Disabling David Enabling theology

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This is A3 on card , disabling David , enabling theology …. An approach to the Vatican council for culture theology and disability conference . I’m wanting to auction it to fundraise to get disabled uk delegates to the conference . Message me bids over 100 pounds …. Or if you feel able to support the conference I can put you in touch with the organisers for more details .
It will be a humbling experience for the cardinals as worship each day will be lead by a group of people with complex intellectual difference / disability .

The conference takes place in Rome this june

Shopping Center Chaplain

imageIt’s a damp grey March day and I’m sat in my other office . Vue cinema lakeside has become a home from home. It’s comfortable chairs and tables make it the ideal venue to pause , reflect , pray and re energise myself . They also provide a wonderful meeting place to meet with and offer pastoral support to staff at all levels of this exiting shopping mall .

Over the last decade I’ve supported stressed santa’s coming off shift , security guards , managers , people on emotional rollacoasters gaining and losing jobs . Businesses relocating , starting up , winding up …. Mostly just ordinary people needing a bit of encouragement in the ordinary .

chaplaincy is faith neutral , multi faith , quite religious and proudly atheist all at once and as needed . It’s inclusive , affirming , more a listening ear than a problem solver . I enjoy being a creative sounding board .

lakeside staff looking for support can contact me on 07786 652286

or via e mail fralexgc@aol.com

please take time to look at my various links and see the services I can offer in both a professional and voluntary capacity .

 

 

 

Sherlock

I’ve found great joy in recent times ,reading , watching and listening to all things Sherlock Holmes , old and new .

Soul comapnion as soul detective , piecing together shared fragments of hope and experience in order to literally get to the heart of the matter and succeed at spiritual heart surgery or is that soul surgery .

ive spent the last six months exploring life through a series of art workshops with a group of people in there 50’s and 60’s with various differences and gifts . Down’s syndrome , autism etc .

weve been on a brilliant journey , painting and destroying past hurts , painting future hopes on canvas and enjoying seeing them on display . We’ve enjoyed re creating a thunderstorm with tin trays and watering cans in the kitchen of there residential home .

This amazing group understand each other , they interpret and have taught me to understand each other’s non verbal , helping me to interpret images and written words that are far from standard . The little group has lived together for nearly 30 years . They have held onto each other through traumatic experiences and now find themselves in a safe an well managed home .

I work with other non verbal clients and along side art , puppets ,play , and much crazy inventive behaviour , we use music , both listened to and created by ourselves in order to journey towards  peace with our souls . This doesn’t always mean healing in the conventional sense . It frequently means learning to love and cherish the very things about us that other people would want to fix , change , normalise .

im very exited as this summer I’m off to Rome , no mean feet for a paraplegic who has high dependency care needs. The Vatican council for culture is hosting a conference around theology and disability . They are also hosting a parallel programme for differently wired people ( what many professionals call intellectually disabled ,but I’m not happy with that term ) . I’m going to be involved with the planning and delivery of both programmes , this is a huge deal . I’m seeking prayer and sponsorship and can send full information to people on request .

As one of my big projects looks like it may run out of funding after Easter I have some openings for new regular clients . So do get in contact , be it for life coaching , spiritual direction or creative therapy , or indeed anything else I can support you with . X

Tea and a listening ear

For a retired priest and spiritual director i maybe don’t mention God as much as people would expect me to. This isn’t to do with lack of faith, in fact quite the reverse it’s due to a security and certainty. If hell is a place of torment and separation then many of us have lived in and experienced hell many times in our life. Childhood trauma and abuse, some of my darkest times are boarding school some of my friends experiences in the military, all remind us of the hideous life on this planet. By reverse the reality of heaven is about joy and the old-fashioned word Bliss means the joy of heaven. Jesus himself said, I come that you might have and enjoy life in all its fullness in abundance until it overflows. That’s what I want you to have life in all its fullness in abundance until it overflows. If you’re not having that life we have to ask why, what are you struggling with what makes life feel more like hell than heaven what we going to do about it. The expression lies damned lies sticks out for me, the soap opera type of existence were always hiding round a corner being selective with the truth and unable to come to anything with a clear heart and clear conscience.

Family life can be more dysfunctional than the relationship between Israel and Palestine long-running histories of feuding and anger and bitterness and resentment. Sometimes a simple bridge is needed to move people from where they are to wear they need to be. I’m a firm believer in sitting down with people and having a cup of tea.

