The Soul Connector

The Soul Connector

Reflections and tips on connecting with your soul, understanding the messages from your inner guidance, and enjoying a soul-fully rich and fabulous life...

29 January, 2007

The heart of change

Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, wrote:
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no-one thinks of changing himself.
There's a lot of truth in that. So often our focus is directed outwards - there's always stuff in the environment around us that needs "fixing", isn't there? It's far more challenging to turn your gaze inward and consider what you need to work on in yourself.

The Chinese philosopher, Confucius, was very specific about the importance of doing this:
To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.
It makes sense to start with oneself when seeking to effect any change, because the way we are within ourselves, and how we live and interact with others, impacts on everything and everyone around us. It's too much for any of us to conceptualise single-handedly changing the entire world anyway, because every other individual on the planet is co-creating it along with us. But it is realistic to accept responsibility for our own experience of the world. And then appreciate that, in the greater scheme of things, we're all interconnected.

A heart-centred life...
So what does it mean to "set our hearts right"? Quite simply, I think this means to lead a heart-centred life - to be loving towards yourself and to those around you, and to treat others the way you would want to be treated. This is also about expressing what's in your heart - being true to your self, by finding and following your purpose in life.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, summed it up beautifully:
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;
what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Too often we get caught up in things that aren't really important - all the complicated drama and minutiae of daily life. But if you go inward, and gently hold your awareness in the centre of your chest, your heart centre, you will find that you are able to cut through to what really matters. The heart is the guide to truth.

Try this for yourself...
Today, take some time out to listen to your heart... Find a comfortable place where you won't be disturbed. Sit or lie down, close your eyes, breathe deeply and allow yourself to completely relax.

Visualise a golden ball of light in the centre of your chest, in the centre of your heart. Enjoy the feeling of holding this warm, loving energy there. Now, imagine this golden light gently burning through all negative thoughts and feelings, lovingly and effortlessly dissolving all obstacles and blockages...

Visualise that this golden light is radiating out from your heart and flowing throughout your body, aligning your entire being with the loving energy of your heart. Now seek the guidance of your heart: Ask, what message do you have for me now? Then, simply allow the answer to come to you in the perfect way and at the perfect time.

Repeat this exercise any time you feel in need of inner guidance. As you go about your day, you may also choose to use this affirmation, to support your expression of the guidance of your heart:
Infinite Spirit knows my heart's desires.
Infinite Spirit clears all obstacles from my path to bring my heart's desire to me now.

21 January, 2007

Don't fight it, feel it

I'm a big fan of 60s soul music and one of my all-time favourite albums is by Sam Cooke, Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963. It's rough, energetic and life-affirming. Cooke's joy in singing is totally infectious - just hearing it will make you wish you were there! The opening track on the album is called "Feel It" and has the line:
"Don't fight it, feel it."

I think that's really good advice to live by...

Think about this for a moment: Does your life always flow easily for you, or do you seem to expend a lot of time and energy resisting change? Have you ever felt like you're virtually dragging yourself along through life, kicking and screaming? I suspect we've all had moments like that!

But it doesn't need to be that hard. The saying: "what you resist, persists" is very true. Sometimes we can really fight the circumstances of life and, in the process, inadvertently make everything much harder than it needs to be. The more you fight a situation, the more you give it energy - so the more it is here to stay.

When you encounter resistance, it's usually an indicator of where you have control issues in your life - and this is about fear. Ask yourself: What is it that you're hanging onto so tightly? What are you afraid of letting yourself experience? What would happen if you let go of this and simply allowed life to unfold?

Allow yourself to be supported...
Sometimes you need to let yourself step outside of your comfort zone, in order to discover that it's possible to experience things in a new - and better - way. It does take courage to surrender yourself to the unknown. It's a leap of faith to trust that the universe will support you... but it always does.

As the poet Guillaume Apollinaire wrote:
Come to the edge, he said.
They said: we are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them... and they flew.
Instead of resisting where the flow of your life is taking you, allowing yourself to "go with the flow" releases powerful creative energy because you're letting yourself be in tune with the true nature of the universe. There is a Divine plan for your life and when you choose to allow it to unfold, you will find that things become easier and more meaningful. Everything falls into place and life is exhilarating instead of exhausting!

Try this for yourself...
So how can you practice letting go and experiencing the flow of life? Well there's a line in a Beatles song that offers a good suggestion. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", written by John Lennon, begins:
"Picture yourself in a boat on a river..."
This makes a wonderful meditation. Next time you're feeling stressed or anxious about a situation in your life, take some time out to relax and imagine that you're in the midst of a beautiful, peaceful landscape. You're lying back in a boat, gently floating down a great, smooth-flowing river. You are right in the centre of the current... and there's no need to steer, because the river is taking care of you, safely and serenely. Simply allow yourself to go with the current... and enjoy the feeling of going with the Divine flow of life...

