On 12 May, I attended The Sleep Over, a sleep experiment at the Quarterhouse in Folkestone, as part of the Festival of the Brain organised by Folkestone Fringe and designed by installation artist Geraldine Pilgrim.
The event was due to start at 11 am, but the organisers were running late. With the other attendees I waited at The Clearing, where the bar is located. There, we listened to bedtime stories, beautifully read by Zena Cooper, sipping a complementary drink, hot chocolate in my case.
Half an hour later, we were ushered into the auditorium, where all the seats had been removed to make room for 15 beds, like the one in the picture above.
Each one of us was given a small canvas painted with a different colour, and then asked to take the bed under a big canvas of the same colour.
After a tour of the premises--changing rooms, bathrooms, and a room where insomniacs could chill out in front of a TV set, nibble on snacks and have a cuppa!--we were introduced to our matron. He would stay awake all night, sitting at a desk in the middle of the auditorium, just to reassure us and answer any questions we might have. I wish I had paid more attention and remember his name. I felt sorry for him, and was grateful at the same time. This made me feel really pampered, a way I haven't felt for a long, long time.
And the pampering continued. I drifted off listening to another bedtime story, woke up to the Shipping Forecast, and finally surrendered to my surprisingly comfy bed. I woke up a few times during the night, but fell back to sleep immediately. I had expected to have difficulty in falling asleep, as usually I need a few nights to adjust to a new bed. However, I was in heaven. I hadn’t slept so well in ages.
In the morning, the joyful chirping of birds woke us up, followed by The Morning by Grieg. This piece of music always makes me smile. It brings me back to when, at 6, I danced to it in my first and only ballet show: somewhere I should still have photos of me in the yellow costume I wore on the occasion.
As soon as I woke up, I duly wrote down the dream I had the night before in the notebook provided, as we had been instructed to do.
At 9 am, breakfast was served at The Clearing and we had the chance to share our thoughts on the event between ourselves and the organisers.
I was one of the few people who slept well thought the night. One thing we all had in common though: we absolutely loved our beds!
To finish an already positive experience, I joined the yoga workshop held in the sleep over installation, lead by teacher Sally Anne Cranage, for a gentle Sun Salutation.
At the end, I stayed behind with another attendee and helped the staff to clear the room. We were so happy we felt like giving a hand to those who had made this wonderful experience possible. I certainly look forward to the next Sleep Over at the Quaterhouse.
And for you, dear Seeker, what's the best sleep over you ever had?
A week ago I attended a spiritual meeting, in which we were asked to meditate on a paragraph from a book “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind” by Deepak Chopra, and then express our thoughts on it.
I don’t recall the words of the passage. I recall only that the discussion touched on free will and destiny, among other things.
When I was much younger, I couldn’t even fathom the idea that we couldn't choose our own path. Fair enough, the historical and cultural environment already precludes many choices, especially if you are a woman and live in countries like Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, our future is not set in stone and we can always change it with the choices we make every day, however small they are, and with our determination. The non-violent movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and the Jamaican bobsled team spring to mind. So, we do have free will, right?
Theology, philosophy, literature and science have been dwelling on this topic for thousand of year, yet no definite answer has been found. In its absence, in my late teens, I reached the following conclusions:
At 18, I decided that if God existed and that was why I had two working cells in my brain, then God would want me to use my brain, like Jesus allegedly tells in the Parable of the Talents. Therefore, I took my chances and walked out of the Catholic Church, much to my parents’ consternation and disapproval.
I felt lost in the beginning, as if I had lost my mum. I had to re-choose my values, decide who I wanted to be, what legacy to leave behind me and nobody was there to help me. It took me years to find my path, and every time I thought I had it all figured out, something would happen and I would have to change my plans completely.
Whether I considered the change positive or negative, it required me to re-evaluate my priorities. Like when I developed a medical condition that caused my muscles to ache when I did computer work, and I had an office job.
Or when my daughter was born just over a year after I had joined her dad in France. We had been working so hard that we had had no time to create a support network. After a while, we realised that if something serious happened to either of us, the other would not be able to cope with a small child and no friends and family around. Thus, we decided to relocate to Italy, instead of staying there for the rest of our lives. I'm sure that you have examples of your own, of things that didn’t go the way your expected them to.
For decades, I firmly believed that my choices were an expression of my free will. However, the way my life has unfolded has convinced me otherwise. Everything happened for a reason, a reason unknown to me until much later.
For example, my embracing atheism and my medical condition being incurable with allopathic medicine pushed me to question even more what I had been taught that was normal, acceptable, and real, like Neo in the “The Matrix.” Atheism and physical suffering have been instrumental in expanding my way of thinking and becoming a spiritual person first, and a Light Worker later on.
Almost in my fifties, I have another hypothesis to add to the ones I formulated in my teens, because at the time I didn’t know that I could have a close, personal relationship with God without being religious. And because I hadn’t watched the film “Sliding doors”.
In “Sliding doors” there are two parallel plot lines: one in which the main character, Helen, catches the tube and gets home from work 10 minutes earlier than usual, and one in which the tube doors slide in front of her so she gets home 10 minutes late. To me, the choices that she makes in those parallel lives lead only apparently to different results, because the most important events are the same in both lives.
And from my experience, only when I “let go and let God”, in other words when I release the need to control the outcome of a situation and instead I accept to surrender to God’s Will, my challenges disappear rapidly and in unexpected ways. And once I'm willing to listen to God and my angels, and ask them why certain things have happened in my life, the answer I receive is usually related to deals I had made before incarnating. I’d like to give you specific examples, but they are too personal to be shared in a blog post.
It's for the above reasons that I’ve come to the conclusion that free will is just an illusion, have adopted the motto “Own Your Destiny and Be A Star” and illustrated this concept in the video at the beginning of my piece and in my Home page.
In this video the petals of the lotus flower represent the different realities or universes where we live (Wherever You Are).
In each universe or reality where we exist, we face different situations and have different choices to make (Whatever You Do).
The lotus flower then folds: at the end of time all universes and realities go back to the same point of origin, and once we cease to exist on one level of existence we continue on to the next one, and often afterwards we reincarnate. In truth we are all One, there is no separation between you and me, as we are parts of the same creation.
In the finale the lotus flower explodes and rockets (new versions of us) blast away, each one on a new adventure.
Hence the invitation to "Own Your Destiny and Be a Star".
In other words, the only real choice we have is either to allow ourselves to feel victimised by external circumstances or rise to the challenge and be masters of our destinies, living in a conscious, awaken manner. I have chosen the latter, although it means that I have no excuses or other people to blame for my shortcomings or apparent failures.
What about you my dear Seeker, what conclusions have you come to?