My name is Annabel Newfield (aka Bela) 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 back 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 unconscious defences masks and 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 teacher in life? I certainly spent a lot of life 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, the threads from exploring 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 having done any advertising or telling anyone that I was stepping into being a tantra teacher. It was quite magical how she’d used her intuition and spy work to track me down!
So there began my private practice in 2012. I have worked with many brave and beautiful women and men since then at The Newfield Nest, both one-to-one and in groups.
So let’s go back to 2005, when the tantra part of my life started… I began to study with Hilly Spenceley 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 learned 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 compassion and peace with who I am. Also, crucially, to see that in others. I laugh so much more now.
I started assisting on the Shakti Tantra Women’s and mixed programmes in 2008, and witnessing many women and men transform in beautiful ways. Since 2014 I have been on the Shakti Tantra teaching team, first as an apprentice teacher, then as a full teacher.
I’d like to honour as well, my shamanic studies from my late 20’s and early 30’s. I learnt so much over that time and found a spirituality that anchored and connected me to the living, breathing world around me. Once I began to feel safer in myself and in life, my wounds could really come up to be looked at. Through the shamanic dance work, and deep rituals I began to reclaim myself. The final piece of the puzzle for me during that time was beginning to directly connect with the power of my sexual energy and bringing that back in. That was when the Tantric path opened up for me… I pulled back my bow, focused my arrow on pleasure and fired it. Life has fed me and helped me find the freedom to make choices that bring pleasure in my life.
And it is my deepest pleasure to hold the space in the Newfield Nest, for you to do the same. I never stop studying. I love growing older. I love my work. It’s a wonderful thing to reclaim pleasure as your birthright and ‘know thyself’.