Here's how I got to where we are today.
Twenty years ago my life hit rock-bottom. It was my first moment of true surrender, and it burst open the gateway to my maturation. By the age of 20, I’d already spent nearly a decade lost in a haze of drugs, alcohol, bulimia, men, self‐hate and self‐abandonment. Those final days are etched forever into my memory.
In the mornings, when I woke, I’d have a few blissful moments of reprieve, when my mind would be still and I hadn’t yet remembered how I was living; micro‐moments that allowed me to feel as though I was breathing before the tidal wave of my reality would smash down and drown me again with a torrent of abuse: I’m such a failure. I’m so disgusting. I hate myself. I’m a completely worthless person. Followed quickly by a frantic attempt to try and x my life and change: Today I’m going to stay clean and detox and eat only salad and I won’t purge. Today I’m going to change my life and it’ll all be good.
Every day I’d get out of bed filled with hope that this would be the day when everything would be different, but sadly it never was. It was like being stuck on a hamster wheel trying to find a way off – each time I tried to move forwards, I ended up back in the same place as before. It was a devastating existence. And it wasn’t the drugs or the alcohol or the purging that hurt so much; it was how worthless and hopeless I was feeling inside, thus leaving me in a constant state of disconnection – from myself and from something greater.
Time to surrender
The day I hit rock‐bottom, I got out of bed with the usual false hope. Suddenly I felt as though I’d been hit by a ton of bricks, and I collapsed to the floor. I broke down completely and, there on the floor of my living room, I cried tears I’d been holding in forever.
It was as though my heart had finally smashed into a million pieces and I was no longer trying to stop it. Through my emotion, I began to experience something I’d never experienced before. A wave of peacefulness – a stillness, a spaciousness – moved through me and left everything quiet within me. I swear with all my heart it was as though God or Source, or something that felt like pure love, came to sit right next to me. Before I knew it, I’d whispered these words:
‘I want to live but I don’t know how; I surrender.’
Letting everything go
I didn’t consciously know it at the time, but that was the moment I began to let go of everything I’d been trying so desperately to cling on to – the point at which I completely surrendered. In that moment I was ready either to die or to learn how to live. Before I knew it, I found myself in a doctor’s office, sharing the whole truth of all that I’d been hiding from everyone and even myself.
Within a matter of days, I had entered treatment for my addiction, I had a therapist, and I had embarked on what I now know to be the most remarkable healing journey – a journey that has continued to evolve and grow and bloom during the course of the past two decades. Surrendering that day was both the end and also the beginning – of everything I had ever known about who I thought I was, and about discovering who I truly am. Yes, I’ve struggled; and yes, I’ve fallen flat on my face many times; and no, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing.
Life will always be life, messy, ever‐changing, moving – sometimes up, sometimes down. But my relationship with life and with myself has been led by, and committed to, the process that I teach in my programmes. At each threshold of growth and healing for me, I’ve had to make the conscious decision to surrender, again and again and again: each time dissolving more of what is in the way; each time allowing more of who I truly am to birth through.
My maturation journey
My maturation has not been about finding myself or about becoming a bigger, better version of myself. Instead, it has been a birthing of myself; an emerging of the version of me I’d been searching for – a version that had been within me all along. Discovering how to hear my own heart, my own voice, my own inner wisdom, which had been buried beneath the incessant noise of my mind. Learning to listen from this place of discovery has taught me to trust myself and to trust life. It has taught me that I have always been enough.
Nowadays my life feels like an intimate dance between life and myself, without really knowing what the next steps are going to be. In order for us to truly be able to dance together, I have to stay awake and open to hearing the music. Neither one of us is leading the other; we are in a complete co‐creation state of being. To continue to be in this majestic dance, I need to continue to live beyond the noise of my mind and beyond the stories and fears and programming that block the flow.
While I no longer have much need to live in the past, it has been very necessary to continue to look at what I carry from there. I have had to live and breathe every moment – the good and the bad, the shadow and the light, the rough and the smooth – in order for me to integrate it as my own embodied truth. Coming out on the other side of this process, I’ve felt destined to pass on what I’ve learned to the many of you that are being called, as I was.
Everything I teach I’ve lived
During the course of the past two decades, I’ve trained and qualified in aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), learning about illness and imbalance and health. I’ve studied and researched the impact that unhealed trauma has on how we know ourselves and see ourselves in the world. I’ve learned how this leads us to latch on to defence mechanisms and masks, behavioural patterns and beliefs, in order to protect ourselves from pain.
I’ve trained and continue to train in maturation facilitation and leadership, studying the nature and culture of human beings, the power and impact of the mind, and how the stories we identify with can contaminate our reality. I’ve apprenticed myself to shamans in the Amazon, working intensely with the indigenous wisdom of plant medicines. But by far my greatest training and teacher has been life itself.
Everything I teach I’ve lived. I was once taught that life can be either a torture chamber or the greatest education there is, and I’ve chosen to commit to making life the school in which I’m a perpetual student.
Time to break free
You may be as deep as I was in that struggle on the hamster wheel, or maybe you are just touching in and out. Either way, I want you to know that I understand what it feels like to be in that pain and to want so much to become free. If you’re like I was, you may be wondering whether you should give up on the whole thing altogether, or whether the whispers of the dreams that lie within your heart could ever become possible. Know that it is not only possible for you to become free of the struggle, but that your dreams are waiting for you to do so, so that you can live them, so that you can fulfil them, and so that you can allow life to express itself through you whilst doing so.
That is why I’m here, and I’m so thankful that you have been able to trust enough in something to be here at this particular time in your life. I want to invite you to entertain the possibility that this is not by accident, but exactly as it is meant to be. You may now be ready to surrender what you know of yourself, how you were ‘meant’ to be living, and who you thought you were meant to be, in order to grow, mature and birth into who you were born to be.