The Happy Starfish

Living Mindfully & Celebrating Health, Happiness & Peaceful Living

About us


Ever thought you had achieved everything you wanted to? I did.

My teens had passed in a blur of self-loathing regarding my body (tape measure, thighs and many tears; need I say more)?

I stumbled through my twenties not exactly sure what I wanted to do, but never feeling quite good enough, for what I didn’t know, but surely I should be better?

By my thirties though I had settled into a career of holistic therapy, had happy, healthy children, great friends and a beautiful house in a village environment.

What could possibly go wrong? Umm quite a lot as it happens.

I had experienced Pelvic Girdle Pain though out my last two pregnancies, to the extent that I couldn’t walk at all with my third child. After the birth I spent a year receiving intensive physio, I regained a good portion of my mobility although my pelvis was never pain free and I was working towards being able to run again. I was optimistically driving to a physio appointment when somebody crashed into the back of my car and in seconds all my hard work unravelled. I sustained some damage to my spine and my weakened pelvis became even more unstable.

Although I was in too much pain to stand or walk unaided it never actually crossed my mind that could now be my permanent state. I had worked hard on my health before and I was prepared to again. However, after numerous tests, x-rays and MRI scans when my consultant uttered the words “I am sorry there is nothing we can do for you”, I felt such a huge blind panic I could literally feel me retreating inside of myself and that’s where I intended to stay.

It isn’t hard to be invisible in a wheelchair, I felt like nobody saw me anymore but then I didn’t know who I wanted them to see. All the words I thought defined me like dog walker, Kinesiologist, runner, no longer applied and I didn’t know who I was.

If I was popping into a shop I could make do with crutches but I was countlessly asked “have you hurt your foot?” and had to reply “no I am disabled”. People were embarrassed at my answer and their response made me feel ashamed. I became more and more insular until there was virtually nothing of me left.

I constantly questioned who I was and what was the point of, well, me? I missed the person I had been. The only time I came out of living in the past, wishing I was still there, was to feel total blind panic about the future and what would happen to me.

When I was at my lowest I came across the story of The Starfish Thrower which was a pivotal turning point for me. For those of you who don’t know it; a boy is walking along the beach when he stumbles across thousands of starfish that have been washed up. He starts to pick them up and throw them back in. A man approaches him and says “son don’t bother, there are too many, you won’t make a difference”. The boy picks up another, throws it back in and says “I made a difference to that one”.

I read this and thought, wow, I don’t have to do anything amazing to make a difference. I don’t even have to actually be mobile. It’s the tiniest thing that can make a change. For the first time in a long time I felt a flicker of hope and I didn’t intend to let it extinguish.

Fed up with lying on the couch watching bad daytime tv and snacking all day (hey I was heading back to the teenage trauma of thighs and tape measures again) I started to explore my own consciousness. I spent hours meditating, reading up on the mind body connection and attending talks and workshops where I could.

Overcoming my physical limitations has been hard, but overcoming my emotional reaction to it has been the hardest obstacle to overcome. Learning to live in the Now has been my salvation. I want to share some of the things that have helped me on my journey, especially meditation.

Mindfulness didn’t save me, but it gave me the tools I need to save myself. I am privileged to have completed extensive teacher training programmes with both Shamash Aladini (author of Mindfulness for Dummies), and Sandy Newbigging (Hayhouse author of Mind Calm).

Although my workshops, classes and therapies are open to all,  I specialise in treating Chronic Pain, Anxiety and Depression.

In 2012 I co-created The Happy Starfish with Tim Elliston. Our growing community daily celebrates Health, Happiness and Peaceful Living; please join us.

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