When asked, “What was it like growing up within MSIA?” I never quite know how to answer as I have no other experience to compare it to – at least in this lifetime. However, I can share my experiences as I remember them and how the teachings of MSIA held me and drew me back to MSIA as an adult.
For me, and perhaps for many other, my childhood was one of mixed experience – filled with magic, joy and wonder just as much as the challenging times. I feel like I’ve fit a whole load of life and experience into my short years here. Whether the steps were forward or what felt like backwards, there was always learning, change and growth.
My younger years were spent asking a million questions, climbing trees, building fairy houses out of tree bark and flowers, and having animated conversations with all manner of living things – imagined or not! I must admit the latter is something I still do to this day – I find these conversations particularly clarifying, funny and a fantastic reminder that not everything is actually as serious as my mind would make it out to be.
MSIA has been such a beautiful part of my life experience, I even attended started with my first PAT 1 in utero – I’m sure I was rolling around in there in absolute delight! Thanks Mum! I grew up reading Soul Flight’s in a very on-and-off-again fashion loving the gorgeous, light-hearted way they explained life, all the while I maintaining I was way too grown up for them. I joined my parents at seminars with Fred and Edith Knobloch (affectionately referred to as Opa and Oma) and I know I found chanting the HU’s both funny and silly, but I strongly recall being mesmerised by the harmony and resonance in the space.
I was around 10 when I met John Morton at my Godmother, Wendy Bennett’s house – a couple of things stand out for me – I remember him being warm and welcoming, and that everyone seemed to be talking about just how handsome he was! Even though I didn’t comprehend at the time what ‘The Keys’ were, I know that he was being handed them. I got the feeling that was a wonderful thing!
My memory of meeting JR when I was younger is less clear, but I do remember loving his laugh and his presence. Though I only have memories from that one time, his warm smile was in my home and his voice very present in my life, I would’ve known it anywhere. He often appeared in my dreams walking through hills of golden fields, sun shining and the breeze gently moving the grass. Sometimes he walked beside me talking as a Grandfather would to a small child, other times I would be older and we would converse as friends. On occasion, he’d just be standing there, holding out his hand, asking if I was ready yet to join him. Sometimes I would and others I wouldn’t. He would just smile knowingly and wait.
From all of this, I learnt a deep sense of trust in the universe; that all was exactly as it needed to be for my highest upliftment and growth – even if it didn’t feel remotely like that at the time. This held me through some of the hardest challenges in my life. One such time was when I was 7. I was diagnosed with a form of vasculitis which created a paralysis from my hips down and left me very ill for many months. Strangely, while I know that the illness was the scariest time for my parents, it was the return to school after I recovered that was mine.
I was always a little different to the other kids. Perhaps this was always me, perhaps it came from how much I had been surrounded by the teachings of the Traveler. Nevertheless, I stood out in the way I viewed the world, my curiosity, the way I communicated, my kindness and my desire to help lift others up as well as my inability to understand why not everyone was that way too. When I returned to school walking again, I was now the girl who couldn’t walk, who was skin and bone and on top of all my other differences, I was just that little bit too weird for the others. My school life was never the same and I changed schools multiple times searching for somewhere to belong. I didn’t know how to be anyone different and couldn’t understand why I should be. Even though I had my differences, I still shared that yearning to fit in with my peers. While this painful and confusing time stretched on longer than I would care to admit, I am so grateful for what I have learned and gained from my younger life. Not just from this experience and others like them, but also from my beautiful, nurturing and ever-so-patient parents and, of course, through the teachings of the MSIA. I had gained a deep trust in Spirit and while there is so much I could write here about what I gained, these three wisdoms stand out. That I will never be given anything more than I can handle, even if it is 99.99%! That everything in life has a blessing or purpose to it, even if it takes me years to understand what that could possibly be; and my favourite; if it’s going to be funny later, it might as well be funny now!
I cannot tell you how much these three things have given me the confidence to go through life a little differently than most of the people I knew growing up, and how they’ve brought joy and surrender in moments of crisis or frustration. I remember JR talking about unexpected moments of challenge– his example was an emergency plane landing – and he said something along the lines of – Everything is a blessing in disguise even if it feels like such a disaster at the time – if something is going to be funny later when you tell it, it might as well be funny now. Experience the laughter now and know that this will make great seminar material one day! Ah, If I could bottle his wisdom!
