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How to start a freedom-fuelled business: 2. Understanding your great, big, guiding why. (Using your heart and intuition.)

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Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it. | Ellen Goodman

 

Most of us can only evaluate what we want, by discerning what we don’t want. Firstly, all I have ever known, is that I don’t want normal. Not that kind of normal, anyway. Secondly, I don’t like being told what to do. My inner rebel acts up the moment someone tries act as my authority. And I can’t handle it. And finally, I want extraordinary, not average. Average simply does not cut it. Not in this lifetime.

 

Those three very basic starting points lead into my why. Why I want a freedom-fuelled business and life.

 

There are a lot of things that I don’t want.

 

I don’t want to have to get up early and sit in someone else’s office, being told what to do. I don’t want to commute. I don’t want to listen to boring people in boring meetings talk about things that are fake and superficial and have no positive impact in the world. I don’t want to spend time around people who act like they have no soul. I don’t want to have to beg and ask for holidays, to get away. I don’t believe in the 40 hour work week, and hence, I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t think women are meant to work in such structured, regimented environments. I don’t want to have to beg for a raise and convince people I don’t respect, that I am worthy of an extra dollar per hour. F*ck off! I don’t want to have to live in one house for the rest of my life, spending 25+ years paying it off, doing soul-less work that I don’t care about. I don’t want to experience a limited life, because that’s what is expected of me. I don’t want to shrink myself to fit into “the box”. I don’t want to have to adhere to rules that make no sense to me. I don’t want to waste my time doing mindless things and shuffling paperwork because the system works that way. I don’t want to live my life and feel that it was wasted at the end. I don’t want to come to the end of my life and wish I had done more. I don’t want to play it safe. 

 

Knowing what you don’t want, helps you know what you do want.

 

I want to live a creative life, that has a meaningful and positive impact on those around me. I want to help people and make things. I want to create my own reality. I want to break all the rules. I want to live the width and breadth of life. I want to touch the edges of my existence. I want to be able to follow my intuition and natural cycles as a woman and create and give from a space of authenticity, truth and courage. I want to understand my own, unique worth and learn how to charge money for the value that I give to the world. I want to travel when and where I want. I want to know the limitless of life and abundance. I want to do good work for and with great people who stretch and grow me. I want to live at the leading edge of our existence. I want to know that I can create anything I want. I want to surround myself with like-minded people who get my vibe. I want to make a difference. I want to colour outside the edges. I want to know that I have lived fully and well, in every area of my life.

 

And if I had to choose one word to illustrate all those words, my why, it would all come down to freedom.

 

The reason why, we need to know our great big why, is because it becomes our driving force, as we move forth with this dream. And there will be challenges, and there will be times that we cry and throw our hands up in the air and say to the sky “I give up!”. And then we remember our why, and we keep going. Our why, is what helps us stay focused, it connects us to our hearts, and is the undercurrent of our singular, unique purpose: to be the full expression of our why.

 

You need to know your why, before you start a project this life-changing, immense, beautiful, tough and crazy. Without your why, you are lifeboat, stranded in the sea, with nothing to connect to.

 

My business mentor Marie Forleo, and creator of the online business course that I take every year, to keep my business turned on and tuned in, is a huge advocate for getting clear on your big, bright, lead-the-way why, for creating a freedom-fuelled business. She was the one who taught me how to do this, and right now, Marie has created an incredible *free* business training, that will help you take the first steps into creating your own freedom-fuelled online business. I did her free training years ago, when I just had a dream and a blog, and it catapulted me forwards, to where I am now. You can watch it here.

 

I’m a proud graduate of BSchool, and a partner. Which is why I’ve created the most wonderful, unbeatable and exciting bonus when you enrol for BSchool through me. It’s still hush – hush, but all will be revealed on February 18th when enrolments open. (Think: a free support group filled with free-spirited women, just like you; free mentoring; and priceless 1:1 time with me, and access to my popular course Manifest More, for free). All at no extra cost to you!)

 

 

Image created by the amazing Marija from Posy Willow

How to start a freedom-fuelled business: 1. Identifying your skills, and deciding what kind of business to start.

How to start a freedom-fuelled business: 1. Identifying your skills, and deciding what kind of business to start.

