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I am Jenny Wilson.  Welcome to my blog!

Carve your own bird

Carve your own bird

You might have heard the story about the traveller and the wood carver. It’s a story about effort and reward. In a city many years ago, a great cathedral was under construction. A traveller happened to be passing by stepped inside to admire the work. He noticed a wood carver perilously balanced on the top of a scaffold, painstakingly carving something onto the top of a wooden beam. Curiosity got the better of the traveller and he called up to the carver, "What are you carving up there?" The wood carver replied, "I am carving a bird." The traveller snorted. "Pah! Why go to all that trouble when nobody will ever see it up there?" The wood carver paused for a moment, then responded, "Ah, but God will see." Carve your bird for its own sake, whatever that means for you. Everything else is a bonus.

What if ... time is an illusion?

What if ... time is an illusion?

Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations. (Edward Sapir) There are two words that throughout human history have had the power to transform our reality. “What if …?” By asking these two words and applying them to any situation, we have the ability to reframe things and see things in a different way. Seeing things differently, from other perspectives, helps us gain clarity. Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the yoga teacher and the clock. A yoga teacher is leading a meditation class when, all of a sudden, a clock on the wall crashes to the floor. The class is shaken for a moment but not stirred, because without missing a beat, the yoga teacher says, “Time is an illusion.” Calm is restored and the class continues. I have heard the expression “time is an illusion” many times, as I’m sure you have too, but I hadn’t really paid a great deal of attention to it until last weekend when I watched a film about aliens. Normally, this would be the last type of film I would watch, but this one was different. ‘Arrival’ centres around a professor of linguistics who has been called in by the US military to communicate with a group of aliens who have suddenly and mysteriously appeared in various different countries. The whole world is thrown into a state of turmoil as the leaders of these countries argue about the best way to deal with the situation. Time is of the essence and the military leaders want the linguist to ask the aliens what their purpose on Earth is. Are their intentions peaceful? The linguist points out the complexities involved in finding out this information when neither she nor the aliens share a common language. How can we even be sure, she asks, whether they understand the concept of a question or an answer? Two things have stayed with me since I watched this film. The first is the concept that we are all born with a capacity to communicate. No matter what language we speak, our brains are already equipped to help us do this and make sense of the world, or worlds, around us. Every living being, it seems, has some capacity of understanding, some desire to connect with others around us, some realisation that we are on some level already connected. Noam Chomsky stated that the ability to learn languages is hard-wired into our brains and that children have an inborn faculty for language acquisition. When we apply this idea of the language we use shaping our perception of reality, we see how this shapes our whole concept of time. Think about the words we have about time. In the Western world, we tend to view time as a resource, something we spend or exchange in return for something else. In general, we are paid money in return for our time at work. Think of the words we use with time: spending time, a waste of time, I don’t have enough time, time is money, and so on. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, or linguistic relativity, suggests that the language we use shapes our perception of reality, influencing how we think about the world. Which brings me to the second thing I took away from the film Arrival. What we in the Western world consider as time does not necessarily correspond with that of other civilizations. For example, picture a timeline with a past, present and future. You will probably and without too much effort make a mental model of some form of line where the past appears at a certain distance from the present, and that the future is marked at some point closer to the opposite end of the line. Our idea of time is linear. The words we use reinforce the idea of time as moving in a straight line from the present towards some point in the future. We measure time absolutely. The past is literally and figuratively behind us. By contrast, Mandarin speakers conceptualize time as being both linear and vertical. The idea of time presented in the film was non-linear. Perhaps you could describe it as three or even four dimensional, where events overlapped, happened simultaneously and not in the sequence we might expect. Now, (if I can even use words such as now after this!) what if time is an illusion? Would this change the way you viewed things, or did things? Would you live differently? What would your life look like and what would you be doing? The magic of applying those two little words “what if” can transform your perception. When you transform your perception of something, you change the way you think about it. When you change the way you think about it, you can change the way you feel about it. And when you change the way you feel about something, that is when true magic happens.

