Everything will be OK (Part 2)

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‘Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.’

– Anon –

Following on from Part 1 of this four part blog series, here is Part 2 for you.

. . . I literally had no money in my account for months and months and months. Any money that Darren helped me out with went straight out to pay for training courses I had already committed to, paid for my phone bill, or contributed to ferry tickets so I could go into the city and meet with prospective clients.

This was the most dire financial situation I had been in throughout my entire life. However, I know, for certain that it happened for a reason. In fact, it had to happen. Because I needed to learn the things that I needed to learn, by going through what I went through. And no matter how rubbish it felt throughout that 7 month period, I have come out of it the other side, an even better person than I was before. I also know that I wouldn’t have the perspective I have now looking back on it.

So, you may ask, what have I learnt? And this for me is the most important thing. Life sometimes throws us curveballs. Sometimes it gives us something to deal with that, in the moment, we feel as though we just aren’t equipped to handle. But, sometimes what we don’t realise is, that the Universe only ever gives us exactly what we need, in the exact moment that we need it. And it never gives us anything greater than that which we are equipped to deal with.

So, what have I learnt?

I’ve learnt to receive help from people who love me, much more easily and willingly – I know that before this year I would feel very guilty receiving help from people. I didn’t want to feel vulnerable or weak. I didn’t want to be a burden. I didn’t want to put people out. I didn’t want to admit that I needed help from someone. It was always much easier to just deal with things by myself. And so far this year, I have definitely allowed people to help me a lot more than I ever had.

It has been in these moments of allowing myself to be vulnerable, that I have allowed someone in, who loves me, to help me. And by doing so, I have softened my heart and started to remove some of the armour I had subconsciously built up around it. The armour that existed, because I didn’t want people to think that I was weak.

I’ve also learnt to have a better relationship with money – my relationship with money had never been perfect. Before I started my business, throughout my 20s, I had earned a lot of money working in the Corporate World in Branding and Marketing. In fact, since starting working for Virgin in 2003, I can’t really remember there ever being a time where I struggled for cash. I was always earning. There was always money in my bank account. I never had to worry about whether I could afford to do something or go somewhere, I just did. I had a Carpe Diem approach to life and a Carpe Diem approach to money. However, I never saved. I never had anything in reserve. It was only when I was with my ex-boyfriend that I saved, and that was only for one year. It was an important year though, because the $7000 that I saved while we were together, contributed to the other money that I saved not long after my 30th birthday, which paid for my Round the World Trip, which ended up bringing me to Australia . . . . .

Part 3 will follow tomorrow . . . .

Sending you love, hugs and light,

Kat x x x

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Advice on life

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It seems as though most of my posts recently have been starting, ‘I just watched this awesome video and wanted to share it with you’, so I will continue on that theme today.

I have just watched a fantastic Graduation Speech by the very wonderful and funny comedic, musical genius that is Mr Tim Minchin that he gave recently at the University of Western Australia.

He gives advice to the graduates on life and outlines 8 suggestions throughout his speech:

  1. You don’t have to have a dream
  2. Don’t seek happiness
  3. It’s all luck
  4. Exercise
  5. Be hard on your opinions
  6. Be a teacher
  7. Define yourself by what you love
  8. Respect people with less power than you
  9. Don’t rush

In isolation, they don’t make a whole heap of sense, but in the context of his speech they are poetic, philosophical and really very profound. So if you have a spare 11 minutes today, I can highly recommend indulging them in watching the clip.

This aside I have been having some pretty interesting thoughts and feelings on life myself recently. I have dedicated the last 18 months to starting and running my own business, and despite the fact I have put my heart and soul into making it successful and everything I could wish it to be, things have not been moving in the direction I thought they might.

I’ve struggled to find people who need the services that I offer (conscious brand consulting) and even when I’ve found people who love me and what I do, they haven’t been able to pay me for my services. As such, I have come to the conclusion recently that either there is something that I’m not doing, that I should be doing, or that perhaps it’s just not meant to be.

I still don’t have the absolute and final answer, but I’m pretty close to giving up and admitting defeat. Which is OK.

Either way, I guess the learning that I have is, sometimes you just need to let go. Sometimes you need to stop pushing. Sometimes things don’t work out as you’d hope. Sometimes you need to stop doing what you’re doing. Sometimes you need to allow something to fall away, so that you can create space for something else equally (if not more) wonderful to fill its place.

