A story of Love, Loss and Coming Home
At 29 I had a corporate career, husband, home and plans for a family. I’d struggled with bouts of depression on and off through my teens and 20’s after the death of my mum when I was young but still I thought I was mostly happy and doing OK. Everyone I knew was on some kind of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication so I accepted this was ‘normal’. I’d ticked all the boxes of house, husband & career so I must be OK yes?! No, very much No! At some point just after my 30th birthday I realised I was 30 something and totally, completely and utterly over it – I was living a life that felt so foreign to me. I didn’t remember signing up for these things or deciding that they were important to me. But I also had no idea what was important to me or who I was. 11 years into a relationship and government career I found myself stressed and disillusioned by the life I was living and knew something had to change.
Before my next birthday arrived I had sold my home and left my marriage and stood face to face with a nervous breakdown as life as I knew it fell apart. I lost myself in a mix of self pity, alcohol and sleeping tablets and found myself wondering what was the point of anything. I hit rock bottom and I didn’t know how to get back up. So I did what seemed like the only option at the time – I planned my escape & booked an overseas trip. I put my career on hold and I travelled to shiny new places in search of what might bring me back to life.
I had a lot of fun, I met new people, I reinvented myself, I danced, I drank, I enjoyed the fruits of my working years and I saw lots of beautiful places (and I have many beautiful memories).
But 2 months into my travel I was hit by the devastating news my mother in law had taken her life and maybe it sounds dramatic but at that point my life changed forever. She had been the centre of my family for more than a decade and was the second mum I’d lost in this life – I didn’t know it yet but her death opened me to feel the depth of my mother loss. I can remember sitting on the very very very long plane ride home from the UK realising that life had just gotten very real. In those hours I cried a lot, wrote a lot and I resolved to get straight back on the plane after her funeral to continue my adventures. But I had a new purpose and a new resolve to truly explore my inner world – I knew if I didn’t face my demons then I’d be fighting them for the rest of my life.
What began as a 3 month holiday, became 12 months of leave and then 8 years of deep soul searching. I lived in Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru and India and found myself immersed in the beautiful heart opening practices of yoga, meditation, ceremonial cacao and community living.
When I realised life was limited only by my mind, I asked myself “What would I do if money were no object?” My answer was…
‘I would watch the sunrise and the sunset, spend time in nature, meditate & practice yoga every day, and share this with others’.
I felt like I’d received such a blessing to have tasted a life that was far more than the ticked boxes I had been living. And I wanted every person I ever met to also feel the liberation of loving the life they lived. I discovered that connection with myself and others was hugely important to me and that I could feel calm in the body & mind – it turns out stress wasn’t my natural state. I was excited to share this with others. For years I travelled with the intention in my heart to keep sharing the teachings I’d been blessed with and each time I revisited my vision, I felt sure it hadn’t changed. Yet somehow even when I was sitting on a beach or at the top of a mountain watching in awe of each sunrise and sunset, studying or teaching yoga & meditation in a community that I adored something was missing, there was still a sense of something more that I couldn’t put to rest. A sense that it wasn’t enough and deeper than that, that I wasn’t enough.
It wasn’t until I began to slow down with the travels, to move less, do less, listen more, RELAX and stop trying to figure out what I would do next that it became clearer and clearer that sharing had absolutely nothing to do with what I did or where I was. It was about how deeply I could rest into my own being, in this moment. How deeply could I accept myself and life exactly as it was, right now? And this fundamentally influenced how I shared because true sharing wasn’t possible unless I was prepared to be absolutely completely authentic, raw and vulnerable with myself and others.
SLOW DOWN, DO LESS, LISTEN MORE…..RELAX AND LISTEN
In the words of my favourite shame and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown, “I believe that as human beings we are hard wired for connection” and connection isn’t only about sharing the love and light and joy, you know the nice, easy bits. For me, it has been in the darkest hours that the greatest connections have revealed themselves. It’s in the moments where life urged me, in not always the most gentle of ways, to crack open the hard shell around my heart without any thought of trying to put it back together again. These are the moments I’ve allowed life to flow as it was and felt the purest most life affirming connections with beautiful people.
But it wasn’t until I returned to Australia that the real invitation to do the work came. Could I be back in my home country, with responsibilities and financial commitments and still live an inspired life? With no money in the bank, no car, no home, no partner and no job could I see life through the same loved filled filters I’d discovered when I travelled? Could I have the heart connections I really longed for? For the most part I answer Yes.
You see travel was never about the places I visited, it was always about the heartfelt connections experienced. Yoga wasn’t about how flexible this body is, it was about revealing true union in Life, in every single moment. And Love well Love isn’t about a romantic idea of a white knight in shining dharma (thanks to the magical Keith Wilson for introducing me to this idea!) waiting to ride off with me into the sunset, although I have been blessed with these adventures too!
Life looks very different these days but Love is what calls me out of bed each morning, it is the Grace in every breath taken, word spoken, tear cried and hand held. It is the wisdom of the trees, the magic in a sunrise, the simplicity of a dragonfly, the vulnerability of a heartbroken friend willing to speak their truth, it’s the twinkle of the stars, the sparkle in the eye of a child…and a child at heart, it’s the Grace that flows through every cell of our being and equally it is the unexpected experiences of life that nudge us again and again to open our hearts and go Home.
Yoga isn’t about how flexible..or not, this body or mind is, it’s about revealing true union – not just on the mat but in every day life, in every single moment.
Life for me is about exploring and sharing the mystery of the heArt…LOVE…Grace…our true nature. But more simply than that I am here to embody this mystical and very human experience and to share that with you in all it’s fantastically perfectly imperfectness. Why? For no other reason than to share, and because I love to research and tell stories and to provide a space where you may feel safe and inspired to relax, let go and explore who you really are.
While my own journey continues each day, my greatest joy and excitement is in helping others to find REST – through loving presence, self enquiry, breath, movement, ceremonial cacao, yoga and meditation. There is nothing more magical in this world than to see the fresh sparkle in the eye that comes when someone’s entire body, nervous system, mind & Heart is at rest.
When we start to slow down in the body we start to tune in to an inner aliveness, and REST becomes possible no matter where we are or what we’re doing, because it is what we ARE at our very core.
I now live in Perth and I teach yoga, mindfulness, women’s embodiment and offer cacao ceremonies at several spaces in Perth. Offering support and love for seekers of truth and the spiritual heart I continue to immerse myself in the study of Meditation, Yoga, Emotions, Psychology, Grief, Loss and Trauma counselling and I have a special passion in yoga as a tool for anxiety, depression and the highly sensitive person.
I believe this life is to be loved and lived and that it is our birthright to thrive not just survive. I also believe that vulnerability, self acceptance, gentleness, kindness and embodying the fullness of our emotions is key to living an inspired, wholehearted life.
I am honoured by all of the magical hearts that choose to work with me each day and who every day teach me what it means to truly be alive in this world. Thank you for being a part of this precious journey home.
Namaste….the light in me sees and honours the light in you ❤
‘The only beauty that lasts, is the beauty of the Heart ~ Rumi