A New Hope: Forgiveness

Juniper Natural Therapies Paintedhorse A New Hope Therapy Writing

Spending time with ‘Hope’ a gentle soul at Paintedhorse

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain” – Oriah Mountain Dreamer

This poem came to mind recently as I left Dorset for pastures new in Glastonbury. This time the part of the poem that jumped out was the bit about betrayals – have I been opened by them?  I am not shrivelled or closed, my heart is still open to people, but was I opened by those betrayals? What does that mean?

Last week I sat in a lay-by pondering my circumstances and options.  I had just managed to get up a winding forest hill road and find a safe place to pull over as my clutch finally burnt out. I was 2.1 miles from where I would be counselling someone in 3 hours.  I was early as I had arranged to meet a friend for a catch up first.  I texted her to let her know and she came to find me. My bladder decided it also wanted in on this drama.  I smiled, no point crying, this is life – see the thread of humour George.  I knew the moment my car died would eventually come, but I had no money to replace the clutch and even if I did this little banger would not make its next MOT due to the amount of welding. Another ‘Dorset’ relationship, over.  My friend met me in the lay by with a drink of water and was amazingly quick at helping pack my car belongings into bags and into her car – my car is like a home so there was quite a bit of stuff!  A local garage agreed to come out and tow away Noddy2 and I watched as he left my life 15 minutes later.  It seemed like the last page of the Dorset chapter had turned and was now closed.  There is a clip in a movie that came to mind for this moment – ‘The Money Pit’ with Tom Hanks who after yet another mishap on his money pit house begins to laugh in a ridiculous way, its hilarious. I am not sure how long this link will last but here.  That was me last week.

Before I left Dorset a few things occurred to test my resolve.  One of which was I heard something that once would have angered me – yet another persons betrayal – but it did not anger me in the same way.  Not since a special equine therapy session last year, where a wise horse told me to make friends with my anger as its not going anywhere.  It was innate emotion, there to protect and there for survival.  Sometimes we are told we are not allowed to show anger, as children anger is not usually tolerated by adults around us.  Some of us are even told its not ‘lady-like’.  So it becomes suppressed within us in different ways, and this is what causes the issues not the anger itself, which if you think about it is quite transient.  To reflect further, I was once quite passive and over many moons eventually learnt that it doesn’t pay to be passive, as in response people were quite nasty towards me or took advantage in one way or another. An art history performance called Rhythm 0 in 1979 conducted by artist Marina Abramovic disturbingly showed what could happen to a passive person with no boundaries.  Reading what happened to this performance artist was chilling, someone tried to rape her, whilst another cut her neck and drank her blood. Interestingly when the performance was over and she became her ‘normal’ self the audience ran away as they couldn’t face her.

How some people treated me upset me, particularly family or those close at one time, my feelings grew into a despair, and at some stage anger surrounded my despair in a layer of protection.  Stored-anger often surrounds grief and sadness and I wonder if at this stage is more accurately called resentment, one that can have an explosive state of rage. Anger if expressed at the time of hurt is usually released quickly and does not cause the injury that suppressed anger can.  Releasing compressed-anger safely has been quite a journey for me.  I have acknowledged all those times I have not spoken up for myself, all those times I have remained silent, all those times people have stepped over my boundaries because I did not make them clear enough, all those times I have put my dreams/goals/wishes to one side for someone else’s. My self-belief that ‘I am not as important’.   I re-wrote my self-belief from childhood scripts, and got under my stored-anger layer. I am now working on releasing grief and despair – so really what better time to have some betrayal?

I recently came across two books and I love the way that happens when you are seeking answers.  In ‘You can Heal your Heart’ by Louise Hay and David Kessler there was a perfect paragraph “every relationship is assigned to you for your healing. Grief after any relationship gives you the window to heal your wounds and begin anew. Each relationship gives you an opportunity to face your fear and anger, they give you the chance to come closer to authentic healing and true love“.   In ‘Returning to Oneness, the seven keys of ascension’ by Leslie Temple-Thurston, I was drawn to chapter three  – ‘the second key: Forgive all betrayals‘.  How apt I thought as she explained ‘forgiveness’ clearly in a way I had not been able to comprehend before.  Having the experience of betrayal and being third dimensional – so therefore in our ego states or analytical mind – we often ‘feel hurt, a sense of loss, breech of trust and even victimised’. We attract more of the same.  I certainly did. The ‘tension of these experiences build up in the diaphragm’ – which is where I grew my cancer tumour of resentment – and this ‘tension-hardened’ muscle acts as a barrier between our 3 base chakras (worldly consciousness) and our 4 higher chakras (spiritual consciousness).

By meditating we can tap into our spiritual consciousness so we can explore further where we maybe holding the hurt of betrayal, as it can store beyond our consciousness. I wondered if this is why we can take emotions such as grief with us into other lifetimes?  I suspect I may have done this, which is why betrayal is being presented to me again – for healing.  Can I be opened by it?  See it as an opportunity to let go of it all and move forward to align to my souls purpose?  Betrayal and resentment, hatred even, has no value to my soul, only love is real (which is another fantastic book by Dr Brian Weiss). Under parental control we became either; ‘dominant/ rebellious/ assertive’ or ‘passive/ submissive/ victimised’, I did fall into the latter, but became more rebellious and outspoken as life went on and my anger grew. When we are born it does not take long before we are plugged into what I refer to as ‘The Matrix’ – yes, after the movie of the same title in 1999.  This matrix is one of control, of separation, and of games and drama of our own making. If we believe something was done to us, we feel separate – this is third dimension stuff.  But we are also fifth dimension beings, vaguely aware that we are trapped in time and space in the third dimension but knowing there is something more than this, and perhaps questioning if any of this is even real?  The truth is that we are all unified, part of each other, oneness.   So I betrayed myself as much as I was betrayed, I chose to come here, I chose to create or be involved in all of my experiences, I chose my parents, friends, relationships – each presenting for an opportunity to heal the soul (from a fifth dimension perspective).  The process of unplugging from the matrix of the third-dimension can be hard, and if we don’t ‘take the blue pill’ and look around its all very familiar, we know this on some level. Can I unlock the second key and forgive myself as well as others?  Can I be opened by life’s betrayals?  As I sat in the horse field most of this week, car-less, with a wonderful herd of ponies feeling anything but separate, I suspect I may have turned the key of forgiveness.

In its place I have begun to create a new business venture with a friend, one who incidentally – for those of you who like to tie up loose ends – got me to my counselling placement in good time so I could complete my final session with my client and then drove me back home to Glastonbury.

Dear Dorset: A letter to a place

 

gerry white horse photo portland

Chesil Beach from Portland – Photography by Gerry White

Creative writing can be a useful tool for personal growth and development.  I recently attended such a workshop with Sue Ashby included as part of my counselling training.  We were challenged to write ‘free-flow’ for 6 minutes, even if we repeated the same word until other words came to mind. We started the exercise with the word ‘If’.  After the 6 minutes we stopped writing and underlined things that interested or surprised us. We then chose a sentence, used it as our next title and began writing again for 6 minutes.  For me, it was great to express and not worry about editing for readers, that was the cathartic bit and the time limit seemed to help with the flow.  It was an interesting exercise which I will take into the counselling room with me for clients who wish to use writing as a way of expressing themselves.  If you like the idea of creative writing for personal development here are 5 more ways to use creative writing for yourself:

  1. A letter from your heart to your mind – for times you have conflict, you could write a letter from both, but often the heart doesn’t have the voice over the logical part of the mind.
  2. A letter from your emotions (anger, sadness, fear, joy) – expressing our emotions can be difficult, it is interesting to see what things get written on free flow.
  3. An unsent letter to someone (or something) lost – because its unsent there is an honesty that can come from free flow writing that allows us to just express our feelings without sending it anywhere…and sometimes there is nowhere to send the letter.
  4. Same event, different perspectives – this is a little bit like the ’empty chair’ exercise in Gestalt therapy where one person talks at an empty chair imagining someone in it, then changes seats and becomes that person to reply. Of course there may be many perspectives over one event which may give the writer more empathy for others at the end of the exercise.
  5. A letter to a place – this could be as a goodbye upon moving and could even be more specific and include an old home, or to express feelings over an event that occurred in a place.

When I move from a place, a home more specifically, I usually smudge with a joss stick or white sage to take my energy with me.  I think I got this practice from reading a Feng Shui book 16 years ago and its stayed as part of my moving homes ritual, which may seem a strange ritual to mention until perhaps I add I have moved 34 times so far.  My DBS checks are always so much fun!  The longest time I have spent in one house is 10 years. This was my family home in the town where I was born, but I only lived in that town throughout my teenage years.  I have stayed in one other county for as long since then, but admittedly moved homes 8 times within its boundaries…

DEAR DORSET,

I first met you in autumn 2007, when I was on a coastal trip from Exeter with St Luke’s Teacher Training College.  The chemists and physicists got to see Lulworth Cove and study the amazing Jurassic rock formations, and the biologists (myself included) walked a steep hill and did quadrat samples on the grass and quite frankly we could have been anywhere in the country.  At least we saw a bit of your coast line whilst having our lunch. On the trip back, a fellow PGCE student asked if I would swap my placement for his as he was a surfer. He had got Weymouth and Poole, whilst I was down for Barnstable and Ilfracombe (better surfing opporunities).  Although Barnstable was where my grandpa George was from originally and I was intrigued about living there, I thought Dorset would be closer to my sister and niece who would be an hour away in Salisbury so I would get to visit more often. I swapped.

