Meditation and stillness

Meditation and stillness: journey to wellness

I am sitting on the earth as though sprouted, leaning in to the wisdom of a Jarrah tree as I write. I have just finished listening to a Tara Brach podcast. The monkey chatter of my mind is enjoying a quiet reprieve as I take in a big lungful of lemony eucalypt morning air.

My personal healing journey began with sobriety and clean eating. I continue to work at these giants in my journey, but truthfully, they are second nature to me now. I worked at it and one day it was no longer work.

The next step in my personal healing journey is to layer breath and mediation into my routine.  I hope that it will one day feel as natural as fixing a kale, tahini and avocado salad for breakfast. I am enormously grateful for meditation podcasts which I think of as instant access to zen. I know instant and zen do not really belong in the same sentence, but these days I am time poor and when I do carve out some quiet time for my mind to be still like a deep and immense lake, I immediately start to compile lists of things that need to be done, invent recipes, my thoughts roam and ramble. I scramble back to my breath and try to quiet my monkey mind while the monkeys in my mind shoot hoops and search for bananas, of all the layers in my journey, this, I suspect, will be the hardest.

The wisdom of trees

I scramble back to my breath and try to quiet my monkey mind while the monkeys in my mind shoot hoops and search for bananas, of all the layers in my journey, this, I suspect, will be the hardest.

Being at this point in my meditation journey has inspired me to re read the India section in Eat, Pray, Love.  I am a book worm, a lover of language and a foodie so it was no surprise that all those years and kilos ago it was the Italy section that I loved the best.  In Gilbert’s hands language oozes like mozzarella and you can nearly taste the thin pizza crusts that transport wafer thin slices of prosciutto and fragrant basil. These days the idea of a great pizza does little for me and this is one of the great joys of clean eating and the one thing I wish I knew earlier; when you fill your body with fresh, crisp, nutritional goodness that is what your body will want….. eventually. In the beginning of this journey I really missed bread. I dreamed of thick slices of olive sourdough drizzled with olive oil, but these days my body no longer craves something that makes my belly swell like West Coast surf and renders me sluggish and ready for a nap.

Re reading Gilberts efforts to calm the circus of her mental chatter makes me feel so much better about the all too brief moments of calm in my own circus mind. I remind myself that this is something that will get better as I practice.

Sometimes my meditations are surreal…other times I experience a sweet contentment …thoughts still do their show off dance…my thoughts have become like old neighbors, kind of bothersome but ultimately rather endearing – Mr. and Mrs Yakkity-yak and their three dumb children blah, blah and blah. —Elizabeth Gilbert

For now, guided meditations in the form of a podcast are a wonderful way to short circuit the anarchic wild animals of my thoughts and deliver me to a calm space, or what Buddhists refer to as “no mind”. With guidance I can banish the frenetic chatter and float. My tailbone earths me while the rest of my body floats in a field of colour like a Rothko painting.

Tara Brach brings to her meditations a quiet, gentle and often humorous wisdom. I love that we can use modern technology to step up from the ground floor of the human experience. Podcasts are a big part of my toolbox as I strive toward my best self. In moments like these, surrounded by nature and calmed by meditation my thoughts are like perfect still moments linked together. Soon I will rise from here, my wild animals will awake and start performing, my thoughts will scatter and shatter but for now, in this moment of perfect stillness there is just calm, my breath rising and falling, the wisdom of trees quietly rustling. There is just this, a moment of quiet perfection.

To hold this moment of perfection a little longer I am going inside to make chai. I am posting a recipe for my current favourite brew.

All healing journeys start with a cup of tea

Coconut Chai


Enjoy x.

Meditation and stillness: journey to wellness

By: Bell Harding

I share with you my favourite chai recipe for your moments of quiet perfection.


Prep time

Cook time



  • 4 Rooibos tea bags or 3 teaspoons loose leaf Rooibos tea
  • 1.5 Liters filtered water
  • 10 to 12 cloves
  • 1 heaped teaspoon black pepper corns- loosely pounded in mortar and pestle
  • 15–20 cardamon pods – loosely pounded in mortar and pestle
  • 1 large piece of cassia bark – or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • big knob grated ginger
  • 1 tin coconut milk


  • Bring to boil in large pot, simmer for 10 minutes, strain in to a teapot and enjoy. I love mine hot in little Asian cups but it would also be lovely cold. Try throwing the leftovers in a blender with a handful of ice for a nice chai frappe.


Tried this recipe? Mention @wellbeing_magazine or tag #wbrecipe!

Bell Harding

Bell Harding

Bell is wholefood cook and a barefoot gypsy. In search of a life less ordinary, she packed a tent and art supplies and took to the road. Seeking the dirt and poetry in the Australian landscape, she also discovered a path to wellness. Bell discovered what it means to be well by healing herself from weight gain and alcohol dependence. She draws on a professional career in cooking to create recipes that celebrate real food and shares her journey as a curious nomad.

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