What Katy Louise Did...

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Katy Louise writes about health, wealth, happiness and relationships, and the spiritual insights she gains along her path. She is currently editor of Top Sante magazine (www.topsante.co.uk). Prior to that she was editor of Bodyfit magazine (now Your Fitness www.yourfitnesstoday.com) and the launch editor of Soul&Spirit magazine (www.soulandspiritmagazine.com). Katy is also a certified Fitsteps and STOTT Pilates instructor. She is the go-to girl for all matters relating to health, wellbeing and spirituality.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Solstice lunar eclipse ritual

So what did I do to celebrate the solstice lunar eclipse on the sinter solstice? Well, as soon as I got home from work I set about clearing a tidying the little bedside table I have, which I decided to use as an altar/shrine for the purposes of dedicating a small space to my new intentions. Having spoken to Suz, my advertising lady, earlier in the day (the pagan and spell guru), she said today was a perfect day for setting intentions for the coming year: what I want to do, achieve, and also what to let go of.
So, I cleaned the small table, then put onto it two rose quartzes for love, some apopholite crystals (think I may have spelled that incorrectly!), two lazer quartz points, a citrine, a big old amethyst, a purple tea light in a glass holder, a heart-shaped pot with my incense stick in it, plus a smoothe rhodonite stone I got at work recently and which feels lovely to touch.
Then I sat and spent a good half hour or longer writing a list of all the things I am letting go of as of now. This list included many thing, including fear, guilt, doubt, inner stress, not believing in or trusting myself, listening to others over myself, not believing in myself plus many more. I then wrote on the same size piece of paper all the qualities I want to nurture and grow this year, including love, tollerance, patience, self-belief, courage, appreciation, honesty, integrity, joy, fun, plus lots of others. And then I wrote a list of a few things I want to happen next year (which I'll keep private for now but will let you know whether they happen in 12 months' time!).
Next, I read out each negative thing while looking into the candle flame, imagining releasing each thing. Afterwards, I ripped the paper into eight sections and burned each one in a fire-proof dish (actually I got scared if the paper burned too much, paranoid it might start a fire somehow, so I only burned the corners of the papers, but it was the symbolic gesture that counts!). I then flushed all the remaining pieces and ashes down the loo. Good riddance to negativity!!!
Next, I read all the positive qualities and statements aloud while holding onto my dedicated crystal, so that when I hold it next it will remind me of all those great qualities I am nurturing. This list I blu-tacked up on my wall where I will see it each morning.
As for the lists: well I put them under my pillow (as directed by Suz) so they can grow during my sleep.

This little ritual I made up, as I've learned it's more about the intention behind your actions than it is to follow any specific pre-set guidelines. And you know what? I feel pretty good having done it. It felt very symbolic saying good bye to bad habits and bad thinking, and encouraging positive thoughts and emotions - all on the lunar eclipse, to add even more power to my intentions!!!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Total eclipse of the Moon

LUNAR ALERT! Make sure you set your alarms early tomorrow, for there is to be fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event taking place: a full lunar eclipse. But what makes it all the more magical is that not only is tomorrow a full moon, but it is also the pagan festival of Yule – also known as the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year).
Having just spoken to Suzanne, my Pagan friend who works in the ads department on Soul&Spirit, I am informed that the whole day will be infused with extra energy, making it the perfect time to do affirmations, put in cosmic orders, and cast any spells. Pagans will be celebrating this day anyway, as the darkest point in winter, but the lunar eclipse makes it extra special.

According to the fantastic webpage http://earthsky.org (click on the ‘tonight’ link) “There won’t be a total lunar eclipse this far north on the sky’s dome until December 21, 2485”. Here is what else the page says: “…this eclipse is happening almost simultaneously with the December solstice … when the sun will be southernmost for this year. Remember, a totally eclipsed full moon has to lie exactly opposite the sun. The winter sun rides low to the south now, as it crosses the sky each day. So this December full moon is far to the north on the sky’s dome. It rides high in the sky – much like the June solstice sun.”

In England, the partial eclipse will begin at 6.33am and the total eclipse will be at 7.41am. It will last for around 72 minutes. If you live elsewhere in the world, check out the website http://earthsky.org/tonight to find out times for you. I just hope it isn’t cloudy, as the snow clouds have been obscuring the sky for most of this week! But even if we can’t see it, we can still all work with the extra ‘cosmic’ energy and send out positive intentions for ourselves and others around the world.

Visit http://earthsky.org. Also, the fabulous January bumper edition of Soul&Spirit is now on sale! Don’t; miss out, as it contains a crystal bracelet, angel charm, crystal card deck, spiritual 2011 calendar, and psychic development CD along with lots of other free send-away offers (just need to pay postage). Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Those who anger you are your greatest teachers

They say all relationships are like mirrors, either reflecting back to you the qualities you dislike about yourself, or things you like but perhaps don’t acknowledge. Well, I was thinking about this in quite some depth last night, having gone for an evening meal with my flat mate and elderly neighbour, who for the sake of anonymity I’ll call Frank. Over the course of two-and-a-half hears I have often bumped into Frank in the street, or when both in the garden, and we’d have a little chat. A couple of months ago, he seemed particularly down and said something that I interpreted as meaning he would like to have more company (his wife had died a few years previously), and so I went round to visit one evening and spent a couple of hours listening to his interesting stories about the war, people from his past – those loved and lost – and his family. I think I have mentioned him before so I won’t ramble on too much but suffice to say that over the past three months he has grown increasingly fond of me and having me round to visit, hence why he invited to take my flat mate and me out to Christmas dinner.
And I what to say that first off, 80 per cent of the time I spend with him is enjoyable – talking about many memories, showing me old photos, old coins, etc – but then he goes and says or does something strange or slightly inappropriate that makes not only me but my flat mate think he’s weird. Yes he is old, which is what makes us let him off somewhat, but it’s not age that makes him this way, I don’t think.
Last night at the dinner table he called me cruel (he’d done this before) much to the disbelief of my flat mate who jumped to my defence to say she had known me a lot longer than he had, and there was not a cruel bone in my body. His reasoning was because a few weeks ago, I promised to post a copy of the magazine through his door as he is now interested in it (having not liked it one bit when I first showed it to him). I said I would but not when I would, and being the busy, slightly forgetful person that I am, I hadn’t posted yet done it. And this is where life all comes down to interpretation: I saw this as me being forgetful, but in no way was I being intentionally malicious by withholding the promised magazine – I just don’t see it as that important, especially when I am running late for work and think ‘oh I’ll do this tomorrow’; however, Frank interpreted this oversight as me being intentionally cruel towards him nd deliberately withholding it – interesting!
Having come to know more about him and his past, I know he has spent most of his life, sadly, being suspicious of those he meets, studying their body language and trying to ‘figure them out’. But this reinforces the idea that I once read somewhere that you always get what you expect; i.e. if you expect the worst from someone you are more than likely to get it, where as if you expect the best and encourage a person to be their best, you will most likely get that, too. I know this is not the case all the time, but expectations can play a huge part in how things pan out. In Frank’s case, it’s as if he expects everyone he meets to be out to get him in some way (based on many things that must have happened to him in his past, which I wont go into here), and so he reinforces this for himself by interpreting my benign behaviour as cruel.
Another thing he can’t stand is people trying to control him – he is a total control freak. He purposely does or does not do things his family asks of him in order to a) annoy them, and b) show them he is still in control, despite being in his 91st year.

