Hola gorgeous souls,
We’re back with my usual scrapbook of photos + ramblings from the past couple of weeks.
Let me take you on a play by play of how the past coupla weeks have gone downnnnn!!!!
As one season ends, another begins… I started on edits & revisions for the 2017 workbooks!!!!
I know it’s only April but publishing lead times take forever.
Definitely a different kettle of fish to when I first created & released these in the space of 3 days back in 2009!!!!!!
This girl… Happiest when she has pen and paper.
She makes the most intricate little scribings before bellowing
“MUM!!!!!!! LOOK!!!!!!!!!!! A!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Every scrawl is an A in BeffWorld.
First day of the year I get to wear closed in shoes instead of thongs!!! Hellloooooooo Autumn, I’ve been longing for you!!!!
I made a new friend… In the most synchronicious ways.
So… I’m a huge, raving fan of the reality show Farmer Wants A Wife… Like… I can barely cope with it… It’s just everything.
Anywaysies, I had a Farmer Wants A Wife finale party. I posted our little soirée on Instagram (as you do) and immediately got a comment… From my very favourite contestant Belinda Reid… The girl who held so much spark and light and earth angel energy!!!! She!!!! Commenting on my Instagram!!!! Not just that!!!! But she was a fan of ME!!! And had been reading my stuff for years!!!
At this point, I basically defecated my pants. I was emotionally comatose. It was too much. So much goodness.
The next day, I told my bestie about it. She immediately told me “FFS!!! Email her!!! Talk to her!!!!” And I totally ummmmed and ahhhhhhhed because I didn’t want to be a weird fan or seem like I wanted anything from her. Sometimes I feel so damn shy and unworthy of attention!!!
Anywaysies, Sone pushed and pushed me. Until I did. And she wrote me back. And then we started texting.
And I called her today… Thinking we’d chat for just a wee bit… But two hours on… We were still going!!!! We just dived straight in like we were the oldest of friends… Talked about heart and soul and all those big things. About wombats and animal healing and reiki and intentions and all the people we know in common. We pulled the most amazing cards and did a reading. So so magical to meet a mermaid soul sister… A sister of the heart… I have a feeling we are going to have some IRL adventures together this year… It’s totally meant to be.
I love how some part of me was like “That chick on tv? You might think she’s a world away, but she is truly a soul sis and she’s in our tribe.”
Big love to you Queen Bee you are a healer, an earth angel, an empath, a wild woman, an animal dreamer, a fae… And I’m so so glad our paths have finally crossed! Come visit!
It’s autumn and it’s cool and the sun is bright and our garden is a dream and I am happy.
We spent most of the day in the backyard…
It was one of our first real Autumn days and it’s cooled down enough so we don’t get sunburnt… Spent some happy hours painting out here as well, pretending I am Landscape Artist of the Yearrrrrrrr.
It’s way more mayhem and messy because of my 2 year old and way more loud because of my non-stop talker of a 6 year old. It’s not as chill and idyllic as doing it on my own… The mama art way is like an intense sport requiring quick reflexes and fast paint applying… Still… I need art like I need to breath. And it gets easier as they get older, this I know.
So in the meantime, I’ll be here, way messier and louder and quicker in making art than ever… Walking the creative mama way…
I’m a huge fan of Australian Bushflower Essences… I find them stronger than Bach – maybe that’s just because I’m an Aussie and resonate with the energy of the land here – but I’ve noticed even my American friends find the same. Anywaysies, these are even more powerful for me than the Aus Bushflower Essence blends – they are still made from Aus Bushflower Essences but there is something about Naughty Naturopath Mum and her blends and the way she works with the essences and what each one is for that is truly remarkable. Highly recommended.
Also – as always – this is not a sponsored ad – I don’t do that. I just share about shit I love and find useful. Also, hairstyle c/o smearing a duck tonne of coconut oil in it as a moisturising treatment because bleaching and perming my hair has totally messed with its mermaid vitality. Fuuuuuck why didn’t anyone tell me? Oh that’s right, they did. I just didn’t listen. #derp
An afternoon of Sacred Moon Lodge women’s circle… Just what is needed to bring me home, speak my truth & hear messages from Great Spirit. I wish every woman would have the blessing of experiencing a circle like this. I know so many people crave it but then don’t commit when the opportunity comes. It’s such a miracle, I wish it was commonplace habit and on the schedule for every woman.
This one. He respects the Ancient zones. He makes space for me and my work. He protects me even when I argue with him about it. He reminds me again and again to trust my inner voice. He respects sacred women’s work. He will change in an instant if he knows he needs to. He is not afraid of transformation. He is a Scorpio Ox and he is hottttttttt. I’m feeling particularly grateful for my man today after seeing a beautiful, sacred vision of him at the women’s circle. Magicman.
And so it begins… Editing for 2017 workbooks!
I’ve been wanting to spend more weekday afternoons with the Wild fae girls… Usually I spend mornings with the family and work in the afternoons, but since Starry started school full time I’ve been missing her. So I’m playing around with schedule a bit… Today was a hot cross bun picnic in the backyard.
Help I am laying on the floor in the dark trying to get my 2 year old to sleep. We are 2.5 hours in. #sleepseige #hostagesituationunfolding
I’m kind of at that place in my life where I’m seriously considering giving up sleep because it seems a futile exercise anyway. #toddlerdoom #motheroftheyear
GUYS. GUYS. GUYS. Go to What Dog and upload a picture of yourself and find out what dog you most look like. Can NOT stop lafffffing!!!! I, apparently, most resemble an Afghan Hound. I cannot lie… they are pretty damn right on!!!!!!!
Amazing idea!!! Beautiful recipe ebook at www.aussiewellnesswomen.com.au with yummy wholesome recipes from Australia’s leading wellness experts… All funds raised will go to the Luke Batty Foundation which does such incredibly important work I want to cry thinking about it… Go check it out honeys!!!
I feel like Starry is trying to art therapy her excitement about impending Easter.
