There’s nothing on earth I find more inspiring than other women. None of us go through life alone yet it’s so easy to get holed up in our personal bubbles; that I think it’s so important to step outside our little world and look to learn from other people in our lives, setting leading examples.
Louise Androlia is one of these people for me. Having suffered a debilitating chronic pain condition in her early 20s she has forever been positive, working hard on her healing to battle through what was a difficult and painful time to learn and grow. She’s used these experiences to inspire her career as a Life Coach, Tarot Reader, Writer, Speaker, Artist and all-round lovely person.
Six months ago Loulou followed her dream to live in LA (and we all know how much I love a good dream follower) so I spoke to her about her experiences in getting through the hard times, believing in yourself and moving out to the USA’s West coast. Grab a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable and get inspired.
When did you first realise how important awareness of the connection between mind, body and spirit is?
For me it was experiencing a profound disconnect from the three of them. In the space of a few years (over my early 20’s) I had a debilitating chronic pain condition closely followed by a severe bout of PTSD. That was the mind and body covered and then the spirit, which to me is the part of ourselves that needs ‘lighting up’. I particularly noted that disconnect formed at any point I tried to be anything other than ‘me’. I think we notice that happening a lot in our teen years and it can stick with us.
It was through my own healing process that I got to learn the deeper meaning of what it feels like to be embodied and connected to oneself. I of course wasn’t particularly grateful at the time, but now I couldn’t hold my past in higher value because I’ve been able to learn to cherish my m/b/s in a way I never did before.
Truthfully it amazes me that we usually discover this connection through a period of suffering, when there is nothing more obvious that all parts of the human are connected. However it seems that most of us experience a disconnection in order to be able to know what it feels like to be connected again.
As a therapist I see the work that people have to do in their adulthood to heal from the effects of this disconnection and I would love to see a future where schools will make mental health awareness, nutrition and self care as important as anything else on the curriculum.
You’ve been quite frank and public about your own struggle with your health in the past and how you used alternative methods to feel better. How important do you think this awareness and spirituality was to your healing process?
I really feel like I had no other option to dive in deeply to my own self-awareness and mind/body/spirit process, because my conditions were quite extreme. And I truly believe if I hadn’t I might not be where I am today.
Firstly in 2002 I was suffering with (what had been diagnosed as Fibromyalgia) extreme pain and what felt like a breakdown of my whole body, nothing about my physical body wasn’t in pain or some sort of crisis. When it feels like you are dying and the majority of research + testing points to A: You definitely not dying but B: There is no cure and maybe you can try this handful of addictive medications; something has to shift.
I discovered that all we want to do when we are in extreme pain, whether it is physical or mental is to ‘check out’. We don’t want to feel any of that, no one does. It’s scary and difficult. However healing is almost impossible when we are checked out, it’s like working with ourselves as a puppet rather than being present! Also, how lucky to actually have something that could be healed. I’m forever thankful for that.
In order to be able to feel even some sort of relief from our pain, whether physical or mental we need to study ourselves like the most precious specimen in the Universe and then take action upon what we have learned. I trusted that getting to know my body and then feeling when there was a difference was going to be better for me than taking a handful of addictive or chronic side effect inducing meds that ‘might’ help. I had a doctor who fully supported that and helped me on a trial and error of the natural route. From that I changed my diet and was 70% better within a month. I was also lucky enough to have a lot of support the ability to not work (I was at university and dropped out) and rest as much as I needed to, something I know not everyone gets the privilege of.
Note: I’m not someone who doesn’t believe there is a place for modern medicine but I very strongly believe that all conditions whether mental or physical deserve being explored fully, mind, body and spirit, even if it’s alongside a medication.
My intuition about medications came through a year later when I took a tablet which although was ‘natural’ I suffered a severe reaction to. (I was that 1 in a million) The reaction was a 3 week long psychosis, which lead to deep PTSD and a many years of recovery. This gifted me fear in the most extreme form and now that I am recovered fully I am very passionate about helping people particularly with fear. I also now have an autoimmune disease so It’s been so helpful to already have this awareness because it now means I am instantly able to thrive with this condition because of being so connected to my body.
In my own opinion, one of our strongest driving forces is self-belief and finding mine (by accident!) has revolutionised my life. What do you think is the best way to begin on the journey of finding one’s self-belief, or inner confidence?
I love that you say about finding it by accident because I feel that really makes sense! I’ve noted that when we are actively searching for things, for instance, trying to ‘be’ happy or ‘be’ successful we get lost in a non-existent space. True self-belief and confidence has to be felt not found on a map and I guess that’s why we discover it accidentally through our experiences. However I do also believe there are ways of thinking that encourage us into that space.
Here are a few that I live by:
– To gain self-confidence you just have to keep on becoming more and more self-aware, the more you learn about and cherish yourself, the more you have an opportunity to own and embody that knowledge. The best way to start is by committing to valuing your time, which I believe to be the true translation of meditation. Allowing yourself space to feel your feelings (especially the crappy ones) and be still.
I recommend a morning practice, where you just commit to sitting for even one minute (and up to an hour when you can) before you get on with your day. For anyone who thinks they don’t have time to give themselves any time, then this is even more of an essential, it is possible no matter how busy your day is. And self worth is intrinsically linked with this; I know one thing for sure and your life purpose is not to be cruel to yourself.
– As children we absorb a lot of things as a truth but an adult we get to choose how we take on information. So in adulthood you might find that a lack of self-belief comes from an old story you have been repeating to yourself since you were young. Now you are allowed to tear that page out and rewrite it into something more loving.
– Finally you really are perfectly designed to be you. The whole cliché, well it’s true, and what it really means is that you have absolutely everything you need, you just have to dig it out. To really feel confident we just have to stand fully and authentically within ourselves. It’s not easy but it is definitely possible.
You offer tarot as a part of your services. Is the ability to read tarot something you are born with or can you learn it? For the uneducated (i.e. me!) how can a tarot reading help better oneself?
I have had a Tarot deck since I was about 17, so for half my life now! And Tarot is for everyone. Most people who don’t know much about Tarot have a generic idea that has come from TV or rumor, that of it being fortune telling or scary even. Tarot has always been used as a psychological tool and the 78 cards tell the story of the human experience and what you might encounter along the way. It is a beautiful way of learning about life, and so in-depth that you could never get to the bottom, the cards link with Christianity, Astrology, Kabbalah and so on.
When you sit with me, the cards I pull are representative of the contents of your subconscious, laid out in front of us (and yes this is also divine timing – the cards are always reflective of the person in that moment.) I act as an interpreter of sorts and give back to you what you already know but perhaps weren’t quite connected to.
I like to say that I will remind you of what you already knew but didn’t realize you did! And my feedback is always that people feel more connected to themselves, empowered and inspired. I am very anti fortune telling, because the future is fluid and to tell people things are going to happen is to actually take away their power. The present moment is the only place that is real and so it’s always the best place to work with!
I’m transitioning now from doing readings to mentoring and teaching, because I love to think that people use it as a powerful self-awareness and self-healing tool like I do.
What is energy awareness and how can it help?
Ok, open questions to everyone who is reading this: Have you ever noticed your mood change on account of someone else’s? Have you ever felt your mood change based on the environment you are in? Have you ever had a moment where you referred to someone else as having ‘bad vibes’?
So I will guess that every person says yes to all of those things, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t!
Reason being is that we are made of energy, we know that even through science, and we all inhabit an energetic space. That space around you holds all your thoughts and feelings. A great example is standing on a cramped train carriage, there might be 50 others people thoughts and feelings squishing into your space – hence why I feel claustrophobia is mainly energetic. So energy is invisible and most of all is contagious.
I teach energy awareness as a practical tool to help us feel more grounded and self-aware, because truth be told, none of use want to be walking around with anyone else’s ‘stuff’ – umm I for one know that I have enough thoughts and feelings of my own! So it’s like another way of checking in with yourself, being able to know when you are exhausted because of the company you’ve been in, or feeling anxious because you’ve spent the day with someone who was in crisis. Once we become aware we are able to release through breathing exercise, visualizations and all sorts.
The great thing is that the more you are grounded in your own energy the better friend, partner, mother, child, teacher and so on you can be, because you are just in your space and not scattered. Again, it’s a self-care thing!
It also means you’ll never refer to someone having ‘bad vibes’ again because you realize if their energy is strong it’s because they are going through something; it can help us be more compassionate too.
The main thing about the work I do is that it’s practical and accessible; I swear I can explain anything, which might seem totally crazy to any random person on the street. I haven’t known anyone I’ve taught not to come back telling me the difference it’s made. I myself started using energy tools in 1999 when I first moved to London. Originally I’d learned then as part of psychic work I was doing as a teen and then I got into this fast paced crowded city and suddenly thought, ok I know what to do! Aaaand I’ve not been claustrophobic since 1999.