Mirror mirror on the wall…
So why am I telling you all this? Well, to come back to my original statement about how relationships reflect our good or bad qualities, this neighbourly relationship I have with Frank must be showing me something, for, having read as many spiritual books as I have, I believe we all come into each others lives for a reason, and it is that reason I am trying to discern. Is he here to show me patience (because God knows he really tries my patience sometimes!)?; is he here to show me the dire consequences of a life full of bitter regret, and therefore I should deal with any issues as and when they arrive and not drag them around with me like excess baggage, which clearly he has been doing his entire life?
Perhaps it’s these things, but this morning it came to me in a flash: he is a control freak and so am I!!! I admit it, I like to control things and if someone asks me to do something I don’t want to do, I huff and puff and grumble (even if only to myself and not to the person). In my jobs I have tended to be put in a position where I can work autonomously, and get on with doing things my way, by and large, and I love that. I used to find it really hard to take criticism, even if after the fact (sometimes years later) I could look back and realise that perhaps the comments were true. And I think I am getting better at accepting constructive comments now – it depends how they are put across though! But I recognise this stubborn, controlling streak within me and I realised, like a light bulb going off, that this was the same quality I disliked in Frank, which brings me neatly back to the mirror analogy: his control freak tendencies are showing what I dislike in myself, or rather, getting me to own up to them. Now, what I do about this or where I go from here, I am not sure, as his future speech and actions will determine whether I spend any more time with him (from our meal last night and some odd comments he made, my flat mate has pretty much already decided not to spend any more time with him).  
But maybe I am in his life to show him the things he dislikes about himself and get him to change; he has, after all, already told me he actually wants me to help him change, to help him get rid of his bad temper as he doesn’t like being like that anymore. I’m not really sure I can help him do this, I can only offer a friendly ear from time to time (but not all the time – another lesson I am learning is about barriers, and how it’s important to be clear with others about what you will and will not accept, as if you give some people an inch, as I did with Frank initially, they can tend to want to take a mile – but that’s another subject). 

So there you have it: the message for today is to seek to find what your relationships are revealing to you. Are they highlighting your strengths or weaknesses? Do you dislike in others what you really despise in yourself? I think it was the Buddha who said something like ‘our worst enemies are often our best teachers’. Not that Frank is an enemy of course, but he’s the one person in my life right now who causes me most grief, albeit unknowingly a lot of the time, so he therefore must be my best teacher right now.
Can you think of someone in your life that annoys you? Try thinking about what the lesson might be…

The bumper January issue of Soul&Spirit, with crystal cards, a crystal bracelet, a spiritual calendar, angel charm, plus free send-away offers (including P&P) is on sale this Friday, December 17th). Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com on Friday to find out more!!!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Good grief

A week or so ago I was pondering the saying ‘good grief’, which posh English people tend to say when either faced with something surprising, shocking or terrible (or a combination of all three!). Where does it come from? Because how can grief ever be good?
It came to mind because I feel as if during the past few weeks and months I’ve been grieving for past relationships, opportunities missed, things that didn’t work out, and none of it feels ‘good’ in any way.
However, having recently read Loving What Is, by spiritual teacher Byron Katie, I just don’t seem to be able to let myself get too depressed about it anymore. According to Katie’s book (we have a feature about it in the January issue of the mag, on sale soon), she gets you to look at your belief and to first ask yourself whether the thing you are bothered about is actually true, and secondly to turn it around.
So taking this on board, when I start thinking ‘oh I should be with so and so’ or ‘if only I had done X, then my love life would be great’ can I actually know those things to be true? Do I know that my life would somehow be miraculously better and happier if I had made different choices and things had worked out wit this person or that person? Well, no, not truly. I think I know they would have made a difference, but I do not know they would have, so my answer has to be know, I don’t they are true. 
It makes more sense when you read the book, but in a nutshell, Byron Katie gets you to really question your beliefs, and to see that usually the reason you are suffering is because you want the world to be working out to benefit you, and often it does not! This is quite Buddhist in a way, in terms of suffering because we grasp at things, concepts, people, places etc and either want them to stay the same, or mould themselves to our liking.
So despite some evident sadness I have been going through, I just have to look on the positive side, or at least be neutral, because I don’t know that my life would be better if it had gone along a different path, it’s just easier to imagine so. And as Louise Hay, the queen of spiritual wisdom, always says: “You are in the right place, at the right time doing the right thing.” Amen to that.
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life You Can Heal Your Life

The december issue of Soul&Spirit is on sale now, and the January one, with an article by Byron Katie, will be on sale December 17. Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com

Friday, 19 November 2010

Your FREE 2011 horoscope book!

See the future, find out whether your children are psychic, and find guidance from the Oracle of Shadows and Light: all this and much more in the December issue of Soul&Spirit, on sale today!!!

FREE 2011 horoscopes book!
Your 58-page book by astrologer Russell Grant has the low down on love and career highlights for the first half of next year, week by week.

Do you have Cinderella Syndrome?
Is finding Prince Charming your top priority? Then it’s time to change your thinking and discover your powerful inner princess, as she’s the one who leads to happy ever after

Horoscope special
Increase your personal power, healing skills and creative talents, and find a cause worth fighting for, with the warrior goddess asteroid, Pallas Athena. And find out more about the 13th sign of the snake!

» Your I Ching astrology forecast for the month
» Psychic love advice from Jayne Wallace

Soul&Spirit magazine is on sale in Asda, Tesco, WHSmiths, Sainsbury, Morrison, Borders, McColls, and other independent newsagents. Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com to find out more or subscribe and get a great free gift of Angel, Gods and Goddess cards!

Enlightening animations online!

OK not really news as such, but I was just introduced to a series of animated talks by the RSA, available on Youtube, which are really fascinating. This one is about 21st Century enlightenment. There are also ones on reforming education, and a particularly interesting one about time, and how some whole countries are future oriented and some past oriented; even cities are classified this way; it all comes down to our perceptions about time. Check out out! ...


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Can hugging change the world?

Getting a cuddle from a friend when you are down can be really comforting, but how about a hug from a stranger? And how about if that stranger was actually one of the world’s most revered and followed spiritual leaders?
Well, yesterday I visited Alexandra Palace in London to witness the crowds coming for Darshan with Sri Mata Amritanandamayi – aka Amma. This is the Indian lady – some call her a saint – who has hugged close to 30million people. Not that I was feeling low, but I just wanted to experience what so many others had, to find out for myself what was special about it, if anything.
Most people focus on the hugging aspect but what inspired me most about Amma was hearing about her many charitable initiatives around the world, from helping flood victims, to setting up orphanages, and helping vulnerable women gain work skills and set up cottage industries.

