20. Meeting Lisa Nichols from “The Secret”

“Earth’s miracles are Heaven’s laws” Johann Richter.

If you have seen the movie “The Secret”, you will recognise the name “Lisa Nichols.”  She is the most in-demand public speaker in the world today.  Her story is awe-inspiring about how she shifted from being a single mother on benefits and hardly able to buy food for her son to a powerful, internationally famous, public speaker and metaphysical teacher.

I was looking forward to meeting Lisa at our recent “Birthing our Divine Feminine” New Thought Conference in Johannesburg on 9 August 2017.  Unfortunately, there was a problem with her passport and she was not allowed to board her flight from New York to South Africa on Monday 7 August as planned.  Thanks to the power of intention – her intention to get to South Africa and serve the audience and Muzi Cindi’s (the organiser’s)  intention to make sure Lisa would give her keynote speech on Wednesday afternoon of the conference  – standard regulations around the time needed to issue a new US passport were defied and Lisa arrived in Johannesburg at 9 am on the morning of the conference.  She then rested for a few hours and joined the other speakers in the front row at the Pavilion Room in the Sandton City Convention Centre at about 2.30 pm.  Despite the jetlag and an overnight flight from the USA, Lisa gave a brilliant motivational speech and had the audience hanging on her every word.

Unfortunately, I missed getting my photo taken with Lisa on that Wednesday.  I knew she would only be in South Africa till Friday and I got annoyed with myself for not persisting when I had the chance.  I knew I would not see her again until, suddenly, on Friday morning, Muzi called me and invited me to lunch at his home with Rev Michael Beckwith and the Agape group plus Lisa Nichols!!

When I arrived, I got chatting to an Indian couple. “Coincidentally” I had met them in the lift on the morning of the conference and they had asked me the way to the Pavilion Room.  They had recognised me as one of the speakers from the conference programme.  After my outrageous talk on “God & Sex” they came up to congratulate me with big smiles on their faces.  They had never met such an irreverent reverend!  And here they were again, this time at Muzi’s house.  Strange. Were they part of the Agape group?  No, they were Lisa Nichol’s personal hosts!

Lisa Nichols with her S. African hosts – Vis and Mona Naidoo

They had joined her mailing list just 2 weeks before her trip to South Africa. When they saw that she would be speaking at the conference, they sent her a message offering to show her around Johannesburg and take her to the Nelson Mandela Foundation where they could get her a pass into the private rooms most visitors were not allowed to see.  Lisa accepted immediately and the Indian couple became her unofficial guides and companions for her 72 hours in Johannesburg.

The three of us – the Indian couple and me – had a lovely connection and it turned out that we lived very close to one another.  I told them that I would like a picture with Lisa and they said it would be no problem to organise it.  I kept them laughing over lunch with my irreverent tales while Lisa spent time with Muzi’s family and did an interview with a national TV crew.

Once the lunch was over, the interviews were complete and the Agape group had gone back to their hotel to prepare for the evening event,  Muzi asked Lisa to come into the back garden for some pictures .

We then spent about 30 minutes taking pictures galore with Lisa.  So I got my picture – many pictures, actually, and they were fun and relaxed.

Then, together with my new Indian friends,  I rode with Lisa and her manager to Johannesburg airport and hugged them goodbye before they departed for the USA.

I love how Spirit over-delivered in answer to my regretful whine “I wish I had had my picture taken with Lisa!”

Celebrating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings

Rev. Steph

19. The Divine Feminine can even forgive Trump

“The miracles of earth are the laws of Heaven” Johann Richter.

Rev. Steph

If you have checked out my new website, http://www.TimelessTransitions.net, you may know that one of the services I offer is Akashic Readings.

One evening, in early 2017, I entered into an Akashic Reading on Skype for a dear friend in the USA.  My friend was requesting a way to manage her anger and hatred towards President Trump and also towards her biological sister.  She had not been able to forgive either of them for what she perceived to be unacceptable behaviour.

Donald Trump 5440384453_4669d0096b_q

Donald Trump.  Photo by Gage Skidmore.  Freeforcommercialuse.org

What came through in the Akashic reading is that Trump is the personification of the shadow – just like the devil in Christian mythology.  His enemies who want him out of office all want to project blame on to someone for their pain and their human sense of separation from their good. Trump is the perfect target.  The only reason Trump could even become President is because of the disowned shadow of the American people.  The shadow that got him elected is the greed and the lust for power and control and the belief that , as President, Trump will magically increase the material good and the personal control of his electorate.  The shadow that gets him hated is peoples’ frustration with their sense of powerlessness, their sense  of being a victim, disenfranchised, even enslaved, especially for the non-white, non-Christian, non-wealthy, non-male, non-heterosexual, non-employable, non-educated, non-“standard” populace.

