Permission

I give myself permission to miss a couple of days of blogging.

I give myself permission to not be thrilled with the plebiscite results.

I give myself permission to feel the pain and grief that came up for me just before and during the outcome.

I give myself permission to regret that I didn’t go to the places my people were gathered to find out the results and be in community.

I give myself permission to be glad my workplace is a safe place to be out, and to be emotional.

I give myself permission to change my mind and go into the city to be with friends.

I give myself permission to celebrate and feel that it’s a good day to be gay.

I give myself permission to celebrate in a way that suits me.

I give myself permission to be annoyed at the neighbour complaining the music was too loud, I give myself permission to lose respect for him being so over the top and not hearing me say I’d turn it down at least 10 times in response to his vitriol.

I give myself permission to feel bad.

I give myself permission to feel good.

I give myself permission to be complex.

I give myself permission to be human.

I give myself permission to be real about my experience.

 

Thank you to Brené Brown for inspiring me to give myself permission.

 

This post is 23 in 45 posts for 45 years.

Money – Moving Through Fear

The idea that we teach what we need to learn is a powerful one. There are those who teach what they know and that’s an important and valid choice. Yet I find myself compelled to teach what I’m learning. I value vulnerability and walking my talk so it’s no wonder that I found myself being vulnerable, opening up a shame filled topic, and teaching what I know, sharing what I’ve learned on my journey. Recognising the value in what I’ve learned along the way and the opportunity I have to help others on theirs, hoping they don’t need to go through the tough slog I did.

Yesterday I co-led a workshop called Money Tools For Conscious Entrepreneurs. Even just two years ago I’d be a very unlikely candidate to be doing this kind of thing. Sure, I’ve worked hard on letting go of my baggage around money but when I think of how far I’ve come, I still shake my head. One of the things I shared in the workshop about my own journey is that I remember taking a screenshot of each of my bank accounts (spending, saving and business) all having less than $10 in each. Today I regularly have 4 digits in each and sometimes my business account has 5. When I took that screenshot of how poor I was I knew it wasn’t going to stay that way and that I’d look back at it when things were different and remember how far I’d come.

From the Workshop Presentation

From the Workshop Presentation

I had another one of those moments yesterday when we were looking at a demo company in Xero, at a profit and loss sheet and what I’d advise the company to do given what I could see in the months of income and expenditures. When I finished speaking, I had a little epiphany. I realised just how much I’d learned in the past year from working with my accountant (that I was running the workshop with) that I could interpret and advise, at least to a limited extent, just from looking at a profit and loss statement!

At the end of the day I checked in with myself about how I was feeling. I was aware that I still have shame around talking about my success as well as my history with money. I anticipated judgement or at least the potential for being judged. Although my story can inspire others who feel like they are crap with money to turn things around, I still have a background concern that people will think less of me for not living up to a standard or being too open about my own history.

It had me thinking about my work and who I am. Yesterday I delivered the workshop from my edge. I wasn’t wholly in my comfort zone. Despite years of facilitation experience, which certainly helped, I felt anxious about sharing my story and offering burgeoning expertise about something I haven’t known about for very long. Who am I to run a workshop on Money? From so many angles it seems ridiculous!

What I do know is about my own journey and I know about mindset shifting and that was the part I was bringing to the workshop, but I surprised myself at how much I had to contribute to the accounting stuff as well. Initially I expected that Bronwyn would be doing that, more or less on her own.

In the past year, I have come a long way. If I can do it, anyone can! When I think of all the people I know struggling to make ends meet, unaware or perhaps marginally aware of their own money blocks, I can only imagine what they could accomplish if a) they moved through those blocks, and b) learned how to manage their business finances.

The work Bronwyn and I did yesterday takes one small step toward enabling this vision. I imagine thousands of hippie millionaires creating subtle shifts as we move mountains. If there were more people with hippie-like values with more money, can you imagine how the world would change? I imagine people buying up land for conservation, protecting wildlife habitat, funding education for women and girls, creating paradigm shifts in social spending and political priorities. This is one of the reasons I want to help people learn about how to manage business finances and empower people to make a difference in the world by working for themselves, earning a great living doing what they love.

Day Nine: Reflections & Accomplishments

Reflecting on the last week I feel like the self love challenge has been simultaneously integrated and put to the side. I’m thankful that my mind took it on and brought it immediately to my attention as soon as I woke up the first three days. And that the next few days, tho it didn’t come immediately, I did consciously think of it soon after waking. Sometimes it was when waking well before I got up, and even went back to sleep a few times. It feels like a subconscious part of me is being diligent with having “I love myself” present at least in the first part of the day.accomplishment-key

The other times it’s easy to practise the mantra is when I’m walking the dogs, or in the shower or the loo. And when things are going well. There are times when I haven’t been great, that it’s come to mind, but not generally. It’s only been a week and tho I have had some hard stuff to deal with I find that I am generally able to reside in the positive end of the spectrum. The negative self talk is not top of mind but it may well be there guiding me subconsciously toward the easy stuff rather than calling that potential client back now that she’s returned from holidays.

I’m thankful for having written this earlier in the day and now at the end of the day feeling differently about it again. And I called that client back and made some other progress that feels good to have accomplished. Tomorrow I’m going kiteboarding, a xmas gift from my partner. Very excited about that. Anticipating using muscles I haven’t used in a very long time and thinking of ways to be self loving. Doing more strenuous yoga and stretching tomorrow morning, water resistant sunscreen for being out on the water and some more stretching and yoga afterward, especially the day after. Yup, I’m not so bad at this self loving thing after all!

Motorcycle Story – React or Respond?

mBike traffic2Inspired by a big mouthful of exhaust fumes at the Murray Rd/Sydney Rd intersection, I am keen to get in front on the belching truck ahead of me. With no room on the right side and no turning signal from the truck, I made the choice to risk going up the left side where there was room to pass. The light was still red and it seemed safe so I did it. I heard a honk and some words but it didn’t sound like a truck horn so I didn’t assume it was directed at me. I was wrong.

As I turned left, the truck followed, the driver sticking his head out the window yelling. The stop light near Coburg Lake Park was red and he was stopped behind me, irate. I turned around to say: “Sorry, the exhaust…”. But he didn’t hear me, not sure he wanted to either. He was expressing all sorts of nasty stuff yet all I could make out was “where did you learn to ride?” So I just turned back around and shook my head.

At the next stretch of road, he got ahead of me and I gave him a wide birth, wanting to avoid further conflict, even if it meant breathing in the noxious truck exhaust. I noticed how upset I felt, like I wanted to cry. Then I remembered that I have a choice about how I respond to my emotions. I could push it down, I could let it go, I could cry into my helmet (wouldn’t be the first time). Or I could get in touch with the feeling. I was aware that my inner child was hurting. Without really thinking about how to deal with it, I imagined nurturing that scared, hurt child, the arms of the universal mother caring and holding that part of me. Within a few seconds of that thought, the emotional pain was gone. Some hurt remained, but I no longer felt weepy. Continue reading

Grandma is from Axedale

We’re sitting at a big table in the garden out back of an old antique shop/cafe in Heathcote. Three generations of women, my grandmother, and her daughter, my aunt, and her daughter, my cousin. The four of us had set out to explore the area my grandma grew up, Axedale, Victoria, toward Bendigo, about an hour and half north of Melbourne. When Grandma travelled from Axedale to Melbourne when she was young it took about three hours. This was in the 1930s during the depression.

She talked about traveling to Melbourne, one trip stood out in her mind. She was in Moonee Ponds, saw a man with a hat, begging for money to feed his family. Speaking with a wavering voice describing what it was like to see this man in tears, his desperation was still palpable for her. It even choked me up, transported so many years after, to the pain he must have felt.

After lunch in Heathcote we drove further north toward Axedale, taking Grandma on a trip down memory lane and learning about her life. To the east is the old railway line, can see the raised land, but the tracks are gone. Alot had changed since she spent time here. She told us of dancing waltzes, to piano and drums, and sometimes accordion. The whole community used to come out, for any reason to celebrate. It’s where her parents met, at a community dance in Strathfieldsaye Hall. Bill and Mabel formed a strong courtship and my grandmother came from this union, she loves to dance… My cousin says its a bit like her life now, going to dances, her dance style preference is swing blues. Sally shared about a weekend dance workshop with dance teachers from the US and a blues piano player from NYC. Perhaps dance is a thread that weaves through each of our lives.

