Archive for Inspiration

10 ways women can learn to love themselves

By Minna Salami from

There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who truly loves herself. No matter what height, shape, hair-type or skin you have, the beauty of a self-loving personality is ultimately reflected in your behaviour. Learning to love yourself is the single most beautifying action, which reflects in how you act and react in any situation; how you speak, carry yourself and interact with other people are all determined by how genuinely you love yourself.

Learn how to meditate

In order to love yourself, you have to connect with the inner you. Set aside some time on a daily basis to simply ‘be’, and truly benefit from the gift of meditation. No woman is beautiful if she is stressed out.

Learn how to keep a journal

Keeping a journal is keeping a recorded dialogue with yourself. You can discuss your fears and woes, but also your successes and joys. The only way to love you is to know yourself. Keeping a journal is an important step in this process.

Learn how to listen to your intuition

Oestrogen is the hormone, which allows women to be especially in tune with our intuitions. As you get to know yourself better, your gut feelings will also become clearer. Listen to the signs that tell you how you feel about things; graciousness lies in the connection between intuition and action.

Learn how to accept your looks

Even supermodels have days when they are dissatisfied with their looks. It’s part of human nature, often as a sign that we are neglecting either our mental or physical health, to occasionally feel unattractive.  Accepting your looks, is a different matter however, and a trait, which will do more for you than any magic potion or surgery can.

Learn how to take care of your body

Your body is your temple; it is the capsule of your soul and mind. Communicate with it, by observing what makes you feel healthy, and strong. Remember that a body, which does not exercise, is a body not fulfilling its function.

Learn how to manage your finances

Whether you can afford a personal bookkeeper or not, staying on top of your personal in- and outgoings is crucial to your confidence. You are an independent woman, you came into this world alone, and to be frank, you will leave it alone. Don’t leave something as important as your finances, in the hands of another person.

Learn how to be kind

As much as we are independent, we are also co-dependent. We need other people in all elements of life, from daily service transactions to friends that we can share our lives with. Kindness is therefore a key to a happy life. As you do upon others, so will be done upon you.

Learn how to enjoy sex

Female sexuality is one of the most over-debated and misunderstood topics of our time. It’s no wonder that many of us begin to think of a sex as a chore, or a conundrum. The key to enjoying sex is in learning that you have every right to express yourself sexually. There is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for what you want in bed.

Learn about your sisters and mothers

Women are like branches of a tree; we have all come to be from the same roots. We are perhaps, even more co-dependant than men, because typically we connect with our emotions rather than our minds. Find out about those particular women that have paved the way for the lifestyle you lead. Starting from your mother, to your grandmothers, to the women that made a difference in your town. These are the mother’s of your mother’s of your mother’s.

Learn how to communicate with God

Whichever God you believe in, there are feminine attributes to your religion, which you particularly should seek out and learn how to use. Every individual woman should find her way to connect to the divine feminine too.


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The Gift of your Creative Potential…..The Power of Thought, Action and Emotion.

The change of season, and the glimpses of new growth, can bring a new awareness of our self potentially living our lives in a new way. This can assist us as a powerful catalyst to instigate change.

This brings us to a wonderful place of really questioning what it is that we would like to be experiencing in our life and most importantly how do we work towards getting to this place. Change does not have to be a hard, lengthy or even a painful process. However, sometimes we do hold this belief that change is something of a huge and gigantic trauma and so we can feel wary or even fearful of moving towards something new. To start with, let us examine this belief. Let us just view change as a simple and fluid process of embracing something new.

We may feel that we would like to welcome in a new experience into our life, or that we are searching for something to be different. If you feel that being in your current job is terrible, why not just for today start by thinking how you could view this position as one step closer to what you would like to be doing. If you desire to be in a relationship, instead of enhancing your loneliness, why not begin by seeing yourself in the process of finding love instead. If we are able to think about this situation (or our selves) in a more harmonious way, then we are also able to elicit feelings and emotions that also represent harmony and peace towards it.

Just bring yourself to think of one situation in your life that you do not find yourself totally at ease with. It does not have to be a major situation, just something that feels a little stuck, and maybe an issue that could use a fresh perspective to help you to embrace it. This could be anything from your journey into work, a relationship or family situation, to your decisions about your career.