In the Akashic reading, we asked the Lords and Masters of the Records to bring about a healing in perception.  In response, they gave me an image of Mary, the mother of Jesus the Christ.  She was standing on a cloud and holding Trump as a baby.  She radiated love to her baby as if he were the living Christ.  Mary, the Divine Mother, represents the power to love unconditionally because she can see the innocence, the Christhood, in every baby.

Madonna and child by Leonardo da Vinci 36240133341_52ac91d303_q

The Madonna and Child by Leonardo da Vinci. 

Photo by Mrwtfd.   Freeforcommercialuse.org

 

Then it became clear that that is our task: to imagine we are holding the baby of the person we hate in our arms and radiating love to him or her.  And if we still cannot forgive them, i.e. behold their essential innocence, then we can imagine putting them in Mother Mary’s arms for her to love and to see the truth.  That way, we are not struggling with our human sense of injustice or hurt which clouds our judgement and prevents us from recognising the essential divinity of all beings.

When I had finished doing the Akashic reading, I went to watch TV. The first channel on the TV screen was showing a documentary about  a U.S. court case in which a British boy of 18 was going to be sentenced for attempting to murder Trump. The boy has Asbergers Syndrome, a type of autism which generally causes those with  this condition to be mentally brilliant but socially inept and very challenged when it comes to forming loving bonds with family, friends and lovers.

This boy considered Trump to be evil, mainly for his racist policies, and wanted to shoot him in order to save the world. He carefully calculated how he could kill Trump. The boy booked a ticket to Las Vegas, where he knew Trump would be speaking at a political rally before the presidential elections in late 2016. On the day before the rally, he went to a shooting range to practise using a gun.  On the night of the rally, he got into the auditorium and managed to get a seat near the stage. After Trump walked on and began to speak, the boy tried to get a gun from a security guard to kill Trump on stage in front of thousands of people. Of course, the security guard would not give up his gun.  He called for support and, within seconds, two guards were dragging the boy out of the stadium and handcuffing him.  He was then put in jail to await sentencing.

This was not the profile of a killer.  The boy wrote an apologetic note to his American lawyer saying that he had a mental illness.  The judge had compassion for him in the court case and sentenced him to one year only, with time off for good behaviour, so that he could go home to his family in the UK and get the care and support required.

So in the space of one evening, I got to see the innocence of Trump as a baby and also the innocence of this young man who tried to kill Trump.

BABY SLEEPING 16373547459_bd1d638e99_m

Photo by Peter Dahlgren.  Freeforcommercialuse.org

We are all innocent spiritually. Now let that spiritual innocence be the focus of our attention that it might filter through into the way that we behold others and ourselves. May we perceive all beings through the eyes and heart of the Divine Mother, Mary. May forgiveness prevail and heal the world.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

 

 

 

18. How do we birth the Divine Feminine exactly?

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” Johann Richter

Wow, wow, wow!!!  Yesterday’s conference in Sandton City Convention Centre in Johannesburg: “Birthing our Divine Feminine: From History to HerStory” was an evolutionary strike of lightning power. The day was so rich with so many magnificent speakers including Rev. Michael Beckwith, Lisa Nichols and Bishop Pearson and his wife, Gina Pearson, from the USA.

My talk on “God & Sex” was a total hit.  Still basking in the afterglow today.  In fact, if I smoked, for sure I would be enjoying a post-coital cigarette….

What is the Divine Feminine exactly?  And how do you and I birth the Divine Feminine?

Our culture has been dominated by the Divine Masculine for approx 5000 years.  We do not refer to the male god we have inherited as the Divine Masculine because we are taught that it is the only god there is.  The Divine Feminine is the other half of Heaven.  And it is time for Her to emerge again in order that the planet and its people might survive and thrive rather than be destroyed in the current wave of masculine greed and war-mongering.

Technically, we cannot birth Her because she exists already but She has been covered up and silenced, undermined and enslaved.  However, as Rev. Michael so beautifully expressed yesterday, sometimes it is necessary for new energy to build up behind the scenes, for oppression and enslavement to become so extreme that the anger builds, the communities form, the power grows and then suddenly there is an “evolutionary sling shot” whereby the energy that has been held back suddenly breaks through into mass consciousness and changes the path of history, in this case, HerStory.

So even though She is fully present between us and amongst us, She has to be brought into conscious  awareness for the changes to occur.  To midwife her into existence, we can begin by:

  • honouring and praising the Feminine energy,
  • listening to Her voice of Intuition within us,
  • letting love guide our words and actions,
  • caring for our bodies and the Earth,
  • creating beauty in our environment,
  • adorning our bodies,
  • dancing,
  • making music,
  • sharing feelings,
  • sharing resources,
  • protecting all children,
  • reciprocating kindnesses,
  • relishing in our sensuality,
  • communicating through conflict rather than take up arms,
  • welcoming support and being supportive in the face of violence
  • saying YES to life and love
  • standing up for equal wages for women
  • move into positions of power in business and in the state institutions – political, financial and religious
  • say NO to abuse, exploitation, rape, incest, pornography, genital mutilation, honour killings and all the other forms of hatred that men express towards women.

Please comment  on this blog and add to this list.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology,

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

17. The Miracle of Michael and Muzi and Mandela (Part II) and the Divine Feminine Conference

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” Johann Richter

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T. S. Eliot

In the last blog post, I told you how the New Thought convention at Sandton City, Johannesburg, in 1989 was an important catalyst for my journey as a Religious Science minister.  I also told you how I had met Soul Home member, Muzi Cindi, in August 2014, the very day before he flew to Los Angeles to meet with my former minister and teacher, Dr. Rev. Michael Beckwith at Agape.

   Muzi and Rev. Steph, August 2014

During that holiday in South Africa in 2014, I set the intention to leave my job in Europe and come home. And, indeed it came to pass that one year later, in August 2015, I handed in my notice and returned to Johannesburg to take care of my mother and step-father. Since then I have been speaking regularly at Soul Home which delights me. Muzi often attends our Sacred Gatherings when he is in town.

In February 2017 I took a leap and began a series of 3 x Sunday talks on “God and Sex” for the Soul Home community.  I had always enjoyed mentioning sex in church – just to push the boundaries – but I had never given talks focused solely on that taboo topic.  Muzi attended the 3rd talk.  In our gratitude circle at the end of the Gathering , I thanked everyone there for providing the forum for me to talk about God and Sex because it was something I had been longing to do for years.  Joyously, I told them that I had finally found my groove. 🙂  Immediately afterwards, Muzi approached me and asked:

“Do you remember last year when I told you that I would be inviting Rev. Michael to come to South  Africa?”

“Yes” I said.

“Well, he accepted and he will be here in August!  We are going to host a New Thought Conference and I want you to be one of the speakers and do the same talk you just did for us this morning on God and Sex.”

“Hmmm, let me think about it,” I said. (Nah, just kidding.  I was ecstatic!)

Later Muzi also asked me to create and facilitate a ritual for the audience with the intention of healing sexual violence.  I will be partnering with Bishop Jackson Khosa to do this sacred work.

Our conference is scheduled for 9 August and I get to share the stage with my beloved teacher, Rev. Michael Beckwith. In 2006, he became internationally famous for his role in the movie “The Secret” about the Law of Attraction which led to interviews on Oprah and the Larry King show.

One of the other speakers from “The Secret,” Lisa Nichols, will also be coming over from America to speak at the conference.

There will be another New Thought Celebration event on August 12 at one of the important churches in the Soweto township: Regina Mundi.

In March when Muzi invited me to speak, he was busy looking for the perfect venue in Johannesburg that would be large enough to hold 5000 people.  In my heart, I wanted the Sandton City Convention Centre because it is the best in town and because it was such a catalyst for my spiritual journey in early 1989, but I did not say anything to Muzi. I just prayed for the perfect venue.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I found out that the event would, indeed, be held at the Sandton City Convention Centre!

Don’t miss this conference!  For tickets and information, Go to http://www.muzicindievents.co.za

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T. S. Eliot

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology,

Blessings,

Rev. Steph

 

16. The Miracle of Michael and Muzi and Mandela (Part I)

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” Johann Richter.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T. S. Eliot

In January 1989 I attended my first INTA (International New Thought Alliance) conference at the Sandton City Convention Centre in Johannesburg, S. Africa.  The whole experience was life-changing for it was there that I met Dr. Margaret Stevens for the first time.

Dr. Margaret Stevens

She was the Senior Minister at the Santa Anita Church in Arcadia, California, and one of the speakers who had come from America to spread the New Thought message in South Africa. Before she flew home, I had an interview with her during which she gave me a place at her Santa Anita School for Ministerial Studies, starting in September 1989.

SantaAnitaChurch_Easter_NadiaKhalilBradley (47)

The Santa Anita Church by Dawn Katzin

Freeforcommercialuse.org

A few months later, I left South Africa to start my training in California. During the first term at the Santa Anita school, my fellow students recommended that I go to hear Rev. Michael Beckwith at his church, Agape, in Santa Monica.  It took me a few months to decide to go there (the journey was over 40 minutes!) but once I did, I never looked back.  Rev. Michael had a life-changing effect on me.  The Spirit was and is alive as him in a way that I had never experienced before or since.  And he had manifested the kind of ministry I had envisioned for South Africa with all the races worshipping together in harmony.

