“We are not meant to protect ourselves from life”
An interview with Névine Salvadé
by Femke Wijdekop
Névine Salvadé’s life has taken her from the Middle East to Europe to America and beyond. She was born in Cairo, Egypt, grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and lived for many years in Switzerland, France and Arizona. At a young age she discovered her connection with the spiritual realm and began to know a world beyond the grasp of most of us. This connection helped her through the horrendous years of war in Lebanon and her turbulent childhood in a tension-ridden home.
In her book Compassion Névine shares her lifestory with us and imparts her innate wisdom and insight in the human soul. Nevine says “I hope that through my experiences you can recognise and accept the imperfect humanity of each and every one of us, and allow yourself the space and acceptance to grow slowly, not pressured by the outside world, the media, or your surroundings. Let’s try through our journey to make the world a kinder, gentler, more peaceful place for the generations to come. The only way to do this is through compassion and forgiveness.”
On Sunday June 13th Névine gave a lecture on the topic of Synchronicity at the American Book Center’s Spiritual Book Club, followed by a Q & A!
Nevine, in your book you talk about your experience of growing up in a Lebanese-American family and living in many countries. How have your multicultural experiences influenced your outlook on life?
I take it as a token of absolute blessing to have been able to live deeply in all these different cultures. It enabled me to understand very different points of view in a more comprehensive manner. Every culture holds different beliefs and truths, customs and traditions. Some traditions and ways in all cultures are beautiful, others are backward and sometimes heartless. Every culture taught me a precious life lesson. The Mediterranean/Arab culture taught me the art of giving and generosity. The American culture taught me the love for animals and taught me as a woman that my dreams could be achieved. The European cultures taught me humbleness and slowing down by taking solitary time to find Self.
Witnessing the the war in Lebanon, and the physical violence and psychological abuse in my own family, the horrible pain and suffering of others. No matter how cruel some people’s acts were, I realized these people acted this way because they were lost souls. They were like the blind leading the blind, and I certainly did not want to follow.
So one can say that I tried reverse psychology in the beginning and followed a path no one else at the time, in my environment, was practicing. Doing this I found a kinder way to solve problems, or to reach a goal.
In your book you describe that during the Lebanese civil war, you almost got killed on two occasions. In one of the occasions a mad gunman put a Kalashnikov gun to your forehead. You were not scared – you felt sorry for the distressed man. How is it possible that you could feel compassion instead of fear in such an extreme situation?
All I needed to do is look into this poor man’s eyes. He was in such panic and pain I could only feel sorry for him. It was surreal, and I had lived through many moments like this one at home with my father; so for me that was not new. So, come to think of it, maybe those horribly scary moments at home spared my life because of my lack of fear. Or as most would say, it was just not my time, and my soul must have known it.
How can we train ourselves to become more compassionate without having to live such extreme experiences? Which practical, day-to-day steps help us to cultivate a compassionate heart and mind?
Some cultures teach us, from childhood, the art of sharing our generosity, yet at times it is only a response to a traditional teaching. But in my early teenage years I began to understand that we had a choice. We had a choice to suffer and the power to make others suffer too.
I decided, cognitively, not to follow the path of anger, ego or greed; and trained my emotions to let go of the pain and anger, and instead, try my best to understand the psychology in people who choose to use and abuse others. It became clear to me that the abuser was the real victim, as that soul needed to use his or her powers to fight off fear, inner pain or anger. That person’s soul was weak, and due to that weakness, he or she had to show false power to gain respect or obedience. I did not want my soul to be weakened in that way, therefore I taught myself the dire lesson of compassion in order not to engage in that weakness and not to hold grudges or anger against an abuser.
The soul is like a normal body muscle. You can train your soul to live in compassion and react kindly or train your energy to react in anger and hatred. The soul’s muscle is called the Insight, and that insight is a switch that you can choose to click on to bring out your inner light into your darkness. It is a very simple tool, yet the question is: how does one find the switch in a dark room/soul? Answer: you Search for it. Once you find it, then you will always remember where that switch is, and you can have the sacred free will to switch your soul’s light on or not.
