Thursday, November 29, 2007

School for The Work

In October I went to sunny LA to train at a nine day School for the Work with Byron Katie. What an amazing experience and what an incredible person to learn from. Katie is just an incredible presence and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn directly from her. Though the nine day course is very intensive and really hard work, no thought is left unturned and I personally came away from it very clear that Katie's method, simply called The Work, is really the most effective way for me to pass on the core messages of Dance with Life in a workshop forum. So I'm really looking forward to sharing this in the 2008 workshops. Speaking of which, the first workshop is on in February 2008:

Be Stress Free in 2008
Start the New Year with a Clear Mind!
Bantry - February 3rd 2008
One day workshop with J.M. Hurley
Our thoughts create all the fear, anger, stress and depression in our lives. How different would your life be if these negative thoughts never bothered you again?
We continually write our own stories. Who would you be without your story?
In this workshop participants will get a gentle introduction to stilling the mind, focusing intent and living consciously. Participants will also be introduced to The Work of Byron Katie, a radical, but very simple, mind-clearing process.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Update on workshops

Most of the workshops are deferred until the new year as I'm off to complete a training with Byron Katie later this month. I've been using her techniques, called The Work, more and more as a means of making the ideas in 'Dance with Life' real in other people's lives. Sorry for all the chopping and changing, it's just that incorporating this format properly takes a bit of time. It will be worth it as The Work in action is pretty remarkable and fun too!

You were made for joy...

Here's a nice extract from a talk given by Maharaji recently:

"It’s not about the what’s going on in the world. It’s about what’s going on in your life.
It’s about what you see. What you feel.

Do you feel your heart? Do you feel the passion to want peace in your life? Do you feel the passion for joy in your life? Do you feel the passion for contentment in your life? Do you feel the passion for understanding in your life?

Do you feel the passion for clarity in your life? What do you want?

What drives you? Every day, what drives you? Is it the logic or is it the passion? Is it all your reasonings – “But I have to, but I have to…” Or is it the desire from deep within you to want to be fulfilled?

If you acknowledge that in your life, then it becomes the companion. It becomes that force that shapes you, that evolves you, that turns you towards what you were made for.

You were made for joy."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Loving What Is - Byron Katie

This was the title of Byron Katie's first book and the whole process she uses really has the capacity to turn your life around. She devised a method of inquiry which she calls The Work. The Work helps us see where we are at war with reality by using a process of four questions and a turnaround, to achieve a better understanding of ourselves. She commonly refers to this process as Inquiry which leads to self-realization and the end of suffering. Rather than explain how the whole process works here anyone interested can go to where you really will find all you need to do it for yourself.

What does it mean in reality? Well exactly that! All we have is in reality and reality is in the actual experience of the moment we are in. In relationships, in work situations, in family get togethers for example how often do we bring a whole other drama along in our own heads. When we sit there with 'he said', 'she said' and remembered hurts, arguments, conflicts and sad memories floating in our thoughts, how present are we to what is actually going on right in front of our eyes? Can there be any room for resolution or forgiveness or healing or even for simply relating when we sit there mentally throwing big cauldrons full of a blend of old and often misinterpreted issues, faulty thinking, and judgments at each other? The real aim is to feel unconditional love and unconditional truth for our own selves and by understanding what this means it flows naturally to include the people and events in our lives. It may be hard to do this. It may involve facing uncomfortable thoughts and emotions. It may involve having a really good look in the mirror and unconditionally accepting the person looking back at us. We cannot argue with reality. To do so is a waste of energy and resource. We can only accept it understand it, embrace it and then be open to live in the present. And that is freedom.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Weather...

I've been observing this summer just how much we are influenced by the weather. It's no accident that the sun is so often used as a symbol for the divine and for inspiration. Without our inner and outer sunshine we wither and fade and so sun deprivation can actually manifest as depression, negativity and general gloom! So what to do about it? Well I've just a few sugestions that really help me:

1. Take a holiday in the sun if you can (obvious but very therapeutic!)
2. Surround yourself with light colours. Introduce colour to your home, wear bright clothes, hang a bright sunny picture in a position where you see it most.
3. Listen to summer songs - light bubbly and full of fun to lift the spirits
4. Watch something or do something that makes you laugh every day
5. If sun deprivation really affects you physically get a light box, a daylight bulb and a himalayan salt lamp
6. Pick a positive thought and positive image to start and end every day. For example when you wake in the morning visualise yourself on a sunny beach or walking in a summer meadow, then think about all the things for which you are grateful. Try to return to that thought whenever you feel yourself slip during the day and really practise this before you go to sleep as it's very important for mental wellbeing that your thoughts before sleep are positive, cheerful and removed from whatever stresses are going on in your life.
7. Make yourself smile - even when you don't have anything to smile about! The facial muscles actually influence your mood so when the brain reads 'smile' signals it believe you are happy and releases the appropriate chemicals to verify this.. :)


Just a note to say sorry that I haven't posted seminar dates yet. It's been very busy and so unfortunately I have had to postpone all seminars until mid October. I'll post the dates as soon as I can. In the meantime if you want to go on the mail list then please click on Coaching & Seminars and email me via the email link there.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Check out the Monday 9amTV mini-movies. They are incredibly inspiring. Click the second button on the right at the bottom of the screen to go to a menu of movies and choose what you think might inspire you. My favourite is 'Behind Every Old General'. At the moment anyway...

