"I spent many years living in a dark place, feeling alone, like no one understood me and was living my life trying to please others. Working with Jo was nothing like I had expected. It gave me the passion and desire to change my life.
I started working with Jo hoping to finish with a perfect life and nothing would ever be bad or hard again. Now I realise that it is more like training, giving you the tools you need to deal with everything life throws at you and so you have the belief in yourself that you can cope and be happy. I no longer feel the need to beat myself up after every mistake. I now have the strength and confidence to start living my own life again. Getting Jo’s help has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. She has challenged me and made me see things in a way I never thought possible.”
It's crazy how much life can change in a year…
I wanted to write and share with you what’s happened.
Honestly I think I am doing this for me as much as for you, because I can’t believe all the incredible things I had accomplished, experienced and taken part in this year; so many and I've never been prouder.
Most people remember their 22nd birthday as a wild night out with their friends followed by being hung over the next day, putting together the pieces from too much alcohol - right?
Well not for me… it was shit!
Mine was spent sat at the same place I always went to hide and contemplate whether I actually wanted to be on this planet anymore. By then I was escaping there 3 maybe 4 nights a week, ignoring my phone constantly ringing from worried family, boyfriend and friends…
I would sit and drown in questions of if and how I would end it, or it this was just a cry for help, or if and how would I sort myself out?
But sort what out exactly?
I was living at home with my family, I had a boyfriend and a job where I could work with two of my best friends – it’s hard to describe, but it all just felt wrong!
So empty - black and grey and one big blur…
I trawled the internet looking up symptoms and went to the doctors where they gave me a big label of 'depression', but didn't actually help.
Everyone around me now thought it was all going to get better; especially as the doctor had prescribed me tablets. I didn't want to take them, I always have had more of a holistic approach to life, but I did and they just made my thoughts worse.
Finally I just decided to do something different and sought out someone who might be able to help me and I found Jo. I remember thinking she’s going to think I am crazy?!
But from the very first session I knew I had made the right choice...
It was time to be 100% open and truthful
I can tell you the first few weeks were a complete emotional roller coaster and I was exhausted. Finally admitting out loud that I felt like a little girl in a young woman's body. I was spending my life pleasing everyone around me and it had left me with no energy, no spark, no love – nothing.
I couldn't believe it when I started to understand what a healthy loving relationship was and the one I had been in all that time, but was actually a toxic, draining, controlling relationship and it had played a big part in me getting to this point - so I put an end to it.
Over the weeks I amazingly I began to feel like I was waking up - I found a point to being in the world and I saw a smile on my face. My dark days got smaller and my bright days grew bigger.
I gradually started to like being a single woman, felt stronger and more powerful. I began to attract all kinds of cool things from different people in my life.
Spreading My Wings And Fly
Then suddenly a friend of mine got I'm touch with me , out of blue and said she had left her job in London and was returning to home, but was keen to travel more. She'd had an idea and asked me what I thought about it?
From everything Jo at taught me about listening to my own body - I instantly knew - that this was the next step I had to take in my life. My body, my mind, my energy, everything was screaming at me; Yes - Go!
So, 5 weeks later I had quit my job and we were waiting at London Heathrow, bound for South East Asia...
With only a tiny budget, no idea where we were going and a lot of excitement we left for this amazing adventure - I felt so alive!
I was free, energetic, wild, bubbly, laughing, dancing, testing my limits, pushing myself, getting lost and not caring - everything I would have feared before was being thrown at me and I dealt with it without a care in the world - it was amazing!
I even chose to separate from my friend at own point and went off exploring just by myself I can’t believe I was the same person, who used to hide, sacred to be alone and thoughts about giving up on life!
I thought back to Jo so many times and all the incredible things she had taught me as a young woman - I could see that life was BEAUTIFUL, and so were the people in it…
Never Came Back Down
The incredible thing is that after taking that first jump I never landed back to my old reality!
Life has continued to flow gracefully and swiftly since I landed back in England…
For 3 jobless weeks after an initial struggle with old panic's and saw Jo again for a couple of sessions - I relaxed once more and had faith something would come my way, and it did.
I have found my way to work with dogs full time - animals have been a number one passion for me all my life, but I never believed my work could actually be my passion.
I have spent my summer of 2013 with the greatest friends I’d never really appreciated before; I went on road trips, adventures, festivals, and began to live my life the way I wanted to.
I've fallen in love
What was a total surprise is that to top it all off I've fallen in love and am in a relationship with my best male friend...
We had contemplated it before, but my fear had always got in the way - honestly I didn't used to think I was 'good enough' - Now I know, I am.
I've never been happier...
I finally learnt to say no to what I didn't like, or want and stop worry so much about what other people think. I feel so much more confident. I seem to laugh every single day, work hard in a job that I love and feel safe to love freely.
I'm constantly exploring new ideas and excited by possible adventures where life could take me...
My next dream is to have my own grooming studio open by mid next year. It's a big step, but I know I will get there, if I take it in small stages.
I can’t believe I wake up every day looking forward - I'm finally living my life as a 23 year old woman should be.
Isn't that just the best news - I told you it was an incredible year!
"I was in such a dark space. I seemed to have everything going for me ~ loving wife, two lovely boys, successful business and friends. There was little love though between my wife and I. I found it hard to show love and affection to my children and I wasn't even sure how to be a friend anymore, or who were my friends.
I was stuck, frozen, and unable to communicate in almost every walk of my life. I was pretending to be strong, but was usually terrified of everything and everybody. Sometimes I had to walk past a friend's front door or a pub because I was so frighten. I still feel that way sometimes but Jo has taught me to always step forward, which mostly, nearly always I do now.
After trying therapy unsuccessfully before, I found Jo and set about the process of working together. For a while though it was something of a battle...I was so afraid and deep down didn't think I was worthy, that somehow I was built wrong, so I resisted and tried to stay stuck in my head and out of touch with my body ~ something which I had specifically remember asking Jo for help with.
Slowly we went through my life. Bit by bit I was able to unblock inside and slowly learn to love myself again - that 'I matter'. Jo has helped me become better at loving my family and friends which has now given more than hope for the future. I am interested in life again and look forward to what is to come rather than being afraid. The sun now shines in my heart and I am so proud to have had the courage, to have been brave enough to find myself. I am so grateful for her help in bringing back to life again”
“Jo has taught me that love really is patient, kind and unconditional. Firstly, teaching me how to love myself this way and that I deserve it and never settle for less. Secondly how to attract it into my life have that LOVE reflected. I have met a man who accepts me for who I am - flaws and all”
"At 48 although I was successful in business, I seem to be failing in love. I longed for a real connection, but I kept choosing the instant gratification of seducing beautiful young woman, which initially felt great until the chase was over, so I went from dating one physically beautiful girl to another, always ending up feeling empty and depressed.
Jo helped me see my choices & behaviour & learn how to respect myself. Which has helped me to respect women for more than just objects of pleasure & develop some meaningful relationships with friends and family, instead of relying on the rush of sex.
I've become more comfortable in who I am & more relaxed about it all, I date, but I don't rush it so much, so I can make better choices. Ive noticed I have become much more attractive to women who respect themselves too. I feel I am finally on the right path to get the deep lasting intimate connection I've always wanted, but now with the right woman. “
"I was full of fear, rage and self-loathing. I used to cut my arms and long to stay in bed all day. I would torture myself with horrible destructive thoughts and believing what was the point, I was never going to be good enough. I have learnt things about myself that were hard to take in and so many times I wanted to give up as a lost cause, I felt sick with nerves, but then something clicked and I began to believe I can do this. I now know that I am not a bad person and that I am not to blame for everything.
Since working with Jo I have now experienced that warm fuzzy feeling when I do something for myself, that giddy excitement when I receive and really listen to praise and love. I now see life in a totally different way. I now realise I am full of love and I want to share it rather than hide away as before.
I am so proud of myself I could run and skip down the road and I genuinely want to smile at everyone. Jo taught me about balance and negotiation within attracting and having a healthy relationship. About being happy within myself. Now that I nurture and care for myself first I see this reflected in my partner. What were problems and anxiety before are now new experiences and excitement for the future --I deserve them. I am so proud of myself I could run and skip down the road and I genuinely want to smile at everyone."