Open to what comes next. Ostara, the season of new beginnings and miracles. In many ways I feel like I’m coming home… To my city, my family, my friends, my spirituality, my own inner world…
Fully stocked up on new sketchbooks… Found them at Kmart for $5 each!!!! I wonder what I’ll create in these beauties!!!!! #art #sketchbook #journalling
Afternoon office. Sunset is golden, beer is cold.
What’s happening in me right now… Anais said it best ::::
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” – Janis Joplin
Our birthday girl. She is SIX!
Twelve years ago, I was a part of a magical online tribe (SARKettes uuuuniiiite!) They were a bunch of creative, spiritual, passionate, whole-hearted women… I was so lucky these women became my “new normal”. We all became pen pals and had wild women retreats together, many of us finding our BFFs and closest friends (it’s where I found @sonyaforrest too!)
We are all still friends all this time on… And it’s the gift that continues on giving. After my parents separated, I thought it would be suuuuuper funny to set my wild bushman dad up on a blind date with one of my succulent wild women friends… My reasoning being they both had five kids so would have soooooooooo much in common. FIVE KIDS! EACH!!!! Hahahahahaaaaaa!!!! I think we were all a bit surprised when they actually did fall head over heels for each other. Over a year later they are still together… Which is rad because it means I get to see my friend more often! And it’s lovely to see the wild bushman so happy too. I feel like a real life Cupid, you guys! I always thought I had matchmaking skills… Had no idea I would end up being my Dad’s wingman though! Haaaaaaa!!!!
Just finished 120 page journal of lettering and doodling. It’s only taken me a couple of weeks… At night when I’m sitting beside Mr D as he watches TV, I replaced my laptop with an art journal instead! It’s definitely increased my creative time. Now I’ll hand it off to Mr D for digitising and cleaning up and handing off to our designers to be incorporated into new products and social media images.
Brilliant. Fascinating. The South Park documentary on how they produce a show in 6 days! I love watching any kind of shows and insights into the creative process and production!
I sculptured a little ancient goddess doll for myself for a bit of nurturing. She’s a smiling elder crone, and I can feel her love around me. I made her from white air drying clay that I’ve had sitting in the cupboard for years. I have no idea where my sculpting tools are so I used my hands and a dried up pen. Once she was dry I painted her with brown umber gouache watered down. I quite love the effect… She looks leathery and golden.
I’m pretty sedate and understated when I meet people. @april.bevin can vouch for this.
Oh my goodness. What a precious, precious gift to receive. I can’t even tell you how much this means to me… I got teary when I opened the box. A beautiful necklace with my family’s names, a mermaid and on the back, an inscription of my Word For 2016… A stunning creation by Vianna Fere – etsy store.
She was here last week for 24 hours so we could do some business meetings together.
When it came time for her to leave, I asked her not to go. There was still so much to speak about and plan and create. She told me she’d come back in three days, and she did. I had four days with her and I’m pleased as punch.
I even got her and Mr D to do a creative direction meeting with me to brainstorm 2017 book covers… I’m so happy with the results! As fantastic as remote working is, sometimes it is even more fantastic to be working across the table.
Suuuuuper excited to welcome Suzi Istvan to our team!!!
Suzi will be our first full time designer & art director for the company… Something we soooo need to keep up with the ever growing amount of goodies we produce! I’ll still be writing & illustrating of course but Succulent Suzi will be polishing it up and putting it together for print & web design.
You’ll also see her in the Academy presenting a design & branding course or two! Suzi is brilliant & gorgeous & smart & a total goal getter. She is also a mama to three boys and has the cuuuutest puppy. We also realised we both used to harbour political aspirations – she wanted to be Chief of Staff, I wanted to be Prime Minister, and we have both worked in government and politics before! Funny!
Now we prefer to change the world our own way with our work. I’m so excited to be adding Suzi’s superpowers to our team & can’t wait to see what we can create together!!!
And Sone came back for some more live work retreating!
As an important business meeting we went to our Mecca, our Alma Mater, our favourite hippy store in the world… THE HIEROPHANT!!!! We did verrrrry important business things of looking at books and cards and crystals for “market research”.
I’m not particularly close with much of my family for many reasons, so we selected aunties for our girls from our tribe of friends. Aunty Sone spends much of her time with us being sat on, cuddled & doing braids.
It makes my heart happy to see the love unfolding and blooming between them all. As they grow, my girls will be initiated into sacred women’s circles and moon lodges.
I love that they will always have strong, loving, spiritual, wholehearted women surrounding them and loving them and showing them how to walk in this world with joy and heart.
My business planning always happens a bit later than January… Nov-Jan are the three busiest months of our year with 2016 goals workbook sales and this year we had a conference in Feb too.
We’ve spent the last three days going through our past few years of business goals workbooks (yep, I use my own book… I created it for me and my business’ success first… And shared the book publicly so other people could use the system too!) I’m so damn proud of what we’ve been able to achieve and am so excited and sure of what we will create next.
Four days of business planning done.. Interspersed with crystal shops, book shops, cafes & beer in the backyard.
That is basically my ideal work retreat right there. We done good Sone!
This week I did a bunch of cover design mock ups for the 2017 workbooks & diary… We reviewed all the covers from the past seven years and combined the best parts of what worked. I drafted up dozens of quick sketches until we could decide on one. I had Mr D and Sonehelping me. And Bethy of course. She made sure she stood on every one of them.
Next up, I’ll be hand illustrating the different pieces for the cover, cleaning it up in Photoshop and then handing it off to our designer for polishing. Should be fun!
Okay loves… I’m off to sleep… Last day of school before school holidays. I wonder how we can all make it through school holidays without losing our sanity. Our lovely nanny ended up needing to quit to focus on university, so we are flying solo once more. And it’s lovely to have some solid family time. I’ll let you know if it is still as lovely in two weeks.
Okay seriously I should go to sleep now. You hang up! No youuuu hangggg uppppppp
Started and finished “Life without lanyards: from public servant to entrepreneur”. I made the switch six years ago and am well established in my company, but it was still fantastic to read the stories of other Canberran public servants who’ve made the transition.
