Chicken Soup Series calling for submissions

I’m reblogging this from the lovely Julie Issac’s Writing Spirit web site as maybe some of you out there have lovely stories to tell 🙂

 

Your true stories may be in demand by
Chicken Soup For the Soul.
 

Even if you’ve never been published before, submit a story. According to Ken & Dahlynn McKowen, co-authors of four Chicken Soup For the Soul books, including Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul, approximately 40% of the stories accepted by Chicken Soup are from unpublished writers.”

If your story is accepted you’ll be paid $200, plus 10 copies of the book you’re in.

So send your stories to “Chicken Soup” on these topcs:
(I submitted a story to them in October, how about you?)  

* Angels Among Us
We are looking for stories from people who believe that they have encountered or been helped by angels. How did your angel manifest himself or herself? How did your angel help you or someone you know? Please do not send stories about people who are “angels” because they do nice things, and also please do not submit eulogies where you say that your loved one is now an angel. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is July 31, 2012.

* Independent Woman
Whether you are single or married, widowed, or divorced, you are in charge of your life and the lives of many other people. Tell us your story about running your independent life, achieving independence, and being a complete person. We are referring to all kinds of independence, not just financial or emotional. Share your story of empowerment and independence to help women of all ages feel stronger, more capable, and more confident. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is July 31, 2012.

* Great Advice for Making Changes in Your Life
Have you ever read a Chicken Soup for the Soul story that had a wonderful nugget of advice in it that made a difference in your life? We are looking for stories that contain great pieces of advice, whether they are little things that improve our everyday lives, or major epiphanies that can change a life completely. Topics we will cover include advice related to work and personal relationships, marriage, parenting, health and fitness, finances, constructive criticism, taking chances, and following your passion. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is August 31, 2012.

* Raising Kids on the Spectrum
If you are the parent of a child with autism or Asperger’s, we invite you to share your story about raising your child – the ups and downs, the effect on your family, your child’s special attributes and talents, and the lighter moments too. You may use a “pen name” on your story. These stories will provide advice, comfort and insight to other parents in the same situation. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is September 30, 2012.

 Possible Anthology Titles 

Writers Guidelines

Submit Your Stories

Sunday Story – Creating Altars and Sacred Spaces

I thought I’d talk a little today about altars and sacred spaces. What brought this topic to mind is the unfortunate state of the weather! We are having a lot of rain at the moment which is keeping us indoors more than usual.

Nature is my favourite natural altar, but now that I am inside a little bit more, I am appreciating my home altars and sacred spaces as they provide little oases of calm and serenity.

So what is an altar?

Well for me it’s where I place images or items of any person, place or thing, which remind me to say Thank you as I pass. What I consider my main ‘altar’ area is actually on a wall-shelf on my stairs so that I pass it often and therefore am reminded often.

Included here is a collage I made of St Therese of the Little Flower on a backdrop of mainly a Joan Miro painting. St Therese I feel an affinity for because she had a very strong connection to the wider world, what I see as the multidimensional reality that is around us at all times, but of which we are not always so aware.The Miro background is an acknowledgment that my way might not be traditional or of a specific faith but that I can recognise the good in all faiths.

St Therese had a message that once gone from the body she would send a rose as a message to anyone who requested prayer through her and which she felt could be answered. Many people from all over the world say they receive roses and I am one of them! It’s not like they drop out of the sky but more that you get one within the time frame of the prayer and unexpectedly. In my case I had been handing over three issues to St Therese, many years ago now and out of the blue my father arrived with three red roses that he just felt the urge to buy for me! A lovely example also of him listening to the promptings sent to him requesting on a soul level that he be the conduit of my reply. I was delighted. The roses never disintegrated and so I have one of them also on my altar area to remind me that the world is indeed so much wider than we can ever fully know.

Also on my altar are carvings of the Hindu Ganesha. As the remover of obstacles and the one who sometimes places obstacles to instruct, he is a good reminder of the dual functions of trust and acceptance. Also as an animal he is a personal symbol of my love of animals, and his appearance is also for me a nod to the strange and interesting history of our planet and some of the hidden histories that are not often explored. So for that reason Ganesha also serves as a reminder to keep me open.

Included also are carvings of Mary and Jesus (as the Infant de Prague just because I like that statue). The energy of the Christ consciousness is very significant for me. Jesus was of course the ultimate healer and Madonna blue is my personal healing signature so I have a very strong connection and devotion to both Jesus and Mary.

