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Personal, Review

Opening to 5 Feminine Archetypes with ReWilding for Women

I wasn’t sure whether to write this blog and before beginning to type anything at all, I found myself staring at a blank screen, taking in deep breaths all the way to my root, as I do at the beginning of any ReWilding workshop or gathering. I am sure I want to share my experiences with different therapies and healing modalities with the world, just as I have already done so once on this blog already. I’m also massively unsure about sharing my super personal experience with ReWilding’s free workshop, for very good reason.

I took part in the 5 Faces of the Feminine, and it got a little bit mad.

I discovered ReWilding when I was added to their phenomenally large Facebook group by a healer from Manchester I’ve yet to work with. This group is home to over 30,000 women, making it the largest social media group I’ve ever been in and these numbers alone certainly got my attention.

At first glance, reading through posts, I couldn’t really be sure what ReWilding was all about. It’s a group for spiritual women, that much was immediately obvious, but I didn’t know if I’d find any use for it. I decided to dive in and get to know the community by making my first post in the group. I then, out of curiosity, signed up to receive ReWilding newsletters from the main website, where I received my free gift; the workshop.

I found myself too busy to get stuck into the workshop right away, but in early November, I sat in a restaurant in London, dating myself as I’ve grown accustomed to in recent months, plugged in my headphones and watched the first 15 minutes of the first module as I waited on my food. I couldn’t deny that I was sceptical of the whole thing, while being unexpectedly excited as I watched ReWilding’s founder Sabrina Lynn talk about what I could expect from this workshop.

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Sabrina Lynn Domenosky

Some people just captivate you. Some people seem to speak to directly to your soul. Sometimes, people appear in your life that you just feel are absolutely meant for you, in ways you can’t really explain. You just feel it, with every fibre of your being. Down to every last cell in my body, I had fallen head over heels in (platonic) love with Sabrina Lynn. It was suddenly easily to see how she’d built such a large community and I knew I was going to be staying.

It took me over a month to get on with completing the workshop and when I was done, I sat staring at my journal wide-eyed, calculating when would be the right time to buy access to a workshop that takes me deeper into the ReWilding method.

The workshop consists of 3 short modules and is a very brief, introductory experience into opening up to feminine archetypes or Goddesses. This is about invoking deities and opening up to and stepping into your “wholeness” as a woman. This is spiritual healing and all about reclaiming your power. It’s re-wilding!

It doesn’t matter how many extraordinary experiences I’ve had throughout my life and how much I believe in the extraordinary, my experiences with cold reader psychics alone is enough to make me cautious when approaching anything out of the ordinary. I began the first practice, not so much not knowing what to expect, but not really expecting anything at all to happen!

And then something did happen. And it was a mental struggle to keep myself detached from stories and ideas about what I was experiencing, and just let myself experience it. It was important to me to not attach to the stories I wrote to describe what was happening, but I certainly made note of the ideas that came up. I tried to approach this workshop mindfully, just observing the results of each invocation, and then writing it down in my journal, without judgement.

If you haven’t ever taken the workshop and think you’d like to try it, stop reading my blog now. I have concerns that describing my own experiences will then influence yours and that’s what you don’t need. You want to experience something authentic and get the best of this very brief workshop. You can come back later to read about how I got on and compare your experience to my own.

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Hekate

1. Opening up to the Medicine Woman: Hekate

In the first module, I’m called to invite Hekate and take in her energy. As the exercise began, it was time to let go of scepticism and just do as I was told. After all, as a witch, this isn’t entirely new to me, so why all the scepticism?

This particular exercise however, was not something I’d done before. Sure, I’ve called on Hekate, but in the past I called with different intentions. This time, I was calling for Hekate to nourish me, standing in my living room, picturing roots growing from my feet and focusing on my ritual. This time, I was trying to merge with her energy so I could be my true, whole self. And this was where things got rather immediately, unexpectedly bizarre.

I became insufferably hot. I was absolutely boiling in my perfectly cool, comfortable living room. I felt breathless. I was suffering! I felt like I couldn’t stand up. I just wanted to drop to the floor. My instant reaction, of course, was panic. My mind raced with questions such as “why can’t I breathe?” and “why can’t I stand up?”

