Messages of Light No. 1

Image courtesy of Grisielly.

The Landing-Place


“Life is a journey,” I said.


“Life is this moment,”

my Higher Self answered:


This moment – fully

embraced – is journey’s

end and journey’s



the point

of departure is

the destination.


Image courtesy of Unsplash.


Harbingers of Change

Image credit: etceterawork canvas prints available at

After weeks of my kerosene stove registering ‘Lo’ first thing, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that there wasn’t the same need to turn it on the moment my feet hit the floor this morning.

The chill from beneath the thin wooden floorboards wasn’t quite as pervasive as usual, but it still came as a surprise to see that the thermometer in the living room was registering a full 8 degrees!

Remember, this was before I’d even turned on a stove.

To set the scene a little better, I live in an old farmhouse in the depths of the Japanese countryside where, despite the relative harshness of the winters, the older houses were built solely to help their inhabitants survive the intensity of the hot and humid summers and are ill-equipped for the cold winter months. To be able to reach a hand out of bed and leave it there, walk the floors in my bed sock clad feet without immediately reaching for the stove in February is nothing short of a small miracle – one I intended to enjoy to the full.

Once breakfast had been eaten I donned my sunhat and sunglasses and ventured outside with my beloved four-legged friend.There was a smell of freshness in the air and I realised I really didn’t need my jacket.

Pimo, my dog, has aged a lot in the last year and we no longer go very far on our walks, which often end in me carrying her back to the house. Imagine my delight when having only gone a couple of hundred metres, I was greeted with the sight of three or four small bees drifting around by the germander speedwell that was slightly straggly after several weeks of being submerged under snow, but was now opening its delicate blue flowers to receive the warmth of the sun.

Snow was still lying in all the places the sun doesn’t normally reach but the river was glittering merrily, bathed in light; the breeze was gentle and warm; even the blueness of the sky had a softness about it and, to my astonishment, I had the good fortune to come across a ladybird no doubt tricked into venturing out of hibernation by the unseasonable warmth of the day.

Beautiful harbingers of spring which occasioned a quickening of my heart and a lightness in my step.

The rush of hope and gratitude I felt was made all the more intense by their contrast to the dazzling snowscapes, the ice-choked stream that leads down to the river, the monochrome mountains made of bare branches peeking through snow, and the chill in the air that penetrates my fleece-lined gloves that are all symbolic of the winter months here.

As anyone who has ever lived in a place with distinctive seasons knows, the beauty of each is enhanced by the one before.

And winter to spring, with its hint of new beginnings in the air and the outburst of nature in an explosion of life and colour, is my own personal favourite here in Nagano and breathes a special kind of delight into my heart.

I got home and opened my Facebook page to find a quote about life being a circle of happiness and sadness, hard times and good times and it seemed to fit so perfectly with the rhythm of the seasons that had just moments before been flooding my senses.

After the cold winter there comes the spring.

And, in the cyclic nature of the Universe, day is followed by night and then by day again; and, difficult as it can be to believe at the time, our sadness and hard times are not permanent fixtures but gradually make way for happiness and good times again.

I have seen the indisputability of this in my own life. From the depths of grief so great I feared I might never surface, I rode the wave of change and renewal and now know happiness again.

And just as some of winter is carried over into spring in torrenting rivers full of snowmelt, our sadness and hard times leave their lasting impression.

But the cycle of life is always seeking balance, and gradually restores happiness where once it could not be found.

I know it is not only myself who has rode the troughs the last few years. Our planet and many of us on it are going through giant upheavals in our lives, most preceded by a period of deep grief and pain.

My own experience of riding the troughs taught me that the only thing I could do was trust in this cyclic nature of life. Trust that better things are on their way and that I was being led to a better place.

To any of you who may currently be riding the troughs not the peaks, I implore you to trust in this same cyclic nature of life and your ability to heal, and keep an eye out for the signs that better things are on their way.

Like the improbable bees and the ladybird the harbingers of spring, what harbingers of possibility can you find showing up in your life today?

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Image credit:
Image credit:

*I would just like to emphasise that this is an account of my personal response to the events in Paris, which may or may not coincide with the opinions of others.



Today I attended “gift curry,”

an event at a temple

tucked away in the hills

behind my house.


“Gift curry” the event

was inspired by

Himself He Cooks – 


an award-winning

documentary which takes us to

the Golden Temple in

Amritsar where, each day, 300

volunteers prepare and serve

up to 50,000 free meals,

all made from donated food.


It took one young woman

with an open heart and a

willing soul who watched this

film and thought, “If they can

do it there, we can here.”


One young woman with her

enthusiasm and the

strength of character to

believe in herself and

follow though on her



One young woman with a

desire to champion caring,

community, and giving without

expectation of

anything in return.


One young woman and her

receptive friend who

stepped up; said

“Let’s make it happen.”


And they did.


