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06 Apr

When Someone You Love is Dying

84601An excerpt from Words at the Threshold by Lisa Smartt

 

When her father became terminally ill with cancer, Lisa Smartt began transcribing his conversations and noticed that his personality underwent inexplicable changes. Once a skeptical man with a secular worldview, he developed a deeply spiritual outlook in his final days — a change that was reflected in his language. Baffled, intrigued, and compelled by her linguistics training, Smartt grabbed pencil and paper and tracked his final words.

 

The inquiry that began with her father’s language went on to become the Final Words Project, in which she collected and analyzed hundreds of final words for their linguistic patterns and themes.

 

In her new book Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We’re Nearing, Smartt decodes the symbolism of those last words, showing how the language of the dying points the way to a transcendent world beyond our own. We hope you’ll enjoy this short excerpt from the book.

# # #

 

If you are facing the death of a beloved right now, I invite you to write down the words you hear — even those that seem to make no sense — without editing, fearing, or judging them. As you transcribe the words, and as you read through these chapters, you may discover that the very changes you hear in your beloved’s language, which may seem scary and confusing, may ultimately bring you comfort and meaning.

 

Jewels often emerge as we listen closely and write down final words, and the transcription process can help us feel more connected to our loved ones and even closer to Source. Many times the dying say things that don’t make sense at the moment. But months or years later, you will find hints of prophecy or answers to questions in those words.

 

Here are some suggestions for you to use as you courageously and compassionately witness final words.

 

  • Enter the world of your beloved. Imagine you are visiting a new country. Keep an open heart and mind. Record in a final words journal what you hear, see, and feel; it will be your private travelogue about that other place. You may be surprised later by the pearls of wisdom you find there.
  • Have eyes for the sacred. If possible, imagine that the territory you have entered is sacred ground, despite the terrible loss looming before you. Be open to the possibility that something transpersonal is occurring, and that the words you hear are tracking its course.
  • Validate your loved one’s words and experiences. Repeat back what your beloved has said, to let the person know you heard it: “Oh, your modality is broken. I would love to know more about that.” Avoid telling your beloved that what he or she is seeing or saying is wrong or “not real.”
  • Be a student of the language. Since you are in a new country, learn its language. Study it. Practice it. Speak it. Listen for the symbols and metaphors that are meaningful to your beloved and then use them when you communicate. For example, ask, “Would you like me to help you find your passport?” When you hear things that sound nonsensical, simply think, “Oh, that’s how they phrase things in this country!”
  • Ask questions with authenticity and curiosity. It’s okay to let the dying person know you are confused and would love to hear more of what he or she wants to communicate. “Could you tell me more abou..?”
  • Assume your loved one can hear you even when unresponsive or quiet; let the dying person know how deep your love goes. As we die, our sense of hearing is the last sense to go. When you are in another room, and especially when you are speaking about your beloved, speak with lots of praise and gratitude. Speak words that will bring joy or comfort to the person.
  • Savor silence. Sometimes it is better to just sit with your loved one. When words don’t build bridges, know that the dying may be much more attuned to telepathic or other nonverbal communication, much like the kind of communication we experience when we pray. Speak to the person you love as you would in prayer.

 

Healing Grief

Your listening to and honoring final words will make the dying process easier for your beloved. At the same time, transcribing the words can be healing for you as you move through the loss of someone you love. Make a journal out of the words you’re writing down. Remember that the words that don’t make sense are as important as the ones that do. Notice metaphors or symbols that are repeated, and paradoxical phrases. Are there certain colors or shapes that are repeated? Are there references to people or places you do not see? Meanings may not be clear at first, but when you write down the words you have heard, you may find comforting or healing associations.

 

What might seem senseless to a stranger may hold deep personal meaning to you. Final words can be like dreams. We learn so much by reflecting upon these words and free-associating with them. In your final-words journal, write down the words you hear, and allow yourself to free-associate. Imagine the words are those of an oracle, or the wisdom of dreams, and let them evoke images and reflections in you. You may be surprised and moved by what emerges.

 

My mother and I created raku-fired plaques of my father’s final words in honor of his memory. Art is a powerful healing tool. Many times, the best way to process grief is without language. Taking final words and building art with them and through them brings us to a greater understanding of their meaning and of those we love. Integrating final words with art is one way to keep the portal open between the living and the dying, and a way to honor those who left before us.

 

Shedding Light on the Path of Consciousness

If you are not currently facing the loss of someone you love, it is my hope that this book will offer you the tools for when you do. Perhaps it will also answer your questions about an afterlife and deepen your appreciation of the connection between language and consciousness.

 

As much as the death of a beloved is grief-filled, it is often also a sacred time. The language at the end of life offers a pathway to a better understanding of the spiritual quality of dying and living — and can help us develop deeper connections with our beloveds. With each word we transcribe, we are invited into the consciousness of those we care about as they transition.

 

The continuum of language in the communications of the dying includes an increase in symbolic and metaphoric language, repetition, sustained narratives, various kinds of paradoxical and situational “nonsense,” and a variety of other linguistic patterns that shed light on the path of consciousness that we traverse as we die. By analyzing the language of those who have had near-death experiences, we can learn from these accounts about words at the threshold.

 

# # #

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Lisa Smartt, MA, is a linguist, educator, poet and author of Words at the Threshold. She founded the Final Words Project, an ongoing study devoted to collecting and interpreting the mysterious language at the end of lives. She lives in Athens, Georgia. Visit her online at www.FinalWordsProject.org.

 

Excerpted from the book Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We’re Nearing Death. Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Smartt. Printed with permission from New World Library. www.newworldlibrary.com

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04 Apr

FIVE WAYS AYAHUASCA IS CHANGING LIVES FOR THE BETTER

84021Guest post by Rachel Harris, PhD, author of LISTENING TO AYAHUASCA

 

Ayahuasca is a tea composed of two plants from the Amazon rain forest. It’s considered a medicine by the growing number of Westerners who are drinking ayahuasca in sacred ceremonies in search of psychospiritual healing.

 

In my research, “A Study of Ayahuasca Use in North America,” published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, eighty-one people completed a sixteen-page questionnaire describing how they changed after their experience of drinking this powerful brew. In addition, I personally interviewed another fifty people, again focusing on what happened after the ceremony, asking, “How are you different? How has your life changed?”

 

The self-reports from the questionnaires and interviews revealed five ways that ayahuasca is helping people change their lives for the better.

 

1. Positive Sense of Self: Perhaps the most important change people reported was that they felt better about themselves and felt that they had a right to exist. People said things like: “I’m more accepting of myself, more loving, kind, and patient. I have more self-confidence, take better care of myself, and have greater understanding. I’m less critical.” This last statement is important therapeutically, since a harsh inner critic can be constantly demoralizing in daily life.

