Alex's Experiences

I am booked for the Openhand Level 2 (Path Between Worlds) course in Glastonbury in May. I thought I'd start this Forum topic so that I can share about my preparation & build-up to it. I'm greatly looking forward to the course, with excitement & some trepidation. I love spending time in Glastonbury, where I lived for 2 years recently, so that will be an added bonus.

Alex

Comments

Following the Path Between Worlds course in Glastonbury this May, I felt prompted to take a break from posting on this thread. Instead, I've started to have Spiritual Life Coaching sessions by Skype, with one of the Openhand facilitators.

I gave much consideration to Open's last post on this thread, entitled "Dive into the source level pain", & came to the conclusion that if I'm going to be able to "feel beyond the surface level rage into the source level pain" I am going to need the help of a suitably trained & experienced facilitator.

I've had 3 sessions so far.

I may or may not continue to post on the Openhand forums in the near future. I will see how things go & follow the pull.

Blessings,

Alex

My partner A arrived in the UK 11 days ago, & will stay for another 6 weeks :-)

This morning, I woke up with this dream:

I & my partner A had been attending an Openhand course together. We'd stayed on at the centre for a few days. Open came up to us, & offered to take us to see a film at a cinema with him & Trinity. It felt as if this was a gesture of thanks & appreciation from Open, for the course we had just attended, & I felt touched, honoured & excited.

Open took us to his car, & fired it up. His car was shaped like the rocket cars that are built to set new speed records, & blue flames started shooting out of the rocket exhausts. The car was, however, environmentally friendly in that it was powered by a clean, non-polluting fuel such as liquid hydrogen.

I was very impressed & in awe, of the looks of the car & it's power. That's where the dream ended.

One of the principles I often work with in interpreting my dreams, is to assume that everything in the dream represents an aspect of myself that is wanting (or needing) to be expressed.

Cars often feature in my dreams, & for me they represent my personal power & often movement & independence too. When powerful cars appear in my dreams, my intuition tells me that there is some aspect of my personal power that I am neglecting, that is being under-used, that I have the potential to express but am not doing so (yet).

This dream felt good & reassuring, & also that it was calling me to action. I may ponder it some more...

Blessings,

Alex

I am entering a period of change & I'd like to share this with the Openhand community. I've often been a "delayed reaction" person throughout my life, & I'm linking these changes to the Path Between Worlds workshop I did in May - 3 months ago.

I've now broken up my relationship with my partner of 5 years, who was also my fiancée for the last 2.5 years. I had an inkling before & during the Path Between Worlds workshop that I might need to do this to free myself to pursue my spiritual path more fully, but was resisting this idea at many levels for some time. I'm not sure at this stage whether the break up will be temporary or permanent. I told my partner that I felt we needed at least 2 or 3 years apart to sort out aspects of our lives that we were unhappy to see in each other, & which were having a detrimental & draining effect on our relationship.

The actual break up happened only 11 days ago, & we physically parted 9 days ago, so I'm now in the early stages of grieving this loss & my emotions are very raw & turbulent. Breaking up is hard to do, especially as I still love my ex-partner & still feel a strong connection with her.

The other change that happened only 2 days ago, is that I finally decided to let go of a "money manifestation" technique that I had been using for the last 10 years. I used to keep a liqueur glass full of £2 coins (the highest denomination coins in general circulation in the UK) in a prominent place in each of the main rooms of my home, (so that I was constantly seeing a plentiful supply of actual money), in order to bring the energy of financial abundance into my living space.

I now believe that this manifestation technique may have artificially kept me financially afloat & living beyond my means for some time now, & perhaps contributed to the large debt I now find myself saddled with. The coins are now gone, converted into notes which I will spend, & I will trust in the flow, guidance & provision of the Universe for my finances from now on.

These are exciting but scary times for me. I am opening up the possibility for new opportunities.

Blessings,

Alex

The words to express what I'm feeling in regards to your post, Alex, are hard to look at. I applaud you for your bravery and ability to acquiesce to the change and to have trust. Thank you for your post as it resonates deeply with me.

Ariel-

Good for you Alex.
It sounds like some positive moves you're making.

Best wishes

Open

I've not long got up, having had one of my favourite (recurrent) dreams, which I interpret as a dream about my spiritual development & potential, & I'd like to share this with the Openhand community.

In the dream I was living in a spacious apartment, in which there were large, or extra, rooms that I hardly used, just walked through occasionally. I was waking up in my bedroom, & I could hear the cleaner going round the other rooms. When I got up, I walked into the huge lounge, which I didn't really use & which had very few of my possessions in it, & I noticed that the cleaner had left the window open wide, to air the room.

I then walked through a small hallway, which I was somewhat unfamiliar with, & I noticed a vending machine selling confectionery, & was intrigued by it. I took a closer look at it, & it seemed old fashioned. It was selling chocolates I used to like as a child, such as KitKat bars, & the price was only 20p, much less than the actual price these days.

Before breakfast, I needed to go to the toilet, & there were 2 bathrooms in my flat, one which I used regularly, & one which I rarely used.

My interpretation of these dreams is that the apartment represents the totality of my psyche, inner world or spiritual potential, & the empty, or rarely used rooms represent my undeveloped spiritual abilities or potential, parts of my being which are lying dormant, waiting to be explored & put to use.

The development in last night's dream was that I was beginning to make some use, or take more interest, in these extra rooms, & in particular the huge lounge had been aired, as if it was being prepared for something.

So this morning I'm feeling excited & optimistic. I'm wondering what I can do in my waking life to make more use of these extra rooms, this spiritual potential that I have. Spending more time in meditation or other spiritual practices is one thing I can "do". Spending more time simply being without necessarily doing is another. Being spontaneous & following my inner pull also comes to mind. Posting on the Openhand forums more...

I would like to inhabit & make more use of these extra rooms that appear frequently in my dreams.

