There are no words to describe the gratitude I feel for people like Liisa; cultural strangers and only ever meeting online, and yet still somehow deeply connected… Liisa’s difficult experiences have emerged into an overriding desire to support others going through turbulent transformation processes, and the beauty of this shared desire is that it connects those of us who feel it at a soul level.
Here Liisa describes the journey that has led her to set up SEN Finland:
Much has happened in Finland since the Launching of the #EmergingProud campaign that Katie Mottram initiated in October of 2016…
When I first heard of Katie and we became friends on fb in springtime 2016, I was still feeling quite alone with my experiences of Spiritual Emergency from 10 years before. It was only a couple of years earlier, that I had heard the term ”Spiritual Emergency” in first place. The newly found peers involved in the campaign and in groups like Shades of Awakening and the Shamanic View of Mental Illness brought me for the first time the feeling of belonging, validating, sharing and understanding. It is quite impossible to put in words how much it meant to me!
As Katie told me about her plans to arrange this campaign, I felt that I definitely wanted to be part of it and wanted to contribute to the change in seeing mental distress as a possible transformation process instead of traumatising it with a stigma of illness.
It felt very natural and empowering to jump in the flow of events and it was so incredible to notice, how things just evolved and everything seemed to resonate in synchronity with the process – accelerating it, adding new aspects and contacts in my life. At the same time it became very stressing emotionally, as I was returning back in time, evaluating and analyzing my own process very intensely. Soon I found myself in a strong, new emergence/-y episode, after ten years, going through a very turbulent and disturbing process accompanied by severe insomnia of several months.
I feel surviving through this period without psychiatric intervention was completely due to the support of my newly found peers who gave me hope and a new sense of trust. Especially I owe enormous thanks to Mick Collins, whose interview with Katie I had seen in the campaign, and whose experiences I felt so closely resembling mine. Mick, I am forever grateful for the compassionate support you offered me, when I contacted you in sheer panic! I also want to give my heartfelt thanks to my dear husband and those few friends who tirelessly supported me. Getting in deep touch with my own vulnerabilility once again made my urge to bring these issues up, to work for more compassionate world, even stronger.
Mostly due to my own process lasting the whole winter to the spring, the first EmergingProud Day last May remained a very small-scale event here in Finland. Small, but not without effect! The resulting events and ”after-effects” have been quite remarkable! Even though we were just some one dozen people gathering for an EmergingProud and Crazywise film screening and discussion here in my little hometown, Nurmijärvi.
On that day I brought up an idea of forming a Spiritual Emergence Network in Finland. That I knew, nothing like this existed here before, even if there is a multitude of different kind of mental health related associations. We saw a great opportunity here for collaboration with the already existing communities. So, the slow process of finding people and groups who resonate with mental health and spirituality issues began. I made contact with ISEN (International Spiritual Emergence Network) and we started the joining process to establish a local SEN in Finland.
My searches soon brought some results and I found some wonderful and active individuals around the country, who had just waited for someone to take initiative. I heard, that a dream of this kind of community had been there for a long time, but the energy for putting it up earlier was just not there yet. So it was very clear: NOW is the time!
Since last autumn we have now started a fb-page and a discussion group; a web page in collaboration with ISEN; a face-to-face peer support group in Helsinki together with another mental health actor Taho ry. We have made new, and worked on translating written material in Finnish, like the Crisis Guide made by ISEN and some ACISTE made material. There is a small library building up for the network members, about Spiritual Emergence/-y and related issues. Also there is in the air several possible book projects in Finnish. The co-operation with other groups and networks around Finland and worldwide is slowly increasing…
Our SEN Finland ”big launch” event is going to be on the EmergingProud Day, on the 12th of May.
We are arranging a seminar called (freely translated) ”Meaningful Madness – Crisis as a Possibility for Growth” at Lapinlahden Lähde. The venue is a former well known psychiatric hospital in Helsinki that nowadays is a location of many different mental health associations’ volunteer events and activities. We’ve got very well-known and respected psychologists/psychiatrists as speakers on the event that is focused in reframing mental distress as a possible transformational process. In addition we are going to have a ”So-Me” based sharing as a workshop, where all the seminar guests can participate in one-to-one or a small group story- and experience sharing. It is possible also to watch experiencers’ stories on EmergingProud film, if sharing face-to-face feels uncomfortable for someone.
I feel so happy and grateful for all this, for all the new friends I’ve got, for the worldwide growing networks, for the slow but steady movement towards respecting wholly human experience in the mental health field!
To find out more about the Finnish SEN and the work of Liisa and her team, CLICK HERE
A HUGE gratitude shout- out to you Liisa, for all you are doing for the movement, we love you! ❤