"I was small and scared and in the dark. I was full of powerless anger like shouting at someone through glass. I distanced myself from people more and more. I was so tired of shouting and scared I could no longer control it.
One day I woke up and realised I had nothing. My friends were gone, my family were distant and happiness wasn't even a memory. I cried for the first time since I was a child; I sobbed at my own pitiful state and knew I had to get help.
Although this has been the hardest, scariest and most sorrowful journey of my life, Jo reflected to me the truth of how far I had gone from where I thought I was. How could I have got so lost?
But I got through it as I know you will ~ Trust me you will be fine, just have faith in yourself. I found the help that was right for me and honestly I can say I am HAPPY. I appreciate the relationships in my life more than I ever thought possible. I am brave, open and honest, and share my emotions with people. I now feel love and give it freely; I can't explain how fantastically comfortable and enjoyable that feels. I am truly grateful to Jo for helping me.”
“Jo the most amazing things are happening in my life! I am walking toward those things that are good, light and safe for me! I have taken inspired action and now my path is being clearly laid out in front of me, So exciting”
"Jo has challenged my negative beliefs about myself and the world with compassion and love. She is also supportive, empathic and creative in using sometimes surprising therapeutic techniques and approaches to help and heal. She has taught me that change and growth is never easy has encouraged and supported me to unearth and integrate parts of myself I had lost, to find inner strength I didn’t know I had and appreciate my masculinity.
I have emerged as a stronger, wiser and more contented man. I now face the future with excitement, curiosity and love.”
"With Jo's help I've finally been able let go of past hurts and limitations. She has this amazing ability to see right to the heart of the problem and help you let go with ease and grace. I definitely love myself more and can see where I was putting myself in destructive relationships that had no chance of fulfilment. I now have a lot more love and self-worth and this has improved all my relationships not just in romance”
"Thank you for giving me confidence and hope and showing me how good life can be once again.”
So much has changed for me since I found Jo and choose to get her help...
When I think back to my "old" way of being, it feels tight, dark, cramped, panicked, and uncomfortable. I had a sort of desperate self-centeredness about me.
I was operating from a place of scarcity, always worried there wouldn't be enough of whatever I so desired left for me. I felt such a gap, and such a deficiency in myself.
Being with myself wasn't a place I really wanted to visit. I just didn't like being in my own camp. I was constantly trying to be in someone else's camp. including focusing solely on studying or merging with others in relationships.
This way of being was not serving me, things weren't working and what I thought would bring me peace and fulfillment, weren't.
Self Love, Feelings & Empowerment
I never really knew what it meant when people said "have a relationship with yourself," or "self-love". I sort of got it on an intellectual level, but I hadn't *felt* it until now...
Jo helped me I start accessing my I anger and mobilize it towards change, even though it wasn't clear to me at the time that I was doing that, I gradually started building strength.
I began paying attention to my body, though Jo's energy healing meditations and visualisations, such as imagining myself as a confident lioness, fully in her body. I downloaded photos of lionesses onto my phone, and dug out some leopard print wedge shoes I had felt too self-conscious to wear before.
Another touchpoint became my trail running. It was the first thing I could truly identify as a passion, because I felt strong, free and powerful when I was doing it.
I started shouting affirmations from the ridges I was climbing and finding strength-giving metaphors in nature.
Something was really starting to percolate in me...
Jo taught me to start embracing, exploring and trusting my feelings and how to use them as a guiding compass, rather than something to feel afraid of or something to avoid. So I started living more in the present, asking myself moment to moment, day to day;
"what do I feel like doing?"
Then I would move towards the things that felt good/spacious/open, and away from the things that didn't.
I stopped doing what I thought I *should* do, or what I thought others wanted me to do and stopped ruminating and dwelling in feeling guilty and bad for doing what I wanted to be doing.
No matter what I kept moving forward and this led to even more trust in myself!
I didn't need to figure it all out, or understand the reasoning or logic behind everything. I could simply do what *felt* right for me
This may seem like a simple concept, but it was hugely powerful for me to start living from this realization.
