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

Dear Diary; Becoming…

On Saturday Anadi and I were on one of our long long wander walk about through the parks of London Town.

This is where we walk and talk (and run too ) – on the concrete paths and the springy, muddy, dry as a bone frosty grass – all weekend long… The skies alternate between bright blue, sunshine gleaming to heavy grey blue black, with the potential for rain to cascade

We join with the other people of the park who love to walk and talk and wander too – in this sparkling bright jewel of a land right in the middle of the capital City, with magnificent trees rising tall and strong and true to their own direction – roots spreading unseen mirroring their beautiful branches where the  parakeets swoop, ducks and geese and swans lend their opinion to the air…

Squirrels scampering

Free.

As we are meant to be…

And so we celebrated the elements and the expanse of grassy green parkland… We circled the animals and the birds, the ducks and geese and joined in with their dance of life…

Along tree lined paths we wandered and then we found ourselves beside the Serpentine Lake – the wide road and pathway was alive with other walkers, folk on skateboards, children on bikes…

And then the Birman appeared

He was walking very slowly and the birds were flying all about him, landing on his head and his shoulders – sometimes taking seeds from his hands.

His presence emanated ease, in his own world, his pace was so different to all the activity about him.

He looked to be in each step more zen; and the birds felt this too and flocked to him

Anadi and I watched him and his friends the birds.

He then walked to the waters’ edge and three herons immediately flew to him – he fed them sardines from a tin, using chop sticks to hand the fish to the birds

‘They know him’ I said ‘You can see that they know him’

As he moved back from the side of the lake I said to him ‘They know you’

‘Yes’, he said, ‘what started as an experiment has grown into a regular outing. And even when they migrate, they have recognised me when they come back’

‘Birds have great memories’ he continued, ‘the phrase” bird brain” is very maligned’

‘Do you live around here’… he then asked

‘Yes, Chelsea – we like walking about’… 

‘I like walking too’, he said … ‘I once walked from London to Brighton to buy a stick of Brighton rock’! 

We talked about his route, how long it too and the joy of just heading out and walking…

‘I once ran cross country from London to Brighton’, I offered… ‘It rained the whole day’!

Kindred spirits

We went on our way and as we glanced back the birds were gathering around him again

And on we went

The walking taking us were it would

Becoming walking

Dear Diary; Making the Path by Walking it…

Anadi and I spent Christmas Day running and jogging and walking around the Royal Parks of London… With no plan, no path mapped out… The day unfolding in joyous fun.

We had begun it chanting the Gayatri Mantra 108 times, which felt timeless – as if there wasn’t a beginning or end and so the day continued… We packed our skipping ropes and credit cards! Just in case a coffee opportunity arose – and off we went 

Making our path as we walked it….

Antonio Machado is a very famous Spanish poet… His poem ‘Caminante no hay Camino’ – Walker there is no path – inspired me as I ran barefoot across Spain in 2018….’ The poem continues… ‘Se haces el camino al andar’

You make the path by walking it…’

And so this is my life – making my path by walking it – and Christmas Day our metaphor.

Running about and seeing what happened, where we went, who we talked to, where we found a coffee oasis…

Machado goes on to liken our past to standing on a boat – looking behind and watching the wake  disappearing back into the sea… Like it never happened…

This resonated very deeply with me – the past is gone – there is only now – and there is no future… There is only the step we’re in.

It reminded me of my life, wandering about is my favourite thing, or running about!

