Growth is painful!
I've come to the realisation that it doesn't matter how or where you enter growth phases in your life, the stage before the growth is almost inevitably painful! Nature reflects this too.
When a caterpillar enters the cocoon preceding its transformation into butterfly, two things happen; firstly the caterpillar COMPLETELY dissolves, becomes liquid, loses its previous form and effectively dies before being reborn, and secondly, if we help it through the painful re-emergence stage by poking a hole in the cocoon to allow easier exit, we are actually harming that rebirth process and here's why.
When the butterfly is ready to emerge, this pushing and straining against the confines of the cocoon are what strengthen the new wings and form of the butterfly. If we, with all of our goodwill, try to 'help', the butterfly before it's ready, it is deprived of this strengthening opportunity and will more than likely die as a result of our intervention - WOW! Now there's a metaphor for life right?
As human beings, most of our growth, be it physical (remember 'growing pains' as a child where your limbs felt like they were betraying you because they were so sore?), emotional (teenage angst) or mental (entry into adulthood), all of this 'growth' usually necessitated a preceding sense of loss, grief and anxiety. Often these feelings could include uncertainty beforehand and in the past, perhaps some doubt or regret afterwards, and yet growth is as inevitable as the cycle of the sun around the earth, so why resist? Why do we imagine that one 'wrong' choice in the past will represent all of our choices in the future?
Most human beings want connection, love and intimacy in our lives. We want to be ok, we want to go beyond survive and into thrive, and yet we fear the unknown so greatly that sometimes we choose to stay in our safe confines never risking failure or rejection, upheaval or loss. The only thing guaranteed with that philosophy is that without risking those very things, we will truly NEVER get to see what our potential may be, to experience what else may be waiting for us on the other side of fear and change.
So my loves, as I personally arrive at yet another threshold of change (The Hero's Journey epitomised) here I am questioning my ability to leap into a new abyss. I welcome this opportunity for growth and therefore I accept the fear and the pain. I hear many of my colleagues and friends expressing similar fears and sufferings, yet none of us would stay still through fear would we? Perhaps so, but ask yourself; can you face those growing pains and see how far you can fly in your own lives too?
You are greatness in essence and you are unlimited potential.
Let's do this together! Let's have each other's backs?
Drop me a reply - what do you dream of that sacred you right now? Name it and watch it diminish in doing so, we are listening.
with love and passion, Steph xox
Hello everyone! I was going to create today's post with recommendations for the best kind of juicers today, but then something happened. I was making my breakfast earlier, pootling around in my kitchen and I had put this Max Strom TED talk on in the background.
The more I listened, the more I resonated and just knew what everything Max says is so spot on so I had to share this with you - breathwork changes people's lives! If you have not experienced this kind (and other) forms of conscious connected breathing, then I really REALLY recommend you do! I don't think I've ever seen such profound shifts in people as I have with rebirthing breathwork, and this includes years of working with plant medicines, shamanism, yoga and bodywork, counselling and therapy and many many other modalities of healing. The breath it seems, is our most readily available and yet most under used resource!
For me, breathwork is a shamanic practice offering a deep form of soul retrieval. It allows us to access inner landscapes which may have been long since buried, trapping trauma, shock and stress in our autonomic nervous systems without us even realising how those trapped thoughts, feelings and emotions still run our lives.
You can break free from years of limiting belief, addiction, stress and anxiety and more by simply committing to the breath. It's not quite the same as yogic breathing, another really useful healing tool for sure, but with conscious connected breath, we move personal 'story' rapidly, shifting it from our system by bringing it to the light to be felt, seen and released. Every time I lie down to breathe, perhaps thinking there is nothing to breathe into today, something unexpected and wild inevitably occurs, from childhood memories resurfacing, physical pain revisited, knowing and feeling my true essence in every single cell or anything else, it always surprises me!
If you feel called to experience this for yourself, do come to one on my monthly breathwork sessions or call ad book a one-to-one today. Sessions can easily be offered online and are equally powerful working this way. Meantime, breathe deep and let go! Steph xox
It was several years ago now when I first began to dream about travelling to Bali. I noticed that every time I browsed images on the internet for temples, landscapes and places to visit, my whole body would come alive with a tingling sense of excitement and anticipation that went beyond a usual 'holiday plan'. I couldn't particularly explain what was happening, all I knew was that I felt it; in every single cell of my body, I felt it!
Of the images above, the two on the left were the kind of images I began to save; places I wanted to go, experiences I wanted to have. The photo on the right was taken by me, in that same place 12 months later! Now you may say 'ok but that's not so unusual right'? Many people have dreams they achieve when it comes to foreign travel, take photos there with a thumbs up in front of a favourite monument, and I would agree. However for me, it went one step further. I would keep vision boards of these places in locked parts of my instagram or pinterest accounts. I would share on social media how I would be going there soon and allow myself to really dream these moments into being, so much so, that when I got there the year after I first started imagining it, it felt like 'home'. What unfolded for me led to a chain of remarkable events that have changed my life (but that's another story), and that's the magic I want to share with you, because you can do that and have that too; if I can, there's no reason you can't!
Again, the photo on the left was taken from the internet, (i.e., the Dream), and the photo on the right, taken less than 12 months later was my own. You're getting the gist of it yes? Dream it, feel it, believe it!
"You feel it when you know it, and you know it when you feel it."
I've always experienced some form of resistance to all this new-age manifestation stuff! I somehow felt it was disingenuous to just believe it was enough to 'think something into being', to focus so hard on the thinking of it, it would magically appear. To me, that approach felt cut off from the soul of the thing, the heart of the thing, somehow seeking greedily another instant fix in life, and yet for sure there is something in the essence of what's being presented with this 'law of attraction' stuff! If we don't believe at heart we deserve something, or we hear ourselves saying "I could never see myself doing that" and therefore we just settle, then sure as mustard that's invariably what shows up for us. In doing this, in a way we are effectively reverse investing by placing our bets on failure and resignation, two not very inspiring qualities, so in that case, why not start focussing on attracting some more fun options? It's often said that the subconscious mind cannot distinguish between reality as we know it and a strong visualisation, indeed some athletes now use these techniques to enhance their training by running marathons in their mind, and my feeling is, if they can, I can!
Every year for eight years now I've run a Dream Questing event, five of those eight years with my dear friend and colleague Sarah, and this sh*t works let me tell you! It's full moon, I couldn''t sleep so I just got out this years 'map' and was amazed to see that two things I wrote in January have actually just happened! THE EXACT THINGS I WROTE! I don't know why I'm amazed, I see this happening over and over in my life and in this practice, and yet still sometimes I forget.
When we allow ourselves to dream, to meander through the pathless woods, we ignite our spirit and souls by creating space to feel what brings us to life. As a child I did this naturally, all too often chastised for being a 'daydreamer' and then in later years the more harsh "you'll never amount to much if you're just a dreamer", and yet a dreamer is most definitely what I am and that brings me enormous pleasure and some great success! I live my life on my terms doing what I love with people who inspire me daily, whilst those who conform to other people's expectations and dreams rarely get to feel that feeling.
Dreaming our lives into being is the path of the Warrior Heart! Why so? Because most people falter when things don't go the way we may have hoped, when obstacles arise, or when we are over attached to outcome, and so we stop dreaming and return to our comfortable places, staying safe and playing small. If we don't do that, then we have to be prepared to make our mark! To stand resolute in the face of crushing disappointment, to trust in the process unfolding and more importantly, to dream new dreams. Dreams are like tiny seeds; they need watering, feeding and light, they need our attention. If we give that to them, and if we start to develop our own body wisdom, then these things really do being to happen - try it for yourself and see, and if you cant really feel it, it's probably not the right dream....
Simple, effective tools for living well and feeling great!
Today's practice for you is a simple but effective way of checking the volume of air you are breathing in (most of us inhale less than 20% of our total lung capacity!) plus it get you to be fully connecting with your body so in my eyes, that's a win-win!
The practice is called the Chest-Heart Breath.
To do: Place your thumbs into your arm pits, palms down parallel to floor, fingers pointing inwards. Middle fingers should be touching. As you breathe in, the chest expands, and the middle finger tips separate. As you breathe out, finger tips come together again. Focus on Chest Heart Breath for 5 minutes...then resting your hands on your thighs, palms facing upwards in spirit of receiving, allow your breath to become natural and easeful. With your eyes closed, focus on feeling gratitude for your breath, and your life.
