The 3 Best Things in Life

As I try to write this, one of the best things in life is currently sitting his black furry bottom directly in front of my screen. Make me the No. 1 Bestest Thing Ever, says Sid. Okay, no problem. I definitely believe that cats are God’s best invention. I was trying to do my end of year tax return this week, and Felicity insisted on sitting on my knee, which meant that I had to type with one hand while the other hand stopped her from slipping off. I have to say Knee Cats should be part of every stressed office. It would bring down the nation’s blood pressure by ten points per session. Health Minister (whoever you are – I don’t watch the news) take note! There was a psychiatrist called David Hawkins who used kinesiology to measure the vibrational level of various feelings and states. Love was measured at 500 out of 1000, and a cat’s purr was at 540. So there you go. Scientific proof that cats are good for you! The second most wonderful invention in life is the book. I love books. Just today I went into yet another wormhole of a different space-time continuum (“I’l just pop into the library for 5 minutes to collect a reserve”) and staggered out with a large basket of books an hour later. You are allowed take out 12 books at a time now. 12! And sometimes if I am stuck the library staff let me take out an extra couple as well, just in case! It’s a whole universe of possibilities. The third best invention in life is chocolate. I have been vegetarian most of my life but went vegan a year ago. I was a bit worried about my chocolate intake but have been able to relax by keeping about 6 bars of dark chocolate hidden from myself in the press. As Homer might say, Mmmmm….chocolate! Okay, that’s it, I have to go and have some chocolate now, while reading a book and with at least one cat on my person. Could Nirvana be any better than this?!Nov & 8 Dec 2015 566

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Tai Chi Lessons

I have always believed that you can change by starting at either a physical or psychological level. I have been studying Taoist Tai Chi for a year now and it confirms my belief. I have noticed myself becoming more able to let go as I do even five minutes of practice a day. The teacher we had on Saturday explained how a slight change in posture made all the difference. “So we are aiming for lightness, ease and letting go of struggle?” I asked. “Exactly,” she said, as one of the lads giggled and said, “You should put that on a T shirt!” I had already known that at times I put too much effort into trying to make things happen as opposed to doing my best and then letting go. Tai Chi is teaching me how to use minimum effort to achieve the same result. It takes a “Head” understanding down into the body and effects transformation easily and subtly, once you continue practising. I have also finally learned in the last year or so that simply going to a class once a week is not enough for me to actually learn a new skill. Doing a small bit each day is the key. For me, the best thing about Tai Chi is knowing that it really doesn’t matter whether I get it right or wrong. It feels good, it feels relaxing and enjoyable. It requires focused concentration to get the “form” or sequence of movements correct, and because you have to focus, the mind quietens down. Meditation in motion. How peaceful is that.

Grace Bringing Favours

It’s been a rough year, and it’s only May. I won’t go into the gory details of why, except to say that an elderly mother is part of the equation. For those of you caring for an elderly parent, enough said. So I have needed to regroup. Part of what I have done in the last few months was to take a sabbatical from writing anything other than my Morning Pages (from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.) It has been a time of paring down commitments in order to give myself time to recover. One of the great things that has supported me is the Tai Chi class I started going to last October. I love it. It requires total attention to detail so the thinking mind has to go on holiday. It’s also very graceful and flowing, like a slow dance. We do the form, or practice of the 108 moves, in total silence. I find it incredibly peaceful. Mobile phone off, quietness, and moving meditation. It teaches you patience, because you practice and practice and then one day, you find that you know a bit of it, and gradually add a little more to what you know. It can’t be rushed. I know about the first eight moves and the two snake movements, that’s all. I bought a bamboo plant and put it in a pot in the back garden. The bamboo is on one side of me and the shed is on the other in a very small space as I try to practice the little I know out of sight of the neighbours, so that they won’t call for a strait jacket for me. The second string of my regaining my equilibrium has been my daily meditation practice, a godsend in tough times. It’s a lovely rest for the mind and helps me focus on all my blessings, of which there are many. Of course the cats are a great help too. Felicity leaped on a sheet hanging over the stairs last week, and slid down the bannister with claws stuck in the fabric, a look of total shock on her face. It was the funniest thing I have seen all year and gave me a much-needed belly laugh. So I am grateful for all mercies, large and small, and especially the way the Universe responded when I asked for help in regaining my joie de vivre. Try it. Sure what have you got to lose?! 🙂

Making the Most of Your Time

There are so many demands on our time these days. All the technology means we are constantly available unless we call a halt. In my therapy work, many clients baulk at the idea of turning off their phone even if it allows them to sleep better. If we want to find time to be creative, we need to be creative to find that time. In order to write the novel/create the piece of art/write the poem, we need to be clear and prioritise it so that it gets done. If it’s not scheduled in, it gets scheduled out. One way to create more time is to stop watching television or watch less of it. Same with mindless surfing of the web. How many cat videos do we need to watch anyway?! Another option is to get up earlier or stay up later. Of course we need to balance our activities so that we get rest, interact with our loved ones, walk the dog, and do what needs to be done to keep things ticking over. Trying to write in the last couple of years has taught me the value of tenacity. Having a mindfulness practice has trained me to be able to focus my attention and bring myself back from whatever distraction the monkey mind is after now. Last night, for instance, I really, really wanted to go to the library to collect a book I had reserved which had become available. I was very tempted. I wanted to do anything except sit at the computer and re-edit two short eBooks I am working on. But I just made myself do it, whether I wanted to or not. I have discovered that there is no substitute for perseverance if I want to write, to improve my writing, to publish and to have others read my work. I hope you strengthen your perseverance muscles every day, and find a creative way to live your life creatively. By the way, my Goodreads competition is still open until 22/03/17 Win a copy of How to Love Yourself in Less Than 50 Years

Sign up for occasional emails and receive the gift of a free audio download called Letting Go and Feeling Good. Sign up and receive Letting Go and Feeling Good Download

Making the Most of Your Time

There are so many demands on our time these days. All the technology means we are constantly available unless we call a halt. In my therapy work, many clients baulk at the idea of turning off their phone even if it allows them to sleep better. If we want to find time to be creative, we need to be creative to find that time. In order to write the novel/create the piece of art/write the poem, we need to be clear and prioritise it so that it gets done. If it’s not scheduled in, it gets scheduled out. One way to create more time is to stop watching television or watch less of it. Same with mindless surfing of the web. How many cat videos do we need to watch anyway?! Another option is to get up earlier or stay up later. Of course we need to balance our activities so that we get rest, interact with our loved ones, walk the dog, and do what needs to be done to keep things ticking over. Trying to write in the last couple of years has taught me the value of tenacity. Having a mindfulness practice has trained me to be able to focus my attention and bring myself back from whatever distraction the monkey mind is after now. Last night, for instance, I really, really wanted to go to the library to collect a book I had reserved which had become available. I was very tempted. I wanted to do anything except sit at the computer and re-edit two short eBooks I am working on. But I just made myself do it, whether I wanted to or not. I have discovered that there is no substitute for perseverance if I want to write, to improve my writing, to publish and to have others read my work. I hope you strengthen your perseverance muscles every day, and find a creative way to live your life creatively. By the way, my Goodreads competition is still open until 22/03/17 Win a copy of How to Love Yourself in Less Than 50 Years

Sign up for occasional emails and receive the gift of a free audio download called Letting Go and Feeling Good. Sign up and receive Letting Go and Feeling Good Download