46) Inspiration from Strangers

A couple of weeks ago we went on a wonderful mini-break staying in London. 

 I had always wanted to go to the Chelsea Flower Show as I have loved plants and gardens all my life, but it seemed there was always a reason that I couldn’t get there.  This year it was actually Simon who suggested we went as he thought it might be a good place to use his wonderful new camera.  Don’t get me wrong, he does like flowers and trees, and he is interested in the designs of gardens, but he doesn’t have the passion for gardening that I have. 

I was so excited when we booked the tickets a few months ago.  At the time I was going through a fairly good phase healthwise and really thought that with a few planned breaks, I’d be up to mulling around the show gardens and the wonderful exhibits and show stands that makes Chelsea the world-renowned show it has become.  I spent hours on the internet researching places to stay and found The Presidential Apartments in Earls Court.  I always feel slightly claustrophobic in a hotel room, hating the feeling of being boxed in and normally having nowhere else to sit but on the bed, and these apartments appeared to give you more space with a separate sitting area and even a kitchenette to prepare your own breakfast etc.  I booked through a booking site and managed to secure a fantastic deal so I was a very happy bunny!

As the time became closer I was becoming quite despondent.  My feet, legs and hips had decided they really did not want to work.  I can only explain it as if when you wake up, instead of feeling refreshed and awake, you feel as if you have been mountain climbing all night and you have virtually no energy and considerable pain.  I knew that my legs could only hold me up for a few minutes at a time, with very long rests in between, and was beginning to think that maybe we should just cancel and accept that this year was not going to be the year I’d eventually get there.  Simon though had a totally different plan in his mind.  He was determined that we would go and still have a wonderful time, we’d just take my wheelchair along too. I have a wheelchair and an electric scooter, and whilst I am quite happy to use the scooter if we go for a ‘walk’ in the forest, or along by the coast, I have avoided using the wheelchair for a few years now.  I would normally rather stay indoors and read or listen to music than brave the outside world in my wheelchair.

I know it’s sometimes stupid, but I absolutely hate being in it.  I was in a wheelchair quite a lot as a young child (another story!) and I think because of that I almost have a phobia about using one.  I feel like I’ve given up.  I also know it’s daft, but in my head I feel capable of everything, and so in my heart I feel a fraud sitting in a wheelchair.  I also feel like I am a failure, like I have given in, like I should be able to control my body and tell it what I expect it to do.  I find it so hard to accept that in reality I appear to have no input where my physical problems are concerned. I always feel a nuisance and in the way in a wheelchair, and hate the idea of looking ‘disabled’, even if, I suppose, I often am!

In preparation for our mini-break the wheelchair came out of the garage and the cobwebs and dust were flicked away.  Simon re-inflated the tyres, we bought a comfy seat cushion and a very clever back cushion that doubled as a picnic pack slung over the back.  The weather had been atrocious and we expected rain so I ordered a very cool purple poncho specially designed for wheelchair users.  Instead of sitting in a puddle of water (NO, not that I have accidents! We are talking heavy rain here!) this poncho had cleverly designed ‘flaps’ that go over the back and sides of the wheelchair – also keeping the picnic pack dry at the same time. We were set.

We arranged to go by train and using my disabled rail card meant that the cost wasn’t prohibitive.  Simon’s sister Wendy agreed to take us to the train station.  Everything was organised.  The sparkly clean wheelchair sat in the dining room but every time I walked past it I felt a massive heaviness.  The thought of being in it for three days just filled me with dread.

The day arrived and instead of the rain we were in the midst of a mini heat wave.  My purple poncho was not required !

I hadn’t travelled up to London on a train for a long time and was really surprised how wonderfully clean the train was, how smooth it was too, no jigging and swaying, it was as if it was gliding along.  There was an allocated space for the wheelchair so it wasn’t in anyones way, nicely tucked in a specially designed rack.  It was a truly lovely journey.  Comfortable seats, light and airy, just sitting chatting and enjoying the beautiful scenery of Hampshire and Surrey. Everyone at the railway station had been so helpful and nothing was too much trouble. 

When we arrived at Waterloo we made our way out to the taxi rank and I was pleasantly surprised at how everyone happily moved out of the way, smiling at me whilst they apologised for being where they had every right to be.  The taxi driver too was a happy soul, cheerily chatting to us as he drove us to our destination. The wheelchair folded down and was no problem in the back of the cab. 

We were expecting a very small apartment, basically a bed-sit, but at least somewhere with a separate sitting area and a kitchenette.  I couldn’t believe it when we were shown to a very stylish split-level loft-style apartment with far more space that we had ever imagined.  We had huge windows with views over beautiful gardens and every modern gadget you could possibly require and very importantly, being in the middle of a heat wave, it had air conditioning too.  It was totally fabulous. 

In the evening we decided to go for a stroll and find somewhere to eat.  It had been such a hot day it was great to be out and about, albeit that I was being pushed along in my wheelchair.  I had lived in South Kensington with my twin sister when we were 18 years old and hadn’t been back to that area for many many years.  Amazingly I still knew my way around and before we knew it we were right outside the garden flat (a posh way of saying  basement flat) that Tina and I had shared all those years ago.  The whole area still looked exactly as it had done in the mid 70’s and I could direct Simon to some great places to eat.  We found an Italian restaurant in Gloucester Road and sat outside in the warmth of the evening enjoying a wonderful supper.  I couldn’t believe so many people where out and about, it was almost a party atmosphere.  I felt 18 all over again!! Yet again, everyone offered us assistance and gladly moved out of the way as I was wheeled along.

 The next day we were up at the crack of dawn to go to Chelsea! We arrived super early and for the first couple of hours we could easily navigate around the various exhibits but as the time went on it became increasingly busy until there was not even a foot in front of me.  Simon had to be so patient waiting for people to move before he could gently weave the wheelchair through the crowds without clipping people’s ankles.  Yet again, people were so kind, some even calling out ‘wheelchair coming through’ and everyone, without exception, would happily move out of the way. 

Looking at the show gardens was just brilliant.  There were crowds, several people deep, all vying to take a look at the gardens, and yet when they saw me in my wheelchair people would move away from the barriers and let me through ….  right to the front!  Not only did I have the best view in the house (so to speak) but on a couple of occasions, the actual designers came over and chatted with me.  They would explain the reason for the design, why they chose certain architectural structures and how they had decided which plants to use.  I felt like a V.I.P.!!

I saw that the queues for the ladies loos were a mile long and thought that I’d just have to sit and wait it out with everyone else, at least I was sitting down and on my new cushion I couldn’t have been more comfortable.  We only waited a couple of moments and I couldn’t believe it when an official lady very kindly asked me to take a totally different route and I was shown into a palatial loo, complete with its own basin and top of the range toiletries.

We had the most fantastic day, and, thanks to my wheelchair, we saw everything we could have ever wanted to with the very best possible views. It was everything I had ever hoped Chelsea would be.

It was only when we were leaving the apartment that we found they had upgraded our room, totally free of charge, no wonder it was so spacious and well equipped! That type of thing always seems to happen to other people but it happened to us!

Again, the train journey back was just great.  Everyone, from the moment we left the apartment, until we arrived home, was so helpful and friendly.  I can honestly say I felt I had been blessed the whole weekend.  I was humbled by the incredible kindness of every single person we met.  Not one person complained that I was in the way, or that they had to move for me.  Everywhere we went people asked if we needed help, if there was anything they could do for us.  It was incredible.  When you think of all the people we had come into contact with over that weekend, and it seriously must have been in the hundreds, it was amazing how every one of them showed  such consideration.

We are all open to the news, whether it’s through newspapers (which I actually don’t read) or through the tv or radio, and the reports always seem to show that the world is full of rude and uncaring people, that we live in a world of selfishness.  I can’t believe that we were just lucky with who we happened to meet  in London, it proved to me that virtually everyone is actually basically good.  Isn’t it a great pity that our news doesn’t reflect the reality of the society we live in?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our news corporations gave us a more even view of our world, rather than focussing, as they do, on acts of violence and betrayal?

So, after all my despondency, seriously considering cancelling the whole weekend and concerns about using my wheelchair,  I loved our  break in London.  I have some wonderful memories of our time at Chelsea, but I know what will stay with me forever were the overwhelming gifts of kindness and thoughtfulness that we experienced from perfect strangers.  The world  is a far better place than most of us realise. It really was one of the most inspirational experiences.

42) An Apology

The pier at Burnham-on-Sea

The pier at Burnham-on-Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I owe God an apology.  Well in fact it’s an apology both to God and Jesus.  It’s an apology from myself and also on behalf of my twin sister Tina, as we were in cahoots at the time, so I hope they will accept this from both of us.

When we were about eleven years old, Mum was, spiritually speaking, trying to finding her way.  From my earliest memories I remember Mum trying various religions.  Some she would really get involved in and others she would dismiss very quickly. She was a natural medium, but even with the knowledge that spirit is energy and so, ever-lasting, she was still searching for the meaning of life and felt that ‘somewhere’, ‘ out there’ she would find it.

She was working as a secretary for an airline in Hounslow, Middlesex,  close to Heathrow Airport, and it was there that she met another secretary, Jean.  Jean was a staunch member of the Plymouth Brethren Church.  Unfortunately for us, Mum thought that this religion might be the one that we should all take on board.  All, meaning Mum and Tina and myself, as Dad would never step foot inside a church and by that time our older brother,Ray, was more into becoming a hippy and playing his guitar than wanting to find himself embroiled in some religious activities.

Jean belonged to a small Plymouth Brethren church that Tina and I attended with Mum on a few occasions.  The whole place was very understated and to me felt totally flat.  There was no atmosphere at all, no feeling of joyous celebrations of life, just really boring sermons, uncomfortable chairs and self-righteous middle-aged ladies, faces scrubbed clean and dressed in drab neat boring clothes.   They had such strict rules which basically meant that if you were to become one of them you wouldn’t be able to have much fun at all. I couldn’t help but wonder why Mum was at all interested in this very odd religion, but I think that the stranger it appeared, the more Mum thought there must be something to it.  I am also sure that Jean felt that she could somehow change Mum, give her ‘real’ values and that she would throw away her makeup bag, her fashionable clothes, and become just like Jean – a mouse of a woman who spent her life adhering to the strictest of religious rules.  Jean must have been very persuasive to get Mum to even consider joining.

Jean asked Mum if  Tina and I would like to go on a Plymouth Brethren holiday and she had said yes.  Mum told us that it would be really good fun and that she felt we hadn’t given the church much of a chance.  Reluctantly we agreed to go, after all, we thought, it might be ok because it meant that we would be away on holiday just the two of us for the very first time.  We really thought that it couldn’t possibly be that bad!

We had never been camping before and this was a holiday in big tents, so we really were quite excited as we packed our tee shirts and shorts and swimming costumes.  I remember feeling so grown up as I carried my own suitcase onto the coach.  The holiday was at a campsite at Brean Sands in Somerset, right beside the sea.  To me as a child, a seaside holiday meant making sand castles, sunbathing, sticks of rock, chips and fizzy drinks, , swimming in the sea, playing in penny arcades and donkey rides. I imagined us all sitting round a camp fire at night singing jolly songs.

When we arrived we were all shown to our tents with our allotted sleeping bags already laid out on the ground.  It didn’t look at all comfortable! There was a large wooden cabin were we all had to meet up for meals and for ‘meetings’.  The lady in charge was called ‘Captain’, I would think she was in her mid fifties and wore a rigid black suit with a high neck buttoned white blouse, not your usual holiday clothes at all.  She looked like a sergeant major to me and I had an uneasy feeling about her from the off.  It was obvious she already knew lots of the other children and her tight-lipped stern expression only softened into a smile when she was addressing those she knew.  The rest of us were greeted with a scowl and a look of disdain.  Not the best welcome to a week-long holiday.

After sorting out our clothes we had to go the cabin for our tea.  Captain sat at the top table and before we’d even eaten a sandwich she was standing up calling from a register and issuing your orders for the week.  When she came to Tina and I she told us that we were on latrine duty.  I had no idea what a latrine was but soon found out. Basically we were going to be toilet attendants for the week.  Somehow that did not thrill us.

After tea we were told that the Bible verse for the week was John 10, verse 10. ‘The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly’.  Captain explained that what that meant was that we were all sinners and unless we behaved ourselves and repented that we would not go to heaven.  I was really worried, because I knew that I wasn’t always good and had sometimes been naughty.  I was convinced that there was no way I was ever going to be able to get into heaven.  That first night when I went to sleep, in my sleeping bag on the lumpy ground, I was trying so hard not to cry because I really thought I was going to be in such trouble with God.

The following morning after breakfast (and prayers …. lots of prayers) Tina and I had to carry out our latrine duties for the first time.  The loos were dreadful.  Everything smelt of jeyes fluid and the brushes for cleaning the toilet bowls had seen better days. It was not a pleasant task.  I can’t begin to explain the state of some of the seats …. I still don’t know how they ever got like that.    We had though been told that we would off on a bus to go to the beach for the rest of the day, so that was something we could really look forward to.

