Acceptance as change agent

Acceptance as change agent

Acceptance: accepting what is. It’s a tenet of many spiritual teachings and like so much wisdom, we can get to see this deeper and deeper. As an understanding of how our experience gets created and an awareness of what is creating our experience comes more and more into view, all the myriad ways we take ourselves out of alignment with reality get more and more visible.

This can be by turns shocking, comic and very ordinary. We begin to notice all the places we argue with what is, particularly in the realm of our feelings. For many, policing how we feel has been a lifelong past time. It is common for people new to the Three Principles understanding to go off on a tangent of subtly trying to control their reactions, believing erroneously, if they understood the Principles deeply enough then they’d never feel irritable, frustrated, bored, angry, critical etc. Ironically, the one they miss, is the self-judgement!

They are all made of thought and therefore at their essence, they are all neutral. Just vibrations passing through the system. There is nothing to be done with them, just let them roll through.

Accepting how we feel, means acknowledging that a sensation or thought form is present, however it shows up. There’s no need to label it. Better yet refrain from spending much mental energy concocting a story about why you are experiencing what you are experiencing.

A simple example showed up for me recently. I feel cold every now and then and I suddenly became aware that for me feeling cold is subtly wrong. As a result, I reach for what is wrong such as, I feel the cold more when I am tired; or I should move more; or my heating isn’t very effective. In this way I add meaning to feeling cold. The main meaning being, ‘I shouldn’t be cold’.

And so I innocently suffer not so much from being cold, but from the idea that I shouldn’t be cold. When I saw this at play, it was funny and then quite simple to just acknowledge ‘feeling cold’ FULL STOP, without the additional commentary. What was interesting was, ten minutes later, my awareness of being cold had disappeared. The arguing with reality, ironically was holding the feeling (of wrongness) in place.

To come fully into acceptance of your experience in any moment does not mean to be stuck with it. On the contrary, fully embracing what is occurring (on the inner or outer level), allows for flow, for fresh thinking to come in, for helpful ideas to occur, new perspectives. Paradoxically, acceptance is a powerful agent of change.

What have you seen around this?

© words and photograph Juliet Fay 2022

#Three Principles

 

Juliet Fay is a poet & Registered Three Principles Practitioner, living on an estuary in West Wales, UK, offering Consultations & Mentoring and online Gatherings. Curious new subscribers are welcome to join the email list ~ subscribe.These writings and visual art are freely offered here on this blog. If you’d like to donate to support this work, it would be appreciated, thank you.

WE STAND WITH UKRAINE

WE STAND WITH UKRAINE
Disbelief at first.
Turning away.
but then ~
be OUTRAGED.
Weep for the people
Of Ukraine.
Let the horror sink in.
All the way in.
Let your heart break.
Feel the despair,
the fear. And then
be lifted by the courage,
the unity of the Ukrainian people.
The sudden remembering
of our shared humanity.
The rejection of
aggression & war
corruption & lies
killing & destruction.
Voices gather
North, South, East & West.
Raised together
for freedom, peace,
equity and solidarity.
Countries unite, people unite.
Acting from strength & compassion.
The human spirit rising
strong and clear.
No time for self-interest
Equivocation, pussy footing.
No time for arguing, bureaucracy.
No time for misplaced loyalty
for short term gain.
No time to hold on
to shady promises & dirty deals.
Time for wisdom.
For serving the common good.
Wake up. Step up. Come clean.
Turn around. It’s never too late.
Bury the hatchet.
Cast it into the sea.
Shake off the shackles of
corruption, greed & fear.
Be inspired by
Volodymyr Zelenskyy,
Ursula Von Der Leyen
Martin Kimani
Daria Kaleniuk.
Look them up
Learn their names.
And the names of many more.
So many beacons
Of strength and hope.
True leaders show up
To remind us
who we are,
Who we can be.
To inspire us
To bring hope
To speak from the heart
To act with courage
To help
To join hands
To free the oppressed
To open our arms and our hearts.
Be inspired. Be a leader.
For your children, siblings, parents, colleagues, neighbours, friends.
Reach out. Help your neighbours.
Hold loved ones close.
Speak out.
Add your hands, your feet,
Your voice
Your prayers, your words
Your art, your music
Your surplus goods
Your table, your love.
Rise up. Speak up.
Show the world.
We the people,
Stand with Ukraine.
Words by ©Juliet Fay, 2nd March 2022 Carmarthenshire
Reflections on Tenderness

Reflections on Tenderness

It is a joy to be in conversation with a small group, slowly exploring the writings and words of Sydney Banks. As we look in the direction of a deeper dimension of being we may meet fierce resistance, difficult emotions, frustration, impatience and a great big fat no. 

This is a time for more gentleness and more love. To give up the fight is a great act of courage and power. I’ve been musing on tenderness and wanted to gift you the piece below. 

Where there has been a tendency towards violence: of thought, word or deed, a bout of inner conflict can leave a felt residue of weakness, of being unequal to the task of living. As consciousness plummets the world can seem unbearably hostile, harsh or overwhelming. The mind can look like the enemy and Life a series of obstacles designed to deplete. Coping mechanisms kick in to numb the pain, at least for a while.

As consciousness rises, the logic and innocence of such inner and outer scenes playing out becomes visible. Not innocent, in the judicial or moral sense. Not devoid of consequences but innocent psychologically. Where understanding dwells, experience can only reflect the feeling of that plane. There is an undeniable logic. Fighting for more understanding from a low state of consciousness, is a game of dissatisfaction and more exhaustion. The invitation is to surrender.

Deep within, is a salve that may come unbidden: tenderness

Tenderness, when it arrives can be unbearable. The gentle loving warmth of such softness can render the habitual identity defenceless. Well worn coping strategies of denial, distraction, dissociation, self-criticism, self pity, drama, self-harm and exhaustion are no match for the all encompassing embrace of tenderness.

In some, tenderness has only been felt by its absence. It can sneak up unawares and completely undo the narrow sense of self.

When a word, a look or a winter bloom touches deep within, releasing tenderness, it can be mistaken for some sign of imbalance or deficiency. Rushed past in the pursuit of something better or different or more appropriate. Pause, tarry a while. Let tenderness wash through.

In that deep feeling, is a love, so powerful it can dissolve  unconscious, habitual stories we hold

The power of tenderness has struck me freshly recently. Not the rigid, loud power of force but the much greater power of softness. To open to it fully, is an act of courage. It is a doorway. An invitation.

The initial sense of being unequal to its power is an illusion. How could our Being be unequal to anything it experiences? Tenderness is a beacon, lighting the way home.

Home to what you are truly are.

When tenderness knocks, open the door wide.

I’d love to hear how this lands for you; comment below or email me your thoughts, reflections, comments and questions.

***

Juliet Fay is a poet & Three Principles Facilitator living on an estuary in West Wales, UK. Curious new subscribers are welcome to join the email list ~ subscribe. Consultations are available Find out more.

These writings and visual art are freely offered here on this blog. If you’d like to donate to support this work, it would be appreciated, thank you.

The Queen and the Dragon’s breath

The Queen and the Dragon’s breath

Once upon a time there was a Queen who lived in a beautiful castle high on a hill with commanding views of the fertile valley below where cattle grazed peacefully. Along the valley floor, the winding river gleamed with sea trout making their journey upstream to spawn.

This castle was furnished with the finest tapestries and beautiful oak tables and chairs. Silver candlesticks gleamed reflecting the glow of roaring log fires burning in huge stone fireplaces. The vast larders were full of the finest food and the soil of the castle farms was laden with crops tender and bountiful.

In the castle yards young girls practised archery and chased the boys through the market stalls. There was laughter and the sun shone.

The newly crowned Queen was melancholy. She sat in her opulent bedroom, before a small window and looked to the bleak wastelands of the north. The mountains in the far distance were dark and forbidding and her mind wandered to that cold and terrible day when her mother had set out to find the dragon of the Black Mountains.

Tales of the dragon and his terrible wrath began to fill her dreams. His fiery breath burnt through the chambers of her mind and left her with an endless chill in her heart as she mourned her warrior mother.

Her mother had never returned so she was declared Queen of this prosperous kingdom. But day after day the new Queen would sit in her bedchamber and sorrow filled her chilly heart. She grew pale and thin.

