Jill Everall

I first met Sonia in Spring 2000. My life had turned literally upside down. In January of that year I had found myself as a single parent of 2 young children. My life had gone from one of luxury with my son (then aged 10) and my daughter (nearly 3) to claiming income support when my ex partner threw us out of his house. I loved this man deeply and was devastated by his actions. We were not married and I had moved into HIS house.

My friend had a cleaning company and offered me work cleaning for her domestic clients. I was not receiving any maintenance for my children and all money was gratefully received. Soon after I was asked to step in and cover for a cleaner. The house I went to clean was in Sheen and belonged to Sonia. I was supposed to have been in the house for about 2 hours cleaning but I was there an awful lot longer! There was something very special about Sonia. I knew I had been stressed and worried about everything but hadn’t realized quite how much this was showing. We talked and talked and Sonia seemed to understand exactly how I felt and before I knew it we had agreed that I would come and try out her meditation group. I certainly did not think that meditation would be for me. My mind never stopped, I used to lay awake at night, unable to ‘switch off’. I had high blood pressure and had been prescribed anti-depressants. I HAD to stay in first gear in order to ‘cope’. I had no time to ‘relax’ or ‘meditate’ for goodness sake! Six and a half years later, as I type these words, I smile. I look back and although I know WAS me, I cannot relate to the person I was.

I went along to the meditation group and had one-to-one counselling sessions and listened to Sonia’s guidance. Slowly but surely I noticed a change. Stuff didn’t stop happening to me. My children’s father did not suddenly become a moral, decent, generous man. What changed was how I dealt with what was happening. I realized I wasn’t getting as upset as I used to. I was able to deal with issues in a much calmer way. Through regular meditation, the quieting was enabling me to really cope. Not like I had been ‘coping’ before. That wasn’t coping. I was as highly strung and tightly coiled as a person can be. Now I CAN switch off. Truly switch off. I still have the odd one-to-one session with Sonia, I am only human after all. But, and this is the best part………my life has turned around completely. I know who I am now and I kind of feel rather good about myself. You see I am still a single mother. My children are now aged 16 and nearly 10. I have been to college and passed several courses. I now aim to start a degree later this year. I turned 41 in January just passed. The week after my Birthday I received my latest certificate, an equivalent to a Maths GCSE. I failed this when I was at school. I am hoping to do a degree in Child Behaviour or Psychology. Plus, I work 24 hours per week. No, it isn’t easy, sometimes I question my sanity. But, with Sonia as my mentor, my weekly group sessions (which my workplace builds my timetable around – I WILL NOT MISS IT!), and my daily meditations, I now have the tools to cope with my life.

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