We all went and waited at the bus stop with our swimming costumes and towels full of happy thoughts for the day ahead.  The bus arrived, complete with some local passengers and on we all got.  Much to our absolute horror,  Captain got everyone singing hymns. “S-A-V-I-O-U-R- we want you all to know, you’re the one, the only one who saves from sin (saves from sin), if in him, you will believe, his pardon you’ll receive”, etc etc.  I felt a total fool with everyone staring at us.  I had no option but to get used to it, because it happened everyday for the whole week.  I just kept thinking that no-one would know Tina and I and at least we weren’t singing hymns on a bus where we lived.

Even on the beach the theme of the week continued.  We were dispatched to sandcastle making teams.  It was all very formal and efficient.  Each team was given a passage from the bible that you had to make into a sand sculpture.  My team had the verse ‘For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few be they that find it.’  Captain explained that in order to get into heaven we had to walk along the narrow path , but that most of us walked a wider path.  There was that threat again.  Behave … or else!  There was no swimming, no boat rides, no ice creams. No fun at all.

To me, even at that young age, I felt that their whole philosophy was one of fear. So it went on through the whole week.  I really wasn’t sleeping very well and both Tina and I cried ourselves to sleep every night because our worries were growing by the day.  I made the massive mistake of asking Captain if we would be able to go to the pier and the fun fair.  My goodness, she was not happy with me at all.  I was told that I was sinful to want to go against the teachings of the bible. Then to top it off Tina and I were severely reprimanded by Captain, in front of everyone, because we were found walking across a field towards a donkey derby, which we were told, was strictly against God. That’s it, I thought, I’ve totally had it now.  I was convinced that I was going to hell.

It was becoming an increasingly miserable time apart from every night, after the sermon, when other children were standing up telling how they had found Jesus or God.  Everyone would be clapping and they would then become an accepted member of the group. It was obvious to us that there were very few left who hadn’t found Jesus, and we were definitely among those few!  It also appeared that those people who had just found God or Jesus were  given the better jobs within the camp.  People who had been on rubbish patrol would be moved to cutlery placing, those on washing up were put on bread and butter service.  It seemed that was the only way to get ahead.  Tina and I reckoned that as we were already in so much trouble and we were going to go to hell anyway, we would hatch a plan  to get out of latrine duties!

The following evening, after we had cleaned the loos before supper, we had our course of action in place.  After we had eaten and said more prayers, and Captain had given us all yet another lengthy sermon on behaving, we stood up in unison.  We told her we had found Jesus behind the cabin. She did look a little stunned, but managed a very small smile and everyone started clapping wildly.  “The twins have found Jesus”, “the twins have found Jesus” they exclaimed excitedly! People gathered round us and hugged us.  Suddenly we were no longer the outsiders, we were part of the group.

The next morning after breakfast we were given new instructions for the rest of the week .  No longer did we have to clean the loos, we were told we would be in charge of handing out breakfast cereals and porridge.  We had certainly been promoted.  Our plan had worked!  Then, the dreaded guilt set in.  The realisation of the lies we had told and the total certainty of an everlasting life in hell really took its toll on both of us.  We couldn’t wait to get home to talk to Mum and Dad.  We were praying they could somehow fix everything with Jesus and God.

Thankfully the time to go home eventually arrived.  Even now, forty-five years later, I remember how long that week felt. Mum and Dad met us at the coach station and had expected to be meeting two very happy sun tanned girls.  Instead we got off the coach and just fell into their arms crying.  Through sobs we told them that we were going to hell.  We really were distraught.  They asked us to explain what had happened and after we had, they told us there was no way in the world we would be going to hell. Dad really was quite cross that anyone could put such fear into children but was laughing uncontrollably when we told him about us finding Jesus behind the cabin. Mum explained that God is love and that there is no way in the world that God would want anyone to be frightened of him. Quite seriously it took months for Tina and I to get over the fears that had been instilled in us that week.  Mum, thankfully,  decided not to go to the church with Jean ever again and was very pleased when Jean moved offices!

Now, as an older woman, with many years of life’s experiences under my belt, I feel that the higher spirit, the creator of our universe, is as Mum said, pure love. Of that I have absolutely no doubt.  I tend to follow my own spiritual pathway and rarely become involved in anything termed as ‘religion’, although I pray every night, and happily pray with friends.

I believe with all my heart that we all share a creator, no matter the title that anyone or any group may give to this divine spirit, and that this creator would never want to threaten or frighten, but instead would wish to instill love and compassion and empathy in all those who live.

I do still wonder whether the other children on that holiday were as frightened as we were. A whole week of being indoctrinated is pretty hard for an adult, never mind a young child.  Thank goodness Tina and I had each other and parents who showed us, through example and guidance, what a wonder our creator truly is.  I do though still wish to apologise for telling the lie about finding Jesus behind the cabin.  Quite possibly (hopefully) God and Jesus had a good laugh about it.  I am hoping they have a good sense of humour!

34) It’s Only a Number!

A picture of a birthday cake

I’ve just had a birthday.  Hooray!

The problem is that I can’t get used to being so ‘old’.  Although my body doesn’t exactly feel ‘young’, my head, my mind and my heart does.  I’m like a ‘cut and shut’ where bits of me just don’t fit together quite right.  My body hasn’t felt very young for a number of years now. Due to a chronic illness I always have pain somewhere and the lack of energy is annoying, but I’ve got used to that over time, it’s been with me for nineteen years, so I should have by now!

No, now the problem is that my body is actually ageing.  I’ve noticed the wrinkles deepening and my eyelids kind of folding over, its difficult to describe, but all of my eyelids used to be visible, but now there is extra skin that hangs over them – I’m sure there is a technical name for it – but it’s happened all of a sudden.  My legs have never been my strong point, being knock-kneed how I rejoiced when maxi dresses came back into fashion, but now they too are beginning to look like old lady legs.  As I’ve aged I’m seeing more and more the family genes take over.  Auntie Violet legs – thanks Auntie!

My twin used to be very good at pointing out my short comings, but since her stroke she hasn’t so much and I have been thankful for that.  Last Friday when she came over she was looking intently at my hands.  Now, she doesn’t often say a lot these days so I normally relish a conversation with her, but on Friday she was not having a good day and was more ‘there’ (wherever that is), than ‘here’, so when she started to talk I was really pleased. “You’ve got”, she looked as if she was frustrated trying to talk, “You’ve got” she tried again, “What am I trying to say?”, “I don’t know sis” I replied, as I often do, because she often asks that.  There was another long pause and I always imagine her brain is trying to get into gear, “You’ve got  age spots on your hands” she piped up with a big smile, “Oh” I said, a little shocked, “and your hands” she went on, “your hands”, I waited patiently as she gathered her thoughts once again, “your hands aren’t looking so pretty these days, they look wrinkly”.  Gee, thanks sis!  Well that was certainly worth waiting for!

I hadn’t really looked at her hands before, they are lily white as she has been indoors for almost three years now and she only had one very tiny insignificant age spot.  One of her habits since her stroke is applying hand lotion many many times a day, so I must admit her hands do look very soft.  Maybe it should become one of my habits too. She isn’t capable of doing any housework or washing up either and I’m sure that plays a big role in my wrinkly, aged spots hand syndrome! Bless her!

I think the reason this birthday has hit me harder than all the rest is that it really is the heading towards sixty birthday, I can’t say I’m in my early fifties anymore, I’ve tilted over the edge of fifty five and fifty six does sound so very grown up! I think, for all of us who have gained some weight, we can look in the mirror and think about when we are slim again, there is a hope that one day we may shed the weight and be back to our ‘real’ slim selves.  For me too, there is always the hope that one day I am going to wake up well, that my illness will have scuttled off into the night, never to darken my door again, and I will once again return to the ‘real’ healthy, full of vitality, capable of anything, me.  But, looking in the mirror now, seeing my droopy eyelids and, thanks to Tina, being aware of my aged hands, there is no hope that one day the droops will disappear and the wrinkles will all smooth out.  I’m not even going to consider discussing the other, more covered up, bits of me, that are patently struggling with age.  A girl (or maybe I should at this age say woman) does have to keep some dignity! No, this is it.  It really is the beginning of me looking old.

I was chatting to my sister-in-law Wendy just before my birthday.  Wendy is sixteen years younger than me (eek, I’m ‘just’ old enough to be her mother!), she is extremely pretty, very petite and super fit.  She goes to the gym most days and also leads a very busy life as a hairdresser, a Mum to my two beautiful neices and has a very active social life.  She is also, absolutely lovely and great fun to be with.  As the years have gone by and we have got to know each other better we enjoy an easy relationship and chat away and discuss anything and everything.  I’m so lucky to have her as my sis-in-law.  She was asking me how old I was going to be and when I told her she said it is just a number. I laughed, yes, I agreed, but said it was a bloomin’ big number!

This week there was the shocking news of the death of Whitney Houston and it really got me thinking.  She had died when she was only forty eight years old.  I met Simon when I was that age, and how I would have hated to have missed the wonderful time we have shared together.  I have met so many wonderful new people since moving to Hampshire when I was forty eight.  For me it was an age when my life turned around, when I had the courage to stand up and be me, to leave an old life and start afresh.   I didn’t have Whitneys fame, her talent, her money or her looks, but I did have my own identity, which I sadly feel she was lacking.  How sad that her life ended when my new life had just begun.  I was thinking that Whitney won’t ever be old enough to be complaining about droopy eyelids and how very fortunate I am to have made it to have a big number birthday.

How sad that so many amazingly talented people just can’t cope with their lives and end up relying so heavily on drugs and alcohol to get through.  I wonder how many of them feel lonely, how many question who really likes them for who they are, not what they have or what they can do for them? It must be tough to cope with public adulation when in your heart you are not prepared, when deep down you must know that you are not coping with the success.

I find it strange how many young people say they want to be famous, and yet fame has so many drawbacks, I just don’t understand why anyone would want to be in a position where they can’t even pop out to their local shops without someone taking a snap of them. Where everyone feels they have the right to comment on and often criticise what you wear, who you spend your time with, what you do. What a dreadful way to live your life!

Hopefully Whitney is now beginning a new life in spirit where she will be able to realise how amazingly fortunate she was in so many ways, where she will be able to find some of the joy she had in her life here.  I do hope that her soul will heal and with help she will be able to move forward along her pathway. Maybe in her next incarnation she will again have the voice of an angel, but our society may have moved on and she will not be put on such a pedestal, where from such a great height so many have fallen.  Maybe next time she’ll happily get to the big number birthdays.  Let’s hope so.

32) Legal Beagles

English: Public court room in Independence Hall

We all think we are right!  It’s so true. We all think we are right because we see everything from our perspective.  It is how we are.  We often find great difficulty in looking at a situation from someone elses point of view.  It is very challenging to try to put yourself in someone elses shoes, to look at the world the way they see it. I feel it is impossible, even no matter how hard we try, to truly appreciate what someone is going through, to actually feel their joy, their pain, their concerns. And yet, even though we can never completely understand what it is  like to be someone else, we somehow feel we have the right to judge them.

Many of us make judgements about people’s physical appearance.  We make comments about their  choice of clothes, hairstyle, weight etc.   Even if we don’t verbalise what we are thinking, most of us do still think it.  How many times have you seen someone and within a millisecond a thought rushes through your head about how that person looks?  It is a habit that is so easy to get into. Even worse we think we know how to dress them better than themselves!  How can we always be so sure?  I might never ever in a million years wear a pink leather mini-skirt with high heels and wear bright red lipstick – but who says that I am right?  My choice in clothes most probably looks as dull as dishwater to someone else.

Have you met a friend’s partner and immediately made a snap judgement about them?  Just a look, just one word, or the way they dress can be enough for your brain to warp into judgement mode.  Even the way someone speaks, their accent,  can lead us to make sweeping judgements that could be totally wrong!

Our magazines and newspapers are full of judgements about people in the public eye.  Reporters judge everything about people: their lives, their love lives,  finances, children,  homes, even their political views.  Unfortunately it is rarely objective, and usually biased to entice more readers to read all the latest gossip, no matter if the ‘victim’ is a pop singer, a politician or a member of the royal family.  All appear to be fair game.  Even countries are attacked in the press, their cultures, their traditions, their politics.  It is felt that we are able to judge anyone/any country  who/that does not do as we think they should, who does not comply with what we consider is normal or correct.

I enjoy listening to lively debates on the radio and it surprises me how often I change my mind as I carry on listening to different views.  To begin with I am sure that Mr ‘A’ is making perfect sense, then Mr ‘B’ will chip in with his remarks and I start thinking, well, actually that really does make sense, then listening to Mr ‘A’ respond, I am once again seeing and appreciating his point of view.  From listening to so many over the years I have come to the conclusion that it is very difficult to tell the right viewpoint from the wrong one.  Even to the point where I wonder at times if there always is a right or a wrong one! It all depends from which angle you are looking at it.  As an onlooker it can be almost impossible to make a decision of who is right, but if you are personally involved then it becomes even more difficult to be objective.

