Authentic Communication: 7 Keyways to Transform Your Relationships

In today’s fast-paced world, where information inundates us and distractions abound, the essence of authentic communication is more vital than ever. Genuine communication is all about being truthful, open, and vulnerable when we engage with others. It serves as a conduit to deeper connections, enhanced understanding, and personal growth.

In this blog post, I explore the seven keyways to authentic communication that have the potential to nurture more profound and authentic bonds with those in your life.

The seven keyways to Authentic Communication are:

  1. Willingness:

Willingness is the initial step toward authentic communication. It entails being open and receptive to the exchange of thoughts and emotions, even if they challenge your existing beliefs. By approaching conversations with an open heart and mind, you create an atmosphere of trust and acceptance.

  • Accountability:

Accountability is the act of taking responsibility for your words and actions. Owning up to your mistakes or acknowledging when you’ve hurt someone is essential. Authentic communication hinges on recognizing your role in conflicts and working towards resolution.

  • Defencelessness:

Being defenceless should not be confused with becoming a doormat. Instead, it’s about letting go of the compulsion to protect your ego at all costs. When you shed defensiveness, you become more open to constructive criticism and can engage in conversations without becoming defensive or confrontational.

  • Vulnerability (Emotional Transparency):

Vulnerability is a potent tool for forging connections. It involves being open about your emotions and revealing your genuine self. When you practice emotional transparency, you encourage others to do the same, nurturing a deeper level of understanding and empathy.

  • Radical (Self) Honesty:

Radical honesty revolves around speaking the truth, even when it’s challenging or uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean being hurtful but rather being forthright in a manner that’s respectful and compassionate. It entails being honest with both yourself and others.

  • Trust:

Trust is an implicit but crucial aspect of authentic communication. It involves having faith in the sincerity, honesty, and reliability of those you communicate with. Trust creates a safe environment in which individuals feel comfortable being vulnerable, practicing radical honesty, and expressing gratitude. It underpins many of the keyways to authentic communication.

  • Gratitude:

Expressing gratitude is another pivotal component of authentic communication. It entails acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of your interactions and relationships. Gratitude can elevate a conversation from a mundane exchange to a heart-warming connection.

By embracing these keyways—willingness, accountability, defencelessness, vulnerability, radical honesty, gratitude, and the power of silence—you equip yourself to navigate the complexities of human interaction more effectively. 

Authentic communication has the potential to bring more joy, understanding, and meaning to your relationships, ultimately enriching your life.  To realign our intentions using the 7 Keys to Authentic Communication. 

I encourage you to join me on this liberating journey, and watch this overview on YouTube: 

Remember, authentic communication isn’t a destination; it’s a lifelong voyage of self-discovery and connection. Embrace these keyways and savour the profound impact they can have on your relationships and your life as a whole.

Enjoy the journey of authentic communication!



A Course in Miracles (ACIM) offered by the Foundation for Inner Peace

As I make my way through the profound teachings of A Course in Miracles (ACIM) offered by the Foundation for Inner Peace, I find that each day brings its unique set of challenges and revelations. Some lessons flow easily, while others, like Lesson 128, “The world I see holds nothing that I want,” can present quite the conundrum. In my quest for understanding, I turned to YouTube, hoping to discover videos that would illuminate the depth of these teachings.

Lessons 128 and 129, “Beyond this world there is a world I want,” beckoned me to delve deeper into their meanings, and this quest led me to an intriguing discovery. In my online exploration, I stumbled upon the work of Nouk Sanchez and Coreen Walson, who offer a unique perspective on ACIM’s holographic messages and the profound significance. 

Their commitment to this metaphysical journey is evident in their approach, filled with love and laughter.

What they share goes beyond a mere explanation of lessons; it’s a metaphysical feast for the soul. I invite you to join me on this voyage of exploration and understanding, guided by Nouk and Coreen’s insights. 

In my next blog post, I plan to delve into Authentic Communication and the 7 Keyways to Transform your relationships and journey towards the world we truly desire.