All exists is this moment. All exists is this step. There is nothing else at all…

And so we stopped near the Albert memorial and fed the squirrels and practised our skipping – Anadi is a lot better than me! 🙂 And people came by and we greeted one another ‘Merry Christmas’ 

Some stopped, two women perhaps nearing 80 years  – ‘Well done’ they said ‘We played tennis this morning and now we’re out for our stroll’… A man in a bright Christmas jumper – with almost more holes than jumper ‘I always like to sit here and read, every day’ he said ‘This jumper is very old’, he continued ‘but it has sentimental value…’

The parks were full of others wandering, making their path by walking it on this Christmas day, 2020 – each moment sacred – never to be experienced again

To be fully here now however, there is often much inner work to be done because all the time we are ‘reacting’ out of the hurts from our past, then we cannot be in the present moment…

And so we must feel these hurts whenever they arise in the experience of now, in order to freely and fully connect to the absolute present… 

And from this place of letting go new impulses, which are not connected to our past patterns and scripts, can emerge from the silence within us.

To connect to our silence, we have much clearing to do and this often entails many paths that seem lead us in a circle! 

And so life an endless paradox, often seems a riddle and an unsolvable puzzle…

But we can keep making our path by walking it – and sometimes happen upon an unexpected coffee shop – open on Christmas Day!

And so this is how we came to be sitting in Marble Arch with the pigeons and other people drinking coffee…

Now.

No riddle to solve, or seemingly unsolvable puzzle, because it’s so is simple, now, while sitting with Anadi on a cold Christmas Day, sipping a coffee…

‘Walker there is no path…’

Dear Diary; The Totality of Now

One of Anadi’s and my Sunday morning saw us emerging from Hyde Park and running into the busy Sunday traffic and buzz of Sunday shoppers… 

We stopped on a corner and watched the boy pull his bike up like a rearing horse, while the Oxford Circus traffic stood still for a few minutes – the boy right slap back in the middle

In the moment

Performing his tricks

Focused 

Free…

There is a freedom in the moment – no past, no future

No regret, no worry.

In the totality of the moment there is freedom.

Inner freedom is always there for us whatever is apparently going on, on the outer realms. In this moment we are supported – by the ground beneath us –

Are you here, now?

In the silence of the mind is there anything to concern you?

When it is still, we can practise witnessing the activity of the mind from afar…

Now is the time to make quieting the inner noise, clearing the inner tension the most important thing to ‘do’. Now is always the time…

Now, ‘there is no time like the present’…!

In the totality of the moment there is transformation…. It takes practise, like anything….The mind didn’t start to ‘over think’ all on its own, any habits that we have didn’t happen in one moment.

It took practise to acquire the skills that sustain us and it took practise to acquire the habits that destroy us.

It takes practise to still the mind

It took practise to think all the time.

When the practise of thinking has become out of control, then the mind has become the master and we the slave…

The road to freedom is to become the master of the mind and of the body

We are they, but they are not we…

And as we stood on the corner of Oxford Circus, Anadi and I, we watched the boy and his bike….

Freedom our shared orientation

Our quest

Inwards.

‘Where the spirit of love is, there is Freedom’

Freedom is love and love of ourselves naturally extends to everyone we meet.

The planet our home, everyone a friend…

In the totality of now.

Dear Diary; Virtually Together

Last Sunday…

Anadi and I awoke to a wonderful wet fresh Sunday morn… We jogged to Pret a manger

This is a new habit of ours – run one kilometre and stop for breakfast! ‘Aren’t you cold’ the barrister asked me looking at my bare arms and be vested being… ‘I’m hot’, I laughed – I proffered her my rain jacket… ‘We ran here for some breakfast’…

‘What a lovely way to start Sunday’ she said, while bagging our croissant (me) and pain au raisin (Anadi)…

We sat watching the rain drops splash down, enjoying the background hum of voices and music and whooshing coffee machines… Chatting, being, enjoying our Sunday run…

We set off after while – up the Fulham road – where we met a man with a virtual London marathon number on his back… ‘Well done’ we clapped him – ‘How far have you gone?’ ‘Ten miles, sixteen to go he replied’…

We wished him well and on he ran…

We continued on to Holland Park and as we came out the other side through Notting Hill we spied our second virtual runner… On the road to Kensington Palace there was another, and another – and in the gardens two more…

Approaching Hyde Park the numbers gathered and we became official road side cheerers and supporters – jumping and whooping as a runners with a number pinned to their being went by, some solo, some with supporters running too – or on bikes beside them…

My heart felt like it would burst with love for my fellow human beings being human – out in the rain running along, running a long long way. 

I felt tears rising in my chest as I witnessed their spirit in action – the joy and pain of the step, the road less travelled, the challenge – uncovering and discovering that they are more than they thought – can do more than they knew; growing as they journey within to their vulnerability – their strength shining through.

The running step is so simple and yet as complex as each human being; each step expressing their whole essence – the past and future encapsulated in the moment

No past, no future

Only now…

When we stay in the step, when we live it with all our being – when we experience it – the next takes care of itself…

Always

This is the way

The way to know ourselves is the stay present to each rainy , sunshiny, joyous painful step 

Of our life 

And discover

Uncover the route…

Forty three thousand people ran the London marathon that day all over the country, a virtual gathering

Everywhere, but nowhere

And every day eight billion of us all over the globe, a virtual gathering

Everywhere but nowhere take part in our own marathons.

We are all one

Journeying together on our own… 

As we left the park we had spotted twenty five runners… ‘It would make great symmetry to find a twenty sixth’ I said to Anadi – ‘great for the blog’!

And on the Kings road we did just that

Five hundred metres from home, there she was our twenty sixth virtual London marathoner approaching her final twenty sixth mile…

Dear Diary; Now is all we have

Anadi and I have continued our weekend practise since we were locked down of wandering about…. 

So on Saturday we set off up the road – first stop ‘Matcha Beyond’ to purchase my new ‘favourite almond croissant’ – onward to Pret for Anadi to pick up his Swedish meat balls…!

And then to the Duke of York square for coffee from Partridges… 

Our breakfast complete, we sat on the grass in the hot hot sun, the artisan fare stalls now set up all around us on small the running track beside the square….

After we’d eaten our picnic we meandered around the track looking at all the delicious food and drink, stopping to buy a young coconut and drink its juice… ‘Where are they from?’ I asked the stall holder… ‘Costa Rica’ he replied…

The last time I drank coconut juice fresh from the coconut was when Anadi and I actually were in Costa Rica… It was the end of 2013… We had set off as nomads on December 6th a year exactly to the day we had met…

Costa Rica was our first – very eventful stop! Within twelve days Anadi had lost his business, and five days later we almost lost our lives in a rip tide…

I remember realising we were in trouble… We’d been running along a huge expanse of golden sand with the waves crashing beside us – not another soul in sight – and so we hadn’t seen the sign on the path above the beach that warned of dangerous rip tide currents… 

We had splashed into the sea in our running kit to simply jump about and play in the huge waves – we weren’t even swimming – when suddenly I realised there was nothing beneath our feet any more and that we were being swiftly carried out…

‘We’re in trouble’ I said to Anadi… A surge of panic rose in me ‘Help me’ I called to him, just as a seven foot wave crashed into him and sent him tumbling away from me…

I relaxed, ‘Please help me’ I said silently as I surrendered to the possibility of dying, a fleeting thought flashed through me that I had ruined some people’s Christmas by dying now on December 22nd…!

I then heard Anadi calling out ‘Use the waves, swim with the waves, use the waves…’ 

And that is what we did… We used the waves, and both of us strong swimmers, managed to eventually reach the shore… Utterly exhausted we leant on one another for what seemed an age – and then we walked slowly up the beach to sit and sit and sit until we were able to very gently jog home…

We were subsequently told by any local we cared to retell our story too, that had we gone with the rip tide, it would have shot us out to sea 200 metres and that then we could have swum the mile along the coast to a safe bit of beach…! Hmmmm! 🙂

On December 25th Anadi proposed to me…

The first 19 days of nomadic life had set the scene for an incredible next five years…. 

And now we are here… 

Wandering about in London Town instead of far flung places… The richness of life revealing itself from the inside out in every step we take. 

Glorious days with Anadi…

We continued our wandering past Harrods into Hyde Park and onto Kensington Gardens for another coffee and – by now, lunch – stop to re fuel, where we watched folk playing bowls, table tennis and actual tennis…

After lunch we wandered on down the path, and I ran my hands over a familiar plant; ‘ummm’… I smelt my fingers… 

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember’, I quoted from Shakespeare…

The stories of our lives; now just stories – our nomadic life now a chapter all of its own… Experienced, lived fully and now just a part of the story of our life…

Fun to remember, in the now…

But now is now, now is even better, because now is here 

Now is all we have

Remember to live it fully, pray, love, remember to live it fully.

Dear Diary; The Earth Beneath Our Feet

Sunday morning dawned into a sunny blue grey cloudy bright day …  Anadi and I ran to Battersea Park for the start of another adventure…

We stopped there for a while, and I made a little video about grounding barefoot on the earth.

We are all made up of atoms, the whole universe is…

Nikola Tesla said – “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

In our body there are millions and trillions of these atoms … And every single one of them has a nucleus with protons and neutrons inside it… The protons have a positive electrical charge and the nutrons are neutral.

All around the nucleus there are electrons in equal balance to the protons and nutrons; these electrons have a negative charge – and so the body keeps in perfect balance and is as healthy as can be…

However when electrons break free, then they have a positive charge which now isn’t a good thing! 

They become free radicals, which can damage our cells and contribute to lots of the diseases we know about in today’s society…

In the past we all used to wander about with our feet bare – this kept us connected to the earth’s energy. 

Mother Earth has a negative charge…

But now – in general – we don’t do this anymore. We inhabit homes and offices – and we wear shoes!

There is much research into the positive effects of grounding – it is said that it can help neutralise these free radicals in the body.

Some say that they have noticed positive effects on their sleep, their pain and stress levels from standing with naked feet on the earth…  

For me it is simply a lovely feeling!

It feels free, I feel childlike…I like wearing no shoes, the lightness. The way my feet can move as they wish.

I have less pain in my body – but suspect it is due to the movement of my feet rather than the earthing; but who knows!

But for me it is a lifestyle choice rather than truly motivated by any health benefits.

It is simply a part of my expression

I met a woman in the middle of Richmond park, sometime ago now.

I was running around without any shoes on….She was pushing a pram; I was lost…! She pointed me in the right direction and then asked me about my bare feet…

After I had in essence said;  ‘I love it’…. She said ‘But I love shoes; you probably think that’s bad…’

‘No no’ I said ‘ If you love shoes, that’s a great thing, we all love different things; different things speak to us and express us, and we must honour that…’

We must to our own selves be true.

After making ‘the film ‘ in Battersea Park,  Anadi and I ran to Sloane Square; then a lap of Hyde park – on into Green park and straight down to Buckingham Palace, where we rather incredibly arrived on the dot of 11am…. Time for the changing of the guard…

I was immediately reminded of the poem…

‘They’re changing the guard at Buckingham Palace; Christopher Robin went down with Alice…’I was probably about six, or maybe eight years old the last time I saw this unique, and very British spectacle… And also when I knew more of the words to the poem…!

My little sister Rosy and I ‘did’ all the London sites with our parents, when we were young. There are photos of us at Trafalgar Square covered with the pigeons we were feeding…

Scattered people were watching the scene too, families with small children gathered, cyclists had stopped, runners like us, looking through the bars; listening to the crunch crunch crunch of the soldier’s boots on gravel as he marched and turned, marched and turned again….

All around people making their through the day, slowly or swiftly

All of us together, in the sun… So many lives, so many stories; so may tales to tell…

All united by this gift called life… All playing our part.

On the stage.

Learning the words as we go; making up the moves… Creating the scenes again and again.

Until the grand finale

When the curtain falls… On this particular play…

From birth to death…To re birth

The show goes on…