Sattvic Bliss Health Blog



This blog is about healthy living, complementary therapies and the search for enlightenment.  


Life can be full of stresses and strains, but it is also full of joy, peace and happiness.  Sometimes we just need to know where to look !.


Namaste !

By Jo Scrimshaw, Jan 2 2020 08:43PM

How do you feel in the mornings? Bright and happy? Ready for the day?, Tired and irritable because its early, dark, Thursday ? or do you have no idea why life is impossible before coffee etc?

I have found a cure. I am now able to identify how I’m feeling, physically, emotionally and mentally. I can, as the Joker once said in the Batman film, “give a name to my pain”. I am also now able to turn a day from “its not looking good already….” into a much better one. How? … you may ask.

Well the answer has surprised even me. You see, I was born without any genes that make exercise a fun thing to do. I think my brother got them all. He has always been very sporty, Rugby, Tri-athlons, Running, Swimming & Cycling. He and his wife were once known as Mr & Mrs Motivator. Me… not so much. I did like Skiffing (wooden racing craft, often spotted on the Thames). I also spent many a Saturday (8 years worth) running on and off a rugby pitch administering First Aid. I developed a muscular physique performing sports massage treatments over the same period of time for the Rugby club. It was a tough job but someone had to do it…….. Apart from that I only had one love when it came to exercise and I didn’t regard it as exercise. Yoga. My favourite classes were the de-stress ones that allowed me to stretch my body and calm my mind. I have practised this amazing art, on and off, since I was 14. My yoga journal was always my favourite read and any chance to meditate or practice mindfulness made me a very happy bunny.

Due to children, work and family stuff, I always practiced yoga during the day or in the evening. Then in 2012 on holiday in Gran Canaria, I had the opportunity to practise in the morning. I knew that the ancient traditions of Ayurveda recommend morning yoga, but I had not truly understood why. After a few mornings I found a morning practice almost addictive. I would stand on the mat with my hands in prayer position, checking in with my balance, taking my attention to the heart centre, inhale and as I exhaled raising my hands up for a sun salutation. Then one morning I paused. Instead of one breath I allowed myself full awareness of the breath. My breathing became deeper and my focus moved naturally to the heart centre. Only I didn’t find peace, I found irritation and restlessness. I found my true condition on that day and I found honesty. It was our last day and I didn’t want to go home. I was happy in our peaceful, sunny, gloriously bright and shiny holiday refuge. I stood still with tears falling down my face as I realised that my body, mind and spirit were truly relaxed for the first time in many years. I also knew that if I wanted to feel tired and stressed again, that I had simply to return to the life I had left and make no changes. I wiped my tears away on my kaftan sleeve (as you do…) and made a mental note that changes were required. I set an intention to change. I’m still a work in progress (aren’t we all) but provided that the work is still in progress then there is a good chance for pleasing results.

Now my mat is a place for honesty. I pay attention to the way I feel. I pay attention to the thoughts in my head. When we sleep the subconcious seems to process all sorts of stuff and our body works on repair and renewal. Generally we don’t remember our brain activity overnight, but the quiet space on the mat allows the mind to offer up some thoughts for resolution. The physical space on the mat allows our body to communicate any aches and pains for attention. Our very presence on the mat allows the spirit space to breathe.

Me and my mat…. We are bff (best friends forever) and my mornings are happier because of it.

By Jo Scrimshaw, Aug 10 2016 04:41PM

500 miles to your next service. My car updates me when it is time to give it a little TLC. Car services are timed to make sure that the engines are running smoothly to minimise the risk of problems. Nowadays garages tend to check the car over at service time to anticipate any issues and review car fuel performance. Anyone with a new or fairly new car knows that this is a sensible thing to do.

I consider myself to be very lucky to afford the lease payments on my car. In the past I had older cars that had a service when I could afford them. Sometimes the cost of 2 or 3 services exceeded the cost of another older car, so I just ran it till it broke.

Computers have come down in value so much that most PC's are cheaper to replace than take to an engineer. Since I am self- employed, my time is now money. By the time I have tried to make it work, looked up fixes online, got frustrated with it and given in, I have lost a days work and I still haven't started to consider the engineers costs or the loss of time while the computer is away for repair . Best to order a replacement online and restore my data on to it quickly.

In common with many bits of equipment it is possible to simply put a new bit of kit in place of the broken car, computer, gadget or whatever. We live in a disposable world where replacement is common place .

