Nick Inman’s Guide to Mystical France

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check my site Nick Inman’s beautiful book about http://ccalaska.com/ordinances/title xii.pdf ‘Mystical France – Secrets, Mysteries, Ancient Sites’, published by Findhorn Press, £14.99, is an exciting and useful addition to any travel library. And it is a volume particularly pleasing to me given our recent purchase of a lovely 17th Century Manoir in South West France, a house and land which are also steeped in secrets and mystery to be unravelled.

A well-known and accomplished travel writer who lives in France with his family, Nick has explored the country with a keen eye and intellect, evidenced by the comprehensive coverage of many sites – and sights – not on the regular tourist route. He offers historical fact, well-researched details of little-known places and their significance, and 240 lavish photographs to illustrate them.

This is an excellent guide to a subtle and rewarding France beyond wine, sunshine, food and fashion, with secrets many visitors don’t know about, and if you are planning a visit or even just passing through, you will discover a wealth of fascinating places of interest. The book is versatile and lends itself both to planning an itinerary of sites that intrigue you, and to dipping in and learning about a wide range of fascinating topics from labyrinths and stained glass, angels and fairies, King Arthur in France, pilgrimage routes, little known caves and their paintings, the Tarot and the Templars and much more – some 60 individual features and 14 standalone chapters.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in the hidden beauty of this vast and enticing country. And – as I mentioned to Nick when his book arrived, it’s a multi-sensory experience too, not only rich in colour with heavyweight paper, but it has that delicious (to me) smell of a good covering of ink!
Get a copy whether you plan to visit France or not – there’s much to learn here. 

Christine Miller 

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Find out more about Nick Inman: nick-inman
http://www.findhornpress.com/blog/cat/ni/post/nick-inman2/

The Rhythms of Life

carl book

Shamanic Sand Painting for Insights

Carl Greer

Carl Greer

By Carl Greer

Tides ebb and flow, seasons come and go, and the sun rises and sets.
Nature teaches us about the rhythms and cycles of life.

As a businessman, I’ve enjoyed successes and upturns in the business cycle. But I have also been forced by downturns in the business cycle to cut back my operations here and there and ponder new directions for my business.

The same has been true in my life as well: The natural rhythms of life have caused me at times to be unable to effect changes and break through obstacles. At these times, I’ve had to both be patient and get creative. Sometimes, having to slow down and consider what options might reveal themselves, or work with fewer resources, leads to new ways of doing things. That in turn can lead to insights into even more efficient and effective methods to get things done.

During a downturn in any cycle, when growth has halted, formerly unseen options can reveal themselves. It’s important not to become frustrated and simply try harder at doing the same thing we have always been doing out of fear that nothing will grow or flourish again. If we aren’t getting results, it may be that we need to accept we are in a fallow period or a downturn, and the time for pondering, reflecting, or envisioning something new is at hand.

Resisting a natural downturn in a cycle can cause anxiety as you continue to press forward only to see that your efforts aren’t paying off. Holding on when you need to let go can cause you to miss new, better opportunities that are right in front of you or about to show up in your life as the wheel turns and a new season of growth begins.

Sometimes, you have to let go to move forward into something even better—a situation, a relationship, or a project. Accepting a downturn in a cycle gives you the opportunity to question that which has remained unquestioned, and ask, “Is this necessary? Am I directing too much time, energy, and money toward something that isn’t working for me? Was it working once, but no longer? Is it time to establish a new habit, and focus on something else?”

It might be that you have to learn to work smarter instead of working harder and to change the way you operate. It might also be that you need to open your eyes to new resources and bring in new energies.

When you are in a downturn in your life, you might use the practice of sand painting to gain insights. A Jungian sand tray is a technique similar to shamanic sand painting. Both help you access the wisdom of your unconscious mind. However, unlike the Jungian technique, a shamanic sand painting is typically created outdoors. Let your intuition guide you to a place in nature where you can create your “painting,” a small area on the ground or perhaps a tree stump on which you can lay natural items.

