It’s A Bloggin’ to Look A Lot like Christmas

25 Nov

It’s A Bloggin’ to Look A Lot like Christmas

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Greetings from the sunny…ahem…freezing South! Just a few short weeks ago I was still running around in a t-shirt and shorts. Today, I did my walk in thermal underwear and two sweatshirts! My, how things change in the blink of an eye. Slowly but surely, houses around the neighbourhood are sneaking up the Christmas lights before Thanksgiving; blasphemy in my youth but it seems to be standard fare these days. Thank Heavens in the Hensley household, we’re still sporting the orange and brown motif,with candles in the shape of Pilgrims and Indians around the place; the very same ones I used to love playing with as a child. The scent of warm pumpkin muffins floats in the air (don’t get too excited, Debbie Touchstone made them-my Mom has a sign that says “I only have a kitchen because it came with the house!”) Still, the sentiment of Thanksgiving is very present and this year, I have ever so much for which to be thankful.

I had the rare opportunity this year to step off the hamster wheel and create drastic change in my life. I highly recommend this to anyone. I am a different person because of it. I love my life, my family, my work and my home in Ireland; fifteen years there will attest to that. When my girls made the decision to spend a school term with their father in New Zealand, I jumped at the chance to come home to the South, only to find that while I had long since sprouted out into the world, my roots had remained firmly planted in the Virginia soil. I have had glorious adventures with my mother, creating and working through the beginnings of what I know will be a very long bucket list of activities. After losing my father last year, I am so blessed to still have my Mom and intend to continue to make the very most of it. We’ve travelled across the country to California, explored the Virginia beaches, revelled in the mysteries of Edgar Cayce, walked in the mountains, and attended plays in the state capitol as well as our home town, connected with family, reconnected with old friends all the while making new ones along the way.

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Mom got an iPad this summer, and for someone who shies away from technology, has mastered email, photos and videos with the great motivation of checking the daily news on her great-grandson in Florida. She’s bopping around town in her new Mini-SUV, shopping and running errands. We tag-teamed and gave a program together about the Queen Mary just a few weeks ago. We’ve been to book clubs, spoken at events, and she has patiently listened to and contributed her expertise to my latest book. What can I say? We have had an absolute blast.

My children have had the last 5 months with their father on the other side of the planet. As they move into the summer season there, the jackets and caps in the earlier photos have been replaced with swimming togs and flip-flops. They’ve met new friends in a totally different learning environment than they are accustomed to and have both discovered some of their own personal strengths. Jada is quite the athlete and is running track like a Tasmanian devil. Jemma has been getting awards for her public speaking and story writing. They have been snow skiing, soaking in the mud pits, snorkelling and digging clams for their supper. We talk almost daily on Skype, where I get to hear all of the news and to check out the view from their kitchen, overlooking the ocean.

There have been struggles I’m sure, but overall, the adventure has been one that I’m sure they will never forget. Today, a series of photos came in from the Christmas parade in Auckland. In tank tops and sandals, the girls waved out to the big fella in red as he cruised down the street in his summer best, another entirely new experience of Christmas for the girls, who were born and bred in Ireland.

In the past few months, I have greatly expanded my Circle of Light with love, friendships and the most incredible healing sessions with some extraordinary individuals. I am ever so grateful to have had the chance to just be ‘me’ for a while. It has been said, “A mind that is stretched by new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Someone once told me that I should just expect that things would always be tough because the world was a horrible and unfair place. He said that it’s impossible to “get off the wheel” because society, the government and the rules simply won’t allow it.

My response…”Just watch me!” So I jumped… and when I did, I found that the wheel continues to turn whether the hamster is in it or not. I took a life break, a chance to catch my breath, I didn’t wait for someone to make it happen for me; I made it happen myself. And if it hadn’t happened this way, I would have found another way. All of the old challenges will be waiting, along with some new ones, I’m sure, but a different person will be back to deal with them.

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This holiday season, I am grateful for all of the blessings in my life, but most of all, I am grateful for the fact that I took a risk, followed my heart and broke the cycle of sameness which had lulled me in to forgetting that there is a great big wonderful world out there, just waiting…

My heartfelt wish for you is that in whatever way you see fit, you allow yourself to remember that it’s ok to make changes, to risk, to love and live large. The Source of All That Is wishes not for your blind obedience or fear of making mistakes, but to see your Spirit soar, changing it up, dancing with life and all that it has to offer. We can all make a list a mile long of “Yeah, but I can’t because…”, but as I have learned from watching my 84 year old mother make huge changes in her routine, it’s never too late to create a new path. We have both agreed that we want to die of sheer exhaustion rather than being well rested when it’s time to transition to the great beyond.  For that, I am truly thankful.

With blessings and hugs as you and yours enter this time of celebration and reflection, I send you great love and my warmest wishes for a bountiful holiday season. Start putting into action something new and different to be thankful for this time next year.

Until next time…

Shine On! 

 

 

My How Reality Flies

29 Oct

My How Reality Flies

It’s hard to believe that my time at home in Virginia is swiftly coming to a bittersweet end. I have loved being here with family and friends, going on great adventures, creating foundations for a new future, yet my heart longs to return to my other reality, that of an entirely different support network back in Ireland. It reminds me of a topic we discussed today on our radio show “You Are What You Love”. It was the idea that we are constantly living, adjusting, experiencing and adapting to a multi-faceted ‘reality’. When a change, no matter how slight, is made in one actuality, it has a profound effect on all other paradigms.

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Decisions that I have made over the years regarding my life Ireland have always been influenced by the fact that there is a part of me, the ‘early years’ me which has deep roots in America. Whilst in America, each thought, every small choice or decision also stands to have great impact on the life I have made for myself and my family abroad. A single choice can create a domino effect on all of my realities, therefore allowing me to experience many things, all at once. We look to the ethers and dreamily wonder what it would be like to be something else to do something different, giving little attention to the very fact that simply by creating an idea of an ‘alternate reality’ we are, in essence, having that experience on some level.

Have you ever been lost, even for a moment, in the thoughts of what you would do if you won the lottery? Would you quit your job or work at your own leisure? Would you pay for the educations of your nieces and nephews, start a school, donate to charity, or simply retire to an exotic island? The idea that ‘thoughts become things’ doesn’t necessarily mean that having the thought makes you an instant millionaire. It means that every time you give wings to an idea, a process takes place within the brain actually allowing you to experience the physical, chemical and emotional effect of the thought; it’s the dopaminergic effect at its finest. Thought, thus, become things, or at the very least, your body invites you to believe that it is so. Need a more simple explanation? Ever think of someone you are so crazy about and your stomach flips, and things begin to tingle?

Thoughts become things…

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In my current duality of reality, I am imaging a life that allows me to be both Irish and American all at once. Not just being an American abroad, or an Irish citizen living back in America. I am currently creating a thought process that will allow me to experience both, rather than being one and dreaming of the other. I am concentrating so deeply on this outcome, I lay it on the table now and say…watch this space. You are watching this thought become a reality right before your very eyes.

So why all the talk about thoughts and things? Well, if I can do it, Lord knows you can. What parallel reality would really float your boat? What multi-dimensional expression of your life would you like to see come to fruition? Concentrate, create the feeling, the chemical reactions, the frequencies within your body fantastic, that actually allow you to experience the ‘feeling’ that your idea of perfection is actually happening. Your body will become conditioned, your mind will come to expect it and your person will go out and make it happen.

The mind is the seed-plot of infinite creation, but just how much attention do you give to your garden. If Mary, Mary is quite contrary, how will that garden grow?

Ten days and counting until a turn my life on its ear again and return to Ireland. I look forward to the opportunity to shake it all up again and encourage you do the same. You don’t have to leave the country to do it; you simply need to offer up a new playground on which your mind can play. You are multi-dimensional, fabulously layered, incredibly clever individuals. Go forth and create some new experiences and train your brain to seek out new realities!

Until next time…

Shine On!

Under Pressure

7 Oct

Under Pressure….

In a world of instant everything; IM, email, FB, Twitter and the like, some of us have developed a little tendency to react to things without thought. Every day, there are Twitter wars, posts that go viral on YouTube and yes, while there are many obvious benefits to making instant connections, we have also adopted a mind-set that sees us ‘jump the gun’ on occasion.

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The last few days in the Hensley household of Virginia, have been comical, to say the least. My Mom has a great little morning ritual which includes weighing herself, checking her sugar levels and taking her blood pressure. She diligently records her figures, rarely mentioning what they say, because frankly, she really isn’t that bothered by it all. With a firm belief that she is destined to live out her allotted number of days here on earth, she is careful with her diet, maintains a wonderful attitude towards life and her experiences and she laughs…a lot! As far as the numbers go, “she really don’t pay them no never mind!”

A few days ago, Mom had left the blood pressure machine on the table and had gone back to her bedroom to start getting ready for the day. My pressure has always been low; low to the point that 120/80 would be cause for alarm in my body. I saw the machine sitting there and decided to check my pressure out, just for fun. What seemed like an eternity passed as the little cuff nearly squeezed my wrist so tight that my fingers began to tingle and turn white. Finally it beeped…and my heart nearly stopped. The figures glared up at me as I grabbed my glasses to be sure that my eyesight wasn’t playing tricks on me. But there it was…167/110.

I began to sweat just a little, my heart rate reacting to my shock. I ripped the cuff from my wrist, repositioned it and tried again. This time it was worse! I was dying right before my eyes! Saying nothing, I went about my business and tried again a few hours later. Shockingly high, once again, and again and again. For the next couple of days, I reeled in silence over the fact that somehow, my once incredibly low blood pressure readings were now those of someone who was fit for the morgue. I spent three days contemplating, scouring my mind about changes that must immediately be made in my lifestyle and I became a person with high blood pressure. I simply couldn’t figure it out. I wasn’t stressed, I felt fine (well, at least I had until then), I was walking several miles a day and eating salad and veggies with little to no trash.

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I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and decided to say something to my Mom. Of course, she was immediately concerned as I disclosed my fears over my impending stroke or heart attack, when suddenly she chimed out with,

“Well my blood pressure has been the best it’s ever been the last few days.” Really.

Hmmm…. “Did you write those numbers down, Mom”?

“Sure”, she replied, handing over her trusty, little notebook.

I started to laugh as I looked over her readings. 110/47, 98/41, 89/37 …you get my point.

Mom should have been clinically dead or at the very least, feelin’ mighty poorly! As she took another reading, ERROR appeared on the monitor’s screen. I checked mine again and what do you know, I had the same…ERROR. The machine had given up the ghost.

My thoughts were suddenly swept back to a time about a year ago when I was attempting to book a flight to America. I was on the phone with the Travel Agent and had now been told for the third time that my card had been declined. She assured me that nothing was wrong with her machine as she had just put through a sale only a few minutes earlier. I had to work in Dublin later that morning and the calls I had placed to my bank manager had not yet been returned. I drove the entire way to Dublin a pauper. I had allowed my mind to go crazy with thoughts of how I would buy petrol, groceries, and Oh Lord, the rent! I was nearly sick to my stomach as I pulled into a parking space outside of my office, an hour and a half later.

Just then, my phone rang. It was my bank manager telling me that there had been a glitch in the system and all of the bank’s cards were being declined at remote terminals. It had been corrected and all would be fine. He assured me that I had plenty of money to cover the flight and that I was free to go ahead and try the booking again. And yes, it went straight through.

The long and short of these ridiculous little stories is obvious, I hope. The mind is a powerful thing. Instant access to information and knowledge is an amazing tool. It can also be a catalyst for destructive behaviour, when common sense and thoughtful reasoning are cast aside. Don’t always believe all is lost just because someone, some social network, or some machine, in my case, says it’s so. Take a deep breath, gather your senses and evaluate as an observer rather than from a fearful space or like some emotional basket case! We’re all human and we’re all prone to the great roller-coaster ride of emotions that make incarnation so interesting. This is simply a little reminder to stop for a moment and take a quick evaluation. You may be right on track. Or maybe, just maybe, ERROR, ERROR is flashing on your own screen and you need to slow down, throttle back and reset that hair-trigger!

Until Next Time…

Shine On!

 

A Fortnight on the Queen Scary

24 Sep

A Fortnight on the Queen Scary

My apologies to one and all for the lapse in the weekly blogs. To say that the last few weeks have been ‘off the charts’ would be putting it mildly. A train trip to New York City to meet with Publishers Simon and Schuster resulted in an incredible twist of fortuitous events. I had the most wonderful few days walking around the Big Apple; anonymous and untethered. I treasure my everyday life, but on this trip, I wasn’t Mom, Dr. Hensley, or Dear Customer your payment is overdue. I was the great ‘I Am’; undefined and unlimited.

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Wide-eyed and hopeful, I was in New York for the very same reason so many pilgrims have flocked to the city that never sleeps; in pursuit of a dream. There is no buzz on Earth quite like the anticipation of the realisation of one’s dreams! A few Broadway shows mixed in with a whole lot of walking, NYC did not disappoint, especially when capped off by the Simon and Schuster experience on The Avenue of the Americas. A day later, I swapped my train for a plane, grabbed my Mother and headed for California.

The ‘Alive and Healthy Conference’ aboard the Queen Mary, was sponsored by Vaishali, my dynamic co-hostess on the Sunday radio show at ctrhotspot.com “You Are What You Love”. We arrived a few days early, and Mom and I had a wonderful time exploring the ship with Mairead, my friend and agent, from Dublin. We spent time with author and CEO of Shepard Star Productions, Gary Quinn, catching up on the latest news about his new book, “The Yes Frequency”. (Check Gary out at www.garyquinn.tv).

The Princess Diana exhibit was featured on board, and we had an imperial blast going through the extensive collection of Royal Family paraphernalia, including 14 of Diana’s original ball gowns. We topped off the royal treatment with High Tea in The Tea Room, crowned with a stunning view of Long Beach. To most, a view that includes oil rigs and lots of scaffolding would not rank amongst the prettiest of pictures, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For Mom, she was peering out at her childhood. The Long Beach Naval Base had been home to her father’s ship, the U.S.S. Alabama, where he had served as a Naval Surgeon during World War II. She had not been back since she lived there as a sixteen year old, so the Queen Mary trip was far more than a working holiday for me; it was a check off Mom’s Bucket List.

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It was like a step back to a time when Art Deco was en vogue, with 1940’s music playfully swinging through the ships PA, and the original wood accents, period furniture and enormous black and white photographs creating an almost surreal atmosphere. An absolute magnet for party-goers looking for a different experience, the Queen Mary hosted costume parties, including people dressed as haunted characters from the 1940’s, to retro weddings where you would swear that Gloria Swanson and Rita Hayworth were bridesmaids, with Loretta Young, Judy Garland and Bob Hope cheering from the audience. This is a unique location where you are liable to see absolutely anything or anyone; dead or alive!

Our first night on board, Mom and I had just returned from dinner when we carefully crossed the raised threshold to enter our cabin. Mom turned around to say something to me and just as she did, I could feel the sensation of a hand sliding down my neck, just as my heavy leather choker was being yanked off and thrown at Mom’s feet! Scared? Now way! We were nearly jumping out of our skin with excitement that Mom was getting to see all that the Queen Mary has to offer. Ranked as the most haunted location in America, we were off to a great start.

The following morning, our jewellery fanatic was at it again. Mom had a very delicate, large, gold medallion from 1909. The words on the metal were cut out in fine filigree, so Mom had placed its chain in a separate covering so it wouldn’t get tangled. When she opened it, the chain had been taken out of its pouch and interwoven between every single letter on the antique Horse Jumping Medal with such purpose; it took her nearly an hour to unwind it. In the meantime, I had jumped into the shower, housed in a giant, old style tub, complete with knobs for fresh and salt water, a remnant of the ships interesting accoutrements from her heyday.