What would Future Me thank me for?

What would Future Me thank me for?

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is today. You might be familiar with this Chinese proverb.   This expression has helped me in many ways over the years. It’s easy to get into a bit of a slump, especially if you’re feeling a bit out of condition, low in energy or maybe lacking motivation to do something in particular.   You might have told yourself, “Ah – this would have been much easier if I’d done this ages ago.  It’s much too difficult and complicated to do it now.”  Then you keep putting it off and putting it off, and eventually it becomes a great big thing that you just can’t face.  Does this sound familiar to you?  If so, you are not alone.  Here is one little thing that might help you and which has transformed my approach to what I do and how I do it.  I think of my future self and ask myself, “What can I do today that Future Me will thank me for?” When I think of Future Me, I think of the best version of myself, however many years in the future, who has achieved what Present Me sets out to achieve, who is a little further on my soul’s journey than I am now and who has learned by experience along the way. Planting literal  trees is the perfect expression of faith in the future.  I keep the faith in my future by thinking of my future self.  Planting figurative  trees is a guaranteed way to make your future self smile.    This could be something small, like doing star jumps while you wait for the kettle to boil so that Future You is that little bit more energetic.  It could be clearing away the dishes before you go to bed so Future You can come down in the morning to a tidy kitchen.  It could be something big, like sitting down and sending that email that you’ve been putting off sending or making that appointment that you’ve been afraid of doing.  Whatever type of tree you choose to plant, may it be one that bears fruit for you and those around you for many years to come.

Don’t take this personally, but …

Don’t take this personally, but …

Thirty-three years ago, the most excruciatingly embarrassing thing in the whole world happened to me.  I walked home with my Mum, along the busiest of main roads for about two kilometres (just over a mile) while she carried a cherry tree to plant in the front garden.  I know!  The sheer mortification.  I can remember the sensation of my burning cheeks, and the prickliness of my sweaty palms as I tormented myself with thoughts of how everybody who passed us in the car was looking at me and thinking “Why are they carrying a tree?”  On the embarrassment scale in my young life up until that point, it was a solid ten.  Now I am older and wiser.  What’s more, since having children and having to deal with countless embarrassing situations, I am pretty much immune to embarrassment.    People are far too wrapped up in their own internal dramas to focus on something you might be preoccupied with.  It’s like the beetle in the box analogy that Wittgenstein used in his Philosophical Investigations .  He drew a parallel between a beetle in a box and an individual person’s mind.  He invited us to suppose that each person has a beetle in a box that only they can see into.  Nobody can see into another person’s box.  People can talk about what’s in their individual box, and we might even talk about the beetle in our box, but nobody else can really experience what we experience because they don’t have access to the beetle in our box. Which brings me to the second Toltec agreement: “Don’t take anything personally”.  Whatever another person says or thinks or does, it has nothing to do with you.  We are all living in our own dream, our own versions of the world in which we are the stars of our show.  We are the Oscar winning actors and everybody else is playing a supporting role in our drama.  Similarly, we might be playing supporting roles, or very minor roles, in other people’s dramas.  But they can’t know what is going on in our world any more than we can know what’s going on in theirs.  When we take things personally, according to Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements , we are assuming that they know what is going on in our world and we then impose our world on theirs.  He argues that even when somebody is being rude or objectionable, or perhaps even insulting you or arguing with you, they are acting in accordance with the beetle in their own box.  They are behaving according to their own agreements or principles and not with yours. We can’t control others’ opinions.  Nor should we.  They are no more able to control ours.  This is very liberating.  It makes us only responsible for our own choices, not those of others.  And we can choose to trust our own intuition and inner wisdom, rather than being swayed by another.  Learning not to take things personally is a lesson I have found particularly challenging over the years.  As with most things, time does help.  What I now realise and wish I could have transmitted to my mortified thirteen-year-old self, is that nobody was looking at me.  Despite my horrors at the thought of everybody I knew watching me stomping along behind my poor Mum, blushing furiously and silently raging at the injustice of the world, people barely even glanced at us. So carry your cherry tree with pride and fearlessness.  The world is not watching as closely as you might imagine.  You are playing your own starring role.

