The Funeral

FUNERAL

 

 

 

I’ve never gone to the funeral of a bad person,
It seems that everyone, no matter how awful,
Is transformed by death.
Or is it we who are changed?
The people left behind,
Who realise in the finality of another’s death
That they weren’t so very bad after all.

Seeing the good in another when they have gone,
Noticing the kindness, the lovely uniqueness
Of a life gone forever, deciding to overlook
The faults in favour of all that made us smile and laugh,
Being forgiving and generous with our affection,
To a person that is no longer here…

Funerals are silly affairs in many ways,
Favourite songs played and flowers displayed
To comfort the living, to reassure us that we loved,
We cared, we noticed and remembered, what?
A few paltry details to sum up a life lived.

Give me your flowers, forgiveness,
love and attention now,
Give me your laughter, kindness
And companionship today.
Give me you, honestly and with conviction,
Or walk away if you wish,
Either way I’ll pass on the black ostrich feathers,
The garlands of lilies and the eulogy of my life.

Bury me without tears, ceremony or favour.
Lay me down and let me be.
I wasn’t so very different from anyone you know,
I was good, I was bad, I was foolish,
I was me, just as you will be you.
Don’t try to make my life stand for something.
I am not a metaphor to bolster you,
I lived and then I died,
What happened in between only has meaning for me.

Have your funeral if you will, but know
It is a funeral for you, not for me.

© Sue Claughton, 2016

Are You A Conscious Shopper?

conscious shopperI go shopping, of course I do. I buy food, clothes and lots of other stuff. But, I shop consciously, I’m wide awake. What does that mean? And why does it matter?


To be a conscious shopper means that whenever and whatever you buy, you are aware of the implications of everything you buy. You consider carefully whether what you’re buying has caused pain and suffering to other people, non-human beings and Gaia. You’re constantly on the lookout for the Leaping Bunny, Fairtrade, Soil Association, Certified Organic logos and many more.

Another very important aspect of being a conscious shopper is one that many people are unaware of. To be conscious means that you are no longer subject to programming via the media and other people. You don’t buy to impress or build an identity. When you’re wide awake, you see all the subtle and not so subtle selling techniques that encourage you to buy. You realise that material possessions are just that – possessions. Cars, clothes, jewellery or houses cannot be absorbed into what makes you, YOU.

The products you buy are just things. Beautiful they may be, but they are unable to make you beautiful or ‘better than’ in any significant way. When you’re awake, you don’t buy when you have no money and you don’t buy as a form of therapy. You buy without attachment to an outcome other than the specific purpose the item was created to fulfil.

The biggest mind control trick the world has ever seen is being played out online and in every shopping mall and city street. It’s a technique that persuades people to buy even when they don’t have sufficient funds, it promises people happiness, admiration, contentment, beauty, health, popularity, sex and even the ability to defeat the ageing process. But every one of these promises hinges on a hard exchange of cash and every single one of them is a lie.

So why do people keep falling for it, over and over and over again? Why keep doing something that keeps you working longer and longer hours and empties your bank account every month? Hope. And fear. Hope that the next item of clothing, the next car, the next gadget will bring that longed for sense of completeness and happiness. And the fear that you are just not good enough as you are. Fear that you need embellishment, improvement or even a disguise to get people to love you.

Can you see what I’m describing? Do you recognise yourself? Maybe, you are like me? Perhaps you have woken up and are free of the mass programming that keeps people enslaved on this planet. If you are, be vigilant. The advertising agencies, marketeers and media folk are depth psychologists. They understand you, they know what makes you tick and they know what makes you afraid. And they use every trick in the book to reel you back in. How do I know? Because I was one of them. I used to make a living selling stuff no one needed or even wanted until the need was created in an advertising agency and fed into the collective unconscious.

Since my awakening, I’m doing what I can to redress the balance. Instead of writing persuasive copy to sell stuff nobody wants, I’m reaching out to nudge people awake. I’m spilling the beans on the hoaxes perpetrated by the sales and marketing folk. I hope I’m as successful at helping people see through the sales hype as I was at creating it.

The Garden Of Lost Dreams

Have you ever wondered
Where every spiralling
Possibility goes?

Do they all take root
And grow,
In an out of the way
Corner of the Universe,
That is dark to your eyes,
But nonetheless exists?

Is the place
Your ideas and passions
Are relegated to,
Any less real
Than this place,
Now, where your
Attention rests?

If you become still,
Very still and silent,
Could it be possible
To feel the scattering
Of your hopes and dreams?

They are surely attached
To your heart,
The place of their birth.

And if this is so,
It is never too late
To dislodge them,
To reel them in,
To find a home for them,
Here, right where you are,
Now.

Because these possibilities
Are your seeds,
And within them lies new life,
A better life, a truer life.
A life born from fearless passion,
Before good sense and reason
Banished them as childish dreams.

If you cannot or will not
Call them home,
I will say farewell
With a boldness I imagine
And make true with every step.
I will go where you do not,
To tend the garden
Of lost dreams.

I will never retrace my steps
Back to you,
But the invitation always remains,
Silently and without judgement,
In the space where I once stood,
For you to join me,
Because once I’ve gone,
I cannot be reeled in.

I belong to no one,
My heart stays with me
In love with the living
Of truth, joy and peace.
But above all I follow
The call of love.

And that is why you can follow
But I can never return,
Because love never wavers
In its course, and once
A heart is plucked by the current
It can only go onward, never back.

© Sue Claughton, 2016

garden of lost dreams

Falling Head Over Heels In Love With Yourself

HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVEIn the developed world the predominant school of thought is that you buy your identity. You buy a house, car, clothes, jewellery and a phone. This school of thought invests in the notion that these things define you and in a way, prop up an idea of who you are. It’s like putting on a show, you dress the stage and the stage is you. The more richly and elaborately you dress the stage, the more successful you appear to be. This way of thinking and being in relationship with the world is insane and unsustainable.


What is success? Do you define success by wealth? What is wealth? I am one of the wealthiest people I know, not because I ‘have it all’ but because I have everything I need. There is no grasping and longing for more. I’m not hungry for stuff. Material possessions are not who I am. And that’s why I’m wealthy – I’ve dropped the desire to acquire belongings as a means of self definition. When you are happy with what you’ve got, you no longer compare yourself to others. You no longer look at what others have and want it for yourself. You are free of greed.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have nice things. I have lots of beautiful things in my home. None of them cost very much. They are beautiful because they MEAN something to ME. That is where their value lies, in their intrinsic worth to me rather than an audience.

I have a theory about why material possessions never really make most people happy. It’s because they’re subconsciously buying them for an audience rather than for their personal gratification. So after the initial rush of actually buying whatever it is, they feel flat and unfulfilled. They feel like this because the item wasn’t really bought for them, it was bought to impress others and to portray an image to the outside world. So, on it goes, buying more and more stuff. But it’s never enough to plug the hole, the sense of emptiness, that lies at the core of so many people. Buying in this way never works because the things people really want can’t be found in any shop.

People, first and foremost, want to feel loved and safe. They want to wake up every morning without fear and anchored deeply in peace. We all want this above everything else. So why don’t more of us seek these qualities, if it’s true that this is what we really want? It’s all down to programming. We’ve been programmed since birth to believe that everything we want is out there in the world and in order to be happy, we’ve got to go out there and find these treasures. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everything we need for a blissful existence lies within us. We are all rich beyond our wildest imagining.

Just because everything of worth lies within us doesn’t mean it’s easy to claim the riches we were born with. Simple, yes. Easy, not necessarily. It can be a long and painful road to get to the point where we realise this for ourselves. A successful life is finding the key that unlocks this internal treasure trove. The key is always self-love.

Instead of trying to persuade the world that we are worthy of love, we need only convince ourselves that we are loveable. So the bottom line is we’ve got to embark on a love affair with ourselves. When we fall head over heels in love with ourselves, we simultaneously fall in love with the world and the world magically and inevitably follows suit.

Do you wish to harm or heal?

harm or healComing at the world from the stance of outrage and indignation is one of the biggest spiritual traps to fall into. I know because it had me for a few years. Outrage at environmental pollution, outrage at war, poverty, etc., etc. It doesn’t matter, it’s all the same even though the object of the outrage is different. Posting on here, day after day, on suffering, injustice and pain diametrically opposes what you as a spiritual person want to represent. I’m almost ducking down now as I imagine the ‘outrageous indignation’ my post on this will provoke.


I’m not including love orientated activism here, because that is something completely different. It’s PRO-love-peace-unity-kindness-compassion. What I’m highlighting is the ANTI-brigade, of which I was a member. And I can tell you from direct experience that all it does is generate MORE of that which it opposes – MORE anger, hate, separation, fear and lack. If you think of your physical body as a generator of energy, you get to choose what you will output into the world – negative or positive energy. It’s a massive responsibility to ensure that everything you put out enriches your environment (the world at large) and your inner sacred space. Both are equally important.

Being angry, outraged and indignant is contracting, being loving, peaceful and compassionate is expanding. So on a personal level first, you get to choose whether you wish to harm or heal yourself. And the same goes for how the energy you output affects the world – your family, friends, neighbours, the air we all breathe, the plants and animals and even the weather.

Being ‘against’ something doesn’t make it go away. In fact, the reverse is true. You actually feed what you are against the more you focus your attention on it. I can see how this trap came about. Because subconsciously we all instinctively know that we are creator beings, we mistakenly believe that by the force of our intention we can blast something we don’t want out of existence. But in an energetic universe, energy is energy. Positive and negative energy are both food sources, and not just for living beings but also for ideas, concepts, organisations, religions and countries.

Everything is sustained by energy, whether that be positive or negative energy. The best way to eradicate something is to cut off its food source. You cut the cord that attaches you to whatever it is and that thing, person or event disappears from your personal reality, and if enough people do the same, it disappears from the collective reality. Why? Because it is starved of power and everything needs power/energy in order to manifest in physicality.

Perhaps it would also serve us to explore WHY we are attracted to the sensation being outraged creates within us. Could it be the ego delights in being in the right? Maybe we prop up our sense of self-importance, our belief that we are above reproach by generating the energy of outrage against someone or something we believe to be ‘less than’ us in some fundamental way? Or maybe we find it difficult to bear witness to the pain and suffering of others and don’t know what to do about it?

If you can relate to these suggested reasons for your attachment to the state of outrage and indignation, go easy on yourself. What you need isn’t self judgement. All that’s needed is a shift in emphasis from anti towards pro, from fear to love and from separation to unity. Because that’s the bottom line really, we are all intimately linked in this vast interconnected web of existence. At the core of Life, there is only the One – infinity creative, infinity curious and infinitely playful, experimenting with what works and what doesn’t.

 

Dark Night Of The Soul

dark nightI have never felt as loved as I do right now. Everything in my life is falling into place, one beautiful piece at a time. I’m not writing this to gloat, I am sharing this to bring hope to anyone that is in a very dark place. Last year was my dark night of the soul, my year from hell. I was in pain, despondent and directionless in many ways.


But here I am now, in the most beautiful of places. And I got here by completely letting go of what I thought I needed and wanted. I got out of my own way and allowed the Universe to flow through me. I became quiet and I really listened. I listened to my inner voice/higher self/intuition and I did as I was asked. When I stopped fighting the flow and let go, the flow washed me clean and carried me to a new place, a place that was right for me.

I paid attention to outer signs and serendipitous events and learned to ride the flow that moved through me. I can honestly say that going with the flow is easy once you get started. Because you are riding the current rather than fighting against it, it takes far less effort and you build up a sort of excess of energy. And this energy or life force is then freed up for you to consciously create.

When things go wrong for you, not just one thing, but many things one after the other, it’s a sign that you are moving in the wrong direction. The Universe is trying to get your attention and it sets up all these little blocks to get you to stop. If you ignore these signals and carry on regardless, bigger things go wrong until you are forced to stop. That’s exactly what happened to me. I didn’t listen. I didn’t stop until I was forced to stop.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If we pay attention to our inner and outer world, we can avoid a total collapse of our lives. Maybe for some of us, and certainly for me, our lives have to come crashing down in order for us to change emphasis and direction. If you’re like me and this is where you are now, allow it all. There’s no need to be afraid. Be like the Phoenix. You will arise from the ashes of your former life to create something new, something that is right for you.

And when you do begin to rebuild, you’ll know you are on the right path because it will feel right. You’ll feel like I do now – loved, supported, engaged and purposeful.

Namaste

Cosmic Pauses: Letting It All Go

cosmic pauseI’m having one of those days when lots of little things are getting under my skin. I’m safe, I’m fed and I’ve got a roof over my head. So it’s time to let the small stuff go. It doesn’t matter. We don’t get to control everything, but if we think we do and reality doesn’t match up, we end up creating tension within ourselves.


My dog just re-minded me of that. He’s a bit of a Zen master. He doesn’t use words. But he doesn’t need to – his eyes do all the talking for him. I tuned into him just now. We locked eyes. His eyes are warm pools of gentleness and patience. They told me to ease up, take a few deep breaths and allow life to be how life wants to be. He’s gone to sleep now. His job is done. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a dog or a cat. Seriously, I’m not going mad. What I’m talking about – the wisdom that channelled through my dog – is available to everyone, all the time.

I call them, these moments of healing wisdom, Cosmic Pauses. They’re everywhere because this world of form is punctuated by gateways that can be used to access everything we need to lead a harmonious life. They appear in nature, in music, in art and they’re waiting for you to notice them.

When you stop, however briefly, and rest your attention on a thing of beauty, you bring yourself into alignment within the animating force behind it. You’re aligning with the source of beauty, stillness and silence that resides at the core of life – at the core of YOU. In the world of form, all these expressions of life appear separate, however in the realm beyond form, there is only the One.

When you stop and consciously reconnect, you’re affirming non verbally that you are hooked up and provided for in every way. You can sense your support system everywhere, and the illusion of separateness softens. If you are feeling tired, you begin to feel the life force boosting your energy levels. If you are sad, you feel tendrils of life’s joyous expression embrace you and lead you into your heart’s joy. If you are afraid, you sense the indomitable power of life and realise that same power runs through your veins. And if you’re feeling agitated, you feel the calm, patience of life seep into your mind, bringing you peace.

All these qualities are your qualities. You possess them all in abundance. Make a space for them in your life. Press pause and breathe deeply. Inhale them. Welcome them. Your body is a vessel. Fill it wisely.

The Sacrament of Breathing

sacrament of breathing

 

 

 

Inhaling and exhaling,

I breathe my life into being.

This oxygen is not a commodity;

I can’t capture it,

I can’t keep it locked behind my ribs,

Hidden in my lungs

As an insurance policy in case of lack.

This life supporting elixir isn’t mine to own,

It will pass through me,

Like all of life’s gifts and graces.

 

This quiet and gentle breath,

This universal embrace and release

Is the rhythm, the backbeat of life,

A priceless gift of replenishment.

This intimacy, this lover’s caress,

As my lungs expand and contract

Brings me into sacred harmony

With the eternal ebb and flow,

That sustains life’s dance of form.

 

If I only ever sit with the breath,

I need never follow a guru,

Worship at an alter,

Or study sacred texts.

The breath will take me to the hidden places,

The secret caverns of my soul.

It will calm me, enlighten me and centre me

In the heart of my own becoming.

And on its last embrace it will deliver its greatest gift.

 

© Sue Claughton, 2016

 

 

 

 

Sacred Suffering

sacred sufferingThe beautiful thing about spiritual awakening is that nothing is wasted. Every tear shed, every anguished moment, every gut wrenching feeling of fear and soul deep loneliness is transformed by love. Love never wastes a single second of our lives. Once we signal to the Universe that we are ready by opening our hearts in trust, we are shown why our lives have unfolded as they have. We suddenly see with absolute clarity the treasures that were hidden in every pain. It’s an instantaneous gift of understanding, or grace. And we wonder why we never saw the truth of our suffering before.


We didn’t see it because we didn’t know how and because we weren’t ready. Seeing in this way often reveals our purpose to us – that most sacred of tasks we accepted to deliver before our birth into the physical. And that’s when real life actually begins for us. It begins in earnest the day we begin to fulfil our purpose.

Some of us have to suffer a great deal before we surrender to life. It’s not the only way to wake up and begin to live from the heart, but it’s effective. Some of us don’t begin to live until we are twenty, thirty, forty or beyond. But that’s okay. There are many that die before they’ve even lived one wide awake authentic moment. And that’s okay too. We have many lifetimes to perfect the art of being human.

With love and light

Sue

International Women’s Day

 

Photo by Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images

I watched Suffragette last night so I could really focus on what today is all about. At the end of the film, they listed all the countries that ‘gave’ the vote to women. I had no idea there were so any countries where women only got this most basic of freedoms until relatively recently. And there are STILL places where women are unable to vote today. Women have suffered thousands of years of oppression, abuse, persecution, rape, genital mutilation and murder. We must never forget that, ever. The reason we must never forget is so that we ensure that this never happens again – not only to women – but to any group of people, whether that be defined by religion, colour, sexual orientation or race.

I am sitting here in the UK, sharing my thoughts with women all over the world. It is my right to do so as an autonomous human being. I am FREE. Many of our sisters are not free. Today, I pay homage to the women who fought so heroically and tirelessly for my freedom and I bow my head in solidarity for my hidden sisters that still suffer under the yoke of oppression. Peace be with all men and women, united as One.

9 Amazing Women Who Defended The Environment

60 Stunning Photos Of Women Protesting Around The World