I was once told that our sovereign Lady the Queen sits down each afternoon with her friends or whoever’s visiting and apparently and I’m not able to verify this she makes the tea herself she makes earl grey using malvern water and in the ritual of the making of the tea there are are various acknowledgements. first acknowledgement being you’re welcome let’s sit down and have some space and please enjoy my hospitality. the maze prison was harbouring or keeping captive or whatever the phrase should be lots of terrorists freedom fighters political prison prisoners it was a very difficult place told to live. At first the exercise yard’s were places of abuse of shouting and swearing as people from rival political factions walked alongside perimeter fences passing their enemies in another exercise ground after a time they ran out of known swear words and had to start making up her own terms of abuse, as the months and the years rolled by even that became ineffectual and then an extraordinary thing began to happen., People of opposite persuasions began to say good morning to each other again to engage in meaningful dialogue, hurts began to heal.

When under a particular political agreement many of those prisoners were released to local community, an organisation started to hold mornings with tea and biscuits and one of those mornings a man arrived to be offered hospitality around the table, as a lady offered him a cup of tea he realise that she was the mother of somebody that he had killed, she then uttered the fantastic words of forgiveness, don’t worry sit down and have cup of tea. Likewise a famous Cuban freedom fighter was assassinated. During his lifetime as well as organising much revolutionary activity he had set up a medical charity. Many years later his assassin was going blind and that charity that Che Guevara had established organised and paid for the operation to restore the assassins site. Hopefully most of your dilemmas, most of your hellish experiences fall short of these horrors, they might not. However I come back to that little phrase to have and enjoy life and life in all its fullness. As a paraplegic life coach, my life is somewhat different to the average person .

My day begins at 6 o’clock in the morning when carer arrives to sort out all sorts of personal needs, to press buttons and use hoists to lift me out of bed and take me through to my bathroom.

After all of that’s out the way I come back into a little shed, an office in my garden I stop and I pause and I communicate with the divine, meditate and I bask in presence of the knowledge of all that is bigger than me, that is more powerful than me both beyond and within. I like to listen to a recording of the previous day’s daily service on radio four long wave, at its worst it’s a parody of all the things that television comedy scriptwriters say about the Church of England and the Conservative party, at its best it’s a wonderful reminder of childhood school assemblie. S the singing of hymns the reading of parables. The Feeling of being part of a greater good that is bigger than oneself.

At this time of year when I go to my garden office it can be a little bit chilly but I want to refrain from putting the heating on, and quite like to leave the door open so the dog can run in and out. Days like today when the sun has risen the sunlight is coming into this little wooden building, I feel that I am in a simple way enjoying the foretaste of heaven in the now. As I dictate this blog entry into a clever piece of technology that will help me type it up my little dog sits on my lap, she is a pug , so she purrs like a cat and as she sits and she purrs I experience another foretaste of heaven in the now.

I live on the Thames estuary on a little place called Canvey Island and I’m blessed to enjoy the marina , the prom , the seafront and the old cafe. These things remind me of beauty and the good of the world. To stop, to see it to receive kindness and a cup of tea, somebody to listen to you somebody to explore with you.

My passionate desire to sit with you to enjoy your company to share a pot of tea and through those simple things to take you on a journey from where you are to where you could be to have and enjoy life in all its fullness. Please do contact soul companion if there is anything I can do to assist you.

Why my methods might work for you.

Why my methods might work for you.

Recently various people have been asking me about my style of life coaching. What I wanted to talk to you about today is that style and why it might work for you. Imagine that you have a beautiful  picture that’s been in your family for generations, a picture that you painted when you were younger, perhaps a picture that a friends child or a family member painted for you. Somewhere along the line painting has been put into a really hideous frame. And we all know how this works. If you like me are the kind of person who enjoys going to an art gallery and looking at old paintings you will know how you can see a fantastic oil painting but it’s been hung in the most gruesome overcomplicated guilt gold leaf frame with cherubs, and all sorts of things sticking out of corners and you can’t really focus on the painting because you’re distracted by the frame .

so thats the starting point of how my life coaching works we look at the picture of your life and we look at the things which are stopping you enjoying that picture to the full, using that picture and maybe the frame that it’s been hung in as a metaphor we see how we can reframe the picture of you, to take you to a better place.

Life is quite often described as a journey. I used to enjoy railway journeys.

As my disability has progressed and as public transport systems have become more chaotic coping with finding somebody who can get the ramp set up to get me on and off an overhead train seems to have become increasingly complicated but that’s my issue and it’s something that I be working on as I want to carry on enjoy enjoying public transport.

As a young person I attended a boarding school and I would travel to and from school with other student staff et cetera on a train from Marylebone Station in London to bambury that was the nearest station to my school . Two Journey .The journey back to school and the journey away from school back to home. I loved one of those journeys and you can probably guess which one ,and the other because I wasn’t entirely happy at school filled me with fear and dread. you get on the train ,where do you get off the train, and what you do while on the train. Trains strike me as far cleaner places than they used to be it doesn’t seem that long ago that trains were smoky places with people drinking overly priced cheap spirits from the minibar smoking like chimneys and enjoying the traditional bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich. Today train seem fairly clinically clean and very good news for some .There is generally a silent carriage or a quiet garage where mobile phones are not allowed to be used, technology is discouraged,screaming children are kept at bay and you can relax. As we look to explore your life journey I think it might help you to compare that journey to a train journey. I think a lot of you are on a train that somebody else has put you onto telling you that you must go for a period of time to a destination that you’re not really over keen to attend.

I remember that glorious summer in the 80s when I was about to turn 16 and I had decided enough was enough and whether my parents , school or anybody else understood . knew that my last day at school had arrived I got out a black marker pen and I got lots of people to sign their name and write messages all over my blazer and I left school for the last time. The threshold of the future, standing staring into eternity the train glidesinto the glorious unknown, an unknown full of adventure, chaos an unknown full of possibility. An unknown where you can be in control even if your control is the control of accepting that things are out of control. So here at attitude life coaching and soul companion my biggest joy is to invite you to embark on a new journey . I’m offering my help as a spiritual director and life coach to see you embarking on a journey to the places that you choose to explore .

I invite you to look through the train timetable to pick the destination that excites you to climb onto the train of your future perhaps you will see me as train train driver, the ticket inspector the person that you meet on the journey. maybe you just need somebody to listen for a while maybe it’s just a case of being brave enough to take back control .my job isn’t to tell you what to do, my job is to give you the space to discover what you need what you want, what you hope for. The space to find the quiet voice within ,that speaks to you and guides you forward. Let’s become excited about exploring journey together I look forward to working with you.

Stress managment for clergy

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Would you drive a car for 20 years without a decent mechanic looking after it ? People like cars need tender loving care , thorough investigation , a regular oil change ( anointing) and oversight from a decent soul doctor . ( keeping the tread on the tyres of your soul legal and safer than safe ).

20 years ago not long before leaving college , a group of future church leaders went with there spirituality lecturer on retreat to lindisfarne . That’s us sat on the hillside looking like extras from the feeding of 5000. On Saturday we had the joy of a reunion . Since our valedictory service those years ago we have been all over the world . This song around the time of our leaving was something of an anthem https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2JNqhHc-Sw

Overall we hadn’t changed as much as I’d expected , most of us were still recognisably us . Some of us had much more sophisticated ways of moving around than a couple of decades ago . What we all had in common were stories , stories of great adventures , stories of succes and building things that will last . Some of us had planted churches , produced beautiful works of art , worked with people on the edge in difficult parts of the world . One thing we had in common was at some point we had been hurt , badly hurt , let down by people and institutions we had grown to love and respect . Many of us had been through the pain of loss , of bereavement . But for a lot of us that loss was not just people , it was churches we had birthed and pastored , projects we had chaired and managed . Charities we had founded . Ideologies that were core to our sense of personhood.

We were beautiful , and beautifully broken. We were like a scrap heap of old transformers from transformers the movie . In need of expert engineers and mechanics to reprogramme us , or at very least help us with a de frag ,a system restore or possibly a good software update .

Stress is there in all walks of life . Somehow people believe clergy stress , ministry stress is equal to failure or possibly something to hide .

In my work as a soul companion I hear the stories of many clergy .  Wise ,wonderful people who have hidden depression , addiction and many other things for years , papering over the cracks whilst surviving on the tread mill of ministry .

Now let the weak say I am strong . It’s time to get in shape for the next phase of your ministry . Some of you are yearning for the current situation to stop , to slow down , to move on to re invision your future . Some of you have found the breaks have been applied and situations have come to a head , an end . Health , disability , unresolved conflict , changes in relationships have brought you to a point where what you assumed would be a life’s work is now over .

