Trying to Re-Member

There’s a group I attend from time to time here in my town.  Each week they provide cups of every kind of herbal tea you can imagine, biscuits or cake, and a speaker.  The talks range over many areas and subjects, but they must always be positive.  That seems to be the only rule.

Abstract, Background, Pattern, ArtisticI’d never heard of that night’s speaker, but his subject was ‘The Eight Elements’ and partly because I’d been pondering on elements for quite a while and partly because he was speaking as a follower of Krishna – a Truth quite new to me – I decided to go along.

The gentleman stood calmly before us, looked around the room at the sea of faces and announced, with total certainty, “I’m not the only person in this room who has been to the breaking point.  I’m not alone in having reached a point in my life where everything I lived for, everything I believed, everything I cared about was swept away, leaving me lost, broken and utterly alone.”

All around the room, heads nodded slowly, solemnly, mine included.

The talk was excellent.  Krishna’s take on the elements was oddly familiar and linked in well with the Egyptian, Greek, Shamanic, Medieval and alchemical ideas I’d been reading and thinking about.  What I was left with above all, though, was that idea of the breaking point – the need to go through what feels at the time to be a crisis, a disaster, a destruction of all you’ve held dear.  It is the tower card in the tarot – the card I used to fear above all others, back in the days when my life was settled and sorted (although very far from perfect).

I thought of the many friends and family members I’ve seen hit that point, whether through a sudden incapacitating illness, a financial meltdown, a job loss, a relationship breakup or what’s commonly called a nervous breakdown.  Often – as in my own case – it’s a mixture of several of these.  Like the body of Osiris, we are broken up, hacked into pieces and scattered in the waters of Life.

Shell, Broken, Empty, Close, LeaveThere follows a time of the most awe-ful emptiness.  We shut down.  We exist from moment to moment, day to day, with no clear idea of how or why we are still functioning.  This is the time we need to hide away, to withdraw from everyone and everything, knowing at some instinctive level that we require peace, and that healing will eventually flow from this.

Despite the kindness and ministrations of others, there’s ultimately only one place that healing can come from.  It comes from within.  It comes from our soul-selves – the part of us that is, and has always been, whole and complete.  Slowly and painfully, we begin to re-member ourselves – to put ourselves back together.  This time, though, we will be different.  We will have shed the limiting beliefs that we are not complete without money/ health/ family/ possessions/ career/ home/ friends or whatever we relied upon for stability and identity in the past.  That’s not to say we won’t regain or rediscover some of these, but they will no longer take centre stage.

Now we will have re-membered who we truly are.  We will recognise that we are whole and complete in ourselves.  We are not – primarily – parent or employee, partner or owner.  We are infinite aspects of the great I AM and as such, we have no limits.

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore, trust the physician and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.”

Kahlil Gibran: The Prophet

 

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The Blame Game

Sorry for another political rant.

It started with a phone call from my youngest, and the subject – as it inevitably does in the UK at the moment – drifted into politics.  It shouldn’t have been a problem.  We both, for the record, voted to remain in the EU; we were both dismayed at the result.  There, though, the similarities end.  For me, a slightly grim pragmatism has taken over – a kind of ‘Well, OK, we’re in this mess, so what can we do to make the best of it?’ attitude.  His disappointment, however, has taken him in a different direction.

“Not wanting to cause offence or anything,” he said, “but you know it was mainly the older people who voted for Brexit.”

I pointed out that two thirds of young people hadn’t even bothered to use their votes.

Old Man, Man, Face, Senior, Older, Weathered, Age“Well, yes, maybe,” he continued, “but it isn’t fair that these people, who won’t even be around to deal with the consequences, should have decided our future.  A group of us were saying, the other night, that – just as there’s a lower cut-off point for voting of 18 – there should maybe be a cut-off at the other end and people over 70…”

“When I reach 70,” I told him, icily, “I expect to last for approximately another 30 years.  That’s longer than you’ve been alive.”

“Well yes,” (he knows as well as I do the genetic predisposition of women in our family to last well into their nineties and often beyond) “perhaps 70 is a bit harsh.  Maybe it should be more like…”

He didn’t get to finish that sentence.

There was me thinking the ‘Remain’ camp had the higher moral ground.  We were the ones who had said, ‘Well admittedly all is not as we’d like it, but let’s stay in the Union and change things from within, rather than throwing babies out with the bathwater and putting the blame for all our ills on others – immigrants, economic migrants, European bureaucracy, Greece, Germany or whatever.’

Seems I was wrong.

