What ever gets you through the day !

Faith , Belief , Hope … and mugs of tea ….

Fresh start week is coming to a close at Bemoore  and people have been exploring the process of valuing self , making themselves a priority and also following on from last weeks blog, acceptance of now.

Something which has been on my mind lately around this is the thought of what we turn to in times of difficulty for comfort and support. What keeps us on track outside of that inner motivation?

In my studies for becoming a Celebrant in my community there is much about valuing different types of faiths and beliefs. Celebrant services can be based on anychosen religion or faith system and this can of course include Humanist views or non religious beliefs. The importance for us in our role is to be mindful and respectful of all the different faiths and beliefs we can come across.

In my professional life as a therapist I am all about the science behind the support. What evidence is there that an approach works? – firstly through traditional forms of therapy and then through our newer approaches such as Mindfulness it is important to understand the actual tangible impact on the brain … but brain and mind are two different things ( something worth exploring further in the wonderful Dan Seigal book – Mind ).  Brain is making changes and re- wiring but mind is about mind-set and our inner thoughts. For me a combination of both scientific approach and embracing a belief and a way of seeing the world are a big part of my work with clients.

I can be discussing the reconsolidation of memory through the neurological system one moment and just as happy to chat through a spiritual view or a form of visualization in the next.

In my private life faith plays a role for me and my exploration in recent years has expanded. I started out being brought up in the Church of England – non practising really apart from the usual but I remember going to Sunday school – I am not sure why I went or whose choice but I went for quite a while. Then as a teenager I went to the local Catholic school – my dad’s family were lapsed Catholic’s but I had no knowledge of this faith system – the school was very local and I had been bullied in my previous and this was a fresh start for me as not many of my previous peer group were transferring.

Then in my twenties I discovered Paganism and initially an interest in Wicca . It seemed quite daring and was still not covered by laws such as the Religious Discrimination Act which didn’t come into play until 2005. I found it fascinating to learn such a different way of thinking and to discover such a peaceful and nature based way of life. This faith system has stayed with me throughout my adult life.  I again can’t say I am the most dedicated but I like to attend the Chalice Well for main celebrations and my faith was tested, but also a great sense of comfort for me when I lost my son 10 years ago. I like many was angry at my loss ,but I was blessed in the sense that the hospital chaplain ( a Christian man) came to visit and he was respectful of my beliefs and he agreed to hold the funeral service incorporating some key points and words which meant I could have my faith included . It was a wonderful sign of religious inclusiveness which often I feel is missing for many people. It showed me that we could comfort one another, even though we believed different things, we could still be a community.

As the years have passed I have become interested in many different paths – Buddhism and now the new belief system which is seen as Spirituality but not always alongside a faith in something bigger.

Spirituality is about how you feel in side . Whether you are in line with your intentions and purpose – anyone can experience spirituality of self and others and world even if they hold no religious beliefs – that is my view anyway. And it comes through with clients who have not got a specific faith but in times of challenges look for something to turn to. To describe how they feel , to comfort and to look to answers that they cannot put their finger on. Many people I speak to now talk of the Universe listening ( something I firmly believe in) .. or of giving and receiving of the right energy to make positive change.

My view I guess is that all faiths and believes are worth respecting – do not be dismissive.. however as we say in the Pagan world – ‘Do as you will – lest it harms non or thrice back it will come’ – basically be kind to others or the universe is listening and karma will out.

For me what ever gets you through the day or the difficult time or gives you some peace is something worth holding onto. Whatever you call it and of course not forgetting that all important fixer of all things – the mug of tea which is ever present in my therapy room at home.

Have a mindful and peaceful week . Ali x

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