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Example of Shamanic Sand Painting

Gather sticks, leaves, stones, and other natural items to represent the story of your life in the present moment. Again, let your intuition guide you, choosing items and arranging them without thinking about what you are doing.

When it feels as if your sand painting is done, sit for a time observing it. Notice what feelings and thoughts come to mind and what insights arise.

If you like, after you’ve completed your sand painting, return to it on another day and see what changes nature has wrought.

What has been moved, and what has been brought into your painting? What does the painting now say about your life and its rhythms?

In nature, nothing remains the same, and for good reason. After a forest fire, new growth can begin because the trees that blocked the sunlight have burned away, offering seedlings and brush a better chance of receiving the light they need. After a flood, soil can be enriched with nutrients that support new plant growth. Trusting that with endings come new beginning and with losses come gains will help you through the downturns in the cycles of life.

You will find yourself more in synch with natural rhythms when you let go of the fear of loss. Whether you worry about not having enough money, not finding a good job, or not attracting a romantic partner who emotionally supports you, you can look to nature to inspire you to trust in life’s rhythms and engage in the process of letting go of the past and creating something new. And you can use the sand painting technique to better understand how to use a downturn as an opportunity for positive transformation.

Resistance to natural rhythms wastes energy and creates emotional and mental stress. Sometimes, you may be afraid to let go of something because you fear that the loss will be irreplaceable. And if you let go of something tangible, such as a house, a second car, or a side business, you can become gripped by the fear that you will never be able to achieve that thing again and that the loss will be felt deeply, for a long period of time. Yet if you find the courage to let go, you may well find that something better comes along. Perhaps nature’s alteration of your sand painting will suggest what you might let go of and what might replace it.

Is there something in your life that you used to think was essential but now might need to let go of? What is it, and when did it stop being essential for you? Why do you no longer need it? Can you accept that the rhythms of life have determined it is time to let go? And can you trust that something new will come in? Can you identify an opportunity or resource that you’ve overlooked and might now take advantage of?


carl bookCarl Greer, PhD, PsyD
is a practicing clinical psychologist, Jungian analyst, and shamanic practitioner. His shamanic work is drawn from a mix of North American and South American indigenous traditions and is influenced by Jungian analytic psychology. He has worked or trained with shamans on five continents and trained at Dr. Alberto Villoldo’s Healing the Light Body School, where he has taught.  Carl Greer is involved in various businesses and charities, teaches at the Jung Institute in Chicago, is on the staff of the Lorene Replogle Counseling Center, and holds workshops on shamanic topics. He is the author of the new book Change Your Story, Change Your Life: Using Shamanic and Jungian Tools to Achieve Personal Transformation by Carl Greer © 2014, Findhorn Press.

Read an extract and purchase from Findhorn HERE
Please note all royalties are being donated to charity 

Now also available at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

I’m Giving Up Nothing for Lent

Christine Miller

Rising from the ashes – still crazy after all these years?

(with credit to Paul Simon) 

The French House

The French House

I found this blog post from 5 years ago – interesting to reflect on how much has changed – writing this in France, in our dream home, for one thing – how much is the same – the actions I was choosing then I choose now, so perhaps they are perennials which keep life moving and us growing.

And, yes, definitely still crazy, and delighted to be so.

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent for those who follow Christian traditions.  I’m not a churchgoer any more, but I still recall the walk up the church aisle to experience the scratchy feel of ash being marked in the form of a cross onto my forehead by the priest.  I guess it must have happened for each of the 14 years of my schooldays, and more.

I was brought up in a devout Roman Catholic family, and my childhood memories of Lent are about loads of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday prior to ‘giving up’ something I liked on Ash Wednesday for the remaining 40 days and 40 nights in preparation for Easter.  It was usually chocolate. It probably still should be chocolate. Or wine. Or cheese.

Anyway, I haven’t given anything up for Lent for more years than I care to recall.
And I’m not about to start again.

Not Giving Up

I’ve decided to follow that hackneyed quote from Winston Churchill: ‘never, ever, ever…give up’.

But I am going to do something.
Not penance, but productivity.  
Not denial, but delight. 

I am going to do more.

