To Charge Or Not To Charge? An Answer?

I’ve had a couple of visits to do services this week. In the discussion with organisers we have hit on the thorny question of ‘to charge or not to charge’. It’s a hard one.

I know from my own work that I have to get to the churches and centres and get home. So I run a car. I feel it’s only fair that the church or centre give me a little something to defray my costs. In fact one of the organisations, the Spiritualist National Union, had a standard milage rate that it’s churches can use to calculate the travel costs of mediums. I tend to apply a smaller charge because I have income from Spirit in another way. But I understand why some churches and centres think twice about me travelling a long distance to do their services.

Of course it’s never a surprise when my discussions turn in another direction. Spirit usually arranges it so. My local Spiritualist National Union church has posted on it’s Facebook page that it is going to start charging for one of it’s services from August. Apparently the free will collection has not been producing enough to keep the doors of the church open. I have to say this really saddened me. I learned a lot more about the Spirit World through the church I first did my development in. It’s the place where my connections became good enough to really work for the Spirit people.

In considering why a charge was being introduced the issue of medium’s fees came up.

I do feel that someone supplying their services cannot be expected to do so for free. That’s why there is a suggested expenses tariff. I also recognise that smaller churches may need to cut their coat according to their cloth. Local mediums may be the way forward. And for churches with no other source of income a door charge may supplement the fundraising that is done to pay for overheads. In fact some churches have moved into renting instead of owning. And some spiritualist groups meet in the home of volunteers to remove all idea of cost.

I think there is a wider debate that needs to happen with members of churches. If churches are struggling what are members doing to support their church? Is it left to a small number of people to steer the church forward? And what is the umbrella bodies doing to support the churches in engaging more attendance to generate income? Or money management? Maybe we will have to face the idea that the time for churches is actually over. That people are leaving religions to find spirituality instead. And that the place to see a medium has moved to the pub or club.

Whatever your view on ‘to charge or not to charge’ if you are a spiritualist please get involved if you want your local churches to keep running. Because charging for attendance is not always the best way forward.

Day 590 of my blogging challenge

Visions of Love and Hope

Today I went to Burnley Spiritualist church to give messages from the Spirit World. I like to call them visions of love and hope. As each loved one steps forward they remind us that love is eternal. I know that getting a message is as important as giving one.

As I drove to the church I was reminded about a lovely friend of mine, Denise Butterworth, a wonderful medium who is no longer with us. Today is her birthday. We often spoke about the importance of passing on the messages to the best of our ability. I know that to bring the presence of a loved one into the room shares the love that was once felt. It also brings the hope of reuniting one day. And tells us that love is still with us. My work has been about bringing the evidence from the Spirit people who come. Then passing on the positive flow of love and healing. It’s been my one of my visions for almost eleven years to do this work.

Today I thought about the new visions that are building in front of me. Leaving some things behind to join in new work. I’m certain that at the heart of my work will be love and hope. The connection to the Spirit people. Evidence and presence. Yet I’ve also been asked by my Guides to stop serving at Spiritualist churches. That change is from next year. Alongside it, in March, I’m stepping down from a committee post at Hebden Bridge Spiritualist church. My journey, as it has been all of my life, is about spirituality rather than religion. And I believe that new ways of connecting people to their loved ones are on the way in for me.

Visions of the way ahead often come in blurred around the edges. Hazy and lacking detail. But insistent if I listen to my heart.

I know that there are many challenges for all of us in the next few years. I’ve been told by my Guides that we have to hold onto love and hope. Each one of us has to focus on a positive outcome to every issue. Because all of us have a chance to influence the way the energy flows. I find myself doing a lot of manifesting work. Putting my attention on the connections I and others have to the Spirit World. I believe that they can help by sending us encouragement, support and, most of all, the energy of love. It is hard to let people we love go peacefully off to the Afterlife. But I also know that from their side they send us courage too.