As the seasons turned, the sun sank lower and the laughter died away. Winter came and an icy wind blew in snow storms night after night. The chill in the Queen’s heart began to seep into the castle walls. The fires burnt night and day yet still the cold grew. The castle walls began to decay and a deep despair settled on the kingdom.

The ground was frozen hard and the winter crops remained stuck fast. The cattle grew thin as the hay ran out. Labourers drifted away, hearing things were better in the neighbouring kingdom.

The once overflowing pantries grew sparse and the children disappeared, fallen ill or gone away. All except one. Ana.

Ana was a distant cousin of the Queen. When she was born, she had about her head a halo of soft gold. As she grew, the halo shone brighter. When the kingdom prospered it did not show so much, as all the land and people in it were bathed in sunshine. Now in this dark winter, Ana’s halo shone like a golden fire around her head.

One day the Queen, walking listlessly to her throne in the great hall saw this golden light illuminate the dark walls of the narrow corridor.

‘“Who’s there?” she called in slight alarm.

“It’s me, Ana, your cousin, ma’am” the Queen was curious.

“Come,” she said.

Ana came and went into the great hall with the Queen. She talked and the Queen listened for three days and three nights.

On the third night, the Queen had a dream. She saw her mother’s warm and smiling face as she reached out to embrace her. Her mother beckoned and pointed to the small window.

The Queen looked and saw for the first time the glorious snow capped peaks, iridescent in the moonlight. As she gazed in wonder at the beauty, she saw in the outline of those craggy mountains, the shape of a dragon in mid roar.

At the foothills, the mist of the dragon’s breath wrapped tenderly round the small settlements shielding them from the icy cold of the clear skies above.

She felt her mother’s brave and generous heart and a peace descended on her such as she had never known. She fell into a deep and restful slumber.

The next morning, the sun rose higher and higher and the terrible frost began to thaw. The soil cracked open and new shoots appeared. The dogs shook themselves, the cattle lifted their heads and children appeared once again in the courtyard. Laughter rang out.

You may wonder what young Ana said to the Queen through those three days and nights. What great secret did she share?

She simply talked of her life in the castle: her love of running through the woods and climbing trees, of chasing the boys round the market stalls, of the smell of her father’s cooking and her joy at riding on horseback with her mother. She talked of finding a swallow’s nest under the eaves of the hay barn and watching every day. The thrill of seeing three pairs of eyes appear when the eggs hatched and waiting breathlessly until the day they fledged.

As she talked of the wonder and beauty of Life, Ana’s halo grew brighter and brighter. And the Queen saw all she was missing, in her beautiful vibrant kingdom.

The kingdom prospered. Ana and the Queen spent many hours laughing together in the woods, walking by the river and telling stories by the roaring fire with full bellies and happy hearts. Their halos shone brightly as did the halos of all the beings in the kingdom.

© Words and image Juliet Fay 2020, photograph of Carreg Cennen Castle, Brecon Beacons, Wales

What you appreciate, appreciates. And so it seems …. deeper and deeper …. wider and wider …. for me, for you, for everyone. It is one of those sayings we hear and we nod sagely. “Ah yes”, we think, that’s true, then return to our habitual worrying and fretting about things done and not done, said and not said. This modern fable is for all of us, to help us remember.

Juliet Fay is a poet & Three Principles Facilitator living on an estuary in West Wales, UK. She is dedicated to exploring and appreciating the wonder and power of the human spirit. Going deeper, beyond what we know. To do that she engages in heartfelt conversations pointing back home; mentors pioneers, creatives, community leaders, helpers and healers; hosts regular gatherings around books or topics close to her heart (by invitation only) and creates soulful poetry, podcasts, illustration, artwork & prose to awaken the heart. She welcomes curious new subscribers to her email list ~ subscribe.

 

How a shift in consciousness brings about more us and less them

How a shift in consciousness brings about more us and less them

.The world is changing fast, in ways we cannot predict and people are waking up. Waking up to what matters. We need to adapt to what is coming (whatever that may be). Already this year, we are facing challenges, previously unseen for many in the richest countries.

