Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz http://leoniedawson.com Tips, Small, Business, Marketing, Entrepreneur, Woman, Soul, Spiritual, Sacred Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:17:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 How to be a Goddess ~ meditations & musings on being a creative, wise, joyful Goddess... Brought to you by the creator of popular spirituality website, GoddessGuidebook.com. Leonie Allan no Leonie Allan leonie@goddessguidebook.com leonie@goddessguidebook.com (Leonie Allan) Meditations & musings on living a Goddess life... goddess, spirituality, new age, self help, inspiring, creative, women Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz http://www.goddessguidebook.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/podcastcover.jpg http://leoniedawson.com Can I Ask A 33.8 Second Favour? http://leoniedawson.com/blog-survey/ http://leoniedawson.com/blog-survey/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:38:33 +0000 http://leoniedawson.com/?p=19849 Hola treasures, May I ask you for a quick favour? Please fill out this 33.8 second survey (SO precise! It’s math!) on what you adore seeing on my bloggity blog and what you’d like to see more of! (You can even ask me questions that you want to see answered!!!! HOORAY) Thank you so much in advance, dearest tribe! I can’t wait to read your thoughts + musings. Wishing you grace, love + wild rambunctious creating, P.S. It wouldn’t be a Leonie Survey if it didn’t [...]

The post Can I Ask A 33.8 Second Favour? appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>

letter to treasures coloured

Hola treasures,

May I ask you for a quick favour?

Please fill out this 33.8 second survey

(SO precise! It’s math!)

on what you adore seeing on my bloggity blog

and what you’d like to see more of!

(You can even ask me questions that you want to see answered!!!! HOORAY)

Thank you so much in advance, dearest tribe!

I can’t wait to read your thoughts + musings.

Wishing you grace, love + wild rambunctious creating,

P.S. It wouldn’t be a Leonie Survey if it didn’t come with ridiculous videos. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA. The gigglesnorts come freeeeeeee.

The post Can I Ask A 33.8 Second Favour? appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>
http://leoniedawson.com/blog-survey/feed/ 0
The art of getting into the flow. http://leoniedawson.com/flow/ http://leoniedawson.com/flow/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 05:21:20 +0000 http://leoniedawson.com/?p=19709 (me & a soul-brother-of-my-childlike-heart, the awesome Nick. years ago. celebrating the arrival of spring.)   I’ve been thinking about being in the flow lately. Not just in the hippy dippy sense. Not in the creative sense. But in that: I’m actually in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. Here’s how I know: * I’m sitting here in the village. My (darling, beloved) kidliwinks are driving me batty at home at the moment when I try to work. So I escape [...]

The post The art of getting into the flow. appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>

into the flow

(me & a soul-brother-of-my-childlike-heart, the awesome Nick. years ago. celebrating the arrival of spring.)

 

I’ve been thinking about

being in the flow

lately.

Not just in the hippy dippy sense.

Not in the creative sense.

But in that:

I’m actually in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.

Here’s how I know:

*

I’m sitting here in the village.

My (darling, beloved) kidliwinks are driving me batty at home at the moment when I try to work.

So I escape up the street. Leave my husbo to tend to them.

I never know what direction these afternoons on my own will take.

Where I will sit. What I will eat. If I’ll get a reading, a healing, a foot massage.

I try and follow my intuition as best as possible.

What feels right? What do I need most now?

Today, the right answer feels like:

Sit at the long wooden bench looking over the rainforest.

Eat japanese food, green smoothie, raw chocolate tart.

Don’t go anywhere else. Just be here now.

Learn and create.

Breathe.

*

There is a tap on my shoulder.

A smiling woman with silver hair wants to talk.

Her name is Pejuta.

I have been looking for her for two years.

*

Two years ago we moved here.

I was looking for a women’s circle.

I couldn’t find the right one.

I tried and tried but none felt right.

I kept being told:

Find Pejuta. She’s the one for you.

But I couldn’t find her.

Kept getting one step away only it for not to eventuate.

Then I got sick.

And I heard through the village grapevine she was sick too.

*

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a new healer in the markets.

I got that familiar soul ding.

The ding of:

Take notice. This is the way.

So I rolled up. Told him I’d like to try pulsing.

Gotta be up for trying new things, ya know?

It ended up being profound and powerful.

His presence is like being in front of a zen monk.

He gets to know me. Gets to know that I like to sit at the long wooden table just up the market from him.

And today, when he has an old friend named Pejuta visit, he tells her:

You should go meet Leonie. She’s just up there.

And so she does.

*

Little coincidences, serendipities, everyday miracles like this.

They’ve been happening more and more lately.

They always tell me I’m on the right path.

That I’ve heard my gut.

That it’s all just working out.

That I’m in the flow.

*

Yesterday I had a green smoothie craving.

Even though I was supposed to be painting bedrooms.

Took my girls up to the markets.

Sit and wait for my favourite concoction to be made.

A woman approaches, smiles, hugs me.

She’s been reading my work for years, was visiting Kuranda, just wanted to meet me before she left.

She was just about to get into her car to drive home.

We were both gigglesy at the joy of everyday miracles.

I had the biggest grin:

The right place, the right time, the right people, the right thing.

*

Some days, me and Chris like to laugh.

If we’re walking around, bumping into things, getting lost, dropping things…

we say:

We’re not in the flow. Gotta jump back into it.

And we’ll jump around the house sideways like loons

until we feel like we’re back in the flow.

As though goodness and everyday miracles are just a metre ahead or to the side of us.

That’s what it feels like.

*

Some days we manage the leap.

Some days we don’t.

We keep leaping anyway.

*

Ever feel like that?

Big love, and everyday miracles,

The post The art of getting into the flow. appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>
http://leoniedawson.com/flow/feed/ 0
50 Lessons From A Decade of Blogging http://leoniedawson.com/top-blogging-tips/ http://leoniedawson.com/top-blogging-tips/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 07:05:28 +0000 http://leoniedawson.com/?p=19618 Hola darlings, Once upon a time, waaaaaay back in 2004, I started doing a little kooky hobby called… blogging. It felt like the stone ages in blogging years. How was I to know at the time that it would end up becoming so widespread and popular? And how was I to know it would end up becoming the driver, the creator of my beautiful business which has brought so much abundance, possibilities & connections? I never EVER thought it would be my job – much [...]

The post 50 Lessons From A Decade of Blogging appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>

50 lessons from a decade of blogging

Hola darlings,

Once upon a time, waaaaaay back in 2004, I started doing a little kooky hobby called… blogging.

It felt like the stone ages in blogging years.

How was I to know at the time that it would end up becoming so widespread and popular?

And how was I to know it would end up becoming the driver, the creator of my beautiful business which has brought so much abundance, possibilities & connections?

I never EVER thought it would be my job – much less my family’s income!

It’s felt like just an instant and an age all in one.

I am so very, very grateful for blogging and all it has brought me. It has its own kookiness, and its own challenges, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else on earth.

I wanted to celebrate a decade in big, momentous style.

And this is what I came up with.

50 LESSONS FROM A DECADE OF BLOGGING

Leonie Life Main Page

This is one of my very first websites looked like. That “JOURNAL” section meant Blog, because it was the olden days.

1. START. START NOW. DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT’S PERFECT.

I started blogging ten years ago in August 2004.

I started using a free blog from Blogspot because that was the easiest I could wrap my brain around.

It looked pretty ugly, honestly.

And have you read my first blog post?

It is the most ridiculous quote from good ole Gwynny Paltrow. One that didn’t have much meaning to me.

It was just a copy and paste, a test to press PUBLISH and see if it could be done.

I didn’t wait for perfection. I didn’t wait to know it all.

I just did what I could.

I STARTED.

I talk to wayyyyy too many people who want to know the “secrets” of becoming a successful blogger. How they have so many dreams and ideas inside them. But they need to know the whole journey, the map ahead. And they haven’t even pressed PUBLISH on their first blog post yet.

There’s nothing I can tell you to fix this problem except:

PRESS PUBLISH.

START NOW.

I can’t tell you anything to help you grow until you start right now and press publish.

After that it’s all just optimising and tweaking.

You have to hit the gravel and press publish to begin that journey.

2. LEARN AS YOU GO

I knew nothing about coding or websites or design when I first started.

Didn’t know WordPress, e-junkie, Adobe Photoshop, how to use a Mac computer… any software or websites really.

At that point, all I knew was the basics of Microsoft Word and Excel.

Ten years on, I’m pretty competent at lots and lots of things.

How?

Because as each little project came up that needed that next piece of knowledge, I’d stick my head in and learn it.

I’d stay up late at night before heading off to my cubicle job to play with my template, watch Youtube videos on how to edit and upload Youtube videos (the irony), madly google search every time I broke something in my website code (which was a LOT) and gradually work out html from there.

EVERYTHING is learnable. Even if you weren’t born with that knowledge (hint: no one is).

worldneeds

3. BLOGGING IS POWERFUL FOR YOUR BIZ FOR A BUNCH OF REASONS

You can use your blog to:

  • answer questions people have
  • teach them why your products/services are important & demonstrate how it will help them
  • educate them about why they should invest
  • build trust in you and your business
  • show the behind-the-scenes of the company
  • create a story that is powerful and loved by your tribe.

4. THERE ARE 3 POWERFUL CHANGES YOUR BLOG CAN BRING

Your blog can become
the linchpin, the sanctuary, the place where:

prospects are turned into customers

customers are turned into raving fans

a tribe is born. 

leadyourtribe

5. DO IT YOUR WAY

I always get asked:

How much should you blog?

The answer is:

How much do you want to? What serves your audience?

I used to try and blog once a day.

It nearly killed me. I know it totally works for other people.

It doesn’t work for me though. I’m just not built for that kind of speed.

I prefer writing longer more intensive articles.

I have my own publishing deadline in my head:

One must be written a week.

If I fall out of that habit, it could turn into months before I published again.

But everyone does it differently:

  • Design Mom posts once a day at least – she used to publish multiple times a day.
  • Viper Chill posts once a month.

You have to work out a rhythm that works for you and serves your overall goal (i.e. if it is a marketing channel for your business).

Oh, and make sure you press PUBLISH.

6. YOU ARE NOT YOUR BLOG

Don’t forget:

Your identity is YOU.

You are not your blog.

You have a whole big beautiful world and life that is not your blog.

Your blog (and anyone else’s for that matter) is not an accurate description of your life, value or worth.

7. KNOW WHAT METRICS ARE IMPORTANT. IGNORE THE REST.

I used to think I could work out my blog’s value by counting how many comments my blog got.

I used to think it was super important to have as many RSS subscribers as possible.

I used to think page views was an accurate depiction of success.

UNLESS you are running a blog as a magazine/advertising model (i.e. get as many readers as possible to sell as much advertising as possible)… those are incorrect metrics to work out whether your blog is successful.

The metric you should be looking at is how many people you can get on your mailing list.

Your mailing list is where the gold is in your business.

Your blog should be channelling peeps onto your mailing list.

Count that metric. That’s the important one.

benotlikeanyoneelse

8. DEVELOP YOUR VOICE. STOP LISTENING TO OTHER VOICES WHEN IT INTERFERES WITH YOUR OWN.

Everyone does it.

Starts reading successful bloggers and then unwittingly/unintentionally/unconsciously or semi-consciously begin copying that voice because they think that’s what will lead them to success.

Please don’t.

There’s only one person who can speak like Danielle Laporte, Seth Godin, Havi Brooks, Alex Franzen.

Let them speak like them.

Let spirit speak through YOU in the only way YOU can say it.

We need your voice.

We deserve your voice.

How to develop your voice:

Keep writing.

Write to make yourself cry. Or laugh.

Write to amuse yourself, tickle your funny bone.

Write and find the thing that feels most true to you.

If you find yourself wavering in the direction of other’s voices, turn the volume off.

Stop reading.

Until you can write like you.

(You might discover that you don’t need to read other bloggers for “inspiration” at all. Don’t need to keep tabs on what they are doing so you can replicate their success. Just carve your own niche, and own it like a queen.)

9. BLOGGING CAN TRANSFORM YOUR BUSINESS (AND YOU)

I’ve been blogging since 2004. It was the thing that really started my business. I started sharing my writings and art online as a creative outlet for myself. I was astonished when I discovered other people (besides my best friend) read my blog. Through the process of blogging and feedback from my small but growing tribe of followers, I started finding my own voice and what I wanted to share with the world. My offerings organically evolved from that process.

I began using my blog to:

  • Promote my offerings
  • Direct people onto my mailing list (I’m at about 50 000 people.)
  • Find my peeps
  • Allow them to build trust in me by being able to sample my stuff for free
  • Build lasting connections (I’m amazed at how many of my current colleagues and friends and fans have been reading my blog for five to ten years! That’s a pretty solid, loyal connection right there!)

Ten years on, those same results continue.

I didn’t know just how huge a role this blog would play in changing my life (and creating and growing my business) when I began.

jimrohnquote

10. MAKE BLOGGER FRIENDS

There ain’t anyone who gets blogging like other bloggers.

Make mates over email, in masterminds, and most of all face-to-face.

It’ll keep you sane and real.

My mastermind sweethearts motivate each other. Encourage each other. Brainstorm blog post ideas for each other. Talk about the wins and the challenges all at once.

11. STUCK FOR TOPICS?

Ask your audience what they want to know about.

They have really, really good answers.

Listen to ‘em.

12. NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LIKE YOU.

Stay totally totally focussed on the ones that adore you for you and your wonderful weirdness and the gifts you’re bringing into the world.

Nobody else matters.

Delete, ban, ignore.

There are a hundred million other bloggers for them to find and love.

It’s utterly impossible to be liked by everyone.

Did you know some people don’t like THE FREAKING DALAI LLAMA?

When I found that out, my shoulders dropped about a tonne.

I think earth angels and helper-healer souls really worry about this. Because we’re so conscious of never wanting to cause harm or pain to any person, we feel completely stricken when we find out even one person doesn’t like us. We want to crawl up and hide away because then no one will ever feel negative feelings because of us again.

If the Dalai Freaking Llama can’t make everyone love him, what hope do we have?

And yet he still shares his gifts each day.

The world is better for it.

Please keep sharing. Please don’t hide away. We need you.

How to Be a Goddess border

13. THERE ARE A HUNDRED MILLION RESOURCES TO HELP YOUR BLOG GET BETTER.

Here’s just a few:

14. SOCIAL MEDIA SITES WILL CHANGE. DON’T PIN ALL YOUR SUCCESS ON ONE.

In the last decade of blogging I’ve seen:

  • blogspot be the next big thing, then WordPress.
  • Twitter was kinda ridiculous massive there for a while before it died up the ass.
  • Facebook is fairly new-ish in terms of the decade, and whilst it seems like the dictator at the moment, something else will arrive.
  • Vine was hot for a red hot instant before flaming out when Instagram introduced its video feature.

Social media empires are flammable and impermanent.

Nobody cares how many myspace friends you have.

Of course it’s important to interact in the main social media platforms.

But don’t believe for an instant it will be your platform for long term success.

Be prepared to change.

And in the meantime, keep getting everyone on your mailing list.

It’s by FAR the best way to keep in touch with peeps who are interested in your work.

15. THE WORLD OF BLOGGING IS ONLY JUST BEGINNING

I hear so many people say that the end of blogging is nigh.

Such a load of shit, in my book.

There is more demand than ever for topical websites which are updated consistently on interesting topics (i.e. A FREAKING BLOG).

Please start your blog.

I know a lot of people want to hear what you have to say.

Trisha the mermaid

16. WORK OUT YOUR CREATIVE TIMES TO BLOG. FOLLOW THEM. UNLESS YOU HAVE KIDS OR A JOB. THEN, TOO BAD. YOU JUST HAVE TO BLOG WHENEVER YOU GET A RED HOT MOMENT. HA!

I used to blog first thing in the morning when I felt all fresh and creatively inspired.

I’d sit down at the keyboard:

“Hmmmm… what do I wish to share with the world today? What does it need to hear? Angels, please use me as your vessel.”

And then I had kids, the Great Schedule Destructors.

Now I blog whenever I freaking can, usually pushing up against my own self-imposed weekly deadline.

It’s Thursday today.

There are a LOT of things on my to do lists. A lot of emails that need answering.

What’s more, it’s school holidays and a little bit of something close to controlled mayhem at home.

I get disrupted 3.6 million times a minute (even when I’m in my office). THAT’S MATH. YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH MATH.

So today I took myself off on a self imposed internet-free, kid-free writing break to write this.

I’m down in the village, sitting at a long table as dozens of tourists stream by, typing in a TextEdit file on my Macbook Air. Whenever a tourist stops, looking around confused, I help them with directions.

And then I keep writing.

I’ve got a blog post to write. And it’s 1:30pm, and it’s not my preferred creative writing time… but it’s going to get done anyway.

17. GO OUTSIDE YOUR WRITING ZONE

Sometimes we get our own blogging heads stuck up our own asses.

“Oh, I can’t write about that,”

we think.

“That’s not in my blog’s specified topics. I can’t write outside of those!”

Fuck that.

Nobody probably even knows what your blogs specified topics are outside of you.

They are most likely just there to hear from you.

