August 10, 2023

How to face our fears and do it anyway.

Liberté Free to Be in conversation with mental health expert, Miranda Arieh.

One of the key subjects that came out of our conversation was the theme of how to face our fears and do it anyway. How can we let go of past thought patterns that so often hold us back in midlife?

I first met ⁠Miranda Arieh⁠ as we both stood nervously outside BBC Radio Leeds before we entered another round of the “New Voices” presenter competition. I managed to make it to the final 5 but they were only taking 2 presenters and it wasn’t meant to be. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the world of radio and presenting ⁠and whilst some may have seen it as a failure, I saw it as a great opportunity and I'm now on my 134th podcast interview so I think it turned out ok. Miranda is now regularly heard on Radio Leeds sharing her work around mental health and I have loved following her ever since.

⁠Miranda Arieh⁠ is an award-winning mental health activist, public speaker and spiritual coach from Leeds, UK. 

Following a lengthy stay in an adolescent psychiatric unit at 14 years old, Miranda learned first-hand how cold the world of mental health treatment can be and set out to learn a better way to alleviate her suffering. She went on course after course, devoured books by spiritual teachers, and decided to dedicate her life to transforming her attitudes, trigger reactions and life-long patterns. Sure enough, she started to recognize that all the triggers she felt were an opportunity for spiritual growth and began to enjoy the process of learning of getting to know herself, befriend herself, hold herself.

After over a decade of finding her feet and securing roles at some of the country's leading mental health charities, including Mind, Community Links and Time to Change, Miranda started to be invited to share her story up and down the country at mental health conferences, awareness-raising events, and on radio and television.

The foundation of all the work that Miranda does has self-compassion at the core as a ‘bridge’ to practising presence and being able to live in the present moment.

Practising presence is the essence of inner peace.

One of the key subjects that came out of our conversation was the theme of how to face our fears and let go of past thought patterns that so often hold us back in midlife.

How Miranda faces her own fears

“I'm living within a theme in my life at the moment of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, and I'm living within this theme in my life of acknowledging that courage is not the absence of fear. So, I could feel scared every day, but I do it anyway. It's this acknowledgement of acting, taking the steps towards what I want to do and what I want my life to look like and how I want to be and show up in this world.

 Regardless of how scared I feel. For so long in my life, I lived with this so called protector in me,  holding me back from doing what I really want. It created the illusion that I was safe in my comfort zone,  that the comfort zone is very overrated.

 We need to step out of that if we really want to expand in this world.

 And it's not until I've hit my 40s and now, I seek out opportunities, even though it scares the hell out of me sometimes, but the rewards if you've done it are definitely worth. Facing my fears and doing it anyway.

Here are some of Miranda’s tips on learning how to face our fears and do it anyway, with self-compassion.

In the complicated tapestry of life, there’s a recurring theme that we all encounter: the dance between fear and action. In this midlife transformative phase, marked by wisdom and experience, we find ourselves at a crossroads — the crossroads of feeling the fear and doing it anyway.(If you haven’t read the back by Susan Jeffers, I definitely recommend it)

Miranda reminds us that courage, as we often hear, is not the absence of fear; it’s the audacity to proceed in the face of it. Miranda eloquently unravels the essence of this mantra. With her insights, we explored how midlife becomes a canvas for untamed aspirations and boundless potential, fuelled by facing our fears head-on and embracing new opportunities.

Acknowledge the Fear, Take the Leap

As we embrace our 40s and beyond, a realization dawns upon us — the comfort zone acts as a cocoon, and the real magic unfolds beyond its cosy confines. The tapestry of life becomes richer when we dare to unravel the threads of fear that once held us captive. Miranda reminds us that every aspiration, every dream, every longing resides on the other side of fear.

The Courageous Act of Letting Go

Midlife unfurls not just as a quest for new knowledge, but as an awakening of self-discovery through letting go. It’s a time to peel back layers, an endeavour to become the best version of ourselves. Miranda encourages us to shed the remnants of past conditioning, to embrace the unravelling, to rediscover the essence that resides within.

