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Seven Billion Realities – Part One

TwowolvesIn the year 1981, I joined four and half billion people in the world, today over seven billion people are sharing this amazing place called earth. Every day we welcome over eight million new lives and farewell just over three million.  In view of these kinds of statistics I think it’s really quite incredible how well we actually all co-exist especially when you take into consideration that there are over seven billion people all experiencing their own unique reality, interpretation and belief systems. When you look at it like this is anything truly right or wrong, true or false? After all, isn’t everything we perceive in the world simply our own interpretation based on the limited facts and information we have been taught, told or experienced? You only have to play a game of Chinese whispers to understand how quickly and easily the so called truth can be misrepresented.

We as humans actually have two realities, the external reality and our internal reality. Each person is on his or her own journey in life and their individual personalities, physiology, experiences, perceptions, beliefs and thinking will greatly define the reality in which they live. Each person arrives here with a purpose, a deep seated desire to do something significant and meaningful for the greater good. Each of us possess special talents and gifts which are ours and ours alone to assist us in achieving our purpose whatever that might be.  Although sadly along the way to achieving such a mission many of us lose our way and become beaten by life’s challenges and we allow life to be our ruler and not the other way around.

There is an old story of a young boy who puzzled by life goes to see the Chief Cherokee for some clarity. “Yes my dear boy, what is it that puzzles you?” asks the Chief. “Well, I was wondering why there is so much hate, anger, and violence in the world and yet there is so much love, joy and abundance?  asked the boy. “You see child within each of us resides two wolves which fight each other, a dark wolf and a light wolf. The dark wolf feeds on fear, anger, resentment, jealousy, greed, inferiority and lies whilst the light wolf feeds on love, joy, peace, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth” answers the Chief. “Well which wolf wins” the young boy inquired. The old chief quietly replies “The wolf you feed”.

I love this story as it is an easy and powerful reminder of how important the relationship between the dark wolf (our EGO) and the light wolf (our INTUITION) actually is. So many of us go about our day oblivious to how often we are feeding our dark wolf either through our internal thoughts or by absorbing the negative fear based thinking of others. Throughout our lives we typically have more experiences, people, events, thoughts and beliefs geared towards feeding our dark wolf until it is big, strong and aggressive. Sadly there are some people in the world who have allowed their dark wolf to all but kill their light wolf and now have what I call a “dark soul”.

We live in a world where food for the dark wolf is in ample supply and available everywhere we look; on the internet, the news, movies, and television. We talk about it, blog about it, Facebook it, tweet it, Instagram it and who knows what else. In turn we end up energetically feeding not only our own dark wolf but also those of the people around us. Just like any well balanced diet for your body I came to realise a few years ago that it was equally if not more important to have a healthy mental diet. By this I mean the information I feed my mind needs to be healthy, balanced and loving towards myself and others. We so often allow these fear based thoughts to consume us and distract us from the very essence of our truth and existence until we have a reason big enough to change.

Let me ask you this…

If you only had three months to live how would you choose to live those days out? Who would you spend them with? Where would you spend them? How would you view the world? Would the burdens of today really be that big of an issue? Who would you forgive or reconnect with? What legacy would you leave behind?

Stay tuned for “Seven Billion Realities – Part Two”,

Janie xo

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I Believe in my Dream…

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I BELIEVE in my dream, I BELIEVE in my dream of making a positive difference in the world on a global scale. How will I do this? Well, this is unfolding for me every day, but mostly by sharing my accumulated knowledge and experience with others in one way or another. I’m not attached to any particular “How” only my “Why”. I envision a world where people feel safe and inspired to live their truth, growing themselves the way they bend and not the way someone else tells them they should. A world where people are accepted supported and encouraged to be the best versions of themselves in both the workplace and in life. Where organisations work with their people’s strengths and treat them as individuals with real needs and emotions. Where employees are seen as people and managers no longer exist, instead companies are led by brave and inspiring leaders who put their people above their own selfish needs. Einstein once said that “Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree then the fish will grow up always believing it is stupid”.  This is something I have both witnessed and experienced throughout my life.

I have worked really hard to get where I am in all areas of my life and I am still working towards constant growth and improvement. One area in particular has been my education. I was once a fish judged on my ability to climb a tree and even today I have people in my life committed to judging my potential for success on my inability to climb said tree. I think early on my commitment to my education was driven more by my decision to leave school only three weeks into year eleven. I always knew I wouldn’t be going to University; it just never seemed to align with my personality or my way of learning. I remember telling my mother how disinterested I was in anything school had to teach and that I wanted to get out and really live my life. My mother’s advice has served me well ever since “If I allow you to leave school now, you must promise me you will never stop learning and educating yourself” a promise I have kept.