Blessings,

Alex

I've just woken up from a good night's sleep. These days I often prefer being in my dream world rather than in my waking state. I was going to write my "waking reality", but perhaps my dream world is more real, or just as real. I also find that I can enter a state akin to my dream world while watching a film at the cinema. Sometimes I even fall asleep there, not because I am bored or tired, but because I "enter" or become part of the film so much, that I can fully relax & let go into it, & it becomes my dream.

That happened for me yesterday. I was watching the film Inside Out for the 3rd time at the Brighton Marina cinema. It's a gentle, animated, children's film about the emotional & thought life of an 11 year old girl, as she adjusts to & copes with her family's house move from Minnesota to San Francisco. Her emotions are divided up into 5 characters inside her mind - Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust & Anger, & most of the film is about the interplay between them. I find this film fascinating, spell binding & also strangely reassuring & healing. I suppose that's because I'm still doing a lot of work on my emotional life, which I see as very much part of my spiritual journey.

A major part of the purpose of this incarnation, for me, is to learn about self-healing, forgiveness & letting go of resentment. This is still very much a work in progress, & I will be continuing to have sessions with an Openhand spiritual coach in the near future.

There is a lot of pain still trapped inside me, & I know that this can be a route to my spiritual growth & evolution, if I face it honestly & embrace it - soften into it as Open would say. The only way out is through...

Blessings,

Alex

Following on from my previous post, I felt prompted to explore the idea of life purpose some more. I know that the Openhand teachings say that there is only one thing going on for us in this Universe - self realisation - & I intuitively agree with that. Nevertheless, I'm most interested in the idea of life purpose, & for me that has many aspects & strands.

Another key part of my life purpose is to truly learn about & experience love - unconditional love for myself & for others. I'm sure that many people reading this post will resonate with that idea, & understand what I mean. When my brother passed over following his suicide in 2009, I contacted his spirit through a medium shortly after his death to ask him why he'd taken that action, & he was talking a lot about his search for true love, & his frustrations about not being able to find it in his earthly incarnation.

Other aspects of my life purpose which I'm aware of, include working with the energies of money & the world financial system, supporting the inevitable changes & restructurings that we are going through & will continue to go through. I'm feeling a pull to do some voluntary work experience at a Credit Union in Brighton, which may take me back into the world of finance & accountancy, maybe even banking - or a new form of banking that may be emerging.

Blessings,

Alex

I've just been watching the first part of the 5 Gateways Remastered video, & felt prompted to write a post on the Forum.

It's the last day of August today, & for me 1st September is the start of a new year in some ways, so I'm looking back over a year that's just ending today.

During the past year, I have settled back into a life in the UK, after my year of travels in Asia in 2013/2014. I had my first proper paid job in 16 years (following a mental health breakdown/breakthrough in 1999) as an early morning cleaner at a cinema - a far cry from my first career as an accountant. I was very active on the Openhand forums for most of the past year, especially in the build up to the Path Between Worlds workshop which I attended in Glastonbury in May.

My heart sinks as I type this. Perhaps that's not what I really want to be sharing about. I've got a Skype session arranged with my Openhand spiritual coach in 3 hours, & I can sense that I'm preparing internally for that.

I'm feeling a sadness & heaviness inside me right now. Also a lot of my familiar emotional pain which, part of me at least, would like to be rid of, or to distract myself away from it.

I know that I am dealing with loss & grief at present, brought into sharp focus by the ending of my 5 year relationship 3 weeks ago, but also I'm sure that this brings back memories of other losses in my life that I haven't grieved fully.

These are some of the issues that I will bring to my session later today.

Blessings,

Alex

I'm feeling out of control of some aspects of my life at present, which is terrifying for me. Yesterday I had an interview for a voluntary job at a Credit Union in Brighton - the Jobcentre want me to do a work placement there, as they think that my best chance of returning to paid work is to go back to my original career in finance. The interview went OK, but I didn't feel sure that I'd fit into the office environment there & had a panic attack later in the day. The process went a bit fast for me & they want me to start next week. It feels like someone else is making decisions for me, things are proceeding faster than I feel comfortable about, which makes me feel out of control.

Open came into my dreams last night, which very rarely happens. I was with him in a large, grand country house where I was living. Open was leading a retreat there, but having a break from the activities, a rest. I was offering him some moral support, taking care of him in some way, trying to help him regain his composure. I was acting as his supporter, as he seemed weak & unsure about something. Open commented that I was living in a great place out in the country, with fields to walk around in.

I don't like feeling terrified & out of control, but I sense that it's good for my growth to stay with those feelings & soften into them, rather than trying to get rid of them by taking back control. I feel terrified about going ahead with the voluntary job at the Credit Union, but that may be where the flow is taking me. I'm terrified that I won't be able to do the job, that I will get too triggered & overwhelmed in the office environment, that I won't be able to cope with dealing with the public & the other staff, that it will increase my anxiety & will make me ill again.

It could be that I need to push through my fears & give the job a go, that it's the next step on my path. It could also be that my intuition is saying that it's not for me, that I need to be somewhere with green fields around. Perhaps I could do a bit of both.

Blessings,

Alex

I remember when I was teaching that if children had been away from school for an extended period of time they had difficulty coming back. We can feel as though we don't 'belong' anymore and can have anxiety around our capacity to re-integrate, and to do something even though it used to be second nature. Stepping into fear and showing it that it is not in charge can be challenging! Intuition is a tricky thing - the ego can disguise itself well.

I had an image the other day of having been like Gollum - desperate for 'precious' and yet not effectively feeling strong enough to hold the power of precious, not really feeling deserving of 'precious'. Then there was an understanding that instead of the usual pattern/behaviour of grubbing around in the muck and mire wringing my hands and yearning for something, all I had to do was embody the attributes of 'precious', stand as precious, begin to really fully know and accept myself as a precious, capable being. The first step here is to overcome the fear of standing, the fear of being inadequate, the fear of failure.

