<p><a href=”http://blissandradiance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/IMG_2080.jpg”><img class=”size-large wp-image-1095″ src=”http://blissandradiance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/IMG_2080-1024×682.jpg” alt=”The Louvre. Paris, France. Photo taken May 2012. © blissandradiance.com” width=”1024″ height=”682″></a> The Louvre. Paris, France. Photo taken May 2012. © blissandradiance.com
My path crossed with Hiro Boga in late 2013, at around the same time I had the inspiration to create blissandradiance.com. As I explored <a href=”http://hiroboga.com” target=”_blank”>Hiro’s work</a>, I knew that she would have a profound effect on me and help me shape my concept for this website and bring it to my life as a whole. Along the way I also learnt an invaluable concept – one that assists me every day to ‘<a href=”http://blissandradiance.com/on-belonging/” target=”_blank”>belong to myself</a>’: I learnt how to embrace my own sense of sovereignty. I had the honor of interviewing Hiro recently. I hope you find inspiration in Hiro’s words.
Listen to an excerpt from my conversation with Hiro as she describes how she finds inspiration from her surroundings and from within:
<strong>1) How were you inspired to find your calling with your work and how it has evolved? What is on the horizon for you?</strong>
I grew up in Bombay, which, in the 1950’s, was a vibrant mercantile city of about 3 million people. It was a city of neighborhoods. The one in which we lived included bungalows and concrete-and-plaster houses, low-slung buildings and hole-in-the-wall shops. One corner of our neighborhood, which everyone called “the village”, was occupied by a small enclave straight out of Old Goa. It seemed a wildly exotic place, to us kids, who only went there when invited to visit our Catholic friends in their Portuguese-style tiled-roof cottages, clustered around a large central courtyard with a statue of Mother Mary, painted red heart ablaze and pierced by arrows.
The city itself was a bewildering bazaar of the weird and wonderful. Scrofulous, smelly, dirty, crowded, it nevertheless brimmed over with color and beauty, the thwop of cricket played on the Maidan, the raucous conversations of crows, vignettes of love and beauty and kindness in the slimy streets, and the shining sea all around. Bombay is an island.
Summers, school holidays, and weekends, we took the train high up into the mountains of the Western Ghats, where my aunt was the principal of a boarding school in a tiny village called Khandala. It was almost entirely wilderness then — dense jungles where panthers still prowled, and where I hiked and climbed and explored alone for hours each day without ever running into another human being. This was home. I loved it as we only ever love as children – with my whole, unfettered heart. It was the world’s first fingerprint on me, and it claimed me utterly.
The places we inhabit when we are very young inhabit us in turn, for we are newly incarnated then, and our souls are passionately present, brimming over with the love that brought us here in the first place. They shape who we are, as surely as the food we eat, the schools we go to, and the air we breathe.
My calling — though I didn’t know that’s what it was, back then — felt like a great river of love that flowed between me and my two worlds. It found its creative expression in the things I loved to do – hike, wander, commune with the Nature Devas and other subtle energy beings who filled my world. I’d write; draw; paint; read; climb trees, climb mountains. I loved to learn; daydream; map the night sky, with its stars that felt like home, onto my skin, in the whorled shells of my ears. I loved to stretch across the far horizon to the wide world beyond, which I knew only from books and my own soul’s immense reach. And yet, I knew someday it would be my home.
In Khandala, I experienced a kind of ecstatic union with the natural world and the Earth herself. I was as much a part of it as the sky, the mountains, the jungles and birds and waterfalls. It’s where I first met and loved the Nature Devas and other non-physical beings who were the architects and guardians of that wilderness landscape. Loving them, I wanted to be part of their activity, part of what they did to weave that magical place into being, to care for it and nurture it so it could be its exquisitely beautiful self.
In Bombay, the human world called me to a more complicated love. It shredded my heart in ways that the wilderness never did. My family was middle-class, not enormously wealthy, unlike the families of many of the girls I went to private school with. But we lived in a city in which entire families subsisted on little more than chappatis and chilli peppers, where hungry children and their malnourished parents begged on the streets or labored in the punishing heat to fill their bellies with a single fistful of rice.
