Comparing Brings Competition: Collaboration Anyone?

comparingAbout half way through something I used to find myself comparing where I was headed to where I had been. It often brought on a wobble!

Then it would take me ages to refocus on where I was headed. Plus the wobble could be quite uncomfortable as all my fears came out to haunt me. I began to notice my habit of comparing myself or my life with others. Finally I recognised that the only comparisons that were worthwhile centred around how I was doing. I stopped thinking about others and began measuring myself. This technique came back to me more recently when I started a regular exercise routine, I was glad too see that my comparisons where useful for helping me compete with myself. I compete to do something to the best of my ability.

Today was an exercise class. I love using my physical body because it’s the one I chose to have when I was working out my life plan in Spirit. Mostly it has served me well. Now and again it’s had to remind me very strongly that I haven’t been looking after it. But I wouldn’t swap it. It suits me and I’m learning to suit it. Comparing my body to the images that float around me is pointless. All that will happen is that I will start to judge this lovely vehicle. Or become dissatisfied with what I have chosen. I don’t want to do that. I’m sure most people don’t. Yet we are encouraged to compete with one another for a ‘perfect’ body. As if there is only one shape that will do. I though about that again later this afternoon.

When I was a full time counsellor there was a lot of talk about comparing one therapist with another. The idea that some were better than others.

I recall it seemed to bring with it the insidious energy of competition. Listening to debates amongst my colleagues about other people’s abilities it seemed that everyone was ready to judge. Because someone may not have been proficient according to the person doing the judging there was even a quite dismissive attitude. I hated it. Really hated it. All of us have to start somewhere. I had to begin being a therapist, make my share of mistakes and improve as fast as I could. The point was to get better. Not for me to start out a perfect therapist. What was the point of that? And I knew that everyone else was following the same process.

Comparing seemed to lead to people stating their credentials too. A sort of ‘my course is better than your course’ approach. For a long time I wouldn’t use my Masters degree in any of my paperwork. I had obtained it for me. To stretch me. To help me explore and open my mind more. In a qualifications competition I always stood back. Because what mattered was the work I was able to do. Not the level of my qualification. There was an endless rumble of complaint that people were entering counselling and thinking they knew it all after only a few courses. The organisation I belonged to wanted to tighten accreditation. To make my profession a closed shop where only those who conformed could work.

Comparing eventually moved me out of counselling. I didn’t want to compete. I wanted to work with the people I could help.

So I started to see people using my mediumship instead. That was an interesting experience. Stepping out of the competition led me to appreciate how much my work is actually a collaboration. Any of my work. In the end, I can’t do anything if the Spirit people don’t step forward. And I can’t pass on messages if there is no one for the Spirit person to talk to. Of course, that is exactly like life. No matter what I’m doing it will end up a collaboration somewhere along the line. Yet it’s still up to me to make sure I am doing my best in the moment. That’s where I’m happy to compete with myself.

Can I make a better connection? Am I able to give more detailed evidence? Do I need to reflect on the way someone received the message? And a whole load of other questions. Unfortunately I find that there are still judgements being made. Just like in my counselling profession there are people practicing mediumship who have fixed ideas about who else can do so. Fixed ideas about where they should have trained. Opinions about the work of others who have to start somewhere. I’m sure the Guides are encouraging and helping everyone to develop to the best of their ability. But not everyone is there yet. Mediumship is still a misunderstood ability.

There is a great opportunity here. Not to introduce restrictive practises. Or assume that connecting with Energy Beings is only the right of those in certain parts of the Spiritualist Movement. The opportunity is to support, assist and inspire those who are currently at the beginning of the process. Keeping people out will only lead to competition. Comparing is only useful when collaboration is the goal. It’s time to be inclusive instead!

Day 707 of my blogging challenge

Someone to Listen? Something We All Require

Someone to listenSometimes I find myself so full up of words. They are crammed in my throat. I want to release them. That’s when I hope someone will listen.

I know that there have been times when what I wanted to say got stuck. The timing wasn’t right I told myself. What I wanted to say felt too harsh. Or judgemental. I was angry, hurt, upset, frightened. Even feeling that it might be wrong to say the words that rushed forward. Yet if I don’t speak those words what happens? I push them back. Suppress what I want to say. Until the moment when someone else might find those words being aimed at them. With a power that has gathered strength because I’ve worried over those words for some time.

