The Open-Eyed Meditation

In the second of my extracts from James Roose-Evans’ book: Finding Silence, James offers a way that enables us to stay inwardly connected in the outward world.

It was for one extremely busy man who worked in the Foreign Office that, he says:

‘I devised what I have come to call The Open-Eyed Meditation…I suggested that he take the words ‘Thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us’ and say them mentally, over and over, while keeping his eyes open as he walked to get the train in the morning, being aware of his surroundings, of the other people travelling on the train; aware of animals, buildings, the quality of light, of the weather, knowing that God is in everything.

To busy to be. Photo by Jose Martin Ramirez

And then at intervals throughout the day, perhaps when dealing with a difficult colleague, that he keep repeating these words mentally. While nurturing our inner flame we need also to look with open eyes at everything; not only at the outer world but also at our prejudices, our animosities, our judgmental attitudes toward others, our resistances, our laziness, to see how egoistic most of us are, how we manipulate others to get our way.

‘Looking in but looking out. So many of us dash through each day without stopping to look about us: to observe the pigeon on the railway platform scrabbling for crumbs, the tired woman in front of us returning home after a night shift, or a fractious child: for all the world is my neighbour. We are all involved. It is no good shutting our eyes twice a day in meditation if it is regarded as a retreat from the reality that is all around us.’

Saturday 12th October is a time for you to step out of the bustle and find silence at my one-day retreat, based on James Roose-Evans book, at the Bleddfa Centre. More here

To read more of this chapter and the rest of Finding Silence, you can buy it from Amazon, or at the Bleddfa Centre.

‘No time to say Hello! Goodbye!’

In the first of my extracts from James Roose-Evans’ book: Finding Silence, James calls us to take our seat in this moment of time:

We are all rushing places, caught up in a whirl of activity, afraid to stand still for a moment, with no time to stand and stare and, most of all, afraid of silence, so we surround ourselves with music, mobiles, the television, anything that will drown out that still small voice, until one day we wake up to find that time has run out like sand in an hourglass. It is then that, like Shakespeare’s Richard II, we realise, ‘I wasted Time, and now Time wastes me.’ Suddenly, with a shock, we realise our time is up.

However, before we reach such a realisation that ‘irretrievable Time is flying’ as Virgil expresses it, there are moments when we are conscious that behind all the frenzied activity we have an important date to keep here and now. At such moments we sense that behind this present reality there is another dimension of reality, when, as Wordsworth puts it, ‘our souls have sight of that immortal sea which brought us hither.’ And yet, and yet, we continue to put off the task, saying ‘I can deal with that later. There is plenty of time.’

It is because we do not take time that, repeatedly, we fail to heed the wisdom that is in our bodies, in our dreams, in our intuitions. But once we do begin to listen to this inner wisdom, then we begin to realise that ‘there is a time and a season for everything under the sun.’

Saturday 12th October is a time for you to step out of the bustle and find silence at my one-day retreat, based on James Roose-Evans book, at the Bleddfa Centre. More here

To read more of this chapter and the rest of Finding Silence, you can buy it from Amazon, or at the Bleddfa Centre.

Finding Silence

Come to the Bleddfa Centre on Saturday 12th October for Finding Silence, a day retreat based on the book of that name by Bleddfa’s founder, James Roose-Evans.

From now until the retreat day, I will be featuring excerpts from James’s book. I hope you will find in it, as I have done, a medicine for the soul in busy and stressful times. Let it take you on a different journey…

Details about the retreat can be found here

A Way In

Inviting all counsellors and psychotherapists
to explore with me how a Focusing-oriented approach can transform client work.

My next workshop is in Hereford on 21st September 2019.

Focusing: A Way In

Would you like to:

  • enable clientsto engage more compassionately with themselves?
  • gently holdand enable those moments in therapy when clients connect to their own inner process?
  • facilitate inner reconciliationwhen clients’ emotional states are in tension with one another?
  • be yourselfmore fully Present to all aspects of your clients’ being in the moment?
  • trust and engagewith the client’s own embodied, implied movement towards healing?
  • recognizeand work with different parts of the client’s embodied self to help them  be acknowledged, feel safe, and to change?

This is exciting and beautiful work!

I hope you can join me.

Click the image for further information and to book your place now –

or contact me by phone

07795 324575

0r email:

elizabethjhalls @ gmail.com

Cost: £50 including lunch and refreshments (£45 early bird before 12th August).

0930 coffee/registration for 10.00-4.00 workshop

 

 

How good are you?

words text scrabble blocks
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I have a list of words, I’ve recently discovered, that I like to think fit my personality. It’s quite long. Here is the start of it:

Good, kind, powerful, strong, intelligent, spiritual, generous, funny, interesting, brave, selfless, refined, right, calm….

You get the picture?

If I’m honest, it’s quite hard to maintain this all the time!

