Be here, now

Julia Chi Taylor

Waking before the alarm is one of the delights of my life! 

To awaken naturally, to lie aware and still, everything quiet, no thoughts in my head at all, body at ease and relaxed, ready to ‘go’, but still enjoying lying prone for now…

The street outside already alive with the sounds like any busy street.

But I am inside, alone…

I love my silent morning world

Watching 

I love my silent bedtime world

Watching

Not knowing

What is being said or done, written about, spoken about anywhere – on the planet. Just hearing the sounds outside…

But inside

All is silence

Watching from the inside out, both from the window of my flat

The street below

And from the window of my Soul

This entity called Julia…

The practise remains once the sounds start, the conversations, the activity, the fun, the joy, the struggle and strain, the grind, the grandeur of living this life.

Always watching

When we witness from the still quietness, awareness our true nature.

We experience who we are.

We are not our thoughts, our feelings or even our body.

We are not who we think ourselves to be, or who others think us to be

We are the source of all thought…

Once we experience ourselves nothing is ever the same.

When we look in the mirror and see a face with our features and our name and know that this is not who we are at all…

When we experience

The emotions – in motion, the mental activity, the sensations in the body, watch as they continue but we know them to be the phenomena of life, all part of the experience, the play out of our own stage in this play called ‘Life’

Then we have truly started the journey inwards to freedom.

From the Samsara of existence.

But there is no journey to go on

We are already there

Being here

Now

Being Together

Choir of Man

Humans like to gather

We always have

Gathered together to be together, to eat and drink together

To laugh and cry – to sing and dance

Together…

London was alive with life and activity on Saturday afternoon, as Anadi and I walked through Green Park and up the Mall to the West End in the bright keen cold autumn light.

We reached our destination early

On our way to see ‘The Choir of Man’ – Thank you Cecilia for the recommend!

We popped into ‘Ole and Steen’ nearby for an open sandwich, and a chance to sit and and gaze at the theatre of life before us – before the real live theatre…

There was drama in the loo, someone impatient to ‘go’ knocked loudly and disturbed the one ‘going’… He wasn’t happy…

A family enjoyed their lunch on one side of us – two young women worked or played on laptops on the other.

A big ‘March for Freedom’ went on outside, streams and streams of people walked by for thirty minutes at least – maybe more – with police quietly walking beside…

We arrived in ‘The Arts Cafe’ where there was already a rowdy feel good vibe, people drinking pints, and jostling and laughing as if we were in a regular pub – waiting for the regular band to start up…

We were soon called to enter the intimate theatre, red velvety and warm – with a pub as the set.

The barman arrived (on stage!) and started to ready the space, bar stools turned the right way up, jacket off, lights on

And then the audience were invited to come and drink a pint or two before the music began…

And so there we all were

In the pub

Our life

With our pub band – who turned out to be very highly skilled and talented in dancers, musicians, poets, singers – telling us the story of their lives;

All of us together in the space of joyous uplifting sound, amazing tap dancing! And ‘the audience, or rather all of us – ‘in the pub’ enjoyed the rising rousing rowdiness of us gathered together

Being together

Loving and living together 

In a public house.

Become the Run

julia Chi Taylor

I like running intervals in the park

And so I keep running them

For now

While I have the legs and heart that are willing to run, still…

I circled Battersea Park today under burnished golden red green leaves, trees tall and strong – sky grey… I ran

For now I live here, near the park which I raced around before

Where I ran and ran – in races and on the track

I ran to chase something I already had

I ran ‘to’ become

But I already was, I just didn’t know that then

I run still – and now there is a shift – in every step I run ‘and’ become 

Now

Nothing has changed except that I now know that I am going nowhere

There is nothing and no where to run to

Except to transcend the self

To know the burnished golden leaf, the river that flows, the bird that swoops…

To transform through the endeavour of stretching the physical limitations, without attachment to what this brings in terms of fruits of the labour.

Living life as a process rather than with an eye on the outcome is fun.

Running intervals in the park without a perception of ‘me’ – with no perception of the person at all is the ultimate fun.

One step only

A meditation on the move

It is why I keep returning to the park to run around it again and again

Running – freedom – as the run takes over and silence is all there is, within

I run to become

The run

Not knowing where it is taking me

Life a continuous movement, where every moment we are different 

And yet the same unchanging nature is at the centre and circumference of our being 

The awareness of the futility of being anxious about the results of practising to run fast in bursts around a park washed me clean  as the years went by – I was always aware of being pulled by this chimera

And what remains once it left…

Is the fun of running intervals around a park to see how fast I can run!

