At the Centre of it all….

Julia Chi Taylor

You may have read my blog before Christmas when I had the idea that I might start outdoor winter swimming…!

Well – I rather think I have been saved from myself!

There is 100m by 30m expanse of water in one corner of the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, especially cordoned off for swimmers to swim… The membership for the swimming club runs from January to January and ‘joining’ was on my list of ‘Things to do’!

With this in mind I visited the Club website at the weekend, and discovered that it isn’t possible to become a new member at the moment… The water is deemed too cold for ‘newby’ cold water swimmers!

In truth I was aware that to swim in 4 degrees! – I would need to start in water that is a temperature that I can handle and then continue regularly so that my body adapts… I remember reading the autobiography of the actor Katharine Hepburn who used to swim in her lake every day – during the winter she often needed to break the ice to enter…!

So this does seem to a blessing to have a pause on my new bathing plan… A ‘No not for now ‘ suits me very well…!

Athena Jane was reminding me of some of our shared ‘cold water ‘ swimming escapades in Corfu and Lanzarote! ( UK in January a very different experience  methinks! )

But, I do enjoy swimming in natural water – sharing with the other creatures who are more suited to it than me – many people fall into that category! – But I’m referring to the fish! The swans and ducks – and the jelly fish! I’ve been stung a few times in the Mediterranean when inadvertently crossing the path of one – or more!

However, the positive of this was that I learnt a few new Spanish words, so that I was able to fluently tell my story to my Spanish friends on returning for breakfast!

‘Una medusa me picó cuando estaba nadando hoy’!

And the flying fish!

Jane and I were swimming together in Lanzarote and suddenly whoosh! A fish jumped high in the air beside us! We squealed! And it kept happening! Until we became used to it…. And happily swum with the flying fish jumping around us…

We are very adaptable us humans!

This has many positive aspects to it – we grow and develop through all the different experiences we encounter first evident in our childhood years

With everything new, huge openings and development and growth occur

As well as adaptations… These adaptations help us survive difficult situations or adhere to family and social expectations, but although continuing to help us survive this life journey, they can also inhibit our true expression.

This can mean that aspects of our true selves are hidden away or disowned – or even lost altogether.

It can also mean that in losing connection with our true essence we lose touch with not only who we truly are – but of course what we truly want… Instead we often follow the desires or expectations of others, which means we are using the ability to adapt in the wrong direction

For true freedom it is worth investigating our life adaptations, and seeing where they have come from – and how they might be inhibiting our true voice and expression.

Adapting to changing circumstances is required by us throughout our lives, and having the ability within us to do so, and not lose our centre can enhance growth – or deepen unhelpful patterns…

The more aware we become, the more we can clear the pain of the past and align to the present moment. This practise allows us to recognise that true happiness is primarily from within; and with a sense of who we truly are – it means externals changes are easier to adapt to…

But – adaptation can pile on top of adaptation… 

Someone comfortable with following rules because this kept them safe when growing up, could follow without investigation – whereas someone ‘always a rebel’ to authority could rebel for the sake of rebellion…

And neither position are necessarily honouring the still voice of calm within; the unchanging place within from which we are all born…

Only we will truly know where our behaviour is coming from – it might need a process of reflection and a willingness to stop the chatter of the mind and turn inwards…

Because when we do this, we discover at the centre of all is consciousness, love

Freedom

Truth

Our own truth.

To the own self be true

This is all that is required

Creating the life we are living

Julia Chi Taylor

Anyone who knows me well, or has read my blogs over the past twenty years, will know that drinking alcohol is not one of my talents…!

But it is something I have occasionally resolved to train to ‘do better’!

About twelve years ago, or even more, I made it my New Year resolve two years running to ‘drink more’ – as I could count the amount of alcoholic drinks I had imbibed the previous year on just one hand!

One of those ‘Resolve’ years ended practically before it began – I went to celebrate a friend’s success in a bar in London in the January – and  – drank FOUR margaritas!! 

It took me about a week to recover, and I didn’t drink for the rest of the year…

The next year I tried again – but it sort of petered out like a damp squib!

