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Mark Ainley (Interview part 3)

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Mark: And there are many reasons why I think the Japanese have this tendency. I think that part is the consumer-oriented society, and there's an almost a national appreciation for the richness of the past and tradition which extends then into appreciating what we had in our life experience in the past. But I hear so many people describe "my precious memories" or "my happy memories", and the unfortunate byproduct of this is that they hold onto these things and pictures, to maintain those happy memories but as a result, they then don't create more happy memories by having more fun now and in the future in their lives.

So there are starts to be a time when those happy memories override having a happy now. So that's one of the big challenges that they're facing, the Japanese population right now, is "How do I have an appropriate relationship with the past?" and actually appreciate and have an exciting time, an interesting time, in the present moment and in the future. And this relates both in the short-term in terms of my life and the events of my life, and also relates to culturally and traditionally how much, how do we respect the traditions and the past and then decide, “I may not want to follow all of the traditions of my culture, or recognize that maybe some of the traditions don't really match my present life style.”

One of them being a more sensitive topic of the fact that children will often sleep in their parents' beds until quite a late age. Japan is the only country really where you're going to find that children will sleep with their parents until maybe the age of 10 or after that. There is no other industrialized country in the G8 or any of the major world powered countries where that is part of their culture.

Historically, it absolutely made sense when people were living in their homes which were very cold, with very poor insulation, and really with a very small space - it absolutely made sense that everybody's going to sleep in that kind of environment. In a modern house, it doesn't make sense. To do it just because it was done in the past, I think it's really useful to always question, "Is this serving me?" as opposed to “Do I follow the traditions of the past because this is how it's always been done?"

Where I think on the other hand we could look at the fact in the West, maybe parents sort of don't bond or connect enough with their children so they let their children sleep separately at their young age. And maybe there's a negative consequence from that as well. So I'm not going to say that the Western way is automatically where one should go. I think, like the most of the time, we should really look at different approaches then decide, you know, what kind of synthesis or fusion can we implement? It takes richness from two different approaches to see how it can really give you something in a new way.

But my concern got raised when I had clients who said that they're having a divorce and they're wanting to have a new intimate relationship, to get a boyfriend or something, and yet the child is supposed to be sleeping in their bed. And I thought, you know, if we really think about this logically, there's obviously something seriously not in the best interests of everybody here. It's not in the best interests of the boyfriend, it's not in the best interests of the mother, and it's certainly not in the best interests of the child.

We need to then recognize that. And I had my clients realize "Oh, wow. Actually, what you said does make sense. That's not going to be a good situation for everybody". And I'm very sensitive to the fact that I don't want to tell anybody that there's anything “wrong” with their culture. It's simply the matter of, if you want certain results, you want a certain experience, then we need to look at what we're doing and realize, you know, "Is this going to create the result that I want or not?" And if not, then we get to make a choice.

So I think some of the cultural tendencies and the fact that the Japanese really respect the past and respect their history so much, and in a sense do so without questioning or without thinking about it, I think that can sometimes cause… at the same time it causes something, creates something really quite wonderful in Japan, but also create some challenges.

I love the fact that everybody in Japan has something shared, in the way that, you know, when everybody comes home they'll say "tadaima" and somebody will say "okaerinasai". That is beautiful. Everybody in the country shares a way of recognizing certain aspects of daily life. I think that's amazing and that's something that is lacking in a lot of countries and I think there's a lot of disconnection between people in other cultures as a result of that.

And, sometimes the lack of having an individual way of doing things also has other consequences, in Japanese culture. Where people then don't seem to find their way. Even though everybody has those sort of expressions like ‘my pace’, ‘my rules’, my things, they actually don't "do" things ‘my way’ a lot of the time. They do things according to the way it's expected of them. And so my hope is that, I think the Japanese are really in a position to be able to take so much richness from their history and their really unique way of looking at the world with a very big picture way, and start to incorporate things learned from other cultures but applying it really in their way, as opposed to doing it in the other culture's way.

I think you know, to be consumerists like North Americans, when they are living in Japanese-style homes, it doesn't make sense. And I think a lot of habits, unfortunately, the Japanese have picked up, actually come from the American lifestyle, and things that they learned after the war from American culture, and wanting to be like the Americans. And it doesn't work. So actually I'd love to see the Japanese be more Japanese in a way, and Americans be more Americans. And also I’d like to see North Americans and Canadians be more like Japanese. And Japanese be more like Americans in a way that's really taking the best of all the cultures as opposed to taking some of the negative aspects of the other cultures. Does this answer the question?

Q:I'd like to mention about the way of positioning a bed. The first time when you told me not to put my single bed against the wall, I couldn't understand why. I've never thought of keeping the both sides of the bed open in order to welcome someone else. It was a very refreshing idea to me.


That's where I think, people aren't trained to look at "What is the consequence of this set-up or arrangement?" and really to imagine all the way through, "If the future that I want was going to happen, what consequences might there be?" So in the sense that the side of the bed up against the wall, "Well, if there IS a second person there…", let's imagine the situation. How are they going to get into the bed?
What's going to happen if they need to get up and go to the bathroom? If they wear contact lenses or glasses, where are they going to put their glasses if there's no end or side table? And so really thinking about all of these things, it's not something we're trained in our educational system to do.

This process I've learned through a number of my trainings and addition to the fact that the feng shui principles speak to this, that's where I see there's a logic to this. That's where a lot of people say, "That's not feng shui, that's just common sense", and I think that good feng shui IS common sense. As everybody says in North America, "Common sense is not common" as most people don't really have common sense. And we're seeing a lot of, you know, certainly in political views in the world now, we're seeing a lot of stuff that it is really not common sense. You know, people are complaining that, you know, they don't want to get shot walking on the street, but they also want to have their guns. But you know, you cannot have contradictory desires and have peace.

So for example, you maybe really like the blue color of your room, but if you're depressed or if you feel sad or if you feel lonely, you can't have both an uplifting mood and a depressing color. You just can't have both, so you have to make a choice. Which one is more important? It's very interesting that on the topic of the color blue, I find people were argumentative or insistent and they're not going change the color, "I really need to have this color, I really like this color!" But they don't like the results that I explain that the color brings. But they insist on the color, that the color is more important and this is where people and the human condition and human mind can be really fascinating.

