Learning how to resource & relax

I first met Rupda in Corfu in Greece this summer. I attended a Awakening of Love workshop that she was leading with Simon Matthews who I will be speaking with tomorrow for Part II of our chat together. Rupda is an amazing woman who has spent the greater part of her life devoted to self enquiry and providing support to others. She leads workshops across the world (you can find out more about her work here). With Rupda I see someone who is brave and deep and wise and well, a lot of fun too. I am really grateful that she agreed to be the first to chat brave soul to chat with me on Throwing The Net Open - where we spoke about a technique called 'resourcing' which I have been using in my own life to help me with everything from insomnia to moments when I feel like I need some support (meetings, parties, if you're ever feeling out of your depth). I've even been using it before I meditate to help bring me more into my body and relax me. (Though as Rupda said you gotta be careful about how resourced you allow yourself to get as it's such an effective little tool you can end up wanting to fall asleep. Something that happened to me once when I did some resourcing before I meditated. I ended up feeling so tranquil I just curled up on the floor and snoozed instead!)

So please check the video out below and if it is of value to you, please share with your friends and family via the sharing tabs below. You can also sign up to follow Throwing The Net Open's youtube channel here.

And lastly, techniques like resourcing are so easy to learn and can become helpful tools in managing stress, tension and anxiety. Or just becoming a little bit more comfortable in trusting our ability to cope with whatever situations life brings to us. And I'd love to hear how it's worked for you, in the comments below!

Laura x


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhtK1tzlCfY

The 4 ways of connecting to others (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually & physically) & what that means for our relationships

This morning I was chatting with Simon Matthews for Part I of a 2 part hang out. We looked at the 4 areas where we can connect with others, most specifically our partners: spiritually, physically, intellectually and emotionally. Without further ado, here it is!

Throwing The Net Open on communication skills with your partner - Part I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZIYihJTKKo#t=61

For Part II, please check out the blog on Wednesday (or subscribe and receive the latest posts as soon as they go live) where we will be throwing the net open on an awesome technique that facilitates deeper understanding between couples, friends and colleagues. Key point: it's easy to learn! And effective!

Till Wednesday,

Laura x

Community in the back streets of our lives

I was meant to be exchanging on a house in Hampshire tomorrow. I had got all geared up to finally move from London to the country and then a conversation with my lawyer on Thursday changed all this. A couple of caveats have emerged around the house that she needs to look into. When she told me exchange would be delayed I felt relieved.

“Life is what happens to you whilst you’re making plans."

The truth is I have felt unsure about the move. There have been some big changes in my life recently - that I will probably write about one day... when the time is right. But despite these changes  and in light of the amount of effort and time and expense that has been spent on looking for a home in the country, a part of me insisted that I must see this through. When my lawyer told me the exchange wasn't going to happen, my body just went ommmph. Like a great exhale of relief had softened it. The news felt like life was helping out. Not yet lovey, not yet. Pause, you've found your home and it's your daughters home, now go take a look around you.

Because yes I’d like to live in a place where my daughter can flourish and make friends who she can share good times and heart times with and run to their front door and say hey, come play, I’ve missed you since yesterday. I’d like to live in a place where my dog can come too because Bongo’s my soul dog and he ain’t going to be around for ever and I’m just not complete without him. I’d like to live in a place where there are folk around, who you look out for and who look out for you and you share things with around a proverbial roaring red fire. I want to live in a place that feels like home, where friends can come to and say I feel safe here and here’s where I wanna have fun.

And well a lot of those boxes, well all of them really apart from the one with my dog are actually really happening. I was just so busy looking in the other direction that I didn’t take the time to really truly appreciate how damn lucky we really are.

"There is nothing either good or bad, it is thinking that makes it so." William Shakespeare.

I've been longing for community for a while, and made plans to live everywhere from Italy to Devon in order to create more of it in my life. In the meantime missing the fact that we have become a part of a community right here in London. Because sometimes what we long for, it can take a while to appreciate that it actually exists in our lives already.

