A Winding Path or the Dance of Life?

100_0221I’m an unashamed veteran of every whacky new age activity that has ever been available. Some of them are reputable, and some have a reputation for what is known as new age mush – a description which is usually wholly accurate!

The first steps along this eccentric path were taken at a little village fete just outside Stratford- on -Avon. I was detailed, as they say in the army, to look after the guests of honour, actor Sir John Mills and his daughter Juliet – I can’t remember why at this distance, and when I had done my duty I wandered off in my dark green uniform to the fortune- telling tent. The gypsy had a crystal ball, and I didn’t think she needed one to tell that I was in the army. But what she said was that my hands were the hands of a writer and I would spend my whole life writing. As a twenty- one year old lieutenant this was a surprise and seemed unlikely to me – like reaching for the moon.

The next significant step along the road less-travelled was when a friend told me that her stepmother could read tea-leaves! This seemed so really off the planet, that I really wanted to experience it, and it so happened that her stepmother was going to be changing planes at Heathrow, on the way from Bonn where her father was stationed,  to Ireland where their family home had been burned down by the IRA.

We met the stepmother, and rushed off to get cups of tea. But at places like air-ports you don’t have tea-pots. You have huge urns with made-up tea. We explained to the waitress that we really needed tea-leaves and she obligingly scraped the bottom of the urn and tipped a handful of leaves plus some tea into three cups for us. We had a very successful tea-leaf session, and as time went by I saw the various events she’d foretold, unfold.

At the Derby a couple of years later, my first husband mischievously asked an ancient gypsy crone who was going to win the Derby? She went into a trance and kept muttering mysteriously:“Where d’you come from, where d’you come from?” which we dismissed as gibberish. We came from Larkhill actually, and twenty minutes later an outsider, Larkspur, won the Derby.

Marriage, babies, career, all these kept me distracted from esoteric pursuits until the children had left home. And then I became involved in helping to set up a group who ran self-transformation courses ranging from a week to six months. I did every one. It took about seven years of my life. And along the way I began dabbling and experimenting with every other form of New Age activity that offered itself – and have done ever since.

They ranged in alphabetical order from acupuncture, aromatherapy and aura- soma to breath-work, body talk, body harmony and Bowen work. There was chiropractise, channelling, chakra cleansing, cranial osteopathy, flotation tanks and Feldenkrais.  There was holotropic breathing, homeopathy and hypnotherapy, kinesiology, massage, minimum movement, sitting in a pyramid to ease the pain of a chronic illness, psycho-therapy and breath-work to cure it, re-birthing, Reiki, Shiatsu, Tai chi…. I know this isn’t all…. I’m sure there’s more!  There was The Journey, The Enneagram, NSA,( Neuro Spinal Adjustment ) Spiritual Geometry, various Indian groups teaching breath and meditation, and yoga of course.

Then there were the courses with people like Zondra Ray and Jean Houston and Denise Linn,  lectures from Dipak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Stuart Wilde, the Dalai Lama. The books – beginning with Sir George Trevelyan’s ‘A Vision of the Aquarian Age’ and the New Age bible, Marilyn Fergusson’s  ‘ The Aquarian Conspiracy ‘, going on with  Barbara Anne Brennan and Caroline Myss,  Marianne Williamson and Jean Shinoda Bolen’s ‘The Goddesses in Everywoman’. There was ‘The Feminine Face of God’ and Eckhart Tolle and ‘Conversations with God’ and our philosopher and guide to the consciousness evolution, Ken Wilbur, among a host of others we read.

There were years with Self-transformation, years learning about herbs and nutrition, and others. There were Shiatsu courses, Reiki courses, re-incarnation courses, counselling courses; the cleanses and the retreats; meditation, Tibetan chanting, circle dancing – the thing I loved best of all – then there were diets, the Pritikin, the Zone, the Blood Type diet, the Sandra Cabot Liver Cleanse… we were suckers for them all. And the fun fringe, the palmistry, the crystals, the tarot cards, the angel cards, the I Ching – hmm, not so much fun – very severe and serious.