As soon as the Remainers have reason to feel miffed, what do they do?  They begin flailing around looking for someone to blame.  The Scots blame the English.  The educated blame the ignorant.  My son and his mates would happily disenfranchise their parents and grandparents, just as surely as the Brexiteers would gleefully repatriate the European workers who are propping up our health service.

Why?

Index, Finger, Pointing, You, Hand, MeBecause BLAME is endemic in our culture.  We have grown up believing that everything we dislike is someone else’s fault.  All we need to do is find that someone, punish or denounce or harass them and things will start to get better.

Such an attitude is the stuff of life to our media; they thrive on fuelling the ‘righteous’ indignation of the many against the few.

It is the modus vivendi of politics.  We look on miserably while the two sides slug it out in parliament, endlessly blaming each other for whatever mess we’re in.

The trouble is, there are no winners in the Blame Game – just losers.

So how would it look, I’m wondering, if we stopped blaming?

Just simply stopped.

How would it look if each one of us took responsibility for the way things are now?

What if we calmly considered what we’re happy with and what could do with changing?

What if we then set about entering into a blame-free dialogue with others to find ways of improving matters?

What if the media observed and reported on what is happening in the country and beyond, without apportioning blame or inciting revenge?

What if politicians didn’t square up to each other across a divided room and hurl insults and recrimination?  What if they formed into all-party special interest groups – individuals with particular levels of experience and expertise in particular areas of government – and became groups of ‘elders’ who sat around a table and worked together to forge a way forward for the benefit of all?

It couldn’t be a lot worse, could it?  Maybe it could be a great deal better…

It all starts with us, though – us not blaming anyone.

Dear Self…

I have a friend who is experiencing the most terrible of times.  She is heartbroken, flat, without hope, overwhelmed and filled with grief.  Her pain and suffering are not illusory (despite my continuing belief that life is a game – it’s real enough while we are playing it) and the problems seem insurmountable.

I considered writing a letter to this friend, suggesting how she might help herself emerge from these black times, but that feels wrong.  I haven’t walked in her shoes.  I can’t tell her what steps she should take.

So instead, I’ll write my letter to my Self – the Self I was in 2008: the year I had left my teaching career, my painful, trustless, crumbling marriage, my beloved grown-up children, my home and friends, and moved to London to care for my mother.  Woman, Old, Face, Portrait, White

She couldn’t acknowledge her dementia, couldn’t see why life was becoming uncomfortable and confusing, so directed all her anger, fear and spite towards me.

I’ll write to the Self who lay shaking and crying on the spare room bed, after dodging most of the vicious blows and scratches for barring the front door at 3am and not allowing Mum to ‘go to the hairdressers’.  The Self who had turned the gas tap off on the hob again, after finding it hissing, and was wondering how long before the house would explode.  The self who knew that – one way or another, even if she didn’t blow us up – we both had to be out of that house within the next three months because there was no money left.  The Self who had nowhere to go and no one to turn to.  Those are shoes I’ve walked in.

Dear Self,

I know how black it feels.  I know how heavy all those fears and injustices are.  I know it’s 3.30 in the morning and you’re at the darkest hour – in every way.

You’re asking yourself what you have done to deserve this.  The answer is: you have grown strong.  This isn’t retribution; it’s a rite of passage.  You have given yourself the opportunity to be tested as never before – and to overcome each and every difficulty, to emerge stronger and more confident.

You’re protesting that you didn’t want this ‘test’ – you want to go back to when things were easier: not great, perhaps, but easier than this.

It doesn’t work that way.  Your life has been moving towards this point for quite a time now.  It’s here, and I’m here to help you through it.

Me?  Yes, I’m yourself – one of the millions of Selves you create with your every thought and emotion.  The me who is writing this lives eight years in your future.  She’s happy, comfortable and lives a full and independent life, surrounded by like-minded friends, with a pretty home of her own, inspiring children to teach and learn from and a garden to tend.  She has all you now dream of and more.  I don’t expect you to be able to imagine that life yet, but it’s waiting for you, dear Self, once you get through this time.

You think you’re alone.  You’re not.  All your past and future Selves are there with you.  They send you exFace, Soul, Head, Smoke, Light, Sadperience, wisdom and inspiration.  They are as real as the Self you are, lying on that bed.  You are – how can I explain ideas you haven’t yet encountered? – ‘entangled’ with more other Selves than you can imagine.  Everyone you have cared for and loved, shared with and learned from is there with you.  Just like those little sub-atomic quantum whatsits you’ve read of in science books, you and those people – the ones you see as ‘living’ and the ones you think of as ‘dead’ – become forever entangled.  That means you only have to lie there in the night asking for support and comfort, and they will come flocking to you.  You know, already, that we are more than our bodies.  You know we are also spirit.  That is how they reach you, care for you and hold you up, if you can just allow them in.

