Tag Archives: Meditation

Restoring the Lotus


I’ve been much resonating with this passage from Anodea Judith on ‘Restoring the Lotus. Healing the Fifth Chakra’:

“If we express ourselves before our truth is fully ripened, then our actions are out of sync with our potential fullness. This is commonly experienced as ‘poor timing’.

Years ago, I habitually pushed myself in my work rather than waiting for my organic fullness to motivate me. When I rushed myself ahead of my own natural rhythm, I felt unprepared, stressed, anxious, and even a bit breathless. We push our timing out of sync because of financial pressure, emotional insecurity, fear, hunger for power, and the excessive rule of our mind as it orders our bodies with its barrage of “shoulds.”

Instead, when mind and body are balanced, we can dance to the rhythm of our own personal vibration as it resonates with the environment and the people around us.”

From her beautifully complete and masterful work on the psychology of the chakra system, ‘Eastern Body, Western Mind.’ Highly recommended!

The last full moon highlighted for me a blockage in my throat chakra and in the process of working with that I rediscovered Anodea’s work.

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I realised I was very much fighting to acknowledge and express two realisations brought up by my return to Auroville which coincided with this strong Aquarius full moon. I’ve noticed a funny pattern over the past half year – all my travels have been aligned to the full or new moon.

In Auroville I feel the presence of the moon stronger. Being in the forest the night sky is more visible, and the absence of city vibrations leaves more space to notice the moon’s impact.

This month’s full moon was in the sign of the future. Aquarius, the harbinger of things to come. A curveball moon, full of unexpected turns.

These turns were twofold for me – in love and work. And they shook me, making me feel quite wretched until I let go of attachment to what I thought was meant to be. As soon as I found back my flexibility, I could see new perspectives open up.

In Anodea’s words, as soon as I lost my rigidity of fear, paralysis of uncertainty, I could resonate at a new vibration, and create opportunities. Another approach to going at the pace of what is real.

I acknowledged two core inner truths about my love and work, and now feel fully aligned again.

In love, I renewed my vows to my life partner and committed even more deeply to a love and union of evolution.

In work, I moved on to work with those people whose values I share. Again, it comes down to the frequency – we resonate more fully when we work with people and organisations that we are aligned to. Then creativity can flourish.

Let’s see what the next full moon has in store!

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At the pace of what is real


I’ve been travelling a lot over the past month – South of France, French Alps, London, Amsterdam, and now back in India…with a full heart, relieved to be home again, and grateful for all the soulful joyful reunions with friends and family in Europe. Also with a tired body, taking time to rest and get comfortable with the monsoon weather and crazy beloved India.

The need for rest has been appearing synchronistically in conversations with friends and coachees for the last few weeks. For example my GP and health coach cousin who works with women in their 30s that have developed a range of psychosomatic conditions, often because of a diary full of everything, but rest. A coachee saw her emotional eating habits transformed once she allowed herself proper rest. And my partner Shivi needs complete rest to recover from a viral fever – no phone, no movie, not even a book…

This – naturally! – comes at a time when I’m learning how to rest properly, for example deactivating after lunch and dinner, taking a break after every hour spent behind the computer, no phone 1hr after waking up and 1hr before sleeping…and the health effects are so clear. More peace of mind, clarity, ease, stability. Less stress, cravings and fewer outside events triggering annoyance or frustration.

Mark Nepo calls this state ‘At the pace of what is real’ in one of his poems in ‘The Book of Awakening‘. I love sharing it with my Joyful Living Retreat participants on Day 4 when we look at how to flow through life..

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In my search for rest, I’m facing a big saboteur – the one saying ‘you’re not working hard enough, you’re not productive enough, you don’t deserve rest, you’re not doing anything with your life.’ Or even ‘You’re already meditating and doing yoga every day, what more rest do you need?!’

Luckily my inner leader is telling me that I’m more productive when fully rested because the right things happen at the right moment, effortlessly. And that in rest and quiet we create the space to listen to our soul and where it’s guiding us. As Rumi puts it so beautifully:

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I’m curious to hear your thoughts and experiences with busy-ness, rest, going at the pace of what is real and listening to your soul. Respond to this post, email me or join us for the next Maitree Community – the Sangha of Joy’s monthly call where we’ll be exploring what INTUITION and GOING AT THE PACE OF WHAT IS REAL means to us..

The August Sangha calls are taking place on Sunday 14th August at 11am Central European Time/2.30pm Indian Standard Time and Thursday 18th August at 4.30pm Central European Time/8pm Indian Standard Time. Get in touch with me if you’re keen to join (julie@maitreecoaching.com)!

About meditation


On Thursday I came out of a 5 day silent meditation retreat in the green mountains of Sri Lanka. I would like to share with you 5 insights I gained as many of my coaching clients are keen to keep up a regular meditation practice and lead more mindful lives.

I often work with clients on addressing the balance between being and doing. Meditation is a great antidote against our tendency to perceive ourselves as ‘human doings’ instead of ‘human beings’.

