About my life:
I was a farmer’s daughter and always loved the wilderness of the moorland where I grew up in Devon. After my degree in botany at Nottingham I married artist Gerry Hillman. I am the mother of two grown up sons who enjoyed their childhood on our small holding in a Cornish hamlet on the edge of Bodmin Moor. My second husband Bryn and I spent several years teaching at Duchy College. He passed away nine years ago. When I’m not writing, you can find me enjoying the lovely garden created by David, now my husband, or helping out in my local community in Cornwall, where I’ve lived for the past 40 years.
A bit of my writing history:
I taught yoga for thirty years. Swami Guptananda came into my mind, while I was meditating; he appeared to me in answer to a prayer. I knew that help was available from the Higher Realms, as I had personally experienced it. I was asking for help with teaching my yoga classes as I was stuck for information on the Chakras. He ‘arrived’ and told me I should not be teaching people about spiritual matters unless they were following the ‘Rules of Life’. These are like the Ten Commandments of the Bible. I felt embarrassed as I couldn’t remember them all, but he was kind and forgiving and offered to help me. I then found myself writing a story about one of the Rules of Life, or Yamas and Niyamas as they are called in yoga. It was about the Swami when he was a small child and was wanting more than his share of the sweeties! The Rule or Yama illustrated was ‘Non greed’. I was amazed, as I hadn’t written any stories since I was 12 years old!!
I read the story to my classes. Guptananda had provided me with an approach to teaching Yoga Philosophy in a light hearted and gentle way. This helped me to avoid the embarrassment of trying to tell my students, often many years older than me, that they should be doing this or that. I asked for another story, and another and so on, naming the ‘Rule’ to be illustrated, and Guptananda obliged, every single time, without fail. I never had to think of anything at all, no planning, plotting, agonising, editing and re-editing. The stories were perfect!! They were all about the Swami and his family and people in his village. I just needed to be in a quiet space and in a calm frame of mind – not a problem for a yoga teacher living 8 miles from the nearest town.
I was asked to write stories for an Education scheme for children, based on the Buddhistic principles of Love, Peace, Truth, Right Action and Non Violence. The publisher asked me for stories from other parts of the world, not just India. Not sure if this would be possible, I went into a meditative state and asked for a story – a Chinese child came to me and told me about his life, illustrating acceptance and forgiveness. You can find it if you search for ‘Deng Zhang’ in my search tool. I have now written over 100 stories for various purposes, for the scheme, for friends, for counselling clients and in answer to requests on this blog. They are to be found on my blog here, and they come from all over the world.
I published my first Yoga Stories book, Guptananda’s Stories, in 2008 as an online book for teachers, yoga students and young people. There were 43 stories. I am now (Nov 2019) releasing an edited version of it in two parts, in paperback and as an ebook. Book 1 is about the Yoga Rules of Life, or Yamas and Niyamas, and Book 2 is about the Eight Limbs of Yoga (Activities which guide one towards ‘Enlightenment’), the Chakras (Energy Centres) and the Gunas (States of Being). In September 2019, at the time of writing this piece, Book 1 is ready for publication, and Book 2 is not finished yet.
Please use the contents list, categories and search tool to find stories to help you.
Below is a picture of Guptananda as seen by the psychic artist Patric Gamble.