Tamaran meaning ‘Land of the Brave’, now known as Gran Canaria, is a sweet and laid back Spanish island situated off the Atlantic coast of North West Africa. It is the third largest island of the archipelago in both area and altitude and the third most populated of all Spanish Islands with a population of around 850,000.

The North African Canarii quite possibly arrived on the island as early as 500BC and, after a century of European incursions and attempts at conquest, the island was conquered on April 29th, 1483 by the Crown of Castile, under Queen Isabella. The capital was founded on June, 1478, under the name ‘Real de Las Palmas’. Las Palmas, as the capital is now known, is the joint capital of the autonomous community of the Canary Islands along with Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

In 1492 Christopher Columbus is known to have anchored in the Port of Las Palmas and he wasn’t the only famous visitor. Sir Francis Drake and John Hawkins apparently tried to take Las Palmas in 1595 as well as a Dutch fleet who reportedly created havoc in the city burning many of its buildings to the ground. Gran Canaria, and Las Palmas in particular, has a wonderful history and this can all be experienced today in a visit to the older part of the city.

The rich history and beautiful architecture of the old town of ‘Vegueta’ and the area of Triana has been wonderfully preserved and can be appreciated by taking an historic walking tour of this old part of the city. I chose to ‘go it alone’ and just wander the streets armed with a list of landmarks I’d found through an evening of research the night before.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2tEvEI5KLs

If you are thinking of visiting the older parts of Las Palmas, I would highly recommend firstly calling in at one of the Tourist Information offices for a free map of all of the most popular landmarks and finding out about free tours of some of the most interesting and historic buildings. I went in and had a lovely chat with Aurora at the smaller office inside the Teatro Perez Galdos. She not only helped me with information about the historic area but the whole city. You will find the main tourist information offices at Santa Catelina Park and San Telmo but there are many smaller offices dotted all over the city. They are very well marked on google maps and have visible signage you can easily spot when wandering about. The employees speak great English and couldn’t be more helpful.

Getting the map will prevent you from missing any of significant spots as well as giving you a sensible and walk-able route through this meandering part of the city. The roads and lanes are largely cobbled and pedestrianised and you could easily spend at least half a day wandering around, soaking in the rich history. As I mentioned before, it is possible to join a walking tour of the old city.

In actual fact, if you buy a twenty five euro ‘hop on, hop off’ bus ticket of Las Palmas, a walking tour of the old part of the city is included in the price. If I’d known this before, I’d definitely have done it as I think this would have saved a lot of time and helped me to see and appreciate more. Although, getting on the bus with the locals is always great too.

I’d highly recommend spending at least half a day in the historic part of the city. If you want to be organised and squeeze as much in as possible, consider taking a walking tour. Make time to go inside and appreciate the magnificent Cathedral Santa Ana and consider a tour of one or more of the other historic buildings. Obviously, it’s uneven underfoot so sensible footwear is a must but don’t worry about getting hungry or thirsty as there are countless bars and eateries offering stunning tapas and perhaps a glass of wine or two. As well as places to eat and drink there are numerous small shops and even plenty of little supermarkets so you’ll have no problems getting everything you might need during your visit.

Whilst there are plenty of quaint places to sit and rest your feet for a while should you want a ‘free’ stop during your adventure, as ever in Europe, the lack of public toilets is evident. I walked around all morning and didn’t see one. However, there are bathrooms in the modern art gallery which has free entry and of course you can always go into one of the many local bars so long as you are buying a drink or so.

In terms of getting to this historic part of the city of Las Palmas, it really couldn’t be easier. If you are staying outside of the city, you want to be catching a bus to San Telmo bus terminus in Las Palmas City. It’s a massive bus depot so you’ll have no issues getting to the area. The historic part of the city is right next to the bus station. The tourist information is also right there and this will get you all sorted for a fun packed day. I travelled from Playa Las Canteras/ Las Palmas Port area and the buses leave every few minutes from Santa Catelina Park.

I caught the number 12 which takes about 15 minutes (6 stops). It’s a very busy ‘bendy’ bus with standing room only all of the way. Apparently there are other buses such as the number 1 that also go to San Telmo but all of the others take around half an hour as far as I could see. There is a ticket office at Santa Catelina Park should you need help. But to be honest it’s really easy. A single journey is one euro forty (they do give change) and the drivers are very helpful.

So, if you do go to Las Palmas, make the time to go and explore this quaint and beautiful part of the island. It’s well worth it and largely free too, which is a bonus if you’re on a budget. With bars, shops and facilities to cater to every budget, you can’t really afford to miss it.

I want to start this with an obvious disclaimer. I am not a therapist or a trained professional in the area of trauma or anything else for that matter. So, what are my credentials? I have a masters degree in the philosophy of mind, I am an empathic intuitive and have done hundreds of readings around the topic of trauma and dealing with trauma and heartache, but perhaps most importantly I get what it’s like to have mental health issues and or to have a nervous collapse or breakdown. I have a lot of experience of living with these issues myself and having loved ones with these issues. SO there – that’s my experience and expertise.

I listen to Thomas Hall’s subliminal messaging tracks every night:

I AM NOT AN EXPERT and obviously, if you are experiencing any mental or physical health concerns, you should absolutely visit your doctor or consult a trained professional. HOWEVER, that is not to say that I don’t want to help you or that I can’t…. just please see me as a friend not a therapist. OK, now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to it.

“It’s very complex and will take a lot of working on, perhaps it will never go entirely but we can work on making it more manageable.”

This is a paraphrased quote that I have heard fly from the mouths of three separate therapists regarding me and my mental health. They all said it in a slightly different ways but it was roughly the same idea – they told me it would take a long time and it would be complicated… EFT training said, keep tapping until all your issues are cleaned up. I was like “Hello, I’ll never do anything else!” when I heard that.

BUT IT ISN’T TRUE AND I AM HERE TO SOMEWHAT DEBUNK THE MYTH THAT IT NEEDS TO BE HARD…

I can only tell you about my experience here and perhaps it will be different for you but, since we are remarkably similar, perhaps you might consider that some of my experience might correlate to your world and your life too.

I want to debunk the myth that all so called trauma and difficulty is some sort of endless painful drag that leaves you blighted for all of eternity. Now, I’m sticking my neck out here and I will get a lot of criticism I am sure, but I really don’t care. To be honest, I wish I’d read this when I was grappling with my breakdowns and I want to pass this well kept secret along.

Michael Sealey’s meditations are the best:

I do not dispute or doubt that lots of trauma benefits from mental health intervention both pharmaceutical and therapy wise. I have had both myself and I have benefited from both. However, I also want to tell you that I have also benefited from sometimes seeing past the idea that I have unresolved trauma that cannot be easily healed and dealt with. I live to tell the tale that it can and how it can.

I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t have medical intervention for mental health problems or that what I’m suggesting is an alternative. I am suggesting that there are many extra things you can do and try that might shift a lot of the so called unresolved issues regarding trauma you may be having.

To start with I want to talk to you about secondary pain… Let me explain. I think I came up with this term to label the mental chatter and thoughts we have about things that go wrong in our lives.

An example: we fall over and hurt our knee. The primary pain is the painful knee, the secondary pain is the shame of people seeing us fall, the irritation that we are so clumsy, the fear that it might get infected and the replaying of all of it in our heads with this sort of unhelpful commentary. Secondary pain is not necessary and doesn’t actually come from the initial problem we might be having, it comes from our thoughts and beliefs ABOUT the thing that has happened. So, someone breaks up with us… we feel the primary pain of loss and sadness but then we have the secondary pain of all the internal chat – what should I have done differently, why did it happen, shame, guilt and lots of story.

Don’t get me wrong, emotional loss and injury is more difficult to differentiate between primary and secondary pain than it is with physical injury but it doesn’t need to be a precise science. All I really want you to see is that in every case when we experience any sort of trauma we have the initial trauma and then we have secondary trauma which is self induced by our thoughts about the primary trauma.

If we could stop secondary trauma, that may get rid of a lot of your problems instantly. Now, that could be easier said than done but recognising what’s going on and starting to jump in and interrupt your own thoughts is going to be super helpful when it comes to moving past trauma and getting over it. How to stop your thoughts and the chat in your head is a massive area and something that people such as Michael Singer with The Untethered Soul and Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now, have spent their whole careers talk about. I can’t go into this in detail here and they can do it so much better than I can anyway, what I do want you to see is that the voice inside, that chats in a fearful and negative way, is one of your biggest obstacles to letting it go.

You may feel worried about this voice but you are not alone. Everyone has this inner critic or fear monger who chats incessantly… it’s not really even your mind but just ‘mind’ that you are plugging into. Have you ever said, “I’m so fed up with myself!” If you have you can see the fact that there is the real you watching the other you who you are fed up with… the you who is always watching is the real you. The one who is full of drama is not really you but your personality and mental noise… I don’t have the time or space to say much more about it here but I urge you to check out Eckhart Tolle’s YouTube channel and start learning about how the voice in our heads is perhaps our biggest barrier to moving past trauma. See the link below…

The thing to see is that our minds don’t always tell the truth, pay attention – it talks negatively all of the time, makes things up, jumps to conclusions and warns you constantly about things that almost never happen… It is not a reliable source of information and generally makes us quite unsettled at best. It is this voice that is creating all of that secondary pain. The reasons why it does this?? We cant get into it here. It’s too long an answer, but just see that it is not to be trusted or listened to without question…

Most of the time our minds are telling us about something that has already happened or that we are worried may happen. But our bodies don’t know the difference between an imagined event and a real one. Every time we allow our minds to run into the past or the future to some sort of horrible event, we are literally repeating our trauma. I do agree that when you have experienced something terrible there is plenty of evidence that it needs to be heard, processed and sometimes actions need to be taken. That is a given. But what happens when, like me, you have talked about it, had the therapy done the tapping and the meditations and it;s still as annoying as heck and hasn’t gone?

Here’s what I did…

When you head chirps up with some fearful thoughts ask yourself the following things:

1. Is it true? Sometimes the mind lies…

2. Is it happening now? It usually isn’t… we’re nearly always lamenting over the past or a potential future.

3. Am I being seduced by my mind? Are you being convinced by your mind’s thoughts about your thoughts… WHAT?????? I know that sounds complicated, please stay with me.You have a thought, ‘I am scared,’ then you have more thoughts about being scared such as, ‘You see, you’ll never get over it, you’ve been scared for so long now, it’s just the way you are,’ etc. Your mind can play MANY ROLES AT ONE TIME.

Listen again…

 

YOUR MIND CAN AND DOES PLAY MANY ROLES AT ONE TIME

It can convince you that one of the more sensible voices is the real you… but notice carefully, your true self is just back there watching the circus unfold.

 

WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?…

Stop thinking

OK, we can’t do that.. also, we don’t want to. We still need to think about what time to go and pick the kids up or change the filter or catch the plane. BUT we don’t need to think all of the time or follow and believe every thought.

Solutions are as follows:

Don’t believe your fearful thoughts When something comes up, check if it’s true or needs your attention, once you’ve established it doesn’t let it go and every time it comes up just watch the thought and accept it … perhaps it will go, perhaps it won’t but whatever, you’re not believing it.

Take notice of the here and now When the traumatised thoughts come up, remember that you are respecting them but not getting into it any more. Allow them to be there if they want to be there but focus on the here and now with them in the back ground

Don’t be scared of being scared Once you can say that you accept feeling in pain, it becomes less painful. Running, pushing against and being upset about being upset is often making up more of the trauma than you realise.

Stop thinking that having pains or problems makes you broken It doesn’t it makes you just like me and everyone else. There is no hero and victim just people. We are all the same. We have dark and light and up times and down times. There is no rescuer on a white horse because no one is perfect and infalible. This may disappoint your mind but it will not sadden your spirit. You have no reason to feel ashamed or to be bitter.You may feel broken but you are not. Feeling broken and being broken are very different things. Notice how the real you watching all of it going on isn’t broken or even feeling broken, that part of you just ‘is’.

Spend a lot of time doing what you want to do or focusing on what you are doing Get fully immersed in living in the here and now. Focus on the present moment, keep busy but not so busy you’re just running. When you have free time, fill it with things that make you laugh and smile

Keep a gratitude journal Spend 5 minutes a day writing in it.

If you still feel traumatised and can’t get over it consider the possibility that you have a bad habit going and need to shift it. If you’ve had the therapy and processed what happened, perhaps you are just stuck in your old way of being. When we think the same things over and over again, they become ingrained and habitual – that’s how we can drive without thinking or do two things at once and hold a conversation at the same time. We are on autopilot.

If you have been dealing with an old issue for many months or longer – perhaps being traumatised is a bad habit.

PLEASE DON’T SHOUT AT ME THIS WILL NOT BE THE CASE FOR EVERYONE WHAT SO EVER… It was just MY experience.

I had gotten so used to feeling a certain way and thinking certain thoughts that I had to make a massive change in the way I lived and reacted to my own mind in order to make the change. In truth, my issues weren’t still there because they were very complex… although they may have been,… they were there because I was in the habit of thinking them.

Never the less the trauma was very real – at the time and it reignited every time I replayed it in my mind. It made me feel trapped, traumatised and horrible. But after months of thinking differently by intercepting my thoughts and doing new things in different ways to create new habits, it started to change. It hasn’t all gone but it is enough to know that I am on to something with this.

Does this mean the therapists were wrong in saying it was a lot to deal with and it would take a long time to work out. I am not qualified to say. What I am qualified to say is that Eckhart Tolle’s explanations of the mind and how we tell ourselves lots of complicated stories really resonates with me and it has become almost a mantra for me… is this real or is it a story I’m telling about the situation?

As a short term measure, If you insist on listening to your mind and stories, at least tell the best story that you can… don’t make it into a terrible, gory story that convinces you that you simply must live your life as a wounded victim.