It literally felt like a big wake up, like suddenly I was starting to live in a more colorful world, whereas up to this point my world had been gray-scale.
This opened up a new horizon for me!
I started to feel like I could see further ahead whereas before, I was only seeing a few feet around me and felt more energized and full of possibility and so I didn't have to work so hard at things!
This has brought such a feeling of freedom, peace and connection!
Being fully in touch with myself, and representing my most authentic self in the world suddenly felt easier. It felt easier to trust that things would work out and that I didn't have to micromanage, figure out, or be in control of everything.
Things could just *flow, which was definitely a new word and experience for me!
I got out of my head, and more in my heart and things in my life started to shift too...
I began a new job, and quickly I was asked to take on leadership roles. I feel more connected to my work, and the people around me and have real relationships with my colleagues, being more spontaneous, laughing, playing, or speaking up about something difficult...
Before I used to be so calculated and self-conscious, waiting for just the right moment to speak, and not wanting to seem like too much.
I also gradually started to feel less responsible for my family.
Growing up my mother was often anxious while my dad was quiet, stoic, and in the background. As a small child, I just wanted to soothe my mother and shake my father to wake him up so that he could feel more loving and alive.
Now, for the first time in my life, I could see the different roles people in my family take up, without having to get right in the middle of it or feel like it was my job to change it and in the process, it started to feel less stuck with them and I actually started to enjoy them more!
My friendships with my girlfriends became more plentiful and richer.
We laughed, cried, went in the hot tub together, cooked, hiked, and traveled. I've never felt such a connection and abundance with girlfriends before, and I'm never giving that up! I prioritize that so differently now.
Dating & Intimate Relationships
I also started dating again after a painful break up and realized that I didn't have to work so hard at that either!
I simply had to make sure I was fully being myself - with all my passions, likes/dislikes, love, and creativity.
Jo helped me realize that the "old" way of working hard at love and relationships shifted the energy of a relationship to a panicky and dark feeling, and didn't allow space for the unfolding of love and playfulness.
When I was "working hard" at love, I was doing so from a place of fear and anxiety, which led to trying to control the other person or the outcome of the situation. This wasn't good for anyone!
Loving Her Complete Self - In & Out of Relationships
I started to learn about the feminine and the masculine energies and behaviour with Jo, and how I could embody both...
My feminine became softer, more expressive, more fun, more flitting about .... my masculine emerged in a healthy way - helping me feel more solid, setting boundaries and limits, and navigating the world.
I started to feel more whole in a new kind of way and my trust in myself and in the process only grew as a result.
The experience of being my strongest, fullest, quirkiest self and feeling even MORE desirable was an incredible feeling!
The Way Forward
The healing and learning I've done over the past many months has helped me become a better version of myself and armed with the tools to live my life to the fullest.
My life feels so rich and bright right now, in a way that I hadn't experienced previously.
I'm very grateful for the day I first read one of Jo's pieces online, and contacted her...
Looking back, I can see how in that moment I was trusting a deep instinct to reach out to her. I am so glad that I did! It's brought about wonders in my life, and I'm excited for the journey ahead!
"When I met Jo, I had lost all trust. I did not trust the world, my thoughts, feelings and felt deeply uncomfortable with who I was and in my body. Working with her, I learnt the difference between self-loving and self-sacrificing behaviour, which has had the biggest effect of my life. I developed the confidence to do more, trust myself and learnt how to express myself in a way that feels good to me. I now attract very kind, caring and loving situations, instead of pain and even took the brave leap to take my first big trip of a lifetime. Thank you Jo, I am so grateful!”
"Jo has enabled me to think about and feel my authentic self. Before I believed that I was resilient and quite secure. I believed I could ‘deal’ with all that life could throw at me; my adoption, rejection, cancer, separation/divorce. What I discovered over a period of time was that my way of coping; looking after other people, being detached emotionally from others, my lack of intimacy even with close family members; was a strategy to keep myself safe and mask my fear. I'm different now. I am discovering that feeling more and thinking less is helping me discover the true me. Jo challenged me, helped me identify and recognise behaviours that in the past have been destructive; holding me back from the joy and happiness that I am and can experience. I am learning to trust, care and ask for help. I am learning to acknowledge the fear that for far too long has held me prisoner.”
