Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Blogger Interview One with Nneka

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.

7 comments:

Paul said...

The effects of meditation can be really profound over time, wish more people were doing this, glad to see it being discussed here.

Alexander M said...

Paul,
Thanks for kicking off the comments on Nneka's Interview post!

To me meditation is a "steadying force"--reflecting my spiritual energy back to myself...

I subscribed to your two blogs in my GoogleReader.

~ Alex

Nneka said...

Alex, thanks for the beautiful interview. I really enjoy with connecting with other bloggers and you are definately a soothing, refreshing Spirit.

Hi Paul (waving) :-)

Ihoha said...

Dear Alexander,

I was trying to read some of my mail and as usual got caught up in UCS mail and decided to review some of the webpages of members. Yours is the 3rd or 4th one down on page 1. That's the short story of how I got here. But, I'm writing because I want you to know that after reading your interview with Nnek and visiting her site, I have written to the founder of Balanced Life to introduced myself and my NGO. I particularly want to thank you for introducing this marvelous soul into my life.

I have signed up for feed to your blog through google and look forward to sharing more blessings.

Peace,
Sophia (Ihoha)

Alexander M said...

You totally deserved having an interview blogged out to the world; we need your perspective!

~ Alex

Paul Alan Roth said...

Nneka mentioned our relationship to spirituality. That prompted these thoughts:

In June of 1972, I moved to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, to work as an Accompanist, Musical Director and Business Manager for a Summer Stock Theatre Company. After the summer season was over, I had made the decision to stay in Wolfeboro. It was a heaven-on-earth place for me. In a small town of 3000 year-round residents, everything was within walking distance. I had stopped eating red meat. I was healthier than I had ever been before.

However, in early April, I got this Very Strong Feeling that I was needed back at home (Akron, Ohio). It got on my nerves so much that I boarded my Faithful Companion, "Zeus" (a German Shepherd) at a local animal boardinghouse and left Wolfeboro the end of April to go home to visit my parents and brothers (I didn't tell them I was coming). I tried to start my 350cc Honda motorcycle. I first piled the clothes on...underwear, flannel shirt, light hooded jacket, my suede, thick-fleece-lined fall jacket, topped with a black, heavy, hooded winter coat. My first attempts at starting the Honda failed...I'd have to walk it up the only hill in town and try to start it as it coasted downhill. After 3 attempts, I was tired and sweating and had to stop for a rest. Three more attempts, all with the same results began to dampen my restless spirit. The Honda Started on the 7th try!!! There was still snow lying around. I froze most of the way to Akron. The wind would seep through my faceplate, under the two hoods and down my neck, making my shoulder muscles tense. By the time I got to New York State, I noticed that my vision in my left eye was clouding over! Never having experienced that sort of thing before, I was alarmed. I stopped and looked into one of my rear-view mirrors...sure enough, a "fleecy" white cloud was edging across my left pupil !!!??? Was i going blind because of the bitter, cold wind constantly blowing across my face??? I wanted to just stop, sit down on the side of the road and wait for a policeman to come to my aid. I was full of unrest about my family and depressed. It was about 5 or 6 p.m. and the sun was going down, creating a spectacular Purple, Red, Orange and Yellow Sunset ! Just then a V of Canada Geese flew across the sky. The picture of that wonderful sunset and the Geese returning for the Spring, inspired me to shed off my depression, get on my Honda and continue towards my loving family in Akron, Ohio. I thought, "I can still see out of the other eye..." I restarted my Honda and continued my trek.

I had been traveling at speeds under 35 m.p.h. because of the freezing wind. When I got to the Ohio border, it began to rain...great ! More cold wind and rain..."WHATEVER ELSE YOU DECIDE TO THROW AT ME, I CAN HANDLE IT!!!" I revved up the engine and sped along at 50 m.p.h. the rest of the way. TO BLAZES WITH THE COLD WIND & RAIN!!!

When I got home, it was about 3 a. m. and I was a FROZEN HUMANSICKLE! My shoulders seemed to touch my ears, Every muscle was sore and stiff and I could barely get my housekey out of my pocket ! My hands were shaking so much, it took forever to get the key into the keyhole. Once inside, I went to my parent's bedroom and quietly knocked on the door...now, mind you, this was about 3 a.m. and I was wearing several coats & parkas, plus my helmit I was sooo cold, I couldn't get my motorcycle helmit off my head....AND no-one knew I was even coming home...I said quietly, "Mom & Dad, c-c-can y-y-you h-h-help m-m-me?" Dad opened the door and jumped back when he saw this 6'1" apparition dressed in layers of coats with his motorcycle helmit still on his head.....Glad his heart was a strong one! I stuttered, "C-c-c-an y-v-vou p-p-p-please h-h-help m-m-me g-g-get-t-t these c-c-c-oats off-f? I'm f-f-f-frozen st-t-t-tiff!" While Dad helped me get my gear off, Mom went into the kitchen and made me a cup of hot chocolate. That warmed me up considerably. We talked for a little bit, then I went to my room and went to sleep in a warm bed. It felt SOoooooo good!

The next morning, while talking to Mom & Dad, I heard of a Family Crisis like none other we had EVER had! THAT was what caused the Feeling Of Unrest I felt in Wolfeboro !!

During my whole life to that point, I had NEVER heard my grandparents, nor Mom & Dad raise their voice to one another in angry argument. Most every Sunday dinner was shared with either or both my brothers and their families and my younger sister. Our Family Bond was Strong.

So when I heard of the Family Crisis that was causing a Large Breach in the relationship between my Older Brother and my parents, I was Very Alarmed!

Suffice it to say, I, being outside the drama, initiated a Family Conference. In the discussions that followed, my father, who had come from a No-Nonsense, Practical, Mid-Nebraskan Farm Family and with whom I butted heads More Than Once during the course of our relationship, opened up like Never Before...I could actually see myself in his countenance for The First Time Ever ! Dad was the Only One from his family of 7 siblings that chose to NOT be a farmer and came East to eventually become an Accountant. Likewise, All his children became Musicians, Singers & Actors...Though Dad hadn't agreed with our choice of lifestyles, he supported and was Very Proud of us...Bless Him.
Mom Always supported us..Bless Her as well !

The Family Crisis had been "Ironed Out" as well. I left Akron a "Happy Camper" ! {:-)

Though the Family Crisis had nothing, directly, to do with me, the eventual discussions it generated, besides calming everyone's fears for the family, had a Most Beneficial Effect upon me, as I got to see a side of Dad that had been buried and almost forgotten. I learned that when he attended Comstock High School in Custer County, Nebraska, he had Performed On Stage in several plays and had also Played Trumpet in the high school band !!! Something I don't recall him ever mentioning to me before !

What does this story have to do with Spirituality? Well, what was it that alerted me about the Family Crisis in the first place?
Our Family was healed in the process.

Anonymous said...

This is for Paul: Wow! Whatta sharing! Thank you so much,
Sugarpie Rabbit