 

Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself. | George Bernard

 

I was 27 when I read this simple quote, and it transformed everything for me. It was the trigger for my entrepreneurial escapades. And the beginning of learning to create my life, on my terms, with big dreams.

 

Let’s rewind a few years, first.

 

At 23 I stumbled out of my Psychology degree, knowing for sure that I don’t want to be a psychologist anymore, and fell into working in artist management for international music festivals. Which is just a fancy word for welcoming DJ’s and musicians to the festival, making sure they knew what was up, and getting them back stage an hour before their set, which was sometimes a near-impossible feat, if they’d already indulged in a few to many chemical cocktails.

 

At 25 I was based out of a small apartment in Barcelona, traveling all over Europe to work for festivals throughout the year. By then, I was becoming disillusioned with the festival scene. It had been so much fun, and I met so many amazing people, but after two years, I was starting to burn out. My best friend Tomoe and I were walking from La Rambla to Barrio Gotico, the Gothic Quarter in the old city of Barcelona, where we lived, when I voiced my dream to her. “I wish I could just create my own job.”

 

At 26 things started to change. I moved to London, to figure out what it was that I wanted to do with my one wild and precious life. I knew that as much as I loved music, travel and festivals, the lifestyle wasn’t sustainable for me. I got a job as an even coordinator for a dance company in Shoreditch, moved into the cutest apartment in Hackney, and started soul-searching. I can still see that bright bedroom, overlooking Lidl, where so much evolved for me. It was here that I mastered manifesting, used journaling to gain clarity, and started to understand the relationship between my inner world and my physical life experience. I already had a strong spiritual connection, that I had nurtured over the past 3 years, but my challenge was that my inner world and outer world felt so separate.

 

At that time, I was still under the illusion that to be spiritual, graceful, kind, free compassionate and enlightened; I also had to be poor, unambitious, tethered to social constructs, and allowing others to do and say what they wanted, without boundaries. I had been going with the flow for so long, and it had worked so well for me, that stopping and creating a direction for myself felt impossible, overwhelming and scary. I had completely lost the ability to take directive action. I didn’t even know how to begin.

 

This was the start of a whole new life education for me.

 

The year that I turned 27, I went to India to ask myself all the important questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What do I want? How do I uncover my true passion? And travelled alone for 4 months. I did Vipassana, a silent meditation course in Kerala, played in the waves and danced at the parties in Goa, prayed in an Ashram in Rishikesh, smoked weed with ex-military Israeli’s in the Himalayan mountains and threw myself into the epic journey of finding myself.

 

Until I read that quote: Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.

 

Amongst other books including Ask and It Is Given, I delved deeply into The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose, which helped me chisel down some basic ideals toward the life that I wanted to create.

 

I returned to London, and spent the summer working at more festivals and eco-fashion events followed by the International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

 

By this time I knew that working for myself was the only solution. For me to have the creative freedom, the lifestyle, and the positive impact on the world that I wanted, I had to approach the world with a business that was entirely mine, with my own unique perspective and way of doing life. And I realised that I had to create these opportunities for myself. I had to literally, create the life that I wanted.

 

But what business should I start? What am I really good at? How can I add value to the world?

 

Those questions haunted me for many months. As did:

 

Can I do this? Am I good enough? What if I fail? How do I even start? I don’t know anything about business!

 

At 28 my boyfriend-at-the-time and I moved to Australia. I knew I wanted to start a business that had a positive impact, and fulfilled my constant need to be creative. I also knew that I needed new projects all the time, to stay motivated and excited about what I was doing. But I still had absolutely no idea what to do.

 

In hindsight, I realise that I was afraid to truly step up, unveil my truth and shine my light. I was scared. And I was hiding. And I didn’t know how to stop being scared and hiding.

 

I just needed to start doing something. So, based on my love for fashion, I started an eco-fashion business, and spend 4 months in India connecting with fair-trade and organic manufacturers, to create a new line. The name of that business was Etica&Ella. Within a year the whole concept failed miserably, and I lost the $30,000 that I invested into every part of it.

