Individual stories - Free your-SELF! - group course
Sasha - Movement Director and mother
It has been amazing! I didn’t know what to expect and it has been an incredible, actually life-changing experience.
I felt very stuck and, though I had lots of thoughts about how to move forwards, everything I tried seemed to stall or get lost in day to day life before it had got started, which had led me to feel trapped and resentful where it felt like nothing could change.
I was struggling in finding clarity. I'd previously felt as though the things I wanted were at the top of a steep climb and I just had to keep pushing myself to get there. This has just led me to see things are possible when approached with ease and kindness. Somehow the next steps are clearer and there feels to be no challenge in moving forward.
I’d had the feeling that if something doesn’t change then the things I want are never going to happen. And a realisation that something had to shift before I could move forward and that couldn’t be done with willpower. There's something very powerful in the process and it’s great doing it in a group setting. Being able to share the experience heightens it and actually doing it online works really well. Being at home, on my bed (in lots of blankets!) allows me to make connections with my everyday life.
I think I am the happiest I have been in a longtime and what’s so exciting is these changes are not coming from any exterior motivation, it’s not a job I’ve got or a person that’s lifted my mood, it absolutely is a mindset shift that allows me to view myself differently, my life differently and to have the power to change what is no longer serving me. I feel lighter and stronger, more able to confront issues in a non-critical way. I feel a lot more like I’ve arrived. I’ve also remembered that pleasure is allowed! It’s something that I’d really forgotten, especially over the last couple of years.
I had a moment realising something had changed just walking back from a lunch break. I was tired and didn’t want to march straight back into the studio and I could hear an old belief saying ‘it doesn’t matter what you feel’. I’ve always heard this as a call-to-arms, to keep pushing, to work harder. But this time I challenged it, allowed what I felt; walk back through the park, look at the light. It was a small action. But a big shift for me.
We read about these things, listen to podcasts etc., but we rarely allow ourselves the time to truly explore our thinking or what’s standing in our way and to any friend on the fence I’d say do the course! It’s such a gentle and supportive environment: to explore the things that hold us back, to alter the narratives that have built walls between us and what we want, and because you’ll learn how to hear your own voice again and silence the beliefs that have stood in your way.”
Jan - Dr of Psychology
"My mother’s death meant that changes were going to happen within my understanding of myself. There were side issues to do with relationships, the fact that I did not have a secure base during lockdown but my mother’s death was the ‘tipping point’.
At first, I was apprehensive about the group because I rarely unburden myself to others and I am known as a very private person but this was a very special group, well facilitated, the language was gentle, Simon held space and I saw them unfolding. I was aware of Simon’s expertise in handling a group.
As a Dr of Psychology I understand so much of this stuff but I still found nuggets within. The final session was very profound and I began to show the ‘real me’ as did the others. It was definitely something that changed my experience of myself - from fear of being able to deal with stuff to someone who is prepared to move forward.
I have several important decisions to make in the next few months and I feel more able to face them and not shy away from their implications.
I have realised that I WANT to be happy.
And that is the route that I intend to choose in the future and I know there will be pitfalls but life is short and it is about time!
Yes, I would recommend this course because it has opened me up…and given me the tools to begin my journey of life again.
I encourage friends to try it and chat to Simon about whether or not it would help them."
Blossom - Grandmother, mother, nurse (retired)
Do any of us really know who we are?
New challenges crop up all the time, but I felt I was at another crossroads in life, and didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in. I was going through the motions, not sure what I wanted.
But I knew I wanted to free myself from a past, that I no longer wanted to think about.
There wasn’t a specific moment I realised I had to make a change, but I knew I wanted to give it a go.
And NOW…? I am sooooo looking forward to the future - (although I do know to live in the NOW!).
I originally felt nervous about being in a group but that disappeared the 1st day, even though everyone was different and facing their own challenges. IT DEFINITELY HELPED… a feeling of togetherness… a bond was formed.
And Simon was such a calming presence the day would fly by.
The course was AN EYE OPENER.
The stages… enlightening… sometimes emotional… DEFINITE CHANGES… Understanding of things and reasons… and a whole lot more - INCREDIBLE
The results ARE incredible, and being in the group verified it - because you saw their results also.
