My Story: With Love, Sara Priestley
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.
But this isn’t a story of overcoming trauma or transcending toxicity. Nor is it a tale of an explosive breakthrough enlightenment. Just an everyday awakening that snuck up so quietly, I only knew it had happened in retrospect.
My childhood was without boundaries, with no fear of anybody or anything. I spent my time hanging upside down from trees, reading books and racing boys. Encouraged at an early age to code, my vocabulary of communication naturally expanded to include logic alongside words and images. Never curfewed, I learned liberty through the power of trust. Even the physical pain of puberty brought emancipation—exploring these new sensations, I soared as free as the owl in the night sky.
Explanation, authority and comprehension were intrinsically at my core from such an early age, I think I have always been a teacher. As a toddler, two hours after my baby sister was born, I told my mother “Baby want milk.” Later in life, one boss expressed his analysis of my influence: “When you come to work in a bad mood, 20 people are unproductive. When you are in a good mood, everything works.”
Academically clever, but quite lazy, I breezed through my schooling. I can’t ever remember getting into trouble but I orchestrated all sorts of wonderful fiascos. Somehow, the rules bent around me, rather than me toeing any clearly articulated line.
The freedom of my childhood allowed for plenty of boredom, reflection and creativity. Exploration for its own sake has resulted in qualifications in more than one field: degrees and post-grad study in theology, psychology, technology, anatomy and energy work. Now I interweave this knowledge into an exploration of experience and of being itself.
There have been pivotal moments in my journey which have brought me to my knees. Sometimes domestic tragedy, other times in meeting new teachers. 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. In this dissolution of the formulaic processes of understanding, I’ve been freed to know myself as all that is and is not, simultaneously.
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.
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.
With Love, Sara
Sara is a non-dual teacher. She works with individuals and groups to point them to a clearer understanding of our true nature.
She speaks from a non-dual perspective at online conferences, as well as hosting webinars, day-long meetings and retreats. She also supports the YES Partnership, guiding young people as they start to contemplate the world of work.
Sara has previously worked in boutique and international consultancy, as well as the investment sector. More recently she ran a successful massage and Pilates business. She has degrees in Theology and Information Technology, and post-graduate qualifications in Psychology and teaching for further education.
Sara 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.
quintessence: the poetry of true nature
Published in 2019 by River Grove Books, quintessence is a poetic exploration. It offers space for you to find your own voice.
The Little Book of Lochend Reflections
This miniature photo book showcases a selection of Instagram posts. Lochend is the location for our annual retreat, and one of my favourite places.
The Wisdom of Clouds
This miniature photo book comes in two sections. The first is a set of 12 steps towards a non-dual understanding. The second is a series of poems, alongside the photo that was taken as it was written.
You Think You Aren't Ready?
If I could tell you just one thing, it would be to not care about being ready. We’re never ready. Here’s a short article I shared on the subject:
I wasn't Ready
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 pomes 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.
“I know it’s all Awareness/nothingness/God/not separate, but… ” If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard a variation of this… well I’d have a big pile of pennies. Thing is the “but… ” refutes the “I know”. It doesn’t refute the knowing, it refutes the clarity of seeing and expression of that knowing.
Somewhere along the line we were sold the lie that an enlightened personality would show up a certain way: peaceful, flowing, unattached but deeply emotional. And this has, not surprisingly led to some odd behaviour from people who want to be enlightened, who think they are enlightened or just want to be seen as enlightened.