Setting Your Heart on Fire:
Seven Invitations to Liberate Your Life
By Raphael Cushnir
272 pages, paperback, $13.63
Reviewed by NANCY
Raphael Cushnir has developed seven invitations that can radically change your life. He believes when you set your heart on fire, you can face any challenge and authentically enjoy life. Though the presentation is linear, the invitations are obviously interconnected. Love’s invitations are:
1. Feel everything
2. Question everything
3. Resist nothing
4. Live like you’re dying
5. Live like you’re dreaming
6. Love like you’re dancing
7. Widen your world
These are not new, but Cushnir’s motivational style of writing makes the book an easy and interesting read.
Liberate yourself. Open your heart to everything so life can be experienced fully. Setting your heart on fire is not about passionate or romantic love, but about a process that will help you identify and discontinue behaviours that keep you from loving yourself and others at a soul level. If we shut down aspects of ourselves and avoid experiences due to fear, we shut out things we want as well. If we stay open to love at a soul level, other types of love flow to us.
People feel a deep need for love and, yet, they may not be aware that it is around them all the time. By accepting these invitations, you can expand your awareness and embrace this constant.
Invitations are presented in chapters, then divided into short sections that are easy to read. Invocations at the beginning and benedictions at the end of each give the impression that the invitations are a spiritual practice. Cushnir asserts that “every single one of us is a unique and particular expression of the infinite.”
Each chapter includes a short list of ways to blend the invitations into daily life. The suggestions range from practical to psychological and spiritual. They are gently encouraging and, though they seem basic, are quite profound. Let relationships unfold in time, a resolution for the sixth invitation, is a good example of the commitment required to follow through on these.
Exercises are designed to help you get to know yourself on a deeper level. The goal is to see yourself, your situation and others honestly. They make you question all your beliefs, assumptions, actions and the past. If things happen for a reason, you need to know if you are part of that reason. Recurring situations provide important lessons. Armed with knowledge, you can see your part in your successes and failures, and adjust your actions accordingly. When you question everything and stop automatically judging, “You see yourself much more clearly. Rather than straining toward ideals, you find yourself easing toward love.”
For those who are new to self-exploration, Cushnir’s explanations of concepts are thorough. He introduces each term, describes what it feels like and how to identify the concept in action. For example, a “shut-down” occurs when we instinctively react to any emotion that we don’t like or don’t want to feel. Cushnir’s description of situations where this could occur facilitates greater understanding. An exercise where you consider which emotions you are most afraid of reveals where you shut down. When an emotional response is triggered, it’s often linked to a core fear. One can get angry when something happens, but upon closer consideration the emotion being avoided is hurt.
Though what you discover about yourself may be unsettling, Cushnir’s euphoric picture of what life can be like is hard to resist:
“Setting your heart on fire changes everything. Instead of holding on for dear life, you dance with life. Open, energized, you find yourself gliding along effortlessly with life’s ever-dazzling flow. Life and love become indistinguishable, washing away every one of your requirements for happiness and replacing them with the experience itself. Problems and challenges still abound, but they, too, take on an intoxicating glow.”
Cushnir sounds like he is wearing rose-coloured glasses, but he’s not. Some things are totally unacceptable, but he believes we can still approach the situation or person from a place of love. “Frequently, as counterintuitive as this can seem to open-hearted people, it’s necessary to stand up and fight.” Included are instructions on how to go into difficult situations wholeheartedly, with boundaries firmly in place.
Though the invitations sound lofty, Cushnir shows how to integrate them into everyday life. When we come from a place of love, we can transform the past, discover and heal hidden wounds and empower ourselves to step into a fulfilling, authentic life. Doing the exercises in this book, I felt like I was peeling an onion of awareness. Accepting his invitations helped me attune myself to what my body was telling me, stay present, make more authentic choices and be open to loving myself and others. What’s not to love about accepting love’s invitations?
Nancy, Night Sky Woman, has been doing psychic card readings professionally for over 20 years. She is also an astrologer and has studied a variety of spiritualities and philosophies. She has been writing Taroscopes for over six years and teaches the tarot through lifelong learning. She reads out of the Bella Vista Restaurant and at events around Winnipeg, MB. To book an appointment or for information about classes, you can reach Nancy at 204-775-8368 or by email at email@example.com.