 

On a more spiritual level, individuals reported the experience of being flooded with love. This sensation ranges from the comfort of a warm bath to ecstatic heights of feeling loved as a child of the universe. Such experiences often lead to greater self-compassion and self-acceptance. One man said, “You can hear something one thousand times and still not get it. With ayahuasca, the message [of being loved] drops down into the cellular level, and all of a sudden you know it in your bones.”

 

2. Improved Mood: In terms of depression and anxiety, a few lucky people had what I call a spontaneous cure — “My depression is GONE,” one man wrote after a decade of antidepressant use and five years of psychotherapy. We don’t really understand such a dramatic response to the medicine; we can’t predict who will find such relief.

 

For most people, there’s a more gradual healing process that continues after each ceremony. Most people noted a general improvement in mood: more feelings of love and compassion, increased optimism, greater serenity, increased confidence, and more joy. As a result of drinking ayahuasca, people said they felt more easygoing, safer, and lighter; they had more fun and felt more stable. They also reported feeling less anxious, angry, agitated, or upset. One person wrote, “Less darkness, more light.”

 

People seemed to develop a healthy distance between themselves and their moods that allowed them to be more objective and to consider the most constructive way to handle their emotionality. A forty-seven-year-old teacher wrote, “I’m less emotional and can better deal with my moods.” Another woman, age fifty-nine and a college professor, described a distancing from her moods: “I don’t take my moods so seriously anymore.”

 

3. Healing of Trauma: People often report that during ceremonies they relived a traumatic childhood event, sometimes actually being in the scene and other times watching the scene from a distance as if it were a movie. In the former, the person might be recovering a lost memory, gaining access to information that they had blocked. In this case, the person might be experiencing the trauma with full body consciousness in a way they weren’t able to do at the time. They are likely to feel that they’ve regressed to the age they were when the traumatic event happened. In the latter case, the person is able to sustain an objective distance and maintain their adult perspective. Often these people report feeling great compassion for the child they were along with the ability to be more loving toward that child within.

 

Whether the trauma is relived or observed during the ayahuasca ceremony, I think it can be very helpful to work with a therapist who is experienced with the medicine or altered states of consciousness. A skilled therapist would know how to approach these two ways of experiencing trauma differently. I recently heard of a woman who kept reliving the same trauma in every ayahuasca ceremony. This can actually be retraumatizing, and a therapist could help her break out of that loop and move forward.

 

4. Improved Relationships: As people felt better about themselves and less vulnerable to negative moods, they became more available in their significant relationships. There was a trend toward increased honest, direct, and open communication with deeper connections. One college professor succinctly described his changes: “Better marriage. Better relationships with students and colleagues.”

 

Many of the younger respondents said their relationships with their parents had improved, partly because they were more patient and tolerant of them. One early-twenties college student, happily in his fifth year of undergraduate study, asked his mother to answer the question, “Did anyone close to you notice any changes in you (since drinking ayahuasca)?” She responded, “Now he has control over his behavior and has become very spiritual.”

 

A number of people reported reconciliations in ruptured relationships. One woman wrote, “I made peace with my ex-husband, and it made a huge difference for us and our two children.” Others said they ended “unhealthy relationships” with both romantic partners and friends. This news was presented as an accomplishment, something they should’ve done long ago. It seems that many reevaluate their relationships after the ayahuasca experience. For example, one woman explained that she “was better at setting limits without guilt” in her relationships. Another said, “I’ve stopped anything that was toxic.”

 

5. Healthier Lifestyle: Similar to the findings on depression, a few lucky people reported a miracle cure when it came to their issues with alcohol: “After doing ayahuasca, I feel that alcohol is a poison.” “No desire for alcohol.” “I have more awareness around abuse of alcohol, so I drink less.” These people spontaneously began to view alcohol in a negative light. This effortless change in perception and behavior is the unique hallmark of ayahuasca. The changes are not a result of white-knuckle self-control but of an internal shift that seems to happen organically.

 

The self-reports on marijuana were more complex, with some people reducing their use while others, who viewed marijuana as a plant ally of ayahuasca, maintained their habit. A few people said they were less interested in other psychedelics since their introduction to ayahuasca, but others continued to explore.

 

There was a pattern of change in diet with the trend clearly in the direction of less sugar, junk food, and red meat; more vegetables and fruit; and smaller portions. One woman said, “Junk food is less appealing, even chocolate,” which I consider a major breakthrough.

 

People also said they felt better after the ceremonies and enjoyed an increase in vitality and energy. With an increase in their activity level, many reported a weight loss. One man said, “I feel and look younger,” and two described a weight loss of forty pounds.

 

These changes were not the result of willpower or discipline — nobody mentioned those stalwarts of the dieting world. Rather, the desire for a healthier diet seemed to unfold spontaneously as if based on some kind of revelation. Some people reported that they heard a voice telling them to change their eating habits. Others came out of a ceremony and changed lifelong patterns with seemingly no effort, as if they simply decided, “I now just prefer kale to chocolate.”

 

 

These are remarkable changes after ayahausca ceremonies, but we must acknowledge that these self-reports are just the beginning indicators of the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca. Far more research is needed. We still don’t know who will benefit from this medicine or in what ways. And there are risks involved whether drinking ayahuasca in South America or here in the States. But for intrepid seekers of psychospiritual healing, ayahuasca is working in mysterious ways to change their lives for the better.

 

# # #

 

3001Rachel Harris, PhD, is the author of Listening to Ayahuasca: New Hope for Depression, Addiction, PTSD, and Anxiety. She received a National Institutes of Health New Investigator’s Award, has published more than forty scientific studies in peer-reviewed journals, and has worked as a psychological consultant to Fortune 500 companies and the United Nations. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her online at www.listeningtoayahuasca.com.

 

Based on the book Listening to Ayahuasca. Copyright © 2017 by Rachel Harris.

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24 Mar

CARING FOR THE DYING: THE DOULA APPROACH TO A MEANINGFUL DEATH

An excerpt from:

Caring for the Dying: The Doula Approach to a Meaningful Death by Henry Fersko-Weiss

 

Henry Fersko-Weiss
Conari Press, March 2017
ISBN: 9781573246880
Pages 66-69, “Centering”
Centering

Good listening begins well before the first words are uttered. It starts by shifting out of the busy mind we carry around with us at all times—a mind filled with thoughts and feelings like schools of fish that change direction in an instant and swim rapidly in every direction. Imagine that you are at a lecture, try­ing to hear the ideas being presented, but a couple next to you doesn’t stop talking the whole time. That couple is your busy mind distracting you and interfering with your ability to hear the lecture. A name for the act of shifting out of busy mind is “centering.”

