I’m sharing a little bit below about my own experience of a healing journey - a journey that continues and has by no means stripped me of my human flaws, foibles, insecurities and capacity to get it wrong as well as be loving, fun, encouraging and kind. It ain’t always pretty or easy, but it is all welcome.
The work that I do to understand, appreciate and accept myself as fully as possible supports me in offering the same compassion to my clients and students.
Ballet was my first love.
My ballet teacher once said that taking a photograph at any point in a dance would capture beauty in movement. I've always taken this to mean that the transitions and in-between moments are as much a part of the performance as the high kicks and deep bends, just as important as the final pirouette. This is something I lean into when I'm feeling unsettled and in flux - that it's all part of this uniquely beautiful dance.
I am forever grateful for the gift of ballet in my younger years, subconsciously releasing stress and tension held in my body from living in an unsafe and unsettled home - we are understanding more and more that moving in some way and expressing ourselves creatively is necessary for both mind and body to release stress and trauma. It is said that in many shamanic societies if you came to a shaman complaining of being disheartened, dispirited or depressed they would ask one of four questions ~
When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Behind the scenes.
There was a sudden death in our family when I was 18 and I went into a numbed-out autopilot state for 1.5 years until a flood of emotion began to hit me. I'd always been the one that people came to for strength and wisdom so I wasn't quite sure where to take this hurt and confusion. I am glad that my Doctor referred me to ACIS, an incredible counselling agency in Aberdeen, where it took me a while to get going but I soon appreciated the space and time to talk through my lack of confidence and self-doubt.
The above image provides a powerful message of what can happen for me (and many of us, I think!) 'front of house’. When ‘on stage’, in costume, pleasing others through the performance of an act, we can mask our pain, our effort, the sticking plasters and coping strategies, the ways we distance and distract ourselves in order to survive. Through counselling and other methods of inner work I rehearse and release, review and renew all that I can so that I dance with increasing freedom, authenticity, integrity and joy.
“Real liberation comes not from glossing over or repressing painful states of feeling, but only from experiencing them to the full.” ~ Carl Jung
Triangle (Trikonasana) is my favourite pose.
I stopped going to ballet class in my early 20's and had a few years of not being 'in my body' with any regular practice until I found yoga in August 2009 - initially joining a class to feel more relaxed, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. To begin with I was stretching my body in one and then two classes each week and within a few years I was quitting my well-paid corporate career to go to India and train as a yoga teacher in October 2013.
“Yoga is the journey of the Self, Through the Self, To the Self.” ~ The Bhagavad Gita
Beyond the physical effects of yoga came the adventures and connections that began to take place - the retreats and workshops, the expansion into energy work through reiki and crystals, gong baths, fire walks, sweat lodges, meditation, chanting, breathwork, tarot and oracle cards, plant medicines, many many many books and podcasts, all this and much more. The people I meet and the conversations and experiences that I have continue to inspire and challenge me, allowing me the opportunity to develop my own philosophy for life, adjusting and refining how I feel about things with each new insight and perspective.
"There is no point in fighting against the challenges of life, or trying to avoid or deny them. They are there, and if the seed is to become the flower we must go through them. Be courageous enough to grow into the flower you are meant to be.” ~ Osho Zen Tarot, Courage
All teaching and therapies insured by: Yoga Alliance Professional
Photo credit: Tyler Shields
Movement and Magic
Movement and Magic