 

What I did was that I forced something into being and created something that was not in alignment with my truth. Even though fashion was and is something I really love, it is not my true gift to the world. I think I secretly knew it then. But I had stop start somewhere. It was an expensive lesson in what I needed to learn, and what I need not to do.

 

At 29 I got a job as a business manager, working for an expert marketing author and speaker. I manifested that job with the intention to do work that would help me create the business that I knew I wanted. In truth, it taught me very little about marketing, but it did teach me the ins and outs of managing a business. And it also gave me the excess free time, to start a blog. (I also left my-then-boyfriend and moved into a studio apartment in Paddington, Sydney all by myself. It was epic and I loved it.)

 

Blogging came easily. For years my friends, who would receive monthly group emails updates from me, sent from every corner of the world, encouraged me to write. But for a long time I was stubbornly against getting too involved online. I was afraid it would suck me up and stop me from living life ‘in the real world’. Eventually, I also recognised that the digital world is the most magical, incredible way to communicate your message to the world, without censorship. Not only could I communicate, but I could build ‘real world’ relationships with ‘real people’. A whole new door opened up for me.

 

Honestly, looking back, the first 6 months of writing were mostly rubbish. I was searching and experimenting with my authentic voice, with my message with what and how I could say things. I was inspired and influenced by writers I adored and kept changing styles until I finally fell into my groove. As I observed the topics I most enjoyed writing about, I noticed that my deepest interest and passions related back to my years studying Psychology. All I wrote and thought about was positive psychology, human behaviour, the way our thoughts create our worlds and how we can become more self-aware and lead happier, kinder, more peaceful lives.

 

The questions: But what business should I start? What am I really good at? How can I add value to the world? Started to have an answer.

 

These ones: Can I do this? Am I good enough? What if I fail? How do I even start? I don’t know anything about business! Still needed a solution.

 

The year that I turned 30, I took the plunge, and enrolled in a business course. Back then it was called: Rich, Happy + Hot BSchool. Now it’s famously known as Marie Forleo’s BSchool. This course changed everything for me.

 

 

Photography by Luke Marshall Images

 

How to start a freedom-fuelled business: Introduction

How to start a freedom-fuelled business: Introduction

 

One of the questions that I am asked most often is “How did you start your freedom-fuelled business?”

 

Over the next 4 weeks, I am going to answer that question with an 8-part series in response to those burning questions. I will share with you as much detail and valuable information as I can, that I have learned through doing it myself.

 

If starting your own freedom-fuelled business and lifestyle is something you have been longing for, this is for you. Now is your time to listen, learn and take action.

 

In addition I’d like to jubilantly invite you to join me for a *free* live Q&A on Google Hangout, held on Saturday 27 February at 11am Sydney time. Place the date and time in your calendar now, so you don’t forget.

 

It’ll be like a free, super-fun mentoring session around how to start your own freedom-fuelled business and life, with a whole bunch of other folk, just like you and me.

 

For those of us in various time zones (like me — I’m in New Zealand at present) that makes it:

  • Friday night 26th/Saturday morning 27th February at 12am in London.
  • Saturday 27th February at 1pm in Auckland.
  • Friday 26th February at 4pm in Los Angeles.
  • Friday 26th February at 7pm in New York.

 

All you need is a google account (they are free — if you use Gmail, you already have one), and to show up with your questions that I will answer live. Plus pen and paper, an open heart and mind, and big dreams!

 

If this topic isn’t of interest for you at all, please tune out for the next few weeks. My content and posting schedule will return to normal in the first week of March.

 

Over the next month I am going to cover 8 very specific areas on how to start a freedom-fuelled business:

 

  1. Identifying your skills, and deciding what kind of business to start.
  2. Understanding your great, big, guiding why. (By using your heart and intuition to make decisions.)
  3. Overcoming fear, self-sabotage, and putting yourself out there.
  4. Creating a platform, building an audience and using social media.
  5. Finding balance and boundaries, to live out your freedom-fuelled life.
  6. Changing your mindset around self-worth, value and money.
  7. Honing and defining your niche and your message.
  8. Nurturing relationships and connecting with influencers to elevate your brand.

 

If you have questions that you just can’t hold in until the Q&A on Google Hangouts, post them in the comments below or on Facebook. I’ll be more than happy to answer them for you.

