How to stay in the present moment when it feels unbearable

A few days ago it was the anniversary of the ‘continuation’ of Thich Nhat Hanh — affectionately known as ‘Thay’, (teacher)  — Zen Master to some, Ascended Master to others. In any case, a very significant being whose whole life was a teaching – both in his books and talks and in the way he lived.

I thought it was an appropriate time to post this video — one of many thankyou Age of You Tube! — that reminds us that power is in the present moment. Thay shows us that just by taking one mindful breath we can arrive ‘home’ to ourselves. Much as the technological age is useful in many ways (like being able to listen to Thay’s teachings) it is also a thief of consciousness.

If you are glued to a screen, then you are not in the present moment and you have lost the chance to be aware of yourself, what is happening round you and, more importantly, what you can do about it!

There are so many reasons to be out of it these days, but if we are to have a chance at taking back the world then we need to be in it – and, more particularly, in our bodies.

It might seem all very well to advise people to be in their bodies and in the moment when that moment is horribly painful. I acknowledge that this may very well seem impossible to some, so I’d like to offer an alternative. 

For me, just watching Thay and hearing him speaking puts me into a very calm, relaxed and more mindful state. So, if you can’t be in your body and experiencing that painful moment right now, why not find Thay on You Tube instead?

His presence is still available through these talks and interviews and, as his followers would tell you, in many other places! We’re damn lucky to have it – so exploit that free resource. You’ll feel a lot better right in that moment — and that’s what it’s all about!

Silver on the Tree

A few powerful words, to see out the old year and welcome in the new. Not of my own this time, mind. This is a quote (for those of you that don’t know) from a book called Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper, last in a sequence called The Dark is Rising. If you have seen the film however, delete it from your mind – it has no relevance here – no relevance at all, some might say, but that’s another discussion!

So, this rhyme refers back to the events in the books, which are, of course, fictional. Maybe it’s just because I read the books (and I recommend The Dark is Rising especially, it is full of information in between the lines!) but this really resonates for me – it always has. Especially the last two lines.

When the dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;

Three from the circle, three from the track

Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone,

Five will return, and one go alone.

Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long;

Wood from the burning, stone out of song;

Fire in the candle-ring, water from the thaw

Six Signs the circle, and the grail gone before.

Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of gold

Played to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old;

Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea;

All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree.

Perhaps 2023 will be more of a Silver on the Tree year… Here’s hoping!

Why we stopped offering healing sessions – and how to avoid burn-out

Back in August we stopped offered healing sessions to clients with the idea that we needed a break and could recommence in September, but it is now nearly the end of October and we’re still out of commission. Out for the count more like!

Particularly for me, my body got to the stage where it ‘refused to cooperate’ in terms of doing energy work on other people.  After all, if you want to give energy, you have to have some first! Which is, rather, the moral of this story! If you’re constantly giving out, whether it’s looking after your family and friends, or being run ragged at work. If you never give yourself a break, always put yourself and your needs last, then — eventually — however fit and healthy you are, however strong-willed, there will come a point where your body will make its feelings known. And when you ignore those feelings or those physical symptoms then your body will try something else.

Now, I hate to be negative and I don’t like people who proclaim that certain things will happen to you, as though it is ordained from on high, so please don’t take it like that! I am just talking from my belief and my experience.

If you’re the exception to this great — keep going if that’s what you want — but otherwise, please pay attention to the signals that your body is giving you that it has had enough and you need to make some changes. Otherwise, it will just start shouting louder and eventually, as with me, it may take over completely and make the decision for you!

Which, of course, is where I am now, and I am fortunately in a position that we can still keep going even without the income from clients. Phew! It’s not ideal though, especially since the energy work is really my raison d’etre — my ‘prime directive’ if you like — and NOT doing it feels very strange, as though part of me is missing. However, I got myself into this — gotta put my hands up here! — and so I’ll have to do the work to get myself out.

In this case, the ‘work’ is ‘no work’ and I have been listening hard to what my body wants, whether it is doing more exercise and getting out in the fresh air, growing things in the garden or taking up a new creative hobby. In fact, it is sobering to think that I have so many hobbies that I don’t ever indulge in!

So maybe it’s time to learn from my mistakes and ask yourself what do you like to do outside of work, whether work is looking after your family, or a different career. And do you do it?

Just from a basic self-care point of view, are you (at least trying) to eat right, exercise enough, get a reasonable night’s sleep, limit your screen time and do things to keep yourself grounded? Any of those would be a great start.

And before you start with the ‘oh, buts’, think about how you’d have to make it work if you didn’t have a choice, or what advice you’d give to someone else in your position.

Multi-tasking is good, like listening to a podcast in the car, or on the bus, going to bed half an hour later to give you time for some self-care or getting up half an hour earlier (not my personal favourite I have to say!)  

What are you doing that you don’t really HAVE to do, or you feel obliged to do, or you feel others would criticise you for giving up? What do you do that really makes your heart sink and drains your energy for the rest of the day? And what would happen if you stopped doing it?

Would the world REALLY end? Do the sheets really have to be washed every week? Can you let the garden go wild for a bit? Just because you’ve always done something for someone, does that mean you have to do it for ever?

And all the time, ask yourself the question — what if you really couldn’t do it anymore and the choice was out of your hands? Of course, that’s a cop out. Some of us would rather wait for our bodies to pack up, and make the decision for us as it takes away the responsibility, but, as always, it’s your decision.

You’re in charge. I know it might not always feel like it but, not making a decision is still making a decision. And with the world the way it is, now would be a very sensible time to take extra care of yourself.

Self-care or duty. Which do you choose?

Hard as it is to believe, Queen Elizabeth II, our longest reigning monarch, died on 8TH September 2022. Whatever some may think about the monarchy, or the Queen herself, she lived her whole life in duty and service. How many of us can say we would be able to do the same? (That’s a no from me!) And, in actual fact, admirable though this is, and offering no disrespect to a great lady, I question the wisdom of living our lives that way, as it allows for very little change and change is what creates growth.

In fact, the more flexible you can be with the way you live your life the better. Because of society’s expectations and her position, the queen had very little choice or say in how she lived her life, but that is not true for most of us. However, we still tend to cling onto outdated ideas and beliefs that are unhelpful to us.

For example, so many people live their lives putting others first. That sounds like a high ideal doesn’t it? We should put others first, but what about when it is to the detriment of ourselves. Is that a good thing? I’m not saying we should never do it. Parents have to do it most of the time! But you need to recognise that in order to look after or ‘serve’ others you need to look after yourself.

Both Dan and I have decided that this huge global shift is the time for us to pull our fingers out and make those changes that we have been desiring for so long. There have been many things we have been putting off, shutting out ignoring etc, and one of those was to do work on ourselves (instead of everyone else) which is why we have decided to close our healing practice until further notice.

Having made this decision a month ago, we expected to close for August and then open up again in September, but it has become obvious that our month ‘off’ only scraped the surface of what needed to be done and that we need a more concerted period of self-focus and introspection to sort out our own issues for once.

With the change in monarchy, new energies are coming in and it is the perfect time to take hold of opportunities to change things up, to put down heavy loads, to examine things you’ve left unexamined, in short, to ‘do different’ than you did before.

Even if it means doing something ‘outrageous’ like paying attention to your own needs and your own development. Go on – try it! It might seem selfish now, but in the long run you will be able to give people more, not less. Hmm. Maybe not so selfish after all?

Cosmic Cats and the Zodiac

Daniel has recently been working on a series of illustrations exploring the western zodiac.

The zodiac itself is made up of twelve signs, each with a unique energy or feeling. Every sign has one of four elements and a ruling planet/planets. These affect the signs in various ways.

When you observe the zodiac as a whole it reveals a complete narrative, initiated by the fiery spark of Aries and completing with the transcendental power of Pisces. As the narrative progresses there are moments of light and darkness, expression and introspection… All are necessary aspects to drive the narrative forwards.

After Pisces, we jump back to the beginning with Aries. However, this is always with a greater level of experience and awareness!

Autumn is part of another cycle. A cycle of seasons. As we move into autumn, consider taking some time for yourself to self-reflect. The zodiac is just one of many cycles that can affect our daily lives. Cycles like the zodiac allow for growth and expansion by their design (if you allow them).

Unfortunately, some cycles can be destructive. It is up to us individually to use discernment to identify these cycles and to disempower them. This, as always, begins with awareness…

What cycles are you currently participating in? Are they serving you? Take some time to sit with those questions and see what answers come to you.

If you are interested in exploring astrology further or booking a reading, we can highly recommend Soul Sloth Astrology with Colbe Barrett.

Daniel spent time meditating with all of the signs individually before bringing their energies onto paper. You can visit Instagram to see the completed set of illustrations.

“I’ve been working on a series of channeled drawings exploring the different energies and aspects of the zodiac. (Featuring our cat, Moo!) I had a lot of fun working on these and experimenting with various compositions and colours. I also used a mix of traditional and digital media with a technique I hope to explore in future artworks.”

– Daniel Saunders

Prints available on Redbubble, as well as T-shirts, and other merch.

You can also support Daniel’s work by visiting Ko-Fi and
“buying him a coffee”!

Images ©2022 Daniel Saunders