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It didn’t take long to get into the nitty-gritty of the spiritual development groups conducted by the enigmatic Marilyn. Every week we would arrive wondering what was in store. Normally Marilyn would be sitting in her back garden having a cigarette. Many people from the group would cluster around her, like moths around a flame, hoping to get an insight from her or to demonstrate to the rest of us that they had a special connection with our teacher.

Quite a bit of this competitive behaviour went on in the group. “Oh well I’ve had three private sessions with Marilyn, they were amazing!” “When I had a session with Marilyn she told me that I had a beautiful aura.” “Well I brought my boyfriend along and we had a reading with her together!” I soon comprehended that Marilyn was someone worth knowing, but like so many people in the ‘Love and Light’ industry I found her somewhat unapproachable and not very communicative.

I didn’t understand then what I understand all too well now; she wasn’t being unfriendly or uncaring, she was actually holding a space for us all – this is like a big emotional and energetic balancing act – and tuning into her sources of universal guidance. Add to that the fact that she was also a very sensitive, intuitive person and it becomes easier to understand how it must have felt when eighteen people arrived all at once, excited, anxious and always wanting something from her.

As I found out myself, only a year or so later, the gifts of intuition and clairvoyance can often be a double-edged sword. Of course its wonderful to be connected and open in that way AND to be able to share it with others. Its also incredibly demanding emotionally, mentally and spiritually and sometimes people treat you like a walking encyclopaedia, imagining you have all the answers to their problems. Each week Marilyn was beset by people wanting answers to some issue or another. I tried to keep my questions for my private readings with her, but sometimes I couldn’t resist either.

Back in those days I didn’t see much in the way of auras, colours, chakras or anything of that nature. During the class Marilyn didn’t speak to us about Angels or Spirit Guides, or reincarnation. Not in terms of our own anyway. The information seemed more general, about the big changes that would happen on Earth over the next couple of decades, about the great Archangels and Ascended Masters and about our need to become more spiritually evolved.

One of the mainstays of the class was learning about the chakras and how to perceive and balance them. I remain eternally grateful for the endless practice Marilyn put us through each week because over the years I have come to appreciate just how vital healthy chakras are and how central they are to our wellbeing on all levels. I didn’t sense much whilst giving another student a chakra balance and would just hope that it was doing some good. But I continued to be welcome in the class so I figured I must be doing alright. It was interesting and frustrating at the same time as I followed her instructions whilst seemingly having little result.

These days I reassure my own students and empathise with their anxiety about ‘not getting much’. Its not just the learning curve and the nerves, its getting accustomed to a whole new way of seeing, hearing and communicating. The physical world is obvious and tangible. We can hear sound, read words and feel objects. The metaphysical realm is an entirely different proposition. Its subtle, it has its own ways and its own timing and in the beginning at least, it doesn’t just show up how and when you want it to. It responds to commitment. I was yet to understand all this and simply enjoyed the classes for what they offered. The social interaction was fun too and I met some fascinating people.

Sailing and navigating were amongst my other passions

Sailing and navigating were amongst my other passions

Meanwhile I had been taking sailing lessons and studying navigation at our local yacht club. Out of the blue our teacher offered me the chance to crew on his yacht for two weeks. He needed all hands on deck to sail her down from the Whitsunday Islands to Sydney. How could I say no?! It was a brilliant experience. We encountered wild storms, huge waves, tropical bliss and many, many dolphins. We scoured the seas after hearing a report of a man overboard on the radio and nearly got run over by a massive container ship whilst trying to make safe harbour in Port Stephens in the middle of the night. Unbelievably, we were unable to sail into Sydney Harbour because of an awful storm and had to end our trip at Newport – still part of Sydney – but not our planned, ultimate destination. The whole experience was an adventure I will never forget!

My studies continued and my love and respect for homoeopathy increased but my slimming salon was still a problem. The stress of running the business and starting this whole new life caused my left shoulder to seize up completely. I was in so much pain when I moved and could barely afford any treatment. Then, after less than a year at the helm of my little ship, I decided I had to sell in order to get on a more even keel financially. Establishing the business had been a massive effort, but it had been disappointing, especially due to the lack of support from the franchisors. They had made their money and I had learned a valuable lesson. How was I going to get out of this situation with the least expense and drama?