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personal growth

101 articles in personal growth

Celebrating Your Body

Rediscover Bodily Freedom: Awaken the Inner Child and Feel At Ease

How often do you rejoice your body? How often do you feel absolutely at ease in your skin, at peace in yourself and in harmony with your world? For many the answer is seldom. Instead we tend to us put up with the body rather like some slightly cumbersome baggage we carry with us as we go about. Yet all thought, all feeling, every response to beauty and to horror is mediated through the body. In fact your body is the medium for experiencing everything in life. As any healthy two year old knows, when it is fully alive you are fully alive. This aliveness is something we often have to rediscover. Television, films and advertising are replete with photographs of long legged pencil-thin females who are meant to be paragons of womanhood against whom we measure ourselves. Magazines and newspapers spend a large part of their time giving us advice about diets, clothes, exercise which supposedly will help the bodies of their readers more closely approach whatever shape, size and texture body the general consensus at any moment in time considers ideal. Meanwhile millions of women who, because of the way they are built, their personalities, and their own values (whether or not these values operate consciously or unconsciously) have not a hope in hell of ever looking like that ideal. And they suffer. This suffering goes deep - far beyond the simple (yet often painful) feelings of inadequacy which come with having been built with broad shoulders, big feet or a flat chest when the world you live in tells you you are supposed to be different. (Some of us alas have the misfortune of being blessed with all three). For implicit in the whole way in which the body is presented in almost everything we do and think are two far more crippling assumptions: That the body is separate from the spirit or person and that it is ultimately inferior. These assumptions are anchored deep into the belief systems from the Greco-Roman and Christian traditions in which our society has developed. They have led us to view the body either as something not to be trusted - like a wild animal that needs taming lest it gets out of hand or like a physical object outside ourselves to be watched, studied and manipulated. For most Western women their bodies are things separate from themselves, either to be prodded, criticized, and hidden or narcissistically exposed as a sexual object - something useful in gaining attention or drawing to oneself what one needs (or think she needs). In either case there is a sense of estrangement not only from the body but at a deeper level from ones self. Out of this estrangement comes a sense of powerlessness so that one begins to think that what one needs to be happy, to be complete, to be fulfilled can only be found outside oneself - by accomplishment in the world, or wearing the right clothes, by earning the love of a man or by conforming to some abstract ideal. So long as one is driven by a sense of separateness from ones body whether you succeed or fail in getting what you want from the outside world is irrelevant. For neither success nor failure bring you any closer to living freely with real health and beauty. Rediscovering the aliveness of the child and the innocence of bodily freedom can. It helps heal the wounds of separation and free a woman to live in the fullness of her own being.

How Desire Becomes Reality

Unlock the Power of Creative Imagery: Improving Self Esteem & More.

