The Moon

Not only do I love living this life that I personally get to experience, but I treasure the fact that, as a human being, I get to share the same sorts of experiences with others. We all have so much in common in this world. With every rotation of our shared planet all of us are blessed with an array of sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings. At some point life serves us all with delicious, mouth-watering food, refreshing drops of rain, and the invigoration of a cool breeze. We have all been spoiled by the smell of rain, the boom of thunder, and the razor-sharp crack of a bolt of lightning. We have all known the hopeful promise of a glowing sunset.

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I delight in so much of the world that we all get to live in, but without a doubt, I love sharing the moon with you more than any other thing. She is tantalisingly elusive and mysterious most of the time, exchanging the limelight for the modest beauty of collaboration; she yields to reflect the fire of the sun, to dance with the sparkle of the stars, and to drape herself with the costume of the clouds as they pass by.  But the moon knows her worth. She is in no rush. She will wait. With patience, she is content to work selflessly alongside those around her. But … when she is ready, and when heaven’s array provides a window of opportunity, the moon makes time serve her. In that moment, the moon shows that she is willing to radiate her own glorious perfection, without shame or fear. In her fullness, the moon is breathtaking. She rises with a voluminous, golden power that refuses to be ignored, then hoists herself up into the night sky to continue her stunning display. From her dark stage she shines, at first blanketing the fields with comforting warmth and grace, then projecting her clear, cool beam into any dark place that will have her. The ocean is a mirror for her glamour, magnifying her radiance to show the world that she is the fairest of them all. She splashes her light over us all without hesitation or discrimination, generously showering every part of creation with her brilliance, her sensuousness, her charm. She gushes love over each one of us equally.

I love that the moon presses on with the show right through the night. She is tireless. She rises higher, and shines stronger, and soars with more freedom. Her performance started with glory at the horizon, and then it persisted in a dazzling array of light up into the sky. And even though it is truly marvellous, the show still goes on longer, and with every part of her progress, the moon slowly reveals her intention. As she stretches further and ascends higher, the moon demonstrates that she is planning to climb to the top of the sky. As she scales the heavens she is relentless, unveiling still more of her energy, her grandeur, her authority. But in mastering this display of endurance, power and might, a perfect tragedy unfolds. The higher the moon becomes, the more distant her audience perceive her to be.

It was only a few hours ago that we all stared, our mouths watering over the glitzy celebrity moon as she announced herself from the horizon’s curtain. And she looked like she was close, because she was down here on our level, emerging from the skyline of the life that we know. But now, as she makes her way to the highest heights, she moves away from those familiar features of the landscape, and our human eyes can’t see that she is still just as close as she always was. Yes, she has her sights set on making it all the way to the top, but at no point in her journey will her distance from earth change. She will look like she is further away, but this is merely a trick played by our own limited minds. The moon’s climb to the pinnacle of her atmosphere cannot possibly take her any further away from the earth. She is held by the earth’s orbit. This world is the only home that the moon will ever know. The moon’s grandest act can only be performed in connection to the world she illuminates.

And the moon knows. She started the show with the intention of making the world brighter for her audience. And it was beautiful. And we watched. And we adored her. And the moon was happy, but not because of our human attention. The moon was happy because of her eternal intention. She never drew her energy from the accolades of the crowd, but from the drive of her mission. Her only motivation was to shine her light as far and wide as possible. As the gaze of the audience is lost, and our short span of attention turns to the comfort of our lounges and the coziness of our beds, the moon’s true nature is the only thing that is left. The most beautiful thing about the moon to me is that she is unstoppable in her passion. If you look out of your window in the early hours of the morning of the moon’s show, you will see her still there. Climbing. Striving. Persisting. Driven. Fulfilling her Purpose. Serving her Passion. Because it is who she is.

The Moon Show is a tragedy, but this is what makes it the most beautiful part of all.  It is beautiful because she radiates the fullness of her perfection. Because she pursues only her highest passion. Because she only exists to shine in service. Because she is compelled continue. Because no-one is watching. Because it is there for all the world to see, yet no-one sees it. Because I want to be her.

The Oyster Is My World

Living in ongoing pursuit of a freedom that is unstoppable means that we need to confront and process our failings and shortcomings daily. As we get better at this it becomes very clear that these are the things that have the potential to cause the expression of our Infinite Self to come to a grinding halt. When we choose to walk the precipice of our personal boundaries in order to stretch them, we constantly find ourselves staring into the face of hurts that need healing, mindsets that need cleansing, habits that need breaking, and outlooks that need refocussing. In challenging ourselves to dismantle the barriers that inhibit our freedom, we also encounter skills that need developing. We took a family holiday a few years ago that showed me the importance of being able to laugh at yourself when you run into things that you don’t know how to do.

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In the Oyster Farm I learn how to navigate the unknown

Alec loved the ocean and rivers and fishing and all things boating. He always said that he wanted a boat, and he took every opportunity he could to enjoy other people’s boats as frequently as possible. He was like a sponge for learning about anything to do with boats and fishing, but without a boat of our own to apply any new knowledge he acquired, he never really had the chance to improve. It is a wonderful thing to connect with others in sincerity and mutual regard, because they can take you to places you would never have gone to yourself. I enjoyed hanging off the coattails of Alec’s love of boating things, although I personally didn’t share his passion. With a hunger to know more, do more, be more, Alec suggested that we hire a boat and take it for a spin around Merrimbula Lake.

This was a great idea! What a great adventure! Even though I had not a single clue about how to operate a boat, Alec seemed to know what he was doing, so I jumped in with both feet. The weather was mild and the sun was shining and only a few light, fluffy clouds punctuated the otherwise crystal clear blue sky. Cruising around the lake with Alec and the kids was sheer joy. Even as I recount this memory, the bliss is reactivated. I know that times like this are where our heart is able to catch a glimpse of eternity.

Alec played like a child in that boat, twisting and turning and soaking up every thrill. He oozed appreciation of the feelings and sights and sounds and smells, so much so that his happiness was infectious. It was a perfectly wonderful time for all of us. After a while, Alec suggested that I take the reigns and steer for a while. I said flat out NO! at first, but with infectious enthusiasm, Alec continued to cajole and persuade, until finally I relented. As I grabbed onto the steering thingie that you can see there in the picture (yes, this is how little I know about boating), I realised instantly that I had bitten off more than I could chew. My response, as always, was to chew like hell.

When Alec was in control of our direction, he knew how to make us go where he wanted to go. When I was in control of our direction, things were a little different. I had no sense of speed or space, and no understanding of the reactions that my actions would cause. As a result, we were everywhere, and nowhere, all over that lake. I had no idea where we were going, but we were getting there fast. This itself was unnerving, but things soon took an out-of-control turn for the worst as my steering (or lack thereof) had us headed for a sign that said: “Oyster Farm. No Boats Allowed.” Everything in me wanted to comply with that sign. But my lack of steering prowess meant that I simply had no capacity to fulfil that desire. With absolute horror I watched myself steer our little tinny straight over that Oyster Farm, and there was not a thing I could do about it. Now, I love being cheeky and flirting with naughtiness, don’t get me wrong … I am inclined to bend the rules at times, but I simply loathe breaking them. I knew that I might cause damage to the oysters under the surface of the water, and that this damage could cost the oyster farmer his hard earned income. I was mortified. But the only thing we could do is laugh and get out of there as fast as we could.

This Oyster Farm moment really is the story of my life. It was scary to be in my own hands, when they lacked the skills and knowledge required to do the job properly. But without experience or the chance to ever have practiced this before, I could only do my beginner’s best. I need to stretch boundaries into freedom, but sometimes this results in mistakes and errors. Sometimes I do end up blundering through the chaos of inexperience, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I simply love exploring pathways into new knowledge. This outlook will always mean that I can embrace the familiarity of being outside my comfort zone. It is here, in the Oyster Farm of life, that our Infinite Self can extend grace and compassion to ourselves. We need this self love to navigate the landscape of the unknown. It is here that we can stretch out into a freedom that is unstoppable.

Perceive Your Moment

There are times in life that bring change that is completely unexpected, and too often we fall into the trap of interpreting these events as a disaster. It is so easy to view the world from the comfort zone of the normal, the predictable, the familiar … From this place, we think that fulfilment can only be experienced when all of life’s good things remain just as they are. The problem is that when changes come out of the blue and hurl us into an unknown landscape, our head spins us till we are dizzy and blind. Our first reaction is to feel intimidated and powerless, terrified that our personal limitations are going to usher in the day we have been dreading for as long as we can remember: the day where we finally come undone. The task of confronting our own fear and doubt is horrifying for some, nauseating for others. When a shift in circumstance comes out of the blue, we are forced to face the reality that things never stay the same.

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Our Infinite Self tells a different story. She replaces fear with hope, doubt with trust, and dismay for celebration. In pure, blissful Optimism, she expects that every unfolding circumstance will serve her best interests, because she is confident in her ability to find every opportunity that is hidden in life’s twists and turns. She knows that the trick to freedom is realising that change is inevitable, and always as good as a holiday. She never makes the mistake of calling any moment a crisis or disaster, because she optimistically defines them as her Next Big Chance.

We Perceive the function of our Infinite Self with Optimism by making meaningful personal connections in the world around us

The day we decided to close the doors of That Repair Shop could have been the bleakest day for us, because it was a choice that we made in response to the very real threat of bankruptcy.

But it wasn’t.

Our choice to redirect our focus towards building other online income streams was not made out of fear or doubt. Yes, we had no idea how things were going to turn out. Yes, we were terrified. Yes, we were intimidated. And yes, the change caused an unprecedented level of discomfort. But no, this was not how things were going to stay. There was change in the air, and we threw ourselves into the pursuit of a freedom that is unstoppable. We maximised this change by actively believing that the future could be as bright as we hoped. It was a gamble that hinged on absolute investment. And we gave ourselves to it with abandon.

Our insecurities called us to a pathway of retreat, but instead, we decided once again to stretch ourselves and our vision into the big wide world. We took steps not of self-preservation, but advancement into the deepest passions of our heart. We launched ourselves out of the corner we found ourselves in by using the hardship as a launchpad into a world of possibilities. We decided to open our hearts wider to the world than we ever had before, believing that the world was our opportunity-making oyster. We trusted every good thing would come to us, and we put our money where our mouth was, literally! We acted on the hope that it would actually turn out okay in the end, knowing that if it wasn’t okay, then it wasn’t the end, so we could keep going.

We took this outlook into the next season of our lives, enjoying the pursuit of success almost as much as its spoils along the way. At the end of the day, we realised that random, unpredictable events will happen. This is certain. But, we also learned that our response can exploit obstacles for growth that couldn’t have come from any other pathway. We saw first hand that Our Infinite Self is always Optimistic because she thrives amidst interactions with a world whose only constant is lack of certainty. Even with our backs against the wall, we could run free in the knowledge that true expression comes from demonstrating our Infinite Self through the interactions we have with the world around us.

When we are clear on our mission in life, our responses in the day-to-day can be used to direct us right through the eye of the storm into a rich fulfilment that could not be experienced any other way.

  1. RESPOND TO YOUR SEASON: Our greatest pride should be the one we have in knowing ourselves and our passions, so that when the unexpected Change comes, we know how to direct our response towards deep fulfilment at all times.
  2. RESPOND WITH INVESTMENT: We should always take action that throws us into the pathway of realising our passions, regardless of how harrowing this pathway might be.
  3. RESPOND TO THE CAUSE: We should realise that off-the-cuff reactions attend only to the urgent demands of the moment, which are like the symptoms of a cold. But strategic responses direct everything we have towards the Passions of our heart, which attends to the greatest cause of all: the full expression of our Infinite Self.

What You See Is What You Get

Our stories define our outlook, and lead to the outcomes of our life. So many corners I have turned in my life have opened up simply because I first turned a corner in the way I saw my situation. By stepping back and reflecting on how things are, and by having a creative, open mind about how things could be, new perspectives can present shining new opportunities.

