The Universe Is On Your Side

This is something that I’ve believed in for a long time, that the Universe is on your side; that it does everything it can to help you get where you need to be (note: need to be, not want to be!) and even if you ignore it or fight it or give it the proverbial finger, it still does what it can to help you along The Way.

infinity road

Some quick notes first:

One, I’ve capitalised the word Universe as I, like Buckminster Fuller, consider it an entity rather than a thing. If you want to substitute God, Allah, the Tao or anything else to better understand what I’m saying that’s fine (and entirely up to you).

Two, I capitalised The Way as it specifically refers to Taoism.

Three, These are just my thoughts. 🙂

thames path, Richmond

So let’s see… so far this year I’ve had two car accidents and I’ve twisted my ankle. That to me is the Universe telling me something. It’s telling me to slow down. And I must really need to do it because the message was a persistent one. When I didn’t do it mentally – the accidents – I had to do it physically – the ankle.

But that’s not all. I’ve also ended up with next week off work thanks to someone who wanted to do what seems to me a very random shift swap. Now I won’t go into detail (the machinations of our shift system are many, myriad, and ultimately highly tedious) and I can’t say I understand it, but again I just took the message and went along with it.

And it’s good that I did, because only now that I’ve slowed down, created some head space, and finally released myself from all my commitments – both physically and mentally – for a while, do I realise just how frantic I was getting. I mean, not only were all my days pretty full, but the few days I had off I was making myself feel bad for not doing more on my own personal projects. And the worse I felt the more inclined I was not to do anything. It was really getting a bit messed up.

vanishing point - holland park, kensington, london

But now, check this out: Now I’ve let go of the idea that I should be working on my book, I’m suddenly more inclined to do it. It’s no longer a chore, and the ideas are starting to flow again. Of course if I do anything right now is up to me, I’ve got the week off and I’m not pressuring myself. But I can if I want and that’s what matters.

But even if I do write, I also need to make space to get my head right. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been rushing along on autopilot for a while now, and it was getting a little hazardous. Hell, I didn’t even realise I was doing it until I mentally started clipping trees as I headed toward the ground. Thankfully the Universe has given me the chance to pull up (enjoying the plane metaphor? ..hehe..), pull myself together, and get back to level before I hit the ground. Nice huh? 🙂

And the best thing about the Universe is no matter how much you ignore it, or fight it, or simply let the opportunities pass you by, it’s always there with another chance to get where you need to go. There’s no judgement or prejudice, it has no ego or memory, it’s help is unending, unconditional, and there for the taking; all you need to do is listen.

And best of all, the more you listen, the more you hear, and the easier it all becomes. 🙂

But remember…

“I know the Universe won’t give me anything I can’t handle, I just wish it didn’t trust me so much.”

– Mother Theresa of Calcutta

A New Life In 30 Days?

I once heard somewhere that if you wanted to make a change in your life it took 30 repetitions – turning down 30 cigarettes, exercising 30 days in a row – for that change to stick.

Now I actually don’t believe that – I managed to give up smoking overnight, and I’ve had long standing exercise routines go by the wayside – but! it is true to say, I think, that if you do something for 30 days and you’re not interested in carrying it on then it’s definitely not for you.

I’ve enjoyed the few 30 Day Challenges I’ve done on this blog – from the original 30 Day challenge, to the moustache for cash, to the 30 Haiku in 30 Days thing I just completed – I think it’s true to say that 30 days is a good period of time to try something out.

So with that in mind I announce my next 30 day challenge, and it’s a bit of a doozie (for me, anyway). Starting on the 12th I’m going to do 30 minutes of meditation and a full yoga routine every morning for 30 days.

ohmmm...

Might not sound like much, but it’s quite an undertaking for me. I include days I’m working in this, and I’ve worked out that along with getting a shower and having breakfast the whole thing is going to take me at least 3 hours. That means when I’m on a mid shift getting up at 7:30am so I can make it to work for 11am. And on nights going to bed at 7:30am to get up at 3:30pm to get in for 7pm. Thankfully I’ve no earlies to deal with (up at 3:30am? no thanks!).

The idea is to take me up to the start of the one week meditation course I’ll be doing in November, giving me a full 30 days of practice to build on when I go there, rather than nothing, which is what I’ve got at the moment.

