You’ve been on a spiritual path for a while but still feel stuck and frustrated, at a standstill.
You don’t know what to do next.
You’re unsure how you can walk your path and fulfil your potential living a life of greater meaning.
You’re looking for real freedom, greater perspective and guidance from your inner wisdom.
But you can’t hear your inner voice.
I can help.
Hi, I’m Michelle.
I offer guidance for deepening your personal and spiritual journey.
I help you get clarity about your life situations so you can make decisions on the next steps that lead to a life of fulfilment and greater meaning
This is the story of my path. Hunker down, it’s a long one.
In my late teens, a friend introduced me to Darwin’s theory of biological evolution. Coming from a Catholic school education and background I’d been told that humanity evolved from Adam and Eve.
In short, my mind was blown.
Realise that this was the early 1990s when not many people were online or had computers and if they did probably just played Pacman. Information just wasn’t as easily available and social circles were often limited.
My friend introduced me to other mind blowing ideas and experiences; some of those substances and most of those illegal- depending on where you live.
I continued my mind expanding activities when I went to the UK for University and thought I’d be free from all the restrictions in my life and could do what I wanted to do.
As I made my way through a series of psychedelics, in my fervour to explore alternate realities and altered states of consciousness, I forgot to go to University.
This did not end well.
In an overzealous attempt to open the doors of perception a la Aldous Huxley, I decided I would take psychedelics in what would best be described- using the words of Terence Mckenna- as a ‘heroic dose’.
I wandered the streets of London in a dazed state going from friend to friend desperately seeking release from the torment of my constricted staccato feelings and crazy making thoughts.
It felt like there was someone watching and judging me in my mind and everywhere I went; an intrapersonal big brother that influenced the people around me. I was sure I was being mocked by friends, loved ones, even strangers on the London tube and through newspaper articles or TV shows. There was a plot to show me just what a bad person I was.
They were all directing one repeating message in various ways… who does she think she is? She deserves to be in the state she’s in. She’s made wrong selfish choices and this is what comes when you just think about yourself and are irresponsible.
I finally succeeded in blowing my mind completely.
I’m dedicated like that.
Interestingly this was preceded by an incident of knowing a friend of mine had been arrested before anybody actually told me. In my twisted mind, because I’d known it, I was sure I’d caused it. I also had visions and insight into an underlying layer of awareness and existence where everything originated from a single source and was one.
Eventually, I made my way to my cousin’s house to await the arrival of my family who’d decided to fly over to take me to get help at The Priory, a private mental health facility.
Disoriented, utterly defeated and out of options, I opened up cautiously to the man we consulted with at The Priory after he’d politely escorted my family out of the room so he could speak to me one to one. His manner was so disarmingly kind that it made me feel safe and reassured about the care I’d receive. I agreed to begin their in-house drug and alcohol treatment programme.
As my condition was deemed a result of the substances I’d taken, I was referred to this treatment unit instead of the sectioned wing of the hospital- where I might’ve been heavily sedated and the doctors would’ve focused on chemical imbalances in my body.
The programme I entered was a 12 step recovery programme based on spiritual principles and psychotherapy. Maybe it would’ve been different had I not been so paranoid that I’d actually shared what was going on in my mind, but even in my state, I knew how crazy it would sound.
This was one of the many instances of grace that peppered my life and made me feel there was hope even in the darkest and most desperate of places.
It also marked the beginning of a journey of redemption and awakening.
In this exclusive private hospital, I went through treatment with an actor, a very handsome successful musician, two Catholic priests and an eclectic mix of mostly upper-middle-class Londoners.
Being foreign and the youngest by far, I felt lost and out of place most of the time. I wished I was mute so I didn’t need to talk. I really just wanted to be someone else, anyone else. I couldn’t come to terms with how I’d lost control of myself and my life in such a public way that my family had to intervene to help me.
I hated myself and my life.
But I was relieved to be getting help.
At the end of six weeks, I didn’t know where else to go to and was recommended to continue treatment at a halfway house on the South-West coast of England. The sandy beaches there and an Indian summer helped me to take this next step.
I stayed at the halfway house for a year and gained more insight into how our childhoods and life experiences mould us. I realised that being molested by an extended family member had led to my life going off the rails very slowly but surely and suicidal thoughts since the age of 12. I felt there must be something wrong with me and so ashamed about this secret that it tore away at the fabric of my relationships.
Psychedelic is a word that derives from the Greek words psychē which means mind and dēloun which means to make visible or reveal. Psychedelics have been shown to act on the brain in a way to improve communication pathways and reveal our subconscious minds through expanded inner and external visual perceptions. In short, they can give you a torturous or blissful experience, depending on what is happening inside you at the time.
What was inside of me when I first encountered psychedelics was self-hatred and deep shame along with the survival instinct of a lemming. This triggered an excruciating experience of a world that despised me and broke down my every last defence.
