#Emerging Proud through NOTEs Sacred Sharing Space Retreat

Have you had an experience that has taken you beyond the realms of your previous understanding of yourself and the world?

Are you struggling to #Emerge Proud about your NOTE (non-ordinary transcendent experience), and feeling like you have to lead a double life?

Do you feel like you’re teetering on the edge of a cliff, too afraid to jump for the unknown, but desperate not to turn back to your old way of being?

Would you like to spend time sharing with an intimate group of fellow Experiencers in a safe space where you can feel heard and not judged, whatever you need to talk about?

This retreat may be for you…

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 CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FLYER

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE BEAUTIFUL VENUE 

For details of the weekend schedule, and to book a place please CONTACT US 

” TIME SPENT CONNECTING IS TIME WELL SPENT” 

To thine own self be true

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Mick from Norwich shares his experience of being a ‘Wounded transformer’ for our NOTEs book in the Kinda Proud series

Although every account of a NOTE is unique to the individual, there are clear patterns that emerge through the stories shared, which seem to show how common themes of human struggle and survival connect us all at a soul level. Mick’s deeply personal account is no exception, in fact it clearly highlights the documented stages of a spiritual awakening; Repression of struggles – Trauma acting as a catalyst for change – Repressed emotions surfacing for healing – Growing conscious awareness – Healing and transformation. Knowing these stages are natural and don’t last forever is helpful when we are amidst a crisis; that the only way out is indeed through…

As Dr Mick Collins beautifully explains, in realising that his paranoia was the result of his living decades of split-off trauma and rage. He was able to learn probably the most important lesson on the journey back to wholeness; that the Ego (shadow) is not something to push away or fight against, but embracing it is actually an integral part of the individuation process. Here Mick explains how that was for him in his own painful personal transformation journey…

Mick

Wounded Transformers

In 1956 my teenage mother became pregnant and after I was born my grandmother decided it would be best if I were adopted. The separation from my mother was complex, compounded by the fact that she was denied the opportunity to say goodbye to me on the day I was taken away. This life-changing event happened when I was three months old. Adoption works out well for many people, but there are risk factors that can impact adopted children and adults.

Today, the psychosocial effects of adoption trauma are much better understood, particularly the various difficulties that can multiply as children are growing up, which can include anxiety, depression and identity confusion. In the worst cases, adoption trauma can result in dissociation, anti-social behaviour, sexual promiscuity, suicide and homicide. Studies in the US have shown that adoptees account for 2% of the population; yet they are over-represented in mental health and criminal justice services. Some of these risk factors overshadowed my life.

My adoptive parents were in the military, which meant we constantly moved home. As an only child I quickly learnt that friends and social connections were transient, and that education had no continuity or meaning due to the lack of a national curriculum. Consequently, my life was permeated with an existential sense of loneliness and rootlessness, which was compounded by the highly unusual fact that my adoptive mum and dad both lost their parents when they were children. As far as I know, they had no siblings. My adoptive parents were good people who did their very best for me, but they also had their own complexities.

Despite my unconventional family situation, life at home was relatively ‘normal’ and mostly non-eventful. However, at times the atmosphere became unpredictable and volatile, which also resulted in me experiencing double binds that were confusing and disorientating. I did not know which messages to trust, so I withdrew emotionally and became a people pleaser. Yet deep down all was not well, as revealed in the nightly episodes of bed-wetting, which continued until I left home at seventeen. I also had a recurring paranoid fear that I would be hung for ‘something’ I did not do.

 Throughout childhood I had very low expectations for my life. I left school at fifteen with no educational attainments and my first job was working on a building site as a labourer. It was not long before I started to go ‘off the rails’ and I appeared in court for the first time aged fifteen. It was a very troubling period of my life, which resulted in three further prosecutions for theft, threatening behaviour and possession of an offensive weapon.

An unexpected opportunity to change happened during a conversation with a kind police sergeant following my arrest for possession of an offensive weapon. He suggested I could do a lot better in life, and his non-judgemental attitude had a positive impact on me. I started reflecting on what I could do differently to turn my life around. When I appeared in court I was expecting a custodial sentence, but I spoke sincerely about wanting to join the army. Thankfully, I left court that day with a heavy fine, along with a deep resolve to try and change my attitudes and behaviours.