Just for a short moment, just think of this situation and what emotions it brings up. Now let us change our thoughts towards it. Using the statement below as a template. Create one sentence that would help you to assist in thinking about this situation in a new way. What a great start.

‘I enjoy the feeling of new possibilities in my life. I enjoy being open to changing my thoughts and feelings towards…….. . I now see the situation of……… only with love and peace’.

How did it feel to say that? Good, a little odd (as you’ve only thought the opposite for so long), like it wasn’t true, or maybe like it could be a new way forward. There is no good or bad, we are all just learning and growing, so always be grateful for what the mind tells you, its another step towards being at peace.

Begin by bringing yourself to this new thought statement, every time your mind wanders to your old negative and disempowering thought patterns. This is just like planting a seed, so just let this new seed settle in your consciousness, as a gentle reminder that you are willing to embrace this situation with a fresh perspective.

Now let us address the emotional side of this situation. How do you feel towards this situation? Anger, fear, pain, upset, confusion, concern, joy, frustration?

Let us now take a moment to think of this situation but this time, allow yourself to align with feelings of peace towards it. So, let us just calm first, with a few deep and relaxing breaths, so that we are able to rest. You can close your eyes, and just feel that your deep, slow breathing is allowing you to breathe out any tension or stress. Now just visualise this situation and imagine yourself in it, at peace, see yourself going through the situation calm and relaxed, seeing it resolved and without stress.

To give you an example of the power of your emotions, lets do a little exercise. Allow your mind to focus on something (could be anything) that brings you pleasure. Seek out the pleasurable points of focus wherever you are now. This may be a flower, an item of clothing you like, another person, food. Whatever it is, seek out something that you like. Now focus on it fully and notice the positive feelings that arise.

Again, it is the simple process or how your positive emotions can arise, as your point of focus is on something pleasurable, rather than painful. Imagine now, how you would feel if you only directed your awareness to situations and thoughts that made you feel good.

By learning that if we allow our thoughts to focus on our willingness to change rather than the lack this situation brings, then our emotions and feelings can also change too.

This is the very first step to acknowledging the influence of our own creative potential in change.

Let us now just think of 1 small action or behaviour that you could undertake which would support your new perspective of change. It could be that you write your CV, research into a holiday that you always promise yourself, join a dating agency, take up a hobby or reconnect with a person you have lost touch. A small action, will affect your process of change by sending out signals that you are truly working towards this new place. No longer will frustration and worry effect you as you realise your internal turmoil was initiated by you not acting on your inner desires, rather than actually facing them. A small shift in your thoughts, beliefs and actions can have a dramatic shift on your life.

With love

Spiritual Psychologist – Nicola Phoenix

Next Time- The Gift of Connectedness…How change can involve Embracing rather than Separation.

Psychologist, Yoga Practitioner, Speaker, Writer

Neal’s Yard Remedies Therapy Rooms, London tel: 020 7379 7662


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Raw chocolate indulgence: best online resources for your Raw chocolate experience


As you probably know, cocoa bean has been valued and used by the native Indian civilizations of South America. Europeans brought the bean in the form of a bitter and stimulating drink to Europe where it was mixed with sugar to counter the bitterness and eventually was transformed into our-day chocolate by the ingenious Swiss chocolatiers.

But stop…. Did we get it all wrong in the first place? Modern chocolate today is primarily sugar, milk, soya emulsifiers, palm oil, roasted (!) cocoa powder and very small amounts (if any) of cocoa butter.

The reviving culture of raw chocolate is bringing back the superpower and health attached to the ‘raw’: unprocessed, not roasted cocoa and cocoa butter rich in nutrients, enzymes, antioxidants, and natural stimulants which increase your serotonin levels hence fighting depression and improving a general sense of well being.

Counter indications? I dare to say none, although remember, everything is good in moderation. I have met many happy raw chocolate lovers that replaced unhealthy breakfast and snacking with raw chocolate.

Sounds good!

