Sunday, 20 May 2018 11:09

Of Sacred Paths and Pilgrimage

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Pilgrimage and Sacred Paths   The Macquarie dictionary tells me that a pilgrim is one who makes a journey, usually over a long distance.   It is not meant to be easy, or predicatable, or assured. It is meant to challenge - physically, mentally, emotionally.   I beliee this to be true and that in making such a journey transformation happens. I don't know that it is always something definitive or immediate but rather that with the passing of time, revelations happen. Rather like the scenerythat one passes thriugh whilst walking a long distance, small intricacies come into view, subtle changes slide into consciousness, the colours of ones life take on new hues.   But I also believe that in undertaking such journeies, although we take each footstep with intention, with awareness of what we are doing, the real journey is to the depths of our own personal existance which is built upon the steps of others, over eons.   I've just returned from Spain where i was walking the Camino route - Via de la Plata through central Spain. It is a journey I have made three times now, and each time has shown me new parts of me, given me new lessons to learn, taken me to a different part of myself. The first time I walked this path i was alone. My lessons were cheifly about physical strength and stamina, about connecting deeply to my own, uninterrupted thoughts, musings and discoveries. The second time I was with…
Thursday, 04 January 2018 08:14

A Walking Meditation - a start to 2018

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Each day Sari (my dog) and I walk. We walk by the river, we walk in the hills, and sometimes we walk by the sea. All places hold their own delights. Often when I walk alone, with my dog, I write in my head. I write stories, I write musings, I write solutions to problems, I write conversations and I write observations. These musings are thoughtful, wonderful and sometimes inspiring. But I don't seem to remember them later with the same clarity as when I walk. Today my mind was relatively still. No special thought imprinted itself on my mind. Instead it was a walk of observation. The birdsong, the breeze, the crunch of my feet, the changes in my breath, the sensations on my skin, the awareness of my path, my perfect walking companion - my dog, as she carried her stick, as she stopped to sniff, as she waited for me or decides our path then looks back at me to confirm her decision. As my feet find their rhythm the birds became apparent. It's the big birds today - the red tailed black cockatoos, magpies, kookaburras, galahs and 28s. Their loud screeches and strong but delicate warbles filling the air - sliding sounds through the air, from one tree to the next. Big fella kangaroo jumps across our path contrasting the delicate scuffles in the undergrowth. As the lie of the land changes, my feet fall in a different rhythm. No longer the steady flat clunk that…
Thursday, 07 September 2017 07:55

The Art of Retreat

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The Art of "Retreat" "Retreat". What does that word conjure up for you? A few years ago I did my first Camino walk in Spain. I loved being on my own, following the markers of the trail, listening to the sounds of the world around me, being with thoughts and musings as they slid through my mind, of exploring the progress of my body as it progressed through the rigours of daily walking. I revelled in the task of each day putting one foot in front of the other, of each day showing up to be with myself and to follow a path. For me, at that moment, this was the perfect retreat - alone, in the natural world, engaged in an activity that encouraged me to be totally immersed in the moment, to observe the total state of my being at any given moment. I can't say how this experience has changed me, but it has. We speak of going on retreat , of being in retreat, of joining a retreat, of seeking place and peace in which to retreat. The Macquarie Dictionary defines retreat as the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion. Of a place of refuge, a retirement, or period of retirement. To withdraw or draw back. To draw or lead back. It describes the word as appropriate for military use, religious or spiritual application, for personal reflection. This implies that a retreat could be a big thing or a small/local affair. The…
  At last, the end is here!     CONCLUSION The outcome of this research indicates that dancers are concerned with the consequences of performance anxiety. A particularly critical performance evaluation, they perceive, in part, to be the result of detrimental levels of anxiety. If they are to successfully manage their role, not only do they need to maintain peak physical fitness but also to manage their emotional condition. The effort required to achieve this outcome is immense. This research further indicates that dancers recognise that if they are able to manage their feelings of anxiety there is a direct link to being able to achieve an enhanced performance. It is also clear from this research that Vedic chant is a vehicle that can be used to achieve these outcomes in that it allows a dancer to control her/his breathing and to encourage a vibrational connectedness that results in a state of “flow”. The combined control of breath (that ensues from the act of chanting), and feeling of vibration (from the act of chanting) leading to a state of “flow”, result in a steadiness, physically and mentally which leads to the dancer perceiving that she/he is in a controlled heightened state of arousal which informs her/his ability and thus enhances a dance performance. Whilst there are a number of techniques that have been experimented with that result in decreasing performance anxiety, this study has shown that Vedic chant is perhaps one of the few techniques that has the ability to…
This is the big one.  - the analysis and discussion. I know this will be too much for many, but for those who are interested........   INTRODUCTION TO ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION The three dancers were faced with differing work commitments and health issues. Their progress through the project therfore, was conducted as three individual experiences rather than as a group experience. The outcomes too were uniquely individual. The interviews conducted with each participant all had the same framework of questions (see appendix 10). Never the less individual tangents arose with each dancer. Additional questions specific to these tangents helped to build a more complete picture of the experience of each dancer. This being the case I have chosen to discuss each dancer separatley and to then to discuss the consensus effect as a conclusion to this section on analysis and discussion. 5.1 ANALYSIS – DANCER 1 NB. This dancers involvement with this project was interrupted by an overseas tour. When she completed her final TESI Survey (see below) she had just completed her very physically and mentally gruelling final assessment for her Honours degree. Her responses to the questionnaire reflect the exhausted physical state in which she found herself. They also illustrate the impact of a number of other factors (such as financial) and her ability to support herself overall. The second assesment of the 30 day TESI Survey indicated that certain areas of stress were elevated in comparison with the way in which she resopnded to the first 30…
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Sally Riddell