It’s a week since Gaia was leading her long-weekend –
Breaking the Psychological Spell –
in Brighton.

And it turns out this title is perfect for the work that Gaia does.

I’ll give you a little hint of the weekend, so you can see how.

Twenty of us gathered in the cosy loft space of an old building in the bustling lanes of Brighton.
People from all over grab a cushion, a cup of tea and a biscuit and settle in.

There was a wonderful, gentle, holding feeling right from the beginning.
Maybe there’s something in the vibe of the building too:
Below there are babies being held in the warm water of a small swimming pool by their parents,
the closest they’re getting to the womb experience since their recent real womb time.

Gaia mixes explanations of the background of her work 
the psychology of the ‘adaptive mechanisms’ that we develop as young ones –
with gentle, insightful exercises that we do in pairs or in groups.

As people relax and sit back and share, it’s clear that everyone feels safe enough to explore the more difficult and tender sides of their lives.
Whether that’s with relationship challenges, or health problems, or feeling stuck in life, or issues with work, or in lacking in self-love.

And Gaia is working towards one of her special processes
(she has a different one for every retreat and workshop).
We will split into smaller groups and be led by one of Gaia’s trainees, in a carefully prescribed process that involves asking specific questions, then travelling round a ribbon-laid course, exploring different parts of ourselves, and getting epiphanies about our lives and how we self-suppress.


… Oh man, it’s impossible to describe. I did want to try.
Because this process can go in a thousand different directions.
And it’s always astonishingly insightful, moving and powerful for every participant.

Gaia has blended psychology, her years of therapeutic training, with energy work, voice dialogue and an extra and massive something else that is very particularly – GAIA

We used to call it Gaia’s Magic.

And it was a very good description.

Because Breaking a Psychological SPELL takes MAGIC as well as psychology.

So, we all had a huge weekend:
Time warped, and we emerged blinking into the light of the outside world, and feeling the immense joy of being alive, of being, simply, ourselves.
We had learnt, laughed, cried, felt love for one another and ourselves and made some new friends.

More of that please.


On the Monday after the weekend, I was wandering around Brighton.
I was calm and happy and ambling, in a kind of reverie.
And good things happen in that state.
I know because I spend a lot of time in that state, and it’s when the good things happen 🙂

And here’s one of the good things.
I was drawn into a small bookshop. And I knew I had to go to one table. And I looked at a book that said ‘Time for Lights Out’ and it had an illustration of a man walking his dog on the hills that looked sort of familiar.

The book was by Raymond Briggs (of Snowman fame), and is about…. well, the jacket says it’s ‘an extraordinary exploration of old age in words and pictures’.

And I flicked through it and thought, with a thrill ‘Oh, it looks like he’s local’. There were mentions of the South Downs and Brighton.

I bought it and have been reading it since (aloud to family and friends too).

You don’t have to be old to read it (I’m not).

I‘m going to share with you some of his words.

I love this, because in an age of ‘gratitude journals’, this is a man simply appreciating the basics of being alive.
It rang many bells for me. As I’ve been finding on element of life particularly pleasurable in the last few months –
The simple joy of Being Alive.
There’s a gentle excitement to it (this Being Alive thing).
And wrapped up in that is a flowing sense of appreciation for the basics (like being warm and dry and comfortable).

So here we go. Over to the marvellous Mr. Briggs.
Remember, he was born in 1934, so was a child during the second world war.

Read it slowly.
It’s almost like a prayer.


Thank God, or Someone,
I am not in pain.
As far as I know,
I am in good health.
There is no war.
Tonight, no bombers will come.
Tomorrow will bring no invader.
We are at peace.

The bed is comfortable.
I am warm.
The rain will fall on the roof,
Not on me.
The cold ground is far below.
The wind blows, the curtain stirs,
I do not feel it.
If frost comes, it will be outside.

Inside, the room is warm.
I am not hungry.
I am not thirsty.
There is no famine.
There is no drought.

I am not alone,
I can hear breathing.
I can see.
I can hear.
I can walk.
And I can sleep.

One day, one night,
Death will come,
but not just yet.
For the time being,
All is well.

From Raymond Briggs’ Time for Lights Out, P.75

Okay, enjoy this last week of February.
The days are getting longer (for most of you).

Be gentle on yourselves.

John & Gaia xx

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