We started this ritual on holiday in LA in 2007. Our 5-day trip started auspiciously: I got food poisoning on the plane leaving London and spent the entire 11 hours of the journey in the loo. Unfortunately it took me a good 3 days to feel normal again and then get sick again which meant that by 10pm on New Years Eve, I was fast asleep and my friend was ordering room service for one. The hotel porter who delivered it was so distressed that this beautiful blond who he handed over the tray to was celebrating the New Year alone, I think it ruined his evening.Read More
Since I can remember, I’ve understood certain things about God and heaven. But my journey with God began for real five years ago when, inspired by Laura’s passion for meditation, I did a Vipassana retreat in Sri Lanka. There, God opened my eyes to His love and to the power of forgiveness – and before long I found myself (somewhat cross-culturally) doing a Christian Alpha Course in a church back in the UK, where I got acquainted with Jesus as my best friend and with the great and glorious Holy Spirit. Discovering spiritual community led me out of my old career path in the corporate/ academic world into working with the homeless, theatre directing, acting, personal tutoring – as I pursued emotional healing and a deeper understanding of relationship.Read More
Okay so here we go: a new series of guest blogs from friends #throwingthenetopen on the practices that support their self enquiry. Kicking off this new series, which will be posted every Wednesday throughout December and January (and quite possibly beyond), is yoga teacher, musician and traveller Danny Paradise.Read More
Last weekend I danced…
I danced in the company of women and I danced in a place I adore.
I danced all alone and I danced with others, feeling supported in a way I’ll remember.
I learnt and appreciated more the stories that we all carry in our veins and in the blood that dances in them: of our ancestors and of what it is to be a woman.
I find the dance* floor to be a healing place and here are my 9 reasons why.Read More
#throwingthenetopen and posting a poem today, after a run in the park this morning…
A moment earlier
Underneath the gold Buddha.
Rain cascading like an abandoned tap
A leaf pirouetting through the sky.
Moments like this
It’s the light that does it.
That’s doing it.
Inside can’t help but respond.
As I sit here underneath the gold Buddha
A lady and her dog nearby.
I look at the trees
And their old leaves
My bottom perched on cold stone
Will it get cold I think
As I sit here
Underneath the gold Buddha
Waiting for the rain to pass by.
Earlier, my keys headed off in a direction different to the one I needed them to be in. I grumbled, I blamed, I cussed and I cursed. Me temper went foul, me temper went bad. And then with a little help from life, things started to change, and something oh dear what can the matter be, shattered as the sky roared delight. This is my latest post…
Whilst waiting for the cab that would bring my keys back to me, I took my daughter out to supper to a restaurant where I’ve wanted to take her a while. Evie enjoyed the space and the long staircase down to the loos, where she could run around and sing. But supper was a non event. So after two attempts at eating a good and filling supper we ended up under the jet black sky playing hide and seek whilst eating sugar infested banana cake. After about a 50min wait, the cab arrived. I asked the driver if he would take us over the bridge.
‘I can’t take you over,’ he said. So I think of pleading because it’s nudging 7pm and it’s cold and I worry because Eve’s tired, will the walk home be hell? And I don’t want her to get cold crossing, as sometimes it can be windy but I give in and give up and pay the taxi and start our journey home.
At the end of the street there is this man with his bike walking on the pavement in front of us really really slowly whilst speaking on his phone and I feel all frustrated as I can’t walk past him and then at the lights he and another man take a short cut across the street, which as I have the buggy I can’t do.
A moment later our little McLaren zooms to life and my daughter, pram and I do a mother daughter version of a James Bond car stunt when the car flips to one side to manoeuvre an impossible oh darn heck I didn’t see that kind of manoeuvre coming and Eve and I skiaddle past these two folk who have no idea they’ve been pitted as imagined competitors in a race they didn’t know even know was happening.
But I am in that kind of mood and on passing them I feel a mild sense of victory, ah ha! Then I’m walking over the bridge and I’m going pretty slow so the guys probably end up over taking me anyway because I’m distracted by the lights all around us and the spectacle that is Albert Bridge on a November night and after all it’s not any night, it’s Guy Fawkes night and my daughter loves the river and I’m thinking shall I stop so we can look at the lights and then I worry that all the people in the passing traffic will think I’m some crazy mother who’s incredibly irresponsible stopping on the bridge and then I think oh this is baloney and I stop and park the pram and crouch down to point the river out to Evie through the portals in the bridge who strains to go closer, to see more so I lift my daughter out of the pram into my arms and stand and we look at the river and the moon just one day away from being full and London looks extraordinary.
And then fireworks start zooming and booming in the air around us and Eve and I swirl around and I say bubba bubba can you see the fireworks through the trees, pointing at a tree behind where a multicoloured wizardry of fireworks illuminate the sky around us. Pink ones! Red ones! Green ones! And I look at my daughters face to see if she can see them and her face is this pure depiction of awe and after a little while the fireworks stop and Evie’s little voice whispers ‘more…’ And then more fireworks start zittering through the sky in the other direction towards the east, soon joined by others in the north and the moon looms high in the south east and aeroplanes and helicopters soar above us and stars twinkle and Eve watches her first fireworks and my heart is singing and wow, we almost missed this.