However 'An Eye in the Storm' has great resonance for me too as it features Lynne Franks, the 80s' PR Guru who developed Lynne Franks PR and who was the inspiration for the Ab Fab character Eddie (Edina Monsoon). My original career was in PR and I still do a certain amount of it. It's interesting that quite a few PR people migrate to the area of personal development. Maybe it's the idea of having to deal with the idea of the public persona and training people to deal with developing a public face that ultimately pushes us toward questions of what is real, and true and worthwhile and authentic...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Tale of Two Caterpillars

“Once there was a brother caterpillar and a sister caterpillar. The sister spent all her time looking to the sky. She would watch the birds and all the other winged creatures with longing. She said to her brother ‘One day I’ll fly just like them. I really feel that I will.’
Her brother was scornful.
‘Don’t be so stupid,’ he said. ‘What would you even want to fly for. It’s lovely to be able to wiggle along the earth and to find a fat juicy leaf. I watch those silly birds and they’re always just darting about looking useless.’
She listened to him, but didn’t agree.
‘It’s not that I don’t like being a caterpillar and that I don’t enjoy every leaf and patch of earth that we explore, but I just can’t shake off the feeling that there’s something more. Haven’t you ever wondered why there are no old caterpillars? Where does everyone go?’
Her brother looked angry.
‘You are so STUPID,’ he shouted. ‘Why do you think those birds are so fat? That’s where we all end up – in their stomachs. We’re bird food! We just have a pointless reason here. It’s as simple as that. There’s nothing ahead except some sharp beak, then darkness. Just accept that and stop going on at me. And stop admiring the very creatures you should hate!’
Her brother was disgusted and wriggled away.
She curled on her little leaf singing happily to herself.
‘Maybe my brother is right, but it’s still lovely to look at all the other creatures,’ she said to herself.
Just then a dragonfly whirred past. He saw her on the leaf and landed to say ‘hello’.
She told him about her argument with her brother. The dragonfly clicked and hummed with laughter.
‘But of course you’ll fly. One day you’ll be a butterfly!’
She was thrilled and excitedly went to tell her brother.
‘And you believed him!’ he scoffed. ‘No one believes that mad fool. Even the very word, “butterfly”, I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous.’
Time passed and the urge came for the caterpillars to start spinning their chrysalises. She was full of hope, sure that this was going to take her towards her dream. Her brother was melancholy.
‘This is just packing you know,’ he said sadly. ‘It’s a cruel trick. They’ve engineered it that we do this to fill their stomachs even more. We’re too thin as we are.’
She tried to argue with him but he wouldn’t listen.
They hung, suspended in their chrysalises, for what seemed like an eternity. Then one day her chrysalis began to move. She felt it slip away. She couldn’t figure out where she was, everything looked red. She shook herself and a trickle of red fluid gathered at her little feet. As she looked down she noticed the most beautiful sight. She had wings of lilac and gold with little green spots for decoration. She flapped her wings and began to fly. It was the most amazing feeling. She landed on a flower and sipped delicately at the nectar. It was exquisite, beyond any taste she could have ever imagined. As she looked down on the earth below she felt extraordinarily privileged.
‘This is even better than being a bird,’ she sang out loud, ‘because they have only ever been birds. But I know how cosy and warm it is to snuggle in the warm earth and to chew the deep green leaves and now I know the joy of flight and the magical taste of nectar. I have been given two lives, two experiences in this one lifetime.’
She heard a grumbling coming from a rich yellow flower. Perched on the flower was a beautiful orange butterfly. It was her brother! She flew excitedly to him.
‘It wasn’t a trick, it was real,’ she cried, fluttering her wings to him in greeting.
He looked bitter.
‘Don’t be so naive!’ he snapped. ‘Look at the colour of us both. You bright gold and me bright orange. They’ll see us for miles. We won’t last a second I tell you!’
‘Oh brother! Why can’t you see how amazing this is? You’re beautiful. And we can fly!’
He grimaced.
‘What sort of awful stuff is this?’ he moaned, indicating to the nectar. ‘My teeth are gone. I can’t get a bite of leaf no matter how I try. And I hate flying. It makes my head spin. I tried to curl nicely on a leaf but these blasted wings keep slipping so I fall down.’
She shook her little head and spiralled upwards, realising that there was nothing that she could do to change his mind. He
was as determined to dislike their new life as she was to embrace it.
‘Perhaps in time he will like it more,’ she thought, as she caught a current of air and swooped and fluttered along it into the blue, blue sky.”
DWL 126-129

What is the point of Being Alive?

‘See this hand,’ he continued, holding one hand up, ‘imagine it’s your physical self with all its hopes and dreams. It has a finite route. It is made of the elements and it will return to the elements. Now see this hand,’ he said, holding the other up, ‘imagine this is the place inside that you have just experienced. This has been, is, and always will be.’
He joined his hands, interweaving the fingers. He smiled.
‘This is life. This is the merger of the finite and the infinite.
Through the amazing feeling machine that is your finite self, your infinite nature can play in the symphony of life. With every breath the finite and the infinite meet. Their point of union is contained in that breath. It’s as close as the two realms
can ever get to one another. The point of being alive, of understanding the nature of this breath is to feel and to experience this gift of life.’
DWL p 37

Friday, June 29, 2007

Do you know what it means to be alive?

Have you ever asked yourself if there's more to life than this?
Have you thought - 'But I'm busy...I have a career, a family, a social life and all that inner peace stuff looks so time consuming. And surely it means trekking to off-beat locations?'
Well it doesn't! Inner peace is a lot more simple than you think.

It's hard to describe though and harder still to explain. However, having read hundreds of 'spiritual books' I never felt that I found one that really showed what it felt like to experience the inner journey. So that's what I tried to do in 'Dance with Life'.

'Dance with Life' is a short novel and though all it describes is true, to make it more understandable for the reader, it's written in a fictionalised format. In this book - and I'll quote from the blurb here - "the main character Mira explores the realm of the heart under the practiced eye of a life-changing teacher. Her journey is within, she doesn't even have to leave her front room! Travel with her and you might find that you'll never look at life in quite the same way again."
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