Day 1 — Self-Reflection
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. It is time for a lent meditation. I am using this period of Lent to conduct a self-examination, a lent meditation. For me it will be a form of meditation on myself—physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. For you it will be an opportunity, perhaps, to conduct your own self-examination.
Day 2 — Body: Origin
When I think of my body I immediately think of what is wrong with it. I think of what I do not have and what I have not been given—so I think. It is time, however, to really look at what I have been given, what I have to work with.
Day 3 — Body: Time
Time has played havoc with me physically. I know you cannot turn the clock back, but it can be difficult to accept where I am in relation to where I have been. Why is it not possible to just live with what happens? I see it happening to everyone else around me.
Day 4 — Body: Care
Yesterday I looked at how time has ravaged my body. More critical, though, is the effect my lack of care has had on my body. Bad food, alcohol, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, environment and attitude all play a part in my physical health. My toes have been going numb. At first I just dismissed it as not important. As it slowly spread I started to look into what could be happening. It is a symptom of type 2 diabetes. No! That cannot be right! I cannot have diabetes! I am healthy and fit...
Day 5 — Body: Change
In the last post I talked about changing my lifestyle, how am I proposing to go about this? What are the elements that come into play and what is the result going to be? In the end it is about consistency and consciousness. It is important that I am talking about lifestyle change, not going on a diet. Diets are temporary and rarely work. They are periods of suffering where cravings are re-inforced by denial. I have been through the 'loss > gain > loss > gain' cycle before. I am not going to do it again.
Day 6 — Body: End
In concluding the section on my body in this meditational journey, I want to look ahead. Why am I concerned about what happens to my body or how I treat it? I think I live authentically when it comes to my physical life.
Day 7 — Mind: Conditioning
My mind is my own! I am in control of what I think! I can decide what I do and how I live my life! Or can I? I am still a rebel. I go beyond the boundaries and forge a life which was not in the ‘plan’. I have come to love being a rebel. Whatever I was born with was soon over-laid with what other people wanted me to think. I was born with a sense of my masculinity, even as a baby. That did not last long. Parents, friends, teachers, film stars, colleagues all sought to tell me how to think and what to think. I thought they had good ideas so I listened to them. Was there anything left of me?
Day 8 — Mind: Beliefs
Out of the mess and confusion of my upbringing and education what beliefs have I developed? What has come out of this for me? Where has this led me? I believe that I have a gift to be able to look at life see and the patterns. I believe that I can control my life, that I can decide what I am going to do. I may not control the outcome, that is often in the hands of other people or the collective universal consciousness. What I can control is the effort and energy I put into whatever I do. Often that energy is enough to achieve what I want, but not always.
Day 9 — Mind: Writing
Writing has become my core way of expressing myself. Writing is my way to express my wants, needs and desires. Writing is about expanding my awareness. Do I achieve this? I just keep writing and know that I am doing the right thing. After I retired from my profession of architectural lighting design I declared myself a writer. This was a statement of intent and actuality. I set about putting it into action but I am not sure I have achieved it. I think about writing, I even do some writing, but I cannot say that my mind is full time occupied with doing writing. What is getting in the way?
Day 10 — Mind: Intention
I looked earlier at intention and how to put it into action with intention, effort and divine grace. What is intention? Is it desire, need or just greed? I will do my part by putting effort into achieving it and I will let Divine Grace do its work.
Day 11 — Mind: Effect
The effect of the exercising of my mind is to enable my creative power to do its work. My mind connects with the Universal Energy to channel thoughts and ideas to express themselves. In the grand scheme of things I am unable to know the effect of my contribution, but I know my contribution has an effect and always has done. I have experienced many examples of how my actions or my experience have inspired others even though I was not trying to do that.
Day 12 — Heart: Emotions
So far I have looked at my physical and intellectual aspects. I have found these understandable and, to an extent, controllable. My emotions, however, are less open to this kind of analysis and change. My emotions come from deep inside me and deep inside my history. In many cases they are hangovers from events in the past when I internalised my reaction to what I perceived was happening to me. These were not reactions resulting from thought or decision but ones based on fear or defence. They are about protecting me and creating what I want, as a child, from life.