How would you feel about NOT taking the job?

After another deep, satisfying night's sleep I've been pondering some more about my life's "purpose" - the particular lessons or challenges that I'm drawn to in this lifetime.

Yesterday I felt the pull to watch YouTubes about Glastonbury - it's spiritual history & spiritual significance today. Various spiritual practitioners & others with spiritual interests spoke on those videos. I often have strong feelings of envy towards "successful" spiritual practitioners/facilitators/leaders. Within the Openhand community my envy tends to get projected (focused) on Open & Trinity.

Envy can be an uncomfortable emotion/feeling, & I often have the thought that I shouldn't feel envious, that it's an "unhealthy" feeling that I should get rid of, distract myself from, or that I shouldn't have it in the first place.

I'm wondering this morning what it would be like to totally accept my feelings of envy, to just allow them & observe them, to soften into them as Open would say.

Softening into my feelings of envy seems like a scary place for me to go. I'm scared of the desolation & pain that I might feel, of accepting that I don't have in my life, things that I yearn & long for at some level, which I see that others have in their lives. The question then becomes, who is doing the yearning? Is it my ego (the little i), or is it some aspect of my soul or higher self? I'm guessing that if the yearning leads to envy then it must be coming from the ego. If the yearning leads to some deeper place than envy, perhaps desolation, emptiness or nothingness, then it could be coming from the soul.

For me, it's probably easier to feel envy (which can easily lead to hateful, destructive feelings, i.e. if I can't have what I see you've already got, then I want to destroy you & what you have - which is sometimes what I feel/think towards Open & Trinity), than it is to feel my desolation, emptiness & nothingness.

That was difficult for me to admit & share.

Have a good day!

Blessings,

Alex

I haven't posted much on the Openhand forums recently, but feel prompted to do so today.

I've just spent 30 minutes meditating, just after getting out of bed. Usually, when I've got nothing that I have to get out of my flat for, such as today, I find it difficult to wake up & get going & the first thing that I normally do, is some of my creative drawing or journalling.

I couldn't face sitting down at my lounge table & doing my drawing, which can take me into all kinds of difficult feelings & be a very uncomfortable process, so I felt a pull to do an extended meditation. 30 minutes of meditation (on my own) is a long time for me. I often do 5 or 10 minutes of meditation, several times a day, sometimes up to 20 minutes.

I started today's meditation in quite a distressed, anxious state, with lots of worries, concerns & thoughts about decisions that I need to make today. I'm tackling my debt situation & I'm about to contact my 3 creditors, either today or in the next couple of days, to tell them I can no longer afford to make the minimum payments, & will only be able to pay each of them £1 per month. I'm dreading having to do this, but I've taken advice from a well respected debt management charity & am getting good support from the Debtors Anonymous 12-step fellowship.

I've got an impeccable credit history to date, & I've never failed to make at least the minimum payment or been late with any payments to creditors, utility companies, landlords or anyone else, so it feels like a huge step to take - to admit to my creditors that I've "messed up" my finances, that I've borrowed more than I can afford to pay back, that I've been irresponsible or short-sighted, that I've "failed" & let them down & let myself down.

That's how I'm feeling at least, the actual reality is that I simply miscalculated how easy it would be to repay my debts, which I accumulated during my year of travels in Asia in 2013/2014 & then subsequently setting up a life back in the UK. I was living beyond my means during that time, running up debts on my credit cards, & now I'm having to make adjustments in my lifestyle so that I am living within my means, without incurring further debt.

This is all very painful & uncomfortable, & at times I feel scared & insecure, even hopeless & despondent sometimes, especially as it seems that my mental health or state of mind is till not good enough for me to be able to do any paid work. I find it difficult enough to do the 2 voluntary jobs I have, & I do those slowly, needing frequent breaks & have big problems with concentration & memory.

From a spiritual perspective, my situation is certainly giving me lots of opportunities for growth - learning to trust, to let go, to follow my inner pull (rather than go into fear or control), & to change some of my established patterns & routines. I've always been a creature of habit, someone who doesn't like too much change, & yet I know that my soul is calling me to change, to trust, to be more spontaneous, to express more of who I truly am.

I'm finding this process of change enormously difficult, if I'm honest. I wish that I could embrace change more easily & stride out more confidently along my path. I spend vast amounts of time & energy ruminating about various decisions & choices that need to be made, sometimes over the most trivial things.

I've had an influx of flies in my flat over the last few days - large, slow moving ones. I was catching them in a food box & releasing them outside, but more keep coming in. My neighbours are having similar problems, & we are wondering where the source is. I've researched online, & the most common sources are flies breeding on rotting food or on the corpse of an animal or bird that has died in the building. I've had a good search & clearout of my cupboards & found nothing. My next step will be to clear out the chimney above my fireplace, which I don't use & is blocked up with a wooden board to stop the soot coming in. I've read that sometimes a bird will die & fall into a chimney causing such a problem with flies. I'm not looking forward to that job, as it will be messy & dirty & I'm a bit scared of finding a rotting bird or animal, but it probably has to be done.

It could be also that the source of the flies is in one of the other 4 flats in my building, so if I find nothing in my chimney, I will have to discuss this further with my neighbours.

I'm sharing this on the forum, as I know that nothing happens by chance & I'm wondering what the deeper meaning is, of this problem I'm having with lethargic house flies.

As I finish writing this post, I'm aware of some familiar difficult feelings arising for me. Maybe I won't share what those specific feelings are, in order to do something differently. The reason I would like to share them, is so as I could get rid of them, release them, not have to feel them. That's what I've usually done in my 20 years of psychotherapy & 12-step work. So today, I will be "awesomely OK" with my uncomfortable, pent-up feelings, & not need them to go away.

I will do some juicing now, then tackle the clear out of my chimney.

Blessings,

Alex

Hi Alex,

It's good that you're sharing, good that you're looking at these things *OK*

You spoke of your debt...