When I was very young, before the Devas had taught me how to work with energy to alchemize suffering that I could not alleviate in any other way, my body was flooded every day with a wracked tide of love and despair.
I wanted to help, with the kind of desperate, helpless love that is a child’s spontaneous offering. On family outings, enroute to the market, or on the trolley bus to school, I stopped and talked with beggars. I held the hands of lepers, and stroked their crumbling fingers. And I yelled in outrage at my family when they hauled me away bodily from these encounters. I felt ashamed, helpless, furious in the face of so much needless suffering.
Eventually, my soul told me it was time to say goodbye to India. To grow my capacity to serve, I needed to grow aspects of myself first, in a different culture and geography. I left India and moved, first to the U.S., and then to Canada, where I’ve lived all my adult life. Here, I’ve found home and belonging, raised my family. Here, I continue to do my life’s work.
The needs in this part of the world are culturally shaped, and different than they are in India. Yes, there is poverty and homelessness, income disparity and lack of justice here too. But there is also a bedrock of provision and support. We are blessed with prosperity of the sort that most of the world can barely dream of.
The true poverty here is a poverty of connection, beginning with inner connection. Our lives are fragmented; we have forgotten our place in wholeness. Our focus has been so firmly fixed on the material world that we forget that our world is wholeness incarnate, a fractal of the Sacred – and we are too. We forget that our outer reality is a direct expression of a wholeness which we either contribute to or devolve with our thoughts and beliefs, our choices and actions. We are in thrall to things that can never fill us up. All the while, we are starved for that which matters most – our relationships with our souls, with our hearts, with our beloveds, with our communities, with our natural and human world.
We have the opportunity, as a culture, to work together to create a world that works for everyone. The problems of the world remain intractable, its patterns of violence and poverty, hunger and degradation, seem impossible to change. Yet I have immense hope for us, as a species, as members of the intricate ecology that is life on our planet. Devas and other allies in the subtle energy realms work tirelessly to do their part in the reweaving of the world. We have the capacity to do our part, in partnership with them, in partnership with each other.
Calling, to me, is a summons from the soul of the world to participate in the life of the world. Calling is my soul’s response to the world’s need, and to my own deepest love and desire. For me, that call has been, first, to be fully myself, to be whole. And then, to be an active agent of wholeness in my world.
This is what impels everything I do. This is my calling. To love what I love, to offer all that I am and all that I have in service to the perfect unfolding of everything and everyone I am in relationship with. So I continue to write. I continue to teach. I share what I know, what I’ve learned through over 40 years of doing this work – what I continue to learn each and every day: How to be in right relationship with the ecologies in which we are embedded. How to be in relationship with our own souls, the soul of humanity, the soul of the world. How to partner with the non-physical world to make heaven on earth. How to protect, strengthen and serve the essence at the heart of the people and places I love, so they can be more fully themselves.
As for what’s next: I don’t know. At this stage of my life, I’m seldom shown more than the landscape directly ahead of me. When I step into it in faith, miracles happen. What’s calling me next is greater relationship, collaboration, play. And more writing. All of it will show up in perfect timing, as it always does — in ways I almost never expect!
<strong>2) How do you anchor back to that original calling on a regular basis?</strong>
For me, this happens by shaping my days around what matters most to me — time, space, solitude in which to stay in harmony with my body, with my soul, with myself. Time for my inner work, time for my creative work, time for my beloveds, time for play. Time for music and silence, art and nature, in their own rhythm. Time to receive, time to give. Obviously, not all of these happen on any given day. But I make time and space for what wants to emerge.
My home and my life reflect what I love and are outer expressions of my inner world. I am surrounded by beauty, order, simplicity, loving kindness. I don’t do ritual practices any more, and haven’t done for many years, but my entire house is an altar to the Sacred, and there are altars in both my living room and my study. They are simple, and they don’t change. The anchor the presence of my sacred allies in the geography of my life.
I try to live in harmony with my own rhythms. I seldom do anything I don’t want to do, and whatever I choose to do, I try to do it with love. If I can’t be find a way to be at peace with it, then it doesn’t belong with me and I bid it a kind goodbye.
