Thursday, September 20, 2012

Geoff Bell-Devaney, Interview #185

Name: Geoff Bell-Devaney

Where you live:  Berkshires, MA

What you do as a vocation or avocation? 
Special ed teacher and artist

Your two favorite books: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Your two favorite songs: In My Life Today by Lenny Kravitz; War (No more trouble) by Bob Marley

Why you are interested in spirituality?
I had an inner awakening at age 30 and realized the power of my inner world.

Your favorite quote: "The truth will set you free."

Your favorite web (I love expressing my creativity through painting.)

Your hero? Anyone who is seeking the truth.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Being fully present to my inner and outer world.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"  The ocean.

You can find Geoff on Twitter @how2bmindful

Hitesh Abhani, Interview #184

Name:  Hitesh Abhani

Where you live: Mumbai -India

What is your vocation or avocation? 

Pharmaceutical business, Research and development

Your two favorite books:

Embark on the Inner Journey and Life Worth Living both books written by my spiritual master. His divine discourses and this  book is life changing experience, it's so simple any person can understand and Embark on the Inner Journey is in 10 languages: Spanish, Cantonese, French, English, German, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, and Hindi.

Your two favorite songs: "Tumhare darshan ki bela" by Deva Premal and "hari om namo narayan" by Deva Premal.

Why you are interested in spirituality?
The reason is, it's about me, my pure self and after having an enlightened spiritual master in life, spiritual life is like a celebration. Life is full of celebration, introspection, and meditation. In short, "Life is beautiful and worth living."

Your favorite quote: from the process of self-realization by Paramkripaludev Shrimad Rajchandraji

"Without knowing the real nature of self, I suffered infinite misery. I bow to the adored holy true Guru (Guru:spiritual teacher/spiritual master) who disclosed that self to me
He, who knows wherever and whatever (out of renunciation,non-attachment and knowledge of self) is proper and practices accordingly, is the aspirant of self-realisation.
 By the contact of true Guru,deluded self-notion is restrained. It mostly, becomes two-fold by adapting other means.
 One, who follows the guidance of the true Guru, giving up deluded self-notion and obstinacy in supporting his wrong view, is said to have right belief, knowing it to be its direct cause.
 The great enemies such as pride, etc.(i.e.,the passion of anger, pride,deceit and greed) cannot be destroyed by deluded self-guidance. But by accepting the protection of the true Guru, they pass away by slight effort.
The self is pure, enlightened, consciousness in core, self-illuminating, the above of bliss. How much more to be said. If you contemplate over this, you will realize such self."

Your favorite web
Your hero?: Param Pujyashri Rakeshbhai Jhaveri is my spiritual master. He is an inspirational hero for me. To walk on this path, even he is "busy, " he is witness of all activity, his awareness, his eyes speak. No need for words in his existence. Meditation happens, no need to put efforts, his silence. I have no words, it's just experience ...... 

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? 
It's a process of learning and practicing under the guidance of a spiritual master, and it's a beautiful process. I have started to love my self and I have started to know my self.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" 
He taught me the art of feeling spirituality everywhere, in all situations, all places.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Adel Arrabito Torres, Interview #183

Name: Adel Arrabito Torres

Where you live: Currently in Michigan while my husband is in school, but California is home.

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I'm licensed as a registered nurse, but currently as a stay-at-home mom there's no job description that does NOT fit me in some way!

Your two favorite books: 
Besides children's books? Let's see.... The Bible. Everything in my life goes smoother when I'm reading it on a regular basis. It's hard to choose besides that, but I would say the one that has most recently really inspired me is "The Journey of Desire" by Jim Eldredge. Eldredge convinced me that my deepest unmet desires are not thorns to torment me, but seeds to keep me hungry for Life as it was meant to be. I needed that.

Your two favorite songs: 
"I Will Go" by Steve Green:  All I ever wanted to do in life was be a missionary. I've been "where there are no easy roads" and I can hardly stand to be living the easy life when so many people in this world live with need that is so wide open and hungry and painful. I feel that I owe the world a debt of kindness for all the love and generosity that have been shown me. I'm SO privileged, and I can't keep it to myself. My life is not my own, and what makes me happy, what fills me with passion, is to be poured out.

"You are Loved: Don't Give Up" by Josh Groban:  When I'm having a rough day, feeling lonely or rejected, I turn up the itunes and let Josh Groban remind me not to give up because I am loved. No one could say any greater words to me than are written in that song. Josh Groban doesn't know me, but God talks to me through his amazing voice and lyrics.

Why you are interested in spirituality?
I guess I'm not, really. Spirituality is a hunger that drives people to something more than what is tangible:  I'm mostly interested in what satisfies that hunger. Personally, I've never found anything satisfying besides the God of the Bible. As uncool as it sounds, I don't really believe it's all about the journey. Sure, there are treasures along the way, there are morsels to whet my appetite, but what keeps me going is my hope in a banquet that is waiting at the end of the line.

 Your favorite quote:
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more crying, neither sorrow, nor death, for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4

Your favorite web sites:
Facebook. Embarrassing, but true.

Your hero?
My Mother. This woman gave birth to four children naturally, two of us born at home, and to hear her talk about it, nearly every moment raising us was an absolute pleasure! At 39 she lost her husband and two older sons in a tragic accident. She went from being a very contented, behind-the-scenes, stay-at-home mom and supporter of my dad, to taking over his video production work. She carried her own grief and that of my brother and I (at the time ages 7 and 8), and never lost her faith. She never lost her beauty, gentleness, or her love for people. Twenty-two years later she is as full of life and joy and dignity and faith and wisdom as ever. And as graceful as she is in the public eye, she's just as good at hiking mountains and climbing trees. I'm so honored to be able to call her my friend and mother!

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
That I am loved personally, deeply, actively by God. I think I could be at peace through nearly any kind of turmoil if I could accept that in my heart as I believe it in my head.

 A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
In the woods. I grew up in a small town near Napa Valley, in a simple house under towering pine trees. Our family spent lots of time exploring the woods, and my mother was always pointing out God's handiwork to us. As a college student I found solace and inspiration in long hours spent alone in the forest. There I feel that I am on the threshold of heaven, and I've never found another setting that brings the same sense of quiet rest. The sea is a close second, though!

Editor's Note: Artwork above by Adel Arrabito Torres. Adel blogs at:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Laurie Brock, Interview #182

Name: Laurie Brock

Where you live:
Lexington, Kentucky

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
 Episcopal priest

Your two favorite books:
I have read far too many books to have two favorite - something like trying to choose your two favorite children.  My favorite books of the last few I've read are Poetry as Survival by Gregory Orr and the Outlander series by Diana Galbandon. Both nourish my soul in very different ways.  One invites me to reflect.   One lets me enjoy the story.   

Your two favorite songs:
General Seminary (King of Glory, King of Peace) from the Episcopal Hymnal makes me cry every time. That's where I attended seminary, and every word has faces and memories wed to it.  And anything by Beth Nielsen Chapman. I listened to her music over and over while I was finishing my manuscript.  She captures the extraordinary joy and grief of life perfectly in her lyrics and music.

Why you are interested in spirituality?
Life is not concrete reality, and we are not simply a mixture of flesh and blood.  Spirituality gives us a glimpse of that mystery of spirit and soul and connects us to all that has been and all that will be.  Spirituality offers us a vocabulary of the unspeakable.

Your favorite quote:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in. 
From Anthem by Leonard Cohen

Your favorite web sites:
 I love Facebook.  I have friends all across the country and the world, and seeing the mundane and special events of their lives keeps me engaged with them.  And I'm a big fan of  The posts make me laugh.  Every.  Time.

Your hero?
 Sojourner Truth.  Her story is remarkable.  Her faith was unshakable.  She faced discrimination on so many levels, and yet she preached the Gospel relentlessly.  Her "Ain't I a Woman" speech cannot be read and understood enough.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
 It's one I hope to learn, but realize I will be learning it for the rest of my life - that our brokenness, our wounds, and our scars are the beautiful places where God shines through.  Life is about becoming more comfortable and more familiar with the beauty of our scars.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" 
In the horse barn.  I ride, and I feel most centered, most connected to God, when I am mucking out stalls, brushing horses, and riding on these amazing creatures.  Riding is not just about me.  I am in relationship with this animal who has her own personality and quirks, and who, on occasion, drops me on my rear end.  Elegant and messy, all at once.  That is being spiritually connected for me. 

Editor's Note: Laurie blogs with Mary Koppel here