In my last post, we looked at unconscious image-making which prevents us from experiencing authentic freedom and undermines our sense of self. Now let’s flip destructive image making-on its head. It’s time to learn the art of conscious image-making It can improve health, heighten self esteem, and even forge the person whom you long to become in the future. All you need is a simple notebook in which to record your intentions, goals and experience plus 15 to 20 minutes a day to practice the art. This can be a lot of fun. POWERS OF THE MIND Creative imagery is the deliberate, repeated use of specific mental images, while in a deeply relaxed state or meditative state, to bring about change for the better. Just how creative imagery works has never been fully defined. It does, however, appear that the images one chooses to focus on when repeatedly held in the mind are able to affect one's body, emotions, and mind through the autonomic nervous system. Some of the process, at least, is explainable in biological and energetic terms. When a thought or image is kept in the mind of someone in a state of deep relaxation, his or her brain shows neuronal activity in both right and left hemispheres. Nerve fibres leading from the cerebral hemisphere through the hypothalamus can directly affect the autonomic nervous system and the pituitary gland as well as the adrenal cortex. Everyone has had experience of this image-making to some extent in day-to-day life. For instance, if you keep a frightening image in your mind's eye—say of a ghost, a fantastic monster, or a situation you want at all costs to avoid—your body will respond via the autonomic nervous system with a racing heartbeat, perspiration, dryness in the mouth, or gooseflesh. How strong your reactions are to the fearful thought depends entirely on how clear the image is. Similarly, when you hold a clear, relaxing image of perhaps a spring meadow or a person you love, your body responds with relaxed muscles, lowered heartbeat and blood pressure, and generally pleasant and passive bodily sensations. Researchers have found that through this mind-body connection we can exercise a great deal of control over our bodies and our behaviour simply by choosing images to focus on and using them regularly. In fact, this kind of deliberate visualization is the technique behind the ability yogis demonstrate in raising and lowering their bodily temperature or heartbeat at will, going for long periods of time without food, and performing extrasensory tasks. TRUST THE GAME Although the mechanism of creative imagery is highly complex, putting it to use is simple. For just as it is unnecessary for you to know how the nervous system, in conjunction with the brain and muscles, makes it possible for you to pick up an apple and take a bite out of it in order to perform the action, so it is not necessary to understand biological theories about creative imagery in order to practice it to your benefit. The imaging mechanism of your brain works automatically; all you have to do is provide it with images that are useful to you and let it do its job. Nor do you have to worry about whether or not you believe in creative imagery or whether or not you can do it well enough for it to work for you. If there is a goal that you want to achieve, you need simply to visualize it—again and again, at least twice a day; the rest is automatic, so long as your goal is something you consciously consider to be feasible. It would be absurd, for instance, to lie down for ten minutes each morning and afternoon and visualize yourself as an eagle. You might improve your imagination no end, you might also develop a great empathy for eagles, but it unlikely that you would develop wings or a beak. Nor need you worry about success or failure. As Maxwell Maltz says in his book Psycho-Cybernetics, "You must learn to trust your creative mechanism to do its work and not `jam it' by becoming too concerned or too anxious as to whether it will work or not, or by attempting to force it too much by conscious effort. You must let it work, rather than make it work. This trust is necessary because your creative mechanism operates below the level of consciousness." The only real "trust" needed for it to work is that which makes it possible for you to spend time repeatedly practising creative imagery. You do this by letting yourself go into a state of deep relaxation or meditation and then repeating your chosen image again and again over a sufficient length of time for it to take hold in your unconscious and begin producing results. You certainly don't have to trust it in the sense of believing in it for it to work. It will work whether you believe it or not. Just be consistent in using the technique regularly. PREPARE THE WAY Begin by learning to just let go. Creative imagery is an inner state of mind. To visualize effectively you need to put yourself into a calm, relaxed state in which mental images flow easily. Generally the more relaxed you are, the more successful your visualizations will be. This kind of relaxation is something that is learned gradually by practice. Even if you feel in the beginning that you are hardly relaxed at all, you will get benefits from your imaging and this will become progressively more true as you repeatedly practice visualization. Begin by lying down, or sitting in a comfortable chair, with your back well supported. Use a simple practice such as zazen or gentle, quiet deep breathing to let go of daily concerns and enter your private world. When you feel yourself quietly calm resting in your own inner space, there are several things you can do: In this space, you can examine in a new light any question that has been bothering you. You have access to the deeper layers of your mind where many answers can be found, provided you are willing to ask the questions simply and then just wait in stillness for the answer to come. This place is also where you can become aware of your belief systems and bring them to consciousness so that you can examine them in a detached, objective way and see whether they are working for you or not. You can then decide what you want to keep and what your want to leave behind. It is a place where you can learn to listen to the sound of your inner voice. The more you do this, the easier it becomes. This inner voice can guide you to where you are going next and tell you what you are about. It is a place where you can come to know yourself for who you really are, quite apart from roles and habitual assumptions you have always had about yourself. Most important of all in bringing about change, you can use this inner space to practise creative imagery. Go through your relaxation technique until you enter your inner space. Now you are ready to begin visualizing. You can do this in two ways: verbally, by simply repeating over and over a few words that describe the image, or visually, by simply seeing yourself as already having become what you want to be. For some, who at first experience difficulty in visualizing, the verbal method works better; for others, the visual method is more successful. Try them both and see which you prefer. Later on, after you are familiar with the use of creative imagery, you will probably want to use both. FOCUS YOUR DESIRE Let's say you pick as your goal the desire "I want to have more energy." Using the verbal method, turn the wish into a positive statement. It becomes "Every day I am more and more energetic and well." It is important that your goal be phrased in this way. It has to be in the present tense—not "One day I will be better" or "I hope that I will be more energetic," but Every day I am more and more energetic and well. It is happening now. Your subconscious mind, which holds the power to bring about change, does not function in terms of time and space as your conscious mind does. It understands only the simplest and most direct instructions, and when they are given it works as if they had already occurred or are occurring now. The words you have chosen become your image. You put them to work by simply repeating the words over and over again silently to yourself while you are in the deeply relaxed state in your inner space. It is the constant replaying of the message day after day twice a day that works best, not how long you do it each time you relax. One convenient way of doing it is to repeat the directions ten times in each session, moving one of your fingers with each repetition until you have been through all ten. Then you simply say to yourself the same, "I am now going to come out of my inner space...(by counting backwards from three, etc.) and open your eyes. The best time for most women to practice creative visualization is in bed at night just before they fall asleep, and then again in the morning just before they get up. But really you can do it anytime—whenever you can find ten minutes to yourself in the middle of the day, or in the middle of the night if you awaken, or during meditation. The important thing is to do it regularly twice a day every day. You needn't worry about doing it wrong, either. Because, in truth, there is no wrong way, and every supposed wrong in the way you are doing the technique will gradually put itself right with practice. WATCH IT HAPPEN If you prefer, you can use a visual way instead, or you can use a combination of both. Picking the same goal, I want to have more energy, go through your relaxation technique. When you are at the inner space, instead of repeating words let your mind play with the image of your goal as if it had actually come about already, almost like a daydream. In other words, see yourself moving through your day, relating to people, doing your work, playing games, all the while full of vitality and bounce. Watch yourself in your imagination and enjoy the ease with which you do things that once seemed difficult or tiring. Notice the glow of your skin, how well you look; see the vivacity in the way you speak and move. Watch yourself and enjoy it. The more of it you let yourself imagine and the more you enjoy your imaginings, the stronger will be the images you are creating and the more quickly they will become reality. But as with the verbal instructions, always keep your images in the present as if they are actually happening now and not as if they might happen in the future or are something you would like to see happen. You may find at some point that something or someone is interfering with your image. For instance, you might find that as you watch yourself moving about energetically through the day in your mind's eye, another figure appears—say an old woman—who speaks to you. Perhaps she says something like, "You silly girl, if you don't slow down you know you will exhaust yourself or make yourself ill." Or, "Why are you pretending to be full of energy when you know that you are really tired?" and so on. Pause for a moment and take a look at the figure. Who is she? Your mother? A friend who tends to be negative about everything you try? The voice of a belief system from inside you which, without your being aware of it, has been telling you for years that you are tired? Answer the figure back. Tell her quietly but firmly in your mind, "No, you are wrong. I am well and I have lots of energy. I also know how to use it wisely. I will rest and look after myself when I need to, I will eat well, I will enjoy what I do. I will be happy with my vitality." Then go on with your visualization. Unexpected intrusions like this while you are visualizing are often very useful, for they help make you aware of belief systems and notions that may have been unconsciously impeding your progress towards a goal. Then, when you have practised your visualization for, say, five or ten minutes, tell yourself you are going to count backwards from three and open your eyes. A FEW TRICKS TO HELP In the beginning, when you are just starting to explore the power of creative imagery, it is a good idea to pick only one goal at a time and work on it for several weeks or months until it is being progressively realized before taking on another thing you would like to change. The technique of keeping a journal is very useful in recording your progress, but even more important is keeping a record of insights and experiences you come upon while practising the deep relaxation and visualisation techniques. The information and insights they turn up for everyone are invariably rich. Many times something you record today which seems not particularly useful now will have a message of immediate importance to you three months from now. Finally, there is one very simple goal that I find particularly useful because it covers all areas of one's life and you can use it over and over again, year after year, with benefit. It is, "Every day I am more and more myself. My life grows richer and richer." “Practice makes perfect,” the saying goes. It most certainly does but never treat your practice as a chore. Let it be fun. When you do everything happens faster and with greater ease.

Wow Love Is Real

The Epiphany of a New Life: My Encounter with My Newborn in a LA Catholic Hospital

My first child was born in a huge teaching hospital in Los Angeles. The labor was long and regrettably not natural. I was given an analgesic during labor and an epidural for the delivery. It was all very cold, efficient and mechanical. The hospital I was in happened to be a Catholic one in which every other woman there seemed already to know the ropes since she was giving birth to her fifth or eighth or tenth child. Nobody bothered to tell me much about what was going on or what was expected of me. My baby was taken from me immediately after the birth and put into a nursery with all of the other babies while I was wheeled off to a private room. Soon they brought this tiny creature to me. I held him in my arms and stared at him in stark wonder. Then at three hourly intervals he would reappear for twenty minutes at a time and I'd hold him in bed beside me until the nurse would come and take him away again. The third or fourth time they brought him to me, he began to cry. I nestled him, rocked him, and spoke gently to him but he wouldn't stop so I rang for the nurse. `My baby's crying,' I said, `What should I do?' `Have you burped him?' `Burped him?' `You have fed him haven't you?' `Fed him? Am I supposed to feed him?` The nurse took him and put him to my breast. His tiny mouth opened and reached for me as if he had known forever what to do. He began to suck with such force it took my breath away. It was like being attached to a vacuum cleaner. I began to laugh. I couldn't help myself. It seemed incredible that such a tiny creature could have such power and determination. He too had a purpose. He was raw, insistent and real. With every fiber of his being, this child was drawing his life and he would not be denied. Tears of joy ran shamelessly down my cheeks while he sucked. There in the midst of all that clinical green and white, I had discovered what love was all about. It was really quite simple—a meeting of two beings. The age, the sex, the relationship didn't matter. That day two creatures--he and I—had met. We touched each other in utter honesty and simplicity. This experience was for me a true epiphany. My life was forever altered by it. There was nothing romantic or solemn about it. No obligations, no duties, no fancy games, and you didn't have to read an encyclopedia of baby care to experience it. We'd met, just that. Somewhere in spirit we were friends. I knew beyond all doubt that I had found something real and real it has remained.

