(Derek’s contribution to the book.)

I have finally read my contribution to the book “Reluctantly Psychic”. It’s nice; well-written and quirky. It’s kind of short.

Actually it reads as twee.

So why does it not feel that I have the whole picture? Well, only 2200 words of the 5500 submitted were published.

If you are interested, here is the rest of it following directly on from the chapter in the book …

Sensitive Celebrations

Being sensitive, I find celebrations noisy and tiring, and filled with the unexpected. Being a Scorpio, born on the 5th of November, my birthdays took on a different significance. In the UK it is the custom to celebrate that the parliament buildings were not blown sky-high, by burning an effigy of the person in charge of the failed revolutionary attempt. Fireworks are set off. Lots of flashing lights and sudden noises are not a source of calm – they’re stressful.

In order to celebrate my birthdays whilst I was at primary school, my parents organised  a party. Great. That’s what people do and thank-you to my parents for trying to normalise my upbringing. Except that the children quickly became over-excited and their attention went quickly away from me (oh, what a relief!) and turned to the Ice-cream cake from Holburn Ices. “Wowsers! A birthday cake made from ice-cream!” (And it can’t be ruined by candles, followed by spit as I blow out the candles!) The next fun activity was indoor fireworks. Yes, that’s right. Loud and bright exploding things, not in a huge public park, but in the confines of our dining-room; and the excitement builds up as the kids become more manic with sugar,  flashing lights, and mini-explosions. “Please make my birthday end!”

Why mention all this? Well, when a Scorpio is married to a Gemini, there has to be compromise because we generally want different types of socialisation. Over time Jenny learned that a gentle personal celebration was a good thing for me. I learned, much quicker (hold on to the good things in life), that a gregarious celebration, filled with fun, people, cake and dancing was the day of choice for her. (We were very much an attraction of opposites.)

One year we were in France on holiday for Jenny’s birthday. I planned and I planned in order that she could have as much excitement as possible, while I could retain my sanity. My mission was to involve as much rose and violet as possible. We were in the historic, old town of Albi. Red brickwork, winding streets, shops. First stop was the ice-cream café for violet ice-cream as there was just enough time to have dessert before we went out to lunch at the vegan restaurant. The afternoon saw us in a rose garden. From there we headed to a Chocolatier in the square for more rose and violet chocolate treats (looks like chocolate, tastes like soap). We visited a tea store for, you guessed it. Our final stop was an Indian restaurant – in France, which does not share the zeal for curry which you find in the UK. You can find the most foul of gullet-burning mustard but not the subtleties of curry cuisine because it’s “too spicy”. Which meant that we had the restaurant to ourselves. We were ushered to the terrace out back – June in Albi is hot. We had a view of a stream and a lot of medieval buildings and a whole bunch of open space and were served with rose kulfi. We were entertained with the arrival of the restaurant’s neighbour, who came out to collect her washing. I suggest that they add this to their publicity leaflets along the lines of “private terrace with interesting views of Madame Dubois’ undergarments”.

Lesson learned: you can get a good curry in France.

Hindsight Sensitivity

All of the esoteric experiences recounted here are retrospective. If I was aware something as it was happening, then that would be a rarity. It would also have probably scared me to death!
At my second level Reiki attunement where I had to send energy to a person using only their photograph, I had a feeling of intense sadness, almost like depression. “Stuff that! I can’t cope with my own emotions; why would I open myself up to other people’s?” was the reaction from my subconscious, protective mind. However, with hindsight, everything becomes clear. With guidance and advice from my spiritual friends I am able to make sense of the illogical. I persevered. I’m compassionate. Sometimes making sense of the depth of what I feel and being unable to express it is overwhelming. Some people may find me cold but this is a coping mechanism (it is often an indication of bafflement); I’m a big softy inside.

The first time that I experienced the unseen world, I was blissfully unaware. This was at the first Reiki attunement. Jenny and I decided to get attuned to Reiki for our wedding anniversary (n.b., a gift that takes no house-room). No real thought on my part. Jenny had felt and seen invisible stuff during a session and that sounded fun, like a superpower.

