Now & Zen

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Published in OM Yoga Magazine – March 2018

My journey into yoga and Zen Buddhism began over seven years ago at a time in my life when I was rapidly self-destructing, fears of failure and pressures of business and life, snowballing over a decade until life itself reached a breaking point and snapped. In desperation I began to look for something, Continue reading

Let Nature Bite Your Arse!

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IMG_3237Two weekends ago I was lucky enough to be part of a UK based Zen Leader programme held at a rural retreat in Somerset. Eleven European leaders and entrepreneurs from a variety of industries and organisations immersed themselves in zen and leadership for three days. The feedback along with a couple of post participant blogs indicated that the programme was a great success. As always, watching leaders re-connect with their themselves is still a reminder to me of how lost we can become in this busy, turbulent and disruptive world. But what I love about these programmes is as well as immersing in zen we also have the opportunity to engage ourselves in nature, and on this particular programme in a beautiful part of rural Somerset.

There is no doubt in my mind that nature and humans are intrinsically connected, writing that statement alone seems relatively stupid in itself, as are we, not life itself? Where is this separation? During the programme, it was fascinating to witness participants drop into to what we refer to in zen as ‘bigness’ or ‘something beyond the self’ all of which is a little abstract. Nature helps with this process, taking us away from our separate and independent view of ourselves, to move towards bigness and connection with life itself.

Last weekend the scenario was flipped, and it was spent assisting at a yoga teacher training in a studio in Soho, Central London, which is probably as far away as you can get from being immersed in nature. But watching those thousands of commuters rush past me on Friday evening, desperate to leave behind their daily grind, lost in the process to their surroundings, nature came from nowhere and bit my arse! Drowned out by the speed and noise of the city nature was there in all its beauty, shouting at me, STOP, ignore me to your detriment! Look, see my green buds sprouting, my blossom opening, smell my fragrance, and breath into my bigness, I am here!

It brought to mind a quote by the author Pico Iyer:

In an age of constant acceleration,

Nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow.

In an age of constant distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention.

In an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.

 

Zen Leadership programmes  http://www.institutezenleadership.org 

42 Acres Rural retreat Somerset http://www.42acres.com

Finding Lightness In Your Life

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I have been reading, The Other Shore by Thich Nhat Hanh a zen monk who has become one of the most influential spiritual leaders in the world today. In his book he talks of what it is in our lives that ‘makes us light’. He says, “when we become a monk, there may be people who say we are very foolish. But in truth we’re very wise. It’s because we let go of everything that we can have joy, happiness, and peace. It makes us light. There’s no more fear, no more anxiety”.

So, living in a world where being a monk is beyond most of us, what can we do to find that lightness in our own lives? Continue reading

Organic Products or Plastic Packaging….Take your pick!

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IMG_3212The big news headline to shock and disappoint me this week, is without a doubt the 87,000 tons of ocean plastic that are floating inside ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’, a figure up to 16 times higher than previously estimated. Apparently, there’s 1.8 trillion pieces of trash, and plastic that make up 99.9% of this debris and cover an area twice the size of Texas. Continue reading

Fearless Fasting

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image1I was recently attending a Zen Leader 2 program titled ‘Leading Fearlessly’, and thumbing through my work book, I spotted the words, ‘Eat Just Enough’, they sat under a sub title ‘Working With Fear Takes……..’. Continue reading

Zen & The Art of Cycling

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Santa Fe Trail

The Ups and Downs of the Santa Fe Trail

I have been living for the past couple of months in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a daily cycle commute of 4 miles to Prajna Yoga School. Santa Fe, sits in the southern foothills of the Rockies and the topography is best described as hilly. In addition, Santa Fe is at an altitude of 2,300m, which I have discovered has considerable impact on breathing, especially when cycling up hill! I was to realise the impact of cycling at altitude when a few weeks ago, Continue reading

Live Simply

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It has taken me a while to get around to writing my LiveLite blog, but I was somewhat inspired yesterday when stumbling across a Patagonia shop in San Fransisco. I am a fan of the brand and with 50% discount sale, I couldn’t help myself! I was clearly meant to be in the store and I bought two things, both represent issues close to my heart; one a recycled cotton T-shirt (my third from Patagonia) with the logo ‘Live Simply’ and a book by the founders of Patagonia titled ‘the responsible company’. So what can I do to live simply? Continue reading