Deep Breaths

This time last year, I was excited by the potential of a new life. I was also absolutely terrified. That I wouldn’t have enough money. That I would fail. That I would be a hot mess for the entire year. That nothing would change. That I wouldn’t have enough money. That I wouldn’t have enough money. That I wouldn’t have enough –

You get the idea. More than all of that though, I was terrified I wouldn’t see it through. That everything would become too hard and I would just go back to what I knew. For the fourth time in my life, I had to jump, because if I didn’t, I knew I would be starving my life and my soul of something it needed, to breathe.

I think we know when we are hitting that point. We feel lost, stagnant, as if we are dying whilst we stand. We either become depressed or we change something. I had to change something.

So, I did.

From the outside, I guess it looks like I up and left my life. Big step. Lots of courage required. But, the truth is, I just put a pause on the life I lived. I created space to see what else my life could be. By doing this, I opened my life up, took the things I loved doing, and the space was there to do them.

I said yes to every opportunity, even if the opportunity was scary. I paused life as it was, and with it, I paused fear. As I’ve often said, twenty seconds of courage – acknowledge the fear, and then remind it that it isn’t driving the car (thanks, Liz Gilbert The Big Magic).

I have expanded. My life has expanded. I am happy.

At some point during the year, I let go of the fear of not enough money and really started to trust that I will always have enough. I am now working on becoming a multimillionaire within ten years, but that’s another story for another day. Especially as I face a January without income (or very little income because I will only receive what I generate for myself – and I’m cool with that. I think my bills are covered).

I have had many highlights this year. Many. I have been humbled beyond belief by the love that has opened within my life. I have been humbled by the growth of my business. I have been humbled by the sheer number of beautiful people and beautiful experiences I have encountered this year. I am in love with my life again. I am learning to see myself through the eyes of others, and loving who I am.

We create our lives. We create who we are. We create the potential and we create the lack of potential. We are in charge.

It might not be easy, but it’s easier than continuing to live a life that you don’t enjoy, and that is slowly killing your spirit and your happiness.

I am very poor. I am very happy. I needed to come to this point to embrace the riches I have, outside of money, so that the next chapters in my life generate both equally. Having money in a life not loved makes us rabid consumers and breaks our connection to who we authentically are. I am now living a life I love, it fuels trust that I will always be provided for, and generates the desire to earn more to enable the sharing of wealth with others.

It’s been an interesting year. The moment that best encapsulates it for me occurred very early on, during February, in Western Australia, when Mel taught me to snorkel.

Oh my. I still feel the fear, then the conquering of the fear as the cool water streamed past my face, stroking my cheeks, as my eyes opened to a whole other world under the surface of the water. It’s beauty caught my breath then, and holds it still.

What a wonderful life. What a wonderful world.

What will you do to create your best life?

In Transit

Waiting to check out, then we will be waiting to check in, then to board, then to get home. This is my least enjoyed aspect of travel. I am not a happy flyer. I tolerate it. I understand it is a vital part of the journey, but it is my least favourite.

Being in transit though provides time and space for reflection.

In two days this time last year, I would be boarding a plane to join others for a retreat in Varanasi, India. This time last year I had no real idea of how dramatically my life would change after that trip; no idea how much more and how fast I would move into myself with ease and comfort.

Twelve months have almost passed. My life is not what it was. I am grateful. I am blessed.

It hasn’t all been easy, and it hasn’t been without drama or pain. I set the intention to heal and healing is never easy. Having said that, healing hasn’t been as difficult as it could have been either.

I made myself a deal that anything I felt called to do, I would do. As a result, I have been drawn out of my comfort zone many times this year. Each time, I acknowledged the fear and then ignored it. And, as a result, I think I have had the happiest and most productive year of my life.

I am financially poor, but emotionally and experience rich. I know which I prefer. Bank accounts that were full no longer resemble that. I have met so many incredible people this year and have consolidated, in my heart, my existing people. I have no idea what my future holds and where I am headed, and I am at peace with that; content to be present and holding complete trust in the universe.

I am not healed; I am healing. I have not experienced anxiety in ten months and have not experienced any depression this year. I am in control of my life as much as any of us can be; it is fluid control and not dictatorial in nature.

I no longer feel shackled. I am liberated. A series of decisions and choices, mixed with naïveté as much as courage, pulled me from the mire I had been drowning in. It is an amazing gift to give to yourself. A gift that will keep giving.

I am excited to be coming home, to hug my kids, to start work again, and to continue healing and growing and moving more into the life I chose prior to this incarnation. I am happy.

