I came to Peace of Mind in a bit of a state. I was very tearful, not at ease with myself, and my mind seemed overloaded and chattering all the time. This was partly from being menopausal but also I was very stressed at work and full of worries about my future. The weight of the world seemed to be on my shoulders. I was forever asking myself: "what’s it all about?" and I knew there was something lacking but how would I ever know what it was or where to find it?
Very soon after I first walked through the door and met Sonia and her group of wonderful students, my anxieties began to recede, the causes for being stressed by my job seemed less important and a most surprising thing happened: the awakening of my spirituality. Ah, what a joy and I am thrilled to have been shown this path, particularly through Development and I know that I shall, in time, find my life purpose. This gives me enormous hope for the future.
Through the practice of meditation I now give myself time to quieten and listen and the knock on effect is that I have learned that there is a bigger picture and that everything is for a reason. I now feel so much more grounded, confident, hopeful and better equipped to handle life’s setbacks. I just need to hear my own quiet guidance. This subtle enlightenment influences not only me but everyone in my life. I would certainly say that I at least try to be more compassionate, tolerant and less judgemental towards others and particularly myself.
Peace of Mind gives me a sense of feeling protected, belonging, guided, connected with Spirit, never feeling alone, access to new wisdom and purposefulness.
I feel part of a secret club! How lucky we are and it is great to spend time with likeminded people.
I just wanted to say 'wow' what a powerful and fantastic article - went straight to the core!
After reading your article about abuse and realising for the first time in my life, why I have behaved in such a non-caring fashion about sex and why I have always felt dirty and unclean, as well as very unhappy and unfulfilled afterwards, I feel free and beginning to feel unashamed of what I thought I was.
THANK YOU! I am definitely beginning to see a glimmer of light in the dark, dank tunnel I've been in for so long. I now believe that I'll be ok and even some day (dare I say it?) be happy.
Once again, thank you, on behalf of all victims, for truly understanding and allowing our myriad feelings to be validated. You are indeed our guiding light to the true light!
I first met Sonia in Spring 2000. My life had turned literally upside down. In January of that year I had found myself as a single parent of 2 young children. My life had gone from one of luxury with my son (then aged 10) and my daughter (nearly 3) to claiming income support when my ex partner threw us out of his house. I loved this man deeply and was devastated by his actions. We were not married and I had moved into HIS house.
My friend had a cleaning company and offered me work cleaning for her domestic clients. I was not receiving any maintenance for my children and all money was gratefully received. Soon after I was asked to step in and cover for a cleaner. The house I went to clean was in Sheen and belonged to Sonia. I was supposed to have been in the house for about 2 hours cleaning but I was there an awful lot longer! There was something very special about Sonia. I knew I had been stressed and worried about everything but hadn't realized quite how much this was showing. We talked and talked and Sonia seemed to understand exactly how I felt and before I knew it we had agreed that I would come and try out her meditation group. I certainly did not think that meditation would be for me. My mind never stopped, I used to lay awake at night, unable to 'switch off'. I had high blood pressure and had been prescribed anti-depressants. I HAD to stay in first gear in order to 'cope'. I had no time to 'relax' or 'meditate' for goodness sake! Six and a half years later, as I type these words, I smile. I look back and although I know WAS me, I cannot relate to the person I was.
I went along to the meditation group and had one-to-one counselling sessions and listened to Sonia's guidance. Slowly but surely I noticed a change. Stuff didn't stop happening to me. My children's father did not suddenly become a moral, decent, generous man. What changed was how I dealt with what was happening. I realized I wasn't getting as upset as I used to. I was able to deal with issues in a much calmer way. Through regular meditation, the quieting was enabling me to really cope. Not like I had been 'coping' before. That wasn't coping. I was as highly strung and tightly coiled as a person can be. Now I CAN switch off. Truly switch off. I still have the odd one-to-one session with Sonia, I am only human after all. But, and this is the best part.........my life has turned around completely. I know who I am now and I kind of feel rather good about myself. You see I am still a single mother. My children are now aged 16 and nearly 10. I have been to college and passed several courses. I now aim to start a degree later this year. I turned 41 in January just passed. The week after my Birthday I received my latest certificate, an equivalent to a Maths GCSE. I failed this when I was at school. I am hoping to do a degree in Child Behaviour or Psychology. Plus, I work 24 hours per week. No, it isn't easy, sometimes I question my sanity. But, with Sonia as my mentor, my weekly group sessions (which my workplace builds my timetable around - I WILL NOT MISS IT!), and my daily meditations, I now have the tools to cope with my life.
When I began seeing Sonia in 2000, I was at a really low point in my life - feeling completely blocked and despairing that I would never find my way out of the mire my life had seemed to become. I see meeting Sonia as the point at which it all began to turn around. Through one-to-one counselling and attending regular meditation groups I was able to gain a new perspective on my problems and begin to grow in inner strength and self-awareness. I am now in a completely different place, having trained for a new career and expanded my life in ways I never imagined would be possible. Most importantly I now have a strong sense of who I am and what I'm capable of achieving. The transformation has been profound, and through it all Sonia has been an unfailing support, wise counsellor and mentor. I can't thank her enough.
