There’s a thousand ways you could learn how to be grateful.
But I only know one.
I’ll tell you mine.
The story of how gratitude found me.
I was 14.
Leaping, larking, on top of the world.
Driving home with my mum from a gifted & talented art program.
I was overjoyed.
I told her. All my dreams are coming true. I love my life so much. I love this art program so much. And these jeans? These jeans fit me so perfectly.
And the sunset was golden,
and I remember that feeling of true happiness as we rolled into our driveway.
My two sisters ran outside to meet us.
they said, ashenfaced.
The police have just been. They want to see you.
Mum jumped from the car. What’s wrong?
She said. Where is Dad?
They didn’t know.
And we stood uneasily.
Right at the edge of our universe, our world had begun to crack & we
didn’t know why. Or how. Or just what that thunder was.
The police turned up again moments later. “Girls, upstairs,”
my mama said.
The two police lead her downstairs for a few moments.
We sat upstairs, holding hands, creased over with worry.
And then the moment I’ll always remember.
Walking down the stairs.
My mama’s white face.
The words she said. “Girls, I’ve got some sad news. Clinton has been in an accident…”
And in the moment between one sentence and the next, I remember thinking: “Okay, my big brother has been in a car accident. Well that’s not so bad. He’ll be okay. He’ll get better. These things happen.”
But then the next sentence swooped in. “…. and he’s dead.”
It’s been 14 years and 10 days since that day on the stairs.
I still remember each moment.
I still cry as I remember.
The universe split open that day,
and its belly spilled forth.
A tsunami of pain, searing grief and loss washed over my family.
The moment I told my father the news, and he sank to the ground.
The look on my other brother’s face, rigid and grazed.
The nights we crowded into one room, crying, looking at walls
together, not really speaking, but not really wanting to be away from
each other either.
The tsunami took my life.
But then. But then.
In the days and months that followed,
as I walked along the seaside of my soul,
scavenging for the remains of my life,
I began to find them.
The treasures of the tsunami.
The glint of something else: I began to talk to my brother.
Months after he died, I drove his small blue car down the road.
And there, sitting in the passenger seat, there he was.
Smelling like aftershave and cigarettes and sugar, like he always did.
“I miss you,”
“I know. I miss you too.”
And in the moment that followed, I heard what was true:
I’m still here.
Three months after,
we were handed our new choir song to learn.
It was a message from him.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush.
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
And so I learned to see him.
All around me.
There are a hundred million reasons the world gives you to fall in love with it.
Eventually, the world that you thought had cracked?
It had only split open to show you the magic inside it.
Where once you feared darkness, there was only light.
Miracles have happened every year since my brother died.
What I know for sure about death? That it’s all a gift. That we never lose anything.
And that our relationship with the ones we love can keep growing,
changing and blooming even when they are dead.
My brother has taught me many things:
He’s taught me how to love through the walls.
He’s shown me just how much he still loves me.
He tells me:
“You’re still my little sister, Bony.”
And then he digs me in the ribs.
Most of all, my brother has taught me how to be grateful.
When I was 14, I was afraid of death.
I was afraid of losing the ones I loved.
And then it happened.
And the world didn’t end.
In fact, it had just begun.
And it has gotten even more beautiful every day since.
I am grateful he was born.
I am incredibly blessed he was my brother.
And I am over the moon lucky that he died.
Sometimes, the thing we most fear?
Is the thing that we need.
We are always given what is best for us.
Even in the days it feels like a tsunami,
Scavenge the seaside to find the treasures.
They glimmer there, waiting for you.
Waiting to show you the truth about life, the truth about death,
and the majesty that lives between.
Secondly: The new judge on The Voice Australia: Ricky Martin.
And let’s get major shallow for a moment:
I was a teenager when Ricky got uber famooose. I didn’t get smooshy hearted over him then.
Honestly, I was kinda bummed that the lovely, kind-hearted Keith Urban was leaving the show. For me, watching The Voice is like watching a parade of earth angels. I KNOW it’s just a reality show. But it’s not just reality either – it’s divine. I see spirited, creative peeps changing the world with their gifts. I LOVE that.
And I wanted to keep an open heart that Ricky would be able to replace the Keith-Void.
And he totes did. Above + beyond.
Dude oozes grace, childlike joy + deep spirituality. Deep, deep centered soul.
Which led me to making these kind of Instagram claims:
It is sacred + creative + open-hearted all at once.
This particular piece made me go breathless.