Day Two: To Coober Pedy

We left Broken Hill after an amazing but short sleep. It was 5:40am. It was still dark. It was cool. Thank god for seat warmers lol.

The full moon lit the sky in pink and blue hues in front of us, lighting our path. Behind us, an incredible orange sunrise. Wide, open roads, not many on the road with us, natural environment, and you have to ask if life can get any better.

Yes, it can.

The day was up; moon had gone and sun risen. We pulled over for some photos and to stretch the legs. A train was coming and I took a video. Beautiful. I walked back to Margo. I was taking some more photos, just of bush and plants like I do. Looking at the photo there was magick happening …

Explain that one sceptics lol. There was nothing there to cause this. Well, nothing on this plane or in this realm. Margo then found some rocks. Crystals. Ice cold to the touch. I’m not sure if it is quartz or feldspar, but we will find out. A magickal stop that Margo was called to make. Transformations and shifts starting.

Our next stop was for the Giant Gum Tree. Giant? Okay, why can’t we see it towering over the town? We were sceptical, very sceptical. A village in the middle of nowhere with this it’s claim to fame.

Out of the warm car into a bitter cold to see, as Margo puts it, a fat Gum Tree. Worth it. Over 500 years old, and emanating a vibration of strength and resilience. Awe inspiring.

Back on the road. Next stop, amazing salt lakes. The Stuart Highway is signposted for photo opportunities. If you ever drive along it, keep time to stop. You will not be disappointed. These photos do the lakes no justice. Combined stops.

Woomera. Detention centre for refugees. Missile launches. Defence Force base. Hard to know how to start this. Curious, we took a slight detour and decided to check it out. As we drove in, we both felt the energy change. There was like a death pall over this community. There were cars in driveways but it felt like a ghost town, like everyone had died and the place had just stayed as it was.

Even the tourist areas had an intensely dark energy. I took photos for one of my friends and before we left, cleansed the car and is with the tuning forks. We then headed down a road that took us to the detention centre. We turned around and continued up the Stuart Highway.

Not good. Sadness, stagnation, death. Will not go again.

More salt lakes, and onto Coober Pedy.

Coober Pedy. Pictures cannot prepare you. Words cannot prepare you. It is small. It is dusty. It is a mining town. It takes five minutes to explore by car. We found our accommodation and before checking in, went to the supermarket to buy some food.

I was excited to stay in underground accommodation. We booked based on reviews. We did not see the magick that is Coober Pedy.

Margo was hesitant about the accommodation. I don’t blame her. It looked dodgy as; definitely not the phenomenon that the reviews had portrayed it as. We paid. I walked through. We debated. We left.

Onward to Uluru.

And, oh my lord, what an adventure our introduction to the Northern Territory turned out to be.

Darkness. Stillness. Maybe five cars in like six hours. Lots of kangaroos. Some cows. Not many stops. In South Australia, there are service centres of some description every two hundred or so kilometres. Not so much in the Territory. Well, not open anyway.

We had 50 or so kilometres of petrol left when we arrived at Erlunda, a petrol and accommodation stop. It was just after ten. No lights. No signs. Closed. Camping Ground locked.

You have to laugh. We rang Desert Gardens at Uluru to let them know we weren’t going to make it; our 2am arrival was off the cards. They said they would ring us back after they spoke to their security team who may be able to assist. We were two hundred kilometres away. This was service. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, they could not help us. We were resigned to sleeping in the car until the service station opened at 7.

Thank god the toilets were open.

Margo had reception. We googled other places. We rang the closest. He was closed. He didn’t want to give us petrol. He wanted us to stay where we were. He finally acquiesced and said that we could try to get there – 52 kilometres away at Mt Ebenezer. Margo was convinced that if we drove slowly, we would make it.

And, we did.

The man was happy enough to give us petrol, but was unhappy that we were driving alone at night on these roads. Apparently they are dangerous at night: kangaroos, aboriginals on ice, and cows, in that order.

How were we to know. The guidebooks didn’t say this. We won’t do it again. Even though we saw many kangaroos, a handful of cows and no iced up Aboriginals, we may have just been lucky.

What an adventure.

I slept for about an hour and a half in grabs. Margo did not sleep, thankfully, she was driving. My eyes just became so heavy they had to close; I had no control.

We reached Yulara and Desert Gardens at 3:20 this morning. Our temporary accommodation was reinstated. We slept until a 7:20am burst from the phone. Margo fell back to sleep. I haven’t.

