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Me and My Faith – Following the Thread
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Insights of a Christian Mystic
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Q Would you say that you have a philosophy for life?
A Not really. I would say that I have an experience.
Q Can you tell me more?
A Well, I hear a voice in my head and I have had this experience for 30 years. It’s led me on a very exciting, amazing and sometimes scary journey.
Q And do you think the voice has an identity outside of yourself or is it your higher self?
A Well, God tells me that is Him so I tend to believe that.
Q And why do you think that God speaks to you?
A Why not I guess?
Q And what does God say to you?
A Well, a whole load of things about life, wisdom, relationship and healing.
Q And what does God say to you about these things?
A It has been like trying to work out a giant conundrum. I grew up feeling very disconnected to myself and everything around me but I did have this faith that God was looking after me. Then one day I knew that trusting God wasn’t enough – I had to trust people and myself. I went on this great long journey then to find out who I am.
Q And do you know who you are now?
A Yes, I’m a spiritual leader in the making.
Q That’s a pretty big claim.
A Yes, I know, but if you ask God things, then you get to know don’t you?
Q Does knowing scare you?
A Totally and completely – I’m petrified.
Q Do you think God would want you to be petrified?
A I think God wants me to realise my greatness and if I have to go through fear and pain to get there I will.
Q Why do you think have to go through so much angst?
A Because to be an effective leader you have to be broken. I call it being broken open.
Q How does that feel?
A It feels like you make a commitment to be an open book in the world so people can read what is written on your pages and nothing is hidden.
Q Ouch! That sounds hard. Is it?
A Strangely not, when that is what you feel born to do. All I crave is authenticity and connection. And I willingly let go of anything that is a barrier to this rich experience of life.
Q Have you needed lots of therapy?
A Loads. It has been as if certain people have held keys to a certain part of my healing. I have been as honest as I can be with everyone I have worked with. Some seemed to have not liked such honesty, some may have felt threatened by it and a few meet me in that place. When people meet me that feels really good.
Q What do you hope to achieve as a spiritual leader?
A I don’t fully know even though I ask God all the time! It obviously has something to do with authenticity, openness and healing.
Q What steps are you making to achieve your goal?
A I get up every day and say “OK God, what shall I do today”, then I follow my energy which is a bit like following a thread.
Q Does that mean you don’t feel you have a choice?
A Pretty much yes. I feel a sort of pressure to follow the thread. I’m feeling a sort of pressure to pour out this interview right now.
Q What do you think would happen if you said “No, I’m not doing it”.
A Well, I would sort of be stepping outside of my purpose. You see I know I need to write these words and I’m pretty sure I’ll feel better when I’ve finished because in doing this writing I am facing my fear of getting my voice heard.
Q So do you feel that the thread you follow is sort of entangled with other factors in your life?
A Yes, absolutely, the thread of my purpose is entangled with the thread of my healing. I can only fulfil my purpose as far as I am willing to heal.
Q Do you think anyone can live like this?
A I think we can all tune into our intuition like this but possibly our threads are different thicknesses and make different shapes throughout life. Some people may be barely aware of their threads and then others feel that “Oh there it is again, calling me to follow it.” Mine feels like a great thick mass of colours all weaving together to make a beautiful tapestry. If I fail to follow just one thread I might spoil the pattern and never see the whole picture.
Q So is this experience you talk about really about hearing a voice and following a thread?
A Sort of, but it does feel a lot deeper than that.
Q Well I suppose I see myself as a mystic.
Q Tell me more!
A I’m feeling for all the nuances of connection within me and around me all of the time. So although I may ask God what I should do in a day I may not hear an answer – I may just feel something deep within myself. For instance I sing and I keep wondering at the moment whether I should practice my songs or write a new song but I feel very distanced from that idea as if the possibility of doing it is not within my grasp. I then remember that is Autumn, a time when I feel mellow, not outward but inward, not like performing but more like cosying down and doing something in the comfort of my home. I realise at this point that I am intrinsically connected with the seasons and the rhythms and I cannot control these things any more than I can say “No” to the voice in my head.
Q Have you always felt this sort of depth to life?
A No, I didn’t used to notice the seasons change except for a feeling of disturbance and un-ease as summer turned to autumn and autumn to winter etc. I hated that time of change but I didn’t realise it could hold such power for me. It is possible that women pick these things up more acutely than men as we are such cyclical beings and every month during our menstruating years we are living this cycle moving from inward to outward, a part of ourselves dying and then re-birthing. I didn’t used to know any of this either until I found a wise woman for a mentor. Women need to know these things. I understand that not everyone hears a voice in their head but everyone can understand their rhythms and patterns and those of nature and experience greater connection with themselves and the world.
Q So this is not just for the life of a mystic?
A Well the mystic is just a person who loves mystery and anyone can open themselves to the mystery which is life itself.
Q Are you religious?
A I’m a Christian
Q What do you mean by that?
A Well, I love the wonders of relationship with God, forgiveness and grace. What more can I say?!
Q How do your beliefs impact your life?
A I don’t think about my beliefs. They are sort of written in my heart and feel comfortable there. I live my life as if God sees me as perfect and so the slate is always clean. I like that. It feels good and it means that it doesn’t matter how hard I try in life or how much I heal I can never be better in God’s eye than I am right now. That’s good news, especially for a perfectionist like me!
Q So you have a Christian faith, hear a voice, live according to the nuances of energy and connection in and around you and see yourself as a spiritual leader in the making. That’s quite a lot to admit in one interview!
A I know. It’s good to get it out there though!
I don’t talk about my faith much because people have had opinions on my choice to live by faith. Some say it is a cop-out. Some say it is childish. Some say it is outdated. Some say it is relinquishing responsibility. And the hardest thing I have heard, is someone say “Well, if you live by faith, you don’t really need my advice then!” This was a shiatsu therapist!