And whatever you find interesting, they probably will too.

It can feel really refreshing to hear different types of articles on your blog.

(A Beautiful Mess does this. Occasionally they have business and productivity advice on their DIY/cooking/crafts blog. I actually like those ones most of all.)

18. LIKE SERIOUSLY. MIX IT UP.

My blogging type mix-up tends to look like this:

  • Mostly longer written blog posts (I tend to prefer writing).
  • I occasionally do video blog posts (I aim to do more of this)
  • I occasionally do larger list types of blog posts (i.e. top books + my goals for the year (Also: on the goals thing, I didn’t share mine this year because it didn’t feel right for me. I wanted to keep them sacred and soft here in Leonie Land. I go with my gut.)
  • I’ve dabbled in podcasting (and have it as a goal to do more)
  • My weekly article is designed specifically to help my target market (usually on a topic like self development, productivity, money and business).
  • I also write more personal posts sharing the soul lessons of challenges in my life (for example, Post Natal Depression).
  • I trust my gut about what I want to share from my personal life. Over time, it’s evolved and will keep on changing. I just keep checking in with myself about what I’m happy to share.

19. MOMENTUM BUILDS MOMENTUM

The more you consistently turn up to write… the more years you get under your belt…

the more your momentum builds.

Press publish.

Then turn up again tomorrow and do the same.

And then again.

It’s going to become your creative habit.

Press Publish. Send it out into the world.

20. VANILLA IS NOT A FREAKING FLAVOUR

Well it is.

But YOU KNOW.

If you can make your blog post more shimmery, funny, deep, nostalgic, thoughtful, ridiculous… more YOU… do THAT.

Peeps love some personality, yeah?

21. MAKE IT EASY TO SHARE

Dull but important advice: Make sure you’ve got some good share buttons on each blog article so they can be easily shared along on social media.

I use Digg Digg plugin.

22. MAKE IT CONSUMABLE IN MORE MEDIA TYPES IF YOU CAN

If you’re publishing a blog post as a video or audio/podcast, consider having it transcribed.

(I use Transcribeme.)

If you’re publishing words only, consider adding images, infographics and quotes.

Peeps are drawn to information that’s presented in more than one format. That way they can choose the mode that they learn best in.

Plus, if they aren’t in a place where they can listen to audio/video, a transcript is super essential.

23. SPEAK YOUR BLOG POSTS

My mate Hibiscus Moon taught me this trick.

TranscribeMe has a smartphone app where you can record your voice, and send it to get transcribed.

So you can speak your blog posts in 3 minutes flat, get it written up for you for a few bucks.

BANG. BLOG POST DONE.

And it will sound nice and conversational too in your own voice.

24. SPEED UP YOUR WRITING TIME

Do it by:

  • single focussing
  • being in an internet-free zone (whether by heading off to a wifi-free spot or using Self Control App)
  • compiling in a simple word editor (like Text Edit) that you can add formatting/images to later.

More productivity tips here.

25. DON’T SECOND GUESS YOURSELF CONSTANTLY

Second guessing yourself is boring.

Just trust. Write. Show up. Share.

You are not meant to be judging yourself as you write.

Not your job.

Your job is to create.

Fill it with faith

26. HAVE A REASON YOU ARE DOING ALL THIS

Have something to hold on to when it gets hard.

I do this because I love to create.

I do this because I don’t know a Leonie who doesn’t share her experience through words.

I do this because I know it helps people.

*
I also do this because it’s an important part of my business and connecting with people.

I do this because I am the gluten-free-breadwinner of my family.

I do this because I care about my husbo and our daughters.

I do this because I want the life we have.

*
I also do this because we have a lot of children and people who rely on our monthly support to survive.

I look at our sponsor daughters’ faces, and I do this because I have the gift of education, living in a first world country and because I know I can help. I look at them and I know they have big, beautiful potential. They just need the opportunities to realise it.

I think about my daughters being born in a different country. It was all just a roll of the dice. I can’t deal with the idea of them not having the food, love and opportunities they have now.

So I do what I can for the girls whose dice rolled a different way.

I must help them.

I have lots of reason to do all this.

And they are strong and good ones that fill my heart up with gold.

No challenge matters compared to the size of the love I have for those reasons.

27. FILL YOUR WELL

An empty well can’t give.

A mind that is not filled cannot thrive.

  • You need to be an interesting person in order to write interesting things.
  • Take yourself on artist dates regularly.
  • Read widely.
  • Go have face-to-face heart-to-heart experiences.
  • Go to art galleries, parks, parties, camping, dancing, massages…
  • whatever is on your bucket list, do it.

And then, from that well overflowing with experiences and stories and sights…

write from there.

It will be riveting.

(More on that here.)

youmakeadifference

28. HOW TO DEAL WITH NEGATIVITY

A lot of people ask how I am okay with putting myself “out there” in the public arena, knowing that not everyone is going to love what you do. So many people feel real fear about having to face unkind opinions.

Firstly, I want to say this:

Don’t ever, ever NOT share your work because of that.

Please. Please, please, please.

We need your voice. We need your story.

I 100% believe we are all destined to be here to share our gifts and story in the way only WE can.

That we each come here to help each other along this journey.

And that there are hundreds and hundreds (and thousands and more!) of people out there who need to hear your story in the way only YOU can say it.

They are worth a million times more than an unthoughtful comment any day.

Please don’t let the world not hear your story.

We need it. We need it.

I’m so deeply intense about this.

We cannot hide in silence.

I think about the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jnr, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela.

None of them were loved by everyone. All of their writings weren’t gleefully accepted by every single soul of the planet.

They each faced immense opposition.

But they did it anyway.

And the world is better for it.

Whenever I think of curling up in a cave far, far away from blogland, two thoughts strike me:

1.) I can’t imagine doing anything but this thing I love. This thing I adore. I want to keep doing this. For me. Because I love the shit out of creativity. And I adore what I do.

2.) If I was inventing medicine… medicine that people dearly needed… medicine that made a difference in people’s lives…

and I dispensed it and thousands and thousands of people gave it the double thumbs up, and a dozen didn’t have the same results…

what would I do?

Pack it all in, and deny the thousands who genuinely found it useful?

Or simply focus on the thousands I did help?

I’m not a doctor. And I’m not inventing medicine. But when I look at the statistics of what I have created – thousands of beautiful, loving comments to a dozen crappy ones – when I look at the latest Academy survey results and see 97% of members would highly recommend it to a friend, and that I have members who get so much value out of it they have been in it for four years running (since it began) – that’s what I have to focus on.

There’s some peeps out there who really, really don’t like me. If you feel like searching, you can find some pretty weird shit written about me. Much of it completely untrue, a lot of it horrifically unkind, and the rest being someone’s experience of me. I’m totally at peace with the fact that you can go read all you like and decide from there what feels right for you. (As a handy hint, if you’re looking to have your day wrecked, I wouldn’t advise it. You don’t have to go seeking out drama. But if you want to, go for it. Freedom of choice!)

There are, yes, hate forums out there who are dedicated to tearing to shreds any popular blogger out there. In Australia, we talk about the Tall Poppy Syndrome – about how often people want to cut down any flower that stands tall.

Does it disturb me that they exists? Sure, because I believe it’s pretty unhealthy for a person’s spirit to spend their time devoted to speaking so unkindly. But I also believe that every soul has its own spiritual journey that I cannot hope to know the right path for. Maybe they really need that place for this part in their lives.

My take on it is this: if peeps believe hate forums are the right place to be hanging out on, and taking advice from, those peeps aren’t in my target market, and aren’t in the right space and mindset to get results from my work. It takes work, commitment and a really strong resolve to create positive change in your life and business. And hanging out on a hate forum isn’t conducive to that.

I would much rather only work with women who know that having a peaceful, positive mindset and surrounding yourself with other passionate, inspiring women who are creating their lives and businesses intentionally are incredibly important both for the success of your business and the joy in your heart.

So that’s where I’m at with that.

It’s been a really long journey of me to get to that point of feeling unaffected by it.

I used to think: ERMAGERD HOW CAN THEY NOT LOVE ME IF ONLY THEY MET ME THEY WOULD KNOW I’M A REALLY NICE PERSON! ARGH!

And I started realising that it wasn’t actually about me. None of it is, really.

It was just perceptions and reflections.

Some people love me. Some people get triggered by me.

What’s the right answer here?

Neither. Or both.

Whatever your experience is, it is.

You are most welcome to it.

It’s okay.

If you see me as wonderful, wacky, crazy, bonkers, smart, stoopid, loving, unloving…

It’s all okay.

I don’t really need to convince you that I’m any different than what you experience me as.

I know who I am. I really do love being Leonie.

I will keep writing and creating and sharing anyway.

Because that’s what I was born to do.

And I really believe in what I’m doing.

So you get to choose who you want me to be in your inner world.

That’s all we are all doing, all day long.

And I’ll keep creating, writing and sharing anyway.

Because I get it:

Your idea of me isn’t actually me.

What a beautiful thing to learn, hey?

What a deep joy!

*

How I deal with it:

I don’t read any of it anymore. I was shocked when I first saw it. In pain, actually, to see total mistruths.

So now,

I ignore it all.

It has no place in my world.

People are most welcome to decide how they feel about me.

I trust you enough that you’ll decide what role you want to put me in.

*

Which is a really long way of saying this:

Please share your work anyway.

It’s safe to share your work.

It’s safe to be you.

It’s all going to be great.

In fact, it’s all going to be wonderful.

Magnificence 1

29. GIVE STUFF AWAY

I’m always creating wild + kooky things to give away that peeps would find helpful.

Like:

30. You can network and still be an introvert.

31. CREATE IN THE WAY THAT MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE

I’ve tried making fancy shmancy white backlit videos. I’ve tried being scripted. I’ve tried batching them ten at a time.

I feel like cardboard: brittle and slightly burnt by the video lights.

The only videos that make me feel alive are the spontaneous ones on webcam with unbrushed hair and pyjamas and no make-up.

The ones where I talk crap and laugh raucously at my own jokes and even dance across the room just because.

Guess which ones are better?

The ones that get made.

Also: my peeps tend to really love the crappy ones.

I do too.

So I create in the way that makes me feel alive.

Even when it goes against marketing wisdom to make everything all polished-brand-ish.

This is Leonie. This is how an Alive Leonie Does Videos.

Create the way that makes YOU feel alive.

32. BATCH IT.

My mate Denise Duffield-Thomas taught me this one.

She’ll batch everything.

Make all her blog posts in one big batch in one day to get her sorted for a few months at a time.

She’ll create a stack of videos and get them transcribed as well so her blog posts have both video and word options.

She wrote more about her method here.

She’s a smart (and lucky) bitch.

33. BE A MAKER NOT A MARKER

There are no awards for Critic of the Year.

There are no rewards for Chief Judgment Officer.

That gold belongs only to those who dare create.

More here on that by the fabulouso Jasmine Star.

yourbigwhy

34. YOU BETTER FUCKING LOVE YOUR MISSION, THAT’S WHAT WILL GET YOU THROUGH

Guess what?

It’s not all going to be plain sailing or fun and Disney princesses singing songs to tweedy birds.

There are going to be some hard days in blogging.

Days when you don’t want to press publish.

Days when you’re not inspired. Bored. Over it all.

Days when you feel pissed off. Unseen. Ignored.

There are days when you’ll suffer from comparison-itis: you’ll look around at what everyone else is doing and find yourself lacking, lacklustre, not good enough, why should I ever press publish again.

Days when you’ll feel like your numbers are too small: you’re not getting enough comments, Facebook shares, website visits.

Days when you’ll get a crappy comment and heart thumping, spend the rest of the day, trying to work out how to respond or if you should just delete, turning it around over and over in your head wondering: Do I really suck? Why would a person write such a thing?

Days when you feel utterly misunderstood.

Days when you will want to chuck it all in and never let another person in, ever.

Days when you think: why the fuck do I bother, no one is reading anyway.

And you might be thinking: yeah, as if Leonie has EVER felt all these things. She’s all successful and whiz! She’s made it! You’re immune to shiz when you have it made!

And guess what love? I absolutely have felt ALL of these things.

I was a beginner too. I had really hard days too. It took a long long time before I felt like anyone was actually reading it and that it was important work to do.

I did it anyway.

Stick-to-itiveness is pretty important.

As is loving the shit out of what you do. That’s what will get you through.

35. HAVING SAID THAT, TAKE A BREAK IF YOU NEED TO

If you find your life being taken over by your blog.

If you lose your balance.

If you find yourself obsessing over comments.

If you have totally lost your mojo.

Take a break.

A hiatus.

Get your life back. Get centred.

Years ago, I took a year or so off from blogging intensively.

I felt like I was living for my blog, not living for living’s sake.

So I made a really conscious effort to get back out into the world again.

I remember it as a year of creativity and journals and bellydancing and women’s circles and intuitive dance. Undocumented in public, they filled me up privately.

I went to India. Instead of writing about it, I wrote a book.

A big thick beautiful watercolour book filled with words and photos and tears and joy.

A book that you can only read if you’ve got the one sole copy in your hands.

It felt really good and right.

One of my favourite blogs Young House Love is on hiatus at the moment.

I miss them. And yet I understand.

Another blog MODG ended after the author realised it wasn’t the right lifestyle fit for her.

It’s okay to call it quits if it really, really sucks.

There’s something to be said for stick-to-itiveness.

And if it’s really crapping on your life and heart and spirit big-time, it’s totally cool to choose something else, ya know?

36. COMMENTS? TURN ‘EM ON OR OFF. I LIKE OFF.

I get asked about this a lot, so let me answer it here: it’s up to you whether you want to have comments or not on your blog.

Unless you really, really enjoy the interaction you get there, or unless you have a business model of selling advertising on your blog, I’d suggest not having comments.

Why?

Because in my experience it adds an extra level of admin to your business, and you can get writer’s block if you feel like you’re not getting enough comments or the right kinds of comments.

People can always comment on social media instead – which ends up being more useful for you as increased comment activity on social media posts will end up making your posts rank higher.

My suggestion is to experiment with turning comments on and off and see what works for you and your business. If you feel like you get a lot out of it and so does your community, go for it. Otherwise, nix ‘em.

(If your primary business model is selling advertising on your blog, you will want to have comments on and a commenting policy in place. Why? Because you’re in the job of increasing your page views and traffic as much as possible. And commenting increases page views. Especially if people start arguing in comments.

37. YOU’LL MAKE MISTAKES. FORGIVE YOURSELF.

You’re going to try lots of things on this wonderful blogging and business journey.

Try them on, see if they fit, see how they feel.

Some will stick. Some won’t.

Some you’ll think back on and think “That really wasn’t very me-like.”

It’s okay.

You’re learning.

We all are.

Forgive yourself.

Keep growing.

Mistakes are essential.

Screenshot 2014-09-27 16.47.09

38. YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE PERFECT AT EVERY THING. THAT’S COOL.

For 80% of the last decade my blog’s design was pretty… “handmade.”

Very obviously not designed in the most sophisticated of ways.

That’s totally okay.

It’s more than okay.

It’s still been successful anyway.

Success because it’s achieved all the goals I wanted it to achieve.

Sometimes I get around to taking really lovely, edited photos on my big digital camera.

Most of the time though, you’re going to have to deal with crappy, grainy Instagram photos taken on my iPhone.

It’s okay. YOU’RE WELCOME.

I’m well aware that I’m not going to have those things down pat.

That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t blog though.

That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t show photos.

Just do what you can.

Maybe photography IS your strong suit.

Maybe WRITING is.

Whatever works for you – do that.

Have I told you lately that you should press publish?

youcandothis

39. WANNA KNOW MY SECRET TO LONGEVITY?

This is my 2003rd blog post published in ten years.

That’s 2003 times of pressing PUBLISH.

Imagine if I hadn’t begun at all.

What if I never pressed PUBLISH to begin with?

It could all have been a dream. An idea still in my head ten years on.

40. Make yourself cry.

41. TWO GREAT BOOKS FOR BLOGGERS:

42. HOW TO NOT RUN OUT OF IDEAS

Q&A time: Do you brainstorm ideas and have a list of ideas or just write as things come to mind?

  • I collate a really big list of things to write about in my project management software (I used to use Basecamp, but we’ve just moved to Teamwork).
  • I do a yearly survey of my Academy members and include questions about what they want to know about next from me. These can then be crafted into blog posts (or future Academy programs). I collate all of those onto my Teamwork Blog Posts list.
  • I occassionally open up “Ask Leonie” blog posts or Facebook posts, and ask people to comment with what questions they have for me. I again collate all of those onto my Teamwork Blog Posts list.
  • I fill out the SEO worksheets in Double Your Biz and refer to it often for blog post ideas.
  • If I’m launching a program, I’ll create a month’s worth of blog posts that are topics my target market would be interested in, and promote the launch in (or at the end) of those blog posts.
  • I have a lot of structure there so I don’t run out of ideas, but I leave plenty of room for inspiration to strike.

43.  If you’re overwhelmed, just do one thing at a time.

44. GET OUT INTO THE REAL WORLD. THEN POST FROM THERE.

You aren’t going to get more inspiration from reading blog after fucking blog post.

