Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Monkey Mind

Ahhh yes, the early morning breeze and the sound of the ocean at 5am…

That's the picture some people paint when I tell them about my morning meditation routine.

The reality?

Blah, blah blah blah, he said this, I thought he meant that… must remember to pay those two invoices today, making money is easy for me, blah blah blah… remember to create affirmation to bring in new clients into my massage practice… put flyers up in cafe, call that client back about the question they had about reflexology and anxiety… hope I can work out how to finish editing those meditations I recorded yesterday… ahh, the sound of the ocean and the breeze on my face…

Meditation. It's not exactly what it may seem.

When I first began meditating 15 years ago I was strung out working as a deputy editor on a teen mag called Smash Hits. Life happened in the fast lane and although I loved the speedy pace of work and the hectic weekends filled with parties and, well, more parties, I recognised that I needed some Time Out.

Somehow, I felt drawn to meditation but I knew nothing about it other than an idea that it involved sitting on a hilltop staring at the inside of your eyelids. Surprisingly I thought I can do that, so one Saturday afternoon I took myself off to Marks Park in Tamarama where I sat my feisty little self, (cross-legged because that's what monks do…), on a ridge (see hilltop, above) where I could look out across the ocean and not see the tops of the people's heads who were traipsing the coastal path below.

Ahhh, yes, meditation… I breathed in the salty air as I focused on the ocean and the clouds and began the mindful watching of my mind…

God knows what I was thinking at that time, but I imagine the internal dialogue would have included who was going to hit the number one spot in the charts that week, whether Brian from the Backstreet Boys was gay and how I might be able to get out of publishing and get a job as a reflexologist.

Heavy stuff.

Despite what I just said, I do remember finding thoughtlessness quite easy. I was amazed at how peaceful it was to just sit in the flow of life and not attach to my thoughts.

But then 5 seconds later…

Hmm, not so easy after all.

I decided I wanted to explore the world of meditation and see if there was another way. Fortunately for me, there was.

At that time, the Smash Hits office was in Haymarket, just outside the CBD of Sydney, so one lunch time I walked into the city to my (then) favourite bookstore Adyar. This was a haven of spiritual books, bound and shelved between United Pictures (where I would go to watch movie reviews for work), and a comic and games store (which I wouldn't have gone in if you paid me).

In one of Adyar's serene avenues I found a book called Clearly Now I See which was full of guided meditations. Aha, I thought, this sounds better; a creative way to clear the mind that involves distraction as opposed to nothingness. I snapped it up and drank in the wisdom of guided meditation.

Each morning before entering Teen Magazine World I would read a meditation that involved imagining myself next to a stream that led to a waterfall where white light would shine down on me etc. Then I would follow instructions and fill my work space with a glorious pink light that would dissolve stress and invoke peace. Ahhh… After using these techniques I would arrive in the office blissed out and happy.

That would last until the next phone call to a press officer who, God forbid, didn't have a release date for the upcoming Brad Pitt movie which meant my deadlines were thrown out again. Grrrrrr, next minute, the pink and fuzzy light would blow out and my stress levels would flare right back up again.

I know this probably sounds like I'm saying meditation didn't help, but the short version of the story is actually the opposite.

All the little steps I took back then have led me to a place where I now have a practiced experience of meditation. Back then, all I had was a notion of what it should be. Each time I tried a new style of meditating I would be somewhat baffled that my life wasn't suddenly still and peaceful and that those hessian robes I'd psychically ordered must have got lost in the mail. But that's just the point.

Meditation is a practice, not a destination.

The more you meditate, the more you come to understand that it's not about stilling the mind completely. It's more about observing the ebb and flow of the mind. Noticing your triggers and choosing to stick with them or change them becomes a choice, which is where the path to inner peace begins. As long as you're stuck in reactive mode, you will always be at the mercy of your mind. But when you are in a position to observe how you're being, you become empowered to change your life. Not so much through your actions (although that is also possible), but through your attitude.

Fifteen years after beginning my meditation journey I can honestly say some days I am no farther along the path than I was back then. Some days my monkey mind has more to say than a gossiping housewife. But that's OK. I know now that that monkey has its place. And I can tell when it's taken the microphone, put itself on loudspeaker and thinks it's running the show. When that happens, it's usually because I've been drinking too much caffeine, have said "yes" to more than I can truly cope with, or have a new man on my mind.

When that happens, I go back to basics.

Distraction.

For me, that's singing mantra, a form of meditation that involves repeating a word or mantra over and over until the monkey has calmed down. Mantras are like ropes that tie the hands of the mental primate and handcuff the little fella until he shuts up. If that doesn't work then I listen to a guided meditation which allows my distracted mind to listen and be taken on a journey to somewhere more peaceful.

