"Many people first come to spiritual practice hoping to skip over their sorrows and wounds, the difficult areas of their lives.  They hope to rise above them and enter a spiritual realm full of divine grace, free from all conflict.  Some spiritual practices actually do encourage this and teach ways of accomplishing this through intense concentration and ardour that brings about states of rapture and peace.  Some powerful yogic practices can transform the mind.  While such practices have their value, an inevitable disappointment occurs when they end, for as soon as practitioners relax in their discipline, they again encounter all the unfinished business of the body and the heart that they had hoped to leave behind....True maturation on the spiritual path requires that we discover the depth of our wounds: our grief from the past, unfulfilled longing, the sorrow that we have stored up during the course of our lives.  As Achaan Chah put it, "If you haven't cried deeply a number of times, your meditation hasn't really begun".  This healing is necessary is we are to embody spiritual life lovingly and wisely.  Unhealed pain and rage, unhealed traumas from childhood abuse or abandonment, become powerful unconscious forces in our lives.  Until we are able to bring awareness and understanding to our old wounds, we will find ourselves repeating their patterns of unfulfilled desire, anger, and confusion over and over again" (Jack Kornfield).

I love what Jack Kornfield says, for it resonates so much with my own experience.  I appreciate we are all different however and all have our own experiences, so sharing is as good as it gets.  It really is all about the practice.

Many people have asked me lately if I am still practicing while pregnant, which I find an interesting question, for the fact I am pregnant should not really change anything, in so much of life is a practice, pregnancy is a practice, and yes, I still also get on my mat to practice.  In fact pregnancy has provided a wonderful opportunity to learn so much more about the conditioning and patterns of one's life, of the need to let go to re-create and allow new energy into life, of patience, oh yes, lots of patience, and of course of one's attitude, armour and "reaction" to change.  It is marvellous and I am grateful for each moment of this rather incredible journey and opportunity to work on myself and try and be a better person.

I only have a few weeks to go now, this is my last week of teaching for I am noticing that my energy levels are more challenged than normal and I am drawn more to retreating.  Which is perhaps not surprising as Mercury is retrograde and we should all be retreating a little, spiritually at least, so we can allow the effects of the last few months sink in.  This is certainly not a time for beginning new projects, instead we should take a back seat for a while, at least until 10th November when Mercury is no longer retrograde.

There are big storms on the way, yet another opportunity to stay centred as the storm blows off all that excess energy around us.  No doubt it will create all sorts of confusion - as Mercury retrograde does - but perhaps we will feel much clearer when it has all passed.  I, for one, am looking forward to pinecome hunting thereafter, should be quite a few fallen over the next few days, nothing quite like foraging for the winter fire, nature's gift from a stormy day.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the wind gets up the cat's tail.  We have taken in a Bengal cat who is struggling to adjust to his new home and our existing cat (who is not the slightest bit perturbed by all the hissing and growling).  But more on that another time.

With much gratitude...and happy practicing.

xxx

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