My hug...
Watching Amma hug person after person – and I mean really pulling them into her bosom and enveloping them with her physical and spiritual presence – was very moving. There was something about the genuine compassion being shown that touched everyone in the room. When it came to my turn, I kneeled on the floor (Amma sitts down so everyone has to kneel in order to receive their hug) and leaned forward into her. She began chanting something in my ear, which, having spoken to someone later on, I think was probably ‘My daughter, my daughter, my daughter’ over and over again. She kissed me on the head and showered me with flower petals and all of a sudden I was given an apple and a sweet by an assistant, and ushered quickly away for the next person to have their hug. It was all over in a mere minute, and I sat down near to her in order to ‘soak up’ the experience. 

Caring for others and the world
Charlotte, my deputy editor, also came along and was particularly moved by the hugging experience, more so than I was. I found it comforting, and Amma certainly smelled good and it was nice having the blessings of someone so great, but what I found most moving, and what made the tears well up slightly, was contemplating the genuine compassion being shown, and how this simple act of hugging can be so lacking in our society. People, in the UK particularly, are not often that physical. It’s only recently that some people have started to kiss on the cheek when they greet each other. Hugging, especially anyone not your immediate family or friendship group, is just not the norm. I’m not advocating that everyone goes around hugging strangers, but we can all show compassion and love. How many times are we engrossed in our own little worlds and ignorant of the suffering experienced by so many?
Amma’s message was also one that struck me as slightly Pagan (excerpts of her talks were broadcast into the room at intervals), i.e. that of caring for Mother Nature. We all need to embrace the mothering instinct within us, whether male or female, she says, and take care of our precious planet.

All in all I loved the whole Amma experience. We bought some basil tea (even Amma dolls were on sale!), had our darshan with the great woman herself, and felt really inspired to go out and do good deeds. Amma’s work and whole ethos makes you question life, and look at what is really important. Compassion – for everyone not just your family – is what will help make the world a better place.

Visit www.amma.org.uk for more information.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

How to transform your life

Have recently finished reading Loving What Is, by Byron Katie. It may have been out  few years, but this book is incredible. In my opinion if you only buy one new spiritual book this year, make it this one - especially if you have loads if issues either with other people or other things. This gets you to see life in a whole new way; it sheds light on your beliefs, most of which are not true, and allows you to free yourself from them.
The January issue will have an article by Byron Katie on her famous process, called The Work, but it's worth buying the book too. If you really embrace the process, then you will find yourself inquiring into your beliefs all the time, such as 'he should do this', 'it should not be windy today', 'I hate it when so and so does this' etc. It works on the most petty things, too! right up to world events.

Anyway, I'll probably write more on it another time, but if you do read it, I'd love to have your comments.

On another note, am off to see Amma tomorrow to get a hug! I've heard about these infamous hugs and how they can almost be a moment of enlightenment, so the Soul & Spirit team is heading down to London to check her out and hopefully get hugs to find out what it is like!!! I'll let you know

Monday, 8 November 2010

Celebrating with a bang!

Today is my birthday, and to celebrate I’m having not one but two weekends of festivities, which actually started the Saturday night just gone, when I went to see a fantastic firework display with a very dear friend. It was one of the biggest displays in Suffolk – perhaps the biggest – and it was while watching this awesome display, set to music, that I realised what a good reminder fireworks are to live in the now. Being present to this very moment is never more important than when watching a display of fireworks, as if you look away, or are thinking something else in your mind and not really focusing on what is going on, you miss all the beauty. I did try to record some of it on camera, but only a minute or two as I realised that by doing so, I was missing the joy of seeing the beautiful cascades and explosions as they happened. At other times, although I was looking up, I found myself lost in thought about something completely unrelated. But I caught myself doing it, and kept bringing myself back to the present moment, and trying to empty my mind as much as possible so as to truly enjoy the display before me.
For fireworks, once exploded, are gone in seconds. Perhaps they are also a reminder for us of how beautiful and incredible life can be, but how fleeting it really is, and so to live each moment with full awareness as much as possible. This pledge to make this my daily, hourly, minute-by-minute practise from now on (well, as much as possible!).

I also got to spend the weekend doing something else I love: spending time with my family. This began at my grandparents’ house, where gran and I baked her special cookies and also some buns for me to bring in to work today (thanks gran!). This took me back to my childhood days, as it probably at least 20 years ago that I last donned a pinny and made fairy cakes!
Later, I had a roast dinner with my parents, brother and sister-in-law, and watched the Sunday night pre-requisite of the Strictly and X Factor finals. So, though my weekend was relatively low-key in terms of events, distance travelled etc, it was one of the best, as I was with loved ones. And what can be better than that? For while it is great to live in the now, and be present to what is going on (the present is a present, after all!) it’s also nice to reminisce about happy memories. May there be many more to come!

The November issue of Soul&Spirit magazine is on sale now, with FREE angel & love cards by Jacky Newcomb. Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com for more information

Monday, 1 November 2010

on the radio tonight!

Hi all

quick update: I will be talking to Philip Solomon on WCR 101.8 FM tonight (November 1st) at 8pm, all about Soul&Spirit magazine. This can be heard across the West Midlands, as well as live on the internet anywhere in the world at www.wcrfm.com

not sure what he will be asking me but am sure it will be very spiritual indeed!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Enlightenment in the bath!

Wasn’t it Einstein who had his Eureka moment while sitting relaxing in the bath, and working out the theory of displacement? (or am I confusing my scientists?) Anyway, they say the bath is often a place where ‘a ha’ moments occur, and having just gotten out of the bath I wanted to share my own ‘a ha’ moment. It’s nothing original, and plenty of people will have thought it before, but it was quite a profound stream of thoughts for a quiet Sunday night.
As I laid there, holding my hands out of the water with fingers drooping down, watching each water droplet form and then fall off my fingertips, I had a sudden thought about’ oneness’. You see, I read so many articles and books that talk about ‘oneness’ but it never seems to be very tangible, yet here I was in the bath, having a direct experience of it: as each water droplet formed and fell into the water, it occurred to me (and this is obvious but I had not really thought about it before now) that as soon as it fell in, there was suddenly no droplet anymore, no defining boundaries to it or ways to identify that droplet from the rest of the bath water. It had, in essence, gone back to its source. Where was the droplet? It was no more, but yet it still was, for it was part of the rest of the water.