Dad’s there – of course he is.  He knows exactly what you’re enduring.  Grandma, too.  She’s barely left your side.  Trust that they are with you.

Now I want you to look into your life.  Yes, I know, the one that totally sucks.  Only it doesn’t – not TOTALLY.  I want you to find something in there – and it can be a tiny, seemingly insignificant something – that is better-than-awful.

Park, Hirsch, Enclosure, Animals, AntlerYour body, for example – it’s working pretty well, isn’t it?  Certainly the sleepless, interrupted nights aren’t helping and the IBS has flared again, but your senses work, your legs, your arms…  Take that body tomorrow – once Mum’s gone to the daycare centre – and give it a treat.  Take it to the park.  Leave the sack of worries at the gates.  Stroll in the sunshine and watch the squirrels and deer, the movement of the trees and grass, the ripples in the river.  Listen and smell and immerse yourself in nature and don’t allow yourself to give a single thought to the worries or fears.  This is your healing time.

When you get back to the gates – yes – the problems will still be waiting for you.  There will be a difference, though.  You’ll have created a piece of your Self they can’t get to.  Nurture that ‘safe’ fragment of you; spoil her rotten!  She deserves it – YOU deserve it.

You don’t need others advising you about what to do, or telling you how much you matter to them or protecting you.  You’re very slowly and wonderfully growing into the Self you can be – that strong, independent woman you were born to become.

It will keep hurting for a while, and there will be problems to overcome, but trust.  You’re going to come out of all this just fine – and it will be you (with a million Selves to back you up) who does it.

Love

Your Self   (please…)

Listening to Llull

IMG_20150417_161121This wasn’t the post I was intending to write this week, but the Friday 13th events in Paris, and the Western governments’ entirely predictable responses have prompted me to insert a few thoughts on someone who for me is a new-found hero: a man who lived many centuries ago, but perhaps has something to teach us all today.

Ramon Llull was born to courtiers of Jaume the Conqueror – a mediaeval Spanish king responsible for taking Mallorca, among other places, from the Arabs.  Ramon became a page at court and later tutor to Jaume’s son.

Bear in mind that this was the time of the crusades.  Bitter wars between Christians and Muslims had been raging for well over a century when Ramon was born.  The divisions between the two cultures could not have been greater.  Hatred and distrust of all things Arab would have been endemic in his world.

IMG_20150415_113040

gardens of Arab baths, Palma

IMG_20150415_111927

Arab baths, Palma

Perhaps, as a young man, he wandered amongst the beautiful Arab buildings in his home city of Palma.  He certainly thought deeply and studied hard.

Leaving his family, Llull went to live on a mountain in the centre of the island, taking with him an Arab servant, from whom he learned to speak Arabic.

Certainly, like every Christian of his day (and many in our own) he believed that his religion was the one true way and that Jews, Muslims and anyone who didn’t share these beliefs should convert.  Unlike his contemporaries, though, he did not believe this should happen at the point of a sword.  He proposed the use of logic – philosophical argument – to convince others.

IMG_20151104_143724He produced intricate diagrams and many books which he was sure would convince anyone of the veracity of his beliefs.

He travelled tirelessly to visit heads of state across Europe and the Middle East, offering them his works and begging them to engage in dialogue rather than warfare.

Miramar, the site of one of Llull's universities, on Mallorca's north coast

Miramar, the site of one of Llull’s universities, on Mallorca’s north coast

He set up a series of universities, where young monks could learn Arabic and other less-studied languages, the better to engage in discourse with those of other faiths.

Ramon Llull had discovered a great truth.  He had realised, centuries before Einstein would turn it into a sound-bite, that the definition of insanity is

doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

He was blazing a new trail and trying to move humanity on from endless, pointless bloodshed; he was proposing respectful, open dialogue and discussion at a time when the divisions were apparently intractable.

We have to start somewhere – why not with ourselves?  Might it be time to listen to his ideas?

 

 

 

Will a hat make a difference?

I think I first heard the story of the boy and the starfish from Wayne Dyer.  He, of course, has been in my thoughts a great deal this week, as he gracefully withdrew his consciousness from that earthly body and moved on to other great adventures.

Dr Dyer made a difference, a huge one, while he was here.

Then there are the rest of us.  This week our lives have been touched by the sight, not of starfish, but of small children washed up on the beach.  We, too, feel the futility of any gesture amidst the mass of suffering as countless displaced people – mums, dads, sons and daughters – make desperate bids to find refuge and rebuild their lives somewhere safe.

What an opportunity it gives us – the chance to decide how we want to react; what we want to do.  If we can step back for a moment from the wringing of hands and the economic and cultural challenges, each of us has the chance to make a difference, even in the smallest way, and that is a great gift.

Please don’t think I lack empathy with the refugees by saying that.  Certainly I believe that every single person on the planet chose, as some level, the life they’re currently living, so that they could play this massively complex and often agonising game called Life and experience all it can throw at them.  We can’t come close to imagining how painful that is for some.  We can decide, though, how we will respond.

So I decided I wanted to make a difference and the idea that came into my head was – bizarrely enough – ‘make hats for the children’.

Hats?

Well, autumn is coming on, and many of the families are moving into colder places.  Hats are great for keeping the body temperature up.  I have an ancient and basic but functional knitting machine and shelves of yarn in all colours of the rainbow…

How was I to get these hats to the children?  That was the next challenge.  No sooner had the thought entered my head than I received two emails, detailing local drop-off points for supplies which would be taken to the refugee camp in Calais.  Once synchronicity starts to kick in like that, I stop asking questions and get going.

IMG_20150906_091802Here are the first two.  Each took about an hour to make.  The little crocheted starfish take another 20 minutes.  It struck me that I could make more hats if I left the decoration off, but intention is everything.  As I create my rather lumpy little starfish (I’m not great at crochet) I’m pouring into them all the love and hope I can for the child who will wear that hat, and the starfish is a powerful symbol for me of how, even in this absurdly small way, each of us can make a difference.

Doing the Gratefuls

A depressed man sitting on a bench

Charlie was stuck.  He recognised it.  He just didn’t know what to do about it.

I’m sure it’s a fairly familiar tale.  He’d given up a well paid managerial position in his late twenties to study for a degree in a subject he loved. He met his girlfriend at university.  They graduated, though, at the time the recession really kicked in.  Both of them had applied for plenty of jobs, but nothing came up, so both moved back in with their respective parents, hundreds of miles apart, and applied for job-seekers allowance.

Eventually, both found regular jobs.  These were not highly paid, not anything connected to their degrees or aspirations, but enabled them to save a small amount each month, pay their way at home and put together enough money to visit one another every month or so.

That wasn’t too bad for a start, but it dragged on year after year and both became thoroughly fed up.

“I’m 33,” Charlie announced miserably, when he came to stay with me last month. “I haven’t done anything yet.  I’m bored with my job, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life living with Dad, I miss my girlfriend and I’m fed up.  I’ve applied for loads of other jobs but nothing comes up.  Nothing is going to change.  There’s no way out.”

On the surface of it, his situation didn’t look great.  He didn’t earn enough to move into a place of his own.  He certainly didn’t earn enough to keep his girlfriend while she relocated and searched for a new job.  He spent his evenings trying to write a best-seller and learning carpentry, but – as I’ve said, he was stuck.

I hated seeing Charlie this miserable.  I toyed with the idea of talking about how we create our own lives with the way we think about them, and about the nature of reality, but he wasn’t in a space where he could hear that.  I thought back to the time I’d been at my lowest, and the teacher who had rescued me.  He’d instructed me to go and write the words

I’m grateful for all in my life

on a sheet of paper, to look at it at least three times a day, and to repeat it five times on each occasion.  To say I’d been sceptical would be an understatement, but I’d done it, and the turnaround had been amazing.

I told Charlie the story.  His reaction was exactly what I’d expected – exactly what mine had been.

“Am I allowed to say it through gritted teeth with deep irony?” he asked, grimly.

“Sure,” I said.  “Say it any way you like, but say it.  As you say it, challenge yourself to think about the most depressing, horrible, unpleasant situations in your life, and work out what they’re teaching you or showing you.”

We tried a few together.  He named a particularly hated manager at work, listing the ways she undermined others, sloped off early leaving them struggling to meet deadlines, bad-mouthed others behind their backs while being sweet as sugar to their faces.  The list went on.

“So what is she teaching you?  What lesson does she have for you?” I asked.

He thought for a while.  “How not to be a manager?  How not to handle people?”

I suggested he turned those to positives.

“So… she’s showing me that people matter, that they deserve respect and that if I end up managing others I lead by example rather than giving orders and doing something else.”

“Valuable help then,” I grinned.  “You can be grateful for Jenny.”