Day 13 — Heart: Love
Love is at the centre of my emotional responses. It is either the lack of love, the desire for love or the need for love. This is easy to confuse with the play of love in my life. What is love as opposed to the need for love?
Day 14 — Heart: Anger
Anger is such a powerful emotion for me, it has dominated my life and caused untold chaos. I was so unsure of myself that I used it to create the person called Graham Phoenix. In the anger was confusion, hurt and a deep desire to know who I was. I was hitting out at those around me, blaming them for what I saw was wrong in my life. Anger was a powerful emotion that made me feel strong, even though it was an empty strength. I wanted those around me to bow down to my will and I knew no other way to achieve it.
Day 15 - Heart: Clearing
I find that there is always a mis-match between how I want to be and how I am. I can never permanently equate my heart with my emotions. My heart is where I want my emotions to lie. Why can I not marry the two up?
Day 16 — Heart: Living
Winding up this section on my emotional heart I am thinking about the many systems that exist for living my truth and acting with emotional authenticity. What is a simple way I can look at myself, daily, and stay on track.
Day 17 — Spirit: Seeking
I have been seeking all my life. I have always had this sense of looking for my home, my refuge. It has not been through a sense of lack or need, but through a sense of destiny. I spent many years on this journey before I found what I was seeking.
Day 18 — Spirit: Return
Yesterday I finished with, "My continued spiritual development proved to me that I had found my buried treasure back home. It also showed me that I had touched the Soul of the World." What did I really mean by this?
Day 19 — Spirit: Power
Having become aware of the spiritual unity that I am part of and accepting that it is connected to my purpose, what is the effect of that for me? What did I become? Was it worth it? The effect of my spiritual discovery was power. When I first started to host the 'Men Alive Show' on the radio I was unsure of how it would work. I loved the format of radio and understood its power. I did not know how I would perform. The first show, with Jeff Brown, went well and I was pleased with the result. I had done my research and enjoyed the conversation with Jeff. As the show proceeded I came to see the power I had in this medium.
Day 20 — Spirit: Source
I took part in a training programme to help me understand how my Source, or Soul, guided me in my life. This was an essential part of me accepting my spiritual development and growing in my ability to live authentically. What did this reveal?
Day 21 — Spirit: Meditation
The way into my growth and development spiritually is for me to cultivate meditation. This simple act is responsible for so much change in me. What is meditation and how do I go about it? Why do I do it and where does it take me?
Day 22 — Aware: Awareness
I have been through the four aspects of my life, Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual. As I have demonstrated they all reach their full power when I start with Awareness. This is the gateway to the opening of me heart, mind and soul.
Day 23 — Aware: Matrix
My self is a matrix, a jumble, of all that I have been talking about. In the same moment I am physical and emotional, intellectual and spiritual. I can never truly pin my life down to any one aspect or any one level of existence. Looking at how I climb a mountain I can piece together the matrix of how I evolve and develop moment by moment. Climbing mountains is something I love to do and it is something that stretches me on all levels. It takes skill, self-understanding and awareness of the context to be able to successfully achieve the peak, both of the mountain and of self-understanding.
Day 24 — Aware: Outside
In talking about turning back on a recent walk I had to deal with my reaction to the potential judgement of others. We are all subject to the judgement of others, whether it is spoken or not. How does my awareness speak to this and how do I rise above it?
Day 25 — Aware: Inside
To complete the circle on Awareness I repeat the questions I asked in the beginning; ‘Am I Aware?‘ Do I really know myself? Do I understand myself? I want to dig below my facade and find the truth.
Day 26 — Accepting: Acceptance
Acceptance is about bringing myself out of the shadows and being open about myself. Awareness has brought all the issues up and helped me to see what is going on, but that is not enough! Now it is time to absorb what I have discovered and make it mine.
Day 27 — Accepting: Judgement
I find the question of judgement in myself the most difficult issue to deal with. I find it difficult to accept that I judge others, yet I do. I find it difficult to see the projection of my issues onto others. How can I find my way through this maze?
Day 28 — Accepting: Beyond
Beyond accepting is living! Beyond accepting is flow! Beyond accepting is who I am meant to be and how I am meant to live. How do I move beyond accepting? How do I jump in the river and not drown? There is a point where I move beyond consciousness of myself to allow the flow of energy to come through me. There is a point where I need to let go of everything that is me and just be a channel. I do this more often than I realise. I allow me to move into the background and a deeper sense of me to come to the fore.
Day 29 — Accepting: Truth
What is the truth of who I am? Do I know myself at all? Can I accept all the parts of my nature or are there areas which are beyond my comprehension? What is truth? How will I know it when I see it? I show something to another person, looking for a reaction. The other person is confused, does not react but criticises me for not being clear about what it is. I get angry and storm out of the room. What is happening here? Who is doing what? Is there a truth about the situation?
Day 30 — Authentic: Authenticity
Authenticity is such a hot potato today. People have such powerful reactions to any claim to be authentic. What is the issue with this? Why are people so afraid of claims of authenticity? What is authenticity? The problem stems from people using authenticity as a badge of honour. If I reveal my darkest thoughts I can claim to be authentic. I am bad and admit it so I must be authentic. This, for me does not get to the heart of the matter. Authenticity is about more than baring your soul, it's about being totally honest with myself and with others.
Day 31 — Authentic: Mask
I used to regard the life I was leading as a lie. My fear was that people would see me as weak, indecisive and scared. We all have a Primary Question that we ask ourselves everyday of our lives. Mine was, “What if I’m found out?
Day 32 — Authentic: Wall
I often felt the urge to exert control, the need to get people to listen to me. What I did not realise was that it was all about boundaries, my boundaries. It took many years to discover that I could only control myself, not others. What took many years for me to discover was that I could only control myself, not others. To lead others I needed to be seen to be in control of myself. Learning to control myself, I realised, is about setting boundaries, something that is not as simple as it seems.
Day 33 — Authentic: Openness
I strive to be open. I seek to be myself. Achieving this can be difficult. It almost seems impossible. I have delved into my core, I have come out from behind my mask, I have re-built my boundaries, but there is something still there. Perhaps I am trying too hard? Perhaps I am seeking and missing the solution? Maybe it is there all the time?
Day 34 — Journey: Start
Earlier I wrote about seeking and returning, about how this had had a profound effect on my life. Looking back I can see the pattern of a journey in my life, a journey of profound importance to my life now and my life moving forward.
Day 35 — Journey: Shift
My jump off into the world of the theatre and rebellion was exciting and stimulating. But in the end it did not provide any answers to the seeking inside me. I still felt a loneliness inside despite all the people I met and worked with on a daily basis.
Day 36 — Journey: Demons
I left home and went travelling—finally travelling for myself, not travelling for business. This was a return to the rebellion I had started by going into the theatre but it was one with freedom, with an acceptance of uncertainty. I felt young again. I was now finding answers, I was now diving into myself and seeing what was there. I was learning about myself, changing myself, growing and developing. I was developing ideas of how to use this in the world, how to use my learnings to help other people. There was no focus to it yet, but there was a power growing inside.
Day 37 — Journey: Adventure
I had broken away from my old life and was busy forging a new one. Was this a new life or was it just a repeat of the same old pattern? Was I changing and renewing myself or was I just regressing to childhood and starting all over again? I had burnt my boats behind me, there was no going back. I had divorced my wife, sold my house and had taken on large debts that I had no foreseeable way of paying back. I was travelling and not pursuing my lighting design work so my income was shrinking. The situation was getting difficult, to say the least.
Day 38 — Journey: Strength
I let go of my neediness, I let go of my need. I found the inner strength to be me and to take my place in the world. I discovered that trying to re-create the world to what I wanted had caused all the problems I had faced in my life.
Day 39 — Journey: Return
Urmila and I were travelling the world. We were creating new businesses and re-thinking our relationships with the world. We were free of our old restrictions and partners, and were looking to keep it that way. How could I follow my purposein life?