The shocks coming thick and fast are exposing systems that are not fit for purpose: economic systems, healthcare systems, criminal justice systems, food and farming systems, the media, our relationship with time, ageing, dying, systems of relating to our fellow human beings, the natural world and most of all how we relate to what and who we really are. Countless people know at first hand how unfit these systems are but they adversely affect us all (even those who appear to benefit from them)

We live as if we are separate entities who must exploit, belittle or destroy those we deem less than us and flatter, worship and ingratiate ourselves with those we deem to be more powerful. We search endlessly for security and status in the material world all the while knowing that is not what really matters. It looks as if we must constantly fight to get and protect resources for ourselves and our loved ones.

It seems we live in an age of judgement and separation which taken to extremes will destroy us

From this standpoint we look like crazed animals fighting for a piece of a finite pie. Dog eat dog. And the big dogs get the little dogs to do their dirty work. It seems like a world where everything is evaluated on its worth based on narrow and soul destroying criteria. In the richest nations, we are a product of this culture whether we know it or not (and mostly it is invisible).

There have always been cycles of birth, growth, decay and destruction but now it looks like we are witnessing an acceleration of the destructive phase without a corresponding rise in the rate of birth and growth: birth of new species, new ideas, new depths of being. Things appear to have got badly out of balance. And we all know this in our hearts. But there is hope.

There is another way. A way to live generously with love in our hearts. To live in wonder at the fact of being alive. To live from abundance of spirit. To engage fully in life with all its ups and downs. To extend compassion to the hurt and hurting. With love in our hearts we are open and curious to the richness on offer when we engage with others. Other people, other cultures, other religions, other beliefs, other species, other times, other stages of life, other world views, other skills, other experiences. And this is not for when we have fixed the problems of hunger, poverty, violence and destruction. This is urgently needed in order to experience a different world.

Witness the popularity of natural history programmes, where skilled wildlife presenters give us a window on the world of species from the tiniest to the most majestic. The lens they invite us to look through, is one of wonder and curiosity.

What kind of world would we experience through this lens?

Everything, means everything: including the atrocities, the genocide, the cruelty, the violence and destruction that humans inflict on each other, other species and the land. What might we see if we really looked?

There is seeming unbearable pain and horror there. Something we don’t want to see. Something it is easier to look away from. Our hearts may already be hardened against touching this suffering.

  • If you see children in cages and see only a good lesson to the parents, your heart is hardened.
  • If you see a homeless person on the street and see only a blot on the landscape, your heart is hardened.
  • If you see refugees risking life and limb in leaky boats and see only stolen jobs and benefits, your heart is hardened.
  • If you nurse bitterness and blame about family estrangements, your heart is hardened.
  • If you wring your hands in the face of injustices and then judge your neighbour for the way they voted, your heart is hardened.

What happens if we get curious about our hardened places? What might we discover?

We might discover we all have those hard places. How the hardness of heart shows up varies. Often we can’t see our own hard heartedness. These are our blind spots. They look to be ‘just how it is’. Our reality. If challenged we would come up with all kinds of logical justifications for treating others as less or more than us. We might begin to realise we learnt that hardness as a coping mechanism, from our families, our communities, our cultures, our leaders. We might realise that hardness of heart comes from fear and insecurity. We might realise that anxiety about our place in the world, our past, our future drives all kinds of behaviour that reinforces the idea of separation.

Yet for every moment our hearts are hard, we might also notice there are other moments when we experience the joy and connectedness of an open heart. And so does everyone else. Those who beat, murder, oppress and orchestrate and perpetuate systems that hurt others, also feel moments of love and understanding for their loved ones, for animals, for ideas, for nature:-

  • When your heart fills as the sun sets behind a hill, your heart is open
  • When you take your child in your arms as they cry their heart out, wanting only to reach out to them, your heart is open
  • When you sit at the deathbed of a loved one and feel profound, timeless peace and love, your heart is open
  • When you catch the eye of a stranger and laugh at the incongruity of a passing scene your heart is open

How do we do more of that?

We move between open heart and hardness of heart all the time and that is natural. One comes from being in contact with our essence and the other from the illusion of insecurity. When we recognise that, really see it and experience it, then we experience a shift. A shift in our relationship to our own experience.

