By Leona Thomas
I was staying in my friend’s place in the old Tibetan Camp at Majnu Ka Tilla, Delhi and had a choice of just 3 routes to get to the new Camp further along the way. I could take the scenic but very stinky riverside walk and then cut through the park dodging beggars and other nuisances, or I could walk 150 metres along the highway being pestered by taxi drivers, rickshaw riders and tuk tuk drivers all fighting to take me somewhere, each ignoring that I had turned the others down before him… or I could battle my way through the middle – through Beggars Alley.
It all depended upon my mood but normally the least troublesome choice was Beggars Alley. There were professional beggars scattered about, each had their own spot and were there at the crack of dawn! It was the usual Indian begging scene – each man sat in his spot wearing tatty clothes and looking forlorn and self-pitying, and whenever anybody walked past they would motion with their hand to their mouths that they needed money for food. They were playing the ‘poor me’ card.
Most white people only stay in Majnu Ka Tilla for a few days because they are on their way to, or back from, Dharamsala. The buses travel between the two places every day. But I was there for 4 months. And in all that time only one beggar seemed to notice and recognise me.
I definitely noticed him. He had a complete body but his legs didn’t work properly. They were withered and twisted and clearly did not bear his weight. I had seen him drag himself along the ground too; his upper body was strong enough. This man had reasonably clean but cheap clothing on. And he had his own spot too – he was also a professional beggar. But there was something completely different about him.
He never motioned to his mouth with his hand. In fact, in 4 months I never saw him ask for anything. He didn’t beg! But that was not the most noticeable difference about him. You might pass him for months and never notice that fact at all because what really stood out was his face. He was happy.
He was happy in a way that most people rarely experience. It wasn’t just that he had a permanent smile on his face. No. It was that his face was glowing with the joy that was alive within him. He radiated blissful joy as he sat on his little patch of ground by the side of Beggars Alley.
Every time we met we would exchange the greeting Namaste! and smile. On one occasion I had an orange with me and offered it. He took it gratefully. In 4 months I gave him no money.
Then the day finally came when I was booked to leave India. I had to print my ticket in the cyber cafe. My usual cyber cafe didn’t have a computer available for me so I went to the next one I knew. I had to walk right past the happy beggar. I told him, “Today is my last day! I am leaving this afternoon”.
He was very excited to hear this. He asked me if I would like to have a cup of tea with him. Yes, the happy beggar bought me a cup of tea! We sat side by side on a nearby step as a man brought two cups and saucers out from the back of a nearby cafe. I was very surprised – I had expected disposable plastic cups. We sat drinking our chai together.
For the first time in 4 months we finally had a conversation. I discovered his name and found out that he was married and had a young baby at home. I was invited to come visit his family when I am next in Majnu Ka Tilla. But, as if having a beggar buy me a cup of tea was not astonishing enough, I learned that he travels for one hour every day in a tuk tuk to get to work and then takes another hour to get home in the evening. He works 7 days a week in Majnu Ka Tilla. And what does he do? Nothing.
The happy beggar never asks for anything. He just smiles happily and overflows with joy knowing he receives more money in one day than all the other beggars combined receive in a year. He receives so much money from tourists and Tibetans alike that it is worth his while to travel a round journey of 2 hours every day to get there!
What is his secret? Well, if you ever meet anyone like him you will not have to ask that question! He glows with joy and wellbeing and so everybody is naturally drawn to him and wants to give him something, anything! And they give very generously indeed.
The secret to successful begging is not to be found in the hand to mouth begging motion or in the pitiful, mournful face. The secret to successful begging is to make sure you are an energetic match for receiving wonderful things. And Akash the Happy Beggar is a true professional. Our cup of tea together on that dirty step was the highlight of my Indian trip and I look forward to meeting his family next time I am in Delhi…
By Leona Thomas
The sun was shining – a blessed relief. December in Lourdes, France was no fun. It may be famous for sightings of Mother Mary and miracles from drinking the water but it was cold and damp and there was no heating to be had in any of the buildings!
I parked myself on a bench outside the Confessional building. I had a lovely view of the Mother Mary statue from sideways on, and the large rose garden that is all around its base. There were some trees between us though and their shadow was forcing me along the bench as the sun moved during the afternoon.
I felt deeply relaxed and blessedly warm. But my suitcase and bag were with me as I didn’t have a room booked for the night. The problem was that I didn't have enough money to stay anywhere and I didn't have enough money to leave either! So I was stuck there in the sunshine sitting on a bench.
I spoke to Mother Mary. I said, "You do know the time? If I am staying I need to do something. And if I am leaving I definitely need to do something! Please tell me what to do… " Her answer was silence.
But even though I knew I had a situation to remedy I could not make myself move off that bench. Was it the sunshine? Was it me being lazy? Was I in denial of my situation? Well, whatever it was – I really couldn’t make myself leave that bench.
