18 Sep 2018

Awakening the fire within




Last week I cried three times, I cried because I couldn't fit myself into the clothes I used to wear on nights out merely a year ago, I cried because I was stressed about life, work, family, friendships, and lastly I cried because I let go, I let my stresses, worries, anxieties take flight and I cried, I unashamedly cried in a room full of people in a private dining room at Artisan in Spinningfields. I know what you're thinking, I got boozed up and had a drunken cry on a night out right? Well, not this week. This week I took part in my first Candle Gazing Meditation session hosted by Ashleigh Guthrie.

Now I've always been a little bit of a sceptic when it comes to meditation, mindfulness etc (you can even read a blog post all about my attempt be become "mindful"). I've tried meditating to a soothing soundtrack on my iPhone, lighting incense like I'm performing some ritual to the anti-anxiety gods and I’ve read books about Buddhism in the hope that my new enlightened self will forget about the crippling anxiety I feel on a regular basis. But all to no avail, I'm still sad, I still worry about stupid things, I still sometimes just want to just curl up in a ball and not leave my bed. I know there’s no miracle cure but I live in hope. So when I got the opportunity to go to a Candle Gazing Meditation session I was intrigued, first of all I had no idea what "candle Gazing" was and secondly, maybe, in order for this meditation thing to work maybe I shouldn’t be going it alone?



Sitting down at the table, the room was filled with the meditative sounds of music that you find common during a pilates or yoga session that create a chilled, peaceful environment. Each place was set with the same items, a teacup filled with hot water, a citrus and ginger green tea tea bag, a homemade Cocoa and salt chocolate button, meditation oils, a pen, a pencil and a candle. What is key to know about these sessions is that Ashleigh works with the senses. She aims to combine chocolate meditation, hypnotherapy, aroma, touch, breath work and sound therapy to guide you inwards to master the mind and to ultimately be at peace. By isolating the senses one by one, you call fall into a deep focus, away from the stresses of day to day life and to focus on inner peace. 

We began with three minutes of ‘aums’, closing our eyes, our minds isolated to the sense of hearing, the repetition of the sound of the aum. Next we sat down and placed the cocoa on the tip on our tongue, focusing on the way the chocolate melted on our tongues, the bitter chocolate and the harsh tinge of salt. Bringing the tea to our lips, the heat and the sense of warmth radiated through our body as it traveled down our throat. I tell you I was almost sedentary at this point. We then were encourage to write on the paper what we wanted to achieve from the session, the month of September is key in the Buddhist calendar and is a time for re-birth, out with the old and in with the new. I wanted to 'No longer let things that are out of my control, be that people, actions or events, effect my own emotional wellbeing and my motivation in life'.



At this point I was already feeling massively zen and that wasn’t even the main bit. It was then we were introduced to the meditation oils, hand made especially for the session. The session is called Awaken The Fire Within for a reason, it's all about energising and awakening ones self. A mixture of essential oils, it too was for energising the senses. We anointed our candles with the oils and lit the candle, gazing into the flame we were instructed to send love and energy to a loved one of our choice. Then we placed the candle down, closed our eyes and Ashleigh guided ups through a meditative narrative. We were to envision the fire that was burning inside of each of us, at this stage a small burning log fire, in the middle of a meadow. Walking through a meadow we would reach a winding stair case, at the top would be a door where stood our loved one and we would be greeted with the love and energy we shared with them, when the ritual was complete the fire was to be burning bright in the middle of the meadow. It was then I realised I'd been crying. There's nothing weirder than opening your eyes to a group of strangers and very visibly have been crying. Crying feels like something incredibly personal, something I do in private, it's a moment of exposure and suddenly I was so in the moment, so taken away from it all, that this no longer mattered. 



After I’d composed myself we were each asked to say a word that represented how we felt in that moment. I said 'relived'. Because I did, although we hadn't changed anything, life was still exactly the same. But in that peaceful moment, even if it didn't last, a weight had been lifted. It's then that I realised what I had gained from the session. Even if we couldn't change something for good, you can’t change things that are out of your control. In times of stress, anxiety, worry, if we could have a few moments of complete peace away from it all then we could alleviate some of that stress, even if it’s a minute amount. 

https://www.ashleighguthrie.com/

Lauren Eliza x

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