My Top 10 Favourite Spiritual Books

I was recently asked to list my top ten favourite books for someone who was looking to create a Christmas list for herself. She knew I’d read a few (ahem) books over the years, and wanted to know what I would recommend. I listed 15 for her, and realised that others might be interested in some book recommendations too, but for my blog, I have grouped the books into different categories. These ten books are general spiritual books for all aspects of life; I will post book lists specific to creativity and health soon.

I haven’t included any links, I’m not making any money from these recommendations, and I’m pretty sure you can get them all on Amazon.

I’ve written a little story to go with each book, so you might want to grab a cuppa and get comfy! Continue reading

Revealing Inner Wisdom

A beautiful Earth Angel called George Hardwick, who is on a mission to help others to make a living giving their gifts and living their passion, held an incredible free training session last night, called Revealing Inner Wisdom. It was centred around the experiences he’s had recently, where he has been writing letters to his soul. Please do check out his ten letters on his website, they are truly beautiful.

He mentioned in the session that he had been inspired by the way I write my novels, which is to just allow the words to flow through me, without plotting or planning or thinking too much about it. As he says – everyone can do this, not just me or a select few people. Everyone can connect and converse with their soul, with God, just as Neale Donald Walsch did in his Conversations with God books.

I wanted to share with you the training session which is now available on replay on YouTube, because I think it is well worth watching. Also, during the session, he invites you to write to your soul, and I want to share with you what my own soul said to me, in the hope that it may help you, and inspire you to converse with your own soul.

[youtube http://youtu.be/AkyceLl3Yp0]

My question to my soul:

Dear Soul,

Why do I still feel so small?

With love,

Michelle.

The response:

Dear One,

Because you are a single drop of the oneness. Or so you believe. Yes, you are a single drop, but you are also the entire ocean, within that drop. Everything that is, exists within you. Everything. You are infinite, you are eternal, you do not begin or end, you are everything and also nothing. You are big and small, amazing and ordinary. You are all of it. There is nothing you are not. So you can choose to feel small, because you are. But you could also choose to be big. Because you are that too.

It comes down to choice. You can choose to be the powerless victim, or you can choose to be the force for change. You can choose to be successful, or you can choose to be a failure. You can choose what your definition of failure and success is. What do you choose? If you are everything, then you can choose to bring out any qualities you desire. Want to be driven, motivated, excited, enthusiastic and organised? Then simply shift your focus onto those qualities that already exist within you. Because I promise you, they are there.

Want to be abundant, healthy, loving, joyful and responsible? They’re there too! It’s all within you. You are the entire ocean contained within a drop. But it’s up to you which parts of yourself wash up on the shore of your reality and are manifested into your life. If you want beautiful shells, polished glass and unusual pebbles to be washed up and revealed to the world, then focus on those positive things. If you focus on things you do not want, you will just as easily find your beach full of plastic debris, old cans and other rubbish. 

If those things are currently there, then have a beach clean-up day, and clear the way for the gems to appear.

So what will you choose to manifest? Oysters filled with pearls? Smooth driftwood in interesting shapes? Or soiled nappies and supermarket carrier bags?

Choose now. Choose every day. Choose every minute. Clean up. Keep choosing. What you are, who you are, can change in the instant you make a new choice. Choose.

See you on the beach,

Love always,

Soul

x

earth angel training academy

My Top 5 Favourite Spiritual Movies

When it comes to entertainment, I would much rather watch a movie that inspired me as well as made me laugh or cry, and I think there are a lot of amazing Spiritual movies that more people should watch. Not because they are necessarily the best movies ever made, but because they have an impact.

Here are my top 5 favourite spiritual movies, and a little bit about why I like them.

Conversations with God

Conversations with GodThis movie is about the true story of Neale Donald Walsch, who wrote an angry letter to God, and then received the reply. He asked God to tell him what it took to make life work, and God responded. Neale has gone on to write many more books, and he holds retreats and talks around the world. Having met him in person, I can honestly say that he is the most humble, kind and generous man I have ever met. Which makes being able to watch a part of his life story even more special.

 

The Shift

The ShiftThe Shift is an odd movie to begin with, in that it’s a movie about the making of a documentary. A film crew go to a retreat to film Wayne Dyer, talking about how to make the shift from ambition to meaning in life. As he talks, you then meet other people who show his teachings through their lives and actions. My absolutely favourite thing about this – aside from the many insights – is the soundtrack. I adore it. Watch it for that reason if nothing else.