Let me know how you find it, drop a comment below #everybreathcounts
Breathing, the most natural thing we can do; from the first inhale at birth to the last exhale at death, every breath in between is regulated by the innate wisdom of the body, and is activated by a trigger response in the brain part known as the medulla oblongata (the red part of the image above). It's the one physiological internal functions of the body that we have control over and can self regulate, and in my view it's our greatest medicine.
This part of the brain emits impulses that inspire you to take a breath, and this comes as a result of a natural bodily occurrence, the fluctuating balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood. As carbon dioxide (Co2) builds in the cells, certain chemo-receptors in the body alert your brain "Houston, we have a problem!" and send an impulse to regulate this by forcing a contraction of the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles surrounding the ribs. This forces us to inhale deeply taking in more oxygen (O2), which in turn triggers a process of self regulation of levels of Co2 and O2, a balance vital for cellular vitality and blood health. As air rushes into the lungs, the brain stops it's 'alert' signal and the diaphragm and ribs relax...ad infinitum!
Most of us however, despite this innate response do not take in anywhere near our lung capacity in oxygenated fresh air, nor do we fully and completely exhale the waste air that will remain in the lungs if we are perpetually shallow breathing.
On average, people inhale and exhale a total of 500 ml of air with each breath, however we can take in much more than this. The amount of air we inhale and expel is known as the tidal volume, or TV. The maximum volume of air that can move through your lungs is known as your Vital Capacity, and by breathing deeply, we can generally reach a volume of 3,100 ml, quite different to the average 500 right?
Some of the air we breathe in never even reaches our lungs, how funky is that! This 'homeless' air is known as 'dead space' and is the air that lingers in your pharynx, trachea and nasal cavities, places where the earlier mentioned gaseous exchange doesn't happen, and that's ok, it just means there's always more air we can consciously take into our lungs by intentionally increasing our capacity to breathe deeply.
As a breath worker, and a regular breather, I am constantly amazed by what I discover in the stories in my body which lie just beyond the breath. I have lain down to breathe convinced there's nothing much to do and been in deep process within minutes, and equally, when I've imagined there was some big 'work' to do, I've experienced unparalleled lightness of being.
What is consistent for me however, is that this breathing technique has immense healing powers. It takes me to places I have long since forgotten, relegated to parts of my subconscious mind to gather dust in some wee corner, allowing these dusty parts of my psyche to rule the show in the form of emotional, mental or physical triggers. I've managed to tame many of my triggers these days, to recognise them for what they are, illusions of conditioning, however, that taming has come about through a willingness to go there and persistently do the work.
I am passionately committed to breathwork; it's become crystal clear to me it's my life purpose and the representation of my soul medicine. The breathing part of my work I have called INSPIRE BREATH as I believe that true liberation comes not only in the physical act of INSPIRING, but in the space we create from healing our stories, freedom comes riding in, lightness finds its place, and we really do experience inspiration; the releasing of the chains that have bound us that allows us to return to our essence, our true nature as emissaries of love.
For all of my upcoming breathwork sessions and collaborations, please go to my what's on page. Inspire yourself!
I'm just back from the Liverpool TEDx talks yesterday and I'm inspired! Two men and one woman, ChauKei Ngai billed as a 'fierce yogini' in particular inspired me, well three men actually but one completely unrelated in some ways to this post, but who made me laugh so much I had to include the wonderful Mr Bingo! Actually Mr B isn't so unrelated in fact as he was evidently a living, breathing example of following your flow and your creative passions!
The two men I mainly mention here though were Dave Evans of Silicone Valley and Stanford's Life Design Lab, and Dan Cable, a professor at the London Business School, whose own story of sudden diagnosis of stage 4 lymphoma totally re-routed his life. These two men, in differing but similar ways, are both strong advocates of finding and following your passion in life, and for Dan, this crucial awakening led to him concluding that a 'seeking system' is an innate human trait that needs to be honoured in order for us to truly thrive. In fact, when ignored or squashed it can actually create physical illness, so what exactly is a 'seeking system' and why can it so negatively or positively impact us?