 

There are many different approaches to centering. As a stu­dent of Zen Buddhism, I find that meditating on breathing is an approach that works well. Perhaps ten or fifteen minutes before I visit a dying person or the family, I will meditate on my breath as I sit in my car or walk down the street to where the person lives. If I’m sitting, I will focus my mind on the physical sensations of my breath in my lower belly or at my nostrils. If I’m doing walking meditation, I coordinate each breath with the stepping motion of one foot after the other, concentrating on the sensa­tions of raising and lowering my legs and the contact of my feet with the ground.

 

At times, I will add a short phrase spoken internally and softly as I breathe in and out, a practice that comes from the teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. For example, breathing in, I might say: “This moment.” Breathing out, I would say: “Only moment.”

 

Another approach utilizes guided imagery, also called visual­ization. I will explore guided imagery more thoroughly in chap­ter 9. For now, I want to describe a centering visualization.

 

For this visualization, a person sits with their eyes closed, so they can move more easily into the imagination. They start with a minute or two of breath meditation, then call up the image of a still pool of water—perhaps in a forest. Then they visualize sitting at the edge of the water watching its surface. A frog jumps in, creating ripples that move outward in all directions from the plop of where it entered the water.

 

As the person continues to watch the surface of the water, the ripples slowly dissipate until the pool is completely still again. The person feels themselves become that stillness. When they feel ready, they open their eyes and carry that stillness and the receptivity of the pool in their mind as they enter the person’s home or room.

 

The busy mind can be very insistent. Thoughts, memories, sounds, or bodily sensations will drag a person away from their focus. Each time that happens, just return to the centering prac­tice. The activity of returning over and over again to the breath, or to a mental snapshot of the still pool, will keep them centered as they prepare to listen to a dying person or family member.

 

Centering stills the mind and accesses intuition that may help a person see things not obvious to the upper layers of con­sciousness. But they also need to open outward to listen deeply. So once a person is centered, they turn their focus to every sound they can hear in the space around them. In this part of the preparation, it’s essential for a person to maintain some por­tion of their focus on the breath at the same time that they listen intently to every sound. It is this dual focus, awareness of what is happening inside as well as outside, that is most effective for listening deeply.

 

The last part of centering is to set an intention to let go of all expectations and goals. If a person is caught up in wanting to make something wonderful happen, is anxious about saying the wrong thing, or has an agenda related to a particular issue, then they are too caught up in concerns about themselves or their ideas about what is needed to truly listen.

Family members will have to distinguish between times they intend to listen to their dying loved one and times when they may need to bring up an issue or raise a concern. It is often hard for family to separate these two activities. A doula can help with this. For a dying person to speak openly and freely—particu­larly about deeply meaningful or emotional subjects—they must know that their family member is there at this time to just listen. This can be so critical as the dying person faces their final days.

 

After setting an intention internally, I find it helps to verbal­ize that intention out loud. There is something about speaking it, even though I’m alone in my preparation, that seems to give it weight and power; that makes it feel like a commitment I intend to strive toward.

 

As I do this part of my preparation, I will hold my hands with palms together in front of my face or heart, which comes out of my Zen practice and symbolizes for me that the giver and receiver, or the listener and speaker, are not two and not one at the same time. This gesture with the hands is also a sign of gratitude for whatever will be offered.

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21 Mar

How to Stop Constipation with a Few Simple Tests and Adjustments to Your Diet

Guest post by Joy Stephenson-Laws, Founder of Proactive Health Labs (pH) and her team

Constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints, affecting around 42 million people in the U.S, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Unsurprisingly, a study in an article published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found an increased number of emergency room visits for constipation between the years 2006-2011. To understand why this problem seems to be on the rise, let’s take a look at what constipation is and what you can do.

What is constipation?

Constipation generally refers to bowel movements that are infrequent and hard to pass. Many times, people compare stool to their own standard. But this may not be enough to find out the optimal number and type of bowel movements. BMs affect quality of life especially when waste accumulates, leading to sensations of fullness, sluggishness, headaches, mood issues, abdominal discomfort and/or even pain. The Bristol stool chart is a useful tool to assess formation of your stools.

Generally, one to two soft BMs per day are ideal. Although doctors may accept two to three days of no BMs as a natural variation, it may be an indicator that something is backing up. The amount of BMs may be related to volume and type of food and water intake. The goal is to have adequate absorption of essential nutrients, and get rid of waste in a timely manner

Causes of constipation vary and may be due to a number of factors, such as the medications you take (opioids, calcium channel blockers, iron supplements and others), being inactive, pregnancy, travel, diet and health conditions that slow digestion (such as disorders and injuries that affect the brain and spinal cord, hypothyroidism and diabetes).

People who are constipated for long periods of time may also experience additional complications like hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal prolapse (rectum protrudes out of the anus) or fecal impaction (hardened stool stuck in the rectum).

Luckily, what may help constipation is as simple as paying closer attention to your nutrition intake. And remember, you should always talk to your doctor about any medical issues or concerns you have!

So what are some remedies for constipation?

You may need more fiber! Most Americans don’t get enough dietary fiber.

But what exactly is fiber? Fiber refers to the undigested parts of food. According to the NIDDK, fiber helps make stool soft so it can move smoothly through your intestines.

There are two types of fiber — soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is found in beans, fruit and oats. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and may be found in whole grains and veggies. Both kinds help prevent constipation, the NIDDK says. (Find more examples of fiber-rich foods here and here).

Most Americans eat 16 grams of fiber a day but should be getting 22-34 grams a day. But it’s not only the amount of fiber that matters, but also the rate at which you increase your fiber. Ramping it up full tilt can cause gas, bloating and cramps. Be sure to add fiber to your diet slowly so your body can adjust.

Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids (water, fruit and veggie juices and clear soups) to help the fiber work better. And make sure you’re not eating foods that are making constipation worse.

What foods should you avoid if you’re constipated?

If you are constipated, foods with little to no fiber may be working against you, the NIDDK says. You may want to try avoiding cheese, chips, fast food, ice cream, meat, prepared frozen meals/snack foods and processed foods like “TV dinners” or hot dogs, and see if your constipation improves.

Still facing digestive issues and feel like nothing works?