“I’m grateful for Jenny,” he snarled, but at least he was smiling as he said it.

I reminded him of the sentence a few more times during the holiday.  He dutifully repeated it, but with a fairly bad grace.

English: Tropical Rucksack Side View

Before he left, I had the opportunity to slip that sheet of paper I’d written the original message on into a pocket of his rucksack.  At some point he’d find it.  It might jog his memory…

Last night, Charlie phoned me.

His girlfriend had been given a large pay rise.  She’d calculated that it was enough to rent a house in a lovely town close to where she works.  He had handed in his notice and was heading up to view properties with her this weekend.  They’re planning to move in together at the start of June.  His boss has promised him a glowing reference and he’s going to search for a job there.

He’d written 40,000 words of his book, he said.  He was happy with the way it was going.  His latest wood carving project was a large green man.  That was going well too.

I asked how he felt about uprooting and moving across the country.  He admitted it had been difficult at first.
“I’ve worked through it now, though,” he said. “Friends and people at work have been very supportive and now I’ve actually committed to it, I feel hopeful about the future.”

There was a pause while I took all this in.

Quietly, almost shyly, Charlie added, “Oh, and I’ve been doing the gratefuls and that every day…”

Charlie is my son.

I’m grateful for all in my life…

More About Tuesday’s Tale

http://www.gofundme.com/c6erv4

IMG_3085As promised a few weeks back, here is an update on the story of T – the little ballet star I work with whose father has untreatable cancer.

You can find my original post here.

Firstly, I want to send a huge, massive, heartfelt THANK YOU to all the kind and caring people who donated to my original appeal for help for Tuesday and her family.  As you will see, if you go to the ‘Go Fund Me’ site, your donations have already made a massive impact and T’s Mum and Dad would like me to pass on their gratitude and wonder that people who have never met them can be so kind.

If – understandably! – you felt uncomfortable sending a donation via my PayPal account, you’ll be pleased to know that there is now a proper funding site set up.  You’ll find details, and T’s own version of her story here.

I’m very much aware that being asked for money dredges up all kinds of resistance in all of us.

I can’t speak for others, but the kind of thoughts that go through my mind are:
“Hey, I’m on a really limited income.  Is it reasonable to expect me to give some of my money to someone I don’t even know?”
or “The world is full of deserving cases.  Why should I give to this one?  How on earth do I choose?”
or “I can only afford to give £x (or even x pence) and people will think I’m really mean if I only give that much.”
When we’re made to feel uncomfortable by thoughts like that, the easiest way out is to put the whole thing aside and move on.
I’m not great at this fundraising lark, but these are people I know and care about, so I’d love to see them fulfil their dream, whatever adventures and wonders this new phase of their life will bring them.
If it helps, you can donate via Go Fund Me keeping your identity anonymous if you wish, so if you only feel comfortable giving 50 pence or 50 cents, that’s just fine.  All the money and the energy of kind, caring people will build up and help this family to move forwards.

Thanks again to everyone who has already donated, shared the link and sent healing energy to T’s family.

Tuesday’s Tale

English: Ballerina oil painting “Oh why do I have to learn this stuff?” T asks, her small face screwed up with frustration and incomprehension.

It’s Tuesday morning.  We’re working on the properties of three-dimensional shapes. “I mean, I’m going to be a ballerina!”

One of her dramatic sighs follows and I grin sympathetically.

With some kids, I’d branch off into sacred geometry at this point, but not this time.  With others I’d talk about the uses of shape and space in construction, engineering, architecture and the like, but T isn’t going to be an engineer or an architect.  She’s going to be a ballerina.

Another dramatic sigh, accompanied by such wild flexing of limbs that I have to duck to avoid the flailing arms.

Whenever I’m teaching T, I have the uneasy sensation that I’m caging a butterfly.  She does her best to learn and we get along just fine, but sitting still for two hours at a stretch is far from easy for her.  She just isn’t wired that way.

“Go on,” I say.  “Have a few twirls around the room, then let’s get back to work.”

T has just turned eleven.  She’s not just a small girl with a romantic dream.  She’s a magical, exceptional, brilliant dancer.  She’s been accepted for a place a one of the UK’s most prestigious dance academies  in September.  They have only 8 places a year and the admission standard is ridiculously high. Her mum and dad were stunned and overflowing with pride when she got her place. Nederlands: ballet dancer - detail

The effort she has put into her dancing is incredible.  The effort her parents have put into supporting her is similarly so.  Her mother travels all over Somerset and beyond with her on buses and car shares to get her to dance classes, auditions and performances.  Her self-employed dad has worked all hours to earn the money to fund the lessons, costumes, travel costs and so forth.  They’ve been determined that nothing will get between T and her dream. Now she has her place at the academy, of course, the costs will rocket.  It will involve moving from Somerset to London and paying huge tuition fees.

