Rest with Hafiz
I start my days with a poem by Hafiz translated by Daniel Ladinsky. Not sure if this is his translation but it's a beautiful way to spend a couple of minutes.
Rest with Hafiz
For the last half an hour I've been listening to evensong, transmitted from York Minster. It's some time since I visited that beautiful building which can transmit its essence, even if you have no interest in the religion it supports.
It represents for me the efforts of thousands of people over hundreds of years singing the same basic service which permeates and soaks into the fabric of the building.
Apparently it's a fact that attendance at cathedral services is increasing overall while many local churches have seen a decrease. I can understand why because my visits to Derby Cathedral have shown me what it can offer the visitor. That unceasing prayer and music builds up something that's hard to replicate in a local church and creates that almost unearthly acoustic that the singing resonates in.
But most of us don't exist in that setting for most of our time. So peace has to be found when and where we can source it. An unlikely place for me today was the lift of a hospital where for just an instant there was a silence that transcended the cares and concerns of the people in the lift.
Maybe I was the only one to notice it, but it existed for me in that instant and I rejoiced at it.
Last night I had a lovely phone connection live with the members of a group I've been sharing something with for the last few weeks. I hesitate to call it a process though there have been steps to work through.
No that's the wrong description. It's been a sacred exploration; each of us effectively following our own path but within the container of sacred space held for us initially by Janet Conner.
I say initially because it soon became crystal clear how each of us were holding the others in this sacred space. The level of sharing and mutual support has been profound and I speak as one who has organised sacred space events online.
The formal part of the exploration is almost at an end; we have one more session in February but the daily integration of the work we've done is now beginning.
One of the things that concerned me when I chose speakers for my online events was how practical were the things they were offering my listeners. Because it's easy for any of us to get a high from an event or course and then feel that drop in energy as soon as it's over.
That's why I always asked questions of my speakers about integration and practical ways of using what they offered when we're in the heat of the moment with families, work colleagues or drivers on the road.
And that's why this group has felt different. The integration is a part of it from day one and now that part of it will become the focus - daily integration not only in our minds but in our bodies.
It's back to my posts about music and baking with soul.
Soul and therefore with love.
This year is already turning into a joyful adventure which I have to share with you feels different from last year.
It's not that the challenges will be any less this year, more that my spirit actually wants to face them.
2015 for me, at least in the first half of the year was a process of stepping back, as if I needed to take a more detached view of where I was. Certainly my outlook had become very narrowed and limited to the conditions which felt like a straightjacket preventing me moving on.
Everything I did seemed to take a huge amount of effort and show little or no result for that effort. Has it seemed like that for you on occasion? If so you'll understand if I share that some days it became a real struggle to make that effort.
So what's changed? Well for those of us in the holistic and spiritual community there's an increasing acceptance that things are speeding up in terms of our beliefs becoming more mainstream. That the work we have done in the background for many years can begin this year to be seen as we always hoped, in the light.
It took me till the middle of the year to get the fun back in my life and that happened to me through singing. Whatever it takes for you, then I encourage you to go towards it even if it seems scary at first. And sometimes it can seem wrong to enjoy life when others are suffering. But we can empathise but not take on other's suffering. That way we can help more.
As the saying goes, 'the reason angels fly is because they take themselves lightly.'
Here's to more lightness, fun and joy this year
Over the last few years I've gained an enormous amount of comfort, understanding and acceptance by reading the daily messages from Richard Rohr. I have his book Immortal Diamond which is full of underlinings and notes where I've had a'ha moments.
Though I'm not a Catholic and don't subscribe to some of his beliefs, he strikes me as a humane man. I almost wrote human man and to the extent that sometimes we think of priests as other than the rest of us, that would be right.
He's recently started a new thread for his messages which is about Love and the importance of it as both a mystical experience and a practical tool as we tackle what faces us on a daily basis.
My question at the top of the post relates to Love. That is the task of loving ourselves in here, inside of us. It's easy to project love towards people in trouble on the other side of the world. Less easy to project it internally and accept ourselves for the beloved person we are in the eyes of whatever you believe in. I like the term Divine Mystery which keeps me in right relationship to something beyond what I can understand. It keeps the wonder in the relationship for me.
Richard Rohr is open enough to look at and learn from other faiths and traditions and for that I like him. He's also very concerned that our faith whatever it is works for us daily.
Find our more about Richard Rohr
Today I've spent laying out my intention mandala for 2016. It's the first time I've created one though I've been colouring in pre-designed mandalas for a number of years.
To my sorrow I'm not very artistic though I'm more confident about using colour than I used to be. For this mandala I've used a lot of symbols which I've cut out from other mandalas that I've already coloured in.
For the last few weeks I've had the urge to use really deep colours, not especially sharp but really dense, what a friend's husband used to call saturated colours.
I gathered together a lot of symbols and then tried to match them with different parts of my life that I was setting intentions for and that's where I began to feel stressed to the point of being cross. It should have felt fun and it didn't.
So I took a deep breath and tried to listen to my inner wisdom. Nothing for a moment then I realised that it didn't actually matter which symbol I put where because they all fit with everything. Because I was setting intentions that were all going in the same direction, my soul development, all of the symbols would serve me and offer me wisdom, whatever intention I assigned them.
Now the mandala is sitting overnight in a safe place and I'm going to let it take me by surprise tomorrow. I'll know if I need to move anything.
Once I'm happy with the placements I can glue everything, do all the linking and the final words and any further colouring I feel necessary.
I'll post a picture of it with some explanations when it's finished and then create a ritual so that it becomes a living part of me. Looking forward to it.
New Year New You?
I want to wish you a wonderful new year - whenever in 2016 you read this. May it bring you what you need for your soul's development.
Even if you don't read this until the middle of the year it's still not too late to create a wonderful year. I'm not a fan of January resolutions. For me it's the wrong time of the year to be making huge plans and considering major changes. If I'm going to do it I'll do it in August which is my birthday month.
I do believe though that you can change your life - in any moment.It doesn't need fanfares or big promises, it needs only your desire to do it and your commitment to keep making the change you want in every moment.
Only you know from the inside which moment is right for you. Only you can make that commitment to yourself and only you can be steadfast in carrying through the change you desire.
Once you make that commitment and begin that change, however faltering your steps and however often you fall off the way, magical things will happen. People turn up just as you need some support. You find a book that shows you the words you need right at that moment.
And at some point, perhaps when you least expect it,the change you've longed for becomes the change that's happened and you will know that too from the inside.
Whatever change you desire, begin it in this moment, from the inside where it matters.
'The true use of music is to become musical in one's thoughts, words and actions. We must be able to give the harmony which the soul yearns and longs for every moment. All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude,comes from lack of harmony. And harmony is best given by producing harmony in one's own life.'
Hazrat Inayat Khan
I read the above in Diane Mandle's February Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing Newsletter.
Lovely lady Diane and I very much enjoyed interviewing her last year.
Sound Energy Healing
Here's the link for this week's meditation on
How to deal with strong emotions
One of my favourite speakers that I've interviewed is Raphael Cushnir author of The One Thing Holding You Back; Unleashing the Power of Emotional Connection.
Raphael's work is powerful but gentle.
Check out this article on questions