Profile Inspire Yourselves
14 June 2010
Hello Everyone! I've just arrived in Shanghai and am preparing our opening meditation, "Silence of the Soul". Have just seen my friends Chika and and Okada-san, and can't begin to tell you how pleased and excited I am to be back! Big thanks to them both for all that they do to make everything go so smoothly for me here. Shanghai is really really busy, really buzzing, I suppose it's because of World Expo. She's been spruced up too, flowers all over the place - looking good. I met a Chinese-American lady at dinner last night (I chat to everyone) who told me Expo is really fantastic to visit, but long queues at many pavilions. I look forward to visiting later, together with my family. Shanghai has always held a special place in my heart. Out of all the major Chinese cities (Hong Kong doesn't count), she is the most cosmopolitan and it has been said that no other Chinese city so completely defines the successes of modern China. Juxtaposed with this, growing up, my best friend's father was part Belgian and part Shanghaiese and we enjoyed his stories of old Shanghai in the '20s and '30s, the French and other concessions, his adventures at the Club Sportif, now renamed the Okura Hotel (I think) and how he had managed to squeeze onto the last boat out to Hong Kong when the Communists took power in 1949. ________________________
This Week's Articles: - Letter from Anna
China when I was growing up was pretty much closed and in the middle of the Cultural Revolution. During the Communist-inspired riots in Hong Kong us children of what was then deemed to be running-dog-capitalist-roaders used to do our part by lobbing rocks at the pupils of the Communist school down the road, and they used to lob them back with equal energy. I've often wondered about which universities they ended up going to, in which countries, and what jobs they're doing now. Did they join what was then still Her Majesty's civil service, for the "iron rice bowl", as those jobs were called? Or did they become "capitalist-roaders" themselves, joining or founding companies to supply China's modernisation and growth? Ideology is wonderful, but you have to be practical about it, it
- Visit to Asinou by Effie and Evita - Love & Relationships in Paphos by Alexia - Meet Patti Cotti in Shanghai - Inspiration
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Life, a beautiful journey by Patrizia Cotti (below)
doesn't feel a hungry stomach. Always seemed to me anyway perhaps a better idea to sidestep any sort of conflict and focus upon winning the peace. When I first arrived in Shanghai in the early '90s the Chinese Central Government had just decided to pump in megabucks and she was one huge building site. My first impression was of millions of bicycles, all over the place - I don't see them so much any more, the latest must-have for some time now is a car which, as my guidebook says, has the "road and transport departments in a panic and the various car manufacturers drooling into their spreadsheets". Quite fun (well,maybe not if you're in the road and transport departments.....). As I've said before many times, I love the Chinese can-do attitude to life and their work ethic, and enjoy working and being here very much. I thought for this Profile it might be interesting for you to read about our gatherings as written by those in attendance, Big thanks here must go to Effie, Alexia and Evita for devoting their time to this, and to Voula for taking the photos, as always!
And I'd also like you to meet my friend Patti Cotti from Switzerland, now resident here in Shanghai! Thanks are due here too! It's always wonful to meet different people around the world who share the same Life philosophy. I find it makes Life and friendship all the more rich as we celebrate our differences, our cultures, together. Will be in touch with you all again sooner rather than later, until then, lots of love from me, Sitting on the ancient symbol of money and abundance
Several years ago while studying physical therapy back in Switzerland I knew that one day I was going to work on the causes and prevention of illnesses and diseases, but at that time I had no idea what it meant. I went on with my studies and did a few years of practice having from time to time a glimpse of the meaning and then caught again in my left hemisphere. My rational brain was leading most of my days allowing some space for intuition, without really being aware, yet being normal and natural, and soon after taking full control of the situation again. Chinese tradition came into my life after my studies when I decided to take a foot reflexology course and soon after I was on my way to Shanghai. I was very excited and full of energy as my plan was to study Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM). Quickly, though, I realized that the process was going to take some time as there was no way I could use my rational thinking to understand the basics of this approach and that, for a while, I also had to give up the "western way" to enter into a more universal/cosmic vision and become familiar with the bigger picture. A huge effort for a western trained and yet a wonderful discovery for me, who never really enjoyed the square box and yet was soooo attached to it!!!! I can really say that Shanghai has been a blessing to
- Shanghai now until 20 June. "Women & the Feminine Principle", 19/20 June - Tokyo, 22 Jun - Kyoto/Mt Koya 23-27 June - "Listen to the Heartbeat of the Earth" - Kobe 28 June-1 July - Hong Kong 9 July All details click here..... Back in the saddle at OTC in Nicosia on Thursday 15 July.
LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS ..... AND HOW! by Alexia Shipilli (right) 'Oups'...that's exactly what came out of my mouth as a reply to Anna when she called me a few days ago to ask if I could write a few paragraphs about the seminar we had in Paphos during the last weekend of May. What can I possibly write about such a heart-opening, wonderful experience, I thought. Words are so often too poor to express such experiences and one simply needs to be there to FEEL the magic and the transformation deep within! So for those who were not able to join us that weekend, this is only a simple description of how the whole experience felt to me. The seminar was about 'Love and Relationships-An Exploration from the inside out'. I don't know why - out of the tons of seminars we are called to attend these days but I just knew I absolutely needed to attend this one. My friend Lena, who joined the group for the first time, felt exactly the same. We just knew, just like I knew a couple of months ago when I visited Anna for the first time and she asked: 'Why are you here? What would you like us to do today?' My reply then was: 'I have no idea. I don't even know what exactly it is that you do. I just know I need to be here!'..... The message Anna received for the group, during a meditation before the weekend seminar
me and still is. Living here helped me to get closer to the real "I" and still allows me to continue exploring it in its depth. Being away from my social and family environment gave me the opportunity to express myself from my heart and not to feel any pressure, expectations, projections, constrictions and "this is right, that is wrong". There is no wrong or right. There is what there is.
began, was: 'I WANT TO BE MYSELF BUT I'M AFRAID'. And so a two day journey of selfexploration, discovery, reconnection and remembrance began. Remembrance of the Truth, remembrance of who we really are, without fear, without limitation, without boundaries. A journey of Empowerment and Joy, a journey of Inner-Peace & Harmony, the journey of returning to Oneness. Such vague concepts one might say, and yet explained in such simple terms and with such power that everyone in the room could really feel them deep within...just like that! I guess, when the Truth is spoken you simply feel it and no other explanation or excuse is needed in order for one to accept it.
Actually all happened because I gave myself permission to become the "I", by stepping into and taking over my own power, by acknowledging that I was not all of that I thought I was. Some of it was fine and some was absolutely not, keeping myself away from Being.
During the first day of the seminar everyone was called to look within her own heart, as well as the heart of each and every one in the room, and feel / touch the inner beauty and strength and then observe how we all reflected that beauty and strength. We also examined how co-operation, in any relationship, works better than co-dependency; we saw how healthy boundaries can enhance instead of limit a relationship; we examined the need for discernment within relationships; we saw the power of responsibility (response - able) within relationships, first toward oneself and then towards the person/s in co-operation with us; we talked about the right rhythm and flow, instead of just the right timing of things and events in our lives; we talked about acceptance; we talked about the 'masks' we use in every day life and how by changing our perception of them we can actually see a new person in front of us. If, for instance, we choose to see passion instead of anger in the person we are interacting with, we might end up seeing that person in a completely new light. But the only thing that actually changed is our perception of that same person. We also talked about energy exchange within relationships and the return to the balance between the divine feminine and the divine masculine qualities & energies.
The first things that struck me here was the chaos, which absolutely does not exist in Switzerland (!!). I loved it, walking around in the old Shanghai and been able to let go a bit of all those rules, still in the respect for others, and move around as I wished, physically and personally. By looking and observing the Chinese I realized that not all that I learned was necessary the best way. There are so many ways to do things and so many view angles from which to look at those things. Believe me, we definitely have a very different mindset, which can be really fun (or frustrating, again it depends on the way we want to experience it). Learning Chinese was fun and yet difficult to make progress. I could ask questions but, at the beginning,
We were finally asked to meditate on our primary fear, the reason that keeps us from expressing who we really are. What is the most important factor in our lives, at the present moment, that is Anna L pondering..... keeping us from being exactly who we really are? What is keeping us from expressing our truth? Big questions! For me, as for many in the group, it was the fear of 'being different'. It was the fear that if I was not like everyone else I wouldn't
I had no idea what the answer was about. Great, I can ask, but it is of no help!! I could speak but not really read! What a change, as generally for me with other languages it was the opposite! Being here is like living in different continents. I am surrounded by people from all over the world, learning every day something new from other cultures which makes it a constant exchange that brings flexibility.
