Angelina Kalahari

"Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself." by Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Tag: Love (page 2 of 3)

A great question about fear from a fictional character.

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I talked to Isabelle Cooper about her fears today. She is the protagonist of my novel, The Healing Touch. She is also the protagonist of my next novel, Forever And Ever Love, a continuation of her and Angelo’s story from The Healing Touch.

I talk to Isabelle every day, but she surprised me today when she wondered if she was being selfish to want to be in both novels?

Her question put me in mind about what we believe we can and can’t have in life, and the wonderful quote from A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson:

“…Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Confessions of a vocal coach

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I am lucky enough to work wearing several different hats. When I wear my vocal coach hat, I work with wonderful voices and help to develop those voices. It never ceases to amaze me what the human vocal instrument is capable of, and I love seeing my students’ voices develop.

As a vocal coach, guiding voices, especially young voices, involve not only teaching the correct techniques for optimum vocal expression, but picking the right repertoire. This is important to build the voice’s strength and flexibility, and requires great sensitivity to the voice you’re working with.

A number of my students started studying with me when they were ten years old. Then, they were cute little kids with squeaky voices to match their little bodies. At that time, they were often shy with soft, tiny voices. Most had never had a singing lesson before, and often it was their mothers who felt that singing would bring them out of themselves and imbue them with confidence. Their mothers were not wrong. Singing is great for building confidence and good posture.

Today, aged fifteen, these same students are gorgeous young men and women with beautiful voices, and confident singers and performers.  Their great communication skills that will stand them in good stead as they traverse their working lives and beyond. At the moment, they all seem to be especially stressed by too much work and preparations for their GCSE mock exams in January, to be followed soon after by the real thing. So, for now, we’re focusing on breathing lower and deeper in their bodies which will help them to relax.

What they eventually want to do with their voice training, will dictate the length and intensity of their studies. Obviously, if the goal is to become a professional singer, the training will be very different from someone who is studying to pass exams in order to improve their CV for a new school or University, or someone who is studying voice for improved confidence, or as a hobby. But hopefully, every student who ever studied with me will feel that they received the very best voice education I could give them. And I’m lucky, since it seems my students really do feel that way, judging by the lovely cards, letters and presents I have received from them over the years.

I’ve kept all their cards and letters in a big brown envelope, and on those days when life seems harder than others, or when life throws me a curve ball, I take out their writings and re-read them. It never fails to make my heart sing!

The last day of November. What does it mean to you?

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November is an interesting month. It is the eleventh and penultimate month of the year and the fourth and last month containing 30 days. It is also the month when many of my friends and family members have their birthdays.

A number of festivals and holidays also happen during November. I love for example that the pagan Owl Month starts on 23 November until 21 December, signifying change and the Long Nights Time. It sounds kind of romantic, and I love owls.

The month has always been quite an exciting one for me personally, because I love autumn, the crispness of the colder days, and the colours, sights and smells of nature during this time. Long walks in the late autumn sunshine is a particularly lovely thing to do.

But November is also the month known to writers as NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. It started in 1999 in America but now writers from all around the world join to write at least 50,000 words of a new novel during the month of November. If you join NaNoWriMo’s official website and reach your word count on 30 November, you receive a certificate that you can print out. It leaves you with a great sense of achievement and satisfaction, and many more writer friends if you so choose. I haven’t joined officially, but wrote my new novel, Forever And Ever Love, alongside NaNoWriMo and as I’m doing rather well, I may join next year.

There are many benefits of writing, even if you never intend to publish what you write. It can help deal with tragic and difficult experiences and it helps with loneliness – paradoxically, as writing is very much a solo sport. But writing, and talking with your characters, will definitely take you on a journey – maybe even one where you discover things about yourself you never knew.

Some writers use NaNoWriMo to get their next book well on its way to being finished. Others write just for the fun of it. But whichever way you go about it, try it – it is intense and fun!

Telling people we love them is so important

View from Table Mountain

My family live in several countries around the world, which I guess is quite normal for families these days. It doesn’t stop me loving them the same as I have always done.

