Pre-next blog: Jackie’s 12-day October 2017 hop to NYC

April 2018: I am back in NYC with Alfie. Before I post the 1st blog of our present adventures I share some photos & comments from my 12-day trip to my favourite city without my best mate. [Read more…]

Resolution: How Mindfulness really helps recovery from being with a man with NPD

When I started this blog I wrote how I had experienced the pain of being with a ‘Wolf in sheep’s clothing’ [Read more…]

Sweden!

Sweden!Alfie and I have just returned from a road trip to Stockholm and beyond to visit my daughter who has decided to make Sweden her home for a while (love….) Having adapted Betty the Berlingo into a camping car (surprisingly easy, contact me for details) we set off with the (resisted and yet invaluable) satnav for Dover and beyond. Since I acquired Betty I have started to drive slower and with more awareness – before I used to be a bit of a ‘boy racer’ as my daughter would say. Just taking that more mindful approach to driving and really enjoying the trip has made all the difference.

Two CD pouches were quickly filled each with the spiritual choices and the more up-beat. I listened to “When things fall apart” by Pema Chodron. It is a book I recommend to my students and every time I listen I feel so uplifted!

My favourite track in all of my music turned out to be a big suprise – it was “Fireflies” by Owl City, the lyrics being:

“Fireflies”

You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
‘Cause they’d fill the open air
And leave tear drops everywhere
You’d think me rude
But I would just stand and stareI’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems

‘Cause I’d get a thousand hugs
From ten thousand lightning bugs
As they tried to teach me how to dance
A foxtrot above my head
A sock hop beneath my bed
The disco ball is just hanging by a thread
(Thread, thread…)

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
(When I fall asleep)

Leave my door open just a crack
(Please take me away from here)
‘Cause I feel like such an insomniac
(Please take me away from here)
Why do I tire of counting sheep?
(Please take me away from here)
When I’m far too tired to fall asleep
(Ha-ha)

To ten million fireflies
I’m weird ’cause I hate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell
(Said farewell)
But I’ll know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
‘Cause I saved a few and I keep them in a jar
(Jar, jar, jar…)

[2x]
I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
(When I fall asleep)

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams

Watch/listen on YouTube, such a sweet song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psuRGfAaju4
– More on the trip later!

 

Being in the moment and Robin Williams

I cannot believe how long it is since my last blog. So much has happened in the world of ‘Mindfulness Bristol’ with more and more people contacting me for one to one work, courses and talks/sessions in their workplaces.

I see the popularity of Mindfulness growing throughout the world because of our the pressures under which we live – for some people just to get through the day. One person who obviously found it too much to bear was Robin Williams. I recently signed a petition against Fox News’s ludicrous and ignorant criticism of his ‘selfishness’ for taking his own life. Obviously the stupid journalist who made that comment has no real understanding or empathy as regards human suffering and one can feel sorry for that person.

Robin Williams was a very talented and lovable man who suffered greatly for his genious with constant low moods and a search for ways to deal with it. Time and time again I refer people to ‘The Guest House’ and ‘RAIN’ on this site as a way of understanding that ‘this too will pass’. When we are low we think it will last for ever. It cannot. The only 2 truths about life is that we are all going to die and nothing stays the same.

The philosopher Blaise Pascal commented that ‘All man’s troubles come from his inability to sit alone in an empty room’. To do that when depressed would be a massive challenge. For those who, like Robin Williams, suffer from depression an option is to sit, not in an empty room but in nature. To commune with all that is in nature – as my guiding light Akong Rinpoche said to me when I asked what he thought about me studying plant spirit medicine “Well we Tibetans believe that there are spirits in trees, rocks, water, plants, in everything”. Thus so many of us find comfort, succour and groundedness in being in nature.

If experiencing low mood, get out in nature – sit with your back to a big old tree, hear what you hear, see what you see, smell what you smell, taste what you taste, feel how you feel and touch what you are close to. Really be in the moment. After all, this is all we have.

R.I.P. Robin Williams, you funny, extraordinary and beautiful being who found this life too much to bear. There are many of us, I am sure, who wish we could have held you in a loving embrace, to tell you that “This being human is a guesthouse” and to ease your pain.

Forgiveness

Last week I gave a talk on Forgiveness to the lovely people at Bristol’s Theosophical Society. Millions of articles have been written on this subject and it is one that is dear to my heart because of Lama Yeshe’s attitude when Akong Rinpoche was killed. Rinpoche was the one person in my life that I trusted 100%. He had no ego and cared about everybody, no matter whom.

One of my favourite quotes is “Holding onto resentment is like drinking poison hoping the other person with die”. None of us willingly want to drink poison – and on a day to day level I certainly no longer do as I stopped drinking alcohol over 2 years ago!

Amongst my one to one clients are women who, like me, were in a relationship with a man who turned out to be a modern day vampire. The realisation of this can be a terrible shock and many of us end up with post traumatic stress disorder. The journey can be long and surprising but the outcome is worth it – once you realise that the most important thing on this journey we call life is to ‘enjoy the trip’ then you become aware that holding onto thoughts of past hurts makes no sense whatsoever. And using the RAIN exercise on my website will help you to deal with rumination.

Akong Rinpoche taught me the importance of compassion. I feel a great deal of compassion for the man who helped me to wake up to the ability to love myself, particularly as recent pictures show him to be a haunted man. I have escaped the relationship but sadly he cannot escape himself.

Christians talk about ‘Letting go and let God’. As a Buddhist, I advise people to ‘Let be and let karma’. Do not concern yourself with the karma of those who have hurt you. Instead, concern yourself with your own karma. Know that every thought word and deed contributes it. Therefore as far as forgiveness is concerned, you know it makes sense!

 

Life lessons from selfless Buddhist teachers

On 8 October my very precious teacher, Akong Rinpoche, was murdered in Chinese-occupied Tibet. His students, of which I am one, were absolutely devastated when we received the news. Today his brother, Lama Yeshe, sent a very humbling message to us all, which I append here because of its utter compassion; they are both true Bodhisattvas:


Dear Friends,

It has taken me a little time to organise all the things I had to do here before I could write to let you all know my thoughts. Now that I’ve had time to reflect, it is time to let all dharma students know.

When I learnt the circumstances of my brother’s death and the identities of those who killed him and his nephew and driver, I felt extremely sorry for them because it shows how one moment of misguided anger can ruin so many lives. So, instead of feeling angry I feel compassion for them and think about how much bad karma these misguided persons have created for themselves and others.

I would like to let all our dharma friends, who wish to do something for my brother and me, know that this is the time for forgiveness.  We should all have the bodhisattva attitude of mind and feel compassion and forgiveness towards those responsible for Rinpoche’s death. I have been able to forgive and this is how I was freed from my suffering.

I would like all students to reflect that when we allow our negative mind to take over we become capable of doing evil things.

As students of Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche we should be proud of our association with him because all across the Tibetan areas of China many hundreds of monasteries and many thousands of people are now doing prayers. In these areas, as elsewhere in the world, Rinpoche has been able to bring together people of all ages and walks of life.

We should be so proud because he has spent his whole life working for the benefit of others without any desire for his own wealth and comfort. It has been an honour to be part of his life and we should keep his legacy alive by supporting all his activities and especially his charitable projects.

Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche was especially committed to providing education, healthcare and cultural preservation in the Tibetan areas of China, and I now earnestly request you all to support these ROKPA projects in particular.

I would like to share some beautiful words from a letter of commemoration of Rinpoche’s activity, by the 18th Dulmo Choje Rinpoche:

“Saintly, noble being that you are, you worked diligently during your entire life to serve the Buddhadharma and all living beings. With an infinite kindness, greater even than a mother’s tender love, you nurtured a flock of countless orphans; with a love greater even than the care of a cherished son, you looked after the many old and invalid people who are helpless and with no one to support them; with the finest generosity and with no bias or preference, you bestowed the gift of fulfilling the needs and wishes of the weakest—the sick and the poor; with the aid you provided, you gave a renewed strength to the dharma and culture of Tibet that had become like a lamp with no more fuel.”

Finally I would like to thank all of you who have sent messages of sympathy, I am overwhelmed by your kindness and understanding.

