ok, I’m ready taking a deep breath full disclosure lets go.
I bare my soul to you:
It all began with a particular flavour. As I was coming into the world, the nurse pushed forcibly on my head and shouted at my Mum to “Stop pushing! The doctor isn’t here! Were not ready!” This has been a recurring theme, metaphorically.
I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s on a farm in NSW, under the big sky. I was a recluse, gymnast and tom-boy. I lost myself in books, nature and my imagination.
Sexual and family violence all but broke my spirit. The trauma made life hard. School was hell. It followed me everywhere. My nervous system was wired. Relationships were excruciating.
I was mostly dissociated. My school reports said I was a “disruptive day-dreamer”.
Gymnastics gave me a direct line to my power, and my body. But I did a lot of damage to my pelvis and ligaments – which I found out much later. I went hard.
My imagination thrived. There were early signs of creative flair.
I wanted to be a florist. Mum and my Great-Aunt grew rambling flower gardens. I cleaned up on awards on our annual pilgrimage to the local flower show. Go girl!
I was accident prone. I fell off horses, trampolines, out of trees. I stacked motorbikes and even crashed a car. So lot’s of pretty serious head injuries and hospital time (all by age 12).
Mum was really sick a a lot. I remember visiting her in hospitals. God, I missed her! I was terrified she would die… I thought it was just life, you know?
My high school didn’t run an Art class for some reason – so I decided school sucked. I was a troublemaker. But I loved Science, Cooking and Textile Design. Everything else was a struggle.
I started smoking pretty young. I fantasised about how I would die. I was soooo curious. What would happen?
In year 10, I declared I wanted to flee the small country town for Design School, and by-pass my HSC. My parents said if I applied myself and got good grades I could. I went from C’s and B’s to straight A’s. My ticket to freedom! (and my earliest experience of the results a focussed vision and a big dream could bring. Magic).
Design School at 15-19 was incredible. I LOVED it! I came alive, I was in heaven! All I did was create (and party). Life drawing, tech drawing, colour theory, design history, you name it. I soaked it up. I hung out with bohemians and creatives much older than me. I shook off the country-girl and fit right in. I re-invented myself (the first makeover of many).
I got married at 18, renovated my first house, divorced at 21. What can I say? I was mature beyond my years, but what was I thinking?
I went to night school and painted obsessively. Then I moved to Sydney, landed some awesome jobs – including designing for the Sydney Opera House. Woooohoooo!
I saved a bundle of cash and set off around the world for almost a year. The classic Aussie thing to do at 23.
I visited spectacular cities, saw my idol’s art in the worlds most prestigious galleries, did a lot of high-risk crazy shit, saw the aurora borealis, slept under the midnight Sun in Scandinavia, trekked the Himalaya’s and drank too much beer.
Sound amazing? Sure, but I was disenchanted. Lonely. Something was off and I couldn’t shake it.
I found my way back to painting, teaching Design and I started my own design company. I had big Government clients and created some wonderful stuff.
At 27 I met my Soulmate. It was powerful! But a traumatic pregnancy termination opened a can of worms from my childhood, and I descended into years of therapy, self-loathing and family annihilation. I raged against the injustices of life, and was an activist and advocate for survivors.
I found it difficult to stay in my body. I felt sexually broken. Pleasure eluded me. Art-making, dance, nature, yoga, ritual and the unwavering support of my partner were my saviours.
It was a gruelling healing journey, ultimately laden with gifts. Slowly I began to tap into a power and life-force I hadn’t imagined.
I began my Masters in Creative Arts Therapy and worked with people recovering from sexual and family violence, addiction, and people living with terminal illness.
I took on the world, doing waaaaay too much, and burnt-out. (Sound familiar?)
My partner and I transformed and sold our house. I shaved my head and we relocated interstate for a big new adventure… A huge and extraordinary old Masonic hall in the Yarra Valley. We had a big vision with no capital.
The move was a shock to my system. I had isolated myself from family and loved ones. Reeling, in the grip of despair. Broke, depressed, hemmed-in, lonely. A carbon copy of when I was young, I lost myself in my familiar comforts. I had no idea how to revive my spirit.
My partner and I slowly transformed our amazing property into a home and community venue. Things started to move. There were small signs of life…
I taught creativity and worked clinically with groups. Incredibly satisfying – but it kept the fight alive in me. I burnt myself out, again. I was ready to make peace with myself and my family. Do something more wholesome. I took 6 months to complete my Masters research project. I locked myself in my studio. I painted, danced and wrote as I faced my demons.
Tentatively, I began to reconcile my relationship with my parents. It has taken many years, some radical forgiveness and self-responsibility. We now have a wonderful, close relationship. I grieved a long time for all those years apart. I had to do a lot of work to forgive myself.
I set off, on a solo adventure to California. A summer program at Tamalpa Institute. Dance, movement, art and new friendships. Breathing space. Coming home to my body. Deep communion. A time of transition and gestation.
Back home, I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training, and my beloved 11 year relationship ended. We were amazing friends but the chemistry was not there. Years of baggage from early trauma just got in the way, time and time again. So we parted. It was simultaneously soul-destroying and liberating for me. Another long grieving process began.
I found myself with a lover (I called him in) – and my whole world opened up to pleasure. (Yes! at 37) Oh. My. God! We would journey in love for over 6 years.
In 2008 I opened a yoga studio in the Yarra Valley, and took on the property and mortgage. (This was no ordinary property. It was a rambling historical building that needed a lot of work! But I loved it. My ex said it would kill me. I was like, Ha! (Fuck you!) ….as it turns out, he wasn’t far off the mark….
A few years in, a well established issue with my unstable pelvis, right hip, psoas and Sacro-Iliac joint slowly became a chronically painful condition. I had PTSD, chronic gut issues and anxiety. My body was a mess.
Things started unraveling into an inevitable breakdown. The last straw was having a panic attack whilst teaching a workshop, followed by a surge of suicidal thoughts. You might say I came face-to-face with God. I just knew what needed to be done. So I closed my studio, sold my property, and relocated to Byron Bay to recover.
What I needed (restorative yoga, deep support…) was no where to be found.
So I immersed myself in a new, organic practice – like my life depended on it. It took a long time but gradually I began to get well. My chronic hip pain started to dissolve… and re-appear in my shoulder. I developed a fully fledged frozen shoulder. This was by far the worst pain I had ever experienced. I felt unhinged.
I began to feel the need to create safety, put my roots down. So I bought a little house and renovated it into the perfect home for me and my cat. Yay!
But the abusive neighbours from hell took me right back to my PTSD. I was pissed. What was I missing? I just wanted a break, man. I felt like a victim all over again.
My beloved niece (who’s childhood I missed up until a few years prior) got really sick. When she died, I was with her. Simultaneously the greatest tragedy and the greatest honour of my life. I found strength I never knew I had. The moment of truth was here. I surrendered. What were the options? I made a deep commitment to show up fully. I made a promise to my niece as she passed, that I would. From here on. Like never before. I even sang at her funeral in front of 400 people. Those who know me know I sing for nobody! Who was this woman? So just like that, I ended a long-standing destructive relationship with my Self and my body.
Meanwhile, the work gestated.
I was being called. I knew what I must do. It was no longer about me. “Build it, and the people will come.” I did a business course and renovated my house to include a small studio. I printed some flyers, made a website and started to teach this work. That was mid 2013.
The people did come. I stumbled, I experimented. All across Australia. Classes, workshops, 1:1’s, courses, immersions…
I now have an extraordinary heart-driven business coach, who is my very own cheer-squad. She keeps me on-track, accountable and her support is invaluable for my sanity and my vision.
I did a few Landmark courses – and got really complete on some old stuff I was still carrying around.
I did some more radical forgiveness and took responsibility for my own life. I called my abuser all these years later, and told him I forgive him. It was totally authentic and heartfelt, and utterly liberating.
I made some more agreements with myself – like no more complaining. Honour my word. No more settling. I committed to being fully aligned with my deepest knowing, and to living and breathing integrity, 100%. Stuff like that.
So, I ended my 6 year relationship. Time to face the biggest fear of all: going solo. It’s going well. I am totally smitten. I am amazed at my resiliency and commitment. I’ve tapped into a source of unprecedented energy, self-love, ease and abundance. Wooohoooo! And now all of my creative energy goes into this work – which is not work at all. It is such a joy, a privilege. It fits like nothing I’ve known. And I’ve never felt more alive, more at home in my own skin, or in the world.
With all this thrown in the mix, the work continues to develop in flavour and depth, far beyond my imaginings. Continually informed and enriched by leading edge research and literature, gifted teachers, rock-star colleagues, and priceless friendships – and of course, my work with clients and students, in tandem with my own continual inquiry, my juicy life. And mostly, my incredibly intelligent, self-regenerating Body.
I feel incredibly blessed and deeply grateful for all of it. Life is delicious! These past few years have proven to be a true testimony to the gifts born of adversity (when we are willing to do the work, stay with it, and really get it)! I am continually amazed at how resilient, adaptable and joyful I have become. A once chronically self-conscious, anxious woman. I feel liberated. I live in a pain-free body, and on the rare occasion my pelvis goes out, Iv’e got the antidote. Everything I do, every decision I make – now comes from a place of integrity and love. I took a stand for myself, and now I take a stand for you. For Humanity.
Hey, thanks for reading!
You know what? A few years back, I couldn’t have written this for myself – let alone shared it so publicly.
I’d sooner have died!
[Yep, I would have just died…]
It’s been such a transformational and empowering process! Full of insight and ‘aha’ moments, tears, laughter, celebration. Fuck yeah!!
[I recommend you try it. You just might surprise yourself!]
My intention for sharing so openly – is to be fully transparent about my imperfection and struggles.
As well as my triumphs!
To reassure you that no matter where you are – no matter how difficult life can be, how much of a funk you’re in…
It’s all gonna be ok.
…and to inspire you to take the same risk – of showing up fully in your life. Make peace with that person. Get complete on that tired old story.
Because thats what is showing up in your cells baby.
Just make peace with Life, baby. It’s that simple.
Yep, nourish and love yourself – just as you are. Forgive everyone and everything. Let the past, be the past.
and find all that you ever dreamed of….
I wish you Peace.