Humanitys Heart Interview
Rachel Wood is an author of Arty and the spider which is in the 1000 ripple effects book. She lives in Norwich which she absolutely loves. She has other stories such as Ada and Idris the two wise donkeys and Gertrude the vegan dragon and Ernest bear. Rachel devised a cake theory which involves your heart being the cake and your head being the icing. Life should be seen in this balance. Mainly cake or heart and just a thin layer of thinking or icing. It all takes practice as does living life.
What’s your story?
I was born in a small town in Derbyshire in the UK. It is surrounded by hills, moorland and sheep. As a family we walked the hills and dales nearby at the weekend and always had dogs and cats around us. I was born with a minor disability which I have subsequently realised is similar to dyspraxia. I am a bit clumsy, don’t have great spatial awareness and bump into things. I am terrible at ball games. It can be frustrating at times.
As a child I had some time off school and my mum sent me to a healer down the road. I remember feeling a bit nervous but I always full of energy afterwards.
Maybe because of this I have always had an interest in spirituality and healing.
I like my spirituality to feel earthy and shamanic, it feels creative and very still.
I like to have a connection with nature, it makes me feel rested and calm. I love being near trees and water. I have a hazel tree near my door which I love. I made a talking stick from one of the branches with the symbols of the tree ogham on it.
I have experienced healing on many levels and feel it can take a while to integrate into life as a consequence I am much healthier. I am addressing my mental health at the moment by learning breathing techniques and CBT techniques to challenge worries.
I trained as a psychodynamic and person-centred counsellor.
I found it really helpful and interesting to learn about psychology and how to listen deeply to people and also to listen to myself. I worked for some time as a volunteer counsellor for a disabled charity and a hospice whilst I was training.
At the moment I am having some counselling, it is a space for me to express myself as I change.
One recent change is that I am setting up a support group alongside 5 other people in Norwich.
The Bridge into Community delivers projects that support people who are moving between life stages, or crossing a bridge.
It will begin as a user led social group with activities. I hope that I will be able to utilize my counselling skills and I am sure I will learn and grow in the process.
I have always loved Beatrix Potter as a storyteller. Her books for children are just the right size with lots of action and pictures. She lived in the Lake District in the U.k...and gave a lot of the farmland she owned to the National trust.
I love to write stories and poetry. I find is a very healing process. My writing has a simplicity too it and I hope this comes across. I feel that life, in essence is simple and that it is only us that complicates it. Life is a journey and there are many changes, I expect that my writing will change as I do.
My story is about my own cat Artemis as a kitten. She used to ride around on my brush when I was cleaning up. She would fall off occasionally and look a bit put out.
Brock is in real life a big old sheep dog who I looked after for a while. He died many years ago, but I still feel a deep connection to him. We had a lot of fun together and he was very wise. I feel like he supports me now as I live and work in Norwich.
My story is about finding balance, being brave one step at a time, despite being taunted by a spider, having the support of friends, having fun and balancing in the end. As with all my stories I feel it is like a metaphor for my own
Here are a couple of links:
Tel U.K. 07726598704
catstailsblog.wordpress.com - a bit about my life and my chats with Artemis.
catstails.org – a new website for stories, info about weaving and animal communication.
Thanks for reading love Rachel
What is the toughest decision you ever made?
The toughest thing I have ever done is ask for help. I have a minor disability which is not very visible. I had been working hard to manage on my own with a new job and a fairly new home. I felt I SHOULD manage. When I asked for support I found that I had opened a door. This door has let good things in like, help from my family to paint my flat, expressing my emotions and being more patient with myself. I find that when I allow myself to be patient with myself other people are patient too. I feel able to share more and to receive more.
At the moment I am doing a stress management course to remind me about breathing techniques and how to manage anxiety and challenge my thoughts. I am finding that giving myself the space to learn these is making me stronger.
My cake for this is a warm cake with a warm topping.
What is the easiest decision you ever made?
The easiest decision I ever made was moving to Norwich from my home town.
I felt clearly that I had reached a point where I had nothing left to give as a counsellor. I felt I would only grow if I took up my friends offer to live with her for a while and see if I liked Norwich. There have been lots of practical changes and it has been a long journey.
