Female First: Things to Do By The Sea In Winter

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Call me strange (many do) but I prefer going to the coast in the winter. Here in Norfolk we’re pretty lucky to live just a stone’s throw from a plethora of beach options, and then there is neighbouring Suffolk too.

Even if you don’t live close to the sea, a drive to your nearest coastal spot in the winter will be well worth it still, I promise.

The main differences are that you’ll just need warmer clothing, you’ll spend less time outdoors, and you’ll spend less time doing the things you would do in the summer. But there are other things you can do.

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I don’t know what it is about our January day trips at the weekends, but I just seem to connect more with the sea at wintertime. It speaks to me. It feels wildly romantic for a start and more atmospheric, alive. The other reasons I prefer the winter at the coast is that it feels as though you’ve escaped to somewhere very, very different. We’re a little cooped up indoors during the winter here in the UK, so by making the effort to head out to the coast, it feels as though you’ve ventured to a foreign land. Also, it’s often far quieter in the winter, and in my opinion, more beautiful. The sky might not always be bright blue – though it is sometimes – but the sea is a stunning sparkling colour and instead, the sky is often dramatic.

Vinegary chips always taste better in the winter too, trust me! Take a flash of mulled wine, hot spiced apple juice or some chai tea with you.

If you’re interested in ‘things to do at the beach in the winter’, then read on.

I recently wrote another article for Female First on Things to do by the Sea in Winter. There’s lots of ideas here on things to do in the colder months – just click on the link.

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Here are two other wellbeing-inspired ideas that I didn’t mention in the article…

Winter yoga or meditation

There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a spot of yoga or meditation on the beach in winter. Though you may wish you just do short bursts of activity, say 15 minutes, weather dependent. What a setting for it! Remembering to wear warm yet comfortable clothes, the sound of the waves, stillness of air and spaciousness are sure to leave a strong impression on you after your session.

A wish upon a wave

Tap into the expansiveness of the ocean to set your intentions for the year ahead. Take an eco-friendly piece of paper – like some rice paper (or a large pale leaf if you can find one) and write on it either your intentions, wishes, sankalpas or hopes and dreams for the coming year. Use some seaweed or other natural items from the beach to attach the paper to a medium-sized stone. Then throw your wishing stone into the waves. See what comes back…

Cosy Bolthole By the Sea

Looking for a winter bolt hole by the sea? You might like to read a review of one of my favourite spots in Aldeburgh. The Brudenell Hotel: Find out more about this super cosy retreat, where you can see and hear the sound of the waves from your bed! (Click on the Brudenell link or the picture below.)

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What do you do at the coast in the winter? I’d love to hear any other ideas you have. Love Leah X

 

How Does Hypnosis Actually Work?

I love anything to do with the subconscious mind and dreams. Though my interest in hypnotherapy really began when I became pregnant. It’s true that for some, hypnosis feels shrouded in mystery. So I thought, I need to blog about this to show just how helpful it can be.

What is hypnosis?

My favourite explanation of hypnosis so far is that it’s simply a guided meditation, it’s completely natural. We’ve all been in a hypnotic state thousands of times, and many many times throughout an average day, though the majority of us haven’t had the tools to tap into its full potential. If you practise meditation, yoga, lucid dreaming, mindfulness and reiki these are all obvious ways of evoking the state of hypnosis.

Hypnosis isn’t when we are asleep; it’s an altered state of consciousness. It’s when the conscious mind is so relaxed, the subconscious mind becomes accessible. Everything we’ve learnt is stored in our subconscious and when in a state of hypnosis, it’s possible to tap into the goldmine of your subconscious to change patterns. The hypnotherapist is simply the guide. It’s the individual receiving hypnosis, who has the biggest impact on the degree of change they experience. Largely through the strength of their motivation and intent.

It’s then about using a series of techniques to tap into the individual’s highest potential. For hypnotherapy to work, it’s crucial that you’re relaxed. Hypnotherapy is about focusing your attention, to maximise your responsiveness to suggestion in order to manifest positive change, to help change patterns, behaviours and your psychological state.

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Pic: Taken in Autumn 2018 by Alex Cameron

How does it work?

Daydreaming is the first of the levels in a trance state. Beta is the waking state, where we are fully conscious, logical and make decisions whereas alpha is known as a creative state – full of imagination. Theta is a dream state and delta is where deep sleep occurs. Alpha and Theta are the states when we are the most susceptible to hypnosis, where behaviour modification will occur.

It seems Hypnosis is simply about being in a deep-enough state of relaxation to access the subconscious and affect positive change. In fact, most recently (just one week after our first hypnotherapy class back in October) I was asked to read my poetry to a room of famous poets. I’m petrified of public speaking by the way. More about this shortly!

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Pic: Taken by Alex Cameron

What do you experience?

When in the hypnosis state, both your conscious and subconscious mind usually enter into the alpha state, a relaxed dream-like state which allows these two parts to communicate. We don’t want one or both states to fall into an unconscious sleep but for the two to communicate.

It seems everyone is different in terms of what they experience during hypnosis. In terms of the psychological and physical aspects, sensations and overall experience. Some people are fully aware of everything going on, others feel sleepy yet still aware and others will do into a deep trance-like state, where they wake from the hypnosis with no recollection.

What about self-hypnosis?

More about my recent experiment before the poetry recital.

It was by chance that the following happened. As I drifted off asleep the afternoon before the recital, giving myself some reiki, I felt myself drift towards sleep but before I did, I inhabited a very relaxed space that was empty of thought, I’d almost go as far as to say I was in a deep trance. The reiki and my breathing brought me to this space. When there, I seized the opportunity and repeated: I am confident reading my poetry, I am comfortable in large groups. The following evening I was still anxious about it but when I came to read my poetry it was as though I was having an out of body experience. There was two of me – the anxious me stayed seated and a new me stood up and read aloud three poems steadily. I paused, added intonation and was animated. Everyone said how calm I seemed! Call it placebo, coincidence or effective self-hypnosis, but it worked.

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Pic: Artist – Dariah Lazatova

What happens if you stay in hypnosis?

Afterwards I was slightly curious about the hypnotic state and what would happen if you stayed there. Coincidentally I encountered information in one of the books I’m reading at the moment and that said if you entered hypnosis and were to remain in a trance – with no hypnotic suggestions or further guidance – you would either simply fall asleep then wake from a pleasant nap or return to full consciousness on your own.

How can hypnosis help?