Meditation is a bit of a buzz word these days and I think it's great that so many of us are seeking inner peace. But if you are of the idea that meditating is about sitting on a hilltop without a care or thought in the world, then think again. The art of meditation is to keep meditating. And keep meditating. And keep meditating.

At some point along the way you'll begin to notice changes in your life and your attitude. It may take weeks, it may take years, but I guarantee, if you stick with it, there is only one outcome and that is change. Change is a process of incremental steps. Your ultimate goal may be inner peace, but the bus that will take you there is going to pass through a lot of townships. Some of them may be nice places to stop and rest, others may be bustling cities full of angry thoughts and annoying behaviours. You'll pass through them all. And some.

The mind is a bit like a zoo. So if you know in advance that there are cages full of snakes and others housing lions or tigers, you'll be much better prepared when you come upon the enclosure full of gibbons and orangutans who want to chew your wing mirrors and pull the windscreen wipers off your car.

Just don't be fooled by any sign that says "Monkey Sanctuary".

There's no such place. Trust me.


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Playing My Cards Right

Ever wondered what it is about someone that makes them attractive?

Having been single for over 4 years now, I've had a fair amount of time to ponder what attraction means to me. During my singledom I've met a variety of men: the gorgeous waiter with the brown eyes and trendy haircut, the 20-year old Swedish backpacker, the guy with the Aston Martin, and most recently, a professional soccer player.

During that time there's also been countless emails and "matches" from various online websites. Most of which seem to house men who either have the personality of driftwood or look like a serial killer.

When people ask why am I single, internally I laugh. Only someone who isn't on the current dating scene could ask such a question. "Oh, but you're attractive and fun and interesting," they say. "You'd have no trouble finding a man." And they're right. I don't have any problem finding men. Only thing is, the ones I come across make drinking a cup of peppermint tea feel like a chore and frankly, should never be allowed to create offspring.

We can thank Steve Jobs for making home computing what it is today, because if these guys weren't spending so much time updating their online profiles they might be out on the streets.

And that would be scary.

If you've read my previous blogs you'll know that in the past year I've actually only met one guy who I was genuinely interested in.

One.

That's 50% less than two.

I'm no maths genius but even I have worked out that the numbers aren't great.

Every book I've ever read on dating talks about how women (if they want to marry) should play by a certain set of rules which include remaining mysterious, never calling a man before he calls you and being so busy he can't get a date with you for at least two weeks. I've tried and tried to make head and tail of this advice but time and again I end up thinking F*ck this, if I've got to play games in order to get married, I'd rather be single.

Especially if the guys who want to marry are the ones on eHarmony. We're already using up 50% more than our planet's resources can cope with. Thank God these men exist otherwise we'd be in a heck of a lot more trouble.

Friends have told me I should heed the rules, that I give too much away too soon, that maybe I should play my cards a bit closer to my chest.

Well, here's the thing: I have never played my cards close to my chest. My chest is a casino table and my cards are well and truly splayed out in a fan shape with a sign that says "Pick a card, any card…" Anyone who's actually game to pick a card is in with a chance. I mean if someone is too scared to come close enough to see what's in my deck, then they sure as heck aren't going to make it past date #1 and have absolutely no chance of passing Go or collecting $200.

To all those dating rule books I say show me a man who has the balls to be open with me and I'll play any game he wants. But he must have a community chest full of interesting layers and a stack of chance cards that leave me wanting to know more.

Too many times I meet men who I can box up and categorise within the time it takes to drink a flat white, which leaves nothing for me to discover. You're financially secure? I couldn't give a f*ck… You own three houses and love your kids? Good on you, your medal for man of the year is in the mail… You have a great job and like watching sport? Lovely, well, I like kiwifruit and had a shower this morning.

B-o-r-i-n-g.

If playing the rules gets you a one-dimensional man then great, play away if that's what you want. But what I learned from the last guy I fell for is that multi-layers work for me. And regardless of how I'm supposed to "snag" a man, I believe some people are just meant to meet and get along; and for the record, the few men who interest me beyond a first date are far smarter than any rule book would give them credit for. I hope that any guy I click with has more depth than a paper cut and would therefore know they were being played.

But maybe (as friends tell me) that's why I'm single.

Well, I have one thing to say to that: Thank God.

Thank God for all the girls who play by the rules. Thank you for skimming some of the dead wood out of the dating game. A man who can be played by a woman who follows advice from a book that (shhh…) men can read too? No thanks.

A man who can operate from both male and female perspective and appreciates a woman with the courage and motivation to make her life her own? Yes please.

