Last week, on my show, time for a mojo injection, we did something a bit different. We took you to the beach for a live wild swim, meditation and deep conversation. Jump in with us here if you have not joined us yet.
My guest is the very lovely Bernadette Petrie (she now loves her name after rebelling against it as a teenager). Bernadette means Brave as a bear. She is a Life Coach, Speaker and Spiritual guide based in the seaside town of North Berwick on the East coast of Scotland. She is the founder of the Spiritual wellness centre The Barefoot Sanctuary which opened in April 2014 and the Creator of The Barefoot Talks which began in 2015.
We talk openly about our own breakdown/breakthrough experience and the healing power of nature and of course cold water. The chat is everything I enjoy, it’s raw, real and open minded.
Bernadette’s life changed course following her own spiritual awakening in 2010. This sparked her own healing journey and her ambition to live an authentic soulful life. She has been writing her blog called Barefoot Ambition since 2013. Permission to Shine is her first book. I was kindly sent a copy of it and it is cram packed with wisdom. I read out some of my favourite parts towards the end of the podcast show. A quote I love is:
There are no gremlins in nature.
So true. I always encourage people to get out in nature and switch off the racing mind. We are overstimulated and need to find stillness and true peace every single day. We need to say no to the b word a bit more. Is it really that cool to be SO BUSY and rushed off your feet, that you have no time to chill out, sleep, connect with family and friends, go for a walk, move your body? I felt so relaxed after my time on the beach, chatting and embracing the cold water with Bernadette.
We also talk about the vibrational scale, which is in the book. It is so important to remember that to be human, it is necessary to experience all the highs and the lows. In order to vibrate as humans, we need to experience the dark and the light.
Both Bernadette and I had some surreal spiritual experiences when we went into a ‘manic’ state and were left absolutely shattered and broken. Sleep, medication and rest was part of both our recoveries. But we will never forget our unique experiences and how powerful they felt. I love how Bernie shares so much in her book.
Personally (and of course I have a book in me to come about all of this) but I have spoken about feeling God so strongly, via a bright, loving light. It was in a church called Central Hall and the experience happened at least three times, whilst people were praying for me. There was also a night there (the last service I went to before lockdown which my cousin kindly took me to as I had to be signed out of hospital) where I was sure I felt angels all around me. As the band played and the vibes were so high due to the incredible music, I could feel my hands flapping about and could hear God telling me that the angels had my back. Yes, I was in what the medical professionals call a ‘manic state’ and it ticked every single box. But looking back, as a person of faith, I don’t believe that this was a hallucination. In fact, a few minutes into feeling this way, a woman got up on stage and took the mic. She said the following:
‘I just wanted to encourage everyone here tonight. God has just told me that there are angels all around us’.
Wow. So it wasn’t just me feeling this way. And as far as I know, I was the only person out of hundreds that night who was returning to a mental hospital. Yes, there was no denying that I was in an extremely elevated state, sometimes, like Bernadette, I would write down my experiences in a large journal that my brother kindly gifted me when he flew over from Madrid to comfort me in hospital. When I ‘came back down to earth’, it still made sense to me and it remains meaningful. Don’t get me wrong, there were journal entries that I see as my broken and manic mind feeling very confused. There were also entries that came from my heart and soul. The key is to get the balance between our mental (the mind) and spiritual (the soul) health. I heard Oprah give a talk last year and she continued to say:
“THERE IS NO LIFE WITHOUT A SPIRITUAL LIFE.”
It hit me not so long ago, that I have been more than a mental health researcher for the past 6 years. I have been a spiritual health researcher too. It was the step to dive deep into mindfulness meditation at the start of 2019, that made my faith stronger. Hours of deep meditation practise stripped me down. It shook my ego up. It took me back to my childhood and had me pouring love on that beautiful, innocent little girl. It challenged me to remove the grip on man made labels. They can serve a purpose but they should never define us.
It allowed me to help others heal. A few months before I went into a ‘manic’ state, I remember having what meditation guides would call a ‘heart opening’. I had been at Central Hall in the morning. Something about the feeling I got there really moved me. I would cry. I would feel intense joy and peace. As Faithless would say, it became the church that would heal my hurts and God was indeed a DJ.
It felt like I got a powerful injection whenever I went there and when I left all I could feel was pure love and peace. During that period, I was of ‘sane’ mind. Yet, some may call it delusional. I love Bernadette’s honesty on the podcast when she talks about ‘playing the game’ so she could get out of hospital. Because when you feel things deeply that are hard to explain, it can scare people. Mental wellbeing aside, the opposite of faith is fear. If you have never had faith in the spiritual world, the things we cannot see, then talking about this stuff may feel insane. I remember when I was in the full on throws of mania. Whilst in an appointment with a medical professional, my hubs said:
‘She has been going to church more and talking about God a lot’.
He said it in a fearful way. Did this make me delusional?
The medical professional encouraged me, saying that he also had a faith in God and he was ‘sane’, so not to worry. I was so thankful for his honesty.
Faith is high on the vibrational scale and fear and doubt is low. Faith is important to me but I understand that for many, it doesn’t always come easy. I get it, when people let us down, it can be hard to keep the faith. They say love like you have never been hurt. To me, God is love. Always has been, always will be.
At the risk of this blog turning into a book, I am off for a run out in nature where no gremlins lie (thanks Bernadette).
You got this.
Jojo Fraser is an award winning author, coach, podcaster and Tedx speaker. She has been a mental health researcher for the past 6 years and helps to empower, motivate and uplift the leaders she works with. She is known for her straight talking and bold approach. Her mission is simple – to normalise what many see as ‘the hard’ conversations and in breaking the stigma, save many lives. She is also available for acting roles (show reels available).