If you do choose insight over darkness, you will only switch that light off when your mind rests from this awakened reality to close your eyes for some sleep. If you don’t choose to switch your insight/light on, you choose then to live in darkness, afraid to switch on the light and see something new that you are not used to. It’s like a blind person seeing again. I say again, at one time we all could see. The anticipation is scary, yet once the light comes truly back it is almost impossible to choose to live in darkness. That is the path toward true compassion. True inner insight leads to compassion which in turn leads to true enlightenment.
In your book you talk about your daughter Shirine. With her passionate and electrical nature, you say some might term her an Attention Deficit Disorder-child. For you however, ADD means Advanced Dimension Derivation – meaning that these children come from a universe our world has not yet caught up with. What do you mean by this?
I don’t usually discuss my children in the open, yet I found that subject a very important one to bring out into the light. In many countries, doctors are medicating children for what they term Attention Deficit Disorder. The school my daughter was attending wanted to medicate her, too. I categorically refused to do that. My daughter had a great deal of energy she could not understand fully yet, and as she did not wish to channel part of that energy in constant sports, she had a surplus of electricity in her soul that did not allow her to center her focus and remain relaxed for long hours. I taught my daughter to understand that that nervousness came from her inner energy that may have been linked to some gene in the family. The past generation, not understanding the concept of energy, used that surplus of emotions to lead them toward darkness. If children are taught to use their energy in channeling it into good actions, those children can then feel empowered by having contributed to something worthwhile instead of channeling it, out of frustration, into angry or abusive reactions.
For instance, a child with that symptom can decide to meditate, go bicycle riding, jump rope, or connect with nature before a long class or before a difficult test or life encounter. They can also work with animals or mentally impaired children to use their unique electric energy to share that extra light.
If children are medicated, that spirit is being dumbed and dimmed, and the learning of how to use and focus that extra gift is lost. That child then becomes a loose canon as an adult and maybe even addicted to sex, drugs and alcohol to be able to relax or channel that extremely vibrant energy. These children are very intelligent, they are just not taught how to use their emotions in a constructive way. If a bulb is too bright, just place it in a bigger room. You cannot dim a soul that has extra vibrancy without shattering their spirit.
We always search for the quick fix. Time, patience and awareness heal the soul. Not medication. Most children nowadays live among concrete walls in congested cities in front of a computer or television, therefore that issue might become more prevalent. Nature is being ostracized from our lives.
On p. 35 of Compassion you write: “One would expect that a child would be a delicate soul, when in many events it is the adult that is truly fragile”. Do you think that a child’s innocence gives it this special resilience/strength?
Children, unless threatened physically, don’t have the notion of fear yet. They are still free spirits and are still following their true heart feelings. Of course if they see violence around them, or on TV, they will emulate it. Children who are raised in totally non-violent groups — too few unfortunately left on this planet — will not understand the concept of anger and violence. Life for them is still full of fun and compassionate acts. They usually respect the environment around them.
I find that too many adults forget the difference between acting like a child — meaning acting in denial, or not accepting responsibility for one’s actions– versus being gifted with a child-like youthful spirit, which means embracing laughter, and lighthearted mannerisms. When one is acting too youthfully, one is termed dumb or naive.
It is important for a grown individual to assume the responsibilities of an adult. An example of that is a parent who loses total composure in a time of crisis while their own children remain calm and attentive to the issue. An adult who acts in a panicked or over-dramatic way to for something that is not worth panicking about is a fragile soul. We all, of course, encounter those moments, yet in the eye of a tornado one can only stay put and hope that the fall will not be too painful. Adding to the whirlwind does not help bring the storm to peace.
Many times during your life following your heart meant going against your logic, your fears and society’s (and your family’s) prejudices. This asks for courage and a deep trust in the spiritual truth you feel in your heart – especially when this truth does not match with the “way of the world”! How can we strengthen this muscle of trust, this connection to the truth of our heart?
I was very lucky and blessed, slowly but surely, with indomitable faith. Not blind faith! I call it my form of madness. It defies all logic, but kept my soul and spirit free and sane. It is so easy. When one asks you: “would you care for something?” your mind will answer yes or no. Well in life experiences all you have to do is practice asking your soul, is this for the highest good of my soul? It may not be for the highest comfort or fun, but if it can teach you a lifetime lesson that can change your life and soul for the better into more awareness, then it is worth going that path regardless of the mass’s opinion. If we always care what people think, we never live our true purpose. As long as we don’t live rebelliously by our own selfish rules, never taking into consideration other people’s feelings, we are on the right path. If it is heartfelt, everyone will profit, and it will be for the good of all. If you are lucky enough to be a leader, then why not lead if it brings light into a dark cave?
In your book you write a lot on the concept of synchronicity. What does synchronicity mean to you?
It means everything. It is being there at the right place and time for a miracle encounter to happen. It is the magical Universal way of showing us that nothing is random. Regardless, we always have free will, and above all, sacred free choices. Even in the darkest moments of our life experiences we can switch on the light and hop on the train of opportunity to see what the environment and journey have to offer. I hopped on a plane to meet Gary Goldschneider, and I met you Femke, and here I am in Amsterdam doing a talk and book signing. That encounter was synchronicity. Life becomes so much more alive and fun when one can recognize those incredible sparkles. I call it magic. Living the true adventure not always knowing where it will lead us, but as long as our inner voice and heart are feeling okay with the journey, fear should never halt us from discovering the unknown. We are not meant to protect ourselves from life; we should live life to the fullest.
An important synchronistic event in your life was your encounter with Hans, your soulmate. Hans was running a dog training centre in Switzerland, where you took your dog Zilka to solve its behavioural problems. You write that Hans doubted his abilities as a dog trainer because he was not fully connected to his true self. How does connecting to our true self drive away our self-doubt?
Hans was always sure of his dog training methods. He just always used to say, “I’m just a dog trainer” in a derogative way about himself, not realizing the scope of his gifts. At that point in time we both were at a different level in our awareness. We were brought onto each other’s paths to switch our lights on. We were still searching in the dark, and that encounter allowed us both to begin the real awakening process. We electrified each other in ways that had never happened in our respective lives before.
Once any soul realizes that they are not necessarily what they were branded to be by their parents, society or their culture, they begin to discover Self, and all sorts of new feelings and truths come out into the open. It can be a very scary moment, one where we truly feel we are losing our minds. Now looking back I can laugh out loud, but it was really not funny. It’s like growing pains, as the body stretches into its adult form. Hans is a genius, yet in his personal situation, he was not yet allowed to use or shown that potential fully, so he hid behind false truths. Slowly but surely, as he discovered his true being, he became more aware and felt so much more confident about the gifts he was brought to share. Like me, he had encountered a lot of darkness growing up, and leaving the pain behind is not an easy task. But it is feasible, and one can forget and forgive.
On page 150/151 you describe a dream in which you visited another world, where people fly instead of walk, use telepathy instead of talk and where all the houses have a unique bright color and beautiful scent to them. Do you think this an existing dimension -maybe on another planet or frequency band – and not just a dream?
It definitely exists somewhere. There are ordinary dreams, and then there are real experiences one levitates to while dreaming. That was definitely an experience that does exist somewhere. Lucky them, wherever they may be!
You end your book by saying that the word Angel derives from the Greek word Angelo, and means Messenger. I consider you such a messenger. What is the most important message you have for our readers?
Thank you Femke. I am humbled. My most important message is: Follow your heart. Forget everything else. We love to complicate our lives, when following one’s heart is the answer to everything. We are always in such a hurry to find out all the answers, and so stubborn that we feel entitled to have everything our mind desires. That is what I call being “stuck in a child’s mind”, instead of being a childlike spirit who lives in the moment, not caring really what is on the agenda next week, next lifetime or next door. As long as we live life through our heartfelt feelings, we can live in awareness and find true compassion and happiness. Then we reach peace of mind, heart and soul.