Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Darth Vader, music and the missing link to connection, creation & love

storm troopers loveYou may have guessed this by now, but Star Wars is one of my favorite films of all time. I wouldn’t pass a Mastermind on it (I am a girl), but I would probably score reasonably. As I look back, I should’ve seen that Star Wars would get a mention in my work – it is mentioned in my first book The Spiritual Teacher’s Handbook, and my guess is will be referenced in every book I write from now on. There is a reason for this. Star Wars is awesome.

By the way, I am talking about the original trilogy here. I can do you a show-down on why they are better than the new ones any day of the week.

In its original form, my second book was called “The 7 Magic Keys”. 7 has always been my favorite number – I was born on a 7 – and as you now know, it is the number of magic. I dig magic.

The number 7, whilst magical, has something missing within it. It isn’t quite perfect; it has a piece missing. An ancient Greek teacher, philosopher, mathematician and genius by the name of Pythagoras, some 2500 years ago,  studied the vibration of strings as he plucked them on a musical instrument called a lyre. He identified that, when playing a 7 tone scale, it is possible to create a perfect harmony by adding an extra note – a small half-step after the 4th note. Even though he was going against the accepted wisdom of the ancient Greeks – that the number 7 is sacred – he added this extra note to make an octave. The perfect octave creates harmonia.

The “fifth”, as this special tone is called, is the tone that brings harmony. It also brings with it a new mathematical ratio between the notes that has a value of 1.618. This is the Golden Number, Phi – the expression of creation and the number of Love.

nature_phiThere is something quite spectacular about what the half-step – this 5th in an octave – does. In traditional Eastern philosophies, there are said to be seven chakras – or energy centers that run up the centre of our bodies starting at the base of our spine and emerging through the crown. To add in the extra chakra at the fifth position; the extra half-step at the thymus gland, we create the mathematical and musical octave of chakras that will have the ratio of Phi – the Golden Number of love. This chakra is where our immune system is linked to in the physical body and it is a link to all lifetimes through time. It is said that this chakra also relates to new ways of communicating (from the heart) using social media, the internet and being able to connect with a lot of people at the same time. This fifth chakra in fact is all about connection be it in this time or through time with ourselves, with other aspects of ourselves in other places and times and with other people and in fact all living things. It is the through connection that we experience wholeness.

I have a hunch here. The immune system is a system of communication. Neurotransmitters are little chemical messengers that travel between synapses and they tell both our hormonal and our immune systems what needs to happen. In a healthy body, these neurotransmitters flow in a perfect way. In a body out of balance, they can either flow too much or too little, but not in the same pattern that would happen in a healthy body. Tom Kenyon and Judi Sion, in their book The Magdalene Manuscript describe how Newtonian physics – which is all about the physics of the physical; about all that has a gravitational field – can only be applied to matter that is bigger than 1000th of an inch. If something has a size that is less than a quarter of an inch, it is too small to have a gravitational field – and so becomes governed by the rules of quantum physics. Quantum physics is all about energy that can be in more than one place at any one time; energy that can penetrate seemingly impenetrable barriers. It is about energy that can be everywhere at once. Where am I going here? Neurotransmitters are the point in the body at which we have matter in the body that is smaller than 1000th of an inch – where we move from the physical to the quantum. My hunch is that neurotransmitters communicate not just within the body but outside of it, using its quantum capabilities – through all time and space. In a healthy balanced body, with a strong immune system, we are connected in the Golden Spiral of space and time, in our own Mandelbrot set of perfection. I wonder if the release of neurotransmitters in a balanced healthy body happens following the geometry of the Golden Spiral, or according to the dimensions of Phi. I would suggest that we communicate through neurotransmitters not just within the body but with all of the cosmos, and – as children of the stars – with the stars.

So in order to stay powerless and disconnected, and keep ourselves in this adventure of Life; contained within an illusion that we are limited, and on a journey to rediscovering how infinitely powerful we are, we have to block the connection that would make us whole, the connection to our unfolding Golden Spiral – a spiral that connects us with all of time and the cosmos and that connects us to our infinite love with ourselves and each others, our health and our true power. We have to disconnect from the knowledge of how life works in order to be in the adventure of Life.

