Monday, 7 October 2019

Lessons from burning my school assignments

Open University maths assignment marked 10 out of 10I burnt a whole load of my assignments from school and university last week, as part of my minimalist month.

As a kid, I loved getting recognition for how well I was doing at school. That need for external validation followed me into my adulthood. When pregnant with DS I did an A'level in Psychology just to prove I could get an A (I got a B!!) From 2001 (the year DS was born) through to 2014 I studied on and off with the Open University in the attempt to get as First Class degree. I didn't need another degree - I already had 2!! I needed to prove that I could - or at least I thought I did.

English GCSE Open Study marked 44 out of 50It wasn't until I had finished my 5 years of shamanic training culminating in passing my shamanic practitioner training that I finally gave up on that degree and instead settled for a First Class Diploma in business, computing, and design. At that time it was a decision I took almost without thinking about it. 

I feel that the decision was easy because of the personal development work I had done through my shamanic training as well as the many soul retrievals and healings I received. With the help of those soul parts and getting to know my spirit guides, I was slowly beginning to find my validation internally rather than externally. 

Six assignments lined up along a wooden benchFast forward to now and it is a minimalist month and yesterday I needed to get rid of 6 things!! Having done these decluttering months quite a few times since starting in 2016 that means it is getting harder to find things to get dispose of. I am, however, enjoying the challenge and finding that I let go of more stuff, it is mentally, emotionally and spiritually challenging me, especially if I give myself time to stop and really explore my feelings. So in my decluttering/sorting session for day 6, I came across some assignments from middle school, upper school and even from when I was doing my Maths Certificate with the Open University. 

There are valid reasons why I had all those assignments and in some ways, they bring me joy but I don't want the clutter. To be fair they don't take up that much space but if I said that about everything I own then it all adds up to a lot more than you think. So I decided to copy them onto my computer and let go of the originals.

A fire burning in a metal fire bowlAs part of the process, I felt called to make a ceremony of what letting go of those assignments means to me: a celebration for internal versus external validation. So I burnt them at my woodland and conducted a personal shamanic ceremony around letting go of the need for external validation and wholly embracing my self-worth. This cleansing fire brought up stuff about my undiagnosed dyslexia throughout my school career, my comparison to my others academically and many more interesting thoughts and feelings. I loved letting go of all of those thoughts that do not serve me anymore and making room for those thoughts and feelings around validation, self-worth, etc. that help and empower me.  

Ashes scattered on the groundI am in the process of sorting out ways of getting actual worthwhile feedback (not validation) from my shamanic and essential oil clients. Don't get me wrong, I am more than happy to receive feedback that can help me improve my services. I, however, want to move further towards a place where any external recognition I get for my skills, services, etc. will be received with gratitude from a place of power rather than need. 

This has made me realise that decluttering my physical space allows me to let go of more than just the physical stuff if I give myself the time to do so. This whole 'day 6' process allowed me to also declutter my mind and make room for my soul to feel more peaceful.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

What felling in the woodland has reflected in my life

I love it when something unexpectedly triggers thoughts and feelings. 

Today DH and I visited our woodlands to check out how the felling is going. We got the woods back in 2013 and DH (who spends a lot more time there than the rest of the family) has been observing the woodland over those years. This year he requested a report from the Woodlands Trust about how to manage our woodland over the next few years. Part of that report identified that up to 20% of the trees needed to be felled to allow the woodland to mature into a native woodland that will also allow us to occasionally make money from felling (continuous cover forestry.)

20% is a lot of trees considering we are used to the woods the way they are and it was definitely something that we were nervous about. We knew it needed doing as the woodland was sold to us after having been used as a plantation but how would it affect the feeling and look of our woodland?

Today the 'feller' (see what I did there?) / woodcutter had done about 80% of the cutting down and it looked amazing. New ground cover plants were already beginning to show as the sunlight was getting through to the woodland floor. 

The destruction was noticeable but I was surprised by how it felt like our woodlands but seemed so much better. I felt I could breathe more and it was so much fun finding the new mushrooms, moss and other things that were beginning to grow.

Anyway, why am I telling you all of this? Well, it got me thinking about parallels with life. In fact, I posted about it on Facebook when I was actually walking around the woods. 

