Seas Initiative: a song for the ocean

seas initiative natalie fee

It’s June! And it’s World Ocean Day! And the start of my mission to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in our seas. This month sees the launch of my first Crowdfunder campaign … to raise £5000 to produce a song for the ocean. Along with a stunningly beautiful, awareness-raising music video to take it out to the world.

I’ve been down on the banks of the river Avon lately, picking up litter, and I’m often overwhelmed at how much plastic there is … even here in Bristol, flowing out of what will be European Green Capital next year! So I decided to put my talents to task.

I aim to reach thousands of people through the campaign film, people who might not usually think about marine plastic pollution. And I’m delighted (and EXCITED!) to be collaborating with Verity White, an award-winning environmental campaign filmmaker and one of Bristol Old Vic’s best loved composers to produce the song and film!

I’m inviting individuals (like you!) to sponsor the campaign as well as local businesses. Here’s a nice and lovely quote from Nick Hounsfield, founder of The Wave, the UK’s inland surf lake: “Natalie’s inspiring to us all – switching people on to thinking more consciously around how we use and dispose of everyday plastics. We think it’s a great project to support. It gives businesses the chance to reach new audiences, supports Bristol’s creative industries and has a positive social and environmental impact.” … Thanks Nick!

And guess what else! I’m THE FIRST CROWDFUNDER TO ACCEPT BRISTOL POUNDS! Yay! People can donate using Bristol Pounds, the city’s community currency. Here’s another nice quote from the brilliant Bristol Pound Director, Ciaran Mundy. “The Seas Initiative project is exactly the kind of thing we get excited about. New ways to use Bristol Pounds and an easy way to sponsor a great campaign using our TXT2PAY technology!” Cheers Ciaran!

No idea what crowdfunding is? Well it’s a term used for funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people and businesses via this interweb thing that you’re looking at right now. In exchange for your contribution, you receive rewards or gifts!

Come and have a look at the Seas Initiative campaign and watch the film!

www.crowdfunder.co.uk/seas-initiative 

P.s. If you’re in Bristol or thereabouts, I’m giving a live stand-up show on the theme of marine plastic at the Alma Tavern, 20 + 21st June, as part of the amazing Becky Walsh’s sell-out ‘Stand-Up Intuitive Show’! I know it’s not a funny subject per se, but we’ll be looking at it from a number of intriguing and obscure angles!

thoughts from brandon hill

bathe-yourself-in-birdsong

how to follow your heart : the first article I ever wrote

kindred spirit magazineI wrote this article in 2007, and it changed my life. Before writing it, I’d never written anything other than songs, poems andsome sporadic journal ramblings. Yet it got published in Kindred Spirit. People then started writing to me saying how much the article had affected them, how they’d been inspired to take the training as a result of reading my article and how they’d experienced a similar yearning to the one I address in the article – it’s all very well being told to ‘just follow your heart’, but how exactly does one learn to do that?  Happily, the Energy Awareness Training was the answer to my prayers. And, six years on, still is.

So I thought it needed to be here – the article that inspired me to become a professional writer, written on the day I realised I was an everyday alchemist – and the story behind the life I lead now!

_____________________________

A year and a half ago, in a field in East Sussex, I saw a man standing in meadow, dressed in white, up to his knees in wildflowers and in the middle of what looked like a dynamic energy practice. I’ve practiced yoga, t’ai chi and chi gong, but this was unlike anything I’d seen before. I watched him for a while, rhythmically moving his arms, coordinating movement with his breath, and I knew I had to find out what he was doing.

    I approached him after he’d finished. We started talking and he began to tell me about the exercise he’d been doing. It was called ‘Falling Lightning’, and was just one of a number of practices he’d learnt on a course called the Energy Awareness Training. He went on to explain that when practised facing a particular direction, Falling Lightning would bring more energy into an area of his life. I was already a bit lost at this point, so happily he agreed to tell me more. So we sat in the meadow, with the sun shining high, and carried on our conversation.

