Real Women, Real Lives
Who inspires you? Who do you use as your motivator to get things done or to make valuable changes to your life?
There are thousands of women who stimulate our need for greatness. They appear on our television and movie screens, we listen to them on the radio, or we read their encouraging stories in articles or books. It’s easy to put a celebrity on a pedestal and desire their lifestyle, skillset and strength of character, but we don’t need to turn to the glossy magazines, or the big screen, to find inspirational women who can motivate us to succeed. They live next door, work alongside us, and talk to us at the supermarket.
The Real Women, Real Lives feature highlights the incredible individuals who have succeeded on their chosen path, or turned misfortune into positivity. Ladies who have conquered illness or gone above and beyond to help others, and made a difference. Women who have stepped out of their comfort zone and launched a business, or ventures that have an impact on their environment, or community.
These remarkable women are your friend, co-worker and neighbour and I’m delighted to be able to share their stories with you.
Today, I am delighted to invite Delphi Ellis to share her story.
Tell us a little about you and your story.
I grew up in a house full of women, in an environment which wasn’t like most people I’ve met in the west. We would sit around the breakfast table each morning and talk about the dreams we’d had the night before. We had a statue of Aphrodite in our living room. It was quite normal for me to come home and find my mum using a Ouija Board, or fall asleep listening to her using the iChing.
Often at school, my friends would come and talk to me about their problems; I’d just listen and ask them how they felt. One day, one of my classmates sat with me, she was facing a really hard time and had been crying during the lunch break. After we’d finished chatting, she said ‘Thank you for listening. You know, you should be a counsellor’. I’ve now been working in a therapeutic setting for nearly 20 years, helping people find their mojo and get their sparkle back, often after a difficult period in their lives. My early work started with people who’ve been bereaved, but today I work mainly in the community promoting positive mental health, and mostly with women. I volunteer with a service that supports victims of crime, including those escaping domestic abuse. My ‘specialist area’ is sleep, and I help people explore and interpret their dreams. This is how I’ve come to appear on TV shows like This Morning and Loose Women.
What’s your biggest dream in life?
Because of the work I do, I saw this question and thought about an amazing dream I had as a little girl, where I was flying around the turrets of a castle like SuperGirl! (That was an amazing dream!) Then I realised you meant my aspiration: it is always to help people that want to be helped, and make a positive difference to their world. I wake up every day on a mission to make the world a little brighter: I’m committed to a life of service to others, and hope that by doing so, we can all make the world a kinder place. My biggest hope is to see, in my lifetime, that no one suffers from domestic abuse, and women feel free to be heard and witnessed without judgement or comparison.
If you chose a power word for this year what would it be and why?
I do this activity with my classes: in December we decide what word defines the previous 12 months, and think about a word for the coming year. My word for 2019 is ‘Onwards’. To keep doing what I’m doing, and hope that I make a difference.
Who inspires you and why?
My biggest ‘SHEro’ is Maya Angelou, so much so that my company values are based on her. They are: Courageous, Honest, Humble, Authentic, Connection. She faced difficult times and found her way forward from her experiences to help others.
What, in your experience, motivates you best? Can you give an example?
Knowing that the world needs to change if women and girls are going to be safe. I realised I don’t have to stay silent. If something is wrong in the world, I have a voice and I can ‘raise’ it and be heard. Through the work I do, I became aware of period poverty – the fact that 1 in 10 girls in the UK can’t afford to buy their own sanitary products, and that one of the ways perpetrators of domestic abuse will control the women in the house, is by withholding their tampons and pads. According to Plan UK, 48% of women aged between 14 and 21 are embarrassed talking about periods because of the stigma attached to them; girls are missing school as a result, in this country. So, I created a range of women’s t-shirts and called it ‘Period Clothing’, which contain slogans to start conversations about menstrual health, period poverty and to stop period shaming. A percentage of profits from the sale of these t-shirts goes to organisations like ‘The Red Box Project’, that provides sanitary products in schools, and ‘Bloody Good Period’ that provides sanitary wear for asylum seekers and refugees.
What actions/events/environments would adversely affect your motivation? Can you give an example and how you coped?
I do my best every day to practice what I teach, it means that I regularly have to ‘check in’, make sure I’m eating and sleeping well. On the rare occasions I’m not, I can tell because I start to lose my own mojo, so I go back to basics and make myself a priority again. In other ways, if we ever reach a stage where all women and girls in the world are safe, I will have achieved my goal and my motivation for that can rest; then I can find a new mission!
How do you ensure that your personal level of motivation is high on a daily basis?
I take care of myself, in a way I believe the Dalai Lama calls ‘Wise Selfishness’. I know that I can’t pour from an empty cup, and that in order to be there for others I have to take care of myself; so I follow my own advice. I have followed a Buddhist way of life for many years, more recently with the support of my teacher – a monk who goes by the name Bhante. Through this, I made a commitment to be in the service of others, and this motivates me every day to help make the world a little brighter.
To find out more about Delphi Ellis you can connect with her here:
To view the period clothing range: https://helpingyousparkle.teemill.com/collection/featured/