I’m reading a really interesting book at the moment called Neurotribes by Steven Silberman (it was on my book list blog a little while ago). What is fascinating is the way he traces the identification of the autistic spectrum through the last 100 or so years. It’s startling that what people often talk about as an epidemic of some kind of disorder has had many labels, descriptions and suggested reasons for occurring. Sometimes the history behind the science of the medical model opens up the understanding of the mind-set underpinning the label in shocking detail. Tied in with the desire to understand autism were ideas about social engineering (also called eugenics), suggestions that the human race could only be improved if the strongest and fittest were the producers of children and what to do about people who experience the world differently. Of course there is also the assumption that research ‘must’ find a cure.
Along the way parents were told they were to blame. Either through faulty genes, bad or cold parenting or for not following the ‘cures’ handed out by medical (and sometimes faith) doctors. All each family wanted was a way to help their child or children. Somehow overt time the labels also became the enablers for help. Not to accept one for your child meant that medical coverage and other ancillary care became an issue of payment first. If this sounds at all familiar it is. Many aspects of our needs are only supported when we accept the label that has been given by the holders of the resources. For example, I’m thinking about the pain relief tablets I have for an emergency in my first aid tin. There are different kinds saying they relieve all sorts of different pains so long as I can identify with that particular pain. So is it period pain? A headache? Toothache? Joint pain? Or do I need a placebo because my pain is psychosomatic? Would some chocolate meet my needs better?
I’m not being dismissive of either autism or pain here. I’m trying to understand if giving something a label actually helps or hinders. Sometimes, I’m sure, it is a restriction. If I tell people I am a psychic certain ones will draw back imagining that I’m going to read their minds instantly. Some will believe I’m in league with the Devil. Some will be fascinated but a bit scared. Some will be delighted to get a chance to ask questions. The label psychic can be both helpful and a drawback. So what about the more important labels in our life? I am female and along with that go all sorts of assumptions about my abilities (or lack of them). I’m also a Mum and that has a whole load of labels hiding assumptions about my responsibilities towards and for my child. I’m a business woman too. There have certainly been some wonderfully off target assumptions about women in business in my lifetime.
Where do all the labels lead? We have managed to categorise ourselves in to ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’, ‘us’ and them’, ‘worthy’ and ‘undeserving’. It’s a way to say I can have more of this than you. Or I am better than you. Or the world has to run my way because your way is wrong. Living becomes fraught with accepting or removing labels. Our time, energy and billions of pounds in resources goes into reinforcing the differences. It’s like a refusal to accommodate the wide spectrum of being human. When I come up against a world organised in ways that don’t fit me I usually ask ‘who says it has to be this way’? Sometimes I’m brave enough to reject the label I’ve been given. Occasionally I am strong enough to live my life in the way I choose to. As a parent involved in building forward for the next seven generations I hope my example can encourage others to think about labels. To ask questions about why we value some traits over others. And why we forget to support each other as a global community. There is no difference between any of us. We are human beings first and foremost.
Take a moment to consider what labels you have given yourself or accepted. Was it by your own choice? Or was it because someone told that’s who you are or what the issue is? Do you ever step outside the labels and recognise all of your abilities? Does your world give you the opportunity to be your authentic self? Stepping outside the labels is a powerful tool for change.
Day 197 of my blogging challenge.
Today has been time to tidy up some loose ends! Having spent some time retreating from the world, planned or not, I’ve been transferring my blogs to my website. Being out of the range of wifi has given me an opportunity I don’t often use. I’ve been re-reading the blogs of the last week as I’ve been tidying them up, tagging & adding photos. The process of tidying up those loose ends (especially as I use Yoast SEO to help get my blogs noticed on t’internet thingy) has been a great chance to read my writing from a different point of view. Not just to edit and finally post. But to see if they make any sense at all, lol. In fact I’ve been rereading a lot of my blogs in the last week because I’m in the midst of writing a book to potentially tie up more loose ends.
I mentioned my SEO plug in as I also attract a lot of spam posts on my website. I’m sure most people do. There seems to be a whole group of people generating nonsense comments offering to improve my search engine optimisation (regular posting of stuff is the only way to do that), supply me with viagra (!!!) or who really appreciate the post I made six months ago & have a porn site address tucked into their comment. There must be a huge (no pun intended) waste of time and effort going on somewhere to create lots of loose ends on the internet. It can be very off-putting when you actually start your own blog or website. However, there are ways in which all these waste of space comments can be tied up so no loose ends make it onto your posts.
