Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Archive for the ‘Inspirational writing’ Category

Want More Happiness and Abundance? Read HUMAN CONNECTION #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


Human ConnectionLaughing, Learning, Leading, Loving and Living Large all play a critical role in making our lives and personal relationships as good as they can be. Arthur F. Coombs’ delightful storytelling in HUMAN CONNECTION: How the “L” Do We Do That? is all about becoming the best “you” possible using these five tools.

Coombs is an excellent storyteller, weaving a very personal narrative with historical examples of how it takes connection with others to be happy and fulfilled. He takes us under his wing, and unabashedly shares the most poignant moments in his life, including both his failures and successes. He also includes motivational stories and quotes from his family and friends as well as famously wise men and women, from Gandhi and the Buddha, to Coco Chanel and Marianne Williamson.

Laughing is the first key to forming a solid connection with others and also “the only way to get through life…” quotes Coombs, adding “…laughter can kick off positive thoughts and feelings that lighten the mood and put things into perspective.” Coombs offers wonderful examples of how humor not only alleviates stress, but makes us feel good, and then he keeps us smiling and laughing throughout the book as he covers the other four L’s as well.

Whether you want to be a good Leader at work or at home, the capacity for Laughing, Learning, Loving and Living Large are all interconnected and Coombs deftly makes it all sound seamlessly doable, from loving ourselves, to unconditionally loving others.

Coombs family

 

Reading this book will inspire you to Live Large — abundantly, wholeheartedly, to the fullest — and also give you the tools to do so.

Arthur F. Coombs III is a best-selling author, speaker, leadership guru, and single father of four, who is known for his visionary and innovative practices. Here, he answers my questions on HUMAN CONNECTION: How the “L” Do We Do That?

What would you like readers to take away from reading your book?

If we want to have a meaningful impact on those closest to us, at home or in the office, we must genuinely connect with them…in person. Not just through email, texting, or social media sites.

Technology has made our lives easier in many ways, but when it comes to human connection, nothing beats doing life together in real time.

Yes, life in community gets messy. We hurt other people’s feelings. We get our feelings hurt. We disagree. We argue. We sometimes say and do things we regret.

But when we continue to try, when we make connections and develop deeper relationships, we grow exponentially. We learn about the world around us. We bond with others. We heal. We mature. We become better versions of ourselves.

Why is connecting with others in person so important?

With genuine human connection, you can have more profound, more fulfilling relationships if you focus on five L’s: Living, Laughing, Learning, Leading, and Loving.

Living: Making an effort to be physically present, to interact and share with others on a regular basis is a critical step.

Laughing: Laughter is a beautiful and healing expression of joy. Whether you are 2 months or 102 years old, laughing is how we communicate: “I want to know you. I feel safe with you. I trust you. I feel connected to you.”

Learning: Being open-minded and willing to listen to another’s point of view or feelings without necessarily accepting them is a gift to both people. Connection demands that you are eager to teach and be taught.

Leading: If you want to lead others well in any capacity, you must first care about them. Whether you are leading or being led, true human connection is vital.

Loving: Love has many languages, takes many actions, and has endless forms of expression. Learn what moves you and perhaps more importantly what moves those you care about. Choose mercy. Choose compassion. Choose forgiveness. Choose each day to be genuinely kind.

We were not created to live and work alone. Authentic human connection is everything. And it begins with you. Without genuine human-to-human connection, you will never live the rich, wholehearted life you were meant to live.

In your book, you explain how we “Create Our Own World.” Can you provide a little insight into that concept here?

It sounds so cliché, but you truly are the masters of your own destiny.  It seems we all commit to ourselves to improve and yet most will admit they are not living the life they truly want. How many times have you made the same commitment to change for the better only to see it die a quick death? Many make promises to lose weight, stop smoking, start their own business, eat healthier, exercise regularly, be a better parent… you get it. I applaud the verbal affirmation. It is a start. However, there are no quick fixes, magic pills, or secret shortcuts. Real transformational work is hard, exhausting, and will involve sacrifice and uncomfortable choices. Two cues:

1: Break the goal down into small, doable, daily tasks. Instead of the abstract goal of “losing weight,” commit to specific small actions you can do every day that will propel you towards your overall goal.

2: When you stumble on your small committed action (it will happen), no sweat! Just get back to it tomorrow. Recognize that stumbling and getting back up is part of the process.

You are the source of your fortunes. Your dream is clearest to you and you alone. Let the dream drive sustained action. You have a fresh 24 today. What will you do with them? What world will you create?

What is a “Story Holder” and why do you think it is so important to be one?

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Just like those tree-climbing fish, society often tells us that we are not enough. We are not smart enough. We are not tall enough. We are not pretty enough, thin enough, fast enough, strong enough. Enough, enough, ENOUGH! When we pile on our own negative perceptions and feelings for others on top of what society tells us, we are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that will most definitely come to pass.

You must bask in the light of others and allow them to share from time to time. You must give them the emotional space and comfort that allows them to drop their mask and talk to you. You must listen to your friends’ stories and savor and celebrate their authenticity and empathize with their pain. Hold their stories with reverence. Let your friends know you can be trusted and are worthy of hearing their stories. And when appropriate, laugh with them. Let them feel they are enough. Let them feel your trust, loyalty, and love.

You quote Brené Brown saying “…we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.” How does one truly love themselves?

 There are many things I do that promote healthy self-love. I sing and dance in the kitchen making my kids cringe and laugh all at the same time. I laugh at my mistakes. I make many. But the quickest and easiest tip I can give anyone that is struggling with self-love is to do a random act of kindness for another.

My natural reaction to stress, depression and my own selfish funk is to turn inward and shut myself off; I want to stay focused on my burdensome to-do list, and I want to be left alone. But then the lyrics of the song “Have I Done Any Good” by Will L. Thompson start dancing through my head, and I remember that the fastest antidote for self-loathing, discouragement and depression is to do something for someone else. I promise it truly works. I’ve tried it over and over, and it has been a foolproof method for creating healthy self-love, optimism, and cheerfulness.

How would you define true or real love?

The best definition I can give you for true love is “Love is wanting the happiness of another with no ulterior motives.” It is that simple. Hard to do, but that simple.

What is the secret to Living Large, as you describe a genuinely fulfilled life?

