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Archive for April, 2009

Free Buddhist Audio (but do make a donation!)

Tree in Bath

I have just discovered a great Buddhist website where you can download teachings and talks. They are a UK Registered Charity and reliant on donations. I made my donation and was able to download and listen to a great piece on The Five Methods of Meditation. It was filled with useful theories and information. I am not a Buddhist but I can relate to so many of their teachings. So if this is something you want more information on, take a look at Dharmachakra.


Here is a list a few of the subjects:  

  • Mindfulness of Reality
  • Training in Wisdom
  • What is Mind?
  • Patience & Energy
  • Meditation & Wisdom
  • The Mindfullness of Breathing: Introduction & Guidance
  • Getting Started in Meditation
  • Cutting Away From the Old

I think Buddhism makes a lot of sense when one is exploring their own spiritual journey.


Your destiny……

Words of Strength and Perserverance“My will shall shape my future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in a maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny.”

Quote by Elaine Maxwell

The goals of justice….

Words of Strength and Perserverance“Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertion and passionate concerns of dedicated individuals.”

Quote by Martin Luther King

When you reach an understanding of life….

Words of Strenghth and PerseveranceThis was written by Kahil Gibran (1882-1931.) As soon as I read it, I could immediately relate it to my life. I still have many situations that put me to the test but I choose to view them through a different perspective now. This makes life much easier.

“You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a want and a grief. But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.”

(Taken from the pocket book Words of Strength and Perserverance, published by Exley)

I have finally let go. I don’t plan ahead. I don’t live in the past. I am very present. I want to feel every bit of this present moment. This makes me feel free.

(The catalyst behind this was loosing my job a few months ago and not being able to get another one at that level. I have switched the academic, high achieving me for a calmer go-with-the-flow me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been really hard to wind down. But now I’m here, I love it. I’m learning new things about myself. I am just in a state of being. And it’s extremely comforting.)

Letting go and allowing the universe to lead, is for me……………………..like breathing in new air.

I have just discovered a fantastic Author – Margaret Briggs

I had never heard of her before. I was looking through Amazon when I found her work. I ordered two of her books which I am currently reading. 1) Honey and Its Many Health Benefits and 2) Garlic & Onions – The Many Uses & Medicinal benefits. I paid less than £3 for each book on Amazon – Bargain!

 Inside there is a wealth of knowledge and understanding on her subjects. I will share these with you once I have completed the books.

Borders also have a good selection of Margaret Briggs’s books as will other good book stores. 

Other titles Margaret Briggs has produced are:

  • Vinegar – 1001 Practical Uses
  • Baking Soda – Over 200 Practical Uses
  • Porridge: Oats and their many benefits
  • Chocolate: The Tasty Treat With A Dark Secret
  • Bicarbonate Soda: A Very Versatile And Natural Substance
  • Green Cleaning: Natural Hints and Tips
  • Salt: The Essential Mineral & Its Medicinal Benefits
  • Beetroot: The Vitality Plant & Its Medicinal Benefits
  • Berries: And Their Many Health Benefits
  • Lemon & Lime: Super Citrus Fruits
  • Juices & Smoothies
  • Gardening: Hints & Tips
  • Top Money Saving Tips

So worth a look if you have a couple of quid lying around and a mind to feed with lots of useful information! If any of you have come across her work before, I’d be interested in your comments.


TheGuidingPath.comTake a look at The Guiding Path. This is a great place to start if you are new to finding your road to spirituality and happiness.




The course will help you:

·  Gain deeper understanding of yourself and others.
  Build on your natural strengths.
  Discover new ways of achieving.
·  Gain greater focus, motivation, and satisfaction.

Swim your way to fitness…..

I don’t really like gyms or the classes they offer. I don’t have very much co-ordination and found many aerobics classes hard. The class would go left and I would be going right! I don’t think I am cut out for them. I’d much rather go for a power walk and breathe in fresh air or swim.

