Openhand Facilitator Spotlight: Richard West

1) Tell us a bit about how you first resonated with the Openhand philosophy and how this may have developed over time?

The first taste of Openhand I had was when I came across the 5-Gateways film on Youtube.  I could tell this was the real deal, from both the content and the commitment involved in producing it.  From there I immersed myself in the articles on the website, soaking them up.  It’s funny, I pretty much resonated with everything straight from the word go!

So I decided to go on a course which was being held in Hungary, just a couple of hours from where I live in Austria.  After that I bought the books and started posting on the website.  I found the help invaluable and far more catalytic to my path than anything I’d tried before.  For me it just worked!

2) Why did you become an Openhand facilitator and why is this different from other training programs?

I have a background in psychology and was feeling that I’d like to do further training and give therapy.  However, I was rather disillusioned with most of what was offered out there.  It seemed to me that most psychological therapy was just making peoples conditioning more healthy rather than breaking the conditioning itself.  

So I was very happy when Open asked me if I wanted to train as a facilitator.  I had wanted to blend the psychological approach with spirituality and energy work and this seemed ideal.  

I would say that it’s different from other programs because it allows more for peoples individual gifts to come through.  The program is designed to nurture these gifts.  I would also say that it’s more holistic than many approaches.  Some concentrate on conditioning and behavioural patterns like CBT, some on changing thought patterns like NLP, some on emotional expression, and some on energy clearing like Reiki.  Facilitation can incorporate all of these things into one.

3) How would you describe your work and what are some of the challenges you have encountered and overcome?

The main focus of my work at the moment is the subject of change – both, how to cope with sudden change and loss of identity, and how to initiate change when it feels right.  

When I first started this a couple of years ago I really had no idea how to start a business or make a website.  It really was a steep learning curve!  I remember it took me about two weeks of work, for many hours a day, before my website was finally designed and online.  Initially, my focus was on providing a conscious dying service.  However, after a slow response I decided to expand my service to all aspects of change.  After all, I would argue that all kinds of death or just a loss of identity. 

To me death and life are two sides of the energy of change, which is the ‘flow’ that the universe seems to evolve by.

One other challenge I’ve had is managing my time around a young family. Can you imagine answering emails while having a 3 year old boy climbing up your back?  It’s been a great lesson in maintaining inner centeredness while all hell is breaking lose around you!

For the last year I’ve been writing a book about change.  It’s called ‘Awakening into Change: A journey into who you are through times of transition’.  It should be out around spring time.  I’m really excited about it!  It’s been a dream of mine since childhood to publish a book.  Even before I could write I was scribbling stories down and drawing pictures to them.  So stay tuned!

4) What makes you unique as an Openhand facilitator?

I have a very grounding and safe energy.  This means that people usually feel comfortable with going deep into whatever challenges they have.  My energy is a strange combination of powerfully grounded and softly angelic.  I also have a lot of fun with my clients.  I find that humour, directed at the right place and time, can lighten the process without drawing people away from the issue.  Laughter (when authentic) is also a great way or releasing energy.  

5) Tell us about an event in your life that has been deeply inspirational.

There have been so many really.  A recent one was the worldwide Eye-Contact event, which I took part in, in Vienna.  I had no idea what to expect and didn’t know anybody going, but felt a very strong pull to be there.  I set up my blanket along with the other volunteers and then invited members of the public to share eye-contact with me.  The connections I made there were deeply touching. I found that without speaking, many layers of connection were bypassed and I was able to establish a deep soulful connection with many people after a very short period of time.  

For me, this deep soulful connection is real – much more real than the everyday chatter, which to be honest wears me down sometimes.  I was deeply inspired because it reminded me of the connection I have to my higher self and the reflection I can see in people around me.  I also made many lasting soul friends that day, which I’m very grateful for.  

I’ve wrote a short piece on eye-contact/soul gazing some time ago, before this event.  Check it out here: Heaven in Your Eyes - Opening up to the Twin Flame

6) How do you like expressing yourself?

I have two main ways of expressing – writing and music.  I love writing.  Words just seem to flow and I love the creative aspect of it.  It also helps me to make sense of things that I observe about myself and about life.  I find if I put it down on paper, it all seems clearer to me.  

Musically, I play the banjo.  I have a great affection for this instrument.  It seems very raw to me and perfect for expressing all aspects of self and the emotional spectrum.  It can be both lonesome and melancholy, and also energizing and incredibly upbeat.

I’d like to share a couple of videos.  The first is of me playing the banjo.  It was shot all in one take, complete with mistakes and funny concentration faces.  I’m playing three songs in the bluegrass style, which is the quintessential sound of the banjo – I hope you enjoy it...

If you want to see how the pros do it, then check out this video by Leon Hunt, my banjo teacher and banjo inspiration.  The song is ‘Nuages’ by Django Reinhart and he plays it beautifully.  Very soul stirring... Nuages

7) What’s your favourite film and why?