 

Enjoy! xo

 

10 Lessons on receiving, for when you’ve been sitting in over-drive and blocking the gifts from the world.

12 Lessons on giving and receiving, for when you've been sitting in over-drive.

 

On Saturday, as on most Saturday’s, I went to the farmers market. There were so many people everywhere, more than usual, and as I pushed and shoved my way through the crowds to get to my favourite fruit stands, and vegetable growers, I suddenly caught myself. I was forcing my way forward, totally out of the present moment, only focused on getting what I needed, in a really masculine fashion.

 

I felt disconnected from myself, and the present, in that moment.

 

So I stopped. Took a deep breath. Softened my body. And my gaze. And then let the crowd guide and take me to where I needed to go. I surrendered. I came back to being in my body and trusted that I would receive exactly what I need. I came back into my feminine.

 

Receiving has been one of my biggest lessons over that past few months. Something that I thought I had honed to a certain degree of skill, asked me to peel back the layers, and go a little bit deeper. Learning to surrender and simply receive. Not just some of the time, or most of the time. But all the time.

 

It’s not easy, when the world tells you that if you want something, you have to go out and make it happen. Learning to lean into receiving teaches us that when we know that what is meant will come to us, we don’t actually actively have to do anything, except for love wholeheartedly, and be open and allow ourselves to be inspired.

 

We teach what we most need to learn, and in this case, that is true. These 10 lessons are for me, just as much as they are for you.

 

1. Receiving is a form of surrender. It is also what fully being in our feminine power looks like. If you want to fully embody the wild empowered ways of being in your feminine, learn to receive.

 

2. Asking for help, and then gracefully receiving that help is an art-form. One that we must all master.

 

3. Sincere gratitude is the first step to receiving. When someone compliments you, stop for a moment and allow that to absorb into your body, and then say thank you. Often, we negate any positive words in our direction by waving them away with a negative comment.

 

4. Practice self-care. When we know how to receive great nurture, love and care from ourselves, it’s much easier to receive it from someone else. So start putting yourself first. If your life was ideal, how would you live and treat yourself? Would your days start with a workout and a green smoothie? Would you be writing morning pages. Start giving yourself what you desire. Filling your own heart with goodness, is necessary to being able to receive the gifts form the world.

 

5. Slow down. When we are busy pushing, forcing and striving at a break-neck speed, there is absolutely no room for seeing and receiving the gifts before you. Practice stillness, come back into your body, and open up your heart.

 

6. Practice opening up your heart. Yoga and meditation are both really useful in this area. I remember going through a particularly challenging time in a relationship once, and going to yoga class to do deep heart-opening poses like camel. They brought me to tears at the time, but helped me receive the support I was given from the Universe when I needed it most.

 

7. We either close our hearts, or we open them. In every moment we have a choice. Closed feels; contacted, limited, lacking, distant, disconnected, fearful. Open feels: soft, loved, supported, abundant, connected. Receiving requires us to be open.

 

8. Receiving is not selfish. Receiving is a gift to the giver. When we don’t allow ourselves to fully receive, we steal the joy from the giver. Have you ever tried to give something to someone, and they have refused that gift? It hurts.

 

9. Knowing when to take inspired action, and when to be still and receive, is also an art form. The key is in the word “inspired”. When you feel inspired, taking action happens with ease, grace and flow. You know that what you are doing is inspired, because the action occurs easily, without force or pressure. It;s when you feel like you need to push and force things forward that, you need to step back into receiving. Practicing this on a moment to moment basis is exactly that: a practice. The more your do it, the easier it gets and the better you become at knowing when to take action, and when to stop and receive.

 

10. Receiving is also simply practicing gratitude. We cannot appreciate what we cannot be open to receiving so, if you want to become a good receiver and step into your feminine, appreciate everything. The more you appreciate, the more you receive.

 

 

Image from FreePeople.com

Manifesting Dreams: Rad Livin’ with Olivia from Don’t Tell Summer

Manifesting Dreams: Rad Livin' with Olivia from Don't Tell Summer

 

I met Olivia a couple of years ago through our mutual friend Mel and we ended up spending an entire day gallivanting around Bondi, Sydney, skipping through the Farmer’s Market, eating lunch at Le Paris Cafe, and chatting up a storm.

