Transformational Therapy: Sit up and take Note!

When Rebecca asked me to write a guest blog about my experience of her transformational treatments, sitting down at my laptop was a chance to reflect on my journey, of which writing has been key, and one which Rebecca guided me through to help me achieve my dream of becoming a novelist.


I’m a writer by trade, working for magazines, newspapers and websites. Along the way I started writing a book, a boy-meets-girl tale about following your heart and taking a chance on a dream, based on my own experience of falling in love at first sight with a stranger on a train. In 2014 I got an agent, so I gave up my job to finish writing the novel. My eldest son was starting school, and although it seemed like a gamble to be dropping a salary, it felt like a risk worth taking. After all, the book itself is about taking a chance to follow your heart.

A year later, as I was about to submit my novel to my agent, I had a bombshell – she was too busy to keep me on – another of her authors was going stellar (hello other Girl On The Train). So I was in literary limbo: submitting my novel to new agents, but getting the door slammed in my face. I wondered if I should give it all up and find another desk job.

I had been seeing Rebecca for Transformational Massages since she helped me get through some tricky London Marathon training (I might even owe my PB to her!), so from our pre-massage chats I already knew how her empathetic, understanding eyes and unbelievable wisdom could help clients who are at a crossroads. So I embarked on a combination of Transformational Coaching, Equine Facilitated Coaching and Massage facilitated by her.

My first coaching experience came in the form of a horse!  At first I felt a bit strange, standing in a field under an inky November sky, wondering if a horse could really help me unlock my true potential. But I was amazed. Bow, a beautiful Dale’s mare, stood close to my side as I talked. Horses are reactionary, sentient animals with a great ability to mirror what you’re feeling, so Bow’s body language helped guide Rebecca to ask me the right questions. If I said, “I’m fine, everything’s OK,” about a certain issue when it wasn’t, Rebecca could see from a subtle flick of a tail or the way the horse dropped its eyelids that I wasn’t, and was able to suggest otherwise and make me re-evaluate things: the way I work, the things that stop me fulfilling my potential… During our sessions I was able to unlock what was holding me back, which were my self-limiting beliefs: of course I couldn’t get another agent or a book deal, I wasn’t good enough. Or so I had thought.

Equine Facilitated Coaching with the gorgeous Bow

Equine Facilitated Coaching with the gorgeous Bow


After three sessions of equine facilitated coaching, alongside my regular monthly massage, I came out with a new sense of purpose and direction: I’d taken the decision to leave my job and focus on the book, and now I had the confidence to see it through.  

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that two months later I got a new – brilliant – agent. And a year after that I was offered a three-book deal. My debut novel, The Note, is out now, and I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved – and grateful to Rebecca for helping me jump the hurdles along the way.

Zoë x


Change your thoughts and you can change your world!

Rebecca asked me to write about my experience of Transformational Coaching.  If she’d asked me 18 months ago it probably wouldn’t have happened - in fact, I think she did actually ask me 6 months ago and it still didn’t happen!  I was too worried about what people might think of me. Too scared of being judged.  Basically, allowing fear to stop me from doing something.  Stopping me from doing something I enjoy and also from something that may help someone else.  Maybe you’ll recognise something of yourself in my story and take the time to think about it and help yourself too.

Marie with husband Andy and children Amy and Daniel

Marie with husband Andy and children Amy and Daniel

On paper all was rosy.  Nice house, happy marriage, healthy children and successfully running my own business: but something didn’t feel quite right.  I was down, snappy with and resentful of those closest to me.  I’ve suffered a couple of times in the past with depression and it wasn’t quite that, but I felt enough that alarm bells were ringing.

I was seeing Becky fairly regularly for beautiful Transformational Massage treatments which were helping on some level but one day in the pre-treatment chat, in her very intuitive way, she asked just the right questions at just the right time.  The planned massage became an impromptu but extremely revealing Transformational Coaching session.  The insights I gained in that first session were really quite dramatic and more than enough to make me see that I needed and wanted more of the same.

I had got myself into a pattern of doing what was required and expected of me but lost sight of myself and what I needed along the way.  I had somehow come to equate looking after others with putting myself to the bottom of the pile.  Coupled with an underlying fear of change and what might happen if I spoke up, I was feeling pretty trapped.

That very first session with Becky reminded me that it was OK to be kind to myself.  OK to speak out if I wasn’t feeling great or all was less than perfect.  More than OK actually.  It was essential.  That it didn’t make me selfish or a bad person - it made me human.  How could I look after everyone else if I wasn’t at my best?  How could things improve if no one knew anything was wrong?

Coaching at Haelan Therapy takes place in a safe and supportive environment

Coaching at Haelan Therapy takes place in a safe and supportive environment

It’s been an interesting, and at times, uncomfortable journey of discovery.  But by making time to regularly think and talk about myself and my experiences in a really safe supportive environment I was able to work through what had brought me to this pattern of thinking and by understanding this have been able to move forward in really positive ways. One of the key aspects of being kind to myself was to allow myself an hour or so a week to go to a Slimming World group. To my surprise and delight the ideas of making time to look after 'yourself' and letting go of guilt were just some of the key themes!

By confronting my fear of being judged or humiliated about my weight I actually found out that this was a million miles from what would happen.  They actually go out of the way in their ‘Formula for Success’ to promise the exact opposite.  Support is really the most important thing.  It all starts with feeling that you’re not alone.  I couldn’t have lost 2 stone 11lbs without the weekly help, encouragement and understanding of my own Consultant and group.

Marie Gill, Hitchin's new Slimming World Consultant based at St Andrews Primary School on Monday evenings at 19.30

Marie Gill, Hitchin's new Slimming World Consultant based at St Andrews Primary School on Monday evenings at 19.30

When I first joined Slimming World as a member 1 year ago this month, I never dreamed that I would end up becoming a Consultant and helping other people to lose weight but now I just can’t wait to get started.  After completing my training, it’s a privilege for me to be able to pass on the experience, insight and understanding that helped me, so that I can give my members the support they need to get to target and live happier, healthier lives.

My Slimming World group will be held at St Andrew’s CofE Primary School, Hitchin every Monday at 7:30pm from 17th April. For more information or to join me either pop along on 17th April or contact me here.  You can also visit my Facebook page here and give me a like too!

So, thank you Becky for all your support, wisdom andddd Transformational Coaching.  I hope the 18 month wait for this piece of writing was as worth it for you as it has been for me! 

Marie xxx

**If Marie's story resonates with you or sounds familiar, why not contact us to find out how our Transformational Coaching or Equine Facilitated Coaching sessions could help you.   Click here to contact either Rebecca or Jo  and begin the start of your journey to the new 'you'. 


Walking is man's best medicine

Belinda Norrington:  jewellery designer-maker, wanderer and avid noticer of beauty in the ordinary

Belinda Norrington:  jewellery designer-maker, wanderer and avid noticer of beauty in the ordinary

Hello! I'm Belinda Norrington, jewellery designer-maker, wanderer and avid noticer of beauty in the ordinary. I like running in wild places, but I like walking and hiking in them even more. There are lots of things about being in open, green spaces that I think provide nourishment and wellness to mind, body and soul and I have been very kindly asked to share a few of them here, with you.

We live life at quite a lick in 2017 don't we? There is a *lot* that competes for our time, our attention and our energy - and rushing has become horribly endemic in our culture. This is one reason that I think getting outside, if possible in parks or countryside, is a brilliant and necessary antidote to the speed and stresses of 21st century living.

Walking fast, (like you were late for a meeting), is a truly awesome form of exercise - it costs nothing, it is utterly straightforward and natural, it is equipment free and possible at every level of fitness. Unlike more vigorous forms of exercise, walking or hiking can be done for hours at a time should the inclination strike, and all the cardiovascular benefits apply for walking as they do for other types of exercise. For our physical health it is a crucial balance to all the sitting we do, all the compression of our spine and the stiffening of our muscles. Unlike sport, it is not rule bound and competitive, there is a flexibility and freedom in it.

I am also interested in how walking is beneficial to the mind and soul, and also for creativity. When I head out to my local nature reserve, or along the fields and over the hills, my body and breathing fall into a natural rhythm. A C Grayling, the philosopher, has said, "To walk the country lanes and hills is to fall into step with the rest of nature; that is the pace of the cattle and the crops, the breeze, the shifting clouds ... walking, therefore, is good for one's sense of proportion. That, in turn, is good for one's mental health." Certainly, the mind seems to release its hurried, harried ways, and I agree with Henry Thoreau who once wrote in his journal, "Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow."

When walking, the mind seems to do two really useful things - it can either rest a bit in the moment, noticing the environment with its sights and sounds and smells (which is really a form of active mindfulness), or it has time to ponder, undistracted, upon issues that matter to us at the time. On most walks I do a bit of one and a bit of the other, often flowing naturally between the two.
Importantly, the brain is allowed to exhale a bit from the dreaded multi-tasking, to think of nothing at all bar the visual stimuli of sky and land, or gently explore things that have been bothering/interesting us. I certainly feel like this is the time my brain can breathe along with my lungs! Indeed, walking at one's own pace creates an "unadulterated feedback loop between the rhythm of our bodies and our mental state...when we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillate with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech." (F. Jabr, New York Times).

The beauty of leaving home or office is that this is truly time that we press the pause button on all our normal activity and duties - we intentionally set aside this time away from the busyness of the world, and for that time life really cannot make most of its usual demands of us. We are physically free of normal constraints and responsibilities, indeed for that period of time we are 'lost to the world' in our walking. We step off the carousel of our busy lives and into our interior life whilst inhabiting those physical, green spaces. This is ridiculously valuable I have found. There is power in not being at the mercy and whim of the pc, telephone and doorbell, there is a reclamation of who we are without all those activities? For this reason, I do try really hard to turn off my phone, perhaps checking a couple of times for missed calls mainly because I have kids at school (you may have other reasons), but the walking is so much more powerful if the scrolling, checking and social media interacting is put aside.

A camera or a sketchbook has the positive effect however, of making me look a bit closer at the landscape, hunt with a slightly keener eye for beauty along the way, and that is no bad thing! For me this is where walking becomes critical to my creativity. Nature, and the small fragments of botanical material that I find whilst walking has become the catalyst for my jewellery designs, and the pleasure I experience when I find something breathtakingly beautiful in, say, the simple curl of a leaf or texture of an acorn husk, gives me the creative energy I need to create new collections of work. The noticing, the photographing, sketching, pondering and making have become my way of celebrating beauty in the ordinary and it has changed my outlook and perspective on life. Beauty is everywhere if you really look, and finding it produces wonder which for me also generates gratefulness and energy. Walking seems to invigorate the mind and creative thinking along with the body, and there are extensive studies that back this up, (Oppezzo and Schwartz, Stanford University).

Daily walking was a brilliant combination with a course of transformational coaching I did with Rebecca Kelly at Haelan Therapy. It provided a demarcated slot of time each day either to mentally peruse the things we had talked about in the sessions, or, equally usefully, some time to clear my mind and simply practice being in the moment and just be. I felt exercised, calm and energised with greater clarity on the topics that had been going around in my mind. The sessions and the walking have together nudged me into clearer and more positive and accurate ways of seeing myself and the work I do.

If you aren't much into walking, why don't you give it a go - half an hour a day for a week or two - my hunch is you will gain more from the small investment of time than you could have imagined?! Happy walking!

Belinda xx