Psychologists say that if a friendship lasts longer than 7 years
then it will last a lifetime.
Better late than never.....
We spend January walking through our lives, room-by-room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.
Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.
Plus some resolutions worth keeping!
1. Make time for fun every day.
2. Stop overthinking.
3. Relax more.
4. Let myself off the hook.
5. Remember my true worth.
6. Be prepared to take a risk.
7. Take my dreams seriously.
8. Be kind to myself.
9. Keep my sense of humour.
10. Appreciate all that I have.
And don't forget to make mistakes. Because, if you are making mistakes then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.
Happy New Year!
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. Take naps. Stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily. Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree. When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you’re not. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
Enjoy every moment of every day!
Proof that meditation CAN grow your brain
Meditating really is a workout for the mind, according to scientists who have found that it can make the brain bigger. American scientists at Harvard have discovered that just 8 weeks of meditation can produce structural changes large enough to be picked up by MRI scanners.
After 8 weeks, those who went on the course had thicker grey matter in several parts of the brain. These included the left hippocampus, a small horseshoe shaped structure in the central brain involved in memory, learning and emotional regulation. Those who did not go on the course experienced no such structural brain changes.
Basically the idea is “use it or lose it”.
If it’s in the Mail, it must be true!
These wise words are from Dr Wayne Dyer.
WAYNE W. DYER is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the fields of self-development and spiritual growth. He’s the author of over 40 books, including 20 New York Times bestsellers.
“My purpose is to help people look at themselves and begin to shift their concepts. Remember, we are not our country, our race, or religion. We are eternal spirits.
Seeing ourselves as spiritual beings without labels is a way to transform the world and reach a sacred place for all of humanity,” he says.
This poem, by the 13th Century poet and mystic Rumi, is important to me because as I read it I can recognise that for many people in the world they spend an entire lifetime effectively ‘sleepwalking’ through life.
But once the individual has experienced their own spiritual awakening, through a message given, a meditational experience or an epiphany, we can wake up and recognise that we are in reality a beautiful spirit being.
We are incarnate in the world, born again to live our lives in a search for our own spiritual self.
We have a responsibility to that self to never more close our eyes or fall back to sleep but to stay awake, spiritually, for the rest of our lives.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
I’m sure you must have noticed that British people are consumed by the weather; it seems to be one of the first topics in any conversation. When the sun is not bright, the sky not blue and the temperature not balmy it’s easy to see every other day as imperfect. But of course, beauty can be found in every season and I’m sure that we would soon miss these less than perfect days if we lived in a climate without changes.
Autumn happens to be my favourite season of them all. I love to see the turning of the leaves from green through to golds and reds of every shade. I love the feeling of preparation for the chills of winter; gathering things into the home - fluffy blankets, thick quilts, hats and gloves, and shutting the curtains against the damp and dark, creating a cosy nest for the family.
This all brings about a sense of real contentment.
And of course the food – thick soups, warming stews, baked potatoes, English apples and blackberries gathered from the hedgerows. All those comfort foods that warm you right through after a walk with the children, kicking the leaves, jumping in puddles and collecting conkers.
Of course, we all hope for a bit of an Indian Summer; it’s always nice to get a bit of late sun to warm the bones and it is so much more appreciated when it’s in short supply.
Autumn is a time to take stock and appreciate all that you do have and think about your hopes and aspirations for the coming year.
“The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” Lauren De Stephano
Always great to work at a local venue as I did last night at Basildon…….on many levels. Not only does it mean that I don’t have any problem understanding the accents (nor does the audience have any trouble with my cockney) but it means that I can sleep in my own bed after the show. I can assure you that there is nothing glamorous about a different hotel room every night.
It also gave me the chance to have a leisurely day before the demonstration and the chance to read the newspaper. Browsing through the Daily Mail, I was interested to read some of the serialisation of a new book, “The Map of Heaven” by Dr Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who explores the mysteries of the afterlife and the truth about what lies beyond. Dr Alexander was convinced out of body experiences and all things mediumistic were hallucinations until he went into a coma himself and has had what he now believes to be a glimpse of heaven.
It’s always exciting when such eminent scientists (especially from Harvard Medical School) have to eat their words and admit what most of us know to be true.
The adaptation in the paper was very interesting.
A widower who lost his wife to Alzheimer's 72 years after their first kiss has touched hearts across Britain by penning a moving poem in her memory, which was published in the Daily Mail earlier this week.
Bob Lowe met his wife, Kath, in 1937 and they married just after the war in 1946.
Bob, 93, from Barton-on-Sea in Hampshire, described the deep loneliness he has felt since his wife Kath died three years ago in his work ‘Ode to Kath’.
ODE TO KATH BY BOB LOWE
I am alone, now I know it's true
There was a time when we were two
Those were the days when we would chat
Doing little jobs of this and that
We'd go to the shops and select our meals
But now I'm one I know how it feels
To try and cook or have meals on wheels
The rooms are empty there's not a sound
Sometimes I'm lost and wander round
To look for jobs that I can do
To bring back the days when we were two
When darkness falls and curtains drawn
That's when I feel most forlorn
But I must be honest and tell the truth
I'm not quite alone and here's the proof
Because beside me in her chair
She quietly waits our time to share
Kath said to me some time ago
Darling when the time comes for us to go
Let's mix our ashes and be together
So we can snuggle up for ever and ever.
Bob is now a community champion for The Silver Line, a helpline for older people suffering from loneliness, which was started by Esther Rantzen.
A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.
Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you." The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued,” I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.
Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however he just kept watering and fertilising the soil - he so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.
Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened.
Jim felt sick to his stomach; it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.
When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful - in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide at the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed, Jim told him the story.
The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "This is your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!"
Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.
"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.
Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today.
But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you.
Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it.
Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"
* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective* If you plant hard work, you will reap success* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.
Think about this for a minute.
If I happened to show up on your door step crying, would you care?
If I called you and asked you to pick me up because something happened, would you come?
If I had one day left to live my life, would you be part of that last day?
If I needed a shoulder to cry on, would you give me yours?
Do you know what the relationship is between your two eyes?
They blink together, they move together, they cry together, they see things together, and they sleep together, but they never see each other; that's what friendship is. Your aspiration is your motivation, your motivation is your belief, your belief is your peace, your peace is your target and life is like hard core torture without it!
After a day of blustery winds, clouds and showers we were really happy when the weather started to improve as we reached the North Norfolk coast, in the late afternoon.
Hunstanton, known affectionately as 'Sunny Hunny' is the only resort on the East coast of England that actually faces West!
This results in the most beautiful sunsets over The Wash, the golden rays of the sun reflecting on the sea, like a 'highway to heaven'.
This was the view that we had last night as dusk fell.
A lovely evening with the kind people of Hunstanton. Thank you.
I thought you may be interested in an article that I found on the internet by American Rob Bell. I really agree with the sentiment and whatever your belief, Angels remind us that we’re not alone.
“One Sunday morning in 1999, I had just finished giving a sermon at the church where I was pastoring when a woman walked up to me and said she had a story to tell me. She said she'd found out that week that her husband had been cheating on her for a number of years and that he was leaving her. She was devastated, and that morning had decided she would go to a church service. She drove to our church building, parked her car and then sat there, exhausted, overwhelmed, saying to herself, "I don't have the strength to even get out of the car and go in there."
Just then, she heard a knock on her window. She looked up to see a parking lot attendant in an orange vest smiling at her. She rolled down her window and the man asked her if he could help her into the building. She agreed, and as they walked he talked about how sometimes you don't even have "the strength to get out of the car and go in there."
After the service, she went outside to thank the man for his kindness and extraordinary timing. She couldn't find him. She then found the person in charge of all the parking lot attendants and told him who she was looking for, giving a physical description. He told her nobody who fit that description was working that morning...
So who was he? An angel?
Recently, I was at a dinner party and someone said something about angels and we started telling stories like the one I just told. You've heard these kinds of stories, right? Usually they revolve around someone in need who gets help at just the right time, in just the right way, and when they go to find the person to thank him or her, the person can't be located...
Now, here's the interesting part: These weren't overtly religious people telling the stories at that dinner party; and yet, none of them discounted the possibility that there are angelic beings that give aid and help to people in need. Their stories didn't surprise me because, as a pastor for more than 20 years, I've heard countless stories like these from people from all walks of life.
Haven't we moved on from these sorts of myths and fairy tales? Or, are there truths in these stories we should be paying attention to? In other words: Do angels exist? Or are they fictional beings we've created to make ourselves feel better? Does it matter? And why do we find stories like these so fascinating?
We're still telling stories about angels for a number of reasons, reasons that I believe matter...
Stories about angels remind us we're not alone.
For literally thousands of years, across almost every religion and worldview, you'll find narratives about spiritual beings who work to help us. I know that, for some, the idea of angels exists somewhere between UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster, but to insist that there are no other conscious beings anywhere else in all of creation is too limiting and narrow, isn't it? Who knows who is out there? What we do know is that human beings continue to have fascinating experiences that are very difficult to explain beyond being open to the existence of spiritual, disembodied beings that interact within our space and time.
Your body and soul know what they want and need.
Listen to the whispers.
They come at the strangest times but almost always at the quietest times.
Follow them. Trust them.
Love them and thank them for guiding you.
I came across a great book the other day by Daisy Goodwin, "100 POEMS TO SEE YOU THROUGH".
It's just full of inspirational, thought-provoking, uplifting and reassuring pieces for all of life's ups and downs. Lots of verses that may be helpful to many of you in all kinds of situations.
Most importantly, all proceeds from the book go to the 'Maggie's Centres' charity www.maggiescentres.org
Also, if you are anywhere near the British Library tonight (15th September), you may still be quick enough to get tickets to the poetry reading event for the book.
Over the last few weeks I've done a lot less demonstrations of mediumship but have spent more time concentrating on teaching groups. I've recently returned from a week in the USA at the Omega Institute where we were looking at trance development. The vast majority of the students had never tackled trance before so it was something of a leap of faith for them. The wonderful thing about this was that they had no expectations and, more important, no limitations of what they were able to achieve. Hence we had the most amazing time.
We were able to Trance Dance, Spirit Walk and experience wonderful meditations within the altered state. We invited our guardians and guides close to us, in fact so close that the whole atmosphere of the room changed as we invoked their presence.
I was lucky enough to enjoy meditation in The Sanctuary, which is a beautifully constructed building situated on the hill. It’s one of the few places I have ever been where the silence is so profound that it’s almost noisy.
Closing my eyes and surrendering to all that the Other World wanted to offer, I can honestly say that I felt some major stuff and personal breakthroughs.
I’m feeling very positive and quite changed. Happy days!
We had a great reception from all the people we met in Scotland last week. Thank you all so much!
Whilst we were there we had the privilege of meeting some fund-raisers from the MS Society; around 100,000 people in the UK suffer from this debilitating condition.
Stuart Rose, an active supporter and volunteer who fund-raises in aid of the MS Society in Scotland, was awarded the title of 'MS Society Young Person of the Year' for all his fund-raising achievements.
Stuart (who is really struggling with his MS at present unfortunately) is now less than £70 away from raising £26,000 (including gift aid) for the MS Society via ‘justgiving’.
On behalf of the 10,500 people in Scotland who suffer from MS, I sincerely thank you for inviting us to host the bucket collection after the event in Inverness.
We collected a phenomenal £286 which will fund in excess of 5 hour’s research into a cure!
Stuart’s (very proud) Mum wrote:
“It was a pleasure to meet you both at Eden Court and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the difference this has made.”
The pleasure was ours and we all join together in sending out healing thoughts.
I've really enjoyed spending my brief moments of free time catching up with the Commonwealth Games.
Scotland were terrific hosts.
An occasion like this brings out the patriot in most of us and it makes me really proud to be British. I know it’s not the forum to get political, but I truly hope that Scotland don’t go their own way.
In a wee while, at the end of August, I will be working in Inverness, Livingston and Alloa and hope to see all you bonnie lads and lassies there!
Travelling back from Edinburgh on the train yesterday, in the Quiet Coach, I started off annoyed at the loud voice of the student chatting so noisily on her mobile phone.
But as I listened to what she was saying - how excited she was to land her first job, to get in to concerts for FREE, to put posters on the walls of her new rented apartment - I took a minute to remember what that excitement of youth actually felt like.
It may have just inspired me to get some of that giddiness back in my life.
It occurred to me that ‘eavesdropping’ is, to my mind, a crucial life skill, and one that might lead to learning even more crucial life skills.
Over the span of a train journey, I have learned how to detect a gas leak, check for skin cancer or how do drink whisky without getting drunk, —potential lifesavers, all!
It has been a treat as always to work with James Van Praagh this week. We’ve been teaching and demonstrating at The Arthur Conan Doyle Centre in Edinburgh and I urge anybody within commuting distance to make an effort to get here. It’s wonderful for Scotland to have such a prestigious Spiritual Home.
Even though the Commonwealth Games are being held in Glasgow, everybody in the shops and restaurants up here in Edinburgh has been talking about the country’s sporting prowess. I wish all the competitors every best wish in achieving their personal best. From one who has difficulty lasting longer than 10 minutes on a treadmill and who was never a first choice in my school sports teams, I’m full of admiration for the athletes’ talent and determination.
I was flicking through the August edition of Soul and Spirit today (for which I write a regular column) when I came across an interesting article on the Soul Midwife movement.
Soul Midwives provide holistic and spiritual companions to anyone at the end of life to ease the passing of the dying and to ensure that their death is a dignified and peaceful experience.
How wonderful that such a facility can be available for those who could be alone or for those whose families need support in their grief.
It is a very interesting concept.
Born 18th July 1918, died 5th December 2013
Nelson Mandela was one of the most influential men of our time who touched the hearts and souls of many, especially the oppressed and those fighting oppression.
His life was an inspiration to everyone the world over; a man not afraid to stand up for all that he believed in – democracy, equality and education for everyone.
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
“People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
“Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.”
Wise words from an amazing individual. Thank you so much.
Tears of Joy
For this single Mum the last few years had been hard – a messy divorce, several house moves, Asperger’s and ADHD diagnoses for her sons.
Despite the hardships, Friday night ‘dinners’ are a tradition she keeps faithfully.
On a Friday night out at a local pizza restaurant her kids were loud and acting up so she apologised to a fellow diner. He told her not to worry; he had three kids of his own and could relate.
When the young man left the restaurant the woman found out that the stranger had not only paid for her family’s dinner and left them a gift card, but he also wrote her a heartfelt note including the following:
“I do not know your back story, but I have had the privilege of watching you parent your children for the past 30 minutes. I have to say thank you for parenting your children in such a loving manner.
I have watched you teach your children about the importance of respect, education, proper manners, communication, self-control and kindness, all while being very patient. I will never cross your path again but I am positive that you and your children will have amazing futures.
Keep up the good work and, when it starts to get tough, do not forget that others may be watching and will need the encouragement of seeing a good family being raised. God bless!
The mother and waitress were filled with tears of joy. As you should be too now – am I right?