The Thai Buddha is there not just because I love Buddha statues and the gentle calm that Buddha represents, but also because it represents my daily practice of the techniques of Knowledge and my deep bond to my teacher Maharaji, and my gratitude to him for teaching me such a powerful practice and continuing to provide such an inspiring and cleansing teaching.

The oil and diffuser sticks are symbols of my healing practice and the beautiful oils I use to cleanse the area. As much as I have learned many wonderful healing techniques over the years, I am also acutely aware that I have been given a natural gift that I must protect and treasure and the very simple clarity of the oil image reminds me to be grateful for this.

Finally I include the non specific artifacts to include all the natural traditions of healing, faith, medicine, folklore, history, and the magic of the earth herself.

This is just one altar of course. I have many sacred spaces in my house and many beautiful crystals and natural stones that hold the energy and bring the wisdom and beauty of the earth and nature inside.

Do you like to create sacred spaces?

Sunday Story – Fathers Day and the lesson of the Wailing Wall

I’m travelling at the moment without my computer so apologies for the lack of posts. When I’m back I’ll post some pics of all the lovely things I’ve seen on this trip..

Today is Father’s Day, (well here and in a lot of places but not in Australia and New Zealand until September apparently!) In our ever fragmenting society the role of the father is one that is often overshadowed by the fact that there are many situations now where children do not have the blessing of growing up with a father.

Is the role of the father different? I believe so. While the mother nurtures, cuddles and coddles, nourishes and protects, the father supports, challenges, encourages drive and ambition, teaches how to deal with new experiences and the tools needed for success in the world.

A little girl I know complained that she didn’t like visits with her father. She was about six years old then and she was very worried as he was not inclined to hold her hand at times that felt unsafe to her, like on narrow paths or near the shoreline or on a riverbank.

I explained to her that Dads are more inclined to let us explore and learn from experience but that as she was unused to being with him (and I suspected that he as a man also brought up without a father was not a very “well-trained” father) she should tell him when she felt unsure and tell him that she needed him to hold her hand at these times. A wise little soul, she took on the advice and now, years later, has a great relationship with her father. Together they have learned how to create a father-daughter relationship from the ashes of divorce and a second generation fatherless household.

She had to learn to experience a different relationship with him and she had to help him find the part of him that could parent and protect. In doing so both are learning new things about love, about each other and also about the different ways in which men and women experience the world.

As it is Father’s day I want to share this story from Yitta Halbertstam and Judith Leventhal’s book, Small Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life as reminder to us all to treasure our fathers while we have them and like my little friend above to remember that it takes two to develop the bond.  And as this story illustrates, in matters of love and emotional bonds there is no ‘then and now’; there are just moments of connection and sometime magical synchronicity …

This story is about a young Jewish man, Joey Riklis, from Cleveland, Ohio, who goes to visit the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem after his father had died.

His father had been a survivor of the holocaust and was an ardent practitioner of his Jewish faith. Joey had rebelled against his father’s faith and the two of them had been alienated for some time. He was feeling guilt and remorse over his father’s death and blamed himself for it.

Joey had traveled to India and done his share of guru hopping in hopes of finding an alternative to his Hebrew religious heritage. But nothing truly satisfied or filled his spiritual longing. So he went to Israel to explore the heritage that he had formerly spurned. While there he noticed people scribbling notes on small pieces of paper and inserting them into the crevices of the Wailing Wall.

He asked a young man there what this was about and was told that they were petitionary prayers. People believed the stones were so holy that any requests placed inside of them would be especially blessed.

So Joey decided to write his own petition, addressed to his father. He wrote, “Dear Father, I beg you to forgive me for the pain I caused you. I loved you very much and I will never forget you. And please know that nothing that you taught me was in vain. I will not betray your family’s deaths. I promise.”
Joey searched for an empty crevice in the Wall to place his petition. There were notes crammed and overflowing all over the place. After an hour of trying to find an empty space he finally found a spot and inserted his small note into the crack.

As he did so he “accidentally dislodged another that had been resting there, and it fell to the ground.” He bent down and picked it up and was going to put it back when he was overcome by a powerful impulse to open the note and read it, which he did.

Here is what he read: My Dear Son Joey, If you should ever happen to come to Israel and somehow miraculously find this note, this is what I want you to know: I always loved you even when you hurt me, and I will never stop loving you. You are, and always will be, my beloved son. And Joey, please know that I forgive you for everything, and only hope that you in turn will forgive a foolish old man.” Signed, Adam Riklis, Cleveland, Ohio.

