the thought of how much I have to do with everything and how little time I have to do it. I needed to go into WH Smith to get some folders to organise all of the handouts and notes that I am accumulating. There is a free bus that transports the students from my campus on Wilson Avenue to the main campus in the centre of Brighton. The bus driver has to be the friendliest most friendly man I have ever met. He has yet to meet us students being in a bad mood or short or curt with any of us. This is so admirable because he must see so many students come and go and you would think that he would get to the stage where he couldn't be bothered being friendly and helpful but not this man.

This evening he asked me where I was going. I explained that I needed to get to WH Smith. He then said it's late so what I will do after I leave the students off I'll drive as close to WH Smith as I can. This will save you time'. I was speechless at his generosity. I didn't know what to say. He dropped me off with a cheery 'have a great evening and see you tomorrow'. Brighton seems to be filled with people like this man. Every person I have spoken to since I have moved down here have been nothing but friendly and helpful. However I also know that people are to me the way that I am to them. I love people and I will always look to their greatness and I think people feel this when they are around me. I guess I am so aware of the inner conflict between the identity and the soul that I have huge compassion for the human condition.

I went into WH Smith and got all the stuff that I needed and I felt a bit more organised. Then I saw a bus that would take me home and I got on it. A little on into the journey a passenger tried to get off but the bus driver didn't see. This resulted in a barrage of abuse from the passenger to the bus driver which has been the first aggressive event I have seen since I have been here. I had a fleeting thought about getting a story by following the guy who got off the bus but then thought better of it and kept my ass on the seat. The bus trundled on and I suddenly had an idea for a feature which has really excited me. One of the guys on the course is a photographer and he is doing the course so that he can submit photos and copy for stories. He was talking today about taking photos of a yogi who is on Brighton beach every day in all weathers. When he was talking I didn't think of taking it any further. Sitting quietly on the bus I remembered this conversation and I am going to have a chat with him tomorrow about him either taking more photos of this yogi, or the possibility of me using the photos he already has to write my feature which would include an interview.

Elated and happy I let myself into my home here. A couple of days I managed a few words with the daughter and it was lovely. This evening there wasn't that connection which I was a little sad about because her mum told me that she wants to be a writer and I would like to contribute something to her. When I came into my room I saw that I had a new sky box sitting on top of the TV. I couldn't believe this. Earlier in the week I had said that I needed to have access to the news for my course. I hadn't thought anymore about it and then this evening, there is the sky box. Then my heart sank as I saw how she would have seen all of of the electrical sockets I had with printer, computer, phone charger, CD system. I had been given 2 sockets but had brought with me additional leads. The result was that I had so many gadgets plugged in. This is a family who turns off every switch and light when they are not in use. I had everything continuously plugged in. When I realised this, I went somewhere in that I thought 'she is not going to like this and I am going to be asked to leave'. As I had this thought I experienced a moment of panic as I had a flashback of all of the stuff that I have here'. Then I thought 'there's storage units around here, I have seen the adverts' I can put most of the stuff that I have here into storage and use my car to move the most essential of things. Once I had faced this possibility I relaxed and went and had a shower.

After a while I heard activity downstairs. I was here sorting out my files when there was a knock on my door. It was the woman of the house. She came in with a big smile saying that there would be news at ten o'clock. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I had psyched myself up for a conversation which would result in me having to leave and find somewhere else to live and the truth was that she was concerned that I have what I need to do my course. I get that at some level as a result of the training I am doing in creating the life I want to have that I am making this happen. This woman was so apologetic for coming into the room and bringing the man from sky in also. She was at pains to explain that she came in with him and hadn't left him alone here. I'm sure I was so open-mouthed as she was speaking, I just couldn't take in such generosity to me. I was so overwhelmed. I wonder if I hadn't faced the possibility that I might have to leave whether the outcome would have been the same. By facing up to the worst case scenario and being able to accept it I took away the fear of the situation.

