Author Archives: Rachael Stella

Forging Faith

Forging Faith

Faith.

What does it mean? What does it mean to you?

I’ve been pondering this a bit recently. Through the inevitable ups and downs of life, the ebb and flow, I’ve questioned the strength of my faith, and even whether I have any at all.

The Oxford Dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something”, or “strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof”. For me personally, in this context, faith is my complete trust, confidence and conviction in my spirituality, my spiritual practices, and the spiritual teachings I follow, regardless of any proof or lack thereof.

So, the question I’ve asked myself lately is, do I possess unwavering trust and confidence in my spiritual journey?

The answer, I’m afraid, is no.

But it’s not a terrible thing, and it’s something I’m constantly strengthening with my daily devotion. Let me explain.

When things are great and I’m flying high, it’s so easy to have faith, to trust that I’m headed in the right direction, and that my spirituality is my guiding light. But on the down days, when life feels like a slog, it’s so easy to ditch that faith straight into the rubbish bin, convincing myself in my negative downward spiral of ego-identified suffering that “this sh*t doesn’t work”.

I’ve found myself there many a time. With infuriating frustration, I agonise over why it’s not working for me, why I’m failing despite my dedicated practice, that I must be defective because it’s working for everybody else. I get enmeshed and weighed down in expectations and comparison. I throw my faith out the window with the temperament of a 3 year old throwing a tantrum.

But I am determined. I claw my way back, eventually, into the upswing. And when I do, I laugh at how my descent into suffering is not only part of life for the unenlightened, but that when I’m down I rub dirt into the wound by failing to be vigilant and on guard with one key spiritual practice: mindfulness. I identify with the ego who tells me all these sickening lies, and I believe them. I might sometimes manage to observe my negative thoughts, but even when I do, I often find myself forgetting to disidentify with them, and believing them regardless.

The key here: this is a practice. I’m realising that faith isn’t something thta is necessarily unwavering, is something that I need to practice, just like my spiritual practices. It doesn’t matter, in the scheme of things, if my faith seems to waver from time to time as I descend into an ebb, because I’ve embedded my spiritual practices deeply enough into my everyday living, through devoted repetition, day after day after day, that I KNOW I will come out the other side, rising like the phoenix from the ashes. And I trust – I have faith – that with more practice, I’ll increasingly improve my ability to disidentify from my ego, and those ebbs will become less dramatic, and be fewer and further between.

But there is another aspect to this faith question that has arisen for me. The catalyst for my foray into my spiritual path was my recurrent struggle with mental health, which, amongst other drivers, was largely fuelled by a persistent yearning to find my way, to know and live my purpose for being here in this life. As such, whilst I’m coming to terms with the fact that this doesn’t necessarily look the way my ego wants it to – a concise job description that, if I follow it, will definitively bring me joy and complete fulfilment from now until my last breath – there is a part of me that has continued to seek a specific level of connection to God that will guide me on my correct path. To put it more specifically: I’ve been waiting for my intuition to kick in and ramp up, so that I can make confident choices and take actions that feel aligned with my soul. I’ve had faith that through working on my energy, through strengthening my chakras, I’ll learn to connect to that inner guidance, that indwelling divinity. I’ve had faith that I’ll become strong in my certainty that my third eye intuits with accuracy and precision, that my solar plexus communicates to me definitively. That my heart communicates with clear distinction from my head. That I can access my chakra eight and communicate with my soul with ease and clarity. Almost three years into my journey, I’ve questioned why I’m not there yet, as though the spiritual path has a final destination with a due date. I’ve had such faith that this path is THE path for me, but the test of time has strained that faith. I’ve been impatient. I’ve questioned why, after so much devotion, I’ve still felt so lost. It’s hard to keep the faith when you aren’t getting what you want in your anticipated timeframe, when you’re stuck in egoic thoughts about what should or shouldn’t be happening. But like I said before, I’m determined, and I’ve clung on to that faith.

Something about this quandary has shifted significantly for me very recently. I could attempt to attribute it to one of a number of specific things, but ultimately I think it’s a culmination of everything leading up to now – my continued devotion to my spiritual practice, some energy healing work I’ve done with a few practitioners, my readiness to begin working with intention setting, all the self help and spirituality books and podcasts I love to gorge on, the affirmations I’ve been repeating, the EFT tapping I’ve been experimenting with, divine timing, external conditions, perhaps even the full moon lunar eclipse and this lions gate thing everyone’s been banging on about! I’ve recognised that some of my negative subconscious programming has been rewritten. Areas in which I’ve previously felt so blocked have suddenly become free-flowing, unhindered, non-issues. It feels miraculous and magical. I’ve found myself doing certain things, without having given them much (if any) thought or effort. I’ve found myself unconcerned with potential challenges and stumbling blocks, inherently knowing that I’ll find any necessary solutions, but not consciously thinking through this as a strategy. I’ve then found myself, at random times (like when I’m on the toilet!!!) instantly coming up with solutions to challenges that I didn’t even realise I was attempting to solve. I’ve found myself taking constructive actions almost impulsively, which previously would have taken much self-coercion and motivation mustering. Things that previously I allowed fear to hold me back from, now I’m boldly marching towards with conviction and FAITH that it’s the right direction to move in, and that even if I fail, it’s all part of the journey.

What I’m coming to realise is that surrender is a big part of faith, that letting go and allowing the natural intelligence of the universe to flow unhindered through me is key. When I have faith, I know that there’s no need to strive, no need to worry, no need to push. I trust that I’m guided, and that even if I take a wrong turn, I can get back on track and appreciate the detour for the lessons that it gave me. But previously, surrender has felt infuriatingly elusive. How does one simply “let go” of trying to do everything we can to obtain something we want so desperately?

Six weeks ago I began working with the “Lunar Abundance” practice created by Dr Ezzie Spencer in her book, “An Abundant Life: Flourishing with the cycles of the Moon”. Ezzie’s practice provides a framework whereby you set a feelings based intention at the new moon, and then use the lunar cycle as a natural time keeper and self reflection tool to manifest your intention. At the last new moon, I found myself setting my second ever lunar abundance intention:

I feel safe, held and supported, trusting and knowing that the divine within me is constantly guiding me towards living my souls purpose.

Little did I realise what I was conjuring with this intention. The setting of it arose organically and intuitively through the process, and I assumed it was about my ongoing desire to discover my souls purpose. But I was also actually asking to find my faith. Following the practice, in which I intentionally felt and embodied those feelings of safety, of being held and supported, of trusting and knowing that I’m being guided by God towards my purpose, I was manifesting. I was making magic. It felt so sublimely good to feel the way I wanted to feel, and by intentionally doing so, I believe I flicked a metaphysical switch that had me realise that I’m now feeling the feelings because I already am being guided. I realised at the full moon that I didn’t have to imagine the intention manifesting in order to feel the feelings, because the intention already was manifest, and the guidance had been there all along – I just hadn’t recognised it before. I just need to feel the feelings and then remember that the divine is always working through me. It was around this time that the shift took place, and things began to flow. Like I said before, I believe it was a culmination of multiple contributing factors that brought me to this shift point, but this specific aspect felt particularly relevant and enlightening, highlighting for me what had changed. It was so easy. I’m in awe.

So am I insured from ever again losing my faith in this respect? Well I’m not sure, probably not. As in my more general spiritual journey, it’s possible that there may be times that my faith will waver, but I believe that I have the tools and practices that will always bring me back into alignment and back to my sense of faith. Faith therefore isn’t something I have to feel obliged to perpetually uphold in an attempt to maintain a spiritual identity, but something that I can trust will always be available to me when I’m ready to come home to myself after the inevitable missteps into suffering.


Main image credit: Rainbows 526 by Rocky Raybel via Flickr.  Used under licence.

The glorious perfection of a messy life

For so long I’ve felt stunted in writing in this space.  In fits and spurts I manage to create a little something here and there, but consistency has eluded me, pretty well from the start.  I go for weeks or months without writing, and then announce out of the blue when I’m back.

I’ve questioned this erratic pattern, I’ve told myself that if I want to make something of my writing I need to get consistent, I need to be creating content, I need/should/must do this and that.  Constant judgement and criticism.  And that, my friend, is a prime recipe for procrastination & paralysis.

When inspiration hits, the words come flowing in my mind.  I’m consumed by them, I’m illuminated by them, I’m propelled by them.

Sometimes, I prioritise getting them out of my head and onto the paper or screen.  Other times, I tell myself “later”, because there’s the cooking and the washing and the million other things on the to-do list.  Generally, later never comes, or if it does, the words seem to have left the building – what was earlier an abundant overflow of ideas and words becomes a deserted, empty, echoing chamber.  That is frustrating.

The thing is, I know that it’s futile to wait until my ducks are all in a row to make a go of creating something of beauty, meaning or significance.  And yet, it mostly feels like life is always in the way.