 

Late last year Liv sent me a short note on Facebook. “UMMM the email to the universe WORKS!!! Within 24 hours!!!”

 

What exciting magic unfolded from that point onwards, you can see in our video interview below.

 

 

Olivia has very kindly and generously offered all of my readers (aka. YOU) 15% off your ticket when you join her and 100’s of other rad folk at Rad Livin’ this year, by using the discount code: GYPSET.

 

Click here, to get yours now.

 

 

WHAT’S #RADLIVIN?
#RadLivin is a unique event made to inspire you to do what you love now.

Speakers, live music and like-minded people coming together to get inspired, share their dreams and celebrate livin’ life to the fullest. Picture it as a fun, inspiring conference, mixed with a laid-back festival.

The purpose of #RadLivin is to inspire you to do what you would love to do now, rather than waiting for some point in the future. It’s a declaration to live an authentic, rad life. Whether that’s saying yes to going on an adventure that day, or to a dream that’s been sitting in your heart, it’s here as a reminder to do what you love, what completely excites you. It’s about bringing people together to follow their dreams, while encouraging the person next to them to do the same; building not only a community of like-minded people, but a community of advocates for doing what you love.

 

 

ABOUT THE DAY
We’re bringing you down-to-earth, successful speakers who are doing what they love and passionate about inspiring you to do the same. You will hear stripped-back stories about how they went for their dreams and gain applicable knowledge on how you can do what you love too. Speakers include founders of Pedestrian TV, OneWave, One Night Stand, Axel & Ash, Tidal Magazine, Cait Miers and Connie Chapman.

After the speakers, there will be live music by Ziggy Alberts and Sons of the East, cold beverages, tasty food and space for you to collaborate, meet like-minded people, share your ideas and have an epic time.

 

SPONSORS
Because #RadLivin is all about inspiring you to do what would excite you and connecting you with the right people, we’ve partnered up with brands who are aligned with our purpose including ING Dreamstarter, Contiki and Airbnb. Our hope is to provide attendees with as much inspiration, knowledge and connections that will help them go for their dreams now.

 

WHEN: 20 Feb 2016, Sydney
WHERE: Central Park – Project Space Level 3, 28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008
INFO: RadLivin.com
CONTACT: For more information, please contact Olivia at info@donttellsummer.com

 

Remember: your 15% off discount code is: GYPSET. Get your ticket here.

 

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Want to learn how to manifest your own dreams and take inspired hustle? Start with the 7 Day Free Manifesting Course today.

 

Free 7 Day Manifesting Course

 

 

Stop trying to fix people, + have boundaries, now. (So you don’t make the same humiliating mistakes I did.)

Stop trying to fix people, + have boundaries, now. (So you don't make the same humiliating mistakes I did.)

 

A few years ago, I got into a fiasco of a relationship. It was an especially ludicrous and humiliating failure.

 

I’ve always been up for an adventure, including adventures of the heart, and this particular one taught me two of my most valuable lessons:

 

  1. How to have boundaries (and why).
  2. That I can never, ever, ever fix someone else. (And that I am my only responsibility.)

 

I met him in a bar in Sydney one night, when I was out for a friend’s birthday, had imbibed a rather strong espresso martini, and felt invincible. And there was this mysteriously handsome stranger, sitting at the bar, not taking his eyes off me for a moment. So  from across the room, amongst my friends, I danced for him, feeling the beam of his eyes on my skin.

 

Within weeks we were inseparable, intertwined with a deep soul connection, unlike anything I had ever felt before. Things were moving way too fast, and we were sliding down a slippery slope, with glittery, psychedelic lust-tinted glasses on.

 

Sometimes what we call love is just a settling of old scores, or a seeking of forbidden pain, or a circuitous path to the kingdom of cruelty, or she may simply have confused lack of capital with heroism while searching for rescue without knowing from what. | Anon

 

3 Months later we were on a flight to Portugal, for a week-long underground music festival. I had lent him the money for the flight, and the plan was for him to get work somewhere, anywhere, after the festival, to pay it back.

