Being Me

Wow, what an amazing year this has been, I can’t believe that my blog is almost two years old. The past twelve months have been incredible, I could never have dreamt that I would be able to achieve so much, whilst still battling the chronic pain of Fibromyalgia. I vowed that my illness would never define me, I sometimes forget that it’s there. I have spent much time over the years convincing myself that the medical profession got my diagnosis wrong, that maybe I had post viral fatigue, Lyme disease anything but Fibro…..but the positive outcome of it; my Holistic Fibro Fighter Blog.

I started writing it, as a form of therapy to help me express my frustration with living with a chronic pain condition and then it started to morph into a review of the therapies and activities that I had experienced. I then began to feel pressurised into writing something exciting each month; this was never my intention, I have looked back over my monthly blogs and can see my writing style has changed. I can also see the journey that I have been on and the direction into which I am currently heading.

This Blog is a journal of my journey and personal fight with Fibro, it is fundamentally about me; I almost lost sight of my purpose, by trying too hard. Those of you that follow my blog have your own reasons for reading it should you choose to, if no one else reads it then that’s OK too.

I write from my heart, often with grammatical, spelling or typos, but that’s me! It is a way for me to explore my many ups and a few downs as I negotiate my life living with a body that can let me down when I least expect it. Everyday is a challenge, I have constant pain all over my body, that often moves about, during the day and night. If I am unfortunate to catch a virus it can floor me, I try to eat healthy following a vegetarian diet, I exercise. I enjoy a gin and tonic and a glass of wine, I avoid red wine and caffeine at all costs, I love it; but it causes a massive flare up, its a small sacrifice to make.

I look well; looks can be deceiving.  I put a smile on my face and keep on facing forward, as I am heading in that direction. Every body is different and when you meet me and proffer some well meaning advice, have I tried this or tried that? I will thank you kindly and then continue on my way. I may in the future try something you have suggested, I may have already tried it, I may decline to try it. I know what is the most appropriate treatment for me and my body.

We seem to live in a world where we are all competing to be something, be someone; who is following us on social media and how many friends we do or don’t have on facebook. It is the real people in your life that matter, your family, your close friends, your local support group and the acquaintances you make as you travel through life.

A few months ago, I attended the monthly support group that I went to when I was first diagnosed in 2014, the group has been going for many years and although our numbers have dwindled, we are a determined bunch of individuals and I intend to help to keep the group going, I believe without their support over the years, my story could have been very different.
I am always reminded of the time I first arrived a bit prim, short styled hair, wearing black and white, pale faced and feeling incredibly low in the bottom of a deep hole, I was walking with a stick and on a cocktail of medication. I laugh when I look at myself now, I am so very different, not just in looks but in the way I have chosen to live with my pain.

With the groups encouragement I have been exploring more healing therapies that I could have imaged, and I am sure there are still more to experience, some have benefited me, others I choose not to have again. My body knows what it wants and needs to heal itself, learning to trust that intuition without feeling guilty or the need to explain myself is incredibly important. Saying No; is still challenging, but it does get easier each time I empower myself to follow what I believe is the right path for me.

I have learnt so much about myself, I thought I was looking for something that I had lost. However, it was there all the time; my soul and spirit had become hidden. Having constant pain seems to numb the senses and I lost touch with myself, my inner child and what makes me the unique individual, that I am. Having time to explore who I am, with like-minded people has led to the most amazing experiences I have ever had.

I have taken up new fitness activities Zumba and more recently FitSteps I would never have thought that I would be able to dance with such passion and enthusiasm and love it so much, even if my brain is finding getting my feet, arms and body to go in the right directions. I often find myself freestyling, I can do the exercise at my own pace, with a smile on my face. Fibro does dot define me.

I have learnt to dowse for water, electricity and energy. I have journeyed deep into my subconscious through Shamanic practice, I have birthed a drum, I have attended workshops on crafting, birdwatching and incense making to name but a few. I have meditated with Tibetan monks, watched as they created a peace mandala and then watch its careful destruction. There is much to be learnt, in all of this.

My pain is manageable at present, I continue to have monthly sound Gong baths, I go for regular healing sessions at Lupton. I continue to use Reiki on myself and I am in the process of being able to offer this to others and their companion animals in the New Year.

I use my beautiful drum to energise, cleanse my home and assist in my own healing. I have some great workshops to look forward to over the coming months using dowsing as a healing therapy. I am truly grateful that my life is so enriched with opportunities to help heal myself.

I have spent time enjoying the company of friends and family, the people that I choose to spend time with, I have laughed more than I have cried. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be who I am, to do what makes me happy, without judgement and supporting me during the times that challenge me.

The memory of Gaunts House dancing around the fire until the small hours, awakened in my soul to really embrace Celebrating Life and Being Alive. I am eagerly awaiting to do it all again next year.

Wishing everyone Love, Health and Happiness for 2019 xx


Please find the links to some of the wonderful opportunities, I have been blessed to participate in

Support Group based in Paignton

Shamanic workshops and Celebrating life and being alive gathering

Gong baths and Sound Therapy

Lupton House Healing

Devon Dowsers




Dowsing Energy

I am so excited, I have always had an interest in dowsing and bought my first pendulum when I was 16. I have had a pair of rods since my early twenties but never really used them, they have sat in a box in a draw. As with most things these come into my life for a reason and it has been recently that my interest in earth energy and dowsing has been sparked up again.
I strongly believe that people come into your life to teach you things that you need to learn. Life is forever changing and a journey of discovery. Today I spent the afternoon with a friend dowsing ancient cairns on top of a hill, we could see Dartmoor in one direction and the coast in the distance in the other, it was so beautiful with sunshine and showers we were even graced with a rainbow; I felt a sure sign that we were connecting with the ancestors.

How did I arrive to be here at this point in; time, space and life………….

Earlier this year two friends and I, joined a guided walk to explore Merrivale and the surrounding landscape connecting to the ancestors through drumming, dowsing and being in the moment. Despite having had pendulum and rods in my possession for some time; I had never taken the time to explore how to use them to connect with energy and healing. Maybe it hasn’t been the right moment for me and now it is; sometimes you have no control over your destiny.

I must be honest at this point; it was cold wet and misty up on the moor and I really did wonder what I was doing there! I walked towards a standing stone asking to be shown where the energy began, the rods did not respond, I was quite blasé, this doesn’t work for me. I was encouraged to rephrase the question and set my intention (setting intentions is a bit like positive thought and mindfulness) and once I mastered asking the right questions the rods seem to respond.

I have written in my previous blogs, that whilst I received Tibetan and Crystal bowl therapy, I have had my chakras dowsed, to discover which bowls need to be played during the treatment. Whilst it is very challenging to dowse your own chakras, particularly the crown and brow as it is difficult to see which way the pendulum is spinning, it appears to provide an insight into your health and wellbeing that can benefit your own healing.

At the end of October, I attended a very experiential day with Devon Dowsers, spending it dowsing for utilities, water, leaks in pipes, bore holes, shallow wells and healing energy spaces. I was amazed at my findings and the accuracy I was able to achieve using my rods or pendulum. We even tried map dowsing with very successful results.

During the workshop I spent some time in the middle of a field searching for my healing place. You can dowse for this and then find the spot, then dowse for how many minutes you need to spend in this space to benefit from the healing and dowse for which way you need to face. Prior to doing this, one of the group facilitators dowsed my aura and then after I stayed in my healing space for the required amount of time, my aura was dowsed again, it was2 ½ hrs times further away from me. Now that is amazing! How did I feel? Different, the sun gently warming my back, the sound of silence. I was in a space, that I had found for me, in which to receive my healing. It was not necessary for anyone to assist me, I felt empowered with the knowledge that I can dowse for those energy places whenever and wherever I feel the need. Now that’s magick.

I accompanied my friend to attend the Tamar Dowsers monthly meeting and talk and I came away inspired by what I had learnt and added to my increasing library of dowsing literature. For years dowsers have been searching for earth energies, water, oil, lost things, you can dowse for anything as long as you phrase the questions appropriately. There are a few guidelines to be followed such as asking for permission, making sure you are grounded, protected and remaining mindful of what you are doing, I have been reliably informed that everyone is able to dowse.
Dowsing is using your intuition and putting an extension (the rods/pendulum) to assist in feeling the energy. I would never have believed what you can discover, the possibilities are endless, sometimes it is easier to go with something than trying to analyse how it to works.

Today up on the hill, we knew there were some ancient remains there, but not sure of the exact location and the site was covered with heather, we dowsed for one cairn and having found it, we then discovered a second one, they were next to each other and the outer banks were almost overlapping. We found some incredibly wide energy lines going into them, having placed stones to mark the width of these lines, we dowsed which way the energy was flowing and then went to the other side of the cairn and each time we crossed an energy line, we looked across to discover the stone was marking the spot. All the lines seem to run from Dartmoor down towards the coast, our ancestors decided to build a cairn on that spot. The wonderful thing is that both my friend and I found the same results even when we were dowsing opposite side. You couldn’t make this up if you tried.

When I started writing this blog, I had no idea where my journey would take me, I didn’t think that almost two years ago I would be still writing and would have been out dowsing energy lines. It was not long ago that I wondered if I would be able to walk without the assistance of a stick, but here I was today tramping across the heather following the direction of a pair of copper rods.
“We are all energy. How we use that energy will help to start us on the journey to heal our bodies” that is where my story begins……….

Wishing you love, light, health and happiness during this festive season.

Further information on Dowsing British Dowsers

Circle of Life

The circle of life encourages us to grow physically, mentally and spiritually. We face challenges that may be new to us or even those that we have faced before and probably  will face again in the future. We continue on our own individual journey a series of deaths, lives and rebirths.

When I became unwell 6 years ago, everything changed; my whole world fell apart around me, the things I thought were of value paled into insignificance. The job and career that I loved, suddenly became less important, the love and emotional support of family and friends seem to fade as I battled with the constant chronic pain that no one could see. I began to think I was imagining this burning, aching, debilitation within my body, I was sleep deprived, I couldn’t even hold my cutlery to eat as the pain in my hands and fingers were so intense. My sense of freedom to do the things I have always enjoyed and taken for granted such as walking, driving, going out, suddenly had been taken from me. Leaving me feeling isolated and very much alone.

My childhood, a constant battle to fit it and be someone who I was expected to be. The pain I felt as a child was a deep sense of loneliness, an only child living in a world of busy grown-ups; a childhood of solemn self-reflection with limits and boundaries placed upon me. However it was also a childhood of connecting, I spent many hours on the swing in the garden, here I was able to be free, think clearly, daydream and imagine who and what I was going to be, my hopes, dreams and future life was planned out. Whilst I was on that swing I believed, anything is possible. So, what happened?

I stopped listening to my soul, I stopped feeling with my heart, I stopped believing in fairies, gnomes and father Christmas. I became an adult, who analysed everything, who thought things through, who used the logical part of my brain to make decisions. I asked for advice, I stopped using my intuition and gut feeling, I stopped paying attention to the signals that my body was giving me.
I had the warning signs, a bit of pain in my knees, hips and back, problems with my sleep, feeling overwhelmed by simple tasks. I kept ignoring the signs that my body was struggling, and carried on for months.

I finally had to take notice with the side swipe that knocked me to the floor, you are not listening, you are not caring for your soul, you have stopped nurturing yourself. You will listen, you will rest, you will Stop. I had no choice but to revaluate what was happening to me, pain and illness can have a devastating impact on your life, if you allow it to take over

It was then that I was given space, time to breath, time to be on that metaphorical swing as age and illness prevented me going to the park; the space then became filled with all the things that were really important to me and my wellbeing. I met people that I knew would be supportive, loving and caring, dusting me off and guiding me back to listening to my soul, allowing my heart to rule my head once again and choosing my weapons to fight my battle with fibromyalgia.

It was recently that I met up again with Christa and Sally for a workshop of Shamanic Journeying held at Lupton House. It was almost a year ago that I attended my first Shamanic workshop in November last year. This time it was so different I knew what to expect and I was also accompanied by my own Birthed drum. I think for me, exploring Shamanic practice is about reconnecting to nature, the ancestors and my soul, to experience what I need to know and carry out to heal myself, it is about going into an altered state of consciousness to explore, what makes me, who I am.

I selected The Circle of Life card at the start of the workshop, signifying all things are possible, stand in the centre and be open. The four winds are bringing your dreams to fruition. Embrace and accept where you are in the great circle of life. When this card chooses you, its time to honour and cherish all aspects of the great circle. All parts of the journey have beauty and grace. There is beauty in the rising sun just as there is in the setting sun. To only revel in the rising sun and demean times of endings, depletes your energy. Choose what is….. and you become master of your own personal universe.

I have experienced altered states when meditating, guided visualisation, day dreaming and even bird watching. As a child I was often daydreaming especially at school, having the ability to drift off, shift my mind away from reality, to perceive that which is beyond the ordinary. Exploring these realms that exist outside of my own reality of physical sense and thinking allows me to unlock my understanding of myself and who I am and see my world from a different angle. Altering my brain wave pattern from Beta waves used in thought, concentration and creativity to Alpha waves of relaxation producing a feeling of euphoria and wellbeing. This is very healing.

Journeying with the use of both the drum and gongs together and separately can take me to a deeper state of altered consciousness by using Theta wavelengths provided by the beat of the drum. I start the journey by setting my intent, what I require, what I need, then allowing the thoughts, pictures, feelings, smells that I experience to happen as it is, without trying to analyse or change the experience. It is, what it is; I then provide myself with time and space to reflect on what I have discovered.

During the workshop at Lupton I was finding it challenging to reconnect to my power animal, my ego was getting in the way and preventing me from having the experience, I was trying to analyse and make decisions whilst in an altered state and this led to frustration. Later in the day when we were asked to journey for someone else, I allowed what I saw, felt, heard and smelt be the experience and it was amazing as it made sense to the person I was journeying for; my ego and rational thinking could play no part in what was happening in that moment. A lesson to trust, believe and let go.

I believe that by Shamanic journeying and entering an altered state of consciousness I am allowing my body to support its own wellbeing; as did our ancient ancestors. It is time to return to the old ways without the use of chemical or medical intervention. I can connect to my heart, soul and spirit and learn what I need to do to heal myself. I do not always need to attend a workshop as Sally and Christa have made a brilliant recording of the drum and gongs, enabling me to take these journeys at home.
Using the CD for a recent journey I was able to set my intent to reconnect with my power animals that I encountered last November. I was able to allow my altered state of consciousness to explore and experience what I needed to know.

She sits daydreaming on the swing with all her hopes and dreams, trusting her intuition and listening to her soul speak, not from her head………from her heart.

I am currently undertaking a research project for my level 4 Counselling Course      “Shamanic Journeying ~ the effect on wellbeing”.  I would be interested to hear from anyone who would be willing to participate in a short questionnaire on this subject or is able to provide some information that I could use as part of my research. I would be grateful if you could please leave a message on my website with your email address or message me through facebook.

CD and downloads available from Sally Free

CD and downloads available from Christa Mackinnon

Lupton House

Reset your mind, body and soul

Wouldn’t it be good if we could press the reset button and our body went back to factory mode setting; well only if you were manufactured with the perfect body to start with. Now that is wishful thinking!
I am thinking of more a life, before chronic pain took hold. I started the reset process in my body this month with a Gong Bath, it was amazing, I fell asleep, when I woke up I was startled at how bright it was, despite the cloudy day. This can sometimes happen after a therapy, you suddenly become aware of nature and things seem so much more emphasised, larger, louder, clearer, softer…… it was like I had gone into default mode, experiencing a rebirth moment. It has been a while since I had a full dedicated gong bath that was not on a retreat or at a festival. My body went yes, this is OK, I remember this, wow, sleep, rest………RESET!

I decided this month to experience a totally new type of sound therapy to me. It is using the very old and ancient sound of the Tibetan bowls, where the bowls are played and placed on and around the body.
I am always up for trialling any type of holistic treatment that may assist in the management of my pain caused by fibromyalgia, I decided not to have any other therapies whilst I gave the bowls ago, so that I could really judge the impact of them on my body.

My first session was interesting, having previously experienced the crystal bowls I was not sure what to expect for this treatment. I was made to feel comfortable on the therapy bed, then gently held by my ankles which were pulled to open my chakras, (please just stay with this, if it all sounds a bit weird). I then had my chakras dowsed to see which were unbalanced and to determine which bowls would be used.
I then turned over onto my stomach with my head up near most of the bowls positioned on the floor. Bowls were gently placed along my spine and each encouraged to sing. I must be honest at this point; to begin with I did not enjoy it. It made me feel sick. Then gently the bowls were moved up and down my body. When a bowl was removed to be replaced by another one, I could feel my body tensing and I was in half a mind to ask her to stop. As with most therapies I have discovered that you need to give it a go and sometimes more than once; as it is the bodies way of adjusting to a new stimulus, or as I like to think pressing the factory reset button.

When I turned over to lay on my back and have the bowls placed on my front I felt this fear of dread and sick to my very core, not what I was expecting from a relaxing Tibetan bowl therapy session!
However, I continued to persevere with the treatment. At the end as with most sound therapy there is a small amount of silence allowing the body to integrate and the body’s cells to absorb what has happened. It was then suggested that I would need a further two sessions to really feel if there was a benefit.

Following the first session, over the next few days I did feel less pain and tension in my hips, knees and ankles. I then became quite unwell I think possibly a virus, which knocked me sideways, I found that I was unable to do much over the weekend with little energy, a nasty cough, sore throat and a nose that would not stop running. I almost cancelled my appointment for the 2nd treatment, but I woke up feeling better. I was uncertain if the treatment had caused this or if I had picked up a virus, I will never know.

Having the second Tibetan bowl treatment could not have been so different from the first, although the session was structured the same. My body seemed to be more accepting of the sound vibration and when the bowls were being moved on my back It felt comforting and cocoon like, I could feel the very bronchioles deep within my lungs being massaged. Now that is a bit weird! The whole time the bowls were being played I did not cough once, my nose did not run, I was left feeling more energised. I was told that having dowsed my chakras, they indicated that my immune system was compromised.

My third session again was very different, my body was accepting of the treatment and no feelings of dread or sickness. Only two bowls were used on me this time and one was so deep and reverberating I had a feeling that it was ‘searching for my soul’, there was a concentration on my hips, knees and ankles and each time a joint was reached, the bowl was gently chimed. The vibrational feeling went right into the centre of each one, so very powerful. During the silence at the end I had a sensation of going back very quickly through a star-studded black void and then just as quickly shooting forward into a bright sparkling light as if going through granite, I then felt grounded. It was like past, present and future rolled into one; my mind, body and soul reset; very surreal.

After the session had ended I asked about the big deep sounding bowl, that seemed to be searching for my soul, it was explained that it was the largest bowl and usually is not moved around the body as the magnetic handle placed within it, will not normally hold. It decided to hold for me, maybe what my body needed.

How am I feeling now? Different, I can’t quite explain what has happened; it is as though something has shifted deep in my core, my soul feels lighter, balanced, grounded at one with by body. I have not noticed any pain. If that’s what happens after three session I daren’t even begin to imagine if I continue to have more. Sound therapy for me is an incredibly important part of my pain management plan, giving me the opportunity to press the reset button…….

If you want to find out more about Sound Therapy please visit Sally Free Sounds for the soul

Do What Makes You Happy

I have not had the desire to pick up my drum, practice yoga or go for a healing treatment, I just wanted to be……I think it is important to listen to your body, let your soul and spirit speak to you and feel what is in your heart. We spend so much of our lives trying to please other people and not necessarily ourselves. Sometimes you need to be selfish and do what is the right thing for you. Do what makes you happy, do what makes your heart sing, do what you want to do, when you want to do it, even if it is just for a short time.

Just before I took my healing sojourn this month, I attended the annual Lupton Festival, I got there in plenty of time for the opening ceremony which we were all given strips of coloured ribbon to attach onto the ancient oak tree on the front lawn of the house. It was a very magical and special moment. I have always had a strong affinity with the Lupton Healing Oak Tree, its majestic trunk routed firmly in the ground with its boughs spreading out, enveloping me in a massive comforting hug, supporting a whole universe of other plants and creatures within its branches. If I place my heart against its truck I can feel totally at one with the energy of the universe, plus no one bats an eyelid if you hug a tree here.

I attended several workshops at the festival although it was on for two days I was only able to make it on the Saturday. I enjoyed a wonderful gong bath with Sally and then this followed with a Shamanic journey facilitated by Christa together with Sally and the gongs; both therapies I found to be very powerful and healing, they took place in a marque and lying on a blanket on the grass with the sound of the fountain in the background really solidified the whole experience.
Later in the day I moved into the coolness of the Sanctuary to make my own Traditional Incense with Mortar and Pestle Magick, following a delicious vegetarian wrap for lunch, I headed back to the Sanctuary for an Orgonite Workshop, the three pieces that I created are now spread about my home and apart from the benefits of turning negative into positive energy they look amazing. I was unable to stay for the evening, which included fire walking, music and drumming no doubt it was an enjoyable night. I however felt immense gratitude for allowing myself the time to do something that makes me happy.

