Savour the flavour Karyn Fletcher

I knew  things  had  taken a  turn for the  worse when I noticed on the  shelf  of my local supermarket that you can buy a  marinade that only takes 30 seconds to do the  job.  I felt not a little disappointed, I have to admit. It seemed another step to even more things being done at super-fast speed.  No one seems willing to wait, even for meat or fish to marinade.

To my mind  the whole nature of marinating something is about giving the  combination of different complementary flavours time to meet and connect in a significant  way with  whatever  it has  been  splashed  or   brushed  onto.  After a couple of hours when you cook the marinated item the taste is altogether different from either the ingredients that were combined or the meat or fish’s native flavour. The texture is tender and quite delicious- and worth waiting for, if I do say so myself, coming from a long line of marinaders

The work we  do as therapists is a mixture  of many ‘flavours’  understanding  self , understanding the  ‘other’, getting sense  of the  whole system, the  energy between the  two people in the  room. The nuances  of  this deeper way of working and connecting builds  trust  and  confidence so that together  the work of  both parties  has  altogether  its own  uniqueness in the relationship. This is hard to do  without  our full hearted attention and  enough time as we attune  our inner ear to hear our  own note as much as adjusting to the  other’s music , manner  and meaning. These don’t happen in the blink of an eye. In fact if we rush we risk losing sight of what a slowing down of our pace can yield.  Shortcuts, quick routes, one  click service  all seems  to be  pushing us to everything quicker so that we  can do even more stuff quicker. Why? 

There is a well known quote line about taking time to smell the roses. I often hear people use it in a retrospective manner about what they could have, should have done.  It is a good line to take to heart (and action) before something occurs to make us nostalgic about the roses we may have missed along the way. In truth it is never too late to start paying some slow attention, especially now in June. As it goes roses are coming into their own pretty soon. You can’t rush a rose.  It’s worth the wait when they arrive in full bloom. 

So what are you doing that could use a little marination in your life? A little slow cooking? What if for even a little time you went the slow route rather than the fast?  A stroll rather than a trot? It seems to me that the end of our lives comes roaring up all too quickly. Why should we race there?  

For the  next two  weeks: pick one activity in your normal schedule and  do it but do it slowly and with full attention in to whatever it is, whether  brushing your teeth, peeling an orange  walking to work. Look, and appreciate. Leave it to soak in and really be with it.

And if anyone wants a jolly good BBQ marinade then I’m your girl.

Views: 5511 |

The Power of the Inner Landscape, by Monica Anthony

'We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things but there are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper' James Carroll

'Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.' Marcus Aurelius

In previous blogs, we have been enjoying paying attention to the natural world around us and cultivating a sense of wonder - perhaps allowing the 'breezes from a whole other world to begin to whisper'. We have also received an invitation to look within and to become aware of an inner note to which we may tune ourselves. It is my experience that we can actually store up in our awareness the energy from special times so that, when we recall these moments later and are sustained by them, we also recharge our energy field on the deepest level.

I have found that it rewarding to cultivate these memories or creations as inner landscapes and it is interesting to build a repertoire of imaginable 'snapshots' holding thought, feeling and remembered body sensations. I know I have lowered my blood pressure in prolonged traffic jams by conjuring up experiences of being by the sea - even while nose to tail in a car on the M25 (keep your eyes open for this one!)

A possibility then opens up to move from feeling calm and recharged to entering an inner space. We can build a thought form, which can grow day by day. As years go by, this inner space can become palpable, sustaining and enriching - a vehicle for our intuition, offering us a medium in which we can sense our 'note' and, perhaps through imaging, invite our internal wise self to communicate with us. This may be a visual experience, but equally our perception might be auditory or through subtle body sensations (kinaesthetic).

Notice where you are drawn in your imagination, which inner landscape holds the strongest energy, and cultivate it. You may have more than one: I find that I place myself in one imagined landscape in order to make decisions, and in another environment altogether when I seek to access a sense of love and tranquillity. And yet another comes to mind, when staying still and quiescent when visiting the dentist.

So, choose a favourite place, which you associate with relaxation and self-restoration and visit it in your imagination at least several times a week. You may also wish to conjure up your own personal sun shining above you and to imagine breathing in the light and warmth. Allow it to become liquid light, which can permeate every cell in your body and can also clear and enrich your thoughts and emotional state.

Whenever you step into your inner landscape, be receptive to accessing your own transpersonal perspective, offering awareness deeper than and beyond your every day point of view and assumptions.

Allow this place in your imagination to change with time and notice the nature of the changes, as they may be significant to you.

Monica Anthony 

Views: 5668 |

The Wonder Cycle – a transpersonal guide to How to Save your Life by Julia Crabtree

"Wonder is retained by wise pondering.” --Ravi Zacharias

What is it about new green growth or a pair of unusual birds spotted in our urban setting that brings us such joy?  What is it that is stirred by that sight, that resonates with the vitality and hope of new life and beauty?

I was considering this and realising that transpersonal moments of wonder like the ones Mark Price described in his blog recently (Seeing the Weeds for the Concrete, 5/3/2012) are things which I now notice, savour and enjoy – but that they were part and parcel of my everyday experience of the world when I was a child.

I am curious as to what it is that happens to us, how is it that we lose that sense of wonder?  It seems that “life” pushes us further and further from that easy sense of connection with all that is around us, “life” being the worries and responsibilities we accumulate as we grow into adulthood – passing exams, earning a living, paying our bills, getting to work, putting food on the table, caring for others… I’m sure we each have things we could add to that list.  And as we miss out on those moments of wonder we lose connection with ourselves, for what the wonder awakens is the resonance with the vitality, beauty, joy and energy that is part of each one of us.

So what does it for you? The beauty of a sunset?  Watching the intense concentration on a baby’s face as he learns to pick something up between finger and thumb?  A piece of music, a painting, a poem? A message or a hug from a good friend?  

Whatever it may be, those moments of wonder are worth holding on to.  One way of doing that is to spend a few minutes at the end of your day (or whenever is good for you!) thinking back over what you may have seen or heard and the feelings that were evoked in you, allowing that sense of connection to yourself to be mapped in your brain.  And that in turn will allow you to be more fully engaged in life, to have more moments of wonder…where might it all end?

Tip for early April :

  • take time at some point in your day to recall any “transpersonal moments” you have experienced.
  • allow yourself to experience once again the feelings those moments evoked at the time.
  • you might want to do a piece of creative work (writing, drawing, singing, dancing, for example) to help anchor those feelings more fully for yourself.

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Be still and listen – a transpersonal guide to ‘How to Save Your Life’

It is important to go inside ourselves to find whatever image we need that helps us recover our equilibrium - to listen out for that ‘note’ resonating in ourselves. It is so easy in the heavy weather of life right now to get knocked off course, even if it is temporary. Someone brings a ‘big’ surprise, a contract is not begun due to organisational cuts, we are let down when a friend doesn’t turn up when they say they will, or whatever trial we are facing, big or small. Going inside we can bring together the disparate, the discarded, the less easy parts of life aligned with the effortless parts.  I sometimes use the analogy of finding our imaginary internal plumb line - a way to re-affirm what ‘true’ is for us. This extract from a wonderful book by Rachel Naomi Rumen called ‘My Grandfather’s Blessings’ is a collection of her patients, and her own inspiring stories about strength, refuge and belonging. I offer you this one.

