Living in the Mystery – An Interview Between Me and Myself!

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!

Coronavirus. Where is the Line Between Fear and Faith?

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?

Living by the Light – When I Struggle to Connect

Seeing the colours in the light gives to me clues as to why I may feel a certain way in my body or emotions, or why I am thinking certain thoughts. I don’t mean that I am just dependent on my connection with the environment. Far from it – I am always asking God what things mean and how to interpret the messages I get through my relationship with the light.

Today, for instance, I notice a lack of yellow, and this always causes me to feel less emotionally connected than usual. When I first realised this, I was quite devastated, thinking “How am I going to live if I don’t feel really emotionally connected all the time. Isn’t this what everyone is striving for?” But I have had to let go of that way of thinking. God has shown me that connection runs deeper than heart energy or hearts or being grounded or breath or stillness or emotion.

Connection is through the soul. It just is!

Church – It’s Time for a Change!

I have visited many churches and sometimes been inspired by the preaching, sometimes moved by the worship, sometimes touched by the sense of community but I have never quite felt at home.  I have always had a slight sense of isolation as I sit in my seat and the service unfolds.  I start wondering about the person next to me and wonder what their life is like and how they are touched and moved by God but when the service closes and we speak, it is only of surface things and the depths within both of us remain untouched. 

Occasionally someone has wanted to know what bought me to their church and when I have said God told me to come, they have given me a puzzled look and said “You mean you felt you should come.” And I repeat “No, God told me to come!” And I wonder but stop myself from saying “Doesn’t God speak to you too?”  On other occasions people have asked me directly “Are you a Christian?”  Oh how I hate labels! Of course the person wants to know whether I recognised myself as a sinner and asked God to help me with my life on a specific day at a specific time.  Well, as it happened I did but there was so much more. On that day I opened myself to the great mystery that me and God are indeed one.  Since that day we have walked and talked and laughed and cried together as I have walked the twisty turny journey of my life.  To reply to the question “Are you a Christian?” I would incur the same pain as if someone asked me “Are you a wife?” or “Are you a mother?”  How deeply impersonal and how wounding to my soul.

At a different sort of church people don’t seem bothered at all by such matters. In fact the minute the service closes it is as if we haven’t been in church at all. The conversation is only of how well you timed your roast dinner to be ready and who is making teas at the village fete.  The word ‘community’ is used a lot and there is much ‘doing’ and organising.  But, I think to myself – I am hungry deep down in my sprit – hungry for some touch of another soul, hungry for connection, a moment of realness.  I want someone to hear me, I want someone to see me but I feel invisible.  I want to hear and see another but there is no chink of vulnerability big enough for me to crawl through.  I shake the vicar’s hand, respond to the comment about how my son has grown and pass down the church steps, unnoticed and unknown.  I had so many thoughts, feelings, ideas, gifts and talents that I wanted to bring but there is no room for such things here.  I came to meet others on their amazing journey of faith but I wasn’t met.

Where can I go now?  Like many of us, the answer is ‘nowhere’.  On a Sunday morning I will stay home in the warmth and intimacy of my family.  I will go walking in the hills and fields near our home and watch the flocks of sparrows chattering in the hedges. I will make junk model dinosaurs with my son and listen to him giggling with glee when we can’t seem to make the head stick on the body. I will do anything to make life flow through my body, interest my mind, light up my emotions but I will not go to church where I feel no life and my soul simply goes to sleep. 

Christianity – A Message Written in My Heart

Many years ago I found myself on a course to become a Shiatsu Practitioner.  I’d been suffering with chronic fatigue and became fascinated with energy work as a way to understand my illness and healing.  I was a long way from full recovery but just about found the strength to drive the 70 miles from Somerset to Totnes in Devon every few weekends to attend my course.  Having arrived there I then had to find the strength to learn something new that challenged me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually!

The biggest challenge for me was spiritual.  Within the philosophy of Shiatsu there didn’t seem to be any room for a relationship with a personal God.  I found myself floundering and lost within a belief system that saw God as more of a cosmic force and us as metaphysical beings.  The most significant thing to me was the absence of grace as I was told I had to work at my connectedness. It seemed that God couldn’t simply flow in me and through me to heal others.  I had to do energy exercises, breathing exercises and meditation to work up the chi.  I was insensed, enraged by this challenge to everything that I had found so dear, so beautiful and so meaningful.  Why couldn’t I just work with the connection I already had – permanent and unchanging?

I struggled to understand this new philosophy and to try to reconcile it with my own experience for 2 years.  I even created my own approach to Shiatsu that I called Shiaki based on a more Christian philosophy.  I found myself speaking up for Christianity – the wonder of relationship with God and the gift of grace – at every twist and turn of my course.  I was utterly amazed by my zeal and conviction as I had no idea that I would go out on a limb like this in a situation where no-one else shared my experience or beliefs.  It was as if God had lit a fire in my heart and nothing could quench it.

Today I still feel the Christian message.  If people try to discuss doctrine with me I feel my energy sink and become almost troubled.  I don’t have all the answers and some days I don’t know exactly what I believe but as I live my life I become more and more aware that the message of Christianity is written in my heart