Similarly, my business is shaped around my essential values, and those of its Deva. Impeccability, truth, integrity, love, kindness, sovereignty, generosity. By anchoring my business and everything I do and offer within it to these qualities, I answer the call of its soul and mine in ways both small and profound.
Daily practices are at the heart of sustainable living, for me, so they form the container that holds my calling as well as my life. It’s the things we do every day that shape who we are, and who we become. I am the result of the choices I’ve made and the ways in which I’ve lived each day for the past 65 years.
A calling is always calling us to become more of who we truly are, in order that we may take our place in the ecology of being. So a calling doesn’t demand that we be perfect. It asks only that we be faithful. That we serve it as wholeheartedly as we can. That when we fall or fail or get discouraged, we take a breath, hold ourselves in kindness, and then return to the task at hand with however much love and devotion we can muster.
My life is an ecology and my calling is an essential part of its wholeness. The various elements of this ecology are interdependent and woven together in a complex network of relationships. Everything I do to honor and facilitate wholeness and interdependency anchors me back into my soul, into my personhood, and into my calling.
The health and vibrancy of my ecology depends on many factors. Among them: my ability to keep my energy flowing and vibrating at its optimal frequency; my ability to be present; the harmony between my body, heart, mind, soul and the Sacred.
Like brushing my teeth or taking a shower, daily energy alchemy practices help keep my energy system and inner ecology clear, wholesome and responsive to my soul’s purposes, the purposes of my incarnation, and the needs of my world.
My practices have changed, over time, though the core of them remains much the same as it has always been. I commune with my soul, my body, and my inner selves. With the Devas. With the Sacred. I ask the Devas that I’m working with for their vision of what they want to bring into being, and I put my skills and gifts in service to help make it happen, if it feels like something that’s mine to do.
I also make time each day for service to my world, for sacred activism. I co-create energy fields in which my clients and students and their creative projects can unfold in harmony with their own souls and the souls of their projects. I do the same for my neighborhood, my city, my country. For rainforests and oceans. For the health and well-being of the Earth. For other causes and situations that call to my heart. There is a limit to what I am able to hold, so I choose these projects with care. I’ve worked with some of them in-depth for many years. Others, I engage with for a few weeks, or a season or two, whatever is needed; whatever I have the capacity to give.
I try find ways to move, joyfully and pleasurably, each day, preferably outdoors. Over the years, this has included everything from a dedicated two-hour morning and evening yoga practice, to hiking in all kinds of weather, to – these days – a gentle walk around my neighborhood.
Writing and reading are lifelong practices. I write most mornings, and I read poetry every morning. They connect me with my calling in ways that aren’t always obvious, but are often the mulch that nourishes the root.
A practice is a path that my feet know through muscle memory. It’s a path I make by walking. It guides me to wholeness. A useful practice is flexible enough to change as my needs change. It grows with me, yet it is sturdy enough to provide stability and grounding during times of upheaval, transition and change.
Ultimately, my calling is not separate from my life. With every choice I face, every minute of every day, I ask myself one simple question: Will this take me closer to wholeness or further away from it? And then I act accordingly.
<strong>3) Where do you look for new inspiration?</strong>
</p><blockquote>Inspiration is a quality of soul, so it’s already within me, as it is in each of us.”
Often, inspiration finds me. Inspiration is a quality of soul, so it’s already within me, as it is in each of us. It is also a quality that is held in the energy field of the Deva of Inspiration. I attune to this Deva regularly – we are old friends. When I do, everything around me comes alive, and I am reminded, vividly, that I live in a world of profound, breathtaking, inspiring beauty. All I have to do is pay attention.
And then there are times when Inspiration knocks on my door in any number of guises. An invitation to dinner with creative and marvelously talented friends. A concert. A phrase of music heard through an open car window. The neighbor’s cat sunning herself on a rock. A trick of light on the pavement. My granddaughter’s fascinated delight with her new dress. The book that falls open at a poem I’ve read a hundred times before, whose music sings to me today in a completely different way.
