Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Our Hearts Know Best

Our dear friend Bob Banner of HopeDance Magazine brings so much awareness and wisdom to those of us who live on the Central Coast.  He recently showed a film called "The Power of the Heart" which left a profound impression on me.  There was so much goodness in it that if you get a chance, you really must see it.  I'll share a little of what I can recall with you here.

The HeartMath Institute has been researching the intelligence of our hearts for nearly twenty years and not long ago they conducted an interesting experiment.  In it, they showed volunteers different randomly selected photographic images that were chosen specifically to elicit strong emotional responses.  The photographs ranged from puppies and sunsets to violence and destruction.  Electrodes were placed on the bodies of the volunteers which could read the responses of their nervous systems.  Information was gathered from several areas on their bodies: the heart, the brain and the gut.

As the volunteers watched these images, a very intriguing pattern began to reveal itself.  Several seconds before an image was shown, the heart responded either positively or negatively depending on what the image would soon be.  This heart response immediately sent a message to the brain which would then send the information to the gut.  When this happened, the subject would feel the result, either relaxed or agitated.

The experiment showed that not only are our gut feelings accurate, but our heart knows the truth of our feelings first.  The brain is next in line.  And the gut brings it to conscious awareness. 

Our hearts tune us to our life.  They are faster and wiser than our heads.  They let us know if we are loved and welcomed.  Our heart knowledge pervades the Universe.  It teaches us that our soul is not in the intellect.  

The Sioux nation has a saying, "The longest journey you will make in your life is from the head to the heart."  And there is a lot to this.  Here in the west, we constantly defer to our minds.  We dwell in the past and in the future, always trying to figure things out.  But it is the heart energy, which knows the power of the present moment, that is meant to guide us.  My teacher and mentor, Jana Massey used to remind us of this.  She would say, "The heart is meant to be the true leader in our lives."

Maya Angelou said, "I believe the heart is the only thing you can trust."  Deepak Chopra said that we need to ask our hearts everything.  "Where do I want to go?"  "Who should I spend my time with?"  "What should I do with my life?"  Your heart will bring you alive.  It will guide you true by the voice that comes forth from inside of you.

© Josephine Laing, 2014

                  (The amazingly beautiful begonia in the photo was grown by Paul Carlisle)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tending to the Shift by Embracing our Natural Psychic Ability

One of the under acknowledged ways that human consciousness is growing and shifting is in the acceptance of our innate psychic ability as a powerful source of inner guidance.  As we step out from under the influence of others and begin to follow our unique path in life, guided by spirit, we find our way, one by one into a new paradigm.

When we open to our interconnectedness with everything through our psychic ability we can not help but become deeply steeped in reverence for all of life.  This helps us to embrace the next phase of our great human evolution.  Join me this week in watching this half hour long video where I share my story of how my psychic ability arose in me and how yours can easily arise in you.

Together we are forming a groundswell of unstoppable positive change.  

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Communicating With The Natural World

We humans have been reading the subtle communications of nature ever since time began.  From the simple request of a cat wanting to be let outside to the complex structure of weather patterns, if we pay attention, we can tell what nature is saying.  We can also receive intent, inspirations and even energy from nature.  This does require a shift in our awareness and our beliefs.  Whatever we believe is true, whether it is that the glass is half empty or the glass is half full.  If we allow ourselves to believe that we can, we can!  This simple but profound shift is what lets us sense subtle energies from the worlds of animals and plants. 

Contemporary research has shown that plants communicate with each other, they cooperate, they eavesdrop on their neighbors, call out for help, and even nurture their young.  Plants do have a social side.  They behave more like animals, and thus like us humans, than we have formerly believed.  They don't have eyes or ears, but they do interact with their environments, and that includes us.  Not only does this happen on a purely physical level, but it can also happen on a more etheric level.

When we stand outside in nature, rooted in the present moment, we can enter our right brains.  This lets us be interconnected, nonjudgemental, expansive, open, creative, subtle, nuanced, and insightful.  We become filled with new and novel perspectives.  This lets us realize that we are full of possibility, while being completely aware of everything around us and one with all.  When we let ourselves do this we can easily hear the voices of nature.  

We use our right brain all the time.  When we walk, when we talk, everything that we do involves some of our right brain skills and function.  But it's our left brain, our analytical brain, that is dominant in our contemporary western culture.  This hasn't always been the case.  Ancient peoples the world round were well adept in right brain function.  They have long communed on deep and profound levels with nature.  We can reclaim this skill, quite easily, if we try.

I first began this exploration when I wondered, How in the world did people of old discover the medicinal qualities of the plants around us?  So I decided to go out into the garden and try it for myself.  I sidled up beside a Hypericum plant and sat in meditative silence.  I knew nothing about the medicinal qualities of these plants at the time.  But I decided to have a go at listening.  Why not?  And before I knew it I was feeling things in my body, I was receiving ideas as if they had been planted in my head.  I just let the Hypericum talk to me, and it was delighted to do so. To my great and pleasant surprise, everything I received was accurate. 

The natural world is just waiting for us to connect.  Why not step outside and give it a try? You might not be interested in medicine, but maybe you'll find that the answers to your problems, inspirations for things you'd like to do, or directions you'd like to take in life, will suddenly pop into your head.  You may even find that you like it.  

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Meeting Your Spirit Guide

The presence of spirit is one of the great blessings in our lives.  We are never alone.  Our spirit guides are always available to help us.  Please join me for this simple exercise that can help you to embrace a meaningful relationship with your guides.

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gratitude Brings More Blessings

Years ago a friend asked me if I'd like to be president of my own division of the Life's Beautiful Club. I said, "Absolutely! How do I sign up?" And he said, "You just have to say at least once, everyday, 'Life's Beautiful.'" And I've been doing it ever since. You too can be the president of your own chapter, simple simple. Just say it everyday. And you know what? Our gratitude always brings us more blessings.