Hypnosis can be used to produce anaesthesia in the body, which can help with dentist appointments for example. It’s great for anxiety, phobias, helping you to stop smoking, drinking, over-eating. It can improve sleep, reduce stress and control pain. It can even help control bleeding and the heart rate! So it seems that the hypnosis state, which seems very focused, can enable you to powerfully remove your attention (and your mind) from psychical pain, taking you to a calm, peaceful, pain-free space instead.

Have you had any experiences of hypnotherapy? What did you have it for? How did you feel during the session and has it helped you to change any unhelpful patterns?

Toast: A Guided Meditation

Buttery toast. One of life’s simple pleasures. But how many of us really taste everything when we eat? Not just when we’re eating toast but with anything we consume. I try to eat my food mindfully when I can – although that’s easier said than done with a small toddler waving spoons of mashed potato around – but when I do have a meal to myself, I try to savour every moment, observe the colour, texture and taste, slowly and with full awareness. (Well, when I remember.)

I always think fondly of the delicious vegan food from the 10-day silent retreat in Dharamshala a few years ago, not just because the food was full of rich Indian flavours but because at every meal time, with no distractions, no talking, no iPhones, no television, your full attention was spent on each mouthful – just you and your plate.

Last week, my new yoga teacher read the following guided meditation during relaxation at the end of the class and I was keen to share it with you. Not only did I leave the class more focused than before but all I could think about for the next 24 hours was buying a loaf of my favourite sourdough bread from my local baker. (Ha! It worked on two levels.)

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Mindful Toast

If you feel like giving this simple meditation a try then simply have a read and then the next time you make some toast bear in mind what you’ve read below. You could also ask someone to read it to you whilst you sit with your eyes closed somewhere peaceful.

The idea is to pay attention to what is happening right here and now, to be fully present during everyday experiences and extract yourself from the dreamlike stage our mind wonders in.

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Artist: Mia Charro

Toast: A Meditation

Toast a piece of bread and as it’s cooking, savour the distinctive aroma of white or brown, ready-sliced or crusty, seeded or unseeded. Note any happy mental associations that arise. Spread the toast with butter, Marmalade or whatever takes your fancy, listening to the rasp of the knife and appraising the texture of the toasted bread as you do so. Notice and accept any frustrations as they arise in your mind. Perhaps the butter is straight out of the refrigerator and difficult to spread? Perhaps some sticky marmalade has found its way onto your fingers?

When the toast is ready to eat, look at it as if you had never seen a piece of toast before. Notice the fine structure of the bread still visible around the edges where the spread hasn’t reached, the difference in colouring and texture compared with the crust, the smoothness or runniness of the butter, the glossiness of the marmalade, its contours on the bread, its colouration and constituents. Maybe there are fine strips or chunks of orange rind, tiny air bubbles, flecks of darker colour. None of this is beneath your attention.

Sniff the toast and marmalade. Take a bite. Observe how the jaws, tongue and salivary glands immediately go to work of their own accord. Don’t try to stop them or slow them down, just note the crunch of each bite and the accompanying sounds inside your head. Now that you are actually paying attention, it might be surprising how loud these sounds are. Notice the changing texture of the food in your mouth as the teeth grind it down and saliva dissolved it. Give your full attention to the sharp acidity and sweetness of the orange, the oily butteriness of the butter, the butty toastiness of the toast.

Try all the fully automated movements of the tongue, jaws and lips as you chew and finally swallow. Notice the unfolding of all these behaviours as they happen, the almost unstoppable motivation to take another bite, and then another. All your impressions are valid, both the positive and negative. You may discover that you are enjoying the toast a whole lot more than if you’d just wolfed it down without thinking. Or perhaps you find the whole experience slightly disappointing. Maybe the toast is cold and chewy, the marmalade too sweet? There may be bitter, burned bits.

Accept it all with equanimity. This is simply how the toast is.

The above meditation was taken from the book Siddhartha’s Brain – The Science of Meditation, Mindfulness and Enlightenment by James Kingsland. 

And if you’re reading, Hester – thanks for sharing this!

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Unicorn Toast

How to Lucid Dream

Lucid Dreaming Boosts Wellbeing

Before I reveal my tips on how to have a lucid dream and what to do when you’re there, first, I have a very timely tale to share. I initially wrote this blog post a couple of weeks ago and I’ve returned to it today after what happened last night.

A juicy dream

Last night I had a mild nightmare. In the dream, I was with my daughter in a department store. She kept running off and I was struggling to keep hold of her. Every time I found her, she ran away so quickly and vanished. It was awful. I was extremely distressed, anxious that I’d lost her forever.

However, the way she just kept vanishing, it seemed ridiculous, unbelievable, I realised how crazy the scenario was – the way she was darting around and suddenly vanishing just wasn’t real – and also I didn’t recognise this wood-panelled and dated department store, I’d never been here before. Hang on, I never go into department stores anyway? Let alone with my spirited toddler.

I froze. I looked around me and then said out loud in the dream: “This isn’t real. This is a lucid dream, this is a lucid dream!”.

Instantly, the stress left me, I was filled with joy. Partly because I haven’t had a lucid dream for a few weeks, and secondly, I was relived to be unburdened by this stressful situation, this was all just a dream. My wellbeing instantly improved. I let her go, so to speak, and just stayed in the situation, observing how I was feeling and what was around me.

I was in an old fashioned elevator but I sensed that I couldn’t get out, that the doors wouldn’t open, and if they did, they would lead me to the wrong floor. But because I was lucid, I knew this wasn’t an issue. This was a lucid dream and I could gently steer my way out of this. Instead of finding an exit to lower floors, I just stepped through the wall (yes, you can do this in a lucid dream, it’s so trippy!), and into another place. (I can’t remember where it took me but I didn’t plummet to my demise.)

I then asked the dream to take me to Barbados, The Bahamas, the Caribbean. I wanted to see the beach.

Surprisingly, instead, my subconscious had other ideas. I was taken to the basement. There were lots of strange objects there. Small creatures made from brown and beige play dough. Like those animated characters from CBeebies! But they were faceless, moving around in a strange way. I felt petrified of them, fearful and a bit grossed-out!

My first instinct was to leave. I also felt a bit robbed that I’d asked to visit a beach and I was faced with this cellar-full of creatures squirming around the floor by my feet.

