Posted by: Anne Orchard | September 14, 2016

Back on the Path

greenways-april-gardenActually I don’t think I ever really left the path – I don’t think anyone ever does. Every experience, seeming dead end or relationship is part of our spiritual exploration. I’ve come back to this blog after a long absence, and a lot has changed in my life in that time, of course. I’ve gone back to regular employment and enjoy working with beautiful fabrics in a supportive team. I have also trained as a spiritual healer (which I love) and been attuned to reiki level 2 (not quite the same).

I’ve found myself in a fairly static position in terms of carrying out healing in life outside my teacher’s practice group. And if I ever get frustrated about that and ask for a message, it comes through from whatever quarter that this is a time for me to focus on my family. I am part of the sandwich generation which has teenage kids at the same time as parents (my Dad and husband’s Mum) who gradually need a little more support in their lives). So I am learning to accept this.

However, I did start attending the healing group as part of my spiritual development, so where do I go from here? I’m not sure I want to stand still on my path to the Divine. The latest inspiration was to go back and reread some of the many books I have on my shelves, and some that I don’t have. I’ve put in an order at my library for the book that arguably started me on this path after falling out with religion in my twenties – The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck. It will be very interesting to see what it means to me at least 20 years after I first read it.

So I’m planning to occasionally share thoughts that have been provoked by reading, or by life in general, like my reflections on another book that meant a lot to me, Parting Notes, which I found really interesting to reread. That’s it for now.

Posted by: Anne Orchard | November 25, 2009

LinkedIn and Blessonomics

I’m going to tell you a story about my friend Linda Parkinson-Hardman. Of course, Linda hasn’t always been my friend. I was introduced to her by the wonderful Steve Graham, who said ‘There’s someone you ought to talk to’, thereby demonstrating the first example of the power of networks. Talking to Linda led to me self-publishing my book Their Cancer – Your Journey with her guidance, but that’s really before this story starts.
I’ve recently been reading Cash In A Flash by Robert G. Allen and Mark Victor Hansen, and as a result of recruiting Linda to my dream team I lent her my (very special, well-thumbed and personally signed) copy of their previous book The One Minute Millionaire.
This is the second example of the power of networks as it was picking up this book whilst feeling a little down that inspired Linda. She was reminded by what she read that everything she would achieve in life depended on her network. And she came up with a most radical and inspired way to prove it.
Linda’s audacious and exciting project is to raise at least £300,000 for a variety of charities, prove that social networking really works for business, and provide an injection of cash to take her social enterprise The Hysterectomy Association to the next level – in the 30 days starting from 23rd November! How is she going to do this? By helping you get more out of your network, too! Linda’s aim is to sell 200,000 copies of her excellent ebook LinkedIn Made Easy. LinkedIn is the premier social network for professionals and business owners and with Linda’s expertise and guidance I can vouch for the amazing connections it can generate. The ebook is only £4.99, less than $9, imagine the return on investment of building a worldwide network!


As I was downloading the free extras that come with Cash In a Flash yesterday, I realized that this project is a perfect example of what Bob and Mark call Blessonomics – enterprise which serves the greater good. So I hope you will support Linda’s endeavours by clicking on the image or visiting www.whoselinked.com to buy the ebook now. I will get an affiliate percentage to support my organization Families Facing Cancer – why not sign up and do the same for your organization?
And if you’re on LinkedIn, stop by and connect with me. I would be glad to make a new friend and expand my network!

Posted by: Anne Orchard | November 24, 2009

Lessons from the Afterlife

Last time I wrote I said that I would look this time at the book ‘Parting Notes’ and the learning I found there. This is a book of letters written through a trance medium, seemingly from those whose lives on earth have previously ended. Some extracts from the letters were printed in the original handwriting used, which was fascinating to see the wide variety of handwriting used.
I’m quite interested myself to see how this blog post goes, for it’s now been quite a few weeks since I finished reading the book. Will I remember the learning? Or will it be like the many books I’ve read and then let slip away from me? I hope this writing will help me recall and cement my insights.
Although I describe this as learning, in many ways it feels more like memory. I already mentioned the film The Sixth Sense. This and other movies and books sometimes just ‘feel right’ to me – as if they are absolute truth which I already knew. So here are the things I ‘remembered’ through reading the book Parting Notes by April Crawford.

