Wider Circles

Community embodies common purpose.

Being part of something, unconditional love, support and connections. It’s more than just a group of people living in one area, it’s a group of people you can lean on, be there for and look to for guidance.

Family, friends, pets and other influences aside, as stripped-back individuals we all share and inherent and universal desire to belong.

Community is in every walk of our lives and as we fade out of one we often fade into another. Those important and varied connections we have as individuals to such a variety of communities, even on a momentary basis is what keeps us all connected and spiraling, in wider circles.

We are all on our own journey. Through increased diverse experiences we can learn so much about each other and ourselves, giving our lives enormous value.

There is no true measure of success, or experience, only a measure of our actions in each moment – which is often a reflection of what we perceive to be ‘right’ though our experiences.

Everything in life should be respected. As the circles we interact in widen, inevitability so do our experiences, our boundaries, our opportunities and the diversity of things we connect to.

Empathy is an emotion that comes largely from experience. As we allow our boundaries to widen, we allow empathy into our hearts. Reaching out to others is energizing and rewarding when we approach it with openness and honest curiosity.

Everything we do touches someone somehow.

Each person you pass on the street is part of your bigger picture. We have a duty to help one another, to encourage one another to live to our ideals.

My Marathon in Bethlehem

Beyond Boundaries

“Darkness is your candle. Your boundaries are your quest.” 


We all have boundaries, on some level. They play an essential part in society and make differentiation possible, but the boundaries we learn from society can also prevent us stepping out of ‘strict truths’ we create for our world.

The ‘Right to Movement’ campaign organises an annual marathon in Bethlehem, Palestine (in the occupied West Bank of the Palestinian territories), to highlight the on-going Israeli obstacles to freedom of movement.

In April I travelled there to take part in the marathon, to defend and advocate for the human rights of not just Palestinians, but people everywhere. Being there was also my on going own journey and development on a physical, mental and spiritual level.

Mid January 2016 I decided to take part in the marathon (that’s 26 miles) – giving myself just under three months to train.

My training started in February and I was doing two or three 5-7 mile runs a week. When I realized I had five weeks I quickly upped my training to 10-13 mile runs once a week and maintained the 5-7 mile runs twice a week. Two weeks before the race I hit 17 miles, which I did twice. That was the grand sum of my training.

I’m fascinated by the mind, and mental endurance. The ability we all have to exercise and develop inner strength, mental stability and confidence to deal with things.

I think mental endurance is a mind muscle, it can grow and develop – It can be strained and pulled. So it makes sense that we have to look after it, train it and nurture it.

The people I met in Palestine humbled me. They have been stripped of their rights, some of their homes, their access to community activities and their education but irrespective of the difficulties and challenges they are unbelievably strong-minded.

A complex web of checkpoints and roadblocks and a wall (which eventually will be 700km long), built primarily to ‘separate Palestinians from Israel and the Israel settlers make it sometimes impossible for Palestinians to travel within the Palestinian Territories. Farmers whose land is now behind the wall or barriers are required to apply for ‘visitor permits’ that Israel regularly rejects.

What surprised me most when I was there was the way people continued peacefully with their day-to-day activities whilst armed soldiers looked on. I guess that’s part of the inner strength – to keep going no matter what.

The day of the marathon came and we all stood at the start line preparing to run through the streets of Bethlehem along the sides of the wall and past the refugee camps.

Three refugee camps, 25-per-cent unemployment and a huge concrete wall which will be two times the height of the Berlin wall and four times longer, cutting the landscape in half is Bethlehem’s day-to-day reality.

I didn’t train anywhere near as much as I should have. A combination of the hills, the heat and the kids handing me dates that they probably passed between each other first gave me a severe case of runners belly.

However, mind over matter I completed it, and it truly is mind over matter after about 15km. I ran most of it and a very slow jog the last six or so miles, apart from the last 100 meters that of course I sprinted. It took me five and a half hours to complete.

Everything you do counts, any small or big thing. It’s all part of our own individual journey. Everything we do inevitably effects and creates the world we live in.

Coming home from Palestine I consider more and more what I buy and where I buy it and whom I’m supporting or affecting in my actions.

We really do need to stop letting idiots rule the world and start looking after each other better.

Don’t leave it for others, be part of the bigger picture in life.

“Run from what is comfortable”- Rumi



Conscious engagement with my body

I recently completed a ten-day Vipassana course, one of the oldest Buddhist meditation practices.It was exhausting, emotionally draining and at times had me on the very edge of my fairly sane mind. However, has left me with a sense of self and an inner calm I hope I will hold forever.

Vipassana means to observe things as they really are – the technique uses self-observation to ‘purify’ the mind.

Whilst on the course you observe a Noble Silence – this is silence of body, speech, and mind. Language, music and written notes are all prohibited. No physical exercise, only walking and no sexual activities. Basically you meditate from 4.30am to 9pm daily, with short breaks for meals and rest.

One of the principles of Vipassana is that there is no charge, making it inclusive and places every meditator in the position of being a bhikshu (monk), who for those ten days possesses nothing.

