5 ways to be more teachable

5 ways to be more teachable

A while back, I got curious: could I stand up from sitting cross legged on the floor without using my hand? NO WAY! I haven’t comfortably sat cross legged on the floor since I was in primary school (first school) let alone getting up from that position with no hands. I had a pretty fixed idea that my hips are stiff and inflexible. What the heck, I’ll give it a try anyway, I thought.

The first few times I tried? No way Jose. My bum wasn’t budging and everything screamed no, when I tried to push myself up. Talk about dead weight. How could I ever do this? Surely it would take weeks or more likely months of gradual stretching or else get me a body swap! It’s was NO, NO, NO. Are you getting what a hard NO, it was?

But something interesting happened. One day, I thought, what if I WAS someone who could get up from sitting cross legged. I started to imagine it despite having tried a half dozen times, in my living room with absolutely no improvement. Funnily enough, I didn’t go to You Tube for hints and tips.

Then, one summer day, I was in a wood, with my husband. We were stretched out under a tree on a blanket, looking at the sun dappled leaves above us. Suddenly, I thought to try again. The ground was sandy and yielding. I stood up and moved to one side and sat down, with my shoes on.

How exactly it happened I can’t explain but one minute I was sitting cross legged, the next, after leaning forward and pushing up I stood easily, without using my hands, all in one movement. Where was all that resistance, difficulty and solid NO? I laughed with delight. And of course had to do it again for good measure.

I got to wondering how teachable I was with this little project and did that make any difference to the outcome? Was there something about state of mind here that allowed this magic to happen? What about in our understanding of the way the mind works and the spiritual nature of life, can we be more teachable?

Here are 5 ways I’ve seen to be more teachable (and they come naturally as our consciousness rises):-

  1. Be grateful for the nudge to learn
  2. Be willing to learn
  3. Be grateful for discomfort
  4. Imagine yourself as the person who’s got this
  5. Measure your teachability by what shows up in your experience

While the process of waking up and having insights is beautifully mysterious, I wonder whether we can’t prepare the ground as it were. Let’s take those one at a time:-

1. Be grateful for the nudge to learn

Gratitude is a doorway to raising consciousness. When you get the nudge or longing to go deeper in your understanding you might have all kinds of feelings. Excitement, doubt, impatience, frustration, self-criticism but how often are we grateful for those nudges? We’ve had them all our lives. Those nudges spark learning in every area of our lives. Take a moment to wonder at where those nudges come from. I’ve no idea. As we appreciate the nudge to learn, it beautifully opens up space, for wisdom, insight and learning. It brings us into the present moment. It’s a catalyst for our state of mind to begin to rise. Put another way, it is a turning away from being caught in our heads.

And what about willingness to learn?

2. Be willing to learn

What does it mean to be willing to learn? You have to be a beginner again. A student. To relish that student status. To open to not being good at something. Enjoy it. You get to ask, be curious and open to listening more deeply. What are we listening for or to? Right now, I’m interested in listening to the aliveness and motion of the life energy within and all around us. Even to becoming that energy as it expresses itself, in walking, sitting, playing, working, in everything that shows up in our experience. If we can tap along to that beat, wisdom gets revealed effortlessly. As our consciousness rises our capacity for learning increases as the noise of our personal thinking moves into the background or quiets down altogether. We get less interested in it.

And sure, it can be uncomfortable, not knowing.

3. Be grateful for discomfort

To not know can be very uncomfortable in our culture. Usually that’s because we’ve been taught we should always know things, have strong opinions and sound confident and assertive. This is only one way to be in the world. And it tends to lead to separation and repetition of what has already been created.

If we find discomfort hard to tolerate we can rush to fill that space with some knowing, however spurious. But what if we turn that on its head. Rather than set down neural pathways identifying ‘not knowing’ as a problem, what if we again find gratitude for our discomfort. Not knowing is the most fertile ground where fresh insights and ideas grow. The discomfort is letting you know that you can loosen your grip. Being grateful for that signal turns you towards something fresh and new. Gratitude is a beautiful tonic for the soul. It relaxes our grip and opens us to the present moment.

Once we relax, we can begin to play.

4. Imagine yourself as the person who’s got this

It’s wonderful to consciously use our imagination to play in this realm. Consider what you are longing for. Is it for a peaceful loving heart, to move through life’s ups and downs with more grace and ease. Is it to feel safe and comfortable in your own skin?

Just as I began to imagine getting up from sitting cross legged on the floor without using my hands, what would it be like to imagine ourselves as someone with a peaceful, loving heart, or someone who felt safe and comfortable in our own skin?

In my experience, this bypasses the resistance, the limitations of what we’ve already experienced. It moves us away from our existing, fixed ideas and beliefs. The realm of the imagination is very fertile. It opens us to a world not yet created. It is in fact the first step in creating something new. If you can’t imagine something, how could it ever come into your life?

And how might we measure our teachability? How open, willing and grateful we are? There’s a sure way to see.

5. Measure your teachability by what shows up in your experience

During a wonderful conversation about learning horse riding skills, I heard this, ‘My first teacher, was very good. She didn’t lavish me with praise, she would let the results of her teaching show in my riding, so I got to know when I’d learnt something.’

This is very powerful. If you want to live a more loving life for example, the only place to measure how that’s going is in your own experience. Are you having more loving relationships? Are you spending more time in feelings of contentment? If not, maybe gently reflect on how teachable you are just now? Note: this is not an opportunity to criticise yourself. So stop that. Look to bring loving kindness to it all: the self judgement, the resistance, the low state of mind. Loving kindness, like gratitude is a gateway to something fresh.

Whether it is trying to get up from sitting cross legged on the floor without using your hands, or trying to integrate the glimpses of innate health and wellbeing you’ve seen, here are 5 ways I’ve seen to be more teachable: be more grateful for the nudges to learn, more willing to learn, more grateful for discomfort, imagine yourself as the person who’s got this and look to your own experience to measure how teachable you are.

And the great news? Every moment is a new teachable moment. Every moment has infinite possibility. So even if there is something in your life you’ve longed for but feels elusive, at any moment, you can have an insight that can change everything. We can’t get insights on demand but I think we can prepare the ground.

Or as Sydney Banks, who uncovered the Three Principles, summarised so well, I paraphrase, ‘look to the beautiful feeling, well, you might as well ……. in the meantime!’

***

As I return to hosting conversations, I see more and more how my job as a facilitator is simply to be in that feeling where wisdom can flourish. That in itself invites others into the feeling where they can hear their own wisdom. In these conversations we are preparing the ground, making ourselves teachable, so wisdom can arise and guide us. What you need to hear, I have no idea. What I need to hear tomorrow, I have no idea. When we tune into that deeper dimension, we can trust that we will hear and see what we need to hear and see. That is the beauty and magic of this work. I’m so looking forward to being in conversation with you again.

Interested in joining me in conversation? Mosey on over to see what new Gatherings are on offer or you can Consult with me 1:2:1.

Life as improvisation

Life as improvisation

Until recently, I would have said, I knew little of improvisation, a theatre training technique used to train actors, entertain and encourage creative thinking. After doing a little research I realised I knew more than I thought!

The UK and US comedy show, Whose Line is it Anyway illustrates how improvisation works. Simply, you take a prompt and on the fly, solo or in a group you improvise sketches, stories or single lines to build on the original idea. Comedy can play a big role.

I realise the writing I do works on a similar basis. I get an idea and say yes to it, then more ideas of what to say tumble one upon the other. It has been like this for so long that I have never really wondered about the magic of that.

What struck me anew, is how Life as improvisation is the most natural thing in the world.

A beautiful way to see this is in the joy of re-discovering life’s earlier pleasures. Things from childhood or young adulthood, left along the wayside until one day, an impulse to return and pick them up again, occurs, out of nowhere. There is a sweetness in that return, for we bring a new understanding to the much loved activity.

A softness descends at the memory of hours lost in wonder filled play, indoors or out; solo or in the company of friends, real or imagined. The senses quicken in anticipation of re-experiencing that magic. The form may differ but the delight is familiar.

A wonderful example of this is showing up in my life. Moths caught my attention recently. A thread (that little quickening) pulled on me and I see clearly now, I said yes to the nudge, with no idea why I was drawn nor what might come of following the trail.

So far, like a lover besotted with the beloved, I have come alive and lost myself in research, a visit to a museum, conversations with entomologists and curators, sketching, story ideas, photographs, gathering data and musing with inspiration and wonder at these extraordinary creatures. The fantastic names, tickle my love of language: Cavorting emperor, Viper’s Bugloss, Splendid Brocade, Tawny Shears.