By the time most of my friends had gotten half way through their University Degree I had already been out in the work force for seven years and had been living in the UK for two of those years. I was fiercely independent and on a mission to discover my purpose. I was like the hungry caterpillar; anything that inspired me would soon become my obsession (this is still true to this day). I would take all kinds of courses and lose myself for days and sometimes even weeks in the wonderful world of books, audio and in more recent years Google and YouTube on a quest to better understand what ever subject was top of mind.  Of course the one thing that stayed true is my fascination with the age old question “Who am I?” So most of my study and learnings have been centred on understanding people and how and why we do what we do in both life and in business.

I often joke that I am a perpetual student of the “University of Life” majoring in human behaviour. My mother has always told the story how as a child I was walking at only nine months and running by ten months, my curiosity constantly at play. Always a bright and happy baby, intuitively knowing how to make people smile I didn’t actually start talking until I was two years old. For those who know me they would certainly tell you I have more than made up for lost time. According to my parents, my first word was “Why?” driving them insane as I was never satisfied with a simple answer. It was because of this nature my parents rarely treated me like a child because I was never satisfied with being my own age. I always got a long better with older children and was more interested in talking with the adults.

Growing up I dreamed of fame and fortune, what kid doesn’t? In my quest to discover what my talent was I ran my mother ragged trying all kinds of things; ballet, gymnastics, tennis, swimming, horse riding, acting, singing and dancing. I always found some reason for giving up; either I didn’t like the shoes, the mosquitoes that were in the room or the teacher. Finally I settled on Ballroom dancing which I loved despite always being one step out of time. It certainly wasn’t going to bring me my fame and fortune however it did bring me much happiness and my lifelong best friend which is worth so much more. In looking back this is very much how I have learned throughout my life, trying everything of interest and learning as much as I could before following the next subject of interest to exertion.

I have always had a burning desire deep within me to do something really extraordinary with my life. However like many of us I have allowed the small thinking of others to squander such grandiose dreams for much of my life. As young as eleven I was listening to motivational cassettes about business and success. From the age of fifteen I was constantly trialling all kinds of ideas for inspiring others at work. I recall one day when I was working on the registers at Big W, I got it in my head one morning to go and buy a couple of packets of Freddo frogs. I placed one Freddo in each till before loading them into the registers with a little note saying, “Smile, it’s a great day! You can eat me after your shift”. Every time the girls opened their register and saw the Freddo beaming his big grin at them they couldn’t help but feel good and in turn share that feeling with their customer.

It was around this time that I decided that one day I would have my own business; I just didn’t quite know what that was. I have spent the last fifteen years preparing for this very moment. In looking back over my professional career I like to think of each of my employers as a subject in my degree at the “University of Life” and I have to be honest I didn’t always pass these subjects with flying colours (Stories for another day). None the less I have learnt more from my epic failures in life than I have from any of my successes.

When I was about nine years old I was in nippers for the Surf Life Savers. Part of being a nipper was achieving certain challenges in order to receive a badge of accomplishment. One of these challenges was to swim two laps of the local swimming pool which was 100m in total. I could only do one and half laps before I gave up from exhaustion. I was SO disappointed that I cried myself to sleep that night. Waking the next morning with new resolve I told my mother that I wanted to try again even though I wouldn’t get a badge for it. I just had to know within myself that I could do it and spent the next week psyching myself up for the challenge. The next weekend my mother took me back to the swimming pool. I was so determined and focused on my goal that I not only swam two laps, I swam eleven laps. I swam and swam until my little body could swim no more. I felt such a sense of achievement that day I thought my heart would burst.

Just like that day at the pool, every so called failure I have experienced in life and in business has only served as more fuel for my fire and intensified my desire to learn and understand the how’s and why’s of the event. Looking at every detail and seeking answers so as to continually increase my level of knowledge and success for future. I believe what sets me apart from a lot of others in my field is my extensive and varied experience in many industries, roles and organisations over the years. I can empathise with people at all levels because at one point or another I have been them and can identify with their struggles and their successes. I’ve always been fascinated by the inner workings of a company and the work flow for product realisation. I love nothing more than learning about how each person’s role fits together in the bigger picture of an organisation and the mindset associated with these roles and responsibilities.

I am passionate about people. I love how we are all individuals and yet we are all the same. Nothing makes my heart sing more than when people are inspired by what they do and love working with the people they work with. When people feel safe, trusted and inspired by their workplace they will go above and beyond to contribute and usually no amount of money will entice them away. Work life balance isn’t about time; it is about feeling safe and happy at both home and at work. I don’t claim to know all the answers, and that is a good thing because if I did I would never be inspired to learn and experience more. Instead of having to know everything myself, I surround myself with incredibly successful and knowledgeable people who are available to offer their guidance and support whenever I am in need either for myself or for my clients. This is exactly how the most successful business people in the world run their businesses and created their wealth. They all understand that it is ok not to know the answers and to hire people who are smarter and more experienced than they are. They play to their strengths and allow their people to play to theirs.