My husband had to complete jury service recently.  Although he couldn’t discuss the case with me, I knew he was finding it very difficult to make a judgement about the ‘accused’.  Some days he would come home and feel he had totally understood what had happened and would appear relaxed. On other days he would come home obviously agitated after further evidence had been submitted into court which threw a spanner in the works, and suddenly the case didn’t appear as black and white as it had a couple of days before.  In the final days of the trial it was evident that Simon was really struggling.  He is a fair-minded man and was so concerned that he would come to the wrong conclusion, that because of his judgement an innocent man may spend time in prison.  Then he would be worried that if he judged the man innocent, and he was actually guilty, that he would be walking free in society, and what could be the possible consequences of that.    After much debate the jury found the accused guilty and Simon said he was so pleased when his previous convictions were read out and he had carried out similar crimes several times before.  He felt that they had come to the right decision.  His relief when it was all over was amazing.  The experience had really brought home the massive responsibility that there is in making judgements. Goodness knows how I’d ever cope if I had to sit on a jury!!

I do wonder what makes someone decide to commit a crime.  I have no idea of the mindset or thought process that you would go through to plan to take part in something criminal.  I avoid arguments and conflict as much as possible but it has crossed my mind whether someone decides to be abusive to someone else, either physically or verbally, or if it just happens, almost beyond their  control.  I do however know that I am extremely fortunate that I am not them, but somehow I used to think I had the right to judge them, not that I would normally tell others what I was thinking, but in my head I would be making judgements.  What right did I possibly have to do that?

I was sitting quietly one day, thinking about what is right and what is wrong, when I received the following words from one of my writing guides.

Look kindly on your fellow-man

Do not judge too harshly

For where he walks you too may tread

And understand his pathway

Just a few lines, but I feel it is a such powerful  message.  I have  had these words run through my mind so many many times over the years.  When I catch myself making a judgement about someone, suddenly I’ll hear the words “Look kindly on your fellow-man, do not judge too harshly ….” I immediately try to consider where that person is in their life and always ask myself “Who am I to judge?”  I cannot possibly imagine what made them make their choices about their lifestyle, their behaviour.  I have not shared in their life and come to their conclusions. I try to accept others as they are, accept they have their own opinions and have their own roads to follow.

Of course I’m not talking about our formal legal systems, these have to be in place, and we accept that our society chooses people to make legal judgements.  That is totally different to the judgements we all make that I am talking about here.

It  also made me think about the soul choices we make we enter this incarnation.  We can’t all choose to be kind and thoughtful or we would not be able to learn what is right and what is wrong, how to behave with care and generosity towards others.  How tough it must be to live your life as one of those people who are always on the wrong side of our man-made laws. How tough to wake up in the morning and know in your heart that you have been cruel or mean.  We can’t all be the same, we are all unique in almost every way and I say thank goodness for that.  In our diversity we have literally hundreds of thousands of choices throughout our lives, and who should ever judge us for them?  Only ourselves.  My guides know that we are not saints, that we have our human foibles, that we will most likely always make judgements, I feel it is a rare person who never does.  But, if you do find yourself judging, please just think of the words I received, and try not to be too harsh!

30) You’ve Got a Friend

You've Got a Friend

How many times in your life have you felt utterly alone? Felt there was no-one who was there was for you? Felt that no-one could understand what you were going through?

Sometimes the very fact that you put a brave face on it, no matter the tough times you are going through, can actually back-fire because everyone thinks that everything in your life is fine.  Or, maybe people think that you are one of those lucky few who can cope admirably with anything that is thrown at them.  Could it be that maybe your pride is getting in the way of being honest and you prefer people to think that you are ‘strong’ ?

How difficult it can be to be able to reach out when you desperately need a friend.

After I left Devon and moved to Hampshire with my twin sister, Tina, and her family, I was in a very odd ‘friend free’ zone for the first time in my life.   After 26 years I had finally plucked up the courage to end my marriage and within a matter of weeks  many of my friends were doing exactly the same! It was as if a cosmic switch had come on somewhere and we all decided that enough was enough.  My friends are scattered throughout England, and very strangely, all were going through their own very similar difficult and often traumatic times.  After they had separated from their husbands they had all stayed in the same towns, so at least they had their local friends around them for support, but due to my ex’s threatening behaviour I decided it was better (and I felt safer) moving far away.

Friends that I had been in regular contact with for years were busy dealing with their own problems and I felt that I couldn’t bother them with my own worries at that time. Tina and her husband, Woody, had adopted six learning disabled children, whose ages ranged from two to fifteen, so they too were pretty busy,  sorting out the often complicated special educational and medical needs that the children required in a new area.  It was extremely rare for me to get more than a minute or so alone with Tina for a chat, there was always someone who needed her.

Tina and Woody had rented a very large old house so that the children could each have their own bedrooms and fortuitously  it had a two bedroom annexe that was perfect for me.  Although it was not as grand as the main house, it too had large rooms, all decorated in a very gaudy colours by the previous tenant.  The carpets alone were enough to give you a headache.  The main lounge was fluorescent yellow, the second bedroom, vibrant lime green and my bedroom was bubble gum pink!

Although I had not one jot of regret for the decision I had made, and knew I was fortunate to have a roof over my head, I suddenly found myself in an alien environment.  My ex-home was hundreds of miles away, I had none of my treasured possessions around me, none of the comforts of my previous life.    I didn’t have one stick of furniture so went to the local D.I.Y. store and bought the last two fold up garden chairs they had as it was the end of the summer season.  They were vibrant yellow and green so almost ‘matched’ the carpet in the lounge and as a bonus they came with cushions, which looked far more comfortable than they really were as I soon found out when I sat on one when I got home.  I had never sat on such lumpy cushions.  I also bought a table lamp and a small table, so that I could have somewhere to put my coffee, and a small radio so that I could at least have some music to keep me company. I had virtually no money, no income and most of my clothes were still at my old house, so not much at all.  My sister had loaned me a single bed and bedding which looked lost in the massive bedroom.

I remember one evening sitting on one of my lumpy cushioned chairs looking out over the garden which was a tangled mess of laurels and holly trees at the time.  I remember feeling so terribly lost.  I knew that all the legalities involved in both the divorce and the selling and splitting of assets from my marriage were obviously not going to happen overnight.  I felt I was in limbo and  as if I didn’t belong anywhere, like I had no roots.  I don’t think I’d realised how much I had relied on the roots of my life, the roots that come with familiarity of where you live, the friends you see, who you are with, what you are doing everyday.

It is often at times like these when we have to learn to become super resilient, super self-reliant, it is almost as if the universe conspires to put us in a place where we have no option but to dig deep, to delve into our soul’s reserves and find the strength from within ourselves to overcome our fears and concerns.

The realisation of my uncertain future really hit me that night.  I concluded that I could look at my life in two opposing ways.  I could think how dreadful it was, sitting alone in this cold quiet emptiness that was devoid of anything that meant anything at all to me, or try to look at my new circumstances as a blank canvas, ready for the new adventures of my life to be captured in bright cheerful warm colours.

I was so fortunate in that I felt that I could call on spirit, my guides, my helpers, my loved ones who had passed, and asked them  if they could come close. I had a need to know that I did at least, still have my spiritual roots to build on.

As I was sitting there, deep in thought, thinking of  my spirit friends, the sun was setting and the most beautiful deep pink and golden rays of the sunset came streaming through my window.  I felt my spirits lift, and my immediate thought was that old saying, ‘red sky at night, shepherds delight’ and felt a smile from within.

I shook myself out of my melancholy moment and put on the radio. Of all the songs that could have been playing  I heard James Taylor singing one of my favourites.  I had no doubt that spirit had played a part in my putting the radio on at that exact time, the choice of the music, and the station I was tuned to.   I felt my heart fill with love and comfort as I knew I had received a spiritual hug. Whenever I feel alone now, when I start to miss those that I loved so dearly, I think of that magic moment and the enormous effort that I am sure my family and friends spirit-side put into getting that message to me so clearly.  I know that all I have to do is close my eyes, think of them, and they will be here, right beside me.

Written and performed by Carole King, but actually made famous by James Taylor, “You’ve got a friend”.

You’ve Got a Friend

When you’re down and troubled
and you need a helping hand
and nothing, ooh, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name,
and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby
to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
all you have to do is call
and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah
You’ve got a friend.

If the sky above you
should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
and soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name,
and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
all you go to do is call
and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah

Hey, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend?
People can be so cold.
They’ll hurt you and desert you.
Well they’ll take your soul if you let them.
Oh yeah, but don’t you let them.

You just call out my name,
and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Oh babe, don’t you know that,
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
Hey now, all you’ve got to do is call.
Lord, I’ll be there, yes I will.
You’ve got a friend.
You’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend.
You’ve got a friend

29) Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!

Smiley Face

How easy it is to be a moaning Minnie.   I’m sure we all know someone (or ….. gulp, even ourselves sometimes) who get into moaning mode all too easily.

When I look back, which is far easier than looking forward, I know there have been times in my life when someone has asked ” How are you?” and it’s been all too easy to forget all the positives in my life and have a good old moan.  I honestly believe that there’s nothing wrong with that occasionally, we all go through difficult, challenging, heartbreaking times when I think we should not chastise ourselves for moaning, especially to our closest friends who are trying to help us, but it’s the habit of moaning that I’m writing about today.

I used to have a Father-in-law who could have moaned for England.  Seriously if there was a gold medal in moaning he would have been on the podium each and every day.  No matter what you did or what you said, he’d find something to moan about.  When we were first married we went to visit him in our old car, he complained that we were obviously not working hard enough and should be ashamed at driving an old banger.  A couple of years later we drove up to see him and we had a new car.  I couldn’t believe it when he started moaning that it was obviously alright for us, swanning around like we were above everyone else because we had a new car!  We just couldn’t win.

His wife, my ex-Mother-in-law, was also a pretty good moaner. She was staying with us for a while (too long!) and I remember asking her if she had any preference for lunch, whether she would like a hot cooked meal, or a light cold lunch.  She said she didn’t mind.  I even asked her if she was sure and she said yes, anything would be fine.  I was immensely busy at work so prepared a salad with some homemade bread.  She scowled as I put the meal on the table.  “I would have preferred a hot meal”  she moaned.  I can honestly say that in the twenty-six years I knew her, it was a very rare event that she made a happy, upbeat or positive comment about anything. They were obviously well matched.  In fact, thinking about, I can’t think of one instance where she was genuinely pleased with her lot.  How very sad.

I believe that this personality trait actually ages you.  When I first met my ex in-laws, when I was in my early twenties, I assumed that they had been old parents when my ex-husband was born.  Their whole house felt grey and dowdy.  Wrongly, I presumed that they were ancient, which to me at the time was anyone past sixty (how our perspective changes as we head toward the higher ‘tens’ ourselves).  In reality they were exactly the same age as my parents, and had in fact been extremely young parents.  You just would never have believed it had you met them.  The difference between them and my parents was that mine had the wonderful knack of finding the humour in everything, including themselves, they never took life too seriously.  Their houses were always colourful and full of life – they were not what I would call ‘grey’ people!

Dad had nicknames for everyone, my sister was Prunella Pimple Face and I was Fish Face Charlie – we never knew why – we just were!  He had a wonderful sense of timing where humour was concerned, saying just the right word at the right time.  Very dry and extremely observant, he did catch a few people off guard at times, which made it all the funnier! He went through some incredibly traumatic times in his life, both during his childhood, during his time in the war and in latter years, due to his health.  Amazingly though, through everything, my Dad always found something positive to say about every event in his life.

He had to undergo life threatening surgery when I was in my early teens.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to undergo surgery to remove one of his lungs.  This was in the late 1960’s and the medical treatments at that time weren’t as advanced as they are now, so it was very dangerous surgery at the time.  Dad had undergone a routine medical for the organisation he worked for and much to his horror a large shadow on his lung showed up on his chest X-ray.  He was taken into Harefield hospital and underwent an exploratory operation and they confirmed to Mum that he had lung cancer.  They gave her the choice whether to operate and possibly prolong his life by a matter of months, or to just leave it and let nature take it’s course.  Mum, after much consideration and heart searching, chose the operation.  Thank God she did, as when they operated they found that Dad didn’t have lung cancer after all.  He had an unusual form of tuberculosis in a cyst in his lung.  He was in hospital for quite a long time on a large ward. Everyone commented on how he was such a lively spirit and how he lifted the atmosphere.  Within a couple of days of the surgery he was cracking jokes, mainly about himself, and had everyone in stitches (pardon the pun).  I remember the sister on the ward saying that she would miss him so much when he went home because he had made their lives so much more enjoyable and how his warmth and humour had affected everyone so positively.  I was so proud of my Dad.