There is a branch of Hawaiian spirituality that has an invitation to see everything as beautiful.  When we are in gratitude everything IS beautiful.  

My friend Lee has a daily affirmation that goes like this, "I love my life and my life loves me." Our thoughts are so important.  A Course in Miracles says that a change in perspective changes everything.  It's not what happens to us in life, it's what we do with what happens that's important. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison he said, "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew that if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind I would still be in prison." Nelson Mandela was all about forgiveness, and as a result, he lived a life of gratitude. 

One of my favorite poets, Rabindranath Tagore wrote, "The clouds that come floating into my life no longer carry rain or usher in storms, but add to the color of my sunset sky.  May you all enjoy this holiday time with grateful hearts. 

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Power and Importance of Sanctuary

Hello everyone.

Please enjoy this little video that I created with my good friend Einar Berg.  It's called The Power and Importance of Sanctuary.

The Buddha said, "Do nothing, time is too precious to waste."  Time spent on our own is some of the richest time in life.  Join me as I discuss the many benefits that I've received from time spent in sanctuary.  

© Josephine Laing, 2014

"I Don't Know About You, but I Live in a Reincarnational Reality"

"I Don't Know About You, but I Live in a Reincarnational Reality" This was a quote from Ram Dass that I've adopted as my own.  Our lifetimes are like going to sleep at night.  We dream and then we wake up again to a whole new day.  It's just that with reincarnation it's on a slightly bigger scale. 

There was some wonderful research done at the University of Virginia in the late 1960's by a man named Ian Stevenson, MD who was a professor of pyschiatry.  He gathered 2,500 case studies of children who at around the age of two or three would speak openly about their previous families.  They also spoke about their former lives and the way they died.  Many of these children had nightmares about their past life experiences because when the volume is turned up loud (as is often the case in someone who has died relatively young by some violent or unexpected means) the memories can come through more easily.  

My dad was one of these kids.  He wasn't in Ian Stevenson's research group because he was born about 40 years earlier, however my dad did exhibit one of the characteristics that Ian covered in his research, which is known as xenoglossy.  Xenoglossy is the ability to speak in a language that you've had no former exposure to, at least not in this lifetime.  My dad grew up in relative isolation in the Arizona desert, and as a little tiny boy he spoke a few words of Hindi.  He named his cat the Hindu word for cat.  He also told my British grandmother and grandfather about his death experience in his most recent past life, where at the age of 11 he and his whole family died suddenly at the dinner table; crushed under the timbers of their home as it collapsed during an large earthquake.  

This kind of experience is common for these reincarnational children: a young and sudden death, recalled at a very young age.  Some of them have birthmarks or defects that match the wounds that their deceased former self had experienced.  Until recently,  these accounts have mostly lain somewhat dormant in family recollections or in the desks of researchers like Ian.  They were usually passed off as unexplainable anomalies, wondered at briefly and then forgotten about.  But now that nearly 3 billion of us are connected via the internet, we have access to lots of information that has formerly been unavailable, like Stevenson's research, along with other new discoveries in the the topic of the ongoing nature of consciousness.  

Though reincarnation is not readily accepted in the West, it does have a history of recognition in the Gnostic Christian texts, as well as in the ancient Kabbalistic Jewish teachings.  Throughout most of the world reincarnation has widely and wholeheartedly been embraced.  Hinduism and Buddhism both acknowledge its reality.  And the oral traditions, the numerous nature-based religions of the world,  have always accepted the cycles of life and death and rebirth.  

Lots of current research like the explorations into near death experiences show us that consciousness continues after the body and brain have died. This helps us to change our understanding about life and death.  It frees us to realize that our spiritual growth is a process and that we don't have to accomplish everything in one go.  We are reborn together again and again as we progressively embrace our interconnectedness and move closer and closer to love.  Voltaire said, "It is not more surprising to be born twice than once."  Know that love is never lost and that we all dance together again and again.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Grief, Resonance, Love, Spirit and Dolphins

After experiencing eighteen deaths in twenty four months back in the early part of the new millennium, Frank and I felt as if we had gone through the advanced course on death, loss and grieving.  Our friend, Rupert Sheldrake has postulated that there is a resonance between individuals of a species that lets them know what has come before and what might lie ahead.  As Frank considered this idea in terms of these many deaths that we'd experienced, he came up with a theory of his own.  

Frank noticed that often with the loss of a loved one, he would feel off-balance, even clumsier.  He also felt a void, not just psychologically, but also physically.  This made him realize that the energy field of the person who had died was gone. Their body was no longer there to resonate with.  Similar to a bat or a dolphin who uses echolocation, the energetic signal that Frank would be sending their way was no longer bouncing back to him.  He felt that he literally needed to reformat his own field in order to steady himself once more.

So, how do we reformat our field?  Well, we can start with all of the many ways that we process our grief: replaying the scene in our mind, reliving it with our friends, loosing ourselves in our work, allowing the passing of time, getting lots of physical exercise, realistically looking at the relationship we had with the one who has gone, seeing the attributes of those who have died in those who are still alive, doing art, letting ourselves cry as much and as long as we need to.  

There are also other ways that we can heal ourselves energetically.  Sometimes, if we are lucky and open to the idea, our loved ones can reach across the veil between the living and the dying to touch our lives in meaningful ways.  This can often allow our healing to come to us almost instantaneously.  

My friend Lillian lost her son.  He was the happy one who always made her laugh and she was just so sad that he was gone.  She couldn't stop grieving and crying.  Then, one night while she was in bed, she awoke to the presence of a light in the room.  As she looked, she realized that it was her son and he was looking so very sad.  She asked him, "Why are you sad, you're in heaven?"  And with that he faded away.  

In that instant, Lillian realized that the reason he was so sad was because she was so sad and she knew that he wanted her to be happy.  Our loved ones don't want us to mourn our lives away.  They want us to enjoy and love our lives.  In that moment, Lillian knew she had to heal her heart and get on with her life and find her way back to balance and love again.  And with that determination, she did.  

