BBC Radio Interview
My name is Michelle Beagley. I grew up in London as part of a big family and became a young mother at the age of 19. By 21, I was married with my second child. I had really low self esteem and an extremely poor body image and then suffered with post natal depression after my second child was born. I hated my body being seen so had always steered away from sports however, I decided to take up exercise to help with my mental health so that I was able to have an hour to myself! For the first time, I started to feel what it was like to be ‘in my body’. The feelings overwhelmed me but I did feel better mentally so I carried on as it was a way of pushing my body away from those bad feelings. I trained as a fitness instructor in 1997 and taught in large leisure centres, small community halls and for mental health organisations. I knew that I wanted to reach the people that would be fearful of the large glossy leisure scene, so grubby church halls and badly sized community rooms worked well for me.
This led me to teach on projects that encouraged and supported overweight children to have a healthier lifestyle, I then taught Wellbeing on inpatient mental health units and wards. I taught the over 50’s and I also taught ante and post natal exercise. In fact, I was one of the first people to bring babies into the exercise sessions along with their mamas! I gained a certificate in education (Cert.ed) and taught in many community colleges in varied wellbeing and fitness roles.
I loved watching people become embodied, watching them gain confidence in themselves, breaking through their own limitations, just as I was doing. The day that I stood on a stage in a prestigious leisure centre, teaching in front of 70 people was a total breakthrough moment for me as I was allowing myself to be seen, fully, after many years of dysmorphia and extreme self hatred.
I moved away from London in 2007 and worked as a wellbeing assistant on psychiatric wards. Whilst I enjoyed supporting the patients, I felt very restricted in what I was ‘allowed to offer’ to the wonderful clients in such distress. I knew I could do more so I decided to go it alone. I discovered Sound Therapy and undertook several workshops. These helped me to feel my deeply held emotions and release them without the need for reliving the story behind them. I could talk of my back story over and over, about my childhood issues and traumatic experiences, but was an expert at disassociating them from any real emotions and feelings. Sound therapy supported me to release old trauma and dis-ease gently (and sometimes fully!) and so I began to heal and feel.
After this, I trained in Holistic Massage and Bodywork through MTI. Their approach to Bodywork matched my own understanding of the physical, emotional and energetic layers of our body and the fact it all correlated and is inter relational. The massage and bodywork enabled me to learn about boundaries around appropriate touch, where I ended and others began. I was challenged by touch, I was fearful, so here I knew that this was what I needed to be fully embodied, authentic and real.
I qualified both in Sound Therapy and Holistic Massage in 2015 and then embarked on Ecstatic Awakening Dance teacher training. This beautiful way of moving with the eyes closed was yet another deep layer of self discovery and healing. In rediscovering hidden parts of my self so deeply buried by sadness and shame, this movement that can be done in whatever way you chose has no right or wrong way to move. It was an inner journey, rocking, rolling, swaying, swirling into all of my selves and encouraging them out to play again.
So here I am, a grandmother with 3 beautifully wild, embodied little ones around me to constantly teach me the beauty and simplicity of life. A business in Massage, Sound Therapy and Ecstatic Movement where I love to collaborate, share and encourage others. Each day, I show up as my authentic self in all of the many ways that I am.
I am passionate about Bodywork; how the body heals and how trauma affects us on so many layers. I am a highly sensitive person which means that I can feel the emotions unexpressed deeply, the energies of people and our environments. I know what an absolute honour it is to be entrusted to support someone on their healing journey, to empower them to listen into their body and hear what it wants and needs.
Whatever mode of healing (meaning wholeness) someone chooses to take, Sound Therapy, Massage, Movement or all 3, I can honestly say that they will reveal the greatness within, reveal the wholeness of who we really are and their core being, before “all that shit dimmed our sparkle!”