Almost amusingly, I forgot for a moment that I am, for the most part, perfectly able-bodied and normally can stand up. I forgot this doesn’t usually happen in any meditations I ever do. I’d only been stood there a minute, but for some reason instead of thinking that what was happening was a result of the ritual, I actually thought for a second that there was something seriously wrong with me. I thought I’d became ill. I thought that maybe I was dying.

I continued burning up and struggling to breathe. I was keeling over and all I wanted to do was drop to the ground, when suddenly a thought popped into my head that it was perfectly okay to drop to the ground and that in fact, that’s what she wanted. A weird thought, I noted, but I thought “yes! I need to connect my root (chakra) to the ground and get closer to her.”

So, I dropped. And I began to cool down. I began to rock back and forth and then my body naturally began twisting and spiralling. I could hear Sabrina talking to me through the video in the background. I could hear her discussing that we may have “old wounds” attached to the Medicine Woman.

This is the stuff we literally got burned at the stake for.

~ Sabrina Lynn Domenosky

And, “Holy shit,” I thought. “I was experiencing a memory of being burned at the stake for witchcraft?”

It made too much sense. It felt too accurate.

Telling myself again not to attach to this idea, but to simply note it, I ended the practice stunned and shook to my core. I also felt amazing! I was certain I needed to continue these practices and that more is to come from Hekate in the future.

2. The Dark Goddess: Kali

Back to my usual scepticism again, despite my incredibly shocking experience the day before, I stepped into opening up to Kali. This practice once again dictated that I should stand and I couldn’t help but be concerned I was going to get knocked off my feet again.

I simply stood, invited her and waited, observing the experience keenly.

“Nothing’s going to happen.” I thought.

And I certainly didn’t have a crazy experience like I’d had the day before. I had no trouble standing whatsoever and I didn’t burn up or lose my breath. The experience was so subtle and something that could so easily have just been my mind running away with itself, that it was much easier to not attach myself to any stories. However, it was important to make a note of what I did experience and I was still shocked once the practice was over.

I caught a glimpse of a wolf, not a Goddess, in my minds eye. It dived straight at me and tore my throat out. That was rather alarming. Then I weirdly felt that I was being commanded to kneel, so I did so, quite frankly shitting myself at this point. I had no idea if my wonderfully vivid imagination was playing tricks on me, or I was genuinely experiencing something.

As I knelt and waited, eyes closed, I again thought I saw the wolf, wrapping it’s jaws around my head. My head was hurting. I had a genuine headache. Then I either saw, or felt, the wolf inside me and it’s face came tearing out of my own face.

Completely unsure now whether I’d gone mad entirely, I ended the practice realising that I’d now had two experiences that you could in no way describe as pleasant ones. And yet there I was, feeling oddly accomplished with this idea that “that totally needed to happen. I needed that.”

From Sabrina’s description of what Kali may do for me and my own ideas, I sort of felt I was being shown that my mind really needs a good goddamn rewrite.

3. The Mother: Gaia

Finally, with The Mother, an experience that was not terrifying in the moment. I led on the floor, waiting for Gaia’s embrace and I couldn’t deny that I did feel like I was being held, in a very non-physical, non-corporeal sort of way.

As we’d gotten further into November, I seemed to have been slipping further into a very dark, low mood. I’ve never been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder and I’m pretty sure I don’t experience this every year, but it seemed almost like I was suddenly suffering. And through my spiritual Facebook groups, I discovered thousands of people seem to be suffering in the exact same way I am.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we have all lost our motivation and something as simple as washing the dishes looks like climbing Mount Everest.

You can call it depression. But, last year I knew this year was going to be a major one for me and I’ve started looking at all of it with suspicion. I started to be less sceptical about this matter and supposed I am experiencing a Dark Night of The Soul that my sister might not even remember she had warned me was coming in her oracle reading for me earlier in the year. My own tarot readings, though I could only translate them vaguely, certainly predicted this and insisted what was coming was out of my control.