EVEN better if you can let the pain go, feel it and release it and stop telling yourself any stories at all.

I want to highly recommend a few audios that really helped me heal and release my trauma:

How to stop worrying and start living Dale Carnegie – it’s very old and was first printed in the UK in1948. Despite its age, it continues to be both comforting and exhilerating when it comes to giving you a sense of camaraderie and support when dealing with getting over difficult things in your life. I love the audio book and have it on audible. The narrator’s voice is so comforting. (Affiliate link below):

Eckhart Tolle (books, audio and YouTube channel) – Take the time to watch a few hours of Eckhart Tolle clips on YouTube and you will not be disappointed. His explanation of how the mind talks and tells us stories is so on point. It might take some time to get into and perhaps you may find it doesn’t resonate at first but |I would encourage you to stick with it or come back to it when you feel compelled. Eckhart Tolle’s work is the best spiritual awakening information there is out there in my opinion.

Kim Eng YouTube– Kim Eng is Eckhart Tolle’s partner and her few videos on his channel are absolutely brilliant. Her explanation of how to move through and process trauma give really practical advice that goes deep. A lot of information about letting go of old pain is very superficial and means that we are left with a sense of emptiness or in-completion. Kim Eng addresses the trauma on a physical, emotional and spiritual level so that the releasing and the healing is deep.

I hope you find this blog helpful. Please read, subscribe and share. Thank you guys

Love Kat xx

Why we need to change…

I just watched an original film by Gary Vee on change:

It’s so important to change that I thought I’d talk to you about it today. It’s something I have always had very mixed feelings about and here is why, I change my mind on things constantly. I went through a ten year period in my life when I moved every six months and I’ve changed my job or life path so many times I’ve lost count. For example I’ve been an artist, a teacher, a dancer, a singer, a tribute act, a songwriter, a sales rep, a tour manager… there’s probably loads more, but they’re probably the most interesting ones.

Wayne Dyer is one of my favourite people. I met him some years ago and he had such a good energy, a genuine man. He once said,

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”

Wayne Dyer:

 

As people who are looking to become more awakened or conscious in the way we are and live, I think we recognise the idea that we need to have massive change in our attitudes. Things we’re already really aware of would be things like needing to be more grateful, be more humble, be less judgemental… all of these things are conscious changes that most awakening people recognise and work on.

There is no doubt, particularly if you are new to awakening and you want to live a happier life, working on these things will help… So ideas on this would be, for example:

Being more grateful I recommend keeping a gratitude journal and writing three things in it morning and night… also make a note every night of how the Universe has helped you. Perhaps you had a near miss with something or found something you were looking for or you were in the right place at the right time. A law of attraction coach I had fifteen years ago, got me to do this and it really does make you aware of how things are going well for you. It re orients your mind to see this more and the more you see it, the more it occurs.

Being more humble Every time you go to tell someone about something you have done or achieved, don’t! Ha ah.. It’s tempting to do but it doesn’t help as it creates its opposite… if get into the habit of talking about our achievements in such a way that we want to advertise it to others, this becomes an issue when everything goes to the wall, which it invariably will do, since this is a duality. Recognising that we are sometimes up and sometimes down and this is no reflection on us but on the nature of life, is very helpful. If we are telling others how we have done well, we are really entering into competition and setting ourselves up for anxiety regarding any future loss or fail.

Be less judgemental I truly believe that almost everyone – if not everyone – you judge could be you… If you look hard enough, you can see that almost everything you complain about or point fault at in others could perhaps also be directed at you by someone else or in a different time. I am lucky, I have a very quick karma… if I get annoyed that someone has done something and I complain (even internally) about it, I will almost instantly unintentionally do the same sort of stupid thing in my own life as if to demonstrate my own ignorance at being judgemental. Reserve judgement. If you can’t do it internally, at least don’t say it out loud. Instead say, ‘that could be me’ and be compassionate to see how that could be true.

On the whole starting to see that we’re all pretty much the same, you are no more or less special than anyone else, there is no need to compete and push as if life is a race or a heartless game, the happier you’ll be. Love others, help, be of service, talk other women (or men) up not down…This is the change that most awakening talks of and it is fantastic advice.

But it’s not really the change I want to talk about today. Today’s change is more practical. It’s more about being prepared to change our minds and change the direction and course of our lives.

I believe there are three big myths around our lives that can cause us to get stuck:

Myth 1… We tend to think that change is hard We think the way we are fundamentally is more set in stone than it is. I was afraid of flying for twenty years… it was very strong, very real, very full on… I’ve written about this change in every nearly every book I’ve written because it was such a shocking revelation when it went. I had a nervous breakdown and the fear just went. I will never know why for sure. It made me see how bizarre and flaky our minds really are. There I was thinking I had this huge issue and all of a sudden it was gone – probably because I had an even bigger issue to deal with. Starting to imagine that your mind is not as set as you think is a massive eye opener… it also demonstrates something I’ve become very aware of and that is the need to challenge your fears… they’re probably not as hard to break through as you think.

