This time of year naturally brings me into a reflective space, as I look back on the year that’s been and look ahead to what I wish for.
As I sit here writing this, January 2022 feels like a lifetime ago. It’s strange now to think back to those months emerging out of the final lockdown- the hope, the unknown, the longing to find some kind of normality in a world where so much had changed.
I knew that I had handled the lockdowns quite differently to a lot of small business owners (particularly in the beauty sector). Rather than get caught up in the fear and anxiety, I led with a focus on contributing as much as I could to help those who needed it. From free anxiety sessions, to free courses and daily motivation videos, I found ways to keep inspiring people in small ways. It also helped to keep me focused and ready to serve.
I share this reflection with you now because this year has felt relentless. Where I had time and space to create during the lockdowns, I was suddenly back to 6 days a week and I realise that, for parts of this year, I have been tired, withdrawn and frustrated.
I have supported 100’s of clients, a growing team through their own challenges, and my family through theirs, and there’s been times when the desire to press pause for a while has been overwhelming. This, I’m sure, lots of you can relate to!
In so many ways, however, 2022 has been truly magical. Being able to travel again has meant lots of adventures (Italy definitely has my heart!) and our family has grown closer and stronger with so many special memories created together.
It’s felt like a year where challenges have resulted in growth and so for that I am immensely thankful.
Willow continues to go from strength to strength and I’m deeply proud to have such a fantastic team who continue to care and deliver to such a high standard. Willow would not be what it is without our amazing team and clients. It’s been an adjustment for me as I gave up client work (due to early onset arthritis), and stepped more into a support role to the team.
In the Summer, I took on a beautiful room in Cockington Country Park to establish the WholeHearted Living Institute. The plan was to host courses and workshops there, but it took on a bit of a different direction…
After a couple of months of stalling, I was struggling to understand what was holding me back. Of course, there’s always a bit of fear of starting something new or of failing, but it was more than that. My whole body felt locked in a trauma response permanently. No amount of mindset work was helping. I was physically trapped in survival mode and I couldn’t move forward.
After another night of not sleeping, I headed out on a walk through Cockington with the sole intention to discover what was holding me back. The Universe always seems to answer me best through nature, and as I wandered through the trees, I was suddenly reminded of a particular occasion a few years ago with a professional I was doing some work for as a counsellor. It took me many years of working with this person to realise they were a narcissist (someone who has a grandiose sense of self-importance, lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur, needs constant praise and admiration, has a sense of entitlement and exploits others without guilt or shame).
It’s obvious to see the signs now looking back, but I was in a vulnerable place, and I didn’t see them until the damage was done. Once I realised what was happening, I cut all ties with that person with huge repercussions for me, my business and home.
From that day until two months ago, I ceased all counselling. I thought it was because I didn’t enjoy it/ wasn’t any good at it. Not until that walk in Cockington, did I realise I gave up that part of me because of my trauma response to a narcissist.
I’ve never talked about this publicly, I put it all away in a box and carried on as though all was ok.
And the only reason this reared its head again, is because I was actively re-kindling my counselling practice in setting up the WholeHearted Living Institute. A wound that I thought had been healed, had in fact only been buried, and my body was the first sign that all was not ok.
I share this with you because almost everyone carries trauma of some kind. And because we want to be ok and we want to keep going, we do a really good job of burying it. But so often, life has a way of letting us know it’s still there and needs some attention. Whether that’s through our body with physical ailments, pains, stress, or emotionally through anxiety, worry, depression, or mentally through obsessive thoughts, struggling to sleep etc.
Inviting ourselves to shine a light of awareness into what might be going on is the first step in truly healing and finding peace.
It’s also interesting that when we begin this journey, the people who can support you on it, seem to appear. That’s exactly what happened to me, as I saw an advert for a spiritual coach/psychotherapist (who just happens to specialise in trauma and the body!) and who has further helped me to release this (and many other) wounds.
The past month has seen me deepening into gratitude and reverence for life. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, and as someone who tends to live for the next big vision, I have found myself truly being ok and accepting of this present moment, for that is all we truly have.
It has led me to re-evaluate much of this year, and I can see looking back, where I have denied myself moments of happiness and bliss because of unhealthy patterns and thoughts.
It’s a promise to myself that I will endeavour to keep on becoming more and more present and to fully show up in each moment.
So as I look ahead to next year, I take a deep breath as I know it will be a big year of launching new things and more fully stepping into my gifts and purpose. Integrity and being heart-centred are non negotiable for me, so delivering on these terms is always a priority.
Being back counselling is a true delight and it feels incredible to be living out so many of my natural gifts through that. I also know I wish to expand that work even further and will be developing new ways of working next year.
Trauma has a way of stripping you of the ability to have fun, let go and be happy. So these states are my priority for 2023. I am so excited to finally give myself permission to do this after a lifetime of everything I do having a purpose to help others.
I will of course continue to serve, inspire and support, but it will be from an energy of overflow and joy. Who knew that I’m actually allowed to be me, have fun and work to help others?! 😉
So here’s to 2023 being a year of fulfillment- for ourselves, for our passions and purpose, for those we love, for the wider community and for the earth.
May we know ourselves and each other more fully, may we seek with an open heart and mind, may we love and accept all parts of ourselves and commit to doing so with kindness, and may we courageously follow the road less travelled in order to honour our heart and soul…
With much love,
And as an invitation to you (and to keep me accountable)…I’d love for you to join me in my new/revised ways:
- Debs Thorpe Facebook Page, Instagram and YouTube channel will be dedicated to sharing with you the WholeHearted Life in action, with adventures, travels and the ups-and-downs of life too 🙂
- WholeHearted Living Institute Facebook Page, Instagram, YouTube Channel and Podcast will be focused on sharing with you the tools and resources to enable you to discover your own heart-centred, fun, wild and free life 🙂
- WholeHearted Living Shop– myself and David have been working hard behind the scenes to source the best ethical, handmade and fair trade items to bring to you. I am really done with consuming just for the sake of lining the pockets of huge corporations (at the cost of the supplier and the planet) and want to support small businesses and families across the world. So we are thrilled to be launching this online shop very soon. Watch this space!
- As I’m back in content creation mode, make sure you follow Willow on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for regular well-being tips and inspiration. Plus you’ll then be amongst the first to hear about our very own Skin Clinic launching in Feb! 🙂