I think I’ll pass the book on to my darling Deb who just quit the pubes cubes to do massage full time. I couldn’t be more proud of her!!!!
Hey beautiful goddesses… Just want you to know you are loved. And precious. And needed. Big time.
Bloody brilliant. THRIVE. There’s a reason this bookywooky is popular.
School holidays. Such wonder. Such bliss. Such screaming and biting and fighting and whining. ENJOYING EVERY SINGLE MINUTE, GUYZZZZZZZZZZZ.
Nothing says first day of school holidays like a feverish toddler. My poor little kitten!
HOLY SHIT. SUCH A GOOD BOOK. I’m on a reading binge. Chapter 7 is where its at.
HOLYYYYYYY SHITTTT GUYZZZZZ. I just reviewed my 2016 Oracle card reading in the 2016 Shining Year workbook… The first quarter of the year has been incredibly accurate!!!!! Like… Crazy so. Have you checked yours lately???????
Today’s office: backyard blanket. Today’s uniform: pyjamas. #sosupercorporateprofesh
I like to call this “I Forgot To Grocery Shop So We Are Eating Anything We Can Find In The Fridge. Also, I Shan’t Be Cleaning My Creative Mayhem Off The Dining Room Table Anytime Soon.” Such domestic goddess. Very wow.
[HOW I STAY CREATIVE & PRODUCTIVE EVEN WHEN MY HUSBO LOVES TV]
So, my hunky man loves to chill out at night on the couch by watching comedies on TV. And I like to be with him, but also be making art, reading, journaling, collaging. This basket is ze answer to my conundrum.
Every night you’ll find me & Mr D side-by-side on the couch – him chuckling away at TV, me delving into my activity basket. Sometimes it is filled with sewing supplies to make felt toys. Sometimes collage. Sometimes drawing. Sometimes colouring books. Sometimes journaling.
The 100+ page colouring book I designed and gave away was all done on the couch at night. We also have shows we watch together that I give my full attention to but I’m pretty selective. So there ya go… Just wanted to share what works for me & us!
All fancy and in the city at a co-working space waiting to be interviewed for Canberra Startup Stories. Soooooo PROFESH guyssssssss.
I had a super early morning start speaking at Canberra Business In Heels networking breakfast. Thought I would outsource my gift bag stuffing to child labour. They did an excellent job for the first five bags, and then one of them shit their pants and the other one started complaining she was tired. Seriously… child slaves are getting super lazy these days. I’ll have to keep training them up!
I really enjoy 5am starts. At Canberra Business In Heels to speak. I feel super graceful and awake.
I got up at Buttfuck O’Clock to go teach at a Business In Heels networking breakfast. It was such a beautiful time… Love meeting gorgeous souls and love sharing my journey of building a multi-million dollar company. I can’t wait to see what these amazing earth angels do with what they learned today!!!!
Mr D: “How many damn art journals do you need?”
Me: “HOW VERY DARE YOU! I REQUIRE ALL OF THEM!”
He shakes his head and walks away.
Wise decision, Mr D.
I’ve used these art journals since I was 16 years old. I just finished another one, and went a couple of weeks without one because I couldn’t find it in stock anywhere. This is UNACCEPTABLE. So I bought them in bulk this time – they are the Montmarte Sketching Journal, under $10 each. I do a lot of collaging and art journaling in these babies.
It’s nearly the weekend…
There will be books, backyard lounging and women’s circle.
Life is good!
Hoooooray for Autumn magic!
Big love to you all,
YOU MAY ALSO LOVE…
Once upon a time, we were young.
We’d just fallen in love, just moved in, just moved across the country to live in an alpine city, just rented a house together.
We fought a lot and had sex a lot and we cried a lot and we laughed a lot and we had young, ridiculous, broke adventures.
We were broke and didn’t own a couch or table for many months.
When we had visitors, we would gather assorted desk chairs around a large cardboard box with a table cloth over it.
Every night, we would eat soup from a can with toasted turkish bread on newspaper on the floor as we watched TV.
We got jobs in the city, cubicle jobs, office jobs, “big smoke” jobs, jobs that made us feel positively cosmopolitan.
I bought suits on credit card and brown boots with reassuringly clacky heels.
He wore silky shirts and dark pressed pants.
Once we saved up enough money, we bought a cheap-as-chips eye-gougingly lime green couch to sit on instead of the floor, we thought we were the fanciest people on the planet.
We felt like a Couple, doing Big Adult Things in the world. We had started our life together.
Still there was a space between us on the couch between us.
Still there was a restlessness that made us get homesick for our “real” homes, our “real” hometown, our “real families”.
This created one was just that – created.
Flimsy and new.
Our rented house seemed so very big compared to our two bodies.
There wasn’t enough family of us in there.
One day, I convinced him.
“Let’s get a dog”
“Are you sure? They are a lot of responsibility honey. You’ll need to take care of him.”
“Of course I will!”
(Said I, indignantly. Let the record show over the next 13 years, I did not. Not in the practical sense. I provided cuddles and backyard picnics. My love provided everything else needed to keep that dog alive and thriving.)
“Okay, but only a small dog.”
“Hooray! A Labrador! Or a dalmation! Or maybe a German Shepherd? I LOVE BIG DOGS!”
“No, a small dog.”
“A SMALL DOG IT IS THEN!”
We found him at the pound.
We’d wandered past the stalls of other dogs.
First – the big, unruly dogs with a glint in their teeth, that threw themselves unabashed at the metal in their cages.
“We can save them! We can HEALLLLL THEM!”
He shook his head.
“No, Leonie. We are soft people. We need a gentler dog than this.”
And then the tiny dogs – the quivering Pomeranians who looked despairingly out of place in those concrete cages.
“That one looks like it needs to be on a velvet pillow! LET’S GET HER!”
He shook his head.
“No, Leonie. We need a dog who is more rugged than this. We need a dog that’s okay to be in the world.”
I rolled my eyes.
Just as I gave up hope, there at the end of the stalls was Cage 50.
