A little disclaimer before we begin…
This is a long post, but it needed space for nuance. Feel free to make a cuppa!
And there are a few little swear words, especially around that box of fucking pens!
This is a post about gratitude to all my clients, but to get there I need to tell a story.
Finally, I am sharing a part of my journey, that feels extremely vulnerable to me. I hate being vulnerable. Emotional, yes. I am a highly sensitive person. But not vulnerable!. So why am I sharing it? As Matthew Perry said about his book… if it helps one person, then it is worth it.
I woke at 4am with this post starting to write itself in my mind. A 4am wake time is not unusual for me. I have averaged 4hrs of sleep every night for the past year or so. Some days I will lay in bed trying to will myself to get back to sleep, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Some days I simply need to get up and start writing.
I had just started reading Matthew Perry’s autobiography. I love reading actual books. Audio books just never feel right to me. I love the smell of books, turning the pages, sitting with a pencil in hand ready to underline and write notes (I never read a book without a pencil in my hand, regardless if it is fiction, non-fiction, poetry).
But a little way into the book, I felt a strong pull to listen to the audio book first. I had no idea why, but I always honour those little nudges.
Listening to Matthew read his own book aloud, the way he chose certain phrasing, cadence and inflection in words, made it hit a little closer to home. A first for me. Reading has always offered more depth, but something about this story just wanted to be spoken aloud, and deep into my heart.
I have laughed, I have cried. I have felt things shifting within me.
But here is the crux of what I have been sitting with.
The fundamental thing that motivated him, that drove him. The deep need he held within…
Was his need to make people laugh and his need to help people.
This is the underlying thread that I have felt as I listen to his words.
There was a moment yesterday while listening to a part of this book that I completely broke down.
To say this year has been challenging is a little bit of an understatement. I have shared fragments with my clients, on my youtube videos, in ceremony. I have shared aspects of my journey, if I feel they offer some insight into something a client is working through (making something relatable, or offering a perspective from someone who has been through it and come out the other side).
No one knows the full complexity of what I have been dealing with, and nor should they. I have always kept my personal life very much to myself. Only sharing what I have felt I needed to, especially to clients and around my work (but not even my friends know the full story of what has been going on this year).
Most of you will know that I lost my voice for almost 3 months. I had to share that, as it directly impacted my work – if I can’t speak I can’t work!
But behind the scenes, there has been so much going on, that has also impacted the work that I do.
And this is important for me to note because…
I have a need to work and a need to help people.
Woven into the very fabric of who I am is the deep need to work. I have been called a workaholic more times than I can count. And while most wouldn’t see this as a bad thing, when it impacts all other areas of your life, it is.
Work for me has been my thing. I have put work above most other things in my life. Almost like an unhealthy obsession. Working 60-80 hour weeks was nothing for me. I thrived on it; well at least I thought I did. Turns out, you can’t continue to work at that capacity without something giving. First it was my relationships, then my heart (physical), then my nervous system and then everything else came crumbling down.
If I wasn’t actively working, I was thinking about work. If I was on holidays, which was very rare for me, I would be tapping my foot like a nervous tick thinking about all the work I should be doing.
Why? Because without working and helping people, I had no value. That is what I thought, for many many years. In fact up until this year, I deeply believed that the only value I had to offer in the world was the work that I did.
So you can imagine how deep that impact was, when this year I could barely work.
It started last year. You may have read in my previous post about my nervous breakdown. But what followed has changed my entire life.
I won’t get into my exact health challenges. I don’t know if I will ever share the full journey. But I want to offer these reflections nonetheless. One of the reasons why I don’t feel guided to share the whole story is: I was speaking to a friend a little while ago and I shared a bit more about what had been happening. I also shared how overwhelmed I felt by client needs that had been weighing on me.
By this I mean, the sheer number of people who email me, voice clip or message me, simply to dumb their trauma somewhere. I LOVE my clients, and previously I would have been able to handle it. But this year, I haven’t.
People I don’t know, emailing me asking for free healing sessions or readings (happens almost daily). Clients who I used to be more available to, consistently dumping their problems into my messenger, without asking if it was ok to share. Random people expecting me to constantly be creating free content and feeling abandoned when it isn’t offered (if you are in the spiritual/healing space, you may have some idea of what I am talking about).
I was overwhelmed by it all. Which is why my friend said, if I shared more about my journey, maybe people would respect my space a little more. However, I knew that if I did share, what would inevitably happen, would be a sense of guilt.
And, yes, I am grateful that people reach out for support! I am so grateful that people feel safe to share. My nervous system just couldn’t handle the load.
I work for 2 reasons. One, because like everyone else I need to pay my bills. And the amount of people who think we should offer healing work for free still blows my fucking mind! If you actually knew what it took to do this kind of work, maybe you would respect us all a little more (yep, my first little vent is coming out!). Seriously, would you ask your mechanic to fix your car for free? Ok, rant over.
Second, because I need to work and I need to help people.
When I went to a new doctor recently, and went through everything, his response was; I don’t know how you have managed to work at all this year. To which my response was, who’s paying your bills!
Many people have told me I should be taking time off completely, so I can heal. To which I respond, who’s paying your bills! And if I shared my full journey, many clients would think they are actually helping me by giving me space to heal. They may feel guilt for asking for help. Which would then create a sense of lack within.
Client work = how I pay my bills, including the medical bills that have come this year.
But also, if I didn’t work, I would feel empty, like a big fat gaping void in my life, that would swallow me whole.
I NEED to work. It is so hard wired into me, that I have spent a year unpacking my work addiction, and trying to find balance within it.
This year I have had to learn how to evolve, change, pivot my business on an almost daily basis.
When I lost my voice, I literally had to find new ways to work, which is why the postal and email readings were created.
I went from being able to work a 10+ hour day and still have enough energy to make a yummy dinner and then work on my passion projects and spend time with family and friends. To working 2 hours max before I needed a rest, sometimes crashing for 2 days.
And then, somewhere deep within me, I would feel like I had no value, as I couldn’t get through one full day of work without crashing.
Enter the little box of pens…
I write, a lot. Client notes, course notes, journal entries, poems, my novel (yep I handwrite everything first). I have pens everywhere. I literally have 8 pens, 3 pencils and 2 highlighters sitting of my bedside table. I have at least 5 pens in my handbag, and 5 at each of my work spaces.
I use a lot of pens. But not just any pen. I have one pen that I like. It is the only pen I like to write with. So I buy them by the box. A box of 50 pens at a time.
I bought a box of pens. And the whole box was defective. Was obviously just a bad batch. After the first few pens that would write a page or two and then stop working, I bought another box.
But I kept that shitty box of pens. Every time I needed a new pen, I would go to the shitty box, thinking this could be the one that works, before getting a page or two in and then throwing it across the room, while shouting “Why don’t you FUCKING work, you useless fucking piece of shit”. Not an exaggeration! The amount of times I have said that to a pen is ridiculous.
I pick up the pen, put it in the little container I have of these useless pens, thinking that one day one of them might work, even just for another page. To squeeze a little bit of juice out of it (they never do).
What I realised yesterday, as I threw another said pen across the room while yelling shitting nothings in its ear; is that I am that box of pens!
Every morning I wake up and think/hope; today is the day that I will be able to get a full day of work done. Only to get a few hours in and crash; while yelling at myself internally and sometimes out loud “you useless piece of shit, why can’t you just FUCKING WORK”. And I try to squeeze just a little more juice out of my completely shattered body, mind and soul.
This year, I have needed to focus on health. I have had to prioritise rest. And yet, that thread that is deeply woven into the essence of who I am, is always screaming at me, that I need to work.
It is like nails on a chalkboard, just under my skin.
I would spend 100+ hours working on a mini 4-6 week course; you know the ones – Lilith, Hecate, Shadow Work etc. I would add the final piece of content to the course portal. Add all the back end details. Hit complete and then crash for 3 days. By day 2, I felt that internal current saying, why can’t you just get up and fucking work. Squeeze a little more out. By day 3, once again believing I have no value.
I have been in business for myself for over 20 years. And while I have pivoted and changed over the years, I felt like I have had to pivot and change my entire business more in one year than in the last 20.
I have literally held my business, and life, together with gaffer tape and glue. Unable to see as many 1:1 clients, I had to focus on courses and activations. There were days when a single reading posted up on YT would burn my energy out, and I would be done for the day. Feeling so empty, as I couldn’t help support my clients.
So, here is the moment of gratitude I want to share.
It has been a crazy journey. I honestly don’t know how I still have a business to be honest.
But I do. As clients have still shown up, still reached out. They have still found value in my work.
There have been days when I have felt like giving it all up, and then the most perfect message comes through from someone saying something along the lines of: that was exactly what I needed to hear; you have no idea how much you have changed my life; I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for your work and support.
Those moments are everything to me. Because, it makes the stress of it all worthwhile.
I have changed my business so much this year, and yet clients have still supported the work that I do.
The clients in Patreon who have been on the evolutionary journey as I try to make content that supports both them and also my capacity to work.
The clients who honour my time and energy and book in those beautiful 1:1 sessions with me. These are like the blood in my veins, it is the work I deeply love.
The clients who have journeyed in courses with me; even when I had to have heat packs on my chest so I could breathe, lozenges so I didn’t cough, and times when I have had to stop a live half way through, only to have to record it later as my body was shutting down.
To all those who supported my work with donations and mini purchases. To the clients who purchased activations, when it was all I could do.
From the depths of my heart, I am so grateful.
I am so grateful for those clients who I have a deeper relationship with, who know a little more, who have held me through some massive breakdowns when I couldn’t push through a live ceremony.
I am so grateful for those who have followed along the pivoting path, and continued to work with me in these new ways, having no idea where we are going.
I am grateful that I have been able to continue to work and fill my deep need. For giving my days purpose and meaning.
I honour each and every one of you.
And for those who feel a little abandoned, rejected, or dismissed when I haven’t had the capacity to respond to the long emails or want of free sessions, I hope this offers a little insight into why. (I mean I never do 1:1 sessions for free! But I guess its worth a shot to ask??)
We all have our stories. No ones is bigger or smaller. Your worst day, is your worst day.
What I hope this offers is a little insight into our constantly evolving journey. Knowing when you need to slow down, knowing when you can move. And not feeling any guilt or shame in where you are in your journey.
We are all doing the best we can with the resources and knowledge we have. And if we could all have a little more loving compassion and kindness, not just for others, but also for ourselves, we would be in a much more beautiful world; of that I am certain.
So, I hope you can hold yourself with a little extra love today, regardless of where you are at, what you are working through and how far you feel you have gone off course. You are always exactly where you are meant to be.
The lessons I have learnt from this year will echo throughout my whole life. Nothing within me will ever be the same. And for that, I am also deeply grateful. I swear the universe is sometimes playing little cosmic jokes with us, but who we become in those moments is what matters.
Again, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. For your continued support and compassion. I honestly don’t know where I would be without the work that I do.
As Matthew Perry references the song in his book and in interviews about his book, I will leave you with this. Don’t give up (by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush). Don’t Give Up. No matter how what comes up, I know you can get through it. Don’t Give Up xx
I love you all
(there is so much more I wish I could say, but this is already one epically long post, so maybe there will be a part 2.)