We have a late check out from this room: noon. The retreat starts today. We meet at 3:15 at reception. I’m a little nervous. I always get this way before these things. We’ve had a great trip thus far. Hoping it continues. Excited to see Uluru later tonight.

Perplexed

I often stay away from using those little ads-ons on Facebook. You know, those things you can attach temporarily to your profile picture. I think the only ones I have ever attached were for the Syrian crisis and miscarriage awareness. I might be wrong, but I don’t think so.

I realised this morning why I stay away from them. I’m fairly open with what I believe, and most people can predict what’s my politics lie after even a short conversation with me. This morning I was scrolling through my newsfeed and one of my friends has one of those things on their profile picture. Irrelevant what it is about, but it goes against what I believe and I felt jarred when I read it.

One of my fundamental beliefs, lying at the core of all of my beliefs, is that we all have the right to do whatever we want to AS LONG AS WHAT WE DO HURTS NO ONE ELSE. I try very hard to not hurt others, and when I feel that I have, I own it and try to make good.

I understand why we need laws: to protect the rights and freedoms of all. But, for the life of me, I do not understand why marriage comes under that, for two consenting adult people anyway.

It perplexes me that this is such an issue in my home country. We tout ourselves as a welcoming and inclusive country, very relaxed and happy people living the good life.

I think we must mean though, only if you are white and a Christian and heterosexual and mainstream and you don’t push any buttons or believe in weird things. As long as you fit into the box.

My whole teaching career, I never really fit into that box, the one that makes you an acceptable teacher, a role model for others. No one looked at my practice and said, “Man, she really gets the kids to work hard and they seem to enjoy it. We should try to learn from what she is doing.”

Instead, I was marginalised, talked about, targeted, judged, shut down. People perceived me as arrogant rather than knowledgable. People think I pushed the boundaries too far rather than doing what I needed to inspire my kids to want more from themselves.

Interestingly, the qualities I felt condemned for in schools, that I believe made me an exceptional teacher, definitely one of the very best, are the qualities that are growing my business. I am grateful.

I think society, meaning all of us, needs to be careful how we judge other people, and really look at the boxes we confine people to. I think, too often, we are stopping integral people from being exactly who they are and exactly what this world needs.

I think we need to check ourselves on this. All of the time.

Heading Home

Today I start the mammoth journey home. A flight from Kangra to Delhi, and then much later tonight, Delhi to home. I feel so blessed to have been able to take this journey, but I am missing my fur kids. I will be happy to come home. 

I love India. What an amazing place. So many paradoxes. Technology has pushed communication forward but still so many rituals observed. 

Possibly the most amazing thing about India is the spirituality and reverence for deity. Even still, to some it is about consumerism. On Monday during our tour of Dharamshala, we were stopped on the roadside. I didn’t know what was happening but these people had been pulling everyone over. They ask for money, give a handful of rice, and I think a  blessing  of sorts. I gave 10 rupee. The man asked for more and my guide showed him an empty wallet. We drove off and laughed. I think I understood the situation. 

And, women. So many arranged marriages. And traditional and modest clothing, except for adolescent girls, who wear tight jeans. It’s interesting to watch. Personally, I love the clothing and am thinking of adopting the style at home. I love the colours. And then I read about the acid burning, the abuse, and I am grateful that I haven’t seen it. 

Is that bad? 

I have received questions about not being married and travelling alone. And if I am being honest, I don’t think I would travel here alone again. I have felt mostly safe this time but I have been guarded here. And a bit of a novelty. 

I shall miss the busy and the relaxed side by side, the monkeys, the cows, the dogs, the beauty of the environment, the intense reverence for ritual, and the feeling you get when you connect with the local people. 

In the goddess temple on Monday, I was the only western woman, had no real idea what I was doing, and was adopted by a young girl, who taught and explained the rituals. Her brothers were impressed by her boldness, and this inspired other women to talk to me (about my hair – freaked them out). That connection was raw and powerful. It was lovely. 


And then, at the church, I felt none of that life or passion or raw ritual. Western religion is definitely not for me. I’m wondering how I will embed ritual into my life when I get home. A spiritual ritual. Setting up an altar will be first. I’ve fallen for Green Tara in Buddhism; the connection was strong. I might start there. 

At any rate, an amazing trip that will impact my choices well into the future.

I would like to become involved in organising resources for the school Mel and I visited last Friday (the reason I am so sick I am sure). I want to write. I want to run groups for healing and growth. I want a less rigidly structured life with more freedom and empowerment; I no longer want to be a slave to the machine. 