My journey, particularly over the past 3 years, has bought me so far.  So much healing, so much growth, so much expansion.  And yet, so often I find myself questioning why I haven’t reached my destination yet – I have this vague concept of arriving in a place of perfection where all my wounds are healed, I’ve got my sh*t completely sorted, I’m in perfect health, I’m living a life that from an external perspective looks successful, and I’m in perfect alignment with the divine and living my soul’s purpose.  From that place, I tell myself, I’ll be able to share words of wisdom that are truly of service.

This egoic questioning is ceaseless, and the judgement and criticism of not being “there” and of being where I’m at, of course, drags me down and pulls me further and further away from this imaginative nirvana.  It also goes against everything I’ve been taught.

It physically feels like being caught in the thick and tangled web of a mammoth spider, so rope-like and thick that it chokes my breath and holds me captive, blocks my view, weighs me down and slows me to a crawl.  It feels incomprehensibly penetrating, like it pierces through my body as though it wasn’t even there.  And yet, I know there is a way out.  I know that I haven’t been wound and tightly bound by any spider, helplessly trapped and doomed for annihilation.  I walked my own way into the web, and got myself into this mess, entangling myself more and more with every egoic thought that I entertained.

And so, the time eventually arrives when I see the thoughts for what they are, I recognise that they’re just thoughts and they’re not me and they’re not truth, and I am freed.  Things pick up, and I swing into an up-cycle where I’m on top of the world and at peace within.

I know, when I’m on the high, that the low thoughts will return.  I’m aware and on the lookout.  Sometimes, when they arrive, I see them for what they are, and I sidestep another low.  Other times, they hit me and I forget all I’ve learnt, and I go through the cycle again until I catch a glimpse of the light and bring myself back to peace again.  And on and on it goes.

The downs have become fewer and further between, but they have persisted.  Sometimes, the very fact that I’ve avoided a downer in so long becomes fodder for my desperate ego to latch onto, as I criticise myself for falling victim to this habitual pattern again after doing so well.  Why, I ask myself, do I allow this to happen when I know better?  Why do I fall continually when I know how to rise, why do I fall victim when I know what’s coming?  Why do I allow myself to descend into hell when I know how to reside in heaven?  Why do I do this, as I watch my peers and teachers continue to rise and transcend their hell?  And then, in a disorienting twist of consciousness, I know that this thought is just a thought and if I allow it to it will drag me down further, and yet I believe it.  I merge with it.  I become overwhelmingly ensnared within the web.  I identify with the egoic part of me that says this is true, even though I know it’s not and I know it’s simply a thought that my mind is having.  **Exhausting.**  Confusing.

So today I’m here.  The thoughts and ideas of my morning mind wanderings are not morphing into the words right now that I expected, but they’re along similar lines.  What I know is this: just because I haven’t got it all worked out, just because I haven’t arrived in that utopian paradise where I’m essentially a saint or a guru or spiritually enlightened, doesn’t mean I don’t have value to share.  Just because I don’t have all the answers doesn’t mean that there’s not value in the lessons I have learned, or even in sharing my lows along with my highs.  My intention has never been to seek sympathy or publicly air my demons for the purpose of narcissistically offloading my woes.  I speak of my shadows and darknesses in the hope that I can aid someone, anyone, even just a little, in lightening their load along with me mine.

And then, so easefully and gracefully, everything changes.  I remind myself that the utopian paradise, the idealistic destination, doesn’t exist – it’s a figment of my imagination.  There is no destination.  Only a perpetual journey.  In the simple turn of a thought, I find myself surrendering to what is and letting go of the pain and the epic struggle.  The spiderweb disolves into nothingness.  I discover that I’m back on the upswing, and I’m once again living in heaven on earth.


Main image credit: Rain and Rust by Mooganic via Flickr.  Used under licence.

Demystifying Manifesting

Something a little different today!  I’m feeling called to share what’s currently capturing my interest.  Right now, the topic of MANIFESTING is totally lighting me up!

Manifesting, in the way I’m using the term, is the process of bringing things into being, into reality. When talking about manifesting, many people think only of what they want to create in their lives – things they want to have or experience. What they don’t often recognise, is that everything they already have has been manifested by them, both positive and negative, via the energetic realm. So, consider that you have manifested your job, your home, the food in your cupboard, your friendships, your children, your computer, the holiday you’ve booked, the cold you caught last week, the fight you had with the parking inspector, everything in your life. When we study the art and science of manifesting, what we are interested in is CONSCIOUSLY and INTENTIONALLY manifesting our desires, which might include experiences, physical objects or belongings, relationships, healings, both personal and external. Sometimes people can get stuck in the perception that manifesting is a very egoic, surface level, even selfish practice, but this is not necessarily the case – you can manifest health for your family, an improved social condition, environmental healing … the possibilities are endless.

My most in-depth training in manifesting to date has been through Belinda Davidson’s School of the Modern Mystic (SoMM), in the Level 1 course. We learnt a powerful technique to manifest our wishes utilising the chakra energy system, the White Light, and mindfulness. Some of the things I’ve manifested so far using this technique have included (but are not limited to) unexpected income (seemingly out of nowhere) to buy tickets to a workshop I wanted to participate in, an interstate trip for a meetup with the SoMM community and a workshop, and 3 free tickets to see Danielle LaPorte speak in Melbourne. Through my experience and practices learnt through SoMM, I’ve also manifested many other wonderful things without following the specific technique learnt, simply through changing my energy to be an energetic match for that which I desire (think “law of attraction”, a concept you may have heard about) – free enrolment into an online course, a pro-bono 3 month coaching series, the healing of my son’s ongoing ear infections which prevented impending surgery, and the healing of my husband’s severely debilitating back injury. It’s been a roller-coaster journey, and I’m still very early on my learning path, but it’s thrilling!

Interestingly, I’ve been noticing the parallels between this method and some of the concepts I learnt growing up attending a Catholic school and going to church every Sunday. I remember learning things such as asking God through prayer to take care of all our worries, that God is love, and trusting in the infinite power of God. These concepts and more, in my opinion, are essentially the same as what I learned through SoMM, but just explained with different language. The language of the bible and religion is cloaked in metaphors and hidden meanings, and from what I understand, is misunderstood by the vast majority. For me, the language and techniques I’ve learned through SoMM have simply resonated and made more sense to me – they aren’t necessarily better, they’re just expressed in language that I can understand and apply, and they have been what has worked for me. They have given me a sense of power in my life that was previously missing.  It didn’t occur to me for some time that manifestation is actually referred to directly in the bible – Jesus healed the sick, fed the masses, and turned water into wine. He was, indeed, a master manifestor.

The most important thing I learned in the manifesting module of SoMM was that in order to live our soul purpose, we need to be able to manifest. As Belinda described it, we need to know how to manifest to get ourselves out of the struggle cycle so that our energies are freed up to live and pursue our purpose. Depending on an individual’s specific circumstances, this will look different – for some, they’ve manifested financial stability, but they may need still need emotional support through close relationships. For others, it might mean manifesting a secure income so that they’re not worrying about how they’re going to pay the bills every week. When life is working for us and our needs are taken care of, we can devote our time and attention to the “bigger” picture, to our bigger dreams and desires, to our purpose for being here in this lifetime, to our soul purpose.

It’s a fascinating topic, rich with intricacies and nuance. I’ve been reading and researching to gain some different perspectives on the manifestation process, and the more I read, the more I discover there is to learn and understand.

E-SquaredE-Cubed

E-Squared, by Pam Grout, is a fabulous book to start with if you’re new to this topic (or not!). Grout has a brilliant ability to mix wisdom, science, and humour into her writing in a way that makes this topic so simple to understand and apply. The book is designed as a set of simple (even kid-friendly!) scientific experiments that you as the reader conduct yourself in order to have the principles demonstrated in a very real and obvious way. This is a really fun book, and it was followed up with a sequel, E-Cubed, which goes to a deeper level again.

cars

Since reading this book over 18 months ago, I’ve adapted one of the experiments and I conduct it on an almost daily basis. Every day that I leave the house and I’m on the roads, I set an intention to manifest seeing at least one car of every colour of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. I’m strict with this intention – it can’t just be any red car, or any blue car – the colour must be vibrant and complete. Can I tell you, I have manifested this outcome with a success rate, by my estimation, of approximately 98%! I reckon that’s pretty impressive given that bright, vividly violet cars are thought to be relatively rare! Funnily, on the few occassions where I haven’t manifested one particular coloured car (usually purple), I can rest assured that the following day it will turn up in overload, and I’ll see two, three or four purple cars in one day!  This ongoing experiment has been a brilliant learning experience, teaching me a lot about my mindset, my subconscious programming, and the nuances of the manifesting process. I highly recommend it!

Wishes FulfilledWishes Fulfilled is a wonderful read by the delightful Dr Wayne Dyer. Dyer has essentially condensed and translated the vast array of spiritual teachings that he has studied on the subject, mainly (in this book), the works of Neville and Ascended Master Saint Germain. I’m up to the final chapter, but so far, this book has been brilliant at offering me the ability to understand concepts that before I had zero understanding of, and that I didn’t have clarity around how they related to manifesting. Dyer focuses on how and why we are of God, we have God within us, and that we essentially are God. This informs the tools he provides for practically applying the manifesting process, and offers a bridge to the belief that we are the creators of our reality.

Manifesting MatisseAnother recent read was Manifesting Matisse, by Dr Michelle K. Nielsen. This book is a thorough, well detailed, 10-step “practical system for reality creation”. Alongside the system, Nielsen has documented the story of how she manifested her son’s miraculous healing. Her son, Matisse, was born at 29 weeks, and by age 5 was experiencing severe developmental delay, neurological damage and attachment problems. Whilst his extraordinary healing is a fascinating read in and of itself, it provides a brilliant illustration of how powerful this technique is, that no matter how unrealistic a desire might seem, that miracles are possible.

Manifesting MichelangeloManifesting Michelangelo by Joseph Pierce Farrell is another brilliant book that offers insight into the very real possibilities, or potential, available to us to manifest miracles. The book is divided into two parts – Farrell’s story, followed by his manifestation process steps. Whilst I didn’t personally gain enormous growth from his process (even though I found it completely valid) given my journey so far, I found Farrell’s story offered a marvellous demonstration of the reality of miracles, because it seems so completely impossible. As the book describes, Farrell discovered that he has the ability to transform human tissue using the power of consciousness. Specifically, Farrell has eyewitness medical testimony, scientific evidence and photos to demonstrate that he can heal broken bones, restore facial deformities, heal chronically injured joints, dissolve inoperable tumours, and more. He has even used his abilities to provide cosmetic “surgery”. This is an absolutely fascinating story, and Farrell has dedicated his life to “exploring human consciousness and its relationship to health and healing in order to bridge the divide between science and spirituality”.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

Deepak Chopra has written a book on the topic of manifesting, called The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success. As the name suggests, this book is particularly spiritual in nature, and quite profound.  I first read this book many years ago, and honestly, it went completely over my head. But I read it again a few months ago, and it took on new meaning for me and made so much more sense. If you’re familiar with Chopra’s work and perhaps a little way in on your spiritual journey, I highly recommend you check it out, because it contains much wisdom. This is a book that I feel I will need to keep going back to as I progress further on my path, and I’m certain that with each reading, more of that wisdom will filter through to my conscious brain!

What the Bleep do we KnowWhat the Bleep Do We Know bookIf you’re not keen to get reading, you might instead like to check out the film, What the Bleep Do We Know (which has actually been adapted into a book as well, so you could read it too!). This film combines documentary with a narrative plot, and offers a view of the universe and human life, linking neuroscience and quantum physics, to illustrate how and why we do indeed have the ability to manifest the life we desire.

The Law of AttractionAsk and it is GivenWhilst I haven’t yet read any of their books but have watched a number of their videos, Esther & Jerry Hicks have provided the world with a wealth of information on the law of attraction that is, at it’s core, all about manifestation.  The source of their information comes from “a group consciousness from the non-physical dimension” (http://www.abraham-hicks.com/lawofattractionsource/about_abraham.php), referred to as Abraham, that Esther interprets (whilst many refer to Esther as a channel for Abraham, they make a point of saying that such a word is inaccurate).  Abraham’s profound spiritual teachings centre on topics such as reality creation, emotions as guidance, and that life is supposed to be joyful.

The Hidden Messages in WaterLastly, this book may seem a little off-topic, but I feel compelled to include it as it gives more food for though regarding our manifesting powers: The Hidden Messages in Water, by Dr Masaru Emoto. Emoto presents a theory of how water is connected to human consciousness.  In a series of experiments, Emoto exposed water in glasses to different words, images, or music, and then froze the water and examined the resulting ice crystals with microscopic photography.  He found that water exposed to “positive” variables produced beautiful, brilliant, complex and colourful crystals, whereas water exposed to “negative” variables produced disfigured, incomplete, asymmetrical, dull-coloured crystals.  Whilst there is much criticism of Emotos work and theories from a scientific standpoint, it nonetheless offers a provocative concept – “since people are 70 percent water, and the Earth is 70 percent water, we can heal our planet and ourselves by consciously expressing love and goodwill”.  If you’ve read E-Squared, you might recognise the similarity between Emoto’s work and the experiment with growing seedlings – directing loving energy towards one set of seedlings, and negative energy towards the other set.  words-healDanielle LaPorte also referenced Emoto’s work in a blog post, and conducted an experiment of her own using an apple.  I find this whole theory absolutely fascinating, and it resonates insofar as it is linked with the concepts of law of attraction, vibrational resonance, and the power of love.  Whatever your take on Masaru’s work, it’s worth trying it out for yourself (although I must admit, I struggle with the idea of having to deliberately direct negative energy towards anything – I don’t want to hold that vibration within myself!).

If you’re curious to learn more about this topic, I recommend checking out some of these books and more, as well as surfing the web – there is such a vast variety of information out there, and you can get started on your path of learning and practicing straight away!  I’m keen to expand my reading into the area of master manifestors, the holy people and avatars of the world, to give me more awareness of the limitless possibilities and to help re-program my limited beliefs. I’m utterly captivated by stories of gurus materialising objects out of thin air, of men and women who can do the “impossible”. Whilst at this stage I don’t believe that level of manifestation is part of my path in this lifetime, it nonetheless ignites incredible inspiration for what I can achieve. I’m finding that the more I explore this topic, the more I want to learn, and the more the belief becomes cemented into my consciousness that manifesting is a very real process that we absolutely can take control of, in order to create the life of our dreams.

Do you have any favourite manifesting resources?  Please share your favourite books, websites, YouTube clips, and films in the comments, I’d love to know what inspires and helps you, and I’m always interested to learn more!

Happy manifesting!
X


Main image credit: Chiseld Flurry, by LadyDragonflyCC via Flickr.  Used under license.

The Vulnerability of Devoting to your Biggest & Boldest Dreams

I sat under the shade of the magnificent ornamental pear tree in Mum’s backyard, soaking up the glorious early autumn weather on a lazy afternoon, watching the kids play on the grass. I marvelled at the miracle of the tree. I gazed at the branches above me, the leaves, the canopy, and considered the fact that this sprawling beauty had begun life as a tiny seed. One small, seemingly insignificant seed contained all the potential within it to grow into that beautiful big tree that stood above me, home and playground to a myriad of insects and birds, a source of shade, a beauty to behold in the backyard.

That tiny seed, buried in the earth, was given all the right conditions to allow it to sprout and reach for the light, until it broke through the surface of the soil. Cell by cell, it continued to grow and transform as its trajectory remained focused on the light. Cell by cell, from tiny seedling, to sapling, to small tree to large, cell by cell, transforming from green shoots to wooden branches. Cell by cell, growing leaves to soak up the energy of the sun, and transmute that energy via the miracle of photosynthesis into new growth. Can you even comprehend the number of cellular processes it took over the course of more than 15 years to get from seed to sprawling tree? There was no rushing, no striving, no taking shortcuts, no lamenting how far there still was to go.

Seedling with seed case

Seedling

It seems that so many of us are so identified with our ego, and so accustomed to an instant gratification culture that we’ve lost the ability to allow slow and steady progress. We want what we want, and we want it now. I know that I often find myself abandoning possibilities that seem like too much work for too little return in the near or foreseeable future. What a loss – so much potential abandoned in the name of speed and ease.

I’ve been told by a trusted seer that in a past life, I was successful architect living and working in Italy. I worked in partnership with my father on a huge project of thirty years duration. Within days of the completion of this monumental venture, the area was hit by a severe earthquake. My life’s work was flattened.

I sense that I’m only just beginning to comprehend the gravity of this experience and the impact it’s still having on me today. I’ve learnt that we carry our energy from lifetime to lifetime, and as such, the energy of the experiences we have can stay with us too. From my admittedly limited understanding, I’d say that the soul-destroying devastation of having my life’s work ravaged within days of its completion was not something that I adequately processed or healed from that in that lifetime, nor in any of my lifetimes since. And so, today, I still carry that burdensome energy in a way that has me avoid committing to dreams that require slow and steady incremental progress, a long term large scale outlook, or little returns in the near future. The excruciating pain of committing to such a dream, and pursuing it for so many years, only to have it destroyed virtually as soon as it was finally realised, taught me to protect myself from ever having to endure such a shattering experience again. That unbearable pain still resides deep within my energy field. My ego feels the fear that it induces, and it knows well how to best protect me: to prevent me from ever attempting such a feat again. It whispers, almost inaudibly, “Don’t attempt to realise such a grand and large-scale dream, because then it can’t be taken away from you, and that would destroy you.” Even more shrewdly, my ego gives me all the seemingly sensible and valid reasons why I don’t really want to pursue that dream anyway. Simple solution.