All that was fine.  Everything was set.  Dad was confident that he could earn enough, if he put everything else aside. The trouble is, one of those things he put aside was the dodgy mole.  He kept meaning to get it checked at the doctors…

When he did, the diagnosis wasn’t good.   The cancer has spread to his limbs and his lungs.  The doctors are calling it incurable.

They don’t look for problems, T’s family, they look for solutions.

Her mum, with characteristic zeal, has researched alternative treatments and come up with one that claims a 40% success rate – the Gerson diet.  It involves juicing huge amounts of fruit and vegetables for him – about 8kg a day – and more-or-less ties her to the kitchen.

Her dad – well, we can only guess at his feelings.  Having always been the provider, he has been trying to carry on working, to make sure the fees for her first term can be paid by September.  When he does that, he is stressing his body and not allowing it to heal.

That was the point at which T’s mum had called me.  Did I know any fundraisers – someone who could take the pressure off the family and raise enough to get T through her first year at the academy?

“Why me?  And why NOW?” the small reptilian part of my brain asked – the part that’s hell-bent on self-preservation.  “This will take massive amounts of time and effort and energy… I’ve done this life experience before – several times.  I’ve supported children I teach through the illness, sometimes even the death of a parent.  I’ve helped them with fundraising.  Couldn’t the Universe share things out a bit?  I have so much else to deal with right now…”

And here was T, sitting in my study on this Tuesday morning, telling me she’s going to be a ballerina.

What was I supposed to say?  ‘Actually no, sweetheart, you’re not.  You’ll be going to the local comprehensive, there won’t be any money left for dance classes and on top of that, your dad’s cancer is terminal.’

No.  I would not be saying that.

Miracle Machine

Miracle Machine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Walk your talk,” the other end of my consciousness from the reptile was telling me.  “Think about it.  You believe in creating miracles.  You’ve been blogging on about it for months.

” Why have you been given this life experience again?  Why do you think??  Because this time, you have something new to bring to it.  You have the knowledge that – if they are expected, lightly yet with conviction – miracles happen.  And a few miracles are needed here and now, are they not?”

“Yes,” I said, humbly.

So this is where LIME (Life Is Miracles Expected) magic becomes interactive.

Click away NOW if you don’t want to get involved.  

Or is it too late?  Are you already caught up in T’s story?

Ideally, I’d like… every person who reads this blog to put some energy into helping T’s miracles arrive.

Your energy may be in the form of money – however much you’d feel comfortable transforming into energy to help pay for her academy fees.

It may be in the form of reblogging this post, or linking to it on social media, so that it reaches more people, who can also join our creation.

It may be that you will send healing and positive energy to Christian – T’s dad.

Or you may have other wonderful ideas for ways of creating these miracles.

Any money that reaches my PayPal account  from the ‘make a donation’ button below will, you have my word, go into the fund a family friend is setting up for T.  I promise I’ll keep you informed of progress, because  you now have a part in this story.

Thank you for sharing your energy and helping to make this happen.

Make a Donation Button

Dis-Easy

Tropical Storm Yagi in the North Pacific Ocean

“Try to stay at the eye of the storm” a wise friend once commented, when we were discussing those times when everyone and everything around you starts typhooning.

I’ve become rather good at that now.  In fact, for the week or so leading up to this weekend, I was very aware that every friend who contacted me had a problem.  People they’d trusted had let them down, finances had suddenly become a nightmare, relationships had fractured, illness or physical pain was afflicting them.

I listened to each of them with compassion and care.  I echoed back their statements, to allow them to find answers or ways forward where I could, and I tried very hard not to offer solutions or to drift into monologues about similar situations of my own, because I’ve learned that neither of those is particularly helpful.

You see, the Janonlife belief system is that each of us creates our own reality – and that includes any difficulties and problems – in order to gain the most experience possible from this short and tricky lifetime we are currently playing out, and to bring as much light as possible from our expanded, multi-dimensional selves into the existence of the Humans we are Being at this particular point.

I take full responsibility for what happened next, because I actually remember the thought that triggered it.

“This eye-of-the-storm bit is all well and good,” I commented to what I call my God-Self (also variously known as Soul, Spirit, Higher-Self, Essence, God, Goddess or what you will).  “Trouble is, this life has been going along smoothly for such a long time now.  I think I could do with a slight tweak, just to throw me a wake-up call.”