I had a good look around the Internet and local health food shops to pick the places where you can easily get your raw chocolate:

The Raw Chocolate Shop is a bit of a raw chocolate hub as it offers the variety from different artisan raw chocolate makers. You will find all favourite chocolates in one place and it is very easy to order.

Rawr Chocolate offers good value chocolate bars both plain and with nuts or superfoods. Also, they sell exquisitely packed gifts and seasonal goods like raw chocolate Easter eggs, Valentines hearts, etc. It is my personal choice today and as I write this blog I am clicking on my cart, ordering 3 bars of delicious chocolate. Over £5 and the shipping is free – it is gotta be done!

Inspiral Lounge is a hub of raw food culture in London with a wealth of expertise in raw chocolates. For that premium taste and superfood-packed artisan chocolate look no further (they have an online shop as well!). They also sell raw (chocolate) cakes, which as they truly say, should be banned – they are so good!

Finally, if you, like me, are willing to go that extra mile and make your own raw chocolate to suit your taste buds perfectly and save a bit of money you may want to check a fun raw Londoner’s blog where you will find a collection of good recipes to start with. The magic of raw chocolate making is its simplicity. Once you know the basics, only sky is a limit and there is plenty of room for creative experimentation. Most recipes don’t take longer than 15 minutes to complete.

There is a plenitude of companies and health food stores selling raw chocolate-making kits these days. But I warn you: they are often quite pricy and come in small quantities!

I personally suggest a reasonably priced online shop at which sources sustainable raw cocoa powder, nibs, butter and a wide range of superfoods in larger quanitities. They are based in London, have been my first choice and the service has been excellent!

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The Spiritual Psychologist Nicola Phoenix: The Gift of Learning

For this first column, I start with gratitude for the creators of, who bring such an inspiring site of sharing, informing and togetherness. It shows us all what vision and intent can create in your life. I shall be writing more on this creative power within each of us in future columns.

This column is about the spiritual side of life. This is not just taking part in activities that we may call spiritual (such as yoga or meditation) it is about how we live our lives being in touch, being ‘in-spirit’ always. Being in touch with our own desires, needs and visions for our life, and how we can work towards these experiences in peace and with contentment. How can we use our intuition and personal insights instead of allowing our mind chatter to overwhelm our inner knowing? How can we embrace this wonderful journey of life with open arms to new experiences without fears and negative thoughts preventing us from experience joy and peace. This column is about being and staying in touch. Practical advice, questions to ponder and most importantly about a step forward in creating the life that you would like to living!

Throughout the coming weeks I shall keep you updated with information about events occurring throughout London, which may be helpful and beneficial to keeping yourself in-spirit in your London life. Most importantly, this column is a place to enhance your learning and development as you walk the path of your life.

So starting as we mean to go on, let us take learning from this column together. I previously mentioned walking the path of your life. How often do we let ourselves become absorbed in how well, what way, and whether others are walking what we feel is right for them. Although so often we come to this situation from a point of caring, concern and love for another, it is such a wonderful point of our own learning to let others live their lives and for you to follow yours. Quite simply allow others to be the master of their journey and even if you think that they are (metaphorically of course!) driving their journey of life at the wrong speed, in the wrong lane, or even in the wrong direction as the rest of the traffic, that is just where they are now. It can and will change, but for now we can embrace the idea of teaching others by our own path of living in spirit and let them be inspired from this. The well known and loved quote by Mahatma Ghandi

“Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Let us try to be the peace, joy and happiness that we wish to see in our world and more importantly our selves, and inspire others by embracing and living our own truths. Use this time in your life to ponder what feels right for you? Allow each aspect of your life to be addressed with the positive intension of tapping into where you would like to be, what would you like to be doing and how would you like to be feeling towards it?

It may be useful for you to take a little time to write down a few ideas, or draw a picture of what you would like your future to look like. Allow new ideas to flow in, and even start to think of all of those dreams that you have stored away waiting for the right time, its here now. Use this time as the very start of allowing yourself to become aware of what it is that you would really like to do with your life. For change always begins with awareness. If we can become aware of what it is that we would like to change…that is the fist step in heading in the right direction for us. Over the coming weeks we shall be looking at creating these ideas as your reality and of course how to make sure that the resistance and barriers that we can at times put up…are firmly gone.

Enjoy getting in touch with what it is you would like to experience in your life! No limits or restrictions, just allow your self to ponder the possibilities.

With love

Nicola Phoenix

Next Time – The Gift of your Creative Potential – The Power of Thought, Action and Emotion.

Psychologist, Yoga Practitioner, Speaker, Writer
Neal’s Yard Remedies Therapy Rooms, London tel: 020 7379 7662

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A happy union of discipline and urban living: 4 ways to enjoy the efforts of personal practice

We all live busy lives. Work, shop, cook, socialise, relax, keep your shape right, catch up with all social networks, maintain our relationships, miraculously manage to get everywhere in time (-ish), search for a job, house, happiness, yoga class, tai chi, singing, dancing, gym, Saturday’s farmers market and oh, movies. We are all immersed in making a living or making our dreams come true trying to enjoy the process as we go along. We are like individual state governments and all the citizens at the same time, trying to juggle a myriad of responsibilities, duties, preferences, likes, dislikes, meanings and directions accounting to the toughest boss in the word – ourselves.

So we all know the benefits of a little bit of discipline. Consistency bears results whether it comes to going to bed half an hour earlier, sustaining a healthy diet, exercising or studying. But when it comes to a personal spiritual practice we often see that it is tucked away in the corner of our lives for ‘when I have a bit of free time’.
For some reasons it is fun going to classes and learning yoga, meditation or tai chi but hard to sustain the practice at home. A friend once asked me “Once I am at home it is as if I am lacking ideas of what to do with what I have learned…How do you manage your daily yoga practice?”

So here are 4 points to make discipline work for you:

1. Whatever you do must be enjoyable. As Minna mentioned in another blog post if you have an idea that meditation, contemplation, yoga, jogging or tai chi is a duty, then it will be a duty, getting heavier every day. Enjoyment comes from finding a deep meaning to your practice. So whether you are giving a practice a try, are curious to see results or want to seriously commit – find your meaning. Know what you want from it while remaining flexible in that knowing. Now that’s a science!:)

2. How do you find meaning? Personalise it. It is your life, your breath, your movement and your stillness. You may have learned it from someone but you have got to live it yourself – otherwise you will be mocking someone’s life! You have got all the intuition and wisdom in the world to sense what it is that works for you – be brave to explore it and live it!

3. Have a fixed time for your practice, but be prepared to break the rules you have created. The whole mechanism of our minds functions best in patterns. We have patterns of eating, sleeping, working and also patterns of times when our minds are still. When you set a time for your practice, you gently guide your mind into a new pattern of peaceful collaboration.
However, don’t forget to constantly review your life circumstances to suit you! “Fixity of goal, flexibility of routine” – a Kriya yoga master Yogiraj teaches. Your newly discovered freedom and personal growth ends the moment when the rigid concepts of righteousness and solid routine are established in your head. How to figure out this rather fragile balance of having a routine versus having none? Sounds very mystical, but it is not: follow your heart. It is a matter of fact that you can sense whether you are pushing yourself too much or too little, whether you are being fanatic or lazy, let your guide your heart ways in a smooth fresh stream.

4. Set realistic goals and your priorities right. If you are working 40 hours a week, study, socialise, have kids while still managing to invest your time in other activities you love – acknowledge that and don’t feel pressurised to spend two hours daily in serene meditation. If you have got 15 minutes, then happily accept that you have got 15 minutes. Whatever you have got is perfect! Once you start your practice rolling the priorities of busy living will shift naturally according to your needs. However, if you keep telling yourself that you will take your practice seriously someday or some year in the future, don’t fool yourself. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it is called present. The time is always now. Make this fun and joyous leap!

Persistent personal practice is a discipline undertaken in the pursuit of a goal. Yogi Bhajan said that a personal practice, in various Buddhist, hindu and mystic traditions reffered to as Sadhana, doesn’t give you a written guarantee from God.