When our dear friend Franci died, we all went out on a boat onto the bay to scatter her ashes in the waves.  As her son poured the ash we tossed flowers from the garden into the water.  Some of the ash floated on the surface, some went straight down tinkling in the sunlight that pierced to the depths and some took flight in the air.  As a gust of ash blew up I was about to take a breath and there was Franci, ready to enter my lungs.  So I inhaled.  Right then, Franci's totem animal, the dolphin, appeared.  Not one, but three of them, arching up out of the water into the ash and flowers, circling round several times filling all of our hearts with wonder and a fond farewell.  We knew in that moment that Franci was in good company and we all celebrated her life and her love.

Our hearts do get broken, but sometimes spirit steps in to help and lets us become more able to navigate those turbulent waters and find our way quickly back onto the road to joy. 

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

One Foot on Either Side of the Threshold of Life

As my friend Maggie was passing away we all took turns sitting vigil by her bedside.  It took her about three or four days to die.  As the time drew nearer she experienced increased lapses of consciousness.  I tended to take the night shifts.  I'd get off work, go home, change clothes, have a meal, and then head on over to her house.  I relieved the evening friend somewhere around 10:00 and sat with her until 2:00.  That's when her neighbor and long term friend Harold would take over.  

On the night she actually died, the most profound thing happened.  As I came to be with her and sat by her side, she greeted me with such warm love in her eyes and patted my hand, and said, "Thank you darling so much for coming to be with me."  Then, tiring easily, she slipped away into a little time of sleep.  

A moment or two later she rose up with a start, reaching her arms out in front of her and called out, "Arthur! Grandmama!  It's so wonderful to see you."  Her husband had died before her, and so of course, had her grandmother.  But there they were, in the room with us, and she was reaching out to them.  Then she'd lapse with exhaustion and sink back down on the mattress and drift to sleep again.  A minute later she would wake up, pat my hand and say, "Oh darling, I'm so glad you're here.  Thank you so much for coming to be with me."

Like seaweed on an underwater rock, she flowed from one state of reality back into the other, again and again as the hours went by, deep into the night.  Then Harold took over and an hour or two later,  she died.  I felt like I had been to a going away party and a welcome home party all in the same night.  It was a wonderful experience and I'll never forget it.  

A few years back our friend Ralph passed away.  On his last day, surrounded by his loved ones, Ralph pointed with his finger to our friend Dave, and then to our friend Mark, and then to his darling wife Aleta.  Then looking each of them in the eyes by turn, he pointed between them, and beyond them, and around them, to all the others who were there, not in body but in spirit.  They were there to greet him as he made ready to join them going home.  

We are not alone.  The world of spirit is rich and all around us all the time.  And as we get close to making our own transition, the barriers break down and the wall between life and death becomes very thin.  I consider these two incidents to be very valuable in my life.  When times get tough, when I'm in a low spot, I try to remember these lessons.  This lets me realize that help is all around and love is everywhere all the time.  May we all move with gratitude as we round the bend into the fullness of this season.  

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Beautiful Ghost Story

In honor of Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos I'd like to share with you an experience that I had a decade ago while Frank and I were traveling in New Zealand.  It shows the depth of love and caring that those in spirit can express to us across the veil.  

We had just arrived in Wellington from the Ferry and hadn't yet rented a car.  So we decided to share a taxi van with several other travelers.  The driver set off to deliver all of us to our respective destinations.  

Frank and I had been availing ourselves of farm stays and home stays and had arranged with an older woman named Sylvia.  She had shared with us on the phone that she was looking for a way to make a little more income and thought she'd try opening her home to visitors.  We were to be her first guests. 

As the cabby and I were busy rearranging and unloading bags from his trailer onto the sidewalk,  Frank, alternating with a stately elder gentleman, were shuttling our bags up to the front door of the house.  The man smiled and murmured a few words in my direction as he gathered up our things and I looked forward to being properly introduced at the door, once we were all ready to go in.  

When I entered the house, I was cordially greeted by Sylvia and she showed us to our room.  Frank went with her to see the rest of the house as I excused myself to briefly freshen up.  Before I had made ready to leave the room, Frank returned and said that the place was very nice and that Sylvia loved tennis and was in the middle of watching a game. 

I asked how her husband was and if Frank had enjoyed meeting him.  He said, "No, Sylvia shared that her husband is dead.  He and their two teenaged children died in a car crash late one night the previous year."  I said, "Well, who was that man then?"  Frank asked "What man?"  I went on, "The older gentleman who was collecting our bags."  Frank said he hadn't seen anyone.  He went on to say that Sylvia had shown him a photo of her family.  It was up in the kitchen.  I went up to look at the photo and there he was, smiling at me with Sylvia and their two children by his side. 

 I suddenly knew that being as we were her first in-home-guests, he had come to make sure that all was well before she embarked upon this new venture.  Frank and I had apparently passed his purview and were welcomed by him into their home.

With love, only love, a very Day of the Dead to each of you.

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Illusion of Separation Dissovles In The Present Moment

Usually the present is a pretty good moment.  It's our thoughts from the past and our concerns from the future that create so much trouble in our minds.  If we stay with right now, everything is pretty fine.  For instance, how are you in this moment?  Probably pretty good.  Even in those times when things get a little tricky -- some minor emergency occurs -- we can usually jump into high gear and handle the situation with clarity and competency. 

However, there are those occasional times when we do feel really challenged in the present moment.  I'm so grateful to my parents for having taught me manners, because most of the time, those are what I fall back on. This always helps to diffuse a bad situation and keep things a little cleaner.  It's never a good idea to add fuel to anyone's fire.  We all slip up of course, myself included from time to time, but when we do we can notice it, forgive ourselves, and use our intention to do better next time.  