Then I met Anadi I became quite a cocktail queen for awhile…!

Anadi enjoys a G and T ( especially in Spain where they don’t appear to have formal measures!) and a cold beer or two…

But I’ve sort of fallen by the wayside as the years have passed – jumping on the wagon rather than off it!

I am of course aware that for some alcohol is a poison and not to be taken lightly.

But in moderate quantities, it has many positives; it is fun, it relaxes, it can de inhibit and lead to greater connection and conversation – unlocking tensions and truths… As well as simply being a part of the pleasure of the human journey; it also offers some health benefits to body and brain! 

But we all have a different path to tread, so as a previous almost non drinker, I am not writing a blog to persuade you into the drinking life…!

However – this year I have dusted off my old resolution… And today – January 8th 2022, instead of a coffee post brunch, I ordered an Espresso Martini!

Anadi joined me!

I felt moved to share my ‘resolution’ with the young man who was serving us ‘Often the other way round in January’ he laughed – ‘but why not?’

And it was delicious…

We sat sipping them as the light started to leave the sky, having spent the morning enjoying our pre run coffee and croissant and then running for ten miles all around Hyde Park, Holland Park and Kensington gardens in a glorious bright winter lit day…

‘The things I’d like this year’ I stated to Anadi as I sipped the delicious nectar – it seemed somehow fitting to continue with the resolution theme!… 

‘To keep living in London – to run and run – to spend time with you – to continue loving my work – to write… And… To run on beaches barefoot again! 

Oh – I’m living it! 

I’m living my life. 

This is the life I am creating.

In every moment, we are creating the life we are living from our source energy – which is creating universes and  from whence we are all born and our life flows from this place

Just the barefoot running on beaches and cocktails to bring in to the picture…!

So Within; So Without…

Julia Chi Taylor

‘Let’s walk home’, I suggested over breakfast…’We could walk all the way back along the river’

It took us twenty five minutes to journey there on the tube…

And all day to walk back; with a stop for lunch!

The river route turned out to be fifteen miles; We started on the South Bank in Richmond and enjoyed witnessing a magical unfolding of new uncharted territories.

‘I love being by water’, I said to Anadi as we walked; ‘whether its the sea or the river…

I just love it’

‘What do you love?’ he asked

We walked in silence for awhile – I realised that I just love it, and at first had no words as to the ‘why’

Other than ‘I just do!’

But after awhile I said to him, ‘I love the expanse, the stillness and the movement; the reflection of the whole in the individual swirls and ripples…

When it is the sea I love that I can’t see the end and so I glimpse eternity

And I love the experience that we are ‘the whole ocean in one drop’

We are that ocean – we are that river; we are the whole; we are all that is

And the water reflects that as I walk beside it.

‘Why do you love it…’? I asked him 

‘I love the expansiveness too’, Anadi replied; ‘and the freedom and that it changes form; it can be solid when it is ice and then it has movement and is fluid…’

At Barnes we crossed the river to the north side… We knew there were many pubs along the way! And so after enjoying a delicious lunch stop in ‘The Dove’ on we went…

The rhythm of walking silent, peaceful. Time seeming so arbitrary, as to not exist. The hours passed and yet there was no concept of the hours; as we walked and talked and walked in silence too.

An inner journey as each moment is; every experience an inner one reflected in our individual creations; this life.

We an expression of consciousness; and our minds the incredible receivers of our inner divine creative force

So within, so without…

Alive

Julia Chi Taylor

Anadi and I spent our New Year on a mini break within our Christmas break!

We had taken the whole week off to play and be together

And then – to see the New year in – we ‘journeyed’ for just twenty five minutes on the tube – to Richmond…!

Transported in a flash to a completely new land… It was as if we were seeing it for the first time…

The building we stayed overlooking a river across a road – a vast tranquil vista – with parkland just two minutes walk away.

