“It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness."
- Chuck Plalahniuk,
At the age of 27 I began experiencing horrific symptoms. Some days I'd be doubled up with severe abdominal pain, I'd lose weight easily and regularly would pass large amounts of blood.
For months Doctors kept telling me I had IBS (which I renamed as the ‘Instant Bull Shit’ answer). Intuitively I knew it was something far more than that.
At the age of 29 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.
This diagnosis floored me. There’s something about receiving that type of information from a Doctor, that although you know deep down there is something seriously wrong, you still feel in complete shock and in disbelief.
I knew I had to leave my job. I ended my flying career and moved to New Zealand with my then partner.
6 months into my New Zealand life I suffered my biggest flare up. I dropped from a healthy 60 kilograms to a very unhealthy 48 kilograms, and very suddenly.
Health is a Duty:
Not only is health a normal condition, but it is our duty to not only to attain it but to maintain it.’ - Joseph Pilates
I could no longer be the 'people-pleaser' that I had become from childhood, and holding my emotions in, creating dis-ease in my body. I knew that in order to honour my body and to look after my mental and physical well-being things had to change. I started to research what foods were more calming on the body, I downloaded meditation apps and I started to structure my days around wellbeing practices. I journaled about what was working and what wasn’t, and I started to really feel this sense of love for myself and my body. This was the first time I realised the importance and significance of creating routines in my life.
After a 6 month recovery I moved to Sydney where I joined an outdoor fitness group primarily to meet new people.*
I started to really see the benefits, both physically and mentally, of how exercise started to play such an important role in my life. This is how my Health and Fitness career started and I became a Pilates Instructor and a qualified Personal Trainer, combining strength work with the mindfulness practice of Pilates.
During that time I also ran a Leadership and Mentoring Programme and this is where I started to learn a lot about mindset and positive psychology. I became so fascinated by the power of the mind and the impact it could have on our everyday lives. I then decided to combine all my passions and learnings to create ‘Mindset & Movement,’ creating routines and rituals to create a state of calm in the mind, body and life.
In November 2018, I went back to Scotland. My father was diagnosed terminally ill, he was a very sick man, cancer and cardiovascular disease, which left him a bilateral amputee - AK (both legs amputated above the knee). I was incredibly lucky that I was able to stay and care for him during his last months.
why I do what I do
My passing of my father gave me first hand experience that through rituals and routines, we can all create a state of calm within our mind, body and life.
During those last few months I set an intention and made a commitment to myself, and that was to be SO PRESENT during every second I had with him, as I knew he could die at any given moment.
In order for me to do this I knew I had to up my daily practices. Non negotiable morning and night time routines and rituals, to keep me in a calm state of being so I could enjoy those last few months with him. Obviously there were times when it all got too much, I'm human, however I wholeheartedly feel that without creating these in my life, those last few months would have been far more hectic and less memorable.
My father passed away 2.11pm on March 26th, and at 7.00am on March 27th I did my very first live webinar on 'routines, rituals and the importance of being present.’ I prepared myself for about 90minutes prior (meaning I did my morning rituals, I meditated, journaled, went for a run, and I did some powerful breath-work techniques in order to create a state of calm in my mind and body, enabaling me to then show up on the webinar and present my work with confidence, pride and joy.
And this is why I do what I do, as I have firsthand experience that through rituals and routines, we can all create a state of calm within our mind, body and life - no matter the problems or difficult moments that life inevitably throws at us.
*Jan 2021 I am currently in remission , off all medication, & maintaining my health through lifestyle and mindfulness practices.
I was born in Scotland, youngest of three and grew up on a farm. Things changed for me when I started school. Very early on I was bullied at school (by my teacher). Unable to process what was going on at such a young age, and a family that didn’t quite get the seriousness of the long term effects, I quickly learnt that in order to receive love, to fit in and be loved, I had to please everyone around me, and quieten my own voice.
At the age of 24 I joined the airlines as cabin crew, and although part of that was a very glamorous lifestyle, the other side was the 24/7 haze of jet lag, the complete disruption to my natural body-clock rhythms, no energy to exercise and a lifestyle that played havoc on my hormones and health.
“You may experience 3 minutes of excruciating pain and then you'll die"
I felt numb as I sat in the chair across from my Gastroenterologist, seriously underweight and suffering severe acute malnutrition, I felt paralisyed by fear of what he was about to tell me, yet I felt ashamed and angry at myself that I had prioritised everything and everyone else over myself for so long. The feelings of regret at how I had ignored all the signs my body had been screaming at me for months. ‘How could I have let this happen’, kept playing over and over in my head.
The Gastroenterology team were in complete shock at how my intestine had not yet ruptured, it was that badly infected and inflamed. “You may experience 3 minutes of excruciating pain and then you'll die, and unfortunately there is nothing we could do to help you." Those words still send fear through my body.
I felt like I was walking around with a ticking time bomb strapped to my body, weighing a mere 48kgs. My condition was now life threatening with a HIGH chance that my intestine could rupture at any given moment.
I talk about this being the day I ‘woke up’ and began my healing journey. The reality that I could have not been here today was clearly enough to give me the courage to make the changes I knew I needed to make.
This included healing both physically and emotionally and a commitment to change my ways - not just through diet and exercise, but mindset and meditation.
My Favorite Quote
I know of no other single thing so conducive to misery as an uncultivated and untrained mind.
I know no other single thing so conducive to happiness as a cultivated and well trained mind.