Ideas and delight have fizzed and bubbled as I enter into a hidden world as if by special invitation 

Moths are short lived creatures. Sometimes just a week or two. Likewise this fascination may be short lived but intense. Yet already the treasure is great. With no constraints, no need to define the purpose or point of the trail, I can simply enjoy being on it.

So many strands of my life are coming alive in this exploration: organic farming, poetry, story, pattern, sensory perception, conversation, art, science, nature. And all this before venturing out to look for moths at night. There’s a delicious freedom: Life as improvisation.

Rather like baking, there are simple raw ingredients like shape, form, colour, function which have the potential to combine in our imagination into extraordinary wonder filled flights of fancy, learning, action and creating something new, imbued with the wonder we feel.

Part of the magic lies in the openness and delight in letting our imagination guide and shape our experience whether it is den building, watching bugs, climbing trees, building homes or cities from random household items, playing tag, making up songs or stories, painting, sticking, gluing or dressing up. It is striking how little our imagination needs. In fact often fewer props lead to greater imaginative leaps. As children, this comes naturally. As adults we can forget.

But when we remember, there is mystery in that magic and recognition too

Recognition of something deep within us, that wants only to embrace life whole-heartedly, delight in aliveness for its own sake. Those early joys are intimate, bespoke signposts to that deeper sense: our True Nature. We know it when we touch it. It is impersonal, vast, immediate, ordinary and deeply alive.

To return to those pleasures with deeper understanding of the power of that dimension to nourish and inspire us, is like trailing your fingers in cool water on a hot summer day. Delicious, energising and something to revel in. T.S. Eliot puts it beautifully in this extract:-

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.

—T.S. Eliot, from “Little Gidding,” Four Quartets (Gardners Books; Main edition, April 30, 2001) Originally published 1943.”

Life as improvisation, now there’s a thought! Saying YES, AND to Life. Agreeing with your heartfelt impulses and allowing your imagination to expand on them. To be in conversation and co-operation with the dynamic magic of Life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections.

P.S. This piece has been inspired by many things including beginning Rob Hopkins, From What is to What If – unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want. Highly recommend. He is one of the founders of the Transition Town movement, now worldwide. I love how good ideas spread!

CONSULTATIONS

If you’re drawn to discovering more magic and mystery, I would love to work with you.

You can find out more here and be aware, my fees are a guide not set in stone. If you have a little thread pulling you towards being in consultation with me, follow it and together we’ll let our imaginations loose and create something extraordinary. Email me and let’s start a conversation.

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.

Endless Love with Juliet & Judy

Endless Love with Juliet & Judy

ENDLESS LOVE PROGRAMME

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A deep dive into the Three Principles as expressed by Sydney Banks

  • What if you knew love was always available from within, regardless of your past, current or future circumstances?
  • What if experiencing the Truth of this is ALL we need to navigate life’s ups and downs with more ease?
  • What if the only thing that EVER takes us away from that felt sense, is thinking that looks true in the moment?

If you are looking to feel more grounded amid turbulent events, this is the programme for you. If you have an interest in what lies beyond the busy mind chatter, this is for you. If you know there is more appreciation, awe, love, compassion, clarity and beauty available but you find more often you are in doubt, judgement or criticism (self or others) then come along to hear the invitation for a deep dive into the relaxed, alert, ordinary dimension of wisdom and presence where we come more fully alive. The space of Endless Love.

Join me, Juliet and Judy for Endless Love, a deep dive into the heart of the Three Principles teachings. We are excited to be offering this programme at this time.

Dates and Times
3 x 2hr sessions over one week in April

Wed 6, Thu 7 & Wed 13 Apr 7-9pm BST, Cardiff, UK, 11am-1pm PCT, California, US,
New Zealand times are a day later: Thu 7, Fri 8 & Thu 14 Apr 6-8am NZST

Investment
£175GBP
Scholarships available (email me, if price is a barrier but you feel called to join)

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Any questions? Email me.

The programme is open to all, so please share with friends and colleagues.

 

About the facilitators

Judy and Juliet have been friends and colleagues for 6 years and both are passionate about sharing what they see about the human condition to point people to uncover their innate health and wholeness. They have each seen extraordinary changes in their relationship with their own minds.

Juliet Fay is a registered Three Principles Practitioner on the 3 Principles Global Community register and Judy Nakhies is an Apprentice Practitioner with the same organisation. You can connect with Judy via Facebook

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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.

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 a homeless person on the street and see only a blot on the landscape, 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.