I watched a succession of people take photos of the huge statue of Mother Mary. One very large black man caught my attention. His family were all crowded in front of the statue as he clicked away on his camera. Then I noticed he turned in my direction and began waving. There was a man between us so I assumed that he was waving at him. I let my gaze wander… Until I heard footsteps nearby.
I looked up to find that I knew the big black man! He was grinning broadly and approaching fast. "I didn’t know you came back!" he said. I told him, “I didn’t leave yet. I’ve been here all this time!” We exchanged news and he asked me if I had a room yet. Then an old woman approached us. She was his friend. They chatted in French and then my friend said they had to go pray with Mother Mary.
Whilst my friends attended the French service at the Grotto I checked my energy. It felt very much like all our attention was in the place of ‘Leona doesn’t have a room’. That was no good. If you want to have a room you must have the energy that feels like you already have the room. So while they prayed with Mother Mary in the traditional way I spoke English with her and reminded her (and myself) that she had promised me that I would always have somewhere to stay. And I felt my energy shift to ‘Yes, I have a room’.
When the service was over we went to the Information Centre and came out with the name of a hotel that cost more money than I even had. I said nothing. My friends led the way.
First we went to my friend’s hotel. He had checked out that morning but the room was now taken. They had nothing until the next day. We kept walking.
Suddenly my big black friend said he had to go somewhere and he ran off! He reappeared 5 minutes later and called me over to him. He held out a piece of paper. When I opened it I found 40 euros inside. He told me this would pay for a room in his hotel for 2 nights and also get me some breakfast there. And then he said, "The old lady is going to pay for you to stay in the other hotel tonight". He then ran back to the Sanctuary so he could pray some more before having to catch his train. I have not seen him since.
I discovered that the reason I could not get off that park bench in the sun was that it was my rendezvous point. I didn’t need to do anything at all except wait for my answer to arrive. At no point did I tell my friend that I couldn’t pay for my room and I didn’t ask him for any help at all.
In a very short period of time I went from having no room for the night and no way to pay for one to having 3 nights all booked and paid for in very nice rooms indeed.
And I got a nice warm rest while I waited for my answer to be delivered…
By Leona Thomas
Do you believe in Angel signs? Do you believe that a white feather mysteriously appears as confirmation of their presence? I have a scientific friend who indulges me (Hi Michel) because he loves me. Yet he also tells me he did enjoy my posts about the feathers. I wonder what he will tell me about this last example? I am sure he will be intrigued and entertained. I also am certain he could provide an equation and lecture for an hour about the phenomenon that so astonished me!
I was staying in an apartment 6 floors up with terrific views over the rooftops of Casablanca, Morocco. I was sitting beside a huge picture window in the lounge. The window was on my right hand side as I faced the opposite wall of the lounge but I had turned myself so I was looking into the main part of the room. I was all alone in the apartment.
My Moroccan friend had recently told me some information and here I was again with my mind exploring something from my past. I couldn't stop thinking about the Vision Board I had made in 2008 shortly after I had become a Master Instructor for Integrated Energy Therapy (IET), an angel therapy system. Although I was alone in the room I began to speak out loud.
"When I made that Vision Board I was in Canada. I was in ...!"
I stopped in shock. I could not speak the name of the State I had been staying in. My mind was reeling. What could this mean? Did it have to mean anything at all? My mind raced through the possibilities, through all the information that had been coming at me. Canada. So much Canada showing up recently around me even though I was in Morocco. Always Canada. What was going on?
I went back to the Vision Board. I had done my final IET (LearnIET.com) training in Toronto, Ontario and had spent 3 months in Northern Ontario that year. But the day before I made the Vision Board my friend had moved to Ottawa and I had gone with her. I was in Ottawa, Quebec when I made my IET Vision Board.
If you have never heard of a Vision Board, then let me quickly tell you a little about this. You get a piece of card or board and then paste pictures on to it. These pictures come from magazines. You rip out what you are attracted to and then stick them on the board. There is more to it than that, but that is the basic idea.
So, in Ottawa my friend had given me a stack of magazines that mostly seemed to have come from somewhere like Wholefoods. There were no glossy magazines. It was basic, to say the least. Still, it was all I had so I just made do with it.
I have never understood one of the pictures I put on that Vision Board. I should say that firstly I have no idea how I found the picture! But then how it made its way onto the Vision Board and what it was supposed to mean has been a puzzle for 9 years...
Now, as I sat in the 6th floor apartment in Casablanca, Morocco my mind would not let it go. How had I found a picture of a man wearing Djellaba (the long Muslim robe) and prayer cap, seated on a prayer mat studying his copy of the Qur'an in a prayer room? And why was he on my Vision Board that I made two weeks after I became an IET Master Instructor? Why did I not make the Vision Board until I was in Quebec? Why would I have a religious Muslim man on my Vision Board at all??? And why had my Muslim friend, who has a special place in my heart, recently told me he could get work in Canada, in Quebec?
