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Meet the Aussie mums making a career on social media.

Increasingly, new mums take to social media as a creative outlet while adjusting to motherhood, with some building up enough of a following to turn it into a career.

Marketers and brands know that in 2019 audiences are after authenticity, so they flock to these mums who are open and honest about their journey through motherhood – the good, the bad and the ‘insta-worthy’.

These Influencer mums do a lot more than just post cute photos of their kids; they are content creators and successful businesswomen, who share advice on pregnancy, style, health, travel and fitness. They have created a community of mums who can relate to their struggles and learn from their tips and sometimes just share in a laugh.

Here we’ve collected some of our favourite Victorian Influencers to follow for your daily dose of motherhood, fashion and travel and lifestyle inspiration.

1. @flatoutmum

After having four boys in five years (including identical twins!), Olivia Anderson saw a gap in the market for a twin feeding pillow. Busy Mums need an extra pair of hands, so the Twincredible was born. From there, arose a website and social media for twin families and the natural evolution was Olivia sharing more of her life, tips and products she loves to a wider audience.

This platform allowed Olivia to share more of her busy life with four young boys, but also her love of flat shoes. Always showing a real and honest take on motherhood (not just the highlight reel) with the mission to empower, inform and celebrate #Mumlife

Olivia prefers to encourage Mums to look after themselves as much as they do their children. She introduced the first Retreat designed specifically for Mothers back in 2016 and now they have extended from Melbourne to Bali, where her third sold-out international Retreat is about to be held.

Visit Olivia’s websites at www.flatoutmum.com.au, www.twincredible.com.au, www.flatoutmumretreats.com.au

2. @bambiandbaby_

Elizabeth Anile, like many 20-something-year-old women, had a pretty straightforward plan for her life. First came the career, then love, a home and a family. She got all of these things; an accomplished journalist at 25, she got the man, the fairytale-style proposal, and ultimately the pitter patter of tiny feet.

At 26, Elizabeth’s life was torn apart. A young woman who barely a year before hadn’t even thought about motherhood suddenly found herself alone with a new baby. A former career woman was, overnight, a full time single mum.

Despite the curve balls life has thrown, Elizabeth’s positivity shines through her writing and her love is personified in her beautiful, happy, bubbly baby boy.

“I guess what I want to get out there is the message that you’re not alone,” she says. And her most important message? ‘Its not a bad thing being a single mum, it’s empowering and a blessing’.

You’ll find Elizabeth’s blog at www.bambiandbaby.com

3. @mama.duck.said

Ange Cowan is a Ballarat mum sharing her mum life stories in a light hearted way.

It took her two years to get pregnant with her first child as she has endometriosis and also polycystic ovaries.

She then went on to have three kids under three, and tries to share her high and lowlights so other mums don’t always feel so alone.

Ange wants all mums to feel supported and to know that we are all going through struggles (some just hide it better than others).

Ange also loves to share her favourite parenting jokes and quotes along with some of her favourite products helping her get through motherhood (including wine).

4. @houseofharvee

Krystal Giardina always wanted to be a mum. She always wanted to be a Disney Princess too, but she knows you can’t have everything.

Turns out, being a sleep-deprived, clean freak, pasta eating mother of three, led her to social media where she began to share images of her home. Now, only a short few years later, while pregnant with her third child she appeared from behind the camera and is now a familiar face.

Juggling motherhood, owning a business, wife, blogger, Influencer and cleaner (someone’s got to do it), Krystal shares her life and family through her platform and her positive, encouraging, yet REAL attitude to life and parenting resonates with mothers everywhere.

Krystal is mother to Vienna, Harlow and Baby boy, Avery, wife to Aldo, body image and self-love advocate and long-time Grey’s Anatomy fan.

Krystal hopes to continue to share her love of style, interiors and motherhood journey with her followers for as long as they want to follow along.

You can also find Krystal at houseofharvee.com

5. @amypapadatos_

Determined, aspirational, resilient and ambitious – she is Amy Papadatos. Above all else, she is a wife, a mother and a successful business owner.

With a love for adventure, travel, fashion and a keen eye for detail, Amy is courageous in the pursuit of what sets her soul on fire. A goal getter and a trend setter, Amy is a dynamic woman who beautifully shares her experiences of the world around her one Instagram square at a time.