Rev. Michael Beckwith by lightheart2012

https://www.flickr.com/photos/29760223@N06/2781443072/

Freeforcommercialuse.org

In the March of my final year at Santa Anita, I asked Rev. Michael to be the keynote speaker at my ministerial graduation ceremony on 14th June, 1992.  He agreed. It was only at the ceremony that he heard me speak about my vision for a multiracial ministry in South Africa to heal the wounds of Apartheid. Immediately, he put me in touch with the team of African-American Agape members who were planning a speaking trip for him to South Africa later that year. Happily I joined the Vision Team to pray and plan. I so badly wanted to join Rev. Michael and the Agape group when they left for South Africa in November 1993 but my immigration status in America was too precarious: if I had gone back to South Africa at that time, I might never have been allowed back in to America and I knew I was not ready to leave for good.  There was still a lot more to learn.

In 1998 I graduated through my 2nd ministerial training, this time at the Agape Campus of the Holmes Institute. A few months later, in January 1999, while attending a workshop on Nonviolence, I got my “call” from Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr. to return home to South Africa.  (You can read more about that in my autobiography “The Miss-Adventures of an Irreverent Reverend: a spirited guide for rebels and renegades.”)

The World Parliament of Religions was scheduled to take place in Cape Town, South Africa, in December 1999.  I had heard about it in December 1998 and had dreamed of accompanying Rev. Michael there.  That dream became a reality.  The high point of the Parliament was when Nelson Mandela walked on the stage to address the crowds and after his speech, Rev. Michael presented him with the Gandhi-King award for Peace. How wonderful to witness these two spiritual giants on the same stage.

Nelson Mandela by Marco Oliviera

https://www.flickr.com/photos/16151800@N00/2678695273/

Freeforcommercialuse.org

The ministry I started in Johannesburg in the year 2000, after the Parliament, was very successful but also very stressful and I burnt out.  In 2005 I left South Africa and began a new career as an international English teacher for foreign students.  Before I left, I handed the ministry over to my 3 practitioners who had recently graduated: Gerd Pontow, Anka Daly and Penelope Gottlieb.

Between 2005 and 2014 I usually returned to South Africa for a holiday at Christmas time but in 2014, I flew back in August to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday.  This trip turned my life around.  Soul Home, my church, was still going strong, thanks to my dedicated students, and I was invited to speak at a Sacred Gathering one Sunday in mid-August. After the Gathering, a Soul Home member came up to me and introduced himself.  His name was Muzi Cindi. He told me he had read my book “The Miss-Adventures of an Irreverent Reverend” and that he was going to fly to America the very next day to meet up with Rev. Michael Beckwith at Agape in Los Angeles!

Muzi Cindi and Rev. Steph, August 2014

At that time, I did not realise how powerful Muzi’s intention was to get Rev. Michael to come to South Africa nor did I realise that I would be moved to return home within the next year and no-one could have seen how a Higher Hand was orchestrating events with such grace and precision.

Find out what happened in the next blog post.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology,

Blessings,

Rev. Steph

 

15. Divine Pigeon Post, Part III

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” Johann Richter.

“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”  Ref. Isaiah 65:24  King James Bible

In the last blog post, I told you how I found a Divine Pigeon to carry my international driving license from St. Albans in the UK to Johannesburg in South Africa but the problem was that the license had not yet arrived in St. Albans.  Where was it?

Thursday, May 11: After Faye, my South African friend in St.Albans, had offered to help me via her colleague Sam who would be flying to South Africa very soon, I suddenly had a weird thought:  “Maybe I should just look at my license and check which day it actually expires?”  So I did.  On the front it was clearly written  “5 May.”

OH NO!!  I had been driving for 6 days illegally.  Thank Goddess I had not been stopped by the police but now that I was conscious, I could not take any more risks.  (Apart from the corrupt postal service in South Africa, the police force also tends to be very corrupt.  So if you get stopped and the police officer starts accusing you of something, he or she is probably looking for a bribe and will happily relieve you of whatever cash you have in your wallet.)

Luckily, when I saw the expiry date of the license, I had just been to visit my mother in the Frail Care establishment around the corner from her home for the second time that day.  On the first visit, she told me she was cold in her room there and asked me to bring her a warm dressing gown, a woolly sweater and a hot water-bottle.  So I quickly fetched everything from her home and took it back to her before darkness fell and the temperatures dropped. Only after delivering it all to her room did I discover that my license was  invalid.

Friday, May 12: I got on the live chat again with the UK Post Office and was connected with another very helpful staff member who listened to my story.  Using my tracking number, she established that my license was, in fact, still in the Canterbury sorting office!!  I had seen that information online but did not want to believe it.  She even called the Canterbury sorting office to confirm and asked the manager there to forward it to St. Albans for me.  Then she got back on the phone and told me: “Your letter will arrive on Monday.”

“Yikes, no! That is too late!” I groaned.  “It has to get there on Saturday!  Can you please arrange that for me?”

Kind person got back on the phone with the manager of the Canterbury Sorting Office and, after a few minutes of negotiating, she typed into the live chat “Yes, we can get it there on Saturday.”

“Great,” I wrote. “And it will be delivered to my friend’s mailbox, right?  She does not have to be at home to sign for it, right?”

“No,” came the answer.  “She must be there to sign for it.”

“And if she isn’t?”

“Well, it will be taken back to the St. Albans sorting office and await collection there.”

“But my friend does not have the necessary authorisation from me to collect it from the Sorting Office. There must be another way to manage this!”

“No, sorry.  There isn’t.”

“So, if my friend is not there to sign for it, it will sit at the St. Albans’ sorting office for 2 weeks and then eventually be returned to the RAC where it was issued?”

“That’s right.”

“Dang. It has to get there on Saturday!  Oh, by the way, if she can be at home on Saturday, at what time is the letter likely to arrive?”

“The postman will deliver any time between 7 am and 4 pm.”

We ended our chat.

Royal Mail Van

https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulsimpsonphotography/14165711092/  Freeforcommercialuse.org

I contacted Carolina knowing that she had visitors from overseas and may have scheduled to spend the day with them in London on Saturday. Fortunately, she had planned to be at home.  She knew how important this was to me and, right after we got off the phone, she went downstairs to check that her front door bell was working and she privately determined to not even have a shower on Saturday until the postman had been. What a friend!

Saturday,  May 13:  I had to do more letting go and trusting.  At 10:30 am, the hunch came: “I think my license just arrived.”  Then the phone rang.  It was Carolina: “I have your license in my hand,” she said happily.

RELIEF!!

Sunday, May 14: Faye, my South African friend who was supposed to drive over to Carolina’s flat to pick up my license,  did not show up to collect the license on Saturday or Sunday.  Nor did she answer her phone.  Nor did she contact Carolina. Oh no!!  We had the license but where was Faye?  And how were we going to get the license to Sam who was flying to South Africa on Tuesday?  We did not have Sam’s contact details – only Faye’s.

Monday, May 15: Faye contacted me and explained that she had been very sick over the weekend but she would go to Carolina’s before 8 pm that night. She also told me that Sam had to delay her flight.  Instead of flying on Tuesday, she would now be flying on Thursday and arriving on Thursday evening, May 18. I asked for Sam’s contact info in South Africa.  I needed her address so that I could figure out some transport to get there.

Faye did not make it to Carolina’s before 8pm on Monday.  OH NO!!  Now what?  Finally, at 9:15 pm I got a message from Carolina to say that Faye had been and collected my license.

Tuesday, May 16:  No contact info for Sam .

Wednesday, May 17:  In the evening, Faye sent me Sam’s contact details along with the information that she would not be at home in South Africa on Friday because she would be with a sick friend in hospital all day.

Thursday, May 18:  I sent a message to Sam asking re best time and place to pick up my license and I arranged with a friend to drive me to her house on Friday morning.  There was no reply from Sam.

Friday, May 19: At 7:15 am, Sam made contact and told me I could pick up my license at the security gate of her complex.  Phew.  Perfect!  My friend drove me there, we got the envelope and there it was – the license in my hands, just like I had visualised it.

But get this: The date of issue on the new license was 5 May 2017. Now that is the cherry on the top!  Spirit knew exactly when my old license expired i.e. 5 May (even though I had made it up wrongly that the expiry date was May 17, 2017) and managed to arrange for a seamless transition for me so that the new one would be issued on the very day that the old one expired!

“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”  Ref. Isaiah 65:24

Celebrating the miracle of global communication via technology.

Blessings,

Rev. Steph

amazon.com/author/revstephanieclarke

14. Divine Pigeon Post – Part II

“The miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

Last week I told you how my international driving license had been processed in the UK and was on its way to my UK address but I still had to find a Divine Pigeon to personally carry it from the UK to Johannesburg so that I could be sure it would arrive safely.

I had a serious chat with that power I sometimes call God:

“Look God, I don’t care how You do this but I want that driving license in my hands on or before May 17!  As I said this, I visualised the license flying from the UK and actually physically landing in my waiting hands.

Young Woman with Pigeon Post

(19th century painting. Artist unknown.  Public Domain.)

God was listening but She did not let on. There were no immediate signs following so I just had to trust.

Monday, May 8:  I was confident that my license would have arrived at my friend’s in St. Albans.  I sent her a message in the evening.  No, it had not arrived.

