Copyright- all rights reserved. You are welcome to quote from this site with due acknowledgement and prior consent of the authors.




This blog will still be here but will no longer be active.

The Original "Getting Real"

The Original "Getting Real"
Please click on the picture to order this book.

Hilliard & Croft Books

Welcome to our blog!

Christina is represented by

Leo Media & Entertainment

We have many new projects currently underway and hope that you will enjoy our blog as well as our books and website:

Hilliard & Croft

Friday, 31 July 2009

Love & Fear

A story is told of a man who meets a sage on a hillside overlooking a town. Below them, the man sees a dark figure approaching the gates of the town, and the sage says, "That is Plague. He is going to carry off twenty people."
Some time later, the man hears a report that over five hundred people have died so he returns to the sage and says,
"Five hundred people died yet you said Plague would only kill twenty."
"He did," replied the sage. "Fear killed the rest."

Fear is surely one of the most malignant emotions. Tyrants rule by fear, and governments control by creating fear and promising to protect the people from whatever threat they themselves have created. Wars are caused and promoted through fear, and it is through fear that genocides and other such atrocities are allowed to happen. It is fear that leads to vicious competition between people; and fear that leads people to denigrate others. Many fears are concealed beneath masks of self-righteousness: "I fear that if I listen to you, my own faith will be shaken - therefore your religion is to be condemned" or, "I fear that if I accept how you live, my own certainties will not be so secure - therefore I condemn you lifestyle."

The opposite of fear is love. "Perfect love casteth out fear..." Fearless people do not interfere in the lives of others because there is no perceived threat from others. Fearless people have no need to condemn, to make wrong or to attack. Therefore it stands to reason that any system which condemns individuals or groups; any faith which proclaims itself to be the only faith; any individual who feels a need to criticise others (and I am not speaking of cases where it is necessary to stand up for freedom or to protect the vulnerable) is acting out of fear. Fear can only be disarmed by trust and love.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Silly Little Man

It is interesting that a tree standing still and doing nothing other than being a tree, can have roots so deep that it can cause a tower to collapse or a house to fall.
It's interesting that even in the most soul-less cities, concreted over or covered in paving stones, tiny shoots creep out between the flags and moss grows on damp walls.
It's interesting that in no time at all, deserted and derelict buildings are soon crawling with life, with greenery and shrubs that no one remembers planting.
There are still fathoms of oceans that no one has ever seen, and mountain ranges on sea beds, that no one has ever climbed. Creatures live there that are not recorded or logged in any book, and something as small as a tiny bacterium can wipe out whole populations.
And little Man has the arrogance to believe that his coming and going and getting on with his life can disrupt the whole cycle of Nature, bring about climate change or global warming...Silly little man.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Damascus Road

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have one Damascus Road experience where everything suddenly was clear in a blinding flash of light? Life changed in an instant, and Enlightenment dawning in the blink of a blinded eye!

In my experience, it doesn't happen like that. The most inspiring ones, are those for whom the journey to awareness has been quite a trek. Gathering wisdom here and there, developing their own understanding and, more importantly, stripping away the layer upon layer of misguided beliefs until they reach a place where they are truly themselves, fresh from their Divine Essence, and can simply be.

Equally interesting is that the phrase, "Damascus Road experience" is based on someone - Paul - whose life apparently changed in a flash and whose ardent conversion led him to re-write the Gospel of Jesus and make it 'according to Paul'. Jesus Himself had been thirty years on earth (pretty old in those days!) before His 'ministry' began, and even during that ministry He seemed to develop His message, to the point of asking His followers, "Who do people say that I am?"

Those who change in a flash tend to be fire-brands and rather oppressive in their certainty of what is right or wrong, what is so or not so. Though there are surely some people for whom life-changing moments happen in a flash, I have little faith in instant conversions. Most truly edifying 'instant conversions' are, in reality, the result of years of learning, wondering, questioning and seeking. They don't blaze like fireworks making an impression, but rather simmer and create a steady flame growing ever lighter and, when they reach their potential, they have no zealous desire to convert the rest of the world to their thinking because they appreciate that everyone else is equally capable of making the same journey at their own pace.

Damascus Road experiences would make life so much easier for all of us but, for the most part, it's a steady pace up a steep hill, and we might as well enjoy the lovely scenery...And something lovely to hear en route is Charles Trenet's La Mer:

Friday, 10 July 2009

Nobility and Human Insanity

Alone in a field near the Sphinx Gate at Temple Newsam, a black bull sits in all his magnificent glory. He is a huge, noble creature who contentedly looks at the passers-by who look at him through the railings, and he seems to communicate a stately wisdom of such serenity. Sometimes he lies down, oblivious of who is looking at him, or simply sits, flicking the occasional fly from his back. Looking at such splendour - the strength of sinew and bone, the certain look in his eyes and the serenity of his view of the world - one feels incredibly blessed to be in the presence of such, to quote Whitman again, 'self-contained' power. Further along, the supercilious goats sit with their smiling faces and beautiful hair, knowing they are such perfectly formed creatures, while a little kid skips about in infant radiance, and lambs and sheep come to the fence to greet their two-footed visitors. All the while the bull, like the goats, sits in his own glory and truly, one stands in awe before such a majestic creature.

Then...on the TV news comes the story of the man tragically killed by the bull in Pamplona, followed by footage of the bull run. What kind of madness possesses apparently civilized people to pit their strength against that of innocent but far mightier than we are, creatures? What kind of insanity is it to goad and humiliate such noble animals, to poke them with sticks, create such chaos around them, to unbalance and to confuse them until their only response is self-defence? There are horrendous images of bulls running into the sea elsewhere, and of some insane people thinking there is something to be gained from taking on a creature that has no desire to fight but is many times more powerful than a man. There are images of drugged bulls with swords in their beautiful backs and matadors claiming some kind of glory from fighting with an intoxicated animal, and bringing home his ears and tail as trophies. There are images, too, of goats and donkeys being pushed out of church towers in some so-called religious ceremony....And, much as my heart goes out to the family of the man who was killed by the bull, what can you expect? Stick your fingers into a fire and you get burned - there's no courage in it, no macho points to be earned, just sheer stupidity.

For heaven's sake, grow up and let us learn to become as stately as the noble animals!! Leave the bulls and goats and all the other creatures alone!!

And, on a similar line, there is another message in the news today about the penalties of goading innocent creatures. Taunted for long enough, any creature will snap and the consequences are always horrendous.

(If you can bear to open the following link, please be warned it is very distressing:

Saturday, 4 July 2009

John Henry Newman

One of the most beautiful prayers I ever read in my youth was John Henry Newman's:

Lord Jesus, help me spread Your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Your Spirit and Life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Yours.

Shine through me and be so in me that everyone I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my heart. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus! Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be the light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine. It will be You shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You in the way You love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach You without preaching-not by my words but the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears for You.

The beauty of that message is so profound and, though the understanding of it changes over time, it is the same message that emanates from every faith or spirituality - the message of knowing we are all more than our outward appearance; more than flesh and bone, and that the love that flows through us is the reality of who we are, and in that love we are all One.

A man who could write with such beautiful understanding; a man who walked his spiritual path sincerely (and took the major step of conversion to a different faith - a step which is always a major step for any person, regardless of the our views of the direction they choose to take), is surely a man worthy of great respect.

Isn't it, therefore, a sacrilege to deny that man one of his last requests? He requested that he be buried with his dear friend Ambrose St. John and that request was honoured until some ignoble minds decided that such a move might give rise to suspicions about his relationship with his friend. What kinds of suspicions are these? To the pure everything is pure. To those who read of the man's life and spiritual journey, everything is beautiful - whether or not we would take the same course. His relationships are clearly built from love and his sexuality is not our business. Love is what is important to this man. How he chose to express that love is irrelevant.

From what dark minds does impurity emanate? The dark minds that claim a soul (or a corpse) and readjust it, manipulate it to fit their view of what is or isn't alright? This, coming from the same institution that has turned a blind eye to all kinds of ugliness (paedophiles, abusers of children, the degradation of women, the missionary zeal that trampled over the sacredness of ancient cultures) is one more nail in the coffin of such a claustrophobic and controlling mind-set.

I don't suppose John Newman has any desire to be canonized. After all, canonization means quite simply giving someone the stamp of approval so other people can imitate their virtues. Having studied saints for more than 30 years and loving so many of them, I have to say that a large number of them are totally unworthy of imitation - their zeal for their beliefs is merely pandering to their ego and, without a doubt, if Jesus were incarnated today, His anger at the way in which 'His Father's house' has been turned into a den of thieves and whited-sepulchres!