Freedom to Think and Speak

One of the things I appreciate every day is my freedom to think and speak. I might not always be able to do exactly what I want. But I can always open my mind and share my words. This is a precious gift. Not everyone can do the same.

When I started to make connections with my Guides I said very little to anyone else. But I was thinking all the time. Even if most of what I was thinking was doubt and disbelief. Over time I talked to other people who were on a similar journey to me. I was finding the freedom to talk about what was inside my head because there were others who would listen. I am grateful that I got the space to say what was in my mind. Both to my Guides and to those people who were willing to help me work it all out. Something I watched on TV last night reminded me that not everyone is so fortunate. Every day children are told what to think and say by the adults around them. Sometimes what they are told is all about hate.

How do I know the world is anything other than what I have been told? Because I have the freedom to think about it. I can use my voice to question and discover more about what I understand. But I also remember how much I had to challenge in my upbringing to decide what I now believe in. Where children are schooled in fear, taught to hate ‘the other’ there is a real danger that they will never question what they have been told. Especially if their access to other information is limited. Or non-existent. That is why I believe that I have to encourage freedom of thought and word as much as possible. Even if I don’t like or share the thoughts and words of someone else.

Like mindedness is lovely. But surrounding myself with too much of the same thinking as me is dangerous. In the end it can narrow my viewpoint so much I become closed to new ideas.

To enjoy my freedom of thinking I have to embrace listening to those who don’t think like me. Even if I find what they say is really objectionable. I have to let them share their voice. So I can think about my response. And check in that my beliefs are still the way I want to move forward. As a child I believed in one religion. As an adult I have explored many religions. And at this point I have no orthadox religion. But out of that thinking has come spirituality. A set of principles I can live by. And the freedom to discuss what I believe in with confidence. I would like all children to be able to have freedom of thought. Really have a choice in their adult lives. But that seems a long way off.

Children are still being taught to hate and fear from within religions. The emphasis is not on living a good life but in living a life dictated by a set of rules men have designed. Yet the inspiration for those religions is the love we can all share for each other. That is what I would encourage everyone to be thinking about. To be discussing. And to be embracing. I know we can live peaceably with one another. It’s not such a great stretch. If we allow freedom of thought and speech, have the discussions and, if necessary, agree to differ. I believe in love and let love. To do that I feel we need to free our minds and think more deeply. I know we have the freedom to do that if we choose.

Day 509 of my blogging challenge 

Staying Off The Treadmill

There is a piece of equipment in a gym called a treadmill. People use it to keep fit. But there is another meaning to this word. It’s a large wheel driven by people or animals to make machinery work.

When I was working I moved things around. Usually bits of paper. Sometimes people. Occasionally bits of machinery. I was part of a machine. Not made of metal. Or powered by electricity. I was part of a human machine. We all kept the treadmill turning to churn out outcomes, outputs, results. It was very hard for me to escape the machine. I kept wanting to put myself back on the treadmill. Even when it was toxic for me. It was an addiction I couldn’t seem to give up. My drug of choice was money. Because I believe that I had to work hard, get paid and spend that income on keeping myself from starvation and homelessness.

I bought into these ideas because I had no other ideas. No realisation that there could be any other way of life. The treadmill nearly killed me. And that’s how I managed to step off. I walked away from the machine. During the time when I was flailing around wondering what to do next I started to pay more attention to my spiritual journey. I read and read. Drawing inspiration and ideas from many sources. There were many suggested ways that I could go forward. Lots of people had apparently found the way to perfect peace and joy in their lives. All I had to do was choose. That’s when I stepped onto a different treadmill. The machine of spirituality.

I know many people find it hard to consider that spirituality has become another treadmill. But I spent time, money and effort going from one thing to another expecting each time that I would find the perfect life.

It was the same as when I was working. Lots of conflicting suggestions, all sorts of outcomes and no clear focus to my ‘work’. It took me quite a while to process all the information. But one day I noticed that spirituality is only possible when lived in the real world. That I and everyone else had to make choices moment to moment to live as a Spirit  in a human body. And my first choice was to get off this new treadmill. To decide I had to act only for myself. That my first act needed to be a recognition of the way I had been hooked in once again. I had to face my inner world. The world that seemed to rely on a ‘machine’ for safety. What was wrong with being outside the machine?

