Sunday, 25 July 2010

The most valuable life lesson of all

Yesterday was my second trip to see Juliana.

I met Juliana about a year ago at a Kabbalah connection. Instantly I fell in love with her energy - she has a serene, gentle loveliness that made me warm to her instantly. She is 51 and from Romania, a very sweet voice and a way of saying things that cannot help but make you smile.

At the time, I was still wrapped up in my head with the whole job situation - flip-flopping between new ideas and fear, confidence and crushing self-defeat. So, no change there then. She was easy to talk to and I opened up a little.

After sharing my woes, Juliana then said very peacefully "I have cancer at the moment. I am about to start a fast for six weeks." She had already had one round of chemo, but the cancer had started to spread from her breast, and under her own thorough investigation, she had found a holistic fast that she could follow.

A couple of months later, I met Juliana again. She told me that the fast had been a success and that the scan results were very good. And so still she continued to heal.

And for a while my thoughts were not on Juliana at all. Then three months ago, I noticed her name creeping to the top of the healing board, and I started to worry.

After a month of wishing to be able to see her again, she arrived for Saturday shabbat. Immediately I went to ask how she was and her eyes clouded up with tears.
"I am in pain." she said "The cancer has now spread to my liver and my lungs and my bones. It is everywhere. There is a lot of pain"

I didn't know what to say. What can you say? I said I was very sorry to hear that she was sick, and moved to sit next to her during the shabbat. Towards the end of the shabbat she leaned over and said "You have to understand, the only reason why I am crying is because of the energy here - it brings out my emotions. It is good to be here. I know that despite the pain, I am healing. I know that the doctor's do not believe I will survive, but I know I will get better"

Her courage and conviction was astonishing. The following week she was at shabbat, still in enormous pain, still smiling. "I went to the hospital the other day because I was so sick" she smiled "The nurses said to me 'You have to stop laughing so much, otherwise the doctors will not believe there is anything wrong with you'"

How she could continue to laugh was beyond me. How little my troubles seemed by comparison.

Two weeks ago, an email was sent from the centre to ask that Juliana be included in our prayers as she was facing "severe health challenges". It also said 'if anyone wants to go and visit or give her a call, contact us so that we can arrange'.

And I didn't. Not immediately. Why? I was afraid of what I might find. I was afraid that she was going to die. I was afraid of not knowing what to say. Of not being any use. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.

And then my sister told me of the experience she'd had when she lost her first son, how many people kept their distance because they simply didn't know what to say and were afraid of saying something totally appalling (foot in mouth syndrome), and she said "Just be there. Nothing else matters. It doesn't matter what you say. Just go and visit her"

So I did. And none of my fears were realised.

Juliana had spent a week in bed, in so much pain the she was literally unable to move. So she looked forward to the day when she would be able to get out of bed. And after a week, she could. Two days before I arrived, she only had the strength to sit in her garden for one minute. And on the day I visited we sat in the garden for 6 hours.

Juliana's philosophy is very simple. Live every moment in Joy. Have peace within yourself at every moment and dismiss every negative thought. When you are having a really bad day or a really bad moment, change it as soon as you can to doing something that you love, to bring about that feeling of joy.

She advised me not to even bother applying for any jobs or contacting any agencies unless I was in a state of joy. And if I couldn't find that state of joy, then I should find something to do that helped me to find it, without any guilt. She told me to spend two or three hours taking action, and then to go out and connect with joy, and share - to generate the right vibration to attract what is already mine.

She explained her own view on the Law of Attraction.
"Imagine," she said "you have two children. One comes up to you in a temper tantrum, wailing and crying and tugging at your clothes - 'I WANT A SWEET!! GIVE ME A SWEET!! PLEASE I WANT A SWEET NOW! I NEED A SWEET!!'. And the second child comes up to you with a look of joy on their face "Please may I have a sweet? I would so love to have a sweet! I look forward to having a sweet! Thank you!" Which one are you going to give the sweet to? The first child you would probably want to beat with a stick (haven't we all 'wanted' to do that at some point? Please note: I am not condoning the beating of small children with sticks) but the second one you would take delight in giving them a sweet because they asked so nicely. This is the way that God sees our requests.
"The second thing is, that you have to know that God already has the sweet for you"

I went to visit Juliana for a second time yesterday, and once again left feeling that she had given me more that I could possibly have given her. She is still absolutely certain that she is healing. She is still talking about three years from now, five years from now, ten years from now. She is still astounding the doctors. When her son took her to visit last week, they were astonished that she was walking. The doctor said to her son "Your mother is very, very sick. But she seems to be doing some really weird things which are making her really well".

I know that I am going to be friends with her for a very long time to come.