When I got out, Mom was still unwinding her own necklace across the room, when I realised that while I had been in the shower, all of my jewellery had been stacked up on top of itself, looking something like a sparkling, bejewelled Christmas tree.

The last time I had been on the QM, I had been awakened after 4 am, by an apparition hovering next to my bed. This man, who appeared to be in his 30’s, proudly told me that he had stolen the diamond necklace that he was holding in his hands. I said that I was sure that whoever he had taken it from was well over it at this stage. Out of curiosity, I asked him what year he had stolen the Hollywood style, full-length diamond choker. He replied, “1939”, and then vanished. I am fairly certain that all of the jewellery antics were caused by my friend, just stopping by to say “Hey, I’m still here!”

On the Saturday night during the ‘Alive and Healthy’ Conference, a special, Haunted Ghost Tour had been organised for our group. The last time we had taken this tour, my friend, Irene, from Ireland, had taken the most incredible shot that clearly showed two of the ship’s most well-known spectres. John, a maintenance man who had been crushed in two in a freak accident in the engine room, and Jackie, a young girl who had drowned in the ship’s pool many moons ago.

On this tour, when we were down in the engine room, my mother thought that Bradford, our loveable and incredibly knowledgeable tour guide, kept patting her on the shoulder to let her know that she was doing a good job navigating the tricky cat-walks and stairways. When we surfaced, Mom’s cardigan had huge greasy handprints all over it, a calling card, no doubt, as maintenance man John continued to search over and over for his lost wrench. Mom was delighted and refuses to have the cardigan cleaned!

Joe Cosgrove, Vaishali’s father, has just written an amazing book called “Walt Dreamers Me”. It is packed full of unknown facts about Disney and incredible anecdotes from Joe’s life and his time spent with Disney. He is a member of Club 33, a ‘secluded’ location in Disneyland with the most amazing gourmet restaurant and one-of-a- kind paraphernalia from, and about, the legendary Walt Disney. Club 33, originally set up as a reward for the 33 original investors in Disney’s dream, is the most fascinating collection of sensory stimuli, right down to the Mickey Mouse Macaroons! The meal was exquisite, the company was first class and I can truly say that Mom had the time of her life.

Following the meal, we went back out into the park and enjoyed the rides; the jungle adventures, soaring over California, Pirates of the Caribbean, and yes, we even did It’s a Small World…after all, what trip to Disneyland would be complete without it! (Check out Joe’s story at http://www.waltdreamersme.com)

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As Mom recuperated from a busy day at the park, I headed to Hollywood to meet up with radio and TV broadcaster, Dr. Marissa Pei. (Check her out on YouTube, iTunes and Facebook). Marissa is my Asian twin! Same haircut, same stories, same sense of humour! We had a blast prerecording a broadcast along with my friend Aron O’Dowd, a blind healer from Ireland who has packed a lifetime of experiences into his 22 short years. Not only is he one of Ireland’s top rowers, the intention is that he will head to Rio to represent the nation in the 2016 Olympics. With a wonderfully wicked sense of comedic timing, we laughed, he cracked some killer blind jokes as we relished in the joy of a lifetime that sees only the possibilities; not that which it ‘cannot see’. No moaners allowed on that show, and we rocked Hollywood with messages of love, positivity and the simple reminder, “We already are that which we seek!”

In true MH style, I’ll share with you this one horribly embarrassing little morsel. So funny, however, it would be criminal not to share it. I had decided to get a manicure/pedicure on my last day to wind down and prepare for the trip home. While I was there, I decided I may as well go the ‘whole hog’ and have a facial and bikini wax, too. Apparently in California, bikini wax has a whole different meaning than it does in Ireland. Before I even knew what was happening, I felt a smack and heard an unmerciful rip as I realised that I now looked like Bozo the Clown… bald in the middle, fluffy on the sides. There was no way I could leave myself in such an awful state, and as the beautician cursed me in Vietnamese, I tried to explain to her that never, even during the greatest heat wave would anyone in Ireland wear, let alone own, a set of swimming togs that would require them to be completely devoid of any ‘protection’ at all. She screwed up her face as if I was the insane one!

So we’re flying home the following day and had to divert our route due to bad weather. I would have hated to see what we would have gone through if we hadn’t changed course, because for three solid hours we banged and bounced across the continental U.S. I’ve had some pretty rough flights over the years, but this one ranked up there amongst the scariest of them all. Mom and I wrestled for the arm rests, and ultimately it was her precious little fingers we would pry loose when the plane eventually landed.

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People were very quiet, stewardesses were strapped in and there was a whole lot of praying going on. All I could think about was the fact that when they finally found my body strewn amongst the wreckage, some wise-cracker would find me bald as an eagle, and THAT would be my legacy. You know how the media can be. They would say nothing about my children, my healing sessions, my public speaking, my books, and my life’s mission… only the horrendous wax job.

Just as I was giving myself a good chuckle, Mom looks over at me and out of the blue she breaks an hour’s silence with…

“Remember that fella at the conference? Didn’t he sound just like the dwarf lady from Poltergeist?” And she puts her head back, closes her eyes and says nothing else. So now, in addition to plummeting to my death with a botched bikini wax, the last words I would hear on the Earth plane would be my mother whispering, “Walk into the light, Carol Anne”. I told you, just too funny not to share!