This shift does not come from trying to be compassionate or kind, from writing in a gratitude journal, from striving to be a ‘better’ person than your ex, your neighbour, your parents or your adult children. It comes from a shift in consciousness. When we get a glimpse of what is beyond our sense of separation. When we feel, really feel life coursing through us, unadulterated, unfiltered, without judgement or commentary. When our sense of self expands to include all life. Then, then, we cannot help but feel compassion, love and gratitude for all life: the rocks, plants, insects, algae, animals, trees, humans, living and dead.

Does it come all of a sudden? For some. Mostly, it is a gradual movement towards wholeness and away from separation. The fear and insecurity the progeny of separation that creates and experiences so much suffering begins to look less real, so we pay it less mind.

Made as it is by the incredible, infinite power of thought. The same power of thought that creates a symphony, feeds the hungry, opens shelters when homes are shattered and which we can experience as profound and timeless love on looking into the eyes of a newborn.

At any moment, we can wake up to our humanity

The word humanity is from the Latin humanitas for “human nature, kindness.”

As we wake up to our humanity, we naturally do less harm to ourselves and others. There is more us and less them. Day to day, just as the tide ebbs and flows, we can move in and out of a sense of our humanity, a sense of something beyond our temporary ever changing states of mind. But every day we have the opportunity to wake up, over and over, deeper and deeper.

If this article gets you curious, follow where that curiosity leads you.

© words and artwork Juliet Fay 2020 Artwork: detail from ‘Heartfelt’, acrylic on canvas 30cm x 30cm

Juliet Fay is a poet & Three Principles Facilitator living on an estuary in West Wales, UK. She is dedicated to exploring and appreciating the wonder and power of the human spirit. Going deeper, beyond what we know. To do that she engages in heartfelt conversations pointing back home; mentors pioneers, creatives, community leaders, helpers and healers; hosts regular gatherings around books or topics close to her heart (by invitation only) and creates soulful poetry, podcasts, illustration, artwork & prose to awaken the heart. She welcomes curious new subscribers to her email list ~ subscribe.

Reflections on Discernment

Reflections on Discernment

Discernment is one of those less fashionable attributes. It’s not showy or pushy. It doesn’t demand the limelight and slips in quietly without an entourage. Appropriate for these times.

When the foundations of western society falter as we realise they were built on sand, it can be a disorientating time. And this is where discernment is an ally.

Discernment is an attribute we can cultivate

It’s easily overlooked. In the incessant din of opinion and counter opinion, who needs discernment when you can open any social media feed and be told what to wear, what to eat, what to do and what to think depending on your inclinations.

And this, this is something at the heart of our predicament. We have outsourced our wisdom to those who shout loudest or flatter our egos the best or reassure and soothe our fears in the most dulcet tones.

Discernment comes to our rescue, giving us pause before we jump on someone else’s train

Insecurity comes in many forms. Not knowing what to think and asking others to do that for us, is just one form. But it infantilises us.

Now more than ever, it looks to me, we are being asked to grow up. To use our powers of reflection and contemplation so we can discern where to put our attention, where and how to spend our time and money, when to act and when to pause.

In learning something new, in my case about anti-racism work, it can be tempting to jump in with the right phrases, the cool memes and a show of activism but we know when it feels off (and so do others). When it is about being seen to be or do something simply because that recognition shores up our ego or fragile sense of self, then our actions are at best hollow and at worst counter productive or damaging.

Unlearning old habits of thought can be uncomfortable at times, but discernment is our ally

Just as we know when we are tired and hungry our mood is likely to drop and in that state, our judgement gets clouded; so too, when we discern we are wanting to act from a place of insecurity, we can pause and wait for a settling that will allow an action to arise that promotes connection rather than taking us further away

Pausing, allowing ourselves to settle, allowing love to fill us, can have far greater impact than a load of social media shares done in a rush of ‘I must do something.’

Discernment is not something to learn or acquire; it’s always available when we settle and get intimate with that felt sense that tells us we’re home.

Note: Written 6 August 2020, published 18 August 2020

 

‘Everything I do is dedicated to exploring and appreciating the wonder of the human spirit. Going deeper. Beyond what we know. I do that through heartfelt conversations, sharing the 3 Principles as expressed by Sydney Banks, pointing people home and through writing, poetry, art and illustration.’ Juliet Fay – For the curious, subscribe to my list, that’s where you get to hear about upcoming gatherings and get original content direct to your inbox