Interview with Taz Thornton

Taz Thornton is a motivational speaker who trained with the same team as Tony Robbins – so don’t be surprised if she gets you firewalking! Her unique blend of ’tribal’ communication tools learned from shamanic cultures, NLP skills, and years in top-line management means she can get right to the issues holding you back.

A TEDx speaker, bestselling author, visibility specialist, and award-winning empowerment coach, Taz gets people speaking honestly like you’ve never known.

Taz is one of the 21 authors who co-authored Magic and Miracles with me. Her story of being redirected from a potentially dangerous situation by a visit from a wolf will give you goosebumps.

Dr. Andrea – I’m so excited to go into the land of true magic, talking about your chapter of Magic and MiraclesA Miracle in the Wild.

Let’s just jump into the story that you shared. You mentioned that since childhood you have had a connection to wolves.

Taz – It goes way back, since I was very small. At the time I thought I was having nightmares, as my dreams were full of wolves. I remember one of my mum’s friends sitting me down with a wildlife book, showing me a picture of a fox and a picture of a wolf, and explaining to me that we don’t have wolves in the UK.

We used to have them, but we hunted them out. So I shouldn’t have known what a wolf was, but they’ve always been there in my dreams.

Dr. Andrea – So do you think that we each have a totem animal that we connect to?

Taz– I think we all do. There are all kinds of different theories in the indigenous cultures. Some cultures believe we have lots of different animal helpers. Some believe that as well as lots of helpers we have one particular power animal. And some cultures believe that we have just one totem animal, and our bond with them is so strong because we have been that animal in a previous life.

So whatever I’m teaching people, I’m not going to tell them what to think. There are so many theories. How it’s turned out with me is that the wolf is my big, strong power animal, but I have lots of different allies as well.

Dr. Andrea – So in your chapter in the book, you talk about visiting a different continent, where there are wolves! So tell us about that experience.

Taz – Well Canada is one of my favorite places to visit! If we were going to move anywhere I’ve seen thus far, then it would be there. So there had been a couple of bizarre happenings that day, you could say – but they weren’t that bizarre for me! You could say that so many things we see are magical, but it’s really just nature, and we’ve lost touch with that star child energy that allows us to see things this way.

So one of the other creatures I’ve worked with for a while is the hummingbird, and this came to me in a dream a while ago. I’ve got to this point in my shamanic work where I’m thinking, “Stop giving me creatures that aren’t from where I’m from! Give me a swan where I can go and find a feather!”

But when I’ve looked and tracked back, most of these animals I work with where indigenous to these shores at one point. That makes it sit easier with me.

So the hummingbird had come into my world, and we’d been out trekking that day on horseback. This is another story though, as my wife, Asha, hates being on horseback! We’d been talking about whether humming birds were native to Canada, and we had no idea at this point. Then part way through the trek, there was a little rustle from the bushes.

A hummingbird flew out and hovered right in front of my face. It was there for what felt like hours – but in reality it was probably seconds. But you know when that other magical thing happens – the sensation of time slowing down? So there it was, my hummingbird. And not just any one, but the exact variety that I’d been dreaming of. So that was the first bizarre happening.

Then later on in that holiday, we were in the Rockies. We took a walk down in this place called The Pagan Basin, which had boardwalks through the forests. You know when you get that sense that something is watching you? I felt that!

Asha walked ahead of me. As I walked across the boardwalk there was a lake, and then the forest was just the other side. I just kept getting the sense I was being watched. So I stopped, and I just willed whatever was watching me to step forward.

Then there were these two yellow eyes, and I thought, “It can’t be!” But it was! There was a grey wolf.

And you know, it wasn’t like looking at an animal in the zoo, I felt this really strong heart connection. As I walked one way, it walked with me. As I changed direction, it walked with me again. We did this a couple of times. Then as I continued down the trail, with the wolf coming too, it just stopped and stood still. I just got this knowing that I needed to leave, right now. I stood, and the wolf walked away.

I called out to Asha, who was still ahead of me exploring the trail. She came to me and we walked out of the park. As we reached the edge of the park, all the park rangers were flooding into it. It turned out that one of the bear cubs with its mother bear had wondered into the public area, and the rangers were trying to evacuate everyone.

So there are many different ways to interpret this experience. Some people would call it coincidence. But personally I don’t believe in coincidence, and I haven’t for many years. Some people might think the wolf was stalking me for something to eat. But I don’t think so. My sense was that there was a connection there – it was a physical meeting with a power animal spirit, and it guided me out of danger. It still blows my mind now!

Dr. Andrea – That is so amazing, and it blows my mind too. To get that message of, “It’s time to go now,” I think that’s incredible. I don’t even call these things synchronicities any more, I’ve been calling them synchro-destinys! So there must be things we can enhance to get more in tune with our totem animals, right?

Taz – I think we’ve all been there, from when we are born. I think that over time we are gradually conditioned to close that down.

It’s like when we hear stories of people who have seen a spirit, but then they look back and it’s not there. I find myself wondering if that spirit really disappeared, or has our adult brain kicked in and said, “Don’t be ridiculous!”

There’s this theory that animals and young children see spirits. If you take a young child into a place that’s reputedly haunted or a bit energetic, you see them looking at things that most of us don’t. For me, a lot of this comes back to that star child energy that I talked about earlier.

