Mind, Body PLUS ME! . . . a happy ‘fifty-something’ girl, who is very much younger in mind and spirit; body wise – well, there lies a long story, and some of the inspiration for starting this new Blog.
I was born on a mixed East Yorkshire farm, with two older brothers and a younger sister; my childhood was amazing and something I am extremely grateful for. Loving parents, great outdoors, I recall and draw on lessons from those early years even to this day.
I went to schools in the local town, the village school closed before I was old enough to attend; all in all a wonderful growing up chapter of my life, nothing forced on me except true lessons of life. The cycle of life on the farm, in the fields, no such thing as 9-5 Monday to Friday, it’s a 24 hours a day, every day of the year. I had an innate understanding of nature’s cycle, and it fascinated me, particularly through plant and wild life. This has stayed with me, and my interest in plants led me to study and become a Master Herbalist in the 1980s. Nature’s larder for health and wellbeing was common sense to me. I always felt I had a strong connection to nature, a strong spiritual connection to ‘something’ that guided and fuelled me from a very young age.
Knowing there was something far stronger, bigger than the physical body, became my staff when in my late teens, my body started to manifest back and hip pain that was excruciating. I had always been a keen sports person, playing badminton in particular, but also squash, tennis, hockey and swimming. At 18 years old I had Glandular Fever quite badly, I had to finish college early. I started another college the following year and gained my business and clerical training, something to always fall back on and use with whatever career I chose – my wise Father’s advice and I have used it virtually everyday of my life.
My life path took me into developing the power of healing through natural means and therapies, and the next chapter of my life was spent in a very holistic lifestyle. I qualified as a Holistic Natural Practitioner, have owned and run Clinics, using Medical Herbalism, Remedial Massage, Reflexology, Iridology and Kundalini Yoga. Back in the 1980s there were very few non-Sikh students of Kundalini Yoga, and I was lucky to be one of them, with my then husband and his teacher. It was an incredible time when we lived as Yogis, following the lifestyle, total dedication and discipline, without religion; the following years were constantly teaching us new depths and understanding of our bodies and what we do to them. I always felt a very strong connection with an ‘energy’, a ‘presence’, way beyond my comprehension as I’ve already mentioned, but I discovered most people who wanted to practice yoga and meditation, were trying to ‘find’ themselves, that inner voice they’ve read and heard about; their spiritual entities, this was always a little alien to me because I knew nothing else but to be connected, every second of every day, and was naively surprised by this revelation. Daily practice of Sadhana (rising 2 hours before sunrise to meditate, chant mantras and exercise) the disciplined yoga practice, and the lifestyle reinforced this connection to a new dimension. It was the most important and most natural part of me, it was just there. I loved blending into the energies of the earth, sunrise – East, to the sunset – West, becoming more in-tune with the energies of Nature that influence every part of us.
When my body started to dictate terms to me, with no room for negotiation, I relied on the ‘spiritual’ entity of who I was, to be able to step outside of my physical body and it’s pain to cope, to see it as a vessel I was living in; like a car if you will, that I had to learn how to drive and maintain, without the manual. It was a tough task, and the lessons got harder, the pain inexplicable intense some days, bearable the next, but as I was the epitome of looking like a healthy glowing person, confusion and frustration surrounded my life and those around me. I had to give up the sports, live day to day; I carried on treating patients, with a façade that was flawless, and downtime that was purely recuperative and cleansing.
I gained such strength in being able to help others, the flow of energy through me to them, elevated my own being, and helped me cope with my own body, without it I’m not sure how things would have turned out. I fast became aware that my body was not getting better and it was not as it should be. I felt I was being squashed into a small box, and the lid was poised ready to be pushed on; I was not submitting to allow that to happen. For many years, I had a yearning of just wanting to go home, back to where I once came from, being restrained in the physical human form was too restrictive, I didn’t want it, I couldn’t understand what I was supposed to learn by being here in a body that didn’t do what it should, it hurt, I was living more in the spiritual entity than my physical. It was hard to stay connected to the physical life I had here. But treating patients allowed a flow of energy that I could completely relate to, it was from another source, channelled through the physical body, I thrived on it.
Time went by, sometimes it flew by, other times every minute seemed an eternity. But eventually my life’s journey meandered into different paths, still with an overwhelming desire, need to help others, and always with a bias, no, an allegiance to Natural Therapies. I simply love the power of healing through natural means, the more holistic the better.
Whilst living as Yogis, we followed a true vegetarian diet, a raw vegan diet for 8 years, and the experience was phenomenal. The energy you had was like no other. Growing wheatgrass and having the juice everyday, cleansing, allsorts of body therapies, it was a lifestyle I am so grateful to have lived. I am still a true vegetarian – (no meat of any kind including fish) but no longer a strict vegan, only a little dairy. Health is always foremost in my dietary choices and I love it. As my body has its quirks, it was up to me to realise and implement the importance of looking after it the best way I could. I needed to put the best possible fuel into it, to help me get the best out of it. This again was ‘learned’ commonsense too, and went hand in hand with my lifestyle choices, and with the treatment of patients.
