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All Posts By

Heather Drummond

How to love your family even when it’s challenging

By RelationshipNo Comments

We can choose our friends, but we cannot choose our family. I am sure there are many of us who wish that this was the other way around. I’m very fortunate that my immediate family is delightful. However, looking back on my life, there were certainly some challenging individuals who came my way.

Heather and Garth Drummond with their 2 sons in Mauritius Tamarin

Just accept that one person

A while ago, I attended an Art of Living Course, and I remember a story that I was told during it which moved me by its profoundness. It went like this:

A man wanted to become enlightened. He went to his guru and said, “What do I need to do in order to become enlightened?“. The guru said, “Go home and when you have accepted every person in your life as they are, come back to me.” So he went away, took some time to think about this and then went back to his guru. He said,”I have thought very hard about this and I can accept everyone in my life, except this one person.” The guru, a very compassionate man, said, “Okay, for you we can make an exception. You do not have to accept everyone in your life. You only have to accept this one person.

Change your perspective

There are always some people for whom we lock the door to our hearts. That door is open for all others, but not for them. We cannot bear to open it for them. They make us turn away. For many of us, these people are part of our family. This may be because we are hurt the most by those who are closest to us.

I often remind myself of the dichotomy that exists in the world we live in and its influence on us. We understand things by recognizing their opposites. For instance, we can only understand light because we understand dark. We can only appreciate joy because we are aware of sorrow. We can only understand chaos because we have known order.

Sometimes, I challenge myself to think about something that doesn’t have an opposite and in most cases, I find that it is nearly impossible. Perhaps, what I perceive in the person for whom I cannot open the door of my heart is the opposite of the values that I treasure in other people. Kindness. Compassion. Love. Patience. Perhaps, my incessant experience with duality has prevented me from realizing that everything does not have to exist in opposites. I have to recognize the shades of grey between black and white.

Unlock the doors of your heart

Does my inability to perceive them make these values completely void in this person? It does not. Therefore, I have to believe that the values I treasure such as love and empathy are present within this person, too. They are only hidden beneath depths which I cannot see. How will I be able to see them if I reject their existence before giving this person a chance of showing them to me? It is my moral obligation to give this person a chance. And if I have, then yet another chance. I have to put my own patience and empathy to the test.

I must also be grateful that the situation I have to face because of this person will accentuate the feeling that I have towards other people in whom I perceive the opposite of this person.The first step towards acceptance is to identify the roadblocks that you have put in your own path towards it. Empathy will give you the strength to remove the roadblocks and unlock the doors of your heart. Even for the member of your family who has hurt you the most. 

Allow this acceptance to take root inside you so that it can nourish you. Make a choice to be the light that benevolently shines on others but most especially, on your family. You never know, that same light which you intend for them might also light up the path that you are looking for.

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

Mother Teresa
love your family heather in Mauritius
importance of satsang

The Sweetness of Satsang and Why You Should Try It

By Spirituality3 Comments

One of my first memories of Satsang was at an ashram in India in 2006. I was on a bus with fifty people, and suddenly, someone started singing. Everyone on the bus joined in, and it felt as if the bus came alive. I was observing silence at the time, I could not sing along, but that did not matter. Even so, I felt at one with everyone on the bus. I felt moved by the same ecstatic energy that propelled them to sing out loud.

You are welcome to a Satsang regardless of what you believe

Satsang is a Sanskrit word with two roots that can be translated to, “truth” and “community”. It is a gathering of people from diverse backgrounds. They come together to learn and practice spirituality through music, meditation, and listening to a spiritual teacher. You do not have to ascribe to a certain faith or religion to experience the benefits of a Satsang. In fact, you are free to undertake any spiritual endeavor for that matter, be it yoga, meditation, breathwork, or prayer, etc. In this lies the beauty and importance of Satsang. You are welcome to experience it, no matter who you are or what you believe.

satsang in india ashram

Satsang will heal your wounds

Satsang is a powerful antidote to suffering. It will heal the great reservoir of pain you may feel inside yourself. It doesn’t matter what the source of that pain is; loss, trauma, regret, guilt, or shame. Satsang is a place you can go to fill the bottomless pit of grief that may be in your heart. Satsang will make every cell in your body want to break out into song. There is no alcohol or intoxicant in a Satsang gathering that makes people abandon all judgment and sing. Yet, there is still a potent feeling of freedom. It feels as if a divine force is moving you. When you engage in this divine singing, you leave the incessant monologue in your head and bring your attention to the present. Hence, allowing yourself to acknowledge your own consciousness.

