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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are not available as e-books at present, but I expect to get them back online shortly. However, I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

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Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

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Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

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Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

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Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

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Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
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Sunday, 21 December 2008

Meditation - lifeskill extraordinaire

Oh my goodness, not only is it going to be Christmas in four days; it's also less than a fortnight until the next issue of The Specusphere goes live. I love the work I do for this great little zine, but the days before an issue comes out can be positively traumatic. There are reviews and articles to write, reviews to edit, pictures to find and contributors to hassle, and if it were not for the expertise of our webbie, Amanda Greenslade, I think I would chuck in the towel and make a run for the nearest tall edifice. Don't worry: there are no buildings in Mount Gambier tall enough to leap from and in any case I'm scared of heights, but you take my meaning. I get majorly stressed out.

Being prone to anxiety and depression, I've had to learn to deal with stress. Meditation and Yoga have been my saviours for about the last twenty years. I even lived in a Buddhist monastery in the States for a while, which is where I got the name of Satima. It means "mindful" and I thought it a bit of joke at first, because mindful I am not. Yet hearing others say the name is a constant reminder to work on keeping my mind in the present moment: to be aware of what's going on in the body-mind and in my environment, and now I prefer it to the name my parents gave me.

Now, I am not one for doing things by halves, and I know that joining a monastery will not appeal to everyone. Getting up at four in the morning and spending three hours in Yoga practice and meditation before breakfast isn't everyone's idea of how best to start the day. But meditation is not restricted to Buddhists or even to religious people generally, although all religions admit some form of it into their practices. Everyone, religious or not, can benefit from meditation. As little as ten minutes a day can help calm the body and mind, helping us to think more clearly and to regain equilibrium in times of stress. Because it has been such a life-saver for me, I love to pass on the skills to others, as I have been fortunate enough to have teaching from some wonderful people. I lived for almost two years in all at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts where I worked as Registrar while studying meditation under the wonderful teachers there. When I returned to Australia in 1998, I resumed my meditation studies with Eric Harrison at the Perth Meditation Centre, and when I left Perth he awarded me a teaching certificate, exhorting me to teach meditation here in Mount Gambier.

I finally had a chance to do just that last week, as my Yoga teacher asked me to conduct a workshop. Attendance was small but enthusiasm was great, and I came away feeling that I had done something worthwhile. I hope I have further opportunities to share my love of meditation with friends here and elsewhere. If you've never tried meditation, do give it a go. It's an incredibly valuable tool for peace of mind and self-knowledge.

I wish you all the joy of the season, whatever that means to you - Christmas, Hannukah, Solstice (summer or winter!) or just the joy of spending time with family and friends.

May we all be well and happy.

7 comments:

Laura E. Goodin said...

If there were, say, a yoga-and-writing retreat that was moderately priced and in a place I could get to without beggaring my family, why, I reckon I'd be more than tempted to sign up....

Satima Flavell said...

Yes, neat idea, Laura. Meditation, especially done intensively, can boost creativity to a considerable degree because it brings the conscious and the unconscious closer together. I've had plots for whole novels pop into my head while on retreat. Mind you, writing the novels has proven to be a cushion of a different colour:-)

Jo said...

So how, exactly, does one meditate. On the few occasions I have tried, my mind skitters around like a hill of ants. its one of the things promoted by my T'ai Chi sifu but I never could really achieve anything.

Satima Flavell said...

Meditation consists of two components - concentration and awareness. You can't really get into the state of awareness that allows insights to arise without at least some prior degree of concentration, and concentration is much easier when you are relaxed. So the very first stage is relaxing the body. If you've never learnt how to do this, either ask someone to teach you or get a good book. However, the instructions in the next para will get you started.

The very process of relaxation will help you to concentrate. A good way to start is to sit comfortably and quietly, focusing on the sensations in the body from top to toe. You can start anywhere, but let's say you start with the feet. Feel the pressure of the feet on the floor. Notice any sensations such a tingling, or any feeling of discomfort such as aching, burning, stabbing or tightness. Feel as if you are walking around the sensation, examining it. What kind of pressure? What kind of aching? Go deeper into the sensation, consciously endeavouring to relax the entire area. When you feel ready, move on to the lower legs and repeat the process, and so on up the body to the top of the head. If you mind wanders, just call it back as soon as you notice the wandering. It's natural for the mind to wander, and the process of learning to meditate is largely based on bringing the mind back, over and over again, to the object of meditation, which in this case is the body's sensations. As long as you're bringing the mind back every time it strays, you're meditating. So you can do this even when you aren't sitting to meditate. When chopping vegies, focus on what you're doing. Feel the handle of the knife and the texture of the cutting board. Watch the process of each cutting stroke. You can apply this to almost any household task or just about anything else, really:-)

That should be enough instruction to get you going. Let me know how it goes!

gynie said...

i wish you the best too satima !

Satima Flavell said...

I'm looking forward to seeing more lovely pictures on your blog in 2009, Gynie

gehana said...

meditation has health benefits. Meditation is an opportunity to spend time by ourselves. Meditation can give us peace of mind, and this can be a helpful step in avoiding many stress related ailments. Meditation has also been shown to relieve the pain associated with certain illnesses.

Meditation

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