In the fourth in a series of interviews with 2019 FHT Training Congress expert speakers, we talked with Anna-Louise Haigh about meaning, millionaire Mondays and meditation.
Tell us a bit of background about yourself…
I am Yorkshire lass, however grew up in rural Ontario, Canada where life was very nature-based and sports oriented. The sense of freedom and joy that it gave taught me what makes my heart sing!
From as early as I can remember, I have been able to sense others’ feelings, ‘known stuff’, and have always trusted the direct guidance I received through my intuition. I thought everyone did the same as me! However, as I got older, it became clear that was not the case. Alongside this, I had a natural desire to help and heal others.
Back in the 1980s, in rural Canada, the career choices were teacher, nurse or secretary. I chose to follow nursing because it was the nearest to my calling, to help others heal. Although I passed all the college exams, I knew in my heart that this path was not the way for me, so I changed direction and studied recreation leadership instead. I had always loved massage and when I heard about reflexology during a random conversation in college, something inside me lit up!
I returned to the UK for a three-month holiday when I was 23, and immediately felt as though I had come home, so here I am still!
After two years selling advertising space for a top regional newspaper, I knew I wanted to become a therapist. Without any training to build upon, I quit my promising career. Helping others, making sense of life’s challenges, and trusting my soul’s compass led me to become a reflexology and aromatherapy practitioner in 1988. I trusted my heart and followed my calling.
Soon after gaining some experience, I was asked to run an evening class and from there I discovered my love of teaching and watching others grow. Through the enrichment of working with clients, along with exploring my own awakening journey, my role naturally expanded to embrace becoming a therapy teacher, principal and lecturer, both in the UK and internationally. My days of feeling like a misfit ended when I embraced journey into personal and spiritual authenticity. I invested heavily in my growth by only training with the best teachers in the world and have travelled the globe to do so.
Naturally, everything that made me who I was from childhood to adulthood started to make sense. Along the way, I could see the challenges and conflicts my ‘yet to awaken’ clients were experiencing. Once again, my role blossomed to include mentoring, writing, workshops and courses to nurture self-discovery, spiritual connection and confidence building, through self-knowing and soul whispering.
Give us an insight in to your normal day-to-day schedule…
Until recently, my days were a mixture of early morning admin and marketing, a full diary of clients and then some form of live or online teaching in the evenings! With the exception of my meditation time, the reality of loving what I do meant it was hard to find time to simply kick-back and chill!
In December 2018, I retired from therapy life so I can focus on nurturing my monthly meditation online group called The Meditation Imaginarium, along with offering my signature online courses which are accredited by the FHT, masterclasses and destination retreats.
Now my day starts with a longer session of Morning Stillness, followed by writing, creating and development time, a long walk on a sunny day, followed by connecting with the wonderful women who have joined my offerings. Providing support, insight and nurturing is very important to me.
I pour my heart and soul into everything I offer. I am loving what each day brings and witnessing the transformations that happen all around me. To finish each day, I send out my gratitude and look forward to starting another day in-service to my path.
What interests you outside of work?
For 20 years I have loved having Monday off! I call it my ‘millionaire’s Monday’ because usually there is no one else around and it feels like everywhere I go is my playground! You will find my partner and I in the Yorkshire Dales, walking by a river (often recording a guided meditation or insight piece) or checking out some yummy food in a traditional pub! I am fortunate to have a woodland on my doorstep, so I get to spontaneously go for walks. In the evenings, as I do a bit of stargazing, I am often blessed to hear the owls hooting to each other!
What is your Training Congress seminar about?
I am absolutely delighted to be presenting my signature Guided Meditation seminar at the Training Congress. Guided Meditation can be used by any therapist who wishes to develop themselves and benefit their clients through lasting transformations. Today’s clients are wanting more from their therapists as they seek ways to de-stress and gain understanding and fulfilment in their life.
My aim is that everyone who attends personally experiences the power and potential of professionally crafted journeys of the imagination. I hope everyone takes away a new awareness that they can personally benefit from and that they can appreciate the role Guided Meditation could have as they grow their career by helping their clients more deeply.
What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?
I have personally used meditation, in various forms, since early adolescence when I used to take myself for moonlit walks to clear my mind. It was during these times, when I discovered and learned to trust the wisdom I received through being centered and open to receive. I love the connection, clarity and direction that naturally is available when the mind is still and receptive.
In 1998 I followed my intuition and became a meditation teacher. Since then I have incorporated guided meditation into my client sessions, workshops and retreats.
I know how powerful this approach to wholeness, fulfilment and joy can be, both personally and professionally. Clients love to be guided to discover their own answers, potential, release limiting beliefs and receive insights when facing a difficult challenge, or are wanting to evolve into the life they were meant to live.
What will attendees of your seminar expect to come away with?
Guided meditation has the potential to add an invaluable dimension to a therapist’s offerings because it is very powerful, adaptable, and hugely effective when delivered skillfully.
I have always believed that a good therapist must have an affinity with their craft and have experienced it for themselves. By attending the guided meditation seminar, participants will receive a personal experience of the power of a deeply relaxing visual journey that has the potential to inform and inspire new perspectives.
For anyone considering expanding their skills, whether to include guided meditation or not, attending the seminar will bring clarity, direction and the confidence to follow their calling.
Are there any other seminars in the programme which look particularly interesting to you?
I am sure that the session by Nic Wood on how the mind works with the Hudson Mind Theory will be fascinating. From an integrative perspective, the seminar from Julie Crossman looking at the role of Complementary Therapies within the NHS could be invaluable for therapists wanting to offer their skills and experience in that domain.
What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?
Be authentic! Stay true to what makes your heart sing and lights you up inside. This may mean taking a different path to others, however, by being a pioneer you are following your calling and creating a legacy that has meaning, validity and longevity through the clients and possible future students who see your light and find their way to you.
Join us at the 2019 FHT Training Congress from Sunday 19 to Monday 20 May at the Holistic Health Show, NEC Birmingham.
For more details about the talks and to book, visit fht.org.uk/congress