Category Archives: Life Happens

A Leap of Faith

You know those times when you think about doing something, and you don’t. Then it keeps popping up, until at what seems like the last moment you know you just have to do it. This is one of those times. It’s my personal universal reminder service and sometimes it just won’t be ignored!

I woke early this morning to a clear message to send out a reminder about our next 2WiseWomen retreat that starts in Bali in just one week…next Saturday…crazy right?

I have been getting constant reminders to send something out for the last couple of weeks. Each time the thought popped in I would talk myself out of it. It’s “too late”, “if someone is meant to come they will” or “I haven’t got time”…all the usual excuses my mind gives to ignore something I am meant to do.

Anyway, the image that came to mind this morning was someone making that last minute leap onto a train or boat they really need to catch, and they make it just as it begins to pull away. Given the universe’s insistence my assumption is that there is someone who is meant to be joining us who hasn’t leapt aboard yet, and it might be you!


This whole retreat has been about just that. It is going ahead at what can only be described as the universe’s insistence. We tried to cancel it and it wouldn’t be cancelled! So this is not about us, and we are, by the way, happy the universe over-road our plans. It has been a great lesson in just continuing to listen and trust…which is what I really want to share with you. 

So, now it’s your turn! Not just in relation to the retreat but anything in your life the universe is guiding you towards. It’s time to listen and make that leap of faith.

If it is about the retreat…some time-out to explore how to live more consciously, and experience the benefits of Yoga & Ayurveda as a way of life…the universe has been listening and held you a place. 

Exploring Conscious Living thru Yoga & Ayurveda
Narasoma Retreat Centre, Ubud Bali
28/4 – 5/5/2018

Go to our Retreats page for everything you need to know and how to register.

Coralie and I are flying out tomorrow (Monday) to get everything ready for you…plus have a few yummy massages. If the universe is whispering in your ear to come…or maybe it feels more like a push…then give us a call now on 0474 226 / 448 or 0400 494 266 or e-mail retreats@2wisewomen.com.au

We are even happy to still give you the Early Bird price. If you are meant to be there then we want to support you in that.

xxCoralie & Girishaa/Mary

Ashram life and what comes after…

It was suggested to me yesterday that an ashram is not a home…it is the place you prepare for the next part of your journey. I had just told her that I had decide it was time to leave Mangrove and the words made perfect sense. I have tried to think about the ashram as home but it never quite felt like that. It felt more like school, in that I was constantly learning on so many levels.

Someone asked me last night what I had learned and it’s been good to give that some thought.   Ashram life has been a great setting for seeing my own ‘stuff’, what yoga calls our samskaras, deep-seated beliefs and patterns of behaviour that are like imprints on the soul. Living and working 24/7 in close community with people with a deliberate intention to learn and grow spiritually reveals the good, the bad and the ugly in all of us…and that’s good because you do have to see it to be able to do something with it.

Ashram life is like a classroom that reveals these beliefs and behaviours clearly and provides the teachings and support to choose which ones I want to keep and which ones I don’t. That said, our beliefs and behaviours tend to be hard wired  and the rewiring process is not easy which is where ashram life comes in.  The structure, discipline and being thrown into situations that trigger your ‘stuff’, all help with the rewiring.

The triggers for me were things like being asked to teach a yoga class in 5 mins, when as a new teacher I would painstakingly prepare all my classes the night before. Or finding myself cooking a meal for 120 people on my 2nd cook shift having only ever cooked for 20 people before…and the list goes on and on and on. Over time I have learned that if I allow whatever is happening, before I know it I am  on the other side, usually still in one piece, going “wow, I did it!” Or if I stuffed up nobody really cared, it didn’t define me in their eyes.

So, standing now on the other side of the last 2 ½ years I can say that I have learned to worry less about ‘getting things right’, what others will think and whether I am ‘good enough’…all my little Achilles’ heels. I have a stronger sense of being good enough and if something doesn’t go perfectly the world as I know it probably won’t collapse in a heap.

So that’s a little glimpse of my take on ashram life and I am completely and totally grateful for the gift it has been.

Now what’s next?

Like most things in my life the decision to begin the next chapter is based on trust and faith. Although I am clear that it is time to move on, I am not quite sure what that looks like just yet. At one time I might have said I was trusting in the universe but a dear friend reminded me recently that I am the universe so I guess it’s an act of trust in myself.

So, maybe this is the gift of my ashram stay, the opportunity to dig deep to find myself and grow in trust and love to allow this unique expression of the universe called me.

One thing I do know is that Coralie and I are taking 2WiseWomen to Bali on the 28 April to once again share the deep wisdom and practical tools of Yoga and Ayurveda. Our intention for this 7 days & nights is to uplift, inspire and empower our beautiful participants to live more consciously.

In a way this brings me full circle. The programme and the beautiful setting of Narasoma retreat centre is our way of creating an ashram like experience for you. A space to pause, reflect and reconnect for the next stage of your life journey.

xxMary

How & why do you escape your life?

‘True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from’

This came up on my facebook feed recently and it grabbed me straight away, particularly the part about needing to escape. Two things came to mind. Firstly, the difference between having or doing something because it is enjoyable versus needing something to feel OK or better, i.e. to escape. The second, is the point at which doing something for enjoyment transitions into pain relief i.e. escaping.

A long time ago I used to use alcohol to escape but it didn’t start that way. Social events always included a few drinks, and getting a bit tipsy…or a lot…was just part of the fun. At some point though having a drink became something more than just about having fun. It was a gradual process. Working full-time with a family meant that life was very full and very busy. Having a drink or 2 after work became the norm, it helped me to switch off, wind down, let go. As the kids got older and my jobs gotbigger, my stress levels went up, so did my need to escape, and so did the number of drinks.

Having a drink started as something I enjoyed and at some point, on the journey it became something I needed. Another example might be the enjoyment of those first few cups of coffee to a point where you can’t face the day without one and if you do it’s with a blinding headache.

The first step in any Ayurvedic treatment is to identify and remove the cause. If we feel the need to escape, the question to ask is not, “what should I do or take to support this escape”…but “what in my life am I trying to escape from”. If I need something to feel ‘better’, what is it about me that feels ‘less than’ better? If I need something to ‘let go’, what am I holding onto? If I need something to ‘wind down’, what is causing me to feel wound up?

The message…by all means have a wine, a coffee or a piece of chocolate cake but notice if it shifts from being some you enjoy to something you ‘need’ to get through the day, the night or the week. That’s when it changes from being something you enjoy to pain relief.

Step 1 – Take the time to pause and reflect on whatever it is about the day and your reactions that create the need to escape.

Step 2 – Remove the cause and replace it with something that keeps you firmly grounded in a life you love to lead.

2WiseWomen retreats are intended to help you do just that.

Be careful what you wish for…

Did you hear the piper?” Bill says excitedly.

I look up from my crossword, incredulous. If you’ve never had someone play bagpipes in your lounge-room, I assure you, you are unlikely to miss it. “I did hear him“, I reply.

The young crew from the pub were in the process of moving the St Patrick’s Day revelries to our kitchen. ‘The piper’ was the last to join them arriving to his own fanfare. The guitar, accordian and guitarlele were getting a right ol’ work-out. The usual repertoire of favourite tunes had already started accompanied by vocal harmonies. This group of late-20 and early-30-something year-olds play and sing together often, and they play and sing well. They also drink lots of beer, talk loudly and passionately, and stay out late. I love having them around but the noise gets too much for me so I retire to my bedroom and enjoy the party from the other side of the wall.

18 months earlier…

Mary and I are riding the train to Sydney to fly to Bali for the Living Your Dharma retreat when she asks, ‘Where do you see yourself in 2 years?’ With a deadpan expression I say, ‘Married with children’. I am 54, childless and have been in same sex-relationships for nearly 30 years. Mary watches my face for a while for a sign that I might be joking. Finally, she says, ‘I guess he’ll already have children.’ ‘I guess so‘ says I.

I’m also a little surprised. I thought I’d given up on that dream, but there it was; unequivocal.

We spend the next week at Narasoma in Ubud, Bali taking retreat participants through the process of distilling and defining their dharma; their life’s purpose. I’m going through my own process. I sit with my revelation and what that might look like.

November 2015…
I find a beautiful dress. It fits me like a glove and looks fabulous. I show Mary and tell her ‘I could get married in that dress’. She says, ‘buy it’. I do. It’s $80.

December 2015…
While celebrating Christmas with my family in Perth I announce that I am getting married in June or July next year. ‘Great‘ they all say. ‘Who to?” ‘I haven’t met him yet’ I reply. Nothing much they could say to that I guess.

6 March 2016…
Over breakfast I tell my friend I’m floundering with my attempts to put my bee-hive frames together. My friend suggests I meet with her friend, Bill, who keeps bees. Bill and I work easily together and he helps me with my frames. He’s single and has 3 adult children and 4 grand-children.

8 October 2016…
Bill and I marry in front of family and friends in Gregson Park, Hamilton under a big old Morton Bay fig. I arrive by BMW scooter in my slinky dress. Bill’s son Michael is best-man. His 2 daughters are there too. I catch Mary’s eye in the front row. All the little kids in attendance climb the tree and photo-bomb the ceremony. Bill and I have the best day ever. We honeymoon for a week in Ubud at the retreat centre.

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St Pat’s Day: 2330 pm Loud thumping noise that rattles the whole house as it beats time to the music.

Oh dear, someone’s found the lagerphone. Rehearse apologies to the neighbours in the morning. Kids, eh.

Mary’s first comment when she reads this…’the title could be…be careful what you wish for’.

Our Living your Dharma weekend is just 2 weeks away – 7-9 April 2017. If there is something you want to create you’d better come.

Go to our Events page to register.

xxCoralie

Your Dharma ‘lights you up’

Have you ever had the experience of doing or talking about something and feel yourself starting to ‘light up’, you feel energised…excited…happy…you may even glow a little bit?

Those moments hold the key to discovering your Dharma.

It happens to me when I start talking about Ayurveda, our 2WiseWomen retreats, my grandchildren or just my life at the Ashram. All the things I love and feel passionate about. I can feel myself getting excited, my words flow easily and my heart feels like it is overflowing…and it’s in those moments that I know I am on track…I am living my Dharma.

Over 12 years ago when I started to study Ayurveda I was so excited by what I was learning that I wanted to share it with as many people as possible. I opened my practice in Newcastle and constantly thought about how to create an Ayurvedic Community. At the same time I was completely out of my ‘comfort’ zone. Not only was I coming from a business background, I had been completely oblivious to anything ‘alternative’ for the first 42 years of my life. Fortunately, I was so besotted with Ayurveda that I didn’t let that stop me and followed my heart and not my head.

My dream for community and to share Ayurveda was a big part of my decision to come to live at Mangrove Yoga 12 months ago. I have a dream that Mangrove Yoga will one day offer Ayurveda training. It feels like a big dream, a really big one. One that scares me as well as excites me. I have no real idea how it is going to happen but I know that it will.

This knowing comes from looking back and seeing the twists and turn s my has taken ever since I started asking myself, and listened, to what I want in life. I have come to understand that it is more important to know WHAT I want, than the HOW of getting it or making it happen. I now happily leave that part to the universe, trusting that signposts will come and knowing that my role is to watch for and follow them.

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Are you on track? Life has a way of sending us a signpost when we aren’t.

An Ayurveda conference I attended in Melbourne last week was my latest signpost, reminding me of my dream to bring more Ayurveda to my new home. I went to the conference knowing I’d gotten off track a little, spending too much time on things that didn’t ‘light me up’. Now I’m back on track.

So what’s your dream?

What ‘lights’ you up?

What do you want more of in your life?

Is there something sitting in the background that you want to do but the HOW or circumstances of your life feel in the way?

Our Living your Dharma weekend is just 3 weeks – 7-9 April 2017. If there a little voice saying “yes, I want to do this” …that’s a signpost…listen to it.

Go to our Events page to register.

This is what is happening but is it really what I want?

I really love it when one of our newsletters or posts prompts a person to drop us a line and share what’s been happening on their wellbeing and awareness journey. Today I received an e-mail from a woman who was part of last year’s Living Loving Life (LLL) course. She told me she had been thinking about coming to Bali but…

“…life has been busy this year so far and I’m sure that is what I asked for but (I am) waiting to see if that’s what I really want!!”

I love this. First, she understands that she is creating whatever is happening in her life and secondly, there is a level of awareness checking-in with whether what she is creating is what she really wants.

This women is a professional health worker and when she finished the LLL course, in the final sharing she told the group that for the first time in her life she felt like she had choices. She could see now that life wasn’t something that was just happening to her, that her choices were creating her life, and in making different choices she could begin to steer her life in a different direction.

This is no small thing, in fact it is a really, really big thing. This understanding and awareness is the cornerstone to creating a life we love to live, not just one we want to survive.

Often, it is the big, obvious things that come to mind when we think about changing our life, things like our work, where we live, or our relationships. I have learnt however that being unhappy with life has more to do with our beliefs and attitudes than about what we are doing, where we are living and who we are with. In fact, what we are doing and who we are with are usually a reflection of our beliefs and attitudes.

If there is a part of me that is constantly seeking approval to feel loved, and through experience I have learnt that approval comes from getting things done, being helpful, getting it right or looking good…then no amount of wanting to stop being so busy is going to work. There will always be a reason why I can’t stop…there will always be someone to help…something to finish…or to get right. Because without that, I won’t get the approval that I unconsciously need to feel OK about myself.

One of my favourite sayings is ‘if nothing changes, nothing changes’.

Sometimes, even after making drastic changes like leaving a relationship or a job, we can find ourselves right back in a similar situation again…and again…and again. Why does this keep happening? When we find ourselves in these déjà vu situations, what hasn’t changed is our understanding of who we are and what we really want. Our outer circumstances may look different but if nothing has changed internally then often the new partner or new boss will begin to resemble what we thought we had left behind…again.

With the help of Yoga and Ayurveda I have spent the last 15 years consciously unravelling the old stories of who I thought I should and could be, to find who I am and what is important to me. Simply put I have been developing my awareness. I love how the wisdom and simple daily practices of these two wise women have helped me grow on all levels, and in doing so have changed me and my life in ways I could never have even imagined.

Take home point: The journey begins and ends with awareness. Life isn’t a goal to be achieved or even a destination, it is a path. Having Yoga and Ayurveda on my side is like driving at night with the benefit of high beam, it helps me to see where I am going, know if I am on the right road and avoid the potholes.

The next 2WiseWomen retreat is in August 2016 in Ubud Bali. Yoga and Ayurveda’s take on Women’s Health & Spirituality.

Coming back to basics -15 May 2016.

I am finding myself in a bit of a post adventure slump at the moment. The last 4 months has been packed with movement and excitement and coming home has thrown me a bit. On Monday night I realised that I hadn’t done a morning practice since I arrived home over 2 weeks ago, and I knew that this was a big part of why I was feeling the way I was.

This happens to me from time to time, like most people. In the past I would give myself a bit of a hard time, however I try not to do that anymore. Instead, as soon as I see what is happening I know that quickest and simplest remedy is to come back to my basic practices.

So, yesterday I got up when I woke, scrapped my tongue, had a ginger, lemon & honey tea, spent some time on the cushion and mat, gave myself a self-massage and had a delicious spiced apple smoothie for breakfast. I also got on the phone to a friend and said I need some help, because reaching out is something else I have learned to do. Surrounding ourselves with people who are there to support us is so important it has become one of my three pillars of living well.

How to live well is not rocket science and the practices aren’t hard…sometimes we just lose touch and forget that it’s the little things we do every day that are the real foundation of our health and wellbeing…things like scraping our tongue, taking some time to reflect and rest, moving, breathing, eating regular meals and going to bed on time. Or as Coralie suggested we try and be too clever when all we need is simple…keep it simple sweetheart!

After just one day back to my practice I feel lighter and my energy is flowing again. I was even able to hear the little voice during this morning’s mediation that told me the theme for our next 2WiseWomen gathering…coming back to basics. So that’s what we will be exploring…some of the principles and simple daily practices of Yoga and Ayurveda that keep us on track as we navigate life’s day to day adventures.

Sunday, 15 May 2016
10.00am – 3.30pm
Bhakti Tree, 410 Maitland Road Mayfield
$65 (includes morning tea & lunch)
Book here

The conversation, company, practices, chai and sesame sweeties at our last gathering were great, however we all agreed that it went way too quickly.

So this time…its longer and we’ll do lunch!

We’ll talk about coming back to basics, do some fun, simple practices, eat some delicious Ayurvedic food and of course…drink chai. A perfect day out.
Book here

Share the journey
Feel free to share this with your family and friends. Helping others access the knowledge and tools to live well is an amazing gift, and its great to share the journey. Coralie and I were talking yesterday about how great it is when couples explore together how to live well. It can be tough to make changes on your own, but it’s much easier when two people are on the same page…so feel free to bring your special someone along too. Yoga & Ayurveda are the 2WiseWomen and their wisdom is for everyone. In fact, we would love to have men and even couples come to Bali with us. Just planting a seed!

Yoga & Ayurveda in Bali
Speaking of Bali, while you are here, have a look at the courses and take advantage of 10% off the June course for those who attend the workshops!

Held in the beautiful grounds of Narasoma Retreat centre this 8 day/night course is all about the experience of Living Yoga & Ayurveda. There is so much that can be said but really nothing equals an experience, and it’s a life changing experience if you are ready to embrace what Yoga and Ayurveda have to offer.

Our intention is to create a space for you to step out of your life for 8 days and experience how to live a bit differently. The daily program is structured, meal times are regular, vegetarian food is simple and delicious, the body and mind are toned with daily yoga practices and pampered with massages, and a regular routine for sleeping and rising is established. Within that framework we share with you how Yoga & Ayurveda work together to restore positive and resilient good health on all levels; physical, mental and spiritual. The systems are simple, gentle and extraordinarily effective and in just one week we promise you will notice the difference. Your energy will flow more freely and life will feel easier.
Information and Registrations

Stay in touch
If you want to know when something new is happening and read our offerings sign up here.

X Coralie & Mary

‘Living well’…what does that really mean?

Walking along my beautiful Redhead Beach this morning I was thinking about life, what I do and why I do it, and it all came down to simply wanting to live well. Deep down I think that’s all most people want. To feel healthy and happy, and good about who we are and what we do in this life.

So…what does it mean to live well? What are the actual ingredients for living well? Lots of different things come to mind however sifting through them I noticed that three things seemed to underpin them all…

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Connection with Nature
Simply put…we are part of Nature and Nature has certain laws and rhythms. When we eat and live in accordance with those laws and rhythms we feel well and when we don’t…we don’t.

Two simple examples demonstrate the intimate connection between our health and wellbeing and Nature, and as you can see it’s not rocket science.

The foods that grow in a particular season have the qualities that are most beneficial for our health and wellbeing at that time. Foods with cooling qualities, like sweet fruits and leafy greens grow in summer to help us stay cool. Foods with warming qualities, like heavier root vegetables and sour fruits grown in winter help us stay warm. Eating what is in season, as close to it’s natural ‘packaging’ as possible is an important dimension of our connection with Nature.