Drip drip drop...
Also, as I watched each one drop off my fingers, and cause small ripples out across the surface, it occurred to me that each drop of water was causing an effect, so although it was ultimately all one, an individual drop could cause motion. And then as I pulled the plug, 99 per cent of the water was to rush down the plug hole to meet with an even larger body of water, which in turn would lead out to the sea, thus returning all the water droplets to whence they came. The other one per cent, I thought, would end up on my towel, which would eventually evaporate and into the air, ending up in the clouds and then one day falling as rain back into the oceans.
And this led me to another thought; we like to give names to things, including the oceans, but really we are only naming areas of water: they are really all one body of water. There is no exact end and beginning to the Atlantic Ocean (apart from where it meets land, of course) but my point is that it is not separate from any of the other oceans, as water is free to flow from one to the other. This means that technically, a water particle from the North Sea, could end up in the Pacific (depending on currents and weather and probably loads of other scientific stuff). But it’s possible.

We are all one
Anyway, where am I going with all this? I suppose my ultimate thought was that if all water is one, then we humans are also all one. When we die, out bodies decompose and go back to the earth. Like the water droplets, we can each cause ripples with our individual lives, i.e we can all make an impact whether large or small, but when we die we all go back to source: our bodies to the earth, and our spirits back to who knows where – source, universe, God, whatever you want to call it. And, every single person is relevant and important. For while one water drop may not be able to do much on its own, it could be the water drop that finally causes a roof to collapse, or be the final droplet that causes a stalactite and a stalagmite to join up, or a drop that nourishes one tiny seed and causes a plant to grow. You just don’t know how one little drop of water is going to affect things. This is the same with people. Ultimately we are all made of the same thing, and we are all one, but while we are in our individual bodies we can make a huge impact on the lives of others. One person might be responsible for writing a book that changes people’s outlook on life; one more person added to a group might cause enough momentum for change (either positive or negative); one person might be responsible for starting a revolution. You just never know.

So, that was my profound thinking for a Sunday night bath! It’s certainly helpful to remember that we are all connected, as this can lead to a greater sense of community, and more responsibility for our actions, as they will always have an impact on others.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Is your life guided?

Is life just as series of random encounters or is there a pattern woven through the cosmos, to make certain things happen? This is something I have been pondering of late, especially in light of an email I received from an author the other day. It began in the usual way, along the lines of ‘I am a fan of your magazine and read all manner of spiritual books, and have written my own in which you might be interested’ etc.
However, half way down the email, when this gentleman mentioned his work involved travelling around the world tasting chocolate, I had one of those light bulb moments when I realised ‘I know this guy’. And so I emailed back saying how and why I knew of him.
Back in 2004, when I was finishing my journalism diploma and sending out CVs to prospective employers, I had come across an advert for an editor on a magazine called Kennedy’s Confection, all about chocolate and the baking industry. I applied, and though didn’t’ have enough experience at that time, the editor kindly suggested I go and pay them a visit, as I had expressed such a keen interest in chocolate – one of my life’s passions (and which I also write about for another magazine we publish here, called SmartLife). However, the meeting never took place as I then was offered the job on the East Anglian Daily Times, a regional newspaper in Suffolk, which I took up and so never pursued the other avenues.

Coming around again
So, what I found weird, was that all these years later, I receive an email from the this same guy, at Kennedy’s Confection, telling me how much he likes Soul&Spirit and how he wants to send me his book: based on his diary of how he went from a dead-end sales job, to running his own magazine and earning tons of money, AND getting to eat chocolate (I wont’ pretend I’m not just a tad jealous of that!).
I mean, it all seems rather bizarre how small the world is and how there are so many connections. Is this because we were destined to meet anyway one day? Or he or I have some important information for each other? Or just to rejoice in our love of chocolate? I don’t know. But I also find it strange, and amazing, that back in 2003 I was reading Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, when at the time in an unsatisfying job, and only five years later I am interviewing her for this magazine! The same goes for Jon Sandifer, who writes the Eastern Stars I Ching Astrology predictions in the mag: I chanced upon one of his books back in 1999, when I was working at BBC Suffolk (it had been sent in for review), and became fascinated and engrossed with it – and now he writes for me!

Joining the dots
Perhaps this is all an example of how all those little events of the past were leading me to where I am now? And that only now are they all beginning to link up and make sense. Having such a strong interest in spiritual matters has certainly stood me in good stead working on Soul&Spirit – in fact it’s a must, as if you are not into this sort of thing, this job would be a nightmare! Perhaps it’s also an example of how you attract the right things to you, at the right time. Either way, I am finding it all slightly strange, yet exciting and fascinating, to be joining the dots and seeing connections to things throughout my life, and marvelling at the cyclical nature of it all. For life is a huge cycle, filled with smaller cycles. Our lives have their own rhythm and cycles, and, I find, the same situations present themselves over and over until you learn the lesson and do something different. I’m not sure what I am meant to be learning from this particular encounter with the chocolate editor, unless it is just to enjoy more chocolate, and I’m not going to argue with that! 

The November issue of Soul&Spirit is on sale now, with free Jacky Newcomb Angels & Love cards. On sale in all good supermarkets. Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com

Friday, 22 October 2010

Awestruck by the moon

Last night, as I turned off the lights in my living room to go to bed, I glanced back as I thought I had left a lamp on, for the room still seemed bright; but no, it was the brilliant white light from the moon streaming through the blinds and onto the carpet. I could not even see the moon through the window as it was so high up, so I went to the window and laid on the carpet, batheing in the rectangle of moonlight that was created. And as I did so, the Louise Hay affirmation CD I'd been listening to earlier that day came to mind; so I started listing off affirmation after affirmation, mainly about being free from the past, releasing all fear and anxiety, having smooth, supple and healthy skin (as my eczema had flaired up), releasing all blame and anger, and inviting love and prosperity into my life.
I even remembered to put my white and clear crystals on the windowsil for a boost of moon energy!

I love the moon; it always makes me smile, whether a sliver high up in the sky, or a huge red orb hanging on the horizon. The full moon is tomorrow (October 23) so I hope you all get to see it and enjoy its energy. 

Friday, 15 October 2010

Is this your month for love?

Will Venus being romance and love into your life this month? And can feng shui really make you rich? Answers to these questions, and more, can be found in the November issue of Soul&Spirit, on sale today! Includes your FREE Angels and Love cards by Jacky Newcomb

  •   Find out how the passion planet Venus is affecting everyone throughout October and November as it moves into sultry Scorpio, with relationship issues coming to the fore for each sign.
  •   Follow Barefoot Doctor’s visualisation to help generate more passion and sexual energy in your life, whether single or attached.
  •   Discover which witch goddess has words of wisdom for you by taking our fun personality quiz. And the real-life witch family from Warrington reveal the rituals they carry out on important Pagan festivals, as well as certain spells (one involving urine, which made me go euuugh!)
  •   Spiritual millionaire Dawn Gibbins thanks feng shui for her business success, plus, why she turned down the chance to be a dragon on Dragon’s Den.
  •   Karma Coach Nikki Wyatt guides you through erasing past negative patterns and planting new seeds of positivity for the future.
  •   Bring more sparkle to your life with Magic Ally’s suggestions, plus her special spell to attain your heart’s desire.
  •   Jacky Newcomb’s angel answers column gives you the low-down on archangel classification and what these celestial beings do.
  •  Discover which crystal can help you recognise synchronicities from the universe, and give you confidence.