I feel that we live in a world where what we can say has been strictly defined. There are the ‘right’ things to say. And most definitely the ‘wrong’ things. Even if I know what I want to speak is the truth I might hold it back because it’s something I’m not supposed to say. That’s when I find myself feeling really frustrated. Because some of the things I might want to say could be to someone who could be behaving badly towards me. Yet being polite beats being truthful. Also being nice instead of telling it like it is. So I’m left with a jumble of unsayable or unsaid words roaming around in my head. Taking up space. Affecting my energy. Always ready to pop out unexpectedly.

With all of these stuck words I require someone who is willing to listen to them. To let me spew them out into the air. Helping me mop them up and throw them away.

Someone who can listen and not judge. A ‘hearer’ instead of a healer. But who, by the act of listening, can help me to self-heal. That’s why I work as a counsellor and mentor. I know the value of being heard. And why I talk to my Guides when I am suffering from an overfullness of words. I am not expecting a two way conversation. Or looking for answers. Even sympathy. I am taking the opportunity to clear the words out of my system. So their energy is no longer stuck in me. And my energy is no longer stuck in the words. Because saying them out loud is a way of clearing. Lightening the thoughts in my mind. They no longer need to be stuck around those particular unspoken words.

Sometimes finding someone to listen – just listen – is a challenge. Occasionally even my Guides seem to have gone AWOL on me. Then I start to write. Pouring words out of my head onto the paper. Imagining that I have a hearer siting with me to observe my words. It’s really almost as good as having a person actively listening. It can get me by. Until there is a friendly person ready to listen to me. Of course there is a trade off involved. I am actively involved in being a hearer too. It’s important to return the kindness someone has shown me. By validating my right to speak they have helped me release the energy attached to all of those words. So it’s only fair that I take my turn as a listening ear too.

Someone will always turn up who is willing to listen. Because I am a willing listener. And what you give out you get back. Offer to be a hearer for someone’s words. Then you will always be able to speak your own words out into the world.

Day 610 of my blogging challenge

Mental Wellbeing: Time To Think Energy

For the last 20 years I’ve been passionate about mental health. Why we have difficulties that affect our minds. And what we can do to help ourselves have mental wellbeing.

This is a cause close to my heart. In my younger days I had two bouts of clinical depression dealt with by antidepressants and counselling. The tablets helped the first time but not the second. The counselling got me through both. That’s why I decided to move into being a counsellor. However the reality of care for people with a range of ‘mental health’ issues is more about good people trying to help in a system that frustrates the nature of counselling. The talking therapy isn’t really that. It’s a listening therapy. It takes time and patience as it works through the relationship rather than the verbal offloading.

And it’s not helped by the idea that a mind has stopped being healthy and needs a ‘cure’.

I also found that working within current models of mental issues pulled me into targets, waiting times and cost/benefit debates. With a small private practice reaching only those who had private or insurance means I diversified all over the place hoping to do some good. Now I come at mental health for a very different perspective. My spiritual journey has taught me to see things in terms of energy flows, energy imbalances and emotional energy. It’s time for us to open up to the reasons why so many of us get sad beyond bearing. To recognise that we have lost the meaning of being alive. That frustration and helplessness drive hope away. And to see that anger turned inwards is the seat of depression.

It’s also time to understand that hearing voices isn’t necessarily an illness. Or seeing things either. Mental wellbeing can encompass all of our intuitive senses working alongside our physical senses.

I’d love to get the DSM V, the diagnostic manual that lists all the accepted mental ailments, diseases and syndromes, and rip it to bits. The drug industry and the healthcare industry make billions out of this manual of mental health dis-eases. Where is the compassionate understanding and support that will help people pull through the dark times? Who talks about energy, intuition and spirituality so that people find hope again? When will we stop accepting that mental illness is ok so long as it happens to someone else. And we don’t have to see or deal with it.

Perhaps it’s time to encourage everyone to pay attention to mental wellbeing.

I have alsways believed that labelling something is only useful if that produces a positive outcome where the best help is given . When it impacts in a negative way it’s time to stop applying the label and think again. Labels call to mind the bit in Alice In Wonderland when she is presented with a bottle saying ‘drink me’ and a cake saying ‘eat me’. Both labels had drastic consequences until she put the instructions into the right order. Then they made sense. But she still ended up swimming in her own tears. When someone defines themselves by the label they have been given I always ask if it empowers them. Or do they let that definition define them.

Many people find me because they are questioning their own mental health. Theyare seeing and hearing things they have been told don’t exsist. Yet it’s happened in to them.

They believe they are developing an illness in the mind. They are scared. Mostly because of stereotypical perceptions of mental illness. That’s when I talk about mental wellbeing. I ask them to focus on all of the things that their mind does in it’s usual way. Then we talk about the changes that are new. In that conversation I am able to validate their experiences. More importantly I can explain why they are having those experiences. I’m able to describe what connecting to non-physical beings is like. Sharing my personal experiences I can reassure then that we are both as sane as each other.

Except we are now living in a different reality than what we had before.

I can also help them to understand that their mental status is affected by the energy they find themselves in. Communicating non verbally with others is an intuitive flow. An exchange of aura energy. I can access information about state of mind, feelings, experiences by linking into another person’s aura. It’s there for me to ‘read’. They can also access mine if I let them. Understanding this exchange of energy is the first step in realising how Energy Beings can communicate with us. They exchange energy too. When someone takes the time to listen to the intuitive information from energy flows they often realise that half of what they are feeling and thinking isn’t actually theirs.

This has a great significance for mental wellbeing. What if I’m depressed because I’m carrying someone else’s anger or sadness? As well as my own?

We all do it. Through our connections we take on the energy others pass to us. And we pass ours on to others. I know that’s ok if what is being shared is positive. But what if it’s not? I do a lot of work with people who are weighed down by low vibrational energy they have collected from others. They often feel like they are stuck. Trapped in low moods. Wondering if they are suffering from mental problems. Often I find that the low vibrational energy got stuck years and years ago. So they have been holding onto emotions and judgements that could have been cleared already.

I also know that you can’t let go of stuck energy until you know that it’s there and what it is.

Or know that it’s not your own feelings and thoughts. Setting my sights on mental wellbeing gives me the room to consider my mental state as an inbalance in my energy flow. Have I taken on too much for others? Given away all too much of my positive energy? Do I set up protective boundaries around my aura to limit the energy I take on from the rest of the world? Have I found and plugged into positive energy flows so my energy batteries stay fully charged? All of these questions help me to consider my mental state in a proactive way. Answering them will lead to to the practical steps that are required to rebalance my energy.

It’s time to open up to a new understanding of our world. Putting an understanding of energy exchanges at the heart of our mental wellbeing. And to respect our mental capacity as an evolving model that needs more pieces added to it.

Day 583 of my blogging challenge 

Shifting Childhood Fears

img_2342One of the things I’ve learned as a counsellor and healer is that our childhood experiences often stay deeply buried. Sometimes those experiences have created fears that end up driving our adult lives.

When I look at the world as an energy environment one of the strongest energies is our emotions. Every day what we feel is radiated out into the communal ocean of energy. So what I feel in any given moment also washes over anyone who happens to be around me. That’s lovely if the energy is love or joy. Not so nice if I’m angry or upset. And if I am afraid then the fear washes out to join all the other emotions around me. Learning about my intuition through my psychic senses opened my mind to the impact of a childhood spent in the energy of others.

That’s a point I try to make in all of my healing when it becomes necessary to clear deeply stuck energy. The energy may manifest as phobias, panic attacks, irrational bouts of fear where the cause is unknown or self-beliefs that don’t fit the reality of the person in front of me. Where do children learn that they are lazy, stupid, annoying, powerless or insignificant? It may not be because they are told that every day. But sometimes there is that kind of energy around them. They sense it and start to believe it. Because small children don’t have a rational thought process. They can’t check if what they sense is correct or the truth. Early childhood is a place not held in cognitive memory. I remember snippets from smells, sounds, senstaions.These are the prompts that make me react in all sorts of ways without quite knowing why.

Childhood reminders are everywhere. But I know that they are not open to rational exploration. The stuck energy has to be re-experienced in some way for the release to take place.

When I’m working with the difficult childhood times that others are stuck with it’s important to find a balance. Too much re-experiencing can be as traumatic as too little. Creating a safe way for the energy to be cleared may involve me in calling a halt to the healing work of a session if necessary. I may also have to highlight the precious, positive childhood times too so that there is an appreciation of that same balance. Nothing is black and white. Especially where feelings are concerned. And helping someone to recognise that the stuck energy may not even be theirs is also a positive.