Similarly, in ‘real’ life as opposed to cyberspace, we accumulate loose ends everywhere. I have a To Do List as long as my arm with some things that have never actually got to the top. What is it that drives us to finish absolutely everything off? Why do we favour those who can complete everything over those of us who like to have a few loose ends floating along behind us? Before I went away I spent a hectic week trying to get through all of my To Do List. I really did need a holiday after that! And some things still didn’t get done. Do we automatically take on too much? Or are we wildly optimistic about how much time everything will take? I know that I will shuffle things around if I feel that someone really needs my time and attention right there and then. Sometimes that means dropping what I had planned and leaving a few loose ends. Then I can feel guilty for what has been left even when I feel happy to have helped someone. Why is that?
We are great at giving ourselves impossible-ish targets, not quite achieving them and then feeling rubbish. It can be a hard habit to break. Have a think about your To Do List. How many items are on it? How many really, really important things are on it? How many things are there to help others, please others or really don’t matter in the greater scheme of things? Often we forget to add in things like eat, sleep, have fun. Are there lots of loose ends to tie up? From how long ago? Let’s be real. If it hasn’t been done by now and it’s over a week old then it’s probably never going to get done. The world has moved on and so have you. One of the best freedoms you can have is to leave the loose ends exactly as they are. If they need sorting they will most likely come onto your To Do List at some point in the (near) future. If they don’t they can’t have been all that important. So step away from the list, stop trying to tie up the loose ends and spend time doing what matters. I’m back to eat, sleep, have fun but feel free to add a few more items if you wish. Your list can be complicated or simple. The choice is yours.
Day 196 of my blogging challenge.
We’re on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin’ that ride to nowhere
We’ll take that ride
I’m feelin’ okay this mornin’
And you know,
We’re on the road to paradise
Here we go, here we go
(Road to Nowhere, David Byrne)
Today it was time to come home again. I had a demonstration of mediumship to do at Bacup Spiritualist church in the afternoon so we set of fairly early in the morning. We made really good time and got back with more than an hour to spare. I was musing about how it always seems to take longer to get somewhere that to get back, especially if you don’t know exactly where you are going. Into my head popped the song Road to Nowhere by Talking Heads. It made me smile as it was a favourite of mine back in the day. It seemed a perfect anthem for a period in my life when I felt I was drifting aimlessly and going nowhere. There is nothing wrong with drifting along without a concrete destination but it’s taken me years to appreciate that!
I’ve very much been used to thinking that I needed a plan, a route and a destination through my life. Going off into the unknown has felt scary or even like I was breaking some invisible set of rules. Yet a destination that’s new can be so rewarding. Our journey to Scotland took five hours with a couple of longish stops. It seemed sort of endless but needing all my concentration because I didn’t know where I was going. On the way back there were two stops as well but very brief. I knew the road and could drive with more confidence. We took just three and a half hours. Of course there was a lot less traffic in the direction we were travelling so less hold ups. I could maintain a steady speed because I didn’t need to look for direction signs. There was much less weaving in and out of lanes with cars jumping in here and there in the effort to get ahead faster. So perhaps having a set place to get to is a benefit.
Life isn’t always like the return trip. It’s often a range of routes to an imagined destination that might or might not be there when you get to it. The only certainty is that at some point your journey will have one final end. Once I started to adjust my thinking about where I was going my journey got easier and easier. There is only one actual final destination for me. I will be going into the afterlife ready to start a new journey. The bit between setting off and getting to my death is about doing the best I can to make a smooth journey for myself. No matter what diversion signs I’ve followed, the u turns, pit stops and straight stretches I want to keep moving forward. The destinations between birth and death have been interesting so far and I’m looking forward to lots more stops. Now I don’t have to worry what those stops will be. I can appreciate there will be times for me to rest & refuel, times to appreciate the view and times to spend time with my travelling companions.