I am definitely much more open, I am not so frightened to let my guard down, and things that seemed big issues aren’t so much anymore. I am definitely more pro-active. I was very bad at putting things to one side (especially paperwork), pushing them aside and not dealing with them, then they would pray on my mind. Dealing with stuff straight away feels good, and I have definitely during this time dealt with things I had been thinking about for a while.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the course. The reason you are sitting on the fence is the reason to do it.
An AMAZING and WONDERFUL journey and experience
It definitely IS life changing - THANK YOU!”
Julie - parent/ writer/ performer
ME: So remind me, what was happening for you before you signed up for the course?
JULIE: Well it’s been such a strange time for everyone that I was actually even feeling kind of weird being a Mum - locked up - no let up. Plus it felt like the goalposts kept moving! I was trying so hard to stay positive - and that was exhausting - and I was getting really snappy you know… like really… with my partner… and he’s been working all hours.
I kept trying to do some yoga and meditation and feel grateful, but you know, with two exhausted parents and Sammy wide awake at 5am.. tranquility and gratitude weren’t winning out here!
ME: And creatively?
JULIE: O zilch! I mean singing and writing were just some former life. And I think I’d kind of… lost confidence - in me. And not just in the creative stuff… And every time I tried to start something it just got lost in a domestic black hole - so if I’m honest I felt a bit resentful… and trapped. Stupid really - I knew I shouldn’t.
ME: So what resonated about the Free your-SELF! course?
JULIE: Well I think I’d read something you’d written about creativity and parenting and putting everyone else’s needs first… and that definitely clanged a chord… And then we talked and... something felt right about it - it was something for me…
ME: So how has the course made a difference?
JULIE: Well I’m so much happier for a start! Actually I get a bit kind of teary when I think about it… (laughs)
I’m kinder. To myself. And that has really shifted something for all of us I think. I’m definitely calmer and more patient with Sammy - so he’s thrilled I did the course! (she laughs again)
ME: So things have really changed for you?
JULIE: God yes. I mean I’ve started writing again - and actually finishing stuff. I never believed that time was possible to find. Things are just… clearer - there’s less challenge moving forward somehow.
ME: And how would you describe the process?
JULIE: Amazing. It’s been incredible - actually life-changing! There’s something so powerful about it that… even though you might think you know some of this stuff in theory - the course really… somehow - I don’t know how… (laughs) …enables like an embodied understanding of how we see ourselves and where that comes from. You really ‘know’ it. And I loved the clear steps - real possibilities of how to make things better. I loved that clarity - that there are real practical steps to what is like an inner - spiritual - shift. And I’ve got so much frickin’ energy I scare myself! (she laughs again)
ME: So what would say to a friend who might be thinking about trying the programme?
JULIE: O f*** do it! So, so do it! It’s gentle and supportive and yet… my whole mindset has completely changed. I view myself differently, my life differently now. And I feel so much stronger. Me again… actually no, better than any me I’ve known. Even my mum says it! (she laughs)
Naomi - mum of three
“I'm a frazzled mum of 3 little ones, who never finds time for self care :)
After a long time ignoring my own needs I felt a strong urge to reconnect with that inner me that for years had been last in the pecking order. But I was struggling with not having a clear idea HOW and what my needs are! For a time I felt not seen, not cared for. And it manifested in extreme impatience and annoyance - with loved ones :(
I am beginning to realise I need to do the seeing and caring.
The group is intimate, supportive and welcoming, with none of the uncomfortable exposing yourself to strangers that you perhaps anticipate.
Simon has a way of bringing understanding of emotions that can be life changing.
I’m more nurturing and forgiving with myself.
I feel calmer than ever before.
I can listen to myself better (which has brought much needed clarity and compassion).
Perhaps parts that’ve held me back can pass the baton to the creative day dreamer that’s also within…?
Without sounding totally woohoo, I had the realisation that many inner voices weren’t based in reality and as such, irrelevant.
I so recommend this without a shadow of doubt! In fact I’ve gushed about it so much I’d bet on my husband signing up!
Why wouldn’t you want to shift anything inhibiting your potential and ability? Not to mention learning skills that’ll help those around you. You see them with new, compassionate perspective.
Expect a seismic inner shift that’ll bring drive, energy and joy.”
Ginny - now retired - mum/ grandmother/ divorcee
"I thought this course would be mainly for younger persons struggling and trying to cope and juggle career/ children/ relationship/ home life (although I’ve been there).
