About Me

Antonia Clews Project Self Life Coaching 400

I have been coaching since 2014 and I’m still learning about what it is to be a human being, and the number of different approaches to understanding our inner world, which fascinate me. I feel privileged to work alongside people who engage in the process of self-exploration because they are willing to look at themselves honestly. This awareness is the process of seeing ourselves and so others, and the affect is a contribution to others; the capacity for us all to grow and expand our tolerance in a difficult world.

I have come to believe that the key to changing how we experience life is to accept ourself, rather than trying to make things change. Self-acceptance creates the deepest change in how we meet experience. We don’t need to change who we are, we need to be more at ease with who we are.

Professionally, following a degree in Interdisciplinary Human Studies, I started my working life with the homeless and in housing advice. I felt the need to be creative and studied Interior Architecture which absorbed me, and lectured in landscape studies. I was fascinated by learning and creativity so went into arts education research and development within academia. I then returned to the voluntary sector as a project co-ordinator in arts and wellbeing. Since then, coaching has taken me back to human studies. In this tidy little story there are plenty of gaps, false starts, departures, terminations, short lived passions, dead ends and frustrations. So many clients judge the ‘CV Story’ of their working life negatively, against some idea of what it should look like. There is naturally stuckness, search, misdirection and discontentment as we learn and change.

Personally, the catalyst to training as a coach was my experience of several life events in a fairly condense period of time; redundancy, bereavement and then a problem with my back. I lost sense of what I wanted or what to do. I let go of the career goal and the 40K by the time I’m 40 concept and spent time living day by day, allowing myself to be, exploring different things and re-evaluating my values. Whilst ‘sitting in’ so much uncertainty, I realised how important our capacity to adjust to change is, and how this comes from our way of being, rather than what to do next. In 2014, I trained as a Transformational Life Coach and unexpectedly found a vocation. What I’m interested in, who I am and my work became congruent.

I have learnt through my own on going explorations in coaching and therapy to understand the self-protection mechanisms and the need for safety that has led me to keep my world small and myself constricted. I’ve acknowledged childhood wounds and my patterns of reactivity and have become less defensive. I’m now more able to know and express what I feel, be less self-critical, manage criticism better, apologise when I need to, accept that I’m not always right and be less controlling. It’s taken me some years to reduce my armouring and be open and I am beginning to learn how to live content being myself; a little bit freer of internal struggle every year. Through practicing self-compassion, the inner critic and the shoulding has quietened, enabling a simpler life. Parts work and understanding my nervous system were both instrumental in developing a capacity for “self-leadership”. Learning how to meet ourselves can create the resource we need to be more at ease in the world.

I love being in nature and living in a quiet village with my cats and dog. I am creative, love creating spaces for living in peacefully, writing, dancing and Qi Gong. I am currently enjoying going to African drumming classes for the fun of it. I am constantly coming back to “this is enough” to challenge the dissatisfied, “there must be more” part that is aware I could be living a different, more varied life. I appreciate the choices I am making and feel gratitude for what I have. As a coach and a person I’m deeply reflective, insightful, warm, calm, direct and challenging. I value openness, authenticity, kindness and connectedness.

My purpose (what I care about) is to help people to see things differently in order to find more space and simplicity. To feel lighter, freer and to be more self-accepting. We cannot love life without loving ourselves and living is fundamentally about having an open heart. Thinking gets in the way.