“I love the word unravelling because it is almost about peeling back the layers of everything we're not. To be our best version of ourselves, you know, we hear this terminology, ‘be the best version of you’, we don't have to become anything new, we don’t have to acquire anything new, we have to let go of everything that we're not.”

Many women in midlife years will suddenly start going, Okay, I'm full enough. I'm full. What do I want to let go off? What do I want to release? How do I want to unravel?  It's this delayering, the peeling and shedding layers of conditioning and these protection mechanisms built to protect us. Like I said at the beginning, they don't really protect us at all. Part of that is embracing and stepping out of the comfort zone.’’

 Navigating Relationships 

As we evolve, so do our relationships. Midlife beckons us to grow together or to part ways with those whose frequencies no longer resonate with our journey. Miranda highlights that reactions from others often mirror their own inner struggles.

“One of the common things that people say in my coaching is “I suddenly don't want to hang around my friends anymore, I suddenly don't want to be around the same people anymore as I used to’’, because they're shifting so much that they might not be aligned anymore.

I guess when it comes to other people's reactions, some people can have odd reactions, because they might feel bad about themselves. One of the first things is to recognise that it's not personal, that if somebody's having a bad reaction to you, they might be fearing that they're going to lose you because they see you growing and expanding. We don't have to take it personally to recognise that the other person might be in suffering on some level themselves.”


Boundaries are very important, and it is something that's kind of bashed about a lot on social media, like a buzz phrase, isn't it? I would always say that to put ourselves first or to hold self-compassionate practice is not selfish at all. Because the kinder that we are to ourselves, the more nourishing we are in that relationship to ourselves.”

The Power of Self-Compassion

Miranda extends a gentle invitation to embark on a journey of self-compassion. It starts with acknowledging the conversation we hold within, the self-talk that either uplifts or diminishes us. “All we need to do with this practice is become very, very aware of what we're saying to ourselves in our heads, we all have a voice in our heads that can either be tearing down, or building us up"

Through this awareness, we can start to transform, letting the light shine through the crevices of self-doubt. Self-compassion is far from selfish, it's a tool to empower ourselves.

 ‘’There's nothing selfish about self-compassionate practice, there's nothing selfish about putting yourself first.’’

Rediscovering the Self

’Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, we often forget to ask ourselves simple yet profound questions: What do I truly like? Which clothes do I like to wear? Who do I want to be? Where do I want to go with my life?

I know that’s what I found when I went through divorce at 40, I had to spend time reconnecting with myself and really thinking about some of those seemingly basic questions.

Midlife invites us to reconnect with our passions, to find solace in our own company, and to venture into the realm of possibilities. Through the magic of rediscovery, we embrace the limitless potential that beckons us, echoing Persian poet Rumi’s poignant reminder that ‘what we seek is also seeking us.’

Embracing Fear as a Gateway to Triumph

Miranda’s own life experiences resonate deeply with those moments when we stand on the precipice of our dreams, hearts racing, palms sweaty, yet resolute in our determination to forge ahead. She shares her experience of diving into her long-cherished dream of hosting a radio show on Radio Leeds, which came to fruition during Mental Health awareness week this year. ‘Sometimes it's when we're getting our biggest dreams, we expect them to feel good in the body. Right? Great, which it does now, of course, but it felt so frightening. Even though of course, I was excited, I was elated, but I also felt so terrified. But I did it anyway. ‘

Amidst the swirl of nerves and exhilaration, she surrenders to the fear, recognising that fear need not be banished, but rather, embraced as a companion on the journey. The result? Triumph, elation, and a powerful revelation that we are indeed capable of achieving our dreams, even in the face of fear. I still remember that feeling when I took my first tandem skydive and faced my fear of heights. I was terrified as we sat on the edge of the plane ready to jump, but that feeling of pure elation and pride afterwards was so worth it, if only we could bottle it.

I’ve spoken to so many women who were afraid to take certain steps, because they're terrified of the beating they're going to give themselves if they fail.’

You tried, you did your best and that will always be good enough

‘If we know that if we fall over, we've got a self within us that's going to go "you tried, you did your best". If we can rely on that relationship within ourselves. When we can trust ourselves enough to know that we've got our own backs, we are a lot more able to try new things.’

In the mosaic of midlife, we find ourselves stepping into a realm where fear is no longer an obstacle but can become a guide. Miranda reminds us that the power to feel the fear and do it anyway resides within us all. As we navigate the uncharted waters of this transformative phase, let us remember that every step taken in the presence of fear is a step closer to the extraordinary life that awaits on the other side.

So, embrace the fear.

Say yes to new opportunities.

Let your midlife journey be a testament to the indomitable spirit within.

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Listen to the full podcast episode:

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and faced your fears?

We'd love to hear about it - leave a comment below.

Keep being fabulous

Rachel x

July 18, 2023

Lady Liberté enters the world of burlesque

My 2023 challenge - Learn and perform a burlesque show live on stage

My Body Acceptance Journey

Even I'm surprised I've just performed my first burlesque routine!

You'll often hear me say ‘I would never have done this when i was younger” when it comes to modelling in my lingerie, showing up on social media talking about body confidence, body acceptance and being so publicly visible.

It’s true, I have been on such a confidence building journey over the last 13 years, with lots of wobbles along the way. Mentally, I’m in the best place that I’ve ever been with my body, even though physically there are still a lot of menopausal changes going on. But it will always be work in progress and finding body confidence is never a done deal.

 Stepping out of my comfort zone

Every year I like to challenge myself to push myself out of my comfort zone. Last year's challenge was to model nude for a life drawing class which I was obviously nervous about but found liberating. Taking steps out of my comfort zone helps me practice what I preach when it comes to body acceptance. 

2023 Challenge

I've been a big fan of Dita Von Teese for years and was over the moon when she shared an image of me wearing her lingerie for a Playful Promises Ageless Fashion campaign on her instagram feed, to millions of her followers back in 2020. After watching Dita perform live on her Glamonatrix tour last year, I was in awe of all the performers proudly celebrating their bodies.

I'm also constantly inspired by the brilliant Judith Vandepeer Delgado @pupindevert who started burlesque later in life and is now a regular in the UK burlesque scene aged 60, proving to any doubters that our age doesn't define us. If you don't already follow her on instagram go and give her a follow as she's just fabulous.

I knew I had to give it a go. This year’s challenge to learn and perform a burlesque routine had been set!

Tigz Rice x Miss Victory Violet Shoot Day at Berwick Lodge, Bristol © Tigz Rice Ltd 2019.

Why Burlesque?

Hands up if you watched the movie "Burlesque" starring Cher and Christina Aguilera with curiosity? The art of burlesque has been around for years with seedy connotations but thankfully films like this and women like Dita Von Teese have made it a much more acceptable and popular art form.

What I loved and started to realise whilst watching Dita’s Glamanatronix show was the pure celebration and self-expression of the performer’s bodies, the mood and purpose was not around sexual gratification for men as I had previously thought.  Yes, the performers may decide to strip down to nipple tassels and G-strings, but it felt like it was ‘a fuck it, this is my body’ act of acceptance which I and the audience applauded.

Empowering women

Burlesque is an empowering art form for women, it provides a platform for self-expression, body positivity, and confidence. I’m drawn to burlesque performances because it creates a space for women to reclaim their sexuality and challenge societal norms, promoting the idea that beauty and sensuality come in diverse forms. It allows performers of all ages, shapes, and sizes to embrace their individuality and break free from traditional expectations, fostering a supportive community where empowerment and self-assurance flourish.

That’s what led me down this year’s path, would I be brave enough to stand on stage and do this?

Where do you start?

