Category: Meditation

Slow Down Retreat, 22-24 November 2019, Cotswolds

***20% discount when quoting Quiet Space!! Say I sent you and pay just over £350 rather than the normal price of £445 for a shared room***

Exciting news! I’ve joined the Slow Down Retreats team to deliver a very special retreat weekend from 22-24 November in the luxurious surroundings of Cotswold Park Barns.

It’s going to be a weekend of relaxation, yoga and meditation, and nourishment for body, mind and soul. Time for you, time to breathe deep and press pause. Time to rest, to unwind, to find some headspace, and to sleep.

I’ll be leading a group session during the retreat focused on self-care and self-acceptance – do you know what your body and mind need and what replenishes you (and conversely, what drains your energy)? How kind are you to yourself? We’ll be working to identify your personal strengths and your unique self-care recipe, and discussing how we can all move towards self-acceptance.

Full details are available at Slow Down Retreats. I’d be thrilled to see you there!

A guided meditation to melt the winter chill


The ice on the car this morning was mesmerising. That said, me and cold don’t really mix; I’m much more of a tropical person, which is why I’m currently sitting in front of a blazing fire and thinking warm thoughts.

Here’s a guided meditation to melt some of the chill. The full meditation is about 15 minutes long and so this is just a beginning snippet.

Close your eyes.

Breathe in really deeply, to the count of three, and hold it for two counts. Then breathe out to the count of three again. Repeat this for several breaths.

Start to bring your focus to the sensation of breathing. The rise and fall of your chest, the rhythm, the feel of the air you breathe out. It’s cold outside. But the breath leaving your lungs is warm. Focus now on the warmth of that breath.

And as you keep breathing deeply, I’d like you to imagine that you’re walking in a field. Take a moment now to use your senses to bring your surroundings to life. What do you see around you?

What do you hear?

What can you smell?

As you continue walking, you see in the distance that there is a gathering. It looks like a group of people sitting next to a campfire. And even though you’re not sure why, you’re drawn to meet with these people. It feels safe.

If you’d like to get the rest, drop me an email and if there’s enough interest I’ll do an audio recording of the full meditation that you can listen to in your own time.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Leaves on a stream meditation

Try this meditation the next time you need some headspace.

1) Find a comfortable, quiet space where you won’t be disturbed, and sit down and close your eyes. (Don’t lie down because you might fall asleep and that isn’t the point of this exercise.)

2) Imagine you’re sitting by the side of a gently flowing stream. Picture this in your mind now, and use your senses to really make the scene vivid. What can you see? Smell? Hear?

3) Now, for the next few minutes, sit by this stream and for every thought that pops into your head – positive, negative, unformed – imagine that you’re placing that thought on a leaf and letting it float downstream.

4) If your thoughts stop, just watch the stream. When they start again, carry on with the exercise.

5) If you get distracted and forget what you’re meant to be doing, that’s ok. Just bring back your attention when you realise that it’s wandered, and start placing thoughts on leaves again.

6) Let the stream flow at its own rate; don’t try to wash away the leaves. Let them float away in their time.

7) If a leaf – or thought – gets stuck, let it hang around. Don’t force it to float away. Let it float away when it can.

8) If a difficult feeling arises, just acknowledge it. Just say “here’s a feeling of anger/impatience/frustration/etc.” Then place those words on a leaf, and let the leaf float away.

9) Again and again, your thoughts will hook you and you’ll get distracted. This is normal and natural and will keep happening. Just keep returning to the exercise when you realise this has happened.

10) When you are ready, bring the exercise to an end. Tune back into your surroundings and open your eyes. Welcome back.

– Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Becoming a guided meditation leader

Meditation for fidgety skeptics

So I’m currently training to be a guided meditation leader. I’ve been meditating for some time and wanted to develop a new way in which to work deeply with my clients, which will become a core strand in the transformational development programme and retreats I’m planning to deliver this coming year.

It’s been really exciting to see my coaching practice develop over this past year. I originally trained with classic behavioural coaching models like GROW and later took on a career development specialism, but in finding my own identity as a coach this past year, after setting up Quiet Space last September, I have found myself making increasing use of psychological approaches alongside a growing affinity with a more philosophical style. I’m completing further training in psychological coaching later this month and am really looking forward to it!

My personal meditation practice is still in its infancy and will no doubt evolve, but right now it’s a mix of mindfulness and a way of connecting with God (I’m a practising Catholic). I find the science of it fascinating too. I’m a little way off designing and delivering my own group guided meditation sessions, but if anyone’s interested, they’re not going to involve crystals, chakras etc. as that’s not me. They will, however, involve candles, cushions, blankets and tea, and be suitable for fidgety skeptics. Probably.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Ten breaths meditation


I was moody today. On Wednesday and Thursday I talked to people about self-care recipes, and today I had to think about mine. I’d have liked to spend the entire day alone, but instead I had two kids, entrance exam prep and piano and violin practice to battle through – which took most of the afternoon – so, you know, gah. Also, I’m not speaking to the husband. Such fun! Good thing the weather was sublime so I sat in the garden and stared at the grass while getting agitated about how these Maths questions would be simple to solve IF YOU WOULD ONLY READ THE QUESTION PROPERLY AND DO IT STEP BY STEP LIKE I TOLD YOU.

See? Everyone has off-days. At times like this, when you feel steamed up and need headspace, try this meditation. It only takes a minute, so after that you can carry on with your bad day if you want. Or, you know, you can take a deep breath and remind yourself to get some perspective.

Ten Breaths Meditation
1) Start by stopping, whatever you’re doing, wherever you are. Keep your eyes open, but don’t stare manically at the cat.

2) Breathe in really deeply, to the count of five, and see if you can hold it for three counts, then breathe out to the count of seven. This is Breath One.

3) Repeat for three further breaths, counting each breath. Each time, on the exhale, let it be a release. Imagine you’re breathing out all the frustration, all the annoyance, all the irritation. Make the exhale really noisy if you want.

4) How patient can you be with each breath? How long can you make your inhale? The pause in between the inhale and the exhale? The exhale?

5) The fifth time around, let your breathing return to normal. Keep counting each breath, but this time, focus on the sensation of breathing. The rise and fall of your chest, the rhythm, the feel of the air you breathe out on your hand. If you forget what number you’re on, that’s ok – just restart from wherever you remember.

6) When you get to ten, you can stop. Tune back into your surroundings. How do you feel? (If you still want to strangle someone, you may want to continue for a bit. Or drink some gin, you know, whatever floats your boat, but meditation’s probably better for you.)

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Pain is a teacher


At Mass last week, I lit some candles today and prayed about pain, which I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. A number of things have converged to cause this: the knee, my mother’s grief over the loss of her beloved cat, Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” (if you haven’t read this, buy or borrow it), and the daily catalogue of unhappy news from around the world. (On a lighter note, also the individuation report that I idly signed up for a while ago that told me I thrived on suffering. Apparently I have a ‘strange appreciation for pain’, although they did go on to clarify that they didn’t mean masochistically, which was helpful.)

It seemed quite fitting that while participating in a group guided meditation recently involving the ‘ancestors circle’, one of the messages that came into my head was ‘pain is a teacher.’

In my more philosophical moments, I have mulled over the ‘problem of pain’ and why God allows suffering to happen. I am no theologian or philosopher, but you see, I think pain is part of life in all its fullness.

I’ll write more about my thoughts in my next article, but for now, if you’re experiencing pain I’m sending you love and praying that you find inner peace.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Be tender with your pain


While meditating today I was visualising a companion by my side, just being there and being exactly who I needed. I was being bathed in the intense warmth and light of the sun and my companion was my guardian angel. He had huge wings, enfolding me when I needed to be comforted or simply held, lifting me when I needed to be carried or raised up, and racing alongside me in the wind when I was strong and filled with energy. (I don’t feel either strong or energetic right now, so carrying it is, mate.)

If you’re going through pain or difficulty, have faith. You can always deal with what is happening in this moment, and you can make the best of whatever situation you’re in. Remember you are loved. You can do this!

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd