I’d like to share with you a knowing that revealed itself the other day. It happened in an instant of heart opening to a deep pain that welled up, and that felt very, very familiar. The pain had covered over the knowing, and it took being willing to feel the pain fully, to be totally present with it, before the knowing could emerge in its full force and its full clarity.
The pain was, in its essence, the pain of being disconnected from love. The pain of losing my very being, which I knew to be Love. My whole life was suffused by this pain. The pain covered over the knowing of Love, until this knowing started shining through again, revealing itself in many ways, over and over. The way the pain expressed in my life was as depression, emotional disconnect, and as a total focus on the mind. The depression was excruciating in my teens and lifted somewhat in my twenties. Helped by many years of psychotherapy and emotional healing in my thirties, I started opening back up emotionally. My love affair with the mind slowly gave way to a life lived more fully at all levels: physical, emotional, mental, and eventually even spiritual.
The tragic events in Paris happen as I’m in the process of organizing the next online event on ‘Awakening in the Heart’. My first reaction is shock and dismay in the face of all this violence and the suffering it causes. Then compassion and deep love. As I sit with all of this, I remember that there was a time in my life when I used to hate with a passion: I hated capitalists for exploiting workers, and I hated men for oppressing women. The way this hatred was mostly expressed was intellectual, in terms of philosophical argument, as I was teaching political philosophy at the time. But essentially, it was and is the same as that which leads people into hurting and killing others.
of my conversation with Joan Ruvinsky, on the 'radical joy' of finding out that she has terminal cancer; on her experience of her teacher, Jean Klein, towards the end of his life; and many more things.
This excerpt is from the very end of the conversation. It has a special message of Love to all of us and is filled with radiance. Enjoy!
I held you in my arms
as you passed from this world
but you never passed
and you were never of this world.
I never for one moment
felt the loss of your presence,
for I never felt the loss of my own.
Yet only one presence remains.
I held you in my arms
as you passed from this world
but you never passed
and you were never of this world.
Thank you, NIshkala, for sending it!
Somehow the topic of death just kept coming up in different ways over the last few weeks, and it all came together in this new special event on Facing Death. It still is a taboo topic in our Western societies, and in the news, it comes up in the context of war, crime, or recently that of the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe. In those contexts, death tends to be seen from the perspective of survival, as a loss of life that could have been avoided. And for sure the refugees who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea did so because they wanted to escape suffering and death in their native countries, and their deaths could indeed have been prevented.
I do not in any way want to belittle the suffering in these situations, and I hold the people in it and affected by it with much compassion. And yet there is a different aspect to death, a different perspective and understanding of it that highlights the preciousness of it as a human experience. Just like birth, it brings us face to face with the mystery and paradox of human life, arising from the unborn and returning back to it, whilst remaining unborn all along. Experiencing death consciously -- the possibility or reality of one's own death or that of others -- can change our life forever. It tends to point us to what is ultimately real and true. This is what this special event is all about.
As you will see on the Facing Death event page, there are two parts to this event: a pre-recorded conversation with Joan Ruvinsky, a non-dual spiritual teacher who has terminal cancer; and a live panel of speakers (Jane Duncan Rogers, Nishkala Jenney, Susanne Marie, and myself) who have faced death in the passing of loved ones and/or in facing our own mortality through illness.
Joan Ruvinsky's willingness and openness to share with us her experience of her life coming to an end due to terminal cancer is such a gift to all of us. Her clarity in witnessing this consciously, and the 'radical joy' with which she does so, is a rare opportunity to hear the non-dual understanding and perspective on life and death as they are alive and lived in a human being who is facing death. My own teacher Gangaji is fond of saying how we 'catch' truth from one another... well, here's a very special occasion to do so!
Following that, the live panel will give you a sense of the depth of experiences, shifts, and insights that the conscious experience of death has the power to provoke in us. As I see it, it is such a blessing to come in touch with death, even as there may also be major fear, grief, or rage. It is in this spirit that the speakers of the panel will share their experiences. And, as always during live events, you are welcome to ask questions or share and inquire into your own experience by coming onto the hangout.
The links to the conversation with Joan and the live panel will be published on the event page. You will also find more information about the event, including the bios of the teachers and panel participants on the event page. There is no need to register. If you like, you can join the facebook event and invite your friends to it.
I so look forward to sharing this special event with you -- thank you for being here and appreciating these offerings!
In love and gratitude,
There is such a natural focus in my being on the heart and on Love... and somehow, I always come back to that. Like the heart beat itself, it's like a steady baseline upon which different melodies rise, play and fall. Just as we are all unique expressions of Love, so it seems to be part of mine that I have this love affair with Love and want to explore and speak of it, and invite others to discover it in themselves, in ever new ways. It's really beyond my choosing, I just bow to it!
As far as these offerings are concerned, you may have noticed that some of them are free, and others are paid. There is an old spiritual belief and conditioning that, to be pure, spiritual offerings should be given freely, without asking for anything in return. I've really had to look at this one! And what keeps arising is that there needs to be both, so that the expenses of life can be paid. This, too, is a natural expression of Love, and I bow to that one, too.
