Our 2nd KindaProud Pocket Book of Hope is released!

*DRUMROLL* Our 2nd KindaProud Pocket Book of Hope and Transformation is now on Amazon!

Officially to launch tomorrow; Friday 12th July – SoulShine day!

ALL proceeds from the book sales will go towards distributing FREE books to those in need of receiving these inspiring messages of hope…

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY – UK / EUROPE 

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY – USA / AUSTRALIA

 

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How can a crisis be a blessing? Catherine knows only too well how…

Many of you may recognise Catherine G Lucas, Founder of the UK Spiritual Crisis Network, but do you know what led Catherine to become so passionate about this field and her own work? Like most who end up feeling like they have a mission to re-conceptualise mental ‘illness’, Catherine experienced personal trauma which led to her breakdown. Catherine now views her breakdowns as pivotal catalysers of her awakening process; both necessary and bringing impetus for change that wouldn’t have occured without the crisis. Here Catherine gives a snippet into her trauma history, and what inspiring work it’s led her to do today…

Catherine Lucas copy

Transforming Trauma by Catherine G. Lucas

Why do I have an underlying mistrust, even fear of people I perceive to be in positions of power?’ I’m exploring this question with my wonderful Zen life coach when suddenly I have an ‘aha’ moment. I realise, to my horror, that it goes back 35 whole years. It goes back to when a person in a position of power had total control over me – the psychiatrist when I was admitted to an acute psychiatric ward.

In my session with my coach, I was intrigued to discover that, despite having processed much of the trauma of that experience, remnants remained tucked away in the side-pockets of my psyche. Ending up in hospital is one of the most, if not the most, traumatic, terrifying experiences I’ve ever had. Psychiatric wards are not fun places to be and I was a naïve 20 year-old.

It was trauma of another kind that landed me there. We tend to think of trauma as being one-off, a single traumatic event or incident. The trauma that resulted in my breakdown was of a different, more silent kind, the kind that creeps up on you stealthily: years of emotional and psychological abuse growing up with an alcoholic father.

My sense of self was damaged and distorted, worn down by the years of abuse like the stone steps of a church worn down by years of being trodden on over and over again. I use that church analogy on purpose as I feel my childhood and teenage years were an integral part of my spiritual journey. They were the launchpad for my awakening.

Today, I have a wonderful relationship with my father. He passed over nearly 30 years ago at the age of 49 – yes, alcoholics die young. I feel no bitterness or resentment, only love and understanding for his own suffering that led him to drink. One of my published books is Alcohol Recovery: the Mindful Way. It played a central part in healing my relationship with him.

That period in hospital was the beginning of my journey to healing and growth, the beginning of my awakening, even though that only became obvious years later. John Weir Perry writes about the natural process of renewal that the psyche can go through when it breaks up. That process was completely interrupted for me by the hospitalization and medication.

Years later, when I finally engaged consciously on my spiritual path after my first marriage fell apart, I had some fairly major, deep healing work to do. The intensity of that healing process, along with a spiritual teacher of dubious ethics, tipped me into crisis again, in 2003 and then in 2006.

On these occasions though, I had the right support and understanding to be able to reconnect with the process of spiritual emergence that had been so traumatically interrupted before. I was able to move through to a more whole and healed place, the place of renewal my psyche had been trying to get to all along. I didn’t end up in hospital and I didn’t end up spending a year weaning off medication. Instead of losing a year of my life, as I had done previously, I was able to completely rebuild my life from a totally new, far more solid foundation.

Over a period of a few years I completely recreated my outer life to reflect the inner transformation. My healing and awakening directly resulted in my organising a series of residential conferences on spiritual emergency and setting up the UK Spiritual Crisis Network. I also wrote In Case of Spiritual Emergency: Moving Successfully Through Your Awakening (Findhorn Press/Inner Traditions) and qualified as a mindfulness meditation teacher. This is what Jung calls the process of individuation, where we align ourselves ever more with our true nature and what we incarnated to do. In retrospect, it feels more like being a channel for whatever wanted to come through from the Universe.

