"A Course in Miracles (also referred to as ACIM or the Course) is a book written and edited by Helen Schucman, with portions transcribed and edited by William Thetford, containing a self-study curriculum to bring about what it calls a "spiritual transformation".
Schucman believed that an "inner voice", which she identified as Jesus, guided her writing.
Throughout the 1980s annual sales of the book steadily increased each year; however the largest growth in sales occurred in 1992 after Marianne Williamson discussed the book on The Oprah Winfrey Show, with more than two million volumes sold "- Source Wikipedia
As the winning of the ticket followed my 48th birthday - yes I know I'm hurtling toward that half century ...It was a very timely gift for a day trip to The Light ... yes that really is the apt name of the venue hosting the event!
(I must at this point say a huge thank you to Melvyn Carlile of MBS festival for the ticket)
So, I find myself in a crowd of other #spiritjunkies awaiting the appearance of this beautiful blonde haired guru. The audience is mixed, but more heavily weighted to women... which does mean that the men do get special attention from the baying crowd a little later.
It turns out that people have traveled from all over the world to be there, pretty impressive effort don't you think? ... I've only had to jump on the fast train from Newark and take a cab ( Due to the fact I thought I'd get a slightly later train having been in London just the previous day... even though the venue really is in walking distance in truth.. I did walk back just in case you're wondering)
Anyway I digress....
To rousing applause Gabby enters the stage, a slip of a thing, she's soft and feminine and has a glow about her, she speaks with a gorgeous American accent, and even from where I'm sitting she has an aura about her that's already likable.
Without much ado, I find myself dancing and gyrating along with a couple of hundred strangers to her opening gambit .... "Sweet home Alabama" Everyone is grooving away as Gabby works the crowd into a frenzy.
As we sing the last few bars of the song, the energy in the room is palpable. We're certainly off to a great start to the day, even for us reserved Brits ( some of whom are glancing furtively around to ensure they're not the only ones making fools of themselves).
Among the audience I notice some familiar faces... the fabulous Jo Westwood and Lucy Sheridan new Hay House authors of #higherselfie, I meet a wonderful woman called Zara who works in banking, a beautiful soul Tony; a stay at home dad who wants to rediscover who he is, apart from dad and house husband who has become lost in parenting.....
....and an unforgettable oriental guy called Toc ( not sure that's how your spell it) who it appears Gabby has seen before. He wants air time and Gabby compassionately and lovingly coaches him to be gentle with his message... he has such passion in his message against human traffickers that his tone is one of a warrior ( he's even dressed a little like one to be fair) It's amazing how generously Gabby handles the situation..... and for sure when Toc speaks gently, his message is far more powerful. He does steal the show at this point with his reference to his own energetic protection technique, that he urges us all to adopt... The Halo condom.. he suggests that we imagine a large condom like a halo above our head and then pull it down over us... reminding us that it is only 99.9 % safe as a protection against the negative energy of others. The whole audience is in fits of loving and supportive laughter at the suggestion.
Gabby sets her intention for the day.... She intends the day to be a two way conversation,making it feel like "It's just you and me" adding we're all the same. At some level we'll get our inner questions answered in the room even if we don't personally pose the question.
It's hard not to warm to Gabby's conversational style, I feel a little like I've dropped in for coffee in a scene from "Sex in the city" and I've got my very own Carrie Bradshaw ...who's found spirituality.
Gabby then asks that we set our own intent for the day, with the suggestion we allow a "Quantum shift" to occur if we're ready and hold a desire for change. All that's needed is the desire. Synchronicity will then step into play, secret doors open, subtle shifts will take place and set us on a whole new path.
I'm pretty happy with my path right now, but I'm always open to universal intervention, so I set my intent to allow divine grace to open up any doors and light any path that is of my highest and most miraculous good.
Gabby then leads us in a meditation and chant to expand the heart centre - Aad Guray Nameh
Speaking the words in advance in her gentle American accent, for us to follow There's something quite beautiful about the chant and the singer Jai Jagdeesh, as the whole audience gets into the rhythm its a beautiful sound... even though I do think I'm probably singing something completely different to the intended words... I have a little inner chuckle that I'm more likely singing about goats or something... I do also feel a fair amount of resistance coming up... my BS filter ( or maybe its just my EGO) kicks in and starts an inner dialogue along the lines of " What on Earth are you wailing about... you could be singing about any old tosh and you wouldn't even know... as could the whole audience..."
I tell my inner BS filter to "do one"... and bring myself back to the beautiful sound being produced by a couple of hundred people who probably don't know the words either... I get another little inner chuckle as I think of my step dad; who when he doesn't know the words to a song add-libs with "Scalla bundy, scalla bundy".. hence we all call him bundy... I have know idea how that all started.
Anyway, I finish the meditation more centred, connected and relaxed... with a warm inner smile, which may have been attributed to the beauty of the connection to the whole room, or perhaps the stand up comedian that showed up on my inner stage. .... either way I do now feel more at one with the World.
Gabby then says something that kind of takes me by surprise. She tells us that she's woken up... just 23 days ago. That although she's written numerous books, been on a spiritual path for the past several years, she realised that she has been chasing a quantum shift for 36 years.