Aha, amazing, I suddenly realised. These creatures are my shadow self – a Jungian term -the things about oneself that we repress or hide, the things we need to love in order for them to be integrated and to heal. (It’s a sure sign that you’re facing your ‘shadow self’ if you’re either fearful or disgusted by something in a dream, usually it’s something you want to avoid or get away from, like a nightmare!) We all have a shadow side, whether we realise it or not. So to be aware of it is great and if you can access it via a dream, you’re half way to integrating it, and accepting it. If you do, these ‘hidden aspects’ won’t suddenly pop up in your life and give you grief when you least expect it! Or something like that.

So instead of running away from them – pushing away these undesirables – I bent down and picked up each one like I would a kitten and tried to cuddle or at least ‘hold’ these wiggling blobs!

I know, this sounds totally crazy! But trust me, I’m speaking from first-hand experience. (This is what Charlie Morley, expert in his field, recommends you do when faced by a ‘shadow dream’.) By embracing these ‘creatures’, well, you’re healing something that needs addressing. Goodness knows what this represented, but for me, it was probably something that occurred when I lived in the Caribbean a few years ago). By doing so, there was some serious healing going on, or at least, some sort of internal resolution taking place.

This is just one small example of how lucid dreaming can help. Firstly, it can help you overcome stressful dreams or nightmares. Secondly, whatever your dream content, you can gently navigate to other places that you’d like to explore. Because I’ve had some practice, my dream decided to show me something other than a beach (!) and I’m glad it did. I knew what to do and how to approach it so that was all cool. You won’t need to venture here on your first few lucid dreaming experiences, unless you want to. You can keep it simple, fun and practical if you like!

If you’re new to lucid dreaming this might all seem far out or a bit much, so let me take you back a few steps.

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My Lucid Dreaming Story

I’ve been lucid dreaming since I was a child but only realised that it was ‘a thing’ ten years ago. Circa 2010, when my Dad attended a workshop in London with Charlie Morley and he came home with his notes from the day – I soaked them up. The following week I started having lucid dreams again like I did as a child and teenager, and was able to tap into them using the techniques he’d learned on this workshop.

I was living in London at the time and started attending drop-ins at the then ‘Dream Academy’ in Euston held by Charlie. Since then I’ve taken part in a couple of workshops and retreats, including the most incredible experience on Holy Isle. I’ve also received a lot of insight from Charlie Morley’s books.

My life has changed since I started practicing lucid dreaming. I’ve used it to explore my inner world, to help solve dilemmas, asked for guidance, it’s inspired the pamphlet of poems I’m currently writing and it helped me during post-natal depression. It’s also very recently helped my little girl with the nightmares she’s been having about dragons.

What is lucid dreaming?

So what actually is lucid dreaming? Lucid dreaming isn’t when you have really vivid and memorable dreams, although this does help when starting a lucid dreaming practice. Lucid dreaming is when you are aware that you are dreaming. When this happens, you’re able to participate in your dream and have some sort of conscious involvement or gentle influence. Some people choose to fly above the rooftops, others use it for their wellbeing, for things like healing (such as reiki), and many even use it to practice a skill such as breakdancing or yoga.

Lucid dreaming is basically a window into your subconscious mind and an opportunity to connect with a deeper resource within you. It’s effectively a tool to improve your wellbeing. Charlie uses a great analogy: Think of an iceberg, the top 10% floating above water is our conscious mind and the bottom part the 90%, hiding under the water is the unconscious mind. There’s so much more we can tap into, whether your motivation is to use your inner well to induce your creativity, learn how to surf or to overcome a fear such as public speaking.

First it’s important to understand a bit more about my favourite subject, sleep…

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Wellbeing: Four Stages of Sleep

I’ve been obsessed with sleep, or lack of, since having my little girl. It’s the key to maintaining your wellbeing for sure. There are four stages of sleep and it’s important to get all four!

  1. Hypnogogic state: This is just as you are dropping off to sleep. You are dozy and your body will sometimes jerk. Dreams comes after the jerks! This is alpha sleep.
  2. Light restless sleep: If you become lucid in this sleep state, there is a grey-blackness as this space contains no dreams. If lucid in this space, it’s best to simply meditate (if you can manage this, this is quite a profound state to rest in) But I’m getting way ahead of myself!
  3. Delta wave sleep is deep sleep: The body and mind restores itself, muscles grow in delta wave. It can be difficult to wake someone in this state.
  4. Dreaming Sleep: 90 minutes in each wave. Replicates throughout the night. Last two hours of sleep is most common for lucid dreams. safe-dreaming

How to Have a Lucid Dream

Here are a few techniques that I’ve learnt from Charlie and things that have worked well for me in the past:

Keep a dream diary. Write down any snippets you remember as soon as you wake up. Your recall will be best at this point. The more you do this, the more you will train your mind to remember your dreams. The more you remember your dreams, the easier it will be to notice when you’re actually dreaming.

Practise mindfulness or mediation: This isn’t essential but it helps! The more aware you are of your thoughts, the more present in the moment you can be and the calmer and more awareness you have, the easier it will be to be aware you’re dreaming. Basically, if you’re aware and mindful in your waking state then it will be easier to be like this within a dream.

Daytime affirmations: During the daylight hours, repeat to yourself at various points of the day positive affirmations to encourage lucid dreaming: “Tonight I will lucid dream”

Am I dreaming?: During the day make a habit of doing two things. Firstly, ask yourself out loud “Am I dreaming?”. You can do this at random points or during an unusual dream-like part of your day. Say for example you see a celebrity walking down the street or something unusual happens on your commute. Say to yourself – am I dreaming? The idea is that, the next time you see something unusual, say in an actual dream, you’ll remember to ask yourself – am I dreaming? This may then wake you up within your dream! So that you’re fully conscious of what’s happening in your dream. What a feeling!

Reality checks: Although dreams can seem very realistic sometimes, there are often some tale tail signs that you are dreaming. The key is to understand how you can actually test whether you are dreaming. So that, if you find a moment of awareness in your dreams, you can test out whether your are in waking life or in a dream. The hand test was very beneficial to me in the early years of lucid dreaming. Simply look at your outstretched hands, look away form them, then look back at your hand. In reality you see the same thing, right? (Hopefully you will.) But in a dream, when you look back the second time at your outstretched hand, your hand will look slightly different. This is because your mind can’t replicate an exact copy second time around! The other check is to knock with your hand on a door or a table. Do this in waking life – especially during a surreal moment or dream-like part of your day. In a dream, if you knock on a door or table with your fist, you’ll find that your table isn’t as solid or the sound isn’t realistic.