I thanked her warmly and sincerely and I felt a kind of helplessness as to how I could repay such kindness. Last week they sorted out the wireless connection for me which I have most evenings. So I am writing this blog with a huge feeling of relief and also a deep gratitude to the benevolence of the force that is working in harmony with me to begin to create a most magical life. Whenever things like this happen I always take a moment out to thank a force that is bigger than me. I understand that I am co-creating with this force. The power comes because I am conscious of this. Consciousness increases power. I think that this is the secret to having a magical, amazing a creator not a competitor. To create is to be in harmony with this force whose ultimate nature is creation and not competition. It is not competition because there is enough for everyone so what is the point of being competitive. The illusion is that there isn't enough. This is the maya of illusion and deluision and is why it is so important to focus on the reality of abundance and creation and not the appearance of scarcity and competition.

I think that there is some guy who might fancy me at college. He is not on the same course as me but we met going back into town on the bus. Today I was sitting in the foyer having a cup of coffee when he came up for a chat. Then this evening when I was walking out for the bus he was also leaving. When we got to the bus it was full and we had to wait for the next one. He said he was going to ask around for people who wanted to go for a drink over the weekend. I explained that I was going to be in London for my team meeting for the team mangement programme which I spoke to him about. It was interesting because he told me that he is drifting being a guitarist who writes his own music but that he hasn't been successful with it. I told him about what is possible from doing the Landmark Forum in terms of getting an access into a blind spot which is resulting in me having this story around what he can achieve. I get so excited when I see the possibility of someone being able to break away from the ropes that are invisible but bind us so strongly. They bind and rob us of our potential and my stand is that no-one is robbed off their potential which is why I will always speak about the power of this training when I hear someone about to give up on their dream. I won't let this happen. To do this would be to sell out on my promise or being the space where people gain an access to what it is that is blocking them.

We got on the bus but didn't speak. At the college he got off the bus and waited on the pavement. I watched him waiting there thinking 'what is he waiting for'. It was only when the bus pulled off and he waved at me that I realised 'he was waiting for me to get off the bus'. I didn't really know what to do with that thought only think 'something of what I said to him must have been inspiring enough for him to hang around thinking I was also getting off the bus. I don't know if anything is going to come of this because I still have feelings for the guy from the gym but we had an straight conversation before I left where he said that he couldn't promise me anything. In return I said I understood but that I wasn't going to be a nun. He understood and didn't ask me not to. I think it's just a nice feeling at the moment to have the great connection I have with most people at the moment. The only exception to this is the woman on the course. There seems to be an element of competition between us which I can't really explain or understand. She's much better than me at the shorthand and has also more contacts in the journalism world so I don't understand the underhand comments and snipes that I am getting.

If I am to get spiritual about I might assert that her ego senses that there is something different from me that is a threat to her and so her ego/identity lashes out. I don't know this to be true it is something I feel. Even though she snipes tomorrow she will come and sit at the same desk as me for the shorthand that we have early tomorrow morning.

So that's it for me for today. I went through a lot of spaces this evening but at the end of today in fact since I started this course I feel more alive and happy than I have done for months. The happiness that comes from being authentic about who and what I am.

Monday, 9 February 2009

The satisfaction....of being authentic

This is going to be a short entry because I had no Internet last night and was up this morning early to do my shorthand. Yesterday I wrote my first assessed feature piece. It was on first impression of city life. At one point I was stuck for a word and looked out of the window and then the perfect word came to me. So different to how it was when I was at work. I could be searching and often was for ages for the correct figure to come to me or how to write a report professionally. Yesterday it all came so easy to me. I finished my feature to word count and within the time deadline the tutor gave to us. I left college yesterday and in spite of the pouring rain was so happy at finally being authentic in how I am going to make a living in the future.

Lectures finished late yesterday and the result was that for the first time this quarter I had to give my apologies for a conference call for Team management programme I am on. This felt strange and I was aware that I missed the sharing of who we have been being this week, that there has been nobody interested in registering to do the communication curriculum. I recognise that it is not about registrations but about having transformed communication in the world. Communication that is based on responsibility, integrity and generosity and not on fixing or surviving. Communication for the vast majority of people is based on surviving and fixing but there is something else available. I know that my ability to deal with everything that is going on right now is down to the skills I am being trained to develop on this programme. I know what I was before I started this training and I know what I am now and one is not recognisable to the other. People say to me 'you would have got there without this training' and I can't doubt that this could be true. However the fact is that I will never know this. So while I can't say this for certain I will give credit to the training I am currently doing for transforming me to be the best that I can be in every area of life and in the process my stand is for everyone to have it all with freedom, ease and fun. This is what is showing up for me at the moment and I am creating it to be the clearing I am so that those who are with me for any length of time experience this.