A seeking system is basically an inherent need for a human being to experience contrast, fulfilment and variety in life, a trait which leads us to 'seek out' new experiences and create change in order to fulfil that need. Of course we spend most of our adult lives and time in the workplace and so it makes sense that we need this variety and expression whilst there! I've always recognised and responded to a huge range of stimuli in my own life, I'm sure many of us have, and in fact it was in another TED talk on multi-potentialites that I first came to accept that perhaps it wasn't such a bad trait to have, this 'mistress of all trades' thing I had going on!
It's been a long time since I lived a life where I spent all of my weekdays dreaming about how I could escape the mundanities of work until the weekend, or the next holiday. According to statistics, 70% of people do not feel they can be their best at work, and this can actually have a physiological effect as well as a psychological one and here's how...
The Ventral Striatum is the part of the brain that seeks new things and experiences. It's also where our reward system lives with the delivery of dopamine, the neuro-transmitting chemical messenger that makes us feel alive and well. Without the stimulation of this part of the brain, there can be very real effects of our cellular health, and studies are now being done which highlight the fact that the regulators for immune function are inherently linked to this sense of wellbeing, so much so that without this stimulation and reward system, immunity begins to shut down. In other words, our resilience is directly affected by our engagement with life and what we do.
We need 3 things in order to really thrive:
1. Self Expression
2. Exploration and Experimentation
3. The Personalisation of Purpose.
And yet there has been what Dan and Dave might call a 'creative apartheid' in the work place for many, where those at the top, rather than seeking out employees strengths and pleasures and maximising on those, instead choose to create hierarchies where there is little to no chance of true creative fulfilment in their day to day experience of employment. The best indicator for survival and healthy longevity evident in one recent survey undertaken with over 7,000 participants, and then reviewed some 14 years later, was having a feeling of meaning and purpose in life.
In my work and life I have most definitely found this to be true! The more I'm living with variety, fulfilment and creative self expression, the more well I feel on all levels. How about you? Are you activating your seeking system or are you suppressing it? Do you recognise the link to your health and wellbeing with living a fulfilled life?
If you're not currently living with that, what small steps can you make to create change? Don't wait until you are ill, or dying before you choose life...start today!
...but there is freedom waiting on the other side.
I've just landed from what I can sincerely describe as two of the most intense weeks of my life. I am in part, quite a large part it seems, undone!
Over the two weeks I was away on the beautiful island of Ibiza, I learned a lot about myself. I saw my unrecognised wisdom, I saw how and where I have not claimed my authority, I saw my shadow and my vulnerability and I saw patterns that I have never realised I'd passed down to my own children in learning them from my parents before me, and I welcome it all.
I was in Ibiza to graduate as a breathwork facilitator with the Alchemy Of Breath, a school of breathwork I am proud to be connected to and in whose name I work. This whole journey has been a process of self discovery on much deeper levels than I could ever have imagined when starting to breathe consciously a couple of years ago.
You may wonder what all the fuss is about - we breathe every day right? Wrong! We breathe but we don't breathe well; we fail to breathe deeply into the essence of our being, and when we do, wow...everything changes, and I mean everything!
I have seen people fall apart, break their hearts and souls wide open, weep a million unshed tears, scream and rage for all that went unexpressed, laugh manically in deep knowing of truth and curl up into corners of their deepest vulnerability, and I've seen all of that being held in pure love. I've held all of that myself in this essence of love as a witness, a supporter and as a facilitator. It's extremely humbling to see humanity laid out like this before you. Walk with diamonds on the soles of your feet and the breath of the butterfly if you're ever blessed to witness or experience this work - I believe we owe each other this grace for the human soul is delicate and mighty at the same time.
As human beings, we walk a many faceted journey through this life. For some, it's as much as we can do to stay here, to commit to living, to feel and to just allow ourselves to be enough. For others, it may be easier in some ways, but one thing I have learnt for sure is that we all have our vulnerabilities, those tender places inside of us that need to be held and seen through the eyes of love.
When I began my training, motivated by a profound and utterly unexpected experience of this conscious connected breathing technique whilst on holiday in Bali last year, I didn't expect it to take me where it has, both internally in my emotional and mental landscape/s or externally in the physical world too.
My teacher is one of the most loving and transparent men I've ever met in my entire life. He works from a place of unconditional love, a commitment to conscious communication and a presence that changes many, many people's lives simply in the act of being himself; he is what I consider to be a 'safe' man and a steady harbour in which to land. He's worked hard to get to that place, and this commitment to self awareness shines through in everything he is and everything he does. He would shy from this adoration, but I'm saying it anyway!
So back to the unlearning - as children we are born in pure essence. Our imprinting begins at a young age, where we are powerless to do anything beyond receive those imprints really because 1). we are too small to know any different and 2). we don't have the understanding to question it whilst so young, so we grow up believing that these messages are 'true'; messages about ourselves and about the world around us, but they're not true, they are simply a reflection of those people's experiences and their own conditioning.
Unlearning takes time, effort and integration. INTEGRATION is key! I see so many doing this deep work, perhaps with the breath, or with plant medicines, or other healing modalities and simply not giving themselves the time necessary to integrate all that has been felt, therefore repeating ad infinitum the stories that reveal themselves. I have landed from this two week journey feeling completely undone, and I'm glad I'm 'undone'! I'm glad because I know that this mining into my soul's landscape is what heals me if I can sit with it, reflect on it, and be with it.
Take the time you need to integrate from your experiences whatever they are. Stay present to yourself and your true feelings, tune into your felt sense and allow it the space to land, and seek out those who support you in changing yourself. We're unused to stillness in this fast-moving day and age, but it's crucial to drop into it deeply if we are to really create true health and healing.
Alchemy - The transmutation of matter, the seeking of a universal elixir, the conversion of lead into gold.
Discover your very own personal alchemy and watch as your life becomes authentic, beautiful, inspired and free, and remember to always gift yourself time for integration to take place.
With so much love - Steph xox
Many years ago I was fortunate enough to travel to Kathmandu in Nepal to study bodywork and healing with a great teacher there. A small group of four, maybe five, we lived for a couple of weeks in our teacher's centre, ate in him home, visited his family up in the more remote, tiger inhabited hills and generally immersed ourselves in this experience. I remember pickles with every meal, the humble ways people lived up in the mountain villages, and the magnificence of a multitude of 'orbs' visible in every photo I took at the Sacred Temple I visited on the Buddha's birthday. It was a very magical time for me, and a very healing one too.
It's considered auspicious to have the birthday of the Buddha fall on the May full moon, and pilgrims came from far and wide to this temple to offer their prayers and pay their respects, many of whom came down from Tibet to pray, as a result of facing political challenge in the Tibetan monasteries.
During my course, several personal issues had arisen in the process based training we were having. My teacher indicated that I must go to the Temple, and find a place to light 108 tea lights and offer deep prayers of forgiveness to myself, and asking for them too for the issue at hand. He told me many people would be there doing the same that night, that I should follow my intuition and make a payment offering for the candles then light each one mindfully, knowing this would clear some of my karma.
Long since considered a sacred number in Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and yoga. According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites, throughout India, and there are also 108 Upanishads and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body. There are 108 beads on most malas, which when counted in prayer, help a person to become mindful once again of the power of the sacred number and the effect this has on their offerings. The 108 number refers to spiritual completion. There are many other fascinating aspects to this number which you can read about here.
For my upcoming breathwork session at One yoga Studio, Chorlton, we will collectively light 108 tea lights before going into our breathwork. We will focus our attention on all of the prayers for forgiveness that we seek, and are offering out at this potent time. Many people around the world will be praying in the same way throughout the month of May, celebrating both the birthday of, and the enlightenment of the Buddha which was also said to have happened at this time.
I know for me, this was a powerful healing ceremony, so I invite you to join together as a group to consciously create space in your life through the letting go of old stories, old wounds and old patterns, and celebrate the inner and outer freedom that this can bring.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
108 Breaths for Healing, Sunday May 6th, 2018. 7.30-10:00pm, £25 per person.
Although not in the full moon energy, we are certainly not far from it, so we will also call upon this energy in our work, letting go with this gradual waning phase, calling on the joyful abundance of Beltane to hold our energy strong and clear.
I always keep a place on a pay what you can basis, and one skills exchange place at most of my personal events, so please don't let money be your issue, and if you wish to come, drop me a line.
To join us for this beautiful breathwork session, you are invited to email email@example.com.
