Monday, 7 August 2017

Morning Meditation

The joy of meditation, you never know what image or thought will arise in your mind. This morning a Puffin spoke to me.


A Puffin once said to me:
"Be free! Be free! Be free!"
"Become a parrot of the sea"

But is a puffin truly free?
With yearly offspring to oversee,
It does not circumvent and flee.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

What the bones know

My journey to the cave of bones becomes evermore fascinating. Yesterday when I met the Cailleach I was aware of La Loba – The Wolf Woman. La Loba's sole work is the collecting of bones. She collects and preserves that which is in danger of being lost to the world (Pinkola Estes 1992). Her speciality is the bones of wolves. When she has collected and assembled an entire skeleton she raises her hands and starts to sing. She sings the bones into being. When the bones once again become living breathing flesh the wolf opens its eyes, jumps up and runs. Somewhere between running, whether by the speed of running, splashing through the river or the glint of sun or moonlight on its coat, the wolf is transformed into a laughing woman running free towards the horizon.

Bones are a source of ancient knowledge, they vibrate to the whispers of the ancestors. Within the ear are three tiny bones – the malleus (hammer), incus (anvil) and stapes (stirrup). For some reason when I think of these bones I think of the Norse god Thor hammering out his wisdom across Universe to create those lightening flashes of inspiration in those who are awake and receptive. When these tiny bones resonate to sound waves they convey information to the auditory nerve that divides into three or more pathways deep within the brain. Clarissa Pinkola Estes in her book Women who run with Wolves recounts how ancient dissectionists spoke of how these pathways enabled a person to hear on three levels. One pathway was said to hear the mundane conversations of world. A second apprehended learning and art and a third existed so the soul itself might hear guidance and gain knowledge while here on earth.

Our ancestors and the shamans knew bones were sacred. They knew they provided a pathway to connect to the Universe and the great mystery. When a shaman becomes a healer he or she must become like a hollow bone – a conduit for the source of all creation. Fools Crow a revered Lakota holy man said “We are called to become a hollow bone for our people and anyone else we can help. We are not supposed to seek power for personal use and honour. What we bones really become is a pipeline that connects Wakan Tanka (Great Mystery), the helpers, and the community together.” Fools Crow believed he went through a series of steps in becoming a hollow bone.

Firstly he called in Wakan Tanka to rid himself of anything that would impede him in anyway – doubt, questions or reluctance. He would then vision himself as a clean tube ready to be filled with hope, possibilities and anxious to be filled with power. Clear of any impediments he would experience the power surging into him. Once filled with power he would give the power away to others knowing that as he was emptied out the Higher Power would keep filling him with even greater power to be given away.

Drumming is important in opening up the portals to the spirit world and in becoming a hollow bone. Shamanic drumming corresponds to OM, the primal sound from which the Universe constantly emanates. Scientists are beginning to recognise that the sound or the Universe is linked to the organisation of matter. The mass of the Universe like our bones is not randomly scattered through space. Forces such as gravity drive the organisation of matter so stars get grouped into galaxies, galaxies herd together into galaxy clusters and on an even larger scale scientists think matter in the Universe is arranged into a structure resembling a web with vast regions of emptiness in between strings of galaxy groups. As I try to comprehend this vision an image of Indra's web comes to mind.

So back to bones and something my mind can comprehend. The human leg bone when viewed in half from thigh to knee reveals what might be described as a microcosm of the Universe. At either end is an intricate web of bones connected by a hollow tube. Perhaps within our bones exists an imprint of the Universe. When we drum maybe those intricate web structures resonate with the vast healing energy within the universe and the energy is channelled through the hollow parts of our bones to heal ourself and others.

Oh so many revelations and mysteries from one journey to the cave of bones, something tells me the bones still have more to reveal. Interesting and intriguing that on the day I journey to meet the Cailleach I am also guided to an ancient cup and ring mark on a stone in an old boundary wall close to where I live. I always felt in my bones that the land where I lived was sacred. Interesting too that I should discover Kirkcaldy is an ancient funerary site and a tumulus is a but a short walk away from my garden gate.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Draws of Stories

Clearing my father's house is an emotional journey. Initially as I opened each draw I felt sadness as I connected with forgotten or even unknown stories of his life. With each passing day some sadness remains but something else is emerging.  In recent years my relationship with my father has been strained as we have pressed each others buttons and got a little lost in our own baggage and neurosises. Connecting with his life stories is allowing me to see him in his true light and to hold him in the light. As I open each draw and bring in the light a healing process begins.

Monday, 11 January 2016


This path I walk each day,
forever evolves in some new way,
Today all ahead lies clear,
no dark foreboding landscapes here,
to stir, to wake, my deepest fear,
Bathed in dappled light of sunlit glade,
There is no need to strive, to wade,
The ground my feet do barely greet,
So lost am I in Nature's sensual retreat.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Rise of the Phoenix

The night before last my garden fire like my enthusiasm was in danger of burning out but all was not lost. Returning to the fire the following morning I discovered it like my dream for a healing garden had not died completely over night. A faint wisp of smoke, a message from spirit, caught my attention and by nuturing the glowing embers back to life and blowing my breath into the tiny flames my passion for the project was reignited.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Anger, Apathy and Avoidance

Greeted by blue sky and sunshine upon waking I decided it would be a great day to spend some time in the garden. My outer garden like my inner garden is I think it's fair to say a little cluttered. Wanting to create a healing space in a section that has become overrun by raspberries I set off all fired up to clear the plot. Accompanied by my grand pup Leif (an eight month old border collie who is a keen digger) I got to work. The canes I soon discovered were well rooted but I persevered and made reasonable progress. I also started a fire to burn the slowly growing mountain of twigs and dead vegetation as the garden waste bin was already overflowing. Little did I realise at this stage that I was about to learn just how much our inner and outer landscapes are connected.