Having been through trauma both growing up and in adulthood, I’ve been blessed to be able to use my experience to help others. Through my writing, speaking and teaching, I give people the tools and understanding to heal and grow from it, using it as an opportunity, even catalyst for awakening.

The journey continues. In the last six months I’ve been aligning myself more and more with my life’s purpose. I’ve been able to ground, so to speak, the vision I had when going through spiritual emergency all those years ago. I’m now ready to bring that work into form, to follow through on my commitment to that in this lifetime.

As a result, I’ve been broadening the scope of my work out from personal to planetary crisis and awakening. The work involves holding the vision of the extraordinary potential this moment in history represents. It involves helping humanity move through the trauma of our global climate emergency to a new level of consciousness. My particular contribution to that right now is raising awareness and understanding of the parallels between the personal and planetary levels of spiritual emergence. I have a sense there is more to come.

Nobody would choose to go through trauma or crisis but when we do, with the right support and understanding, it can be such an opportunity for healing and awakening. That’s true both for each of us individually and for the world as a whole.

In one way or another the willow strands of trauma and crisis have woven their way through my life to create a beautiful sacred dome. As I sit on the grass inside it, appreciating the beauty and blessings of my life today, I can look up at the clear blue sky and give thanks.

Catherine

If you’d like to join an event to look at the Power, Threat and Meaning inherent in the spiritual emergence journey, such as Catherine describes, CLICK HERE 

If Catherine’s journey resonates with your experience and you’d like to share your own story of rising through a traumatic experience, please CONTACT US to find out how to get involved.

 

 

 

 

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Kelly’s reminder that the ’emergence’ journey is not at all a linear one

Remember our lovely #Emerging Proud through Suicide KindaProud pocket book Rep Kelly?

Kelly felt called to update her blog after a recent challenging period found her having dark thoughts yet again. As Kelly says, healing trauma is an ongoing process, and the more this can be spoken about and normalised hopefully more lives can be saved.

Not everyone will relate to Kelly’s near death experience, but for those that do, Kelly’s is a brave and profound story well worth sharing…

Kelly-Michelle-Walsh

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Innovative ‘Open Space’ conference to investigate how the Power Threat Meaning Framework can relate to the spiritual emergence process

PTMF event

Have you had, or been a support to someone who is having / has had, a challenging transformative experience which you see as a natural, albeit painful, process of growth towards a fuller, deeper expression of an authentic self and meaningful life? Or do you have a general interest in this area?

Do you have ideas on how these experiences could be better supported in the mental health system?

Come and take part in an inclusive, non-hierarchical ‘Open Space’ (explanation of this process below) innovative event – have your voice heard. Every Attendee will have the opportunity to speak.

BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE: LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE 

#EmergingProud sees the ‘spiritual’ element of the equally important BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL-SPIRITUAL aspects of what it means to be wholly human as understanding a crisis as a journey of growth, emergence and transformation, not necessarily as a ‘recovery’ journey, as we never return to the same person we were before the crisis…

We perceive what is sometimes termed as ‘mental illness’ as a natural and necessary process of releasing the pain of trauma, so that our true selves can emerge.

What is needed to provide a ‘safe container’ for this process to occur?

I have invited Dr Lucy Johnstone and and Professor Mary Boyle to join us as we discuss these issues in relation to the document; The Power Threat Meaning Framework, published by The British Psychological Society in January 2018, for which they are lead authors. This document is an ambitious attempt to outline an alternative to the diagnostic model of emotional and psychological distress. Co-produced by a team of professionals and survivors, it explores the role of power and threat in people’s lives, and the way we make meaning out of difficult experiences. The Framework can be used as a way of helping all of us, whether in contact with the mental health system or not, to create more hopeful narratives or stories about our lives and struggles, instead of seeing ourselves as blameworthy, weak, deficient or ‘mentally ill’.

I wanted to create a ‘Safe and dynamic Space‘ in which to have these discussions, and to look at how the PTMF can be applied to this process both practically, and perhaps also be more inclusive of this important perspective. We want to bring to the table discussions about the risks (power and threats) inherent in spirituality, how these can be better recognised, prevented and supported by the framework, and also how the awe-inspiring aspects (meaning) of the spiritual experience can be more welcomed and celebrated. 

BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE: LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE 

For people who wish to find out more about the Power Threat Meaning Framework before the day, the summary document available PTM Summary Latest may be useful.

Other PTMF documents, videos and resources are freely available here:

https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/introducing-power-threat-meaning-framework

The aim of our day together;

–       To consider the question; “How does the Power Threat Meaning Framework relate to those who perceive their experience in transcendent/ transformative, spiritual or spiritual emergency terms, and how could it be used to support this?” 

–       To trust in the collective wisdom of those who gather, and to let inspiration emerge naturally

–       To use the outcomes from the day to inform the possibility of expanding the Power Threat Meaning Framework, if this is deemed appropriate, and/ or to develop ideas for its practical application in this area. 

BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE: LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE 

WHAT IS OPEN SPACE?

It is a self-organizing practice of inner discipline and collective activity which releases the inherent creativity and leadership in people. By inviting people to take responsibility for an issue they care about, Open Space establishes a marketplace of inquiry, reflection and learning, bringing out the best in both individuals and the whole gathering.

WHEN TO USE IT:

–       Where there is a high degree of diversity

–       Where all stakeholders are needed for good decisions to be made

–       Where you have no preconceived notion of what the outcomes should be

PROBABLE OUTCOMES:

–       Builds energy, commitment and inclusivity

–       Participants accept responsibility for what does or doesn’t happen

–       Action plans and recommendations emerge from discussions as appropriate

–       You create a record of the entire proceedings as you go along which are shared with all Attendees after the event

HOW IT WORKS:

The Law of Two Feet means you take responsibility for what you care about –  standing up for that and using your own two feet to move to whatever discussion group you can best contribute to and/or learn from. There is no pressure to act as a discussion Convenor (see below), or to speak at all, you are welcome to just listen if that feels more comfortable for you. You are also welcome to move between discussions if you are drawn to more than one.

BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE: LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE 

THE STEPS IN BRIEF FOR THE EVENT

Dr Lucy Johnstone will kick off the day with an overview of the Power Threat Meaning Framework, giving us a foundation for the rest of the day…

Together we will consider the question; “How does the Power Threat Meaning Framework relate to those who perceive their experience in transcendent/ transformative, spiritual or spiritual emergency terms, and how could it be used to support this?” 

  1. There will be an Agenda wall and areas where diverse conversations will take place will be lettered. You will have free choice to take part in any discussions throughout the day.
  2. Another wall will be labelled NEWS. This will display the Harvest outcome forms from the discussions
  3. The Facilitator explains the simple process the group will follow to organize and create a record, where to put things up and find out what is happening (point out lettered discussion spaces
  4. Opening the marketplace: the Facilitator invites *anyone who cares about a particular issue in relation to the day to step up and write the topic on the Agenda wall so people know where to find them for that discussion – they will be the *Convenor for that discussion throughout the day.  

*Please note; if you bring a topic for discussion on the day you will become a Convenor and be expected to write up a synopsis of your group interaction – this will be further explained on the day. 

  1. The Convenors have responsibility for facilitating their session(s) and seeing to it that a Harvest report is made during their discussion and shared on the News Wall at the end of the day.
  2. All Attendees participate in discussions. Attendees can move between discussions as they desire, but the Convenors stay with their topic of choice. There are no set breaks, the space is free until the gathering circle for organic outcomes to occur.
  3. At a set time towards the end of the day, the Facilitator will gather all of the Attendees in a circle and the Convenors will be invited to share a synopsis of what came of their discussions.
  4. All of the News and any agreed outcomes are typed up and circulated to all Attendees after the event as a follow- up.

Are you interested in offering a new perspective on why people experience mental distress and how it can be supported? Why not consider a discussion topic to bring (in relation to the question) and stand up to be a Convenor on the day? This can be instinctual, there are no expectations, pressures or pre-set ideas. The only guidelines are to come to the space with the intention to share from a compassionate heart-space and to be respectful towards each other.

  “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

  Cynthia Occelli

We very much look forward to seeing what emerges… ❤

BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE: LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE 

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Denise emerges proud through an abusive past to share her story for our KindaProud series

As Denise knows only too well, spirituality is not all ‘love and light’ experiences. It’s so vital that extreme situations like the one Denise explains here are talked about so that those potentially vulnerable to them can be made aware of the risks and protected. Spirituality is far from exempt of being used as a tool of manipulation; many so called ‘Gurus’ are found to abuse their followers in one form or another. Any use of power or control is abuse, and it takes huge strength and bravery to get out and speak up. Thank you Denise for bringing your story to light in order to show both the risks and potential opportunities that can present themselves through trauma and abuse…

Denise - ISIS

I was raised in what I consider to be a fundamentalist Christian sect, which I joined with my mother as a minor of ten. Key factors which can make one vulnerable are our own less than ideal childhood and subsequent poor life choices. Add to this circumstances out of our control, like the loss of key family members through death or divorce, and these were the things which hit my mother hard.  As she began to question the meaning of life, she entertained the sect who called regularly at her door. Under the circumstances she was an emotionally low-hanging fruit, ripe for the picking. These avid preachers are highly trained to spot this vulnerability and ask key questions that have sat up and begged to be answered since the beginning of time, such as ‘what is the meaning of life’ or ‘if there is a God, why does he allow suffering?’

Most cults have a knack of providing black and white answers to calm the existential angst, coupled with an intoxicating offer of family support. They achieve their aims by love-bombing their new recruits into a big happy group and reassuring them that all will be well as long as they fully adopt their belief system. In this case the carrot is the promise of a paradise on earth with no suffering, sickness or death.

What this particular sect will never tell you in advance, and is also the reason they become increasingly mentally and emotionally abusive, is that once you are sucked in it is very difficult to get out again. The thumb screws of fear and guilt are slowly turned so that initially you are not even aware that your freedom of thought and choices are being bled away. It is dictated what you can or cannot wear, listen to or watch.

If these preaching machines were to tell you upfront that you would be compelled to attend three long meetings a week, keep up with the national average of twelve hours door to door preaching a month, sacrifice a family member if they needed a banned blood transfusion, or abstain from sex until marriage, then there wouldn’t be much chance of you entering into the fold.

I became a voluntary full-time preacher at the age of eighteen, preaching for ninety hours a month, unpaid, for ten years. It was practically forbidden to study after leaving school and I had no career prospects other than my ministry and therefore no financial freedom. As a woman I was also not allowed to become an Elder or a Ministerial Servant in the congregation as these positions of authority are for males only.

I was beginning to feel ‘less than’ already and this only deepened when I married a man from my congregation at twenty-eight and he became ‘head of the house’, making all decisions.  Wives have to be obedient to their husbands in all things.

At the age of thirty-two, I found myself ripped from my family and life-long friends who were still within this sect. This was for daring to think for myself, ask awkward questions and then taking action to leave behind this patriarchal belief system.  I was branded an ‘apostate’ twenty-five years ago and if I was to meet someone from the sect on the street, they would cross the road and not speak to me.

If you found out early on how traumatic it would be to walk away and be cut off from your family and friends still within for the rest of your life, as I was, you would never sign up to this ‘paradise on earth’ deal. Shunning is one of the cruellest practices and typical of high control groups. The trauma caused by this practice alone can and did lead to depression and PTSD for me and can sometimes drive ex-followers to suicide. I had to let go of the relationship with my mother and step-father twenty-five years ago, along with all my childhood friends. I am blessed that my brother and sister also left and that we are allies – not everyone is that lucky.

The point in my life where I started to thrive, rather than just survive the strict and puritanical routines, was when I catapulted myself and my four-year-old daughter into the unknown, away from this religion, a five-year marriage and the country I had settled in, Switzerland. It had taken two years of skilled psychotherapy to rebuild my core sense of self enough to leave the sect and six months later, my husband. At the age of thirty-two, I was on a journey to begin a new life, returning to my native country, England, where I rebelled against every belief and lie I had been taught since childhood. It was a time of fun, laughter and adventure into the great unknown world.

It’s so important to reach out for support to any family or friends you may initially have outside of the Organisation when you are severing yourself from the clutches of undue influence. It’s a very delicate and vulnerable stage of re-building your life from ground zero. I got in touch with my birth father and several friends who had left the sect some years earlier and it was joyous to meet, eat together and talk about the good old days we’d had as well as the bad.  The camaraderie of shared experience can make the transition to a new life so much less painful.

As I was in a new county and a town where I knew nobody, I decided to join the local gym and made a good companion there. When I started working, I made core friends that have supported me unconditionally through thick and thin, a far cry from my self-righteous religious family.

During the next twenty years, I worked my way up the career ladder as a personal assistant, eventually holding a good position at Universal Pictures in London. There I was given an opportunity to grow a large corporate social responsibility programme over and above my job role, which I loved. We would volunteer at local homeless centres, give reading practice to under-privileged inner-city children, re-paint their school or weed and paint at the Wetlands Wildfowl trust.

How do you learn to thrive when you feel broken inside and your self-esteem is at rock bottom? Creativity has been a life-saver for me. I was drawn to silk painting a couple of years before I left my husband and the relationship that I built to colour aided in expressing my emotions and became a healing experience.

I felt a sense of self-assurance beginning to bud when I had singing lessons and learnt to play keyboard and guitar. After many years of relating my cult escape story to anyone who would listen, and with their encouragement, I felt the calling to begin writing my story. It took me thirteen years of struggling with deeply suppressed emotions, writers’ block and depression before I ’emerged proud’ to become an author.  My book has just been published and has finally been birthed into the world after a long drawn out labour of love. It can be purchased here:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Freespirit369

And you can find out more about my journey on my website:

You never know… you may go down the rabbit blog…. https://www.isisallthings.com/
Do you have a story of not only surviving  but thriving through a traumatic life event?
If you’d like to share your journey in order to inspire others we are still taking submissions for our next 2 pocket books in the KindaProud series;
#Emerging Proud through Suicide and #Emerging Proud through Trauma and Abuse
CONTACT US HERE to find out how to get involved ❤
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Grab our next KindaProud book, and share your story of hope to inspire others

Our 2nd KindaProud Pocket Book of Hope and Transformation is not to be missed!

Grab yourself a collection of inspirational personal transformation stories in a little pocketbook, complete with self-help tips and a crisis guide… ALL of the proceeds go to buying FREE books for sending messages to those in need – what’s not to love? ❤

Out on 12th July – GET YOUR COPY HERE from that date on… 

Through eating disorder front cover.jpg

Through eating disorder backcover v4.jpg

Would you like to share your personal story for our next 2 books in the series to give hope to others? 

We are still collecting submissions for; 

#EmergingProud through Suicide and #EmergingProud through Trauma and Abuse

CONTACT US HERE to find out how to get involved… Please remember that your journey can help others to know that they can get through whatever they may be facing too ❤

 

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2 week countdown for the Thank You Body festival to mark our 2nd KindaProud book launch

Thank You Body!

 Don’t forget – only 2 weeks to go!

 ‘The Thank You Body Festival’ on July 12th from 10am – 4pm at the Forum, Norwich.
It is a FREE event to celebrate body diversity, inspire self-acceptance and build community.
It will be a body positive gathering of people, to inspire change, challenge social norms and empower people to love and accept the skin they are in.
The festival will be an interactive and fun day, packed full of embodied movement sessions, story telling, inspirational talks, an ‘Beyond Skin Deep’ art installation, a ‘Wild Woman’ photographic exhibition, well-being practitioners, body art and an exciting ‘out-with-a-bang’ finale! 
You don’t even need a ticket – come for part of the day, the whole day, just don’t miss the day! Oh, and make sure you stick around for a special surprise at 4pm 😉
The festival also marks the launch of our 2nd ‘Pocket Book of Hope and Transformation – #EmergingProud through disordered eating, poor body image and low self-esteem’. 
SoulShine is a new social enterprise passionate about creating a healthy body image culture in its home town of Norwich. There has been a huge increase recently in the number of people who struggle with their body image, resulting in increases in self harming, eating disorders and depression. SoulShine is tackling the issue of negative body image and its consequences through empowering workshops,  confidence building ‘Body Positive Photo Shoots’ and events like ‘The Thank you body Festival’ that help people to make peace with their body, feel comfortable in their own skin and confident to be who they are.
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