A lovely room to relax in, with sumptuous bed – and a spa to return to after we’d circled the beauteous wooded grassy sandy trails on the first morning of 2022…

The weather like spring – we jogged and talked our way around the landscape we know so well

And yet each step ever new – treading the pathways with others on foot, on bikes – and we waited awhile to cross a trail – as little people on little ponies went by…

All of us were taking our first steps into a new year, a new day, a new hour, minute, second – a new moment…

Creating our lives with each footfall, with each breath

From the source of all creation – all we know and don’t know emerging and ever expanding

We the light of our own lives

Creating and shaping

The energy limitless

When we allow its magic

And forget everything we ever thought we were…

Who we are cannot be thought.

And yet thought is how we create our experiences here…

So it is worth becoming conscious of what we are thinking!

Conscious that we are thinking…! And take time to experience the silence in the gaps between thoughts. 

And then when we witness from this place of stillness

We can watch our lives unfolding

In each step.

This step when we live it fully – wholly – always takes care of the next…

However many times I have run around Richmond park – and I have been doing so for over forty years now – it is always different…. 

New, fresh, magic, holding the promise of the fresh, without end or beginning.

Life shimmering in every breath we take.  

What a gift we have, this wonderful opportunity

To be here, now

Alive 

Hope is in every moment

Julia Chi Taylor

Anadi and I had booked tickets at the Natural History Museum to see the Wildlife photography exhibition

But we couldn’t find it!

We travelled down many corridors and into rooms with many wonderful treasures, mammals and reptiles and meteors 

And a whole hall of minerals rocks and gemstones

But no sign of the photographs…

We stood in the hall of minerals and gemstones feeling the energy pulsing

Through my heart

Anadi felt it in the palms of his hands

We could have stayed in that room and bathed in its energy for ever.

But…

The time came to ask for directions!

And at the end of a very long corridor we came to the exhibition

And were transported to other worlds

Snowy, watery, expansive lands – spiders, mushrooms, a lynx in a doorway, a lioness eating her prey – blood dripping from her mouth – flamingos pink. A humming bird hovering; a bear looking straight at the camera – beauty, raw and real.

 Emerging again into the main hall, looking upwards we saw the skeleton of the Blue whale. 

I remembered that she had been there fifty five years ago, when I last visited the Natural History museum – and there she is still, suspended high up above us all; in a different place to before – but still there.

Huge magnificent awe inspiring

Her name is Hope

She is called Hope as a symbol of humanities ability to create a sustainable future.

Any imagined future is the responsibility of each of us – individually

And paradoxically the promise of a bright future comes from this moment

In every moment we can heal the past and create a future that is expansive joyous loving

By staying in the present

Presence

It is as simple as being conscious now…

But as complex as the human mind that most humans identify with

Believe they are

The tangles and distresses and endless chatter that never ceases

The mind now the master rather than the amazing useful incredible creative and brilliant tool it truly is…

And so when we watch the mind – step back and witness it in all its pain and excitement, complex thought and repetitive stories

When we start to watch it instead of identify with it, we can be free

In watching we can ask ‘who is the watcher?’

And so we connect with the quiet, the spirit within

Us all

The silence.

And if we are to stand still – anywhere – and look upwards to Hope, the blue whale, who has now been there for 126years

And look upwards anywhere, to the trees, the tall buildings, the clouds and the skies

The statues

And be still amidst the movement all around

Stand and stare

While the activity and sounds and all that is going on on the outer realms continues

We know in that moment that we do not need to hope for a future

The future is here 

Now 

The message of Hope is in every moment, in the silence

Now

Forever

There is no fear in love

Julia Chi Taylor

Piccadilly Circus was like Piccadilly Circus!

Boxing Day crowds jostled together on the pavements, shops all brightly lit, cafes and eateries spilling over; sale signs in the windows, some being stickered on as we passed by.

‘There’s a lot to be said for not reading the papers’, my brother had affirmed when we’d spoken on Christmas Day – having learned that I simply do an occasional fly by in a super market and glean a little something of what they are saying (on the front page anyway) 

I don’t tend to watch the television or listen to the radio…

And I find that my experience of life is a joyous one…

As it was today.

Anadi and I walked along the river past the London eye on the Southbank, and then cut through the Aldwych and Kingsway to the edge of Regents park before making our way back home via Piccadilly Circus… 

We met a lot of smiley people as we journeyed; full of the Christmas spirit of joy, of love and peace on earth…

‘There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear’

The message of Jesus

The message of Christmas

The journey to perfect love an inner one… Deeper and deeper into our own places of fear and pain and sorrow; healing them – loving them – freeing ourselves from fear to live here and now

A joyous life unfolds from this place; reflected back to us by all we meet 

I meet smiley people in the gym where I go most days

Smiley people in the cafes I frequent

Smiley people in the streets I walk down each day

On Christmas Day we ran in the parks in the morning and exchanged merry Christmas greetings with other runners and walkers; two horse drawn carriages went by, the occupants waving joyous Christmas cheer to all they passed.

The sound of horses hooves clip clopping along

Spreading love

We saw that Cafe Concerto was open on the Kings road…

And so once showered and dressed we went there for an impromptu Christmas lunch!

While we ate, Anadi and I were remembering Christmases past…

In the jungle of Costa Rica where Anadi proposed to me over cocktails!

On the beach in Thailand, where we could hardly eat a thing because our tummies were recovering from being so terribly ill!

As we travelled the world, we met smiley people in all of the lands

The planet our home

Everyone our friend.

Silent night…

Julia Chi Taylor

I have not celebrated Christmas in a traditional way for many years – about half my lifetime! 

But I like being here, with it all going on around me – the lights in the streets, all the sparkly ness, and huge trees – bright light colour with angels and fairies atop…

Watching it all in the dark Silent night…

And more trees – still naked – waiting to be bought – folk carrying them home in netting which they will soon spring out of and become adorned and bedecked too.

And I like the carols, hearing them in restaurants and in the streets – and I love singing them too!

I love ‘Silent Night’ – and all the songs we all know so well

Anadi and I went to the Royal Albert Hall to bask in a sound bath of the uplifting joyousness of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the National youth Choir – and – we got to sing along too! 

For the first verse of ‘Away in a Manger’ the women were invited to sing alone –

I stood up tall, feeling like I did when I was eight years old in the school nativity, wanting to sing my very best…

There weren’t may women near me and the ones that were sang very quietly!

As I sang my heart out (doing my best to stay in tune!) – I felt like I was singing a solo at the Royal Albert Hall!

When the rest of the audience joined in with verse two, both Anadi on my left and the man on my right leaned towards me – almost simultaneously – and whispered to me… ‘Well sung’!

And I stood silent then for a moment in the beautiful Royal Albert Hall, feeling the Christmas love

The Christmas joy

The sounds of voices heralding the Christmas tide, aliveness

And also silence

A Silent night amidst the noise

Silence Love and Joy always there, within us all

At Christmas time and all the time

Because there is no time at all, when we are here and now feeling that love and joy inside us

And experiencing the Silence

In each Magical moment there is no fear, or disruption

There is only pure presence

And in practicing this

Being fully here, in this very moment

Now, breathing in – all is calm all is bright – in the silence before breathing out again

Feeling the expansive all pervading truth

Without thought

Or narrative

‘All is calm, all is bright’

Within this simple practise

Love and joy are the norm – whether it is Christmas time or not.

And fear and anxiety and upset and distress all ‘leave the building’…

There is no need to run away, to hide – or

To hope for something different

In the moment

Silence

is freedom

The Path we are Walking

Julia Chi Taylor

We walked and walked, all day long.

All along the river Thames, where the rowers rowed and the swans swam – the surface was like grey blue glass at times, and at others choppy rough after the river boats had passed – and then the swans swayed on the wake of the waves they made.

We walked along its Southside edge past all the Bridges – Putney, Hammersmith and on to Barnes.

Where we crossed over, and walked back along the other side…

At times I love to walk instead of run – it has a different rhythm – and it’s where it all began

My love of the journey without end.

Walking our yellow Labrador when I was just ten years old – for hours on the common land I was later to run on.

