How did a researcher end up as a life coach?
I often get asked how a researcher ended up as a life coach. And, as with many people, the journey was an unexpected one. Where we end up can be very far from the start.
And yet, if we look a little deeper, the connection is always there. There’s always an early message, opening the path, guiding the way.
My interest in the mindbody connection started at a young age. I remember receiving a book about Aromatherapy as a gift from one of my friends to congratulate me on my Confirmation. Yes…my Confirmation as a Catholic. Clearly she had an understanding of me that I hadn’t quite tuned into yet.
Towards the end of high school I became riddled with chronic eczema, an incredibly frustrating illness that impacted me severely for the course of the next 4 or 5 years. None of the usual tests indicated the root cause. No allergies. No changes in diet, product use or stress.
But… I seem to have been picking up stressors at a different level.
Things were changing in my home, the family structure was shifting and my system seemed to be tuning into the energy of it.
I didn’t cry much in those days. I didn’t feel able to. About to start my final exams, I drew on my ability to disconnect. “I can’t get upset today, I’ve got an exam tomorrow.” “I can’t have this argument right now, I’ve got to study.”
So started many years of silence. I didn’t engage with emotion. And I didn’t speak my truth.
Despite my deflection tactics, my body continued to reveal its truth. Without the ability to express myself in a healthy way, the hurt, anger and grief erupted through my skin, desperate for a way out. I was riddled in it. A young woman masking her emotions, but visibly wearing her pain.
And so began my journey into the world of mindbody health.
I started reading and stumbled across a book about Ayerveda. While all the students around me were partying it up in smoky pubs, I was giving myself coconut oil massages and cooking careful meals. I started exploring the possibility that there was an underlying depression in my system. I lost weight. Lots and lots of weight. But something was opening up. And I was starting to see the connection.
My body was speaking my truth where I wasn’t able to.
I started my first job and began my corporate career. Rational and analytical by day, I delved into the “other” word on weekends, attending courses and workshops that explored intuition and the MindBody connection. I learned about massage, and energy healing and meditated daily.
My day job was interesting and satisfied my need for connection and puzzle-solving. My hobbies were fascinating and satisfied my interest in mystery and concepts.
For many years I operated between these two realms. Practical and unemotional. Curious and open. A disconnect between head and heart.
But the common thread was there: a fascination with the underlying story, a desire to join the dots and a curiosity about finding my truth.
Fast forward a few years and a mesage came so loud and clear it was impossible to ignore.
Whilst attending a conference in London, I remember feeling a deep sense of misalignment. As if this wasn’t my space anymore. And that it was getting too difficult to pretend.
I clearly remember thinking “let me just put the mask on this week and get through it”. Those were my thoughts. Those were my exact thoughts.
The conference ended and I hopped on a train to visit my aunt in Brighton. As the journey progressed, I felt a pain and a swelling develop around my ear. Over the course of the next few hours it progressed until it covered my entire face, an angry and inflamed rash masking the entire right side of my face. It was shingles.
My body was speaking my truth once again.
Already curious about BodyTalk, I used this as an opportunity to explore further. And after one single session, the symptoms started to subside. A week later, my face had almost returned to normal.
I was intrigued. And persuaded.
I gave myself a year to complete my studies, working to save enough money and to plan my exit strategy. Finally, at the end of 2011, I said goodbye to my many years in corporate and opened my BodyTalk practice.
Clients came to me for any number of reasons: from migraines, chronic infections and fertility to apathy, anxiety and depression. I offered BodyTalk as my core and as I furthered my studies, introduced new tools like Eating Psychology and Breathwork for support.
As I continued to work with people, I came to realise that the symptoms they presented weren’t what mattered.
What mattered was what was going on in their lives at the time. The symptoms were just the way, any way, that the body was indicating imbalance.
What mattered was what matters to us all: we all have a desire to be heard; we all want to feel connected; we all want to feel empowered and we all want to live our lives in alignment with who we really are.
The “talk” component started becoming a critical part of my sessions. I listened deeply to what people were struggling with and I cheerleaded a new perspective. I shared tools my clients could use on their own. I started leading workshops to help people discover what they’re hungry for. And I witnessed the incredible awakening power of the Enneagram.
Without realising it, I’d become a coach, mentor & facilitator. All with the common aim of helping people find and live their truth.
My journey continues ofcourse. Whether through pneumonia, anxiety or injury flare ups, my body still lets me know when I’m out of balance. My old tendencies to self-protect and avoid pain are still there. But now I’m more aware. And my desire to live an uncompromised life means I’m less willing to run away.
Today my work feels aligned with my truth. After 6 years of offering BodyTalk sessions, I decided to stop practicing in favour of coaching and team facilitation. I chose what freedom and ease and expansion feels like to me.
And I get to witness the amazing shifts that happen when other people choose their truth too.