I have lived a life of two halves:
During the first half, I lived in London and worked mainly in offices. My final role was as a personal assistant to a partner in a law firm.
During the second half, I lived mainly in East Sussex and worked in the care profession, first in the mental health sector and later with many different types of client, from the elderly through to brain damaged children. My work took me to hospitals, care homes and into people’s own homes where I worked on a one to one basis. I met some wonderful people and in retrospect it was a training ground in the sense that carers at their best bring helpful, positive energy to difficult situations. Even one genuine, warm smile can work wonders.
During the first half of my life, I was more focussed on the outer. During the second half of my life, I was more focussed on the inner. Between the two halves, was a crisis.
In my late thirties for a variety of reasons, including past trauma, I hit rock bottom. I was stressed, worn out, physically unwell, and slipping into depression. I found no joy in the things that once excited me. I was searching for a deeper meaning to life. One night, in despair, I threw myself to my knees and prayed for help. It seemed as if I cried out from the depths of my soul and I also vowed to make more effort to help myself. Immediately I felt a comforting energy surround me. I felt an upliftment, an easing of burden, and I knew that everything would be okay and I would move through the experience to the light at the end of the tunnel. From that moment onward I felt strongly guided and not alone.
‘There is always a light within us
that is free from all sorrow and grief,
no matter how much we may be
(From The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)
Shortly after this, I was walking along an empty street one day when an invisible force – almost as if I had walked straight into a brick wall – blocked me from continuing forward and abruptly spun me sideways so that I arrived, as if pushed, at the door of a library. My mind had been on other things and I had no intention of going to a library. The incident was so strange for me at that time, that I turned, rather startled, and looked back to where I had been walking just in case I had actually bumped into something, but there was nothing there. I was just about to leave when a strong instinct made me enter the library. Deep down, I knew I was being guided. I hovered at the front by the reception desk not quite knowing why I was there. I began casually flicking through a stand of leaflets before being drawn to one: Positive Thinking Course. I put one of the leaflets in my pocket and went home without looking at any books.
The next week I commenced positive thinking classes and everything that was said seemed to speak to me personally. The positive thinking class led to a meditation class and I soon began regular practice and never looked back.
I later returned to that library and withdrew almost every book on self-help and spiritual matters. Along with meditation, I began reading books like ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay and I practised positive affirmations. I loved to read about the Indian sages and gurus and their philosophy and teachings. This is when I first found out about the energy centres of the body, known as Chakras. I felt that I was studying all this stuff for a reason. I tried treatments such as acupuncture, and went for my first Reiki session. Now I felt energized, purposeful and happy.
Once, out of the blue, I suddenly raised my hands in the air and gazed at them intently. I had a powerful desire to put my hands to good use and help others. My thoughts were something like: Dear God I want to use these hands in a useful way in this lifetime – I want to help others with these hands. Later, when I became a carer, I thought this had been completely fulfilled – what I did not know at that stage was that one day, I would use my hands for healing!
Many other ‘unusual but wonderful’ incidents occurred. Around this time I also began to see the energy around trees and I could feel the energy between my own hands. Much later I began to see part of the aura around the human and animal body.
Things moved quickly after this and I quit my job and went to college, where I took a Counselling course. Some people thought I was mad – they could not understand why I wanted to leave a ‘good’ office job with a higher salary to work with ‘troubled’ people for a much lower wage, but I had to follow my heart. I discovered for myself, that if you find the courage to follow your heart, you never regret it, and it was one of the best things I have ever done.
Shortly thereafter, I left London and moved to Eastbourne where the second half of my life really kicked off.
By now, I had already spent quite a few years engaged in self-enquiry and the search for answers, such as, What is my purpose in life? These were questions I remembered thinking deeply about even as a young child. The human life-span seemed so short in the larger scheme of things, surely there must be something important for me to learn in this earthly existence. I felt ready for something else – and it wasn’t long before I made a new friend, who just happened to be an experienced healer!
I worked closely with this person for about four years, during which time she gave me hours and hours of healing, often twice weekly, and it was during this period that I became a healer myself. As I became ever more sensitive to the energy, it felt like everything I had studied or experienced previously had brought me to this point.
If I doubted, she would say, ‘Just trust’. If I became overly self-critical or questioned my self-worth, she would tell me, ‘Jill, always remember, you are a beautiful crystal’. She was an inspiration and it was wonderful to connect with such a beautiful soul.
In 2005, another turning point arrived and I was ‘opened’ in Subud. This is an international spiritual movement that began in Indonesia. Subud is an acronym for three Javanese words: Susila Budhi Dharma.
Susila is living in accordance with the highest moral principles.
Budhi is the power of awakening the force within to draw us toward our proper path.
Dharma is sincerity and surrender to the divine source of our being
Central to Subud is the spiritual practice of the Latihan Kejiwaan. It is passed on from the presence of other members at the ‘opening’, which could be likened to an initiation. Following this, a person can receive the latihan, which is felt as energy within the body that manifests in physical movements, and some people sing or make noises – it is an experience that varies over time and between individuals. During the latihan exercise, thoughts or emotions may arise for clearing – it is a process of purification. Regular practise helps people to experience positive development in all aspects of their life. It establishes an overall sense of calm and well-being. There was a group in Eastbourne at that time. There is still a group in Lewes.
Eventually, I felt an inner prompting to receive attunement into Reiki, and I was drawn to my Reiki Master. After studying with the Master, I was attuned into Reiki 1 and Reiki 2. Following this, the healing energy flowing through me became stronger.
I am currently living in Westham, Pevensey with my husband and dog. I enjoy walking and appreciating the beauty of nature and wildlife. Over the years I have become healthier, as well as experiencing a growing sense of inner peace. I have a greater feeling of gratitude for all life’s blessings, and for everyone and all the lessons I have learnt, and continue to learn, along the way.