By the grace of God and the fact that I simply have way too much to do to die just yet, we finally landed safely in Charlotte, North Carolina. I picked up the car, and at midnight, proceeded to drive the three hours home, taking time to kneel beside my bed before going to sleep, just to say thank you. I simply don’t think I could manage anything else.

So, several visits to the chiropractor and massage therapist have finally pulled my shoulders out of my ears and released the tension created from maintaining the fight or flight stance for three straight hours (Just because I know when I die, doesn’t make me immune to feeling the fear of traumatic situations!)

Mom and I are home and well, and I have just completed all of the work for my newest book, ‘The Chakra Fairies’, to be released by Book Hub Publishing next month. It’s all go from here as I spend the next few weeks rewriting the ‘Promised’ Trilogy into one book and churning out the first chapter of ‘Apotheosis’. If I don’t answer the phone, don’t take it personally!

In a few weeks, I’m off to Virginia Beach to speak on the Promised Trilogy at the Edgar Cayce facility, the Association for Research and Enlightenment. I’m then going to take in a weekend seminar on the Ancient Mysteries with Gregg Braden and the star and producer of the Ancient Alien TV series, Giorgio Tsoukalos. To say I’m excited simply doesn’t do it justice.

I am so grateful for all of these wonderful adventures and the chance to connect you with everyone who crosses my path. I sincerely hope you will take the opportunity to enrich your hearts and minds with the works of some of the people I have been so fortunate to meet in person. We are All connected, we are All deserving of the great blessings and lessons that life has to offer and we are all the ONE.

Until next time…

Shine On!

 

 

 

 

Loosin’ Up That Bible Belt!

30 Aug

 Loosin’ Up That Bible Belt!

The Bible Belt is an informal term for a region in the south-eastern and south-central United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation’s average. The Bible Belt consists of much of the Southern United States. During the colonial period (1607–1776), the South was a stronghold of the Anglican church. Its transition to a stronghold of non-Anglican Protestantism occurred gradually over the next century as a series of religious revival movements, many associated with the Baptist denomination, gained great popularity in the region.

The region is usually contrasted with the mainline Protestantism and Catholicism of the northeastern United States the religiously diverse Midwest and Great lakes the Mormon Corridor in Utah and southern idaho, and the relatively secular western United States Whereas the state with the highest percentage of residents identifying as non-religious is the New England state of Vermont at 34%, in the Bible Belt state of Alabama it is just 6%.[1] Mississippi has the highest proportion of Baptists, at 55%.[1] The earliest known usage of the term “Bible Belt” was by American journalist and social commentator H. L. Mencken, who in 1924 wrote in the Chicago Daily Tribune: “The old game, I suspect, is beginning to play out in the Bible Belt.”[2] Mencken claimed the term as his invention in 1927

 Ah yes, home sweet home…

A lot of people toss around the moniker ‘Bible Belt’, with the inference that any and all who call this region of the U.S.A  home, must also share a similar set of beliefs about religion and the criteria necessary to save one’s soul. Now, times have changed a little since the term was first coined back in 1924 by a Chicago journalist. The ever thickening melting pot of America has seen every state in the ‘Deep South’ accommodate the basic right of freedom of religion over the years, however, having been raised in a Christian household, attending a Southern Baptist church from birth to 18, I can attest to the fact that the study of world religions or even the concept that the highway to Heaven wasn’t single-lane and one way only, was not a part of my early ecclesiastical education.

When I flew from the nest at the age of 18 to attend college (even deeper in the South), with the exception of the every Sunday line of questioning about if and where I had attended church, I suddenly, for the first time found myself in charge of developing my own understanding of the Divine. This relationship had been with something I had been taught was much larger than me, someone outside of myself who I had only known as ‘God’ until that point. Where I came from, Jesus, the lamb yielding passivist, the miracle worker, the resurrected Son of God went hand in hand with his father, and was also my insurance policy for salvation from myself and my flawed, human existence. I was frightened in the most round-about way, into accepting the tenets of modern day Christianity from a very early age. Fortunately, my household was one that focused more on the positives that being a Christian had to offer, rather than the fire and brimstone that could be readily found in any number of church houses around south-western Virginia. But still, ever looming in the background, were the firey pits of hell for those who did not believe.

Now, for those of you starting to get uneasy, these are my personal experiences and musings about my own past and my perceptions of the religion in which I was raised. Please save yourself the burden of judging whether  I am Christian or not. It’s irrelevant to the point I am trying to make. I am simply making an observation. Many years of travel, study, and interaction with people and communities across the globe have brought me to a simple awareness. There is a common thread which runs true throughout the worlds religions. Traditionalism has a lot to answer for.

Let me explain just what I mean. Within every major world religion, we find that stories, teachings, and belief systems are passed from parent to child, pastor to congregation, wise elder to tribesmen, and we then ‘grow up’ as a Buddhist,  Muslim, Jew, Christian, etc. Children become indoctrinated with the beliefs of their elders, who in turn were taught by their predecessors, who learned stories which had been passed down through word of mouth, written and re-written. A child will either accept and respect the family faith, often times without ever having had his or her own personal experience. We can also find that throughout the centuries, the traditions tend to leave off the gruesome stories where millions have been slaughtered in the name of ‘the one true God’ and focus our attention on the rewards of an afterlife if we have made the cut and lived a life deemed pure enough for passage into the Promised Land.