In summary: I'm at home on a Saturday night writing this blog because I choose to be. I had a date with the above mentioned soccer player booked for tonight (yes, really), but I cancelled and chose to have a date with myself instead. Mr Soccer Player is a nice guy: caring, keen, ambitious and tastier than a bar of Dairy Milk a week before my period. But I already knew who he was after the first date. Sure, there was more to learn but the layers weren't there.

And layers, it seems, are what I'm looking for.

I don't care if you're finically secure, have three houses and a boat, or won an award for being best striker in 2003. What intrigues me is knowing there is more to you than meets the eye. I want to come away from meeting a guy and not know who he is, yet know enough to understand that it could potentially take a lifetime to know him.

If I know everything about you in the first meeting then why would I bother seeing you again?

As for the rules, I'm making up my own and they go something like this:

1) Remain open to finding someone that interests me
2) Listen to my heart and only connect with men who I intuitively feel have something extra to offer
3) Be willing to spend time alone if my heart tells me my date is a no-go
4) Don't read anyone else's advice on dating; simply remain true myself

But what about meeting someone and getting married? Part of me is into that idea and part of me couldn't care less. I've never been a girl who dreamed of a white wedding and although I think it would be cool to share my life with someone, equally I have no desire to settle for a communion that isn't anything short of intriguing, inspiring and utterly fabulous.

My life is already those things so if anyone is going to be lucky enough to land the real estate on the other side of my bed, they will need to be bringing a whole lot more than an extra bag of laundry and a mortgage to the equation.

As for the law of attraction? I'm pretty sure my saying "no" to Mr Soccer and "yes" to an inspired evening watching Jobs the movie and writing this blog will get me a whole lot closer to meeting a true match than a thousand days spent on eHarmony or RSVP.

Yes, I know that Mr Right is unlikely to knock on my door, but when it's a given that a hundred Mr Wrongs are also lurking in the local bar, I think I'm making a good call by staying in every now and then and recharging my batteries with a good movie and some creative expression.

And speaking of batteries… I have some pressing business to attend to.

Goodnight.


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Heartfield Approach

It's only January 21st and this year is already abound with opportunities.

With so much going on work-wise, I have felt like I need a way to keep myself in check. It would be easy to get carried away and lose focus, so, I recently decided to make a new daily practice.

My practice is to ask myself the following question: Am I doing everything I can to increase my business opportunities?

I currently have 3 businesses on the go: a meditation group called the Love Circle, a new massage and reflexology practice, and an online business called thebigswell.com. Each project is at a slightly different stage and each of them require regular tending otherwise there is a risk they will die.

But where to start? I've got a history of having at least two projects on the go at any one time and it can make it difficult to know which one to focus on. Having too much on your plate can lead to procrastination and a tendency to ruminate without actually taking action. Fortunately I'm a "take action" kinda girl, but with three streams on the go at once, I have found myself going somewhat round in circles. Hence, not doing everything I can to tend to my businesses.

So today I chose one project (my massage/reflexology practice) and did the following:

1. Checked in with my heart and soul.

Goal setting is all very well and I'm a great advocator of the volume model e.g send out 100+ letters to local GPs and chiropractors informing them of my new massage practice, then make phone call follow up list and cross fingers for 1-2% response rate. But today I took a "heartfield" approach. I figured my services are in line with a selection of specialist practitioners so I asked my heart to show me a connection that would prosper.

As I sat in my office (Gertrude & Alice cafe in Bondi), I stepped away from my Mac and spotted a business card that had been posted on their noticeboard from a local psychologist. Instantly my soul told me this was someone I needed to connect with. Trusting my intuition I researched their website and felt Yes, this is someone I align with. I subsequently emailed them and have offered to provide a complementary treatment with a view to being added to their referral list of allied practitioners and vice versa. I will call them later to follow up.*

Who knows if this person will feel the same alignment as I do, but I trust that my heart will always lead me in the right direction and I feel good about connecting with a therapist whose vision and message match mine.

2) I followed up on my To-Do list…

Second on my list was to Take Action. As well as contacting the psychologist I sent an email to the owner of the practice that I rent my massage room from with some marketing information for her next newsletter. Again, it's a simple step that has enabled me to tick something from my To-Do list and is increasing the energy I'm putting into my massage practice. Law of Attraction here I come.

3) Stepped outside my comfort zone

Every moment is an opportunity to meet someone and make a new client but it's also an opportunity to fulfill my personal vision: To Help As Many People Heal Themselves As Possible.