I urge you to keep a compassionate and positive mind, and let us now work together to continue Rinpoche’s  activity,

With every good wish,

Lama Yeshe Losal

Understanding how to take back our power

Because of my experience of living with a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder I have been catapulted into learning how easily I used to give away my power. Today I was working with a client and realised just how far she, and I, had come in our understanding of how it is up to us to look after ourselves and recognise where we stay in relationships which are patently very bad for us, but ‘half a loaf is better than no bread’.

Well, realising just half of our full potential is not good enough – staying in a relationship where we are food and drink to somebody who is not reciprocating is not only sad, it can be dangerous for our very survival. In the 3 years since I escaped from a Narcissist, I have been on a real roller coaster of emotion, and now I am happier than ever because I am in my power and living in a way which is true to myself. 

I receive the ‘Daily Om’ and this arrived in my in-box today, which I thought was very apposite and I wish to share it:

Daily OM by Madisyn Taylor

“Knowing when to let somebody go and leave a relationship is a true act of self-love”

Just as a good relationship can have a positive impact on your life, stressful, draining, or imbalanced relationships can have negative effects on your health and well-being. It’s common to maintain a relationship because we feel the other person needs us or we believe that they will eventually change. We may also be afraid of hurting the other person or feel insecure in our ability to find new relationships. But knowing when to end a relationship and acknowledging that the pain will pass can often prevent greater pain and feelings of loss in the long run. 


If you’re in a relationship that isn’t satisfying or one that has become unhealthy for you, rather than spending energy attempting to fix the problem or complaining, ask yourself what you really want from the relationship. Consider whether the other person truly considers your feelings or if they are willing to change their behavior. Ask yourself if you’ve often thought about ending the relationship or if you feel your bonds have atrophied. While every relationship has ups and downs, when there are more downs than ups or the two of you are bringing out the worst in each other, it may be time to sever the connection. Be honest with yourself and your answers, even if the truth is painful.

Relationships thrive on honesty, communication, mutual caring, and time spent together. When one or more of these elements are missing, it may be that the relationship, no matter how passionate, simply isn’t worth it. It’s far better to end a relationship that doesn’t feel right than to hold on to it and languish in feelings of anger or resentment. Moving on without struggle, on the other hand, can be the door that leads you to a more nurturing relationship in the future

mid-life crisis!

BBC Radio Bristol asked me to visit the studio to talk about ‘midlife crisis’ today. This came about because of a study recently published in the Lancet by Dr Alexander Weiss, of the University of Edinburgh and others.

The international team studied the wellbeing and happiness of great apes and discovered that there is a correlation between what happens in these chimps and orangutans and in human beings – the so-called ‘midlife crisis’. This is illustrated by a ‘U-shape curve’ where wellbeing is high in youth, falls to a low in midlife and rises again in later life.

The term ‘midlife crisis’ was coined by Elliott Jacques in 1965. He used it to describe the period between 40 and 60 when there is, allegedly, dramatic self doubt by some individuals. This can be manifested by boredom and unhappiness and can lead to dramatic life changes.

This time of life also coincides with menopause in women and andropause in men, so there are hormonal reasons why people may feel that they are having a crisis.

This led me, inevitably, to consider whether I had such a crisis, considering I have hit the big six-oh! and I realise that, like life itself, nothing is ever simple. At the time of my perimenopause and menopause I was living with a Narcissistic man who gave me no support and selfishly drained me of my life force. Now that I have successfully transitioned into being free from him, recognising his pathology, and am working with women experiencing similar difficulties, I am happier than I have ever been. So on that basis I think, yes, that I had a midlife crisis and, like the chimps, I am experiencing more wellbeing now I am older!

So, having got that over with, what can I suggest to people to help them deal with such midlife crisis?

Well, firstly, lighten up! Think about some apposite quotes:

Oscar Wilde “Youth is wasted on the young”

Dorothy Parker “People ought to be one of two things: young or dead”

Carl Jung “The greatest potential for growth and self-realisation exists in the second half of life”

George Eliot “It’s never too late to be what you might have been”

–          And my favourite:

“Make the time you’ve got left count”

To help you with a midlife crisis:

Remember the alternative – you are alive!