At Xuangkongshi, the hanging temple, Datong What I really enjoyed straight away was that we foreigners all row in the same direction - there is no difference if you are young or old, if you just arrived or are here since many years, if you are a therapist or a "big boss", if you are "white", "yellow" or "black"... we are all the same, we are all One. Back to TCM, I loved the idea of humans being a microcosmos in the macrocosmos, reflecting within all that was happening around. I also loved the way TCM names the different pathologies and the effect of their treatment - "emptiness of the Qi of the spleen", "excess of heat", "calm the spirit", "clear dampness" and so on. It felt like being in a more familiar environment and it made more sense to me. Here I could find a real correlation between the human body and its environment. While studying the basics of TCM I was introduced to the energetic approach through a master who gives teaching based on Daoism. I will never forget that
belong; it was the fear that if I express who I really am, I will simply NOT FIT IN. And while I was meditating, the following phrase from a movie I saw some time ago just popped-up: 'Why are you trying so hard to fit in, when you were born to stand out?' And then I asked my self the following question: 'Do I love myself enough to stop looking for love and acceptance outside myself, so that I can finally embrace who I really am with all the abundant love and acceptance that's already within me?' And the immediate response to that was: 'When the answer to this question is 100% YES, I will be ready to belong and be accepted anywhere in the world my path takes me. I will be ready to fly!' As Anna added later on, we just need to stay in our own Truth, our own Stillness and Light and instead of expecting others to approve or accept us, we can simply invite them to join us in this Light and Stillness, in the Truth that we are...But only if they choose to do so. If not, then that's wonderful too! And that was the end of the first day... The morning of the second day of the seminar I woke up with an incredible feeling of joy and gratitude in my heart. I skipped breakfast, grabbed an apple and went to the beach before it was time to meet the group again, in order to meditate alone for a while, ground myself and say thank you to the universe. At one point, my eyes were filled with tears of joy, as they would be many times again during that day. As Anna later explained, JOY (a state of being) is inner / spiritual peace; it is the acceptance of all that is in every given moment. Happiness (a feeling) is what we feel when we are there. The joy I felt that morning stemmed from the deep knowing within that the work we were doing those days, and the work that will follow with this special group of people, is just a home-coming to me. I was (we all were I think) re-membering, step by step, where I come from, who I am, what my purpose here on earth really is and what I want to do with my life from now on in order to fulfil my spiritual contract and be true to my soul's calling. I was simply ReMembering (i.e.-being a part of the whole again) that it was not the first time I came together with these beautiful souls in search and honour of our true calling on earth.