We all swim in that shared ocean of feelings. Sometimes the energy we get stuck with is actually from the emotions of someone else. When we are small we don’t know the difference between our emotions and the emotions of others. We haven’t learned that skill yet as it comes along when we are able to think. Childhood, as I’ve said, isn’t about thinking it’s about feeling. Working through issues as an adult by checking out who the feelings actually belong to often clears stuck energy almost miraculously. Once I know it’s not my feelings I can choose not to be swayed by them. Whatever the feelings are. And whenever they originated.

So although I am influenced by my childhood I can release the fears through understanding how that energy got stuck there. And whose energy it really was to start with. Then I can try to radiate positive energy to all of the children I come in contact with. That is one way to change their future.

Day 367 of my blogging challenge. 

Evidence of Survival

img_2301Survival is such an interesting word. It means the state of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal or difficult circumstances. It’s also a word used a lot in Spiritualism.

In fact mediumship is said to be all about providing evidence of survival. The links a medium makes with Spirit Beings are intended to connect those in the Spirit World with all of us who have been left behind. When I work I always ask the communicators to tell me about themselves. As I understand where they fit around the person here I also ask for evidence that the Spirit person knows the person they want to talk to. I believe it’s important to make sure that I’m connecting people who really are related to one another in some significant way. It will make the message more meaningful. And, hopefully, help the people left down here think more about an afterlife.

So providing evidence of their survival is a key part of my work. Of course not everything that I have to say may seem significant. It’s an easy mistake to make. To dismiss something as rather meaningless. I remember when I first started going to a Spiritualist church. I though it was a bit ridiculous for the mediums to be talking about the colour of curtains or that someone had a new carpet. You see, I wasn’t the one getting the message. I had no idea how much meaning that might have had to the person getting the message. Small details, insignificant details are there to show the person here that their loved one is still taking an interest in what’s happening.

When I realised that these details mattered I was busy developing my own mediumship. I decided that I would work hard to make my connections evidence based. That I would pass on whatever was coming in because it was all about the survival of loved ones.

Today I was also reminded about another kind of survival. I started my journey into mediumship when I began working as a person-centred counsellor. Working with people who had been involved in all sorts of life events made me think about how we survive those things. What is it that has got me through the tough times? How have I held the bits of me together so that my life can continue? It’s certainly something I hadn’t thought about before. There is something courageous within all of us. Call it a survival instinct. Or an ability to keep hope alive. Talking to my counselling clients today then doing readings this evening I felt inspired once more.

My life for the last eighteen years has been about helping people to find the hope inside them. Sometimes I’ve failed. Most of the time I’ve had the evidence that people have been able to hold themselves together. Pulling the bits into place until they have healed themselves. Like the Spirit people my job has been to say I’m here for you and I’m interested in you. I’ve also been here to remind them that they are survivors. I know from my own life that it is sometimes easier to feel or think I’m the victim of life events. That I don’t have to take any responsibility for what is happening. And that I can collapse in a heap waiting for someone to rescue me. Yet the evidence shows that I have turned victimhood into surviving instead.

I can offer that evidence to the people I work with. I can remind them that they are still standing. Wobbly perhaps. But alive and moving forward.

That is a powerful confirmation. Because if I, or they, can live through anything then it’s easier to believe that life continues. That brings me back around to the afterlife. Death isn’t the final chapter. Instead it’s a new beginning. Just as we survive life events we will survive death too. Surviving is actually what we do best.

Day 355 of my blogging challenge.

Step into the unknown

imageI’m often asked how I make decisions in my business. Or sometimes whether I should be running a business at all if I’m spiritual and want to help people. These are two really interesting questions for me. I’ve considered them over & over since I started to give messages and channellings in public.

I’ve actually been self-employed since 1998. At that time I made a career change and started to work as a counsellor whilst I was studying hard to get my qualifications. Most of what I did in the first two years was on a voluntary basis. I felt I needed to be experienced before I could charge for my services. I was also recovering from an illness that had worn me out completely. A small amount of voluntary work let me gain confidence in my skills until I could begin building up a full time business. By 2000 I had developed my work into a source of full time income with some voluntary counselling in projects that I felt were important to me.

By 2006 my connections with the Spirit World were developing fast. I was still counselling but there were elements of the sessions where it seemed I had more than intuition guiding me. As I learned more about my natural skills, especially with my clairesentience, I found that the information I was getting was stronger, more detailed, more clear. I felt that introducing Spirit people into the counselling sessions was inappropriate. So I took a step in another direction. I stepped off a cliff into fresh air. I began to give people Spirit messages. Soon after that I found I was standing up in Spiritualist churches and Centres giving those messages in public.

At that time I had to revisit what I felt about giving my communications. It was clear that putting people in contact with their loved ones in the Spirit World was a wonderful priveledge. The people who got the messages seemed to be helped so much by the connection still being a ‘live’ link. I spent a lot of time giving the messages for free. I felt that once again I was learning so perhaps a charge wouldn’t be right somehow. I was going here, there and everywhere. I was in demand in one way, but also meeting people who wouldn’t have a message unless they gave me some money. My donations tin came out – exactly like it had when I was a counselling student.

One day a good friend of mine asked me to have a coffee with her. She asked me if I was enjoying my mediumship. I said yes. The leap of faith I’d taken was very rewarding. Then she asked me who was paying for my travel & the costs of the car. I was a bit puzzled & said it was me of course. She said to me that if Spirit wanted me to do their work wouldn’t they provide an energy exchange. I hadn’t thought about it like that so I said I guessed they would. So where are you getting the ‘energy’ of money from to pay for your travel she asked. Of course I wasn’t getting anything like what I was spending by taking only donations.

That conversation prompted a conversation with my Guides. They had been trying to get my attention for weeks to discuss this with me. Giving is wonderful. To be able to share something and choose to make it a gift is positive energy. What my Guides needed me to understand was that I had to give to myself as well as others. All the voluntary work has to be balanced by accepting what is given to me in return. And sometimes I have to ask up front for an exchange of energy. I have to let people give to me in the form of money as a return for the ‘energy’ I give to them.

Anyone who begins a spiritual business (one that is aimed at helping people evolve & grow) faces that set of questions no matter how big or small the business actually is. Becoming a full time medium brought me to that set of questions from my friend. When I started the Down 2 Earth Heart Centre I came back again to the same set of questions. I faced a step into the unknown where I had to trust that there would be firm ground beneath my feet throughout. I’ve become better at accepting payment for my services – it’s an exchange of energy. Having a Centre means doing it in a bigger way.

One of the key things about the Centre is that I have supported it from my income so that we can keep offering free sessions for people to come in and find a warm welcome. The lovely practitioners who work in the Drop In do so with no expectation of being paid by anyone. They offer their time to be a listening ear, a comforting presence and a source of support. A number of practitioners of all sorts have volunteered to be around for the Drop In sessions. Quite a few of them haven’t quite understood my ethos. They have expected that the sessions will be run in order to get them customers. They have worked from the standard business model where competition for clients is a built in requirement. The Centre’s energy is entirely different. We work as a collaborative team with no expectation of the people who come through the door. We all have other sources of income having learned that the best way to build a business is to focus the energy on relationships not on money.

Those practitioners who stepped into the unknown with me two years ago and have remained have learned a new way of being in a spiritual business. They understand the value of relationships in building a community. That is what we have grown – a community of support, compassion and acceptance. I’m delighted that our success is measured by those people who came into the Centre when lost in their lives & selves and who are now so very different. The money I have put into the Centre has been my gift to them. I’m certainly ready to ask for and accept the return of that money energy.

So how do I make my decisions? I make my choices by listening to my heart, to my Guides and to the people who use the Centre. Soon we will be starting in on our third year of offering ‘something for nothing’ in the Drop Ins. Although it isn’t really something for nothing. I am happy to keep giving to people. What they give me back is their own personal growth. And if they can afford it at any time some money energy. It’s been a new idea for our visitors too. The donation tin has had to be out there on the table in case someone is not yet ready to accept unless there is an immediate return. There is a whole other blog required to discuss obligation & our tangled up way of holding onto barriers that prevent us from receiving, lol.

There is one final aspect to this blog this evening. We want to offer more to our visitors. I have actually joined a crowdfunding collaboration to improve the equipment of the Centre. A big step into the unknown again! You see, I am determined to offer as much as I can to the people who want to use our services but at the moment I’m working flat out & still can’t raise enough money for the extras I’d like. It’s time to send out a message to the Universe, my Guides and everyone who will listen. The Centre will happily benefit from the positive flow of abundance your donations represent. If you can donate money energy please email me for more details as the crowdfunding link isn’t  live at the moment. Thank you for reading to the end of this piece & thank you also if you decide to give ?

Day 59 of my blogging challenge.

The Talking Therapy

carlrogersOne of the things I really enjoy is working as a counsellor. For 17 years (sometimes it seems like much longer) I have been working with people who find that it’s good to talk. Having accessed counselling for myself I found that I wanted to learn more about why & how it might work. I certainly found the opportunity to talk had made a difference in my life. So it was a short step, once I started to ask about how and why, into training and then working as a counsellor myself.

We are so busy. We expect to be able to cope with anything life throws at us. There are some secrets we feel we can never tell. We believe that we are ‘bad’, ‘weak’, victims of others or our circumstances. We think that the patterns we have got into are the only way to live our lives. We decide we are unworthy of anything better. We are overwhelmed. We are desperate. We have no hope. We are in pain and don’t know how to stop the hurt. Who would want to listen to me?

Often people find a counsellor when they are at the end of their tether. It seems as if thoughts and feelings are doing battle inside them yet there is no way to win. We do get stuck at times – all of us. If we are fortunate we have supportive and compassionate people around us who are prepared to listen whilst we explore those thoughts and feelings. Not to offer us practical solutions or make plans for us or even to tell us what to do. All we need is one person prepared to join us in exploring the world as we experience it. One other who will ‘hold’ us rather than judge us. A relationship that works at helping the person who is. perhaps, lost inside themselves, find a direction and way of living a more positive life.

Often we have exhausted all the people around us. We have spoken (or not spoken) for so long that their ears have become used to what we are saying. They are no longer actively listening. I know when I reached that point I had to go outside of family and friends to find a fresh pair of ears. I wanted to speak & be heard by someone who had no connection with me so that what I choose to talk about wouldn’t be judged by knowledge of the me I showed to the world. I needed to find a confidential, safe space to explore all of my thoughts and feelings. I was afraid that some of my thoughts and feelings would be hurtful to the people I lived my life with. I was afraid that I wouldn’t like who I was when I gave my feelings & thoughts some fresh air. I wasn’t convinced I wanted to look at my ‘self’ in  the mirror. The pressure of what I felt was hard to contain. I wasn’t sure I was thinking straight (if there was such a thing). Containing all sorts of ‘stuff’ was exhausting. Finally I engaged in a course of therapy – the talking kind.

Coming out the other side of therapy one of the benefits was the relationship I had developed with my counsellor. She provided a safe space for exploration. She was authentic, detached and actively listened to everything that gushed out from my rambling conversations. Her ability to make the right observation at the right time got me to notice where I was contradicting myself, where I was unsure about something and, most importantly those ‘ah-ha’ moments when I discovered something about myself that I liked or loved. The talking therapy worked somehow!

There are less and less opportunities to sit and talk. To explore what you feel or think, especially when life is challenging. Our traditional ways of communicating are fading away, replaced by electronic devices, social media and impersonal support systems. Where and how do we get chances to validate our experiences? To explain why life is feeling like it’s up-side-down? As a counsellor I try to provide in one to one sessions what I was given so long ago – space, a listening ear and a positive, professional relationship.

I also try to provide that space in my Down 2 Earth Heart Centre. I recognise that one aspect of support that has faded fast is that of pastoral counselling. We seem to be less religiously minded but more spiritually questioning. When life is difficult we look for the meaning – the why is this happening to me question comes to the surface. Providing a place where people can drop in and talk about the journey of life is important to me. There is an opportunity for people to be truthful about their thoughts and feelings in a space that has no particular religious connection. So I’m happy to be a part of the talking therapy & to offer my services & my ears. We can all be a part of talking therapy – qualifications don’t count – so long as we are prepared to listen carefully to what is said, what is left unsaid and to comment with true empathy to the person speaking. Helping another person to work it out for themselves is a great gift to give. Will you make time for giving?

Day 48 of my blogging challenge.