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If you had told me 20 years ago that I would be a florist and a Reiki Advanced Practitioner I would have cracked up laughing. I did a degree in animal science at Leeds University and went on to lecture in Nutritional Science at De Montfort University and the University of Lincoln. I have a PhD in animal nutrition and I loved my subject and teaching my students.

I started to grow cut flowers as a hobby when my husband and I bought our cottage in Lincolnshire and I grew some of the flowers for our wedding.  I very quickly realised what all gardeners know, that being outside, connected with nature, working with my hands is absolutely vital for my mental wellbeing.

My hobby very quickly turned into something greater and in 2006 I was lucky enough to set up my business, Catkin.  

I started to run workshops – sharing what I had learnt about growing cut flowers and how to use flowers from the garden to create natural, seasonal floral arrangements.  This reinforced what I knew about myself already, that I loved teaching, whether it was an undergraduate student or someone learning to make a hand-tied bouquet – the process of nurturing and helping someone to achieve the best they can possibly achieve is a total privilege

As much as I loved my academic career, being with flowers and gardens wasn’t really a choice for me, it was a necessity.  I discovered that I suffered with severe anxiety and had a couple of awful periods where it seemed like nothing could make it go away. I could manage it, but it was always there, filling part of my life with fear and dread. Lindsey had been recommended to me to help with tension in my neck and shoulders and she knew that my physical body was responding to my mental pain and referred me to Yvette.

I have to say I wouldn’t go for ages – too weird, what is all that about, too ‘out there’ for me, but I really trusted Lindsey and so I went to see Yvette and it helped. It really helped. I was intrigued by this seemingly woo woo thing that had made such a difference to my life and so decided to learn more about it, and have subsequently trained up to Advanced Reiki Practitioner.

The understanding that I gained enabled me to see that teaching, flowers, nature and reiki are intertwined and all of these elements inform and support the others. I practice Reiki through my flowers, they have an energy and an ability to heal and transform. This is so obvious when we have a day playing with flowers in a workshop. Being surrounded by flowers, being present in the moment, keeping our minds still and focussed is so good for us. I can teach people how to make beautiful flower arrangements but I can also teach them about themselves, using flowers.  I set up some floral retreat workshops which rather than focusing on ‘how to make an arrangement’ is more ‘let’s make an arrangement, focus on the moment, listen to what the flowers are telling you, restore and renew your soul’. It is amazingly powerful and a beautiful tool to find some mental space and peace. The individual flowers you choose have meaning – you are drawn to them for a reason.   Finding the space to listen to what they are saying with the help of an intuitive and sensitive facilitator there is scope for creating beautiful personal transformation through connection with flowers and nature. With Yvette and Lindsey’s support this flower therapy has been extended to one to one morning therapy sessions, floral retreats and. mindfulness walks.

I believe nature has the power to heal, and I believe everyone can, through that, find a way to live their best life – I hope I have the privilege of helping you along the way.

Rachel x
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