Oh be careful what you ask for, my friends!  By the end of the week, I was laid out by a physical meltdown.  All energy evaporated.  My skin became hypersensitive – to the point that even turning over in bed was agony.  My digestive system seemed to have temporarily been replaced by a particularly bad-tempered nest of vipers.  Strange swooshing noises swirled between my ears at every attempt to move about and waves dizziness overtook me even when I stayed still.

“OK.  Right.  Fine.  Got it,” I told the G-S.  “I take to my bed, drink water, stop eating and wait to see what comes in terms of experience from this lot.  Got it.  And could you ease up slightly on the stomach cramps please?”

So that’s how I spent the next few days.  I’ve had enough similar episodes in my life to recognise that – just as the New Agey lot say – physical illness is, quite literally, dis-ease.  This time, I’d even noticed beforehand that something inside me needed a hiatus – a cessation of everyday activities to give it the time and space to shift.

I didn’t force it.  I felt way too ill to do so, in any case.  I knew that something would come of this.  It always does.

Anger

Anger (Photo credit: ZORIN DENU)

On Sunday night, the something arrived.  Just as the physical symptoms were beginning to subside and I was ready for a relatively normal night’s sleep, huge tidal waves of anger swept through me.

Shaken but not altogether surprised, I grabbed a notepad and allowed a storm of fury against situations, individuals and events – recent and far in the past – to flow through the pen.  Whoa!  Can’t remember the last time I did anger.  I was amazed how much I’d been bottling up.

Did I feel any better for expressing it?

No.

I now had a list of people and events that I felt totally, utterly, mind-numbingly furious about.  I sat back exhausted for a few minutes and asked the G-S to remind me what came next.

“Er, mirrors?” the G-S hinted.

Oh yes.   Of course – I knew that.  Each of them was mirroring something inside my self – showing me aspects of my Being Human self that I was ready to change.

I returned to the list and worked my way through each situation.  None of these people was intentionally angering me.  Each was mirroring behaviour or attitudes I wanted to alter in myself.  Some took a bit of ferreting out.  One remained stubbornly insoluble, so I decide to sleep on it.

On Monday morning I woke feeling extremely weak, but physically fine.  All trace of anger and spite had evaporated along with the mysterious illness.  The elusive answer arrived as I relaxed in a fragrant bubbly bath and I knew the dis-ease had done its work well.

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Fire and Knives

I once taught a lovely young girl who was in foster care.  After several years with the same family, she was told she was being transferred to a new placement.  It involved moving to a different town and changing schools.  

This is the story I wrote to help her with this huge transition.

Fire and Knives 

Shi'ah's Sorrow

“How do I stop myself from having any pain?” asked Marnie.

“Pain?” said the Old One.  “What sort of pain?”

“Any sort,” replied Marnie, kicking at the dusty ground.  “Pain like… being burned and cut – just pain.”

The Old One shrugged.  “That’s easy; you stay away from fire and knives and things that can hurt you.”

Marnie scowled.  That was not the right reply.  “Suppose the pain comes after me, though, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get away from it.  Then what do I do?”

“Ahh!” said the Old One, slowly.  “That sort of pain.”

 

The Old One wandered over to his rocking chair and sat down gently.

“Come and sit with me, Marnie,” he said.

“Don’t want to sit,” scowled Marnie.

“Fine,” smiled the Old One.  “Just you stay standing, then.”

“Don’t want to stand either,” Marnie grumbled.  “Just answer the question, why don’t you?”

“Well it’s an interesting question, you see, Marnie, and one that deserves a good answer.”

“SO GIVE ME THE ANSWER, THEN!” screamed Marnie, kicking furiously at the side of the house.

“Well, let me see.  I’m thinking this sort of pain wouldn’t be from flames and knives at all.  I’m wondering if this would be more like the sort of pain you get when you have to say goodbye to people and places you’ve known a long time, and you’ve got used to them and fond of them and it feels bad inside in every way.  Would that be the sort of pain we’re talking about?”

 

Marnie had stopped kicking at the house and was scuffing the ground quietly.  “Maybe.”

The Old One nodded thoughtfully.  “Yes, that’s a tricky sort of pain to avoid,” he agreed.

Marnie blinked hard several times and swallowed.  “So how would I avoid pain like that?”

 

“How would you avoid it?  Ah, that’s easy,” smiled the Old One.   “You’d start by saying to yourself, ‘I must be as nasty and grumpy as I can to the grown ups around here, then they’ll be glad when I go and they won’t miss me, so they won’t be upset.’  Then you’d think on and say, ‘I’ll be extra quarrelsome to my friends, and ignore the little kids around here, so that they don’t cry or make any fuss and they’ll be glad to see the back of me and then they won’t be upset, either.’”

