Rachel Norwood – Three Principles Practitioner

The Gentle Path to Fulfillment


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Margaret Thatcher, Losing Friends, Losing Work, Losing Hope and Keeping Faith

These last two weeks have been rich in thoughts and emotions; here’s a bit about that

“Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead”?

Sales of this song have exploded in the United Kingdom and elsewhere; one really has to wonder why because there is a fundamental difference between the melting of the Wicked Witch of the West and Margaret Thatcher’s passing on.

You see when the Wicked Witch of the West got fried, accidentally I might add, what the Munchkins were really celebrating was not the witch’s death but their own regained freedom. Thus the song goes:

“Then this is a day of Independence

For all the Munchkins and their descendants”

The only thing that Margaret Thatcher’s death represents is that she is no longer in this world; her death doesn’t change a thing for anybody.

And it’s funny because up until this event, nobody was even thinking about her but now, all of a sudden they are.

Now, whether you happened to agree with her policies or not, and this is not a political article, this is a compassionate and empathetic article, what people are really expressing is the hurt and pain that they felt while she was in office. Unfortunately celebrating her death is not going to change the slightest element of what she put in place politically and we will most certainly not be rid of our own pain and frustration that existed while she was in power if we are dredging it up, nurturing it and holding on to it.

Losing Friends

I lost two friends over this and here is the point that I would like to make. If you are willing to cut off your friends because you don’t agree on whether it’s right to celebrate or not a person’s death, then you are not in control of your own life, you are allowing outside circumstances to control your life.

But the only aspect that we can be in control of is our own awareness of where our experience of life as a human being is coming from; by realizing that we are living in the feeling of our thinking, that nobody else can make us feel something unless we have those thoughts ourselves and though we are unable to control even to the thoughts that come up, we can be aware of what is happening within ourselves.

I personally believe that celebrating a person’s death leaves a bitter aftertaste. By all means, if you don’t believe in a persons political ideals, particularly if they are the decision maker for a country, celebrate when that person leaves power but celebrating a death when the person has been out of office for nearly twenty four years and has had no say in the running of the country for that amount of time? Really, is there any point?

The only person that you can hurt with that is yourself and in France we say “vengeance is a hot dish eaten cold”, which is to say, difficult to digest.

So that was Monday 8th of April.

Losing a Job

On Wednesday I was informed by one of my employers that I won’t have a job next year. The reason that was evoked is that I’m not regular in my work but, in fact, it’s not true.

On a personal level, this is where we can be vigilant and, sort of, in control because it’s very easy to judge and form an opinion on another person and see what you think you should be seeing.

Last year was a difficult year for me and in January of last year I was very ill and absent from my work for several weeks. Of course I replaced all the missed days etc, but people formed an opinion about me that I am someone who is often absent and thus, unreliable. So what happens now is, you are absent one day because you’re unwell, or you have to change your schedule round to accommodate your children, for example, and people believe that working with you is a problem and they consider that they cannot count on you. What they don’t see is all the extra stuff that you do for them; they don’t see just how reliable and dependable you actually are because in their minds, with their thinking, you are not.

Michael Neill in his audio book “Effortless Success” gives an experiment to do where he asks us to look around the room and pinpoint objects of a particular colour, brown for example. Then he asks us to name all the objects that are green. Try it and you will understand what I’m getting at.

And this is precisely what happens when we judge another person – we only see the brown and are incapable of seeing the green.

But when we realize that the judgement we pass on another person is in fact due to our own thinking and therefore coming from ourselves, that it has absolutely nothing to do with the other person and their behaviour, good or bad, or their politics, good or bad, then we become more open to seeing them in a different light and in another perspective. We in fact become open to compassion and empathy and peace with others.

So that was Wednesday 10th of April.

Losing Hope

On Friday I lost Hope, my cat. She went out on Thursday evening a week ago and has not come back since (Why oh why did I call her Hope? It leaves so much scope for thinking things like “I’ve lost Hope” “Hope died” “I will never have Hope again”!!)

Yesterday I finally admitted to myself that I am unreasonably upset over her disappearance. When we hear the word “unreasonable” we automatically think that means that we are behaving in a manner that we shouldn’t, in a manner that has no reason to be. When I say unreasonable I mean that I do not want to reason away my sadness and grief. I didn’t want to do or think anything to try and reason my way out of feeling that upset. I was very happy to feel unreasonably upset without the desire to be anything else…

And I could reason it away. I could say to myself that the Kitty only has the meaning that I gave her, that I’m feeling sad because of my own thoughts and nothing more, but I’m happy with the meaning that I gave to her and I’m happy to feel sad over her loss. Why would I want to feel anything different?

And guess what? Today I feel a whole lot better and the thoughts have cleared of their own accord.