Summary from THE SCARAB AT JUNG’S WINDOW R.M. FEWKES

Sunday Story – A Reflection on Mindful v Heartful

Artwork: Daniel B. Holeman

This Sunday I’m writing a reflection rather than a story as this week I had some interesting discussions with a client who is battling with various issues. Her big concern was that she didn’t know how to practice ‘mindfulness’ and this was bothering her as learning how to stay calm and centered is vital for her well being.

Straight away I felt a little internal resistance as mindfulness is always a word that bothers me. I tend to think visually and to also feel concepts, so the word mindfulness hits me like a wrong note and throws the balance off from the centre and up to the head.

“What is it you want to achieve?” I asked.

“This calm, this deep peace I get when I’m here having a healing session,” was the reply.

“Do you ever feel this at any other time?”

“Well yes when I’m talking a walk, or doing something that absorbs me.”

“So what changes when you try to practice what you believe to be mindfulness?”

“Well I sit there I don’t know what is supposed to happen. I’m not sure what it means to be mindful and then the whole thing makes me feel stressed!”

“Aha..” I said. “There we have it.

The discussion and session that followed cleared things up for my client but got me thinking about the words we use to describe spiritual practices and how they can cause confusion.

The word centered is used for a reason as the feeling you want is exactly that, a grounded, connected feeling, not a thought. Feeling is from the heart, not the mind. It is the mind’s nature to think. That’s its job. To try to get it to stop is impossible and as Byron Katie would exclaim – ‘Hopeless!”

The real point of  mindfulness is really heartfulness. It is why the old wisdom saying of: Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water was used by the Zen masters to get their students to become absorbed in feeling the ‘now’ of the action and the need for continual practice.

It wasn’t to learn a method of mind control, it was to learn how to slip gently away from the mind, to let it do what it does while tip-toeing off to find a quiet place in the heart that is unswayed by the incessant flow of thought. They may have called it mindfulness, but really they are referring to an experience that can only come from heartfulness. In this quiet place of the heart a connection is made between the finite self and the infinite and in that connection the self is at once self and other, being and universe, breath and breather.

Prem Rawat Maharaji teaches that just one second in this space can literally save the entire day ahead as the power of one moment of complete fusion of the self with the infinite resets us on such a deep level that profound change can occur. I see this every day in healing as the whole aim of what I do is to get the person to feel this place so that their own ability to find their way there and to heal and reset can kick in.

And this is the essence of conscious living, because it is ultimately heartful living. I prefer the word conscious to mindful as it is a much bigger word. To awaken into the consciousness of a heart centered connection brings the awareness that we are much more than mind, that we can choose not to be swept along or away by our thoughts.  But we make a big mistake if we think we can control thought. Thoughts will bubble along all the time.

The real strength in heartful connection is that it strengthens our whole being to know what we truly are, how we feel, what we feel and what feels true for us. From this place we have the clarity and strength of feeling to question thoughts and change faulty thought patterns. But just like weeding the garden, heart connection has to be experienced regularly to prevent the pesky thoughts, the ones that cause us pain, from growing back.

This is why any daily centering practice is so good for us.  And the words we choose to describe it are just words after all, as at the end of the day it’s almost impossible to describe a feeling. I just know that sometimes words can get in the way and I can’t do the word mindful, it’s too full of mind for me. Too confusing and just a little too far from the heart.

What do you think or feel?

Sunday Story – The Butterfly Story

This is a lovely take on the current world consciousness change by Elisabet Sahtouris, an evolution biologist and future consultant. It reminds me of the caterpillar story from Dance with Life, which I will include at the end of this. Enjoy…

 

The Butterfly Story

Elisabet Sahtouris | the butterfly story

A caterpillar can eat up to three hundred times its own weight in a day, devastating many plants in the process, continuing to eat until it’s so bloated that it hangs itself up and goes to sleep, its skin hardening into a chrysalis. Then, within the chrysalis, within the body of the dormant caterpillar, a new and very different kind of creature, the butterfly, starts to form. This confused biologists for a long time. How could a different genome plan exist within the caterpillar to form a different creature? They knew that metamorphosis occurs in a number of insect species, but it was not known until quite recently that nature did a lot of mixing and matching of very different genome/protein configurations in early evolutionary times. Cells with the butterfly genome/ proteins were held as aggregates, or ‘discs’ of stem cells that biologists call ‘imaginal cells’, tucked inside pockets of the caterpillar’s skin all its life, remaining undeveloped until the crisis of overeating, fatigue and breakdown allows them to develop.

