My personal vision has always been "to be all that I can be." I remember thinking about this as a little girl. In Abraham Maslow’s terms, this is the desire to self-actualize. Barbara Marx Hubbard might say it is to receive your Essential Self. Yet, as a little girl, I had no idea where this desire would lead me. I just knew I did not picture myself as a wife, mother and living in a house with a white picket fence. This may not seem too strange, however I was raised in the 1940-50s period when getting married was THE life for most women. All this said, I was a wife briefly and am a mother. Being a mother to my two young children was the most rewarding "work" of my life.
Today, my vision is to raise my consciousness; to know myself as someone who has integrated my higher self and my human self; to know myself as love. My desire is to be a part of bringing heaven down here. This is HUGE work: as Spirit described to me: Heaven Urging Grounded Expression. Another meaning for HUGE is: Heaven Urging Great Expansion.
As much as I believe in all the places this vision has taken me, and the work I've been inspired to do, I still find it hard to promote "myself". Rather, my desire is to find ways to meet, play and work with other like-minded people to help create a better world, raise our consciousness and co-create with Spirit. Then, I happily promote all of us and the work. Surely, I feel this is a time for collaboration of our dreams and efforts. And, this is a time for community -- more important then ever as we move into the huge changes that must come because of the economic crises and global climate change.
I have to say missions.
In the early 1990s Spirit told me that my work was to strengthen our life force. Since then several elements that lead to this have shown up.
One is to learn and practice self love and to know ourselves as love. In 200-2001 I wrote the book Self Love as Spiritual Practice, e a book based on the poetry given to me by Spirit. This book is now available, yes many years later, and in time for the great shifts of 2012. Please see the Self Love page to learn more about this. It is wonderful to have it out in the world and now I am learning how to be the mother of the book.
Another way I have been guided to help strengthen our life force is to reclaim nurturing loving touch into our daily lives and relationships. You can learn more about this in the Touch Project section of this site.
I have also been inspired to help us create stronger forms for community, ones that fit the needs of people and challenges in the 21st Century. This work shows up as OUR Place on this site. This work is on the shelf for now. Who knows what will happen in the future. The need for local, strong, close community is stronger than ever as we start a new era.
Another area of strengthening the life force that I have worked with is reintegrating spirituality and sexuality. If you wish to know more about this read below.
Working on these in my personal life and in my "work" life has proven to be anything but a linear endeavor. Does that ring true to you? The urge to be linear is overly left brained.
A little about my story
I was raised as a traditional "girl" in a wonderful suburban village called Winnetka, 20 miles north of Chicago. Ann Elizabeth Trukenbrod - the second of four children and only girl. After college at the University of Wisconsin and a brief career, I married and took my husbands name, so I was now Ann Scheib. I got divorced 6 years after my wedding. Then went back to working including days on Madison Avenue in New York and running my own business, Ann Scheib Associates, out of Dobbs Ferry, NY. Editors note: I recently added this info because I have moved around so much and these previous names of mine were no where to be found on the internet. Now I figure perhaps some people who have wondered whatever happened to me will find me.
My life changed dramatically as my kids left home. I had raised them as a single mom since they were five and three. I'd never thought much about what I'd do when they were grown. And, it took a crisis to shake me out of my corporate career work as a new product consultant and focus group moderator. It was heady stuff working with Pepsi, Hershey, Nestle, Ocean Spray and the like. I am grateful for this experience. This work supported my children and me, bought us a house, and put my daughter thru college.
My journey shifted course after I was visited by a spirit in 1991, less than two months before my 50th birthday. You can read all about it in my book: Self Love As Spiritual Practice: Nine Keys for Loving Yourself. Within a year of this visit, I left my old life, home and business behind. I even took on a new last name. The name Ani showed up as my spiritual name in the mid 1990s. Ani is pronounced Ah ni….hear the heart sound? It means Love is All!
There are several areas that have become “my work” and my gifts to share. These are explored on this site.
We also strengthen our life force through integrating our spirituality and sexuality. This was the first area of work that I was guided to. What a learning process...two such huge areas of who we are. The spirituality and sexuality work, as an activist, publisher/editor and net worker, was my focus from late 1992 through 2003 when I moved to the Boston area. From 1998-2003 I published a journal on the subject. Initially named The Intimate Explosion and later renamed Spirituality&Sexuality. What an exciting trip. I finally let my website about it -- www.SpiritualityandSexuality.com -- lapse the spring of 2010.
When moving to Boston, my sense was that somehow my “work” could grow to another level. After doing some market research, I felt the spirituality and sexuality integration work was still very forward thinking. I decided that the journal was not viable as a sustainable venture for me. After a grieving period of letting go of the journal (the focus of my life for 8 years) and the passing of my mom in early 2004, the next work began to show up. I'd already started teaching about touch. I got inspired about the needs and possibilities for a new kind of community center. The centers would combine many aspects to create a new paradigm for the future. My vision for the need to have new kinds of community centers was not unique. In January, 2007, I asked several other people with community visions to meet with me.
All my projects came to an abrupt halt in October 2007 when I hurt my back -- spending weeks in horrible pain. As I recovered and after much soul searching I realized my primary desire at this time was to find a mate, a life partner, a man to live my life with. I met a wonderful man through the internet, Bruce Paul Fink, an amazing artist. That is what moved me to Woodstock, CT (not New York) the summer of 2008. A year later I moved out. He and I are friends but not the match/mate my heart and soul yearn for. Bruce and I have worked together in our friendship. We created the wonderful graphics and cover for Self Love as Spiritual Practice.
It is December of 2011 as I edit this. What a time to be alive. So much going on in the world, it is easy to get frightened. Yet, we move ahead best we can and contribute. Thus I am working in the world with our book Self Love as Spiritual Practice and working in my small town of Woodstock, CT to make a difference.