Totally Kate Moss-ed

CS77073062When Reggie Kray teaches you the meaning of life.

Some of you know this story, most of you probably don’t, but as I’m now motivated to write my life stories out, to begin telling my tales and to start reflecting on it all, I bring it here first with a hope it inspires, provokes, or stirs something in you on reading.

I picked the photo above as it’s one of the infamous Kray twins with their mum Violet. Reggie and Ronnie Kray were renowned fearless gangsters in London in the 1950s and 1960s. Arrested and convicted in 1969, they reigned the London Underworld with an iron fist for a good twenty years, ruthlessly killing and taking out whatever and whoever stood in their way of dominating the city, whilst remaining their mother’s blue eyed boys until her death in 1982. Paradox one.

I met Reggie Kray in Parkhurst Prison in the mid eighties. It feels like another lifetime to me now; who I was then, what my life was governed by and how I lived it, but it was me. It was the me that was forming the woman I am now. It was as much of my vulnerable, tough, determined self as I am today only in a different form, the chrysalis if you like, the chrysalis that became the butterfly with gloriously painted wings.

Reggie had been in prison almost 20 years by then and he was to die aged 66, freed from prison on the grounds he was terminally ill and having served 31 years of a life sentence. When I met him, he was in the middle of writing a book on Cockney Rhyming slang (hence the title of this post) which is actually available to this day – check Reg Kray’s book of slang on Amazon!

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Human beings are strange paradoxes most of the time, but why so? How and why do our moral values change? What influences our perception of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’? Is there a generally accepted ‘code’ of life?

There was a gangster code of honour when I grew up in and amongst the Manchester Gangland scene, which I later discovered in London too. Certain things that were seen as not acceptable to do amongst your gangland peers and so there was this weird contrast of shocking things people would do outside their circles, to a kind of piracy code of honour about what must never happen within those circles. Are moral values selective? Can we justify not killing the women and children whilst abusing our own (Reggie Kray’s story around is wife until her death is loaded with allegations)? Paradox two.

Back to Parkhurst visiting room – so Reggie Kray is sitting there animatedly talking about this book he’s writing and I’m sitting there right beside him animatedly listening. Suddenly I catch myself on – am I listening because I have forgotten who he is and what he did in this moment of relatively ordinary exchange, or am I afraid and smiling all the wider because of it? No, not that. I have forgotten his record sheet whilst this man chats amiably about writing. I have forgotten where I am, and why I’m there. Paradox three.

I am all Kate Moss-ed; I am lost.

I’m 24 years old, I’m naive as hell yet streetwise as anything (paradox four). I’m visiting my boyfriend who is also in Parkhurst prison serving a five year sentence for aggravated burglary. I am coping; on the outside of those heavy key-laden locked iron doors I am coping by filling myself with class A’s, ignoring my heart, and locking away my own worth as securely as those doors in the jail are locked once visiting time is over.

I looked like this (on the right)

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I write all this not to just tell you about my life, although I am documenting it for my children in doing so, but more to pose the question – who were you in the journey to becoming who you are, and if that is an endless changing rhythm (which it is as it’s impossible that this can stay fixed – law of nature etc) then surely we are all just in eternal flow? If we are all in eternal flow, can we let go of attachment, recognise that our lives, the people in them, the moments we share are all just that…life! Just one big, juicy, terrible, wonderful carnival.

I learnt about myself that my resilience is strong, my ancestors embedded that into my DNA, that we are survivors of hard lives, lives which were ruled by struggles with poverty in the Lancashire cotton mills, forged in monumental effort and lifted out of that through education and self made opportunity. I’m entrepreneurial – it’s in my blood, but many of you may not have known why that is. It’s down to my ancestors, but it’s also down to me, to my constant knowing that even when times were shit, they could be different, better, and more true. That this was not all there was and damn but I intended to find the ‘what is’ rather than accepting this half life and half truth. So I left that life, I finally admitted myself to hospital to clear the class As from my body (one of the toughest things I’ve ever done) and then began the long, slow haul of clearing them from my emotions, feelings and my spirit. I could just as easily have chosen to stay there and watch myself slowly die; others did and I watched them die instead, sobered into a tougher resolve that this would not be my life, that I would not end here in a crummy London Basement absent from my pain and absent from all of life’s riches.

