My name is Madeleine and my husband’s name is Lars, and we come from Sweden. We attended Gordon Smith’s Foundation Course part 1 in Edinburgh in March 2014, and I’d like to tell the story of how we ended up there. The story begins almost a year before the course.
In the spring of 2013 we decided to stop planning too much for the future and instead just go with the flow and let our spirit helpers do the planning for us.
We have our own company and our work is geographically independent, so we can work anywhere where there is high-speed internet. We both needed a change, and I got an impulse to look for home exchange sites on the internet. I had heard of the phenomenon home exchange before, but the impulse to look it up now came out of the blue. Home exchange means that we go and stay in another person’s home for free, and they come and stay in our home. Lars and I rent office premises as well as an apartment, and to go abroad for several weeks or months and pay rent for a third place wasn’t an appealing thought. Sure, we had done that, but we love to travel, and in the long run it would simply be more expensive than we can afford. So we signed up for a couple of exchange sites, and while I was googling for them I also found a house and pet sitting site, and this was something I’d never heard of! I love cats more than anything and I’ve had cats before, but since we now have decided that we want to travel as much as we can, with bleeding heart and although I do feel ripe for it, I’ve decided against having furry children again.
The idea that there are lots of people around the world who want to travel and need a pet sitter in their home to take care of their darlings had never occurred to me, despite the fact that finding a reliable cat sitter was by far my biggest problem when I had cats myself! In this case, there is no home exchange. The pet owners go away somewhere, and the pet sitters come and stay in their home for free, looking after their place and their pets. The fact that I now realized it was possible to both travel and have cats (albeit only for a few weeks or months at a time) made me weep for joy. (I am persuaded that it was my cat loving sister in the spirit world who drew my attention to this fact.)
In the summer we made four fantastic home exchanges in different European countries. We had full confidence that the planning would be perfect, and although there were some close calls, everything went smoothly and we never missed a train or a flight. We were very clearly guided even in the smallest practical things. In a train station I was pulling two suitcases, which was very difficult, when suddenly an invisible helper whispered in my ear: “Put the one on top of the other instead, and then you’ll only have one suitcase to pull!” The thought did not originate in my brain.
There was, however, quite clearly another kind of higher planning going on as well: preparing Lars for contact with cats. It turned out that two of the four persons/families we exchanged with had a cat! Lars had never ever been in contact with cats and had no idea how to handle them or even how to touch them. He’d had a dog when he was a child, which is now over 50 years ago, but he’d never had a close encounter with a feline. Now he suddenly got intense training without it being the main purpose of the visits, which I found to be a most ingenious plan by our spiritual helpers!
After the summer, it became obvious that people in other countries only want to do exchanges with Sweden in the summer season. But our appetite had been whetted, and now we wanted to be able to travel and stay in people’s home for free the whole year around. The house and pet sitting site was a disappointment, though, with most of the pet owners living in Australia and New Zealand. In November, I got a new impulse to google again, and this time I found the largest pet sitting site, with pet owners all over the world. It turned out that the one I had signed up for was the smallest, focusing on the other side of the world. How could I have missed this large one before? Probably because the timing was now!
Both Lars and I are reading books all the time, and just before I found the large pet sitting site, I got a clear indication that I should read a book by Gordon Smith. I chose “Med mina ögon” (original title: “Through My Eyes”). I’d read two books by Gordon before and had also seen him on YouTube, and having started mediumship training myself, he’d become my “guru”, or role model, for how a medium should be and work. I think he’s one of the most genuine and sincere mediums in the world.
Two days after I’d signed up for the large pet sitting site I finished the book, and the idea popped into my head: Why not go to Glasgow? I had no idea that Gordon wasn’t living there anymore and it wasn’t important either, the idea was just to get to know his home town and to visit his spiritualist church, where he’d done his medium training. I sat down at the computer and opened the page with home owner listings – and the first words that caught my eyes were “Kitten in Glasgow”. I felt very strongly that this was meant to be!
But I soon realized that it wasn’t that easy. We were brand new to the site and had no documented experience in house and pet sitting, no references, no recommendations, no police check, nothing. I sent them an email but received no answer. After a week, I gave up and started to email other home owners elsewhere, and every time I got a swift answer “thank you for your email, we will let you know as soon as we have decided”. But from Glasgow we heard nothing.
After ten days, with a lot of stomach ache and doubts, I wrote to the people in Glasgow and asked if they could please tell us whether they were considering us at all. It turned out that they thought they had answered us – and out of ca. 15 applicants, they had picked the ones with neither experience nor recommendations: us! Reading that, I felt very ashamed that I’d doubted the spirit world. It was clearly a test of my trust, and I’d failed miserably. When I’d seen the listing I’d felt so sure that this was it, so why did I doubt it? The kitten owner just wanted to check with a flatmate who was away for the moment if it was OK to pick us, so it took another couple of days before we got the definitive answer, but this time I didn’t doubt any more (almost ...). (BTW: All the other pet owners we’d contacted in other cities eventually said no.)