Tuesday, May 9:  I found the online customer service site for the Post Office and got in the queue for a live chat with the PO staff.  A very helpful bloke called Michael confirmed that my letter was still in the Canterbury sorting office awaiting collection. OH NO!!  I reminded him that I had a redirection order on all my mail and the letter should have been forwarded to my address in St. Albans.  He checked his records and got back on the live chat.

“Yes, he wrote. “We can forward it for you.  It will arrive in St. Albans tomorrow.”

“Great!”  I replied. “The only problem is that my friend in St. Albans works all day.  She will not be there to accept delivery and sign for it.”

“No problem,” wrote Michael.  “It will be delivered to her mailbox.  She does not need to be there.”

I ended the live-chat on a high, completely reassured, knowing that I had been in conversation with the Archangel Michael of the UK Post Office and all was well.

I was so wrong.

Wednesday, May 10:  My friend in St. Albans messaged me that the letter had not arrived on Wednesday. “OK” I thought. “Give it till Thursday.”

Thursday, May 11:  In the evening there was another message.  Still no letter.

I reminded God of the instructions to get the license to me anyway She chose but within my specified time-frame. Now we were getting down to the wire –  May 17 was around the corner!

I went to the loo and, as often happens in those quiet moments of retiring into the closet and shutting the door, (“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6)  God spake:

“Contact Faye, the South African woman you met in St Albans  last February.”

Good idea!  I had not thought of her.  Instead I had been putting gentle but definite pressure on my South African friend, Janna, who is part of a huge network of South Africans in London and who has often helped me with pigeons in the past.

I scrabbled around for last year’s diary where I had written Faye’s mobile number and called her on whatsapp.  She answered.

“Hi Faye.  This is Stephanie.  We met in St. Albans last year in February.  Do you remember me?”

“Yes, of course” said Faye.  “What a surprise!  The timing of your call is perfect.  I really needed to hear from you today.”  We caught up a bit and then I said:

“Faye, I need help.  Do you know anyone in your South African network who is flying from the UK to Johannesburg in the next few days and who could bring my new international driving license for me?”

“Er yes, one of my staff members, Sam, is flying next week on Tuesday.”

“Oh, would you ask her for me?”

“Yes, sure,” said Faye.  Sam must have been sitting in the same office because Faye immediately asked: “Sam, can you take a letter to Jo’burg next week for a friend of mine.”

“Yes, no problem,” said Sam.

“Where is the letter now?” Faye asked.

“Well, I hope it is on its way to St. Albans.  It is being sent to my friend Carolina – the friend I was staying with when we met last year.”

“OK then send me Carolina’s address and phone number and I will arrange to pick it up from her over the weekend sometime. And then I will give it to Sam on Monday.”

“Oh wow!  Thanks Faye!  That is so kind of you.”

I got off the phone, impressed with God.  If Sam was going to take the overnight flight on Tuesday, she would arrive in South Africa on May 17 – the very day that my license expired and I could still legally drive to her house and pick it up right after she landed.  Sweet, God.  Sweet.

So all was going well except for the fact that the license had still not arrived in St. Albans.

I will have to tell you what happened next time so that this blog post does not get too long.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

Blessings,

Rev. Steph

13. Divine Pigeon Post – Part I

“The miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter.

Since I came back to S. Africa to care for my mum, I have been driving her car using both an international license and my regular British license.  To get my international license, I had to present myself in person at a branch of the UK Post Office with proof of my identity and a passport photo.

The international license is only valid for a year.  My last one was due to expire in May 2017.  There was no way I could get an extension.  But there had to be a cheaper way to renew it than flying back to the UK just so that I could go to the Post Office for this 10 minute process.  What though?

I prayed.

Then I discovered via an internet search that the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) in the UK, does renewals by post and applicants do not have to be paid-up members to take advantage of this service.  Thank Goddess – a solution!

In early March, I downloaded the forms, filled them out, signed a cheque for the fast 2-day processing service and then started looking around  for a Divine Pigeon who would carry my letter from S. Africa to the UK and post it for me upon arrival in London.

Flight of pigeons on clothespins by Rodeofarm.  Freeforcommercialuse.org https://www.flickr.com/photos/rodeofarm/8438229621/

Sad to say, I have learned to avoid putting sensitive items in the S. African mail especially if they contain personal data that could be used fraudulently.  Professional courier services are a lot less vulnerable to corruption but also a lot more expensive.

No Divine Pigeons manifested for me in Johannesburg in March.  On April 4, I flew to Cape Town for a short holiday and took the license application with me.  My former student, Penelope, who relocated to Cape Town last year, had a neighbour whose grandson was going to the UK in a few days and he was willing to play pigeon. But he was not leaving till 20 April.  No other pigeons were identified during the remaining days of my holiday so Penelope’s neighbour was my best option. While another former student, Miriam, drove me to Cape Town airport for my flight back to Johannesburg, I checked my application to the RAC, sealed the envelope and Miriam kindly delivered it to Penelope for me.