By making a choice to live by faith, does it separate me from other people and the world? Or does it bring me closer?
This is a difficult question to answer. Right now, when so many people are living in fear, I feel like there is the potential of looking like the biggest fool on the planet if I say I live by faith. I mean, if you use those words in a small crisis, you may just about get away with it. But if you use them in a pandemic, I have a feeling my words will just bounce off the walls.
What do I mean when I say that I live by faith? Only that I talk to God every day about everything, trust God to have a plan and take care of me and mine. And mainly that I choose not to live in fear.
Living by faith is my choice and it will not change – crisis or no crisis. Is it time to talk about it more and risk looking silly? Maybe it is.
When I get past the feelings of the enormity of the crisis we all find ourselves in, I have some very charged feelings about a conflict between fear and faith, (both in myself and in the world). It seems difficult to find the line between them. Usually we know we are taking risk, like every time we get in our car. But now it has all gone very hazy. If I don’t wash my shopping, I live by faith. If I do, I live in fear. Then do I use soap? Do I leave it in the sun? See how fear breeds fear. (Incidentally I don’t wash my shopping.)
This is something I feel strongly about – fear breeding fear – and I see it as something that we are all going to find it very difficult move on from. I see faith as the antidote. I guess that is faith in God for me, but could be faith in goodness, faith in connection with others, faith in a higher source, faith in love, faith in the mystery. Whatever . . we’re going to need faith! This is all I know. Am I on my own here?
“Faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see.”
I have believed this for a long time and I always will.
God isn’t really trending – at least I don’t think he is! I don’t know why though because it is the only thing that makes sense to me sometimes – the fact that we are in relationship with God.
I just can’t imagine not finding this truth for myself. My most treasured possession aged 4 was my picture service booklet I took to church. Yes – I was raised to go to church – but more importantly I had an idea that was was a very significant thing that I learn about God. It seemed so big and exciting from where I was standing with my family in our 3 bedroomed house. Yes, we went school and had Birthdays and Christmas and new shoes . . . but this was God – a whole different kettle of fish! I wanted to know who God was and what he might have to do with my life and me.
As I grew older I became more and more convinced that life wasn’t enough just as I saw it and felt it. There was clearly something very big missing. It sounds so cliche but there was a gaping big hole and I had no idea what was supposed to fill it – O Levels, A Levels, a degree, husband, children maybe? But I knew right then and there that those things would not fill it.
I liked the idea of God, the mystery, the journey, the expecting of the unexpected, the puzzling things out with someone so much bigger and wiser than me! I loved that idea and so I chose to pursue it down all the twisty turny roads that have bought me to this point. And I will pursue it for ever!
Let’s tell our children about God. Don’t sell them short and give them the idea that life is just about having things, knowing things, a career, partner, children and holidays. IT ISN’T.
I have a 12 year old who is scared of many things. He is scared of the electrical sockets in our house, the gas fire, the fact that he didn’t have chicken pox, a tiny speck of blood on his finger, an expression on someone’s face, the tone of someone’s voice . . . and the list goes on.
My son has light, colour, pattern and sound sensitivity. Life is naturally more scary to him than others. He is struggling to process all the colours, patterns and sounds in the world. And I totally understand his fear.
We have tried rationalising things, teaching him more about things like electricity and gas but it doesn’t seem to work. The only thing I can do for my son is to teach him about faith.
I find this pretty hard as my son has a very scientific mind and has learnt that he feels better when he is being very logical and systematic using the left side of his brain. And to live by faith we need to let go into the right side of our brain, where things aren’t rational and logical. They are more feeling based. This is where we make connections and see life as more of a whole, and start to wonder if there might be a bigger plan, and whether we might be part of it.
My son already lives by faith in a way. He often says that things don’t feel right, whether that is food, place, a person or an activity. And he is very strong on these things. However he is also open to change. He told me very strongly that he didn’t want to have anyone massage him the other day. Then when I walked out of a massage with a very nice lady in a very nice place, he said ‘Actually, I think I would like to have a massage!’
When I spoke to my son about faith this morning, I could see deep down that he found it comforting and he said “Well it was a bit of a coincidence that we found our white doves the way we did!” We had been to a pet shop and we spoke to the lady there of my son’s love of pigeons. We had decided to buy a smaller variety of doves called diamond doves, but when we next went to the pet-shop there were 3 beautiful white garden doves in one of the aviaries. They had lost their mother and the lady at the pet-shop had hand reared them. We all knew they were waiting for us!
Call it coincidence or call it synchronicity or go for all out comfort and call it God!
What’s it like to dive in the deep? I don’t know as I’m not a confident swimmer and don’t like being out of my depth! And yet every day God asks me to go diving. I want to go through some routine to assure my safety and put on my oxygen or at least my snorkel but God tells me that ritual is not necessary and that if I simply trust, I will keep breathing.
In my search for an experience of God I used to sit and pray and meditate for hours. I was looking for some experience that took me beyond the humdrum normality of my everyday life. I wanted to feel a sensation in my body – heat, tingling, anything. I wanted to feel an intense joy and to be able to think only pure thoughts. Sometimes I did feel some of these things and then I’d want to meditate for longer and when I stopped meditating I would feel a sense of disappointment, even fear at finding myself back ‘in the world’.
I decided that something wasn’t right about this. I had been born into the world so why would I have such an intense desire to escape from it? The truth was that I didn’t feel part of the world – I had no sense of belonging. I realised that I needed to heal more than I needed to meditate. Since that day I have chosen not to partake in any ritual whereby I might try to escape from myself and the world again!