  • Exercise may help stimulate circulation and intestinal function. And you should also factor in your bacterial balance in your gut. Here’s what you should know:
    • Probiotics may help. In a studypublished in The Netherlands Journal of Medicine, certain bacteria patterns were shown not only to be associated with increased health risks and higher weight, but were also associated with higher rates of constipation. Addition of healthy gut bacteria caused improvement in BMs. You can get probiotics in supplement form or in food products such as kefir and kombucha.

 

  • Human microbiome transplantshows promise.  Microbiome is a term that refers to the diversity of gut bacteria. Although it sounds very unappealing to transfer bacterial colonies from a healthy person into the colon of an unhealthy person, it has been successfully done and has also improved several gut diseases, including clostridium difficile infections and chronic conditions such as colitis and Crohn’s disease.

 

Testing that could benefit everyone

  • GI effectspanel: This new stool test detects unhealthy bacteria, overall bacterial balance, the degree of inflammation and problems with food absorption.

 

  • Intracellular magnesium:The American diet is frequently associated with certain mineral deficiencies such as magnesium or potassium. Low magnesium intake has been associated with an increase in constipation. Supplementing with magnesium may help with chronic constipation. Note that it’s known to be a laxative, so don’t take more than is recommended. You can test to determine how much you have and how much you need.

 

  • Preventive colonoscopy:Although it is not the most appealing medical exam, it makes total sense to have yourself checked out, especially over the age of 50. This can detect polyps or tumors in the early stages. Severe constipation or alterations of BMs can be an early warning sign for various diseases.

 

  • Thyroid testing:Impaired thyroid function is not only related to weight gain, general sluggishness, leg swelling and low energy but is also related to constipation. Test your thyroid every two to five years, depending on your doctor’s recommendation.

You also may want to consider a nutrition test to see if your body is getting and absorbing the nutrients it needs.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.

Joy Stephenson-Laws is the founder of Proactive Health Labs (pH), a revolutionary health care company that provides tools needed to achieve optimal health. Her new book, Minerals – The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy [Proactive Health Labs, Inc., 2016] is available through Amazon or wherever books are sold. All proceeds from the book will be donated to The Bili Project Foundation; an organization devoted to reducing the incidents and improving the outcome of Hepatobiliary cancers, which are cancers of the liver, gallbladder or bile ducts. Connect with Proactive Health Labs on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and at www.phlabs.org.

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21 Mar

Four Signs that the Human Race is Undergoing a Collective Awakening By Steve Taylor

TheLeap_cvr-fnl.inddGuest post by Steve Taylor

In spiritual circles, it’s often suggested that the human race is in the process of a collective spiritual awakening. One of my aims in writing my new book The Leap was to investigate the evidence for this. Is it really true that we’re in the process of ‘waking up’ as a species?

 

Let me first of all explain what I mean by ‘enlightenment’ or (as I prefer to call it) ‘wakefulness.’ I think of it as a shift into a more expansive, higher-functioning state in which we experience a strong sense of connection with the world around us and other beings, a sense of inner quietness and spaciousness, and a heightened awareness of our surroundings. It’s a state in which we transcend identification with the ego-mind, and let go of much of the anxiety and restless which afflicts us in our normal state.

 

There are a number of signs that this state is becoming more accessible and normal to human beings, and that a collective ‘leap’ is occurring.

 

Sign number 1: Individual Wakefulness

First of all, wakefulness seems to be natural for a small minority of people. These people aren’t awake due to a sudden transformation, or as a result of decades of regular spiritual practice – wakefulness is simply their normal, natural state. Such people don’t usually become known in a spiritual context. Instead they often become creative artists, poets or painters, like Walt Whitman or William Wordsworth. Or perhaps they become idealists or social reformers, motivated by compassion or a desire to alleviate suffering, like Florence Nightingale, or Peace Pilgrim.

 

Sign number 2: Temporary Awakening Experiences

As I showed in my earlier book, Waking from Sleep, it’s very common for people to have temporary glimpses of the wakeful state, when they’re inactive and relaxed, and their minds become quiet and calm. For a few moments, the wakeful state emerges, like the sun from behind a wall of clouds. This suggests that our normal sleep state has only a loose hold over us and can easily dissolve away, even if it usually manages to reestablish itself.

 

Sign Number 3: The Impulse to Awaken

More and more people seem to sense instinctively that something is amiss with their normal state of being, that it is limited and delusory. They’re aware that they’re asleep, and they want to wake up. As a result, they feel impelled to investigate methods of transcending their normal state such as following spiritual practices and traditions. Again, this suggests that our sleep state is losing its hold over us. It suggests that an evolutionary change is building momentum within our collective psyche. (continued)

 

 

Sign Number 4: Sudden Awakening from Psychological Turmoil

As I showed in my book Out of the Darkness, it’s not uncommon for people who go through intense stress and turmoil – perhaps linked to bereavement, a diagnosis or cancer, alcoholism or depression – to undergo a sudden shift into wakefulness. This often occurs when they have reached ‘rock bottom’, at the point when they think they have lost everything. Their previous identity seems to dissolve away, and a new ‘wakeful’ identity suddenly emerges to replace it, like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

 

For the ‘shifters’ — as I called them in Out of the Darkness — who undergo awakening in this way, the wakeful state seems to emerge fully formed, as if it had been latent inside them, waiting for the possibility to unfold. Although there are sometimes periods of confusion and disturbance as the old ‘sleep’ state fades away and the new one establishes itself, the process seems natural and inevitable. And again, this suggests that the wakeful state is ready to emerge within our collective psyche. It is already there, fully formed and integrated, but only able to emerge (at least for some people) when the old sleep state dissolves away.

 

All of these are signs that the momentum of wakefulness is increasing, that it’s beginning to unfold as the next stage in the evolution of life. As a result, it’s manifesting itself in a variety of ways, in the same way that a rising water level manifests itself as overflowing rivers and lakes, and new streams, ponds, and tributaries. Wakefulness is also rising, and showing signs of its emergence everywhere.

 

But hold on, you might ask, what about all the negativity in the world right now, the terrorism, consumerism and nationalism? Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at this. When a new phase begins, the characteristics of the previous one often become stronger and more entrenched, in response to the threat of their demise. The old traits are threatened and so seem to be asserting themselves more strongly. It’s almost as if, within our collective psyche, the self-system of sleep senses that it’s being superseded and is trying to tighten its grip.

 

It’s important to remember that our own individual psyche is connected to — and influences — our species as a whole. When we undergo awakening as individuals, we contribute to the awakening of our whole species. Our own leap is part of the leap of our whole species. As more and more of us move toward wakefulness, the easier it becomes for others to do the same. The blueprint of the wakeful state builds up within our collective psyche until eventually it may replace sleep as the normal state that all human beings naturally develop in adulthood.

