Meaning Can Exist Within our Worst Tragedies
Welcome to Healing From Within with your host Sheryl Glick Reiki Master Energy Teacher and author of the last book in a trilogy A New Life Awaits: Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening. Today I welcome Malcolm Stern, author of Slay Your Dragons with Compassion, a psychotherapist, author and co-founder of Alternatives, a spiritual group at St James Church In London. Malcolm may help us see that there is meaning and personal growth and love that can exist even in the worst tragedy.
Malcolm as listeners of Healing From Within have come to expect my guests and I share intimate insightful experiences in the hope that we may all come to understand our duality or the human and energetic or spiritual essence of life. With a clearer understanding of who we are and where we come from, we are able to begin to make better choices thereby creating more compassionate successful life experiences and discovering once again that we truly are magnificent souls with the capacity to love self and life.
In today’s episode of Healing From Within Malcolm Stern shares every parent’s worst nightmare when his daughter Melissa committed suicide in 2014 and his grief made him challenge every aspect of his work and life. In his book he offers ten ways to thrive even when it seems impossible. An important book showing ways to face your greatest fears and hidden sadness and to find ways past it all to regain balance, harmony love and acceptance.
When Malcolm is asked to think back to their childhood and remember a person place or event that may have signaled to them or to those around them the life interests work or values they might embrace as an adult for Sheryl senses that within the heart and mind of the child is a quest for life that has already been imprinted on their souls Malcolm tells us that as a child he wanted to be a doctor and heal people. A sensitive child and empathic he longed to serve and help others past the traumas of a physical life and became a psychotherapist and spiritual healer.
Malcolm also tells us something of his sister Beverly who had a nervous breakdown at the age of eighteen and had been a promising actress gaining the part of Brigitte in the Sound of Music on the West End Stage in London. One night she began hallucinating and yelling that the taxi drivers were coming to burn down the house. Her condition worsened and she was diagnosed as schizophrenic and was given over fifty- five electric shock therapies over the next few years. Her kidneys were damaged by her medication and she never regained her center. Malcolm was terrified by anyone who exhibited similar signals-a fear he has explored in depth in his own personal therapy learning it is hard for us to see the profundity of another’s pain when they are so close to us.
In describing his daughter’s illness he writes, “With hindsight, it’s easy to see that there was a point at which she was swerving between highs and lows, agonizing about life while at the same time travelling all over the country, partying, socializing and working. The stillness that is part of a healthy psyche was absent. She was all movement. Melissa had lost hold of her internal compass and extreme pieces of behavior emerged.
Sheryl says whatever the diagnosis: Bi- polar disorder schizophrenia depression or what Sheryl’s own younger sister had social psychological disorder it is all so hard for the families to understand much less deal with and often the person is dealing with several challenging illnesses . Sheryl thinks at times there is not a family that is free of a member who suffers the stresses of a physical, emotional or mental disorder that so powerfully affects their own lives and those around them. Perhaps in the scheme of soul life we all need to be surrounded by these experiences so we can develop greater patience and compassion which are higher Universal or spiritual soul goals.
Malcolm tells us something of working with Alternatives, a group and program at a church in London and the many spiritual leaders he is connected to.
Malcolm tells of the author Robert Heinlein’s groundbreaking science fiction book Stranger in a Strange Land the story of Valentine Michael Smith a human raised on Mars who visits Earth when he becomes an adult. He becomes a great lover by virtue of the fact that he is utterly present at all times. Eckhart Tolle the renowned spiritual teacher has made a living and a life out of the practice of presence. His book the Power of Now is deceptively simple in that it effectively tells us to be present and that is one of life’s great secrets. He also mentions others such as Deepak Chopra spiritual healers and leaders in the metaphysical field of spirituality.
Malcolm tells us that one of his personal demons or dragons was having a mother who constantly lied and he found it hard to know why she did this as he was not comfortable with that dynamic.
Malcolm wrote, “When we are truly seen for who we are, and likewise, when we truly see another for who they truly are, life flows.” He goes on to say, “We can become conscious of the quality of our attention whenever we speak to our intimate others. Each time we practice presence, we bring moments of sanctuary wherever we go. We are often called to bear witness in situations that are dangerous or destructive. How do we stay present with the rough, painful energy of rage hurtling toward us? How do we stay present when we’re fuming at another person? If we are wise we notice and honor our own response—neither using anger to retaliate and trash the other, not telling ourselves that anger is an unworthy emotion that needs to be repressed. In fact, if we can sit with our anger for a few seconds we may find something else underneath, often sadness or a painful memory. Perhaps we may be able to come into contact with others in a more authentic way, by allowing what we’re feeling to be part of the engagement. Or maybe the anger is about the need to assert a boundary or express ourselves. Our challenge then is to do it clearly and compassionately without going into red-mist meltdown mode.”
Malcolm tells us of some of the major challenges many of his clients face and some techniques he uses to incorporate into a successful plan for moving beyond suffering to accepting life and living well.
