Author & Modern-day Spiritual Healer
Talking risks, meditation and the imposter syndrome.
Jody Shield worked as a Business Director in advertising for 10 years before reaching a tipping point where she knew she had to make a change. It’s not that there was anything particularly wrong with where she was in life, after all she had what social norms would classify, a ‘successful career’, but after spending 2 weeks in bed with a stress related illness, she came to the realisation that moving through life in this state of ‘OK-ness’ was not enough.
‘Surveying the scenes around me, everyone was operating at a very high adrenalin level, very burnt out but not quite admitting it’ says Jody.
‘I’d lost myself and I’d forgotten who I was or what lit me up. Before I really knew what I was doing, I was booking a one-way ticket to South America and handing in my notice.’
Jody is now an inspirational speaker, meditation teacher, spiritual healer and as of last year, author of a new book, called Life Tonic; a modern toolkit to help you heal your life and sooth your soul.
What makes Jody so interesting is not the list of London’s elite who have her on spiritual help speed dial, nor the time she spent working her way to the top of the corporate ladder, but the brave and bold step she took leaving the safety of that ‘great job’ to make a 180-degree turn on her life to follow her passion.
We live in a world where phrases like ‘work to live, not live to work’ are thrown around — entirely well meant, and of course are words to live by. There are certain times however when we need to take a step back and do a small sense-check on whether the path we find ourselves on is actually the right one. Not just OK, but fulfilling us. The FEMININE spoke to Jody about that big life change and what advice she has for other women, plucking up the courage to do the same.
Jody, you’re now living an incredible life as a spiritual healer, meditation guru and inspirational speaker, but that wasn’t always the case. Can you tell me more about the tipping point you reached after spending 10 years in advertising?
About 7 years ago, I was on a riverboat in the Amazon jungle in Peru, surrounded by yogis and remember thinking to myself, ‘how on earth did I get here?’
A few months before that moment, I was in my full-time job in advertising, surveying the scenes around me. Everyone was operating at a very high adrenalin level, very burnt out but not quite admitting it. Lots of drinking and people pleasing. I felt like I had started to retreat into my shell. It reminded me of when I was a little girl, I used to be very shy, and it was quite scary for me to see myself regressing and feeling like I’d lost my voice. I remember being unwell for the second time that month and thinking ‘what is happening?’
I had started to fantasize about faraway lands and feeling this inner light switch on when I did, so I decided to take some time off and go travelling.
My time in South America brought me back down to earth and reconnected me with this part of myself that I’d lost or perhaps never awoken. So I decided to retrain with some incredible mentors and within 6 months I had my own therapy room and within a year I was doing group-healing sessions.
Tell us about where you are now?
Last year I published my book, called Life Tonic, which is a modern toolbox to heal your life and soothe your soul and it has simple relatable techniques and tools to help people on their healing journey. My mission when I started was to provide simple, relatable and accessible tools and techniques; spiritual and self help to everybody, no matter what your belief systems are. And it’s still the same 4 ½ years later so the book was really a reflection of that.
I’m also a wellness entrepreneur, there’s an arm to my business, which provides online courses and free master classes, which are really my heart and sole. I also offer a live group program, called the relationship Reboot. We open the doors once a quarter and it’s a 6-week program where we work on a different aspect of relationships every week for 6 weeks.
Who would you say that your book Life Tonic would be beneficial for?
I would say it’s for anyone that’s got an interest in wanting a deeper relationship with themselves. Anyone who feels disconnected and lost in life. It’s for anyone going through a tough time or wanting a change in career or relationship.
It really taps into so many different areas of your life and provides solutions for those.
As a spiritual healer dealing with a huge amount of other people’s energy, how do you look after your own energy tank?
To be honest, when you’re working with someone, no matter where it is, you’re connected to them and you’re going to feel energy. It’s definitely easier for me now, but in the beginning you do tend to take on loads of people’s ‘stuff’. It is an interesting balance, because you’ve got to make sure that you’re available and open during the experience but by the end of a session you’ve got to make sure that you’re very gently closing yourself down to protect yourself.
'It's brought sexual abuse to the surface and forced revelations like Harvey Weinstein's into the light. I believe that all of that needs to be dealt with right now, as women are standing up and taking their power'
Imagery by Samara Morris
How do you go about balancing normal every day life with the gravity that can come with the depths of spirituality?
It’s interesting because when you first begin your journey it can be easy to fall into judgment around people and I have to say I’m not a person who judges. You end up having to step away and respect that everyone is on their own journey, so it’s always about bringing together the materialistic world with the spiritual world and that’s very much what living a spiritual life in this day and age is about. It’s not about dividing and disconnecting yourself from the real world, it’s about normalising spirituality and taking it away from being a religious thing to help people understand that it’s of your own making.
What advice would you give any woman who may be balancing on the edge of a career or life change?
You can never plan out what’s going to happen, and if you do, be prepared for it to change. We try to plan to create some kind of certainty and stability around what is actually a very unstable and very out of control existence, but we have no idea what’s happening in the future because we’re creating it now.
We can’t predict or be certain about things and what I found is, and I’m talking to myself here too, because I need to hear this again; when I have forced something to happen and it’s happened, I realise I’m limiting the opportunity of what could have been.
I think it’s through going through experiences and them failing and then losing trust in yourself that causes disconnection. There isn’t a wrong decision, you just go down a path and it’ll soon tell you whether it’s right or not.
Do you have any advice for anyone feeling that they suffer from imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome really comes from a disconnection to your own self-worth and not honoring yourself or seeing the value in what you’re delivering. It can also come from childhood programming where maybe your parents were absent and didn’t give you the encouragement or support that you needed.
Meditation is amazing for reconnecting with your self-worth. Having a regular meditation practice is amazing because it sets your day off in a really positive way and gets you connected to your true value.
The other thing for me that really turned up the dial on my self-belief — and it’s probably the hardest thing to do — was talking to myself in the mirror and giving myself praise and compliments. It often brings a lot to the surface, but actually when you connect with yourself eye-to-eye, you’re connecting with your inner child and your subconscious self and it can be very deep and powerful but also very fast and effective.
2018 will be 100 years since the first women won the right to vote in the UK. How do you see gender equality 100 years on?
It's interesting isn't it? I was in the gym earlier and there was a really loud rap song playing, and the lyrics said something like 'I need to see how wide your mouth is...' and it really triggered me and reminded me of some of the issues we still face.
I feel like in the age of the entrepreneur though, women are more willing to take risks. I believe that the earth is having a big energetic shift at the moment and you can really see the polarities coming into play with people like Donald Trump where he has triggered a big movement in the uprising of the feminine. It's amazing; I don't think it would have happened had he not gotten into power.
It's brought sexual abuse to the surface and forced revelations like Harvey Weinstein's into the light. I believe that all of that needs to be dealt with right now, as women are standing up and taking their power. Female voices are rising, the divine feminine is rising and what's also happening is that the divine masculine is rising as well, so there's an incredible aspect in connected men who are rising to the surface and talking about the #MeToo movement. I find that really interesting.
What does the word feminine mean to you?
In a spiritual sense, the word feminine means dropping into my intuitive nurturing, nourishing energy aspect and being still. Also slowing down to make more intuitive decisions and transitioning from an action space of doing to a space of being.
If you were to nominate one woman who has inspired you either inside or outside of your industry that we should interview, whom would you nominate?
Marie Forleo, she’s an amazing business coach who has inspired me a lot.
Buy Jody's book on Amazon or at all reputable bookshops, and take time out for yourself this year.