Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cash Peters, Interview #155

Name: Cash Peters

Where you live:  Los Angeles, California

What you do as a vocation or avocation? 
I write travel and spirituality books - my latest is A Little Book About Believing: The Transformative Healing Power of Faith, Love, and Surrender'- and have been in radio and TV for years, broadcasting on public radio in the US and the BBC in Britain. That has been my bread and butter since I was in my teens.

But I also have a gift for handwriting analysis, so that would be my avocation, although it's taking up a huge amount of my time these days.

I never studied handwriting, I could just do it. It's a form of channeling, I'm told, and goes very deep. I can stare at a piece of writing and, in seconds, effortlessly, make a connection with the person's soul, often feeling what they feel, understanding why they are as they are, where they hurt, where their own gifts are. It's mind-blowing to people, how I'm able to link their handwriting to their spiritual development. It's all about energy, of course. That's what I seem to be picking up. Then then played a part in my spiritual writing. I became a contributor to Spirituality & Health magazine, and then wrote the 'Believing' book, which combines travel to Brazil with a full-immersion experience in a healing retreat there, which was like a spiritual car-wash for the spirit. It revolutionized my life. Absolutely amazing.

Your two favorite books:
The Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav, and I Had It All The Time, by Alan Cohen. But anything by Alan Cohen, Caroline Myss, or Stuart Wilde really. They are true masters of connection, stirring the human heart and spirit. I never grow tired of hearing their take on life.

Your two favorite songs:
Vincent by Don McLean and I Vow To Thee, My Country by Cecil Spring-Rice, set to music by Gustav Holst to part of his Jupiter Suite. I want both played at my funeral, I don't care in which order.

Why you are interested in spirituality? 
I don't see myself as having any choice, any more than I choose to breathe air. Everything up to the point of accepting our spirituality is denial of self, and a disconnect. The only way to live congruently, to my mind, and to be sure you're taking one positive step after another is to accept your nature as an eternal being cloaked in mortal flesh and bone, and to have faith and trust that this connection to divine consciousness will sustain you through periods of challenge and doubt. I'm always shocked when people view the world in terms of only what they can see or touch, or they rely on drugs, surgery, and medication to treat the body when they become seriously ill. In other words, they're looking to the external rather than the eternal to resolve their issues, when it's so obvious that the true answers lie on the inside. As I say in my book, you heal from the inside out, not the outside in.

I met a very famous Hollywood actor recently. He'd read A Little Book About Believing and loved it, so he asked if he could take me to lunch. I was understandably a little nervous. I've seen him in movies and thought I might be tongue-tied. But everything was very relaxed. It turns out that he's sick with the late stages of cancer and desperately looking for an answer. In order to heal, he's throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the problem. Non-stop treatment, drugs, doctor visits, clinics, spas, the works. As we sat there eating and chatting, I could almost hear his soul screaming for mercy. The answer was so obvious to me - look within. Stop trying so hard. Quit looking for answers 'out there' somewhere, and instead ask spirit, in stillness and total faith, "What have I done to my body to bring on this cancer? What is my body trying to tell me? What do I need to stop doing in order to help restore balance and harmony to my system?"

I fully believe that this is the road to healing and wellness, not endless treatment, or fighting the disease, which often only makes things worse. Why does everything have to be about struggle, combat, fighting back? Whatever happened to good nutrition, rest, harmony, clean air, a joyful heart. Sound simplistic, but I believe it works.  

My parents were rookie Christian Scientists, which is all about healing the body in spiritual ways, but I was unable to embrace any one religion. As a travel writer and TV host on the Travel Channel for my series Stranded, I got to have adventures all over the world, and the more I met different cultures, the more I realized that a religion is just a set of convenient assumptions based on available evidence, then perpetuated by fear and doubt, whereas spirituality knows no such rules and boundaries and promotes reliance on self, as well as trust in the Divine.

Your favorite quote: 
"You don't get what you want in life, you get what you are." Dr. Wayne Dyer. Deep and brilliant and so true. 

Your favorite web sites
Anything that provides material nourishing to the soul and which furthers togetherness rather than division. So www.Patheos.com is right there at the top. You could get lost for days in that thing.

Your hero?
I don't do hero worship. I tend not to idolize, and never have, though I can respect astonishing visionaries who inspire us - Caroline Myss, Steve Jobs - and those who believe in something with the utmost conviction and go do it, proving to the doubters what's possible: Mahatma Gandhi, Richard Branson, J.K. Rowling....anyone who brushed the naysayers aside and pursued their vision to success.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? 
Is relaxation a spiritual lesson? I've always had a high metabolism matched, somewhat perversely, with an inner quiet, which is an odd combo. So although I do yoga and meditate often, in between times I do find it hard not to gush and enthuse and participate and express joy. It's my natural way, even if I think it can sometimes be wearing on people around me. You certainly know when I'm in the room, that's for sure! So calmness, I'd say. Repose. Balance.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Oh, Brazil definitely. When I got off the plane in Rio de Janeiro that first time, I felt a rush of adrenaline but also peace like I'd never felt before. And after I'd spent two weeks with John of God, receiving treatment, I was an entirely different person. My world has not been the same since. If ever there was a time when I fully understood my connection with the Divine, it was in Brazil.

