I’m Juliet Fay, based in West Wales, UK, a writer and Three Principles Facilitator. Join my list for updates and this free e-booklet, ‘Plagued with doubt? A simple way through’.
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!
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: 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
ENDLESS LOVE PROGRAMME
A deep dive into the Three Principles as expressed by Sydney Banks
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
Scholarships available (email me, if price is a barrier but you feel called to join)
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 having suffered intense mental distress for many years.
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
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.
.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.
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.
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.
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:-
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.
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
On the estuary where I live a rusty old fishing boat sits on the sand. I don’t know when it last went out to sea and yet at the rise of the tide this boat comes to life for a few hours, bobbing on the water.
When I see that boat, I often think of a moment I felt great hope stir in a room of 180 people, two years ago.
At the One Solution conference in Oslo in 2016 George Pransky raised the question:
Why hasn’t this Three Principles understanding spread further?
He responded, something to the effect, maybe the time wasn’t right but now there was a sense of change happening. “All boats rise with the tide,“ he said.
“All boats rise with the tide”
That phrase has stayed with me.
There seem to be more and more people looking towards Truth and I see people waking up to the idea there is an anchor point in their lives they have lost sight of.
It seems certain societies have gone off down a bit of a detour for a generation or two drifting away from home, chasing after shiny stuff and collectively losing sight of our essence and what this Life is all about.
It all seems to be getting less personal. As stuff that doesn’t serve us, falls away, we get lighter. Like a field of sunflowers turning towards the nourishing rays of the sun, beings are waking up everywhere.
And what a show it is.
Who knows, perhaps there have been other movements at other times in history in different parts of the world and I have a sense there are communities where the focus never shifted so far from the source.
It seems to be less about me and mine and more about Life and Love and connection coming into focus.
Why do I say this?
It makes sense.
If my life can be experienced so differently (though it looks much the same on the outside) and so many others I know (and know of) are finding their lives more peaceful, easy and filled with Love, then much as my little self would like to imagine this has something to do with me being a diligent student, I see this can’t really be the case.
Though I love gathering for conversations looking towards Truth and I love to share this understanding and help others share their understanding, to the best of my capacity, I’ve had a suspicion for a while now, that my own and others’ deepening awareness of what we really are is due to a collective rise in consciousness that is gathering pace.
And this is exciting for so many reasons:-
The shift towards an understanding of a universal consciousness beyond our personal sense of self, takes our focus away from the personal and towards the bigger picture where what we have in common is far more compelling than what divides us.
The teaching of this understanding in all its many forms is spreading in rural and urban areas around the world. The ripple effects of sharing this understanding overtly and covertly through our daily dealings with people is accelerating.
The impact of more and more human souls waking up to their True Nature is the great hope for humanity.
This rise in consciousness is being nourished by spiritual teachers and traditions all around the world using many different forms of words.
It seems to me there is a great germination happening and once started awareness seems to unfold in each being at a subconscious level.
So why continue to stay in the conversation?
All through history humankind has been drawn to congregate in a space of quiet reflection, to hear Truth. From storytellers round the fire to preachers in the pulpit, there is a deep desire to rest in the awareness of something greater than our (small) selves.
Just as the old fishing boat cannot help but rise with the tide, I have a sense that consciousness is rising in humanity and nothing can hold that back. Enjoy the ride!
© Juliet Fay 2018
Two years later and we might be asking where is this great swell of hope and rising consciousness? I guess it depends where we are looking from. I see several large scale shifts in awareness underway, around global issues: climate, sexism and systemic racism. It may look as if there is a big mountain to climb but the sea change in attitudes has a momentum that is bringing changes in behaviour. It may not include everyone but once there is some kind of critical mass, old systems and habits begin to give way as the thought patterns that created them lose their power.
Einstein famously said,
‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’
Knowing at some level we have everything we need to create more just and equitable communities, looks to me, to be the first step towards opening the door to the ideas, innovations and actions that will bring that into form.
Being willing to face the fact that our existing, often unconscious, conditioning, ways of inter-relating and foundational beliefs in scarcity and insecurity have led to some profoundly harmful ways of being in the world, looks like a doorway, an invitation to uncover the parts of our humanity that have been obscured.
And yes that might be painful to look squarely in the eye, but it is nothing to the hurt and pain that have been inflicted. But the healing, the treasure on offer for us all, the other side of that reckoning, is beyond what I can currently imagine. I sense it and am drawn towards it but I have a feeling, I may have to give up something (internally and externally) to get even a glimpse of the riches that lie beyond fear and insecurity.
13 July 2020
Photo © Juliet Fay
Three Rivers Estuary, Carmarthenshire Wales, UK
1st November 2017