I have no idea how things will roll with Thought Cloud. All I do know is that I’ve come to terms with the fact that it might be time to allow the final curtain to fall and get ready for the next Act to start. Who knows? I’m just going to allow the Universe to do its work and guide me and be open to whoever and whatever shows up in my life to help me out.

Be fearless. Be trusting. Be resilient. Be open. And allow the Universe to take care of you. It knows more about what is right for you in every moment that you can possibly imagine.

Sending you lots of love,

Kat x x x

Image gratitude – http://allwomenstalk.com/8-pieces-of-expert-advice-about-life

Start your day by doing good

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“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

– Zig Ziglar –

I just read a short and sweet article that a friend of mine shared on Facebook and it inspired me for my blog post today.

It is a very simple daily practice by Diane Von Furstenberg, whereby she starts her day by sending one email that doesn’t benefit her at all.

In a Q&A session at a FastCompany conference the designer explains that the email could be an introduction of an artist to a potential patron saint or something as simple, direct and appreciated as a compliment.

I personally start my day with making a list of everything that I am grateful for, but I also love the idea of the first email that I send being one that is focussed on doing good.

Yesterday I wrote 3 testimonials for people who have helped me, one for the company that helped me produce my new website, another for Sara from therightinkonthewall.com who did the proof reading for my website and another for an amazing lady called Julie who runs a company called Aromatique Essentials and who created the most beautiful essential oils perfume for me recently. These were some of the first things that I did on my to do list before anything else, and I am now inspired by Diane to ensure that the first thing I do every day is send at least one email that will help someone else.

So, the question for you today is, what email can you write or what message can you send that won’t benefit you in the slightest, but will help someone else?

Sending you lots of love, hugs and light,

Kat x x x

Inspiration for this post

How Diane von Furstenberg starts her day – article from wellandgoodnyc.com

Help others and you’ll be rewarded

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“You will get all you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.”

– Zig Ziglar –

This is something that I was taught last year by a fantastic Mentor, Coach and Entrepreneur called Mr Matt Catling last year, and it is something that is very close to my heart as a businesswoman too. It is also the reason why I set up my company. All I want to do is help people make a healthy living doing what they want, while giving back to a good cause, which is why we support a fantastic NGO called My Happy Village Cambodia.

And I wanted to share a piece of really good news with you all, which proves that this works! I am a big fan of music festivals, always have been, always will. There is something really quite wonderful about experiencing live music, out in the open air and surrounded by thousands of people who all share the same love, in amongst nature, the elements and the beauty of the great outdoors.

I was a regular at Glastonbury, having grown up just 20 minutes down the road from it in the West Country. I have also been to numerous other festivals up and down the country (V, Reading, Leeds, Isle of Wight, The Big Chill . . the list goes on) and festivals abroad too, like Rockwerchter in Belgium.

While I was travelling in New Zealand, I made it a goal of mine to come back and set up a festival there to be set against the backdrop of the amazing and beautiful scenery and landscape that the country has to offer. Maybe something like Mount Cook.

And when I moved to Sydney, I made it a goal of mine to start to enjoy all of the amazing music festivals that this great city has to offer. So last year I frequented Big Day Out, Future Music, Field Day and Laneways.

This brings us up to now, where I am looking at the line up for Splendour in the Grass with much excitement, and I have also recently stumbled across a brand new festival which is being launched in Sydney called Vagabond.

This particularly interests me, as it seems to be like a baby Glastonbury. Set in an old orchard in the Kangaroo Valley, it is the brain child of a guy called Adam Taylor. I first heard about the festival before Christmas through a friend in Manly and was intrigued. And recently, I secured a headline slot at the festival for one of my amazing clients, the World Class Chilean DJ who has just moved to Australia to launch his career here and set up shop for good, DJ Sien.

So, what relevance does this have to helping others and you’ll be rewarded? Well recently, I noticed that the festival is not that far away (8-10 June) and I hadn’t seen much marketing or promotion for the event. So I dropped Adam an email to see if there was anything I could do to help from a Marketing and Branding perspective. And this was without an agenda and completely and utterly from a place of love.

We met last week to discuss the festival, and the more I learnt about it, the more excited I got, and now Thought Cloud are on board to help market, brand and promote the event and ensure that the inaugural Vagabond Festival is a resounding success and to lay the foundations for more amazing Vagabonds in the future.

So the moral of today’s post is, if you have the feeling or the desire to help someone in life, just follow that feeling, follow you heart, do it from a place of love, and I promise that you will be rewarded.

After all, what goes around comes around, and if you put good things out into the Universe, they will come back to you in equal measure.