    "I'm about to contact my 3 creditors, either today or in the next couple of days, to tell them I can no longer afford to make the minimum payments. I'm dreading having to do this, but I've taken advice from a well respected debt management charity & am getting good support from the Debtors Anonymous 12-step fellowship.

Are you aware of why exactly you're dreading it? Is it your fault you're in debt? Is it not right, in the grand scheme of things, that someone with more than enough should give freely to someone who has less than enough?

Yet in this crazy world, 'have' and 'have-not' is the engine that makes the economy go around. It's incredibly distorted. Why should you be made to suffer for that? But we can go deeper.... why do YOU allow yourself to suffer because of this injustice against you. How is it your fault?

Okay, so we can deal with this at the level of mind - these are all logic based points I'm making. And are my own perspective.

But if you were to agree in part, then what there is to deal with, is the emotional/energetic reaction to making the call.

Why should you be made to feel less than? Or less worthy? What and where is that feeling inside? If when you make the calls, you can be touching this place inside, then you have a choice: either to react from that contraction; or, soften into it, totally accept yourself in that moment, give up self-judgment. You have a right to be here, just like anyone else. You have a right to be YOU.

Feel that inside. Let it unwind through you. Let it empower you. Be honest, but strong "you can't afford it". That's the truth. No one ever has anything to fear from the truth.

Wishing you well

Open *give_rose*

The question Open asked resonates with me: why do you allow yourself to suffer- the second half though is something that made me think twice- 'because of the injustice against you'. I don't understand where the injustice comes from. Is it not fair that others 'have' - what if those who 'have' actually live within their means, and manage their finances well. Believing that there's injustice simply is taking on a victim role. Acceptance of what is is helpful but like what you said it's just a matter of choice. But lest we forget, there are consequences too. And be prepared to accept what they are- good or bad.

Go with the flow of life, sometimes no matter how hard we steer, life points us to the right direction.
But I also believe in taking action when needed, wait and see how life reacts to it. That's when I know, whether it is meant to be or not.

I wish you well Alex. You've been through a lot.

Hi Muffling Winds,

If people who 'have' live within their means - I agree, good point - no injustice.

What I'm referring to is a general point in this reality, that the engine which (generally) drives the cogs, is the misaligned situation where many have more than they really need, at the expense of those who have nothing. I'm sure we can agree this as a general principle (or why for example would millions of refugees be trying to get into Europe?).

How can it be 'taking on a victim role' simply by observing this obvious truth? Surely, if you form an identity because of that - one which feels victimised - then that would be taking on a victim role. And I would say, if one was in denial of this imbalance, inadvertently, one would also be a victim of it - because one would be in a limited identity removed from it.

Food for thought!

Open *OK*

Bravo Alex.

You've looked squarely at where you're at and taken steps to deal with the situation.

Pointed and powerful questions as always Open.

Many thanks for your response to my last post, Open. You posed a lot of questions (which I found provocative & triggering, if I'm honest) & it will take me a while to process them, & to formulate what I may want to say back. My first reaction was that I felt misheard & misunderstood by you, & that you'd taken what I'd said & gone off on some other agenda of your own. This has happened a few times before, & not just with you, so I appreciate that there must be something going on for me around communication, being provocative, needing to be heard & supported, & feeling misheard & misunderstood. Useful material to explore later...

Alex

The only agenda I had Alex was to engage with what you were saying, and intuitively come from the most aligned place to help.

But if that doesn't work for you, then I'll humbly bow out. :-)

Alex,

I noticed that you've used these words repeatedly in your message to Open (and in your previous postings too): feeling misheard and misunderstood. It seems to me that you're craving for attention to be heard (and receive empathy and understanding). I hear you and see your pain in what you're going through. I think the people who have posted messages in response to your postings have heard you- thus their response.

But do you hear yourself Alex? Do you listen to others the way you want to be heard?
I was surprised to read your reaction to Open's message as having an agenda where all he said was what he thought in conjunction to what you wrote. Perhaps you've misheard him.
Perhaps you only hear what you want to hear. Selective hearing.

Please take to time to reflect on this.

In communicating with others, it's not only what we say that matters, but how we put out what we intend to say.
And what we say in response is based on what we heard and understood. Perhaps it's time to really listen to others Alex.

Hi Open,

I've thought long & hard about your post on this thread on 24th November, entitled "No one ever has anything to fear from the truth", & have felt into my reactions to it & meditated on them.

I appreciate & agree with most of what you wrote, even though I found some of it challenging & provocative. I also appreciate what you said in your further post on 26th November:

"The only agenda I had Alex was to engage with what you were saying, and intuitively come from the most aligned place to help."

However, there were some things in your first post that, if I'm honest, jarred with me & didn't feel quite "right", & also I was a bit uncomfortable with the tone of that post which felt to me a bit aggressive & as if you were "jumping in with both feet".

Having had much time to reflect, I need to say back to you that I felt a bit "dumped on" by some of the things you said & the way you said them. By "dumped on" I mean being the subject of an unowned projection.

That's what I was sensing when I said on 25th November:

"My first reaction was... that you'd taken what I'd said & gone off on some other agenda of your own".

The questions which you were posing were on the subject of justice/injustice, but that was not the subject that I was coming from, which was much more about taking responsibility for having been living beyond my means, & dealing with the feelings arising from that.

I would therefore respectfully suggest that the justice/injustice issues that you were picking up from my post & responding to, are more "your stuff" than "my stuff", ie that you were seeing something of yourself in the mirror of my post, & then trying to put it onto me.

I'm not trying to deny that there are justice/injustice issues associated with financial debt in the wider context, I'm just saying that's not my particular issue here.

I also didn't like or agree with your question:

"Why should you be made to feel less than?"

In my knowing, no one can make me feel anything - I am completely responsible for my feelings. If I feel fear, shame or inadequacy in response to another's words or actions, then that's because those issues are already inside me, & not because anyone is "making me feel them". I'm imagining that you agree with me on that point, so perhaps you wrote that question a bit hastily.