And in it was the happiest little dog face we had ever seen.
A ball of fluff on sturdy little legs. A curly tail.
He jumped up to lick our fingers through the mesh.
We took him for a walk.
Chris clipped him off his lead and he immediately ran, ignoring us, and began exploring every crevice of the paddock with great joy.
“He doesn’t seem to come to being called,”
“He’s a bit disobedient,”
“He likes to run away,”
But when I looked at Chris, his eyes were sparkling.
“This. This is the dog for us,”
“This dog is a happy soul.”
That right there is probably all you ever need to know about Charlie.
He rarely listened. He ran for the hills at every opportunity.
He had a wild and free heart.
And he was ours.
We waited seven days before we could collect him.
Seven days to make sure he was a stray, that there was no family out there searching frantically for him.
He was a purebred (or close to it) Cairn Terrier.
We didn’t understand how anyone could give him up.
But maybe they didn’t.
Maybe they just held him for as long as they needed him, and then gave him to us.
Chris took the day off work to collect him.
Chris, the one who had held off from getting a dog.
Chris, the one who was head over heels in love.
He came to pick me up at work, Charlie in the car.
I convinced my two dear work friends (still two of my closest friends now!) Deb and Lile to tramp down the street in sleeting, sloshing rain to meet him.
Charlie’s pink tongue panting at the glass. His whole body alive with joy.
They laughed and cooed and congratulated us, then huddled together against the rain, walked back to the dry warmth of work.
It makes my heart happy that they were there.
There the day we became a family.
I jumped in the front seat.
In a split second, Charlie threw his body between his seats and leapt onto my lap.
he seemed to say.
This is where I belong.
And that’s where he stayed for the next 12 years.
As close to me as humanly possible.
Beneath my feet as I painted and wrote.
Curled up in the crook of my legs in my bed at night.
He was a ridiculous dog,
filled with magic and humour.
He played like a puppy long after he had ceased being a puppy.
He played endless games of soccer with a flowerpot for years.
And long after his desexing, he continued to romance blankets.
Not just that, but he would drag them out in front of guests,
roll it tightly into a vaguely dog-shaped lump,
and Casanova the stuffing out of it,
all the while panting
and staring deeply into our guest’s eyes
his wide dog smile laughing the whole while.
He was a dog who created his own friends.
All in his strange, obsessive, happy kind of way.
The very first weekend I met Sone, my BFF and my now-COO, I fell in love with her.
From the moment I saw her, I knew we had been best friends in other lifetimes, and that we’d finally found our way back together.
My dog also fell in love with her. He also believed he shared many lifetimes before with her.
And it was very, very obvious that he believed they were beloved soulmates.
He gazed at her as only a lover would.
He gazed at her in a way I have never seen a dog look at a human before.
Whenever she would come to visit then over the next 12 years, we grew to expect the same routine:
Sonya would appear. And our dog, our companion, our little mate would disappear from our sides. Instead, there would be a prince stuck in a dog’s body, patiently waiting for his beloved princess to recognise him.
In the mornings we would find him, head on her pillow, gazing at her sleeping face.
When he met one of Sonya’s boyfriends, the rage and jealousy was palpable.
When she visited us twice in two weeks, he was so overcome with joy that he, cradled in Sonya’s arms like a baby, pissed himself.
Not only that, but he set up a great arch of piss across the room, which soaked my jeans through from 2 metres away.
I thought our ceiling had collapsed in the rain, but it was just his tiny, excitable bladder.
That. That right there was how much he loved Sonya.
That right there, was love.
One day, on a message board, my very very very favourite author appeared.
SARK is my Beyonce, my wind beneath my wings, my lighthouse who showed me the way.
(If you haven’t read a SARK book yet, go. Go NOW. Life is not complete without reading a SARK book! They are a goddamn revelation!)
And she asked:
“What can you see right now?”
I thought about writing something poetic.
I thought about writing about the trees, the sunset, the way the alpine sky danced against the lavender mountains.
Instead, I decided to tell the truth.
And the truth was, in that moment, that Charlie had dragged an old bedsheet out into the backyard, and was making sweet, sweet love to it, while staring up at me through the window.
SARK howled with laughter. She proclaimed him her spirit animal. She mentioned him in one of her books. She included a photo of him and me in another of her books.
The photo that was published in Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper.
Another friend named her son after him.
I know you’re shaking your head right now.
Why on earth the fuss over a silly, blanket-fucking little dog?
And I can’t even begin to explain it.
My words are failing me.
How on earth do I ever tell you what Charlie is? What he was?
That he was special, that he was magic, that he was more alive than I’ve ever known a dog?
When I was sick, or when I was sad,
he was my Happy Healer Dog.
I cried into his fur more times than I could count.
He would curl up on the parts of my body that hurt.
He would remind me, again and again,
that I was loved. That everything would be okay.
It was amazing how much space he filled.
One tiny dog,
made twice as large by his expansive aura of fur,
made eight times as large by his personality.
Our quiet house was loud and warm.
It was a home.
At night, he
sprawled wide across that tiny space in the couch that no longer was a space.
It was filled.
It was complete.
We were a family.
We took him with us on holidays.
He went on road trips with us across the countryside.
He was the sun our movements orbited around.
Eventually, after many years of being a trio, I convinced Chris we needed another dog.
That they would be best buds.
That it would be glorious.
We found Angel the next day.
Her family needed to rehome her.
As soon as we heard her name, we knew she was ours.
And then, as we drove home, I realised suddenly:
Fuck. Charlie and Angel. Charlie’s Angels.
Now people are going to think we’re really into those movies!
But we couldn’t change her name. It was hers. And we couldn’t change his. It was his.
And nobody really put it together.
Just as we discovered we couldn’t actually put them together either.
Our old pound dog and our younger needed-rehoming-from-abuse dog did not love each other.
They didn’t like each other. They barely tolerated each other.
Not in the first day, not in the first year, not ever.
They weren’t dogs that would cuddle together. They were dogs that would growl at each other testily for the audacity of daring to intrude upon their (very wide) personal space boundaries. They were dogs that would, on special occasions, attack each other and draw blood.
We would joke that at least when one of them died, the other one would not pine. It would be victorious as all get out that it had finally won the competition to be the Only Dawson Dog!
I tell you this lest you ever think it was all happy families 24/7!
My sweet little Cairn terrier and my sweet little Maltese-Shitzu decided the only way to exist in each other’s company was to choose sides.
Charlie became very much my dog. Angel decided Chris was the only being on earth worthy of her love and attention.
And we became a family of four.
Not long after that, I decided, actually, that it was time for a baby.
Maybe my wish to get another dog was actually just the beginning signs of me wanting to expand our family.
Chris was excited – he had always wanted marriage and kids, but had been waiting for me to give the thumbs up that I was ready.
(He is nine years older than I – and we got together when I was 18. He knew there was a lot I wanted to do before I popped ze babies out, and was respectful of that. He is also very hot. Have I ever mentioned that?)
I became pregnant, and as nausea swept over me, I longed for more space. After six years of sleeping all cocooned up with Charlie dog, it was time to move him off the bed. I missed him and he missed me, but my belly began to bloom and my hips began to ache and Charlie was no longer my baby. My baby was cradled up in my womb.
There’s kind of a grief to that, you know.
To the changing of something you loved for so long. Letting go of the closeness of one relationship so you can experience more.
And it sounds so silly to say:
But I really, truly missed my dog and the sweet, quiet life we shared together before babies began.
I don’t wish my babies back – of course I don’t. Two feelings can exist together.
I’m glad they are here. And I was also sad that by them being here, I wasn’t as close with my dog anymore.
“It’s just a dog”
people say sometimes.
It’s never *just* anything.
Our animals are relationships.
And all relationships are sacred and special and life-altering.
That is the very nature of relationships.
When I came home from the hospital, there was Charlie, sitting beside me as I nursed for hours on end.
And there he was, beside us, as our lives continued to revolve and grow.
There was Charlie as we moved to the 100 year old cottage my grandmother had lived in, in my hometown.
For hours, he and baby Ostara would sit by our front door, looking through the screen to the busy street outside.
He would sit in the garden with us, and we would chase away the large eagles that swooped too close to him and Angel.
There was Charlie when we moved to an acreage in the rainforest.
He spent his days staring down from the verandah to the pademelons (small kangaroos) that would emerge from the rainforest to eat our back lawn.
On special occasions, Chris would take Charlie for spins on the ride-on lawnmower. Charlie couldn’t work out if he loved it or was appalled by it.
There was Charlie when I became pregnant with my second daughter and was horrifically ill with hyperemesis gravidarum.
He’d lay beside me on the grass as I vomited my guts up. He’d wait for me while I went to emergency again for IV fluids. He waited for Beth to be born.
There was Charlie when we flew across the country to live on the most southern island of Australia.
He felt thoroughly flummoxed by that whole snow thing. WTF IS THIS WHITE SHIT FALLING FROM THE SKY? WHY SO COLD?
Mostly, he nestled up by the fire.
And then there was Charlie when we decided at long last to move back to the city we become a family in, the place we had found him, and found Angel, and given birth to our first daughter.
He was checked over by a doctor to make sure he was healthy to fly.
By this stage, he was 14 years old.
He was in perfect health.
In August, we arrived back home and moved into the home with the fairy garden we’d bought on the internet.
It’s a strange thing, you know.
I’d always known, in my heart, that Charlie would only die once we had found our right place in the world.
It was always ticking over in the back of my head. He was 9 when we first moved across the country – moving to places filled with poisonous cane toads and venomous snakes.
At first I thought: “He’s got me back to my hometown in Proserpine… maybe he’ll die now.”
And then: “Oh no, he was waiting for us to get our dream house on the rainforest acreage.”
And then: “Wow, I didn’t expect this… Tasmania is our forever home! Maybe he’ll die now.”
Not to say that I was excited about him dying. Not at all.
Just in my gut, I believed Charlie had a soul contract with us – that he would only leave us when he had returned us home – wherever that was.
Back in Canberra. All of us.
Within a couple of months of moving back to our beloved Canberra, however, it was clear that his work was done, his light was waning.
He had come full circle. We had come full circle.
At first we noticed he was becoming crankier, especially with our kids.
We became worried about their safety, so we decided to let Charlie stay in the garden, hidden away from prying toddler hands, during the day.
Soon, his epilepsy came back with a vengeance (or so we thought).
He’d always had canine epilepsy, and had taken medication for it when he was younger.
It had eased off once he turned 10 and didn’t need medication anymore.
But now it was back, and worse than ever.
During one seizure, he became partially paralysed. It took weeks for him to regain his mobility.
“Just one more Christmas”, Chris would whisper to him.
His days became filled with nursing our silly, fluffy, old, frail dog. He helped him stand back up when his legs gave way. He helped him out of the garden when his legs refused to work.
He tended to that dog like the gentlest, most devoted nurse on earth.
He couldn’t bear the idea of a life without him.
Christmas came and went.
Charlie continued losing weight.
His seizures became longer and more damaging.
I worried. I could see how much this dog was suffering despite all the care we gave him. I felt the kindest thing to do was euthanasia.
“Please don’t make me put him down,” Chris would tell me.
“Please. I can’t bear it. I can’t pay someone money to have my dog die. It goes against everything I am.”
My husband has the softest heart. Especially when it comes to animals.
And I couldn’t bring Chris more pain.
So I agreed to wait and let nature take its course.
In February, as the summer sun continued to blaze its way across the Southern Hemisphere, the day came.
I was on a work call when Chris walked in.
“Honey, I need your help. Charlie has been having a seizure for an hour. I don’t know what to do.”
I hung up the phone, and we barrelled our way to the closest animal hospital.
He was immediately placed on a sedative with an IV drip. Tests were run.
They sent us home so they could monitor him, help him, end the seizures, see how he could heal.
Our house was quieter without him there.
The vet called in the afternoon.
Her voice was soft and sad.