And I wanted to share it with you.
So much so that I’m taking a break from cooking cupcakes + crafting (my usual weekend thang) to plop it gently here for you:
For me, one of the greatest failures of human beings is that we always search for a way to define people, to categorize them and give them a label. And within these categories, there are of course, “good” and “bad”. To not categorize people as either positive or negative when we call them “good” or “bad”, I instead try to visualise them as frequencies that are either compatible or incompatible with mine. I have simply decided to grab on to the compatible ones, those that help me and nourish my spirit, and I try not to focus on whatever steals my peace or decelerates the growth of my soul.
Happy Sunday, darlinghearts.
Wisdom to carry with you in your pocket.
P.S. I’m so glad I’m in this world. So glad it’s filled with so many incredible beings!
Want to start a non profit that fixes that thing you care more about than anything in the world? YEP YEP YEP!
Want to make your life + business be totally green powered? Go go gadget!
Want to eat totally organic (because that shit is expensive!), send your kids to the school you believe would help them most, live in the place that most fills your heart, replenish your energy and body with delicious self care? The whole wide world is open to you. That ain’t a bad thing at all.
You can pour your money into the world ANY DAMN WAY YOU LIKE.
How you do anything is how you do everything. Having lots of moolah doesn’t make you anything more but what you are.
(FWIW, I honestly believe that more spirited women on purpose having lots of money will deeply change the world, redistribute wealth and do HUGE things for our communities, families, planet, peoples + animals. We CAN change the world! And of course I don’t believe that money is the solution to everything. I am deeply grateful to every soul who volunteers + works directly to help. I also know the best way I can support them is by supporting their organisations with money.)
So now we’ve talked about why it’s totally, totally okay for you to earn the magic moolah coinage.
So let’s get into the nitty gritty of pricing details.
If You Are Just Starting Out
When I was just starting out running workshops and retreats and coaching and intuitive readings, do you think I was charging premium prices for them?
Heck no. I was doing it a price that I was comfortable with + knew would get people in.
I mostly desired the experience + lessons of doing those things. I knew I was destined to do them, and that they would take me to where I needed to be.
So I did. And they were incredible + sacred + wonderful + a huge huge learning lesson for me.
They got me started on my path.
Was it worth not earning much more than covering my expenses and having a little bit of play money left over?
Fuck yes. Totally yes. I wouldn’t be where I am today unless I started somewhere.
(Hey look! It’s me at my very first art markets! Living the dream! Didn’t sell a thing that day but loved the shit out of being that brave! Loved that having a setback like that didn’t deter me from running after my dreams still!)
If You’re Client-Less
You need to think about upping your marketing game.
End o’ story.
Don’t be thinking about increasing prices until clients are a steady stream.
Instead, work on making sure you know exactly who you are serving and are reaching out to them. Make sure you are getting results and testimonials. Make sure you know what problems you are solving. Make sure you are communicating that as clearly as possible.
If You’re Overbooked
You need to think about upping your prices.
Firstly: congrats on being overbooked. Obviously you’re communicating what you do brilliantly to the people who want to hear about it.
And now you want to think about either increasing your prices, creating more passive income streams (or doing both!)
Work Out What You Want To Earn Per Year
Start by looking at how much you want to earn per year.
And how many thangs you can produce/sell.
Then work out how much you’d need to be selling to get there.
That can be a really good indicator of whether you need to raise your prices, or whether you need to create more passive income, or whether you need more clients in your business.
Work Out What Your Expenses Are
Make sure you’ve got an idea of how much thangs cost for you to produce/create.
For example, even if you are running a three day retreat, it’s NOT just three days of work.
It’s probably a week of preparation, and if you’re anything like me, two weeks of downtime afterwards to recover.
Three weeks is a much bigger and more accurate representation than three days.
There’s an opportunity cost in there as well – what could you have created instead in those three weeks? What has it cost you to choose to do the retreat instead?
When thinking about selling artwork, it’s not just the expense of paint + canvas. It’s also your art education, business education, studio space, computer, internet access etc.
You need to factor in how much things truly cost you to make.
(Running a retreat in ye olden days. Delicious, divine + totally informed my work. Also takes about two weeks to recover from.)
Look At What Other Peeps Are Paying
Decide if you want to charge less + promote that it’s a great deal.
Decide if you want to charge the same (you’re still going to have to market the shit out of it anyway – just similar pricing is not a marketing strategy).