And so thank you thank you thank you taxi man for not taking us across the river… Andthank you thank you to everything else that contributed to this moment happening right now.
‘Fireworks everywhere!’ Delights Eve.
And whilst I point some more out, a couple walk past us, turning around to watch them too and strangers stroll by and I look in their eyes and we smile, the sweetness of the moment giving me confidence and they smile and that’s such a sweet lovely thing: to share a moment of appreciation with a stranger, to be standing on this bridge that has always touched my heart for some reason, to have my daughter in my arms in the midst of all this movement and light and splendour. Joggers and men and women returning from walking their dogs in the park pass us by, as do others coming home from work and this is a moment that I think I will remember for a while: the time my daughter saw fireworks. And maybe it feels more special as on Saturday night, the night that most places celebrate Guy Fawkes, I’m out with a friend and have been feeling guilty that I would be missing the chance to take Evie to see the fireworks, but here now we’re seeing them together.
This is my favourite fireworks night ever I say to Eve.
With a joy that came a dancin,’ life welcoming it through.
And when the fireworks stop we walk on over the bridge and then swivel around and watch again as some more crackle and boom behind us. And the view is even better here, because what was hidden before is now clear and brilliant and bright.
And I bend down again to see my daughter, her little open face imprinted on my heart, as we stand by the foot of the moon and this river that swells and sinks so eternally. A gift that seems as ephemeral as a whisper I heard in the beat of my heart. But blessed with a day and a name.
Happy Guy Fawkes everyone,
The other night I was chatting with a friend over dinner. Enthused by something she said I replied that’s it! and that’s what, if I had more courage I would say on the website.
Hmmmm… well life is short and we never know what is going to happen so I guess this is as good a time as any for me to kazump my courage levels and throw the net open on my comfort zone on what might be too much to say, and then again what might be too little…
Because yes Throwing The Net Open is about discovering your truth and trusting it, but it’s also about developing the courage to trust life.
What does this mean!
To trust life is a mindset of trusting that the circumstances in our lives have to be happening, that we will learn from them, perhaps not knowing why but trusting that when the time is right, we’ll understand. That yes life can be brutal beyond imagining but that the human spirit has the awe inspiring ability to go beyond our pain and suffering, and more that to use our pain and suffering to heal – ourselves and others. Nelson Mandela did this when he decided to promote forgiveness above revenge. Jesus did this when he said turn the other cheek. And people on this planet are doing it every single day.
When I was in Rwanda in 2004 a decade after the Genocide I was blown away by folk who said they chose forgiveness over everything else. Simiarily when I was working in Cambodia setting up a pilot project for a foundation and speaking with farmers based in the Rattankiri region some of whom had been a part of the Khmer regime, sitting side by side some who had not. And the gentleman leading the NGO we partnered with, who himself had grown up in refugee camps and was using his experiences to support his fellow country men something in all of these people was about rising to the greater challenge to go beyond their individual suffering and support something larger then themselves. Just as there are people on the planet who every single day are using their journeys and learnings from seemingly unimagainable paths to help the rest of us wake up a little bit more.
Throwing The Net Open is to broaden the horizons of our mind and question the confines we settle for. It is to start learning to touch into and trust and enjoy the intelligence that beats in all our hearts, that blows the leaves on the trees, that coordinates the planets and the stars in the galaxies around us and gave birth to you and I and 7 billion plus other people on this planet and created the ocean and the solar system and the rainforests and the deserts and the incredible diversity that is so mind blowing we as a human race have done our damnest to try either to control it, or understand it and so perhaps then be better able to control it…
Last century there was a poet who described the process of learning to trust life so beautifully, articulately and compassionately that I would like to share his words with you. In many ways this letter from Rainer Maria Rilke to a young poet reads like a letter from life to us: a forgetful tribe intent on making life harder for ourselves. So I can’t say hey if you come on this journey and start trusting life more this will happen and this won’t happen, instead all I can do is wonder at the mysteries that lie ahead of all of us when we start trusting a little bit more and trying to control a little bit less. I’d love to hear about what it means for you in the comments below!
In the meantime, here’s to throwing the net open, day by day, whenever and if ever possible.
Somehow the quiet of the house and the fact that there was none of the usual detritus strewn across the floor felt odd. Clinical even. The kitchen was immaculate because no one had yet had had breakfast – Ben was going to pick up a breakfast muffin for him and Eve on their way out of London – a worry sprouted: would the sadness stay with me all day?
Ladies and gentleman let me introduce you to the sadness dance…It’s is an awesome little tool I have been working with over the last 3 months or so – inspired by Karla McClaren’sbook The Language of Emotions (I’ll be going into more detail in a future blog).Read More
As a teenager my indefatigable curiosity spawned an irresistible fascination with consciousness that expressed itself primarily by way of yoga, meditation and psychedelics. Driven as I was by the naive optimism of youth I undertook them all, albeit unknowingly, as means of self development, self enhancement.Read More