Friday, August 12, 2011


I have discovered that I am a commitment-phobe!  What a surprise to someone who has been with the same guy since I was 17!  Committing to a logo and an image of myself and what I wanted to say was a little overwhelming and really, really scary!  It felt so ... um ... long-term.  And a little too permanently defined for my liking.  I don't like being defined, caged and boxed.  So seeing this on paper brings up all that stuff... but a friend pointed out that I can change it at any time!  The Relief!!  And this is only for now and we change all the time...

So this is just one small part of what I do.... but I love it!

Get It! magazine for the September Issue

Thank you to Chantelle Hopewell for her generosity and patience and creativity in putting the art together...

Monday, July 4, 2011

An excellent read!

Reading is such a joy in my life and I wanted to share this with others who may feel the same way.  I just finished Consolation by Anna Gavalda - I loved it!  It is an excellent holiday read!  Her books have such wide appeal, even though they are originally written in French, and have been translated into many languages.

My Swiss friend introduced me to this author a couple of years ago, with her book Hunting and Gathering (Thanks Anne!) and I fell in love with the flawed, real characters, the aching unsaidness of new love and the absolute bliss when it all comes together - in a very European way, of course.

 Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

We are more alike than we are different

"Hang on to the inner body, let it be the anchor, then you're present. If they say something challenging and you lose it again, pause, and anchor again. Practice, practice, continuous practice - because when you're in touch with the inner body, spaciousness arises." - Eckhart Tolle

"Be Still, And Know That I Am God." - Psalm 46:10

Two different ways of putting it. Meaning the same thing.  My dream for the world is the realisation that we are more alike than we are different: A felt sense of connection, godliness, spaciousness, greatness, an honouring of each other, a respect, love, compassion, understanding and support. We will reveal ourselves as love, little pieces of God, if you like.

I think it was Neale Donald Walsch that said that all the wars and aggression on earth is due to language difficulties, misunderstandings because we believe that we are so different and only a few of us doing the right thing will ascend, go to heaven.  The real difference lies in the way we express the same concept, not the concept itself.  Love does not change its face when we call it aime (French), lieb (German), lief (Afrikaans), amo (Latin), amore (Italian).   In the same way Love does not change its face when we call it God, Yaweh, Allah, Oneness, All That Is.  Its just language describing the same concept.

Diana Cooper writes of the importance of holding a vision for humanity in the future, not only for ourselves as individuals:  

The Vision Prayer 

I have a vision where all people are at peace, fed and 
housed, every child is loved and educated to develop their 
talents, where the heart is more important than the head 
and wisdom is revered over riches.

In this world justice, equality and fairness rule.
Nature is honoured, so the waters flow pure and clear and
the air is fresh and clean.  Plants and trees are nurtured
and the animals are respected and treated with kindness.
Happiness and laughter prevail.

And humans walk hand in hand with angels.
Thank you for the love, understanding, wisdom, courage
and humility to do my part to spread the light.
May all the world ascend.
So be it.

So what can you do?  Well, she recommends the following:

1. Bring your own life into peace and harmony.  Your energy will then automatically lift the vibrations of everyone with whom you come into contact.

2. Recognise that everyone is equal and treat them as such.

3. Honour all life forms on the planet, from rocks, insects and plants to animals and humans.

4. Give no energy to fear, darkness or mass hysteria.  Instead focus on the good, the wise and great, so that it expands.

5. Visualise everyone throughout the world living in peace and love.

6. Walk with you feet on the earth and your head in the heavens.

Love it!  And if thoughts create your reality, and enough of us do this, imagine the effect you would have on the world, one starfish at a time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Need to Please

Yesterday I realised that I transferred my need to please straight from my parents to my (now) husband. Okay, so it grew in different directions with each new boss, but what has been constant, is this need to get outside approval, merit, rewards, badges, accolades, degrees, promotions, noddy badges - because I never approved of myself.  So I needed to hear it from someone else.  I could not be trusted.  It needed to come from an outside source so that I knew I fitted in.