So this morning I have 2 hours of shorthand. I am working hard at it because I know that I am a good writer and by having 100wpm in shorthand I will be a phenomenal journalist. I am also learning the skills for sub-editing and proof reading which I also enjoy so I am confident that at the end of this course that I will be able to land work as a freelance journalist in the mind of body, mind and spirit.

When I returned to London I called the man who has promised to review my book. I hadn't received the copy when he had promised it to me so I called him up. This is my new assertiveness as a journalist to ask him how it was going. He was friendly and explained that because of the snow that he was behind deadline but that he was still writing it and going to recommend the book as the book of the month. He said that he was reading it for the 2nd time. My publisher is talking about doing a 2nd print run which is a surprise to me because the sales haven't been great which is to be expected given the current economic climate.

There is one girl on the course who is into meditation and things alternative. I have often found that it is people like this who are most of a challenge to me. The people I have met who consider themselves to be experts in this field have had what I call a superiority complex and tend to speak down to me. Yesterday at coffee we got speaking about the Kundalini energy which is the eastern name given to the dormant energy that lies at the base of the spine. It is used a lot in Tantra yoga. This woman is a Reiki healer and so I was interested in her experiences of working with this energy. Her attitude to it was so dismissive 'yes, she has done Kundalini yoga, but it's not that powerful'. I couldn't believe what I was hearing 'not powerful, the most transformative energy that the human body houses, not powerful, it is the energy that shifts consciousness from the human to the spiritual. Life is never the same when this energy chooses to move from the base of the spine, up through the spinal cord, directly up, not through any of the side nerves, to the brain and then descends to rest in the heart. The result is a total and complete spiritual awakening where everything that the sages and mystics have written and spoken about through the ages becomes not only known but also experienced.

I was amazed at how well I was able to respond to this comment about the lack of power of Kundalini. I kept very calm and explained about the movement of the energy through the 7 chakras as it makes it way to the crown of the head. I explained that the 3 lower chakras comprise the human and it is energy blockages in these that prevent the Kundalini from rising. But even as I was speaking I saw her eyes glaze over and it was obvious that anything I had to say was above her and her knowledge. And yet, with all of her experience of being a Reiki and Karuna healing and burning sage and candles she has not the zest and enthusiasm for life. It's like her resignation comes from a place of being jaded and tired and not excited and renewed like I appear to the world every morning. This contrast from many I know that purport to be spiritual and follow a spiritual world is why I don't associate myself with spiritual people. I'm not claiming to be any better but just that it requires so much vigilance when the consciousness experiences the first awakening. Most people I would assert who claim themselves spiritual or are working in alternative therapies have had an experience that has urged them into the field.

From that first experience it takes something to acknowledge it, love it, but then let it go and realise that it was an awakening, an expansion of consciousness that doesn't make the person better or more special than anyone else. This is something the man who is doing the review said to me. He said 'It is amazing that you are as grounded as you are given everything that has happened to you'. I thank the Buddhist idea of the witness that I can be this way today. The witness watches everything that is happening like it is happening to someone else and doesn't get involved. Gradually the experiences become integrated into the raised level of consciousness and life returns to normal yet never the same way again.......

Now...I'm off to do some grounded shorthand....

Sunday, 8 February 2009

How strange it was.....being back in London

I conquered another fear of mine this evening which was driving from London to Brighton. I can't claim all the credit however because I had a sat nav which after my journey down here is my dearest friend now. I bought it in the sale in Halfords in January but hadn't used it so when I took it out of its pristine case outside my house in London and tried to key in where I wanted to go it started flashing with different screens which had everything I just didn't want. Eventually I managed to find the screen I wanted and typed in the post-code, hurrah, I recognised my address in Brighton. Buoyed up with the greatness of my achievement I set off down my road. As I approached the bottom of the road I thought to myself I'm sure there's meant to be another voice besides me and the radio in this car. But there was nothing only an arrow telling me to turn left. I experienced a couple of seconds of blind panic as I thought that I needed to hear directions and then realised that I didn't really. Yet it bugged me because I've been in cars that have sat nav and I know they speak.

I set off driving and also playing around with the screen which wasn't very clever. But then I saw an option to 'change preferences'. I hit this and to my delight saw an option' turn sound on'..reesult....I hit the option and immediately the dulcet tones of a woman came into my car with a direction. Happy beyond words I set off for Brighton.

Before I continue writing I want to clear up that I promised I would write this blog on Saturday and I didn't. I started in an internet cafe on Saturday before going to training but just as I started to write my mobile phone rang and I saw that it was my good friend. At that moment I had a choice. I could have continued writing my blog and being true to my word but I chose to take the call from my friend. The impact of me doing this was that I wasn't powerful in the conversation in that I had stood for Team 1 team leader on Friday night and hadn't been successful and so my way of being on the call was 'woe is me and life is horrible' which is not who I am. The impact of taking the call and speaking about it made it more real than if I had just written about it in this blog. What I have learned from this is the power of keeping my word in order to keep myself in a place of power. I learned a good lesson from this and from now on it is my word that is going to come before my feelings. Feelings come and go. They are not who I am, my Word is who I am. I used to say when I was younger, 'if you don't have a word, you have nothing' It's something that I have always felt strongly about and I don't know where it came from. I had this way before I started any of the training with Landmark Education. The training has just made it stronger. I know from meditation that I am not my thoughts or feelings because they come and go so I can't rely on them for stability or permanence. But I can rely always and ever on my word and doing what I said I would do, when I said I would do it, or else getting in contact with whoever I have given my word to the moment I realise that I'm not going to be able to keep it.

This has nothing to do with right or wrong. When I don't keep my word it is not wrong it just robs me of power. I didn't keep my word to write my blog and the result was a loss of power for me in the conversation with my friend. I completed my training which was all about 'being a stand for something' and what that means. We spoke about people who were 'stands' for things like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and what that meant in terms of the lives that they lived. I spoke about the experience I had on the very first evening of the introductory Buddhist course I went on when I learned about the Buddhist concept of the Bodhissatva. This is someone who understands the nature of suffering and can relieve the suffering of others but who chooses not to leave this world until everyone is free of suffering. When I first heard this, I was gripped by the most intense desire to be this. It's hard to put words on the strength of that grip. In that moment of hearing this, there was nothing else but that burning desire, my consciousness was gripped and I felt something shift. This to me is being a stand. However, what I am learning is that being a stand doesn't necessarily bring about the opportunities or events which make it possible to realise that stand. To make the stand a reality in the physical world.

I spoke about the power of that moment and how I have never experienced it since. I learned that being a stand brings with it resistance and it is not easy. To be a stand is to experience being stopped but the tragedy is not being stopped this is normal, but to give up on the stand. I came away from the training having connected once again with this stand and with a determination to be this stand for everyone all the time. I promised that I would begin to declare this stand, and how it will show itself is that I will the space for everyone including me to be the best that they can be. When we experience being the best that we can be there is no suffering, only total fulfillment and joy. In this way my stand becomes a reality and not just some fancy words on a page.

I was so pleased that I had opted for this voluntary training because I had returned to London and had been feeling low. After not being elected as Team 1 Team leader I returned to my flat which was cold and lonely. I was so lucky in that one person had said she would stay with me after the team meeting so that I didn't go back there alone. I was so touched with this unexpected gesture of support. It always seems like there is someone to take away my suffering. After the classroom we went to the pub and I so needed a drink and I had a glass of lager. It got so late that we missed the last train and had to walk quite a long way. By the time we got back to my flat it was the early hours of the morning. I was so glad to have her there when I walked in and it was so bare and cold. We went to bed and the next morning for some inexplicable reason I felt so low. I didn't want to get out of bed. She came into the room to see how I was and I started to cry about how uncertain I was about everything. I realised that not getting the position of team leader had had a big impact on me. I had wanted it because of the powerful training I would have got on my last quarter of the programme. And also for how I could have been a powerful contribution to everyone on Team. But I accept that I haven't showed up as powerful for Team which is why I was not elected.

