Change your language, change your world

Since I was a little girl, my mum has always instilled in me the knowledge that I “speak things in to being” – if us kids ever said anything negative about ourselves (or others) mum would literally make us “take back our words” and replace them with something positive.

I remember when I then got my first full time job in an Accounting firm as a junior administrator, and was responsible for answering and transferring calls. There was an exceedingly wealthy and successful business man who would always call to speak to his accountant and the first time I was ‘lucky’ enough to answer the phone the conversation went a little like this;

Me: “You’ve called Acute and you’re speaking with Anna how can I help you”.

Him: “Hello Anna, it’s <man> here, how are you today?”

Me: “I’m not bad thank you for asking, how are you?”

Him: “So you’re terrible then are you?”

Me: “no no, you might have missed heard me I said not bad”

Him: “no I heard you perfectly fine you just have horrendous language around trying to tell me you’re well. Next time Anna someone asks you how you are, instead of saying two negative words, ‘not’ and ‘bad’ why don’t you try saying ‘well’.

Me: “I absolutely will, and transferring you through to <name> now.

I remember actually being quite shaken after that call – interestingly, because he wasn’t trying to be mean but to a young impressionable (albeit wild) 18 year kid being schooled on language was so far out of my usual and I knew forever more “not bad” would be stricken from my vocabulary. In fact, working my way up in that company to then Receptionist and Office Manager I would train the new junior administrators on that exact language and what not to say.

Language has always therefore been so huge for me, and as I’ve gotten older and read more books, it’s gotten even MORE important to me.

Then, as I’ve written about countless times before, I picked up my first personal development book, Awaken the giant within by Tony Robbins and there was a whole chapter on language and speaking to the power of our words and how they truly shape our whole reality.

It was like a slap across the face in the BEST of ways again.

I then went from formalities of saying things like “well” and “fine thank you” when people asked how I was, to saying words like “I’m exceptional” or “I’m amazing thank you!” or my favourite “I’m extraordinary thanks for asking how about you” …

I learned that even in the moments that maybe I wasn’t those things (I get you can’t be lickity schmick all the damn time of course) but saying “shit house” or “not bad” or “yeah ok” was FAR worse and going to attract much of the same bad, ok or shit house feelings and things in to my life. Where as exceptional, amazing and extraordinary – well, guess what I then get to attract more of in to my life. Bingo.

I have practiced bettering my language consciously now for 8 years, and I STILL every single day beam ear to ear when someone (without fail) replies back to my “I’m amazing thanks for asking” or “ I am phenomenal” with “oh gosh that is just the best I have not heard a response like that in years (or ever). So even on the days I maybe don’t feel thatttt phenomenal but I say it, I immediately DO feel phenomenal because a) I am manifesting those emotions and feelings in to my life, and b) I immediately do feel phenomenal because of the response it illicits back from those I am connecting with, and what a gift that is.

Then something profound and cool happened just yesterday; whilst reading my current book, ‘You are a bad ass at making money’ by Jen Sincero, I was yet again reminded of how much BETTER even I can do. This particular chapter was on watching your language around money as obviously the Universal Intelligence (God, the universe, aliens, unicorns, allah – whatever your jam is) is ALWAYS listening and providing you more of what you want.

Now, you’ve just heard I have been consciously working on this ‘stuff’, on my language and ensuring I choose my words carefully every single day for 8 years now so you’d think I would have been pretty across this idea but I was slapped in the face AGAIN (best slaps ever though right) and woken up to the fact that in actual fact, when it comes to MONEY my language isn’t where it should be.

In the book, Jen listed out the following. She said we need to be aware of when we (and those around us – because you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with don’t forget that) say the following;

I want (because it means you lack).

I wish (because its saying you’re not in control which is disempowering).

I need (saying you don’t already have it = lack again).

I can’t (well, that one is obvious!).

I’m trying (and trying isn’t ‘I’m committed now is it).  

I hope (showing you lack faith, as it might not happen).

I should (sooo maybe you will or maybe you won’t).

I don’t know (spoken as truth, slams doors shut on finding the truth).

Brilliantly though, Jen then went on to also list MAGNIFICENT replacements though .. so instead of the above the book offered up to try saying instead….

I have  

I create

I’m grateful for

I enjoy

I can

I choose

I LOVE

Put super simply and cleanly because everybody loves it laid out as obviously as possible we need to follow the table below …

INSTEAD OF SAYING THIS …. SAY THIS INSTEAD ….
I want I have
I wish I create
I need I’m grateful for
I can’t I enjoy
I’m trying I can
I hope I will
I should I choose
I don’t know I’m trying to work that out

So instead of saying;

I can’t achieve that as I honestly don’t know how I’ll ever get there…

We can say instead;

I enjoy that I am learning every day on how I AM going to achieve xyz as I know I will get there.

Instead of saying;

I want < insert business or personal goal here > ..

We can say instead;

I have all that I need to achieve < insert business or personal goal here > and am so grateful that abundance is all around me.

Whether you believe it or not the truth is, we truly are manifesting and bringing about our reality every single moment of every single day with every thought we think and word we speak, and I know that I know that I know, even these small little changes at the start of my sentences can and will drastically change the course of all of our lives.

We have the decision every single day to choose, choose what we are thinking, choose what we are saying and therefore choose what we are manifesting and creating, and I as of this day, I am committing forevermore to getting to that level of specificity with my language, and if you’re so called to as well, I think it’ll all just help in consciously moving this planet forward to LOVE that little (a lot) more.

My second favourite F word

Freedom.

Hmmm. A 7 letter word that can mean SO MANY DIFFERENT things to so many people.

And you know what? I get some people even cringe when they hear that word these days because it’s almost so overused. And granted, us network marketers are a little to blame for that.

Here is the thing though, just because you haven’t aligned with other people’s version of what freedom is to them, doesn’t mean that you should switch off from the word. You also absolutely shouldn’t think that a version of Freedom isn’t available to you, because it is.

I live a pretty public life (happily). You will regularly (if you follow me over on Instagram) see me share our day-to-day lives, working from home (or cafes, or from wherever and whenever), being at the gym, us travelling the world, and the general musings of what happens in our life.

That, all of that – just the very basics of how I live, day-to-day, getting to choose where I work from, who I work with, when I work, and then getting to travel the world – is my idea of freedom.

And although that is MY version of Freedom, it doesn’t have to be yours.

(Full disclosure: I have been told by many mums in my team working from the beach doesn’t interest them at ALL. Point is, I get it.)

What I DO want to encourage you today to do however is know what Freedom DOES mean to you.

Is it your exact current reality? How beautiful – how can you then help more people find their own version of that though.

Is it being a stay at home mum that is the best baker & homemaker of all time? Perfect.

Is it actually owning a bricks and mortar business but that you get to CEO the pants off. That’s completely rad.

Is it being able to wake up when you want and earn passive income from investments you’ve managed to build up? Boomshakalaka. Fist bump.

Is it never having to worry about a bill again. Goosebumps, I feel you on that one.

Or maybe it’s travelling the world working from every infinity pool that you can find in all of your favourite countries (cocktail in hand of course). Can I come?

My point is,  my version of freedom, or other people’s versions of freedom might not resonate AT ALL with you and that’s ok. All I ever want is to inspire you to know what YOUR version of freedom is and start to move towards that, by living by example with my own.

My version of freedom is the life I get to lead every single day.

{ The view on my run this morning from Bondi to Bronte – and back }

It means that I get CHOICE, every single day, of where I want to be in the world. It’s how I move my body (but more specifically WHEN – 530am weights session? Awesome. 10am run? You bet. 1pm Pilates class? Why not. ). It’s working from wherever I want, with the hours that I want with NO BOSS (shout out to all my other soul sisters & brothers who have problems with authority). It’s earning an uncapped income that is tied to my EFFORT, not an income a corporation sets. It’s not stressing about bills, ever, because I found the power of residual income (that still blows my mind to tears every single day). And it’s knowing that when I become a mum, I still get to do all of the above with ease.

That’s freedom to me.

This morning, I woke up in a beautiful apartment in Bondi where I am staying for the week for a beautiful mix of business and pleasure. I woke up because my body was ready to wake up (I am an early riser by nature). I went running along the coast line, stopping when I got to a beach (Bronte) I sat at and just watched the waves for a good 30 minutes at. Why? Because I didn’t have to rush back to get ready for a j.o.b. I ran back towards the apartment when I felt ready for a coffee, and sat in a window in the sun people watching for another 30 minutes slowly finishing my coffee and organic breakfast smoothie. It’s now 11am and I am working from another gorgeous café by myself, writing this blog post, with the day ahead of me to do as I please.

Travel, and working from cafe’s and exercise may not be your jam AT ALL. Sleeping in and being home and having a boss may be your version of freedom (extreme opposites but you get my point).

{ Finding gorgeous cafe’s to work from no matter where in the world I am – is freedom and happiness to me }

I think the most important thing to ‘get’ from this though, is that it’s more important than ever to work out your own version of freedom. What does that FEEL like for you? What does that LOOK like for you?

And just know that you can have that. You really can.

