It’s a bit of a long-shot to claim that I met my soul mate as a result of finding a natural way of healing the chronic condition I was experiencing around the turn of the century, but my life took on a new direction at that point which opened my eyes, and perhaps more crucially, my heart, enabling me to see and feel things that simply hadn’t entered my consciousness before.
The first of these was food, specifically natural food and its healing power. I’d already undergone surgery and synthetic hormone treatment for endometriosis, and as it started to re-appear less than two years later, I was keen to avoid more of the same. Something prompted me to look outside of conventional medical science. I chanced upon a book about healing endometriosis through nutrition and read and absorbed every page. What I discovered astounded me, because I did heal from the condition with no input from any of the (very lovely) people in the medical community. Why had they not made any mention of food? Why were they considering surgery for me for a second time when changing my diet had the power to resolve my illness?! Over the years, I’ve answered these and other such questions whilst immersing myself in learning about natural food and other means of supporting and promoting natural healing.
All of this changed me and gave me a sense of purpose alongside teaching languages at a Sixth Form College in Cumbria, so when Graham Henry found me again in 2009, I was different from the person he had originally met in Germany in the early 1980s, not just because I was that much older, but because I’d come to new realisations about life and ultimately about him! We’d met as students in Germany and we became friends, meeting up once in the early 90s and otherwise maintaining sporadic contact. If at that time, someone had suggested that we would one day marry, I would have dismissed the suggestion without further consideration. He was a friend, a Yorkshire man .. not very exotic. By 2009 though, I had very different values and priorities, and Graham clearly had depth, sensitivity and a truly beautiful heart. We wasted little time and were married less than two years later.
Together we are a little out of the ordinary. Graham lost weight, a significant weight loss, as he adopted many of my ‘natural food’ eating habits, (which continue to evolve as we do) and the impetus of that discovery prompted us to share with others what we’d discovered for ourselves. We’re a husband and wife team who set out to educate and inspire others who also wish to make life changes. To date we’ve run talks and classes, including meditation classes, but primarily around food, and we have provided lunches for those curious to know more about our high raw diet. We haven’t finished learning, and I hope we never will. Life throws challenges our way, which, in 2018, included virus-induced chronic fatigue for me. Again, I have looked to heal myself naturally, to bring myself back into balance, and once again, I have had good reason to thoroughly appreciate the power of nature, specifically whole plant foods. I have been completely free of the fatigue for long enough to conclude that it is now part of my past and not my present.
That said, I nevertheless succombed to some of the after effects of Covid 19. I was justifiably confident about the fatigue part which resolved swiftly as I emphasised and de-emphasised foods accordingly. But I hadn't previously experienced the breathlessness that marked this post viral challenge as different from that of 2018, and clearly I needed a different response for it. I wrote about how I discovered dysfunctional breathing (mine) in the first of a series of blog posts on the subject. It was probably no surprise that breathlessness should be the major post Covid symptom I was experiencing. The fascination with what I was discovering led me to the most wonderful teacher, Patrick McKeown and Buteyko Breathing and I undertook his training as a Buteyko Breathing Instructor and then later as an Oxygen Advantage Functional Breathing Instructor, because I absolutely must not keep this to myself.
We are living in Germany again, in Berlin, a move we made between the two 2020 lockdowns. We preceded this move by intensifying our knowledge of plant based nutrition through a year long course delivered by Drs Rick and Karin Dina whose knowledge, teaching skills and integrity we regard as "Gold Standard". We aim to ensure that these attributes are always woven into our own message about plant based eating. The education we experienced was relevant to us personally in helping us to thoroughly understand our own health challenges and the positive outcomes that ensued when we adjusted our diets. My final project for the course was an extended essay examining the possible reasons for success of raw plant based diets in fibromyalgia sufferers according to two studies from 2000 and 2001 and, due to my personal interest, I also considered how this might apply to chronic fatigue.
I am an accredited Mind Calm and Body Calm Coach, two meditation programs created by Sandy Newbigging.
In 2014 we published a small book of poems written by me. The book is called Calm InSight. I am delighted that Sandy was willing to write the foreword for the book.
If you want to hear any of the poems, there's a small collection of them, read by me, right here.