At the end of this epic week, I find myself in York (Of all places) on a kind of retreat, though my phone and email are never fully off…
Monday was my final day out at the BBC filming Scottish soap-opera ‘Rivercity’, which I really loved being part of but I’m equally glad to be back in the office searching for sponsors, as the countdown on our website keeps me ominously aware that the Road to Change begins in 40 days…
With my ever supportive flatmate Tom, I began a 7 days Juice only diet on Tuesday. Our kitchen has been like an ethic food market all week with literally piles of pineapples, kale and alfalfa sprouts. Poor Tommy really tried but didn’t last the course though admittedly I had an unfair advantage as I came off coffee months ago. I finish tomorrow, the final day’s juices all pre-juiced and bottled, and I have to say I feel entirely different to how I felt only a week ago. I have lost around 6lbs but I wasn’t doing it for weight-loss, the mental clarity and rejuvenated energy is more profound than I could have imagined. If you have a juicer and not too much on this week, do give it a wee go :)
The highlight of this whole week was attending the Young Scot Awards. It’s always life affirming to hear stories of extraordinary human kindness and triumph over adversity, but when all the stories are of young people, and even young kids, you can’t help but feel your heart smile. The fact that they were all Scottish was just the icing on the Krispy Kreme.
Every Young Scot who was nominated and reached the final was indeed a hero, but two young ladies stood out to me and deserve the world to know bright light that they are. Susannah McWhirter, only 15, was bullied at school for being Gay, but instead of letting the experience crush her spirit, Susannah used her frustration to fuel a national campaign to tackle LGBT bullying in every school in the country. She scooped the Young Scot Award for Cultural Diversity and I was a not the only weeping mess in the auditorium when she went up to collect her prize. Scotland is proud of her! To know yourself enough at such a young age to be able to know you’re gay, let alone stand up in front of the whole school and later the whole country, it takes bravery beyond measure and I have endless admiration for her. The world is literally a better place because Susannah is in it.
The same must be said for Jess Ryan, aged 22, whose story touched everyone in the room wither they have any experience of child sexual abuse or not. Jess was sexually abused by a number of men, and then suffered neglect as her simply parents ignored her. She lived through all that darkness to become a beacon of hope for so many young people in Scotland, and the world. In 2012, she waved her anonymity to speak out in the press about her countless ordeals. She channelled her pain into a song and uses this among other efforts, to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and money for Children First, the charity who have supported her. Jess won the Sunday Mail Reader’s Choice Award but then also won the overall Young Scot of the year award. The room was on it’s feet. :D
I was blown away by the entire evening. The long list of inspirational young people, shining examples of kids of today, but I was also deeply moved to be standing in the Clyde Auditorium witnessing a country recognising the exceptional achievements of its children, and of all the remarkable stories, the bravely honest heart wrenching story of a young survivor of horrific sexual abuse was chosen to be the champion soul of this year’s worthy nominees. What Jess lived through and achieved since is astonishing and the fact that this country is singling her out as the story of hope that we’re celebrating is beauty full. Scotland is making huge steps towards Stopping the Silence.
So…an emotional juice-fuelled week, ending here in York on this Transcendental Meditation (TM) retreat…Why am I taking a wee holiday when I still have soooo much money to raise and motorhomes to find before I leave in less than 6 weeks? (I hear you cry…) Well, TM is not just a relaxation technique. Like the Juicefest, it’s all in preparation for the 10,000 mile walk. TM is the ability to rest your body and mind to levels scientifically recorded to be twice as deep as can be achieved during deep sleep. I’ve only been doing it for two days now and already, combined with the last six days of only juiced fresh fruit and veg, I feel like I could walk 10,000miles in one night. The TM course is expensive but was generously donated to me by the Meditation Trust as a contribution to the walk. I have to say, I can’t imagine how I would have coped physically or mentally with the 18month challenge if I hadn’t learned this skill.
So thanks for reading, the road to change begins in five weeks on Friday and I have sooooooo much to do before then (Including sing in Latin at my sister’s highland wedding…) but I feel recharged by everything this week, inspired by phenomenal young people, rejuvenated by this mental Juicefest and entirely restored by Transcendental Meditation.
I cannot wait to embark on the Road to Change!!!
(And eat solid food again…)
RTC HQ Fleet Alliance Office :)