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That Repair Shop is the story of a wonderful opportunity

When Alec and I had our backs against the wall after three years of working That Repair Shop, we found ourselves at a crossroads. Whether we changed our response or not, life could not stay the same. Those bankruptcy papers on the desk simply could not be ignored. Doing nothing would see the debt swallow us up, but any of the options that involved doing something would still bring long, painful results. Any of the pathways available to us were going to be gruelling. So we evaluated our options:

  1. Continue to try and trade out of the mess by trying to reduce our expenses and/or increase our income – this hadn’t worked so far and neither had much left in the tank for this business any more
  2. Call it quits and file for bankruptcy – with my teaching and Alec’s work at Harvey Norman we would have experienced the immediate relief of no debt and a very comfortable weekly income
  3. Close That Repair Shop and direct our resources towards other business models – we had suppliers for the Nelson Vacuums eBay shop, but this business couldn’t offer anything like wage

Each of these options had one thing in common: An expensive financial price tag. With heavy hearts, we compared the cost of continued exposure to rising debt, versus seven years of zero financial capacity, versus the risks of a gambling on a relatively new, small time online enterprise. We were stuck between a rock and a hard place, so in our somber decision-making conversations we started doing what we always did: Find ways to Thrive!

We refused to settle in this dark place, and started looking for opportunities amidst the adversity. We started imagining possibilities, even if they could only be real in our minds for now. We started to revisit the essential ingredients of the perfect life that we wanted. We started reminding ourselves that our highest values were autonomy and integrity and empowerment  We started to tell stories about the sorts of things that could come from this. We started to believe that this crossroads was THE turning point we had needed all along. We started seeing this bankruptcy option as something Significant. Opportune. Transforming. We saw this situation as truly … wonderful.

And so it was. It was wonderful because we saw it as wonderful.

It did signify a new beginning. It did open new opportunities. It did transform our life.

We saw the ‘wonderful’ because we chose to revisit the passions that drove our purpose, and we used these to illuminate the truths we needed to see. The truths of our passions are always higher and more lasting than our circumstantial truths. And these kinds of truths energise us, always.

And with that, we knew our pathway. We had to follow steps that would advance our autonomy, and our integrity, and our empowerment. We had to make a plan to serve the love we had for each other, our children, and our family. A plan to work, with people, to build something grand. A plan that provided for Alec in business and for me in education. A plan that would accelerate us through the long, tough days that lie ahead, on the fuel of our passion.

The plan looked like this:

  • I would continue to teach to provide financial stability
  • Put off our staff of four at That Repair Shop
  • Fire sale everything that we could to squeeze every last dollar out of our resource
  • Close That Repair Shop
  • Pay out as many suppliers as we could
  • Set up payment plans for the rest of our creditors
  • Alec would resign from Harvey Norman
  • Set up vacuum cleaner repairs for Alec to operate out of our home garage
  • Build our online business selling vacuum cleaner spare parts

This plan fitted us perfectly because it advanced our autonomy to direct our own path through our time schedules, our careers, and most of all, our debt repayment. It stretched our integrity by taking ownership of the responsibilities we had to our creditors, and to the passions of our heart. And it advanced our empowerment by anchoring all of our actions into the motives that came from the deepest passions of our heart.

I love that this change taught me that there is no such thing as a disaster. With the ongoing costs of start-up business and raising a young family on a single wage, the debt we promised to pay off rolled on for years. In fact, That Repair Shop closed in 2009, and it wasn’t until June, 2014 that I could enjoy the relief of being completely debt free.

It will never cease to amaze me how situations can turn on the dime of our outlook. Things can – and do – change simply because we perceive a new thing with our insight, we activate it with our stories, and we enliven it with our actions.

 

Prepare For Openness

Who here has ever looked in the mirror and had a momentary flash of fear that they are simply not worthy? Who knows what it feels like to feel lost in a disconnected, mechanical lifestyle? How many have done their best to make the “right” decision every time, and yet somehow these choices have lead them to a place that feels very, very wrong? Who is worried that at some point they have swapped passion for function? Exchanged daring for security? Hunger for satisfaction? Who wants to be hungry again?

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The problem is that we have been caught in the trap of trying to pursue a version of success that doesn’t suit us … so somewhere along the line we gave up on the child-like hope that makes us wonderfully open to everything that we can offer the world.  Now, we live every day in ‘defend and protect’ mode.

I am here to tell you that continuing this lifestyle will paint you into the world’s most isolated corner of exhaustion and despair. Even worse than this though, is the ongoing cost of this lifestyle, because it is built on you defending yourselves against the very things that could be used as a chance for growth

We Prepare the core of our Infinite Self for living with liberated Openness by ridding our inner selves of old baggage and excess waste

We Prepare ourselves for deep lasting fulfilment when we truly know who we are in our Infinite Self, in purity and unique perfection. This includes the cleansing that results from coming to know that we are not our flaws, we are not our actions, we are not our past decisions or experiences.