A light unto yourself

Oxford Street

The Christmas lights

Are on!

Anadi and I had met up for a late Saturday lunch after working all morning.

It was now nearly 5 o’ clock and we were still sitting – over a coffee – watching the bustle of a London afternoon through the restaurant window.

I had some train tickets to collect from Victoria Station, so we made our way there; and on a whim

‘Lets walk to Oxford Street and Regents Street to see the lights’ I said…

I didn’t know that they were being switched on at almost the very moment I spoke;

That they had drawn me to them with their twinkling brightness and expansive angelic arms, baubles, sparkly stars and colours blue gold silver purple magenta and perfect white light.

And so we set off to Hyde Park and on reaching the edge stepped into the majestic tree lined avenue – we wandered through the clear dark night past ‘Winter Wonderland’ recently erected and looking ready for action…

We crossed Marble Arch, and in a trice we found ourselves greeted by the rays of starry light beauty in Oxford Street – and lots of tourists – cameras held high capturing the magic of the moment.

The purpose of these lights is no other than to bring a sense of occasion celebration colour and joy – Christmas cheer – a spectacle of art to behold, a tradition to uphold… 

Life, our purpose no other than to bring a sense of occasion to each moment, to celebrate each breath, each heart beat; to live in joy

To forget yourself

With no care for knowing

To be the light unto yourself 

We are the whole

Julia Chi Taylor

The decades have gone by

And still she is found enjoying a coffee and almond croissant as if it were for the first time.

The sound of a busy coffee shop, the hum of voices, the clatter of plates and the whirr of the coffee machine

Happy sounds – for her.

Peace and ease within as she knows her purpose – is simply

To sit and enjoy

To fully relish every sip of the magic nectar, to appreciate the delight of taste, of smell, of touch and texture

To be the joy of a human experience. 

Our body so magical in its complexity and intricacy that allows us this ride, this journey 

The shining sun, the raging wind, the rain the cold the ice and the snow, the soft spring rain, the dew – the early morning light…

The hills and dales, the rivers and mountains and cities – magnificent with buildings tall square and rounded in majestic magic 

Babies, children, humans who were babies and children walking tall, speaking working being here in their life on planet earth

And so it is

The tapestry of which we all are

We are our part, we are many and we are the whole

I have arrived, I am home..

Julia Chi Taylor

Journeying for days

Is fun

On the move, on tour

Never one day the same

A different town each night

A different bed to rest our head

Travelling on foot across the South Downs

We set off on a Wednesday morning, padding through a Winchester precinct and immediately stopping for coffee!

A theme of the journeying

From coffee stop to eatery to a place to sleep we went on foot

As the author Steven Wright says

‘Everywhere is within walking distance if you have time’

And apart from the sun going down!…We had all the time in the world – to walk and run all day long.

We had set off from Winchester to make our way all the way to Eastbourne, a town I loved and lived in for twelve years long

When I first arrived there I felt I had come home, and that perhaps I would never leave

But leave I did, to travel the world for another six years as a digital nomad, carrying all I owned in one bag

And soon I knew the planet to be my home

Because home is within

The moment my home

Thich Naht Hanh the Vietnamese monk suggests that to be here now – to experience presence – all we must do is breathe in ‘I have arrived’ and on the out breath ‘I am home’ and to continue this way every step while we journey.

In life

Or along the South Downs Way

By experiencing the present moment – staying in the step – the physical effort is forgotten; in fact it isn’t really of any relevance at all

As the miles go by, they disappeared behind us like living in a waking dream

Beauteous land all around, sweeping hills and vistas of delight. Trees, magnificent, standing tall and plenty. Fields sweeping away and meeting the vast expanse of sky.

People appeared and disappeared as they do in any dream

Old friends so dear were there and then gone.

And on we went

Day after day 

Experiencing truly what it is to stay in each step

And let the next take care of itself.

At times the rain came down, at others sunshine bright – and then wind so strong to whip us up and off our feet…

The seven sisters offered themselves to us, to be with, on up and down

And still the mantra remained the same

I have arrived

I am home

Dear Diary; Each Step is Light

As Anadi and I walked the streets of London on Saturday, I felt more acutely aware than ever the truth of presence – of being where we are. Of acceptance that all that is, in this moment could be no other way; and that we make a difference in the world by our own presence.

We saw a helicopter overhead and surmised that there was protesting happening in London Town.