My friend was brilliant. She shared about how she had done something similar to me 3 years ago but she had done everything on her own and was committed that I wouldn't have to go through the same thing. She was with me to clean the flat to have it spotless and gorgeous for the new tenants who are moving in next weekend. She had to leave early to do an agreement and after she left I lay in bed motionless, just looking out of the window. I called my friend who has recently adopted a baby and listened to how happy she was. I recognised that I was in a dark place and didn't know how to get out of it. Eventually I forced myself to shower and get dressed and then I felt better. I sat at the table and did some shorthand and then went to the internet cafe to write my blog before the training. I've already spoken about what displaced my word to write my blog.

I'm also part of a cast rehearsing a play which is based on the distinctions of the communication curriculum and some of last week was spent learning my lines. The play is the Wizard of Oz and I am either playing Dorothy or the Wicked witch. Rehearsing for this lifted me out of the dark place where I was. Then came the training so that by the end of the day I was once again back in power and creating the life that I want to have. I picked up my friend after her agreement and explained the dark place I had been in. She said that she had seen it and thought that when she left me earlier that morning that she had left a 4 year old child in the flat, such was my level of distress and uncertainty. What I realise had happened was that I allowed my identity with its point of view, 'I'm not loved, I'm alone' to run the show. When identity runs the show there is no space for creation. From late Friday evening to mid-day on Saturday I allowed my identity to completely run the show and the impact on me was a complete and utter loss of power. I see all of this so clearly now and what I am committed to is to using every ounce of willpower to pull myself out of it and to generate and create what it is I am up for every time. Staying in a disempowering point of view or an empowering context is nothing else but a choice. I choose to either be in my identity or my possibility. I cannot be in both at once.

Afterwards we went for an Indian meal and both of us relaxed and chatted about what we are going to create for the next few months. I had some champagne which had been given to me as a present and so we had a glass of that and then went to bed. Early Sunday morning she called me to get up to clean the flat and what a cleaning fest we had. I hated every moment of it because cleaning is not my thing. To me it is a total waste of time that could be spent reading, writing but I saw the impact of this on how much cleaning the flat needed to be presentable. I wondered what is it about having spiritual/mystical experiences that shifts the consciousness, at least in my case, so that it is the inner life and not the outer life that becomes most important and interesting. After my first experience of energy rising from the base of my spine my consciousness shifted so that external things weren't important. Yet the spiritual like everything else requires balance to stay grounded and I recognise that when it came to spending time cleaning I didn't have this balance. How I envy women when they say 'I love cleaning, I find it therapeutic'...aagh..I find it the most awful waste of time and when I have done it in the past I've never seen any difference. So not only do I despise cleaning, I'm also useless at it. My mother has often said to me 'I wish I could be like you, you don't even see the dirt!'

Flat spotless we went for lunch and then she went for her train. I couldn't believe that this woman who I have only known for the last 4 months would give up her entire weekend to help me clean my flat. It was such a strange experience to have someone who was such a support to me without there being anything in it for her, only the memory of what it was like doing it alone and her not wanting me to go through that. I was so touched and still am as I write this. When the universe gives me such gifts I get angry at myself that I allow my identity to rob me of power by presenting thoughts that are neither positive or powerful. No thought is true but we allow it to act like it is and then to dictate and dominate our feelings and responses. I am reminded again about the insight that Bryon Katie has around thoughts and how they make us feel when she says 'who would you be without that thought'?

I returned to my flat to finish up the last few bits and pieces and then headed off driving to Brighton. I started off a little wary of my new little gadget but when when I got lost around a roundabout and it brought me safely back in u-like turn I surrendered and put complete trust in it and the result was that I returned here to a quiet house in Brighton with freedom and ease. I came upstairs and connected to the internet where I am writing this very long blog which brings me up to date for tomorrow Monday morning. Now I have to do 1 hour of shorthand which I have promised myself....Tomorrow will the first day of a full week of college......I wonder what it will bring.....

Thursday, 5 February 2009

So tired tonight....I can hardly write....

I had a full day at college today. It was raining this morning and the one thing I forgot to bring with me from London was an umbrella so I got absolutely soaked. I was only grateful that yesterday when I didn't know the way to the college the weather was sunny and dry. Knowing how to get to college made the rain a bit more bearable. I arrived early and went into the Learning Resource Centre to sort out my username and password for the computer. Typical of me...put in the username and password that I have been given and nada! I looked around me at what seemed to be no older than 19 year old students flying on their computers and thought 'oh no, here we go again' but then thought 'no, create that you are going to get this sorted before class starts'. I got up from my chair and went out to reception. There was a really lovely lady who left reception and came back into the room with me to sort out the computer. I really can't get over how kind and helpful everyone here is to me.

The day started with 2 hours of shorthand. In the past I have found this difficult to read back so I had started doing some work ahead of the course to keep myself up to speed. To my frustration when the tutor was walking around looking at us doing our outlines she said 'a little too big Margaret'...aagh...this brought back memories of when I first started to learn shorthand so many years ago and the teacher then had said exactly the same thing. Unbelievable that there's been no change since then. But I was so alright with it. I just looked at the outlines that my colleague beside me had done and made mine smaller. We broke for lunch and went down to the refectory and I was amazed at how easy I found conversation with everyone. I wasn't in the least self-conscious, just totally relaxed.

In the afternoon we had a lecture on magazine design and production. The tutor asked each of us to introduce ourselves and to say what we want to get from the course. I said that I wanted to have my own magazine in the mind, body spirit field. It turns out that he had his own magazine and it was the hardest time of his professional career. He was so against it and said that it was the most riskiest business. I felt deflated after hearing this but then picked myself up because it is not something that is going to happen immediately. The requirements from the production and design part of this course are going to be demanding in that I have to produce a double page spread which is professionally written, laid out, sub-edited and illustrated using a design software package. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he told us this. Design and layout is really not my thing. I am a writer I felt like saying, why do I need to know about production and design. But I understand that it is important to understand design and if I can't get a job immediately freelance or on a magazine then I could do some sub-editing work if I pass the exams and continuous assessment.

At about 4pm I started to get so tired. I felt envious when one of the girls said how she was going to have a massage when the course finished. I thought to myself 'I could so do with that as well' but then reconsidered and thought 'no, I actually am OK', feeling overwhelmed with everything and then thinking about getting to London for the classroom tomorrow evening and the training on Saturday but also amazed at how well able I am to cope with it all. I'm still going to stand for an accountable position tomorrow evening. It will be good experience for me if nothing else. I have also found that I am thinking more about how to create the most dream life for myself here in Brighton. I am clear that making promises to do things and following through on those promises is the way to have an amazing and magical life. I have found that since I have started being rigorous with myself and scheduling in times when I'm going to do things that life has an ease and a simplicity which it didn't have before. Now I can handle 'overwhelm' by breaking down everything I have to do into specific tasks and scheduling them in my organiser. I find that this works well for me.

So I am so shattered now....that I can barely write so I'm going to sign off for this evening....I'm not bringing my laptop to London so my promise is to find an internet cafe and write on Saturday about what happens on Friday night......

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

I finally.....started college

Yesterday dawned bright and sunny in Brighton and I got myself ready early to go to college. I was looking forward to having a day totally away from the family because I had my agreement in London to go to. This meant that it would be late this eveningwhen I returned. I showered and went downstairs to have my breakfast. The father and daughter had gone. The former to work and the latter to school. The mum and younger son was downstairs at the table. I made some tea and toast and went into the room to join them. The mum was reading a magazine so I just said 'good morning' and proceeded to eat my toast. After a couple of minutes she asked me if I was excited about starting my first day at college. I replied honestly 'yes'

I put my breakfast things in the dishwasher and went upstairs to get my stuff. On the bus I sat next to a woman who told me that she lived alone now that her husband was dead and her children had moved away. I sensed that she was lonely and so asked her a lot about her life in Brighton. She really opened up. The more I repeated to her what she was saying so that she knew that I was listening the more expressive and vibrant she became, it was a joy to see. She told me the stop to get off for the college and when the stop came thanked me for making her morning and for taking the time to speak to her. She shouldn't have to thank me, to communicate is what we were put on this earth to do as humans. A lot of misery and loneliness comes from our refusal to communicate with each other.