1. The middle way

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One of the challenges of meditation is finding the middle way between trying too hard and too little. The meditation instructor at the retreat explained that he generally taught Northern Europeans to reduce their current effort by 50%. Southern Europeans should reduce their effort by 25%, while Sri Lankans should increase their effort by 500%.

Meditating is like holding a little bird in our hands. If we squeeze to tightly, the bird will suffocate. If we hold it too loosely, the bird will fly away. The same goes for meditating. If we manage to walk the middle way, our mind neither suffocates nor does it fly away.


2. Clarity

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Meditation is not about fighting the mind, it’s about taming it.  We cultivate the mind’s power of concentration. From a ‘monkey’ mind which jumps all over the place, it becomes stronger and sees more clearly. We experience more peace and mindfulness.

During meditation we all struggle with aches, boredom, or endless thoughts. Meditating is not about torturing the body and punishing the mind. Gently bringing the mind back to the breath is a more effective approach than scolding it. As long as our back is straight, we can meditate in any seated position, cross-legged or on a chair. Mind and body should be relaxed, although there is another paradox to consider: not being a slave of your body’s aches nor of your minds’ wanderings.

3. Impermanence

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A regular meditation practice enables us to be more present to the now. We can leave behind memories of the past, worries about the future. Instead of daydreaming, there’s the joy of the present moment. There’s the daring to embrace the beauty of now, and trusting ourselves that whatever happens in the next moment, we will manage just fine.

The moment always changes, and so will our thoughts, emotions. Making friends with impermanence, is a powerful and courageous thing to do. It means that we allow the wind of change to blow through us. We experience beauty, happiness and joy as much as we allow ourselves to feel sadness, loss because we know there will always be change.

4. Flow

20140307-130842.jpgThere are two ways to relate to emotions. Either we repress and control them, or we express and indulge them. Instead, in meditation we attempt to just create space for them, to experiment, to make friends.

One of the things I focus on in my coaching sessions is to enable clients’ emotions to flow so that they are e(nergy) in motion. This way, emotions don’t get stuck in our bodies, and all our energy is freely available to follow our life course.

5. Consciousness

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If we imagine ourselves in a sailing boat setting course for the other side of a lake, we need to learn how to navigate the wind, the currents of the lake and our little boat. An enlightened being is able to reach his destination without diverging, while most of us get blown off course regularly.

Coaching and other forms of therapy and meditation, allow us to become more conscious of our life course and choices. We also learn from our past mistakes to navigate more accurately.

The benefits of a regular meditation practice are worth it. For me, the glimpse of a blissful calm lighting up around my third eye chakra is enough to make my morning. After the retreat, I feel a steady, nourished feeling in my stomach which stays with me all day. Even after standing for two hours in a overcrowded Sri Lankan train!

India, land of paradox


This blog post is the first in a new series of coaching articles. I hope you’ll enjoy the new focus and insights of iliketothinkabout!

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Living in India is a great reminder of the power of paradox. I love paradoxes because embracing them creates so much new energy and possibilities in my own life. And I often work wit

h clients on discovering how they may hold themselves back by self limiting beliefs.

Predominantly Hindu, India is also the second largest Muslim country in the world. It’s daily life is infused with spirituality, yet there is a strong atheist tradition dating back to the early Middle Ages. It’s poor, and yet immensely rich. It’s chaotic and dirty, yet beautifully pure and quiet.

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There’s a great lesson in this. Having no option but to embrace paradox, we have to accept that two extremes can exist at the same time. And life becomes much simpler. Why waste energy arguing that it’s this or that when it can be both at the same?

However, our mind seems keen to keep things black and white. If you love one person, then you cannot love another. If you want to have money, you cannot be an artist. If you lead a spiritual life, you cannot have doubts. If you want a family, you cannot start your own business.

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These are some examples of topics clients have brought to recent coaching sessions. All of them are apparent contradictions, or ‘collapses’ in coaching speak. A collapse happens when our mind identifies two separate things as the same. By believing this we hold ourselves back. The realisation that this is happening, is often enough to create fresh energy and new perspectives.

Giving ourselves permission to accept the simple truth that we can love two people at the same time, that we can be a rich artist, a doubtful believer, a dad entrepreneur – it’s liberating and often reveals a straightforward next step to take.

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Last week I facilitated a workshop on fulfillment, that resonant, life affirming energy that opens up so much possibility. We talked about how simple fulfilment really is, and yet how complex we make it out to be.

The simplicity is about noticing what is going on, right here, right now, and creating from there. To recognise your feelings and intentions and act upon them. If you like someone, tell them, if you want something, say it. A simple message of true intent untangles a web of assumptions, of scenarios of potential rejection, failure, elation etc.

The next step is yet another paradox: letting go of attachment to the outcome of your truest intention. Instead, enjoy expressing yourself truly, which is a great gift and takes courage. It’s the joy of living your life according to your values.

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The balancing act is worth it. It’s about truly holding both extremes at the same time: ‘I’m expressing what is in my heart of hearts’, and yet, ‘I’m observing how life aligns itself around that desire’. The most important goal then is not gratification, or happiness. Instead, fulfilment lies in the journey of growth.