All you need to do is decide who you want to help.

Inspiration for today’s post

Video of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ – Joe Cocker – Queens Jubilee Celebration

 

We only get one life, best make the most of it

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“You say the more you think you know what’s right 
The less you do what you feel inside 
So I won’t pretend that I always know 
I just follow my heart wherever it goes 
And I may not always get it right 
But at least I’m living coz I’ve only got this…

One life, one life, one life, I’ve got this one life.” 

– James Morrison –

While I was travelling in 2011 I was listening to all sorts of music, which provided the soundtrack to my escapades, and I came across James Morrison’s album The Awakening at some point along the way.

I’m not entirely sure when it was or where I was, but it had a pretty profound effect on me. And three songs in-particular: ‘One Life‘ and ‘The Awakening‘ and ‘The Person I Should Have Been‘. This also came at the time I was listening to Mumford & Sons ‘The Cave‘ a lot, especially during my time travelling around New Zealand.

“Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it’s meant to be”

 I remember sitting on the Kiwi Experience bus as we bombed about the North Island, zipping through luscious green fields, passing by herds of sheep and hay bails with All Blacks signs attached to them in support of their National Rugby Team for the World Cup. And as I sat and stared out the window a-gasp at just how incredibly beautiful a country could be, the soundtrack to my travels filled my head with thoughts and ideas about what I would do when I finished travelling.

I knew I wasn’t going back to the UK, but wasn’t going to share that thought with anyone until I knew what the plan was. What I really wasn’t sure of was where I was going to end up. My initial thought had always been to finish my 9 month trip in California, head straight to Silicon Valley, ditch my backpack at a hotel, buy a nice dress, head straight to the Facebook offices and stay there until someone in their Marketing Dept agreed to meet with me and not leave until they had offered me a job.

However, I hadn’t planned for a $5000 surgery bill in Singapore (of which I only got some, not all back from my insurance company), and 6 weeks worth of hospital trips to treat an abscess wound in my leg. To cut a long story short, I was 6 months into my trip, running out of money and running out of puff.

So, at the end of my one month travelling in New Zealand, I had a decision to make. Either I could carry on travelling and spend two months in South America and a final 5-6 weeks in the USA and Canada and end up back home in pretty bad debt. Or, I could apply for my Working Holiday Visa for Australia and head back to Sydney.

My head said, Kinnie, finish what you started. Keep on travelling, you’ve only got 3 months left, use your credit card if needs be and you can get a job easily when you get back to the UK and pay it off.

My heart said, Kat, you need to go back to Sydney.

Don’t ask me why it said that, or what it meant, as I really don’t know. All I do know is that the overwhelming feeling that I had, was to head straight back to Australia, and to Sydney in particular.

It was the middle of November, and as mentioned I was running out of money and steam for travelling. As awesome a time as I had had, I was really longing for a little bit of normality in my life: a bed that I could call my own, a wardrobe to put a few of my things in, organic food, and even a job! I felt like I wanted to use my brain again. Plus it was getting close to Christmas, and I didn’t fancy spending it with a bunch of strangers. Despite all of the fantastic people I had met along the way and having celebrated one of my best birthdays ever in Wellington with some amazing new friends I had made, I was keen to spend time with the people who I knew in Sydney at Christmas and New Year.

So, what’s the point of this post today?

Very easy. Whenever you are needing to make a tricky decision in life, follow your heart. Always follow your heart, and above all, follow your heart.

Forget your head, forget what the logical or rational thing to do is, throw all of that out of the window and follow your heart. Listen to your intuition. We’re given it for a reason, and it’s never wrong, and even when we think it’s wrong, it has led us down a path, so that we can learn what we need to learn, because everything happens for a reason.

If you get a positive feeling about something, follow it. Just like Alice following the White Rabbit. Imagine that the White Rabbit is your intuition. And if she hadn’t followed the White Rabbit, she wouldn’t have found Wonderland. 🙂

Goodness knows where I would be and what I’d be doing if I hadn’t followed my heart back to Sydney. I’m sure it would still be awesome, but at the same time, I’m incredibly happy, grateful and appreciative of the incredible life I have created for myself here. The day that I followed my heart, was the day I stopped listening to my head and I cannot recommend this way of making decisions highly enough! It’s how I make all of my decisions on a daily basis now. I do what FEELS right for me, always.

As James Morrison sings ‘I got one life, one life, one life and I’m gonna live it right‘.