    He pulled out a pen and paper from his bag and drew an 8 pointed star. On each point he wrote a compass direction, and then for each direction wrote a corresponding energy. East was health, West was creativity, North was work & career and so on. He continued to explain that we all receive these eight energies, or ‘Life Ki’s’ from the specific directions, and how much of the energy we receive depends on the energies within us. By practising falling Lightning facing South West, he was beckoning more partnership ki, or energy, into his life.

    This was a complete revelation to me. I had no idea these life energies existed as something flowing from somewhere, and not only did they exist, but they could be harnessed and used! I’d heard before that feng shui used the directions in the home to improve certain areas of the homeowners life, but never before heard someone explain how that could be possible.

Inside I was jumping up and down with excitement, and I knew that a new way of experiencing the world was about to dawn. I’d been shown a door, and I couldn’t wait to open it.

    I asked him if he’d teach me the practice. He was reluctant, as it was only a small part of the weekend training he’d taken, and if I wanted to see the bigger picture I’d have to take the training myself. He explained that if I wanted more money, for example, and started practicing Falling Lightning facing southeast to beckon more wealth, then I would be acting on my desires, which may or may not be what I really need. If I took the training I’d learn how to sense which direction my energy, or spirit, needed me to face. In essence, I’d be handing over the steering wheel from my mind to my heart. Perhaps I would test positive on facing northwest, to bring more helpful people into my life, which could in turn, bring an opportunity to make more money (thus resolving a lack of wealth ki). I started to understand that it may not simply be a matter of getting more of what I want, but learning to identify what it is I really need.

    Despite what he’d told me, I still didn’t want him to go without teaching me the exercise! He eventually gave in, on the condition that I’d call Stephen and Lynda in the Pyrenees who ran the Energy Awareness Training within the next few weeks. I agreed. Ten minutes later, I had a new practice, a scribbled on piece of paper… and his phone number! I thanked him for taking the time to sit with me a while and share his experiences, and we went our separate ways. I was later to find out that at the time I first saw him he had been doing Falling Lightning facing South West, beckoning more partnership ki into his life. It had worked, as we later became lovers!

    Weeks passed, and each morning that summer I practiced Falling Lightning. I forgot my agreement to call about the training. That September, I went on a workshop in London, which promised a new way of healing long standing health issues. On the first morning, at registration, a beautiful elderly lady with long flowing grey hair made a bee line for me. I’d noticed her the moment she entered the room. We introduced ourselves, me, a 28 year old wanting to heal a hernia, and her, a 78 year old, wanting to heal a cancer. To say we hit it off is an understatement. It was like two best friends meeting again after years apart. Rather conveniently we were asked to pair up for the days programme, so we spent the rest of the day together.

    Over lunch together, I noticed her doing something strange. When I asked if she needed me to get her bag from the cloakroom, she looked over at the queue, did something with her hand, paused briefly, and then said “No thanks!” I asked her what an earth she had done! She explained that she’d used an energetic test, to see if she needed anything from the cloakroom. And she didn’t! Once again, my curiosity exploded and I asked her to tell me more. All she was doing, she went on to say, was tuning into her energy to see if it went up or down when making a decision. She continued to explain that every choice we make, be it what to eat, who to see, where to go  has an effect on our energy. It will either make our energy go up (ascend) or make it go down (descend). She went on to demonstrate with the miniature feast we had spread before us on the table. Forming a hand position (which from my yoga training I recognised as a mudra) while looking at the different foods, she turned to me and said “yes to bread, olives and houmous, no to the sprouts”. I felt the same excitement in me that I’d felt in the meadow some months before.

    Here was someone showing me that there was a way to actually experience how my energy responds to something I’m about to do. I expressed my enthusiasm over her developed sense of awareness. I thought she must be ‘one of those people’ who are naturally able to sense and perceive energies. At that time, I was always wanting to make the ‘right’ decision but forever getting lost in my head in the process (some might say I was indecisive!). So naturally I was delighted to watch her make a choice based on her energy, and not on what she was thinking! That was a gift I wished I had. I told her how much I’d love to be able to do what she just did. “Well you can learn it darling!” she replied. “It’s this wonderful man in the Pyrenees, he comes over to the UK and gives the most amazing trainings. I’m in my seventies, and have been into these things for over 40 years, been on more workshops than I can remember, and he’s the best I’ve seen.”