So how do we block it? We do things that disrupt our immune system physically – take drugs, eat sugar, food grown with pesticides, surround ourselves with chemical toxins such as chemical toiletries and air fresheners and drink polluted water. Dr Andrew Wakefield’s research into vaccines and autism has proven a link, which scientific research supports – although his clear vindication hasn’t quite made it into mainstream press. Autism is the extreme end of disconnection. Vaccines cause an artificial trigger of the immune system which my guess is not how the immune system is designed to work, so I wonder if that additional artificial pressure on the immune system causes an emotional and energetic disconnection, with autism being the extreme response. Alcohol, which changes the flow of neurotransmitters, helps us to relax and connect more easily if drunk in small amounts. But too much stops our immune system working properly – and as we get more and more incoherent, disconnects us from being able to connect and communicate with other people. Another way we disconnect is through shoot-them-up gaming. The great news is that we can easily change all of this just by changing how we live our lives and how we spend our money – you have already been and can continue to change the world by what you do with the money you have. A vote with your wallet for organic food, chemical free toiletries and cleaning products, natural medicinal products and ethical fairtrade clothes all support us staying connected to ourselves in health, and to each other and the planet in kindness. But there is something quite profound about this “fifth” which is connected with our emotional wellbeing.

The fifth, it turns out, isn’t just where we connect to our physical health – but to our emotional health also. We stuff our deepest darkest fears and emotions into the “fifth” within ourselves, the bits that we really don’t want to see or acknowledge about ourselves. This “fifth” – the extra chakra which through it’s ratio to the other chakras – brings harmony, wholeness and love – is where the Dark Side predominately lives, and acts as a block to our connecting. The Dark Side keeps us separate and disconnected, yet it turns out that for there to be balance in The Force – the harmony created by the octave – the Dark Side is necessary too. It is however only a small part in the octave – a small sharp in the whole journey of the wonderful magic of all of life. But ignoring it keeps us blocked and stops us truly connecting.

You cannot achieve wholeness, harmony and a full connection to your true power without going through the Dark Side, but it can be wonderful and full of love. I too resisted connecting with this – we are good at putting up a resistance, a strong rebellion – and this is what this half-step is all about. The journey through Dark Side may not feel like something you want to do, but through it we journey to connection and being whole.  Your dragon – Darth – has much to show you: jealousy, guilt, hatred and shame. If you think you don’t feel these emotions, or that they are not part of your being, think again. We all have them. You will remember that to be the Hero of your journey, there comes a point where you need to slay your dragons – by loving them once you are honest enough with yourself to acknowledge that they are there. Through it you may find a love and a peace you have never known before. And you will remember how easy it is to reconnect. There is an extra special gift that awaits you at the end of this part of this journey.

If you can face these emotions, you will start to accept the stuff you have wished to accept the least. If you realize you are normal in feeling these, like everyone else, you will find it easier to own those feelings when they come up with others – say to people “ooooh I think I feel a bit jealous at the moment”, for example. Staying silent or unaware causes an automatic disconnection. The more we can be present with how we feel, and authentically own that in our relationships with others – be honest about how we feel but owning it and realizing it is our stuff, not the other person’s – then the more easily we can connect with others too. Authenticity is the key to connection – and we cannot be authentic if we cannot safely identify or express how we feel with others.

tree of lifeOne final thing. Just as I was finishing this piece for the book it comes from, The 8 Magic Keys to a Wonderful Life, I shared it with one of my closest friends Krishna Surroy, a huge inspiration and an amazing leader. He asked me if I knew about the names of the Sephirot (spiritual principles) in the Tree of Life. I didn’t. I do now. The Tree of Life is an ancient Kabbalistic map of Creation. It follows the most amazing geometry (including Phi), and many teachers including Caroline Myss have shown how the 10 Sephirot, arranged in 3 columns, correspond to the 7 chakras. So guess what. There is a hidden Sephirot, in the position of……(guess) the higher heart chakra. It is the gateway to knowledge, and it unifies all the other Sephirot into One. It is the one that gives us knowledge of Creation – and it is the Sephirot to which all others connect. And guess what it’s name is.

