The Gayatri Mantra

Deva Premal is a German singer best known for introducing Sanskrit mantras into the mainstream, her millions of fans include the singer Cher, The Dalai Lama and Eckhart Tolle.

In this Wyse Women episode (available this full moon,  April 7th ) Deva shares her wisdom with me about the day her father left his body and the beautiful mantra that she sang to him as they said goodbye. Incidentally it was the same mantra he sang to her while she was in her mothers womb. She talks in detail about what kind of man her Dad was too. Plus of course Deva answers my three quick fire questions as well; her most influential male mentor, her favourite words of wisdom and her favourite song.

Please note that the world was a very different place when we originally recorded this interview in January, so this podcast does include an update with Deva about coronavirus.

Show Notes

In this updated podcast you will learn:
  • How Deva feels about the coronavirus 
  • How beneficial sound healing can be for our immune systems
  • How Deva responds when I sing the Gayatri Mantra to her while washing my hands (!!!)
In this main podcast you will learn:
  • What the Gayatri Mantra means
  • About the extraordinary character of Deva’s father
  • How Deva felt as a child growing up with parents who weren’t conventional
  • How Deva felt when her father left his body and how she feels now without his physical presence
  • Deva also sings The Gayatri Mantra at the beginning and the end of this podcast too
My stand-out quote/s from this podcast

There are so many benefits to it [chanting.] It has a calming effect on our nervous system, and when we are calm that is good for the immune system, and just to sing and breathe and charge ourselves with oxygen is so important with this virus that effects our lungs. – Deva Premal

Beautiful music, beautiful
The Dalai Lama
My favourite CD to do yoga to is Deva Premal’s 'The Essence.' As a matter of fact I drive my teacher crazy because it’s the only one I want to listen to!”
As you listen the sacred space that lies beyond the mind emerges naturally and effortlessly. Pure magic
Eckhart Tolle

The Wisdom of Coronavirus

Are you someone who is keeping away from the news at the moment, or at the least limiting your exposure to it? Don’t get me wrong I worked in radio and television newsrooms through my late teens,  all through my twenties and into my thirties and I know (first hand) how responsible these outlets are for spreading information. 

However (and it is a BIG however) information is very different to wisdom. Information is fact based. Wisdom is experience based. So with that in mind I have gathered together a group of previous Wyse Women guests (in a virtual red tent) to offer comfort and strength to anyone who is finding the mainstream media a bit too overwhelming. 

In this very special extended edition of Wyse Women, mothers, teachers, spiritual leaders, musicians and even a former swami (monk) discuss what they feel is happening right now and offer their deepest wisdom to us on how to navigate our way through.

Show Notes

In this podcast you will learn:
  • Why nature helps us to feel safe and secure … ‘Mother Earth has lived much longer than us.’ 
  • How fulfilling it is to be of service to others
  • Ways to get creative in self isolation
  • A short cut meditation to ‘witness consciousness’
  • A few chants/mantras to dwell on
  • … and probably most importantly, you will learn how a whole group of grounded and wise women (who have all learned from their own individual crises) are feeling and thinking at the moment. Sometimes when we hear others sharing similar thoughts/feelings to the ones that we are having, we know that we are not alone, and that in itself can be a tremendous source of comfort.
My stand-out quote/s from this podcast

‘If we feel strong and we feel there is a tomorrow – we are not afraid of it. So lets be strong and lets be all together creating love from our heart, not from our head.’  – Frauke Behrens

I honestly do believe this is the beginning of a radically transformative period in human life.’ – Sally Kempton

‘Avoid the fear, there is no point in embracing it. I think you have really got to honour your body, your mind and your soul at this time. This is all about staying grounded’ – Tiggy Walker

Contributions from ... (in order of appearance)

Click on name to listen/re-listen to each woman's original podcast

Related Podcasts

You may also like to listen to my brand Wyse Women episode with Deva Premal. 

Click HERE for Deva’s podcast ‘The Gayatri Mantra.’

Also available for your earholes on April 7th (Full Moon) 

***This podcast includes an update with Deva about Coronavirus as well ***

The Sha-Manic Episode

If you believe as I do, that the purpose of our own individual trials is to overcome them so that you can show others the way … then you will love this Wyse Women podcast.

Nikki Slade first experimented with drink and drugs as a teenager, but it was during her career as a talented actress and musician based around London that she became an addict. At the height of her addiction in 1989 she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for an episode of psychosis (which she now understands was a profound spiritual emergence/sha-manic episode.) Thankfully it was also at this point in her life that she had found comfort and solace in the healing power of mantra and chanting … a practice which Nikki feels liberated her from her addiction.

Now, 30 years clean, Nikki is the UK’s number 1 western style Kirtan leader who is passionate about helping others to free their inner voices through chanting … and in this podcast she courageously shares her journey in the hope that it helps others to uncover the greatest expressions of who they are too.