My life completely changed the day I realised that I wasn’t stupid because I couldn’t climb the tree, I am in fact the complete opposite because I can do something so much better; I can swim!!!

Create the space for people to grow like they bend and anything is possible… 

Until next time,

Janie xo

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Reflections of the Past Year and the Year Ahead…

 

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On Saturday I had the privilege of hanging out with two of my much younger cousins while their parents attended their annual Christmas Party. It suddenly dawned on me that despite it feeling like only a couple of months ago, it is actually a whole twelve months since I was looking after them for last year’s Christmas party. WOW!!! The last twelve months has flown by and I know this is a familiar cry from most of us, as each year seems to disappear like the sand through an hour glass quicker and quicker as we get older. When we were little and had no real concept of time our entire year was based around three key dates; our Birthday, Easter and Christmas and they took for EVER to roll around. I don’t know about you however even my concept of seasons was based solely on the fact that sometimes I liked a hot shower and other times I preferred a cold shower.

On one hand I feel like I haven’t really accomplished that much this past year and on the other hand I am blown away by what has truly unfolded in my life since this time a year ago. Everything I truly focused on has become my reality in one way or another with a few bonuses along the way. I have launched my own business, left my beloved job after four and half years, have some unbelievable clients, travelled to Sydney  nine times, Melbourne twice, Perth and Adelaide. I have met some of the most beautiful people and new friends that I could have ever hoped to embrace in my life. I launched my speaking career with ease and success; I started and ended a beautiful romance, moved in with my incredible family and have spent more special time with my aging grandfather than I have in the last ten years. I have identified exactly what my life purpose is and feel 100% certain I am indeed on the right path. So with this in mind I have fit quite a bit in and have a lot to be proud of.

I can’t help but think a little deeper about what has really come to pass. After all achieving goals are not our true objective in life; it’s who we become in the process that really counts. We all have good days, weeks, and months and even years, we also all have bad days, weeks, months and years. However, even the most challenging of times forces us to expand on so many levels. Just when we think we can’t possible endure any more pain or drama the season changes and there is again calm and time for deep reflection. These are the times that we have the opportunity to take heed of ourselves and others to make sense of what is really at play in our lives. The lessons we have learnt, the growth we have experienced, the love we have received, the people, beliefs and material possessions we have let go of and those that we have embraced.

As Christmas is drawing near and everyone is busy just trying to ‘get through Christmas’ I find myself feeling pretty blessed. There are still SO many things I wish to invite into my life personally, professionally and spiritually however looking around myself today I can truly say that I am one of the wealthiest people I know. Roger Hamilton always says “Wealth is what a person has left when you take away all of their money” and this is true of my life today. I still have my days of anxiousness and fear about what the future may hold however the days of peace, love and satisfaction far surpass any of these more worrisome thoughts and feelings. The question I often find myself asking is “How did I get here?”

I have always been on this path since I was a small child however I have taken many a detour before finally realising which path is truly destined for me. Although many people before me have walked a similar path, I am now creating my own unique journey which is in total alignment with who I am at the core of my being. This knowledge in itself is extremely comforting. I know that there are many more challenges ahead of me however for the first time in my life I feel completely prepared to tackle them head on with love, compassion and appreciation. Every day is an opportunity to put everything I have learned into practice in the most positive ways.

For even during the darkest storms of our lives, the sun is always shining on the other side of the clouds. If life was easy all of the time then we would never grow, expand our thinking or attract new and inspiring experiences into our lives. It is these dark storms that push us out of our comfort zones and draw out our true strength and resilience. It is during these times that we become more of who we already are. There is no good or bad, right or wrong, everything just is. It is only us that determines those beliefs in our lives, I know for myself the times I have considered ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ have actually brought about some of the greatest blessings in my world. Life is constantly changing, nothing ever stays the same, people and things come and go, each leaving their mark in our hearts and exchanging gifts of knowledge, memories and lessons. Therefore nothing is ever truly lost; we simply silently outgrow each other at different times and for different reasons, forever connected through memory.

Looking ahead into the infinite possibilities which lie ahead of all of us in 2014, I am excited about the opportunities which are waiting with baited breath for my arrival. I believe with all of my heart that anything is possible if you only believe it to be. Success is always found just on the outer edge of our comfort zone, this is where the magic really happens and I fully intend to push myself to these outer edges to find my rewards. We are all truly deserving of all that we desire. Life isn’t a game of luck; it’s a game of preparation meeting opportunity which will bring about your greatest bounties. If you can imagine it, believe in it and feel it in your soul you will surely manifest your desires into your reality. I don’t know about you but I have no intentions of living an ordinary life, I am living an extraordinary life!!!

Anything is possible in 2014… Are you ready for it?