 

The universe wants us to wake up and will guide us toward wakefulness, if we create the right conditions – until eventually wakefulness becomes normal for the whole of the human race.

 

Based on the book The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening. Copyright © 2017 by Steve Taylor. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

 

Steve Taylor’s previous books include The Calm Center, Out of the Darkness, and Waking from Sleep. A senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University and one of Mind, Body, Spirit magazine’s “100 Most Spiritually Influential People,” he lives in Manchester, England. His website is www.StevenMTaylor.com.

 

 

 

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09 Mar

The Madonna Complex: Why Your Man Won’t Have Sex With You Because He Prefers Pornography

Guest post by Dr. Peter Andrew Sacco Ph.D.

Sacco_254_Layout 1Have you ever heard of the Madonna complex? It has nothing to do with Madonna the entertainer.  It is not some catchy “pop” psychology concept which sprung up overnight. Its legacy can be traced back to Sigmund Freud, the great Psychoanalyst and his psychosexual theories. Freud was a major believer in the notion that all human behaviour –wishes, dreams and gratifications, had a strong psychosexual basis.

The Madonna complex asserts that the man reason men choose not to have sex with their wives is because their wives remind them too much of their mothers — having sex with their wives would be like having sex with their mothers. It’s not that these men find their wives unattractive because they don’t! Instead, they are just not “sexually/physically” into them because their wives are more like a mother figure. In fact, these “mother” figures possess a sacred resemblance for some!

Freud was big on transference, treating someone else like someone already close to you in your life. In this case it is mom. Gee, sounds a whole lot like the movie ‘Psycho’ and hit TV series ‘Bates Motel’ doesn’t it? By the way, I love both of them, and I also love my mother, but not the way Norman does. Just saying!  This transference prevents a man from having sex with his wife, for one of these two reasons:

1) His wife reminds him too much of his mother, whom he reveres, holds sacred and views her with untarnished purity.

2) His wife reminds him of his mother who hurt, neglected or mistreated him as a child and he despises her.

In either scenario, his wife vicariously becomes the physical re-incarnate of his mother (No, she is not stuffed or taxidermied!). There is not a snowball chance in hell of her receiving the physical attention she yearns for. You see, most men who select wives who remind them of the mothers, eventually end up despising their wives because they remind them too much of their moms and in many cases, they are not even physically attracted to them. Instead, the women serve more as companions or comfort figures –

mothers, sisters or nurturers who make the men feel secure in the relationship.

The attributes of the Madonna complex can be traced back to both European and Latin American roots. Marianismo is a term often linked to the Madonna complex. The concept is derived from the Roman Catholic belief that the Virgin Mother Mary was both a virgin and the lady Madonna. The theme surrounding Marianismo is moral virtue which places women on a somewhat semi-divine level. When discussing women in the context of Marianismo, they are represented as being morally superior to men. I bet some women are chuckling to themselves, saying, “I told you so!” The purity that woman are said to possess makes them spiritually stronger.

Marianismo also asserts that women are the physically weaker, gentle, docile and the passive gender. Women are “softer” in both their physicality and in their personalities. As a result of this, men are the aggressors when it comes to sex. Even though most women long to have children, men tend to be the aggressors who, “hunt”, “stalk”, “chase” and pursue their mates. Interestingly if you examine ‘stalking laws’ and stats for stalkers, exponentially more men continue to stalk women.

Even though things have greatly changed in today’s society – women being more assertive, aggressive and dominant when it comes to selecting and pursuing mates, in many parts of the world, even in North America, the virtue of women still being the weaker more passive of the two in terms of relationships is very much alive, well and the norm. Unfortunately, this is still portrayed in many soap operas, novels and of course pornography, which I will get to in a bit.

When look at Marianismo in today’s society, the following is often seen and expected in too many marriages and relationships:

1) Husbands are expected to respect and maintain the sanctity of his wife’s purity.

2) Husbands are expected to view his wife as a passive individual and she is expected to remain passive — physically, sexually and in major decision making.

3) Husbands are expected to abstain from all sexual activities with his wife unless it is for the purpose of procreation.

4) Husbands are expected to nurture his children and remain spiritually pure to set an example for the children.

5) If  a hubby feels the needs to “have sex”, then outside affairs are in order to preserve his wife’s purity, his wholesome intentions for her while at the same time satisfying his sexual cravings and massaging his male ego.

Remember folks, this is based on old school beliefs, ideologies and practices. Mercifully it has changed to embraced equality between the sexes, but too many still subscribed to these beliefs.

Then there is ‘Misogyny’, the other side of the Madonna complex coin. Misogyny is a loathing and hatred for women by men and even other women, just because they are female. Back in ancient times, there was this hateful perception of women. It was then that women were treated as second class citizens – not as valuable or revered as men (Sadly, this still happens today around the world and should not be tolerated!). In fact, the famous philosopher Aristotle once postulated women are nothing more than non-perfect men.

Misogyny depicts extreme animosity, even hatred against women. Misogyny is perpetuated in many different facets in today’s society. With the advent of multi-media and “other” new forms of entertainment, you can find it rampant still in television shows, movies, books, commercials, and especially pornography. Is it any wonder violence against women still occurs at such a high rate?

Men with the Madonna complex are trapped in dichotomous thinking; Women are either purely good, or women are purely evil (raunchy). Worst of all, when men think in such polarized terms, it is because they view life in general through these polarized lenses. The ramifications of this can prove detrimental down the road in his relationships or marriage.

With the Madonna complex, sex after marriage defiles the expectations of what a wife is suppose to be and often times the relationship develops major functional issues.  Infidelity often occurs because of sex and intimacy issues within the marriage.  A husband seeks sex with a “whore”, while a wife seeks sex with someone who is going to meet her needs emotionally –Intimacy!

Some male porn addicts possessing Madonna complex use strip clubs, massage parlours and escorts/prostitutes to satiate their sexual urges, hungers and fantasies. This is “okay” in their minds because they really are not cheating, rather using the services of a paid professional. Can you guess what the number one medium of entertain is? Pornography! Can you guess who the majority of consumers are? Men!

Many men who possess the Madonna complex, become porn addicts, and/or become incapable of having sexual relations with their wives. So many wives “blame” themselves for being unattractive, or not sexy. How can they compete with fantasies created from watching porn or seeing girls in strip clubs? It is not innocent fun when one becomes addicted to pornography, which is rampant among men, and a huge killer of marriages and relationships.