On my way to work this morning I passed a beauty therapist that I've known for 15 years. Her name is Judy and she is a truly angelic soul. Her partner is unwell at the moment and she had to close her business for a few weeks to look after him. She was opening shop as I walked past so I stopped to check in with her.

I could see a great sadness in her eyes so I gave her a hug. As a therapist Judy is naturally aligned to giving, but like many healers she is not so ready to receive. I know how she feels, although I've worked hard on learning to accept love from others. (Feel free to read any of my previous blogs for evidence…)

As we hugged I saw tears in Judy's eyes and I knew I had fulfilled my soul purpose by helping her to feel and know she is loved; and therefore helping her to heal.

In the past I would have left it there, but today I took that communication one step further. I told her I had opened a new healing practice and gave her my card. With love being the overriding motivation, I knew that it was OK at that time to offer my services to help heal her pain on a physical and emotional level through massage, reflexology and/or spiritual healing.

I no longer view my healing practice as a luxury and felt comfortable passing that on.

If any of us want to heal we need to make a commitment to doing so, and that includes treating our body and mind well. It also includes an energetic exchange: in most cases paying for whatever therapy we choose. What I offer is an incredible gift: I am lucky enough to have "healing hands" and an ability to understand people on a deeply kinesthetic level. I used to let my ego get in the way of that. I would regularly (albeit unconsciously) devalue my gift with an overriding thought of Who am I to heal others? That thought previously stopped me from promoting my services.

But really, who am I to not heal others? I'm a healer. I was born with this gift so my not promoting my services is actually doing a disservice not only to others but to myself.

What sort of egocentric tomfoolery is that?

We often consider the ego to mean bigging ourselves up, but it's also the opposite: belittling our talents and gifts because we've been led to believe that saying we're good at something means we think we're better than others. Not so. In this context the ego is the mind - your ideas and thoughts, but what about when there is a heart and soul being diminished as a result of those thoughts? That's also the ego at work.

Whatever your gift is, be it helping others, being a great writer, a closet artist or poet, having the ability to connect with people, being a great dancer or soccer player – whatever it is You Do Not Have The Right To Keep That Talent To Yourself.

We all have gifts and we must learn to openly use them.

Tapping into your uniqueness and acknowledging that who you are is a gift in itself can require a shift in consciousness. Take my friend Marc Nemorin for example. Marc is an incredible artist. Last year he recognised that his talent was laying dormant under a graphic design business (which he's also amazing at). Since releasing his gift from its box he has already created some amazing portraits that are selling like hotcakes. Just like Marc, I long thought that my innate ability to heal was something that was too easy for me and therefore not valid as a business and should remain small and hidden.

Luckily, I now see it differently.

With that in mind, I was able to lovingly offer my services today to someone in need. Whether they book in for a treatment is entirely up to them, but I can now sit comfortably in the knowledge that promoting my services is not something that I should hide. My gift, is just that: A Gift. I have many gifts and so do you. What are you doing about yours?

What innate gifts and talents are you hiding from the world for fear that you don't have the right to be amazing? It's probably something that is so easy for you and that you see as simply being part of who you are that you've boxed it up into a "Save For Retirement Hobby" fund. But I say open that box TODAY and look at those talents and gifts as gems, because that's what they are.

And just imagine, if we all played to our natural strengths with no fear of rejection, can you see how all our lives could turn around in a really positive way? And just think how HAPPY we'd all be!

I already feel blessed to have love what I do, but equally I'm looking forward to this new take on what is essentially my right to Be Me. If I can stay in a heart-centred space and simply let people know I am here if they want to heal then I figure the Universe will hear that call and rejoice in the fact that another person is willing to Be Free to Shine.

And on that note, I invite you to recognise your amazingness and let it out of the box. What are your gifts and when will you set them free?

Whatever they are, I'll be watching with a smile on my face as you open your talented heart and Shine.


* PS, Mary Sutherland (psychologist) contacted me an hour after I sent her that email. She came in for a treatment today and as far as I can tell, this could well be the start of a very special working relationship. [Insert HUGE thank you to the Universe here.]

Saturday, 21 December 2013

So Long 2013…

Wow, it's hard to believe that it's been over a year since I began writing this blog. What a journey it's been.

2013 has been a very interesting year for me: full of personal growth, new experiences and a lot of fun! As the year comes to a close I feel a real sense of excitement for what's to come. A new business opportunity recently landed in my path so I'm thrilled to begin 2014 with a list of goals and a steadfast austerity to making them happen.

Also on the cards is Love.

The guy I mentioned in my last blog Disappointment, Vulnerability and Victory actually contacted me the day after I posted the blog. (The Universe certainly has a sense of humour, non!) I've seen him a couple of times since then and things have gone well; the conversation flowed, we got each other's humour, and I find him incredibly attractive.