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7 Reality Checks in a Lucid Dream

If you think you might be dreaming and having a lucid dream, here are some things you can do in your dream to test your theory! I learnt these on the Holy Isle Retreat a few years ago.

  1. Look at your palm, look away, look back again, twice, in quick succession
  2. Pull your finger in your waking state (in a lucid dream it will stretch)
  3. Stick finger through other palm / hand (have the expectation in the dream you have to believe in them)
  4. Try and read text
  5. Digital things such as iPhone display will look strange
  6. Every time something dream-like happens in reality do a reality check “Am I dreaming?”
  7. Colombo Method:
    1. Look for clues – where am I?
    2. Work backwards – how did I get here?

 

Things to do in a lucid dream

  • Explore other lands. You can ask the dream to take you places – somewhere you like to visit in reality or ask it to show you the galaxy. You might be surprised by what you see!
  • Ask for healing or to meet a spirit guide
  • Practise a skill e.g. karate, break dancing, ballet, yoga. If you can do this in a lucid dream, you’ll be surprised when you wake – whatever you practise in a dream, will be amplified in reality! People have practised things like breakdancing before in a lucid dream and woken to find they’ve mastered the moves!
  • Meditate! Practise mindfulness or meditation. You’ll probably wake feeling super charged and your practise will be amplified – you’ll reap 10 times the benefits, as anything you do within a lucid dream counts as triple if not more! (Can’t remember the stat)
  • Ask the dream a question or make a gentle request. Avoid asking a dream character (a person in your dream) as you may receive a skewed answer, your projection of what you think that type of person would say to you. For example, if your Mum pops up in your dream and you say: “Should I marry that guy?” You might get the sort of response you’d expect from your Mum instead of perhaps what you really want for yourself. Instead, ask a wide open space or the sky.
    • Show me something important; what should I do next; should I buy that house we saw yesterday; show me the meaning of life; what job would satisfy me most.

Tip of the Iceberg

I really have only touched on a few of the basics here. For more, I’d really recommend buying Charlie’s books. Starting with Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming Conscious in Your Dreams.

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Have you had any experiences with lucid dreaming? Or do you have any tips or hints for encouraging lucid dreams?

Female First article: Foraging for Herbs

This week I’ve written an article for Female First: 10 Hedgerow Herbs that will Brighten Up Your Summer Cooking.

In addition to this article, which you can access via the above link, I’ve also added some extra information below about the wonderful herb foraging workshop I took part in recently.

Forgotten Herbs and How to Use them

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A few weekends ago I took part in a foraging workshop, which was held at the Mangreen Centre here in Norfolk. I’d booked the course last December while I was dreaming of plump hedgerows and warm, bright evenings. Sometimes a fulfilled prophecy doesn’t always live up to the hype. Not in this case.

I’ve loved foraging since I was a small child. My Dad would always take us to woods, meadows and riverside walks. He was good at identifying things. More often than not we’d return home with glistening treasures. My Mum was good at preparing our spoils. That’s why I love local produce so much. These herbs, plants and vegetables are all part of our landscape and fabric. Sadly these free riches are often forgotten about, before they fade and turn to seed.

About the Workshop

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The workshop I took part in was taught by Julie Burton-Seal, a practising medical herbalist, together with her partner, Matthew Seal, also an expert in wild herb and plants. The pair are well known in their field (forgive the pun) and so I felt very lucky to learn that they live here in Norfolk.

The day was designed for anyone who wants to improve their health in the same way that mankind has done for centuries, by using local wild plants and herbs. They teach foraging from a medicinal perspective. This is like the holy grail for me. I’m a big foodie – I love to cook, forage and I’m also extremely interested in wellbeing and alternative therapies.

The combination of medicinal foraging is a match made in heaven for me. Plus, it makes ecological sense to forage for plants and make the best use of the things that are readily available and free.

Using Herbs and Plants

The incredible thing with foraging for herbs is that you can gather all these beautiful things, store them up during the summer for the winter ahead. There are so many ways you can use your pickings – to make tea, tinctures, wines, glycerites, vinegars, herbal honey, syrups, butters, skin creams, ointments, infused oils, plant essences, herbal sweets, the list goes on.

I’ll be blogging about a poppy tincture I’ve made. It helps with insomnia, head aches, anxiety and a host of other symptoms. Do look out for more on the blog soon.

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What to Harvest in Spring and Summer

Now I am only a beginner when it comes to foraging for health. Before the course my knowledge of foraging didn’t go much beyond samphire, berries, nuts, nettles and wild garlic. So here is just a small round-up of things you can forage for.

Remember, it’s always advised that you should read up on what you forage. Make sure you’re picking the right part of the plant and harvesting at the best possible time for that species. It’s also essential to only really forage, and then only consume, what you can positively identify.

Julie and Matthew recommended a good book for identifying wild flowers and herbs. It’s called Wild Flowers by Simon Harrap.

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Hawthorn Flowers – A natural way to lower high blood pressure

 

Speedwell ‘Veronica’

Available: Late spring, early summer

Habitat: Gardens and grassy hedgerows

Good for: Leaving you energised yet calm at the same time!

How to prepare: Harvest the flowers and place around one tablespoon in boiling water to make a hot infusion. Steep for a short while and drink as a tea.

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Speedwell ‘Veronica’ – calming yet energising

White Dead Nettle

Available: Gather tops whenever flowering, which can be almost any time of year.

Habitat: Hedgebanks, roadsides, gardens and waste ground.

Good for: Stops loss of fluids from the body, whether excessive menstrual flow, diarrhoea or a runny nose. The flowers are full of nectar, enjoyed by insects and children alike, and the leaves can be used for cuts and splinters.

How to prepare: Leaves and flowers can be eaten, raw or cooked.

Red Clover

Available: Flower heads with upper leaves, collected in early summer.

Habitat: Grassland, road verges.

Good for: Blood cleaning. Used for chronic constipation, skin complaints, chronic degenerative diseases and bronchitis. It has been included in many anti-cancer formulae, and helps balance hormone levels.

How to prepare: Use 1 or 2 heaped teaspoons of dried red clover flowers per cup or mug of boiling water and allow to infuse for ten minutes. Strain and drink.

 

Meadowsweet

Available:  Flowering tops; masses of creamy-white flowers in high summer.

Habitat: Marshes, streams, ditches and moist woodland.