The techniques, which go back two and a half millennia to the Buddha are taught through videos and audio teachings from Mr. S.N. Goenka. At two stages throughout the course we were taught specific techniques, in addition we received an hours discourse every evening. Other than that, practice was self-observation and we were our own gurus.

I was woken daily at 4am by a series of gongs for the first meditation sitting 4.30am-6.30am.

Observe your breath. You would think it would be easy and calming. Instead I found myself lost and fixated in erratic thoughts – from future ideals to past relations, then again to the future. I trailed though people in my life and past experiences to feelings of anger, frustration and sorrow.

Through observing my breath, I was also (slowly) learning to observe myself – the frustration, the anger, the calm, the confusion and the associated sensations at a more and more subtle level.

As the course deepened the thoughts and emotional reactions became prevalent, increasingly erratic and more like a stream of crazy narrative in my head. In conjunction so did the physical pains.

At times I truly thought I was going, or was mad.

One lunchtime on my bedside table between my roommate and I a tiny wax sculpture of a lady appeared. She was lying down and had one full arm and one half arm.

Following the morning two hour sitting there was breakfast, then an hour group meditation, followed by a two hour group or solo meditation time. For such a regimented schedule each moment was so extremely different. I could be smiling one moment to feeling depleted, exhausted and on the brink of madness the next.

I’d experience daily the transience of nature and life – how quickly my feelings and thoughts came and left me.

I felt drowsy, I couldn’t focus and found myself feeling bored in meditation. I was irritated that I was eating so much and worrying about putting on weight. I was wondering why I was even thinking these things and why I was being so ridiculous.That was the reality of that moment.

Day four came. I was emotional, highly sensitive; experiencing aches up my arms and niggles in my hips. After a day of meditation sessions we received teachings on the Vipassana technique.

Following, I felt like I had been stripped of my ability to communicate with any inner strength. I want to say I’d been stripped of my armour, or skin but it was much deeper and far more real than that. I left the room in a hurry, found an area I felt safe and keeled over in agonising pain in my chest. It didn’t last long.

In the days that followed we were advised to use the new techniques. Each day I noticed and experienced more. My attention was focused, my mind was watching and observing the momentary events and sensations. Yet – still sleepless nights. That was tough.

By day six the wax sculpture had become a fairy with wings. I made a sorcerous wearing a hat.

Days seven to nine felt like they would never end. I stayed calm and didn’t react to my increasing frustrations and aversions. The strangest thing was the nausea, as I’m not someone who ever gets physically sick. I suffer from tummy aches, allergies, the occasional random ache but never sickness.

I was inspired by what I was learning, yet the process equally frustrated me.

The experience was grueling. I felt like I was being tested, judged, pushed and isolated as my sub conscious scars bubbled to the surface.

I did laugh too – hysterics in fact. One day I felt like I was in some kind of Jedi training camp, the next a mental institution. There were moments of clear beauty in reality and times of complete indulgent fantasy.

By the end of the course the wax works had grown to include a fairly on a bed of tiny twigs woven with grass, a sorceress with a broom and a wonky hat, a cat, a mouse and a tree made of leaves. Evidently, my roommate was a sculptress.

In the ten days I learnt and experienced, in part, equanimity. On day five I was having a really tough day – in the discourse Goenka kept saying ‘remain equanimous’. I had no idea what it mean so I asked the teacher (privately you were allowed to ask a question in the evening of the teacher). She said ‘to not react’.

The more I remain equanimous in my meditation, the more I find ways to equanimity in my thoughts and life.

There is a more room now for everything that arises in my life, I can step away from myself with more ease and feel able not react to anything and everything that I face.

I do also feel my reality has been shaken. I feel vulnerable in the soft edges I’ve found on myself and unsure at the thought of what I experienced.

The barriers to love definitely lie within. All we can do is observe them and allow them to melt away.Rosie x

“Let go of your mind and then be mindful. Close your ears and listen.”


The Importance Of Intent

Starting your day the right way

Because of a drive to achieve a hundred and one things everyday, like many what I like to call ‘city warriors’, I often fail to give enough time to setting intent.

I love to be busy and so I struggle not to wake up and immediately think of everything I have to do that day.

Reflect on feelings

If, when I wake, I take a few minutes to take in the moment, reflect on any feelings and perhaps set an intent based on those feelings. Without fail these few minutes of mindfulness help me be calmer, more focused and generally a nicer person to be around.

It sounds so simple, and it is. So why when we all know this, do we not allow ourselves this time?

Cultivate action from intent

Setting intent can be daily, weekly or monthly. Its important to allow yourself time to cultivate action from the intent, before rushing to set another.

Setting too many intentions you could end up with them on your to do list. I’ve been there and wouldn’t recommend it.

Reflect on the change you cultivated

Reflecting on change and movement cultivated by intent enables us to see the power we have to create and manifest direction.

Intent is like a guide for your soul. It’s a way of staying bold in your personal path, in your yoga practice or in your bigger life picture. When you meander in your day it can help bring you right on track and can even act as a springboard for ideas and creativity.

Setting intent can create a visualisation in your mind, helping you see the path towards change.

Most importantly it’s a star to sail your ship by.