This post has been difficult to write & feels risky for me, but I know that I am speaking my truth. If I'm honest, I don't want a response full of more provocative or challenging questions, as I'm feeling rather vulnerable at present & am already working on these issues in depth with an Openhand spiritual coach. It could "muddy the waters" to get into a further coaching exchange on the Forum at the same time.

With all good wishes,

Alex

That's a curious response Alex.
Why would I create and hold this space, give so much energy freely so as to help people, but then project at them? Hmmm. Wouldn't be very successful would it?!

Actually my response was very measured, from a very balanced place. It was one I gave time to, selflessly, to support your process. I'm a little surprised you couldn't see any of that.

But no problem - if my approach doesn't work for you, or you don't trust the purity from where I'm coming from, then best to work with others on it.

Wishing you well,

Open :-)

Its hard to read this thread and not see the hurt inside of Starhawk. Sometimes its not easy hearing what other people are trying to say especially when it comes at us in such a way to catalyze the pain within. Defensiveness is a shield, a way to protect oneself. Human/ego body mind nature, I believe. I am sending love your way as well as seeing a mirror of my own defensiveness at times. Thank you. Be well and bring in the light. Ariel-

Spurred on by Open's post today on another thread, I felt moved to write some lists of what's great & what's sh** in my life at present.

Some of the things that are great include:

Excellent physical health
More than enough money for my needs
A great home in a fantastic location
Excellent support systems for my emotional wellbeing & growth
Great friends
Masses of free time

Writing out what's sh** in my life wasn't as straightforward, as some of the "negative" things that I wrote down initially, aren't actually that bad for me, but I have judgments about them being bad, probably linked to other people's expectations & judgments.

So, the things that I consider which are sh** in my life include:

Inflexibility in my body - muscle/joint stiffness
Mental turmoil - self-attack, self-criticism, self-torment
Misery
Boredom
Stuckness

I will explore why I've created this sh** in subsequent posts. It's been enough for me just to name them in this post.

I greatly value & appreciate the Openhand forums as a place to share my journey, to receive feedback & challenge, & thereby to grow & evolve spiritually. HOWEVER, given what's happened before, I would ask Open in particular, & anyone else who feels moved to engage with me in a coaching or questioning way, to limit the number of exploratory questions they come back with to one (or at most 2), per post. Things often seem to go awry for me if I receive 3 or more consecutive questions in one post. I think that's because I don't have an opportunity to challenge the flow of questions when in written form, & I can easily get overwhelmed & triggered in too many directions, which I find unhelpful.

In face-to-face, real time coaching, it's different as communication happens not just with words, but with tone of voice & body language too. Written posts can be problematic when emotions are riding high, & sometimes need to be handled carefully to avoid misunderstanding & hurt.

I'm hurting a great deal in many ways, & need to be unravelled slowly & gently. Some degree of challenge is helpful, but not too much all at once please. I will let you know if you overstep the mark again.

With much love & gratitude,

Alex

Happy new year Alex!

Embrace the good and the sh**ty ones. All is well.

Here's something that really spoke to me today, & I felt moved to share it on the Openhand forum.

Oh, what’s the rush...
It takes a long time to clear emotional debris.
It takes a long time to peel off our armor.
It takes a long timeline to recognize our magnificence.
It takes a long time to heal our shame.
It takes a long time to explore our possibilities.
It takes a long time to find our voice.
It takes a long time to integrate our changes.
It takes a long time to learn the lessons that expand us.
It takes a long time to craft a life of purpose.
It’s a life long journey.
Rushing works against us.
Throw out the clocks- the soul has a timeline all its own.

(~an excerpt from 'Spiritual Graffiti', image taken by Patricia Dolloff)

Lovely poem. There's no rush indeed if you've got all the time there is.

Great sharings Alex - it feels like u have made serious progress - or in the midst of processing some aspects of your life with more patience . All is well

I came across a quote from David Deida today, which seems to be aligned with Openhand philosophy, & very much aligned with my views around the subject of so-called negative emotions. I like his use of the words open, opening & openness. I feel to share it on this forum:

"As you grow spiritually, your approach to negative emotions naturally matures. First, you flounder in negativity, alternating between denial and shame. Then, you embark on a well-intentioned effort to transform negative emotions into positive ones, improving yourself so that you become a more successful and lovable person in the mirror of your self-worth. Finally, you can't help but live true to what is, *whatever* is. You stop trying to buoy yourself with motivation and positive thinking. You open as the lack and the darkness you sometimes feel. You are willing to feel, breathe, and be *everything*, dark and light. Opening in every now-moment, your life is no longer lived as a hope for success and love, but as an unfolding openness."
~ David Deida

YES <3

Alex

I haven't posted much on the Openhand forums in the last 4 months as I have been going through a very low time of pain, darkness & breakdown. My mental health deteriorated between January & March, & I had to give up my voluntary jobs & go back to my herbalist to get some herbal support & nourishment for my nervous system. I've also started formal bereavement counselling for the loss of my brother Henryk, who took his own life in January 2009. I've been aware for several years that my grieving process for him has been blocked or stuck, & I've been putting off facing this directly as I felt too scared, or perhaps not ready, to face the full reality of his suicide & his departure from my life. Cynthia challenged me as to why I was putting off having formal bereavement counselling, in a Skype spiritual coaching session I had with her in March, & this helped me to find the resolve to start. I've now had 3 weekly group sessions with Cruse Bereavement in Brighton, & I'm on the waiting list for a series of individual sessions. I can sense that my stuck grief is starting to be unblocked, that things are starting to loosen up inside me, & that my mental health is improving gradually, that my depression is lifting & more energy is coming back.