Plus: Your monthly love and career horoscopes, I Ching astrology predictions for November, advice from Jayne Wallace, Michele Knight, Ian Lawman, Philip Garcia, Joe Power, Ursula James, and much more!!!!

Soul&Spirit is on sale today, in Tesco, Sainsbury, WHSmiths, Asda, Morrisons, Borders, and independent newsagents. Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Today has been the most glorious autumn day I think I have ever known. In fact the whole weekend has been great, weather wise. But it was more than that. There was a spring-like feel to the day. I went out at around half nine to go to the nearby park and as I sat on a bench surveying the town below me, with not a cloud in the beautiful blue sky, it felt as if there was something different about the energy. It’s hard to describe, but I almost didn’t feel like I was in Colchester. It felt like being on a foreign holiday, what with it being so hot and sunny, but yet it was more than that, and I’m finding it hard to describe…
I know I felt very peaceful, and happy. The sun certainly does make us all feel in a more cheery mood, but it was this warmth added to that spring or autumn-like crispness that made it feel kind of ‘buzzy’. I think I could have happily sat on that bench and soaked up the sun all morning, but then a mother and her cute toddler came to join me, and that was fine but as soon as she lit up a cigarette I knew it was time to go (I can’t stand smoking).

Fresh starts
Later in the day I went for lunch at a beach-front café in Felixstowe, with my best friend. Again, it felt like being on holiday due to the warmth, and all the people out walking along the prom. I think it was the lack of clouds in the sky that made it such a remarkable day. Everything just felt so different, somehow, so clear and vibrant. I wonder whether it is linked to the new moon that happened on Thursday (and that day felt different and special somehow, too) , or whether today was 10/10/10? Lots of people were doing world peace meditations around the world today, or marking this numerological event in some way.
Who knows, whether it was something cosmic, or meteorological, or numerological, the day certainly had a fresh, vibrant feel to it and I just felt so glad to be alive. Yesterday I even cleaned the windows of my flat – something that has not been done in the two and a half years I’ve lived there – and this small act has made such a difference to the energy of the house: it’s like being able to see suddenly, having had a filter across your eyes – it makes the place seem to much cleaner. I’m sure this is all good feng shui-wise, as new moons link to new starts and those are always aided by a good clear out. The only thing I didn’t get round to doing was taking clothes to charity or putting them on ebay. But I just could not bring myself to stay inside today – I had to get out and enjoy the sun!! For who knows when we’ll next see it again for such a prolonged period…
Anyway, I just wanted to make note of this glorious day, and I hope you all got to enjoy it too

Thursday, 7 October 2010


No, I’m not hyphenating that word to make it sound all Craig-Revel Horwood on Strictly (A-ma-zing) but because I’ve just had a fantastic spiritual insight about how to become more abundant, which I want to share with you. But first, I need to talk a bit about today, and how I came to my ‘interesting’ new insight….
Today had a mystical energy about it. There was a huge contrast from the previous grey and gloomy days, in that today it was bright, sunny and almost spring-like (at least here in Colchester). There was a smell in the air that reminded me of being a child at home at my parents’ house. It felt fresh and new. More vibrant than the previous days this week. And perhaps there was a different energy as today was the day of the new moon, or the ‘dark moon’ as the Pagans call it.

New moon affirmations
I’ve never really been one to do spells and affirmations (shame on you, I hear you cry, as I work for a spiritual magazine!) but today I happened to read Joylina Goodings’ email update, mentioning that because it is a new moon today, it’s a great time to write yourself an abundance cheque. So I thought, hey, why not. I logged on to her site (joylina.com) and followed the steps. Firstly I made myself a ‘cheque’ out of an old envelope, and in the Pay section I wrote my name, then in the other blank bits wrote ‘paid in full’ as per Joylina’s instructions. Finally I signed it ‘Law of abundance’. You are also not to date it.
I’d also decided to create a little ritual around this, as Joylina says you create more positive energy and intent this way, and intention is the key. So I lit some incense, and found myself some objects to represent abundance: one, a piece of citrine, which is the stone said to be associated with financial abundance, and secondly, two paper weight hearts – one red and one pink – to represent abundance in love. I lit two tiny candles and placed my ‘abundance cheque’ in between them, on top of which I placed the objects. Oh, and I also had a large money plant on the table too, which had been going all limp and crusty of late as I had neglected to water it, but which I had rescued and revived for the past week or so.
And then I cried. I had not expected this part. My intention had been to fill myself with positive thoughts for now and the future, not to cry over the past. But I found my mind wandering to recent events, and also to my family in their home for some reason, and wanting to surround them, and my ex boyfriend, with loving energy. As I envisaged this, I could not help but shed some tears. Tears of sadness but also tears of a new strength; to move forward with trust and faith in the universe to take me to wherever and whoever will be best for me. I cannot know the future – despite the many people who claim to read futures I still believe it’s 50/50 destiny and free choice – so I put my faith into the abundance cheque to deliver prosperity, not just in financial terms but in love, health, happiness, peace, creativity, fulfilment, etc. For abundance can be delivered in multiple ways. I imagined myself walking forward on a path, with the past slipping away down a cliff side as I progressed, meaning there was no turning back, and that if I did turn back I too would fall down the cliff! A bit severe, I know, but it seemed to do the trick. And what better time to do this than on a new moon – the representation of a brand new cycle.

Dancing and cakes
And as I opened my eyes and glanced at the cheque, I noticed something interesting that had never before occurred to me: the word abundance is made up of a, bun, and dance. Well, I love to dance and I love buns – what a great combination! I always say I will do more dancing, so perhaps this is the first place to start on my abundance – to bring more dancing and joy into my life. And as for the buns, maybe it’s time to buy a pinny and go all Nigella Lawson (or maybe that new girl Gizzi Erskine, the one who looks like Audrey Hepburn) and become a domestic goddess. A dancing domestic goddess!!! I’m not sure where this is all leading me, but it just came to me as I was relaxing after my little abundance ritual, and I wanted to share it with you. So next time you want more abundance in your life, try some cake and dancing, though perhaps not together or you’ll get indigestion! A-bun-dance. There you have it – the secret to a happy life indeed.

The October issue of Soul&Spirit is on sale now in all good supermarkets and independent newsagents.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The tea that breathes... AHHHH!

Just quickly as it's late and I need to get to bed (way too many late nights!) but I just wanted to say how FANTASTIC Gaia Pollini is and her amazing tea ceremony. I never used to drink tea, especially not the bog-standard stuff everyone has with milk and sugar, but Gaia's Chinese tea ceremony with the most rare and precious teas in the world has to be experienced. It's like a meditation; you go into a different zone, you are at one with the tea! I know this sounds crazy but it's true...
I first experienced Gaia's tea ceremony at her retreat in Italy - The Hill that Breathes (which I have written about in much earlier blogs back in July and August), so when I heard she was coming to London to do another one I instantly booked on to it. I wondered whether the same chilled atmosphere would be created here in London as it was in Italy - with the circadas whirring in the trees, the warm breeze and the beautiful space of her house - and I am pleased to report that it was. After about 20 minutes of us all being very chatty, we seemed to mellow and the group just zoned out as the tea did its work.