Of course, MOST versions of freedom come down to need more time and more money, which I completely understand (as time and financial freedom IS my version of freedom) and getting to that stage takes work, of course, I know because we have done that and continue to work hard (on things we love) for that as well – but it’s WORTH IT.

I know as well that what Morgan and I do in network marketing isn’t for everybody, it IS however for a LOT of people and maybe you’re that person.

Maybe you’re sick and tired of working for the man or living pay cheque to pay cheque – or bigger than that, maybe you’re sick and tired of not living your version of Freedom. Or maybe you don’t even KNOW what Freedom would look and feel like for you as you’re so far from that (we get that too, we help lot’s of people who are at that stage as well).

But either way, getting to live our own life on our terms is only fun when we get to do with others who are doing the same.

And we’re ready to help you.

So if you are inspired, and would like to know if maybe, just MAYBE we can help you on your own version of Freedom, you can always get in touch with us over on our “vision” page. 

Either way – my own vow to you is to keep showing up to inspire daily, and just know, the day you ARE ready, our door is always open.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image: Instagram image by @chloe_bh

 

 

How to plan a perfect trip to Lisbon

Whenever I know Morgan and I are headed to a new city, I initially stay away from Trip Advisor (although it really is a phenomenal website) and I head straight to Pinterest. I am such a visual person you see, and you can tell me to go somewhere or talk about how magnificent it is – but I want to SEE what you’re talking about. So Pinterest to me is how I visualise and set up our trip or the main parts of it before we have even left.

Lisbon was no different. Before we had left I had ensured visually I knew what I wanted to go and marvel at myself and the kinds of beautiful pictures I wanted to pap to remember our trip by.

We ended up spending 4 full days in Lisbon and if I got to re write my whoel itinerary again I would still do the exact same. It was long enough to really get to spend quality time in the city that completely stole our heart without thinking for a moment we were ready to move on.

{ Walking the hill that the Santa Justa Lift takes in the gorgeous Bairro Alto area }

I was so very grateful for every single blog I read before we left from travellers that had gone before us (that I found via Pinterest photos) so I wanted to repay the favour and write my own piece on what we did and saw in our 4 days.

Here is the thing though – an itinerary that works incredibly for one couple or solo traveller might not work at all for another, so although I am going to share what we did, where we ate and the tours we did, the best time you will have is treading your own path and dancing to the own rhythm of your travel drum, remember that.

For those that just want a bit of inspiration so you really do feel like you saw and did a lot of what Lisbon had to offer, read on compadre read on.

If you are someone who doesn’t like reading and just loves or wants a good clear itinerary of what to do in a city so you can pick and choose (something that almost all blogs lack) then you’re in luck, as I am just going to plainly post out exactly what we did and where we went below. If you don’t mind devouring a good ole travel blog though I encourage you to read on as I go in to more detail in the continued part of the blog.


LISBON ITINERARY 1.0.1

DISTRICTS TO EXPLORE..

Alfama district

Chialdo district

Toured the Bairro Alto area

Drank coffee / ate Tapas in Mouraria

FOOD / RESTAURANTS TO EAT AT..

Eat custard tarts from Manteigaria Fabrica

Drink sangria from rooftop bar – Topo

Have lunch / drinks at Time Out Market

Drink Sangria + Japanese food at Silks (also a rooftop bar)

TOURS / ADVENTURES HAD ..

Walked the Praca do Comercio square

Walked the Tagus River

Toured Torre De Belemr

Watched sunset from Miradouro look out (highest look out in the city)

Food Tour in Lisbon (we did this one and HIGHLY recommend it)

Day trip to Sintra (Walked up the mountain, Castle of the Moors, National Palace of Pena. And ate at: Saudade, Tascantiga)

Now for those who want to read on, and indulge my new found passion of this city I would love to take you on a bit of a longer journey of what to do, see and eat!


So I feel a trip to this gorgeous city can be distinctly broken down in to 3 core areas, and when you do a little (or all) from column a, a little (or all) from column b and a little (or all) from column c – you have yourself the perfect Lisbon adventure mapped out ahead of you.

{ Stumbling across my favourite little area in Portugal; Mouraria – loved every corner and turn, especially art like this }

Those 3 areas are;

  1. Districts to explore
  2. Food / Restaurants to eat at
  3. Adventures / Tours to do

Lisbon isn’t a small city (like say Porto) and there are a lot of phenomenal places to explore. And here is the thing, when I say explore I MEAN explore. I don’t mean, get on a crammed tram, hope for a window seat and then half hang out of it with your camera to (hopefully) snap parts of the city as the tram whizzes by. I mean explore…by foot.

Morgan and I clocked up over 70km in 3 ½ days by foot and it truly was the best way to see the city.

One of the most famous things to do in Lisbon and what you’ll read on every other blog of ‘to do’ is to catch the Tram #28. It’s an institution of Lisbon and takes you on some beautiful routes. Thing is, Morgan and I didn’t step foot on it. What we DID do however was learn where the tracks were, and follow them on foot. That way we avoided the crowded trams (and the pick pocketers who wait for tourists to let their guide down) and instead got to see far more of the little sights you’d miss on an otherwise crowded and moving tram.

But back to the areas to explore.

Districts to explore

{ Walking around the beautiful and vast Praca do Comercio square that is on the border of Alfama & Bairro Alto }

The main ones we stuck to, went back to, fell madly in love with and know you will too were;

  • Alfama
  • Chialdo
  • Bairro Alto
  • Mouraria

If you have only a day or so, you can still hit them all easily. Even by foot. Alfama & Chialdo AND Bairro Alto are all next to each other in terms of areas and Mouraria isn’t too far away either.

Bairro Alto is such a vibe’y gorgeous area but is best once the sun starts to go down, that is where you’re absolutely going to want to go for a drink in the evening and just get lost in the crowds and music.

My favourite little hidden gem though that I loved the most was Mouraria – no other blogs I had read had talked about it and we only found it as our guide on our food tour took us through this area. We walked past the entrance so many times, literally a small ally that you would never even notice if you weren’t paying attention, but it was my favourite little oasis in all of Lisbon. Tiny holes in the wall (we had some cherry wine in a little bar with a man who owned and worked in the bar for more than 30 years) and there was great history, art and cafes to keep you occupied for a good few hours.

FOOD / RESTAURANTS WE ATE AT..

The list condensed…

Ate custard tarts from Manteigaria Fabrica

Drank sangria from rooftop bar – Topo

Had lunch / drinks at Time Out Market

Drank Sangria + Japanese food at Silks (also a rooftop bar)

Watched Fado at Fado na Morgadinha

Before we had left, I had read on every blog site that Pasteis De Nata’s were the most famous dessert there and that I just had to try one. So our first morning there we got to do just that as our amazing air bnb host had left us one each as a welcome gift, and honestly we were immediately hooked. So take my advice (not that you need it – HA) get a Pasteis de nata in to you as soon as possible after landing. And then have as many as you feel like a day.

The most famous place or best place we had one from was in Bairro Alto at a place called Manteigaria Fabrica – they pump out over 7,000 of them a day! Morgan and I may or may not have had 3 each from this place but at €1 each how could we not!

My advice; get there when it opens and avoid all the ques!

{ Eating our weight in Pasteis De Nata’s at the famous Manteigaria Fabrica }

Morgan and I also LOVE a good rooftop bar / restaurant so we sniffed out the best ones whlst in Lisbon also – our picks and where we went for drinks and food were:

  • Topo

  • Silks

{ Taking in the delicious view with an even more delicious Aperol Spritz from the Topo Rooftop }

{The exact view we got to take in whilst devouring our delicious wine + Japanese food on the rooftop at Silks }

Topo was AMAZING for an afternoon drink, watching the mood and weather change in Lisbon from that high up, and then we taxi’d on to Silks to watch the actual sunset and have some dinner. We booked at Silks and you want to ask for outside as the views really were and are spectacular.

Another amazing ‘must go see’ place was the Time Out Market, we were recommended it by a tonne of locals whilst there and we are SO glad we did actually end up there.

Time Out Market was an initiative from the Government years ago to put all the best of the best of Lisbon in one place!! So although it attracts a lot of tourists, its where all the locals eat as well. You have stalls and stalls and stalls of food or wine to choose from and sit at a table share style getting to listen to the conversations and mayhem go on around you.

{ We absolutely adored eating and drinking our way around Time Out Market and you absolutely will too }

The last but absolutely not the least thing you really must do in Lisbon is see a Fado show. The best way it was described to me (and once I witnessed it I thought it was the perfect description) was Fado is about the music as Flamenco is about the dancing.

We asked our air bnb host for the recommendation as there are a LOT of Fado restaurants to choose from but we weren’t looking for tourist we were looking for traditional. And we got that in spades with the one recommended to us; Fado na Morgadinha. You’re not there for the best food of your life (be mindful of that) you’re there to see Fado performed so although we LOVED the food and felt like it was like your grandma’s cooking, the French couple next to us were rather dismayed. The food, wine, and Fado to us though was excellent.

Everywhere else in Lisbon, just stop when you find a view you love, a pumping hot spot full of locals (always the best clue) or when you find a gorgeous spot you must people watch from.

TOURS / ADVENTURES HAD ..

The list condensed…

Walked the Praca do Comercio square

Walked the Tagus River

Toured Torre De Belem (aka the Tower of Belem)

Watched sunset from Miradouro look out (highest look out in the city)

Food Tour in Lisbon (we did this one and HIGHLY recommend it)

Day trip to Sintra (Walked up the mountain, Castle of the Moors, National Palace of Pena. And ate at: Saudade, Tascantiga)

{ Taking in the beauty – away from the crowds – that is the Tower De Belem }

{ Stop #1 of the Food Tour & we already knew we were going to love it }

By far the absolute highlight of Lisbon for me was the Food Tour we did called “taste of Lisboa” (this is the one we did that I have already link twice, but honestly, it really was the highlight for both Morgan and I’s Lisbon trip). I even recommend even if you have 2 days in Lisbon, to do a food tour as we drank the best wine, ate the yummiest (and most traditional food) and saw quite a lot of Alfama and it’s surrounds by foot learning about the culture, people and sights along the way. P.s can I just say that nothing I ever promote or recommend – including this food tour is a paid promotion, i just will always sincerely recommend places and things I have loved.

The other thing we knew we had to / wanted to do (especially with quite a few days in Lisbon) was take a day trip out to Sintra, and I do think its worth it. It was about an hour on the train and a return ticket cost all of €4.30 return so it’d be rude not to.

Like the ‘tour by foot’ people we are, we walked a LOT in Sintra (aka up the big mountain to the Castle of the Moors and the National Palace of Pena) but if you’re a) not up for walking or b) want to see a lot more of Sintra, here is where I recommend you take a tuk tuk around.

We ate some of the areas famous cheese cake at Saudade café as soon as we got off the train (highly recommend you do the same) and choose Tascantiga for lunch which again, we absolutely recommend for some delicious and traditional Tapas.


And that’s it. We really did fall so madly and deeply in love with Lisbon and have vowed to come back. I totally see why it is becoming the hotspot for Europeans and if you have never had Lisbon or Portugal on your ‘to visit’ list, I absolutely assure you it’s worth the addition.

When it comes to all things travel though, always just follow what feels good, where your mood is taking you and remember to dance to your own rhythm at all times and you truly cannot go wrong.

Hopefully we will bump in to you somewhere around the globe, but for now….

The Adventures of Portugal

I feel like the trip to Portugal was 5 years in the making.

You see, when Morgs and I spent just under 5 months travelling Europe back in 2012, we had it on our list of places to visit but fate ended up keeping us from it. Whilst in Spain we got an email from the airline at the time letting us know the flight we had booked to Porto was cancelled, but they could put us on another flight to … somewhere North in Spain (so random, thanks for the consolation prize airline but no thanks). We tried to then re book other ways in to Portugal but it was really expensive or was a full day of travel (2 things us back packers weren’t keen on) so we ended up decided to just stay in Spain the extra few days and explored Madrid instead.

So whilst booking our month away this time, knowing 2 of the weeks would be spent in Europe, Portugal was quite literally at the very top of our list.

And oh me, oh my – it truly and wonderfully did exceed every single one of our big and beautiful expectations.

{ People watching our first morning in Lisbon. One of our favourite past times to do in Europe }

We had 7 days to explore whatever parts of Portugal we wanted and we actually spent quite a lot of time looking in to areas to know where we’d most like to go, and that’s how we ended up booking 4 nights in Lisbon and 3 nights in Porto – and if doing it again, I would do it the exact same.

We could have added in an extra town in – say, Lagos, but we actually wanted to ‘settle’ in the city, and I am so glad we decided to just do 2 cities in the 7 days as we really got to just see it at our own pace in our own way, the best way and the only way we know how to travel.

Landing in Lisbon the evening of our first night we didn’t get to see any of the city other than what we saw whizzing by us in the Uber to our apartment but we kept saying to each other from what we did see “ohhhh we are so going to like this city” and I almost think waking up the next day to explore it brand new was a bonus gift from the universe.

Whenever and wherever possible when we travel, Morgs & I will always opt for an Airbnb (we book the whole house / apartment however) over a hotel, and for a good few reasons.

  1. Hotel rooms feel stuffy and clinical to us. We want to be and feel like a local, with the hosts art on the walls and their books in their bookshelf, if I am in a brand new city around the globe I want to see and feel how they live, not be in a 4 walled hotel room with room service at the other end of the phone.
  2. We love having a kitchen to cook in if we need / want and washing machine to do our washing! You can’t beat those home’ly feels when you’re missing your own creature comforts.
  3. You get to stay in cooler areas than most Hotels are situated. Case in point, the air bnb we stayed at in Lisbon. When we looked at what area to stay in the Alfama area was one of the top areas to ‘visit’ and explore – so we knew that’s where we wanted to stay, problem was, there wasn’t many if any hotels in that area – they were all more in the popular tourist area of the central city. Finding our Airbnb rightttttt in the heart of Alfama is what made our stay feel all the more special. We were amongst the locals, drank our coffee with them in the morning, and got the history of the area from our host when we arrived.
  4. You have the hosts local knowledge to give you all the restaurants and places that not all tourists know of and aren’t on Trip Advisor. Of course you can get this at a hotel with the concierge as well but I have always found they still lead you to the main tourist places.

So there we were, in our groovy and home’ly Airbnb right in the heart of Alfama and the first morning, walking up the first of what felt like a thousand hills we’d walk, we sat and drank coffee with the locals as we soaked up the fact we were back in Europe, and were in a city we had wanted to visit for years.

Knowing we had 4 days – or 3 ½  full days allowed us to not feel rushed to go see everything as fast as possible and so day 1 we just said we would have no maps and walk, just see where the city took us and what adventures came from it, and as fate alwayssss has it, we actually ended up stumbling across almost all of the top things ‘ to do’ on that faithful trip advisor list, without meaning to of course.

One of the best things I think I did though for the consequent days was stay OFF trip advisor and use our hosts local knowledge  and Pinterest! But what do you MEANNN Pinterest I hear you ask.

Before I left I had been on Pinterest pinning pins for each city we were visiting, Portugal and Marrakech (& even London). I am, I think we all are, visual people, and I don’t want to just read about places, I want to SEE what they’re like and Pinterest is the best for that. I pinned stunning things and places to see and eat and each picture on pinterest generally is linked back to a site, and in travel pictures, they’re generally linked back to Travellers blogs, and Travellers blogs are what I want to read! They’ve walked and travelled the path I generally want to also.

So our whole Portugal trip just felt like a Pinterest vision board coming to life.

Here is the thing about that though – because of Pinterest and all of the beautiful pictures and all of the amazing advice I read off of those travel blogs sites (not just trip advisor) I wanted to honour the NEXT traveller to Portugal and write up my own ‘version of events’ – give a list to future travellers of where we went, what we saw and how we managed to see so much of beautiful Lisbon and Porto in 7 days.

So our journey dear reader ends here, and over the next 2 blog posts I am going to actually list out where we went and what we saw (and tours and places we did) in the humble hope that one day my own words and way we explored Portugal inspires another travellers adventures.

Tchau (goodbye) for now – and read on in the next 2 blog posts to cover off our full adventure.

Europe Part II here we go

So here we are. 38,000 feet up in the air, 14 hours of flying in to the 21 hours of flying we have to do to get to our first destination of Lisbon, Portugal, and I am found again in my happy place. I’m not sure about you, but I have always and feel I will always, find flying to be my absolute muse.

I come up with more content in a couple of hours flying than I do any time or any place else.

It’s funny though, because even when I know how much I love to write in the sky, and even though I have had thus far 14 hours to pull out my laptop and put finger to key stroke, I have resisted. Until now. So, it’s time you and I beautiful reader had a date.

I must say I have been more excited for this trip than I have for any other for a very long time. Most long-term readers know that back in 2012, Morgan and I spent just under 5 months travelling Europe & the U.K and I blogged about the whole experience in this very space you’re reading this post from now. We swam in the fairy pools in Scotland, drank Guinness in Ireland, danced on rooftops in Greece, I left part of my soul in Santorini in fact. We Sailed the coast of Croatia, ate our way around Italy, walked the Cinque Terra, got lost in Prague, historied ourselves out in Germany, played in snow in Switzerland, ate Nutella crepes in Paris – the list goes on, and on, and on. It truly was and always will remain the greatest trip of our lives. Why? Because it was the first taste either of us really got of travel and we came home 2 completely different people. Since then though we have never been back much to my desire to.

And sure, since then we have been on huge trips annually, and I have ticked so much more off my bucket list like honeymooning in Maldives, Swimming with whale sharks in Tulum, exploring all Japan had to offer, dancing our nights away in Mexico, having our breathe taken away by the Grand Canyon, eating $1 slice pizza in Times Square New York…nothing compares to me the FEELING that I get in Europe. It’s a sense of familiarity I will never quite be able to articulate, and above all else a feeling of like I am HOME.

You could drop me in an ally way in Venice or a plaza in Spain, a rocky beach in the south of France or next to a donkey in Santorini and that same feeling doesn’t go away.

So, knowing that as of right now, we are headed back to that place of familiarity and home, a place I haven’t returned to in 5 years (that feels even crazy to say) I am B.E.Y.O.N.D excited. MORE than excited.