Mum too had difficult times but without fail she always managed to find something positive to say.  She used to quote Thumper from the film Bambi – “if you can’t say something nice don’t say nothin’ at all” , which is dreadfully difficult to adhere to at times (see above!), but she really did try to live by this, apart from when she and Dad were arguing, and then all their rules went out the window!

When Mum was busy working, more than full-time at times, she and Dad agreed to employ “a lady who does”, in other words, a cleaner.  I think it was Dad’s way of avoiding helping with the housework!  They employed a woman who left notes for Mum every time she left the house.  She complained that the vacuum cleaner wasn’t working properly, or that the polish Mum used wasn’t the right one, or that the broom wasn’t good enough, the house was too hot, the house was too cold etc.  The list was endless.  Dad called her “Mrs Moan-a-lot”, not to her face of course, but within the family.  The awful problem was that the name stuck and we could never remember her real name, which was embarrassing at times!

Mum and Dad had real highs and lows financially throughout their marriage.  Usually the highs where when they were both working for large companies and the lows were sometimes when Dad would start a new business and things didn’t always go so well.  They both took every opportunity they were ever given, even emigrating to Chicago in their mid-forties.  They sold their house and gave away everything they owned and off they went with huge smiles to start their new life.  Try as they could, they both hated living there!  They came back a year later and in that short time the property market had gone wild in England.  Neither of them had employment and their money, having been exchanged into dollars and back again, was nowhere near enough to buy a house again.  They moved into a bed sit and looked upon it as an adventure, both of them optimistic that something would ‘turn up’.

Much to everyone’s amazement, but no surprise to them, a large flat came up for rent in the town they both loved, Twickenham.  They had enough to put down the deposit and moved in to the two top floors of a large Victorian house.  Within a short time they both managed to find work they enjoyed within a short distance of their new home.  Two years later the landlord offered to rent them the ground floor flat as well and they jumped at it.  He was fine about them restoring the two flats back into one very beautiful large house.  Another year on and the landlord suddenly needed to liquidate his assets and offered Mum and Dad the whole house at a crazily low knock down price.  Of course they couldn’t refuse.  They bought the house, did a little work on it, and sold it six months later for a massive profit, putting them in a stronger position than when they had gone to America.  Mum took great delight in telling everyone that she had known everything would be alright.  Through all the ups and downs I never once heard them complain.  Dad used to say it was better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.  Mum being more of a romantic would quote, “it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.  Looking back I realise how amazingly lucky I was to have such a pair of positive optimistic parents, which at the time I suppose I assumed everyone had.

Strangely I feel like my journey through life has always shown me two sides of everything.  I do believe that my parents were a couple of old souls, who made light of their problems and put a positive spin on their difficulties and challenges.  I wonder if my ex-in laws were younger souls.  In reality, they had very little to complain about it, but moaned about inconsequential things most of the time. My ex-in laws were pessimists about everything and saw life as a dull routine to be gotten through, whereas my parents were invariably optimistic and saw life as exciting  and enlightening.  How fortunate I was to have chosen them. I can appreciate why I feel that life is full of lessons because that is exactly what Mum and Dad taught me, and importantly, they taught me to ignore the dull routine and always look on the bright side of life!

28) Great Expectations

English: New Year fireworks at the London Eye

Will your world change after midnight?

Every New Year’s Eve there is a global feeling of anticipation that changes are afoot.  No matter where you are, who you are with or what you are doing, it is almost impossible to miss the  dawning of the new year.  All around the world there are massive celebrations, huge displays of fireworks, parties arranged and a feeling of camaraderie that only exists for maybe even just a few minutes either side of midnight.  If you are in a large city or even at a local event, complete strangers may well hug and kiss and you and wish you a happy new year.

And then, the morning arrives, and all is back to normal.  What happened to the optimism of the night before? Where has the camaraderie gone?  Is there any perceivable change in your life from yesterday?

No other species on our planet celebrates New Year.  I’ve never seen sheep dancing in a field at midnight! So why do we feel the need to make such a big deal out of a change of year in our calendars? Is it that we have an intrinsic need to focus on the possibility of change for good?  Is it that we are dissatisfied with our lives and want a better future?  Why is there such a negative spin in our news through most of the year, and maybe just a glimmer of positivity on New Year’s Eve?  Why do we look forward to the New Year rather than spend time celebrating the year we have just had?    How many people will look back at the year that is coming to a close and be thankful for the experiences they have enjoyed, the spiritual advances they have made, the new friendships formed, the new lives that have begun, the understanding and compassion that has been shown to them, or they have  shown to others? It always feels to me that it’s all about looking forward to the new and getting rid of the past.  What a shame.

I just read a wonderful blog written by a woman who has been making huge changes to her life.  About accepting that she didn’t have to be superwoman after all, that she can feel free to follow her dreams. I felt that this arrived in my inbox at just the right time to be included in this end of year posting.  She importantly mentioned the notion of ‘having it all’ and as I commented on her post, I thought long and hard about that well used phrase. Why can’t we have it all, I wondered?  But, most importantly, we first have to qualify what having it all truly means to each of us individually. It will be different for each and every one of us.  None of us have to adhere to the classic examples portrayed in the media, to the general consensus, to society’s view of what this phrase means.  No, we can take it and shape it to suit us.

My interpretation of  having it all had to change drastically when I became chronically ill, when my life had no option but to become smaller.  Suddenly, having it all had to alter to fit in with my physical capabilities.  My expectations had to change. It took a long time to adjust, but now I can say I truly feel fulfilled,  feel loved, respected and accepted.  I am true to my beliefs,  to my spiritual goals,  to my souls desires.  That to me is having it all.  I don’t try to be something I’m not and hope that I don’t expect that of others. My days of trying to be superwoman are long gone!

Instead of only focussing on what the New Year may bring to our lives,  just on New Year’s Eve, why not think of every new day as the dawning of a new year.  Feel the optimism and the camaraderie with others throughout the year. Consider what we, those we love and those who are in need, really require, and try to work towards that.  When we go to sleep at night remember to thank spirit for the positives we can take from the day and ask what our expectations and intentions should be for tomorrow.  Look at our lives and learn from our experiences. Feel if we have managed, in our own way,  to have it all, even just for that one day. Sense if we have inspired others and if we have been at all instrumental in them finding fulfilment in their lives.

Many people spend much time in thought and then make long lists of resolutions for the new year.  Maybe they find that the list will motivate them to bring about change in their lives.  Maybe their resolution list is in fact more of a wish list. How many of us have written this list and targeted massive changes that are due to take place from 1st January only to give up within a matter of days or even a couple of weeks?  The resolutions soon become forgotten.

So, for this change of year, as the clock passes midnight, and 2011 becomes 2012, I am not going to make a resolution.  I am instead going to make a promise to spirit.  I will promise to treat each day as a new dawn knowing it has the spiritual potential for the greatest of expectations.

Blogger Awards!!!

I was amazed and delighted to receive the Kreativ Blogger award from ‘Among Ghosts’ AND the Versatile Blogger award from ‘Life as I know it …”!!!  They feel like a belated Christmas pressies – how wonderful!

I gather that I now have to nominate other bloggers to receive these prestigious awards – so not only am I the grateful receiver, I am a judge too – lol!

So, here is my list and I do hope you will take the time to take a look at these blogs.  I enjoy them all for many different reasons.  Not all of them follow my own beliefs to the letter, but then that is what makes life interesting!

Six blogs for the Kreativ Blogger Award: 15 blogs for the Versatile Blogger Award:

http://www.crabbyoldfart.wordpress.com/

http://www.happinessforall.wordpress.com/

http://www.askamedium.wordpress.com/

http://www.anyonething.wordpress.com/

http://www.oldereyes.wordpress.com/

http://www.whisperingwordsofwisdom.wordpress.com/

http://www.siannaphey.wordpress.com/

http://www.jamesdez.wordpress.com/

http://www.showard76.wordpress.com/

http://www.lifewithhiccups.wordpress.com/

http://www.growingupweirdmedium.wordpress.com/

http://www.dark2light.wordpress.com/

http://www.delajus2.wordpress.com/

http://www.complexmuse.wordpress.com/

http://www.prairiewisdom.wordpress.com/

Also, part of receiving these awards, is that I have to share 7 things about myself for the Versatile Blogger Award and 10 things that not everyone would know about me for the Kreativ Blogger Award….. hmmm … tricky or what?

Ok, here goes:

1) I’m a ‘cougar’ – lol – I don’t feel like one but I gather I am as my husband is 13 years younger than me!

2) Strangely, my Mother-in-law is the same age as my ex-husband … isn’t life odd?

3) My body is one age (too old for my liking), my heart is years younger – see above!

4) I adore animals and if I won the lottery I would love to set up an animal sanctuary.

5) My favourite flower is a rose – I have masses of them in my garden, all repeat flowering with lots of delicious scents and many beautiful colours

6) My favourite smell in the whole wide world is freshly cut lawn

7)I love music and always have music playing – I dance too (but that’s not for the faint hearted)

Readers for the Versatile Blogger Award should stop reading now, for the Kreativ Blogger Award you are ‘allowed’ to read on!

8) I have a very deep singing voice – I sound like Rod Stewart or Alison Moyet

9) I don’t like my legs so I always wear trousers or very long skirts

10) I have a wicked sense of humour

Now all I have to do is work out how to send this information to all the above mentioned bloggers!  It took me over an hour to sort the award pictures, and I haven’t yet read up how to pop them on my blog yet …. but I can do that later!

Thanks once again to ‘Life as I know it…’ and ‘Among Ghosts’, I love both your blogs and look forward everyday to see what fresh insights will drop into my inbox.

19) Will we ever stop greed?

Ugandan anti-corruption sign

Almost wearily, and with more than a hint of despondency, I opened my topic for the day email.  At least I had the right intuitive thoughts, which were confirmed when I opened it, although I would much rather have been wrong.  Here it is: Why does corruption exist? Can it be stopped? What can bloggers do to help?

Another fantastic topic with a positive thought for the day ………….not! Come on guys, give us a break!  I had looked back over the years ‘blog a day’ ideas and there were so many that I thought would be fantastic to write about, which is why  I signed up to this crazy idea.   Please, for tomorrow, give us all something cheerful and uplifting to blog about.  PLEASE.

Back to todays ‘must do it, only because I said I would, blog’.

The very first word that springs to mind has to be greed.  In every society it seems that greed is one of the most prevalent emotions/traits, whatever you want to call it, that drives so many people.

With corruption, what is even worse, is that sometimes the perpetrator coerces the victim by a form of blackmail … if you don’t pay me, help me, support me, whatever…………. then I won’t …. give you the order, let you pass your exam, assist you in any way.

The awful truth is that corruption can take many forms.  In the classic sense I am sure that most of us think of countries where corruption is rife.  Where whole communities are run by people in power who only work because of the gains they can make through their corrupting regimes. More locally, in the UK, I am sure you’ve heard in the news where planning permission has been granted because of some financial gain for the planner from the builder.  I believe it is called colloquially, a back hander. It brings to mind so many negative ideas about the people in power.  Thats the whole crux of the matter. Power.  Give anyone a little power and for some they will use it wisely, for the betterment of others, but the weaker characters, and I do firmly believe they are weak, use that power to gain control and use  people to give themselves an advantage.

I have, in a small way, personal experience of corruption, and even now after several years, it still makes me angry.

I was the financial director of  a business for many years, and fortunately I was never asked, and certainly never offered, to give an incentive to any of our customers.  We endeavoured to offer the best quality products and service at competitive prices. Our reputation grew and the company did well.  However, after twenty years we  made the monumental decision to sell our business because of my ill-health. We were advised to build a solid management team who were to stay in place after the sale.  We employed a sales director who had previously worked for a large American organisation. We had known him for several years, he had worldwide contacts and an excellent reputation in our industry.

Within a few months of his arrival at our company he came to me with a good-sized order from a new customer.  I thought nothing of it, and just assumed that our prices and products had obviously been acceptable to the client.  However, much to my absolute astonishment, a few days later the sales director came to see me with a claim for a receipt he had.  He wanted me to pay him for a personal computer. I was perplexed. Why on earth would I do that?  He explained that he had only received the order from the new customer because he had agreed to give him a personal computer! I was stunned and appalled, I immediately said that the customer could take back his order and that we did not work like that.  The sales director informed me, in the most condescending manner, that in ‘real’ business, that’s the way the world worked.  I stuck to my guns and refused to budge. I refused the order from the client.  Every part of me wanted to sack the sales director on the spot.  His way of working was against every thread of my being.  How could we tolerate such behaviour in our business?  Also, I wondered,  what had he personally gained from this transaction?  I never did find out.

I was though stuck in a moral dilemma.  At that very time we were in the final stages of selling  and the prospective purchasers would not have approved of my terminating this mans employment, almost no matter what the circumstances.  They had insisted that in buying the company they would also be employing all the well-trained and valued staff we had, including the well oiled management team.