It was in the first week of my holiday I decided to try an activity that I had not done for years.
As a child, I used to cycle everywhere, giving me the freedom and independence to go off to explore. Becoming older and in not so great health I still have that desire to feel the wind in my face and that sense of freedom once again. I decided to hire a bike, the route chosen was alongside an estuary on a cycle path, I thought it would be flat, but suddenly a hill emerged along route and I had to get off and push, the bike I hired had only three gears and a very uncomfortable saddle. I was a bit wobbly to start with, once I realised you never forget how to ride a bike, the feeling of freedom and the wind through my hair brought the biggest smile to my face. My only fear was fatigue taking hold of my body, leaving me struggling to get home. Luckily despite being a bit achy when we returned to our starting point, nothing that a cup of herbal tea and a big slice of salted caramel chocolate brownie wouldn’t put right!
It was then I decided to try an electric bike………hills, no problem and when I feel a bit tired, pressing a button and it is as if someone is giving you a little push that helps you to dig a little deeper. I’m now hooked on cycling again at last I can do a physical activity without the fear of running out of steam. Yes, you have guessed it, this makes me happy.

I have always loved to dance, usually it has been in a club, at a party or more recently around a fire. I was somewhat surprised that whilst in my local supermarket a track was being played that found me shaking some moves down the fruit and veg aisles. It all came a bit too naturally and made me chuckle. I realised it was a track that we have in the Zumba class. I cannot wait to get back to it and perfect those routines, so I can go shake my booty whilst carrying out the weekly shop. This is going to make me happy.

It wasn’t until earlier this week that I returned to my weekly yoga practice. Since I started Kundalini yoga earlier this year, it is a practice that fills my body with energy and gives it a good work out and I have noticed an increase in my lung capacity, practicing the breathing techniques. The mediation and mantras we do give me the opportunity to look inwards. The beautiful village location has a wonderful energy and a great outlook onto the meadow behind. I leave the class feeling amazing and watching the cows run across the field gently lowing to the farmer always makes me smile. This makes me happy.

My mum always said, ‘Do what makes you happy’. So that is exactly what I intend to do. Life is very precious, and we are here for only a short amount of time, so doing things that make you unhappy cannot be good for your wellbeing. No matter what challenges my health throws at me, if I am doing what makes me smile, all will be well in my little corner of the world.

Lupton House

It is so worth it…….

Living with pain does not mean I need to stop doing the things I have always enjoyed doing, but it makes me stop and consider the impact it will have on my body, we all need to take care of ourselves and love who we are. Life is very precious, as is our health; having poor health makes it more challenging but not impossible to live the life that the heart and soul desires.

This month has been interesting with the hot weather, I have noticed that my Chronic Fatigue heightened and I have spent some weeks just wanting to sleep during the day, I awake in the morning feeling unrefreshed and this is when I know the pain will start to niggle its way into my joints, starting with knees, elbows and feet. Some mornings getting out of bed causes such severe pain in my toe joints that I hobble around until, the pain gradually subsides. What possibly didn’t help was dancing until the early hours either around a camp fire or more recently jumping up and down at a concert; However, on both occasions it was so worth it!!!

At the end of June, I went to a gathering of like-minded souls in the heart of the Dorset countryside at Gaunts House, the reason; to Celebrate life and being alive, a retreat and gathering between the worlds, what a fantastic way to empower and rediscover myself. I haven’t lost me, but over the past 5 years facing the challenge of living with chronic pain, something changed; I became a person who I hardly recognised, someone old beyond their time, a someone who ends up not doing things as they feel too tired or their joint pain puts heed to their activities. I look well, but hidden beneath my shell, is a body that sometimes just lets me down. With Fibromyalgia, pain changes and moves around the body without warning, there is no set pattern with the disease, it effects those living with the condition differently and we all have our own unique symptoms, there is no cure or control over this, making it more difficult to get on with life. Fighting any illness daily, leaves you feeling exhausted in mind, body and spirit, which is why I explore all types of holistic therapy to enhance my wellbeing.

I have previously experienced a workshop run by Christa Mackinnon in Shamanic Journeying, accompanied by my friend Sally Free who is a Gong practitioner, at Gaunts they were joined by Heike Jenkins who runs drum and music circles and provided us with canvas and glitter for our amazing art work at the weekend. The three of them, facilitated the most wonderful weekend I have ever had the chance to participate in. I was joined by a number of like minded souls, some camping and others like myself decided to have accommodation which was in the old stable block, or the main house. It was an incredibly hot, sunny weekend but the outdoor pool, provided a cool refreshing pastime should anyone wish to take a dip and many did.
The food at Gaunts was vegetarian and prepared by an amazing group of volunteers, the main house still maintains its grandeur of a family home, the tranquil grounds surrounding it provided plenty of space for quite reflection, walking, journal writing and just being . Yani Vark took the most beautiful photos that captured the real essence of the gathering.

Celebrating Life was a wonderful weekend of empowerment, connecting with nature using gongs, music medicine, shamanic journeying and working with the medicine wheel. The weekend was filled with activities, but with space to take time to reflect on being in the moment. After the opening ceremony on the Friday night, it was followed with the Gongs played by Sally which encouraged a deep restful sleep for me.

Saturday morning dawned with the promise of wonderful experiences to come and I was not disappointed. We started with a gong bath, followed by music medicine ran by Heiki, I picked a shaker that made me feel like I was in the ocean, it moved from side to side in a gentle rhythmic sound of the ages. Making me smile. This then continued into shamanic journeying with Christa, during which I had a sense of freedom and memories of my childhood playing in the fields, no sense of danger and a great feeling of the love I have for life. I could feel tingling in my legs and the right-hand side of my body, the side that the pain tends to dwell in. I felt a strong desire to heal and be healed.
After lunch we danced and danced and danced….. and then walked the labyrinth whilst continuing to drum. The rest of the afternoon involved glitter and glue and sticking things on to some beautifully prepared canvases, you can never have enough glitter in your life. Creating art work is very powerful and encourages the brain to switch off from over analysing things and to just be in the moment. The remainder of the afternoon was to collect bunches in preparation for the fire ceremony later that evening. I went off in search of wild flowers and herbs similar to the bunches I used to make as a child with my mum and it was on this forage that I came across the old walled garden of Gaunts, where just the gentle humming of the bees and the stillness of nature was a joy to immerse myself in.