I am blessed. I am free. 

Namaste 🙏🏻 

Final regards from India. Tomorrow I will be home. 

❤️

The Danger of Labels 

I was shy as a child. I was shy, unless drunk, in my twenties. I said I was shy in my thirties, and I believed it. I have said I am shy in my forties, but it’s no longer true. I was told I was fat as a child. I was told I was fat as a teenager. I was not fat, not as a child and not as a teenager. I am now. 

I call myself ugly. This isn’t true. Even though I am fat. 

Labels are dangerous. They limit us. They hinder us from fulfilling our fullest potential. Even positive labels. I am a good person. But I can be a cranky cow. If you believe I am only a good person, you won’t accept me when I’m not. 

The labels we put on ourselves are the most damaging. I have let, I’m quite sure, my labels define me, and define my life choices.

I was unworthy, undeserving, unlovable. 

All garbage. And, as a result, I didn’t believe that I was worthy, deserving and lovable. 
I am. 
I am perfect in my imperfection. 

And, so are you. 
Today we welcomed and explored Lakshmi Shakti. We honoured ourselves collectively and individually as priestesses of Lakshmi. We started cleansing our shame. 

The group connectedness and energy here is palpable. We are a mighty group of women, empowering ourselves here whilst immersed in a culture that does not offer the same to all of our sisters. 

The individual connections I have made here are inspiring in their illumination of what is possible. Today we embraced our voices. We sang our song. Literally and metaphorically. Today, healing became conscious. 
I forgive myself for labeling myself. 

I forgive myself for self-imposed limitations as a result of the labels. 

I forgive myself for everything that I failed to do as a result of the limitations of the labels. 
I forgive me. 
I will not let me be silenced by labels, arbitrary rules or by others any more. 

For over 34 weeks I have been under investigation for allegedly failing to report the alleged misconduct of others. I have been shackled and made voiceless. This shackling triggered memories of childhood dysfunction and abuse. It brought back childhood shame. It breathed fire into dormant feelings of not being enough. 

And for thirty four weeks I have struggled because a system is telling me that who I am, a warrior woman, is not allowed to be. 

Today, I have reclaimed my voice. 

Today, I am me. 

I forgive myself. I forgive the system. I forgive those that enforce the system. 

And I have faith that all is as it should be. And that all that is meant to be, will be. 
Thank you to my new friends, Mel and Rayleigh, for allowing me to find the words. And to Alana, for the opportunity in sacred space to heal. 

Institutions That Bind 

It’s been a while. The power of the institution has eclipsed me and I have felt bound. I am currently loosening the ties. 

However, yesterday a sportsperson has found themselves in a world of trouble for associating with an ex footballer, now known for their membership in a bikie gang and facing prosecution for crime. The sportsperson hasn’t commented at this point. What could they possibly say?

I’ve been told that I’m not allowed to choose my own friends even though I’m an adult. Or, perceptions are more important than reality or truth. Or, because of my community profile I’m not a person permitted the same freedoms as others. 

I don’t know the context of their relationship. I also don’t care, as long as no one is being directly hurt by it. If Haynes’ friend is a criminal, well, our justice system will take care of that. 

I do not understand why the institution of public scrutiny is given the power it has. It is absolutely ridiculous. People should be permitted to live their own lives, free from institutional intrusion, as long as they are not compromising the rights of others. This higher level of accountability and scrutiny is absolutely ludicrous. 

The binds of the institution likewise. 

For most of this year (seven months almost), I have felt bound. A circumstance I find myself in has changed me. It has instructed me to be someone I am not. It has forced me to question every choice that I have ever made. I do not walk this earth freely as a result. And I am filled with irrational fear and anxiety. 

And that is attracting like energy. I find myself feeling shame, feeling guilt, feeling fear. I second guess almost every decision, choice, action. I have silenced and castrated myself. Not a healthy way to live. 

But, the institutions of our society have power. It isn’t real power. I still have free will. Fear represses the urge to manifest it. 

I think it is similar to how victims/survivors of bullying, abuse, violence, addiction feel. That loss of freedom and trust in the self. 

I am moving through this. My core essence is still with me. The witch is trusting that magick will win. After all, persecution is not new here. This is not the first time she has felt silenced. But, this will be the last time. 

Some of our institutions have passed their usefulness. In this day and age, in this western world, we can choose freedom. It just means sacrifice. I am now preparing myself for that. 

New paths await. My soul is singing to soar. I will not disappoint it. 

A Butterfly and a Boy

I woke up feeling like crap. I struggled to get out of bed, shower and get dressed. I didn’t make breakfast. I don’t like what I’m wearing. I argued with bureaucracies the entire half hour it takes me to drive to work. I willed my car to make it the distance.

Upset, angry, defeated, I pulled into the car park.

One of our Year 7 boys was doing something next to a teacher’s car. I thought, Yep, gonna be a great day. I sat and watched him. He was kneeling in the grass.

He turned around. On his finger was a beautiful butterfly.

He placed it gently onto his school bag and walking slowly, kept his eye turned upon it.

My anger, pain, frustration, seeped out of my pores and into tears. Tears of the beauty in this simple act. A boy looking out for a butterfly. Something so pure, so innocent, so beautiful, so inspiring.

I stopped to talk to him. I  thanked him for reminding me that life can be truly beautiful. He told me it couldn’t fly. I  told him to make sure he put it back on the grass where it was safe then, before the other kids came and tried to kill it.

Looks like we both made new friends this morning.

The Day Awaits

I love this time of the day. When you wake up and there is promise lying ahead of you. I feel it more keenly on weekends when my body wakes naturally and there is no compulsion, beyond going to the loo, to immediately get up. Max and Molly, my fur kids, love it too. Snuggles is how Saturday’s and Sunday’s start. 

Peace. Tranquility. Soul time. 

And that feeling of promise. Hope. Inspiration. 

I am the composer for this day. It will be whatever I choose for it to be. The master of my own world. And destiny. 

If only for today. 

There are still things that should be done but they don’t always win out. There are things that could be done, and this is where the magic lies. A state of friction between should and could

Sometimes should wins. Sometimes could does. Often, though, nothing does. 

And I am okay with that. 

It is my day, my gift, my blank piece of paper. 

I will write on it as I see fit. 

The Childless Choice

I had lunch yesterday with two of my besties and after a brief catch up, the conversation became quite deep quite quickly (as it does when you are speaking to people who know you).

We are all at different stages in our lives. I’m thirteen/fourteen years older than they are. I’m unmarried and childless (you all know my journey). One is married and remains childless by choice. The third of us is unmarried, single and childless. She is probably the one of us going through the most significant personal growth at the moment. 

Our discussion centred around the perceived differences between life with children and life without, and what it means in our society for someone, especially women, to be childless. 

I’ve always wanted my own children but the girls really forced me to question why. And whether those reasons are still relevant in my life today. And if there are other things that I might want more. Basically, they were asking what the pay off (as Dr Phil would say) would be for each path. And it has left me thinking. 

Fortunately, I leave Sydney tomorrow, not on a jet plane, but on a cruise ship, for two weeks, where I will have time and open ocean to consider these questions. 

My married friend and her husband enjoy their life together. They provide one another room to grow, and support each other’s interests. She says that whilst being childless is her choice, and she feels it is the right one for them, that she still acknowledges there will be times in her life when she will grieve that choice. And that’s okay. 

And that’s okay. 

What empowering words. 

And food for thought. 

There is much that I desire to achieve throughout my life. I have enjoyed my free time during the holidays. Mostly I have enjoyed reading and writing for hours on end. And I mean hours. One after the other. Silence embracing me to allow the creative spirit to enter unencumbered. No interruptions. Nothing else to do. 

And I’m left asking, do I want this more? 

My other friend, childless and single but significantly younger than me, is contemplating her future. She says that she isn’t ready for kids for at least ten years. She wants to travel, continue to have fun, and find a partner to share her life with her. She is looking in to options for child bearing that will support her choices. 

What a wonderful time in civilisation it is that we, as women, have a measure of control over our destinies. All it takes is courage to not follow the status quo. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the status quo if that is what you want. There is something wrong with it if you want something else. 

I feel very blessed to have these two as my friends. They prove to me that it is okay for us to follow our own paths, even against the status quo. I equally feel blessed to have so many of my other close friends in exceptionally happy and healthy marriages. They prove to me that the fairytale does exist and I’ve been right to not settle. 

I also feel very blessed that in my travels in the last five years I have met many over forty childless by choice women who are empowered and living their dream. 

And I feel blessed to have shared the fertility/infertility journey with other women. One of whom, after failed attempts at IVF, is currently in another country celebrating her freedom. 

I have some deep searching to do during my cruise. I stand at an important cross roads: What do I really want?