Create Nourish Inspire Interviews is a blog post series, where I interview people who inspire me because of the way they follow their heart and seek to do what lights them up. I find out more about the journey they have taken and discover how they embrace their creativity, nourish their soul and find peace in everyday life.
This week, I’ve been talking to Sarah Presley. Sarah is a mother of two, a Reiki Master Teacher and a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Trainer. I’ve known Sarah for many years and have taken Reiki 1 & 2 and a meditation course with her. Not only is she a fantastic teacher but she is also a great inspiration in the way that she follows her heart and lives her life. I call her my wise owl as she always comes out with some very wise and normally spot on advice!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you have created a business doing what lights you up?
My name is Sarah Presley and I live with my husband, 2 sons and dog in the relaxing and peaceful setting of Winterbourne Down in Bristol, where I am a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Trainer and Reiki Master Teacher. I love my business and I love my life. I sing in a band, enjoy running and yoga and also being creative (I am currently playing with some mosaic tiles and covering an old guitar!).
In 1999, I was diagnosed with M.E. and I was told that it was likely I would have it for the rest of my life. I was only 26. There was no magic wand to getting better and so I decided to explore many different holistic treatments as well as reading lots of self-help books. It was whilst reading a book on Buddhism that I discovered meditation, and more specifically mantra meditations – and I became hooked! I found, over time, that my health and well-being started to improve. My journey with Reiki began in 2003 and I have found this gentle, yet highly effective treatment, to be empowering and life changing – it helped to switch the light back on.
I felt inclined to use my life experiences to positive use and help others. After extensive training, I set up my own Holistic Therapy business and over the years it has evolved into a business I am so proud of and a job that I love getting up for each day. Some days see me offering one-to-one sessions in meditation or reiki. Other days involve teaching beginners, intermediate or advanced meditation groups. I could also be teaching the various levels of reiki or teaching people to be Meditation Teachers in my role as trainer with the British School of Meditation.
How has your life changed since you decided to do what lights you up and did you have to overcome anything along the way?
It was really important to me that I “practice what I preach”, so working in this field and supporting so many people does mean I really have to look after myself. Since becoming self-employed 15 years ago, my health has grown from strength to strength and I have been M.E. free since 2004. I maintain a daily practice of both meditation and reiki which really help me to keep in the best balance.
Being self-employed constantly means finding the courage to face situations that can be outside of your comfort zone. I really struggled with self promotion to start with, as well as creating a charging structure that worked well for both me and the client. I often would give away my time freely and really did not honour the experience I was offering. But I always have the attitude that everything in life gives you an opportunity to learn and grow.
How do you nourish your soul in your daily life and does creativity play a part in this?
So many things nourish my soul! Reiki and meditation play a huge role in this, but so does spending time with my husband and children as well as my lovely dog, Meera. I have been in bands since I was 15 so playing gigs brings lots of fun.
Creativity has always played a huge role in my life. As a child, I thought I wasn’t creative as I wasn’t very good at art! I am so glad that creativity isn’t just about being able to draw! I discovered song writing in my teens and this continued to be so helpful in my 20s, especially when I was diagnosed with M.E. At one time, I set up a soft furnishing business and I would make curtains and cushions by order. In my early 30s, I almost retrained as a garden designer due to my love of gardening, but instead have continued to enjoy gardening as a hobby (I also took on an allotment for a couple of years too). Lately, I have been playing around with mosaic tiles and I am currently covering my son’s first guitar – this is proving to be so much fun. Finally, I have started writing a book – the book I wished I had to help me with my health years ago. It’s main theme has Mindfulness Meditation through it, but it is full of tips on helping to deal with worry, anxiety and anger too.
What helps you to find peace in everyday life?
Every morning, I start my day by taking Meera on a 2 mile dog walk. I take this time to connect in with nature and with myself. I recognise if I am holding on to any emotions from the day before and I consciously release them. Sometimes I will recite a mantra too.
I never go a day without doing reiki on myself too, whether it is a short 10 minute session or 30 minutes, I will make sure I give myself a top up everyday. I also always make sure I meditate at least once a day for at least 20 minutes.
What piece of advice would you give to people going through a tough time or struggling with their health?
First of all, accept where you are right now. This will help you to stop fighting against the tough time or health issue (fighting against it wastes a lot of energy). Accepting doesn’t mean you give in, it just means you are willing to face the situation. Secondly, remember you are the coach driver in your own life and so get all the people on board that can support you to get back on track. This could be your GP, or it could be a complementary therapist, or a counsellor. Recognise that ultimately you are responsible for how you move things forward, but also recognise that this is also a moment in life and not the whole picture.
Who or what inspires you?
Being around my husband and kids makes me want to be the best I can be. Every client that comes to me, and every student I train, inspire me to continue to improve on what I do.
If you could make one profound difference in people’s lives, what would it be?
I would love to help people to see that it is an honour to be in our bodies experiencing life as we do. Life is made up of twists and turns, ups and downs but we have the amazing ability to witness this and experience it too. When things take the twist, it is just life, not a punishment, and everything gives us this wonderful opportunity to learn and grow and improve. I thought my life was over at the age of 26 when I received my diagnosis, but it was then that it really began.
Thank you so much Sarah; it’s really inspirational to hear how you managed to overcome M.E. holistically through Reiki and meditation, and now seek to help others with your training and experience.
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