Sometimes our buttons really do get pushed and we start to lose it a little. Then the question becomes, how can we find and practice Big Love, that sense of oneness, in the face of those stinky moments.  We do have to love ourselves enough to stand up for ourselves.  But, if we can find our presence of mind, we can look at ourselves and the other as two actors on a stage.  We can notice the role we've each taken on: victim, authority, innocent, saboteur, whatever it might be. Then we can let a part of our self stand back and watch the dance between the two.  This lets the interaction become more like a board game -- win some, lose some -- rather than a matter of pride, position, or influence.  

Our sense of separation is an illusion.  When we realize this it leads us right back into love.  We know this is an illusion because if someone is drowning, or about to jump off a bridge, or our cat is in the house that has caught fire, we forget about our own lives and do everything we can to save them.  This is because deep in our beings we know that we and the other are one.  We don't run from danger, we charge into it to save the other.  

Guru Pathik said, "The greatest illusion of this world is the illusion of separation. Things you think are separate and different are actually the same. We are all one people, but we live as if divided." We need to stop focusing on our individuation. Our sense of separation is nothing short of a social pathology. It is the source of war. Them vs. us, superiority, and inferiority complexes all come from this illusion. Every cell is needed in the body of humanity.  

Kabir said, "Ignorance has locked the gate. The only thing that can open it is love."  When we are in the present moment we are in our right brains, the source of oneness, and this unites us with the true heart of our expansive and interconnected love for ourselves and all our journey mates here on the path of life.  

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

We're Working On It

Isn't it interesting to note that in people with Multiple Personality Disorder, one personality can be very sensitive to sugars in the diet, and have an advanced case of diabetes, while another personality in the same person, a mere moment later, can be absolutely disease free?  That's the incredible power for healing ability that each one of us holds inside of ourselves.  The trick lies in cultivating this skill, which we haven't yet learned.  But we're working on it.

It is our sub-conscious mind (SCM) that holds the potential for us to harness this ability.  This is the part of our consciousness that can accomplish that degree of healing instantaneously.  However, it's a very rare mind that has gained that type of control. 

The good news is that the SCM follows our directions.  It reasons logically and is our beloved protector, always dutifully following our deepest beliefs, even when we have long ago consciously forgotten them.  Its main language of communication is our emotions, either positive or negative.  It also responds very well to repetition.  

The SCM is the part of ourselves that we get in touch with when we access our brain's right hemisphere through hypnosis.  As we tap into the right side of our brain, which is connected to our higher consciousness, we can not only heal anxiety, depression, and addictive patterns, but we can also see tumors disappear, cartilage grow back, and even the "impossible diseases" turn around and heal.  

Think of a world, if you will, where all of our suffering drops away and we open ourselves to the beautiful creation of our heart's desire.  See in your mind's eye, if you can, teachers in schools offering techniques to the smallest children to help them positively manage and cope with their feelings and emotions.  We hold this potential in the palms of our hands and in the depths of our hearts.  It could free us all to find and live our true purpose every waking day.  

With journaling we can pour all of our negative thoughts out onto the paper and begin to notice our mental patterns.  Some of us have patterns of self-criticism, or self loathing.  Some of us are always complaining or choosing to take offense.  As we express ourselves and put our thoughts on the page, they don't need to constantly repeat themselves, like broken records.  Observing these patterns in ourselves lets us begin to make choices so that we can think differently.  

As we learn and start to apply basic spiritual practices like kindness, gratitude, understanding and forgiveness, not only do our negative patterns start to loosen their grasp, but our thoughts also change.  When our thoughts change, our beliefs change.  And now we are in the realm of that great powerhouse, the sub-conscious mind.  As our beliefs change our subconscious mind dutifully follows suit.  This is how we shift our paradigm.  

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Guided Imagery Meditation


One of my favorite types of meditation is the Guided Imagery Mediation.  This type of meditation engages our image center or our imagination.  It stimulates our clairvoyant function by activating our third eye.  Meditations of this nature guide us through an idea or an image.  When we do a guided imagery meditation, we can either listen to a prerecorded meditation or we can guide ourselves through the process using our own thoughts. 

My first exposure to guided imagery meditation was with a prerecorded forgiveness meditation.  This was on an audio tape that was made by Louise Hay, who wrote You Can Heal Your Life.  I listened to this almost every night on my little tape player while I was healing from a painful and long term injury.  Louise's gentle, loving voice, playing through my ear-buds, helped me to more easily manage the pain and often lulled me into sleep.  In this meditation, she asked her listeners to imagine our parents as little children, to see them as innocent, to forgive them, to pick them up, hold them lovingly, and then place them right into my heart.

Another great teacher of this type of meditation is Shakti Gawain.  She headed me down the path of guided imagery meditations with her remarkable book, Creative Visualization.  I welcome you to discover for yourself this little book and the life changing wisdom within it for yourself.  One of her readers said that it was like being led by the hand into a beautiful garden and being given a single flower, one after another, to marvel at and enjoy.

I'd like to share with you today a few of my favorite guided imagery meditations. The first one is the pink bubble technique.  Take a minute to imagine a pink bubble, with your eyes either opened or closed.  Place into the bubble any worrying thoughts you may have.  Close the door on that bubble if there was one, and see the bubble lift off and start to float away.  Let it float over the distant horizon, perhaps even over a mountain, and know that it has gone to its next, most highest placement in the universe for its transformation.

A dear friend of mine who has since moved to the east coast taught me about the healing modality of Regenesis. This is a technique where the practitioner imagines a beautiful blue light entering into each and every cell of the client's body.  This is the light of regeneration.  I have taken this idea and altered it slightly to create a wonderful guided imagery meditation for myself that I do every day.  In it, I imagine the blue light of Divinity entering in through the crown of my head and igniting all of my cells, one by one.  In just a few moment's time it fills my whole body with the loving light of my higher self.  This guided imagery meditation is part of what I do when I clear myself before I do my clairvoyant healing work for a client.

