Stories from the first Free your-SELF! group course
Sasha - Movement Director and mother
“So far 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.”
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.”
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."
The Free your-SELF! programme runs for 4 full days online