In the final days of the company sale, new employment contracts were issued to key personnel, including the sales director. They had all been aware of the impending sale for several months and we had ensured that the terms of their new contracts were as good, if not better, than their current ones.  I was flabbergasted when on the way to a pivotal meeting he rang me on my mobile.  He said he would refuse to sign the new contract unless we made it worth his while!  To begin with I thought he was joking but it became evident he was not.  A massive part of me just wanted to tell him not to bother to sign it and to call off the sale, but it had taken over a year to get to this point, my health was appalling and we were only three days away from completion.  Against everything that I had ever believed in we agreed to pay him a substantial amount of money to sign his contract.  The company was sold and ironically within three months he had left, to set up his own business.   I do wonder how much bribery, corruption and blackmail he has used or been involved with to enable his business to grow. How does he sleep at night? Does he have a conscience?

So, how do we, how does anyone, stop it?  There are new laws … the anti-bribery laws were put in place in April 2010 in the UK, but I wonder how easy it will be to apply them. How can blogging help with this?  Would this be a name and shame type of blog?  I can see this could be extremely dangerous in many circumstances and it is also far too easy for people who hold a grudge against someone to use a public blog to cause an innocent person possible irrevocable harm.

Sadly, very sadly, I think there always will be greedy people.  People who think that they have found a way to make easy money, no matter the cost to others. People who want their own way, to go against laws and legislation by offering to pay officials. Are they here in our lives to give us lessons to overcome?  All we can do, even if only in a small way, is to hope that people become enlightened to a new way of life, a way that shows that materialism is not  important in the huge scheme of life.

18) The Perfect Society

Well yesterday was day one  of  ‘blog a day’.  I thought it was a bit of a tough call, trying to come up with a blog about naming a currency.  However, today, wow, the guys at WordPress have surpassed themselves.

"We, the people" iPhone Wallpaper

Some kind soul decided that nothing would be better than to confound us daily bloggers with this wonderful exciting topic:  Explain the difference between socialism, communism and anarchy.

My first thought was can it get any more difficult or dull?  Which saddo is behind these daily blog ideas?  But, the more I pondered on this, the more I came to realise that I’m quite a politically minded woman with some fairly strong views.

It’s difficult to be objective about different political ideologies when I have only ever lived my life in a capitalist society.  I can look up socialism, communism and anarchy on the net.  But, does it really give a true interpretation of life under their rules? I suspect not.

I live in a capitalist country, and if you look up capitalism it sounds pretty good. It is supposed to be a ruling system that encourages an individuals economic growth. From that growth the idea is that we individuals can enjoy enormous freedom in all areas of our lives.  But, how true is that statement? How many people truly have the opportunity to enhance their lives just through their own volition? I have lived for well over 50 years and I know very few people who have been in a position to use their talents to make major improvements in their lives, or the lives of their families. I know I am generalizing, but, it appears to me that those in power tend to have had the best opportunities from the very beginning of their lives.  I find it is rare that someone from a disadvantaged background has exactly the same opportunities as one from n privileged one.

One of my friends and I have often discussed our society. We both feel a great sadness when we realise that at its core tends to be an overwhelming desire for more and more materialistic trappings, more consumerism, more consumption, rather than working towards a fairer society which looks after its more vulnerable.

It seems crazy to me that someone who chooses a career of care, for example, nursing, is paid far far less than those in the public eye.   Here in the UK we have ambulance drivers and firemen who cannot afford to buy the most basic homes for their families.  These are people who work tirelessly to help others.  If you look at our celebrity culture in the west, it appears that anyone who can sing, act, or kick a ball around a football field, can earn vast amounts of money.  Even those who are celebrities, just because they have been on a reality show, earn huge amounts  compared to people who are employed as the backbones of our society. Surely that just shows how capitalism has failed.

Now, if you then consider living under communist rule, from our western capitalistic viewpoint, everyone in a communistic society should be paid the same. We gather they should live in standard accommodation and expect the same levels of education, healthcare etc.  I wonder how true that is?  It sounds like utopia until you realise that some people are hard workers and others are clearly not.  Some are highly intelligent, some are not.  How would you feel if you worked exceptionally hard and were paid the same, had the same standards of living and lifestyle as someone who shirked as much as possible?  What would be your motivation to study or enhance your skills? How would you feel if you felt that no matter how hard you tried you could not improve your life? My overwhelming feeling  is one of personal imprisonment.

My favourite aunt was a staunch promoter of socialism.  She felt the ethos embodied total fairness and equality for all. A society where the working classes and minority groups are considered worthy.  A constitution that rules for a fair distribution of wealth. She was dismayed at the lack of support for socialism by the ruling classes. How easy would it be for those wealthy in the capitalist countries to agree to re-distribute some of their wealth? I would say nigh on an impossibility.

Most people would think that anarchy means that there is no order, no rules, no governing body. However, looking at this from a totally different viewpoint, you might even think that it could actually work.  Instead of a centralised government, a country run with pure anarchistic rules, offers more of a collaborative system whereby all citizens have to be responsible and be able to compromise to achieve what is best for everyone.  It is almost like a series of local committees which all come together for the greater good.   The community itself would set its own standards for moral values, much like a family does now.  Was this the type of rule that was prevalent in the tribes of the Native Americans or in deepest Africa? Possibly.

I do believe there is not one perfect solution, not ‘one size fits all’ political constitution.  If we were all born with the same capabilities, the same intelligence, the same desires, it would be so easy.  We are not a planet of robots.  That is the problem.  We all have our own individual views, which is what makes us who we are.

I sincerely hope that one day,  throughout the world, the average Jo, the backbones of our societies, the vulnerable, the much talked about but seldom heard, silent majority, will be heard, will be considered worthy, will be able to enjoy a good standard of living.

If mankind could all just live by this one rule:  ‘treat others the way you would like to be treated‘ and that was carried throughout society,  from local councils right through to our world governments, wow, now that would be a perfect society.

17) No Banks Required

The World Bank Group building in Washington, D.C.

Da-da!!

Today is the first of my blog a day challenges.   The “B-a-D” topic  was waiting in my inbox when I woke up.  I felt like a kid at Christmas.  Full of high expectations, surprisingly excited at what feast would get my creative juices flowing.  I savoured the moment. The suspense was palpable (well no, not really, but I did leave it a minute whilst I popped the kettle on).  What would be the fascinating subject that would inspire me to write today?

Click: If you made your own currency, what would you call it?

Boring!  First day. Disappointed.  Deflated.  No interest in that one little bit.  Dam. Why on earth did I sign up for this? Simon (husband) said it would be awful, said it’s not easy when you don’t choose your own theme, said I would give up, said I shouldn’t have told everyone I was writing every day.  Why not once a week? he asked, or even once a month? You don’t have time, he said.  You don’t have the energy, he said. Can you un-subscribe?  He knows me too well …. give me all the negatives and I’ll come right back at him with all the positives and then prove it, so there.  Drat, this is not good though.  Money, Euros, Dollars, Yen, yawn.

Then I noticed a descriptor for the topic: What would the currency be called if you had your own country?

Ah-ha. That is far more interesting to me.  Suddenly I can be the master of my surroundings. I can be a creator of my very own ‘kingdom’. The first image after that word popped into  my mind was of a magical place.   An enchanting fantasy land of pastel colours, towering castles and spires. Mythical dragons and unicorns. Ice creams and candy floss. Pancakes and maple syrup with ice cream.   Manicured  lawns and white picket fences.  Flower beds where weeds wouldn’t dare to exist. Pavements made of pink and mint green tarmac.  Houses with wrap around porches and pretty white rocking chairs.  Everything clean and gleaming and smiley and happy.  Tinkerbell and Mickey Mouse.  Oh my God, back up, it’s Disneyland!  No! I cannot create that in my head.

Start again.  Right, I’ve got it. An island.  Name of island … hmm …..  St Sharmon? Yes, that’ll do, it sounds friendly and inviting. Warm climate. Surrounded by clear crystal blue  waters. Shores of pure white sand. Turtles and dolphins playing in the waves. Palm trees.  Thatched villas overlooking the sea. Smells of freshly ground coffee.  Gardens full of perfumed roses and lavender.   The waft of Calypso music.  You get my drift.  Yet, it still just doesn’t seem right to me. It’s too …. oh, what’s the word ……….manufactured, too perfect and prissy and just downright unreal!

This is far harder than I ever imagined.  It’s like playing scrabble and you get to have a couple of blank, go anywhere, do anything, tiles.  They are such a complete nuisance.  I’d much rather sit there with a W or even an L rather than having to work out what these blank tiles are supposed to be!

This task of designing my own country is so tough. Taking it all a step further, away from the landscape, the architecture  etc, I have to start considering the nature of the place.  The animals that will inhabit the forests, the mountains, the rivers.   Are all the creatures suddenly vegetarian or do I have to populate my island with carnivores? The horticulture. Which plants do we need to grow to survive?  Can we import some of our foods from other islands? What have we got that can be exported?  Where will our building materials come from?

Goodness, the enormity of my task has left me quite dumbfounded.  I cannot possibly design a country with all these far-reaching complexities.  The problem is too great for one human mind to comprehend. It has made me realise more than ever the genius of our Creator, who many call God.  Our whole world that somehow came together and everything but everything works in harmony. All that we know, that we have, that we need, has a place and a purpose.  What a plan that was. Our creator got so much right and yet left us room to make our own choices. Very little is set in stone.  There is room for growth, for improvement. It is never stagnant. The resources we all take for granted are right here for every living creature on this earth.

So I am going to leave the conception of a country in the safe hands of our Creator.  I have no right in meddling in perfection.  I cannot possibly start to improve on anything that has, and is, and always will be, part of the divine composition of life.

Which means, now, having realised my limited abilities, I have to get back to the topic in hand.  Currency. Ok, I have given this some thought and in my country, which I had no hand in creating whatsoever, the currency would be called the Cashanka. Translated into English means, Handshake.  Simple as that.  You do work, you’re paid with a handshake. You ‘buy’ goods, you pay with a handshake. Simple. No debts, no savings, no deficits, no interest rates, no inflation, no fiscal policies, and, most importantly …….. NO BANKS ……..  just a handshake.

16) I’m going to post a blog a day!

Inspirational Barnstar

WordPress have this wonderful idea – Post a Blog a Day!  They even give you a nice little intro that you can copy and post to your blog – but of course, when I tried, it refused to paste, so here is my version:

Having weaved my way around the WordPress site, trying to glean tips for the a new blogger, I somehow came across what is termed The Daily Post.  Its is full of inspiring ideas to help us bloggers blog a little more.  To begin with we have to add widgets and tags and things, some of which I find more than a little formidable.  I have read, re-read and read again the easy to use instructions, and as the intelligent woman I still try to consider I am, I find I am still none the wiser.

I have, as instructed,  pointed my mouse at the widget picture and clicked and then gone backwards and forwards to my blog ‘dashboard’ (that’s the technical word for the technical background bit of my blog, a bit like an engine for a car) and clicked here and there and have still found I haven’t got the widget I need.  It’s so much like my car, I know where the pedals are and the steering wheel, but put me under the bonnet and I have no idea what is what! I have learnt more about tags in the last couple of weeks, but I’m not quite sure of the difference between a tag and a category, so I always end up with a mixture of the two.  My ever helpful husband, advised me to keep a list of tags and categories on my desktop so that it would be easy for me to find for future use.  Hmmm, I’m sure it would be if I knew where on earth my computer had saved them.  I’ve made several lists of tags and categories now and can never find them again.  There must be a mass of lists somewhere in my laptop that I’m sure one day will come to light, but for the moment at least they are very much hidden.

So, to get back to this wonderful innovative idea of ‘post a blog a day’.  The challenge is to find inspiration from ideas that the Daily Post will give us bloggers, and then be able to write about it.  To me it sounds very much like a class I took with the Accolade Academy in Margam, Wales, with the most wonderful spiritual tutor, Tony Stockwell.

He had the bright idea that each of us would choose a random word and then someone in the class would have to talk about it for at least five minutes.  You couldn’t prepare this talk, or do any kind of background research, it had to be totally off the cuff and ideally inspired by spirit.  We all had to have a go, and I must say it was good fun once you get over the ‘I’m sounding like a total idiot’ phase.   The problem was, that unknown to us students, Tony was walking around the class listening in and was deciding who he would choose to demonstrate inspired speaking to the whole course on the final night.  He walked up to me with a big smile on his face and told me I was going to be one of his chosen students!  It was more than a little daunting, he told us that we could talk about absolutely any word at all, for at least five minutes.

The other classes on the course also had students that had been chosen by their tutors and the evening before the ‘performance’ I could see everyone busily writing notes and discussing their ideas.  I thought I must have the wrong idea, because I had not prepared anything at all.  I guessed that if it was supposed to be inspired then you should leave it to spirit and trust them to inspire you. I went to bed that night concerned that maybe I should have spent the evening in preparation instead of chatting socially with friends.  I spoke to Tony the next morning and asked him if I had got it wrong. He laughed and said, no, it was supposed to be inspired and no preparation was necessary.