Next to where grandma lived when she was 5As we arrived in Axedale, Grandma could see that the place she used to live when she was 5 no longer exists, but it’s now a reserve next to the Campapse River where she used to swim. The river once flooded as high as the bridge rails near Ingham’s Hill. Her great uncle died in a flash flood in one of the many local tributaries to the Camaspe River, he defiantly went after a ball he’d thrown and was swept away as his sisters watched in horror. The formidable force of mother nature was not lost on them, living on the land, born and raised in a house built by their father from materials found on the family property. This primitive lifestyle is hard for me to imagine. Growing up at a time when technology has made our lives so much easier than they had it, and perhaps far more complex.

Just off the main highway, from the dirt road we could see the land described in the story of old John’s life, he had come over from Ireland after the Great Potato Famine. He was in Melbourne for a couple of years before heading inland to the region being opened up for pioneer settlement. He wanted some of that land to build a life and family. He met his bride to be in the first year and was married in Melbourne before heading to Axedale. 

The story, written by my great uncle 20 years ago, had no mention of aboriginals and scarce mention of the women as much beyond wife and mother.

I have mixed feelings about John’s dream being realised by having land to work. He cleared the land on his own with an axe, took him years. It is what enabled him to create the family that lead to my existence but it also contributed to the deforestation and ecological disturbance that is synonymous with pioneer agriculture. It breaks my heart thinking what the land might have been like if farming practices we’re less devastating for existing ecosystems, not to mention the traditional custodians of the land.

Juxtaposed with this heartbreak is a kind of pride and curiosity. It was a hard life for the pioneers. I can only imagine what strength and endurance they had or developed to live that way not to mention the sense of adventure to leave their homeland. For them, it was revolutionary and they danced with it. Is this where my strength of conviction and adventurous spirit come from? Are these traits passed on through a blend of nature and nurture? My journey was a bit the opposite, leaving Canada where I grew up, spent 25 years of my life to come back to my homeland.

We sat in the Axedale Tavern, working out where the washing lines would have been. Grandma’s first job was here. After nearly 7 years of school she went to work at age 13. Doing the hotel laundry and helping serve meals when the pub was full of hungry workers. At this point she lived across the road in a blue-stone cottage. She described boiling the clothes and linens in a copper pot and ‘bluing’ them. I asked, “what’s that?” She said to keep the clothes white they “blued” them with a pellet containing a chemical whitener. I’d always wondered how country living and white clothes coexisted. Seemed completely incongruent with my experiences working the land, it was never clean work. Mystery solved!

The publican at the time was Felix Drake, he was twice my grandmothers age. Today there are photos of him in front of the pub with some servicemen in the 1940s during the war. And another picture from the 1950s where Felix is surrounded by his wife and 9 children, mostly daughters. When my grandma was working for him he took quite a liking to her and said that if she was older, he’d marry her.

Sitting back to reflect on how life was for my grandma, Avice Street (b 1920), growing up in the early part of the 20th century, my great great grandfather John O’Donoghue, living his life in the last half of the 19th century (1831-1919), it feels remarkable. So much change has happened since then. As I sit in the 21st century with my iPad, writing my blog reflecting on the past, I begin to wonder what the future holds. Are we in the precipice of economic and ecological disaster? Will we see mass migration to escape devastation, like John O’Donoghue escaped Ireland’s Great Potato Famine but on an grander scale?

Humans are exceptional at adapting when the options are few. I wonder if we’ll be smart about it this time, seeing the writing on the wall, the unsustainable nature of most aspects of modern life, and make the changes while we still have lots of options. I have faith that it’s possible but like my great great grandfather John and my grandma Avice, I can’t imagine what the future holds. All I know is what I can do and who I can be, carrying the conviction for a better life and a sense of adventure along the way as my ancestors did, dancing the revolution.

 

 

Sent from my iPad

Whats going on in the world?

I have a cousin with a Hummer in Alberta, an aunt and uncle on either side of Australia that don’t believe climate change is happening despite fires and floods, preferring to leave it up to god. I have an activist friend in California who knows better, but wants to leave the country because of the corruption she sees, unable to appreciate the positive movement afoot. It reminds me of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson “People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.”