In 1974 I joined the infantry, which provided me with a real sense of containment, self-respect and belonging. My first posting was Northern Ireland, which taught me first-hand the impact of violence in a conflict zone. I left the forces after three and a half years. Between 1977-83 I travelled and worked around the world, which was liberating and a great cross-cultural education. Then, in 1983 I went for a two-day visit to see a friend who was living in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery and I ended up staying for three years. I immersed myself in Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice, whilst also learning ways to cultivate spiritual meaning in life.

It was during a short trip away from the monastery that I had a profound and life-changing numinous encounter, which happened whilst I was reciting mantras on a train. I suddenly experienced an overwhelming sense of love for everyone in the carriage. Everything was sacred and my whole body radiated bliss, which lasted for over two days. On the third day the experience gradually started to fade, and by the time I returned to the monastery I was starting to experience an extreme state of consciousness. I was overwhelmed by violent and murderous impulses, which catalysed a descent into a living hell that lasted for over two years.

A saving grace during this time was having met an Indian psychologist and former mendicant, who had worked very closely with the great spiritual teacher, Jiddu Krishnamurti. He was well versed in Jungian and transpersonal psychology, as well as the world’s mystical literature. He thought I was passing through a transformative spiritual experience, and his compassionate manner was literally life saving. I held tightly to his words, as it was all I had. In 1986 there was very little appreciation of such transformative processes in mainstream society. Stanislav Grof’s book on spiritual emergency had not yet been published.

During my spiritual crisis I thought I was possessed by evil and on one occasion I came close to suicide. I was very troubled by the violence and murderousness within me, and I decided that I would rather end my own life than hurt another person. Yet I somehow managed to find my way through this dark night of the soul – alone. Eventually I discovered the work of Carl Jung, and I began to realise that I was not possessed by evil; rather I was possessed by the unconscious and decades of split-off trauma and rage. I learnt a very deep lesson about meeting the shadow and how it is an integral part of the individuation process. Occasionally, I still encounter experiences of vulnerability and dissociation, but years of therapy and inner work have taught me how to process these ‘complexes’ and focus my energies on healing and wholeness.

My life-long journey as a wounded transformer inspired my vocation as a health professional and academic. I worked for twelve years as an occupational therapist in adult acute mental health services and also in a psychological therapies team, where I integrated a transpersonal approach into my clinical practice. I went on to work as a university lecturer for 10 years and my research focused on themes, such as spiritual crisis, transformative potential and spiritual renewal.

Throughout my life I have encountered various extremes, but I have also learnt that these challenges are thresholds for deep transformation. I never imagined as a ‘confused child’ that I would go on to gain a PhD and become a published author. My books: The Unselfish Spirit and The Visionary Spirit emerged phoenix-like from the ashes of my spiritual crisis. Becoming a writer has helped me articulate the complexities of individuation and the blessings of transformation. These days my quest for wholeness includes forgiving others and myself for past mistakes, as well as trying to be more grateful, charitable, just and loving. It’s a soulful process and a work in progress.

We are no longer taking submissions for the #Emerging Proud through NOTEs Pocket Book of Hope, but if you have a story you’d like to share we’d be delighted to include it on the blog. Please CONTACT US HERE to find out how to go about sharing…

If you have a personal story that are relevant for our other Kinda Proud book titles, please CLICK here to find out how to get in touch with the Rep for your specific title, thank you for helping us to spread messages of HOPE  ❤

 

 

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Sign up for #Emerging Proud day 2019

Only 12 weeks today it will be the 3rd International #Emerging Proud day…

In 2017, 12 countries gathered in 17 locations to mark the occasion, and we’d love to increase that number on 12th May 2019…

Let’s make it the biggest and best celebration yet to;

‘Re- frame mental distress as a possible catalyst for positive transformation’ 

What can YOU do? 

It’s really simple; organise a gathering in your local community, log onto the online event stream… CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP Join Nicole and I for the LIVE launch of the #Emerging Proud through NOTEs book; the first in the Kinda Proud ‘Pocket Books of Hope’ series – it’s going to be a whole lot of International interactive fun!

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WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU THERE ❤

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Make loving yourself a priority today

On the day that the capitalist world tells us to give out love, (and spend money on pointless tat), be rebellious; make loving yourself a priority… 

Self - love

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Altazar’s life transformed the moment he decided he could no longer fit himself into the boxes of our ‘cultural matrix’

Pretty much anyone who has #Emerged Proud to date could probably relate to Altazar’s words of wisdom here;

“Who I was being had no relevance to my true self. My identity was in meltdown. And I knew this crisis had been brewing for a long time…. I decided that I had to be true to myself, whatever that looked like, or die in the process.”

