Our Otherness Faces & Places series is a way to discover more about those we work with. We open up their practises, journeys and thoughts on the world. For our first, we speak with Alex Holbrook, co-founder of Otherness TV on her journey and ‘getting well’.
Hello! I’m Alex Holbrook, one of the founders of Otherness TV. I also run Otherness.co, am the head of Spiritual Wellbeing at The Mandrake Hotel in Fitzrovia and act as a wellbeing consultant for brands and other hotels.
When I left school all I wanted to do was work with horses, I was determined that this was going to be my future and was offered a scholarship to ride at a dressage stables in Sussex. Fast forward two years and I realised that maybe in practise, this was not the path for me (working 14 hour days 6 days a week can do that to you!).
I had an A Level in media studies and I stumbled upon a small PR agency in the town where I live in Kent, I asked for work experience and quickly realised that this was something I loved – getting to talk and read magazines all day! Throughout the next ten years, I was able to live in London and Berlin, whilst working with some of the most amazing brands in the world and have once in a lifetime experiences – all of which I was incredibly grateful for. However, in 2016 I left my job, went through a relationship breakup and had never felt as truly unhappy – looking back it was the best thing that could have happened, but at the time I felt so lost and hurt it was almost overwhelming.
This feeling led me to look at alternative wellbeing, things that were more spiritual and could help soothe and build me on a soul level. I had always loved nature and the esoteric. This is when Otherness.co was born – I was looking for somewhere that could show me a list of some of the amazing alternative wellbeing events and guides in London, I couldn’t find it and so I decided to build it. In the two years that Otherness has been in existence, I have been able to grow both the site and myself. Incredible opportunities have invited me to be part of them, enabling us to create really magical events for those who need a little spiritual TLC or to discover new things that make them feel well in their beings.
During the COVID-19 lockdown I was looking for a cacao ceremony to take part in, but everything was scheduled, I couldn’t find something that I could do whenever I felt like it, (basically somewhere that was like a Netflix of wellbeing), so I spoke with my co-founder Ross to see if he liked the idea and Otherness TV was born!
I’m incredibly lucky to have been part of things that I could only dream of. Some of the most profound things have been with The Wisdom Keepers, I did my first tobacco ceremony with Erica Gagnon, this had a HUGE effect on me, not only as I asked to release what no longer served me so I ‘got well’ (aka puked in a bucket!) in front of the other 20 people in the ceremony. As part of the Wisdom Keepers I was also at the opening ceremony at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival which was a huge event, not least as these knowledge holders had come from across the world to unite hundreds of thousands of festival goers to get them to reflect on how we can live in more harmony with Mother Earth.
Working with The Mandrake Hotel is an incredible experience as what we have built is truly unique, the team and founder are all invested in creating a place of healing. It is something I feel incredibly honoured to be a part of.
With the season change I am doing a lot of shamanic journeying as I find this really helps to focus my intent. We should see winter as a time of planting seeds and incubating ideas. This year has been strange, disruptive and downright scary for many of us, so sessions like Andrea’s Shamanic Healing to realign with your life purpose and Eddy’s Shamanic Journeying are really supporting me to move with the seasons transition and to call for any messages that will guide me. As well as drawing strength to keep positive and open.
I am lucky to live in the middle of nature, I have ancient woodland on my doorstep and surrounded by fields. I used to love living in cities in my 20s and craved the bustle, but as I have got older I am becoming almost reclusive!
To stay grounded I walk in the woods with my dogs, I also have horses so connecting with them is something that really supports my mental wellbeing. I see my friends a lot, as well as spend time with my family – I know what a privilege it is that we are all close and get on.
On a work level, I am working to develop Otherness TV even further. I really want it to showcase a huge range of discovery and practises; from ancient forms of meditation and sound practises, through to showing teachings from indigenous cultures and everything in between.
It fills my heart to find amazing guides who really care about healing and offering places of sanctuary. I really feel it is the role of Otherness TV to bring these things to the world, for it to become a destination for those who are looking outside the mainstream for tools that they can use to be the best versions of themselves.
On a personal level, I want to carry on exploring the teachings and practises of different shamanic cultures. I’m starting right back at where the word comes from and the first iterations of it.