Leave stress behind

Here’s how:

When we are anxious or stressed, our whole system ramps up its alert mode, and we find it difficult if not impossible to relax. We respond by being busy and distracting ourselves, which is fine until we want to go to sleep, when, as soon as we put our head on the pillow – or when we wake up in the middle of the night – all the things we have tried to avoid thinking about come back to us in full force, and we don’t have the energy to stop them.

We think that if we stop being busy we will instead be faced with the things we are worrying about. 

Two things here:

  • It is certainly not good to ruminate on the things that are worrying – letting them go round and round in our heads without getting anywhere. This can increase our worry and make us feel even more stressed because we now have something we can’t solve but we can’t stop trying to solve either – that’s hard work!
  • It is not actually helpful to ignore the worry either, because it’s like a bubble in wallpaper – it will only come back somewhere else.

But how do you deal with it without it becoming overwhelming?

You can tackle the worries head on, and rationally. But you’ve already tried that, I guess. Here are  two good ways out of the worry trap that are a bit more gentle:

  • Instead of concentrating on the thing you are worried about, look at the part of you inside that is doing the worrying: what does that look like? Not the worry, frustration, anger, anxiety – but the part that gets triggered into those things. Maybe a tight, tangled ball, or maybe a small worried child. Ann Wieser Cornell suggests you could try saying Hello to that part of you that is worried. If you say Hello to someone, even if you don’t know them, they will probably look back at you. If you say hello to the something in you that is worried (not to the worry but the part of you that holds it) you may find it feels better: suddenly, it’s not alone.  
  • Find the silence. You may be wary of silence, because you think it creates a space to let in all the things you worry about. But the silence is like deep-sea diving. The surface of the sea can be choppy, with crashing waves and floating debris, but beneath the surface, you are in calm water. You can learn to go through the place in you where you worry about various things, and into a different, deeper place where it is much more calm.

As with anything worthwhile, both of these take practice. If you think I can help, call me on

07795 324575

and book a session (with no further obligation) to see what you think. 

You can also join me online in a reflective reading and silent meditation – details here

Going with the ebb and flow

Today’s “Finding Silence” meditation (Free online meditation sessions) was about the sense of the ebb and flow of time and how our natural response is to try and control it. James Roose-Evans says, ‘We have to learn how to co-operate with time and destiny, allowing life to shape us rather than trying to shape life to our own ends…Wisdom is to be found by living in harmony with the flow of things rather than trying to control events’

There is an ebb and flow to the universe; an ebb and flow to the life of the planet earth; an ebb and flow to the seasons, days, hours, minutes; an ebb and flow to the life of mankind, an ebb and flow to my own life. Can I work and live with that flow, rather than trying to control it or stop it?

The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for peace and a time for war; a time to embrace and a time not to embrace.

Here in the Coronavirus pandemic, it is a time not to embrace!  And in lockdown, how do I live co-operatively with this part of the ebb and flow of it? Can I allow life to shape me? And the answer is, I’m learning, every day, and it is happening, every day. 

If you are struggling with this lockdown time, and find it isn’t easy to adapt to the time, don’t suffer in silence.

Contact me for a chat to see how I can help.

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.

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