“We’ve been unable to end his seizure. He is now irreversibly brain damaged. We believe he has a sizeable brain tumour causing these seizures, not epilepsy. There is nothing more we can do for him. The only alternatives from here are to admit him to animal hospital overnight to continue sedation for as long as we can, or euthanasia. We know this is a really painful decision, and we will support whatever your family wants to do.”
We drove back to the vet, crying all the way.
“I think this is his last day on Earth, honey. This morning when he started having his seizure, I took him outside and I knew it was his last piece of sunshine. I talked to him then and told him all the things I needed to say. I can’t go in there. Can you please go in? You don’t have to stay there while it happens.”
And I also knew I wanted to be there with Charlie as he died.
That I would midwife him into the otherworld.
That I would be by his side, just as he had been by mine for his life.
The vets and nurses were kind. They pushed tissues into my hands.
They let me hold him as they prepared.
I told him how much I loved him. How much we all did.
I whispered to him all the adventures we had been on.
All the moments we shared.
How I would always love him. How he would always be my dog.
His body rigid still quaking with seizures, I looked into his eyes.
He was gone already, I knew. His spirit had already left the building.
We were only ending the inevitable.
It happened within a moment.
A needle, and then
Tiny orange paws stopped circling.
The rise and fall of his stomach.
She left me there for as long as I needed.
I sobbed into his mop of fur.
I would miss this.
This, his little body.
His fox tail. His sweet paws.
The furry tips of his ears.
His white blazed chest.
Every inch of that dog.
I’d known and I’d loved.
He was the start of our family
and he was a constant home in our constant moving
and he was 12 years of my life
all wrapped up in a small body
and I was saying goodbye.
It’s just a dog,
I walked out of the vets without the warm bundle in my arms.
I was missing something, I’d left him behind.
The first few weeks were the hardest.
Each time I’d return home, I’d dissolve into tears.
There was no laughing dog face out the window, eager to see me.
At night, there was the missing click-clack of his walk down the hallway.
There was no warm curled-up body beside my bed to trip over.
My studio is empty during the day.
Nothing sits beside my feet.
(Custom dog portrait of Charlie I ordered from this Etsy store)
It gets easier, and softer, the grief.
Well, it did for me.
It exists on its own timeline with no rhyme or reason.
With my brother, I was grief-stricken for a year, then grief-damaged for another 9 years or so.
Sometimes, it still rains down on me in a sudden hail:
Your brother is dead. He won’t see any of this.
And the gaping hole of sadness opens up and takes me whole.
With my husband’s best friend, I couldn’t accept it for the first five years.
Still too shocked, too sad, too angry.
It’s only in the last year that it has softened some.
With my grandmother, I knew, at the ripe age of 97 that it was coming.
That kind of grief has been a gentler one for me.
But it too has its pothole moments too,
the gasping moments
when I remember
I am Grandmother-less in the world.
I don’t ever know how long it will take
how deep it will feel
how brutally it will hurt
how bereft I will be.
Grief is the unknowable one, as tied to the Great Mystery as it is.
I can only know what is right here.
The leaves have turned since he left.
Bulbous green to shrieking yellow to bold crimson out my window.
He lives in a small blue urn now,
just above our telephone.
I can only know what has been.
The truth of it is this:
We were infinitely lucky.
Lucky to have known him
lucky to have loved him
lucky that the whole thing happened at all.
Love was, and is, the Great Miracle.
(A dear friend emailed this to me just after he died. It brings me great comfort and joy. Wherever Charlie is, I know he’ll be fucking every pillow in the place.)
Hola dearest ones,
It’s late Thursday afternoon. Almost twilight. The salt lamp is glowing in the corner. The sky outside my window is tinged with orange. The leaves are turning crimson. Autumn. What a beauty. It’s been a long Indian summer with a whole lot of sun, and I’m ready to move into the cave of winter.
So, something to share with you today.
I’ve struggled with how to share this, when to share it, what to say.
Two weeks ago, I had to make the very difficult decision to end my contract with one of my staff members. Normally I wouldn’t need to share this publicly, but in this case, that staff member was public-facing. I didn’t want you to have to wonder where they disappeared to, and why I hadn’t shared with you about it.
Grant worked for me as a year as a COO and then General Manager and also taught a couple of courses in my Academy. I was very proud of all we were able to achieve over the last year. I truly wish him well and dearly hope he finds the right container for him to share his gifts with the world. I am legally not able to share publicly the details of why I needed to end that contract (nor do I wish to from an ethical standpoint).
I don’t regret working with him for a moment. How could I – when I have learned so much? I don’t ever wish to lose those lessons, no matter how hard won. As that ye olden day quote goes… people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. And often we don’t know which it is until we are looking back.
I’ve learned many, many lessons… all of which I’ll share here with you when the time is right.
Thank you as always for walking this journey with me… the path of business + conscious living is full of transformation + fucktonnes of personal growth. Most of the time I’m all “HOOOOORAY!!! PERSONAL GROWTH!!!” and sometimes I’m like “OH FUCK THIS SHIT I JUST WANT TO BE STATIC AND COMFORTABLE AND TOTES UNCONSCIOUS!”
Being a human is harrrrrrrrrrd guyzzzzzzz.
Okay possums… more to share… but for now… some of the goodies I shared last month!
Well, well, well, lookie here what I have for you…
The savvy business lecture that has people wetting themselves with gigglesnorts and tears…
…My live keynote presentation recorded at the Cairns Business Women’s Club (worth $79!) for FREE!
You will learn:
- How I built a million dollar business (as a kooky, artsy hippy no less!)
- The number one thing you should invest in to grow your business
- What work is essential for YOU to be executing and what to outsource
- The success secret behind many of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and thought leaders
- How to connect to your deepest why
- How to be courageously YOUnique + keep your you-ness wherever you go!
Watch – or listen – and get the tips that will help you, now.
I was looking back over the last year at the things that were good investments for me.
Things that I’m glad I spent the money on in my life.
Things that were in some way a game changer for me (sometimes in little ways and sometimes in big ways).
I wanted to share them with you…
Basically because I can’t keep my mouth shut at the best of times.
If there’s things in my head, they need to be shared.
Check out the good shiz I discovered this year!
I’ve been blogging for three thousand centuries now.
Well… like… 12 years.
Which is basically the same thing.
And sometimes I really yearn for ye olden days of ridiculous blogging that had no reason to exist except to share and connect.
This year I’m going to be creatively extending myself… reinvigorating myself… trying new things (and old things) to keep things fresh and fun and fabulous.
So, in that spirit, I’m doing something that was allllllllllll the rage back in 2006.
Here are 25 random things about me!
I’m taking a look back over the past 12 years of blogging/2,000 blog posts/nearly one million words written and sharing with you my 20 most popular blog posts of all time.
There’s freebies, there’s life stuff, there’s business, there’s big deep soul sharings as well…
It’s been a true honour sharing it with you… this job is really my favourite thing ever… and I hope we can share another 12 years and 2000 blog posts together. It’s been a joy… and such a blessing. I’m so grateful for your support, friendship, kinship and encouragement.
So… here’s the top 1% of my last 2000 blog posts my loves!
And here’s to sharing 2000 more!
I’m still beaming over here with gratitude, hope + excitement after our time together at the Shining Academy Retreat in Canberra.
It was so magical to be with so many like-minded souls under one roof and I can’t thank the participants enough.
One super magical aspect of the retreat was to see the market stalls set-up with so many shining products! Participants were able to set up a stall to promote their products – FUNNNNNNNNN!
While I wish one day we could ALLLLLLLLLLL meet together in Hippyville, I thought it might be fun to give you a sneak peek.
Here’s your virtual market stall tour!
My interview with Eventual Millionaire went live this week which has been a LONGGGGG time in the works… getting on that podcast is like Podcast GOLD, I tell ya!
There’s an application process, and you need to prove you’re an actual millionaire (instead of just one of those shammy internet shonks who talk the talk but aren’t walkin’ the walk) and then there’s this intense process of trying to get on the recording calendar.
Check out my Eventual Millionaire interview!
WELL! Fuck a duck!
Look at me getting out and about!
The hermit is outta the hills and gettin’ out in the world!
I’ll be the keynote speaker at two events in canberra in the coming weeks!
At both events, I’ll be speaking honestly about the journey of building a multi-million dollar company, how I’ve become a best-selling author, the mistakes I see business owners making + I’ll also doing Q&A sessions.
Come see me in Canberra!
Okay my dearests… I’m sending you all so much love + gratitude as always…
Thank you for being my tribe of goddess sisters…
Totes wishing we could set up a teepee commune somewhere for a few days…
It would be like Burning Man… but more like… Radiant Woman.
Big love + cuddles,
YOU MAY ALSO LOVE…
End of Feb I ran a 2 day conference for my Academy members.
It ended up going incredibly well, with hugely positive feedback, with lots of people sharing that it was a truly world-class event.
It was run seamlessly, and I thought I would share with you some hints and tips on running a powerful & beautifully-run event.
Get an event manager
That right there is the number one reason why our event ran smoothly, on time & was quite the joyful experience.
Sonya my COO was our events manager. She had lots of experience in running events in the past.
As a teacher, you do NOT want to be managing the event, logistics, contractors, registration & all the myriad event kerfuffles that pop up.
You should be focussing totally on teaching.
Because of the size of the conference, our events manager also had an assistant to work our attendee registration desk, get speakers miked up, help with stuffing gift bags, do event set up and clean up, and even pat my head and sing “Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty” to me. MWAHAHAHAHA. #priorities
Create a run sheet
Sone had our event timed down to the last minute, and she ran it on time like a damn pro.
Nobody likes for events to run over time.
Nobody likes for speakers to drone on and onnnnnn and cut into lunch time.
SERIOUSLY. I WILL GET SO HANGRY I WILL CUT A BITCH.
Even if you like to be a fluid teacher (like me), it’s so important to have structure around your day to make sure you keep your attendees’ needs taken care of. They need water, food, toilet breaks & clear-the-head breaks.
At least a month out from running the event, Sonya had bedded down our event run sheet, including the all-important rest breaks. We had the run sheet plastered everywhere for speakers to see, and Sonya gave us the wind up hand signals when it was time to end sessions.
You can also have monitors on stage to give you countdown times as well.
Brand your space with roll banners
When it comes to creating an event, it can really help to “brand” your event by using signage.
We ordered three wide pop-up banners in addition to one I already had.
It turned an otherwise normal looking space into a very “Leonie” looking one.
During one of those late night internet shopping sessions that I am apt to do, I bought a large Instagram selfie stand.
Totally worth it and totally awesome.
We had gift bags printed up in advance through Grenada Promotions.
We included in them:
We also let all of our Academy members send in gift vouchers, discount vouchers & goodies.
Some of the most gorgeous gifts in there were:
Everything had to be sent to me before the conference began, and our team stuffed the bags the day before the conference.
Our staff running the retreat all wore uniforms so our attendees knew who to turn to for help.
We got some polo shirts printed up with a unicorn.
Because DERRRRRP. #required
Outfits & Hair
I think I got this shirt at a shop somewhere three years ago. Skirt from Tantrika two years ago.
As far as outfits go, my style statement would be:
Comfort, comfort, comfort.
I changed clothes during lunch every day just so I didn’t feel like a sweatyballsack all day.
I didn’t get my hair blow dried or shit like that because it honestly seemed like too much shit to deal with. Maybe I will in the future. Or maybe I’ll just keep doing the mermaid.
Mermaid flapper dress. Found it at one of those women’s dress shops. Maybe suzanne grae? I don’t know. It was in the Tuggeranong Hyperdome. I bought it for the Australian Business Woman of the Year awards night.
Worn with Boody bamboo leggings. And a cardigan from Kmart. I think.
Gawd I’m an amazzzzing fashion blahhhgerrrrrrrrrrrr.
