Birds of my Mind

Mornings in Barrydale are melodic with the cheery greetings of a variety of birds. The chirps, warbles and tweets of the garden birds compete with the wistful call of distant guinea fowl, roosters crowing and the cry of peacocks. This morning there was an urgent gathering of weavers, sun-birds, bishop birds, doves and a robin in the shrubs below my window. The plants were alive with hopping, chattering birds. I learnt as a child to look closely at these gatherings to see who was causing such a cacophony. It may be a cat, or a mongoose, but could just as well be a snake.

It is a strange feeling, investigating such a gathering. Physically you go into fight and flight with your head telling you to move in one direction, towards the noise, while your legs want to carry you in the opposite direction for fear of finding a snake. Boomslangs and cobras, both very toxic, are common in Barrydale so you find your eyeballs hopping all over the place. Do you look in the bushes or on the ground? You find yourself walking like a chameleon: pick up a foot, wait to check three times where to put your next step, even when you are on the lawn, afraid you may step on a snake. Relief floods the body when you find a fat, furry cat stalking through the flower bed. The worst is when you spot the sleek, scaled ribbon of snake, grateful that you know where it is but flooded by the extra surge of adrenaline which your body kindly supplies for your rapid retreat. There are times when you find nothing, when the gathering of excited birds abruptly adjourns and they fly away to continue with their day. I like to call these twittering gatherings bird parties, though it may be better to call them bird parliaments, as they seem very worked up about what appears to be nothing.

There is a big shift towards conscious living on our planet and we often hear about mindfulness, meditation and the importance of controlling our thoughts. My mind is a part of me, just as my hand or foot is a part of me, but it isn’t all of me. My mind is there to keep me safe, to warn me of danger, even when I can’t see it, like a party of garden birds, chirping and twittering in the bushes. A word, a situation or an event can send my thoughts into frenzy, crowding my head with scenarios and scripts of what I will say, twitters and squawks of warning from the birds of my mind. My neurology cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imagined so my body goes into fight or flight and I start to do a mental chameleon walk because I know I am going to find a “snake”. I jump to the worst case scenario immediately. My blood chemistry changes as the adrenaline and cortisol feed my need to take on the threat or to run. This happens many times in a day, sometimes for hours but often just for minutes or even just seconds. The birds of my mind may well be right, there may be a snake in the bush but sometimes it is just a fat cat or most often, just a bird party which calms and melts away after a while.

Mindfulness is about knowing the difference between a real threat and a bird party. When I find myself in the metaphysical bushes, hunting a snake, I take a deep breath, centre myself. I thank the birds of my mind for their warnings and then I take control of my thoughts. I decide whether the threat is real or if it is the makings of my imagination and I take appropriate action, facing the threat or dismissing it as the bird party it is. Being mindful, noticing what you are thinking and knowing that you have the ultimate control over what you think, can make the difference between being in a state of constant stress and worry, and staying calm and centred.

Until next time, stay mindful, be conscious and Keep Moving…

Energy – Everyday Magic

When I am asked what I do, I say I work as a kinesiologist. The blank look on the face before me is always a giveaway; I may as well be speaking Russian. So I explain that I work with energy….. and I’ve lost them!  New Age, woo-woo, weird? Not really.

Everything on this planet, and beyond, is made up of energy. We know from our school days that everything is made of molecules, which are made of atoms, which are protons and electrons, positive and negative, energy. If you replace a plug, you will know the importance of connecting the wires correctly. If you don’t the electricity, unseen energy, is likely to cause all sorts of loud bangs, sparks, shocks, melting of plastic and who knows what else. We all have a very healthy respect for electric energy, not because we can see the energy, but because we can see the results of what it can do. Sound waves can shatter glass or show you an image of your unborn child (ultrasound) and an MRI uses magnetic energy to produce images of your physical anatomy. We are very good at believing what we can see but what about what we can feel? Hot water bottles allow us to feel heat energy and static electricity can zap us with sparks. People talk about having a gut feeling, good or bad vibes, or being in a creepy place. We can feel energy if we are aware enough. All of this falls into the “Normal” range.

Let’s see if we can go a little more into our un-comfort zone. People are more aware of acupuncture these days. Many have had dry needling done by a physio but why does it work? The human body is a bundle of energy. Energy meridians run like rivers between the organs and muscles, wrapping around you like ribbons. Chakras, very woo-woo, are energy vortexes, the 7 main, most well-known ones are each over a vital gland in the body. The needles used in acupuncture are interacting with your energy flow, restoring flow where it is blocked much like clearing the debris out of your gutters. Pain is an over energy. Something causes a blockage in the flow so it dams up and overflows, like a storm drain filled with litter.

You don’t have to use needles to clear energy flow. There are many ways to work with energy; sound, touch, visualisation, massage, colour, metaphors, polarity.  Rubbing on a neurolymphatic point for the Large Intestine meridian can result in an instantaneous release of back muscles by restoring meridian flow. A headache may be caused by tension in the gut. Looking at a problem from a different perspective can bring about release in the physical body or re-energise a muscle.

Still not convinced? Why not host a workshop where I introduce you to Energy – Everyday Magic. It’s fun and enlightening and great for a get together with the girls.

Keep learning, keep growing, keep moving…

Birdsong and Cloudscapes

Birdsong, it’s the start to every day. Even before the light of morning has eased through the darkness, the crow of the roosters and the sweet warble of thrushes, trickles into my consciousness. It is a new day, a new beginning, a chance to start over and do better than yesterday.

I am a morning person. I love the early hours when the village sleeps. I love to be outside, exploring today’s world. It is my way of practicing being in the moment, conscious. The sun catches clouds and they blush with its first rays, cerise, pink, apricot or gold. Sometimes great sheets of colour fill the sky and other times there are just wisps. The sky is never the same. Once that gift of the new day has gone, it’s gone forever. It is never the same again. Did you see it, or did it pass unnoticed?

We miss so much in our world because we are busy, rushing around DOING instead of taking time to just BE. Our stress levels rise and our worlds shrink. We get into the habit of Doing. When last did you hear the song of a robin or watch the rain fall?  We allow the gifts of the day to pass us by without a second thought.

Night and day, heat and cold, winter and summer: all things have their shadow side, their opposite. So too, Doing and Being. There is balance to our world and when ignored, our lives become off kilter. This is when dis-ease creeps in. First it may be anxiety and later depression. The blood pressure rises and so does the weight. We start with medication and as we get older, the amount of pills we drink gets more. We tell ourselves it’s because of our age. We fill our lives with the noise of TV and news, Facebook and Internet. We are numb to nature and the world around us.

If this resonates with you, start to make small changes. If you are not a morning person, make a point of noticing the evening sky. Take time to be really conscious whether you are stroking the cat or raking up leaves. Be aware of what you smell, hear and see.  Connect with something and you will connect with yourself, you will feel an energy stir within you, a swelling in your heart. Notice beauty in whatever form, feel grateful for what you have and for what you see. Gratitude is the best medicine there is and the more you practice being present, in the moment, the more gratitude you will feel. Every time the sun rises, you have a new day to practice with. Don’t wait for tomorrow, start today, start now, and keep moving…