Then I waited.  I did not know the name of the neighbour’s grandson and had no contact details for him.  Penelope tried to get his email address for me but his non-techy grandmother could not help.  There was nothing for it but to simply trust that all was under control.

In late April, I sent a message to my friend Carolina who lives in St. Albans, just north of London. She receives my mail in the UK.  The UK Post Office redirects it to her from my old address in Canterbury rather than forward it to me in South Africa for reasons already noted. I alerted Carolina that my new international license from the RAC would soon be arriving in her mail box.  In early May, Carolina sent me a message: there was still no sign of my license. Timing was tight as my old license was due to expire on 17 May.

 Flight path, Johannesburg to London

Normally, it would not be a big deal to be without a driving license for a few days but my mother had just had a replacement knee operation and could no longer walk or drive.  If I could not drive her to her doctors’ appointments or to get groceries, we would be “stranded” on her retirement complex and have some logistical challenges to deal with.  There is no local public transport system in Johannesburg beyond the VW minibuses which are not usually roadworthy, (some are tied together with string!) and endure fatal accidents on a daily basis.

On 4 May I called the RAC office in the UK. Yes, they had received my application and processed my license and it had been sent to their mail department.  The person I spoke to offered to research the Post Office tracking number for me so that I could follow up myself and she sent me an email with the necessary information.

Great!  The license was ready.  All  I had to do now was find a Divine Pigeon flying from the UK to Johannesburg before 17 May.  Well, at least, I thought that was all I had to do. The situation turned out to be a lot more “miracle-hungry” than I had imagined.

   Pigeon Messengers

Engraving in Harper’s Magazine, April, 1873

 

Will tell you about the sequence of  events and “near-miss stories” in the next blog post.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

Blessings,

Rev. Steph

12. Adventure in Wonderland with the Russian Man, Part II

“The miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” Johann Richter.

Last week I told you how I had met a Russian man in the Laa an der Thaya guesthouse and offered to take him to the local spa. As we drove along, I asked him to tell me more about his healing journey. He explained that he had been ill for a long time in Russia and that he had felt guided to take this trip as part of his recovery. Experiencing the thermal waters of the Central European spas was a way for him to heal in mind, body and soul.

When we arrived at the Spa reception desk to get our tickets, he immediately stepped forward and paid for me as a way of saying “Thank you” for my help. His generosity touched me: the spa entry is not cheap for non-locals and I knew his Russian roubles would not have amounted to much in Euros.

Once in the pool, I assumed we would do our own thing but I was so wrong. He stuck close.  Well, not that close, but he clearly wanted to experience the spa with his Russian-speaking female companion who knew her way around, having been there once before.

Spa, Laa an der Thaya by CK Kalousek 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ckkalousek/5587997991/ 

Freeforcommercialuse.org

As we lay back against the side of the pool to relax in the frothy mass of bubbles, we began talking about things spiritual. And then, as often happens when two or more are gathered in warm water, the sharing became more intimate but not in the way you might be thinking…. My Russian spa-mate began to open up about his spiritual transformation.

He had been a workaholic and was in a very unhappy marriage which he did not want to leave because of his son.  Eventually, the pressure became too much and he had a breakdown.  He was sick at home in bed for weeks. The doctors could do nothing.  He was not raised in a religious environment – the first 30 years of his life were spent in the Communist regime where religion was banned – but one day his soul cried out for help. And then, he said, he was bathed in the most glorious light.  He called it the Christ Light. In this light, there was no fear or sickness, only a wonderful soothing warmth and peace.

After this experience, he quickly regained his health and made some drastic changes to his lifestyle.  He began to seek out spiritual groups in order to have fellowship with people who could relate to his new awareness of the Light.  He tried to share the experience with his wife but she thought he was completely wacko and they went forward with the divorce.  He moved out of the family home but made sure he maintained a close relationship with his son.  He determined to listen to the inner guidance of his heart and not try to run his life in the way he had before.  This inner guidance prompted him to sell his business and travel to Europe on a healing journey via the thermal spas.  And that is how we met.

What a fascinating story! And how divinely orchestrated that we would be in the spa at Laa having this conversation.

The water was starting to feel chilly.  It was time to steam so I showed my spa-mate the various saunas – Finnish, Turkish and Infrared – and we spent time experiencing each one until the spa attendant reminded us that the spa would be closing and we had to leave.

We arrived back at the guesthouse ravenous! Believe me, nothing was open in Laa at 9pm on a Sunday night but, fortunately for us, the breakfast buffet was laid out in the dining room.  We looked at each other, thinking the same thing….  There were individually packaged portions of butter, cheese, jam and honey. There was a kettle and some English Breakfast tea bags.  The fresh bread would only arrive in the morning but my Russian spa mate said he would fetch some biscuits and crackers from his suitcase. I remembered that I had some trailmix in my room which I also brought to the party.  We boiled the kettle and made mugs of tea which we sweetened with jam or honey, Russian style, and then we “broke crackers” together, in the absence of bread, and feasted like royalty.