And so here we are living on a street where people really chat with each other, (I've lived in 8 houses in London and have never experienced such a friendly street). People support each other through the highs and lows, births and deaths and our neighbours here put themselves out for you. When we were burgled last year, our neighbours took turns to stand virgil at our house till the police came (it took them 2 hours).

Here we live in an area where we have Tony, our local Dry Cleaners.

“'ello Tony,” waves Eve every time we pass his shop. And he always waves back and we chat and he works so hard, actually this is something in common with everyone here: these guys who make up our community work so hard, for so little. Business is tough. And on top of that it can be isolated work because apart from the people who rush in and drop off their clothes, for a lot of the time Tony is mending clothes and going about his work alone.

"What to do?" He says shrugging his shoulders the other day.

Then there is Crystal DIY the shop of husband and wife Nick and Elma. When I am with Eve we always go in. In fact she now makes a point of stopping by the window of Tony’s and waving and then running on to say hello to Elma and Nick. These guys feel like an important part of our day. To walk past and not say hello feels odd.

Here is where we come to say hi, buy candles and batteries and the occasional door-bell. It’s also where I’ve come to camp out after I had shut myself out and it was cold and late and so I went to the shop and asked Elma please can I stay here whilst I wait for Ben who was going to be an hour or so and she said yes of course. And whilst many may say this, not many would really mean it.

So 6 months old Eve and I hung out with Elma and her mother around their electric fire and then Eve got hungry so I headed to the loo at the back to feed her, as as accommodating as they might be I appreciate that breast-feeding isn’t for everyone, and well some folk might be a bit surprised to come for a light-bulb and find a lady feeding her babe by the till. But also a bit of truth is that it took me ages to feel comfortable breast-feeding in public so that first year of Eve's life, I spent an awful lot of time in the loo.

Then there is the grave yard – I have to include the grave yard! I have spent much time here, alone and with Eve. Eve and I have re-homed slugs and snails here, I come to run here, do yoga here, meditate here and I’ve come to walk around and get some fresh air whilst thinking about the Buddhist monks who meditate in graveyards and contemplate impermanence and death and I think about a friend of a friend who was one of the first Ashtangis in Hawaii and who told me about how they used to sleep in the graveyard as no one had any money, but they just wanted to be together and close to the room where they practiced practiced practiced.

Time for cards?

We have The Olive Tree, our local health food store. The family business of Costas and his French wife Virginie. We love going here. Eve to pillage their carrots and to try her dam nest to eat a whole medjool date without me noticing and me to buy food, and hope that this time will be the time that I am able to make something edible. And whilst I am walking around Virginie will sit and play card games with Eve. And when I am running low on cash they let me run a tab so I can buy some food. And that's community spirit, as it sure as hell doesn't do their cash flow any favours. And Starbucks have tried to imitate this small business culture with their give us your name and we’ll write it on your cup gimmick, but that’s all it is: a gimmick, because what is a name without a story? Without taking the time to actually chat with your customers and find out who they are?

And slowly, day by day in this little spot of London where we live, we are finding out who our neighbours are. (We are finding out who we are?) And it's happening slowly, and in unexpected places such as the play-area opposite The Olive Tree, which isn't the tidiest of places and you don’t really want to visit on a Saturday morning but generally it's alright: a place to play and run off some steam before supper.

Here is where I come with Eve and most of the time I’ll sit and have some phone time whilst she runs around, singing and playing and making friends with the local kids. And most of the time phone time is short lived and I sit and watch as my daughter reaches out to hold the hands of her new friends, getting them to help her up and push her on the swing. And I sit on the steps watching, occasionally getting up to help whilst Eve totters across the raised pathway that she loves. But generally, I just sit watching - a beam in my heart blooming.

For this is it, this is community. The wish of a tender ol’ heart.

photo[2]

Free Therapy: A Conversation with Wasps

The other week our neighbour’s nanny noticed that we had a wasps nest under the guttering above our kitchen. We all piled through the kitchen and out into the garden and looked up and watched as the wasps swarmed in and out. “You must get rid of them,” she said.

“Yes,” I said.

So I went onto Google, curious to see if there was a way of working with the wasps. Animals and nature radiate wisdom from their very pores. Our first instinct is to get rid of these 'pests', but you know: life is expensive and there’s only so much money you can spend on therapists...

The Wisdom Of The Wasp

So it was interesting to look into some of the list links provided by Google. I read Shamanic articles that rather then condemn the wasps for being nuisances, praised them as symbols of "communication, order and productivity." I learnt of how if we are ready to work with them they can invoke the power of the female warrior, “prompting us to take a good look at our lives and ask if we are fighting the good fight...”

So I got to work. Drawer by drawer, day by day, leaving the big ol’cupboard underneath the stairs for last. And as I cleared the detrius of my life, I felt my mind and body respond. I’ve been tired of late and finding excuses not to practice yoga, but this last week I’ve practiced nearly every day and I haven’t done that since giving birth 2 years ago.

And who knew cleaning could be so satisfying? For it has been a week of cleaning and hoovering and binning and bagging and filing and dusting and moving and as the drawers and cupboards of my home became more ordered and spacious, I moved onto my to do list and started ticking off more items then I could replace, all the while having more time to write and be with my daughter.

Meanwhile a friend had posted a reply to my status update asking about how to get rid of wasps on Facebook, suggesting that I ask the wasps directly: Why have they come to my home? Now a logical response could be umm it’s the end of summer, its wasp season... Which okay is a pretty good reason, but it's not the whole reason for life has a grander design then we acknowledge. And the thing is as I read my friends suggestion, my stomach dropped which a pretty good indication from my body that there was truth in what she was saying that I did need to ask the wasps directly.

And I had to work up a bit of courage first, because well home truths can be uncomfortable and I wasn't sure if I was ready to hear anything too potent. So I had a think to see if anything came up first and the metaphor ‘a wasps nest’ came to mind and I thought of our home recently. And you know what? A few weeks before the wasps visited us, it had become a bit of a wasps nest. My partner and I are going through a big transition and sometimes in the tiredness and confusion I couldn't help myself and I said things that stung.

And so later that day after calling the pest control I was in my daughters room trying to get out one of the wasps that had flown in and after it went, I looked out at the nest and asked, wasps please tell me what is it that I need to learn from you.

And the answer that came back?

“Be kind.”

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” The Dalai Lama.

And now I look up at the guttering where the wasps are now longer and I feel their absence, permeating the air around me, but I also feel their gift. For all life to be a teacher. Our teacher. How lucky are we to be so surrounded by teachers and invitations to know ourselves a little more fully? and we don't need to pay for this stuff, we don't need to go on workshops, or spend hours in a room talking, we can just relate to the world around us, much as many indigenous tribes do, as if the world around us is intelligent in its own right.

For it is easy to say “be kind?” is that all? I want the deep stuff! But kindness is deep. And to dismiss it, well didn't 't Alanis sing about that? You know ‘like the good advice that you just didn’t take?”

But this kind thing: it's hard! Yesterday I went to the launch of the Love Café (inspired by the Death Cafe) at the Hayward Gallery near London’s Southbank centre. And we spoke about love and we spoke about neruogenesis, or rather someone researching this spoke about this and I asked questions, and the ability of the body to create new neurons from cells in the body that help us love. And how scientists can now confirm that neurological activity can be found in the heart and I think it is right to say our spine. And we spoke about self-love – is this mere indulgence or vital to the process of loving? And we said you know what it is kind of vital, because there is a hell of a lot of self-loathing out there and the more we can love and accept who we are, the more we are able to open our arms to others and how can I possibly not love you, when I have gone through the almighty task of accepting myself? For when we do, the ability to connect more to that sacred pulse of life is magnified more then a gazillion. and from there we can love. Love sweet, tremendous, almighty and so extraordinarily healing love. And being there yesterday at the Love Cafe felt like this is the next quantum leap us humans are going to make: about love and about the body and the energectics of and science of how we connect with one another. Of what intelligence really means, and I guess be kind, is a good place to start.

