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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 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.

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.

The stories we tell ourselves

“I haven’t done a vinyasa class in ages.”

“I’ve been sticking to slow flow and yin classes lately, I’m just so exhausted all the time.”

“I just can’t manage vinyasa classes at the moment, I don’t feel up to it.”

“I’m really unfit at the moment, vinyasa is just too much for me right now.”


I was dressed for yoga class on Monday as I did the school and kinder drop off, but I was toying with the idea of taking a nap instead.  After some deliberation, I decided to go to class, because it had been a week (or was it more?) since I’d last been, and I know how much better I feel when I practice.  So I headed off to a slow flow class, thinking it would be a positive start to the week.

As I was walking toward the studio after parking my car, something felt … not quite right.  I noticed that there was no sign of the bright yellow car that is religiously parked out the front, and I thought that it’s owner must have been unwell or away.  As I walked in the door, I noticed a few unfamiliar faces, and some that I hadn’t seen in ages.  A realisation began to dawn on me … I hadn’t checked the timetable before I left home.  I’d blown it off as unneccessary, I almost always come to 10am Slow Flow class on a Monday morning.  Don’t I?? No, in fact, I don’t.  I usually come to 11.30am Slow Flow class on a Monday morning.

Oh crap.

The 10am class is Vinyasa.

I felt a sense of dread and panic sweep over me.  I could have turned around and left, but to be honest, that would have been a pain, and a waste of my precious me-time.  Also, something else, deep within, kept me there.  As I sat and removed my shoes, I remembered my newly renewed commitment to be dillligent in my mindfulness practice, so I began observing my thoughts.

“This practice is going to be so hard!”

“I’m going to struggle with this!”

“*Groan* … this is going to hurt!”

“I won’t be able to keep up … people will see me not keeping up.”

“I’ll wind up sweaty, frustrated and emotional.  Yuck.”

“I can’t believe I came at the wrong time.”

“This is going to be awful.”

Then, something clicked – I was totally setting myself up for a struggle of a practice, a difficult experience that I was going to hate.  And it was all a story in my head.

So, I concentrated instead on mindfully unlacing my runners.  I shifted my focus to the environment and my actions.

I felt sure there was a good reason I was there at that vinyasa class, and it was a test of my commitment to aligning myself with the light, instead of taking the easy road of fusing with and believing the ramblings of my ego.  The class might prove to be difficult, but thinking so negatively would guarantee to make it a struggle.

You know what? Yoga class was totally fine.  The vinyasa practice was certainly challenging, and there were some moments when I had to slow down or modify a little, but I really surprised myself.  It wasn’t a struggle.  I mostly kept up, and when things became challenging, I focused on the pose instead of the whining voice of my ego: “I’m getting tired” … “ANOTHER vinyasa??!” … “I can’t chaturanga properly, my arms are too weak” … “my wrists hurt, my technique must suck, maybe this is too much” … blah blah blah.  I allowed the thoughts, but instead of getting caught up and carried away with them, I just returned to focusing instead on the asana, and it got me through.

I’m so glad I found myself in a vinyasa practice on Monday.  As I high fived my teacher on the way out, I said to her “Isn’t it funny, the stories we tell ourselves?”.  This experience prompted a big realisation: I allow my ego to heavily influence my choices and actions, even when I know those choices and actions don’t align with my higher self.  And, this habit doesn’t serve me.  Sure, it usually makes things temporarily more comfortable or easy, but I’m not here in this life to be comfortable, and besides, it backfires in the long run.  I’m here to live, to experience, to love, to fulfil my soul purpose.  Vinyasa practice today certainly felt like a positive step in the right direction, a step towards soul level living.


Image credit: Once upon a time.. by Delphine Devos.  Used under licence.

The Spider

The spider has a job that she must do to ensure her survival – she must spin webs.

When the time comes for this job to be undertaken, she simply does it. She doesn’t contemplate it, plan it, worry about it, think about whether there are other tasks that she’d rather be doing, wonder if it might be better to put it off until tomorrow, or worry about how the finished product will turn out. When the moment arrives to spin a web, she mindfully sets about spinning a web, without being distracted, without wondering whether it will live up to her expectations or the expectations of others. She doesn’t contemplate whether that which comes naturally to her will be deemed the right thing to have done by others. She just does it. She spins her web with focus and intent to create that which comes naturally to her. She works with persistence, and if something should unexpectedly interrupt her, it is dealt with, after which she dutifully returns to the task at hand.

When her work is finished, the spider doesn’t stand back and critique her work. She doesn’t fret over whether others will judge her work favourably. She immediately moves on to whatever it is that her instincts direct her to next. If her work is destroyed by unforeseen circumstances, she doesn’t spend an instant grieving over the loss of her creation that she poured so much time and effort into. She moves on and does what needs to be done. She creates another web.