Also, because I have always been sensitive in an apparently insensitive world I knew how I felt injured, so I possessed the knowledge on how to injure others.  Which I did.  'You're so stupid' is way up there on the injury list.  Contempt.  Withdrawal.

Which is, of course, how I treated myself: constantly contemptuous, ridiculing myself, 'you're so stupid' chanting in my head.  Never trusting my own instincts, desperate to prove to others, and myself too, that I was worth something.

And then the withdrawal.  I withdrew my true self and sought approval with a  trumped-up merited being with a mask of vacant, innocuous nothingness - polite, smiling, earnest in learning, playing by the rules - testing the theory of living, of life, I was sold by my family, my community and society at large.

It was a pipe-dream that got me lost in a sea of suppression.  My true talents and callings evaporated and I robotically showed up and pretended to live, anesthetizing myself with alcohol, cigarettes and approval from others.  But that balm does not stick.  The wound suppurated and oozed and it became too big to ignore.

And on my road to recovery, I discovered parts of myself, solidifying from the ether, into joyful, satisfying expressions of my true self.  It felt easy to do the things I was good at doing - I never knew that I had this whole person living inside of me, unexpressed.

The past 5 years of truthfully expressing myself have been the most joyful, interspersed  by moments of real soul-searching and facing the 'ugly' side too, the fact that I am All That Is: magnificent and morose, generous and jealous, artful and angry - the whole lot rolled up into one being of Truth.

Because I also discovered that there was no judgment from the Being a lot of us call God.  That the meaning of life was just to live, anyway we choose.  But that there are consequences to all choices.  My living for others gave me a life with no meaning to myself - the consequence of pleasing others.  Living more authentically gives me more and more opportunities to see my truth and I have learnt that the more truthful I am, the more joyful, easy and talented I feel: a rock star in my own world.

So be guided by your joy, your talent, that which you find easy, and face your shadows, see how they serve you, and life becomes easy, joyful and authentically felt as a result.  And in my experience, at least, these are far better guides than the opinions of others.

Friday, May 27, 2011

New tricks for this old dog!

At the ripe age of 41, I am learning how to play the guitar!  I have always found singing very soothing and my heart is literally physically affected when I listen to beautiful rich voices singing from their souls.  There lives so much soul in some people's expression, that I get a glimpse of human greatness - and I don't mean mind potential. I mean the massiveness of their presence.  When somebody sings from their toes, just to express themselves authentically, or plays the violin or dances in the same way, the room is filled with them.

Tracy Chapman rocks the authenticity prize!  She is a poet, social activist, artist and musician and has achieved so much coming from a poor background to the star she is today.  She sits in her greatness!  She isn't trying to be anyone else.  She is authentic power: emanating her truth and greatness.

And playing yourself, no matter how badly, just transports you to this place where doing stops and being begins. It cleanses you and opens your heart.  I can highly recommend it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Buddha in me...

Quiet, calm, authentic, empowered, assured of my place in this world and beyond : that's what looking at the face of the Buddha does to me... So I was inspired to paint the head of the Buddha statue from the Ixopo Buddhist Retreat. On a really big canvas. In my favourite colours : turquoise and verilian. To remind me of this expanded, radiant sense of myself.

It is a work in progress.

After the first sitting, I quickly rubbed out the left eye when I stood back and realised something was wrong.

And then it hit: rejection, confusion, self-doubt, "I am not good enough" and complete disempowerment! In an instant! From a place of real peace and "rightness" to turmoil, chaos and "wrongness".

My response to rejection shrinks me to feel like cockroach poo - lower than low.  I immediately go into doubt and a shriveled shrunk-wrapped version of myself. The opposite of what I was feeling a second before that.

I like Buddhist principles but do not consider myself a Buddhist. However, they are really onto something when they emphasise the importance of being present. If I had remained present after the first painting session, instead of judging and berating myself, I could have worked through to the next stage of the painting with ease and corrected the problem easily.  Instead, I stayed away for 2 weeks with a nagging sense of failure.  When I eventually went back to the painting I realised that I could have left the eye where it was and corrected the cheek line and the painting would have come together easily.