Monkey see, monkey do: Unleashing the power of collective transformation

Monkey see, monkey do: Unleashing the power of collective transformation

How many people do you think it takes to transform the world? Just one. The hundredth one. About 40 years ago, a biologist called Lyall Watson mentioned an unusual behavioural effect observed among Macaque monkeys he termed “The Hundredth Monkey Effect”. A group of monkeys were under observation on a small Japanese island. The scientists observing them gave the monkeys sweet potatoes to eat. There was one small problem – the sweet potatoes were covered in sand. The taste and texture of the sand was not pleasant for the monkeys to eat but they enjoyed the flavour of the sweet potatoes. One day, a young monkey did something different. She discovered that by washing her potato in a stream to remove the sand, the sweet potato would taste even better. This one action solved the sand problem and improved the whole sweet potato experience. She showed this new concept to her friends and family. Over the next few years, this behaviour was learned and imitated throughout the tribe. Eventually, one hundred monkeys were observed displaying this behaviour. It was at this point that something incredible happened. Other groups of monkeys on completely separate islands began to display the very same behaviour, despite having no apparent means of communication with the group of monkeys on the first small island! Up to this point, the other groups of monkeys on the other islands displayed no tendencies or awareness of this new type of behaviour. It was as if when the number of monkeys displaying a certain type of behaviour reached a critical mass, it somehow set off a chain reaction across the ether for other monkeys to pick up on and adopt. The implications of this are significant. It suggests that there is a sort of invisible network, a web, of consciousness that stretches across the world. When change occurs in one particular part of that network, a different vibration is felt and picked up on by the rest of the group. For example, you can imagine the tiny footstep of a spider reverberating throughout the whole web, causing the rest of the web to vibrate in response. The Butterfly Effect in action, if you like. Now, if we expand this to incorporate the idea that language shapes our world, and that the thoughts we think and the words we use have a direct influence on our perception and our reality, then it’s not too much of a leap to realise that when enough people start focusing on the power of their thoughts and words that world-wide transformation occurs. Which makes it even more imperative for us to be mindful of the words we use. So, think of that little monkey for a moment. By washing her sweet potato in the stream, by making that one small change, the effects of her action rippled out throughout the world. The words you use ripple out throughout the world. So choose them carefully. If they are covered in sand, clean them. We are all part of a collective consciousness and all have the power to shape the world around us. You may well be the one-hundredth monkey.

Your 24 hour bonus day

Your 24 hour bonus day

“Wait a minute!  I just need a second!” or, “Can you give me a bit more time?”, or how about, “I didn’t have enough time!”  Have you said any of these recently, or felt as if there weren’t enough hours in the day to get through what you wanted to get through? Well, I have good news for you.  This year is a Leap Year – and we all have been given a bonus day.  And if you’ve ever felt the joy of all the traffic lights turning to green as you approach, or your plane arrives earlier than anticipated, then you know that time is precious.  And on 29 February, we have an extra 24 hours to spend as we wish. This bonus day is not performance-related.  It’s given freely to everybody on the planet.  And when something is given freely, it creates a sense of abundance.  It makes us feel good.  Just as bonuses are gifts or rewards that can enrich our lives in some way, when we think of this extra day as a gift, as a present, as The Present, we consciously seek ways to enjoy it.  By choosing to view this day as a bonus, we experience a sense of enrichment.  Just as enriching soil encourages more bountiful flowers and vegetables, when we enrich our lives, we flourish.  What enriches or nourishes your life?  Is it spending some quiet time with a book, pursuing a passion, being with a loved one, making something, or do you thrive on the energy of being surrounded by others?  It is different for each person.  Finding something that enriches our lives helps us to flourish.    May this week be enriching for you, in whatever way you choose.

From discord to harmony  - the orchestra of words.

From discord to harmony - the orchestra of words.