I have a few in depth blogs on the subject so I’d love to share them if this peaks anyones interest – Part 1 is here and you can follow though.
The same with life coaching – how might that help someone like me?
The main thing that I have learned from all my clients over the last few years is: Everyone has the same set of fears, just packaged up in our own unique ways, and everyone feels alone.
To start with I hold a safe space for you to speak and feel freely, for you to explore your thoughts as well as be there to encourage and support your dreams and even brainstorm ideas. If you think about us just alone as individuals, we have all our great ideas, our intuition and all the good stuff; THEN we have a big cloud that also hangs out with us that holds our fears and anxieties and the shadows from our past + the fears for the future. I am able to speak to you about the things you are experiencing, but without that cloud. So the benefit is again having almost your own person interpreter who gives that other perspective that you perhaps just can’t see. You also have someone on your team, a cheerleader, and we all need that when we are in challenging times.
Our biggest changes come from quite small shifts in perspective. So, if you showed up to me I would have you fill in a lengthy questionnaire and from that and the way you are speaking I’d be able to quickly pin point the main themes that you have going on. For instance some common ones I help people with are; anxiety, self worth, fears of the future and change, letting go of control, helping understand the inner dialogue and self punishment and restriction.
Based on my life so far I have an ability to see how and why people are disconnected from themselves, and a whole set of tools and ideas to practice. I walk my talk and use all these ideas myself, daily.
I’ve been lost in my own darkness and I found the torch, so I feel it’s my responsibility to now help others. I want to help as many people as possible feel less alone.
I also love to get people out of the idea that they are broken and need to be ‘fixed’. You are not broken, but you are evolving.
You recently followed your dream of moving to LA, something I’m hugely in awe of. What was that process like of leaving behind everything you know to follow your dreams?
I did indeed and it’s almost been six months! I’m so excited to be here. (come and visit – LA is SO amazing for kids too, I can’t go to any cool event without there being at least one baby present!)
My own fearlessness of sorts comes from being extremely stubborn – an aspect of personality I see as hugely positive because you can powerfully channel it into your self-care.
I had been in London on and off for 14 years and truthfully it had never loved it. I really do think it’s one of the best cities in the world, but I felt displaced. I grew up in the countryside and was craving something more expansive and to be closer to nature, as well as a deep desire to feel inspired again. LA has always felt like home and the past few years as I came back and forth for holidays I just knew it was where I wanted to live. I also have a huge network of close friends here so it’s been easy to settle quickly. Honoring my commitment to leaving London was really the dream, so if I hadn’t been able to come here then I would have moved somewhere else either way. I felt a lot of relief when it really sunk in that I really COULD leave!
I’m confident (because I’ve practiced this method for over 10 years) that if I move forward based upon what feels good then everything is given it’s best possible chance and I thrive, earn more money and my health is the best. My priority in life is to feel good, not to be successful, be happy, be rich etc. Feeling good covers everything! So this has helped the process a lot. I have an autoimmune disease and so my wellness is top priority, even just knowing the dry heat would up my health was inspiration.
Following your dreams feels GOOD, it carries all sorts of fears of course but fears are normal, but they are not solid, the roots are made of the good powerful love stuff. I’ve also worked hard over the years to be in a position where I can work from anywhere, so feel proud of that freedom I’ve created. I’m happy to say that all my close friends, even though they miss me being in London have been so excited for me too. The thing that really closed the deal for me was that I love my job and I love being of service, but it’s very difficult to be a therapist if you don’t value your own experience. I knew that as my sense of displacement heightened it would become harder to really be the positive and nurturing voice that I am for my clients, if I was feeling unfulfilled.
It’s also been so humbling and hilarious, because everything the same but OH NO IT ISN’T! My first month was like my own comedy show LA in LA, things like trying to open a bank account were so funny, because the systems are so different that you feel stupid all the time, and I loved that. I feel I’ve been gifted that sense of having wide eyes again, getting to see everything like a kid, wanting to experience all the city has to offer. I realize it’s so lucky to have this so I’m diving in fully.
Nothing is on the surface different here, I’m still me, same work, same anxieties, but just being in an environment that feels inspiring and exciting has transformed me fully into my most authentic self. I believe that you are always exactly where you are supposed to be, that all your feelings are valuable and in turn so are your ideas. If you feel a call from within, it’s not there to be ignored.