I hope you’ve all had a restful and enjoyable Christmas. If you’re anything like me, you ate far too many mince pies and are about to begin a detox period!
I can’t quite believe 2023 has begun already, but as I sit here at my laptop and reflect on 2022, it was certainly a long year.
I started 2022 with intentions and goals for both my business and personal life. I was energised and ready to thrive and grow. As February hit, I discovered I had been nominated for a RNIB See Differently Award. Gathering evidence of my volunteering was eye opening – I hadn’t realised how much I fit into my schedule!
March soon came and I was in London to attend a sight loss council event at the House of Parliament and the RNIB Awards ceremony. I invited my mum as my guest because she has always been there for me and never asks for anything in return. It was a long but rewarding day. Spending the day raising the profile of Visual Impairment in the grand surroundings of The Houses of Parliament was fabulous, but I then went and won the RNIB Volunteer of the Year Award! I couldn’t believe it, I still don’t to be honest. A huge thank you to RNIB and Judith Potts of Esme’s Umbrella for nominating me.
The spring brought with it a new job opportunity. I began working at a local wellbeing centre as a massage therapist. Bringing in a little extra income was a great help and meeting and working with other therapists has been really beneficial. After a wonderful first three months I fractured my scaphoid bone at Glastonbury, putting me out of action with my own clients and the Centre’s for 8 weeks.
Rather than wallow, I took this time to design the KAM Wellbeing Programme for people living with Charles Bonnet Syndrome. I also used this time to create video content for Five Senses Therapy and work on my business plan. After completing my advanced facility training with Sister Stories, I am now able to create and facilitate programmes of my own design which meant I could move into group work.
In October I was asked by NIHR Moorfields Bio Medical Research Centre to create and deliver a breadth workshop for the Bloomsbury Arts Festival in London. The theme was how breath connects with sight. Well, that is something I knew about! I have embraced breath and it is now the main tool I use to manage life with sight loss and Charles Bonnet Syndrome. I received really wonderful and encouraging feedback from the participants and organisers and thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the festival.
The KAM Wellbeing Programme also began in Autumn and got off to a great start. These two events finalised a decision to develop and grow the work I do through Five Senses Therapy. Working with bigger groups is something that brings me to life, and it is where my confidence and passion lies. Perhaps it is the years spent in the hospitality industry!
You may be wondering how I fractured the scaphoid bone? Well, it happened at Glastonbury in the summer, the first one back without my sight. It was certainly an emotional weekend. It turned out to be one of the most difficult and challenging experiences of my life. Not only was I immersing myself in something I had enjoyed so much when I had sight for the first without it, I was there for the first time with my son. I went to Glastonbury when I was pregnant with Dylan and had always looked forward to returning with him. But there was no getting away from the fact that this wasn’t the experience I had hoped for and it was hard, much harder than I had prepared myself for. I tried to put a smile on my face and get through it but at times I found it too difficult and had a good old cry. This release helped me to move forward, and I do have fond memories of the weekend, like when Dylan and I were sat at the pyramid stage on a blow-up sofa enjoying Noel Gallagher. It was like the world had faded away and it was just us two there.
Throughout the year I have been invited to speak and share my story, which have all added to my experience of public speaking and helped to grow my confidence in this area. I really love this type of work and have started a course with a speaker coach to enable me to apply to Ted Ex events. Watch this space next year and keep your fingers crossed for me.
2022 has been a ride of good and bad news, joy and sadness. I am ever the optimist and believe 2023 will bring growth and positivity and where the challenges and sad times arise I know I am always working on managing these moments and 2023 will be no different.
I want to wish you all the best for the new year ahead and I hope it is filled with love, joy, strength and connection.
Happy New Year and see you in 2023 where you can continue to follow my journey. Thank you for reading and staying with me on this rollercoaster we call life.