One of my sisters celebrated her birthday recently. She lives in Cape Town and leads a crazy busy life, but I managed to get her on the other end of a phone over the weekend. It’s always wonderful to catch up with her and to hear news of the rest of the family. She told me all about how great her birthday was, the lovely gifts she’d received, the dinner, and she told me how she went up Table Mountain via cable car with her whole family. They stayed there until eight o’clock in the evening, taking pictures of the setting sun. She said that was the best gift of all – having all her family with her to enjoy the views with her. She promised to send me photos, and I fell in love with the one accompanying this blog, which shows part of the cable car and the views of Cape Town below, the sea and Robben Island in the distance.

At the end of our conversation, I told my sister that I loved her very much, not only as my sister but also as my friend. She said my words created a cozy warmth around her heart.

Her reaction reminded me once again how important it is that we tell the people in our lives that we love them. Often we assume they know how we feel about them, and I’m sure they do, but it’s so important to say it, especially when they’re still around to hear it. Life is so short.

In the end, isn’t it what we all want – to be accepted and loved unconditionally for who are, warts and all?

Are virtual friends real? What do you think?

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Even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK as our American friends did yesterday, I feel everyone probably should at least look at the people and things they are grateful for. I’m grateful for so many things.

I was asked this question the other day, “Are virtual friends real?”

I’m grateful for all my friends, including my virtual friends, and I am lucky to have several virtual friends whom I’ve never met in real life, but who have become very important to me. Actually, I don’t even like the phrase, virtual friends, but to avoid confusion, I’ll stick to it for this post.

I regularly Skype for two to three hours every week or so with friends I have never actually met before.

A very dear and important virtual friend lives in Texas near a forest. She’s a writer and a musician, and when we Skype, we talk about writerly things and everything else under the sun. Perhaps because we share writing and music (voice, in my case), a love of nature and forests, we have a great understanding of each other, and exchange tips and advise about writing and life. We support each other and share in each other’s lives – our heartaches, sorrows, madness, creativity, lows and highs. She brings such deep joy to my life.

A much loved, treasured and significant virtual friend lives in Atlanta, America. When we Skype, I get a real measure of her essence and energy. I see parts of her home behind her, share in her joy of her dogs, and in her life, in a far more immediate way than only writing can allow. We discuss singing and voice, especially Adam Lambert’s amazing voice, life, our families, our careers, and we share ourselves in the knowledge that everything we tell each other is safe with the other. She is also my most important beta reader, and she enriches my life beyond measure.

Another friend, who lives on a ranch in Texas, became a virtual friend after we met one crazy night in New Orleans at an Adam Lambert show, when we danced together in a gay club until around four o’clock in the morning.  It’s always wonderful to catch up with her and to hear her tales of their goats and horses, and of her lovely family.

In 2015 one of my very first, wonderful, much loved virtual friends suddenly died. I can assure you, my heartache and sadness was very real. I still miss her every day.

I’m immensely grateful for the amazing opportunity to have met these special friends. I cherish them and the time I get to spend with them, in the same way that I value my friends who live near me. We share ourselves and talk on the phone, Skype, via email or Facebook regularly in the same way that friends who live near me, and I, share our lives and talk on the phone, WhatsApp, SMS, or meet up once in a while for lunch, dinner or just a coffee. I really don’t see any difference.

I have lived in other countries, and my friends who were once my real friends there, have since become virtual friends because of distance, but they are nevertheless still very much a part of my life. Thanks to technology, our world is now much smaller, and it’s always an amazing experience to Skype with someone across an ocean in another continent.

 

Would you pay someone to give you a hug?

Hugging in Covent Garden

I read an amazing article the other day, and then saw a late night television documentary about it…how people are so lonely these days, that they’re paying professional huggers for non-sexual physical contact.