 

He was a wildly creative, eccentric, tattoo artist, amongst many other suspect traits. I adored the craziness, and the weirdness. Our relationship felt like a novel about a pair of star-crossed rock-star lovers. It was exciting and thrilling. At first.

 

A few weeks later we ended up in Amsterdam, staying in the spare room of some cocaine-pedlar’s den, while he tattooed the feet, arms and legs of the dealer and his comrades.

 

It was here, that I noticed that my boundaries were being severely pushed. He was constantly borrowing money off me, and never had any of his own. He was comfortable staying in environments, and with people who I had little respect for and little in common with. And his drug use was moving from an occasional social exploit, to a full-blown addiction, complete with severe mood swings, irritability and lies. In a just a few short weeks.

 

I came to realise that perhaps, these things and been there all along, and I had just not seen them. Instead, I dove in, head first, blind to anything but my imaginary projections of a potential love story. I am a sucker for love stories.

 

Recognising what my boundaries were, was my first lesson. I had, for so long, practiced complete and utter acceptance of other people and their choices, that I never stopped to consider whether those people and their choices were what I wanted, and what was good for me.

 

Looking back to that time, 3 years later, I realise that I had been conditioned to question and overrule my own boundaries, since I had been a really little girl. And finally, the Universe was giving me a chance to bring awareness to this shadow and change.

 

Boundaries are not walls — they are living containers within which your desires can breathe, gestate and grow until they are ready to be born. | Hiro Boga

 

My next lesson was to understand why I had these boundaries. My boundaries had to be grounded into something that I believed in, something that held my precious truth, in order to have power. In these circumstances my boundaries related to the fact that I promised myself, a long time ago, to have an extraordinarily beautiful life. That I would always follow my intuition and do what makes me happy. My boundaries were being broken, and I wasn’t upholding my promise to myself.

 

The final part of this lesson is about taking action. I couldn’t change the person who was negating what was important to me. I could only ever change myself. So one afternoon, after another fight about money, drugs and the circumstances that he chose to keep us in, I packed my bag and slid out the door, while he was in the living room sniffing another line of coke.

 

With my phone turned on silent, as call after frantic call from him went unanswered, I fled to the international bus station, and booked a seat on the next bus leaving the country. Prague.

 

While tears flooded my face, and people stared, I felt the greatest sense of sweet relief. I was leaving. I said no. No more. I upheld my boundaries. I had learned to finally go.

 

I still sometimes cringe with humiliation for the choices I made at that time, which ended up in me being deeply involved with someone who was so wildly departed from my own set of beliefs and boundaries, that it was painful. And yet I recognise that, however challenging that time was, it turned out to be one of the most beautiful lessons of my life. It was then, that I was set truly free.

 

It was a lesson in boundaries. And so much more.

 

 

Image source unknown. Originally found on Tumblr.

 

5 Covert practices to protect your energy, for sensitive people.

5 Covert practices to protect your energy, for sensitive people.

 

This morning I wake up, wriggle around in bed for a while, thinking. I remember to meditate, and enjoy the bliss and stillness. Until I get distracted by a thought more powerful, right now. I reach for my phone, and go to check my Instagram feed.

 

I am joyfully overwhelmed by the response to my post last night. As I move onto Facebook, I find the same. Comment after comment, in agreement with my musings on how awkward I can feel in social situations, because of the way I feel people.

 

I know that, by the laws of attraction, you always attract your kind. One of my favourite phrases is “your vibe attracts your tribe“. And it does. In this instance, I saw just how true that statement is.

 

There is this thing that happens, when we awaken, and start to connect to that Other part of ourselves… The limitless, the ethereal, the wisdom, the infinite source of love and all things. We start to communicate soul to soul, and connect with people, and the world in a different way.

 

We can feel when food hasn’t been prepared with love. We can tell if there’s something wrong, even if we don’t know what it is. We just know and can sense the unseen layers of our of Universe shifting and moving around and within us. Now. And now. And now. In every moment.

 

This kind of awareness requires a very unique and specific kind of sensitivity. It’s a rawness. It’s truth. It’s openness.

 

All that sensitivity, rawness, openness and truth. It sometimes requires a little protection, when we are out and about in the world, feeling everything. So I wanted share the 5 covert practices that I use, to protect my energy, especially when I am feeling sensitive.