Now I’m not here to debate religion, to attempt to sway, judge, approve or disprove of anything. I am simply exercising my right to question the world around me. As one who as a child used to be scared to death by the idea that my sweet little soul might not be good enough, petrified  because my religion didn’t make sense to my young mind, I never had a close personal relationship with the hero of the Christian movement. I was told to say I loved Jesus and that he loved me. I knew his stories and the verses in the Bible off by heart, but that was as far as it went. Even at that age, something didn’t feel right. All of these years later, I have finally figured it out.

Traditionalism breeds parrots. We pass the stories and traditions on to our children and leave out what I think is the most vital component to personal salvation of any sort. In fact, it could be the very thing that could eventually bring peace to this beautifully screwed up world of ours. Imagine, just for a moment, if rather than indoctrinating the children of the world with the customs of the past, we educated them about the spiritual traditions of the world in equal measure (warts and all), allowing them to formulate their own opinions and  personal experiences. Imagine, for just a moment, if we didn’t allow our own fears and insecurities, our feelings of separation or superiority to poison the young minds of our future leaders. Just imagine if we taught our children to love themselves first, to relish in the miracle that is creation and to have the same respect for all walks of life. Just imagine if they were taught how to think for themselves. Imagine if the children were not singing the catchy little tunes, repeating from rote memory the chants or  the verses that showed them how much God loved them, yet taught an underlying message of exclusivity that left out those who did not know or share the same belief. Imagine if every child was first taught that there is One Love before being taught the horrible stories of hatred and genocide that litter that pasts of every world religion.I challenge anyone to point the finger at any one religion which does not have a sordid history of mass slaughter of innocents. There isn’t one. But traditionalism teaches young initiates that these killings can be justified when done in the name of the ‘one true God’, whoever that may be and for whomevers purposes are being served at the time. Exclusivity is the common thread that runs true through them all.

Twenty-three years ago I died. And funny enough, none of the major players in any of the world’s many faiths was there to greet me. Another curious thing happened… with my colourful past, based on many religion’s criteria for safe passage to Nirvana, my trip should have been a rather warm one. Instead, I was greeted with unspeakable love and acceptance; an immediate recollection of who I am in the grand scheme and the undefinable, indescribable energy of creativity, love and expansion from which we ALL come. Now that was a personal experience I can hang my hat on.

One night last year, my father, a life-long minister of the Christian faith, was transitioning from this world to the next. He lifted his arm towards the ceiling. To make a very beautiful long story short, after 84 years of believing with all of his heart that Heaven was a place reserved for those who had met with a certain criteria, Dad exclaimed,

            “I’ve had it wrong! I’ve had it wrong all along! Everybody is welcome here! You can’t mess this thing up!” He couldn’t contain his enthusiasm.

I can say, it was one of the most empowering moments of my life so far, for several reasons. One, it confirmed something that in my heart, I already knew to be true. Two, I was blessed to share in the moment when my father had his own personal experience with this understanding. Three, as someone who has lived through and written about some pretty out of this world stuff, often to people’s suspicion or disbelief, my mother also witnessed this event. It was a vindication of sorts, a personal cosmic tap on the shoulder to say “Hey kiddo, we know it’s been a lonely job, but we’ve got your back”.

I have a deep and great understanding for the role that religion has played in the history of mankind’s attempt to understand the Divine. I have studied the works of many great masters and believe it or not, as a middle-aged woman no longer residing in the deep south, but in a country that predominately practices Catholicism, my relationship with Jesus, the man, is one I cherish. I believe that the awakening and consciousness that he promoted during his ministry, teaches a Oneness and inclusiveness that his early traditional values probably didn’t afford him. Somehow he managed to grow past that. He disconnected from that which would have been an accepted separatist point of view during his time and promoted One Love. I have an equal amount of respect for many incredible characters throughout history who may be less famous, but have promoted (some long before Jesus) that the kingdom of Heaven is within you; and whosoever shall know himself shall find it,

I am proud of my home, the springboard from which I splashed out into the world. I respect the  community which loved and supported me and taught me what it meant to give of myself and serve my fellow man. Every religion has something positive to offer. Growing up in the Bible Belt was a great gift and makes so much sense for the life I have been called to lead. It created a longing, an unwillingness to just accept what I was being told. It also taught me that if I expected to detach from judgement that I could not judge others-and that means everyone. My father told me when I was a child that it was almost more important to read material which I disagreed with, which challenged my belief system, than it was to continuously fill my mind with that which was easy for me to accept. It might just be the best gift he ever gave to me. I believe in a Creator who supports my individuality, my right to learn things the hard way, my right to choose a life that includes or excludes the rights of others, and the inevitable consequences that accompany those choices. Over the years, I‘ve grown so much that I’ve had to add some new notches in the belt…

Until next time

Shine On!

Love in the Letters

15 Aug

Love in the Letters

Perception: the ability to see, hear or become aware of something through the senses.

