One of my past time Heroes, Alanis Morissette says, ‘Life has a funny way of helping you out when you think everything’s going wrong and everything blows up in your face.’ I continue to be amazed by the impact surprising events have on one’s life. One moment all is peachy and bright, the next, something happens and you find yourself spiralling down a rabbit hole of despair. Eleven years ago I was crushed in a horse exercising machine. I split my pelvis straight down the middle, cracked my sacrum, tailbone and left hip. I was bed bound for six weeks, with the occasional zimmer frame assisted trip to the toilet.
I remember hobbling on crutches into the room of a specialist doctor after eight weeks since the injury. I could hobble a few steps unassisted. I asked him, “When will I be able to skip again?” His red nosed, round face is still clear in my minds eye, “You’re lucky not to be paralysed and you’ll be lucky if you ever walk straight again.” I looked at him, mortified, and said, “Thats bulls**t!” I got up with a lope and left the room, followed by my Mum who reassured me that doctors, as truly wonderful as they are, don’t always know the full story.
Shortly after we visited a Chiropractor (and wizard) who held his hands over my pelvis without even touching me at first; he looked at me, “You’re going to be alright kid.” He took his tool and adjusted me accordingly, “Get up and walk.” I did. Sensations of relief and indescribable gratitude ran through me like a shower of fresh rain. The next day, my Dad, who was seemingly fit as a fiddle, dropped down dead with a freak heart attack. Welcome to adulthood. I was 18.
It was a confusing time. The exaltation of having my physical body back echoed by the immense weight of grief. In that moment I made the decision that I would live every moment as fully as I knew how to. The absolute fleeting, fragile, precious, wondrous gift that this life is became very clear. I left home, moved to Cornwall, lived wildly and fully. Always on the edge of society, forging my own way where I could, determined not be bound by any one, place or thing, my only desire back then was to live freely.
I look back on those years with deep compassion in my heart. I wasn’t free. I felt trapped and limited in my body, carrying the weight of many things I couldn’t understand let alone process, yet was gifted with the lightness of what it is to dive into life, young and care free.
Eventually I’d been living life at a hundred miles an hour for too long. In December 2016, I fell off a roof and fractured the L1 vertebra in my spine. Once again, life changed shape. I uprooted my self from Cornwall and came home to my family in Chichester. Midwinter couldn’t have been a better time for enforced stillness and reflection. I was agonisingly depressed. Little did I know how grateful I would be for this unexpected shake up. I’ve come to wonder if we subconsciously choose our accidents and illnesses, for in the challenge of healing ourselves, we are given the chance to become whole.
It was around this time last year that I started coming to LANO. I love the transition of the seasons, the feeling of spring ringing in the air and the hope that comes with longer, lighter days. Practising Modo and Bikram was rather painfully gruelling at first, yet softened by the embrace of every teacher that helped me through that time, Thank you each. I learnt to breathe in a new way and soon realised, like so many, that yoga was saving my life. I slowly re-gained my strength through relentless practice. Within months I was attending the rich variety of classes and styles LANO offers. So grateful to have felt welcomed, supported and inspired by the warmth and encouragement of so many of the teachers I started to believe, for the first time in my life, that I could actually heal.
Since doing my Forrest Yoga teacher training in September, I am inspired and compelled to share the myriad of ways in which one can begin to connect to their own body. In Forrest Yoga, the attention to detail of bone alignment, activation of subtler muscle groups and focus on connecting to feeling what’s moving within, has enabled me to begin to feel safe in my body. I’m astounded by the revelations and freedom that I have found within my Forrest practice – It’s been emotional!
Next, I’m booking a one way ticket to Northern Greece at the end of April. I’ll be teaching Forrest Yoga and Art based workshops to Yazidi people at a refugee camp in Serres for a minimum of 40 days.
I’m called to work with the Yazidis. My intent is to share what I’ve learnt, to develop, learn and grow as a Yoga teacher, with the hope and belief that I will offer something of value, to bring a small sense of relief to their current situation; better yet help facilitate spaces for the collective to connect to internal freedom.
I’m nervous to be embarking on this next chapter, teaching yoga and sharing skills with women, men, teenagers and children who’ve survived hell. To give back and share some of the beauty and wonder the world has shown me, to one of the many places in need of more love and connection.
This journey to living an embodied life, connected to my own spirit, is thankfully a lifetimes work. I still frequently remind myself to slow down and yes, I still experience pain. I accept that perhaps I always will. Yet above it all, I am deeply reassured by the strength and resilience my practice offers me and am grateful beyond words to be moving and doing the things I can do. It seems one learns most from the challenges they’re faced with. Some people learn the hard way, but whatever way we learn, I just hope that we do! We all have challenges and demons to face, which is I suppose what unites us, grows us into compassionate humans. I consider my self lucky with the challenges I’ve faced thus far, as I know life can seem cruel with the situations some people endure. I continue to believe that everything in life happens for a reason. My wish is that we (as in all humans) can collectively grow and learn from our challenges, obstacles and grievances, to see pain as the teacher that it is and to forgive and release what keeps us in the dark.
May we all live like the blooming lotus in the muddy water.
Thank you & Namaste.