Dr. Liara Covert

Breathwork Psychotherapist
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Sunshine Coast, Queensland 

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« 5 Ways to greater joy | Main | 12 ways breathwork empowers me »
Friday
May032019

Interview with Vishnu of Vishnu's Virtues

 

In the process of reflecting on why we do the things we do, its helpful to draw our attention to underlying principles that drive us. Self-respect, dignity and honour sit at the top of my list. Yet, I was not always so clear. We are often reminded life's apparent obstacles are the Path to getting to know ourselves better and seeing with more clarity.    

As part of awakening to elements of a more authentic life, and shifting to walk the talk, universal principles often guide me.  Synchronicity led me to meet Vishnu of Vishnu's Virtues. His popular self-help blog and books help people who have had difficult relationships heal their break-up and find love again.  I appreciate that he speaks from direct experience and is speaking his truth from the heart.  During this interview, I invite taking a closer look at messages about harmony or disharmony in our own lives:

Thank you so much for this interview opportunity. I am looking forward to it!

Please share what you do and what brought you to this point in your life...

I was born in the East and grew up in the West between two cultures. Like many “good kids” with immigrant parents, I followed the path that was designed for me and that society told me to follow. I finished my law degree, got a job in the legal field, got married and bought a house.

That is a common story. Many parents model a certain life and we are taught to find our place in their existing paradigm.  As restlessness arises, we are invited to ask why.  Tell us what prompted you to break away, and to embark on another Path.

 If I had followed the path that had been promised to me, then everything should have worked out and I should have lived happily ever after. That quite didn’t happen and instead, everything fell apart. When life falls apart, we can fall apart or we can start a blog... 

Funny. This reminds me of the film Julie & Julia with actresses Amy Adams and Meryle Streep.  The is based on Julie Powell's autobiographical book: 524 Recipes: 365 Days.  The protagonist decides to spice up her life by blogging on cooking her way through a Jullia Child cookbook.  By listening to her heart, the blogger develops quite a following.

Share insight into pivotal events that shake you up, cause you to face fears. How do such experiences prompt us to make lasting life change? 

Without question, my divorce was one of the most life-changing, pivotal and sacred moments in my life. As Debbie Ford has said, “ Divorce becomes a holy moment when you choose to use it as a catalyst for having an extraordinary life.” For me, I think divorce was a wake up call to thoroughly examine every part of my life and recreate my life from the ground up. I started making life choices and career choices more consciously.

That sounds tough, and yet, adversity also often makes us stronger.  Beautiful flowers are known to grow out of the mud. How about painting us a picture: feel the way through the difficulty... 

This may sound a bit gruesome, but it feels like being a lonely ghost in a cemetery at night. Imagine a ghost who didn’t’ know how he got there and didn’t know where all the other ghosts were. So you’re lonely, it’s dark and it feels like death all around you!

This reminds me of that classic 1965 film The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.  Unsure if you know it? Anyway, during the film,  Mother Superior (and later 'Maria') says, "When the Lord Closes a Door, somewhere he Opens a Window..." The divine message here is to simply trust in what is coming. Can you relate to that?

Definitely! The good part about darkness is that you know it won’t be night time forever. The day will surely come and the sun will rise again. 

Hallelujah! How did you find the Path back to yourself and what matters?

I found my way back to myself by forgetting about the outside world and focusing on my inner world. I found my way back to myself by getting clear on what I wanted out of life, determining what I valued and remembering the feelings that I wanted to have in my life on a daily basis. I thought about the life I wanted ahead of time before going about creating it. Often we do  the opposite.

That's a great lesson and invite for everyone.  I mean, how many people are really clear on their purpose, their priorities and actually live by them consisently?

Not yet eveyone...

Exactly! Sometimes it takes adversity to shake us up and wake us up. (See also my Interview with Kerrie Atherton about Stories of Hope)

What does happiness mean and feel like in your personal life? What are some practical things people can do to experience more personal happiness?

My biggest suggestion is to figure out what makes you happy and do that ahead of time. One way to be happy is to live in alignment with who you are.

Excellent point! How would you suggest our readers uncover this?  

One way to know who you are is to do the internal work of asking yourself who you are, why you’re here and what you want. A simple way to tap into this is to figure out what brings you happiness on a daily basis. Pay attention to which experiences and conditions evoke joy in you.

The simplicity of paying closer attention really resonates. We can only answer our own questions by being honest with ourselves.  What other guidance can you offer here?