Until next time,

Janie xo

Photograph by the very talented Darren Rooney – You can check out his other photos and follow him here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/51334687@N06/with/5998633941/ and here https://www.facebook.com/PhotographybyDarrenR/photos_stream

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Are you Beautiful Enough???

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I have never been one to spend a lot of money on glossy magazines as I have come to realise over the years that I usually don’t get my value out of them. In many cases it’s not exactly high level journalism more like high level sensationalism and the stories versus adverts claiming they will transform your life if you buy their products are generally way out of balance. I am however guilty of taking an extra five minutes or so to flick through these glossy beauties and check out the pictures, latest headlines and occasionally speed reading an article or two of interest when I do my groceries. Now we all secretly love it when we see these seemingly perfect human beings gracing the pages who never normally have a hair out of place or a pimple in sight displaying normal everyday body issues just like us mere mortals. In actual fact I’ve heard that spreads on Celebs without makeup are some of the highest selling editions.

It is little wonder we have become a society obsessed with how we look and how everyone else looks right alongside of us. Constantly comparing ourselves to the elusive world of beauty and fame, worrying about how our peers perceive us. It reminds me of what my Grandfather would tell me growing up “Janie, if you knew just how little time other people spent thinking about you, you wouldn’t worry in the first place”. Now to a great degree these words ring truer today than any other time in my life however I am still acutely aware of our deep human condition to want to be accepted. With all of these magazines, movies, television and advertising we are all at the mercy of this big money making industry of fashion and beauty.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love to look and feel beautiful. I love wearing beautiful clothes and nice jewellery, hats, bags and quality shoes. I’ve looked after my skin with a daily cleanse and moisturiser routine since I was eleven years old and for the most part I look after myself and take a lot of pride in my appearance. What prompted this article was one of the most recent magazines I happened to pick up which was showcasing high profile celebs and their cellulite. I have to admit, a warm sense of satisfaction swelled within me when I saw that some of the most beautiful women in the world also have this seemingly unattractive issue. Even better was their attitude towards their bodies, defiant and confident. Without someone there to airbrush and photo shop them, they are just like me, just like you.

Most of us are our own worst enemy, avoiding the mirror unless necessary and when we do look in that said mirror our internal dialogue goes to work. “Gee you’re looking old” “Fatty boomba you need to go on a diet!” “Wow, you’re ugly” “Who would be attracted to you?”… Sound familiar? If you had a friend that spoke to you like that every time you met with them would you keep hanging out with them? Then why do we treat ourselves like this?

It’s taken me a long time, however I have worked on it daily until I can now honestly look in the mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful. I’m certainly not model material however I don’t need to be either. There are still things I’d change if I could. I’d like to have nicer teeth, longer lashes, and tanned skin, a better nose and maybe even be a few inches taller. However then I take check and realise that I can get better teeth and change my nose if I really want to go through that pain. I can also get a spray tan and fake lashes. With all the travel I do these days I realise being vertically challenged has its advantages as I fit quite comfortably in planes and trains and have no issues sleeping.

However, what I do have is so much more important. I have two eyes that see with 20/20 vision, I have two arms, hands, legs and feet that work perfectly. I can run, walk, swim, throw, catch, hold, pick up and hug in a nanosecond of the thought. I have an incredible mind, a healthy body, I rarely ever feel unwell, I get plenty of sleep, I have great hair and I’m a good weight for my height. When I remember all of these things I am beautiful just the way I am. I even embrace my cellulite because this is part of me, it is a natural part of being a woman and to disown this part of myself is telling my body that I am not enough and that is so far from the truth.

My best friend and I have made a pact with each other that when we have children we will never put ourselves down in front of them. I spent my childhood watching my mother complain about how fat, ugly, old or stupid she was and she always seemed to be on some new diet. She was none of these things and yet as an impressionable young girl I bought into this false belief and made it my own. After all, she was my mother and I was part of her so I must also be just like that… right?  Children are so perceptive and are like little sponges as we all know. If we want our children to value and love themselves, believe they are beautiful, perfect and worthy of all that they desire in life than we too must hold this belief about ourselves.

“Even the most unfortunate person has something so truly beautiful about them; maybe it’s their eyes, their smile, their hair or their personality.”

Of course it is important to look after ourselves, have a healthy lifestyle and dress nicely, to feel good within ourselves and not to impress everyone else around us. One thing I have realised is that there is always going to be someone we are looking at wishing we were more like them  however there is always going to be someone looking at us wishing they were more like us. I have heard it said many times that in a room full of people that the most beautiful person in the room is not the best looking; it’s the person with the most confidence and self-belief. When I think back over my life this is so true. The people I’ve found to be the most attractive are not necessarily all that good looking, however they are confident, loving, fun and at peace within themselves.