It is impossible to ignore her happy-go-lucky personality that shines through her pictures – lusting over her locations and outfits each and every time.

6. @justamelbournemama

Amanda Morley (@justamelbournemama) started her Instagram page towards the end of 2017 as a means to share snaps of her unborn son, Hudson.

Already a mama to a teenage girl, having a baby again was exciting and Amanda couldn’t wait to share this new journey through her page.

Showcasing her newfound love for baby boy fashion, with Hudson as her muse and at-home baby model, Amanda’s page began to grow. At just three months old, Hudson made his first career move from modelling for his mama to modelling in campaigns.

In a twist of awesomeness, Amanda also learnt that she was three months pregnant and Hudson was soon to be a big brother – both Hudson and Easton shared the exact due date a year apart!

Amanda and Tinashe (@justamelbournedad) quickly learned the term Irish twins…and yes they have their hands full!

At 11 months and 3 weeks between them, Easton has joined Hudson in his modelling career. Life in Melbourne is definitely busier, but lattes, brunches and Melbourne events are still on the menu for this family.

7. @real_mumma

Adele Barbaro is the ‘mumpreneur’ and blogger behind The Real Mumma, where she shares an honest and raw insight into motherhood.

In 2018 Adele started MAMA Wine Co. Adele wanted to take the confusion out of the hundreds of wines on offer with a range that has been developed, tried and tested by everyday mamas.

“One day I was hosting a dinner party and the men were talking about the wine pairing well with the dinner and commenting about its complexity and legs. I turned to my friend and said, I wonder if there is a wine that pairs well with all my washing? And then and there, the cheeky Mama Wine Co. began,” Adele shares.

MAMA is 100 per cent Australia made and comes from only the best vineyards, sourced after countless trips to find the perfect drop for having a cheeky little giggle at motherhood.

The all new ‘It’s Me Time’ Moscato and the ‘Pairs Well With Bad TV’ Pinot Noir is available for a limited time only from www.mamawineco.com

Meet the Aussie mums making a career on social media.

Increasingly, new mums take to social media as a creative outlet while adjusting to motherhood, with some building up enough of a following to turn it into a career.

Marketers and brands know that in 2019 audiences are after authenticity, so they flock to these mums who are open and honest about their journey through motherhood – the good, the bad and the ‘insta-worthy’.

These Influencer mums do a lot more than just post cute photos of their kids; they are content creators and successful businesswomen, who share advice on pregnancy, style, health, travel and fitness. They have created a community of mums who can relate to their struggles and learn from their tips and sometimes just share in a laugh.

Here we’ve collected some of our favourite NSW and Queensland Influencers to follow for your daily dose of motherhood, fashion and travel and lifestyle inspiration.

1. @mumpacktravel

In 2016 solo mum Evie Farrell and her daughter Emmie left Australia with a backpack and a dream of spending time together. For more than two and a half years they travelled through Asia, living a completely different life to what they had at home and learning about the world beyond the suburbs. “I was working full time and trying to work out how to spend more time with Emmie,” said Evie. “As soon as I realised it was cheaper for us to travel than stay at home I started packing up.”

It was the best decision she could have made.

“This trip changed us,” said Evie. “We know each other so well now, we’ve spent so much precious time together and we have the most incredible memories.”

Evie and Emmie have been in Sydney for the past six months while they finished their book, Backyard to Backpack, all about their adventures. It’s available for preorder and is in-store from 5 August.

You can find Evie on Instagram at @mumpacktravel and at www.mumpacktravel.com

2. @theconniediaries

Connie, an entrepreneur, mother, step mother and wife living on the Central Coast NSW is passionate about the simple things in life and raising her boys simply in their coastal home town.

Connie and her family travel often in their renovated vintage caravan seeing many beautiful parts of our country. When they’re not traveling, you’ll find them having slow days around home crafting, gardening, cooking or you’ll catch them outdoors by the beach, 4×4 driving or taking a hike.

Between traveling and slow days, Connie manages her travel blog and a popular online business @thetimbatrendandfolk where her husband and herself hand make a variety of shelves for around the home.

