New Peer Support Sharing circles galore!

Sharing our stories in a safe space where there is no judgement, is healing ❤

We’re so excited to learn about all of the emerging Peer support sharing circles for people going through difficult transformation processes that are springing up all over the world now. If you are struggling, here are some free groups you may be able to access:

The Emerging Kind Peer Support Groups  Currently only for the UK, Peers have been trained in holding space for those having experienced a spiritual emergence.

SEA; Spiritual Emergence Anonymous A 12 – step program specifically designed and hosted for those going through spiritual emergence, to support integration.

ISGO; IANDS Sharing Groups Online   A global online resource for anyone who has experienced a NOTE (non- ordinary transcendent experience)

ACISTE (American Centre for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences) are currently updating their directory of support groups … keep a look out for news here.





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An interview with Dr Nicole, the NOTES Coach!

A couple of weeks ago we featured Dr Nicole Gruel’s personal experience in her #Emerging Proud blog, today I got to talk to the inspirational lady herself in this interview about her upcoming new book ‘The Power of NOTES’, based on her PhD research findings.

Find out how her NOTE whisperings of “What next?” led Nicole to her circle of work…

You can find out more about Nicole’s work, download her dissertation, and find out how to get hold of a copy of her book at: The NOTES Coach

P.O. NOTEs draft cover

For more information on the IANDS Sharing Groups we mentioned CLICK HERE 


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Call for London #Emerging Proud personal storytellers

Do you resonate with having been through a mental health crisis and now see it as a catalyst for a positive transformation in your life?
Are you ready to #Emerge Proud on the 12th May with your personal story? The event organisers in LONDON, UK are seeking Volunteers to take part in live impactful 1:1 conversations with the public to help end stigma and encourage hope with the perception that mental distress can actually lead to a positive breakthrough.
The London event will be held at 62 Fieldgate St, Whitechapel, London E1 1ES from 10am-5pm on Saturday 12th May, and you will need to be available during this time.


To get involved or for more informtation about this great opportunity please contact Lorien either via email: or via facebook private message.
Please only volunteer if you feel stable enough and ready to share your story, of have support in place to help with this…. Thank you! 
Go forth storytellers
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The dangers of intense meditation

I can across Damcho Pamo’s website around ‘meditating safely’ and wanted to highlight it as a helpful resource. It’s well documented that intense meditation, especially silent Vipassana retreats, can initiate a sponatenous awakening, and centres are often not equipped to deal with the consequences. Here Damcho Pamo tells her story of what led to her passion to raise awareness around this, from her own perspective:                                


 I, Damcho Pamo, am a British woman who experienced psychosis and mania, when I was 51, while attending an intensive meditation retreat. Prior to this chapter in my life I had no history of psychological problems and in fact was psychologically robust.

To spread the word about meditation being associated with the development of such problems for some people I created the website

This is an evidence based site that raises awareness of mental health issues in relation to meditation practice

In 1997 I became involved with a Zen group. I adopted a daily meditation practice and attended three retreats a year, two weekends and one five day. The retreats were intensive as they were in silence, the only opportunity to talk was in individual interviews with the teacher, and there were around eight hours of meditation a day.

I was motivated to attend the retreats and to practise meditation daily to engage with an authentic practice, enabling me to be more in touch with The Sacred and in particular to develop compassion.  In 2001 whilst attending one of these five day retreats I became manic and psychotic. It actually turned out that I was slightly psychotic when I arrived at the retreat, though at the time I wasn’t aware of that. The first night there I had very disturbed sleep. My mind was racing and I slept for only about three hours. I had a sense of my mind fizzing. I was concerned about this as I normally slept well, and especially so when I attended retreats, so I raised it with the teacher. She was dismissive just saying you don’t need to sleep when you meditate. So I continued with the retreat becoming increasingly psychotic and manic. Having no prior experience of such states I had not a clue what was going on. There were not many signs that I was in difficulties as I attended the whole of the programme. However I think my demeanour must have been odd and also I was eating very little at some of the communal meals but none of this was picked up on; no one approached me to ask how I was. After the retreat I was travelling for three or four days. During this time I became increasingly psychotic and manic but amazingly managed to negotiate train tickets and generally look after myself. The first two days at home my husband and I had visitors. I managed to cope with that. Much of my psychosis was just in my head and I was quite clever at hiding it from others but my husband and our guests could see that my behaviour was odd. It then took my husband a couple of days to persuade me to see the doctor. I was very wrapped up with what was going on in my head but had no sense that anything was wrong. I had no awareness in that way. When the doctor came he interviewed me for about two hours and easily established that I was psychotic and manic. I was then given medication that very quickly got me out of this state. However it turned out to be just the start of a three year period of further major problems. I went on to experience long periods of agitated depression and a further period of psychosis and mania. Eventually having had two courses of ECT and with the right balance of medication my condition became stable. From 2004 I was sufficiently well to work. My condition ever since, on the right balance of medication, has been stable. In 2002 I became involved with a Tibetan Buddhist group, adopting a daily meditation practice from 2008 and becoming a Buddhist in 2013. With my experiences of psychosis, mania and agitated depression I had been in a cul-de-sac but now feel I am back on the Buddhist path.

I see the meditation retreats that I attended and the daily meditation practice, actually practised in a rather forced way, I adopted during the four years prior to the retreat when I became psychotic and manic as contributory factors to my having developed these severe problems. The strongest indicator of this being so was that for the first four days after each retreat I would be aloof, distant and cold towards my family. I’d then snap out of it and revert to my usual warm and supportive self. However at that time there were also several strong stressors in my life. I had a perimenopausal physiology that was giving me psychological problems, a close relative had died, my work was stressful and I felt frustrated about my employment, and I practised Astanga Vinyasa Yoga, a very physically demanding and energising practice.