Good for: The number one herb for treating stomach acid problems, while also benefiting the joints and urinary system. Good for fevers, flu, diarrhoea, headaches and pain relief. Known as the ‘herbal aspirin’.

How to prepare: Use a rounded teaspoon of the dried meadowsweet per mug of boiling water. Infuse for 5 minutes. Best made in a teapot so you can keep the aroma in.

 

Cleavers

Available:  Can be gathered in handfuls from early spring until the plants flower in the summer.

Habitat: Hedgerows, farmland, stream banks and gardens.

Good For: Make into a juice for swollen glands, fluid retentions, tonsillitis and bladder irritation. It’s also just a great spring tonic, said to boost one up, post-winter.

How to prepare: Use the young tops in salads, juice along with other vegetables and fruits and fill a jug with a large handful and top with water. Leave to stand for a few hours and you’ll be left with a refreshing tonic.

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Cleavers in a water immersion – a refreshing tonic

For more information check out Julie and Matthew’s website: http://www.hedgerowmedicine.com 

Eastern Daily Press: Healthy Eating in Norfolk & Suffolk

Healthy Eating Week 11th – 15th June

This Healthy Eating Week, discover some of the healthiest restaurants and cafes in our region along with some fast-food options with surprisingly wholesome twists.

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PONO: Norwich

Since I started my 12-week fitness and healthy eating programme with Paradox Living, I’ve been making some considered changes to the way I approach my food. I’m in ‘Week 10’ currently. Like many others, I tend to go off-piste when I’m eating out (or when home alone). My ‘healthy eating’ journey inspired an article I’ve wrote this week for the

Eastern Daily Press and East Anglian Daily Times

Whether you’re trying to improve your diet or give your life a nutritional overhaul, with the impending summer holidays, Healthy Eating Week is a good excuse to get things back on track.

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Ancestors, Norwich

Luckily, finding lighter options when out isn’t as restricting as it once was. There are some exciting new plant-based eateries that have recently popped up across our region and plenty of surprising alternatives available from the places you’d least expect.

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Below I’ve featured some extracts from the article – a few of my favourite veggie and vegan ‘Top Picks’ if you like.

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Erpingham House, Norwich

Places to dine (almost) guilt-free this Healthy Eating Week

Ancestors, Norwich

27 Magdalen St, Norwich, Norfolk

An oasis of calm offering a wide range of vegan and gluten-free options including the Nourishment Bowl – packed with chickpeas, broccoli, hummus and sweet potatoes, mixed greens, tahini and spices. A virtuous lunch may leave room for some vegan chocolate cake made with unrefined sugar, and a caffeine-free beetroot latte with almond or oat milk.

Cradle

40 North Street, Sudbury, Suffolk

A plant-based bakery and restaurant that prides itself on using local and sustainable ingredients. As a result, the innovative daily menu is forever evolving with the seasons. Expect to find healthy breakfasts, handmade sourdough breads made from in-house milled flours, roasted organic coffee, lunch, snacks and other spectacular daily specials, perfect for both foodie vegans and non-vegan foodies.

Darsham Nurseries

Main Road, Darsham, Suffolk

Set amongst a stunning plant nursery, this critically acclaimed restaurant-café grows much of its own fruit, herbs and vegetables, just a stone’s throw from its kitchen. Other produce is provided by local suppliers and the menu changes to reflect seasonal availability. The breakfasts and brunches are best paired with the weekend papers, and the luncheons and suppers are designed for laid-back feasting with friends. For a full review check out my post here: Darsham Nurseries

PONO, Norwich

15 St. Giles, Norwich, Norfolk

PONO is a Hawaiian word that means living in a state of health, happiness and harmony. Try the POKE Bowl – a traditional Hawaiian dish with a PONO twist. Choose from spicy salmon or traditional tuna, both raw and marinated for extra flavour. Served with brown rice, fresh mango salsa, spinach, avocado, corn, pickled ginger, grated carrot and poke sauce. For something sweet, there is raw-cold press juice and a selection of smoothies, including the Creamy Cacao, which is made with cacao, banana, avocado, almond butter, almond milk and date syrup. For a full review check out my post here: PONO.

Ruth’s Kitchen

39 Magdalen St, Norwich, Norfolk

Everyone’s favourite Israeli lunch-stop on Magdalen St. The Falafel Mezze includes homemade falafel, which although is deep-fried, comes with a kaleidoscope of small salads, that probably exceed your 5-a-day allowance: hummus, pan-fried aubergine, sauerkraut, shredded red cabbage, baba ganoush, tomato, pepper and cucumber salad, chickpeas and olives.

Art Café

Manor Farm Barns, Glandford, North Norfolk

Accredited by the Vegetarian Society and members of Slow Food UK, this is a place to enjoy delicious, locally roasted coffee and indulge in delicious vegetarian food.  The summer menu includes Slow-Cooked Quinoa Porridge, Baked Eggs and Spinach. For lunch, a plethora of salads, daily curry specials, soups and Coffee-infused Homemade Baked Beans on Toast.

Erpingham House

22 Tombland, Norwich, Norfolk

Norwich’s newest addition to the plant-based fold. Three floors of mostly organic and gluten-free vegan food, under one roof. This restaurant offers an overwhelming selection of healthy options. Cashew Jackfruit Korma, Coconut Chilli, Summer Rolls, Puy Lentil and Roast Veg Salad and various healthy sharing platters. What’s not to love.

The Waffle House

39 St. Giles, Norwich

Go for the Humus & Avocado on wholemeal waffle, topped with wild rocket, sun blushed tomatoes, olives and poppy seeds. If you’re being extra saintly, hold the drizzle of sweet chilli dressing. Or go for the Vegetable and Cashew Stir-Fry – a medley of seasonal vegetables with Asian seasonings. Instead of a milkshake order the mixed berry smoothie, made with natural yoghurt.

Belgium Monk

7 Pottergate, Norwich

Known for it’s wide range of Belgium beers, moules et frites and creamy sauces, the Belgium Monk also has a few healthy tricks up its sleeves. Try the Vegetarische Schotel – a vegetarian platter with lentil and carrot paté, artichoke tarator and Lebanese red pepper muhammara.

Cafe Gelato

6 Opie Street, Norwich

‘Let’s go for ice cream,’ your friends say. Don’t worry, you still can indulge. Although there isn’t currently a sugar-free option, the sorbets are virtually fat-free. Although the menu changes daily, it often includes, apple, blueberry, blood orange, strawberry and lemon sorbet. Homemade with 50% fruit, British and seasonal where available. The only other two ingredients are water and sugar.