Do not let your past enslave or define you. Do not worry about the things you cannot control. Embrace and even encourage honest mistakes. Happiness is a choice, and anger, resentment, and jealousy are as well. Choose wisely. It is yours and yours alone to make. Your reputation means little; what other people think of you is not nearly as important as what you think of you. People and organizations who use shame, guilt, and judgment to create fear, intimidation, and control are not worth my time and energy. No matter how hard I try to please, plenty of people are not going to love me. There are only two things that are truly important to me — my time and my relationships. I protect closely what I do with my time and who I do it with.

Human Connection: How the “L” Do We Do That? is available on Amazon. Learn more at www.ArtCoombs.com.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

 

 

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Become Who You Truly Are: YOU CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


You Can Transform Full Cover FINALrevWhat is your plan for transforming 2018 into your best year ever? Have you thought about it? Do you have a plan?

Imagine if you could have a year of inspiration mapped out for you. Well, Darity Wesley, a Modern Day Oracle™, has done just that for you. You Can Transform Your Life was written as a guide to support your personal and spiritual growth over the course of 52 weeks… so it’s a perfect time to start using it at the beginning of a new year. Of course, you can start at any time, go at your own pace, or even open the book at random for an Oracle message to answer a question on your mind in the moment.

The first Oracle message relates to Creating a New Way of Life, with the affirmation mantra: “I AM releasing the old so I can build the new…And so it is!!!” There’s also a circle for you to draw your goal or intention as a simple symbol.

Each Oracle message is followed by space for you to answer four questions of self-inquiry – to explore what the message means to you, to create your own personal mantra, to plan how to integrate the message into your life, and to direct your attention to any messages from your own inner voice.

The book’s design is so well thought out – I found that answering the questions and using this space to journal my emotions and thoughts on the Oracle message made it so much more powerful for me than just reading the message. This personal writing is therapeutic, helping you let go of the things that are holding you down, inviting you to freely express how you feel – which will make you feel better.

Spinx Darity with copyright

Love and Trust, my dear ones … Love and Trust! ~ Darity Wesley, Modern Day Oracle™

At the end of the 52 Oracle messages, there is a guided Personal Transformation Journal template that takes you even further, offering inspirational prompts for your writing. I think you will be amazed at how far you’ve come on your personal journey by the time you reach the last journal page, which prompts, “Free yourself from what is holding you back! Be who you truly are!”

For those seeking to go even further on their journey of transformation, Darity Wesley has designed a Companion Workbook for You Can Transform Your Life, that provides more in-depth questions for each of the 52 Oracle messages, bonus exercises to help increase intuition, spiritual strength and inner balance by exploring such topics as Tuning In, Gratitude, and Forgiveness, as well as practical advice on how to apply these tools of transformation to all areas of your life. It will be available on December 26.

What a great way to start 2018 with one or both of these books in hand or gifted to others!

Many thanks to author Darity Wesley for answering my many questions about her work here…

Can you explain what Oracle messages are?

I feel that the Oracle messages are communications written to stimulate and encourage thoughts and feelings that will support and assist us in our personal and spiritual development. I think of the Oracle messages as signposts. They point the way for our own consciousness, our own Soul self to discover, guide and change our behavior, our way of thinking, our way of feeling. Everything is possible and Oracle messages support whatever resonates with the heart of its reader.

What inspired you to become an “Oracle?”

In the late 1980s early 1990s I enjoyed a book by Shakti Gawain entitled Reflections in the Light. This book contained inspirational messages for every day of the calendar year. It felt good to think about or contemplate whatever she had written for that day. I liked it very much and thought it may be of value to others.

In 2006, I heard of the social media site called MySpace which was gaining in popularity in the tech industry I was working in. I put up a profile on MySpace and began posting what I called ~The Daily Oracle~: Inspirational messages by Shakti Gawain, Louise Hay, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass and many others. I allowed my spirit to be my guide in picking what to post for each day. At some point in the postings, someone asked if they could receive the messages by email and I said “Sure” and began the email subscription service. I stopped posting on MySpace somewhere along the way but continued with the email subscription service sending the messages of others.

In August of 2012, my treasured friend of many years, Cristina Smith, suggested I might like to write the Oracle messages from my own spirit as opposed to using the work of others. I was flabbergasted and immediately rejected the idea that I do that on my own. “Who, me?”

That “suggestion” was a seed that grew and blossomed, so I faced my fears and decided to do exactly that. Well, to at least give it a try! So, on September 5, 2012, I launched Oracles from the Spirit of Darity. While that space was always there, within me, it was my friend Cristina who inspired me to become a Modern Day Oracle™.

How do you access these messages or divinations?

Having been on the path of self-discovery and inquiry for over 50 years, I have experienced much support from my angels, guides and Spirit. Because I have “tuned in” for so long and “turned up the volume,” I feel I recognize and, therefore, trust, the voice within me. So what I do is just tap into that place where I hear Spirit and say “What?” “What are the energies and directions for …?” I then write or type the words or directions that come through.

How can the reader best use your Oracle messages?

Each Oracle message focuses on some area of self and/or spiritual discovery. Since inner work is very personal, the Oracle message will simply help the reader’s own intuition look at what they need to look at in that area or what they can focus on as a tool, a process, a step to work on, integrate or a practice to include in their life to support them along the way. As I said earlier, Oracle messages stimulate thoughts and feelings for us to investigate or assimilate or even relegate to another time if it causes us any resistance when we are reading it.

That is what the companion workbook: You Can Transform Your Life – Go Deeper (available on Amazon on December 26) will add to the process. It is intended to help us navigate these changing times and facilitate our journey to becoming our True Authentic Selves.

What are the benefits of using the affirmation mantras?

Affirmation mantras are the seeds of our intentions. We use them to support us. The main benefit of an affirmation mantra is its ability to bypass the “monkey mind,” the “ego,” the “personality” … that part of ourselves that is “rational” and “controlling” and caught up in the illusion of the way it really is. That part of us which will surely tell us why it won’t work or why it is something other than “love and trust,” for instance, or “I firmly stand in my determination to …” or “I am kind to others and myself.”

Another benefit of affirmation mantras is their support of the transformational energies of self and spiritual discoveries. They help us access higher levels of awareness. No matter how you use them, affirmation mantras have the ability to bring the seed of your intention into full bloom to support what it is you are wanting to do, be or have.

What are the different ways readers can use your book?

A reader can use the Oracle messages in the book however they feel drawn to use them. The book, and its companion workbook, is structured as a 52-week program beginning any time you want, however, they can be used and applied randomly, you can skip around, and let your very own spirit be the guide. Mix and match or go in order. It is all up to the reader.

