An Army of Angels

army of angels

An Army of Angels

 

You know how sometimes you find yourself reading a book and you just know it was exactly what you needed to read at that time?

This has happened to me a lot; to the point, it’s literally been a case of the right book jumping off the shelf.

Which is why I was completely baffled by my recent holiday read, right up until halfway through. I have been a fan of the work of Gabrielle Bernstein for the last few years, and when I heard that she had written her latest book whilst going through the hardest year of her life last year, I knew I had to read it.

It’s called “The Universe Has Your Back”. The tagline is “How To Feel Safe and Trust Your Life No Matter What”.

I took it away with me when I had taken a short trip to Gozo for a recharge with my friend Jax. All I wanted to do was walk, be in nature, and get some space to read and do something for myself, and a good book always helps me do this.

Halfway through, I’m starting to question why exactly I was reading this book right now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great book, which will help anyone, but I was thinking it may have been more useful for someone going through big changes or facing a crisis. I had been stable for months, I didn’t have any dramas going on, and things were running pretty smoothly.

Then, of course, it happens, the “tower” moment. I receive some news from home, news I was relieved to be out of the country for, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was one of those curveballs that life hits you with out of the blue some Tuesday afternoon when you didn’t see it coming.

All of a sudden it made sense. This book, and the strategies it offered for dealing with such moments, was preparing me for what was to come. So I started committing 100% to “the work” in the book, and I am pleased to say it helped enormously.

I wrote myself a “faith statement”, one of the exercises that Gabi recommended to help you stay on track. I’ve used it every morning since, and it has helped me to surrender to the fact that the Universe will take care of things, without my needing to know how. I just need to take care of myself and trust it will all be ok.

Another funny thing happened throughout this process. I went to see my therapist to get some guidance and clarity on how to deal with this situation, and we did my favourite work in the sand tray, accessing the subconscious fears I had, and re-framing them into something more useful.

My re-frame, basically where I try to create a more positive story with the characters in the tray, ended up with a circle of angels around me. “Look”, I said excitedly, “I have an army of angels around me”.

From that moment I was able to visualise this, both earthly and ethereal beings who had my back and were protecting me.

In the last couple of days, this has become more and more evident in my every day life. From my first-class, gold-plated girlfriends I call my “soul sisters”, the rays of sunshine that are Otis and Arlo aged 6 and 3, the cats – Lucky, Tiggy, and Poppy, the dogs – Dudley and Diesel, my lovely neighbour who takes me off on adventures, to my kind students who shower me with love and hugs, I have an “army of angels” around me.

As well as those here on this physical plane, I also have a faith that there is something, whether it’s angels, Mother Earth, God, or just the Universe, taking care of me at the moment, and that is a lovely feeling to hold onto no matter what is going on.

There’s work still to do, I know that, but this is a good start – the right book, the right people, and the right thoughts.

 

 

 

Imbolc

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Until last week, I hadn’t even heard of the Pagan festival of Imbolc.

It seems I wasn’t the only one. “Inbulk” my fellow adventurer asks me, “as in “buying in bulk”, stocking up in case we’re snowed in?”.

“No”, I answer, deciding to spell it out letter by letter. This could take a while…

Anyway, Imbolc, February 2nd 2019, will be a day I will never forget. It was the day another little light went on inside me.

I’d been reading about it in my Almanac just a couple of days before, and I’d learned that it was halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. In the Celtic calendar it marked the beginning of the lambing season.

It all made perfect sense. We’re releasing Winter and we’re welcoming Spring. Even if it’s not visible above the ground yet, we can sense that something down below is stirring, like the beginnings of new life.

When I wake up to a clear blue sky, I can feel it, and by the buzz on the seafront that beautiful morning , I think everyone else can too.

It’s happening in nature, so of course, it’s happening in us too.

There’s this little flutter of anticipation and excitement, a sense of coming out of the darkness, renewal, and rebirth.

The festival’s name actually comes from the word “Imbolg”, which means “in the belly”. It refers to being pregnant, where the new life is only just visible, if at all. But we know it’s coming, and that expectancy is as much part of the process as the birth itself.

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Imbolc than making our way up Haytor in the fresh powder to catch the sunset. I’ll never forget it.

There’s a thick covering of snow, the sky is a mixture of pinks and blues, and the air is as crisp and fresh as the snow beneath my feet.

In amongst snowball fights, dodging the sledges, hugging a tree or too, and making snow angels, I also have some quiet moments of reflection.

I realise everything looks different. I’ve been to Haytor many times, but I’ve never seen it look like this before. It’s fresh, it’s new, everything looks brighter, including the future. I guess we need the darkness of winter to appreciate the return of the light when it comes in Spring.

Everything in nature is cyclical, but it’s also constantly re-birthing, which means that some things have to die in order for there to be new growth. It’s all just part of the process, and every season plays it’s part.

As I read this Imbolc blessing I think that February may not be too bad after all.

May the life stirring underground stir new dreams within you
May the flames of inspiration and passion be ignited within you.

Happy Imbolc everyone 🙏

You Got This!

you got this

Perhaps my favourite phrase I heard last year, the three words that helped me the most in my darkest hour, came from a complete stranger, someone that I will be forever thankful to.

She was getting married and moving to Thailand days afterwards, but we’ve stayed in touch and I hope to visit her one day and thank her properly.

She saw me on the edge, my life felt like it had fallen to pieces, I couldn’t make sense of any of it. It was all too much.

I was approaching a full blown full panic attack after seeing someone I hoped I’d never see again for the rest of my life. It triggered so many negative emotions and I literally wanted to throw myself in the quay to get away from it.

She said these 3 words, and I felt all of her compassion and empathy as she looked at me with big beautiful eyes. She said “you’ve got this!”.

She proceeded to make small talk, and compliment me on how I looked, and I could tell she was being genuine, and at the same time diffusing my panic.

As she told me her story of heading out to Thailand to embark on her new adventure, I was struck by how I hadn’t said much, but she just knew. She didn’t need to know why I was freaking out, she didn’t try to assess whether I was right or wrong to he panicking, she was just “there”.

Compassionate, non-judgemental, and reassuring, and everything you would want from a person in this situation. In fact, everything you’d want from a friend; she was also funny, smart and very cool.

I was a little disappointed she was leaving the country, but the power of social media means the connection isn’t lost, and maybe I’ll send her this so she knows how much it meant to me.

Under tonight’s beautiful full moon, shining a light in the dark, I think of how just a moment of kindness, from a beautiful soul, can mean the world.

These words helped me so much as I remembered that “random act of kindness” and I hope it will help you if you feel it’s just all gotten too much…

“You’ve got this”…

You’re stronger than you think you are, the universe has your back, and when you look for them, the slivers of light are everywhere .

Reflections On Super-Magic Monday AKA Blue Monday

 

So today is meant to be Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. With this awareness I take to my church and see how I can re-frame it.

It’s also a rather special day when it comes to astrology. My first choice is I decide not to listen to the media, but to look to nature for the answers. It’s Supermoon Blood Mon Lunar Eclipse, and whether you believe in it or not, if you saw it either in the early hours or like me, this morning on Exmouth beach, there was something rather special.

I’m thinking of how far I’ve come since “slivers of light” entered my life. I know I still need them, and like today, they can be a game changer.

I’m reminded that “life is magic” and where I place my focus counts.

This is where I am right now.

 

 

 

So what inspired me to write “Slivers of Light”?

I’m a great believer that “we live, we learn, we pass it on”, and this has literally been the story of my career.

Everything I have learned in my 28 years in wellbeing has been through study, of myself and of others, and how we heal.

This year, I found I had to use pretty much everything I had ever learned into practice to help me get through a particularly dark time.