Talent and ability are one thing, but the way we feel about ourselves makes these things null and void if we don't believe in ourselves.  To me, this world is made up of talented, radiant, amazing people wearing grey coats of disbelief and hats of stuckness preventing them from realising their great potential - the God in them.  Maybe talent and ability come after we align ourselves with this part of ourselves.  It makes sense to me.  And , of course, this theory is proved to me over and over again as I witness others on their journeys of self-discovery.  Their magnifcense emerges as they spend more time in the calm, expanded place of peace and co-creative alignment and then they shine through their human suits and give of themselves to themselves and bless all around them, just by being themselves.

I want to live in that place.  But I am a work in progress who rubs out her eye sometimes and cannot see that its just the cheek line that is off, easily corrected if I had stayed present.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Forty Rules of Love - Elif Shafak

I love reading a good book! This was the most amazing book!  I feel like my soul wrote this book it resonates so with me.

Here are some of my favourite quotes that I highlighted on this first book that I managed to read on my not-so-new Kindle:

Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror. Remember, only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.

Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be so shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.

Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
Personally, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with sadness. Just the opposite—hypocrisy made people happy, and truth made them sad.

Love exists within each of us from the moment we are born and waits to be discovered from then on. That is what one of the forty rules is all about: The whole universe is contained within a single human being—you. Everything that you see around, including the things you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Sheitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you get to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness both your dark and bright sides, you will arrive at a supreme form of consciousness. When a person knows himself or herself, he or she knows God.”

If you want to change the way others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself. Unless you learn to love yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.”

He paused briefly and then added, “How can you blame others for disrespecting you when you think of yourself as unworthy of respect?”

“The past is a whirlpool. If you let it dominate your present moment, it will suck you in,” said Shams as if he had read my thoughts. “Time is just an illusion. What you need is to live this very moment. That is all that matters.”

“Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that’s what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.”

Every individual is self-sufficient in his search for the divine. There is a rule regarding this: We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No two hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is tantamount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.”

Life is a temporary loan, and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy your inner balance. Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always remains mild and moderate.

the breadth and scope of every speaker are determined by those of his audience. Rumi’s words might be like a wild garden, full of teasels, herbs, spruces, and shrubs, but it is always up to the visitor to pick his fancy. While pretty flowers are instantly plucked, few people pay attention to plants with thorns and prickles. But the truth is, great medicines are often made from these. Isn’t it the same with the garden of love? How can love be worthy of its name if one selects solely the pretty things and leaves out the hardships? It is easy to enjoy the good and dislike the bad. Anybody can do that. The real challenge is to love the good and the bad together, not because you need to take the rough with the smooth but because you need to go beyond such descriptions and accept love in its entirety.

seven stages on the Path to Truth—seven maqamat every ego had to go through in order to attain Oneness. The first stage is the Depraved Nafs, the most primitive and common state of being, when the soul is entrapped in worldly pursuits. Most human beings are stuck there, struggling and suffering in the service of their ego but always holding others responsible for their continuing unhappiness. If and when a person becomes aware of the ego’s abased situation, by starting to work on himself, he can move to the next stage, which in a way is the opposite of the previous one. Instead of blaming other people all the time, the person who has reached this stage blames himself, sometimes to the point of self-effacement. Herein the ego becomes the Accusing Nafs and thus starts the journey toward inner purification. In the third stage, the person is more mature and the ego has evolved into the Inspired Nafs. It is only at this level, and not anytime before, that one can experience the true meaning of the word “surrender” and roam the Valley of Knowledge. Anyone who has made it this far will possess and display patience, perseverance, wisdom, and humility. The world will feel new and full of inspiration. Nevertheless, many of the people who reach the third level feel an urge to dwell here, losing the will or the courage to go further. That is why, as beautiful and blessed as it is, the third stage is a trap for the one who aims higher. Those who manage to go further reach the Valley of Wisdom and come to know the Serene Nafs. Here the ego is not what it used to be, having altered into a high level of consciousness. Generosity, gratitude, and an unwavering sense of contentment regardless of the hardships in life are the main characteristics accompanying anyone who has arrived here. Beyond that lies the Valley of Unity. Those who are here will be pleased with whatever situation God places them in. Mundane matters make no difference to them, as they have achieved the Pleased Nafs. In the next stage, the Pleasing Nafs, one becomes a lantern to humanity, radiating energy to everyone who asks for it, teaching and illuminating like a true master. Sometimes such a person can also have healing powers. Wherever he goes, he will make a big difference in other people’s lives. In everything he does and aspires to do, his main goal is to serve God through serving others. Finally, in the seventh stage, one attains the Purified Nafs and becomes Insan-i Kâmil, a perfect human being. But nobody knows much about that state, and even if a few ever did, they wouldn’t speak of it.