This trip we will be gone a whole month. 30 days exactly. 2 weeks being in Europe. 2 weeks being in the U.K. With a divine mix of business and pleasure, but like I always say, when the lines of business and pleasure are so blurred you don’t in fact know one from the other you know you’re where you’re exactly meant to be and that is where we are right now.

{ If there is one thing I can nail, it’s packing. 1 month though + 3 major countries + 3 different cultures was admittedly a little hard }

Here is the thing though, and why I did pull my laptop out to write this initial piece. Feeling all the nostalgia in the world the day before we flew out, I made myself a cup of coffee and retreated to my office to read back over some of the blogs I wrote whilst we were travelling Europe back in 2012. I wanted to capture that feeling again and get re inspired to document this trip.

Because recently, and too regularly, I have been talking about how regretful I am for NOT having documented all the other phenomenal trips Morgs & I have been on since 2012 that I haven’t documented. You know, like exploring Japan or swimming with whale sharks or travelling for 6 weeks around the states + Mexico (yep we did that 2 years ago and I didn’t even share ANY of that on here – hashtag regretful).

Writing is what fills my whole soul. I honestly couldn’t care if another soul ever read another word that I wrote. It’s not about that for me. It’s the art of sitting in my own vulnerability and showing up with my story with my whole heart. I write by myself and FOR myself. The fact that people then like to pour their own cups of hot tea or coffee and devour my words humbles me so damn much – but really and fundamentally this space has always and will always be my online journal.

So NOT documenting the last trips over the years has been in fact a regret of mine – but far from living with regret (fuck.that) I made the commitment that this trip, NO MATTER WHAT, I would pull my laptop out as we went city to city and commit back to the sacred art of writing of our adventures as we travel this beautiful expansive globe.

And if anything, I hope to one day be able to simply read back all of Morgan and I’s adventures as bed time stories to our future children instilling in them the same adventurous spirit we have been lucky to cultivate.

So here I am. And here you are. And together, we both get to go on this journey together.

The next month will see us visit and devour as much as Lisbon as possible. I’ll see us do wine tours from the origin of Port in Porto. It’ll see us explore and navigate our way around the beautiful old city of Marrakech. It’ll see us camp out under the dessert stars in the divine Sahara dessert. It’ll see us then have no agenda in particular for 2 whole weeks as we go where we’re called to go around the U.K as our business and team grow there.

To say it’s the world’s greatest and biggest of gifts to mix business with pleasure will always be the biggest understatement but here we are living that life.

Some posts might be short and sweet and literal diary entries from me sharing a crazy day or phenomenal unexpected adventure had that day – others may be tips on how Morgs & I manage to navigate a happy marriage whilst travelling the world (take it from us living, sleeping, working, shitting, travelling together can be TOUGH), and other days – well other days who knows, but that is the magic of this space for me, it just allows me to show up how I need to for myself, when I need to.

I can’t wait to take you on this vicarious ride though and get ready for some fun, some truths, some ups and no doubt downs and everything in between.

They say travel truly is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer, and there isn’t a trip that goes by where I don’t fall more and more in love with that concept than ever.

15 years of Contraception – My own Tale.

I remember it as clear as anything.

The day I got my period for the very first time.

I was in year 9 (so 14), and just before I left for school I went to the toilet and there it was. Spots of blood in my knickers. I screamed out for mum and mum came to tell me ‘it was here! It’s ok, it’s exciting’ and she came back with what I remember at the time felt and looked like a nappy. It was a pad of course, and I was told this was my new normal for 5-7 days a month.

I got to school and had Home Economics (sewing) first up and remember SO excitedly telling my girlfriends that I had (finally) gotten my period!!! I say finally because I felt like SUCH a late bloomer. All of my girlfriends had gotten their periods around 12 – 13 and I was the last one to get it.

I felt like such a WOMAN and was genuinely excited about it all.

And then, just.like.that I was put on the contraceptive pill. I think it was for a multitude of reasons, the main one I am sure was that ALL of my girlfriends were on it and I know I was saying to mum I HAD to be on it too, and to be honest, looking back, it was just the absolute ‘done’ thing ‘back in those days’, as a young girl, you got your period, you went on the pill.

And that was that.

Off I went on this new journey to woman hood – not really having any understanding WHY I was bleeding once a month just that if I got my period it meant I wasn’t pregnant, if I didn’t get it, it meant I was. Now, I am sure I did listen harder in health class and I DID pass the class with an A, its just periods weren’t something we cared about at 14 years of age).

That relationship with the pill and I went on for 5 years and I never really had any problems with it. Obviously as I got older and in to boys and partying I would skip the sugar pills every so often to ‘skip my period’ not thinking another thought about it.

I truly had absolutely ZERO relationship with my body and her cycles and to be fair, neither did anyone around me. We were young, on the pill and didn’t know any better.

To be fair here as well, I should mention that it probably WAS a good thing I was on the pill and I don’t regret for a second going on it so young. Being a young woman with minimal to no respect for myself or my body and the decisions that go along with it I am glad I had something looking out for me when I couldn’t make smart decisions for myself.

5 years went by on the pill without any hiccups or symptoms. I was regular with my period, I had no skin issues, I don’t feel like my moods were any different – than what a normal adolescent hormonal woman’s are.

Then at 19, Morgan and I (after already being in each others lives for 2 years prior) got in to a relationship. I became his and he became mine and the rules just changed a little bit. What I mean by that is sex was absolutely going to be more regular and on going and we BOTH didn’t trust the pill enough.

{ For your viewing pleasure. At 19 & 23 years old, 6 months in to our relationship }

So back to the Dr I went (Morgan in tow – I was like I may be the one who has to be responsible for the contraceptive but you can freaking be a part of it also!) with a whole load of information I had around different forms of contraception. I can’t say that at 19 I still had this body self love and self respect thing worked out (because I absoltuley didn’t – it was probably when I became the worst at looking after myself) but one thing I DID start to have was more of a thirst for knowledge around what I WAS going to put in my body.

And that was the first sign intuitively I got from my body. I KNOW that for a fact.

Here’s why – because I started to question Contraception.

At that stage, I had only been on the pill, and it had “only” been 5 years, but at 19, knowing as a woman I DID want babies eventually, AND being in a relationship with a man I already loved deeply, I just started to question and have concerns around long term effects of contraception on my body.

I had narrowed my search down to 2 alternative choices.

  1. The needle jab you could get that lasted a few years and stopped your periods.
  2. The Implanon.

Both seemingly seemed to be the most foolproof non baby makers for 2 regular sexually active and in love people and seemed to have the LEAST amount of symptoms or negative things to say about them (online anyway).

So imagine my surprise when my (amazing) female Dr told me ethically and morally she would never and could never give me the needle jab – she said in her professional opinion it shouldn’t even be an option for women and it absolutely has far too many side affects and even non explored potential issues.

I immediately took the needle jab off the table, but immediately had an uneasy feeling in my stomach – like what the actual fuck are us women doing to our bodies if a medical professional is saying they refuse to give me a form of contraception that was extremely readily available.

So my last option was the implanon, to which my Dr WAS a fan of and told me it has a 99.99% success rate if our goal was to be on a healthier form of contraception but I had to know it would have 1 of 4 ‘effects’ on my body and they were;

  1. Everything would in fact stay normal. I just couldn’t fall pregnant but my ‘fake’ period essentially would come every month, same time, same heaviness / lightness.
  2. My period would become a lot heavier – but for less days.
  3. My period would just become lighter.
  4. I would get no period.

She also said I had to at LEAST give it 3 whole months to settle. This bad boy lasts up to 3 years, so 3 months you have to give it to see IF your body sort of accepts it and after that if it’s not vibing for sure take it out – but not before.

I said ok, and in it went.

And for 3 months, 3.whole.months… I spotted. It was emotionally and physically draining AF. I didn’t feel too crazy mood wise and my skin didn’t break out like some women’s does, but the spotting was relentless. Which I KNEW wasn’t normal but I trusted my Dr and her words of “give it 3 months”.

Then on day 91 – so literally, LITERALLY 3 months and 1 day, I woke up and I wasn’t spotting any more. So I decided my body was ok with this form of contraception and in it stayed.

For the next 3 years, I stayed relatively normal with my periods, they just weren’t at all like clockwork like I was used to on the pill, but I was ok with that.

The 3 years seemed to pass by quickly and Morgs and I didn’t have so much as a tiny ‘scare’, so when the time came to get it out with its 3 year expiry, the decision was a simple one for me to just get one put straight back in. I was 22 and still ab-so-lut-ley not ready for babies and that is what contraception was to me.

Here is where things get contemplative and hindsight’ey … about a year in to my 2nd implanon, I developed adult acne. I was 23 and had NEVER ever battled any issues with my skin and BOOM overnight I literally had what was adult acne.  Because I had already been on the implanon for 4 years at this stage, 3 years with my first one and a year in to my 2nd, and because it in my eyes was just the ‘same’ as the pill which I’d been on for 5 years, NEVER ONCE did it cross my mind that this was the first extreme sign my body was giving me telling me something wasn’t quite right with it.

My adult acne story is honestly a WHOLE other story unto itself, but just know I tried absolutely everything to get rid of it (except roaccutane there was just something SO damn un settling about being told roaccutane could kill or deform an unborn child so “you couldn’t be pregnant if you went on it” that turned me off that drug for LIFE). And after YEARS of battling it and getting it settled, I did manage to have it calm down.

Then came the expiration of my 2nd implanon at the age of nearly 26 and yet again, Morgs & I still weren’t at all interested in trying and for 6 years we hadn’t even had a ‘scare’ so, in went my third implanon.

Which really leads us to where I am at today.

But here is a big dirty secret you have to know about me and something that I still can’t believe I ignored for so many years.

Are you ready?

For the last 6 years, so for the last 2 implanons…..

I haven’t had a period.

Not one. Not a symptom. Not a spotting of blood. Nothing.

And here is the worst part about all this – at age 23 is when I REALLY fell in to the practice and understanding of self love and started doing hardcore work on falling in love with who I am and all parts of me, and I KNEW better. I KNEW it wasn’t normal to NOT have a period – I intimately knew it. I talked to my girlfriends and best friends ALL the time about it. And yet I wasn’t called to do anything about it.

Until recently.

After years, and years, and years of self care and self love work, I literally couldn’t ignore what my body was trying to tell me for all these years. That I needed contraception and fake hormones GONE from my body.

About 7 months ago, Morgs & I had a big chat around ‘what next’ and ‘when’ (still years away guys – sorry haha) and I mentioned then I really had a calling to get my implanon out. I said since the very first time I got my period, I immediately went on synthetic hormones almost telling ‘her’ (my body) – you don’t know best, and I need something un natural to control my body, and I said it wasn’t ok in my eyes now that that had happened for 15 years. He agreed completely (of course he did he is a legit legend) and said let’s book the appointment to get it out.

Then the weirdest thing ever happened – I battled with my decision. I QUESTIONED my intuition, and ladies, please know, don’t ever, EVER do that.

And because my body and intuition knows best, it started trying to get my attention. I wasn’t listening to my own desire to come off contraception, so it needed to intervene. So it GAVE me my first period after 5 ½ years. Truth be told, having not had it in so long, we thought I was pregnant. My boobs doubled in size, I got cramps, I was tired, and I was a little nauseous. Admittedly all things that used to happen when I got my period ‘back in the day’. We pee’d on a stick (and by we I mean literally we, morgs stood at the door with Zeus in his arms and me and the stick in the toilet) – and it was negative.

I have to say as well – I KNEW it would be. Because again, my intuition said so and I WAS listening. Then a day after that, I got my first period after 5 ½ years – my body LITERALLY overrode the implanon.

It was her way of saying ‘babe, trust us, you aren’t listening to your own advice so please don’t be mad but we are over riding you’.

And I laughed and said to Morgs ok so THIS time I have to listen.

But guess what? I still didn’t.

This current implanon expired the end of this July anyway, so I kept telling myself, “well who cares, it’s only a few more months.”

And then ‘she’ did it again, she gave me another ‘pseudo’ period (4 months ago). And again, I was happy she did, I was even PROUD of my body for literally over riding the fake hormones I was so stupidly pumping in to it.

But still. I thought well, it’s getting so close to July should I just ride it out and remove it when I should.

Then the funniest thing of ALL happened – MORGAN started to get at me about it, asking me WHY hadn’t’ I booked the appointment yet and I really should as he knows it was a big and important decision for me and my body.

But still…. Do you see where I am going with this? 😉

THEN, my body did the ONE thing I can NEVER ignore and she freaking KNOWS it. She fucked with my skin. Big time. For years it had been flawless (with the odd break out of course, I am human) but overnight about 3 weeks ago, it felt like it developed adult acne overnight. I laughed and smiled and apologised to her, truly I did. I then got it. I surrendered. I couldn’t ignore her any more.

And it’s funny what happens when you finally surrender – and decide with certainty what you need to do, your body gives you MORE signs, because almost immediately I started to say to Morgan how I didn’t feel like myself. I was ok, and genuinely still positive etc, but I said how something wasn’t right. Like I was fighting something off, except it wasn’t a cold. I just didn’t feel ‘grounded’ physically is the best way I can describe it, and I knew in my deepest of cells, it was the final push and sign from my body telling me I NEEDED to get these fake hormones out of my body.

So yesterday, at 11:10am, my Dr removed my 3rd and final implanon, after 15 years of contraception, 9 of which has been with an implanon.

And I cried. I was an emotional ball of tears and snot (in the car after of course, I remained the polite snot free patient for my Dr) and I couldn’t stop shaking. Not cute shakes, I’m talking full body shaking.

If you’ve followed me by now you know me (heyyyyy friends and readers of years) and know I am totally open about some of my more woo woo beliefs, and this is absolutely one of them.

I honestly believe it was my immediate body reaction to it’s freedom – to 15 years of fake hormones flooding my body – and now it is free.

And I feel….. free.

I feel like for the first time in my womanhood journey, I am allowing my body to do what she’s’ meant to do, that is, to find her natural rhythm and rhyme.

I have claimed all of my body back. She’s 100% mine again, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

I am excited to feel out this journey now, be super gentle on myself, kind to myself, and enter self-love practices like never before, and really just honour my body as she finds her own groove again, but does so 100% naturally and fake hormone free. First task at hand is entering a 2 day deep cleanse immediately. 

A new practice I have already implemented is saying 100 times a day (who knows how many to be honest but as many times in a day as I remember) …. “I approve of myself and love all of me” – just gently reminding my body how much I do love ALL of her and giving 100% approval back to ‘her’ to do her job magnificently.

I must say this as well. Entering this new space of no more synthetic hormones in my body is MY decision based on my own body and beliefs and readiness. I am 29 now and have spent MORE than half of my life telling my body it wasn’t good enough to be natural and work itself out by itself – but that is my belief system, it doesn’t have to be yours.

I am also not saying contraception is bad, not by any means, I am just saying it is no longer something I personally am for – but it could be something your body needs for medical reasons. So you need to do what you need to do for you and your body.

That’s the beauty of our bodies, they know what we each need, our job is to listen.

The other thing is, I don’t regret the last 15 years either. Regret is just something I never have as it’s an energy I don’t ever want to hold in my body, I am grateful I have gotten to 29 and in the health and position I am in from every decision I have made up until this point. Contraception and all – I cannot and will not ever regret it.

I am equal parts grateful now though I have made a new decision intuitively listening to my body and am excited to see where this leads me physically, emotionally and spiritually – you see I personally feel this was my intuition asking for 100% natural reign to step even more in to my role I am here to play on earth – and just to love and nuture my body in a way I never have.

So here we go essentially. You’re up to date now and as always, I am so damn grateful for my blog that 6 years on, still acts as my online diary where I feel I can always show up vulnerably and share the journey’s I am on.

I am committed to taking anyone who wants to come along for the ride on it as I use this space to keep sharing how it all goes for me and how my body goes with finding her re balance and harmonising groove.

But for now, I am off to have a bath, read a book and love on this beautiful body of mine as much as is humanly possible.

The art of showing up for your inspiration daily

It’s funny how it always happens. The writing that is. Every single day I open a fresh word document and stare at the blank piece of paper, willing something to come forth, I show up for my inspiration even when I don’t necessarily have any idea where to begin that particular day or what, or I know where to start. So instead, I just start.

I just start tapping away at the keys, maybe writing what’s around me or a private journal note to myself, and just like that, a moment of inspiration comes, as it always does.

The same exact thing happened this morning. I was sitting in a beautiful café in Noosa before the rest of the world is really up, drinking what I honestly believe is the worlds best cup of coffee and a moment of divine inspiration came from the notion of this whole ethos of ‘just start’, of showing up for your inspiration even if you’re not sure she’s coming.

You see, my act of writing even when I feel ready, even if I feel a creative spark in the moment doesn’t stop me from beginning. I know if I sit at my computer, and just show up for the writing process –  magic will eventually show up too. But it wouldn’t if I didn’t just BEGIN.

The same could be said for so many other things in our lives.

We want change.

We seek adventure.

We desire that bold love story.

And yet we aren’t even taking that first step in the journey to begin, telling whatever power that be you believe in that you’re ready.

Because if there is one thing I have learned, when you move, the universe moves. (Pop in God or Ghandi or Allah or whatever else spiritual belief you have if universe doesn’t resonate with you).

You take a step, the universe takes a step. You be courageous in showing up, the universe will equal parts show up for you.

So many times we let go of the very things in our life that may bring us joy, or stop following our curiosities because we aren’t feeling inspired in that moment, failing to realise that if we just BEGUN, the very inspiration we seek is at the other side of that beginning.

For arguments sake, let’s just take my writing as the perfect example.

I love to write. Like, I LOVE to write. It’s a practice and a habit that I will always circle back to. Always. But for a long time there, I stopped. I stopped for a multitude of reasons, ‘not having enough time’ was one of them (HAAAAA not even an excuse ever more like I wasn’t prioritising my time right around what brings me JOY) but another huge one was I just wasn’t sure anymore WHAT I would write about.

And then one day I woke up and missed it so much I didn’t even care that I wasn’t sure what I would write or if my creative juices would return, I just sat down and told myself I wasn’t leaving my desk until something showed up for me, anything showed up for me. And as soon as my fingers started tapping at the keys words and feelings of creativity started to show back up for me.

But if I hadn’t of had the courage just to sit down and get clear with the fact I was going to stick at the ‘thing’ until I produced something, anything, a whole other week (or month, or YEAR) would have passed by without me writing again.

I want to turn it over to you though? What is it for you?

Do you love going to the beach, running, pilates, yoga, getting back in to sport surfing, painting, adventure, quilting, drawing, (I could go on and on and on here) but keep saying the time isn’t right, or the moment isn’t calling for it, or whatever other lie (because that’s what it is) you keep telling yourself.

Because I am telling you right now, that you just need to show up to it.

Put those running shoes on and just take the first step out of the door.

Book the app for yoga or pilates, get in the car and turn the key.

Pick up your surf board, and go to the beach (even if you don’t get out, you took the first steps).

Pick up the paintbrush and just splash something, ANYTHING on a piece of paper.

The point is you don’t need to make anything perfect, we aren’t going for perfect, we are going for progress. Because in my books progress IS perfect.

And if you keep thinking that you have to wait for the inspiration to come before you sit to get in your creative flow, you’re going to be waiting a very long time. BUT, and here is where the magic lies, you show up for your passion BEFORE the inspiration hits, the very act of showing up for it will allow it to flow through.

You know the magic I am talking about too.

You could have put off going to yoga all week, because you just weren’t “feeling” it. Then you force yourself to go on a particularly busy day, and you and that Mat connect like never before (I’m talking move over Ghandi you could write a whole book on peace and meditation) and you walk out of there thinking WHY did you not just push yourself to go in the first place.

Magic.

You could have slept in all week telling yourself you’re too sore or tired this week to do your morning run, but then in one forced moment at the end of the week, you FORCE yourself to climb out of bed, put your running shoes on and head out the door – and that morning you hit your stride like never before and feel a trillion dollars walking back in the door hot and sweaty.

Magic.

You could have been avoiding your laptop for days putting off writing that blog piece or big status for the week, telling yourself you have writers block. But when you finally DO sit with the blank piece of paper staring at you and you just start tapping away at the keys to write, words flow through where you don’t even know where they’re coming from and you get the whole piece done in record time.

Magic.

But you know what?

There are also going to be those days you will show up for it, and get whatever your ‘it’ is done, and inspiration still didn’t come a knockin’ let alone a rockin’.

And you know what? That’s ok too. Because that’s just life, and you just have to be ok with it. Remember, it’s not always going to be perfect, we don’t need perfect, we need progress.

The point is you just need to show up to your passion or what lights you up regardless of the outcome. To show up for it for the love of it, never expecting anything of ‘it’ in return.

I don’t write for any other reason than I love doing it. I don’t write for anyone but me. Each time I pour something on a blank piece of paper it’s as if I think not one soul will read it, I show up to it because I love it, it’s that simple. And yet over the years, because I have shown up for it, people DO read it and it has rewarded me some phenomenal things. But with or without that reward, my writing and I are bound over some sacred daily devotion.

Showing up for your joy or love of something isn’t some big life shattering change either.

It’s nothing grandiose.

It’s nothing outstanding.

It’s nothing earth shatteringly profound.

It’s just you doing what you love, every single day, whether inspiration has struck or not, that’s all.

But isn’t that life personified? I believe that life is simply a series of beautiful moments withheld in each day, and it’s when those days are strung together you create a masterpiece with your life.

It doesn’t have to be grandiose every day.

You don’t need to go for outstanding in every moment.

Your days don’t have to be continuously profound.

What you can strive for though is that beautiful moment withheld in your day, every day, showing up for the love of something – be it reading, or writing, or running, or singing or cooking – and when you turn around, in weeks and months and years to come, its those moments you showed up for whether you felt inspired or not, that will make you realise what a divine masterpiece you have created with your life.

You don’t need the perfect time, or the perfect setting, or the perfect inspiration, or the perfect conditions to start, you just need to start.

And I hope you start today.

Don’t ever forget it’s your DAYS that turn in to your weeks, then its your weeks that turn in to your months, and your months that turn in to your years. It’s not about having a great year, it’s about making phenomenal days, because it’s our days that create our year.

So start today.

Show up for the love of your favourite things in every day, and I promise your life will become the masterpiece you deserve.

What 12 years of Love and being in a Relationship has taught me

Sitting here in Bali, staring out over the infinite blue ocean on Morgan and I’s 2 year wedding anniversary I stared at this blank piece of paper, poised, ready to spill my heart on to the page for too many minutes this morning, not even knowing where to begin on the subject.

I have so much to say on Love and relationships but at the same time always feel in a space between ‘you have so much to learn young padwan’ and ‘how can you even begin to try to cover such a huge subject’.

So instead of being stuck, I thought I’d just start.

You see, Relationships and love IS somewhat (read; extremely) of a deep deep passion of mine. Observing (with love) them, being in one, helping others feel out their own, but something I rarely write about – which I know in my heart is about to change.

And what does a young girl like me know about love you might ask (primarily if you’re a new reader to the blog, and if you are, welcome). Well, Morgan and I just returned from Bali where we celebrated our 2-year wedding anniversary. It’s funny though, because even saying 2 years though feels odd to me, like we are so brand new and fresh again (albeit we are, having decided our marriage WOULD feel different and ‘new’) considering we have actually been in each others lives romantically, spiritually and emotionally for going on 12 years now.

At our engagement party, back in April 2012, we asked our guests to write some love advice for us to open and read on our 1 year wedding anniversary (as the ‘theme’ for your 1 year is paper) – however come last year we ended up having far too much fun out and about down south so never actually stopped on our day to read them.

us

This year however, we committed we would. So under the Bali sun, with some cold Veuve in hand we opened them all (some read with us on Facebook Live for the first time) – and here is what OTHERS (our nearest and dearest) advised us on love.

“When you wake in the morning, kiss and hug and be grateful for one another day together – life is precious”.

“Never go to bed angry”.

“Always remember to have time for each other”.

“Tell each other you love the other at least once a day”.

“Phone sex communication”. – HA!!!

“When the going gets tough, hold each other, look in to each others eyes and remember you still have your whole lives ahead of you”.

“Grow together”.

“Always remember that first moment that you set eyes upon one another”.

“When in doubt, sex it out”.

“Morgan, take the rubbish out, it’s the mans job to do the bin and take the wheelie bin out to the road”.

“Respect each other”.

“Don’t go to bed at night without sorting out any differences”.

“Happy wife, happy life”.

“Have date nights where you only focus on yourselves”.

“Laugh a lot, communicate often, don’t mention breaking up, and focus on the good in each other”.

“Always share everything with one another, regardless of how you’re feeling at the time, it’s important to draw on each others strengths in difficult times”.

“Don’t stop having sex at least once a week”.

“Love is all you need in the end”.

“Don’t forget to make love every now and then, fucking is okay for the rest of the time”.

“Remember Corinthians chapter 13 always – love is patient and love is kind”.

“No man has ever been shot for doing the dishes”.

“Send love letters”.

“Always make an effort to be sexy. Even if you don’t feel like it – never underestimate the magic of stilettos!”

Ok so apart from some very (fabulous and slightly predictable) hilarious sex pieces of advice (all of which I absolutely have to say are great pieces of advice) I feel it’s covered off all the generally prescribed and tried and trusted advice.

Not going to be angry – got it.

Date nights – for sure a staple in our relationship.

Respect one another – it’s one of our highest values so we are g.o.o.d there.

And so on and so forth.

But how about the stuff that REALLY makes a relationship work and the secret / not so secret (you decide) magic that comes from this.

Just show up wholly as you are and practice unconditional love (just do your best, it’s never going to be perfect).

There are so many depths and layers upon beautiful layers contained in just those 2 statements alone but the crux of it is this.

The fastest way to put a shitty vibe on or over a relationship (or marriage) and to start to feel disconnected is to start to try to change or force either partner in to being or feeling someone they are not.

Over the 12 years Morgan and I have been together (10 of which official, 12 we were just too young and dumb to work out who we were or what we wanted) 12 of them have seen us be different people at different times, have energy growth spurts before or after the other, disagree with certain people or things or directions the other has headed in and an avalanche of other differences and directions – but for 12 years we have loved each other unconditionally.

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That’s the greatest gift to bring in a relationship that I know for sure.

So you might be getting in to personal development courses sooner or more often than your partner – that’s ok, love him where his at.

Or maybe you have developed a rocking morning routine and your partner is still hitting snooze whilst you’re up and exercising in this new healthy lifestyle – this is your choice to now show up fully, allow him the grace to find his own journey with it.

Or maybe you are watching less TV in the evenings now and working on exciting projects to try to move your life forward and but your husband / bf is rocking out his PlayStation/Xbox still (this was a big one in our relationship). That’s COOL. That is what makes HIM happy, he loved you and didn’t put expectations on you when you used to sit and watch those same TV shows with him.