That’s not how you’re going to come up with great new original, insightful, helpful content.

Get out in the world. Do groovy things.

Then you’ll get so fired up you’ll actually have things to write about!

For example, I volunteered to be a mentor at my old high school.

I got to hang out with hundreds of gorgeous, spirited, smart 13 and 14 year olds.

And it got me so fired up I wrote this blog post afterwards – 10 Things I Want To Tell Every Teenage Goddess.

45. GET REALLY GOOD AT MAGAZINE HEADLINES

I think this is one piece of blogging advice from Darren Rowse that has stuck with me over the years.

His advice was you should improve your ability to write compelling headlines (i.e. blog titles) as much as possible because it can make such a difference to blog traffic.

His recommendation was to go to a magazine store and look at all their covers. Magazines are bloody brilliant with coming up compelling titles that make you want to open.

Start thinking about your blog post titles like that. Get magazine-ing!

46. HAVE MUSES

I’ve been known to make random calls to Academy goddesses to ask them what’s going on for them, what’s helping them, what they need more help on.

I’ll help out friends with their marketing. I’ll volunteer my services for local organisations.

All because I want to know what questions THEY have. What THEY are struggling with.

Because if they are struggling with it, chances are other people too.

And of course I want to freaking help.

So I write a blog post to answer my muses’ questions!

47. GIVE YOURSELF SUPER SHORT DEADLINES

You’ll write faster. Pow pow pow. Do away with the dross, get to the good stuff.

Ride that wild donkey of a blog post!

48. STOP! COLLABORATE!

Want to get out there more?

Consider pulling together a collaborative effort from other bloggers in your industry.

It can be a really wonderful way to cross-pollinate your tribes together and increase everyone’s profile.

Plus, be a really helpful, happy thing for readers.

Example: My How To Be A Morning Goddess ebook (free!).

womencarvingoutourowndestiny

49.  If it’s not working, try something new.

50. IT’S OKAY IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE END

Ten years ago when I first began blogging, did I think it would end up being me (& my husband’s) job?

That it would give us financial freedom?

That I would end up having full-time staff?

That it would be an important marketing channel for the company we would form?

That we would be able to do as much philanthropic work as we are doing?

Gosh, no.

I had not a clue.

I only started.

Started turning up.

Creating.

Writing.

Sharing my work with the world.

Then momentum bred momentum

and the journey took me here.

Do I know where I’ll be in ten years from now?

Nope.

I only know that

I’ll turn up.

Create.

Write.

Share what’s inside me.

That’s the biggest dream.

That’s the place of healing.

That’s what I was born to do.

The details don’t matter.

Only this.

Create. Press publish. Share.

The miracles all come from that.

On the wings of the creative goddess,

with love, joy & freedom,

Want more of this good stuff?

Check out:

The post 50 Lessons From A Decade of Blogging appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>
http://leoniedawson.com/top-blogging-tips/feed/ 0
A Day In The Life of a WAHM http://leoniedawson.com/day-life-wahm/ http://leoniedawson.com/day-life-wahm/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 05:33:48 +0000 http://leoniedawson.com/?p=19551 Hola treasures, 3.5 years ago, I shared my daily rituals of being a work-at-home mumpreneur. One of my gorgeous readers asked for an update on how things have shifted since then. So, I thought I’d share with you the behind-the-scenes of what a day usually looks like for me as I tango between motherhood, owning a business, creating, and living a life well loved. * 7am: Beth wakes up beside me. She cooes, plays with her hands for a while. I keep napping. When she [...]

The post A Day In The Life of a WAHM appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>

dayinthelife

Hola treasures,

3.5 years ago, I shared my daily rituals of being a work-at-home mumpreneur. One of my gorgeous readers asked for an update on how things have shifted since then.

So, I thought I’d share with you the behind-the-scenes of what a day usually looks like for me as I tango between motherhood, owning a business, creating, and living a life well loved.

*

dots

7am: Beth wakes up beside me. She cooes, plays with her hands for a while. I keep napping. When she gets restless, I sleepwalk her out to Chris, pass her off and go back to bed for a 20 minute nap to catch up on missed zzzzz’s as Beth still wakes up a few times during the night.. I don’t like napping during the day, so a little sleep-in on my own does wonders.

8am: Eat breakfast – usually it’s a Bounce protein ball and a Nudie juice. Do the usual tango of getting kids out of pyjamas and into clothes.

dots7

9am: Either go out for the morning (go grocery shopping, visiting friends or have a mini roadtrip) or have a “Happy Home Day” (do crafts, gardening, cooking, little house renovations).

dots10

dots5

Midday: I take a quick drive into the village and buy lunch (usually Japanese, Vietnamese or Indonesian. Most typical: tempura vegetables & teriyaki chicken on rice with a “full fat” Coke. Yep. I know that’s wildly un-PC, but it’s my thing currently, and I’m cool with it). Check the mail. Talk shit with Cindy the Post Office Lady.

Head home. Eat lunch with my little family on the verandah.

1pm: Breastfeed Beth in bed. When she falls asleep, do the soft creep out of the room.

Head off to my studio office just off our garage.

Work for a few hours.

What this usually involves: 

  • responding to emails from my team about current projects we are working on
  • writing blog posts
  • working on next big project (for example, lately it’s been the 2015 workbook, Academy membership site redesign, and creating new workshops for the Academy)
  • managing my team
  • studying and uplevelling my education (on business, marketing, software, finance, management)
  • painting/drawing/illustrating images to go on Facebook
  • connecting with my mastermind sisters.

dots11   dots8      dots2

Ostara has worked out how to get through the closed doors to my office, so usually comes to visit and draw with all my stationery supplies. Chris looks after Beth, and will give her a bottle of goat’s milk formula if she is hungry. If she’s unsettled and he can’t calm her, he brings her to me for a change of pace. If he needs a break to get some jobs done around the house, he’ll hand her to me as well. We’re constantly checking in with each other to see if both of us are getting the time we need to get things done (without going cuckoo).

When the girls are getting antsy in the later afternoon, I’ll take them outside. Ostara bounces on the trampoline, or we have a picnic.

dots3

5:30pm: We have dinner super early. At Granny o’clock. Usually we have vegetarian pesto pasta or turkey pasta. I’m gluten intolerant, so pasta is always gluten-free.

7:00pm: I put both girls to bed. Breastfeed Beth to sleep. Give Ostara a cuddle as she goes to sleep. Sometimes I forget that she is still so little and needs Mama cuddles too.

8:00pm: Plop on the couch beside Mr D. Drink a cup of Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea. Read magazines, journal, books, needle felt, sew. Chris watches TV as I do stuff. I try not to work at night time, but if I’m feeling a bit behind I will, or if I’ve got inspiration to blog (like I do tonight), I do.

9:30pm: Head to bed to read.

10:00pm: Lights off. Stare out the window at the night sky laden with stars. Listen to Beth and Ostara’s breathing rise and fall.

Throughout night: Wake up in shafts of moonbeam, nurse Beth.

dots9

*

Weekly Ritual:

KINDY

Ostara goes to kindy two days a week.

Usually it’s a bit of a tango getting her there on time.

What most often happens is Chris will look after Beth (it’s usually around her naptime) and I will do drop-off and pick-ups.

On the return trips when Ostara isn’t in the car, I listen to business/marketing audiobooks and Success magazine CDs.

Sometimes I take Beth with me, and sometimes Chris comes as well for a family outing.

I actually really enjoy doing dropoffs. I really like the other kindy parents and it’s like a little social gathering twice a day.

And I like thinking that this is probably the same crew I’ll be hanging with for the next 14 years of Ostara’s schooling.

PILATES

One day a week, we have a pilates instructor/personal trainer come to our house for an hour to give me and Chris a workout.

After I gave birth to Beth, I was really needing to get my body back in balance after such a long illness, and with still dealing with hypermobility issues. I’d read that pilates is effective in helping hypermobility.

I kept on trying to work out on WHEN to get to a class, but every which way I looked at it, I knew it was going to be a huge amount of effort to get out of the house and leave the kids with Chris. Plus, I knew Chris was wanting/needing it as well.

I TOTALLY hit a money block about hiring a personal trainer. I had this pre-conceived notion of:

Who am I to have a personal trainer? That’s just TOO decadent!

But I worked out that if me and Chris were both doing separate classes, it would be about the same price anyway!

So our lovely instructor comes once a week and we all pile out onto the verandah to do it in the morning sunlight. Ostara does pilates with us. Beth watches from her rocker beside us or gets cuddles from our instructor.

It’s a really great way to start the week, and we feel SO.MUCH.BETTER. in our bodies for doing it.

Hooray!

CLEANER

After Beth was born, I soon found myself drowning in piles of laundry. I was running every weekend around the house trying to get it in enough shape to work for the week ahead. I was getting damn exhausted, man.

I DEFINITELY had money blocks as well about hiring a cleaner. Like:

Who am I to have a cleaner? That’s too much! I should be able to manage it all!

But ALL of my successful business friends gave me a gentle intervention:

Ummm, Leonie… you’re not actually SUPPOSED to do it all. Give yourself some support here!

They all have cleaners, and were shaking their heads at my running, exhausting attempts at Superwoman-ing it up.

So I hired a cleaner. And I knew Chris would be resistant to it. So I told him the day before the cleaner came what was happening. I think he realised by this point we needed more support in keeping up with kids, house, acreage, animals and business.

Want to know how it all went down?

Basically, our cleaner is the greatest thing ever invented on the face of the planet. She comes for five hours every week. Does all our washing, folding, putting away of clothes. Makes everything sparkle and shine. After she leaves, me and Chris run around the house giddy, showing each other the incredibly perfect folded towels, how clean the oven is, how shiny the floor feels under our feet now it’s been properly mopped. It’s like a brand new house every damn week!

School holidays have just started, so I’ve asked her to come for TWO days a week so she can help out with kids and Chris can do some work for me. It’s the first time ever we’re having a babysitter. And even though we’re staying here at the house with them to work, it feels wildly luxurious. An extra set of hands! Squeee!

Plus, we just really love having her visit. It’s a nice thing.

LOCAL TEAM

My new local project manager, Donna, comes up to our house one or two days a week (I say up, because we live up a mountain!) when Ostara is at kindy.

On those days, we’ll do brainstorming face-to-face, planning, and a team meeting on Google Hangouts with Joyce, my US assistant.

dots12

Weekends:

I try not to work at all on weekends.

I do this because otherwise I will work every single day for a year and then wonder why I feel burnt out.

Weekends involve usually half a day of outings (take Ostara to ballet/go to the beach/go to the hardware store) and the rest having “Happy Home Time.”

I read the Weekend Australian as my ritual. We do a lot of verandah-ing (i.e. sitting on the verandah, talking, reading, playing with the kids). I always make stuff (food, craft, art, woodwork, toys etc).

dots6

*

SOME THINGS TO NOTE

SUPPORT DIDN’T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT

I know I’m extraordinarily lucky to have my husband at home, and for my business to be at the level of self-sufficiency it is at while my kids are young.

dots4

And I also want to share:

It didn’t happen by accident.

It wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t a surprise.

It wasn’t like winning the lottery.

I have absolutely intended for this to be this way since I was very young.

I’d decided when I was really young (looooong before we started trying for kids) that I would move to the country when I had kids and work out a way to be a  stay-at-home-mama AND do my creative business thing.

Chris always says to me

“Just remind people you aren’t an overnight success… every single day for the last decade you’ve been blogging + creating + putting yourself out there daily.”

And of course it’s been one of the biggest joys of my life… of course it has – why else would I have stuck at it?

Steadfast determination and aligning my actions with my intentions brought me here. Aka: doing the important shit every day. Being a determined motherfucker who totally believes in her dream of helping as many peeps as I can.

Was it scary to decide to persuade my love to quit his government job to move to the country and be a stay-at-home dad? Of course!

Did I know that I would make it happen, by hook or by crook?

My faith did. My fear didn’t.

I listened to my faith. And I worked my butt off to make it happen.

I can’t imagine our lives without my love at home with us now. He’s such a huge support for my business, and does much more kid-looking-after than me so I can work.

I am so grateful for his support, love and steadfast faith in me. I totally believe it was a soul contract for us to come together.

I said to him this morning:

I just don’t know if I could do this work without you having my back.

Sometimes it feels really scary to put myself out there.

You are so sage & wise & grounded & give such good advice. You really help me stay centred.

And he said:

You know, even if I wasn’t here, I really believe you’d do it anyway.

Because it’s in you. It’s the thing you love most.

Anyways, what I really mean to say is: he’s hot. :D

THINGS DON’T GO ACCORDING TO PLAN ALWAYS

Let’s be real here… Things often don’t go according to plan when husbands + childrens are involved!

Some days are a total write-off with sick kids or an emo 4 year old or me being ill (hello three weeks of bronchitis) or a hunky husbo that is needing more time/energy/listening. I’ve learned to be better with accepting that sometimes chaos and humanity happen. And try and just be present with what needs attention in that hour.

In those instances, I assign more stuff to my team, re-evaluate what’s highest priority (coz hey, I’m the boss here, I don’t need to be an asshole slave-driver to myself – it’s taken me years to finally get that), and burn some midnight oil if I need to to get up to speed.

It’s a real balancing act… I try and just turn up to life + business and see what is most needed on that day, and balance that with long-term needs (i.e. my four year old might really NEED me to watch a hundred rounds of her “Pirate and Singing Act”, but I also need some time to focus on my business, and also refill my own well so I don’t burn.the.fuck.out. So I watch her for three rounds (or as long as I can stand) before letting her know that I love you, I think you’re awesome, I need to go to work now, and you can have some quiet play time with yourself, your sister or papa-bear.

I HAD TO GET OUT OF MY “DO IT ALL MYSELF” MINDSET

I used to think I could do absolutely ALL of it.

Now I know I can’t and I’m not supposed to.

It’s good to be supported.

It’s good to balance.

I’m sending all of you mamas out there so much love, time + total heartfelt compassionate understanding,

May all your dreams come true as you do the biggest job on the planet…

I heart you,

The post A Day In The Life of a WAHM appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>
http://leoniedawson.com/day-life-wahm/feed/ 0
A Mammoth Roundup of Inspirational Links + Videos! http://leoniedawson.com/links/ http://leoniedawson.com/links/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 11:31:19 +0000 http://leoniedawson.com/?p=18918 Hi my treasures, Have been collecting these goodies for you as I fossicked the internet beach, looking for glimmers of sea glass and curling shells. Inspirational, funny + deep. Here’s my haul for you. As always, I suggest drinking this with a cup of tea. Preferably chai or Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer. Give yourself time for this post, swim in it, drink it, immerse within it. Let it be a place of joy, peace + reflection for you. Or you know, speed through it and [...]

The post A Mammoth Roundup of Inspirational Links + Videos! appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>

LUSCIOUSLINKS

Hi my treasures,

Have been collecting these goodies for you as I fossicked the internet beach, looking for glimmers of sea glass and curling shells.

Inspirational, funny + deep.

Here’s my haul for you.

As always, I suggest drinking this with a cup of tea. Preferably chai or Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer. Give yourself time for this post, swim in it, drink it, immerse within it.

Let it be a place of joy, peace + reflection for you.

Or you know, speed through it and jump to the next thing. It’s up to you dearest. It’s all good either way.

Just make your choice consciously.

It’s all good, ya know?

Without further ado… some lovely treasures for you…

  • I’ve never been much into Glee, but I’m so into love it’s not funny. Lea Michele’s song about Cory Monteith made me well up. Made me think about how someone can love you with all their being, but if you don’t love you there’s still a hole. And I wish people knew it can be filled, that you can survive and thrive and hope and be happy in your own skin.
  • I love everything that AskMoxie writes. Parenting Truths is no exception.
  • I’m so sad to hear Princess Kate is once again enduring the pure hell that is hyperemesis gravidarum. This article made me well up. I wish with all my heart that I didn’t know personally just how horrific HG is. I wish it didn’t exist. But I’m glad I can be that much more understanding + compassionate to women sisters who are enduring HG (or any chronic illness).
  • Great article on career advice by Austin Kleon.
  • This is an important article about loving the home (and everything else) that you have. I’ve been thinking about this lately. We’ve been thinking about doing a full bathroom remodel because it is a little bit late 80s gold-fabulous. But I then think… would I prefer to spend $20k on making this 2014ish? Or do I want to donate $20k to charity and save some lives? And the answer for me is the former. So we’re gonna do that instead, and I’ll do a basic renovate DIY-style on the stuff that needs it.
  • Want to know my favourite ever Facebook page… the one I think you would really, really adore? Humans of New York. If you don’t know of it yet… you really need to.
  • My darling friend Jenny sent me these magic-inducing wall vinyls. ADORE!

  • Found this Blogcademy module useful about dealing with online negativity. As I’ve become more well known online, I made this strange leap into not being a real, live person to some people. I guess in a way, it’s like if you think about Miley Cyrus. All you are seeing is a projection of her, and a boatload of judgment… not who she truly is. I’ve been horrified, heart-broken + deeply saddened by stuff I’ve seen written about me. I guess I’m quite naive in a way – I thought that people spoke the truth. But then I saw outright, hilariously, bafflingly untrue things about me and realised some people live in a really different world of negativity, drama and cynicism.
    So how to deal with it? Basically… I stay true to the many, many women I do serve. I give up my ego of needing everyone to like me (that was a really hard one). I help the women who are ready to step up and do the work. I speak my truth unwaveringly because that is the path to spirit and healing for me. And I pray for all who are suffering, lost, in pain or are causing pain.
    (As an FYI, I know when we’re talking about drama, we immediately want to seek it all out and read it all and get involved. My suggestion would be not to get involved. Stay true to your mission, your world. Don’t get distracted by the crap. There is so much light in the world. Birth your beautiful dream into the world instead.)
  • My Naked Truth – beautiful.

10568972_267297486789648_672552992071289633_n

And a panoply of gorgeous, brilliant, inspiring videos!

How good was that, yeah?

SO GOOD.

This world is filled with so many amazing people. So many creative gifts. Such beautiful wisdom. Such humour + heart.

With love, blessings + sea-spirit-air,

The post A Mammoth Roundup of Inspirational Links + Videos! appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>
http://leoniedawson.com/links/feed/ 0
Ch-ch-changes! Important News on the Academy & 2015 Workbook! http://leoniedawson.com/academy-heading/ http://leoniedawson.com/academy-heading/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:01:41 +0000 http://leoniedawson.com/?p=19458 (This is a long, wrangly post. My apologies. I mean, I’m not really sorry. Coz that’s just how I like to write. But if you like to speed read, please just make sure you check out the important news about changes to the Academy & 2015 workbook. They are further down in the post. Otherwise… get yoself a cup of chai. Chill da fruitcake out. Let’s sit and meander our way there, yeah?) * Hola my darlings, There’s a lot happening + shaking over here [...]

The post Ch-ch-changes! Important News on the Academy & 2015 Workbook! appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>

changeschanges

(This is a long, wrangly post. My apologies. I mean, I’m not really sorry. Coz that’s just how I like to write. But if you like to speed read, please just make sure you check out the important news about changes to the Academy & 2015 workbook. They are further down in the post. Otherwise… get yoself a cup of chai. Chill da fruitcake out. Let’s sit and meander our way there, yeah?)

*

Hola my darlings,

There’s a lot happening + shaking over here in Land of da Unicorns and Gigglesnorts.

I feel like I’m emerging out of a long, dark winter. My pregnancy with Beth really sent me into a cave.

And everything is kind of new again, out here in the glowing sun.

I’ve learned so many huge lessons over the last five years since becoming pregnant with Ostara.

It’s been a five year circle.

IMG_8695

Ostara, that incredible, spirited, sensitive daughter of mine… that one I have known I would give birth to since I was 14… she taught me how to grow up. She birthed my true self. She made me look into the shadows of all myself, and really made sure that I did what was needed.

If she hadn’t, I could have continued on, completely oblivious to the way the unhealed, unconscious parts of me were running the show when it came to my marriage and my family of origin.

It was really, really hard and awful to look at it all… but holy dooley, I’m grateful it happened. It needed to. It made me even more of myself. It gave me the personal power and freedom to claim the life that is mine, and create, develop and grow relationships that were healthy, compassionate, sovereign & respectful of boundaries.

I don’t know how to talk about any of this without sounding like psychoanalysis wanker mumbo jumbo, but there ya go.

If it makes sense to you and your heart, I’m grateful.

If it doesn’t, I’m sorry to be obtuse, but it’s the only way I can currently talk about it.

Anyways, point being:

Ostara of the Light has been an incredible teacher for me.

Where would I be without having given birth to her?

A very different woman.

And despite having many more scars, being less naive, slightly less optimistic, far more worldly and worn…

I am grateful.

My heart is more open, more compassionate, more understanding, more kind because of her.

IMG_8340

And of course, Beth’s pregnancy was a trial by fire.

And emerging out the other side of that is this incredible… lightness. Ease. Blessings. Joy.

I just never expected it could be so glorious having a wee bubba.

She is an easier babe to keep settled.

What’s more, I’m a better, more relaxed mama.

I wish Ostara could have had the me of now as her mama when she was a bubba.

But it is what it is.

I cannot argue with what is.

And only trust that all of us have chosen this just the way it happened, and continues to unfold.

*

Anywaysies, I’m happy, lovebugs.

Content in my bones.

I feel like everything I’ve always dreamed of has come true, by hook or by crook:

the relationship I have with my husband, so tender, full of love and understanding.

being a mama to these two girls.

our home: warm, colourful, expansive, filled with love and beautiful views.

our land: space to roam and play and garden. Maybe I could get a goat to milk! Or a horse! But I wouldn’t milk the horse!

our life: free, creative, gentle, happy.

Everything I thought it would be.

*

And of course my business is a huge, wide, loving blessing too.

But it’s not about owning a business.

It’s really about that act of creating, of sending out words, art, stories, things that might just be what someone else needs.

That’s the thing I never really want to lose focus on, really.

Sometimes I do of course.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed at how many balls I have to keep juggling in the air, how many things I have to learn, how many more skills I need to master… owning a business can really kick one’s butt.

But I just have to keep remembering:

the business is just a vehicle for sending out my stuff into the world.

the real thing, the real magic…

is in the creating.

*

That’s what is home to me.

That’s where I hear the angels sing, the muse call, the dreams dance.

Writing. Art. Forming. Creating. Sharing.

*

I’ve been volunteering lately.

Doing more donating.

Trying to work out what my next big thing is.

I’ve reached a point where I feel like I’m pretty much financially free.

Our needs as a family are taken care of, and I know I have the skills to be able to keep creating an abundant income for the rest of my life.

Five years ago I had no idea if it was even possible to live off my business as a family.

It felt like a big scary experiment.

And now we know well and truly that it can be done.

And that it’s 100% doable.

So it feels like that experiment is totally resolved.

I don’t have to keep striving for that anymore.

The question is now:

What next?

What drives me next?

And the answer absolutely has to do around service, donations and volunteering. Something I’ve been doing all along anyway. I’ve always joked about being the next Bill Gates but way more liable to talk about sacred vaginas.

And now I’ve got even more energy, time and abundance to devote to those things.

So that’ll form part of my way ahead too.

We’ll keep supporting the panoply of charities we currently donate monthly & yearly to. But I want… need… to up my game and do more. Because my heart is full of all the people and animals and land that are suffering. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, how much needs help. But I remember what Ricky Martin says in his autobiography about his charity work:

Even if it’s just one life you help, it’s the whole world to that person.

I was talking to a couple of my entrepreneur goddess mates about it yesterday, and we decided to fund the building of a school together in a third world country as a fun side project this year. And we’ve already found half the money needed for it. I know we’ll find the rest of it licketty split.

Magic happens when women circle.

Money can be a source for good.

Doing career talks at high schools, providing more support to local organisations, volunteering as a marketing consultant for non profits… the list goes on.

I know this world can change. I know we are the ones who will change it.

*

Over the last five years, I’ve also experienced so many business transitions and transformations along the way.

From massive hippy to more business-y.

And I’ve been kinda sensing this need to integrate the two more. To become Ultimate Hippy Creative Spiritual Business Goddess.

Everything all included together.

And it always has been.

But I want to do it even more.

And even MORE Leonie flavoured.

More cwazy, more colour, more hippy. Even MORE.

I want to write more blog posts that are long and emotional and don’t have all the answers.

I want to be known less as a know-it-all, and more of a know-a-lot, still-learning, and happy to share what I know and what I don’t know and the whole  journey with you.

That’s the whole thing about business and spirit and life like this…

Ch-ch-changes and transformations are good. And needed. At least, they are for this Scorpio woman.

I feel like I’m constantly evolving and learning what it means to be me.

And it doesn’t help (well, it does actually) that I’m married to another deep-thinking Scorpio who adores transformation and personal evolution as much as I do. He is arms-wide-open to changing himself. He expects it of me too. He’s my match, my muse, my teacher.

He calls me on my shit, I call him on ours.

There was a lot of shit at the beginning.

There isn’t as much shit now.

It’s pretty rad, really.

IMG_8518

Anyways, there are some important things I need to talk about on the work front.

About changes to my Academy and the upcoming 2015 Workbook.

But don’t worry:

It’s all good.

Here’s what you can expect, yeah?

Amazing Biz + Life Academy

I was at a crossroads, trying to work out the next thing that I was being called to.

What I wanted to pour my energy into next.

I could have scrapped it all. Moved into higher priced products or coaching that were paid for one-by-one.

But honestly, I’m still just in love with the idea of helping as many people as I can, giving them everything I create, and making it as affordable as possible.

It started four years ago as the Goddess Circle, and evolved into the Academy. And I still love it and wholeheartedly believe in it.

So it’s my main focus over the next year to pour even more energy and goodness into it.

  • We are going to be undergoing a name change to the Shining Academy (www.shiningacademy.com). 
    It’s something I’ve been feeling pulled to in my spirit for a long time now. We will still have the same focus on creating a joyful, creative, spirited life and a powerful, abundant business. Spirit and joy is such a big part of the energy I wanted to create here, so I need a name change to reflect that more beautifully.
  • We are creating a whole new membership site.
    Brand new design, better functionality.
    Totally upleveled and gorgeous.
  • More and more courses and meditations will be released – especially ones that are easier to consume – smaller chunks of digestible, implementable information for when you’ve only got 10 or 20 minutes to study.
  • Programs like Double Your Biz will also be available as year-long daily email actionables – you’ll get a daily email with a marketing/biz task for you to do so you can do it one step at a time.
  • More creativity + spirit courses will be created. We’ll do a relationships course (I think I’ve even managed to get Mr Dawson to do some co-teaching with me for it! EEE!) and more artsy ones and and and… ideas KABOOOOOM!
  • I want to do some more screen capture videos showing you some really practical business stuff as well – like the systems and organisation I use in my business.
  • The masterminds on the membership site will be shifted to be the Academy Facebook mastermind which is thriving + growing + filled with so much support, resources and sisterhood.
  • We’re working on some really great ideas & projects to help you get more accountable & start using all the education and resources here in the Academy for you.
  • You will be able to see when your account is due, if you need to change credit card details and all your membership and account information on site.
  • We are still working out the coding, but we’re going to try and make it so you have the ability to see what courses/programs you’ve used and what ones you are still working on.

I’m so proud of the last four years.

So proud of our incredible success stories of women who are stepping up to the plate + creating real change in their lives + businesses. Conscious creators + powerful women aho!

Proud that 97% of our members say they would wholeheartedly recommend the Academy to a friend.

Proud that we have members who have been a part of it since it began, and continue to renew their membership every single year.

Screenshot 2014-09-03 21.54.54

I’m so very excited about everything that’s going to be shared here over the coming months and over the next year… it’s the biggest reinvention of the Academy since it began…

And I’m SO delighted to be sharing it with you.

I am so committed to helping you make your life and business shine beautifully, abundantly, exquisitely through the Academy.

2015 Workbook

10402768_772940736101786_5495124151276316842_n

This year we are (OMFG!!!!) printing them ourselves with a Malaysian printing company which kinda takes me back to ye olden days when I lived there for a bit when I was 18… Back to the days of ramadan and durians!

Anyways… it’s been a MASSIVE learning curve to be taking on such a big print job, and learning about publishing and wet proofs and customs and importing and shipping houses and all that… but it feels wildly grown up and powerful.

I needed more capacity to customise to make it the best yet based on what YOU want to see!

So here’s the kinds of differences you will see:

  • spiral bound so you can write it in more easily!
  • comes with a bonus foldout A2 wall planner calendar which looks effing gorgeous!
  • thicker more durable covers
  • added pages for monthly check-ins
  • and more inclusions!
  • There’ll be a name change to 2015 Create Your Shining Year in Life + Biz workbook to reflect my whole-of-brand spirit-call name change.

Special Note For Affiliates!

This year we’ll also be able to offer affiliates commission for printed workbooks (as well as e-books)!!! SQUEEEE!!!!!!!

I really wanted to be able to offer this as a massive thank you to our incredible affiliates who are so important. I’m so grateful to you for helping spread the word.

And of course there will be a HUGE affiliate competition for the workbooks… the biggest one yet!

If you’d like to make magical moolah sharing about my work (thank you!) you can sign up as an affiliate for free here.

My team has done a brilliant job… My eyes are still recovering from many late nights… It’s going to be our best yet. It took all your feedback and tried to weave it all in for the most powerful goal planning workbook for hippies and creatives and heart-centered women evaaaaaa! Can’t wait to share it with you.

*

Phew. Okay my loves.

That’s my update.

Big, beautiful changes abound.

Continuing to shine, refine, glow, grow.

Honoured to share this journey with you.

As always.

Grateful that all around the world, there are strong, passionate, creative women birthing their dreams alive.

Grateful that we get to do this… together.

So much love, as always,

The post Ch-ch-changes! Important News on the Academy & 2015 Workbook! appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>
http://leoniedawson.com/academy-heading/feed/ 0
9 Inspiring Magazines For Women & Business Owners http://leoniedawson.com/inspiring-magazines-women-business-owners/ http://leoniedawson.com/inspiring-magazines-women-business-owners/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 01:18:35 +0000 http://leoniedawson.com/?p=19509 Darlinghearts, When I stand at the grocery store, looking at the magazines on sale, I shake my head. I can’t believe people fill their minds and time with this shit. It’s just so much unreal, unwise nonsense out there. Stuff that will damage your brain cells and your heart cells. Stuff that will give you untrue ideas about what you are supposed to look like, what your life is supposed to look like, what love is supposed to look like. Stuff that doesn’t light up [...]

The post 9 Inspiring Magazines For Women & Business Owners appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>

10599364_775312429197950_7015938318017546232_n

Darlinghearts,

When I stand at the grocery store, looking at the magazines on sale, I shake my head.

I can’t believe people fill their minds and time with this shit.

It’s just so much unreal, unwise nonsense out there.

Stuff that will damage your brain cells and your heart cells. Stuff that will give you untrue ideas about what you are supposed to look like, what your life is supposed to look like, what love is supposed to look like. Stuff that doesn’t light up your cells with spirit.

Having said that, there ARE great magazines out there.

Magazines that will leave you a better person, more inspired, and happier after reading it.

So choose wisely.

Make sure you nourish your brain, heart and spirit with good things that make you stronger, wiser, kinder. Because that’s what you were born to be, yeah?

With that in mind, here’s the magazines I recommend:

Inspiring Magazines I read and recommend:

Renegade-Collective-magazine-issue-2-Mia-Freedman

Renegade Collective 

This one is by FAR my favourite. It’s the best magazines I’ve ever read.

I subscribe to it.

Highly, highly recommend for chicks (& dudes) who are passionate + positive.

ESPESH if you have a biz!

Adam-Goodes-The-Weekend-Australian-Magazine-Jan-14

The Weekend Australian magazine

You get this one as an insert in the Weekend Australian newspaper every weekend.

I’ve read it religiously every week since I was 16. I get anxious if I don’t get it on the weekend. I always feel secretly pissed when I read the Letters to the Editor about articles that I’ve missed. It’s an important ritual to me, one that informs my world. I learn something important from each and every magazine.

My favourite columnists used to be Ruth Ostrow & Phillip Adams. I even wrote to Phillip about ten years ago to thank him for his articles, and he sent me the most wonderful, kind letter back. He’s now been pipped at the post to favouritest by Nikki Gemmell (author of Bride Stripped Bare). I squealed with joy when I’d read she’d moved back to Australia and joined the Weekend Australian magazine team. Her writing is fresh, honest, kind. Despite reading every one of her columns each week, I still bought her book anthology of columns (Honestly: Notes on Life). It even made my Top 20 Books of 2013 booklist.

In other words: I love, love, LOVE this magazine.

I reckon I’ll be reading it for decades to come.

Dumbo Feather Issue 36 cover

Dumbo Feather

A fantastic, thick, beautiful book-like magazine.

Filled with fantastic interviews.

When I finish reading it, it goes on the bookcase, it’s that good.

Reading Dumbo Feather makes me a better person.

So I do it.

1998-New-Yorker-Breastfeeding-Cover.bmp

The New Yorker magazine

I prefer reading magazines in print form (and books in Kindle format). But with the New Yorker I make an exception, and read it on my iPod while I’m breastfeeding the babe to sleep.

I read one article last night about teenage mothers and their children in Louisiana. It broke my heart, and I’m still thinking about it 24 hours later. I like things that are beautifully written and thoughtful.

Life & Spirit Mags:

Grass Roots 211

GrassRoots

I’m a big ole farmer hippy at heart. Talk to me about compost baby.

Oooh, and preserving vegetables.

Ooh yeah, like that.

Look at your plump lemons.

#privatemoment

Anyway, these are chockfull of good, useful things.

sage-woman

SageWoman

This one is for the goddess hippy woo-woos.

Definitely the best spiritual magazine I’ve found that’s not all “10 Easy Ways To Open Your Chakras”.

More biz-centric Mags:

p10143

Success

My favourite part of this magazine is the accompanying CD. I listen to it in the car driving back from school drop-off.

Lots of aha! business moments from this baby.

Well worth it.

Plus, international subscriptions are surprisingly cheap!

ferran-adria-wired-magazine-cover

Wired

Always interesting. Business. Tech. Culture.

Fast-Company-Magazine

Fast Company

This one is a really good toilet read, truth be told!

Short articles. About a bathroom break long.

Even if I just get one lightbulb moment, it’s a good one.

That kinda sounded gross, but there you go.

*

I’ve heard good things about Taproot too. Haven’t got myself a copy yet. Might just need to.

*

Any other magazines you can recommend, sisters?

Share in the comments if you like. We can pool our wisdom.

I’m always looking for magical magazines to add to my inspiration basket!

Love always,

The Always Learning

The post 9 Inspiring Magazines For Women & Business Owners appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>
http://leoniedawson.com/inspiring-magazines-women-business-owners/feed/ 12
The Birth Story of Beth http://leoniedawson.com/beth-birth/ http://leoniedawson.com/beth-birth/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:20:54 +0000 http://leoniedawson.com/?p=16941 (A long post ahead. 10 000 words. A novella of life, birth, motherhood, illness, sacrifice, joy. This is how many words it took to share the story of Beth. A cup of tea would accompany this nicely. I recommend chai or Celestial Seasonings.) * How do I tell you the story of Beth, without telling you all that came before it? How do I tell you of the great miracle that is her, when it also means telling of the great darkness that came before? [...]

The post The Birth Story of Beth appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>

bethsbirthstory

(A long post ahead. 10 000 words. A novella of life, birth, motherhood, illness, sacrifice, joy. This is how many words it took to share the story of Beth. A cup of tea would accompany this nicely. I recommend chai or Celestial Seasonings.)

*

How do I tell you the story of Beth, without telling you all that came before it?

How do I tell you of the great miracle that is her, when it also means telling of the great darkness that came before?

I’ve been putting off writing these words. Resisting the page, turning away from the screen.

It is months since she was born, and I am still squinting away from it.

All I want to do is soak in her loveliness and her light. Burrow my face into the golden amber of her hair.

Be here now in all that is good.

Forget what came before.

*

And I hold the story in me.

Write in my head a thousand times over.

Turning the words around and around.

Wondering what must be said.

I hold onto all the details though they pain me.

I hold onto them so they can be written.

Once they are written, I can forget.

They will be out in the world, speaking the story for those who need to hear it.

And I can forget. I can drop the heavy, lumpy, heaving weight of it.

I can let it go and be lighter.

*

I know I must write.

I know I must write it out. Tell the story that needs to be told.

Need to write it for her, so she knows just how much she is loved.

Need to write it for my daughters, just incase they inherit this awful pregnancy illness that overtook me. I get down on my hands and knees and pray in the dust that they don’t. But if they do, I want them to have my words. I want to weave everything that it took from me and everything it gave to me in one gnarled, soft rug incase they need the comfort of those words one day.

Need to write it for the women who were broken from Post Natal Depression.

Need to write it for the women who have been devastated by hyperemesis gravidarum.

Need to write it for the world, so its heart blooms in understanding for the sisters who walk through these dark nights of the soul, mind and body in order to bring a child into the world.

*

So let’s start at the very beginning.

It’s late at night. Beth is asleep beside me. Ostara is asleep in the next room. Stars are out. There is silence. Time to write.

Just over a year ago, I came out of the closet. I’d made the decision to only have one child.

Believe me when I tell you that there were very few moments in the three years after I had Ostara that I ever believed I could have another child.

I was battle scarred and weary from the very beginning. From the moment I became pregnant with Ostara, I felt like I was on a train I couldn’t get off of.

Don’t get me wrong – I dearly wanted her. It was very much a consciously chosen pregnancy.

But something happened to me. Something clicked over.

I just didn’t feel like myself anymore.

And I didn’t feel like myself for a really long time after.

*

I don’t really know how to explain it.

I found out I was pregnant with Ostara when I was nauseous. A nausea that worsened. It crippled me and overcame me. I’d vomit my pregnancy multivitamins up without fail each morning. I vomited all over our house. I would rock back and forth, too sick to even read. I’d stare at my hands on the sun lounge on our patio. Anything to stop the swells of pregnancy sea sickness that overrode my life.

I remember calling my mum about it. I’d cry on the phone and say I wasn’t sure how I could ever do it again, how any woman could ever do it. I asked if everyone went through this.

And she laughed that kind of dry laugh that mothers have sometimes, and told me that

yes, they do,

and

maybe i’d have to toughen up a little bit.

And maybe in some ways that set the stage of all that was to come:

the fact that I suffered,

the fact that it wasn’t easy for my body or my spirit,

the fact that I measured myself on how other mothers did (and would always come up lacking),

the fact that I didn’t understand my body had its own unusual quirks,

the fact that I had horrifically high standards for myself that were impossible to reach,

the fact that I felt immensely judged by my family (and that there was nothing I could do on god’s green earth to be seen as a good mother by them)

the fact that my relationship with my family of origin was about to become increasingly strained before it imploded.

*

Fuck mate, it was hard.

I’m crying writing this.

Onwards we go.

*

I got ante natal depression and anxiety. I freaked the fuck out over having a perfect birth. I knew I would fail no matter what.

My hips started displacing.

Walk, my mum said. Oh Leonie you just need more exercise.

And so I did until I was hobbled over in pain, breathless with it.

When I told my midwife, her eyes widened in horror.

Oh for god’s sake Leonie. That’s the worst thing you could be doing. You need to rest. Your hips are dislocating.

*

There was SO much I didn’t know about my body back then.

Didn’t know I had a body with specific conditions that needed another level of care.

Didn’t realise that I wasn’t weak.

If I had, maybe it would have been easier.

*

Ostara was born. It wasn’t the perfect birth. It was an induction birth.

It was, how the French say: Fucking painful. Horrifically painful. Painful for a long long time.

And god I wanted relief during it. I wanted to run screaming from the room.

But I couldn’t take pain medication. Wouldn’t.

Because to do so would make me a bad person.

I’d read all the books, you know?

I knew what was right for my baby.

And I would sacrifice myself on a spear to do the right thing.

The problem was…

when you sacrificed yourself on a spear…

who was left to tend to the baby?

A woman who had been through a war.

The memory of that birth traumatised me for years afterwards.

I cried almost everyday for the first year that my poor body had to go through that.

*

We moved back to my hometown when Ostara was six months old.

I thought it would be unicorns and puppy dog tails and family!joy!forever!

I thought I’d spend the rest of my life there.

I thought that was IT you know?

 

34487_419438203737_918460_n

 

But it wasn’t.

What’s more, it was so far NOT it, it was positively wrong.

We felt overrun by my family. Like we had no privacy. No time to ourselves. No space of our own.

Even though we had our own home, my family felt like it was an extension of theirs.

They would come without calling first. Let themselves in through the back door. Peer through the windows.

Even when I asked them not to.

Even when I asked them not to.

I felt like a teenager raging for my own privacy, space and sanctum.

But I wasn’t a teenager.

I was an adult.

A mother. A wife.

A woman with her own family who no longer could play the role of the good daughter and sister if that meant hindering and harming my relationship with own self, husband and daughter.

I had to break out of the old family tree in order to grow my own healthy sapling.

*

Oh god, loves, it was hard.

The hardest thing I have ever done.

To fight day by day to find the courage, wisdom and strength to have boundaries.

To not be swallowed up whole by the family I was born into.

To not revert back to every old pattern under the sun.

To not play the part that my family knew me as:

Leonie, the joker. Leonie, the one who is inept at practical things. 

I knew that if I didn’t, I would lose my spirit. My life. My relationship with my husband. And the kind of mother I wanted to be.

*

I went to counsellors.

We went to relationship therapy.

I learned a lot.

And I had to grow the fuck up, basically.

Had to give up being a kid.

Had to craft my own path.

*

I called it “Becoming An Adult.”

*

In the meantime, my parents split up.

All the other marriages in my family dissolved.

A great thrumming tornado was making its way through the landscape of my family.

Chris and I were the last ones standing still together.

*

On top of this,

I was fucking hard on myself, man.

I had completely unreal expectations of what a mother should look like.

I had no concept of self care.

I took not even an hour away from my baby until she was eight months old.

I took the concepts of attachment parenting and made it into a competitive sport.

I thought I was an awful person if I even took one step away from the formula.

I forgot the holy covenant of Leonie:

Don’t convert to any doctrine. Eat from the buffet of what is true and right for you and sings to your spirit. Leave the rest.

It works for me for religion. I needed to apply it to parenting as well.

*

On top of this, my darling, beautiful, bright, effervescent star beam Ostara was not an easy baby.

I didn’t know that at the time.

I just thought I was fucking weak for not dealing so well.

But she didn’t sleep very well. Ever.

Didn’t sleep through the night until she was two and a half years old.

I was chronically sleep deprived. Horrifically so.

She was a mama’s girl from the very beginning.

She just didn’t cope with the world if she wasn’t in my arms.

She didn’t cry… as long as she was on the boob.

She lived on there, guys. That was her world for a long, long, looooong time.

She breastfed for hours upon hours… rarely lasting more than an hour (two or most) without boobs.

For YEARS. It seemed that was her safe place.

If she was out of my arms – even in her daddy’s arms – it just didn’t work out.

I couldn’t shower/poop/eat with two hands/attempt to get some work done without hearing her cry.

My nerves = fucked.

*

Now trust me, I love Ostara. I love that girl to the moon and back. I have known since I was 14 that she was my daughter, that I would have her. She’s been in my dreams and visions since then, in every reading I’ve ever had.

She is sunlight and happiness and explosions of joy.

She is immensely sensitive, creative, gifted, passionate.

She is incredibly empathic and picks up on energy.

She has a built in radar and steers clear of any situation or person or animal that feels off to her.

She is so special to me.

I will always, always, always be glad that she is my daughter.

I will always, always, always be honoured that she chose me.

 

307572_10150321580433738_270042101_n

 

And at the exact same time, I realise now that she requires a lot of energy to parent.

Her catchphrase is:

“Mummy, I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed you”,

said while looking longingly, pleadingly with her wide blue sky eyes.

Every part of her little body and spirit feel that and believe that.

She neeeeeeeeeeds me in order to feel okay in the world.

And even though her daddy has been a beautiful, nurturing, kind, full time, loving, gentle constant in her life… it’s always, always, always mama that is needed. On a really high level.

*

And it’s okay that that’s who she is.

Absoloodely.

And at the very same time, I needed to learn

The Art of Understanding And Nurturing Leonie too.

*

Handy hint:

If you find yourself taking breaks during cooking dinner to have a panic attack on the floor,

it’s not normal, darling.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

*

I learned that after a few months of doing that.

The crushing feeling around my lungs and chest.

The constant wading chest-high through a sea of anxiety and adrenaline.

Feeling like at any moment a particularly big wave would appear and take me whole.

*

I just want you to know:

it doesn’t have to be like this.

*

I told Chris one day:

I don’t think I’m okay honey. I don’t think this is actually normal.

*

And it scared the shit out of me to say it.

It broke my heart.

And it also was the start of something beautiful.

It was the start of coming home.

*

So yes.

The counselling and therapy and intuitive healing and relationship counselling. The journey through eastern medicine – bushflower essences, naturopathy, acupuncture. The arrival at western medicine and medication to help it all come together.

And things got better.

Slowly, step by step. Slowly.

*

I mean, things were still pretty shithouse with my family.

But at least I wasn’t breaking apart at the seams anymore.

*

And ya know, I guess the thing I want to say is this:

None of it was a lie, ya know?

I think so often we think if it is hard, it all must be awful.

Or if it’s good, it all must be fantastic.

When in reality, life is so much more nuanced and layered and contradictory than that.

I’ve meant every single thing that I’ve shared on my blog and facebook and instagram over the years.

I’ve been fucking grateful for the good bits.

Because there were many, many, many, MANY.

I’ve always hunted for the positive, like a happy-hunting hound dog.

And they are so easy to see:

Not every day was a crappy one. Not every moment was awful.

Not everything was broken.

There were still so many blessings and miracles and joys.

Beach days with baby. Renovating our old cottage and caravan. Picnicking in the luminously green grass in our backyard.

I make loveliness wherever I go.

And it was all a pretty fucking awesome adventure, ya know?

We were on the biggest healing journey of our lives.

*

And then the time came when we realised:

We gotta get out of this place.

That Proserpine wasn’t actually our happily ever after that I so believed it would be.

That we needed more than that.

We needed a school for our daughter that felt good and true to our spirits.

We needed space from my family in order to thrive as our own family unit.

We needed to be closer to a city so my husband could thrive by studying his own passions at university.

We needed more.

*

I had to let go of an old dream, ya know?

A new dream was waiting.

And my old dream was tattered and falling apart at the hinges.

My old dream that we’d live in my hometown, the place I was born, and for everything to be happily ever after for everyone for evermore.

*

But I was different.

I wasn’t who I was growing up there.

I was fuller and bigger.

And the container there was too small for me.

*

So we left.

And sometimes (almost always)

you need to let go of old dreams that aren’t working

to discover and love a new one that does.

*

We moved north,

up into the jungle by the sea.

Lived (rented) in an amazing treehouse that was beyond my wildest dreams of what I deserved.

And not long after, fell madly in love with a beautiful home on an acreage.

Took a big deep breath and faced my fears and bought it.

*

And we’ve been making our home here ever since.

Me, my husband, our daughter.

And of course, our two fluffy (but sometimes naughty) puppies that frankly don’t get as much screen time on this blog here now we’ve got kids. But yes, they are still here, and we still adore them, and Charlie is still my dear furry mate, and Angel is still Chris’ besotted stalker.

And it’s been really sweet, guys.

Really sweet.

*

Felt like we had to go through a whole lot of stuff and learn so much.

We had to face some really old family patterns.

And grow up.

And heal our shit.

And form a really strong marriage.

And create boundaries.

And really embrace that this is who we were, and this was our highest dream for creating the family and life that sung to us.

*

I’m a changed woman from all that shit.

Braver and more compassionate.

Stronger with more cracks.

Optimistic but with caveats.

*

And it’s been a real healing time too, ya know.

At long, long last, I worked out the secret for me to be a happy mum.

And it was all about taking care of myself and healing myself and giving myself time out and throwing out the books and just doing it my own way.

*

We found our groove here.

And it was gentle and it was glorious and it was all our own.

*

Chris’ parents came to live in our granny flat for a while.

And it was lovely to have another pair (or two) of hands for a while.

Made parenting our gorgeous spirited girl that much easier.

And with all this ease and joy and groove happening, I thought:

Maybe I could.

Maybe I could have another baby.

But only if I didn’t break myself next time around.

*

I had long talks with Chris.

Bless that beautiful man’s heart.

He always, always, always listened so compassionately when I cried about how broken I was from pregnancy, birth and baby. He would nod understandingly as I told him I didn’t know how anyone could ever have more than one.

Even though he wanted another child, he never, ever pushed it with me.

Even though he wanted another child.

I feel teary with love when I think about that. How much grace and compassion he gave to me.

He accepted wholeheartedly that it was my body, my wellbeing and my spirit that would be impacted most significantly by having another child.

And that I needed to make that decision for me.

*

I’m so deeply grateful to him for doing that.

It felt like his honouring of me choosing how many children I conceived this life healed so many ancestral stories from women in my family lines who didn’t or couldn’t choose.

Lineages upon lineages.

*

And so I chose not to.

And then I did choose.

One starry night, a beautiful baby came to see me in a dream.

Told me that I was her mama. That she belonged to me.

And that it would be different this time.

And I got this glimpse into the world where she was my baby,

and it was so filled with love and joy and calm and peace.

It was overwhelmingly beautiful.

And before the doors of my spirit could close, could snap shut with a hearty bang of

“OH GOD FUCK NO NOT THAT DISASTER AGAIN”

… I asked myself a question.

The question that changed everything.

What would I need to do this time in order for it to feel good?

I made a long list in my head of all the things that broke me last time.

And I made a plan of how to do parenting in a way that would sing to me.

*

And then, when I was ready, I told Chris I was ready for another baby.

He didn’t believe me of course. He laughed and rolled back over in bed.

But I was insistent.

And he was quietly delighted.

*

I became pregnant two bleeding moons after that.

I knew I was pregnant the day we had sex.

I knew I was ovulating.

I tested it within a couple of days.

Got a negative, cried with sadness. I was so sure I was pregnant.

Realised later that it was too early to test.

Took another test 10 days later.

Another negative. I threw the strip out. Cried. Had a nap.

In the nap, had a dream that I had gone back and checked the stick and it was positive. The dream told me I needed to wait ten minutes to see negative or positive.

Woke up, checked the stick. It was positive.

Checked the box.

Realised I am, in fact, a dickhead who should read instructions because it said to wait ten minutes to check.

Got another test.

This time, read instructions. Followed them.

Positive.

WOAH.

Who woulda thunk it, hey?

(Thank god my dreams tell me what to do.)

*

Bang on five weeks, the nausea began.

Just like with Ostara.

This time, I was ready.

Started going to acupuncture, eating protein and dry crackers, taking morning sickness herbal remedies.