I had no idea how I was going to even start this challenge as there weren’t any local burlesque classes near me and I was beginning to think this one just wouldn’t happen. That is until a friend I'd met through social media, Jane Wood, who runs a dance school and Fem-Chi classes put a shout out on Instagram. Jane is passionate about helping women that are feeling disconnected from their femininity and sensuality. Helping women tap into their inner confidence and fierceness,  to help you regain that lost fire. Jane was a guest on my podcast recently so you can find out all about her here

She was running a 10 week on line burlesque course with the opportunity to perform as a group at the Womanifest in Cheshire this July. Talk about perfect timing! I was already booked as a speaker at this year’s festival, so I just knew I had to sign up. Not only did I sign up but I immediately put my name forward to perform a solo act.

Commitment. Classes, Can I really do it?

Apart from the occasional wedding disco, I haven't properly danced since my drama A Level in 1988, so it’s fair to say it didn’t come naturally. I was actively discouraged by my ballet teacher when I was younger because I did not have the right build for the ballet world (I'm sure I'm not the only person who heard this back in the 1970's).

I began to look forward to the 90-minute sessions each week and even though I struggled with my left and right and some of the moves didn’t come naturally I enjoyed the process. It was fun to learn something completely new, to switch off from the day and focus on something just for me.

Disconnecting from our bodies during the menopause

Like lots of women going through the menopause I have days when I feel disconnected from my body, and this really helped me appreciate my body and all it does for me. The other 6 women in the group were of various ages, mostly a lot younger but there was a common thread of anxiety and fear of expressing our sensuality that bonded us together.

Performance Day

I’ve just had one of the busiest weeks of the year so far which probably didn't help with the nerves leading up to Saturday. It also meant I hadn’t rehearsed as much as I’d hoped to. It even got to the point where I messaged Jane on my way to Cheshire to say I might have to miss out the group routine because I just hadn’t got it in my head. Jane reminded me that this was for fun, an experience to be shared and enjoyed and if a few mistakes were made, then so what? A great reminder not to take ourselves too seriously.

Show Time

The time had come and there was no going back. I did make some mistakes in the group routine but nothing major and I think I got away with it. Funnily enough I was more worried about the group performance because no one would know if things didn’t go to plan in my solo.

It was one of those moments that you have to fully commit and go all in, so I did and once the music started and I was on that stage it felt so liberating and I loved it! Slight hiccup half way through when I was dancing back towards the chair, and I realised my feather boa wasn’t there so I had to completely blag the second part of the routine but that’s show business!!

Freedom to express our sensuality

How often as women, at any age, do we get the chance to freely express our sensuality without fear of judgement? Performing at Womanifest, a women only festival was exactly what I needed. We all have different parts to our personalities, and they all deserve equal spaces to be let free!

I did this for me, and it felt bloody good!

I now have that video as a reminder. If I’m having a bad day and need to boost my confidence I’ll go back and watch it.

Rachel Peru performs her first live burlesque routine on stage


Have you ever been to a burlesque class?

Are you curious?

Just try it, it’s a great way to celebrate and embrace your body ❤️

Will Lady Liberté ever be seen again? Never say never!

Keep being fabulous.

Rachel x

June 28, 2023

Where do I go from here, where do I start?

A Blog by Zoe Davis

How do I retake control?

I’ve honestly no idea.  Life has been like a constant rollercoaster ever since I can remember and the one thing I always assumed I could control was my own mind, body & soul.  How wrong was I?

You see life has this way of testing you and it happens in the least expected places at the least expected times. It can knock you for six, throw you to your knees or it can fester deep within you until it rockets out of you in this huge explosion of emotions that you can no longer control.

Sweep it under the carpet

As a child growing up, I learnt the ultimate trick of the trade; how to sweep things under the carpet.  I thought it was brillant.  Don’t want to deal with it? Sweep it under the carpet.  Can I pretend it never happened? Sweep it under that carpet.  Can’t control that, sweep it under the carpet.  Eventually I realised I didn’t have a big enough carpet. No amount of sweeping was going to get all of what happened to me under that little rug, because that’s in fact what it was, a rug.  A rug I so swiftly pulled out from under myself when I decided to do that work on myself.