Decide if you want to charge more. And if you do charge more, you need to communicate WHY you are charging more – what’s better about your thing, why it’s so valuable. And you need to back it up with testimonials + results even more.
Most Of All, Have Pricing Resonance
You need a number you resonate with. One that you can stand behind whole-of-heart. One that feels like a good energetic match + exchange for what you provide.
This number will change as you grow your business, your mindset + your understanding of the value you bring.
If It’s Not Working, Try Something New
When I say that, I don’t necessarily mean that your price is wrong.
The first thing I would suggest if it’s not working is up your marketing game. Get a better education about the whole thing. Make sure you are promoting your thing to the right people. Make sure you are constantly uplevelling your copywriting skills. Make sure you are really talking about WHAT problems you are solving. Make sure you know what your peeps’ objections are and that you are answering them. Make sure you are proving that – through results + testimonials. Make sure you have an actual marketing system that happens every single day – not just when you feel like it.
You’re going to get results from doing those things.
By all means – you can do fancy shmancy stuff like A/B split testing your price. Asking people why they aren’t buying. Seeing if there’s a way you can make it easier for them (by proving irresistible value to help their decision making or helping their cashflow by introducing payment plans).
Don’t Get Your Head Stuck Up Your Own Ass
If the whole pricing thing is stopping you from sharing your gift with the world…
please please please, for the love of all that is good and holy, stop that shit right now.
We NEED your work in the world. We NEED you creating + sharing your work. Deeply and dearly.
The only way to success is by creating + sharing. Working out what works, working out what doesn’t, making a million little adjustments along the way.
You don’t have to set your price in stone. It can change and be tested, just like every other piece of your business.
You DO NOT NEED TO GET IT PERFECT right now + forevermore.
The most important thing in the world is to PUT IT OUT THERE. GET IT DONE. SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD.
You’ll immediately start knowing what’s working and what’s not. And you can play until it’s beautiful + seamless + perfect for you and your people.
But you can’t unfold that journey of development and growth and evolution until it’s out of you and in the world.
So please, do not let your head get stuck up your own ass. Pick a price. And just bloody well go with it.
Your work is far too important to only exist in that couple of inches between your ears.
And I leave you with this little song I recorded once upon a time up a tree that I think will get stuck in your head forever:
You can do this love. You can do it. Go forth, create + prosper.
It’s Friday afternoon. Nearly time to wind down + dive deep into a weekend of family, reading, journalling + crafting.
I have to admit: It’s been a big week. I’m feeling a bit knackered. It’s been a big three months. Three months of birthing the new Academy into the world. Of doing the practical + brain + energetic + soul work of opening the container of my business to be bigger + stronger, able to serve + hold more people. Of going through an immense website design + rebrand (hopefully it will be ready next week for launch!) Of beginning + writing + finishing a brand new guide to be released to Academy members soon: “How To Hire, Create + Grow A Shining Six Figure Team.” It feels bloody wonderful to be creating + sharing. But holy dinger, it’s been a deeply immense time, calling on all my reserves of fearlessness, courage, calm, faith, belief, conviction + dedication. I’ve done a minor round of burnout + called on support from every level (in kidminding, healing, body-fixing, business + more). I’ve sweated + grumbled + cried. But I don’t waver. I don’t give up. Because this is the only thing I want to do. This is what I was born to create. There is no choice but this wonderful, huge choice which calls on every part of me. I’m devoted to the cause.
And I thought… you know what would end this week lovingly? Tying up its yays + its hards + sending it off to sea?
There ain’t nothing that changes your mood quicker from bummed-out to beaming than gratitude.
So here’s my things I’ve over the moon, full-heart-o-happiness about.
Thank you berry, berry much for:
loving the shit out of me. Even when I’m crotchety + cantankerous.
my beautiful office.Just one year ago my work space was a broken down sauna of a caravan. I feel continuously blessed for having this gorgeous, open, cool space to work from. I love that I get to look out over the rainforest from here. I love that it has so many beautiful artworks in here.
having my parents-in-law here. Starry just ADORES having extra peeps to play with. So do me + my love. It’s goooood.