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy springs instantly to mind.  It blew me away when it came out.  Not only for the shear magnificence of it, and beauty of scenery, but the spiritual aspects to the film.  There are so many parallels to the spiritual experience.  And I have a particular affinity for the character Gandalf.  Here’s a video of when Gandalf the Grey conquers the demon (his identity and fear) and becomes Gandalf the White.  A perfect illustration of enlightenment...

8) If you only had one day to live how would it be?

Haha! That’s the ultimate question isn’t it!  I have thought about this one.  Don’t we always really only have today to live?  Surely, if the answer is really different from how you would be on a daily basis, then you aren’t really living!

But sure, if you knew 100% that you weren’t coming back tomorrow, there would most certainly be a kind of ‘wrapping up’ of your life.  I would want to spend time in nature, time with my loved ones and time alone.  It would feel very sacred to me and probably very emotional too. 

I would look back a little on my life, but not get too stuck in analysis. I would try to be as present as possible, to express everything that needs to be expressed and to show the love I feel for those around me.  I would probably feel a mixture of sadness to leave and excitement of adventures to come. 

9) Is there anything else you would like to share with everyone who is reading this now?

I would like to say how grateful I am for this community and the connections which have come from it.

I would like to encourage everyone out there.  You are not alone.  Dive into the unknown, and you will know your soul!  Embrace your challenges and you will know passion.  Step through your fears and you will know love.  Die a little each day and you will know life!

Please, have a look at my website www.comebacktothesource.com
There are more articles, general thoughts, and videos on there for you to explore.  
Please get in touch, even if it’s just to say ‘hi’! I’d love to hear from you.
 
Sending you all much love and magic!

Richard
Richard is a spiritual facilitator with Openhand. He is a carer, psychologist, spiritual coach and writer. He has worked close to death for 7 years and is passionate about helping people to move on in a conscious way, even though society is geared to fight against death. He offers services in Spiritual Facilitation and Conscious Dying on his website Back to the Source and writes regular articles on his blog.

(in interview with Openhand Community Coordinator Aspasia)
Here's what's involved in becoming an Openhand Facilitator

Comments

What an inspiring way to begin our new Facilitator spotlights - a big thanks to Aspasia for introducing them Thumbs Up Sign

What warmed my heart most Rich, was you so confidently playing the banjo. It made my day!

And I totally concur, you have a very safe way of holding the space, no matter what challenges people might be facing.

Rock (banjo) on!

Open OK Hand Sign

Hiya,

Thanks Aspasia for starting this and shining a light.  

Thanks for your kind words Open.  Haha, yes it's can be quite daunting putting myself out there like this 'in the spotlight' especially with my banjo playing - I can see all the mistakes I'm making quite clearly.  I remember way back when I did the level 2 at the old retreat centre in Glastonbury, I took my banjo with me.  Everyone wanted to hear me play, but I was so nervous I had to hide in the kitchen so I couldn't see people watching me! I've worked through it enough since then that I don't mind playing in front of people, but I can still feel a little bit of tightness around putting this up there on the website!

It's all about vulnerability.

Much love

Rich

 

 

 

 

Richard, it was such a delight to read your sharings in response to the interview questions and thank you for shining your light with Openhand!

I now feel more of an etheric soulful connection having read about the unfolding of some of your personal journeys as they intertwined with the unfolding of your offerings and being of service. I trust that everybody who read your profile here will have felt the same.

I find your beingness expressing compassionate love, attuned magic and deep commitment a precious combination.

And your words here are epic:

I would like to encourage everyone out there.  You are not alone.  Dive into the unknown, and you will know your soul!  Embrace your challenges and you will know passion.  Step through your fears and you will know love.  Die a little each day and you will know life!

 Love your work and your site (and the banjo playing!) - the book will be an awesome reflection :)

xx

In reply to by Aspasia

Hi Aspasia,

Thank you so much for your words.  It was fantastic of you to create the space for this - I've felt truly honoured.  I look forward to reading interviews from other facilitators in the future!

Much love

Richard

 

 

Hey Rich, my facilitator in crime Sunglasses cool emoji,

Good to see you in the spotlight here! Not surprisingly I resonate a lot with your answers, though I can't play the banjo!

Marije Heart

Just lovely to see your smiling face and feel your calm energy Richard. Seeing your pic at the crop circle reminds me of how much I enjoyed our conversations at the last Facilitators' Summer School. Bless ya. Elizabeth x

Hi Richard - just read through your Spotlight, listened to your amazing banjo music, enjoyed one of my favourite Gandalf moments (still gives me goose bumps to watch that clip) and had a look at your website! Wow! So interesting to find that I also resonate in so many ways with your passions and interests - particularly on conscious dying (although, sadly, I also cannot play the banjo). You have presented yourself and your passions so beautifully and with such sincerity, that I feel I have already met you - it's not just your words that are flowing so creatively, it is also that you are flowing through them too - and I am grateful for the connection. _()_  Deborah

Hi Deborah,

Thanks so much for your wonderful words! It's lovely to connect with you again here.  

Much love

Richard