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Darsham Nursery, Suffolk

To read the full article you can go to Eastern Daily Press website.

The Lady magazine: Top 10 Tips for Meditation

This week I wrote my second article for the fabulous, The Lady magazine. You can read the full article at the end of this post. But first, here’s a quick intro:

 

Meditation vs. Mindfulness

In short, meditation (or mindfulness) is simple tool that will change your life for the better. It’s about bringing more awareness to our experience which enables us to see how we can sometimes make ourselves suffer unnecessarily. Seeing that enables us to make changes.

Meditation was taught by the Buddha and although it is something that’s taught as part of a spiritual practise, mindfulness is taught in secular contexts. In fact, in recent years the NHS has adopted mindfulness as an approach to be used within its mental health trusts across the UK.

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Who is it for?  

Not only can mindfulness help your average person (what’s average? I’m not, are you?) with general wellbeing and boost happiness but it can help with…

  • Those suffering with chronic pain and other psychical long-term health conditions and it can help to
  • Reduce stress and also prevent depression relapse
  • Prevent relapse into alcohol and/or drug use for those in recovery
  • In childbirth and parenting
  • In prisons and in schools
  • The work environment
  • Eating disorders
  • To enhance performance in sport
  • For victims of trauma

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Mindfulness: The Benefits

There are heaps of initial benefits but also so many others that have a knock-on effect. Things like:

  1. Increased mental clarity
  2. Self-control
  3. Objectivity
  4. Equanimity
  5. Improved concentration
  6. Emotional intelligence
  7. Ability to be more flexible
  8. Acceptance
  9. Ability to relate to others and one’s self with kindness, acceptance and compassion

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Top 10 Tips for Meditation

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You can read the full article here:

The Lady magazine 

 

The Lady magazine: Eat the Seasons – Summer Fruit & Veg

I know we have a few more days, possibly months, until summer finally declares it’s arrival. But when those flashes of momentary light do reach us, so will all those juicy and vibrant summer fruit and vegetables we all love to pluck, cook and devour each year. I can’t wait.

I didn’t manage to blog about seasonal fruit and vegetables this spring, but I have written about summer produce for The Lady magazine recently. You can see my full article HERE.

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Foraged Samphire from North Norfolk

Here’s a list of the seasonal fruits and veg to look out for here in the UK:

June

Asparagus, Aubergine, Beetroot, Blackcurrants, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cherries, Chicory, Chillies, Courgettes, Cucumber, Elderflowers, Gooseberries, Lettuce, Marrow, New Potatoes, Peas, Peppers, Radishes, Raspberries, Redcurrants, Rhubarb, Rocket, Runner Beans, Samphire, Sorrel, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tayberries, Turnips, Watercress.

July

Aubergine, Beetroot, Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Blueberries, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cherries, Chicory, Chillies, Courgettes, Cucumber, Gooseberries, Greengages, Fennel, French Beans, Garlic, Kohlrabi, Loganberries, New Potatoes, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Raspberries, Redcurrants, Rhubarb, Rocket, Runner Beans, Samphire, Sorrel, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Swish Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress.

August

Aubergine, Beetroot, Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cherries, Chicory, Chillies, Courgettes, Cucumber, Damsons, Fennel, French Beans, Garlic, Greengages, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Loganberries, Mangetout, Marrow, Mushrooms, Parsnips, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Plums, Pumpkin, Radishes, Raspberries, Redcurrants, Rhubarb, Rocket, Runner Beans, Samphire, Sorrel, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Sweetcorn, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Watercress.

SOURCE: The Vegetarian Society

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Globe Artichokes from White House Farm

Seasonal Veg Recipe Inspiration

If like me, you LOVE artichokes, you might like to see my recipe for Maltese Stuffed Artichokes. These are divine. Filled with sourdough breadcrumbs, fresh herbs, black and green olives, garlic and sometimes capers. With lots of olive oil. Delicious with some fresh ciabatta bread to mop up the juices and a glass of crisp white wine. There are two great farm shops here in Norfolk that sold globe artichokes last year – Wiveton Hall and The White House Farm.

And if you also share my obsession for broad beans, check out this post from years ago. It’s a really easy Broad Bean Risotto recipe using seasonal fresh peas and broad beans. Or try my very simple Broad Bean, Mint, Lemon and Garlic Bruchettas, another oldie, also from the archives.

Foraging

In the article I mention foraging – if you’re interested in foraging for samphire do check out my post about it: How to Forage for Samphire.

Out of Body Experience Workshop

That time I won an Out of Body Experience Course on Valentine’s Day. As you do.

Valentine’s Day just gone, something pretty rad happened. I won an Instagram competition. The prize was a place on an Out of Body Experience course with Jade Shaw in London. What an amazing gift to receive for a wellbeing explorer. Just perfect. Far better than all the chocolates and flowers in the world.

I first started following OBE Speaker and Teacher, Jade Shaw, on social media around a year ago after spotting her inspiring feed via her husband Charlie Shaw, who brought my lucid dreaming practice alive almost ten years ago.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Just the phrase ‘Out of Body Experience’ might seem a bit far out but stay with me – this is a really exciting and extremely beneficial thing! Plus there’s science to back up the phenomenon, and if you haven’t had one before, you can learn how to do it.

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What is an Out of Body Experience?

An Out of Body Experience, also known as Astral Projection, is literally when you separate or exit from your physical body, or if you like, your physical body is asleep, while you pop out for a moment. (Don’t worry you can return to your body at any point.)

It’s a proven and scientific phenomenon. In psychics there are 10 dimensions and apparently when you have an Out of Body Experience, this is when you enter the 6th dimension (and sometimes the 10th). Fact.

What are the benefits?

Why would you choose to leave your body? Sounds a bit like dying you’re thinking. Firstly, it’s perfectly safe and secondly it can be life-changing.

There are lots of different ways you can have an OBE. A popular way is directly via your sleep state. Some people just have them by accident and others have them during meditation. Another commonly known way is during a near-death experience. I’m sure you’ve often heard the stories of people leaving their body, looking down at the scene and then choosing to return. Once they have returned, many report coming back with a new lease of life, living their life in a more meaningful way. Well, you would wouldn’t you? If you actually experienced leaving your body (a simulation of dying) and witnessed a 360 degrees view on your life and the world, and you actually felt OK, when you returned, you would make it count, wouldn’t you. Plus you’d return reassured.