In a way that sounded too easy and too terrifying all at the same time.  The whole day my tummy was full of butterflies, not gently fluttering away, no, these butterflies had boots on and were stampeding around, and I was dreading the moment I would be called to talk.  As we all took our seats I thought that I would feel better once I had seen a few others give their talks, but little did I know that I was to be called up first!  Looking back though it is a bit like having a dentists appointment first thing in the morning.  You get it over and done with and can then get on with enjoying your day.

I had been visibly shaking at the thought of standing up in front of all these people, my stomach was churning, my mouth was dry and my palms were sweaty. Amazingly as soon as my name was called and I walked to the front, a feeling of calm came over me.  I still had no idea what I was going to talk about.  There was a stand by the side of me with a description of all that Accolade Academy offers its students.  “Understanding your Awareness”, was one of the phrases that caught my eye.  Suddenly I was off, chatting about awareness.  I don’t know how long I spoke for, and to be honest I can barely remember what I said, but I did feel it flowed and was certainly inspired.  Phew, was I pleased when I could sit down.

So, I am going to try to approach this ‘blog a day’ challenge in exactly the same way.   All I have to do is trust that spirit will inspire me …. they have never let me down yet!

14) We’re experimenting!

Test tubes and other recipients in chemistry lab

After the wonderful and unexpected experience of Simon running about at night ‘el-nude’ and my dear friend Annette popping over ‘el-astral-spirit’, (Blog no.4 Put a shirt on!) we have decided to try to be a little more serious about our grasp on astral travel.

As total novices we can only put ourselves forward and ask spirit to help and guide us,and most importantly we must learn to TRUST.  What a massive impact that word can have.  To know that your spirit, the most important ‘bit’ of you, is off somewhere without the physical ‘bit’ of you, is actually quite daunting.  We have to trust that our spirit is in safe hands and will return to our physical bodies in tact.  Although I try to make light of it (pardon the pun), it is quite mind-blowing and very hard to truly accept without real confirmation and masses and masses of evidence too.

Well, to get back to our experiments.  Since we decided that we would all make a pact to ask to travel every night,  we have had a few interesting adventures to date and I felt we should start to document them before we forget.

Firstly, Annette ‘travelled’ to Kay’s house in the middle of the night!  What was so wonderful about this was that in her earthly physical life Annette had never been to ‘Kay’s house, but she could describe not only Kay’s bedroom, but also her cat, who happened to be curled up on the bed at the time!! She could also see a large ‘see through’ egyptian type cat hovering over her. Quite a result.  BUT, it actually gets better.  On the very same night, at virtually the same time, Kay was aware of her (Kay)  being her spirit, hovering over her bed and looking down at herself asleep.    Now, with that, Kay’s physical body woke up and she jumped out of bed.  If you knew Kay as I do, you would appreciate just how unusual that would be as Kay doesn’t tend to jump around too quickly these days!.

So, we were chatting about this a few days later and we were talking about NDE’s (near death experiences), and how some consultants are so interested in trying to clarify the information from their patients that they have taken to putting messages or objects out of normal vision.  Amazingly, there have been instances of NDE’s being able to give vital evidence of these very messages and objects.  We realised we could try this too.

Annette and I agreed to place a word each above our beds and see if we could visit in the night and see them.  The next day we were chatting online and Annette was telling me how she felt she had met my guide, Minyon, the previous night. She told me  how he had visited her and she had known who he was.  I was surprised as I had no recollection of going anywhere and to be honest would have hoped that he would have taken me along with him. She then told me about her travelling to my home and could describe me asleep in my bed and which way I was facing, where my hands were etc, which was all totally correct.

Anyway, we carried on chatting, and Annette asked rather casually if I had any idea about the word over her bed.  As soon as she asked I was shown a piece of paper with the word Angel written on it.  I almost dismissed it as pure conjecture, but it was so clear and I was seeing it just as I ‘see’  information from spirit when I am communicating with them.  I half heartedly wrote the word Angel, not expecting much of a response.  I couldn’t believe it when Annette wrote back, ‘LOl LOL LOL Well done YOU!!!! I’ll have to change it now’   I wrote back, ‘ lol … yeah right’, wondering if Annette was pulling my leg, but she wrote back ‘Honest to God, that’s correct, cross my heart’.  We were both in total shock! I checked how many words there are in the English language and there are approximately 171,476 words in current use,  so I had quite a choice!

I should explain here that Annette has been involved with spiritualism since she was four years old and has the deepest respect for spirit.  She is a spiritual teacher and a wonderful natural-born medium and takes her dealings with them very seriously, so I KNOW totally that I can trust her.

Well, after the shock effect had worn off a little I wondered how I knew the word.  Did Minyon go a-visiting and then tell me the word himself, or, did I go astral travelling myself, but had no actual conscious memory of it?

Annette and I do know that spirit tend to eavesdrop on our conversations.  We have had so many instances of ‘coincidences’ after our chats that we have now accepted that they are listening in and they often give us evidence of this within a day or two.  It has been quite amazing the number of times this has happened, especially, strangely enough, when we have been discussing or questioning spiritual ideas on the phone.  Do spirits somehow use our telecommunication systems?

Or, do our guides chat amongst themselves and give us the information? As communication with spirit is literally just a thought, then are they automatically aware of our thoughts and so our guides can just convey these between themselves?  Goodness, my mind could go into warp mode trying to work this one out!

Hmmmm…. I think I might suggest that someone else, totally unrelated to us, places an object or a word up high somewhere, so that neither of us is consciously aware of it.  That could certainly throw a spanner into the works!

In the meantime we decided on adding another ingredient or two into our experiment.  We have asked Annette’s guides to visit me so that I can describe them to her (currently I have no idea what they look like), and I have given Minyon a distinct message to give to Annette.  We are waiting to see what happens.  As they say ….Watch this space!

12) Inspirational Meditation

Ocean

On one of my courses at the Arthur Findlay College, Stansted, many years ago, I was fortunate enough to be in the class of Nora Moray-Stringer.  She is truly one of the most delightful women I have ever met. She has a calm surrounding her, a dignity, an aura of kindness, lightness and spirituality that is all-encompassing.  Her voice is like a crystal, so clear and pure.  I could listen to her all day.

As a tutor she would not stand for any nonsense, but she was as fair as she was strict.  She taught that to work with spirit you must respect them and yourself.  She would always push you for the highest standards of evidence within your mediumship.

I remember once describing a room that I was seeing.  I thought I was doing quite well as I described the furniture.  I mentioned a tall glass cupboard which the recipient could accept, but that wasn’t good enough for Nora!  She intervened and asked me to look within the cupboard and describe the items that I saw.  I looked and could see cups an saucers.  That was still not good enough!  She asked me to give a detailed account of the colours and patterns on them.  To my amazement I managed to do this and the woman I was communicating for could confirm that the information was totally correct.  As I said, Nora was not a pushover in any way, but my goodness, she moved my mediumship abilities far higher than I ever thought possible.  Even now, so many years later, I always try to work to her exacting standards and often hear her in my mind asking for better evidence.

In one of her classes she told us we would be sitting in a meditation and asking for inspirational words.  I had never done that before and didn’t hold out much hope of receiving very much at all.  I had been sitting with my eyes closed, listening to her voice as she led us on a journey, when I was aware of being touched lightly on the back of my head.  I now know that it is my writing guides special sign that they are about to give me words to write down, but at the time I wondered what on earth it was.  Had I not been in a meditation at the time I would have felt my head, but as it was I couldn’t do that and just had to sit with this odd feeling.  Sure enough I began to hear words, beautiful words that I knew weren’t from me. Nora was explaining that we should remember them and write them down when the meditation was over.  I was desperately trying to remember, but felt sure that I would lose them by the time we were finished.  When she bought us back into the room we all hurriedly wrote down what we had heard. I knew I had forgotten some of the verses, but managed to write down the first four lines.

She explained that we would each read out loud that which we had just received. Then she added a twist – she always did!  We  would then have to go to the huge table in the window and from maybe thirty or forty books scattered across it, just choose one that we were immediately drawn to.  We  had to stand at the front of the class, open the book we had chosen at a random page and read what we first saw.  The correlation between the passages that were read and the writings other pupils  had received was amazing.  I nervously picked up a large heavy book in a brown cover and was astonished when I opened it and read a passage that was something about breathing into the light, breathing to enhance our auras. I can’t recollect the exact words, but I was dumbfounded considering what I had just read out to the class:

Breathe gently into the sea of light, The blue cascades, shimmering and bright

Breathe softly through the lilac mist, The touch of love, the gentle kiss

Breathe calmly over the mist of time, Hold yourself strong and feel sublime

The breath you hold within your heart, Fills your life and keeps you part

Of the universe in which you stay, The brightest star by night and day

I knew there were more verses, but at the time I couldn’t retrieve them from my mind.  It was a couple of weeks later as I was sitting quietly that I heard the beginning of the words again.  I went and got a pen and paper and wrote down the rest of it, just as I had been told in my meditation.  The next time I went to Stansted I took the words with me and read them to Nora.

As silent as a feather flight, As gentle as the touch of silk

Hold close your truths, your ivory hand, The pen of thoughts, the spirits command

Breathe in the oceans, breathe in the lands, Breathe in the earth, the stones and the sand

Fill yourself with the sky above, The sun and moon, and above all, love

Feed yourself from plates of gold, Fill cups of silver in which you hold

The essence of life’s mysteries, The completed pages of histories.

Hold lightly the hand that touches your soul.

Whenever I have read these words they have taken my mind straight back into that classroom with Nora, and her overriding message, to work with a sincere and high regard for spirit  and to work to your highest possible standard of mediumship.  I promise Nora, I will never forget!

To me these words are almost meditative and I always feel a wonderful sense of calm and a deep connection to the earth, the universe and to spirit when I read them.

I hope that all who read them now will enjoy them and be aware of whatever emotions they invoke.

11) Did Spirit Foresee this Blog????

Computer-globe

Approximately ten years ago I attended one of my first week-long residential courses at the wonderful Arthur Findlay College in Stansted, Essex.  It is a world-renowned centre of excellence for the education and training of spiritual and psychic unfolding and all kindred disciplines.  Tutors at the College are first class and leaders in their fields.

The tutors offered private one to one readings which could either be a spiritual reading, where the tutors guides link with your guides and offer advise concerning your spiritual development, or you could have a mediumship reading where they link with spirits of loved ones or friends you knew who have passed over.

I had been chronically ill for a number of years and it had taken me weeks of rest to enable me to attend.  I had become increasingly frustrated knowing that I could communicate with spirit, but had no idea how I could possibly be used by them because of my ongoing health problems.  I knew it was impossible for me to organise one to one readings as there was no guarantee I would be well enough to keep the appointments. I also knew that any kind of platform work, demonstrating to the public, was also just not possible for the same reason. On this particular occasion I really felt that a spiritual reading would be more beneficial to me.  I hoped so much to learn how my guides felt my future with spirit may lie.

I carefully considered which tutor to choose to carry out the reading.  I had never met Paul Jacobs before and knew that he had absolutely no prior knowledge about me, my health problems or my level of spiritual development.  Having only just read his name on a list I too had no pre-conceived ideas of the type of person he would be either.

Immediately I met Paul I was aware of a strong sense of discipline within him and he exuded a level of experience which gave me confidence in his reading. Within a few minutes he was conveying messages from spirit and telling me about the exact senses that I was fortunate enough to be able to use to contact spirit.

He then started to talk to me concerning the inspirational writing which I had recently been receiving from spirit.  I felt that he was initially trying to advise me that often people think they are receiving inspirational words from spirit but they are in fact utilising their own inner wisdom from their higher selves. As he said this to me I must admit I felt rather deflated as I had been so delighted to be a receiver of some inspiring and thought-provoking messages.  I had been told by my writing guide that the messages would be modern and straight forward.  It was impressed on me that in these modern times there would be no need for thee and thous, no need for fancy prose, which made sense to me.  Paul had stopped talking for what seemed like forever, as I was hanging on his every word, impatient for more information.

It was obvious to me that he was listening intently to his guide/s and he wanted to ensure that he communicated the correct message.  He eventually began talking to me again and I was thrilled when he advised me that he had been told that I was indeed receiving inspirational writings direct from spirit.  He went on to tell me that I would receive important and educational information that was not just for me but for everyone. He said that I would be writing in the years ahead and that these words would literally be read around the world! At the time I could not see any way at all in which this could happen.

Near the end of the course the tutors held a wonderful evening service in The Sanctuary complete with candles and very lovely music playing in the background.  The atmosphere was amazing. Paul was standing at the front with the other tutors and held a basket in his hands.  We were told that the basket contained cards with one important word written on each of them. Another tutor asked all of us students to line up and put our hand in the basket and, without looking, pick a card.  We were told that this particular word would mean something spiritually. I lined up and picked my word, which was Knowledge.  Paul saw the card and smiled at me, and told me in his very distinctive voice, that it was absolutely the right card for me.