Human beings have lots of things in common with all other living creatures. We need nourishment to give us energy, we Respond to the world around us, we Grow, we Move, we Reproduce. As living things, we also Excrete waste. Our Excretory system is hardly the glamour child of our human condition, and yet we all know how disastrous it can be if it isn’t serving us properly. Our body relies on us taking in the nutrients to transform it into the Power we need to run our body’s normal life processes. But the body also needs to do something with the waste it creates along the way. We would be in trouble if our skin didn’t work to get rid of waste, and if you have given birth to even one child you will know that you don’t get very far through the day without a toilet stop.

I am proud of living a life that surpasses resilience, and I would like to tell you about the time where I learned about steps we can all take to cleanse ourselves of old, unwanted baggage. I hope that this will help your Infinite Self to travel lighter and more free than you could have possibly imagined.

I married my first husband Adam in 1994, when I was nineteen years old. Adam had many attributes that drew me to him, and we are still close friends to this day. In hindsight though, I have realised that Adam was attractive to me at that stage of my life simply because he was the exact opposite of my father.

Both of these men would agree they are nothing like each other. While Adam has always been fun and easy going, my Dad was a picture of work-driven ambition, proudly serving in the Australian Army and ruling our home with an iron fist. I was not close with my dad as I grew up, and even though we enjoy a much more genuine, respectful relationship now, my younger self wanted nothing more than to make a life that was completely different from the one I had known. The plunge I took with Adam into an early marriage was fuelled by my desire to escape my childhood baggage, and unfortunately hastened due to me falling pregnant. This situation is tough for any unwed teen, but it was particularly rough going for me as a youth leader in a church where sex outside of marriage was strictly forbidden. I faced the isolation of disapproval and rebuke at every turn.

Life has taught me that time passes and things change. It didn’t take too long for things to settle down, and thankfully other people’s real life dramas removed mine from the blazing scrutiny of the social spotlight. With the wheels of my life in motion, I stayed at home to care for Zac, my beautiful baby boy. After a couple of domestic years rolled by, I fell pregnant again, this time with my precious daughter Isabelle. My life ticked all of the boxes that you would expect. Things seemed to pan out for me just like all the other girls who start their life loaded up with the weight of old mindsets and unresolved conflicts.

I am sure that things could have continued on like this for the rest of my life. But I was absolutely miserable. By the time Isabelle was two years old, I was drowning in the deep waters of frustration and things needed to change. I decided to leave altogether, and took the next twelve months of my life to conduct a complete overhaul. As my Dad would say, I took a good hard look at myself. In my words, I took time to Prepare.

This time of Preparation was the first time that I had stood up and resisted the flow that had taken me where I didn’t want to go. To redirect my course, I needed to be brutally honest. I had to face the fact that I was lost and hurting, and that I had dreams and ambitions that demanded attention. I had to admit that I had been terrified of my strengths even more than my weaknesses, and that I had hidden behind a life time of excuses and laying blame elsewhere. I had to decide that I would learn how to see myself as beautiful, powerful and successful, and that I would not listen to the old scripts of doubt and fear and failure. To connect with this person who needed freedom, I had to make the brave commitment to pursue growth that would change everything I thought I knew. It was only in taking time to Prepare that I could come to cleanse myself of old hurts, to rid myself of destructive mindsets, and to replace negative ways of living with new habits that would be able to accommodate deep, lasting fulfilment.

Our Infinite Self is intuitively Open to all good things in the world. We all flow naturally in a state of seeking out our next big change to live, to love, to serve with abandon. Making the gut wrenching decision to leave my old life taught me three things that will help us to understand how to rid ourselves of the excess waste that is trapping us into a life that is defensive and closed.

  1. RID YOURSELF OF DOING TO PRIORITISE BEING: Our actions cannot create who we are. Our actions can liberate us only if we use them to reflect who we are.
  2. RID YOURSELF OF LIES AND EXCUSES: Brutal honesty is the freedom policy. It is only when we are transparent with ourselves that we can connect with our world in fullness.
  3. RID YOURSELF OF DESTRUCTIVE SCRIPTS: Listen carefully to the stories you tell yourself and others, and rewrite any words that diminish your value.