Our Calm in the Storm: Meditate with Joey Hulin

Prolific hugger and Seasalt Friend Joey is sharing weekly meditations live on our Instagram page. Try one now and get to know her in our interview below.

It’s an anxious time. From families to businesses, we are all feeling the ripples of what’s going on in the world at the moment. One of the ways we hope to support our staff and customers, is by offering regular meditation sessions, to help calm the mind.

For the next few weeks Joey Hulin, from Cornwall-based Horizon Inspired, will be sharing live meditations on Instagram, which we hope you’ll enjoy. There’s also a pre-recorded one below that you can try at any time.

We caught up with her for a virtual coffee and a chat to find out about her journey with meditation and how a regular practise can support mental health.

What is Horizon Inspired & where does the name come from?

Through Horizon Inspired, I offer down to earth meditation support, wellbeing retreats and written inspiration. Every offering carries the simple intention to help people slow down, come home to their heart and to truly believe that they are good enough.

The name began as a bit of a personal metaphor.

I had just moved to Cornwall from London. I was making all sorts of changes, to live a life that felt more authentic, one I had actually chosen and loved. But making those changes felt terrifying. I remember feeling as if I was standing at the edge of a thick fog but I could see the light on the horizon. I knew the only way to get there was to enter the fog, put one foot in front of the other and trust.

How did meditation become part of your life?

I had always been curious about meditation and knew it would probably be good for me but I couldn’t seem to find an opportunity to learn more. The super spiritual approaches to meditation felt too much and it wasn’t part of mainstream culture at the time.

But, like most stories of life transformation mine came through a breaking. I was stressed, anxious and felt completely trapped by the life I was living. So I quit my job, put my house on the rental market and had my own ‘Eat Pray Love’ experience, a few years ago now. I headed to a remote horse ranch in Mexico and then a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. I had never done any yoga or meditation before and remember so clearly the first time I thought ‘Right, I’m gonna give this a go’ and sat down to meditate by myself on a beach. Within seconds, Lionel Richie ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ came into my head. I thought I sucked at meditation and gave up. It wasn’t until returning home that I really started practicing more regularly and started to notice the benefits.

How has it enhanced your day-to-day?

So much. I experimented a little while ago and stopped my daily practice to see how I felt. Mental, was the answer! It’s not that anyone else would have noticed the difference on the outside but my experience of my day to day felt drastically different. Through an incredibly simple practice, just sitting quietly with my eyes closed for 5 to 20 minutes every day, helps me connect in with how I’m feeling that day, helps act as little freshen up of the mind, much like taking a daily shower or brushing my teeth. I feel more grounded, less frantic (a somewhat natural state for me) and peaceful if I make the time to meditate.

For people brand new to meditation. How would you recommend getting started?

Start somewhere. And in many ways, start when life is going great for you. What I often find is people, like me, wait until they are a breaking point and then turn to meditation in a hope it will fix them. Which of course it, in itself, won’t. But it is a tool to help us become self-aware, feel more connected and empowered to choose loving, wise and true things for ourselves. There are so many apps, free resources on the internet, books and courses out there. I’d start by downloading an app called ‘Insight Timer’ which is free to download and has thousands of meditations and courses. Mindfulness is a great place to start, as it is somewhat the gateway for meditation. So search for mindfulness meditation or a course within that app, or on YouTube. The challenge then is finding a voice that is soothing, rather than grating!

Can you debunk any myths about meditation?

The biggest would be that you have to sit there with a completely blank mind in order to meditate. As complex, thinking, human beings who lead busy or complicated lives, or who are faced with the challenges we are as a collective at the moment, it would be near impossible if you sat down to meditate, especially for the first time, and thoughts or distractions didn’t appear. The art of meditation is to be the witness to the coming and going of thoughts, sensations, distractions and choosing to return to the focus of your meditation. Every time you notice, that’s a good thing. You’re that bit more aware.

The idea that you have to believe a certain thing, look a certain way or add bells and whistles to a meditation practice is also a myth. Simply showing up to meet yourself in a quiet place, being aware of your internal world and to offer unconditional love, non-judgement and compassion to whatever you find is what is important.

What’s your recipe for a peaceful life?

Being truthful, to myself and others, something I think I will be always be learning to do. To not concern myself with what other people think or how others judge me, because it is purely a reflection of them, not me. To find time for the tools I know serve my mental and physical health and finding a sense of peace and enjoyment in of the fact that this will be lifelong learning! Just as one layer peels away, it reveals another. I get it wrong all the time. I slip and fall and forget just as often as anyone. I just try to remember when I do, we are all trying our best and every moment of awareness is a fresh start. A new beginning.

Journaling is also a big part of your work. What is it and how can it be used?

A journal is a best friend, a wise counsel and a therapist! I have kept a journal for as long as I can remember and have always expressed myself best through writing. If I’ve ever had to have a tricky or intense conversation with someone, I found it much easier to write a letter. I seem to tell my truth better through the written word and that’s the foundation of journaling. It is a practice of allowing a stream of consciousness to spill onto the page. Unedited, without judgement. Almost like a brain dump. All of the things that are on your mind, no matter how insignificant. I see the practice as clearing the weeds of the mind and it brings us self-awareness. Then paired with meditation we really start to ‘become familiar with’. It can be how we can connect with our wiser selves, by taking a question or challenge to the page – instead of turning to friends and family, who may all have conflicting opinions.

How does living in Cornwall enhance your work and life?

The energy of the sea revitalises me like nothing else. The quiet of the countryside helps me feel more connected, never lonely. And the slower, more laidback Cornish way suits my nature. I am grateful to have found my ‘home’ in Cornwall. But I do think it is important to add that I don’t believe happiness and purpose can found in a place, no matter how beautiful it is. It really is found within. Cornwall and I are a great match and I feel incredibly lucky to have found that and to do what I love doing here.

When we are free to roam again, what are you most looking forward to?

I had this exact conversation with one of my best friends earlier today. We agreed that as SOON as we could, we’d meet at Watergate Bay to jump in the sea, followed by a coffee at Watchful Mary. I live alone, so am currently self-isolating by myself and as a prolific hugger, who will hug just about anyone (even those who aren’t keen on hugging!) I cannot wait to hug again! Whichever friend is getting my first hug after all this had better prepare themselves for quite a squeeze! So the ocean, coffee and hugs. The simple things really.

To find out more about Joey and Horizon Inspired retreats, visit: www.horizoninspired.co.uk