Since 2003 i've been juggling being self employed, sometimes alongside contract work, part-time jobs to keep the books balanced, sometimes little time for self and more full time employed. These past 3 years where I've been totally self employed have been some of the most challenging. Talk about playing the lottery, i stake a claim every day I wake up, gauging how I feel today and whether fear and dread will win out or whether trust and gratitude will champion and set the stage for the day ahead.
Today is a good day and one in which I'm thankful for my resolve, steely determination and ability to feel the lightness of life. A day to smell the coffee as well as the roses and give thanks. Very apt for spending the day at Hyning Monastery near Warton.
As I set up my mobile office in the Little Sitting Room, tucked away from the group activities of the day, i chuckle to myself remembering the conversation I've just had. Two ladies, having just checked emails were making their way out of the room to rejoin their group. We got chatting and I was asked what I do. One lady didn't quite hear me and instead of say 'you're a what? she said 'You're a which?'.
Well just say it out loud and think of what I am, a Wellbeing Practitioner, a Specialist Masseur, a Weleda Advisor, a Healer. I really don't think she meant witch instead of which when she might have said what.
So as i settle into yet another space i'm creating to work on setting up Wellbeing Retreats, planning client appointments and how we are going to Light Up Lives, I'm also thinking of my 24 year and counting career and what advice I would have for someone starting out, either newly qualified or freshly made redundant, taking their leap of faith as so many of us do.
I would advise to relish every moment, be aware of creating balance, not just in terms of time you spend working but also in order to realise how you personally are balanced, for it is only when we are in the central spot on the wobble board of life that we can truly see, feel and be of true service. We can better see how and where we are potentially becoming compromised, although maybe it's all part of the process. We watched Finding Joe recently, all about Joseph Campbell and his Hero's Quest, the aspects of separation, initiation and the return and all the different facets we endure in becoming something different to what we were.
So, i will relish being right here right now doing what i'm doing today and will tomorrow relish being with clients at Grange Hotel, enhancing their Spa Day with wellbeing and Weleda. On Friday I will relish being at Victoria Hall helping set up a Community Health and Wellbeing Hub and over weekend relish a day out with the Westmorland Dowsers walking in the fells around Shap. If I could send a message to my previous self, that younger me back in 2003 so full of enthusiasm, full of passion which has found me alienated by potential colleagues, those whom misread my purpose as competitive; to quiet down my inner warrior, reassuring her it was for those who felt intimidated to change their attitude instead of toning down my vehemence.
When i look around me now to see so many people turning to careers in health and wellbeing, I hope they too approach their discipline with a balanced approach, to guide themselves to be of service to our locally global communities, instead of merely seeing the potential commodity and to put people and our planet before profit as I have done over these past years.
After an early start and a business meeting at the bank it seemed rude not to go to one of my favourite places in Kendal for breakfast. Farrer's always offer a warm welcome, beautiful freshly prepared food and the best coffee and tea in town, in my humble opinion.
After an excellent scrambled egg on sourdough bread, and don't worry, this isn't going to continue in the vein of a food blog where each molecule of morsels is explained in exquisite detail, more scene setting than waxing lyrical, i ventured into the shop with a tea purchase in mind. Something extraordinary, something a connoisseur would marvel at, something to tantalise Hannah's tastebuds.
In discussing choices we chatted about wider connections to tea and coffee, finding blends that taste great and are better for the whole system, not just bodily but supply chains too. We spoke about ideas alongside what I offer at Prime Wellbeing, from individual or group wellbeing sessions and Weleda Wellbeing Events and with my work at Light Up Lives, offering a space for collaborations across globally local communities. Then this came to me...
'...we are each a segment of an orange, integral pieces of the whole, with seeds of growth embedded in each slice'
In collaboration we can create communities which flourish, ideas blossom and have their own unique authentic identity when nourished in a supportive environment. An orange pip can grow to be an orange tree with many fruits which in turn have far reaching potential for growth.
And the Blood Orange tea is definitely on my list of 'i'll buy that next time', however it was the one I had a sniff of that got my attention. The different layers of scent when I ventured my nostrils towards the tea caddy, one of those reminiscent of childhood, the ones with the china scene of it, black and red, the ones my gran used to have, the one that got used for buttons and beads. This one had a tea in it that smacked you with an airy punch then soothed you with a splendent array of tones, arousing memories to be made and if I don't stop now it really will turn into a food blog.
And all that before 11.00 am on a morning, maybe it's time for a coffee and a lie down already.
On a day which felt like summer I ventured west towards the Lake District, passed the turning to Coniston and to Brantwood, onwards on the road to Millom, my journey's end through the Duddon Valley.
I've known about the John Muir Trust for a few years now, been a member, received the newsletter, dreamed of visiting the first national park Yosemite each time I travel into the Lake District and think of the lineage of passionate people protecting nature, maintaining our wild places in the world. I've also thought about volunteering yet not managed to find the time. That was until now.
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ― John Muir
Hardknott Forest is being restored to a native broadleaf forest to accompany the neighbouring ancient oak and birch woodland. It is an historic opportunity to create the largest area of semi-natural woodland in England linking Hardknott Forest with the existing woodlands in the Duddon valley, a series of ancient oak woodlands which snake down the valley all the way to the coast. One of the spectacular findings is how the forest is restoring itself.
"Non-native trees are gradually being removed and replaced with native species such as oak", says John Hodgeson, Project Officer. "Some areas are regenerating naturally and we have seen holly, willow, birch and rowan all returning to the forest, with associated benefits for native wildlife. Other areas of the forest will remain as crag or bog. The local area is known to support rare mammal species such as dormice, otters and red squirrels, and birds increasingly seen here include great spotted woodpeckers, jays and bullfinches. Monitoring of the wildlife and vegetation is an ongoing and fascinating part of the project."
Rowan - Its old Celtic name is 'fid na ndruad', which means wizards' tree. In Ireland it was planted near houses to protect them against spirits, and in Wales rowan trees were planted in churchyards. Cutting down a rowan was