Dr. Debra Laino who is a renowned sex therapist and I wrote the Madonna Complex to show how alive the Madonna Complex is in today’s society, as well as how women (wives and girlfriends) are competing with pornography—the other woman/mistress. Most consumers of pornography traditionally have males. With that said, more women are fast becoming consumers of pornography, and as society changes, it will be interesting to see if more women develop the Madonna Complex, and offer ‘tit for tat’. Now there is a pun if I ever saw one!

IMG_0051C            Dr. Peter Andrew Sacco is the author of many books including his new popular selling books; Right Now Enough Is Enough: Overcoming Addictions & Bad Habits and The Madonna Complex, and more than 800 magazine articles. Sacco is an award-winning lecturer at universities in both the USA and Canada, specializing in relationships, criminal psychology, addictions, and mental health. He is also a frequent resident expert on several television programs and appears regularly as a guest expert on many news talk radio shows in the USA (FOX, ABC, CBS, Iheart, Coast To Coast, Global News, Reader’s Digest  etc.), as well as hosting the weekly radio show “Matters of the Mind: Managing Relationships and Mental Health.  He is also an award-winning executive producer and host of documentaries on relationships, psychological issues and child issues. You can learn more about him, or download free books at www.petersacco.com or www.bullyingisforthebirds.com

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08 Mar

Your Voice Reveals Your Truth

Guest Post by Leah Guy

 

Your voice is an important barometer of your health. Like a finely tuned instrument, it reveals emotions such as fear, joy, strength and shame. What is said and how it is said is testimony to inner harmony. With minor nuance in tone, pace, or inflection, the voice reveals character and personality as well as mental and emotional health. An emotional imbalance will manifest in the throat or physical movement as weakness, restriction or unevenness. Hoarseness or a “frog” in the throat are signs of an internal emotional struggle.

 

Before language or advanced intellect humans conveyed information with sound and movement. Grunts and utterances delivered feelings and information from the mind and body. Over the centuries man has developed more sophisticated techniques to communicate, helping us evolve into high functioning and manipulative beings. The ability to stay connected to self and others comes from tools of communication, be it speech or movement. It is by this same means that we distance and disconnect ourselves from others.

 

The power of expression can influence one person, a group or the entire world. Articulate leaders have inspired millions to follow their lead with a passionate conviction for good or evil. Activists and social justice groups influence massive change and evolution through the passion of their voice and conviction of their heart. Words unsaid are often equally powerful. Finding the genuine and appropriate voice for yourself is a balancing act.

 

The voice should be used as a tool for expressing thought and emotion, not as a means of control. Poor communication skills can be damaging to self and others. Constriction or restriction of the voice may appear due to yelling, lying, diminishing others, or negative talk to self or others. The fear to speak up or express your needs can also have a detrimental effect.

 

The 5th or Throat Chakra is the Communications Center. It’s also called The Seat of Emotion. Healthy energy in this area coincides with speaking one’s truth and giving expression to desires, wants, needs, opinions and thoughts. As the first of the higher vibration spiritual chakras, this energy center demands the highest integrity and authentic truth that is often challenged by self-doubt and negative thinking. The Throat Chakra is more than simple vocal expression. It also includes body language, written expression and how we understand the expression of others. When the Throat Chakra is out of balance, there is often another emotional energy system that needs attention. The primary blockages to a healthy Throat Chakra are the untruths we tell ourselves and others. Deceit, lies and manipulation are the blocks that keep us trapped. Physical symptoms that may arise from an unhealthy Throat Chakra may include gum or teeth issues, neck pain, clearing of throat, chronic fatigue, headaches, thyroid and endocrine issues, hoarseness, dental issues, polyps on glands and TMJ to name a few.

 

Ignoring our fears or shortcomings traps energy in our bodies and can also develop into a variety of other emotional symptoms and patterns such as gossiping, fear of ridicule or judgment, shyness, stubbornness, verbal abuse, manipulation, inability to express thoughts, social anxiety and fear of public speaking.

 

Concealing one’s feelings and denying who you are is only damaging to one person. You. It is your responsibility to have healthy and honest expressions. Learn to say what you mean and mean what you say. One of the main reasons we lie is to hide our pain and suffering. When asked how we are, we respond with “fine” or “ok.” It’s become common practice to guard one’s expression as a means of being courteous to others or not airing dirty laundry. But it’s not fine. Continual use of these lies keeps us farther away from our happiness and healing. It’s not just deceit and lies that contribute to the imbalance of our unhealthy expression. Addiction is another indicator that emotional healing is needed. You can’t be harmonious with yourself and be in addiction. To deny that truth is to lie to yourself. When I smoked, I lied to myself about my emotional and physical health. After years of being hooked, I lied so much it became humorous. When I smoked, I convinced myself I was meditating or having some sort of spiritual experience alone in the great outdoors. I wanted to believe smoking connected me to my ancestry to the American Indian culture. The truth was the buzz from the smoke was covering the volcano of emotions that were deep in my body. It was my smoke screen.

 

The “vice” du jour offers a moment of pleasure or relief from the pain that we try to avoid. But the negative behavior is just a vice grip on your troubled inner world. It holds your suffering and it won’t let go. The lies we tell ourselves mask the truth of our integrity. Carrying such shame and fearing to admit the truth of our suffering is difficult even to ourselves. Perhaps we chase false dreams, but to ignore dreams confirms the feelings of worthlessness. Perhaps you are in denial about an eating disorder or addiction. You may be lying about your true feelings about your spouse or a friendship. These personal lies become internalized as self-criticism, self-loathing or denial of self-love. We are afraid to judge ourselves so we create excuses, blame others and manipulate situations to avoid the hurt. We lie to avoid infliction of self-pain to our spirit.

 

To heal our emotional wounds, we must practice speaking our truth in word and deed. Saying what we need, what we desire. Using your voice is not just for words alone, or to communicate with others. We often do not realize the lies we tell ourselves. Self-love, compassion and truth-telling are powerful routes to healing old wounds and scar tissue that has developed from shame, guilt, grief and fear. Do not speak what will continue to cover up these negative patterns, speak what you are today, who you are, what you feel. Energy shifts from internal awareness and expression.

 

Leah Guy is author of the new book The Fearless Path, A Radical Awakening to Emotional Healing and Inner Peace. She is also a transpersonal healer, survivor and media personality. For more info visit www.ModernSage.com/book/

Excerpted from The Fearless Path copyright 2017.

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07 Feb

Be Excerpt

Be_book coverGuest post by Bahriye Goren-Gulek

What is it about certain individuals that inspire not only themselves but also the people around them? In her recent book, Be: Become Your True Self, And Inspire Those Around You, author and branding expert Bahriye Goren-Gulek explores that certain sense of being that comes with deeper levels of awareness — which ultimately turns ordinary leaders into inspiring leaders.