Pivots For Change

Crisis as a Door to Transformation: How Positive Attitudes Unlock Powerful Creative Energies

Handled positively, crisis frequently portends the unleashing of powerful creative energies. Instead of taking tranquilizers and battening down the hatches when your life seems to be falling apart, it can be useful to begin looking at crisis as a pivot for change - a door to the kind of transformation the caterpillar undergoes. Deeply woven into the silk threads of his cocoon, the creature's body dissolves into white jelly, only to be reformed again in a completely different shape and set free as a butterfly. A growing number of biologists, psychologists and philosophers believe that our attitude to crisis needs reexamining. They insist (as I, in my own struggle for individual freedom, continually discover) that crisis need not be a negative event. Of course old attitudes die hard. Most psychologists and physicians still see things as Freud did. They still believe that the unconscious mind is full of dangerous repressed impulses and material that, if you are to remain balanced and healthy, you need to keep the lid on. Freud's assertions, brilliant though they were, were a product of the nineteenth century mechanistic thinking on which he was raised. Freud completely ignored the spiritual dimension of consciousness, believing that such phenomena as visions of angels and devils were always an indication of pathology. For half a century, other psychiatrists and psychologists - from Carl Jung, who formulated the concept of the Self (the archetypal unchanging center which has both universal and individual characteristics) to Abraham Maslow, who first coined the phrase "peak experience", and Roberto Assigioli, who is responsible for the concept of the higher self, have all insisted that Freud's model of the mind, like the worldview out of which it developed, is too limited. These men have been instrumental in the formation of new paradigms of consciousness which take in the spiritual dimension of human life. They no longer view the human mind as a static entity, the balance of which must be maintained at all costs. They see each of us involved in a constant process of spiritual growth, and a movement towards wholeness. The twists and turns through which we pass in life, they say, are part of this movement, and each crisis - each molting - is an attempt to bring us closer and closer to being able to live from our own center and experience our own wholeness. Metamorphosis should not be viewed as something to be avoided, they say. It is as common and as natural as birth, growth and death - an essential part of human existence. transpersonal perspectives Such a notion has long existed in religious spheres, and is echoed in Biblical phrases such as the process of "becoming what thou art", but was completely new to psychology. This new view of consciousness not only recognizes the conscious mind, of which we are aware in our day to day life, and the unconscious mind, which directs the basic psychological activities and instinctual urges and which encompasses archetypal energies, but also what is often referred to as the super-conscious or transpersonal mind. The transpersonal realm is described as the domain of higher feelings and capacities, including intuition and inspiration. It is called transpersonal because it is more than personal in its nature. It also taps universal consciousness, crossing over barriers of culture to connect us with the universal energies. The acknowledgment of the transpersonal realm by psychologists closely parallels findings in the new physics, which emphasize both the interconnectedness of all life and the all pervasive universal stuff of consciousness. Frequently a woman undergoing a major crisis finds she has tapped into this universal consciousness and is experiencing other dimensions of being or even other times and places. When this happens, it can bring about quantum leaps in personal growth and creativity. It is then that crisis becomes transformational.

Freedom Calls

Discover Your Inner Freedom - Take the Journey From Within

Freedom has always fascinated me.  I love the smell of the word.  I like its sense of possibility.  I taste freedom when I listen to the music of Aaron Copland – music that could only have been written in a country which once had vast prairies and seemingly infinite wilderness.  I feel it in my body when I run along cliffs in the rain.  I rejoice in the sense of it that comes when, after hours of shifting dead words and sentences, something suddenly comes alive and beauty spills out all over the page.   OUTER FREEDOM In an outer way, to be free means to enjoy liberty of action under a government which is not despotic and does not encroach on individual human rights.  In an inner way to be free means becoming liberated from the relentless forces of doubt, self-criticism and fear which we all inherit growing up in emotional and educational environments which split our mind from our body and teach us not to trust ourselves.  They teach us to put our faith in “experts”.  They teach us neither to honor the splendor of the individual human soul,nor do they tell us that the universe is filled with compassion which we can draw on whenever we need support and power which we can direct to create whatever we want. EXPLOITATION It makes me laugh to see the way our commercial world tries to sell the experience of freedom:  Freedom?  It means wearing a top of the range pair of Levi’s doesn’t it?  Sipping white rum on a tropical beach with a sexy lover.  Taking a 100 miles an hour ride on a Harley across the desert at sunset.  Or surfing that seventh wave.  On film these things carry the freedom buzz.  For a little while they let us imagine the real thing, even though they are only a pale facsimile of it.  These days we get offered freedom in all sorts of ‘packages’.  They range from TV ads offering telephone sex, to weekend seminars promising instant enlightenment. Some people, in their search for freedom, end up sniffing cocaine. Others dance all weekend at a festival.  A few turn to philosophy or look for freedom in ancient religious practices.  They head off to India or to California to sit at the foot of the guru and hope that somehow he will hand it to them.  All of these things—from rum and cocaine to raves and yoga—offer a taste of freedom.  Some—like drugs and alcohol—are more transitory than others.  When they wear off, so does the sense of liberation they once promised, to be replaced by a post-freedom hangover.  Others, like transpersonal psychology, or Mahayana Buddhism run deeper.  The freedom they offer is slower in the making but it lasts longer.  Every experience of freedom brings with it a sense of being released from imprisonment – of being able, even for a short time, to respond to life spontaneously with the whole of your being. Look up the verb to free in the dictionary.  It will tell you it means to release from bondage or constraint, to deliver, to disentangle from obstruction or encumbrance.  And quite right.  When we talk of freedom we often speak of it as freedom from.  Money worries for instance, or responsibility.  Sometimes we tell ourselves, ‘If only I had this or didn’t have that, then I’d be free’.  Other times we indulge in dreams of freedom—sailing across great expanses of sea with the wind in our hair, or crossing the Sahara on a camel, or building a wooden hut in the woods and living there, or partying until dawn every night.  Yet how many times have we gone on vacation to be ‘free of our worries’ only to find we packed them in the suitcase under the new underpants? FREE FROM WITHIN Like the proverbial iceberg, most of us live with the lion’s share of our potential for freedom, joy, creativity and power submerged beneath a sea of unknowing.  We go about our day-to-day duties and pleasures conscious only of what comes to us through our five senses.  How does it taste and feel?  What does it sound like?  What do we see in front of our eyes?  Meanwhile beneath the vast ocean of consciousness that constitutes what it is to be fully human, our greater selves hibernate waiting to be awakened. Sometimes, when we fall in love perhaps, or when we are faced with an event of life-shattering proportions like a critical illness or the death of a close friend, the submerged area of our being erupts in magic or horror, in surges of passion, energy and beauty.  Then for a time the mundane quality of our everyday life is replaced with a sense of expanded being.  We not only feel more alive, we wake up to find that familiar things—the tree that stands outside a bedroom window, a cat that greets us when we come home each day, the simple shell we picked up and slipped into our pocket while walking on the beach, have taken on a luminosity that we can’t explain.   Other times without warning, while listening to music or walking down a city street, we are suddenly hit with a feeling that the world is far greater than we ever imagined it to be, or a sense that all we see around us somehow is us – we are all part of the same stuff.  While the experience lasts everything seems right in the world.  Then, like the sun at the point of setting, it all fades beneath the mundane horizon leaving only the faintest wisp of color to remind us that we once stood in its glory, felt the rays of the sun upon our bodies and knew that sense of being at one with the universe which makes every struggle seem to have a meaning. SET OURSELVES FREE In the next few months I intend to explore in this blog the nature of authentic freedom, where it comes from, how we access it within ourselves and help foster it in others. Never in recorded human history have there been greater forces attempting to undermine individual human values and crush human freedom. I choose to look upon the forces that want to limit our lives, drain us of our health and our self-esteem and turn us into sheep, as worthy opponents. The burgeoning Orwellian world in which we now live can become the worthy opponent which awakens us to our deepest values and spurs us to access the strength to fulfill them. Together I believe we find our way through all this to greater freedom than we have ever known and the birth of new life. Let’s do it. Watch this space...