Show Notes

In this podcast you will learn:
  • How Nikki defines addiction and how her own addictions began and escalated
  • About Nikki’s spiritual emergence/sha-manic episode
  • Why Nikki is sharing her story on this podcast and in her own book ‘The Healing Power of Chanting.’
  • The history of chanting/mantra and why chanting/mantra is so powerful
  • How you can begin chanting (even if you aren’t a good singer)
  • Nikki’s answers to my three quick fire questions, her most influential male mentor, her favourite words of wisdom and the song that sums up her story
  • PLUS Nikki also sings live on this podcast and shares one of her most powerful recorded mantras with us too.
My stand-out quote from this podcast

‘When we come together and chant with a group we actually experience oneness and oneness is what we are all trying to get back to, and the irony is that many of the great spiritual masters say that the true home inside is already attained. So in a practice like Kirtan we are remembering where we already dwell and when you have a room full of people all together remembering where they have innately dwelt infinitely forever, we all realise we all come from the same one and then we glimpse that, not just from the level of thought but from the level of a beautiful opening of the heart … and then we cry with joy.‘ – Nikki Slade

Click cover to buy Nikki’s book
Praise for Nikki's book

‘What an amazing person Nikki is. I love her honesty when describing her journey.’ – Astrid

‘Author’s openness about herself gives a feeling of freedom, frees the reader of his/her false shame.’ – Paul

‘I personally related to Nikki’s journey on many levels and admire her raw honesty.’ – Vembley

Related Podcasts ...

If you enjoyed this podcast with Nikki, you may also be interested to know that next month (April 2020) I will be talking to Grammy nominated Deva Premal about The Gayatri Mantra. 

A mantra that she sang to her father as he was taking his last breath (which incidentally was the same mantra he sang to her while she was in her mothers womb.)

You may also like to listen/listen again to Elle Arthur’s podcast. Elle is a yogi living in Bali who shared her wisdom about The Power of Mantra in Series 1 of Wyse Women. 

'Nikki’s kirtan has the power to explode love in the room, take a chant soaring to the skies, and draw tears of love from everyone who participates. I love the smoky depth of her voice, and the fullness and intensity she brings to this practice.'
Sally Kempton

The #Ecocide Friendship

jojo mehta

The Guardian newspaper called Polly Higgins ‘one of the most inspiring figures in the green movement’ but on Easter Sunday last year at the age of 50, she passed away after a short battle with lung cancer. Polly was a successful lawyer who abandoned a courtroom career to lead a decade-long campaign for a law called “ecocide” to be recognised as an international crime. 

‘Ecocide is extensive loss, damage or destruction of ecosystems, in laypersons terms; serious harm to the natural living world.’

In this podcast the co-founder of the Stop Ecocide campaign Jojo Mehta talks to me about Polly’s legacy and Jojo also shares her wisdom on how she has handled her own personal grief at the loss of one of her closest friends. Wisdom that is universal to anyone who has a close friend in spirit.

Show Notes

In this podcast you will learn:
  • About the moment Polly realised that Mother Earth needed a lawyer
  • How seriously Polly took her mission
  • How Polly’s illness began and her response to her diagnosis
  • About the day Polly died and her spiritual presence at the Extinction Rebellion on Easter Sunday
  • How Jojo compartmentalised her relationship with Polly and how only recently has she grieved the deep friendship they shared
  • More about how you can join the #stopecocide campaign and become an Earth Protector
  • … and Jojo’s answers to my three quick fire questions, her most influential male mentor, her favourite words of wisdom and the song that sums up her story.
My stand-out quote from this podcast:

‘She [Polly] also had this amazing effect on people, I mean the number of people I’ve met in the last few months who have sort of confessed to me that they kind of fell in love with her when they met her and you know that might not necessarily have meant romantically but she had this extraordinarily inspirational effect on people where she would have a conversation with them and they would turn their whole lives around. She was always incredibly feminine and terribly sexy as well, just extraordinarily warm with a strong feminine presence and I think in that way … a wonderful role model for what a woman can be in a man’s world.’  – Jojo Mehta

Background Information

Click image of JoJo above to find out more about Ecocide and how you can become an ‘Earth Protector’ and watch Polly’s TED talk below to get maximum enjoyment from this Wyse Woman podcast.

Related Podcasts

If you enjoyed Jojo’s podcast you may like to listen/listen again to Mandy Haggith’s podcast from Series 1. Mandy lives a self sufficient life in harmony with nature in a cabin in the woods in Scotland. 

'The destruction of the earth is a crime and it should be prosecuted.'
George Monbiot
Journalist, The Guardian

The Ashram

Most women can relate to the experience of leaving behind a much loved relationship, a career or even a place they called home because a new chapter in their lives needed to unfold. Perhaps it is something that is happening to you right now? Well hopefully my Wyse Women guest can offer you some inspiration and guidance, because at the age of 60 she left the life she had led for 30 years to start a career in the public eye. 

That in itself is a story worth hearing, however what makes this women’s story even more remarkable is that the life Sally Kempton had been leading up until that point was a deeply spiritual one, because in the early 1970’s Sally became the full time student of the enlightened Siddha master, Swami Muktananda. She traveled with him, edited many of his books, and received intensive training which led to her being initiated as a swami (or monk) herself and serving as a teacher in the Siddha Yoga meditation community.