That is the most wonderful thing. We are all on the road to Nowhere and can share so much if we wish. I have recognised something really amazing. There are no rules. Each connection we make with one another is part of the plan, where that connection takes us is the route we follow through life and the destination of life is all about love. I hope you are having an interesting time wherever you are being taken on your road at present. Enjoy the journey!
Day 195 of my blogging challenge. Written on 29th May 2016.
During a quick trip into the local town I got a chance to use wifi and have a quick catch up with the rest of the world. I love seeing what is happening for others, what wisdom they have been learning and how they are getting on with their life journey. So I usually check in on my Twitter and Facebook feeds for the people I know, have taught or find inspiring. I also enjoy reading blogs and websites but being off grid has made that more of a challenge this week, lol. So it was lovely to have some time to check out what everyone has been learning this week.
As Confucius is quoted as pointing out we learn in several ways. I prefer reflection and experience. Or, much more my style of learning, reflecting on what I have just experienced. Not always the easiest way because in doing so you can have lots of prototypes thus repeating the experience over and over. Thought experiments (often used in theoretical physics) are a way of reflecting on options so you can grow by exploring your inner self. You can model ethical options, consider what feelings certain experiences might arouse or identify outcomes that work for you. We can also learn by imitation. Copying what those around us are doing we learn how to talk in social groups, how to play football or paint. Of course, following what someone else has done is much easier. All of the development work has been done for us, the prototypes have been tested and the glitches mostly ironed out. There are plenty of products that have taken an original idea and refined it to the profit of the person copying the inspiration.
When my Guides asked me to teach mediumship I was really reluctant. What did I know about connecting with Spirits except what I had learned from my own experience? They insisted I consider becoming a teacher. They explained that I had gathered most of my learning by experience and reflection. They knew that I would rather not copy other people because I’m keen to know ‘how’. Imitating someone else is the ‘how’ of what they do not the ‘how’ of what I do. Learning the wisdom of connecting my way certainly has been the right path. I am proud to be an evidence based medium striving for accuracy in what I give to people in their messages. I understand the ‘how’ of how I achieve that goal. I also understand what doesn’t work too.
It’s been my pleasure to offer some teaching support to quite a number of people over the last nine years. Some might agree that my teaching has been useful. I’m sure some won’t. Working your own way is the key to using your abilities to the best effect. Learning that lesson has been hard for a few who preferred to imitate rather than develop their style. There are no quick fixes in becoming good at anything you do in life. So on the face of it imitation does look easier. Unfortunately it is a way of hiding from your own intuitive inspirations. A dead end. Copying what I do (sometimes word for word) is flattering but I always ask my Guides to send inspiration to the person doing so. They are missing out on some fabulous learning. The fabric of my life is intertwined with new, interesting and challenging ideas and experiences. My Guides make sure to bring me options that will stretch me, develop me and make me think. I love it!
Have a look at what you are doing. Are you imitating someone else? Do you block the wonderful supply of ideas because you are too busy trying to ‘improve’ the ideas of others? Are you learning in an original, authentic and positive way about all of your abilities? I prefer to be myself, Annie Conboy, than a pale copy of someone else. How about you?
Day 194 of my blogging challenge. Written on 28th May 2016.
Looking around some shops today there were lots of little treasure to be found. A book of the Goon Show scripts raised a laugh. The pad of watercolour paper reminded me that I wanted to do some drawing this week. A tin for collecting money for our next holiday. The flash of orange colour in a scarf that made me smile. Fresh bread sitting in the bakery waiting to be eaten. This little collection of abundance was there to fill all my needs. Sometimes we forget to notice how wonderful it is that whatever we need is usually close at hand.
Later I was sitting drawing, trying to capture the ideas in my head, feeling the energy of so many beings. I love being able to sit quietly and let their energy fill my aura. Especially as I can sometimes capture the flow of their energy on paper. I returned to painting and drawing late in my life. There were many self-imposed barriers I had to break down so that I could pick up a paintbrush and start to explore my intuitive ability through art. Yet as I allowed myself to “play” with my ability some wonderful painting emerged. The Energy Beings have been happy to inspire me whilst placing their distinct energies into each attempt. They have encouraged me to paint big, paint small, experiment and enjoy being creative. Such a wonderful treasure of colour, movement and inspiration!