 “Integrity is an ongoing process, a dynamic happening over time that requires our ongoing attention. A medical colleague once said to her reclaiming his integrity reminded him of the moment before a concert when the concertmaster asks the oboist to sound an A. At first there is chaos and noise as all the parts of the orchestra try to align themselves with that note. But as each instrument moves closer and closer to it, the noise diminishes and when finally they all finally sound it together, there is a moment of rest, of homecoming. That is how it feels to me, the man said; I am always tuning my instrument. Somewhere deep inside there is sound that is mine alone and I struggle daily to hear it and tune my life to it. Sometimes there are people and situations that help me to hear my note more clearly; other times, people and situations make it harder for me to hear. A lot depends on my commitment to listening and my attention to stay coherent with this note. It is only when my life is tuned to my note that I can play life’s mysterious and holy music without tainting it with my own discordance, my own bitterness, resentment, agendas and fears”

Deep inside our integrity sings to us whether we are listening or not. It is a note that only we can hear. Eventually, when life makes us ready to listen, it will help us find our way home. 

Rachel Naomi Remen,M.D.(2000)  from ‘My Grandfather’s Blessing’ Riverhead Books, NY

Mid-March suggestion

  • Take some moments everyday to re-align yourself. If you have a smart phone there is a ‘meditate’ app that can be programmed to sound a Tibetan bowl, or you can simply use the alarm function on a regular phone. In either case it is about taking a pause.
  • Set yourself a time that is good for you and give yourself even a minute to close your eyes and use an exercise like this one which I have borrowed from Amanda Ridings.
  • Pull your spine up as you breathe in so you are sitting tall but not strained.
  • As you breath out loosen any tension in the front of your body and send a tap root out and down from you into earth below.
  • Picture a little more space behind you, and then a little more space to your left, and a little more space to your right, a little more space below you  and finally a little more space above you. Ask yourself what would it be like if you had a little more of one particular quality you would like to see manifesting in your life. Relax your forehead, jaw, neck and shoulders. Get a sense of being balanced and centred.
  • Be still and listen and you might hear the note of this calm moment. Then return to your regular programme of activities.

Karyn Fletcher-Prentice

Views: 5366 |

Seeing the weeds for the concrete (posted by Mark Price)

I’m thinking about Karyn’s blog about ‘How to Save Your Life’ as I leave the house at what seems to be far too early a time for my liking. I’m walking of course – that’s not the issue but it’s such a miserable walk I think and I can’t be bothered to get my iPod and headphones out to a least cushion the drudgery. Bah, humbug!


My quickest route to Brighton station involves cutting up a stair well, through some low rise flats which have long since seen better days. The usual detritus of cigarette butts and empty Special Brew cans get blown across the car park, which the stair well opens out on to. And yet through the February gust of desolation, usually at a point of weakness, greenery battles its way through the concrete and fag ends – quietly and defiantly, like some form of resistance movement. In one corner the weeds have gained a stronghold – militantly, they’ve amassed a depth of presence over the last year or some, evidenced by last year’s growth, now gone to seed, as well as the newer leaves, urged on the mild weather.


It’s 7am and encouragingly light, for what is still technically winter and I pause at the top or the stairs, amazed at the sight of a pair of goldfinches feeding on the dead seed heads. Their bright beauty is almost painful and I hold my breath and cross fingers and toes, willing them not to fly off. For what can’t be more than 5 or 6 seconds I watch and allow myself the luxury of really looking: red and gold, black and white; beaks working with precision. And then in a sparkle the moment goes – they’ve seen me and I’m late for my train.


Dylan Thomas wrote of “the force the through the green fuse drives the flower” and this morning it’s a force that makes me stop and look. Really look. And as I continue my walk up to the station I feel my faith is restored – that no matter what, life does go on.


I mentioned this to my friend Jan, who’s been going through all sorts of ups and downs recently – she told me about learning to look, properly. The way she described it was the visual equivalent of slowly sucking on chocolate, so that the taste and texture stay with you for longer. And that lingering feeling (I can still picture the goldfinches) is the Universe’s way of saying “Have faith, trust me, all is well.”


And so that’s my tip – choose a moment (or let the moment choose you) and really look, and look again. Stay with looking and allow the colours and textures to seize the sense. And only then, when it’s finally melted, allow yourself to move on, your faith restored with the lingering sense.


Mark Price

Views: 6122 |
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