Ive experienced certain events over the past week that have made me think very deeply about this movement, and my personal place in it, as well as the broader picture of churches, centres, and general protocol within them,
As many of you know, I run the Open Arms Spiritual Haven in Grays. The Haven is a centre, not a church, and we attract a comparatively young crowd, offering in addition to the traditional healers and platform medium a wide range of more alternative experiences, including various card readers, therapists, acupuncture, reiki, indian head massage, the list goes on. Its an eclectic mix, with a very broad base of visitors each week, Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Spiritualist, Catholic - and all different types of people, across all groups. Ive always wanted the Haven to appeal to those who may be slightly outside the mainstream, as I feel that they dont always get a voice in the more traditional centres and churches in the movement.
Our evenings are very informal, and usually quite laughter-filled, with a joyous and relaxed approach to Spirit. I dont believe we should be "po faced" around our loved ones. We must be doing something right, as in the year since opening, we have gone from a standing start to approx 50 people a week, and have given away thousands to local mental health and rape crisis charities - we are a not for profit organisation.
Getting the Haven off the ground in the first place took a certain steely determination. Sadly, there were those in the movement who would have been happy to see it fold - Im still referred to in one quarter as "that woman" (lol) - and with that determination came a need to be strong, both in terms of energy devoted to promoting and publicising the centre, and in sticking to my principles, and not allowing myself to be knocked off track.
However, over recent days, I have had several people raising issues with me which really make me wonder whether I am moving in the right direction. It seems that there are "ways" of doing things, and that our way may not be the "right" way. In trying to keep everyone happy, Im feeling myself moving more towards a position of a traditional centre/church, and thats not what the Haven ever was. From how to introduce the medium, to how to handle the healing request book, how to chair, to what type of atmosphere we should try to create - all the advice has, Im sure, been kindly meant, (or certainly in the most part), but Im now wondering whether the movement really needs to move - or if we shouldnt be disturbing the status quo ?
But then, who put these "right way" theories in place in the first place ? Why are they right ? What makes that way better than my way, other than the test of time ? Why must this movement be hide-bound by protocol, which sometimes seems only to serve to choke any new growth ? Surely the movement needs to move to survive ?
Im never going to give up this movement, and my quest to change and grow, but I would be very interested in your opinions on this issue. Can we be too different in the way we do things ? Tell me what you think !
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