Sunday, August 28, 2011


Early one Sunday morning in the early 1980's, I was running up a steep hill on the island of New Providence, in an area downtown near the elegant Governor General's house. It was a beautiful day in mid-January and cool enough to be able to run at 10a.m. Along with forty or so members of a for-fun running club, I was racing along, intent on finding a trail laid out using flour.

To my left, was an old, grey stone church. On the outside of the structure were white, slatted windows that swung out and were held in place by support rods. As I pounded up and over the arc of the hill, I suddenly heard a refrain of a hymn carried by the breeze. It was unexpected and sung with such force, it flooded my senses, instantly carrying me to a place I seemed to recognize but had not visited for a long, long time. In that moment, my legs wobbled beneath me, my heart opened and I began to cry wondering why the hymn would move me so?

In the mystical Sufi tradition, a moment like this is called Dhikr, the chanting of divine names in order to initiate remembrance of God. Although I did not realize it at the time, the power of the congregants singing was a beautiful gift that spoke to my deep longing and invited a 'turning of the heart' toward the divine. It was here, in this profound moment that my inner journey began.

Since then, there have been continuous turnings and openings of the heart which have had a three-fold effect: one an awakening to the consciousness of oneness, two a desire to do the inner work and three, a willingness to support and encourage others on their own inner journey.

Thich Nhat Hahn expresses this beautifully when he states,

"You are me and I am you. It is obvious that we inter-are. You cultivate the flower in yourself so that I will be beautiful. I transform the garbage in myself so that you do not have to suffer. I support you, you support me. I am here to bring you peace. You are here to bring me joy.
Knowing that we inter-are, there are simple self-inquiry questions we can contemplate to bring us back to the heart. Here are a selection:

* Am I working with the energy of the heart or against it?
* Am I trusting my innate wisdom?If not why not?
* How can I uplift myself and others at this time in my life?

By being willing to contemplate these questions again and again, we are continually aligning with the essence of our longing and giving voice to our own unique wisdom. In this way, we naturally find ourselves empowered to uplift, inspire and encourage everyone and everything in our world.

Monday, August 15, 2011


In January 2003, my husband and I were living in an ashram in upstate New York. We had been there for five months after leaving India and with only four weeks left on our U.S. visitor's permit, we still had no work and no idea where we were going to live.

During this period, I was reminded of something I had heard repeated ‘inside’ since childhood. The inner message was, “You will always have work.” As a teen and early adult I had not paid much attention to this because it seemed obvious. There was a childish assumption that work would always be available. Now with a more mature perspective, I appreciated the gift of those words and hung on to them like a lifeline.

True to the insistence of the message, a couple of weeks before we were due to leave the ashram, I received an unexpected e-mail from the Director of an International school. He told me he had seen a short description of our details on an education website, and wondered whether my husband and I would be interested in setting up a new school in Odessa, Ukraine.

Turning to a world map, we saw that Odessa on the coast of the southern Ukraine on the black sea, and that it could offer a world of opportunity for traveling in Eastern Europe. With that, we felt a surge of anticipation, sent off our newly polished resumes and waited. Less than an hour later, the Director replied, expressing a keen interest in our skills and experience, and requesting a telephone interview.

What followed; was a warm, lively, three-way conversation ending with an offer of two full-time positions. Although we allowed a day or two to contemplate the proposal, my husband and I knew we would accept. Throughout the unfolding of these events, from beginning to end, there was an unmistakable synergy and flow. It simply felt ‘right.’ I had initially acted on an inner prompt to post our details on an educational site ‘discovered by accident’- and everything had unfolded from there. It was what the yogic texts describe as- “The effortless effort.” I had listened to and acted on inner-tuition, and the universe had responded.

Many, many times in my life, I have witnessed the outer expression of this truth and, I have learned that having the courage to trust the validity of what I am hearing inside is key. Sometimes inner messages appear as a flash of inspiration. At other times, they appear to whisper an alert toward an aspect of life that is out of synch or that no longer serves a higher calling. In what ever form the message appears, it is given as a priceless gift in order for me to trust my own deepest wisdom, and re-align with the spirit.

We never know where the path of our lives is going to take us. Having the faith to hear and then follow the voice of our own inner wisdom is what makes life exciting, spontaneous and filled with grace. When we listen to the whispers of our own unique spirit and have the courage to act on what it is urging us to acknowledge and embrace our lives are transformed in ways we could never have begun to imagine……

An Awakened Life