MY NAME IS TAMSIN ASTOR & I AM SO GLAD YOU’RE HERE!
Back in 2008, I was married with two young boys and had recently left London & then St Louis to settle in Cleveland, moving out of academia and the world of Neuroscience and into teaching yoga, writing and living the American entrepreneurial immigrant dream!
My younger son, who was 2-years-old, ended up in the ER three times. The third time, after seven hours of testing he was asleep in a darkened room. It was about 11pm. My then husband was at home with our 4-year old
The nurse walked into the room and said “the pediatric oncologist wants to talk to you.”
I quietly walked into the bright ER hallway and looked into the kind, elderly eyes of the pediatric oncologist who said “we need to do a confirmatory scan tomorrow, but I am 99% sure your son has cancer.” Trying not to wake my boy, I leant back against the wall for support and slid to the floor weeping & saying to myself “just breathe. In and out.”
I NAVIGATED MY SON’S CANCER.
The mouth sores. The screaming with pain as he urinated the chemotherapy drugs out of his battered system. The clumps of hair that would fall out every night as he slept – “mama, there are spiders in my mouth.” And then the horrible fear as he was subjected to regular testing for the next 5 years – had it come back? Was he cancer-free?
I completely lost myself in putting everyone’s needs before my own – they were dramatic. We had also had a third child. My children received more diagnoses: ADHD & dyspraxia resulting in school district meetings, therapists and psychologists. My then husband was struggling to get tenure and was profoundly unhappy and our marriage was crumbling under the strain.
My mind and body started to struggle – with insomnia, food allergies, weight loss, exhaustion and stress-induced overwhelm.
The Western doctors prescribed test after test and when nothing was definitive a few said “take a pill.” I refused. I didn’t want to suppress my symptoms without understanding their context.
I discovered Ayurveda – the 6000 year old Indian medical system which translates as “the science of life.” I implemented the strategies. The first of which was to stabilize my daily routines & habits. I started going to bed and getting up at the same time every day and waking one hour before my family, so I could start the day on my terms – not reacting to the needs of my three young children, my husband, my dog, not listening to NPR or scrolling social media.
My big breakthrough was when I realized it was all about my daily habits: what was I doing on a daily basis to keep me on track. Healthy in the west is defined as absence of disease – I had finally re-calibrated that and was sleeping well, digesting food well and able to show up for my students and clients (I was teaching yoga and meditation in studios, to children with ADHD and on the Autism spectrum and inner city teachers and students).
Then, my cousin, who was like my brother growing up, lost his battle with leukemia.
As he was dying, we talked a lot about the meaning of life and happiness. He was convinced on some level that he had allowed the stress of his work to infiltrate his system deeply – his mindset of turning the pain inwards, he believed had contributed to his cancer. I realized mindset, one’s mental habits and strengths – was also fundamental to one’s health and happiness.
SIX MONTHS AFTER HIS DEATH, MY HUSBAND WALKED OUT.
I realized that although I was healthy as western medicine defines it – the absence of disease – I was not healthy in the Eastern sense of the word. Healthy in Ayurveda is defined as “seated in the self” – I definitely did not feel deeply contented, integrated, unified in all senses. I was not healthy in spirit and that affected everything.
My first step in reclaiming my life was when I decided not to take my husband back. He had walked out four times and I realized that I needed to prioritize myself and my sanity and re-create the vision of my life, rather than to try and falsely maintain a relationship which was no longer serving us or our children.
I realized that not only habits, and mindset, but also vision were vital to creating the life I wanted and I knew I could have, the life that would allow me to show up as a mother, a daughter, friend, lover, coach, writer, to the best of my ability! I had reinvented my life and knew that this work was important, and I decided to help others.
I’ll never forget one of my earliest clients, I’ll call her Sarah. Speaking to her for the first time, she was in floods of tears. I remember being struck by her out-pouring of emotions. She was feeling totally disconnected. She was doing nothing beneficial for her mind and her body: she was doing self-indulgent things, like eating junk food, over-spending on clothes and sabotaging her relationship, but none were actually about being generous towards herself and acknowledging her needs.
As we worked together and I coached her to a place where she was forming new habits: rising earlier, taking care of herself, prioritizing her needs, her clients needs and her family’s needs in a healthy way she noticed how much more she liked herself, how she forgave herself.
And so, I realized that my mission is to help people organize their habits, create their vision and transform their mindset so they have time for what they want and need and time for fun!
HELLO, MY NAME IS TAMSIN ASTOR, AND
I AM YOUR
CHIEF HABIT SCIENTIST.
EVERY THING ABOUT TAMSIN IS WONDERFUL!
You’ve really helped me think out certain things that were happening. You have taught me about Authenticity are my actions congruent with who I am. Your general wisdom is stunning. It’s really valuable. Tamsin helped me work through a number of deep issues really well. I have learned that it all starts with the core of myself: self-awareness, self-knowledge, self-care are SO critical. Everything about Tamsin is WONDERFUL. I have learned how to say no to things that don’t follow my core goals.”