My name is Annabel Newfield (aka Bella) and I‘ve been on this amazing journey through all my adult life … I’ve spent a whole lot of time asking, ‘Who am I?’ and unpacking that question very deeply. It’s not always been easy, and it’s definitely been a slow journey. I am a slow but thorough student. I do remember 20 odd years ago, when i was in my early 20’s, talking with my hairdresser. He was quite a spiritual Ozzie dude, and he said that in life the most important thing you had to do was get to know yourself; ‘know thyself’ was the exact phrase he used. That seemed very simplistic to me, yet still my curiosity was intrigued. I think my soul knew there was great truth in that statement, but my conscious mind was too steeped in illusion and barriers, to really get it at all! I’d built up so many defences, and worn so many masks that I didn’t know who I was without them. But as the years have gone by, the armour has slipped away.
What is it that prepares someone to be a Tantra practitioner in life? I certainly spent a lot of life very confused as to what my ‘unique gifts’ were! After many years of working in very interesting and creative jobs (mainly in the television industry and as a dance film-maker) that never quite hit the button I eventually had this revelation. See whatever my struggles and challenges, somewhere in me i became aware that i was pretty relaxed and comfortable in my body, clothed or naked. This was so normal to me that i’d not realised that many others weren’t, and this was my ‘gift’ and key! I’m not in any way saying that i didn’t feel density and pain in my body too, but somewhere, somehow something innocent had remained intact.
I ‘saw’ that all my self study, all the threads from studying with shamanism, conflict resolution, meditation, yoga, dance, creative expression and of course tantra, had woven together into a beautiful tapestry. The next revelation was that without planning to I had become a tantra teacher and needed to step-up and do the work with my own practice. That was a funny one to get my head around, as i’d certainly never intended to work in the field of sexuality. My first client ‘found me’ without me doing any advertising or telling anyone that i was stepping into being a tantra teacher. It was quite magical how she used her intuition and spy work to track me down! If that’s not a sign then i don’t know what is! So there began my private practice in 2012. I have worked with many brave and beautiful women and men since then.
So let’s go back to 2005, when the tantra part of my life started… I began to study with Hilly Spencely and Sue Newsome, the founders of Shakti Tantra. It’s not like I’d not had pleasure, but I could have won olympic gold for sabotaging good things in my life. Fundamentally I didn’t believe that any relationship would ever work out with me, so of course it didn’t… and I was a million miles from understanding what it meant to ‘own my sexual energy’. The good girl script I’d learnt as a child and my need for approval were no foundation for a pleasure filled life. I’ve been my own worst enemy, but tantra has really taught me to accept myself. To find peace with who I am. I laugh so much now.
I started assisting on the Shakti Tantra Women’s and mixed programmes in 2009, witnessing many women and men transform in beautiful ways. Since 2014 I have been on the Shakti Tantra teaching team.