Emergency surgery and three months of convalescence, I see now it has been so much more.
As I start to reemerge, many insights have visited. Many in the cold of the night, sleepless and shifting under the covers; others at dawn, revelations and realisations gently easing me into the new day. I feel there is much to do now that the emergency of ill health has ceased, and many thoughts to come as to what my practice will be in my returning.
During the last few years, many practitioners now walk different paths, some choosing to retire, others being forced to find other modes of income, many like me who see our ‘work’ as a vocation, there was never a doubt of not returning to clinic. So I know that I can rise again, like a Phoenix out of the ashes, renewed, refreshed with a sharp focus. And the question for me now is How?
One thing I know is that it will be a gentle return, to take the learnings and to go deeper into the unknown aspects of Why ill health manifests for us. There are many factors to be considered and sadly as our health system has other considerations, the psychological aspects of the physical manifestations aren’t readily addressed. I find myself in a period of rehabilitation, with support from associated charities instead.
Until ‘the way’ becomes clear, curating wellbeing events at Deershed in July and then End of the Road in early September will take my attention.
We now have soft delicate drizzle. You know the type of rain that looks really inoffensive until you realise how soaked you are. The snow has gone for now and the wood pigeons are quite frankly getting very frisky, Spring is certainly in the air and we are anticipating the intoxication of the smell of spring flowers.
Preparing for our next event, the second in our series of the year, we gather pace in our purpose, lining all the elements ups.
Spring: Creating the Vessel
As we gather from our wintering, with memories of Yule, crossing through the gateway of Imbolc in early February, more light in each day.
For Summer growth to become Autumn harvest we bring forth in our intentions what to plant in ourselves, creating a vessel to receive inner wisdom, bringing acceptance and the sense of being perfectly imperfect, embracing the beauty of imperfections our own natures, gaining insights from nature around.
Our Spring Session will include quiet time for reflection, creative play and mindful movement – guided by Catherine and Alex, the day will run from 09.30- 16.00 on Saturday 25th February at Field Broughton, between Cartmel and Newby Bridge, South Lakes
Alex from Wild Soul Yoga – qualified yoga guide, mindfulness walking guide & celebrant.
Can we learn from others misfortunes? Can we avert disaster by being mindful of our actions. Walking downstairs and being conscious of the last step, always, as that was how your mother ripped her achilles tendon the night before a walking holiday in the Lake District.
Each time you put dishes away you’re acutely aware of which upper cupboards you have left open so you don’t bash your head, and then have to sit in your stoic self reliance questioning if you’ll be alright and don’t need medical attention only to have years of discomfort.
Careful to choice different ways of eating with a sense of not overloading your finely balance digestion system with the thought of steering clear of having to wait to hear ‘all clear’ after years of treatment that irreversibly changes your body space after necessary surgery.
And after all that consciousness of action to learn to be passive in light of devastation when it does happen, and to sit with the thoughts that all of those things were never meant for you anyway.
We all have our own tragedies to travel with, we all have our own disasters to detain our progress and to remember the magic moments, of the restarts and the ignitions of inspiration that will surely come again.
And each time you gingerly reach to see if you are on the last step, or manoeuvre yourself away from a potential crisis, smile big and may your heart laugh with recognition of being human.
Thoughts come freely when my mind is like a millpond. The profundity all encompassing.
I imagined a stone and the ripples it created as it sank into the still water of my mind.
One suggestion, many outcomes, shorelines of resistance.
Whether we are aware or not, cause and effect is all around us and to become aware is within the process of a medical model millennia old
Do I need double blind studies? They help in establishing empirical evidence to classify the results to form categories from which medical model systems can be set, agreed and referred to.
Do I need to create a new model to bring to my wider community in returning to practice? We could call it something like the Hunt Effective Learning Programme, see what I did there with the acronym.
Or do I, as this morning on a walk with Tess, into the woods, allow the sounds and scents of nature ease me back to my mental millpond. Will I take the learning from my reactions to maintain good relationships, neither reactive stone causing chaos or the passive ripple merely getting out of the way.