In the halfway house and 12 step meetings I attended, I met heroin and crack cocaine addicts who’d resorted to prostitution and crime to feed their habits. Hearing their life stories made it clear to me how universal trauma was in these communities.
I began to see how the pain of abuse and neglect is inextricably linked with drug use, alcoholism and mental health. The more severe and repeated the abuse, pain and neglect, the greater the devastation.
Toward the end of my time at the halfway house, we were encouraged to take on voluntary work to help us assimilate back into normal civilian life. I decided that I’d volunteer at an HIV charity.
At the charity, I met a shiatsu therapist and Reiki healer who both exuded an uncommon aliveness and passion for their work.
I knew I had to find out more.
Eventually, I figured if I learnt to help others like they did, I’d not only be doing work that was meaningful but also learning to help myself.
Around the same time. I met two yogis who were teaching yoga and meditation in a way that created a state of deep relaxation and inner calm I’d never experienced before.
Instead of going back to University, I decided to spend a year learning yoga and meditation with them. The yogis taught me about discipline and dedication to the path of awakening.
I worked with flower essences, aromatherapy, herbalism and natural remedies when I took on a job as a Natural Health Consultant to help pay the bills as I trained.
I completed yoga teacher training, attained certificates in Reiki I and II, diplomas in Zen Shiatsu (Devon School of Shiatsu) and Psycho-Spiritual counselling (Sacred Space Institute of Counselling and Psychotherapy).
My life took on new meaning when I combined my training and experience to offer Shiatsu Healing treatments.
I finally felt on course.
To further deepen my personal journey, I travelled to South America to encounter the sacred mysteries of the Kogi and Lakota shamanic paths by assisting in sweat lodges and plant medicine ceremonies.
Initially, I was terrified of triggering my experiences of the past and only went because I’d read that plant medicines could give you a direct experience of spiritual dimensions in a more balanced way to synthetic psychedelics. Though I’d been reading spiritual books voraciously and attending courses, I felt little depth of understanding and experience of the principles… so off to Brazil and Colombia I went.
That was another kind of mind-blowing experience of oneness but this time being more mature, stable, having a clear intention and being in a sacred ceremony, my experiences brought restoration and evoked a sense of awe.
I saw how we’re an infinitesimal part of a boundless existence yet by being a part of it, we’re also boundless and infinite; nothing and everything.
but I digress.
In 2010, I noticed many of my clients were coming back to me for years because their issues and ailments were recurring. I found myself telling them the same things over and over again.
I realised they’d been coming to me to fix their bodies and wanted to feel better about their lives without making any inner changes or addressing underlying personal issues.
In an effort to find new tools to help my clients, I decided on life coach training with Dr Martha Beck. What I’d learnt from reading her books and doing the exercises in them had effectively supported me in creating this new freer life I was living. Also, she was referred to as “the best-known life coach in America” by USA Today and Psychology Today.
By George, I think I got it.
I certified as a life and master coach with the Martha Beck Institute in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
When I started coaching clients, I knew I’d found the work I was meant to do.
The clients who came for coaching wanted to make changes and were willing to take ownership of their lives. When we worked together they got meaningful results and immediate traction, both internally and externally.
But I was still on my own journey of unwinding from self-sabotage and old habits of being drawn to difficult life experiences and hurtful relationships that were familiar to me.
In 2012, I rebooted my meditation practice and appreciation of Buddhist dharma teachings at a two-week silent meditation retreat in a forest monastery in Taiping, Malaysia.
My experience of exploring inner realities and altering my consciousness through meditation brought with it clarity and peace of mind amidst the then chaos of my heart.
It dawned on me during that retreat that life is often messy and hard. Others can and do hurt us and we stumble, time and time again, but that doesn’t have to inform our future or mean anything about our worth. In fact, if anything, it likely means that we feel things deeply and are brave enough to walk less travelled paths, facing our struggles head on instead of ignoring or suppressing them.
This realisation saved me because it helped me make life choices based on truth and faith, not fear or the need to fit in. Sometimes making the easy, safe choices is based on past conditioning or wanting to fulfil the expectations of others. Those decisions can subtly stifle and suffocate us because they’re not what we truly want in our hearts.
I never did go back to normal civilian life.
Instead, I created a life on my own terms and it freed me.
I wake up every day knowing the purpose of my life and why I’m alive because I’ve learnt how to increasingly embody the path I consciously began when I was 20.
In 2014 I began a meditation practice group with a friend. Other people joined us who were completely new to meditation which led to me guiding them and unintentionally becoming a meditation teacher.
This prompted me to attend 10-day silent Vipassana retreat in 2015 so I could develop my practice further and be a better teacher.
In 2021 I completed the certification requirements for the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program run by the Awareness Training Institute and Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley.