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Inside Out

Have you noticed how your mood and state always seem to be how the world is at that time? When we feel good, the world seems full of good news and friendly people; when we feel down, there is always more to be gloomy about!

This is no accident of fate. It is about what we are using to filter the possible information around us. When I feel low, I have on the ‘reasons to feel low’ filter, so I notice lots of them.

It makes sense, therefore, to always work ‘inside out’. That means I work on me first, then start looking outwards. If I can change my mood, I will change what I notice, and will be able to have a more positive impact.

Homework.

  1. Notice how the world reflects your mood.
  2. Give yourself treats to make you feel good, and notice how the world also feels easier to handle.

 

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Remembering

We think of remembering as being linked to the past, but the word really means putting the pieces together – re-membering.

Spring is a great time to remember – to look at what you have and what you need to bring back together again. Nature is doing that right now. Plants you had forgotten about are showing their heads above ground again, and delighting you with their re-appearance.

We can do the same. What, during the long winter, has slipped away from your life? It may be walking out in the air and taking a breather, or it may be visiting with friends, or it may be allowing yourself to dream, to believe in possibilities.

As nature re-balances and grows itself again, so we need to re-balance ourselves, and grow our lives, our dreams

It doesn’t matter what level it is on – life-changing or just a simple way of enhancing your everyday – it’s a good time to re-member it!

Homework

  1. Take 5 minutes to think of something simple which has lost its place in your life and then do something to bring it back in – make that phone call, take that break now.
  2. Think of something that matters to you about the balance in your life and find a simple way of regaining some balance
  3. Think of something you want to grow in your life, and plan the first steps.

 

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Being Doing Having

Don’t we all say, sometimes: ‘If only I could win the lottery, then I could go on lots of holidays (or whatever our own dream is) and I would be happy.  Yet every ancient philosophy in the world tells us that it actually works the other way round …. ‘If I choose to be happy, then I do things differently, and I can have anything I want’.

This is very challenging for our minds, which have been trained in the western culture of striving to attain.  We almost want to make it impossible to achieve our dreams, because that proves that we were right – only the lucky ones can do that, and they are very few.

Yet at a gut instinct level, we all know that when we are feeling good, we respond to things differently, and the world seems to work better for us.  It seems worth experimenting with, since we are, most of us, not about to win the lottery!  What would happen if you decided to be happy today?

Homework :

  1. Choose to be happy today, and just notice what happens.
  2. Act as if everything is working well for you for a day, and notice what happens.
  3. At least, practise smiling for a day, and notice what happens!
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Are You Spiritually Intelligent?

It sounds so high and mighty, doesn’t it – spiritual intelligence..  I know that when I first came across the phrase, I thought that it would be something to do with being saintly and I knew that I would never match up!

Yet actually, it is more to do with being in touch with your heart and living your life to the full. Characteristics of those who have developed their spiritual intelligence are such things as enthusiasm, energy, cheerfulness, persistence, peacefulness and compassion. They are not a million miles away from being a reasonable human being who hasn’t lost all their delightful childlike attributes.

My mother-in law was a prime example of this, although she wouldn’t claim it for herself. Whatever happened, her attitude was ‘oh well, I expect it will work out for the best’ and her only concern was that no-one should be hurt by it. At 82, she delighted in riding her bicycle, going to her clubs, being in her garden, watching the snooker on tv and receiving presents on her birthday – see what I mean about childlike?

We all have these attributes in us – we were born with them. So how are you demonstrating your spiritual intelligence?

Homework

  1. Find 3 things each day to be grateful for
  2. Enjoy and use your sense of humour
  3. Find 5 minutes to be peacefully quiet for the next few weeks

 

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Holidays

 

WORKSHOP – HOLIDAYS -08.01

Holidays were originally holy days, days off work to celebrate special days in the church calendar, while in the US they have vacations, which originally means leaving something empty or unoccupied.

Both words imply stopping the everyday routine and stepping away from it to reflect on the larger picture of life.

We all need these breaks from routine to take stock, to refresh ourselves and to regain perspective. They are an essential part of our pattern for living, because they allow us a space, a review period, when we can run a check on what is and isn’t working in our lives, and rest before regaining our momentum.