Wisdom brew
We began with a white tea - good for the lungs, any grief and sadness, and also clearing the head. A couple of us reported that it felt like it gave us headaches, but not in a normal headachy way; this was like a slight pressure in the head but it was not unpleasant. Gaia said this was the energy moving, which was great.
Then we went on to an oolong tea, which I think was called Master Teacher, or Wisdom tea or something like that. It came from a 900-year-old tree in China and was very rare. This stronger smelling and tasting tea really warmed my belly and started bringing to the surface repressed sadness, not just for me for for a couple of the participants. But this was all good, said Gaia, as the tea works differently on each person, and what happens is all natural and how it is meant to be.

Bringing up emotions
The space Gaia creates for everyone to just be with what they are experiencing, exactly as it is in the moment, is just so precious; it has taken me a good many years to be able to cry in front of other people (other than my mum, that is) and really be present to my emotions but I think, gradually, I am getting there, and it feels great! and all thanks to some tea! well, this time at least.
I already have some of the green tea at home and one of the oolongs, which I bought in Italy, and plan to make them for myself more often. I learned I was doing it wrong before - using water that was a) out of the tap and b) too hot (you need bottled water as the tea is so 'sensitive', and for green tea it must be at 75 degreed C).

So thank you to Gaia, a gorgeous, wonderful woman who heals everyone she meets xxx

For more information, check out www.theteathatbreathes.com to find out about Chinese teas and how to make them. 

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Neale Donald Walsch - did The Secret get it wrong?

Last night I went to the opening key note speak of the 2010 Hay House ‘I Can Do It’ weekend conference in London. It was by Neale Donald Walsch, whose book, Conversations With God, I read this time seven years ago when I was living in Sydney. Listening to his talk was inspiring and enlivening and I want to share some of what I got out of it.
For those of you not familiar with his work, Neale was having a bit of a mid-life crises about 15 years ago and asked God/the universe/Source, why nothing was going right for him. What he didn’t expect was to hear an actual voice, outside of his head (though it later became in his head, he says) asking him whether he really wanted answers to all his questions. He said he did, and so began lengthy conversations with who Neal came to believe was God, who would tell him why he was here and what was the purpose of life. These conversations make up his three (it might be more now) books in the Conversations With God series.

We are all spiritual masters
So what did I learn from last night? Neale’s turning point came when God told him: ‘your life is not all about you’. To which Neale replied? Well who is it about then? And the answer was ‘everyone else’. In essence, Neale told us that once we realise our lives are not about us, not about fulfilling every little whim and fantasy we may have, and start to realise we are perfect as we are and to help others wake up to their own brilliance, then everything will automatically change for us for the better. He says we are all spiritual master, or can be, just like Buddha and Jesus. He went round saying to individuals “you are here in the room to heal the room” making each and every person aware of their importance in creating a better world. No one is better than anyone else; everyone can shine their light (though it did also make me think that as we live in a dualistic world, we can all also be the darkness, too; we all have good and bad within us).

Is The Secret wrong?
Neale also talked about The Secret, which has sold millions of copies, but which, he thinks, does humans a disservice by focusing purely on getting material abundance. He was featured on the DVD but only very briefly, he says, because he kept mentioning God so much and they had to edit it out! But his view is that God/Universe/Source, whatever you want to call is, is the energy behind why we can manifest abundance, and that should be credited! He says we can all tap into this pure energy and create the lives we want, but after we’ve got the man, the car, the job, the house, the kids, the pension plan, the holidays abroad, the better house, the better car, the right clothes, etc etc, then what? Why did The Secret not address the really big life issues that we can all change with this magnificent power of abundance, he asked? World hunger, repression of women, abuse of children and animals, etc. It’s not that he says we have to be all pious and abandon all our aspirations, and get rid of all our worldly possessions though; he says we can have great fun in the physicality of life, and that this very physically is the starting point on the journey. We need the physical world in order to learn. So he doesn’t advocate going and living like a monk or a nun on a mountain. But he says there is so much more to life than what most people get so pre-occupied with.

We are all one
Our task, he says, is to wake up to fact that we are all one. Those four little words, he says, are life changing. If we all acted like we are all one, then the above problems would begin to disappear as we would treat each other like brothers and sisters, not strangers.
He then told us a story about The Sun and the Little Soul, which in a nutshell, is about this little soul who wants to understand who he is, as being a small candle that makes up the sun, he cannot see himself clearly as he is part of the bigger whole. So God creates the darkness, so that he can see himself contrasted to it and understand who he is. And this is a metaphor for our lives: we are all light, all brilliant Divine beings but some of us, most of us, have forgotten this and are plagued by the ‘darkness’.

To summarise his message, Neale was telling us that we have all come here to change the world, and that if we get too caught up on trying to ‘fix’ our health, love lives, bank account, jobs etc, then we are missing a trick as there is a much bigger mission out there: for us to love ourselves exactly are we are, As God would, he says. And then to go and make others see the light in themselves. I felt so inspired when I left the talk that I went and told some strangers in a pub all about it! And it also reminded me not to let myself get so fixated on my so-called ‘problems’ and to relax and let go a bit more (it’s that F**K It! philosophy again!), and to instead focus on helping others live a great life.

Visit http://www.hayhouse.com/ for more information

Friday, 24 September 2010

The ‘crazy Russian’ lady...

What can we learn from each and every situation? This was something I asked myself yesterday, after I took a call from a disgruntled reader – I’ll call her crazy Russian lady (though she may not have been Russian, as I am terrible at discerning accents – so no offense to Russian people!). Anyway, she was complaining about the fact that the month on the front of the magazine does not match up the actual month it is, i.e. the October issue, out now, is out in September. I told her all magazines do this but she was having none of it, and proceeded to complain about how disruptive this was to her life as it confused her for some reason.
After about five minutes her voice started to sound familiar – it was very distinctive – and I realised she had called about six months ago to moan about the magazine then, when she had told me in no uncertain terms that Soul&Spirit would only be successful if I followed her advice: to take away most of the pictures, to make the text all huge, reduce the number of pages as most of it was “rubbish” and make it cheaper. And yet again, she launched into a tirade of insults about the magazine, telling me the exact same thing she told me last time!
Now, I consider myself to be a pretty placid, easy going type of person, so I listened politely though my heart was racing and my blood was boiling and I wanted to tell her to p**s off. This anonymous woman is one of only two or three people who have ever managed to really rile me and make me angry in my entire life. And boy did she do a good job. My colleagues, who were by now all intently listening to this conversation – well, my replies at least – were telling me to put the phone down, and I did try on one occasion to say I was very busy and really didn’t have time to chat right now, but I let her get her rant out of the way, while I held the phone away from my ear but about half a metre – like I thought they only did in the movies – until she had got it all our of her system.