There is something to be learnt from the spider and her web spinning. We humans are naturally creative beings, and there is so much potential within us, waiting for us to let go and give birth to the creations that we were made to transform from potential into existence. We spend so much time and energy thinking, wondering, contemplating, worrying, analysing, assuming, and judging. All this mind work imprisons our potential, stifles it. It holds us back from birthing our creative projects. When we do manage to wade our way though the quagmire of mental mess, our creations fail to be born into the full expression of their potential. There is pure magic and magnificence lying dormant within a creative idea. A creative idea holds the possibility of beauty, joy, wonder, brilliance. The practice of mindfulness releases us from this prison of stifled creativity. When we disidentify from the ego, and model the spider’s approach to spinning her web, a world of glorious, fully expressed creativity falls effortlessly into our laps.

The mind isn’t all bad. Luckily for us humans, we also have the pleasure of enjoying and fully appreciating the beauty that has been created in the world.  What a true blessing.


Image credit: spider web by x76882, under license.

Life Lessons from the Lobster

Today, the 10th of January, I finally feel as though the year has officially kicked off, with incredibly spectacular style and energy. I attribute this feeling to the events I attended over the past couple of days, and the first new moon of the year. That’s not to suggest that my new years eve or new years day weren’t great – they were actually quite wonderful. But today truly feels like a new beginning, like the shedding of an old skin has taken place, and a fresh and tender new phase awaits.


As Friday 8th January approached, my excitement was mounting. I had a ticket to attend the annual School of the Modern Mystic (SoMM) meet-up, which this year was being held in Melbourne – woo hoo! This gathering is an opportunity to meet with the school staff and many of our classmates, most of whom we only know through our online connection via the school’s Facebook page. It’s also a chance to meet our teacher Belinda Davidson, hear her speak, and receive an in-person White Light transmission. My education via the school has created a monumental transformation for me, so an opportunity to meet with my SoMM sisters absolutely thrilled me to the core.

When I woke on Friday morning, I was positively giddy with excitement! I literally danced through the morning, cranked up the music, and sung at the top of my lungs, much to the amusement of my children. When I arrived at the venue, I was still bursting with excitement, and the palpable vibe blasting from the room was intoxicating. As we met our friends there were lots of heartfelt hugs, and a sea of smiles on the faces of a beautiful group of women who were thrilled to be communing. I was so high on the wonderful energy that the smile on my face felt permanent, and all of my laughter burst out of me in loud eruptions. I felt pretty goofy, but I was so happy that I didn’t care a bit.

The event, as expected, was wonderful. Belinda shared herself so generously with us, answered our questions, and re-inspired our commitment to our daily spiritual practices. There was a strong focus on chakras 3 and 6, including a White Light transmission specifically directed at healing and strengthening these key energy centres for us as Modern Mystics.

I was overflowing with love, gratitude, and freaking awesome mojo on Friday evening. It truly felt like one of the best days of my life.

Saturday arrived, and there was more excitement in-store. I also had a ticket for an event being hosted by Belinda and her “fellow sister of the light”, Rebecca Campbell, author of Light is the New Black. The event, “Rise Sister Rise, Step Up & Shine Bright”, was designed to give attendees “the opportunity to step into a high-vibe, transformational space and create the shift towards your soul purpose you’ve been longing for”. Once again, the vibe was epic. It was a room filled with 200+ Lightworkers, heeding the callings of their soul, coming together in a spirit of sisterhood to create magic and light up the world. Absolute pure joy. Belinda and Rebecca each spoke separately, and the day included music, singing, chanting, and crazy-lady dancing! Belinda embodied the energy of presence, calm, and insight. Rebecca was positively regal, powerful, and all heart. Both women were funny, beaming with light, and the ultimate examples of women living their soul purpose.

Belinda’s lecture focused on the critical importance of self esteem, self worth, and putting yourself first to enable you to step up and shine bright – in other words, we must have a healthy chakra 3. In her experience, as Lightworkers and women, chakra 3 issues are our biggest hurdle to overcome. Lack of self esteem, self worth, and inability to prioritise yourself, creates a downward spiral that prevents us from committing to the spiritual practices that will allow us to overcome these very issues. We must find a way to overcome this self sabotage, and if we can commit to working on our chakras every day, these issues will become less and less of a problem as we grow in self worth. To illustrate the critical nature of this concept, Belinda told us, (and I’m paraphrasing):

“I wish I could tell you that my family is the most important thing in my life, but it’s not. The most important thing in my life is the White Light.”

This woman knows and lives the truth that in order to be of service to others, in order to love others, we must first take care of ourselves.

Rebecca’s lecture focussed on rising up and listening to the callings of our soul, following the intuitive whisperings and niggles, the nudges from the Universe, and trusting that they will bring your life into alignment with your soul. She spoke of allowing the feminine energy to attract into your life that which lights you up, as opposed to using the masculine energies of striving, controlling and forcing, to create what you “think” you want. She also spoke of true sisterhood, and how by working our light, we inspire others to do the same, and we light up the world. She also used a brilliant analogy of the lobster. Let me explain.

A lobster, as we know, possesses a hard, protective shell which covers its body. As the lobster grows, it becomes too large for the shell – it no longer fits. At this time, the lobster retreats under a rock, and sheds it’s shell, to reveal a fresh, new, larger shell to fit its larger body. Initially, this new shell is soft and tender, but with time it harders and strengthens, until such time as the lobster again outgrows it and the cycle repeats.

It’s the same for us. Life is a constant cycle of growth, outgrowing our old, safe ways, and needing to shed our protective layer and become vulnerable, allowing us to grow to the next level. This initial vulnerability transforms into our strength, if we allow it. If we resist the shedding of our shell, resist the vulnerability that comes with allowing new growth, we become cramped, stuck, and unable to grow. Our strength becomes our hindrance.


So my biggest take-aways from these two light-filled days are:

  • Coming together in the true spirit of sisterhood with fellow Lightworkers LIGHTS ME UP TO FULL WATTAGE!!! These two days were absolute bliss for me, I felt electrified, I felt alive, I felt at home. I WANT MORE.
  • Devotion to my spiritual practice is essential. My daily non-negotiable spiritual practice is the foundation of a wonderful, light-filled life.
  • The two most important chakras for me to work on at this point in time are chakras 3 (prioritising me) and chakra 6 (improving my intuition and psychic ability to guide me towards discovering my soul purpose).
  • I must be willing to let go of outgrown ways of being, and get vulnerable, in order to grow.
  • I’m doing a damn fine job of mothering my children.

So, that last point may seem a little random. Here’s what that’s about.

Towards the end of the second event, Belinda and Rebecca held a Q&A session. Initially I had no questions, but I did have a slight inkling that an important question was brewing inside me. As the session progressed, so did my inkling, and the question continued to very palpably bubble up within me until it sat in my throat and waited determinedly for me to raise my hand. Finally, I nervously took my opportunity. I’m generally pretty willing to speak in front of a crowd, but it doesn’t necessarily happen without nerves or fear – I usually do it anyway. My question felt difficult to ask, as it brought up feelings of guilt and shame, but I knew that I needed to ask it if I was to move forward. Time to get vulnerable.

My recollection of exactly what happened next is somewhat hazy thanks to my emotional state at the time, but I’ll do my best to retell the story.

I wanted advice on how I could move forward on my journey, given my ongoing struggles with motherhood. I did my best to explain that I am a devoted student of Belinda’s teachings, I am committed in my daily non-negotiable spiritual practice, and that the work I’ve done on my chakras is reaping rewards. My struggle is with the responsibilities of motherhood, the ways in which it feels as though motherhood is my biggest hindrance in following what lights me up. That despite my gratitude for the immense joy that my children bring to my life, I concurrently feel pain and resentment for the time and energy they demand of me. That despite my efforts to practice mindfulness in the day to day throes of motherhood, I find myself feeling guilty that I can only wish that motherhood lit me up, but the truth is that it doesn’t, and pretending won’t make it so. That I want to follow what lights me up, but so often it seems that it’s my mothering that gets in my way. I was shaking, and my eyes were filled with tears.

Belinda’s response was heartfelt, kind, supportive and uplifting. She reflected back to me the pain this situation creates in my heart. She reminded me that a crucial piece of this puzzle is continuing to strengthen my chakra 3. But most significantly, she demonstrated the true meaning of sisterhood, and prompted all the women surrounding me in that room to applaud my efforts and acknowledge the damn good job I’m doing as a mother. My tears flowed, and I felt so acknowledged, so heard, so loved. Belinda went on to say that in standing up and being acknowledged, a healing had taken place. Throughout what remained of the afternoon, so many women offered me hugs, words of support and encouragement, and gratitude for speaking the words that they too held in their hearts.

I’m not sure that I grasped the complete message in Belinda’s words, as my intuition tells me that this isn’t the end of my struggle (the ego is stubborn), but a shift has definitely occurred. Sharing my struggle was a relief, and forged a deeper connection with the women, especially the mothers, in that room.

As I gave Belinda a farewell hug before departing, she asked me if I felt better after what had transpired. I hesitated and admitted that I was still feeling a little emotional and shaky, but that yes, it had helped, and thank you. She told me that standing up and speaking my truth was an act of bravery, and that in doing so, I’d helped all the other mothers in the room who felt the same way.


So now, with the energy of the past 2 days still coursing through me, I feel that my 2016 has begun. Renewed focus, inspiration, and intention. As the first new moon of the year rises, I set my intention to shed my protective shell, and follow what lights me up. Hence, I’m here, writing for me, writing for you. In shedding my shell, I release that which no longer serves me – the feelings of pain, guilt, shame, and loneliness that I’ve felt around my struggles with motherhood. They don’t serve my children. They don’t serve me.

May your 2016 be light filled, and in the words of Belinda and Rebecca, may you rise sister rise, step up and shine bright.

xx


Image by Vic DeLeon, used under licence.