Today I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce my new venture with the The Mens Lounge on my website and to share a little of my own experience with you.
Having lived through the devastating effect of a male family members suicide I felt compelled to share my experience, strength and hope.
I understand that as a male some of the messages, both externally and internally that could be running are:
Dont be vulnerable
Dont show emotion
Try / work harder
Be the “provider”
Put others first
Anger is OK, but tears arent
Im wondering how this is resonating with you as you are reading this?
I worked in high end corporate roles in the city of London and had a work ethic drummed into me to work harder and never show weakness.
This came at a big cost to my own mental, emotional and physical health and I kept pushing myself further and harder.
I was burnt out and had nothing left to give and eventually I broke.I was ignoring my mental health needs to my detriment.
At that moment I made a conscious decision to stop work and get the right support which started my journey of healing and self-discovery.
This was a difficult decision to make as I didnt have a plan B and ive always needed a plan and to feel in “control”. I had to trust that the outcome would be right for me.
Thankfully It has worked out in a way that fits in with my values and has brought about a shift in putting my recovery and mental health first. This has meant rigorous honesty , self enquiry and very importantly reaching out for help and support when needed.
Today I also practice a lot of what works including chanting, meditation, journalling and I also have weekly therapy.
It doesnt mean I dont have days that I struggle, I do but now those days are less frequent and more managable.
Of course Im not perfect either but I have a more compassionate voice within, that encourages me to be kinder to myself.
I encourage you to reach out, ask for help and support and above all learn to be kinder to yourself too.
Please feel free to comment and share. Id love to hear what has worked for you…
Today I wanted to share my thoughts and a snap shot of my experience around the idea of a spiritual path and how that can be quite a lonely experience.
Firstly the question I have is …What does it mean to be spiritual?
I feel that the word “Spiritual” is used a lot, (maybe too much) and quite a hip thing to be thought of…but what does it actually mean?
For me I have always been aware of my connection to something other than me. As a child I was in tune with other energies and beings.
A clear memory I have is being 8 years old. We had a familiar swing in our family back garden. I loved to play on the swing for hours at a time. I also remember convincing my best friend that if you were to swing high enough on it you would reach God…I truly believed that.
During my tumultuous teens, I was also interested in anything to do with the spirit realms understanding that my limited experience of the world wasn’t all there was… I don’t feel I want to delve further into this here other than to say it was all part of my personal exploring into other worlds. Although this was a delve into darker places it also opened my horizons and view points in “just because I can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist”
When I was 25 I started to attend 12 step fellowships and stumbled across the idea and concept of a “higher power”. Something bigger and greater than myself that not only existed but that “had my back”..
My version of unconditional love that a higher power provided was not something I had ever experienced before. How could I trust something or somebody who I couldn’t see or feel?
I based my higher power experience on my upbringing that had been abusive and anything but unconditional or consistent.
Here I was being asked to hand my will and my life over…to what or who?
The real paradigm shift in my spiritual development and awareness came when I sadly lost my brother in tragic circumstances not 6 months after I had lost my Dad to cancer.
I wanted answers and I went to the local church and from a kneeling position asked God why? I needed to know.. where was God and why had he let this happen?
The next day I walked into a local gift shop and was greeted by a Hare Krishna devotee who worked there. I felt something profound in our exchange and connection and was invited to their Sunday Feast programme.
I loved this experience and felt at home both with the other people and within myself.
The chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra transported me to another place and was deeply moving and profound ..I felt in touch with those same places and energies that I experienced as a child..I was simply in awe.
For the next 5 years I submerged myself in Krishna Consciousness and surrounded myself with the love and support of this community. Chanting, eating blessed food studying the vedic scripts and literature and attending festivals and events.
As I healed from the trauma of my past and also the trauma of family bereavement my needs changed and the love that was shown to me from the Krishna Community started to feel conditional and with this new found awareness I made the conscious decision to come away from the movement and look at more body centric healing and modalities.
I qualified as an Angelic Reiki Practitioner. This simply rocked my world and ever since qualifying and dedicating my daily spiritual practice to this energy, I have noticed a remarkable and growing connection with the Archangels and Angelic realms. Although it was always present from a young age it makes more sense now.
This journey for me also brings with it a certain loneliness and separation from societal norms. Although I have joined a beautiful Tantric community which is nurturing, rewarding and exciting.
Being on a spiritual path can be a very lonely place. I can be part of a community and surround myself with people on a spiritual path, however I also believe that my “relationship” with God/Higher power/Spirit is deeply personal and God isn’t exclusive and accessible from just one view point or understanding. It is a personal relationship that no-one else has ownership of.
I have a strong daily practice of chanting in the morning (the Hare Krishna mantra), daily meditation (Angelic Chakra Cleansing) and often pray.. I believe in God, simply put I believe I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.
I am very grateful for my emerging and ongoing connection with the Angelic realms and a God of my understanding which is strengthened by having a daily spiritual practice which is essential for me.
I also believe in divine timing and nothing is coincidental..I was shown what I needed to see at the right time.
I want to finish this writing with the extended serenity prayer and ask are we ever really alone?
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”
“Grant me patience with the changes that take time, appreciation for all that I have, tolerance of those with different struggles and the strength to get up and try again”.