But alas, it seems my initial instincts were right. He's just not that into me. Yesterday I sent him a message asking if he wanted to catch up for breakfast today. I'm taking his lack of response as a no! But before you feel sorry for me at yet another failed attempt at finding a match, I'll spare you the distress.

Last night I had a breakthrough (love those!). Yes, I like this guy. He's funny, smart, charming, full of charisma and is a gentleman to boot. Well, on the surface anyway. I don't really know much about him other than what I have taken at face value. But last night as I sat plotting the new year I saw that for all his amazing qualities, we're just on different pages of the dating book. He's after casual fun and occasional company, I'm looking for The One.

And that, I realised, is totally OK.

So, I've decided to thank the Universe for sending me a wonderful example of how a man can be. He has so many qualities I want in a partner. All I need to do now is add "available for committed relationship" to my list! Ta-da!!!

You see, every person we meet and every experience that occurs on our path is an amazing opportunity to check in and see whether the life we're living is the life we want. In this instance, much of what I want in a man was put in front of me (thank you!!). I guess I just wasn't clear on whether I really wanted something long-term or not. But now that carrot has been dangled in front of me I can honestly say "I do!"

And boy does that feel good! I am finally clear on the fact that yes, I am ready for a committed, loving relationship, and most of all I have clarity on what kind of man I'm after; funny, a gentleman, inspiring and a creative thinker. Someone who provides loving hugs and can give me a look that says "I love you" without even saying a word. Sign me up!

So with the Love department taken care of (with a check list in tow I'm leaving it up to the Universe to go find someone while I remain open and ready to allow them into my life), there's also the business side of things. Which incase I haven't kept you up to speed, is just beginning to look very interesting as well!

As you may recall, this blog began with my following a set of principles laid out in Jacqueline Harrison's book, How To Create A Business From Nothing, which then became our co-authored book: Stress Free Business. The book is still in the pipeline. However, we have very recently taken over an exciting business project that will be launched in early 2014. I'm keeping the project under wraps for now, but suffice to say it's exciting and has enormous potential. It's just a matter of us getting our heads down, creating a watertight business plan and executing it successfully.

I am so excited about this project I cannot even tell you. 2014 is going to be a very interesting year!

Love, business success and wealth are definitely on the cards and I feel good about all the hard work I've put in to make that happen. This year has shown me that setting a goal (for me that was finding Love and becoming a millionaire) is important, and the steps to achieving that goal are generally to put one foot in front of the other (check). But the new thing I learned this year is that being flexible and allowing things to unfold organically has an altogether brightening effect on the Soul.

I set out to edit Jacqueline's book and to blog about the business principles she was writing about. Over the past 12 months, that journey has morphed into co-authoring a book, realising some of the failings that were blocking my own business success (e.g Beating Financial CancerGet RealIt's Time To Shine and The Egomaniac Strikes Back), and recognising that tied up in all of it is my desire to love and be loved! If I'd been adamant about following my original business-only plans I would never have uncovered the intricate web that makes up the emotional and spiritual side of me. And from what I can see, it's all sooo intricately linked. One thing cannot possibly exist without the other.

The business of life, and the business of business, is the business of love. It's all the same thing, delicately weaved into a gorgeous bejewelled web that sparkles with infinite possibilities.

Woop!

And so ends my last blog of 2013: a positive reflection on one of the most amazing years of my life. Since beginning this journey (which involved having no idea of how to even start a blog) I've written 39 blogs and notched up over 4500 hits which is amazing! Which leads me to my final blog words of the year:

Thank You.

Thank you so much for reading this. Without you, this blog would be nothing more than a diary entry. Writing about my journey in such a transparent way has been really therapeutic for me and it feels very special to know that somewhere out there is a community of people who know me more intimately that I could have ever imagined. I love reading your comments and I am truly humbled by the fact that people from all corners of the globe, (that I have never met), have dedicated a few minutes of their time to reading my stories.

I am truly grateful to all of you. By being there with me, you have helped me to grow as a person. I hope I have done the same for you.

I hope that the next chapters continue to capture your attention and that you enter 2014 filled with Love, inspiration and a wealth of joy.

Until next year…

Love. This. Life.




Sunday, 8 December 2013

Disappointment, Vulnerability and Victory


Today I saw The Butler; the true story of a black house servant who served at The Whitehouse for almost 30 years. What an inspiring movie.

As the film opened I wasn't sure where it was going; was it about racial equality? Was it about family values? Was it about patience leading to virtue?

By my reckoning, it was about all of that. And more.