We went to Glasgow for a month over Christmas and New Year and had a wonderful time, taking care of the little kitten. And of course, the spirit world had also arranged it geographically perfect; the apartment was only 150 meters from the Spiritualist Church! We went there as often as we could, and it was a lovely and very powerful experience, since there are no spiritualist churches in Sweden. We learned a lot about the spiritualist movement in Scotland and felt very much at home there.
The central spiritualist church in Glasgow.
One day we went to a spiritual store to buy some incense and stumbled on another book by Gordon, “Stories from the other side”. To our surprise we discovered that he has written many books and that only three of them have been translated into Swedish. Reading the book, we were both very pleased to see that we were now familiar enough with Glasgow to be able to pinpoint the places and addresses mentioned. In the church, we were also told that he was going to give a course/workshop and a demonstration of mediumship in Edinburgh in March.
This was our first visit to Scotland. We both fell in love with the country, and I began to feel strongly that we were going to come back soon. Lars said that now that we were in Glasgow for a whole month, shouldn’t we at least take a day trip to Edinburgh and see that city, too? With a strong inner conviction, I said: “No, we don’t have to do that, because we’ll soon go there anyway.” A few days before we left for home, I went to a medium for a private sitting, arranged through the Spiritualist Church. She said that this was not our last visit to Scotland, thus confirming my own feeling.
After New Year, inquiries about home exchanges in the spring and summer started to stream in. It was far more than we could handle, and we had to thoroughly discuss where and for how long we wanted to travel. Simultaneously, I regularly checked the pet sitting site. And sure enough, one day there was a listing about a cat sitting in Edinburgh for 3.5 weeks. Everything was perfect, and the dates were exactly during the time when Gordon’s workshop was going to be, but I didn’t feel anything in my body; didn’t feel the usual confirmation that “this is it”. Following this inner feeling, I didn’t find it necessary to focus on this assignment in Edinburgh. I applied anyway, but weren’t disappointed or surprised when they said no.
Two weeks later, there was another listing about a cat sitting in Edinburgh for three weeks. And this time my whole body screamed: “Yes! This is it! This is the right one!” In external appearance, there was absolutely nothing to differentiate it from the first listing, I just knew. I applied and felt so sure that I told Lars that I'd found our pet sit in Edinburgh. And they said yes, but informed us that they didn’t have Wi-Fi, only a mobile broadband with one single USB stick. Since both Lars and I need internet access to be able to work, I was surprised: “Oh, so this wasn’t the right one after all? And I was so sure ...!” I wrote back and said that unfortunately, high-speed internet was an absolute requirement. They emailed back and said “Hold on while we check this”, and after a few days they informed us that they had now ordered high-speed Wi-Fi!
As soon as they confirmed, I booked us on Gordon’s and Steven Levett’s workshop – there were 3 spaces left (!). It was marvelous to come to Edinburgh, only a month after we’d returned home from Glasgow. Gordon’s demonstration in Edinburgh was sold out, but we bought tickets for the one in the Pavilion in Glasgow instead. This meant going back to Glasgow for two days, and it felt almost like coming home!
Gordon Smith had a fantastic demonstration of mediumship in front of an audience of 1.200 people in his home town Glasgow.
During Gordon’s mediumship workshop we realized that we would like to participate in the next two parts as well, but it was absolutely impossible to take them in Edinburgh. Part 2 will be held this summer, three days after we’ll be back home after three weeks in London, and part 3 is held in the fall when we’ll be in the USA. If part 2 had been during our stay in London, we could have gone up to Edinburgh for the weekend, but now we felt that there were too many obstacles and therefore clearly was not meant to be. (A chain of obstacles means going against the flow!) I asked Gordon if they were going to hold the workshop somewhere else, and he said that part 1 would be held in Copenhagen two weeks later, and having already done part 1 in Edinburgh, we could take part 2 and 3 in Copenhagen. As soon as he said that, I knew even before checking the dates that they would be perfect! And of course they were, and there were spaces left! Both workshops were right in between two trips. In January, we had actually discussed if we should squeeze in another home exchange the exact dates when part 3 is held, but had decided against it. Now we understand why!
We are looking forward to the workshop in Copenhagen – and we’ll continue to go with the flow ...
Written in March 2014.
© Madeleine Midenstrand 2007–2022 — Uppdaterad 2022-04-15