Da’at, or Daath.

Vader, it turns out, might be the missing link.

Are you willing to walk through all that disconnects you, so that you can truly connect?

 

Lessons from Sandhurst on vulnerability, connection & coherence

sandhurstI am happily sitting in a café, a stopover for a quick cup of tea on my way home from one of the best weddings I have been to. One of my oldest childhood friends just got married to a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. I love weddings at the best of times – I am a sucker of all things love – and my friend looked truly happy and stunning. There was, however, something quite remarkable – and deeply profound about my experiences of being in its location, and amongst other Army officers – because it was held at Sandhurst. Sandhurst is the Military Academy in England – training college for the Army’s elite officers and generals – and counts Princes William and Harry amongst its alumni.

 

When I first heard the wedding would be at Sandhurst, I was both excited and apprehensive all at the same time. Sandhurst is not a place I would  normally in my life get to visit and imagined it would be an amazing and beautiful place. At the same time, it is the hub of all things military. I am not a fan of the military. Whilst I have a huge respect and admiration for the courage and bravery of individual men and women choosing a job that is essentially all about life and death, political game-playing and war instead of peace isn’t something that normally resonates with me.

 

As is always the case when I arrive with preconceptions, I found myself having a beautifully humbling, illuminating and enlightening experience.

 

One of the reasons it was one of the best weddings I have ever been to, in addition to who I was celebrating, and my family who I was celebrating with, was the atmosphere and the crowd. There was a friendliness, and an openness that I have only ever seen in spiritual gatherings – which took me by surprise. I could feel the energy and excitement and camaraderie of people who live a serious life but with so much laughter and fun and joy and a huge generosity of spirit and love for each other. We were all welcome to be a part of that and it was fascinating chatting with people who had lived many years within the Army and also outside of it.

 

As a “civvie” I don’t really know what it is like. I will never (I think? I hope??) find out. But something struck me in all of the descriptions of military life and all I sensed there.

 

The purpose of military training – in addition to getting you fit – as I understand it, is to break you down. To take you to that place where you are truly exposed and vulnerable – where you are exhausted, hungry, cold, missing your home comforts and, I am sure at some point, your mum. Where you are in pain, hurting, unable to see how it will all end. And then you – and your teachers – find out whether you can still function and follow the orders of a leader – or can step up and lead.

 

So, what it means is that you have you get rid of all your “stuff”. My sense from the conversations I had with the officers and ex-officers, was that all that keeps us disconnected in life has to come up in training. Fears (“Will I make it? Will I look like a ****Ing idiot?”), jealousies (“S/he is doing better than me”), hatred (“That ****hole is still shouting orders at me and can’t he ****ing see I am BROKEN?”), shame (“I just can’t do it anymore and all I want to do is cry like a baby”).

 

And then once all of that stuff is released, when you are pushed to the point of breaking, you let go. You let others help you through it. You connect.

 

And something struck me.

 

Life is like military training, but we just do it slowly. We build a life of challenge, of uncertainty, pain and suffering – in amongst all the joy and happiness and wonderfulness – and in the process, we have to walk through all the stuff that stops us from connecting. In order to connect.

 

We experience separation (from Source, from the Oneness), and then build a whole lot of layers of crap to protect ourselves from feeling the pain of separation again. So we inadvertently keep ourselves separated as a protection. We struggle to reveal who we really are. We hide ourselves and our light.

 

There is no room for that in the Army. If you are busy worrying about the state of your hair or what kind of telly you’ve got when facing the greatest challenges in war, you won’t be able to be there for your friends who in that moment need you. In the main dining hall of the beautiful Old College in the gorgeous grounds of Sandhurst, I saw a room full of people as connected as the deeply spiritual friendships I am blessed to have – honest and authentic and raw.