Unfortunately, I’ve also discovered that I have a second list. It’s not what I like to think fits me, but it is what I have the potential to be and am at times. It’s also long. It starts like this:

Bad, unkind, vulnerable, weak, stupid, materialistic, mean, dull, boring, timid, selfish, crass, wrong, angry…

You get that picture too?

The good news is, I don’t actually have to choose between List A and List B. They’re both part of what I am as a human being – surprise, surprise! How hard is it for us to accept that!

What a relief to be able to look at the second list and say, ‘Yes, I’m all of this, too’ – just not all the time.   And to say, ‘Yes, I can be the stuff in the first list – just not all the time.’ It’s enough to accept that I’m a work in progress.

Accepting the ‘shadow’ side of myself gives me a more honest and authentic place on which to stand and relate to myself and others.  I can relax from the fear of ‘getting it wrong’. Of course I’ll get it wrong. But this isn’t a fixed state to be judged by – just part of the flow. So when I look in the inner mirror, I don’t have to ‘breathe in’, metaphorically. I can say hello to my own self, just as I am, and start from there.

brown tabby cat peeking beside wall
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So I just invite you to let yourself off the hook from being perfect, and whatever it means to be ‘right’, and just be content to be human. It’s a very good, honest starting point for being more at ease with yourself and others. Good things follow!

10 Things about Focusing – TEN – Make the choices you really want

CHOICE! How easy is it for you?

Does it feel open, as if one of many colours would be OK? 

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Or does it feel heavy with consequences, win or lose?

man in gray suit playing chess
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Do you find it difficult to make some decisions, especially big ones?

Do you get worried you will upset someone or get their disapproval by choosing to do (or not do) a particular thing? 

Do you find it difficult to know what you really want?

Do you worry about making the ‘wrong’ choice?

If so, you will know how it feels to keep revolving the choices round and round in your head without finding an answer. 

Believe me, there is a way to find out and actively choose what is really best for you. It comes from inside of you, and if it is right for you, it will be right for everyone else around you. 

It took me a long time in my life to realise this. I would reach a inner sense of peace that a decision felt ‘right’ for me, but then it would be assailed by another part of me that simply feared ‘I will get this wrong’, looking outside, to other people who cared about me, society – or even God himself – to have the ultimate judgement on whether I was doing the right thing or not. And I often felt frozen and trapped in this pincer.

If you recognise any of this, I would like to tell you this:

Focusing helps you leave behind these choppy seas, where your boat is being tossed by every wind and wave that comes its way. It helps you drop anchor deep within yourself and enables you to explore clearly what are the real choices and what they mean to you. Focusing helps you connect with ALL the parts of you involved in the decision – those that want something, and those that are frightened of wanting or taking it, as well as those that are practical about it. You will be able to listen to all of them and honour all parts of the equation, whatever you eventually decide. And the part of you that fears ‘the wrong choice’ will feel a bit – maybe even a lot – safer.

Focusing really can help you find a way through this place of being stuck. Find a new freedom! Call me on 07795 324575 to find out more.

adventure air balloon blue sky
Photo by Dianne on Pexels.com

10 Things about Focusing – NINE – finding your good energy

backlit clouds dawn dusk
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

‘When one’s good energy is missing, one can go inwardly looking for it and come to sense a kind of ‘where’ – a subjectively touchable “place” where it is tied up.’

(Eugene Gendlin (1996) Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy)

Focusing is not just about being with the more difficult emotions we feel, but allowing the full sense of our positive emotions to be present to us. Take time, when something good happens in the day, to let it arrive in you.

10 Things about Focusing – EIGHT: SLEEP

Have trouble getting to sleep? Wake up in the night with things going round and round in your head?

Are you doing the proper sleep hygiene – turning off mobile devices, not drinking alcohol, before bed, and STILL lying awake?

Focusing can help with that.

cat sleeping
Photo by Fabricio Trujillo on Pexels.com

Focusing can help with the over-active part of your brain that wants to keep on thinking the worry-thoughts (or planning-thoughts or To-Do-Thoughts) over and over again. It does this by connecting with the Worried, Planning or To-Doing part of yourself that is driving your brain to keep going through the night trying to resolve the unresolvable. From a place of Self-in-Presence (our calm centre) we can help your hyped-up brain to let go, go to sleep to do the real work it needs to do while we recharge our batteries.

With my clients I use and teach a helpful sleep technique which was developed by my supervisor, but Ann Weiser Cornell also does an excellent sleep audio recording, which I thoroughly recommend to help you slip off into slumber. It’s comfortingly called Soothing Restful Sleep and you can try it HERE

 

10 things about Focusing – SEVEN: get grounded

Like mindfulness, Focusing can help you feel connected and grounded in your own being. Do you take your lead, your nourishment, your sense of what to do and what to like, your sense of what kind of person you need to be – do you take this from others? Or are you not sure how to be and what to do?

Focusing can help anchor you to your own ground. Then you’ll find you begin to know better who you really are.

gray trunk green leaf tree beside body of water
Photo by Daniel Watson on Pexels.com