Myth 2… We think Changing your life, your ideas, your habits or your opinions makes you flaky or weak It’s the opposite – it shows strength, growth and humility. There’s only one way to grow and that’s to change. Regarding other people’s opinions, I found a real stigma around it but check out the people who challenge you for changing your life or taking chances on living your best life. Are they really trying to help you or are they projecting their issues or fears on to you? Regarding self judgement, if you know intuitively that you need to make a change then don’t be afraid to follow it. This is growth. This is good. However, be careful not to be impetuous or emotional – this is not the same as being intuitive of course. Making changes will not cause your life to implode. It’s much easier to chop and change about than fear based modern culture would have you believe.

Myth 3… It’s too late There’s such a sense that if you’re not in your perfect life by 25 then you’re in trouble. It just isn’t true at all. Where ever we are, we are just getting started! If we’re 18 or 80, there’s still every reason to change your life if it’s what you want. It’s our natural state as human beings to expand and grow… some motivational people say if you’re not growing you’re dying. I’m not sure I’d agree with that, but it is our natural state to want to grow. Perhaps if you’re going through an awakening, you have started to realise that you would be better to grow on the vertical level rather than horizontal but it’s all growth. By this I mean that you are looking for greater self awareness, depth and a sense of beingness as growth rather than just accumulating more on a horizontal 3D level. The idea of it being too late is just that – an idea in the mind. If you check your thoughts, mostly they are negative and fearful – it’s always too late or wrong or not right for you if you listen to the mind. The mind likes a sad story about itself and for itself. Spending time tuning out of the mind and into the heart will give you the zest and impetus to make the changes.

I would urge you to watch Gary Vee’s film, whilst he may or may not be someone you like, his ideas about change will change your views on changing.

If we want to really grow, we may well need to make big changes, that might mean looking stupid or like we’ve messed up, so what? We’re growing and learning human beings. I know that I’d rather look stupid in other people’s eyes than wrong in my own. Perhaps we’re actually being challenged by our situations in order that we can overcome our addictions to other peoples opinions… how about that??? It certainly has been the case for me and perhaps for you too.

The main points I really want to make are that you’re not wrong to make changes to your life as and when you feel guided, it’s never too late and it’s probably easier than you think.

Love Kat xx

‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ That’s something that we were all asked when we were little. When I was growing up in northern England most of the boys wanted to be policemen, firemen or footballers. My younger brother, at the age of five, decided he wanted to be a ‘drain man’ like our dad (my dad worked for the highways department of the local council) and consequently, during a writing lesson in school, wrote about and then drew a picture of himself with his head sticking out of a manhole in the middle of a road. However, this was not the norm! I wanted to be a teacher or a vet. Most of the girls wanted to be princesses or hairdressers, as I recall.

Until recently, I worked in a school and heard one of my colleagues ask a small group of children the very same question. It’s interesting to see what a difference a few decades makes. One boy stated that he wanted to be an electrician but every other child said the same thing. ‘I want to be a YouTuber’. ‘OOOoooo’ my colleague vocalised in a kind of moderately confused state. You see, she is fifty and has no real understanding of being a YouTuber. I know this because, when the children left she made a point of saying that she didn’t really realise that it was ‘a thing’.

Most of us, whatever our age, if we are still moderately active in the modern world know of YouTube and use it to a greater or lesser extent. However, it does seem to have more appeal to the younger generation. In the school I worked in, it was definitely looked down on the the teaching staff as a ‘non-activity’ that children wasted their time on. Why did they want to watch a group of people seeing how many hours they could stay in a bathroom or someone filling their swimming pool with slime? What was the appeal of watching someone pranking their neighbour, parent or an innocent passer by? Whilst I think I’m too old to be able to really answer that, I can say that I am absolutely with the kids in loving YouTube. I watch it most days and find it the most incredible source of joy, inspiration and unfiltered information.

This is how I got the idea of van life into my head. It was a regular day like any other and I sat down to eat my usual lunch of a chicken salad. I propped up my ipad and Freja (the dog) promptly sat in front of it as is her tendency. Having pushed her out of the way several times, eventually having to lure her away with the promise of a piece of chicken, I clicked on to the recommended videos to see what was there. I found a video from ‘Eamon and Bec’, a Canadian van life couple and – since they were in Mexico – I decided to watch it. When I clicked on it, I didn’t even realise it was about living in a van or on the road. I think it was the thumbnail and the place they were in in Mexico that appealed. I watched it and enjoyed it. Consequently, I watched a few more of their videos.