Another beautiful guided imagery mediation is to imagine a golden disk or a golden halo over the top of your head.  Let this halo be a filter.  Your thoughts can come and go, but all the thoughts of others are naturally sifted away.  This lets us really focus on being who we are in accordance with our original blueprint, our natural being, our true self.

I'll leave you with these few meditations to enjoy this week. May they serve you as well as they have served me. 

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Women's Spirituality, Reclaiming Feminine Divinity

Hello everyone,

My friend, Einar, helped me make another video for you to enjoy.  This one is on the Women's Spirituality Movement.  When we women gather together, we empower each other. And that is just what the world needs now, don't you think?

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Premonition, Synchronicities, Cards, and Coins: Allowing Spirit In

Spirit continuously steps in to assist us, often saving the day.  We can make room for guidance from spirit to more easily reach us.  Dreams, meditation, and prayer work wonders.  Or we can cast the Runes, the coins of the I Ching, or layout decks of cards.    Synchronicities can also point the way that will best ease our day.  For some of us,  it's deja vu and premonition that let inner guidance reach us.

In our dreams our physical bodies communicate through pictures.  Our higher self sends inspirations as well, in the form of images placed in our minds.  As we meditate we learn to quiet our minds.  This can allow information to flow into our conscious awareness from on high.  Our prayers are how we express our needs and our gratitudes, and engage in conversation with our own version of the divine. 

Some of us find guidance by laying out cards or casting the runes.  The symbols and the placement speak to us about where we've been and where we need to go, what qualities can bring us strength, and what might hold us back.  The I Ching is another mode of divination, meaning "to give the voice of the divine."  With this ancient Asian method of finding guidance the user tosses coins and makes note of where the coins lie, and if they are heads or tails. This leads the seeker to a passage in a book that can bring answers and insights to the questions asked. 

Another way that spirit can edge its way in is through synchronicity. We wake from a dream about a certain friend, that morning they call with an invitation to go swimming. We had plans to clean the garage, but because of the dream image we decide to go with them instead. At the water's edge we just happen to meet someone who needs something done, and we are just the person for the job. Synchronicities can channel us to right where we need to go. This is divine love saying, "Go this way, you'll like it."

Some lucky souls are granted the gift of premonition.  These individuals receive strong senses of knowing and inner guidance.  My mother was a premonition dreamer, and once or twice she saved our lives. We were so impressed by this skill that we never hesitated or doubted when she got that certain look in her eye. 

My brother inherited the gift of premonition as well.  One day he was driving on Mulholland highway, speeding and squealing around the turns, going way too fast.  Then suddenly, he got an image, blatantly and strongly, right in his mind.  It was of the front wheel of his car popping off its axle. This startled him so much that he slowed way down.  And on the next turn it happened.   His wheel came off and his disk brake plowed into the ground, saving him from sudden and certain death.

I often think about how our angels are watching over us.  I imagine his angel was riding on the front corner of the hood of his car, watching those bolts on that wheel.  When they started to get loose the angel zoomed that image right into his mind, getting his attention and causing him to make a change. This allowed him to live on to make a lifetime's worth of positive changes in the lives of others. 

When we are open to guidance in our lives, guidance comes.  It can be subtle or strong, it may follow a circuitous trail, but it brings us to right where we need to go.   

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Many Forms of Prayer

Rumi said, "There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth."  When we spend time doing sacred art, writing or reading spiritual poetry, or  joining with others in ecstatic dance, we are expressing just a few of those hundreds of ways.  Every moment of every day, every breath we take, every step we make can be a prayer.  Pilgrimages are prayers.  Mantras and chanting are prayers. Doing the rosary, taking a walk out in nature, our whole life is a prayer.  We come into this life with a breath, we go out with another.  Our words, our thoughts -- all of these are prayers.

To me, prayer is a celebration of the soul.  Whether we realize it or not, just being alive takes us there. We can pray in groups.  As we meet, as we dance and move together, we are in prayer.    We pray with our agreements.  Whenever we come together and join our thoughts as one, that is also a prayer.  It's good to pay heed to what we agree on. 

Sometimes on retreat we are blessed with the experience of silent meals.  These are just another opportunity to move into the depth of our experience and celebrate the many joys of life.  Sand paintings, mandalas, aboriginal forms of art -- these are also celebrations of life, and of soul, and of the nature of being.  They are prayers too. 

When we bring ourselves consciously to prayer, we open to a heightened sense of self.  Our heart opens, our mind aligns, and we stand in our truth and in our power.  From this place it's not just our mouth or our intellect, it's our whole being.  This is how we change our world, one of us at a time, changing what's inside of us changes what's outside of us and thus all around us.

Join me now in this little mantra as a group prayer.  This comes from the Buddhist tradition of Vipassanā and it is a Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation.  "May all beings be peaceful, may all beings be free from suffering, may all beings be happy, may all beings be free." 

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

All Is Well, Happiness, and Joy

Peace Pilgrim once said, "Who could know God and not be joyous?"  When we overcome the illusion of our separation from the divine we find ourselves in joyous contact with the Ultimate Reality from which we spring. This connection frees us from any misunderstanding we might have about ourselves and the nature of life. It allows us to experience joy.  

I first discovered a sense of the divine during my early teenage years when I was with my horse Duchess.  I reveled in the beauty of the natural world, admiring the energy of the trees, the soil, and the air surrounding us.  We can experience this feeling of reverence whenever we are in contact with nature.  

For me the divine is free from association with religion.  It is the ultimate source of the universe and of consciousness.  I like to think of the ultimate mystery as God and that God is the mystery of pure love.  It is the totality of everything.  The illusion of our separation from the divine is the cause of all of our suffering. This is what robs us of our joy. 

Though happiness and joy may seem pretty similar, they are actually quite distinct.  Happiness is an externally based form of pleasure.  We become happy when someone gives us a present or a compliment, or when we find ourselves in a lovely environment.  We take a ride at an amusement park and we laugh. 