So make sure that you take some time out over the summer period. Don’t just fill your time with lots of activities – have a do-nothing space, where you just ‘catch up with yourself’ as my mum used to say.

Homework

  1. Plan at least a day of doing nothing, preferably away from your home
  2. Plan at least another day of doing something non-productive that will just be fun
  3. Enjoy any holiday you take!

 

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What Ride are You Choosing?

 

‘Have we not told you, life should be an adventure? If it were run-of-the-mill, you would have left it a long time ago. You need the sturm and drang, the passion, the highs and lows, to uncover the truth of who you are.

We get so caught up in our everyday lives, we forget what we came here for. See life as a game. It’s a game, it’s fun, it’s a rollercoaster, as we have told you before. It has its highs and lows, ups and downs, all arounds, but ultimately it’s all just a ride.

To find out what that’s all about, stand back and observe – where you get stuck, where you fly, where it scares you, where it exhilarates you, and concentrate on one goal, one goal alone: How does this help me to get to the truth of who I am?

Does it? Or does it get me stuck? Does it increase my fear? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, choose another path, get on a different ride!

There’s a whole fairground of rides. Some people like the rollercoaster, some the waltzers, some like the slow Ferris wheel, some the house of horrors. They are all beautifully different, so if you feel your ride no longer fits or suits you, change to another one! Go sit on the rollercoaster even if it does sometimes scare you.  Or go sit on the roundabout and take it gently.

You are all grown-ups, you have the right to choose what sort of ride you want your life to be. So choose, choose now – and if you don’t like it, stop that ride, get off and go get an easier one for a while.

It’s your choice. You create what is the ride of your life. So create one that suits you, and have the courage to say, “no, this ride no longer suits me. I’ll choose another – I’ll create another life/ride that suits me.” And hey presto, you have the life you always wanted. It’s that easy.

We would say that you will probably get through a lot of rides, because at different times in your life, you will need different things. And eventually you will come to the ride that takes you to the truth of who you are, and once you are on that one, you will never want to come off, because it’s home.

(Thank you to Jo and his angels for this text)

Homework

  1. What sort of a ride are you on at the moment?
  2. Does it suit you right now?
  3. Is it helping you to get to the truth of who you are?
  4. If not, what ride do you fancy?

 

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Laughter

I have been spending time with friends recently. The obvious activity was almost irrelevant. What matters is that we have laughed! It wasn’t because we were doing something humorous – it was because we had decided to have fun and to enjoy each other’s company.

How often do we remember that we have the power to decide what an activity will be like? And how often do we remember that laughter can transform the dreariest of tasks?

Laughter is a lovely way to stay healthy – it is proven to enhance our immune system. It is also a good way to share goodwill with others, and keep ourselves spiritually healthy: laughing together links us back into the fundamentals of life and gives us a common bond.

Can you afford to be serious?

Homework

  1. Watch someone who is laughing wholeheartedly this week, and see if you can resist joining in!
  2. Find something boring to do, a friend or colleague to do it with, and laugh as you tackle it!

 

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‘TOOLS FOR CREATION’ – SING LIKE NO-ONE’S LISTENING

This workshop is meant to be light-hearted and fun because there seems to be this misconception that to be an ‘Artist’ one must be in angst and constant turmoil. However, wouldn’t it be great to have the same inspiration without all the hard work and emotional strife!

Well the key lies in children… When you were 3 or 4 you had the wonderful ability of singing like no one’s listening. Remember bathtime? Or watching that Disney film? There was no-one telling you to shut-up, or criticising your atonal rendition of ‘the bare necessities’ you just sang absolutely from the heart and loved every minute of it! The words and melody were of absolutely no consequence; the most important thing was to sing as loudly and as proudly as possible. Take the wonderful Bohemian Rhapsody scene from Wayne’s World – Wayne, Garth and the Wayne’s world team are in the car when on comes Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and as one they mime, rock-out and sing a long to it- this is the essence of what singing like no-one’s listening is all about!

It’s funny isn’t it, we make stars out of singers and songwriters and yet we are often discouraged from singing ourselves. The jolly scene of someone singing to themselves in the bath or shower has been the butt of so many jokes, jibes and digs that many people feel ashamed to even do it anymore..Well we at Meta say ‘bring back bathtime karaoke!’ and let’s re-learn how to: sing like no-one’s listening!

So what can we do to re-learn this vital tool of fun and creation – where can we practice our ‘sing like no one’s listening’ skills?

Well are some ideas we came up with…

  1. Sing like no-one’s listening when in your car
  2. Sing like no-one’s listening when your on a walk
  3. Sing like no-one’s listening in the bath
  4. Sing like no-ones listening in the shower
  5. Sing like no-one’s listening home alone
  6. Sing like no-one’s listening with your kids
  7. Sing like no-one’s listening when you need a pick-me-up
  8. Sing like no-one’s listening with your bestest mate!
  9. Sing like no-one’s listening at the concert of you favourite band
  10. Sing like no one’s listening to your favourite Disney films

 

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TOOLS FOR CREATION – NATURE

This month’s workshop is inspired by nature. As I write this update, the sun is streaming down and there’s a Magritte blue sky with whispery light clouds. The birds are singing, and you can almost hear the grass growing..

Nature has been the inspiration for artists and creatives throughout human existence. From the crude drawings of pre-historic man, through to the landscapes of Constable and Turner. Yet how we harness nature for our own creativity is not as predictable as it may sound.

Nature is all around us. I want us to look at nature, not as ‘watercolour challenge’ or a Constable ‘village scene’ but something vibrant and dynamic that can inspire!

Begin to look at nature with fresh eyes. Begin to see nature as a tool for creation. I have a few exercises which may help…

  1. Find a place in nature – this can be remote, a park, a garden, even an urban environment
  2. Take time to notice what is around you – what do you see? Make a note of everything in your place in nature.
  3. Take a slow walk, again noticing the bounty of nature around you. If you want to stop, pick something up, study it, do.
  4. Take time to study in depth a piece of nature, – a leaf, a hill, a berry, a cone, a feather – maybe sketch it, maybe take it home with you.
  5. The wonder of nature is in its perfection on a miniature scale– a bumblebee’s tiny wings, the veins on a leaf, the spiral on a snail’s shell.
  6. The cyclical nature of nature is everywhere. See new birth, life, death, growth, and reproduction. Does this have parallels in our own lives?
  7. What are we doing to this environment we live in? What is our relationship to it?
  8. How does it make you feel? What are its smells, tastes, sounds? Make a note of them.
  9. Nature is awash with colour, vibrant and full of life, let nature’s colours inspire you, be the starting point of a new piece of creation.
  10. What shapes can you find in nature? Take the outlines/shapes use them in your own work.

Nature is vast. It is a vast topic to cover in such a small workshop. But if the British summer does hold out, do take the time to go somewhere new and record in whatever way suits your own creativity, the way it makes you feel.

 

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Experimenting

Why do we have to get it right first time, every time, or else we feel bad? It just doesn’t fit with our experience as humans does it? And it certainly doesn’t fit with being a learner! Actually we don’t call it experimenting, we call it ‘getting it wrong’ – no wonder it makes us feel bad!

Yet the way we grow in our lives is by trying things out, and gradually establishing what works for us. No, it’s even more than that, it is continually experimenting, because what works for us at one point, may change within moments, and as we move into it, we can see even more possibilities.

As children, this way of growing into our true selves comes naturally to us. We love to experiment and find different ways of doing things, thinking about things, and reacting to things. It is only a taught behaviour to try and find the ‘right’ answer that will last forever.

So let’s be children again! Let’s experiment and play with ideas and approaches. And don’t feel bad if your experiment is not perfect – be delighted that you have more exploring to do!

  1. Experiment with a different route home, or a new type of cereal for breakfast – anything that takes your fancy!
  2. Next time something doesn’t work quite how you intended, smile to yourself and say, ‘great! More experimenting to do!’ (OK, I know that’s a tough one, but it might at least make you laugh instead of being upset! After all, it’s not the end of the world!)
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