Meditation can take many forms. Years ago (in my youth), I thought that there was just one style – like all the photos I’d seen – with people sitting cross-legged, wearing robes, chanting Om. I’d decided that that, wasn’t for me. To be honest, I was also constantly moving, running through my life, so I definitely wasn’t the type of person who could sit still for long periods of time, nor do that thing with my legs. Back then, I was terrified of anything remotely “woo-woo” i.e. weird/religious/or ‘out there’ – all of that stuff frightened me to death. I was sure I’d end up joining a cult, being whisked away and never seeing my family again. Those limiting beliefs stayed with me until…I had a marriage break-up. Oh boy.

That was big.

After that experience, I knew I needed to change. I couldn’t continue living my life the way I had been. I knew I would have to do something completely different. I decided to take myself away on a silent meditation retreat up on the beautiful Banks Peninsula on the outskirts of Christchurch, New Zealand. Terrified I booked myself in, wondering what on earth I would discover. I drove there and parked my car. The silence where the retreat was held, was breath-taking. I joined the group gathered and after our introductions, we were told how the weekend would go. It all seemed fairly ‘normal’ to me. After supper, we were invited to sit and breathe. ‘Yes’, I thought, ‘I can do that’. And I did. Meditation with Michelle A. Hardwick

At the end of that experience, the facilitator introduced us to the poet Rumi. No-one spoke as he read a poem. It was magical. The poem, Rumi and that profound moment has stayed with me for over 14 years now- check it out (eyes right!)…

Walking Meditation

During that weekend we were also introduced to the simplicity of a walking meditation. I learned I didn’t have to sit cross-legged the entire weekend. I could walk and meditate at the same time. WOW. No more sitting still nor battling my mind? Bliss.

So I tried it. I slowed my breathing down as was taught, took slow steps along the path. I attempted to be very mindful of where I placed my feet, the steps I took, the path I walked, the stones beside the path, the grass growing up through the cracks in the path and that profound silence. It was a very powerful experience for me.

Guided Meditation

Years on from that incredible weekend in New Zealand, I now facilitate guided meditations. A guided meditation is a style that suits me well and I love sharing. It’s where I invite you to sit still (yes, I’ve even learned how to do it too), breathe and follow a process. The experience is easy to follow. Guided meditation is suitable for you if your mind is busy, or if you are new to meditation. It’s easier than battling your thoughts.  It can help you begin to feel calm, relaxed or refreshed. It can take place one-to-one, with others, in small or large groups or during my weekend experiences held in Ireland and around the world.

Guided Meditation with Michelle A. HardwickMeditation Style

Know that there are countless different styles of meditation and ways to meditate. What’s important is to try different ones and find the style that best suits you.  You can meditate while stirring the soup, in the shower or even waiting at the traffic lights. So… to start with, keep it simple. The Master Eckhart Tolle says:

One conscious breath – in and out – is a meditation.

Benefits of Meditation

After my weekend experience, I loved going for mindful walks with my dog and meditating. It was (and still is) a way of reconnecting to myself, taking some time out. It allowed me space to regroup after my day at the office. Try it, stick to it – your mind and body will thank you for it. There are countless articles and research papers that prove the benefits of meditation. Here are some areas you can change through the use of regular meditation:

  • Emotions – reduce stress, anxiety, increase confidence.
  • Heart – feel more balanced, compassionate, connected, optimistic, joyful.
  • Brain – train your brain, transform your mind, improve brain function.
  • Body – increase immunity, prevent disease, reduce ageing.
  • Sleep – lower heart rate, reduce blood pressure, gain restful sleep.

Michelle A. HardwickFree Experience

At the end of this month, I will be facilitating an event, a free Guided Meditation Experience in Cork at the Maryborough Hotel and Spa. You are very welcome to join us.

Earlier this year I gave different talk at the Spa. The talk included a guided meditation. Here’s what one person very kindly messaged me afterwards:

I really enjoyed your talk on Thursday night. Much more than I expected. I fell asleep twice during the meditation, I was aware of your voice but nodded off twice, then fell asleep on the chair when I got home, then slept like a log all night.

Feel free to call the Spa on 021 4918 350 or email to register your place or contact me if you have any questions.

Millions of people all over the world meditate – come, experience it for yourself. 



I have been meaning to write for a while about sleep and insomnia. So when I saw that the Guardian Newspaper recently ran a story about the former ‘Sex and the City’ star Kim Cattrall and her battle with insomnia, it spurned me into taking action. According to the Surrey Sleep Research Centre  “Sleep disorders are prevalent, with approximately 10 to 20 per cent of the European and US population reporting frequent sleep disruption.” That’s a lot of people awake at night. So what’s happening?

Insomnia and feeling Safe

We sleep best when we feel safe and content. Worrying e.g. about our difficulties at work, our relationships, things we have to get done tomorrow – won’t help us fall asleep. Worrying actually accelerates our brain sending our mind into overdrive, our body tenses up, we hold our breath and stress hormones are excreted. Instead of sleeping we prepare to ‘fight or flight’ and we therefore suffer from what is known as insomnia.

Frustration fuels Insomnia


The fight continues when we lie in bed for hours getting stressed and more annoyed with ourselves. We add salt to our wounds by watching the clock – calculating (still more brain stimulation) – how many hours we have left until we have to get up. When we wake the next day, we feel exhausted, irritated and annoyed. Instead of bouncing out of bed refreshed, we feel frustrated and tired. Then we use coffee, chocolate or sugary drinks to keep ourselves awake. We begin negatively programming our mind with statements like: “I won’t be able to sleep tonight”, “I’ll be awake all night just like last night” etc. etc. As night falls we start to worry more and again our levels of stress increase. This quickly becomes a pattern.

Insomnia and Stress

Our sleep is directly affected by stress. It is impossible to solve stress with stress. Feeling insecure creates stress, feeling secure naturally counteracts stress. What is also important is to be relaxed during the day, to change our beliefs and habits about sleep.

Switch Off & Relax

Try this simple exercise. It’s a great way to turn off the activity in your nervous system and relax for a brief moment:

Switching Off For a Moment – Turn your phone off for 5 minutes. Sit with your back upright and put both your feet on the floor. Take a deep breath (a deep one right down into your belly). Let your shoulders drop. Breathe deeply again. Focus on your jaw, part your jaw, relax your tongue and mouth. Continue to breathe deeply from your belly/abdomen for about 3 to 5 breaths and close your eyes. Just be still for a few more moments. Then open your eyes, have a sip of water…and notice how you feel. [Remember to turn your phone back on too].

Hypnotherapy and Insomnia

Changing Insomnia with Michelle A. Hardwick
Sleep like a baby

I have to admit I love my job. My passion is helping clients relax and let go of stress. During a consultation for insomnia we spend time discussing a variety of potent strategies to help clients prepare for sleep. Then together we create positive suggestions that are integrated into a tailor-made hypnotherapy MP3 recording to re-programme the mind away from insomnia towards sleeping deeply through the night. Changing a habit takes more than one day, so continued listening of this recording is essential. As with all new skills, be persistent – some people notice immediate relief, others after a week or more.

It is possible to change your mind, your sleep behaviour and patterns. If you struggle with insomnia are unable to get to sleep, or wake up regularly during the night, or are disturbed by someone snoring while you sleep, help is at hand.  Contact me to take your first step towards being able to sleep like a baby again!

Kind Feedback
My thanks to Jody (not her real name) for her kind feedback:
“I have had a huge shift in that I AM OFF MY SLEEP MEDS AFTER 1 and half yrs. I can’t describe the feeling of utter joy and empowerment I have since the last 2 days. It means so much to be finally in control of my life. That was the last piece of the puzzle I needed to fit in the ‘my empowerment series’. I can’t thank you enough.”

Change Insomnia Michelle A. Hardwick helps you Sleep Deeply
Michelle A. Hardwick


To free yourself from insomnia contact me Michelle A. Hardwick for a consultation either in person in the UK: Phone – 07857369619 or in Ireland: Phone – 0871492338.

Alternatively contact me, Michelle here to book your private consultation via Skype/Zoom.