God grant me the serenity…
When she finally did let me go, I had the usual conversation with my colleagues about how mad she was and how irritating. But later I got to thinking: what was the lesson for me here? Everything is an opportunity for us to learn, or so people say. This is my conclusion: this poor old lady, in her seventies, and who used to work in publishing apparently, so she delighted in telling me, was clearly upset about the magazine; so irritated in fact, that she saw fit to call me and tell me how much she hated it. Once I can understand, perhaps, and it’s not like she is the first to complain about something: we’ve had similar people moaning about the size and type of images used (apparently they are not ‘spiritual’) and about the small font especially when it is on a dark background (people who can’t read so well find it hard to see it – and I take their comments on board). But this lady was in a league of her own, issuing forth a string of complaints without letting up. And I realised what my lesson was, and was reminded of that famous saying, ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference’. For anything else is madness. OK, firstly you could say she was courageous in her actions to call me and tell me her point of view and try and get the magazine changed, but having done so, and then seeing the magazine not change to her specifications (which quite frankly were ridiculous) she was infuriated and saw fit to tell me – again. She was clearly not serene about it! And wisdom was clearly lacking too, as she could not understand why on Earth I would not agree with her suggestion.
If she calls again, I will do something I never normally do, which is to suggest she stops buying the magazine, as it is clearly causing her distress. After all, if you are unhappy with someone or something, the only sensible thing to do – if trying to change it has failed – is to remove yourself from the situation so the irritation is no longer there. Or accept things as they are. But if you won’t accept things, and then continue to get annoyed about them, well, that is just causing yourself to suffer, as the Buddhists would say.

Personal lesson
And then I thought perhaps this was a reminder for me in my own life. I had been in a personal situation that, while wonderful on many accounts, was not in line with one of my life goals. And I tried to change the situation many times the only way I knew how, through logic and rational reasoning, but to no avail. So in the end, I physically removed myself from the situation, as much as it hurt.
So thank you, ‘crazy Russian lady’ for reminding me of this important teaching. You may have gotten me worked up and angry, but you are also a reminder to me, and everyone, that if we can’t change things, we must accept them or let them go.
I hope my ‘Russian’ reader will learn to find peace with the magazine, or just stop buying it. But to keep buying it when clearly you hate it? That is madness. She obviously gets some enjoyment, even if from criticising it; I just hope she doesn’t call to tell me anymore!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Will you ascend to a fifth dimension?

I’ve just been reading an article about a new book called The Annunaki Plan or The Human Plan? By Chris Thomas. It’s in this month’s Cygnus Review (a free newsletter about spiritual books). Initially I thought ‘what a boring book cover – just white with the title on it’ – but something made me read it as it was relating to 2012, and I am really interested in that subject; I’ve read a number of books about what the significance of 2012 is, i.e. the ending of a great age, or cycle of time, and the birth of a new era.
Chris talks about something I have never before heard: a theory that the ‘ascension’ everyone is going on about in 2012 – raising our vibration to ascend to a new dimension or something like that – is in fact a trick. His theory states that there is an alien race, called the Annunaki, who claim to have created humans as a slave race, to one day be transported off the planet and taken ‘away somewhere’ where all our troubles will be gone: no more worry about global warming, no more food shortages, inequality of wealth, nuclear threats etc. Sounds idyllic on the one had (this is supposing this were even true), but what he warns us that by abandoning our planet Earth, we will be abandoning the task God has set out for us, which he says is to answer the question: is human life possible? I think we have proven that it is, or we would not be here, but I think what he means is, can we live in harmony with the planet and other species? And so far we have proven a resounding no. All this talk of ascension to another dimension is a trick, he says, to get us to abandon our grand plan as humans.

Life imitating art?
Yes, part of me – a big part of me – thinks it sounds mad to even be contemplating the idea of an alien race called the Annunaki who want to take us off the planet and make us their slaves. Yeah right! Surely it’s the script for the next blockbuster staring Will Smith? But there is also something in me that thinks well, why not? Speaking of popular culture, this sort of things is explored al the time, and life and art often overlap. The first example that comes to mind is The Simpsons, in which I saw an episode where Homer and his family are captured by aliens and taken onto a spaceship, where the aliens treat them very well and dupe them all into thinking they are going to have a wonderful life. It’s only when Lisa catches one of the aliens reading a book called ‘how to cook a human’ that she realises they are to be made into a feast! Eventually they escape, of course. Science fiction is also abound with stories of humans existing in space ships and doing battle with other races. And maybe these stories and TV programmes are actually alluding to what might one day happen. After all, hundreds of years ago no one would have believed humans would fly, or talk to each other through little devices called mobile phones. Space travel must be on the agenda for the future, and when it is, perhaps we will encounter such events as we see in Star Trek. Why not?

Is ‘ascension’ really so great?
But back to the article; Chris doesn’t state what the answer is (I am sure the book explores that, but I have yet to read it) but he does seem to be suggesting that rather than concern ourselves with alien races and star gates and what is happening ‘out there’ in the galaxy for 2012, we instead keep our focus grounded, and on how to solve the problems we have already created here on Earth. He says if it is true that an alien race want to help us ‘ascend’ and move off the planet and to a higher dimension, then it could be a trick. Not only this, but he says abandoning Earth would be a mistake (if and when we get that option), because we have to face up to our own mistakes and not run away from them. Creating problems – in this case global ones – and then washing your hands of them and running away just leaves the people that are left behind with a big mess to deal with. And perhaps that will happen one day. Perhaps these spiritually ‘advanced’ people who are so concerned with ascension and contacting other races will one day get the choice to leave Earth (or their forebears, more likely), believing themselves to be ‘evolving’ in some way. But maybe they are being misled? For as Chris says in the article, there is no saying where they will be taken. Maybe the real challenge is to stay on Earth and learn to live in harmony with one another. Who are these angels and higher beings that are supposedly ‘channelled’ by a whole host of writers for our advancement? Maybe Chris is asking us to be a bit more discerning, and question the motives of such writings? If we are being ‘guided’ then is it really for our highest good? How can we be sure? These are just some of the things I wonder when reading about all this stuff. Books on 2012 will tell you that it is both ‘the end of the world and destruction of the planet’ yet also a ‘time for spiritual evolution and rebirth’. You can read good and bad about anything and everything. 

A message not to shirk responsibility?
I know I have veered into what would be considered by most as completely wacky territory, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg of a whole host of writings I get to read about ascension and aliens and the like. Like a true politician, I like to neither confirm not deny anything, and I tend to be open to all ideas and discount none, just in case. Who knows, maybe one day the aliens will come – they did in the film Independence Day – or maybe they are already among us, as in Men in Black (hmmm, both Will Smith films. He does look slightly odd – maybe he is one of them?!). Will we fight them or go with them? Will they help us or kill us? Will we even ever have to face these questions? Is the author of this book just a mad man? Who knows…
But perhaps it’s all an allegory, with the message being this: don’t shirk responsibility. Being lured off the planet, which is struggling and dying from our stupid mistakes, by the temptation of ‘spiritual advancement’ might just be a metaphor: for not accepting offers that are too good to be true – as they often are. Perhaps spiritual enlightenment, whatever that means, is just another object of desire, a shiny golden prize we strive for that will, just like material possessions, not lead to happiness and just to another downfall (and in the theory above, into the hands of an evil alien race who want to turn us into slaves!)

