Feeling disconnected and misunderstood I took a last minute decision to go to the Compassionate Mental Health Conference in Wales last week. I’d had such an affirmative experience there back in March I felt It would be just the medicine I needed to restore me and nurture me.
I arrived a bit grumpy, puffing and panting after the satnav on my phone took me miles past Fforest Camp and my asthma and hip were playing up. I was greeted with understanding and kindness and with Dan Fisher’s introductory talk. He was talking about welcoming all feelings and repressing none. I felt instantly at home and relaxed, something I seldom experience specially in large groups of people I have never met before. I am usually in a constant state of social anxiety, but at both conferences I have arrived and felt none just full acceptance and a non judge-mentality.
The spirit of safety and inclusivity is created by the presence of many grounded, wise and loving people. Like Dan happy and willing to share their inner fire, speak their truth and share life experiences of pain, loss and disconnection from self and others with the aim of bringing in from the cold souls like mine and to exchange energy and passion with like minded folk.
There was an immense felt sense and concentration of emotional intelligence in the room and a total willingness to share and grow together in this. I met people in struggles of their own, family members, learned psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses. They spoke to me about the importance of choice, information, finding meaning and of course compassionate dialogue and connection.
It was a very equalising gathering the speakers and participants clearly showing and sharing their emotions and how we all benefit from expressing and honouring these, making meaning of intense emotional states and how we can heal by feeling and being felt.
Modelling meaningful relationships
I experienced coming home to my humanness and my soul deeply knowing that meaningful relationships are possible for me and every human being
Andy Bradley’s gentleness introduced me to the structure and form of compassionate circles bringing freedom to care for the self and others. Beatrice Birch soothingly but firmly taught me centring and soul expressions with clay. The obviously loving nature of nonviolent communication shone out from Rufus May and Elizabeth Savanholmer.
The experience of connecting at this deep level is invaluable to me and my healing journey. I can still feel my mirror neurons rewiring and, as someone who has been isolated, estranged from family and fears people at times, I experienced coming home to my humanness and my soul deeply knowing that meaningful relationships are possible for me and every human being. I was seen, heard and felt with in a communal spirit enhanced and facilitate by the loving and humble Malcom Stern.
Compassionate Mental Health is a beacon of light guiding us back to what really makes a difference; valuing the experience and wisdom of people who have got through extreme emotional states, heart felt and body felt dialogue, community, humility and love.
Sophie Robinson attended the Compassionate Mental Health gathering in October 2017.
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