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Stop Passing the Parcel: Unwrap Instead

Posted 30 Apr 2019

My name is Donelle and my husband is John. We are both 56 years old.

At the age of 50 we decided to embark on a journey of holistic healing to unpack our lives and start acting, belonging and committing to a life we wanted, not a life we thought we were expected to lead, or what others thought we should lead.

From an early age, we were both bequeathed a “parcel’ from past generations and family members. This parcel was wrapped up tightly containing sets of beliefs, values, secrets, behavioral patterns and sometimes medical afflictions, all of which shaped our lives up until now.

Wind the clock forward to 2014, and due to ongoing health, relationship and personal issues, we both decided enough was enough and that we needed to get off this treadmill; it was time to unwrap our parcels.

After decades of seeing numerous specialists, counselors, and GP’s, I was finally diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, generalised anxiety and panic attacks, all of which were impacting on so many areas of my life. I wore a mask that deflected and hid the turmoil that was spiraling out of control inside of me. John, too, had a revelation that something dramatic had to change in his life to reduce the amount of stress that was associated with his job and personal relationships. Both of us were suffering silently, each in our own way.

The first step we made was to begin yoga.

After reading all the hype about how yoga can do amazing things for the body, mind, and spirit, it seemed what we both needed. So off we went, doing 5/6 classes of Hot Yoga per week. However, we found the Hot Classes were wiping us out, and so we decided to add Vinyasa Yoga. Through gritted teeth, we tried our best to keep up with the younger generations. Needless to say, that was our egos talking! Even though we could see the massive benefits and improvements to our fitness, balance, strength, mobility and other areas, we suffered from injuries. Our over-inflated opinions of ourselves being the only over 50’s able to do certain poses in our studio didn’t give us that “peace”, that place of stillness in our minds, that feeling of bliss we so desperately sought.

Eventually, I took the plunge and ventured overseas (by myself) on a women’s retreat to find what it was I was searching for. Quite a scary experience since I had never travelled alone or even stayed with a group of strangers before. But what an amazing unearthing, discovering Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga was blissful, it was what I was searching for, it allowed me to go deep inside myself and feel, really feel what my body was saying, what my body was yearning for, what my mind needed releasing from. I couldn’t wait to return home to share with John what I had found and for him also to embrace these feelings.

From here, we did our research and went on a journey of experiencing sound healing, meditation, vegetarianism, plant-based eating, raw food, intermittent fasting, homeopathy, Ayurveda, minimalism, breath work, and everything else we could get our heads around. Along the way, John surprised me and said he wanted to become a yoga teacher (a big change for a middle-aged man who had designed beautiful houses his entire adult life). So we both completed our yoga teacher training and began teaching in our local community.

Our evenings transformed from the usual watching the latest reality TV shows, to lighting candles and incense, playing soft calming music, reading or listening to the latest podcasts of holistic healing or self-growth and finishing with a 75 minute Yin class to replenish and revitalise our bodies. Our minds were finding the space of stillness we so longed for, that place where we were able to find the balance in our bodies and become responsive as appose to reactive. Personally, my body was able to heal and I finally let go of all of the trauma that I was holding onto, it was truly life-changing.

In January 2019 after an amazing 4 weeks in Ubud Bali, we both made a plan to move forward and offer events, workshops, and lectures about our journey. We started sharing with others who were yearning for similar experiences, and providing support, guidance, encouragement, and inspiration to people over the age of 50 who were wanting to unwrap their own parcels.

woman doing yoga

We became the SILVERYOGIES.

Between us we provide the local community with:

  • Sunrise Morning Yoga Classes at the local foreshore during the summer months.
  • Tribal Yoga, a unique mix of flowing yoga with local musicians providing live tribal music, (the event had 93 participants and all funds raised were donated to the local women’s refuge).
  • Free Qi Gong classes.
  • Yoga Therapy for Healing Classes.
  • Free Calming the Anxious Mind and Calming Your Anxious Teen Workshops, supported by the local shires.
  • Plant-Based Eating, Transforming your Lives and Fasting Workshops.

Our future goals are to expand our lectures to include “Rushing Women’s Syndrome”, “Navigating Menopause”, regular Qi Gong and Gentle Yoga classes, all provided at a subsidsed cost in conjunction with the local shire for the over 55’s, and to also run overseas transformational immersions for the over 50’s. (Egypt, China, Thailand, India. Morocco come to mind). You can learn more here.

About the Silveryogies

John and Donelle McInerney. John is a multi award-winning and qualified architectural designer, yoga and Qi Gong teacher, avid foodie and an amazing cook.  Donelle is a Health and Physical Education Teacher, high-performance sports coach, yoga teacher, mental health and trauma informed practice trainer.