You write of the New Reality – can you explain that and offer an example of that in action?

The New Reality is a term that comes up a lot in the Oracle messages. Quite simply, it is a shift in focus. This shift is from an external focus, which has been the way of life on this Planet for a very long time, to an internal focus that is a new way of life. The New Reality is a focus on an internal, higher level of consciousness. That “higher level of consciousness” may be your own creative sovereignty or that of a higher power or energy or just All That Is, the Universe, God, depending on your particular belief structure. When we step into consciously allowing that creative power to move through us, rather than resist it or not acknowledge it, we find such things as fulfillment, balance, happiness. What you need, what you want, comes from within, not “out there.”

As more and more of us step into the New Reality, as often as we can, we will feel there is more to be discovered about ourselves and our world. That can bring a calm joyousness and excitement to our lives.

An example of that would be my personal experience when I came to the realization that nothing “out there” was really responsible for my happiness. Not money, not things, not relationships. No. Nothing outside of me. I realized I was responsible for making me happy. I am the creator of my own reality and I choose, from inside, my happiness. That is stepping, a wee step for sure, into the New Reality.

What brought you to the decision you say you made, “to wear my heart on my sleeve and the world can just get over it?”

I will never forget the experience so many, many years ago. I was 33 years old. At that time I was a person who wanted everyone to love her. Mostly because I felt so unlovable. I had no real sense of myself. My need for love and approval was so great that I was like a chameleon. I had no opinions of my own. I would assume the likes and dislikes of whomever I was with. I was a Republican with Republicans and a Democrat with Democrats. I went along with whatever was happening. God forbid I would say what I thought or felt in a social setting.

Having been exploring myself and growing spiritually for many years prior to this, I was not totally devoid of self-inquiry, self-discovery and spiritual growth and so this was, evidentially, my next step.

At that time in my Buddha year, 33, I had a life changing experience at the foot of Mt. Shasta in California. Part of that life changing experience was “I am going to wear my heart on my sleeve, allow myself to be vulnerable, people will like me or not like me but they will like me or not like me as I am.” No more pretending, no more affectation, no more not saying what I think or feel. Nope! I began to step more and more into my True Authentic Self.

What would you most like readers to take away from this book?

Whether someone desires a complete life makeover or just wants to learn new ways to feel more in harmony with themselves and their world, this book and the companion Workbook, provide processes, tools and practices to take your life to a new level. Self-discovery and self-awareness are critical tools for these changing times and absolutely support our evolution as conscious beings.

As we evolve as conscious beings, we not only change ourselves, we change the lives of those around us and as that change energy moves out to world, it changes the world. That is my desire for my readers. To grow and change. To feel better, to feel more alive, to feel more at peace with themselves and all that is going on in the world. To become more self aware and to grow spiritually. To become more and more who you really are.

How can one subscribe to your Modern Day Oracle™ messages?

If someone would like to subscribe to ~The Weekly Oracle~™ they can email me at Darity@DarityWesley.com. Simply put “Subscribe” in the Subject Line or go to our website www.DarityWesley.com and subscribe there.

You Can Transform Your Life is available now on Amazon, and the You Can Transform Your Life – Go Deeper Workbook will be available on December 26.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness is the Way Out of Pain: ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus #Book Review and #AuthorNote


All these Things coverALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus is both an engrossing and inspirational novel of the life of public defender Maya Lee and the enlightened master who changes her life… who also just so happens to be charged with murder. 

This is the second in the Soul Invictus series from Mark Tiro. His first book, IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus, which I reviewed here, is the epic sweep of Maya’s journey through time and lifetimes, from beginning to end, until she decides that forgiving is less painful than continuing to carry around all her soul’s unconscious guilt.

In ALL THESE THINGS, we meet Maya as a young trial attorney who cannot escape her feelings of “a drifting emptiness,” and the pain her own thinking and anger are causing. She meets an enigmatic client, David, who is charged with the murder of his young daughter in a car crash. Why the District Attorney claims it is murder is just as much of a puzzle to Maya as why David is so stoic and calm, saying, “Don’t worry, she’s not gone. No thought of love is ever lost.”

David teaches Maya how he learned to watch his thoughts without judging them, and as each one would come up, he’d practice letting them go. He realized his problems didn’t come from the outside world, but his inner thoughts and reactions.

“…when he would recognize that he had gotten angry, when he would find that he had become anxious—he would consciously look at those thoughts, and then choose to overlook them. To forgive them. The result of this practice had been that he rarely found himself with anything but a quiet, peaceful mind…”

In another scene in his jail cell, David explains:

“Maybe we can’t change the world. But I can tell you, even in here, we are always free to change our minds about the world.”

Maya may not be ready to hear David’s philosophy that “The entire world is a projection,” but her interaction with him leads to radical changes in her life as she practices the willingness to forgive.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus

Mark Tiro: After reading the book, many people have asked if Maya or David were real people. Sadly, the answer is no to both, although I’ve wondered more than once how I might react if an enlightened master showed up in my life at 2:00 pm on a random Tuesday.

The name of the book—All These Things—started with Augustine of Hippo. Before he was known as the great thinker he would later become, he may have been more famous—or as we might say today, infamous—for an impassioned prayer of his youth.

“Lord, make me chaste—but please not today!”

At some point after that promising start, he settled down, eventually coming full circle to this:

“If I ever know and see God in the way in which God can be seen, then all these things will disappear from my thoughts; even now, because of my love for God, they hardly enter my mind.”

The bookend to that comes from a Course in Miracles.

“I will forgive, and this will disappear.”

From these two book-ended ideas, the name and a fair amount of the concept behind All These Things as well, flowed relatively unimpeded onto the cover and into the pages within.

‘Relatively’—because it is always dangerous to underestimate my uncanny ability to complicate even the most straightforward of ideas.

A name, of course, does not make a novel.

And so I hope I’ve given Maya the room to breathe and stretch her wings, and above all—to be herself and fly free.

For now, Maya and David don’t come by anymore.

Late at night though, every so often, others stop by where they once did, to share their thoughts and their stories. I stay awake, here, listening, waiting, thinking…

Still… I would be lying if I didn’t say that some small part of me holds just the smallest hope that one quiet night, Maya or David might just decide to drop by unannounced.

To spend some time catching up over a late night cup of coffee, or a glass of wine…

Occasionally the sound of a far-away cricket will drift in to interrupt my reverie.

This is when the words come.

This is when, if I stop talking and listen just so, the faintest of melodies is carried in on the gentle breeze.

This is the time I sit with my wine, quietly off to the side. Just listening. Quietly listening as the winds carry their stories in from times and places far away.

I have the easy job. It’s one simple thing.

It’s just to get out of the way.

To listen.

Listen, and then—to write, as faithfully and thoughtfully as I am capable.

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE SPIRIT INVICTUS SERIES?

Mark Tiro: Book 3 of the Spirit Invictus series should be finished by the beginning of next year. It might be the last one in the series (after all, Maya’s already died however many life-times over in Implicit… so she needs a chance to finally relax). Although, as they say… you never know. Maya can be quite strong-minded—and persuasive—like that sometimes.

ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus is available at the launch price of $.99 on Amazon through December 10, when the Kindle goes to the regular price of $4.99.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

Surviving Undiagnosed Illness – A Few Minor Adjustments #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


A Few Minor Adjustments front coverA Few Minor Adjustments is the tongue-in-cheek title of Cherie Kephart’s memoir of surviving undiagnosed illness. Her beautifully written yet brutally honest story starts with her time as a young Peace Corps volunteer in a remote village of Zambia where she has to adjust to absolutely no sanitation (she’s sent there to help build community latrines) and where she contracts malaria as well as a variety of grotesque ailments.

After recovering back home in California, her adventurous spirit and desire to know more of the world and its people take her to graduate studies in New Zealand. Once back home in San Diego, she works as a technical writer until a severe, mysterious illness lays her at the door of death.

Her persistent health challenges (ranging from unrelenting neck pain, seizures and tachychardia) led to years of suffering, during which her symptoms were continually undiagnosed by medical doctors and alternative healers who were sometimes competent, sometimes careless, sometimes absurd, and always baffled.

She was cared for by faithful friends and a mother who showed her unconditional love and kept her from simply giving up and ending her life – although she came close. But, having lost so many people in her life at a young age, she wrote:

“I had to find a way to alleviate my mental anguish, and live, if not for me, for all of my friends who were no longer able to experience the wonders of this world.”

A Few Minor Adjustments is an astonishing story of how many of our modern diseases (such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Epstein-Barr virus and Lyme disease) can easily go undiagnosed or disregarded.

Kephart’s account of her own incredible journey to find life-saving answers should inspire anyone to continue to fight on all levels – physical, mental and spiritual – to heal.

Here, Cherie Kephart answers questions about A Few Minor Adjustments

What transpired during your time in Africa, and how has your experience as a traveler influenced your personal journey on the road to better health?

When I traveled, I was forced to open my mind, to pay attention, and to be adventurous. I had to learn to be comfortable with my fear of the unknown. Living in Zambia taught me that. I stayed with a local Zambian family, ate dishes such as boiled millet and fried-caterpillars. I built makeshift wells and latrines near a crocodile-infested river close to the border of politically unstable Zaire. Each day was an adventure, especially when it came to my health. I had giardia, dysentery, a putzi fly infection resulting in maggots in my butt, and almost died from an uncommon case of malaria. Almost dying in Africa was a pivotal point for me. I realized I needed a fierce will to live if I was going to survive. Now all these years later, that has never changed. It’s the one constant that has kept me going.

After you returned to the United States from graduate school, you had to cope for several years with dramatic, mysterious health issues. What were some of the high and low points of that time when you were first struggling to figure out what might be causing your symptoms?

The worst part was the not knowing why I was so sick, if I would ever heal, or if I was going to die. Every day I woke with the same questions, and each night I went to bed with no answers. It was terrifying. And it went on for years. I saw hundreds of doctors, healers, and therapists: rheumatologists, cardiologists, integrative medicine specialists, neurologists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, and eccentric healers such as a Russian ex-physicist who waved fertile chicken-eggs over my chest to try to reset the rhythm of my heart.

I came close to committing suicide. But that’s the miraculous part. We don’t realize what we are capable of until we are faced with enormous challenges. I learned to respect my inner strength, to know how much I could endure and how much I could rise above. I kept finding ways to change myself and my situation, like changing my attitude, changing the foods I ate, trying new therapies and treatments, including an exploratory heart procedure. I stayed open and stopped looking back. What a magnificent lesson.

There are many individuals, including medical personnel, spiritual healers, therapists, family members and friends, who helped you along the way. What impact did these people have on your attempts to both live with and diagnose your illness?

That was one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever been given; to see how much people cared and feel their compassion and love. My family and friends never gave up on me. That kept me strong. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. I’m certain of that, especially with regard to my mother and my grandfather. Both of them helped me financially, since I lost the ability to work. They were also there for me emotionally. My boyfriend Alex, the one I dedicated the book to, was amazing. He went to doctor appointments, did research on my health, cared for me while I was bedridden and unable to walk unassisted. I will never forget it. People often tell me how strong I am. I always reply the same way, “I’m only as strong as my support system.” As horrendous as my physical health was, I always had love.

During the course of documenting what was happening with your health, you decided to turn your personal story into an inspirational memoir. What do you find the most fascinating about the memoir genre, and how has writing this book helped with your own healing?

I’ve always been fascinated with memoirs. Reading a memoir, I get to dive deep into someone else’s world, to understand their most intimate struggles and triumphs. I got to know them. It’s like I get to live another life for a little while. I also feel that memoirs connect us, bridging the gaps between different aspects of our humanity.

Writing a memoir is deeply cathartic. I believe we write a memoir twice. The first time we write it, we write it for ourselves. We write to release emotions and energy surrounding everything we have endured. Then, when it is at the point where we feel clarity around it, we re-write and fine tune it to make it accessible and ready to release to the world. We prepare the story in such a way that enables people to easily come along our inner and outer journeys and gain insights from them. Ernest Hemingway said it best, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” That’s what I did.

It’s difficult to explain how writing this memoir contributed to my healing. I certainly don’t think it made the process go any faster. But it made me go deeper into the crevices of pain where I didn’t necessarily want to go. So the healing I’ve experienced is more profound and lasting.

What would you like readers to remember most about your story?

We all have pain and suffering, but we all have joy and beauty. It’s really about perspective and choosing each day to show up in a positive way and to have more compassion for each other, and for ourselves. If we don’t understand something, like an undiagnosed illness, then it is our duty as human beings not to turn away, or reject the unknown, but offer compassion, even if it is something we don’t understand. Actually, especially if it’s something we don’t understand.