It’s a Master Number 11 year, and here I am, writing this post on the winter solstice of 2018. I never strictly believed in astrology and how planetary alignment affected people. I never cared for numerology and I suppose despite practising witchcraft my whole life, I kept my beliefs and ideas as vague and light as possible. But here I am, at the end of this very important year and I feel like everything I’m going through might be one final big push, or shift, to complete whatever it was I’d started in January.

I pleaded with Gaia for some help as I led on the floor. I begged her to take away my pain, my sadness, my despair, my longing and neediness and lack of motivation and I led there waiting.

She didn’t take these things away, but I still ended the practice feeling supported.

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Gaia

4. The Warrior: Athena

My Grandmother is Greek-Cypriot and Greek mythology and the study of Ancient Greece was, without a doubt, among my favourite subjects at school. I step into the practice excited instead of sceptical, but as was my experiences with Gaia and Kali, the whole thing was rather subtle.

As I’m not experienced with yoga and have a painful condition with my joints, this practice was actually difficult as I had to maintain a yoga pose that I don’t have the strength to maintain for as long as the practice requires. But the thought arose that it was okay to step in and out of the warrior pose. I’ll never know if I was being reassured by Athena, or by myself, but I felt pulled to step into warrior and then I’d be extending my fists, and then I’d be flexing my muscles.

I was suddenly moving like I was in the middle of a Taekwondo class and it just felt so right. It felt like I was supposed to be doing it. And despite being a little weakling that can’t maintain the most simple of yoga poses for a few minutes, I felt pretty damn good as I moved around.

Several thoughts popped into my mind: I am strong; I am a warrior; I am fine; I am ready and, finally, I am “on path”.

So, I thought, “The Dark Night of The Soul is exactly where I’m supposed to be at right now.” And then I reminded myself that I wasn’t going to be attaching to the stories.

5: The Love Goddess: Lalita

Alright. So, I’d gone from a pretty mind-blowing experience in the first module, to all these subtle ones in the second. I was starting to doubt my first experience as anything special. Was this all a load of rubbish?

I sat disheartened as Sabrina explained this final particular Goddess can be a particularly difficult one to open up to. She said something about the door or window to Lalita being a very narrow one. Slightly pissed off, I shuffled into position to begin the practice and tried to empty myself and open to the experience.

(Sidenote: The meaning of my name, April, is “to open”)

For me, this one was all about breath. I was breathing as deep as I could, intent on sucking in as much energy as possible. I needed to fill my chakras one by one.

And as I did so, my body started to rock. My back began to arch and with each chakra I focused on filling, my back would arch more until I couldn’t go any further. This was me letting go and allowing my body to do what it wanted, instead of telling my body what to do and it felt pretty darn good.

Next thing I know, I’m spinning. I don’t know why, but I am spinning around and waving my arms up and down, certain I am pulling Lalita’s energy up and filling my entire body and aura with her love and light. I felt like I was waving away “bad stuff”. The entire practice felt blissful and even almost sensual. I, of course, ended worrying again for a moment that I might have gone completely mad, but did it really matter if for just a few minutes I felt so bloody good?

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Shiva

6. The Final module: Shiva and Lalita

I was not at all sad to learn my final module involved trying to open to Lalita again, but I was sceptical (how many times can I say this word in one post?). This last module is about opening up to the masculine. It’s important, of course, to balance your feminine and masculine according to spiritual circles.

I realised the last 2 modules felt empowering, but I also realised there was part of me that doubted even my most amazing and undeniably extraordinary life experiences (more on those another time).

Trying to open to Shiva felt difficult at first. I was looking for a stillness I’m completely familiar with thanks to my mindfulness training, but there was a restlessness in me I couldn’t shake off at first. When I finally found it, another one of those weird thoughts jumped into my mind:

“Shiva is holding me.”

A split second later, Sabrina is telling me to invite Lalita, and I’m thinking, “but I’m not ready, I only just found Shiva.”

According to my body, I was completely ready.