 

Soldiers consciously face the unconscious fear of death many of us try to deny, and they stand together having seen every aspect of fear, vulnerability, and shame in themselves exposed for all to see. They realise that’s just stuff, that they are made of so much more, and then they get on it with it together.

 

In order to create change, we must be willing to let go of the individual stuff, and connect and work together, as equals, as part of a shared movement and journey.

Through working together, as ONE, we can move mountains. In order to do so, we have to be willing to let go of aspects of our individuality to serve the greater whole. Only then can we have coherence – a unification of energies that allows all energy to flow efficiently and powerfully – and generate true change. This, is what happens in the military, it seems.

 

I know it isn’t that simple. There are many examples of the darker side of what happens when we are afraid to truly let go and be vulnerable – bullying, harassment, abuse. And how does a soul deal with the experience of having killed another? My guess is through disconnecting in another way, perhaps from the heart of oneself? What happens when you are pitted against another – an “enemy” – rather than realising we are all part of the same human family? There is of course the political game-playing that governs the life of a soldier and so as I share these observations of my humble wonderings about military training, I also appreciate life in the military is multi-faceted and complex.

 

I believe nothing is simple. Nothing is black and white. In every situation – no matter how it may first appear – has a jewel of light and a lesson within for us all.

 

These were my lessons from Sandhurst. I saw many jewels of light about how the power of being vulnerable and truly honest about who you are and how you feel and where you are at in life and despite all of that still moving forward brings you closer to others. I remembered the humility in how when you have nowhere else to go, no place left to hide, the only way you can go is to die, naked and truly yourself. Either literally or metaphysically – to start again reborn. In that re-birth, we have to let go. We are 100% ourselves, naked, uncomplicated, and able to connect with ourselves, with others, and with Source – and make a greater contribution to creating change through that connection with others.

 

 

 

 

A dance class and a lesson on being a woman being led by a man

Ceroc dancing Folkestone KentAcross from where I live, there is a lovely centre that hosts the odd evening event, party, and dance class. I found myself walking past a session last week and was taking by the music and the energy of the dancers and I thought that I would give it a go.

So I have now been for a couple of classes. It is called Ceroc – or modern jive – it is fun and quite fast-paced for a beginner, but easy to learn and has taken me by happy and delightful surprise in several ways. It’s a bit like a super easy version of Strictly Come Dancing to cool, hip, funky modern day tunes.

I was first struck by how there were as many men as there were women. I am used to going to classes where there are lots of women and a few men. And wow is it attractive that a man loves to dance. None of the men I have ever been in a relationship with have loved dancing as much as me (most of them definitely hated it) and yet did no one ever tell them that it is a sure way to get a girl?! (or a boy!)

The next thing that caught my attention were the shoes. Now I am not a lady who is into shoes, but there is something so special to me about the stylish, feminine, subtly heeled, yet original dancing shoes. Shoes that mean a love of the art of dancing. Shoes that express love from the heart.

The greatest revelation was about the relationship between a man and a woman in a dance. Apologies to my dear gay friends here, because this will now be a bit man-woman. I would love the LGBT take on this…..I should also mention that this wont be an enlightenend feminist piece…….however for now it will hopefully be a little bit enlightening in other ways…….

Women, in a dance, have to be led by a man. Men have to take the lead, and women have to let go and allow themselves to be led. Women are and have been “led” by men for centuries in most cultures around the world. No disrespect to my lovely, powerful, divinely masculine and very talented male friends, but basically, my guess is that we women realised that we couldn’t just leave it to the men, because many of the men in power were excluding women and at the same time ****ing a few things up, so we got in on the act. We decided not to trust men. We forgot that men have a role to play. So we took on doing everything ourselves – or at least trying to do everything at the same level as men. Men have forgotten what it is to be divinely male just as women have forgotten what it is to be divinely female. We have forgotten that men give, protect, hunt and are strong – and that women receive, grow, nurture, love – we have kind of ended up doing everything and, at the same time, men have become emasculated and lost touch with their inner hunter gatherer, and women have taken on some of men’s characteristics.

