How I cured my anxiety, became a monk and changed my life.

"the panic attacks and anxiety were ruling and ruining my life"

Desperate to stop the panic attacks and anxiety that were ruling and ruining my life, I found myself sat at my GP’s pouring my heart out. Although the Doctor was very kind, and listening patiently to my story of heartache, breakups, debt and more, the only solution they could offer me was medication.

With the prescription in hand, I collected my medication with a feeling of doubt. When I got home I stared at the packet of tablets and for the first time in a while, I finally listened to every fibre in my body that was screaming at me to ‘flush them down the toilet!’ and so I did….and this is where my incredible story starts.

I didn’t know what the answer was, but I knew it wasn’t taking medication, there had to be a way to live a life free from pain. I just knew that all these pills were going to do was stick a plaster over my problems and numb me to them. This was not the way I was going to live! So, what was the way??? GREAT QUESTION!!


One thing I was sure of was I needed to start finding the solution, so I took myself to the library (there was no Google back then!) and found the section on ‘Self-help’ a small and dusty shelf with a handful of books on mindfulness and mind-body. Quickly skimming past the ‘lose weight’ and ‘relationship’ books I stopped at a book by a man called ‘Tony Robbins’…. I vaguely recognised the name, and then the memory slowly started drifting back to me of a friend who has told me about him! I gasped as I remembered her saying…


OH MY GOSH!! This was my first thought. I grabbed the copy of ‘Awaken the Giant Within’ and marched out. I could feel that I had the answers I needed in this book. I dived straight in! Head down, absorbing every word and barely coming up for breath. This man was enlivening and magnetic. I wanted to know more. I HAD to know more! On the back of the book was a telephone number you could call to find out about his live events. With a mixture of exciting and doubt (as he lives and works in America) I dialled the number.

"WOW, was this a sign?"

“hello, I am calling from the UK, and wondered if there were any live events planned with Tony?” I asked…. and then the lady on the other end with her American accent replied “Well, yes you are in luck actually, Tony will be in London in 10 days time” – WOW WAS THIS A SIGN OR WHAT?!?! Grabbing my bag, I dug out my purse and pulled out 6 different credit cards (how and why I needed 6 credit cards is a whole other story for another time!). “ok, I have 6 different credit cards, I am not sure if any of them will work, but please can we try?” I asked. “Sure, let’s give them a go!” she replied. 

First card, FAIL……second card, FAIL…….third card…..FAIL….., fourth card, FAIL…. this was a rollercoaster of shame, fear and anxiety, I just knew seeing this man was my answer… COME ON CARDS!!! “please can we keep trying?”. Fifth card…. “congratulations Ms Bortoft, your payment has been successful, we look forward to welcoming you to London to the Tony Robbins event”.


10 days later I was on a train to London, destination the Excel Centre! I was going to meet the man who was going to save my life. The anticipation was electric, I felt scared, but excited. EVERYTHING WAS RIDING ON THIS!! As I strolled up to the registration desk, ready to shake hands with Tony Robbins and meet some other people just like me, I noticed a lot of people, like A LOT of people. Asking politely “Excuse me, what are all the other people doing here?”. She gave me a huge smile “They are all here to see Tony Robbins too! we have over 10,000 people attending”. Gulp! My heart sank so fast and so hard, my brain whirling, ‘how the heck was this man going to save my life with so many other people here!’.


Stressed, anxious, disapointed and whole load of other feelings, I stood uncomfortable in a queue, awkwardly waiting to be herded in. The doors opened and I was hit with loud music, people dancing and high fiving… What is going on? It’s 8am and I’ve just walked into a nightclub! Deep breathe, here we go… 


The music blasting and everyone totally pumped up was the perfect distraction, finding my seat, I told myself “OK, here we go!”.

Then the literal giant that is Tony Robbins comes on stage….he speaks for hours and hours, he commands the stage, and it feels like he is directly speaking to me. I was fascinated with him and what he had to say. Me and 9,999 others totally gripped to our seats.

I left London days later, floating on a cloud of hope and a folder of ‘stuff’…’stuff’ I could now use in my new life. My first lightbulb moment was complete.

The following weeks and months led to so much positive change. I finished my degree at night school and with my 3 children finally all at school I had time to work and got a job as a Business Advisor. It was at this point that I could my next break, my next lightbulb moment.

HR had some budget to spend for once, so they asked me to find a training course that I wanted to do. No joke, that weekend a leaflet came through my letter box and floated down on my doormat face up the title ‘COME AND TRAIN AS A PEAK PERFORMANCE LIFE COACH’….wait! what! I can learn to do do what Tony Robbins does?? Yes, I was all in!

"my mindset shifted from victim to "I can do this!"".

"I felt aligned, excited and so ready for it all!"

I immediately booked myself onto the taster weekend, and went already in love with everything about being a coach, this made my heart sing and it was just so right, apart from one teeny weeny problem…. the cost! This was way over the HR budget, and I had to figure out now how to tell me boss! eek!

Talking to my boss and explaining that I needed a few thousand pounds instead of a few hundred didn’t go well, she said a very clear and firm “NO!”. It was inconceivable to me at that point the amount of money it cost, and if I saved it would take me ages, I needed to do this now. As soon as I heard that big fat “NO!” an idea just appeared in my head, as if perfectly placed there conveniently and purposefully. ‘Write a letter to the board’….yes I would write an letter to the company board and put my case forward as to why this course and me doing this course would be a great investment for them as my development. I then proceeded to ask my boss to please take it with her to the next board meeting. Full of doubt she reluctantly agreed and as she walked away she turned to tell me “don’t get your hopes up, this is way over budget and they never go over budget”. I returned to my desk and decided to shelve it all in my mind.

A few days later, there was a soft knock at my office door, in comes my boss “Kirsty, I have no idea what you wrote in that letter, but they have said yes!”. I left from my desk and gave her a huge hug, repeating ‘thank you, thank you, thank you”


I flew through the training with flying colours, it was exciting, fun and super interesting but mainly it made me feel alive, the more I learnt the more I wanted to learn. 

I dived head first, using these new techniques with my clients. I LOVED IT! Seeing people thrive gave me a feeling of warmth that I had never felt before. For the first time in a very long time, I could finally see the path for me, and it was paved with hope and I didn’t know it then but also paved with Monks!.


I was on this amazing journey, reading everything, studying and reading as many books as I could get from the library and my local bookshop. But it wasn’t enough there was more, I knew it.

Then the Ishaya Monks crossed my path.


This was not something I thought I would ever hear myself say, but after being drawn to the teachings and practice of the Ishaya Monks words like this started to appear in my vocabulary. 

I had tried meditation before but had never been able to stick to it, and was just that I wasn’t doing it right. 

On a weekend course with the Ishaya’s they taught me how to Ascend (meditate), PING! Another lightbulb moment.

"That Saturday morning something amazing happened"

The Ishaya teachers were giving us a lesson on the Saturday morning of the weekend course, and I suddenly got this profound download. OF COURSE! OMG! Yes, I get it! For the first time, I saw the bigger picture and clearly. I realised I had been trying all my life to ‘fix’ myself on the outside, but what I needed was to go ‘inwards’. That was the missing piece to what I had been searching for with all my books and studying. The Ishaya’s had the answer.

"With no fear or doubt I packed up my life and went to Spain!!"

The Ishaya teachers were giving us a lesson on the Saturday morning of the weekend course, and I suddenly got this profound download. OF COURSE! OMG! Yes, I get it! For the first time, I saw the bigger picture and clearly. I realised I had been trying all my life to ‘fix’ myself on the outside, but what I needed was to go ‘inwards’. That was the missing piece to what I had been searching for with all my books and studying. The Ishaya’s had the answer.

I packed the car up, piled the children in and we drove to Spain where the Ishaya’s had the most amazing school in the mountains. My life then was all about studying and mastering ‘the Self’. This exciting adventure lead me to graduate as a monk in 2015.

This was the start of my next chapter, and brings me today where with all my wealth of knowledge and experience from decades of studying the mind, I birthed the Freedom Alignment Method, a solution that I was desperately seeking to final address the root cause of emotional and physical pain. 

I now live a life of freedom, joy and peace and you can too.