Except, that it’s not. The seeds of our dreams, big and small, lie dormant in our soul. All that potential and possibility, encapsulated within an unpursued dream. Waiting for the right conditions to allow them to sprout and reach for the light of day. When you begin to awaken to your spirituality and the truth of your soul, these things can no longer hide quietly. They become illuminated, and you can’t un-see them. They can no longer be ignored.

Our ego holds those seeds captive. It keeps them sealed in a packet, stored high and almost forgotten somewhere on a shelf in the dark garage.

By shedding light on these egoic shadows and blockages that past life experiences, or any other negative life experience, have created in our energy field, we might initially feel more stuck than ever. When we shine a torch upon an object, it suddenly casts a more defined shadow than what we might previously have been able to observe in the regular light of day. But once we know it’s there, we can use mindfulness to disidentify from our egoic thoughts, and transmute that shadow into light. That’s all the shadow is, an illusion. The shadow cast by the torch is not a tangible object, and it comes and goes depending on the angle and strength of the light. The shadow within is similarly just an illusion cast by the darkness of the ego. When we know that, we can use mindfulness to infuse our energy field with light, and transmute the shadows. We can say to ourselves:

“Those fears aren’t me. They are my ego, doing its job of keeping me small and safe by avoiding the potential greatness lying dormant within me, because greatness implies vulnerability. I don’t need to obey my ego. I can chose differently. I can give the seeds of my dreams the conditions they need to begin shooting towards the light. I can chose the step by step, slow burn of committing to a grand dream, knowing that it has the potential to reap the most glorious of rewards. I can remind myself of the beauty and light inherent in the process of pursuing my dream, that it’s not all about the final outcome. I can remind myself that in truth, in the eyes of God, without the judgment of any ego, there is no tragedy in a fulfilled dream being destroyed. Loss is not inherently bad, but our thinking makes it so. I can remind myself that even under such circumstances, there was so much beauty and love and light in every step of the way.”

It could be said that the real tragedy is in a dream never being pursued in the first place, in unfulfilled potential not even being attempted. But the truth is, even this is only a tragedy from the perspective of ego. But given that we have this beautiful opportunity of life, why would we not want to bring as much light into it as is humanly possible? Why would we not jump wholeheartedly at the marvellous opportunity to give form to the miracle of God inherent in the potential of the seed, by allowing it to physically express it’s divinity as it journeys toward the light?

Grow little one


All images photographed by me. ©


I’m looking forward to diving deep into my shadow with Belinda Davidson at her Shadow Working Workshop on the Gold Coast next week.  Details here.

shadowworkingeventsquare28129

Taking Orders from the Cardinal

A little birdie (a cardinal, in fact) told me that it’s important for my soul that I get my butt back into this space, and start getting light-heartedly serious about the business of being me, loud and proud, through sharing my story.  I listened, took note, and proceeded to do nothing about it.  Excuses, you know.  Seemingly valid ones.  Then, that little birdie got in my face again.  The instant I saw him the second time, I knew he meant business.  It’s time that I follow his guidance.

This was my first cardinal messenger - the animoon reading for the week email from Sarah Wilder at The Fifth Element Life. Click image to link to Sarah's site.

This was my first cardinal messenger – the animoon reading for the week email from Sarah Wilder at The Fifth Element Life.


So much beauty and light has been shining down on my little world lately.  I feel as though I’ve turned another corner, a very distinct corner, and the path forward here is upward.  Not upward in an uphill slog kind of way, but upward as in towards blessedly higher ground.  I’ve let go of those niggling doubts and worries that were telling me that my spiritual path perhaps “doesn’t work for me”, that “I’m not as good or worthy as all those beaming lightworkers”, and “I’m doomed for failure and mediocrity”.  I see you Ego, and I say “Thanks for sharing.  I choose differently.”

My beautiful little boy began school a few weeks ago, and it’s been a wonderful new beginning for both of us.  He’s ready and raring to step into this next phase of his sweet childhood, and honestly, so am I.  I’ve learnt to delight in the joys of motherhood, and to weather the challenges with as much grace as I can muster.  But I’m so excited for this next phase in our journey, and the energy of these past few weeks has been that of excitement, anticipation, positivity, new beginnings, and growth.  He’s transitioned into school brilliantly, and I’ve transitioned into being a mum of two school children without a hitch.  (OK, I almost shed a tear before dropping him off on his first day!)

My word for the year. Image by Jo Klima of The Darling Tree

My word for the year. Image by Jo Klima of The Darling Tree

The summer holidays allowed me some space to re-establish a DEVOTED practice.  I realised at some point that last year, whilst I was showing up to a committed daily practice of a chakra cleanse meditation, most of the time I wasn’t really connecting.  The lights were on but nobody was home.  It was surface level, and I was just going through the motions.  This was partly because I felt that the only time I could fit my practice in with consistency was at 5.30am, but bleary eyed and sleep deprived, I often struggled to keep myself from drifting to sleep, and I couldn’t muster the energy to do it standing up to prevent that.  I felt proud that I was doing the work, but I was ignoring the reality that I was actually only managing to do half the work.  I couldn’t concentrate, my mind would constantly wander, and I would be rushing through it before it was time to get on with my day, instead of allowing the time to feel my way intuitively through the process.  I was still reaping benefits, but I certainly wasn’t experiencing the magic I’d come to expect and witness in others on a similar path.  The gentleness of our summer routine provided the breathing space that allowed me more time and less pressure, so that I naturally found the depth and connection again that I realised I’d been mostly missing for months.  And so, as a consequence, my energy has skyrocketed off the charts, into seriously high-vibing territory that not only feels wonderful, but is what I knew I was missing last year.

Practically, this new energy I’m rocking looks like:

  • Feeling naturally moved to begin a daily routine of walking in nature. This is something that I began intermittently last year, but for a long time I found myself saying “I should walk more”.  The difference now is that I’m moved to do it, I’m eager to get out there, because I love it!  There’s no pressure, no forcing myself, no yearning for motivation.  It just happens.  I also realised that I really didn’t have an excuse – we live less than 2 minutes walk from wetlands with a walking track!  Until this year, I’d kind of ignored that fact, and used the excuse that it wasn’t very nice, it was too close to the roads, and there was often rubbish lingering around.  But I see it with new eyes now.  Those wetlands are teeming with bird life, native flora, and miracles everywhere I look.  I love my morning walk, and I’m feeling the benefits on SO MANY levels.
  • Committing to a 5 minute morning yoga practice. Again, this has evolved naturally, and it’s something I look forward to.  Physically, my yoga flow has never been smoother, my biceps have never been stronger, and my body feels limber and spacious.  In the past I’ve used time as an excuse to avoid a home practice, but 5 minutes a day has had incredible impact for me.
  • I’m getting more sleep. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you’ll know that this has been a life-long self-sabotage issue for me. I decided to surrender.  I let it go.  I stopped listening to the beating my ego would give me after every late night.  I accepted that this is something I do, it’s possibly going to be something I do for the rest of my days, and trying to fix it isn’t working.  I’m not clear on the exact mechanism at work here, but something shifted – I naturally began choosing to head to bed earlier.  It became a priority.  I wanted to accept the responsibility of making choices with consideration of the consequences.  Far out, it feels so much better when I’ve slept a decent stint for consecutive nights!  Who would have thought?!?!  It’s still something I need to be very mindful of, and I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve overcome this destructive habit, but I’m finding it increasingly easier to be aware of the impact of my sleep choices, and of wanting to make choices that have positive longer-term outcomes (rather than the instant gratification of rebelliously revelling in an late-nighter).  (The late-nighters often aren’t even that enjoyable anyway!!) (Disclosure: I did stay up late to complete and publish this post! I was driven, it felt as though it was almost beyond my control.  The words were hankering to get out of me and onto the screen to be shared with my audience. I went with it. More on that below.)
  • I’m manifesting like a boss! Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. I won 2 free tickets to see Danielle LaPorte speak live in Melbourne, and then I scored an extra ticket as well, total value $375 (I’ve delighted in telling the details of this awesome manifesting story to anyone who’ll listen!).  I’ve secured a 3 month pro-bono 1:1 life coaching series.  I’ve been invited to participate online programs with incredible women that have come with PERFECT timing, taught me huge lessons, and given me amazing outcomes and momentum.
  • I’m feeling more energetic, less grumpy, and better able to remain mindful in my parenting experience. My overall demeanour and energy is lighter – I’m even saying hi to people I pass when I’m walking, which is totally out of my comfort zone!  I have the energy and motivation to do basic things like housework, without having to force myself.  I just get stuff done.  Messages, omens, and signs are flowing to me constantly.  I see the beauty and miracles in everyday life.

