2nd January 2020

Anita Neilson writes some words that resonated with me in  her article When your worst nightmare turns into your greatest gift. In her article she  writes  that for many people times of ill health can be a gift.

She suggests that the gifts may include   a time for self-reflection and growth, the development or re-emergence of qualities such as compassion , kindness and understanding and can allow  reconnection with one’s life purpose.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago my life changed in an instant. Although I was tired I had no symptoms that suggested anything was amiss. Thank goodness for Mammograms.

( Have you had yours?)

The year ( 2019) that followed was difficult, going through surgery, decisions around treatments and adjusting to being a “cancer survivor”. Although it was truly difficult it did afford me the opportunity to look at all areas of my life. In many ways it did give me as Anita Neilson writes certain gifts.

What have I learnt?

During my recovery  I have been able to reflect on how I am living my life. I realised how fortunate I am to be working as a Creative Arts Therapist using harp as my main modality. My work puts me directly into the heart of what it is to live a human life- I  have experienced  and seen the full gamut of human emotions- joy, hope, peace, sadness, grief, love, regret, guilt, anger, determination, death, birth and everything in between. I understand that  life can be unpredictable, uncertain and the only constant is change.

I am learning to be more kind to myself. I now takes breaks when I need to, say no more often and rest when tired. I see and recognise kindness and compassion in the care I received and when its offered to others by  clinical staff. What a difference it makes.

Finally, my illness helps me in fulfilling my life purpose of working with my harp in hospitals and hospice. I have a deeper awareness and understanding of what its like to be in a oversized blue gown waiting for radiation. I understand the difficulty and anxiety of waiting for results, waiting to feel better, waiting for life to return to normal……..

Finally, being diagnosed with  cancer informs how I live my life now. I have become more mindful and aware of the sacred in the ordinary  such as enjoying times with family and friends, eating nourishing food, walking, sitting in my garden, taking time to read my favourite books and play my harp just for fun. I have learnt not to put off the things I want to do as the only constant in life is change. 2020 will be a great year.

Love and Blessings to you all.


For the past twelve years I have worked as a therapeutic harpist in healthcare.  It has been the most rewarding time of my life and  has shaped, moulded, challenged and changed the way I live my life. What does a therapeutic harpist do? We offer music to support, comfort and soothe others experiencing physical, emotional or spiritual pain. As I play I can  craft a sacred space, to promote rest, comfort, solace and beauty. I can adjust my music to what I see,  a sigh, a muscle twitch, an readjusting of position all show me to adjust my music to uplift, quieten down, soothe or energise the person I am playing for. I have been present as people are dying and when babies have just been born. I have supported people in pain and listened to stories of resilience, loss, grief, hope. I have observed love, determination, anger and pain as life is lived under altered circumstances. It is special work and there is a growing group of certified practitioners playing in both healthcare and the community. Therefore, I was very excited to finally release my first book The Therapeutic Harp Workbook” last week. It took a long time to write and is the first in a trilogy on Therapeutic harp practice. Hopefully, this first book gives both practicalities and insights into the world of working as a Therapeutic Harpist.  Thank you to those people who are starting to follow this blog. I am looking forward to sharing a eclectic mix of stories, quotes I like, music, art, and meditations I would like to share.