You’ll be surprised to learn that I haven’t done colonic irrigation, Rolfing, sweat lodges or vision quests. I’ve listened to various gurus including the startlingly beautiful Gurumayi.  But I never wanted a guru. So I gave Rajneesh and Sai Baba and Da Free John in his various guises a wide berth.

None of this came cheaply… In the thirty years since I began this career of New Age dissipation I’ve sold old silver, precious rugs, loved china to finance my expensive hobby… I’m an object of ridicule to some members of my family, though not to those closest to me,  I’m glad to say. They also dabble sometimes. Not my husband, who calls me, with some justification, a New Age Nutter.

The others wonder why on earth I do all this… surely one course is enough to discover the secret of life, sort out old personality quirks, learn who and what you are? Why would you want to meditate when you can take Mogadon? And why on earth would I want to buy vitamins and herbs when I could have Prozac and statins, blood pressure pills and flu injections for free! The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I have none of the health problems the others have, and when I had to have a medical this morning for a new driving license the doctor said I was amazing.

So apart from good health, what else did I get out of all this seeking and experimenting? Lots of good friends, on the same path, for one. I have several friends who’ve been on nearly every course with me for the last thirty years. These friendships go deep. And as we’ve let go lots of old tensions, energy blocks and limiting beliefs, life has become easier, more fulfilling. Troubles come, as they do to everyone on earth, but we see them now as flags waving to show us something we haven’t mastered yet. Like many when I first began, it was like rowing across a river, and looking back to the other side, realising there was no way back, no way to go back to thinking the way I had. That from now on, life would be different.

I sometimes think all these activities, books, fads, are like tourist souvenir booths at places like NASA. They keep us amused and busy. The courses are like a conducted tour of the space programme, showing us how things work.  But none of these things take us into space. They can show us what it’s like, but to explore space, we have to do it ourselves. And all the crystals and courses and mushy wallpaper music make outsiders assume that this is all the New Age is about. When really, it’s a rocket taking off to explore and experience the furthest reaches of consciousness. Going, in that old cliché, where no man has gone before – except the mystics. But travellers in these realms feel that this is the next big step for all mankind.

And there are now millions of people all over the world on this journey – ripe and ready – they only needed a nudge, unlike all our exploring. They are, in the words of Arjuna Ardagh, ‘No longer willing to separate spiritual experience from the fabric of our everyday existence. Our most mundane circumstances are the very context in which realisation lives and breathes. An unattended life segregates realisation into a small box called “spirituality.” A well- attended life can make a trip to the grocery store a sacred pilgrimage.’

So did we need to do all that stuff?  Maybe not, but we enjoyed it, learned to love the present, and love creation and all that is, had many moments of insight and bliss, discovered a lot about ourselves and others, and became happier, more relaxed parents, partners and people. If life is a dance, that was our dance. And the more I experience the cosmos, the more I realise it is all a dance, a dance of galaxies and grains of sand, a dance of asteroids and atoms, a dance of energy and ecstasy, a dance of light and love, a dance of you and me.

Food for Threadbare Gourmets

Family coming for lunch in this freezing weather, so a good hot pudding seems to be called for… blackberry and apple crumble. I’ll be using a tin of boysenberries or fresh frozen if I have any in the deep freeze, with stewed apple, gently mixed together. The crumble is rich – eight ounces of flour, two of ground almonds, six ounces of brown sugar and four of butter. Rub the butter into the flour, add the sugar and almonds, and at this stage I often add the grated rind of a lemon. This mixture keeps in the fridge for a couple of days until I want to use it. Put the fruit in an ovenproof dish, cover with the crumble and bake in a hot oven for forty minutes. Serve with cream or crème fraiche.

( Boysenberries are a cross between a raspberry, a blackberry and a loganberry. They were first bred in California by a man called Mr Boysen..)

Food for Thought

Will the old dinosaur minds draw us all into their conflicts, destroying life as we know it in the process, or will the emerging translucent view midwife us into another way of loving? In the translucent vision of the world there is no other, no enemy. It is a political view that encompasses the well-being of all sentient beings, not just of one group or another. Either we all win or we all lose.