In the beginning I rode horses there and walked for hours.

The journey the purpose, without purpose is what I loved

Stopping for chocolate and lucozade in the next little town on the edge of the common…

Today it was breakfast and then some hours later – lunch in a pub!

And so a whole day passed from dawn (well 10am!) til dusk – the light fell away as we neared Putney Bridge again, which was lit up bright with the red buses atop.

A London sight

I love 

Anadi and I have walked together all over the planet.

‘It feels the same as when we were nomads’ I commented..

‘When we walked and talked for hours on end…’

Up pitons in St Lucia, along white gold beaches in Costa Rica – other days following the river where the crocodiles basked – and in the jungle and along the beaches of Thailand too

We walked

More walking than running – in those tropical lands 

And we walked for hours too in the Atlas Mountains (once for thirteen hours – we were very lost!) and in the Alpujarras, up high above the little white villages below.

I love the no purpose of walking

The meditation on the move

Each step gone and the next revealing the path we are walking.

We are One

Julia Chi Taylor

During the summer months Anadi and I ran through the streets from Chelsea over to little Italy and onto the Regents canal path – running for miles beside it eventually arriving right by London Bridge.

A magical mystery tour through so many different ‘post codes’ with such different energies and character.

But always we were attracted to a restaurant that is built on a bridge over the canal

We saw diners spilling in and out of it and we were rather sad to be only passing by, rather than sitting and watching the water – whilst taking a coffee and enjoying brunch…

But last weekend the plans all changed, my knee still sore meant that walking felt a better plan than running…

So we walked there, to our mystery cafe over the canal and entered inside the set we had watched as the audience for months

We became the actors in this particular scene rather than watching from our seats. We played our parts and learnt our lines and sat watching those watching us

And so it is, we are all playing a part

And it is so important nt to get so caught up in our part that we forget we are the whole

We are all born of the one consciousness and we are the whole world, we are everything there is and ever has been and who we ‘think we are’ is simply the clothes we have donned for this experience… The colour of our skin, our gender where we were born, what we do, none of this should divide us from one another.

It is but an experience to be here – and when we honour one another’s unique experiences and validate the differences then we are united 

And remember that we are one.

There is so much more than what the five senses can perceive or the mind can conceive…

And when we play with this in our daily lives – witnessing the parts we play, the role we take up at various times, when we are audience or participant  – it can help to shake loose the bonds of ‘so called’ reality 

And remember that we are free. 

To Be Free

Julia Chi Taylor

Well I haven’t been swimming… Yet! 

And this week I haven’t been running either…

But I have spent lots of time larking about in the gym… This has included practising a duet of ‘Shallow’ with PT Tom!

We’re improving…!

This endeavour is providing much hilarity – for us – and others in the gym too, who look on in slight bemusement and amusement – some pretend it’s not happening…!

I’m not sure how it all began, this duet singing amongst the sound of weights clanging! 

But it is fun…

I’ve been in the gym more than usual this week (so more opportunity to practise my singing with Tom too!)  because I hurt my knee whilst doing an exercise to strengthen it…! (nb as I ‘go to press’ – knee much improved!)

The paradox of life – the exercise revealed the weakness rather than healed the pain…

But this is an important thing.

The issue revealed, stripped bare

So that full healing can happen.

Pain is a good mechanism for us – if we didn’t have pain we would physically destroy ourselves very quickly!

It acts as an arrow to direct us to where attention is needed…

This is true physically

And also emotionally

One of the difficulties for humans is facing difficulties, facing problems, for fear of feeling the pain at the root of the issue.

All our problems have something to do with us, and once we are able to become still enough to take responsibility – and to say ‘I am here, so this has something to do with me, and therefore I can do something about it’ – we are on the road heal to ourselves – to clear the blocks within and solve the difficulty that we are seeing reflected in our outer circumstances…

To become whole…

To be free, is to face everything

Every single thing, that is clouding the view of who we truly are

To dare to feel the pain necessary to heal at the core level 

To never turn away

From our true self

Which is always there

Within us all