A hug is such a lovely thing to receive and give. It also has other benefits. An article by Marcus Julian Felicetti, highlights the following benefits about hugs:

  1. builds trust and a sense of safety, which helps with open and honest communication.
  2. instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
  3. an extended hug lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
  4. strengthens the immune system.
  5. boosts self-esteem.
  6. releases tension in the body.
  7. teaches us how to give and receive.
  8. encourages empathy and understanding

There is a saying by Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”

It breaks my heart to think that some of us have become so lonely that we have to pay someone to give us a hug – that thing that mums or dads, or grandmas and grandads give to their children and grandchildren to soothe physical or emotional pain. The thing that friend give when they haven’t seen each other for a while. The thing that loves give to express their love. The thing we know is so important for our physical and emotional well-being.

I recall another late night television documentary that highlighted this issue when extremely distressing images were presented of one of those awful orphanages where tiny babies and children sat in dirty cots, rocking and damaged for life as a result of no physical contact from another human being.

Meanwhile, we’re living now in a society where it seems to me that more and more people are having relationships with computers, instead. And we’re building ever smarter AIs.

But it may have an even deeper impact on our society. I wonder if it is perhaps one of the reasons why it seems so easy now for some of us to appear to feel nothing when we, participate in, or see, the many horrible atrocities we visit on one another?

Children’s Novel: George And The Gargoyle Who Lived In The Garden

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I was very excited to introduce George and his friends to the world on 10 July 2016! So happy birthday, George and the Gargoyle who lived in the Garden!

Thank you very much to everyone who participated in the online launch, and congratulations to the winners – you may already have received your signed copies of the novel!

Thank you to everyone else who bought the novel.

I would be delighted if you’d be so kind as to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads, telling me what you thought of George and the Gargoyle who lived in the Garden. Reviews are really important. Not only do they tell other potential readers what to expect from a novel, but they also allow the novel to live in the world. It means I’ll be able to continue to write more stories for you.

You can reach me directly at angelina@angelinakalahari.com or at angelinasbooks@hotmail.com. Please bear with me if I don’t respond straight away. I endeavour to respond to each email.

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A LITTLE FACT ABOUT GARGOYLES

Did you know that Gargoyles were viewed in two ways by the church throughout history? Often gargoyles were used to assist the Church in conveying messages to the common people. Since literacy was uncommon, images were the best way to constantly convey ideas. Gargoyles were used as a representation of evil. It is thought that they were used to scare people into going to church, reminding them that the end of days was near. It is also thought that their presence assured congregants that evil was kept outside of the church’s walls.

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HERE IS THE FIRST CHAPTER

If you’ve missed the launch and would like to see it, these are the launch videos for George and the Gargoyle who lived in the Garden:

 

The eBook and paperback is now available on Amazon uk here: http://tinyurl.com/zm3yej6

And Amazon.com here: http://tinyurl.com/h2nf3ov

I’m very grateful that the wonderful award winning YA author of The Du Lac Chronicles, Mary Anne Yarde, had this to say about George and the Gargoyle who lived in the Garden:

“It was the same dream, every single night…

First there was this horrid, ear-splitting, squawking sound. And then a dreadful sense of fear, followed by the largest and brightest purple eye that George had ever seen.  And then, he would wake up!

George knew his parent were right. He was too old to be having such dreams and perhaps going to see a counsellor was the right thing to do. But how was a councillor going to help with the school bullies?

George longed for the school holidays, where he could escape the bullies and his unsympathetic father.He would be spending his summer with his believed Aunt Di and he could not wait.

George, however, had no idea, that his aunts garden was a magical place and that he was about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

What a fantastically gripping middle-grade story about a young boy and his exploits in a beautiful enchanted garden. The story was full of mystery and magic, with just enough suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat.

I could easily visualise George’s garden and his many friends he made there. I loved his relationship with Aunt Di and the evil witch certainly made me shiver!

A great story and an enjoyable read. I think this has the makings of an exciting series.”

 

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What does the beautiful autumn mean to you?

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I saw this beautiful autumn tree on one of my recent walks in the park near my home, and just had to take a picture of it. It looks as though the tree has spent all summer absorbing all the colours of the sun, only to give it back as a thank you just before it sheds its leaves for winter.

