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Whenever I read other people's About pages on websites, I like to find out a bit about their life story as well as what professional qualifications they have. That's my intention here, I'd like to share with you the key parts of my life story that I feel have meaning and significance in creating and shaping who I am today and through that, what gifts, skills and experience I can offer others, in their path to recovery, healing and growth.
I was born in 1968 and grew up in a village in the South West of Scotland which had originally been built to house coal miners. I grew up in a time that was politically turbulent and my home life was even more so, where I witnessed and experienced frequent domestic violence, until my parents divorced when I was 14. The saving graces for me as a child growing up in that environment, were the joys of playing outdoors with friends in the local natural landscape which had forests, rivers and hills to explore and escape to. The other joy, was the gift of being artistically creative and I would happily spend hours making, drawing and painting.
I was eager to leave home as soon as I was able and did so at 16, choosing not to study at college, I went into the world of work instead. Working brought some form of focus and validation and I threw myself into my working roles, starting as a sales assistant and then moving into retail management and by the time I was 21 was working as a trainee buyer for a large Scottish department store chain. The career part of my life looked very successful to anyone looking on, however it hid something different on the inside. I was disillusioned by retail consumerism, the role at work couldn't fill the hole for self identity and validation that I was desperate for. Memories of the violence in my childhood resurfaced repeatedly and I developed an addiction to cannabis as a way of calming down the turmoil and jangled state I felt inside. I left the office one day and never went back.
I can only describe the next few years after that, as like being on a roller coaster ride. The high of meeting someone and falling in love, of being in a relationship and creating a home together. The low of watching the relationship spiral into dysfunction, through mutual addictions and destructive patterns of behaviour playing out, once again I was faced with the repercussions of the violent conditioning of my childhood. The relationship came to a dramatic and heartbreaking end.
This led to many changes in my life. A move to the South West of England, a decision to go to Art College in Plymouth. Deep enquiry into the nature of existence, moments of expanded consciousness, when I felt connected to life and free from my past and conditioning, then contractions when I felt the discomfort and pain of being alive in my body. This led to reaching a crisis point in addiction and at 27, I stopped smoking cannabis and cigarettes and entered into a committed quest to find wholeness and healing in my life.
I spent some healing time with my previous partner to make amends to each other for the way our relationship had ended. I also got fit and healthy and returned to Art College and creativity helped me connect to the depth of emotional feeling that had been repressed inside me since childhood. Through Art I was able to give my feelings visual expression and begin to have a dialogue with them. This theme carried on for me, when I left Plymouth College of Art and studied at Dartington College of Arts where I gained a BA hons in Arts Management and Visual Performance. My creative work became a context where I could explore and give expression to my inner life and challenge my social and cultural conditioning as a woman. It became increasingly important for me to honour my body as a woman, in particular pay attention to my menstrual cycle.
Also during my time at Dartington I developed a strong meditation practice and studied Eastern spiritual teachings. Both my Arts practice and my spiritual practice, met in a desire to express my experience of being a woman and it's relation to the Feminine face of spirituality, something that I felt was missing in my culture. Through this exploration, I was drawn to live in Glastonbury in 1999 at 31, where there was an emerging Goddess focused community and a context where I could show Art and connect with other like minded women and men. For the next few years I immersed myself in studying Esoteric Soul healing with Kathy Jones and also studying and practicing Therapeutic Body Massage at Strode College.
Choosing to learn about both Soul Healing and Therapeutic Massage, helped me in my own healing process, by enabling me to get in touch with what soul meant to me and find the power of giving and receiving healing and therapeutic touch. Soul, as I know it means that I am an individual spark of consciousness, come to life in this physical body that I live life in. Just like a flower grows from a seed and comes into full bloom, given the right conditions, I believe that everyone has the seeds of consciousness that can grow into fullness and presence, through life challenge, joys and a healthy serving of love.
I also know through my own experience, that a healthy nervous system and calm brain helps anchor and ground the consciousness of presence and life in the body. It creates a feeling and sense of safety of being able to live in the world so that life can be met and enjoyed. I discovered this after years of exploring and experimenting with different therapeutic approaches. I realised that having an awareness of being a soul and being part of consciousness and also being aware of how my conditioning had affected me, still did not help me feel fully comfortable in my own skin.
I tried nearly every cathartic process available with short lived success. I meditated for hours every day and still felt irritated with the people I lived with. Trying to transcend and ascend the body also didn't help with day to day living in it. So, after years of searching for some kind of peace, I was relieved when I discovered somatic based healing modalities and learned the definition of trauma and how it affects the brain and the nervous system and how in turn that affects everyday living.
I had never related the domestic violence I had experienced as a child with trauma, until I read a book about developmental trauma, it was a huge moment when I recognised that what had happened to me, had resulted in having nervous system that was on high alert to outside triggers and created powerful physiological responses that the thinking part of the brain was not in control of.
While I was living in the Findhorn Community in Scotland, I was introduced to TRE (Tension & Trauma Release Exercises) and I embarked on a two year training to be a certified provider, I completed Module 1 in Edinburgh and did the rest of the training and module 2 with TRE College in London. TRE has helped me, at last, feel comfortable in my body through the process of slow sustainable release of the chronic held tension patterns held there since childhood. As a result I feel more awake, grounded and present in every day life and more willing to engage in my life and grow.
I have over the years of this exploration and searching, worked in different roles and functions to financially support myself and at times I found this really tough going. I have managed various B&Bs including my own, ran a housekeeping and housesitting business and also worked as a youth worker in various contexts.
Now, I am choosing to offer the gifts, training and experience that have helped empower me in my own recovery & healing process. I know that the processes I offer people have had beneficial and lasting effects in my life, these being visual art, healing & therapeutic touch and TRE. I live in Glastonbury and live in and look after a beautiful house where my practice is based, I continue to research and explore healing modalities that specifically relate to healing trauma and restoring the brain and nervous system to a calm and balanced state.