We were all born perfect so what makes us think we somehow become less perfect? We are all imperfectly perfect and becoming more each and every day. You ARE beautiful enough! 

Until next time,

Janie xo

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10 Things I Wish my Mum Told me About Boys & Sex

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It never ceases to amaze me how many women I talk to these days that have so many regrets, misunderstandings and emotional turmoil around boys and sex. With almost all of my female clients and girlfriends this is a topic which comes up quite regularly. It’s also something I have given a lot of thought to over the years. I grew up in a very open and loving family, we were also what some people would consider a nudist family. Nudity was never something sexualised and when I was younger I had a very healthy body image as a result of this. I was also fortunate enough to have a very positive introduction into the world of relationships and boys. However, I was totally unprepared for the reality that lay ahead of me thereafter.

Of course, most of the points below could easily be switched around and be equally valid for guys about girls however for the purpose of this slightly cheeky article I’m focusing on boys. (sorry guys :)

Here are my top ten things I wish my Mum had told me about the world of boys and sex…

  1. Boys will tell you almost anything to get you into bed. Never believe everything a boy tells you when he has a hard on. They really can’t think with more than one head at a time, this is neuroscience at its best.
  2. Not all boys will respect you in the morning, sex is not love.
  3. Masturbation is perfectly normal, healthy and nothing to be ashamed of.
  4. If a boy buys you dinner, gifts or does nice things for you, you are not obligated to return the favor with sexual gestures.
  5. You are one of the most special gifts of all; any boy who gets to be with you should feel honored.  Let him chase you until you catch him.
  6. Boys will treat you exactly the same way you treat yourself. If you don’t value yourself then you will attract boys that don’t value you either.
  7. Sex is NOT the way to a boy’s heart. If he won’t put the time into get to know your heart then he isn’t worth your time.
  8. If you can’t be open and honest with the world about your relationship then you shouldn’t be in it.
  9. NEVER play with another girl’s boy, no matter how unhappy he tells you they are. (Refer to #1)
  10. Not all boys are cheats, liars and thieves (The “Bad Boys” which we are all seemingly attracted to). There are a lot of very decent boys who just want to love you right and be loved right in return, be open to meeting these guys and hold onto them when you find them, they are worth keeping.

Bonus – Never make big decisions about your life when you are Horny, Angry or Hungry.

What things do you wish you were told about the world of boys/girls and sex growing up?

Until next time,

Janie xo

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My School Reunion & Love – Final

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After a few games of pool it was time to go our separate ways again, for the moment at least. I went back and sat with the rest of my old school friends and joined in their renditions of high school memories. I tried my best to stay present with the conversation but my mind was continuously jumping from present to past to future and back to present again. From that point on the night seemed to go a lot faster than I would have liked and before I knew it the clock struck twelve and it was time to go.

Just before we were all set to drive back into town I went to say goodbye to my ex. He was still in complete shock that I was there and trying to find the right words to express himself. I invited him to join my family and me for lunch at the beach the following day and we exchanged numbers. We held each other in a long embrace before finally saying goodbye. At the last minute I had decided to listen to my intuition and opted to drive to the hotel instead of drink, which worked out to be a wise choice. I drove a group of us back into town with the intention to continue the party. I spent all of about twenty minutes at the local night spot, only to realise pretty quickly that being sober and over twenty-five meant it wasn’t really my thing. So I said my goodbyes to my reunion friends and was about to make my way home when I received a call from my ex.

He just really wanted to talk with me and so I drove around to his house where we simply sat on the porch and talked, and talked, and talked some more until the sun rose to greet us. We talked about his partner, the kids, work, family, old friends and us. He expressed his true feelings for me and told me that I was the only woman who ever really loved and accepted him for who he was, and that I was one of the best things that ever happened to him. He apologised for the way he had treated me in the past and for not fighting for me. He also wished he had let me know ten years ago how much he loved me. He also told me that he had never known anyone who had so much love to give. (Let’s face it, he might have been the one in pain but his honesty and sharing was also great for my ego!)

Over the years I have often wondered if anyone I have dated had ever actually been in love with me, on this night I finally got my answer. In actual fact, I discovered answers to a whole range of internal questions I had about myself and found another level of peace and acceptance within.

His pain eased with each passing hour as I listened and gently guided him to think more positive and objective thoughts. Drawing on all of my personal and professional experience I was able to help him heal, accept and breathe more easily again, simply by loving him without judgement. Sometimes all we need is a friend who can give us their time, love and openness when we are hurting and confused.  Although our boat sailed ten years ago, I feel very blessed to have been there for one of the most influential and special people in my life during his time of need. I truly believe, once again, I was sent to him to be his earth angel for a moment and give him some love and guidance to keep him on the right track during one of the most testing times of his life to date. It was a very healing and enlightening experience for both of us.

This whole experience did, however, get me thinking. What if? What if I had spoken up that night ten years ago? Who would I have become? Would we have worked out? Would I have been attending those reunions as a married woman with children? Would I have ever discovered my purpose and be living it? Maybe somewhere in a parallel universe we are living happily ever after together. However, as far as this universe is concerned I have no regrets and I believe everything has happened exactly as it should. I love my life and I am excited about what lies ahead.

One of the greatest things I have come to realise from this experience is that I realise that I do want to share my life with someone special and have a family one day. The difference is that I don’t simply want to get married because I want to have children; I want to have children because I have found and married the love of my life. I am thirty-two, single, childless, and for the first time in a very long time there is no-one in my life that I am emotionally or romantically inclined towards and I am loving every minute of it while it lasts. I have a biological clock and yes it is ticking, though not so loudly these days. I appreciate all that I have in my life right here, right now. After all, the past is the past and the future isn’t guaranteed. All we truly have is this present moment.

There is definitely room in my life for the right person to come in and sweep me off of my feet, but all in good time. What I won’t do, however, is place him on a pedestal where he will inevitably fall into the pit when he fails to support my values like has happened in the past. Nor will I rely on him for my happiness or take responsibility for his.

I now know that I deserve someone who will love, adore and support me for all that I have to offer and vice versa. No one is perfect, but someone out there somewhere is perfectly imperfect for me and one day our paths will cross. Maybe it will be two days from now, two weeks, two months, two years or longer. No matter what, I know that there is nothing wrong with me and that perhaps I have simply outgrown people I have dated in the past quite quickly. I can’t think of one relationship I have had where I wish things were different. What I do know to be true is that the world works in mysterious ways, I am supported and loved unconditionally, and that I am most definitely enough and so are you! 

Until next time,

Janie xo

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My School Reunion & Love – Part Three

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We all warmly embraced each other like old lost friends and were completely comfortable with it, even people who I can’t recall ever having a proper conversation with. The reality is who we all were at high school and who we become are vastly different, and I feel really sad for people who still hold grudges for things people did or said when they were just kids. After high school everyone has different experiences that change, mould and influence them to generally become better people.

I was of course the only single, childless person in the group. I found it absolutely fascinating to listen to these beautiful women and men discuss their children, their education, ideas, hopes and dreams for their families. It was a really lovely reminder that there are still some really great mums and dads out there that actually give a shit. It was also refreshing to hear their very honest account of exactly what it is like to be a parent, something I can only partially relate to.

Listening mostly to the ladies talking, I was most amused at just how much it felt like we were like a bunch of kids playing dress up. I couldn’t believe how it wasn’t that long ago that we were the kids looking up at people our age thinking they were SO old and boring. And here we were, those not SO old people talking about their kids, education, dance lessons, swim lessons and everything else school age kids get up to. Our last reunion was only four years ago as no one thought to do anything for the ten year anniversary and so an eleven year reunion happened instead.

The conversations back then were very different. Then it was all birth canals, potty training and breast feeding. I recall feeling a little left out, disappointed that I wasn’t at that stage in my life; I was honestly feeling a bit insecure about not being married or having started a family yet. I had fully expected that by that time in my life I would have found the love of my life, settled down and had a little family of my own. I also expected that by the time the next reunion rolled around I too would be talking about dirty nappies and sleepless nights. And here we were, four years later, only this time my feelings about being single and childless were and are vastly different.

I had so much admiration for these incredible people around me, each sharing their trials and tribulations of marriage, life and kids. The interesting thing is this time there wasn’t one tiny part of me wishing that was my life. In fact, I was feeling more relief than anything that my time was still ahead of me and that I still had the freedom to run my own life. One thing I have come to realise over the course of my life is that for everything you want to achieve in your life, there is always something you currently value which you need to sacrifice. Right now, that something would have to be my own time; time to sleep, read, travel, and build my business and most importantly time with myself. For the first time in my life I have the healthiest and happiest relationship with myself and I have to admit there is a little bit of fear around loosing that.

Although thoroughly enjoying the conversations about kids and everyone’s journey thus far, my mind was definitely wondering back to my ex and how bizarre it all really was. I couldn’t believe that of all the nights for both of us to be at the hotel… I hadn’t been back for about eight years and he hadn’t been back for at least five. After so much travel and work, the few weeks beforehand, I was seriously contemplating not going. I just couldn’t shake the niggling feeling that I needed to be there, and so trusting and following my intuition I went. I am so glad I listened.

It was our turn for pool and we were playing doubles. It was at this point in the night that if it had been a movie you would have seen my character walk through a warped blue wall and step into the past. I really felt like I was right back to being sixteen years old again and suddenly we were both right back there together. It was so comfortable, familiar and a little bit weird. As we played pool, we talked, laughed and silently remembered our past.

Until the final part,

Janie xo

2

My School Reunion & Love – Part Two

First Love

I recently went home for my fifteen year school reunion which just so happened to be at the very venue my first real dating experience began sixteen years ago. Growing up, my family owned a turf farm about fifteen minutes outside of town. The South Kolan Hotel was our local watering hole and where I would spend most of my Friday and Saturday nights from when I was only sixteen until I was about nineteen. Three weeks into year eleven I decided that high school was no longer able to provide me with the kind of education I needed at the time, so I left school to do a Certificate in Hospitality.

When I left school and decided University wasn’t really going to be one of my options, I cashed in my ‘University Fund’ that my parents had saved, all $4,000 of it. They told me that they realised I wasn’t going to go down that path years ago and decided not to bother putting any more money in. I bought my first car and an old caravan, which I gutted, and then had a builder refit it like a big bedroom on wheels. It took pride of place down the back of the big backyard of the family home. I loved the freedom and space this gave me away from my annoying siblings and parents.

Part of the hospitality course included doing work experience and the South Kolan Hotel kindly obliged. It was here that I got together with my very first serious boyfriend. I was just three weeks shy of my seventeenth birthday and he was twenty-three. His mother was my bus driver when I was ten and one of the most beautiful women you could ever hope to meet. We spent many a weekend at the hotel playing pool, drinking with the locals and making many a happy memory. We spent every day together for six months; he was my first real love.

This was a time of innocence and coming of age. I was still so open and naïve, untarnished by the real world. My reality was much simpler back then; there was no internet, mobiles, terrorists or emotional baggage to deal with. Every day after we finished work we would ask each of our folks what was for dinner and then dine with whoever was putting on the best spread. We were youthful and full of hope for our futures. After all, getting older was forever away. Little did I know then just how quickly those years would come to pass! I remember the first night we got together  we had been playing pool and having a great night talking at the pub (I was drinking soft drink and driving) with neither of us wanting the night to end he came back to the van where we continued to talk and kiss all night.  I confessed to him that night that I was still a virgin and I wasn’t going to rush into anything. It could be six months before I was ready. He didn’t care and was just happy to be with me.

I was very lucky to have the privacy and space from the rest of the family at this time of my young adult life. I think from memory I lasted about a week before I declared I was ready. I remember being so impressed with this new found activity that the poor guy could hardly keep up with me after that. Oh to be seventeen again! Now some might wonder why I would share something so intimate with the world. My answer, I have nothing to hide and I am certainly not ashamed of something so beautiful and special. I feel very blessed to have had such a positive and loving first time with such a considerate, gentle and respectful partner. Unlike many of the girls at school, where I heard of so many stories about young inexperienced boys taking advantage of drunken girls at a party and everything just being messy and painful both physically and emotionally.

We had so much fun together, I got on well with all of his friends and despite being at least five years younger than everyone else I was able to hold my own. We parted ways after he read my very first ‘bucket list’ and he decided, or perhaps realised, that he and I were not going to have the happy ending after all. I truly wish I still had that very first list to see just how modest or grand my dreams were as my seventeen year old self. Whatever was on that list, he obviously didn’t see how he would fit in the greater picture. I was devastated, despite knowing in my heart that it was probably the right thing for both of us.

This was most definitely one of the most defining relationships of my life and always will be. During this time I learnt a lot of important life lessons which have continued to support me throughout the years. He was with me the day we discovered the mole on the back of my uncles head, the day the results came back and although no longer together he was there to hold me the day we buried him six months later. That was one of the kinds of life changing events that bond you for life. The day we kissed goodbye at my uncle’s funeral was the last time we saw each other for over four years. He met a girl several weeks later and married her.

Last weekend when I walked into the pub to meet my old school friends from fifteen years ago I happened to run into another old friend, my ex-boyfriends best friend. It turned out it was also my ex’s mother’s sixty-fifth birthday party; I hadn’t seen her for a very long time. And of course my ex was also there. She also informed me that he had recently split from his partner a few weeks earlier. I realised that I hadn’t seen my ex since just after he separated from his wife when I was only twenty-one. Somehow our paths crossed just at that point in time and I was there to help him through his separation as a trusted friend and sounding board. I was kind of seeing someone else at the time, though we did discuss our past and feelings for one another openly and healed a lot during that time.

A few weeks later I was no longer seeing the other guy and was considering the possibility of reconciliation. We met while out one night and I was just about to open up to him about my thoughts when someone else seduced him on the dance floor. In that moment I decided that the universe had spoken and kept my thoughts to myself. It was definitely one of those sliding door moments in life. The new woman he met wasn’t my biggest fan and kept him at a safe distance from me and inevitably we lost touch. He went on to raise her three children from a previous marriage and have a little girl of their own. They never married and always had a tumultuous relationship eventually falling out of love and staying together for the sake of the kids.

Walking inside the hotel the night of the reunion and seeing him at the bar talking with some of the old regulars was quite an interesting experience. It was as though my past was rushing in to greet me in every way. When he saw me he looked like he had seen a ghost and could hardly get his words out. We embraced each other for a long time and still he had no words. He couldn’t believe that I would turn up again at the exact same time I turned up last time when he separated from his wife. At this point I had to leave him and go and be with all of my old school friends. We agreed to have a couple of games of pool later on, just like old times. When I made my way out to the reunion, which was much more of a gathering than a formal event, I was again greeted by the past. There were so many familiar faces I felt as though I still knew them because of Facebook and yet really had no idea who anyone had truly become.


 Until part three,

Janie xo

8

My School Reunion & Love – Part One

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For my entire life I have always believed that I would grow up, fall in love, have a family and live happily ever after. Sound familiar?

Over the years I have dated pretty much every type of guy; the narcissist, the romantic, the psychopath, the damaged one, the mummy’s boy, the workaholic, the bad boy, the womaniser, the spiritualist… I think you get the point. I would fall helplessly in lust with the fantasy of a life together that my Ego and Libido so kindly created for me. I would foolishly believe, despite all the red flags that I could make it work.

Most of my relationships have been fast, heavy, intense and short-lived, leaving me  feeling like I wasn’t enough, that somehow I was the one lacking. A peculiar pattern also seemed to emerge over the past decade; a high percentage of the guys I dated would meet, fall in love and marry the very next girl they dated only weeks or months after we split, (much like the female version of Charlie in the movie ‘Good Luck Chuck’).

This has been my life…

“I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.” 
― 
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Of course this would only add salt to the wound, even if I was only in love with the fantasy of our potential, both as individuals and as a couple. Many a night has been spent crying myself to sleep wondering why didn’t they love me? Why did I continuously fall for the wrong guy? What was wrong with me? Was I doomed to live like this forever?

When I was twenty-nine I reconnected with a guy on Facebook that I had dated briefly four years earlier (one of the aforementioned guys who married the next girl). After a few chats online he opened up and told me about the sad breakdown of his marriage twelve months earlier after his wife met someone else. We instantly picked up where we left off and within no time at all my Ego and Libido had taken full control of our budding relationship, leaving my inner self questioning their every move, but to no avail. Over the course of the next six months every insecurity I ever had about myself and my relationships reared its ugly head.

I have long been a believer that we are made up predominantly of three personalities; the Ego, the Libido and the Observer or Inner Self, also known as our intuition. Despite all the obvious danger signs my Ego and Libido were convinced that this was meant to be, that we were perfect for each other, and that I could heal his broken heart. After six months of a long distance relationship we called it a day and parted as friends the day after my thirtieth birthday when he moved to the Caribbean for work.

Despite knowing this was the right thing for both of us, I couldn’t help but feel absolutely heartbroken, believing he was the first person I truly fell in love with. The fantasy my Ego had sold me was amazing and I struggled to let go of what I believed at the time to be the most incredible man and relationship of my life to date. He was handsome, successful, fun, loving and intelligent, everything I had been looking for. Or so I thought. I had, in all my wisdom, put him on a pedestal and now he had fallen in the pit and it hurt, a lot. Several months followed of us (ok, so mostly me) letting go of the dream and moving on with our lives. It was at this point in my life that everything changed. I decided there had to be a better way. How could one person have that much control over my emotions and mental state? The answer? They don’t, I do!

This was only the start of my journey of self-discovery, and the events that have unfolded since then have been nothing short of incredible. Fast forward a couple of years and my life is a completely different story. I am now coming up to my thirty-third birthday, I am single, childless, have my own business, found my purpose, live with my family and never been happier. For the first time in my life, my focus isn’t on meeting someone and settling down and having a family like many of us have been programed to believe is our entire purpose as a woman. Now don’t get me wrong, this is still a dream I hold dear to my heart; however, I like to think that I will be ok if this isn’t one of the infinite possibilities my future holds in store for me.

For several months I have been questioning this lifelong dream and its validity. I had the good fortune of being a nanny for twelve months when I was only nineteen years of age and it was a rude awakening as to just how much work kids can be. After seeing many friends go before me to do the whole marriage and children gig I can’t help but wonder if it really is all it’s cracked up to be.  I love to sleep. I love spending time on my own and having no one to answer to. I love to cook when I feel like it and suit myself every other night. I love to travel and work in my business. For the first time in my life I finally have balance, focus, self-belief, purpose and momentum.

The question I find myself asking is… do I really want that life?  Absolutely I do, well for the most part at least; however, more than ever before the alternative path looks somewhat appealing as well. Although, I do half joke about spending a life on my terms and simply borrowing other peoples kids and having a lover in every city instead…Hmmm…

 Until part two… of four…
Janie xo