Each of these is a gift from the Deva of Inspiration, in cahoots with my soul. Each offers itself with such love, drops into my heart and mingles there, emerging – then, or later – in a new poem, a new piece of writing, or a simple lifting of my spirit in silent wonder.
Some things inspire me quite reliably: My friends, my sons, my granddaughter and now my new baby grandson — my beloveds. My desk and chair, notebook and pen. Beauty, in all its forms. Nature. The sea. Wide horizons. The night sky, when the stars are visible. Mountains, forests. Animals and people who know who they are and what they want, and who act accordingly. Music, and – more often — silence. Books…oh, books. Poetry, above all, but also essays and fiction and non-fiction — any piece of writing that’s true to itself, imbued with rich life, feeling, texture, meaning.
<strong>4) What does the phrase ‘inner bliss and outer radiance’ mean to you?</strong>
Bliss and radiance both have inner and outer aspects, so I can’t really talk about bliss as “inner”, and radiance as “outer”.
To me, bliss is a feeling, which means it’s a response from your body and your inner selves to whatever your experience is, in the moment. Feelings are fluid. They arise and, if they are allowed to flow freely, they eventually dissolve into some other feeling state.
As for the inner and outer aspects of bliss: On an inner level, there’s the energy of the feeling itself – bliss. It flows through your body, and you can feel the effects of this feeling within you. On an outer level, you might choose to express your bliss in some way, by singing out loud, or smiling, or cooking a great breakfast for your loves. Or, you may choose not to express it outwardly at all, but simply enjoy it inwardly for as long as it lasts.
Radiance, on the other hand, is a soul quality. Soul qualities aren’t unchanging, by any means – they are always within us, if only as seeds or potentials, but their strength waxes and wanes depending on our capacity to hold and incarnate them in our lives. The more fully you incarnate and embody radiance, the more fully it opens you to all of your soul’s qualities. And, through your extended soul, which is much vaster than the portion of it that is incarnate in your life right now, it connects you with the quality of radiance in all forms of life.
Radiance is within you – that’s the “inner” quality of it. But every soul quality that you embody will always express itself outwardly as well, by emanating its frequency into the world. That’s the nature of soul qualities. Whether you’re shopping for diapers or conducting a symphony, your radiance will light up the world, and add to the sum of radiance across the universe.
Ultimately, radiance and bliss are intimately linked. Radiance is who you are. Bliss is what you experience and express when you’re being all of who you are.
<em>Hiro Boga is a writer, teacher and mentor to visionary leaders who are dedicated to shaping a world in which service and profit, soul and entrepreneurship, work hand in hand to create peace and prosperity for everyone.</em>
<em>Over the past three decades, Hiro has helped thousands of clients and students reclaim joy, freedom, creative power and sovereignty in their businesses, their relationships, and their lives.</em><em> </em>
<em>As a mentor and teacher, Hiro blends transformative energy technologies, the magic of story, and grounded spiritual practices with pragmatic business strategies.</em>
<em>Hiro offers two signature group programs each year: <a href=”http://hiroboga.com/programs/”>Become Your Own Business Adviser</a> and <a href=”http://hiroboga.com/how-to-rule-your-world-from-the-inside-out/”>How To Rule Your World From The Inside Out: The Art Of Inner Leadership</a>.</em>
<em>She also works <a href=”http://hiroboga.com/mentoring/”>privately</a> with visionary leaders to bring their most creative visions to life through a skillful blend of inner and outer work. The <a href=”http://hiroboga.com/praise/”>results</a> are both practical and profound.</em>
<em>Explore her <a href=”http://hiroboga.com/blog/”>writing</a>, current <a href=”http://hiroboga.com/calendar/”>offerings</a>, and a wealth of other resources at <a href=”http://HiroBoga.com”>HiroBoga.com</a>. </em><em>Connect with Hiro on <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/HiroBoga.Inc”>Facebook</a>, <a href=”http://www.pinterest.com/hiroboga/”>Pinterest,</a> & on Twitter <a href=”http://twitter.com/HiroBoga”>@HiroBoga</a></em>