The classic definition of perception, as found in most dictionaries, doesn’t seem to reflect one major aspect of the word, which I think, over time, has become synonymous with the concept…

Judgement

The way that folks tend to use the word perception today, goes above and beyond the idea, which by definition implies, that we simply become aware of something, either about ourselves or others, taking the information in through one of our major senses and then sitting with it. Sitting with it without judging…Seriously?

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A few weeks ago, I took on the laborious task of clearing out my mother’s garage. Forty-four years of Hensley family history was stacked in boxes, hanging on racks and nailed to the walls. I could still smell the gasoline that Dad kept in the damp, airless and unfinished room, which had become the dumping ground for things ‘too precious’ to throw away, or items that ‘we may just need’ some day in the future. Although the smell was not actually still around, it was as real to my senses as it was when I was a child, when Dad would cut the grass every Saturday afternoon.

I had an absolute ball despite my occasional run-in with the odd, ginormous spider. Thankfully Shannon, my dear friend from college, who now lives just a few doors down from my mother, was there to help me wade through the years of memories, mostly mouldy and stuck together after many long, hot and humid Virginia summers. We had such a giggle as we discovered my Dad’s toolbox (with all of three tools), old-timey swimming caps and football jerseys, photographs from our time in college, the wedding chest that still housed my ‘good’ china and silver, and one particular shoe box that held the contents of my heart as a teenager.

Stacked in a row, just the way I had left them, were a bundle of love letters; hand written accounts of life in the early eighties by the boys who had captured my affections. It was several days before I actually had the time to sit down and read them, but when I did, not only did I laugh until I cried, I realised that my perception of how these boys saw me was quite different than my memories of myself at the time.

Like so many girls entering the awkward teenage years, I saw myself as fat, unattractive and the girl that the guys loved to pal around with, because I was funny. As I read through the piles of letters, I suddenly realised that my perceptions/ memories of who I had been in the past, had actually been a judgement created by the feelings I had about myself at the time. According to the letters, I had been not only witty, but capable of intelligent conversation. It was mentioned on numerous occasions how much I was appreciated for my capacity to see ‘the real him’, with a sense of deep understanding for who the person really was, not how the world around him perceived him to be. Several also revealed “By the way, you’re not fat, I think you’re hot!” simply alluding to the fact that in my own correspondence, I had obviously allowed my insecurities to get the best of me by mentioning my weight and the fact that I was ‘working on it’.

I had been chunky up until the tenth grade, but the summer before my junior year, I shed all of my puppy fat by watching my diet and running, weighing in at a whopping 118 pounds (that’s 8.4 stone to my friends back home in Ireland). My perception of that time in my life conjured images of my clothes being too tight with an absolute aversion to tucking my shirt in, because it accentuated the fact that I had no waist line. As I read through letters from boys from camp, the beach, the Navy, you name it, I began to realise that what came up time and time again, was an appreciation of my good nature, my consideration for feelings, my openness and compassion. Even at the tender ages of 16-18, these boys were telling me that they liked who I was as a person.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the ulterior motives, fuelled by raging hormones, were glaringly obvious, and I had such a laugh watching ‘the dance of the birds and bees’ through the written word. But this musty shoebox from the past had taught me something about myself and about the idea of perceptions.

My own mind had cast aside the sweet and romantic gestures of these amazing young men from my youth, and replaced them with memories that I never had a date or that boys always liked my best friend ‘that way’ and tolerated me as her chubby side-kick. My perception of my teenage years had become enveloped by the judgement of how I thought things were as opposed to how they actually were, as I looked at the written proof. Sure, I can remember every one of those special encounters, each of those ‘first kisses’ and that feeling of longing to see ‘the boys of summer’ just one more time. But regardless of the fact that I can recall all of this, my perception of the time was that I simply wasn’t good enough.

I found a photo of myself, in which I distinctly remember feeling like two tonne Tessie at the time. My MTV hair-do was much larger than my waistline. What I wouldn’t give to have that shape and ‘perky’ disposition today! Perceptions and reality; how often do we allow our insecurities to blur the lines? The very second it becomes the slightest bit fuzzy, judgement sets in and BANG, we suddenly have a new perception of what is, based on a skewed set of criteria formulated in our own little world of self-loathing. This doesn’t just apply to personal appearance; it goes across the board, particularly in our interactions and relationships with others. So often our perceptions of what we think we are seeing, hearing or feeling are hi-jacked by our anxieties and replaced with an alternate reality which supports our underlying fears. Its remarkable, really, how clever we are at self-manipulation.

If we applied even half of the energy we give to our judgements and perceptions of ourselves and others to building our self-confidence imagine how unstoppable we could be!

The next time you find yourself using the word perception when speaking about yourself or another person or situation, take a moment to run it through your personal BS detector. Is it perception, you mean, or have you fallen down the slippery slope of judgement? We’ve all been there, so don’t feel alone. Awareness is the key to changing your judgements into perceptions; the ability to see and be and take it all in without turning yourself or a situation into something it is not.

Until next time…Shine On!

 

 

 

 

Aside 10 Aug

39 Summers Ago

Many moons ago, my family and I took a trip to the beach. As was customary for our travels, no reservations had been made, and we always took a chance, hoping for the best when searching for somewhere to stay. It was Virginia Beach; and the region had been plagued with a severely eroding coastline. We had tried several spots before finally coming to rest at a hotel that was located directly on the beach.

