Why "Living Life Sideways"?
On old movie sets, it was common to create a facade, supported by scaffolding, instead of full buildings. From the front it looked real, but from the side you knew it was something else entirely. Knowing this doesn’t change the enjoyment of the movie – indeed it might be enhanced by knowing what everything is made of. Having seen behind the facade of life, you can’t be fooled by appearances any more – even as you willingly engage with what shows up.
Living life sideways is the simplest thing we can do, but we’ve been trained to make it complicated. Awakening is a return to living from source, without losing the skills and experiences of a lifetime. This is not a linear process, but an alchemy of healing, understanding the nature of our being, and knowing ourself in the world without filters. In other words, a blending of nonduality with discernment and wellbeing.
Working With Me
My goal is to support you on your journey to a rounded, embodied nondual understanding, because that is the most reliable foundation for a lived experience of peace, love and freedom.
Click on question to go to response:
Why would you work with me?
It’s a reasonable question. There is no secret here. Everything you could ever need to know about innate wellbeing, fundamental happiness and the essence of being – well that’s who you are. And all the teaching to remind you of that is freely available online.
Yet the vast majority of people who begin this exploration remain seekers, with the goal always just out of reach. And many of those who make the jump from all the clever words to an embodied sense of love and freedom struggle to maintain the feeling outside of meditation, retreats or special events.
What makes the difference?
Early on, it’s the three Ss: structure, support and simplicity.
STRUCTURE: There isn’t exactly a linear path, but there are certain topics to cover. And a teacher knows this in the way a resource hosting platform doesn’t. Which means books, guided courses or one-to-one mentoring are going to make more difference, more quickly, than trying to piece it together from random videos and articles.
SUPPORT: The direct nondual path is not initially for everyone. Some of us do much better beginning on the progressive path, in a more therapeutic or personal development environment. And a good teacher will help you find your own path, not impose theirs. The nondual exploration brings old ideas of who we are to the surface, and that might mean old emotions are felt again. It’s part of the process, and not anything to fear, but it helps to start from a stable base, and have someone available to talk through anything that does come up – or just bear witness to the experience. My role is to help you navigate your path in a way that is undogmatic, and explains the pitfalls and the advantages of different routes.
SIMPLICITY: A quick browse of the internet will tell you every nondual teacher has their own opinion on the best way to teach. As a qualified teacher, with a degree in Theology, a post-grad in Psychology, and a study of the science of innate wellbeing, I don’t have a single method. My group teaching stays simple and makes logical progress. My one-to-one teaching is tailored to what will be of most assistance to you. I will definitely push you with new concepts, that’s my job. But I’m not going to suggest you head straight to some of the more niche areas of the understanding without developing your own firm foundation first.
What do I offer?
Depending on your requirements, you can buy a book, join a group, or choose one-to-one support: either a one-off consultation or a series of tailored sessions.
You can chose what will suit you best: nondual teaching, discernment, wellbeing, or an alchemy of all three. Of course, I will always advise on the most appropriate services.
- WELLBEING. Here we address specific physical, mental or spiritual needs, either with myself or through a trusted affiliate. Read more…
- DISCERNMENT. Using a variety of modalities, we explore the nature of being human, and expand our perception. Read more…
- NONDUALITY. If there are no immediate concerns and you have a generally stable sense of yourself in the world, we’re ready to move into the nondual exploration. This might be an introductory programme, or integration conversations. Read more…
All services are equally applicable pre and post awakening, they are delivered at the appropriate level. Awakening is a waking up to the single essence of being and the impersonal, spiritual nature of reality.
How long does it take to integrate a nondual understanding?
It generally takes two years to decompress from the old operating model – and that’s with an active intention for the process. This involves the erosion of unhelpful conditioning, establishing new habits, and stabilising in both our cognitive understanding and embodied sense of nonduality.
During that time it’s easy to fall off the wagon, go a bit too deep, or silo ourselves into believing our way is the only way. Support, engaged conversation, and challenge towards integration all facilitate healthy development.
A full deconditioning cycle is about seven years. Changing embedded habits based on our sense of identity rarely happens overnight – that’s why books get written about those people. And, even then, a dazzling enlightenment can fade away with no explanation after five years, if it isn’t grounded in a clear understanding. This is a time for community, consolidation, and continued openness.
A deeper understanding of the person, through systematic enquiry and intuitive conversation. Hosted as “The Maverick Sage”, but integrated into everything I do.
A simple, mature, integrated sense of the authentic nature of being, and the living of it. It’s important to approach this exploration in a systematic and pragmatic way.
A restorative space to face problems and aspirations (in body, mind or spirit) without prejudice. This can be called healing, with the understanding that healing takes many forms.
* My services are not a replacement for medical advice or treatment. Please consult your practitioner if you have health concerns.
My Story: With Love, Sara
I’ve lived enough life to know what doesn’t work. To see through what is temporary. And to be really clear on who and what I’m not.
This isn’t a dramatic story of overcoming trauma or transcending toxicity—though, trust me, just because I don’t promote my own disasters, there have been plenty. Nor is it a tale of an explosive breakthrough enlightenment—those make good entertainment, but frequently suggest the simplicity of awakening is way more complex than it actually is. And I’m not naïve enough to turn my own experiences into a check list for others to follow. I realise that my background is what brought me to where I am today, and for that I am grateful.
My childhood was without boundaries, with no fear of anybody or anything. Even school rules seemed to bend gently around me, whatever I did. I spent my time hanging upside down from trees, reading books, daydreaming, racing boys, and teaching in social clubs and my own teachers classrooms. Encouraged at an early age to code (well before it was widespread), I naturally explored different paths of learning and communicating. Even the pains of puberty and a serious injury brought emancipation—I found the sense of transcending the physical to soar free as the owl in the night sky.
Exploration for its own sake has resulted in qualifications in more than one field: degrees, post-grad study and professional qualifications in theology, psychology, technology, process, education, anatomy, physiology, massage, energy work and divination. Talents in learning quickly, making myself at home in new situations, and reading between the lines have brought me successful careers in the diverse worlds of corporate IT and physical wellbeing. These environments showed me that all most people want is to be happy, but they search in all the wrong places. From being naturally happy I developed a deep interest in how on-going happiness can be found and maintained.
There have been pivotal moments in my journey which have brought me to my knees. Never afraid of the unknown, each time I have been called to surrender everything I thought I knew, and immerse myself in the raw honesty of direct experience. I inherited enough stubbornness to not take anyone else’s word for anything. Sometimes working things out for myself has included emergency trips to the doctor, but overall it has gifted me a deeply embodied clarity, that goes beyond an intellectual understanding.
My mostly humanist, slightly pantheist, upbringing suggested two things: nothing is separate or left out; whoever I am, I can know the whole. Now, these early touchstones come together in Awareness—the ever-present love, freedom, peace, joy, beauty and abundance of our true nature.
Through self-reflection, logic, inspiration, a lot of study, I have come to a point in life where I can guide an exploration of the nature of being, in a way that is both personal and universal. This exploration has no beginning and no end. I promise nothing other than steadfast love as we journey together towards the truth of who we are, and my support in the glorious, messy, embodied living of it all.
With Love, Sara
Sara is a writer, a teacher and a guide in nonduality. She works with individuals and groups to point them to a clearer understanding of our true nature and the fully embodied living of it–speaking from a nondual perspective at online conferences, as well as hosting webinars, day-long meetings and retreats.
She supports the YES Partnership, a charity guiding young people as they start to contemplate the world of work, and is affiliated to coaching and wellbeing schools as a guest lecturer.
Sara has previously worked in boutique and international consultancy, as well as the investment sector. She also ran a successful massage and Pilates business, and taught massage diploma students for the Scottish Massage Schools.
She has a BA in Theology, an MSc in Information Technology, post-graduate qualifications in Psychology and TQFE (teaching for further education), professional diplomas in anatomy, physiology, advanced remedial massage & Pilates, and certification as an Innate Welling Facilitator, as well as endorsements in a number of esoteric skills.
This unique combination allows Sara to support a variety of clients at all stages of life, and to write from a variety of perspectives.
Sara currently lives just outside London, UK with her husband and just the right number of cats.
Her first book, quintessence: the poetry of true nature, published by River Grove, is now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This, and subsequent books are also available direct from sarapriestley.com.
Something About All Of Us.
If you aren’t sure if you are ready to begin this exploration, this article might help:
I wasn’t ready, you know.
I wasn’t ready to leave my carefully crafted fortress that had turned into a prison.
I wasn’t ready to step out from behind solid brick walls to put myself in the line of fire.
I wasn’t ready to admit out loud what I’d always known: that those walls were built of belief, and were as substantial as air.
I wasn’t ready for strangers to treat me with contempt, like a toy that could be battered, played with and discarded until next time.
And I certainly wasn’t ready for people who called themselves friends to walk away from me, because they too weren’t ready.
But, I also wasn’t ready to find those people who heard my mutterings and said “yes, and…”, “yes, because…” and “well, you see…”
I wasn’t ready for the ordinary beauty, the mundane transcendence, the raw realness of dropping the idea of comfort and stepping into the light.
I wasn’t ready to discover my scrawled “pomes” of exploration were considered poetry by publishers with master’s degrees in literature, and to see those words expertly wrangled by them into a most beautiful book.
I wasn’t ready to find true friends with no hierarchy or agenda, who really had my back. Which sometimes includes pushing me forward, defending what needs no defence, or telling me to up my game. But mostly means standing at my shoulder, wiping my tears, feeding me mushroom coffee or spicy chai, and whispering “you go, girl!”
I wasn’t ready to find out people read what I wrote, and sometimes saw themselves in those words.
I wasn’t ready to be humbled every day by the remarkable, bright, kind and inquisitive folk who found their way to me and were both grounded and open enough to say “tell me more?”
I wasn’t ready.
I’m still not.
Turns out that’s not important.