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Oh no, not another epiphany!

February 11, 2016

By Angela Jeffs

Being someone far from destined to be a major player in the spiritual stakes, I had to laugh even as I wrote this. But there again, no-one claims we are born as Awakened Beings and that is that.

Jesus did not start teaching on his own spiritual journey until he was 30. Siddartha (Gautama – The Enlightened One/Buddha) was 29 when he left his home to seek answers to human suffering. Muhammad (The Prophet) was 40 when he received his first message from Allah (The God). Abraham was 77 when he received his own first wake up call! And he was still answering them at near 100.

I was 58 when I first “confronted my shadow that required me to strike out on my own”; acknowledged my need to change – get to grips with all aspects of my personality holding me back from healthy growth and action. I suspect there had been many before, but I had ignored, not made any kind of connection, or just not noticed. Now I admire and even envy (an Enneagram 4* attribute/failing) those who so willingly step on to their own path of conscious effort in their twenties and thirties. So much more time stretching ahead to work towards alleviating karma…

Now heading towards my 75th birthday, I know and can better recognise the ups and downs of growth. But still they can creep up unawares to surprise…

It did not cross my mind to make any New Year resolutions on January 1st. I had always played with the idea in the past, but not this year. Looking back now I think I was waiting… waiting for moves towards change to reveal them selves. As it turned out, there was just one.

It was the day after David Bowie’s death at 69 was announced. On the day itself, and being one generation ahead, I spent many hours considering how best to spend my own remaining time, whether it be 15 years at best or days, even hours. We never know…

That evening, at the AGM of a local book festival, I found myself agreeing to become a committee member. All the way home I kept asking my self what the hell I was doing. Then, unable to sleep, sat up until 4am reading excerpts from Leonard Jacobson’s trilogy (Words from Silence, Embracing the Present, Bridging Heaven & Earth) and finally opening up Caroline Myss’ Sacred Contracts.

(How I found this book - and the writer I had been resisting for so long - is described on my website blog, so no need to repeat here: www.angelajeffs.co.uk/forever-on-the-path-of-the-learning-curve

I was almost immediately faced with another direct call for action: to let go of all those things no longer serving my progress at this time.

First thing the next morning I sent a mail to the committee and bowed out with deep apologies. What on earth did I think I was doing in accepting? Relapsing into egoic thinking that I could do it all. Which as I get older I clearly can’t and ought not to even try. Why further dissipate my energies, spending time on bureaucracy, which has always been an anathema? No, let it go…

What else is no longer serving me? Working in a charity shop, that helped me initially to make contacts in the local community when we first moved here, and then maintain contact with the outside world since so many tourists of many nations would call in to browse. Little to no need any longer. After all it is where Caroline’s book jumped out at me, so job definitely well done.

What else? Maybe – and this is really a hard one – maybe let go of the programme of creative writing that worked so well for me in Japan, but increasingly clearly not here. Tears come to my eyes at the very thought, because I know its value, how it can help. But if Scotland is not interested, who am I to believe it “should” or even “ought to”. Scotland is not Japan, and vice versa. Scots are kindly and welcoming but the “kirk” (Church) has made their culture deeply conservative, especially for women, who have been made to feel guilty about any time taken out for them selves.

Those Japanese who worked with me in their home country had traveled and even worked abroad; they not only wrote and spoke in English, but were open… As to the foreign community, every single member had made their way to Japan, whether from some other part of Asia or half around the world, displaying courage, determination and an equally open mind. (Or in my own case, a desperation to change my life that at the time bordered on insanity. But that’s a back story...)

Near 30 years later, I have made contact with The Heart Centre in Kirkaldy, just across the First of Forth estuary from Edinburgh for one last push. And announced a first level course of Drawing on the Writer Within to start February 21st at my local community hall, which (being in a field, six miles from any significant population) is just about at suicidal as imaginable.

If neither prove rewarding, I shall let go. May be turn it into a book. May be not.

If not, I cannot imagine where the future will lead me. But it surely will. Then I shall wait with bated breath, and more than a little fluttering excitement.

* The Enneagram is an ancient symbolic tool for balance. These days it assists in understanding and balancing personality, so transforming your life and relationships as well as spiritual growth: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/

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About the author: After training in theatre and Laban dance, Angela Jeffs (http://www.angelajeffs.co.uk) stepped sideways into London publishing. She worked freelance as an editor from 1973, then reinvented herself in Japan as a journalist and writer from 1986. She was a weekly columnist for The Japan Times for 22 years, and Japan Correspondent for Asia Magazine in Hong Kong from 1989-1996. Her book Insider's Tokyo, commissioned from Singapore, was published in 2001. Since 2005 she has been developing and facilitating a programme of therapeutic creative writing under the title Drawing on The Writer Within. Her latest book, Chasing Shooting Stars: A South American Paper Trail into the Past, can be ordered via Amazon.com.
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