first time! I took a ten-day course and came out completely transformed. There was something different in me but I couldn't say what it was, only that there was a huge amount of energy inside and around me. Growing up in Switzerland I did a lot of sport, a couple of them on a competitive level, therefore I was always physically strong, but this time, nothing to compare about. I even had the feeling that my physical body was not able to keep up with my energy. I was so astonished as I never experienced something like that. Yet my energy was definitely far too strong for me to be able to control or, better, to be in harmony with. At that point I knew that big changes were about to come and soon after a new life began. Those were a few difficult years yet they brought me toward my re-awakening, shaking me out of the square box, bringing me back into my real path and who I am today. I am deeply grateful. Where I grew up, no-one ever taught me the importance to honor my body/being and to spend time to be aware of its messages. For a long period of time I went on and on ignoring them, until they came to me in quite a strong way. Now I take myself in charge, fully. I learned and now practice to stay in the present moment and to reevaluate any situation when I feel tired, anxious, unsatisfied... as I create myself all those feelings. That also means I have the ability to change them and create something more en-joy-able and pleasant. No one else can take care of me unless I do it myself. What is now more important than feeling good and joyful is for me to enjoy every moment of
So during this second day we dived deeper into the mystical, touching complex subjects such as the laws of creation, higher consciousness, sacred geometry, the illusion of duality, the truth of wholeness / unity / oneness; again all explained with such clarity and strength by Anna that every word struck a cord deep in our hearts, sang to our soul and refreshed our memory...our ancient memory I mean! Christina, left, with Anneliese
We were often so deeply immerged into her words and strong presence that the room was absolutely still / silent and she often had to remind us to breath! Towards the end of the day, we were all called to identify our individual true passion for this life and visualize how to choose our true potential in terms of our life purpose. Beautiful work for all of us! To sum up, when Anna asked us (in preparation before the seminar) to e-mail her something about ourselves beginning with the words I am, I only wrote: 'I am everything and nothing (no-thing) at the same time. Simply I AM'. Her reply was: 'Are you sure?' and mine: 'Positive'. These two days simply reaffirmed this for me, from the beginning right to the end of it, when we were all asked to share our special gifts to each other. And these were simply love, joy, feminine beauty, strength, wisdom, knowledge, sisterhood...I was just coming home, re-united with my true spiritual family to continue our work together! By the end of the seminar, I was simply everything and everyone in the room and everyone in the room was me. We were all part of the unified whole, working together step by step to bring the change we want to see in our world. Because, as Gandhi said, we need to BE THE CHANGE we want to see in the world. Am I sure? Yes, I'm POSITIVE! Love, Alexia 6 June 2010
my life and for others to enjoy my presence. My body is my house. I take care of my physical apartment, bringing and allowing in and out only those people and things that I like, cleaning it every week, taking care of it. In the same way I am responsible for my body, physically, as well as for the emotions I have and create (and have created), the thoughts I allow in, the words I speak out, the needs it (I) has. They all affect me at first and consequently my environment. So, let's keep it clean and clear!!! Life is beautiful, it has always been. Today I can also say that all situations that feel difficult are a learning process. It's up to me to embrace them as such and get something positive out of them, instead of get stuck in the difficulties. By being aware and living in the present moment I recognize what I am creating in any given moment which allow me to bring changes, have more fun and feel lighter. Yes, tiring at the begin, like everything new, empowering, grounding and expanding at the same time. The wonderful thing, is that we all can do it. There are no limitations, we all can take ourselves in charge and decide to change our life to have more peace, love and joy. What also fascinates me is that the moment we all will be in charge of our lives, knowing that we are beautiful beings the way we are and we don't need to crave for anything as all is already within, we will let go of the need to control (or of the belief that we are in control), and then, I believe, life on Earth will be completely different, harmony and joy will be our life. Through those changes, by re-connecting again with my true self, I could finally understand the meaning
Our gatherings/seminars are as much about our time together in terms of play and getting to know each other as they are about exploring our spiritual selves; and our venues around Cyprus are carefully selected with this in mind. Here, a group went together later on Saturday afternoon to explore Paphos's famous mosaics.
of "working on the causes and prevention of diseases". What a joy and so much grace! A professional change came along and what I am now is an energy therapist, transmuting energy that is no longer valid or appropriate, as we all carry energetic imprints of every emotional experience and every thought. Those sometimes create impediment, therefore by shifting those energies I help people to integrate or release them according to their needs for them to move forward. Or through meditation, to bring awareness to one's life. Also my right and left hemisphere have more fun as they now collaborate and co-create, I let them dance and sing together. That is who I am. I am, I walk in my own shoes For myself Following my Heart and the messages of the Soul On the path of the Spirit Toward the Source With Gratitude Patrizia
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." - Martin Luther King, Jr. ÂŠ 2010 pictures by Voula Tsangarides
Keep scrolling down ..... ..... For our article on "Mystical Cyprus"! Â
Mystical Cyprus Our Visit to the Church of Church of Panagia tis Assinou Troodos, Cyprus. 8 May by Evita Michaelides It's midnight and everything is in silence. I felt that this was the appropriate time to share today's experience of our visit to the ancient church of Panagia tis Asinou. While we were driving there at midday with Andri and my sister Marlene we were talking about our thoughts, ideas and life in general and we were as always wondering and eager to anticipate what this visit would be like. The moment we reached the beautiful scenery of Asinou surrounded by pine trees and lush vegetation I instantly felt that our session here would be very special. Away from the sounds of the city and into the different sounds and smells of nature I felt at ease.