Arjuna Ardagh  – teacher  and writer of ‘The Translucent Revolution,’ a book which has become the equivalent of Marilyn Fergusson’s ‘The Aquarian Conspiracy’ for the 21 century.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

64 Comments

Filed under consciousness, cookery/recipes, great days, happiness, human potential, humour, life/style, love, philosophy, spiritual, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized

64 responses to “A Winding Path or the Dance of Life?

  1. Once more you spoke of my heart! And look at you…you are a writer! And a very good one at that, you even make/made money! I love this dance of life and all those living in it. So you do…it shines through.

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

    Like

  2. Amy

    I love how you ended the post — … a dance of light and love, a dance of you and me. Beautiful words and thoughts. Thank you, Valerie!

    Like

  3. What a wealth of knowledge, experience and insight, packed into one well written post! Nicely done~
    PS- I think Juliet Mills is Hayley Mills sister? I wanted to be Hayley Mills when I was a child. She was my idol. Moonspinners, Thomasina….. small world.

    Like

    • Hello Cindy – thank you so much … though I was really sending myself up !!! Glad you enjoyed it…. Yes, you’re right about Hayley Mills.. there was also a very touching film about a man the children had decided was Jesus… can’t remember the name now… blowing in the wind, or something???

      Like

  4. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    I danced as I wandered along with your words to the most funnest(yes I know its not a word, still looking for an original one to express myself!)
    Life’s Path I have ever read…! I had this music going through me that was all the sounds of earth coming together in the most beautiful sound……
    from the leaves whispering in the wind to the river flowing in tune with the birds melodies…..
    Thank you…for the expression of being fluent in heart language and the soul being free to romance life…
    This was wonderful Valerie…..wonderful
    Take Care,…You Matter…
    )0(
    maryrose

    Like

  5. This is wonderful. I think it’s a characteristic of our generation to experiment and to research … It’s one of our better qualities.

    P.S.: I didn’t try colonics either. Yikes! 🙂

    Like

  6. Lovely post Valerie. I am a great believer in experiencing as much as you can on your spiritual journey and you certainly seem to follow that school of thought too 🙂 although New Age always seems to me to be a strange term for often ancient beliefs that we are rediscovering 🙂

    Like

    • Lovely to hear from you Dory… interesting, isn’t it, how many of us bloggers have travelled that path !!!!
      You’re right about rediscovering the past… with a dash of the future thrown in !

      Like

  7. Anonymous

    [The biggest smile on a busy day . . .] Lucky enough to have met Sir John Mills on the staircase of the ‘Connaught’ in London . . . and Deb Kerr and Sir Peter Ustinov . . . memorable G&Ts together in the ‘Drawing Room’ [there were no ‘bars’ then 🙂 !] . . . at the same time after the ‘Tour’ is over I shall be joining Deepak Chopra in a 21-day ‘Meditation Challenge’ . . . time passeth . . . fun to keep up!!!

    Like

    • Oh wow, on several counts – what a privilege to spend time with Peter Ustinov – I can imagine he was as funny, witty, humane and perceptive as his stage act was….
      And more envy for your Meditation challenge with Dipak Chopra…. would love to hear about it…

      Like

  8. Eha

    Oh, the ‘anonymous’ was yours truly after both phone and door seemed to need me at the same time 🙂 !

    Like

  9. Margot Wilsonu

    I would be interested to know what your Sun sign is. I went on an astrology course many years ago just for fun but found out so much about myself. Sun Sagittarian – my character. Rising sign Libra – my outward personality (how others see me). Moon Pisces – my emotion and so on as to where the other planets are in the birth chart.
    Best wishes
    Margot (former Slim School pupil)

    Like

  10. ‘A well- attended life can make a trip to the grocery store a sacred pilgrimage.’ This made me smile. I dream of making grocery shopping a spiritual and beautiful experience; in reality it’s a smash and grab exercise; or a slightly less traumatic online one. I love that your New Age transformations/ experiences keep you young, but wiser, at the same time.

    Like

  11. What a fabulous life-affirming post. That the dance of life be a winding path sounds good to me, I much prefer those off-beaten paths and curious diversions than the straight and narrow any day. And yes, a well-attended life can make the ordinary extra-ordinary, every day offers us the chance to find it 🙂 So what activity will call you next I wonder?