I also invite people to reflect on what they gravitate towards. That offers many clues to who you are and what brings you purpose.  

So true! We each give ourselves little messages about changing purpose but we do not always choose to listen...

Where do the Soul and soulful living come into this? How does soul healing affect relationships? 

When your external circumstances fall apart, you are invited to align more with your soul. When you become more aligned with your soul, you can live your life more fully.  Mos
t of us live the life we think we want without making any connection to what our soul desires. 

So, if I get what you are saying, waking up leads us to ask more conscious questions.  

Yes. We see more clearly and hear what we may have already been saying but we were not ready to hear it until now.

Being present is so important. What are the most significant relationship lessons you have learned?

I give myself permission to ask: what does my soul want? I think the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that when relationships fall apart, you invite yourself to go within. Your greatest soul realization and discoveries are waiting for you when your heart breaks. 

That moment when we allow ourselves to feel the pain of a broken heart is also the moment we let light in, that is, hear and consciously feel the light of our own innate understanding. Its like a wake up call that we exist to love and feel.

Thsi said, many people feel discouraged about their relationships or lack of them. Please share some advice with our readers to guide positive life change. 

Without question, the most important thing you can do for your relationship is improve the relationship you have with yourself.  Only then, can you make headway when actively working on relationships with others.

Please be more specific...

 Improving the relationship you have with yourself requires self-acceptance, self-compassion and improving your own self-worth. I believe that if you improve this relationship then all other relationships around you will improve. I truly believe that the relationship you have with yourself is the one that’s going to manifest around you. The way you treat yourself is likely how you will treat others. Improve the way you treat yourself and I promise that you will treat others better and be in relationship with someone who treats you better.

Thanks for drawing attention to the mirror principle. The external reality we each experience is indeed a mirror of the inner not vice versa. Growing conscious of this makes it less likely to be affected by external conditions. It also implies we are ready to take increasing personal responsibility for how we think and feel. Is that not so?

Agree very much.

You have written books on relationships. Which tips or techniques make a relationship last?  Which strategies or views can you suggest to help people pinpoint what really matters in their partnerships? 

I believe that the skill that makes a relationship last is how you create the relationship you have with yourself. We tend to treat others the same way we treat ourselves. So if you want to improve your relationship with others, watch how you’re talking to, treating and feeling about yourself. The way you treat and speak about yourself is what you’re likely doing to others. A couple ways to make relationships last is to speak more to each other about what you both want from the relationship and work on forgiving each other more quickly. I’ve discovered that we tend to imagine what we want without expressing out loud to each other! Also, grudges and resentments never lead to a healthy relationship so the sooner you speak about it, forgive it and come to terms with something, the stronger you can make your relationship.


If you had to identify the role of faith  and trust in your life, what role do each play? 

When I went through my divorce, I stopped believing in God and inquired if God was listening. I even wrote a book about it, Is God Listening? https://www.vishnusvirtues.com/books/is-god-listening/  My understanding about God, the universe and forces beyond is that we aren’t listening.

We aren’t trusting what we’re hearing from God, the universe or ourselves.

And if we sense God, the universe, ourselves, are all one in the same, and we ignore one, we do not hear any and do not feel heard either. Its all a  pointer to what or whom is not listening?

Definitely. If things are not working, we must ask the question, 'not working for whom or according to whom?' (which brings us face to face with beliefs and conditioning). 

Would you say then that unhappiness suggests we are not listening to the part of ourselves that knows what is best for us?

You could put it that way. I know I learn to trust myself more and realize the forces outside of us have their own intelligence. I stop making demands on it to make my life a certain way. I trust that the universe knows what’s best. I do my part but surrender to the universe to do it’s part.

Absolutely! Letting go and surrender are valuable lessons. 

In addition, if you’re looking for a partner, take action to find a partner and trust you’ll find one but don’t push or control the universe to do it faster or force it to produce someone who isn’t right for you. Trust that the universe knows best.  

Love yourself like you wish to be treated is a great take away. Setting an example is attracting what is best.

What do you value highly or believe in with all your heart? How does this energy or life force help make things happen?

I know that the universe is working on my behalf to help me discover who I am and help me live in alignment with it. I believe that we have to force things to happen less and let life guide us more. As smart as we think we are, the universe knows best. I’ve stopped making wishes for my birthday of things that I want and instead ask for guidance and wisdom to trust the universe to lead the way. It’s a cosmic dance and we each need to lead and follow. If we lead and follow, we are tripping the universe up!

People often speak about what they want yet do not seem to have in their lives. What from your experience, causes people to discover the truth behind their relationships and patterns?

I think the biggest lesson that people can take away from relationships is when relationships go wrong.

It also appears helpful to ask who is judging the relationship as good or bad for us in the first place (or which ideas we have adopted in relation to this).

You can get super curious about yourself, your patterns and who you are. The problem is that  many people do not self-reflect and thus do not learn from their mistakes. In fact, most of the time, we think the other person is wrong, blame or we are fault-less. Relationships are our greatest learning experiences but we seldom self-reflect, learn or grow from them as much as we can. You can choose to grow from experiences.

Self-reflect more is another great take away. As the saying goes, 'what we dislike in others is what we have not accepted about ourselves.' Facing our shadow is what we exist to do and love. 

What would you say is your reason for being? Which event (s) caused you to feel this way?

My reason for being is to be a bridge to help people grow from who they are today to become the people they are capable of being. My divorce certainly caused me to feel this way. I broke away from a predestined life and welcomed in a life that was entirely new and unfamiliar. I’ve had plenty of growth and self-awareness in the process. I’ve gained experience and heart wisdom and want to be a catalyst for others who find themselves in the throw of heartbreak realize that their best life is on the other side of a broken heart. 

Tell us about practices or teachings that shape your life-view. 

My biggest lesson about my breakup and divorce is that the past doesn’t have to equal the future. All readings and teachings that have helped me live in the present moment have helped shape my view.

Who are your inspirational mentors? How have they empowered you to shift how your see yourself?

I would consider Eckhart Tolle, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Pema Chodron as my teachers who helped me see that this is the only moment we have. As Nancy Levin says, “honor the space between no longer and not yet”. I think this quote really encapsulates that it’s about the journey, not about the destination. There is so much growth, understanding and wisdom to be collected along the way. I am now aware that you do not have to be a prisoner of the past. They remind me that you can’t have spring until you first have winter : ) There’s a place for every season. 

Our audience benefits from this: Universal principles speak when we are ready to hear them.

You write about love, heartbreak, letting love back in and the power of grief and heartbreak. What are some key observations you make about yourself as well as people/ clients you have encountered?

I would say that the key observations I’ve made it we can’t start fresh until we let go of the old. I’ve realized that it takes work, not time, to let go of the past and grieve. We have to actively work on letting go of the past. The one thing that our past is good for is to help us make some observations about ourselves. We have to use past relationships as a learning classroom and discover truths about ourselves. Each relationship helps us become the better version of ourselves so we are continually growing. Don’t think of soulmates when it comes to relationships. Think of relationships as classrooms. We have many teachers. 

Indeed.  When open-minded, everyone and everything is a teacher, as are we for ourselves. As Lao Tzu says, when the student is ready, the teacher appears...  Please share any universal messages that stand out which would help us all in our day-to-day living. 

Our purpose in the world is to become un-ravelled and discover who we truly are beyond everything else.

How do relationships fit into this universal wisdom?

Relationships and breakups help us discover who we are beyond it all. Use your rock bottom moments in life to get a deeper understanding about yourself. When your external world crumbles, you have an invitation to go within and see what needs improvement, healing or awareness. Use the lessons of life to help you discover who you are spiritually.

Remember, there is nothing to fear about change. Change is a teacher. Change happens to let go of what doesn’t serve us and welcome in those things that do. You don’t have to hold onto the present for dear life. There is life after relationships ending, careers ending, and familiar circumstances ending. Every ending has a new beginning.

Share anything else you feel you would like our readers to know.

Thank you for such a comprehensive interview and questions. It was so in-depth and based on the things that I’m exploring.

Where can people find you?

I would invite my readers to follow me on journey at www.vishnusvirtues.com and to pick up my new book, The Sacred Art of Letting Go, on sale at the Amazon store.

Really appreciate that you focus on encouraging people to recognize the messages of love in their lives.  For Vishnu's latest Amazon book, The Sacred Art of Letting Go, visit his Amazon store here. Here are some links to offer more information:

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Reader Comments (2)

Thank you for this in-depth interview Liara. You really made me think about the many experiences I've gone through, learned from and now share with others. Thank you for your kindness and generosity in sharing my story on your blog.
May 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVishnu
Vishnu, delighted to engage in dialogue that invites everyone to pay closer attention to personal thoughts, emotions, words and behaviours. As Gandhi echoes: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony."
May 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterLiara Covert

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