I’m a photographer, film maker, intuitive artist, writer, harmony singer, polyglot and introvert – living with Stage IV breast cancer.
I’ve been a photographer for forty years and have been filming videos since 2010. What I enjoy most about video is that it enables me to combine my love of photography, music and film in one project.
More recently I’ve been experimenting with intuitive painting as a way of expressing myself without words. It’s very enjoyable and also very challenging!
I use images, words, music and video to share my experiences and my philosophy of Taking Life As It Comes.
My first love was languages. As a teenager, I wrote to penfriends all over the world, and at the age of 15 I stayed with my German penfriend’s family for a whole month. I hardly spoke any German, it was the first time I had travelled abroad, the first time I had been on holiday without my parents, and my first time on a plane. I was scared to death!! I soon got used to my new surroundings, though, and enjoyed every minute.
It’s magical, being able to understand someone when they’re speaking to me in their own language, rather than trying to accommodate me in mine. I think you can find out a lot more about people that way, because they feel more at ease when they’re not struggling to express themselves. That’s what I like about coaching – you let go of your own map of the world, and try to inhabit your client’s world for a while.
When I graduated from university, I thought that being able to communicate in multiple languages would be enough. But I soon realised that, if I wanted to work in business, I needed a business skill of some sort – so I trained as a computer programmer. Over the following 18 years, I worked for organisations across a range of industry sectors, and in lots of different IT roles, from business analyst to systems designer, project manager, implementer and trainer – getting paid to travel the world, implementing business systems.
In 2003, my job was made redundant, which I saw as an opportunity to do something different. The only problem was – as a Scanner, I found it difficult to choose! I spent some time considering my options, which were as varied as property development and teaching English as a Foreign Language.
Then I trained as a life coach, and it felt like “coming home”. I enjoy working with creative individuals – my clients have included life coaches, web and graphic designers, musicians, photographers, interior designers, writers, composers and artists – as well as managers in IT, marketing, publishing and education, who wanted to quit the rat-race.
Despite being an introvert (INFP), I’ve been described as “a natural teacher and communicator.” I love filming, photography, writing, singing, listening to all sorts of music, and reading anything that’s within focusing distance. I’m also passionate about travel and learning new languages whenever I get the opportunity.
I joined my first band, as a backing singer, when I was a student in France in the late 1970s, and my singer/songwriter husband and I sang and played in a band together as recently as 2010. We live in New Malden, on the borders of South West London and Surrey, in the UK. I don’t have a cat. Or a horse. Yet. 🙂
Living with Breast Cancer
I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2008, and again in 2011 and 2013. In 2014 the cancer spread to my bones and I underwent emergency surgery to prevent my spine collapsing. In 2016 it spread to the cerebellum area of my brain, which has affected my balance. I am receiving ongoing treatment to manage the condition – and I’m also re-discovering my creativity as a form of self-expression and healing.
In 2013 I helped to form the Sing To Beat Breast Cancer choir. In August 2013 we recorded a charity single, with classical singers Camilla Kerslake and Blake, to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Campaign charity, and went on to perform the song at various prestigious venues, and on daytime television. In October 2014 the choir re-formed for the Breast Cancer Care fashion show and the Inspiration Awards for Women.
In 2015 I took a sabbatical from my business, to recover from surgery and chemotherapy and to re-discover my own creativity. I spent the year filming and photographing London – having lived in the area for over 30 years, I still felt like a virtual stranger, so I wanted to explore and get to know this beautiful city. I also joined Instagram and made lots of new friends from all over the world.
In 2016 I started filming and photographing cities in other parts of the world (Venice, Berlin), until I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had to take some more time off to recover from radio-surgery (Cyberknife). Since my mobility was affected, I began to spend more time developing myself as an intuitive artist, which is something I can do at home.
We have the power, as individuals, to create an inspired life, by:
- recognising our talents and being unafraid to use them
- building better relationships with everyone around us
- generating happiness and abundance in our lives
- creating the kind of life that makes us want to leap out of bed every morning
It’s my belief that, by recognising our power to create a more inspired life for ourselves, we can do something even more powerful.
We can create a better world:
- a world of peace and harmony
- a world where everyone prospers
- a world where there’s no need for competition, because there’s more than enough to go round
- a world where we all feel like equals
Training and Qualifications
- BA (Hons) Modern Languages
- BPS Level A, Occupational Testing and Personality Profiling (SHL)
- Trinity College Certificate in TESOL
- Inspired Coach – Institute of Human Development
- Professional Coaching Certificate (ICF accredited) – The Kerslake Company
- Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) – Mind Training Systems
- Time Line Therapy® Master Practitioner – Mind Training Systems
- Master Practitioner of Hypnosis – Mind Training Systems
- Certified NLP Master Coach – Mind Training Systems
- Licensed Profiting From Your Passions® career coach (affiliate link) – Valerie Young