Bodyscan Meditation

I recorded this Bodyscan on Soundcloud : . I usually include something like this in my mindfulness meditation practice sessions. I feel it is really important to deeply listen to the body in order to begin any Meditation where one is trying to develop awareness.

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buddha and candles at home

LOST. David Wagoner.

Originally posted on Small Blue Thing:


Stand still.  The trees ahead and bushes beside you

Are not lost.  Wherever you are is called Here,

And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,

Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,

I have made this place around you.

If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.

No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,

You are surely lost.  Stand still.  The forest knows

Where you are.  You must let it find you.

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On Love. Helen Keller.

Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan

Helen Keller – (1880 – 1968) American author,  Socialist and  the first deafblind  person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. The following piece of writing is about a teaching from Anne Sullivan who taught her how to communicate.

“I remember the morning that I first asked the meaning of the word, “love.” This was before I knew many words. I had found a few early violets in the garden and brought them to my teacher. She tried to kiss me: but at that time I did not like to have any one kiss me except my mother. Miss Sullivan put her arm gently round me and spelled into my hand, “I love Helen.”

“What is love?” I asked.

She drew me closer to her and said, “It is here,” pointing to my heart, whose beats I was conscious of for the first time. Her words puzzled me very much because I did not then understand anything unless I touched it. I smelt the violets in her hand and asked, half in words, half in signs, a question which meant, “Is love the sweetness of flowers?” “No,” said my teacher.

Again I thought. The warm sun was shining on us. “Is this not love?” I asked, pointing in the direction from which the heat came. It seemed to me that there could be nothing more beautiful than the sun, whose warmth makes all things grow. But Miss Sullivan shook her head, and I was greatly puzzled and disappointed. I thought it strange that my teacher could not show me love.

Miss Sullivan touched my forehead and spelled with decided emphasis, “Think.”

In a flash I knew that the word was the name of the process that was going on in my head. This was my first conscious perception of an abstract idea.

For a long time I was still … trying to find a meaning for “love” in the light of this new idea. The sun had been under a cloud all day, and there had been brief showers; but suddenly the sun broke forth in all its southern splendour. Again I asked my teacher, “Is this not love?”

“Love is something like the clouds that were in the sky before the sun came out,” she replied. Then in simpler words than these, which at that time I could not have understood, she explained: “You cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything. Without love you would not be happy or want to play.”

The beautiful truth burst upon my mind — I felt that there were invisible lines stretched between my spirit and the spirits of others.

Love like Ruth’s, love which can rise above conflicting creeds and deep-seated racial prejudices, is hard to find in all the world.

Ruth  is so loyal and gentle-hearted, we cannot help loving her, as she stands with the reapers amid the waving corn. Her beautiful, unselfish spirit shines out like a bright star in the night of a dark and cruel age. Love like Ruth’s, love which can rise above conflicting creeds and deep-seated racial prejudices, is hard to find in all the world.”…..

On Panic Attacks

panic attack

Last weekend I spent a lovely couple of days in Stratford with my Husband and a friend who hasn’t known me too long. We had a wonderful time enjoying the warm sunshine, local restaurants and regatta. The highlight of the weekend was to be our visit to see Hugh Quarshie as Othello. Something I have been excited about for some time.

We arrived at the RSC, took our seats, front row of the second circle. It was quite high but I decided it was ok. The Theatre was packed and warm but not unmanageable. And then this happened….

I started to freak out. Heartbeat pumping in my throat, legs shaking,  high anxiety and a feeling I might vomit any second. I just had to get out of there. Embarassing, because there was no real reason for it and because I had to disturb a whole row of people who were totally engrossed in the performance. Upsetting because I felt stupid and my Husband and my friend were really worried and I couldn’t explain because it was silent and I felt too peculiar to speak.

The first aiders are obviously fairly used to people like me who behave strangely and the bar staff were very sweet and really looked after me. I got a cab back to our hotel at the interval, in spite of everyones’ best efforts to persuade me to stay, sit downstairs or even stand by the door.

First of all, I have always had these chlausterophobic episodes but they are infrequent. I could be in exactly the same situation and be completely fine on another day. It just happens.

When people come to my meditation groups or for a shiatsu or reflexology treatment, they think I am a super-chilled person. I am writing this just to say that I practice these things because I really am not at all calm, centred or grounded a lot of the time. I talk about practicing meditation and practice is exactly what it is. I’m not an expert and I have no answers. I have just found  certain things that help me – I have yet to learn how to calm myself down when I am actually in the middle of panicking – there’s the work.

The other thing I have learned is that people are so kind. I am always amazed by the kindness of strangers and however peculiar and weird my behaviour feels (I am very good at hiding my symptoms), people always help me.

On Shiatsu

I asked some of my longer term Clients to send me some feedback on the treatments they have received from me and from the Couples’ sessions over the last few years. Here is a little of what they said – I found it so interesting and maybe it will encourage you to try it :-

…..”Shiatsu makes me feel grounded, calm, energised, whole, peaceful and connected. For me it works on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects. I find that Shiatsu brings me together if I am feeling scattered or overworked, it also helps me to relax in a way that other modalities sometimes lack. I never feel quite so happy when I go and see a chiropractor for instance. This is not disrespectful to those practitioners, simply that a cosy futon is far more appealing than a rigid chair with strange instruments!

I know that I have been away from shiatsu for far too long and when I do, my old back injury plays up. Regular shiatsu is fantastic as it is similar to booking a course of meditation mixed with yoga in that you just feel fantastic.”…..


….”When I first started receiving treatment I remember not really expecting things like you to step on my feet or bouncing my legs up and down and the shock of it made me really struggle to stop laughing. I also remember it hurting a lot.

As I had more treatments and my symptoms lessened, the treatments were less painful and I don’t really notice this at all now.

I find the treatments very relaxing, left with a feeling of being balanced on leaving.”………..


……”My first experience was a couples’ treatment with my Husband. I have to say it was a weird experience at first. I didn’t know how to be comfortable. I didn’t know if I should close my eyes. I kept them open and looked around because I was a little bit afraid I’d fall asleep if I shut them. The massage itself was lovely enough to keep both Tom us continuing the treatments every so often. I enjoy the couples’ treatments just as much as the one-on-one sessions. The couples’ treatments are a great way to get on the same wavelength for the rest of the day. We both share in something relaxing and are able to take that with us into the rest of the day, however we end up spending it. The individual sessions are good too and can be a respite in the middle of the busy activities of life. It serves as a reminder to remember to take care of my physical well being just as much as my mental well being.

During the treatments my mind wanders. It always does that and it would be nice to just shut things off and enjoy the massage itself, but perhaps part of the treatment is the mental journey my mind takes through different worries, concerns, hopes, observations, plans, etc. The soothing feeling of the massage will eventually bring me into the present, but it takes a while sometimes…..”

(image – Sarah Ketelaars Photography.)

Best shiatsu shoulder stretch