“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy (1917 -1963)
Donella is one of the most genuine and caring human beings I know. My experience working with her through the Reach Approach has been hugely beneficial to my life and I have grown a great deal as a result.
She has shown endless understanding, compassion and patience as I worked my way through the process, which has covered many areas of my life. Although, it’s not always been easy, it is worth taking the journey. I have recommended Donella to family and friends. She is a talented practitioner who has great insight. I always walk away from sessions feeling like I have gained enormously.
“The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers. It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow. I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.”
Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941)
Before attending counselling I was so nervous about the prospect of talking to somebody I didn’t know about the pain I was feeling. I was stuck in a spiral of negative thinking and couldn’t see a way out of it. In my eyes it was just how I was – and I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I was suffering with anxiety and low self esteem, without the confidence to tell anybody about it for the fear of being judged.
After taking counselling sessions with Nina, I can truly say that I now know I have the tools to prepare me with whatever comes my way. With her understanding nature and kind support I finally had the courage to deal with my insecurities and emotions. The worksheets and techniques really do work, a completely new approach to me in the beginning but one that is made everything clearer to me. The whole process has allowed me look at myself and life with a different perspective.
Thank you so much Nina for introducing me to a new way of thinking, I finally see the positive change in myself. Though I know I’m not completely there yet, I am now confident that I can live a life of happiness.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
This morning surprise of a red kiss of joy surrounding me
A very nice voice telling me to go the way of my great longing
where I really want to be
how I really want to be
the voice was telling me not to be confused
about all the others
not to let the others in
he told me to follow -what might be called- intuition
use your senses
how it feels
how it really looks
how it smells
how it tastes
again how it feels
and also how it is
as far as I could feel it:
‘is it honest
does it make you happy
does it make your heart sing
does it lead to a nice inner dance
remember the beautiful inner dance
is it the one of joy
not the one of drama and somehow interesting impressions
does it move you
does it make you feel good
is it inspiring
this is about
The Path of Least Resistance as well’
and I give thanks
for the voice
waking me this morning
What can you hear in the whispers of the wind
they might be a little like the whispers of your heart.
What do the stars tell you one by one
they are a bit like your ignes fatui
at least some of them
but you will be able to discriminate the satellites
from the real stars.
And the moon you like to look at
you sometimes like to find in the skies
and in your self
what does she tell?
Listen the birds they sing
and have you heard the sisters the crows
krah krah listen.
All life is running through your veins
the veins which are free
as Lady Fear again joined you
instead of sitting in those.
Hear the breath not only of your lungs
but also the breath of your heart
the breath of any muscle, any nerve,
breath of the tissue
of the skin.
You like to feel it at the skin
like the air and the wind on the skin, don’t you?
Now looking at the sky
and all the nice white clouds in all their forms
I thought ‘oh don’t you make this stop’
because it also reminds me
of friendships I have
people appreciating me
as I appreciate those.
It was like a sweet caress.
I give thanks for this
In my heart and soul
I may also create and feel the wonderful images
and spread them
feel the joy
“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success”.
Swami Sivananda (1887 – 1963)
I’ve always thought a testimonial was something that one does when an experience has come to an end, which is maybe why it has taken me so long to put pen to paper. My ‘experience’ with Easton Hamilton is far from over, some days I need him more than ever. He walks with me through this journey each and every day. In fear of never being able to do him justice, I have read every contribution on the Reach page and it is so clear that he has done for so many others, what he has kindly done for me. We are the lucky ones.
The life lessons and strength he has instilled in me are two things I am sure I will always feel in debt to him for. So, this letter of thanks and words that I hope will help other people, are just a snap shot of the experience I have had with Easton. This is not the end of the story and I anticipate it won’t be for some time – maybe never. Simply because, when you first start seeking help and guidance from Easton you will soon realise a lifetime isn’t long enough to learn all he has to offer.
The most vivid memory of the time I needed him the most was the night before a major sporting event. At the time, I was solely responsible for delivering the VIP programme to visitors and dignitaries who were in attendance from all over the world. Whilst sitting in the corridor of the Royal Box, staring out into an empty stadium that would hold 85,000 people in less than 24 hours, I reached out to the only man who might be able to reason with me and the mess I had found myself in.
Utterly exhausted, it took me almost ten minutes to say a single word. Easton just patiently waited on the end of the phone. The lack of sleep, minimal food in my stomach and the fear of not being able to deliver the following morning had tipped me somewhat over the edge and I was hysterical. There are a number of different ways I have been helped by Easton over the years I have known him. Sometimes he makes me laugh, other days he is there to teach or listen. On that day it was crisis help. As usual, when I hung up the phone 90 minutes later I knew that my ally, teacher, leader, friend and guardian angel would guide me through the difficult days that followed, even from 100 miles away.
