Perspectives, A Journey From Self-sabotage to Self-love
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The Lady With The Sack, A Little Self-Help Book
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Serenity Cards, The Mystical Oracle Deck
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Exert From Perspectives........
I Saw The Light
I started working in a cocktail bar in my hometown of Bolton, Lancashire when I was sixteen. Not a glamorous cocktail bar; this had sticky carpets, leery men and sold double shots and cocktails at one pound fifty a go. Nevertheless, I thought I was super glamourous with my long, dark, curly hairpiece, false eyelashes, red lipstick and a fake beauty spot drawn on with eye pencil. I wore the tiniest black velvet hot pants and little satin bra tops, fishnet tights and knee-length, leopard print platform boots. My sense of dress and self-expression was at that time an ostentatious mix of my idols; Marilyn Monroe, Madonna and Scary Spice. I was a real hit with the boys and known as ‘the best-looking barmaid in Bolton’, a crown I wore with pride in those days.
The owner of the bar, Pat, was born Irish catholic and an ‘altar boy’ who wanted to join the priesthood, somewhere along the line he slipped off that path and joined the ‘Bergerac’s’ wagon train. That was the name of the bar; Bergerac’s Wine Bar. Although to be fair there was not much wine drank in there, most people came into the bar early doors to get as drunk as possible, as cheap as possible before going out on the rampage to a local Bolton nightspot. The girls who worked in the bar, including myself, were not far behind them and most evenings turned into one big alcohol-fueled party.
To be fair Pat was one of the kindest people I’d ever met. He passed away in his early forties from cancer and liver failure and left a huge gaping hole in my heart. Pat ‘saved’ me many times, from scary landlords, over-enthusiastic punters, stalkers and often, from myself. Despite those days being my most dysfunctional, my Bergerac’s evenings were some of the best times I’ve ever had. Fond memories come back as I write this as well as hellish encounters with men who wanted sex and very little else, and landlords wanting money I didn’t have. The whole of it remembered through blurred lines and compromised vision onset by vodka and orange.
At this time, I had dreams of becoming a fashion model and joined a model agency in Manchester. There wasn’t an awful lot of paid modelling work at the agency. Every Sunday I and about twenty other girls would arrive at noon and very seriously slap on ten inches of foundation. There was this ‘make-up artist’ called Rita who taught us how to do our makeup for the photographs. She insisted we finished it in six minutes, and it consisted of exaggerated eyebrow’s, lips and cheeks on a base of extra thick foundation that was never the right colour for your complexion (but Rita insisted you went two shades lighter for the camera). We were assured this was the best look for the photographs.
Downstairs Beula dressed us in some crazy outfit and then the owner of the agency Roger would take the photographs. After that, we would practice catwalk for two hours with Esther. The following week we would excitedly get our photographs and usually, I would stand there in total bemusement wondering why I didn’t look like Kate Moss. What followed was a humiliating consultation with Roger as to why I didn’t look like Kate Moss and the obvious suggestion was that I eat much less the following week, although I was already down to five and a half stone. And for reasons I never really understood, his photography skills never came into question, only my perceived weight problem. I can make light of this now, but that time in my life triggered twenty-five years of yo-yo dieting and hating of my body.
At the model agency, I met this tall thin, gorgeous blonde girl with the widest smile and different coloured eyes. What followed was a twenty-eight-year friendship of two girls who turned into women and continue to support each other to this day. Sonia and I hit it off immediately, not only was she from my hometown, but she worked at this super cool sounding bar where they paid you top rates of pay, cash in hand and didn’t ask your age or for your national insurance number. So, it was Sonia that introduced me to Bergerac’s Wine Bar. I was sixteen when I started behind the bar and getting paid twenty pounds a night plus tips, four nights a week meant I could afford all the wigs and platforms I wanted!
Sonia was also one of the ‘models’ at the agency but, there was a higher purpose to our meeting. For one, she gave me the book “Out On A Limb” by Shirley MacLaine to read, which was my first real introduction to the concept of spiritualism. Although I had been to the Spiritualist Church a few times already and bought myself a pack of tarot cards, it was still only an interest for me rather than a ‘knowing’. I had read Doris Stokes ‘Voices’ trilogy and the autobiography of local medium James Byrne but I was very nascent in my understanding. It was through this book that I learned about past lives, that there was another version of God other than the version we were taught at school, and the possibility of aliens.
When I was nineteen, I had left yet another office job and was doing some day shifts at the wine bar, in addition to my evening shifts. I had been involved in a difficult relationship with a married, Asian taxi driver who was now in prison for non-payment of speeding fines. I was feeling very low and down on myself, I had been through a series of upheavals, heavy and sometimes frightening sexual encounters with men, I drank too much, too often and was in a miserable place. I was living in a beautiful flat alone (I always had great taste and although I couldn’t afford the rent, mostly lived in fabulous houses in and around Bolton) and had decided to take time out to do some soul searching. Even then I instinctively knew to retreat into my higher self and search for truths when I felt low.
I had been reading Out on a Limb, the Bible and the Koran searching for meaning to life. Out on a Limb was a new way of thinking for me and had introduced me to the work of Edgar Cayce and reincarnation. The Bible was all I knew growing up about spiritualism and the Koran was introduced to me as another form of spiritualism by my married, Muslim boyfriend who was now in prison.
It was a Wednesday afternoon, having finished my shift I went back to my flat and lay on the sofa a little tired. I closed my eyes and started to relax, drifting into a kind of daydream. Within what seemed like a few moments of sitting down I began to see the brightest light I’d ever seen. I cannot explain how beautiful and loving and amazing this light was to me. All I can say is that it was not of this physical world. The light became brighter and brighter and I remember thinking, my eyes should be hurting right now but my eyes didn’t hurt. I drew nearer and nearer into the light and became the light. I was lifted out of my body and into another realm where space and time did not exist. I wasn’t my body anymore; I was just me. I was the true version of me, the total, complete and more relevantly; the pain-free me. This was pure unconditional love before me, it was God and spirit and everything that it encompassed, it was all there is and all there could ever be, right before me. As I moved closer and closer, I was the light. I was love. It was the most breathtaking, amazingly incomprehensible experience I have ever had. I was so happy and loved and fulfilled in the light and had no intention of leaving this place, it was pure utopia. Suddenly, I saw a hand, the hand looked like a physical shape but was also just light. It was most definitely a man’s hand in shape and size and although it was made of light, I could see lines on the hand just like a human hand. Next, I heard a man’s voice that said, “you must go back”. I remember thinking I don’t want to go back, but it was too late. Within a split second of hearing the voice I was back in my living room, in my flat and in my body and the light was gone. I looked at my watch. What seemed like only moments was three hours gone. I was vaguely disbelieving of what had just happened but at the same time, I knew it was real. I understood what I experienced was God; showing me the answers that I had been seeking in the books I’d read.
My immediate reaction was to try and get back there. I closed my eyes, visualised the light returning and willed myself to see it or feel it again. Asking the light to come forward, desperate for that unconditional love to return. I knew it wasn’t coming back. I knew the next time I saw that light it would be on my death bed. A strangely familiar and yet stark contrast to the life I was living, I felt that was the naked veil of spirit imploring me to trust in the process of life. Yet, in my juvenile mind, I did not know how to process the information. Nor did I fully understand why I was seeing this or why then.
After having this experience, I read of other people having near-death experiences who described the light exactly how I had seen and felt it. Years later, my mother bought me a book by medium James Van Prague who described a strikingly similar experience to my own. What was difficult to comprehend, was why me? Why was a barmaid from Bolton having this experience, an experience, that other people literally must die to encounter? Or in the case of James Van Prague become a world-famous medium? Yet, here I was, there in Bolton sat on the sofa seeing God and understanding what happens when the physical body leaves the earth plane.
Of course, at that time I did not know how my life and spiritual work would unfold and that many times whilst teaching mediumship in the future I would tell people of this experience. Even so, there was no hallelujah, glory, glory moment, no gospel choir and no sudden spiritual enlightenment. I didn’t suddenly become at one with Buddha or download the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching. My life was still the same. I was still a dysfunctional, borderline alcoholic and broken child.
I often revisit this moment when I feel fear creeping into my life. I remember that light and what it felt like for me. A euphoria that is not describable with words of the physical. It says in A Course in Miracles that we ‘only see the past’, meaning that we can only recognise something in our present moment by our past experiences. So, if I can recognise the light as being God, then surely, I must have had past experiences of it. For me, it felt like it was that light ‘from whence I came’. The light was a validation of the existence of spirit and although I had little understanding of it at that time, it was a gateway to stopping the pain, moving into a new chapter. It was a matter of weeks after having this experience that the married, jailbird boyfriend left my life and my future husband entered.