Different Perspective - main entrance, Church
We met Anna and our group at the eastern side of the church. It was great to see a group of women of different ages. With some we had met before at other group sessions and conferences and we forged bonds of friendship. However, it is fantastic to see the group growing with new people joining and bringing their own energies.
At first we introduced ourselves and shared what we were really looking for during this "trip". Some wanted to experience the unseen, others to feel the power of nature and go beyond limitation and find out more about themselves. We then went into the church where our wonderful guide Effie gave us an insightful guidance on the history and iconography of the Byzantine frescoes by pointing out the meaning of the imagery represented. I was truly amazed by the great spirituality infused in the elongated figures and the melancholic eyes of saints.
After this, we gathered in the yard of the church where Anna led us into a past life regression. We were guided into a previous life time during which we experienced a violent death because of our beliefs and the aim was to erase that painful memory which was carried into our current life. This was a profound experience for me personally as not only did it open up a new pathway but it made it clear and confirmed what I really need to do. I truly felt that I need to move on. It was also great to share this experience with all the other ladies and receive such warmth and acceptance. I believe that in our second guided tour in the narthex of the church after our first meditation, we all felt to a greater extent the spirituality of the place.
It was even more on our final meditation that took place at the eastern side of the church that we felt a spiritual reconnection with nature and earth. As Anna guided us through a wonderful journey of experiencing the earth again through water, fields, mountains, hills, oceans, I felt the sensation of being part of With Arina mother earth. That was something I had forgotten and I remembered again, this feeling of rejuvenation and renewal when one is united to nature. And I wasn't the only one. Everybody else's face was also glowing. Thank you Anna and beautiful ladies for this magnificent experience.
Effie adds her historical perspective below..... Beautiful, just Being.....
Visiting the church of Panagia tis Assinou was a beautiful experience for me too. The spiritual aspect of its frescoes combined with its history gave us an overall image of the importance of the Byzantine Empire in our island. A fresco and an icon always have deeper meanings than only being the instrument of teaching people about religion. Historically, the Church was founded in the year 1099 and is decorated with frescoes dating from the early 12th and 14th centuries.
Inside the Church with Effie
When we look at the date more carefully, we realize that it was first built at the time of the beginning of the Crusades, when Crusaders were passing through Cyprus on their way to the Holy Land. At this time Cyprus was a part of the Byzantine Empire with its cultural capital at Constantinople. Cyprus was even then a strategic point, being both a military base for the Byzantines as well as a cultural and spiritual centre through the foundation of several churches and monasteries.
Byzantine art has rules which make it spiritual and not only a simple painting. And so when we enter the church we can feel this spirituality through messages transmitted to us down through time, especially from its early 12th century frescoes. Our intention for our afternoon at the Church in Assinou was not only to see, but to feel and sense, as well. Through all our Work together, we experienced the unseen behind, for example, what could be the very obvious representation of a simple scene of the New Testament. Those frescoes presented figures with elongated forms, aiming to Ascension, with no body volume or any perspective so one could feel the very simplicity of a soul connecting and sharing with its people a deep spiritual inner wisdom of compassion. This connection comes through the eyes which are in Byzantine art the mirror of spirituality - in Byzantine Art one does not "paint" an icon or a fresco, one "writes" it since it is both mystical and symbolic. Later in her history, Cyprus will have different conquerors, the Byzantine Empire is dismantled and Constantinople is no more the main capital. Western influence on the frescoes will change their meaning, giving way, for example, to more human-based figures and feelings, as shown in the 14th century frescoes of the church. To this day, however, the beautiful old church's wisdom and spirituality remains through the love and intent of her builders and artists, and through the devotion of countless generations of worshippers. Do take the time to visit! The Church of Panagia tis Assinou is a UNESCO World Heritage Monument. Â