Hello again! I know it’s been a little while since my last post. My weekly blog writing energy was re-directed into writing an in depth Q&A and an article for a new online web community that’s about to launch. It’s pretty cool and I look forward to sharing that with you when it’s published. After a week of Sacred Circularities blog writing and fun, I was coopedup on my own for a bit, house and dog sitting in a luxury villa quietly editing away day and night on a few videos that I’d like to wrap up out here. Music videos for Pablo J and Danny Paradise and promo videos for Desa Seni and Jungle Yoga. I’m counting down the days here in Bali before I make my way back to Europe and on to the Cannes Film Festival which is exciting and slightly daunting. I haven’t worn shoes or makeup for the last 6 months so those are two hurdles to overcome amongst many not to mention the prospect of small talk and schmoozing…can I do that now in a more conscious way? I like to believe that I am going to attract some like minded souls out there and forge some deep co-creation relationships, rather then my previous party, party, party and elevator pitch experiences out there. I have friends premiering their films, so I’m really looking forward to celebrating their efforts and my Guerilla feature film is now complete. I’m going out there to enjoy life on the med, surrounded by filmmaking geeks and stars; to let people know about my movie and to manifest a distributor or festival premier invitation for it.
Now I would like to share a story about a powerful workshop I did recently, when I crept out of the dogsitting mansion to interact with some of the shiny souls of Ubud. I was out jogging with the dog around sunset, dripping in sweat and out of breath when I bumped into Antony Abbagniano (Founder of “The Ark” Healing Center and “The Community of Healing”) and he invited me to take part. It was a one day workshop called “Alchemy of Breath” and it was hosted by Antony Abbagniano and Christobel Zamor founders of Breath of Bliss My experience with breathwork began a few years ago when I won a competition and was invited to attend a weeklong Transformation Vacation led by Dawn Delgado and Beau Robb which incorporated daily sessions of both experiencing and supporting others through Satori breathwork.
Upon arrival in the morning my lunch order was taken and I chose a fresh salad from Alchemy , a watermelon blush juice and a chewy chocolate bar (I am seriously going to miss these three delicious diet essentials when I leave Ubud). We then gathered in a circle to introduce ourselves and set intentions for the day ahead. My intention was to learn and grow, it’s pretty much my life mission and an intention that works daily or for any workshop introduction. I always feel nervous about speaking in group circles and it always surprises me that I feel nervous. After the introductions, some paperwork was handed out and we were presented with a talk about personas; in particular the many personas or masks we wear to get by in life. I made my list of most obvious personas and then was guided to write down what was required for me to maintain each persona. That exercise was very insightful as it revealed just how much effort goes into each persona- which is not in fact the true self at all, just masks fabricated along the way to get more of what I consciously or unconsciously want and need. It was interesting to fully understand that more often then not the persona is a creation of the frightened or angry ego. We then split up into twos and had to focus on one of these personas, perhaps the one we have identified with for a long time. For the sake of story-telling, catharsis and personal revelation, I’ll share my little interview that was conducted with my main persona.
Q: What is your name?
Q: What’s the most important thing to you?
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: Inspiring geniuses
Q: When did you first make an appearance?
A: As a child, sitting for painters then later when asked to be a muse for fashion designers.
Q: Where did you learn your style from?
A: Ballet comes to mind, from my days training as a dancer and from the designers who adopted me as their muse, they taught me what it involved. Also, from my mother, she is a patron to artists and writers.
Q: What are you most afraid of?
A: Being insignificant, contributing nothing and leaving no positive legacy behind in this world.
Q: What do you most want?
So I had a moment of silence with the understanding of what I had been carrying along with this persona of a fabulous muse. I also understood that I had at times been feeding her too much with ego projects and other times I had been fighting against her in by dismissing her calling for my attention. I know that in recent years I have channeled all the good things about being a muse into inspiring and empowering people through life coaching. So perhaps a life coach is something of a modern day muse, empowered and operating within defined boundaries.
After exploring personas we were asked to take on one/not necessarily the same one and write it on a label to stick on our chests- choosing a persona that would be beneficial to airout and dissolve. I chose the “Cold Bitch” persona because it is one I put on often, acting aloof and sometimes uncaring or I fight it by people pleasing and overgiving. So I felt it was time to let her shine, feel the authenticity and the shame of doing so. Christobel then invited us to mingle in our personas and that was a very funny and surreal experience. I felt like the guest at a party that you would want to avoid, basically being harsh to the other personas such as “Darth Vader”, “The people pleaser” “Ms. overhwlemed” it was easy to be harsh to the meeker personas and it actually felt awkward at first to be so unlikeable, it then felt good not to care.
That was such a gift, to test out behaving in an extremely unlikeable way and to really feel and be witnessed as unpopular or unliked. I knew this was an experience I could fold into my true nature, to adopt more of a sense of discernement and less worry about being liked or likeable.
We then were given a presentation on “Conscious communication”, the crux of which being that most people are in “their story” and without awareness or understanding of that fact, we are often interacting and being triggered or hooked into other people’s “stories”. Powerful wisdom there. We did some conflict resolution exercises around conscious communication vs the blame game. This basically involved staying grounded and clear with someone getting angry at me and accusing me of things and chosing to respond with empathic questions rather then being sucked into an argument- no matter how annoying i felt at first by responding to “You are not understanding me” with “I commit to communicating clearly and other such ethereal yet empowered responses. IT helped me shift my concept of being a bitch, from being controlling, cold and unfriendly to a slightly detached and empowered observer who chooses who and what she engages with lovingly. Eureka! an Aha moment! as Oprah would say…
After our delicious lunch break and laughter over the personas we settled in to do some breathwork. Breathwork being a rapidly trending word out here in Ubud as well as in holistic circles worldwide. I have heard it being described as “ten years of therapy in one hour”. Lying down on my back with soft tinkly music playing in the background, I covered my face with a tshirt to assist me in dissappearing off into the deep maze of my persona and soul. We were guided to contemplate the personas we had looked at and in particular the one we had brought in to mingle at the virtual cocktail party.