Sacred Truth Ep. 59: Get High On Life

Awakening to Oneness: Embracing the Infinity of African Night Sky

I once spent the night lying on a platform above an animal watering hole staring into the vastness of space while beholding the great, fathomless mystery of the African sky. Aaron, my youngest son, then three years old, lay curled up next to me like a kitten lost in his dreams. Dazzled by the inconceivable expanse of the sky whose darkness was so overcome with the light from billions of stars that lived in it, I lost myself in timelessness and infinity. That night I had come not to think or to wonder but to know, with absolute certainty in every cell and molecule of my body, that this cosmic world was not something separate from myself, nor I from it. We were, in a way I will never be able to understand rationally, one being. It was one of the greatest moments of my life Like the proverbial iceberg, most of us live with the lion’s share of our potential for freedom, joy, creativity, and authentic power submerged beneath a sea of unknowing. We go about our day-to-day duties and pleasures conscious only of what comes to us through our five senses. How does it taste and feel? What does it sound like? What do we see in front of our eyes? Meanwhile, beneath the vast ocean of consciousness that constitutes what it is to be fully human, our greater selves hibernate, waiting to be awakened. Sometimes, when we fall in love perhaps, or when we are faced with an event of life-shattering proportions like a critical illness or the death of a close friend, a submerged area of our being erupts in magic or horror and often in surges of passion, energy, and beauty. Then, for a time, the mundane quality of everyday life is replaced with a sense of expanded being. Not only do we feel more alive but we also wake up to find that familiar things—the tree that stands outside a bedroom window, the cat that greets us when we come home each day, a simple shell we picked up and slipped into our pocket while walking on the beach—have taken on a luminosity that we can’t explain. Other times, without warning, while listening to music or walking down a city street, we are suddenly gripped with a sense that the world is far greater than we ever imagined it to be, and a certainty that all we see around us somehow is us. While the experience lasts, everything seems right in the world. Then, like the sun at the point of setting, everything fades beneath the mundane horizon, leaving only the faintest wisp of color to remind us that we once stood in its glory, felt its rays on our bodies, and knew that being at one with the universe brings a sense of meaning to our own lives and to the lives of others that is simply indescribable. The greatest desire I have is to live my life conscious of the oneness to which we all belong. The universe reflected in that African sky and stretching out to infinity lives inside each one of us. Awakening to this reality floods our bodies and our lives with wonderment. It opens us to infinite freedom at the core of our being. What a blessing to behold.

Youth Factors

Stop Aging with These Powerful 21st Century Techniques: No Drugs or Xenoestrogens!