On the other hand, joy percolates up from deep within ourselves.  Joy is linked to our sense of "All is Well."  No matter what, we know the rightness of everything.  We feel this way when we are doing what we truly want to do, when we follow our inspirations, when we open our hearts in love.

Everything is a part of the totality and when we know that we are learning and growing, a sense of well-being pervades our every experience.  Years ago a friend of mine shared with me a saying that really knocked my socks off when I first heard it.  "Gratitude is my only reaction."  I see now how very profound this idea is. 

One beautiful way to reconnect with our joy is to take a moment to stop and think, how many times have you brought to your awareness that great mystery, that deep love, that ultimate source of creation?  Have you seen it in the eyes of another?  Have you felt it in the breeze in your hair?  Did you feel it in the sun from the window as it warmed your hand? 

I invite you this week to see how many times a day we can reach for that joy.  Find that connection with something larger than ourselves and just surrender ourselves to it.  Allowing it to cause that deep joy of connectedness, percolating up from the very roots of our being.  

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Learning Self Love

Hello everyone.

I've just created this little video with my dear friend Einar Berg.  It's called Learning Self Love.

We can not give what we do not have.  Learning Self love is one of the most important things we do in our sanctuary.  This let's us have more love in our lives and in our relationships.  Join me for this brief video on how we can learn to love ourselves.

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Grumble, Grumble, Grumble vs. Wow! That Was Great!

We do have free will.  One of the things that we can absolutely choose is where we place our thoughts and our mind.  This can be like simply picking up the reigns on a runaway horse.  It is easier than you would think. We all experience hardships.  Life is rife with them.  But our difficulties are here to help us grow.  They are the obstacles that cause us to leap even higher.

There are common obstacles that we encounter, these blocks seem like they prevent us from spending every moment rejoicing in gratitude.  Grief of course, is huge.  So is lack of forgiveness, along with a lack of compassion and understanding. 

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identifies the five stages of grief.  They are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  After having experienced 18 deaths in 24 months and crying buckets full of tears, I became aware that the time we spend in grief can vary greatly, depending on the loss.  It also depends on, dare I say, our choice to stay there, or move through it and move on.  Some loss really knocks us for a loop.  And it's just going to take its sweet time.  Grief never fully leaves us, but there are instances where we can actually get in there, do some inner work, and bring our thoughts, minds, and hearts to some resolve. 

In the advanced course I find that when I have really moved through my inner work, with lots of understanding and self-love, I can even come to a sixth stage, which is gratitude.  This is the point where I have come to see the blessings that the loss has brought to me.  Sometimes we learn how to better care for ourselves.  Sometimes we move on to a relationship that is even more compatible.  It's not so much what happens to us in life, it's what we do with what happens that matters. 

Another major block to gratitude is lack of forgiveness.  Sometimes we're holding on so tight to something we think is terrible that we just can't move forward.  Louise Hay helped me with this obstacle in my own life with her affirmation, "I forgive you for not being the way that I wanted you to be.  I forgive you and I set you free, and thereby free myself."  There is a lot of personal reflection in this thought.  And it often helps us to see the deeper view.  My spiritual teacher Jana Massey taught us that forgiveness is the law of erasure.  It erases the hurt so the truth can be made known.  When we forgive we release that tight grasp and over time, often we see further. 

There is one more set of forgiveness affirmations I'd like to share with you today.  Sadly, I don't remember where I got them.  But never mind, they go like this, "I forgive you for any pain that you may have caused me.  I ask that you forgive me for any pain that I may have caused you.  And I forgive myself for allowing you to cause me any pain."  With these we see the situation from three unique perspectives.  They also help us understand that pain is a two way street.

With deeper introspection we can even move beyond the need for forgiveness because we come to see that everyone is always doing what feels right given their set of circumstances.  Often in a worst case scenario, the perpetrator is so tortured themselves, so lost within, that they are looking for any way to have someone else know their experience.  Those who are this unsettled truly need our compassion.  We wouldn't punish a baby for pulling a cat's tail.  We would understand that's the stage of growth the child is in.  Similarly, someone who has done us wrong is experiencing their own version of the world.   As hard to swallow as this may be, understanding is the key.

So, grumble, grumble, grumble is a choice we sometimes make.  And it's fully understandable. But how much nicer it is to turn our focus to what is beautiful in every given situation, to see how we are growing our souls and the souls of others.  Appreciation always shifts the energy.  We can take the time to look for it and say instead, "Wow! That was great." 

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Answers to All of Our Prayers

I've heard it said that there are only three answers to prayer.  The first is, "Yes, of course."  The second is, "Yes, but later."  And the third is, "No, I have something better for you. 

The Country Western singer, Garth Brooks, titled one of his most famous songs, "Thank God for Unanswered Prayers."  In it he describes his younger self's passionate plea to be able to marry a woman whom he thought would satisfy his life's desires.  But years later, he sees her and realizes how grateful he is that his prayer went unanswered and how happy he is with his own wife and the life they lead together.  I think his story was not about an unanswered prayer, but rather was about the third answer to prayer, "No, I have something better for you."

For my own part, in my early adult years, I settled into the life that other people had in mind for me.  I achieved the required level of education, got the degree and began an acceptable career.  But spirit had other ideas in mind and arranged for a course correction in the form of a major back injury that would not only change my life's direction, but would also give me the necessary tools to prepare me for what lay ahead. 

Having to spend a year in bed mending my back opened the door that allowed me to fully develop my psychic ability.  Knowing how important positive thoughts are in healing, I began with self-love.  I also spent time meditating and interpreting my dreams in the sanctuary of my home. 

I was nearly healed from the first injury when another big injury landed me in bed again.  This one was so serious that I got down on my knees and prayed, to a God that I really didn't know, asking to be spared.  I said that in exchange for granting me my life, I would do anything, whatever the Divine had in mind for me. 

This is a very powerful experience.  When we give ourselves over to Divine Will, we surrender our lives and subsequently find our true purpose.  As Gandhi poetically said, "God demands nothing less than complete self surrender as the price for the only real freedom that is worth having.  And when a person thus loses their self, that person immediately finds their self in the service of all that lives.  Such service becomes their delight and recreation.  They are now a new person, never weary of spending themselves in the service of God's creation."

Committing myself to God's will not only gave me a new and different life which was much more true to who I am, but it also taught me about the transformational power of prayer.  This was the final ingredient that allowed me to truly step into the magic of my own life.  It created for me my life's work as a Clairvoyant Healer.  It has allowed me to thrive with joy.  And it taught me the answers to all of our prayers: "Yes," "No," and, Surrender.

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

We Are All One

Throughout spiritual literature we find the phrase, "We are all one." I am sometimes asked, how do we find oneness when we all feel so separate? I love what Aldous Huxley said about the brain. He said the brain is like a reducer valve, mitigating all of the information from the universe. A reducer valve is something that makes the flow of information or material smaller. For instance, the water out at the street flows through a four inch pipe. We've all seen a fire hydrant blow, it's a tremendous geyser. If that amount of water pressure came out of our kitchen sink it would blow the sink right off the wall. So instead, there are reducer valves to manage the amount of water that flows from the street into our homes. Our brains are the same way. If we had access to all the information of the universe, all the time, it would short our circuits, much like that exploding kitchen faucet.

However, we can access our little part of that entire creation by simply stepping into the right side of our brains. Here, in our right brains, we find the present moment, the eternal now, the quiet mind, psychic perception, limitless possibilities, and new insightful solutions. Here we are the observer, where everything is perfect, whole, and complete. This is the place where we are connected to everything. There is an innocent openness, a rich sense of abundance, and euphoria. 

One of my favorite analogies is that of the drop of water and the ocean. A drop of water is a part of all water, however it is differentiated into a single drop. It is no more separate from the rest of water than my baby finger is separate from me. My finger is not separate, but it is different from the rest of me. Similarly, our consciousness is a unique part of divinity. Not separate, but different, with access to all being a part of the whole. When we look at the world and ourselves this way we see the illusion of separation for what it is: merely an illusion.
This idea of separation can be very dangerous. It is the source, after all, of war. It causes the them vs. us mentality. When instead we see everyone and everything as a part of the same whole, but delightfully and interestingly different, then the whole world becomes our family. And we are in love with everyone and everything.

In closing, I'll leave you with a little guidance for how to step into the right brain. My favorite is to spend some time out in nature. Nature opens us to an expansiveness and a clarity that allows us to receive inspiration, which always comes right out of the right brain. Another great way is to spend time with a dog. Dogs are loving, in the present moment, accepting of everything. They are perfect expressions of God, which is dog spelled backwards. Perhaps my favorite way of accessing the right brain is to take a moment to listen for just a second to that birdsong that just sounded right outside the window. Try it right now, see if you can catch it ... did you notice, that for right then you didn't have any thoughts? You were open and receptive. Enter there. 

© Josephine Laing, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

How Can I Clear My Head To Be Me?

Sometimes I get asked how we can tell which thoughts are our own and which are thoughts, images, or feelings from others.  And it's true, we do pick up on other people's thoughts and ideas.  The trick is how to clear all that static out.

Written in stone over the ancient city gates of Delphi were the words, "Know thyself."  When we know who we are, we can better recognize our own thoughts.  We are naturally influenced by lots of early subconscious programming. This is how we become socialized into our culture.  Unless we change them, these thought patterns will be with us throughout our lives.  

Years ago I saw a film where a newly married couple was in bed wearing their pajamas.  As the camera panned further back you could see that beside the husband was his mother and then his father, and beside the wife was her father and then her mother.  This was a wonderful graphic image showing how we all have other people's ideas present with us even in the most intimate of times.

There's a simple exercise that I like which children instinctively do several times a day.  For this exercise you just sit by yourself, and simply be who you are.  This has a very unique, signature feeling to it. It is the, "I am."  This exercise helps us recognize who we are and identify our own thoughts as distinct from the thoughts of others.

At 4 am there are very few thoughts in the air because most people are asleep.  This feels different from a busy street corner in the middle of the afternoon.  Perhaps you would like to practice seeing what it's like to observe the thoughts of others whizzing around and compare that to the quiet night air.

Another exercise that I like to do is to imagine a clear, bright, white light right in the center of my head.  I let that bright white light begin to expand until it fills my entire cranium, moving just a little bit beyond.  As it does, I let it push out all the thoughts of others, leaving only room for my own thoughts inside my head. 

One of my mentors, Jana Massy, taught me a lovely sound healing exercise for eliminating other people's thoughts from our aura.  We do this by clearing the psychic collar.  This is the space below the jaw and above the third rib.  Make the sound of a bee.  Part your lips and place your teeth lightly together and BZZZZZZZZ.  This light vibration dusts off any thoughts that may be lingering.  And so does a nice hot shower.  That's part of why they feel so good.

One more thing you can do is to imagine a golden disk or a golden halo over the top of your head.  Let this halo be a filter.  Your thoughts can come and go, but all the thoughts of others are naturally sifted away.  This lets us really focus on being who we are in accordance with our original blueprint, our natural self. 

I'll leave you with these few exercises to enjoy this week.  They have served me well in learning how to distinguish which thoughts in my head are my own and which thoughts belong to others. 

I wish you all insight, wisdom, and magic as you pursue the journey of inner knowing.  


© Josephine Laing, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Women's Spirituality Movement ~ Awakening to a New Era on Earth

Dancing Round the Maypole at Beltane

The Women's Spirituality Movement is percolating up from the fundamental consciousness of our collective human experience. Women the world round are rising. Like sleepy children we are heeding Gaia's morning call and preparing ourselves for a new era on earth. As we stand together side by side in equality, expressing our hopes and dreams, finding our joy and passion, we leave our fears behind and claim our true power. 
This power, that we women cultivate in our circles, is not the false power of holding dominion over another, it is the true power of knowing and being ourselves. It is the essence of our soul's calling combined with the loving support and interconnectedness of our sisters in circle. It is from this stance, day by day, household by household that women are claiming our place at the table and changing the world. 
We have all seen the horrors of a world lead only from the masculine point of view. War, destruction, mass extinctions and global warming are all left in the aftermath. This doesn't work for anyone, men or women, children or animals, forests, oceans or trees. Like waking from a long nightmare, Gaia is calling the feminine and we women are stepping up to embrace the new day.
Unlike organized religion, the women's spirituality movement is a spontaneous uprising of individual groups of women who gather and meet together to reclaim the divine feminine. We meet in circles and these circles ripple out and create more circles. We dance, we cry, we sing and we share our hearts to find our ground. Meeting regularly in this way, we grow in love and learn how to heal ourselves with forgiveness and understanding. 
It is in the crucible of the circle that we begin to realize that our challenges are really blessings as we help each other to see more deeply. In the safe sanctuary of circle we find our voice for self expression. We move beyond oppression and formulate new visions for ourselves, for our families and for our world. It is within the alchemy of the women's circle that we are calling forth a new world view into being. 
No one started this movement. There are no rules, there is no one set way of doing a circle. The format, structure, shape and timing are all organically created by the various women within the circle. Time of day, frequency, intention and focus all come into being naturally from within the group. 
Most of the women in the circles I've been fortunate enough to be a member of are eco-feminists, meaning that they have concern for the ecology of our planet and believe in the need for full participation of women both in government and the workplace. They see the need for women to be key players in the creation of our culture. Knowing that the personal is the political, they let their lives and choices reflect their values. Aware of the repercussions of pesticide poisoning and the cruelty of factory farming, many of the women in circles are inclined toward organically grown, vegetarian or vegan dietstyles. This holds especially true for the food that is brought to and served within a circle after our ceremonial celebrations are complete. Again there are no rules, but this one aspect seems to be a constant. And, in this way we women are able to include all of our circle sisters in the enjoyment of the wonderful dishes that we bring to share. 
Over the twenty or so years that I have been participating in the Women's Spirituality Movement, I've noticed that most of the women in our circles are political or social or environmental activists, often joining or forming one or more of the hundreds of thousands of reform groups that have risen up throughout our world. Tending to home, family, culture and career can be demanding. So the time spent in circle gathering with like minded supportive women is cherished and sacred. And we do create the sacred in our circles. We honor our time together as holy.
When we meet often we will begin by purifying ourselves in some way leaving behind the troubles of the day. This can be as simple as hugs from everyone. Or maybe we will sprinkle a few drops of the water from a local hot spring over the heads of each woman as she arrives. Perhaps we will choose to use a few grains of cornmeal instead, to do the same. Often, using a bouquet of gathered feathers, we will waft the smoke from the leaves of various smoldering herbs around to the front and the backside of each woman. While doing this, we may whisper words of encouragement and appreciation as she enters the space we've created, acknowledging her beauty and her contribution. The bundled leaves of sage, cedar or lemon grass work nicely for this when held in a hand made ceramic bowl or an abalone shell. Once everyone has been blessed into the circle, it is considered closed. Then we do ceremony together. There may be song, poetry and meditation. Frequently there is an activity. Perhaps we honor the cycles of time. Maybe it is the full moon or the new moon that calls us together each month. Perhaps it is a weekly prayer or meditation group dedicated to peace. Women's circles can be crone groups honoring and holding the wisdoms of women who are in their elder years. Some women's circles meet only once as initiations celebrating the first blood of menarche or the last of menopause. These can be small family events or larger temporary combinations of members from several women's circles.
Some women's circles are educational groups with the members taking turns presenting information about the Goddess cultures of pre-history. Many celebrate the Solstices, Equinoxes and cross quarter holidays in ways similar to those that were prevalent prior to the advent of the Abrahamic religious traditions. Other circles may focus on actions like writing letters for peace or finding creative expression through dance. But the hallmark of the Women's Spirituality Movement is the overarching theme of honoring the feminine mind and worldview and holding our time together as sacred. As we do so, we look to each other for support and validation. This increases our confidence and fuels us forward on our path in our individual lives. We also strongly encourage our intuitive nature and honor our feelings, holding both of these as primary guiding forces in our lives. Our time spent in circle, in the secure embrace of each other's love and support, strengthens and renews us. It helps us to claim our power individually and move forward with it into the world.
If you are not already in a women's circle, they are easy to create. You can put a notice up on the bulletin board of your local healthy food store or at a yoga center. Or simply ask a few friends round to tea and share with them your ideas. See what they would like to offer. Ask each of them to invite two or three more women and set up an initial time, place and date. Most circles meet monthly, some meet weekly. One circle I'm in meets eight times a year, on the two Solstices, the two Equinoxes and the four Cross Quarter Holidays: Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas and Samhain. These are ancient markers for the cycles of time. We celebrate them as “The Wheel of the Year.” They also represent the cycle of life from birth to death. The babe is born and the seed sprouts on Winter Solstice. The pattern for that life is set and in place by Candlemas, February eve. The youth is learning at the Spring or Vernal Equinox. By the “lusty month of May,” young adulthood is reached and procreation is high. Come Summer Solstice adulthood is in full bloom, the seeds for the next generation are set. With Lamas the first harvest bread is shared. The year is ripe and we round the corner into elder age with the fall or Autumnal Equinox. Old age and death come with Samhain or Halloween, as the seed drops to the ground and all appears to be gone as winter's snow sets in. But then with the Midwinter Solstice the babe is born again and the wheel of the year has germinated once more.

Round and round we go,
We hold each other's hand.
Weave our lives in a circle.
Our love is strong.
The dance goes on.

© Josephine Laing, 2014