 

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On the shore side of the hotel, there was a massive undertaking to pump sand on to the dwindling beach, and I was fascinated by the whole operation. I wasn’t much older than four or five and had been duly warned not to go near the pipes that were blasting sand in front of the hotel and further up the beach. It was very late and we had spent most of the evening looking for somewhere to stay. As my parents unloaded the car, curiosity got the best of me, despite numerous words of caution. Of course, I wandered down to the beach to see what was going on.

Unbeknownst to my parents, who were still trying to get our things into the hotel, I was gone in a flash! I had walked off in the wrong direction and was now perfectly lost. As soon as my folks realised I was missing, my father embarked on a frantic journey that he later said had aged him twenty years. I continued to walk, eventually coming upon two men who could only be described as hippies. It was the early seventies, and with their Doobie Brothers hairstyles and beach bum motifs, it looked as if I had landed in a really bad 1970’s sit-com. They were sitting around a small fire, with sleeping bags and a make-shift stove, talking and laughing. I remember a funny smell coming from the skinny ‘cigarettes’ they were smoking.

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I walked straight up to them and in my innocence, asked if they knew where my mom and dad were. They were very kind and asked me what hotel we were in. I instantly offered up the name of one of the many locations we had tried- of course, it was one that had no vacancy.

Hand in hand, these two men walked me down the beach to the hotel I had told them, only to find that my parents were not there. Luckily, the hotel clerk remembered suggesting another place to a man and his family earlier that night, and maybe if we checked there, we might find them. My hippies and I turned the other way and walked back up the beach to our new destination. Several hours had now passed and I was having the time of my life! My parents were distracted with worry. We entered yet another hotel from the beach-side entrance and I remember my mother’s face as she saw me cross the threshold with my new found friends. As there were no mobile phones at that time (they were as futuristic as compact discs or cable TV); there was no way to notify my father until he returned on his own. I was absolutely petrified of how angry he was going to be. I had no regard in my young mind as to the drama I had caused over the last few hours. My only concern was that I had disobeyed orders and would most certainly be punished. When he eventually returned, I saw my dad in tears for the first time in my life. He was livid, but relieved; as he lectured me as to the danger I had put myself in.

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The reason this story is so significant in my history, is that my father went in to great detail as to how I could have drowned that night. As a great little swimmer, a Pisces by sign and by nature, I never had a fear of the water, only a deep respect for and great pleasure from all it had to offer. As my father lectured on, his voice was reduced to a murmur and seemed to fade into the background as I spontaneously recalled a memory of having drowned before. I appeared to be staring off into space as my mind transported me to a place that I remembered as vividly as if I had been there the day before.

Oddly enough, as I re-experienced this part of my past, I was not afraid, nor did I equate the present night’s experience with what it meant to drown. I had unexpectedly dredged up from my extensive biography, what drowning meant to me. Getting lost on the beach did not come close to the feeling of standing outside of a temple of some sort, in a modestly embellished, full-length purple gown, watching fiery objects sail through the sky. I appeared to be in my early thirties. I distinctly recalled looking across a field at the beautiful village that held my family home. I had been frantically working inside of the temple in some sort of preparation for the impending devastation. A global catastrophe had sparked off a massive tidal wave that quickly took me to my death. As I went under the colossal wall of water, I felt the fear and sadness of going through this alone, without being able to hold my children as they faced their imminent deaths. The only thing remotely similar to this memory and my current beach adventure was that this time around I could have, but didn’t drown, and I was separated from my family. I was lost in this unexpected flashback, the first of many to come, when Dad snapped me back to the present. “Do you understand me, young lady?” was the next thing I heard.

Dad was still lecturing, not realising that I had just experienced my very first recollection in this life, of death in a former incarnation. Neither of us was aware of the significance that this event would eventually have on my future work. I knew enough at age five to know that losing me for the night had been a little too traumatic to even contemplate sharing this new insight with my parents. It was filed away and not spoken about until many years later; a habit that I had already begun to master.

Tonight, thirty-nine summers later, I took off from my hotel and walked this same beach on my own again. The research I have been doing all week at the Association for Research and Enlightenment, founded by the great 20th century prophet, Edgar Cayce, was swirling through my mind as I stood by the water’s edge. As the water lapped against my ankles, the lights of the endless string of high rise hotels twinkled behind me, while music wafted through the air from a variety of live bands playing in the many seafront restaurants and clubs.

Apotheosis is, by standard definition, the divinization or deification of man (decided by man, oddly enough). In the world according to MH, when man finally remembers that he is not seeking divine love and wisdom but already is divine love and wisdom, well, then we’re talking true Apotheosis. Picture the Christ energy; Divine into flesh, returned to Divine. Was this energy ever NOT divine? If we then, as mere mortals, are made in the image of our Creator, then are we too, not divine by nature?

As I wiggled my toes in the cool sand tonight, I looked up and smiled at the same stars that had watched me discover; remembering the true essence of my own divine nature, thirty-nine summers ago on that very same beach. It all started with a five-year old’s simple realisation that she had lived before. Life has come full circle as I delve deeper into the subject matter of my latest book, “Apotheosis”. I remain in constant pursuit of the best way to share the events of a series of lifetimes, which I hope just might inspire you, my fellow travellers on this journey, to also remember, that you already are that which you seek

Until next time… Shine on!