The School for Wizards
1–2 days of every month for the past 2 years I’ve spent at the School for Wizards near Henley. And whilst no one, including our teacher, Andrew Wallas, can fully explain what this is exactly (I rarely try and explain it to any of my friends), as a quick summary it’s for people who seek to deepen their awareness of themselves and others. Lightly termed as ‘spiritual psychotherapy’, I just liked the name and was curious. So I signed up and was delighted to be accepted.
It’s that curiosity which has got me into a whole world of trouble and I now realise that being curious around self-awareness is not to be taken lightly. As one enlightened teacher, David Ashworth, once told me and I have heard many times since, ‘once you step on the path, there is no going back’. Sounds very Harry Potter doesn’t it, but it’s actually true. I know that now from experience. I’ve since given much headspace to trying to find the right everyday term for what this ‘path’ is, one that won’t freak most people out. What settled well with me for a while was the term ‘awake’, only because Carrie Bedingfield from the startup accelerator I’m part of, used it, and she’s pretty cool. So I figured if she was comfortable with it, then most people should be.
Only, they aren’t. It also sounds a bit patronising too. So for now, I’ll leave you to figure it out for yourself.
I could talk about many of the profound experiences that have taken place at the School for Wizards, but last weekend was particularly special. It was called ‘Finding Your Centre’, something I’ve battled with for a long time. So I went into the fire (literally) and despite that, came out surprisingly lighter than I went in.
So last Sunday, in a schoolhouse in a quintessential English village, I finally discovered what it was to truly connect with myself. I’d heard people talk about it, in fact, so, I’m sure, will you. It’s often called intuition, a term that’s more commonly accepted than ‘finding your inner voice or centre’.
It was a simple enough exercise.
Quietly sitting, breathing and imagining, very akin to meditation, to the point that you feel a deep connection with yourself and can feel where that point is in your body. If I were to say it’s about connecting with your soul, that may also freak you out or turn you off to reading this, but that’s essentially what it is. It can bring about profound results.
Pretty much every time I begin an exercise like this, I can I usually hear myself saying, ‘here we go again, another exercise where you’ll feel nothing except frustration’, but for some reason, today was different. Maybe I was just ready for it, or maybe it was the method that Anna Pasternak, Andrew’s wife, used which just got to me. I’ve just always struggled with anything like this and it had become a bit of a joke in our group. So a huge part of my self-awareness has, of late, become about trying to slow down enough to actually find myself, that inner voice. It’s a constant battle to overcome my over-active mind. Rarely do I ‘feel’, mostly do I ‘think’.
Yet on Sunday, at around 11am, I had the most profound experience. I finally, actually, got there; to myself. Does that makes any sense at all? And it felt wonderful, deeply peaceful, transformational. It felt like the only place we ever need to be. And I know now that it’s this deep connection with oneself where the magic of life truly happens. It’s the voice that will guide us through everything we ever need to know. Forget the Daily Mail Health section, if we could all practice this on a daily basis, the world would definitely be a more harmonious and happier place. We would just be more in tune with ourselves and our surroundings. It’s so difficult to try and describe it without scaring you off and sounding like a new-age hippy, but trust me, it’s worth all the effort.
As I entered this place of deep tranquility within myself, tears rolled down my face. I felt a huge sense of grief and exhaustion. The words ‘be more kind to yourself’ came to me. They made perfect sense, as I have, for a long time now, given myself a really hard time about not fully settling into a new career path or been entirely clear about my vision and desires for the future. If we all thought for a moment about the way we speak to ourselves and question whether we’d ever speak to our friends like that, we know we would never be so harsh. This inner voice has given me permission almost, to be kinder to myself, to give myself a break.
Of course, within 20 minutes my mind was back in full flow, analysing, questioning, doubting. Yet still, this deep connection and experience I’d had, remained. The grief part felt hugely important to me and whilst this may sound a little bonkers to many of you, it felt like it was a grief from a long time ago. I admit, that for some reason, I felt this was a grief not from this lifetime, and I’m a very rational person, so when I finally feel something as deep as this, I knew I needed to pay attention to it. And on revealing this, so did Andrew and Anna. So after lunch, I was in for even more of a treat. Past life regression…in front of the whole group.
You may have switched off at this point, and of course I don’t blame you, but it’s cathartic for me to write, so I’m going to continue to explain one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in my life. There are many ways to experience a past life regression, many involving hypnotherapy. But in this instance, it was something far simpler and in seconds, visually playing this through in my mind, I was taken through a flash replay of my lifetime, a 2 minute whizz from childhood to the present. Then, I took a big step back (literally, Andrew asked me to take a big step backwards) into the past.
In seconds I was in front of a little burning house, an old house, with a thatched roof and inside were my 3 children, burning alive and there was no way for me to help them get out. It felt so real I could touch it and as I stood there crying, I knew I could feel it too. I knew my age, 28, I knew my children were 2 girls and a boy, and I knew that the reason the fire had started was because I’d lit a match and something had gone horribly wrong. Even as I write this I am shaking a little. And whether you believe this stuff or not, to me it was real and to me it explained why I have struggled so much for so long to trust myself and my intuition. I just knew that this was why and I knew it was time to clear it out of my life. As I let out two long powerful cries, I felt as if I was letting go of something very old that had a hold on me. I felt no shame, doing this in front of the group, it all felt very real, very raw and very necessary. From there, Andrew guided me through the words to say to my children that would give us closure, forgiveness and peace, words that would in some way, set us all free.
Trust me, despite a lot of trying, I have never gone into a space like this before. I could write a book on all the experiences I’ve had over the past few years where everyone but me in the group has felt or experienced something. I’ve been frustrated and I’ve tried and thought my way to this point, but so many times I’ve been told that unless I feel it, it will never happen. Yet last Sunday, I did feel it and I knew in some way it would be liberating.
If only I would stop still long enough to take stock.
Yet Monday came and I knew there would be little time for it. It was a busy week and I had to get through it. Depending on how you came to this post, you can read more about that here where I explain why I’m writing this piece now, from my aunt’s house by the seaside.
Written and published in gratitude to Andrew & Anna Wallas. Two amazing people. Two amazing teachers.