Tag Archives: Surrender

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..

The ocean stirsthe heart, inspiresthe imagination& brings eternaljoy to the soul-4

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:

Rumi quote

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)!

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.