3. @allherflowers

Elle Rampling is a photographer and mother to three girls; Audrey, Harriet and Magnolia. A recent sea change has seen Elle and her family move from an area surrounded by horses and paddocks in rural Australia to a sweet old cottage in a sleepy beach town on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

Elle is a lifestyle photographer, specialising in capturing families, but it is her sun drenched portraits of her daughters that captured the hearts of many and has seen her Instagram page, @allherflowers, grow in popularity.

Whether roaming in paddocks with their ponies or frolicking by the sea, Elle loves to capture her daughters as they explore their environment. The girls can often be found dressed in adorable matching outfits, a love Elle says she inherited from her mother, as her and her siblings always had matching outfits growing up.

4. @amothers.love

Jess Stevens is a mother of five from the Gold Coast in Queensland.  Jess became a first time mother at the age of just 16 and knew shortly after that she wanted to have a big family one day.  Fast forward 18 years and Jess has had her 5th and final baby, giving her 3 beautiful daughters and 2 sons.

Jess is also a Social Media and Lifestyle Influencer on Instagram where you can find them sharing snaps of their everyday life, items and brands they love. Jess and her children have a new love for travelling which has opened the doors to some amazing opportunities.  Jess has  only recently launched her blog where she shares with her valued followers her family friendly travels in more depth.  Watch her space for an amazing adventure coming up in October.

When Jess isn’t changing nappies, shooting content for brands or managing her socials, she likes to shop online, watch Netflix and look for that next adventure to go on with her children.

5. @bybrittanynoonan

Brittany Noonan is a mum, wife, fitness trainer and motherhood blogger from The Gold Coast, Australia.

You’ll never find anything less than her real self on her socials and blog. Brittany openly shares her struggles and low times through her mental health battles and her everyday motherhood struggles but she also shares her happiness and the things that give her joy and peace.

Brittany’s dream is that through sharing this real, unedited version of herself and her passion and knowledge for fitness and wellness, that she can inspire and help women everywhere to accept and embrace themselves and live a life they love.

Brittany is forever on a mission to find the balance between being a busy business owner, fitness lover, mother, friend and of course herself and just wants to share her experiences and to help you find that balance too.

6. @storyandco

Joanne Zammit is an educator, content creator and fashion lover who is obsessed with guiding others to find their purpose and live a life of gratitude.

Jo has an interesting story. Whether it was struggling with an unknown chronic illness for 20 years, losing her mother very suddenly the day she found out she was pregnant with her now eldest son, having degrees in marketing and primary education or being voted one of Google’s top 20 educators across Australia and New Zealand. Joanne’s goal is to help and inspire others whilst documenting her story for her children, from their mother’s perspective and as a legacy for her late mother.

Story and Co is a collection of stories, education, age old wisdom, curated interiors & fashion which Jo has learnt from her late mother, her journey as a mama and experience as a teacher- all with a healthy dose of gratitude.

Jo lives on acreage in Sydney with her Husband Adam and three children, Hunter, Archie and Evie.

7. @theorganisedhousewife

Katrina Springer is the ‘Organising and Checklist Queen’, and she is also the woman behind The Organised Housewife, one of Australia’s most popular parenting blogs.

Created nearly a decade ago, The Organised Housewife has grown into a one-stop-shop for a daily dose of domestic advice that makes life simpler, tidier, and less chaotic. Kat’s passion and skill in helping other mums create an organised home resonates deeply with her audience, which explains why nearly a million people tune in to her blog each month.

As a mother of three, Kat credits her accomplishments as an award-winning blogger, author, and celebrity ambassador to her children. Her honest and authentic approach has touched the hearts and homes of mums across the country.

This year Kat has released her first cookbook, taken home the 2019 Gold Coast Women of the Year People’s Choice Award, and been appointed Celebrity Ambassador for the Give Me 5 For Kids Campaign.

You can follow Kat on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Meet the Western Australian mums making a career on social media.

In recent years we’ve seen the explosion of a brand new profession – social media influencing. Increasingly, new mums take to social media as a creative outlet while adjusting to motherhood, with some building up enough of a following to turn it into a career.

Marketers and brands know that in 2019 audiences are after authenticity, so they flock to these mum’s who are open and honest about their journey through motherhood – the good, the bad and the ‘insta-worthy’.