And to close this post, I’ll leave you with a fantastic quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”

Inspiration for this post:

One Life by James Morrison

The Cave by Mumford & Sons

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Keep Your Head Up

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“I’m walkin’ back down this mountain
With the strength of a turnin’ tide
Oh the wind’s so soft on my skin,
The sun so hard upon my side.
Oh lookin’ out at this happiness,
I search for between the sheets.
Oh feelin’ blind and realize,
All I was searchin’ for was me.
Ooh all I was searchin’ for was me.”

I went to see the very fantastic Mr Ben Howard last night at The Metro in Sydney. I love him to bits for a number of reasons, including the fact that he hails from The West Country (like me), coming from Devon. And also, after my beautiful friend Boo introduced me to his debut album last Feb when I was back home in The Shire (Frome, Somerset), it actually helped me through an incredibly traditionary period in my life.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but when I went back to the UK, while I thought it was a two-week trip to say hello to all of my friends and family (whom I hadn’t seen after being away travelling & working for 9 months), and attend a friend’s wedding, it actually ended up being more of a goodbye.

When I left Sydney, I had no real expectations about my trip, apart from the fact that I knew it would be great to see everyone. What I hadn’t prepared myself for, was that 3 days into my trip, I would be missing Sydney like heck, and referring to Manly as home.

Even more interestingly, I had lived in London for 7 years, and had never referred to it as home. London was the place that I lived and worked in, Frome had always been home. And I guess, as the saying goes, ‘Home is where the heart is’. So the strange realisation for me was that, despite the fact that I was back in my home town, Frome now felt like where I was from, but indeed Sydney, and quite specifically Manly, was where my heart was.

It was in those first few days that I had the realisation, that Australia was where I was meant to be, and that when I came back home, I would do everything in my power to get a more permanent visa so that I could stay.

The tricky thing was that I wasn’t really enjoying my job at the time. My boss was a massive stresshead, every day there seemed to be some big drama that needed sorting, the requirements for the project that we were working on changed on a daily basis and despite the fact that I started each day with the best intentions of staying positive, by the end of the day I felt empty, drained and broken. Enter Ben Howard stage left.

Ben Howard’s album Every Kingdom and quite specifically two songs in particular helped me through the next few months while I worked the end of my 6 month contract (Keep Your Head Up), and plucked up the courage to start my own business (The Fear).

I really wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, but I would listen to ‘Keep Your Head Up‘ every morning as I walked the 10 minute route from my flat in Redfern to our offices in Surry Hills. I set the intention to make the best of every day that I had left in that job, turn every negative into a positive, spend as much time as possible with the people who I loved at work and who inspired me, and go for a lunch at least once a week with my mentor.

As soon as I changed the meaning of a situation that was really quite unhappy and unsatisfactory, into an opportunity to let go of the negatives, my time at work transformed. And when I decided that I was going to set up my own business when I left my job, there was light at the end of the tunnel. I started to have more fun at work, I was still professional in my conduct and still got my work done, but I had decided that I was really going to do the best job I could at enjoying my last few months there. I’m so glad I did.

And I felt the most amazing relief when I walked out of the office building on 8th June 2012, as I left the Corporate World forever. And most importantly, exactly one week later, I registered my business, Thought Cloud, on 15th June 2012. To celebrate I bought a beautiful Triwa watch, so I would always remember the moment, and to remind me that it was time for a change.

The other interesting part of the song for me is this quote:

“I saw a friend of mine the other day,
And he told me that my eyes were gleamin’.
Oh I said I had been away, and he knew,
Oh he knew the depths I was meanin’.
And it felt so good to see his face,
Or the comfort invested in my soul.
Oh to feel the warmth of a smile,
When he said “I’m happy to have you home.
Ooh I’m happy to have you home.”

Which reminds me of my wonderful friend (and incredibly photographer) Mr Graham Binns, who took my photo when I was back in London last year. We had a fantastic day together and I gave him a good strong pep talk about his photography career too. I had the loveliest message from him when I returned to Australia saying that it was great to see me so happy and that it was awesome that I had found my spiritual home. I don’t think he could have summed up how I was feeling any more perfectly.

So, no matter how tough things might get in life and no matter what is happening right now that seems insurmountable, keep your head up, keep your heart strong

P.S.

I’ve just read that Ben was on the nominee list for the Mercury Music Award back in the UK last year, and won 2 Brit Awards for Best British Breakthrough Act and Best Male Solo Artist. Go Ben! You’re doing the West Country proud!

Inspiration for this post:

Ben Howards’ Keep Your Head Up

Ben Howards’ The Fear

Image credit