In this podcast Sally who is now an international meditation teacher and author talks to me about life in the ashram, her difficult decision to leave … and she shares her wisdom about how preparation and staying centered is the key to smooth life transitions.


Show Notes

In this podcast you will learn:
  • How Sally came to live in an ashram with her guru and why she left
  • What a guru is and what the word guru means
  • Sally’s wisdom for all women who are facing a big life transition 
  • More about Sally’s books
  • … and Sally’s answers to my three quick fire questions, her most influential male mentor, her favourite words of wisdom and the song that sums up her story.
My stand-out quote from this podcast:

I have always said that if you are going to be a spiritual teacher and you don’t have a guru then life itself is going to destroy your ego one way or another. As you can see from all the gurus who are doing really good work and suddenly they do something transgressive and they are smashed in a context that’s not safe.’ – Sally Kempton

Book Reviews

Review 'Meditation for the Love of it'

I have read a lot of books on meditation but this book took me to new depths. I loved the way Sally encourages preparation and honouring even before she shares any meditation ‘technique.’ Her constant focus on guiding the reader inside to meet themselves was revelatory for me and resulted in one of the most amazing dreams I have ever had. 

In the dream (which Sally explains can also be a form of meditation) I saw a girl enter a school gym and I looked over at this girl in admiration as she played table tennis. One of my present day spiritual teachers was stood next to me and I asked her who the girl was. I liked how vital she was,  I thought she was showing off a bit but I also immediately spotted her talent. Anyway my spiritual teacher answered me and said ‘Jo, it’s you, that girl is you at 15 years old.’ The girl then walked over to me and told me I looked familiar to her, so I said ‘Jo, It’s you, the only difference is I am 43 and you are 15.’ and then we both deeply and lovingly embraced each other. 

The feelings in the dream were of a profound home coming and a deep acceptance of myself …  and I credit that experience to not only the tuition that Sally shares in her book but also her transmissions and the transmissions of her Guru that are within its pages as well. 

It is man’s foremost duty to awaken the understanding of the inner self and to know his own real inner greatness. Once he knows his true worth, he can know the worth of others. – Swami Muktananda

Review: 'Awakening Shakti

I hadn’t even opened the pages of this book, it was simply on my night stand waiting to be read ahead of my interview with Sally. It had only been there a matter of days when I found myself thinking (lucidly in my sleep) of names like Vishnu, Shiva and Durga. At one point I sat bolt upright at 2am and said the name ‘Durga’ out loud.  

Earlier this year I spent 10 days in Bali where statues of the Hindu deities are worshiped everywhere and promised myself that on my return I would do more research into this spiritual tradition. I now understand that Sally’s book is the answer to that silent vow.

I’m taking my time with this book as Sally instructs but so far I love the ease of her explanations about such complicated stories (even humbly apologising in the foreword for any information she may have lost in translation) and I love how she is bringing the archetypal energies of these Goddesses to life, not only on the page but also inside of her readers! Her writing is contemporary and up to date but the sacredness of her subjects is never compromised.

The illustrations by Ekabhumi Charles Ellik are as beautiful and detailed as all of Sally’s descriptions of the Goddesses. 

One of the great gifts of being present to the space of consciousness as a motherly goddess is that you can bring her your pain and your pleasure and ask her to hold it.  – Sally Kempton

Buy 'Meditation for the Love of it'

Click image for more info

Buy 'Awakening Shakti'

Click image for more info

Related podcasts

If you enjoyed Sally’s podcast you may like to listen/listen again to Miranda’s podcast from Series 1. Miranda even mentions Sally at the end of our conversation.

'Sally Kempton is not only one of the best meditation teachers in the world; she is also one of us. She manages to fearlessly explore the outer reaches of the universe without ever losing the warm voice of your dear friend.'
Elizabeth Gilbert
Author of Eat, Pray, Love

The Good Life

Have you ever yearned for a simpler existence? The so-called ‘Good Life’ of self sufficiency where you are living in harmony with nature? Perhaps you picture yourself in a cozy log cabin in the woods or relaxing on a small sailboat on a beautiful sunny shoreline?

Well my final guest for Series 1 of Wyse Woman is Mandy Haggith, a writer and activist who is doing just that. Mandy gave up the conventions of being ‘chained’ to a job and a mortgage to live and work on a croft in acres and acres of Scottish paradise with her husband Bill.

In our conversation we talk about how she is now able to trans-migrate from her log cabin to her sailboat at different times of the year, her passion for trees and bears … and her firm belief that we don’t need to concern ourselves about ‘reconnecting’ to nature … we just need to remember that we are nature.

(Scroll to the bottom of this page to view pictures of Mandy’s home/office.)

Further Reading

If you enjoyed Mandy’s episode, click on the links below to find out more about her song, book and inspirational woman choices.

Further viewing

Some images of Mandy’s log cabin, sailboat and views of the croft and surrounding areas for you to enjoy …