In fact, Jade mentioned a great book called “Dying to be me” which is a New York Times best-seller. Written by Anita Moorjani, who recounts the time she almost died. On the day of her (almost) death, she started to leave her body but actually chose to return. She reported being able to clearly understand and see what was going on and how her passing would impact those she was leaving behind. She didn’t feel overwhelmed or emotional but detached and content, with clarity. Although she’d been battling with cancer for years, when she returned, she started to make a recovery within in short time. Her life from then on in took on a whole new meaning.

There are other ways you might experience an OBE, if only for a split second or two. And it is possible to induce an OBE. That’s what Jade’s brilliant day-long course was about. I’m not going to mention the techniques Jade spoke about as I really think it’s important to understand the concept fully and the best way would be by heading along to one of her workshops or reading more about it (links at end of this post).

There are heaps of benefits. Similarly to Anita’s experience, you will still experience significant benefits through sleep-included OBEs.

Benefits after experiencing an OBE include:

  • Spiritual Awakening: You start to see beyond the physical body, explore the nature of mind and reality.
  • Connection: You connect to a higher universal awareness and experience the interconnectedness of all life
  • Perspective: Greater appreciation of life. It is said, after an OBE, you wake with a positively overwhelming feeling
  • Facing fears: Decreased fear of death. Overcoming fear is the art if out of body experience, which builds a habit of fearlessness
  • You become more intuitive and psychic and you can receive teachings from spirit guides or teachers.

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What actually happens during an OBE? 

Most OBEs happen when you are asleep. But don’t worry, you can only leave your body for up to 20 minutes and sometimes it’s just for a few seconds. You can return at any point. You feel as though you are separate to yourself and it’s possible to turn and look around at your body. You feel as though you are psychically there but you have no or little sense of time. In fact you can see 360 degrees and travel to anywhere in this world or beyond. Sounds far out right? But it is possible. Don’t take my word for it. Check out all the information online.

Unlike a dream or lucid dream, you can choose to actually visit places in real life. Although your lucid dream may seem realistic of real life, you’re not actually there, you’re still in your mind.

Jade wanted to verify her experience so in an early OBE she visited a nearby road, a place she hasn’t been before. She found a door and remembered the house number and that morning after she woke for the day, she walked to the house she visited. Low and behold, the door number matched the one she visited in her out of body state.

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What happened when I tried to have an OBE?

So I’ve had a lucid dreaming practice for nearly a decade now. For any lucid dreamers out there, there are some similarities between OBE and lucid dreaming in that, you’re in a different state of consciousness, you have full awareness yet not in the waking state. But, because I’m so used to lucid dreaming, it did take me a while to get my head around the idea behind OBEs.

Since the course, I keep having lucid dreams that I’m having an OBE. They are so realistic that I wake feeling certain it was one. Even prior to the course, I was sure that I’d had OBEs before. I remember leaving my body and visiting ‘real places’ but the two ingredients which seem missing are a) I didn’t experience the vibrational state before exiting my body and b) I didn’t wake feeling too different – definitely content and happier but I usually have that after a good lucid dream anyway. I get the impression that when you have an OBE, you know about it!

My Suspected OBE (which happened after the course)

The following is an extract from my lucid dreaming journal:

26th February 2018

Suspected Out of body Experience and some great lucid dreams.

(Evelyn woke at 2am and by 4am I think I got back to sleep.)

Around 4am ish I got back to sleep and stayed in the hypnogogic for a while. Was conscious of lying in my bed but sleeping. Rolled over to my right and it felt as though half of my body came out. It felt slow, not fast like I thought it would be. Almost painfully slow. I instantly wanted to turn around and look at my body but it scared me a bit and I wasn’t “fully out anyway” so I kept going “with it”.

Didn’t feel any vibrations or hear any sounds (these involve visceral sensory aspects such a floating, shifting, tearing away from the physical body – sometimes audio & visual sensations e.g. flashes of light etc).

I entered lots of blackness, but layered darkness, with white features. A white paint colour, not white light, the white was dense in places – like white markings or symbols in a cave.

Difficult to remember and explain exactly. I remember Jade’s comment about avoiding OBE if you have severe depression and I remember not being in a positive frame of mind before bed so I was holding back a little (even though my depression is much better now).

It was like I was falling but flying and I didn’t seem to have much control like I would in lucidity. There was movement but it was slow and sure and connected to something else. Not me. I felt really awake with full awareness, it was different to being lucid.

So I felt apprehensive and asked, without words, to return to my body.

I don’t remember exactly how this next part happened but I then went into a lucid dream instead.

Unlike the last experience, it was really obvious a lucid dream. I felt at ‘at home’ instantly.

I was really thrilled to be lucid. Showed huge amount of heart-felt gratitude to the dream. “I let the light in” so to speak and probably for once, really tried to genuinely connect with the feeling of gratitude and love (as learnt in mindfulness) and I was saying “I love you” to the dream (i.e. to me). Really trying to mean it. As at first I was saying I love you (to myself/dream) and didn’t feel it in my heart. So I really cultivated this deeper feeling of love for my dream, subconscious and myself.

Showed lots of love to dream. This was all done within a beautiful dark gothic sleeping city. The sleeping city responded. It breathed with joy at the love I was giving.

Lots of things happened but I don’t remember it all.

Then there was further detail about my subsequent lucid dreams – but that’s a story for another time 🙂

If you are interested in finding out more, do check out Jade’s events.

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Instagram Post: jade_shaw_obe_coach

Useful resources for expanding your OBE knowledge….

TRUE STORY VIDEOS

  1. Graham Nicholls (Self-Induced OBE)
  2. Nancy Trivellato (Spontaneous OBE)
  3. Anita Moorjani (OBE from Near Death Experience)

BOOKS

  • Navigating the Out of Body Experience – Graham Nicholl’s (Jade recommends this as the best practical book).
  • Journeys out of the body – Robert Monroe (well known classic but old book)
  • Adventures Beyond the Body – William Bulhman (Robert Monroe’s student)
  • Dying to Be Me – Anita Moorjani (near death experience mentioned previously)
  • Multidimensional Man – Jurgen Ziewe

MORE INFO:

CIA REPORT ON GATEWAY OBE PROGRAM (1983)

15 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LUCID DREAMING & OBE’S

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For more information contact Jade Shaw

Instagram: jade_shaw_obe_coach

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WalkBetweenWorlds/

Twitter: @jadeshaw_obe

Finding my Zafu: 8 Weeks to Mindfulness

Ever been curious about mindfulness? I bet you’ve at least tried one of HeadSpace’s guided meditations before. If you would like to learn more about finding your inner power, then read on sisters. 

OK, so life has been a bit upside down since I became a parent. Once upon a time I use to meditate, quite a bit actually. I remember feeling so happy. I was the best version of myself back then. But over the last couple of years things have slipped.

Lack of sleep has ramped up the stress dials and somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten who I once was. All the wise things I used to know, the helpful stuff that used to ease things, they’ve all gone on holiday to the dark corners of my multi-tasking head, which on a good day, spins at 90 miles an hour.

So. I drank some Hendricks. That didn’t work.

I tried comfort eating. Didn’t even touch the sweet spots for more than 60 seconds.

I did also try other things that I knew would be helpful: Reiki and lucid dreaming, a shiatsu or acupuncture treatment to boost my energy levels, and homeopathy remedies, as and when. Each of these things have all been a help but I knew deep down that what I really needed was (some sleep) but also to redirect my thinking, and that of course, had to come from within.

So I decided to go back to basics. I wanted to relearn everything I’ve ever known about meditation. In January, I started an 8-week course in mindfulness for stress with Norwich Mindfulness.

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Artist Mia Charro

How Mindfulness Can Help

By using mindfulness techniques you can learn to live in the moment, work with unwanted or charged thoughts and even cope with chronic illness.

It’s all too easy to speed through life on autopilot, to operate in “doing mode”, without actually having awareness of the present moment. I mean, hey, we’re all human. Yet by simply paying more attention to our own thoughts and feelings, can have a huge impact on our life – not only on our stress levels but our psychical health too.

Now, I found this next part amazing. Did you know that humans absorb negative experiences instantly but it takes 12 whole seconds to fully take in a positive experience and for it to be part of our long-term memory?

Cathie, the amazing calm lady, who led the course by Breathworks, also confirmed that a daily meditation practise of 40 minutes, sustained over a couple of months, is enough for you to see a considerable change in your wellbeing. This felt not only reassuring but also like something achievable.

 

 

A Course in Mindfulness

The course I took part in was based here in Norfolk and run by the aforementoned mindfulness instructor, Catherine Stanley, who teaches the highly acclaimed, Breath Works programme. (Breathworks is a national institute set up by Gary Hennessey, a leading practitioner, author and trainer of mindfulness.) So don’t worry if you’re not from Norfolk, there are Breathworks teachers offering this course across the UK.

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Artist Mia Charro

What Exactly is Mindfulness?

Effectively, this is simple tool that will change your life for the better. It’s about bringing more awareness to our experience which enables us to see how we can sometimes make ourselves suffer unnecessarily. Seeing that enables us to make changes.

Mindfulness was taught by the Buddha and although it is something that’s taught as part of a spiritual practise, mindfulness is taught in secular contexts. In fact, in recent years the NHS has adopted mindfulness as an approach to be used within its mental health trusts across the UK.

Breath Works Mindfulness Course

So what happens. Well, initially there is a free taster session you can attend. Cathie has a selection of dates for you to choose from. More on her website.

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Weston Longville Village Hall – Course Loation

The course is actually a combination of workshops and home study. You’re provided with everything you need at the start. The course is comprised of:

  • 4 x workshops (5 hours each) over 8 weeks (a workshop every other week)
  • Downloadable meditations for your device
  • A Mindfulness Workbook: An easy-to-read reminder of what was covered in each class
  • The Little Mindfulness Practise Book: To log your journey:
    • A list of your home practice for each week
    • Week by wee meditation diary sheets so you can track your progress
    • Week by week Mindfulness in Action diary sheets so you can record your observations
    • Additional mindful movement instructions and illustrations
  • One month after ‘graduation’ a one-day retreat to reconvene and discuss experiences (small supplementary donation)

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Before the course…

Meh. I felt my normal self of late: exhausted, always moaning about lack of sleep, somewhat stressed and a bit anxious. Often feeling things but uncertain how those feelings had arisen.

During the course…

Sometimes days were easier than others. One week I was all like, yeah I’ve got this. I’m totally aware of me, you, the world. I know where I’m at. I can see my thoughts before they even appear. Then other days, I was in such a fuzz that I didn’t have the foggiest and became so flooded with thoughts, that I couldn’t even identify the feeling I was really feeling underneath it all.

After the course…

I’ve been more aware of my thoughts and feelings. Instead of being swept away by thoughts. You know when you feel stressed or frustrated but can’t quite put your finger on the underlying feeling but instead you become swamped by individual thoughts, most of which are unhelpful. That doesn’t happen so much.

It’s easy when you’re feeling a bit stressed or going through a bad patch to overlook the good things in life. Since doing this course I’ve definitely been connecting more with the positive things, allowing them shine into my day.

Lastly, I learnt how to work with unwanted thoughts. Things that plague you or distract you from life. It’s easy to just ignore them, react to them or push them away. I’ve been getting less caught up with these ‘stories’ and just learning to be with that feeling, watching it and observing things, without getting as involved.

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We have a retreat day in a few weeks whereby we’re all meeting up to talk about how our last month on our own has been. Because I am armed with all the guided meditations, and notes, I feel confident that if my practise slips, I’ll be able to pick this up again easily.

Overall I do feel calmer, content and more connected to others. I really do. I haven’t been as busy during this first quarter of the year and this has helped when juggling a sleepless toddler with work stress. Plus, the change in season is always a boost! But these factors aside, I really think practising has had a moderate to big impact on my day-to-day life. There still feels like heaps of room for improvement and I guess the key to success here is keeping up a daily practise, and weaving the techniques into everyday life. It feels possible and that’s given me hope and confidence, which in itself, is a powerful thing.

A big thank you to Cathie for everything – all your support and advice has been so beneficial!

More Information

For those living in Norfolk and Suffolk:

http://www.norwichmindfulness.org

For all enquiries and bookings please contact Cathie Stanley

email: cathie@norwichmindfulness.org

landline: 01603 660780 – please do leave a message if there is no answer

mobile: 07967 211329

For those in the rest of the UK, head to: https://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk

If you liked this post you might also be interested to hear about a Mindfulness & Yoga Retreat weekend I attended at Chilston Park. If you’re already familiar with meditation, you might like to read about the time I went on a 10 Day Silent Retreat in India.

The Universe Print ready
I keep this wee reminder in my writing shed: Artist Mia Charro

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