You’ve often said that you would like to give a voice to those who are also struggling with an undiagnosed illness. What would you say to those who are on a similar path as yours?

If I could survive all that I have, and it’s a lot for one person to endure, then anyone else can, too. Even when we feel like ending it all, we have to find a reason to live for just one more sunrise and then one more sunset. Because we never know what is around the corner. There were so many times I was ready to end it all. I was barely alive. Now, I look back, and I’m so glad I didn’t give up. As long as we have the will to live, you can heal.

Are you working on a new book and, if so, what can you tell us about it?

Absolutely! My next projects are companion books to the memoir: The Healing 100 and The Symptoms 100. The Healing 100 is the top one-hundred things I did to heal, and The Symptoms 100 is the top 100 symptoms I had and what helped me. I also have a collection of poetry, Poetry of Peace, which chronicles four stages of life, Seeing the World, Through Darkness, Into the Light, and With Peace. It’s really about the emotional and spiritual aspects of healing. Lastly, I am creating a cookbook filled with allergy-free recipes: The Cookbook for People Who Can’t Eat Anything. I’m excited about these projects since the goal is to provide insight, a touch of humor, and ideas on ways to heal. I believe people can learn from my experiences, be inspired, and have some tools for their own healing journey.

For more information on the author, see www.CherieKephart.com.

A Few Minor Adjustments is available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback and hardcover.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

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A Novel Look at Love and Forgiveness – IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


Implicit-10-16-17 CoverIMPLICIT: Soul Invictus contains both wildly imaginative stories of a woman’s many incarnations, worlds, and adventures, and a profound discussion on the meaning of life, love and forgiveness.

Maya Lee is a law professor holding a grudge, which we might all do if we were in the same situation – being unjustly fired. But as we follow her soul through many other incarnations in both ancient and modern times and places, a theme emerges – about forgiveness, about love, about what is real and what isn’t.

“It’s not what happens in life, but our opinions about what happens that trouble men… Or women,” she learns in one of her incarnations.

In another incarnation, as a lawyer in ancient Rome, the protagonist Marcus learns, “…try your best, right? But then just let it go. Stop thinking about it.”  

As the reader, we learn along with the characters – “Forgive, and only love remains.”

The life and death stories in this novel touch on everything that makes life profound, beautiful, absurd, and heartbreaking. We follow each incarnation of Maya into the afterlife and learn:

“Love is. Love doesn’t go anywhere or come from anywhere. No thought of love is ever lost. You take it with you. Love is all that there is. And love is everywhere.”

Thanks to author Mark Tiro for this inspirational novel, and for answering my questions here about IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Have you incorporated any of your own past into your writing?

A lot of people ask me after reading the book if the character of Maya Lee is real. Before I started to write, like Maya, I had worked as a public defender in Los Angeles. I’ve tried to incorporate snippets of a lot of things, personalities and places, that I’ve gotten to know – to see – close up… Once I was able to sit down and reflect on it all though, I realized just how deep and profound – how much of an impact – some of these things I’ve seen have had on me.

“Still waters run deep,” as Marianne Williamson used to say. And so, the closest thing I can say about Maya is that she’s arguably the best lawyer I’ve ever known… But of course, maybe that’s why I ended up a better writer than I ever had been a lawyer. Somewhere deep down, I’ve always known not to get in a fight with Maya because she’d probably win.

What inspired you to write IMPLICIT?

I used to work out at the gym, years ago, a lot more than I do now. One day, a friend of mine who lived within walking distance invited me over for lunch, after our workout. Well, on his bookshelf, he had all these books – some I’d heard of, some were new to me. Everything from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to Way of the Peaceful Warrior to Paolo Coehlo’s The Alchemist.

He also had a tattered, old paperback copy of Richard Bach’s Illusions. He lent it to me that day, and I took it home and read it. That book – the ideas in it, I think, was what really set me on my life path.

I then read The Celestine Prophecy, The Prophet, Man’s Search for Meaning… even Mitch Albom’s Tuesday’s with Morrie. Eventually these all led me at some point, to a trip to Temecula and a quiet afternoon where I was able to meet Ken Wapnick. I really did come to appreciate his non-judgmental/forgiving take on A Course in Miracles.

What would you like readers to take away from the book?

I wanted to, above all, let readers get to know characters they would actually care about. So many spiritual parables seem to be so wooden. And so much spiritual non-fiction is just not as easy – at least for me – to read today as it used to be, years ago, before the internet.

Most of us now, because of the internet, Twitter, Facebook – being so interconnected – our attention span’s basically shot. The cardinal sin or maybe ‘cardinal rule’ now of anything, whether it’s a book, TV, a movie or a Facebook post, is just this: ‘Don’t be boring.’

And after years of ‘searching,’ I’d finally hit on something that helped lift the heaviness, the depression… something that helped me to just relax and not feel self-conscious when I was with people. As far back as I could remember, I’d always been on my own elusive search for the meaning of life, always trying to find an answer that just ‘felt right.’

I tried to show how this stuff actually looks in life – in this world we all seem to live in here.

Also, a lot of people don’t catch it the first time they read IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus, but I was curious how it would look in the real world, as someone goes through the stages of the ‘development of trust’ that A Course in Miracles describes. Maya’s journey takes her through all of it, and I was as surprised as anybody by the time I got to the end. It turned out that Maya’s journey didn’t look anything like I’d expected it would when I first sat down to begin writing.

In your Author’s Note, you say some of Maya’s lifetimes involve real people in history, such as the Greek stoic philosopher Epictetus. Why did you want to include them?

One of the themes that runs through and permeates the book is that in reality, time is not linear. Epictetus taught what we call ‘stoic philosophy.’ But Epictetus’ stoicism was only about one step removed from the Freudian Vedanta of A Course in Miracles that we know today. It’s also quite in line with a lot of the Gnostic teachings, and had quite a lot more in common with the Gospel of Thomas and non-dualistic Buddhism, than with what we think of today as ‘stoic.’

Plus, here was this great teacher – he was a giant, even in his own time, who at the end of his life, settled down with a woman he didn’t marry, and whose name has been lost to history, in order to raise the child of a friend (one who’d presumably died or been sent off) so that the baby wouldn’t die or be sold off into slavery. It was such a human thing to do – it really embodied all his teachings. I was really excited when I discovered I’d have an opportunity to write about that.

