I have been attending the Agape International Spiritual Center’s Sunday service for a little over three years now and take anyone willing to attend. Lyda has gone with me a couple of times (it was almost forced abduction but hey at least she went). I try to go at least twice a month to recharge my spiritual (tolerance) battery, it helps me cope with my busy life and this crazy city. The last time we went together was about a month ago, on a Sunday, and it pleases me to say that Lyda invited herself this time! Winning!
Agape is like church without all the convincing of what you should be. Instead it helps you discover all that you are and provides uplifting stories, exercises and notable speakers. It is of no particular religion or denomination, nor does it preach about dogma. All are welcome at Agape; Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jewish, humans… whatever. It’s come as you are message is the stuff I dreamed of growing up. Some show up in suits and elegant dresses, while others show up in tie-dye shirts and Birkenstocks and no one even bats an eye. Agape, means unconditional brotherly love, and that is exactly what you experience every time.
On this particular Sunday, we were blessed to hear Reverend Julie Moret speak. I had witnessed Reverend Julie’s greatness on that stage before and knew we’d be in for a treat. I was excited to be able to share this experience with Lyda. Julie’s messages are always delivered with great wit, humor and excitement. She’s charismatic, sincere, creative and oh so loving. I don’t know how she does it but it seems that every time she speaks its exactly what we need to hear.
After her heartfelt sermon - where she had us both crying and laughing in the same breath - we bought her book “What’s your What?” and then asked her if she’d honor us with an interview, she said yes! How exciting! I was trying not to jump out of my skin at that point!
Please, meet Reverend Julie Moret…
KG: What inspired you to become a reverend?
JM: It was never my aspiration to be a reverend. The passion to develop myself as much as is possible in my lifetime led me down the path of spirituality. I realized early on that material gains are never as sustainably satisfying as even a flicker of illumination. I was, and am, passionately inspired to follow the path of illumination. In this case, it resulted in a ministerial title! (Our lives have a way of taking us where we need to go even when we don’t know the destination!)
KG: Was there ever a time when you didn’t believe in God?
JM: This question takes me back to being 23 years old, sitting on the cold, hardwood floor of my teeny tiny New York City studio apartment. I had just broken up with my boyfriend… again. Thought the world was cruel and didn’t understand how God could let me hurt so much. I have a bigger more eternal understanding of God now. I think of my life as an eternally, unfolding evolution. It’s not perfect and there are times I don’t understand how or why something happened, but more and more I trust Life. It’s definitely been a process!!!
KG: What challenges come with being a female reverend?
JM: I’m grateful to come up at a time and in a place - the Agape International Spiritual Center - where gender has not been an issue. There are still so many places in the world and religions where women do not enjoy such freedom of opportunity. The only challenge I can think of is that when I first started, I thought I should dress ‘like a minister.’ I thought I should tame myself down, so I didn't cause waves. That meant covering my curves. I wore a lot of baggy pantsuits. With each talk I’m becoming more naturally, fiercely myself. It may put some folks off who expect me to be more ‘ministerial,’ but I’m just getting started in discovering and revealing who I really am!
KG: Is there any other career that you have put in the back burner and will pursue in the future?
JM: Definitely. I have two major passions. Writing and energy healing. My life is bending toward these areas already. I feel deeply devoted to both. Will probably end up in a little cottage in the wilderness writing novels, chatting with fairies, and brewing medicinal potions!
KG: Did you make your path or did your path find you? And how do you stay motivated?
JM: My path has laid itself out before me every step of the way. Even when I ignored it or rejected it, it kept finding a way to loop back around. I’ve always been spiritual, but never knew the direction that spirituality would take. I just keep stepping in the direction of what resonates as truth. That’s what happened when I first heard Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith - the founder and director of Agape - speak. He’s funny, filled with joy and life and a profound mystic. I didn’t plan on being a minister, I just kept taking classes with him. The degrees and titles are a bonus.
KG: What is the question no one has asked that you wish someone would? Answer said question.
JM: Hmmm. “How would you most like to be described? Answer: A Bad Ass High Priestess! But I’d need to earn the title which will take a few more lifetimes! (I’m currently apprenticing in the area of bad-assness!)
KG: How did you overcome anxiety, or do you still struggle with it?
JM: I do have anxiety periodically, but it’s manageable and nothing like what I used to experience. I used to have full on anxiety attacks. As I’ve become more spiritually mature, I’ve learned tools to help manage emotions better- not perfectly- but better. I also understand that certain people/environments are stronger triggers than others. Slow deep breathing techniques help. Most importantly, I’ve learned not to fight anxious feelings, or any feelings. Feelings are fluid and when we feel them it sends a signal to our inner most self that we are safe. We are paying attention, we care. This allows the feeling to flow on which then helps us step out of reaction into consciously choosing next steps. It definitely helps to have a trained support person guide the way. I value the work of Natalie Christensen www.centerforemotionaleducation.com
KG: Lyda, the CEO of Lyda Beauty, openly talks about mental health issues. She suffers from anxiety and depression and has so for over 16+ years. Have you ever suffered from depression? If so, how did you deal with it?
JM: This is a huge question. I’ll give a few tips here but in no way are they conclusive. Again, feeling feelings is key. Feelings are fluid so when we acknowledge them, they are able to flow on. Other feelings may pop up. Once depression moves there may be anger brewing or sadness. Feel all of it and let it all keep flowing. I’ll sit and focus on my breath and then start noticing. What emotion is present? Where do I feel it in my body? What does it feel like? Notice everything? How my arms feel against my shirt, the way the back of my hair tickles my neck. Is my heart beating fast or does it feel slow and sluggish? Noticing physical and emotional sensations helps loosen the density of depression.
Another powerful choice when depression hits is to be of service to someone else. Volunteer at a shelter. Serve meals to those in need. Say something kind to the person ringing up your groceries. Give. Serve. Share. I know it’s hard to do any of these things when depressed. Sometimes I make a deal with myself. I can stay under the covers, eat carbs, numb out on TV for the next hour, but then I’m going to BLANK... then I'm going to take a shower, drink a tall glass of purified water, go out for a walk - even if it’s just around the block. Smile at least once at a neighbor. Acts of kindness flood the body with positive hormones. They create emotional, chemical releases that lift the fog. This allows us to move out of our survival brain - which lets us do little more than survive - and move into our executive brain which allows us to make clearer, more productive choices on how to nurture and care for ourselves.
Most importantly, if you have any thoughts of hurting yourself/ someone else or if it just feels like it’s too much, reach out! Get help and know that no matter how tough the moment is, as my grandmother used to say, ‘This too shall pass’.
KG: What do you believe your purpose is in this life?
JM: I’m here to be light and shine light!
KG: How did you find your purpose?
JM: On some level, I believe we know. I have a whole chapter in my book, What’s Your What, that provides tools to receive confirmation about your purpose. For example, gather old yearbooks, cards, letters, emails and write down all adjectives that have ever been used to describe you- positive adjectives! Then lump your adjectives into groups of synonyms. Notice the top two or three adjectives that have been used to describe you the most. They are usually a powerful clue to your life’s purpose. This process shows that you have been seen… you have always been seen.
KG: Why did you decide to write your book? What was the inspiration?
JM: I didn’t understand why I was sometimes successful and sometimes not. I wanted to learn how to become self-inspired and get back on track as needed. I wanted to know how extremely successful people do it. How do dreamers manifest their dreams? So, I spent years studying and learning about what psychology refers to as ‘flow states’, moments of divine creativity and manifestation. As I learned these practices and noticed my dreams were manifesting, I knew this was part of the work I’m here to share. I think that’s the case for all of us. We have key areas we are wanting to heal or grow. Once we ‘get it,’ it’s time to pass it on.
KG: What has been the most valuable lesson life has taught you thus far?
JM: I’m learning to trust life. To trust that my life is for me. It doesn’t mean things always go my way; it means I can handle whatever shows up. On the macro level, I am part of an eternal unfolding. There is something that wants to be revealed through me and as me. The more I trust that, the more life rallies around to offer everything I need to further develop myself and my endeavors. What all of this translates to is that I feel less and less concerned with ‘getting it right’ and progressively more focused on being available. Simply being available to the omnipresent Goodness that cannot wait to express through me… and YOU!
KG: In your book WHAT’S YOUR WHAT, through well thought out exercises you help your readers carve their way into a better understanding of their purpose. (Good stuff! I highly recommend to buy Julie’s book if you need help in that department.) Were these the same steps you took to reach your potential? And were they taught to you as well or did you figure that out on your own and then share it in your book?
JM: These are absolutely steps I took (and continue taking). Some came to me organically; some were inspired by interviews or things I’ve studied. I joked with my publisher that I wanted to put a slogan on my book cover: “I’ve paid for every self-help, healing certification program so you don’t have to!”.
KG: When can we expect another book? And what will it be about?
JM: I have a novel I’m working on and another Chicken Soup for the Soul-type book with fierce, funny, inspiring stories and universal teachings woven throughout. I’ll be thrilled to share both when they are done cooking!!!
Julie’s willingness to be so open and vulnerable has made her the hardest person to interview. She’s an open book and very thorough, so coming up with questions she hasn’t already covered presented a good challenge. Her responses were more informative and beautiful than we imagined. I hope you enjoyed them as much as we did. Until next time Bebes!
Blessings y Besitos!