Highlight : Fire Mane

Meet Fire Mane.

Fire-Mane

She is naturally beautiful, talented, conscious and deeply connected to both Spirit and Mother Earth.

Her new album “Mama’s Home” has just launched.

Fire Mane

You can buy it here: http://firemane.bandcamp.com/

Fire Mane is a Medicine Woman and Sound Healer, occasionally leading transformational “Singing Portal” pilgrimages and retreats in Peru.

Her Voice Heals

Pachartakiy Peru Tours

© Lightening Magazine 2016

Highlight : J’aime Leigh Gianopoulos

Photo by Chanel Baran
Photo by Chanel Baran
When did you discover an interest in photography and filmmaking?
 
Since I was 8 years old, I have had a passion for story telling. I used to create films with an old home video camera that needed to be plugged into the wall in order to film. I have always had a very strong imagination and vision.
 
What made you decide to become a visual artist?
My love for sharing a perspective or a message to others without needing to explain my self in words. My passion for mixing art forms together to express a feeling, a story, an emotion. 
 
How did you develop your abilities and methods?
I attended a film production program at the Toronto film school. Working on many sets in various departments, but most of all allowing myself to receive a vision and take all the action steps needed to achieve it. Building solid teams of artists and supporters who are passionate about helping bring the vision to life. 
What themes and subjects are you most drawn to?
The cycles of life. Indigenous wisdom and culture, Ceremony, Spirituality, the uprising of the feminine spirit, nature, sustainability and innovation, anthropology.
Photo by J'aime Gianopolous
Photo by J’aime Gianopolous
 
What does a creative shoot with you involve?
Focus, dedication, trust, passion, growth, openness, willingness to explore craft, make mistakes, and learn. 
Photo by J'aime Gianopolous
Photo by J’aime Gianopolous
 
How do you prepare for your shoots?
Preproduction organisation, bringing the team together, acting work.
 
Why specifically do you do this work?
I do it as a way to express the transformation I’ve experienced, witnessed, or the beauty i see. It helps to give me a platform to communicate my vision with the world. 
 
What transformations have you experienced through your work? 
Biggest lesson would be getting over the ego of the artist. When you complete a project you can always see a lot of things that you could do better next time. This at times stops people from moving forward and progressing or finishing projects. I was stuck at this point for a while. Now I respect each thing I create and I look back at 3 things I loved about the work and 3 things I can grow in the world. Those 3 things then become my areas of focus to grow and expand in my craft.
What transformations have you witnessed in others?
The healing power of what can be achieved when a group comes together and combines their gives. This goes beyond what one on their own can achieve. It is inspirational.
Photo by J'aime Gianopoulos
Photo by J’aime Gianopoulos
What has your greatest realisation or learning been?
To keep making bad paintings until they are good, and when they are good don’t get stuck in it. Just keep creating, learning, and really appreciate the talents of your self and all people involved. 
 What is the most powerful type of healing you have experienced?
Love
What is your favourite music/artists to listen to?
Mucho. Garth Stevenson, Akua Naru, Rising Appalachia, Julianna Barwick
Who are your favourite filmmakers/ or what are your favourite films?
Terrance Malik, Michel Gondry, Baz Luhrman, Miranda July
Do you have one tip to share for happiness and wellbeing in everyday life?
Always remember how precious life is and that life is a gift. Take the nectar of life from every moment and person you meet. Always find the sweetness and fill yourself with it. Overflow on to others.
 
What are your plans for the future evolution of what you do?
 
Currently I am in South America shooting a documentary about the impermanence of life, and working in the jungle with indigenous people of Ecuador.
Is there anything else you would like to mention or share?
Short film : HOWL

© Lightening Magazine 2016

Highlight : Kate Surgey

KATE SURGEY

When did you discover an interest in healing?

My interest in healing began as an interest in preventing suffering. Being a small kid I remember saving our local ants from being killed by the boy next door. I couldn’t bear other kids ostracised or bullied at school, I often used to stand in and protect them – I was just more attuned to others feelings. I loved to sit for hours with my rabbits just stroking them. I knew I had this protective, nurturing capacity within although this was never reflected back to me and I could not put it into words until at 24 I had a powerful experience which catapulted me directly onto a spiritual path, opening doors that I didn’t know existed. I still didn’t know where I was going, but I just knew it made complete sense, and it felt like I had finally come home and found the direction of my calling. It ignited my heart and passion like nothing else.

What made you decide to become a healer?