During the attunement we “felt” the aura of a rubber-plant before and after the attunement. “You might experience the energy as feeling cool.” Well, yeah! It’s 80% water and we’re in Aberdeen! After the attunement we exchanged treatments; Beth, who did the attunements, started at Jenny’s head and I started at her waist.
(“Okay, so 2 minutes here, or was it 5 minutes? No, that’s for the head. I need a cup of tea. This is late in the evening; I have university tomorrow. Definitely 2 minutes.”)
During which time (feedback afterwards) Beth opened her eyes, not having experienced this much energy disruption before, to check that I wasn’t messing about and physically shaking Jenny.

It is difficult to deal with your gifts when you don’t know they are there. Since then I have relied on clients giving me feedback. I’m reliably informed that I have a strong connection to source, I am just mostly unaware of that fact. That “fact” is subjective and I believe it to be in proportion to how “open” a client is. You can also be “open” to energy-healing or to the concept  of energy-healing but at the same time you can be not aligned with the frequency of the healing modality and have no apparent reaction.

For instance, I no longer feel aligned with Reiki. To be more accurate, I do not feel aligned with the  experiences I witnessed in the local Reiki community. (By contrast, Reiki has no ego.)
“I’m a Reiki master.”
“Well, so am I so take a ticket and join the queue just like the rest of us.”
However, I feel the same way about anyone who sees their way as the only way. Religion is the prime example of schism and chaos: divide and rule. Politics, sport, music, food choices. I can tolerate a lot and I can tolerate a lot of silliness in human views, whether it be how to bake a cake, build a house, educate a population, or govern a country. By all means convince me that your way is the best way. Just don’t tell me that yours is the only way, and therefore the best, because it shows that you have a closed mind. I can work things out for myself.

Lesson learned: there’s more than one way to skin a custard.

Isolation and Sensitivity

Throughout my life I have had feelings that “I don’t belong here” or “that’s not right”. Mostly that was related to school. Much as the feeling of not belonging at school might have been accurate, legally I was obliged to attend. I didn’t understand the system nor the reason for having the system, I just knew that an authority greater than my own will required me to attend. This was a common theme (and therefore by definition a normal theme) which has affected me throughout my life. With experience came discernment, which is great in retrospect but worthless if not acted upon. One major deceiver was a teacher at secondary school. A more pleasant bully you couldn’t wish to meet. There was always just a feeling that he was not showing his true colours, and then I witnessed him berating a member of his teaching staff. This was done in public with other teachers and many pupils in attendance and then, almost in the same breath, he turned to joke with another member of his staff. Up until then I had not felt secure around him, and witnessing this behaviour validated my feelings.

Later in life I met another authority-figure and I did not trust him pretty much from my first meeting with him at the age of 18, but he was trusted by others. Five years later he was the minister who officiated at our wedding ceremony. I did not want to share how I felt about him officiating at our sacred ceremony because I was people-pleasing, which is a common HSP trait. How I wish that I had spoken up because on the day of the ceremony I arrived late due to my best man’s inability to read a clock and the minister verbally attacked me in a quiet rage whilst my best man closed the door behind us. He then turned towards my best man and greeted him as warmly as if he was bestowing an honour on a visiting dignitary. If I didn’t feel comfortable speaking out before, how could I now reveal how I had just been treated, 30 minutes before the ceremony, by this well-respected pillar of the community. I was anxious during the ceremony, but perhaps not for the usual wedding reasons: I didn’t trust that this Jekyll/Hyde was going to remain pleasant. But then, nobody would have believed me because most of Aberdeen had been duped by him. He was eventually “jailed for sex offences against young girls”.

Lesson learned: follow your intuition, and share it.

Second-hand Sensitivity

After I had finished working for the NHS, I looked at starting my own one-man home maintenance business. I had been doing this for myself for 20 years so why not expand it. I was at home a lot waiting for business to pick up. During this time Jenny was taking an Angel Therapy course. It involved daily meditation, soul-searching, a lot of group trust, and ended with an arrow-break and fire-walk. I became involved in the fire-walk as Fire Tender.

The course leader was unable  to hold the fire-walk in the grounds near her house. She asked if we would use our garden as the energy was lovely. I cleared the earth and tended the fire. Fire walking is about releasing our baggage and moving forward in life. The last walk Jenny did was on behalf of a loved one. She chose me as I’d been really stressed in the NHS.

At the time I was unaware of what intention had been invoked. Later during that week I had a “healing reaction”. Oh, boy! “Out! Out, damned demon!” as I threw up in the back garden, again, and again, and again. (During one episode, when I was 4 inches from a roaring fire trying to get some heat into me, she did not tell me that the capillaries in my face looked like snakeskin; good job, it would have freaked me). Short version: It was a Shamanic Rebirth.

I cannot recommend the experience. However, as I was unable to eat for a while, I took the opportunity to cut black tea from my diet, and I became vegetarian. The last time that I ate chicken, I felt the flutter of its wings as I swallowed it past my heart chakra. That kind of puts you off of meat.

Lesson learned: more tagine, please.

Singing with Sensitivity

At the age of 49¾ (for me) we had the idea of moving to France. I was fed up of the cold and Jenny wanted to grow chillies outside. Planning for the physical move was meticulous. I found the best cardboard boxes for the books and the best plastic crates for the crockery. A shed was allocated to house everything being taken, which was pretty much everything.

Whilst renting in the Dordogne, we joined a French choir in order to have some kind of social connection. The choir are a wonderful bunch. They come together to sing for pleasure. The chef de chorale spent 20 minutes on a piece then moved on, so there was no time for stagnation; interest was held. We spent about 8 minutes on a new piece before he decided “Non” and we never saw it again. It was all about engagement and motivation, forward momentum, and Joy.

After we had moved to our home, we joined a local choir. This experience was so different to our previous one. These people appeared to sing because it was expected of them. Perhaps a penance for past deeds? The format was very different; joy was an alien concept if the music was anything to go by. I tried another choir after the advice of a singing buddy. Jenny was put off by the lack of joy and voted with her feet. My new choir required an audition (back to day one at school) even if it was a private audition with only one set of eyes/ears. I hadn’t sung since school. Singing means opening up and we sensitives are reticent about exposure. Well, I was assessed as having the potential to be a tenor but definitely was not a bass and I was in the choir. In fact, I was then invited to join a more advanced ensemble of just 6 singers who performed more demanding pieces. Cool.

I’m still not a singer. I can sing but it’s not my first choice of musical activity. Why do it? It’s a musical outlet. I prefer the smaller ensemble to the larger choir because there is more fluidity in the reaction to the other musicians. (My favourite ensemble was a brass quartet at the age of 15.) The odd thing was that I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing. I learn at the choir and I put my learning into practise in the smaller group. Fair enough, that’s practical. So what’s the problem?

It took a suggested new piece for me to blurt out my opinion and the realisation as to why I was not enjoying it. For the most part it’s in the minor key (Cheer Up!). Usually it’s religious-biased, and sometimes we’re singing about death. The difference is magnified when we change from singing in English about the death of Queen Mary (Thanks, Purcell) to the crucifixion of Christ in Latin. I don’t speak or read Latin, so just thought that the words were syllables in another language that I had to pronounce as well as possible – and then I found the English translation and felt physically sick. Spears in sides with blood flowing is more the subject for Quentin Tarantino rather than for celebrating a profound religious event. “Can we please have a piece in a major key and something other than death?”, I said. Before discovering the translation I had been reacting to the vibration of the music and of the words. Translation was confirmation.

Lesson learned: It turns out that I am a LOT more sensitive than I acknowledge.

