Imagine you want to go travelling – an adventurous trip to new and strange places. It might be helpful to get a map, buy the relevant guidebook, surf the Internet and learn some phrases in the local languages.
In the world of personal growth, Maggie has written her ‘Lonely Planet’ guidebook for the challenging journey of personal development where the call above all is to the uncharted realms of spiritual awakening.
This is very much Maggie’s personal story, which she shares with dedication and total frankness. She grew up in a warm household in Wales, speaking fluent Welsh, but where openness around feelings was missing and where the Church was the only sign of anything spiritual in her upbringing. However, as a child she loved being outdoors and discovered her ability to commune with Nature, enjoying numerous moments of deep spiritual connection.
Sexual abuse, starting at the age of 6, and the inability to have it talked about, followed eventually by a harrowing attempted rape experience while travelling in Canada at the age of 19, form the backdrop to painful and inadequate attempts to ‘protect’ herself while still leading something like a ‘normal’ life – but becoming gradually more aware of how futile it was. As Osho would say, trimming the leaves instead of cutting the roots.
This slim volume is the story of Maggie’s awakening, her journey in the healing company of various spiritual leaders and diverse teachings to the point of her own mastery where she is now a guiding light for many others.
Just a glance at the chapter titles provides an excellent ‘legend’ to the ‘map’ in this guidebook: meditation, spiritual retreats, spiritual living, diet, dreams, overcoming negativity, forgiveness, losing a loved one, prayer, the divine… Maggie covers the ground thoroughly, providing useful tips and valuable advice for the seeker struggling to find a way amongst the many possibilities offered.
A chapter on Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Therapy and Peter Levine has threads that continue through subsequent chapters. This work was profoundly important in supporting Maggie’s release from the past, such that she has herself become a ‘certified mind-body expert’ in SE therapy.
Her connection with the divine, and her acceptance of and development in the spiritual world, were significantly supported by author and spiritual adviser Cher Chevalier. Cher confirmed Maggie’s psychic connection, such that Maggie learned to trust and use the gifts she received from the Divine.
In her early 30s she started to meditate. Attending her first (Buddhist) 10-day retreat was a step towards signing up for the 18-month ‘therapist training’ at Osho Risk in Denmark (2007-8). In 2010, she got the call to ‘JUMP!’, gave up her apartment in London and returned to Risk to live there for nine months, working and sharing in the communal life with all that that entailed: meditations three times a day, doing the chores and sharing with others living at and just visiting this centre.
Less than 100 pages, it lies comfortably in the hand and is ‘an easy read’. But don’t be fooled: Maggie’s thoughtful presentation of the information ensures that the compact tips are sandwiched between personal experience and ‘case studies’, powerful illustrations of the subject matter at hand.
The layout and typeface are spacious and relaxed.
Apart from the moments when the text is somewhat stilted and reads as if it were a translation, Maggie has a curious use of the semi-colon that – along with the small number of typos – would benefit from a thorough proofreading.
Highlights and more
The specific trainings and teachers already described are just the background to Maggie’s awakening – on all fronts. From stopping eating meat to shifting eventually to a vegan diet, to clairvoyance (and other ‘clair-‘ experiencing)… and lots more on her own path of becoming a spiritual teacher. Above all, her mastery of the ‘terrain’, sufficient savvy and knowledge of ‘the local languages’ enable her to write her own guidebook for those who wish to visit the ‘new and strange places’ that are so enriching!
‘A guide to being a better being’ by Maggie Richards