As we began this rythmic circular breathing, which at times felt a bit like hyperventilation, I started to drift off somewhere and it felt a bit like time travelling. I noticed how at times I would completely stop breathing and this reminded me of my childhood where I would hold my breath instead of having screaming tantrums. It also reminded me of the times where I would hold my breath in ballet classes hoping I would pass out because after years of intensive daily training I began feeling that I wanted to quit and I would do my exercises at the barre holding my breath, hearing my heart beating louder but disappointingly, never actually able to make myself passout and be sent to the infirmary for the rest of the morning. Antony and Christobel would occassionally come and place a hand on my diaphragm reminding me to continue with the circular breathing and I would drift off even deeper into the maze of me. I had a big revelation around the bitch persona and shed a few tears understanding that I had created her to protect me and that she had caused much pain and alienation for me particularily in my close romantic relationships. I understood how she would appear when things got tough and that I would stonewall or emotionally cut off from a loved one if I felt they weren’t loving me in the way I expected or wanted to be loved..That was a huge pattern to see, the anger at not being loved in the way I felt was right, the assumption that I should be treated a certain way and if I was not then the other person was wrong- blame game. The frustration at not having the skills to express those needs in a non-accusational way without fear of them not being met. Big things I figured out then in that breathwork session and with those realisations and deep sense of calm and relief swept over me; mostly by becoming aware that by seeing those patterns they could be broken.
I awoke from the lucid dreamlike experience feeling compassion for my inner bitch and feeling love for my inner muse, with an awareness that I needed to become my own fabulous muse instead of looking for affirmation from others or hiding behind and feeding the greatness of others. I decided that in life coaching I could give that space and energy to support and empower others and out of a life coaching session, in daily life I would be my own fabulous muse and even cultivate conscious relationships with muses I might find inspiring along the way too.
Towarss the end we split up once again into twos and took turns to take a few deep breaths, relax and go into meditation. Then the other person asked some scripted deep questions to assist in revealing our true essence to ourselves, beginning with the question “what is the name of your true essence?” to which my reply was my newly adopted spirit name “Dragonfly”.
We then all sat once again in a circle to do sharings about our experiences and many people were in tears. It was a beautiful day, a steep learning curve and a very healing experience. Chirstobel and Antony led us through it all brilliantly, especially as they modelled everything taught to us themsless creating the space for vulnerability and humility within the circle.
I have had a huge burst of creativity since then and decided to get myself down to the beach for some surf time. It’s easy to get engulfed by the alluring vortex and bubble of safety and healing that is Ubud. Sometimes I compare it to Never Never Land in Peter Pan, where many run away and contribute to this conscious living Utopia remaining eternally youthful and never wanting to leave. For me, getting a change of scenery and improving my surfing abilities was a good move as it got me into extreme physicality as opposed to sitting in front of a computer editing. It also allowed me to gain some perspective on my life and recent learnings. I think it was a confidence boost too, seeing how I have improved and how far I have come. The waves in Bali are unpredictable and often very big and the currents are really strong so I fee really brave whenever I hit the Balinese surf. I feel exhilirated and so very alive when catching the waves and my body aches with newly tonedup muscles afterwards as I happily fall asleep exhausted. Whilst staying by the beach, I tapped into my inner fabulous muse and got stuck into creativity too with making more conscious themed comic book style illustrations and coming up with some artwork and design ideas for my own custom surfboard. I took time to answer the in depth Q&A sent to me by a new web community which is about to launch and then got stuck into writing an article on a tricky existential topic that they had asked me to contemplate and write about. I look forward to sharing that with you and more as I respond to their questions and prompts from time to time.
Over the last six months I’ve had a taste of a new way of living and there is definitely no going back to being an inner city workaholic! From now on I choose who and what I engage with from an empowered centre and I do it lovingly.
If you are interested in learning more about breathwork:
Antony is offering a breathwork cruise experience this summer which will be an adventure in sailaing the Adriatic as well as daily breathwork circles on beautiful islands along the way. Breathe on Board
And Christobel is offering workshops around the world as well as videos to empower and inspire on her website Christobel Zamor
Later that evening, still floating with the breath of bliss and awareness… I popped by the going away party for sound healer Larissa Israel. She has been a significant part of my sound healing journey and documentary and it was a gathering of many of the sound healers I have been filming over the past few months too. It was sad to see her go and say goodbye but also exciting that she is setting off on tour.
Since I packedup my life in London and began writing this blog six months ago, there has been so much momentum, such a steep learning curve, so many invitations to take part in things and comissions to write other stories… so it was a very organic wise move.
I have Balinese artist Karim Rabik to thank for suggesting the concept of writing a blog to me. It’s also been fun at times to jump over from this my home page and be a guest blogger for other sites such as The Bali Spirit Festival and Sacred Circularities too.
I will be doing some diary blogs soon from The Cannes Film Festival with videos and features on some of the people I connect with out there and I will keep on writing about my learnings and reflections as I intend to keep learning, reflecting and growing… so likely will feel to keep writing too,
Until the next blog…