I decided to stay and since then I have grown, I now have a job, a home, friends and an independent life. I am now closer to my family and friends. Although it is scary it is also fulfilling, nurturing and one of the best decisions I ever made. The job I have is the first for many years. It has been a challenge, partly because of my disability. I feel I need to congratulate myself for doing so well. The job has helped me to lead a more fulfilling and rewarding life and has brought me more money. I feel that I have grown in confidence and this has reflected in all aspects of my life.
My cake for this is a kind cake with a slow cooked topping and middle. Perhaps it contains beetroot and raspberries with soya cream!
Who is your role model and why?
People inspire me all the time.
Lesley as she always has time to listen and is very spiritual.
Chris who helped me to see the importance of asking for help. I now see that by asking for the help I need this is in fact a gift for other people.
My family who are so supportive of me.
My cat Artemis. She meditates constantly and is totally non-judgemental and full of love. She mirrors me and reflects back my emotions and choices in her behaviour. When I am fully peaceful in my body she reflects that back to me. I imagine being relaxed in my body like a cat. Peace in my back paws, peace in my front paws, peace in my head and ears and peace in my bum and tail. It helps me to feel calm and relaxed.
What is your super power and why?
My superpower is writing. It flows through me like a river sometimes. Starts at my heart and comes out through my fingers onto the page. The stories I write are metaphors for life.
Writing for me is a healing process and is in essence very simple.
At the moment I am writing about a clumsy knight who finds support and help from a dragon. This meeting helps him be more open and kinder to himself. This reminds me of my experience of having a disability and learning to be gentle with myself.
Another super power is weaving. When I weave I express my emotions through the use of colour. Weaving is a journey that transforms my life. It brings a regular rhythm (like breathing) to my day and I feel sustained by it.
Other super powers are tools I have developed to help me that I described at first.
Tools I use in my life.
The cake theory is a visual way of expressing feelings and a way to make decisions!
The cake part of the cake is like a heart, full of good feelings or tastes.
The topping is like our thoughts.
The heart sees a wider perspective.
Our thoughts can be more focussed.
I like to use to a percentage of 7/8 cake and 1/8 icing.
For example, when I bought my flat I asked myself what cake it was.
Because of the colours of the walls it was an egg on toast and strawberry and cream cake. I thought, I like the sound of that, so I bought it.
Pot of potential
We all have a huge pot of potential inside of us. Find the thing that makes your heart sing and that will help you to find the thing you love to do.
Sometimes you have to let an idea stew in the pot for a while until it feels right to bring it out and have a go.
Breathing We take in life on the in breath and let go on the out breath, it is a tool you can use to keep calm and find your own still place.
These skills may suit you or maybe you can develop your own super power or tool for life.
What do you not like to do?
Be in my head too much, clean the house or be indoors too much.
What is the most important thing about what you want to do?
The most important thing I want to do is to find a balance. To be published and to run workshops and discuss my stories with children. I want to live in my own rhythm as far as possible and remain true to myself. I would like to allow respect and balance in my work life, home life and find joy as I go.
When were you most satisfied in your life?
I am most satisfied now. I feel my life is opening up. I am allowing more into my life.
I am proud of my job, my emotional journey and how it is helping me to embrace life.
I love living in Norwich, not far from the coast. Living my daily life can be difficult and stressful but it also is an adventure.
What is your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal is to share my writing with others and learn and grow as I do.
Also to be open, share and grow in the relationships that develop.
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
I would like to tell people that their pets/animals truly do communicate with us on an emotional telepathic level often using pictures. Still yourself down and listen they have a lot to say.
I would like everyone to feel loved and safe. I would like people to feel able to be in their hearts to express emotion(in a safe place) when they need too I would like people to feel able to express themselves creatively and find their true genius, their spiritual calling and the reason their souls are on this earth. I cannot change all this I can only change myself and live my life.
What do I prefer?
Beach or mountains – beach every time
Sweet or spicy- sweet
Window or aisle- window so I can see the world
Ice cream or custard- ice-cream but it can depend on the weather and the company
What ripple effect would you start in the world and why?
The ripple effect I would like to bring at the moment is to be more nurturing of myself and more open to new experiences. I feel that as I grow and integrate and accept my disability this will allow me to take a step back and feel more at peace with myself. This will have a knock-on effect as people will get to know a more open and complete me. As people witness this change in me I feel this will make space for people to reflect this back to me and to grow themselves in the process.