My journey

Little did I realise at the time but, about 13 years ago, I enrolled on a 10 week college course that was going to change my life.

I was 45 years old at the time and had worked in office administration and management for around 25 years.   I was always taking work home with me, never quite able to switch off, and all the while feeling that there was something missing and that somehow I’d been bobbing up and down all those years in the wrong boat.

And then, in 2003, following yet another stressful time at work, I sent for the college prospectus saying that whatever 10 week course I came to first I was going to enrol on.  Just something completely different, to take my head away from work for a while.  I must admit I was hoping it would be car mechanics or woodwork, but the first one I scrolled down to was `Introduction to Body Massage’.  At this point I had never even had a massage before and so on that first day, waiting outside the classroom I was thinking to myself `What on earth am I doing here?’.  By the end of that first lesson I was totally hooked, went straight down to reception and enrolled on the one year course.  For the next couple of years I attended evening classes every Tuesday and Thursday and did every therapy course that was available.

Part way through the Body Massage course I heard about an Indian Head Massage course that was staring in the January, so I enrolled on that one as well.  My tutor on that course was a lovely lady called Alison Holt.  Several years after leaving college I was doing a fundraiser for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and contacted Alison in search of therapists to help support on the day.  My email started with `I don’t suppose you’ll remember me but …’.  An email that came back saying `Oh yes Diane, I remember you.  A bit hard to forget actually’.  – But that’s a story for my students.  All good I hasten to add.

Whilst still studying at college I set up my own business.  I was still working full time at this point but slowly and surely my client base was growing.  In 2008 I took on a unit at Maws Craft Centre, where I was employed as Centre Manager at the time.  This allowed me to work in the daytime and provide therapies in the evenings and at weekends.  Then in 2012 I took the plunge and ditched the day job.  It was just one of those `now or never’ decisions.  Scary at first but in all honesty, I have never looked back.

It didn’t end there though and in 2013 myself and two other therapist moved into a larger unit at Maws, which gave us three separate therapy rooms and an office/kitchen.  We named it the `Gorge Therapy & Training Centre’.

It was at this time that I once again contact Alison Holt as I wanted to enrol on one of her training courses.  By this time Alison was running her business, Solace Training Academy, full time.  She came out to see me shortly after we moved in and loved our centre so much that she now delivers occasional training courses there.  From her first visit she kept saying to me `Diane, you must go into teaching’, to which the short answer was always `No. I don’t want to teach’.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, with Alison’s faith in me and her unending support, I am now qualified to teach and am very proud to be able to deliver Solace Academy training courses -and I’ve even written a couple of them myself.  I will always be indebted to Alison because I absolutely love teaching and without her I wouldn’t be doing it today.

And that brings me to where I am now.  I still provide holistic therapies and deliver accredited training courses and am currently adding to my list of workshops.  I know it’s a corny phrase – Doing what I love, and loving what I do – but that truly is where I am in life.  I never set out to become therapist, I just attended a college course and without realising it I was already on the journey.  It just goes to show that you never know what is around the corner, and that it is never too late to change direction.

May the journey long continue and I hope that you will join me along the way, be it for a therapy, training, a workshop, or even just for a chat.  The kettle is always on.



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