You will see the harmony in diversity

What happens in a Satsang is extraordinary and transformative. You look around you and see people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and faiths. All of them are chanting the same verses and singing the same songs. Therefore, you see harmony in diversity. You experience the power music has to spread positivity, joy, and peace. The person next to you may be a stranger, but you understand them. The sense of separation between yourself and the people around you diminishes.

Satsang-Divine-Singing-Kitchen

You will learn to appreciate silence as well

Satsang has taught me the art of living. Yet, it has also instilled in me an appreciation for the art of silence. The moments of silence in between the chants and the songs are just as profound as the singing itself. I have felt this a lot during my many Satsang experiences. Satsang has shown me the way to become in tune with the harmony of my own soul. It has guided me on how to transcend both trivial worries that life is interspersed with and the deep sorrow that burdens many of us. I hope that my words will inspire you to attend a Satsang at least once in your life and experience the sweetness of Satsang first-hand.

There is no weakness in forgiveness

By SpiritualityNo Comments
smiling-woman-hugging-another-person

For many of us, there is a certain someone that has offended or wronged us to the point where forgiveness would seem to be weak and unjust, we think ‘why should this person get off so lightly!’ however, the truth is: ’There is no weakness in forgiveness.’

Easier said than done I know. My husband was stabbed many years ago by a gang of thieves; he was left bleeding in a township and went from door to door for help but kept getting turned away. He looked through keyholes, and what he saw was sad beyond words; alcohol, violence, shouting, and screaming. My husband was angry for weeks thinking about how he was going to take revenge and how he should have retaliated at the time, but only when he forgave them, did he have an incredible healing and feel at peace about the whole thing.

loving-couple-walking-on-street

In Matthew 5:43 it says: ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’. Everyone is doing the very best that they can, they may fall very short of your expectations of them but love them anyway. This does not mean you have to accept the behaviour, separate the person from their behaviour. Like I mentioned in my last article, love is our true nature and that goes for anyone who many be offending you. It’s only stress and a lack of knowing this that leads people to behave in unfavourable ways.

Forgiveness is not to help the persecutor, it’s to help the persecuted. Do whatever it takes to save your own mind. Think of someone who has wronged you and pay attention to how you feel inside? Small and contracted right? Now think of your favourite person, are you aware of how the love expands in you? Now give that same love to anyone or any situation that troubles you. Would you dig through yesterdays garbage bin? Why do that in your mind? Anything that has happened before today is history so forgive and let go.

Vegetarians Taste Better

By Healthy LifeNo Comments

My husband and I are often questioned on why we choose a vegetarian diet. This subject has caused many debates the world over so I will briefly share why we choose to leave meat off our plates. I believe it’s important we have this knowledge so we can then make informed decisions about what we put on our plate.

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Vegetables have all you need. There is a misconception that you have to eat meat to get protein; the strongest animals on this planet are vegetarian, elephants for example and the cows manage fine. Some famous vegetarians include Carl Louis, Albert Einstein, Bryan Adams and Brad Pitt. 50% of the world are vegetarian and my two sons are very healthy.

Energy levels are much higher. My husband in his first year of being vegetarian tried it one month on and one month off for a whole year and he found his energy levels were much higher. It takes a lot of energy to digest meat, you might of felt this way after a big steak. Test it for yourself, at the same time, don’t confuse feeling light with feeling hungry.

Grain for animals could feed the hungry. 70% of the world’s grain is fed to livestock, if that was fed to the starving we would eradicate poverty instantly. Only a small percentage of that grain is converted to meat.

Eat only what you would enjoy killing. As we evolve as human beings we are moving towards compassion rather than dominion. We have more respect for the miracle of life. I’m often told ‘but the caveman used to eat meat’ and I say yes  ‘Gladiators also used to kill each other and cannibals used to eat humans’. A good test is to ask yourself ‘would I kill this animal to eat it’.

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Terrible living conditions for animals. Sadly our animals are not enjoying the shepherd’s love that the bible talks so fondly of. John 10:11 ‘the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep’. Animals are now a commodity, crammed into tiny spaces, some never to touch raw soil, smell fresh air or enjoy the warmth of the sun on their bodies. Search YouTube for Sir Paul McCartney’s ‘If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls’ to get a real glimpse of what happens behind closed doors.

Air pollution worse than all cars. There is so much talk about global warming and going green but what the media fails to mention is that the gases produced from the meat industry contribute to more green house gases than ALL cars and aeroplanes in the whole world.

Rain forests and best land for grazing and stockfeed. We could all have a piece of paradise but we are cramming into smaller and smaller spaces. Cattle and other ruminant livestock graze one-half of the planet’s total land area. Ruminants, along with pigs and poultry, also eat feed and fodder raised on one-fourth of the cropland. Imagine we turned this land into wildlife sanctuaries and we all lived in harmony with nature. Let’s save the rhino this way.

Intestines of humans more like apes. Our digestive system is most similar to that of apes who are 99% vegetarian. Our intestines are many times longer than our body whereas carnivores have short intestines to expel meat quickly.

All animals are the same. It’s wonderful that so many people care for animals and there is a fight for rhinos, for dolphins, whales, seals, cats, dogs, turtles to name a few. There are people against fur, foie gras, crocodile skins, hunting and the Chinese eating dogs and cats. I always respond the same ‘oh you must be a vegetarian’. Few are.

Nothing has to be slaughtered. We no longer have to kill to survive. If you are going to take anything from the bible literally let it be this: Exodus 20:13 “Thou shalt not kill.”

Love

By SpiritualityNo Comments

Emotions are fleeting feelings that come and go. Today you may feel happy, tomorrow you may feel sad. They are fickle and unpredictable, changing like the wind. There is one feeling though, that you will never be separate from and that is love. That’s because love is not an emotion, love is our very nature. Whenever I’m feeling low, I remind myself that God is Love and we are his children, made in his image and likeness. Therefore we are love. It is our birth right to express that love as much as we can. Feeling and expressing love makes us feel good, when we feel good we are happy, when we are happy we are contagious, spreading the joy to those around us.

heather-and-garth-drummond

If you’re in a situation where you have to react without thinking, your loving nature will shine through. For instance, someone get’s knocked off their bike by a passing car. You find yourself saying ‘oh no!’ and before you know it you’re lending a hand and forgetting about all your troubles. It’s a scorpions nature to sting, it’s our nature to love.
Unfortunately, the stress of everyday life strangles us like a bougainvillaea takes prey on any tree in its path, leaving us little room to breath or blossom to our full potential.

women-s-white-cardigan

Take your well being seriously, treasure it like a mother does her child. If you are not sharing and giving love you are wasting such a precious gift. If you find yourself consumed in self-pity, the quickest way out is to do community service. Help those in need, there is always someone worse off than you. This will bring more gratitude into your life which will help detangle you from misery. You’ll find yourself blossoming like a flower in no time giving the same sweet scent to everyone around you.

If you are relying on someone else to fill your love tank, you could be waiting a very long time. Let go and remember that God is in control, shining through you, longing to express his love. What a wonderful job we have here on earth, so let your love shine today.

Happy loving.

Heather

What is Spirituality?

By SpiritualityNo Comments

I’m honoured to be writing my first article for Hello Harare and for the opportunity of sharing some wonderful ideas with you on love, life and spirituality. I have recently published a book called ‘Dear River’ and my favourite quote is:

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience..”

By Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

what-is-spirituality-woman-praying-in-the-forest

Once we have this awareness we can go deeper. This inner path enables us to discover the essence of our being. We become attune with what makes our hearts sing or sink. Certain practices, like meditation, prayer and contemplation help us to develop this connectedness and skill. We talk to our higher power through prayer and we listen through meditation.

I used to have this American dream of being successful. Lots of money, a big house, a fancy car, fine wine and food. I’ve since learned that nothing material will bring us long term happiness. That life without love, health and a sense of belonging would be meaningless. I’m not implying having nice things is wrong, I’m suggesting having a deep sense of gratitude for all that you do have. I believe in a world of abundance, there is enough for all of us. At the same time let’s not get attached and entangled with our material wealth because we could lose the essence of who we truly are.