Joining Sonia for the one to one sessions, the weekly small group and her monthly development sessions in her delightful bergamot infused lodge, dedicated to meditation , was like arriving at a much needed oasis. Sonia is an insightful and gifted teacher. For almost 3 years I have meditated most days and continue to find the practice so beneficial in so many areas of my life.
I can see how deliberately learning how to quieten my mind gives me what I was looking for all along - peace of mind.
I think many people are working faster and harder than ever before - I know I am. Yet whilst I continue to work hard, I am rarely ever drained from it. Meditation for me has become a beautiful part of my coping skills toolkit for a healthier and better balanced emotional life and seems to act like a 'top-up' somehow and is allowing clearer thinking. I feel that my intuition has increased because of it and that alone is a valuable thing for me as I run my own business. I firmly believe that when the student is ready the teacher appears.
Bless you Sonia.
If you had met me for the very first time last Spring '07, you would not believe that only a few years ago I used to be a bright, vivacious, confident, outgoing, full of fun person. I didn't even recognize myself anymore, this person with a weight dragging every fibre of her being down. When had I become so sad, self-doubting and insecure? My self-esteem was non existent and nothing could uplift my soul. I was miserable. I don't really know when I changed - I just had. It had been gradual and over a long period of time, probably over 5 or 6 years. I kept up a facade which I had grown adept at managing, but behind closed doors I was on the floor. Could no-one see the change in me? Maybe, my mother had. I felt ill and constantly tired. In my personal life I lacked energy, enthusiasm, drive. I could have slept/cried my life away. Monday to Friday, with a demanding job, it was pure nerves and adrenalin that kept me going, in the evenings and weekends I just slumped. I was so unhappy, a very sad, emotional person, and I did not know where to start to make the changes or where to get help. Then one day early Summer last year, I met up with Sonia again. We hadn't seen each other for years, we had a lovely day together and she asked me if I would be interesting in joining one of her 'groups'. Ridiculous as it seems, I really didn't know what I was saying 'yes' to. I just felt drawn to her kindness. Months later I asked Sonia 'what made you ask me to join your group - had you noticed the change in me - how did you know I was so sad and low?' The answer to that question is in the person I am now - only 9 months down the line the change in me is remarkable. My sparkle is on it's way back! Sonia has been an amazing support to me and she has given me a life tool - Meditation. With that tool has come so much strength and guidance. Sonia had recognized something that no-one else had. I was crying out for help but had lost my voice. Sonia is helping me to find my voice again. I initially joined her Wednesday group and now I also attend her monthly Novice Development Group. I've also had one to one sessions with healing which have been extremely beneficial to me. I'm not a weak person, I've always been an extremely strong person, in the main positive, creative, a go-getter and achiever. But a series of 'normal life' events had changed that person. You would not have described me as 'spiritual' or 'brown rice!' (and you still wouldn't), but Sonia has taught me that we all have the ability to heal ourselves and find the peace within and she has been my key to finding that place in myself.
I started going to Peace of Mind Meditation Group two years ago not knowing what to expect and I surprised myself by how quickly meditation became part of my life. Before I would have said "I can't possibly meditate, my mind is far too active" and I am pleased to say I have been proved wrong. Meditation has created a gradual stillness in me, enabling me to trust my instincts and I have had the courage to tackles issues that kept me clinging to the past. I still feel I'm me but friends have commented on how much more measured I am. Life continues to throw out its challenges but if I wobble, I regain my balance quickly; in the past I would have spiralled down. The best bit is that the meditations just get better, however tired, stressed or strung out I feel, after a meditation I feel so much clearer. My husband noticed the difference in me and joined the men's group!
What has meditation done for me?? Where would I be without it?? The incapable person who could speak to no-one without wanting the earth to eat me up and make me disappear, who thought she had no right to exist!! Meditation has made me stop and not whirl and meet things in my life head on. It has been a huge, calming and healing experience and has only enhanced my life................where would I be without it? Probably in the earth I wanted to eat me up!! Attending Sonia's classes has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life!
In 2001 I had reached 'the bottom of the well'. I felt lost as I had lost the sense of purpose in my life. It was a time when I got to understand what a mid-life crisis may feel like or when people say they feel empty and search for something to fill in the void. I didn't like it. I was 31 and thought this was happening too early.
I read a few self help books, saw some practitioners, but no-one could really help. I felt that my feet were not touching the ground anymore -I was watching myself as if from the outside, living this meaningless life without any enthusiasm and excitement that I used to have years ago and avoiding people at all costs.
Just by co-incidence I got talking to a girl at work who told me about spiritual healing. I wasn't interested at first - yet another thing to try I thought - but as I felt very down and knew I needed help I asked her for Sonia's details and joined the meditation group.
I didn't see any improvement straightaway and was impatient. I felt like everyone was smiling and was OK and I was the only one who wasn't. After about 3 months I even decided to stop going to the group as I felt angry it wasn't helping. I guess I needed to be angry at someone/something. Sonia didn't try to stop me when I told her and a couple of days later I called her with an apology as I knew I had made a mistake and that if she didn't help me no-one would.
