Blog#101 – Present for You

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Dear Readers,

Thanks for the hugely supportive response to my last blog. I’m sorry that I haven’t replied to all of you yet – I promise I will get to it soon. My head has felt like the circus came to town over the past couple of weeks and it’s had me jumping through hoops. I liken the state of my mind to a circus because it accurately captures the crazy sense that there is too much happening at once. There is an energy in me that is incessantly generating new ideas which can be a very positive and creative blessing, but it can also be extremely exhausting. I find it unbearably distracting at times. I end up not being as productive as I’d like because of the tangents I find myself on. And that’s only what’s happening inside!

Man’s inhumanity to women

Then there’s the chaos that’s happening in the world. The horrific war in Gaza has been troubling me. Man’s ongoing inhumanity to man continues to overwhelm me if I dwell on it for any length of time. I find myself wondering why I’m so lucky when others aren’t, and I feel uneasy that there is so much suffering in the world. But we have to focus on our little world around us and not give up on our belief that we can make a small difference by being kinder and more loving to those close to us and hope that this will have a ripple effect in the wider community.

On Friday afternoon last, in my quiet suburban street, gunshots were heard coming from a neighbouring house. It transpired that my beautiful neighbour, Jenny, and her 18-year-old daughter, Gretl were shot dead by an angry man who went to Jenny’s house in search of his ex-partner who weeks earlier had left him. When he didn’t find her, he shot her close friend and daughter instead before turning the gun on himself. Jenny, a mother of two daughters had in recent time lost her husband to illness. Now her surviving daughter has nothing but memories of a family that once was hers. It is utterly heart-breaking. It’s as though the pain of her grief is hanging in the air of our community while we all feel completely powerless. What can we do other than to hope with all our hearts that she will get through this? Jenny and Gretl were the 37th and 38th deaths through violence against women by men in Australia so far this year. What could possibly drive people to the point where they believe that they have nothing left to lose? Something is very wrong at a deep level if they see violence as their only option. Or maybe they don’t think about it. Maybe they are just completely controlled by the rage that engulfs them. Then again, what kind of a message are the likes of Putin and Netanyahu sending out when they kill innocent people with impunity? I don’t want to be all doom and gloom here, but we’ve got to be realistic. Violence is violence however it might be packaged. If we can’t rely on leaders to lead in peace, then what chance do the rest of us have?

You see, I do honestly believe that, as long as there is violence and suffering on a wider scale happening anywhere in the world, we will continue to see its ripple effects down at the community level because we are all connected. In the grand scheme of the universe, our planet is relatively small. Even if Gaza feels like a million miles away from where I am, I know in my heart that the people who are dying there are no different to people who died around the corner from me on Friday. Their suffering is our suffering.

Free will

But thank goodness for meditation. Meditation allows me to be present and to make sense of things. It gives me the space I need to separate the noise and chaos of that circus from my real self. For this reason, I want to share with you an exercise that you too can practice that will help you deal with whatever life throws your way. Meditation is literally saving lives every single day. More about that in a moment. Before I give you the low-down on how to do it, I wanted to share with you a conversation I just had with my cherished daughter, Matilda this morning. We were talking about drug and alcohol use and how it can lead people down all sorts of dark pathways, especially for girls who are more physically vulnerable and can become victims of male predators. This led us to the question of what drives humans to make poor choices in life. It became quite a philosophical discussion around free will. We talked about the topic of religion and the story of Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden. Matilda told me that among her cohort religion is very much stigmatised. We live in the age of the individual and a time when moral boundaries are stretched to the point of utter confusion. We talked about how it was religion that gave many of us our values and taught us about our connectedness to one another, about the importance of being honest and kind in order that we can live in harmony with each other. This new age that we live in is ordered on new values that celebrate the individual and encourages people to follow their desires. In my humble opinion, it focuses too much attention on the ego which is what keeps us separate instead of focusing us on the universal consciousness that binds us as one. My conversation with Matilda concluded that as humans evolve, if we are to live in harmony, we will need to take with us some of the core values that religions espouse such as accountability, compassion, generosity, kindness, and commitment to working for the greater good not just for our own selfish gains. While I’m not so much a religious person these days, I do believe in being part of a community of people who look out for one another with compassion and kindness. I don’t have any answers right now about how this can be achieved, but I do know that I do not intend to submit to the power of any authority that is intolerant and discriminatory. I will continue to explore this and will share my thoughts with you if and when I have some ideas on how better we might be able to achieve harmony.