And to bring these learnings into each day, to remember the lessons from the last few years. I didn’t learn a language, perfect fire breathing or now an expert on identifying mushrooms. What I have done is polished off my inner bullshit detector and laughed at when it’s pointing at me.
I’ve often referred to it since training at evening school to gain my Preparing to Teach in Life Long Learning Sector qualification. The idea was my final piece of work and my mini teach exercise and since 2013 I’ve been working on making this ‘a thing’. So rolling from 2022 into 2023 seems apt as that’s 10 years in the making.
Why? I’m now asking myself that too. Over the years i have been an avid evening course participant. It started when I was 16 doing car mechanics, a dream of being the first Formula 1 Female driver in the background and being practical, thinking the pits might be an alternative. Reality was I got distracted and studied art instead. For many years I went to a pottery class at Henley College and it was because that course was full I ventured towards aromatherapy and massage courses. Celebrating 27 years now as a therapist, that much used phrase of ‘mean’t to be’ and ‘trust the process’ seem apt.
So in answer to your question of what is Creative Play i ask you to do the same. It’s about trusting the process, exploring in a way where you may well find something that you love that you would never have tried if you had made a conscious choice. My idea was formed into a 10 week course, where 6 of the classes were about learning different techiques and the remaining 4 to complete a project in a shared environment.
On 19th November I have an event booked where you can do just this. To have time to explore colour and shape with botanical printing in the morning, and making a wreath from found foliage in the afternoon with Alex from Wild Soul.
And as I’ve also been asked ‘can I just attend the morning or afternoon session’, then the answer is Yes you can. We have space for 8 people for each session and you can attend for the whole day if you’d like too
Creative Play with Catherine – Botanical Printing
Playing with the colours of the season, using flowers and leaves to ‘make a mark’. We start the session with settling in with mindful movement, marking the occassion in our minds with meditation and seeing what impressions emerge on paper. Sign up here
If you’d like to join us for the morning only please contact me 10.00 – 12.30 £45 per person, including materials, refreshments and take home bag
Creative nature therapy with Alex
Reconnect with nature through sensory & immersive nature based creative sessions with seasonal plants & flowers, exploring folklore & holistic meanings
On reflection September seems to have been a time of change for me before I started curating the Healing Garden at End of the Road, yet this year seems more poignant than previous years. Many new avenues opening, although most this year have become cul de sacs, each turning point an opportunity to reflect.
Through a friend of the family I have been introduced to a gem of a location for a new clinic, set close to home yet far enough away from the bustle of the town, it’s an echo of what i’ve been looking for.
I will look to build clinics on days which are popular and with the support of colleagues will be able to design Natural Health Wellbeing Events from there too.
Our Seasonal Sessions have found a new home and the event on 19th November will be the first of many.
Thank you for all your support with the clinic in Arnside which will continue in the short term although Field Broughton with be my main location.
Saturday 10th September and Saturday 19th November
2022 has been an exceptional year. For personal and professional reasons. We have celebrated successes and faced defeats with grace. We have taken the slow route, encouraged by many around us who are feeling the same. And true to our word, we have held space for appreciation of the ‘hows’ around living a simpler life. It would be so easy to get back to it, to ‘drop a shoulder’ into getting on and finding a way round, yet there is humility and strength gained from going through diligently.
Sandra has officially launched herself as Granny Herb and is planning the 2nd intake and 2nd Year of the Junior Herbalist Club
Alex continues to expand her offerings and has rebranded as My Wild Soul, bringing her soul filled practice together offering movement and creative workshops
and Me? I am steady in my proactivity, giving time to sense the right way forward. I am looking to reestablish a clinic in Grange, hopeful this will start from October, yet also mindful of sensing what degree of energy and enthusiasm is required to see if there is viability. I promised myself to give space to be playful in these uncertain days, to relish a coming to a different place. With that in mind the approach of our September event is exciting and I hope you’ll be able to join is in a day of celebration of what we all can harvest from this year so far. Our collective collaboration continues and in November we all come together to bringing our awareness to the Winter months ahead and how best to approach our preparations
September botanical printing – community and connection – all aspects for our event in September taking place at a new private event space outside of Carnforth, set in beautiful countryside location find out more
“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix its environment, not the flower.”. – Alexander Den Heijer –
Botanical Printing – Winter Wreaths – Hibernation Hacks find out more
Alex from Wild Soul will be joining us for an afternoon making wreaths for the Winter and Granny Herb will be sharing wisdom on remedies to get you through the winter months.