    Suddenly it dawned on me that I was hearing about the very same man I’d heard about in the meadow! I couldn’t believe I was hearing about him again! I told her about my experience early that summer, and asked her if he gave trainings in Brighton, which included a practice called Falling Lightning. With a huge smile on her face she said “Yes! There you go. You’ve heard it twice — now take the training!” Needless to say, the very next week, I called Stephen, and booked myself onto the next Living with Energy Awareness Training (LWEAT).

   As I sit here at my desk, eighteen months on from my first LWEAT, I feel different. It’s been a subtle transformation, nothingradical has happened, yet I feel radically different. For over a year I’ve been making decisions based on my energetic needs instead of my wants. This hasn’t been easy to do. And I’ve battled time and time again over whether testing what to drink actually makes any difference. But it does, and the more I live being guided by my spirit instead of my head, the more I see the effect of my choices on my energy. For years whenever people told me to follow my heart it only served to fuel my internal longing to know exactly how one does that! I guess it was that longing that finally lead me to the LWEAT.

    Learning to ‘test’ my energetic response to a decision is one of the things I learnt on the training. The more ascending choices I make, the more energy I have, and the brighter my life becomes. So even the smallest of decisions (like testing what colour top to wear this morning) can increase my awareness energy. A wonderful thing about making decisions based on my energetic needs is that it’s full of surprises. Once I was testing whether to go to see a movie with some friends. I’d been wanting to go for ages, and when I got a ‘no’ to going, I was annoyed. I decided to trust my test and stay at home. Low and behold, an hour later, I got a call from an old friend who was in the area, and who desperately needed help and somewhere to stay the night. I was delighted to hear from her, as I was living in deepest darkest Wales at the time. Had I gone to the cinema, I would have been unable to help her.

    Three years ago I went to see a clairvoyant. He said he could see that in two years time I’d be training in something, but it didn’t involve certificates or qualifications. He said the best way to describe it was that I’d be developing my intuition to the degree that I’d be able to sense the small stuff, like whether or not it was the right time to hang out the nappies on the line. It seemed like an obscure thing to hear at the time, but exactly two years later, having forgotten all about the reading, I found myself on a weekend course learning to do just that! There I learnt how to make decisions based on my energy, and this gave me one of the most empowering gifts I’d ever been given – the power to make conscious choices.

Suddenly it was up to me.

    There’s a lot more to energy awareness than testing my actions. Each day (almost!) I go for a Power Walk. This technique, also taught on the LWEAT, is a great way of releasing certain restrictive energies from my past. I can Power Walk to leave past sorrow behind, or anger, or past loves… to mention just some. And the lighter the load of the past becomes, the more energy I have to be in the present. Just this afternoon, as I stopped at the end of my drive to feel which way my energy was flowing (another learnt technique!), I noticed it was going in the opposite direction to where I wanted to go. I wanted to head to the river, but my energy was heading towards the shops. Reluctantly I followed it. I’ve not yet mastered the ability to always accept the spirit in my life with a smile! A few houses down the road my energy swung to the left, and there, on a fence post, was my favourite hat that I’d lost some days previously! I’d been searching high and low for it, and had I followed my head instead of my energy, I’d still be wondering where it was!

    Now movies, nappies and hats may all seem like pretty minor events, but I’ve also had to make some big decisions using my energy awareness.