“The one who does Sadhana builds himself such a powerful personality he can conquer anything! That is why I do my own Sadhana. I have been doing it for years. I do it even now.”
Some people ask me, “You are a Master, why do you do Sadhana?”
I say, ” To remain a Master!”

– Yogi Bhajan

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Spiritual Living: 5 ways to make meditation a part of your daily life

Meditating can produce an inner calm. It can wake up your heart and mind and help you see more clearly, and feel more fully. When you open your eyes, your heart will open too.
Yet, so many of us struggle to find the time in our increasingly busy lives for meditation, making it feel more like a chore than a pleasure.
The key to making it a part of your life is to understand how enjoyable silent contemplation can be. It is not hard work, or boring, meditation is fun! Below are five useful tips to hopefully get you synching and connecting with that inner fountain of love and peace.
1. Substitute the word ‘meditation’ with ‘me-time’.
As much as I love to meditate, I’m not a great fan of the word. It sounds quite clinical, and certainly not like a source of enjoyment, which makes it easier to neglect on a busy day.
2. Make ‘me-time’ fun.
That way you will want to do it more frequently. It can be very rewarding to sit in Buddha position and just quieten the mind, but on occasion you might prefer to draw, cook your favourite meal, write or go for a jog. The only criterion is that you connect your me-time activity to your ‘self’. So, if you choose to draw, sketch something that makes you feel calm. If you write, make it a poem. If you cook your favourite meal, try to connect with the food, enjoy the textures, aromas and colours of the ingredients.
3. Spend ‘me-time’ every day.
Even Barack Obama sets aside me-time. You can too. Start with five minutes a day. That’s nothing! Be persistent and gradually, you will likely spend longer as you will find yourself looking forward to your reflection time.
4. Expand your imagination.
On those days you decide just to sit and contemplate (which I highly recommend you do), imagine that you are on a private beach by yourself, or in a tropical garden lying on a bed of scented flowers, or that you are a ballet dancer practicing in an empty arena. You can be anywhere or anything, set your imagination free!
5. Spend me-time on the go.
Meditation is about more than sitting at home in a reflective state of mind. It means making connections to everyday life. Take your reflective mind with you wherever you go. For example, stay calm during your commute to work by listening to meditation music on your mp3 player. Close your eyes, reflect over the calming sounds and transport yourself into your inner world. Your colleagues will wonder over your new calm and peaceful moods!

Minna Salami is a writer and blogger who loves the blessing of me-time and silent reflection. You can read more of her musings on the missmays blog

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The Power of Chant

Creation begins with the activity of consciousness, which may be called vibration, and every vibration starting from its original source is the same, differing only in its tone and rhythm caused by a greater or lesser degree of force behind it.- Hazrat Inayat Khan

Scientists, mystics & scholars throughout the ages have articulated the understanding that we exist in a field of constantly vibrating awareness.  It is truly as if we are part of a grand symphony, each of us a unique and beautiful instrument resonating within the whole.

Sound changes our vibration, because we ourselves are vibration.   We encounter a huge range of sound vibration every moment of our lives – a car alarm in the street, a baby crying on the bus, a thumping techno beat in a club, a loving word whispered in our ear – each of which communicate vastly diverse messages to different levels of our being.  In an urban environment we may find ourselves shutting down and playing our ipod to drown out this huge seeming cacophany of sound surrounding us.  Yet if we listen attentively and use sound consciously we can use even the most jarring of sounds to attune our own vibration and heighten our awareness.

A tone is a meaning-carrying sound – Dane Rudhyar

You don’t have to be a musician to perceive tone – tones are the living, organic essences of sounds, conveying the colour and character of each sound entity… within the sound of the hoover we may detect a low tone not so dissimilar to a didgeridoo or within the sound of an aeroplane taking off we may hear the high tones that children so love to mimic.  We talk about ‘tone of voice’ – a teenager’s rebellious communication may prompt the response – ‘dont take that tone of voice with me!’ from a teacher – it is not what we say but how we say it, and it is tone that communicates the meaning and intention of our words.

