Facilitator Focus: Rachel Shackleton
At Fresh Air Fridays, our facilitators are at the heart of sharing everything we provide. Giving people our unique blend of space, support and skills to live a life they love – including themselves.
In this series of blogs, facilitators share more about themselves – what matters to them, how they’re shining their light and what they’re bringing to the world – enjoy!
As a well-travelled, cross-cultured, entrepreneur and the founder of Green Key Personal Development and Green Key Health, Rachel would like to introduce herself and her link to Fresh Air Fridays via a story…
At the time, probably 2000, I was living and working in Russia, and had been since 1992. On one of my yearly holidays I was travelling to Brazil for a combination of work and pleasure. For obvious reasons, I seldom travelled to cold climates from Russia! During the work process, we visited an exhibition and there I happened upon a photographer who was, and probably still is, able to photograph your aura. Fascinated, I dived in for my photo and an explanation of the colours shown in my aura. Many things were mentioned, however the three things that stood out were:
- In the future you will write a book.
- Leadership will play a strong role in your life.
- Green is important to you – it is important to be in nature for your wellbeing, clarity of thought and space.
Looking at these points in more detail:
The book has not yet been written. It has been on my mind for several years. The idea is there and it is in the plan for later this year. Watch this space for further developments!
Leadership, to date, has played a very strong role in my life. I built and managed a team of 25 in the company I founded in Russia. In all honesty, I cannot say that I enjoyed every minute of it but, overall, the satisfaction, unconditional love, loyalty and fun with my team was amazing. On returning to the UK, working essentially as a freelance business trainer and health professional, I miss working with a team of people and the challenge and satisfaction that brings.
The point that green is important to me, resonated so strongly at that time and still does. Living in Russia with long dark winters and short hot summers, the life of trees and plants and the variety of green they shared was explosive and majestic, for a few short months. The rest of the time it was grey, white with snow and very often dark. By February everyone is drained of energy and willing the spring to arrive with a flourish of green bringing the longed-for energy boost. February was my usual time to travel to sunnier climes to re-charge the “green bin”. Probably no coincidence that the household green bin is used for composting and re-cycling to bring energy for something new?
This love and essential need for green eventually drew me back to the UK with my horse, to whom I promised “grass for 365 days of the year if he would come with me?” He shot into the trailer, which he never did, to embark on the long trip to England, and now resides in a very large field grazing with his friends. Not only that, his love of grass drives his availability and he decides whether he is willing to be caught on any particular day!
My love of green influenced me to become a medical herbalist and naturopath. There is nothing better than ambling through the countryside foraging responsibly to support my health and the health of my clients. This aspect of my life has given me a deeper perspective on the lack of balance and joy that is manifesting as ill-health in so many. Perhaps we need to take a closer look at what is important; at our values, what brings joy and ultimately how we live our lives?
Company values and leadership very seldom connects the dots between company culture, ill-health and consequently absenteeism. Leadership in this area is screaming for attention and, as a leadership trainer, I am now working with organisations in the sphere of corporate health.
Finding Fresh Air Fridays
Fresh Air Fridays was an obvious connection for me. Bumping into Rose at the CIPD exhibition in London in 2019 led me to join the Fresh Air Fridays team and become a facilitator. Community sessions were launched in South Oxfordshire in January 2020 but curtailed in March due to the Coronavirus. Never mind, the virus will go away and the green will stay. The combination of meditation, being present and being in nature is dynamite for the soul. As with everything, practice is required and, since joining Fresh Air Fridays, I am more conscious that the more you do, the easier it becomes to tap into the inner resource of calm, joy and unconditional love, as well as the extensive potential in each one of us that is waiting to spring to life.
Following my passion
My path, as I am sure with everyone, has been twisting and turning for a long time. It seems the route to where I am going is not a direct one. I have to learn things, collect my tribe and recognise and find my true calling along the way. My passion is inspiring others to see and manifest their true potential, whether that is through maximising full energy and wellbeing or achieving the next stage in their soul path, through skill and knowledge development. Dancing with each person in accordance with where they are, at any particular point in time, is a skill, especially when you can see their inner potential shining brightly. We each grow at a time and pace that is right for us, just like all plants. Daffodils do not flower in winter, roses do not flower in spring. Each person, just like a plant, has their time. Springing up during the wrong season can have severe consequences.
If you’d like to book on a Fresh Air Fridays session with Rachel you can find her session dates here.
Thank you Rachel – we love having you with us!
Rachel is founder and general director of Green Key Personal Development and Green Key Health. She is a leadership, communication skills and customer excellence trainer and advises companies on corporate wellbeing, as well as practising as a medical herbalist, naturopath and kinesiologist. Rachel develops and delivers tailor made training solutions that are led in person, conducted online as well as designing e-learning solutions. Links for further information: