2004 it all changed!
Rio de Janeiro
In March 2004 I went to Crufts. Something told me to take up a lot of the offers to get back my entry fee. While I waited to pay for several of these products, there were competitions to enter. So I did that too!
April 2004 I got told I had won a week’s trip to the World Agility Championships … in Rio de Janeiro! All expenses were paid with spending money as well for me and a friend. Wow! We used the spending money to nip over to the Iguassu Falls as well. The Agility Championships were quite a sad affair so I’ll gloss over those. Staying in a hotel near Copacabana Beach was awesome!
Leaving full-time work
At the end of 2004, aged 45, I knew I needed to make a change. Voluntary redundancy was offered, and applied for.
I’d worked in IT since 1981 (yes, in the days of mainframe computers and punch cards!). By 2004 the Information Technology role I had (Domain Architect for Supply Chain and Head Office Systems for Vodafone UK) wasn’t giving me the buzz it had done. I loved my colleagues and the role to some extent but found I was covering old ground too much.
Half my strategy team had the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy. I qualified for the maximum redundancy package, and my intuition told me it was time to move on but to what?
Time for a new life.
I felt it was time to stop being identified by my job title.
It was time to find “me” again and then put my life into balance with “me” firmly at the centre of it.
There was a need to do something for a living that I made a difference and that I could continue until I “dropped off my perch”.
At home, there was just me and my two German Shepherd Dogs. My ex and I had separated amicably in 1999 (he had been gradually overtaken by alcoholism for years and stayed local, sadly passing away in 2013).
My life had become crazy. I lived in a beautiful Warwickshire village yet was paying people to walk the dogs at lunchtime; to do the housework; to do the garden… and I was driving a 120-mile round trip to work in Newbury four days a week!
I loved my job, but I wasn’t living my own life any more!
I wanted to walk my dogs in daylight hours all year around.
2005 My new life evolved.
I had a couple of months on lovely ‘garden leave’ after I’d handed over my knowledge, before the official leaving date of December 2004.
During this time, I explored local public footpaths and bridleways I had no idea existed. It was delightful being able to walk in daylight with the dogs and appreciate nature and the gorgeous local countryside.
I hadn’t realised quite how burnt out I was after years of long hours and big projects at Vodafone. Taking time out to relax and potter about getting stuff done at home was just what I needed.
Somehow I knew that something new would appear in March so I continued to relax and enjoy life.
In February 2005, sure enough, an ex-colleague offered me an IT contract role (again, a long drive away but with flexible hours). It paid the bills and ended up lasting nearly four years! I did a bit more IT work for a local company for a while after that and then waved bye-bye to IT for good!
The “retraining phase”
The next three years or so that felt like a training treadmill. My intuition and various synchronicities led me to change myself and my life completely!
Peru, Alberto Villoldo and shamanism
In April 2005 a chance conversation with a friend led me to read “Shaman, Healer, Sage” by Alberto Villoldo. I loved it so much that I went to Peru with The Four Winds (Alberto’s school) that June and visited lots of sacred sites.
It changed me in a way I can’t explain. I remember sitting in the garden upon returning, realising it was the same but I wasn’t. It looked and felt entirely different to me.
I knew I had to train with Alberto’s school. I was so lucky that the Four Winds started to run UK courses in 2005. I attended a catch-up “South” direction in the summer. Then I did the other directions of the compass and masterclasses over the next two to three years, including their Sage mentored programme after the initial ‘Healing the Light Body’ training.
This was extremely expensive, but I had the money and loved it.
I “saw” my father a lot during this training. He died in 2000, and I’m convinced he led me to this path.
Working with spirit did freak out my logical mind at times. It is so expansive, creative, and deep acting. I really love it. Over several years I continued to work with a variety of excellent teachers in this tradition from Peru and around the world. It is awesome!
In September 2005, I was drawn to also train part time as a homeopath, having used homeopathy for years. I say drawn, perhaps I should say pushed. The universe made sure I did it!
After a year in the midlands, I changed to the gorgeous Lakeland college at their Ambleside campus mostly, with a few trips to London if I couldn’t make one weekend in Ambleside.
I never really knew why I was training in homeopathy. Whenever the thought of stopping occurred, I bumped into homeopaths! In the weirdest places – On the shamanic course I found I was sitting on a breakfast table with all homeopaths. I walked the dogs in Solihull near mum’s on a Saturday evening and bumped into a homeopath. On a dog activity holiday, there was a homoeopath.. These were weird synchronicities so I got the message that I was meant to continue!
It felt as though I was on a learning treadmill for a while.
In 2008, a fellow homoeopath and I set up a Saturday kid’s clinic for a year or so before she moved away. We enjoyed that experience, and practising together helped us gain confidence.
2008 – a new phase
2008 marked the end of the training treadmill phase.
Sadly, Chad, my older GSD, died in March, aged 15. He’d done well, though, having been diagnosed with CDRM and given six months to live about seven years earlier. Homeopathy slowed the disease’s progress right down and kept him off having to have strong painkillers too. I was more than impressed.
Holly kept me company after that.
I graduated from homeopathy college in the summer.
In June, I was guided to go on a ‘potluck’ sailing holiday to Croatia… and met Chris, now my husband!
In 2009, I set up Refreshing Horizons Limited (I was self-employed before that).
In 2011, I invested a sizable sum in an e-Lybra9 bio-resonance system. This looks like a scientific box connected to a computer, yet is mind-blowing. My skills from the shamanic and homeopathic training, IT career, and so much more are used to tune it to do some really incredibly powerful healing. I have written a lot about this elsewhere.
Now, revisiting this in November 2023, my passion is still to “inspire natural wellness” practising as a therapist myself. I spent a few years hosting other people’s seminars for a few weekends until my practice got too busy to do it.
The difference holistic therapies can make is sometimes humbling, undoing the damage we do (or life does) to ourselves in natural ways.
I remember a shaman in Peru saying just before we left in 2005 that they had “planted the seeds” and now it is our “responsibility to grow and nurture them”. I have certainly been driven to do that.
There is always lots to learn and do, yet the magic and slightly off-the-wall nature of this work is truly rewarding for me.
I’ve gone from being one of the few women in a masculine profession to working in a predominantly feminine profession. From a very logical “left-brain” profession to one that uses empathy, intuition and things that are frequently good sports for comedians because they sound so bonkers. Yet I see results!
My clients are all delightful, some local and others from elsewhere in the UK and the world.
This means I have worked from home for several years now, since before the pandemic. I am with our animals and Chris my (now retired) husband.
… what will be next I wonder.
Following my intuition has worked for me and led me to a very different life. Why don’t you give it a try, too?