    As I mentioned, I was living in Wales in 2005, and had broken up with my son’s father. To keep the peace and to keep things simple I decided to stay in Wales rather than return home to the south coast of England. Life was challenging for me, everything seemed like a struggle. As time went on and my awareness grew, I realised that once again I was following my head, and not my heart. A technique from the LWEAT enables me to experience how much energy I am receiving from the sky. Depending on what my needs are, certain ‘skies’ give me more energy than others. Put simply, some places are better for me than others. And, as I suspected, I was not receiving the energy I needed from the sky in Mid Wales. I tested, and found a ‘positive sky’ in Southampton. So I had a tough choice, stay in Wales and keep the family ‘together’, or move 5 hours away to suit my energetic needs. It wasn’t easy but pretty soon I felt like I had no choice. I was starting to see that if I really wanted to change, to be free of the fears that hold me back, then I’d have to follow my spirit. And as it turned out, moving to Southampton was the best move I made that year.

    So what’s the point of all this? Why bother to test whether to have a coffee or a herbal tea? Why spend time testing what colour clothes to wear? Or what movie to see? Why does it matter? Personally, I recognised a long time ago that there were many aspects of myself that didn’t seem like me. I always felt there was a more real version, hiding under layers of other people’s beliefs. So I started my journey of discovery at 17. Many workshops, courses, and guru’s later, I still felt like I was facing the same issues again & again & again. I’d go on a course, it would gloss over the issue in question – fear, lack of self love e.t.c. – and I’d leave feeling fantastic. But the issues were still there. I didn’t feel like they were actually being transformed. The past 18 months have shown me, albeit with a lot of effort, that real change is possible. In order to go beyond my karmas, and enter into the realm of who I really am, I need all the awareness energy I can muster.

    This is why the small stuff counts as much as the big stuff. Each ascending choice that we make has a positive impact on our future. And these choices generate an accumulation of energy that gives us the strength to face and transform our karmas into higher awareness.

    It’s not a matter of worrying whether or not I’ve made the right decision, its about learning to recognise what it is that I need to do now. I feel like I’m only just beginning to truly see the alchemy in each moment. Doing only what I need to do from moment to moment turns my karmas into higher awareness, my lead into gold.

The Living With Energy Awareness Training is run twice a year in the UK by Stephen and Lynda Kane. Next dates 7/8 April 2012. For more information visit eat.energyawareness.org

My first book, The Everyday Alchemist’s Happiness Handbook, takes up the story of the following five years … using the techniques and skills learnt through living with energy awareness as a pathway to everyday happiness. Order your copy now on Amazon.

know one's fool : my experience of training with jonathan kay

'Pilgrim Fool' by Cecil Collins

The first few times I was in Jonathan Kay’s orbit I took a wide berth. Happily those times were at festivals so I had plenty of ways to avoid him. I’d heard rumours. Not unpleasant ones, but ones which made me feel uncomfortable. Twitchy even. Words, whispers and knowing looks that gave me the impression I wouldn’t be able to blend in and watch – that I’d have to be prepared to join in and leave my comfort zone. But I loved my comfort zone, and I was at a festival! I just wanted to relax, not be challenged! So I kept away. Little did I know, had I joined in things would have become far more interesting. Nowadays I’d pay to go to any festival just to see him in action – but it’s taken me a few years to realise it.

   Around the same time that I first heard about Jonathan’s work, I was becoming increasingly aware of the archetype of the Fool. Aside from fleeting visits in Tarot readings, my first formal meeting with the Fool came via my ongoing training with the School of Energy Awareness (SoEA), when it was depicted as a path on the Tree of Life. On the nature of the importance of the Fool as a vehicle to higher awareness, co-founder Stephen Kane writes, “Our self-concerns fundamentally obstruct our progress. Our endless good reasons for not doing anything “foolish”, “irresponsible”, or anything which takes us beyond our usual comfort zone, prevent us from sometimes taking profoundly necessary steps into the unknown.”

    That same month in 2009, at the Tate Gallery in London, I was to meet the Fool again through the work of artist and poet Cecil Collins. On seeing his paintings, a bridge was made between my inner and outer worlds. I began seeing the Fool within and without – a relationship was formed – and felt that on some level he was now holding my hand.