Surrogate Sensitivity

Whilst I was discovering the joys of singing about death, Jenny had found another group which involved song. In Scotland, Jenny had co-facilitated a venture called Heartsong and had discovered, about 6 miles from us, “chant du coeur”, so tried it. It was held in an old farm-house which had been adopted by a mama-puss and 6 balls of fluff. We had discussions about the practicalities about adding to our family because we had Otto and Buzz. 2 + 7 = 9 = chaos. However, this is what we planned towards. I added to the fun by taking in Melody, from our neighbour. The potential was now for 10 cats on the premises!
(Otto, the name he gave to Jenny, was only meant to “touch the Earth”. However, A neighbour found him in their wood-pile and came calling … He was with us for one year and then travelled for another year before returning to spirit. Otto had changed his destiny.)

Well, 6 became 5 following a road incident, and we befriended the kittens sufficiently to be able to  capture them. They became Celeste (mama-puss), Cygnus (the graceful swan), Anneau (rings in her tail), Hamish (his choice), Pixie (Pick me, pick me), and Clara, who initially had a squint. 9 cats.

We put out feelers for homes and, via a choir connection, a gardener needed two cats to catch rats. She visited and adopted Hamish and Clara. About a year later we visited the garden for an open day and I asked about the cats (my first priority). Clara said hello, then realised “Oh, it’s you” and spent the next one hour asleep in my arms as I toured the garden and listened to how to cultivate “some green stuff” (I’d stopped listening when Clara said hello).

Lesson learned: soul connections are for life.

Coping with Sensitivity

We live in a forest. No, really. We are surrounded by our own land of about 5 acres and then there is nothing but trees and privacy.

I “steward” and tend the land around us. It’s not a garden, it’s just a less dense section of forest, too big to tame. So what’s involved? Well, this week, I shall be removing a large and very dead fallen tree from the communal path towards a stream. The tree is about 30” in diameter so the big chainsaw and the quad will be called into play. If I’m lucky I’ll get some firewood but I can only plunder what blocks the path, not the easier stuff on our neighbour’s land.

I get a great deal of peace when working on the land. It is a way of respecting the Earth. Not that Mother Earth can’t do this without my intervention because “everything that touches the earth, becomes the earth”. If I have to do it for a full day then it becomes true work and the feeling of lightness diminishes accordingly. Little and often keeps it within the category of “play” (chainsaw!?). I’ve planted 100s of baby trees to balance those we use for firewood. Give and take.

I erected 2 garages when we arrived here and roofed the space between to house the trailer and other stuff. Garage 2 is my wood workshop for non-oily house- and land-related repairs and where I make furniture for us.

I decided to photograph the stages of my furniture-making (just like the real woodworkers on YouTube). Imagine my frustration when I find that my snaps are ruined by a dirty lens; this is a one-off project so can’t be set up again for a better photo. But wait. The lens is clean and the workshop is actually inundated with orbs. So many that it looks like a smoke machine has been filled with bubble mix.

Just as I have been told that Jesus has visited me in the healing-room, I learn that Jenny’s grandfather visits me in the workshop; I have his vice and a plane, both used very often. Another visitor is St. Joseph, the carpenter, Jesus’ father. I practise my singing exercises here, too.  Because of all the good vibes going on from the “meditation” and joy of conceiving and making something, the workshop can become a portal and fills up with celestial fireflies …

Lesson learned: follow your heart and it will open further – attracting light-beings.


At the outset of this chapter, I outlined that I was different from the majority of my peers due to my sensitivity; sometimes I presented as being shy, sometimes as anti-social. It has taken me 50 (of your earth years) to realise who and what I am and, more importantly, to accept  myself, quirks and all. I may be a “late starter” for this esoteric lark, but I know that there is way more to our life on Earth than the physical.  I just took longer connecting the dots (or orbs).

Lesson learned: everything happens as it is supposed to happen and when it is supposed to happen, and Otto learned that it is possible to change your destiny !

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