It’s usually the meaning we find within the crisis that points us in the direction of our purpose. We have to succumb to the emotions we’ve been repressing, often for years, for the healing journey to begin. However, calming the Ego enough to let go and trust this necessary fall is not at all and easy thing to do, as Altazar recounts through his story…
Altazar headshot

I’ve never been diagnosed with any mental disorder. Probably because, somehow, I had the nous to stay out of the medical system. Nevertheless, I believe my experience would today be classified as a mental/emotional breakdown and burnout. I was walking down the street having arguments with myself – out loud, for Christ’s sake!

When I realised this I got very scared. I certainly did not want it on my medical records jeopardising future employment prospects, loading insurance premiums or producing any other unnecessary challenges in my life.

I was 37 years old, working as an electrical design engineer in a well-paid very rational male-dominated industry. However, that industry was in deep recession and my job would soon disappear with no hope of finding anything similar. My marriage was falling apart. I was completely shut down emotionally. My life was a mess. I was certainly depressed. I was toxic to be around.

Looking back now it’s obvious that I was going through a major spiritual awakening. I’d been living my life inside the boxes prescribed by convention. Outwardly I looked successful, but I hated myself. Those boxes I’d put myself in never did fit me and they’d led me to be very fragmented. I was different people for different aspects of my life, and inauthentic in virtually all of them.

Who I was being had no relevance to my true self. My identity was in meltdown. And I knew this crisis had been brewing for a long time.

I needed to sort myself out. I had no idea how, but I decided that I had to be true to myself, whatever that looked like, or die in the process. If I couldn’t find some real meaning to my existence and integrate that into the way I lived I did not want to be here.

By chance I was in the old St Pancras library one day in my lunchtime and picked up a flyer for a ten-week course about stress and burnout. I read it and ticked all the boxes twice over. It was like someone had left it there especially for me. I signed up immediately.

To the person I was then, it was all weird. There were some basic psychological exercises (Transactional Analysis), story-telling, role-playing, reflexology, massage and meditation. It was the meditation that saved me.

We were taught a version of the Buddhist Metta Bhavana (loving kindness) practice. It saved my life. I embraced it wholeheartedly, as if something in me remembered it from another existence.

My marriage collapsed; my job disappeared. It took about two years to regain some sense of equilibrium after that.

I practised my meditation daily, although I did nothing else metaphysical for about five years. But I was changing.

I found a job that I could manage easily and I enrolled in a part-time degree course at what is now Middlesex University, reading English. I wanted to take a completely different direction. That was where the five years went.

Initially the degree was something to keep me busy and at home, as my fourteen-year-old son chose to live with me instead of his mother. But I evolved; I did well, and I got interested in psychoanalytic literary criticism – something most other students avoided like the plague.

As I got deeper into how we make meaning of things I started to see the meanings I’d made up about my own existence. My interpretations of my experiences had plainly accumulated into a perception of myself and life in general that just had to implode at some point. I was seeing why I’d made such a mess of my life. Coupled with the meditation practice this enabled me to accept and forgive myself for much of the mess I’d created.

I graduated with a good first class honours that allowed me to be accepted directly onto a PhD programme without taking an interim master’s degree. I was researching how we make sense of ourselves through linguistic structures. Ultimately, this was analysing my own process through close examination of the way I made meaning out of various texts, and how I mapped that onto the reality of my life.

And just as I was getting into my PhD I got a shock. What I now know as my healing channels opened spontaneously in meditation. I had no reference points for this, and again I was scared. My body tingled with energy from head to toe. I could visualise it, and turn it on and off.

At this time I was also in a new relationship, with someone who had a passing interest in spirituality. I didn’t tell my partner about my experience for a few days; when I did she encouraged me to explore the realm of spiritual healing. I had nothing to lose, so that was the beginning of a sojourn through New Age spirituality that lasted several years.

It was a lot of fun and sometimes very scary. I found the territory populated with a mixture of sincerity and superficiality, integrity and exploitation. It was a minefield.

There was LOADS of emotional work: buckets full of tears and rage. There was more than one experience of what is known generically as the dark night of the soul, which is more accurately the mind going into a flat spin because nothing it knows can cope with the fractures in its sense of reality.

But I was on a path. There was enough consistency in my spiritual adventures to keep me engaged.

I looked at various forms of energy healing, in an attempt to give myself some kind of label, and I learned a great deal from all of them. The most commonly recognised form I learned was Reiki, which I actually taught for four years. But, I’ve been consistently driven to find my own way.

As a child I could remember being a man in another life – I still can; I saw things – beings, entities that “weren’t there” according to my parents – I still do. However, I went into denial about my inherent spiritual nature for nearly thirty years because of a difficult experience with religion at the age of ten turned me against anything religious, and by implication spiritual.

Since my initial episode of mental instability I’ve gradually been better able to join the dots of my life into a coherent picture. That picture is not static, which is also a challenge to a mind that craves stability, but it gets clearer all the time.

What is crystal clear is that there are few reliable reference points in our culture for the process of spiritual awakening. Hearing voices and seeing visions may not book your ticket to the funny farm, but it will qualify you for some addictive medication to slug your sensitivity – if you tell the wrong people.

These days I support others as they awaken to their spiritual nature. I help them to learn to trust themselves, their intuition and their magic, and find their way to engage with what I call their Spiritual Intelligence. The 37 year-old electrical engineer I was would have said you were mad, had you told him this was where he was headed.

The mainstream cultural matrix functions as a control device to keep us afraid of ourselves, calling our inherent magic madness”. You embody its inherent psychosis if you go along with it.

Altazar Rossiter, February 2019

Walt Whitman’s Preface to Leaves of Grass [1885 edition]: 

Re-examine all you have been told

in school or church or in any book,

Dismiss whatever insults your own soul  ❤ 

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Thank You Body Festival; celebrate YOU and the launch of our second Kinda Proud pocket book of Hope

Thank You Body Festival (6)

In celebration of the launch of the second book in the KindaProud series;

#EmergingProud through disordered eating, poor body image and low self-esteem Pocket Book of Hope, SoulShine will be hosting a community gathering to celebrate body diversity, inspire self-acceptance and build connections.

The aim of the day is to create a space to celebrate, honour and empower our relationships with ourselves, our bodies and our food. We will provide opportunities to explore beliefs about body image, the relationships we have with food and also our connection to our own well being.

With guest speakers, storytelling, embodied movement and well being workshops, with wholesome nourishing food, a Wild Woman photo shoot exhibition, and a few little extra surprises thrown into the mix, it’s going to be a nourishing and uplifting day of connection!!

Come and join in the fun and celebrate with us.

The Forum, Norwich, Norfolk 10am

GET YOUR TICKET HERE

This is a free event, we do however welcome donations and are so incredibly grateful for any support you can give.

Help us spread the word!

We are currently looking for sponsors. If this is of interest to you, please email;

Amy at info@soul-shine.org.uk

Want to get involved? get in touch with us.

We really look forward to seeing you there!

So much love,
Amy, Robyn, Kate and Rachel (the SoulShine team) ❤

Thank You Body Festival (8)
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Bev is Kinda Proud of her journey from burnout to a burning desire to help others know that it’s ‘okay to not be okay’

After spending years as a ‘successful’ business woman, hardly ever allowing herself to take time off, it took all of Bev’s strength from deep within to reach out for help at a time when she felt all was lost. Bev discovered that this was true strength. Like so many who have #Emerged Proud through a personal crisis, this has now become Bev’s mission; to help others to realise that mental health struggles are a normal reaction to difficult life circumstances, and that it’s not only okay to self- care, it’s absolutely vital.

Bev now tells her story within workplace settings, to give others strength to reach out. Here she recounts how she ended up doing this wonderful work…

000844 Bev Jones-019

Like a Phoenix from the ashes

This year (2019) marks a huge milestone for me as it was ten years ago that I went through what can only be described as my annus horribilis.

2009, the year that changed my life in so many ways; I started the year, what I thought was happy enough, although looking back the toxic relationship I was in along with the high-pressured job and bullying I was enduring in the workplace was not conducive to a happy, balanced life.

As the start of the year passed I went through it convincing myself it would all be Ok, that things would work out alright in the end if I just hung in there and hung in there I did. I hung on for the first five months of the year by a thread; it was like I was on the edge of a rock face gripping on by my fingertips. At the end of May 2009 my life fell apart when the situation at work became unbearable, so much so that all I did was spend all my time in tears, sobbing my way through the day and into my pillow at night.

Finally, I gave in and visited the doctor who diagnosed clinical depression and severe anxiety, I found this just to be the start of a road that led to a journey of darkness that went seemingly deeper with each day. I found myself walking through a fog, a fog of what I believed to be failure, a fog of sadness, a fog of paranoia, a fog of loneliness and a fog of isolation that turned into a fog of anger.