In a sense I was fighting with that saying ‘Old habits die hard’. Moving from the familiar to the unknown is a huge step off a cliff. As the unknown rushed to meet me there was a reflex grab for the safe and known. So back to turning the hamster wheel even harder. Except I found that I recognised much quicker that being responsible for my self was the true freedom. That my Spirit would guide and support my efforts to live a more spiritually focused life. Now I resist the pull of the treadmill. I have become used to recognising the familiar ‘concerns’ that my Ego mind throws at me. I am getting better at facing the fear and the drag of the machine. I’m sure that one day I will be free of the endless, enclosed circle of a ‘safe’ life.

For now I am a work in progress. Determined to stay off the treadmill. Taking every step away that I can. But realistic enough to know that the temptation is still around. Whenever I dither about a decision, or change, or what is best I know I have to steer myself in my own direction. And refuse the treadmill.

Day 493 of my blogging challenge. 

Check your ego at the door!

imageOne of the interesting themes this past few days has been about ego. That ‘thing’ we say is too much, too little or not there at all. Something we say that can lead to arrogance, deference, traps and pitfalls. The ego mind is a powerful justification for all sorts of things.

It got me wondering. I’ve written about ego before when discussing spirituality. There is certainly an aspect of my mind that draws my attention to all sorts of shoulds, musts, oughts and duty. This part of me is also busy alerting me to judgements I or others make about me. It feeds my fears if I let it. It feeds my admiration of myself if I let it. This ego mind shows me the world through a sharp lense. Not necessarily the world as it is but the world that my ego mind wishes me to see.

I find that a bit of a problem. My ego is busy trying to nudge me in directions it might not be wise for me to go. Then my ego mind can justify itself to me. My aim is to be my authentic self. I am loving, annoying, cheerful, talented, protective, loyal, straight talking, sensitive and so much more. I’m a mix of all sorts of human emotions. Sometimes I’m angry, sad, depressed, unhappy. Other times I’m upbeat, positive, joyful, excited.  What’s wrong with that?

Ego power can shift all of those emotions in the blink of an eye. The thoughts the emotions generate can be turned upside down and inside out in seconds.

I believe that ego developed to keep us safe. In a time when there were immediate challenges to staying alive. When we had dropped out of connection with our intuitive senses. My ego serves a purpose in keeping me alive, fed and sheltered. However, it has become my controller more than my survival mechanism. Today I live in a relatively safe world. The threats I perceive are not usually life-threatening. My ego is a bit lost.

So my mind creates challenges and threats to keep me ready for fight or flight. After all, life is uncertain. Who knows when a rhinoceros might charge down the street at me. My ego wants me to be ready. Now I identify others as competition for ‘scarce’ resources. Or I have to have the same material things as others to remain a part of the tribe and therefore safe. I rush around grabbing this technique or that qualification so I can have an edge in my ability to attract people to give me their ‘scarce’ resource – money. If I can’t grab enough I tell myself I’m no good and the stress of surviving gets worse.

When I fall into the control of ego I have trapped myself in a confusion of impulses, thoughts and feelings. I have drifted away from my true core.

One of the ways I remind myself about ego traps is to stand back a little from my thoughts and feelings. I know that isn’t always easy. Some moments are too overwhelming still for me to grab a time out. However I practice taking a pause before I react as much as I can. I want to check my reaction before I respond. Since the ego is very good at what it does the ways it works can be really subtle. Is there a trap waiting to spring on me?

One key way of checking is to enter a conversation, an experience, an interaction knowing what your ego is up to at that moment. Am I feeling anxious, thinking everyone will know more than me? Do I feel that person is looking better than me? Is everyone talking about me? Does that person mean to tell me off about something? Are all the others in the secret but I’m not? Why haven’t I been included? Why are they getting more customers than me? Why does everyone else have more money than me?

All of these questions lead to ego traps because my mind is creating fear and judgement within my head. The temptation is to respond with aggression or defensiveness before anything has even happened.