They ask us to hold visions in our minds. Visions of peace, enlightenment and a golden age for all. Not in false hope. But in the true understanding that me,  you and everyone single person can share in that future too. I also know that we have to rediscover the Divine love energy that flows between us all. And keep that flame of hope even in the darkest times. The loved ones who stepped in today wanted to remind us that we are never alone. I and anyone else who wishes to do so can have the support and guidance necessary to make life shine. As I move forward with my new work I’m looking forward to much more love and hope.

Day 441 of my blogging challenge.

Working the Energy in All Ways

I started my day doing some shamanic work. Then it was on to readings with the Spirit World. And finally working the energy again at Hebden Bridge Spiritualist Church.

One of the things I really appreciate is the variety of my day. I enjoy the opportunity to be working in lots of different ways. It means I can swap from one activity to another if necessary so that I don’t get stuck in a rut. I feel we all like a variety of things to do. However we don’t always get the chance to be flexible about the tasks we are given. Working for myself has been a great blessing. One with a steep learning curve. Also lots of ups and downs. Some quite scary moments too. But never dull or routine. I feel fortunate to have been able to follow activities I enjoyed doing.

Best of all, I have discovered that I love looking at the world from the energy point of view. Instead of being into the detail of who did, what, when and why I can consider my life as a flow of significant points. Moments when the tide turned one way or another. Last night I was watching a programme about a small boat crossing a challengeing tidal flow between Orkney and the mainland. Although the people were paddling hard the effect of the tide was to drift them along. I guess that’s what I’m doing when I consider the energy view of things.

There are tides flowing through our lives deep under the surface. I have to navigate my way from one end of life to the other. Working to steer myself on a safe route. Trying not to capsize.

If I have learned lots of different ways to surf the energy I can help myself when the tricky tides change abruptly. That’s where my connection to Energy Beings really adds to my journey. I’m never alone in my boat. They can suggest changes of course, techniques and also boost my energy. I remind myself that working in many different ways lets me benefit from a wide range of positive influences. I’m so glad that my Guides were keen for me to have the widest possible training, over many years, and that every day they let me immerse myself in energy work. I’m learning every moment I’m working!

Day 422 of my blogging challenge.

Mediums Into the Future

img_2346It’s been a lovely day of reaching out to other mediums. I’ve also been able to watch a medium work this evening and very much enjoyed seeing my friend Gordon Walsh take the service at Hebden Bridge Spiritualist church.

I was reaching out because I’m currently also the booking secretary at Hebden Bridge church. I’m sure many people would be surprised to find out that mediums are booked for services a year in advance, sometimes two. It’s not only the job of the booking secretary to fill the diary for the next year but to ring up a week before the booked date and confirm everything. Of course looking so far ahead can mean that the mediums have to cancel. I’m used to finding replacement mediums at short notice. I even have an emergency stand in list just in case.

So when I’m asked to put a service in my own diary I treat it as a fixed commitment. I know the disruption that a short notice cancellation can cause. However I also know that it’s unreasonable to expect that we will all know exactly what situation we are going to be in more than a few weeks in advance. And no, my Guides can’t always tell me that I’m going to need to cancel. There is that little thing called free will. The choices I make now affect the future I’m likely to have. But nothing is set in concrete. That’s another good reason for a back up list.

When I think about planning for the future I don’t really need my intuitive ability to tell me that things might change. That’s one of life’s givens.

So if I know that things might change or that I might have changed perhaps the best thing about my plans is to make sure they are flexible? I encourage people who come for readings to understand why the Spirit World often ignores the future. They know that I have to make my own choices. Where I get to through making those choices will depend on whether they are wise ones or not. Or on whether I can be flexible enough or not. Mediums do get some information about the future for people when it can really prompt a person to change.

However, the Spirit World know how hard it was to get me to change. And I’m not really much different than anyone else. So they encourage us to plan our work without too much interference. Then they make sure they are around if I have to rework my plans. They try to get me to bring my focus closer in. After all, who can say with any certainty what they will be doing a year from now. So I happily book my services in my diary knowing that the booking secretary will have a plan B or C in case I can’t make it.

Day 370 of my blogging challenge. 

Flooded Lives – Four Months On

imageIf you have been reading my blog from my first day, way back in December when I started the 30 day challenge to prove to myself I could do it, you will have read about Boxing Day 2015. The town where I live & work was hit by some serious flooding bringing an abrupt end to our holiday enjoyment. It was followed by a big clean up which was a challenge whilst many of us were without power for more than three days. Today it’s four months on from flooded homes, businesses and places of worship. Oddly enough Mother Nature again showed us the power of an erratic climate. The sun shone brilliantly until about 2pm when snow took it’s place. Definitely a fire and ice day! That reminded me of Earth’s ArchAngel Rophea. She is the Angel who helps us balance extremes, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So it seems only fitting that my day has been one of extremes. As I worked my way through it I wondered how different things have become as a result of a flooded life.

My home was flooded but the main floor escaped damage. The power was out for three and a half days and the house became rather cold & damp. Yet my Centre and studio were warm and dry. I flitted between them microwaving, boiling the kettle, keeping in touch with the world through the Internet. My aunty and I wrapped up warm, dug deep into our ‘nothing is going to beat us’ spirit and kept each other going with laughter. On the 27th December I managed to get access to the local Spiritualist church where I am a committee member. The water had been up to nearly four feet high in the main body of the church (the basement was completely under water). Flooded furniture was thrown around by the power of the water. Hardly anything had escaped. It was the most dismal sight. A place where people came together as a community in muddy, soggy disarray. Yet on the 28th of December amazing people turned up from all over to help clear and clean the church. In fact, the town was full of people volunteering to help turn a disaster into something positive.

On the 2nd of January I went back to open my Centre. We sat around rather shell  shocked by the state of the town. Lots of practical help was coming in but we knew that the financial and emotional impact of Boxing Day would take much longer to heal. Flooded out homes and shops mean people had lost their income as well as their possessions. They would need to divert their funds to necessities so paying for holistic treatments – even if much needed – would be low on the priority list. My lovely practitioner friends, also reeling from the catastrophe, happily offered to donate their services for free or at very low cost. We decided that we would offer our community as much healing and emotional support as we could. There was a plan! We could do it if we worked together.

On the evening of 20th January I was sitting once again in my Centre. I had hit my own personal wall. I’d had the depressing task of looking at the finances for the month. There was talk of a grant to help businesses and crowd funding. I really didn’t know if I had any energy left. Nothing seemed to be straightforward at all. Being flooded isn’t only about the actual water entering a place. It is the way it weaves itself into the fabric of the debates people have. Should I feel survivors guilt because I hadn’t had water in my business premises or did beening flooded at the church and home make me eligible to ask for financial help. Do I keep topping up the Centre from my other business if no one is going to be able to use it anyway? What about the other practitioners who would be displaced if I closed? Did I have any business left at all? It was a very gloomy, hard place to be in. I actually came home with the intention of closing down.

What helped me turn the gloom around was a conversation with my daughter. She asked me who else would look after the people who needed healing. And if the church wasn’t open where could she go to get her messages from her Grandma. I bless that conversation every time I get stuck. She reminded me of the focus I have had for the last ten years. I want to provide a space for people to have sanctuary. A place where the Spirit World can be acknowledged. Somewhere where healing can happen. I want to share that space with people who have been down to the bottom too and are slowly climbing back up into the sunlight. Otherwise what would be the point. The water might as well have taken me with it. Being flooded has been a test of my intentions.

So what about now? What about today? It started on a very positive note. I began clearing out the clutter. When the flood siren went I realised that everything important needed to be upstairs but there was so much that wasn’t really important. At the moment every room looks like an upside down mess because I didn’t quite get chance to tidy up after myself. That’s because I had to zoom off with my daughter for some joint counselling about a different kind of flood that happened to us seven years ago. Containing the emotional fall out of that time has been hard but now it’s finally safe to let it go. Going along for the support we talked about how people get helped. She really enjoys the massage that she gets at the Centre with Caroline. I really enjoy that the Centre is still there and offering such professional, caring and positive support.

This evening I went to the church AGM. It’s a small, friendly place with a great bunch of people who have been willing week in, week out to keep it going. We have had some wonderful evenings of mediumship with love, laughter and healing in every service. It takes a lot to repair a flooded place. We are still very much in the process of getting things together so it was special to see all my lovely friends once more able to visit. I have to say that not everyone can appreciate the dedication of the people who are trying their best to keep the church doors open. Perhaps you had to be there on the 28th of December to understand why it matters. Perhaps community is really only something you notice when the bad times pull everyone together. And perhaps empathy is a challenge when you really haven’t appreciated what it’s been like in our town for the last four months. I’ve certainly come across quite a few people who don’t get it at all including people who say they are there to help.

So what about four months on? I’m still here, balancing work, home, church and personal life. I’m stronger, more prepared to be emotional and very vocal about the work that still needs to be done. My home town needs a lot more TLC. There is some work to be done to get the people holding the purse strings to understand how short sighted they are being in missing the opportunities to help small businesses. People still need emotional support and will do for a long time yet. We will continue to do everything we can at the Centre to offer a listening ear. The church will still be a place of respite. I will get my home neat & tidy once again. Life will settle down again eventually. Our community will be stronger and more supportive. Being flooded is tragic but being a community who cares is a wonderful response. Best of all – the community will be celebrating Christmas again on 25th June to reward all of the volunteers who turned up to help. I can’t wait to see what Santa brings me for being good, lol.

Day 162 of my blogging challenge.

Trusting in Life

a&cToday has been my first full day back at work after a number of life events that have been very emotional & significant. It felt good to be returning to the flow and patterns of my work. One of the things I noticed was that disruption can disorientate me quite quickly so that it’s been hard to hold onto a sense of a solid foundation in my life. That theme reoccurred throughout the day as people called into the Down 2 Earth Heart Centre.

It is one of our usual drop in days. These have been happening for nearly two years now usually on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays so that people can take a respite from their lives – having a cuppa or a conversation or find a quiet space to reflect. I work on Thursdays with Carie and Alastair to provide the listening ear, to make the tea and to offer a welcoming smile. People tend to find us when the time is right for them to focus on their needs. We all spend so much of out time focusing on the needs of others that we rarely get to the top of our own list. Yet the Centre is there when people are ready to give themselves a break.

The whole valley is dealing with the loss caused by massive flooding – not the loss of life, thank goodness – and at some point the adrenaline of coping dies back. People need time and space to process what they are feeling and thinking. Today our friends old and new made their way through the labyrinth of the doors and corridor to the heart of our space. We listened to their experiences, they shared as a group at times, and we all recognised that every single person in the community was dealing with loss and change. Out of our conversations we identified that we would all need to find trust again. Trust in ourselves that there is a core self unharmed by these events. Trust in our community that it can continue to pull together and repair or rebuild the damaged areas. Trust in the months to come that the wider world’s kindness, which we have received, will still be there between all of us when the world has moved on.

This evening I went to Blackburn Spiritualist Centre to do the demonstration of mediumship. It was my first service of the year (I was going to be at Hebden Bridge church last Sunday but the weather overtook that event). I hadn’t done any Spirit work since my concussion so I felt decidedly nervous about how well I would be able to work. Sitting quietly for a few moments, waiting to start, I realised that this was another test of trust. I have lost my sense of smell and some of my sense of taste – had I lost my ability to connect as well as I would like? As it turns out, the Spirit World came through as loud and clear as always. They made the connections strong & smooth. My trust in my connections was restored. It also takes faith to put yourself up for running a Centre or standing in front of the public giving messages. Faith in your self, your ability and faith that you will be helped. I test that trust and faith every day because I choose to do something that is actually uncertain. I don’t know how many people will find our listening ears & sanctuary; or if I will be able to give the clearest messages; or find the appropriate words when someone is dealing with loss, pain and confusion; or to be of service. I find that every day, when I trust and have faith, it seems I can be of service in many different ways.

My Centre gets by on a wing and a prayer – the Earth’s ArchAngel wings and the listening ears of the Energy Beings who keep it’s doors open. It will remain in the Valley for as long as I can be of service to my community. Please keep your trust in yourself and your community. Change may happen in a challenging way. Together, if we have trust & faith, we are a stronger force for ensuring that positives flow from the most difficult circumstances.

Day 52 of my blogging challenge.

The electricity of kindness

IMG_3193We have been without electricity for nearly 2 and a half days. There is a massive clean-up going on all around the town. What we have happening is the electricity of kindness. It has taken people ages to get to our through Hebden Bridge today as volunteers have poured into the Calder Valley towns to help everyone affected by the floods on Boxing Day. This isn’t the statutory help though the local council, the army, the power companies & all the emergency services have been doing as much as they can. This is the kindness offered by all shapes, sizes, sorts of people to people who have lost their homes or livelihoods. It includes the local people who have provided food & drinks (thank you to Rev Howard Pask of St James’ Church for the sandwiches he & his parishioners provided today) as well as the storage of so many donated items (Omega Scaffolding & the Town Hall) and for the staff at all of free food & drink points, not to mention the reception & organisers at the Town Hall.

 

IMG_3151I have been on the heartbreaking task of helping clear Hebden Bridge Spiritualist church of all it’s possessions today. The hight of the water meant that all of the furniture, most of the pictures & curtains had to be thrown away. Our church organ & the few possessions that had survived the 2012 flooding have also gone. Rather remarkably the only piece of furniture that has been saved is a memorial table donated in memory of Sarah Alice Sutcliffe. Although the table must have been caught up in the water the top is clear, the leaflets & box of tissues dry & the Christmas tree still upright & in place. Not so the rest of the furniture that was much heavier. Perhaps the Spirit World felt we should be left with one piece of memorabilia & an interesting story to tell?  Certainly one story has been the clean up that we needed to do. Mud, water & debris everywhere. Chairs weighing at least double because of the amount of water still in them. A mountain of a task!

 

IMG_3185So how to clean up such a mess? I posted on Facebook yesterday and got such a wonderful response. Kind words, offers of help & people sending positive vibes. Today the electricity of kindness was flowing in the church. The team from Beaver Tree Services who brought their trucks & moved a mountain of wet, muddy stuff for us & our neighbours ended their day cleaning out the water & mud from the church basement. They worked non stop all day! Our committee members, other Facebook friends, our neighbours & even our church flat ex-tenants all wielded their mops, brushes & shovels with a determination to get the church & surrounding roads as clean as was possible. And the never ending supply of strangers who saw our plight and joined in – from Bradford, Dewsbury, Sowerby Bridge, Halifax, the search & rescue team – buckets to hand helping to scoop out the last of the mud & water from around the basement steps. Kindness is everywhere in Hebden Bridge today.

 

IMG_3150I hope that all the other areas affected by the flooding find that the electricity of kindness is flowing there for them too. I haven’t enough words of thanks for what was accomplished today at the church or for the way in which the whole town is on the receiving end of such unselfish kindness. It inspires me to believe in the future of humanity. It shows me that love is still in the hearts of most people. Although the church is affected by the floods the Spirit World can certainly say that we ‘get it’. The demonstration of so much unconditional love is the foundation of our future. I might still be in the dark at home (electricity expected back on any time soon, lol) but I’m warmed by the electricity of so much kindness. There are many other places where people are struggling with war & natural catastrophies. Let’s try to spread that kindness world-wide!

Day 42 of my blogging challenge.