Conversation with Steph Magenta
“My personal journey through life has taken me into deep exploration and healing of the body, especially in relation to sexual trauma and addiction. I have transformed many of my stories into my strengths and it is my greatest pleasure in life to support others to do the same, knowing what freedom this can bring.”
Thanks so much for coming to talk at Liv’s Recovery Kitchen’s table. You’re a real inspiration to me. I adored Love Juice and your philosophy of holistic living is one I wholeheartedly embrace!
The addiction was the expression of the unresolved trauma, which I think is common for many of us who have experienced addictions of one kind or another, after all, when we are in balance and healed, we no longer need to seek comfort in these destructive things.
Liv: I have been a big fan of Love Juice, and your whole, plant-based offering for some time, so when I came across your interview on Salford City Radio earlier this year, I was intrigued to learn more about you. Wow, you have such an interesting background! Can you tell us more about your experience of addiction and trauma? What circumstances led you down that path?
Steph: Well, I guess life led me down that path Liv! The addiction was the expression of the unresolved trauma, which I think is common for many of us who have experienced addictions of one kind or another, after all, when we are in balance and healed, we no longer need to seek comfort in these destructive things. I’m not only talking substance addiction her either by the way, I refer also to food addictions, work addiction, excessive approaches to many things may be classified as addictions if other aspects of our lives and health suffer as a result.
Steph: Initially, the desperation to get out of my old lifestyle, the pain and suffering that brought, but of course that’s just step one, then the real work begins, the healing must be done or we simply sink into depression, ill health or other forms of ‘addiction’ or co-dependency. I wanted to be well. I wanted my life back.
Liv: Tell us about your journey of healing? What are some of the things that you have tried and what works for you?
Steph: I have tried everything! I’ve tried to find myself in love and relationship, travel, massage, homeopathy, movement practices like 5 rhythms, shamanism, plant medicines, and so much more, and I can honestly say that every single thing has been my teacher, but most of all, the people, the mirrors they hold up, the projections and reflections of myself through others. For me, bodywork and nutrition have been key at getting me well, getting me in balance and keeping me healthy.
Liv: How does that learning translate into bringing a healing practice to others? And to whom do you bring those skills?
Steph: Well, once you have shone the light into your own dark corners, done the work and understood the ‘root cause’ of your dis-ease, then you can begin to share you insights and understanding with others right? I just share my knowledge and my skills now. I bring them to whoever needs them!
Steph: Nutritional well-being is more a ‘feels’ like than a ‘looks’ like to me. When I eat consciously, I care for my health and well-being and it stays that way. When my mum died 2 years ago, I was so shocked by the suddenness of her deterioration that I became determined to do everything I could do to take care of my own health. I decided to take on one month of ‘no wheat, no dairy, no sugar’ and after that month was up, I felt so damn good I just had to carry on. I did that until it became so deeply ingrained in my body, that to eat or drink in a toxic way felt immediately terrible to me. I don’t even call it nutrition any more, I call it nourishment.
Liv: Second, can you explain your whole food, plant-based philosophy?
Steph: Well, I feel that so much of what we eat now is so heavily processed or loaded full of chemicals, growth promoting hormones, antibiotics and more, that we are seeing a significant rise in cancers, dementia, and other illnesses we once knew a lot less of, to me, that’s no coincidence, so again, I want to give my body the best and cleanest fuel I can. I’m not preachy about what I eat, I just lead by being an example (I hope) of radiant health and well-being, which makes people ask ‘what are you doing that you feel so well’, and then the conversation opens up. Plant based food can also be rubbish by the way, I see many unhealthy vegans and many healthy ones, many healthy non vegans too, so it’s more complex than that. Organic fruit and veg is the way forward for me, and a diet rich in as much natural food as possible.
Liv: And, leading on from the previous question, what is a healthy body image and how on earth does one navigate to that place?
Steph: Healthy body image is to me, self love. It doesn’t matter what size or shape you are as long as YOU love you! It doesn’t matter unless your size or shape create health problems for you. BUT, the pressure for us to all look, act, and think in a certain way is massive, so there lies the problem, education, awareness, coaching, healing, create change that leaves you strong enough to cope with the media onslaught and your own personal issues.
Liv: How important is good nutrition in recovery? And how might one impact the other?
Steph: Oh amazingly so! how can you expect a vehicle to run well on dirty, toxic fuel?
Liv: What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with self-defeating behaviours in relation to their body image? How does one reach a place of self-acceptance?
Steph: I think one needs support and coaching, healing and ongoing determination to reach that place. It’s not easy to do it alone.
“…when we truly embody ‘what you think of me is none of my business’ and love ourselves well, we are then really starting to know how to stay in balance.”
Steph: Frankly, it feels amazing now Liv, but it’s been a long often tough road to travel. Right now, I am definitely turning my lead into gold, hence my business name of Life Alchemy!
Liv: What is emotional balance?
Steph: Being able to find harmony, peace and self love through the challenges to that. Being able to regain your centre when something or someone threatens to pull you off balance, without needing to go into defensiveness, or attack. In other words when we truly embody ‘what you think of me is none of my business’ and love ourselves well, we are then really starting to know how to stay in balance. It’s a practice, a daily practice and commitment to oneself.
“…when we experience deeply traumatic things, we never manage to become the witness of that story, instead we get locked into the effects of the story and internalise the pain and suffering, medicating it away.”
Liv: Just how important is a holistic approach to life? Is there a correlation between looking after your nutritional and emotional well-being and your achievement and outlook on life?
Steph: I think so yes, 100%. I was only saying this to a client today! So many off us compartmentalise our lives – here I am the mother/wife/lover/teacher/worker etc and have different faces for all of those, so we get lost, confused, split off from ourselves. If we begin to realise that all is one, all is connected, the task in hand gets much easier though it may be more scary for a while as we recognise where we are really not in alignment with our joy in life.
Liv: You say that our stories can make or break us; what do you mean by that?
Steph: Well for some of us, when we experience deeply traumatic things, we never manage to become the witness of that story, instead we get locked into the effects of the story and internalise the pain and suffering, medicating it away. Or we transform it. That takes courage, and often support. Some aren’t fortunate enough to find either.
Liv: You have lived and worked in the Catalan Pyrenees for four years, what did that experience bring to you? How were you able to translate that experience back to Chorlton?
Steph: I learnt that home is truly where the heart is. I learned that the illusion of beautiful countryside and weather means nothing without love and community, family and inner peace. So it cured my itchy nomadic feet, but that said it was a wonderful experience that taught me so much about life, other cultures, myself and my family too.
Liv: Sadly you have had to let go of Love Juice, to focus more on your coaching business. That must have been a tough decision, which I see you didn’t do lightly. Can you tell us about that decision? What did you learn?
Steph: The time had come where the experience of the day-to-day running of a small business was keeping me in my not very comfortable, comfort zone! What I mean is that it takes a lot to run a business like that, 60 hour plus weeks on minimum wage, but others don’t see that. Also my coaching and healing was growing so much and I knew it was time to let go and grow. I loved that place and all the people who taught me so much by just crossing that doorway. It was like Mr Ben’s shop! A place full of magic and unexpected mystery, but mostly people wanted just a plate of healthy food and a coffee or cake, and I felt torn, as I wanted to do more of the really deep healing work. Also as a friend said to me, well Steph, people don’t really make healthy eating and healthy life choices when they are still struggling with life, so perhaps your healing will get more to the roots of that than your shop can. And I knew that was true – I want to dive more deeply into transforming people’s lives with them.
Liv: What advice would you give to others trying to manage many different aspects of a busy business and balancing the chaos of life, and close relationships?
Steph: You can’t do it all! Unless you are Superwoman/man. I burnt out repeatedly, and it cost me a lot quite often, and when I was younger and more hot headed I was prepared to make those sacrifices, but now I’m not. Now I seek peace on all levels and trying to run a family, a relationship and a business was exactly that..chaos! People always said “oh you’re always so busy Steph, I can never get to see you” and I guess I am now at a stage where I would rather have the intimacy than the busy-ness. Intimacy was once a scary place for me…now it’s a place I relish.
Liv: I could ask questions of you all day, you are so interesting! But, I know you’re a busy woman, so here is the last… One I love to ask of all the people I interview – what are your top 5 recovery tools?
- Eat consciously and care enough about what you eat to feel the changes it can make;
- Take time to be with people, places or things you love to do, pleasure is key in feeling good when substance free;
- Remember that you are your own teacher and that what people think of you doesn’t matter one bit unless you let it!
- Get help when you need it;
- Understand and forgive the past, but keep your focus firmly on a positive future.