They invited others to

share in their

vision, to give of

themselves in



And today it came about –

the culmination of several

months of hard work and planning.


From early this

morning there was a

team of volunteers on kitchen

and car park duty at the

temple. Gifts of rice and

vegetables were

gratefully received and the

volunteers went to



Knives chopped non-stop in the

kitchen as strangers worked

side by side, united in their

common purpose.


A very different context to the

free kitchen in Punjab for

sure –

I know without a doubt that

all of the people at the

temple today could afford to

buy their own lunch

several times over.


But an act of service all the

same, motivated by the genuine

desire to create a space for

community –


for giving; for receiving;

for sharing.


For working together towards

a greater good.


People sharing their time, their

gifts, their experience, their

hearts; remembering what

community is

all about.


Over a hundred people were

served a meal of three kinds of

curry, two kinds of rice and

a selection of pickles. So many people

brought gifts of food that there was a

whole host of other things besides and

more tables had to be found to

accommodate it all.


A local dancer gave us the gift of

her art performed in front of the

temple’s altar, and a man

who had traveled extensively in

India shared with us the

gift of his knowledge.


And everywhere people lent their

hands in any way they

could –

wiping tables,

washing plates,

carrying chairs,

befriending those of us who came alone.


I drove home with a

warmth in my heart.


I was thinking what a beautiful

world we live in.


Of the love and generosity in

people’s hearts.


Of the power we have to create something

bigger than we are when we



Of the power we all have to follow our


make a difference in the world.


The beauty of the temple’s

gingko tree in its full

fall splendour, its yellow

leaves distinct against a

magnificent backdrop of

rain and mist soaked

mountains etched itself

on my heart and I thought –

“What a wonderful world

we live in; what a paradise

here on Earth.”


That was before I got

home and turned on my

computer; saw the news –


At least 120


in terrorist attacks in





more injured.


The magnificent city

devastated by the

senseless act of


its people grieving,



It was at that point that my thinking was on

the verge

of turning itself around.


“What a f****d up world we live in,” I heard –

a sad, disillusioned voice in my head.


And it was then that I decided I


let my heart be



Because by God this is a

world of beauty and

goodness as well as one of



And if we let the ones

who want to cause us


harden our hearts so that

we can no longer see that, then –

in every way –

they’ve won.


Yes let’s mourn and grieve the

irreplaceable loss of

life. The senselessness and

brutality of the violence

perpetrated against the

people of Paris.


The pain and darkness in

the lives and hearts of some

that bring them to the

place where they pull that

trigger, detonate the bomb.


The misplaced

nationalistic, racist or

religious zeal that is an all-

consuming fire in the hearts of

others, persuading them they’re


within their moral right to

commit such an

act – one that contravenes the

sanctity of life.


Let us continue, in the

days to come, to

mourn and grieve

each and every

precious life


to terrorism in Paris and

countries all over the world.


But let us also hold onto the

goodness; the



The individual and combined

endeavours to shape this world

into a better place.


All that is


in people’s hearts and

in the world at large.


Let us hold it



an act of

defiance against those who

want to besmirch our hearts,

minds and lives with their



And, in solidarity, let

us unite –


world citizens of and for

a peace

a hope


that transcends all



transcends the superficial

distinctions we

impose on ourselves.


United in our



as we hold the

people of Paris up,

honour them in our hearts.


What Is a Man?

Picture credit:
Picture credit:

I don’t pretend to


the intricate complexities of

who and

what I really am –


an ego housed in a

body it’s true, with

hopes and dreams,

fears and doubts,



to be or have or do




A history,



some of pain and suffering,

some of light and joy.


And that’s not all…


I’m the rich inheritor of a long

lineage of DNA that

bespoke who I have

become –


the kink in my hair,

my slender wrists and ankles,

the veins breaking through my skin –



given to me

by my ancestors.


And surely it is also them I

have to thank for the

less visible legacies of

intellect and



And I am, too, the

product of my

environment –


a love of books and learning

instilled when young

well-worn companions to this day.


Now an anomalous

blend of

East and West after

half a lifetime spent

in a home away from



And yet…


None of this even begins to

penetrate the ambiguities,

barely grazes the surface of my



I’m so much more.


I’m the compassionate heart;

the perceptive mind;

the determined will;

the loving soul;

the blood that runs through veins;

the prana that enlivens;

the eyes that see;

the ears that hear;

the hands that touch and comfort and hold.


Hold onto what?


Hold onto whatsoever





And now that I think of it,

it’s not just the hands that hold…


My mind – conscious and not – holds on to



outlived emotions,

all the things I’ve been told,

all the things I’ve read and

seen and heard…


All the things I’ve thought I am.


