(Written pre pandemic!) I’ve meditated for years… literally, years. I can’t really remember when I was I started consciously doing so but I remember perhaps my first significant experience of it at 24. I had a particularly spiritual and ‘hippie’ boyfriend at the time who had spent the afternoon talking to me about his experiences of astral travel. When he left, I distinctly remember sitting down in the middle of my sitting room floor and deciding to have a try at ‘going within’. It seemed intriguing. Whilst the relationship was really the romantic equivalent of car crash, it did introduce me to spirituality and so it was definitely worth the heartache and big financial dent. In fact, his tough love training – in every sense of the phrase – was priceless and really rather wonderful on reflection.
I have had a sketchy history with meditation and I’ve never managed to get a solid relationship with it. Going back fifteen years ago, whilst it was mainstream and popular, it was nothing like it is now. I guess this is partly why I managed to keep avoiding it. Recently, everywhere and everyone seems to be espousing the virtues of meditation and with good reason. Whether you are spiritual or not, the results of meditation and its benefits are undeniable. It’s quite amazing really how quickly it’s transformed from the ‘woo-woo’ to the ‘real deal’. In fact, I was really surprised when my Granny had a stroke last year to hear her being ‘prescribed’, by her national health service occupational therapy team, a meditation app for her Ipad. It really is now the thing to do.
Leaning on meditation when I was ill several years ago, I spent most mornings meditating for a couple of hours in bed before I got up. I can’t really remember the details of anything back then but it was more like a brain break. I was attempting to just keep the mental noise to a minimum and create a bit of peace and quiet. But I never really settled on a particular practice or way of doing it. Although I did have some incredible breakthroughs with it and even created some of my own which I put into my books. Ever since then I have done bits and pieces of meditation and it’s rare a day goes by without me doing some sort of ‘going within’ but it’s never been consistent or really focused. I’ve let it slide over the years because of the ‘busyness’ of life.
I suppose I’ve always been more of a mindfulness person. I do lots of things very ‘deliberately’ and try to not get lost in thought any more than is necessary. I make a point of being very present as often as I can and spent months pounding my eardrums with Eckhart Tolle recordings so as to really imprint this notion into my head. It worked. I’ve worked it into my day and it’s now my habit. My showers are pretty mindful as are my daily dog walks. I regularly do breathing exercises now without really even thinking about it. I’m really quite centred but it’s still a work in progress and I’m starting to really think about getting my meditation routine more ‘sorted’.
But I have to be honest with myself now. I have been more caught up in the western world than I realised. I don’t make time for meditation because I suppose I don’t think I have time. This is such a fundamental misperception. I subconsciously believe that I can make things happen, that I need to do a lot of stuff and make the most of ‘time’. Wow, I still believe in making an effort? If I made time for meditation, I’d become timeless, didn’t I know that? Well, I did and I do. It seems there are levels of belief and commitment. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was perhaps at six or seven. I’d got lazy, sloppy and I am also realising that I’m perhaps more compliant and open to the environmental cues than I had previously thought. Oh well, at least I can see it now.
At the moment, I’m staying on the island of Tenerife and as you may or may not know, it’s a part of a pretty ‘zen’ kind of an archipelago. The Canary Islands are very relaxed and, in my opinion, have a very surfer, hippie kind of vibe. There are beaten up camper vans all over the place and in ‘El Medano’ the town I stay in on Tenerife, every clothes shop sells either surfing or water sports gear or yoga pants. It’s a no makeup, sand in your hair, piercings and leather bracelets kind of a place. Taking a walk along the beach during sunrise, you’ll find lots of people meditating or doing yoga on the various wooden platforms scattered amongst the scrubby dunes.
In the bigger towns and cities you’ll find lots of yoga and meditation studios and I didn’t have to research very far to find that there are quite a lot of retreat centres on the Canary Islands too. There’s just that kind of vibe here and so it’s a perfect place to be considering my meditation routine. I’ve been reading Dr Joe Dispenza’s book ‘Becoming Supernatural’ (it’s awesome, read it!) and he has gotten me convinced that I do indeed need to get my meditation game on. It’s time for me and this book is pushing me into it. Truth is 1. I’ve always known the key to my next steps on this crazy life journey involve meditation and 2. It’s a pretty amazing synchronicity that has dictated that just at the time I decide I need to be meditating, I arrive at a place so brimming with the chilled out vibe.
This is the thing about travel. Different places inspire different aspects of your personality, heart and soul. I love this about going somewhere new. You never quite know what you’re going to get. Perhaps you’ll love it, perhaps you’ll find it inspiring. Whatever you feel or think, it’ll be a perspective and a new angle on something. It’s the sense of ‘peering into the looking glass’ like Alice (in Wonderland). If you choose to be open to this kind of reflection that is. I have always found the Canary Islands to be great for a genuine relaxed space to rearrange your head and get some perspective on life. They’re so free, rugged, bare and windy. Your cares will definitely blow away and trying to stay ‘tidy’ and ‘together’ is simply pitting yourself against nature. You really have no choice here but to just relax and go with it, to appreciate the nature and the wildness of it all and, if you have long hair, tie it up.
So for me, this return has been serendipitous. I had booked the trip some time ago before I started reading Joe Dispenza’s book and I had no idea, even as I started to read the book a few days before arriving in Tenerife that it would be so focused on meditation. Today was my first full day here on the island and it made me smile as I lay on the sunbed for my first focused hour long meditation of the day. It was so perfect that I’d be doing it here in El Medano. Anyone who has read my first book, ‘The Awakening’ may recall that this is the very place I had my first real breakthrough and ‘found myself’. It seems so fitting that I am here again, trying to take things to the next level. It is equally fitting that I am in a place where I have the time and space to meditate and dedicate myself to the process and practice.
So, I am intrigued to know how it will go and if and how it will change me. Everything says that it will. As I said, I’m not new to meditation but I am new to focused and diligent practice. I am new to dedicated and long, focused sessions that push you into uncomfortability. But I’m ready for it. To be quite honest, I have some really rather annoying foibles and neurocies that are just not cute and need to be tidied up. Whilst I recognise that I’m never going to be a spiritual guru or whatever, I really think I could stand to be more peaceful. I’m looking forward to finding out where it takes me. It’s interesting to me how my desire to really focus on meditation seems to be dovetailing with my increasing sense of freedom and expansion into full time travel. They really do seem to go together.
As for Tenerife, I can’t think of a better place to meditate. It’s unpretentious and has lots of wild and natural, craggy beaches and places to walk, sit, surrender and take a breath. The pace of life here is slow and deliberate. The attitude is warm, relaxed and passionate. With sunny days all year around and a pretty consistent mid twenties temperature, it’s got to be a perfect place to get in touch with your heart and soul.
I visit ‘El Medano’ which is a small town fairly near the more popular and anglicised ‘Golf de Sur’ only a short hop from Tenerife South airport. It’s not a commercial town and whilst everyone speaks some English, it’s not a really touristy place or catering to English. It’s low key and seems to be predominately frequented by locals and windsurfers or kite surfers. Whilst I talk a lot about how rugged, authentic, natural and Spanish the Canary Islands are, this is because I choose to frequent the less popular areas and the non touristy spots. Many areas are extremely English and rather like Skegness but with better weather. Be sure that you do a little research on the area before booking to ensure you are getting the holiday you really want.
Love Kat xx