Even though I now feel I am completely committed to travelling and writing about it, it is a relatively new endeavour of mine. Until a few years ago, I was terrified of flying and so, I never really travelled any more than I had to and I didn’t have any inclination to change it. Having had a significant life altering experience, I found that my fear of flying disappeared and a whole new world of possibility opened up to me. I went on my first US tour and was bitten by the travel bug. Ever since then I had been trying to find a way to travel full time or as much as I could. I also wanted to find where I belonged. Where could I base myself and how could I make it all work? As much as I love England and am more grateful than I could ever express that I was born British, I do not really feel to fit in in England. When I visited America, I instantly felt like they were my people.

So, the last year or so has seen these various questions of where to be and where to settle running in the back of my head. I also have my dog Freja to think about. I don’t like leaving her behind and the cost is not insignificant at all. I’ve considered living abroad and maybe settling somewhere but every place, at this stage of my life, makes me feel feel uneasy. I’ve been to do many places I’ve loved and, like I said, I feel at home in America, but the thought of picking a place and sticking to it at this point, feels off. Until I watched the van life vlogs, this feeling of everywhre making me feel trapped made me concerned. I mean, I had to live somewhere! It bothered me how I seemed to always want to be moving. I feel inclined to also point out here that whilst I love to be on the move, rather inconveniently, I am not a brave or courageous person per se. I am pretty bookish and low key. I like my own little routines. Let’s be honest, it’s clear to see why I’ve spent a lot of the year metaphorically scratching my head and wondering how I would find a solution… Enter, van life.

It took me a good few days of van life vlogs before it dawned on me that perhaps I could do it too. The couple of times I’d gone camping, I’d hated it and so the idea of this nature of travel never really appealed to me but the more van vlogs popped up in my feed, the more I watched and the more it started to occur to me that this could really be a solution. I could have the best of both worlds… my own little nest or haven that I moved around as and when I saw fit.

Van life also lined up with the desires that I’d recently written on my notice board. I wanted to get rid of more stuff, live a simpler life and concentrate on only doing things that actually felt nourishing or worthwhile. I was starting to wonder what the point of vacuuming every week really was. Obviously, everyone wants to be moderately clean and tidy but I’d felt increasingly over the last few years that I was up-keeping this massive space and presenting it so beautifully, but for what reason? What did having a lovely, perfect and sizeable house really mean? It certainly meant I needed to earn a lot and spend every Saturday cleaning it. All I can say is that my interest in this was waning.

So I started to watch more vlogs and accumulate ideas about how to become a van lifer. I knew I needed to buy myself another place and had always assumed it was going to be an apartment somewhere or other. I can’t deny that the idea of finding the money to buy a van rather than a twenty five percent deposit appealed. Not only did van life look incredible, it was the cheaper alternative too. But, I can’t deny it, it did and still does scare me. I have been single for a while and, even when I wasn’t technically single, lived a partially single life. So I am no stranger to being alone or doing things solo. But, this is very different to being in a van somewhere with only a little chihuahua for protection and company.

But it feels right in my soul. I love the idea of constantly moving, of doing my own thing and not having to answer to anyone or anything within reason. More than this, I like the fact that I won’t get chance to inadvertently get dragged into the rat race as it’s so easy to do. When I spend time with people, I can do it in an authentic way person to person rather than through the filter of a town or place’s social structure and system. I also don’t have to listen to or subject myself to the barrage of nonsense media and time wasting drama.

How am I going to do it? I don’t know yet. I have considered travelling in my car to start with in order to try it. I’ve also contemplated every type of van – big or small? Do I start from scratch and build it myself or buy one ready made? Do I start in England or set off into Europe and go all in? There are lots of questions and I’m not sure of the answers. I do know that the idea has been with me for a few weeks now and I feel good about it. That sense of concern about how to be both settled and on the move at the same time apparently does have an answer.

So apparently, what I want to be when I grow up is a ‘traveller’ or ‘wanderer’. I’m not surprised I’m becoming increasingly nomadic and I’m thrilled to finally have an answer. To be quite honest, the older I get the more my list of requirements diminishes. My only real requirement now is to be joyful. It will be interesting to see if it really does appeal in real life. Who knows what will happen? Stay tuned!

A course in miracles is the holy grail when it comes to spiritual ascension and having a more conscious awakened life. It can completely change your life and heal all fears and wounds. I can’t think of one awakening spiritual helper or leader who hasn’t referred to it at some point. Eckhart Tolle refers to it a lot, as did Wayne Dyer and today’s author Marianne Williamson. Her book “A Return to Love” is, as the subtitle tells us, a reflection on the principles of “A Course in Miracles” (I will refer to “A Course in Miracles” as ‘the course’ or ACIM throughout the blog). I love her simplification of the course into a short book, with lots of relatable examples and stories about spiritual ascension. Whilst it is simplified and condensed, it doesn’t lose it’s power or magic, in my opinion.