 

I love all seasons, but Autumn is special – it’s filled with a kind of excitement for me – perhaps because there’s a crispness in the air and a very definite change in nature, or maybe it’s because it’s getting to the end of the year. This is the time of the year when I like to look back to see how many of my dreams came true. l also take a look forward to the next year, and to set myself some new dreams. It’s a game I play with myself every year. Most years I’m blown away by how many things I’d achieved and how many wonderful people I’d met.

 

I’m curious to know if other people do this, too?

 

Journey to Hong Kong

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I’m a traveller. I LOVE visiting other countries, other cultures, other peoples, as in my recent journey to Hong Kong.

But travelling isn’t only the physical acts of booking a holiday, booking the flights, hotels, cars, etc., packing a bag, arriving at the airport and checking in on the right day at the right time. Nor is it the anticipation and the excitement that precedes the journey.

No, journeys are far more important. A journey is also an emotional and spiritual expansion. That, more than anything, is what fascinates me about travelling.

We change and grow and evolve from moment to moment, of course. Each interaction with another leaves us forever changed. But nothing speeds up our growth and expansion in the way that travelling to another part of the world does, at least for me.

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Years ago, I lived in Hong Kong for nearly eight wonderfully crazy years. That was more than eighteen years ago, now. But I had an opportunity to spend Christmas 2015 there, and became enthralled again by its unexpected beauty among the many high rises, the glittering gems of its many lights at night, its otherworldliness, its uncommon smells, its fast paced materialism, and its perpetual spirituality. Hong Kong remains, for me, a contradiction, a mystery, a home.

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The day before I was to return to the UK, I had an opportunity to visit the big Buddha. Talk about journeys! I went with my husband and members of his family by cable car, and that journey alone was worth the effort of getting there. It felt as though we were leaving Hong Kong far behind as we travelled over a vast area of unspoilt trees and vegetation far below us. A small footpath snaked through the undergrowth where, every now and then, a brightly coloured speck was the only evidence of brave souls venturing towards the big Buddha on foot.

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For us, the cable car journey went on, and on, over several hills until finally, there stood the Buddha, enshrouded in a light mist, a guardian over Hong Kong, hands extended in blessing before him. It was a breathtaking and otherworldly vision, indeed, which intensified the nearer we went.

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En route, through the small shopping centre, where all sorts of Buddha paraphernalia could be bought as treasures to take home, a small theatre presented shows about Buddha’s life and philosophy.

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Then, after the long walk, where sacred cows approached the tourists for snacks, we encountered the many steps that lead up to the big Buddha’s statue, the steps, a symbol perhaps of the effort it takes to reach enlightenment. I was certainly winded and relieved to reach the top.
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The atmosphere around the statue was surprisingly serene despite the hordes of tourists visiting the place. By the time we left, I felt thoroughly imbued with a sense of calm, peace, and renewed strength for whatever the journey of 2016 might bring, and a serene kind of happiness that made me smile at strangers for no apparent reason.

Afterwards, on the way back down to the cable car, I had the opportunity to add my wishes and prayers to the prayer tree that 2016 will be a wonderful year for us all in the Year of the Fire Monkey.

But once home in London, I wanted the feeling of peace, contentment and happiness to continue, and came upon a book I felt might be able to help me to not only understand it, but to sustain it. The book is called “Happiness, a guide to developing life’s most important skill.” It was written by Matthieu Ricard.

A scientist turned Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard presents interesting points and words of wisdom on the state of happiness – well worth a read, and it does not matter whether or not you are a Buddhist – I am not – or even harbour spiritual beliefs.

Happiness

Basically, the book is a reminder of the fact that we get so entangled and bogged down in our journey towards whatever it is we think will make us happy, that we often can’t find it. But the irony is that happiness is an internal job – a state of mind – and not at all dependent on anything external. A great reminder, indeed.

Happiness, I find, is rather a good goal to have for 2016!

This is the second vlog in which I respond to readers’ questions on The Healing Touch.

I have received so many questions about the spiritual aspects in the novel that I have decided to split the responses into different parts.

This is the first part:

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