Malcolm writes, “For good reasons we have learned to construct a suit of armor to protect us from being overwhelmed by the magnitude of painful experience. Perhaps as children we needed to escape from violence or intrusion or feeling overwhelmed. This armor serves an important purpose—it protects us—and it’s useful for a warrior to have the capacity for deflection when a situation feels impossible to manage. The problem is that we have lost the ability to take it off, so the barrier we expected to protect ourselves deadens our deepest relationships and numbs our sensitivity. A piece of work is usually carefully dismantling the armor and facing what is underneath which is usually far less vile or scary than we expected. Once removed, we can learn the mechanisms for removing it and importantly how to consciously put it back on in appropriate situations.”
He went on to say, “After the work is done often there is a feeling of lightness, elation, freedom , happiness and a sense that the foundations have been shaken and reconstituted. Work is done over and over again. We work and work building trust practicing the skills and attaining profound and meaningful growth.
We often come to remember how our fears and limitations began because as children we functioned effectively on instinct. Very quickly, this gets slapped down in schools, friendships and even by skilled parents. They may teach you to use your ego based thoughts to go against your soul based intuition or navigating system….You won’t find your radar in your thinking mind…the way in is through the body, your feelings and your intuition. It’s not logical and in society that values logic it is easy to question. Following your radar often means swimming against the tide of society’s perceived truths. Many gifted healers and sensitives have lived through this time in childhood with the confusion of feeling different from their parents and families as indeed they were. They had a soul born to lead others to the truth of their being but it took time for them to understand their mission and also how to deal with their sensitivity to energy in their environments and between interactions with others. It can be hard to tell where the radar stops and our own attachment to our ideas starts.
Even though Malcolm is a firm believer in self healing like Sheryl, a Reiki Master Teacher/medium he recognized that Western medicine along with alternative methods can produce desired results. In his case his high blood pressure eventually needed some help with medication when the other methods were not working. You have to discern between your radar and fixed thinking and make the best choices. Sheryl shares her understanding that many physical or emotional challenges are chosen or created by the soul to experience a way to transcend their fears and limitations and healing occurs when they have lived through and observed the higher aspects of their own abilities.
Sometimes following our radar means having to confront uneasy truths that may force us into public opprobrium or undermine our cherished relationships. But when we lose our fear of living our truth and trusting its immaculate wisdom w become profound.
Some techniques to find and develop your radar include spending some time daily in meditative practice by starting in a simple way. Depending on your capacity for stillness do this 3-5 minutes a day. Close your eyes, find a quiet space and focus on your breathing. When thoughts intrude you notice them, observe your distraction and return to your breathing. Focus on the quality of breath: whether it’s deep or shallow, allow it to happen without trying to change it.
The important thing to do is to set aside a regular time to Centre yourself. This is a muscle that you gradually develop and it will be a powerful aid for you on the journey towards a potent and trustworthy radar. It’s a small action but the regularity will pay off. Meditation is not just about sitting. It is about being in the stillness to hear that quiet soul voice that guides you to making wise choices. There are many other things that get us in touch with our radar. Eating well, Exercising well. Sleeping well and loving generously..
We can allow our relationships to educate us and encourage greater self growth. Malcolm writes that we know we are at a crossroads and are called to act differently and dispense with old ideas and seek new horizons when often it arrives in the form of external events—a critical illness, the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship or the loss of a child. The loss of his daughter ultimately enabled Malcolm to be of more value to his friends, family and clients in increasingly profound ways as he realized that this tragedy had deepened his commitment to relieve suffering where he had the capacity to do so. He learned that thriving in the face of deep instability is not easy: it always demands a level of discomfort. If we dedicate ourselves to practices that feed our self -awareness, we can start making wise choices that no longer make us victims of circumstance. The goal is to develop a series of accessible practices that allow us to face our demons and build emotional stamina so when we come across adverse conditions, we have the tools and techniques to weather the challenges.
We can and should also learn to bear witness or practice presence to put our fullest attention on someone .It means slowing down and taking the time to pay attention. When we witness another, we are building a safe and trustworthy space in which whatever needs to be spoken can be received without judgment. When you bear witness, you become part of a field of listening and sometimes that creates an environment where a locked door can open potentially creating a life-changing realization. True listening doesn’t mean manufacturing Interest because falseness doesn’t access truth. Bearing witness is the capacity to stick with full attention while listening to a scenario which may not fascinate us, choosing to care about another in a subtle manner by giving them our attention.
People begin to find their purpose in life and take ownership of their own actions. Following our radar means following it into the shadow lands as well into actions that are authentic light and loving. The Shadow lands are the bits of us we don’t want seen, that we don’t want to act out, that we will play out in relationships. An example of this is Fredo in the movie The Godfather. Fredo is genuinely kind but unskilled in the ways of the world and creates messes around him through his inability to draw boundaries and his inability to read what’s going on with others. With no malice aforethought, he manages to betray his family and is eventually murdered by his brother Michael who waits until their mother is dead to eliminate his poor soul.