And of course, it just so happens that I knew of someone [an incarnation of Maya], who by complete coincidence, happened to be on a ship sailing to just the right place, at just the right time…

How is IMPLICIT connected to the next book you’re publishing in December and what can you tell us about that book?

A lot of people don’t know this, but IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus is actually the second novel I’ve written about Maya Lee. The first one I wrote actually slots in perfectly right behind it. So while IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus really is the beginning of Maya’s story – of the entire Spirit Invictus Series for that matter – in December, Book Two, ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus, comes out. That book will actually go even deeper into Maya’s younger (and slightly wilder) years.

That book will tell the story of Maya and David [a client and spiritual teacher], and how Maya’s toughest and most brilliant courtroom battle jettisoned her off on an unplanned detour into her own personal dark night of the soul. The favorite feedback I’ve heard from my early readers is this quote: “Inner peace with an attitude – could be called Way of the Peaceful Lawyer!”

I’m also giving away a free novella called ONE MORE THING: The Lost Interview. It’s a small little snippet of Maya’s life after the events of – and complimentary to – ALL THESE THINGS.

You can download the free novella and learn more about the Spirit Invictus Series at www.MarkTiro.com.

IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus is available on Amazon Kindle at the special price of just $.99 through November 4, so download it today.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Magic Realized: #BookReview of Poems on the Human Spirit and #AuthorInterview with Louis Alan Swartz


Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 7.50.09 AMHow can a book of poetry bring magic into your life? Louis Alan Swartz has done this, writing of life and death in a way that stirs your soul and makes your heart sing in Magic Realized and Other Poems on the Human Spirit.

Reading this volume from beginning to end, you feel like you’ve had a glimpse of a blessed life, as the author touches on Love and Marriage; Children; Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Mothers and Fathers; Human Sanctity; Aesthetics; Ideas, Images, and Places; and Death, the Spirit and Immortality.

Each section has an intriguing note under the title. For instance, Love and Marriage is subtitled, “I intend to make you ridiculously happy.” Under the section title Ideas, Images, and Places, are the words: “Living is the finest art.”

I found all of the poems uplifting, even when I skipped ahead to read about Death, as I mourned the loss of a dear friend. In Eulogy, I resonated with his words: “I do not mourn a loss. I protest an interruption.”

All of the poems gave me another way to look at things, “An idea of what living could be. A small inkling of infinity.” ~ from Claire at the Piano

The poems in Magic Realized are accessible, their meaning, their message, instantly clear and full of color and feeling. The author even provides definitions of words at the end of some poems to make sure they are not misconstrued. And the beautiful poetry is embellished with beautiful illustrations throughout the book by Diane Woods.

Here, Louis Alan Swartz answers my questions about Magic Realized:

What message would you like readers to take away from this book?

My overall intention in writing is to draw out the magnificence in individuals. It is my firm certainty that each person is an immortal spiritual being. I also believe that each human is possessed of abilities much greater than they have been permitted to believe. Their ability to perceive, understand, create, love, help, know and do good is for each one beyond our current earth imaginations. There is a Hindu myth about the god, Shiva and the goddess, Maya. In short, they had a loving relationship for 9000 years and then they ran into some trouble and things got a bit rocky. First of all, I believe that story is true and second of all, I believe that a “regular human being” here on this earth is capable of a love of that duration and magnitude. I won’t go into all the other legends and myths. Suffice it to say, it is very real to me that these things really did happen and that we can return to that level of intensity of life.

What I want the reader to take away from this book is that he is wiser, kinder, more loving, more creative, more useful and more beautiful than he ever imagined. I want to help him regain his capacity for amazement, astonishment and awe. My purpose in writing this book was to speak to the miracle each person reading it is.

Is your poetry based on your own life experiences?

Definitely. I have travelled widely to South America, Europe, The Middle East, Africa, India and back and forth across the U.S. countless times. I saw many things. I learned many things. I know that each individual, living being has great value because I observed them at their work and lives. I listened to them. I eagerly heard their stories. I witnessed their suffering and their elation. I tried to save a young boy from dying for no reason along the Nile in South Sudan. I saw a food riot in India. I ate with the farmers in Madhya Pradesh in India. I told them about the miracles of America. They brought a child to me and asked me to cure her of polio. I could not.

I have been married for 30 years. I have a joyous marriage. My children are walking miracles. It is all there in the writing.

Why did you select the title – Magic Realized?

It is my belief that there is vast magic in each individual. By magic I mean able to create things not explained by nature, even able to create miracles. I am talking about the outrageous expression of genius. I do not believe this is limited to a gifted few but that each person walking this earth has these abilities inherently. I use both definitions of realized in the title. The first one is to become aware of. I want them to become aware of their own personal magic, such as He realized he could sing. The second meaning is to accomplish or achieve as in He realized his goal to be a concert

pianist. I am looking to accomplish both meanings in the reader. I want him to become aware of his personal magic. Then I want him to accomplish magical things in his life. Thus – Magic Realized.

Why do you think people these days need to hear that “You matter.”?

I think that in the main people have lost belief in themselves. I found this by listening to people. I have been told too many times to count things like “I used to have a dream but I lost it and it’s too late now.” That is plain not true! And it pisses me off. They might as well tell me that they are dead and would I please close the coffin. Each individual on this earth does matter! You cannot tell them that too much. My tenth grade English teacher, Miss Helen Hilliard, got up in front of the class with a paper I had written and said, “This kid can write.” That changed my life forever.

Why did you select poetry as your means of expression?

I believe poetry is a concentrated, fine language with which, if you make yourself very understandable, you can communicate directly to the spiritual being.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get it by looking and listening. I look at wild flowers like the bright yellow California Poppy or the blue Mountain Lilac. I look at the Maple trees and Birch trees in the New England Fall. I listen to the old man from Italy in the restaurant telling me about the Second World War as if was yesterday. I devour what has been said and written whether it’s good or bad. I do not wait for inspiration. I go find it and eat it up.

How would you recommend someone read your poetry?

It doesn’t matter to me in which sequence they read my books. Sometimes they may have need of a poem about love or loss or death or immortality. I am thrilled if they find the one that helps them. It is important to me that they understand the words in the poems. I recommend having a dictionary at your side and using it.

Can we expect a Volume 3 of your Magic poetry?

Yes, there is a Volume III in the works. I am well into it and very excited about it. It goes deeper down into the themes of the first 2 volumes.

Do you have a favorite writer or poet who has influenced you?

The poet I most admire is Rainer Maria Rilke, a German poet who lived at the end of the 19th Century, beginning of the 20th Century. My favorite work by him is The Duino Elegies. It was from this book that I got my first inkling that a spiritual world existed. By the way, the best translation I have read is by Stephen Spender and J. B. Leishman.

What advice do you offer to aspiring poets?

Write! Write a hell of a lot! Don’t worry if it’s good or bad to begin with. Just write, write tens of thousands of words, even 100,000 and more. Read, live, see, hear. If you’re going to be a poet read all kinds of poetry. See what you like, what you understand and most importantly what moves you. Listen to the people, children, old people, people of all ages.

What I feel is most important is to make your poetry very understandable. It is my personal viewpoint that cryptic, obscure, vague and esoteric poetry is garbage and has given poetry a bad name and turned people off to it. MAKE YOURSELF UNDERSTOOD!

Magic Realized and Swartz’ s first volume of poetry, Constructed of Magic and Other Poems on the Immortality of the Human Spirit, are both available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

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The Healing Task of the Modern Shaman: Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 1.31.21 PMJaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart is a mesmerizing memoir by Ya’Acov Darling Khan that recounts his initiation as an “Everyday Shaman.” 

The title comes from how he learned to blend the raw power of the jaguar with the parts of him that were quieter and more sensitive, like a butterfly.

He learned what shamans have always known: all things are connected. A basic practice that he says everyone can follow is the simple act of noticing these connections.

Khan’s story is one in which he struggled to balance the parts of himself that wanted to fit in and be acceptable to his parents and society, while having the existential need to stay in touch with the magical world of pure spirit.

From the time he was a young boy, he had visions and dreams that foretold the future. Working with numerous teachers, including Gabrielle Roth, indigenous shamans of the Amazon, as well as shamans from Mexico and the Antarctic, he and his wife created Movement Medicine, which invites us to stand up and do all that we can to bring our visions and dreams to Earth as an act of gratitude for the great mystery that gives us life.

“I have learned that we weren’t given this Earth to do with as we pleased, but we came out of it and we are part of it.”

What is a shaman? A shaman is traditionally the medicine man of a tribe, able to connect with the powers of nature and the spirit world. How does one become a shaman?

 “A shaman is called into being by their own predilection for matters of the spirit, a journey interspersed with healing crises through the shadowlands of their own psyche and, finally, by their community and elders.”

What is the healing task for shamans of our time? Khan believes it is changing the debilitating mantra that is doing so much to destroy the fabric of life on Earth: “I am not enough. I don’t have enough. I need more.”

Today, the essence of Kahn’s Movement Medicine is the Long Dance ceremony, a contemporary ritual that is open to anyone, that has the power of indigenous ceremony, and raises money for amazing causes, like saving the Amazon rainforest.

Getting to where he is today, Khan went through the magical world of ritual, working with shaman teachers around the world. His story is a fascinating one that gives us an inside look into what shamanism is and isn’t. Through his journey, we learn more about the roots of shamanism.

Khan believes everyone can rise from the ashes of their suffering and create a new story… one that gives you purpose and dignity and, in this way, become an Everyday Shaman. 

In this crucial time for the Earth and its inhabitants, Ya’Acov Darling Khan explains the path of the shaman. His story is a beautiful one, an empowering one, an important one.

Here, he answers my questions about writing Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart:

What message would you like readers to take away from this book?

Sad to say, our modern world is dominated by the story that the only thing that matters is having as much stuff as possible and impressing as many people as possible. More than that, we are constantly being told how to do that. We must have the latest gadgets. Our bodies must be a particular shape. We must wear the right labels, eat the right food, be seen in the right places and we are told that those that follow the modality of the time will be the happy ones. Our screens are full of images of apparently happy people doing the apparently right things. And don’t worry if you haven’t got there yet. If you keep trying, you too can join the ever-growing elite circle of those who have given their lives to this never-ending chase to reach a constantly moving target that is almost entirely devoid of soul.

The loneliness, the disconnection from a genuine self, from each other and from our environment and all that we share it with that is so apparent on the faces of so many of the people I meet reflects the crisis of our times. When Gandhi was asked what he thought of civilization, he replied that he thought “it would be a good idea.” A shaman’s job is to help us to remember the health, creativity and unbroken force of life that surges through us with every beat of the heart, reminding us what matters to us and what gives us a sense of purpose and meaning.

At the same time, the shamans I have worked with have constantly reminded me of my responsibilities as a human being who is part of a complex, delicate and massively intelligent web of life upon which we all depend for our survival. I have walked a road for the past three decades dedicated to discovering who I am, finding out what matters most to me and making that into my offering. I am so way beyond grateful for where that has brought me. I’ve been touched and inspired by many people’s stories on my journey and so I decided to share my own with the intention that it will remind you of that golden thread inside you that whispers to you in dreams and in sunsets and through the eyes of the ones you love.

Given all this, here’s the essence of the message I’m bringing: Learn who you are.

Learn to listen to who you are and find out what really matters most to you. Follow your dreams. Not anyone else’s. Do it now. While your heart still beats. Dedicate everything you’ve got to this quest for self-discovery. And don’t do it in a cave. Do it by thoroughly engaging with your life. With your friends, with finding out who and what you love and giving yourself to serving that. Do it through your work, through what you contribute to this world. Recognize that though you are absolutely unique, you are part of a vast intelligent web of life that deserves your utmost respect and care.

What if life were a spectacular gift, a magnificent mystery? What if you realized that though you cannot decide how life happens, you are always free to dance with whatever life brings? I had to learn that it’s simply not possible to dance my dance if I don’t give time to discovering who I am. And more than that, there was no way to discover who I am by following other people’s ideas about who I should be. It has not all been a joy ride. I have faced my fair share of demons along the way but I can say this… There is no greater adventure on this earth than to discover your own medicine, your own gifts and there is no greater satisfaction than finding the way to share them. Holding back our medicine is a dead-end street and my heart tells me that now is the time for us all to step up to the plate and give ourselves totally to the creative project of bringing what we dream to this earth.

Can you tell us a little something of the roots of shamanism and why people are gravitating to it so much in today’s world?