  • The ‘self’ continues beyond death. This is something I have long felt to be true. My sense of me is so strong, and seems so unrelated to flesh and blood, I have never been able to imagine that it would cease at death. And yet many of the letters in the book describe the fear of being ‘wiped out’. Many seemed compelled to write to save others the fear of approaching death with this belief. When my ex-boyfriend died two years ago, I could picture him after death realizing that his assumption it would be the end was mistaken – I hoped he would be laughing about it. This was the sense of amazement reported.
  • Visits to what we call ‘real life’ can be repeated. Some letters described events of only one lifetime, others reported being aware that they had lived many lives. Others talked of the realization of something they had failed to understand or to learn, and having to return until they ‘got it’.
  • We choose our own lives in order to gain that learning. Whilst we probably are not aware of every detail of everything that will happen to us, the broad circumstances of our life to come are available to us before we come here. We choose them in order to deepen an aspect of our whole self, which is much larger than what we experience on Earth.
  • However difficult our circumstances, or any illness or pain before we die, they cannot continue to hurt us when our life here is ended (unless we let them). Some people described having great resistance and clinging to their old life, which made them miserable. They were gradually able to realize the prisons they were making for themselves and move on to their new lives.
  • Our relationships in this life are not a true reflection of our full relationship with others. This was a big realization for me. For instance there was a letter from a son (who had died as a toddler) to his mother. And yet that letter was addressed as most of them were ‘Dear Friend’. This led me to the understanding that our relationships here are coloured by labels such as ‘son’, ’mother’, ’friend’, ’enemy’ – but once these labels disappear you have only equal spirits. This makes me think differently about how I interact with my children, particularly.
  • Once someone has died, our main task is to be able to let them go. I once sat with a lady on a train who described to me her daughter’s suicide. I talked about how the daughter would now be at peace, but inside had the strong feeling that in truth the daughter could not progress on her expanded life until her mother was ready to let her go. This feeling was confirmed by a letter which described this very stuckness(in relation to a husband and wife where the husband had died suddenly).
  • Dying is actually more like waking up than going to sleep. Our abilities are constrained in this life. We can create the things and situations we want, but not so directly. After death we are not restricted by physical constraints, and so it feels as though we were previously asleep and are now fully awake.

This has turned into a long post, and I’m aware that not everyone will agree with my ideas and thoughts – so please let me know what you think. If you’ve read the book, what did you get from it? Are there other ways you have learned or remembered aspects of the afterlife? Add your thoughts to the comments below.

Posted by: Anne Orchard | October 28, 2009

Noticing Patterns

Something seems to have been happening repeatedly, so it’s come to my attention. This seems to be the way of things. When something happens only once, it doesn’t stick. Life just goes on and it is forgotten. It’s the patterns that appear which we notice much more. This pattern I noticed when I received a church newsletter from my father. He’s been sending them (religiously!) ever since I left home, presumably hoping to keep me in touch with the church in which I was raised, though I no longer attend any services. In this particular newsletter was a report on the annual conference of the church, which had recently taken place. What stuck out for me was the fact that events were reported with very little interpretation.
For instance, there had been a discussion about the attitude of the church to same sex relationships. The report gave the factors that had been identified for consideration, and described an exercise undertaken to personalise the issue by considering a specific situation and how the factors applied to the people and their situation. I thought this was really interesting and was looking forward to reading about what people learned from the exercise. However, the next paragraph began ‘After lunch there was a Bible Activity…’ – the report had moved on to the following activity with no further comment on the issue identified.
The same thing happened later with a report of a talk by a newly-ordained minister about how less young people are going to church. There were extracts printed from the song ‘Where is the love’ by the Black-Eyed Peas. Again, I wanted to know what people learned from the presentation, and the following sessions. The presentation seemed to be implying that there is plenty of spirituality in the world, but that young people especially are less likely to access it through a church group or service. So what suggestions were made for better ways to speak to these groups in their own language?
I appreciate that I am not being entirely fair in criticising this report. It was covering a five-day conference in a 20-page, small format, magazine, and so could never explore all the issues fully. Perhaps you just had to be there at the conference to get all the learning.
Where the pattern came in for me is that it also applies to a book I was just reading : ‘Parting Notes’ by April Crawford. This is a series of letters written by a medium from those who have died and are now in the afterlife. I found the letters absolutely fascinating, but wanted someone to interpret them and address the learning held within – pull the threads together, if you like. I was disappointed to find there was no such analysis, though I suspect the reason is that the author wants people to make their own interpretation. So I will do that by exploring what I learned here, which I will do in the next post. But it’s the inner workings of people – the way they think and feel – which fascinates me, so I hope others will share their comments. For now, I’d love to know how you get the most spiritual learning out of your life? What helps you to cement that learning, as this blog does for me? How does the learning then apply in your life? Please post below to let me know.

Posted by: Anne Orchard | October 8, 2009

Create Your Own Environment of Possibility

I have written in the past about discovering your Life Purpose. But I also know that there are many who have already got in touch with what they want to do – and yet are not living that life. Why is this? There are many reasons, but I got a clearer look at one of them when reading The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle recently.
The book looks at talent ‘hot-beds’, which produce world-class performers and sports-people, and gives a series of factors which converge in them. One factor is what Coyle calls ‘ignition’ – the spark which comes from outside and lands in the tinder-box of an individual’s soul to start the fire needed for the development of world-class performance. This can be likened to what happens when you discover your life purpose. An event or experience in your life ignites a passion to do or achieve something.
That’s only the beginning of the story, though. Living your life purpose takes much more. For everyone who is doing that and achieving in the world there are hundreds or thousands who had a dream, but yet did not achieve that. So what can make a difference? Well, one element is creating an ‘environment of possibility’. Daniel Coyle describes how Michelangelo would have lived – not in rural isolation but in a bustling community of artists workshops. With apprentices and journeymen perfecting their abilities in the hope of one day becoming a master. Could Michelangelo have become the artist he did without that environment – where art was valued and artists were respected? Possibly, but it would have been much harder.
So, you might not be able to create Renaissance Italy in your back yard, but what can you do to create your own environment of possibility? These days you can rub shoulders in cyberspace with people who are achieving your dreams or something similar, but even better is to have personal interaction. I know for myself it is the business learning and support network, my business mentor and like-minded friends who give me the determination to weather the setbacks on the road. They help me see the success at the end of the process and enable me to stick with the creation of a life on purpose.

Posted by: Anne Orchard | September 22, 2009

Responsibility – Reaction or Response

Tonight I am feeling raw. Battle lines have been drawn, threats issued and tempers frayed. The cause of all this anguish? My son’s homework! He has just begun to get work to do at home each week, and he is seriously in resistance. I thought I would write about the subject of responsibility, and see what learning pops out.
It seems to me that there are several different ways we can handle tasks we are responsible for completing.

  • We can just not do them, and accept whatever the consequences are. For some ‘responsibilities’ this is a great approach, as often the things we think we must do are simply burdens we have taken on. The consequence of doing the bare minimum of cleaning while I wrote my first book are no longer in evidence, and were a price worth paying at the time.
  • We can delay and put the tasks off, then complete them at the last possible minute with an ill will. Of course, this is my least preferred approach. Seething resentment is not a nice way to live, whether it’s my resentment or my son’s. I do remember times when I took this approach myself, though, and I did discover that work sometimes gets done faster under a deadline!
  • We can steel ourselves, and complete the task with a sense of martyrdom. This way we get the unpleasantness out of the way, and can even reward ourselves with more pleasant activities.
  • Lastly, we can find a way to take activities we dislike and make them fun. For instance, I can resent cooking a meal each evening (which may not even be appreciated by those around the table). Or I can switch on some music, bop around the kitchen and not worry about the consequences. Only by abandoning resistance do we create the space to be creative enough to do this, though.

I still find myself feeling in my righteous way that I should explain all this to my son, but I am reminded of the instruction to ‘show, not tell’. So I can only look at what is my responsibility? Is it to deliver homework on time, or to help him explore his own approach to getting done the things that need to be completed? Hum, I’ll have to ponder on that one.

Posted by: Anne Orchard | September 17, 2009

Begin With The End In Mind – Applications For Life

Begin With The End In Mind. This is an instruction we often hear in relation to success, achievement or manifesting what we want in life. I first encountered it in Stephen Covey’s book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’. When I decided to talk on this topic, that was my first thought. After all, this is an excellent thing to consider in achieving your goals. But then I wondered how much relevance it has to everyday life. So I decided to concentrate on the aspect that interests me the most – human relationships. I’m going to show you how you can apply this piece of wisdom yourself, too. After all, we all have relationships, whether they are with a partner, parent or child, a relative, friend or a person who serves us in a shop. We are all in relationship with others.
In thinking about how ‘Begin with the End in Mind’ applies to relationships, I naturally started with my closest relationship – the one with my husband. And that raised another question. Is it actually possible to ‘Begin with the End in Mind’ in a relationship that is already fourteen years old? I decided to give it a try anyway, and think of it as a fresh start.
What is the end I have in mind for my marriage? There is a quote which gave me a flavour of what I would like to have : “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways, totally worn out, screaming ‘Woohoo, what a ride!” So not for us the twin armchairs in front of the TV – no, I want to get to my seventies and eighties still being excited to be married, and still having adventures.
This was great, and I now had my end in mind. But there is another part – and that is the word ‘Begin’. Now begin seems to me to be a doing word, so there has to be some kind of action. What could it be? How could I create this flavour? Then I had an idea. My husband has for a long time had a dream of walking the Appalachian Trail. This is a long-distance footpath which begins in the south-east of the USA, follows the mountain range and ends in Maine shortly before the Canadian border. (You can find out more about it here.) Now I was never very good at Geography, but I realized that this is what is known as A Very Long Way. In fact, it is over 2,000 miles of walking with some high mountains on the trail. What it means in practice is that, even splitting the walk in two, at some point I am facing 3-4 months at a time without my husband. Now that really doesn’t tie in with my ‘end in mind’.
So I told him – “I want to go too!” Not to do the walk, but to drive a support vehicle. I will be exploring the Laundromats and Diners of small-town America, while he explores the wilderness. And we will share the adventure. It doesn’t really matter that the trip is around ten years in the future, when our children are old enough to do without us, because the excitement has started already.

How does this idea of ‘Begin with the End in Mind’ work for other relationships? With my children, being aware of the relationship I want to have with them as adults means I relate to them more with mutual respect than with heavy discipline. In business networking, the end I want is for people to know, like and trust me. So I make an effort to speak with and get to know them – and I do my best to behave in a likeable and trustworthy way.

But it isn’t always easy to ‘Begin with the End in Mind’ in our relationships, so what are the difficulties that can sometimes get in the way?

  • Firstly there are the negative messages we are constantly being fed, with headlines screaming at us from the newspapers and glossy magazines, constantly telling us about everything that can go wrong. There is also the daily diet of disaster, distrust and despair that is the world of soap opera – which so many are addicted to.
  • Then there are our own experiences. If we have had a difficult relationship breakdown, been let down or even betrayed by someone, this can make it hard for us to trust in the success of another relationship.
  • Lastly there is the issue of role models. To truly ‘Begin with the End in Mind’ we must be able to clearly picture that end. And as relationships increasingly break down, this is becoming more difficult in society. There are men becoming fathers, for instance, who have to make up for themselves what it means to be a good Dad. A very good friend of mine has a teenaged daughter. She is a lovely human being, but she has never known her mother to be in a settled, happy, long-term relationship. Where then is her role model to create that for herself in the future? Well maybe, just maybe, she can get it from what she sees in others – perhaps even me and my husband. Now, there’s a thought
  • .

So I invite you, in your interactions with others from now on, to Begin with the End you want in Mind. Don’t allow yourself to be derailed by any negative messages. Then you can provide a role model, so that others can also Begin with the End in Mind.

Rainbow x

Posted by: Anne Orchard | July 21, 2009

What do You Know?

I have just finished reading a book called Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, although I see from the Amazon reviews that not everyone likes it. One reason it appealed to me was that it is told through two viewpoints, one beginning in 1209 and the other in 2005. This means I got a historical novel, but also a modern heroine, who I found it easier to relate to. The two women are linked in some way, which means the book also toys with the concept of reincarnation – a subject which fascinates me, but more of that another time. What I want to touch on here, though, is the fact that the story is related to the Grail myth.
Why are we so fascinated by the story of the Grail? There are as many versions as there are researchers – and this book is yet another one. Is it the mystery we love? Do we yearn for the grail to be real because we want there to be magic in our world and our lives? Or does some part of us recognise there is some truth in it?
I think this is the case. I believe that through empathy, memory or magic there is something in us that recognises a kind of truth. It’s the same thing that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up or gives you goosebumps. That’s what happened to me when I watched the film The Sixth Sense and saw Haley Joel Osment talking to dead people (who were walking around and not understanding that they had died). I knew there was a truth in that, though of course I can’t prove it. It’s almost as if I was remembering something I knew already.
I think the Grail story is like this. How else can we explain why it has fascinated so many for so long, generated so many books and movies, and still has the power to create one more bestseller?At the end of the day, we will probably never have satisfactory proof for any version of the story. But perhaps it doesn’t matter if you know it’s true.