These influencer mums do a lot more than just post cute photos of their babies; they are content creators, authors, businesswomen and give advice on pregnancy, style, health and fitness. They have created a community of mums who can relate to their struggles and learn from their tips and sometimes just share in a laugh.

Here we’ve collected our favourite influencers to follow for your daily dose of motherhood, fashion and travel and lifestyle inspiration.

1. @ourmessynest

Emma Fletcher is local to Perth, Western Australia and has an interest in sharing local activities for adults and children. With a keen interest in local events, travel, cooking, beauty, animal conservation and supporting charity organisations, Our Messy Nest is a true lifestyle account.

Having recently started her own blog, you’ll find a mix of all these as well as personal pieces both on @ourmessynest and www.ourmessynest.com.au. Staying true to the motivation behind her social media presence, Emma’s five year old son Reed is a constant source of inspiration.

Sharing life as a mother, student, blogger and friend is central to the content shared on these platforms. Emma’s passion for photography has allowed her to connect with other parents to share the ups and downs of parenting, tips on travelling with kids as well as special milestones in her life.

2. @common_wild

Landscape Architect Paula Kuka, began drawing illustrations depicting her experience of motherhood while on maternity leave with her second child. What started as a personal project and an alternative to a traditional baby book, quickly gained popularity as other mums loved seeing their own personal experiences mirrored in these relatable, touching and hilarious cartoons.

Paula’s cartoons have resonated with parents, highlighting the fact that it’s not only the humorous parenting moments but also the intensely emotional and frustrating facets of parenthood that appear to be universal.  The main goal of the project has evolved over time as she realised the power the images could have in transforming someone’s challenging day.  Using humour, honesty, and vulnerability, the drawings let other mums know they aren’t alone. Paula hopes that the project continues to cheer up exhausted parents and provoke conversations about guilt and the pressure mothers feel.

Paula lives in Perth with her Journalist husband, 4-year-old son and 1-year old daughter and is currently working on publishing a book of her illustrations.

You can buy Paula’s illustrations at www.commonwild.com.au

Casey Lucas of Lucas Girls Love is a happy wife & mother of two young girls, currently saying yes to new adventures and living the little things!

With a career in fashion and styling spanning over 15 years, Casey enjoys the creative outlet of Instagram influencing, while she raises her beautiful daughters. Well known for their ‘twinning’ and Mummy & Me outfits, the Lucas Girls have worked with iconic fashion labels such a Auguste the Label, Infamous Swim, Unreal Fur and Lack of Colour to name a few.

 Casey feels that life can be crazy enough and not always sunshine and rainbows, so insists on keeping her Instagram positive and ‘light & fluffy’ so that her posts continue to put a smile on her followers faces.

4. @sugarplumtree_mama

Nicole is a 38 year old influencer blessed with 3 beautiful daughters. Currently her main occupation is juggling #mumlife and social media, however she also has a Bachelor of Science (Molecular Genetics) and worked as a Medical Scientist for 13 years.

When her eldest daughter was 6 months old Nicole opened a children’s clothing company, Sugar Plum Tree, which quickly became very popular. Fans went crazy for the bespoke applique pinafores Nicole designed and sewed herself. However after a stressful, yet rewarding 8 years, and the arrival of her 3rd little sugarplum, Nicole decided it was time to move on.

With a love and passion for all things creative, she found a new love in product styling and photography, and for the past two years has shared these passions online, where you can see snippets of her life as a Mum to three girls, find out about fun Perth events and things to do, follow their regular travels, and learn about some awesome new products they love and recommend.

You can follow Nicole on Instagram and read her blog.

5. @storiesofamum

Since starting in 2015 as a platform for sharing memories of her firstborn daughter Sophie, Stories of a Mum has blossomed into a social media brand built around beautiful photography, small business promotion and storytelling.

Stories of a Mum is an avenue in which to document the good, bad and downright testing days of motherhood as Laura shares her very open and raw journey as a Navy Wife and mother of two little girls. Laura uses her Instagram page to connect with other mothers while drinking wine and eating pizza in her Kmart leggings. If you love honest captions, photos of family home decor, Mum & kid fashion, local Perth child friendly cafes and travel then @Storiesofamum is the account for you.