Well, it turns out that this approach doesn’t work in dancing. Not Ceroc or ballroom-type dancing anyway. Men lead, and women have to let them. Unless they want a car crash dance.

So it turns out that my Ceroc lessons are turning into an education into how to connect with my Divine feminine.

After each class where we have learned some steps, we have been invited to “freestyle” – to dance with random partners, of all abilities and ages. In the first class, I found myself being astutely aware of my inability at times to let go – there were hilarious moments of me realising that I had messed up a move because of my inability to let go, whoosing around the hall with a blast of “sorry! sorry! sorry!”s every time I had been unsure of where the male energy was taking me so decided which way I would go instead because I didn’t trust it. We were told it takes 2-3 weeks for women to truly learn to let go and trust the men leading them. Which I think is a bit annoying for the men – there were a few “This is one place where you have to let the man lead you” comments from some of the men accompanied with the odd rolling eyeball. And yet, when I did let go, something amazing happened. I experienced connection – and the natural flow that comes from connection.

I don’t know about you, but it does me good to be reminded of the importance of letting go. Of not always trying to do things my way – because when I do, I mess up the connection. I mess up the natural flow of things. There are of course plenty of areas in my life where allowing life to flow through me is totally the answer, but sometimes it means letting go and allowing another person to channel that flow – and just be in a place of receiving.

If we busy ourselves with thinking and doing and planning all the time, we interrupt the connections that we can make when we allow ourselves to receive. Everything from daily mediation, to allowing someone to pack our bags for us in the supermarket or open a door for us – is an acknowledgement of our being willing to receive. The more willing we are to receive, the more we are given to receive. The more we receive, the more we are connected.

There was one last thing that really grabbed me. There were people of all ages, of all abilities, of all musical tastes. Yet we were all sharing the class together. Every man got to dance with every woman, and every woman got to dance with every man – even if it was to practice one step briefly before trying it with a new partner, we still got to say hello to, and connect with every man (if a woman) and every woman (if a man). Where else do we do that, other than perhaps family gatherings that span many generations. It was wonderful to be reminded of the importance of community; of how everyone matters – no matter their age or ability – and the joy and humility that comes with connecting with everyone.

 

A 20-year reunion, love, connection & the odd shenanigan

friends-laughingIn my work I come across many people who didn’t like school. I always feel like a bit of an odd-bod when I hear these stories because I consider myself lucky enough to have gone to a great school, and on the whole loved it.

 

Every year, there is a reunion, and I have only actually ever been once. So this year, I thought I’d make the extra effort given this year a group of us are celebrating a whole….ahem…..20 years since we left. Not that we of course look old enough to have left school 20 years ago 😉

 

It was a day filled with wonderful surprises, and laughter and joy – but it didn’t start out that way. I was scared. As I travelled on the tube on an old and familiar route to the school, I found myself asking a lot of questions. Who would be there? What would they think of me? What would they think of who I am and what I do? What would they say about me? Would I be as “successful” as them? Or as “cool?”.

 

You would probably never guess this of me if you heard me talk, but I went to a private school – a girl’s school – in London. My parents weren’t rich, so I – along with a third of the girls at the school at the time – went with the help of the old “Assisted Places” scheme. This was government funding under the 80s Conservative government that enabled children from working class backgrounds to have a private education, if they were academic enough. I have always I think carried a bit of guilt because of how I believe everyone has the right to an awesome education, not just a few, yet was privileged to attend the school I did.

 

It wasn’t always plain sailing. I literally had to learn which forks to use, and to eat with my mouth closed and all the things that my peasant-farming slavic parents couldn’t have taught me. I felt a bit “out of sorts” for the first couple of years. I liked going there, but I always felt this unease that I didn’t really belong. Why, as I look back, I don’t know – I think I was intimidated by the poshness, maybe. Yet once we all started developing our own ideals and ideologies, and allowed our personalities to shine, I came to really LOVE my school and the girls and the teachers in it. So I wasn’t sure how – after all these years – I would fit in again.