There is an old saying “necessity is the mother of invention,” one of the most true sayings I know! Whether that necessity breeding inventiveness is born of poverty, hardship, desperation and despair, or simply a knowing that anything is possible if we believe it is so, then it has worked regardless of its origin. If you have moved even one step from where you were to where you are now, then you are learning, growing and changing. Give yourself a break, let life serenade you, congratulate yourself for every battle you’ve overcome, but don’t take a seat on that armchair of pain and suffering whatever you do, for you may just find you take root in that chair and forget how to be alive, and that would be a most tragic waste.

So meeting Reggie Kray and realising this man I was looking in the eye had committed these terrible crimes; had driven his wife to suicide, had killed people in cold blood so de-sensitised that he could just keep doing it until he was stopped, and yet was vulnerable, childlike and in some way charming by then (paradox five), I realised that life has whatever meaning we ascribe to it. I recognised that I was only responsible for the living of my own life, and for the the ripples I create in the living of it in the lives of those I love who surround me – in other words there are consequences to our choices. Now I live with that knowing and it has become my teacher and my guide, as it probably always was.

Totally Kate Moss-ed? Not any more…no.


Walking with grief and mystery

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“Wherever there is love, there is grief – a life without it is unthinkable.” Stephen Jenkinson, Orphan Wisdom School

Last night I was in the presence of greatness. Not the kind of greatness that relies upon fame or status, pushing or preaching, but the kind of greatness that comes from inner knowing, deep listening, and the ability to understand the mystery of life.

Stephen Jenkinson, founder of the Orphan Wisdom School is currently touring the UK. I found Stephen’s work ‘by accident’ when scrolling through Facebook recently, and was so touched and inspired by what I saw in his short film ‘The Making Of Humans‘, that I began to look further into his work. His life journey has taken him into the realms of palliative care, and the deep exploration of death and the process of dying. If this were me, that would inevitably mean an investigation into life and the process of living, and I’m sure, having heard him speak last night, that this is what he’s done too. In knowing death, he has come to know life. In knowing life, he can meet his death. If I was dying, I would want someone like Stephen to be there; no patronising, sickly, sugar coated pandering, but a brutal, truthful, irreverent and wise assessment of life.

I wrote five sides of notes in his ‘event’ (it was neither a gig nor a talk, but went beyond both somehow) and as a result I’m now compelled to tell my own stories, to bring to light all I’ve lived with and through, not just for myself but as a duty to my children and my friends, to those who would miss me when I leave this mortal coil. In dying first, we are not there to assist those we love with their own deaths, so in telling them frankly about our lives, and about our dying, we are loving them that little bit harder and in time, they will come to know and understand this.

Death and endings are the only eternal cosmic certainty, and yet we avoid them, hide from them and suffer in their wake, choosing to hang onto the idea that everything must stay, that we must turn away from endings of any kind, and from death for fear of becoming maudlin or pessimistic, and yet this denial of what is primarily life, creates so much pain.

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I believe that one of our primary greatest fears as human beings is of being insignificant, of disappearing, of life having meant nothing, of people carrying on without us. Life does exactly that you see, it carries on without us and that can be a bitter pill to swallow.

The razor sharp edges of communication are honed by dying” – Stephen said this last night whilst he was storytelling. It struck me like an arrow to my heart as did so much of what he said. Since being a child I have always felt such an innate fascination and connection with both language and words, and dying and the dead. Through my shamanic work I’ve been called to the aspect of work assisting souls to pass well in psychopomp practice, and through my other energy healing practices, I maintain a kind of knowing and connecting to other realms. I won’t go into that here, that’s not what this post is about, save to say it’s a connection I recognise somewhere deep in my soul, and Stephen’s work resonates and intrigues me; he intrigued me.

Combining exquisitely moving music from one solo musician with his own writings, Stephen captivates his audience. We were spellbound from start to finish; it was truly one of the most profound things I’ve ever witnessed. I’m glad I got to see him before the  progressive heart disease he spoke of takes him to meet his own end. He spoke of love, of truth, of the relegation of what we perceive as ‘darkness’ and the misinformed split between angels and daemons – he said “the heart of the night is just another form of light” and it is.

He counselled not to look too hard and let life become scrutiny, to let it remain a mystery. Let death inform your life, let not the fear of it rule it. Be candid about death – when did we lose our ability to marry candour and compassion in these things? When did the ignoring of death become something we applaud as life affirming. Stephen likened ignoring death to a pregnant woman saying that her pregnancy is not such a big part of her life; would we applaud that or understand that, or might we feel shocked and concerned to hear that? Did we lose our connection to our bodies and souls so much that all can be explained away, ignored as we push on and drive hard through life, and has the ‘light’ of positivity become segregated in the playground of life from the ‘darkness’ of a falsely perceived negativity? Death and dying aren’t something to ignore, they’re fucking omnipresent from the moment we are born! So how do we embrace what Stephen referred to as “the wretched loveliness of our crooked lives”? We embrace it all! We practice gratitude with conscious presence. We allow all and we refuse to separate light from dark, good from bad, as religion has done so successfully through time with grave consequences.

Dying well is a new way of living life, in the awareness of obeying its’ way of ending” – it’s inevitable, it’s profound and it is a mystery.

I will begin writing my rich and incredible life stories today; this wonderful man has shown me how important that is.

I will return to my love, to my curiosity around death, to my psychopomp work, and to assisting those who may be more fearful of living life because of attachment to it and our fear of dying.

I will explore once more what I started exploring two years ago, the practice of soul midwifery. There are some things your soul just knows. In the awareness of dying you “bring your life” to the table.

Becoming an elder is born of initiation, not age. It’s in the moment you realise none of this lasts, nothing is permanent, when you can accept that and allow it to pass through you painlessly and effortlessly just like a movie style ghost may pass through your physical body.  Live your life well and die well. Make your life count not because you fear disappearing (you will), and live it well not in spite of death, but because of it.

Stephen signed my book, looking me in the eye and telling me “the ancestors are here” (I wasn’t sure if he meant in general or in my case as he only said it to me). I’ve always felt them, in fact even my marriage cloak has the runic words ‘may the bones of my ancestors make me strong as I walk in their footsteps’ embroidered into the hood.

Stephen wrote:

“To Stephanie, would that the old worthies come down to the table, break the crystal and spill the best wine” (the old worthies are those ancestors). This simple note made sense of everything for me – life is not about ‘getting it right’, or ‘being perfect’, it’s about becoming comfortable with our imperfections, celebrating mess, not holding onto only the easy sides of life, but instead embracing the rich experiences of all of life, allowing it’s juicy, painful, bittersweet and wonderful stories to touch your soul. It’s about laughing joyfully and weeping sorrowfully sometimes in the face of life and nodding knowingly at death. It’s about consciousness and all that is.

“Somewhere in between right and wrong there is a garden, I will meet you there.” Jalaluddin Rumi

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Bliss Balls (not that kind…!)

18556132_10154402081381481_8446408233370599132_n(Almost) Raw Vegan Treats

So those who know me know I spend much of my life thinking about juicing, dreaming up recipes, exploring new flavours, developing recipes and more. Last night I actually woke at 3:00am with a whole new cleanse in my awareness and had to get up and write it down before the dream time evaporated taking the inspiration with it! Watch this space and check my website as it will be on there soon www.stephmagenta.com

Meantime, I also love to create raw treats, clean food recipes and generally enjoy experimenting in my kitchen. I make these to go with customer juice cleanses for those who want a little sustenance with their cleansing, and they always go down well. They were a top seller in my juice bar Love Juice back in the day with very good reason…they taste amazing! These absolutely gorgeous beasts were posted on my instagram yesterday and I promised to share the recipe so here you go – enjoy xox

Makes approximately 21 balls:

500g organic dates

2 heaped tablespoons no palm oil organic peanut butter

3 tbsp organic tahini

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 heaped tbsp de-hulledvorganic hemp seeds

1 large tbsp organic maca powder

3 tbsp organic cacao powder

1 tbsp organic lucuma powder

2 tbsp organic chia seeds

1 tbsp alkaline water

pinch of Himalayan pink salt.

Place all ingredients into a kitchen food processor with a strong blade and mix until you have a sticky but firm ‘dough’ consistency. Roll into 38 gram balls and coat with extra de-hulled hemp, chia , or cacao powder. I prefer the hemp seed coating personally.

Beware – these are addictive!!!


Fight, Flight or Freeze…

neural_pathwaysWhat’s your relationship model?

I was recently in a conversation in an online group I’m involved with. It’s a truly nourishing support circle; I’m in 2 or 3 now and they always offer me food for thought and a chance to reflect on my habits, belief systems and core values. I get to be really heard in expressing who I am and what I feel, and to hear the different perspectives of others which is how we grow right? In one of those circles, we were discussing relationship patterns last week, it was our chosen topic – what have we learnt about ourselves in relationship? What patterns do we observe we may have and how can we learn from them so we don’t keep repeating them ad infinitum. Human beings love repetition it seems but some habits are habits we’ve built up over a lifetime, emerging from trauma or passed on through generation to generation in our families, and they’re habits that don’t actually serve us, more they limit us.

The image above shows a scan of the neural pathways in the brain (how beautiful it is!) and in there, we find the routes through which messages travel into our autonomic nervous system, and in particular our sympathetic nervous system, the one which governs our fight, flight or freeze responses.

Through this conversation in our group, one person expressed how they feel when uncomfortable or when they get triggered in their primary relationship; they go into ‘combat mode’, fight in other words. In that moment it struck me that my response has almost always been flight, so this began to intrigue me – what if we are all still really animalistic in our behaviour patterns in relationship? What if these responses apply to how we relate in all aspects of our lives, and not just in relation to where we are or what we’re doing? In other words, if we’re being chased by a sabre toothed tiger, flight would be a normal and healthy response, but if we’re emotionally vulnerable rather than physically, why does the same pattern kick in? My growing theory is that we all have one of these 3 patterns as a major driver, and that we’re actually not much different to our ancestors; we’re still fighting, fleeing or freezing in the wake of the perceived ‘danger’.

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On reflecting more, I recognised that many people I speak with have adopted one of these coping strategies in their intimate relationships – we either go into combat, we flee, or we freeze. What this last one may look like in relationship is that we literally lose ourselves, we become frozen, no longer recognising ourselves in the middle of our relationship dramas or habits. We’re stuck and we have no idea how to unfreeze ourselves. I was always pretty good at maintaining my sense of self in relationship, so I don’t relate to this one so much, but I hear many people expressing that they do.

My enquiry has begun to intrigue me – what if we are actually way more animalistic and instinctive than we realise? What if those primal survival patterns are so deeply embedded in our DNA that they continue to drive us, making us blind to alternative options for coping in relationship. Is it a survival issue? Has relationship become the hunting ground of our time, and if so, how do we change that?

We communicate! We become willing to listen, to hear the other, to know our own triggers so well we can risk becoming vulnerable without freezing, fighting or fleeing the relationship zone, and instead opt to take responsibility. We develop a response ability! We adopt Marshall Rosenberg’s method (or other) of non violent communication and realise we don’t have to take everything personally, to continually react, and instead, we may choose to listen, reflect and respond.  We adopt the willingness to listen to the perspective of our partners, friends, colleagues and more, and we change the habits.

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When we do this, and I mean really do it, we know that our responses come not from a defensive place, but a place where we can find solutions, resolution and peace. We develop self awareness and become able to see another possibility open to us beyond the terrible trio of ‘fight, flight, freeze’ – we can now add in ‘free’. We are free to change the habits, we are free to listen and really hear, we are free to clear ancestral baggage, neolithic patterns and limiting relationship destroying behaviours, and surely that can only be a great thing? What are your thoughts?

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Radical Self Love

cropped-img_4352-e1491742248332.jpgHow to find it, keep it, and reflect it.

I’ve learned a great deal over the last 2 years. I’ve learned what it is to truly love myself, how to reflect that out into the world without even trying, and why I wasn’t doing that before!

Self love is a term we often hear, and although on the surface I thought I had it, my relationships were reflecting back to me that this couldn’t have been so. I’d been locked in 8 years of verbally abusive and emotionally gas lighting relationships and I didn’t even recognise how that was affecting me, or how that situation had come to be – I know now though and it’s simple; I didn’t love myself enough and so I called in relationships on a level that reflected back to me exactly what my own self worth was, and it wasn’t good.

Prior to this 8 year stint which I will call my self love schoolroom, I had been in a long term relationship (15 years) which was a pretty decent one in the grand scheme of things, and remains that way to date, so I’m not sure what happened and why I had to go back to ‘school’ to study more after that one ended! I guess it was part of my maturing process though because although the longer relationship had been a good one, and our separation was mutually agreed, I guess underneath the surface there was definitely some ‘stuff’ to look at, so I called in the teachers I needed, and I learnt the lessons the hard way.

So why do we stay in emotionally, verbally or physically abusive relationships? Why do we build co-dependency into our relationships rather than independently created mutual respect? In part it’s because firstly, mainstream media teaches us that it’s normal (look at the subtle and not so subtle violence in TV, news and the media). This creates a situation where we build a paradigm for relating that is deeply flawed, that creates a ‘normal’ that is unhealthy, that teaches us to tolerate crap rather than face the (unfounded) fear we will be left alone, and we learn to operate from fight, flight or freeze mode within our primary relationships. This modus operandi can be in love, in family dynamics, in work relationships and partnerships, or in friendships – when it comes to taking bulls**t we’re not just talking lovers, we’re talking across the board, and if you are putting up with this anywhere in your life, you’ll know it.

I often felt a deep inner sense of shame knowing my children could see and hear what I was accepting from these two ‘teachers’ (I call them that as they were showing me the path to radical self love even though I didn’t know it at the time). Dirt gets in through the cracks. Repeat something often enough and it becomes a belief, tell someone they’re worthless enough and despite their best denials, if there’s an unhealed wound there, somewhere inside them they will be hearing that message and believing it. So how do you stop this if you’re in it? You work damn hard on loving yourself first and foremost; you put your own oxygen mask on first! Oxygen mask

Without knowing how to recognise ‘danger’, without understanding how to help yourself, you cant possibly call in healthy relationship; you will either accept the scraps or you will co-create the problem, neither of which will see you thrive and grow.

So what can you do? You can listen to that inner voice, the one my mother (God rest her soul) told me you can never hide from. You can pay attention when that voice tells you this isn’t right, and you can ask for help if you don’t feel strong enough to change things by yourself. Shame keeps so many of us locked in shitty places. The thought others will judge us (we’re usually doing a great job of that ourselves), the thought we must be at fault, or unloveable so this will do, the thought that this is what life is actually about, and isn’t that just compromise? These are the kind of things keep us small, keep us stuck.

There’s a huge difference between compromise and being compromised. Know yourself well, love yourself hard, and if you don’t, then start working on it today – fake it till you make it but just do it! Nothing changes without your awareness, commitment and presence. Show up for yourself. Demand decent adult communication. Don’t let verbally abusive people keep saying ‘sorry’ after they’ve spent a ton of time telling you how worthless you are, name calling, shaming you in anger, or temper or hurting you over and over. We all get angry but abusing someone else in that anger is not okay, it really isn’t, and if you’re consistently doing that to someone else then don’t be surprised if that behaviour gives you a mighty snap back some time! Speak lovingly to yourself and then you can learn how to speak lovingly to others even when challenged, disagreeing or triggered. Speak lovingly to yourself until you recognise your own deep self worth.

Life has a habit of mirroring back to us our own self talk – what’s yours saying?


Breaking Through Your Comfort Zones

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I went for a beautiful nature walk yesterday with my dear friend Charlotte. We were wandering through the dappled, sunlit woodland behind her land, meandering over bluebell laden pathways, stopping to pick wild garlic and swapping our recent news. I was telling this divine sister how Bali had been for me, what I had learnt about myself and how it had changed me, and she commented “you need to write about this Steph – it’s important because so many of us feel this way!” So in honour of her request, here it is!

The quote above by Neale Donald Walsh – I’ve heard it so many times in my life and whilst I understand it of course, I got lazy within it. I got lazy mainly because I’m quite familiar with stepping outside of my comfort zones in life, going for my dreams, being bold and believing, and yet here I was in Bali recognising that this in itself had become my comfort zone if you get what I mean? Let me expand – the ‘going beyond’ had become comfortable, but the true challenges to my ego and my sense of self were still lurking in the background, and this I discovered when it came to an invitation from another dear sister to host one of my workshops whilst in Bali.

Now this is a workshop I know very well and have taught every year for the last 6 years in the UK, so of course I happily agreed. I was honoured to have been invited. In the run up to actually hosting it though, boy did my self sabotage kick in and it wasn’t straight forward either, it was sneaky! “Oh there aren’t enough bookings, let’s cancel” – “it’s not really what people will want here in Bali is it?” “there’s an abundance of this stuff in Ubud, who am I to think this is good enough?” etc etc.

I actually tried to cancel it once or twice but fortunately my host, a warrior of a woman, said “I have a strong yes for this Steph, let’s do it”, and I just couldn’t wriggle out. I had to face my fears and present myself with all of my assumptions and projections about what I presumed the Balinese ‘high vibe’ women would want from, or think about my work. I had to take my workshop to this wonderful woman’s home, show up and be seen. I’d become comfortable in my comfort zone. Now I was uncomfortable in it.

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I put this collage of Edward Munch’s ‘The Scream’ together when I was an art student many years ago. At the time I related to the panic, the sense of isolation, the claustrophobic strangling of life and the paranoia, now here it was presenting itself again to me only for very different reasons; can I do this? Am I good enough? Am I a fake? What can people possibly have to learn from me? All of these questions arising, biting at my psyche in as real a way as the mosquitoes were in that muggy climate.

But I showed up to honour myself and to honour my word.

Right before starting (it ended up a full workshop) I picked a couple of angel cards from my friend’s pack on her altar and I received the messages “you are lovingly supported” and “divine guidance” – pretty good right? I released a huge outbreath and went for it.

I delivered a strong workshop – I received great feedback and people went into process, which is why I do what I do. I work to take others outside of their comfort zones too, and how the hell can I do that if I’m staying within mine! I’m not going to lie – by the time I had finished I felt relieved, but I also felt accomplished and really proud of myself. I had gone beyond my self imposed limitations, ignored the self sabotage, and been present to my thoughts and feelings throughout the process; all of them.

Doing this work changed me; I lost my fear of being seen. It expanded me; I now believe I can offer this work anywhere in the world with confidence and curiosity rather than fear and self doubt. It taught me; I know my voice, I know my worth, I know my unique medicine here in this world. It humbled me; I am no different to anyone else when it comes to the power of ego in keeping me small.

I stepped the one step beyond my comfort zone, and from this I grew exponentially and I’m super grateful for that lesson. Please please please everyone, if you doubt yourself, feel the fear and do it anyway, because without that willingness, one thing is certain – “keep on doing what you’ve always done and you’ll always get what you’ve always got,” but change the parameters and watch yourself grow, witness yourself as you fly and bathe in that sense of achievement. Why? Well the image below says it all really…

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#liveyourjuicylife


Walking on sunshine…

IMG_4812…and don’t it feel good!

I woke this morning to the sound of the birds singing, the sun shining and the skies bright blue. I don’t need much else it must be said to feel immediately ready to start my day, and yet walking out with my friend, I heard myself complaining about my city. I’ve been craving more nature around me lately – not just nature I can step out and walk in, but nature I can really LIVE in.

As I was speaking I was struck by my arrogance! How luxurious it is that I have choices. How wonderful that I live in a city and also have a nature reserve on my doorstep, that I have easily accessible places of great beauty, and the freedom through my life choices to really enjoy those places. So I put aside my complaints and listened, through my newly relocated to Manchester friend’s eyes and ears, her wonderment at all we have here. I heard her honour the rich diversity of community, the abundance of wonderful events and conscious connected people, the balance of nature with culture and activity, the f**king freedom! So many have people little or none of this in their lives, so many live in fear, or in war, or in subjugation….and I don’t!

So today I’m expressing and feeling fully, my gratitude. I’m thanking myself too for those wise and wonderful opportunities I’ve been gifted through my ancestry and grabbed hold of and embraced to create a fantastic life, the lessons I’ve learned, the things I’ve changed in those old ancestral patterns and the qualities I have taken from their struggles too – strength, resilience, steely determination. My ancestors were poor – really poor. Life was hard for them, but they found ways to change that, slowly and intentionally creating things for their children they didn’t have, and for their children’s children, until it came to me – and here, my ancestry was starting to change already. My grandmother had educated my mother and my aunt; that brought opportunity she had never had. My father worked his way out of his own poor background, again through resourcefulness and education, and the fact I can access all of this is down to them.

My life looks very different today to how it did a decade ago, twenty years ago even more so – none of my grandparents and both of my parents are alive now and there’s something very sobering about being the one at the front of the line. I honour them, all of them, who they were and who they were not, all of the distortions they faced to their true nature of love, all of the conditioning they could not break out of. I honour them because I have broken out of it, and so how could I do anything other than show them compassion and love. They were my greatest teachers and I am grateful for this moment in time when I can make my mark, create greatness for my own children and remember how lucky I am to have choices.

This is me in the middle of my parents! How sweet to find these old photographs that tell in part, our story. And how wonderful to find the courage to change the parts of those stories that don’t serve us too! Aho!

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