dates for 2023 join our mailing list to find out more about our events next year or how to create your own tailor made event
“So, in conclusion, we could say we develop a practice in order to continue the ‘curiosity’ of what we gain from having a practice?” Another fine morning coffee debrief with Alex, through friendship firm collaborative foundations emerge.
Whether that ‘place to be’, somewhere to return to, is nourishing a settled mind or noticing your body that knows how to breathe, these are all aspects of becoming more aware of our natural states of being. Maybe you have your things that you do, going for a run, walking the dog, sitting in nature, taking a class, that keep your body and soul in harmony. Those things that if you don’t get to do them you notice a shift, a change in yourself that can bring discomfort and disharmony.
For those who know what they gain from individual appointments or group sessions with me will know what they gain, and what their own rhythms of when are. Some people come regular on a monthly basis, fortnightly or every 3 months. And I am curious to know, if I where to reestablish a clinic in Grange, alongside or in place of the clinic in Arnside, would you want to restart visiting me? How often and for what aspect? What have you become aware of missing in not being able to have those regular sessions?
I have signed up for monthly session with Clare Hill in Kendalon a monthly basis for Shiatsu, something I have missed over the last 3 months of not being able to see her because life ‘got busy’. I realise that not seeing her meant I wasn’t taking the time to ‘return to myself’ in the unique way that always happens, reemerging back into the world with a different clarity.
As I sense the fullness of the year in Summer, this is something I yow to continue as part of my practice, alongside Supervision sessions, Continuing Professional Development Training, meditation time and walking my dog in order to keep my clarity around everything I’m offering, and wherever I get to offer it from.
For a very long time, since i was in my teens so a very long time indeed, i have been keeping something safe. Something very precious. It is a thing, a real thing, not a secret or a theory, a real grab with both hands thing. In fact, that is how I acquired the thing in question.
The magic was following a thread of interest today, via an internet search and a few hop skips to others, to find an article written by a curator of a museum close to where I went to art college. More internetting ensued and became a conversation across a continent.
To say that it was needed, in the fog of grief, around the disruption of losing my clinic space, in the despair of sleepless nights, at midsummer on a hot sticky afternoon, looking out at the world and wondering where my place in it is, is not just an understatement; it’s validation that the magic of life which I have recently lost is still there just waiting to be discovered.
Yesterday I made the decision to step away from the posting, the reels, the sharing online via social media. It’s been a while coming. Many friends have applauded my actions, others have questioned it and others no doubt wonder if I’m OK. I’ve been feeling the need for deeper connecting than the likes without any comments that leave you wondering why we put so much out there, day in, day out, and then spend time scrolling through other people’s posts. Maybe it is to do with having more time to question when you re not in the flow of life, when your perspective is taken wider through tragedy and loss. When i’m busy being creative, something I have been giving more time for since New Year, it helps to clear my head, sends me into a state from which i can sleep easier. I’ve been sensing a craving for a different flow, a slower pace, a life in which i feel more valued and connected.
So the conversation I had today which connects the lives of families across a 100 years, thousands of miles and no doubt will extend into illuminating conversations of discovery after loss, my heart is full once more of a love for life I had lost. Dad would have been intrigued by the story, as a writer no doubt he would have written a story about it and been proud his daughter has played her part so honourably.
I am still practicing, albeit with less availability, offering mobile appointments and borrowing a room. Festival planning in play, teams coming together and a year of seasonal events planned ahead so far. I am resolute to continue to offer the quality of what I do to those who seek me out, the deeper connection to themselves they crave, those magic moments away from the flow of life, to ponder, to reconnect, to see their place in the world and to know that even if it takes more years that we like to imagine, magic happens when we least expect it.