To sound is firstly to listen – to listen for the tone within each sound, within each word, within each thought – for even in our inner world, our thoughts are resonating at certain pitches and frequencies.   We each have our own individual inner soundtrack playing constantly and whilst this takes place within the privacy of our mind, our thoughts radiate and create an atmosphere around us – our mood.  This is observable from without – we will talk of a person being in a bad mood without knowing the content of their thoughts – but were we to attune ourselves to the finer sound vibrations of their thoughts, we would be able to detect the content of them and be listening ourselves to Bad Mood FM.

This telepathic awareness of intent is acutely developed in animals – whose survival depends on being able to know when the next predator is around the corner and also in plants – as scientifically demonstrated by Cleve Backster in 1960s who discovered that a plant could sense his intent to damage one of its leaves before he even took action.  Even a rock is composed of vibration, just much denser, slower ones than a bird.  So all of nature is listening and singing, listening and singing in continual call and response.  Beyond our own blue and green rock, the big rocks in the sky are also vibrating, singing their tones which have been mathmatically measured and recorded.  So it can be that when a planet starts singing backwards, we all get a headache…:)

To chant, then, is to change our whole sonic landscape – is to consciously alter our resonance.  To interrupt the unceasing flow of inner sound and to chant the sacred syllables of a mantra such as Ohm Mane Padme Hum is akin to letting off a sonic rocket in the mind. The underlying soundtrack defragments in order to align itself with the resonance of the mantra inwardly and outwardly.  Of course it is our tone that determines our engagement and the resulting effects.  Mantras – Man – think/mind; Tra – tool – are powerful healing instruments that have been diversely used since the beginning of time by everyone from the Beastie Boys, Kula Shaker, The Beatles and the Dalai Lama.  There’s nothing to say that headbanging versions are any less effective than monastic use.  All are part of the divine symphony.

The benefits of chanting include:
* Physical – Singing of any sort causes the whole body to vibrate and resonate.  This has a very relaxing, releasing effect – the breath cycle lengthens, happy hormones (endorphins) are released into the blood stream and tensions dissolve.  Entering the rhythmic experience of chant stabilises and harmonises our own body rhythms and can prompt ecstatic dancing!
* Emotional – Emotions are energy in motion.  As we chant our energy starts moving, liberating our being.  Tears flow and laughter rises, opening the heart, cleansing the residue of past trauma and connecting us back into the beauty of the present moment.
* Mental – As we focus on the melody and words of chant, the mind becomes still and concentrated.  Thoughts crystallize, becoming clear and spacious.
* Spiritual – Whatever your spiritual practise, we can all receive great nourishment from contacting the silent awareness which informs every sound- the vast silent realm beyond thought, beyond the beyond.  We connect with the quiet, still observer within, which witnesses everything silently.  Our perspective widens and we may receive powerful insights, images and intuitive guidance.
* Fun –  most importantly!   Playing with sound is fun! The creative aspect of us wants to learn and experiment.  Exploring our voice in the safe space of chanting enables us to discover new realms of self-expression, fine tuning our self-awareness and ultimately giving us the sense that it is ok to be us. Singing in a circle also enhances our listening for others, heightening our communication skills on every level.

In the vibrationary bedrock of all existence exists a singular sound entity which is utterly unique yet completely interconnected to everything in the Universe and beyond.
Like a pearl in the seabed, shining, glistening, complete and beautiful in itself – it radiates resonantly, glowing with divine potential.
That pearl is you.
You are the wonderful creative unique being at the core of your own existence.  Without you, it wouldn’t all being going on.
Recognising your own divinity is the truth transmitted by all great teachers – ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you’.
In the resonant field of chant, we can remember the divine creative vibratory essence that we are.
As the sound current flows through us, we can sing our essence into being,
Ultimately becoming aware that as we sing, we are infact being sung
By the heavenly silent symphony that makes all One.

Sat Nam. Ohm. Namaste. Insh’Allah. Halleluyah! Shalom.
Katie Rose

Katie Rose is a qualified holistic therapist who has facilitated sound workshops with adults and children across the UK and internationally.
She became aware of her vocation to use the voice as a healing instrument at the age of 15 and has recently released an album, The Singing Tree.
For more info about singing and chanting workshops please visit or email

©Katie Rose March 2010


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