A beautiful talk on how exploring other religions can enhance the faith you practice.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Many of the most valuable lessons I have learned have come from people I definitely do not want to be like. You know the type.
For example, I have a family member who is the embodiment of cynicism, doom and gloom. He rarely has anything positive to say and his dark jokes revolve around someone's misfortune.
Whenever asked, "How’s it going?" he details his latest job woes in a manner that reflects his view that the world is out to get him. He can also talk for hours about his dark conspiracy theories.
Being around him can be draining, to say the least. Most family members suffer in silent resignation, head for another room, or step out into the garden for some fresh air to get away.
I often do the same. At other times, I feel compassion and attempt to share the benefits of seeing life from a more elevated perspective while also hinting at the importance of taking ownership of one's shadow.
There are also times when, if I am not careful, I find myself getting drawn into the gravitational pull of his dark energy. When this happens, he unloads his grievances and walks away with a light spring in his step while I am left feeling like I need a shower.
In other words: this man is a fantastic ally. He has taught me incredible lessons about where and why I allow myself to be pulled off center and out of my heart. Through him, I have woken up to when this happens.
As a form of protection, I have created an internal checklist to respond to people both at work and at home who are negative or stuck in a dark mood. The checklist goes like this:
1. What does this person need?
Is there a chance that a positive input is being sought? If the answer is yes, then share something to lift the mood. If the answer is no, keep the interaction brief and walk away.
2. Are they acting as a mirror?
The answer is yes if we are being sucked in. When there is a pull, there is a resonance. Someone or something "out there" shows us where we are resisting the flow of life. When this is the case, we can breathe in deeply and accept what is.
3. This too will pass.
While we can offer compassion and point to other alternatives, we are not responsible. Suffering is a choice. When we maintain our state, we are part of the solution rather than adding to the illusion. In this way, we create space for an opening of awareness to happen, which is more than enough.
4. Avoidance is O.K.
We can protect and safeguard the sanctity of our internal state by making sure we are with people who nurture us. On other occasions, when we have no alternative as a consequence of work or family obligations, we can remain upbeat and keep turning every negative comment into a positive. Do it for long enough and it works wonders. If the other person cannot get you on his or her negative side, they will eventually give up.
5. Love really is the answer.
Everything always comes down to love. If we love and respect ourselves, we do not give ourselves away so cheaply. We do not come down from our state. We do not concede who we are for the sake of someone’s need to off-load. We can listen with love. We only get dumped on when we allow ourselves to become part of the drama.
The next time that person comes your way, be grateful. No matter how mean, dark-spirited or negative they may be, they are here to teach us how to love, honor and respect who we are and what we have to offer the world.
I would say that is an invaluable gift wouldn’t you?
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
For one heady moment, imagine traveling anywhere in the world you have always wanted to visit. Imagine having unlimited resources and the time to stay for as long as you want.
Imagine, just imagine.
Imagine, just imagine.
- Where would you go?
- Why does this place tug at your heart?
- Does it seem to hold a special meaning for you?
- And what do you hope to find there?
For me, it was India. The moment I arrived I knew this strange and compelling country was my cup of tea. Despite blaring noise, pungent odors carrying a heady mix of incense, car fumes and sewage, I instantly fell in love. It was as if the promise of some magical potion had drawn me there and I hungrily drank it all in.
I had arrived with a thirst not so easily quenched. Although a long-time meditator and ardent student of kundalini yoga, I was desperate to find others like me who had been graced with a life shaped by the miraculous.
Since childhood I had been blessed with lucid dream initiations from Master Yogi’s and life-changing, astral plane healing ceremonies with Native American and Tibetan Shamans. In the west I had learned to protect the profundity of these encounters and now here in India, the magic and mystery of the unseen worlds was openly inter-woven into everyday life.
Here, I was in heaven and my heart and soul knew it. From deep inside, everything seemed to relax and at the same time, there was a grateful embracing of the oddly familiar. However, my body wasn’t so happy.
My husband and I had first arrived in Mumbai on a bright, full moon night in early January. By mid March, with heat and humidity flooding the air, I was embarking on a second round of antibiotics in another attempt to purge pesky intestinal amoebas, which had set up camp in my digestive tract. In response, my appetite had upped sticks and left.
I decided something more effective had to be done. Weighing under a hundred pounds, I knew I needed to find another, more holistic healing alternative.
Seconds after making that silent determination, a gentle, old Indian Swami came and took a seat beside me under the shade of a mango tree, where I had positioned myself to slowly sip chai. Without pre-amble, Swamiji sweetly advised, “You should go to Malad and see Dr. Pankaj. He is an Ayurvedic doctor. He will help you with your digestive problems.”
Two days later, I found myself standing on Bhadran Nagar Cross Road, outside a brick building with a pretty green and white awning. It read, “Ayushakti, Ayurved Health Center.”
