Soul Sundays #4: The Fear of God

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Peace be with you on this rainy Melbourne evening. 

Welcome to my fourth instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’. A weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my hopes and dreams for the week ahead.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them.

Soul Reflections

I watched Martin Sheen in an interview last month, and this sentence that he said in the above quote struck a chord. Many people shy away at the mention of God. I know, because I used to be one of those people myself. And with messages such as this featured on the building below, which I snapped whilst out walking the other day, is it any wonder that people fear and reject God?

sin

And whilst I have nothing against anyone’s personal beliefs, I do believe that it is possible to believe in God without being tethered to Christianity or religion. For me, God is Love. God is the life force that runs through every thing and every one, connecting us all to our true essence. The Oneness that is our very nature. I have no image of Him. I only feel His presence.

Soul Food

Since the Northern hemisphere are moving into colder weather, and Melbourne is experiencing a lot of rain this evening, I thought I’d share one of my favourite winter salads. This is great as a side dish or served on it’s own. It’s full of flavour and a perfect way to start your week feeling good.

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Soul Sounds

Fleetwood Mac came on in the car whilst I was driving the other day. I’d forgotten how much I love this song. So I thought I’d remind you all of what a great track Everywhere is.

Soulful Strolls

I caught this beauty whilst walking at sunset the other day. Beauty really does surround us everywhere if we simply pay attention. I don’t no where I’d be without my nature walks.

pink-flower

Soul Sisters

In keeping with the theme of God, I wanted to share this post from Nina over at The Happy Life 101. Nina never fails to spread a little happiness to others, and this post that she shared reminded me of what God IS. He does not judge, He simply wants for His children to be happy and at peace. I will include the video that Nina shared below, and I urge you to visit her blog for a slice of joy!

Soulful Sundays #3: Soul Chocolate

elimination-of-the-non-essentials

Happy Sunday all!

Welcome to my third instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’. A weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my hopes and dreams for the week ahead.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them. 

Soul Reflections

Lin Yuntang’s quote reminds us of the importance of an ‘Elimination List’. Many of us have endless ‘To Do’ lists, some so long that it would take us a lifetime to complete. And yet, we wonder why we have so little time to spend on the things that are most dear to us. Most of the time, we are focusing our energy on the wrong things. Often, we are so caught up in the doing that we spend little time just being. When we are gifted a moment to simply be, we squander our precious time on mindless activities; on ‘non-essentials’ that lack purpose, genuine fulfillment, or that fail to provide a return on investment.freedom

In creating an elimination list, we can be honest about where are time goes and eliminate the things that no longer serve us. In the same way that we would regularly check in with our To Do list, it pays to regularly read our Elimination List to ensure familiar behaviour patterns and habits don’t creep up on us again.

Here is an example of an Elimination List. (This is my actual Elimination List written over two months ago.) I manage to comply with it 90% of the time. The only time I falter, is when I neglect to read over it each day.

  • gluten
  • refined sugars
  • checking emails first thing in the morning
  • social networking throughout the day
  • saying ‘yes’ when I mean ‘no’
  • becoming easily offended or defensive
  • being easily dragged in to mindless arguments and drama

Of course, your list may look very different to mine. And, like anything, our lists will evolve over time. But it is good practice to make journalling a part of your morning and evening routine, to instil healthy habits of a lifetime, and to eliminate those that no longer serve you on your path.

Soul Food

Whilst it is wise for us to eliminate refined sugars from our diet, that doesn’t mean that we must give up delicious desserts altogether! Thankfully, Mother Nature provides us with natural sweeteners that, once discovered, put those nasty processed puddings to shame and provide us with a healthy does of rich nutrients. And did I mention that they taste freakin’ amazing?  Try my Chocolate Chia Pudding, which is fast, simple and good for you!

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Soul Sounds

This week I am loving Dreamer Lounge by Estelle Blanca on Spotify. It is such a powerful track to meditate too. Check it out!

Soulful Strolls

I love Lavender. The scent, the colour, the bees it attracts. Since it is Spring here in Melbourne, and my lavender plant has yet to flower, I took to the streets and snapped this bee collecting honey on it’s daily round.

lavender

Soul Sisters

Today I’d like to share this beautiful post by Mfon over at Dainty M titled Extreme. Mfon reminds us of the powerful way in which God speaks to us, often in extreme ways. When we ignore the silent whispers, sometimes he goes to extremes in order to get our attention. You can check out this bright young voice here.

Stay blessed,

Hayley xx

Soulful Sundays #2: A Slice of Life

pick-yourself-up

Happy Sunday all!

Welcome to my second instalment of ‘Soulful Sundays’. A weekly share where I post a roundup of soulful reflections, each including recipes, songs, quotes, blogs I have read and/or any other inspirational discoveries to sooth the soul.

For me, Sunday’s have become a day of quiet contemplation and simple pleasures. A time to reflect on the week gone by and to consider my hopes and dreams for the week ahead.

My hope is to extend some love outward and to share some simple pleasures with anyone who cares to receive them. 

Soul Reflections

We can, at times, feel like leaves in the wind, being tossed and turned with little control over which direction we’re headed. Many of us struggle with the concept of surrendering to an invisible, all-knowing force, let alone trust in it’s ability to bring everything into Divine order. Yet, when we trust in Spirit’s will, we can be sure that the Universe will take care of us and make certain of our safe landing, and in the gentlest way possible. Our work is to surrender and give up the struggle, to allow life to unfold as nature planned, and with the utmost faith that the Universe is operating for our highest good.leaf-in-wind

Like a leaf, I have felt a little tossed around this week. I had a melt down mid-week and cried. And on Friday I blew off some steam.

A healthy body supports a healthy mind (which is why I have decided to have a sober October this month!) This weekend I remembered why I don’t go out partying anymore! These days, on the odd occasion that I do indulge, I tend to stick to 1-2 glasses of red wine. I cannot bear the feeling of a hangover, so when I forgot my limits on Friday, I woke up feeling like my world had ended. My usual optimistic self was an emotional wreck, I felt sorry for myself. I basically self-punished. As if I hadn’t already done enough damage to my body – now I was going to beat myself up in the process?!

Feeling exhausted, I asked for help. I asked for a miracle. I knew I had to keep the faith. And just as quickly as everything had come tumbling down mid-week, it was rectified. On Saturday I got that phone call to bring about the good news I had been hoping for all week. And not only did the situation come right, but it far exceeded my expectations.

When the world around seems to tumble and fall, it is simply making way for the new. Keep the faith. Don’t be afraid to call for a miracle. Spirit loves you and wants you to be happy. The Universe would never throw anything at you that you cannot handle. You will always grow from any experience seemingly too hard to bear; and when the dark clouds part, the light will shine to guide your way.

Soul Food

In my bid to feel healthy again, I made another batch of these deliciously tasty (yet good for you) slices! The full recipe can be found on my website by clicking here.

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Soul Sounds

In my rather tipsy state on Friday, I recall singing at the top of my lungs to Where is the Love in the taxi ride home! Oh. Dear. The taxi driver was extremely amused as my boyfriend sunk lower into his seat in embarrassment. Haha – Cringe!


I also meditated to a track called Leaf In The Wind by Izumi Tanaka. I couldn’t find it on YouTube but it is available on Spotify. A beautiful piece which inspired today’s post about fallen leaves.

Soulful Strolls

Despite feeling rough as nuts – I still managed to revive myself in nature. Here’s a little beauty from my Sunday stroll. Nature heals, nature revives, nature soothes the soul.

flower

Soul Sisters

Since I resonated with this post so much today, I would like to share it. Brittany blogs at Ordinarily Extraordinary Mom, where she reminds us that everyone lives an imperfectly perfect life. Her post is a timely reminder that often, the Beauty is IN the Broken.

Stay blessed,

Hayley xx

Losing My (Self)

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There was once a time when I thought God was just a made up story, like Father Christmas, or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny. Of course, there was also a time in my early childhood when I believed in all of the magic of the world; but by the age of eleven, when asked by my peers if I believed in God, I would respond with a firm: ‘No.’ A genuine disbelief? I’m not quite sure … A fear of being ridiculed? Most likely.

It wasn’t uncommon to be picked on for being different in our school. Those who grew up in the tough neighborhoods bullied the ‘posh kids’; the ‘posh kids’ looked down their noses at the ‘rough kids’. And if you came from the council estates like I did, but was raised with manners and respect – you were constantly pulled in both directions, your allegiance questioned at every opportunity. Social boxes became apparent from a very early age, and, although I was aware of the divide, I wasn’t quite sure where I fitted in.

Bullying would take place for all manner of reasons, verbal and physical; if you admitted to still believing in Santa, you were a ‘baby’; if you admitted to believing in God, you were a ‘bible basher’; if you didn’t have nice trainers, you were a ‘scruff’ or a ‘dosser’; if you did have nice trainers, someone would stomp on them with muddy feet and yell ‘Christened!’ (Kind of ironic really.)

As a result, much of my time at school was spent trying to keep a low profile and aligning myself with other kids smart enough to do the same. In doing so, however, it wasn’t long before I lost my sense of identity along with my ebbing belief in magic and miracles. By the time I reached the end of my primary years, the magic carpet had been swiftly pulled out from under my feet and I came crashing down upon the concrete floor of ‘reality’. There began my new life in secondary school, where things only went from bad to worse.

I was smoking by the end of my first year, drinking alcohol by the time I was fourteen and dabbling in recreational drugs by the age of fifteen. With the brief magic of childhood behind me, I took comfort in the false security of my peers. I was totally lost. And despite a continuing nagging that I was straying from all that I loved; books, Roald Dahl, drawing, Disney – I continued to follow the crowd throughout most of my teens.

If I did try to stay home – it wouldn’t be long before they would come knocking at my door, rarely taking ‘no’ for an answer. As an introvert, I had always struggled to say ‘no’ in case I offended someone – and my friends knew I was a push over, so off I’d go against my better judgement, dawning my hoody and trainers and joining them out on the cold, wet streets of Tameside, Manchester.

Mum would constantly tell me I was being led astray and that she didn’t like the person I was becoming. Whilst Mum was frank in her disapproval, she was not so forthcoming with solutions. I would resort to asking Mum to pretend I wasn’t home, but she soon tired of lying and eventually ran out of ideas of where she could pretend I was, especially since they came knocking daily. This would cause Mum and I to argue, her words felt like an attack and our relationship became more and more strained until eventually, those friends became my family and I was sleeping at their house more than my own.

Their parents were usually at the pub until late most nights. Feeling like rejects, we took solace in each others company. Despite the early exposure to the smoking and the drinking and the mayhem; we would make time to laugh, and sing and dance like the children we longed to still be – there was nothing that Spice Girls and Five couldn’t fix. Whilst we had no idea how to live, our bond had grown stronger and bound us together during those lonely days. As different as we appeared to be on the outside, at the core we wanted the same – love, belonging, understanding and connection.

***

By the time I was sixteen, my relationship with Mum was fairly beaten – I went to live with my Gran and stayed there for a year before moving to Spain with a friend and his family. All the while I felt separated from the world and my family – disconnected, lost. It never occurred to me that within, was a deep well of unconditional love that was just waiting to be accessed. Never once did I turn to God, to Source, for healing and guidance. I had forgotten myself – my true Self. There I was, wandering through life making unconscious decisions, partying too hard, living recklessly and failing to notice that whispering voice within. Is it any wonder, then, that God sent me a huge wake up call?

Are you able to pin point the moment when you began to feel separated? Disconnected? Have you managed to find connection again? Moreover, what do you do to sustain that feeling of Oneness?

To be continued…  (I promise – there is a light…)