Magic & Miracles 1Magic & Miracles 2 miracles 3

  • Life is just working better. I have two examples to illustrate this.
    Example 1: A few weeks back, we purchased a large filing cabinet for our office.  Because it is so large, we arranged delivery, and the sales assistant advised that the delivery company would contact me on the morning of delivery to confirm a time.  On the first of the two possible delivery days, I kept my mobile within reach at all times.  No call.  At 3.30pm, I bundled the kids into the car to head to swimming lessons.  I turned the key in the ignition – nothing.  I got the kids out again, cancelled their swimming lesson, and called the RACV.  I quickly knew not to get upset or annoyed about it – worse things could happen, and I was grateful that it happened at home rather than in some random car park.  I thought that was the silver lining.  But it got even better.  At 4.20pm, when I “should” have been sitting poolside, I heard a vehicle out the front, and peeked through the window expecting to see the RACV truck.  Instead, it was the delivery truck with our filing cabinet.
    Example 2: It was a Wednesday evening, and I was in the backyard admiring the beautiful summer sunset.  I invited my husband outside to see it too.  Whilst there, gazing upward, he noticed that we had some significantly broken tiles on our roof.  The next day, he called a professional to come and check it out.  The roof guy was able to come that same day, and he confirmed that it needed substantial repairs.  He was booked to do another job the following day, but was waiting on a part needed for that job.  The part didn’t arrive, so he was able to fix our roof that day, Friday, instead.  That weekend, there was a massive downpour.  Bullet dodged.

There’s so much more I could share.  Suffice it to say, life is grand.  That’s not the same as perfect though.  There are still challenges, there always will be.  But how I’m facing them is shifting.  For example, we’ve been having ongoing and protracted drainage and plumbing issues with both of the showers in our house since we moved in over 2 years ago.  After repairs and complete replacements, we’re still having serious water leakage issues.  I’m tempted to be stressed out about this situation, but I can see beyond it.  We now have one water-tight and working shower.  We’ll sort the other one out in due time.  Worse things have happened.  I’m also feeling into the energy of the situation, to ascertain the reasons why we’ve attracted this into our experience, as well as contemplating the symbology represented by water leakages.  I know, with certainty, that we can resolve this situation at its root cause by resolving the blocked energy.  When we’re in alignment, this will resolve with ease.

So I’m feeling good.  There is ebb and flow, and that is to be expected.  I’m observing and learning every day.  Magic surrounds me.  That magic comes via my devotion.  And it’s is why I’m here in this space today.  I’ve been on the verge of sharing here a few times over the past few months, but something has held me back (it seems to be an ongoing pattern of mine).  I’ve hesitated and questioned whether my stories, my experiences, are worthy of sharing, whether they hold any value.  This hesitation and questioning has peaked in response to an experience which took place shortly after publishing my last blog post, in which a dear friend of mine was very brave and honest with me.  She told me that she had deep concerns about my spiritual path, and that she needed to put some boundaries in place for her own protection, and that of her family, if we were to continue our friendship.  This revelation shook me deeply.  I can’t recall ever having had an experience before where someone essentially condemned, albeit in a loving and considerate way, my beliefs and my way of life.  Initially, it was unnerving and incredibly uncomfortable, but I put on a brave face and told her that I was ok with her requests.  However as time went on, and the situation marinated in my mind, my ego began to launch savage battle with my higher self as I tried my best to not take my friends opinions and actions personally.  I wasn’t sure whether I could accept her requests.  I wasn’t sure whether I could be friends with someone who wouldn’t accept me in my entirety, who felt that my spirituality posed a danger to her and her children.  The situation drew anger, opinion and judgment from most of those whom I shared with.  I knew in my heart that I didn’t reject my friend or her stance, in fact I respected her bravery, honesty and integrity in approaching such a delicate topic with both care and respect.  I have no issue with us having different beliefs.  But I found it difficult to determine whether I could continue to spend time with her.  I have a strong value of respect for others choices and beliefs, religious and spiritual included.  In my world, I can accept and live with the reality that others have different beliefs to me, and that we can coexist harmoniously with that difference.  It is my belief that there is more than one path to God.  But not everyone shares that belief.  How could I share a friendship with someone who rejects my path and feels the need to protect herself from my way of life?  Initially, I thought I could find a way to continue our friendship in line with her boundaries, that we could meet in neutral territory and simply avoid the topic.  I thought that would be the moral and loving thing to do.  But I soon realised that such a path would come at a cost.  I would be dishonouring myself.  I would be saying, symbolically, that my beliefs and my spirituality are not worth taking a stand for.  That it’s ok for someone to place conditions on our friendship that dampen my spirit and leave me feeling like there is something inherently evil about how I live my life.  I know my friend had pure intentions in what she shared with me, that she came from a place of love.  But ultimately, she was saying that how I live, and who I am, is not ok.

My uncle's tatoo - people of all belief systems and religions CAN coexist in harmony.

My uncle’s tatoo – people of all belief systems and religions CAN coexist in harmony.

Whilst I’m proud of the way that we both handled this situation, and that we’ve come to a mutual understanding of how to respect each other’s wishes, the after-effects are lingering for me.  Whilst I believe in the depths of my heart and soul that the crux of my spirituality is nothing but unconditional love in its purest form, this exchange with my friend has given my ego fresh fodder to keep me safe and small.  It speaks to me of the risks of speaking my truth, that I might be judged and attacked, next time with hatred and viciousness.  It tells me that people will misunderstand me, that people are looking for an argument, for a way to wield their power.  It tells me that people might associate me with things that are not, in fact, a part of my belief system, and use that against me.  It tells me to be scared.  It tells me that life is so much easier when I just keep my mouth shut and fit in with the crowd.  It tells me that I don’t need to share this stuff anyway, I can keep it to myself, keep it private.

My ego is doing such a beautiful job of protecting me.  All she wants is for me to survive, and she’s making use of the most effective tools that evolution has given her, the tools that have brought humans so far in perpetuating the species for eons.  The thing is though, I’m beyond survival.  I’ve got that handled.  Thank you, dear ego, for lovingly doing your job.  But I choose differently.

Life might be “easier” when we keep quiet and fit in, but for me, that feels unbearably stifling.  I have these words, these expressions of my experience and my truth, that are conceived to be spoken, not swallowed.  When I suppress them, they don’t just magically disappear – they are energy, physical matter on the quantum level, that doesn’t vanish through repression.  They stay inside of me, and they turn bitter.  They’re there, and they’re so loud that I can’t ignore them, so unless I allow them to move through me, they fester and grow, and eventually seek an alternate route of expression, through rage, tears, or illness – they’ll find any means of escape.  So “easier” is perhaps not an accurate term to use.

Tell your story with pride, said the cardinal.  Accept this moment as it is, he chirped.  So I’m acknowledging the truth, the words, the expressions of my experience, and I’m accepting that they are here, to be born out into the world when I’m moved to give voice to them – when they’re ripe and ready to flow.  It’s a lesson I’m learning over and over and over again.   I’ve discovered that it’s my destiny to share – one of the many essences of my soul is to give expression to my words, and to have them be heard.  And I’m devoted to being in alignment with the light of my soul, so silence is not even an option for me.  My words are part of my soul’s purpose here on this human journey.  I am devoted to living that purpose.

Image credit: Fire by Zdenko Zivkovic. Used under license.

Image credit: Fire by Zdenko Zivkovic. Used under license.


Main image credit: Mr Cardinal by Dawn Huczek, used under license.

The Good Witch of the South Eastern Suburbs

So today is Halloween, and it has prompted me to write about a topic that is currently holding my interest: witches.

I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween, nor have I really gotten into the spirit of it, apart from the one year when, as kids, my brothers and I naïvely decided to carve a jack-o-lantern out of a rock hard pumpkin, and spent hours trying to scoop out the raw flesh and carve a face without stabbing ourselves in the process (pumpkins suited to carving weren’t readily available from the local supermarket here in the early nineties). We were never allowed to go trick-or-treating (I’ve held on to that tradition with my kids – mean mum alert!), and the only time I can think that I would have dressed up would have been if a friend happened to have a themed birthday party at this time of year. I actually don’t remember or know a great deal about the origins of Halloween, other than the fact that here in Australia, it’s really only gained in popularity in recent times thanks to commercial reasons.  Retailers saw a gaping hole in the market that represented millions of dollars in potential revenue. Get Aussies on board with Halloween, and you can sell a truck load of Halloween stuff to them.

When I do think of Halloween, the standard images come to mind: pumpkins, ghosts, skeletons, vampires, and witches. Scary witches.

I used to joke years ago that if I’d been born a few hundred years earlier, I would have been burnt at the stake for supposedly being a witch; I’ve got red hair, green eyes, I’m left handed, and I have knobbly knees and a boney nose. I look the part. It was a throw-away joke, and it was funny to me – it certainly didn’t upset me that I looked that way. I didn’t really think a lot about what I was referring to – the fact that in times past, innocent human beings actually were killed for being believed to be witches.

I’ve learnt recently that the history of witch trials, which hunts and witch burnings is taught in school curriculums in other parts of the world as a part of history education. It’s a significant piece of human history that I’ve been largely ignorant of.

This topic has landed more frequently on my radar since I began studying energy medicine. Many of my classmates bring up the topic of witches, given the subject matter of what we’re studying. Initially, I had quite an aversion to the topic. I certainly didn’t want to identify as a witch – witches were scary and freaky and horrible in my naïve experience. And yet, here were my friends and teachers and soul-tribe, speaking so passionately about this topic, and many speaking as if that’s what they are: a witch.

My aversion to something that was so openly and commonly discussed amongst my tribe perplexed me. This home that I’d found amongst friends felt so right, and yet this subject matter worried me, because it didn’t bring me the joy that I found in every other aspect of this environment. After some time, I came up with a solution that suited me just fine, even if it turned out to be temporary: I could identify to some degree with being a GOOD witch. Yes! If being a witch was a part of this new world, then perhaps I could be just like Glinda the Good Witch of the North, from The Wizard of Oz. She was all pink and sparkles and love. What made this idea feel all the more pre-destined was that in high school, my graduating class produced a special year book, which included a fictional story in which many students featured as special characters. I had been depicted in this story as none other than Glinda.

As time has passed, and I’ve progressed on my journey, I’ve found this subject matter cropping up more and more frequently, and things have begun to shift. Whilst I certainly wouldn’t describe myself in a bio as being a witch, or when introducing myself to a new acquaintance, I can’t deny that there is an aspect of who I am at a soul level, and what I love, that certainly would have had me burnt at the stake in another time and place. I am devoted to my daily energy medicine practice, and it informs every aspect of my life. I use the White Light to heal. I have a fascination with all things metaphysical. I have a tendency towards using alternative and complementary medicine. I have an open-mindedness towards shamanic practices. I have a penchant for crystals which I cleanse under the light of the full moon, and I wear a treasured necklace with a citrine crystal that has been infused with prayers and White Light.  I have a fascination with psychic abilities, and I’ve undertaken education and training to better understand and to strengthen and further develop my abilities. I have undertaken spiritual journeys on different planes of existence. I’ve developed a surprisingly thrilling fascination with hunting for “fairy toadstools”! I’m a student and active community member of the “School of the Modern Mystic” for goodness sake!

Just call me "The Toadstool Hunter"! 😂🍄

Just call me “The Toadstool Hunter”! 😂🍄

Interestingly, I received an energy reading last week, which included a reading of the energy that  I am currently emitting which originated in past lives – energy that came about as a result of events that took place during past lifetimes, which has stayed with me and is affecting me in this present lifetime.  In one of these past lives, I was a healer. My healing work was my passion and purpose – it lit me up and made me feel brilliantly alive.  The circumstances I was living in at that time meant that I had to practice healing in secret – the stereotypical, almost corny image of the woman meeting with her patient under the cover of night in the safety of a darkened forest.  This need to hide my true nature angered me, but didn’t stop me – I was brave in my actions, and my passion fuelled my courage. This lifetime did not end well – I was eventually betrayed, and killed for being a witch.

So I’ve begun to research, and learn more about what this word “witch” actually means. I’m very early in my research journey, but I’ve already discovered some things that put my mind at ease, that reassure me that I’m not a freak, I’m not crazy, and that it’s perfectly acceptable for me to embrace this part of who I am.

A preliminary web-surf of Wikipedia has shed a surprising amount of light on the subject. The following except from the entry on “witchcraft” sums things up rather succinctly:

Witchcraft (also called witchery or spellcraft) broadly means the practice of, and belief in, magical skills and abilities that are able to be exercised by individuals and certain social groups. Witchcraft is a complex concept that varies culturally and societally; therefore, it is difficult to define with precision and cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution. Witchcraft often occupies a religious, divinatory or medicinal role, and is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view. Although witchcraft can often share common ground with related concepts such as sorcery, the paranormal, magic, superstition, necromancy, possession, shamanism, healing, spiritualism, nature worship and the occult, it is usually seen as distinct from these when examined by sociologists and anthropologists.

This says a lot for me: witchcraft means different things to different people, particularly across different cultures and societies though out human history. There is no one singular definition that encompasses all the practices, beliefs and nuances that fall under the umbrella of witchery.

What I have discovered is that there have been numerous periods throughout history in which a terrorising fear of witchcraft has led to mass hysteria, resulting in witch hunts, witch trials, and witch killings. Ignorance and religious influence have played key roles. Men, women and children believed to be witches have been subjected to assault, abuse, torture, and killing. Wikipedia states:

The period of witch trials in Early Modern Europe were a widespread moral panic suggesting that malevolent Satanic witches were operating as an organized threat to Christendom during the 15th to 18th centuries. Those accused of witchcraft were portrayed as being worshippers of the Devil, who engaged in such acts as malevolent sorcery at meetings known as Witches’ Sabbaths. Many people were subsequently accused of being witches, and were put on trial for the crime, with varying punishments being applicable in different regions and at different times.

A painting in the Rila Monastery in Bulgaria, condemning witchcraft and traditional folk magic. The inscription is translated as: “Magicians and healers are servants of the devil. That’s why the devil rejoices greatly, jumps around, and dances in front of people who come to them. And what they [the healers] give them to drink and eat is devils’ filth. Those who abandon God, the laws, and the church, and go to the healers, are servants not of God, but of the devil.” Source: original photo by Nenko Lazarov 06/12/2005; adjusted by Martha Forsyth 4 April 2008, via https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rila_Monastery_wall_painting.jpg#mw-jump-to-license

Punishments for those found guilty of witchcraft have included imprisonment, exile, fines, and capital punishment by hanging, beheading, or burning at the stake. Methods for determining guilt throughout these periods included such bizarre practices as tying the suspect up and throwing them into a body of water. If they floated, they were deemed guilty and sentenced to death. If they sunk, they were deemed innocent, but many drowned in the process. The estimates of how many people died as a result of these witch trials varies greatly, but the “scholarly consensus” according to Wikipedia seems to be in the region of 40,000-60,000.

1533 account of the execution of a witch charged with burning the German town of Schiltach in 1531.

image

Execution of alleged witches in Central Europe, 1587

Burning of three witches in Baden, Switzerland (1585), by Johann Jakob Wick.

Burning of three witches in Baden, Switzerland (1585), by Johann Jakob Wick.

I’ve begun reading a book* about the “Salem Witch Trials”, in which two dozen innocent men and women were hung from the town gallows in 1692 in newly colonised America (New England). This horrific injustice came about for many complex and startling reasons, but was largely influenced by ignorance, religious and spiritual beliefs, a profoundly deep-seated fear of God’s wrath, and a religiously motivated desperation to build a colony that upheld the morals of Puritan Christianity, in addition to a shockingly inept justice system.

Disturbingly, this isn’t a topic confined to the past. In various parts of the world today, men, women and children are still accused of witchcraft and subjected to assault, abuse, torture and killing. According to Wikipedia, approximately 750 people were killed for witchery in India between 2003 and 2008, 1000 children over the past decade have been murdered in the name of witchcraft in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia continues to issue the death penalty for sorcery and witchcraft, and in Britain there is an ongoing problem with (particularly immigrant) children being accused of witchcraft and subsequently being abused and tortured, including money making scams in which a pastor accuses a child of witchcraft and the family subsequently pays for an exorcism.

I’ve also read a little about Paganism and Wicca, sub-categories which are certainly worthy of further exploration, but that I don’t feel are especially relevant to my particular interests.  Presumably, further research would also expose evidence of people who did (or are) indeed practice malevolent forms of witchcraft, justifying accusations and promoting the fear-inducing archetype we’re used to associating with witchcraft in popular culture.  This convoluted narrative of history isn’t only about innocent victims.

As already outlined, it’s evident that the concept of witchcraft and witches is complex and variable. The witches that we associate with Halloween in modern Western culture are largely a product of folklore, story-telling and Hollywood’s characterisation of this multifaceted and mercurial archetype. I have a long way to go in my research (Wikipedia doesn’t really cut it for a thorough and in-depth education!), before coming anywhere close to fully grasping the intricacies of this topic, and this brief overview barely skims the surface of this broad subject.  Nevertheless, my preliminary reading has brought me to a place where I can drop the fear associated with witches.  What does being a witch mean for me in my personal experience? Well to be honest, the word itself still doesn’t quite sit comfortably with me, but it represents the wise woman, the healer, the seer, the psychic, the magician, the shadow-hunter, the light-worker, and the holy, the regal woman who knows her power as the individualised expression of God.

For me tonight, Halloween presents an opportunity to do something different and somewhat unexpected: to light a candle and say a prayer for the souls of the men, women and children accused of witchcraft, who have suffered assault, abuse, torture and murder across the ages.


* Francis, Richard (2006) Judge Sewell’s Apology, The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of a Conscience, Harper Pernial, London.

Main image credit: by gliss.gliss, used under license.

Drumming up Drama

Oh how skilfully our ego can take us over and sweep us up in a shitstorm of drama and stress! After thinking recently that I was starting to get a relatively decent handle on catching my mind and avoiding identifying with my ego, the universe delivered me an excellent situation which perfectly highlights just how deep this unconsciousness runs, and that mindfulness is an ongoing practice. No need to be getting cocky any time soon!

My day, my energy, shifted in an instant. It had been a pretty regular day, I was out of my usual routine but it was nothing startling and all just normal life stuff. I was feeling good despite a few little niggles here and there, my energy has been refreshingly and gratifyingly on the rise lately and I am recognising the pay off from my devoted spiritual practice. All it took was a quick glance at an email that had arrived in my inbox in the early evening.

My heart squeezed. My stomach instantly began churning. I felt ill. I was physically shaking.

It’s comical retelling the story with hindsight. This instant and dramatic shift in energy, all from a short email. No terrible news had been delivered. No significant problem had been revealed. I won’t go into the details of this private matter, but suffice to say, it was a simple email. It was simply a small piece of information, and a request for my opinion.

But it’s what my ego, my thinking mind, did with that information, that sent me into a tailspin.

The thoughts that I conjured from this short email were mostly along the lines of:
– People I love must think I’ve been deceiving them;
– My words and actions have caused other people to worry, stress, and take unnecessary actions that they would otherwise not have taken;
– I’ve disappointed people I love;
– I’ve inconvenienced people I love;
– People I love must be angry with me, annoyed with me, and think less of me.

Yep, although I was very concerned about my loved ones, the crux of my freak out came down to my concern around what others think of me, and I concocted all of those assumptions based on a brief email that included no comment whatsoever about me, or what anyone thought about me.

So the drama was firmly established in my mind, and then some conversation ensued around a highly emotional topic.  Any other day, I would have simply shed a few tears. But in this situation, I allowed it to snowball me staight into meltdown city.

Situations where our reputation or character is perceived as being under threat are not uncommon, and it’s a normal human response to try to maintain a favourable standing amongst our family and community. Evolution created our brains in that way, increasing our chances of survival amongst the safety and support of the tribe. It’s a base chakra phenomenon, and our ego isn’t all bad – it’s a survival mechanism.

But this brain wiring does cause us a lot of unnecessary stress, and we’re at a point in human evolution where we are better served by being aware of this process, and how to use that knowledge to reduce our suffering.

All of my thoughts around this situation were just that – thoughts, created in my mind. They weren’t truth. No one had said any of those things. And yet, I believed them as truth, and I gave them meaning without even consciously thinking about it – I am a bad person. The churning and nausea in my stomach was a clear sign that the weaknesses in my solar plexus had taken a huge hit. My self confidence isn’t unshakeable. My ability to safeguard my energy isn’t yet quite as robust as I’d like it to be. I place a grossly unbalanced weight of importance in what other people think of me.

If I’d managed in that moment to observe my thoughts and avoid identifying with them, I’d have been able to handle the ensuing conversations much more gracefully. I’d have been able to calmly and effectively respond to the email without drama. I’d have been able to see the situation for what it was, and not attach all that meaning to it. I’d have avoided much of the pain, suffering and tears that followed.

This situation has been an illuminating learning experience for me. I’m so grateful that these days, I can at least recognise what I’m doing to myself, and diffuse the anguish and suffering a hell of a lot more quickly than in the past.

As I said to my mum earlier today, tongue in cheek, clearly I needed to drum up a bit of drama for myself, seeing as I’ve been so stress-free lately and it felt too foreign! Thanks for that ego, job well done.  Time to move on.


Photo credit: by Nicholas A. Tonelli. Modified and used under license.

Emerging from Inspiration Hibernation

Inspiration. She is a capricious phenomenon.

The way Elizabeth Gilbert describes it in “Big Magic”, is that we are merely hosts for ideas to come to. Inspiration is a sign that an idea has found us, and wants us to work as the vessel through which they can be brought to life. If we choose not to take action on an idea, it will depart in search of a more suitable host. Or, if we deliberate for too long, the idea will get impatient, and again, depart in search of a more motivated host, and we discover that the inspiration is no longer within us.

I’ve been finding myself increasingly subject to this phenomenon lately. Just days ago, I awoke after a night filled with wonderful dreams and ideas, spent the early morning meditating, and felt a marvellous sense of inspiration to birth my words into the world and express the delicious joy that was brewing within me. Then … daily life interrupted my little bubble of bliss. I was busy, distracted, occupied. There was nothing terrible about this – it’s just how the day panned out. When I eventually got back to contemplating the idea of publishing on the blog … crickets.

So. Frustrating. Not to mention, disappointing.

Where my heart had been full to the brim with enthusiasm, bravado and inspiration that morning, it was as though all those ideas had quite literally packed their bags and departed in search of someone who was ready to action them sooner.

I go through many moments when I’m lit up, engaged and moved to share. One of my soul essences is a lion, and he has a loud and powerful roar, a message that he intends to be heard. I know that there are things within me that must be expressed, and I know that it is my destiny to do so. I often feel these idea bubbling beneath the surface, waiting for me to find the time and energy to release them out into the receiving ether. Sometimes, when the bubbling builds to boiling point, I find a way to get the job done – the inspired idea explodes forth in the form of a lengthy blog post that has consumed me as I write it, and I experience such gratification and relief in birthing it out of my head into cyberspace. But, more often than not, I allow fears and circumstances to get in the way, muffle my roar, and convince me that I don’t have the time to devote to such a frivolous endeavour. As such, so many of my ideas and musings have departed: the bubble dies down until I’m left with stone cold nothingness. It’s an interesting situation, because it’s so easy to sit idle and accept that now isn’t my time, that I’ve got other responsibilities to attend to (read: distract me), and yet I feel this constantly recurring urge, as inspiration returns with new ideas, forgiving my past inactivity and bringing me new opportunities to bring them to life.

It’s not working well for me. I don’t want to suppress this inconvenient energy. Because although many of my ideas may depart, in my experience, I suspect that at least some of the really inspiring ones haven’t really departed – they’ve gone into hibernation below the surface of my consciousness. I suspect this because, when I suppress and muffle my inspired ideas, I feel jammed up and confused. When I fail to express these ideas, they get stuck, muddled around, and lose their meaning and potency, and I wind up feeling lost. I know they’re inspiring, but I can’t quite remember what they are or why they inspire me any more. The message, if delayed, doesn’t always depart me in search of a speedier vessel through which to be expressed, but instead gives me the benefit of the doubt, and takes a nap while I dilly dally, taking up valuable headspace. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that they’re hanging around instead of abandoning me, but when I continue in this fashion for too long, the pile of snoozing ideas start overcrowding the available neural space in my head, and I can’t work out what’s what any more. I know that the correct order of things is to allow the ideas to come to me, flow freely through me, and out into cyber space.

I know this is important, for two reasons:
1. If I continue getting jammed up with sleeping ideas, I’ll loose my marbles.
2. When there’s no more real estate left in my mind, the ideas won’t even bother trying me out, they’ll pass right on by.

So, inspired by a recent interview with Seth Godin, I’ve decided that the time is now. There’s no need to write my magnum opus each time I publish. I just need to allow this space to be my vehicle for expressing my inspired ideas. I have a feeling that as I do so, those sleeping ideas will awaken, and I will again have the opportunity to bring them to life. Then, the path for fresh new ideas will be cleared.

This lion will roar.


Image credit: by Eric Kilby, used under license.

School of the Modern Mystic

Two years ago, I became a student of Belinda Davidson’s School of the Modern Mystic (SoMM). Enrolling in the level 1 course set me on a path that I never dreamed I would walk, and the most exciting part is that I’ve really only just begun.

SoMM opens its doors for enrolment once a year, and that window of opportunity for 2016 is approaching in a few days. I am an affiliate for the course, because it was the catalyst that transformed my life, and I’m SO PASSIONATE about the teachings. I’ve experienced transformation for myself, I’ve seen so many other SoMM students blossom into their most joyous and soulful lives, and I wish that opportunity for everyone on the planet. The opportunity to finally break free from the pain and struggles that are holding you back, to connect with your soul, and to live in truth and joy. And so, I’m sharing with you today my experiences. Following are some of the most significant shifts I’ve experienced thanks to SoMM.

MOVING BEYOND DEPRESSION
My main motivation for enrolling in the school 2 years ago was because I believed that it could help me to break my patterns of recurring depression. At a time when I was recognising the early signs of onset, SoMM entered my radar, and I saw it as an admittedly unconventional alternative to yet another round of psychological counselling or medication. My intuition told me that this could be my answer. I’m not advocating that abandoning traditional mental healthcare treatment is the answer for everyone. For me, I knew I needed to break the cycle, and I needed a different approach if I was to have lasting results. I sensed that SoMM was MY path. I was so right.

During level 1 and beyond, I became so much better able to cope with the everyday stresses of life as a Mum that had previously brought me to my knees. I was calmer, more effective at solving problems, and had more mental resilience. I no longer felt broken. It wasn’t that I hadn’t tried to reach this place earlier – I read books and blogs, attended workshops, practiced yoga, took advice … and whilst these things were all definitely helpful, they didn’t effect lasting change. The difference with SoMM – I was clearing the energetic blockages that were responsible for my subconscious ways of operating, so my mental patterns changed without effort, without me consciously realising.

I was elated. My husband was happy. The kids had a healthier and happier mummy. I believed I had the tools to effectively move through life permanently depression free.

As 2016 swung into gear, around 6 months after completing level 1, I began to experience some depressive episodes again. Not full blown clinical depression, but certainly not pleasant. I freaked out. THIS WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPENING. Life was supposed to be easy and joyful and pain free now, filled with rainbows and unicorns and fairy dust!

As I’ve re-emerged from that dip on the roller coaster of life, I can see through hindsight a number of things. Firstly, I had unrealistic expectations of what post-SoMM life “should” be like (i.e. unicorns etc.!!🦄). Healing yourself and improving your life does not mean that you will no longer face challenges, hardships, or disappointments. Secondly, the massive energetic and spiritual changes I’ve begun negotiating thanks to SoMM have raised a lot of fear and uncertainty, fine fodder for the ego to go wild. The status quo is no longer a viable option in my life post-SoMM – half truths don’t cut it, hiding is futile, and the truth can be painfully uncomfortable. This stuff can feel terrifying! This is where I discovered that my mindfulness practice, from the third module of level 1, was not yet as strong as I had naïvely assumed it to be.

But … this was all a part of my healing journey, teaching me along the way. And, it was the SoMM teachings that brought me back online, back to my centre, and back to mental health again.

I believe with all of my heart that these teachings are rock solid. Foolproof.

The take-away for you from this experience is that SoMM offers you the UNIVERSE, but it sure as heck isn’t for the faint hearted. It is amazing and transformational and literally miraculous, and it will fill your life with light and love, IF you devote yourself to the spiritual practices that it teaches you. It will also crack you open, and demand that all that is not love, truth, and purity, all that is fake, all that is playing small and hiding, all that is conformity, be shed. I know from experience that that is not easy, and it’s not for everyone. It’s a choice. But if you’re willing to make that choice, you’ll find magic.

I could probably stop there, but I’d like to share with you some of the other beautiful gifts I’ve gained through SoMM.

TRIBE
The online SoMM community – my SoMM sisters (and the odd brother here and there!) – is an absolute joy and treasure. To have found a tribe of (mostly) women whom I didn’t even consciously realise I was desperately searching for has been an incredible gift. Like minded women, on a journey of the soul in this physical life, together. So much love. So much support. Connection. Friendships. The opportunity to meet with many of my SoMM sisters in the flesh has been extra special – I’ve been craving this kind of connection all of my life.

INTUITION
Putting aside my new-found fascination for psychic perception, my own intuitive abilities are steadily building in subtle ways. I imagine something, and then it actually happens. I have insights that enable me to prepare for what would previously have been unforeseen circumstances. I have the ability to solve problems based on intuitive hunches, often preventing further complications from arising. So far, this phenomenon is intriguing, helpful, and warmly welcomed.

COMMUNICATION
I’m discovering my voice, on many levels. It’s still emerging. An example: my husband and I mutually acknowledge that open communication has never been our strength, is something we must constantly work on, and is something we easily slip into avoiding. Post SoMM – it’s an ongoing work in progress, but we’re having the conversations no matter how difficult. WIN. As I said before, there’s no more hiding.

SPIRITUALITY
My prime motivation for enrolling in SoMM was to overcome depression and gain mental health. I got so much more than I bargained for, but that somehow, on some subconscious level, I was yearning for and could sense that SoMM would give me.

The spirituality of SoMM is what has transformed my life, and is what now informs every waking moment of my day. I have a new relationship with God. I have a new relationship with myself. I’m finally coming to understand a lot of what I was taught in my Catholic upbringing. Things that hadn’t made sense to me previously, things that seemed like fictional stories or outright lies, I’ve been able to reframe and discover the truths that they hold. SoMM is not a religious course, but through it and discovering my spirituality, I’ve been able to develop an appreciation and understanding of what was being taught to me through religion that I’d never managed to absorb. It turns out there is more than one path to God.

GLOW
The last thing I’ll mention here is kind of random and unspecific, but I attribute it to the spiritual practices I learnt in SoMM. People tell me I look different – in a good way. I have a sparkle in my eye that wasn’t there before. I look well. Personally, I think it comes and goes relative to how I’m showing up for my spiritual practice, but I haven’t tested that theory out for external validation. Whatever the case, I like it.


If SoMM is right for you, you’ll know. You’ll be curious. You’ll feel drawn in. Something about it will call to you. If that’s you, I encourage you to follow where your curiosity leads. In my eyes, if you choose to dive in, it will be impossible to regret it. You will be held, and supported, and loved. Strap yourself in for the ride! If you’re in, be sure to let me know, and I’ll see you in the school yard.

To find out more about School of the Modern Mystic and sign up to be notified when enrolment opens in the next few days, click here

Ego: Dream Killer

The new month has brought with it a significant shift in energy, and I know I’m not alone in feeling it. I don’t know if it’s the new moon in cancer, the new financial year giving off January vibes, or something else altogether, but there’s no denying it. Personally, my mood has lifted (alleluia!), I’ve had significant insights, and I’ve set new intentions that have flowed to me fluidly rather than forcefully.

Firstly, I’m realising with increasing clarity that I grossly underestimated the level of commitment and sustained diligence required to disassociate from ego and live in alignment with my soul.

Yep. Big.  (Massive.)

Following this realisation, I’m beginning to recognise the degree to which I’ve allowed my life to be dictated by my ego. To put it another way, my default mode of being is to allow my ego to stop me from living my dreams. In particular, I’ve uncovered a deep, long-held, heartfelt dream that I’ve skirted around, hidden, denied, and turned away from, for as long as it’s resided in my heart.

It’s only been in practicing mindfulness and  disidentifying from ego that I’ve been able to see the truth that’s been under my nose all this time. My ego has told me I’m not good enough to pursue, let alone achieve, this dream. My ego has convinced me that I’ll make a fool of myself to even admit this dream to anyone.  My ego has given me all the reasons why this dream is a foregone failure. My ego has told me I’ll be selfishly squandering my money to pursue this dream, money that could be put to better use for my young family. My ego has reminded me of my past failures and used them as evidence that this dream is destined for the same. My ego has laughed cruelly in my face for even daring to dream such a ridiculous dream.  My ego has even rationalised that this dream isn’t quite right for me.

If the ego were a person, that person would be judged as a pretty horrible person, and not a wise choice of someone to confide your dreams to.

The amusing thing is, since getting back on the mindfulness bandwagon and choosing not to take the ego’s opinions on board, I can actually see all the signs that the Universe (God/Source/the Angels) has been persistently placing on my path in an effort to steer me in the direction of this dream. There have been sparks of interest, meetings with inspiring role models, fascinations, signs, omens, synchronicities, serendipities. And if you consider my email subscriptions and social media feeds, it’s so blindingly obvious that this dream totally lights me up.

*Sigh.* All I can do is laugh about it.

No matter. I believe that I, just like everyone else, am exactly where I am supposed to be, and my journey gives me everything I need to grow. I trust the entire process.

There is so much I don’t know, so much I don’t understand.  I’m learning, and it’s a lifelong process. Whilst sometimes I think I can’t be helpful to anyone if I don’t have all the answers (hello again, ego!), I trust that by sharing my journey, full of struggles and mistakes as it is, may help you to have your own realisations.

Perhaps you have a dream that you’re ignoring or denying or hiding, because you’re believing what your ego has to say about it. Try this: dream the dream anyway. Don’t believe what your ego has to say on the matter. Envision the dream in your mind’s eye, ignoring the ego’s heckling jibes telling you that your dream couldn’t possibly come to fruition. Feel the feelings of living your dream, disregarding your ego’s persistent snide remarks that your dream is an impossibility. Dream the dream. Forget the how’s. This is where the magic begins. Because even if your dream doesn’t turn out the way you hope for, LIFE is where you pursue the dreams of your heart for the pure joy of the experience living in alignment with the callings of your soul.

xx


If you’re serious about disidentifying with ego, I recommend the following books that were recommended to me by my teacher, Belinda Davidson. Read them, study them, re-read them. Then read them again.

  • The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
  • The Happiness Trap, by Russ Harris

Image credit: by Deb Stgo, used under license.