For more resources and information, including the Total Transformation Course (TTC) and the Holy Relationship Journey (HRJ), you can visit their YouTube channel here…

Let’s embark on this voyage of self-discovery and enlightenment together.


“The Power of Humility and Unconditional Love”

In a world that often values ego and self-promotion, the virtues of humility and unconditional love stand out as beacons of light. These qualities, rooted in the core of our spiritual selves, have the ability to transform our lives and our relationships.

Humility: The Art of Selflessness

Humility is the gentle art of recognising our own limitations and imperfections. It’s not about self-deprecation or putting ourselves down but rather an honest acknowledgment of our humanity. When we embrace humility, we open the door to personal growth and deeper connections with others.

By letting go of our need to be right or to prove ourselves, we create space for understanding and empathy. Humble individuals are open to learning, adaptable to change, and willing to admit their mistakes. In doing so, they nurture an environment of trust and authenticity in their relationships.

Unconditional Love: The Purest Expression of Compassion

Unconditional love is a love without conditions or boundaries. It’s a love that extends to all, regardless of their actions or circumstances. When we love unconditionally, we accept others as they are, without judgment or the need to change them.

This type of love is not just reserved for our closest relationships but extends to all living beings. It’s the love that sees the divinity in every person, recognizing that we are all interconnected and deserving of love and respect. Unconditional love is a powerful force for healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

The Beautiful Symbiosis

When humility and unconditional love come together, they create a beautiful symbiosis. Humility helps us recognise our own imperfections, making it easier to extend unconditional love to others. Unconditional love, in turn, nourishes humility by reminding us that we are all in this human experience together.

In this symbiotic relationship, we discover that we don’t need to be perfect to love and be loved. Our imperfections become part of our shared humanity, and we become more compassionate and understanding toward ourselves and others.

As we journey through life, let us remember the transformative power of humility and unconditional love. By embracing these spiritual virtues, we can cultivate deeper, more meaningful connections with others, heal wounds, and contribute to a more compassionate and harmonious world.

So, let us practice humility in our daily lives, and let our love be a beacon of light that shines unconditionally on all we encounter. For in the fusion of these two virtues, we find not weakness, but strength; not separation, but unity; and not judgment, but boundless compassion.

With love, Cate 

“Remembering Donald: A Tribute to a Good Man”

In my three heartfelt encounters with Donald before his passing, I was struck by his gracious and humble spirit. Together, we meticulously planned his funeral service, from newspaper announcement, music to the eulogy. 

His legacy was simple yet profound—to be a good man. Donald’s contentment in recounting his happy life served as a testament to the depth of his character. 

In his quiet way, he reminded us of all that a life lived with kindness and humility leaves a lasting impact, far greater than any accolades or possessions. 

Donald’s memory continues to inspire us to be better, to be good people, just as he was.

‘Hear beyond words’

In this second offering exploring our motto we are considering the line `hear beyond words`. We are told that only 8% of all communication is speech. However most of us give much more credence to the words we hear than the manner in which they are spoken or the context in which they are said. Not forgetting `hearing` the words that are unspoken.

It is easy for us to remain at the level of words. It can be so easy to hear the words and then judge and respond from our judgement  keeping both the speaker and ourselves trapped at the level of words. Words à  miss-interpretation à reaction : which is invariably experienced as a `lose, lose` situation. 

Sometimes our non-listening can be  disguised as the polite chat we engage in with others, it might be at work, shopping or just seeing people  in passing. We have all done it, walking into Tesco ( other supermarkets are available) we pass someone we know and ask how they are without breaking step…as for the answer, how often do they or we call “fine thanks” over our shoulders. How are they really? How are we really? Might it be nice to spend a few minutes being honest and real with someone?

In this state of rush we can,  and often do, miss the subtext, the context, the body language, the subtleties of cadence, pitch and vocabulary.  As it is wisely said, hear what is not said, or, as Rumi said 

“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen”

Listen to the tone of the voice,  the timbre, the hesitations,  sighs and what is left unsaid. Herein lies the truth. 

In the Open Sanctuary our aim is always to have time to listen, to stop and hear how the other truly is, to listen more deeply and tune into their language. To hear when ` I am fine` really means I am lonely/drowning/confused/help me and any number of subtle truths the other is desperate to say but has no place to utter the words.

In these modern times there is no `acceptable` place to go to be heard by a truly open mind. Yet there you are, in the post office queue, at work, with family or friends, a walking Sanctuary. 

It sounds so easy, to just listen, however to do so consciously is another matter. Have a conversation with a friend  and commit to listening to your inner motivation and see how it plays out. You may become aware of your desire to join in,  to fix, to cure, to sort out, to advise, to know more, to diffuse, to make a joke, to cheer up etc. In other words not listen to the other as there is too much focus on your part in the conversation…when lost in these thoughts we are not hearing the other and, in truth, doing a form of what politicians do. Answering what we want to say rather than truly hear the other.. Discovering who you are when in communication  is a huge step . For this self-knowing  alone opens the door to hearing more 

In the Open Sanctuary  we aim to listen , just be there,  we do not speak as the other feels our listening and is enveloped in the sanctuary we offer. Everyone has their own inner voice guiding them, we are just safe, gentle sounding boards offering a sanctuary for verbal release allowing them to hear their own story…. And their own solutions.   Breathe, just breathe.



One of the remits of the Open Sanctuary is in supporting each other discern their core truth and live their spiritual belief to best of their ability. Deepening understanding of the values that support living in close alignment with that core belief. 

To further this, I offer an expansion on the motto of the Open Sanctuary in the next couple of blogs. Taking a line at a time what does it mean to see through masks? 

“Sees through masks

Hears beyond words

Loves unconditionally”

Do you remember the last time you held the gaze of a baby, that unflinching open look of pure innocence. The feeling that they, in their purity, see into the heart of us, know our true self and still maintain the gaze. Perhaps this is a form of Divine connection… in that gaze we are seen, we are not judged but accepted, loved and held.

As we grow older, we engage with more of life and the masks begin to appear. The smiles in order to please, be liked, needed, or a haughty look to protect a fear of inadequacy, or being found out; the masks of daughter or son, sibling or friend, partner or workmate etc. There are as many masks as there are emotions that we will interchange as and when we feel the need.

But who are we really?

This is a huge question and is worthy of much honesty, time and percolation as only when we recognise a mask can we gain awareness in which the need for the mask dissolves away. 

We won’t tackle that here, but it is an important part of growth in self-awareness as it   from here, our current state of self-awareness, that we engage with the `outside world`.

The desire to be truly see is the ultimate Catch 22 situation, as much as we desire being fully seen we are equally terrified of being seen and then rejected. It all links back to a deep belief we are not worthy. 

Here in the Open Sanctuary our motto reminds us what we are offering each person we encounter; the gift of being seen, truly seen, seen beyond the masks of protection, or the image that they project; we see beyond to their inner gentle innocence that is who they really are. In seeing the other at this depth, we remind them of their Divine inheritance.

Start this journey by looking into your own eyes in the mirror…and bless who you see.


A beautiful harbinger of 2023

Welcome to our blog.

Recently the Open Sanctuary had a community meeting, the first in our new community formation. It felt timeous that it happened so early in the new year,

A beautiful harbinger of 2023. 

Having been absent for a while it was a heart warming experience to return to the fold and feel held. Not just in smiling faces and warm words, which are received by a tender heart, thank you; also in witnessing and sharing in the respect given and received by all members of the community.

A perfect reminder of how these values that we explore as a community can share in our personal spiritual journeys; through designated gatherings, speakers, short and long courses committing to deepening personal growth. Simultaneously being creative in our openness to others through offering more in our website, in our prayers as well as physically planting more trees in our Grove honouring nature and the planet.

It is an exciting time enhancing the Open Sanctuary website and community with so many community members offering experience, wisdom and creative skills both relevant for the present and also looking ahead to the future.

These offerings will appear as they are addressed and made manifest.

The meeting ended up over-running yet the attention remained focussed throughout reminding me of the depth of commitment this community holds in maintaining its ethos. 