Initially I remember dreading our conversations, it always meant facing things I wasn’t sure I was ready to face but Easton never left me in the dark alone, he was integral in helping me piece my life back together. He offered me a safe place to unload, to shed tears, to get angry and frustrated, to learn the lessons of meditation. Each time I ended a call I was richer than before. He forced me to understand that the rest of the world will not search for justice like I do. Most importantly, he reminded me that I need a small, fierce army over hundreds of friends. He has given me hope that I will live a life that I will be very proud of. One that is rich in honesty, integrity, kindness and happiness. This all began will learning to love myself, impossible I thought.
What I feel most grateful for is how this man has allowed me a glimpse of what it feels like to be completely and utterly content. That feeling often comes for just a fleeting moment and on other days it sticks around until I lay my head to sleep, another reason why I know our journey together is not yet complete. As I sit here in the quiet, on a summer Sunday afternoon I am flooded with a feeling of calm. This serenity is something I wish I could bottle and sell at Portobello Market on weekends – not to make my millions but to share in this euphoric feeling that I truly never imagined possible.
So Easton – thank you again for teaching me to love myself and for promising me I will be able to love again. Thank you for fixing my poorly tummy, for helping me sleep soundly and reassuring me there was a reason for all those terrible nightmares. Thank you for teaching me the importance of listening and for helping me to help other people. Thank you for showing me how important my health is. Thank you for always making me feel like I am never walking alone. Thank you for reinforcing the benefits of always being selfless. As I have said to you so many times before, thank you for truly saving my life. My mantra will stay with me forever Easton, just as I hope you do too.
My final message to those reading this who do not know where to turn, you have found the place you are looking for. You have found the only place you truly need, right here. Open your heart and listen carefully.
Below is one of the gems Easton shared with me which helped me through many wobbly moments – I hope it may be of benefit to you.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”.
St. Francis of Assisi (1181 – 1226)
Synergy: A Cure for all Ills
I have just finished reading Easton Hamilton’s book “Synergy: A Cure for all Ills”. It is a wonderful book and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody who is looking to create positive change in their life. The book reminded me of all those things I learnt when I was seeing Jo Kilburn, a Reach therapist, for help with my severe depression and anxiety. I would like to share with you just a few of the messages that really made an impression on me when going through my Reach journey.
Change through Compassion
Reach say that the quickest and most effective way to turn your life around is to do it with utmost compassion for yourself. I realised that I had an abundance of compassion for everybody else and absolutely none for myself. My self-talk was so harsh and aggressive and I was trying to get better by being hard and demanding on myself. It took me a while to realise that this is actually what was holding me back and keeping me depressed and anxious! Once I started being kinder to myself everything changed.
When the Cell is Well all is Well and Persuading the Body
I never realised how much our minds and bodies are connected. When I started with Reach I never thought about looking after my body. I was dehydrated, my diet was awful and I exercised because of how much I hated my body. Jo helped me to see that my mental health would always be compromised until I started to look after my body kindly and consistently. In other words my lack of care for my body was contributing to my depression and anxiety. When our physical needs are not being met, our bodies go into protection mode, and in their efforts to survive can bring our minds and spirits to their knees. Stress has the same effect of putting the body into protection mode where nothing can flourish.
Non-Negotiables and Routine is Power
This was really important to me as my life was in chaos. Jo helped me to see that I had to put my own wellbeing first and make it a priority. To do this, I introduced some things into my life that would make me feel better, (like drinking water, taking supplements, eating well, positive affirmations, meditation…) and I made them non-negotiables. This means that I did these things every single day without fail. It’s amazing how creating a routine makes things so much easier to do. Another Reach saying – Momentum is the engine of success!
There are so many other amazing lessons I learnt from Reach and I could easily write pages more but these ones are the ones that stand out most in my mind as they created such great shifts in my life.
Laura Sharp, Cardiff
“The best way out is always through”.
Robert Frost (1874 – 1963)
The work we have done together has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I can’t begin to explain the difference it has made to me as a person – although if anyone can understand this, you can.
You have been a wonderful counsellor, with your quiet reassurance, comforting warmth and endearing personality. You are the sort of counsellor I aspire to be.
It feels like the end of an era but also the beginning of a new chapter. I will miss you but know that it is right to end counselling now.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I wish you good health and happiness for the future.
My very best and warmest wishes,
“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”
Thích Nhat Hanh (1926 – present)
I want you to know just how helpful I’ve found it to actively pursue forgiveness, both of myself and of others.