I was a good swimmer at school and achieved all of my certificates, but then I didn’t go for about 15 years. I was gaining weight and needed a solution. So I thought about swimming. Once I got past how awful I looked in a swimsuit…which didn’t take long because I put my ‘I don’t give a crap how I look, I’m here to exercise’ hat on…I was ready to go.

So I have been swimming for nearly a year now. I have noticed such a difference. I have toned and am much fitter. I had to start slow as I hadn’t swum for so long. So I started off with just a front crawl and did that for many weeks until I got used to the water again. Then I slowly built up my strength and tried all of the other methods. I can now do them all and do a 30 minute swim without stopping. I have learned to pace myself and keep moving. I set myself targets and just got better with practice.

I never injure/strain myself. It costs half of a gym membership. I go up to five times a week and I love it. I love the feeling of being in the water. The best bit is a 10 minute stint in the sauna and steam room. It clears my skin, opens my pores and gets all of the crap out. Sometimes, they put in some scents like menthol or lavender and that clears my lungs and helps me breathe easier.

Just being in the water takes my mind of everything and relaxes me. I don’t feel like I am exercising because I thoroughly enjoy the feeling. So if like me you are not a gym fan, try swimming.

In the UK, every local authority has a swimming pool. The costs are very reasonable and the benefits are massive.  

There is a website Everyday Swim with lots of further information on it, including the bit below. The wonderful Duncan Goodhew is an Ambassador to this organisation. Worth a read if you want more info:

Duncan Goodhew - National Hero

Why choose swimming?

You’ll often hear people say that swimming is the best exercise. But just what is it that makes swimming such an excellent way to get and stay active?

Reasons to take the plunge:

Changing your name after a spiritual experience…..

I am sometimes dubious of western people who have gone through an enlightening experience/training, have taken on board new teachings and changed their way of life…..but then change their names to Asian names. It’s happening more and more. I’m not sure if it’s instigated by their Teachers or if it comes from them?

I can understand wanting a new identity and leaving your past behind but it’s still a bit strange to me.  It’s hard to see how Joanne Smith, for example, went to Sri Devi and has forgotten all of Joanne’s life. Surely you are what you are. If you were born Joanne, then you are Joanne. Maybe Joanne with a great spiritual experience but none the less Joanne.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful in raising this or to anyone who has done this. I just want some more opinions before I make my mind up.

What do you think? This is a good time for a poll – please take a quick moment to vote. I’m interested in what other people think about this.


**International Buddhist Film Festival 2009, 7th-17th May – London**

Here is one to put into your diaries if you are in the London area in May.

International Buddhist Film Festival 

The world’s leading resource for Buddhist cinema, the US based IBFF comes to the UK, and the Barbican, for the first time. Part of The Many Faces of Buddhism series, the lineup of programmes here at IBFF 2009 LONDON includes forty-six films from eighteen countries, with twenty-seven UK premieres and three discussion events. Themes of happiness, redemption, reconciliation, simplicity, forgiveness, generosity, community, creativity, humor and personal transformation are explored in many ways.

Wonderful Superfoods To Nourish You – 3.Seeds

Seed Mix Packet from Julian GravesI have a glass jar full of mixed sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and Flax seeds. I use them on cereals, salads and soups mainly. I used to buy them separately and mix them but now I found a ready mixed pack at Julian Graves Health Store. Oh and I love heavily seeded bread mmm. So here are the benefits of each of these – they are too good for you to miss out of your diet!

Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds by Jane Thurnell-Read

(www.healthandgoodness.com) Pumpkin seeds are a great food. There are lots of good reasons to eat them. They are good sources of iron and zinc and of omega-3 fatty acids. Sounds impressive, but what does it mean?

Iron is an important mineral. Symptoms of iron deficiency include tiredness, cracking at corners of the mouth, recurrent mouth ulcers, sore tongue, poor hair growth, brittle nails and generalised itching.

Zinc is a mineral that is needed in much smaller quantities by the body than iron, but is still vitally important. If you’re short of zinc, you may have red, greasy skin on your face, other skin problems, poor hair growth, dandruff, difficulty seeing at night, an aversion to bright lights, brittle nails, white spots on your nails or a craving for chocolate. Find out if your getting enough zinc in your diet.

Benefits of Seseme Seeds by Holistic Nutrition Suite 101

(holistic-nutrition.suite101.com) Sesame seeds are high in these minerals:

  • copper
  • manganese
  • tryptophan
  • calcium
  • magnesium

Sesame seeds also provide iron, phosporus, and zinc, vitamin B1(thiamin) and vitamin E. The minerals found in sesame seeds play a crucial role in health.


  • Copper renders a reduction in swelling and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, proving beneficial in relation to inflammatory systems.
  • Copper supports blood vessels and bone health.


  • Offers relief to those suffering from asthma attacks
  • Reduces migraine
  • Lowers blood pressure


  • Protects colon cells from carcinogenic chemicals
  • Prevents migraine
  • Can reduce bone loss

Sesame Seeds and Fiber

Sesame seeds contain sesamin and sesamolin, substances that are part of a group of fibers called lignans. Lignans render a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans. Sesamin also protects the liver from oxidative damage.

Sesame Seeds and Free Radicals

Sesame seeds can protect the body from free radicals, which have been implicated in development of cancer.

Sesame Seeds and Phytosterols

As reported by the Arthritic Association, in Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds and Wheat Germ, one of the greatest health benefits of sesame seeds is in relation to phytosterols. These compounds can lower blood cholesterol and improve heart health, enhance the immune system and decrease risk of malignancies. And the good news is that sesame seeds are highest in phytosterol content (400-413 mg per100grams).

Benefits of Sunflower Seeds by Gregorious

(www.hubpages.com ) There are many health benefits of sunflower seeds. They contain high levels of vitamin E, choline, betaine, and phenolic acids. Vitamin E may protect against cardiovascular disease, lignans may protect against some cancers, and choline has been shown to play a role in memory and cognitive functions. They are also among the best foods you can eat to get cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.

Sunflower seeds should be a part of any diet, especially of those people who are seeking economical, easily digested, youth-protecting proteins.

Benefits of Flax seed by Gloria Tsang

(HealthCastle.com) Its high content of alpha linolenic acids has made the ancient flax seed become our modern miracle food. Alpha linolenic acid is a type of plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid, similar to those found in fish such as salmon. Benefits of flax seed as shown in many studies include lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) levels. Other benefits show that flax seed may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure. It may also keep platelets from becoming sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.

Other Benefits of Flax seeds

Aside from alpha linolenic acid, flax seed is rich in lignan. Lignan is a type phytoestrogen (antioxidant) and also provides fiber. Researches reveal that lignan in flax seed shows a lot of promise in fighting disease — including a possible role in cancer prevention especially breast cancer. It is thought that lignan metabolites can bind to estrogen receptors, hence inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer.

Recent studies also showed positive benefits of flax seed oil in IBD (Crohn’s Disease and Colitis). Flax seed oil seems to be able to heal the inner lining of the inflamed intestines.

Wonderful Superfoods That Nourish You – 2. Goji Berries

Goji Berries


Goji Berries


I first discovered these on a stall at the Mind Body Spirit Festival in London. They originate from Asia. 



Nutritional Value

Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to:

Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin’s key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. In fact, increased intake of foods containing zeathanthin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65.

Gillian McKeith’s site dedicates a whole page of wonderful information on Goji Berries.  

You can add them to fruit salads and desserts or just munch on a bunch of them anytime, any place.

Wonderful Superfoods That Nourish You – 1. Quinoa

I think Gillian McKeith first introduced me to these through one of her books.

Superfood is a term sometimes used to describe food with high phytonutrient content that some may believe confers health benefits as a result. For example, blueberries are often considered a superfood (or superfruit) because they contain significant amounts of antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fibre.

I do believe in superfoods even though they have been disputed by some people, and so I am going to dedicate some posts to them. The first one I would like to discuss in Quinoa.



Origins– Comes from South America mainly. Very versatile. I use granoVita Organic brand which I bought from Morrisons but I know you can get it from most Health Food Stores. I don’t eat meat or fish so this is an excellent source of nutrition for me – and for anyone. It takes around 15 minutes to prepare from the dried grains. You can do so much with it.

Nutritional Value

Quinoa is superior to other grains because it is a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids.

It is actually a seed, not a grain, and is gluten free. When cooked, the grain itself is soft and delicate, but the germ is crunchy, creating an interesting texture combination.

It is an excellent meat substitute in vegetarian dishes. It can be used in stir-fries, soups, stews, salads and many more delicious combinations.

Donna Gates is a Nutritional Consultant and she talks in detail on her website about the benefits of Quinoa – definitely worth a read.

Some of the nutrients in quinoa include:


BBC Good Food

Savvy Vegetarian

Worth a try if you haven’t already wouldn’t you say.

The Independent – the best newspaper………

Increase your intelligence with what I think is the best newspaper available today – created and published in the UK but available everywhere online.

The Independent





It has the following sections Monday to Friday:

  • Home News
  • European News
  • World News
  • Business
  • Media
  • Education
  • Travel
  • Money
  • Life & Style
  • Environment
  • Sport

There are also the Saturday and Sunday editions.

The Independent is, as it states – not politically swayed in any way. The closest you can get to the Real News. There are very few articles on gossip, celebrities, reality shows or anything like that. It is hardcore news and that’s why I love it. I really don’t care what so called celebs are up to. That to me isn’t news. I want to know what is going on in the world and I want the facts.

It offers a diverse range of Journalists who offer their opinions on the news – which is great for playing the devils advocate. You get to see many different opinions and angles of the same news which helps you create and maintain your belief systems.

I have personally learned so much from The Independent. I have learned about some issues way before the other papers have.  I learned how political/legal/economic systems work, who is involved, all about different countries and cultures, health and wellbeing stuff, loads of general knowledge and it has improved my vocabulary immensely. My sister introduced me to The Independent about 16 years ago and to date, it is the only newspaper I will read.

A good thing to do is buy a range of newspapers on the same day and compare how the same news is delivered and what facts are given. You will be surprised. And hopefully you will see what I am saying about The Independent.

Work to Live…or Live to Work?

As mentioned in previous posts, I have held a career in recruitment for the last 6 years. Throughout my career, I have come across many different types of people motivated by many different things.

Your work should bring you some happiness. Unfortunately there are so many people who just don’t enjoy the work they do or it’s environment.

It’s also sad to see are highly qualified people in relatively low end jobs just because they had no idea or guidance on how the recruitment process works.

We are at work so many hours of the day that it is worth getting into something you enjoy.

So if you are a person who is not happy, take a good look at your job. Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) Analysis on your job. Take time to understand what you like and what you don’t like. Take an open look at the job sites and read through random Job Descriptions and find out what appeals to you. Then put together a plan to learn more about what you want to do and how you will get there.

Careers Advisors are good to talk to because they generally have a good understanding of what skills match what jobs in markets and industries.

John Adams is a chap I have worked with who offers a great service called Careerz. If you are on LinkedIn, Click Here to view his profile. John is really easy to talk to and will be able to point you in the right direction and advise you on how to get there. Now is also a great time to call as Careerz is offering a FREE 30 MINUTE DISCOVER SESSION. There are many services that Careerz offerrs. Take a look at the website.

On a final note, I have personally produced a Help Sheet to give you some further information on job hunting and the techniques involved. I am happy for this to be printed off and circulated.

Recruitment Help Sheet

For those of you who have been affected by redundancy recently:

1) Where one door closes another one opens. For me personally, it has always been a bigger and better door!

2) Maybe it’s time to re-analyse your life. Get outside of the box and decide what it is, that you really want to do. Maybe it’s time for a complete change.  

It is hard and emotional but it’s also a huge opportunity for you to excel and be true to yourself.

Good Luck!

The Paradox Of Our Times

My friend Fedwa sent me this years ago. I don’t know who produced it but it really is truly beautiful.

Paradox Of Our Times

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