 

Marnie was staring, open mouthed, at the Old One, but he smiled gently and kept talking softly.

“Then, of course, there would be your own pain.  You’d push it down deep, well out of the way and tell yourself how glad you were to be moving.  With any luck, if you kept it buried for long enough, it might not hurt any more after a while.  Simple, isn’t it, Marnie?”

 

Marnie was still staring.  “Is that the right way to do it?  Is that what you’d do?”

“What I’d do?  Good gracious, no!  Why would I even think of doing anything that stupid?”

“But you said…” spluttered Marnie.

“I said,” interrupted the Old One, “that’s what you’d do!”

 

Marnie went rather pink and started kicking again.  “So what’s wrong with that, anyway?”

“Well, Marnie, there’s a whole load wrong with it.  Let’s take the way you treat the adults.  They know it’s not your fault you’re leaving.  They’ve loved you for a long time and watched you growing up.  They’ve felt proud of the good ideas and help they’ve given you and they’d be proud to see you moving on as such a fine young person.  They’d like to have good memories of you.  But you’re taking all that from them.  You’re making them feel sad and disappointed.  You’re making them feel hurt and neglected.  That gives them lots of pain.”

 

Marnie slowly turned and wandered across to sit next to the Old One.  He carried on, as if he hadn’t noticed, although, of course, he had.

“Now what about those little kids?  Remember the bigger kids who played with you, when you were small?  Remember how kind they were to you, when they helped you make toys or played games with you?”

Marnie nodded.

“What are those memories like?  Good or bad?”

“Oh, good!” exclaimed Marnie, starting to smile at the thought of them.  “There was this one big kid, called Asher, who always played ball with me.  It made me feel really important and grown up.”

“That’s right,” smiled the Old One.  “I remember Asher playing with you when you were a real little tot.  Then one day Asher just started ignoring you, didn’t he?  Just treated you like you didn’t exist.”

“He did NOT!” exclaimed Marnie, angrily.  “Asher would never have done that.  He was really kind and friendly!”

“Oh yes, my mistake,” agreed the Old One, mildly.  “I must have been confusing him with someone else I knew.”

 

Marnie looked at him carefully.  She opened her mouth to ask a question, but then changed her mind.

“Go on,” she said.

“Where was I?  Oh yes – your friends.  They’ve been there for you when you’ve been grumpy and miserable and bossy and mischievous and they’ve kept you company and given you such a great bucket-load of happy memories to take with you on your journey.  Do they deserve to have their memories of you spoilt?  Do you deserve to have your memories ruined too?”

“Probably,” whispered Marnie, miserably.

“Can’t see much purpose in that,” shrugged the Old One.  “And finally there is your pain.  You got any painful memories at the moment?”

Marnie scowled.  “None of your business!”

“Ah,” he smiled.  “Keeping them buried, are you?  I’m guessing some of them go way back – back to when you were just a very little person.  And have they faded away?”

“Stop it!  Stop it!  STOP IT!” shouted Marnie, trying to block out his voice.

 

The Old One waited for a moment, until Marnie was still.  “I know it hurts,” he said gently.  “When pain goes deep, it hurts all the more.  You don’t start to feel better until you let it out.”

 

Then the Old One stood up and walked to the garden fence.  He looked across at the mountains in the distance.  They looked beautiful with the sun setting on them.

“Ah, Marnie,” he sighed.  “Just look at that view!  Drink it in and remember it!  Those mountains are worn into beautiful shapes, like carvings.  Wouldn’t they be dull and dreary if they were just smooth and round?”

Marnie looked at the mountains and shrugged.  “I suppose.”

“They’ve been attacked by fierce winds and sandstorms, lightning and torrents of rain, over the years, to get that way.  They’ve suffered too.  It’s the pain in our lives that makes us wise and strong and beautiful.”

 

He turned to face Marnie.  “There is another way – a better way.  Accept the pain, and the tears if they come, because they gradually wash the pain away.  Smile through the tears at those you are leaving behind.  Leave them the greatest gift you have – memories of the wonderful person you are.  They will give you wonderful memories back.  You’ll have no need to feel guilt or shame or bitterness.  Just know that life is an amazing journey, and take the best from every part of it.”

 

Marnie hugged him and the tears flowed and the pain that had been digging inside like a knife, or like burning, began to melt away.

Sunset over mountains