“I believe that there is in life, and in the human psyche, a certain quality, an inviolate eternal innocence, and this quality I call the Fool. It is a continuous wisdom and compassion that heals with magic and fun. It is the joy of the original Adam in men.”Cecil Collins 1908-1989

    By 2011, my orbits around Jonathan Kay were becoming increasingly shorter, whilst my willingness to step outside of my comfort zone had grown stronger. So when I was invited to one of his five-day workshops, I said yes. People’s reactions when I told them I was going varied from looks of horror to wise and knowing nods of approval. But still it remained a mystery as to what the workshop was actually about. Or what would happen. Not unlike the depiction of the Fool on the Tarot card, I was walking into the unknown.

Tarot Fool (Rider-Waite deck)

     And unknown it shall remain. Sorry about that. But six five-day workshops and a decision to train with the Nomadic Academy of Fools later, I believe not knowing what happens on a workshop before you go, and not sharing the details of what happened is part of the magic. But I can tell you how my work with Jonathan is changing me. How it’s touching me. How it’s persistently throwing me off the ledge only to teach me how to fly. And I can give you a glimpse of my revelation that came with the realisation that the thing I was avoiding, the thing beyond the ledge, was my greatest gift.

     As for who it applies to, this work and the benefits thereof, the answer is anyone who longs to create instead of be created. Anyone who wants to become free of the thoughts, patterns and behaviours that keep us trapped in a limited experience of who we are. In essence, anyone who is willing to notice the shackles that bind us, to unlock them … and make a run for freedom! Of course, with its roots firmly planted in performance and improvisation, it’s perfect for performers and speakers of all kinds – which was the deal-breaker for me to attend one of Jonathan’s workshops. With a book tour coming up, I was painfully aware that I really didn’t want to do ‘talks’ anymore. I wanted to share experiences, not to talk at people but to engage with them and have some fun. The Fool seemed to me to be the perfect companion.

     My experience on the first two workshops was light, flirty and fun; a reflection of how I then saw myself perhaps. Only they were a reflection of my surface; of the superficial. In the first workshop, ‘Know One’s Fool’, I watched as other people boldly went deeper, and noticed something waking up inside of me, something that wanted to be discovered … seen. The part of me that had been scared of being seen was actually my superficial self, what some might call the ego. Underneath that, squished away in a dusty box in the attic of my psyche, another part of me was longing to be heard. Hence I booked onto a third workshop, and subsequently signed myself up for the whole year.

     Initially people around me, friends, family and colleagues, were keen to know how this would benefit me. How could I justify spending time and money fooling around? Didn’t I have a new career to focus on? A child to single parent? Yes. I did. But I resisted explaining and asked them to trust me. Or not. But at least to watch what unfolds. Already, after just a few months, their questions have been answered without words. As have mine. (I had doubts too.) I could write a book about all the ways it’s affecting me, but I’ll try to summise the highlights for you here.

I’ve become a better mother. That has to be highlight number one. I’m more present with my son, more creative and more attentive – more ‘mother’ than ever before. He thinks so too – it’s not just me being self-congratulatory. Honest. Call him up if you want.

My relationships have grown stronger. I’m more tolerant, forgiving and can see much more clearly how I was creating the difficulties I was experiencing.

I’m less stressed. My tendency to split myself between roles: mother, writer, presenter, lover, daughter, friend etc., is easing. The discoveries I’m making on the workshops are sewing them all together; a rich tapestry of activities and relationships to be present with, instead of a series of tasks that need doing.

I’m learning to accept my shadow. Something I denied for many years. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that, but I really thought if I didn’t look at it and focused on the light it’d go away! Thankfully the Fool is helping me to see things another way. Jonathan frequently uses the phrase ‘an affectionate alliance‘ – and it’s this attitude that I’m beginning to foster towards my shadows.