I have been contemplating how much I 'do' in an average week especially as I have just relaunched my Essentially Shamanic business now dd is at college one day a week. I started wondering how the activities I do add to my life (or not.) Did I need to think about pruning back / felling or letting more light / breath into my average week?

I am aware of Tony Robbins 6 human needs (1 = certainty; 2 = variety; 3 = significance / love; 4 = connections; 5 = growth; 6 = contribution) and it was weird how well it mirrored in our management of the woodlands as well as my life.

Woodland Me
1Our woodland will thrive now there is more spaceMy family is ok, my children are happy, my DD is still happily home educated and
I am happy with the life I have. 
2Getting rid of most of the spruce (non-native) and some of the pine allows the silver birch, oak and other trees to flourish as well as allowing more  ground cover plants to growYou really don't get more variety (or uncertainty) than me - I home ed. which is always full of variety as we don't follow any curriculum but live free-range.

I have a paid part-time job, am part-time self-employed as a shamanic practitioner and an essential oil educator and volunteer at my local community cafe. No day is ever really the same!

3We want a mature, native woodland. It beings my DH much joy and it is very significant to our plan to live lightly on this planet.I feel that my shamanic practitioner work could be my most significant contribution to the world as there are not many of us in the country and it is important valuable work.

I also get significance from my home educating status especially as a home educator who has radically unschooled / free-range educated / not followed any of the national curriculum. Again there are not that many of us around and I feel it is an important way to show that it can be done and your children can thrive.
4More ground cover plants, leads to better quality soil, etc. allows for more connections between plants and especially allows for mycelium and mushrooms to flourish which we love.I get many connections from my MLM essential oil work. It is one of the things I love about it strangely enough. I am in a UK team that has the best leaders from the point of view of leading with care, consideration and ethics which is massively important to me: it is about being of service rather than money.

I feel more disconnected from the home education community now that my children are older and one is at York College but I have made some lasting friendships from home educating my children.

I love being a cafe volunteer and value the connections there as well.
5Better soil, better growth, more space for native trees to grow and for the woodland to grow and mature.Being a shamanic practitioner and essential oil educator has forced me to grow as a person over the years. CPD and learning about both of these healing modalities is important to my need for growth and variety in my life.
6Better soil, better quality and healthy plants, more oxygen into the atmosphere, more carbon absorbed from the atmosphere.I help people through my shamanic work and essential oil work and feel that these are important roles to play.

I also like that I volunteer at my local cafe and give my time for free to anyone who wants advice about home educating their children and not worrying about standard education that I feel is out of date and not relevant to today's climate or the well-being of our children.

Anyway how weird is that all that came out of a visit to the woods this morning!! 

I think I have some contemplating to do looking at the thoughts of mine above.

I am glad I got to revisit these human needs just because of a visit to the woods - isn't nature brill?

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Home educated to college

I've been meaning to write about this for a long time now but just didn't ever seem to be able to find the words.

When you start on a rather odd path like home educating, especially a free-range, autocratic, child-led home education, college or structured education seems a long, long way off and for some it never comes at all. But like all things, if and when it does creep up on you, it can be a shock or at least for me it was. I started recording Facebook 'lives' last year and my August / September ones were all tinged with an air of sadness and the emotional-ness of the loss I was feeling over my eldest going off to college after 12 years of not being at school and 17 years of being with me pretty much 24/7. Don't get me wrong, I was excited as well but it was a big change for the whole family and I really had no idea how he was going to emotionally cope with the environment of a college with over 4,000 students (I wasn't bothered about the academic side).

Anyway off he went, my gorgeous, sensitive, free-range child and we were blessed to have him looked after, nurtured and cared for by total strangers. There were ups and downs of going from no academic study to 3 days a week of Maths, English and a level 2 Games Design course plus the fact that the college only catered for people re-taking Maths and English GCSE not those who had never even studied Maths or English GCSE. But the staff were absolutely amazing - DS was given extra work to do and was helped in every way possible.

DS has never been diagnosed with dyslexia but when he started trying to read when his sister was teaching herself at age 4 (DS was 7) he showed classic signs of it. I am dyslexic so knew what to look for. At that point I asked if he wanted to read and he said no so I told him to stop - he was only doing it because his sister was. We always brought our kids up to play to their strengths and at that age his strengths were climbing trees, drawing maps, playing computer games and mental arithmetic so why learn to read when you don't want to or need to - that was our philosophy. Left to his own devices, he eventually taught himself to read some time between the ages of 11 and 12 with no issues at all.

At college he was supported by the learning support team and assessed with additional needs due to his dyslexic symptoms and at times he availed himself of the mental health services when he felt overwhelmed or needed some time out. All this was done with no judgment or stigma, as I feel it should be. We all have mental health and need support from time to time and the same with a helping hand with academic work.

Anyway, I'm here to let you know that all went well. He coped, he passed all his courses with the best mark he could get and he managed that all in 8 months from an academic standing start. He started the equivalent level 3 course yesterday.

Why am I telling you this though? Am I just wanting to blow my own trumpet on how amazing I am as a mother and educator!! Nope. Instead, I want to remind everyone out there that there are alternatives to mainstream education that don't need you, as a parent, to be a teacher or amazing at imparting knowledge to your children. When my DH and I decided that DS was not going to school because we didn't want him to be taught to read or anything until he was ready, we decided that as the main stay at home parent, I was there to parent my children with guidance and love, not educate them in the ways of Maths, English or anything else.

Although I have helped other people's children pass GCSE Maths (I am a geek who LOVES maths) I am appalling at imparting my mathematical wizardry to my own children. I am mean, short-tempered, have no patience and become possessed by the worse teacher you can imagine. Not at all Mum of the Year material!! In contrast, I am their Mum, I am their taxi driver, I am their confidante (if needed) to name just a few but I am not their academic teacher and I don't need to be. Most of their 'education' from me has been around emotions - trying to have empathy for where someone else might be coming from if they act in a certain way that causes upset; not taking offense (as it is pointless - read my post here); holding your boundaries whilst being kind; not labeling someone as something but rather labeling the behaviour; the 5 languages of love, etc.

All the academic stuff is better taught by teachers and that seems to have been borne out by DS's experience. I am hoping that the emotional resilience he showed over the last year is due to my DH and my nurturing of him and his sister over their lifetime but I can tell you that his academic prowess is all his to congratulate himself on as well as the college staff who facilitated his learning.

So remember:
  1. there are alternatives to our education system
  2. you don't have to be a teacher to home educate - you just have to care about your kids :-)
  3. children DO NOT have to follow the national curriculum
  4. it does NOT have to be expensive to home educate
  5. it is possible to pass Maths and English GCSE in 8 months having never seen the curriculum before (3 hrs a week per subject whilst doing another course)
  6. you can get a job without any qualifications - just thought I would throw that in there in case you are still reading!
  7. if you are MY child, don't ask me to teach you Maths unless you want to see my Mrs Trunchbull impersonation!! In fact, don't ask me to teach you any academic subject
  8. MOST IMPORTANT - you are all unique and AMAZING (watch my FB 'live' to really instil that in you) 
If you would like further information about home educating please feel free to get in touch.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Compare and Contrast poem

I hide behind you
But I didn't ask
I decided myself
To compare and contrast

You're thinner than me
Your hair is so wavy
You have so much drive
So much more than God gave me

Inside I roar, roar and compete
Inside I reel, I scream and deplete

Scored on a scale
I compare my abilities
Against those I see
I compare my agilities

In my own secret race, sprinting with no pace - maker
To keep me in check
To not stack my deck
Against myself my only competitor
But I imagine comparison life editors

I hide behind others
But I didn't ask
I'm the one who decided
To compare and contrast

Inside I hide, I hide and compete
Inside I'm raw and incomplete

Social media drowns me
Even when I don't look
Pervasive like disease
A comparison hook

Look at her, look at him
They're so together
They've done this, they've done that
Their pictures like heaven

Inside I'm confused
Inside I compete
Inside its torture
Inside I repeat

She's thinner and fitter
They're funnier and prettier
I contrast and compare
It's not rational
It's not fair

Look at him
Look at them
Look at her
I'm so numb

My brain keeps on whirring
Spewing out such vile thoughts
"You're worthless, you're lazy. Compared to them you're worth nought"
I try to be strong
Push those thoughts to the back
Then things pop up on my feed
And the gremlins spew black

"She gets way more loves
People comment for her
You're a fraud and a fake"
I'm nauseous and raw

I hide behind her
But I didn't ask
I allowed my inner voice
To compare and contrast

This comparison-itus
Is consuming my soul
A whirlwind of broken mirrors
And of media holes

Stop, breath and mind quiet
Stop, breath, halt the riot

Breath in the power
Breath in my soul
Stop the inner critic
Stop and take hold

I'm raw and complete
My soul purely me
Look inward and soul ward
Be comparison free

I'll let you be you
For I didn't ask
I'll hold on to me
No compare nor contrast

Monday, 1 July 2019

Primal scream / Primal slayer - shamanic journey in poetry

I have a shamanic spirit teacher that looks to me like the first slayer, Sineya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer so that is where the slayer reference comes from.

You face me, my mirror and soul
I am broken and tired, you are strong and whole
You say "Let go, let it all out"
I hold it in but want to shout
You continue "Let go, it's been too long. 
You're an adult now, the child has gone." 

I open my mouth, the tears they well
I let out the rage, I scream and yell
It goes on and on, a timeless bubble
Snot, spit, tears, rage uncontrollable

Then the magic begins
I watch it unfold
My memories spun
Webs of stories untold

My snot is mycelium
Running forever unseen
Unground networks of food
And hallucinogenic dreams

The spit from my roars
Falls to the ground
Springs up into grasses 
Trees and plants, all around

My rage fills the air
Heated, pure power
The atmosphere forms
An impenetrable barrier

My screams punch holes
In the sky, like spears
They become stars
That shines for years and years

As I scream and rage on
My feet stomp the ground
Cracks spread out forming
Caves and tall mounds
Mountain and valley
Dale and hill
Spring up all over
Allowing rivers to spill

From my tears that fall
And flow into seas
Forming lakes en route
As clear as my dreams

When spent, I collapse
And bigs spiders scurry
Enveloped in cocooning webs
They take my old memories

Weaving them into stories 
Of power, resilience and strength
My personality and uniqueness
Forming with each thread

I watch the magic unfurl
In the haze of my dreams
The landscape morphs
Moulded from my screams

Until I am the landscape
I am everywhere
My childhood and memories
Totally laid bare

A wondrous scene
Filled with colours unfolding
One of a kind, uniqueness
In stories untold, in
Patterns, nature, magic and music
Who knew old, rage-filled memories
Could become so perfect

My slayer now shimmers
A landscape of beauty
My mirror, my soul
That landscape is me

"Visit this place,
Tap into the power
When unhelpful memories invade
Remember each flower
There is no other like you
And never will be"
My slayer turns and smiles
And that primal being is me

Saturday, 29 June 2019

'Reclaiming myself' - shamanic journey in poetry

I have decided to start publishing the poems/prose that I get after going on a shamanic journey. I do not edit the poems after I receive them so they are published as given. I hope this will be the start of many such pieces of work. Enjoy and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

I am strapped to an A-frame
My life force slowly drained
Drip by drip, over time
Until nothing remains
An empty shell, I keep breathing
I am bewildered
This is my life, child to adult
So completely hindered

Skip to now
Reclaim joy, passion, power and purpose
Take my soul back, reclaim life
And run from this circus
The shadows, comparisons
My uniqueness, circle back
Time rewind and scramble
To consolidate lack

The abyss of this loss
Forgotten and black
Rewrite the story
Through lack and back to non-black

Light to show shadows
Magic to show dreams
Sleight of hand to become whole
And begin where we seem
To be now holding course
True to the game
But remember the past
no more the A-frame

Friday, 7 June 2019

How I am coping with emotions around cancer

Kingfisher wire birds, scenic pictures and slow mo paint photographs in a collage
Great artwork in Bexley Wing to lift the spirits
My Dad has just been diagnosed with liver cancer which is still a 'scary' cancer in my book. This is compared to my husband's testicular cancer which even back in 2009 was a 'non-scary' cancer.  

To be fair I still find the word 'cancer' scary whatever type it is but statistically speaking getting cancer of the liver is not good.

Bexley Wing Oncology Department, Leeds

When my husband was diagnosed he had his testicle removed and then had regular check-ups in Leeds. His cancer had not spread so he didn't need chemo and we were very happy when he was offered a place on a trial and was only required to undergo 3 MRIs over the 6 years he was followed-up. His family has a hereditary lean towards contracting colon cancer so keeping him away from any unnecessary radiation was important.

Over those 6 years though we spent enough time at Bexley Wing that when I then drove my parents there for my Dad's appointment last week, it brought back memories and not great memories, despite my husband's successful recovery.

How I am dealing with my emotions

There are many differences between the father of your young children having cancer and your Dad. Neither is easy, but I am a very different person to who I was 10 years ago. Following DH's diagnosis, both he and I attended the Hoffman Process which is a transformational process that gives you many tools to deal with life, relationships and unhelpful inherited patterns of behaviors. I feel I am a very different person to who I was, due to attending this course and having various techniques I can use when I need to, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

Shamanic Healing

After attending Hoffman I trained as a shamanic practitioner and had many shamanic healings and soul retrievals over the course of my 5 years of training and since, which means I feel 'more' me and am more able to deal with my emotions and handle these kinds of stressful situations. I feel more able to accept my emotions and thoughts when life takes a 'turn' that maybe I was not expecting and I can use my shamanism tools to tap into power, peace and ground myself when I feel that is needed. 

Shamanism has changed my life and I feel privileged to be able to offer others healing sessions where they too can become empowered and more connected to their authentic selves. 

Essential Oils

I discovered essential oils in 2017 and they are my favourite way of dealing life when there are strong emotions around just because they are easy to use. I carry small bottles of different oils everywhere I go and also have roller-balls made up with different potions that I wear like perfume. There are emotional blends that are my go-to favourites in times of stress or upset but to honest any great smelling essential oil will lift the spirits. Smell has a direct access to the limbic (emotional) seat of the brain so there are always positives to breathing in essential oils.

WhatsApp - SOS

I also love the WhatApps broadcast ability. This means I can send a message out to my friends just telling them how things are for me. Even if I am just having a wobbly and don't know why I can send a little message letting them know. This group of friends, who I class as being in in my (SOS) Circle of Support group, know that when I feel down, I send out an SOS and they can respond with an emoji or just a thumbs up. I always get something back from at least one of them but the important thing is that I know I am in their thoughts and I know they have my back. 

Contact me

If you want to know more about anything I have talked about here please get in touch with me:

Monday, 25 March 2019

How I went from bent to straight!!

Spiral of oil bottles
My friend's cancer got me into essential oils. She had had 2 re-occurrences of breast cancer and she wanted a decent quality Frankincense to add to her natural health regime. We found doTERRA and an AMAZING frankincense. My friend hasn't had a reoccurrence since and is an avid sharer of all doTERRA products.

(I did a Facebook 'live' about it on my Essentially Shamanic Facebook page which you can view here)

My friend and I shared the cost of a doTERRA enrolment kit but soon realised that we both needed more oils each so she then got her own account - that is how good they are. Here is what really sold me on the oils though:

Wonky Viv

No more antibiotics for Indie

I home educate my children and we have various other children in and out of the house on a regular basis, with or without infections. Whenever someone got ill my daughter would fall ill too and it would ALWAYS affect her lungs. Nothing helped and she would end up on antibiotics more times than I was happy with. After getting the oils we would diffuse OnGuard (a protective oil blend) any time people came over and quickly I purchased another diffuser for her room so that she could diffuse either OnGuard or Air (a respiratory oil blend.) She hasn't been on antibiotics since.

Wonky Viv can run again

I am now back to running because of Deep Blue (a soothing oil blend.) I use it religiously every morning and night, and additionally before and after exercise. I haven't seized up since joining doTERRA and, as you can see from the picture (where I am standing as straight as I can), that is great for me.

Top tip - if I think I am going to seize up I use marjoram which is an anti-spasmodic but generally if I methodical with the deep blue, that doesn't happen

Essential Oils help with emotions too

Anyway, there are so many other ways these amazing oils have helped my family - reducing anxiety in my son when he started college, helping my husband get better sleep, stopping me getting migraines, helping me stay motivated when exercising, and so many, many more. The oils are also AMAZING for helping me when I feel 'Mum guilt' - but more on that later!!

Get in touch with me and ask me any questions

I will be adding more uses in future blog posts but if you want to know more please get in touch either via Facebook, on my Facebook business page (where I do weekly Monday Live Moments or MLMs!!); go and check out my latest Natural Health Solution classes or visit my webpage. I am here to help in any way I can because I wish I had known about these amazing gifts of the earth sooner!!

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Not a New Year's Resolution

I don’t really do new year’s resolutions but this year I am going to be fitter. In one of my Facebook ‘lives’ a few weeks ago I talked about this along with accountability and a term I learned from permaculture called stacking. (Watch that 'live' here- 

Last year my husband started doing the York Park Run (Saturday morning 9am starting near Cherry Lane car park) regularly. The route is marked out on the pavement so it is a really good place to measure your distance and time if that is your thing (it is mine as I like a little competition with myself.) Also if you join the Park Run organisation you can add freedom runs, that you do at any time, even if you never get to one of their events.  

As someone who tends to get in my own way when trying to integrate new things into my life, I thought I would love to ‘stack’ this element of my life so that I did not feel I should or could be doing something else. I also wanted accountability to keep doing it. 'Stacking' basically means getting more yields (outputs) from one element of your life. So with regards to my health wouldn’t it be great if I could improve my physical health whilst also gaining something else. That thing I decided was inviting any friends or acquaintances to join me and therefore getting fit whilst having fun and socialising. Don’t get me wrong I love having a coffee at a friend’s house or at a cafĂ© or nights out but sometimes life is too busy to fit that in along with everything else. So why not chat whilst walking? Everyone benefits health wise and you get to chat/connect/share. So far I have done that 5k with my Mum, my friend Donna and another friend Sarah and I have loved every minute of it even though I am not a huge fan of exercise.  

Doing this also taught me something else about myself. I am someone who likes to just rush into whatever I am doing even though I know that very often preparation can really help. Abraham Lincoln said it well "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe."  
So I did my first 5k walk with my dear husband Dave on 1st January and we did it in 52m 57s. So the next time I went I wanted to do it faster but I overdid the fast walking and I had also forgotten to put on my soothing blend cream which is great preparation for any exercise. My Mum, friend and I got 2k around the course and I had to stop to apply my soothing blend (thank goodness I had remembered it!!) and then had to complete the rest in a slower manner. 

So I now have my preparation routine set:
1. Marjoram essential oil on my back in case I go into spasm (at the same time as my morning application of deodorant)
2. Soothing blend on my back and all over my legs (at the same time as I apply to my back every morning anyway)
3. Soothing blend soaked Epsom salts ready for a relaxing bath sometime later in the day so I don’t have to think about it - done when the salts run out 

It works a treat!! I did a joggle (new term for walk, jog, walk, walk, jog, etc.) 5k yesterday with Sarah and no aches and pains today because I remembered my preparation routine. 

I also did some EFT tapping on the way to the course from the car. “Even though I believe that I am not a runner, I totally choose to have fun and trust my body to know how to run with ease.” None of these things took any real extra time although I may have looked a bit silly tapping my face on the way from the car to the start of the parkrun. No aches and pains on the way around and no aches and pains today (the day after.)

So basically if you can find a way to ‘stack’ your functions and get more yield out of your inputs do it. Be creative.  When there feels like there isn’t enough time in life find creative ways to get more out of what you do. Build exercise into your life and invite friends to join you; do some stretches in the morning when you brush your teeth; do pelvic floor exercises when you drive the car; dance when you make the dinner; if you are self-employed share your home and have some ‘hoffice’ days with friends who are also self-employed so at coffee breaks you can share ideas or not feel as lonely and you have an accountability partner there in your home. Do this in a positive way so it adds value. There are so many ways to squeeze more stuff into the time we have without it being a chore. Would love to know your ideas...come share with me on Facebook.