Shortly after that, Sonia realized that the group wasn't right for me and I've been having individual sessions once a month with a different type of meditation. After only a few sessions I felt so much better - happier, with more energy and enthusiasm for life and so I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Within 8-9 months I felt I was ready to start, or should I say fix my life and was going out more, making friends, dancing. I even found love without looking for it - it just came to me.
I don't feel 100% healed yet, but the worst is over and I am a different person now and love it. The most important improvement is that I love myself and want to take care of that and protect it - I value myself and don't put myself down. This way I have notice other value me and respect me. I am a better/stronger parent and when my teenage daughters are giving me problems I stay calm and somehow find creative solutions which work. It's amazing!
Sonia is such a wise, caring lady and is always there if I need her. I dread to think how my life would have been if I hadn't found her, but I guess deep down I knew I would, I just didn't know how. I believe that one day I will be just fine without her when the healing process is completed, but I will always continue with my meditation, which is so important and which I got to love doing.
As for thanking her - I wouldn't know how to begin.......
Meditation with Peace of Mind has provided me with an invaluable way of taking time out from whatever is happening around me and providing me with an invaluable (mental) break. The feeling it generates afterwards is a real sense of feeling fortified, calmer and able to cope with whatever lies ahead (or was worrying you in the first place) in a more considered way.
It's an interesting, growing, restorative experience which I thoroughly enjoy - although I confess when I started the classes I had only a vague idea of what was actually involved or what to expect. Now I appreciate what a huge on-going learning experience it is.
Meditating with Sonia has allowed me to build a store of "cumulative calm" inside, which I can and do draw upon regularly. I'm not yet the totally tranquil, zen-like person I'd like to be (nor ever will be, I expect!) but the daily practice of meditation has certainly shown me the benefits of slowing down, calming down and taking time out to just "let go". I still lead a busy life, but it is certainly a lot more balanced now, and it seems easier to make time for the things that matter and enjoy everything I do that little bit more, because I do it more consciously and more calmly than I used to. Thanks Sonia.
"It's difficult to put into words how meditation has helped me regain some desperately needed balance in my life. To start with the groups provided some quiet time for me and a tremendous sense of empathy and support, but the real benefits of mediation almost crept up on me! I found myself reacting differently and calmly to what would have previously been incredibly stressful situations and those close to me began to notice a grounded and quietly strong person who wouldn't put up with the same old rubbish I'd tolerated for years. I also started to recover much quicker from any event rather than carry the baggage round for weeks or in some cases years and people started to treat me differently.
During my journey (which is by no means ending) I had to deal with some challenging issues where I felt totally lost. The One to One's and support from Sonia were just amazing and its wonderful to know that safety net is always there which I will no doubt need again as life throws up more challenges along the way.
I won't pretend that this change happened overnight and unfortunately Sonia's mantra of daily practice really does work in the end, however impossible it seems at the start. I now see meditation as an essential tool for life, something which I couldn't do without. Words don't really describe the true change, but put simply, I was surviving life whereas now I'm able to live it!"
Although I'd practiced meditation for many years as part of yoga, I had never considered doing it as a stand-alone exercise, and certainly not with a group. But the trauma of a miscarriage and anxiety associated with a subsequent pregnancy left me looking for ways to quiet and control my mind. Sonia's meditation group has offered me that and more: yes, I am now better able to find an inner quiet that has infused my entire life. But this quiet has also afforded me the space to let go of some heavy emotional baggage that I'd long carried with me. And I've become part of a community of fabulous, like-minded women. My weekly visit to Sonia's feels like a little holiday inside myself! And I am a happier person -and I believe a better new mother--because of that.
Meditation has changed both mine and my husbands lives, we both have incredibly busy careers with 3 children and meditation takes you back to the peace and clarity that you had when a child. It takes away the fluster and stress of everyday life and enables you to focus on the important things in life, the things that matter. You owe it to yourself to give yourself this opportunity to be able to deal with any situation and be able to focus on the bigger picture.
What Meditation Means to Me.
When I first started to meditate I would shut my eyes and my mind would chatter away like a group of monkeys. It was so hard to focus and push all thoughts away. But bit by bit with regular practice I began to learn how to calm the chatter and ignore it and this is when a wonderful new world of peace and calm opened up to me. It was like taking a mini holiday each time - coming out of the meditation feeling more refreshed an re-energized! I also found I had interesting experiences every now and then - I would see colours or eyes and sometimes I would feel the presence of my late mother, which on one occasion brought up so much emotion I cried for over an hour after, which was exhausting, but at the same time all part of having a good emotional clear out, which is what I have found practicing meditation regularly over the years does for you. I look at myself now and how I deal with life and back to 6 years ago when I started and I see such a difference for the better. I am so much calmer and more grounded amongst other things. I could not imagine my life without it now. So I feel a huge amount of gratitude to my Meditation teacher Sonia, who has helped me develop such a special and valuable tool that I shall use for the rest of my life. Thank you Sonia.