A wound that I didn’t even know I had began to bleed.

It was the laughter of a woman who had never learned not to pay too much attention to the judgments of others. “Just go with the flow,” he said. “Let go!”

The more she remained calm and composed, the more her children shared with her. Once she had stopped running after them, they had stopped running away from her. Somehow things were working more smoothly and closer to her liking than in the times when she had tirelessly tried to help and repair. And to think she was doing nothing to achieve this result! Instead of seeing her role in the house as some sort of glue, the invisible yet central bond that held everyone together, she had become a silent spectator. She watched events unfold and days waft by, not necessarily coldly or indifferently but with visible detachment. She had discovered that once she accepted that she didn’t have to stress herself about things she had no control over, another self emerged from inside—one who was wiser, calmer, and far more sensible. “The fifth element,” she muttered to herself several times during the day. “Just accept the void!”

The human being has a unique place among God’s creation. “I breathed into him of My Spirit,” God says. Each and every one of us without exception is designed to be God’s delegate on earth. Ask yourself, just how often do you behave like a delegate, if you ever do so? Remember, it falls upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside and live by it.

There is such a thing in faith as not being able to see the forest for the trees. The totality of religion is far greater and deeper than the sum of its component parts. Individual rules need to be read in the light of the whole. And the whole is concealed in the essence.

Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy, or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell.

Is there a worse hell than the torment a man suffers when he knows deep down in his conscience that he has done something wrong, awfully wrong? Ask that man. He will tell you what hell is. Is there a better paradise than the bliss that descends upon a man at those rare moments in life when the bolts of the universe fly open and he feels in possession of all the secrets of eternity and fully united with God? Ask that man. He will tell you what heaven is.

Love is the reason. Love is the goal.

And when you love God so much, when you love each and every one of His creations because of Him and thanks to Him, extraneous categories melt into thin air. From that point on, there can be no “I” anymore. All you amount to is a zero so big it covers your whole being.

“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi or zen. Not any religion or cultural system. I am not of the East, nor of the West.… My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.”

Is there a way to grasp what love means without becoming a lover first? Love cannot be explained. It can only be experienced. Love cannot be explained, yet it explains all.

“If we can embrace the universe as a whole, with all its differences and contradictions, everything will melt into One.”

“The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back—not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space, and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile,” he murmured. “This is what one of the forty rules reminds us.”

This world is like a snowy mountain that echoes your voice. Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbors ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead for forty days and nights say and think nice things about that person. Everything will be different at the end of forty days, because you will be different inside.”

The past is an interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.

Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to leave everything to fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. “The music of the universe is all-pervading and it is composed on forty different levels. “Your destiny is the level where you will play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.

Prophet Muhammad said, “In this world take pity on three kinds of people. The rich man who has lost his fortune, the well-respected man who has lost his respectability, and the wise man who is surrounded by ignorants.”

The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked, and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a single bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place? How can there be anyone to blame when there is only 

faith and love turned human beings into heroes because they removed all the fear and anxiety from their hearts.

“Numbing the pain is not the same as healing it,” Master Sameed said. “When the anesthesia wears off, the pain is still there.”

“If the wine drinker Has a deep gentleness in him, He will show that, When drunk. But if he has hidden anger and arrogance, Those appear, And since most people do, Wine is forbidden to everyone.”

“If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as a feather. Through an illness, accident, loss, or fright, one way or another, we all are faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgmental, and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before. The only way to get closer to Truth is to expand your heart so that it will encompass all humanity and still have room for more Love.”

“Religious rules and prohibitions are important,” he said. “But they should not be turned into unquestionable taboos. It is with such awareness that I drink the wine you offer me today, believing with all my heart that there is a sobriety beyond the drunkenness of love.”

Nothing should stand between yourself and God. Not imams, priests, rabbis, or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters, not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. “Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.”

This world was full of people obsessed with wealth, recognition, or power. The more signs of success they earned, the more they seemed to be in need of them. Greedy and covetous, they rendered worldly possessions their qibla, always looking in that direction, unaware of becoming the servants of the things they hungered after. That was a common pattern. It happened all the time.

“He wants us to know Him with every fiber of our being. That is why it is better to be watchful and sober than to be drunk and dizzy.”

“I didn’t go out and seek love,” Ella muttered, more to herself than to him. “Rumi says we don’t need to hunt for love outside ourselves. All we need to do is to eliminate the barriers inside that keep us away from love.”

“Well, if Sheitan is as wicked and indomitable as you are saying he is, then we human beings have no reason to blame ourselves for our wrongdoings. Whatever good happens we’ll attribute to God, and all the bad things in life we’ll simply attribute to Sheitan. In either case we’ll be exempt from all criticism and self-examination. How easy that is!”

“The message is that the torment a person can inflict upon himself is endless. Hell is inside us, and so is heaven. The Qur’an says human beings are the most dignified. We are higher than the highest, but also lower than the lowest. If we could grasp the full meaning of this, we would stop looking for Sheitan outside and instead focus on ourselves. What we need is sincere self-examination. Not being on the watch for the faults of others.”

“The Sufi says, ‘I should mind my inner encounter with God rather than judging other people.’ An orthodox scholar, however, is always on the lookout for the mistakes of others. But don’t forget, students, most of the time he who complains about others is himself at fault.”

I wouldn’t trade the dust off of the old shoes of a real lover of God for the heads of today’s sheikhs.

This is the conflict between the scholar and the mystic, between the mind and the heart.

While everyone in this world strives to get somewhere and become someone, only to leave it all behind after death, you aim for the supreme stage of nothingness. Live this life as light and empty as the number zero. We are no different from a pot. It is not the decorations outside but the emptiness inside that holds us straight. Just like that, it is not what we aspire to achieve but the consciousness of nothingness that keeps us going.”

Life is about perfection. Every incident that happens, no matter how colossal or small, and every hardship that we endure is an aspect of a divine plan that works to that end. Struggle is intrinsic to being human. That is why it says in the Qur’an, Certainly we will show Our ways to those who struggle on Our way. There is no such thing as coincidence in God’s scheme.

Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission—a power that comes from within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquillity and peace even when the whole wide world goes through turbulence after

Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission—a power that comes from within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquility and peace even when the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.

In this world, it is not similarities or regularities that take us a step forward, but blunt opposites. And all the opposites in the universe are present within each and every one of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insan-i Kâmil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.

This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. Fear not the plots, deceptions, or tricks of other people. If somebody is setting a trap, remember, so is God. He is the biggest plotter. Not even a leaf stirs outside God’s knowledge. Simply and fully believe in that. Whatever God does, He does beautifully.”

“God is a meticulous clockmaker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.”

“It is never too late to ask yourself, ‘Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?’ “Even if a single day in your life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one way to be born into a new life: to die before death.”

You think you cannot live anymore. You think that the light of your soul has been put out and that you will stay in the dark forever. But when you are engulfed by such solid darkness, when you have both eyes closed to the world, a third eye opens in your heart. And only then do you come to realize that eyesight conflicts with inner knowledge. No eye sees so clear and sharp as the eye of love. After grief comes another season, another valley, another you. And the lover who is nowhere to be found, you start to see everywhere.

While the parts change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every decent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes. For every Sufi who dies, another is born somewhere.

“A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western.… Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. “Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! “The universe turns differently when fire loves water.”

The Feminine Challenge

Barbara Marx Hubbard is the authentic feminine co-creative leader of our time.  She is a regular source of inspiration for me.  I have just watched these two videos of her and feel like the air has left my lungs.