Until awakened

questioning – yes;

but not contemplating if a

thought-form was conducive to

wholeness or not…,


holding on to

so many that



And still I love this mind of mine,

this deep unfathomable enigma…


for even as it holds fast to

limited notions of who and

what I am,

it’s all the time


for the truth



Broaching the subject and the

boundaries of intellectual

understanding I would have to say

from lived experience that it’s

when we let go of everything –

break through our preconceptions –

that we come

closest to the




And what do




when I allow myself to

look and really see,

to perceive with the


as well as the



To look with the

eyes of the



That I’m everything and


all at once…


a divine spark of


in human form…


an entity made of the same

cosmic building blocks as the

stars in the sky,

the fish in the rivers,

the leaves that rustle in the wind…


Nothing more.

Nothing less.


Everything – for the


is contained

within my depths.


Nothing – for there is no


only the

breath of life

that flows through



I am










An impermanent


breath of



What are we


when the flesh is

burned away to


charred and

brittle bones

and all we are left with is



That answer will come in its own time, but

for now…


I love the

breath of life


breathes through me

graces me my days.

the path unraveled before me

Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Goodman.
Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Goodman.

The whole world is home –

right where I find myself is

right where I belong.

Setting Myself Free

Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Goodman.
Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Goodman.


I’ve done too many years

of being

scrunched up,

hunched over,

less than;

not feeling Worthy,

Good Enough,



Not knowing that


have the right

to walk the Earth

with the same confident footsteps

as others do.


Let me tell you,

it’s not fun.


This unworthiness

and lack of self-love

translated itself

into bodily terms,

informing my posture

as I tried to be smaller –

hunchedoverscrunchedup –

Not Really There…


endeavoring to walk





(For what goes unseen escapes

the often critical and always evaluating

eyes of others).


Tightness in my shoulders

and back –

manifestations of the

tension –

physically felt – in my efforts to


unpleasable others;


if I just


that little bit


I’d unlock the door to

their approval,


acceptance and



(Not knowing that really

all it’s about

is approval,


acceptance and

love for



Sacrificing my first loyalty  – to myself –

in my mute lack of protest, as I


not to have

a voice.

Letting them


what they would.


My silence

an implicit compliance

with words that

cut to the



My body – faithfully –

absorbing it all.


Well, I’m done with that now.


Done with


making myself wrong,

(To placate others

and make them right).


Done with

not speaking up for


and what I know to

be true.

(Even when it’s clear

that the other person is expressing

deep pools of pain and frustration –

nothing to do with


at all).


I am choosing


a new way of being.


One that’s self-sustaining –

kinder to me,

entreats me

to put myself first.


The foundation of my



It started by extricating myself

from detracting relationships –

the kind that only served to

sever me

from my



And forged ahead with self-forgiveness;


the role I played;

absolving the person I was

through long and

painful years of





as I started to heal

my hurt inner child.


And then the process

took over

under the force

of its own momentum.

And I started to


in all sorts of

unforeseen ways…


Asserting my right

to walk in this world




Respecting that


has the right to hurt

anyone else.

(And that includes me).


Accepting my responsibility in

the burden

of pain –

people only interact with us

in the ways we


them to.


Wisening to the worth of

my softness,

kindness and compassion:

(The same qualities

that – not tempered with boundaries –

opened the doors

for people to

interact with me this way).


Using my breath to


tension when I


as I walk in the world.


And as the healing


took roots;

a beautiful flower

blossomed inside and


I noticed…


the miracle that I am.




all I have been,

all I have done –

already! –

in this lifetime.


Learned to love myself

and what that really means:

something as simple and profound as putting

my own greatest good first.


(Even when that means

disappointing others.


Accepting that that’s to do with them.

Nothing to do with me

at all).


It’s been a time of quietness,


as I gifted myself the

time and space needed

to excavate

the deepest


recesses of self;


bringing them to the light.


I’ve been resting underground

like a cicada –

though not nearly as long –

as I’ve learned

to love,

to nurture,

to value




to love,

to nurture,

to value




just as

I am.


Only allowing

into my kingdom

those who supported,

sustained my growth.


Now I’m stretching my wings,

(Yes, now I have wings, where before there were only stumps!)

Making ventures

into the world –


this new way of being.



to be honestly




(Whether others like it




To say what I really think and feel –

not hide behind

walls of convention.


To find the strength to

speak up (with


when conflict occurs,

not silently cry



Practicing self-awareness,

catching myself

when I



old patterns.


Honoring myself and honoring others –

for in acknowledging the

sacredness of self

I must accept the

sacredness of all, and, with that


right to their own path.


As I walk in the world

I wonder

how will I respond,

how will I hold myself,

when I cross paths with

words of blame and shame;

come face to face with those who –

whether consciously or not –

try to tear me


with their words…


I hope I will no longer give them permission.


That their words

will reflect off the deep well of


I’ve been nurturing;

unable to penetrate

my depths.


Minute ripples

on the surface that

soon disperse.


I hope that

I will bless them silently and move

gracefully on.


Knowing they’ve crossed my path for

a reason,

but that doesn’t mean I have to walk with them

hand in hand.


Knowing I have the choice.