That we would rather hold onto something that's killing us... I would rather drink Coca Cola, even though I have diabetes, than give up the taste that I enjoy for some reason. And usually there's something behind that. When it comes to the color blue, what’s usually behind it is the fact that there is an emotional state that hasn't been resolved, that they haven't been able to catch clearly or to articulate or to understand or to find a solution to that is in their lives. And that color blue really represents that emotional state that needs to be expressed. And so they need to be surrounded by that for some reason, in their mind, they believe they need to be surrounded by that in order to have some sense of relationship with that emotional state.

As so same thing comes, you know maybe "I don't like the color pink" or "I don't like warm colors". I actually know somebody in Canada, and she loves color blue. She doesn't like the color red. But she also complains that she doesn't have customers finding her, and she doesn't have good opportunities coming her way, and she doesn't have motivation.

It's really interesting that the color red brings attention and brings recognition, and it brings motivation. So she complains about the results of what it is that she likes by going overboard with what she likes, rather than having some balance. So it's not my life, it's their choice to continue doing what they want, but you know, people often stick to, or continue to, hold on to a want or a desire that's contradictory to the results that they want. And It's always their choice... unfortunately, if they don’t resolve it, they won’t like the results.

Q:At the last workshop, we had two attendants whose sons have been suffering from social withdrawal and they were living in a room covered with blue, like with blue curtains and blue bed covers and so on. Also we met someone a few years ago whose husband was depressed and he was living in a house covered with blue.

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You know, we as a culture, as a global culture, in most places in the world, we don't recognize that there's a psychological impact, a physiological and psychological impact to certain colors, to certain images and so on and so forth. As I spoke about in my workshops, you know that advertisers are very well aware that if you use a certain color, you use a certain symbol, you use a certain sound, then it creates a positive reaction and that the people will see it and that can actually generate sales for a company from whoever is watching those commercials.

The same thing goes for a color - you know we just think "Oh well, blue is for boys and pink for girls", and it's completely ridiculous to make choices based on this for several reasons, one of them being why do we limit any gender to a certain form of expression of, like this color means this and this color is for this gender? That as opposed to personal preferences? And then you know everybody knows that blue is a calming color, what's often said and then it's true, but you know it could be so calming that you get so relaxed and so then eventually deep that you actually can't get moving and you can't have your energy to really be motivated and have a spark.

We say as spark, and the word spark actually speaks to something that comes from fire. Fire is exactly the opposite of a water. So again, you know there's a sort of depth of power to the feng shui philosophy that translates also into language. It's very interesting.

So, yeah, if I could educate people, there are several things I'd like to educate them about, but even some… like one thing that I wish that the greater public would get is that you know really the color of your bedding and the color of your room is going to have such a profound impact on how it is that you feel and to really know the facts before you buy things. Here, I think people suffer unnecessarily. Like I spoke to a lady who was in one of my workshops who had been hospitalized for depression for 3 months and she had blue walls, blue sheets and blue curtains. If this information were very clearly available to everybody, they could make another choice.

Why did this woman spend 3 months in a hospital? Because of a design choice. There was an unconscious choice and maybe you know, we can say existentially for some reason, she spiritually needed to go through this experience. But there are always ways of less suffering how people can get to where they are "meant to go" spiritually. This goes into one of the big lies in the spiritual world and the new age world - "It was meant to happen". You know, like "It had to happen this way", or "This happened for a reason". Everything happens for a reason, but there can be another way for something to happen that's more enjoyable.

I really hope that people will reexamine the whole concept of color for bedrooms and bedsheets, and just immediately like… I think that the entire planet needs to… we could create a lot more energy and heat in the world other than through electricity by burning all of the blue sheets that exist. That’s a better option because they are not helping anyone right now!

by legacyofcayce | 2013-07-25 18:27 | Interview

Mark Ainley (Interview part 4)

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Q: When you came to my home for the first time, you pointed at a mirror. It was hung up so high that it wasn't reflecting me. Then you asked me "What message do you think it's sending you?" This really surprised me because I never thought that things are sending us messages. I put the mirror there only because one feng shui consultant told me to do so, as that corner was slanted.

Recently I met this lady who was studying various kinds of feng shui and she was putting a shoe box right in front of the door, just because she was told not put it on the left side of the door. But this was actually blocking her way.

With your way of feng shui, we can always realize that things we place without thinking are sending out some messages.


I mean it's like anything in life, if we are living our lives according to rules, but we then take a look at what's the impact of the rules, it starts to be very interesting. You know, "Is this really serving me or not?" So just because somebody said not to do it on the left side, we then do something and if you really pay attention, listen physically, physiologically and a result, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, what's the impact of this? If you start really listening, we can start making our own choices. And that's why I think a lot of people say feng shui I apply is common sense. Because you're doing something that’s practical, and you're paying attention to things… and you're not doing things because it's the “right” thing to do. And you're doing things because it's the logical sensible thing to do

That's one of the reasons why in a sense I'm calling my business now "Sense of Space". There are several meanings for sense, and part of it is you know, we sense and feel the space, but part of that sense it's really "common sense", that "You're sensible" meaning it's logical also.

We are always bringing in so much information from the outer world that we eventually tune it out. And unfortunately, from our past experiences we've learned how to tune out negative influences in order to just get by. And of course there's a benefit of that and there's a weakness. And I think just like as I was speaking to somebody recently, you now in Japan like with the train stations, there are so many announcements, or like just riding the escalator there's an announcement telling you to stand behind yellow lines and hold onto children's hands and hold the handrail... there are so many announcements that people tune them out. In the same way, there are so many blockages in the physical world that we just tune them out. And we stop paying attention to things. But it doesn't mean they’re not having an impact.

That's why with feng shui, I think when it's well applied, we start looking at the logic, we start looking at the sense, we start looking at the impact and in a way it's really about the relationship. So it's not about "the outer world and me", it's about really "the outer world and me as one thing". So it's the universe is very interactive and in our home it's very interactive. So we start paying attention to how it is talking to you. The world is always talking to you. But we usually we don't listen. We have earplugs in. And we're listening to our own story in our head or somebody else's story in our head, instead of like really looking at what's in front of our face.

Q: In Japan, there are some people who say we should sleep with our head to north, and there are others who say we shouldn't.

I was always fascinated about this because literally for me it's been like 50 percent of people say "You should always sleep with your head to the north" and 50 percent say "You should never sleep with your head to the north". Well, somebody is wrong. Or, everybody is right. Because maybe, you know, according to the Chinese, some people would have north as a lucky direction, and for the other people north is not a lucky direction.

For everybody, being able to see the door, so that if a criminal were to break into your house, or your child comes running through the door or something like that, it seems logical that you would be in a position where you can actually see the door and not have to turn around or not be surprised because somebody came to the door because you're sleeping right next to it. That's just logical.

I think regardless of compass directions, and again I'm not saying that somebody won't have really good luck from sleeping according to certain compass directions but I think if you're doing that at the expense of having a really supportive physical position where your body feels really rested and your nervous system is able to relax more, I think unfortunately people are going to be missing out. Everybody would be sort of be suffering unnecessarily by following a rule they believe, but there isn't a tangible proof of that.

Just like for example with mirrors. The Chinese say, you know, we shouldn't sleep with a mirror opposite to your bed because in the middle of the night, your spirit leaves your body and you see yourself in the mirror and you get surprised. Well, that's a nice story, but you know, what I know from the reality of a mirror is if we look at it, again logically whatever's in front of the mirror, that image is been reflected into the mirror all the time, the information from the object is traveling to the mirror, back and forth all the time. So that creates a big stream of energy that's always being communicated to the mirror.

Now if you have a window open somewhere, or there’s a light or something, that light shines somewhere in the room and that's going to be reflected in the mirror, and that creates activity and movement in the room and that stimulates your nervous system rather than letting it be relaxed. So I would say on a logical level that you know the mirror activates and creates circulation of energy and movement which isn't conducive to or supportive of having a restful sleep.

There is a fact of course, if you get up, and you move in your room, never mind your spirit getting out, I mean YOU getting up in your bed, your spirit as spirit in your body, the movement of the other side of the room can actually surprise you and you might think there's something there when it is in fact just your own reflection on the other side of the room. And in fact children who cry at night or wake up because there's something moving in their room, usually it's they themselves. It's because there's a mirror in the room and either the child is so sensitive to the energy that's moving around the room, even like dust is moving in the air, right? So that's reflected in the room, or the child has a night light, and so that creates a movement or some reflection in the mirror. And then there are the toys which in the child's imagination come to life when they play with the dolls, then those dolls like movie "Toy Story" in a sense, in their mind starts to come to life, and then they say “something's moving in my room.”

You know there's a logical explanation to some of the, I'd like to say fairy tales, or superstitions. And when we look at the situation rather than how it’s applied in a traditional Chinese interpretation of feng shui that I think the real reasons are much more logical. So there're some truths to some of them and there are some where there isn't truth.


Q: Do you have any memorable stories from your consultations which you like to share with us?

All the time (laughs). I think every session amazes me, because there's always just the fact that we can use various feng shui principles as a template to understand… to compare, what would be an ideal situation? What's going on for them? And then to start decode or read what the person's story is. And then start to find the solution with them, instead of me just deciding, "This is what you should do"... I really don't like that kind of consulting.

I really like finding out what will work for them, and I make some suggestions and I discuss maybe five suggestions and maybe one of them really resonates with them. And I'm always amazed by some of the stories that I hear, even though I know feng shui works, I'm delighted when I see clients work really hard, and make some changes, clear out clutter, or when I hear that they chose or found some paintings that they really liked or some picture or some object that they really liked, and by following the suggestions all of the sudden there were new opportunities that came their way.

There are so many situations that I can think of that were really impressive, some of which you know as I’ve spoken to them in my workshops, like when somebody had a health condition where I was able to see from the furniture position that there might be a problem with this person's body; you know when they're sleeping there, I wonder if there's any issue with their legs. And in fact there had been an issue with their legs that none of the doctors were able to figure out and then when they moved away a piece of furniture, the problem went away. Even years later, it never came back.

That, or this picture with the hands that I love to use, the one hand reaching out to help another hand - I'm hearing of clients who used it and the most common thing I found with that particular picture in the Helpful People area of the room or of the home, is it people get job interviews all of a sudden, people who were looking for work and they put that picture there, they're getting job interviews. I find it fascinating how that works.

Again we can never promise that every person is going to have the same experience because every person's story is so individual and there so many different factors that could be taking priority over a certain cure or a certain application of feng shui. But I certainly love hearing the stories.

One of them which I'll share is, this couple who had been trying for years to get pregnant. And after the first consultation, they were already just feeling more satisfied with their lives, feeling you know, even though nothing really changed, they were happier. And then we did a second consultation, and then I get an e-mail from them a few months later saying that they're pregnant with twins. To which my sister said I should have charged double my fee. (laughs)

I just saw the father recently you know, and he said everybody's very healthy, everybody's very happy. And he just says, "Yeah, you know, we can't complain about anything". It really is amazing. It's a bit bizarre to say that I help people get pregnant from my job (laugh). It is not what I want to be advertising, but I mean I'm having dinner with my friend tomorrow who you know, with her and the man I like to call her "feng shui husband”. Because you know my friend, she had a single bed. But she did what I suggested in terms of making changes to attract a partner. But then she also lived her life, that was really the key. She didn't just sit at home waiting for the doorbell to ring. Although sometimes things happen. You know, you never know the mailman might be very cute, or the Fed Ex guy ringing the doorbell might be very cute, might be single, but you have a limited opportunity, you know, a little limited chance for that to happen.

But you know she moved her single bed just a little bit from against the wall. And she had that intention of making things change and she really followed through with some art work, then she followed my suggestions, then she went out and lived her life. And on her vacation to Cuba, she met this man, fell in love, he moved to Japan, he's learning and speaking Japanese really well, he's working at a job here, you know, and they're madly in love with each other.

It's really exciting to think "Wow, you know, like, something that I said or something that I helped them, made a difference". But of course, they made the difference. I help them to make a difference in their own lives. So it's not me that's doing it; I like to say I'm a facilitator. So I help make it easier for them to do that. There's no doubt she would find a husband somehow - you know, she is a lovely lady - but it was nice that it became easier for her to do that.


Q: I've been studying feng shui with you and now I can see the way people live represent themselves. I think feng shui is really interesting. And also I realized that you've been to all my homes, so you probably know me better than I do myself.

Not entirely, you know, I think also with the facial analysis what I do, people think I see… sometimes I think people think I see more than I do. And you know I can always recognize some parts of the story but I don't see everything, I don't see everything that everybody's ever done, right? So I think that there's this kind of mystery to what I do that I think people imagine like you know there's this big TV screen in my head and I have the entire DVD collection of this person's life available to me.

It's not like that, but I can see some of the influences and some of the patterns, and it is fascinating. And there's also I think there's a level of respect and compassion that's really required, because I think you know everybody has had difficult periods in their life, difficult times, and I think sometimes people are worried when I go there that I'm gonna be judging or I'm gonna be thinking "Oh they have a horrible place" and so on. You know, the fact is, who am I to judge?

Everybody has difficult times and everybody has issues at home, you know like I told a client of mine recently, I don't like dusting actually. So I have to make myself dust or I have to pay somebody to clean my apartment for me, because it's not my favorite thing in the world to do. But I know when I do, I feel better, and everything starts changing.

So I can't judge anybody for what they're doing in their home or that they don't have a nice home or something. Because what's nice for one person isn't nice for another. But what I would wish for everybody is that they have the home that they love. And that they can feel really comfortable and feel really at home wherever they are living so that they can live their best, most ideal life they would like.


Q: You've been coming to Japan twice a year, for workshops, consultations and advanced classes. Do you have any other plans for the future?

I'd actually really like to do more teaching, because I find that more I teach, more clarity I get about some of the principles. So every time I'm teaching a workshop, I find a new way of expressing something - something came out in the workshop just last Monday, where I had a new way of expressing a concept. And each time I've been teaching the advanced levels, like there're some deep new insight. So I can do some of my best work when teaching, even more than consulting, although I need to keep consulting because I also find new ways of working with people and I find new problems and new solutions.

I think writing a book is going to be one of the next steps for sure, I already have one book which is just about ready, which I'm going to have as an e-book with one feng shui theme for each month of the year. Right now I have just created a new website, so that should be ready very soon. And then I’m designing a new bagua map to go with that.

I think you know the possibility of an iPad application, something like that I'm looking at doing, sort of an interactive feng shui like a bagua map application for the iPad. I think it's also partly the new direction. I'm not sure exactly, this is kind of very feng shui... we don't know what's around the next corner.

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Certainly my experiences in Japan are some of the most positive for me. Because there's a… I found working with Ms Mitsuda, we have an ease, a shared perspective at how we work with things that I think it's very beneficial for both of us, and also all of your clients, and you have so many clients who are really interested and receptive, and that helps me do some of my best work.

I would just like to work with many people as possible and to teach as much as possible, so hopefully that more people will start… I think that more people who start to embrace these principles and have more balance, then just sort of the energy that ripples out and there are more people in the world who are happier, who are living a better life, I think it starts to help them, if then everybody who that person comes into contact with can benefit.

You know when somebody, for example, says that you know feng shui works, you know, "Tell me how bedroom is supposed to like bring better luck to somebody?" "Why should feng shui in the bedroom improve somebody's life?" On a very logical level, if a person sleeps better and is more rested, they're going to be in a better mood during the day. If you're in a better mood during the day, if somebody bumps into you in the station, you might not get into an argument or if somebody cuts you off when you're driving, you might not be aggressive in response to that. And so or somebody annoys you at work, you actually might be more compassionate. That might all of sudden, they might look at you differently and say "Oh, this person is really nice". They might see you in more positive way and then all of sudden you never know if you're going to be considered for a promotion. Because "Oh, you know, he was really nice to me that time." or "I've noticed how calm and welcoming this person is".

There are all these logical repercussions from simply being able to sleep well that we don't necessarily consider and so I'd like to think that you know the happier everybody is with their life, it doesn't impact just them, it impacts every person who they come into contact with and then every other person who they come into contact with. And so the more people who I can help live a life that's more how they like to be living, or I would say actually to live the life that's the best for them, because it might not be necessarily the life that they imagine, then I think the happier I will be, and the more fulfilled and satisfied I will be.


Q: Lastly, do you have anything you like to say? I think everyone is waiting for your book, and also making a DVD will be a good idea.


I think a DVD would probably be really good. I think that one of the thing is…you know I learned a lot of feng shui from books, and I think that in my writing style there's a directness which I think is different than what's in a lot of books, but there are some very good books out there. Most of them are not very good, but there are some of them that are excellent.

I think the thing that gets though, what gets communicated from seeing a human being talk about these principles, we get it on a much different level. So I think you know a DVD is something that would be really useful. So, another project to work on for the future.


日本語のインタビューページ
Face Book page(Contemporary Feng Shui Consultants in Japan)

by legacyofcayce | 2013-07-25 18:27 | Interview

Mark Ainley (Interview part 1)

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Mark Ainley is a Contemporary Feng Shui Consultant with a unique sensibility. His advanced training in multiple disciplines and twenty years as a teacher and workshop facilitator have given him an integrated perspective that helps him to synthesize the roots of this Taoist science-art into practical, easy-to-apply solutions for modern architectural spaces. more info

Sense of Space



Temple Beautiful: First of all, what was the reason why you studied feng shui?


Mark Ainley: After living in Japan for a few years, I started to become interested in different spiritual views and even though feng shui is not Japanese philosophy, I found there was a real connection in a lot of the Japanese esthetic. I used to go to Meiji-jingu a lot and so on, and I really admired the balance there. And one of the books I was reading at the time was the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu, an old Chinese book, which is in a sense the philosophies that are behind feng shui, the old Chinese ‘way’.

And when I moved to London after having lived in Japan for three and a half years, I moved in with a friend of a friend. I was telling him about this philosophy and how I really liked it and he said "Oh, I have a book you might be interested in." And it was a book of feng shui. As soon as I read it I was intrigued about how we could start to apply it, how we could do things in the outer world to create balance inside us. That sort of interaction between the inside world and outside world and what we do in the outside and then what we feel and start to experience and how we could start to control our lives and so on... that was my original interest.


Q: So you started from reading a book?

I started by reading books, and I took a few workshops in London with a very famous Chinese author of feng shui who was a best-selling author.

Q: Was it the Chinese way of feng shui?

Yes, it was more traditional approach of using the compass as opposed to using the room position. I looked at two different books when I started and one of them used the compass and the other one used the room position, the door position.

I started to use the compass originally. So I studied with this woman in London and the thing that challenged me was that she didn't answer questions very directly, and she seemed to be trying to hide the information and sometimes it seemed to me that she actually didn't know the answer. She was just kind of doing what somebody told her to do and she didn't understand the philosophy of the reason behind it.
So I was kind of disappointed by that. And I continued using the compass theory for a couple of years and I didn't really decide to explore the other one.


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When I moved to Vancouver, I saw an advertisement for a woman who was doing Western feng shui. And I was curious what this meant because I hadn’t heard the term. So after seeing the ad a few times, I phoned her up and we spoke a little bit. I said I’d been doing feng shui using the compass, and then she said, "You know in China, they built their homes according to the compass, right?" I said, "No, I didn't know that." So she said, "So, you know, if you build your home from the ground up with a compass, then it makes sense. But if you're not doing that, you're out of alignment with the physical surroundings. So if the magnetics and physical doesn't match, then the energy doesn't flow very well." So I thought “that's kind of interesting.”

I decided to invest in a consultation with her. And when she came to my home, I lived in a very small place and she spent two and a half hours on my very small space. It was upside down - she changed everything around and it was a very different way of looking at it. It wasn't rigid. It was a very open-minded, flexible approach to working with decorations and to working with how the energy is moving and with colors and so on.

There was so much I realized I didn't know from books. She said "Maybe I'm going to start teaching", and the next year was her first time to teach training programs, so I took the program that time.

Q: After applying the Western approach, did anything change?

What I noticed immediately was that I was sleeping better. Because before when I was sleeping according to the compass direction, I wasn't paying attention to some of the physical side of things, so I was sleeping facing a good compass direction, but I was next to the window next to the balcony on the 15th floor. So I didn't understand it but my energy was really draining off the balcony. She moved my bed to a quieter location. I wasn’t sleeping in the right compass direction but immediately I was sleeping better and I was getting more work, I started sensing much more balance, much more peace.

I realized that maybe compass directions are a nice idea and nice theory, but we have to really look into the physical side of things. And as the years went on, what I started to understand is that for any spiritual philosophy to really work properly, it needs to align with the physical. So if physical is not logical, not sensible and practical, it doesn't work. It's not integrated.

I think one of the important things is that we have lots of nice spiritual ideas but "how do I live like that in my life?" I think for feng shui to really work, if we're going to incorporate a feng shui solution into the home, it needs to have a physical aesthetic, so it needs to be beautiful, but also it needs to be practical. So you can't have something that gets in your way just because it's feng shui. Then it's actually not feng shui, it creates a blockage.

So I did notice a big difference and I started using this approach to feng shui.


Q: Why did you decide to become a consultant, not just applying it to your own home?

I originally didn't decide this is what I want to do. I just started doing it because I could make some extra money, I enjoyed the ideas and I enjoyed doing it. I just helped my friends at first and we started seeing results so I thought, "Oh wow, this really helps people". So I visited my friends and I just said "You know maybe if you just put this over here" or something like that, then suddenly they got a new job or something happened. So I thought maybe I should do it a little bit more. It was more because I enjoy doing it that I started doing it.

I just started doing bit by bit. Then I started to do more consultations. I didn't really decide "Now is the time I want to become a consultant", it just started happening gradually.

Q: How many years have you been doing it professionally?


The training I did in 2001, for maybe first 5 to 6 months of 2001. I started to work with my teacher as well, so she would take me on consultations with her so I got to watch her and learn from her. So really in 2001 I started getting money for it, charging for consultations and doing it professionally.

I also started teaching workshops and I really enjoyed the teaching at the time so… usually I was actually doing more workshops than consultations.

I found some other areas in Canada where my friends or people who took my workshops were living, and they said "Oh you should come here and do some workshops." So I started going and started being really interested in and enjoying the teaching and the interaction with people and discussing the ideas.

Q: Your consultations and workshops are not just about suggesting to put certain colored objects in certain places, I think it includes various elements of psychology. Did you study psychology or any other methods?


I'm trained in several modalities. I studied an applied kinesiology system which also involves how we're very receptive to the early experiences in our lives and how we start to interpret or make life decisions based on our past experiences. And I studied a facial analysis system also, so I understand a little bit about how people are thinking.

That said, I mean I think any good feng shui consultant is working with what the person's experience is. So when we're talking about “luck”, I mean we think somebody is really lucky when they're living the life they want to live in, then we think they’re lucky and they have “good luck”. So you know, they have a good money, or are enjoying their work, they have good relationship so on and so forth. I think consultants start to see the psychology when they know that something's not working in their place and what's going on in the relationship area doesn't match what they say they want to be having. And they can see that obviously something is going on.

I think through my other trainings and also some different kinds of psychic awareness and meditation training practices, I've learned how to communicate in a way and understand the patterns that people are going through in a certain way. But it's still very much feng shui is the main focus when I'm working with my customers.

That's we're really working with - "what is the home telling us?" Then "what does this mean to the person's experience of life?" and then "what can they do? how can they interpret it?" Based on how they're interpreting their physical environment, I look at what can they change in the physical environment so they start to have a different relationship with that part of their life.

So in a sense it's always been my interest more than feng shui, my interest in terms of how do we experience our life, what do we see, what do we experience, and really, how is reality formed. And I think feng shui is really the language of physicality, it's the spiritually integrated language of the physical world.
I don't know if that answered your question!

Q: Have you been interested in such invisible powers since you were a child? What kind of childhood did you have?

I had a lot of energy when I was a child. So I used to be very very energetic, running around a lot. But I was also very inspired by music, and I still work a lot with music so that was very big interest.

When I was 5 years old, I still remember very clearly being in my bedroom, and looking at an old Time Life book about Egypt. And I was just looking at the pictures of these drawings of Egypt and I just knew I lived there in another life. I didn't know why, it was just a clear knowing. But I had no way of accessing anything and it wasn't something that I talked about.

When I was at 10 or 11, I got interested in hypnosis. And I started reading books about hypnosis so I was already very curious about what's going on in our minds, and how we think about things. So I started getting interested in that aspect of psychology.

Later in my teens I was introduced through my high school to Alexander Technique. And I was very curious about it, so I actually had sessions when I was in my early university years, I did a lot of Alexander Technique sessions. And it really improved my posture and improved my sense of self, and it was very unusual. What was really profound about that was, my mother always told me "You have to improve your posture, you have to stand up." But I always said "I don't know how".

What I loved about Alexander Technique was there was the experience of doing something that you didn't know how to do. And it was very much an experience so I realized that knowing something or wanting to do something isn't enough. "I really want to do something but I can't do it, so then what can I do?"

That was a system where actually the person really helped you stop doing the wrong thing so then natural thing could start to happen. So it's actually a very Taoist kind of approach.

I was really interested in that, and you know few years later I became interested in Asian philosophy, Taoist philosophy. And then feng shui. So as a child I was very energetic, very curious. I used to like watching documentaries and things, I used to read a lot of books, I loved the Narnia books. So imagining another world, science fiction stuff also. All sorts of regular kid things.

Q: What did you study at the university?

I did a Major in English literature and Minor in Music, Classical music. I actually hated school. I didn't enjoy studying so much. At that time I wasn't really motivated… if I could go back to school now I would obviously study, knowing what I know now, I would study something different. And I would have liked to have taken more philosophy. I took a little bit of philosophy, I didn't take any psychology, that would be something interesting to me. I didn't know those things existed.

I think the educational system from high school and after that doesn't give us really a chance to discover so many interesting things we could study, like everybody is already thinking about what the jobs going to be. And I remember in high school, there was this assessment where you take some kind of quiz and answer some questions about what you like and what you don't like and they tell you what you'd be good at. For me it was something like I would be good as a waiter and in the military, or something completely stupid like that.

Q: Really!? (laughs)

When my mother heard that, she thought it was completely ridiculous. My mother thought I'd be a great lawyer. And she's probably right.

I originally went into science, because the stupid counselor at school said "You know if you study science, you'd have a good general background." And what I think now is that if everybody studied philosophy or psychology, everybody would have a good background because they know how people think and how to work with people and how to think about themselves. Also with philosophy, how to view life in a more natural way.

I regret that I didn't get an opportunity to study those things. I did study some science initially and then when I realized how boring it became, because I was interested in Da Vinci all the time as a child, so I thought "Wow, that's science! That would be really interesting" and I did well in science in high school. In Montreal, where I lived, there's a two-year college level before university after high school and I was just thinking, "How did they make it so boring?" My first day of classes, I’m there thinking, "Wow, this is very boring. Science should be interesting, but what did they do to the stuff?". So that's why I changed. Instead, I started studying more artistic, linguistic things.

by legacyofcayce | 2013-07-25 18:26 | Interview

Mark Ainley (Interview part 2)

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Q: You've told us about your background so far. Do you have anything else you would like to tell us?


I think part of it might be how coming to Japan when I was 22 obviously had a big impact. I'd actually always lived with my family until then. So moving halfway around the world and being in a culture where I actually couldn't read any of the signs was a really unbelievable experience for me.

I was very intrigued in Japan with the fusion of old and new, like in 1992 where everybody still imagined Japan made the best video recorders and Walkman and Discman and all those things, and I would go to the post office and they were using an abacus. And bank machines closed at 7 o'clock at night. So I was thinking "This isn't the technological world I imagined", yet when I went to Shibuya there was this big TV screen and "The Simpsons" was being advertised there and it was an interesting experience for me being in Japan and seeing the old and new having kind of a challenging relationship, I think.

And the challenge with the younger generation trying to escape some of the rigidity of the old generation but unfortunately also missing some of the wonderfully esthetic sensitive side of the older traditional Japanese culture. So I don't think I realized as much until I left Japan, how much it had an influence on me to be to observant… as much as sort of inside the home there can be all kinds of challenges that are particular to the Japanese, there was still always a sense of things being done properly and things being done well, like a way people will have almost no space in front of their home, put one plant there and a nice angle to it and it has a nice feeling. So there was a level of sacredness in small things.

Meiji-jingu was an escape for me from the very artificial environment of Tokyo and had a really big impact on me, so I used to spend a lot of Sundays there; I spent several hours just in Meiji-jingu, surrounded by natural sounds and natural space and quite a powerful spiritual energy that I couldn't recognize then but which I was definitely sensing.


Q: Why do you think your feng shui is so popular and receptive among our clients right now? Why is everyone interested in feng shui?

I think there are international and also universal reasons for this, and there are also particularly Japanese reasons. After September 11, 2001, we realized that we can't predict what's going to happen in the future, that we can't predict what's going to happen in the outside world.

And so with life being so unpredictable, being able to have a home where you can go, where you can control the energy and you can feel more relaxed seemed really really important. And it's interesting that really right after September 11, that's when real estate prices in North America really went up. Because of the importance of being at home and being really comfortable and having your own space seemed to be really important.

I think also in Japan, you know, with earthquakes and things being unstable on some levels, everybody needs to have some way of having a sense of control, of having a sense of creating some harmony and balance and having a place where we can feel at ease.

In Japan, I suspect that because the culture has so many expectations, and so many roles that each person has to adopt to, based on whatever they're doing, where they're working, they have to act according to their profession, according to their company, according to however the people around them are like, being able to have a home that's comfortable so they can feel that "I can do what I want in my space".

It's very very important, I think it's universal, I think everybody on this planet needs this and everybody wants that, but I think for the Japanese there's a real need right now… this relates to what I was saying earlier, about the clash between the past and present. Where, you know, the tradition is so strong and so deep, that people have a very codified and more Confucian approach to "This is the right way and this is the way we should do things" and so on, which is actually against the Taoist way of how nature is acting, which is how feng shui works.

The feng shui philosophy is so natural and so speaks to the essence of everybody so that regardless of your culture you can recognize that this is something we want. Everybody wants stability, everybody wants balance, everybody wants a level of peace. And also a sense of autonomy and individuality and… when I say control, it's kind of the wrong word, but we don't really have a better word for control. Because of course we can’t control everything, we don't know what's happening, something might change…

People can at the very least in the home make a choice. And I think everybody needs to make a choice when in our daily lives there are so many times and ways we don't have a choice.

Q: Unlike traditional feng shui, your way of feng shui is very flexible about the arrangement of rooms, compass directions, and the environment of the home. But you have mentioned that each person's choice of furniture, colors and arrangements are reflective of each person's life. This is very interesting to me.


What I'm going speak to you about first is the experience I had with my teacher, about how I was paying attention to the energy, I thought, but energy not in a physical way. So with the compass directions, I was paying attention to "Which direction am I facing?". But physically which direction I am facing is also important. And one of the things which I realized, as I was working with her and also afterwards, was I wasn't the only person who did this approach. There was actually a Chinese feng shui consultant in the 1960s who said "We need to stop working with compass directions, because it doesn't make sense."

Maybe around 5000 years ago, of course until recently it made more sense to use the compass. But think that nowadays we have electricity, which they didn't have in China when they started with compass directions in feng shui. We have radio waves, television waves, we have satellites in space, mobile telephone signals, we have air which has so much electromagnetic information that there is a lot more interference on these energy levels, which shifts how it is that we work with these kinds of energy dynamics. So one of the things I try doing is with a compass is this: if you walk around a home with a compass, the compass will move all over the place, depending on whether you're close to a stereo, close to a computer, and close to all of these other things, and then certain points if you're close to power transformers... all these things shift the compass alignment.

If like I was saying before that all these things we can't control, what can we control?

If there's all this energy is moving us around, physically being grounded and physically having a logical sense of relationship to the space, our nervous system feels more at ease, based on, for example being able to see the door, as opposed to having your back to the door... it actually provides more nourishment and more peace of mind for your physiology. Then aligning yourself with something which you can't sense as much on a tangible physical level. Right, you can't really sense, "Oh I'm facing north-east, and so I feel better." You might, but you likely will not. But definitely if you're sitting and you're facing the door, and you can see the whole space, you know that you'd feel better, because you do feel supported and logically you know that nobody is coming behind you, and as no influence behind… you know, there's no sense of attack from behind, you see the whole room, and as I've described many times, you never see a successful company president sitting with their back to the door.

And so when I took one of those workshops with the famous Chinese feng shui author, she was facing the audience at 45 degrees, because that was her lucky compass direction and the other 45 degrees away from that wasn't a good compass direction. And half of the audience felt ignored, and she wasn't being direct because she wasn't just facing everybody, she wasn't being upfront with everybody. And so I felt "Well, this is very interesting, because she's doing this so that she can be more successful but actually she's not being successful. And it looks weird. She's cutting off a number of people here.” And so the energy actually of that workshop was quite terrible. And so I started to realize, "No, there's more than just magnetics".

Now I think that absolutely, you know, if I were building a home from the ground up, I think you know there can be some reasons to work with the compass directions and to work things out that way. It's not that we should absolutely ignore everything about it. I think though as a culture we ignore so much of the physical, the logical, physically nurturing and therefore spiritually nurturing aspects of design and arrangement that need to really make sure that our physical bodies and our nervous systems are taken care of in the way that can help us be more who we are.

And that certainly with more of the brain focused on what we see than on the information that we get from any of the other senses, I think we need to start paying attention to really what's coming into our eyes. And so that's the aspect that really interests me so much… There will definitely be some traditional feng shui practitioners sort of say that I'm not practicing feng shui. But when you read the original philosophies of what feng shui is about and where it came from, I believe that what I'm doing is more accurate. Well, it's more accurate, it's actually closer to the energy, to the essence of what they were doing then than what the traditional approach is now, because the traditional approach is just doing what they did 5,000 years ago. Well, we're not living 5,000 years ago, we're living now. So if you are here now, then how is it supposed to bring fresh energy and fresh opportunities into your life if you are doing things the way it was done 5,000 years ago, instead of doing things according to the timeless concepts of 5,000 years ago but applied in a way appropriate to present time?

Q: Someone I know built a house according to the compass directions. And she shown me the floor plan and asked me what I think of the place. When I saw it with your bagua map theory, I realized that the "knowledge" area of the house was used as a storage and it wasn't tidy. In fact when she spoke, she changed subjects a lot and she seemed to be not retaining whatever she studied. So I thought maybe it's causing her to be that way.


You know, the problem with how a lot of this can interpret from feng shui is, we can always look at things in the fatalistic way. So that it's very easy to always find a problem, right? So that's why I realized that the compass direction approach had a really flawed way, incorrect way of looking at things. Regardless of my talent and skill and motivation and so on, does it really mean that just because I'm facing a different magnetic direction that I can't be successful? Like, what is it that governs my success? What is it that governs my ability to be myself? Is it really just the magnetics? There is nothing else?

So, the same with a home, you know the problem is with the storage unit, wherever the storage unit is, you can then say "Oh, that's why this happened". The main point is that you need to see, how is the storage unit? Is it a good storage unit? Because the Chinese start to get really paranoid about where the toilet is located. Wherever it is, they say your good luck is going to flow away. So if it's in the relationship area, then you gonna flush away of all the good energy in the relationship, and if it's in money area then money's going to flush away.

Well, can't you just make your toilet a really comfortable space and balance the energy so that it feels clean and it feels fresh, and it feels uplifting, and then whatever area it is in, that area of your life has good energy? Instead of saying "Oh, there's a problem because the toilet's there", you need a toilet somewhere - everybody needs a toilet. So if you want to live without a toilet, have a nice life! You know you're not gonna enjoy yourself very much.

And this actually, this woman I took workshops with in London, she said "You should never do feng shui decorations in the toilet, because you just magnifies the energy that is being drained", and I think that's complete nonsense. Because you need to have a toilet, so why don't you want to make the room a more comfortable room to be in, and then when you're in the room, you'll feel good. And if you feel good when you're in a room, I mean why don't you want to spend more of your life feeling good and enjoying where you are? So it's completely non-sensical way of looking at things.

She also incidentally sleeps in a separate bedroom from her husband because, you know, his compass directions are different from her compass directions. This is in order to be "more successful". To which I would ask "How do you define success?" So are we just talking about money? Does success not have to do with having a warm personal relationship? And being able to be intimate with someone? So then the definition of success starts to become very very interesting, and we start to see what actions some people take based on what is supposed to bring them happiness.

And then I think it's actually not Taoist at all. Because the Taoists would say "Chop wood, carry water before enlightenment. Chop wood, carry water after enlightenment". So they would say, "Be happy when you're in the toilet, be happy when you're working, be happy when your partner is snoring". I mean they were there to say “just be happy.” So I think some people applying traditional feng shui are missing some aspects of living a balanced life.

You can start to live a distorted life trying to follow rules that are supposed to help bring you a balanced life, rather than just living with a balanced approach.


Q: I'd like to change the subject. Since you've been looking at Western homes and Japanese homes, can you tell us the differences between them and the tendencies that Japanese have? And also if you have any opinions about what we could do to make our homes better.


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There are obviously … If you look in a traditional Japanese home, they can actually be quite spacious. Because they are very well designed, with very deep closets and a very clear open space. So there is a very nice airy spacious feeling to a lot of Japanese homes, less or minimal furniture, and so on. An unfortunate fact is that a lot of people living modern lifestyles aren't living in that kind of spacious space.

Especially in a city like Tokyo where the space can be so narrow and people are then trying to live a life according to standards that don't match the space. And then you know, the bed doesn't fit in the room and the furniture doesn't fit in the room, and you know Japan is a very consumer-oriented society. The challenge then comes that you can't buy all of the things you want and keep all of the things you want when you're living in a very small space.

The challenge that I see a lot of people in Japan facing is "How can I have what I want and yet also have a physical environment that's spacious and nurturing?" And so usually the choice is made to have the stuff as opposed to having space. So I never expected the clutter, given how North America views Asia and Asian design, I never imagined that there would be as much clutter as there is here.

by legacyofcayce | 2013-07-25 18:26 | Interview

Nelson Mandela's Speech

Recently(*2010,April) I have come across many blogs introducing the inaugural speech by Nelson Mandela because of the movie "Invictus". The speech I’m referring to is the one about “our greatest fear”. Many people believe that Mandela said this in May 1984, and it has been shared over and over on blogs and in newsletters, as being said by him.

The quote starts as follows;

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

It is a very wonderful speech, and everyone was so inspired by it. However, after reading it over and over I had a strange feeling. I had recently read the original book, Invictus, that later became the movie about Mandela. The author said that people were not impressed by the May 1984 speech by Mandela. The author never introduced this famous speech by Mandela in the book. I was confused. Why would people not be impressed by such a powerful speech? And why did the author not introduce the speech in Invictus? I decided to use Google to see if I could find out why the author of Invictus had thought that people were not impressed with the president’s inaugural speech.

Soon, I found the original speech by Mandela, and it was completely different to the quote that many people now attribute to Mandela. Some bloggers introduced this “deepest fear” quote as being by Mandela, however other bloggers introduced a completely different quote. I didn’t know what was going on… so my English coach and I searched more on the internet and found a very interesting story.

Nelson Mandela’s official website also said that the “deepest fear” quote doesn’t belong to Mandela.

Here is what it says on his website:

‘Deepest fear’ quote not Mr Mandela’s

Mr Nelson Mandela is an often quoted individual; his inspirational words are
often referred to in numerous publications, television and radio broadcasts,
and online. However, a quote commonly attributed to Mr Mandela was in fact
never uttered by him.”


On the website, they said that Nelson Mandela never said this during his inaugural speech as president nor on any other occasion! We were so surprised to find this out. In spite of the fact that Nelson Mandela did not say this, many people around the world believe that it was said by him.

We continued searching and found the origin of the quote. In fact, it comes from a book, A Course in Miracles, written by Marianne Williamson. Perhaps many people misunderstood and thought that this quote had come from Mandela because her words were so deep and full of love that it seemed like something that Mandela would say, and now thanks to the Internet, although it is not true, it is now almost like common knowledge all of the world that the quote is by Mandela.


By the way, do you know "Prayer of St. Francis”?

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy."

Many people know this prayer, however it is in fact not originally by St. Francis of Assisi, yet many people believe that it is. The prayer is now commonly known as the Prayer of St. Francis although he never said this prayer nor was it a prayer that people used to pray for him.


I guess the same thing happened to the quote about "our deepest fear”.

I imagine this quote does reflect Mandela’s life and thoughts, and his spirit, and so that is why people easily believed that this quote was by him. Thus, eventually people all around the world have been so impressed and inspired by this quote, all the while believing it to be the words of Mr. Mandela.

Even though Marianne Williamson has said that this quote is from her book, I guess this fact might slip our mind soon, and so many people will go on believing that the quote is by Mandela.

The Paradoxical Commandments became famous as a quote by Mother Teresa. However, this too, originally came from someone else. It was originally from a Harvard University student Kent M. Keith, who was just 19 years old.



The Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson, the Prayer of St. Francis and The Paradoxical Commandments were written by someone’s mind, brain and their hands. However, I think that all words that touch our soul deeply actually come from God. One day, one moment, someone was able to access the universe and God’s consciousness. And they could translate his words for us, so that we too could understand his words and use them to make our lives better.

I heard that Mozart said that his work as a composer was actually easy because all he was doing was making a score of the music that he could hear playing in space. I think this is the same as what is happening with these quotes… they were written in a similar way to the way Mozart wrote his music.

So I think it is ridiculous to say that the Deepest Fear quote did not came from Mandela, but from other person in particular.

The more important thing is that we are all living true to these words, and if we are doing so then it is even possible for another person to think that we were the person who originally said those words.

When other people speak negatively about others, what happens? Do their close friends and family deny that or say that it is not true? Or do they agree it easily? I want to be the sort of people who is defended by others, the sort of person that others will say, “No, that’s not true, she is not that kind of person” if someone else speaks negatively about me.

Sometimes when we hear rumors about ourselves, we are angry because we didn’t say or do such bad things. However, it might be a message to us, that others believe that is how we are living, and so it is a chance for us to change.

In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with the complete quote of the Deepest Fear written by Marianne Williamson. This is a wonderful message that we should read again and again.



Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel
insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates
others.

by Marianne Williamson


Original Japanese blog

by legacyofcayce | 2013-07-16 09:43 | Mail Magazin BackNo.