Imagine, for a minute, that you are playing an instrument in an orchestra.  All of the musicians are in tune and are playing harmoniously.  The music is flowing and life is good.  Then suddenly, discord.   A clashing of notes, a string scraped jarringly, a cacophony of wrong notes.  Which of these two orchestras would you rather be part of? Now imagine that you are in an orchestra, but this time your instrument is your own voice and the music that is playing, your thoughts and words.  Words have a frequency, an energy.  Just like colours, each one vibrates at a particular frequency.  Take, for example, kind words.  Experiments have been done to show that plants exposed to kind, loving words bloomed for longer and displayed healthier growth than those exposed to negative words.  A child fed on positive language and encouragement, along with love and nourishment has a much greater chance of thriving than one not exposed to nurturing, positive words. Now imagine that inside your heart, there is a child-like version of you who has been with you every moment of your life on this planet.  Every time you speak harshly to yourself, you are speaking harshly to this little child-like version of you.  Loving the Inner Child was one of the fundamental teachings of the great Louise L. Hay, whose gift to the world was the belief that by changing our thoughts, we could change our lives and, ultimately, the world. The ancients understood the power of words very well.  One of the main pillars of Toltec wisdom (Source: Wikipedia) is “be impeccable with your word”.  I love this word impeccable .  Instead of speaking with words that emphasize the faults or flaws of ourselves or others, what a transformation could occur on our planet if we chose our words carefully and with precision; if we spoke with integrity; if we stopped gossiping about others and criticising ourselves relentlessly!  How much more harmonious the world could be.  I choose to be in a harmonious orchestra, enjoying the music. May your week be filled with harmony.

Abracadabra!  The magic that is unleashed when you focus on your words.

Abracadabra! The magic that is unleashed when you focus on your words.

Let’s begin, as everything does, with a word: "Abracadabra!" This magic word, one we are familiar with from an early age, is very special.  According to Wikipedia, it was first mentioned in the second century AD in a prescription used by a physician.  This physician prescribed that malaria sufferers should wear an amulet with this word written in the form of a triangle. Throughout the ages, the use of the word abracadabra spread and became associated with great creative power. Words are seeds and seeds, when planted, have roots.  Abracadabra has its roots in a Hebrew phrase “I will create as I speak” or the Aramaic words "abraq ad habra meaning “I create like the word” (Source: www.etymonline.com ). Whether we speak out loud or internally, the words we choose have vast creative power.  With every word we use, we are planting a little seed.  We are the gardeners.  We plant words in the garden of our mind as our thoughts take shape. As with every garden, if you want to attract more butterflies and bees and birds and beauty, you need to plant more flowers.  Nourish these flowers and your flowers will bear fruit and flourish.  But if you neglect your garden and allow it to become overgrown and tangled with weeds and filled with rubbish, then it will be much more difficult for other flowers to flourish. If you want things to flourish and bear fruit, then we need to prepare the ground.  One of the first things to do is to plow the ground before you plant the seeds.  Things grow best in loose, fertile soil that can absorb and retain nourishment and use this nourishment to transform. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the very word “Universe” contains the word “VERSE”.  If you think of this word, what do you imagine?  Maybe the verse of a song.  One song, that we are all singing – soul music.  Or perhaps a beautiful poem that we writing our part for – soul language.  If you look at the etymology or origin of this word ‘verse’, it has its roots in a Proto Indo European word “wer” for “turn or bend” (Source: www.etymonline.com ).  From one line to the next in a song, or a poem, it’s turning or bending, plowing, preparing the soil for the rest of the song or poem to flourish.  As we plow the garden of our mind, or our souls, turning the soil, softening the ground, we are preparing the ground for the seeds we sow.  And as we sow, we shall reap.  Words have the power to transform, literally to change the shape, of the world around us.  Think of the vast creative power of the Universe.  It all began, we are told, with the Word, “In the beginning was the Word”.  From the word, everything is formed.  Intelligence.  Our thoughts.  Our language.  How we communicate with others.  How we build things.  In this beautiful, expansive Universe, we all have a voice.  We are part of this magnificent orchestra. Abraq ad abra .  I will create as I speak.  You are pure magic and the words you choose are your spells.  With every utterance, you are casting a net and bringing in your haul.  So choose them carefully.