Rainbow x

Posted by: Anne Orchard | July 15, 2009

Joy in the Next Heartbeat

Recently I sat with a friend and we played with some cards. Not the traditional pack, but the kinds that you can get these days for inspiration. We had Diana Cooper’s Silent Stones Oracle cards and a pack of Angel cards. We each thought about a question or issue in our lives and took a card from each pack – then reflected on the messages they had for us

The messages from my friend’s cards were very strong. That she already knows what to do, and that the weeks ahead will be filled with joy. Well, I can tell you that was a very long way from what she was feeling at the time. So she made a slightly sarcastic comment about how that would be nice, and we went out to get something to eat.

As the evening went on, we talked about life, the universe and everything – she’s one of those wonderful people you can explore ideas with. And at some stage I was inspired to ask her a question about her life that shocked her, because it related to the issue she had been asking the cards about. The strangest thing was that she had not shared with me what the issue was.

The end result was that because of my question, my friend realized that the only barrier between her and the joy of her cards was a feeling that she was not supposed to be happy – because of the circumstances in her life. As she saw that, the barrier dissolved, and it was true that she did know what to do. By doing it, she then changed some of her circumstances – but it was the internal change that had to come first.

From this experience I learned that happiness, or joy, is truly within us. It depends only on how we choose to look at the world. We can complain about circumstances, or we can focus on something, however tiny, that gives us joy. We are supposed to be happy! The most enlightened people on this planet, for instance His Holiness The Dalai Llama, all live in a state of bliss regardless of external circumstances. They are not doing something unreachable. We too can find joy in the next heartbeat.

So how are you blocking your joy? Do you truly accept that it is ok for you to be happy? What will you to today to make you feel happy? If you’re short on ideas, doing something loving for another person without any expectation of return is a good place to start. Please share with me how you found your joy.

With love,
Rainbow

Posted by: Anne Orchard | July 8, 2009

Overcoming Avoidance

You know how life has a way of providing you with lessons? Oh, that’s happened to you too, huh? Well my lessons lately seem to have something to do with avoidance. So what do I mean by avoidance? In this case, what I’m talking about is the things you have decided to do – you want to do them – but time keeps on going by and they’re not done. It’s a little different from procrastination, I think, because that’s about putting off stuff you don’t want to do. There are two things that this relates to in my life. The first is the obvious – coming back to this, my lovely shiny new blog, only to find that I’ve not posted on here for a month and a half, even though I want to and enjoy doing it. The second is a book – my friend lent me a copy of Caroline Myss book Sacred Contracts. I was enjoying reading the book and the ideas it contains, but when it got to one particular exercise I would intend to make the time to sit down and do it, but something else would come up. Every day. For weeks and weeks.

So I’ve identified a serious case (or two) of avoidance in my life. Where do I go from there? In my training with Peak Potentials I learned about two aspects of our being – the Warrior and the Wizard. The Warrior within me says things like ‘Never give up’, ‘Just do it’ and so on. The Warrior would say that my word is my bond and having decided to do these things there are no excuses – do them today! The Wizard has a different approach. Trusting the universe and its wisdom, the Wizard knows that if obstacles appear along a path, this may be spirit’s way of telling us to take another route. It is a useful approach to have available to us. For instance, the Warrior could never walk willingly away from a failing business, conserving energy for another day. The challenge is to find the balance between the two. The way I was taught is to live in the Wizard and use the Warrior’s strength as a tool to achieve the things that matter to me.

I know that sometimes the thing we most resist is also what can most move us forward. I also know that the universe has a time for everything. So how do we tell the difference? My own feeling is that we have to tune in to our instinct. When I did that with Sacred Contracts, I felt that perhaps the time was not right for me. Maybe I need more spiritual growth before I’m ready? So I’m returning the book for now. On the other hand, my intuition tells me that this blog is what will move me forward. To make a commitment to it needs some kind of accountability, and the one that works best for me is having something I can colour in. Time will show how well that accountability works.

Have you experienced these kinds of issues in your life? What do you avoid? What will you now make a commitment to, and call on your inner Warrior to complete? Please share in the comments below. It would be great to hear from you.

With love,
Rainbow

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