The production of hormones in our body are also linked to nature’s rhythms. For example, the production of melatonin is triggered by the setting of the sun, which is Nature’s way of telling us when to go to bed. Melatonin not only regulates our natural sleep pattern, it reduces stress, it’s an antioxidant which means it slows down the ageing process, it decreases cholesterol and generally makes you feel better. Staying up late and exposure to light at night, particularly the blue light of TVs and computer screens, inhibits the production of melatonin. Try turning off the screens, light some candles, have a warm drink and go to bed before 10.00pm. You won’t believe how much better you will feel the next day.

Good company
One thing I have heard consistently over the years is the importance of ‘good company’. Having people in our lives who encourage and support us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. People who encourage us to learn and grow…not to become perfect…simply a better version of ourselves.

Finding out who we are and what we want to do in this world is not always an easy thing. Invariably there may be people in our life who think they know who we should be and what we should do, and have a vested interest in us following that path. If that is the case make sure you also have a community or network that supports you in being the best version of yourself, and following your own path. It’s a truly wonderful thing.

Sense of self-worth…I’m ok/enough
For me this is the real game changer and the most challenging. Eating well and living in accordance with Nature’s rhythms usually comes fairly easily for me, and I am surrounded by family and friends that support me in who I am and what I do. What comes less easily is believing in myself. Navigating the deeply embedded, and often destructive patterns of behaviour, and disempowering beliefs that have developed on the basic premise that I am ‘not enough’.

Learning to develop a strong sense of enoughness has been the most profound part of my journey to date, and I suspect will continue to be so. I am becoming better at noticing when an ‘old story’ hijacks something that is happening now. I am beginning to see more clearly how my reaction to something is being influenced by what has happened in the past rather than what is happening now.

Reprogramming these beliefs often feels like a slow and laborious process, as the same patterns seem to keep repeating themselves, but every time I catch them in the act and choose to ignore the old story, something shifts and changes. The old story loses some of its power and I feel stronger. I am gradually changing my ‘programming’ to ‘I am OK…I am enough’.

Living Well…a conscious, daily commitment to myself
So, those are my three pillars of health…equally important and interconnected…a bit like the 3 legs of a stool. Take one leg away and my life starts to feel a bit wobbly and topples over. Standing on all three legs I feel stronger and more balanced, however keeping it upright is a conscious, daily commitment to myself.

Stepping outside the limitations of my own beliefs is scary, however I know it is the key to feeling free and safe in this life. I am better equipped to take on this challenge when I feel connected to nature, by eating and living as nature intended. I find it easier to cultivate that connection when I keep ‘good company and have people in my life that share my values and belief.

Right now I am feeling happy and grateful in my life. I feel physically well…healthy and strong; I know what I want, I am surrounded by family and friends that support who I am and my journey, and I am consciously trying to change the ‘programming’ that put limits on what that looks like. Tomorrow I may find myself plunged back into ‘not enoughness’, feel that my sense of connection with nature has slipped away, and because I am feeling down withdraw a bit from my friends. The stool topples over!

That happens occasionally…its called life!

When it does…I stand myself back up by reconnecting with nature thru my daily practices and eating well, reaching out to my friends for support, and reminding myself that I am enough, that my ‘old stories’ do not define me.

Learn more about how to Live Well
Coming back to basics: Yoga & Ayurveda 101.
10.00am – 3.30pm on 15 May 2016
In this Coming back to basics workshop we will explore some simple, daily practices within Yoga and Ayurveda that help us to Live Well. Coralie and I have a whole range of practices that keep us upright and we look forward to sharing them with you.
More information and bookings.

Living Yoga & Ayurveda Course in Ubud, Bali
4-12 June 2016
For those of you who want to delve deeper, this 8 day/night course at the beautiful Narasoma Retreat Centre in Ubud is all about the experience of living well and learning how to do that.

There is so much that can be said but really nothing equals an experience. Our intention is to create a space for you to step out of your life for 8 days and experience how to live a bit differently. The daily program is structured, meal times are regular, vegetarian food is simple and delicious, the body and mind are toned with daily yoga practices and pampered with massages, and a regular routine for sleeping and rising is established. Within that framework we share with you how Yoga & Ayurveda work together to restore positive and resilient good health on all levels; physical, mental and spiritual. The systems are simple, gentle and extraordinarily effective and in just one week we promise you will notice the difference. Your energy will flow more freely and life will feel easier.
More information and bookings

If you have found this of interest and want to know when something new is available sign up to stay in touch.

Coming home a better version of myself

A week today I will fly out of Bangkok, destination Sydney, with a few days in Perth on route to visit my beautiful daughter, adorable grandson and wonderful son-in-law. When I land in Sydney it will be 4 months almost to the day that I left for India. I have already shared in another post how the first leg of my journey didn’t quite go to plan, however in hindsight it was the perfect beginning for letting go of any expectations. I am glad I did, because I am coming home with something more than I could have imagined.

Many years ago a friend suggested that despite all our efforts to change “we don’t ever really change, we just become a better version of ourselves”. I have thought about that often over the years, even quoted it, however I realise now that on some level it had always felt a bit like a cop out, like I was settling for less than perfect.

The last 4 months however have helped me understand it at a deeper level, particularly the last month spent in a fairly intense yoga course at the Pantrix Alternate Centre, in Thailand. The centre is run by Pancho and Beatrix. Pancho was born in California and is an artist, musician who sort of by accident became a yoga teacher. Beatrix was born in Europe and is an artist, astrologist, Reiki Master and yoga teacher. They have travelled the world together, studying yoga and doing their art for over 30 years. In doing so they have amassed a wealth of experience and knowledge which they love to share, and do so very well.

I need to let you know that I had become quite attached to my post-menopause status these days and very ‘comfortable’ in my yoga practice. That means I wasn’t into pushing any boundaries physically, and I could often be heard referring to my ‘post-menopause’ status as the reason.

This course however pushed all my boundaries.

Pancho frequently referred to the aim of all the practices we were doing as “becoming a better version of ourselves”. He suggested that our approach to life can basically be summed up as two piles. The first pile is all the things that make us feel uncomfortable, the things we like to avoid, be they people, activities, thoughts or feelings. The second pile is all the things that help distract us from the first pile. He suggested that the way to become better versions of ourselves is to step away from pile number 2 for a while and investigate pile number 1. In short the course is about pulling on the strings attached to all the things in pile number 1.

So what have I learnt from rummaging through pile number 1?

Simply, that creating a ‘comfortable’ life limits my potential, and keeps me from becoming a better version of myself. On a physical level I have done practices that I did not think I could, which has in turn freed me up on an emotional and mental level. The whole purpose of yoga.

Also that by allowing myself to go beyond the boundaries of pile number 2 and engage with the discomfort of pile number 1, the size of the pile has reduced. With less things to avoid I feel freer to accept what life offers.

So in short, the outcome of all this string pulling is that I am coming home a better version of myself, and in no way does that feel like I am ‘settling for less than perfect’. A better version of me feels awesome, and it hasn’t come about by taking the easy road. I have had to do a lot of digging and cutting away to reveal this better version, a bit like Michelangelo’s description of revealing the image of David within the block of marble.

It’s been an interesting leg of the journey.

xxMary

Free to be me…Shelly’s story

How many of your life challenges have come from trying to bend yourself to other people’s view of the world…or to meet your own expectations based on who you think the world wants you to be?12744649_962774923804552_271646333272514075_n

When I saw this picture I immediately thought of Shelly, a participant at last years course, and sent her a copy. This was her reply,

Thank you Mary, I think the fact that all my life I have fought this reality, tried to live within other people’s ideals… is why much of my journey has had challenges… Now, for the first time in my life, I am living a life true to who I am, who I should’ve always been and yes, I am free to be me, a wild, wild woman! Thank you for helping me to believe in myself and to be proud of who I am!”
X Shelly

I was intrigued by Shelly’s comment that she felt that many of her life challenges had come from resisting her own truth. It started me thinking…

Why is it so difficult to be ourselves in the world?