For dessert, my spa-mate produced some Russian chocolates. Heaven on Earth?  Definitely.  It was not a big meal but it was a spiritual feast just like I remembered from my student days in Communist Russia when I would sit with my dissident friends around the table in their tiny kitchen. Even though they had hardly any money, they always welcomed me with delicious food and drink and the conversation was always interesting and profound, close and warm, and punctuated with plenty of laughter.

It was getting late.  I still had to work and prepare for an early start the next morning. We cleared the evidence of our feast and said goodnight, agreeing to meet at breakfast when we would swap contact details.

Once I got back to my room and went over my itinerary for the next day, I realised that I had made a mistake with my first appointment time: it was at 7.30am not 8.30am.  And so the next morning I hurriedly ate breakfast alone and checked out of the guest-house before my spa-mate had even roused from his slumbers. We had no way of contacting each other and we never saw each other again.

The End. Rather abrupt, I know.  But that is how it was.

See you next week with more miracles and miss-stories.

Appreciating the miracle of global connection via technology,

Blessings

Rev. Steph

11. Adventure in Wonderland with the Russian man, Part I

“The miracles of Earth are the laws of Heaven.”  Johann Paul Richter

When I was still working in Europe as an English teacher and marketer for English in Action Ltd., I would often fly from London to Vienna on a Sunday morning and then go on the road visiting schools in Lower Austria for the next one or two weeks. On one particular Sunday I had booked myself into a small guesthouse in a spa town called Laa an der Thaya near the Austrian border with the Czech Republic.

After leaving my home in Canterbury at stupid o’clock that morning to catch my flight and being in transit for approximately 7 hours, I was singularly unimpressed when I arrived at my guesthouse in Laa an der Thaya and could not get in! My reservation at Fruehstueckshaus Wunderland (the Wonderland Breakfast House) had been confirmed on the hotel-booking website and so I called the reception, hoping that someone would answer and let me in. No luck. No human being. Only a voicemail message.

Fruehstueckshaus Wunderland in Laa an der Thaya

I asked for help from Upstairs. Suddenly it occurred to me that I had not read my confirmation email all the way to the end and maybe there was a code number for me to type into the keypad by the main front door. (That was inside the green double doors you can see in the picture.) I sought, I found, and lo, the door opened.  Was that a miracle?  No, not really, I was just following instructions.  Well, OK, maybe that was a bit of a miracle… 🙂

I hauled my heavy cases up the long flight of stairs to the reception area and there I found my room key with instructions to get to my room – up another flight of stairs to the second floor.  Great! (Not.)  Never mind, my carefully planned reward for all this travelling and heavy lifting was to relax in the Laa spa that evening so I fished my swimming gear out of my suitcase, grabbed a towel from the en-suite bathroom and ran down the two flights of stairs to the front door. The heavy metal door slammed behind me as I stepped out into the covered passage way and there, in front of me, was a frenzied man – another frustrated traveller who clearly wanted to get into the guesthouse and couldn’t.

At first the man spoke some broken German mixed with some broken English. He was demanding that I use my key to let him in! I was not willing to bow to pressure from a stranger but I heard that he had a Russian accent so I began to speak Russian to him. The relief flooded his face.  Really, what were the chances that he would arrive in this remote Austrian town and meet a Russian-speaking English woman in that very moment when he needed help to get into the guesthouse?  It turned out he had used the same hotel-booking website and he, too, had not realised that he had been given a unique code to open the door.

I could not help being curious: what was a middle-aged Russian man doing in Laa an der Thaya? The answer was obvious: he was travelling through central Europe on a healing journey and checking out the famous thermal spas along the way.  In fact, like me, he wanted to go to the local spa in Laa that evening as soon as he had checked in.

“How are you planning to get to the spa?” I asked.

“I am planning to walk.  I have a map,” he answered.

Understanding that the Law of Attraction had brought us together because we were old spa-mates, I offered to drive him to the spa in my rental car if he could be ready in a few minutes.

“You would really do that?” he asked, smiling like a young boy who had just received his first bicycle for Christmas.

“Sure,” I said “but I don’t want to be back too late because I still have work to do this evening.”

He nodded and dug into his coat pockets from where he produced a crumpled email printout from the guesthouse with his unique code printed on it and lo, as if by magic, the door opened for him too!

Do you want to know what happened in the spa with the Russian man?  I will reveal all in the next blog post… 🙂

Appreciating the miracle of global connection via technology,

Blessings,

Rev. Steph