     I could go on. But I realise I’m in dangerous territory: that of the nauseatingly positive workshop convert. So I’ll balance it out with the other side. (See how I’m getting the hang of this shadow stuff?) Many nights I’ve come home from the workshop in tears. Other nights I’ve been so shattered, emotionally and physically, that I’ve fallen asleep on the sofa before putting my son to bed. There have been times when I’ve wanted to quit, run away and pretend it never happened. But I can honestly say the good stuff – the process of awakening and homecoming, the unravelling and the discovering – far outweigh the challenges. Which is why I’m still loving it, despite the reluctance that sometimes springs up courtesy of the parts of me that resist change. The rest of me, the part that longs to sing, dance, create and fly is beginning to wake up. I don’t think after a year I’ll be done, I see this journey as a part of my life now, not as something to complete or tick off the list. Each year, the new intake of fools join the Nomadic Academy of Fools at the ‘Eternal Great Beginning’ at their theatre in Spilsby, Lincolnshire. The name of this event sums up the energy of Jonathan’s workshops and also of the other Fools, that there’s no end to this work, that we can simply begin, and begin again. No one is a teacher, no one can qualify and no one can ever arrive. One can only begin to know one’s fool, and share in the love that knowledge brings. And it’s in that spirit that I shall too begin. Again.

To find out more about Jonathan Kay and forthcoming dates for his workshops in Glastonbury, visit jonathankay.co.uk
For more information on trainings with The School of Energy Awareness visit energizeyourlife.org

know one’s fool : my experience of training with jonathan kay

'Pilgrim Fool' by Cecil Collins

The first few times I was in Jonathan Kay’s orbit I took a wide berth. Happily those times were at festivals so I had plenty of ways to avoid him. I’d heard rumours. Not unpleasant ones, but ones which made me feel uncomfortable. Twitchy even. Words, whispers and knowing looks that gave me the impression I wouldn’t be able to blend in and watch – that I’d have to be prepared to join in and leave my comfort zone. But I loved my comfort zone, and I was at a festival! I just wanted to relax, not be challenged! So I kept away. Little did I know, had I joined in things would have become far more interesting. Nowadays I’d pay to go to any festival just to see him in action – but it’s taken me a few years to realise it.

   Around the same time that I first heard about Jonathan’s work, I was becoming increasingly aware of the archetype of the Fool. Aside from fleeting visits in Tarot readings, my first formal meeting with the Fool came via my ongoing training with the School of Energy Awareness (SoEA), when it was depicted as a path on the Tree of Life. On the nature of the importance of the Fool as a vehicle to higher awareness, co-founder Stephen Kane writes, “Our self-concerns fundamentally obstruct our progress. Our endless good reasons for not doing anything “foolish”, “irresponsible”, or anything which takes us beyond our usual comfort zone, prevent us from sometimes taking profoundly necessary steps into the unknown.”

    That same month in 2009, at the Tate Gallery in London, I was to meet the Fool again through the work of artist and poet Cecil Collins. On seeing his paintings, a bridge was made between my inner and outer worlds. I began seeing the Fool within and without – a relationship was formed – and felt that on some level he was now holding my hand.

“I believe that there is in life, and in the human psyche, a certain quality, an inviolate eternal innocence, and this quality I call the Fool. It is a continuous wisdom and compassion that heals with magic and fun. It is the joy of the original Adam in men.”Cecil Collins 1908-1989

    By 2011, my orbits around Jonathan Kay were becoming increasingly shorter, whilst my willingness to step outside of my comfort zone had grown stronger. So when I was invited to one of his five-day workshops, I said yes. People’s reactions when I told them I was going varied from looks of horror to wise and knowing nods of approval. But still it remained a mystery as to what the workshop was actually about. Or what would happen. Not unlike the depiction of the Fool on the Tarot card, I was walking into the unknown.

Tarot Fool (Rider-Waite deck)

     And unknown it shall remain. Sorry about that. But six five-day workshops and a decision to train with the Nomadic Academy of Fools later, I believe not knowing what happens on a workshop before you go, and not sharing the details of what happened is part of the magic. But I can tell you how my work with Jonathan is changing me. How it’s touching me. How it’s persistently throwing me off the ledge only to teach me how to fly. And I can give you a glimpse of my revelation that came with the realisation that the thing I was avoiding, the thing beyond the ledge, was my greatest gift.