“See through masks

Hear beyond words

Hold in  unconditional love.”

Being a part of a community like ours means you are never alone.

I have always seen convents, monasteries, communities like ours as beacons of light shining love and peace upon the world through our intention to, as Mahatma Gandhi would say….

“Be the change you want to see”

Join us, we have many different ways in which to engage.

Have a blessed day


Life is a Lifelong Lesson/5

Over the past three months I have lost 3 friends.  Each relationship was very different and related to a different part of my life.  One friendship was over 30 years, one over 50 years, and one of 65 years standing.

This prompts the reflection that each life has a limited span, and this takes me on again to the thought that “Life is a Life Long Lesson” (regardless  of how long that particular life is)

I have mentioned before in this space that am fortunate to live in the Highlands of Scotland where we have recently had a spell of good weather… this can occasionally happen in March !

As a result of Covid, vulnerability, and isolation I have rarely been anywhere over the past couple of years so when we recently enjoyed a good spell of weather I decided just to make the most of it.   

Now it appears clear that this was a real gift, and given for the purpose of reflection.

Day 1.  A trip to Findhorn.   I used to live fifteen minutes from Findhorn and much of my Spiritual reflection and indeed emotional healing (post divorce) was done pounding the beaches on the Moray Firth, beaches not only at Findhorn but elsewhere on that coast.  This was a short day away and is not far from home but set me up for what was to come.

Day 2.  Three days later I set forth early, with thermos and sandwich !  

Three weeks earlier I had noted an article in our local paper on an Iron Age Broch which was being maintained (made safe) up on the West Coast.  I cut out the article !!  

I arrived in Ullapool and there was not a breath of wind. The water was totally still with true reflection of moored boats and the surrounding snow covered hills … so rare and quite magical. 

On I went, driving north.  Not a cloud in the sky and the magnificent mountains of Assynt standing proud and clear, then on into Sutherland where they are the same.   How is it that I have only recently found this mind blowing area?  I came to the turnoff indicated in the article and tiptoed along a single track road….somewhere I had never been before… such a rollercoaster, and much care and concentration was needed.   

I really thought I was lost but how is this possible on a single track road in the middle of no where?  When I came to a row of cottages (one with washing hanging out in the sun) I went and knocked on the door to reassure myself that I was indeed going the right way.  Yes, I was good, and there was not much further to go.

I parked in a church car park.  Put on some serious walking boots grabbed my walking poles and set off.

It was not far but the walk was challenging… over a five bar gate, along a beach, walking on a difficult stone area, and negotiating the access to the broch which on arrival took me back 3,000 years.

I was alone there. With my thoughts for company I carefully explored the building.  Quite, quite, extraordinary.  The sun continued to shine, with the sound of the sea so close as I thought about those brave souls who created this place.  Their families, their way of life…..  utterly mind blowing.

The return walk to the car was also challenging as I thought I spied an easier route, but this resulted in having to negotiate two styles…. with two artificial hips, and an unreliable knee this too was a challenge.  However back at the car a well earned cuppa from my thermos was enjoyed.

The drive home was equally fabulous.   Stopping in Ullapool for a chippy then a quick dash out of the village before the ferry from the Western Isles came in with the ferry traffic filling the road.

The roads were clear through to Inverness, and then on home.

I love to drive, and spent much of my latter working life driving in remote areas for work.  So this day was a joy and the driving no chore.  This left my mind free to reflect on the lives of those who lived in the areas I had visited that day.  How different were their lives from ours today.  Every life has its journey, and challenges and thereafter its lessons.  

Regardless of the lives we lead, indeed regardless of which century we live in, we each have our lessons to learn.

Day 3.  The following day was again another wonderful weather day.   Thermos in hand off I set again, this time I decided to explore another area I had never visited before.   There is a small particularly picturesque village on the way to Skye.   Skye I know, but not Plockton.  I drove the northern route to Inverness, and then on to Plockton via Strathcarron.   It lives up to everything that is said of it!  Quite beautiful, friendly, and I loved spending a few hours just wandering around and exploring.   

Then, I went on to Skye, which I know.  I returned briefly to familiar corners loving the fact that this is all pre-season, with the peace and space to take time just to be.   Again grabbing a chippy as I left Skye, I drove on to Eileen Donan Castle (built from the 13th to the 16th century).  There I sat quietly and enjoyed my supper sitting in the car and watching the sun set behind the castle.   Then onwards home the big decision being which route to take.   

That decision is for me to know and you to guess !! However it was a good clear run home after another fabulous day.

I have wonderful photos from these few days, but as I couldn’t decide which one to put into this I have decided not to put any in…!   They are all snapshots in my mind anyway, as well as on my phone….. If you wish to see them you just need to ask !

The lesson I learned from this magical period is:


See you all next month – April!

With love,

Sarah Jane x

Life is a Lifelong lesson/4

This month is flying by.  
There has been so much happening it has been hard to find the time to write a few words.
February is well known to be a difficult time of the year.   Days are short and dark, the weather is traditionally bad, and many of us struggle to find our way through.

This February I have found particularly difficult as I have  lost one of my dearest friends:  “my spiritual buddy”.  Death is so final; but nature teaches us that out of death comes opportunity for a new perspective of life.  In time the death of a loved one does indeed give the opportunity for reflection, growth, learning, and eventually realignment, both internal, and external.

So, here I am.   

These past few days have seen terrible storms country wide.  Yesterday in the Highlands of Scotland we then had heavy snow. 
This morning I woke to glorious sunshine and inches of snow outside.  The snow covers all the debris from the storm, and with the shining sunlight, it is a gloriously bright day to behold. I have just returned from walking where it is safe in the village and surrounding fields and woods.  The sun still shines and the birds are singing.  It is a glorious day, and such a joy to be alive and to live in such a place.

It is time to be thankful and to be filled with gratitude for the opportunity to realign, and that such a lesson can be a lesson for life.

With love,
Sarah Jane

January 2022…

Last weeks blog provoked some pondering, what is it about communities that attracts us ?

Communities come together in all forms from the obvious community of families related by blood and marriage, community groups from shared interests, shared work situations, shared experiences. 

Consider the depth of shared experience and feelings produced in a reality show, a heightened hothouse truncating the usual evolution of group develop,emt into a time of  full immersion. This is noticeable due to its intensity; at that time and place these people are their own tribe, or family.

There often comes a point at which the community crumbles as human nature begins to express itself unchallenged. Where once the member longed to be seen and heard they slowly move to a space of fearing that degree of being seen has left them  exposed and  open to the judgment of others.  Once again the fear of not being seen and not being good enough rears its ugly head and the person will fade away . The fear  of rejection outweighing the benefits of community.

 There are so many criterion behind the invisible magnetic pull of drawing together as a community. It can be interesting to consider the communities we are a part of and the role we play within them.

The Open Sanctuary is, in my eyes, different in that the magnetic draw is to share the experience of discerning and then living in the deepest alignment with the Divine of each person’s awareness. Thus every member has a different belief , goal or God they are engaged with, however we all share the language of spiritual values. The values that are a like a spiritual zimmer frame supporting us in walking with our indwelling Beloved.

This focus on learning the values, opening to them fully and living them as deeply as we can  reduces the egoic relationship and need of others approval etc. It moves uf from external validation of others to the interior relationship with our God.

In the Open Sanctuary our shared passion, raison d`etre  is to live from our heart and soul noting that when we step into judgment it is a reflection of ourselves and highlights where we might benefit from some prayer or meditation time.

In this we are choosing to transform a  negative egoic observation, though word or deed into a soul led experience of unconditional love.

Similarly with convents and monasteries,  sharing a belief  in their God and particular story, offers a shared language and path upon which to travel  opening more and more deeply to full embodiment of the values of that core belief. 
 In doing so it become apparent that others are the grist to our mill… the reflection they offer is our mirror. It is a blessing or a curse depending on how we choose to see ourself in it….

A Prayer

“Mirror mirror on the wall

Reflect the love I give to all”