No, not more chocolate, wine and cheese. Not more of anything material. But definitely more fun. More stuff that delights, surprises and stretches me. Maybe even more stuff that’s good for me like – walking and water.

Being pragmatic, things and actions I’m in control of:

  • Meeting more people, online and offline
  • Launching my leadership and transformation retreats at my new home in SW France 
  • Creating more crucial, constructive conversations
  • Writing at least one blog every week
  • More exuberance and fun
  • More kindness and love

People Ideas Action

So I’m not giving anything up.

I’m keeping hold of what I have that I love.

But I am expanding my life with fresh people, ideas, and most crucially, actions. It’s going to be a fascinating forty days, for sure.

Spring Talks

And as part of the action –  crucial, constructive conversations – if you would like to share your experiences I’m also doing a series of 5 minute ‘Spring Talks’ interviews for publication so contact me for more information and let me know if you want to join in.

Leave a message here or contact me via christine at christinemiller dot co (and no, the ‘co’ isn’t a typo, it’s correct)

Conversations with God

Vassula Rydén

An Interview with Vassula Rydén, author of ‘Heaven is Real But So is Hell’

Christine Miller

Vassula Rydén

Vassula Rydén

On her recent visit to London I had a long conversation with Vassula Rydén, Founder of ‘True Life in God Foundation’, who has been receiving and recording messages she believes are from God since 1985, when her life radically changed from carefree socialite, tennis player and diplomat’s wife, to that of scribe for spiritual messages to mankind.

The publication of these messages has led to controversy and persecution for Vassula, encounters with the Church in Rome and sceptical Christians, and also to the building of a large followership of dedicated people keen to hear the messages she conveys.

Having started out with little or no knowledge of the Bible, or theology, Vassula started to share her conversations with God with the wider world, and now travels the globe sharing them with an audience now numbering many hundreds of thousands.

This is a short extract from our conversation.

Welcome Vassula. As I understand it, you started receiving messages in 1985.  Do you still receive messages; and if so, how often do you receive the messages nowadays?
Okay, the latest message. Yes, I still receive messages, but not as often as in the previous years because in the beginning it was every day, a calling, and I understand why, because it was to teach me many things. The Lord had to teach me many things, the catechism, everything came from him. I had never opened a spiritual book in my life. So to come to your question, yes the latest message I received was about four days ago and that was a message for the next pilgrimage that we are going to do in Rome in October this year and it is for the Priests and for the lay people as well.
It is a long message concerning the church and unity, and it is a message of hope. I am very happy with the latest message that came in.

Tell me more about how the messages have changed over the years.
Yes, there is a kind of order with God. God is a God of order – we know that. Now just imagine how it changed, because, of course, in the beginning, the Lord had to teach me many things: spiritual things, always regarding the scriptures next to my hand. He had to teach me the basics, if you want, of spirituality. I had never had any catechism myself so it was really the Lord my teacher and he told me many things. At first, I would say the messages were like a tête a tête, an intimate, one to one conversation.

Yes, I understand.
It was like ‘try to learn to get to know me, understand me, and love me’. That was the kind of intimate message; but remember, also, as I say in the book, ‘Heaven is Real But so is Hell’, that these messages are for everybody. That means take away Vassula’s name and put in your name, because he speaks to everybody. So it was very simple teachings, but very deep teachings although they sounded very simple. He never talked about his church in the beginning; it was just to learn to love him and serve him because you cannot serve the Lord without loving him, and that was what he was trying to teach me.

Once this was achieved, then he came into the messages of unity and the church and after some time, of course, the teaching was different because it was starting to tell me the problems of the church. In the beginning, I had kind of refused to learn, because I didn’t want to get involved with their problems. I mean, I said to myself, ‘well you know if they messed up the church, I mean, I am not responsible, why should I be the one who is going to sort it out?’

This was the reaction I had. I thought, well so far so good. He told me how to get closer to him and to love him and go back to the sacraments of the church. All this is good. But what am I going to do with all these new messages coming in with the problems of the church, the division and their quarrels? So that was a little bit of my reaction.

