Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heaven Is a Place on Mother Earth



Glory to the sri-krsna-sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious. - A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see. - John Newton

From heavenly harmony, this Universal Frame began. - Saint Cecelia, Patron Saint of Music

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

That which is to give Light must endure burning. - Victor Frankl


We are all here with different lessons to teach and to learn: charity and pathos are two words many a wall street wanker could stand to learn these days. Of course God helps those who helps themselves but it seems to my heart that some people have suffered too much and others too little. It is Time to share the wealth, for a collective bursting open of heart chakras. It is, afterall, in giving that we receive and you can't take it with you, folks.

I offer you Hope at this hour of deliverance from the darkness that surrounds us, as Paul sang. With this musical memory of mine, perhaps I am the real Pandora my fellow Swede, Tim Westergren, has been looking for. Tim is the CEO of Pandora.com. Folks tend to forget that Pandora, after she unleashed all the evils on the world, closed the box and had only Hope left. Perhaps its Time Tim and I chat, as crazy Swedes on a musical peace train mission. It is true that I'd certainly like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. And Tim, have I got a story for you....


With things in the world as they are, with so many people without shelter, without food, without peace, without love, without light, while others roll in the dough and insulate themselves from the plights of humanity, there is no shame at all having empty pockets, really. As I see it, God delights in our empty pockets -- they are just waiting to be filled if we just believe and receive. Unfortunately, receiving is one of the most difficult things to do when you're healing, when you have not yet woken up to the fact that you are a child of God and God's wish for you is to be blessed, bountiful, and happy, living in the Peaceable Kingdom.

When we're healing, we are often held down by who we have been, the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, what we can be, what is possible for us. All these stories stick, until we receive God's grace, which we by no means deserve, but it is granted to us anyway. Spiritual transformation is a strange state of affairs. At times, you feel unrecognizable to yourself when you give God the reins and allow yourself to be healed and renewed in the Spirit. If you pair this experience with a mind-body discipline such as yoga, it's even more of a wild ride. You become a new creation and as such some people who knew you when might want to hold you hostage to your past mistakes, to your stumbles, to the error of your foolish, selfish ways. Change in you means change for people who knew another version of you before God got a hold of you. Transformation and transfiguration is obviously uncomfortable and at times downright bizarre, but it is simply par for the course on the healing journey. You just pray for those friends who find you to be a stranger now, thank God for their love and friendship and pray for your reunion in God's perfect time.

The Truth is, God's mercy sets us free from our old wretched ways of thinking, acting, being, and pretending. Psalm 91:1 says, “ He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” It's a secret, except that it's not a secret, because the word lives and breathes in anyone who believes.

I found this record for $1 on the way home from church. It's by the Medical Mission Sisters of Philadelphia. Nuns on the run with guitars. The bible with a beat. I'd like to play it for Abraham Hicks some say. Perhaps we could have a cup of tea on an asteroid some day and talk turkey. My story is the walk of a Chritian mystic yogi with a heart for the world, a zany Aphrodite on wheels who my dearest friend Kimberly's darling daughter Bridgette once called, " Queen of the Fairies". Out of the mouth of babes! You never know what God has in store for you -- all you have to do is be open to everything, attached to nothing, really. Romans 12:2 says, “ Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” I hold close to this verse daily.

I believe that every Faith and spiritual practice carries this message of hope for renewal. But what I love about the yogis is that they keep it real simple-like, through the sound OM, a Universal vibration of Oneness that transcends the need to intellectualize these ideas of grace, redemption, mercy. There is no need to discuss and dissect or think about anything at all. It's just OM on the inhale, OM on the exhale. We make the sound OM together and in so doing, we realize that when its all said and done, we're all just here helping to raise the vibration of the planet, regardless of what we believe or don't believe, regardless of Moses, Buddha, Jesus, or Krishna. You are in a body, you are here on Earth with a Divine purpose, you are a miracle, you deserve to feel healthy, peaceful, and joyful in body, mind, and spirit and that is all that matters. In the end, all that you have is your Soul.

So many people in this world live with nothing and are peaceful, happy, content in their hearts to be alive, to just savor every moment and live fully in the present with gladness of heart amid the suffering. We don't need much to survive and happiness is free-- so are prayers, hugs, and breath, or as the yogis call it, “prana”, literally, “ life force”. We in the West have much to learn from our neighbors in the East about ritual, community, compassion, and ways of tending to the Soul, caring for the body, and honoring the Earth.

Simple living and higher thinking is what we are moving towards on this upside down world on fire. We are here to heal and be healed by each other and by the power of God's transforming love-- and if you don't like the word God, then whomever it is you think makes the sun rise and set, or whoever you think is flying this thing. The great cosmic shifts and upheaval that we are feeling globally have much to do with Mother Earth taking back Sunday, begging for our attention and care. We belong to each other and we are One human race. The power of the Divine Feminine which has been suppressed for so long is reasserting itself on this world's stage. We cannot go on ignoring Sacred Mother Earth which empowers us to return to our original blueprint for being and restores our bodies, minds, and spirits to harmony and health.

The patriarchal paradigm is shifting whether gentlemen or not so gentlemen like it or not. It was written in the stars. The Time has come. And as Joni Mitchell sang, “ We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.” The suits must surrender to the tree people. It's the only way. Hug a tree, set yourself free! For more about this idea, check out Dr. Jean Shindoa Bolen's book Like A Tree: How Trees, Women, and Tree People Can Save the Planet.

The gap between the haves and the have nots is growing bigger by the day. Those of us who have been called to live in communion with the natural world and with God understand that at this critical juncture in these precarious Times, there are only spiritual solutions to our world's problems and the suffering of humanity. I often think we can no longer even afford a separation of church and state any longer. I'm not even sure what that means since God is everywhere anyway. We could accomplish so much more together if those walls came down between church and state and we shared resources, and perhaps more importantly, gifts of the Spirit. That's a pipe dream, I realize, but are those not the best kind? Where is Puff the Magic Dragon when you need him?

Until we collectively, as whole, can experience where we have lost our connection, on a visceral level to The Creator, we will not heal. We will be, in essence, fighting reality. The source of our economic, political, social, and emotional problems are camped out at the root chakra. This energy center exists as a red spinning wheel of light at the base of the Spine. Now, whether you believe this or not, it's there. And don't ask me to prove it, perhaps read Carolyn Myss' Anatomy of the Spirit and call me in the morning. Most people could benefit from suspending their disbelief and taking a trip into the metaphysical for a stretch, to remove the Western goggles entirely and try on another blueprint for being on for size. At the very least, it is a departure from the “norm” (whatever that is) that makes life in the body more interesting, and perhaps offers a kaleidoscopic lens through which to see the world and your relationship to it. The Sanskrit name for this wheel of light is Muladahara. Say it for me now like Deepak: Muladhara. This energy center governs our connection to Earth and to our Tribe. It is symbolized by the color red and is considered the bliss center for the physical body. It is this root chakra that we must collectively recognize and honor if we are to pave the way for healing the walking wounded and to usher in a new world of peace for our children. Paradise, has not in fact, been lost. We simply need to remember who it is we were created to be and to let nature heal us.

Dr. King said, “ Faith is taking the first step when you cannot see the whole stair case.” It is this belief in things unseen and in God's finished work here on Earth that we must work to inspire in the hearts of our brothers and sisters who have lost all hope for a brighter tomorrow. Too many of our brothers and sisters have been forgotten, abused, denied, oppressed, and thrown by the wayside. So many souls are desperate, heart-broken, disconnected, isolated and feel that they are being held hostage by people with the money and the plans, never looking up always working for the man. We must come together as One and to do that we must remove our own internal barriers that keep us in our own self-created prisons created by judgement, fear, shame, and ignorance. We are all made perfect in God's image. It is our job as awakened beings to remind each other who we are and to create opportunities for healing where that somatic recall can happen.

I received in my travels recently a message from Mama Gail, High Priestess of White Dove, The Messenger, in the City of Brotherly Love, which I have been asked to pass along to you. This is a good message to hang on the fridge, to read every morning and share with your children, though as we know, children tend to already know what adults have long forgotten. I would ask you to consider where you may have any resistance to these words and to let your own healing work begin at the site of that Sacred wound. I remind myself daily that God wounds us to heal us and where there is love, there are always miracles. May you be comforted and uplifted by the strength and Truth of this message from on High:

I am love.
I am light.
I am peace.
I am harmony.
We are One.
We are Free.

Sojurner Truth said, “ It is the mind that makes the body.” We must work to inspire purity of speech and peace of mind in each other, to become instruments of peace in our daily lives. We must work to understand that what we take in – what we eat, what we listen to, what we think, what we say affects every cell in our body and that we have been given, within our DNA, everything we need to heal and transform ourselves. We are only dancing on this Earth for a short Time and those of us who have been gifted with the intuitive healing abilities realize it is our responsibility to mankind to, as Saint Cecelia, Patron Saint of Music wrote, “ Raise the wonder higher.”

As a child of the winds, I have never quite known where to plant myself. I've always felt I belong to the world, really. Yesterday my mother yelled at me in a fit of rage and said, "You are not God, you are not here to save the world, you are 32 and what the hell have you done with your life?” Sometimes I am grateful for a mother who does not mince words. Other times, I could do without her abrasive Italian delivery. I suppose she is entitled to her rage, her vitriol, her anger, of course. Like many tired Mamas, she is sick and tired of being sick and tired. But you can't hold onto anger for too long before it quite literally eats you alive and your pain becomes who you are. What I wanted to say to her, though I know better is: I am God, you are God. And what we are craving, collectively, is a return to innocence. And if my mother wasn't from Staten Island, New York and didn't find my barely British blood entirely unamusing, I would have played The Cure for her, the part where Robert Smith sings, “ I made a pilgrimage to save this human race. I'll stop the world and melt with you.” Sigh, sigh.At this point, Will Smith's "Parent's Just Don't Understand” is likely more where things are between me and Mommy Dearest.

People keep asking me, “ So, what's next for you?” To that I wish to play a Bjork song “ It's not up to you.“ Sometimes I confess, I forget that rule " know your audience" entirely. As my friend Jessica Puma said, " You're not for everyone,Holly. " To which I say, my dearly beloved Jessica, " What other people think of me is none of my business!"

What's next for me is that after I am crowned Queen of the Fairies or Queen of the Cosmos or Queen of the Yogis, I will set about seeing Michael Jackson's dream realized to heal the world, make it a better place. I will hold Court and we will manifest destiny together, the lovers, the dreamers, and me. Oh, you need something concrete do you? Right, right..

Vell, I'm teaching with the WORLD Y.O.G.A. project to bring yoga to inner city schools and I'm drafting a little plan to send to President Obama called The Real Deal. Kind of like FDR's New Deal only the relief and recovery will take the form of alternative modalities of healing to make natural healing accessible and affordable to all. If I were to offer one message of Hope to our President it is this: the yogis are coming! The yogis are coming! And if you don't keep your wits about you, you might get trampled on by a herd of elephants. And, Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha, Mr. President. You might want to commit that one to memory. It is the mantra to the happy little elephant, Ganesha, who happens to be the remover of obstacles.

What dreams may come.....

In God We Trust,

Holly J. Westergren

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Touching you, touching me.

Let's start at the very beginning. I was born in 1979 in Toms River, New Jersey on Holly Road. My parents are both very musical people. I swear my dad is the lost Bee Gee and my mother, Olivia Newton John's next of kin. When I was little my mother used to sing that Xanadu song, " Have to believe we are magic, nothing can stand in our way". I still believe her. Somewhere along the road, my mother told me that the Neil Diamond song " Holly Holy Love" was the inspiration for my name. It's off the album, " Touching you, touching me", which these days doesn't jive so well what with all the wrong people touching all the wrong people in all the wrong places. It would be a sweet sentiment if people's minds were not in the gutter. I adore this album art, mostly because it is very rare to see a man in polka dots and he wears them so well. I find polka dots on a man very elegant and polka dots in general, instant happy-making.




I always wondered what the back story was to the song. It sounded to me like Mr.Diamond fell for a shixa, perhaps a Catholic girl who he couldn't have because she was on some holy mission. The lyrics have been a great source of comfort on the road and some day I hope I get to ask Mr. Diamond who this girl was and where this song came from. Here are the lyrics, they're worth the read and the rewind:




Holly holy eyes
Dream of only you
Where I am, what I am
What I believe in
Holly holy
Holly holy dream
Wanting only you
And she comes
And I run just like the wind will
Holly holy


Sing a song
Sing a song of songs
Sing it out
Sing it strong


Call the sun in the dead of the night
And the sun's gonna rise in the sky
Touch a man who can't walk upright
And that lame man, he's gonna fly
And I fly


Holly holy love


Take the lonely child
And the seed
Let it be filled with tomorrow
Holly holy

Sing a song
Sing a song of songs
Sing it out
Sing it strong


Call the sun in the dead of the night
And the sun's gonna rise in the sky
Touch a man who can't walk upright
And that lame man, he's gonna fly
And I fly, yeah
And I fly


Holly holy dream
Dream of only you
Holly holy love
Holly holy love




It is late now and tomorrow I am heading over to Yoga Palace, as I call it -- the home of my dear friend Liana Cameris,who I have known since the second grade. She is a brilliant yoga teacher, a healer, an Earth Mother Goddess, an angel, a fire dancer and keeper of the flame. Yoga Palace is where I have been blessed to have landed many a time to hatch ideas, write, listen, dream, play. It is one of those alchemical houses where the vibe is pure Divine yoga love, every inch of it. Jordanna Rock Garden is there too ( aka J. Rock) another angel in my life and cream of the crop Jivamukti yoga teacher and musician. The supernatural Simon Park is sometimes there as well in this Palace of the Yogis in the City of Brotherly Love, perhaps I will have a Simon sighting. There's a snake who lives there too named Jameson and last time I was there it shed its skin. I'm still afraid of snakes. I'm Old and English underneath, I blame it on that. Anyway, I feel like something equally transformative may happen tomorrow over tea in the company of yogis. There is that feeling blowin in the wind. The answer has been there all along, I realize, Mr. Dylan. I should have listened to you, could have saved myself a lot of Time, but what fun would that have been? I've been everywhere, man. And I guess some of us are just born to learn the hard way. I wouldn't have it any other way, apparently. Well, Saint Francis said, " I have been everything unholy. If God can work through me, he can work through anyone." And Paul sang, " Love is all you need". That's where we are now, friends, Romans, countrymen. Keep your head to the sky.





A picture taken on the sill of my present perch of the little things......



Meet me in the morning......












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