I started to move again. I started to feel, as I had done the day before, energy rising in me and I couldn’t help but feel that Shiva continued to hold me throughout. My body started to dance and my hips started to rock. I almost dread admitting this, but my hips rocked as if I was making love to thin air. It was both bizarre and once again, felt pretty darn good.

Then, I startled myself by moaning. And then I did it again. And then I started thinking “what the FUCK is happening?”

This was sexual. There wasn’t really any denying it. I was experiencing sexual energy that had me moaning out loud (pretty damn loudly) twice, and I didn’t even know if I even really believed in this stuff half the time.

The workshops exercise ended very abruptly, thankfully. I think if I’d have gone on for much longer things would have got pretty weirdly heavy in a way I didn’t think was humanly possible.

But my interest in taking Tantra classes, which was already pretty high, has suddenly doubled. Or tripled. In fact, it’s probably increased to infinity amounts and I can’t bloody wait for the New Year. I’ll certainly be signing up to more ReWilding workshops and maybe finally booking into that Tantra class I’ve had my eye on!

Opinion, Review

5 Things I Discovered Taking Part in The Energy Alignment Method’s 5 Day’s to Flow

The magic of EAM is that it enables you to shift energy, let go of repetitive thoughts, and overwhelming emotions. It helps you to release physical or emotional pain, negative feelings, painful memories and traumatic experiences to be free from stress, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed.

My Facebook feed is always inundated with ads by coaches, from spiritual to general life coaching, trying to sell me their services, most of which, I ignore. However, scrolling through recently I spotted a post about The Energy Alignment Method, inviting me to participate in a free study, 5 Days To Flow.

The study introduces participants to The Energy Alignment Method (EAM), designed by Yvette Taylor. The study is held in a private Facebook group over 5 units, which can be taken in 5 days or longer and is built on the premise of such concepts as The Law’s of Attraction and Vibration, Kinesiology and Eastern Spiritual practice among others. The method, if followed correctly, is suggested to change a person’s life for the better, making The Law of Attraction work for them and clearing your aura or personal energy field of negativity and blocks that essentially prevent you from living your best life.

But what is EAM, and what did I learn about the method and myself during the five day course?

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Image belongs to EAM

1. EAM is “energy work”

EAM relys on your subconscious mind knowing exactly where there are points of resistance and reversal (like blocks) in your energy field so that you may release them. These points of resistance and reversal may have been created at any point in your life, but particularly in childhood and even, allegedly, in past lives you do not consciously remember.

Using a technique known as The Sway, a method in Kinesiology, participants are invited to ask their bodies to help them locate energy blocks, so that they can begin the process of releasing them.

In EAM, areas of your life are broken down into ten specific areas, for example, physical health, relationships and your thoughts and beliefs. During the short study, participants are invited to locate reversal or resistance in their energy by focusing on one of the simpler areas, with relationships suggested as the last area you would focus on as it takes being aligned in all other areas to work on your relationships.

An example of this might be focusing on your thoughts and beliefs surrounding your job, e.g. you would determine using The Sway if you feel resistance towards going to work and, if yes, you’d then begin to work on the process of release.

I discovered that I didn’t quite trust EAM, or The Sway and quickly grew frustrated with the process, despite my initial interest.

2. Administration might not be paying attention

For the purposes of the study, participants are invited to leave their comments and questions about each unit in the specific threads where each unit is found. If you decide to make your own post asking questions or making comments, it’s likely admin will respond, but they will suggest you leave your comments in the appropriate thread.

However, they are not responding to comments and questions in the threads, causing me to eventually make my own post in the group asking for help. I was told to post in the appropriate thread and explained that I had been, but administration weren’t providing feedback or answering questions and the administrator in question quickly went and located my previous post and responded. This didn’t make a difference for all of the other unanswered questions left by everybody else and I continued to get no responses on any other comment I’d made in the appropriate place.

I discovered that without support of an EAM mentor, you can’t possibly clear up any confusion you may have about the process and I begin to grow frustrated and even more distrustful.

3. The release process is…

After locating an apparent block in your energy, the release process method is simple, though it may not work the first time and you may have to keep doing it, or, I think (?), find another block that is preventing the release process from working. The release process is simply stating, three times in a row, that you are now ready to release the block, e.g. “I am ready to release this black cloud from my energy.” etc.

So, the release process is simply saying words with the intent of releasing negative energy until The Sway confirms your attempts have been successful. There is some talk of positive affirmations not being enough, because they’re just words, but then again, read about The Law of Vibration and positive affirmations and thinking are supposed to be quite handy in raising your vibration.

Either way, a witch knows that intent and belief matters, so whatever the words, I tried to say them with some feeling, just as I do so with positive affirmations.

While working on myself, I came to a standstill when I was being told by “The Sway” I was failing to release some negative thoughts and beliefs on a certain subject. I had questions and needed them answered, but decided not to pursue the mentors beyond posting where I was told to. I didn’t get my answers, so eventually moved on to the next steps, beginning to look forward to the end of the study so I could forget about EAM.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

4. EAM is apparently working for some people

I saw a great number of positive comments and feedback from people and I’m aware that I was actually a participant of EAM’s second study, the first of which had apparently gone quite well. Yvette Taylor hopes that through the results of the study she can prove the method works and get EAM all over the world presumably.

I, however, felt that the only way I’d ever know if EAM is a method that really works is if I were to pay a lot of money to get on the EAM program, supported by a mentor. It’s absolutely not something I’m prepared to do. I hoped that I was being positively discerning and not wrongly sceptical, but the word “convoluted” kept springing to mind.

The main website states: industry leaders are already saying is “The Fastest Method For Getting In Flow”.

I disagreed.

I thought to myself “but there are easier ways” and funnily enough, The Sway confirmed this. The Sway confirmed I could clear my energy using other methods. The Sway confirmed I already had been doing a damn good job of clearing my own energy field. The Sway confirmed that I didn’t have to follow the Energy Alignment Method to reap the benefits of EAM. I believed all of this consciously and according to The Sway, my subconscious is in full of agreement.

“I’m powerful. I can do this any way I like.” I thought, quite arrogantly. And then, “That was quite arrogant, wasn’t it, April?

I suppose I learned I have a lot of faith in myself and that this may be misguided, in the sense I may have an exaggerated sense of my own abilities.

There was a lot I liked about EAM. I like the idea of trying to locate energy blocks and targeting them. I thought it was wonderful how it was apparently working out for some people. However, I also didn’t like EAM and I certainly grew annoyed about the lack of communication and support from mentors during the study. Perhaps I should have done the exact opposite of what I was advised and start giving my feedback and asking questions in my own posts.

5. The program costs?

I mentioned already that in order to get full support and really dive into EAM, I’d have to “pay a lot of money”.  The truth is, I can’t remember exactly how much the program costs, as I’ve misplaced old emails and trying to find the cost on the website is, for me, like trying to find a needle in a haystack. If I remember correctly though, you would pay a monthly fee for participation in a 10 month program. All I know is I determined it either wasn’t affordable or I just wasn’t sold on the method enough to pay for it.

Yvette seems happy, friendly and like a person living her dream right now. The fact that I walk away with a less than shining review and opinion of EAM so far is not something I do joyfully with the hope of condemning her business to ruin. In fact, I wish I had the time and money to give EAM a proper chance by taking on the program with extensive support from a mentor. Whether I think there are easier and faster ways or not, any form of therapeutic work or even spiritual and energy work is of interest to me and I’d like to understand it.

If EAM is genuinely working for people, then by all means, I hope that more people continue to discover it and get much more of it than I did, but for now, I’m going to continue working on self and life improvement through other methods.

Opinion

“Screw The Joker and Harley” – A Cog in The Wheel

I keep seeing those romanticised Joker and Harley memes on my feed. You know, the ones that portray their relationship as romantic and the kind of relationship people should want? It prompted me to save some images from the comics – mostly taken from other articles attempting to raise awareness of their relationship – and seeing as they’re just taking up space on my laptop, it’s time to share them.

 

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I wasn’t sure I’d ever write opinion pieces on this blog, but ultimately when my opinions are related to the health of society, it’s a good fit!

He’d kick me, but I’d kiss those boots!

~ Harley’s Poem

I got my Joker and Harley tattoo towards the end of an abusive relationship that followed an abusive relationship and preceded yet another abusive relationship. Every one of them had their own flavour and brand of toxicity.

I got my tattoo while I began the process of figuring stuff out, like what was “wrong” with me and what was “wrong” with him, or what is “wrong” with them, and other people out there. The “processing” process is not an overnight thing and more like years of work, relapsing and trial and error.

Every time I look at my tattoo, a symbol of abuse and “mad love” (false love), I think about what I’ve been through, what I’ve put people through and what I never want to tolerate ever again. I wonder if it’s all behind me, or if despite my intelligence, if I brave the world of dating again, I’m just going to mess up again.

I won a small poetry competition on Facebook a few years ago writing about Harley’s Stockholm syndrome, called Harley’s Poem. My friends on Facebook have likely seen it cropping up a few times over the years. The competition was ran by popular Joker cosplayer, Anthony Misiano. I’m a big fan!

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One of my old blog posts about Harley and Joker’s relationship in contrast to the respectful, loving relationship between Gomez and Morticia Addams seems to have influenced the creation of popular meme.

I can’t help but think, if you have a daughter or connections to young women, you ought to think twice before sharing a meme that romanticises domestic violence. However, I know going around demanding people rethink their behaviour and change their ways is a waste of time. Arguing with people over their posts on social media gets everybody nowhere. That’s why my focus has primarily been on me and being the change I want to see.

I wont be told what to say, or think or do, by anyone, but I try to consider the wider impact of my actions. I’ve had to make so many changes over the years because it turned out, some of my habits and behaviours were not the kind that encourages a better, fair society. I don’t just say “I don’t want to hurt anybody and I care about people.” I mean it, when I say it and if my behaviour does not reflect my core values, I realise it’s time to change it.

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When it comes to stories like The Joker and Quinn’s, you can respect the artists and writers, without allowing this media to become a harmful message. Respect the actors in the movies. Respect the story, but don’t twist the story. Tell it how it is!

I’ve always liked heroes and villains, horror movies and the dark stuff growing up. You’d have a hard job getting me to sit down to watch a Disney film at any stage of my life, but I know what I’m looking at when I’m looking at violence.

People don’t seem to want to take responsibility for the messages they put out there that impact people’s lives, but are deeply confused when they read yet another article in the news about another violent incident or murder. And yet, society and people has been under the microscope for a long time. It’s fairly obvious where problems lie, but less obvious sometimes is how we can do something about it when a lot of people would rather disagree and carry on as they were.

Many people have tricked themselves into believing one comment in the pub, or one social media share is a “harmless” act and disregard their connection to everyone and everything around them. You are a person in society, a cog in the wheel, and you play your role in deciding which way the wheel turns every single day.
Recipes

Garlic and Herb Soup

One thing I try to include in my diet frequently is garlic for it’s antimicrobial properties. However, to get the full health benefits of garlic, you need to eat it raw. Ordinarily, with most meals I’d stick to one or two cloves, making delicious salad dressings where I can reap the benefits of allicin, or, I especially enjoy garlic in tomato sauces.

It’s important to eat a wide range of herbs and spices, as these have their own, often overlooked health benefits. It’s preferable to get into the habit of adding them to meals and smoothies every day. Coriander is one of my personal favourites and I can quite happily add it to a lot of dishes.

I’m also a huge fan of making my own soups and testing different flavours. I’m often one to stray from a original recipe in front of me, dubbing my experiments ‘guessipes’. I find a lot of recipes online don’t cater for single people or smaller households with very fussy small people, and sometimes, I just don’t want or need to cook large batches. This is often where my experimenting comes in, as I begin cutting and switching out ingredients to find what’s best for my household.

My simple recipe may not reap the full health benefits of garlic, but it’s still nutritious and delicious. I use one and a half bulbs of garlic so it’s not too overpowering and you can really taste the coriander too. However, you can add more garlic if you like and instead of roasting all of it, you could save some cloves, crush them and wait for 10 minutes while the phytonutrient allicin develops. You can then throw this into the soup mix when you go to blend the soup. This will give the soup a much more pungent flavour, as you will only be heating the soup through, ready to eat.


(serves: 1 large bowl, 2 small bowls)

  • 1 and a half to 2 bulbs of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 350ml chicken or vegetable stock
    (homemade is best)
  • 30ml coconut cream
    (add more for a stronger coconut flavour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 generous handful of fresh chives
  • 1 generous handful of coriander

Preheat the oven to 190° (fan ovens / 210° conventional) and prepare the garlic for roasting by removing the outer layer of skin, chopping off the heads and drizzling them with olive oil. Wrap the bulbs in tin foil and placing them head down, roast for about 40 minutes.

After 25-30 minutes, I would start preparing my stock if I am using store-bought, because we need it to cool down before it goes into the blender, but if you already have some homemade you can move onto preparing the onions.

Even though the onions are going to end up in the blender, I still take care finely dicing them as evenly as possible to encourage even cooking. It will take about five minutes frying with a teaspoon of olive oil on a medium heat for the onions to become translucent. Remove from the heat when done and allow to cool.

When the garlic is ready, remove from the tinfoil and set aside to cool. If there is any excess oil in the foil you can salvage that for some nice garlic infused oil. However, remember to pour it into a heatproof container. Don’t pour the hot oil into a plastic tub!

As all of the ingredients are cooling you can prepare your herbs and then transfer the coconut cream, garlic, onions and herbs into your blender. Removing the garlic from the skin should be easy. Just use a knife, or your fingers to gently loosen the skin away from the cloves and each clove should easily slide out.

I start by adding about half the stock mixture with the rest of the ingredients, and blend the mix for about 10 seconds. Then slowly begin adding more stock, until it’s my preferred consistency and blend more, until I’m left with this delightful, pale green soup with dark green bits. Note that I almost always make extra stock in case I decide I need it, and there should be extra coconut cream to hand in case you decide 30ml isn’t enough!

The soup is now ready to be reheated and eaten, or – if it’s cool – transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheating shouldn’t take much more than a few minutes. I never use a timer and just do it “by eye”, heating through until it’s piping hot over a medium heat.

mindfulness

How Do I Meditate? | Meditation for Beginners

Meditation is easy!

There are some common misconceptions about meditation. These include what it involves and what makes a meditation successful. I’m here to tell you now that the only way to be unsuccessful with meditation is to never try it or to give up on it as a practice.

Meditation is a proven successful method of reducing and managing stress and anxiety. It is a simple practice, often used for grounding the self in the present moment.

In our busy modern lives, we are usually inundated with tasks and our minds are always racing from one thing to the next. You could think of finding time for meditation as a chance to recharge your brains batteries between tasks, like charging your mobile phone when it’s starting to run low. It’s a much-needed break for the mind and everyone can benefit from it.

Meditation can be a great start to the morning, kicking you off with calm and clarity for the day ahead. It can be done at night before bed and is proven to help people relax into sleep. Even children can learn and benefit from the practice of meditation.

 

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.

~ Amit Ray

Meditation isn’t just for spiritual and religious people. It’s not just for psychics and people trying to practice magic. It doesn’t necessarily involve going into trances and having visions, though for some people, this might be what happens.

Some people go into meditation with a specific purpose other than grounding themselves or to try to help them sleep. They may go into meditation with the intention of healing themselves, energetically, or to connect to spirit guides. These sorts of practices are obviously unsuitable for those who do not believe in Spirit, or the power of energy healing, but what is suitable for everyone is basic meditation practices, scientifically proven to be good for mental health.

In this article, I would like to focus on basic meditation techniques and mindfulness for the beginner interested in using meditation for relieving stress and grounding yourself in the present moment.

How do I Meditate - Meditation-for-Beginners

Step 1 (Set a timer for five minutes):

As a beginner, you want to start by finding somewhere quiet to practice where you will not be distracted. It usually helps to be sitting down comfortably in a chair, or on the floor, keeping your spine straight, with your hands on your lap or knees and your chin tilted slightly towards your chest.

Meditation can be done standing or lying down too, but as it can be extremely relaxing, you might find yourself falling asleep when led down. If you don’t want to fall asleep when you’re lying down, it is always helpful to have a timer set. I personally use a free meditation app on my phone called Insight Timer.

The main thing is to ensure you are comfortable, as you will be maintaining this position for five minutes.

When you are more skilled at meditation, you will likely find you are able to go into meditative states even when there are distractions around.

Step 2 (Focus on your breath):

Now that you are comfortable, you are to begin by focusing on your breath. Breathe in and out through your nose, and notice the sensations. Is the breath cooler coming in or out?

You might want to focus on the rise and fall of your chest or belly, but do not try to change your breath. Just let it be, as it is.

You are just going to focus on your breath to begin with. It may help to visualise the word “inhale” with each breath in, and on each breath out begin to count up, from “one”, all the way up to “nine”.

If your mind wanders off and becomes lost in thought, don’t despair! Just notice, without judgement, what has happened and bring your attention back to your breath. Keep counting on each breath out, all the way up to the number 9.

You should now already be in a much calmer state of mind.

Step 3 (Relax):

Continuing to breathe in and out, bring your awareness to your body. How does it feel? Are you holding tension anywhere?

Tell yourself “relax” and breathe into the area you are holding tension. Allow yourself to let go.

When you feel your body is relaxed, you can bring your attention back to your breath and once again count all the way up to “nine” on each breath out. You can keep repeating this process, but read on to find out how to deal with thoughts and feelings that arise during your meditation.

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Observe your thoughts:

It’s natural for the mind to wander, even during meditation. With practice you may find it wanders less and less often, but whenever it does, notice the thoughts and watch them, as an observer. Do not follow the thoughts. Just let them pass you by.

To not follow them means to not get carried away with the stories and ideas the mind is presenting to you. Notice them. Observe them without judgement and let them go, returning your awareness to your breath.

You are not your thoughts. You are the watcher. You are the listener.

My favourite analogy is to compare thoughts to traffic. You are the watcher, sat on the side of the road as the cars, motorcycles and trucks (i.e. your thoughts) continue to drive by.

Observe your feelings:

During meditation, some emotions may arise. Notice these feelings. Perhaps you can identify them. For example, you might feel happy or sad. Don’t argue with your feelings or try to change them. Just observe the feeling and let it be.

Just as you are not your thoughts, you are not your feelings. You are the watcher. You are the one that notices the changing tides of your emotions.

Understand that everything is just as it should be in this moment. You are exactly as you should be. Sit with your emotions without judgement, over-analysing or attaching stories to them and continue to focus on your breath.

Notice if anything changes. Feelings are transient and it’s possible they will change even during the meditation.

Observe your body:

Notice bodily sensations. Your tummy may rumble. You may suddenly feel urges to scratch an itch. You may feel tension coming back or feel your body relaxing as you bring your awareness to the tension and breathe into it. Resist the urge to change anything and simply be, as you are, aware of what is going on in your body and mind and aware of your breath coming in and out.

Notice the space:

Space is the gap between thoughts that you may feel you rarely or have never experienced if you have quite a busy mind. You can begin to learn to notice it by noticing the space between each breath – that moment between each inhale and exhale.

As you learn to observe your thoughts as a watcher, you begin to find space. Notice the space between each thought. Notice these quiet moments, where you are not thinking at all. Notice when the space gets longer or shorter.

Notice how you feel in this space.

Don’t give up:

If you’ve follow my guidance, soon you will have successfully practised meditation for five minutes, without worrying that you’ve had “too many thoughts” or that you’ve somehow done something wrong because you didn’t go into a trance. Hopefully, you find it relaxing and perhaps even enlightening in some way. Maybe you will quickly see the benefit of taking the time to meditate.

The trick to getting the full benefits of meditation is to never give up on it. Continue to practice every day, perhaps several times a day, and/or for longer periods if you feel able to. The more you practise, the easier it is and the more likely you will see positive changes in your health.