     As for who it applies to, this work and the benefits thereof, the answer is anyone who longs to create instead of be created. Anyone who wants to become free of the thoughts, patterns and behaviours that keep us trapped in a limited experience of who we are. In essence, anyone who is willing to notice the shackles that bind us, to unlock them … and make a run for freedom! Of course, with its roots firmly planted in performance and improvisation, it’s perfect for performers and speakers of all kinds – which was the deal-breaker for me to attend one of Jonathan’s workshops. With a book tour coming up, I was painfully aware that I really didn’t want to do ‘talks’ anymore. I wanted to share experiences, not to talk at people but to engage with them and have some fun. The Fool seemed to me to be the perfect companion.

     My experience on the first two workshops was light, flirty and fun; a reflection of how I then saw myself perhaps. Only they were a reflection of my surface; of the superficial. In the first workshop, ‘Know One’s Fool’, I watched as other people boldly went deeper, and noticed something waking up inside of me, something that wanted to be discovered … seen. The part of me that had been scared of being seen was actually my superficial self, what some might call the ego. Underneath that, squished away in a dusty box in the attic of my psyche, another part of me was longing to be heard. Hence I booked onto a third workshop, and subsequently signed myself up for the whole year.

     Initially people around me, friends, family and colleagues, were keen to know how this would benefit me. How could I justify spending time and money fooling around? Didn’t I have a new career to focus on? A child to single parent? Yes. I did. But I resisted explaining and asked them to trust me. Or not. But at least to watch what unfolds. Already, after just a few months, their questions have been answered without words. As have mine. (I had doubts too.) I could write a book about all the ways it’s affecting me, but I’ll try to summise the highlights for you here.

I’ve become a better mother. That has to be highlight number one. I’m more present with my son, more creative and more attentive – more ‘mother’ than ever before. He thinks so too – it’s not just me being self-congratulatory. Honest. Call him up if you want.

My relationships have grown stronger. I’m more tolerant, forgiving and can see much more clearly how I was creating the difficulties I was experiencing.

I’m less stressed. My tendency to split myself between roles: mother, writer, presenter, lover, daughter, friend etc., is easing. The discoveries I’m making on the workshops are sewing them all together; a rich tapestry of activities and relationships to be present with, instead of a series of tasks that need doing.

I’m learning to accept my shadow. Something I denied for many years. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that, but I really thought if I didn’t look at it and focused on the light it’d go away! Thankfully the Fool is helping me to see things another way. Jonathan frequently uses the phrase ‘an affectionate alliance‘ – and it’s this attitude that I’m beginning to foster towards my shadows.

     I could go on. But I realise I’m in dangerous territory: that of the nauseatingly positive workshop convert. So I’ll balance it out with the other side. (See how I’m getting the hang of this shadow stuff?) Many nights I’ve come home from the workshop in tears. Other nights I’ve been so shattered, emotionally and physically, that I’ve fallen asleep on the sofa before putting my son to bed. There have been times when I’ve wanted to quit, run away and pretend it never happened. But I can honestly say the good stuff – the process of awakening and homecoming, the unravelling and the discovering – far outweigh the challenges. Which is why I’m still loving it, despite the reluctance that sometimes springs up courtesy of the parts of me that resist change. The rest of me, the part that longs to sing, dance, create and fly is beginning to wake up. I don’t think after a year I’ll be done, I see this journey as a part of my life now, not as something to complete or tick off the list. Each year, the new intake of fools join the Nomadic Academy of Fools at the ‘Eternal Great Beginning’ at their theatre in Spilsby, Lincolnshire. The name of this event sums up the energy of Jonathan’s workshops and also of the other Fools, that there’s no end to this work, that we can simply begin, and begin again. No one is a teacher, no one can qualify and no one can ever arrive. One can only begin to know one’s fool, and share in the love that knowledge brings. And it’s in that spirit that I shall too begin. Again.

To find out more about Jonathan Kay and forthcoming dates for his workshops in Glastonbury, visit jonathankay.co.uk
For more information on trainings with The School of Energy Awareness visit energizeyourlife.org