Personal Spiritual Transformation and Development
St Stephens Practice, 21a St Stephens Road
Norwich Norfolk NR1 3SP
+44 (0) 7901 655655

The Seven Gifts of Struggle

Listener’s Question – “Why do we struggle to gain strength?’

On this weeks radio show ‘The Cindy Hurn Show’ my listeners questioned the value of struggle. “Why do we have to do it?” “What do we gain?” “Can we not just stop going through hard things? Stop midway and move onto something else?”

At present, with the challenges of COVID19, many are struggling. The ground shifts below us. Uncertainty and fear grow as future security is in question. I feel like we are in one of those snow globes. The powers that be have picked it up and are giving it a good ole’ shake. The  problem is it has as yet to be put back down so we can appreciate the beauty of change.

Struggle reminds us everything has a purpose.

What is the value of suffering?Read More

7 ways to Live Your Best Life

An old college friend sent me a message which really got me thinking. She wrote “I hope you are living your best life.” Struck by her thoughtfulness this question stayed in in my mind stirring deep reflections.

Live your best life, what does that mean? How do we do that? Is it about accomplishments, success and security in the world? Or much more on a personal level? What does it mean to me?Read More

The Eyes of a Smile

As I write this England is on the verge of big change. On July 24, 2020 all people visiting shops will have to don the mask helping combat the spread of COVID 19. I heard this news just before I went into a large food shop. For the first time, there were many already wearing masks. As I went about my shopping I felt unease slipping into sadness.

Why has the wearing of masks affected me so much?

By their very design we don the mask to protect others.  Breaking the flow of breath from one to another. In order to be effective both nose and mouth need covering. As I looked around me all I saw were eyes. Down cast eyes. Inward thinking. Not the shining eyes of a smiling face.

One of the positive things I noticed with social distancing people are much more outgoing and friendly. Maybe it’s a cultural difference (I am American) but I find the English naturally reserved. Yet give them a cause and they come up trumps joining together to help. So, when the two metre rule came in although they would move out of the way there was always a smile and often a bit of a chat. Kindness within separation.

But now the smiles have gone.

Covered up by a variety of masks. Whether the everyday paper or fabric we have quirky, understated, practical and colourful. All separating us from one another. Doing what they are suppose to do.

I have to wonder what effect would this will have on our connection with each other.  Only 7-10% of all communication are through words. Which leaves the larger chunk interpreted subconsciously through body language and emotions. We read people by seeing and feeling.

When masked because it is more difficult to communicate we naturally fall inward. Just get on with what we are doing. The easy chit chat as we make space for another now lost in the awkward silence.

I recall the first time I saw a person wearing a mask. I was shocked as I couldn’t get a feeling from them. Were they safe or not? With lack of natural sensing I heard myself judging them. If we can’t feel another we judge. When we judge we naturally create more judgement – good vs. bad. After all how many of us grew up watching Westerns – always it was the bad guys who wore the masks.

Now as the world shifts a bit more and masks are don we loose smiles. So very important to the modality in everyday life. Even this morning while on a jog as I exchanged pleasantries with a stranger we matched smiles. There is no threat when we see and feel the warmth of another’s smile.

I guess then we all have to work really hard at learning how to smile with our eyes. Instead of downcast awkward eyes, let’s fill them with the warmth of a smile which cannot be seen. And by doing so – our eyes will reach out with reassurance that all will be well. 

What Trails Behind

Down my road is a cluster of beautiful wild flowers which makes me smile. While the rest of the verge is flowerless, this little area is full with blossom. I recently discovered they were spread by a woman who, before going for a walk, fills her pocket with seeds and scatters them as she goes. I imagine all around their area there were other pockets of flowers enhancing bits of forgotten land. I owe her this beauty. It is such a simple and thoughtful action which set me to thinking about legacy.

What is legacy?

Is it a need to be remembered or an empire to be built? Is it ego based or so much more? What about our legacy – what are we leaving?Read More

Birthing Ideas

Creativity begins with inspiration. That wonderful feeling of possibility. At first, just an inside tickle bursting with potentiality. Then it stirs the tap, tap, tap of the imagination as an idea starts to take form. Energy surfs, desire grows, prompting action.

That’s the easy part. The wanting to do. Channelling desire into manifestation more of a challenge. Why it that? 

How do we reach the top of a mountain? 

  • Put one foot in front of the other
  • Keep focus
  • Take manageable steps
  • Learn as you go 
  • Reconfigure when necessary

That’s it. Same with manifesting an idea. Do one thing. Then do the next.

Then why it is so difficult?

Why do so many great ideas never reach fruition? Ideas require commitment. Commitment can feel like a hard slog. While leaving the path may seem so much easier than forging ahead. When we step off, pull back, change direction the energy of desire dissipates. Dampening down motivation, we go a bit flat. No longer surfing, we have left the wave. Rationalising, we accept defeat. Putting the surfboard away for another day.

But when we commit? Those ideas? They become even greater.

Ideas are wonderful things. Fuelling hope, the innate ability to create, pops into gear. When it does? We do not walk alone. For just as a seed has all that it needs to grow, held within potentiality, so does an idea. 

What’s the secret? 

Let it become your teacher. And just as a seedling will show you if it has fallen on poor soil, not getting enough water or light, so will your idea. Pay attention. Stay open to learning.

I’ve been on such a path. Birthing my idea. Writing my first book. And now the book is with the publisher soon to be tangible held in my hand. ’The Sticky Book of Stuckness – What’s holding you back?’ a memorable teacher. Writing about thirty ways we get ourselves stuck has released me. Stuckness awareness shifting my energy patterns. Taught me the value of staying on the path by clearly letting me know when I moved towards its edge.

After the last edit I have had to let it go. Now in the hands of professionals I await with some trepidation. I will see the manuscript once more. But only to check the proof. Returned, set in stone. Where-as, before it was alive. Then I could move the words around, delete and add at my will, as feelings rose and fell. And the path? My teacher and I close to the summit. Soon the deed will be done. My thought – a reality.

The beginning of something new. 

I do feel a bit out of sorts. I suspect a microcosm of ‘empty nest syndrome’. Like child-rearing my book was a major focus and now? It teaches me about the natural next step. Letting go. Relinquishing control. Trusting all will be well.

Like the vibrant energy of a young adult, my book will grab hold, continue to grow. No doubt with a life of its own, change and teach. Of this I look forward to.

And meanwhile in my empty nest? After a few days feeling a bit lost I am now starting to feel that tap, tap, tap of inspiration. New ideas dropping down. Another book waiting to be born.





Stress Bucket – Overflowing?

Stress is a good thing. Fuelled by adrenalin it is designed to give us energy. Helping focus it moves us forward. But it needs to remain at a manageable level. When stress levels are too high everything goes haywire, all feels too much. If too low, energy drops, focus dims, drive dives. 

The answer to maintaining a functional level? Keep an eye on your stress bucket.

Within all is a bucket perfectly designed to contain accumulative stress. Tucked away in the background this bucket silently fills. All is well until the stress level reaches the top of the bucket. Then even a single rain drop hitting the surface sets chaos loose. Coping mechanisms go out the window. Super stressed everything intensifies affecting Well-Being. 

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COVID19 – The Lesson of the Dream

Last night I dreamt of finding two locked boxes on an empty road. I knew I had to open the boxes but they were securely locked down. I proceeded with caution but managed to open the lid of the first box only to find a second more colourful box within. After a bit of a struggle I unfastened the inside box. Discovering a tightly wound spring I carefully put it in my pocket. But then all of a sudden, the spring no longer contained burst forth. Changing into a cardboard cutout of a head shortly before erupting into multiple blossoms.

So let’s break it down.

Starting with the empty road, the dream is current. Depicting the silence on our roads and the lack of outside activity due to the COVID19 Virus. The locked boxes? The first box metallic and functional represents the lock down we are experiencing. We have to social distance, life on the outside for most stopped. While the second more colourful box represents the effects of feeling locked down, locked in ourselves. On hold, contained, feeling in-prisoned. Held in. Unable to get out.Read More

A Path Well Taken

Thinking about my Mom on her 93rd Birthday. She’s really well. No aches or pains. Her short term memory well.. is short. But the good thing is she’s not bothered about it. In fact, a few years ago becoming more aware memory was becoming difficult to hold on to I recall her saying “It’s ok. I only remember the good things.” It is that accepting positive attitude towards the ageing process which cushions her from limitations. In all fairness, although getting weaker and needing a wheelchair when we go out – she still pulls herself up into the front seat of my brother’s truck or insists of climbing into the backseat of my sister’s two door car (as well, getting out again. Not even easy for me.)

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Earth Connection – Where Art Though?

Jet-lag for me is a killer. I am ok going from east to west but the return leaves me with my body present but no mind. Seriously. It is as though the mind takes a more scenic route and finally arrives a good few weeks later.

Until then?

Consequential brain fog. No short term memory. Walking into walls which are not there or going to step down when there is not a step to be taken. No balance, nauseous, headaches, totally out of sorts, no patience, short fuse, lost in the atmosphere. It’s a serious problem and a challenge for me. Not the sleep bit. I do all the adjusting to time zones and light but there is just nobody home – in me.

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Black Fur and White Cotton

Sitting in the garden, whites drying on the line and black cat sleeping in the chair beside me, life is good.

Stopping to read my first sentence, I feel blessed for the simple things which add to life. Often too easily we get caught up in drama, focusing only on problems or imprisoning ourselves in the web of pettiness. It’s good to be reminded held within any struggle are bountiful moments of ordinary peace which can go unnoticed flitting by a busy mind.  Something more pressing holds attention, like the last ping on our phones, the rampant to do list charging through our minds or echoes of conversations, both had and not had, reverberating, scoop us up and away.Read More