Unfortunately my health problems increased and other serious family issues kept me away from anything spiritual for a very long time.  Every time I felt that I could go forward another problem would present itself and I would be thwarted again.  Now, so many years later, I am in a very different place in my life.  I am married to an extremely patient and gentle man who insists that I use what little energy I have to enjoy my life, which for me is becoming involved, even in a very small way, with anything spiritual.  At the time of my reading with Paul, the internet for personal use was still quite new and very many people I knew at the time didn’t have their own computers at home.  Now nearly everyone has a computer, blogs have become commonplace and are an excellent platform for the budding writer.  It only just dawned on me a few weeks or so ago that I could use a blog to write about my spiritual experiences and in time I know I will be able to write about the wonderful messages I receive from spirit.

I have been amazed at the correspondence that I have already received since publishing my first blog.  I had no idea that it would be read in such far-flung places as China, Russia, America, Canada etc.  As I have sat reading the emails, Paul’s words have been echoing in my head “these words would literally be read around the world”.  Goodness, how right that was.

9) Pick’n’mix!

Pick'n'Mix

The more I’ve been coming to the realisation that I am a spirit living a human existence, the more I’ve been thinking about the life choices my soul made before I began this human life.

Pick 'n Mix

I have the feeling that when  it came to choosing my parents I was like an excited child in a sweet shop.  There were just so many choices, and metaphorically speaking, I filled my pink striped sweetie bag with the many personality traits and ensuing emotions that I wanted to experience during my upbringing.  A real mixture of sweet and sour, soft and crunchy, chewy and creamy, fruity and nutty! I am sure my guides must have been exasperated trying to find parents that would fulfill my criteria.  I think on the whole they did fairly well!

I was born the youngest of identical twins, with a brother five years older than us and we had to share parents who were definitely interesting and would certainly teach us many different and opposing lessons.

My Dad, known as Ken, was tall and slim with broad shoulders, sandy wavy hair,  and the most wonderful twinkling blue eyes.  He was a charmer, with a fantastic dry wit and I could see why my Mum had initially fallen him.

Dad and his twin sister Mary were born in 1926, into a large and very poor working class family in Hendon, North London.  His Mother Selina, was known as ‘the girl with second sight’ in the village where she was born in Scotland and  Dad said she always ‘knew’ things that were unexplainable.

My Mum, Sheila, was four years younger than Dad and although she lived less than three miles from him, in Golders Green, their upbringings were poles apart. There were many romanticized rumours of Irish blood, a  Hungarian Jewess and even a Marquis somewhere in her ancestry.  Mum was raised in a liberated, educated,  middle-class environment, as an only child, by her Father Ray, and an eclectic collection of  aunts.  She was told her Mother, whom her Father had not married, had abandoned her when she was a baby.

Mum was very attractive, tall, possessing a wonderful perfect 36:24:36 figure, with shapely long legs, silky mahogany hair and huge brown eyes framed by incredible, natural long eye lashes she always attracted the attention of men.

The saying ‘opposites attract’ could have been written with Mum and Dad in mind.

Mum would like to invite many friends round, put on loud music and dance around the sitting room singing and laughing.   Dad would prefer to sit quietly, reading a book or listening to classical music. Mum was liberal and carefree as a parent, Dad was strict and ensured that his long list of rules were adhered to.

Mum loved to go out and socialize, whereas Dad would prefer to be at home pottering around the garden. Mum was a free spirit and hated being tied down to routine, Dad insisted that Sunday lunch was on the table at exactly 1 o’clock and tea at 5 o’clock, not a minute later.

Dad was a saver and didn’t like to spend money if he could possibly help it, Mum loved nothing more than going shopping!

Their marriage was a match made in hell in so many ways.  Why they ever married I never really understood.  Was it my fault?  Was it my ‘parent order’,  made many years before in the universal sweet shop, that made them meet and marry?  Or, had there souls asked, maybe even  jointly, to experience a fifty year marriage to a partner with absolutely nothing in common? I hope to find out one day.

My parents were, separately, great people, but together, my goodness, sparks flying is the understatement of the year! Mum’s temper was instant and would flare within moments, my Dad would simmer and then explode like a violent volcano.   What a combination!  Did I really ask to experience these traits? I must have done, but with hindsight I feel just one parent with a temper would have been enough.

As we became older, their rows became more physical.  More and more of their possessions were smashed, damaged and broken as they hurled them at each other.  Luckily neither of them were good shots and they very rarely managed to hit their targets!

I can’t even begin to count how many times one or  the other left.  Normally in the middle of a heated row a few items would be hurriedly stuffed  into a few carrier bags and we children would be  wondering who was leaving this time.  If our Mother left we would normally leave with her, and in a strange way it was always an adventure full of excitement and wonderment.  We wouldn’t know where we were going or who we’d be staying with.  In fact it was through many of these surprise breaks from home that we got to know some of our more interesting far-flung relatives, who I am sure we would have never met under normal circumstances.  Then, sometimes within a few days, or at most a couple of months, there would be an emotional reunion, all would be forgiven (but I am sure not forgotten), the family would be back together again and the house would be full of love and laughter again.

As I said, separately, they were marvellous parents. I learnt so many different facets of life  from each of them.  Dad had a wonderful way of bringing nature to life.  We would spend many hours in the garden together where he would teach me the magic of growing the most beautiful plants.  We discussed the wonderment of mother earth and the natural beauty of the planet. He taught me that divine power was within everyone and everything.

I would sit holding his huge hands whilst we would be listening to the most haunting classical music, both of us with tears rolling down our cheeks, almost unable to cope with the emotions the music would arouse in us. I shared a very close spiritual connection with my Dad from my earliest memory and I am sure that it will transpire that we have been together in many lives before.

With  a wicked sense of humour Dad would have the whole house  full of laughter.  He had a wonderful collection of his own stories that we would beg him to re-tell again and again, many of them included mystical creatures with the most wonderful names, like Ika-mo-blob-a-spit, who I remember was a special dragon with magical powers.

Dad had been aware of spirit since he was five when his twin sister, Mary, had been killed in a road accident. He had seen her throughout his childhood and still spoke to her as I was growing up. He also used to spend time talking to my late Grandfather, who had died before I was even born.

Mum was always extremely well-groomed, with her perfectly applied make up, and  looking more like a model than a Mum, she was surprisingly cuddly and very caring.  She adored playing with us and had an enormous amount of patience helping us with our schoolwork.  She always said that her favourite time in her whole life was when we were all young. I think having missed out on a Mother’s love in her own childhood she never wanted us to feel the loss and pain she had felt.

She was a fantastic cook and we would spend hours preparing big family dinners together.  She’d always have popular music blaring out of the record player and depending on what was playing we would often stop cooking and be jiving and bopping around the kitchen.

She was a very good medium herself although she only used her gifts to help those who were close to her.  Interested in all things spiritual,  Mum often took herself off to what I thought at the time were mysterious meetings.  She would come home and tell me all about it, but I was too afraid to pay much attention, but I do remember that her guide was a gypsy girl called Topsy.  That terrified me, thinking that Topsy would appear at any moment as I was sure that she would be hiding in the house somewhere and would be watching me.

Mum instilled rules for life in me that I still try to live by.  Her overwhelming wish was that everyone would treat each other as they would like to be treated.  She would do anything for anyone and over the years I saw her befriend and help many people.  It was just a shame that she and my Father didn’t adhere to the same philosophy when it came to their own relationship!

Every house we lived in was full of spirits.  All of us were aware of them.   I often saw faces on walls, people at windows and shadows moving across the landing.  As I grew older more and more things would be happening to all of us, no matter which house we lived in.  My most worrying times were when the towels would be moved from the towel rail in the bathroom.  You could just be sitting on the loo and watch them, one by one, fall onto the floor.  I used to be too afraid to move and would yell for Mum to come and rescue me. She’d always walk in and just say “God Bless You, now please leave” and tell me everything would be fine, but it was never fine for very long.

I question now if there was so much energy in our house due to the heightened emotions of my parents.

Throughout their lives they both suffered with serious illnesses and it was during these times that their love for each other really shone out.  The only problem was that when both were well they would start arguing, all over again!

I asked for a mixed bag of sweets, and that’s certainly what I received.  I can’t imagine now having any other parents who would have given me such a broad spectrum of emotions and experiences throughout my childhood. Yes, I would have preferred them not have spent so much arguing, but then I am sure that within their difficult relationship were lessons for all of us within the family.

I do  think that we tend to concentrate on the lessons we are taught by our parents, but what we must not forget is that they too are developing spirits, and would have chosen souls with our attributes to be their children.  What a massive testament to the incredible organisational  skills of spirit to bring together the right people, in the right place and at the right time.  I can only imagine that from the millions of souls  they look for a ‘best fit’.  What a headache it must be!

My parents love was the greatest gift I ever received.   My childhood wasn’t calm, rarely plain sailing, it wasn’t often easy, but what it showed me is that love overcomes everything and is everything.

8) Life’s Lessons

Graduation

Several years ago I had been through the most difficult year of my life.  My Mum, my brother and my Dad were all taken to spirit within weeks of each other and I felt my heart was breaking.  At the same time, as well as dealing with my own personal losses, there was so much negativity everywhere.

With the rest of the world I watched in horror as the events unfolded on 9/11  and I felt so useless, as if there was absolutely nothing I could do to help, even in a small way, to make the world a better place. I felt desolate.

Every time I put the television or radio on there was more depressing news.  I have never understood how people could be so cruel to one another, or use their own greed to take from the needy.  There seemed to be an avalanche of distressing events on a global scale.

I sat in the quiet and asked my guides how this could happen.  How could so many people be in such distress?  Why were children dying of starvation? Why were so many countries at war?  I was questioning my faith in God or the Higher Powers.  I felt so sad in my heart and was desperate for answers. I wanted someone to shout that it was all a mistake, that everything would be put right.

I felt my writing guide come in close.  I have learnt that a light stroke of my hair on the back of my head is the unmistakable nudge to find a piece of paper and a pen and just to listen and write what I hear, nothing more.

This is what I received.

Life’s Lessons.

If life were as kind as we thought it should be,

there’d be no worries or woes, everything would be trouble-free.

There would always be sunshine and only rain at night,

there’d be no storms to wreak havoc, we’d never witness nature’s might.

Every child would be born perfectly healthy and strong,

There’d be no need to teach right from wrong.

There would be no famines and certainly no wars,

Every country in harmony with its neighbour next door.

No violence, no terror, there would be no need,

no-one would be selfish or suffer from greed.

But in reality, this just isn’t so,

we all need life’s lessons to help us to grow.

To overcome difficulties, to rise above pain,

we need challenges and dreams, it’s from those that we gain.

Whenever I find myself questioning the unfairness of situations that the innocent find themselves in, the terrible traumatic events that so many have to go through, the heartbreak and tragic losses people experience, I read this and try to understand.  It is not easy.  It takes a lot for me to look at the bigger picture and try to accept that our souls have to move forward through these dreadful lessons of life.  I hope that one day we will find an easier way.

7) Choosing our lives?

The master plan to do list

It’s amazing how many spiritually minded people I’ve met over the years who have experienced what I would call ‘complicated’ lives.

I do wonder sometimes if people become more spiritually aware because they have had to overcome difficulties in their lives, or,  were they born ‘knowing’ that they had chosen to walk a problematic path through life because their soul was already spiritually aware?

In my own experience it has been rare to talk to anyone at a workshop or in a spiritualist church, circle etc who has not gone through some pretty traumatic events in their life.  You may say, well that goes for everyone, but I truly believe that is not the case.  I have known many, many people over the years, who have had what I would call, easy lives, and who are not at all interested in anything spiritual.

So, (avoiding the are we/aren’t we  re-incarnated discussion for the moment) if we accept that we are re-incarnated, then when we are ‘ in-between’  lives do we sit with a long list of experiences that we can choose for our next life?  Do we somehow get ‘points’ for each testing experience we manage to work through,?  Do more points make for an easier life the next time or is it like a ladder of achievement where we move further and further up the more points we have accumulated?

Are we given a series of  budgets of sorts for various parts of our life.  For example, we would have an emotional budget/a body budget/intelligence budget etc, etc.  So we can choose, from the body budget, for argument’s sake, to have beautiful eyes and good skin, but that to keep within budget we may also have to choose to have knock knees and big feet?  Or, could we choose to be the most intelligent person in the world and know that we are going to inherit a vast amount of money but end up blowing all our inheritance  on an invention that never takes off?  Sometimes, though, we may be given the choice of a limitless budget, where in our naivety we choose what we consider at the time to be the best financial circumstances, the very best parents, the most amazing healthy and beautiful body, just to find that these set of circumstances don’t actually give us any spiritual warmth but that they may in fact teach us invaluable lessons.

Do we choose experiences just for us, or do we sometimes choose them so that others can learn, grow, or blossom from dealing with us/our problems/our conflicts etc?

