This month we have the very lovely Tony Stockwell visiting us. He's answered a few of our very nosey questions in advance of his visit - so we thought we'd share them with you.
Tickets for Tony's show are available from our box office or on 01395 222477
Where are you touring in 2016?
Well, it’s going to be another pretty manic year. Apart from all over the UK there are a number of dates in the USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland, including a teaching event in New York. I am also hosting, along with other tutors, 2 Spiritual Weekends, one in Scarborough and one in Eastbourne.
In a large demonstration, how do you deal with a very personal message from Spirit?
It’s important to be aware of the impact of the information from Spirit to both the Recipient and to the other members of the Audience. Experience teaches you to wrap up the crux of the message in such a way that only the recipient knows what you are referring to. It’s often safer to ask to see the Recipient privately after the demonstration. I am always very conscious not to embarrass people or air their laundry in public, as I wouldn’t like this done to me. As much as a piece of salacious information makes for a colourful demonstration, Mediums must not forget their responsibilities.
I am also very aware not to drag out the emotion of the message too much. It’s easy for a medium to harp on with statements like ‘she really, really, really loves you...with all her heart., forever and ever’, and this often touches all of the people in the audience and causes many a tear, but it’s not always fair on the recipient.
Passing on terms of endearment can be part of any message, but prolonging on that aspect of the message rather than the evidence is not something I teach my students.
Have you ever been scared by what’s happened in a reading?
No never. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding Mediumship but to me it’s all very natural and safe. It’s just a part of who I am and what I do. Readings are orchestrated by a love connection between the living and those in Spirit, so there is nothing to be scared of. To the contrary it’s a lovely feeling to be part of that reunion.
Are you always tuned in to the Spirit World or can you disconnect when you need to?
No, I am not always tuned in and dread the thought that I could never switch off. I need to live a physical life with my focus on the here and now the same as anybody.
And as for disconnecting, the natural state for living is being switched off; it’s having to switch on to work that is normal. We don’t (and shouldn’t) go around being receptive to the Spirit World at all times. My old Tutor used to say that Mediums should not be like a dripping tap otherwise when you go to use your Gift of Mediumship, the water will have run out. Linking with the Spirit World is a conscious decision you make, to raise your awareness, get into the power and to blend with them. This is actually something that is more difficult than maybe some think, which takes training and development and ability to still the mind and hear the subtle influences of the Spirit World. If only it were that easy that we were naturally open all the time and just had to switch off when we wanted to.
What do you say to people who are sceptical?
I don’t really say anything, they are entitled to their opinions and beliefs as I am to mine. It wouldn’t do for us all to be the same, would it? There is a difference between those who are sceptical and those who are open minded but sitting on the fence. The latter will have an enquiring mind and will often come along to a demonstration to see for themselves. Some will go away convinced and some will not, that’s just how it is. For the hardened sceptic, no proof will ever be enough and they will always find a way to explain away what they have witnessed. That’s fine with me as that’s their path in life and this is mine, but I have the pleasure in knowing they will one day find out the truth about life after death.
To what do you put the great upsurge of awareness down to, in particular these last years?
About 10-15 years ago there was an upsurge in media interest in Mediums and Mediumship was suddenly all over our television screens. TV folk are always looking for the ‘new thing’ and for some time it was Mediumship. A natural progression of this exposure is that some people will take what they have seen and want to know more. They will receive their messages, their proof of life after physical death and want to explore that further. This often comes in the form of wanting to develop their own awareness and understanding and finding their own link with the Spirit World.
I recognise we are living in a materialistic world, although tough for many at the moment. Most things in life come in cycles and I believe that interest in things more spiritual do too. I am hoping we are at the beginning of a new cycle of Spirituality and a time when people look more into where they fit in the great scheme of life.
Could you sum up your philosophy in two or three sentences?
My philosophy would be to treat the spirit world with respect, give them credit for their intelligence and be thankful that they work with me. The love of working with Spirit ALWAYS needs to be the driving motivation; any thoughts of success, ambition or career are irrelevant. Accepting I am eternal plays a major part in how I chose to live my life and the decisions I make. I am ultimately responsible for all the good and bad things I do and take any consequences that come along with that.
For my own life, I always try to live life being truthful to myself and listening to that inner voice. Life is about being kind to yourself and kind to others and this simple truth will help us be a truer expression of the wonderful vibrant spirit that we are.
Holding on to negativity from the past and harbouring resentment is only ever self destructive and just holds you back. I always try to look forward whilst appreciating what’s around me.
What spurs you on today to continue in your work and do you have any goals over the coming years?
My main motivation is and will always be the love of the work. If I didn’t love it so much and if it wasn’t such an intrinsic part of me, I couldn’t do it. The early morning flights, the being away from home, the very erratic hours and shift patterns, the media criticism that often comes with the job are all things that are more than outweighed by the joy of actually working with Spirit and the immense pleasure it brings me. I can’t ever imagine a time when I won’t work with Spirit on some level.
Also, I always strive to have new challenges and work in varied ways. I am not a Medium who could teach every day, or sit doing 1-2-1’s day in day out, or just work on television. For me it is the variety of the work that’s important. I often accept a work offer because it’s something I haven’t done before, or at a place or in a country I have never been to.
Equally it’s important for me to keep a connection with the Churches as this is my background and where my journey began. I still get just as excited when I work at Canvey Island Spiritualist Church for just a handful of people as I did all those years ago at my first demonstration.
I know I am very lucky to have so many opportunities and offers of work come my way. I also get to work with some of the world’s best Mediums too; people who inspire me like Mavis Pittilla, Eileen Davies and James Van Praagh.
As for ambitions, I am not really that ambitious anymore and am much more relaxed about my future goals. I am just happy to relax and see what comes my way.
We know you must love what you do. So, what is the best part of being a Medium?
You just get to meet, work with and help so many amazing and interesting people. There are always new challenges, new opportunities and new experiences to be had. No two working days are ever the same.
To still love my work after 25 years is quite an achievement. In the last few years I almost feel my passion and love has been renewed. I think for some years I had the balance of a number of things totally wrong and was on a path that left me frustrated and unhappy, which was alien to me and what I am about. I live a calmer, more stress free and dare I say, appreciative life now.
Do you recall a piece of evidence you’ve given to somebody that’s actually stunned you?
Can I say ‘all the time’? That sounds so egotistical doesn’t it? Recently I was going through old emails from a while back. A lady had written to thank me for the one-to-one reading I did for her. I remembered it well, because she sat there and I told her about a lady in the spirit world who was 37. She didn’t say yes or no. When I read for someone, I’m often in an altered state. My eyes are open and I’m talking, but I very rarely look at my client. I carried on for this lady, and I saw very tall windows in a space that felt like a hospital, but wasn’t. I knew the spirit woman had been heavily depressed. I knew she’d hung herself from the window, but I was still getting no response from my client. But I was so convinced I needed to follow this through, so I looked at her and asked if she knew this lady. She said it was her sister-in-law. So I went through all the information again, and what the client gave me in her energy was not just ‘yes but ‘Oh my God’. And that relief lifts your mediumship higher. Then I saw the word ‘MicheIle’;
I said this, and the client was so surprised that she was quite colourful with her language, saying ‘Oh my, that’s her name! And I thought to myself — ‘My God, how brilliant is that!’
And finally, what do you like to do in your free time?
Well, we have our daughter, Marnie and a son, Finn Alexander. Need I say more as they are my free time! I also love walking and these days I do it with a buggy in front of me and the dogs at my sides, rather than on my own. A few years ago we bought a very small, modest bungalow in Gran Canaria and we go out there four or five times a year. It’s our private time with the family. We walk by the ocean — that kind of thing. There’s also a gorgeous mountain view. If people had said to me prior to our becoming parents that having a child changes you, I might not have understood. But it does change you a lot — it’s certainly changed me. I find myself getting emotional a lot of the time — I’m all over the show, you start to really understand and empathise a lot. So, if I can reconnect people with someone they thought they’d lost forever, there’s nothing better I can do.