|Cover Photo © Virtuous Arts.|
J.M. Davies' new book Lighten Up To Be Enlightened! was launched on the 29th of August 2015 in Helsinki. The book will show you the three building blocks of enlightenment and helps you to command your subconscious mind with 50 rules. Soon you are on your way to live a sustainably joyful life that enriches your soul and blesses the world.
Are You in touch with the joy that cannot be taken away from you?
A sunny Saturday afternoon in Töölö and the Coaching Point is filled with good-humored people – some Finns, some foreigners. They have gathered to celebrate the launch of J.M. Davies’ first self-help book Lighten Up To Be Enlightened!.
People are greeted with some sparkling wine and warm hugs. After the toast, it is time for the author’s speech. J.M. Davies starts by saying that there are only twenty chairs and over twenty people, so we’ll play the game of musical chairs; when the music ends, the one without a chair has to give a speech.
Nat King Cole is singing the Nature Boy until the punch line: “The greatest you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.” Everyone else except the author are sitting and Johanna starts her speech:
“My own spiritual teachers have been over sixty, male and some of them have had beard and they’ve dressed in white. I’m a 36 year-old blond female and luckily I don’t have a beard – at least not yet! I do like white clothes though but as a mother of a toddler it’s not a very practical color.
So I have not been qualified as a spiritual teacher – unless you regard the yoga teacher training as one. I’m neither following any religious dogma, not even the yogic one. So no, I have no qualification whatsoever to tell you how to live your lives. In fact I don’t even want to do that.
What I want for everyone, is to flourish. I believe that the greatest thing that makes people flourish is love. In other words, I want to help people to be free to love and to be loved. This is the thing I discuss in the last section of the book and will write more about in my next one.
When a baby is born in Finland, he or she is evaluated on five criteria – appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, respiration – which form the Apgar scale. A baby can score from zero to ten to summarize the health of the newborn baby. When I was born, I was given ten, which for me symbolizes the expectation that has directed my life: I have to be perfect in order to be loved.
I’m most certainly not criticizing my parents or my teachers for praising me and giving me good grades. I take full responsibility of the allure of perfection that I was striving towards. Perfection pleases our egos tremendously. It gives us a feeling of control and power. But it can also block our creativity, joy and more importantly the genuine connection with others.
Even if you are the perfect lover according to some standards, it doesn’t guarantee that you will always be loved – especially by the person you are in love with. Nothing – except maybe time – will give you a love assurance from other people. Therefore, a smart thing to do is to put a lot of effort into finding sustainable love within you. Of course you can never hug yourself the way another person can, which is why I suggest couple dancing as a hobby.
It is always wise to learn to become more proficient in the communication and demonstration of your love even if you can’t guarantee reciprocity with it. It makes you a more considerate person, someone who can be easily admired and who will attract people to him or herself effortlessly. Yet there simply are no hard and fast rules in love or life. We are all different in different phases of our lives, and we play the game of love with a different set of rules. I just want to help people to see the essential in their lives right now.
What is meaningful to you? What makes you feel strong emotions? What challenges you? Every decision is either taking you toward your dream or away from it. What’s your dream?
Being romantic is a choice like so many other things in life. I focus on seeing the world through rose-colored spectacles because that way I enjoy life more and make it more beautiful for others as well. But I don’t fret if I don’t always reach my romantic ideal in my feelings, thoughts and deeds. I have come to realize that it is so much more beneficial to accept the reality as it is than to pretend I’m more romantic and purer than I really am. So I lighten up!
However, it has always been relatively easy for me to give and receive love – as long as the needs have been met and big conflicts have been avoided. Nowadays, I want to go deeper, partly thanks to my daughter whose arrival I waited for many years. When my daughter was finally born, I realized that I could totally love her also when she confronts me and I’m not able to meet my own needs – like the need for sleep, cleanliness and alone time. Loving my daughter has freed me to love more deeply also romantically because I became open to the idea that someone can find me lovable even when I’m not perfect because I’m whole.
How can I love myself as I am: imperfect and yet immensely loving and lovable? The greatest key I have found is that I accept that sometimes I don’t feel loving and lovable. If I then get empathy and someone carries me over the loveless patch in life, I feel truly loved because I was shown affection when I needed it the most but was unable to communicate it.
Now to the meat of this speech. This has been by far the most effective way to change my love life for the better: When I don’t feel loving or lovable, I pause, take the vacuum cleaner out of the closet and do some cleaning meditation before saying or doing anything I would regret. Seriously, all the ladies here, when you have PMS the best decision in life is to clean your home! You will be able to like yourselves more after cleaning the apartment instead of picking up a fight with your partner! And men when your lady is becoming moody, for the sake of your relationship happiness, buy her some chocolate.
Life is really quite simple. It happens now and you have a choice to make. Will you choose to frown or lighten up?”
After her wonderful speech and a heart-warming applause, Johanna guides us into a shared meditation. The book has six meditations that everyone can easily do in their everyday life. In addition to the meditations, the book has 50 practical rules on how to live a joyful life. The rules are accompanied by little stories of Johanna’s own life, which makes the reading a very unique experience.
After the meditation it is time to enjoy the bithday cake of Lighten Up To Be Enlightened! and to get the author’s signature to the brand new book. Johanna also takes plenty of time to discuss with every single guest at the party.
Lighten Up To Be Enlightened! has now been launched to the world. Are you ready to take the joyful path in life?
You can buy your own copy on Amazon: bit.ly/lightenuponamazon or the eBook on the website of Virtuous Arts: www.virtuousarts.com.
You can also join the Virtuous Arts mailing list here to receive tips to living a joyful life: bit.ly/VirtuousArts.
About the Author
After helping her clients realize their dreams as a motivational coach, Johanna Maria Davies, M.A., is now the writer, dance partner and mother she always dreamt of becoming. Johanna writes books and articles as well as short stories and blogs in order to increase awareness through and for love.
Check J.M. Davies’ Author Page to find out more: http://www.amazon.com/author/jmdavies.
An interview on J.M. Davies’ writing history:
Why did you start writing?
I loved books from very early age. My mother used to read me a lot until I learned to read myself. Then, during my spare time I was most likely either dancing or reading. My writing career started with diaries. I wrote piles and piles of diaries. I guess I had a lot to say but I felt more comfortable saying it on a page than out loud. Maybe I just loved my hand dancing on the paper, pencil as the dance partner.
Did you know you wanted to be a writer when you were still a child?
I had four dream careers: a dancer, writer, flight attendant and a diplomat – in that order. I used to be a flight attendant when I was studying at the university. I am now a writer and a dancer and the thing about diplomacy I was interested in was travelling and living in different countries, learning about different cultures and speaking several languages. I have lived in Finland, France, Italy, UK, Spain and a short time in Sweden. Next I’m moving to the United States. I speak all those languages – Finnish, French, Italian, English, Spanish and Swedish more or less proficiently.
Tell us more about the things you’ve written.
My writing career became more promising as I became involved in the school newspaper. That was followed by an internship in a media company. Then I started submitting pieces to Finland’s UNIFEM. At the university, I wrote of course many papers on several topics including diplomacy, conflict prevention and peace. My first work after graduating from the University of Helsinki was the position of a Press and PR Officer. Then I became a freelance writer and started to write on spirituality and dreams.
My first novel Apsara's Dance was published in 2012. Next in line was my first self-help book Lighten Up To Be Enlightened! that came out in August 2015. Currently, I am writing a short story collection on love.
What is this fascination about love?
I have always been fascinated by love stories and I have always wondered why so few people seem to live them true in their daily lives. That made me question whether those stories were somehow unreal. I have come to the conclusion that they can be real, if you want to see your love story through the eyes of a hopeless romantic. It is not so much about the actual events but about the mind and heart of the interpreter.
I also continue to write book reviews and articles in Finnish concentrating on living a holistically brilliant life. I look forward to connecting with you on some page I have written!
Read more about the author here: http://www.virtuousarts.com/jmdavies.php.
Text: Pirita Valtonen
Cover Photo © Virtuous Arts.