Tag: autoimmune

Stories Behind the Art & Affirmations: Unique

Stories Behind the Art & Affirmations: Unique

‘You are a one of a kind, beautiful, unique treasure’ is a true celebration of our beautiful minds, bodies and souls.

I want to encourage you to take a minute today to celebrate and honour the beautiful vessel that is your body. Our bodies work so hard for us and often all we do is focus on what we’re not happy with.

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Create Nourish Inspire Interview: Sarah Presley

Create Nourish Inspire Interview: Sarah Presley

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.


Sarah Presley meditation create nourish inspire interview

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.

Sarah Presley meditation create nourish inspire interview

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.

Sarah Presley meditation create nourish inspire interview

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.

If you would like to find out more about Sarah’s work and classes, including her fantastic blog, visit her website, or connect with Sarah on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


I have created a Nourish 7 Day Challenge, with a free downloadable Nourish Toolkit PDF, giving you nourishing ideas for each day’s prompts, including links to breathing meditations, calming yoga sequences, gorgeous natural face & body pamper recipes, soothing sleep essential oil blend recipes, mindful walks, craft DIYS and lots of great tips on peace, sleep, creativity & kindness. CLICK HERE FOR THE DETAILS.

To see more Create Nourish Interviews, click here.

To see my blog post series about the stories behind my art and affirmations, click here.

To see my positive affirmation mixed media art, click here.

To see my blog post series about my holistic journey to wellness with Rheumatoid Arthritis, click here.

To see my Nourish blog post series, click here.

To see my blog post series about mixed media art for beginners, click here.

Nourish: Listening to your body

Nourish: Listening to your body

‘Listening to your body’ is the first in my Nourish series, which will be looking at ways you can nourish your mind, body and soul. It felt important to talk about listening to your body to begin with as it helps to guide you to know what you need.

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My Rheumatoid Arthritis Story: Surviving to Thriving – Part 3: Holistic Therapies

My Rheumatoid Arthritis Story: Surviving to Thriving – Part 3: Holistic Therapies

Once I had my new anti-inflammatory diet in place shortly after my diagnosis, I then focused on which holistic therapies would help me to manage my pain, reduce inflammation, increase my energy, avoid medication and help me to heal my body and immune system to start fighting off the constant stream of viruses I was going down with. It has been a gradual process over the last two years as nothing gave a quick fix or cure but each different route provided another piece of the puzzle and helped me in my journey back to wellness without medication.

What helped?

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My Rheumatoid Arthritis Story: Surviving to Thriving – Part 2: Diet

My Rheumatoid Arthritis Story: Surviving to Thriving – Part 2: Diet

After my Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis, I decided I was going to tackle my RA symptoms via diet, natural supplements and alternative therapies. Interestingly, lots of people I spoke to told me I was wasting my time trying to heal it through changes to my diet. This momentous decision meant that I had to eat my body weight in chocolate at Christmas, as obviously I didn’t want any temptation when I started the new eating plan! Ahh that was fun!

My first step was to read and research about diet and supplements. There seemed to be so many conflicting ideas about an anti-arthritis diet so, armed with my lists of food that I had read about which were supposed to help or hinder RA, I saw a kinesiologist to have a full food test of my lists to create a diet that was right for my body at that time. I was already wheat and gluten free because it caused bloating and often caused me to be doubled over in pain after eating those foods.  Giving up those food groups already was a positive as it was common to read that gluten and wheat were not seen as helpful for people with RA.

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Stories Behind the Art & Affirmations: Brave

Stories Behind the Art & Affirmations: Brave

‘You are strong. You are brave. You can do this’ has been my mantra for a long time. There are times in everyone’s lives when we have to step outside of our comfort zone or cope with something which seems too big. I use this mantra in times of fear and overwhelm.

In times of fear, it is easy to take the safe option or to run in the other direction but this often leaves you in exactly the same place as before and can result in you feeling disappointed and frustrated. It’s at exactly this point when you need to remind yourself of how strong and brave you really are deep down (because it’s at this time when you don’t believe it). Think of all the times you’ve faced your fears and summoned all your bravery and strength and taken that step out of your comfort zone to use as evidence. I often find repeating this mantra really helps to change my mindset and get in touch with the inner strength and bravery that we all innately have. Even though it’s often very hard and uncomfortable, by facing the fear or taking that step (or nudge!) outside of your comfort zone, it can move you forward and take you to a different place and the feeling afterwards is almost euphoric because you did it! Be sure to take a moment to acknowledge how well you did.

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My Rheumatoid Arthritis Story: Surviving to Thriving Part 1

My Rheumatoid Arthritis Story: Surviving to Thriving Part 1

In September 2017, I had my annual x-rays to check on the damage caused by my Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). They showed I had managed to halt any further damage (which is quite incredible as my diagnosis x-rays in 2015 showed aggressive damage to many of the joints in my feet and swelling in both my hands and feet). I am also virtually pain-free day to day (with only occasional short flare ups) with no swelling and I’ve even managed to rid myself of the severe fatigue which was completely debilitating and resulted in me having to stop working full time as a teacher. Since my diagnosis late 2015, the only medication I have taken is an 8-week course of steroids in January 2015. After my diagnosis, I decided to fight my RA naturally through diet, supplements, natural holistic therapies and a better mindset.

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Stories Behind the Art & Affirmations: Compassion

Stories Behind the Art & Affirmations: Compassion

Over the next few months, I will be explaining the inspiration behind each piece of art work I have produced.

The first piece I am going to focus on is ‘Show yourself some compassion. Be gentle and kind with yourself’. 

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