I’M MOVING!!! :D

Over the next few weeks access to my blog may be interrupted as I move data across to my new website: www.kerryannenelson.com

I’m not there yet, but the countdown is on. I will keep you posted.

Then bad news is, you might not find me here when you come to check in.

But the good news is that my new website will have all of the usual stories that you know and love, plus loads more content, and exciting features, and projects that I am working on for 2017. So hang in there with me, and please look me up when the time comes that I am no longer here. I love being friends, and there is so much more of the story to share. We have only just begun!

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The Most Important Meal Of The Day

On this morning two years ago, I remember getting up, knowing I was about to face one of the most challenging days of my life as I worked my way through grief and clawed my way out of the threat of bankruptcy, with my sixteen year old daughter missing the time she needed with me.

I decided that nourishing my body was the best way to respond, because this action would send a message to myself that I am worthy of success, and that I was powerful to overcome any challenge. When we take time to treat ourself with compassion and love, and when we invest in doing the things that fuel our bodies and our minds, we construct a powerful platform in our lives. This platform is one of self respect, of acceptance, optimism, empowerment. Acting like this gives us the physical and psychological energy to believe that we are more than enough, that we have an important role to play in our world, and most of all, that we are worthy of receiving love.

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In 2014 the Australian Psychological Society found that the top five most effective self care strategies are simple: Doing something relaxing. Time with friends and family. Doing a hobby. Physical activity. Music. These kinds of activities have been proven to improve sleep, physical health, productivity, emotional well-being, and family and social relationships. What you do is up to you, but you must do something, and if you are serious about making this plan stick, you need to write it down. Dr Gail Matthews conducted a study last year that proved a written goal is 50% more likely to be achieved than one we only think of or talk about.

Breakfast, you are my favourite meal of the day, because you give me the chance to nurture myself and cheer myself on. And you remind me that I already have everything I need to serve my passions, without limits.

Purpose Without Passion Is Killing Us

Australia is the third richest country on the planet, and we have more people who enjoy the creature comforts of the middle class than any other nation in the world. I know I love our country. I feel lucky to be an Australian. My favourite thing about living in this country is the land and our gorgeous coastlines, without a doubt. I am convinced that a deep gratitude for nature feeds an optimism that will never end.  We have a gorgeous country with lots to love. But honestly, what’s the go with our mental health?

img_3687Anxiety and depression stop our freedom at work, at home and at play. One million Australian adults will struggle with depression this year alone, and this number is doubled for those who face anxiety, our nation’s leading mental health problem. Depression and anxiety is set to become our nation’s leading health problem by the year 2030, and it is already the world’s leading cause of disability. Suicide is the leading cause of death for all of our nation’s youth, for men under 54 years, and for women under 35. This is a truly devastating crisis we have on our hands.

Studies show that an active passion for our purpose brings fulfilment more than anything else on the planet. The research proves that when we want to change ourselves and our world, and when we believe that we can take action to improve our health, we get healthier, in our mind and our body. It’s not rocket science! But what changes do we make, and how do we know that we’re making the right ones? The big question that I am asked more than any other is this: How do we find our Passion?

The answer is not in reinventing yourself, or finding “the New You”. We already have everything that we need to find and follow our deepest passions. These 7 steps make this life changing task not only possible, but relatively easy:

P – People: Who is in your network?

Which five people do you already know who will come along side you in support and encouragement? We all need a team of cheering mentors, and you already know people who are perfect for the job. Start making the most of those relationships, by listing them and contacting them today.

A – Aptitude: What are your natural strengths?

What things do you enjoy doing, that come easily to you? What are the things that you become so in the flow with that time seems to stop when you are doing them? For me, writing and speaking come easily, and connecting with those around me. What do you do without trying. Your passion is an expression of those things.

S – Skills: What have you learned how to do?

What have you done at work, at home, or at play that have created the unique skill set that you are equipped with today. Pull out your resume from the archives and take a trip down memory lane. And ask your cheer squad to remind you of things that you have done in the past. We often down-play our abilities, but our passion needs us to champion them again.

S – Stuff: What resources do you have?

We all have physical possessions that will help us find and follow our passions. Chances are that if you have a passion for art you will be able to get your hands on the things you need for your next masterpiece. If you’re into cooking, get yourself into your kitchen, and if you’re a muso at heart, it’s time to pull your instrument out from the back of your wardrobe. Find the equipment you need to enliven your passion again.

I – Imagination: What do you dream?

At various stages of our life, each one of us dreamed of being great. We wanted to do something that we were good at to made a difference in the world. If you have had the guts to pull out that first draft of your biography, then it’s time for you to remember the dream that you had of being that inspiring author. Be honest, be brave, and imagine that dreams really do come true.

O – Opportunity: What can you change?

They say that you make your own luck. Anne Landers says that opportunities are usually disguised as hard work. It’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and start making changes to expose the opportunities that exist in our life now. For some, these changes will be tweaks and adjustments, because you’re on track and simply need to focus, but for others, the changes you make will create opportunities that change the course of your life forever.

N – Now: What are you waiting for?

Our life is only experienced in our “Now”. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes. Today is the day we own up to ourselves, and be accountable to the next step. We need to realise we already have everything we need to activate our passion. Nothing can stop people who know how to continuously renew the energy they need to experience purpose that is fuelled by passion, every day.

Find and Follow Your Deepest Passions

A purpose without passion will drive us crazy. Passion fuels our purpose, and keeps us on track with our progress in it. A purpose that has no passion will eventually die because it will lie unrecognised and unfulfilled within us, and the longer we leave it, the worse it gets. If we don’t have passion to drive our purpose, then our purpose be like a cancer in our life, eating away at our ability to push through even the most simple of challenges. But with passion, our purpose drives every action and reaction towards success, even when we face changes that turn our life upside-down. Passion is so powerful that it turns every obstacle into the fuel of our purpose.

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Fulfilment comes from awakening our passions

Maslow tells us that the deepest, most lasting fulfilment comes from the realisation of our unique potential. His theories talk directly to the problem of the increasing problem of the depressed middle class in the country that we call Lucky. He says that: “It is quite true that man lives by bread alone — when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?”

So here’s the big question that I am asked more than any other: How do we find our Passion?

I am convinced that we already have everything that we need to find and follow our deepest passions. These 7 steps make this life changing task not only possible, but relatively easy. Make a list and take action for each of these steps. Today is the day your life will change.

P – People: Who is in your network?

A – Aptitude: What are your natural strengths?

S – Skills: What have you learned how to do?

S – Stuff: What resources do you have?

I – Imagination: What do you dream?

O – Opportunity: What can you change?

N – Now: What are you waiting for?

The reality is, we only have now. Even the moment that you started reading this post is over, and you are on the brink of the moment that you reach the end. Memories are valuable, but they have already been lived. Ambitions are enlivening, but they haven’t come to pass yet. The only moment we actually experience is the one we are in, right now. It is time to take ownership of our passion. Today is the day you can find it, and today is the day that you can start to follow it, without limits. That is Unstoppable Freedom.

Unstoppable Freedom

 

Freedom has always been a fundamental priority in my life. For as long as I can remember I have valued freedom more than anything else. Freedom is central to healthy, successful continuation of life, because it enables every possibility thereafter. Freedom is the starting point of all fulfilment. It is the cornerstone of our ability to act with autonomy, the foundation of all healthy relationships, and it sets the scene for hope that we can make things better. Freedom is vital to our authority to pursue and achieve any thing we choose in all areas of our personal and professional lives.

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When we are free we feel safe and empowered, which means that we can express and expand the fullness of our own identity. This freedom allows us to grow because when we are free we can direct our personal pathway, we can invest deeply into relationships, and we can pursue the deepest desires of our heart. Our level of freedom determines our capacity for the sort of success we drive ourselves. The way I see it, the more freedom we have, the more we can experience love, pursuit, and advancement. When we are free we can come and go, we can live and love.

The absence of freedom puts a stop to our pursuit of any sort of positive change. A lack of freedom means that we can’t direct our futures towards improvement. It puts a stop to the growth and development of those in our care, our relationships, our finances, our businesses and our capacity at work. Most of all, when freedom ends, so too does our health and wellness, because fulfilment relies on us acting powerfully towards outcomes that we define, pursue and achieve ourselves.

Freedom challenges injustice and provides for our journey through our shortcomings. When we are free we can rise and fall, we can try and fail, all because we have embraced these human liberties as our right, without undermining these rights for others. True freedom is not reliant on success, nor does it deny the freedoms of another when they fail. Rather, it sets a course of pursuit within a landscape of respectful acceptance. Freedom that imposes on another, or freedom that is quenched by failure was never freedom at all. Freedom is not anarchy. Freedom is right and fair and just. With freedom we respect and embrace every one’s right to fail.

For freedom to be without end, we rise to the fullness of our autonomy. We put ourselves in the driver’s seat of our lives, and we choose to act in the fullness of our power in all areas. I call this Unstoppable Freedom:

Unstoppable Freedom (noun)

A self-perpetuating state of liberty without limits, untethered by the struggle for mere survival.  A lifelong journey which exploits the opportunities found in hardship to actualise a higher, exceptional purpose.  Unstoppable freedom feeds itself as a snowball, where one leap of purpose-driven advancement triggers the next. It is the very nature of empowerment, the very essence of growth.  It is both the cause of strategic change, and the effect; it grows exponentially at the hand of the autonomous driver who always seeks new expressions of purpose.  Unstoppable freedom strategically uses the mindset, skills and gratitude of today’s liberty as a launch pad into more freedom.  It satisfies the innate human need for self-actualisation, while simultaneously causing an invigorating hunger for more.

Unstoppable Freedom brings outlooks that cause us to thrive amidst any change or challenge, because we come to maximise the opportunity inherent in that shifting situation.  We embrace all change, no matter how difficult it is as the fuel for growth and the catalyst for empowerment.  It is change that calls us to draw on the strengths and resources we already have, and it is change that allows us to drive every circumstance to possess rewards we have defined ourselves. In change we learn, we grow, we thrive. In change, we change!

This pathway is one forged by those who celebrate life: in love, in learning, and even in loss. To embark on the journey of  Unstoppable Freedom is to empower yourself to live to serve your deepest passions without limits.

You Are Infinite

IMG_0206I have given myself completely to my belief in goodness.  With all that I am, I have invested into revealing every part of the goodness in myself, which then enables me to shine a light on the goodness in everyone around me. The more I expand my capacity for freeing my own goodness, the greater my ability to affect others to the same end. When our investment is in the ongoing release of goodness, the floodgates of purity open, and its wholesome flow nourishes us all.

My wholehearted belief in goodness is simple: I see it in every single person I meet. I never, ever measure people by their words or their deeds alone. Who am I to assume that I understand someone right to their core after simply observing them at a passing moment in time? The true, endless value of a person is found in the condition of their heart, and when all is said and done, all of our hearts, at their most pure, unbroken state, are clean and worthy of love. It is not mine to judge nor condemn, only to love and be loved. It is in this raw humanity that goodness can be seen, not only in some, but in every one.

It is because I witness goodness in people so consistently that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you too have a perfect, untainted goodness at your core. Who you are is the substance of purity, the essence of perfection.  You exist first to let your goodness shine, flooding your world with a wash of radiance, transforming the atmosphere with your glow.

Your Infinite Self emanates your unique goodness in its most pure form. It is a delightful, you-shaped goodness that is unlike anyone else’s. There has never been a person in history with your perfect blend, nor will there ever be in future. You are a one-of-a-kind, a collector’s prize, as unique as a snowflake and as perfect as the clearest crystal. You are deeper than the ocean and vaster than the darkest starry night. You are more of a treasure than all of the jewels in the king’s palace. You are golden.

 

First Things First: Self Care

It is estimated that mental illness will be Australia’s leading health problem by 2030. Here in this country we call Lucky, it is urgent that we step up to make our own luck … we have to find our happy place. The good news is, that studies show it’s not rocket science. In 2014 the Australian Psychological Society found that the top five most effective self care strategies are simple: Doing something relaxing. Time with friends and family. Doing a hobby. Physical activity. Music. These kinds of activities have been proven to improve sleep, physical health, productivity, emotional well-being, and family and social relationships.
What you do is up to you, but you must do something. I know from personal experience that self care is the necessary first step if you want to explore the possibilities of a world that you can draw from in limitless freedom, joy and fulfilment. This insight has enlivened my capacity like nothing else could. No matter how many fires are burning in our lives, we are unstoppably free when we invest time every day into ourselves. Practically for me, this looks like yoga, meditation, reading, exercise, physio, walking my dog, counselling when I need it, and regular time with the people I love, the people who love me.  I know that my Passion is my greatest Power, and this starts with me loving me. No-one else can do it like I can, and this is where my power to serve comes from.
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To care for myself I do things that make me feel good

From this launchpad of self care my voice recovery took off! I made commitments with my teaching that started to bear fruit and eventually got me back to the workplace, first in a small homework centre, then lecturing at university, and then working in special education for behaviour, supporting a single student who struggled to manage himself and his learning. These opportunities bolstered my career experience like nothing else could have. My challenge became my opportunity, and the teacher in me thrived! I loved matching my skills with openings in my world. It was enlivening.

My return to teaching was slow, and even though these early days were short and very quiet, it was a slow, sustainable start. The demands of my teaching work were small at first, which gave me the gift of time that I had always longed for. After battling through  the first six months of my injury I felt like my brain was shrivelling up with boredom and loneliness. I needed something to do. Something to think about. I needed to learn. So, I started studying psychology. It had always been an interest of mine, and I figured that I had the time, and the intelligence to do it, so why not? It was amazing, but the best bit again, was finding a new way to match my self with my world.
The gift of time that this season offered also provided more opportunity to work alongside my husband Alec to build our business. We had been progressively building a retail website, selling vacuum cleaner spares online. As my motivation and optimism grew, I made it my mission to create website content like never before. I created endless listings for products, and wrote blogs to inform our customers about how and why they should use our products. This caused a surge of growth in our business that propelled us into the future we had both wanted … stay tuned for those stories!
For many of us, there is a gap between the work we love – the work we live for – and the ability that we have to sustain this work. This is why I think that if there is anyone who needs to learn how to tell stories that change the outcomes of their life, then it is you! I’m not talking about stories that celebrate the importance of your work or your competence in it. You already know that. I’m talking about you seeing how powerful it could be to write your own story that inspires you to embrace everything that you are, in the fullness of you as a human being. Your passion for your work comes from somewhere deeper and more lasting than the budgets and the projects and the bursting schedules. Your passion started this whole affair. It was then, it is now, and it will always be your greatest strength. Nurture the passion you have for the thing you were born for. The mission that burns in your heart. And do it buy nurturing yourself first.

 

Recovery: Letting It All Go

Rebuilding the structures in my life as I recovered my voice was an exciting time indeed. There is nothing more rewarding and affirming than watching yourself claw your way though a challenge to transform it into an opportunity. Over the course of a few years I pushed my way through the darkness of depression and anxiety into new places of hope, contentment and wholeness. This reunited me with the optimistic ambition that had always come naturally to me.

The battles I fought with my mental health had been harrowing. When I was sick, ideas about the future made me feel small and powerless. I felt like my ambitions were beyond my reach, and that it was all out of my control. I felt like a failure. For those few years, my excitement about the things to come had been twisted and morphed. They had become imaginations that tormented me.

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Nurturing myself through baby steps

Making choices that redefined my life meant that I needed to embrace the person that I was already, harnessing my innate strengths and attributes. I needed to really love being me, in the situation that I really was in, with life that I really did have at that time. And even though I was terrified and felt overwhelmed, I needed to grab onto possibilities and run with them. I had to surrender the anger, fear and resentment. I had to release the hurt that had come from friends who abandoned me to my days of silence, and I had to nurture myself through the terror of trying to step out. I had to permit myself to take baby steps, and embrace persistence, not perfection. My recovery demanded that I let go of everything that wasn’t recovery.

Pushing forward into recovery in any situation starts first with embracing who you are, in perfect purity and infinite truth. Freedom cannot be found by endlessly seeking retribution against those who have wronged you, or trying to pay a never-ending debt of obligation or guilt from the time you failed. Release yourself from this trap. You are the only one who can. Forgive the offence. Make the apology. And let that be enough. Then you can be free to pursue new steps on glorious new pathways. That’s where the sun shines.

New avenues of self-expression are an exhilarating and liberating part of our journey forward, because they open up a world of possibilities that call us onward and upward to deep, lasting wholeness. Finding new ways to make meaningful connections with the world around us is so fulfilling that it can bring new surges of energy and purpose in our lives. Watching ourselves succeed in taking action to make our dreams come true creates an internal alignment that strengthens our person and steadies our step. Putting your money where your mouth is really is the best investment of all.
For me, taking baby steps into my workouts, my teaching, and my business opened new options in these areas. They say it’s easier to steer a moving ship. It’s true! Getting things moving again did the trick for me in all areas. Restructuring my lifestyle to include exercise and ‘me time’ ushered in the early beginnings of self respect and connectedness. This was the platform I used to launch me into other areas of growth.