Following your suggested approach, I started by listing the significant “injustices” I perceived I’d suffered at the hands of others, along with the many things I felt I’d got wrong myself. I did this over the course of about a week and when I’d finished I had two typed pages of things requiring forgiveness! The very process of preparing these lists, explicitly acknowledging all the negative “stuff” I was carrying, was itself powerful – it made me realise and face just how much negativity and “baggage” I’d accumulated down the years and that I was the person paying by far the highest price, in both mind and body, for still carrying all this stuff!
I then turned to active and explicit forgiveness, by having imaginary conversations either with myself or with others, depending on what required forgiveness. Whilst a little strange at first, I found this incredibly powerful and on more than one occasion, when forgiving myself or others, I felt a wonderful physical “lightening” in my shoulders and back – as if loads really were being lifted from me both metaphorically and physically. Through the process as a whole I “let go” of lots of things and I now enjoy greatly increased contentedness and peace of mind. I sometimes go back to the process and “top up” forgiveness for things I realise I’ve not yet 100% let go and, having made the initial effort, this is always now quickly rewarded.
I recently shared my experience with a friend who’d struggled for many years with negative feelings towards a former partner. A short while later she told me that our conversation was the catalyst for her deciding to forgive him and that, when she did, she’d immediately felt positive and energised. It felt wonderful to hear this and I can feel another tingle going down my back even now, as I recount this for you! Thank you for patiently showing me the way 🙂
“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”
Thích Nhat Hanh (1926 – present)
We have long advocated that individuals write a personal prayer. Essentially this is a mission statement which helps them to channel and mobilize their energy, designing a present and a future that reflects their dreams. There are many kinds of personal prayer and you will see numerous ones dotted throughout this section of the site. The beauty of this exercise is there’s no wrong or right way to do this, it’s how it best fits you. Here’s a lovely example…
Dear Higher Power,
I am so grateful for this beautiful world I live in and the powers that I have that let me experience and nurture life itself. I feel completely grounded and in touch with myself, I enjoy living in the now, being present all the time, focusing all my attention in the moment and experiencing it to the full.
I am blessed to live in a warm, cosy, calm, inviting home, surrounded by nature and people who love and respect themselves and the environment. I wake every morning filled with joy to hear the birds singing and the sun shining though my window. I enjoy spending time in the morning and before I go to bed stretching my flexible limbs and calming my mind, which is growing stronger and more intelligent day by day. I love spending time taking loving care of myself, feeding myself goodness in every sense, physically, emotionally and mentally. I feel so powerful as I mindfully eat nutritious, healthy, fresh food, exercise my beautiful slender toned body and quiet my mind through meditation prayer and yoga. I feel so energized and healthy – I love it.
I have so much spare time; I love spending time in the garden with my plants, growing my own vegetables and doing the things I enjoy. I am so relaxed. I enjoy spending time outdoors being close to nature, taking walks, watching the sun rise and fall. I love feeling the warm sunshine on my face and breathing in fresh air all the time, I feel refreshed and uplifted. I am exploding with love, joy, warmth, creativity and compassion and I enjoy sharing them and touching all who I meet with my beautiful qualities.
I am so grateful for the health of my family and friends who show me love and respect. I enjoy interacting with them, we share interesting conversations and have exciting times going on many adventures. They accept me just as I am. I have loving, respectful relationships and feel so comfortable in my own skin. I stand tall, I am calm, confident and in control all the time. My social life is abundant. I thoroughly enjoy every moment of my job, helping people to see the best in themselves and make the most of their lives, contributing to their health and well-being… making them feel so special I feel filled to the brim with so much joy and calmness. I fulfill my working role in every way possible. It makes me feel whole and content.
Money comes to me in abundance and I feel comfortable to do all the things that I choose without any worries at all. I am enjoying travelling, seeing amazing places and meeting fascinating people. I am learning so much about myself and others and how we function. I am at peace, I am whole, I am still and I feel content.
I love being fully independent and feeling so confident, believing in myself so much and loving myself unconditionally. I feel so strong and focused on what I want and have the strength to move forward with my dreams. I love my life. I am so much fun, so positive and always smiling. I take life lightly and live each and every day to the full. Thank you for guiding me on my spiritual journey.
Keeley Parkes, UK
“Our own life has to be our message.”
Thích Nhat Hanh (1926 – present)
I am going to try and put into words how grateful I am to you – this is just the tip of the iceberg!
I am so blessed to have stumbled upon you two years ago when I was in a heartbreaking situation. It’s because of Summer that I started this journey, thinking you were purely going to help me decide my baby’s fate. Who would have thought that she would lead me down this path to freedom. She really is the gift that keeps on giving. It was all in life’s plan.
Your kind, sincere and expert guidance has been life-changing for me. You’ve helped me unlock my courage, strength, faith, humbleness, and many more qualities that were probably there without me knowing.
You’ve helped me find the desire to evolve and learn endlessly, with Synergy being the tune to my song.
Thank you for a safe space, compassion, honesty and something to look forward to when times were hard. There have been lots of tears of sadness and sorrow but these have now been replaced with tears of joy and gratitude. We’ve even had some chuckles along the way.
The ripple effect is amazing and our good work will go on to benefit my children and beyond. Your radiant smile is infectious and every time I remember it I shall pass it on. You know me, there will probably be a happy tear too!
Thank you for everything you’ve contributed to the Reach programme.
Thank you for helping me understand life’s potential…
Thank you for making the world a better place!
Warmest of wishes
“Man ultimately becomes what he thinks of himself.”
Dr Martin Luther King Jr (1926-1968)
Your videos are life-changing. I am eternally grateful for giving me such a precious gift. I’m not able to gather my thoughts just yet, (and I’m a writer) because I am a bit overwhelmed. I stumbled upon your affirmations part one and part two about 8 days ago and have been listening and watching them a few times a day.
I was in the “dark place” …a very low point in my life. Because of Reach I’ve regained my love for life, my energy and enthusiasm and best of all …you gave me peace of mind again, something that has alluded me for quite a while. Thank you for bringing my hope back and for teaching me new ways to cope. (Rhyme intended)
Tonight I visited your website and watched a few more videos. I need to let it all sink in! I plan to watch them over and over again for the rest of my life.
I was compelled to contact you immediately in order to thank you. I’ve already told quite a few people about your site and how it has changed me for the better. You will be hearing from me soon.
I will finish thanking you later however right now, I just want to think about the experience.
Rosemary Durkin Snyder
It will take me forever to get through the abundance of material that you have so generously provided to the world. Once I do, I will repeat the process over and over again. I am just about to take a few of your YouTubes with me while taking a walk.
As I move forward, along the path near my house and in my own personal journey, I’ll be listening to your inspiring and motivational messages every step of the way.
Have a great day!
Rosemary Durkin Snyder
“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.”
Thích Nhat Hanh (1926 – present)
It’s been difficult to decide what to write. Even if I were to write a dissertation on the many ways you have helped me to improve my life, I wouldn’t be able to do you justice. You have positively influenced not just my life but those of my closest family and friends at the very least and it isn’t easy to express how deeply I appreciate you.
Before I met you I thought I had accepted how I felt and was prepared to live the rest of my life feeling that way. After all, I was the ‘happiest’ I’d ever been. I knew I was only using a fraction of my abilities but having gone down many different avenues in an attempt to heal myself, I thought I’d arrived at the best ‘place’ I was going to be able to reach. I thought I should just accept how I felt and lead the best life I could. Shortly afterwards I was led to your door.
In spite of having the family I’d always wished for, when I first met you my life felt predominantly grey and heavy, with fleeting moments of peace and contentment. As a result of knowing you, I now feel lighter, my life feels brighter. My spirit no longer feels burdened and so I feel more peaceful and am allowing myself to enjoy and appreciate my life much more. Thanks to you, I have a much stronger core and so I don’t feel afraid of life any longer. I am comfortable with myself and value what I have whilst looking forward to all that I am becoming and will achieve in the future. I’m kinder to myself and care more for myself and that’s made me better able to do the same for others.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t look forward to coming to see you whatever stage I was at and whatever was going on in my life. It has always been a joy to be in your presence even in my worst moments. I found Life Mapping the hardest stage and I wondered if I was ever going to finish it! It felt as though my mind was ‘walking’ through treacle and I think I threw in a whole lot of Shame Work at the same time, whilst being very ashamed at how long I was taking to complete this stage!
Thank you for your immense patience during this time (and many others) because I was impatient with myself and yet obsessively felt the need to voice EVERYTHING!! Once I finally did stop and move on, I started to feel lighter, freer and more receptive to letting you help me to excavate the negative contents of my mind. I then enjoyed my time with you even more and that never ends.
Through your help and guidance I’m learning to trust my own insights much more, whilst still wanting to soak up as much of your wisdom and knowledge as I can. I have met some wonderful teachers in my life but you have been my greatest. I wish that everyone could be as blessed as I have been meeting you.
With much love
“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate that can hinder the firm resolve of a determined soul.”
Ella Wheela Wilcox (1850 – 1919)
Where do I start? And how do I begin to thank you?
You have changed the way I think and how I value myself.
There were times when I thought there was no way forward, however you helped me through those darkest days, and I would not be in the lovely calm place I am now, without you.
The letter to myself from my future was a real life-changer! And I was so proud when we moved into our lovely new home and I read it to my girls.
All my dreams did come true! And now I have self-respect… something I never had before.
Thank you so much…