Keeping Faith

But here’s the funny part and if you’ve read any of my previous posts you will know that there’s nearly always a “funny part”

Yesterday I had a “getting to know the future mother” appointment with a midwife at the hospital. In the course of our conversation I gave a brief outline of what’s been going on these last couple of years and, being unreasonably upset over my Kitty Kat, I was pretty tearful.

And this really bothered the midwife. She immediately wanted me to make an appointment with the maternity psychologist.

Being in a caring profession, she was very concerned to see me so sad and was quite insistent that I speak with this psychologist despite my protestations that I was just upset about my cat, though I was appreciative of her loving attention. So I leaned in, touched her arm and said “thank you, but I don’t feel the need to be fixed. I’m fine with feeling sad today” And it was one of those awesome Namaste moments where she could see through my eyes right to my core being and realize, even though I was crying and sad that I am fundamentally and perfectly okay, and I looked through her eyes right to her core being and saw that she was fundamentally and perfectly okay too.

Keeping Faith

We live in a society, and I’ve said this before and I will most definitely repeat myself endlessly, where we are being bombarded with the image that our feelings are dictated by what’s happening on the outside of us and that we are not allowed to feel bad, sad, upset or angry; that we are not supposed to undergo any kind of negative emotion and that if we are feeling bad in any way we have to do something about it in order to not feel bad any more.

We automatically assume that when someone is in a low state of mind that they need to be fixed, repaired, restored, reconstructed, improved on and that it should be done as quickly as possible without further ado. But we don’t try and fix ourselves when we’re happy so why should we fix ourselves when we are sad? Fighting off an emotion, whether good or bad, automatically creates an inner conflict and instead of making things better, it in fact makes things far worse.

I’m not saying to hold on to any kind of emotion; what’s important is to realize that what we are feeling is coming from our thinking and by being aware of how we really function we realize that an emotion is just as fleeting as the thought that produced it, thus we can accept to feel whatever we happen to be feeling in the moment without getting caught up in it. And not forgetting, we’re the ones doing the thinking, nobody else is doing that for us. We are literally making it up as we go along, creating our experience moment to moment through our thoughts.

We talk about letting go; the insight that gives the ability to “do” that is the very awareness itself of what is really happening.

For example, when you realize that a shoe is too tight for your foot, you don’t dwell on the uncomfortable feeling for days or months on end, and you don’t require twenty years of therapy so that you can finally get over the negative emotions of the over tight shoe, you very naturally stop wearing that shoe and start wearing one that is more comfortable; and so it is with our thoughts-feelings, once we are aware that it is the thought that is creating the uncomfortable feeling, that there is nothing to do to change anything, then that opens up the space for the thoughts-feelings to change very naturally for the simple reason that we are programmed for well-being and that the only barrier to that well-being is getting caught up in our own thinking and believing that it is real.

I still came away from the appointment with the psychologist’s telephone number, and I still hope that my Kitty Kat will turn up out of the blue, but if she doesn’t I won’t be using that number because I am willing to accept the panoply of God-given thoughts-emotions and to appreciate them fully with the Faith that whatever happens…. I’m okay.

And, by the way, so are you.

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The Power of Thought

Today is my Birth Day – actually not my official birthday, that’s on the 6th August, but today is the anniversary of my joining Michael Neill’s Café and last year’s Living from the Inside Out program, I guess you could call it the Anniversary of my becoming fully awake and alive.
I’m going to share with you something that I wrote a short while ago, which resumes the level of transformation that I have experienced in this last year:

I felt that my life was in shambles. Everywhere I looked, all I could see was disaster. I was running around like a trapped fly to go to work that was financially insufficient.
I was a mother and felt that I was no longer a mother, I was only getting to see my children during the school holidays because of the distance and I was watching my relationship with my children disintegrate before my eyes. I was a victim – one of those people that just never have any luck, who are mistreated by every single person that they come into contact with, lied to, cheated on, abused… unloveable. I felt that I’d been treated very unfairly by the justice system – all I had done was find work, work that I had stopped for five years when my children were born so that I could look after them. I felt that I had been treated very unfairly by life itself, even by God.
I was living dead – I spent several months attempting to decide how best to kill myself, contemplating all the different solutions. I didn’t eat, I spent most of my time in bed apart from when I had to struggle to get myself out to go and work. I was working in several different schools – I lost three jobs through absence. I was afraid to go outside, even going across the road to the shop to buy cigarettes demanded a huge effort and if there were people in the shop I would get really stressed and just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.
I lost all faith in life, in love and in humanity.
I was in the most incredible intense pain and I had no idea how to stop it – it felt that, because my children had been torn away from me and that that was permanent, that the pain would also be permanent, that it would never go away unless I died.