Somewhere, over the rainbow ... dreams really do come true.

Somewhere, over the rainbow ... dreams really do come true.

The winter months can feel long and dark sometimes, and you might be in a place where you’ve got the glooms.  It’s easy to get lost in a sense of fear when you focus on the darkness.  But there is always, always hope. Today is St Brigid’s Day – the beginning of spring.  This is the halfway point between the longest night and the spring equinox.  After a long winter, what better day to celebrate the promise of brighter things to come? The rainbow has long been a symbol of hope.  For as long as there has been light and water on this planet, there have been rainbows.  And for as long as there have been rainbows, humans have been captivated by these ethereal bridges between heaven and earth. Rainbows are symbols of hope, of better things to come after a period of difficulty.  They symbolize diversity - bringing together different elements to produce something beautiful.  Their beauty is in the diversity of their colours.  Each component colour of the rainbow is present and familiar to us.  And they symbolise the transient nature of beauty and life itself.  We enjoy them fleetingly and then like whispers, they melt away.  Perhaps they represent a bridge from here to somewhere else, tantalisingly close but just beyond our reach.  Even after all my years on this planet I still get a little thrill when I see one.  As children we delight in rainbows.  I like to think that they never lose their magic and have the ability to delight us through all stages of our lives, stirring something in all of us. I have created a special audio meditation – just for you – so that you can experience the magic of all of the colours of the rainbow.  Just for 15 minutes, bathe your soul in my Rainbow Elixir for the Soul audio meditation  on my YouTube channel.  Notice how you feel before and afterwards.  I’d love to hear what you think of it.    Your soul, and mine, will thank you for it.

Here's to fabulous new beginnings

Here's to fabulous new beginnings

Today is the first new moon of 2024.  It’s very tempting to make resolutions.  Have you ever said to yourself, “New Year, New Me”?  The thing about this sentence is that it often leads to feelings of frustration and remorse when, for whatever reason, our resolutions fall by the wayside at the first hurdle.  It is no coincidence that gyms are crowded at the start of January but much quieter by February. You don’t need to create a new you because you are already fabulous and beautiful.  I love the word fabulous .  Its roots lie in the Latin word fabula, meaning “story or tale”(Source: https://www.etymonline.com/ ).  You are a direct result of the stories you have been telling yourself so far.  The words you use matter.  And the words you tell yourself and allow yourself to absorb are especially important.  For hundreds of thousands of years, ever since humans learned to talk, we have been telling each other, and ourselves, stories.  We are hardwired to listen to them, to share them with others and tell them to ourselves.  Stories can teach us something, inspire us, make us laugh, frighten us, give us hope.  Think about how a child absorbs a story.  Their attention is laser-focused and they immerse themselves in it whole-heartedly and willingly.  We do this as well.  I’m particularly good at it.  For a long time I was particularly good at telling myself a parking story every time I drove anywhere: “I’m no good at parking – it’s always so stressful.  Why are there never any parking places right when I need them?” Guess how enjoyable I found that process?  Things started to shift when I decided to tell myself a new story about parking.  “I always manage to find the right spot at just the right time”.  Rather than winding myself up into a hot mess before I even got out of the car, now I allow myself to believe in a new parking story.  It works every single time.  By making that one small change, the rest of my journey is transformed.  And not just my journey, but those of my passengers.  And, when you think about it, aren’t we all passengers?  Travelling together on this fabulous planet of ours, spinning through the Universe and hundreds of thousands miles per hour, let’s enjoy the ride. So, at this time of year, where people like to focus on detoxing after the festive excesses, think about choosing words that will feed and nourish your soul.  Feed these to your subconscious.  Focus on the good thoughts and let go of the ones that don’t feel good.  Tell yourself a new story before you go to sleep and when you wake up first thing in the morning. This week, I invite you to focus on this phrase instead: “New Moon, New Beginnings”?  Every lunar cycle brings a new opportunity to breathe, reboot and start again.  May this be the start of a brand-new adventure for you and your fabulous, beautiful soul. From my heart to yours, Jenny