After dinner I took a stroll down the lane to visit the Starhenge cosmic stone circle, there is something very magical around stones and circles and only wish that I had taken my dowsing rods with me.
The fire was lit later that evening and we all sat around it with our drums and collected bunches, I felt a deep connection to our forebears as I placed my flower and herb bundle in the fire and watched the rosemary scented smoke rise to the sky. The ceremony was closed down and then as the fire continued to burn and the night sky darken and so the dancing began.

Modern society has changed our being and it was here at Gaunts house dancing around the fire that it dawned on me, that there is something very powerful about dancing around a camp fire, primitive, soul enhancing, I felt a huge sense of joy connecting with the fire, dancing on the earth in bare feet. It was here I reconnected with myself. It was in the early hours of the morning as the fire died down that I found myself heading off to bed, with dirty feet covered in ash, but a heart and soul full of joy and the most amazing feeling of being alive, really alive. My body ached but I knew the adrenaline pumping around my body would sustain me for a few days within the state of euphoria.

I slept well, maybe from exhaustion but woke feeling refreshed, Sunday was started with Heike’s drumming circle, music is very powerful it aids healing for mind, body and spirit, following this with one of Sally’s gong baths, Christa explained how to worked with the medicine wheel, I found this ancient form of meditation to confirm; I believe I am me, being true to myself, can help me heal. I have always had faith that this time of suffering with pain will pass, to be free from all that holds me back, to love life and live.

Following lunch the weekend came to a close with a drumming circle and closing ceremony. I came home from the weekend feeling so amazing, I knew that I would be tired but I was so high on life, sometimes it is really important for me to weigh up the consequences of enjoying myself and feeling alive or giving in to the pain that ravages through me. Fibro has taken my body, but I refuse to let it take my soul and spirit.

Sometimes you really have to embrace the opportunities that come your way; Celebrate life and being alive. Believe me it is always, so worth it.



Walking Your Own Path

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors. To experience their pain, hardship and maybe joy. To explore what it really means to live and survive in an often-hostile landscape and environment. To see through their eyes the beauty and wonder that this planet had to offer?

Every time a look at the news it is about war, violence, politics, plastics in our oceans, crime, disorder, ill-health, greed and the like…… I am curious; did our ancient ancestors have the same issues or were they very different. How did this all come about?

I recently had a week of enlightening experiences, I was not expecting to partake in one of them; it all happened by chance. But I am learning in life as I walk along my own path to healing, that there are no coincidences. After receiving healing at Lupton a couple of weeks ago, I arrived later than normal, and when I came out The Tashi Lhunpo Monks were about to start their opening ceremony for their Peace Sand Mandala. I was invited to stay and how awe-inspiring I found both the monks, the creation of the Mandala and the significance of me of being there, at that point in time.

I felt such a strong urge to follow this path to see the creation of the Mandala and then witness its destruction, the following morning I made 45-minute journey to spend time mediating with the monks, before seeing more work on the mandala. During the mediation I found a depth of clarity and rewarding of how simplicity can aid in nourishing the soul, leaving behind the pain, trauma and stress that I seem to invite into my life.

I was unable to attend the following day but felt the urge to see this through. On the final day I decided that I would give yoga a miss and again return to Lupton, to witness the destruction of the beautiful peace mandala.
My soul was searching for healing, it has been just over a year since my father died and I have been finding the right moment to scatter his ashes. It seems that spending time with the monks was giving me strength through meditation to find a way forward. As the ceremony took place, I commented to a friend, that wouldn’t it be lovely if our cremated remains were the rainbow colours of the sand mandala, she said, ‘but they are, in here’ and held her hands to her heart. Oh how true, how the whole mandala is so symbolic of birth, life and death. As I watched the coloured sand pouring back into the water, it all started to make sense. We are but small grains, but together we can make something so beautiful and then return to the earth. I was invited to take a small amount of sand with me, knowing exactly what I intended to do with it.

The next day I had arranged to join a mindful walk on Dartmoor, exploring our ancestors, dowsing and using earth energy to connect with the landscape, although it was cold, wet and windy for most of the time, it was exhilarating to experience the harshness of the moor at its best. After exploring some tors, stones rows, round houses and stone circles, I became connected to the energy of the ancient ancestors that left their mark on the landscape.

To walk down a line of stone rows, that have stood since the bronze age; feeling the energy, following an ancient route that had a burial cairn at the top and then a gentle gradient downhill towards the river, again I was being shown the cycle of life. When you stand in the centre of a circle surrounded by stones and connect to your being, understanding how our ancestors studied the movement in the heavens of the sun and planets and built monuments that relate to moments in time, that have stood the test of millennia. It is with awe and complete wonderment that I wish to honour them, and myself. Four years ago, I would never have managed or even contemplated trekking over the moor. For me it is about never giving up hope and taking opportunities that cross my path.

Sometimes my healing journey takes me off at a tangent, now and again; but health is not just about aches and pains. I really believe that your soul needs to heal first, then mind and body will follow. I have learnt that well-meaning people will offer advice, and when you do not act on it, they feel put out. That’s their stuff to deal with, not mine. Making your own choices in life is important and only each and every one of us can know or experience what it is, for us.