However, in the end I accepted and I said all right let it be his way, let’s see what he wants, and what he wants to tell me. So he started to talk to me about the hypocrisy that has spread all over the western world – that means Europe – and how bad things are in the church and that the division hurts him very much, and he began to tell me about the division. But of course, there was a lot of other progress and messages, after the message of the church unity.

There were teachings of how to get to a higher level in spirituality, to the point of getting into what he calls ‘impassibility’. This word impassibility means to have an angelic virtue; that means being so much detached from everything regarding where you are living, in this world, to be much closer to God, almost being like the beatific vision although you are not yet there. It was really mystical theology and that progressed into very, very deep spirituality.

With your book Heaven Is Real But So Is Hell, what is your most important message to all your readers?
The most important message I would say is to get to know God and understand God. To believe in God, Christine, that’s not good enough, because even the Devil believes in God, the Demons believe in God but they do not love God.

But to get to know God and understand him is a tremendous spiritual achievement because by knowing God and by understanding God you become intimate with God and your heart opens to God and you become an apostle to cry out to the world for peace, reconciliation and unity because all of us belong to God and this is one of the powerful messages that brings hope to the people that God is alive and cares for us.

And is there anything else you would like to say about your book or about your work in general, as a concluding message to your readers and people who aren’t yet aware of you and your message and your mission?
Yes, I would say for certain, from 1985 till today I have been receiving so many messages that give hope.
God, the Father and Jesus, I would say, the Trinity and our blessed Mother, because she also gave us some messages, have given instructions of how to pray, how to be, how to follow the path of virtues and how to be close to God to gain heaven.

It’s all in the messages, and I would say to people – God did not spend almost 30 years to write all these messages for them to finish up in a drawer, it’s for them.

It is the love letter from God to all of us. It is his love, him to all of us, and I would recommend everybody to just have a look into the messages and read them, and they will discover God and their life will really totally change.

Totally change how? You know, people say well it’s going to be boring, or something like that. I don’t know how they would react if I say that, but it gives so much hope. The closer they start to get to know God, the more they will be able to feel, through all the trials that you can pass through in life, you can still be passing through them with hope, and not get so desperate and go into despair.

It gives hope. All the trials, all the persecutions you’ll have, all the problems you’ll have, you’ll be able to live them with hope and survive. So I would say I recommend them to read the messages for True Life in God. It’s their love letter from God the Father.

Christine Miller June 2015

Heaven Is Real But So Is Hell -- Hi-res Cover (2)The Book
This bestselling book, which sold over 50,000 copies in the USA, outlines Vassula’s personal journey toward religious enlightenment and discusses recurring questions about God and unjustifiable world disasters. Heaven is Real But So Is Hell ultimately upholds a message of hope. It is a book for those who have strayed from religion as well as those who are seeking truth in an increasingly complex world.

The Author
Vassula Rydén was born in Egypt to Greek parents but grew up in Switzerland. The True Life in God Foundation, www.tligfoundation.org, which is committed to spreading the messages around the world is based in Switzerland and has council members from the UK, Singapore, Philippines, USA, Ireland and Spain. She has two sons by her first marriage and currently lives in Rhodes with her second husband. Vassula continues to speak to God.

Published by Alexian on 17th November 2015
£16.99 Hardback

Of Things Gone Astray – book review

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‘Of Things Gone Astray’ by Janina Matthewson is a quirky, engaging read, with an almost mystical, fairy tale quality, which cleverly links a diverse set of characters, events and objects with a subtlety that had me going back to check my previous understanding of the narratives.

There are hints of past and future connections unfolding in the stories, and the characters, paradoxically, are depicted briefly, almost as sketches, yet with depth – quite an accomplished balancing act, to offer enough to satisfy without revealing too much too soon.

‘Of Things Gone Astray’ offers a glimpse of how people respond and react to loss, to change, to transformation in very different ways, from the innocence of childhood to the malaise of middle age, demonstrating how we can easily become lost to each other if we fail to observe what’s in front of us, and become too self-absorbed or fearful.

An accomplished first novel, which left me looking forward to the author’s next work.