As the hours passed I began to notice I was feeling a tad frustrated at the slow progress I was making. By the time the light was fading this frustration fuelled by a slow and constant trickle of negative thoughts was becoming uncomfortable if not to say unbearable. The relentless drip feed of "You'll never get the task completed. Give up it's too big a job. You don't know what you're doing" ad infinitum was seriously pushing my buttons and more than a little pissing me off. Yes I was no longer dealing with frustration I had crossed over the boundary into anger.

Anger for many of us is an uncomfortable feeling and if like me you are an Enneagram type 9 it is an emotion we try and avoid until it can no longer be suppressed. When we 9s do eventually reach detonation point our anger usually takes one of two routes. It either manifest as rage directed at some poor soul who happens to have irritated us with some minor misdemeanour or still not wanting to acknowledge it we turn it inwards and become depressed. Today for once in my life I did neither, I also fought that other huge urge of a 9 - the tendency to ruminate or over think. No instead I just said quite calmly to those around me that I was feeling fucking angry, did a good impression of a tantrum which we all laughed about and then contemplated spending some time complaining at the conscious complaining shrine. (For any of you not familiar with a conscious complaining check out
- I highly recommend the practice)

After dispersing the anger in a healthy way I suddenly had one of those aha moments. At times I really struggle with apathy and procrastination and today whilst tending my outer garden I learnt why. Putting off difficult tasks or delaying jobs that seem overwhelming is I discovered something I have a tendency to do as it avoids having to deal with difficult emotions. This is a flawed strategy as the jobs or tasks don't disappear but merely stack up until both my inner and outer landscapes are so cluttered I can't ignore the issues any longer. I then usually get angry with myself or someone else who also has a tendency to procrastinate. By projecting my apathy and procrastination onto someone else means I don’t have to acknowledge my shadow. I should really be more mindful of what I find most annoying in others for as Carl Jung wisely said “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”.

Well I'm sure my garden has many more valuable lessons to share and I have an inkling the conscious complaining shrine might have a regular visitor over the coming weeks as work on both my gardens progresses!!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Perfectionism and the Inner Critic

How many of us I wonder have a beautiful bound unused notebook or journal hidden away in our cupboard. If we were to dig it out we would probably find it in pristine condition, perhaps even encased in its cellophane wrapper. Why has it remained unused? What has held us back from making our mark upon its blank pages? Maybe we simply haven’t found a use for the book yet or perhaps there is another deeper and more uncomfortable reason. If we are prepared to dig a little into our shadows what can this flawless, new, immaculate, book tell us about ourselves?

Over my lifetime I have acquired a number of such notebooks. Some I’ve been given as presents and a few I’ve purchased myself usually during moments when I’ve entertained the thought of writing a journal or creating a sketchbook. Sadly many of these books where banished to the dark recesses of a cupboard to only be rediscovered during a much needed declutter or a house move. At those moments I’ve then been faced with the dilemma to ditch or redeem the items. Usually the latter has prevailed when I succeeded in convincing myself that I do have a need for the books.

So if I feel a real need to use these books what is stopping me? I could probably come up with umpteen plausible reasons and to an extent all would hold an element of truth but if I’m truly honest the main reason is the F word. Yes you guessed it FEAR. My fear of making a mistake on the pristine, unblemished pages of each and every one of these books is holding me back from expressing all those ideas and creations I have spent hours contemplating. My inner critic, that annoying little F….. (yes that’s the other F word!) has stymied my creative being. Oh but that can’t be so I hear you say, what about all those drawings you do or poems you write? Well yes I do have a note book for my poems but I only write in it in pencil. In that way I can rub out any mistakes. For my sketchbooks I have a different approach. I have books and paper which I draw upon before editing and putting in my sketchbook proper.  

Whilst these approaches represented a quantum leap for me and got me out of my thinking head and into doing mode I would have to agree they are a little OCD. Yes my number of notebooks residing in the dark is diminishing but my negative inner critic is not. No this ever present and persistent voice from the shadows is most definitely still requiring a script rewrite. With this in mind I have decided to embark on a new approach. Inspired by Sandra Ingerman’s book How to Heal Toxic Thoughts my negative inner critic is about to find itself in the alchemist crucible where hopefully in time it might be transformed into a more encouraging and compassionate voice.  

Now in case you aren’t aware all good alchemists have a recipe book or some would call it a spell book or book of intentions. Well with no shortage of notebooks I am assigning a particularly beautiful red silk bound notebook with handmade paper pages to this task. It will become My Little Book of Intentions and Prays. I am under no illusion about the enormity of this transformation task. Rewriting fifty years of negative scripts isn’t going to be a walk in the park, for a start I have to write in my newly assigned book!  Dilemma number one - should I use pen or pencil? If I use pencil I can rub out any mistakes. Alternatively I could write on a piece of paper which I can stick in the book once it has passed my, as yet to be agreed, stringent criteria. Using this approach might avoid the need to tear out any pages. Yes my school exercise books were probably thinner than most, I wonder if my teachers noticed? Perhaps they thought I was a particularly diligent student who wrote a lot.

In case you are wondering, yes I have written in my book and yes it was directly onto the page and in pen. It wasn’t easy I admit but I managed and the book still has its full quota of pages!! Finally a wee poem for all you perfectionist out there, I know your problem oh so well but rest assured you too can tell your inner critic to shut the f… up; compassionately of course.


I cannot write
For fear this white
Unblemished page
I might just blight

Stories, poems, odes
All remain untold
Trapped within
This human hold

An exquisite red silk book
A pristine gift, a writer’s hook
My inner critic screams

A misspelt word, a blemish, a blot
Will never I’m told be forgot
Safer then
To forgo the lot