We decided to investigate and along the way saw many police officers – we asked what was happening…. We were informed that it was ‘The kill the bill’ protest… We walked miles but didn’t find the protesters…

I was aware, as we walked the streets together watching the world all around us, that freedom comes from within… If there is alignment within then all our actions make a difference… Whether we are on a path of protesting for something or sitting having a coffee.

External change comes from within and following that energy wherever it takes us

Following our own truth whatever that may be…

And knowing deep inside that Presence, is all there is.

In every moment there is limitless possibility – in every moment we can create 

We do create.

Our lives, unfolding with every breath.

If we are aware our our breath and we are able to feel the energy, the life force within us and all around us.

We can know deeply that we are that energy.

The energy that is creating always; it has created universes and is ever expanding…

As are we.

To return to the present moment, all we need do is take one conscious breath in, and breathe out anything we are holding onto – and then fully experience the space at the bottom of the breath before we breathe in once again.

In that space is the all pervading truth.

If we stay with this space then we are able to live beyond the duality of the mind

Which can dart hither and thither.

Instead we can direct the flow of this energy, and focus on what we want to think; rather than our thoughts thinking us…

It is this simple.

But as complex as the human mind with its diversity and madness when left unchecked.

And so with every step we take

With every breath we breathe

We can be still and know who we are.

The wars of the world of duality have always been here; trauma, drama, pain, anguish, division…

This is the normal state of madness of the mind.

The truth of who we are is silent

The witnesser to it all.

For a change in society – we must change within, because the irony Is that if we are trying to change the world, we have set off in the wrong direction

To change the world it is required that we are silent within

Totally present

Presence itself 

In each step

And then our path is revealed from this place…

We know when to speak or not to speak – to make a stand or not. 

Our path is clear from the inside out.

When consciousness flows through us we light the world

When we are a light unto ourselves then each step is clear 

Each step is light…

Whether we are shod or not!

Dear Diary; Our Soul’s journey

The sun is out, people are about, restaurants in the streets of London Town are full to the brim – outside anyway! 

Diners wrapped up warm out of the sun, coats and blankets and heaters ablaze…

In the sun the ambience resembling the South of Spain…

On Saturday we planned to breakfast in the Duke of York square and arrived to the sound of music,

People were gathered around two guitarists… ‘Oooh I said’, ‘let’s listen before we get our food’.

They started to play Zorba the Greek inviting the children to dance – and the child in me needed no further encouragement; she was off!

I danced to that tune, and then they announced ‘Sultans of swing’ by Dire Straits… I had to continue…

Dancing the morning away.

A little later we sat on the grass enjoying coffee and a small almond slice each… The queues for more substantial food snaked around and stretched back – so we chose to just sit basking like lizards with our ‘coffee and cake’…

But after an hour or so, hunger moved us to south Kensington where we immediately found a table in our favourite Lebanese restaurant – It wasn’t in the sun but… ‘The sun will arrive here soon’ I assured Anadi…

‘I watched the shadow grow as the sun moved further away’ – Anadi laughingly told me –  when my optimistic professions hadn’t come to anything! 

But we didn’t mind – we kept our coats on and enjoyed the experience… 

A breakfast outing that had turned into lunch…

Life unfolding in each moment

Fun in the sun – or not sun!

Fun

Life in motion

Happening now and now and now

Sunday

‘I’d like to see if I can run fifteen miles tomorrow, I had announced to Anadi over supper on Saturday night…

‘Okay, I’m up for that’ he’d responded…

The last time I ran fifteen miles barefoot was on May 12th 2018 when I arrived in Almuñecar on my birthday, having journeyed from the north coast of Spain to the south Coast without any shoes on!

I haven’t felt inclined to go that far since…

We jogged 200 metres from Anadi’s flat to relish our usual pre run pain au raison and coffee in the Duke of York square sitting at a table under a heater – perfect!

And then we set off…

A lap of Battersea Park, then along the river to the South bank, over Waterloo Bridge into Covent Garden and we were half way – I’m hungry I announced, and thirsty.

So we stopped for a mid run/ outing relax in the sun – Anadi drank a pint of lager ‘I feel like I’m in Greece’ he said… We adventured many miles there often stopping for lunch mid run/ adventure…

I enjoyed a juice and a little plate of Gnocchi with peas and spinach…

Barefoot running seems to amplify my hunger!

I ate my way across Spain…
After I’d been on the road three or so weeks, my appetite had grown – I would breakfast before setting off and have a second breakfast of tostado ( drenched in olive oil )con tomato y cafe con leche just 10k or so into the days distance! 

