Q1) Tell us a little about yourself!
Fi Munro, PhD is a multi-award-winning researcher, author, blogger, speaker and shamanic storyteller with an innate ability to connect with the mythical and nature realms through her writing. She is recognised internationally for her presentations and articles on living with ‘terminal’ cancer and the importance of holistic health.
Prior to her diagnosis with stage four ovarian cancer in January 2016, Dr Munro gained a PhD (2011) in children’s outdoor play and learning. She spent a number of years working across a range of NHS Health Boards and the Scottish Government in managerial roles, specialising in national health improvement. Following her diagnosis, she retrained as a yoga teacher (ashtanga, pre and postnatal, pregnancy, children and baby), reiki practitioner and crystal therapist and, most recently, qualified as a shamanic practitioner.
She now runs her own business offering online courses, workshops and retreats as well as speaking at corporate and charity events across the UK on a regular basis. She is currently working on her third book.
Fi lives in beautiful, rural, highland Scotland in a traditional 1930s cottage with her husband, Ewan, their two cats and dog. She utilises the collective experience from her previous career working in health, alongside her spiritual path, to inform and support her daily life. Most of her days are spent meditating, journaling, practising yoga, writing and walking in her local woods where she spends time connecting with her much loved trees. Above all she values laughter and connection with her loved ones.
She recently fulfilled her dream of purchasing a VW Campervan (bright yellow, of course!), named ‘Wini’ after her vivacious great grandmother, which she uses for weekly visits to her local beach for paddle boarding adventures as well as for touring the UK.
Q2) Tell us about what you do, and why you do it
I spend my days in two parts. I wake early without an alarm, usually at about 5.30am and spend a quiet morning taking herbs and supplements to support my overall health, meditating, journaling, doing yoga and then taking my dog Ozzy for a long walk in my local woods. I then join my husband for breakfast. This dedication to myself and my health and healing each morning really allows me to prioritise my needs and also ensures that I am putting self-care and self-love at the forefront of all that I do. I never turn my phone on during this time either. This is 100% ‘me time’ that I treat as sacred.
The rest of my day is spent writing or spending time with loved ones. Now, in the wake of COVID-19, the later isn’t possible but I am still connecting with family and friends over phone calls and video meet ups. As an extrovert connection is really important to me and I have an incredible support team around me of wonderful people who fill my life with love and laughter.
I love to write. It feeds my soul and enables me to process everything that I am learning both through my spiritual practices and through my experience of living with a ‘terminal’ condition. I always write terminal in inverted commas because we are all terminal, regardless of our health status and it is my firm belief that if we embrace this fact then we are able to better live our lives. I certainly feel more alive since receiving my diagnosis and accepting that each day is precious, and that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, for anyone.
As well as writing books and articles I also run retreats and workshops and regularly speak at corporate and charity events. I love to connect with people, especially women, and help to guide them to embrace their lives in meaningful ways. My life before my diagnosis saw me working long hours and commuting nearly four hours each day. I had a PhD by the time I was 25 and I was constantly pushing myself to achieve more in the ever-elusive pursuit of society determined success. I was so miserable. I judged myself constantly on how I looked, dressed, what I ate, the work I did and whether I had ‘achieved’ enough. I now work with women to help them release this pursuit of external gratification and embrace a life that serves them and their needs without the pressure of worrying about what others think. This work feels really meaningful to me and I love seeing the transformations in the women I work with either through my writing or speaking events.
Q3) What makes you feel courageous?
I was reflecting on this recently while in hospital following a bowel obstruction. A bowel obstruction had always been my biggest fear because I have lost two people with ovarian cancer to a bowel obstruction and I know how serious a situation it can be. Not only are you at risk of death (if we are being entirely honest - which I always am!) but it drastically affects your ability to eat and, as a result, potentially your quality of life.
So, here I was, in hospital with a bowel obstruction, my biggest fear. I was unable to eat, I was in loads of pain, on an IV drip for fluids, and, because of COVID-19, I was unable to have any visitors during my week-long stay in hospital. Suddenly I was facing all of my biggest fears and yet I felt completely calm and at peace.
Everything I had spent so long fearing had manifest and yet my world had not ended, I had adjusted, and, all things considered, I was absolutely fine. Things were undoubtably tough, yes, but I had the emotional, mental and physical skills necessary to adapt and adjust. I realised that I had wasted my time being scared because, now facing these fears, I was absolutely fine. Things are never, I find, as bad as our imagination leads us to believe they can be when we are worrying about some imaginary event in the future.
This insight has given me great power over fear and made me feel very courageous. I realise now that there is absolutely no point in being afraid of anything that may or may not happen in the future because I know I am able to adapt and I also know that I can never pre-empt any situation or my reaction to it if it happens. I now feel deep peace and acceptance about the future and that feels very courageous!
Q4) What is one thing you wish you could tell your 16-year-old self?
Oh I would love to tell her so much, but above all I would love to take her in my arms, hold her tight and tell her that she is absolutely perfect and she should stop worrying what other people think and stop trying to ‘fit in’ because one day she will realise that she wasn’t meant to fit in, she was meant to stand out and that’s where the real magic happens. Above all, I would just want her to know that she was deeply and unconditionally loved without question.
Q5) What is one piece of advice you can give a fellow lady who might be lacking courage?
I would give her the exact same advice that I would give my 16 year old self; that she should stop worrying what other people think and realise that she isn’t meant to fit in, she is meant to shine bright and show off her uniqueness in all of its raw vulnerability and that she is absolutely perfect and amazing and that I see her and love her unconditionally.
Being courageous can be really hard, I think the first step is women working together to support one another to find our courage. Magic things always happen when women support one another.