There were many situations where my body pulled rank on me. I had to stop and do as it dictated, whether that meant I could work, or move or even breathe, depended on the situation. Some were extreme to say the least. I am lucky in many ways, even with the body I have, to the untrained eye you would never know there was anything wrong with me, and most people who do find out are absolutely dump founded by my reality.
Throughout the years, and chapters of my life, I have always respected there are more layers to us as a person than the body we are in. I’ve used this knowledge personally to get me through some very dark lonely times, where inward thinking and belief has got me to where I am today.
Being able to help and inspire other people has been a life companion, it’s what makes me, Me. I teach a yoga class every week; years ago I taught 7 nights a week, but of late a regular Monday night to ladies who have been coming to the class for 30+ years, with a couple of years break when I lived in the Midlands in the 90s. The classes now are more of a ‘therapy’ class, of keeping bodies in their best shape. We have a wide spectrum of aging bodies, mine included, with back weaknesses, arthritis, knee, shoulder, neck problems, so the class has to accommodate and help all that attend, and we do have a good laugh which is an essential component of our group. The learning curve continues, we have to adapt to what our bodies enable us to do, whilst being mindful of what we want, and what is possible to achieve; keeping it simple and real, with fun added in seems to work.
I could write books on Self Help, Life Coaching and I have been tempted to do so; I have been asked to record videos of my classes, and self help recordings, again something I have thought of doing, but I also have a passion of trying to help people with the genetic condition I have, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Bamboo Spine; in simple terms, where the vertebrae of the spine fuse together. I am fortunate that my spine has fused completely straight, like a plank of wood to be honest, rather than the characteristic stooping over AS usually manifests like. Of late, my neck has also fused; my head still moves, I think it swivels on the cervical joints. Having seen a Neurosurgeon, he informed me that there is bulging where the additional bone fusing break off and accumulates, and this has started to bulge towards the spinal cord and there is impingement on nerve rootlets. This in turn will potentially mean an operation, otherwise, the spinal cord will be compromised, and I am advised this will be sooner rather than later by the state of my latest MRI scan, we’ll have to see. The outlook is a little bleak when I am for all intents and purposes, a very fit energetic healthy woman, who’s back and neck just won’t bend, if only it could be that simple.
It was 15 years after first suffering pain, and having gone through the worst stages of the degeneration of my spine, before I knew I even had AS; and only after then, that it was due to my glandular body being out of sync following Glandular Fever. Knowing this allays most of the questions which naturally arise, ‘why me’, ‘what did I do wrong’, ‘what am I doing wrong’, but it didn’t help reverse my body, it was already too far fused to be helped. But despite me telling Doctors at the time, something was seriously wrong, they looked at this extremely healthy looking young woman, and put it all down to bad PMT, something I didn’t ever suffer with. But here we are, there is nothing I can do with that knowledge much as I wish I could.
I do advocate simplicity; the ability to keep things simple helps in many ways. Breaking down what is often a huge life obstacle, into pieces that are understandable takes away a lot of the fear and stress. Emotions and mental states are very powerful tools. It’s all a question of balance, harmony thrives when there is balance, yin and yang, polarity, one needs the other.
And mentioning balance and harmony takes me straight into another passion in life, Nature. There isn’t a day goes by where I am not totally inspired and or wowed by something I see in the natural world. Be it an amazing cloud formation, the complexity and beauty of cobwebs, the colours and patterns of butterfly wings, the tenacity of bumble bees, bird songs, colours of flowers and their strength against the odds of growing in some bazaar locations, the smell of a freshly opened rose, the list is endless. The vast majority of these wonders are seen when getting on with my everyday tasks, walking the dogs or looking out the window at home, or in the car when driving, they fuel my levels of calm and admiration of the sheer power of Nature. It too needs balance for the full cycle to thrive.
I am fascinated and inspired by nature, but not too keen on the predatory aspect of it. I enjoy watching and observing wildlife as closely as I can. I love to garden with nature in mind first and foremost, so my garden is often on the edge of a wilderness, but the wildlife is abundant, so that tells me the garden is working. I am an artistic kind of person, so am always creating something, be it knitting and designing things, baking, I like the creativity in photography too, all sorts of things interest me.
I couldn’t have children, my life’s one desire above all others, my body dictated I was not to be a biological mother. So many of the skills I learnt from my childhood, I thought I wouldn’t be able to pass on. But, happily I have four fabulous nephews ranging from 30 years old to 5 ½ years old; and through my partner, I have a grown up step son and daughter, two lovely granddaughters and a third grandchild on the way and a niece. I know how lucky I am to have children in my life; I love them dearly, and have been able to share some of those skills.
Having given you an insight into who I am, someone with over 33 years experience and knowledge of holistically treating many physical conditions, injuries and emotionally imbalanced patients; whilst still learning about my body, my life and myself; with AS being a particular area of personal experience and interest. Someone fascinated by our minds and their infinite potential, exploring all aspects of who we are and what we can do to achieve that balance and harmony. I believe life is a constant curve of learning from start to finish, and maybe beyond . . . that’s something we all have to find out for ourselves one day.