 

Christine Miller

Janina Matthewson

Janina Matthewson is a writer and trained actress from Christchurch, New Zealand. She now lives in London. Of Things Gone Astray is her first full-length novel.

Find ‘Of Things Gone Astray’ Here

HarperCollins UK, HarperPress/4th Estate/The Friday Project

Mental Health Special: Seeing the Light Through Schizoaffective Disorder

Richard David Price

What happens when you can’t work out what’s real?

 

Today, I have the great pleasure of being the host on DAY 6 of the Virtual Blog Tour for Richard David Price, author of the brand new book Beating the Adversary: A True Story of Schizoaffective Disorder, officially released on 1st December, 2014.  On its début, it became Amazon’s #1 best-selling new release in ‘schizophrenia’.

Richard David Price

Richard David Price

RICHARD DAVID PRICE was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder as a teenager, as a result of a childhood accident.

Despite his difficult adolescence, he went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Business and has two children to whom he is devoted.

He is a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and feels his mission in life is to help spread hope that we all can overcome our personal challenges.

Yesterday, Richard visited Conditional Publications at http://conditionalpublications.com/category/messages-from-the-editor/, where they spoke about how to gain something positive from schizoaffective disorder.

 

Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Richard on hallucinations, therapies and other elements he encounters in dealing with his condition.

 

***INTERVIEW***

CHRISTINE: When you first began having hallucinations and visions, what feelings did this provoke in you?

RICHARD: That is a good question.  Oddly enough, the hallucinations really didn’t provoke me as much as the first time I heard a voice out of place. It put my guard up, so when the hallucinations started to happen, they weren’t as surprising as they could have been.

CHRISTINE: How did you try to disguise what was happening from your family, your friends, and yourself, and how did this affect your relationships and self-worth?

RICHARD: Well, I really didn’t think badly of myself.  To my mind, I was under attack and felt I could be killed at any time.  Why would I feel badly about myself?  How was any of that my fault?

My decline went from really slow, to very, very fast. When my friends left, that was the least of my worries.  I grew up with a big family, so I could come and go as I pleased.  I kept to myself, usually in my room or someplace working out.  My senior year, I got a gym pass and spent all my free time there getting ready for the next day. There wasn’t a lot of feeling sorry for myself. It was more about figuring out the next clue to solve the puzzle of what was going on with me.

I once had a dream that was very real, before I got too sick.  In this dream, I had to overcome a series of obstacles, each one harder than the last. I found that by being quiet and never lying, I could beat all the obstacles. But in the beginning there were lots of people fighting to beat the path; in the end, there was only me.

CHRISTINE: How were you able to share what was happening with your family and gain support?

RICHARD: I did not share a single word of it unless pinned down, like the time I burst into tears while talking to my Mom. I told her I didn’t know why I was crying, and it was true.  It was very hard to reach out to people.

CHRISTINE: How were you able to distinguish between what was real and what was a hallucination, and what therapies or interventions most supported your ability to eventually emerge from and manage these experiences?

RICHARD: I couldn’t make that distinction.  The hallucinations were too powerful.  Eventually, I shaved my head for no good reason, and my mom (the real hero of my story) decided to take me to the hospital. There I started medication, and then started to wake up – to see the light.

 

***END OF INTERVIEW***

Cover for Promotion

 

I hope you enjoyed this brief interview with author Richard Price and that you’ll check out his new book Beating the Adversary: A True Story of Schizoaffective Disorder.

When you buy Beating the Adversary during its official Amazon launch, you’ll also receive a free novel entitled The Ladder from Conditional Publications – an independent publisher dedicated to writers with neurological conditions.

To buy Beating the Adversary
and get your free novel, go to:

http://www.conditionalpublications.com/pages/beating-the-adversary.html

 

Thanks for reading! Please do share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.

Be sure to follow Richard’s book tomorrow on the next stop of his Virtual Blog Tour, when Beating the Adversary editor Vrinda Pendred will be talking to Lynn Serafinn on the Spirit Authors blog at http://spiritauthors.com/category/new-books/