    Like

    • Oh Claire, what a lovely comment, thank you so much… you too seem to enjoy your dance of life…I think blogging has been one of the steps along the winding path, for me and for so many others, and there are a few dates on my calendar I’m looking forward to shortly….. and as TS Eliot said:.” And the end of our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time”…

      Like

  12. And I thought that I was a New Age junkie…. but …. I tip my hat to you. You win!!! 🙂

    Like

  13. What a great journey. 🙂 Shame some of your family members make you an object of ridicule. Honestly, how is it harming anyone? And you’ve had fun and made wonderful friendships. Sounds like a good path to be on.

    Like

  14. And they’ll come back again
    But I don’t know when
    The gypsies…

    Like

    • I love the real Romany gypsies… , travellers or tinkers as used to be known are not the same… did you sing that song as a child in the States, ‘The wraggle taggle gypsies oh’ – one of my favourites as child……

      Like

  15. You’re a real devotee. Your last paragraph that begins, “So did we need to do all that stuff?” sums up my feelings.

    Like

  16. Luanne

    That’s quite a quest story, Valerie! Although I have ventured down a few of these curves (on the path), I usually get scared back to the straight and narrow, either by an unfortunate occurrence, a frightening story, or the credit card statement which shows I still owe for the last set of herbs, classes, etc., which I no longer use. But my mind is always open, and there is more than meets the eye to our world.

    Like

  17. After that wealth of experience ‘on the fringe’ it would be fascinating to know what parts you now accept as having vailidity. I take it you do not go along with the atheist mathematical/scientific genius set, who have worked out to their own satisfaction how the whole universe has evolved from nothing without intelligent design or control, and without anything like a soul or spirit in evidence,

    Like

    • Yes, their path is rather a bleak one with no soul or spirit as you say…
      most of the things I tried had their validity at the time… growing is such a slow process, and much of it for me, involved peeling away layers, which don’t allow themselves to be peeled until they’re ready ! Everyone is different… and at this point in history many younger people already know the things we had to learn with so much effort…thank you for your thought-provoking comment…

      Like

  18. Ah, Valerie, as I read this post you remind me that we’ve trod similar paths: I’m a Bowen practitioner, a Reiki master, and have been priviledged to sit at Gurumayi’s feet. We’re enduring a sweltering heat wave in NYC and it felt refreshing to read about your freezing weather. Thank you! While I’m not online often these days, it’s always lovely to visit you! xoxoM

    Like

    • Hello Margarita, I had missed your posts..but the dance whirls us around in different directions doesn’t it… It’s so interesting that so many of us bloggers seem to have trod the same path…
      Yes, the heat sounds unbearable in England too… since we always seem to get your weather the following season, I’m already planning for a drought… all so hard on animals and wild life….

      Like

  19. Ah, my dear friend! You are so right – our lives our mystical and rare. We live in a finite existence, yet we are infinite creatures. 🙂

    Like

  20. As I read this I smiled. You and my first mother (biological) followed a similar path. When I first met her (at 25) she was a Channeller with a large following and a strange (to me) life. She and I are barely 16 years apart in age, the same generation really, yet have led such different lives. Now we are more alike than different though we arrived at this place by different trains and on different tracks.

    I think you and my first Mother, you would like each other.

    That very first glimpse, that first “you will be a writer”, how very true.

    Like

    • What a fascinating comment Val… and yes, your mother does sound intriguing to the likes of me!
      Other people’s lives and different paths are so fascinating..and what you say about you and your mother now being so alike…. TS Eliot is on mind today, and your words reminded me of his from the poem LIttle Gidding…” If you came this way, Taking any route, starting from anywhere, At any time or any season, It would always be the same..”.

      Like

  21. Thank you for sharing your wonderful journey. I thought I was pretty “new age” but you have exceeded my explorations. It is so great to connect with such a beautiful kindred spirit!

    Like

  22. Dear Shirley, lovely to hear from you… amazing how many of us bloggers have been the same way… and remember you have plenty of time in front of you, while I slow down !!! Yes, it Is good to connect with each other…and interesting that blogging is bringing so many of us together…

    Like

  23. I don’t share your enthusiasm for new age in general but a couple of years ago I did a weekend laughter Yoga course which was lots of fun. By Sunday I was more relaxed than I’d been for years and the next day I woke up aware of stomach muscles I hadn’t known I’d had before.