If you truly love your partner, speaking from experience – trust that he will find his own way to your new path eventually, but in his own way and especially in his own time.

Your job is just to keep showing up for YOURSELF and you’ll have a far greater impact just being a beautiful example than trying to force or coerce change.

When you can just show up in your relationship wholly as you are, beautiful parts of you, the not so beautiful parts of you, and hold space for your partner to do the same – that is unconditional love, THAT is creating magic in any relationship.

And here is the thing – it can sometimes (read; often) feel really messy living in to those two core fundamentals, and you might fail again and again and again (because I know I sure do) but remind yourself that life is never about perfection, its so beautifully about progress – and as long as you can consciously catch yourself and try your best for ‘next time’ – then you’ll have a love and relationship far greater than any Disney fairy-tale promised us as children.

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Corporate 9-5 Vs Network Marketing- A Former Skeptics Take

Hey everyone,  Its Morgan here!

Slight change of plans from the normal today. Its been some time since I posted on this blog, in fact, the last time was when I gave my account of our time in Amsterdam back in 2012!!  Anyway, Some recent events really got me thinking about this topic and prompted me to write this short post.  It started out as Facebook post and then the next thing I knew I had a couple of thousand words.  So I figured hey why not share it here?  I hope you enjoy it and find some value in it, i know it’s a little off topic from what you may to be use to but its something I’m really passionate about…… ENJOY!


Working from a café today I couldn’t help overhear a conversation going on behind me.   Some poor girl was being grilled in a job interview, to be fair she was doing a good job and holding her own.  She seemed bright and very bubbly, but sitting here listening to the language, the tone and general vibe of the convo made me feel a bit anxious.

One person trying so hard to Sell themselves  the other revelling in their self-perceived position of power.  Out comes the “Work Voice”, you know the one?  It’s similar to the one you put on as a kid when you’re answering the home telephone but you are in earshot of mum…….  “Hello Richards residence, Morgan Speaking!”  just the most fake thing you can think of.

The reason it made me feel so anxious though is because that was exactly how I felt working in corporate, going to corporate meetings and talking the corporate talk all day long.  Trust me, there is nothing more soul-destroying than working in a profession where you can’t really show up as yourself or say what you truly mean without fear of what your “boss” might think.  I would often think I wonder what would happen if I spoke honestly to my boss’s even for 30 seconds, how would they take it if gave them  an honest appraisal of their performance as a leader.   The answer being that most employers wouldn’t take it well and it would be reflected in my pay review and promotion prospects.

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I feel the same type of anxiety in airport lounges when high-flying harry big balls is sitting next me talking on the phone or talking to his staff.

Actually that just reminded me of a story.  A few weeks back Anna and I were waiting for a flight in Melbourne, we used our points to upgrade to business (we aren’t flashy dickheads, but when we can we upgrade).  Subsequently we were given access to the business lounge and we were sitting there on our laptops enjoying a red wine before our flight (Anna of course a Champagne) when a few moments later this guy in a suit comes in and sits just near us, entourage in tow.  This guy thought he was Harvey spectre (watch the show suits to understand that example) and he wanted everyone to know it.  Berating his staff for asking questions, talking down to them like they were dirt.  Not just quietly either, loudly, he didn’t just want the staff to know how important he was, he wanted everyone to in the room to.  I always try my best to be impeccable with my word whenever I can, not to judge people  but after listening to this guy for over an hour it was fairly safe to assume that this guy was, well, a massive dick.

I thought about John Maxwell’s 5 levels of leadership as I often do when I’m around this type of person. This guy was the definition of level 1-  TITLE.  People (his staff) only tolerated him because they believe they had no other choice because of his rank in the company.  But you know what I honestly felt? I honestly felt sorry for him, because one day his time and position of power will end and along with it his own self-worth.  When your own self-importance comes before developing others you can’t create legacy, once the power of your title is gone you are left with nothing.

But most of all I felt sorry for his staff, I knew that feeling of being made to feel second-rate by some A-hole on a power trip.

It made me wonder, why do people put up with that? Seriously, in any bar across any country in the world if one person spoke to another the same way as this guy did to his staff, fists would probably fly.  But because there is an exchange of time for money (that’s basically what a job is right?) we tolerate the worst people in world and we do this by choice?

I’m not saying that pursuing a traditional career is a bad idea, in fact I was speaking to a friend of ours the other night who has just landed his dream job in an incredible company.   He is super passionate and excited about the work he will be doing and the people he will be doing it with.

What I am saying however, is if you don’t love what you do, change it or at least takes steps to do something about it.

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Casual Friday AKA the day i left corporate and became a full-time Network Marketer

As I sit here in this café today listening to the girl being interviewed and reflecting on high flying harry big balls display in the lounge I found myself filled with so much gratitude for our chosen profession.  Anna and I are so fortunate to able to say that we love what we do now. Not only is it important to be our authentic selves, its critical for success.  We treat our team with respect and in turn we get it back in droves, but most importantly we treat people exactly the same when they enter our team, as when they are working in our team or if they decide to leave our team.  Yes network marketing isn’t perfect, and yes you still get the occasional knob but I ultimately have the say on whether or not I choose to work with them.  There are no high pressure interviews where you need to have a shiny CV full of qualifications and pre requisites that (lets face it) you probably lied about anyway.  It’s often said that it doesn’t matter if you have gone to Yale or come from Jail to have success in our profession.  Ultimately your success is measured (and paid on) the amount of people you help be successful and rise through the organisation, which is completely the opposite in the corporate world.

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Working from our local cafe in Fremantle

Now, I can already tell what some people will think as they read this “but morgan I had a friend who was involved in network marketing once and they were let down really badly”.  Which is a totally valid statement, yes in the past and even today people are let down by network marketing companies.  They are let down in the same way they are let down by bad restaurants, Taxi drivers who take the long route, publicly listed stock, airline companies, telephone companies, Investing money in the wrong shares,  mechanics and of course trades people and contractors who rip off their clients.  The worst by far are Plumbers! They show up late, they overcharge and not to mention the dreaded plumbers crack (what’s up with that?).  I remember a plumber charging me $1000 to fix my hot water system, I then found out from a friend a few months later it was an $180 job. The difference is 3 years later at 3am one morning, the toilet began overflowing. Now like most sane, rational people I didn’t throw my hands up in the air, tar all plumbing companies with the same brush and allow the turds to flow through my house.  I called any plumber that was available to come out and help fix the problem regardless of my past experience.

It frustrates me why people think that our profession and industry is somehow immune from the same type of stuff that happens in  any other industry?

Yes, unscrupulous companies come (and very quickly go), yes sometimes people with poor ethics find their way into our profession, but what profession doesn’t have the exact same problems?  If you pick any profession across any industry you will find the exact same thing, in the medical industry with dodgy doctors, in the legal system with corrupt judges and what about the people we trust to run our governments?  I’m not trying to make excuses for these companies, in fact I get as angry as the next person when people get let down by our industry, what I am trying to point out is that network marketing is just like any other industry.  There is the good and the bad.

Finding a good network marketing company is like finding a good plumber or mechanic.  Difficult, but not impossible, provided you know what to look for.  There is a whole swag of things to be mindful of that will help you cut through any BS, but that’s a whole other post for another time but its something I’m also really passionate about.

The common thing for many people is they seem to believe that if they purchase a product from a network marketing company they somehow are being duped or they are a sucker? Common sense time guys…….  If you pay for a membership at cost co and all you receive is a trolley full of groceries that you love every single month, are you being ripped off? If you are a member of a wine club and all you pay for and receive is a case of wine each month are you being taken for a ride? The answer of course is a NO!  Your membership allows you to purchase products at the best possible prices, you get products that meet your needs and you consume them on a regular basis.

Quality Network marketing companiess are no different! You find a product you love (MASSIVE HINT), make sure it has a money back guarantee (any decent company would back their own product, our company certainly does)  you pay a membership fee to receive the best possible price, you order the products and you consume them.  There never is an obligation to pursue the business (if there is run the other way), that’s because legitimate NWM companies MUST HAVE REAL CUSTOMERS in the exact same way that cost co does.

But for some reason when there is an opportunity to earn rebates and/or commissions by making referrals, peoples scepticism seeps in?  Like it sounds too good to be true?  The truth is, it’s not to be good to be true because it requires hard work, dedication and commitment just like anything where the rewards are high.  It’s no different to sharing a movie you love, a restaurant you had good service at or hotel that went above and beyond.  In fact most of us are doing it don’t even realise it!

Big companies like Apple and Samsung are already leveraging your networks, you just aren’t being paid for it.

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No thanks, Sounds like a pyramid scheme.

Network marketing has come of age, It’s no longer a question of viability or if it works, it does……. It’s the people who don’t.

The industry will continue to grow with or without you or me being a part of it, people will continue to buy quality products and distribute them to friends, families and total strangers.  My hope is that eventually common sense will prevail when it comes to the everyday person looking at our profession and even though it may not be for them, they understand that’s it is just another profession.  I’m not saying that’s its perfect, but if you hate working for knobs who treat you like dirt it’s a bloody good option.

Of course this is just an opinion post,  it’s up to the person reading this to make a decision on what they believe about network marketing. It may or may not be for you, but there is only one way to find out….