"After only a one hour session with Jo I felt AMAZING !! I had excitement, happiness and joy again. I had so much energy I felt like a could run a marathon and its continued. She helped me to trust, let go and let love in, so I could LOVE my life and those in it! Thank you so much Jo “
"When I first met Jo I was in a desperate situation. I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall. More importantly I was so scared about the damage I thought I was doing to my family. The skills and understanding of myself I have learnt through working with Jo will stay with me forever. My hope is that I will nurture my children in the way I have been nurtured by Jo. I have learnt to start accepting and loving myself; that I am important and worth it. I value my relationship with Jo and feel her impact on me has been massive and I will carry that with me for the rest of my life. Thank you so very much."
"I was completely stuck. I had been suffering from M.E. for 9 years when I began the sessions, and throughout those years had spent every day exhausted and resting in bed, unable to work. Expressing and freeing myself of all my hurt and angry feelings brought a great rush of energy with it. Letting my emotions open up seemed to open up my energy supplies too, and my energy began to return gradually as the sessions went on. I learned how to break the ingrained habit of stifling my feelings generally, and found there was nothing to fear from allowing myself to feel my feelings and expressing them productively. What I thought would be just a bit of guidance has turned out to be the most emotional, challenging, and utterly wonderful journey of my life. From being long-term ill, out of work and in total despair less than 6 months ago - I now find myself doing aerobics X-box games with the kids, wonderful coastal runs, working in a new job. I would never have dreamed it. It's been such an amazing turn-around"
"I was aware that something was very wrong in my life - to feel so sad and empty when I have two lovely children and a husband who is the love of my life. The process has been hard at times. Over the past 3 months we explored many painful issues, but I now feel so much kinder to myself, and aware that I don't want to perpetuate that "controlling" micro managing" trait that I learnt in my childhood.
I feel in such a different place. Calmer, much less self-critical, more open to new things and there is more space in my life for me and for me and my husband. I feel excited to be starting what I think of as my third trimester in such a positive way. I notice that I sleep really well now - I always slept badly, worrying about many issues. There is a tremendous sense of having let go of so many negative feelings which were weighing me down.
I look physically different facially, my face used to be strained, lined, anxious with sad, dead eyes (despite a smiling mouth). Now I look softer, prettier, more attractive (which has been commented on), but above all happier and more sparkly. All of my relationships have also changed for the better. My daughter said the other day; "mum I can tell the change in you, you are calmer, stronger and I no longer feel responsible for you" I no longer feel I need to sort out their problems for them. I also no longer feel responsible for my husband’s lifestyle choices ~ he is his own man and does not need me to manage his life. I have noticed that since I stopped mothering him our sex life has hotted up too...I am looking forward now with optimism and a more youthful joyfulness to the rest of my life.
“I was amazed at the impact Jo had on me and how immediately we got to the core issues. I’d had a bit of counselling before and done lots of personal development but nothing like this…Over the months I raged and cried and get angry with her and myself and everyone and admitted to feelings I’d never acknowledged before. And she just let it go! I’d want to run away from the feelings and package them back up and hide them away again and put my brittle mask back on because it was safer. But she kept making me take the wretched thing off again and again. It hurt to really face the truthful pain and sadness of my childhood and early adulthood.
But then one day, it started to hurt less… In one session Jo encouraged me to remember how I tapped into my own happiness as a little girl – playing in the garden, smelling the plants and grass, feeling the sun, touching the flowers and the bark on the trees, and it opened up my real self who had got buried somewhere.
Since then, we’ve being toing and froing - she kept me focused on growing and growing; even when I’ve wandered off back into my head, as I still tend to do sometimes.
But more and more the world outside has become available to me – I can see it, feel it and really experience it and be here, right now in this moment; on my own or with other people. And whatever happens now, thanks to Jo, (the good mother I didn’t have) and the work we’ve done together I know it’s all going to be OK!
Instead of standing in the dark, looking at a glimmer of light in the distance, I’m now standing in the sunshine.”