That’s when the inappropriate language and behaviour starts. Once started egos go into battle and it’s very hard to find enough common ground for a truce. Fear multiplies fear. A long time ago I noticed that a reoccurring theme in my life was the influence my ego exerted. It’s useful. I need it. But I have to be in charge not it. As well as giving myself thinking time I also pay close attention to what I say. Of course I pay the same attention to what others are saying. Language is a slippery thing. I know I can drift into ego language easily. Saying I’m the best ever is not the same as saying my best skill is….

I often hear people say I’m not in it for the money or I’m not doing it to compete. Then they talk about money in terms that show they feel a lack. If I feel lack I know my ego will try get me competing again for scarce resources. So of course my language will shift to subtle and not so subtle ways of saying I’m the best there is. Or to trying to pursued people to pick me, pick me. Finding a way through this minefield takes effort. I use mindfulness to stay as much in the present moment as I can. I react in the way I choose to, not the way my ego wants.

Genuine emotion wins every time. Being real about what I feel, taking responsibility for what I say and being prepared to acknowledge when I might have chosen an inappropriate response takes over from ego with practice.

I can balance my need for authenticity with compassion for myself when it doesn’t quite work out that way. My ego is also getting quieter. It’s reserving itself more and more for genuine threats. Not that I’m expecting a rhino to turn up in the middle of Hebden Bridge but there are cars that look pretty much like rhinos. When I write, post on social media, work with others or deal with events in my life the fear of survival is much less. I have reclaimed my personal power. I understand the world is uncertain but I feel much less uncertain about myself. I’m finding a new voice speaking louder and louder. My voice. My choice.

Day 229 of my blogging challenge. 

Wondering about Wysdom

IMG_0105Apparently the older I get the more I’m supposed to be wise. I know my life experience have been very varied. I’ve certainly read and learned a lot of things. Sometimes I even surprise myself with unexpected bits of wisdom. Yet there is a search for one kind of wisdom I’ve been wondering about all my life.

Spirituality is a rather flexible concept. What it means to me might be very different than to someone else. In my wondering about why we are here and what it all means I’ve considered many religions. I’ve read what philosophers have to say about the meaning of life. I’ve asked my Guides. I’ve talked to many, many people. Yet I find myself still wondering. In discussions I’ve heard a lot of ‘wisdom’ and seen not a lot of action. I’ve been encouraged to be the one taking action whilst others have paid lip service to what they profess to believe.

I feel that is my first wisdom concerning spirituality. It’s easy to talk about but so hard to put into practice. That contrast became a reality for me when I began my work as an intuitive medium. Suddenly I had the words of others to pass on. Others who were not physically present on the Earth yet still very firmly around and interested in us. A number of years ago I started to work with Energy Beings who were most firmly of the ‘walk the talk’ kind.  I’ve talked about the Earth’s ArchAngels in my previous blogs. Their spiritual focus is very much on doing.

A Wysdom Odyssey

For the last two years I have been living the energy of these ArchAngels. They have been with me on a daily basis. I have been an observer of life through their eyes. It’s was very strange thing at first to see myself and my actions through the mindset of another Being. I’ve often found myself wondering ‘why am I doing this or that’. I’ve been encouraged to stand back and look at my actions against the bigger picture. This has been a big lesson in spirituality – my own spirituality. I have made lots of changes to myself as a result of sharing their wysdom. I actually wonder less and do more.

A few months ago in my meditation the ArchAngels asked me to share my wysdom – the understanding I have gained through my connection to them. It’s a big ask. I have to step outside several comfort zones all at once. I wondered for a brief moment if I could do it. My heart gave me the answer. If I believe in behaving better in the world, if I want to change the world for the better, if I want to help others change the world then I choose to step forward. Time to walk the talk once more.

Here is my latest ‘walking the talk’ 😀

https://www.facebook.com/EarthArchAngels/videos/1780010752236570/

Day 225 of my blogging challenge.

My psychic life: Day 30

oapI’m sitting here with a small glass of wine, ready to celebrate completing my 30 day blog challenge. It feels really strange to think that a month has already gone by with me writing & posting something every day. I started this challenge looking for some discipline with which to unblock my creative writing. I’ve found that, much like my psychic art, it has become easier as the month moved on. It’s also interesting that I am now observing my day much more closely and my experiences are throwing up lots of potential subjects for me to write about. One thing I didn’t expect was the pride I feel when each piece is done. It doesn’t matter if it gets read by anyone at all. I love that I have been able to find my voice at last. That I can tell it like it is for me. I feel empowered by this process.

I’m sure that this blog challenge has also helped me in other ways. Today I had to deal with an emotional situation that has lasted, so far, for more than 6 years. My daughter’s experience of school has been much less than positive for all of that time. She is about to step further out into the world of work but before she does so she still needs the support of her school. For the last three years they have made no progress in helping her reach her full academic potential. In fact, it seems at times, they have actually hampered her progress. Today we had a big meeting to address the school’s failings.

As a family we have been pressured, ignored, blamed and told we were wrong. Today they tried, once again, to say that the ‘fault’ was my daughter rather than the system of support they are supposed to give pupils. However, we were prepared. We refused to have our power taken away from us. I had ready a family statement setting out our concerns along with the actions we expect the school to take. In those moments of reading out our family statement I took back my voice and my power. In the end everything may stay as stuck as it is now. But my daughter saw her Mum standing her ground against the bullies. She had her Dad holding her arm & comforting her through the challenging meeting. Whatever the outcome, she feels we were brilliant.

Then it was time to take my auntie to her Christmas dinner with her friends at the community centre. Not the traditional turkey dinner but potato pie & mushy peas. They all enjoyed a change, one lady said. They were concerned that someone wasn’t there on time so rang to check. He’s waiting for his son to call in was the reason. They had all donated a gift so everyone would go home with a present. They found me a place to sit & I joined in the dinner too. I was struck by the warmth of these twilight years people. They were all still busy caring for one another, especially for the the ones who had no family to share the holiday season with. Talk roamed around when the centre was closed for the holidays, who was going to stay with family and when they could arrange to see each other next. The care workers responsible for the centre were here, there and everywhere. There was real compassion and empathy for all of the senior citizens they had under their watchful eye. I declined the trifle as I had to go to my next event. I would have loved to stay & listen to them enjoying themselves some more. Oh, ok, and for the trifle!

Moving on I went to do the demonstration of mediumship at Oldham Spiritualist Church. The Wednesday afternoon service takes place due to the dedication of volunteers to provide a service during the day when people can be social as well as come for messages. The Spirit people were up for some festive fun, getting me to wear a Santa hat, and making lots of jokes. We sang No Matter What, a song that has very strong associations with Spiritualism for me, because, among other things, it has the line ‘I can’t deny what I believe’, and smiles lit up the room. There were many smiles on the Spirit side too. They came to remind people that their loved ones are still around, joining in the holiday joy and taking time to be with their Earth families. They also brought the love of the Spirit World through for those who are on their own down here.

Coming home I realised that we provide systems like schools and care homes for the ‘benefit’ of our more vulnerable sections of the community. Yet those institutions are of little benefit if we use them to dis-empower the people who have to rely on them. Compassion and empathy are what we wish for in the care we are given when we are vulnerable. How often does that really happen? In the school this morning there was no understanding of our family’s life challenges so a complete lack of empathy. Yet empathy is something we can all give, share and receive. It’s the thought – before action – of ‘walk a mile in my shoes’. Compassion is the outflow of love – love for the person above any judgement about who or what they might be. I saw compassion and empathy in action in the community centre and the church. People giving their time and energy to bring joy and connection into the day of people who can often be dismissed. If we are old, vulnerable, young, grieving, lost, alone the loving kindness of another human being towards us is of enormous benefit.

I’m delighted to be able to say that every Spirit who came to give a message today clothed their words in love, laughter, empathy and compassion. The healing that flows from having power, being respected as a person, being acknowledged is vital. If you feel like this you go on to treat the people you meet or have dealings with very differently. Do you give and receive respect, empathy and compassion? Is it time to empower yourself so that you do? Find your voice and use it. Cheers!!