15 January, 2007

The gift of oneself

I read a great quote yesterday, from Mother Theresa:
"We can do no great things. Only small things with great love."
How wise that is!

I know there have been times in my life when I've berated myself for not doing more or thinking I could have tried harder in a particular situation - chances are that you've done this to yourself too. But the truth is: all any of us can do is our best, in any given moment. And it doesn't matter if that isn't something big or grand - what matters is that we put our hearts into it. Because bringing about change in the world happens through doing one small thing at a time... with love.

I think we need to keep reminding ourselves of this, don't we? Especially when looking forward and imagining all the wonderful things we'd like to manifest in our lives. Lose sight of where you are right now, and the importance of being truly present in the moment, and it's easy to get overwhelmed with how much there still is to do, and how far there is to go on the journey. But break it down into what you need to concentrate on at this point in time, and give it your complete and loving attention, and life becomes breathtakingly easy and flowing and deeply satisfying.

You are your own masterpiece...
John Ruskin, a 19th century English art critic, wrote:
"When love and skill work together,
expect a masterpiece."
Of course this doesn't just apply to creating art, but to living life in general. It's that principle of "do what you love, and love what you do" - something that's fundamental to the way I choose to lead my life. It's one of the the keys of living what I call a "soul-full life". Yes, it's good to do your best, but it's not about expecting yourself to be the world's greatest artist or movie star or astronaut or inventor or whatever else - it's about allowing yourself to be the best "you", which is your very own masterpiece. It's about valuing and appreciating exactly who you are and how special you are. It's the unique gift of yourself that you are sharing - with family and friends, with colleagues and clients, and with the world.

This brings to mind one of my favourite quotes, by the French playwright Jean Anouilh, who expressed this idea beautifully:
"Love is, above all, the gift of oneself."
To live your life with love, and to be grateful for each moment, is great advice to live by. The more you express love and gratitude in your life, the more you give energy to this and the greater the flow of positive experiences.

Try this for yourself...
So... what are you grateful for in your life right now? Every day, for the rest of this week, try beginning your day by expressing gratitude. What are the three (or more) things you wish to give thanks for today? This might be people or experiences in your life, specific talents or qualities in yourself, special places or things in your environment... or simply that the birds are singing and the sun is shining! Focus on your heart centre as you do this, and feel the warmth of gratitude radiating outward. A beautiful way to start your day...

Here is a lovely affirmation to take away with you, from Denise Linn:
This is a glorious time to be alive, and I am so grateful!

07 January, 2007

Creating a fabulous future

How would you like the future to be? Is this no more than a fuzzy, vaguely formed idea in your mind? Or have you sat down and thought about it in great detail? Do you have a clear, strong picture in your mind of what you truly desire to manifest for yourself - a dynamic image that inspires and drives you forward? If you don't, then now's the time to do something about it!

Whether you realise it or not, every thought that you have is contributing to creating your reality. If you want to know what today will be like, think back to what your thoughts were yesterday. Were you thinking about what you do want to bring into your life, or were you dwelling on all the things you don't want in your life? Simply by changing the focus of your thoughts today, you change your future - and by doing so, you can bring into your life what you truly wish to experience. That's why it's vital to be aware of what's going on in your head and to feed your mind with positive thoughts and images.

The saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" is absolutely true. Images speak directly to your subconscious mind and communicate entire concepts instantaneously. Today, I will show you how to create a powerful visual representation of the fabulous future of your dreams, using the simple process of collaging - this is what's known as a "vision seed map". Don't worry, you don't need to be an artist to make a collage! Nor do you need to go out and buy a bunch of expensive art supplies. It's a fun and easy process, and you can use whatever materials you already have lying around the house.

Here's what you'll need...
Before you begin, gather together all the materials you'll need:
- paper or pasteboard to stick your pictures onto
- some old magazines (you'll need to feel comfortable tearing pictures out of these)
- photos, coloured paper, kids' paintings, wrapping paper, fabric or anything else that appeals to you
- scissors and glue (a glue stick is ideal)
- some space to spread out (such as a table, desk or on the floor).

And here's what to do...
Begin by taking a moment to tune into yourself and let go of any preconceived limitations or constraints. Give yourself permission to be playful and use your imagination. I find that collaging is an intuitive process that comes together organically, so there's no need to think ahead to what the finished piece is going to be - the joy of it is in discovering this as you go along! To get yourself in the right frame of mind, ask yourself: What is the most fabulous future I can possibly imagine? How does this look and feel? Where am I and what am I doing, leading my most fabulous life?