Handmade, heart-given

Handmade, heart-given

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
Audrey Hepburn I have a drawer of treasures in my dressing table.  It contains a story written by my daughter when she was three years old, a clay imprint of her hand when she was four, a wooden bracelet my son decorated for me, and two little hand-painted boxes.   These are some of my most treasured possessions.  Made with love and given from the heart, the joy I experience every time I look at them or think about the little people who devoted their attention to making these gifts for me grows every time. The palms of your hands are energy points in the body and are associated with your heart.  When you open your hands, you open yourself up to receive.  You can direct energy from your heart, through the palms of your hands and out into the Universe.  Your hands are your own magic wands.  And at the centre of this magic is you and your heart.   We instinctively know this.  What’s your first impulse when you bang your elbow?  Or knock your arm into something by mistake?  You immediately place your hand over the bruised area.  Your own hands have the capacity to send healing energy into the afflicted area.  And more often than not, you start to feel a little bit better.      When you make something with your hands with the intention of giving it to another person, the energy from your heart radiates through your hands and into the gift.  That is why a handmade gift is truly a gift from the heart. If the act of making something with your hands is an act of love, then every time you prepare food, you are nourishing yourself and those who eat your food with love as well.  That’s why homemade food generally tastes better than shop-bought.   If the only thing you get to do for yourself today is to make yourself a sandwich, then let the act of making your sandwich be an act of love.  Imagine love flowing freely from the palms of your hands into the food you are preparing, infusing it with loving energy.  Then, take some time to really sit down and absorb all the goodness from this sandwich.  Savour each mouthful, chew mindfully, and as you swallow, imagine that goodness nourishing you on every level.   Even better, share your sandwich with another and spread the love.

Thank you, feet, for taking me on this journey.

Thank you, feet, for taking me on this journey.

Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.
(Rumi) Have you ever really thanked your feet? You might think this is a strange question. “Jenny, why would I thank my feet? Why my feet and not, for example, my ears?” Well, why not your ears as well? Every single part of your body plays a crucial part i n supporting you, in carrying you through life, in helping you achieve what you set out to do each day. Have you ever really thanked your body for what it does? The human body is a miraculous device. If you were to write a computer program to do something as simple as draw a star on a piece of paper or raise a cup of tea to your lips and swallow without getting tea everywhere and breaking the cup when you put it back on the saucer, it would take a very long time. Yet, you can do all this and more, without even thinking about it. Your incredible body, and your amazing brain, has more sophisticated wiring and intricacies than all of the world’s supercomputers put together. Every moment of every day, it is working to calculate the precise amount of blood to pump through your body, the exact balance of hormones to release to enable you to function, the rate at which old cells are discarded and new ones are generated. You are doing all this, and more. I learned something incredible a while ago. From what I remember, it was that every ten years, our skeletons are completely renewed and replaced, which means that you are literally and figuratively not the same person you were ten years ago. Ten years from now, you will have built yourself a brand-new body. Isn’t that amazing? It isn’t nice to be taken for granted. I’m sure you’ve experienced that feeling of having done something, having worked really hard for somebody, and then they don’t even acknowledge your work or thank you for it. It’s crushing, isn’t it? When we appreciate something and express gratitude for it, that gratitude grows and expands and we find more and more to be grateful for and app reciate. When we express gratitude, we are sending out blessings into the Universe. The Universe sends us more blessings in return. Every action has a reaction. Babies are the wisest of souls. Think of how they play with, and delight in, their feet, their toes, their hands, their bodies. Give your feet some love this week. Rub them, massage them, apply some lovely cream to them and really focus on the work they have done over all the years you have been on this Earth. Thank you, feet.

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