Hopefully all this will mean the practice of regular meditation will stick. And if not, well… I’ll just have to try again. I know meditation is important for me to do, and I know it will become a permanent feature in my life eventually, I just need to find a way to kick start it that’s all.

I’ll be blogging the results every day as a sort of spiritual diary. Check back to see how it’s going, to see what revelations come about, and to see just how mindful my mindfulness gets (in just 30 days, lol).

A General Update

It’s been a long time since I did an all round update of my pursuit for a Brand New Life. The reason for that is simple, I’ve been out doing stuff. I’ve also been avoiding going on about things too much so as to avoid a false sense of achievement, as outlined in this video (check it out, it’s only a few minutes long).

My avid readers (all 3 of you) will know what I’ve been up to – yoga retreats, green man, a gig or two – and those who can will remember that I said I would be making some changes soon, but that I was putting off any final decisions until the end of September.

Well, the end of the month is fast approaching, and it’s decision time. And what conclusions have I come to? Not as many as I should (maybe).

I know I’m going to do the Sivananda Teacher Training Course, probably in Austria in August, and I’m very tempted to do the Buddhafield Festival set-up in July, but what about between now and then?

I could stay in work, get some cash together, then quit come the summer. Or I could quit, go traveling – Australia and Canada spring to mind – and maybe do 3 months karma yoga at an ashram. Or I could do the karma yoga after the TTC (my preferred choice), but then what after?

Of course I’m just spouting hypotheticals at the moment. I’m not looking for answers from you guys. When it’s the right time the solution will present itself. The Universe has a funny way of doing that when you’re on the right path. And I do feel like I’m on the right path, even if I have to hack through a few weeds for a while.

The quandary, if there is one, is giving up the job. Not only is it the security of a regular (and pretty decent) wage, but it’s nice to be able to just go out and get whatever I want. Like getting my car fixed – £518:06 – or buying a new camera – £203:67. Even being able to go get a haircut whenever I want and not have to choose between that and train fare (believe me, there have been times…!). But when I think of the alternative, to stay ‘secure’ and never go for it, a shiver runs down my spine.

Anyway, that’s where I am at the moment. Unclear I know, but that’s the way it is unfortunately. I’ll post my decision on Friday, in the meantime here’s a few observances and updates on what’s happened this week.

A Spiritual Test

It’s one of the 5 basic precepts of Buddhism that you never lie. Now, I was in work Thursday, when I really could have done with the day off. I had lots to do, and I knew that my being in work meant nothing to anyone (the nature of the shift that day was that there was nothing for me to do). I was very tempted to call in sick.

But I couldn’t do it. To do so would be a lie, and as a friend of mine is discovering at the moment, lies only cause you trouble. And what did I get for my diligence? 11 hours of pure tedium and a journey home that took an hour and a half and was full of drunks and dodgy situations. I’d have been better off if I’d chucked a sickie (or so it seems).

I guess if you’re going to try and live a more spiritual life sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth. Or better yet, find a way to see it all as smooth, no matter what. Now there’s an idea.

Tell you what though, I’m never getting the train to work again. It’s downright dangerous!

Making Choices

Our one freedom in life is choice. In fact it’s the ultimate freedom, that’s why people try and take it away from you all the time (don’t ever take it away from yourself!).

I was going to do a meditation retreat today. 6 hours just… meditating. I want to do more meditation. I feel that’s an important part of my path. But when it came right down to it I just didn’t want to go.

I’ve been in need of a proper day off for ages. A chance to stay in, read, drink tea, watch a DVD and eat pizza, and so that’s what I did. But I couldn’t do nothing, that would have been a waste, so after organazizing (sic) my life I planted some cherry trees.

cherry, tomatoes

Ok, so they’ve got a long way to go. More just pips than trees at the moment. But one day they’ll be big, beautiful, cherry trees, and I’ll plant them along the drive down to my gorgeous house in the countryside. And every spring, when I come home, I’ll drive down an avenue of tumbling cherry blossoms, and it will make me smile.

Heck, I’m smiling already. Om everyone.

🙂

An all round update

Ok, so where is everything at the moment?