 

 

In Your Eyes

in your eyesI rented this one on Vimeo when it was first released last year, and it’s now available on Netflix (I will be watching it again) It’s more of a paranormal romance story, but it has a lot of spirituality in it. It’s funny, touching, and I really enjoyed it.

 

 

The Way

the-wayI have watched this movie so many times, that I feel like I have too, walked the Camino, though without getting the sore legs and blisters on my feet. The story is of a man who has to go to France to collect the remains of his son, who has died in a freak accident while walking the Camino. He then finds himself taking his son’s place, and walking the way, taking his son’s ashes with him. I love the music in this one too, and I love the experiences he goes through on his journey. One day, I may even walk the Camino for real.

 

 

Eat Pray Love

Eat Pray LoveI’ve watched this move a few times, I love Julia Roberts, and I love watching Elizabeth Gilbert speak too, she did an excellent TED talk (which will feature in a post coming soon) I love the transformation she goes through, and how she goes through each phase in different parts of the world, in her attempt to find herself. It also makes me want to visit Bali even more!

 

I will put a list of the Spiritual Movies I would like to see on tomorrow’s post. What are your favourite Spiritual Movies? Do you have any suggestions for me?

 

 

How I Deal with Criticism

“In many ways the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.”

–  Anton Ego, Ratatouille 

This quote from Ratatouille really hit home today, as yesterday I found myself to be the subject of a blog post, where I was personally ridiculed for my ‘extreme’ positivity. The author of the blog said that I had nothing at my core, and that my Spirituality was based on pretty pictures with absurd quotes on them, and that I foolishly believed that the Universe would provide me with everything I needed. He had unfriended me on Facebook because my posts of positive affirmations were offending him. Had this been someone I barely knew, it would have hurt less, I presume. But this was someone I knew and had trusted, and had wished nothing but good for. I asked to be unsubscribed from his blog, lest I be subjected to more of his negative rants, and he took offence to that, after all, why shouldn’t he express his opinion?

By all means, express your opinion. But know that it says more about you, than the person you talk about. And should the subject of your rantings express their desire not to read rubbish written about them, then you should respect that.

So what should we do, those of us who put our work, and ourselves out there in the world, when someone takes it upon themselves to tear us apart? A few months ago, I came across the story of an author who had listed her book, pre-publication, on Goodreads. For no known reason, several members took it upon themselves to write terrible reviews of her books, and very nasty things about her, which I will not repeat here. In response to this, she decided not to publish the book, and withdrew from the Goodreads community altogether. Because of that senseless trolling, the world will never see her words, read her masterpieces. Was her choice the right one? Only she will know that. I hope that one day she may be brave enough to bare her soul again.

Some might say that artists and writers need to toughen up, that criticism is necessary, and that we should just learn to deal with it. But why should we? Isn’t it our sensitivity that makes our words and images great? We dare to be vulnerable so that the critic doesn’t have to. And is criticism actually necessary? We do it because it is the norm, but I don’t believe it is for the good of anyone. I love the quote that Brene Brown uses often, that inspired her book – Daring Greatly. It was in a speech that Theodore Roosevelt gave:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. “

We artists and writers are in the arena daily, and we are continually picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off after being ridiculed or slighted for our work. But we mustn’t allow the critic or the pessimist stop us from being vulnerable and open. We are not weak when we are vulnerable, we are strong. Because we are not afraid to be who we truly are, no matter what anyone else might say or do to us.

Be yourself, everyone else is far too boring!

My advice to those who are finding themselves the subject of derision or negative criticism – is to smile, and know that as Neale Donald Walsch says – ‘No one does anything inappropriate, given their model of the world.’ The critic’s view of the world may be dark and depressing, but yours need not be. Don’t take their words to heart, because for every critic, there will be many people who love you, and love your work.

So finally, I would like to say thank you, to the one who said I was a ‘doolally flake’, because you have reminded me to surround myself with people who believe in me, as I believe in myself too. And in spite of all you have said, I still wish you the best.

The Best Christmas Gift!

Me & NealeYou might remember that back in March this year, I attended the Spiritual Renewal Retreat in Oregon – which is four and a half days with Neale Donald Walsch. During the session on the  Friday, I had the chance to speak to Neale, to thank him for running the free retreat, which had enabled me to be able to attend. He asked me what I did, and I told him that I was a Spiritual Fiction Author. He asked for the title of a book I had written, and I replied ‘The Earth Angel Training Academy’.

He said he wanted to read the book, so the following day, I took in a copy I had with me (as I was about to begin writing The Other Side, and had taken it with me for research purposes). I gave it to Neale, who was very excited to be receiving gifts (at the same time, he was receiving a signed CD from the drummer of the Turtles, who was also on the retreat).

On the last day, the Sunday, we all gathered in the room, and I was sitting at the front. As Neale began the session, he pointed at me, and said ‘You!’ He then turned to the rest of the group, and told them that if he looked a bit bleary that day, it was because he had stayed up until 2am to read my book! He told everyone that they should all get a copy, but not to read it at night if they wanted to get any sleep!

Will Richardson, Neale’s friend and the President and Director of Programs at the CWG Foundation, also read The Earth Angel Training Academy, and The Elphite, both of which he reviewed on Amazon for me.

I didn’t want to bother Neale for a review, as I know he is a very busy man, but I was eager to know what he had thought after he had finished reading the book, so I e-mailed him yesterday and asked him for his thoughts.

I never expected to receive a reply so quickly, but I woke up this morning to find his e-mail, and needless to say, have been very happy since!

Here it is –

“The Earth Angel Training Academy packs wonderful and ancient truth into an imaginatively original tale that both delights and enlightens. The result: a read that is both fun and inspiring.”  — Neale Donald Walsch

It was the best Christmas gift I could have asked for. If you would like to buy a copy of The Earth Angel Training Academy as a gift for someone this Christmas, there is still plenty of time! You can get one here.

Have a wonderful day!

What is your life’s purpose?

Do you even have one?

Tonight in the Littledean Community Centre I will be doing a talk on the purpose of life, which will include wisdom from my favourite books, and also my recent experience at a retreat with Neale Donald Walsch in Oregon.

I used to think that my purpose was something that I had to discover, to find, because it was out there, somewhere. But through my spiritual journey I have come to realise that’s not the case at all.

Intrigued? Come along at 7pm tonight, you never know, something might strike a chord with you!

Check out the Exploring Alternatives group on facebook for more info.

I had a conversation with God…

… in 2007, and was told that I would one day meet Neale Donald Walsch. At the time it seemed like a crazy idea, I had no means to go to America or even to one of his events in the UK. I put the notebook away and soon forgot about the conversation. About a year later, I had moved to New York to work as an Au Pair, and was reading all of the books in the Conversations with God cosmology. I looked online one day and realised that Neale was doing an evening seminar in the city.

It was a brilliant evening, and the whole time, I felt like there was something I had forgotten, but couldn’t think what it was. I got my book signed by Neale, and then left, all the while knowing that I should have said something, though what, I didn’t know.

A couple of months later, I found the conversation in my notebook, and I realised that God’s prediction had come true. At that moment I decided that I would have to meet Neale again, so I could tell him.

Me & Neale

Fast forward 5 years – just last week I attended the Spiritual Renewal Retreat with Neale in Medford, Oregon. It was an incredible 4.5 days, I met so many amazing people, a lot of whom I am keeping in touch with, especially my fabulous buddy, Molly 🙂 The retreat included a lot of people sharing their stories, and I told Neale about my conversation, and about meeting him in New York. I wanted to thank him for doing a free retreat, (they do one free one per year) as it made it possible for me to attend, seeing as I only needed to find the air fare.

20130324_093752

Me & Molly

The week was made even more special by the live and beautiful music of Cathy Bolton. She had a song for every topic discussed, and brought a few tears to our eyes with her angelic voice. I love my CD that I bought, it may well become the soundtrack for my next book 🙂

cathy

The week flowed perfectly thanks to the wonderful CWG staff, Will, JR, Annie,  and many others. Janine, a wonderful lady who runs a programme to bring books to prisoners, called Freedom Inside, was running the book stall there. I loved what she was doing and so offered to send copies of The Doorway to PAM to any prisoners who would like to read it.

It was a truly transformative retreat, and I am so glad that I went. Hearing the CWG material from the man who wrote it made it come to life. And having it applied to the situations of those in the room helped everyone to see how it applied to them and their lives. If you have yet to read any of the Conversations with God series, I urge you to pick up a copy of Book 1. You won’t regret it 🙂

I am now spending another week in Medford, exploring the towns and lakes and mountains that surround it. I’m staying with a lovely couple who live here, who are very kindly hosting me through couchsurfing.org.

This holiday has given me the break I desperately needed, and in April, when I return, I will have the energy to get on with writing! I have set myself some crazy tasks – more info on that to come…