Covent Garden felt vibrant, sunny vital.

Humans together 

Being 

Together

Living 

In the flow of life

Life is consciousness

Consciousness is life

Dear Diary; A late Easter Blog

Julia Chi Taylor

On Easter Saturday I made my way up the King’s road to find Anadi’s new flat – which by a miracle I did find – first time! Even going the wiggly (but shorter) back route.

We then made our way to the Duke of your square for a chilly but delicious outdoor breakfast…

Our legs covered with a shawl, we enjoyed the luxury of sitting at a table again…

The world opening up!

Anadi had been recommended that the Notting Hill food market is a fun place to visit … And so we decided to take our Saturday adventure there…

We made our way across Hyde Park and followed the sat nav’s instructions until we arrived – to find Notting Hill so alive with life and activity and vibrant energy – people being – food glowing – with vitality and colour, smelling so delicious.

I stood in front of the little shop that had played such a part in the film ‘Notting Hill’ and then wandered like Hugh Grant all through the Notting Hill market…!

I had bought Anadi some Tanqueray 10 Gin for Easter, knowing this to be a favourite, and also, that if I gave him a chocolate egg, it would most likely be eaten by me…!

Anadi was still on an Easter egg for Julia hunt – when miracle of miracles we stopped at a stall called ‘Trifling bitch’ selling cheesecakes and trifles and there we found my perfect Easter ‘egg’…

‘I was choosing a delicious chocolatey looking cheese cake and Anadi was telling the vendor he was still on an Easter egg mission…

‘I don’t need an easter egg now – this will be the perfect easter present’, I said

‘But I had a particular easter egg in mind’, Anadi was saying…

’What did you have in mind’?

‘Lindor’ – Anadi replied 

‘The cheese cake IS Lindor’ the man exclaimed!

The miracle of life – the fun of finding exactly what we want, but often not in the exact form we thought it might be… Which is why when asking for what we want in life, it is best to be quite general – because what we want can appear in ways we might not have quite imagined…

Like an Easter egg looking like an amazing chocolate Cheese cake with a Lindor Chocolate right in the middle of a chocolatey topping! 

We made our way back to Hyde Park and wandered past a group of protestors…

‘If you want to know what freedom looks like, that’s it’ a man called through a megaphone, pointing at me and my feet… 

I waved and smiled and my feet danced a little dance – and on we went…

Dear Diary;Transcend the Traps of the Mind

Julia Chi Taylor

Thursday morning

Running on ouchie ground – one of the most profound meditations…!

Worth a try 🙂

It lends itself to being here and now

In the step

Feeling the ground beneath the soles, relaxing, breathing – being – as the prickly ground ignites sensations in the foot and all through the body

Now.

Good Friday afternoon

The atmosphere quiet and still – the street empty save for a few passers by; a family out for a bike ride, a couple wandering along, laughing – holding hands.

I sat in the sun on the step – the rays hot on my face – a little sun trap – only this morning Anadi and I had run in a day that felt icy cold… Into a bitter freezing wind, across the expanse of Hyde park green green grassiness. My feet are getting used to springs’ celebration with its mercurial magic make up!

Warm one minute, not the next!

No thought is possible; when we stay with the vertical line of presence and experience it fully

No horizontal thinking 

No past rumination or clinging on, or future fear – we can transcend the traps of the mind

Instead enjoying each step on the green grass, the smooth path turning to ouchie, the wide swathe of sand that sweeps through Hyde Park.

Feeling the earth beneath my feet.

A parakeet swoops in front of the magnolia bursting forth standing tall above the stream streaming and sparkling, which turns into a little waterfall.

Appreciating this beautiful park, which Henry  V111 acquired from the monks of Westminster Abbey in 1536, he and his court were often seen on horseback, galloping in the hunt for deer

They’re still galloping now

And so back home

Along the Kings Road

I left Anadi at Jubilee place to run back to his new flat and I carried on alone…

Running around without shoes on creates quite a sensation…

I passed a young boy – about eleven years… ’WOW’ he exclaimed, and then ‘Mum mum look…’

A young child asked loudly ‘Daddy – why isn’t that lady wearing shoes..?

I wondered what answer they received…

As I ran on

Some people look down at my feet like they are two little wild animals that have escaped…As if I ( above my feet) don’t exist… But sometimes they stop me, to ask what it’s like… ‘Aren’t your feet cold’? One man enquired this morning…

No, no, I laughed…

And on I ran.

In the joy of pure presence, that each step brings

Knowing that when we stay fully in the step the next will take care of itself