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Creativity, Beauty, Intuition – The Doorway to Our Inner Selves
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Insights of a Christian Mystic
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I have been in physical pain for the last 4 weeks with a blocked ear. I didn’t think a blocked ear could cause so much pain. Sometimes I have just broken down and cried. Every day, though, I have got up with the intent of continuing my amazing life.
My life is amazing because I talk to God every day and he gives me interesting things to do and say and think. Even through the pain, that is something that can’t be taken from me. I am always waiting for the the next idea, the next direction, the next piece of inspiration.
Last night I learnt that the oil I am putting into my ear must be a certain temperature and the room needs to be a certain temperature too. I learnt that the hard way, and suffered for sleeping in a room not quite warm enough. Today I feel “Why? Why do have to feel so low today, so tired, so broken?”
Of course these are the questions I asked God and then He spoke to me of courage. He said that I should focus on my courage, rather than on the things I can’t do or feel I am getting wrong. God says that this is a lesson in believing in my courage.
And when my ear finally gets unblocked, I guess I will be that little bit stronger and a bit more courageous than I was before.
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?
The situation we find ourselves in with the Coronavirus is causing me a feeling of confusion more than anything else. My life feels in essence quite easy as we have lived quite an isolated existence since we discovered that me and my son have visual processing issues. We had just completed the neutralisation of all colours and patterns in our house and got into a nice simple routine of daily living and celebrating the small things. Life was good but a little bit of me felt that it was wrong in some way for my life to be easy.
Now, the world has gone upside-down and everything has changed. I am thinking ‘What can I do?’ How can I help?’ and feeling pretty helpless. The funny thing is that in many ways I don’t feel any more helpless than I have done for years. I have been feeling helpless about all sorts of the things like just how much people live on their phones and don’t really interact and more, as an example. This is because my helpless feeling comes from a sense that there is a deep lack of soulfulness in the world.
So now I feel confused because my head is saying ‘Do something!’ and my heart is whimpering ‘But I have been doing so much for years and I am still doing it.’ I mean I get up every day and ask God what I should do. I get up every day and wonder why some specific thing has popped into my head or why I am suddenly feeling a certain way. I decided a long time ago that I wanted to live like this – that I wanted to give up my own plans in favour of finding something else – the very thing that I should be finding in every moment of every day.
So what can I do at a time like this? Only continue to talk to God and continue my life of not being in control. This is the best gift I have.
The best way to illustrate how I hear God’s voice is by giving some examples of the journeys that I go on with God – funny little journeys with big out-comes.
This particular journey took place a few years ago when I saw a picture in my head of a reservoir about 5 miles from where I live. I had only visited it once and it hadn’t become a favourite place. However on that day I felt this strange pull to visit it again so I dragged my husband, Richard and my 4 year old son out for a walk! On arriving, what first occurred to me was that it was a good place for thinking. Simply following the marked paths and feeling the calm of the water was quite therapeutic especially as I had some big thoughts going on in my head that I wanted to share with Richard. As our walk continued we came to a sort of jetty that was like a narrow closed-in walk-way leading to a hide out by the water’s edge. I don’t like tunnels or motion but felt drawn through this tunnel to the small square box-like hide sitting over the water. It wasn’t really moving but as I looked out over the reservoir and saw the water rippling by, I really felt like I was on a boat. Finding myself doing something strange but feeling I had to be there, I put my antennae up and talked to God. Our conversation went something like this:-
“OK, God what I am doing here?”
“Facing a fear.”
“What of . . . motion, boats . . ?“
“Movement. You need to face your fear of movement. You get so scared when you have a dream, something big and you see it unfolding before you, expanding, and then you don’t want to move. Jennie I want you to move, to run with your dream. I want you to face your fear of losing control. I want you to let go.”
Hearing these words made me curious about my fear. I tried looking out at the rippling water from different sides of the hide. I looked at the information on the walls about the birds we might see and then my eye caught sight of something big moving in the water. It was the biggest fish I’ve ever seen actually swimming and it was going surprisingly fast, heading straight for the hide. Part of me became entranced by this fish but just in a corner of my mind was my fear, and the thought that watching it was making me feel slightly dizzy and I didn’t like it. Quite suddenly I decided that enough was enough and I wanted to go now. I moved quickly through the tunnel and back onto what I thought was dry land! I was happy again but I was changed. A little bit of the fear had gone.