 

Her book highlights eight concepts that readers can use to help them on the path to reaching deeper levels of awareness. Each chapter ends with an interview with a leading business professional who, according to the author, has learned how to bring that specific concept to life. Below, the author has shared an excerpt from Chapter 1, titled “Intuition.”

 

*****

 

The stories we tell ourselves:

 

As human beings we are known to be notorious storytellers. Our whole life experience is based on the stories we tell ourselves. Think about it. Isn’t every experience you recall a personal commentary, a thought, a perception, even an interpretation of occurrences? Two people can attend the exact same concert yet have two completely different thoughts about it and, as a result, two totally different stories to tell afterwards. You probably describe the last company outing very differently than some of your colleagues or team members might describe it. And what happens when we add the opinions and expectations of people around us to our own thoughts? The mixture of all these thoughts and opinions becomes our story and description of who we are, or who we think we are. Our thoughts create our stories, which in turn create our life – or rather, it creates how we experience our life.

 

In essence, our characters and personalities are a result of the stories we create about ourselves, as well as the people that influence us, especially at a younger age. I don’t want to go too deeply into this as it could be a topic for a separate book, but the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu summed it up perfectly when he wrote: “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

 

The thoughts and words Lao Tzu refers to are literally the stories we tell ourselves and others, over and over again. So then, how exactly does this relate to intuition? In essence: our fears and desires are a direct result of the stories we tell ourselves, and in turn these stories reinforce our fears and desires, and the vicious cycle begins. As a child, you weren’t scared to speak your mind. And yet, over time, you got conditioned to sometimes bite your tongue. You might have been humiliated (or felt humiliated) when you spoke up and people reacted adversely, so the story you told yourself was that when you speak up in certain situations, you get ‘punished’, which turned you somewhat introverted. As David Lynch (director and screenwriter) pointed out so eloquently: “We think we understand the rules when we become adults but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination.”

 

This same principle applies to the workplace. I’ve worked in environments where people are governed by fear. And guess what? Most likely, the leaders in those workplaces have many fears within themselves. We all know the insecure overachiever profile. I was even recruited by one of my first employers because I was one of them. But when an insecure overachiever gets to be in charge, they will demand the same work ethic from the people who work for them. I can guarantee you fear is never the best adviser.

 

The first time I became a leader, I wasn’t leading with awareness at all, and it was reflected in how my team was operating. I didn’t realize a lot of my words and actions were driven by my own insecurities, and it resulted in my team behaving in the same way. Fear makes people shut down, and nothing is more detrimental to creativity than fear. The point here is clear: people around us mirror who we are and what we radiate. If we are mindful and at peace, the people we lead will become more mindful and more at peace. Professor Mark Beeman, who specializes in cognitive neuroscience at Northwestern University, has conducted one of the most groundbreaking studies on insights and where creative problem-solving comes from. He

has shown different patterns of brain activity in high-insight versus low-insight anagram solvers, when people are completely at rest. The key conclusion was that insights do not come from logical reasoning, but are a sudden knowing that pops up in a restful state. They emerge out of a moment of nothingness. They emerge from what I would call intuition.

 

So how do we tune into this magical source called intuition? It is actually simpler than you might think, yet at the same time, its simplicity is also one of the hardest things to achieve, especially in our digitally ‘always on’ society.

 

First of all, it’s important to realize that your intuition is already present. It’s inside of you, so you don’t need to go anywhere or do anything! I have participated in many corporate and self-help training programmes out there, seeking tools to become a better person. Drumming sessions to build better teams and drum out the frustrations? Why not? Phrases like ‘limiting beliefs’ and ‘growing edge’ are thrown at you from all directions. I’ve seen colleagues break down, weeping, in some of these workshops, because they feel lost.

 

It was only after I took a break from going to these workshops that I could see what the main learning point was. The key is to remove the barriers we have put in place, versus searching to find that holy grail as if it is something outside of us. Over the years, we have become so skilled at protecting ourselves, our image, our status, that in the process we have also killed that which makes us the best leaders: our inner wisdom. We have become externally driven versus internally driven. You must recall those moments where you feel this tinkling in your gut. When all of a sudden you get an idea, or you are interviewing someone for a job and you know that it’s a bull’s eye. You just know it!

 

So how to bring back what we seem to have lost?

 

You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you are able to silence the mind. The word ‘mindfulness’ has become extremely popular these days, giving it both a mystical as well as an unreachable status. Nothing could be further from the truth. It basically comes down to being able to stop thinking, stop talking, stop doing, and listen. Still the rational mind. The mind that society has put on a pedestal, where we think we can outsmart life. But the fact of the matter is that the rational mind doesn’t know everything. And, often, it can hinder us to find the right answers.

 

I challenge you to take 10-15 minutes of silence every day. Alone. Just switch off your phone, your laptop. And don’t switch on the TV or radio either. Sit still, even if it feels uncomfortable or boring at first, close your eyes and just focus on your breath. If you are having a hard time sitting still, you can also take a walk while doing this. The key is to not interact, not think back over things that happened or things that you want to do. Just be. Of course, thoughts will

come up. Let them. Don’t resist. Just keep being still, whether by sitting still or

while in motion. Be still.

 

Be: Become Your True Self, And Inspire Those Around You by Bahriye Goren-Gulek is available in both Kindle and Paperback version via Amazon.

 

About the Author

Bahriye Goren-GulekIn her recent book, Be: Become Your True Self, And Inspire Those Around You, author Bahriye Goren-Gulek draws on her 15 years of global experience as a brand strategy expert to inspire readers to achieve deeper levels of awareness in order to transform ordinary leadership into extraordinary leadership.

A seasoned brand strategist, Goren-Gulek has worked on both the client (Unilever) and agency side where she has consulted world class multinationals across the globe. As the former Executive Director of Innovation and Strategy at Wallace Church & Co., an award winning branding agency in New York, she has worked with the most talented creative and brand leaders. She is a university lecturer at the graduate and undergraduate level at business schools in New York, Colorado, Singapore and Taiwan. She lives with her husband, son and their dog in Boulder, Colorado.

 

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03 Feb

The Sound of Love

Werts-book coverBy Vanessa Werts, author of Lies and Love: Cleansing the Heart to Make room for Radical Love

Love is the most powerful force on earth. It has the ability to heal broken hearts, fractured by life-imposed realities, and the capacity to accept and cover immeasurable shortcomings. Love is the standard that wars against hate; it will always prevail.