Having had breakdowns in the past, I see them in a positive light, that they are times of change & realignment, & not to be feared or avoided, even if they are most unpleasant & involve illness & suffering. So I do see my breakdown as also a breakthrough, & 4 months is a short time for a breakdown, by my standards. My longest breakdown lasted about 8 years, during which I descended to suicidal states of mind on several occasions, but fortunately had enough support around me, & enough inner strength, not to act on my suicidal impulses. Sadly, this wasn't the case for my brother Henryk, & his soul chose suicide, for reasons best known to himself.

Henryk's suicide has been the single most devastating event in this lifetime for me, & I am only now ready to start addressing it directly. After his death, I did talk about his loss a lot in the individual & group therapy I was doing, in the personal growth & spirtual development groups I've been part of, & I've done various spiritual processes to connect with him to find closure, but none of those have been effective. I surmise that in the 7 years since his death I've been in a state of shock & some denial, as if I can't yet accept that he's really gone, & it's only now that I'm ready to do the real grief work.

I'm often amazed by how long things seem to take in my current lifetime, & this can also be extremely frustrating for me. However, as I mentioned in a previous post entitled "Oh what's the rush", I know that the soul has a timeline all of it's own, with some people seeming to move through life events quickly, & some more slowly. I'm certainly learning a lot about patience in this lifetime.

I can feel anger arising as I type this, & a yearning for more passion to return to my life. I'm starting to feel renewed stirrings regarding my outer work or career, the calling I feel to become a spiritual teacher of some kind. When I lived in Glastonbury from 2011-2013 I gave talks & workshops, & ran a weekly drop-in group on Living in Abundance. My teaching was primarily about generosity, gratitude & acceptance, which I still believe in, & also about using spiritual techniques to manifest more of what we want or desire in our lives, which I no longer advocate or practice in my life, because I now see this as manipulating spiritual energies & going against the natural flow of unfoldment & spiritual evolution. I'm grateful to the Openhand teachings & philosophies for bringing me this understanding.

I will be booking a venue in Brighton for September, to give my next talk or group. I know that I have a message to deliver or a new initiative to start, but I don't know what that will be just yet. I will be stepping out in faith by making the room booking, trusting that the Universe will give me the words to say or the things to facilitate when the time comes. It's scary & exciting at the same time, but I've been here before & it does get easier with practice.

Thanks for reading this.

With blessings & gratitude,

Alex

Alex My Heart goes out to you. I lost my best friend to suicide a few years ago. It still hurts and maybe always will. Sending Supportive Energies your way!!!
Eddie

Hi Alex,

My heart goes out to you for all the suffering you've experienced. When I was 28, my older sister, Mary Jane, committed suicide at the age of 29. The sorrow and trauma ran so deep in my family, we avoided speaking about her for decades. Some family members are still not comfortable with it. It wasn't that long ago that I was finally able to be honest with my own children about how my sister died. I felt such shame and guilt, feeling that I had failed her and didn't help her enough. And I was fearful that it would frighten my children as it did me.

So I can relate to how challenging it is to lose a sibling through suicide. I was the sibling who broke down and cried at Mary Jane's funeral all those many years ago. My aunt reprimanded me and told me to stop crying because I was upsetting my mother. I have looked back on this experience since becoming a part of the Openhand community and see it as a powerful mirror for how I was conditioned to control, deny, and suppress my feelings and put on a brave, shiny/happy front. It has taken me a lifetime literally to feel the intense pain around my sister's suicide and to grieve her loss. Thanks to what I've learned in Openhand, I'm better able to honour and accept her journey and to feel a peace about her journey.

Wishing you well on your healing journey, Alex, and with your talk in Brighton. High Five for your courage in reaching out and helping others.

Much Love,

Cathy

I've been feeling a pull for a couple of years now, to start a weekly drop-in meditation group in Brighton, UK where I live. The pull is stronger now, & the time feels right to take action to get this going. I've started filling out a form to book a room for September at a venue I'm familiar with, but I'm noticing some procrastination & resistance to completing it.

The booking form requires that I state the name of the organisation making the booking, so I've got to think of a name for my groups. Apart from facilitating a meditation group, I don't know yet what the theme or focus will be. I'm waiting on Spirit/the Universe to guide me, & I also sense that I might have some message or teaching to deliver through these groups, but I don't know what that is yet. As I type that, I get a prompting that it will be around the subjects of money & finances, & in particular the economic & political issues being brought to the fore by the UK Referendum vote to Leave the EU.

I know that I'm being called to take a leap of faith by making this booking for September now, & trusting in the flow of the Universe with the other steps & actions that will need to happen in the next 2 months. A part of me feels very enthusiastic & committed to this, as this is where my real interests & passions lie, but another part of me feels resistant, reluctant, scared & angry at this prospect.

I thought I'd put these thoughts & feelings out onto the Openhand Forum, to get my energies moving some more.

Comments & suggestions welcome.

Alex

I've now had 3 weekly sessions of bereavement counselling, for the loss of my brother Henryk who took his own life in 2009. Unsurprisingly, this has been bringing up more emotional pain as I've started to take the lid off this "can of worms" & get back in touch with the pain, hurt, anger & rejection that I felt at the time of his estrangement in 1999 & his suicide in 2009.

In my last session 2 days ago, I talked about my feelings towards his widow Elizabeth, my sister-in-law, & my desire to forgive her for, as I see it, stealing my brother from me, forcing him to break off contact with his family, & for her actions around the time of his death. These included not notifying my mother or myself of his death (we found out through the newspapers), excluding us from his funeral, & refusing to tell us afterwards whether he had been buried or cremated, & where his grave was or what happened to his ashes.

It has taken me 7 years to get to the point where I can begin to truly forgive her & let go of my hatred, anger & pain around this. I've never been very good at forgiveness, & by that I mean true, heart-felt forgiveness as opposed to intellectual forgiveness. It seems that learning about forgiveness is one of the main lessons for me in this lifetime. To be honest, I still don't really know or understand how to "do" real forgiveness - I'm too used to holding onto resentments & hurts, & getting even with those who have hurt me. I get even with people mostly in my fantasies, & also by withdrawal, silence, cutting off communication & rejection.

Yesterday I had a day of almost continuous emotional pain. I spent a lot of time (perhaps 3-4 hours) meditating & just being with the pain, & managed to avoid distracting myself from the pain in some of my usual ways. It was a most difficult day to get through, but right at the end of the day, I somehow found the motivation to complete the booking form for the meditation group I feel called to run in September. I'd had some kind of block around that & had been procrastinating about doing it.

I went to bed quite late, slept reasonably OK, but woke up in a very heavy mood. I had meant to go to a gardening course that is finishing this week, but wasn't able to make myself go.

The bereavement counselling is very necessary, but very hard going for me, which was to be expected really. I'm currently receiving the state benefit (welfare) of Job Seekers' Allowance (JSA), which requires that I be actively job seeking & can provide evidence to support that. My state of mind is often so bad that I'm not really up to being actively job seeking at present, so I'm thinking about applying to switch to another benefit, called Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) which is for those too ill or too disabled to meet the requirements of JSA. However, the process of applying for ESA is arduous, the requirements are strict (there's no guarantee that I will be deemed ill/disabled enough to get it), & it does feel like an admission of failure to even consider applying for it. I was on a similar benefit from 1999 to 2011 (then called Incapacity Benefit), & I know that I was much more ill then than I am now.

It feels like I'm caught between a rock & a hard place at present. Either to soldier on with JSA when I'm not really well enough, or motivated enough to be actively job seeking, or to admit failure/defeat, swallow my pride & go through the arduous & seemingly negative process of applying for ESA.

I'm not sure what to do. I don't have to take any decisions immediately, but will probably need to decide what to do within a week or two.

It feels like I'm close to the end of my tether, close to having another breakdown/breakthrough.

I know that I need to surrender to the flow of the Universe, trust & have faith. This feels like an opportunity for me to grow spiritually.

Feedback, comments & suggestions are welcome.

Blessings,

Alex

The path can be - is - tough Alex, that I know. But it does get easier when we learn to take ownership of our stuff. I honour that you're having the courage to explore and do that. *ok*

In coaching, when people speak/express as if something was 'done to them' by another, I find what often 'shocks' people into reality is asking them "why did they create it?" Why did you create the situation you find yourself in? And by that, there's always some kind of resistance which has presented itself to work through.

    So what I'm hearing is that you've been blaming someone for 'stealing your brother away from you'. But can they really do that? So, were you really committed to the relationship with your brother - did you really do what was necessary? And so is the anger potentially really anger with yourself?

In the Openhand Approach, there are several parts to forgiveness. First is to honour the pain you felt and to fully express that - but at the same time, working not to project that anger toward the person directly. Because that of course puts negative energy out into the field, which tends to reflect back.

The next part is to ask "what does that event reveal in me?" "How can I evolve from it?" When you find that, it ultimately means the circumstance was a blessing. When you've truly processed the event itself, then forgiveness - in the traditional sense - is not even necessary. Because you see and honour the blessing in it - you see the circumstance as an invaluable gift (that said, when you've felt this level of acceptance, you might still genuinely say "I forgive you").

With regards the job seeking/disability allowance, what stood out most in what you said for me was..."(not) motivated enough to be actively job seeking". Is that because you don't really want to work - in the sense of what you think might present itself?

Might there be another way of coming at it? To ask "what actually fires your passion in life." What is it that you'd really like to get from life? Perhaps begin with the general direction and what you generally want to achieve - what is a genuine expression of you? I find that when you do this, the steps start to present and become more obvious.

Wishing you well

Open

Thanks for your response Open. I found it supportive & stimulating, & not as harshly challenging as some of your responses to my posts on this thread about 6 months ago, if I'm honest. I do need a lot of support & understanding, a gentle approach & a "safe enough" environment to express my pain & explore my "stuff".

Here are some answers I've just sketched out, to the last few questions that you posed - the ones that I sensed were most relevant to where I'm at right now, & felt a pull to explore.

What do I generally want to achieve? I've never really been an achievement-driven person, so find this very difficult to answer. I've had a lot of pressure put on me by others during my life, to achieve what they want for me. I'm much more interested in experiencing life, rather than achieving anything, more drawn to being rather than doing. Other people seem to get frustrated by this, see me as lazy or that I'm wasting my life, & there's a part of me that sees it this way too.

What fires my passion? Very little, if anything, these days, if I'm honest. Perhaps the exploration of spirituality, the inner journey, & the real purpose of human existence is what interests me most, generates a spark or excitement at least, if not full blown passion.

5 or 10 years ago, I felt a strong interest in complementary health therapies such as homeopathy, naturopathy & herbalism, but that has waned now.

I still feel that I have a calling to be some kind of spiritual teacher, leader or facilitator, if I'm honest, but I do sometimes wonder if that's my ego rather than my soul speaking. I have an intuitive sense that I am still in training, in preparation, for my second career, which I will only come into the fullness of at around the age of 60 - I'm 52 now.

If that's not to be my path, if that's ego or grandiosity speaking, then I really don't know where I'm heading, or where my passion lies.

What is a genuine expression of myself? That's a good question! I think that I'm happiest, & most true to myself, when I'm doing a long meditation on my own, usually at home or sometimes out in nature. Or perhaps when I'm doing some kind of spiritual practice by myself, such as a visualisation to ground myself, preparing a room for a meditation, or space clearing my flat. Swimming in the sea also comes to mind, walks in parks or in the country, or various forms of travel. I have long had a sense that I am an earth energy worker, that I bring my spiritual energies to particular locations at particular times, & that my soul knows what it is doing in this respect, even if my rational mind doesn't.

What is it that I'd really like to get from life? True understanding & experience of love & acceptance - both giving & receiving. Healing of my emotional wounds & traumas. Freedom to truly be myself. A sense of "Ah, so this is what life is supposed to feel like!"

Thanks for reading this. I'm still feeling tender, sore & vulnerable having written these things, so would appreciate responses that are gentle, supportive & not too harshly challenging or probing.

Blessings,

Alex

Hi Alex - my observation is that one's passion doesn't always emerge immediately, it's not always obvious. But a great place to begin is with your interests - to explore deeply into those and give energy to them. Then the flow will shift gears through them until a passion emerges.

I could imagine you as a facilitator. Those who've been deeply challenged by life are often able to help others in similar situations. It's vitally important to recognise though, that in authentic facilitation, we can only truly help another to the degree we've already helped ourselves.

    Authentic spiritual facilitation is much more than a skill to learn and pick up. It becomes the mirroring and expression of your own life's journey. This is what becomes the inspiration for others.

So if you can overcome your own challenges, then you'll naturally draw people to you (by the Law of Attraction) whom you may then be able to help.

I also feel in your response above that you're still holding back. That you're allowing overt sensitivity to dictate to you (which is why it's hard for you to manifest a clear path at the moment). We can't dictate to the universe how it should be from a mind level - at least we can (from the ego), but that leads first to confusion and inaction until that situation in itself ultimately breaks down.

You were drawn here to Openhand for a reason. We have the courage to face and call the truth as we perceive it - which is what you actually asked for at a soul level (or else you wouldn't be here). No, that doesn't make it comfortable. But ask anyone whose truly walking the spiritual path, and they'll tell you it is seldom comfortable - it's constantly butting you into your own inner boundaries.

I make no apologies for being direct. Openhand is not here to pussy foot around and waste time - there's precious little time to waste. We're here to help people truly breakthrough in their lives. And that means directly confronting the discomfort that holds people back.

People know clearly who we are and what we're about. If that doesn't work, there's plenty of other approaches out there to explore.

Wishing you well

Open

In reply to by StarHawk

Alex,

I've been with a lot of people who go through tragic experiences. What I see inside your story(with only the knowledge of the circumstances present) is a man who married a woman and created a new reality that did not include his past. Within his widows grief, she made choices in those moments. Maybe feeling into her pain will allow compassion to arise authentically. Possibly celebrate your brothers choices without taking the actions personally. Expand outside of the set reference point of "you". As we can only project our energy into others or the Universe, I see you are letting that coping mechanism go (not surrendering to the eye for an eye mentality) It sounds like it was a very ingrained behavior that has some how served you in the past but with reflection, you now realize it's just another mask to wear that really only boomerangs to bring more suffering.

I feel you are very attached to the "story" it defines your experience yet you are not the experience. Perhaps the three experiences of the grief counseling, the meditation seminars, and the JSA are swirling together in this moment in time to allow opportunities for the "you" beneath the story line to emerge without attachment to all the previous circumstances or emotions. Perhaps the meditation seminars reflect the creative energy breaking through. A thought came to mind, since you know grief, pain, suffering so well... you will recognize it in others, possibly an opportunity to express compassion for others brings about more compassion for our past selves..then perhaps shining light for others who are trapped inside themselves as well. I know in my experience, I had to forgive myself first.. to really feel the loss of expectation then to let go of defined reactions, to know I had this experience, to allow the opportunity for growth to emerge then even the "need" to forgive dissolved. Why do we think forgiveness is going to alter our perception so drastically? Acceptance of others and their experiences , love and compassion without attachment has created much healing in my experience. And sometimes letting go of the "need" to understand allows presence to arise moving one into a nonjudgmental state of being.

I hope this helps as you are healing

Thanks for your reply Erica. I felt moved & touched by your understanding & thoughtfulness. Your insights resonate with me & feel helpful - a different, compassionate way of looking at the situation regarding my brother's death & what my sister-in-law has been going through. I'm not very good at having compassion for others or for myself, that seems to be another one of my learnings for this lifetime.

I will mull over some more what you wrote, & what Open wrote in his last post, before commenting further.

I had my 4th session of bereavement counselling yesterday & I'm experiencing a post-session reaction to it now, an uncomfortable feeling of breakdown/breakthrough. I need to be kind & gentle with myself today, & to get good support & rest as I integrate the effects of yesterday's session.

Blessings,

Alex

I had a dream last night about being in a group with Open, & felt prompted to write about it on this Forum. I was setting off on some kind of expedition with a group, which was being led by a Open, & it felt like we were about to embark on a great adventure. We were indoors initially, preparing what we would be taking with us, & I was helping with that. I was concerned that some people seemed disorganised & careless, leaving behind some of their possessions & equipment which I thought it would be important to take with us. I felt annoyed that they didn't seem to be taking responsibility for their belongings, that it was falling to me to make sure that nothing important was left behind.

Later in the dream we were all in the middle of the Ocean, swimming (treading water) on the surface. Any land was far away. The purpose of our expedition was to dive to the bottom of the Ocean, & we had equipment to enable us to do so. I looked down into the water & wondered just how far we would have to swim to get to the bottom. I couldn't see down very far, it was murky. I felt resistant to the idea of descending to the bottom, & apprehensive & scared too. I found myself thinking that this was a mad idea, that I must be mad to consider or to attempt to descend to the bottom of the Ocean, perhaps several miles down. I was scared that we might get attacked & eaten by sharks on our way down, that it wasn't safe for us, as humans, to swim down to the bottom of the Ocean, with the limited protection & support that we had. I was scared of descending into the unknown, the deep, vast, murky Ocean. That's where the dream ended, with all of the group still on the surface, contemplating a possible dive to the bottom.

The symbolism of this dream seems fairly clear to me, that at some level, I am preparing for some further deep exploration of a spiritual kind, & that I'm feeling apprehensive & scared about what I will find, & what I will come across, but that I have the support of others, that I'm not doing this alone.

I will ponder this dream further, & may post more later.

Blessings,

Alex