In our ‘in-betweeny’ lives, when our souls are in a place of perfection, does the list seem less daunting?  I do believe that I thought I could conquer the world when I was sat there with a pen in my hand, ticking away, with no realisation of how very distressing, painful and troubling so many of my choices would be and how very long this life might seem once I was here!

Thankfully, and hopefully, most of my trials and tribulations are behind me (unless I stupidly ticked even more boxes that I am yet unaware of) and I do feel that I am in a much happier and peaceful place in my life now.  If living this life is about learning lessons I certainly feel I have been in the classroom long enough, and if there is an exam at some point I have without doubt spent many years on revision and should pass with flying colours.

Does some higher power choose for us?  Or … the really big question I used to ask  ….  is it all totally out of our control?  Is everything random?  I am positive that is not the case.  An excellent medium and friend, Susan Roberts, from Barnstaple, North Devon, gave me the most accurate readings from my loved ones in spirit several years ago, which included some information about my future.  At the time I didn’t dare to believe her prophecies because they were so positive and exactly what I had secretly wished for.  Everything she said, to the minutest detail, happened, just as she had explained.  So, obviously there was a plan in place, somewhere, which she (or her guides) could access. I just thank my lucky stars that I actually ticked a few good boxes along the with the challenging ones!

I would love to know the answer to these questions, but I am pretty certain that I won’t know the definitive answer until I’m sitting on a cloud somewhere, between lives, with my guides, going through yet another list!

5) Come and get me …..

A Black Cat Crosses My Path Every Day

Image by aturkus via Flickr

I have loved animals all my life, well, that is, apart from spiders, which tend to freak me out a little, but I am happy to catch them and put them back outside and must admit I have squashed the occasional wasp … sorry God … just can’t cope with them at all.

So, where was I? Oh yes, me and animals.  Ever since I can remember I have been surrounded by various pets.  My parents had an Alsatian when I was very young, Bruce, who I gather adored my twin sister and I because we would sit in our high chairs and call him ‘Fru’ (we couldn’t pronounce Bruce) and feed him anything that we didn’t like.  As an animal loving family we went on to have a collection of cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, tortoises, goldfish, tame hedgehogs and even a salamander.

When I first married at 22 I was feeling quite lost with no pets around me.  My twin had decided that she wanted a kitten and I knew she was going to look at a litter.  What I didn’t know was that she couldn’t bear to leave without the last kitten and arrived on my doorstep with a little black bundle of fluff with the biggest green eyes I’d ever seen.  Babs had arrived.  Her mother was Burmese, and her father was a moggie, but Babs didn’t like to even think about that, she looked and behaved like a full Burmese, which meant she felt she was far superior to any of the other cats in the neighbourhood.

She was never what you would call a cuddly kitten.  She would sit on your lap for a couple of minutes and then be off climbing.  I say climbing because that was one of her favourite past-times.  She would climb up the walls hanging onto the wallpaper, climb up the curtains and sit at the very top and then fly across the room and land on a top shelf, then spring off again and she’d be balancing on the top of the open door.  I had never known a cat like it.  We lived in a bed sit, so our bedroom was in our sitting room, or if you like, our lounge included a bed, whichever way you want to look at it – it was a small space and we had to share it with Babs.  In the middle of the night she sidled under the covers and took great delight in sharpening her claws on our unsuspecting feet or legs.  She was the wildest of cats.  She grew ever more wild as the months went on, to the point where she would sit in wait on our garden wall for the neighbour to come out into her garden and then leap off the wall and attack her.    For no apparent reason she would have violent outbursts attacking everyone and everything in sight. I was at my wit’s end.  I was covered in scratches and bites, everything in the flat was scratched and chewed.  She even hissed at me when I arrived home from work and would walk sideways growling, which is pretty scary!

I managed to get her into a wicker basket, and with her hissing and growling all the time we were on the bus, I took her to the vets to ask his advise.  I had always thought that if you treated an animal with love and affection they would respond lovingly, but Babs had taught me that she didn’t share that belief.  The vet tried to examine her.  I had warned him that she could be quite vicious but he assured me, in a very condescending manner, that with his vast experience he knew how to cope with any cat. By the time he had managed to get Babs back in the basket he had been bitten and scratched many times.  Babs had won.  He shook his head in disbelief and without any tact whatsoever, told me, that in his opinion there was nothing to be done except to have her put to sleep.  I looked into her beautiful green eyes and knew I just couldn’t agree to that and implored the vet to give me any other possible solutions.  He wearily muttered something about how some cats can calm down a little after they have had a litter of kittens.  Well that was obviously the answer, I thought, delighted that I had the ultimate excuse to have kittens around me for at least 8 weeks!

Babs duly complied and in a short space of time it was very obvious that she was pregnant.  She had always been very slim and now she had a very large tummy which we could actually see moving as her kittens were stretching and vying for position inside her.  Her tempestuous nature though hadn’t changed one jot, except as her pregnancy went on she did give up the climbing and leaping.  I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right decision.

Eventually, after what seemed an eternity, Babs went into labour.  I had been to the library and read all about kitten births and had everything at the ready, although everyone told me that she would be very independent and would most probably prefer me to just leave her alone.  I had made a kittening area in the corner of the bed sit, and was chuffed when Babs decided it was the perfect place to give birth.  I put on gentle music and soft lighting so that it could be a relaxing environment for her.

I went over and stroked her and spoke gently to her, telling her everything would be fine.  The contractions became stronger and I thought I should now leave her to it.  As I walked away she got up and followed me, so I went back to the corner and sat with her again, comforting her.  I could see that a kitten was due any second and really thought it was time for me to leave her, again, as I got up to leave she got up to be with me. OK,  I said, and I laid down beside her, and stroked her all the way through her first kitten being born.  Instinctively she knew exactly what she should do and within a short time the tiny little kitten was hooked on to one of Babs teats.  About ten minutes went by and contractions started again and another kitten was born.  I stayed with Babs the whole time, speaking softly to her, assuring her as best I could.  After just over an hour had passed she had given birth to six beautiful kittens.  I cleared up the area and gave her new soft towels to lay on.  What I had realised was how gentle she had been with me through the birthing and hoped it would continue.

From that day onwards our relationship changed dramatically.  She became the most wonderful cat I could wish for.  I became quite ill and had to undergo several operations, and she would sit beside me all day until the family came home. As I managed to walk a little further each day she would walk beside me.  Neighbours would comment that whatever time I came home from work, which could vary greatly day-to-day, Babs would wander up to the gate about five minutes before and be waiting for me.  She talked incessantly and would be telling me all about her day as we walked together along the path to the front door.  It sounds mad I know, but she would really be trying to talk to me, I could feel it.

Although she was great with me she still was not good at the vets, so much so that the vet would only examine her or give her  annual vaccinations if she had been tranquilized.  We did this for many years and for some reason I always felt like I was letting her down.  On one particular occasion she was due to have her pre-vet medication and as I was about to crush the tablets into her food I was sure I heard her thoughts.  She told me that she hated the feeling of being tranquilized and promised she would be very good at the vets.  I held her face in my hands and looked deep into her eyes, “ok” I said,” I’ll trust you, but you have to be on your best behaviour.”  If anyone had heard me they would have thought I’d gone mad.

The vets face was a picture of concern as the realisation dawned on him that Babs was not sedated in the slightest.  I took her out of her basket and put her on his examining table.  I told him that she said she would be good as gold.  He gave me a ‘that woman is crazy’  kind of look but was surprised how well behaved she was.  She was looking straight at me as he put the needle in the back of her neck.  I heard her say, by what I can only think was some kind of thought transference, see I told you I’d be good!

I was working but always had Mondays off work to do the washing/ironing, shopping etc.  This particular Monday had started off quite normally.  My husband went to work just after 8am and I took my daughter to school just before 9am.  I popped into the shops on the way home. I remember it was a lovely sunny late summers day.  We had moved into a brand new house in the January and hadn’t met many of the neighbours at all.  It seemed to me that every morning there was a mass exodus as everyone went to work, and the only time many people were around was on the weekend.

As I opened the front door  a feeling of utter doom came over me.  I started crying and as I walked into the kitchen I looked at Babs bowls and I remember hearing her say ‘come and get me’.  I knew she was dead.  I was howling.  I phoned my Dad and sobbed down the phone to him that Babs was dead.  He asked what had happened and I told him I didn’t know.  I said I didn’t know where she was but that I knew she was dead. My Dad tried to calm me down and told me that she was most probably fine.  He asked if I had called her and I said no, I knew there was no point.  I told Dad that I would go and find her and would phone him back.  I phoned my husband and told him too and I am sure he thought I had gone mad. He too told me to go looking for her and he thought she might have been locked in a garage or shed somewhere.  It was so difficult to explain to them that I knew absolutely that she was dead.  There was no point in looking for her in the garage.

I picked up a shopping basket and walked aimlessly down the road, looking at all the empty drives by the houses.  Eventually I saw a house with a car on the drive and knocked on the door, as it happened I had met the woman who answered and she could see I was very distressed.  I asked her if she would come with me and look for my cat.  She kindly agreed and I instinctively knew where to go.  We walked along the road, quite a way, we turned left, past more houses and finally I walked up a bank onto a single railway track.  Babs was lying on the track.  She had been hit by a train. I couldn’t bear to pick her up and had to ask the site manager if he could go and get her for me.  I phoned my Dad and told him straight away.  He asked me how I had known and I tried to explain.  Dad was always aware of spirits through his life and he said he thought it was because Babs and I had such a strong bond.  I phoned my husband and he was just stunned.  He came home from work straight away.  I felt desolate.

For many months afterwards I was aware of Babs walking up the bed and even now, many many years later, I am sure I see her momentarily.  She was one very special cat and I shall never forget her.

4) Put a shirt on!

Pleiades Star Cluster

Image via Wikipedia

I have often wondered about the ‘dreams’ or what I prefer to call ‘visits’ that I’ve had for over 40 years now.  In my sleep state I have often spent time with relatives and friends who have passed to spirit.  Sometimes we just sit and chat and at other times we sing and dance, or my favourite, we fly, plane free, over the most beautiful countryside, over the sea or even up into the darkness of the universe, the wind rushing past us as we effortlessly fly past shining stars.  There are two  main differences I have noticed between these experiences and ‘dreams’ .  Firstly I remember that I am aware that they have passed from this physical life, in fact we often discuss it at the time, and secondly,  I have vivid recollections of these’ visits’ and years and years later I can still remember every moment of them.

A couple of weeks ago my good friend Kay loaned me a wonderful thought-provoking book. It was the kind of book I just couldn’t put down, it just made me think so much.  One of the chapters was about astral travel, something I admit I have never really been interested in, but the book was so good I thought I might as well read it.  I was stunned to find similar  examples of my own ‘dream/visit’ experiences and was really excited to read that you could actually ask spirit to travel to you before you fell asleep at night.  So all tucked up, next to my unsuspecting, sceptical husband Simon, I said my usual prayers and then remembered to ask my spirit family to travel to visit me.  I didn’t even think to mention it to Simon.

At three in the morning I was awoken by Simon literally leaping out of bed, racing round the bed to the bedroom door and putting the main light on.  I was shocked!  I asked what he was doing.  He told me that I had been in the doorway and I couldn’t see because it was dark so he had to put the light on.  I laughed and told him I’d been asleep and told him to come back to bed. I didn’t even think about the request I’d put in with spirit a few hours earlier.

The next evening I went to my regular development circle run by my friend Annette.  She was standing outside with other members of the circle as I arrived.  She was obviously excited and couldn’t wait to talk to me.  She told me that she had been aware of being in my house in the middle of the night! Then she went on to tell me  that she had seen Simon (with no clothes on!) and had told him to put a shirt on.  She said that there had been quite a gathering and she had wondered why she was there.  I was stunned and couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.  I was covered in goose bumps, which I call truth bumps, which for me are always a sign of a spiritual truth. Her face was an absolute picture as I then told her what had happened in the night and especially when I told that I had specifically asked for my spirit family to visit that night.  She was struggling to come to terms with what had appeared to have happened.  We were both just so amazed.

I couldn’t wait to get home to tell Simon.   In his typical sceptical way he said it must have been a coincidence.  I asked him how many times in his lifetime he had jumped out of bed and put the main light on.  He admitted he never had before.

A few days later Annette was discussing the events of that night with a good spiritual friend of hers and said she had been wondering why on earth she would have been in my house that night. She told her friend that I had asked for my spiritual family to visit and her friend told her that it make perfect sense as she is most probably a member of my soul group.  When Annette told me I was again covered in my truth bumps, the explanation made so much sense to me.

Annette decided it would be a great idea to set up an astral travel experiment and Kay agreed.  Now every night before we go to sleep, all three of us ask if we can astral travel together.  Kay really fancies popping off to Hawaii, a place she visited and loved on holiday.  Every morning we contact each other and compare notes.  So far, not one of us has any recollections of travelling anywhere, but there is still that wonderful anticipation  every night that we could all end up in our hula skirts on a sun-kissed beach!

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: