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ADVENTURES WITH ASHA

By Jane Fleming

In the year 2000 the Calgary First Spiritualist Church received a special gift. Laura O’Connor brought her beautiful electric piano to the church and became the church organist for the next 15 years. She also brought with her A Course In Miracles (ACIM) and the Association of Spiritual Healers of Alberta (ASHA) from the New Thought Church.

 

In 2002 my friend and colleague at the Mount Royal Conservatory, Gerda Morrow, said “There is a course at your mother’s church that used to be at my mother’s church. Let’s take it.” So began a wonderful journey every Monday night (except for holidays) to the Calgary First Spiritualist Church. Gerda and I loved commuting to our Spiritual Healing class and Internship so we could discuss the experience all the way home. How wonderful to have a like-minded friend!

 

Of course, Gerda and I, as teachers got on the Board as soon as we could. Gerda instigated the first ASHA Retreat held at the Highwood River Inn in 2004 and I started producing the bi-annual newsletter in 2003. In 2005 my dear friend moved to Kamloops and I became the ASHA President.  There were lots of adventures ahead with new friends.

 

In the first five years of my Presidency there were many things to be done that enriched the ASHA organization. The newsletter was expanded to 20 pages, printed booklet style and mailed out as hard copy twice a year. Color ads for publicity were printed in major New Age magazines like Synchronicity, and the ASHA Brochure was revised. Besides holding the ongoing Annual Retreat, we held workshops, added Spring Events and sometimes visiting mediums from England gave healing demonstrations.

 

The Fall Training Course was revised to be like a college course: a course overview chart issued the first day, content that followed the textbook closely, written homework assigned on a weekly basis and informative lectures. Monthly workshops were started in order to help the interns become a cohesive group. Following the English model the examination process was revised to include a Panel Examination with Board Members, as well as an extended written exam. A graduation ceremony was instituted for newly certified healers and was held on the very last day of the Training Course, so that the new students could see the end result of their training one year later. Honorary Membership certificates were issued as well to our pioneers.

 

Office work was now done in a more efficient way. Electronic filing was used and new forms developed for Attendance, Distant Healing, Confirmation of Healing, etc. Wayne Fleming created and posted the first ASHA website in 2006. A computer and an electronic accounting system were purchased facilitating ease in sending out our charitable tax receipts. Group email communication was now used for the annual membership drives, notices, etc. 

 

The Board also revised its Associate Membership so that the organization had a means of including high-level spiritual healers who were unable to take our training, thus adding to our prestige. The constitution or by-laws were updated in 2006 and revised again in 2008 with the Alberta government.

 

From the very beginning ASHA was a member of an international healing organization, The Healing Trust or Federation of Spiritual Healers (NFSH) which is headquartered in the U.K. We regularly received their beautiful magazine called Healing Today during the 1990’s. Unbeknownst to us, all overseas affiliations were discontinued for a few years. In 2006 we were asked to re-apply for this affiliation. There were a number of membership criteria that had to be met. The Healing Trust insures all its members and ASHA does not. I pulled together the many documents requested for membership but could not give the name of an insurer. So after much soul searching, I submitted a letter explaining that any of our certified healers who opened a private healing business would have to provide their own insurance in keeping with government regulations. Whew! They accepted the letter. Once again we started to receive their colourful magazine with the name changed to In Touch. 

 

Unfortunately, The Healing Trust lost track of us again in 2009 and said they had no knowledge of us whatsoever. They had moved offices from Sudbury on Thames to Northhampton and subsequently lost all trace of us. So I submitted updated and revised documentation plus a new letter regarding the insurance which is left up to the individual healer. Then we started to receive their magazine electronically under the new name of Spiritus with a few hard copies sent by mail.

 

Perhaps my most difficult challenge was to restore our charitable status which we lost in 2008 for failing to register with Revenue Canada. With hindsight we saw how it happened. There was confusion over our financial accounts and previous treasurers were long gone. My brother in law, Tom Groves, bravely stepped in to fill the job as he was also treasurer for Calgary First. Without proper succession Tom ended up sending the Annual Proof of Filing to the Alberta government in October, and nothing to Canada Revenue. Well, it turned out that we had to file with Canada Revenue in October, and send Proof of Filing to the Alberta government in January. The reapplication for Charitable Status cost us $500, but we were restored and have smoothly filed with both governments ever since. 

 

Some things were left undone: we never did get a History Book made like the one done for Calgary First or gather items for an archive. Nor were we able to institute formal hospital and palliative care visits. A second venue for ASHA ran at Unity of Calgary in 2004-05 but it was found that a southwest venue greatly reduced the numbers for our venue at CFSC. We didn’t create a How-To-Handbook that laid out specific jobs for Treasurer, etc. and a carefully constructed annual calendar. Also we didn’t update our Code of Conduct to reflect the extensive one for The Healing Trust, but we added a Code of Ethics to deal with not giving psychic messages, or soliciting for personal business at ASHA meetings. There also was a need to include in the Code of Ethics matters dealing with sexual harassment.

 

I found during the first five years of Presidency that it was impossible to find a replacement. A president should serve only 2 years according to our constitution, but every healer approached to take the Presidency said they had an anxiety issue and couldn’t do that! Well, I discovered that I had anxiety issues plus a perfectionist streak, so I ‘sweated bullets’ over some things.

 

Another challenging surprise came my way in 2006. One of our healers told me that they had found on the internet an ASHA Associate Member in Vancouver. What? I was able to contact Paul Frigstad and learned that our founders, Daphne and Jack Thomas, had travelled to Vancouver to make Paul an Associate Member because he was a high-level healer who had done incredible work during the AIDs crisis of the 1980’s. The Board and I sweated over creating a document to explain and detail Associate Membership. 

 

Paul Frigstad came twice to Calgary to give well received workshops. He also offered to do distant healing on any ASHA member for free. I was lucky and had a standing appointment with him on the telephone every Sunday morning. For several years he did healings on my left shoulder. Paul and I used to discuss his astral travels to disaster sites to send souls into the light. In 2013 he felt restless like a stallion confined to a stall. Within weeks of being diagnosed with cancer he passed into spirit. Paul is working on a much wider healing range now.

 

During the next ten years there were other challenges, especially my own health when I developed a hip problem called ‘bone on bone’. Fortunately, my hip replacement went well in 2019 and I was able to transfer files and teaching material on to other teachers for 2020. Now in this time of an ongoing Covid Pandemic there are new leaders to develop ideas such as online courses and a new way of going forward to meet the changing needs of students, healers, and recipients.

 

What I loved the most about ASHA was teaching the training course and coaching the interns through the year-long internship. What wonderful people I met! During my 15 years as president and training coach, over 120 students were certified as ASHA healers and many more came to the course and sometimes took part of the internship. ASHA gave me an opportunity to keep on teaching and coaching after my 36-year career in the Mount Royal University Conservatory. Now it is time for me to look to other adventures, perhaps with my artistic friends. I may return to performance, theatrical productions and directing, but always with newfound knowledge of Spiritual Healing and Spiritualism to buoy me up.

 

May the new ASHA leaders successfully address new issues, styles of healing and learning, using the new technology, and keeping a current understanding of the field of Spiritual Healing. My blessings go to all who shared my journey and adventures with ASHA. I am especially grateful to those who served with me on the ASHA Boards and served devotedly on Monday nights. All of us send best wishes to future ASHA’ns.

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