Top from Just Gorgeous Kuranda. Skirt by one of our Academy members Sunny Daisy Tie Dye (who was there! at the event! and we wore matching clothes on the regular!) SQUEEEEE!
This outfit I did buy especially for the event! Me & my darling women’s circle mentor Deb went for a ROOOOAD TRIPPPPPP to Bird’s Nest boutique store (they are an amazing online clothes shop that started in a small town not far from me). This dress was from the Globetrotter by Ruby Yaya range.
Totally stunning dress. I should say – the whole range IS polyester.
I was super wary of it – I tend to wear all-natural fabrics. I was worried I’d get too sweaty or staticy in this dress. But it ended up being quite comfortable to wear. So… WINNAH!
Venue and Catering: The Abbey, Canberra
I cannot say enough good things about The Abbey. They were an absolute joy to work with and took care of us so well.
Plus, the space is fucking next level beautiful. Absolutely STUNNING, with an incredible energy.
Photographers: Tracy Lee Photography
I’d used Tracy before for our 2016 workbook collection photoshoot and adored her. She was an easy choice, and she did a beautiful job of all our event photography.
We hired in a professional videographer crew to record the whole event for our Academy members. Unfortunately due to their lack of customer service I’m not able to recommend them.
Audio: Infinite Light and Sound
Infinite supplied all audio gear and our projector, and provided audio technicians to manage sound throughout the whole event. They were fantastic and did a great job.
Some more big lessons I learned from running this conference!
You don’t have to teach it all yourself
I’ve held off from running a large-scale conference in the past because I didn’t want to teach by myself for two days straight. I’ve got a pretty weak throat that konks out pretty quickly while talking.
This time around, to make it doable for me, I had a co-presenter on stage with me at all times, and I also invited extra guest teachers who I knew and loved and respected to share their wisdom as well.
Denise Duffield-Thomas taught an awesome session on abundance and money blocks. I’ve known DDT for four years now – she attended a retreat I ran in the rainforest, and we’ve been business-sisters & mastermind-buddies ever since. This woman walks her talk like nothing else… in all the time I’ve known her, and as close-up as I have, she has been impeccable and authentic and always, always brilliant. I believe she is hands-down the best teacher on law of attraction in the world, and brings love, warmth & realness to the work of manifesting. If you haven’t already, you should be reading her books & applying her principles because HOT DAMN THEY WORK.
(Little known fact… we decided to have a “Conception Competition” to see how fast we could get pregnant. She beat me by six days! Ha! Our daughters Beth & Willow were in the womb together… it was especially sweet when they finally got to meet in real life. We reckon they were friends on the other side and decided to jump in on the two of us.)
Check out Denise’s session here!
Kerry Rowett (my favourite kinesiologist) taught some powerful energetic practices to help you get over your stucknesses, align to your goals and create them faster. Kerry was another old coaching client of mine from four years ago who I loved working with to help her business grow. She is such an earth angel with bright, clear energy and a real gift. I started using her (and even sending staff to her) to clear blocks & achieve goals. It was so lovely to meet her in person for the first time after knowing her online for so long!
See Kerry’s session here!
Gini Eagle, my dear friend, came in to lead yoga at the beginning of each day for everyone to start feeling refreshed and energised and grounded in their bodies. I’ve know and loved Gini for years, and we’ve shared some truly special, sacred moments together, especially out at her Ingelara Retreat. She was my reiki master that led me through my reiki attunements during a truly magical weekend. She has the most beautiful energy and I am SO glad that I got to share her with all our attendees.
Melissa Prince led a meditation, and also held a sacred women’s circle for our conference attendees during the evening. Mel is a magical human being with a lot of love and integrity in leading women’s work, and I was overjoyed that she flew over the country to teach. And I love that she was able to include elements into the conference that I would have led but just couldn’t because there’s only so much physical energy I have. I love that our women still got to experience that energy, that it didn’t need to run off all my own energy and that Mel could do it instead!
It was a win for everyone involved!
Fill your own well with body work
The night before the conference, I heard from an acupuncturist/body worker Indira from Sacred Health letting me know she’d be happy to do a session for me before I went on stage the next morning. I said HECK YEAHHHHHHH! It helped me so very much to ground and fill up my own well before I went on stage. I got her to come back the following morning for more because I found it so useful. A definite energy booster!
I’ll definitely look at having some kind of bodyworker backstage from now on.
I’ve learned the hard way before that as much as I want to do EVERYTHING and be involved in EVERY SINGLE MOMENT for EVERY SINGLE PERSON, it’s really not the best way for me to hold energy.
I NEED to have time and space and rest away from people to refuel my energy when I’m not on stage.
I decided to sleep at home (only 30 minutes drive away) during the event. I had other staff stay onsite to manage everything. It was actually wonderful and grounding to be able to drive home, have dinner with husby and kids, lay on the couch and just have normal routine at night. It definitely helped my energy levels as an introvert.
When I was at the conference, I made sure I had a longer session of rest over the lunch break, and either took a nap in the green room or went to one of my team’s hotel rooms just to chill in the quiet.
My energy levels were actually pretty great at the end of the two days which I was surprised by – but it goes to show that a little bit of structure and support can go a LONG way!
All in all, I’m really proud of what we were able to achieve, and ecstatic at the feedback we got from attendees!
I will be running the Shining Academy conference again next year in Canberra for all our Academy members. I’d like to make this an annual event, it’s such a beautiful thing to meet face-to-face and connect heart-to-heart.
At this stage, I won’t be running large-scale conferences like this outside of Canberra. So if you’re wanting to come, you’ll need to come to my beautiful city. Distance is no excuse – we had attendees from Scotland & USA. And we’ll release dates as soon as we can so you can get it all booked into your calendars!
I so hope this post has been useful for you in planning your events!
I’ve definitely made mistakes over the years when I haven’t created enough structure and support around live events. I’m so delighted with the flow of what we could achieve together this year… and am delighted to look at ways we can bring even more magic in for future events!
May all your events be a beautiful container of your wisdom and love.
So much love and joy and awkwardly long cuddles,