The treasure of our own ability is a wonderful, close at hand, gift. Yet we often forget to explore this hidden trove of goodies. As the sun drifted down behind the mountain across the bay I thought about all of the things I now do that would have stayed in the background if I had decided looking for them was too difficult. I connect with Guides which has really improved my life. I bring messages to other people in the hope that it can improve their lives. I am able to self heal and heal others by using Universal energy. I enjoy sining and public speaking. I paint. I write. I have opened a spiritual and holistic Centre. This journey of discovery has no end. I’m continuing to experiment with newly recognised abilities. There is so much more treasure to find.
Have you stopped looking at your own talents? Do you feel that you are accessing everything that you are? Have you forgotten the excitement of finding something new to try? Is it time to get out your ‘Treasure Map’ and look for the surprises hiding within yourself?
Day 193 of my blogging challenge. Written 27th May 2016.
A while ago I sent out a wish to the Universe. I had been looking for a place to go on a retreat – possibly a silent retreat. There didn’t seem to be anything to fit what I wanted. A little while later a friend told me about their caravan beside a shore in the middle of a forrested area. It sounded great to be going back to Nature so I said yes when it was offered to me as place to stay. With no real idea of what it would be like I’m now in that caravan enjoying an almost silent retreat. There are hardly any other people around on the site, no phone or wifi, and towns are a drive away.
We don’t often get chance to step off the world completely. Being left to make our own entertainment can seem rather strange after all of the busyness of our everyday lives. It’s interesting that I wished for solitude but today, having been in a mostly people free zone for a few days, I’ve been restless. Perhaps because the silence has given me plenty of time to think. Or that there is space for my fears to move to the front of my mind. Self-doubt is a very powerful voice. Somewhere between the time of being born and now a strand of thinking has been growing, taking root and influencing my life. It’s the ‘I’m not good enough’ thought, the ‘I’m rubbish at that’ feeling, the anxiety in the pit of my stomach at having to put my abilities on show to other people.
We all give room to self-doubt one way or another. My Guides say it happens when we forget to affirm to ourselves that we have all the abilities and talents we need for an abundant life. When we listen to the external judgements because we feel like we need to belong to a group or community. When we become busy judging others because we fear that they might look too closely at us and find us wanting. Self-doubt is the absence of unconditional love for ourselves. We have learned to limit our love. My Guides sat with me today as I worked my way through the fears that underpin my self-doubt. In the silence of this place and space I let doubt emerge so I could feel the effect it has on my creative energy.
This inner retreat, stepping away from distracting myself from my doubts, has been a challenge. It’s often easier not to look or acknowledge where I am self-sabotaging. Then I can always say it’s someone or something else’s fault when I’m paralysed by procrastinating. Finding the courage of my convictions is hard when the roots of self-doubt go so deep. A big part of it is about the attitudes to women I soaked up when I was growing up. Lots of ideas that women were only ‘good’ if they stayed in the background, were modest and humble in a subservient way and that a women’s power was all about running a home full of children. Boys and men were the people who deserved praise and the opportunity to show their skills. I even think I was ashamed to be a girl.
The saying is ‘old habits die hard’. Patterns we soak up early in life can be hidden so deep we don’t even realise they are driving our current lives. They are assumptions about the way we believe we should live our life that are hard to shift. This time of retreat has been perfect for letting me see what is holding me back. Of how I am reacting to old stereotypes and being fearful of stepping past them. My nature has been modified by the nurturing I received. I have no animosity for the way in which I was socialised. My parents did what they thought was best for me based on what the community around them was doing. However, I have choices. I can continue to react to an old pattern and be the stereotype woman of that nurturing. Or I can rediscover my true nature.
Stepping out of old patterns is a choice. Doing so is honouring the person you are on the inside. Have you taken a retreat into your true nature recently? Do you find silent times and spaces in places that let you check out who you really are? Try sitting for a while in silence and let your inner self speak to you of all the abilities and talents that you possess.
Day 192 of my blogging challenge. Written on Thursday 26th May 2016.
Today was a cloudy day with a promise of rain. We took ourselves off to the beach for a walk (or a paddle if it was warm enough) and to do some beach-combing. The sun came out as we trod the sand. It sparkled on the small waves washing into the bay. There was a breeze blowing gently. It felt good to be alive. Sometimes getting outside and paying attention to your surroundings is a great way to step away a from whatever might be creating issues in your life.
As I walked along I started to notice the different shells scattered like treasures across the sand. There were different bands of alternating sand and shells. Some parts of the sand were damp and others dry. Empty shells were concentrated where the current must have carried them. Sprouts of seaweed poked up here and there. Looking closer I started to notice all the different colours of the shells. Picking one up I could see the stripes of delicate colour, the contour of the way the shell had grown and the thickness of the shell itself. Soon I had a selection of shells in my hand. Some were fragile, some strong, one or two tiny and a few slightly mis-sharpen. From deep blue to baby pink, orange and yellow to deep brown, the shells lay abandoned by the creatures who had used them. Now they were becoming part of the beach. Crushed in places where walkers had trod on them. Wedged in rocks. Half buried in sand. I wondered how many people noticed the shells or tried beach-combing.
When I am close to Nature I feel my Elemental Guides more closely. When I put myself in connection with the energy of the Earth the Sprites, Gnomes, Fairies and Elves are there to speak to me. As I thought about the shells – not only as pretty objects but as the remains of a life lived – the Fae of this place stepped through the shadows. Eager to speak about the cycles of life they drew my attention to the bands of colour on the shells, the different shades within each type of shell. Like us these lives had been experienced in different ways. The inhabitants of the shells had been exposed to different influences, been located in different currents and grown in slightly different patterns and shapes. At the appropriate time the inhabitant of the shell had abandoned it – moved on, so to speak – leaving behind all that was no longer necessary. The shell had been outgrown.
We grow shells too. The patterns we follow are our shells. The experiences we have in life harden our values, define our beliefs and colour our understanding of ourselves. Although we may all start out with the same potential, what we are taught, how people react around us and what we discover within us leads us all to have slightly different shells. Our shell may become so solid, rigid and fixed that we can’t move beyond it. Even when the tides of energy push us into currents that are unfamiliar. Deciding to move out of that shell means becoming vulnerable to other influences. Taking on new ideas, experiences or feelings without a shell to protect us is a scary thing to do. Understanding that a shell can also become a restricted, limited space we need to be like the sea creatures who can shed a shell in order to grow a new, bigger, more colourful shell.
These lovely Elementals know that life is about opening up to the new. An old part of us has to cease to be, to die, so that we can explore all of our potential and live a full life. Nothing is ever lost completely. The energy memory remains just like the bands of colour in the shells. Take a few moments to go out into Nature in some way. Perhaps you can get to the sea and so some beach-combing of your own. Or stand in the garden, find some trees or visit a garden centre to be amongst the plants. Ask your Elemental Guides to step forward and help you notice and appreciate all of the beauty that the Earth shows us. Then consider if your shell has got too small. Is it time to shed that shell and grow a brand new one?
Day 191 of my blogging challenge. Written on Wednesday 25th May 2016.
This is my second day being off the grid. I’ve been using the time to read about angels and daemons. Both appear in the novel I’ve been reading and one of my research books. Actually it’s interesting that the book I picked has wandered into Angel territory rather than what I thought the story was going to be about. I’d grabbed it because it was set in the south of France in Cathar country. The story was a typical thriller with a bit of romance thrown in and some ancient mystery to solve. The protagonists were deep in the good versus evil of the plot. And would love and good win in the end? Intertwined in the story were aspects of Tarot, Angels and daemons as well. All stuff I love to think about because it goes to the heart of how we stand in our power.
The research book I’m reading, From Gabriel to Lucifer by Valery Rees, traces the written traditions concerning Angels throughout the last 2,000 or more years. One of the key points of the debate about Angels (and whether there are good and bad ones) is the power they have because they are thought to be closer to the Divine Source. Angels are regarded as reflecting the Light of the Divine back to mankind to encourage us. Their purpose is said to be to remind us that we have the power to choose through our free will – something they might not possess. We can choose to act in a positive or a negative way. We can send out the power of love or the power of fear. In my work with the Earth’s ArchAngels I have been keen to understand what their nature is and why they have emerged to assist us at this time in our spiritual growth.
Today the electricity went off for the whole site. We had a power out for about two hours. No cup of hot tea, no shower or music. So not only off the technology grid but also off the electrical grid, lol. When I asked my Guides what was going on they asked me to notice the world around me. The Earth was still turning, the sun was still in the sky and the rabbits were still skipping about around the caravan. The flow of energy that makes up our reality was still in evidence. What had stopped was the man-made energy that we put out, often without considering the consequences. I was very aware of ArchAngel Samesh, the Grandfather, showing me how miraculous our planet is. He helps us to understand that we co-create our environment. Using our imaginative energy we can call into being a world of beauty or a world of misery. The choice is ours.
We also have a choice in how we understand the purpose and nature of the Divine, the Angels and daemons. As we send our power (energy) out into the world we create the encounters that reinforce our current world view. Taking ourselves outside the system is sometimes the only was to get a new perspective. Moving from a view of life based in religious interpretations to one based on spiritual understanding means considering both the power we take in and the power we give out. The trick is to remember that power flows both ways.
Day 190 of my blogging challenge. Written on Tuesday 24th May 2016.
We have arrived in Scotland for a break. I’ve brought my blogs to help me with my book, my pastels, pencils, some research reading and a couple of fiction books. Plenty to do alongside a promise to relax, lol. However I also expected to continue my daily blogging so my iPad & phone are with me too. Just one little issue though. There is no wifi or phone service. We are completely off the grid!
After a walk on the beach I drove to the nearest little village to check if I could get a phone signal and work out where there might be wifi. It felt really strange that we are out of connection with the rest of the electronic world. My brain was whizzing around planning how I might be able to get a post on Facebook or my blog uploaded to my website. How quickly we adapt to technology without even knowing it. Then when it’s gone there is a gap. I had a slight feeling of panic that somehow I would be failing in my challenge to blog every day. It took me a moment or two to remind myself that being off the grid and unable to post would not stop me writing a blog at all. Also that the grid of connections, social media and website included, was still in place so I would be able to publish the blogs to the Internet at some point. The key thing was to write.
In the peace of a warm, sunny evening I am sitting writing about being off the grid. The phone connection is very slow in the local village so no posting until we visit somewhere that has free wifi. The one grid that is still in place is the connection to the energy world. My Guides, the Angels and other Energy Beings are around. In the flow of the water, the breeze in the trees, the song of the birds and the blossom of the flowers. The wonder what Nature is all around. Our planet is amazing. When we step away from the modern, material world we enter a space where perhaps we can be open to the presence of the unseen. As the light fades I’m grateful for this space, the peace and the opportunity to step off the grid (even unplanned) for a time.
Day 189 of my blogging challenge. Written 23rd May 2016.
Today I’ve been tying up loose ends so that I can go away for a writing break. My blogs are expanding into a book so I can’t wait to start more writing. Quite a turn around from when I began blogging every day. Some of the blogs have been short because I wanted people to get main points without getting lost in lots of side explanations. Some of the blogs seemed to magically double in words as I wrote them. As ever, my Guides were quick to put in their views so no surprise the pieces were longer than expected. I also felt that cutting things short wasn’t as satisfying. I have loads of notes about other questions, points and explanations that spun off the blogs too.
It’s sweet to realise how much enjoyment I have had from my diary blog. When I began I was aiming to do thirty days but tomorrow I will have done 190 days. For over six months I have been able to give voice to my thoughts and feelings. That feels sweet too. I have a sense of achievement. The blocks that had kept me quiet for many years have disappeared. I am proud to say I am a writer. Sometimes we stop ourselves from doing things by thinking it’s something we will never be able to do. We find lots of reasons not to make a start, to try and step out of our comfort zone. If we’re not careful we get to the end of our life having stayed safe but unfulfilled. Then we wonder what it’s all been about. I believe that we go back to the Spirit World, ask what was that all about and promptly get sent back here to try again. Anything we haven’t done is carried forward. It’s worth thinking about that possibility if you are holding back from doing something you feel you might not succeed at. If you don’t try you will never know. If you do try you might end up doing it.
So I will still be blogging on holiday whilst I’m writing the other bits of my book. Is it time for you to take up the challenge and get doing something that you might find you really love? Take that short step!
Day 188 of my blogging challenge.