Do you notice an urge to fill the space with ‘what’s next’?

No sooner has a short space opened up in my life than the ‘using my time wisely’ police show up. I’ve just completed the ‘Becoming Nobody’ film and we’ve scheduled 3 months of workshops, the new Academy of The Sacred Fool ‘Maze online Journey’ is about to launch again and even though it’s now obviously a time for replenishment and leaving space, I can still hear that cheeky slave-driver demon trying to sneak into my decision-making again: “So, what’s next? What’s the next big project? Got to get shit going! Mouths to feed for years ahead!”

It takes vulnerability as an artist or entrepreneur to be still and rest and allow replenishment without taking any direct action ‘out there’ to push things along. I used to find myself addicted to an endless to-do list which became more about staving off my anxious attitude than achieving the tasks on the list itself. I still slip.

Even though I know that Emptiness and stillness, when I allow them, have mostly shown themselves to be FULL, not boring or antsy or inefficient. That non-doing, more yin space, that the ancient Taoists call Wu Wei, is really full of ideas and unexpected treasures and illuminations rushing into that space. That’s where inspiring ideas often arise, in the spaces between my endless to-do list pre-occupation.

Yet there’s an entrenched character in my mind trying to sell me the opposite – a character I put in place long ago as a child, when I had concluded that the way to survive and achieve was to slave-drive everything along with tutts and exasperations as my teachers and carers had shown me.

So me and my slave-driver sit together here in this house. Every time I notice him start his list again I treat it as my alarm bleep or meditation bell to come back to presence as Jamie, the kind man who’s decided to sit still and not get anything done right now.

“Have you paid the Bristol venue?”


If I ever communicate with him with exasperation or try and ‘shut him up’ then I know I’ve fallen asleep and he got me. The real me is kind.

And this is how the slave-driver is repurposed and redistributed in my inner world as my newly appointed sparring partner in an ongoing Presence Challenge. The slave-driver now functions as the meditation bell of ‘noticing the difference between my kind, loving, present self and the endless self-protecting, self-cherishing, negative voices’ leaping in masquerading as ‘the important truth’. The slave-driver becomes a tool to notice the mental DJ’s of Headfuck FM who I long ago tasked with making sure I NEVER look stupid, never feel the pain of shame, never risk exile, never risk rejection, ridicule, poverty, unattractiveness, criticism….and every time I notice, I come back to kind presence and wake up from the spell.

To me, knowing the difference is what defines a juicy, awake Life or a zombified, reactive, asleep one.

So it’s worth it, even though now I just wrote this instead of sitting still.

“The first thing to do is stop whatever else you’re doing.

Now sit down somewhere comfortable.

Anywhere is fine” Thich Nhat Hanh


image: Igor Morski


Consider this – the voices in your head, the dialogue of critic and victim and fantasist and pessimist aren’t You. When you say “I beat myself up” I don’t believe you mean ‘You’ beat yourself up. The actual You is wise and kind. To me there’s a vital distinction between ME and my committee of voices which chatter away all day in my mind. Headf**k FM I call it. A never-ending radio show of dialogue and opinions and warnings and strategising with different DJ’s around the clock, and it’s been on so loud and so constantly that we have understandably come to believe ‘that’s Me’ saying all this to myself. But it’s not You.
Those voices are immature characters that we put in place long ago to mimic our bossy, stressed, ignorant parents and carers because we thought, back then, that we needed that kind of treatment to get things done and succeed in our tasks. That’s what was modelled to us and the insults and labelling we received along the way seemed to be true too, so we now uphold those ‘truths’ we were given and still, years later as adults, live as if those negative, limiting opinions about us are Truth and even keep a cast of demons in our heads to uphold those beliefs with negative self-talk, self-criticism, exasperation, and negative bubble bursting – often really mean.
This has immense consequences because we allow those attitudes to dictate what we show up for, what we dare to attempt, what we think we deserve and never question the fact that we decided to live so religiously by these incorrect perspectives when we were only 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 years old!
Your list of beliefs about what is and isn’t ok about you or what you can and can’t do in your life was made by the immature and often panicked child doing the best it could and making some very wrong (yet understandable) conclusions. And then setting them in stone for life.
To me, all the beliefs and voices trying to keep that old system in place isn’t really You. It’s the committee of special needs characters we all have in our heads trying to protect us with outdated data, like our own personal cast of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest that we have to look after. We all move through this life with a retinue of very fragile and reactive characters inside and if we don’t listen to their legitimate needs and if we keep ignoring them or suppressing them, they will eventually attempt to get their needs met by suddenly leaping into our lives in some self-sabotaging crisis. They need attention and presence and just like a child, if it wants attention and doesn’t get it for long enough, it will either smash something or hurt itself or both.
Turning towards them and their edgy feelings with curiosity and kindness instead of panic and rejection is what the Tibetan Buddhists call feeding meat to the demons.
It has been really helpful for me to clearly distinguish between Me, the lovely kind awake Jamie, from the committee of voices rabbiting away. ‘I’ don’t beat myself up. One of my voices might try it – and this distinction between Me, the kind, awake, present, rational Jamie versus the family of characters, has saved me over and over from the incredibly insidious and invisible way these voices creep in and make me think their values are ‘My’ values and their beliefs are ‘My’ beliefs. It’s helped me to catch them as they try and sneak in and grab the wheel, the mouth, or God help us, the email! I know the difference between Me and them and can therefore often/sometimes turn toward them kindly and ask them what they need. Because each one has a legitimate need behind its anxiety and if I don’t meet it there will inevitably soon be trouble at mill.
Being super-conscious of our self-talk is a life-changing step towards self-care and opens the way for us easefully giving ourselves (and each other) so much of what We need. A deeper connection with everyone in our lives, success with our projects, even daring to do them and put them out there in the first place! – and to me, it starts with me noticing my unconscious negative dialogue and pessimistic pathways before they pretend they’re Me.

London Feb 2 Transforming Shadows (1-day)
London Feb 3 What About Us (1-day)
Bristol Feb 9 Transforming Shadows (1-day)
Bath Feb 23 Insanely Gifted (1-day)


This is just a quick clarification because I notice so many folks imagine ‘the shadow’ is the dark side of us, the rage, the neediness, the greed etc. but the shadow is really just all the parts of ourselves we hid away in the shadows when we were shown or told that that aspect of us was unwelcome or shameful. So, yes, things like rage, neediness and greed did go into the shadow because they were totally rejected and forbidden as kids but many other beautiful and essential parts of us received that cruel and ignorant treatment too. This is why I spend my time guiding people towards the shadows. There is SO much low hanging fruit to be reclaimed with almost no effort.

Wonderful treasure we reclaim from ‘the shadow’ includes:

feeling comfortable to take centre stage

enjoying dancing

trusting your instincts

allowing the discovery of failure

allowing oneself (and others) to be messy sometimes

singing and arting and creating

allowing our gifts to be seen and enjoyed

wearing colours

being fully honest with family and friends


cracking yourself up

being able to release emotion with crying

experiencing the passion of your anger

standing up for yourself, engaging with causes and healing

laughing at ourselves

being generous

allowing others to support us in our vulnerability

being sexy

enjoying all kinds of pleasure…

….the shadow is not just the dark and yucky bits, it’s all the parts of ourselves we learnt at young ages were ‘unwelcome’ or got us rejected or told off.

It take SO little effort and drama to gently turn towards these places and reclaim their treasure….and there’s a lot of sheepish laughter and friendship in it….

What natural parts of yourself did you shut down as a kid? Any of the above list? Let’s welcome them home together….

(1-day Transforming Shadows in London Sat Feb 3rd, Bristol Sat Feb 9th)


Many of you have recently heard me expounding the virtues of making sure I have my ‘8 bowls of fulfilment’ well tended to. 8 areas of life which feed me healthily. The idea is that I don’t become dependent on any one of them (usually my relationship bowl) to be the source of my ‘everything is ok’ feeling.

When I only count the ‘sex and romance’ part of my life as the ‘bowl’ which determines how good life is today, (and then when it’s rocky my life is rocky, and when it’s smooth my life is smooth), I suffer and find myself starving and dependent. The same goes for using ‘earning money’ or ‘success’ as the ‘everything’s ok’ source. When work’s going well you’re happy but when business is slow suddenly you can’t relax. What I’ve discovered is that when I spread my fulfilment through 8 other areas equally, suddenly I am always full and not graspingly dependent on any one area to ‘keep me feeling safe’.

In my old model of mainly focusing on the climate in my relationship as ‘everything’, (or the reassuring mirror of money and success) I really let a lot of vital things slide, not least my close friendships, my ‘chosen family’. I realised fairly recently that I had got myself into a pattern where everyone I saw was either one of my kids or a client. I had unwittingly starved myself of my essential, supportive and wonderful friendships. So I set to remedying that at once, reclaiming contact with those I love and along the way I discovered and re-filled many other sources (or bowls) of contentment and fulfilment which are now the true sustenance of my daily life.

Here are the bowls which feed me:

1) Friendship

2) Connected time with my kids

3) My love of music, literature and film

4) My creative productivity., writing, music, film…

5) My spiritual path of being tenderly punked and illuminated by my crazy angels.

6) Service and being helpful to whoever’s in need.

7) Time alone and in nature.

8) Body care, home-keeping and cooking.

…and of course not discounting sexy, sensual, intimate possibilities…just not necessarily making them a primary bowl by default. I keep these other bowls full and the connections alive – so I feel full, even in the emptiness (which, by the way, is also full – of ideas).

What are your bowls? Can you take some direct actions to keep more of them brimming with soul-nourishment for you?


I’ve been getting myself into a bit of trouble recently online with my attempts to lead the men back to the women and the women back to the men. Maybe my offerings and opinions are a bit hard to swallow or maybe it’s just too soon, with the #metoo movement, to include men’s vulnerability and needs alongside the women’s. But I strongly believe that the journey back towards each other needs both the men and the women to step towards each other at the same time and somehow dissolve the violence and trauma of our ancestors.

That’s why Ruby May and I have been working very hard to create a brand new workshop for singles and for couples – BITCHES & BASTARDS – and there are two dates already planned in Amsterdam and London with Berlin and Copenhagen about to be confirmed…

Because what if our shadows could be turned into treasures and become the fodder for intimacy, deepening, and growth?

Many of us run away from the difficult and dark sides of relationships or feel like ‘something must be going wrong’ when dramas and conflicts arise, but what if the pain is a sign that something is going right? What if our loved ones were the perfect triggers for us to resolve the wounds we have accumulated around relating and truly stepping into our power? What if life was inviting us to turn towards the challenges, rather than away from them?


It’s time for us to transform the suffering sides of ourselves which arise so dramatically in our relationships, friendships, at home and at work. It’s time to stop struggling with the taboos, hiding the shameful, painful parts of ourselves, which get triggered when we get closer to others.

The more we feel shame for how we are, and what we truly deep down want, the more destructive we become. Our neediness, our sense of entitlement, our rage, our sense of being superior or inferior, our disempowerment, our selfishness – these turn us into Bitches and Bastards when they are not consciously accepted and integrated.


Ruby May and I warmly invite you to a contained space to illuminate and transform the shadows which can run riot in our relationships…


During our two days we will:

  • Explore the power of humour and lightness to transform that which is buried or painful or the issues we feel shame around.
  • Learn to recognise the multiple ways we give our power away – such as through manipulation, avoidance, control, blame or playing the victim – and explore who we are beyond this.
  • Discover how our childhood attachment experiences affect the way we relate later in life, bringing more understanding and compassion to ourselves and our partners.
  • Deepen our connection to our bodies, and explore tools to support staying in the present moment and learn how to recognise and deal with reactivity.
  • Explore emotions as signs that we have a need that is important to us, learn how to identify our needs and practice and take home tools for giving and receiving effective communication from the heart.
  • Learn about the neuroscience behind why we react the way we do and marvel at the ingenuity of our bodies and brains!

As we come into our ‘enoughness’, we can change our focus to what it is we wish to create in life and wish to give to our partners, rather than what we can ‘get’. Viewing relationships as a vehicle for our growth, we begin to see ourselves as the safe-guarders, rather than judgers of each other’s shadows.

Whether you are single or in an intimate relationship, Bitches & Bastards will take you on a journey deep within, balancing vulnerability with playfulness, depth with humour.

Ruby and I warmly invite to to join us for this amazing new workshop. The dates for this one so far, are:
6/7 October – BITCHES & BASTARDS – Amsterdam

24/25 November – BITCHES & BASTARDS – London

8/9 December – BITCHES & BASTARDS – Berlin or Copenhagen

Please comment below if you want to know more or to remind me of my white male privilege…

Hope to see you in the room though



At these times it really helps me and REMINDS me to list the many elements in my life which feed me as (before I was enlightened) I used to think ‘only that one person gives me that ‘everything is ok’ feeling’ – So I remind myself to spread my sources of fulfilment more evenly including friends, self care (you just feel better showered and moisturised), my kids, music and books and films, nature, comedy, being in service, being creative, and above all being curious about the painful feelings inside as if I have a radar to feel them, like I’m a wine taster of them because when you turn towards them with welcoming interest the body’s genius discharges not only the present painful waves but, (if you’re willing), also lots of emotional pain which has accumulated in the body with all the suppression and battering of past decades.

Listen inside with a welcoming curiosity and say aloud “I am now a human who is willing to feel some of my uncomfortable feelings.” .
(ps I’m not currently experiencing heartbreak so that’s not what I meant by ‘these times’ and there’s no need for any supportive outpouring)


There are all kinds of reasons to hold back from putting your stuff out there. One I hear all the time is the anxiety or vulnerability of ‘what if it’s not successful?’

I’d suggest revisiting our definition of failure and success. Let’s broaden the patriarchal ‘value only based on money and numbers sold, or ‘positive attention for me generated‘ and add some others: success of completing something substantial, success in reaching some people very deeply (someone once told me my book stopped them from killing themselves and suddenly how many or few I’d sold felt less important), success in all the unknown impact it will have, success in the permission it gives other misfits to offer their gifts, success in the wonderful relationships forged and deepened along the way, success in the immense learnings and honing of skills and wisdom gleaned….. add more – redefine success, it’s your world – value doesn’t have to only mean what your family and local culture told you.

For me, our projects are like our children. They are the things which we are devotional TO. They’re not there to GET us stuff. When we treat our project as a beautiful and magical creature that we have charge of (like our kids) and choose to be the devotional space around them so they can thrive into their fullest potential then it will always have been time well spent, no matter how richly the world out there receives it when it is released, but when we mistakenly treat our project as if it’s here to get us something; money, status, attention, then it’s like we’re saddling our creature as if it’s a donkey to carry all our self-esteem issues and money worries up the hill. That’s not its job. So let’s adjust our attitudes to our projects accordingly.

If you’d consider it a waste of time if it doesn’t bring you money and worldly success when it’s done then I really wouldn’t bother doing it.

It’s up to us to define what success and value means to us, both for our own enjoyment of the creative process and to fill the world with more liberating perspectives and enriching possibilities.


image Lisa Falzon