I wasn’t always consciously choosing MSIA, as a young tween I found a group of girls who went to Church and of course I wanted the friends, so I wanted to be part of that too! I went and explored, had my own experience and found that traditional Church wasn’t for me. I liked the girls, but found that Sunday School and Youth Group didn’t like all the questions I had. ‘If we are all children of God, and God loves all his creation then how come those that aren’t Christian are going to hell?’ ‘What if someone in the middle of the Amazon never hears of Christianity but they are good people?’ ‘How come only men wrote the Bible?’ It makes me chuckle now! I recall my mother spent time with the parents of these girls in a Bible study group and when discussing what topic they should look into next – she suggested that we look at all the different religions and see what similarities they could find. She was met with silence and blank stares. I truly am my mother’s daughter!
That was the beginning of me checking out what worked for me. I fell in love with science – I loved understanding how life worked, biology, geology, astronomy, physics, anything to do with nature, plants and animals. Life was intoxicating! I delved into astrology, numerology, archetypes, crystals, runes and so much more. One of my earliest young loves was an English Pakistani and so learnt about Islam and how that, too, had many facets. I read and listened to the Dalai Lama, and leaders in the human potential movement, Eckhart Tolle, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Jean Houston. With my connection to the magic of the earth I delved into Wicca and then Shamanism and so much more. I loved, and still love, so much of that, but one day I woke up and realised that everything I was looking for and not finding out there in the world, was on the inside all along and that I better find who could help me check that out.
When I was 18 my parents had bought my first year of Discourses for whenever I was ready. I wasn’t, and they were promptly shoved in the back of my closet. However, one broody day when I was 20, I remembered they existed and jumped out of bed, rummaged around and brought out the first one. After that I wanted to read the whole lot at once! 1 per month – ‘how unfair!’ I had thought. However, I knew that after all this time that this was where I would find what worked for me. I think that’s what brought me back – the safety of ‘don’t take my word for it, check everything out for yourself. If it works for you, use it; if it doesn’t, let it go.’ Or something to that effect. I wasn’t ready to use words like God, and I didn’t know if I believed if the gift that Christ had given us and I was certainly very uncomfortable talking about the Lord. However, I loved the teachings of practical spirituality, unconditional love, loving in action and Soul Transcendence. It brought a simplicity, a joyfulness, a playfulness and Grace that I hadn’t experienced previously.
10 years and 4 beautiful Peace Awareness Trainings later and I’m on year 7! It was never smooth sailing, and again I had some life altering challenges, as we all do, and some times of beautiful deep awareness. There was even a period of time I forgot that my discourses existed for 6 months. At the time, when I had the realisation they did exist again, I felt overwhelming relief, solace and hope as if that cliché, robed, bearded God was descending from heaven and bestowing them at my feet. Reflecting back I think that was probably a turning point for me and my commitment to Self, to Spirit and to going Home.
I’ve been incredibly lucky along my journey to not only to grow up in MSIA but have had some incredibly beautiful experiences within that. I was blessed to have been gifted an SE Retreat in Norwalk, CT in perfect timing as I was moving to Canada, I experienced my first PAT 1 consciously in my home state and have since done PAT 8 with John and Leigh (I’ve never cried and laughed so much) as well as travelling to beautiful Bulgaria for another PAT with their community and exploring the magic of their beautiful country.
I’m still different to most of my peers, still the odd one out. However, now my uniqueness is a gift to share. My different perspective, and way of seeing life, situations, people and the world has created some magical bonds, opportunities in life, and deep sense of purpose. I am constantly provided opportunities to learn how to speak my truth and allow my voice to be heard and to move into greater loving.
Now, as a Minister and Initiate I have never felt more at home, or more where I need to be. Being part of the community, continuing my journey of discovery, listening to the wisdom and blessings of JR, John Morton and Leigh Taylor-Young that somehow seem to be uniquely crafted just for me and my experience at the time. That’s magic! I still work on doing my SE’s – depending on the day the work varies from actually sitting down and taking the time, to staying awake long enough to chant my tone. They say the only wrong way to do them, is to not do them at all, right? Someday, I’m even sure I’ll understand the depth of my Ministry, however for now, I trust that all will unfold exactly as it needs to be. I am eternally grateful.
Love and Light,