From being a 25 year old widowed mum with two small babies, living in poverty and with PTSD, panic attacks and burnout, I have spent my life learning about what makes a woman feel truly alive and fulfilled.
After being told that my husband had two months to live, I took my babies to the hospital to say goodbye to their Daddy for the last time. It was the saddest day of my life. I numbed my pain drinking alcohol and smoking pot.
My lifelong dream of having a husband and babies was shattered, as shortly after giving birth to my second son, who spent his first months critically sick on a life support machine, my husband was diagnosed with cancer.
So I was 25 years old with a baby in hospital and a husband having chemotherapy in the ward upstairs. I was broke and emotionally broken.
Adam was about to turn four and Matthew was just five months old when I took my boys in to the hospital to say goodbye to their daddy for the very last time. I wanted to die, but everyone said to me: 'You are strong'. I didn't feel strong. I felt weak and needy.
When I was told that Steve had two weeks to live, I simply didn't know how I would survive.
I met my second husband soon after and lived a 'rock n roll' lifestyle. We'd both been through our own our personal hell and he was just 23 years old, now taking on my two boys and becoming their new daddy. We started a weekly live music club after my new man spent several thousand pounds on a huge PA system with some money he'd just inherited. I booked Radiohead after listening to their demo 'Creep' - the lyrics fitted me just perfectly.
By day I was a responsible mum and by night I would get stoned just to escape the grief that sat in the depths of my soul.
When my beloved mother was given a few months to live, I became very unwell and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I was told that I would be on medication for life. After six years I took myself off all meds and decided that I would heal myself naturally. I changed my diet, spent time in nature, cut down my work hours, and a few years later decided to travel and start really living in the present! (It's all very well teaching this stuff - it was time to do it).
My own dear mother had waited her whole life to start living after retiring and she never got to reach her 66th birthday.
I was madly in love with my new husband; it felt like a soulmate relationship. Always hopeful that one day... maybe one day he might stop drinking.
I got into Yoga realising that my soul needed some nurture, not just my muscles. I had an an addiction to exercise. My adrenals were completely burnt out and I often spent weeks or months in bed over a period spanning 15 years. My divorce 12 years later bought with it more severe trauma with the added worry that my boys would be losing a second father.
'It is only when we begin to live from our authentic self that life really starts to flow'
Over many years I decided to turn my trauma, disease and
addiction into living a life of fun, purpose and passion, I
discovered how to be more authentic and the first thing that happened was that I started to look younger! I learnt that real beauty begins the moment you start to be your true self.
Little contact was kept, with my ex declaring 'the boys know where I am if they need me'. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was something I lived with on a off for a couple of decades. Anyone who has been through a divorce will know how painful that is, particularly when alcohol or any addiction is the cause.
I became qualified in Yoga and Pilates, studying Pilates with some of the most prestigious schools and becoming the first teacher locally to open a fully equipped studio. I taught on retreats around the world and gained a following, many whom have attended classes with me for several decades!
This is the very first time I spoke in public, it was July 2017 at 'Awaken the Goddess' festival in London. I was nervous and excited to have an opportunity to share a tiny bit of my story.
Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.