As the film came to a close, Forest Whittaker (The Butler) had a change of heart and saw life through new eyes. I won't give away what that was incase you watch the film, but suffice to say it touched and moved me. I thought about how often we remain trapped in our own views and opinions and don't realise we are pushing other people or higher experiences away.

Why would anyone do that? Why would any of us choose to push away another human being or the chance to be a better person?

Using examples from the film, the reason we push people away is often due to pride, stubbornness and ego. But what good does that serve? Why would we put our personal pride before the choice to love someone? It doesn't make any sense and yet we do it all the time. And, as with everything, there's the flip side; putting others first instead of giving ourselves love. It's the exact same thing in reverse. As far as I can see, neither option makes much sense.

Both lead to varying degrees of disappointment. And that's where I sat earlier this week when I recognised that for decades I have been pushing men away because I've been afraid to be vulnerable. A perfect example of that occurred this week, although this story has a rather nice twist…

From Tuesday through to Thursday this week I was feeling disappointed because a guy I was growing to like isn't into me. (Stop me if you've heard this one before…) Before I go into the details let me take you back to four weeks ago when I was on yoga retreat in Maui – where the story of my disappointment was born.

I don't remember exactly how it came about but I found myself on day two of Kelli Prieur's Heartglow yoga retreat curled up in child's pose feeling tears starting to well up in my eyes. As I lay there, with my forehead resting on the floor, I felt a huge burst of sadness wash over me. Hmm…

After class I went back to my room and felt compelled to write a letter To All The Men I've Ever Known. In the letter, I forgave all the men who've had an influence in my life. I forgave them for being anything from controlling and overbearing, to dishonest and mean, to being too nice, and even loving me when I wasn't able to receive it.

Yeah, I know, it doesn't necessarily make sense, it just felt right.

It was a letter with a spiritual rather than logical flavour and it made sense to me. I was essentially letting go of all the stories I'd made up and held onto about all the men in my life.

It wasn't them, it was me.

A few days later while the sun set on Maui's horizon, we were instructed to get into horse pose and told we would hold the pose for 4 minutes. Yikes. My mind instantly went into overdrive and 30 seconds into it as my shins burned like a volcano, my inner peace went from cool, calm and collected to can-you-stop-this-red-hot-pain-please.

In short: I didn't like it.

"Breathe into it," quipped Kelli, the instructor. F*ck you, said my inner yogi.

As I stretched my legs and came out of the pose I spotted a fellow yogi behind me squatting low, still as a statue of Buddha with a face like an angel. Yeah, f*ck her too. I could feel how strong my unwillingness to hold the pose for more than 10 seconds was as my mind went from tantric to tantrum. Regardless of the inner chatter I decided that I should just get back into the pose and try again. So I did. With at least 3 minutes left on the clock I spread my thighs and squatted low, shins still burning, mind still flaring. And that's when it hit me.

BOOM!

"F*CK THIS AND F*CK YOU!" I screamed. At the top of my lungs.

Oops, did I say that out loud…?

"F**********CCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!" I yelled again. "I F*CKING HATE THIIIIISSSSSSSS!"

Somehow, my self-editing button had been switched to "off" and my mouth was actually saying (screaming at the top of her lungs actually) what my mind would usually keep to herself.

You probably don't need me to tell you that at this point, everyone in the room was looking at me. The quiet, petite, mantra singing yogi; i.e. me, was losing her shit. And it was loud.

As I stood up straight I started punching the air with my arms and legs in what looked like a bad case of kung fu fighting Gangnam-yogi style. I kicked and punched at thin air, (still screaming) until after a few seconds the fire that had been raging within me dissolved. My kung fu moves smoothed out and as suddenly as I had burst into flames, I got all Beyoncé, twisting and twirling to the beat of an inner drum that seemingly could be heard, or at least felt, by the yogis around me. As suddenly as the rage had taken me over, I felt a huge blast of joy bursting up from my feet to the crown of my head.

And then I noticed Kelli standing right in front of me.

Oh-oh, I'm in trouble.

Rather than reprimand me for disrupting her peaceful yin class, Kelli Prieur became my cheerleader. Apparently she (and the rest of the yogis as they told me later) felt as though they had just witnessed a transformation. A bit like a cosmetic surgery makeover only without the scalpels and botox. My makeover was an internal one. And boy did it feel good.

By yelling and screaming my way through my pain I somehow managed to release what felt like a lifetime of suppressed anger. How it happened I have no explanation, but I do know that it came on organically and once I'd screamed the roof off, I felt lighter, brighter and happier.*

Although it sounds ironic, this very release is what led me to feeling disappointed this week. How? Well, within an hour of landing back in Sydney, I got a text message from a guy I'd been chatting with before I left for the life-changing yoga trip. Being on a holiday high I was feeling bold and cheeky and so I suggested we meet for dinner. It went well and I've seen him a couple of times since then.