Over the years we all have events that happen in our lives, that we put in a box, firmly close the lid and hide them away in a corner of our mind. None of us can change the past. I’m now retired, my children are adults, I escaped a bad marriage.
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to keep the lid closed, so in order to move on it was time.
I was drawn to the title ‘Free your-SELF!‘ But I’ve gained a whole lot more than just the initial reason for joining. It’s like venturing on a journey without knowing the destination, visiting places on the way you didn’t know existed, along with places you never thought you’d RE-visit.
The course is FULL of coping tools and mechanisms. It’s helped to bring the past to the present, sometimes gently, sometimes emotionally and has created an UNDERSTANDING OF HOW to clear or acknowledge and accept issues holding us back. It gave me a wonderful feeling of CALM.
Simon is very knowledgeable, kind and understanding, with great empathy (very generous with time) and maintains contact through follow up e-mails and meditations and more than happy for you to message him. The course doesn’t stop at the end of each day.
Saturday made a major change for me, a huge realisation. On Monday I made positive decisions I’d been pondering a while, and on Tuesday I woke up and could feel there’d been a huge shift.
I felt different and knew I was entering a new chapter.
I would totally recommend this. Whatever stage you are at in life
It improves Self Confidence, Motivation and Positivity - if you think the time is right - DO IT!
(ps Simon has the most beautiful voice, so joining for the meditations alone is well worth it!)"
Julie - artist
"I was drawn to the programme because I was feeling stuck in terms of my creative work/output. I just seemed to lack the emotional and physical energy to get going and this was affecting my life adversely because I need to paint in order to feel fulfilled. I just seem to have freed up the energy to be inspired and can go through the process of completing a painting again.
For example, I've been driving the Poitiers to Saintes road for years. Each evening I think to myself that I must get a photo of the stunning sunsets to inspire a painting – next week/ month/year! I just pulled off the road and got the photo and I'm now working on that painting! It seems to be a matter of both the physical energy and the mental activation. It’s just easier now!
The last few years it was really just a recurring sense of helplessness which hindered me from creating. There were no tools available to me at that time.
The exercises and meditations seem to be designed to elicit new and profound insights. They're very strong and impactful. It’s been interesting, surprising and fun! And I’ve been surprised by elements of my psyche that I’ve not met/seen before. I think this is, in large part, the means by which my energy has been released. I just spontaneously picked up my materials and started painting!
I'd definitely recommend the programme to others. I find it user friendly, without tedious jargon or complex explanations. And it’s also a colourful, creative experience and very interesting to interact and hear the responses of the other participants. It has, however, communicated several crucial points to me which are very helpful. IT’S ALSO FUN!
I want to say: ‘Go ahead, do it! YOU’LL HAVE SO MUCH MORE ENERGY AND GAIN DEEP INSIGHTS INTO YOUR PSYCHE WHICH WILL HELP YOU IN YOUR LIFE."
Rosie - Psychologist
“I hit rock bottom from time to time and… it’s useful to have someone who’s ‘there’ who can aid you through.
I wasn’t certain I’d enjoy a group environment, BUT I’m really enjoying sharing with the others, seeing the progression. The time seems to fly by!
I sometimes feel I haven’t made any progress… THEN I find myself FINDING MY VOICE and explaining things… making the necessary changes to my life. Making the first step is hard… and I WAS ABLE TO DO IT!
My confidence in my ability to handle challenging situations has really grown and also the insight into how my life is panning out e.g. the spiritual plane has been truly useful (and I like that process).
I’VE ALWAYS BEEN AWARE OF AN INNER KNOWING BUT TRUSTING THAT IS DIFFERENT.
Everyone has their own journey and that’s the strength, but it’s challenging to explain this to another! Simon’s humanity is enabling in the whole process. He gives you nuggets of information… to move you forward. His absolute strength is his confidence in his ability to do his work and his humanity (and indeed humility) in approaching this work.
I want more freedom to live my life on my own terms and not let myself get in the way. I’ve learned that I can sail my own ship and the waters aren’t always comfortable, but I can pick and choose the situations that interest/ excite me.
I JUST FEEL MORE ABLE TO HANDLE CHALLENGES… (and it’s nice to know Simon is in the background should I need a brief chat ).
I recommend highly for those that want some knowledge and understanding of who they are and what they want from life.”
The Free your-SELF! programme runs for 4 full days online