One of my favourite personal development books of all time is 'One Day My Soul Just Opened Up' (1999). This book resonates strongly with me - I love its searingly honest and authentic, courageous style. It is a workbook and practical daily guide to spiritual growth. It helps in pulling yourself through harsh times and opening up to the lessons that our soul requires us to experience in order to grow.
The author of the book is the ordained 'New Thought' minister, Iyanla Vanzant.
Thanks (in part) to the magnanimity of Oprah Winfrey (see why here) following a fall into bankruptcy and near destitution, Iyanla is enjoying a huge resurgence of popularity in 2012/13. What is profoundly interesting and has been instructive to me is this fall occurred after she wrote her aforementioned book - and others.
In those books warrior-woman Iyanla, who had suffered one blow after another, had been proffering wisdom about how to gracefully accept what life deals you but little did she know that her suffering still had a way to run.
Indeed suffering and then battling her way out of it seemed to have become 'her story'... and here we need to stop and pause. Ask yourself right now: "What's my story"? What's your repetitive pattern; your drama? We all have one. We inherit these stories from our immediate family and nurturers and they in turn were passed down from their ancestors and so on, right back through time. We come into this world and slowly adopt many of their stories as our own beliefs.
Beliefs are so strong that they can literally get imprinted in the DNA. Read Bruce Lipton and his work on Epigenetics and you'll understand what I mean, for although the most common stories go a little like this: "Things always go wrong for me" or "Rich people are never truly happy" or "You can never trust men to be faithful" there are also other strong beliefs such as "Cancer runs in my family" or "If you don't eat a good diet you'll never be clever". Okay so the last two are particularly controversial but don't shoot the messenger. Read up on Epigenetics and the power of belief.
Remember too this is what the Law of Attraction is all about - belief.
The problem is that sometimes it takes enormous power to change our beliefs. For example, only a master Yogi can change his beliefs enough to overcome the power of gravity or even death in the form we know it. If however you are just trying to break free of everyday learned beliefs and behavioural patterns, well I submit that this is well within the grasp of us all.
Anyway, back to Iyanla...illness struck at the very core of Iyanla's life when her daughter became sick and died. Iyanla was no longer able to battle on dispensing her already hard-earned wisdom. Unable to 'walk her talk' any longer she descended into a dark night of the soul, had to file for bankruptcy and became suicidal. This though is the classic hallmark of the wounded healer. Iyanla's pain, her story and her personal loss were also her greatest gifts and became a huge gain for others. Iyanla wrote a book about her shattering experience called Peace from Broken Pieces and turned a tragedy into a personal resurrection.
Although she would undoubtedly rather have avoided the ultimate 'phoenix from the ashes' act of her life drama, perhaps at some deep level Iyanla carried a fundamental belief that something has to die in order for a true rebirth to occur, or you can't have it all, or loss always follows gain That's a tough one but again think about it, could it be true for you? I know it was for me.
Whatever the secrets of Iylana's soul, her life lessons have assisted countless numbers of people and given many, many people a new vision and the inner strength to carry on in times of loss and adversity.
At this time, a great number of people are struggling financially but the purpose of this blog and the reason for bringing Iyanla to your attention is because I believe we are always able to 'collaborate with fate'. First of all though we have to unearth - to bring to the surface - the beliefs we harbour and how they may be affecting our life. The severe economic downturn out there in the world is very real but its effect on you is all down to the story you are telling yourself about where you fit into it. We are surrounded by the A-word; austerity yet there is still a similar amount of money circulating as in the boom times. Indeed due to quantitative easing, which sees extra money being put into circulation, there is probably more. What has changed is the distribution of the money and the beliefs we have about how or why it may be kept from us and what to do about it.
Did you for example, by any chance grow up with the belief that in down times you need to "rein in your expenditure, sacrifice things and become more frugal" OR did you grow up with the story that "What goes round comes round, just keep giving (and maybe even tithing) and the tide will always return to you".
Think carefully about your beliefs and what is actually true and what 'your inherited story' is, for it's in that place, the place where we change our story and make brave new choices, that miracles occur. Our choices and beliefs also affect the collective. We can break the patterning and the programming and become free of received fear and make a difference. We can become creators of our own reality and when we do the world we experience changes too. Believe it!
Be the change you want to see.
Iyanla's organisation. Inner Visions Institute sent out this prayer/affirmation this week. If you are in the grip of financial fear, I encourage you to read it and pass it along (replacing the word Great Spirit with Source or Higher Self if you prefer):
Money Is Choice
Great Spirit, You are the Infinite Giver and Provider of all Loving energy in the Universe.
I am a conscious vessel for all Your good, love and energy, therefore, all my needs are met right now.
When I wake up in the morning, You give me daylight, energy in my being. You breathe me and You love me all day long.
I acknowledge that when You give, Great Spirit, You withhold nothing back from me
Right here and now I choose to receive Your energy as money in my life.
My heart and mind is open to experiencing money in an empowered, loving and joyful way.
I release all lack, limitation and loss stories from my family, ancestry and human family with the experience of money.
Today I choose to align myself with the energy of money; therefore, I circulate money consciously, with freedom, ease and grace.
Thank You for showing me what true giving and receiving looks like, sounds like and feels like.
I am so very grateful that I receive and give money with confidence, authenticity and power.
I am making a radical new choice to be a money magnet moment by moment, each and every day.
Thank you for opening my heart to the innate love that you are within me that always provides for me.
It is this love that is clearing the old stories of doubt, contraction, limitation and lack in my experiences with money.
Thank You, Great Spirit! I love You.
And So It Is.
Rev. Ayomide Bengo
until next time,