6. @_emma.gibb

Emma Gibb is a Perth influencer with substance. Just like her insta profile portrays, Emma is a wife, mama and manifester. Happily married with two gorgeous boys, Emma wins more in a month than most people win in a lifetime.

We love Emma’s relatable, funny and down to Earth portrayal of motherhood. We also find her honesty around her mental health struggles inspiring; and love how passionate she is about urging women to get help.

Emma loves working in the Perth CBD as a Commercial Property Manager for a top tier agency but when the corporate work day is over and her boys are tucked lovingly in bed, Emma is getting in that side hustle on Insta.

Not only does Emma create content for top brands like Dyson or HelloFresh, she gives intuitive card readings as @thatgypsymum and promotes her successful online crystal store, thatgypsyshop.com

Image credit: @dealuna.photography

7. @house.of.cubs

Isabel is a Perth blogger and content creator.  She is a wife and mother of two boys, Christian, two, and Ethan 6 months.  Her husband, Steve, works FIFO. Isabel lived in Spain until her early teens.  She has a degree in commerce and a postgraduate degree in corporate governance and gave up her corporate job to have a family.  When Christian was 6 months old, she started her Instagram page for fun and in the process discovered her creative passion.  She has never looked back.

@house.of.cubs is a collection of photography and stories about their family life.  It showcases motherhood, the joys and challenges of raising a young family as well as curated interiors, fashion, products for mums and kids, and her family’s love of the beach, adventure and travelling.

Isabel has recently finished styling Christian’s big boy room.  A space where he can play, explore, learn and get lost in imagination! #kidsroominspiration.

Isabel’s family are soon on a 5 week adventure to Europe where she will continue to share the joys and craziness of motherhood whilst travelling with a young family.

WIN 1 x 3 VIBES Scooters in GLAM!

Thanks to Grit Pro Scooters Australia, we are giving you a chance to WIN a VIBES scooter!

Grit Pro Scooters is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing scooter brands in the world. Their newest collection, VIBES,  features gorgeous designs and is perfect for all your kid’s outdoor adventures. Valued at $190.00. Suitable for ages 6 and above.

For your chance to WIN 1 x 3 VIBES scooters in GLAM (valued at $190.00) please:

1) Be SUBSCRIBED to our e-newsletter.
2) GO TO our Facebook (www.facebook.com/offspringmagazine/) and COMMENT on our competition post and tell us which article in Offspring Magazine’s Winter 2018 issue was your favourite and why!

 If you haven’t checked out our latest issue, you can read it, and all our previous issues, for free at http://www.offspringmagazine.com.au/read-the-magazine-free/

GLAM. Suitable for ages 6 and above.

 

This competition is open to all Offspring Magazine e-newsletter subscribers! Not subscribed but want to enter? Visit www.offspringmagazine.com.au and click on the ‘Get the Newsletter’ link!

Also, be sure to check out the fantastic range of Grit VIBES scooters over at https://gritscooters.com.au/scooters/

Catherine Plano gives 7 steps to change the way you think. Following these will surely lead to a happier you!

 

A lot of people think that happiness is ‘elusive’ – a fleeting feeling that comes from what’s happening around us, in our lives. And that’s true. But like everything else we perceive and experience, happiness is processed in the brain. By learning to use your brain to re-boot happiness when you’re feeling ‘low’ you can make a big difference to your contentedness.

The important thing to remember is that the brain is like a muscle – it’s adaptive and responsive to training, like any other muscle in our body. Its chemical makeup is important to its optimal function too. By understanding these seven basic brain functions and how to activate and re-charge them, you can re-wire your brain for greater happiness and success!

 

1) Dose up the Dopamine  

Dopamine allows us to feel bliss, pleasure, euphoria and motivation.

Dopamine is a chemical (neurotransmitter) that is used by the nerves to send messages. Basically, when dopamine levels are depleted in our brain, our message can’t be transmitted properly. This, in turn, can have an impact on our behaviour, mood, cognition, attention, learning, movement and sleep. When we procrastinate, have feelings of self-doubt or we lack enthusiasm, these are strong clues from the brain that we are low on dopamine.

It’s super easy to increase dopamine levels: Aim for 8 hours sleep per day and regular exercise to keep dopamine balanced. Plus – the brain releases a little bit of dopamine when you achieve or succeed. One way to get a ‘hit’ of dopamine regularly is set yourself small, achievable goals. As you achieve them, you’ll feel good about making progress.

Of course, you should always celebrate all those ‘little’ wins. They’re helping you, step by step, to achieve the bigger goal. Any accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem, are definitely worth recognition.

 

2) Exercise for Endorphins

Endorphins are released into your bloodstream once you have exercised, leaving you feeling more energised and in a better mood for the rest of your day. Endorphins are the counter balance to stress, so the more endorphins you release, the less stress and anxiety you will experience.

Along with regular exercise, laughter is one of the easiest ways to induce endorphin release. Feeling low? Watch some comedy, or catch up with a friend who makes you laugh.There are some studies that attest that dark chocolate and spicy foods can help to release endorphins. Keep a stash of dark chocolate and treat yourself to a curry every now and then for a quick endorphin boost.

 

3) Give someone a hug 

Oxytocin – the love hormone – creates intimacy, trust and builds strong, healthy relationships.

Often referred to as the cuddle hormone, oxytocin is essential for creating powerful bonds and improving social interactions. As the name suggests, one very simple way to keep oxytocin flowing is to give someone a hug, not a handshake. There is research now to explain that a hug for up to 20 seconds a day releases oxytocin, which is a natural antidepressant and antianxiety agent.

Oxytocin is the hormone that allows us to feel love and connection. In fact, when we experience an increase of oxytocin, it makes us more intuitive to others’ needs. Even when someone receives a gift, his or her oxytocin levels can rise. You can strengthen work and personal relationships through a simple gift or a massive hug.

4) Be appreciative

Serotonin flows when you feel satisfied, accomplished and important. However, a lack of serotonin can make you feel lonely, bleak and unhappy. Unhealthy attention-seeking behaviour can also be a cry for serotonin.

Our brain can’t tell the difference between what’s real and imagined, so it produces serotonin in both cases. This is why ‘gratitude’ practices are popular; they remind us that we are valued and have much to value in life. If you need a serotonin boost during a stressful day, take a few moments to reflect on past achievements and victories. Alternatively, engage in a random act of kindness, or write a text or email telling one of your friends or partner how much you appreciate and value them. You can also spend a minute or two ‘reliving’ a moment in your head that you cherish.

These are simple mood boosters, just because they increase serotonin. We also know that vitamin D (from the sun) helps to expand our brain’s serotonin production.

 

5) Change ‘fear’ into ‘flow’

The amygdala, is one of the ‘primal’ functions of our brain, designed to keep us safe. This ‘fright, freeze and flight centre’, manages connections and is directly involved with emotional wellbeing.

The amygdala processes positive and negative feedback depending on how we perceive an outcome. As a result, it makes us feel strong emotional responses that often lead to impulsive reactions.

When the amygdala signals go backwards, it generates a fear response – we get defensive and this can lead to lashing out, arguing. But – it’s here in the amygdala where we store our old ‘programmes’ too – those tired old tales of lack and unworthiness… And, just as we put those ‘old stories’ in there, we can re-programme – update them – with new ones. This takes time, but the brain is highly adaptive and with daily commitment to a practice of positive programming, it will become your default setting instead, and the negative responses will be fewer and weaker.

6) Hippocampus: The Seahorse

The hippocampus is viewed as an associative memory system supporting the formation, storage, and retrieval of memories. So, when you are feeling low, think happy memories – in your head go back to a pleasant, exciting, loving moment in time and re-live the movie in your head! Create a ‘happiness’ album with your smartphone -friends, family, beautiful places – whatever makes you smile, and when you’re feeling low look through the pictures. and look through pictures until your mood starts to shift.

 

7) Will Power at the Prefrontal Cortex

Your pre-fontal cortex is that part of the brain that is right behind your forehead; its function is decision-making and regulating our behaviour, self-control and willpower. Looking after this section of our brain involves exercising will power.

And, the more we exercise our self-control, the stronger and more stable it becomes. If you want to lose weight, begin saving money, start exercising – it’s all actioned here in this part of the brain. But remember, if you choose your new action, you need to do it repeatedly for 21 days. If you miss a day, then you need to start again. Record your progress; you’ll see a remarkable difference from start to finish. And don’t forget that the more successful you are, day, by day, your dopamine levels will kick in with pride as you accomplish what you set out to achieve. There’s a win/win here for happiness.

 

Happiness is not a ‘mystery’

In an effort to pursue the great mystery of ‘happiness’ we simply need to understand these tools. We’re all prone to moods – and there can be many reasons why some moods stay with us longer than others, but these tools can help us to work with our minds, instead of against them, when we are stressed, anxious, sad or angry.

The brain needs stimulation – tired old routines can deliver the same tired old results in our lives, so stay curious. When you experience something ‘new’, it actually stimulates and transforms your brain. Explore, experiment and try something new to maximise how you use your brainpower.

Catherine Plano is the author of ” Getting to the Heart of the Matter” – a warm, engaging practical book for connecting the power of the mind, with the power of the heart for personal transformation.

Beyond ego and facades…

Of all the life-changing events, this course has affected me, and improved my life, like no other.

I was surprised to learn I held deep-rooted Rage and Shame in being a woman. I had been blocked by a fear of not being good enough. A fear of rejection. We ALL feel a sense of isolation and anxiety over not being accepted. We NEED to belong.

The Mighty Gum

Not unique, not special, one of many … at first glance.

Omnipresent from where I sit, and common throughout the world.

But look closer and you will see the power of the Mighty Gum.

Erect and tall, it reaches high and higher, its stem gradually growing depth and bulk as it metamorphoses into a solid trunk, over time.

Its branches spreading outwards, expanding to take in more of what the air has to offer.

Its delicate leaves multiplying, more and more and more, and dying and dropping off and falling; the tree, never once grieving the losses of these, as it knows in its heart, its soul, its guts, that more will come.

It is strongly rooted in the earth, spreading underground in gentle, continuous search of more nutrients, more moisture, to sustain its blood and body.

It doesn’t resist the searing sun, it moves gently with the breeze and allows the rain to gently fall from its leaves.

Opening to the sun, soaking in its energy, that it needs to feed all its elements – the leaves, the branches, the bark, the trunk, the guts, the roots… all of her.

Which then feed the many creatures that like to visit, stay a while or stay longer – the ants, the beetles, the birds, and bugs.

And then, as it ages and understands the elements won’t keep its body alive, there is no terror as it looks down and sees its two healthy, enthusiastic little saplings thriving – full of optimism, hope, and energy, eager to continue the cycle of the Mighty Gum.

 

I wrote this poem on the Path of Love retreat recently, during a small assignment where we reflected on Nature and its symbolism to us.
It was about my journey as a Woman and as a Mother.
Surprising for an editor perhaps, I frequently agonize over writing, but I wrote this poem in 10 minutes.

I wrote with freedom. Self-doubt didn’t suffocate me, instead a bolder, richer and more creative part of myself emerged; overpowering my usual insecurity and self-criticism.
I credit this to the Path of Love.

The Path of Love (PoL) is a powerful, seven-day course, set in natural bushland in the Hunter Valley, NSW, which is formulated to break through limiting, personal barriers that block people from achieving what we really want out of life. It is designed to help us develop more Love, and to live a more meaningful life.

It enabled me to go within, to the core, beyond Ego and facades such as appearance, life-situation, and personality; which cleared the way for my natural drive and passion to return.

I went to the Essence. I experienced an authentic me.

People had different personal motivations for being there – relationship problems, a lack of career direction, a personal crisis of some kind, dealing with childhood and past traumas, or, simply, because they felt at Crossroads and wanted more passion and direction in their life.

I didn’t have a clear reason for going on this retreat. I just noticed a few coincidences around PoL and was compelled to sign up, not knowing very much about it at all.

I am glad I listened to that inner whisper, because of the University degrees, travel, relationships and other life-changing events, this course has affected me, and improved my life, like no other.

PoL is a deep inquiry into the Self, involving meditation; music; dancing; writing; time in nature; sharing experiences, thoughts, and emotions; reflection; and silence.

There were 30 participants and the same number of staff, our ‘Angels’, who supported us through the intense, exhilarating and, at times, confronting, journey within. They formed a nurturing womb which held us while we shed outmoded and decaying belief systems and habits, allowing for a truer self to emerge.