Plan for the future

Be more present – practice meditation and Mindfulness

Look after your mind, body and spirit

Commit to yourself and your own wellbeing

Chose to spend as much time as possible with people around whom you feel good about yourself

Recognise and avoid energy vampires

Practice Acceptance

Accept change

Walk a lot

Remember that ‘success’ is not defined by money or a big house

Practise kindness

Learn new skills: Tolstoy learned to ride a bike at 67!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recovery from being in a relationship with a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

As I made it clear in my first blog entry, this blog is for my thoughts on women recovering from being in a relationship with a man with Narcissistic Personality disorder (NPD). I appreciate that men, too, suffer when they get into a relationship with a woman with NPD or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). So although women will equate with what I have to say, men who have suffered from such a toxic experience can also understand and learn from these posts.

Mindfulness is a practice that can help us on our path of recovery from pain to power.

Every woman who has been in a relationship with a man with NPD has at some point a feeling of disbelief that they could have been so deluded. As these men nearly always move on to the New Supply very quickly, we are also left with a feeling of failure and conviction that the Other Woman is going to have the best of this man we loved so much.

An illusion? Of course it is. The illusion started when you met him and you thought you had met the ‘love of your life’.  He recognised that you were a perfect Narcissistic Supply Source (NSS) and put you on a pedestal – showing how clever he was to have found such a perfect woman. The attitude men like this adopt is often referred to as ‘love bombing’. You have never experienced anything so wonderful.

Then, as you are but an ordinary mortal he began to see your imperfections, which is when your relationship went through devalue and discard and you were left empty and devastated, unable to see that it was an inevitable journey. If you want to see what a Narc’s future behaviour will be, look at his past. Usually, their previous partner sounds like the bitch from hell. All of a sudden, that is what you are. They move on to their next supply and you are left mad and sad. You are convinced that the Other Woman will get the best of him. Well that too is an illusion… If she is like you, a kind woman who wanted to give, then she will suffer in the same way. If she also has NPD or BPD then they will experience a mutual feeding frenzy that will tear them apart. In any event, you have had a lucky escape. Your life hasn’t ended, it has just begun to get better! She hasn’t robbed you of your happiness and lifestyle, she has given you back your life!

So how can Mindfulness help?

In this state, you are prone to rumination: thoughts going around your head like a washing machine on spin cycle…. ‘if only’….

When you find yourself in this tortuous state, practice the Guest House exercise that you can find on this site.  At the same time, throughout the day, take 3 Mindful breaths as you say to yourself “Now I am breathing in. Now I am breathing out”, three times – this will give you short and needed breaks from your monkey mind.

From the next blog I will start describing how Cindy Reller went through the hell of a relationship with a Narcissist, experiencing a Shaman’s death, rising from the experience like a phoenix.

First blog post for Mindfulness Bristol

Blog Mindfulness Bristol

Blog Mindfulness Bristol

So ‘Mindfulness Bristol’ has finally come to life, just like this beautiful rose, which, quite aptly, is covered in the rain that we have been ‘enjoying’ in the UK recently. There is no doubt that people’s moods are affected not so much by the presence of the rain, but by the absence of the sun that we expect at this time of year. Because I have Alfie the Wonderdog to walk several times a day I am very aware of the elements.

Now that Mindfulness is a constant companion in my life, I allow myself to be fully present with the drizzle, the squelching ground and the droplets of rain on my clothes. At the same time, I engage mindfully with the accompanying smells, the sight of the birds flying around and the sound of those same birds, as well as the touch of the trees and plants as I walk past. This Mindful walking is a way of allowing yourself to be fully present and live in the here and now.

I will be using this blog as a way of communicating with people who want to know more about Mindfulness and how it can help them. At the same time, I will use it to report the  progress, and post the growing contents of my book which I am writing in order to help people, mainly women, who are recovering from having been “Narcissized” – in other words, drained by an experience with the modern-day charming vampire – a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Notwithstanding the modern obsession with glamorous vampires (Twilight etc) there really is nothing exciting or romantic about these people!

I am revealing the title of the book today:

Cindy Reller and Prince Harming

Mindful recovery from soul rape

by Jackie Hawken