What's 'Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment' about?
The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment is a book about happiness. There is a belief in the West that we can't be happy all the time. Well, we can't avoid bad things happening to us but it seems to me that there are people that seem to be supreme examples of how to live. Helen Keller, Christopher Reeve, Nelson Mandela, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, pick your own favourites. People who seem to demonstrate that no matter what happens it is possible to be absurdly positive. Not falsely so - genuinely, honestly happy. No matter what.
So in 'The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment' I go and tried out a range of the weird and wonderful courses that claim to be able to help us become more well adjusted, better, kinder people. And I wrote about what I learned. The book is full of humour - but it's not humour at the expense of the practitioners but at the expense of the narrator. An absurd woman who always thinks that she understands what a discipline is or what a course will offer before trying it.
The book is intended for anyone having a hard time with their life or their relationships. The book has two layers to it. On the surface it is pure humour - a book about me and the crazy things that I've done. But I've done slipped the best of what I've learned into the narrative. A ridiculous American phrase like 'Use everything for your learning, upliftement and growth' for example, is also, in my experience, a very useful approach to life
Did you do these things just to write a book?
No and Yes. I was already interested in the whole human potential moment. I had
already done some of the courses before I started writing. I had been working with Insight Seminars as a volunteer for some years, been on several silent retreats and I've always been interested in Tai Chi and fitness in general. On the other hand - I don't think I would ever have tried colonic irrigation had I not been writing a book nor would I have had the courage to go to a past life workshop had I not been pushed to do so. But I learnt a lot from exploring these areas. I'm very much in admiration of people that do 'self development' work of any kind. Contrary to the popular view that the people who do this kind of work have lots of 'issues' I think the truth is that we all have lots of issues and the people who do this sort of work are the ones who are dealing with them.
They understand concepts like forgiveness and personal responsibility and are happier because of this. I once heard someone say after a workshop 'I used to think that I was perfect - now I know I am.' This is funny because it's about self judgment and self acceptance. None of us are perfect but if we can love others and ourselves in spite of this then we are all on the way to be happier, less judgmental, more loving and more forgiving people. And will that make us happier? Yes.
Do you really recommend doing loads of courses? Isn't that misguided & expensive?
Of course I don't recommend anyone doing what I did. There are lots of courses out there and it's a question of finding what's right for you. Hopefully 'The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment'
will give you an idea of what is out there and make you laugh a lot at the same time. The trick is not to be like me and assume that you know what this courses have to offer before you give them a go. If a friend has done a course and seems to have benefited from it then try it. The only one out there that I'd say don't do is the Landmark Forum. Many people have gained a lot from their courses but their 'enrollment' methods are unspeakable. Aside from that look out for cost. The Essence Foundation in London (which offers a new version of the Insight Course I did in Chapter one) offers a money back guarantee. Many silent retreats are either free or you pay what you can. And the Twelve Step programme for anyone with addiction problems or living or coping with anyone with addiction problems is also free. Perhaps I've been lucky but I've met very few real charlatans.
There are currently fourty three 5* reviews and seven 4* reviews on Amazon. :-)
Here are three of my favourites: I promise I don't know these people.
'Five Stars Just Isn't Enough'
"Wow I love this book! I've read it sooo many times now that I'm gonna need a new copy cos mine's worn out! I've bought it for friends and family as birthday/christmas presents, knowing that it doesn't matter who you are or what you think, you are guaranteed to love this book! It's a very light-hearted read, it makes you laugh out loud when you least expect it, but also makes you think. If you are looking for a book about self-development and enlightenment, then again - its the book for you! Isabel covers all means and methods of achieving 'enlightenment', some of which are completely hilarious, others you may find yourself wanting to try! I certainly did!! Isabel has a gripping way of writing - when I read her books I don't feel like I'm reading. I feel like I'm sitting in a coffee shop listening to a good friend talking about her experiences - its very personable and great to read! I most definately recommend this, and if you like it then get 'A beginners guide to changing the world' too! and although I can't commet on 'Men' yet, I know its destined to be great if its coming from Isabel!
'Funny Brave and Thought Provoking.'
Delightfully witty account of the author's experiences delving into modern and ancient routes to self discovery and enlightenment. Whilst written with a seemingly light touch, there is depth and acute observation throughout each chapter. A fantastic read and a brilliant contribution to modern social history! Highly recommended!
"Sceptical without being cynical; enthusiastic but never evangelising, and above all very, very funny. Reading Isabel Losada's book is like spending an evening in the wine bar with a good friend, havig a really good laugh at what she got up to at the weekend. Thoroughly recommended!"
'Laughter and Tears on the Road to Happiness'
I loved listening to it on Radio 4 Book of the Week. The book is great too. An emotional roller coaster. I enjoyed the writing style, which is wonderfully irreverent. I did not want the book to end. (I have since lent it to a friend - who has not returned it - another single mother - who said it was like looking in a mirror.) An amusing and very revealing guide to some of the alternative therapies that are out there. Gave me courage to have a go at some more. Still not convinced about the colonic irrigation though.
Isabel Losada navigates her way through the eccentric highways and byways of the new age and human potential movement with scepticism, humour and interrogative open-mindedness. Candid, thought-provoking, sassy and very very funny.'
Mick Brown in The Daily Telegraph.
'Very funny and never cynical.' Ireland on Sunday.
'Isabel has achieved the perfect combination of humour, poignancy and intellectual rigour' The Statesman.
'Great fun and always honest' The Bookseller.
I've read the book and I'd like to try out one of the courses you did. Where can I find it?
Here they all are - have fun. :-) Don't start with Tantric sex or Past lives - they are difficult. x i
Beginning to sort your life out - Insight / Essence etc
This was an excellent course but is now no
longer available in the UK. If
you are not in the UK you may like to persuse their website. They have courses all over the world - very American in a approach but I learnt a lot - Insight Seminars.
. An excellent course similar to Insight, run by the former director of Insight UK and incorpating elements of family therapy.
The Essence Foundation also has a brilliant payment scheme where you make a small down payment to secure a place... take the course and then pay as much more as you want to depending on the value that you think you have received from the course.
The wonderful place where I studied Tai Chi in the book sadly is no longer.
If anyone knows any particularly good Tai Chi Masters in this country that they can recommend to me through personal experience then please let me know – I’ll go and see their work – and if I like the way that they work then I’ll recommend them to you.
Silent Retreat with Nuns or Monks
These are the women that are so dedicated to their spiritual path that they have given up
everything else to follow it – so they know what they are doing… no messing about. Forget all your pre-conceived ideas about convents. For a journey into silence it would be hard to find better guides. And they are joyful places.
Here are two of my favourite convents –
Buddhists offer retreat as well. You could look at Sameling
in Scotland - in the Tibetan
Personally I'm a little dubious about astrology. Was when I wrote the book and still am. The power of suggestion is strong and an experienced astrolger may be helpful by listening carefully - making suggestions about your life and if she tells you that you will succesful at something then you are indeed more likely to be. But if the cards are arranged for our personal reading by some celestial power - then who or what exactly do we believe the power is? :-) I look forward to more emails about this. xxx i
The Inner Goddess
What they call ‘Goddess’ work is really about how we feel about ourselves as men or women. That includes our sexuality but isn’t exclusively about that.
If you feel, as I did, that you’ve never really considered what is good about being a women then this may be a workshop to go to. But it’s not for the faint-hearted.
For me there was something scary just about being in a women only circle where everyone talked about being women.
If – like me – these questions perplex you – then this workshop is run by women who embrace and celebrate their gender and can help any women (or man – they do workshops for men too) to enjoy being who they are and in the sex they are a little more. You can find their website and details of their workshops here: Celebration of Being
This is just the best area to explore if you are very brave or are in a relationship.
Rather like chapter one there are now a range of workshops being run by all the Tantra teachers that were working together when I met them all.
The couples workshop that I took or the ‘Year long workshop’ for couples is run by John Hawkin and is now assisted by Marta Emmit. If you have a partner (has to be of the opposite sex for these workshops) what are you waiting for? Life is short and we’ll all be dead soon.
John and Marta also run a ‘Celebration’ Workshop’ which they describe as ‘For Couples and Singles at any level. This weekend is described as ‘A Mixture of Tantra and Shamanism.’ Has to be done! www.tantralaboratory.com
Now Hilary Spence (who I describe in the book and is huge fun) is taking women’s workhops assisted by Sue Newsome. She calls this work ‘Shakti Tantra’ Her website is: Shakti Tantra
This chapter, in full for free here
What is co-dependency? Well, in a phrase it’s trying to sort out other people instead of yourself. Makes life hard doesn’t it? Ha Ha. If you think you have this really badly then you can reach CODA
But, joking aside, I do recommend the ‘12 Step Programme’ and if you know anyone who is trying to love someone who has serious drink or drug addiction (or who has this themselves) then the level of support this organisation offers is second to none. I am grateful never to have had these problems myself but they have seen the lives of several friends transformed if not saved. Not everyone likes they idea of having to appeal to a 'higher power' but I say do what it takes to stay alive and happy. Find them at Alchoholics Anonymous
If you are dealing with another kind of addiction then they will be able to find the right group for you. Another useful site for information is www.recovery.org.uk
You want to do this?! Well it will certainly increase your awareness of what you put in your body and how long it takes to come out again. Call Linzi Deayn (featured in the book) Can put you in touch with a range of
practitioners around the country. She is also a ‘Herbal Life’ distributor – so watch out. She may have changed your entire diet by the end of the phone call: 07956 502342
If you want to explore this rather extraordinary therapy then you can ring Diana Roberts (featured in the book) directly… she has a list of practitioners worldwide and will also answer all your questions. She doesn’t like the internet and prefers to talk to you in person – London – 07866 114094
I certainly didn't believe in past lives at all before I went to this workshop. By the end of it I didn't
know what to believe. But it moved me from hard unbeliever to confused agnostic on this issue. The two years that I've spent immersed in Tibetan Buddhism since have made me think that maybe we do go around more than once. If you are curious, skeptical or want to explore this issue Roger Wooler, sadly has now moved on to his next life himself but there is a list of practitioners that use his methods and have all been trained either by him or by those he trained here. Deep Memory Process
Information about Roger's on-going work can be found here Roger Woolger
An alternative (and I didn't experience his work myself but he has been doing past life work as long as Dr Roger Wooler has) is to take a workshop with Dr Brian Weiss who works in both the US and sometimes in the UK. He is the author of many books about Past Lives including his best known book 'Many Lives, Many Masters'
. His website is here and you'll have to book up in advance. Dr Brian Weiss
I advise against doing past life work with anyone else as it's deep work &, as I remember Roger saying 'getting someone into a past life isn't hard but you have to know what to do with them once they are there'. Don't try it at home alone.
The Search for the Ultimate Massage
If you would like to experience 'Rolfing' there is far more do this discipline than I wrote about and it's great for re-alignment of faulty posture. Find out more here http://www.rolfinguk.co.uk/