The Annunaki Plan? Or The Human Plan? One will kill you and the other will save you, by Chris Thomas – available through cygnus-books.co.uk

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

NEW Angels magazine!

Angels - on sale now in WHSmiths and at www.soulandspiritmagazine.com/angels
Brand new Angels magazine is on sale now! Contains interviews with and articles by: Doreen and Charles Virtue, Jacky Newcomb, Cassandra Eason, Jenny Smedley, Joylina, Daisy Foss, plus many more. Includes real life angel stories, plus exercises to help you connect to your own guardian angel.The package also includes a DVD and book by Jacky Newcomb.
On sale exclusively in WHSmiths, as well as online at www.soulandspiritmagazine.com/angels. Priced £12.99

Monday, 20 September 2010

Hearing the spirit of my great grandmother?

There is one experience in my life that I can’t quite explain and was perhaps an angel, or a spirit of some sorts. I was aged 24 and living in Sydney at the time in an apartment near Bondi Beach, with another girl, who was out that evening. 
I had taken a bath to relax before going to bed. Despite living in what was pretty much paradise, I confess I was in mental turmoil at the time, as I my head was filled with stress over various things, including whether or not to stay in my well-paid but non-stimulating job, and also whether to not to stay living in this apartment (which was tied in to whether I stayed in the job, as one paid for the other). I wanted to leave and go travelling but basically was gripped with fear: fear of not being able to support myself financially if I did leave the job (in the end I did leave the job but ended up back in the UK – but that is a long story). Anyway, I had been falling asleep in the bath and kept jolting awake, so when I got out and got into bed, I was in that sleepy, very relaxed state between consciousness and unconsciousness. And because of that, my mind, unusually, was very quiet. After about a minute of being in bed, I ‘heard’ what seemed like a two syllable word spoken very close to my head. It sounded a bit like my name. I knew the ‘voice’ was not in my head, as it scared me and made me pull the covers up and over my head out of fear! My heart rate also shot up as I was freaked out. But after around ten minutes I did fall asleep.
Months later I was back in the UK and had a reading with a medium. She told me my great grandmother was always around me, supporting me. I asked her whether it could have been her over in Australia, and she said yes, it probably was. I guess I will never know, but that is the closest I’ve gotten to a ‘spooky’ experience of sorts.

For more real life stories, read Soul&Spirit magazine. The October issue is on sale now! Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com.

Friday, 17 September 2010

FREE angel book by Diana Cooper!

Do you believe in angels? I confess I knew nothing of angels before I started working on Soul&Spirit but have since become acquainted with the many names of the archangels, and their different purposes through the writing of the experts in the magazine.
The October issue, which is on sale today, contains a free booklet we put together containing the words of one of the UK’s best-known and loved angel experts, Diana Cooper. In this extract from her popular title, A New Light on Angels, Diana recounts numerous experiences of seeing and hearing angels, who came into her life some 30 years ago at a particular low point. They even showed her that she would one day be on a stage teaching angel wisdom to the masses! She writes about one workshop, in which a business man had his guardian angel behind him; the man leaned backwards and felt enveloped in the warm, protective wings. Diana also includes some short exercises to help feel connected to your own guardian angel.

I believe in angels
I have never had an angel encounter myself, but I do believe in them as I’ve talked to a number of, to my mind, credible people who have seen and heard them, including Lorna Byrne (there is also an interview with her in the October issue about her latest book Stairway to Heaven), as well as many others. And I don’t doubt their experiences. I have found white feathers before, which are meant ot be an angel sign. The most recent was probably the most unexplainable, too, as I was arriving back to the place I was living at at the time, and opened my bag and picked out a white feather! My mind instantly thought ‘well I must have found it last time I used this bag and put it inside’ but I don’t’ recall doing that. This was a bag I hardly ever used – only for festivals as it was an across-the-body style and very small. How had the feather got there? It was a at time when I was emotionally stressed and upset, and in the process of leaving my boyfriend at the time, so I wondered whether it was a sign from the angels to comfort me? Who knows. My logical minds still does not accept it as there can be rational explanations for it to be there. What I really want is a huge bit angel to appear in my room and give me a message!!! Is that asking too much? Most people tend to get angelic help and messages in times of danger or stress, and neither have ever really applied so far so maybe you have to be in big trouble for an angel in intervene? But that’s not the case with Diana, and Lorna, who see and hear angels on a regular basis now. Maybe I need to invite them into my life and believe in them more, as I’m a strong believer that the saying ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ is backward and should really be ‘I’ll see it when I believe it’.

The October issue of Soul&Spirit is on sale now in Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrison, WHSmiths, McColl, and other independent newsagents. Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com

Also, Soul&Spirit have published a one-off magazine, DVD and book box set, called Angels, which is available exclusively in WHSmiths, and online at www.soulandspiritmagazine.com/angels

Monday, 13 September 2010

Drawing can be meditation, too!

Can you use drawing as a means of meditation? Or even problem solving?
Well, earlier this year I met up with Cat Bennet, an artist based in Boston, USA, to put my out-of-practise drawing skills to the test. Having not drawn a single thing since I finished my art GCSE, I thought trying to draw anything more than a squiggly line would be a challenge. But that is exactly how we began: drawing abstract squiggles. Cat said most people are scared of drawing because they think it has to be a masterpiece, which is exactly what I had been thinking. But, Cat told, me, I was being way too hard on myself. To me, my squiggles were a mess, but to her they were beautiful and expressive! Next she got me drawing her glasses, then a tea pot, before ‘graduating’ onto the chair in front of me (until someone went and sat on it!).

Moving meditation
I was really starting to get into the creative spirit, aided also by a large glass of malbec wine, and I was getting more confident at making large, expressive pencil marks. Cat explained that I could use it as a means of problem solving, as utilising the creative right brain means you are able to see things from a new angle. And, she said, it is like a moving form of meditation, as you become lost in the process so that outside worries no longer seem to important. The drawing certainly was like a form of meditation, as I was either concentrating on copying an object, or was in the flow of creating something abstract.
Thanks to Cat’s constant praise for my humble markings, I started to gain confidence, and it was the most fun I’d had in ages! I can't believe I had neglected this creative part of myself for so long.

Cat Bennet is leading a Confident Creative drawing retreat in Covent Garden, London, onSeptember 25th & 26th September. Find out more at www.theconfidentcreative.com

Cat Bennett is the author of The Confident Creative: Drawing to free the hand and mind (Findhorn Press; £8.99) Visit catbennett.net. The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind