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5 Spiritual Lessons Wales Has Taught Me

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5 Spiritual Lessons Wales Has Taught Me

To mark St. David's Day Shann Nix Jones celebrates the magic of Wales
Shann Nix Jones
Shann Nix Jones More by this author
Mar 01, 2016 at 02:15 AM

Today is St. David’s Day – when we celebrate all things Welsh. School children here will wear the national Welsh costume to school and pin daffodils or leeks to their shirtfronts.

I left San Francisco and met my husband Rich, a goat farmer, when I was 41 years old. He had two children, as did I. We fell in love and I moved happily to his farm by the sea, to become ‘the Farmer’s Wife’ – a far cry from my life as a radio talk show host in the USA! I had no idea, then, how I would be tested in the misty hills of Wales, or what I would learn here.

Shann on the farm with one of her Chuckling Goats!

Here’s what I found out:

1. Nature has the answers. When Rich came out of hospital after a major operation, with a life-threatening superbug that doctors couldn’t cure, I was terrified. How could my long-awaited happy ending finish this way? But somehow, the wildness of the hills around our farm convinced me that there were still mysteries out there – and that doctors didn’t necessarily know everything.

Some old knowledge in me seemed to be awakened, in a way that it never had been in the city. Listening to my intuition, I got out the biggest pan in my farmhouse kitchen and created a mix of essential oils and the probiotic goats milk kefir that we make on the farm – and managed to save Rich’s life. Nature had the answers all the time; I just had to be brave enough to listen! I later used this knowledge to create a natural healing solution for eczema, and our little business, Chuckling Goat, was born.

Rich making friends with a goat

2. Belonging. There is a beautiful Welsh word – perthyn – that means connection, relationship, belonging. There is no direct English translation that I know of. We have perthyn to our goats, to our family, to our neighbours, to our community, to our country – a new concept for me, as a formerly rootless American. Perthyn gave me the strength to fight on when the doctors told me there was no hope for Rich. I belong here on this land, with these people; this is my forever home now.

3. Resilience. When the Welsh miners went down into the mines, they did an extraordinary thing – they lifted up their voices and sang. I am still awed by the spirit that would find that response, under such horrific circumstances. This is where the great tradition of the Welsh male choirs came from. It gives me courage, to be part of such a defiant and beautiful culture. Typically Welsh!

4. Interconnection. Living on a self-sustaining Welsh farm has taught me that we are all inescapably part of a larger ecosystem. Rich mows the hay with his blue tractor, we feed it to the goats, muck out their pens, put it on the compost heap where it turns into rich fertilizer, which goes back out onto the hay fields to grow again. We are inextricably tied to the wheel of the seasons, turning slowly in harmony with our animals and the land. Watching the magic of our compost heap became a metaphor that taught me about the human microbiome, and helped me discover how probiotic kefir can help heal the skin.

5. Joy. Living on a farm in Wales is not for the faint of heart. We constantly contend with the weather, the animals, the rain and the mud. I have been challenged and tested to my city-girl core here. But I have also found a deep joy and contentment in learning the ancient and traditional crafts that women before me have done for generations. Farmers’ wives have made kefir and handmade soap for many thousands of years. I am privileged to take up this mantle as my life’s work!


Shann Jones is the author of the new #1 best seller, The Good Skin Solution: Naturaling Healing for Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea and Acne. You can read more cutting-edge natural health science on Shann's blog site, Her natural eczema treatments are available from

About Author
Shann Nix Jones
Shann Jones was the ultimate American city girl until she fell in love with a Welsh farmer at the age of 41. Shann and her husband, Rich, realized that they could do something extraordinary when they started to work wit Continue reading