Belonging to Spirit

How I found my way home and became a medium

From as far back as I can remember, I have always been aware of the spirit world. For me as a child it was normal to see colours around people that changed with their health, state of mind or mood. I was aware that I had friends that other people couldn’t see, an instinct that would prompt me to ask questions about people and usually get into trouble for it from my mother. "Children shouldn’t ask questions like that," she said, so I learned to be quiet and just observe.

But always in my quiet moments tucked up in bed, my friends would come and talk to me, share their thoughts and bring me a sense of peace and tranquility. I thought that was normal, that everyone did this, it was just my angels.

I had tried several different churches by the age of 16. I knew that I was looking for something but couldn’t seem to find where I belonged. I had even been asked on the eve of my confirmation, aged 14, by our local vicar not to go back to the church as I asked too many questions and wouldn’t just accept his word and that what he said was correct. I missed singing in the choir and being a part of the bell ringing team but not the religion. It wasn’t for me.

At 16 my father began attending one of our local Spiritualist churches, so after asking a few questions I went along to see what it was like. I expected to find darkened rooms, candles, elderly ladies dressed in black with shawls and crystal balls. Imagine my surprise to discover beautiful flowers, lights blazing, a warm welcome and a medium that looked like everyone’s favourite aunt.

Even stranger still was that as the medium came to the communication part of the service I could actually see the people in spirit that she was talking to! I watched fascinated as person after person seemed to appear, talk to the medium about themselves and their loved ones here and then beautifully fade back into the light that surrounded the medium.

I could hear what was being said and after the service asked the medium why she hadn’t given one particular name, she looked at me, smiled and said, "I didn’t hear it clearly enough, you should be looking to develop your mediumship, you can do this." I was home.

Over the next few months I continued to attend and was encouraged to learn and explore my own spirituality and very quickly discovered all that I had been pushing away for years was an integral aspect of myself that I had no option but to take hold of.

The most awesome and humbling aspect of my work is that moment when you share with another person the message from their loved one who they thought was dead and gone. To be able to give them the comfort, peace, proof and knowledge that they still live on, to see the smiles and the tears, to be able to reach out to people and ease that loss is truly one of God's blessings.

At the tender age of 17 and a half I took my first church service. My life has never been the same since. Some 30 years later I now work full-time for spirit, I travel the world teaching, healing, communicating and sharing my gift with those who choose to listen and I live my life in service to spirit and am honoured that they allow me to do so.

- For more information www.libbyclark.biz

Libby Clark is an Officiant of the Spiritualists National Union who has been a working Spiritualist Medium for 30 years. She is a Course Organiser / Tutor at the Arthur Findlay College, and works worldwide as a Spiritualist medium, teacher, healer, trance healer. www.libbyclark.biz
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Brexit has opened up big rifts among the remaining EU countries

Other non-Euro countries will miss Britain's lobbying - and Germany and France won't be too keen to make up for our lost budget contributions.

Untangling 40 years of Britain at the core of the EU has been compared to putting scrambled eggs back into their shells. On the UK side, political, legal, economic, and, not least, administrative difficulties are piling up, ranging from the Great Repeal Bill to how to process lorries at customs. But what is less appreciated is that Brexit has opened some big rifts in the EU.

This is most visible in relations between euro and non-euro countries. The UK is the EU’s second biggest economy, and after its exit the combined GDP of the non-euro member states falls from 38% of the eurozone GDP to barely 16%, or 11% of EU’s total. Unsurprisingly then, non-euro countries in Eastern Europe are worried that future integration might focus exclusively on the "euro core", leaving others in a loose periphery. This is at the core of recent discussions about a multi-speed Europe.

Previously, Britain has been central to the balance between ‘ins’ and ‘outs’, often leading opposition to centralising eurozone impulses. Most recently, this was demonstrated by David Cameron’s renegotiation, in which he secured provisional guarantees for non-euro countries. British concerns were also among the reasons why the design of the European Banking Union was calibrated with the interests of the ‘outs’ in mind. Finally, the UK insisted that the euro crisis must not detract from the development of the Single Market through initiatives such as the capital markets union. With Britain gone, this relationship becomes increasingly lop-sided.

Another context in which Brexit opens a can of worms is discussions over the EU budget. For 2015, the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget, after its rebate and EU investments, accounted for about 10% of the total. Filling in this gap will require either higher contributions by other major states or cutting the benefits of recipient states. In the former scenario, this means increasing German and French contributions by roughly 2.8 and 2 billion euros respectively. In the latter, it means lower payments to net beneficiaries of EU cohesion funds - a country like Bulgaria, for example, might take a hit of up to 0.8% of GDP.

Beyond the financial impact, Brexit poses awkward questions about the strategy for EU spending in the future. The Union’s budgets are planned over seven-year timeframes, with the next cycle due to begin in 2020. This means discussions about how to compensate for the hole left by Britain will coincide with the initial discussions on the future budget framework that will start in 2018. Once again, this is particularly worrying for those receiving EU funds, which are now likely to either be cut or made conditional on what are likely to be more political requirements.

Brexit also upends the delicate institutional balance within EU structures. A lot of the most important EU decisions are taken by qualified majority voting, even if in practice unanimity is sought most of the time. Since November 2014, this has meant the support of 55% of member states representing at least 65% of the population is required to pass decisions in the Council of the EU. Britain’s exit will destroy the blocking minority of a northern liberal German-led coalition of states, and increase the potential for blocking minorities of southern Mediterranean countries. There is also the question of what to do with the 73 British MEP mandates, which currently form almost 10% of all European Parliament seats.

Finally, there is the ‘small’ matter of foreign and defence policy. Perhaps here there are more grounds for continuity given the history of ‘outsourcing’ key decisions to NATO, whose membership remains unchanged. Furthermore, Theresa May appears to have realised that turning defence cooperation into a bargaining chip to attract Eastern European countries would backfire. Yet, with Britain gone, the EU is currently abuzz with discussions about greater military cooperation, particularly in procurement and research, suggesting that Brexit can also offer opportunities for the EU.

So, whether it is the balance between euro ‘ins’ and ‘outs’, multi-speed Europe, the EU budget, voting blocs or foreign policy, Brexit is forcing EU leaders into a load of discussions that many of them would rather avoid. This helps explain why there is clear regret among countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, at seeing such a key partner leave. It also explains why the EU has turned inwards to deal with the consequences of Brexit and why, although they need to be managed, the actual negotiations with London rank fairly low on the list of priorities in Brussels. British politicians, negotiators, and the general public would do well to take note of this.

Ivaylo Iaydjiev is a former adviser to the Bulgarian government. He is currently a DPhil student at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford

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