Felt like I was coping. Wasn’t enjoying it, of course.

But, I was getting there.

And then… it kept getting worse.

I began going to the doctor.

Started more medication.

Ramped up acupuncture to be daily.

I remember my acupuncture saying as I shuffled white faced to her door:

“This is like a monster. Chop off one head, and it grows another.”

My wrists became bruised from so many acupuncture needles.

Did healing sessions with Hiro.

Researched hyperemesis gravidarum cures.

Tried them all.

It was an endless, mindless horror.

Looking back on it, it is hard to imagine.

Really, how bad can nausea and vomiting be?

Get over it.

So thinks anyone who has never experienced that particular hell of HG.

*

I began regular trips to Emergency for hydration drips.

After a few rounds of that, I was admitted for longer stays.

Slept with a drip in the fold of my elbow.

It became bruised.

My veins became scarred.

So many drips.

So many needles.

*

Days when I’d crawl out and lie on the grass, vomiting like a dog for hours.

Water would make me nauseous.

I couldn’t drink more than a mouthful without vomiting.

Food made me nauseous.

The smell of food was the worst of all.

Chris was banned from cooking.

We were one scent of fried egg away from another hospital visit for nine months.

*

At 10 weeks, we had an early ultrasound.

Doctors were convinced I was having twins because of how extreme my HG was. (It’s much more common with twin pregnancies!)

I was terrified.

I only wanted one. I only wanted one. I couldn’t bare the thought of two. Especially not when the first time nearly broke me. Especially not when this pregnancy was doing its best to break me again. I thought the world was betraying me.

I was an anxious, teary mess.

*

The ultrasound dude was Scottish.

The grey and white screen flickered.

“Please, please can you tell me there is only one in there?”

“Oh yes darlin, only one in there.”

“Are you SURE?”

“100% positive. No twins. Just one baby.”

I was so relieved I burst into tears and cried great big heaving sobs.

“Oh you poor darlin. Oh you poor thing. It’s going to be okay.”

Chris held my leg, squeezed it.

Ostara fetched me tissues.

*

Here’s something I wrote when I was pregnant:

Can I just say, it really is a shitty, shitty illness. I don’t know if anyone can fully grasp just how debilitating and miserable it is. It’s not just being bedridden – it’s being so wholly consumed by nausea that you can’t move, can’t think, can’t read. Any movement or talking can set off vomiting, and every vomit brings you closer to another hospital admission for dehydration and malnutrition.

At my worst, I can’t even stand looking at another person’s face because it moves and it makes me nauseous. I’ve been able to make very few phone calls over the last four months, and I can count on my hands the amount of times I’ve been out in the world for things that aren’t hospital related or absolutely essential.

I nearly gnawed off a doctor’s head the other day when he referred to hyperemesis gravidarum as morning sickness. It is not. Morning sickness of course isn’t nice to have at all… but it’s like comparing a sore toe to a broken leg. Hyperemesis gravidarum is chronic, debilitating and can be life-threatening when not treated. What’s more, it can’t be cured. Some women are able to get relief (hallelujah!) from medication, others (like me) find that HG can beat medication, and a constant juggling of a cocktail of medication is needed in order to stay hydrated enough to not need a 24/7 drip. Some women can’t even get that and end up in hospital for nine months. It’s fucking brutal, man.

It means I haven’t been able to see friends, run errands, go to the grocery store, walk for any extended length of time… do anything except lay in bed, on my side, trying not to hurl. That’s been my existence.

I’ve hurled in the hardware store. I’ve hurled in the car. I’ve hurled beside the car on the side of the road many, many times. I’ve hurled in the parking lot. I’ve hurled in the toilets at the mall. I’ve hurled on myself on the couch. I’ve hurled in most rooms of our house. I’ve laid outside in the grass on my side because I couldn’t move an inch without hurling again.

On really special times, I’ve hurled so hard and so convulsively I’ve wet myself thoroughly. On one special day I shat myself from vomiting. I’ve hurled so much I’ve got haemorrhoids.

I honestly don’t know how many women get through it – I had so much support. Chris has pretty much been a solo parent and my carer and looked after me, Starry, the house and dogs. Chris’ parents looked after Starry in the afternoons for a couple of hours each day. We didn’t have financial worries (as I shared here – my business can keep running well when I’m not well).

Many women don’t have that kind of support. If you know of anyone with HG, please be kind to them in whatever way you can. If you can help them with childcare or getting groceries or doing washing or whatever – anything – please do it. Also: advice probably isn’t helpful. Those with HG will have tried anything to claw their way out of their illness. At some point, it’s just accepting that it’s a shithouse situation that could last until baby is born.

And bless, I’ve tried every hippy remedy and healing technique under the sun. This baby is unfixable. I’m forever grateful to my intuitive healer Hiro Boga saying to me months ago “Leonie, I’ve done all I can do. You need to be in hospital.” And I cried, and faced my fear that going to hospital was failing. And I went. And I got the support I needed so desperately.

My wonderful acupuncturist too has been super pragmatic – at the early stages, she was able to help control it. And once it was obvious it was getting worse, she helped me make plans to go to emergency.

I’ve let go of all my hippiest dreams of having a “natural” pregnancy (and birth) this time around. I’m much more pragmatic:

My body needs medical support in order to survive. End of story.

And I look forward to giving birth however it happens because honestly, nothing can suck as much as this pregnancy. And I’ll know when I give birth that I won’t have to experience HG, the illness that sucks giant donkey balls, ever again.

I freaked out a LOT about doing birth perfectly the first time around. A LOT.

This time, I could barely give a shit. I don’t care how it happens.

Why? Because Ostara’s birth means nothing compared to how much I love her. It’s one day out of the thousands that follow. It’s not the culmination of our relationship. It’s just the beginning.

A common secondary complication of HG is depression. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can get through months of extreme nausea, dehydration and the rest of it without feeling like they were walking through the darkest night of the soul. There were many many days of sheer misery when the only relief I got was Chris helping me to the shower so I could lay on the tiles underneath it.

I’ve cried many many many tears during this. I have absolutely no idea how I would be able to cope with continuing to be ill. I feel like I am missing out on so much – my daughter, my husband, my life. I can’t parent. I can’t speak. I can’t type. I can’t write. I can’t think. I can’t do anything. Just let this illness have its awful way with me until it is done.

*

Pregnancy scrapbook:

998226_555385121190683_1308221741_n 1002158_557223091006886_1515178189_n 1001201_562983857097476_876307025_n 1148808_563748263687702_1963391147_n 73563_563031490426046_2092702879_n  560561_584249231637605_343170230_n

Around week 14, after 9 weeks of emergency visits and being bedridden, I told Chris that I was considering termination. Up to 15% of HG sufferers end up having a therapeutic termination because they (physically & emotionally) can’t cope. HG is not something to mess around with – it can cause death when untreated, organ failure, dehydration, malnutrition, chronic depression and a whole host of other physical complications that come from not being able to eat or drink and having endless vomiting convulsions.

Chris was understandably really upset by the idea of termination. Of course. And he also understood that I was suffering deeply and needed more help. This baby was and is very wanted, but I felt unable to cope with the constant, unrelenting illness. I felt scared, traumatised and very, very alone in this body that was rebelling against me. I had no way out, no moments with myself.

Chris and I went to the doctor’s together that afternoon, and I let our doctor know that I was considering termination. My doctor was very kind – he got that I was really serious about not coping, about just how horrific HG was, and did everything he could to get me more support. He said words I will never forget, not because I didn’t know them already, but because I felt like someone cared as much as I did:

“Please, please, let us get what you need. This pregnancy, this new life is a very precious thing.”

He began making phone calls to experts around the state. That afternoon, he got me transferred to a major city hospital to get a consultation with the OB GYN registrar. She was very knowledgeable and understanding, and started me trialling new anti-nausea medication which helped a little.

Every step of the way, we hoped it would end. The timeline was two weeks out. We hoped it would end by 10 weeks. By 12 weeks. By 14 weeks. By 20 weeks.

But it continued.

Right up to the moment she was born.

*

As I shared in this post, I went to a doctor again when it became obvious it wouldn’t end. I wasn’t coping. I was miserable. Deeply depressed. I’d lost any feeling of light.

She took me through the depression test.

At the end she said:

Leonie, I can’t even tell if this is depression or just the natural byproduct of this awful condition you have.

I added higher strength anti depressants to the piles of tablets I took each day to keep me and my baby alive.

*

Trust me, dearests, I tried everything.

I tried hypnosis. It was useful as a self help discovery tool, as a therapy, but ultimately, it didn’t have an effect on the frequency of spewing. I did feel less freaked out about spewing while it was happening, less gut-wrenchingly miserable, so that’s a ginormous plus. But it, for me, was not a cure for HG.

It was hard sometimes when people came up with suggestions for healing HG.

I know how much people cared, how much they genuinely wanted me to be better.

And I also knew that reiki, ginger, homeopathics couldn’t do shit for this horrendous thing I was going through.

The only thing that could fix it?

Was birthing the placenta that was creating such a horrific allergic reaction in my body.

The only thing that could keep me alive until then?

Some fucking die-hard medications and western medicine intervention.

*

I am finding it really hard to write about this.

I don’t want to think about it.

Don’t want to remember it.

It was the most horrific time of my life.

*

I fought against HG for a long time.

Inside my head, there would be a tape playing:

“Why is this happening? WHY ME? I can’t believe it! I am so angry! WHY ME? I am so frustrated! I can’t believe this is happening to me! When will it end? God, why? Please! I hate this! I hate this so much! This is fucking awful! Make it stop make it stop make it stop!”

I was really angry. I questioned everything.

One day, I went to have a nap.

“Please, please, please God, please tell me what I need to know.”

And just one word came back:

“Surrender.”

“I don’t want to surrender you fucking asshole! This is fucking awful! This should not be happening to me! Make it fucking stop! You are breaking me!”

There was silence.

And I gave up the fight in that moment.

I’d been so angry and questioning for so long. I’d denied the illness. I tried arguing against it.

It was immovable.

So I surrendered.

My body softened.

I took deep breaths.

I softened some more.

Surrender.

*

It became the mantra.

Of course, I still struggled sometimes (and sometimes often).

But mostly, the tape inside me played:

“This is what is. You can’t wish for it to change until it does. This is what is meant to happen. If it wasn’t meant to be here, it wouldn’t be.”

*

It became a shrug.

When people saw me and expressed their sadness about how sick I was and how awful I looked, I would shrug:

“This is just how I am in pregnancy.”

*

Rolling back and forth. Grieving my life. Grieving missing my daughter and my husband so much. Grieving the ability to cook, clean, walk, play, write, draw, go out into the world.

I felt stricken with the grief. My daughter didn’t have a mother for nine months. My husband didn’t have a wife. I didn’t have a life.

*

Later in the pregnancy, about 3-4 in the afternoon, the crippling nausea would lift for about an hour. Not fully. Just enough to stand. To look at people’s faces. I’d try and play with my daughter, talk to my husband, and do what work I could in that hour. A tiny reprieve. And then I’d be sent back to the dungeon, my bed.

(I was fucking sick of my bed. Surrender and acceptance and all that shit, but goddamn I wanted to get away.)

*

Another important lesson unravelled itself:

I spent many, many long hours in bed. Most of nine months.

Many hours spent on my ipod trying to keep my mind off the nausea and body stuff.

I started reading bunches of gossip sites, of reddit. I felt like I was getting an education in how non-hippy people lived.

And dude, it fucking bummed me out. I got so fucking depressed about everything.

I talked to Chris about it.

Have I mentioned what a babe he is?

And how sage and wise?

He said:

Baby, now is the time to feed your mind with positive stuff. Now, more than ever.

He was right of course. He always is.

If ever I needed some positive thinking, it was now.

I think I gave up on it for a while there because it wouldn’t stop HG.

All the kind-hearted people who so wanted me to be better who told me to affirm my way out of HG.

And I couldn’t. I couldn’t run, I couldn’t hide, I couldn’t positive the illness away.

But I realised I needed it to actually survive.

So I deleted all the crap from my ipod.

Replaced it with dozens of affirmations and oracle apps.

And everyday, spent my hours there instead.

If it was going to be mindless ipod shit, it had to be stuff that actually lifted my spirit.

It made a difference.

A big lesson:

If you want to feel like shit, read shit.

If you want to feel uplifted, read uplifting things.

*

At 20 weeks, we had our ultrasound.

We knew we wanted to find out the sex again.

We adored doing it when we had Ostara.

Plus, I really needed something to hang onto.

Needed to hold on to that idea of bringing a soul into the world.

I absoloodely thought I was having a boy.

100%.

But I thought exactly the same thing with Ostara.

I might be a bit intuitive and stuff, but I have zero percent accuracy at knowing my own baby’s gender.

We turned up to the ultrasound. We took Ostara with us.

Our little buddy. Our little dearest.

As we walked in I told her we were going to find out whether she would have a little brother or a little sister.

“NOPE!” she said cheerfully. “I having a baby SISTER!”

*

The flashing grey and white screen.

I see the three dots again, instantly.

I know what three dots mean.

My heart jumps with joy and love.

*

“Girls! I am having two girls!”

I thought I would be disappointed.

I thought my heart would long for that boy I pictured.

Instead I felt soaring joy.

Two fairies. Two mermaids. Two sisters.

I asked Chris if he was disappointed.

He looked at me like I was a wanker.

“How could I possibly be? I get to have another baby. I love having a daughter!”

*

Apart from being all fucked on HG, that other weird hyper condition I have started rearing up: hypermobility.

(For those of you who don’t know, hypermobility = double jointed = overly flexible. Which can be fun in yoga class, but it creates massive issues when pregnant and breastfeeding. Dislocated joints = major bummer.)

My hips began displacing.

I found it hard to walk.

My midwife recommended going to see a man with medicine hands, Charley, a Bowen Therapist.

I’d never had Bowen Therapy before.

And by that stage, I was so jaded I was all:

“Yeah, fucken hippy therapies don’t do SHIT!”

(Because, you know, nothing was keeping this lady from hurling her breakfast up!)

But I went anyway.

Because dislocated joints suck balls.

And waddya know?

He really DID have medicine hands.

I ended up going to see him once a week.

I would go during his pregnancy clinic. There’d be a bunch of us sitting in his waiting room. When I started, I was the smallest belly in the room.

And week by week, the biggest bellies would fall off the cliff into no return, and we’d hear news of their new arrival.

Chris and Ostara would wait there too, in that great nest of clucking hens.

Eventually, I was the biggest belly there.

*

Throughout it all, I thought I knew her name.

I thought her name was:

Sia Hope.

Sia Hope Dawson.

We all called her Sia while she was in my belly.

We all thought it was it.

Then one night a month or two before she was born,

I was wrapped around, holding Ostara as she went to sleep when I heard a very clear knock on my spirit’s door.

“My name’s not Sia,”

she said simply from inside me.

I nodded.

The next morning, Chris said:

“Hon, I need to talk to you about something. It’s important. Please don’t be upset.”

“Yes?”

“Her name isn’t Sia.”

“I know. She told me too.”

Two days later, Starry said:

“Baby’s name isn’t Sia! I don’t call her that anymore!”

“Okay darling, I know.”

Message was received, loud and clear.

(Please tell me if you have a baby named Sia Hope! I want to know!)

*

What was her name to be?

We were instructed by our spirit guides for Chris to find her name. That she was earthy like him. Ostara was named by me, and has the same kind of astral energy I have.

Chris got to name #2.

So I tried not to annoy him about it. Stop trying to brainstorm it.

I had way too much time in bed thinking about things, really.

Eventually he said:

What about Beth?

Yes.

Softness and kindness. Ease and evening.

*

1476028_619840008078527_1912158002_n

There were many great soul lessons in my pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum.

That of surrender. That of filling my mind with positive hippy stuff (even if it wasn’t going to fix my body).

My relationship with Chris became threefold stronger because of it.

We became more deeply into a soulmate relationship.

He showed me in that pregnancy just how deep his love for me was, and how much he could hold the space for me.

He really stepped up to the plate. He was brave and big hearted and he held the space for me to break apart a million times. He carried the faith for both of us because I couldn’t anymore.

Here’s what I wrote during it:

I can’t even talk about how wonderful Chris has been the last six months without tearing up. Six months of him pretty much solo parenting, looking after me, Starry, our puppies and house. All the shopping, cleaning, washing. All the days he just pats my head as I moan and cry, saying “I know sweetie, you are doing good.” He has held the faith for us while I’ve been unable to. I can’t even say how much his support has held my boat from capsizing. I love him more every day.

I can’t imagine our relationship not having gone through HG. It’s funny, isn’t it?

It’s just different now. Even more solid, compassionate, loving.

Sometimes a tornado takes you away from each other.

Sometimes it brings you together.

*

I wrote more about hyperemesis + my pregnancy journey here, here and here if you want to read more.

*

1010063_590379127691282_797401248_n

Ostara holding me in the car after another hospital trip.

In the moments when I was well enough to sit up and talk, I tried to make up for lost time with Ostara.

She from all accounts was keeping it together during that long illness. She was so beautifully behaved, not overly emotional, so gentle with me.

I’d keep reminding her:

You don’t need to take care of me.

