“We can often feel isolated in our ‘modern’ society. Connecting to the natural world is one way to reconnect with your inner self – as within, so without. When we rediscover our real connection to the great web of life that experience is often transformational.”
My Outer Journey:
I have moved home over 43 times, mostly down to being an Army child, having a varied career path, and occasionally a family crisis thrown in. As my maternal grandfather and father were, I have served in the British Army. I have worked for three police forces; as a Special Constable and a Control Room Operator. These careers gave me valuable experience of working with people in crisis or time critical situations.
I gained a PGCE in Secondary (Biology) and Qualified Teacher Status whilst working in various secondary schools in Dorset. I went on to lecture at Higher Education within the Animal and Equine Dept at a local landbased college, and became a Programme Leader after I wrote a BTec diploma in Equine Management. I discovered I love teaching as much as I love learning, however it was during secondary teaching I learnt the lesson that if I stayed it would cost my health.
I was a kinship foster carer for my sister’s daughter who was 11 at the time and she helped me look after several horses at a local farm at the weekends. She had a natural affinity and calmness with horses, and a couple of years later we got our first pony. Jac is a very special pony, who emotionally supported her through difficult family circumstances, and a few years later through suddent paralysis to recovery. I observed Jac helping her physically, emotionally and mentally.
Whilst training in Equine Facilitated work I was also training as a Humanistic Integrative Counsellor. With my holistic background, this lead me to Psycho-spiritual Counselling. As a counsellor I have volunteered for Steps to wellbeing (NHS referrals), Help Counselling (for young persons) and Dorset MIND (for blue line workers). I worked at Penn Hill GP Surgery where I additionally trained as an NHS Health Coach for Behaviour Change and set up a small counselling service to support surgery patients.
Since Covid 19, my journey has lead me back to supporting emergency services which feels cyclic. Ever the eternal student, I will be embarking on an MSc in Consciousness, Transpersonal Psycology and Spirituality which will no doubt heavily influence my blogs. It was writing my website blogs that gave me the confidence to start writing for horsemanship magazines, and I felt a strong connection with the ethos of Equine Leadership Magazine and look forward to writing articles for Lynda Watson who has amazing editorial skills. At some stage in the future I will turn my learning into books, but for now, I am exactly where I need to be.
I studied a BSc (hons) in Animal Science (Behaviour & Welfare), and also volunteered at the RSPCA’s wildlife hospital at West Hatch, Bat Conversation Trust, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Happy Horse Sanctuary and became a Marine Mammal Medic. I have loved all my work with animals as I have a natural affinity with them since childhood.
With this lesson, I returned to my first passion to work with animals and I set up an Animal Behaviour and Health business. I added the holistic therapies that had supported my health for animals. This work began to highlight to me that owners were often the real issue with animals – because people are very hard on themselves (which of course mirror my inner journey). This learning would eventually lead to my mental health work with people. But at that time, I became a Reiki Master and continued to study various complementary therapies.
Jac inspired me to train as an Equine Facilitated Practitioner (LEAP module), although I aimed to add this skill to my business I was to go through an end abrupt end of foster placement which lead to me losing my home. So instead, I went on to support several Equine Therapy businesses: HALO Dorset, Paintedhorse in Glastonbury and Equine Earth in Gloucestershire. This work included supporting Key4Life charity with their rehabilitation of young offenders at HMP Portland and Guys Marsh with Equine Therapy, and running Woodland Retreats for small private groups to connect people back to themselves through nature and the herd.
Continuing the group work I had facilitated with Equine work, I helped run a Mental Health Support Group at the surgery where I provided psycho-education. I went on to facilitate Mind OUT (LGBTQ) Support group for Dorset MIND and ran private work shops on Inner Child Therapy. I also supported Fhare Ltd with workshops to improve the horse/human relationship.
My inner Journey:
I consider spirituality an inward journey, so this has been influenced by my clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience experiences. I have often learnt the hard way by not listening to my inner voice which usually communicates to prevent an accident or avoid danger, and occasionally when I need to seek medical help. My inner path has been influenced by my sister’s path, which climaxed in her being sectioned and diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. This made me question the difference between the ‘voices’ we both hear – who or what are we listening to? Mine seemed connected to love, and hers fear. This lead to my studying transpersonal psychology, spirituality and consciousness. It also influenced many paths I took to discover more about the ‘physically unseen’.
The family I chose to be born into was dysfunctional enough to create great learning on my inner journey which I can appreciate now. I learnt the gift of empathy, resilience, strength, to self-heal and connection to animals and spirit. I learnt to disindentify with my story, emotions and pain. I began to fully appreciate my learning when I realised through these experiences, I could hold space for those who had challenging paths and detect in my body where they were holding blocked energy. Spirit, particularly the archangels, then began to work with me in the counselling room.
I have spent a lot of money, at the detriment to other practical things, to go further on the inner journey. The biggest learning I received repeatedly was that I have to go within to do this journey, not seek a guru outside of myself. Simply still my mind, breath beyond it and connect to all that is. Stilling my mind is not simple, it is still a work in progress. I have a delightful little analyst inside who is trying to figure it all out and piece it together. This part of me is attached to the belief that learning is outside of me, not wisdom within me. Wisdom that actually says it is already ‘figured out’ and ‘pieced together’.
Interestingly, I have made many outer journeys ‘alone’, but have struggled to do the same inwardly.
Going through counselling training, which included at least 40 hours of your own therapy fast tracked my inner journey. I particularly tip my hat to Transactional Analysis and ego states to stop the inner critic leading me into depression. In getting through some of the limited self beliefs and scripts I had, helped me connect more to all that is. At times in my life where I could have felt isolation, I absolutely had a knowing that there is unity beyond the physical or material world.
The horses that have come into my life, particular the little grey pony Jac, have been pivotal in learning to connect or realising I was already connected. Jac would visit in meditations, and came to me twice in a reoccuring dream to tell me something was wrong with him. I realised we communicate easily, when I get out of my own way, which just means my ‘unhealthy’ or ‘dysfunctional’ parts of myself are not running my show. Jac extends his communication to others and I love to see their reactions when they realise their connection. I believe once you realise a connection to another non-human, you are then realising your connection to all that is.
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