There are a growing number of human beings in this world who are awakening to the recognition that we need a new story if we are to survive our adolescence as a human race. And they are working in a huge variety of ways to put this understanding into practice. What was once seen as outlandish and irrelevant is now becoming much more central as we see where our human story has led us and the effect it has had on the many other forms of life we share this planet with. In order to survive, we need to evolve. As we recognize the deep unhappiness that our way of life engenders, we have to seek new ways. When the rich and varied landscape of our connection to inner and outer nature becomes a desert, both inside us, outside us and between us, our suffering leads us to want to find new answers. Shamanism in its many forms is a very effective way of mending our connection with ourselves, each other, our environment, the spirits (including our ancestors and descendants), and the Great Spirit. Maybe that’s why it’s becoming popular again.

There are so many shamanic traditions around the world but there are some universal principles that I have met again and again in the different shamanic cultures I have been lucky enough to meet. Shamanism is about the soul of any individual life form and its connection to the system it is part of. It is about maintaining connection and balance between the physical and the non-physical world. It is about the living recognition in an everyday lived sense that far from owning the web of life, we are part of it and we depend on it. It is about recognizing the importance of the health of all parts of the system as it is a common understanding that there is only one system of life on this planet that, once again, we depend on.

Shamanism recognizes that what we dream is what we create. In other words, the power of our imagination or the power of the story we tell directly effects our perception of life, our experience of it, and therefore, the actions we take and the outcomes we create.

What we call “Engaged Shamanism” is one set of practices, alongside many others, that invites us to take responsibility for how powerfully creative we are and to be more conscious about how we use this power. In my own life, I got fed up with telling the story that other people and external circumstances were responsible for my unhappiness. I got fed up with the never-ending spiral of not feeling good enough, not feeling I had enough and basically feeling victimized by life. I was tired of my own disempowerment. So I went in search of my power. And though this journey is always at the beginning of a new chapter, I discovered it. I think my experience is typical of the times we live in.

Can you describe your relationship to spirit and what it feels like?

It is my experience that spirit is everywhere at all times, everywhere and everything, always present. I come and go. But this invitation to be in connection, it’s sometimes so overwhelming, terrifying even. But when I pluck up the courage to open and feel this awe, this force of spirit that is present even in times of suffering, and I give myself to it, then in those sweet moments, everything makes sense again and I remember who I am and what I love and what I’m choosing to do with the life I’m given.

I’m writing this in my garden. It’s an early autumn evening and the sun is still strong enough to warm me through. The wind is blowing strong and I can hear the stream nearby. My bare feet are on the uneven, grassy ground. Gold finches are perched on the feeder twittering away. There is plenty of food in the garden and it’s recently been mowed. Occasionally, a buzzard lazily floats by on a thermal before soaring and then sharply swooping for its dinner. I’m breathing slowly and deeply as I type these words. This is a good moment. I’m giving thanks. I recognize how fortunate I am. My body is well. I feel strong today. I’ve had some renewal time at home with my wife and we are preparing for a new season of travelling and teaching. I recognize the melancholy of the change of season. I can see the leaves on the oaks have turned. They’ll be taking their last flight soon and all being well, they’ll become compost for another season of growth in the spring. So it is. Seasons. Cycles. Who knows when it will be my time to take that flight? The way things are now, I’m making it known to the winds right now that if there’s any choice in the matter, I’d love a few more good decades to live and love and learn here. I love my life. Thank you!

For me, life is an ongoing ritual. There are so many opportunities every day to shatter the illusion of separateness and to remember and experience my connection to life all around me. A plate of food, when you look at it, is the result of so much work by so many people, by the earth and the sun and the waters and the air, and it’s being given to me right now. What a miracle!

Walking in the city, the ground under my feet, the fire burning in my trillion cells as I walk along the pavement. People around me and the hustle and bustle of the city, and the lights burning lighting my way, solar powered people, solar powered life. And this good earth, gravity and the same force of life that moves through me and you and through everything that lives. What a miracle!

You mention in your book how important it was to free yourself from the learned habits of the past. Can you share what this did for you?

When we are unconscious of the past, it asserts a force of habit on us that dictates our responses to what life is offering us in any given moment. In other words, we interpret what is happening through the lens of what has already happened. If I have suffered, then I have learned to expect suffering and usually, that is what I will experience.

Even more than that, our undigested childhood experiences are still playing out full force in our daily lives in the ways we relate to ourselves, each other and even our environment. Most of the human population are running around unconsciously trying to repeat what happened in the vain hope that this time they will vanquish the suffering of their childhoods. Do you recognize how the same patterns that made you leave your last relationship blaming the other person for being the cause of your problems are the same ones you run into again next time round?

But no matter how many times we enroll others to play the roles in our suffering, we cannot change what happened, only our relationship to it. Only by finding the courage to feel the pain we feel can we let it move through us and let it go. As Gabrielle Roth used to tell us as we sweated like crazy dancing so deep in her ecstatic dance classes, “the only way out is through.” Once we have found the courage to recognize the everyday suffering of coming into this world, felt it and let it move through us, we are able to see it for what it is. It happened. It was difficult, often horrific, but here we are, alive, breathing and capable of so much creativity. Through doing and continuing to do my own work on this level, I have come into the present. And in the present, so much more is possible. I have discovered that I am not defined by my past but inspired by it to make a difference in this world.

I have recognized that I am no longer a child who deserves love but an adult who has so much love to give. And the less I withhold myself from life, guess what, the more I receive. And the more I allow the creative force of life to move through me, the more there is to offer. From the vicious circle of repeating the pains of the past to the virtuous spiral of dancing in the unknown of the present moment and taking up life’s invitation to create. We all have this power within us. No matter how tragic the past has been. There are a growing number of spaces and methodologies where we can be heard and seen in the suffering of what was, acknowledge it, and move on. And this is so empowering and, more than that, this planet is crying out for human beings to step out from this cycle of suffering and take responsibility for what we are creating so that we can pass on a world to those that will follow that still supports life to flourish. It may be difficult, but the harvest of this kind of work is immense and, in my heart, it is what I hear life asking of me again and again. Turn your power not towards vainly attempting to vanquish the past but towards bravely creating the future.

How would you recommend a person start incorporating the ideas or practices of shamanism into their daily lives?

We are setting up an online learning community precisely with that intention in mind. There are so many opportunities every day to remember our connection with the web of life and to feel it. If you’re interested, please check out our new website: www.darlingkhan.com and take a look at the courses we are offering in engaged shamanism.

You can also connect with Khan on Facebook.

Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

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