At eight thirty a.m. the heat of the day had begun to settle in and I was happy to enter a dark, cavernous room on the second floor. People were already holding numbered cards and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on hard benches. Cheered by a photograph of the Dalai Lama, seen smiling and shaking hands with the renowned Doctor, I took my seat.
Two long, slow hours ticked by. The cloying heat intensifying minute-by-minute, causing my cotton Punjabi to seal itself to my skin. Lack of food and water had also produced a cracking headache and my stomach was cramping in complaint. Just at the moment I thought I was going to either vomit or pass out, I was ushered into an office.
Behind an antique looking wooden table, sat Dr Pankaj. With dark, vibrant eyes peering from under a mop of mahogany hair, a handle bar moustache and a sideways wobble of the head, he instructed, “Your wrist please!” and dutifully told, I laid my arm across the table with the palm turned upward.
With that, Dr Pankaj lightly touched my wrist with four of his fingers, closed his eyes and slightly cocked his head, listening to something indefinable. Seconds later he sat up abruptly, confidently proclaiming, “1. You have bad headache. 2. You have stomach problem. 3. You have problem in two lower discs in back. 4. You travel very much outside your body.”
Astonished, I replied, “Yes, yes, yes and yes! You know all that from my pulse?”
Dr Pankaj smiled patiently and replied, “Naturally! I read messages of pulse and can say what is happening in body, mind and spirit. I have allopathic medical degree and training, but more I learned from a Master Yogi in the Himalayas. He taught me ancient secrets of how to read pulse.”
Continuing on in this manner, the highly accurate Doctor then went on to describe the food I did enjoy. He also advised on the kinds of foods I should adopt while in India, before ending with, “I prescribe mixture of herbal tablets. They must be taken before eating. Amoebas do not like and they will leave. Then you get healthy and strong!”
With a flourish of his pen Dr Pankaj wrote out a prescription and I left his office in search of the in-house pharmacy, intent on retrieving my magic potion pills. Feeling buoyed and renewed, my headache was gone, my stomach had stopped cramping and I happily realized, that right here in India I had been gifted with finding my kind of land and my kind of Doctor.
Copyright 2012- Julie Hoyle
Copyright 2012- Julie Hoyle
Monday, December 3, 2012
In July 2007, I boarded a train heading from London to Nottingham in the UK. It was a two hour journey and I realized I had nothing to read. However, a moment later I recalled having picked up a free magazine while visiting a mind-body-spirit bookstore, which I had stuffed into my bag.
Taking it out, I settled in to read an article written by Barbara Brennen. Half way through, I suddenly heard a voice saying, “You can do this. You can write articles and essays that inspire people.” The voice was so loud I looked around just in case anyone had spoken, though I already knew. This message was ‘an inside job’, delivered from the depths of my own intuitive wisdom.
Without questioning or doubting what I had heard, I chose the only surface I had to write on and began drafting my first article on the back of a paper napkin. At home, after tweaking and typing it up, I sent it to the editor of the magazine I had been reading.
Three days later, I received an e-mail from the editor saying he wanted to use the article in his next edition and hey presto! From that moment on my creative doors were flung wide open and I was forcefully propelled in a direction I could never have consciously foreseen.
Since then in the work that I do, I have been happy to share a simple, yet incredibly powerful checklist, which can be utilized in order to go after what we are most passionate about. The list goes like this:
When you hear a strong inner message, don’t miss the moment and let it slip away. Trust what you are hearing. Write it down; commit it to memory and hang on to it like a lifeline.
Take at least one step toward what you are being directed to do. If the first step is not immediately clear, keep a journal and inquire, “What can I do right now to bring this dream into manifestation?”
Tell those you trust and who are able to safely incubate this intention with you. Ask for support and input. Don’t hesitate to express your wildest, most extravagant dreams.
When we Listen, Act, and Share, we are saying, “YES!” to the flow of the universe, which is dynamic, alive, and charged with immense power.
We are proactively stating,
- I acknowledge and trust my intuitive wisdom.
- I love and honor who I am.
- I respect and stand behind what I have to offer the world.
In contrast, when we do not Listen, Act, and Share, we are made aware of it in several ways.
First: We feel depressed, intuitively recognizing that we have missed an important message meant to open us to new and expanded possibilities.
Second: We feel sluggish, “stuck,” and unable to see clearly. It’s as if our eyes have clouded over and we are trying to look through thick, dirty glass.
Third: We contract, which leads us to feeling alienated from the ones we love, as well as from the world at large.
Inevitably, at different stages in our lives, we flip-flop between the two opposites until we begin to see that we do have choices in the expression and manifestation of our dreams. We also realize that even if we miss an inner directive, it is never too late. We will be gifted with plenty of others.
Once we arrive at this understanding, we wake up to the truth that we will always be guided from within. And once we follow our inner guidance, we will be shown that the universe is, by nature, abundant and more than willing to take care of us, show us the way and even firmly take us by the hand, if we let it.
Copyright- Julie Hoyle 2012