Editor's Note: To learn more about Cash Peters, go to www.cashpeters.com

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Elizabeth Myer Boulton, Interview #154

Name: Rev. Elizabeth Myer Boulton

Where you live: Indianapolis, Indiana
What you do as a vocation or avocation?I am President and Creative Director over at the SALT Project, Inc.  We’re a small, not-for-profit production company dedicated to creating beautiful, devotional resources for small groups, congregations, and individuals!

Your two favorite books:

Guess How Much I Love You, Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram

The Nativity, Julie Vivas

Your two favorite songs:

My first favorite song was written by my husband, Matthew Myer Boulton, and is entitled, "Great and Small."

There's an amazing collection of Jewish Hasidic folk-tales entitled, "Tales of the Hasidim Later Masters."  And in that collection, there's a wonderful little gem that has always stuck with my husband, so he decided to write a song about it. 

Here's the gem:
"Rabbi Bunim taught:  Every person should have two pockets.  In one pocket should be a piece of paper saying: 'I am but dust and ashes' (Genesis 18:27).  When one is feeling too proud, reach into this pocket and take out this paper and read it.  In the other pocket should be a piece of paper saying: 'For my sake was the world created' (Talmud: Sanhedrin 38a).  When one is feeling disheartened and lowly, reach into this pocket and take this paper out and read it."
From my point of view, this is the perfect life lesson for all of us (from 2 to 92!), and it vividly evokes what it's like to live a religious life:  always evolving, tacking back and forth, endeavoring to stay both humble and courageous. 

My second favorite song is “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes -- need I say more?

Why you are interested in spirituality?

"Why spirituality and why Christianity?"
A woman at the coffee shop asked me this the other day.  I was working with the scriptures, trying to craft a sermon, and out of no where came that question, "Why Christianity?"

I stumbled.  I hemmed.  I hawed.  I wasn't elegant in the least...

So, without further adieu, I will kill two birds with one stone (so to speak!) and answer both questions at the same time:

For me, Christianity (my form of spirituality) is a poem.  A beautiful and broken poem that soars to the highest heavens, but not before it slugs through the trenches of violence, shadows, betrayal, abandonment, and finally, death.

For me, life wouldn't make sense without Christianity.  Without Christianity, without a God who chooses to become flesh, to become breakable; without a God who, through Christ and the church, continues to side with the poor; without a God who stands in solidarity with every victim of every hate crime; without a God who transforms, redeems, and declares in the face of death, “You will not have the final word!" - without this God, I couldn’t make it through the day, I couldn't read the paper, I couldn't bring children into the world.

I choose Christianity because, for me, the world would be a veil of tears without it.  For me, this beautiful, broken poem contains life and life in abundance.

Your favorite quote:

Those who don't feel this Love pulling them like a river,
those who don't drink dawn like a cup of spring water or take in sunset like supper,
those who don't want to change, let them sleep.

Your favorite web sites:
Etsy, Apartment Therapy, Text This Week, and SALT (I couldn’t resist!)

Your hero?
My mom!

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?

How to be love, to serve well, to give to everyone who begs of me, to pick up my cross, and to follow...

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
The place I feel most spiritually “connected” is in front of a “Madonna del Latte” or "Madonna of the Milk."  She’s everywhere in Italy and every time I catch a glimpse of her the whole world seems to melt away...

Back in the 14th century, artists were positively enamored with her.  They painted her, carved her out of stone, prayed to her, and painted her again.

More often than not, she's either actively nursing the baby or preparing to nurse.  And sometimes, Jesus is actually fighting to get inside her robes.

If you ever have the privilege of going to Sicily's national art museum in Palermo, she will be there again and again and again.  Not one, not two, but twenty, maybe twenty-five renditions of Madonna del Latte.

Again and again and again:  Mary, the “Theotokos” (“House of God”).  Mary, figure for the Church, one of the marvelous ways in which God is letting down God’s milky love, God’s grace, God’s tenderness, God’s mercy, God’s peace, God’s healing.

In the halls of that museum, you can hear the wisdom of tradition singing across the centuries, “Come to me, all who are weak and heavy laden.  Come to me if you are going through a broken relationship, battling depression, struggling with an addiction, or surviving an eating disorder.  Come to the church; come and drink deeply from the grace of God.  Come and see, come and pray, come and be made whole.”