If someone had told me 6 months ago I would be on my way to France, alone, to stay with a stranger in the middle of the French countryside I would have laughed scornfully and said ooh I couldn’t possibly do that, I am not ready for something like that – it’s way too scary.
Nevertheless, a tiny voice in my head was urging me to seek something more, to turn my life around from one of always looking after everyone else and work out what I wanted.
I knew it had to involve facing some demons but I wasn’t sure how to go about it...
Traditional counselling didn’t feel quite right because it didn’t go deep enough and involved rehashing all the painful, negative things that had resulted in me feeling so stuck and trapped.
Then I discovered a woman who was a former client of Jo's and read her journey from ME to getting back into her body and engaged with the world.
This was what I was looking for...
I'd had ME myself for many years and knew deep down that this was largely caused by giving too much to others and not enough to myself, a habit my entire life!
Having experienced a series of significant losses over recent years I was bruised and battered and very much closed down emotionally.
When I started working with Jo it was so hard to see how any of it was going to work but her patience, persistence and firm, yet loving approach started to open my heart, body and mind to new possibilities.
My beautiful dog of 9 years had died earlier in the year and I had told myself I needed to wait before getting a new one, despite missing the doggy presence in my life so much. When Jo said ‘If you want a dog why don’t you get one?’ it was like a door had been opened.
I realised I was making myself suffer and I didn’t need to - it is okay for me to want something and go and get it!
It sounds so obvious writing about it now but it was a reflection of just how closed down inside myself I had become.
So I got my new puppy and having him in my life got me back out into the world, meeting other dog walkers and sharing doggy stories, instead of being an onlooker wishing I had a dog.
More than that, he opened my heart to accepting and giving unconditional love...
This was the beginning of my decision to give myself permission to make myself happy, healthy and live my life!
Over the months I started to look for more connection with like-minded women, to get back in touch with the wild, nature loving woman deep inside of me.
I finally got the courage up to go and join a women’s circle and was blown away by the sense of belonging and support I found there, other women on similar journeys to get back to themselves.
It reinforced for me what I had come to understand that we must look inside as no one else can fix us!
In all the years past when I went to a therapist – be it massage, counselling, reiki whatever, I was looking for someone to fix me, to provide the magic bullet that would turn things around.
I now know that other people can only ever be like Jo a catalyst, an inspiration, a teacher and loving supporter, but I had to be the one to make the fundamental changes and be wiling to learn and change.
I had to love me and start to hear what my inner wild woman was saying to me...
I used to spend a lot of time obsessing about what my partner needed to do more of, less of, if only he did x,y or z then I would feel ok, our relationship would be ok.
Deep down I knew this was not really the answer and gradually when began to change and took more care of myself, I shifted the focus from him to me.
Instead of hiding away stirring up pots of resentment I was able to go and spend the time meditating, researching and being inspired by other women reconnecting with nature, enjoying my own company.
It gave us both space and I found myself feeling more loving, I didn’t have to put all that energy into thinking about how to fix things, letting it be worked just fine.
I started to be able to speak my mind, not stay silent for fear of causing trouble and because I was more relaxed we could talk about stuff with humour and compassion.
When I decided to go off on my own for a while my partner was all for it, understanding my deep need
for some solitude – I am heading off trusting in our relationship, knowing he will be there when I get back.
I also came to love and experiment with the food I ate, eating loads more simple fresh food and found I really enjoyed it, I started to have a bit more energy and felt less constricted by fitting in with what everyone else wanted to eat.
My body is slowly waking up, I am no longer trapped by pain and fear of making changes. Instead I know that though there is still a little way to go before I am fully fit again, I am able to gently encourage myself to accept the discomfort because it is just growing pains and will pass.
There is a beautiful story about a woman who was world weary and worn out.
She took herself off at the beginning of winter and hunkered down in a cave deep in the forest. She sat out the dark months, staring into the fire and dreaming of all she might become.
As the days grew lighter she felt her sinews creak and stir and knew it would soon be time to move.
One bright morning a wolf emerged from the cave and bounded off through the forest, out onto the open grassland and leapt across the river, shaking her tale with delight.
In a couple of days I head off on my adventure, full of anticipation and a good measure of fear but so delighted to have made it happen and be able to shake my tail with delight too...