We all need love to be healthy – mentally, spiritually, and some might even say, physically. Without love, how can the heart stay motivated, hopeful, and believe that it has purpose?

Not one person’s life is a mistake or a waste. We all have a purpose for being alive – a calling to answer while we’re here – that is rooted and purposed in love. In understanding our individual, unique calling, we must also learn to love. It is love that touches our lives and makes us better. Not material things, status, or money.

Love has a sound. It is the voice of encouragement, promise, protection, and validation. The sound of love, will minister life to the spirit of a newborn baby in neonatal care, fighting against the odds; it will fan the flickering flames of an aloof marriage into a blazing fire again, and will draw two souls together to vow to spend the rest of their lives building and growing as one. A father’s sound of love expressed to his young daughter gives her clear vision to navigate the troubled seas of dating, while providing for his son, an example of the makings of a man. A loving mother impresses upon her young son’s mind, the character of his future wife, and teaches her daughter the ways of a virtuous woman. This same sound of love is available and, is indeed mighty enough to heal the deep wounds of oppression and bias that plague America.

The growing dark cloud of hatred that looms over this great nation, is not who we are. We are better than mean-spirited words being shot like fiery arrows from one person or group to another. We are not the heartless nation we see playing out on television, social media, and in our communities and neighborhoods. Yet sometimes I wonder if basic human kindness is slipping away from us – one hostile word and one bullet at a time. Since the beginning of civilization until now – have we not learned to love?

Considering that love is the heart’s greatest desire, and we all want and need it, to be healthy and whole, a mutual understanding of love is in order, wouldn’t you say? This is how love is defined in the Bible: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Now tell me, what heart wouldn’t dance to this radical sound of love?

Love demonstrated to others according to this mutual understanding, would reset a nation, putting an end to careless words and actions that cause pain, and open the door for healing and restoration to begin. Let us learn to love one another, remembering that we all just want to be accepted, considered, and respected.

Werts, Vanessa Let us purpose in our hearts today, to release the sound of love whenever we open our mouths to speak. Who knows? Your voice might hold the sound that brings healing to a family, a friend, a community, a nation. Be unrelenting in the power of love.

 

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11 Jan

Discover the Life You Were Born to Live

BookDestinies_cvr4.inddGuest post by Chetan Parkyn

I can remember quite clearly a moment in my life when I realized nothing made sense to me, that everything I had done and was doing seemed out of tune, even meaningless. I was sitting alone at a campfire in the shelter of a small group of pine trees in the highlands of Kenya, enjoying the first opportunity to be by myself in over a year. My father had died eighteen months before, and I knew I had not come to terms with his passing, especially considering how I had busied myself in all kinds of intense activities to avoid acknowledging my thoughts and feelings. In the light of his passing and reflection on the life he had lived, I had not stopped to reconsider what was important to me and what I really wanted to achieve in my own life.

 

In such a state of feeling lost, I was very fortunate soon afterward to be guided to someone, in India, who could look deeply into my life and tell me about it from a purely objective point of view. Do you know those times when you hear something that resonates deeply within you and yet you cannot altogether explain how or why it does? And how, after receiving such insight, it is impossible to go back to an old way of doing things because your perspective has completely changed?

 

Well, that is what happened in the reading I received from a savant living in India who was working with an ancient system of divination. In that reading I reconnected with the ongoing stream of my life. I recognized once more an innate sense of purpose within me that had become blurred and unsure. And one of the issues that came up in the reading was that I had a gift and I was going to start using that gift, giving readings to others, to help them find their way through life more clearly. I was informed that a system was going to come into my life that I would work with, write books about, and introduce to people all over the world, and that what came through me would change their lives forever. The savant suggested that I should get ready for this new system by immediately starting to practice reading for people — I should find a system, any system, through which I could reflect people back to themselves and practice telling them what I saw, so that I would be ready when the “new” system showed up. I was introduced to hand reading, or palmistry, and went from there, exploring and practicing in every ancient wisdom tradition and system of divination I could find.

 

The “new” system that the savant foretold is Human Design, which came into being eight years after the reading I received and into my life six years later, in 1993. I immediately recognized it as the system the savant had predicted, and dove into its study. I discovered the essential value in Human Design and started the task of simplifying what could be seen as a complex system, rendering it into easy, everyday language. Over the years, it has become clear to me that people benefit greatly from being aware of the keys in their Human Design Life Chart. In fact, the system has served to bring huge transformation and empowerment to the thousands of people for whom I’ve read and taught worldwide.

 

So much has transpired since the reading I had in India all those years ago, because the clarification of my journey has resulted directly in my helping others to clarify theirs. My first book, Human Design: Discover the Person You Were Born to Be, is now out in 11 language versions and counting; the second book, The Book of Lines, is being embraced in many circles worldwide; and the third book, The Book of Destinies: Discover the Life You Were Born to Live, coauthored with my life partner, Carola Eastwood, contains descriptions of all 192 different Life Themes that are possible for our life on Earth.

 

We have to acknowledge that massive change is going on in the world and that we are being exposed to more and more information and challenges every minute of every day. New situations come into our lives, and we have to be clear in how we deal with them. We find that trying to follow old patterns of rules and beliefs we used in earlier times no longer works. If we can adapt to circumstances through our own authenticity, present to each moment, then we find that we are in balance with life. This is what is possible through the understanding of Human Design and the realignment with our Life Theme.

 

Human Design gives clear details on how to engage more successfully with life according to your own Human Design. Now The Book of Destinies takes you deep into the heart and soul of the meaning of your unique lifetime. It is as if you can peer into that moment when your Spirit got the vision for this lifetime and know exactly what is intended for this journey. In the kaleidoscope of human possibility, there are 192 Life Themes, and before birth each of us chooses one of them as our theme and purpose in this lifetime.

 

Understanding your Life Theme will bring you a profound recognition, similar to the one I had all those years ago, of the underlying premise to your life. You will come to appreciate the uniqueness of the particular path you tread, recognizing how you engage with some people and situations effortlessly but find yourself uninterested in, or even distracted by, others. You will be reminded how essential it is for you to be fulfilled in your own needs. And you will recognize how to achieve this while at the same time navigating comfortably within the lives and influences of others whose Life Themes you will also come to know and appreciate.

# # #

 Chetan Parkyn is the author of Human Design, The Book of Lines, and most recently The Book of Destinies. He is the world’s most successful practitioner of Human Design and holds frequent workshops and seminars all over the globe. Visit him online at http://www.HumanDesignForUsAll.com.

 

Based on the book The Book of Destinies. Copyright © 2016 by Chetan Parkyn and Carola Eastwood.

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