Absolute Balance

The Magic of Being Quantum



An Interview with Joy Hicklin-Bailey

by Colin Whitby

joywithcandle.jpgDespite her busy schedule I was fortunate enough to be able to arrange a face to face interview with Joy in the Pierian centre in Bristol. She was just about to leave for her trip to Andalucia in Spain, where she would be leading an alchemical workshop which, she says “opens the heart in a simple, yet profound way, allowing a place of trust, confidence and sensitivity, where we meet others in authenticity and ease”. 


Colin – How did you find your way to your current lifestyle, what were the influences that led you to facilitating transformational retreats in Andalucia, Italy and the Hawaiian islands.

Joy – One thing I have realised today it that it is very rare for anyone to ask me a personal question so this is quite an unusual situation for me to talk about myself!

I was a very unusual little girl and I had a lot of the classic extraordinary metaphysical experiences when I was very young. In my early teens I poured a lot of my energy into reading spiritual books and spiritual poetry and didn’t think anything of it, that was just what I was drawn to do. I then went on to study literature and psychology at university and became very fascinated by Jung, all of which lead to psychotherapy training, but always with a spiritual focus, and always recognising the intelligence of life I was in touch with.

There was never any sense of what I would do with all this, there was just a love of the truth. Then my passion for psychology and healing came in Its one thing to know the truth when you hear it, it’s another thing to know what to do when a client is very challenged or in trauma or a dilemma, for example.

My passion is for people to be happy, and whatever I can offer to facilitate that is what I love to do.

Colin – So what drew you to Hawaii?

Joy  -  I’ve always been a wilderness person, so whether it was Hawaii, India, New Zealand, Greenland, the wilder spots of Europe and the UK, like spending 3 years in a bothy in Scotland, I’ve always been drawn to places that are a bit of a distance from normal society, from the hectic pace of city life. I was very drawn to indigenous cultures because of the sanity of it, the basic natural rhythm of life, the organic nature of ordinary life, and made so many journeys to Hawaii.

So during a 10 year period I travelled the world and naturally came into contact with people I resonated with, with village healers and people who taught me a lot about how to live on the planet happily.

Colin – How did that lead to the trips you now organise and the groups you lead?

Joy – It’s very difficult to answer that question because I’ve literally just put one foot in front of the other, I have no plan, I sometimes think that everyone else has this fantastic plan, but I haven’t, I just do what I do. I follow my passions, and I would say that to anyone, be what you are, do what you do, with totality.

This year has been quite challenging because I have been building a place where I can run workshops, but this has taken more time and effort than I expected, which has taken me away from my passion for a while. Nevertheless I just love waking up every day, I think it’s an amazing gift to be in a body, breathing, feeling. I love the work I do. It’s play to me. Playing in existence with beautiful beings who wish to live the truth and love that they are. The workshops which are listed on the website touch on all the themes that affect us all – intimacy, sex, birth, death, loss, living the one we are rather than the conditioned self, power, freedom, truth, joy. There is a lot of tenderness here for the vulnerable, fragile creative humanity we all share. I love to see the breakthroughs that create more simple happiness for those who come to my workshops. Miracles. That doesn’t mean those people, or myself, will never be challenged again, but challenges are so much more ok when there is a depth of realization of the emptiness, silence and love that pervades all life, that makes no judgements.

Colin – In this edition of the e-zine we are asking the question, ‘what is enlightenment?’, how would you describe it?

Joy – From this perspective, enlightenment is enlightening what is, whatever it is. That might be a feeling or circumstance the conditioned mind would not like, and the love we can hold ourselves in ANYWAY is the light, is the enlightenment.

Somehow the human mind is programmed to strive and try and get better and be separate and actually the truth is there is only being, there is no Joy, there is no Colin, there is no world, there is only being. This cannot be ‘taught’, only realized, and apparently being around certain situations, people, support, community, can create more likelihood of that realization.

It’s not about being like me though, I sometimes get that in my workshops, people will ask me how they can be like me. It’s human nature to say, ‘you’re better than me, give me what you’ve got’, but actually that’s the last thing I wish those I facilitate to think and feel. For me enlightenment it’s about taking your focus back to the silence and emptiness and life that you are, and then something happens to the human being you are -  the magic of your being can move and express, it’s not the same as my magic and you can find it for yourself. And there is just light happening. That light is you or me, it’s not personal, it doesn’t belong to us and nor can we control that light and life. When we let go, and relax, and drop the defences and misconceptions, the light, the life, finds its own perfect solutions.

People will often ask, ‘are you enlightened, what can I do to get where you are?’ and I’ll say to them that this is the most ordinary natural way to be in the world, every feeling, every experience is OK, just life arising now, that for me is enlightenment, it’s just human and ordinary, and I don’t know where all the complication comes from really. There is nowhere to get to, we are it.

Colin – I’m very interested in how you work with people, how you deal with relationships in your workshops, for example.

Joy – I do a lot of shamanic preparation before a group and there is a lot being done through me if you like. On a Sunday night as a retreat opens I’ll have a group in a circle and I’ll not know what to say to them really because for me it’s the most extraordinarily unknown situation to be apparently facilitating a group. Somehow the right words get said! I do not know what will happen between them, whether there will be combustion or bliss at any given moment. However I do know what extraordinary enlightenment, insight, love, grace, presence and truth is possible…and somehow that always gets manifested! Ive been working with people for twenty years now, I can generally see and feel what is ‘up’ for someone, where they need to go, and they have to do it for themselves, and there is a total trust in the perfection of what unfolds.

For me that’s the edge of my work, it’s very beautiful to work with people at such a loose level, to see what happens between us when we let go of our roles and conditioning, what can we learn, what has been touched in us, how total can we be in what we feel, what grace and presence can happen amongst us. The freedom of that means that people can realise the insights for themselves rather than being told, it is very powerful, it facilitates people in finding their own solutions and answers.

It’s all subjective, we are talking about subjective experience, the aliveness that runs through the body. I don’t have answers about what people should do in relationships, but as sure as anything if they are in a retreat or workshop those limits will be there for them, and probably for everyone else to see and hear. This is beautiful because when all the blocks or issues are there and witnessed, they are enlightened and dissolve. And then alchemical transformation happens if the ripeness is there for that so-called individual. And that ripeness has its own timing..In that sense there is no need to try!!

One thing I’d really like to say is that at the deepest level of life everything is a paradox, and that is OK. That’s why everything I say is open to total misunderstanding. At the deepest level of existence in the world everything must be paradoxical; there has to be light and there has to be dark, there must be love and there must be hate, and there has to be a thought that appears to be true and the opposite thought, which is also true. For example I could say I’m a good person, but I could equally say I’m a bad person, and both might be true.

When we go deeper into shamanic work we are going to find a world of paradox where honesty is required, and then underneath that there is simply being. When there is being, and the personality is out of the way not in its role of trying to get somewhere or do something, then there is no paradox, there is just the still silent flow that doesn’t belong to anyone, and if you can rest in that, that is a great way to relate.

So a lot of my work in intimacy and relationship is how do you let go of your preferences and demands, the fear and the hurt, the fear of being taken advantage of and such like. Once we are present intimacy is the best healing there is, because in presence there is never a problem. If you can speak from this place then you will never need a therapist or a course, or energy, because intimacy heals! Makes us whole.

The most important thing for me is who is giving you reflection in life, where are you being sustained and nourished, are you getting support for you highest intentions, and that is vital.

Colin – Yes and being honest with yourself too is important

Joy – The more congruent someone is about what they wish to do then other people will just naturally support them, and it is the same with our feelings. Many women will say to me ‘my partner hates it if I get disturbed or angry’ and I ask them ‘how disturbed are you by it?’, because if they can’t allow the natural human responses that arise in life, then the person they are living with will be frightened by those as well. If you are present with the whole of your being, then you are going to get total acceptance, if you love yourself, it’s simple. The greatest gift is to be – all that you are – and be free and loved in that.

Its great to be able to inspire people and show them that this intimacy is possible, and it’s not romance, it’s not the glamour you think it is, it’s just ordinary loving living, and its absolutely available to anyone.

Colin – On a slightly different tack, how do you see us taking this kind of knowing to our workplace?

Joy – One perspective I have is that I have met so many healers in business, because the business world is about people, so it does not mean that because you are in business you are not a healer, it means that you choose to take your energy into that realm. You don’t have to be weird, or a hippy, you don’t have to set yourself outside of that environment. Healing and enlightenment is really about simplicity, and awakeness and knowing life is just a great, amazing game that truly isn’t personal. Sometimes someone round the table at a business meeting, who brings their consciousness into that situation. Your presence is all that is required, there are so many amazing people in business, you don’t have to be running some energy based business to be valid. Everyone is making their contribution by being the way they are.

I also find business people can be ver open to working shamanically, with forgiveness rituals, inner journeys etc

How can we say what really matters, how can we know what we are meant to do, we just do what we do. Its all perfect. Any investment in ‘becoming enlightened’ or ‘becoming a better person’ is really a bit of a limitation or diversion.

Colin – Well thank you so much for your time today, and for your insights, it’s been a really enlightening experience.