We absolutely loved Alison Canavan’s article in our Autumn 2019 issue, which explored how we can navigate towards peace. Click below to read all about it!
Creacon Wellness Retreat in New Ross, Co. Wexford, served as the perfect getaway location for Tara Congdon, who described it as “a blissful place.” Learn more about it below!
A Beacon of Bliss
Total relaxation in Co. Wexford
by Tara Congdon
I recently had the enormous pleasure of taking a trip to Creacon Wellness Retreat. Creacon is cosily nestled a stone’s throw from New Ross in Co. Wexford. On entering the little driveway, a cute Buddha welcomed me with a smile from the garden, and as I parked, my eye was drawn to a sign that said, ‘it’s a wonderful life.’ My usual frantic adrenalin immediately began to settle itself.
I tumbled out of my car and into reception, passing sweet chimes on my way, setting the tone for my adventure. An aside – bags hanging out of me and arriving late, just a few minutes before dinner, I was distracted from the fact that my top had pretty much come undone and so I stood in front of Veronica, the receptionist (decorated receptionist, I might add: Veronica won the 2017 Receptionist of the year award) in my bra – I have to say I would highly recommend it as an icebreaker because it gave us a great belly laugh and we were solid buds from then on.
From the minute I saw my beautiful bedroom, named Hawthorn, and my big cosy double bed, all of my busy world faded away and I was completely enchanted by the place. There is Anespa Alkaline mineral ion water in the bathrooms – it helps relax the entire body, helps improve dry skin, poor circulation, eczema, insomnia, stiffness, fatigue, rheumatism and much more.
Creacon serves Kangen water, which is alkaline water. Some of its benefits include: relief of IBS and Acid Reflux, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar, and alleviating stress and anxiety!
At dinner, I was served up the most delicious menu of nutritious, wholesome and healthy plate of food – homemade marinated salmon served with basil mousse and garlic crostini, followed by a vegetarian ragu and polenta. Later, I had some chamomile tea with cookies in the heart room.
The café has recently opened up daily to the public too. The chef is Gaetano Pernagallo, who believes ‘food is medicine.’ The benefits of each dish are listed on the menus. Something I really liked is how everyone seems to gravitate together for meal times – including the staff – and it’s like chowing down with your family. It’s warm, with lots of storytelling and great craic too.
Some of the other lovely treats I discovered during my stay at Creacon were the bijou conservatory area for quiet time and meditative colouring, the yoga/meditation room equipped with cushions and cosy mats, the relaxing heart room, sometimes showing an inspirational film, and the upstairs yellow room with the most snug couches.
There is a daily opt in/out schedule, including things like Five Tibetan yoga, Gentle Hatha Yoga, Japa Meditation Class, Mandala Class … there really is something for everyone! If you wish, you can book a consultation or private session. Everything is put together so carefully to nurture and love its guests. Nothing is missed.
I am blessed to have had this experience. If I was to put my finger on one stand-out from my stay, it was, without a doubt, the people: staff and guests. Funny, witty, warm, honest, down to earth people – I immediately felt like part of the family … and I just felt completely at home. Creacon is a blissful place!
We are thrilled to share this sneak peek of our exclusive interview with the renowned spiritual teacher and author Marianne Williamson, which appears in our Autumn 2018 issue. Click here to find a stockist near you, or subscribe to receive a copy straight to your door.
We interview Marianne Williamson ahead of her Dublin trip
by Aisling Cronin
Marianne Williamson is one of the world’s most renowned spiritual teachers, authors and speakers. Seven out of her twelve published books have been New York Times bestsellers. One of her powerful statements in the classic A Return to Love – “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us” – has become a guiding light for spiritual seekers around the globe.
When we asked her to summarise her extraordinary career, Marianne simply said, “If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life isn’t about the big dramatic moments that stand out, so much as it is about the consistent effort to live a better life. It’s up to us to make any one moment stand out, by standing tall within it.”
Marianne will be speaking in Ireland on Wednesday October 10th 2018, from 7.30 to 9.30 p.m. in the Royal Marine Hotel, Marine Road, Co. Dublin. Ahead of what is sure to be an inspirational talk, we spoke to Marianne about her thoughts on Ireland, world politics, Aretha Franklin, and how the famed A Course in Miracles – a remarkable 1976 book written by Helen Schucman, who said that she channeled the words directly from Jesus – has touched her life.
During your seminar in Dublin, you’re planning to talk about how we can learn how to transform our lives for the better, based on the insights you have gained from A Course in Miracles. We would love to know more about that subject. Have you had the opportunity to travel to many places in Ireland before, or are there any particular locations in the country that are special to you?
One trip I took that remains with me is when I went to Knowth and Dowth. Extraordinary. What amazes me about Ireland is that, unlike most civilisations, it was as amazing in ancient times as in contemporary times. That’s not all that common, you know. Newgrange and James Joyce? Seriously. Not many countries can claim that kind of thing.
The world has heard a lot about Ireland recently, and I’m curious about your own transition from external emphasis on religious dogma to the internals of spiritual growth. Obviously there have been some tragic lessons learned, and hopefully the principles of A Course in Miracles can help to shed some light on your path ahead. People studying and teaching the Course in Ireland are doing tremendous work, and I just hope I can add to the conversation with whatever insight I’ve gleaned.
The teachings within A Course in Miracles have been central to your life and work over the years. When did you first encounter this book, and what is the greatest gift that its teachings have given you?
I first saw A Course in Miracles when I was in my mid-twenties. The greatest thing it has taught me is that the lesson to be learned is always my own: my own need to forgive, to rise to the occasion, to be kinder, to be more generous, to accept people as they are, to be less judgmental. There’s always a temptation to make the problem about other people, but the Course is adamant that the work is always on ourselves.
‘Only a politics of love overrides a politics of fear.’ This is a truly beautiful quote from your book Healing the Soul of America, and as the book celebrates its twentieth anniversary, that quote has never been more timely. What do you envisage when you speak of a ‘politics of love’? We all know what a politics of fear looks like – all we have to do is switch on our television or read the news online – but how do you envisage politicians, or indeed, ordinary people relating to each other when they come from a place of pure love?
The same principles that guide us in our individual lives should guide our politics. If the point is to be a good person, then the point should be to be a good society. A good economy. And so forth. I think the economic principles that now organise our societies should be replaced by humanitarian ones. We’ve allowed money to become a false god, seen as the source of human happiness; but in fact, it’s the other way around. Money doesn’t create happiness so much as happiness creates money. When people are happy we’re naturally creative. We naturally manifest. A politics of love is one in which we see love as the bottom line, politically and economically as much as in our personal interactions. Politics is the work of our collective journey, and the effort to increase our compassion should be a political as well as a personal goal.
to get a copy delivered to your door. Marianne’s upcoming Irish seminar will take place on Wednesday October 10th 2018, from 7.30 to 9.30 p.m. in the Royal Marine Hotel, Marine Road, Co. Dublin. For more information and tickets, go to seminars.ie. To learn more about Marianne and her work, go to marianne.com.
In this beautiful article from our Summer 2018 issue, Amanda Collins invites us to open up to the power of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. You can pick up a copy of the magazine at your local stockist or subscribe here.
Opening to the Gifts of Vulnerability
At peace with being YOU
By Amanda Collins
I was in my late twenties before I really understood what vulnerability meant and the gifts it offered. It was much easier for me to act positively and say that everything was just fine, rather than share that soft and sacred part of myself with anyone.
Over time I saw the benefits of acknowledging my own vulnerability. My introduction to vulnerability came at a time when I had no choice. My dearest girlfriend became ill and died of cancer, and I experienced a domino effect of grief and sadness. I had no choice but to allow myself to be VULNERABLE. Thank goodness I had people who could hold me and show me that I was safe, even if I felt sad, weak and powerless, and therefore vulnerable.
Another time when I had no choice but to acknowledge my vulnerability was after the birth of each of my children. At such a time no woman is able to do it all herself. By acknowledging this fact and accepting the love and support of others I was able to look at this special time as a gift and an opportunity to go deeper into myself.
I understand why being vulnerable and showing it can be scary. It feels that you are opening yourself up to rejection and it’s natural to react by wanting to protect yourself; but really, a defensive reaction brings more hurt mentally, physically, and emotionally. You remain bound, constrained, and unable to heal and to better know yourself.
I still remember those days when I was just beginning to allow myself to be vulnerable. I was sure that I my friends and others would reject me. I imagined that they would not accept me if I revealed any weakness or need. But the more I did precisely that, the more I discovered that people’s reaction was the complete opposite. We became closer and our relationships became more real.
Do you also feel that being vulnerable will make you seem weak or broken? Let me assure you once again that the opposite will actually happen. You will become more confident, for you are no longer feeling like you are hiding parts of yourself and being a fraud. Imagine the relief and release that will bring as the real you–all of you–emerges!
Benefits of Allowing Yourself to Be Vulnerable:
- Becoming at peace with who you are
- Feeling more grounded
- Experiencing more freedom and less pretense
- Sensing the world as a safer place
- Expanding your heart with self-compassion and forgiveness
- Allowing others to offer emotional support
- Strengthening your nervous and immune systems
- Developing trust, confidence, and a greater sense of self-worth.
- Replacing isolation and loneliness with connection
- Taking back your power to be yourself
- Learning to ask for what you need
Practical Tips For Accepting Your Vulnerability
- Know the light and dark in your self
- Accept that you are worthy to be heard, known and loved
- Be willing to risk expressing your thoughts, feelings, and wishes
- Don’t clench when you sense yourself becoming vulnerable; open instead
- Trust that you can deal with the outcome, no matter what
- Stay connected to yourself
- Remember that everyone else is going through something, too
- Practice with people who help you feel safe
How To Know You Are Not Being Vulnerable:
- You do not have close friendships
- You constantly feel like you are hiding
Sharing your vulnerability takes tremendous courage, but it also allows others to share their pain, as well as their joys, and bring you closer. When you stop worrying what others think of you and stop trying to appear perfect, you will be amazed by the gifts that come to you.
Our Summer 2018 issue has officially hit the shelves, and we couldn’t be more excited! We wanted to share an exclusive sneak peek of our interview with the world-renowned spiritual teacher Adyashanti (this issue’s cover star). He spoke to us about awakening on different levels of our being, the student-teacher relationship, and what Ireland means to him. Adyashanti and his wife Mukti will be visiting Dublin this August. To read the full interview, pick up a copy of the Summer issue in your local stockist, or subscribe online today.
The Wisdom of Adya: Opening up and embracing what is
by Aisling Cronin
Interviewers: Daizan Kaarlenkaski and Paul Congdon
Adyashanti is an American-born spiritual teacher who is devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. He promotes non-dual teachings, based on recognising both the infinite spiritual possibilities and the everyday simplicity of our lives. He is the author of a number of successful spiritual titles, including The Way of Liberation, Resurrecting Jesus and Falling into Grace. We were thrilled to interview him recently and hear about his thoughts on the student-teacher relationship, his relationship with his wife Mukti, working with his father, and what Ireland means to him.
Could you tell us about the way you share your dharma teachings? For example, you never answer questions directly, but instead offer questions for people to ask themselves.
When I am dialoguing with somebody, my goal is to help them discover an answer or a resolution inside themselves, for themselves. All true realisations come from within the individual. In my style of teaching, I put a lot of responsibility on the students because I think that in the spiritual community, the students are far too often infantilised and treated like children. It is often encouraged for students to relate to the teacher as a child would, rather than interacting as two adults in a state of mutual trust. Grown-ups make their own decisions.
Do you think there can come a point when the student-teacher relationship needs to evolve for the student to gain true autonomy?
Yes, I think if a student has too much projection around the teacher – if they’re projecting all of their own holiness and light onto them – then the teacher does become a barrier. People put these projections onto the teacher because they hope that the teacher is going to be able to ‘save’ them. To the extent that we allow ourselves to become involved in that projection, the projection is what becomes a barrier. I was with my teacher for about fourteen years before she asked me to teach, and I noticed then that our relationship changed. I was still open to what she had to say, and open to her direction and guidance, but I related to her as an adult and not as a child. Teachers are best regarded as mentors, rather than as ‘gods.’
How do your teachings translate into your day-to-day life, in terms of your relationships?
Mukti and I have one of the most harmonious relationships that I know. I’m not saying it’s the most harmonious relationship in the world or anything, but it’s always been something that comes relatively naturally to both of us, which is really lucky. It has felt so natural for us to be together and part of that may be because we never imagined that it was the other person’s responsibility to ‘make me happy’. It has certainly matured over time. It had a lot of those effortless qualities from the very beginning, but nothing stays static – you are either maturing or regressing, one or the other. For twenty-two years, I have kept thinking to myself, ‘it can’t get any more profound than this’ and the next year, I find myself thinking, ‘wow, it did!’ Relationships can be one of the greatest areas of growth there is. To have a successful relationship, you’ve got to be a clear, adult, mature human being. That applies to relationships of all kinds: lovers, friends, family, even strangers.
Adyashanti and Mukti will be visiting Dublin this August for a Special Intensive teaching event. This will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday August 19th, in the Gibson Hotel, Point Square, North Dock, Dublin 1. For details, go to: www.adyashanti.org
Alexis Cartwright – the renowned spiritual teacher and founder of the Transference Healing modality – is visiting Co.Cork this May for a series of profound workshops and trance channelling sessions. You can learn more about each workshop she is hosting (including details about times, dates, prices and how to book) on her website.
We were thrilled to be given the opportunity to interview Alexis recently. She spoke to us about her own spiritual journey, the powerful energies behind Transference Healing, her thoughts on the spiritual growth and healing process that the world is set to go through in the years ahead, and the lessons she hopes to impart during her time in Ireland.
You can listen to our full interview here:
Davidji is a world-renowned expert in meditation, stress management, and mindfulness. Ahead of a seminar he gave in Dublin last September, we heard his advice on establishing a meditation practice, his experience of working with Deepak Chopra, and his thoughts on the late, great Louise Hay. He will be visiting Dublin again for a special Saoirse Weekend Workshop from April 13 to April 15. Click here for more details. Davidji’s website is davidji.com.
Interviewer: Aisling Cronin
Thank you for speaking with us today, Davidji. What do you feel are the secrets of meditation?
The most important secret to meditation is to just surrender. We always try to control situations in our lives, and meditation requires us to fully surrender and just allow. The only ‘bad’ meditation is the one we don’t show up for. I think if we realise that meditation will help make us more patient, better listeners, and better choice makers, we would be more inclined to take aside five minutes here, ten minutes there, just to take a step back and do it.
Can you tell us about how this journey began for you?
I started meditating when I was in college, but as I got more involved in my corporate job, my meditation practice slipped away, and so did my sense of balance. I didn’t realise at the time that there were tools you could use to have a job out there in the ‘real world’ and also maintain a sense of balance through meditation. So my journey went through a lot of different phases. I travelled through India seeking Gurus, I studied under some amazing masters, and I was also the dean of Deepak Chopra’s university for a decade.
How did you find your experience of working with Deepak Chopra for so many years?
It was really one of the highlights of my life. I first met Deepak at a retreat he was running in England, and he soon became a great friend and teacher. After I returned from my travels in India, I said to him, ‘let me share my business skills with you and maybe you can share some of your brilliance with me’ … and it was a beautiful exchange.
Your books are published by Hay House, and we were sad to hear about the passing of Louise Hay recently. What was your experience of working with her?
Thank you for acknowledging Louise Hay and remembering her. She was a powerful mentor, who invited me to start hosting a show on Hay House Radio, and was always very kind to me. What is amazing about her is that she wrote her first book, You Can Heal Your Body, in a very male-dominated publishing world, and said, ‘I will not be denied – if you don’t want to publish my book, I will do it myself … and even set up my own publishing house!’ Louise Hay really shook things up and raised the vibration of the world.
What are your plans for the future?
I’ve just submitted my third manuscript to Hay House. The book will be called Sacred Powers, and it’s about how to access your innate sacred powers when you find your life is at a crossroads, to help you awaken and move into the next phase of your life.
You can watch our full, unedited interview with Davidji via this YouTube link. To find our channel, just search ‘Positive Life Magazine’ on YouTube. For more information on Davidji and his work, visit his website davidji.com.
By Victoria Mary Clarke
I was feeling hopeless, helpless, full of fear. My partner was being wheeled into hospital, shaking with pain. I asked the Universe to show me a higher, wiser perspective on the situation, and via Paul from Positive Life, it delivered her.
On 4 February 1992, Oprah Winfrey told 14 million people that she had personally bought 1,000 copies of Marianne’s first book ‘A Return to Love’. All 70,000 copies sold out that day. Oprah said she had got 157 miracles, possibly the most miraculous endorsement imaginable.
The book was based on the teachings of the ‘Course In Miracles’, which is believed by the author Helen Schucman to have been given to her by Jesus. Marianne has written eleven books and sold three million copies, she founded Project Angel Food in LA, and co-founded the Peace Alliance, which is campaigning for a US Department of Peace and she tours and lectures constantly. Sixteen years ago, I sat next to Marianne at a dinner. I was wildly jealous of her, she had everything I wanted, the Oprah endorsement, the NY Times bestseller.
Route to Calm
The Shortcut to Peace of Mind.
By Sarah McLean
Though the sources of stress can be different for each one of us—financial concerns, family issues, or difficult work environment —many of the effects of stress are common to all: headaches, insomnia, indigestion, chronic pain, anxiety, depression. Here are three easy ways to prevent stress from overshadowing your day:
1. Take a Time Out for a Time In
Sit in silent meditation at least ten minutes a day. Close your eyes and bring your attention to the sensation of breathing naturally through your nose. If you get distracted, simply refocus again. And again. Don’t wait for something magical to happen, simply keep at it. Unplugging like this will help you create a new, relaxed way of being.
2. Slow it Down
When you notice you’re rushing through daily activities, stop and ask yourself, “Why am I rushing?” Rushing engages the body’s fight or flight response which can cause inflammation and stress. So, whether you’re driving, walking, reading, eating, or brushing your teeth, slow down deliberately. Being more mindful will help you savour this life of yours.
3. Relax and Reconnect
For a few minutes each day scan your body and relax on purpose. Relax your scalp, your forehead, your eyes, your jaw. Relax your hands and belly. Feel your feet on the floor. Do this a few times each day, let being relaxed be your new normal. Don’t let your life be hijacked by stress. Take a time out to enjoy the good stuff around you. You’re worth it.
Hay House Author Sarah McLean leads meditation retreats and teacher training programs in Co. Cork. McLeanMeditation.com
Emotions are an intrinsic and inevitable part of being human. You will experience a whole host of feelings, some comfortable and others less so. When it comes to enjoying true emotional freedom and better health, you need to learn how to be at peace with how you feel.
You may notice I didn’t just suggest that you ‘get rid of your negative emotions’. This is because meditation goes beyond managing and controlling emotions to give you the ability to be in harmony with however you happen to feel. With many of us having been raised by adults who were unwilling to experience the whole range of their own emotions, it is rare in my experience, to have been taught to feel emotions fully. We have learned to tone down or turn away from intense feelings that are perceived as problematic.
Taught that some emotions were positive and others negative, we may have been conditioned to avoid the ‘bad’ ones at all costs. This has led to fearing certain feelings and constantly trying to control them, believing that it is somehow wrong to feel bad sometimes.
Two years after I started meditating regularly I went to my spiritual teacher to tell him that I didn’t think the meditation was working. Knowing that it was only my expectations that needed some help, he enquired, “How do you know it isn’t working?” I explained that I was still feeling anxiety. His response was nothing short of mind-blowing as he declared, “Peace is not the absence of emotions.”
At first, my mind couldn’t even compute the statement! Peace is not the absence of emotion? How could I experience peace, if I was feeling anxious? It made no sense at all. However, these seven words became one of the biggest things I’ve learned in my meditation journey.
Without realising, I’d picked up beliefs about what peace would feel like and what had to happen to experience it. Peace had always eluded me because I had assumed it was a state of no emotion. I was experiencing emotions all the time so I felt I was failing somehow at being peaceful. Since exploring the possibility that peace is not the absence of emotions, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to make them go away to experience peace.
Learning how to be at peace with how you feel is achieved by being aware of the consciousness that’s observing your emotions. The more Self-aware you can be – i.e. aware of the aspect of yourself that is aware – the more you directly experience an unconditional calm that is perfect, whole and completely untouched by any temporary feeling.
Here is why. Consciousness is aware of your emotions. Consciousness is already and always peaceful. Therefore, peace is aware of your emotions. I appreciate that you might have invested a huge amount of time, effort and money in the search and acquisition of ‘positive’ emotions, and now here I am suggesting that you don’t need to wait a second more or spend a single penny, because the peace you seek is aware of your mind. Next time you meditate, I recommend playing with being comfortable feeling uncomfortable. Doing so can completely change your relationship with your emotions and lead to true emotional freedom and true peace. sandy will be returning to dublin this autumn to teach meditation at the mind body spirit festival.
This is taken from our autumn 2015 issue, out now. Subscribe to have the next four issues delivered direct to your door.
Sandy will be speaking at The Buddha Bag Meeting this October 27th. Check out the event here>