That's Part One - very informative but the kicker come next in Part Two:

Hey? Isn't it amazing?

My head has been churning lots of thoughts lately on the collective female consciousness.  It started when I wrote my blog on accepting my body.  I came across an artist's website on the history of the female nude. ( I was horrified to read that the first female nudes represented temptation(flawed values) in the form of Eve .  The male nude, however, represented perfection : Man created in God's image and all that.  Barbara mentions in her videos above that women's value outside the wife and mother roles was obliterated 5000 years ago and that a study done on women in the 1950's reinforced this belief when it was revealed that women had no image of self beyond these said roles.

I found it really difficult to change my name when I got married and I thought I was being silly until 8 years ago I decided that I didn't want to be married anymore.  Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and nothing about that has changed.  What did change was me.  My idea of being a wife was making me very unhappy, to put it mildly.  I felt like a second-rate citizen, one who put the family and its needs above my own.  I was very dissatisfied.  I felt oppressed by my own ideas of how I should be in a marriage, in a family. I thought: "Is this it? Is this all the fairy tales promised my life would be? Is this the end of my life, all I am required to do for the rest of my life?" But, again, it was my own ideas, self inflicted. 

Society through the ages have fed us little girls the idea that we are victims in need of rescuing by our knights in shining armor.  We as women must hide our beauty behind burka's, sit separately from the men in mosque, be ashamed of "the monthly curse", cover up our bodies, our emotions, our very power, beauty and wisdom.  We were burned at the stake for heaven's sake! Just for being women!

And so, in retrospect, this guilt and shame at being a woman motivated me to tell my husband that this idea of being married didn't bide well with me.  Well, you can imagine his shock!  But I did go on to explain that I would prefer to be "partners in adventure".  This image of us two living life as an adventure on equal footing really appealed to me and still does.  But the feeling of relief in letting go of all the traditional expectations of being a married woman and then a mother was huge!  And life changing for me.  I felt that now I could start looking at myself as an equally valuable member of the family with needs that deserved fulfilling and the future felt very bright.  Of course, the reality is that the letting go of old limiting beliefs is a journey that takes time and I am a work in progress, right slap bang in the middle of my "conscious evolution".

Barbara explains in another interview ( she had a similar crises after having 5 children and "losing her soul" as she puts it.  She got reading and thinking and came to the realization that she could look for opportunities to express her own unique creative potential and therein lay her power!  We could do the same.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Now Now!

It is always such a relief to be in a state of grace, a state where I remember Who I Really Am, as Neale Donald Walsch would put it.  It is state where I watch myself - the observer.  It is the meditative place of calm where I identify with being much bigger than my physical body; more than my mind; and quietly, peacefully joyful.  I wish I could stay in this place forever but I am learning to love both polarities of being human: the Divine within and the Shadow Self.  Today is the start of 2 and a half weeks of the second night of the Mayan Calendar (   for more information).  This is a time of reflection and challenge of the "day" phase just prior where intentions are set and change happens.  The night is a time of testing these intentions.  So events and people will come up so that the new changes you have manifested will have opportunities for expression : a chance to be the change you wish to see. (Thanks Ghandi.) 

The difficulty for me is remembering that everything and everyone, including myself, is perfect in any given moment: Perfectly set up for the experience of being exactly who I am, where I am and with whom and what I am experiencing.  Resistance comes roaring up to the service motivated by the underlying belief that I am imperfect or broken or blemished or lacking in some way or that where I am is a mistake or less than right or what I am doing is lacking or wrong or less than expected. "I don't want to be this way, with these people in these circumstances!! It is not what I want!  I want more money, more perfect body, nicer legs, better boss, better house, nicer food, kinder friends, more loving parents,better car, happier children, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc....."  This is resistance, a pushing away of where you are, a dissatisfaction with what is.

But apparently, each experience is set up exactly the way we need it to be in order to remember that we are already amazing, perfect beings living on a planet of polarities.