Where do we go when we aren’t being ourselves?

How did we lose ourselves in the first place?

What are the consequences of living this way?

When I reflect on my own life journey and the stories of hundreds of women I have worked with over the years the following insights go towards answering these questions…

Why is it so difficult to be ourselves in the world? Because we often don’t feel ‘good enough’ or even ‘enough’.

Where do we go when we aren’t being ourselves? We live behind a mask, feeling like a fraud and hoping no one finds out just how ‘not good enough’ we really are.

How did we lose ourselves in the first place? As little children we are like a sponge and form our perception of the world and ourselves based on what we observe and experience. Some of those perceptions are helpful and some aren’t, case in point, ‘I’m not good enough’.

What are the consequences of living this way? We waste precious energy trying to hold up the mask, we eventually make ourselves sick and most importantly, we miss out on living ‘our’ life.’

The majority of my work with women over the last 10 years has focused on supporting them to find their power and come home to their own truth. I love being present for the light bulb moment when a woman begins to:

  • Realise that she IS ENOUGH
  • Find the power to step out from behind the mask and be herself.
  • See and question the beliefs that up to now have informed her life choices, and choose to let go of the ones that no longer serve her.
  • Finally start to live ‘her’ life, making choices that support her being a better version of herself. A version in which she feels, happy, healthy and fulfilled.

Shelly is one of these women. When she arrived at a 2WiseWomen course in Bali last year, her 2nd abusive marriage had just come to an end, she was grief stricken and depressed, overweight, broke, and she had never sat on a yoga mat or meditated before. Talk about stepping out on limb.

As a single mum with 4 young children she felt lost and completely overwhelmed by what life was serving up. Well meaning people around her had tried to discourage her from coming saying…”she couldn’t afford it, it wasn’t the right time, what about the kids“. However, despite the opposition Shelly said she knew in her heart she just had to come. So, she organised the kids, borrowed the money and gifted herself the opportunity to pause, reflect and reconnect for the first time in her life.

It’s now 8 months since the retreat, and in that time Shelly has taken her life into her own hands. So what’s changed?

  • By exploring and understanding the subtle, and not so subtle, beliefs that had been informing her life choices, she is now beginning to make better choices.
  • Instead of allowing her life to be driven by circumstance, she has created a vision of the life she wants for herself and her children, and it’s coming to fruition in ways she couldn’t even imagine.
  • Despite being a highly qualified registered nurse, Yoga and Ayurveda have given her insight into what it really means to eat and live well. Her physical and mental health is improving as she consistently makes better day to day choices.
  • She is maintaining a regular meditation practice, learning to ignore the naysayers and trusting herself and the universe.

Shelly tells everyone that her life turned around in Bali when she discovered that she could choose to live differently.

“My experience at the 2015 retreat in Ubud was an absolutely life changing and enhancing experience!! An amazing personal transformation from a perception and life experience of sadness, grief, depression, addiction, loneliness, anger, regret… to a whole new amazingly wonderful life filled with hope, faith, love, happiness, gratitude, dreams, endless opportunity, values and beliefs. DREAM BIG = BIG JOY!

Shelly’s experience is the reason Coralie and I have created the 2WiseWomen courses. To share the wisdom of Yoga and Ayurveda, so that you can create a life that supports you to be the best version of yourself.

I think that’s all any of us really want…to be free to be ourselves and enjoy the ride!

12311330_890772334376240_8810177591851239559_nSo here’s your chance. Are you ready to say yes to discovering how to be the best version of yourself possible?

We know you will come away a better you…we have seen it time and time again…you just have to come.

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