I found the road to the college and walked up the long road. At one point I looked behind me and the sea was there shimmering in its beauty and brilliance. I arrived at the college early and sat on one of the seats. Thenthe girl who I had met when I came to do the interview arrived and it was great to see her. I spoke about my dream of having meditation classes here in Brighton and then eventually my own magazine and she was also up for this as well. She told me that she had a lot of contacts in Brighton in the mind, body, spirit world that she would be willing to share with me.

The tutor came to get us. I looked around and between the people being trained to write news and magazines there must be about 30 of us. I noticed that an older lady who had also been at the interview wasn't there so concluded looking around me 'I am the oldest here'. That thought filled me with a mixture of excitement and anticipation. I'm not going to pretend to be younger than I am. I am going to trade on my years of maturity and expertise and declare to people that my passion is the spiritual and inspiring others to get in touch with their inner spiritual life - firstly through meditation and then through mindfulness, reading, studying, observing.

The tutors didn't hide how intense this course is going to be and what it is going to demand of us to get the NCTJ qualification, To my horror I saw that the first week first experience placement is the week that I am going to Amsterdam to start my final quarter of the Team Management and Leadership Programme with Landmark. Given that I have declared that I am going to stand for an accountability it is vital that I am there. I will have a conversation with the tutor today and see what can be arranged. It may be that I can submit articles remotely over the last week. This would make up for losing the Friday.

Even though we were given lots of papers and I felt overwhelmed with everything and all I have to do in a short space of time I also felt 'yes, this is really where I want to be'. The course is structured and supported in that there is continuous assessment and involvement via tutorials with the tutors so I know that I'm not going to be left alone and unsupported. It was a short day and afterwards I was speaking with someone on the course. We got chatting about the area in which we would like to write in and I said that I wanted to write for mind, body and spirit. She then opened up about how she has tried to meditate but finds it so difficult. I was amazed at the ease by which I could answer this. Before I would have got stuck on finding the right thing to say now I just said 'wherever you are and whatever is happening is exactly right for you, there is no where to get to, just sit'. I felt so uplifted and happy.

I waited for the bus to take me into town to get my student card and also the train ticket to take me to London for my agreement. I was waiting there at the bus stop when this man said to me' I will get you on the bus with this ticket, it is for my wife'. I was immediately moved and tempted and then thought 'no, this has no integrity, it is dishonest'. So I thanked him warmly and explained that it wasn't a powerful thing for me to do, to use the card when it wasn't my picture that was on it'. He got upset and tried to tell me that he was only trying to save me some money. I explained that I understood that and was grateful but it was something that I couldn't do. Yet I was really moved but what I saw as the continued support from the universe came through to me from this gentle Soul.

I got into Brighton and went to buy my ticket to London. I was interested to see whether by me finally being in integrity whether this would make the 3 hour agreements any more enjoyable. I got my student card which entitles me to cheaper bus travel and bought my ticket to London. On the train I read most of the handouts I had been given earlier at the course. I arrived into Victoria early and was immediately hit by the throng of people and the atmosphere of rush and business. I centered myself in the midst of all of it and made my way to the Victoria line that would take me to Euston. I got to the centre to do my agreement with 10 mins to spare and with such freedom and ease.

The agreement was the best one I have had to date in that the way I was sharing my life and what I am going to create and how alive I feel now, resulted in a lady registering to do the communication - Power to Create course. It is not the registration but the fact that what I said inspired her to see what is possible for herself and her own life. Like me she has had a book nearly ready to be published but there is something stopping her from taking that final step. My sharing of how I had a breakthrough into the control that was stopping me from publishing my book, gave her an access to something different that she didn't have before. I was so happy. I had put the theory that without integrity nothing works, and it has been effective. While I was in a job that I had no integrity in nothing else was shifting. Integrity out in one area, means that it is out in every area. This is something that I truly hadn't taken on.

I returned to a wet Brighton happy and excited. However when I went to catch a bus to Saltdean they had all stopped running. I didn't want to because of money, but I had no option but to take a taxi. The taxi driver was so friendly and told me that he was going to London to do a Masters and PhD in social psychology. We had a great conversation about meditation and its benefits. I let myself into a quiet and dark house.