 

 

1 Centre yourself.

I remember New Years Eve quite a number of years ago — my boyfriend at the time and I were in Tenerife, Canary Islands, at the time — and he was getting really worked up at the cab driver for getting lost. I could feel his energy whirling around in all directions and him losing his inner equilibrium. “Stop for a moment Kyle! Pull your energy back in, and centre yourself“. It worked. Moments later he was calm and easy to communicate with again.

 

You centre yourself firstly by paying attention to where your energy is. Are you pushing it out of your body, or is it gently resting within you? If it’s pushing out, pull it back in, and centre it. As soon as you do this, nothing can bother, offend or harm you.

 

 

2 Practice stillness.

Last night I was at a dinner party, where the men were playing a game that I call ‘my dick is bigger than yours‘. Clearly, that’s not to be taken literally. It’s when people try to outdo each other through speaking loudly, and sharing examples of how they have done and achieved all these great things. It’s pure ego identification, and depending on my mood, I can find it quite humorous and entertaining.

 

It is in those situations that I practice stillness. Not wanting to give their game any energy, negative or positive, I practice a form of meditation in which I allow my mind and body to become completely still and just observe. Doing this means that no part of me is affected by the ongoing retribution, nor does any part of me feel inclined to jump in and play along.

 

 

3 Create a bubble around yourself.

I use this one particularly when I find myself feeling little uncomfortable around someone, in new environments or in big, buzzing cities, where there are many, many, many people. I simply imagine a big, translucent bubble of energy around me, that moves in and around people and objects as I make my way through life. It gently creates a sense of security, and I know I am safe, and that any negative energies from the outside world, can’t touch me.

 

My beautiful friend and musician Marina, does something similar. She imagines zipping up a body suit of energy, from her toes, over her head and down her back, before she steps out into the busy streets of London. I love this. I’m sure it must be safe and cozy in there.

 

4 Listen to what your body tells you.

Having this kind of sensitivity and awareness is actually really special, because it means that you can sense what is going on, before it physically or visually happens. Sometimes that means literally removing yourself from circumstances that don’t feel good. Listen to your body, it might be telling you that this space is not for you right now.

 

I have countless stories of times where thing just didn’t feel right, and I left, only to discover the next day that something strange or dangerous had happened. There have been so many near misses, that I have come to deeply appreciate this part of me, that warns me when something in my environment is off. Learning to distinguish between fear, and that intuitive knowing is easy: one is a voice (fear) and the other is a feeling (intuition / soul).

 

5 Learn to say no, thank you, more.

I am getting better and better at this all the time. I say no, to things that don’t light me up all the time now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes feel the pangs of guilt, or the fear of missing out. I just know, that I am happier doing things that make me truly happy, rather than things that are expected of me by others of social norms. It’s the best way to protect your energy from things that aren’t necessarily for you. And thereby making space for things that are.

 

Saying no, is honouring who you are and your energy. It’s like saying “I respect who I am, I understand my needs and boundaries, I have a sensitive soul and I love that about me“.

 

 

Image from Posy Willow.

That time I crossed the border from Belize into Honduras with my soul-sister Lilly, with less the $1 USD, and ended up on a bus with 40 men who were being deported from a Mexican jail.

That time I crossed the border from Belize into Honduras with my soul-sister Lilly, with less the $1 USD, and ended up on a bus with 40 men who were being deported from a Mexican jail.

 

Have I ever told you the story about the time I crossed the border from Belize into Honduras with my soul-sister Lilly, with less the $1 USD, and ended up on a bus with 40 men who were being deported from a Mexican jail?

 

It was 2013.

 

A few months earlier I had flown to Mexico, on a whim, to celebrate “the end of the world” after I ended a shit-storm of a relationship and left him behind in Amsterdam. I met Lilly at a festival I worked at years ago, and we spent Christmas in the magic of San Cristobal, partied until sunrise on New Years on the beaches of Tulum, and then started making out way south down Central America to Costa Rica, where we were working at a festival called Envision.

 

We were in Belize and had planned to skip Honduras almost in it’s entirety, because Nicaragua just sounded that much sweeter. On the day of the border crossing, several of my friends warned me:

 

San Pedro Sula is the most dangerous city in the world. Don’t go there. And if you must go there, make sure you’re there at daylight.