I became so angry. I was angry with me for being so useless, I was angry with those in work who had seemingly turned against me. I was angry with those closest to me who in my mind didn’t understand. I was angry with God, the Universe and basically anyone else I could blame for the situation I was now in.

Following my diagnosis, I was informed by the doctor that I had two weeks before hospitalisation, so my choice was to take a sick note and sign off from work, or to go to work where within two weeks they would be sending an ambulance to pick me up! I knew in my heart the choice was no choice, but it was hard, I always resisted the urge to be off sick but no more, I had to give in.

During the latter part of 2009 I lost my job, my home (temporarily to dry rot), and my relationship; my income lowered dramatically as I went from a senior manager salary to employment support allowance, and in my mind my world fell apart; little did I know this was actually the time when the foundations of my new life were starting to form.

I found myself self-harming, literally dragging my nails against my skin until I drew blood, this was my way of proving to myself I could hurt myself more than anyone else could hurt me.  In the darkest of nights, I found suicide thoughts creeping into my mind. I had it all planned, I wrote the text I would send to family and friends then worked out exactly how I would do it. I was so close, and yet the thought of the sadness I would cause to others somehow kept me hanging on to life.

Christmas / New Year 2010 became a turning point in my life. As I celebrated with family and friends I vowed that I would do whatever it would take to ensure that I would never have another year like 2009. I would turn my life around and ensure that those that had helped drive me down that road would not win. They may well have won the battle that took me towards the darkness of life, but they were never going to win the war.

I started 2010 by signing up to a Life Coaching diploma course as I became determined to help others not go where I had been. I wanted to somehow to let others know it is Ok not to be Ok, and you can indeed start day by day to come out the other side. At the time I renovated my property by day, so it became habitable again, and studied for my diploma by night. I was on medication for the depression and I have to say I was very lucky to have such an understanding doctor who was always on hand when needed. I undertook counselling sessions through which I learnt to take baby steps along the road to recovery.

I was shown how to take each day at a time, how to explore my new world by taking baby steps towards a new goal every day, even if that goal was just taking a walk in the park rather than staying under my duvet. One of my counsellors suggested always writing in my diary the evening before a plan for the next day therefore giving me a reason to get up. I have to say this advice worked so well in that I started to find getting up in the morning was fun as I suddenly had a purpose; it meant at the end of the day I could reflect on my progress and give thanks for all I had achieved that day.

As time passed, in 2010 I spent more and more quality time with family and friends, this made me realise that those riches in life lie with people not materialistic objects of desire.  These lovely people along with those I had met in my dark times started to build on the foundations I was building within myself.  I read books and absorbed information around positive thinking, faith, belief and mindfulness. I learnt how self-care was something that had been missing from my life for a long time and how by re-introducing it would in turn support me during the next stage of my journey as I began to walk along the path of recovery.

Fast forward to 2019 and it is suffice to say that the last ten years have been a rollercoaster, during which there were times I had to find the strength to hold on a little tighter. I have endured heartache, debt, and the anxiety still lurks hidden in the shadows but today it is thankfully manageable.

I started a business in August 2010 through which I now indeed do help others in many ways, including workplace wellbeing.  I am proud to say I actively share my story to normalise the importance of good mental health and what happens if self-care isn’t treated as an important part of everyday life.

I became a published author in 2012, an award-winning mentor, a radio show host, an avid volunteer, and met many new friends along the way. I renovated and sold my apartment to move back to my childhood village where I now live near my parents and share my life with my wonderful partner and his children. I know I am blessed, and I offer gratitude every day for the life I now have, the life I have built from the ashes, indeed the life that through experience turned an ordinary life to an extraordinary one.

I know from experience what it is like to feel like all is lost and I have seen members of my family broken by the suicide of my young cousin. The grief it leaves for others is immeasurable, and I am so relieved that from deep within I found a strength that saw me reach out for help at the time when I felt all was lost.

If I hadn’t done that I’d have missed out on all that the last ten years has brought me, and for that again I give thanks.

To contact Bev, you can find her website here:  http://www.awakencoaching.co.uk

or E.mail bev@awakencoaching.co.uk   Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/beverley-jones/

Do you resonate with Bev’s story? If you’d like to share yours in order to inspire others in Kelly’s KindaProud book:  #EmergingProud through Suicide

Please contact Kelly at: info@kellymichellewalsh.com

 

 

 

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