I had been a big fan of Bliss for years, Lucinda Drayton has such a beautiful voice, her lyrics and angelic tones inspire me, lift my spirits and, in my darkest days, never let me sink as low as I wanted to.
I was so excited to meet Lucinda and interview her for The Happy Starfish. Even more thrilling is that she is nicer than I could have ever imagined. Rather than this just being an interview it turned into a thought provoking and enlightening experience. Funny how the learning comes when you least expect it.
You started off as a singer songwriter but that’s evolved into quite a spiritual existence. Was that a gradual progression or something you have always felt was there in you?
I have always been obsessed with music and written songs from a really early age, I was writing at age 6, so that was something I came out doing. I always felt I was here for a reason and I have always been a seeker of truth. I was asking questions very young such as “why are we here” “why are some people starving in the world and we’re not” those kind of questions. Getting quite angsty about them when I was very little. I was an intense child.
Did your beliefs come from your family? Are they as spiritual as you?
They all have a faith in God but not in the same way I had. I was asking the priests questions and if they couldn’t answer them I wasn’t satisfied. My mum said you should just have faith but I thought that’s rubbish. You can just know.
Did you feel torn between the music business and following your true spiritual path?
I had some pop success and wrote a number one hit. I got to the top of my little mountain at the age of around 23 and thought this is a bit rubbish really because it wasn’t like I had imagined, people were backbiting and I thought it’s not supposed to be like this.
Did you become disillusioned?
Yes I realised it was all a bit of an illusion. I thought this is not what I want then. I seriously entered a spiritual path whereas before I had been dabbling, going to workshops, asking questions and reading. I read The Power of the Subconscious Mind when I was 18 and realised this was very true. I thought wow this is amazing. You can programme yourself and learn to be happy. You can cultivate happiness and cultivate peace.
It’s quite unusual to be so enlightened so young. My path towards Mindfulness, as many I know, has been a slow progression.
In my belief system I feel I am an old soul. Us old souls tend to be intense and we want the truth, we don’t want to mess about. From that point of view I think I came in with that already there.
I am interested in the Raj Yoga you practice. I know from experience it can take some time to find a form of meditation that feels right. Was that the case with you?
I stumbled upon Raj yoga. I had never meditated consistently before. I had dipped in and out but because I have quite an active mind I found it a bit boring. I think at that time it was my time and so when I sat down at the Raj Yoga Centre in Slough I had very powerful experiences and I don’t think they were down to me. I think that was a gift I was given. Later on they stopped and I had to learn to walk myself.
What led you to the Yoga Centre?
Andrew Blisset (ex-partner & half of Bliss) went through Toni di Bart the guy we had written a number one hit with. His sister was a meditator and he went to her flat and she said there is a centre around the corner from you in Slough so he went. I thought I had to leave him to have something for himself because I was doing a hypnotherapy group, going to workshops and using positive thinking affirmations. He went straight to the Brahma Kumaris and after about 10 months I was talking to him about it and thought this is powerful I need to find out what this is about and then we went on a 15 year journey.
Do you teach this?
Workshops I teach are based on things I have learnt along the way, positive thought, using the mind, mindfulness and then also a lot of the teachings of the Reach Approach. A group of holistic therapists I got involved with after I had a massive crisis. My relationship broke up, I left my home, my spiritual family (age 40) and I had a total melt down. I started going to the Reach Approach and it was amazing. I was helped through my crisis quite quickly. I am not finished, it’s an on-going process and I am training with the Reach Approach now but because of my practice it changed my life pretty quickly. I went through a really bad time but it was worth it because I discovered a real strength.
One of my favourite ever quotes is by you Lucinda; “Find 20 things a day for which you are thankful, when you practice thankfulness you create newness”. Is that something you consciously do every day?
When I was in crisis and living in a little flat in Oxford and going to the Reach Approach every week in-between I was just doing work on myself I was doing 40 a night, physically writing them down. I was doing radical forgiveness consciously writing it. I did six months’ worth of work myself.
Where are you at now personally and professionally?
I have finished a two year advanced diploma in counselling so I am now qualified to have a private practice. I am on my way to having accreditation with the BACP as well. I am committed to doing that because I want to be a good practitioner. I am running regular workshops.
Where do these take place geographically?
I live partly in Cornwall and partly in London so I alternate between the two running 8-12 week courses I take a small group of 9 or 10 people through a process of naming and owning which is a Reach Approach process.
What does that entail?
It’s about facing yourself and getting real about what it is that holds you back, your demons, facing yourself in an honest but compassionate way, not a judgemental way. It’s called aspiring for authenticity. Let’s get real about this, let’s take responsibility but let’s do it kindly, let’s do it together. It’s a deep process but you can choose to avoid it. Some people in the group do it and change their lives but some people avoid it because they are not ready. I name all the stuff I am, I am inconsistent, and I am rubbish. You usually get some really deep stuff like I hate myself or am worthless and then you have to own it, you recognise it is yours. It may have been given to you from the outside. You may have taken messages from the outside world but you essentially created for yourself so it is a process of coming to that with compassion and then surrendering. Surrendering is the process of forgiveness and gratefulness, passion for the self. I am this but it’s ok and that leads to empowerment.
It sounds like something everyone could benefit from.
It’s very challenging and beautiful. The group is safe so people can really go there so it really can change the way you are in the world. I lost my temper and I am angry but that’s ok. It’s about making that your friend, not something you have to squash and quell but recognising it’s there but that’s ok.
Yes a lot of people can resist emotions they deem to be negative can’t they?
Yes even ego is there I am in my ego but that’s ok.
It’s all about accepting and loving yourself then?
Yes it really is, on every level. That’s what this whole journey is all about.
It sounds a beautiful journey. What’s next for you? Anything musically.
Songs and meditation for people who are living with cancer.
Is that something you have been personally touched by?
Yes I have had one friend leave the body, other friends recover and friends who are mid process. I have been contacted by various people who want me to do workshops for people who are sick. I seem to be surrounded by it.
That’s sad but it has given you the opportunity to help?
Yes. I had an amazing session with a friend who has ovarian cancer who has done the juicing and has finished that and has had chemo and really listening to her about what has helped and what would have helped. Learning from people who have been through it and learning from their wisdom. She is a very conscious person anyway. I have been taping people who are going through it in conversation with me and then extracting their wisdom from that and then writing mediations and music to go with it. I am really looking forward to that because it’s a big part of my heart. It will come. I will wait. I have learned a little bit of patience. Things happen when they are supposed to happen. Waiting. Letting go of that need that things are supposed to happen.
I let go of that need through regular meditation. Do you make meditation a part of your day every day now?
I aim to but I don’t always achieve it I’m going to be really honest. I am about to run an 8 week mindfulness course. If I am about to run it I need to be doing it, that’s my adage really. I don’t want to talk about stuff I am not doing myself. It’s a good way for me to get back to an hour a day, kick-start my habit of that because that was my habit for many years. I feel I almost had to let go of that to find out what life was like without it.
My life is slightly insane when I don’t meditate regularly. I don’t cope well.
That’s what I have come to, my anxiety rate goes up, my overwhelming goes up. My ability to focus goes I lose my clarity. I do meditate. Even though I may not sit for a regimented period I am checking in all the time. I do sit quietly and ask what’s going on? What’s happening in my internal world? I am very good at taking responsibility for that and not just throwing it at other people anymore. Saying that I will probably just go out and shout and somebody!
You live in such a beautiful environment. I guess it’s easy to connect out in nature?
Yes I am out in nature all the time. I was running on the moors with my partner. We were in this mossy wood where I don’t think anyone has been for years and I just love that sitting in a place where people don’t go. So that’s mediation too. I run. I was practicing when I was running. I run very slowly, I am not putting myself as an athlete. I run very slowly and I practice I am harmony, my body is harmony. I am relaxed as a run. I practice those kinds of thoughts so I am mediating as I run without necessarily sitting. I meditate in the bath a lot. I practice silence. It’s a chance for me to go deep inside. I believe that when you go deeply into silence and reconnect with self and divine then that will come out in the music.
Lucinda, I really could sit and talk to you all day. It has been really enlightening and an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for talking to The Happy Starfish today.
Lucinda Drayton is a singer, songwriter, producer and one half of the hugely successful group Bliss. Lucinda is a Raja Yoga Practitioner and runs regular workshops based on The Reach Approach. Lucinda travels the UK performing, teaching and inspiring others to connect to the spiritual side of life spreading happiness and love wherever she goes.
Website – www.blissfulrecords.com
MySpace – www.myspace.com/lucindadrayton1
MySpace – www.myspace.com/blissfulmusic
Facebook – facebook.com/lucinda.drayton.12