However, as my interest has slowly increased it seems his has waned; hence my disappointment. But the story doesn't end there. As I sat within the see-saw feeling of disappointment this week I felt my body telling me something else. I sat still and listened, just like I had during horse pose. The same up and down feeling of disappointment was there in my chest, but faintly below it I could feel a vague sense that the outer edges of my heart space were also being tugged open. Hmm, I thought, what's that? And then, it hit me (again). BOOM!

I was feeling Vulnerable.

Woah.

Beneath my disappointment was vulnerability. I got a clear sense that my willingness to be open to the potential of giving love and receiving love had also left me wide open to disappointment. But I realised my being vulnerable was a good thing. A breakthrough. I hadn't truly been open to giving and receiving love in years (maybe ever) and here I was openly liking someone, not quite at the loving stage but really, what's the difference? Being open is being open. Hallelujah!

Incase you haven't joined the dots, the message here is threefold:

1) In order to find a new way of being, I had to let go of some old stuff. For me, that meant taking myself away from my daily routine to a yoga retreat and screaming.
2) Letting go of that old stuff allowed me to feel safe to be vulnerable with a stranger who could potentially hurt me. As it happens, I did feel hurt, but…
3) At the bottom of my disappointment was a globe of light that I would never have found had I not taken the first step of Opening Up and Letting Go.

Just like The Butler, I had to release my pride and my ego before I was ever going to find the incredible gift that was lying at the bottom of my least favourite poses – horse and dating. Little did I know that by sitting in the sting of my burning shins and allowing myself to like someone I would burst through a ring of fire that holds the key to feeling good even when I'm being vulnerable.

And, just like The Butler, if I continue to face any inner or outer turmoil and maintain an openness and willingness to choose love, then I'm pretty sure my dream of eventually getting married and living in a beautiful beach house in Queensland is merely a few hours, days, months or years away.

Until then, I'll keep on being vulnerable.


*Screaming is not the only route to happiness, but it may help.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Dear Universe…

OK, it's been a long time between drinks but I'm slowly getting my blog back on.

Truth is, there's been so much going on in my daily life that my creative blog juices just haven't had time to make it from the blender into a glass.

However, this morning, it's a perfect Sydney Saturday and I can feel a new blend forming as I type.

The reason why I haven't been blogging is because I've been focusing on finding regular and satisfying work that allows me the time and headspace to write books and build my meditation group (The Love Circle) into a business.

You may remember from my blogs Beating Financial Cancer and It's Time To Shine how my finances have been down this year. I'd been holding out for work that made my heart sing and which yielded a regular income. I wasn't prepared to do work that didn't fill me with joy and as a result, my earnings were relatively low. Well, the great news is, I found a job that ticks both boxes!

About 3 months ago I got a call from Reader's Digest asking if I could fill in for someone who had to take unexpected leave. Lucky for me I was available. After a couple of months of filling in on a random basis, I am now doing ongoing freelance work for a magazine that I love. The people I'm working with are incredibly inspiring and lovely, there's not a fluorescent light in sight, and I find the content absolutely fascinating! Basically, I have scored a trifecta!

Had I not held out for a role that would fulfill all my requirements, I may not have been in a position to fill in for someone at such short notice, and therefore may have missed out on this opportunity altogether.

Of course, there are many ways to look at this. You could say that by throwing the dice you will eventually roll a double six. I could have found a happy and stimulating role without needing to put myself through the "turmoil" of holding out.

Whichever of the two trains of thought you hold, doesn't really matter. I feel absolutely certain that my sending a message to the Universe about the exact life I wanted to live has led to this incredible opening.

Which leads me to my next wish…

Love.

Yip, now that I have found a wholly satisfying 3-days-a-week work scenario where I get to experience regular work at a magazine I love, with people I admire and adore; I now have the luxury of at least 2 days a week that I can spend writing my books and working on other projects such as building my meditation practice and looking at starting to teach yoga.

But that's all work stuff and life isn't just about work. It's actually about love and happiness.

So here lies my next request, which I put to the Universe this morning. It went something like this:

Dear Universe,
Thank you so much for answering my prayers. I am so grateful for my wonderful life. Thank you for my amazing apartment, for the birds that wake me in the morning with their beautiful songs and for the incredible people I have in my life. I am blessed.
I would like to ask you to help me find someone to share this all with. (At this point, tears starting flowing…). 
Please can you help me to open my heart so that I can allow someone else in. I would really like to meet a soulmate; someone I can love.
Please help me to be open to finding someone to begin a new and loving relationship with. To give love and to receive love.
Thank you.
PS I would really like a dog too.

