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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Busy, busy

When I read Karen Bishop's post entitled "Moving into Position" a week ago I had to laugh at her description of those who remain enmeshed in the old third dimensional reality.

I have known for some time that much of the life that we think is real is an illusion, being as it is, a product of our thoughts, and this has never been more true. Much of the old world and the old way of doing things is illusion, and so many of those residing in this world may appear almost zombie like, as if they are going through the motions, devoid of passion or caring. When I think back, this is exactly the state I was in by the time I finished work with my last employer. I was not alone, for I observed this behaviour in most of my colleagues (and certainly the bosses), and many of the customers. This is not meant as a judgement, but more of an observation. It makes me realise how wrong for me that environment was and why I had to leave.

This sort of environment to me feels heavy and oppressive and completely disconnected from who I am. There is no way that I can or could ever go back to this way of working.

At the moment for many people I know, things seem almost dead in the water, as if nothing is happening at all. My partner is experiencing a crisis of confidence in his own business, with his most important client, who has also become a friend, wanting to take her website in a direction that he does not feel happy or confident about. It seems to him and others that I know that everything has come to a standstill and the cosmic energy has completely dried up.

The funny thing is that this is not my experience at all. For me things are finally beginning to move. After months of having no work at all, soon I will be inundated with it. My CRB clearance for the school I applied to work at as an Exam Invigilator has come through and they have rostered me for every day bar one leading up to half term at the end of May. The exam season lasts for around 5 weeks until the end of June, so if my CRB clearance comes through for the other job at the nursing home before then, I may be working seven days a week for a while.

It is true that neither of them are full time jobs, so I will still get some time off, but it will be busy, busy for a while. Hopefully the money that I get from the school job will cover the cost of my summer holiday, but if not there is always the tax rebate I am owed.

Friday, 24 April 2009

A Vinyl Revival

At this time of year, as winter gives way to spring, thoughts turn to spring cleaning. For the past couple of weeks, my partner and I have been having a major clear out and de-clutter of the house, disposing of unwanted clothes and books and cleaning our house from top to bottom. This will be good experience for me when I start my new job as housekeeper for a nearby care home!

Like many people of my age, I have a sizeable collection of vinyl records, which although they are only listened to occasionally, I do not have the heart to dispose of. When I have the computer on at home, I like to listen to music in the background, so I find myself increasingly downloading various songs from Napster and Amazon. which I tend to prefer, since they are DRM free. How lovely it would be I thought to be able to listen to my vinyl collection in this way.

Usually this is only possible by purchasing an expensive USB turntable and cassette deck (I also have over 100 of these). A week or so ago while browsing the net as one does, I came across the perfect rather less costly solution to this problem, in the form of a recording kit called Vinyl 2 PC. This consists of a lead which comes in various lengths, one end of which plugs into the headphone socket on your stereo and the other into the microphone or line in socket of your PC, together with some editing software called Audacity. The software is very easy to use and I have been pleasantly surprised by the results.

It has been a joy to listen once again to so many of those fantastic records that I have, that I had forgotten all about. I grew up listening to jazz and soul, and have fond memories of Saturday mornings spent listening to the Robbie Vincent show on BBC Radio London before it became GLR, Greg Edwards on Capital Radio and Andy Peebles on a Radio One. Soul music as a genre no longer seems to exist as far as modern radio is concerned, being referred to now as R&B. This seems to me to be more an acronym for electronic dance music, which is nothing like the stuff that I know and love. This has its place for listening to in nightclubs (of which I have never been fond) and the gym, but you cannot beat a really good piece of old fashioned soul. I am talking about the greats like Jackie Wilson, Bobby Womack and Sam Cooke.

I have a lot by all three of these musicians in my collection, and also by more recent jazz/soul crossover artists (relatively speaking) such as Will Downing, George Benson and Angela Bofill, who sadly has not recorded for a while, and is unlikely to again, due to a series of strokes. I also have 4 boxed sets - including one of Motown hits and one from Philadelphia International.

It will take me hours to record all of this lot, but it will be worthwhile when the work is done, as I will be able to listen to this fantastic music anywhere that I like, at home on my computer, on my laptop when I travel, or my MP3 player when I go the gym or in the car.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Am I ready?

