Suzi the person
I have had many roles in my life at this stage of my journey, some of which have labels (like wife/partner, friend, sister, daughter, project administrator, dancer, counsellor, family therapist, mediator, Reiki giver) and some that don't. I hope there are many others that are positive and help those I come into contact with.
Being born a twin in 1971 created some real growth opportunities - some to do with independence, some to do with an unconscious yearning for connection. Suffice to say, Shaz and I were pretty inseparable until our teens, when we explored our individuality for a few years. The photo of us in nappies is Shaz and I at around 18 months old.
When I was 7 or 8, kids would come up to me on the playground and ask "is that boy/girl interested in me?" I guess that was a sign that I was a people watcher from an early age! I found school quite limiting and claustrophobic (all those rules!), so I left at the end of Sixth Form (Year 12 as you'd say now) and went to work in the secretarial support field. In my mid 20s, I began to wonder if this was what I wanted to do with my life. After some discussions with my brother, who had begun a Masters in Psychology (and knowing that Psychology didn't quite 'ring my bells' - I wanted something more experiential), I started my training at Human Development & Training Institute (who are no longer in existence unfortunately - they sold their programme to another tertiary institute in the late 2000s). In 1999, when I began my training, tertiary institutes didn't provide counselling degrees - only psychology degrees. Consequently, I chose an experiential programme at HD&T, which I am very grateful for as it required the students to be self-responsible, self-observant and accountable.
During this time, I had changed to a career as a software trainer and was struggling through the challenges of my first marriage. What an amazing learning experience that was. Because I was working fulltime, I trained part time - relaxing weekends were not an option for seven years. Training at that (slower) speed had some advantages - I got to grow up a lot, assimilate the knowledge, and learn a lot more about myself. In 2000, I escaped from my abusive marriage and start to rebuild my life. My co-trainees at HD&T were an incredible support during my grief process.
My ex husband was unhappy with the word "dysfunctional" - my original descriptor of our marriage above, before I changed it to abusive. I invited him to have a conversation with me about it, and he declined. It took me a long time to own the appropriate label, as people in this position often do. I invite you to try out the appropriate terms for what you've survived, and see how empowered you feel by them.
Lunch plans were made with Mark, a current business contact, purely to fill up my address book (as you do when you're newly single). It turned out that Mark was also newly single and the connection was too powerful to ignore. Mark came with a daughter, Chelsea, (aged 9 when we met), who has taught me a lot about acceptance, love and patience amongst other things. She has grown into an exceptional adult, and I love her immensely. Mark and I married in 2004.
In December 2005, I graduated from HD&T with a Diploma in Counselling & Family Therapy and an Applied Grief Studies Certificate. It felt (and still feels) like an incredible achievement - so much happened during the training process, on a personal and professional level. Alongside my professional training, I began to become aware of my own influence on how my life turned out - from a physical, emotional and spiritual perspective. In 2004, I began to research toxins and their effect on health and wellbeing. I had always been interested in proactive health, and was delighted to find a lot of information around to support a move towards safe alternatives. In that year, we transformed our household into a toxin-free place in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry. We also began to take supplements as the many minerals and vitamins we need to be truly well (and resilient) are no longer in the soils, hence no longer in our foods. I'm aiming to live to 120, so I have to be clear about a plan to get there!
In 2000, Shaz introduced me to Ceroc dancing (www.ceroc.co.nz), which she had discovered in London on her big OE. I danced there until early 2019 (no need to take a partner - there are plenty there) and love it. Who knew exercise could be fun? In September 2010, I completed in my first ever competition (East and South Champs) and my team came 2nd (only to our teachers' other team, so we consider we were 1st). It was an awesome experience and has created some lasting friendships.
In 2007, Shaz sent me a little book that introduced me to the Law of Attraction concepts. These resonated with me, and helped me feel more empowered in my own life. I also read/researched Michael Losier, Abraham Hicks, Mike Dooley (www.tut.com) and others as they came into my awareness. A Course in Miracles is also a reference book - challenging me with some of the words that I have had negative associations with (like "God") - and still being a fantastic opportunity for growth and learning. The Universe is constantly sending me people who are helping me on my journey towards a more conscious, authentic way of being. Although some aspects of LoA have been shown to be confusing and misleading, there are still empowering aspects to co-creating my life, rather than letting it happen to me.
My current mission (or quest as I like to refer to them) is to aim towards an authentic life in as many ways as possible. This involves waking up to myself and my patterns and beliefs, and exploring alternatives for those that aren't working for me. I know this is challenging to the people close to me sometimes, and I hope they bear with me. If they're not in a space where they can make sense of my ever-changing self, I send them love and light and wish them well on their life journey, even if they choose to remove themselves from my orbit right now. My second quest is to find balance for me. Because I have an introversion recharge style, I need time alone to recharge my battery, and also need to spend quality time with friends. This can be challenging to get right. The third is to find a way to serve. Busy lives can leave little time to help others in a non-professional capacity. I continue to explore ways to help, without burning myself out.
I am very passionate about ageing well and took up yoga in December 2000 for about 15 years. My beloved teacher no longer teaches on a day I can attend, so I now exercise at home - a combination of resistance training (muscle growth is very important to have strong bones as we age), and stretching/relaxation. I also practised the khatu pranam exercises several morning a week for years and the Tibetan Rites, which are an ancient anti-ageing exercise routine. I encourage everyone to find the right movement for them - our bodies atrophy if we don't keep them moving, and movement is essential to brain health as well.
I began adult ballet in June 2019, which is something that I last danced at age 14. My body and mind have slightly different ideas about what's possible, and there are some aches and pains, but the comradery is wonderful. All ages, shapes and sizes are welcome; who knew that ballet (traditionally supporting slim builds) would be so affirming in Auckland in the 21st century?
Middle age has arrived, and has brought some specific challenges with it - both mental and physical. I realise that I was quite naive about what this phase of life would be like, and it's both humbling and surprising to find that some patterns seem heavily ingrained in my body, and others can be helped to change. Although I still feel about 25 on the inside, my body is not, and I need to respect its limits.