We worked intimately in a group of eight where all exteriors washed away. I now consider these people another family. The bond we formed during this personal process was profound. And, under the skillful, compassionate and deeply insightful guidance of our facilitators, Samved and Mairead, we were safe to allow raw vulnerability, which encouraged trust, truth, unconditional love and deep, personal breakthroughs to happen.

I faced the scary, dark fears, and also celebrated the light-filled, majestic parts of myself.

I was surprised to learn I held deep-rooted Rage and Shame in being a woman. It was a low-level thing. On the outset, I was reasonably accomplished and happy, but deep down, this self-subjugation was killing the inner fire. In an effort to avoid being a “hard bitch,” I had suppressed my natural Womanhood.

I had made myself ‘small,’ in what I thought femininity ‘should’ look like. I had believed I was an empowered woman! But, through the course’s penetrating process, I experienced a different, new and beautiful kind of power in the Feminine.

The experience helped me take ownership of myself as a woman and as a mother.

Opinions, self-support, sexuality, sensuality, inner strength and a Voice to express what I want and need, as well as love and compassion. I found a Lioness. Protective of her children, and herself. Protective of women.

I identified issues I’d been harbouring since childhood, adolescence and adult life, and was then encouraged to nurture these wounds, and to let them go.

I also found a need to Speak my Truth, overthrowing fears of reproach or judgement, and I’ve been amazed at how well this has worked since in my relationships, work and daily life. I was too afraid to do this previously for fear of rejection, conflict and ridicule.

I realised I have been quite a fearful person, which, despite appearing confident, manifests as shyness and me avoiding social situations. I felt awkward and nervous of intimacy, and actually found it almost impossible to look people in the eye.

It was humorous and a great relief at the end of this course to be able to do this apparently basic exercise, that had seemed so terrifying seven days earlier.

I had been blocked by a fear of not being good enough. A fear of rejection. This, I learnt, is inherently part of the human condition. We ALL feel a sense of isolation and anxiety over not being accepted. We NEED to belong.

I learned that all have our insecurities, weaknesses, fears and pains. Of particular interest, was an insight into the male psyche and heart. I was ignorant to just how vulnerable men are too, and they, like women, are just as in need of love and meaning in their lives.

Here is a snapshot of what my new friends experienced on PoL:

Gunter, a husband and father who traveled from New Zealand to attend the course, shares:

“I felt pretty much done with life – I was depressed, fed up, over it, tired, mainly with my relationship in particular, and came away with the support and feeling that I was still ok, that I was not banished, cast out… I have always known that I’m not perfect, but I gave myself such a hard time, from quite early on. I feel I have made a quantum leap.”

Tanya was overcoming childhood sexual abuse and trauma:

 

“The loving kindness of PoL fast-forwarded the healing of childhood wounds that I did not realize were holding me back in love and life.”

Mark, a devoted husband and father, says, he was tired, stressed and depressed.                                                                                                        “I had lost the passion and connection with my life purpose. Life post-PoL is completely transformed. I am excited about the future and have a new perspective on what contribution I can make.”

Carol, a powerful, sophisticated, charming woman reveals:

“Path of Love helped me understand I had a longing for connection – with my Self and with others. Since I have been able to meditate easily and to find the real “me” within. I’ve also been more aware of patterns where I may self-sabotage and I am able to connect with friends and with life at a much deeper level, which is enriching my life. I feel an inner peace.”

Troy, a devout Christian, father and husband, says:
“I came to learn and grow, and discovered I really wanted to see the bits of me I always hid from. I was encouraged to share, to cry, to listen, and to dance, and to realize that I was loved and divinely bespoke.”

Wen, a charismatic woman coming to terms with the ending of her marriage, shares:                                                                                         “I was able to look at my self-doubts and love for myself. Old beliefs are hard to confront but when you are in a loving, gentle, understanding surrounding, you can feel pure bliss.”

Ant, a clever, eloquent and successful businessman and father of two, explains:

“Its formula is genius and gruelling. On the course, I was semi anxious most of the time with that simmering turning up of the requirement to keep going deeper. That constant inching forward of the intensity and that escalating demand to face yourself. I found real power there. It was enough of a taste to show me that most fear can be transcended.”

I recently read somewhere: “Once you wake up, you can’t come back.” 

The Path of Love enabled this to happen and it feels great to be alive, present and loving, and Real.