Your job is to be a kid. Your job is to have fun and play.

Daddy will take care of me and of you.

I’m going to be okay.

When I was well enough, I’d hold her in my arms as I said it.

She sensed that I had enough bandwidth for her to be vulnerable, and she’d dissolve into tears.

Tears upon tears upon tears.

I’d listen, and hold her, and ask her about her feelings:

Mummy, I’m so sad that you are sick.

I don’t want you to be sick anymore.

I’m scared. I miss you.

I know my darling. I know. I know.

And I’d hold her and kiss her sweaty little head.

And we’d sit together while all her feelings tangled their way out into the light, and she would be released and relieved.

*

And that’s how my pregnancy progressed.

Hyperemesis gravidarum. Hypermobility.

Both reeking havoc on my body, my spirit, my life.

Still vomiting at 40 weeks pregnant. Still feeling pretty damn depleted.

Not as horrifically ill as I was before. But not great. Not good by any means.

Still had the vast, vast, vaaaaast majority of my time spent laying in bed.

I started going to see my acupuncturist to start priming the body for birth, along with the Bowen Therapist Charley.

*

I looked like this:

1653622_679286822133845_434859157_n 1912330_679286718800522_47546122_n  1508519_679286642133863_1342304683_n  1900086_679286402133887_1689287247_n 1899887_679286215467239_1631185037_n  1900082_679286082133919_460083401_n

But mostly I looked like this:

1782115_679733612089166_1135004598_n

*

It’s three weeks since I gave birth as I sit down to write this. (It’s been five months now since I come back to finish it.)

Already, the story is falling away. Already, I can’t remember.

Shit, I should have written this down before.

But I didn’t. And I couldn’t.

So here I am, piecing together the story again from figments of memories.

This is how humans keep procreating, keep going, keep hoping:

they forget the sheer agony of the hardest parts.

*

So here is an important part to the story:

I asked people for their bets on due dates, and I wrote them down.

Mostly though, I listened to what Chris said.

He’s got a track record.

Last time he managed to get the day spot on.

He booked it in his calendar.

7 am, March 24, 2010.

And sure enough, it ended up being that I was booked in for induction at

7 am, March 24, 2010.

She was born 12 hours later.

I wondered if he could go two-for-two.

He’s a pretty damn intuitive man.

I figured he’d be right.

6 March, he said.

40+1 weeks.

Great, I thought. Why couldn’t he let me end the vomit misery end by forecasting for an early delivery?

But the man could not be swayed. He never is.

So there it was.

*

As we got closer to her arrival, I started shitting myself.

I didn’t want to be traumatised by her birth.

I was feeling as weak as a kitten after nine months of awful illness and bedrest.

My back and hips were pretty rooted from displacing so often.

Oh… and did I forget to mention our baby girl was breech. And I was doing everything I could to turn her.

More acupuncture. More hypnosis. More of everything.

I was fucking over trying so hard. Fucking over feeling so bad and so unwell and nothing working.

I just didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to do natural birth. I didn’t want to suffer again. I didn’t want to have to actually work. I didn’t want to feel on tenterhooks about whether she would turn head down or not.

I’d done enough. My body had been through enough.

So I talked to Chris.

I talked to my acupuncturist and intuitive healer (they were my main support/counselling during this whole journey).

I felt so much deep, deep shame about the possibility of wanting a caesarean. So much deep shame about wanting to use pain relief medication this time around.

I had the inherent belief that I was a bad person if I took either of those options.

(By the way, I don’t give two hoots about what you choose for your birth. I just have ridiculously high, over-the-top, must-be-a-superhero expectations on myself. That’s a big ole soul lesson I’ve had to learn this time around. Expectations that suck giant wang trying to meet. Expectations that leave no room for my own humanity. Expectations that need a swift kick to the balls, frankly.)

*

My midwife said something which struck a bell in me.

She said during one of her own births, she was quiet.

And her doctor said afterwards “Gosh, you were just marvellous in that birth. You really did it well.”

And she said:

“Didn’t you hear me? I was screaming on the inside.”

And inside me there was a clunk, and a turn.

That’s what it felt like last time. I felt so very alone in my pain. And that I didn’t have any choices, because to even consider pain medication or a caesarean would make me a bad person. Because, you know, I should do everything perfectly!

*

Last time, I wanted a full blown hippy natural ecstatic birth.

I didn’t feel like my midwives even understood much about natural birth.

This time around, I had an experienced, natural birthin’, hippy-loving midwife.

And I’d decided I wanted a caesarean.

HILARIOUS.

The beautiful irony of it all.

*

I talked to her. I was SO fucking worried about doing it. I thought she’d argue with me about it.

But she knew. She knew I was tired. I was tired of the HG fight. Tired of my weird body complications. That I didn’t feel I had the energy in me to go through labour.

And she accepted it completely. She understood.

Having a breech baby made it even easier.

It was a great relief.

She booked me in for a caesarean. She talked us through exactly how it would go.

She checked me again.

Beth had turned and was no longer breech.

I didn’t have an “excuse” anymore to do a caesarean.

What would I do?

*

I sat with my choice to have a caesarean.

Having given myself a choice, I was now free to choose what was right for me.

I read into what caesareans meant for my healing process.

Obviously, I wanted to be healthy and well again ASAP.

I knew having a caesarean meant two things which ultimately helped me decide:

1.) I would need to be in hospital for a few nights. I couldn’t bear the thought of being away from Ostara that long. She had been through enough with my illness.

2.) I remember very clearly the rush of endorphins as soon as you give birth. It’s a joyous burst of hormones that made everything pain-free after that. I wanted that hormone high again to get me through the newborn days.

It was the glow factor that made me decide, honestly.

I decided that my own best decision for me was to have a vago birth.

*

It’s funny, isn’t it?

I just needed to feel like I had the power to choose.

I needed to feel like I could do anything I wanted.

*

I told my midwife my plans.

I told her that I was down with all the medication-free philosophy, after all, I’d done it the first time, but for fuck’s sake, you better give me some drugs to get me through it.

She agreed. Made a special note on my file:

Give Leonie all the drugs she wants.

*

I just needed to feel empowered to make my own decisions.

Not subscribing to any ideology but my own body and soul.

I think my midwife knew.

*

From 37 weeks on, I felt vague and disorientated, achy and sore.

I called my midwife weeks before I was due, sure I was having some strange contractions.

Nope, turned out I had a hypersensitive uterus.

Which made me laugh at the irony.

Why oh WHY do I have everything that’s hyper? Hyperemesis gravidarum, hypermobility, hypersensitive uterus.

It’s like my body wants to do TOO MUCH. It’s default setting is to go above and beyond.

I am sure there is a deep soul lesson in there. In fact, I know there is.

*

At 40 weeks plus one day (aka the day Chris had written down as Beth’s birthing day), I spewed as I did everyday, and then I went to the Bowen Therapist.

I was the biggest belly in the waiting room.

It was time for me to fall off the cliff.

He did his magical woo-woo thing with his hands.

“That will put you into labour”, he said.

*

At 2pm I sent a message to my sisterhood of close friends.

I’d asked them weeks beforehand if they could hold the space for me when I was in labour zone.

I let them know that all was quiet in my uterus-land.

*

At 5:00pm, I started feeling cramping.

Is this it? I wondered.

Downloaded a contraction timer app.

Five minutes apart. Regular.

I laid in bed with a heat pack.

I was cheerful:

Is this what induction-free birth is like? LOL SO EASY! These contractions are nothing compared to induction ones!

Chris didn’t really believe me.

It’s really happening? Really? Ya sure?
This isn’t like last time!
Your waters haven’t broke!

Waters don’t break at the beginning of labour usually, hon. Only for 5% of pregnancies. That was just how it happened for me last time.

Oh.

*

At 6:00pm, I sent a message to my girls:

“Don’t know, but I’m pretty sure I’m in labour.”

Called our midwife.

“You sound too happy to be in labour, Leonie.”

“Nah, look, it’s happening.”

“Nah, call me back when you’re cranky.”

All around me, peeps weren’t thinking it was getting exciting.

But I knew I was going to have a quick labour.

*

I waited for Ostara to go to sleep.

Kissed her goodnight.

I had already decided weeks ago that I would give birth after she went to sleep and before she woke up, so that she didn’t miss me.

Stared at myself in the mirror.

Contractions were getting more intense.

I wasn’t so happy anymore.

*

Contractions were getting harder and faster.

I called our midwife back half an hour later.

“Oh, you sound cranky now. See you at the hospital.”

*

I heated up heatpacks to get me through the 30 minute drive to the hospital.

Got the last of my things together.

Called my acupuncturist/doula.

“Hey Leonie, what’s happening?”

“Did you get my text messages?”

“No, sorry love! Have been on the computer!”

“I’m going to hospital right now.”

“Right. I’ll go through my clothes in the car. I will see you there.”

*

I guess this is a good time to explain the setup:

We had a doula last time.

It was wonderful.

Highly recommend.

This time around, I knew I wanted a bit of something else.

When Kellie my much loved acupuncturist mentioned that she did doula-ing and brought her needles with her, I was all over it.

She had been with me on the journey of my body since the beginning. She was intuitive, kind, compassionate. She got me. She was perfect.

*

We’d thought about birthing situations.

Again, I decided homebirth wasn’t the right choice for us this time around.

I needed quiet space to birth.

Being at home with my 4 year old, barking dogs and parents-in-law wasn’t the right space.

We thought about going down the mountain to the city hospital.

In the end, we decided to go to the country one because it was a closer drive, and because I’d already been admitted there so many times with my illness.

*

To my surprise, I discovered I’d entered into one of the best-known natural birthing midwife-run centres in the state. I got one of the most highly experienced hippy-leaning midwives of all.

They had large birth pools and were pro water birth.

They were used to seeing Kellie do acupuncture doing births, and were really happy to have her there.

They had a midwife training to do Bowen therapy during birth to assist.

It was a perfect fit.

*

So that’s what we ended up driving to that night, exactly nine months pregnant.

Somewhere behind us on the highway was my midwife and the acupuncturist, all of us making the 30 minute drive to the hospital.

As soon as we got into the car and bumped down the highway, my contractions sped up.

2 minutes apart.

90 seconds apart.

1 minute apart.

At this stage, I started my chant, my mantra that I kept up for the rest of labour:

SHITFUCK! SHITFUCK! SHITFUCK!

By this stage, contractions were riding on each other.

WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? AM I GOING TO GIVE BIRTH IN THE FUCKING CAR?

I tried calling the hospital. Tried calling the midwife. Tried calling 000.

Both our phones had no reception.

We were in the long black hole.

I started panicking and crying.

Chris was mostly silent, driving as safely and quickly as he could.

You’re going to be okay. We will make it honey.

*

I consoled myself with the thought:

Even if you do give birth in this car… Gabe and Kellie are right behind you.

*

We hit the outskirts of town. We got reception. I called the hospital, told them what was happening.

As we sped up to the dark building, security guards and a midwife were waiting to bring me in.

They offer me a wheelchair.

I hobbled in.

Swearing. Breathing. Walking.

Having contractions against the wall.

SHITFUCK. SHITFUCK.

I tried to swear quietly.

Sick people were sleeping.

Why oh why do they fucking put the fucking midwife ward right at the back of the fucking hospital?

Contractions keep coming a minute apart.

*

They let me in.

I lay in the waiting room.

My midwife walks in.

I’m between contractions.

“HULLO!” I say cheerfully! “I’m here!”

A contraction washes over me.

“SHITFUCK! SHITFUCK!”

“That’s what we like to hear! Baby is coming then hey!”

“My contractions are only a minute apart.”

“You still have a while yet.”

“Can we please get in the fucking birth room?”

*

It is 9pm by this time.

*

I have a few more contractions beside the bed.

I hear Kellie walk in.

When my contraction is finished, I look down at her feet.

She is wearing socks under her sandals.

“I see you’re wearing your tropical winter shoes Kell!”

She begins laughing.

We talk some more before the next contraction washes in.

*

A few more contractions in, and shit is starting to get real.

As in: real painful.

I jump in the bath.

The relief is immense, immediate and palpable.

All the pressure on my hips releases.

“Oh thank god. THIS IS HEAVEN!”

*

More time goes on.

It keeps getting more intense, more painful.

I can’t get comfortable.

I’m being split apart.

“You are, you know Leonie” my midwife says helpfully. “It’s one body becoming two. It’s hard work.”

“This is fucked.”

*

“SHITFUCK. SHITFUCK. FUCKING SHITTTTTTT!”

In my first labour, I didn’t speak a word.

Silent as a buddha.

In my second labour, I swore like a fucking trooper.

I wasn’t out to win an award for Most Peaceful Birther anymore.

I was pissed off that I had to do this stupid fucking birth thing AGAIN.

*

“Kellie, I don’t want to do this anymore. This is fucked. I fucking hate this.”

“I know babe.”

“I hate it all.”

“I know.”

“I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“Why don’t you next breath, just say yes to it? Just try that? Say yes to the contraction instead of no?”

I do. I feel it opens me a bit more.

It takes more courage. More stamina.

I don’t know if I have it in me.

*

I continue.

*

“I must go on
I can’t go on
I’ll go on.

– Samuel Beckett

*

Chris is there during all of this.

As he always is.

By my side.

He’s an extra part of me now.

*

Anytime I begin to scream or be high pitched, my midwife Gabe pulls me up.

“Be as loud as you want, but just make it low pitched. Screaming closes you up. Moaning opens you up.”

*

A nausea wave rushes over me.

Oh no, not this. For fuck’s sake. For FUCK’S SAKE. Please just let me birth without you, motherfucking hyperemesis!

I yell for the spew bag.

Chris holds it to the side of the bath.

I lean out and hurl, and hurl, and hurl.

*

I am getting tired. My body has lost all energy with that hurl. I can’t keep this up if I’m going to be vomiting too.

*

“It better be finished fucking soon. I’m fucking over it.”

The midwife thinks it will be some time yet.

I think it’s close. I know I’m over it.

*

I need to go to the toilet.

I go, and I think I’m going to give birth right there.

Gabe and Kellie help me back into the room. I drop on the floor.

I tell Gabe to check how far along I am.

“If I’m not nearly there, I want some fucking medication. I’m over it. I’m done. I want out.”

She checks me. She is surprised.

“Leonie, you’re at transition. Baby isn’t far away.”

“Thank fuck.”

*

The next contraction is searingly awful.

“I want some fucking medication! Now!”

“Yes, I’ll get it for you now.”

She holds it to my face, and at the last moment I turn away.

“No!”

I am red hot and burning and being utterly shaken apart by the contraction.

I can’t concentrate enough in that second to have it.

My water breaks in that instant.

The midwife disappears from my shoulder.

The next moment, she swims back up.

“Leonie, there is meconium in your waters. It is old. Baby is distressed. We need to get her out now. I’m sorry, I can’t give you medication. I need you right here, right now. I need you to be here and I need you to push your baby out.”

A mirror shatters inside me. Beth needs me. Beth needs me to be here.

I will do anything to have my baby here. Anything.

I will do what it takes to bring her into the world.

This last effort for me.

I will do anything for her to be okay.

All I see, all I want is Beth.

I turn my head. I vomit again.

I push up onto all fours.

And I begin to push.

Just like last time, I feel my baby moving down my birth canal.

I can’t move my hips wide enough. I feel like a horse pushing out a foal.

It is harder than last time. I can feel she is bigger than Ostara.

Don’t care. Don’t care. Let’s get Beth here.

I moan and yell and buck and push.

Everything is fire red and pain and body.

Nowhere else but here. Nowhere else but here.

I am fury and anger and a mother’s love.

I am a bear. I am a wolf. I am this whole contraction.

I am nothing but a body, a writhing contorting mother’s body.

I am being split apart.

I am one body becoming two.

I am blood and fur and bone.

I am mindless and snorting. Pain, push, red, fire. Buck, pant, push, groan.

The world bursts open in song.

I feel her slip from me.

I see her slip into my midwife’s hands, then slip out of them.

She is on the padded floor between my legs.

My baby. My baby. My Beth.

She is crying.

I curl down and pick her up.

She is still attached to me, her cord still linking our bodies.

After the mammoth journey of bringing her into the world, through pregnancy and birth, it feels right that I am the one who catches my own baby. I’m the only one who could have done it.

Chris helps me to roll onto my back.

I lean back and hold her to my chest.

That sweetness. That face. That everything.

She is here.

At last, she is here.

She is worth it all.

“What time is it?”

I ask.

“10 minutes past midnight.”

I look at Chris.

“I’m so sorry hon! If I’d given birth ten minutes earlier, you would have been right! You would have guessed BOTH girl’s birthing days!”

The midwife and Kellie laugh.

He laughed and shook his head.

“I can’t believe you’re even thinking about that now. It’s okay honey. It’s totally, completely fine.”

And it was.

And that is the story of how Beth was brought into the world.

With a lot of vomit. A lot of tears. A lot of love, faith, courage, endurance.

I was given so much kindness to make it through.

The biggest job of my life was done.

And I was given the biggest gift of all.

A healthy, sweet baby girl.

One who entered the world, and stunned us with her softness, quiet soul and loving light.

She is everything we needed and more.

The perfect completion of our family.

*

88f47d62a5ae11e3b9b8122fb60c5e56_8

c3ee6472a68111e3b8e31277082b5ce5_8

e36a851ea9b611e3a00112619dceaeda_8

2ff9524cacc911e3be9f129fc51c6e5a_8

*

Can I tell you it was worth it?

All the tragedy. The pain. The illness.

Every single goddamn vomit.

Every shitfucking contraction.

Because every one of them brought me Beth.

Beth, beloved Beth.

*

I find myself looking at her.

Tears well in my eyes.

How close I was to never having number two.

How close I was to terminating the pregnancy.

How hard it was to navigate so much difficulty with hyperemesis gravidarum and hypermobility.

*

Thank you,

I whisper, watching Beth.

Thank you.

Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for telling me I was your mama, Beth. Thank you for making it.

Thank you to my husband, daughter, midwife, acupuncturist, intuitive healer, doctors, emergency room nurses and my tribe of kindreds – you all, my friends and the playgroup mums.

I did it alone.

But I had a whole team to get me through it.

So much kindness and compassion got me through.

*

I can’t imagine a life without her.

Worth it?

A million times yes.

Over and over.

I would do it again just for the wild, magnificent gift of loving her.

Her sweetness, presence, grace, ease.

She has healed my heart over and over.

Ruptured me with joy.

Made my life a sweet sailing ocean.

*

We did it.

*

I will open the comments circle here for once. Can’t imagine not having it open after telling one of the biggest stories of my life.

I will share more soon too, if you like, on what it’s been like adjusting to being a parent of two.

*

Thank you, as always, for sharing this journey with me.

Bringing Beth into the world took more out of me than I ever thought I could give.

And along the way you were there, sharing so much support, love and compassion.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

She is such a gift.

Always love and blessings,

 

The post The Birth Story of Beth appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>
http://leoniedawson.com/beth-birth/feed/ 125
Where I’m at, what I’m doing… http://leoniedawson.com/im-im/ http://leoniedawson.com/im-im/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:45:56 +0000 http://leoniedawson.com/?p=19438 Hi treasures, It’s been a long time since I just wrote one of those long, windy posts, ya know? Sometimes I miss the world of blogging pre-social media days. Blogging was the only way you could write + share. So consequently I’d bottle up with all these ideas and sharings until I could hit the PUBLISH button. And then I’d feel this gorgeous, glorious, flying sense of relief. But now with the ole Instagramme and Facebookerywookery, I can hit the Publish button all the bloody [...]

The post Where I’m at, what I’m doing… appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>

loveletter

Hi treasures,

It’s been a long time since I just wrote one of those long, windy posts, ya know?

Sometimes I miss the world of blogging pre-social media days. Blogging was the only way you could write + share. So consequently I’d bottle up with all these ideas and sharings until I could hit the PUBLISH button. And then I’d feel this gorgeous, glorious, flying sense of relief.

But now with the ole Instagramme and Facebookerywookery, I can hit the Publish button all the bloody time. Consequently I get to share the story in microchapters, ones that are hard to find and keep track of and know that people can find easily.

So yeah, I wanna get back into the habit of this, ya know.

Sitting down, like I’ve always done for the last decade (!!!!) of my life, and letting the letters, words, soul songs pour out through my words.

I’ve always regarded this space as being my wooden writing desk. Opening up a cache of beautiful paper. Writing a letter to my spirit sister. Saying: this is where I am. This is how life is finding me. This is what I’m learning. These are the things that are keeping me awake at night. These are the bulbous, shining moments of inspiration.

And I wonder where I’ve been, ya know. Wonder when I forgot to write these dawdly long letters. And I know a large chunk of it is thanks to those nine-ish months of my life that are missing from the horrors of hyperemesis gravidarum. And also because sometimes I think I forget I don’t have to be “professional”, ya know? That it’s good to just keep writing these love letters. Doesn’t always have to be brilliantly thought out and polished out the assery.

So here’s where I am, right at this very moment.

It’s nearly 10pm.

The rest of the house is slumbering.

I have no idea how long I have until the baby awakes (again).

I am:

  • happy. Blissfully so, content and radiantly glad to be done with illness and back in step with my life again.
  • adoring with wild surprise how easy having a baby is second time around. It’s like night and day different. Easy and kind and joyous and thankfully PND free. What a blessing!
  • overwhelmed at the moment. I have a to do list a mile long. I feel like I am trying to catch up on a lost year. My life has sped up on two fronts: I’ve got TWO beautiful daughters now to devote lots of love and energy to. And my beautiful business made a glorious, exciting change – I hired my first local full time employee. The Divine Donna is a real blessing, and I get SO DAMN EXCITED from having someone to talk to face-to-face all the time about my wild ideas. And everything feels like it has sped up, and I have SO much to learn. And at the same time, I’m reminding myself that I can set the pace. I can slow it down. There’s no rush. It will all happen. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And mamas always have unfinished to-do lists.
  • grieving my grandmother. As much as I know all is well. As much as I know her spirit soars. As much as I know the spiritual truth of death… I have come to realise you can’t self-help your way out of grief. It takes time. Time to feel all the feelings that rise. Time to get over the shock of a change in the physical world. Time. Gentleness.
  • I feel immensely supported. I’ve been doing intensive healing work with Hiro Boga for over five years now. She’s a wonderful, wise woman that I feel privileged to learn from. She’s taught me so much about crafting the container for my life that is most supportive. And she’s held me through the wobbles and worries and mishaps of making that happen. I feel like I’ve graduated from Sovereignty Primary School in a way. My life and business feel so wonderfully supported – I know I can choose what I want, ask for it, and receive it. HOLY FUCKING LIFE CHANGER!
  • Related: I have a cleaner and it is the BEST THING EVERRRRRRR! Holy shit, I had no idea how much this would change my life. I’ve been wanting one for years, and badgering my love. And after Beth was born, housework increased yet again, and I was spending every spare moment of my day rushing just to get the laundry done. And I put my foot down, hired a cleaner, and told him about it afterwards. Tracey comes every week for five hours. It’s pretty much ecstasy.Me and Chris walk around afterwards every single time saying “LOOK HOW CLEAN AND PRETTY THE HOUSE IS! LOOK HOW SHE FOLDED THESE TOWELS! LOOK IN MY CUPBOARD! MY CLOTHES ARE PUT AWAY! LOOK HOW SHE MAKES THE BEDS!”It feels like being cared for by the universe, and mothered, and nurtured. And it means I don’t spend all my free time trying to cope with the mountains of laundry. Gah, I can’t even talk about it without tearing up. If you don’t have a cleaner, you are probably thinking this is the most ridiculous thing ever… I get it, I really do. But I just can’t believe how amazingly spiritually supported I feel from having a wonderful fairy come in to nurture my home every week.

Hmm, what else?

I still have to write Beth’s birth story.

Well, to be clear… I have to FINISH writing it. I’ve already started and put a thousand or two words down on the page.

But to be honest, I’m just glad she’s here and all that hard stuff is done. All that illness and craptastic pregnancy and all that. Plus, I’ve come to the realisation that I just don’t think birth is that fun. It’s kind of a bitch, actually. And even though we had a quick, medication-free birth with a fantastic midwife and acupuncturist doula… I still think birth sucks. HA! It’s kind of liberating and hilarious to say that really. I don’t find it empowering. I’d so fucking rather make art or write a book that push a bony football out my vagina any day. I think birth is a really dumb invention. And then I think maybe I should be more enlightened in order to feel like a wild goddess giving birth. But the truth of it is, I feel exactly like a horse pushing a foal out of me. Like a real bloody animal. And I don’t enjoy it.

HA! How liberating!

But I don’t really think about it now. Don’t think about the pregnancy or birth. I’m a bit enamoured with Beth’s babyishness really. Her chubby legs and her mooncheeks and her CANKLES and even her WRIST CANKLES (WRARMS?) Oh god, the fatty fatness of her is just delicious x a million. Me and Starry coo about her chubby baby bottom when we give her a bath… giggle wildly and squee “WOOK AT WIDDLE BABY BOTTOM!! EEEEEE!”

I’ve honestly never been so damn clucky in my life. Beth’s made me fall HARD for babies. What a cute little pixie she is.

I mean Starry was a fucking ADORABLE baby, but I don’t think I really could just ENJOY it first time around – I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing or who I was as a mother or what kind of mother I needed to be (hint: self care is important) and I was chronically sleep deprived and wading in a pool of anxiety. And lots of crappy craptastic craparamo life stuff was happening at the same time and I was going kaboomy inside me. So I don’t know if I could really relish her cuteness then. And that’s okay. I was doing the best I could. We all were.

But yeah, Beth has me hanging for more babies. And of course, I can’t, ya know. That whole being actually allergic to pregnancy and shiz, all the crazy syndromes I get. I’ve even been hitting Chris up to talk about surrogacy or adoption, such is the compelling hypnosis of Beth’s cankles. But he’s not called to make another family leap. And that’s okay. I’m down with that. He totally accepted my wishes to only have one kid for so long, even though he wanted two. And honestly, we’re just so bloody blessed with our two fairies – one full of starlight and one full of earth.

*

I really should write that birth story soon, hey?

*

Oh, and I found an adorable local graphic designer to work with.

I’ve been working with US contractors for SO many years, and after finding Donna to collaborate with face-to-face and realising all the magic was being created there, I wanted to find someone who could do the same on the design front for me here.

And of course, Donna already knew someone, and she’s perfect, and we’re having so much fun!

We’re doing a full membership site redesign for the Academy, and I have SO many ideas for where it’s going to be heading, and all of it feels so expansive and exciting.

*

In other news, I’ve been collecting big beautiful original painting from Janet Lloyd – a local artist here who just happens to also be from the same hometown as me. Nude mermaids everywhere in my house. It makes me happy! I don’t get into diamonds, handbags, shoes or expensive jewellery… but find me some mermaid art and I WILL GO TO TOWN ON THAT SHIT.

Amen! Hallelujah!

*

A plane just flew overhead. Every single time I hear one, I wonder (illogically, I know) if it’s the missing MH370. There seems to be so many strange, awful, painful things going on in the world right now. And if I think too much about it, it breaks my heart. So I focus on what I can do. Give more. Volunteer more. Donate more. Be kind to everyone I meet. Sponsor another girl. Run over to help strangers in the carpark. Pick up other people’s rubbish. Fill up the animal refuge box with dog and cat food. Give money every which way I can. Tell my children a million times over that I love them. Get creative with my kindnesses.

Whenever my heart breaks for the world, I know the two things that will heal it:

Giving. And staying grateful for all the immense good that is happening.

*

Things I’m digging:

I’ve been doing pilates.

Pilates/yoga/fitness classes has been on my to do list forevaaaa.

And of course, having kids makes it that much harder to actually get out of the house.

Plus hunky love wanted to do it too.

And the possibility of both of us leaving the house weekly to do it?

Nada.

So I ended up calling a pilates teacher.

And I asked her if she could come to our place and do a class for just the two of us.

And she was delighted to!

And it wasn’t that much more expensive than if we’d both gone to class!

So every Monday morning at 8am, you’ll find me and him, and Ostara between us, and Beth on her bouncy chair watching us… huffing and puffing and stretching.

I feel a massive difference. It’s a total changer.

Very, very helpful post-partum and with hypermobility.

*

Also digging:

  • Lots of offline time (kinda imposed by my eyes which broke a little bit from putting the 2015 workbook to bed for the printers!)
  • Woodwork. Bought myself a scroll saw as a present for finishing the 2015 workbook. Feeling like a real #chickwithpowertools now!
  • Apple cider vinegar in soda water. Got meself an ole style SodaStream. It’s like uber healthy soft drink! BAM!
  • Magazines. Especially Dumbo Feather, Renegade Collective + Success.

*

For now… it’s time for me to head to bed.

Nestle in between my girls.

I didn’t think I’d be co-sleeping this time around, but that’s what’s working.

And Starry has been having sleepovers. It’s becoming quite the girlfest.

*

I’m sending out this letter to you, whisking it away into the night.

To be delivered to you, dear friend, out there in the world, looking for a friend’s story.

I wish you great kindnesses and love.

I wish we could meet for tea.

So much love always,

2014leoniegoddesscolour

The post Where I’m at, what I’m doing… appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>
http://leoniedawson.com/im-im/feed/ 0
The Leap Back To Spirit http://leoniedawson.com/leaping-back-spirit/ http://leoniedawson.com/leaping-back-spirit/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 05:04:45 +0000 http://leoniedawson.com/?p=19262 It was the day of my grandmother’s funeral. We decided months ago, at the beginning of her death journey, that we would rather see her alive than go to her funeral. So we made the hike across the countryside with six week old Beth and our dear Starry. Spent some days with Gran, soft and quiet. She was as beautiful as ever, all done up in green flashing eyeshadow and a gash of pink lipstick. Even with an oxygen tube in her nose, she was [...]

The post The Leap Back To Spirit appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>

leaping back into spirit gran

It was the day of my grandmother’s funeral.

We decided months ago, at the beginning of her death journey, that we would rather see her alive than go to her funeral. So we made the hike across the countryside with six week old Beth and our dear Starry.

Spent some days with Gran, soft and quiet. She was as beautiful as ever, all done up in green flashing eyeshadow and a gash of pink lipstick. Even with an oxygen tube in her nose, she was fancier dressed than I. She held Beth, cooed over Ostara. Ostara is usually our shy girl, hanging by the edge (or under) her mama’s skirts. This time, she sensed something else. She dove into Gran’s arms and kissed her. She must remember her days as a toddler when we’d go to visit her to garden and eat and sit on the porch and marvel at Gran’s green thumb that I sadly did not inherit.

“Gran, how do you keep your pot plants alive so well?”

“I don’t know dear. Just water them when they are half dead. And talk to them, of course. They always like that. I talk to them everyday, pet.”

There are photographs of her with the girls, with me. Her with her youngest great-grandchild. At nearly 97, she had many. But at least Beth has that. She was held by her eldest matriarch. At least she can carry that forward into her life with her.

So that was the last time we saw Gran. Not as a photo on her casket. Not as a eulogy. Just her, as she was. Her as she still is.

And the truth is, I couldn’t bear to go to the funeral. I haven’t spoken much of this because it is so deeply personal & is not just my own story, but the family I was born into ruptured some years ago. Ruptured, imploded, became amiss with so many hard edges. The only thing we could do for our own peace, sanctity, sanity, was leave. Find our own place in the world that ruminated with stillness, kindness, ease – those very soul qualities we so carefully create together. And of course, we hoped upon hope that all the souls in my family would find their own peace, place and pace that would bring them home to themselves too. No more divorce, control, crisis, cataclysm. Hoping upon hope that hard edges would soften, that boundaries would be respected, that we could eventually recreate relationships that were respectful and right.

It is still in that process.

And I felt grief and sadness and pain that my gran left the world when the family was still on this path of learning. That is my human side, of course. My soul knows that she chose this, just as we all do. And that her soul knows and understands that all is right. That she knows that love surrounds her now – and always has.

So on the day of her funeral, I carried all these feelings with me. I wasn’t sure how to celebrate her. How to bear witness & ceremony to the path her spirit was taking back into the ethers. How to honour that vital, strong, hot-legged body that had carried her through life, and recognise as its job as vessel had ended. A new beginning was opening for it. Soon, the hottest legs in Proserpine will become part of that rich loam that feeds the sugar cane fields. She will become part eagle, part ladybird, part volcanic mountain. But that is just her body of course. Her spirit is here, there and everywhere. It is home with the light.

How on earth to speak to this? To honour this?

I can only trust that the day will bring forth what is needed.

I trudged my girls up the long stoned path up to the top of our acreage. It’s a sharp slope. To push a pram up it requires a heaving, huffing body at 45 degree angle. And I did, we did, triumphant. And on our soft, sliding journey back down to home, there we passed the mandarin tree. There was one mandarin there, perfectly ripe, radiant, scented.

“Mama!” Ostara shrieks. “MANDARINNNNNNNNNNN! Can we plleeeeeeease eat it RIGHT NOW? And throw the peel on the ground?”

She is filled with the ripe, florid, vibrant essence of four, when everything is a wonder and a wild excitement.

She is the perfect guide, the incandescence of life and beginning.

She will teach me how to say goodbye.

So that is what we do.

We break open that fragrant peel, large dewdrops of it frisking into the air. Pungently citrus. And suddenly I remember all the times on the farm my Gran would disappear, and we’d find her, bucket in tow, cutting gallons of cumquats to make into jam. There is something about her that is so perfectly fruity, juicy, tart. Citrus. Perfect.

And so we eat that mandarin. And I gaze at that turquoise sky.

“This is for you, Gran. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being you. Blessings on your journey.”

And I see her dance across the sky. Joy glitters in the sunlight.

And I know all is well in the world.

And that, my dears, is the story of my grandmother, and her great, luminous leap back into spirit.

2014leoniegoddesscolour

The post The Leap Back To Spirit appeared first on Leonie Dawson - Shining Life + Biz.

]]>
http://leoniedawson.com/leaping-back-spirit/feed/ 0