Back to meditation

It’s not the first time that I’ve written about the benefits of meditation. If peace is what you’re after, then come with me and I will show you how it is achieved. I commit to two sessions daily. When I first started a couple of years ago, I was only doing two or three minutes. Now I’m up to 20 minutes twice daily. Whatever the time length, the practice is the same. Best to choose a spot in the house that is yours, where you can close the door and have a safe space without interruption. Put the phone on silent. I recommend using an app such as the one I use, Meditation which is made available free of charge by The app can be downloaded to your phone or your computer and used to keep you on track by setting a timer. I love the gong which is sounded at intervals set by you. I meditate in a seated position on a sturdy chair with my feet firmly planted on the floor and my back straight. Do this and you are ready to follow these instructions:

  • Close your eyes and become aware of your whole body
  • Keep your body upright in a position of awakeness (no slouching!)
  • Set an intention to reach a place of peace
  • With a big in-breath, become aware of any tension in the body and with a slow out-breath imagine all the tension leaving your body
  • Begin to notice the body from the head down to the toes. If there is pain or tension, just notice it, but do not focus on it. Keep the focus on the breathing, in and out. All the while travelling slowly in your mind down through all the different parts of your body
  • Notice your senses without making any judgements: become aware of your sense of taste, feel the clothes or the air touching your skin, hear sounds close by and then those that are farthest away, with your eyes closed notice the colours behind the eyelids (there might a light there or it might be darkness, either way, do not judge, just notice), now bring your awareness to your sense of smell
  • Breathe in and breathe out
  • While all of this is going on, thoughts will come into your head. This is normal – it’s because you’re alive! The trick is to notice the thoughts without judgement. This is the art of meditation – being the awareness, noticing all the stuff that goes on within and without but not getting tangled up in it
  • Let the thoughts come and go by focusing the mind on the breath. Do not get annoyed with yourself if the thoughts are invasive. As soon as you give them your attention, you give them power over you. It takes practice and in time you will master your ability to just let them go.
  • End the practice with an observation of how the body feels now, and give thanks for whatever the outcome
  • If things came up from deep within you during the practice – perhaps you remember something that makes you feel uncomfortable, then it’s time to listen, honour yourself, and find support

Put the higher self in charge

Meditation is what allows our higher self to be in charge. It makes us aware of the busyness of our minds and how easy it is to get carried away on the wave of thoughts, like a tsunami that takes us to places we don’t want to go to. Meditation gives us the space and the time to stand back and watch so that we can choose where we want to go, what decisions we want to make, and feel a sense of empowerment in our lives. Too many people are living their lives according to the thoughts that dominate their minds without realising that thoughts are just that, thoughts. The French philosopher, Descartes said, ‘I think therefore I am’ and I reckon with that statement he set the cat amongst the pigeons. We are far more than our thoughts. I would like to counter that statement with ‘I am therefore I can choose to be the master of my thoughts.’ This is only possible when we quieten the mind for long enough that we get to connect with the higher consciousness that is a vital part of who we are. Once we master our ability to separate ourselves from our thoughts, we get to reflect more often on what we want to achieve. As I’ve said before, let your mind be your servant, not your master. Commit to a practice of two daily meditation sessions from this day forth and I am pretty confident that in a short time you will have a sense of peace that had for too long eluded me.

As many of you know by now, I am not one to shy away from my failings, my pain, my anger, or my fears. This is what has allowed me to stay sober for over five years. I will leave you with a quote from the wise one, Thich Nhat Hanh, ‘Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing to do the work.’ And a final note from me on this, when we do the work on our own healing, others around us also heal. That’s because we are all connected.  Thanks for being here with me. Love, Gill x


Gill Kenny - the Writer & Blogger

About the author – Gill Kenny

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Through my blog, I aim to provide you with a place where you can feel valued by inviting you to share your journey too.  I will regularly have guest writers who wish to share their views or experiences on each topic. I am open to ideas and happy to cover any topics that interest you, so please feel free to share yours with me.

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Love, Gill x