For I would love to be more kind. Not only to my partner, whatever is happening with us, to be kind to my daughter, family, friends and then there is myself. To be kind to myself. Phwroah that’s pretty hard. Because it gets addictive the beating up. The cheap shots and the needing to be in control. That is like some tight jacket I never asked to wear, just found myself putting on and well, I’d really like to take it off. When it's safe... when it's safe.

But perhaps that time is now.

 

 

Learning to grieve & #throwingthenetopen on my comfort zone

I read once that in parts of Africa when someone dies they will wail their grief to the skies. How I longed for this when my father died because so much was kept in. The British spirit of stiff upper lip was accepted as gospel and on we went as a family. Our sorrows left for when the bedroom door closed and the lights turned off and only then, in the dark, away from others would we allow ourselves to cry and mourn the loss of the man we loved. This is a post about learning to grieve and trust the process that followed.  

On holiday with my ex Ben and our daughter Eve in July I attended a 3-day workshop called the Awakening of Love. And it made me wonder - is it possible that another’s wail can be experienced as our own? For just as I was struggling to access my own bellow, another participant released theirs. And just as I danced timidly around feelings that felt too powerful, another courageously roared out their own, reminding me of possibilities within.

On this workshop bellows and cries and wails and shouts were collectively shared and experienced. And rather then judge each other, we began, slowly and with more trust to #throwthenetopen on our trust levels and started to understand each other - made possible when someone had the guts to share where they really were. Which reminded me of something Buddha said - that "true love is born from understanding."

"Dance Like No One Is Watching."

In one exercise we were given blindfolds and over the space of an hour were invited to move as we wanted, on the safety of a soft low rise mattress as music played around us. We were encouraged to use our voices – if we wanted. Encouraged by others more confident then me, where at first I felt quite shy, I bellowed and shouted and my arms (not the strongest part of my body) were filled with this Herculean strength, as if I were bellowing from the pit of the world. And it felt extraordinary to feel and dance with what I normally repress.

So that in the end I yelled so much I laughed. And I laughed so much I cried. Sweet wet tears that brought with them the essence of what touches me in life, reminding me of a truth whose resonance relaxes me body and mind: we are all the same. No one is better. No one is worse. You and me and him and her, we are all the same.

It’s just fear that makes us think otherwise.

Please do share with friends and family if you feel it will resonate with them.

 

Stripped Bare: Learning the art of strip-tease

Art To Learn When I was 21 I had a session with a strip-tease artist. I was in an all round rut and realised it was time that I learnt to feel good about by myself, by myself.

Watching Jo strip remains one of the most erotic moments of my life. She was an abundance of flesh, the generous side of curvy and when she started to strip, I was captivated. She knew her body so intimately, so wonderfully, so within her own right as a woman that I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I had never seen a woman move so like a tiger, a cat, so utterly feline and yet so fully human. At the end, when I came to do my full routine I felt as if I’d been given the keys to a great truth and one that I could feel tangibly pulsating through my body: sexiness, or the ability to feel relaxed about who I was, would only ever come from within. It had nothing to do with my partner, my job, or the size of my nipples. And fast forward today it definitely don’t have nothing to do with how gentle and sweet my child is. Though of course I tend to forget.

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." -Friedrich Nietzsche

When the session with Jo finished I babbled something about how excited I was to show my boyfriend. Jo turned and looked and me, a soft potency about her manner and then she said “No no no Laura, what I taught you today wasn’t for your boyfriend, it was for you.” And I stopped amazed and without a response for a moment. Because in that statement was a world I didn’t know. But was being invited to know.

Just as a friend reminded me when she reached out to hold my hand as we fell asleep. And in that unexpected gesture my heart got touched and I was reminded how when someone is comfortable enough with themselves to do something that might be considered odd by others, it can mean the world to one of us humans.

We Forget, Lets Remember

In the end my boyfriend never did see me strip. In fact I have never performed a strip-tease for any man I have been with. Partly because I feel shy about it but also because of what Jo said to me – those words sunk into the cells of my body and their essence still lingers. Us humans: we are everything we seek. Why is it so hard to remember?