I visited you again for several days later that year when I visited my first school placement at Budmouth College in Weymouth.  I met a geography teacher who was looking for a lodger and I moved in with her for the start of Spring term 2008. Barnes Wallis Close my first address here, around the corner from school and perfect for someone without a car.  I got to know Weymouth pretty well, which bus to take to town and when to avoid the bus as it would be full of students!

I bought an old red micra called Noddy just before I moved to lodgings opposite Poole Park for my summer term placement at Parkstone Grammar school, Poole and got to know Poole and Bournemouth fairly well too. I was a big fan of Poole pottery and ‘painting your own’.  I also enjoyed a mindful walk around the lake and sometimes coastal path between lesson planning in the evenings or at weekends.

I returned to Weymouth for my first teaching post at Budmouth and rented a room above a teachers garage for autumn term. I finally admitted defeat when it got so cold in there that the water froze as it touched the sink.  I moved back in with the geography teacher and warmed up for spring and summer term.  At the end of summer that year I organised a fossil hunting trip for a group of year 7 for activities week, we got to explore chisel beach and we went successful fossil hunting.  It was a shame the weather was too bad on the Friday for the glass bottom boat trip on the lagoon. Harry Potter at the cinema was the only thing that could have helped the disappointment – that’s me, not the students.

I explored and climbed your rugged rocks around the isle of Portland, as a mate at the time rented a room from a rock climbing landlord. I recall he had a sofa called ‘the seat of truth’ turned to face the window and the view of chesil beach linking Portland to the mainland in Weymouth.  It was great to watch the sun go down from there.  And it was a sobering walk from the The Cove pub back to her room. When she moved to Weymouth we discovered Finns, a very important haunt that got us both through a standard teaching week!

In Sep 2009 I moved to Portland to teach at Royal Manor, and lived in Wakeham by Church Ope Cove which was peaceful at that time of year.  I often walked down the many steps to the beach to listen to the waves crashing upon the rocks and pebbles.  I once ran from Fortuneswell to Portland Bill Lighthouse with a colleague who was training for a half marathon. My goal was to blow off the teaching blues and being ex Army I always think I can just do these things without training.  I recall I couldn’t walk normally for about 2 days much to the students amusement.  Years later I would finally get around to walking up all the steps in Portland Bill and be lucky enough to see dolphins swimming up to the boats out at sea from one of the windows.  On the rugged rocks around Portland Bill after a nostalgic walk around Fortuneswell I even received a marriage proposal.

I briefly left you in 2010 when my career in teaching came to an abrupt end, and consequently I couldn’t afford to stay in my flat so stayed at a mates in Amesbury whilst she was on tour.  Weeks later Budmouth offered me a supply teaching post which I came back for but sadly the damage of teaching was already done.  I did however make up my mind to stay and the only way that was achievable was to invite a long lost father to rent with me – and his two terriers.  We moved to dog friendly Cerne Abbas in a lovely home called Ginger Fox Cottage, Duck Street and I could see the cheeky Giant waving his bits at me every morning as I drew back the curtains.  I appreciated the village life in your more rural parts and I soon rekindled my love of horses up the road at Home Farm in Minterne Magna and it all inspired me to set up my business Juniper Animals.

I bravely took a teaching assistant job at Colfox in Bridport to support my business and became a little more familiar with your more arty bohemian town.  A year later I took up lecturing at Kingston Maurward college teaching the science and welfare subjects in the Animal Care dept.  Moving around the campus between lessons sure beat the noisy corridors of a secondary school.  My niece joined us for a year in Cerne and she ran wild in a way you could as a child in yesterday years.

In October 2013 my niece and I moved to your county town of Dorchester. We went on several ghost walks and learnt more about the Roman town of Durnovaria and often went for walks around the place taking in the old architecture.  I became reacquainted with Lulworth Cove and other old haunts as I explored them again with my niece.  For her birthday we went on a coastal activity and got to kayak out of your cove and around the coast towards Durdle door. We ditched the kayaks at the stair hole for a bit of coasteering – can’t beat a bit of jumping off rocks into the sea in October!

When a friend moved in with us for a while and we got touristy once more. I finally visited Brownsea island and travelled around Old Harry Rocks by boat.  We visited Athelhampton house which is just stunning and we set the world to right in the secret hiding seats between two conifers in the garden.  My niece and I got to know your Piddle Valley area very well as that’s where Jac our first horse lived for 3 years. I enjoyed the hacks out and foraging in the hedgerows with him.  There was a bit of time spent in Dorchester hospital when my niece was paralysed, but thankfully more time spent at Aquae Sulis chiropractors where she fully recovered. I remember I had to find a posh dress to wear for the Venus Business awards finalists ceremony in Poole and I never did find out who voted for me in the first place.

I began my counselling studies in Dorchester, and continued at Poundbury, where I have watched Prince Charles’ project town develop more and more.  I have even spotted 2 royals whilst being here.

Like my teaching career, fostering came to an abrupt end. It ended before my counselling training was finished and the only way to continue studying and keep Jac (our pony) was to give up renting the flat. An opportunity came up which would mean leaving you, but I did not take it as I had decided to wait.  Wait to see if ‘blood is thicker’ than the pull of dark energy. Wait to see if there was any foundation to that marriage proposal on the rocks at Portland. I embraced my vulnerability in waiting, then I accepted my reality, there was nothing more to wait for as it was all in the past.  As they say, there’s no point looking back, as you ain’t going that way. Thankfully that opportunity has come back around to make sure it collects me this time. Dorset, I appreciate you letting me stay this long, and I am grateful for a real mix of opportunities and adventures here.  I may have moved many times but goodbyes don’t get easier, so here is my fond farewell to you and I ask you to look after all those lovely people I have met here over the last 10 years, even those who are no longer part of my life. I’m not going too far away and I will no doubt be back to visit from time to time.

“And suddenly you know its time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings” – Eckhart von Hochheim.

 

 

 

Aesop’s Fable: Wind and Sun

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A long, long time ago a teacher once read out a short story in our school assembly. It was a fable written by Aesop in the 6th century (B.C.) and it went something like this:

The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on and took it off.

Differing morals of the story include:

“More by gentleness than strength”

“Persuasion is better than force”

“True strength is not bluster”

“In every passion moderation choose”

“Gentleness and friendliness are always stronger than fury and force”

The fable came to mind whilst I was thinking about light and dark energy, of how we can engage with either energy to make something we want happen and what the difference is between the two.  One of my father’s favourite words ‘Machiavellian’ also came to mind, ‘the ends justify the means’.  As I have already pondered in my blog ‘the dance between light and dark‘ we all have different perspectives on what is dark and light, something else to take into account in our interactions with others.  Sometimes we may feel that we are totally doing something for the right reasons so therefore, of course, we think we are engaged with light energy, but are we actually engaged with dark energy? We may believe it doesn’t matter if we engage with dark energy as long as we get our desired outcome which is a ‘good’ one?

Life can often present lessons to us like this, be it animal welfare, human rights, safeguarding – we are all passionate about something, which is great, but this can also be our Achilles heal. How far are we willing to go to get what we want? To get others to believe what we believe? Are we willing to engage with the dark to achieve it? Do the ends justify the means?

When we engage with dark energy it causes a reaction around us which is negative – similar to the cold wind blowing in the fable. This consequently works against the very thing that we were trying to achieve – the ‘good’ thing, the thing we are passionate about. We may find our dark energy triggers a dark response in others – so people hold their cloaks around themselves even tighter than before.  As dark energy manifests it is powerful, and it attracts other negativity our way – a dark cold day.

In contrast, if we are engaged with light energy the reactions around us are more positive – the sun shone out in all its glory. People are more likely to engage with us, if things need to change people are open to listening and want to help; they are more likely to engage with their light energy – they remove their cloaks.  Try not to be disheartened if we engage with light and are met with dark, continue to shine.  As light energy manifests it is also very powerful, and it attracts other positivity our way – a bright warm day.

If we are someone who prefers ‘a bright warm day’ sometimes it can be hard to recognise or admit when we are engaged with dark energy. Dark energy can easily sneak in through a door of insecurity inside us we didn’t realise was open. See it as an opportunity to know ourselves better, and to start closing some doors as we re-write childhood scripts based on conditional love.  It can help to spend a moment to see if we are drawing in energy externally and manifesting something negative, or if we are drawing on energy from an internal source and healing or inspiring others to shine bright.

So to me, the moral of the story seems to be about the power struggle of light and dark energy within ourselves and how our struggle impacts on our outside world.

“Being made of stardust, you are very much like a star. You shine with light, give warmth, and burn with your inner fire. You don’t need outside energy, you are energy” – Unknown