My fathers ashes are now scattered together with those of two of our beloved dogs and a little bit of coloured sand, I have honoured my ancestors; now I feel, I am free to continue to walk my own path…..

Find out more about  Mindful walking tours


The Journey Continues

As part of my holistic journey I have found sound therapy to be beneficial to the management of my chronic pain caused by Fibromyalgia, this sound has taken the form of gong, tuning forks, crystal bowls and drumming whilst also practicing yoga, Reiki and more recently joining a Zumba class. I would not have believed that I would have been able to participate in a dance fitness activity following my diagnosis in 2014, when I was walking with the aid of a stick. I have always maintained that I will keep on fighting this, exploring activities that I feel will benefit in assisting my body to heal itself. I believe that a lot of my healing has been a reaction to the sound and rhythm allowing the very cells of my body to absorb and be agitated, bringing them to life; it makes me smile, I feel happy and with that, energy seems to flow and the pain melts into the background.

I have always been interested in how our ancestors dealt with health conditions using herbs and natural therapies to alleviate pain and health conditions often administered by the wise elders of the indigenous groups around the world. Something that I feel, we have lost in our modern society of technology, stress and burn out.
This has led me on to the path of Shamanism, learning to feel the connection between nature, mother earth and my whole being. Rhythmic drum healing is a very ancient therapy that has been practiced for thousands of years by many cultures to promote wellbeing and healing using the natural law of resonance to restore the vibrational integration between mind, body and spirit.

I could not believe my luck when I was offered the opportunity to birth (make) my own Shamanic Drum in a one day bespoke workshop which was held locally.
Prior to the day we were asked to source a piece of wood to use as a beater, so during the storms and following the blizzards a couple of months ago, I wandered along the seashore and found a beautiful piece of drift wood, which I felt was perfect for my drum.
I attended the workshop with a mix of excitement and apprehension, after being so poorly at the start of this year with a chest infection and chronic fatigue, I knew that birthing a drum was going to be very special. I would be creating this wonderful tool for healing and it would be taking place on the full moon.

There were five of us attending the workshop, our first task was to select our 16 inch rounds of wood than had been handcrafted to form the frame for the drum.
It’s really strange when you sit and think about making a shamanic drum for yourself, I really wanted to feel that I was in touch with my ancient ancestors, the night prior I had not had the best of nights sleep and had been very restless so arrive feeling a bit jaded.
We were invited to select our deer skins that were outside in five buckets, Phil had had spent a lot of time in the days prior, preparing them for our use. He explained they were all different sizes. I selected the last reamaing bucket, this turned out to be the smallest skin.
At first I felt I little bit of disappointment, but then realisation that envy is something that I need to work with, I was starting to discover that my little deer was going to teach me some very valuable lessons in life. We started to connect with our drum, by some shamanic journeying which is similar to a deep mediation whilst a drum beat is played, we did this at various stages throughout the workshop.
After cutting out the circle to make the drum from the skin, we were asked to make the umbilical cord to lace it all together, from the same piece of skin. There was a concern that I would need to use an additional skin as my hide was quite small. However I ended up with about so much cord, I had a lot left over after I had laced it, my second lesson from my little deer, just because something is small, it does not mean that it cannot generate a bountiful supply.

Later we following the Shamanic tradition walking in single file, stepping in each other’s footsteps, while Alex drummed for us, making our way into the woods. We came to a large tree and then took it in turns to test the strength of our umbilical cord, which we had taken with us. We were asked to lean back and take the strain of the cord to see where it breaks, having completed that ritual, we returned to lace our drums.
This was the most challenging part of the process, I discovered you need a lot of strength to lace the back, to ensure the face is kept taught. I think this was the time when I felt most connected to the process and started referring to the drum as her, I don’t know how or why, I just knew. After a fair bit of effort and some help from Phil I finally birthed my drum.

I have been taught that great patience is required both during the making process and the need to be allowed to completely dry before being played, each day I kept going to look at the change in the colour on her face and eager to hear her first sound. Her markings are similar to looking at the moon, I see pure beauty; the significance of birthing my drum on a full moon is being able to use the strong energy as a very positive opportunity and illumination to the world.

Two weeks later, on the new moon when an energy portal is opened up to bring in your good intention and manifest healing energy, I knew it was time to hear her play. The sound that she gives out is so very special, I feel a very deep connection to nature, to my ancient ancestors and also to the spirit of the deer coming through the drum.

Earlier this week, after a particular challenging day, I picked up my drum, sat out in the garden in the evening sunlight and quietly played, letting the gentle rhythmic beats flow through my body, quieting my mind and bringing loving healing energy to my soul. I feel truly blessed, and so the journey continues……..


If you would like to know more ~

About birthing your own drum please contact  Phil Rowe Drums

About Sound Healing Sally Free ~ Sound Therapist




Dance to your own rhythm

This is me………………………………I am starting to emerge from wherever it is, that I have been lying dormant, waiting for this moment.

Life has been a bit of a struggle the last couple of months and I been battling with my health, not necessarily Fibromyalgia, but a lot of chronic fatigue and issues with coughing and the infection in my lung. Having had all the tests and the medical profession finding nothing to report, I had a bit of a déjà vu moment, in 2014 the day that I got my Fibro diagnosis, the life changing label. Only this time it was different. Nothing to report, no diagnosis, no further treatment. I was going to have to find my own way out through this again… I still had the cough, I still had the exhaustion and I still wanted to feel well again.

Having not been to a yoga class for 5 weeks, I decided now was the time to try to find a different sort of yoga, having been practicing a similar type of yoga since my fibro diagnosis, I wanted a more dynamic class, but one where I could still do my own thing, if all became too much.

Well I found it and the venue has a heated floor as well, luxury. It looks out onto the lush green valley side and whilst practicing you have the sound of nature; the screech of a buzzard, the chatter of nesting birds and a small brook babbling away. The class is so different from any other yoga I have taken part in, it is more active with options given for each pose. The session starts with mediation and breathing, which flows on into and through the practice. At the end of the class I feel more energetic, grounded and at peace with my body, mind and soul.

With my new found energy, I also decided I wanted to try out a new fitness class, I’m not a gym bunny and the ideal opportunity arose with a Zumba class. I went to the first session before I had my chest infection, and then unable to attend due to lack of breath for some weeks, I have now returned and I love it.

The fantastic movement that Zumba allows, even for those suffering from chronic pain is that you do what you can and what you want, within your own range of mobility. Even my lack of coordination doesn’t matter, my feet are often going the wrong way, but who cares there is no one watching; well at least I hope not! Apologies to those lovely ladies who end up behind me.
I think I shocked a few people at first, when they heard I had been to a Zumba class, “that’s fast going isn’t it?”, “you be careful” and “wow that’s amazing”. Yes it is amazing, and no matter how young or old you are, or feel, you are given a warm welcome and there are no judgements, your body joins into the rhythm of the music and it becomes contagious. After the class a few of us may even head to a local hostelry to replace our lost fluids!

I gradually started to feel better, the more I stretched and exercised my lungs, through walking, yoga, Zumba and a bit of light digging in the garden, the more the coughing ceased, my lungs felt more open and the tiredness began to evaporate. I even noticed that I danced across the lawn when the sun was out last week! I have started to feel more alive, energised and ready to absorb the new wonders that are awaiting me whilst I continue on this magical journey of self-healing, soul expansion and enlightenment.

I believe, if you really want to do something and improve your quality of your life, you just need to give it ago, do it your way. Listen to your own body, let your breath be your guide in dancing to your own rhythm, do what is right for you.

‘Dance like nobody’s watching.
If you sense they are, let them make eye contact and smile, show them that your soul is free.’


Want to find out more, please click on the links below

Yoga Loveliness                    Zumba – Shake it Fitness Devon


My recent blogs

Behind the Mask

The Crystal Healing Bed



Behind the Mask

I’ve been really struggling this month, pretending to the outside world that all is well. I am not struggling with chronic pain, but I am struggling with my health. When suffering with Fibromyalgia it can mask other things, so when I feel a bit unwell, I put it down to Fibro and dismiss it. This has resulted in yet another battle I am fighting against ‘holistic versus modern medicine’.

I had another session on the Crystal Healing Bed at Lupton this month, I think they forgot about me so I was on a bit longer than usual and although I did cough a few times, I was left feeling very invigorated with a zest for life. So much so that I even gave a new dance fitness class a go, and discovered the joys of Zumba, I loved it. Knowing I needed to pace myself after completing a vigorous form of exercise, I decided to give my weekly yoga practice a miss. I felt good the following day, apart from an annoying cough that I have had since October.

Towards the end of the week, I was finding myself wheezier and the cough keeping me awake at night. So I made that call to the doctor, I even started apologising for calling them and said I feel a bit of a fraud, as I don’t really feel ill, I just have this annoying cough and its causing some pain when I take a breath in. Turns out the doctor I saw thought I had pleurisy, so given antibiotics to take and rest.
Not one to take antibiotics, I was anxious as to how they were going to impact on my body. I felt a whole lot worse, I started to actually feel and believe I was ill. The mind is so very powerful.
I felt sorry for myself and lying around resting, meant not doing anything. I should have gone to have my monthly gong bath, but felt too unwell as my cough seemed to have become worse since visiting the doctor.

A week later, I still had the cough so returned to the doctor, this time sent for a chest x-ray and given a short course of steroids. Expecting the steroids to kick in and the cough to ease, I couldn’t have expected the reaction I had, on the first day of taking them; I thought my blood was boiling, I had a massive pulse in my neck and could feel the blood pumping down into my legs. I took to my yoga bolster, and put my legs up in the air in a supported shoulder stand and gave my body some long gentle breaths until I felt calm and grounded again.

Having had antibiotics, steroids a chest x-ray that shows nothing sinister. The doctor seems to be at a loss, so I’m now waiting to have some blood taken. In the meantime I have been battling with fighting this holistically and the intervention of modern medicine.

I went for healing this week and whilst receiving my treatment, the healer working with me started to cough, I however did not for the whole session I lay there and at the end I felt a lot lighter, my energy had shifted, my wheezing eased.

I am a strong believer that we all have the ability to heal ourselves, but when your energy levels are so low, it ok to ask for help. That help can come in the form of holistic therapy healing or with medical intervention.
Thinking back, our ancestors must have asked for help and advice and would maybe have visited the local shaman or wise person, who using their skills and knowledge would have prescribed a medicine made from natural ingredients or a ritual to carry out to rid you of your disease.

I think it is about balance, the battle I have going on is of my own making.  It is important for me to live by the values that are important to me and my lifestyle. I don’t pretend to be someone who is pure and perfect and living this wonderful holistic dream. This is part of my journey and I have free will to make choices about how I treat my health. If I decide that modern medicine and holistic therapy can work together to help heal my body; then so be it…….

“Remove the mask, and be that magical, beautiful, genuine, and not quite perfect person, you really are”



More Information about Gong Baths

More information about Lupton House Healing