Most of my life hasn’t been ‘Gently be’; it’s been ‘Madly do’!
My career, first as a journalist on city newspapers, and then as a Director and CEO, took off in speedy parallel with having my first three children. Teething, homework and juvenile social diaries had to be balanced with long days in offices and boardrooms. I was an expert at multi-tasking, making sacrifices, juggling priorities and stoically enduring life’s issues, whilst somehow managing to appear ‘a success’ in the midst of it all.
Inevitably there were times when I felt great stress, but I was conditioned to believe one should ‘push through’. A bad back? Take pills and strap it up. Colds and flu? Take pills and ‘be brave’. Persistent anxious/fed up feelings? Smile and bottle them up. Persistent niggling feelings that maybe life should/could/maybe be different? No time to listen to that nonsense...
And then, during one time of great stress, a friend gave me a book on meditation and arranged for me to go on a retreat. I read the book, and whilst at the retreat centre, taught myself to meditate.
Learning to meditate forced me to STOP, and when I stopped I saw my so-called successful life (and the lives of so many others) in a new way. The constant round of anxiety, competition and fear of the future. The need to prove myself. Being a slave to money. The fight to keep my confidence up in a male business world. The time NOT spent with children, family and friends – the time NOT spent just being myself.
All the things I had not done because ‘day to day life’ had to be dealt with first.
It wasn’t that everything changed at once. But through meditation and the different way it gave me of looking at things and handling things, I began the wonderful journey from CEO to meditation/mindfulness teacher and clinical hypnotherapist.
I understand now the stories we believe about how we ‘should‘ live; the relentless pressure in our culture to ‘do’ and not ‘be’. The tricks our brains can play on us and the science behind this.
More importantly I have been trained, and have spent years educating myself to understand more about the body-mind – the incredible physical/mental/spiritual body that makes up each unique human being.
Gently be, for me, is an opportunity to create space (in many different ways) for other people to explore their lives more widely. To understand their body-mind better, to learn new techniques for supporting their overall health, helping them to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, helping them to see things more clearly; improve their ability to focus, improve what they do both at work and at play. And perhaps most importantly, to believe in themselves.
All this, and more, now makes up my life, as Ali and I offer our therapies, activities, Time Out courses and retreats. We are ready to welcome you as we develop our quest to just....Gently be.
Well it’s true what they say, life is a journey. That might be a rather over-used and perhaps misunderstood phrase in its seeming generality, but to me it’s how I relate to my life...
I started significantly questioning my place in what I deemed, ‘life on the hamster wheel’ in my late teens and at that point it took me off travelling for a couple of years in Australia, Asia, the USA and Poland.
Before and after that, my work life was guided by my sense that for me, to make decisions based on the heart, and doing things I cared about was the way to go. This took me into exciting experiences in the worlds of television, charity, music, advertising and faith, in no particular order and sometimes repeated!
These days I aspire to simplicity of approach to life, and the name of our business, 'Gently be', sums it up rather nicely! I enjoy a variety of personal practises like yoga and meditation, and I keep an open mind so new experiences keep popping up. I believe I am here, not to prove anything, but to experience, learn and have some fun!
So my desire to ‘get off the wheel’ is now being fulfilled, nothing was wasted along the way, and I am delighted to be merging all my varied experience and skills together in Gently be, enjoying running the organisation, communication and hospitality areas, to holding Laughter Yoga sessions and a bit more besides!