Very scary but also hugely exiting times .  It’s time to deal with the past , to place the future in the hands of the divine and to get strong in the here and now . I can help you bring things into focus , help you to move forward with strength and integrity .

However as a soul doctor I prefer to engage in regular maintainance than occasional heavy surgery .

Many of you as clergy and church workers are self employed . Most of you at some point have engaged a church tax managment comapnay to do your annual returns . For a modest fee of a little over a hundred pounds , you have an hour or two of face to face contact each year with an expert , you then have the peace of mind of phone or e mail advice during the remainder of the year .

Here at soul companion I offer the clergy / church worker stress managment equivalent . For 100 pounds a year we can arrange a couple of hours of relaxation and stress managment , ministry review , a quiet and totaly confidential space to file your clergy stress return . To let go of what has been , to leave with God what is yet to come and to trust for the spiritual equivalent of a tax rebate to cheer you through the year ahead .

Like the tax managment people we will also be available over e mail and by appointment over the phone to support you throughout the year . ( at no extra cost )

With many years of lived experience of ministry , including survival mode and the destructive things we do when clergy stress is at its peak , we at soul companion have been there and know the need to find fresh beauty and strength where there has been brokenness .

With the lived experience of degenerative disability whilst in parish ministry and surviving the church of England c.d.m. Process I am also very able to help you and advocate for you be it in ordinary times or through the complexities of church disciplinary procedures within and beyond the structure of the Church of England.

If you need support during the C.D.M. Process I am prepared to be your soul companion , I will be the voice in the dark who will stand by you and where needed speak truth to injustice ,irrespective of what coloured shirt or shaped hat that injustice presents with .

Lets journey together . You wouldn’t set off on a dangerous climb without a good Sherpa , don’t continue in ministry without a professional soul companion .

Why I missed the Vulcan

As a child I enjoyed watching re runs of ben hur . Two things spring to mind , firstly looking for the elusive mini car that I new would appear breifly on a mountain , secondly the dear fourth wise man who always arrived after the action .

The other day the Vulcan was to fly over Essex , we new the field with the best view . Arrived in just enough time to reach that view . But then disaster struck and one wheel of my chair went into a ditch . My dear significant other ran on ahead and saw the flight come over ,videoed it and later let me watch it . But I did feel I had missed out . Somwhere between doubting Thomas and the fourth wise man I was a little dispondent on the journey home .

enter the mountain trike image

This Wednesday I had the joy of visiting the cyclopark in gravesend and meeting the lovely roger from the mountain trike company .  The cyclopark itself has a great cafe ,bmx ,skateboard and cycling facilities .im wating to find out if the on site bike shop repairs hand cycles , but will let you know .

The Trike is quite demanding to ride , but is extremely comfortable with a great suspension and taking it over bumpy grass and gravel (and I’m told sand and snow ) it glides smoothly like a dream . If your after a fully manual wheelchair on steroids ( and keen to and well enough to see fitness levels increase, I’m told a powered model is under development too ) this may well be the thing for you . It’s not cheap , but it is solid , and it will outlast many products on today’s market .  Whilst I will stick with hand bikes for now , I would recommend this chair and the people behind it to anyone serious about an off road lifestyle .  The company also make a carer controlled model and for young people and adults alike who need extra support , this will get you out there and looking and feeling the urban cool . You can hire these before you buy or just for a holiday .

Now had I been on a mountain trike I would have seen the Vulcan in the flesh .

Blessed are they who believe who have not seen. Now that’s as maybe , but as the gospel of Thomas shows us The divine footprint is all and is in all . Sometimes we need the tools to discover this and it’s finding the good iron monger to purchase from .

Here at soul companion you may find such a spiritual iron monger . The iron man of soul doctors . I’ve been through many joyfull but also very many roungh times and through them , although left with quite a week body I have a strength of soul that compels me to share and seek to inspire others in there spiritual growth.Be it through creative play , art , spiritual adventure or embracing the gifts and carrying the burdens of your disability or mine , as soul companion I journey with  you , guiding you through the storms and teaching you to self recognise guidance and know where to turn for wisdom.

Don’t settle for being the fourth wise man , book an appointment with a spiritual iron monger today and fill your tool box with the very best tools for your journey .