 

We had to go there. Our bus taking us right across the country was leaving from there.

So we leave Belize early in the morning cross over 3 countries on 5 different buses: from Belize to Guatemala to Honduras. We had to get off and walk across each border on foot, pay for our visas, and then get on a new bus, each time.

 

I remember waiting in the line of our final crossing, when a local Honduran lady in front of us points out a bus driving past.

 

That bus is filled with illegal immigrants from Mexican jails, who are being deported back to Honduras. 

 

We nod. Hmmm. Life is not so easy for everyone.

 

We get to the other side of the border, to where our bus was supposed to be. The only bus around however, is the bus full of immigrants. 
Lilly and I look around. Someone walks up to us.

 

Where are you going? 
San Pedro Sula.
Get on the bus.
That bus?
Yes. Get on the bus.

 

So we get on the bus. 
Lilly, me and 40 testosterone-brimming men who have just been deported back home after being caught doing illegal work in Mexico.

 

I’m scared. Lilly is silent. We feel vulnerable, small, and worried that we might be in big trouble.

 

I strike up a conversation. Somewhere, in the back of my head I think that, if they see us as humans, with real feelings, and families, and things we care about, they’re less likely to want to hurt us.

 

A short, stocky boy, who looks around 20 years old, is leaning into the aisle next to me. Alejandro. He says he comes from a small village near the sea and went to Mexico to make a better life for himself. He lived on the streets, trying to find work for several months until the police caught him one day and put him in jail for 22 days until being deported.

 

Immediately I begin to feel better. At least one person here is our friend.

 

An hour into our trip, thick, dark smoke begins to billow out of the engine of the bus. It slows down into a stop. And so we all get out and wait. And wait. And wait.

 

The afternoon sun is changing. And the potential that we will arrive in San Pedro Sula after nightfall, if at all is becoming real.

 

A bus comes as the day is turning into night and we all pile in, Lilly, and me and 40 jail birds. We drive for 30 minutes. Then suddenly the bus is coming to a halt and Alejandro is jelling at me.

 

Get out! Quick! We are taking another bus to the city.

 

I don’t know why we trust him. But we do. It’s scramble to get our bags, and cram way too many of us into a minibus. There are not enough seats. Everyone is sitting on top of one another. I end up up being pushed onto the gearbox next to the driver.

 

$3
What?
$3 for the bus.
I haven’t any change left. I have to go to an ATM.
Very dangerous.
I’ve heard.

 

Alejandro offers to lend us the money, until we get into the city. Another hour has passed. It is getting late.

 

What hotel are you staying in?
We don’t know yet.
You can come stay at my house with my family.
No thank you.
You are welcome.
No. Thank you.

 

Again, Alejandro steps in.

 

I’ll take you to an ATM and a hotel. But remember. It’s very, very dangerous at night. We have to hurry.

 

The mini-bus stops, and we are instructed to get out. I can see Alejandro steel himself. Lilly and I are a liability in the most dangerous city in the world, and taking us to an ATM and a hotel isn’t going to be easy. We pick up our stuff, and start off at a fast march through the unknown streets of San Pedro Sula.

 

I am too scared to look around and keep my eyes on the pavement, clutching my things to me. We get escorted to an ATM and quickly make a transaction while Alejandro stands outside like a bodyguard, growling at anyone who comes too close.

 

There’s junkies and street kids everywhere but we can also see a park light up nearby with a couple of policemen with big machine guns patrolling it. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.
Alejandro scurries us through a few more blocks to a very basic hotel. It is locked and when we knock, and women with a set of keys opens the doors, and locks them again behind us. We take a room with 3 beds, and are relieved to place our bags down and have a place to sleep without any incident.

 

Back out into the streets, we make a quick dinner of bbq beef strips and rice from a stand, before going to sleep.

 

The next morning we get up before sunrise to catch our next bus, onwards and upwards to Nicaragua. Alejandro waves us goodbye with his $20USD, that we gave him to say thank you for being our guiding light on a day that could have ended very differently.

 

 

Image by Charmed Quark.