The trick lies in not judging the shadow side as bad or wrong or less than. Why is being sick bad?  Its perfection may lie in the fact that your body needs rest and the illness forces you into bed for a time of quiet and reflection.  We can either resist it and force ourselves to go to work and get sicker and perform less or we could choose to surrender to the illness, honour exactly where we are and rest.  We may then experience nurturing from another or  have much needed solitude or have time to phone an old friend and reconnect - perfection in the moment.  Two shadow attributes that I have managed to see as perfect, instead of wrong, is jealousy and anger, emotions that I battled to express until I made this switch.  The emotion of jealousy teaches me about what I want or like, and anger teaches me about what I don't like or want.  So if I can see these traditionally suppressed, frowned-upon emotions as good for me, then I am seeing their perfection, how they best serve me in my experience.  It is life-changing!  So if I am jealous of someone's beautiful indoor plant, I might go and get one for myself or ask myself what I am really jealous of - maybe the fact that she has brought nature into her home and it feels welcoming so I would then go and do that in my home to satisfy that need.  If I am angry at myself for losing my temper at the kids for leaving a mess in the kitchen, I might teach them to stack the dishwasher and use that emotion of anger to resolve something that bothers me.  Please understand that I lived in denial of any "dark" emotion for nearly 40 years before coming in touch with and making friends with them.  These emotions are now guidance, gentle nudges from the universe to stay respectful and truthful to myself.  And when I do this, I remember Who I Really Am.

Recently, I have not been in that place.  I have been beating myself up because of all sorts of perceived failings: too fat, ugly, boring, lazy, unmotivated, unfriendly, unskilled, and the list goes on. (Okay, mainly "too fat" to do anything or be of any use or be loveable but that we will leave for another time.)  Until I read this from a little book called What is Lightbody? by Tahira Tachi-Ren, a channelled book from Archangel Ariel:

“Grace is the Divine force which allows you to make a complete break with the past in each NOW moment. We urge you sincerely: please do not process your “stuff” or try to “fix” yourself. The universe recreates itself around your pictures of reality, absolutely and impersonally. If you hold a picture of reality that there’s something wrong with you or that you need to be fixed, the universe will recreate around this ad nauseam. You’ll process stuff from this lifetime, every other lifetime you’ve ever had, and then you’ll start on other planets, and then you’ll process the planet itself! Please stop. The force of Grace is on this planet so that this is unnecessary. Please use it; it is your greatest asset…. If you catch yourself processing, please stop and call Grace. One of the patterns we’ve seen over and over on this planet is: If only I could fix ‘X’ in my life, then I could ascend or go to Light.” Well, I’ve got news for you. As long as you’re trying to fix yourself, you’re not going anywhere. You are now completely who you are: a vast multidimensional master in the various stages of Awake and Awakening. There is nothing to fix. It is simply a matter of opening, of awakening, of remembering, and of expressing. So, that’s the Ariel lecture. We’ve been known to beg people to stop doing this. We see so many of you Lightworkers struggling and getting bogged down in everything imaginable. It’s totally unnecessary and you don’t have time: this planet’s moving way too fast for you to process your karma and limitations. Karma is just the illusion of a karma game, and you’re leaving that behind. There is a difference between Gracing something and living in denial. This is not a call to deny different parts of your reality. When you have accessed different parts of the physical body’s consciousness or the human genetic consciousness, you are going to have a lot of things (like shame, guilt, fear, and despair) pour out of the body. We need to clear the human genetic consciousness. Processing this will take you forever, because you would process each lifetime separately – each human experience held in the collective human consciousness separately- and you constantly be dwelling in the past. Grace is always NOW. If you’re constantly participating with your Spirit in the NOW and Spirit leads you into the human genetic consciousness, you’ll express from the physical body’s realities. This is still under the force of Grace; it allows you to just let it go. Express it and move on. Processing keeps you constantly in the past, analyzing and extrapolating into the future. You are never NOW. Call in Grace.”  

And then the invocation for Grace that they are talking about above goes like this:

I call upon the Elohim of the Silver Ray
To pour Divine Grace through my bodies.
I call upon the Elohim of the Silver Ray
To release all karmic patterns,
To release all pockets of resentment,
That I may know Joy.
I call upon the Elohim of Grace
To fill my being with forgiveness,
To fill my life with gratitude,
And fill my heart with celebration.
I call upon the Elohim of the Silver Ray
To release my bindings of pettiness,
To break the yoke of hatred,
And free my soul.
I call upon the Elohim of Grace
To fill me with the Joy of Living –

Isn't it beautiful?  It really helps me and focuses my attention on the woods, rather than the trees. And to be in the moment, aware of absolute beauty within me, around me, above me and below me.  And I want to stay here forever: High on Life. Now. And Now. And Now. You get the picture.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Learning to Love my Body

I felt extremely vulnerable having posted my first 2 blogs last year.  So much so that I stopped.  For a long time.  But I feel ready to do this again.  

As you might have gathered, I have issues with my body.  About 2 1/2 years ago, I started painting a nude of myself to help me get over hating my body. The intention was to see my body as beautiful in the painting.  Well, I stopped painting instead! For the longest time.  A definite dry spell as an artist.  Now, I am happy to report that I finished it in one quick rush. 

I was intrigued with the image I created of myself: my body IS beautiful in the painting....... as the Botticelli's Birth of Venus or Giorgione Sleeping Venus is beautiful : rounded and womanly. Or just plain fat as The Voice says in my head!  I realise now that my idea of a perfect body  is more FHM-Bikini-Shoot-beautiful than 15th-century-Renaissance-beautiful!  

I have been informed culturally (as we all have) in this time and space, that my body is less than desirable.  Who decides this, may I ask?  Apparently, it is one particular lady sitting in an office in New York.  The September Issue is a documentary following the making of the American Vogue Magazine's Spring edition.  It is very revealing.  It confirms what Meryl Streep so beautifully portrayed in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) as she played a fashion magazine editor inspired by Vogue editor Anna Wintour. In both movies, it becomes evident that the editor of Vogue dictates which designers are promoted in her magazine and therefore are guaranteed of success in sales.  But more shockingly, which clothes of each designer "makes it".  She decides on trends, fabrics, textures, attitudes and all manner of things that the rest of the world interested in selling magazines and buying clothes slavishly follows.  

Then, the magazines employ models that are underage (13 - 20 years old) and underweight and then retouch the pictures of the "perfect" models anyway! This was revealed to me on Vanity Insanity!  This is a program on TV that interviews all walks of life and their views on beauty, their influences and what lengths they go to to conform to that image of beauty.  These are extreme cases but an indication of the distorted ideas of what we hold to be beautiful. I don't think I would have been out of place among these people!

Amazing really : how divorced from reality magazines are.  And we all give them that power by following their lead in fashion and other "cool" and "in" trends in body and behaviour. And we use these illusions of women printed in the magazines as benchmarks to judge our own bodies and fashion sense from! Well, I certainly have.  But now I question it.  Please bear in mind, though, that I am 41 years old and have been judging myself in this way for 28-odd years.  This will take some adjustment time.  My mind feels that I need to change from 4x4 mode into 5th-gear!  Love myself as I am!  What a concept!  This makes me feel like I need to call a conference to discuss this possibility before I can find this acceptable. 

Geneen Roth wrote a profound book called Women, Food and God which I have just finished reading.  She is onto something for sure!  I felt like each page slashed me across the heart and left me bleeding. Raw.  And thoughtful. In tears. She speaks the truth. About how those of us who emotionally eat don't even like the food we eat, how we eat to numb ourselves and leave our lives, because we believe that the pain we are trying to numb is bigger than us and will surely shatter us should we allow ourselves to feel.  So we work really really really hard at leaving, with food.  It is our drug of choice. And so she advises eating with awareness and dignity (as if you were in plain sight of someone else) and then a daily practice she calls Inquiry where we allow ourselves to really feel so that we will understand that the painful emotions will just wash through us without shattering anyone.  And we become strong and real and present once again.  Our weight then normalizes as a result and we start to live from and in a place of joy.  Which is exactly where I want to be!  And I can use food to get me there.  After all, I can't give up eating like I did smoking.  Eating will bring me back to myself and to the present where I can access Joy! with every mouthful.