My personal journey to wholeness The first quarter of my life set the context for me to start to grow and develop my own authenticity and healing. I have had a challenging life and journey, and it is because of this that I am able to really walk with my clients in the open-hearted and grounded way that I do. I survived an alcoholic father, a dysfunctional and hypercritical mother, and stepped into an abusive and violent marriage at the age of 20. By the age of 24 was struggling single mother. Through my deep spiritual connection with the Divine, I started to rebuild and recreate myself based on my own set of rules and code of ethics.
Context and inspiration From a very young age, growing up in the 1960’s & 1970’s, I started to notice human rights abuses and the levels of inequality and abuse within the society I was living. When I was 5 or 6, I remember seeing policemen beating an older black man and when I asked my father to stop it, I was told to be quiet and stop looking out of the car window. This broke my heart. I remember screaming inside, not being able to express how this had affected me. Other memories were of police coming to the white, privileged neighbourhood, and removing visiting spouses or boyfriends and children from the domestic workers’ shacks at the back of affluent houses - what hurt me the most was that children could not live with their mothers, and were removed. How those women held this inside, put on their starched overalls and come into our homes to clean and take care of us children was something that I could never understand. I did not have the words to express how this affected me, but I knew in every cell of my being that this was wrong.
Internal Resilience One thing that I have always possessed is a strong internal resilience and the ability to rise above adversity, to be one with anyone in a non-judgemental and loving way, and to accept others exactly as they are. I believe that this has come from my deep resonance with God and the divinity of Mother Nature and have always felt supported and loved, even in the darkest and most frightening experiences of my life. This contributes to the innate wisdom I hold and to my ability to be empathetic and real with whomever I work and connect with, irrespective of their diversity or socio-economic status.
Meeting drumming During the second quarter of my life, whilst bringing up my daughter, I had the privilege of meeting drumming as a healing and supportive tool. In 1994, as South Africa reemerged and we experienced the birth of our rainbow nation, I discovered something that has given me medicine and healing - the djembe drum. Drumming with people from diverse backgrounds, connecting through music and rhythms, discovering and trusting my own rhythm and ability to be part of something so real, honest, and connecting, helped me to find my voice trapped inside behind self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, lack of self confidence, and immense shame and humiliation. Drumming gave me my voice and connected me with the rhythms that emerged from my own wisdom and internal connections with the Divine.
From drumming and facilitating workshops, my sacred work started to emerge and I linked this with therapeutic practice and wisdom, where I could see that incredible power of both drumming and my own abilities to reach and touch people,and make them feel safe. As my authentic voice and work unfolded, I started witnessing how I was making a difference, and making people see their own beauty. I started working with organisations such as Lifeline, Oasis Rehabilitation, Serenity Care, Hospice and was able to use my drumming and facilitation skills, together with my person-centred approach and deep spirituality to reach and transform.
Growing theoretical knowledge In the third quarter of my life, so as to give a theoretical and therapeutic basis to the transformational work I was doing, I felt motivated to undertake further study. In 2013, at the age of 52, I began a degree in Applied Psychology which I completed in May 2016. As I re-created myself academically, the inspiration that held me was my transformation work with communities, assisting people to regain their beauty and self-confidence.
By adding the modules of grief and loss and somatic psychology, to my degree, my skills as a counsellor started to shine through. Because of this, I completed my degree with a year of student counselling at SACAP, seeing clients diverse in age, gender, challenges, and socioeconomic status. Their response to my therapeutic style and presence confirmed my path in becoming the psychosocial counsellor and facilitator that I am today.