It depends on how you define ‘healer’. We are all healers, healing ourselves and others as we go through life. But I was increasingly getting messages that the universe wanted me to work directly with people’s emotional, spiritual and psychological issues using spirit, rather than just my everyday self. I felt progressively pushed in directions away from more mainstream ways of helping others into more alternative approaches. Although for many years I was balancing mainstream jobs with healing others, straggling different aspects of myself like I was walking a tightrope – not able to really show my true self as I was somewhere still ashamed of it. Strangely, I finally went full time (with yet another universal push) when I realised that I was no longer resistant to my ‘day’ job or my everyday self – something settled within and the inner conflict was resolved. I had come to terms with life’s learning pace and had accessed a deep patience for it taking just some time. At that point, my transition and readiness to be a full time healer (without a day job), was complete and I found myself having a full client base. I needed a few pushes along the way and a lot of trust in my heart’s desire to do this work.

What type of healing work do you do?

This is a difficult question to answer. I combine many approaches from shamanic, astrological, the Earth Path (Soul Plan system), Process Oriented Psychology, body psychotherapies, and most importantly the Ascended Masters, Sacred fire and Goddess tradition. I don’t do hands on healing, but a lot of following my own awareness and feeling, working with pure intention, as well as invoking higher levels of consciousness. I align myself with what the soul is trying to learn and help the person also get aligned with that. But that’s just a small aspect of the work. Essentially, its supporting people’s Higher Self take up more residence.

What does a healing session with you involve?

There can sometimes at first be a degree of diagnosis and I use my awareness to follow the client’s process in the moment – what their consciousness, energy, body as well as their conscious minds tell me, and then let nature show me the way forward. I hold it all and see where the natural process needs to go. Essentially, the idea is to support a client’s higher self to show up and show them where it wants them to go to be happier. I have increasingly found that just about anything can happen in a session – from silent stillness, to expelling dense energy, to blissful states of consciousness and expansion to dragon roaring. Following the Tao means you never quite know where you are going and where you will end up.

How did you develop your abilities and methods?

In my 20s and 30s, I explored many avenues of spirituality from more traditional to some very contemporary. I went on many courses, read many books, worked with many teachers and I loved just turning up at lectures and talking with people. I have always been innately curious and so I just trained and trained. I wasn’t afraid to spend all my money on my personal development as I knew it wouldn’t go to waste and would pay off in time.

Why specifically do you do this work?

It makes my soul and heart sing, it challenges me in the way I need and it’s what I can offer the world. I am continually growing and learning about myself in this work, as well as learning about life and other people, and I feel like I’m a perpetual student. Also I suspect its the only thing I could do, I didn’t make a very good Personal Assistant and I don’t fit in the mainstream, so I figured I needed to go my own way and then bring the mainstream to me.

How do you prepare for your sessions?

I connect with my Higher Self, check in with myself, notice what’s within me and make no assumptions or judgments about whether it’s my own or my clients’ field of consciousness (as its all part of the same field). In terms of taking care of myself, I actively make sure I don’t invest too much in anything that lowers my vibration, but I also keep the perspective that my inherent loving nature is far more powerful than anything that could possibly ever lower my vibration, that way it doesn’t have any energy over me.

What transformations have you experienced through doing this work?

Both gentle and profound transformations. Some have been painful too. The most profound and positive of which was when I received my first ever Goddess Initiation. It shifted my consciousness to a place where I was finally able to experience love for myself. When I then started initiating other women through the Goddess, I then began to experience a deep love for others. More subtle transformations have come through my studies of Process Work – I am indebted to some amazing teachers and students in the Process Work community who have challenged, pushed and deeply accepted me.

What transformations have you witnessed in others?

I love seeing the penny drop in sessions or when people move out of their relationship polarisations and begin to access more unity and wholeness with others. These are sometimes very small and subtle transformations, but ones we never forget. I’ve also seen people in the midst of distressing emotions one minute, shift to a complete stillness and peace the next. Often it is the small transformations that feel the most profound and sacred.

What has your greatest realisation or learning been?

That’s a big question. To honour all life experience as our teachers, and that if we are wise enough and take the time, we can find ourselves in everyone else’s experiences at some point in our lives and that it’s less about changing who we are into something dramatically different and more about just simply reconnecting with our original nature.

What is the most powerful type of healing you have personally experienced?

The sacred Goddess initiations – the White Fire, Isis and Gate of Grace Initiation channelled by White Eagle of the Whirling Rainbow Foundation.

kate surgey

What is your favourite music/artists to listen to?

Florence and The Machine, Ashana, Eivor Palsdottir, Kate Bush

Do you have one tip to share for happiness and wellbeing in everyday life?

Yes, be curious and open about other people’s viewpoints and get interested in where others are coming from. With that, get good at knowing your own truth and listening to others’ truths.

What are your plans for the future evolution of what you do?

I am currently putting together a Spiritual Counselling training programme beginning March 2017 and we will be running our next Abundant Goddess Programme early next year, with my colleague Sage Emery. We also have our Abundant Goddess Community of women who with us, continue to spread the message of the Goddess and Divine Mother’s presence; grounding her presence in our own lives and that of others, which is the essence of all this work.

Is there anything else you would like to mention or share? 

Spiritual Counselling

The Abundant Goddess

Programmes and Retreats

Free Community of Women

Free Transformational Tools

The Abundant Goddess on Facebook

© Lightening Magazine 2016

 

Highlight : Romeo Baron

ROMEO BARON

A galactic tidal wave of divine light is descending upon earth, raising the frequency. The old reality is ending. We will experience a dynamic re-calibration of electromagnetic fields into Earth on a global scale. Which will trigger a radical shift in consciousness.

As we reach the second half of the year, we will experience more energetic shifts, frequency expansion symptoms; the healing, balancing and aligning of the mind, body, and soul.

The cosmic christ energy entering the planet now is increasing the frequency of our kundalini energy. And our auric field is expanding and becoming brighter. The aura is holding more of the high frequency cosmic energies it receives from the higher dimensions in space. As the aura expands, the person expands their consciousness. Our aura must go through these expansions in order to merge with new Earth. The frequency changes is filtering out any lower vibrational frequency from our body. 

As you feel these ascension symptoms; Emotional changes-feeling irritable, overwhelming mood swings. Mental changes-feeling disorientated, lack of concentration. Physical reactions-high pitch sound vibrating in the ears, intense pressure around the head, fatigue, exhaustion. This is a clear sign that you are spiraling upwards with Earth and integrating the higher frequency codes, thus creating an interconnected and unified crystalline body that will carry more cosmic christ energy.

Our body is being reformed, redefined. When we go through this process, our DNA also goes through this process. The DNA is being given the programming to prepare for a brand new reality to be born within it so that it can begin to experience and visualize the new Earth beyond the lower dimensional confines of 3D Earth. The activation of neural path ways will trigger new perceptions, new information, new impulses and the re-calibration of our DNA, thus activating our highest DNA potential.

As the Earth spirals up through the star gate 4D portal faster and faster, we are taken into higher and higher consciousness within the new Harmonic Universe. We will perceive worlds of unimaginable beauty as the veils are lifted. Multidimensional reality that interconnects all things will be as clear as sun light. The old reality will be swept away by the revelation of what we are, released, transformed into a multidimensional being, conscious, whole and free.

New Earth will emerge without fear, without war, without greed, in a safe custodianship of the awakened human species, manifesting peace with love, light and celebration.

Open yourselves to these high dimensional frequencies, open your heart, trust with love. Now is the time of great shifting of the Ascension Cycle!

Within Love-Unity,

Written by Romeo Baron

Published on angelstoyou.wordpress.com and Simple Capacity

Home

Romeo Baron is an advocate for spiritual wellness and healthy lifestyles. He is the Author of the book, “Personal Ascension: How To Expand Your Consciousness.” He is the creator of the website NutriUnify, a natural health organization that aims at spreading wellness throughout the planet. He is the creator of the website Ascension Energies, a community organization that provides insightful, and accurate information regarding the planetary energetic changes.

Highlight : Krystina Inokai

krystina inokai cover

What type of healing do you do?

I have named my approach “Guided Self-Recalibration”. It is essentially an active and conversational meditation process whereby an issue or symptom is explored until disruptive patterns are identified and their root causes are recognized and dispelled. I provide supportive reflection and guidance so that the inherent healing process within an individual can recover and optimize. The process is subtle and organic, addressing the spirit while always respecting privacy and boundaries. I listen, witness, support, reflect and guide, holding space and gently encouraging the individual to take an active part in their healing. The goal is to ‘free’ and to strengthen or bolster those in need so that they may proceed in their lives in accordance with their soul’s fullest potential.

When did you discover an interest in healing?

Even before having the vernacular to express such an interest succinctly, I have had an inherent inclination to support and aid others since early childhood. I always felt that we were all born with gifts to assist ourselves and others in unique ways, and in developing and sharing those gifts we all contribute in a meaningful and valuable way to the beauty and harmony of the world and beyond.

Did you study with someone? 

Since my quest has been to come to understand the connections and interrelationships between emotional, psychological and physical well-being, I did not study with one particular teacher, instead I have taken a hands on approach, exploring various spiritual philosophies (including Mayan, Toltec, and Native American inspired reflective guiding symbolism), crystals, nutrition, herbology, acupuncture, and homeopathy, as well as researching psychological, medical and scientific observations.

How did you develop your abilities and methods as a healer?

It’s an ongoing process of listening closely, questioning and exploring ceaselessly, analyzing and reflecting, and practicing that which I’ve learned. It’s an integrative process that has spanned over twenty five years so far.

Why specifically do you do this work?

I feel that it is a great gift to be able to help others by offering the insights that I have learned. It is an honour to be able to participate in the overall betterment and well-being of the world by addressing the needs of one person at a time.

What transformations have you experienced through doing this work?

The nature of the work is consistently and constantly transformative as I was, and am, my very first ‘client’ and I continue to work every day in one form or another. I have witnessed and experienced a slow and steady increase in ability to live from my core (or centre being) in a calmer and more proactive way – even when ‘doing nothing’ – and perhaps, most importantly (as someone living with Lupus for 30 years) I am able to manage any symptoms on a daily basis without the need for medication.

What transformations have you witnessed in others?

I feel that I’d like to reply as a mom. I cannot describe the transformations (as they are the property of the soul and not for me to quantify or judge). However, if ever anyone has borne witness or participated in seeing a pained child or creature become soothed, and reach a place of calm and contentment where once pain was prominent, that is the ‘transformation’ I’ve been privileged to take part in. The micro muscles soften, the eyes shine, the spirit is calm.

What has your greatest realisation or learning been on your journey as a healer?

That everything matters. The ‘sacred’ is ‘mundane’ and the ‘mundane’ is ‘sacred’.

Can you please share some of the most powerful healing you have experienced?

‘Healing’ is not always turning sickness to wellness, but is like inhaling or exhaling—in other words, it’s found in the constant expression of the soul. ‘Powerful’ is relative to the moment and so each tender moment of mutual connection and understanding is ‘most powerful’. That said, one of the most poignant experiences was the making of a short film I wrote, directed and produced in 2008 (“Inner Mask”). Not only were my personal artistic goals being met, but everyone who participated—from Extras to craftspeople, my son and good friends—every single person went through a positive change in the name of ‘love’. The synergy, unspoken commitment, enthusiasm, support, courage and ‘miracles’ (i.e. coincidence and serendipity) abounded for the five weeks it took to create the film from concept to completion. Directly or indirectly every single participant had a positive life-altering experience during or shortly after the film. The film itself did not receive much attention from the film world; however it seemed to me (and to all concerned) that the process of creating the film was in and of itself a gateway to healing.

As a healer, writer and filmmaker; is there a link between these aspects of your work and life?

I feel that everything is connected to wellness. I don’t call myself a “healer” (since I merely facilitate and don’t ‘directly’ heal anyone). I also don’t define myself by the words ‘artist’ or ‘writer’, but I feel that my soul’s inherent expression comes through in work that focusses on communication and understanding, so art is a natural extension of my being. Everything is connected and related. It all depends on one’s inclination and perspective. It’s my intention to share every form of artistic expression that provides joy or perhaps even inspiration of any kind.

What are your favourite films on the themes of healing and empowerment?

I believe that all art carries the capacity to express these themes and I have enjoyed many films that have carried an inspiring message in one form or another (in film, music, books, paintings, poetry, etc.). In this specific genre, I would choose “Whale Rider”, “The Power of One”, “To Kill A Mockingbird”, “Dead Poets Society”, and  “Peaceful Warrior” to name a few.

Do you have one tip to share for everyday life?

Find the love within yourself and honour it at all times with gentle focus and awareness.

Anything else?

Find joy every day in at least one meaningful way (whether in awe of a sunset, the sound of a friend’s voice or the scent of a flower). Nurture your soul.

What does a one to one session with you involve?

It involves a preliminary contact to establish the needs of a ‘seeker’ (where I also describe what my process involves in greater detail and we explore whether or not I am the right person to aid the one in need). If the connection is ‘sympathetic’, we proceed. They speak, I listen. There are always tissues, water and/or tea available if necessary and all the comforts of a clean, happy, safe and artistic environment that I can offer. We delve. We explore. The quest for positive change is addressed as fully as possible. A session may be up to three hours (and I always book the time accordingly whether it is required or not). I may use a pendulum to ‘check in’ with a participant and to ensure that we’re on the right track or to make sure we have covered all aspects that we can for the moment or day. At the end of the session, we generally (but not always) do a ‘clearing’—affirming the dissolution or dispelling of negative influences adopted for the sake of survival which no longer serve the same purpose, but which impede ‘expansion’ or ‘expression’. No one leaves in a state of upheaval or distress. In terms of booking sessions, I have relied upon ‘Cosmic timing’ to ensure that I’m ready to aid someone when help is needed, and it has worked impeccably thus far for several years.

How do you prepare for a healing session?

In a sense, I never stop ‘preparing’. I too am always learning, always considering questions and options. In a sense, I prepare specifically by ensuring that my space is clear and clean, and that I am detached, ready to listen and ready to address that which I have been invited to witness.

What are you future plans, ideas projects as a healer and as an artist?

I have just recently self-published my first feature film script “Halocline” (which I have released as an e-book unto itself, as one might a play).  I’m in the process of editing and illustrating a children’s book I have written called “The Story of Henry, Wolf’s Bane” which is about a little pig defeating a wolf, much akin to my ‘battle’ with Lupus (which is “wolf” in Latin), and I have been asked to teach artists in the context of a series of workshops offering a holistic approach to business. I prefer to follow the heart’s journey rather than to make plans. There are always new and exciting ways in which to participate and to share in this amazing journey together.

Website Links:

“Inner Mask “(short film, 2008):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-18AQxdoCpU

“Halocline” (e-book available online):

https://homespunwisdom.itch.io/halocline

Thank you for this opportunity to share and to participate in the Greater Healing Community in connection with your Dream and Spirit.

Namaste!

Krystina Inokai

© Lightening Magazine 2016

Highlight : Punnu Wasu

Photo by Heather Bonker
What type of healing do you do?
I practice a variety of healing modalities such as psychic surgery, reiki, pranic healing, chakra balancing/toning, sound healing therapy, shiatsu anma therapy, healing relationships with parents/children/partners, quantum touch, swedish massage therapy, Deeksha/Oneness Blessings, spiritual counselling, yoga, pranayama and various meditation techniques.
Why do you do this particular sort of healing work?
I have always been drawn to it and was keen on knowing ways to heal myself and others. When I was in my teenager, I used to have visions of sharing the healing “hands on”. At that time, I couldn’t really understand those visions as I wanted to follow my father’s dream of being a businessman.
When I started working as a healer, I suddenly had a deja vu and the same vision appeared to me- the one of healing hands, which I used to see in my teenage years.
When did you discover an interest in healing, yoga and kirtan?
In my early childhood when I was around 5 years old, I started sitting in kirtan with my father and then continued to learn from him. Seeing my interest in music, my father enrolled me into a Hindustani Classical Music school in aurangabad (Maharashtra) and while I was in my teenage years, I started attending yoga classes regularly and then began to have interest in learning various healing modalities.
How did you develop your abilities and methods as a healer and as a musician?
It took me quite a while to develop my abilities and methods by constantly inquiring, learning, practicing and sharing. In the beginning, I used to be very shy about expressing myself, but with Grace and the encouragement of so many beautiful souls that I have encountered in life; it became a smooth process to express and to learn again from the art that was expressed as music or as healing.
How do you prepare for your sessions and for your gigs?
By invoking the divine guidance and universal intelligence to guide, by thanking all my masters for all the knowledge that I have received, and also for the people who come to experience, I thank them for their presence, their inner beauty and openness to give me a chance to be part of their world.
Photo by Swami Arun
Photo by Swami Arun
What is your favourite music/artists to listen to?
I like many styles and genres of music such as: Indian classical/devotional music, kirtan and bhajans, mantras, folk, Sufi qawalies, Gazals, Bollywood/Bhangra, soul love songs, rock, rnb, hip hop, jazz etc.
My favorite artists are such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pandit Jasraj, Nath Rao Narelkar, jagjit singh, Rahat Fateh ali khan, Lionel Richi, Nikki Bomba, Nahko and medicine for the people, Beatles, Jarah tree, Dave Stringer, Cynthia Alexander, Seal, Norah Jones, Ravi Shanker, Hariprasad Chourasia, Amjad ali khan, Zakir Hussain, Shiva Mani, Hariharan, Yesudas, Noorjahan,  Kailash Kher, Indalusia etc.
What transformations have you experienced through your journey as a healer?
In order to have the divine grace we need to help as many beings as we can.
My whole life has been transformed and is transforming through so much healing that I have also received by giving it. My relationships have healed in a major way, my spiritual life, health, finance etc. I would say that each and every aspect of my life has been touched with the healing. I am so filled with Gratitude.
Photo by Larissa Israel
What transformations have you witnessed in others?
I have witnessed transformations happening in many people, they have come to an understanding to see and perceive life in a holistic manner, their way of thinking has changed, there is a seed of growth, spiritual wisdom, healing relationships in a major way, health on all levels, finances and much more.
What has your greatest realisation or learning been?
To live fully and abundantly in each and every aspect of life, and to follow my dreams.
What is the most powerful type of healing you have personally experienced?
The most powerful healing that I have ever experienced is healing my relationship with my parents, partner and children- major growth in a spiritual understanding of life itself.
Do you have one tip to share for happiness and wellbeing in everyday life?
Yes, live life fully with happiness in each and every moment.
The outer world is merely the reflection of your internal state.
What are your plans for the future and the evolution of what you do musically and holistically?
My plans for future are to travel globally and share the love and healing through music and other healing modalities.
 Anything else you would like to mention or share?
Aside from my daily healing work and gigs at The Yoga Barn in Ubud Bali Indonesia, I will be at the following festivals:
Switzerland
Summer of Love Festival from August 26th to 28th
Austria
Yoga Summit Innsbruck from September 30th till October 2nd
Music and healing tour to Europe in September 2016.
More venues and dates to be confirmed.
Photo by YoGiada
Photo by YoGiada
Facebook : Bali Kirtan
You can find my albums on my website www.punnuwasu.com, iTunes and

© Lightening Magazine 2016

Melanie Rickey : Finding My Mojo

Melanie Rickey

Melanie Rickey thought she was well set for motherhood, but no amount of reading could prepare her for the complete loss of her mojo. Now, as her son Horatio has just turned two, that mojo is finally coming back…

I am a voracious consumer of words. I wish all my reading could take place in quiet contemplation overlooking a bucolic garden, but unless I am on holiday alone (ha!), when I can easily stuff my head with two Booker Prize winners in a week, it usually involves snatched time with newspapers, supplements and magazines. They make me feel like a member of society. I need them.

On the subject of becoming a mother, I used my voracious reading to construct a complicated personal philosophy. Month after month, for many years, I paid close attention to stories featuring mothers or babies, snaffling away tit-bits like a squirrel hoarding nuts for a terrible winter. From all this reading I gleaned that the whole thing would be a bad idea, a disaster for my life, but was something I nonetheless had to do. Every interviewee ever asked says that having a child has been the single most meaningful achievement in their life. I didn’t want to not have a meaningful achievement.

My bad idea / meaningful achievement is called Horatio, and he was two in early September. The sun shines out of his pores, he glows with goodness and life. We conceived Horatio using IVF, as I’m in a same-sex relationship with Mary. Two weeks before he was born, I fell and broke my ankle in three places, requiring immediate surgery to insert supportive metal to help knit the bones back together. In the end Horatio arrived via Caesarean section.

Thanks to all that reading, I was well prepped for the no sleep, no sex, sore nipples, saggy vagina, saggy boobs, loose skin and varicose veins. I was all set for the loss of my social life, to the point that a highlight of the week is watching Strictly on a laptop in the bath. I had the fat sanitary towels. I was a realist.

I was prepared for the fact that my career would stagnate for a while, that some friendships would fall by the wayside (my friend Brix jokingly said “see you in three years”), and my status would be altered, without consultation, from that of ‘person’ to that of ‘parent’. I was ready for all of that; in fact I was secretly looking forward to it. I remembered a story about the actress Milla Jovovich who let herself blow up to 16 stone while pregnant by eating lots of bagels, before just losing all the weight and bouncing straight back into movie roles.

So Mummy Melanie would be the same Melanie from before, but with a few new saggy bits and a gorgeous baby. I’d have six months off work, then come back better. It turned out the saggy bits also came with an eight-inch abdominal scar, a six-inch ankle scar, two stubborn extra stone—and a pronounced limp, served on the side. The health visitors came round looking for signs that I was about to go bonkers as I shuffled around on my crutches. I wasn’t. I was dealing with it all. But I was so busy dealing with it all that I didn’t notice the old me, who was so primed with dynamic moves, had gone. My mojo had done a runner.

What finally broke me was the day I tried to squeeze into a pair of jeans in one of those fashion boutiques where the largest size is a 14. I have been an 8-10 for my entire adult life. I looked in the mirror, made sure the changing room door was locked and cried until I was dribbling down my shapeless jumper. I cried for my pathetic vanity while acknowledging that to feel happy in myself back in the familiar world of my old life I needed to lose weight and get active, yet had no will to do so whatsoever. I thought about the packet of Jaffa Cakes I would eat while breastfeeding my son that night. I wondered if I might have post natal depression.

When Horatio was eight months old I asked my closest mum friends when I might begin to feel normal again. All three of them said, separately and emphatically, “two years”. One of them, Jane Bruton who edits Grazia, wrote me this: “Firstly, your body shape has changed, so you’re dressing for a shape you’re not familiar with, and is constantly changing anyway. You’re a different person when you’ve had a baby too, so you need to get your head around dressing for a new identity. I look back at pictures of me on maternity leave and wonder if I’d taken leave of my senses! It was a jumble of the old and the new me, and I never felt quite right. When you get back to work you’re panicking anyway about your brain not working, then you look around and think, aaaarghhh.”

My friend Yasmin Sewell, a fashion consultant, celebrated beauty and online street-style star had her son Knox a year before me. “I can’t explain it, but when he hit two, I felt like I had it all sorted.”

You’re wondering now what I did next. Did I take one look at my blobby arse, join a boot camp and get miraculously fit? Did I cut my sugar intake to zero, lose weight and start preaching about the wonder of spinning classes? No I did not. That is not how this story goes.

When Horatio was nine months old I tried to fulfil a long-held desire to dance like Beyonce. I signed up to Seen on Screen Fitness and learnt the routine to Single Ladies with the bootylicious Bonnie. It was fun, but my ankle kept protesting. Then I started yoga, which I’d done regularly for years, but I couldn’t keep up with my old class. In the end, I stopped fitness altogether until Horatio was 15 months old, when I began attending two Hot Yoga classes a week. I nearly fainted in the first one, but felt amazing afterwards and went back for more.

Two weeks later I pulled on my size 14 jeans and found they were too big. I foraged around the cupboard and pulled on a pair of old jeans—they fitted! Turns out the excess weight came off naturally with time, with just a bit of sweating and posing thrown in. My jawline got its old angles back, and my natural confidence began to slowly but surely surface in little bursts.

Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? Nowhere in my stockpile of information had I read about this natural return of mojo. Most people seem to force their mojo back with intense bouts of starvation, carb cut-out and exercise. Or else they pretend they have their mojo back with staged images of perfection, posted on Instagram. Is ‘wait 15 months and it will start to happen on its own’ actually the natural order of things?

I asked Dr Ellie Cannon, a GP who writes books about new motherhood—books that when you read them feel like she is your honest best friend, whispering in your ear. Dr Ellie hasn’t heard of the Natural Mojo Reboot, as I have christened mine, but concurs that it took her about two years to get back to normal after the birth of her first child. “I think that we are overly prepared for the baby to come. But we are under prepared for the physical and emotional changes that come with a baby. Modern parents think there is an answer to everything on Google. And when the answers don’t come neatly packaged they don’t know what to do.” Sounds about right.

Dr Ellie says she commonly sees people needing therapy to adjust to their new life, once they have had a child. “Psychologically there is still an expectation that women will take second place to their husband and baby, while their partner’s life carries on. Then before women have a chance to fully recover, they are onto baby number two. Of course for some women it is the making of them.”

For me, it is Jane Bruton who gave shape to the two-year turnaround when she said: “It was a jumble of the old and new me, and I never felt quite right”.

The return of mojo is the magical moment when the ‘old childless you’ and the ‘new mummy you’ finally connect and harmonise instead of fighting against each other. My son Horatio has just celebrated his second birthday. Watch out world, here I come!

Photo by Caroline Irby
Photo by Caroline Irby

Many thanks to MELANIE RICKEY for allowing us to publish this article, originally written for KIN MAGAZINE

Highlight : David Sye

David Sye
Photo by Paul Elliot of Hut 29

People all over England, Europe and America have chipped in to provide quite a lot of money to Yogabeats Conflict. I think it was almost £25,000 pounds we raised to do this project. This year we’re flying people out from The West Bank to Scotland to carry on training there as yogis.

Why have you chosen to fly people out of the West Bank?

It’s too dangerous in the West Bank.

I don’t recognise borders. There are no borders to me. Love is the only thing that exists. So, if we need to take them out of there, we take them out of there. I believe that yoga will create peace because it goes beyond where any source of politics goes.

These people are incredible. How powerful the human heart is in spite of conflict, in spite of oppression. I’m headlining a yoga festival in Israel and I told them I don’t want to keep any money that I make, that it will all go straight to the Palestinians and I said “you need to know that”. They said that was fine, that they were totally supportive. There’s a great tribe of Israelis that are for peace and compassion. I’m proud to say that a lot of them exist.

What’s inspired you to do this work?

It just happened quite naturally. I was in a war in Bosnia and I really saw humankind and all the aggression which was stirred up by politics. The press is always very economical with the truth because they bend the story by just leaving out a few words. The press are very responsible for creating a lot of the wars that we have on our planet right now.

I don’t see myself as a yoga teacher, I’m a yogi and I believe that our species will not survive unless we can carry out what is important to us.

There are no borders between countries and there are no borders between the human heart. All of this conflict is something we need to evolve past and for me it’s just pure intelligence. It’s just so obvious. 

Why do you need a middle man for God? Why do you need a middle man for each other? You don’t!

You sound so fearless when you talk about doing something that would scare many people to do.

lt gives me such a pleasure to know that these people love me. I mean, they’re my family and so are the Israelis. I go between borders simply because I love both sides. It’s kind of hard to love one without the other. It’s totally impossible for me.

Is it safe there at the moment? 

No it’s never really safe. I mean if it was safe, I wouldn’t do the work in the first place. It’s just, it is what it is and it always seems to work out.

So the intention, with the work that you’re doing is yoga for peace?

The yoga gives people there the physical and psychological tools to deal with being in an open prison. That’s what they are basically living in-an open prison and there’s no doubt about that. It’s a very difficult place. There’s no freedom. It’s very hard to get out of the West Bank. Life is extremely difficult and also frustrating. Yoga is a way that they can kind of find that inside of themselves and they can be free. So, you can have an overt oppression outside and inside a sense of freedom. I say interior freedom because everything that we feel comes from the inside.

Where did the idea originate, to use yoga to heal the conflict between Israel and Palestine?

I was invited in 2004 to do some yoga workshops in Israel by Israelis. I said “Yeah, I’m happy to do that as long as you provide me with classes of Palestinians too.” And they said “No, we’re in a war so that would be very difficult with a lot of potential conflict”. I said “Well then, I’m not going to come.” They said “Don’t be ridiculous.” I was in a Bosnia war and I don’t know what the enemy looks like, they’re just different people. To me, there are no such things as enemies.

Finally they agreed to let me teach a class over at Jericho. I went to Jericho and had 18 Palestinians in my first class. We went on the front lawn for prayer. And I had beats playing on the Boom Box and we were rolling and putting our legs up in the air.  I really thought I might get into trouble, but I was fine and they loved me.

When I left the Israelis to go back to the West Bank they said “You know these poor people on the other side of the West Bank they don’t have good hummus. So, I became this hummus carrier back and forth and then finally they all wanted to meet each other.

In 2006 I was on a bus going to this meeting with 18 Palestinians. We were going to meet in Jerusalem at the American Colony in town and one Israeli came up to me and said “Can I have a word with you?” She asked “What are the Palestinians like? I’m really frightened of them because they killed a lot of my family.” I said “They’re just like you.” She says “Oh, you’re sure?” I said “Yes, don’t worry. You’re going to see how lovely they are”. So later that day, we’re in a hotel and I see this same woman hugging a Palestinian woman, and they were both crying. I just thought That’s it. That’s my work right there!

I mean, that one memory of them is burned like a tattoo in my brain forever. I can’t get rid of that. No politician can tell me that there’s anything better than that. The rest is just bullshit.

 What gave you the confidence to take yoga into war zones?

I found myself in a war in Bosnia when I went there to run a radio station. I was going in and out of the borders during the worse part of the war and then I had my car stolen. I was on the run from the Middle Eastern police and I couldn’t get out of Serbia.

People looked after me when I had no money, nothing. I remember one time it was minus 24. It was horrible and they fed me, looked after me. I saw such human kindness. They didn’t really care that I was a yogi, they read me as a human being who was compassionate.

I felt my work was starting at that point. I didn’t think oh that’s what I want to do, that’s just what happened. For me, wherever I am is the place I need to be.

If you had to summarise your life’s purpose in a short statement, could you?

Yeah. My own self evolution. I know that my biggest pleasure out of this is my pleasure. I don’t give a shit about the world. I give a shit about MY world and I need to feel happy with me as a human being. I’m not such an egomaniac to think that I can save anybody. If I’m compassionate with someone else, loving to someone else, it’s because I’m loving for me. It’s a consequence of loving yourself.

So if you love yourself then you’ll love everyone else?

I think that’s one of the characteristics of all the advanced souls on this planet, they’re very childish and they’re in love with themselves but yet they do the hard work. It’s because they’re in a place of bliss.

It’s interesting to hear you say that you’re not trying to save the world, but your actions would suggest that in a way you are doing your bit to save the world.

Well we all have to come together now and stop it and rub out the borders between countries. It’s like someone saying well, I’m gay and I’m straight. I mean where does the borderline stop? Who knows? There is no borderline. It’s ridiculous. The line is in your head.

Okay that’s a great line to finish this interview with. Have a great time, wherever you’re going now.

I’m heading to Coventry for a big Yoga & Tequila Rave.

Yoga Tequila Rave- what?

Last year we had 240 people and we had 50 bottles of tequila. Basically, it started in Colorado when they wanted me to teach four hours of yoga. We had a break and they all disappeared and went into a bar. I walked in and they were all hiding their glasses behind their backs so I said “What the hell is that?” They went oh, it’s a tequila shot. I said “Well, okay I’ll do one of those too.” They said “Really?” I said “Sure.Allow us to celebrate. Don’t be such pussycats, you’ve got to celebrate your life. Don’t be wimps. Everything in life is celebration. Celebrate life in everything you do because that’s what it’s about. So, as I’m drinking the tequila I get a download from the universe, which is that I need to do tequila yoga. So I said “Let’s do tequila yoga!” and it was the best class I ever gave. Basically, one of the main principles is “turn off your head”. The head is political so if you cut the head off you go back to being simple. You just enjoy being alive without all the stuff going on in your head. You cut the head off. So I started to do this as a rave event; and now they are completely sold out yoga raves.

WWW.YOGABEATS.COM

David Sye

© Lightening Magazine 2016

Highlight : Harmony

Harmony has some beautiful songs available for download on bandcamp and is currently embarking on a U.S tour. We love her authentic, conscious heart-centered videos and music.

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