The ageless aging techniques are powerful allies for survival in the 21st Century. Continuing to practice them will help protect you from degenerative diseases and can have you looking and feeling great as the years pass. But we also need to look after ourselves in other ways. Life at the millennium is not easy. We are exposed to aging influences every day of our lives. dump the drugs One of the major actions you can take to protect yourself from premature aging long-term is to stay away from drugs. Many drugs interfere with mineral absorption and undermine metabolic functions. Acid drugs bind calcium and other minerals like zinc and magnesium, making them unavailable for your body to use in its important enzymes which fuel energy and cell reproduction. Without first rate enzyme functions nobody can function optimally. Diuretics - `water pills' - given to eliminate water retention trigger the kidneys to excrete potassium and can lead to potassium deficiency. Although many doctors now give extra potassium with diuretic drugs, diuretics also increase the body's output of zinc, magnesium, and other minerals (something most doctors are still unaware of) so that deficiencies in these elements develop. Antibiotics disturb the balance of intestinal flora, creating disbiosis. The helpful bacteria needed for the production of certain important B-complex vitamins, vitamin K, and for protection against cancer, are destroyed along with the bad guy bacteria antibiotics are trying to kill off in the body. Most laxatives can also be very damaging to the system. Many contain mineral oils which bind fat soluble vitamins K, E, D, and A, leeching them from the tissues. Even when drugs are prescribed by your doctor, keep a close watch on what you are taking. It's a good idea to buy a book on drugs and their interactions so you keep well informed about anything it is suggested you take into your body. reproductive distortions In our modern industrialized world it is all too easy for our reproductive biochemistry to become distorted and youthful functioning to be undermined as a result. In the past 50 years male sperm count in the Western world has fallen by almost half. Meanwhile, women are experiencing the rise of a whole new - as yet largely unrecognized - phenomenon known as oestrogen dominance. Oestrogen dominance is where a woman's oestrogen levels far outweigh progesterone in her body making her prone to cancer, menstrual miseries and menopausal agonies. There are two classes of major reproductive hormones in a woman's body - the oestrogens which are commonly lumped together and called `oestrogen', and progesterone. When these two are in good balance a woman's health thrives. She remains free of PMS and other menstrual troubles. She also remains fertile and able to hold a fetus to full term and menopause becomes a simple transition instead of a passage riddled with suffering. And she is protected from fibroids, endometriosis and osteoporosis. She is also likely to remain emotionally balanced and free of excessive anxiety or depression. When oestrogen and progesterone are not in balance a woman's body becomes oestrogen dominant and all of these things can come a cropper. watch out for xenoestrogens Oestrogen dominance in women and the drop in sperm count in men have come about for several reasons, the major one being the widespread use of oestrogen-based oral contraceptives and the exponential spread of chemicals in our environment. Called xenoestrogens - oestrogen mimics - they are taken up by the oestrogen receptor sites in our bodies to throw spanners in the works. They include the petrochemical derivatives we take in as herbicides and pesticides which have been sprayed on our foods, the plastic cups we drink our tea out of, as well as the oestrogens that come through in drinking water recycled from our rivers. Oestrogens from The Pill and HRT are excreted in a woman's urine. They can end up back in our water supply, as hormones are not removed by standard water purification treatments. To stay vital each of us needs to be aware of the potential dangers of the `sea of oestrogens' in which we are now living. The proliferation of xenoestrogens in our environment needs to be stopped. It is making men less fertile and women more prone to breast and womb cancer, fibroid tumors, endometriosis, osteoporosis, and infertility, not to mention a long list of emotional and mental imbalances. Yet much of the medical profession as well as the general public still remains largely unaware of the effects these dangerous chemicals are exerting on our lives and the lives of animals. As a result oestrogens continue to be prescribed heavily as part of HRT - not only to the handful of women who around the time of menopause may need a little extra oestrogen temporarily - but to thousands of others whose lives would be far better off without it. go for protection You can help protect yourself from excess chemical oestrogens by not microwaving foods in plastic containers, by avoiding birth control pills and HRT, by not drinking from plastic cups, by ensuring that you eat foods grown without chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and by including in your diet foods rich in phytosterols. These plant-based weak hormone-like compounds can help protect us by locking into oestrogen-receptor sites in the body and therefore preventing the much stronger xenoestrogens from gaining purchase in our bodies. Foods with good levels of phytosterols include yams, peas, papayas, bananas, cucumbers, raw nuts, bee pollen, sprouted seeds and grains (such as alfalfa sprouts) plus the herbs licorice root, red clover, sage, sarsaparilla and sassafras. Following a detox regime regularly a couple of times a year can also help detox the system and keep these poisonous chemicals from building up long-term. watch for deficiencies Much free radical damage and many of the problems associated with aging - from depression and insomnia to fatigue, poor eyesight or hearing, fragile bones, stiffness, and aches and pains - are the result of poor diet and the resulting nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies are now widespread in the developed countries of the Western World. They have developed not because we don't have enough to eat but because we have so disturbed the healthy balance of minerals and other nutrients in natural foods thanks to chemically based agriculture and excessive food processing. A number of large-scale research projects show that someone living on the typical diet of convenience foods over the years becomes deficient in vitamins and minerals. As we get older the most common deficiencies are in potassium, zinc, chromium, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, and vitamin C as well as in protein and fiber. Fiber from fresh vegetables, grains, and pulses becomes particularly important as we get older. Unless the colon functions properly so that wastes are eliminated efficiently constipation becomes a problem so that the build up of toxicity in the body increases the rate at which aging occurs. A national food survey carried out recently in Great Britain showed that the average person is "grossly deficient" in six out of eight vitamins and minerals. And the problem seems to be growing worse and worse as convenience food eaters get increasingly depleted in folic acid, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron. The survey showed that the average person in Britain gets only 51% of the European recommended daily allowance of zinc, and only 71% for iron. Similarly 40% of the people studied received less than the recommended daily allowance for calcium. Nutritional deficiencies produce premature degeneration. Avoid them by avoiding processed foods as much as you can, using sea vegetables in your cooking and salads and adding more  green super foods to your diet. choose fats carefully Most of the fats that we eat today have been severely tampered with. Instead of being in a chemical form which your body can make use of (the cis form) to build cell walls, make hormones, and make prostaglandins - all of which are essential to de-age the body, we are eating trans fatty acids. These `junk fats' found in margarine, golden vegetable oils, and all of the convenience foods that we devour - from ready made meals we pop into the microwave to mayonnaise, breads and spreads - can undermine health. Trans fatty acids make up a large proportion of the fats used in making biscuits, sweets, imitation cheeses, margarine, pastries, potato crisps, puddings, and nearly all the packaged and processed food products you find on supermarket shelves. Experts in fat metabolism now blame our ever-increasing consumption of trans fatty acids and our ever decreasing consumption of essential fatty acids in no small part for premature aging and the growth of degenerative diseases including heart-attacks and cancer. About the best oil you can use for salads and wok frying is extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil. It is monounsaturated and much more stable for wok frying foods and making salad dressings. Canola oil is also good but harder to find. gut feelings Another major reason why vitamin, mineral and protein deficiencies tend to occur as we get older is that poor eating over many years often results in a diminishment in a person's ability to digest and assimilate nutrients from their food. This is why for some even eating a good diet is not enough to supply the nutrients needed. Deficiencies in minerals, a low level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach (essential for the absorption of nutrients), or low levels of digestive enzymes are common causes of the poor assimilation that produce nutritional deficiencies. Food allergies and other allergies are also commonly linked with low levels of hydrochloric acid in the gut. This can be corrected gradually by eating a nutrient-rich/low-calorie diet of wholesome foods and by learning to manage daily stress well using a technique like autogenics. Many experts in natural medicine also suggest drinking the juice of half a lemon squeezed into water or taking a teaspoon of apple-cider vinegar in a glass of warm water, twenty to thirty minutes before meals to enhance digestion when hydrochloric acid is low. Useful, too, are good quality supplements of the major digestive enzymes such as bromelin extracted from pineapples, and papain from the papayas. Papain is soothing to the stomach and very gentle. It helps in protein digestion. Bromelin is an anti-inflammatory enzyme which reduces tissue irritation. The pancreas secretes other enzymes important to digestion such as the lipases, amylases, and proteases. For anyone who experiences problems with digestion a good natural combination of digestive enzymes can be a great adjunct to de-aging. One or two capsules with a main meal will usually do the trick. But make sure you choose only the best as there are many poor imitations on the market. sleep a lot Sleep is a great antioxidant and rejuvenator which few pay attention to. Even age researchers are only beginning to be aware of what a potent effect good sleep can have on de-aging the body. Sleep is every bit as essential as good quality food, regular exercise and a healthy environment in rejuvenating the body. In recent years melatonin, the hormone secreted primarily by the pineal gland during the night hours in the absence of light, has been shown to play a major role in controlling the body's circadian rhythms and awareness of time. It has also drawn much attention from age researchers. Melatonin in supplement form can be used to great advantage wherever time awareness has been distorted, such as when crossing time zones or for people who suffer from insomnia. There are many indications that melatonin also offers powerful protection against the body's most destructive free radical - the hydroxyl radical. Sadly, melatonin has been taken off the market in Canada and Britain - amidst a great deal of hooha about it being "dangerous" because it is a natural hormone. Having looked in depth at the whole issue of melatonin I am convinced that used wisely and appropriately it is an extremely useful supplement and that there is nothing dangerous about it. Hopefully one day soon it will reappear. It is still widely available in the United States and most other countries. new radical quencher Meanwhile, when it comes to continual de-aging of the body, the improvement witnessed in people's lives through melatonin supplementation has made researchers ask an important question: Why would the body only secrete a substance like melatonin - a powerful free radical quencher - at night and not during the day? One of the world's experts on the antioxidant effects of melatonin, Dr Russel Reiter, believes that from a biological point of view the primary purpose of sleep may be to create a situation in which the free radicals which we generate during the day (when our exposure to free radical damage is the highest) can be mopped up at night. And it is during the hours of darkness that the body's natural melatonin levels rise. This could well be the reason why many hard-to-treat problems such as food allergies, multiple sclerosis, and ME, are often tremendously improved by getting a good night's sleep. Researchers investigating sleep have also discovered that when the body accumulates high levels of free radicals, a sense of sleepiness tends to set in. Whenever this happens it is a good idea to give in to it and have a nap. At night if you have difficulty sleeping consider using a natural botanical such as passiflora or valerian to help. Everyone's need for sleep is different and while it is true that many of us sleep less as we get older, regular restorative slumber is important for de-aging the body. Enjoy it. Here is a simple check list you can return to to help you create an ongoing lifestyle to de-age your body. 21st century survival Make Every Calorie Count: Gradually decrease the quantity of foods you eat while increasing the nutrients you are taking in. Choose your meals from real foods - the best nature has to offer: raw vegetables, whole grains, fresh fruits, pulses and seeds, prepared in simple ways to preserve their innate nutritional richness. Avoid Processed Foods: Nix on junk fats, margarines, refined sugar and simple carbohydrates like most packaged breakfast cereals which tend to be depleted of essential minerals, trace elements and fiber. Go Organic: Whenever possible buy (better yet grow) organic vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts. Foods grown without chemical fertilizers help protect your body from pollution while they keep essential nutrients in good balance, on which continuing health depends. Get Smart About Labels: Read labels carefully. Don't be misled by the word `natural' or `no preservatives'. Watch out for references to hydrogenated fats, aluminum, colorings and preservatives and leave foods containing them on the shelves. Wash Non-Organic Foods Well: Use 1 tablespoon of baking soda(bicarbonate of soda) to a sink full of water. Soak for 3-5 minutes to help clear acid-pollutants from vegetables and fruits. Drink Clean Water: Use a good water filter, buy purified water or the very best natural spring waters. Don't use tap water. Eat Deep-Sea Fish: The fattier the better - sardines, mackerel, and wild (not farmed) salmon are full of healthy fatty acids. Stay away from cod, shellfish and most freshwater fish. They are more likely to be chemically polluted. Avoid Aluminum Cooking: Pots and pans of aluminum can leach this metal into the foods cooked in them. Don't Use Irradiated Foods: Their effects on the body are still largely unknown and highly questionable. Add Superfoods To Your Diet: Make good use of foods and herbs that are rich in natural antioxidants and immune-enhancers which work synergistically to protect you. These include algae, spirulina, open-celled chlorella, Australian Dunaliella Salina, bladderwrack, Irish moss, dulse, alaria, kombu and nori as well as green cereal grasses and the power mushrooms reishi, maitake, shiitake, tremella and cordyceps. Go For Greens: Increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts as well as wild green foods like nettles, dandelion and parsley. They are brimming with antioxidants. Minimize Drugs: Use nothing either of prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs that is not absolutely necessary, including hormone drugs. Also minimize recreational drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, nicotine and cocaine. Practice UV Protection: Exposure to sunlight is a great ager especially now with the depletion of the ozone layer. Protect yourself. Grow a Garden: Or at the very least sprout organic seeds and grains for salads. This gives you the freshest, chemical-free foods available. And you can sprout seeds even in a tiny kitchen in a city flat. Cut Down on Meat: Not only is the breeding of livestock on a wide scale wasteful of the earth's resources, most meat and poultry sold comes from chemically raised animals given antibiotics and much has become polluted. If you eat meat make it organic. If you eat chicken and eggs, make them free-range. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is the body's great rejuvenator, it increases antioxidant activities to counter free radical dangers in the body, enhances the production of the anti-ageing pineal hormone melatonin and is essential to de-ageing your body. loving kindness To care for the body, to enable it to continue to de-age, it is essential that we treat life with respect and care - something which Mitsuo Koda stresses in all of his teaching. This begins with caring for oneself. Creating a lifestyle where your body and your spirit get what they need to thrive - exercise, kindness, rest, stimulation, the rewards of being taken seriously and nurtured. This is something that most of us have to learn how to do. We are always saying `Oh I can't take time to meditate or do autogenics,' or `How do I make time to take long walks or pursue a hobby I love when I have so many responsibilities to fulfill?' The answer is simple and absolutely true although it almost always takes a very long time and a lot of suffering for each of us to learn it for ourselves: Unless you take care of yourself first, making sure you eat well and honor your inner values in the way you live, you are incapable of caring for others properly. For me this has been - in many ways still is - the hardest lesson I have ever had to learn. Each of us behave unconsciously as we have been taught to behave. If our parents happened to desert us or did not care for us very well then we somehow take on their habits about ourselves and don't look after ourselves properly either. The only way to change this is through constant awareness and continued commitment to nurturing the life within us. This in turn develops our ability to nurture others and the earth. life begins today This is the first day of the rest of your life. It can be an exciting one no matter what your age now, what you want to change, and what dreams you want to bring into reality. Begin by making friends with the cornerstone practices of ageless aging. Use them regularly to make your life work better and enhance your capacity for joy. Finally explore what you love most and begin to do it - even if you can only manage an hour or two a week to start with. The American expert in mythology Joseph Campbell used to urge his students at Sarah Lawrence College to follow your bliss, and participate joyously in the sorrows of the world. It is great advice when it comes to de-aging body and mind. By this Campbell did not mean going out of our way to have a good time or chasing rainbows. Far from it. He meant being in touch with whatever is your particular, individual passion and then pursuing it for its own sake, simply because it brings you joy. This can be gardening, or racing motor bikes, going back to university, traveling, listening to music, dancing or surfing the net. The whole point about following ones bliss and honoring ones passions is that doing it leads step by step down a road towards personal authenticity as well as towards the kind of fulfillment that has nothing to do with external success or the approval of society. This too is like rediscovering the joy of childhood when for hours you could sit and perform a particular act or work with a particular skill as life unfolded moment by moment. When it comes to ongoing rejuvenation of body, mind and spirit, what can be better than that?

Transfigure Your Life - Part 1

Discover Your Hero's Journey: Unveil Your True Identity and Find Wholeness

Amidst all the shifting magnetic fields, galactic energies and social and economic upheaval, a life-transforming opportunity is being offered to each man and woman on the planet. I call it transfiguration. Transfiguration describes the enigmatic process by which the light of your individual spirit—which is unique to each one of us, yet at the same time universal and divine—enters into our cells, DNA, and energy fields. When the light of spirit fuses with the density of the body, a flowering of our innate being can happen with unprecedented grace—provided, of course, that we welcome the process and work with it. Transfiguration can clear away false beliefs that once held us back, enhance our health, expand our creativity and fuel our capacity to live each moment of our life in joy from the core of our being, no matter what kind of devastation may be taking place within us or around us. Throughout history, such an experience appears to have been limited to a few spiritually awakened men and women. Now, for the first time in human history, it is being offered to each one of us. THE HERO’S JOURNEY It’s up to each of us whether or not we want to take up the offer. What is being asked of us if we do? Each of us is being asked to make the journey of a lifetime—our unique Hero’s Journey. The word hero comes from a Greek root which means ‘to protect and to serve’. Like ‘poet’ or ‘teacher’, it is a word which refers equally to a man or woman. A hero is someone willing to move through and beyond narrow thinking and familiar landscapes to discover larger realms of meaning. A hero is someone willing to sacrifice or transmute his or her own fears and hesitation, anger and sorrows into creative power. From a psychological point of view, the hero archetype corresponds to what Freud called the ego—that part of each one of us which, in separating from the infantile bond to the mother, establishes our ability to function as a unique member of the human race. The hero archetype also represents a human being’s search for its true identity—the Self—and for wholeness. I’m going to examine this process primarily from a woman’s point of view, but it is equally applicable to a man’s. CALL TO ADVENTURE Each person’s hero's journey is unique. Yet every hero's journey as told throughout history and in mythological stories follows the same archetypal pattern. The story begins in the ordinary world: In the “Wizard of Oz”, in “Romancing the Stone”, and in the story of the Frog Princess, where we meet the princess doing what she always does—sitting in her favorite place playing with her golden ball. Then comes the call to adventure. Something happens to turn one’s ordinary world on its head. The hero is faced with a problem, a challenge or a difficulty to overcome. For instance, a man or woman may get sick, have a love affair, or lose a job. Other times the call can come by what would appear to be sheer chance—a blunder—for example, the way the princess' golden ball falls into the well and gets lost. Except, of course, there are no chances in the psychic realm, where the interconnectedness of all things is recognized. There are many other ways in which the adventure can begin. Frequently, the call comes in the form of a challenge. It can be physical—suddenly you wake in the middle of the night with hot sweats. It can be psychological—you find one morning that your life no longer means anything to you. You wonder where you have got to, and where you are going. Something is definitely not right. In whatever form the call to adventure arrives, it heralds the beginning of your hero’s journey. It puts you on notice that destiny has summoned you, and that your spiritual center of gravity has suddenly shifted out of the familiar world of society towards realms unknown. From now on, things are never going to be the same. REFUSING THE CALL Invariably following closely in the wake of any call to adventure, fear raises its familiar head. We want to run back into our past and hide. We want to pretend we never heard the summons in the first place. The princess wants her ball and the frog fetches it, but she is not willing to honor the bargain she has had to make with him to get him to do this for her. After all, she finds him repulsive and wants only to get away. She has now become the reluctant hero. The greatest fear that any of us ever have is fear of the unknown. And what lies ahead is completely unknown. So we try to pretend that everything is all right; we try to hold things together. Maybe we work even harder, and start to lean heavily on our emotional crutches and addictions. At the beginning of any hero's journey, the world sings sweet seductive songs and sends up countless distractions to bewitch us so we go no further. In detective novels, the private eye tries to refuse the case being offered him, only to accept it later although he would rather not. Somehow he gets a little push over the edge and the tale begins to unfold. The frog follows the princess, refusing to take no for an answer. In “Star Wars”, Luke Skywalker turns away from Obi Wan Kenobi's call to adventure to run home to his aunt and uncle—only to find that the farm has been destroyed by the Emperor's storm troopers. His hesitation is then overcome by the evil that has been perpetrated on his ordinary world. And so he begins his personal quest. Gritting our teeth and battening down the hatches is a common way of refusing to heed the call. So is being a servant to social niceties. Women, the world has taught us, are supposed to be machines for serving others. They are never supposed to interfere with anything, or need anything. Women who have forced themselves to live by such rules experience the rich relationships they long for because they cannot share their soul. This in turn creates a wasteland and loneliness—the loneliness of a soul “out to lunch” or one which has been banished to the dungeon lest it challenge the rules. HELP ARRIVES When the call comes, you are being asked to enter into the loneliness you feel and to walk forth into the wasteland with your eyes wide open. If the loneliness and the wasteland we experience cannot be brought into the ordinary world and shared with others, then probably we are spending time with the wrong people. We also may need to do something on our own. At this point in the journey a mentor usually arrives to help us out. The mentor can be a Merlin-type character, a book, or perhaps an older man or woman who knows more than we do and who can help us find out what we don't yet know. The mentor's purpose is to help make us ready to face the unknown. He or she represents the tie between mother and child, Goddess and woman, healer and the healed. The helpful crone and the fairy godmother are common mentor figures in European folklore. They provide the hero with the talisman she will need against the unknown forces she will have to meet. Glenda the good witch in Wizard of Oz gives Dorothy her wisdom and a pair of ruby slippers for her journey. Then she sends her on her way. Now the adventure has begun in earnest and the presence of a mentor helps push the hero forward. INTO THE UNKNOWN Armed with the powers of destiny bestowed by the mentor, our hero approaches her first passage. Here she meets the guardians of the threshold, whose purpose is to prevent the faint-hearted from entering the magical realms that lie beyond. Before she leaves New York, in “Romancing the Stone”, Joan Wilder has to face her publisher who scathingly warns her not to go to Colombia to rescue her sister because she is not strong enough to handle the challenge. Like a nasty old witch, she even pronounces a curse that something disastrous will happen if she goes. As women approach menopause, our lives are suddenly full of guardians of the threshold. Often they are well-meaning people who prey upon our worst fears—fears of inadequacy, of failure, of hopelessness, of illness and of death. Whatever the fears are, they need to be faced before we can go on. Face them head on and you pass through the gate. Now, at last, you are committed to finding out who you are and what your life is about. Crossing the threshold is the first step we take into the sacred realm of the Dark Goddess' world—gateway to the universal source. As Joseph Campbell says in The Hero With a Thousand Faces, "The adventure is always and everywhere a passage beyond the veil of the known into the unknown; the powers that watch at the boundary are dangerous; to deal with them is risky; yet for anyone with competence and courage the danger fades." EXCITING MOVEMENT Now comes the good stuff. Your hero's journey gets into full swing. Now it is time for you to deal with the tests, allies and enemies you’ll meet along the road. Obstacles to change are always in our way—insufficient money, physical problems, fears that we have no possibility of ever fulfilling our dreams. New challenges arrive, new things need to be learned. Yet each obstacle overcome, each puzzle solved, each difficulty embraced brings us more power for what lies ahead. We meet new people, new ideas or make new relationships with nature, with animals and with the unseen world. In Star Wars, Obi Wan develops Luke's skill in using The Force by insisting that he fight blindfolded. Before long, Luke faces other minor battles which serve to hone his abilities further and help prepare him for the supreme ordeal that is to come. Joan Wilder—the timid little lady from New York—is forced to face gunfire, sinister men in black gloves, the loss of her belongings and threats to her life. Along the way she picks up an ally—Jack—who will be her companion for most of the remainder of her journey. Dorothy picks up her mentor friends—the lion, the tin man and the scarecrow—while passing her tests: She oils the tin man's joints. She coaxes the lion to face his fear. She unhooks the scarecrow, who has been unable to move. With each challenge you meet, you develop strength and collect more support from companions both in the seen and the unseen world. They will turn out to be very useful to your purpose as you approach the innermost cave. This is where the power of transformation works its wonders. And what wonders they are! Click here to read part 2 of 'Transfigure Your Life'

What Myth Guides Your Life

Discover Your Mythology: Uncover the Keys to Expanding Strength, Creativity & Joy

What does it mean to live a life from your own mythology? Why does it matter? With such questions, I invite you to the experience of one quantum leap after another to expand your strength, creativity and joy. Each one of us comes into this world with a unique mythology. The more conscious you become of the myth or myths by which, long ago, you chose to live your life, the sooner you will realize who you really are, what gifts you bring, what values you cherish and how you can best turn dreams into realities as you walk this earth in a human body. The road to discovering the mythology by which you live may well be the most exciting and empowering experience you’ll ever have. WHAT IS A MYTH? First let’s be clear about what myth and mythology are NOT. In the English language, few words have been more grossly perverted than these two. In daily parlance they are wrongly taken to mean something that is untrue. In fact, mythologies and myths are stories of a very powerful kind which reveal profound truths. They put our conscious mind in touch with feeling states that lie deep within us. Like fine poetry, a mythological story can never be accessed or understood by the linear, analytical thinking that epitomizes the postmodern mechanical thinking. The worldview we have inherited contends that we we live in an arbitrary, meaningless universe devoid of spirit. I suspect this is the main reason the meaning of myth has become so corrupted. PORTAL TO NEW REALITIES In truth, a myth is a metaphor. The word comes from French métaphore, via Latin from Greek metaphora, from metapherein which means “to transfer.” A metaphor transfers meaning by pointing to an experience which, by its very nature, transcends all human categories of intellectual thought. Any metaphor acts as a portal to the awareness of an archetypal realm of experience. It is transparent to states of expanded consciousness and can be “known” only through your body and your intuitive senses. In its simplest form, a myth is a special tale that can be told ten thousand times in a thousand ways without losing its power. It is a tale which will be received differently by everyone who hears it. Yet it always carries an archetypal hook, able to grab our imagination by the throat and awaken the knowingness deep within each of us. SECRET OPENINGS Joseph Campbell, one of my personal heroes, puts it another way: "Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour. The wonder is that the characteristic efficacy to touch and inspire deep creative centers dwells in the smallest nursery fairy tale—as the flavor of the ocean is contained in a droplet, or the whole mystery of life within the egg of a flea,” he says. “For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured. They cannot be ordered, invented, or permanently suppressed. Myths are spontaneous productions of the psyche, and each bears within it undamaged the germ power of its source." Myths live forever in our hopes, dreams and relationships. Mythological images are the means by which conscious awareness is put in touch with creative energies that drive our lives from the deepest levels of our being. When we are out of touch with them in our lives, or if we choose to deny them or pay no attention to them, we become separated from the core of our being and can find ourself in a state of confusion or despair. By contrast, a mythology that we become aware of, which fires us, is one by which we can be guided to live our lives with purpose and fulfillment. So how do we discover what mythological impulses and values inhabit the deepest regions of our psyche? Childhood usually holds the key. Now is the time for you to ask the question, “By what myth have I been living my life?” CHILDHOOD HOLDS A KEY There was a moment in Carl Jung’s life when he realized what it was to live with a mythology, and what it was to live without one. When he asked himself by what mythology he was living, he found he didn’t know. Despite his much-celebrated successes, Jung had come to feel that his work until then had all been based on an intellectual understanding of the mind. As many of us do, he realized that he climbed to the top of a ladder only to discover it had been placed against the wrong wall. In his late thirties at the time, Jung asked himself a question: “What was it that fascinated me, what was it that I most loved doing as a boy whenever they left me alone and let me play?” He remembered that what he had loved most was making buildings and cities out of small stones. He decided that, having now grown up, what he would do was play with big stones. He bought a piece of land on the lake across from Zurich. Then he planned and constructed a house. As he worked with his hands, he allowed his thoughts free run in the imaginal realms. Soon he was dreaming rich dreams. He recorded them using words and images in a journal while mythic riches from deep within his soul continued to break through into conscious awareness. FASCINATION AND BLISS Before long, he understood that the dreams he had been recording resonated with great mythic themes that he had been studying while working on his book, Symbols of Transformation. He began to paint mandalas which he found acted as gateways to greater self-discovery. The connections forged by entering the mythic level of your being invariably bring us a sense of zeal, fascination and bliss. It connects us ever more deeply with our own creativity. Sooner or later it also prompts us to share our creative gifts with the world. If we are willing to look back in silence, without judgment, to our own childhood, we often discover a myth which we either are living or are meant to be living, even though we have long remained unaware of it. Often we discover that, at a young age, we sensed what we intended to do with our life in years to come. DISCOVERING MY OWN TRUTHS I remember that at the age of five I had an argument with my maternal grandmother about marriage and children. She was trying to explain to me that, when you get older, you need to find someone to love. Then you got married in a white dress, and you ate a beautiful white cake. This meant, she said, that later you would be able to have children. I was an archetypal tomboy, hated dolls, loved climbing trees and playing football. Yet even at that age I knew that I wanted children when I grew up. Her description of the white dress and the wedding cake sounded dreadful to me. “Ugh,” I said, “I hate cake. I don’t ever want to be married.” Surprised at the vehemence of my reply, she patiently explained to me that the wedding was a necessary prelude to having children. I knew there and then that she was lying. Our Siamese cat, Babette, had given birth to lots of children and she had never been married. So ended the discussion. One day, years later, having brought four children by four different men into the world and raised them all on my own, I would remember that conversation. It surprised me. How, I asked myself, could I possibly have known that I would live out the clear intention held by the five-year-old me which, in the interim, had lain sleeping in the dark, somewhere deep within my psyche? FORGOTTEN TRUTHS Like Jung, when we are children we often have a strong sense about who we will become and what we are going to do when we grow up, based on a myth or passion that fires our soul. Usually this “knowing” gets submerged beneath what “they” tell us we are supposed to do or be. Schools, advertisers, religion, well-meaning (or sometimes not so well-meaning) adults “educate” us. They tell us it is better to drive around in a shiny car than to live the life of a hobo. Personally, even as a kid, I was quite sure that given a choice between such options, I would prefer to be a hobo. As for having children and raising them on my own, this had definitely been on my agenda. Even though we may travel down many roads that lead to dead ends in our life, when we look back to childhood we often find that a particular myth or myths hidden deep within a part of us have been directing our life all along. They may even have been the power which, each time we’ve gone down a meaningless road, has drawn us back to our center asking us to reconnect with what we most love, and providing the power to create the life we want to live. YOUR UNIQUE MYTHOLOGY Discovering by what myth or myths you are living your own life leads down two parallel roads which eventually join. They take you deeper and deeper into what is the most important process of all: Forging connections with the core of your being and calling forth your own unique, creative power so that it is expressed in every area of your life both for your highest good and for the highest good of all. Coming to experience the power of mythology as a living archetype and diving in to the wondrous mythic realms fuels the creative process within you. It helps you discover, as Jung did, the mythology by which you have been living your own life. Once you begin to see this, you can ask the question, “Does this bring me delight, energy, freedom and belief in my own creative gifts? Does this story help me live out my deepest desires and purpose, or not?” IN CHALLENGING TIMES Ask yourself this: If I were faced with a situation of total disaster, if everything I held most dear to my heart and all of my loved ones disappeared, if the life I’ve been living were devastated, what would I live for? What could sustain me? How would I come to know that, despite all the challenges, I could go on living instead of throwing in the towel and letting myself fall into an abyss of impassability and fear? Now is the time to begin exploring the realms of mythology and find out. A revelatory way of looking back at your life, if you have kept a journal or a diary, is to read through some of the entries you have made into it in past years. You are likely to find that some of what you believe you have only recently come to understand. You are also likely to discover that what was important to you long ago still is. RECORD YOUR DREAMS Such revelations can help you identify some of the driving themes of your own life—the destiny that you, most likely, unwittingly chose for your life although you did not know it. So, keep a journal. Carry it with you wherever you go. Record in it your dreams, your longings, your conscious choices and the choices that life seems to make for you without any conscious choice on your part. Continue to ask yourself, “Does the myth by which I appear to be living fire me with a sense of wonder and excitement?” If so, great... just keep on going. If not, how do I begin to uncover the mythology deep within me that will? I would love to hear from you about your own experiences in answer to the question: “What mythology guides your life?”

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 20,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 16 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 24th of April 2024 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.59 lb
for women
-0.97 lb
for men
-0.59 lb
for women
-0.97 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 24th of April 2024 (updated every 12 hours)

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