What I found helped me most was “walking the beach” every day, and looking out to nature and seeing all that is magical around us. It helped me make sense of what was going on around me, and I also knew the only control I really had was where to place my focus and how I took care of myself.

It was the light on the water, the rays of sunshine through the trees, the sunsets over the Exe – the Slivers of Light – moments of magic-  that got me through…. and the more I focused on the “slivers”, the more I noticed.

I decided to turn my pain into purpose. I decided to take some of my articles I had written for the Express and Echo, the ones that related to the subject of looking for the light and the magic, and put them into a 21 chapter book.

So the book became a process, a process I used myself as I read it all again.

People had kept telling me “you need to listen to your own words”… so I did. I followed my own advice, and as I did, I edited the articles, I put them in order, I lived and breathed the principles, and I managed to get it out to print.

It was such a nourishing and rewarding way to spend my healing time. I had to take time off work after surgery and this book gave me a sense of purpose, a reason to keep going. I knew that in healing myself, and in sharing my story, I would be helping others to heal.

That is one of the main points I wanted to get across in the book. By sharing our stories, who we truly are, warts and all, we make it feel safe for others to do the same. Our story may just hold the key that unlocks someone else’s pain. When we heal ourselves, we help heal the world.

When we find some light again, we help someone else find some.

We live, we learn, we pass it on.

This is what I learned….and here it is….from my heart to yours

light heals everything

 

As a Blue Monday Supermoon Eclispe special I am offering to post your book for free if you order this week….before 25th January 2019… you can also get your book signed if you so wish!!

 

 

Slivers of Light THE BOOK

*LIMITED EDITION! 50 copies with personal message from Gillie * Get your own bookshelf copy, or the perfect Christmas gift for £14.99. Available to be sent or collected from November 23rd 2018. Now available in hard copy, as an easy-to-carry A5 paperback, that you can also make notes in. NB For your copy to be posted within the UK there will be an additional £2.99 charge. Arrange P and P by emailing gilliesutherland@me.com

£14.99

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Night Yoga and Live Cello

E8D5CF62-2A65-42BB-AAA2-6435315BC051.jpegValentine‘s Day Special – Be Love Be Light !

Whether you’re coupled up, single as a Pringle, or not-quite-sure, come along alone or with a friend or lover and celebrate love in all it‘s forms.

We are blessed to be using the awe-inspiring Music Room

The perfect pairing of yoga and live music in the most spectacular of settings at Powderham Castle.

If you were lucky enough to catch our cello-accompanied yoga sessions over the couple of years at the castle, you will know what magical effects can be achieved when we combine these two modalities.

Jo Hooper is a local cellist, who also married at Powderham Castle, and as a seasoned yogi, has been attending Yoga at the Castle since it started a year ago.

What started as a random idea of playing live music to accompany Gillie’s flow yoga class, has evolved into a regular occurance and all previous ones have sold out.

For this very special one-off class, Jo has created some magical music taking inspiration from some of Gillie’s seasonal playlists, and sone brand new material for some partner yoga. ❤️

The effect of sound on both our body’s biochemistry and our nervous system is a well-established concept, and to experience

Yoga and Live Music At The Castle

Thursday February 14th 2019 6.45-8pm The Music Room Powderham Castle

£12.00

whale sounds played on a cello right next to you is a wonder to behold.

Book now to reserve your place ❤️🎶💫🙏

You Can’t Rush Magic…

 

nietsche meaning quote

Is it me or did it, just all of a sudden, become Christmas overnight?.

One day the decorations are all nicely tucked up in the loft, it’s regarded politically incorrect to even talk about putting your tree up, and then next minute Wham Bam it’s “Last Christmas” playing in every shop or public building you enter.

Even my yoga students have caught the bug. I had to resort to clapping my hands to get everyone’s attention so I could start the class, and when I asked why everyone was so giddy and excitable tonight, they told me that it was because they felt “Christmassy”. I make a note to get a gong or something more appropriate.

I just have to go with it. The “shift” has happened.

I try to pinpoint the exact moment it happened. The official turning on of the lights in Topsham, the first day in December, the X factor final, or something more meaningful? I give up asking the questions as I walk around the marina to The Point and see it lit up like Blackpool illuminations. Whatever happened, it’s here.

It just all seemed to happen so quickly, as things often do.

We can be coasting along, embracing the “liminal space”, and then in an instant, life changes.

It’s always unexpected. The big things always take us by surprise, they rip the rug out from beneath our feet, they give us a rocket up the arse, or they blindside us some ordinary Wednesday morning when we thought it had all just died down for a while.

For me recently, perhaps a last-ditch attempt from the Universe to redress the karmic balance of 2018, I was taken by surprise, in a good way.

It is said that your life can change in an instant; in a moment, you realise your life will never be the same again. Mine was not quite that dramatic, but I went from not knowing how everything was going to turn out, trying not to get anxious about the future, to realising that everything was going to be OK and that all my hard work had paid off, and then some.

Only a couple of weeks ago, I’d been writing about being patient, about the magic happening in the space. It had been still been really uncomfortable, but I had just kept telling myself to relax, that the Universe had a plan. “Just breathe, Gillie, let it all unfold”, I said to myself.

When the moment came, I’d actually forgotten that I’d planted the seed the week before. I’d come out of class at Powderham and I’d had an idea. This is where my usual habit had kicked back in: “no time like the present”, I thought, and I shared my idea.

By this Wednesday it was more than an idea, it was a plan shaping, a future I could see which both excited me and reassured me in equal measure. It is a future worth working hard for, but at the same time, staying well for. A future that was worth waiting for.

I’m reminded to adopt the pace of nature. “Her secret is patience”, as Emerson said. I make a mental note to honour the space between “no longer” and “not yet”, and I tell myself that the Universe has the most beautiful plan, it just needs to unfold in its own time.

Magic cannot be rushed.

Footnote:

I am now delighted to announce that I will be running monthly Slivers of Light retreats at Powderham Castle, with accommodation options, including wild camping this summer!!

For details go to Slivers of Light at Powderham

 

gillielet the light in

Self-Centred

accept yuourself

When did we all become so obsessed with “self”?

It seems to divide opinion, as ever. Being too interested in “self” can be used as a criticism, but on the other hand, it’s also regarded as the key to happiness.

I’m definately part of the second group, but I’d become a little bored recently with all this “self-care”, “self-talk”, “self-help”, and went exploring instead “self-compassion”, which beats the rest of them hands-down.

So here’s how I came to this conclusion:

Self-care – I’ve had more candle-lit bubble baths, face masks and early nights with a mug of golden milk than I will ever need. Still love it, but not every night.

Self-talk – no matter how many times I told myself it was destined, I have to face the fact that Jose Mourinho isn’t going to marry me. It doesn’t always work.

Self-help – I reckon I’ve read every personal development book ever published, and I’m still bonkers.

Self-compassion, however, I’m liking this. In my opinion, we spend far too much time beating ourselves up for being perfect. Exercising self-compassion on the other hand, seems to stop this negative voice in my head and conversations such as this happen instead:

“Yes, my house looks like it’s been burgled after a particularly busy week”.

“And that’s ok”.

“Yes, I showed up to work this morning with my leggings on back to front”.

“And that’s ok”.

“Yes, I did forget to bring my water bottle with me and had to buy a plastic one”.

“And that’s ok”.

“Yes, I did use particularly bad language when someone asked about my ex”.

“And that’s ok”.

“Yes, I did drink one or two too many after my book launch last week, stayed out far too late, and woke with a crushing hangover”.

“And that’s ok”. (Because I loved every minute!)

It’s all OK. I did what I did, I’m only human after all. If I forgive others all these things, so why not myself?

Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would to others.

And whichever way you look at it, I think this world needs as much kindness as it can get.