Now go through your magazines (or, if you don't have any to hand, you can trawl through and print out images from the internet, eg using Google Image Search) and simply tear out whatever pictures appeal to you. Don't judge how or why, just gather images. When you've got lots of pictures to choose from, spread them out around you and pull out those that really speak strongly to you in some way. Begin to arrange and rearrange these on the page before you (ie your sheet of paper or pasteboard) and allow your collage to take shape. If you like, trim your pictures down and play with moving them around on the page, layering images over one another - this can dramatically increase the power of your collage.

Keep doing this until your collage feels "finished", at which point you're ready to stick the images down using your glue stick. Don't rush yourself or the process - if it doesn't feel quite "right" to you, simply leave the pictures there on the page (without having stuck them down) and walk away from it for a while, then come back to it with fresh eyes. Just make sure you're not judging yourself - allow whatever comes out to be "perfect" exactly as it is. And hey, if you feel later that you want to make another one for yourself, then you can do so!

It doesn't matter whether it's rough or polished, after having been through this process your collage will inspire you with positive energy whenever you look at it. Pin it up somewhere prominent where you'll see it every day (or you can even scan it and print out a pocket-sized version that you can get laminated and carry with you). What you're telling your subconscious mind now, loud and clear, is that this is the fabulous future I wish to create for myself - so go out and make it happen!

PS: If you haven't already done so, I invite you to subscribe to my free monthly ezine, Soul-full Connections. The January 2007 issue focuses on the theme of "a new year, a new you" and is packed with ideas to help you get off to a great start this year, including how to tune in and harness the energy of the new year, and how to create and use affirmations to support all of your positive endeavours. Plus, as a special gift with your subscription, you will receive a free copy of my ebook, Living in Bliss: 10 secrets of a soul-full life, with inspiring and practical strategies for building and sustaining a soul-full life. Please enjoy with my blessings...

02 January, 2007

Letting go to open the flow

Happy New Year to you! Beginning a new year ushers in a wonderful surge of energy, doesn't it? I bet you're already thinking about all the fabulous new things you'd like to bring into your life - I certainly am! So where to start?

For a lot of us, the festive season seems to be all about filling up - with food and drink, gifts and good times. While this is lots of fun, it can also be pretty exhausting. So it's great to take a breather afterwards and give yourself some time to reflect and rejuvenate.

Reflect and create space...
What did 2006 mean to you? What stands out as your personal highlight/s for the year? What was your biggest challenge/s? Whether or not you achieved every single thing you set out to do during the year, take a moment to express gratitude for everything you did accomplish and appreciate what you've gained from your experiences. Congratulate yourself for completing another year!

Next, instead of leaping straight into setting a bunch of new year's resolutions or making a list of all the things you'd like to manifest in 2007, I've found that it's really valuable to first go through a process of releasing some of the old stuff. This helps to make space for the new to flow into your life.

Energetically, this is like starting the year with a fresh and clean slate, rather than just scrubbing out little bits here and there or overlaying more on top of what was there before. Believe me, it's a fantastic feeling to do this cleansing process!

Zen funeral...
The simple yet powerful exercise known as a "Zen funeral" helps you to get rid of mental and emotional clutter, freeing you up to focus on the new. It's not only easy to do, it's very cathartic!

Here's what you'll need:
- pen and paper
- matches
- fireproof container (eg metal or ceramic pot).

And here's what to do:
Take a moment to relax and centre yourself. Then take a piece of paper and write down all the things you'd like to release from your life - all the restrictions and limitations you want to get rid of such as fears and anxieties about money, work or relationships; outmoded ways of thinking such as poor self-image, poverty consciousness, blocking of success, self-judgement or old emotional baggage. Anything and everything that's been bothering you or holding you back in any way. Don't beat yourself up about what comes out for you - simply allow those things you wish to eliminate to flow through your pen onto the page.

When you've finished writing, sit for a moment with your paper and mentally prepare to let it go. Do this without judging what you've written. Simply give thanks for the lessons you've learned through your past experiences of restriction and limitation. After all, whether apparently positive or negative, every experience you have in your life is of value because it has contributed to who you are.

Then, consciously and deliberately, set fire to the paper and drop it into the fireproof container. As it burns, make a simple statement of release:
I now release all restriction and limitation. I let go of everyone and everything that has been holding me back from fulfilling my potential. I allow Divine fire to cleanse and rejuvenate all aspects of my life, and I joyously open to receive the flow of abundance.
Repeat this exercise at the beginning of each year, or whenever you feel in need of release and rejuvenation. In this way, you support yourself to regularly regenerate like that mythical sacred bird, the phoenix, which rose anew at the end of each life cycle from the ashes of its old self.

My wish for you is that 2007 brings forth fabulous new beginnings and a powerful new you, and may it be your best year yet!