But what happens when that broken piece of equipment is part of our bodies. Are our bodies now considered disposable too ? Or do we just think that illness will never happen us ? Maybe we believe that the NHS can fix anything. Advancements in medicine can leave us thinking that they already have a cure for everything that ails us. New heart - no problem! Replace my blood - sure ! New leg from genetic work ? - absolutely. What can't they do ?

Did you know that life insurance is relatively cheap ? And sickness insurance is very expensive ? It's because, statistically, we are much more likely to be chronically sick than we are to die. Death isnt expensive but living with an illness is !

A good friend of mine recently had an acute mental breakdown. Crisis team after crisis team were slow to respond and quick to tell her that they didn't feel that they could offer the kind of help she needed. It was the medical equivalent of having the wrong kind of wet leaves on a railway line. Wtf ? If you feel like you want to die you need immediate, comprehensive, compassionate help, not constant calls asking you to explain to sterile, note-taking strangers why your life has fallen apart. After much stress and many agonising days, my friend chose privately paid help which really worked. Despite having a compassionate doctor to hand out anti-depressants, the overall result was NHS failure.

One of my clients has random, wandering pains in her stomach. She is under investigation for cancer, bowel issues, circulation issues and anything else they can think of. She is in daily pain and coming close to the end of her tether. They have no idea what is wrong with her so she has been sent home with pain killers while they organise more tests. All these tests are at the end of long waiting lists. More pain. More painkillers.

In both these cases the women left their symptoms for a long time. They didn't want to make a fuss. No point in bothering people till it's really necessary ! Now they are left wondering if they have been forgotten or just ignored by the NHS system. Truth is, the NHS service is horribly overworked and under- funded. Staff are working longer and longer hours to be left dealing with illnesses that are advanced enough to require 4 times the attention that it would have done, had it been caught earlier.

As individuals we need to take responsibility for our own health. We need to respect the equipment (body and mind), that we have been given and stop abusing it to the point of breakdown.

Let's be clear. Sugar is bad for you. Many pre-processed foods have little or no nutritional value. Too much drinking, excess fried foods, microwaved anything, GMO, lack of exercise and too much stress will probably ensure that you spend a large portion of your life in a queue for some doctor to offer you a pill and tell you that the medical miracle you thought would solve your problems is not suitable for your particular type of illness.

So what is good for you ?. Living your life with a little joy !. Doing things that make your heart feel glad. Glad enough to radiate a smile that will fill a room. Finding happiness in family and/or friends. Doing things that make daily life easier for others. Truly listening when someone needs to talk. Getting some rest when you need it. Really tasting your food, savouring the flavours and appreciating their life giving qualities. Doing some stretching to free up your muscles. Breathing deeply and slowly. Sitting without a TV or radio or other outside noise and just "being". Having a lie in and waking later.

When you have done some of these things you might actually hear your inner voice telling you what you need to do to make it all feel better. That little voice is very intelligent. It knows you much better than you know yourself. Mine once told me to leave the house I was living in, the relationship that I was having and change my career. I dismissed this “voice” as sensationalist nonsense of the tabloid press variety. But 3 years later I had done all of those things. Who knew ? well me apparently ! The little voice is just like that computer in your car. If you listen it will tell you when you need some TLC or even when you need to make a big change in life. Listening to the inner voice is a key feature of mindfulness. To be aware of the needs of our body and our mind, is to be truly intelligent. So the next time you have a few minutes to yourself, listen to your body and see if it has something to say. You might well get a mental image of someone folding their arms and looking huffy while the voice says “oh ! get you ! after all this time ! you dont write, you dont call, yet you expect wisdom to just come flowing from me at the drop of a hat !”. or words to that effect. But even that is good news because you have started a dialogue with your inner self. And if you find yourself saying “I dont have time to talk to my inner voice”, then you should be very worried indeed because you are failing to pay attention to the only equipment (body) that you have been given.

Do you need a 500 mile service ?. you tell me !