One Yoga Studio, Albany Trading Estate, Albany Road, Chorlton, Manchester M21 0AZ. Advance bookings only please so we that know how many mats to put out :)
Please bring an item for a healing altar we will create, whatever leaps to mind is what you should bring! You may also wish to bring a journal and pen, cushion, blanket, and some warm socks. It's best to wear loose comfortable clothing and not to eat for at least 2 hours before breathing. Alcohol and recreational drugs should be avoided for 24 hours (min) beforehand too. This is powerful healing work. I look forward to welcoming you to the best version of yourself possible!
This last year has taught me a great deal.
It's been a humbling time in my life as I move towards real change, to the final letting go of my youngest child who is now 18 and ready to leave home in a few months. I've also been entering the stillness and deep wisdom of menopause, and whilst that's not been an easy journey (emotionally), that particular rite of passage has also offered a profound learning for me. Both of these things came on the back of adrenal burnout which hit me so hard 2 years ago, and which has impacted on my life greatly for the last 24 months. Only now am I coming to a more balanced place of inner peace and external rest and what a blissful place that is!
I knew when the adrenal stuff first showed up in my life that it would come bearing a gift for me - one of my old art teachers used to say "there's no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in it's hands," which I understand is originally a Richard Bach quote, and I believe this to be true.
Adrenal burnout took me into profound stillness because I had no choice. Ironically I think that many of us arrive in these places from mindlessly repeating behaviour patterns only to have an illness, a trauma or a real life shake up wake us up to different ways of thinking and being. Laid up for days on end, being hit by the inability to plan (I've always been a 'planner' and a do-er) because I would never know when fever would land and my when my body would betray me and become useless, which is honestly how I saw it then. I felt captive to some strange mystery I could do nothing but accept, and accepting it was tough. I felt weak, needy, vulnerable, and incapable, all of which triggered in me a deep sense of failure on some levels. I was de-constructing and I didn't like it one bit - my resistance was high!
One day, in a particularly depressing bout of pain and struggle with this condition, my dear friends Sarah & Gavin sent me a Matt Khan video to watch. This video changed everything for me! I realised that in my resentment of this 'illness' I was experiencing, I was still pushing my body beyond it's own wisdom, still pushing it to heal faster, move more and just 'get on with things.' I was lying prone on my sofa with the subliminal attitude of an authoritarian dictator, with the same pushy attitude that had brought me here "hurry up already and get well and get on with stuff!"
In that moment I realised I was angry with myself and even more so with my body and in that realisation I suddenly found the deepest sense of compassion for what I was experiencing; I vowed to change my thinking and just surrender to these teachings. It was only then that my true recovery began.
Most of us live in a very 'yang' dominant way. We are experiencing times of rapid cultural and social development; technology takes us in many directions at the same time and relentless hard work is mistaken for great achievement. The silence of mindful thought and action is relegated to what we do as an trendy add-on in our lives rather than a true way of being. Having recently learned of and been inspired by the Korean nun and highly acclaimed chef Jeong Kwan, I have realised that mindfulness and silence are great teachers when applied to every single aspect of our lives, not just in a 20 minute meditation practice!
When we stop separating and compartmentalising our lives, true inner peace begins to penetrate our being. There is no longer a duality, or a struggle, there comes only stillness, and in the stillness there comes wisdom.
In learning to befriend stillness which was never a comfortable place for me, I have found a palace of exquisite treasures inside of myself. I find kindness to have become my main driver in life; what good can I do with my words, my thoughts and my actions? Compassion steers my ship of life now. I practice stillness in each moment by pausing, taking and breath and working on reflecting before I act or speak. In seeing how much violence there can be in the world, and not just in the obvious way, but in our communications, our assumptions and our projections, I am reigning mine in and gathering them in my heart to offer healing to those parts that needed to learn that true wisdom comes from knowing oneself, and that knowing oneself can only come from becoming silent, listening and being patient. It can only come from practising Ahmisa (the art of non-violence and respect for all living things) as a conscious choice, and it can only come from deep and true humility and compassion.
My heart feels peaceful and my body follows suit. I am no longer living with attachment to material measures of success. Yes occasionally I wobble on that of course, but I find my way home to the truth by consciously becoming still, and by trusting the right path to unfold before me rather than my pushing it all from the mind. I bow to the wisdom of my body, and of my heart. The mind is just one part of the system but the body is my wisdom keeper and silence is her greatest ally.
I'm now working on developing many of my practices, workshops and events around this vital concept of stillness and deep listening. I intend to study some yoga practices that will bring more yin into that part of my life too, and into the lives of others. You can only really teach what you know, so I thank this adrenal burnout for being my greatest teacher in life.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more about how you can heal from adrenal burnout, or to learn more about my upcoming events. Meanwhile, I share this beautiful Rumi Poem with you as it sums up for me the essence of surrender and becoming one. I see the 'beloved' as my relationship with all this 'illness' brought to me, and my deepest inner self.
“A lover asked his beloved,
Life; it often has other ideas about itself than those we perceive.
This week I received the sad news about the untimely death of Matt Campbell, semi finalist on last years Masterchef The Professionals. It's fair to say that I spend most of my time thinking about food, love and healing, in fact the only times I really ever watch television, its usually a program invested in, or about one of those three things, Masterchef being one of them.
Personally there's not a great deal on there I love in terms of food I want to create; it's highly meat focussed so as a vegan and raw foodie, it rarely grabs me on that level, but the creativity I see always inspires me, so that's why I watch. Last year, Matt Campbell changed that for me.
Matt cooked with kombucha, spirulina, miso, chlorella, raw cacao, charcoal, and other superfood ingredients and he took risks. He presented plant based dishes made with 'weird' stuff to a mainstream audience and won their respect in doing so. The judges were often perplexed (not sure why as it's a foodie programme so surely the reach goes beyond meat and two veg?!!), the public were curious, but above all, Matt's soft and humble ways won people over.
After Masterchef aired, I contacted Matt via Instagram, and to my astonishment, he replied. He replied with the same humility I'd seen from him on the program; open, kind and generous with his time. We struck up an instagram 'friendship', I would chat with him about his recipes and even won his coveted Miso Souffle recipe in an Instagram competition. He sent it over to me requesting it wasn't shared as it had 'taken him years to perfect'. Reading that email now feels slightly surreal and I'm no longer sure if it's appropriate to share that now or keep it to myself as he requested?
After Matt was knocked out, I watched his Instagram account grow massively in the weeks that followed, heartened to know that more people may become open to cooking and creating with these kind of ingredients as a result of his work. He was overwhelmed by the responses he got on there, yet he still made time to talk to people. I told him "one day I will learn from you when you teach cooking workshops" and he laughed amiably, saying "no plans for that yet."
Then about 3 weeks ago, he came to Manchester to create food for the Real Junk Food Project, using marked for 'waste' ingredients from New Smithfield Market. His instagram story feed showing all this food waste shocked me. I messaged him about it.
"Please tell me that's not waste" I said.
He replied "It is, it's crazy! Our food system is crazy! It felt so good to cook for 50 people with food that would have been wasted." His enthusiasm for that was clear in his story feed. It's still there on his page but kind of painful to watch now.
I asked him if I could lend his voice to this if I started some food based activism around it. I wished him luck for the marathons.
Two weeks later and he is not here any more. Twenty nine years old and gone, just like that.
I felt such deep sadness at the unfairness of life.
Then I began to really think about what makes people exceptional instead of just good. Passion is what makes people exceptional, and I have that for my juices, my smoothies, my kombucha and healing tonic drinks. I've decided that I will go beyond 'good' at what I do and become exceptional. I will practice. I saw Matt practicing every single moment he could in his kitchen. Endless failures before discovering the one success, but that one success makes it all worth it, in fact, I'm starting to realise that every great creator works this way. They don't give up, they work hard to develop mastery and they are patient, really patient.
I'm currently developing a miso kombucha in Matt's name because I know how much he loved kombucha, and miso of course! I've started noticing an avalanche of recipe ideas coming through. All it takes is my attention, and if I am lucky enough to have life, and my health, then I will give my attention to all I do. Whether it's my yoga practice, my juicing, my food, my healing workshops, my friendships, it matters not. What matters is that I am present, that I give my f**king attention to these things that make up my life, because we just don't know when that moment may be taken from us right?
Rest in Love Matt, you were a real gentleman and a true inspiration. Thank you xox
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