Things seem very quiet on the spiritual front at the moment, with many that I know seemingly in hibernation. After the burst of energy that created spring, humanity at least seems to have retreated back into its shell.

It seems that everyone is waiting - waiting for something that they may not be aware of. I am waiting for CRB clearance so that I can start my new job - as a housekeeper at a nearby care home. It is only 12 hours a week - 6 hours each day on Saturdays and Sundays, but you know what they say, everything helps, and I have the feeling that it may not stay part time for very long. I should hopefully be able to get some exam invigilating work as well at a nearby school - the exam season runs from the middle of May through to the end of June, assuming my CRB clearance comes through for that also - it has been a month since I applied, so hopefully it won't be too long.

Karen Bishop says that massive blasts of energy are bombarbing the earth, pushing us ever closer to our very new beginnings. Those who more sensitive, as I usually am, may experience the familiar symptoms of heart palpitations (my partner gets these a lot), difficulty breathing, anxiety, fear, and an over-all shakiness inside.

Thankfully these bursts of energy are becoming less and less frequent. When they do arrive, they tend to shake things up, pushing things to the surface. Motor and personal accidents are common, along with feelings of being rattled, and great insecurities. Thankfully I have not experienced too many of these, but I did go through a spate of this a few weeks ago, when someone drove into the back of my car. How I felt about the Lundy situation, which now seems a dim and distant memory has been well documented and needs no explanation.

While I was there, on the island, I also had what can only be described as flu like symptoms - blocked nose, sinus congestion and generally feeling yucky. At the time I believed it was a reaction to too much dairy, as people who suffer from lactose intolerance, as I tend to when I over indulge (we drink rice milk at home, but you can't get it on the island, so I have to drink cows). Karen though says that when we make great change within (and I made some enormous changes during and since those 2 weeks), we experience allergy symptoms and sinus headaches, due to resistance. There was a lot of resistance for me at that time - to more or less everything that I was seeing.

“Insecurities” are the hallmark of this latest energy surge. When we are dangling in mid-air, waiting to step onto to the next rung of the evolutuionary ladder, it is natural to feel insecure, for we have nothing to hold on to. All that we knew and were used to has been lost. Add this latest energy surge to the mix, and the insecurities are magnified tenfold.

Some cling on to the first comfortable looking thing that comes along, in efforts to find a "fix" that will make them feel better, but nothing much has come my way. Some make long term decisions that affect their future or form a new group of friends - again, nothing has come my way. This is all about forming new connections - in my case while I wait for the CRB clearance to start my new job, it feels like I am waiting for those connections to forge.

There seems to be a lot of darkness around right now - thankfully I am not personally affected, although at least one friend is - experiencing problems with his neighbours and certain more orthordox Christians who are saying that he cannot take part in a complimentary health fair at their Christian centre as his work is not compatible with "Christian principles". I am not sure which version of the Bible they have, but last time I read mine, it was filled with tales of Jesus healing the sick in the same way that this man does. I fail then to see how his work is not compatible with their ideals. He has offered though to change the wording so that it is. Sometimes you need to play the devils game.

So, this latest energy surge has rattled many cages and encouraged us to move away from our comfort zone. This may explain why I am feeling relatively okay with it (for the moment at least), for after the start to the year I have had, expanding the comfort zone is nothing new. I am then waiting for things to come together before I can begin to re-start anew. The question is, am I ready?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Tell us the truth - we are big girls and can take it

When I first met my partner back in 1997, I was a slim and petite size 8. The pounds, not to mention my girth, have steadily increased over the years, so I am now a size 12.

A week or so ago, I was going through my wardrobe as one does, deciding which clothes to throw away and which clothes to keep, when I came across an old pair of jeans labelled as size 12. When I laid these on the bed side by side with a pair I bought more recently in the same size, I was surprised to find that the new ones were a good couple of inches larger. This means that the old size 8 that I used to wear would now be a size 6, only one size up from the infamous size zero (a UK size 4) that is so universally loathed and detested, and not without good reason.

As a size 8, I was not unhealthy or unnaturally skinny, but the size that was right for my small frame and limited height (5 feet and half an inch). Today as a size 12 (an old size 14) , I am almost 2 stone overweight, largely due to lack of exercise and too much junk food - the evils of our modern society. It is to some extent, a symptom of the deep unhappiness I have felt, as I eat in order to fill the void, which of course never works. It just adds to the misery and gives my ego another reason to beat myself up.

As for lack of exercise - although I go the gym 3 times a week and regularly visit Lundy, I still do very little exercise compared to when I first met my partner. Before you ask, this is nothing to do with our dwindling love life, but more to do with the fact that I have learnt to drive and no longer have to spend half my life walking to and from busses and trains, not to mention running for them. I used to walk at least 2 miles just going to and from work, these days I am lucky to walk more than 200 yards! Three trips a year to Lundy is not going to cut it either, even if I do walk for 6 miles a day; I need to be exercising like this on a daily basis for the flab and the weight to shift.

If my observations are correct, then I have put on 4 dress sizes in the last 10 years, which when I think about it, is not good. Having said this, according to statistics, I am still smaller than the average woman, who is now a size 14 (the old size 16).

Is it though fair for manufacturers to change their sizes in this way, fooling women into thinking that they are smaller than they really are? I don't think it is. Does it encourage women to eat more healthily and to exercise - no, it fosters the belief that you are okay as you are and do not need to change when anyone with guts enough to say so can see that this is not the case.

In my case, seeing the difference between those 2 pairs of jeans did me a great favour, for it has made me realise that I can no longer fool myself into believing that I am okay as I am and don't need to change.

Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with being a size 14, as long as you are in proportion, but for me, being this size at five feet and half an inch is not in proportion. While it is true that womens bodies are changing, with bigger busts, fuller hips and so on, this is for the most part borne from changes in our dietary and exercise habits, and not necessarily a natural occurence. Women who have had children naturally change shape, which is only to be expected, and as we age, things begin to droop and head south, but this does not mean that it is okay to fool the brain into thinking that we are smaller than what our eyes are telling us. We should be happy with the shape that we are, and with what God has given us, but this does not mean that it is okay to let ourselves go.

The most important thing is to be healthy and able to exert ourselves without getting out of breath. If you can pinch more than an inch (and I can pinch several), then this is not healthy.

Women are women and not children, we don't need to be lied to, but told the truth of who and what we are so that we can make an informed choice whether to change or not and see the reality of the choices that we make and how they affect our health. We are big girls after all, in more ways than one.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Life, the universe and everything in between

The April edition of the village newsletter that I edit, contained an insert from the PCC (Parochial Church Council), in the form of a questionaire, to try to get to the bottom of why so few people in our village go to church. I cannot speak for others, but for my part, it is because there is nothing there that really interests me - the Christian concept of God as a being which is outside of oneself is totally at odds with my own more Gnostic beliefs.

There is evidence to suggest that Gnosticism, which along with modern spirituality teaches that God is within, and that we ourselves are aspects of God, was the original form of Christianity that Jesus (if he existed - that is a whole other subject) taught, and this is one of the main tenets of my own book, Genesis of Man, orginally published in 2006. Yesterday, when I was tidying up my work room, it occured to me that it has been well over a year since I picked up my own book and actually read it, but when I tried I could not bring myself to even open it. This led me to ponder on why this was.

The conclusion I reached was because I have changed so much as a person since I wrote those words (the book may have been published in 2006, but I began work on it back in 2001), that a large chunk of it no longer represents who I am. It is not the message behind the words, but the way in which they are presented - there is a lot of anger in there, and therefore ego.

On Wednesday, my partner and I went to the Inner Journey group that we attend each week, where we discussed the questionaire regarding church attendance in more detail. One of the ladies that was there commented that she felt the church was being under used and should be for everyone - not just Christians, and that it would be the perfect venue for our own little group were those who run it (the aforementioned PCC) not so closed minded. Whether or not this is the case, when I thought again about my own book and the words that it contains, and where I was at the time that I wrote those words, I detected a large amount of mirroring.