So here are this fall's love offerings, including two new adventures:
1 Online group programs
Life has been so busy over the last two weeks that I've had to postpone starting the online groups by a week. So they'll be starting next week at a reduced rate, since there'll only be 5 weeks left before I take off to California for the SAND conference:
2 Online course on 'Intuition for therapists, healers, and heart-based businesses'
Intuition is the voice of the heart. As the heart awakens, we learn to listen to it more fully. And finally, the living of Love includes even how we earn our living, especially if what we do comes from the heart. It's been very healing for me personally to do business' in a heart-based way, including teaching intuition. You can find out more about this course HERE.
3 Online conversations
4 SAND conference presentation
I'll be giving a presentation on 'The Heart's Knowing: An Exploration of Non-Dual Awakening in the Heart'at this year's SAND (Science and Non-Duality) conference in San Jose, California, 22 - 25 October 2015. What a surprise that was! And how wonderful that I'll be able to meet quite a few of the teachers from past online retreats there in person, and hopefully some of you, too! Here's the link to the conference program. If you're there, do come up to say hi, I'd love to meet you!
5 The next online retreat
The date that is in my head is 28/29 November 2015. You could mark this in your agenda, but in terms of making it happen, things haven't advanced beyond some vague ideas about it yet. I hope to be able to give it some serious TLC in the next few weeks, so that it can finally take some more definite shape.
In Love and gratitude,
PS: If you appreciate the Living from Love offerings, your donation towards the cost of offering them is very welcome! You can make a donation HERE.
In this newsletter, I'd like to tell you mostly about the two online group programs that will be starting in the second week of September, but there's some news about online conversations at the end, too.
The first two Awakening as Love groups came together in spring this year. I was deeply moved by the beauty and mystery of the space of loving inquiry that we all entered into for 6 weeks, and by the insights, shifts and realizations it generated in those who participated. Since many expressed an interest in continuing, there was a third, follow-up group in the early summer. Here is what one of the group participants from the UK wrote about her experience:
Dear Grace, we just finished our group and I just want to say THANK YOU. I find that something about this spacious loving space you create really allows that to be here in me and I really experience this in the online group with you, it is a beautiful gift you bring to us. I feel blessed to have this from my own home, in my family life without having to move out into a satsang space or to be on retreat [...] Bless you for being here and for helping me/us to realise this space right here 'within' and embodying it 'without' so it is realized to always be here, no matter what story is running or feelings thoughts sensations are occurring... It feels very loving, holding and deeply caring having your presence at this time of transition, rewiring and re-anchoring... Love love love, Chris (UK)
Actually I felt very touched and grateful myself for being able to share these groups! And I'm excited to start with the next Awakening as Love group program on Tuesday, 8 September 2015.
You will find more information about it by clicking >> HERE. And just to be clear: I do charge for these programs, as I cannot offer everything I do online for free. But if you would like to participate and you cannot pay the full fee, I am always open to you paying what you can.
Therapists and healers, please note: In case this group speaks to you and there is enough interest, I am open to doing a group specifically for therapists and healers (more info on the webpage for the group program).
I've just finished reading Prajna Ginty's book, Edge of Grace, where she describes her life before and after giving birth to very premature twins, one of whom is severely disabled, the other one facing a lot of physical challenges. This could be called a tragedy, but somehow, in sharing her life, Prajna conveys both the extraordinary challenges and the ordinariness of her life, as well as the deepening of her earlier and very blissful awakening into a more embodied form. Her three daughters become her teachers, and her life a true teaching. It's a very compelling read, very honest. My heart was deeply touched and tears came every so often as I read...
So I very much look forward to talking to Prajna about tragic experiences and their place in our lives, in our waking up and our 'waking down' into the fullness of life. As always you can join in the live conversation by watching and posting on the YouTube comment thread, or you can join us live on the Google hangout to ask a question or share your experience. More details and the links for watching and joining the hangout are on the home page.
With love and gratitude,
The meaning of Easter for me is all about what dies and what cannot die.
Every time I send out a message on the online mailing list, some of you unsubscribe. It's what it is, and it's fine. AND: it is also like a little death -- as human beings we want to be loved, and people turning away from us feels like we're dying a little, we're losing that connection. We lose the energy that was palpably alive when the connection was made, and that nourishes the heart at this human level.
We suffer and we die many deaths at this level: every time we struggle with feeling out of control in whatever way this presents itself -- illness, loss, conflict, failure, embarrassment, shame -- something in us dies. When we're willing to die consciously, all the little deaths that happen daily, we find out what doesn't die. We find what hasn't been touched by any of these experiences: the radiance of who we ARE. The Light, the Love, the Life that we are doesn't die in any of this. It's always been there, before we were born, and will be there after the human form has died.
This is the meaning of Easter for me. Jesus the man died, but Christ consciousness was never born and never died. It simply IS.
With love and gratitude,
PS: Image credit: Serge Bertasius Photography, on freedigitalphotos.net.
What a beautiful, intimate sharing the Love Live event turned out to be!
With Marlies Cocheret, Susanne Marie, and surprise guests Jeannie McGillivray and Nishkala Jenney. Enjoy!
About the blog:
I will be sharing some news here about online events and some of my own reflections. I'm not a very active blogger, though, so you're better off signing up for the Living from Love newsletter to get all the news in your inbox!