A return to love is about just that – returning to love – but not romantic love of course. By love, Marianne Williamson means spiritual love. The course explains there are only two things in the universe love and fear… all that is not love is fear and visa versa. When we are in a state of love, we are balanced and feel peaceful and whole – this is the crux of spiritual ascension. This book is a book about working with a course in miracles in principle and applying it in life. Marianne Williamson has lectured on the course for many years. The book was written a long time ago but has been updated and revised more recently.

I really love the book and think it could help you. Marianne Williamson says that when she comes to life from a state of love, everything works beautifully. I agree, it is my experience also. She explains how to do it in the book . ACIM explains how fear is actually a bad dream and not real … it may sound far fetched to you, it may not. The course is compelling and convincing in its demonstration that it is true and how you can, with spiritual ascension, stop feeling afraid for good!

Marianne Williamson makes it simple and easy to see how fear can be dissolved with a little understanding. She urges us to take responsibility for our own lives and to take action but not in the usual egotistical way that stomps and postures to be right and listened to, but in a more mature and balanced way. She encourages us to act from love. We don’t do it through brute strength and by problem solving our issues away, but rather through passing our fears and worries to the Universe or God for support, help and guidance.

Warning: ACIM, and so Marianne Williamson’s book, uses Christian terminology but it isn’t a religious book or a reason to avoid it. It can be off putting at first if you are not religious (or have any negative bias towards Christianity) but I really urge you to try and look past it and see the symbols for what they are – just symbols. Marianne Williamson is actually Jewish and this hasn’t stopped her spending much of her life teaching the course.

I am not at all religious at all but I don’t see the terminology distracting once you get used to it. I almost look at it this way – imagine you do believe in those symbols for a moment and take the advice, apply it in your life and – if it works – then just accept it. When she says ‘the holy spirit says x, y,z’, I take it in such a way that you could substitute anything instead of holy spirit – for me I’d probably use Universal energy or source but I don’t mind that ACIM call it holy spirit.

Marianne Williamson explains why so many of us feel depleted and lacking somehow…we are lacking in love. She describes it as internal oxygen. She shows us how we pollute our own lives with unloving thoughts and actions both towards ourselves and others and how to rectify that. She shows us how we are supposed to ‘give over’ our troubles and questions to the flow of life and allow the universe to guide us. One of my favourite quotes is, “We are given plenty of opportunities but we tend to undermine them. Our conflicted energies sabotage everything. To ask for another relationship, or another job is not particularly helpful if we’re going to show upin the new situation exactly as we showed up in the last one. Until we’re healed of our internal demons, our fearful mental habits, we will turn every situation into the same painful drama as the one before.

Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we are peaceful, life will be peaceful. Change starts within us. As we change the inner world, the outer world starts to mirror it back. Whilst it’s easy to be reactive and blame the outer world for our inner states. It really is the other way around. I think this is one of the best ways of knowing how awakened you are and is a great way of understanding consciousness or unconsciousness. When we’re asleep, spiritually speaking, everything is about surviving what’s going on out there…. if we ever become totally awakened there will no longer be any sense of an in here and out there – only oneness.

Most of us are somewhere in between. The book, like most spiritual awakening books reminds us that whilst we may still act really unconsciously and it is normal, we would be best not to keep acting on trying to change the outside and just take these external problems as opportunities to go back inside and do the work. We know that on a human level we’re upset by someone, for example, but we know really that it’s our own judgements, loveless thinking that’s the real cause of our pains and then we’re prepared to do the work to heal it.

Please watch this, it’s golden!

Some of you may recognise how similar this idea is to other spiritual books and methodologies like Byron Katie’s book ‘Loving what is’ … most new age or spiritual transformational texts and courses are really mostly saying the same thing just in different ways. The premise of those around us and the situations and events are such that they teach us… often the most challenging things have the most to teach us… they help us notice where we have walls to love. The old paradigm of romantic relationships is challenged and outlined in the book – the guides talk about this a lot during readings and I like way Marianne Williamson talks about it.

The idea is that when we’re looking for unconscious romantic love we’re actually trying to take from the other rather than really and truly love. We’re looking for someone to give us what we feel we either need or are lacking. But, I really like how Marianne Williamson talks about how we can bolster the other in a partnership and do things such as look nice for the sake of the other person. This is perhaps a little different from the, what may be considered inaccurate, concept that the true spiritually robust relationship should be about two totally independent beings. I like the way Kim Eng describes it in a video as interdependent as opposed to either co-dependent or independent. In other words we can be there for each other but we’re not specifically needing, demanding or manipulating for the sake of self creation. Check out Kim Eng here:

Marianne Williamson talks about how we can spiritually heal or handle challenges such as when wanting masculine energy from men, as a woman’s job to offer herself the gift of her feminine energy. When she really feels like a woman by gifting it to herself, she finds masculine energy coming towards her. Or when a man felt his father never gave him enough gifts, she suggests the healing would come through him gifting to his father.

The books points out over and over how we project our problems, fears and wounds onto others. When someone hurts us, it’s really about an old idea or wound being poked. The wound – for example feeling not good enough – is still very much alive in us and so we react when someone does something that prods this. Instead of expecting the world to change to accommodate this, we need to go inside and let go of the thought that we are not good enough. When it comes to having a fulfilled life, the book talks about work in chapter 7: “Success is about knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.” It’s less about what you do and more about how… you need to do things kindly. “If something makes your heart sing this is God;s way of showing you this is somewhere you can make a contribution,” Williamson explains. This again, comes up time and time again in the readings and I wrote about it in the green book (see below for the affiliate link).

The overall idea is that we give our lives to the universe and then things come together… we open our hearts and our talents and lives start to blossom. This is why I love this book so much, it’s totally in line with the general trend of information I’ve gotten from the guides and read or heard about from spiritual teachers and helpers. Marianne Williamson does it really well. She’s very experienced in talking about the topic of ACIM and therefore can break it down really well for the average reader like myself.

There’s a lot of emphasis on miracles in the book. The basic idea is that the Universe can help you or solve any problem when you approach it from grace, service and being humble and authentic. You can expect miracles when you are acting from a loving, service oriented place. Sharing your love, your own spirit and your talents is very important – we might get other things such as money, status or things as a result of our work but – after our basic needs and survival are met – we should be focused on service rather than riches. It doesn’t mean riches are wrong but that focusing on that rather than service, is not coming from love.

Get “A Return to Love” here (this is an affiliate link):

Marianne Williamson suggests that when we show a “willingness to supply love where there was none before, new energy bursts forth from deep inside us.” She tells a story, in chapter 7 part 6 ‘New hearts new jobs”, about someone mentioning to her about her habit of drinking coffee last thing at night. Until that point, it had never effected her. After the comment she found it kept her awake. I found this fascinating and never more poignant than now in the world. It was fascinating to me how someone, particularly someone who was so conscious, could make such a change in a person just by their suggestion. I wondered if perhaps we could all do with considering how much we’re consuming from the so called outside world and how it might be affecting us.

Along with the Dalai Lama, Marianne Williamson talks of how ACIM speaks that our purpose in life is to be happy… some argue this point, but I think if we notice the energy that fear gives off and the energy that joy and love gives off, it’s clear that we’re not just helping ourselves by being happy. In the book there are a lot of suggested prayers and asking the holy spirit to heal us, help us or guide us. If you don’t like the idea of prayer, there are perhaps other ways to do it – maybe seeing them as affirmations but I can’t personally see the harm in prayer. I like prayer even though I am not religious. I see it as spiritual surrender.

There’s a real emphasis in the book of seeing the Universe or God as the great power that it is but not in an intimidating way but rather in a powerful and reverent way – we are to be humble and in a state of open appreciation – knowing that we have part of that greatness within ourselves. Could this book feel too spiritual and woo woo? Perhaps, if you still think you can solve all your problems with thinking and 3D solutions. I think Eckhart Tolle (who is by the way a good friend of Williamson) says about his work, “if you don’t get it you just need to suffer a bit more”… that’s not actually what he says, but something along the lines that.

As human’s in this day and age, we struggle to let go of the idea that it’s all material and can be solved through force and will alone. It essentially takes us to have run out of other options before most of us will wake up to the spiritual beingness that we are and take the steps we’re guided to take. For example in my life, I had a nervous breakdown so that I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t leave the house… the only thing I could do was read and write.

I wouldn’t have left my steady job and done this by choice. I wouldn’t have given up my comfort zone, so the Universe had to speak very loudly to me. Suffering is always optional though – we don’t actually have to suffer but most of us won’t budge until we are. I love when Marianne Williamson says on page 249, we have to “let go of our belief in fear and danger, and embrace instead, a view of the world that is based on hope and love.” Marianne Williamson’s book is a great insight into the basics of ACIM and it is convincing that we should feel hopeful and that we have the power to change our lives and contribute in the world. If you feel lost, hopeless or uncertain, this book can really be like a beacon that sets you back on course.

Until next week….

Love Kat xx