Dark Night of the Soul

The phrase Dark Night of the Soul is coined in modern times to describe coming through very difficult times in our lives. On our website I give the background to this concept.

When I became ill I don’t think I was going through a Dark Night of the Soul experience in the classical sense of losing my faith and feeling dry and arid. I was under chronic multiple stressors with the final trigger being the intense meditation retreat, the straw that broke the camel’s back. This accumulated stress pushed me into a physiological state that my system was no longer able to remain in balance with. Throughout my three years of troubles, treatment and recovery I never had a sense of losing faith. At the time of first experiencing problems I was a practising Quaker, with a belief in the inner light within each person. During my first spell in hospital even though I was feeling utterly terrible I was still courteous to nurses and considerate to my fellow patients however bizarre their behaviour. I mentioned this to a friend afterwards and she said I was just hardwired that way. However I wasn’t so good with the psychiatrists! Strange as they really are the people who can help you but when you feel imprisoned in a hospital it doesn’t feel like it! I would often spend my afternoons, alone, in the small hospital chapel, reflecting and found that really helpful.

However as my recovery has progressed, becoming more nuanced over the last 16 years, I would say that I have become more whole in myself, feel freer and have changed for the better. This has been assisted by being on the Buddhist path and becoming a Buddhist in 2013, though I am still a Quaker: at present not an active one. The aspects of being that I am working on at present are non-attachment, being in the present moment and equanimity. So to this extent I have emerged from a very difficult situation into a better state. You could say this is to do with taking a positive and constructive approach to having had to cope with a harsh situation and if you do that you develop as a person but perhaps in spiritual terms it is more than that. My path has similarities to St. John of the Cross’s view (outlined on our website) and in developing such aspects as non-attachment I am convinced of the reality of Buddha Nature, to me the equivalent to St. John’s Our true nature is God.


Gerald May (2003) also expresses the view that perhaps societies can go through a collective Dark Night of the Soul emerging from that phase with an improved situation. Perhaps World War II could be thought of in this way with life being considerably improved in the years after the war. Perhaps we could think of our present societal situation in this way and hopefully we will come through it with a better approach one that embraces squarely the realities of climate change, works towards sustainable energy sources, further develops international co-operation and above all creates the situations where we all care for each other better.


Gerald G. May, 2003, The Dark Night of the Soul, A psychiatrist explores the connection between darkness and spiritual growth, Harper Collins

Although we may not see things quite the same way, (believing that all these types of manifestations are part of the awakening healing path and not indicators of ‘illness’), it is important to acknowledge the need to meditate safely…

For resources and more info on this, go to:

Thank you for raising awareness on this important subject Damcho Pamo ❤



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Hungarian Artist provides display for global #Emerging Proud events

Last year’s featured Artist for #Emerging Proud was Clara Teleki from Hungary. This year Clara has kindly donated a digital display of her astounding pictures for each host country to use at their event; Clara is an #Emerging Kind! Here is her incredible donation:

*Please do not use these images other than at an #Emerging Proud event, thank you

Koszonom Clara, from the #Emerging Proud community ❤


We are delighted that Clara has submitted some of her pictures to the book cover competition. If you’d like to submit your own, please email the image / images to: by 19/04/18 when all submitted pictures will go to a public vote!

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Clarifying plans for #Emerging Proud day 2018

I’m in! What do I need to do? 

▪ Go to and register your name and location

 ▪ Download all of the FREE resources, you will also be sent an instruction email with the #Emerging Proud film download for FREE

▪ Source a (disabled access friendly) venue to hold your event; preferably in a public place, e.g. library

▪ Recruit Volunteers who are willing to talk about their personal transformation story

▪ Prepare all of the material needed for your big day; Volunteer Profiles etc

▪ Promote your event to your local community using this ‘trending topic’

‘Reframing mental distress as a possible transformation process’

▪ On Sat 12th May hold your SoMe Emerging Proud event; ENJOY!

▪ Return feedback from your Message Board after the event to take part in the research evaluation and the Emerging Proud 2018 International Report

What are you waiting for? SIGN UP HERE! 

In solidarity for the shift,

Katie ❤

Sory sharing warrior

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Introducing Nicole Gruel part 2; Dr of Integral Transpersonal Psychology

Last week we heard Nicole #Emerge Proud and share the profound personal experience that was to set her on her life’s mission… This week we’re diving deeper into that mission, to hear what she’s up to in a professional capacity. Here is her brilliant presentation on her research into the transformative power of NOTES (non-ordinary transcendent experiences):

Dr. Nicole Gruel is an author, life coach, specialist in NOTEs, and descends from a long line of samurai. Her books have been featured in leading Australian wellness magazines and have inspired people around the world to dive deep and take soulful action. She combines experience in teaching, international development, healing arts, counselling, Eastern philosophy, depth and transpersonal psychology, sacred ceremony, and creative expression to inspire grounded personal transformation and intentional collective action. Her greatest joy is igniting innate love and wisdom so people can get on with enjoying phenomenal relationships, live all they desire to be, and make a positive impact. Find out more via Nicole’s website:

Nicole has just launched an online meeting space for experiencers of NOTES:



Nicole’s newest book, based on her academic research:


I’m excited to be chatting to Nicole about her life and work very soon in an interview; watch this space!

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