This realisation it seems has caused quite a change in her approach to life. She shares how her inner voice ( what I would call my inner critic ) had back chatted her, just like many of us I guess.... Now she just tells it to "Shut the F*^K up!"
She also reminds us the "You are the dreamer of your dream and your dream isn't real"
Whenever you feel disconnected... just to simply ask "Help me bridge my thoughts back to love" or "Thank you for bridging my thoughts back to love"
Her advice is to choose to live in the happy dream not the nightmare.
We all have what Gabby calls "Universal assignments" that you may call life lessons, or life purpose agreements. Those things that keep showing up , until we show up for it!
Gabby asks us all to consider for a moment what our own universal assignments are.
Members of the audience share their stories , their own universal assignments of:
"Accepting my disability"
"Stop attracting bad men"
" I don't feel worthy of love"
and the old chestnut "I'm not good enough"
This takes us into the juice of the day... the 7 step programme.
The correlation between the 7 step programme and the famous 12 step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous is pertinent here. Gabby eludes to her own historical relationship with alcohol and drugs and that she herself is 10 years in recovery.
With this knowledge it's not surprising that several of the audience members are also in recovery, from varied addictions. As they share their stories, the support from the room is openly celebrated.
For many, Gabby is their role model and guru as a result. It has to be said she is a shinning example of someone who has changed the fault in her stars. ( or maybe that was the bigger plan all along)
So the 7 steps...
Step 1. Recognise the assignment, call it by its name- out it. Ask yourself "What is my universal assignment?"
Then be in the present moment of the now.
We're all prone to what Gabby calls "future tripping" worrying about the future.
Ask yourself " In this moment now am I ok?"
Step 2. Accept that you can't avoid the assignment.
Be prepared to show up for it. It's in your readiness the path will clear.
Show up for the party that is you.
"The wound is the place where the light enters you" ~Rumi
Step 3. Feel it to heal it.
Feel the feeling that lies underneath the assignment.
We move into another mediation/ chant ek ong kar sat gur prasad to open ourselves to our intuition - moving into the feeling, honouring it and letting it go.
Step 4.Call on compassion to clear the path.
Speak your way back compassionately.
Everything that has happened up to today is perfect.
Have a time of devotion every day.
Step 5. Ask the universe for help and rely on a power much greater than you.
Mantra- "Today I choose to be alive, present and free"
Step 6. Take care of your side of the street.
Own your part of the situation.
Clean it up quickly.
Step 7. Welcome healing and expect miracles.
After such a deep and meaningful practice it's time for our cleansed souls to shine bright with a little more dancing....
What else but a little diamond bright type of shinning Courtesy of Rihanna....
After throwing a few shapes we're energised and there's a feeling of lightness filling the room.
Gabby advises us that when you think you've surrendered, surrender some more!
She then goes on to share a very emotional and personal story.. her intent to be pregnant.
How she was putting her life on hold, planning her life around this intent. Month by month went by, every time her visit from mother nature would arrive and she wouldn't be pregnant.
She realised she wasn't living life, just chasing a dream. That her own plan was getting in the way of Gods plan.
And so she surrendered. And then surrendered some more.
Steps to spiritual surrender....
You can't show up with an agenda, show up with grace.
Step 1. Take your hands off the wheel.
"If you want me to be ( fill in the blanks) then use me"
or ask "How would you use me"
The universe will not take from you that you won't give away.
What are you not willing to give away?
This reminds me of something I once heard the Late Dr Wayne Dyer say, "Where would you have me go, what would you have me do, what would you have me say, and to who?" or the shorter version " How may I serve".
Step 2. Turn over time.
FEAR lives in past or future... Be here now, in the miracle moment.
Mantra "The light has come" ... not when some future thing/ wish/ hope has occurred.
Step 3. Giving up on the outcome.
Goals and objectives are all very good, but can interfere with God's ( universe, great spirit whatever works for you) plan.
Of course there's nothing wrong with holding a vision, just give up the plan.
As in Give up the plan.... give it up to God, the universe ... or whatever term you feel comfortable to use.. in other words "Let go and let God"
Don't focus on the plan and outcome, celebrate what you have right now, rather than obsessing with what your think you need.
Forget what you think you need. Surrender to what is for the highest good of all.
The creation of anything requires joy and surrender ( the link to pregnancy isn't lost here as a reflexologist working with couples wanting to be pregnant, the wanting and desperation can be what gets in the way, when joy and surrender is more often the answer)
Gabby then asks the audience to consider where they have experienced spiritual truth or proof of this theory. Several people , myself included pay testimony to this approach.
Her advice is to choose to learn from the teacher of love, not the teacher of fear.
Be complete, whole and in flow.
This faith is powerful stuff. Whatever your own faith ( and I'm not necessarily meaning religion here, although it might be that for you)
Gabby asks us to consider "What does faith allow you to do and be?
And from that answer form a faith statement.
Here's mine: "my faith allows me to be the limitless expression of my true spirit"
Several audience members share their own all of which are truly moving and beautiful.
Gabby leaves us with these words:
"Lean towards joy and you will be led. joy increase your success."
I'm all for that. Who could argue that the World needs a little more joy?
For more details of Gabby's work visit: http://gabbyb.tv/
Until next time,
Make every moment count.