A new chapter and a big change An exciting new time is beginning - a blank page filling with ideas and options. But to be gutsily creative I have decided to take a sabbatical from homeopathy. I have given a lot of thought this move. It has been a tough decision. My patients mean a lot to me and are a huge part of my life. Yet the time has come and I have new ways of working to offer the world.
Why the change?
After 20 years of homeopathic learning, working and teaching I am taking time to refresh my approach. I became a homeopath after experiencing its phenomenal healing capacity and my spiritual practice showed me that this was the way for me to work. I have loved my time so far! I have met amazing people. I have seen over and over the incredible power homeopathy has to help with physical and emotional symptoms. But now I need to experience a new way of working that fits with my other passions, my family and my life. A year may seem a long time, but it will fly by. And I have suggestions below to find a new homeopath or work with me in new ways until I return back to homeopathy. These are being both a 'Martha Beck Wayfinder Life Coach' and a shamanic practitioner.
My experience of being coached and the glowing feedback I have from my clients has astonished me - because the tools are deep, quick and easily learned. You may have heard of Martha Beck - she is famous for being Oprah Winfrey's life coach and is a prolific author. I have loved meeting her in person and working with her and her Master coaches weekly. This way of coaching is both hugely practical and deeply spiritual. 'Wayfinding' refers to helping people to find their way, to connect with what they are really here to do with their lives and to life fully with purpose. Please feel free to call, email or ask me more. I will be sending out more details in due course. I have yet to build my new website, but you can find more about the year long training I am finishing this month here.
Shamanic healing and teaching is something I have done for 20 years. Shamanism is the oldest known way of connecting to 'spirit', the world beyond the physical. In fact we have all evolved from shamanic communities. You can learn to connect to your own spirit guides or 'power animals' in group or personal sessions, or receive one to one healing. I have courses running in June, September and beyond and sessions to suit. Contact me or check out my Wild Bear shamanic website for more information.
What's next with homeopathy?
Some of you have not seen me for a while, so this interruption may go unnoticed. However, many of you will want to find a new homeopath, or maybe try something else like acupuncture, nutrition or herbalism for example. I am not qualified to advise on alternatives to homeopathy. But if you wish to find a new homeopath then the best place to look is the Society of Homeopaths website on the 'Find a Practitioner' page. There are some excellent homeopaths and I hesitate to name those I know as there are many I don't know who are excellent as well as wonderful rising stars coming from colleges every year. I recommend calling at least 2-3 and getting a feel for them. Ask questions, check websites, find out their availability and fees and trust your gut feeling. I am always happy to provide a list of remedies if the homeopath in question wishes, but this is not usually necessary.
Some of you may prefer to try some other form of treatment and wait for me to return. It is of course entirely up to you. I will remain on the Society of Homeopath's register as a non-practising homeopathy, saving my seat for my return next year!
Meanwhile, my homeopathy practice is still running until mid June. At this point I say goodbye to my students at Salisbury Homeopathy College, finish a few consultations with those who want one more before I pause, and then prepare for a year of doing things differently. This includes revising how I practise homeopathy to allow me to continue to work, offering help and healing, for many decades to come.
And last, but by no means least....
It has been a heartfelt joy working with you so far. I sincerely wish you many blessings with your health and happiness journey from now onward whether working with me or others. Keep in touch!
Each year, from the 10th to the 16th April, homeopaths, patients of homeopathy, and others interested in natural healthcare, come together to celebrate Homeopathy Awareness Week. It is also a commemoration of the birth date of Dr Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, who was born on the 10th April, 1755.
In the UK, 15% of our population already use homeopathy, and a further 80% have heard about it. However, many people are not quite sure what makes homeopathy different from other systems of medicine. The events which are organised during Homeopathy Awareness Week are there to help you to learn more about homeopathy, and the many health benefits which it can bring to everyone.
Homeopathy Awareness Week is both a national and an international event. For those in the UK this is what's happening this year:
I feel refreshed - which can only be good news for my patients! I love my job - which is running my clinics, seeing my lovely patients, and teaching and tutoring homeopathy students. But every now and again I need to come up for air. So at the beginning of September I took 4 days off to do just that.
Was it worth it? Well, although term is about to start at Salisbury Homeopathy College, and I'm scurrying around researching lectures as well as keeping clinic going strong, I feel I can still easily stay in touch with the benefit. In fact, the photo above connects me with how I feel - even though I didn't go to this lake!
Have you ever tried a retreat yourself?
After a retreat you could feel
Yes, it seemed like an indulgence back in early 2017 when I planned it - arranging time off work, sorting out childcare plans, spending money on me. But everyone has benefited from my action - including my family! I spent days out in nature, getting in touch with the me that gets forgotten and letting my heart refill which is what sustains me when I am offering my work to other people.
But how do you choose a retreat?
Well, it could be anything that makes your heart sing (or your headache stop!).... meditation, yoga, chi gung, a religious setting, a non-religious setting, a health spa, a weekend in a B&B (but no internet and time in nature). It could be near, it could be far.
I like to have a 'teacher' or facilitator I really trust to run my few days away. Last year I went on a homeopathy course in Greece with my favourite homeopathy teacher, Professor George Vithoulkas. This year I chose to spend time contemplating nature and the cycles of life with one of my favourite spiritual teachers, Annette Host.
So if you're contemplating a retreat I urge you to make the time! All of those around you will benefit - and so will you.
Being self-reliant is something we all feel good about, but we also need to be able to ask for help.
Why not become self-reliant by learning how to use homeopathy at home for friends and family?
I run one day introductory courses in Shrivenham, Highworth and Witney, and a deeper 2 day course in Salisbury, throughout the year. Courses are taught with at least on other colleague - you get lots of benefit from getting several different perspectives and experiences in one course. All courses include useful course notes and refreshments, and are taught in conjunction with the Award Winning Salisbury Homeopathy College.
Click on the posters below for more details.
It occurred to me that I support people to be healthy, using natural and environmentally friendly remedies, from the inside out. But what do we put on our skin? Or put into our bodies food-wise? Does this support the same natural, healthy or even organic values?
We have an Open Day coming up in Highworth! This is your chance to meet some practitioners and discuss any aches, pains and ailments that you have and how we might help you. You can have a look around, or book a Spine Check with Becky (07525 002627) or FREE half hour homeopathy talk on the following:
#2. The Magical Beauty of A Remedy Working
When a remedy is well selected it works gently and effectively. It astounds me! How is it this tiny little white tablet, or drops of a liquid remedy, can make such a profound change? How is it that each remedy, from a choice of about 3,000, is able to beautifully match the individual's symptoms and help that person to move forward? It is a most elegant and simple form of natural medicine.
Homeopaths throughout the centuries have written about the wonder of homeopathy in wonder and awe since Dr Hahnemann first discovered homeopathy in the 18th Century. More than 200 years later I find myself repeatedly humbled an amazed at the beautiful simplicity of this system of medicine.
Some authors that I love to read, who continue to inspire and that also make a good introduction to homeopathy are:
photo: courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by vitasamb2001
they are experiencing emotional stress and might be feeling grief, anxiety or depression. Some even come because their mental function is not what it was - such as memory problems, or difficulty concentrating. Each person has a history of how they came to be where they are at healthwise today. To focus on this we discuss the obvious - what they want help with, but in more detail than most have experienced before - and the less obvious, such as their preferred sleeping position, food they hate and favourite weather! Of course, all of this talking is confidential, and this allows people to talk freely about things they might not be comfortable talking about elsewhere.
Children can be very knowledgeable about what affects them, and sometimes they explain things more clearly than adults. Other times I listen to their parents or carers and use my skills as an 'unprejudiced observer' - which all homeopaths must be - to understand a baby or young child better. Even screams or a tantrum are vital clues to the homeopath and all part of what I need to know to be able to select an appropriate remedy.
My favourite bit is listening to what makes each person unique, and I love it when people hear themselves say something out loud and make connections they've never made before!
Things I love about being a homeopath #2 to follow soon.
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Photo by renjith krishnan courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com
It's been almost 8 weeks since I went to Alonissos - in pursuit of learning, of course! It's a hard life....
Finally I have made time to reflect on my week's learning at the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy and the teaching I absorbed after my daily commute on foot up the hill from Votsi, past citrus trees and bougainvillea, to Professor Vithoukas' Academy. Apparently I was lucky - it was certainly hot, but not like previous years. But first, how I got there.
It was quite a pilgrimage to Alonissos. Flying through the night from Heathrow to arrive in Athens in the early hours.... hopping on a twin prop plane and flying through dawn and sunrise to get to Skiathos, with its alarmingly tiny airstrip..... waiting for the ferry to arrive in Skiathos and meeting one of the teachers, Professor Jorgos Kavouras, at the ferry terminal..... sailing past many islands to arrive in Alonnisos.... catching a lift up the hill to Votsi, the village stayed in, and forcing myself to stay awake despite no sleep since Saturday morning so I could sleep through Sunday night ready for the morning's lectures!
This was the first time I'd met Professor George Vithoulkas in person. I found his energy and enthusiasm empowering, and his humility was almost a surprise. In person George is smaller than I'd imagined from the videos I have seen of his lectures, and he somehow reminded me of wise Yoda (I have 2 small boys so my knowledge of Star Wars is greater than it would be otherwise!): magnanimous, wise, compassionate and humble. George started the course optimistically by saying "I have the impression that things for homeopathy are going the right way in the world." This was music to the ears of beleaguered British homeopaths, used to a somewhat more negative outlook with regular attacks on the provision of homeopathy in the media. This optimism was echoed by the German Professor Jorgos Kavouras,who joined Professor George Vithoulkas in teaching this course.
A day in the of an International Course Student...
Here is the flavour of a typical day!
Waking in the morning in my hotel room and getting myself a breakfast of yogurt, fresh fruits and nuts whilst admiring the beautiful sea views, before packing my old but trusty laptop into my bag and walking to meet colleagues in the village. Off up the hill, past huge barking dogs, for a 15 minute trudge (which got easier as we got fitter!) to the Academy at the top of the hill.
Arrival at the Academy meant a welcome sit down and large drink of water to get back to normal temperatures before setting up my desk in the main lecture hall. George might open the day, and Jorgos would take the first session - discussing long and involved cases consultation by consultation, going through each prescription and why stick with it, why and when to change it, and all the questions that raised for us. This is unusual, to have such a detailed foray through case taking and valuable as this is like everyday practise - rather than the 'wonder cases' often saved for conferences! I was impressed at Jorgos' professional dedication and humility - his openness to sharing the warts and all nature of his cases - to a group of fellow professionals. He shared cases of MS, trigeminal neuralgia and hypertension, to name a few, but the aim was always to show the beautiful how and why of prescribing a remedy to fit the 'whole person'.
Other topics could be more philosophical - for example, discussions about infectious diseases like SARS and the role of homeopathy and allopathy, a specific illness like hydronephrosis or the state of homeopathy in the world.
Of course, there were breaks - and it was wonderful and a surprise to catch up with fellow alumni from my University course: people I've not seen for a decade and yet it felt like yesterday discussing lectures and students of old. And it was a chance to get to know new people and find out how homeopathy is being treated in their countries - generally a lot more positively than in Britain!
After more lectures a trip down the hill to lunch was the routine! Dimitri's restaurant with its Greek salads and delicious fresh cooked food a leap in life quality compared with grabbing a sandwich at lunchtime between patients! I managed to explore a little in the long lunch break, and found a beautiful little cove just down the hill from Votsi visited by Greek and foreign tourists. A coffee and the restful nature of staring out across the beautiful sea with green mountains rising from the depths did so much to restore and renew my soul that if I were my own doctor I would prescribe this as an annual trip to ensure that I can rebuild my energy after a year of supporting others!
One of the most fascinating parts of the course was the live cases. These might be in the morning or afternoon/evening. George, now in his mid-eighties, still takes 'live cases' where the patient sits in clinic with him and the case is simultaneously broadcast (and translated) to all of the students sitting in the hall. I won't disclose details due to confidentiality, but there were patients of all ages, from babes to elders, with a wide range of mental, emotional and physical symptoms and difficulties. Some of these patients have come to the clinic on the annual International Course for a couple of years and those that had seen them before remarked on the improvement in their health.
George's precision in case taking and detective-like, relentless search for the best remedy was an inspiration. His knowledge second to none and I picked up some good tips on how to pursue the quest for this remedy in my own consultations, using the computer as an aid to intelligent prescribing. Wonderful!
Of course, a trip back down the hill to a restaurant for a meal before bed and glass of Retsina was the perfect end to the day. Chats with great colleagues late into the evening about the day, life and the Universe helped put everything into perspective and 'logged' the day's teachings firmly in my mind.
So, to finish, I share a Youtube video celebrating 20 years of the International Course at Alonissos. Enjoy! Who knows, I may even see you there one day......
Joanna Shipley RSHom, Registered Homeopath. Loving homeopathy and natural health and passionate about sharing through practice and teaching. Lecturer and tutor at Salisbury Homeopathy College. Informal talks, courses, workshops and provide one to one consultations for all ages.