Welcome to Carolyn Cowan Online; Designer, photographer, teacher, mother, counsellor and bodypainter.
Archive for November, 2009
Looking around, especially at the media right now, it is easy to see that there is a strong desire for everything to go back to how it was “before”. The general push is that the financial markets need to be as they were, the housing market has to become buoyant again, the credit crunch must pass and if all these things happen everything will be “fine”.
This stubborn view is hampering change. Things have to change. It is the only constant in life apart from Now. Everything is rising, falling, emerging and decaying. There is nothing that does not follow this cycle. There can be a refusal to admit this as the reality and it is easy to see how this manifests in many ways around us: plastic surgery, the government policies, bank’s attitudes to money, our fears for the future, to list a few. We are conditioned to be scared of change, to fear the future, to expect our imminent demise and it distracts us so far from the here and now that it has become a major part of all policy to make sure that we do not ground ourselves and look around us to see who we are and what is happening. We are fed huge amounts of stress and misinformation by the media and there are vast swathes of the population who buy into it on a daily basis.
I could appear to be a conspiracy theorist but I am not at all. I am nothing more than a woman running a business in a recession, a mother and living clean and sober on a daily basis and so watching all that comes my way and recognising how it alters my daily experience.
Time has shown me that although there are many around with whom I can chat, let off steam and confide, the real way forward through it all is when I really take responsibility for myself and do what I need to do to take care of myself physically, mentally and emotionally. It is from this place, calm and clear, that I can be there for others, function appropriately and let things be as they are without endlessly resisting my reality.
So this is the point of it all: Can I be the space for this right now? This question is powerful and takes time to implant in the consciousness. It is to be asked when the brambles of the mind get too tight and the stress is rising. Stop and ask “Can I be the space for this right now? “ An interesting thing starts to happen; there is a space that opens and the resistance melts. The painful thinking changes, the stress dies down, (although the question may have to be repeated several times), and it becomes just what it is. No projection, no invention, no fear. Just a neutral allowing it to be and to then take, if needed, steps to address the issue as a functioning adult. If no steps are needed then move into the present moment.
It is a step away from the drama, the victim and the intensity that can become daily habit and requires an awareness that one is in fact stepping into a different way. Once this is engaged then the different way is calm and peaceful. There is a clear tool, the above question, to use when the body manifests the thoughts in the mind and we feel and become fearful, stressed, overwhelmed and unable to cope, but practice of this tool simplifies things and acceptance is a relief.
A different path can then start to emerge. Taking on change as a personal, rather than a global project becomes possible. The options as to how to make a difference widen, there is so much that can be achieved within each of our personal spheres of daily life. Turning off lights, radiators, walking to the shops, switching to locally produced food, being aware of and responding to our neighbours needs, recycling unwanted clothes and books etc.Posted in
- News and Updates
- Comments Off
I find it hard to write at the moment. It is an accumulation of reasons, some interesting, others not to be said out loud, laziness and too busy. The accumulation of experiences leads to large gaps between things being said.
I think the most interesting thing about writing weblog is the personal censorship. I censor myself. I have so much I want to say but I know I cannot. Why not? Because it is too personal, possibly unkind, not necessary to voice, mean, rude, non-pc… the list is long. So each time I hit a point where I am struggling with an aspect of life I hit all these things and realize that I cannot be appropriate or positive without violating my own codes and ethics and I silence myself.
I have thought long and hard about all the things I/we cannot say and think often about writing a book or just opening wide up and saying “this is how it is”. But not yet. So I go the other way and work at becoming more emotionally neutral; I try to have less attachment to the dramas, the highs and lows of my daily experiences as a mother, a wife, an addict in recovery, a business woman in a recession, a teacher, a friend, a runner…. Such a long list of different beings to neutralise.
So my state of extremis has been a major journey towards a calmer daily experience. Over time I have tried all manner of tips, tricks, techniques, methods, postures, mudras, meditations and mantras. As I flirt with 50 I can see that it is an ever-evolving journey. But truthfully certain things work. If I see myself in an open-topped car moving through my life in high speed I can see that certain things get chucked out as detritus along the route and other things accumulate into the bits and pieces vibrating gently along side me as I drive to where ever it is that the Universe in all it’s wisdom and vicious irony has decided I am headed.
My current new experience is very coloured by listening to Eckhart Tolle CDs which I download from iTunes. I used not to be able to listen to him. It used to depress me endlessly, waiting for the next word to dribble from his lips, he spoke so slowly, but now I find his words amusing, liberating and relevant. Which of us has changed? I guess it is me, and thank god, frankly. Endlessly boring inner journey through barbed wire, brambles and personal mud which is so endlessly boring and futile.
So the result of my neutrality is less weblog. Less to say out loud, less reaction, less time spent oozing thoughts into the ethers. I do not think anyone suffers.Posted in
- News and Updates
- Comments Off
It has been a long year and as it draws to the final month it can all seem rather fast, overwhelming and stressful. Clearly not everyone feels the financial pressures of now and many of us have no family issues, but it is challenging to get through the Christmas season without feeling pressure.
As the New Year comes closer there is a natural tendency to examine behaviours, choices and areas of excess. For me, my greatest area of excess over the past few years has been my mind. It is an awful beast and truly I would prefer never to be left alone with it, but life as an adult is not really like that and I have spent many years trying all manner of practices to gain some mastery over my thoughts that have whirling tendencies – especially when the going gets tough. I am useless at sitting still and find the idea of sitting down to meditate can easily be replaced my hundreds of other tasks that are far more urgent. I have refined my practice so that it really does work for me, in my life, every day, giving me exactly what I need to gain mastery over my mind.
This the gist of how to do it. Sit where ever you happen to be. You can close your eyes, or not. Bring the focus of your attention to the base of the spine, the bowl of the pelvis. This is the root chakra and also the base of the spinal chord. See and feel the internal space; the darkness, the warmth, the energy that sits there so potent and strong. Start to follow it up the spine. This is the path of the Kundalini, rising up from it’s coil in the pelvis, up the spine, vertebra by vertebra towards the crown chakra, up to the heavens, towards the 1000 petaled lotus that represents our highest self. Keep your attention inside, on the energy and vibrancy of the vertical journey. It may take 3-5 minutes to reach the crown, but in that time, with that focus, you will have had time away from the mind. When you focus on your physical sensations you cannot think and this is the most peaceful reality: no thoughts. Once you go back to the mind you are refreshed and better able to deal with the endless mental chattering.
Use this technique whenever you feel the mind has too much power. Gradually you will be able to watch the mind playing games and no longer find yourself drowning in the games and negativity. To make the mind your servant is the ultimate goal rather than to have it as your master.
For more on how to expand your personal practice, look at these DVDs which all contain great meditations.