Life is a game. It operates on two levels - the physical world that we can see, and the metaphysical world that we cannot. The physical world feels real, but it is illusion - everything depends on how you look at it, everything depends on choosing how you want to see it. Every choice is free will.

Or as Juliana reminds herself with every challenge "This is not the truth. This is just what I believe"

So, the agency wouldn't put me forward for the job that I would have to commit to for 3 months. A bad thing, right? I only want to work. I am prepared to do anything. Maybe the girls at the agency were intimidated by me. Or maybe they didn't like my £5 Primark patent plastic shoes. Or maybe all of the agencies are conspiring against me to find work. Or maybe "God" is punishing me for being so negative for so long.

Or maybe, just maybe, something better is coming.

And I look forward with Joy, to that. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Flip Flopping between Hope and Despair

It's a funny thing, life.

And then some days it's just not so funny.

My living situation seems to get worse and worse. My finances are almost at an end, and by that I mean that my only credit card is virtually chocka, and my overdraft is within a whisker of being exceeded. I receive £65 a week in job seekers allowance, and this has to pay for rent, food, my credit card bill, mobile phone, contact lenses.

You see how the sums are not quite adding up here?

And I do want to work - more than anything. But I think I missed out on the job-finding gene. I just don't know how to find work. Everyone seems to be recruiting online. You want a job on a supermarket checkout? Visit the website. And just how does one get a job sweeping the streets nowadays? Apply through the council website.

I'm not setting my sights too high or placing myself out of the market, but my CV is an IT CV. It doesn't say 'shop assistant' or 'administration clerk'.

I signed up with a temping agency for administration contracts - they were happy to help me out. I got two days work, and as for the rest? Well, things are a bit quiet over the summer months, apparently. They will pick up in September again. I've rung them twice today and they haven't called back.

So I tried to sign up with another couple of agencies. Both of them refused to take me on because I had an IT CV. One of them suggested a 3 month contract but then declined on putting my CV forwards to the company because the company wanted assurance that I would stay for the whole contract, and looking at my CV would no doubt decide that I was likely to be offered something else in the meantime.

Okay, so that hasn't happened in the last 3 years, but hey, nice to know I'm considered to be in demand.

So the panic has started to set in, and with the panic comes regular bouts of stress-induced illness and a complete inability to speak to anybody. Which isn't really conducive to a successful job hunt. Because what I want to say is "Please, I'm on my knees here - just give me a fucking job" which isn't really the best way to get an interview.

So I bottle it all up, and I 'cope'. Except that a close friend recently told me "You might be bottling things up, but you're not coping. And you're just not willing to show people that you're not coping". She's right. I'm not actually coping any more, and putting on a brave face is becoming harder every day.

There are a few sad things that I find about being in this situation.
First, nobody is just going to turn up and give me a job without me taking any action. And I am taking action, but just not enough. One negative conversation and I am back on the floor again.
Second, you only attract things to you by being on the right vibrational frequency. Feeling the joy of the job that is waiting to come towards me is getting harder by the day, as the pain of my current situation grows.
Lastly, that I am so unhappy with what I am not, that I am losing sight of who I am, what I have, and how lucky I am.
I am not dying of cancer.
I am not living on the streets.
I have clean water to drink.

My life could be a whole lot worse. And how wonderful it will feel when it just gets a little bit better.

Monday, 12 July 2010

The World Cup, Paul and the New Moon

So Spain won the World Cup.

I could have told you that. You mean you didn't believe the great Kabbalistic Paul the Octopus? Or perhaps you didn't care. Whatever.

Anyhow. The odd thing about the World Cup was that the first day coincided with the New Moon of Cancer - 11th June. And the World Cup final coincided with the New Moon of Leo.

The New Moons at the Kabbalah Centre always have a theme in line with the energy of the coming month, just to get us all in the mood. But because the New Moon of Cancer fell on the opening day of the World Cup, they held a football theme. And because the New Moon of Cancer also fell on a Friday night - shabbat - instead of having the usual buffet snacks, we had a full shabbat dinner.

Each of the tables in the dining room were allocated the nationality of a world cup team, indicated by the nation's flag.

Halfway through the meal, we played a game. Each table had to nominate a captain. Each round consisted of a single question, with the answer being either A or B - some related to football, some to Kabbalah, and some were more general knowledge. The captain would confer with their table and would either remain standing if the answer was A, or sit down if the answer was B.

Those who got the answer wrong and who were either standing up or sitting down when they shouldn't be, were eliminated at the end of each round. After a promising start when it appeared as though we would all win the world cup (hurrah! Unity!), gradually the numbers started to dwindle.

Our table were knocked out two questions before the end, after incorrectly guessing that there had been 5 versions of the iPod Nano (there had been 6).

In the final round it was down to two teams, and the round was a sudden-death question for the captains, with no conferring.

And the winner? Why, Spain, of course.

And my table? Germany. Oops. Sorry.

Sunday, 11 July 2010


Yes, yes, I know, I've been away from my blog for so long - part sorting my life out and part due to having nothing much that I actually wanted to say (for once).

I mean, how many times can you play the 'Woe is me, my life just gets worse and worse' card and expect to get away with it?

But now I have something to write about. Actually, I have two things to write about, but this one has to come first.

You may remember that I have the boredom threshold of a three year old child on a long car journey and as such, I find it a challenge to meditate. In fact, it is fair to say, that getting through ten seconds of meditation without thinking of something that I need to add to my shopping list, a conversation I had earlier in the day and an email that I really need to send (yes, all three) is nigh on impossible.

Monkey Mind In Extremis. Hey Ho.

So whenever I am browsing through my email and see a free download for a guided meditation, I sign up to whatever newsletter they wish to send me, and download the file.

On Wednesday I was promised complete relaxation in 3 minutes. For free. So I signed up, and downloaded.

The file was okay - it had some effect at least. I mean, I still had several conversations going on at once (whoever said that the sign of Gemini was twins was grossly underestimating) but I was chilled enough not to be bitter about it.

And along with the free download was a free chapter of a book. So, in my nicely 3-minute-chilled state, I decided to have a read.

The chapter of the book was about reading through the palm of your hand. No, really. It explained how you could 'see' pages of a book that you have never read before and gave a technique to try it. It gave a few examples of success stories, and also explained that if you don't see what you were expecting, to check the pages either side. It then told a little side story of a woman who was out walking and pondering what the definition of Serendipity was. She passed a bookstore, walked inside, picked the first book she came to, and opened it to find a definition of Serendipity.

Well, of course she did. These things happen all the time.

Anyhow, I was curious to see if it would work for me (wondering if the Universe could get past my Monkey Mind) and searched my bookshelf for a book that I hadn't read before.

I came across 'Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me' by Penny Power. No doubt this book would be all about networking, email marketing, business profiles, etc. But really I had no idea.

So I sat with the book on my lap and followed the steps:
  1. Hold your dominant hand 6 - 10 inches away from the book, and close your eyes. This bit is easy.
  2. Focus your energy on the point a couple of inches below your navel - the Dan Tien. Yep, got it.
  3. Allow that energy to travel up your spine, in to your throat, then down your arm and out through your hand in to the book. Hmm, okay... but I still don't see how...
  4. Feel the exchange of energy with the book. Is this really an 'exchange of energy'? Is this what I am meant to be feeling or did I just rush the last bit?
  5. Ask for a page number. SIXTY THREE. F**k me, where did that come from? No need to shout. Okay, 63 it is.
  6. Imagine the layout of the page - what does it look like? Oookaaaaayyyy.... so the only page I can imagine is a bold title across the top, then a top paragraph, and then the rest is text. Maybe I am rushing this. Does it have a picture? No, I don't see a picture. What do you mean, you don't see a picture? You're not seeing anything - you've got your eyes closed, you muppet. Look, just shut up and let me get on with this, okay? This is the only page I can see. Yeah, well, whatever. Just you wait until you open the page. It's bound to have a picture.
  7. Ask for the subject of the page - what is it about? What words can you see? Serendipity. Oh, of course it's not Serendipity. Gee, I wonder where you got that one from. Okay, pick something else. I can't think of anything else. Yes, but it won't be fucking Serendipity, will it? You've just read a story about Serendipity - that's the only reason you've thought about that word. Okay then, I can see the word 'chance' in the middle of the page. Oh yeah, because 'chance' is really different. Oh look, just leave me alone, okay? This is all that I'm getting and yes, I do know that in about 10 second's time I am going to be bitterly disappointed so just get off my case.
  8. Open the book to the page you thought of, and prepare to be astounded. Yeah, astounded at how wrong you can be...
So, where was I? Oh yes, page 63, a bold title, a floating paragraph, followed by a block of text, something about Serendipity, and the word 'chance'.

I opened the book. My jaw dropped. And then me and my Monkey Mind laughed for a good ten minutes.

Scroll down and judge for yourself.....


Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.
A brilliantly worded explanation on Wikipedia.

When you are not looking for the answer you will discover what you need to know. Get your head around that thought! One of the toughest ideas I have to teach when explaining the power of social networks and social media is the power of serendipity.
This phrase sounds spiritual and deep, and is hard for task-oriented people to get their head around. However, we are learning that the random nature of social media is what creates success for all those that take part.
Let's just explore this further but using the offline world. We know that the more people we meet, the more we 'get ourselves out there', and the more we create a brand tht others respect and know, the higher the chance of success. My most recent experience of this was when I decided I would like to write this book.........