Thursday, 28 March 2013

helping people

When I was fresh out of art college I started working at a chemist and trained as a healthcare assistant. Although I'd already done volunteer work through the summer with disabled children, my time in healthcare really propelled me into full scale daily 'helping'. And I loved it. I got to speak to people about their ailments and advise a course of action through explaining how different medicinal and natural remedies could help. I also fell into the natural role of providing daily comfort to people who found themselves having to visit to collect medications for sick or dying loved ones, those trying to overcome addictions and those who needed regular blood tests or weigh ins to monitor their health. This was a really enriching experience for me and even though I fell into the office environment in later life due to the pay increase it afforded me, I still gravitated towards helping others and ended up doing volunteer work for a London-based organisation supporting refugees from war-torn Bosnia. I also got 'the bug' after a few years of being an office drone and went into emergency healthcare as a telephone assessor.

I've always been the natural listening ear in my friendship groups and my mother has been receiving regular Tarot readings from me for years. I always feel naturally drawn to help people unravel the complexities which they feel may be holding them back or forming obstacles to their personal success. I'm interested in people. People are my subject of choice. I do feel that I'm naturally intuitive, but I also believe that it's not about giving your power to others, it's about encouraging them to stand inside their own. There are some who don't see the value of this approach and that's cool, but for me it makes total sense. It's like the saying, 'Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach him to fish and he'll eat for life.' When you're in touch with your intuition and in alignment with your core values, you will make a strong tree for others to lean on. But when you offer the secrets which helped you to grow into that strong, steadfast tree, those who wish to get to that point can grow too. They won't need you indefinitely - they can rely on themselves. For me, that's the true gift. Telling someone what to do is not. Empowering others can only lead to good vibrations all round. The Buddhist saying is true - that one about lighting a million candles from just one flame without the original flame being diminished at all. Give of yourself and you'll find that it doesn't mean that you lose out whilst others flourish - in fact, you all shine.

I wasn't always the person who liked to go around dispensing advice and listening. For a long time, I was the one who needed the advice and support. I struggled with my mental health disorder for a long time before I found the right recipe of self-belief and positive perspective to help me tame it and get it under my control. I self-harmed for six long years and, during most of that time, I told myself that it wasn't an issue - that it was just the way I coped. I've had moments of dark despair and surfaced from them. After the death of her own mother, my mother used to dance around the kitchen listening to that Reef song - the first lines are,

'Been down, yeah
But I've come back brighter..
Sun hurts me if I try to fight her..'

So true.

Everyone feels that they have had profound moments in their lives - moments which have pivoted the world on its axis. These moments can either destroy us or build us up and, more than ever, I know that the outcome is a choice. If you want to let the bad shit strengthen you, it will. I feel that it strengthened me, eventually. I had to open my heart up to receive the good stuff as much as I was opening it to receive the bad. That was a tough process but now I feel certain that part of my calling is to help others do the same.

I didn't think that it would mean all that much when my Spiritual Counselling Diploma actually came through my door. I didn't realise it was going to give me quite the sense of achievement and hope that it did. I'm actually really proud of myself. I feel that I'm on my way towards legitimising a counselling tool which has been marginalised and on the fringes of complete understanding for too long (Tarot). That makes me happy. I'm pleased to be able to pour passion into something meaningful. It seems that I always manage to find ways of doing that, no matter what circumstances I'm faced with. It just seems to be a deep need in me, and that's the kind of thing I can't ignore.