First off, I’ve decided not to do the food blog idea (for the moment). I mean I’m hardly keeping this one up to date, so if I started another one that’d just be two blogs I’m not doing. But I am still cooking and I am still posting recipes, so it’s not like I’ve moved away from the cooking idea completely. I’m just putting it on hold until I can give it my full attention.

ohmmm...

What I have been doing though, which is a bit unexpected, is meditating every day for over a week now. Ok, so ‘every day’ is a bit of an exaggeration (as is ‘meditating’ probably ;)), but I have managed to sit for eight out of the last nine days, which is still a win as far as I’m concerned. If I can keep this up I’ll be enlightened by the end of the year, lol.

The day I missed was all down to work. I’ve been meditating in the morning you see, after doing my yoga (I am still doing the yoga every day since I started, which is a good few months now!), but that day I had to get up at 5:30 to go to work, so there wasn’t time, and I just plain forgot to do it in the evening when I got home. Of course this only goes to underline the fact that I need a new job. Plus I’ve been reading Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, which quite simply states that if you believe your job is interfering with your spiritual development then you probably need a change in career. So that’s my main priority for the moment, finding something else to do for cash. I know what I’d like to do, which is write, but I’m also looking at other possibilities too.

That being said the writing is going well. I’m on the second round of rewrites on the script I finished before Christmas. Once that’s done I’ll give it to a friend to proof read, then I can go back to the book I started working on recently. I’ve also got a few other script ideas I’m playing with, so hopefully come the summer I’ll be ready to start chasing down agents and production deals. And no holding back this time. I’m not going to get bogged down with the ‘reality’ of what’s possible. I’m aiming for Hollywood, and ain’t nobody gonna stop me!

30 Days of Kiki : day 28

day 28- a picture of you from last year and now, how have you changed since then?

This is me a year ago, fresh off the boat from Carlisle after my brother’s wedding, showing off the staff bag I designed and my mum made while I was there (thanks mum ;)).

staff bag

And this is me last week on the moustache shenanigans photo shoot.

hey! calm down, calm down!

How’ve I changed? I guess the becoming scouse, growing my hair (head and face) and telling everybody to “Calm down, calm down!” all the time has been the major change. Apart from that nothing much is new really.

Actually, what an odd question to be answering. We change daily, moment to moment, so you may as well ask, How am I the same? As the Buddha said, not only can the same man not see the same river twice, but there is no one to see the river.

That being said (and so as not to be boring)… I have managed to give up all forms of intoxicants (and by that I mean alcohol – I don’t count caffeine in that list), I’ve been more solidly vegan and come up with many recipes, I’ve come to understand what I do and don’t want in life more clearly, and I’ve become more decisive in moving away from negative influences for the better. Overall it’s been quite a positive year.

The challenge is Now (and there’s a statement!) is to invoke further change, massive change, and get out of this rut I’m still pretty much in. Maybe change is constant, but it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. Then again, that’s what the blog’s all about, so I’ve got that going for me. 🙂

ps: The moustache shenanigans final photos are on their way. They’re just being photoshopped up into their final form at the moment, and then they will be released upon the world.

30 Days of Kiki : day 17

day 17- someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why

Crikey, that’s a tough one! Let me see…

Man, I just can’t decide. My options range from the straight forward – whoever’s dating Natalie Portman at the moment, for obvious reasons – to the mystical – the Buddha, so I could see what being enlightened is like – to the sublime – anyone who spends their day lying in a hammock on a sun drenched beach sipping pina coladas before making their way down to the pier for a late dinner and wine by candlelight with the love of their life.

But in the end I’m gonna have to go for Johnny Depp! I mean let’s face it, looks, integrity, a swanky pad in Paris, and Vanessa Paradis. Talk about the whole package!

Week 36: part 2

The advanced Buddhism class last night was… interesting, but I’ve decided not to go back for now. Some of the concepts were a bit heavy going for me, and the discussion of the sutta got completely sidetracked (so it seemed) by a couple of old people who seemed intent on ‘discussing the arrow which had pierced them instead of removing it’ (defining the problem instead of taking care of it). I cannot say I found it entirely useful.

It did however give me an idea or two, like having one day off a week from the computer to just ‘think’. I also realised that I need to meditate more (or at all, in fact), and that I should read and re-read some of the books I’ve got before going back. So not a completely wasted experience.