#health, #mindfulness, #innervoice, #sattvicbliss

By Jo Scrimshaw, Oct 17 2015 05:00PM

We decided to take a trip to Gibraltar, to visit the barracks, that were home to my husband Dan whilst he was a young man, serving in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. He left Gibraltar, (know as Gib, to the ex pat community) in 1970. 45 years is a long time in anyone's life. We all make changes as the years go past, but the landscape of Gibraltar has been profoundly reshaped with so much new housing and support services. Gibraltar has a new runway and large sections of land, reclaimed from the sea. We set out on the first day to find South Barracks. Frustration soon set in, when we couldn't actually get to anywhere that looked familiar to him. Old memories of a balcony overlooking the port, wobbled in his head as we found assorted buildings that "might be" South Barracks. A local man directed us up yet another steep road, reminding Dan of route marches up hills that felt so much easier back then. We were on the verge of giving up for the day, when the turn of a corner revealed our goal. There it was ! It is a school now but the verandah and door were still there, surprisingly familiar. Memories flooded back, for time has no meaning when the past opens a door with so much to view. With the building as a centrepiece to the past, local roads, gateways and steps reshaped the mental landscape, fading out all the new buildings that had felt so dominant when we first arrived. He was, for a few moments, back in 1970. The parade ground is now a car park and the port that used to house the Navy and the stores, has been let out to local businesses as workshops and industrial units. But the South Barracks building still exists, claiming its place in history, along with the Barbary apes, the tunnels, caves, military signs and Governors Residence (complete with uniformed military guards)..

Dan isn't disappointed. Now that he has found his focus, he can see the changes as good things. He is keen to come back again and explore parts of the island that are new or were inaccessible when he was last here. Finding that one building allowed him to move on. His past memories had found acknowledgment.

I am reminded of my own search for the statue of a stone Boar. Claremont Woods and Lakes were a regular destination for picnics during my childhood. My first task was always to run into the woods and search out the magical stone boar. The second task was to find the lake and walk through the overgrown grotto that shrouded a crescent shape at its northern shore. I always loved the C.S.Lewis stories of the children through the wardrobe. That stone Boar was my very own Mr Tumnus, and the lake undoubtedly housed fairies and elves. 35 years later I agreed to meet a friend there. The gardens had been restored to their former glories. The landscaped steps and the genteel picnic areas, were ready for new generations of children. The stone Boar stood proudly in an open area and the path round the lake was neatly manicured. My expectation was a refurbished garden, that still had a boar to find and fairies hiding in the undergrowth. However, after the initial surprise, I recognised that this new layout was the only one that new visitors knew about. They will make their own stories and dream their own dreams and they will expect their vision of places to stay the same.

Expectations are natural. Dan had expectations that he would find more of his old Gibraltar, and I had expectations that my childhood memories would stay the same. Expectations are our hope for the future, but they are also our fears. Despite the fact that it's only October, the shops are filling up with Christmas items. I know that there are lots of people who look forward to the seasonal festivities with the same expectations that they had as children. A time for families to come together, lights to twinkle, parties, presents to open and a large jovial man with promises of bounty. But there are, I'm sure, an equal number who expect Christmas to be stressful; filled only with excess and being obliged to spend the day with people they don't see all year. Maybe they don't have anyone to spend it with, or the money to make the day anything special.

Expectations are an anticipation of a future that is created in our heads. A myriad of electrical impulses based on life experiences and random information gathered, scrambled and presented in our minds as a concrete picture. But life will change our every expectation into reality at some stage. I don't know about you, but the reality never matches the way I think it will be.

Worrying about an event in the future is compulsive viewing. It beats anything that the tv companies can come up with. It consumes our thoughts, robs us of sleep and changes the way we act.

Anticipating an exciting event can put a spring in our steps and a positive outlook. It seems that Doctors look for positive events to help patients deal with acute depression. Having something to look forward to is a significant tool for those who feel overwhelmed with life.

Either way, we need to find balance. Finding the middle ground, where life is calmer and restful, is en essential part of dealing with expectations. The current movement in Mindfulness and Meditation, offer us real tools to accept change and maintain that balance.

Expectations are a part of life. Change happens all the time. If we deal with them well, we become stronger in every way.

Sometimes we just need some acknowledgement that we exist in the world, shaped by our past and open to our futures. Dan had his balcony and I still had a boar and a lake. The future is on its way, forming itself out of the mist of our actions, thoughts and feelings. But right here, right now, I am thoroughly enjoying sitting in a historic square, with seagulls squawking their way back to the port and the sounds of the world waking up for another day. Works for me ...x

#expectations #gibraltarsouthbarracks #RRF1970 #Claremontwoods #mindfulness #balance #managingchange

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