The spell is it we have to break and how does that help us be more authentic and compassionate in all our actions?
We must break the spell of fear and reliance on the outside world to determine what it is that makes us happy. Must think from within, follow your own life plan and destiny and trust that there is more to happiness and success than is measured in terms of materialist holdings.
Sheryl asks Malcolm what he has come to understand about death and the dying process or the reason that some people have a shorter or longer life and if he has a belief in an afterlife?
Sheryl goes on to say that as an intuitive medium Reiki Energy practitioner she has her feet in two worlds the physical and the spiritual and as a hospice volunteer for years discovered the process of transition from one dimension to the next as our soul energy moves past the physical body at the time of what is thought to be death and ascends to higher dimensions of reality and life. Consciousness survives physical death and life is eternal. In Sheryl’s new book A New Life Awaits she shares many stories and messages from Spirit showing the divine possibilities for creating our best life through understanding that we are souls having a physical life in order to develop greater love for Self, others and Universal Source.
Sheryl wrote, “Whether in a body or in pure energy, the soul is the essence and complete oneness of Spirit’s Intelligence and Universal Love and travels with us through time and space, lifetime after lifetime, as we gather experiences to refine our already magnificent soul. Death, in my opinion, is merely the next destination or adventure on our continuous circle of life. There really is no death, only the unfolding of the infinite layers of realities that exist within us, in this world, and beyond. These layers are filled with the excitement and wonderment of the beauty of nature, friendship, memories, and experiences gathered during many lifetimes. We must know that energy cannot be destroyed, so the energy of our thoughts and heart impulses must return to the place most people think of as Heaven, but is really simply the evolving expansion of creative life energy that is eternal.”
Perhaps Malcolm would like you to remember that next time you find yourself with someone who is unhappy or angry simply be present. Don’t judge or try to find solutions. Rather than sympathize, notice what’s happening inside you. Often when we feel disturbed our breathing quickens and in slowing down we give ourselves an extra resource. Let yourself make contact with your bodily sensations as you continue relating. Maintain eye contact. If you can’t and it’s too much for you let the other know in a compassionate way that you can’t do this now. In this way you will discover a deep capacity and interest in other human beings. We are retraining ourselves to be authentic with others. Expand this practice and bring it into everyday life. When you walk past trees, observe their differences and beauty. On a train refrain from using your phone and drink in the environment around you. Be present at all times.
We thank Malcolm Stern author of Slay Your Dragons With Compassion for sharing a lifetime of love and service to all who cross his path as a healer and messenger of truth in a time when the world seems to have forgotten the beauty of family friendship and life in it’s simplest aspects.
In summarizing today’s episode of “Healing From Within” Malcolm Stern has shared his lifelong involvement working with groups and individuals as a psychotherapist and his worst nightmare of losing his daughter through suicide and how that challenging event made him evaluate every aspect of his work and life. Sometimes a tragedy is an opening up to new ways to perceive life and to learn acceptance and surrender to any event discovering life is continuous, whether here in a body or in eternal energy where consciousness survives physical death. Knowing this truth is an important means of finding peace, achieving wellness and improving all aspects of your everyday life experience. In his darkest moments perhaps, Malcolm and indeed each of us is willing to face our dragons head on and discover that ultimately it is ourselves we face every time we run into our darkest fears.
Malcolm says that meaning can exist in the worst tragedies and that the changes we make as a result of struggle and devastation can encourage courageous and powerful changes in our thoughts, actions and heart.
He writes, “The most important thing for me to do is to keep my heart open. I allow the time to make a genuine connection with each person by enquiring about their lives and needs, and giving them my full attention. Much good can come out of this. I don’t pretend that I am hurting them. I don’t need them to like me. But I am amazed at the good that can come out of a supposedly terrible moment.” He became a master of dragon slaying. Slaying your dragons doesn’t mean speaking your mind all the time and upsetting people left right and center. We are all looking at a middle path. We have to choose what’s important for us in a relationship with another. People who pick fights about every single thing that doesn’t fit with their picture of the world are not a joy to be around.”
Malcolm and Sheryl would have you begin to feel your bodily responses to people places and events as you sensitize yourself to the many energetic waves of energy that are all around us, and within, and find what makes you feel alive as a loving wise citizen of the Universe and you will not only slay your dragons and fears, but enrich the world by being in a grander state of acceptance love and happiness.
I am your host Sheryl Glick host of Healing From Within and author of my newest book in a trilogy A New Life Awaits Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening and invite you to visit my website www.sherylglick.com to read about and listen to seekers of truth about the world of our spiritual essence and physical life from metaphysicians scientists spiritualists medical professionals psychologists energy workers and members of the arts and music world. Shows may also be heard on www.webtalkradio.net and www.dreamvisions7radio.com