Such metamorphosis makes a good metaphor for the great changes globalisation, in the sense of world transformation, is bringing about., as Norie Huddle first used it in her children’s book Butterfly. Our bloated old system is rapidly becoming defunct while the vision of a new and very different society, long held by many ‘imaginal cell’ humans who dreamt of a better world, is now emerging like a butterfly, representing our solutions to the crises of predation, overconsumption and breakdown in a new way of living lightly on Earth, and of seeing our human society not in the metaphors and models of mechanism as well-oiled social machinery, but in those of evolving, self-organizing and intelligent living organism.

If you want a butterfly world, don’t step on the caterpillar, but join forces with other imaginal cells to build a better future for all!

 

I love the idea of imaginal cells. It never ceases to amaze me what we can learn from nature and how many life lessons are right under our noses! Anyway that was Elisabet’s lovely story and now we can zoom in and see it from the viewpoints of the caterpillars!

 

A Tale of Two Caterpillars

“Once there was a brother caterpillar and a sister caterpillar. The sister spent all her time looking to the sky. She would watch the birds and all the other winged creatures with longing. She said to her brother ‘One day I’ll fly just like them. I really feel that I will.’

Her brother was scornful.

‘Don’t be so stupid,’ he said. ‘What would you even want to fly for. It’s lovely to be able to wiggle along the earth and to find a fat juicy leaf. I watch those silly birds and they’re always just darting about looking useless.’

She listened to him, but didn’t agree.

‘It’s not that I don’t like being a caterpillar and that I don’t enjoy every leaf and patch of earth that we explore, but I just can’t shake off the feeling that there’s something more. Haven’t you ever wondered why there are no old caterpillars? Where does everyone go?’

Her brother looked angry.

‘You are so STUPID,’ he shouted. ‘Why do you think those birds are so fat? That’s where we all end up – in their stomachs. We’re bird food! We just have a pointless reason here. It’s as simple as that. There’s nothing ahead except some sharp beak, then darkness. Just accept that and stop going on at me. And stop admiring the very creatures you should hate!’

Her brother was disgusted and wriggled away.

She curled on her little leaf singing happily to herself.

‘Maybe my brother is right, but it’s still lovely to look at all the other creatures,’ she said to herself.

Just then a dragonfly whirred past. He saw her on the leaf and landed to say ‘hello’.

She told him about her argument with her brother. The dragonfly clicked and hummed with laughter.

‘But of course you’ll fly. One day you’ll be a butterfly!’

She was thrilled and excitedly went to tell her brother.

‘And you believed him!’ he scoffed. ‘No one believes that mad fool. Even the very word, “butterfly”, I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous.’

Time passed and the urge came for the caterpillars to start spinning their chrysalises. She was full of hope, sure that this was going to take her towards her dream. Her brother was melancholy.

‘This is just packing you know,’ he said sadly. ‘It’s a cruel trick. They’ve engineered it that we do this to fill their stomachs even more. We’re too thin as we are.’

She tried to argue with him but he wouldn’t listen.

They hung, suspended in their chrysalises, for what seemed like an eternity. Then one day her chrysalis began to move. She felt it slip away. She couldn’t figure out where she was, everything looked red. She shook herself and a trickle of red fluid gathered at her little feet. As she looked down she noticed the most beautiful sight. She had wings of lilac and gold with little green spots for decoration. She flapped her wings and began to fly. It was the most amazing feeling. She landed on a flower and sipped delicately at the nectar. It was exquisite, beyond any taste she could have ever imagined. As she looked down on the earth below she felt extraordinarily privileged.

‘This is even better than being a bird,’ she sang out loud, ‘because they have only ever been birds. But I know how cosy and warm it is to snuggle in the warm earth and to chew the deep green leaves and now I know the joy of flight and the magical taste of nectar. I have been given two lives, two experiences in this one lifetime.’

She heard a grumbling coming from a rich yellow flower. Perched on the flower was a beautiful orange butterfly. It was her brother! She flew excitedly to him.

‘It wasn’t a trick, it was real,’ she cried, fluttering her wings to him in greeting.

He looked bitter.

‘Don’t be so naive!’ he snapped. ‘Look at the colour of us both. You bright gold and me bright orange. They’ll see us for miles. We won’t last a second I tell you!’

‘Oh brother! Why can’t you see how amazing this is? You’re beautiful. And we can fly!’

He grimaced.

‘What sort of awful stuff is this?’ he moaned, indicating to the nectar. ‘My teeth are gone. I can’t get a bite of leaf no matter how I try. And I hate flying. It makes my head spin. I tried to curl nicely on a leaf but these blasted wings keep slipping so I fall down.’

She shook her little head and spiralled upwards, realising that there was nothing that she could do to change his mind. He

was as determined to dislike their new life as she was to embrace it.

‘Perhaps in time he will like it more,’ she thought, as she caught a current of air and swooped and fluttered along it into the blue, blue sky.”

© Dance With Life page 126-129

My approach to healing..

The methods I use are a mind-body-spirit approach to holistic well being. My aim is to give clients an understanding of the extraordinary world we live in, an insight into the exquisite feeling machine we call the body and a users guide on how to operate successfully in both environments.

The body and the human being combined becomes a vast interplay of matter and energy, thought and form, dream and nightmare. We can choose whether to have the dream or the nightmare and the various methods I use offer some tools to help in making that choice.

FREE YOUR MIND
First we work at freeing the mind. It is vital to deal with stressful and negative thinking, faulty ‘learned’ behaviours and any thoughts which limit, block or prevent success.

FEEL YOUR LIFE
Secondly we look at the body as a feeling machine and explore how energy moves in the body and how we continually ‘read’ our environments. Participants will learn how to open and close their energy channels and more importantly how to use their energy centres; how to work with guidance and how to energetically protect themselves.

LIVE THE EXPERIENCE
Thirdly we look at translating the new learning to our lives and the importance of using our energetic abilities to give and receive. The healing method taught is a form of ‘hands-off’ energy healing that participants can use both on themselves and on others.

Throughout the process, clients will be given techniques and exercises that, with practice, will help them to tune in to and uncover their inner selves, their bodies and their intuition.

I have been fortunate to train with the world class teachers, Zoran/Zdenko Domancic,  Byron Katie and Sonia Choquette and have been practicing the techniques of Self-Knowledge, as taught by Prem Rawat Maharaji, for over twenty years. In addition I had a corporate career in Public Relations and Marketing and am now a successful writer and Intuitive Mentor.   I am an avid student of Quantum Physics and Cleve Baxter’s Primary Perception findings and have combined all these approaches to put forward a world view that is consistent with current scientific theory as well as cutting edge healing techniques.

My aim is to bring the body back to a point of deep relaxation and from there it can reset itself and activate the natural immune function. The mind has to be dealt with also and I believe the Work of Byron Katie to be revolutionary in its approach. I trained with Katie and use her methods to get clients to a point where they eliminate faulty and negative thinking and, secondly, come to an understanding of right brain / left brain difference. From this point of balance, the potential to use all the current findings from physics and healing practices can be learned. The potential of the Human Being is beautiful and limitless and more than anything that is what my approach aims to uncover.

In it’s purest form I see this integrated approach as a process that helps a person to understand how to operate the body they inhabit!

Sunday Story – Fantastic Foxes..

This Sunday I’m reblogging from Essi Tolling’s blog as this is just a lovely real life story of nature, wild life and and tranquility. So I hope you enjoy a lovely afternoon walk in the woods and the surprises you might find along the way..

Reblogged from www.essitolling.com

Not far from where I live, a road leads up a steep hill. Beech and Sycamore trees reach over it. I call it “The Cathedral”. Every time I walk or drive down it, excitement tingles in my fingertips.

Leading off into the woods is an old path. It’s my favourite of the paths nearby, perhaps because I’ve never met another human being on it!

The other day, however, I did meet someone. Or rather several someones.None of them were human, but they all brought a smile to my face.

Here are two of them.

Two young fox cubs, no more than a few weeks old.

As soon as I saw them, I crouched low to the ground. These were no tame town-foxes, but wild things, wary of the wind itself.

Unaware of me, they played together, chasing each other around and having mock-wrestling matches. (You can just make out the second one here, being pounced-on by the first!)

They soon got tired and for a while they rested in the sun.

Then it was time for a bit of foraging…

…finding tasty things in amongst the leaves.

One of them then headed up the bank and lay snoozing in a patch of sunlight.

Here he is again, just waking up!

The other cub pottered off down the old path…

…before returning again for a last hello.

Then they both disappeared into their Earth.

All in all, I had watched them for twenty minutes or more. What a wonderful surprise that was! There was more to come, too, but we’ll save that for next time…

Enjoy your weekend.

Essi.

Essi Tolling is the author of Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys, an epic fantasy-saga that follows the adventures of twelve year old Tilly and her stepbrother Zack. The first book in the series Watchers is a gripping story and  if you like: sacred sites, myths and legends, alternative history, epic quests, conspiracy thrillers, ancient aliens, druid lore, grail quests, solving riddles etc., then you’ll really enjoy Watchers. I certainly did.  To find out more check out Essi’s lovely blog. www.essitolling.com