I think if we all practiced and allowed ourselves to bring this energy back up, I think we’d be more aware. There are several paths up that mountain; whether it’s shamanism, whether it’s Reiki, or with angels, or Buddhism. There are a couple of things that we can all do.

Meditate, for one. And I don’t just mean plugging into an app and listening to someone else talking. That’s switching off, but you’re still not plugging into the heart. There are too many meditations out there that tick the ‘left brain box’. They guide us into relaxations but they still don’t engage the heart or our star child energy.

So what do I mean by star child? When we talk about archetypes, the female form for example, we start with child. Then we have goddess, maiden, mother and crone. Well, there’s more to this for me in my Shamanic work. There is also the wounded child, the part of ourselves that holds onto the difficulties, pain and scars. There is the little child, who is just innocent. But it’s the star child that we condition ourselves to let go of the most. And it’s the star child that’s the element of ourselves that still sees the wonder of everything.

I often use the analogy of a puppy to explain this element. When a puppy goes outside for the first time, it’s excited about blades of grass! The rest of us just tread on the grass without looking. This encapsulates star child energy for me – we see the magic in everything. 

We might see the sun shining and think it’s too bright and it hurts our eyes. The star child is wowed by the beautiful, healing rays of light. Or we might have a chronic illness and see only the pain, where the star child asks what they can learn from this experience.

There are people in the world who have a problem for every solution. That is the biggest key that shows us we have lost our star child.

Cynicism kills that star child, yet many people live by cynicism. I think that’s what we need to be bringing up. We go into the adult world thinking we need to stop enjoying our work – because if we enjoy it then it’s not REAL work.

Dr. Andrea – It’s also the same with spirituality. I used to think I had to be very serious about it.

Taz – I wrote an article about this recently, called Beware Spiritual Ar**holery. When we first get onto our spiritual paths, there’s the danger of sticking our head firmly to our root chakra! Then we stop being able to see the beauty and we start taking ourselves too seriously. These things are killing the star child.

We are all walking a spiritual existence, but we don’t all recognize it. Whatever our life path, we need to walk lightly, stop taking life so seriously and so literally.

Dr. Andrea – Do you think that the shamanic path has helped you with that? I haven’t studied much of shamanism, but I know there is a great deal of symbolism and awareness in the practice. So for us when we get so busy and get so attached to this earthly, human form, we do start to lose our connection to what life could be.

Taz – Certainly this path has helped me, but equally it could have been a different path. As I was so aware, and seeing and sensing things from such a young age, this was the path that called me most. If I look at the path of Shamanism as we humans have interpreted it; it’s not always the perfect fit, but it’s the path that feels like home to me. And animism I guess, the idea that everything has an energy.

It doesn’t matter which paths calls us, it’s about being able to surrender to that calling. I resisted for a long time – and we’ve spoken before about my ‘breakdown’ that I now call my breakthrough. Luckily that cracked me open enough for all the stuff that wasn’t serving me to flood out, and for me to let go of it. Then I could bring in more of what I needed, and that was the stuff that we call ‘magic’.

Dr. Andrea – Well I’m grateful that you’re bringing another aspect to how we can access the magic, the divine, whatever you want to call it.

Taz – And isn’t that another thing that we get hung up on? The name? It doesn’t matter what you call it. It just ‘is’, and we need to stop looking for the divisions and instead finding the similarities.

Dr. Andrea – I know that you have some big projects coming up, including your next TEDx talk, and a project around flipping the negatives in life.

So what are you the most excited about in the next year?

Taz – There’s so much coming up, I can’t choose. There’s a full book tour for Unleash Your Awesome. There’s also a full book tour for Whispers From the Earth. Then there’s the project you and I are working on, around bringing magic and authenticity into your personal brand.

The flipping your negatives thing is something I’ve been talking about for a long while, and it taps directly into that star child energy again. It’s about looking at the things life gifts us with, but in a different way.

Life doesn’t happen to us, life happens for us. 

It’s about being able to look at all those things in our lives that we perceive as negative, and ask what these things can teach us.

For instance, I’ve talked before about the time when I went through some pretty severe domestic abuse. People have asked me if I hate the man who did that to me. And no, I don’t. In fact, there was a soul contract somewhere. I’m grateful I’ve been though that because if I hadn’t then I wouldn’t be able to serve and support other people in the same way.

For instance, I’m about to go into some talks with the charity Mind, who work with mental health issues here in the UK. I’ve worked with local authorities before, running workshops for people who have been through domestic abuse. What happens in the system is we can give people some counseling, and then they can be put into a safe house. But after that there is nothing to rebuild their sense of self or give them confidence again.

So that’s one example of me flipping my negatives – if I hadn’t been through my experience then I couldn’t help in this way. Or for another example, the medics tell me I have a 25% chance of developing Huntington’s Disease. So for one, that‘s a 75% chance of me being perfectly fine. But that fear, that Sword of Damocles, started to hang over my head at a time I was starting to dip and really needed a kick up the backside. There’s nothing like it to get you out from under the duvet and being productive again.

If I hadn’t had my breakdown, we wouldn’t be talking right now! So, your negatives – flip them! And in opening up to this, don’t just open your mind, but open your heart too.

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