Today I have a full day as lectures start at 10am and don't finish until 6pm, then I have committed myself to at least 2 hours of shorthand each day so that I don't fall behind. The shorthand teacher appears to be a down to earth, no nonsense type of lady who I should get on well with given my possibility of straight communication with freedom and ease. This is definitely what is showing up for me. I can be straight in what I say without people feeling that I am making them wrong which is what used to happen in the past. My ability now to speak without having any concerns and to be a stand for what is possible is resulting in me having fantastic conversations with everyone.

So now it's time to have a shower, breakfast and get myself out to college......I still can't believe that I am back at college having finished in I going backwards....but I have never felt so alive and excited about what the future is going to hold. I understand that there are going to be tough times especially with technology which I am not that brilliant on using. But I also know that if I open my mouth and request some support that it will be forthcoming. I'm no longer playing small, separate and alone.....and that feels so good......

Monday, 2 February 2009

The agony and ecstasy....of snow bound Brighton

Last night I watched The Secret and wondered for the umpteenth time what is it that these people have access to. It lifted my spirits no end and afterwards I did an hour of meditation. I went to bed feeling happier and more positive. This morning I got up when my alarm went at 5.30am and looked out of my window, there was nothing but white. I dimly wondered how I was going to get to the college to start my first day of my journalism course. I took out my meditation stool and my shawl and settled down to do 45 mins of meditation. I found that the time went by so fast and I felt so calm and relaxed when I had finished.

I then did some shorthand because I am determined to get my 100 wpm at the end of this course. Once I start the shorthand I can stay at it for hours, practicing outlines. I can get a bit obsessive about it. I recognise that and it reminded me of a comment my friend in London made when we went out for a farewell drink before I left London. He commented on my obsessive nature and how it shows itself in relation to the training I am doing with Landmark. In keeping with this obsession I am standing as Team 1 Team leader at the elections on Friday night. The very act of me standing for such a position will be an amazing achievement for me in that I have never put myself in a position where I can be rejected. It will be a great growth expanding opportunity for me to be just as OK with no as yes. As it is my final quarter I want to give it everything I've got. I wonder if my choice to leave my work and be in integrity is so that I can be the most effective that I can be for this my last quarter.

Already I have noticed that I have a different way of relating to people. I seem to be able to see possibilities and options that I didn't see before. Also what is happening is that others from the programme are calling me to ask for my views on things that are happening in their lives, this hasn't happened before. It's like on this my final quarter I want to be the very best and most effective that I can be. To be chosen as Team 1 team leader would give me access to amazingly powerful training in leadership and this is what I want more than anything. I will give it everything I've got on Friday and create having the position at the end of the classroom on Friday night. I am aware though that I haven't stepped up and been all that I could have been and that could very well go against me, in that lots of people on the programme do not really know me. But we shall see. This programme is all about declaring that something is going to be and then taking the steps to make it happen.

I watched the snow falling for most of the day today and then in the late afternoon went out for a walk. I walked through the park and the whiteness and freshness was just beautiful. There were lots of children on make-shift sledges having fun sliding down the hill and it was lovely to watch. I went to my little cafe and the guys in there recognised me and had a cheery hello. I ordered a coffee and sat down at the table nearest to the window. The sea was so calm and green and the sky without anything happening in it. I was struck by the stillness everywhere. The stillness of the sea and the sky stilled the turbulence that was in my mind because of not starting college and the impact of this on me. I stayed there until the cafe closed and then went for a walk under the shelter of majestic white cliffs which shielded me from the wind and sleet. At one point walking along I found myself singing 'how great thou art' and feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude to have the privilege to be walking where I am and seeing the sights I am seeing.

I returned home and the husband told me that he was unable to do anything with the wireless connection which was in danger of stressing me anew. For some reason now it is reconnected but then goes off and I can't get it again. This is by far the most stressful part of this move. The family are getting used to me but I know that it's not that easy for them. I don't know if I want to stay here for the entire 4 months of the course. I am going to create finding my dream apartment with spectacular sea views. I will watch The Secret so many times that it will manifest.

I sent an email to the course tutor to ask when the course is going to start and he says that it's likely to be Wednesday so another day tomorrow. I will not stay here for most of the day tomorrow like I did today.....