I met this woman through my use of GoogleReader (it collects feeds from news sites, blogs, etc.). I immediately sensed a sincerity about her spiritual commitment so I posted a few comments to her blog. After the second or third comment, she asked me if I'd do a GuestPost (which was an honor...). Then, I asked her for an e-mail interview. But, before that brief exchange, here's some info about her from her site:
" Hi, I’m Nneka (pronounced en-nay-kah), the daughter of a musician and a closet fashionista. That’s me singing. I was born and raised in the southern-most island in the Caribbean, Trinidad. At 8, I was taught to meditate and I’ve been experimenting with it since (present commitment to daily meditation). I was exposed and acculturalized to diverse creeds and cultures.
"I’m passionate about expressing Spirit in my life and helping you do the same. For me, right now, that means writing about spirituality and how to apply it to life on Balanced Life Center. For you it may mean composing a symphony, being a conscious entrepreneur, a magnetic salesperson, or a patient, loving stay-at-home mom....
"I believe that God is everywhere present all the time. I write this here because a lot of the ideas that are discussed here will come from that premise. When I speak of God, I speak of the Spirit/Consciousness, the essence of all that is. It courses through our lives, our being, our world. It abides everywhere.
"I believe that within everyone lies their Divinity. Since God is everywhere present, He must be within each and everyone of us. Whether or not we choose to act out of that Divinity is up to us. Whether we are aware of it or not is a matter of our consciousness. Part of my purpose is to help everyone discover this Divinity within themselves and to help them uniquely express it."The Interview (short and sweet):
Alex: Nneka, what led you to your current Internet activities?
Nneka: My husband started an online business in 2002. In 2003 when I wanted to start writing, he suggested I start a blog. I had no idea what a blog was at the time, or what a content management site was about. I was used to old school html. Anyway, I got the domain for Balanced Life Center and intended to start an online magazine about building a balanced life. That lasted for about 4 months before I got involved in the business side of his business. I ended up having to learn a lot about online marketing, pay per click, search engine optimization, and this new thing about building community around a business online.
I left the business in early 2006 to re-focus on what I consider my purpose. I resurrected Balanced Life Center, and here we are.
Alex: Is the Balanced Life Center Site a "shell" surrounding your blog or is the blog the "heart" of the Site or neither?
Nneka: At this moment, Balanced Life Center - the blog, is the heart of the site.
Alex: Are you able to sum up your "Sense of Spirituality" in 25 words or less? How about 10 words or less?
Nneka: In 10 words or less: God is All there is.
By that I mean that God is the essence of all things seen and unseen and that we are expressions of God. We may witness God to varying degrees and see "illness" in the world because of how much of our Divinity we allow to express through us and as us.
Alex: What might you say to the oft expressed "issue" where "Spirituality" and "Religion" are discussed, sometimes as antagonists, sometimes as parts of a whole?
Nneka: I think that religion is your chosen path to know the God of your being or the way that you choose to experience and express God. Most religions come with a set customs and rules that help frame the moral and social code of a community. It also sets up a framework to learn about spirituality from a given perspective.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is about your relationship with the Divine and your experience of it. Religion can help you find what works for you, but only you will know what that is.
Alex: What would be your "best advice" for healing the Illnesses of our World? (If you need to "define" those Illnesses first, please, go right ahead.)
Nneka: "Physician heal thyself."
We cannot heal the world until we heal ourselves. Then we can take up the yoke to heal our families, our schools, our churches, our communities, and the world. Ironically, we will find that once we heal ourselves, the world around us will take on a different hue. Much of the heavy lifting that we do to "make" things happen in our world today either won't be needed or will be done with different intentions.