You see, when you start to work on yourself you start to pull those things out from under that carpet or rug in my case.  You start to unpick all those long hidden things that you pretended weren’t happening, didn’t know how to control, didn’t want to deal with……every ounce of you comes falling out from that carpet till eventually it unravels.  Sometimes unravelling at such a pace your feet don’t touch the ground and overwhelm and darkness is so great you wonder which part to look at next.  Other times it takes a while and then you feel the pieces drop into place.  A journey of healing and finally exploring who you are is a Never Ending Story, cliche I know but true.

You start to realise it is quite easy to lose control of many parts of you to fit into society, work, family, friends and social circles.  It takes courage to step out and breathe.  To admit and to feel the love of who you are.

Who is Zoe?

I am Zoe I am in my early 40’s and it is only now, with many other beautiful humans that I have started to really unpick my life and work on those secret sweeping activities that I had learnt to do from a young age.  A glimpse of my life…

I grew up in what was referred to as a “broken” home.  Parents separated & remarried.  My shoulders carried the secrets and arguments of the past between generations.  My childhood was not all smiles & laughter.  I quickly understood how to be hyper vigilant in many situations, suppress my anxiety, show my anger in all the wrong ways, pretend things hadn’t happen, cover things up….I also understood that the one thing I could control was my body.

 Bullying as a teen in school with severe acne, one of the first to start periods (horrendous ones at that) & braces, all this had pushed me to some dark places, I realised the one thing I could control was my body.  I smoked to suppress the need to eat, I ate barely anything in the day and would only eat my evening meal at the family table to avoid anyone knowing.  I would often pretend I had made a packed lunch for school taking nothing but a packet of crisps at a push.  If I did eat it would be comfort style chocolate, crisps etc.

Burying my head in the sand

As I hit my 20’s I was told by a doctor if I wanted a baby I would need to pile on the weight as at 5ft 6 and 7 and half stone my body was struggling.  I had to change, yet my partner at the time didn’t like it, what if I lost my pert boobs & arse.  Not a look he was in favour of.  I put some weight on and did become pregnant.  Yet pregnancies for me weren’t great.

My first pregnancy saw me pile on the weight.  I hid and swept all my feelings under that already stuffed rug.  I struggled with my weight after and my health as a woman with my periods. 10 years later when I had my second baby I realised I had piled on more weight but couldn’t shift it and during my 2nd pregnancy I had busted my leg so mobility was limited.  I used all these as excuses & buried my head in that ostrich hole in the ground called shame.  I continued to sweep everything under the carpet including me problematic periods and post natal depression and my overwhelming past.  It was a chance encounter with a therapist when my baby was 6 weeks old that ignited that moment when I knew but still fought it for a while, I need to start to unpick and unravel that rug…..that was 7 years ago.

Acceptance of me, just as I am

Since then I’ve learnt a lot about myself, my relationships, boundaries too. I’ve also discovered how to thank and accept my body for what it is, what it can do for me, how it looks & how it feels.  My body no longer has pert boobs or rear end.  I am no longer a size 8 in clothing more like a size 20/22 give or take.  I have a man that appreciates me & my body too.

I am different because I can see how my body has changed & worked with me through teen life, two pregnancies, miscarriages, endometriosis, post natal depression, hysterectomy, car accident, stair accident and much more.  I am 41 and now I appreciate my body and accept it more.  I’m not going to say I love it entirely as we all have moments we wish things were better.  Yet I will say I have a great deal of gratitude for my body, my mind & my soul.  I feel more worthy to walk this earth than I have done for many years.

My rug, the new one is slowly being weaved.  This however hides nothing under it.

This is now my magic rug that will take me where I want to be. Dream the biggest dreams & live life no longer in secret or darkness.

Dream the biggest dreams &

no longer live your life in secret or darkness

Zoe Davis

You can find Zoe on Instagram @madcowlife





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