    Like

    • Ah, now that is something I’d love to have tried !!! I’m aware of stomach muscles I didn’t know I had before, at the moment, from coughing endlessly after a bad bout of flu!!!

      Like

  24. Valerie, I believe you are and will be dancing through life…to the end…and have learned the art of contentment along the way. This was a joy to read.

    Like

    • Lynne, thank you so much…I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it – one does have misgivings about revealing all !!!
      I think we bloggers are all on the same path, making the most of all our opportunities… it’s wonderful to be connected…and dancing in the same direction !!!!

      Like

  25. Dear Valerie,

    To be honest, I can’t relate to most of the New Age activities. Our paths are quite different. At the same time I’m quite pleased to have found you and I relate to your family finding you eccentric. While I’m a Messianic Jew (born Jewish, believe in Jesus/Yeshua as Messiah…looked upon as weird by my family and my husband’s Christian family) there are things that I can’t explain.
    I have a close friend who’s a “dreamer”. Not something she asked for. But when she dreams in color the dreams come true. (I’m still waiting for the long line of people waiting for me to autograph my book that she dreamed about 😉 ).
    But then there was the the young Korean man who read my palm when I was in my early 20’s. According to my lifeline, he said I would live to 45. Wonder what he’d say if he knew i’m celebrating my 60th this September?
    I laughed when you spoke of making a trip to the grocery a sacred pilgrimage. You see, I work in a grocery in the bakery as a cake decorator. On the other hand….you may have something there.
    In any case, I’ve taken up enough of your time with my rambling.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  26. Rochelle, Lovely to hear from you, and to think about your comments…Yes, some clairvoyants shouldn’t be in business – like your Korean !
    How interesting about your friend who is a a dreamer… I was interested in you saying that she dreamed in colour… I always have done so, and my grand-children do. I once read that two in every thousand dream in colour, but now, researchers are saying that eighty per cent of dreams are in colour… they also suggest that it has to do with younger people watching colour TV which I don’t find convincing.
    All paths lead to the Source I once read, and that’s all we really need to know, isn’t it? We are all blossoms blooming on the same bush, and I’ve never thought that a creator would worry as to whether we called the First Cause Allah, Jehovah, God or whatever….
    The outer reaches of my family don’t so much find me eccentric as peculiar, and find me hard to stomach !!! I am persona non grata, which is not a problem to me….
    I think the quote about the grocery being a sacred pilgrimage was talking about mindfulness – which we can practise anywhere. But I’m intrigued that you should be able to do something so creative and skilful… that must take intense concentration and mindfulness..
    Lovely to talk, Love Valerie.

    Like

  27. Dear Valerie,

    When I say my friend dreams in color I mean only the ones that tend to come true. A year ago she dreamed her sister had a medical condition and told her to get to the doctor immediately. The dream was 100% true. Otherwise “normal” dreams for my friend are in black and white.
    I dream in color. Always have. As far as I know, none of them have been prophetic.
    My job sometimes takes concentration. A lot of it is production and pressure to be faster and produce more. Doug figured for me that as I write I have 501 working days until retirement. All things considered I’d rather be writing which is why I’m up at 3:00 am every morning so I have enough time before work.
    Heading up Friday Fictioneers has added much to that. At the same time, it’s a great experience although our friend describes my position as herding cats. Indeed, my participation in FF and the 5 hour time difference is how I’ve come to know and enjoy his friendship.
    There I go again.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  28. No wonder I felt “click” when I discovered you! WOW – you’ve been busy.

    I haven’t thought about the Aquarian Conspiracy for years. You cited so many names familiar to me as well…and I’ve studied under the odd one.

    Let’s hope the higher dimensional energy is zapping everyone and many are responding. I keep seeing and hearing hope.

    Like

  29. I started with New Age readings and moved on to Buddhism. It’s all good. It’s all good! 🙂

    Like

  30. Pingback: Feasting | silkannthreades

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s