 

But something amazing happened at our reunion. Actually lots of things.

 

The first thing that struck me was that I found myself talking to girls (women!) who weren’t girls I knew that well when I was there – we weren’t massively clique-y, but we all had our “groups”, as you do at school. There was so much warmth, and a real desire to find out how we all were, what we are all up to, how our 20 years have been. I heard stories of joy, of sadness, of tragedy, of triumph. We laughed at the shenanigans of our own small children now, and of the memories of the shenanigans we got up to when we were there. We howled with laughter at the stories of knickers on trains, of hiding under chalkboards, smoking and drinking in places we shouldn’t have, the Headmistress’s bench, an awesome trip to Russia, wandering skeletons in the biology labs and one of my faves – the girl who handcuffed herself to the suitcase of a new young male teacher who had joined us in the sixth form – and who everyone fancied. There was such a bond between us, a bond I had forgotten was there. We literally grew up together. I felt like I had gone to see old family, such was the familiarity of all those gorgeous young-looking smiles and faces.

 

The next thing that struck me was how we were all still the same!! Twenty years of life, living, adventures and heartache, successes and failures, hadn’t stopped us from being who we are. All of us laughed about how the twinkles in our eyes were still there – a little more lined perhaps, but shining nonetheless. I was beautifully complemented that I still have the same enthusiasm I had when I was younger, the senses of humour were still the same, the voices, the jokes – even the drinkers at school went straight for the champagne and stayed with it. There was something so beautiful about the old friendships, like fitting into an old glove. We got to tour the school, which has doubled in size, and marvelled at how 26 (ish?) of us got into our tiny first year form room.

 

I used to get up super early in my first year, to get to school for 7.30am with a freshly-bought quarter bag of aniseed twists (I don’t know how I only have 2 fillings), and would sit snuggled into the windowsill of my form room, and read. I would look out of the window and see the vines and the trees and hear the birds sing, and feel such a tremendous peace for the 45 minutes I would have to myself before the other girls arrived. The caretaker once found me there, and I was subsequently asked if there was trouble at home – which there was – but my reason for visiting this windowsill had nothing to do with that.

 

Here, in this place full of people from backgrounds that were different to mine, with experiences and interests often different to mine, was a place for me. I found where I fitted and I carved out my Danica-shaped part within it all – just like each of us did. I don’t think I fully appreciated this at the time. I went to a school that turns out many wonderful good doctors and lawyers and journalists, and even a famous actress. I think I was most afraid of revealing that now my work is quite spiritual in many ways. And yet all I felt for others, and felt in return, was a genuine interest, a love and a care that seemed to be there with everyone.

 

 

That’s what I felt going back. I realised that there always had been a place for me, I just couldn’t in my girly teenage angst and self-consciousness see it. There was a place and a space for each of us – and there still is. I could even feel the place that there still is for one of our number who, bless her, died young.

 

 

Whatever our experience of school, our classmates have watched and seen us grow. Just like our families, they saw us on good days, on bad days, on happy days, on sad days, and the strength of connection that exists between people who have grown together through those years always remains – whether or not you are in touch.

 

It is very fitting to me that our ancient Cornish motto translates as “free and loyal art thou”. I feel so very blessed to have seen the wonderful, great women I saw at the weekend, and will be in touch with many of them much more. It is such a great reflection to realise that no matter what, the greatness of who we are stays the same – and to see that in everyone was awesome. As was allowing others to see the same in me. Sometimes in our often-disconnected world and lives, we can forget how connected we remain – no matter how many years go by – to those with whom we have giggled a giggle and shed a tear. No matter what happens in life, no matter how long it is since you’ve been in touch, we carry those powerful, touching and beautiful experiences and connections with us all through life.