Awakened presence blog

Entering 2023

I love holding retreats. I never really planned to hold them; it’s just organically happened as a natural unfolding. I feel rather like a tree that has been battered by inner and outer weather much of its life, incapable of bearing particularly good fruit until recently because the conditions just weren’t right for that to happen. Yet the survival instinct has been strong & my 25 year old dance practice has taught me to ride the waves of weather in a way that doesn’t break me ~ but instead makes me increasingly able to seek out the light that makes me grow. I’m only now coming to fully realize that decades of relentless struggle building both my inner and outer home have been so very worth it. This work has given me an inner & outer home to teach from that is uniquely shaped from many years of seeking light in the darkness, from fixing difficulties, from re-parenting myself whole again. What I’m doing cannot be learned from reading a book or doing a course and it’s for that reason that I’ll probably never develop a training. I’ve trained in countless modalities but for me the real training has always been the grit of life itself. My prayers for this year are that the roots of my inner home will continue to deepen & that my outer home will begin to stretch out its arms to include sweet Sambogaya, our Glastonbury project. It’s taking a long time to birth & at times it’s felt like just another struggle, but birthing a home for good work is no easy task when it’s me who is doing it. Yet I feel the inclusion of Glastonbury in my trajectory will ultimately lighten the load for me, my beloveds and the many who will come to visit & drink up the beauty and amazing work that will abound there. The mysteries there whisper to me, soften my heart & widen my eyes. And perhaps Glastonbury’s uber spirituality could do with some of my Yorkshire grit. Life for me is the art of bridging the spiritual with the material & coming to realize that they are identical. I’m here to find stillness within the movement, formlessness within the form & true freedom within the suffering. So as 2023 beds in, I reluctantly yet fully open my arms in reverence for the mad wonder of life itself in all its guises as it continues to shape my dance through time & space; I appeal to sweet courage to keep playing a strong role & above all I hope that friendship and love will continue to grow & give me the regular reminder that, as my beloved teacher Gabrielle Roth would say, there’s only ever been one of us here 💛

Golden Man

Greetings brothers (& others)

One of the obvious patterns I’ve seen in men over the years is our tendency to have almost all our energy centred in the thinking mind; it’s as if our body is still foreign to many of us and any invitation to bring our energy there is met by resistance. When we practice awareness of the moving body, the body responds in an extraordinary way. It comes alive in unfamiliar but palpable ways & a whole new way of being in the world opens up to us. When we practice this in a group setting, we get to experience this aliveness & spontaneity in relationship. Our world changes. Our body reclaims its movement authority and the result is empowerment and freedom.

About a year ago, after teaching 5Rhythms movement meditation for 19 years, I realised that the map of the archetypes of lover, warrior, magician & king, which I learned about through working with the Mankind Project, lend themselves brilliantly to an exploration of movement within a group setting. Moreover I saw that the 5Rhythms themselves, namely flow, staccato, chaos, lyrical & stillness mapped perfectly onto this archetypes map. In the lover realm, we get to know the simple experience of our own fluid movements in the presence of the others. We receive our moving breathing presence within the group. This is a way to get to know our selves and each other, and feel our rightful place in the group, in a way that is more holistic and alive than simply talking. This lays the foundation for the warrior realm of staccato in which we activate our bones and muscles to express whatever the moment demands. We allow our self and each other to be seen and heard through the body (& the embodied voice), a process that provides the foundation for a creative exploration into the transformational topic of accountability. When I circle up with men, I want it to be a transformative experience. I want to leave the circle feeling like I am a better man, and this comes about through an honest questioning of whether we are truly being the men we wish to be in our lives. We all fall short somewhere, so the question is: where are we falling short and how can we support each other into a deeper authenticity? And how can we bring our body into this journey of deepening accountability for our lives?

Witnessing each man take responsibility for his life in this way lays a solid foundation of trust for us to enter the magician’s realm of chaos in which we are invited (yes, just invited) to step out of the way of ourselves and allow whatever healing needs to happen to happen. We allow the tension in our head to relax because our head is where we hold onto our fixed ideas and patterns about our self and the world. Our head is how we make sense of the world but every so often, for a healthy life, this head needs to relinquish itself to the bigger picture, so that it may return renewed. When our computer requires a software update, we switch it off for a time, for it to return renewed & updated. We can facilitate this transformational process by allowing safe body movements of release and surrender. We are not used to this, so we take care & allow this care to soften our edges, perhaps even melt our heart. Or perhaps we need to rage. The moment dictates what needs to happen and the safer we feel, the more we can allow the revelation and transformation of the parts that feel unsafe.

The circle is all important here, for holding each man as he dares to dissolve. As an experienced facilitator I can guide each man into releasing whatever memories and patterns need to be released. These patterns engrained in childhood can be transformed by using the circle of men to role play the scenes that created these patterns, listening to a different outcome that may wish to arise, in which case we invite the man when ready, to embody such an outcome & feel its transformational effect, so that it becomes integrated into his breath, body and relationships. Seeing a man face his shadows in this way is an extraordinary life-affirming honour, and the king’s realm gives us an opportunity to explore this sense of honour. We are invited to honour our selves and each other, and we come to see an extraordinary thing: that love, generosity and kindness are in fact our natural condition. We explore this natural condition in movement in the rhythms of lyrical and stillness. How does it walk? how does it breathe? How does it rest? How does it wish to be integrated into our lives beyond this circle of men?

From November 3rd to 6th I’ll be holding one of these workshops in Glastonbury. I call the workshops ‘Golden Man’ after an experience I had about 25 years ago when I was working with a psychomagic healer who’d give me initiatory tasks to carry out. One of them was to walk the entire length of Oxford Street in London, in slow motion, on a busy Saturday afternoon, wearing a suit, with all exposed skin painted gold, while catching eyes with all those I walked past. I began petrified, my fear manifesting externally through people saying all manner of offensive things to me, but by the time I approached the Tottenham Court Rd end and crossed over to return I literally felt that my aura and heart had grown beyond measure and I was starting to genuinely enjoy myself. I felt like a golden lion!

At the end of this workshop we’ll carry out a ritual in which we will silently honour each other in pairs, painting each other gold & welcoming the Golden Man in our selves and each other.
We’ll explore the questions: how does our inner Golden Man see himself? How does he walk and talk? How does he fit into the world?
I definitely feel, from personal experience, that we humans are far more capable of transformation than we think.



A lot of people are expressing that they don’t know what to believe any more. Yet what really is belief anyway? Why do we have to believe anything?

Why SHOULD we believe anything? Most people think that letting go of needing to believe anything amounts to some kind of depression.
Yet that’s an idea that comes from people who use their beliefs to give themselves self worth.

No wonder people hold on so fully to their beliefs! Just look at how they react when someone with different beliefs comes along. Even a believer of peace on earth will embody the exact opposite, in the name of their belief!

We all know who we are when we have beliefs.
Yet who on Earth are we without any beliefs? Have you explored?
Unless you explore who you are without any beliefs, you may just fall into the trap of being another believer. Belief is seductive.

How do you explore who you really are?
Most of us just blindly assume that we are a collection of thoughts, feelings, sensations and perceptions.
Have you made this assumption?

Yet how could we be these things, because while all these things come and go, we do not experience our self coming and going with them. We have to simply ask our self what is it in our experience of our self that doesn’t come and go?

What is it in your experience that doesn’t come and go?

In order to answer, you have to go to that experience. You have to go to your self. You can’t go to your thoughts because they come and go!
What is it that doesn’t come and go?

It’s closer than your breath.
It’s not the things; the thoughts, the sensations etc.

It’s that which knows them. It’s that which is aware of them.
Go to That. And be with That.
Until we see that it doesn’t come and go, but that everything comes and goes in That.

The more we take this simple timeless and immediate journey to meet our self, the more our beliefs fall away.
Only the self that believes he/she is a collection of things needs belief. It uses it in order to support it’s illusory status.

How much more beautiful is it to be who you really are?
It’s well worth a try.

Maybe it’s what you were here for all along.

Keep It Simple

The world is being perceived.
Don’t be the one who thinks they are perceiving, be the one who is actually perceiving.

This real you is not a bunch of thoughts. It is the eternal and infinite one that creates time, space and thought, and then gets lost in it.
Reclaim your true identity back by committing right now to an ongoing acknowledgement of the simple experience of the timeless one that is perceiving.

You can’t find that one with your thoughts.
You find that one by asking yourself what it is that is experiencing the thoughts, the feelings, the perceptions that make up the world.

Answer this question with your experience, not a word.
Let this experience recognise itself.
Then let words, breath and movement emanate from this experience.

This will bring you a deep peace.
This is inner work.

It’s a simple as this.

The Forgotten Silence

Have you forgotten your right to silence? Have your words simply become a way to fill the void? Silence is not a game. It’s the silent house from where all words come. Ignoring its presence is a forgetting of the very source of things, and it’s this forgetting that is at the root of our suffering.

Words create things. Everything the human created began with a thought, and often many words! The world is full of countless wonderful things created by we humans but we don’t have to look far to see that something’s got out of hand. When we lose touch with silence we turn to the world of things for our survival. We create more things, and more things and more things, with barely a pause for breath. Yet these things eventually exhaust us. Just as they are exhausting the earth! In silence we find our freedom and eternity.

In true silence there is no time, nor space, but only the wordless placeless place from where all time and space comes. If that place isn’t worth listening to, then we’re truly doomed. We shouldn’t wait until our body’s death is approaching before we start considering the bigger picture. We could die tomorrow! Besides, the world needs our attention to silence now more than ever. The awful thing however is that when we switch off the noise, we hear loud and clear our habit of filling the silence. This noise might just be the loudest of them all. Our mind simply cannot handle true silence.

Our healing comes through understanding that while our mind cannot fathom the placeless place from where it emanates, it’s not its noise that is actually the problem but rather our fusion with it. When we simply leave our mind alone, the dust will begin to settle, and in the dust beginning to settle, the silence will begin to arise. However when I say ‘we simply leave our mind alone’ what do I mean?

We have to establish who or what is the ‘we’ that I’m speaking of, otherwise we just don’t know how to do it. We may get a temporary break from our mind through our practices of yoga, meditation, conscious movement, tantra etc but until we honestly enquire into the nature of who or what it is that is practising, the mind will continue to veil the silence through dominating our precious lives – and such practice, rather than being a stepping stone to that silence, can if we’re not careful become another dependency that serves to block it.

Most of us either consciously or unconsciously think that we are the mind itself: a collection of thoughts, feelings and perceptions that exist in a limited amount of time and space. So any invitation to ‘leave our mind alone’ would amount to an invitation for the mind to leave itself alone – which would be impossible because the very action of the mind leaving anything alone brings the mind into activity. It’s no wonder that so many of us struggle to quieten our thoughts. It is not possible for the mind to leave the mind alone.

The ‘we’ that I am speaking of is not the mind. The mind is limited, but the awareness that is aware of it, and hence able to leave it alone, is limitless. It does not exist in the time and space of the mind. Conversely time, space and mind exist in it. In other words time, space and mind exist in us. Moreover time, space and mind are made of us.

So in order for us to leave our mind alone so that we can experience the inner silence that comes from the settling of the dust, we must become aware of that which is able to leave the mind alone. When we simply allow awareness to rest in the awareness of itself rather than the awareness of things, the mind can finally be given a true rest. In this respect awareness is the greatest mother of all.

Yet we soon see that the mechanism of mind has been running for a long time and has established a pattern of survival which won’t just disappear with this understanding. We have to gently but consistently allow our true self, awareness, to shine in its own presence time and time again. We must come to reside in the experience that we go to that makes us answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘am I aware?’ – savouring the peace of awareness’s presence until we recognise with our actual experience that our inner silence was right there all along, shining within our every word and our every breath.


Please, feel free to contact me for any comment.

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Location of The Hebden Wave 5Rhythms class:
Hebden Bridge Methodist Church,
Market Street HX7 6EU.
Francis Michael Eliot:
+44 (0)7749 418640