Finally my mind stopped.
I sat in silence for a while.
Then I spoke out again to the empty room.
"Does this mean anything? Is there a significance between him being able to go to Quebec to work and me making my board in Quebec and there being a Muslim man on the board? Is it important in some way?"
And then I had an impulse to turn back towards the window.
From where I was sitting I could see up the street beyond our apartment. My eyes looked ahead out of that window and I saw a large white feather travelling towards me about 1 metre out from the building and in a straight and steady line with no wavering from side to side or up and down. Just steadily moving towards me. It passed along the whole length of that picture window at my eye level and carried on down the street, although when I went to look for it from the balcony in the next room there was no sign of it anymore...
I am sure Michel will say there is a scientific reason for how that feather could travel along in that way, but in all my life I have never seen such a thing happen before my eyes. Have you?
By Leona Thomas
I don't normally ask my Angels for signs because we just flow together. I am more likely to ask directly for advice or confirmation of something but sometimes they want to say hello and let me know I am supported during times of challenge.
In 2016 I was back in Kathmandu, Nepal but the trip was not going according to anything I had planned. Yes, there were some huge problems and I was doing my best to be positive about it.
It was summer and the temperatures were soaring. I was living on the top floor with a metal roof and no air conditioning (and my landlady had banned me from opening windows in case monkeys or cats or mice got inside). So I didn't always have the energy to walk for 10 minutes to the Bagmati River nearby. Instead I would sit on the step near my front door and admire the trees and bushes in my neighbour's garden just 3 metres away.
There were always crows near my home because a neighbour would put out meat for them on his roof terrace every day. Our sky would go black and the sound of their raucous fighting always told us when it was 10.30am. Yet I never saw a single black feather lying around.
Kathmandu is a city full of birds yet you never see feathers on the floor! It seems that Nepali birds are more careful to keep their feathers with them, or else they put all the spare ones in their nest. If there were no feathers lying around anywhere how would my Angels get a white feather to me?
One day I sat on my doorstep watching the small brown birds that looked like sparrows. If you asked a Nepali what these birds were they would answer, "It's a bird!" So who knows what kind they were really. Many of these small brown birds appeared to be nesting in my roof and they were always busy collecting food and sitting on the phone lines nearby, chattering away amongst themselves. And sometimes I had to avert my eyes as they had bird sex. But on this particular day I was due for a special surprise.
I watched as one sparrow flew over the trees and landed on the railing of my neighbour's roof terrace. He was facing me but I couldn't see much of him because he had a medium sized (definitely not fluffy) white feather in his beak and it obscured his head and most of his body too! He kept scooting along the railing, waving his white feather at me. I was intrigued and entertained.
But I guess my angels wanted to make sure that I knew this was not an empty co-incidence because a few minutes later a second sparrow landed on the railing and he also had a medium-sized white feather in his beak! They moved along that railing like a well-choreographed stage act - first turning one way in unison and then back again. Then they flew together down to the floor of the roof terrace and continued to turn in circles and marched up and down together in perfect timing... After about 15 minutes of this performance they both flew off and that was the last I saw of them.
I may not ask my Angels for a feathery sign but it is always nice to know I am supported and this was a beautiful magical Kathmandu treat during what was a particularly traumatic time.
Tune in next week for the final instalment of Angel Feathers - Part Three and find out how the Angels gave confirmation in Casablanca when I questioned them...
By Leona Thomas
People often say that angels leave a white feather as a sign that they are there. But I make my angels work hard! I have been known to shout at them, swear at them, and even demand that they get down off their fluffy cloud and do it themselves if it is so easy!
When it comes to angel signs I am not easily satisfied. I demand more than a little fluffy white feather.
A few years ago I was looking after my friend's apartment in Toulouse when I discovered a large park with a small man-made lake nearby. It had lily pads and flowers growing on the water and bushes and tall grasses growing round the edges. There was a fountain in the middle and a large number of ducks swimming around. They were mallards - brown females and green males.
I sat on a log seat admiring the view. I noticed some little fluffy white feathers on the ground near my feet. I told my angels, "You call that a sign? It looks like road kill! You'll have to do better than that..." I looked up again and resumed admiring the lake.
A few seconds later, a pure white duck swam out from behind a bush, right at the waters edge in front of me. It was the only white bird in sight. "Ok," I conceded, "That is a sign!" I could almost hear my angels teasing me, "Is that enough white feathers for you?"
Just how inventive can my angels be with their feather signs?
Find out more next week on the Magic Mondays blog...