Image: here & here.

Dear Dad…

On the 2nd of January 2016, I lost my Dad.

We knew it was coming, he had terminal cancer after all, and had fought the really good strong fight for 2 years, but I still wasn’t ready for that call to come through. “His gone Anna”.

I had never been hit with so much grief in my life – and the pain you feel when loosing a parent (considering you come from their very being) is a physical pain like nothing you will have experienced before. My heart literally ached. I had a physical heaviness in my chest far greater than any panic attack I had ever suffered or sadness I had felt before.

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3 days after his loss, after sleeping – a lot – and being as disconnected as humanly possible, I collapsed in the kitchen whilst making myself a coffee from crying so much and letting the pain in my body take me over.

I had been speaking to Dad daily for over 6 months in the last stages of his decline. And in one of those calls less than 2 weeks before he passed, he said he knew the time was very much near, and he requested Morgan and I take one last trip – little did he know we were already coming (with my oldest brother Nate). We were planning on surprising him on his birthday the 4th January having booked flights for the 3rd January, but on the 2nd of January – he took his final breathes and left this earth plane.

I know that was a huge contributing factor to how much pain I was in. I knew Dad wanted to see us all one last time, and he just couldn’t hold out. Dad was the strongest (and craziest) man I knew – with a fighting spirit that sometimes didn’t seem human, 2 traits I know he gave me, so I knew he knew I was strong enough to see him in his final moments, I just think we didn’t get there fast enough.

And sure…. in the days following his death, I KNEW he wasn’t in pain anymore (which I was more grateful for than I can articulate), and I knew that ultimately I should be celebrating his life, not being so selfishly sad, and so picking myself back up off the floor on the day I felt the grief the most, I knew what I had to do.

I had to write.

So I sat in my office, sobbing heavily, un able to sit up properly or see clearly – and I wrote this letter to him. And by the end of signing off, I had stopped crying and for the first time in 3 days, was taking deep full breaths. And even though in the days to come I was still crying, the tears did lessen and the pain was becoming more bearable to move through.

So on this day, Fathers day, I was compelled to share my letter. Unedited and I am sure spelling mistakes and all.

7 months on and Dad visits me with White Feathers, I seem to only have moments of tears when I’m driving and I am more grateful than ever of the nature traits you instilled in me – but I still really do miss him.

Dad is a part of my life most don’t know about (other than my longest and closest of friends) – but is sharing this today shares a big part of my life from 18 – 28 years of age.

I live my life sharing all aspects of it to allow others to do the same. I openly share the bad times, the good times, the boring times, the normal times and today – I share another little part of me that means a lot, purely in the hope that openly sharing how deep I did grieve allows any other people the courage and space to share their own grief more openly.

But most of all – I share this to honour Dads legacy now his left this earth.

XO

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p.s if you have lost a parent no matter how young or old you are, I’d love to hear what you loved the most or miss the most yourself about them in the comments section. One thing I know for sure is that talking about it, writing about it and sharing it does feel better than holding it all in.


Dear Dad,

You’re gone now. Just like that.

And even though I saw it coming Dad, it still really, really hurts.

The day you chose to leave this earth, I think deep down I knew, even though I was hoping against all might it wouldn’t be. I woke up not feeling well and turned to Morgan saying I was so scared at any moment I’d get the call to say you’d taken your last breathe, and the very same day – you did, and I got the very call I was dreading.

I was so upset that I didn’t get to take the last flight I booked to say goodbye – but I know and hold on to you choosing for me to not see you like you were. Here, but already gone. Just know I would have been strong enough, because you gave me that fighting strength.

I know you are no longer in pain now, and that is what gives me the greatest peace of all. That, and knowing that you have returned to infinite love and divinity, or as you loved to tell me as often as you could “you’re returning to meet your maker”.

It hasn’t yet stopped my pain though, knowing you’re not in any anymore.

It’s a pain that feels heavy – a physical pain and heaviness right where my heart is and I know I shouldn’t be telling you this, you’re busy ‘up there’ now after all, but I think you would also love that I am letting you know. That was something I know you always loved about me – my ability to speak the truth (sometimes as you would cringe – ‘too truthful’ – but that’s your fault, I absolutely got that from you).

What is most upsetting though Dad, and still is a crushing pain daily that is the part I need to learn to live with the most, is that I can’t just jump on a plane and come and see you anymore, drinking too much coffee and eating too much fruit and nut chocolate with you when I did. It hurts that I can’t pick up the phone and call you every single day and hear your excited “hey baby girl” when I do. That’s what I’ll miss the most.

You and I were the lucky ones though Dad. Lucky in that I never had to get yelled at by you growing up or go through the moody teenage years with you or have you pretend to hate my boyfriends because we got to start our relationship when I was 18, and for the past almost 10 years we got to cram more stories and truth and love in to our lives than some dads and daughters do in a lifetime – so thank you for that.

I am grateful I got to love and respect you not just as a Dad either, but saw you for the individual you were wearing many hats, as a brother, a son, a grandfather and a man, trying to do the best he could with how he knew.

I will never forget the first time you had come to the school us kids were at and word spread around the playground you were there, a little boy came running up to tell 6 year old me, “Anna, Anna! Your dad is here?!!!” and without even having ever met you properly, running straight up to you and in to your arms without hesitation. I know that was one of your favourite memories too as you told the story to me often with the largest smile possible in my later years of life.

You always asked me why though, why, without even knowing you did I run with such confidence to you, and I think the answer lies in the truth of parenthood.

It’s because I chose you and mum as parents and you being my dad was a part of my truth I didn’t always have to understand to know it to be true. Even at 6 years old.

And sure you and mum chose each other when you got together but I chose you both too – I needed both of you in my life to teach me all that I had to learn to be my own person in this life.

Mum, who taught me every conceivable good and just thing in this world, like love, patience, determination, kindness, giving, respect – and you – who taught me the more wild and serious side of life, I’m grateful too your lessons came later on in my life, right when I was ready for them. You instilled in me my love of travel (genetics I swear), my penchant for swear words and how sometimes ‘fuck’ just does explain exactly what you need it too, my stubbornness – my god my stubbornness and my street smarts.

You AND mum, were and will always remain even though you’re now gone– the ying and yang to my life and all it’s lessons, and I am so grateful I chose you as my Dad.

My first memory of meeting you as an 18 year old after choosing to want to build a relationship with you and getting to build it however we pleased from day 1 was you asking if I had ever done acid, no dad, I replied, to which you in all your bad assery said “well, if you ever do want to do it I want to make sure I do it with you to make sure you’re ok” – ok big guy. I have to say, at 18, I figured out pretty fast I had a strange sure, but “cool” Dad.

I will never forget the first time Morgan met you either and the conversations that ensued the more he got to spend time with you over the years, but the lasting statement that could be his memory of ‘us’ is his understanding of me after meeting you. It was after one of our visits to you in 2014 sitting out together on the balcony at Charlottes house where you stayed the last years of your life, we said the same things, finished each others sentences, swore a lot when we were excited and were as stubborn as the other and when we left that day he told me that I made sense now – there was always a side to me (the bad assery / stubborn side shall we say Dad) that he couldn’t place and as soon as he met you, it clicked.

I remember getting the letter at Christmas 2013 to let us know they’d found black spots on your lungs and the prognosis wasn’t good at all. Stage 4 inoperable, untreatable Cancer – the outcome….terminal. I was sitting on the floor in my zen den at home and cried like I have never cried before – that is until I got the call you were gone 3 days ago. You didn’t know how long you had, you kept saying what your Dr told you “well how long is a piece of string” but one thing I had learned from you is you were a fighter and stubborn, both traits that saw you give us so much more of you than I think even your Dr’s expected. 2 years you lasted Dad. 2 years. I really don’t think anyone ever expected you to fight that long, but you did, and THAT is what I have learned the most from you and the legacy you leave behind in me – a fighting spirit. To live life on your own terms and never give up.

The last time I got to be with you in hospital we said at the exact same time “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” and that summed up your last few years to me. It didn’t matter how sick you got or how many times in my opinion, or the Dr’s you defied medical odds, you fought. And I’m so so grateful and so so glad you did, because I got two more years of stories, chats, advice and having you as ‘Dad’ in my life.

I’m sorry Morgan and I never got to give you a cuddle of our first born as I know you so hoped you would get but I am grateful that when we have our little one(s) they get a VERY special guardian angel looking after them. I have no doubt they’ll still feel the presence of your energy and love from above.

I am going to miss you Dad, really really miss you, but am grateful you’re at peace now, a peace I know you have been searching for in other things quite literally your whole life.

I promise to chat with you often still and that I will always be your ‘baby girl’

I hope they had the extra sugar for your coffee, a rad motorbike, extra copies of your favourite book; the bible (no doubt there are plenty of them though) and an endless supply of fruit and nut chocolate as soon as you arrived ‘up there’ 3 days ago and you live in infinite love and divinity as you so deserved.

Visit me in my dreams sometimes just so I can still hear your raspy laugh and strong certain voice no matter what words you have always spoken….

Love “your darling daughter”,

Anna xoxox

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