New Beginnings – New Story



Experiencing grief (see my previous blog post Grief Practice) is a process which, if we can practice self-awareness may have many surprising and positive outcomes. I am fortunate to be able to experience my feelings in a moment by moment basis and use various techniques to enquire of myself with the intention to discover the source of, and any hidden meaning, behind the emotions I feel.

Due to my present circumstances, I am currently in a state of a heightened sense of awareness and have been for the last four months. I anticipate this situation will continue for some time whilst my body and my mind continues to heal.

One of the positive outcomes to this state is that I have been pondering change and new beginnings. There is a voice deep inside me which is saying this is the right moment for me to experience new beginnings in my life. It’s calling to me so loudly that I know it cannot be denied. I have no choice (or so it seems that way) to make changes, to move forward in life with a different purpose and to challenge myself in the realms of taking risks, trying something new and releasing chains that hold me back and keep me stuck in old ways of being. Now I feel I am being guided to a new beginning and being asked to let go of things that no longer serve me.

As human beings we have a tendency to be habitual creatures, clinging to old ways of doing things, to routines, to habits and to superstitions past down to us by our parents and other significant people in our lives. We hold on to relationships that may not be healthy for us, familiar patterns in our behaviours that may be toxic for us. We tend to do things in the way we’ve always done things, always writing the same story over and over again which is our life and making the same mistakes. It is common to identify ourselves with our past. We think we are the person who has experienced our past and continue to identify with that person and re-live experiences over and over again, not realising that this doesn’t have to be the way. We can break free and start afresh. Find our own sense of self and live our lives according to our own inner sense of what is right for us.

The good thing is we can choose to re-write our own story any time we choose. We can do this quite simply by cultivating self-awareness into a daily (and ultimately) a moment by moment practice. At the source of everything we do, everything we say, all our behaviours, is a thought. If we can catch our thoughts and change them, we can change our vocabulary and we can change our actions. We can choose our thoughts and therefore speak a different dialogue and we can determine our own actions. We no longer have to live with behaviours, habits and relationships that are to the detriment of our wellbeing. We can go a new way, have a new beginning and write a new story.

In recent months, I have been considering writing a new story. What would I like to read about myself and the life I lead in a year from now? What would it look like? What would I be doing? What would I be experiencing? What would I be thinking and feeling. What would my daily practices be? My passions? My achievements? What would my relationships be like? Would they be fulfilling? Would they be based on honesty and love? Would they be real and enriching? Would I be feeling peace and joy? Would I be living in the light?

To help me re-calibrate, I have been focussing on ‘new beginnings’ in my daily mediation practice Rather than write lists, targets, goals, objectives, I have allowed my mind to ponder ‘new beginnings’ in moments when I have been in meditation, active in creative pursuits like writing and painting, or wellbeing activities like yoga and walking. Using the analogy of planting a seed and letting it grow and blossom, I have been watching what happens when an idea comes to me and settles in my mind. Some ideas haven’t taken root and have withered, whilst other have firmly established themselves and are growly strongly.

Before new beginnings can be established, it is necessary to ‘create space’ for them. Like clearing out your wardrobe of unwanted clothes, purging your bookshelves of books, we can create space in our lives by ceasing activities we no longer enjoy, stopping habits that are bad for us, letting go of unhealthy relationships and releasing ourself from torments of the past. When we do this, we can buy new clothes that suit us better and books that nourish and entertain us.

New Beginnings, a New Story and Creating Space for both – this is my current focus because …

“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” — Paulo Coelho


And my writing?

I feel compelled to revisit my earlier projects – my hybrid novel (fiction based on fact) and my memoir. Floating in the back of my mind is the idea of taking the best from both, reframing and re-structuring my writing to craft a new story. I am excited about the possibilities for change, for development and for growth. New beginnings in my writing, fresh growth and a time for trying again is a stimulating and exhilarating prospect.


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Grief Practice


Today I have been experiencing  grief. Rather than push it away and deny my feelings, or even worst, rather than be annoyed with myself and tell myself to get a grip, I decided to honour my feelings and where I am today and practice self love.

To move through what I am feeling, to give myself the support I need and to give myself a hug, I turned to a yoga grief practice.

Rolling out my mat, settling in, I began by noticing my breath and relaxing my shoulders, working to calm my nervous system and finding a little support from within. I needed to feel held. Not always is there someone around who can do this for me and so I am cultivating a practice where I can ‘hold’ myself. After all, it’s only me who really knows what I need in any given moment. Without rushing, taking my time, one breath at a time I began.

Starting to deepen my breath, connecting to my inner world, I began to feel the emotion of grief and tears threatened to spill. Rather than wipe them away, I allowed them to roll down my cheeks. I was on the mat to take whatever I needed and to leave behind that which wasn’t serving me.

Moving through recent trauma, I know that holding my breath, tightening, being closed, feeling fear have been natural human responses to what is going on for me, so in this yoga practice, I wanted to focus on my breath. Allowing my breath to naturally deepen, to slow down I could feel my body relax, soften and slowly let go. Ahhhhh, sweet relief. With loving awareness I checked in and began to really notice the sensations in my body.

A yoga practice can be gentle and loving, focussed entirely on pranayama, sitting with stillness and allowing the energy to flow. Sitting up straight, my spine long and erect, my hands placed on my heart, I drew my attention to breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 2 and exhaling for count of six. Deep relaxing breaths to balance out.

After several rounds of breathing, I began to add movement with a simple vinyasa involving a small sideways stretch, and a contraction. Turning my attention to my spine, I opened my heart, lifting my arms out to the sides and then exhaling, folding one arm over the other to give myself a hug.

Simple gentle yoga movements, marrying the breath with the movement is deeply therapeutic and refreshing.

As my grief practice continued, my moving meditation, I focussed on staying in the moment and if thoughts came, I gently let them go, coming back time and time again to my breath.

Twenty minutes later, remaining present with what I was feeling, allowing my emotions to flow, not denying, but accepting, I felt more calm, more balanced, grateful for where I am today and with compassion in my heart.



Using the tools of yoga is an aid to my writing. I am cultivating a daily writing practice,  concentrating on short stories and flash fiction. Being relaxed and focussed, I can let the words flow.


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I’m Home



The 30 day yoga journey is done and I am ‘Home’.

Of course, I always have been ‘Home’, the symbolism of ‘Home’ being my spirit, my soul which is always there within me, at the centre of my being, my heart.

Sadly, I am not always connected to my soul as I let fear get in the way. Fear I have discovered is (for me) an absence of love. If I love, if I believe I am love, if I know I am loved, then there can be no fear. During these first days of this new year, I have been inviting love into my love. Loving myself first and foremost, loving others, loving all life and the universe and believing I am love. Connecting with the real ‘me’, my spirit, is a nurturing, comforting and healing experience.

Adriene Mishler Yoga with Adriene is an inspiring teacher. Her subtle spiritual teachings through the asanas nudge me along and keep me on my path. My yoga is a daily practice and like mediation always brings me ‘Home’.

I have been practising yoga since 2009, but at the end of last year, a heavy heart, a tightness in my chest, a feeling of doom and a darkness surrounded me. There was no joy and I felt acute fear. I turned to yoga as my guide, to spiritual practices, to healing and ultimately to my inner teacher. I have been comforted and have discovered I have internal strength to face what I need to face. I am grateful.


And the real beauty is that the journey continues.


When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

JOHN O’DONOHUE, excerpt from Anam Cara


And my writing? During this 30 day journey, I have written a short story and a piece of flash fiction. My writing journey continues.


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