The Voice Australia. I swear that show is filled with earth angels. I am so grateful for their service, inspiration + healing power in the world. I’m so grateful for the hours spent grinning widely + squeeing at that show. It’s my favourite thing.
that little sparkling light of a girl and that great big hulk of a hottie that I get to call my family.
finding a little vegetarian cafe that makes ridunkulously delish healthy desserts… including chocolate sapote + sago. #addicted
that sweet moment this morning when we three were playing spinning coins on the table. It was spontaneous and only lasted a wee while, but it filled all our reserves up I reckon.
the fact that I don’t have to think about making dinner any more. I love that my hunko + mother-in-law tag-team on the chef front now. It’s the GREATEST.
reading different kinds of books lately – ones that I don’t ordinarily pick up. It makes my brain sponge feel different.
Summer being over. Holy dinger, that was one HOT summer here in tropical paradise. I felt like a three month long sweaty, sweaty ballsack. And now it’s just all rainy + long skirts + cardigans + cosiness. I am down with all of that.
Intermittent + spontaneous rude analogies + crude words. They make me gigglesnort like nothing else, people.
a job that I will never, ever, ever quit. I love this thing way too much!
Thank you for your endless magic.
Aaaaaaah. That feels SO MUCH BETTER.
Now if you’re called, pull out your own lil listy and jot it down. I guarantee you’ll be grinning two inches wider just from this sacred act of thanking.
My (very hot) husband is studying Psychology. And he likes to psychoanalyse me. I don’t mind, because I find lying on a couch very comfortable, and it lets me get undivided attention from him. WIN WIN! Anyways! Hee!
Here’s the convo we had:
“Hon, how many goals do you have?”
“Well, there’s 100 personal goals for this year, and another 150 personal goals for my life… and then 150 business goals I am working on this year… but those don’t include my monthly income goals… or the weekly goals about what I want to create…”
“Right. Okay. Right. I see.”
I can see in his eyes he didn’t really expect my answer to be in the triple digits.
He’s silent for a while. And then:
“Hon, you do realise the average person has 15 GOALS OR LESS???”
At this point, I laugh hysterically.
“15??? HA! HAHAHAHAHA! But you know, when you think about it, I do get a lot more done than most people. There’s probably a correlation there. I’m very discerning about what I want in my life. And I make it happen.”
He is silent for a while.
I think I’ve awed him into silenced. That, or he’s pondering what to make us for dinner. I never really know. He keeps me in suspense, that man.
But I’ve kept thinking about it.
Kept thinking about the average person’s goals + why I have so many.
And here’s what I’ve come up with:
I’m ding dang passionate about my visions + making them come true.
And I love correlating what works + what doesn’t.
I’m a devotee of my dreams, and thus I’m a goddess of my goals.
And I KNOW that when I write down my goals (aka the map of how to make my dreams come true)… they come true quicker + with more certainty.
So it’s pretty obvious why I’m such a massive ra-ra-cheerleader of the goals!
There’s a certain magic that comes from having goals + writing them down.
If I decide to do anything, I write it down + make it achievable.
It’s the difference between driving from New York to LA with your iPhone maps app in hand… and deciding you want to drive to LA but not even taking a damn map. What’s going to get you there quicker and with less frustration?
The story gets even more severe when you don’t even decide that you want to go to LA. You don’t decide where you want to go at all. So you just get in your car and drive around aimlessly, not really sure what you’re looking for – and not really finding it either.
Goals are the destination and they are the map to get you there.
I reckon ya gotta have them – and what’s more ya gotta make your goals achievable.
How do you make goals achievable?
Instead of wishy washy goals of “I want to spend time with my love”, I write down “I want to have 20 date nights with my husband this year.” And when it comes to releasing new programs, I don’t say “I want a successful launch”, I say “I want to find the 300 people who are needing this.”
Wishy washy goals are ones you can’t ever tick off as being DONE. There’s a lack of certainty about whether you’ve arrived or not.
Achievable goals are tick-off-able and doable. That’s what ya need.
Goals keeps my actions in line with my intentions.
Once I know numbers, I can work out HOW to make those numbers happen.
And guess what? Sure as shit, they do come true. When you get so super clear on what you want to create + make those goals a part of your daily practice… of course it’s going to happen!
The point of all THIS is…
Have you written down your goals for this year, this month, this week? Have you finished your 2013 Create Your Incredible Year workbooks? Have you got a list of your dreams? Is the path from where you are right now to where you want to be written down, mapped out + on its way?
If you haven’t…
Take out a piece of paper NOW.
Put it somewhere you can see it.
And brainstorm HOW to make it happen. And DO IT.
Put your actions where your intention are…
and see your dreams manifest into reality.
That’s what it takes.
To create everything you want.
Let’s do this, possum. We can make anything happen!