I have observed that many on the spiritual path become quite irate when discussing mainstream religion, stating as my friend did, that if only they could see beyond their beliefs, they would find a whole new world that would expand their minds to take in so much more. This may be true, but it comes across as a critisicm, and criticism is nearly always borne from ego. The ego, in its fight for survival, has to have an identity, and for many that includes our belief systems - hence we label ourselves as Christian, Muslim or in my case, Gnostic. This is fine as long as recognise it for what it is, but most people do not; they become so completely identified with the mind and the labels that it attaches to the various things it identifies with, that we believe that we are those things, and so when those things (in this case, our beliefs) are attacked, we believe that we are being attacked. This is the reasoning behind nearly all the atrocities to have committed against humanity, since history began. Belief and identification with a particular set of beliefs, are seen as more important than life itself.

There may be different degrees, but when my friend made those comments, they were really no better (or worse) than Christians stating that it is their duty to "save souls" so that non believers will not spend eternity in hell. They do not see the inherant goodness that goes beyond belief, but only that which seperates, where in reality, it is comments such as these that cause (and maintain) the real seperation.

This is not meant to be a judgement, but is really more of an observation. There is a lot of ego in me, and in the words that I wrote back then - but those thoughts no longer reflect who I am. As I began to research and learn more and more about Church history (particularly after I attended an Alpha course - the anger is rising just thinking about this), this brought up a lot of anger, which comes across in the words. Where this comes from I do not know - possibly from past lives where I was persecuted and killed for my supposedly heretical beliefs (I am almost certain that I was one of the 200 plus burnt at the Cathar fortress at Montsegur, and may also have been an Inquisitor), but wherever it does come from, it is in the past, and needs to remain there.

Part of the process of letting go will involve re-reading that book, which contains a vast array of information on a myriad of fascinating subjects - Atlantis, Ancient Egypt, Mesoamerican civilisations, crystal skulls, and of course religion - as the subtitle says - life, the universe and everything in between ... It will be an interesting journey.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Our cross to bear

I was sitting in the coffee shop this morning, following a trip to the gym, and waiting for my partner, when I observed through the window, a procession headed by a man carrying a wooden cross, presumably in commemoration of the crucifixion, which according to tradition, took place today, on Good Friday.

The timing was as always impeccable, because at this precise moment, I was reading the chapter on the ego in Eckhart Tolle's book entitled "A New Earth". One of Tolle's and my own observations is how the ego needs to have an identity. People look for this in various ways, through their jobs, their families, their possessions, but also through their belief system (for this, read religion). To me, the idea of carrying a cross in commemoration of an event that may or may not have taken place, in memory of a man whom some say was little more than a myth, seems somewhat absurd, but that judgement is borne from my own ego.

It occurred to me as I watched the procession walk slowly past, that the symbol of the cross is a symbol for our own ego, and the need to "crucify" or perhaps examine, our own beliefs, which in reality, are little more than thoughts. The ego is quite literally the cross that we have to bear, as most of us are completely embroiled in the drama that it creates, believing that this is who we are.

The resurrection, which according to tradition, took place on Easter Sunday, where Jesus rose from the dead to be re-born to eternal life is symbolic of not the death of the ego, but the acknowledgement of what it actually is - a collective madness that keeps mankind in chains through feelings of lack and superiority, hence the need to "spend, spend, spend" acquiring more and and more "stuff", and the need to also "keep up with the Jones".

When we release attachment to the ego, and identification with stuff as part of who we are (my partner, my job, my this, my that), then we too are re-born to eternal life, for in the moment that we become conscious that we are the consciousness that observes the ego for what it is, our alertness rests within the eternal moment known as now. That moment, where past and future do not exist (they are both illusion anyway) goes on and on into infinity and so, as we rest within that moment, we are literally re-born to eternal life.
I have been through my own death and re-birth these past few months, in more ways than one, so it seems fitting to spend today in contemplation of such things.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Forging ahead

I am missing the regular astrology group that I used to attend with my good friend Sarah Jane Grace, which seems to have been disbanded since my sojourn on on Lundy. Sarah describes herself as a psychic astrologer; someone who tunes in to the actual energies of the planets to see how they interact with the others in an individuals birth chart. This is not the sun sign astrology that you read in the papers, which don't get me wrong, has it's place, for this work is far more in depth.

It amazes me that each month when my partner, who does Sarah's website, receives the monthly horoscopes, that they are so in tune with what has been occuring in my life:

The April horoscope for my own sign of Cancer is as follows:

"Life has become a little tough recently, you feel as though your life is not moving in the way you had hoped for. You seem to be stuck in limbo, almost in stasis, not quite sure where to go next. In some ways this is due to your inner cautionary nature taking hold, as you are understandably feeling a little nervous about your way forwards in life. It seems that whichever way you turn, you have to make a leap of faith, and the fear of this has got you trapped in inertia.

You are aware of a pressure around you, trying to forge a way ahead, pushing you forwards. You haven’t realised that this, is, in fact you! You are creating the push/pull scenario – a feeling that you so desperately want to move forwards, but the fear holds you back. You must be feeling exhausted.

April brings with it a smoother path, and an easier ride. Once you stop wrestling with yourself so much, you will be able to see your way ahead with great clarity and focus. This is likely to be an obvious step, and you may feel a little silly that you had missed this solution before now, but worry not, don’t think about what has passed, focus on the present instead. Life doesn’t have to be tough anymore, embrace the joy and happiness, it is now within your grasp."

I do hope that she is right! Her other horoscopes can be read here.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

The dam is about to burst

I received another update from Karen Bishop the other day, the timing as always impeccable. What she had to say was once again spot on with regard to where I am right now. I post my own comments here, as it always helps to know that others on the path are feeling the same as you. We all feel at various times, that no one understands our own unique pain, so it comes as a relief to know that others are going through it too, in their own way.

I was feeling very low and downhearted the other day, having been rejected for a job that I really wanted, but it seems that something bigger and better is beckoning over the horizon. The anchors are slowly being lowered, as spirit works to make sure that we get exactly what we need at this time.

Many of us have been going through intense periods of transformation. This is all part of the plan, to help us let go of the old, as me move into a new, much clearer and brighter space, where all our needs will be met, a space which is more in alignment with who we truly are.

While we are in this place of transiton, some may experience a variety of different symptoms, including intestinal distress, nightmares, unpleasant or strange dreams (I have had a lot of these), fatigue, dizziness, brain fog (some of this too), feeling as if one is floating, becoming emotional for no apparent reason (I experience this all the time), being cold with an inability to get warm, seeing more light in our surroundings (or having things look brighter, literally).

We have all worked hard and made great strides since this process began around the middle of last summer, and are now at the very edge of the cliff (metaphorically speaking), waiting to make that jump.

The tide will begin to turn within the next week or so, as Easter approaches, as the light begins to increase, in more ways than one. We will be left wondering, Karen says (and I so hope that she is right) why we ever doubted.

Things are being held back for a very brief time in order to help us with the final letting go, and then at last, in Karen's own words, the dam with break, and the river will flow. Any darkness that remains will lose its power and its footing, and we will be gently washed away, to be carried to a new shore where we will become completely anchored, she says, by June.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Lifting the veil

Three weeks after I had my interview, the postman came early today, bringing with him a letter postmarked Lundy Island. With bated breath, I opened it and began to read:

"Thank you for taking the time to attend the interview with me recently on Lundy and also for the assistance that you gave during the week of voluntary work on the Island. I hope you enjoyed the experience. I'm sure that you would have found Island life very different working behind the scenes to being a visitor.

Having considered your application very carefully unfortunately I'm sorry to have to tell you that you have been unsuccesful on this occasion.

In the meantime I would like to take the opportunity to wish you success for the future and hope to see you on Lundy again soon."

My initial response was relief, but this has quickly given way to a myriad of other emotions as the pain body springs into action, licking its lips for another feast. I think I realised a day or so ago that I had not got the job, when I found it being re-advertised, with a note to the effect that previous applicants need not apply.

Although I had made my mind up a week ago that the job was not right for me, I am still disappointed to see it in black and white, and there is still a sense of loss. Perhaps it would have been better to have kept things as they were - maintaining the illusion of perfection that I see now is the island's veneer, but I know in my heart of hearts that that was never an option; I had to see this through. I am only sorry that I had to do it so publically, due to my role as Editor of the village newsletter, and for the pain that I have caused my partner in the process.