That last line even made me laugh as I said it, but it's the truth, and as you know, I intend to hold nothing back in these blogs.

And so there it is. I am ready to find love. My "light is on" as they say.

The fact that it's taken me 42 years to find the "on" switch doesn't matter. Yes, I've been in love before, but back then, I didn't love myself, so whether that was ever true love or not I don't know. It was what is was and that's totally OK.

However, I am now in the incredible position of loving myself wholly and completely. I can only guess that self-love will allow me to give love in an entirely different way. My cup is now full and constantly overflowing, as opposed to occasionally percolating and then being drained. I can honestly say there were many times when I was so busy scrambling around looking for paper filters that anyone wanting a drink was going to have a long wait.

But now I have all the ingredients laid out, chopped and ready to go, and I've gotten rid of the percolator, replacing it with a shiny new blender. The blender is constantly whizzing and whirring, serving up deliciously healthy and satisfying cups of love. Every day.

For the past 12 months or more I've been drinking it on a daily basis and sharing it with friends. But now I'm ready to open shop and find a brand new customer: namely a loving man who likes to try new things. A guy who is ready to meet his soulmate, to give and receive love like he's never known before. A man who is open to sharing his journey with me and who can give me a look that says "I love you" without having to say a word.

Yes, Love In A Cup is now open for business. I'm taking the idea out into the world. Our brand values are Love. Our mission statement is Love. Our vision statement is also Love. It's a simplistic plan and I really hope it will work. I have the backing of the Universe who is on board as an angel investor.

It's a great position to be in and if previous experience is anything to go by, I just hope in my heart I can roll another double six…


PS It would be really great if he likes dogs too.

: )


Thursday, 3 October 2013

A Fishy Tale

Well, it's been precisely 3 months since I last wrote a blog and it's been exactly the same length of time since Jacqueline Harrison and I added anything to our book Stress Free Business.

As it's been a while, I'll give you a brief recap:


1. Jacqueline Harrison came to me with a book idea and we spoke about me editing her book.
2. I started writing a blog (this blog!) about the processes in her book.
3. I approached Jacqueline about co-authoring the book.
4. Jacqueline agreed, the book took on a new life, changed its name and we began working together.
5. After about 3 months, life took us both in different directions for a while and it became 3 months before we had a chance to reconnect.
6. Today we had our first book meeting in 3 months.

Basically, the past 3 months has been a whirlwind. Fast forward to now and I can honestly say I am thrilled to be back on the book project albeit with a brand new motive.

The initial motive was to become a millionaire blogger.

Great, still loving that idea, but if I am to be completely honest, I also now have a far deeper intention for writing this blog (and the book), which may have always been there but was overshadowed by the millionaire price tag.

Wanna know what that new intention is?

Because. I. Want. To.

I know, sounds like a dumbed down version of life doesn't it. A bit like the sequel to Jaws. You already know someone's going to be eaten by the shark so what's the point in watching? The element of surprise has gone.

Will I become a millionaire or not was the whole point. The million bucks was the great white shark and it was lurking in the depths of the ocean somewhere. It was up to me to outsmart it and try to catch it before it came and bit me on the behind or swam away never to be seen again.

Trouble is, I've now gone and written the aquatic monster (i.e the lead character) out of the script which means I'm left with a plot that reads something like this…

1. Girl goes to beach at night and decides to go for a swim
2. People go to beach during the day and have a great time
3. Three men go on a fishing trip and catch nothing

Hmm.

If I was pitching that one to Steven Spielberg I doubt I'd get a bite (pun intended). Not much of a plot really. Unless I was to angle it slightly differently…

1. Girl wants to be a millionaire
2. Girl decides to do that through catching a great white (writing a book and a blog)
3. Girl realises she doesn't need to catch a great white to be rich
4. Girl decides she wants to write the book and blog anyway because it's so much fun and to heck with the shark!

And there it is. A very short blog to simply reintroduce myself back into the blogosphere and to ring the bell and announce that it's time to put my swimmers back on and get back in the water.


PS… [read: Spoiler Alert]
The shark still exists only now it's wearing the equivalent of frilly pyjamas and a pair of ugg boots (specially made fin-shaped ones). Steven Spielberg is still on the watch list and if my estimation is right, just like Jaws there will definitely be more than one sequel to this story.

PPS… Actually, you'd best keep your wits about you, because the scariest thing about any shark tale is the very moment after you've been lulled into a false sense of security and think that it's dead.

[cue the music…]