I joined Michael’s Living from the Inside Out program, not having the faintest clue what it was about. I thought it would be a program with weekly techniques and exercises, that by joining his program I would become rich, get my children back and be in a position to tell the whole world to get lost, which would make me ecstatically happy.
What I did get is invaluably more than the shallow ideals that I had at the outstart. I was really surprised by the content of the first videos, I joined the program about three to four weeks after it had started. and I didn’t understand what Michael was saying but, within the time that I watched the first videos, that hour or so, I already felt a sense of calm that I had not felt for years.
The first big realization came in, I think three or four days after having embarked on the journey with Michael. I was sitting in my kitchen, smoking and drinking tea, with not too many thoughts going on in my head and it hit me full in the face – I was doing this to myself. All the pain that I was feeling was not coming from the other people, my husband, my parents, the justice system, even the loss of my children, the pain was being created by my own thinking.
Within the program Michael presented what he calls “the Possibility Project” and I chose to hang up the boxing gloves that I had been fighting with for several decades – I even imaginarily hung them up on the door. This was the first step to letting go and allowing the unfolding of life, instead of constantly trying to control everything and make life happen in a way that I thought would make me happy.
Major turn around, all of sudden I wasn’t a victim any more.

Michael talks about “the kindness to the design” I woke up on the 1st April last year and had made the decision that if I didn’t find any kind of solution within the day that I wouldn’t waken up the next morning. The kindness to the design? I could have looked on Michael’s website and there might not have been any program running, so for someone who considered myself to be an unlucky victim, it was a sheer stroke of luck that the program was running and that I was able to watch and listen to the videos and some of the calls straight away.
Watching those videos and listening to the calls calmed me down because, even though I wasn’t aware of the huge insight that would come a few days later, i sensed that there was something true in these things that were being said, even though I couldn’t understand them.
On that first day my thoughts quietened, and my feeling changed, the pain was still there but not as poignant, simply because I had stopped thinking and churning it all up for a couple of hours – and Michael’s calm and loving full presence, even on a video, meant that I could hear him.

And the insights kept coming, the lack of need to do anything to feel happy because well being was already there, the loss of ego, the growth in openness to others, learning to trust again, letting go of pain.
I joined on April the 1st. Within that first week I suddenly noticed that spring had arrived, that the trees were green, that the birds were singing, that there were beautiful flowers in bloom. I saw the most incredible orange moon. I saw beauty all around, beauty that I didn’t think I would ever see again.
Two months later, I was sitting in my kitchen smoking and drinking tea. I took a puff of the cigarette, blew out, looked at the cigarette and suddenly realized that I didn’t need to do that any more. I put it out and I stopped smoking. I did have a relapse towards the end of last year for a couple of weeks but I knew that I didn’t need it and I stopped again…. with no withdrawal symptoms either time.
During the summer, I realized the difference between happiness and enjoyment.

The turn around came in very quickly and continues to surprise me, sometimes with the most unexpected and massive insights into life and spirituality.

At the beginning of July last year, I was sitting in my living room one evening, watching some people walk down the road and I could see them thinking. The insight that came with that was that everybody thinks and that everybody behaves on their thinking. Michael, obviously, had spoken about that in the program and I could understand it intellectually, but the deep insight came at that moment. It suddenly hit me that all of the bad things that had been said with my husband, all of the stress and worry and his, and my own low states of mind had absolutely nothing personal to do with me or him, they were uniquely due to each one’s own thinking – we are just thinking beings, acting on our thoughts and doing the absolute best that we could with what was available to us at that time.
I wrote this to my husband and where we had been up until then, totally at war, I offered a hand of friendship, I told him I was sorry that at the time I couldn’t see just how much he actually loved us, because if he hadn’t cared he would never have been like that, that I could see that he was just showing love in the best way that he knew how.
And he wrote back and said he was really happy that we weren’t going to fight any more.
In August the children were due to stay with me and my husband came down for two weeks and we decided to cancel our divorce and reunite. The children moved back officially with me in October, for the moment we are still waiting for my husband’s transfer to come through. Sure, there are bumps along the way, but this understanding, that my husband doesn’t get but it’s sufficient that I get it – this understanding has saved my marriage and continues to do so.

And we’re now expecting our third baby! I’ve become a Three Principles Practitioner and am on the verge of publishing my first book, The Gentle Path to Definitive Weight Loss, which is a Three Principles based book leaning on my own experience of losing weight and my knowledge of the biomechanisms that regulate the body’s functions.

When I think of where I am today, psychologically and psychospiritually, I am aware of just how powerful the nature of thought really is and how, with misuse it can cause so much damage, yet with good use it can create so much healing, so much inspired action and so much love.

And all of that happened through unfolding – I didn’t “do” anything to make anything happen, it just happened naturally and effortlessly….

I’m looking forward to how this next year will unfold… to my next Birth Day!

Love and Light,
Rachel xxx

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