Pregnant Potential - a walk in the woods

When I was pregnant with my daughter Eve, I went on a walk in the woods with the family dogs Bongo and Piglet. It was  a walk unlike any I had previously taken, for somewhere along the way I was no longer just me. I left Laura behind and became animal, pure, simple and sound. It opened up to me the sense of smell, but also expanded my sense of who I knew myself to be. This is my post about a little walk on the wild side...

Super No, Normal Yes

I remember the first time that I put my hearing aids on aged 23. I thought they were turned up to some super fine frequency as a test run - this is superpower hearing right? I asked the doctor and she looked at me and shook her head and said no, this is normal hearing. And I couldn't believe it: all these years I had been missing this? The fact that at first I could hear the swish of my hair when I walked and things rattling around in my bag. I could hear the conversations of others at tables nearby and best of all I could finally distinguish the words of all my favourite Rod Stewart songs.

 Here too in the woods, it was as if my sense of smell was being turned on, just as the other creatures can smell every single day.

Similarly  here on this walk in the woods, and somehow being pregnant I was tuning into senses that had laid dormant in me for too long. But now carrying my child I was being invited into a deeper appreciation of life. Forest smells included. For here, I was wolf, I was deer, I was dog - I was horse. What I mean is, I could smell - really smell. It was as if suddenly I was aware that there was a dialect in the wood and I wanted to be fluent. And as I crouched down on my knees and pressed my nose to soft green moss that padded the base of a tree stump I inhaled as deep as I could.

And so for one moment life brought to me, a compostic twang of twigs, a mulchment of leaves and muddy earth and dampness that was close to all out wetness and damn you need to use the word fecund because the whole thing was fecund, it was delicious and ripe and sweet - the musk of deer mingled with a smokiness tinged with the sweat of plants nearby and probably a bit of badger shit. I didn’t know the specifics. Only the incredible feeling of being so intimately turned on by the wonders of the forest I never knew existed.

And then I sat on a tree stump and looked around and Bongo came and sat near me and he looked around too. And I watched him. He’s got a soul that dog. And I wonder if we'll ever really know it.

And then we walked on and came to mud – wet, thick, sludgy wonderful dance in me even if you are not a hippo mud. But I didn’t. Instead I stood and remembered being a kid and walking barefoot through mud slathered holes in the country with a friend and the delight being as total as one can wish for. And then we walked, the three of us enjoying each others company.

We walked till we came to a part of the woods we don't normally visit where the long silver trees were cloistered closely together and their lime green leaves swayed softly in the breeze. I looked around and noticed the sculptures: the forgotten relics from the Queen of Hearts. For apparently after Alice left her she was so apalled and dismal at the way she had treated the young girl that she headed for the woods and started creating these compositions, hoping that one day Alice would find them and forgive her.

An Absent-Minded Queen

But the Queen is old and has become slightly forgetful. What are these woods? And who is Alice? So all that is left of her as she wonders off somewhere else are these sculptures, and every now and again one stumbles upon something of hers lying abandoned. Like one of her black heart's that we found. It was so small. It could only have come from her wrist.

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So we walked on, stumbling on sculpture after wonderful sculpture.

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.

Picture frames trying to contain uncontrollable art, that had roamed, curious of what lay beyond.

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And isolated clumps that were more then clumps, because seeing them you knew that great effort and care had gone into their placement.

Then Bongo saw a puddle and waded in, resting there for a moment. And overhead I heard a bird and I looked up and there was this brilliant purple light that shone right through the trees

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And when I looked down it had gone. The ability to smell and be animal was no more. I was no longer wolf, nor dog, nor horse, or deer.

I was human.

Some Things Never Leave Us

 But you know, the woods are here and I still go for walks - along with my companions.

And my daughter is born and sometimes she comes with us.

But mostly when I walk I walk with Bongo and Piglet, because of the stops and the way that we walk takes a rather long time. But if you feel like a walk, a wonderful walk, come lets go together. And we'll sniff and we'll stop and we can howl if you like, and wonder what else is right out there.

Because once sniffed, forever known.

Even if we pretend we forget.

Over to you!

Have you ever had an unusual experience walking in the woods? Please share your story in the comments below!