Yet we have people in Madison, Wisconsin inspired by what’s happening in Egypt, standing up for their rights. No longer being willing to let cynicism and complacency rule, stepping out into a possibility of the future is that they create not sitting down and letting it happen to them.

So I wonder, where can I stand up for what I believe in and be empowered to create the future I want? Oh yeah, my life! That’s a good place to start. If I am responsible for myself, I am responsible for the world.

Second Order Change

I met up with my friend Laurel before Sustainability Drinks last night. The city was hopping and the energy was frenetic. It took us a bit to get where we were going and the few drops of rain didn’t interrupt us once we got into conversation & catching up.
Sipping a locally brewed pear cider next to the Yarra, we talked about our work, her facilitation with community groups, reviewing a book etc. And she asked what I was doing with my business, a question I don’t enjoy much, just coming out of a reassessment and time of questioning what I’m doing. I wish I had something more definative and substantial to say. Seeking out collaborative opportunities, thinking about how to revamp my website, find new language to speak the value I have to offer. Starts to feel like blah blah blah sometimes.
Just before we headed up to Tjanabi she described what I was talking about, the work I want to do with my business, as ‘second order change’. I was intrigued by this term & asked her to say more. She described first order change as rearranging the deck chairs and the second as replacing the ship. This really struck a chord with me. It felt like something I’ve been strugling to name being articulated with such simplicity! Like a breath of fresh air, literally inspiring me! It gives me a new experience of what I’m doing is real, valid and important, not just a good idea inside my head!

Heaps of gratitude to Laurel for this revelation!

Southbank reflecting in the Yarra under Princes Bridge, we were at Riverland sipping cider, catching up.

letting go of selling myself

Yesterday I did some great work with my friend Tahnee about letting go of our old ideas about what selling means. We both have our own business doing what we love, though she has been doing this for far longer than I have.

We explored what feelings come up when we think of selling, and what there is to be healed and then had more space to see the opportunity of selling and really shifted our relationship to it!

I found that i related it to the aggressive and manipulative American sales approach as well as prostitution. Much of my ill will also came from equating this with our societies rampant consumerism as a way to feed the hunger of the human heart. I have so much anger and despair about this. And it gets in the way of being comfortable selling my own ideas and services.

One of the things that also became clear was that in working for myself or any other work, I’m not selling myself. I am not Audacious Leadership as much as I am not my name. I am selling a vision of new paradigm leadership and a pathway toward it. This feels much better. I’m not selling my soul, I’m providing an opportunity for a new future! And it still feels a bit strange to sell that but I have much more willingness to give it a go having relased myself from the negative beliefs and collapsed ideas about what selling is. I can do it with integrity and forge new ways of doing business.

I’m also enjoying reading WOMBAT Selling by Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, who turns the old style of selling on it’s head! Lots to learn on this journey through doing what I love and making a living at it!

I'm here for corporate transformation

I once was an angry greenie

I’m now a champion for corporate transformation

I see my partners in creating a new future in those making decisions about how we use earth’s resources

Making choices about how we do business today, mindful of tomorrow

You are my partners in creating a future that allows our grand children’s great grand children to enjoy life fully,

Knowing their grand children’s great grand children can also be assured a liveable and fulfilling existence on earth

Our choices today will determine the future for all life on the planet.

I don’t want to tell you what to do, how to achieve sustainability, I’m not here for that.

I’m here to broaden and deepen your perspectives so that your choices will allow for that future for life on earth.

Let’s work together, learn from eachother,

experience,

process,

participate,

facilitate,

generate…

corporate transformation.

Tipping point reached!

I’ll tell you a secret, I don’t know definatively if it has been reached. But I feel compelled to declare it. I’m not talking about the point of no return where disastrous climate chaos is our sealed fate, i’m referring to the Great Turning, the movement away from a fixation on the suicidal economy, and toward a life sustaining society. It’s the palpable shift of conscious activity that turns around the titanic. It’s happening, I tell you. Regardless of measurement, scientific posturing, political spin… I can feel in my self, my Self that is connected to all life, that it’s happening. Acting on that voice, I declare that we have reached the point that will move us ever increasingly toward a global community response to our planetary crises. Hope, inspiration & societal change are no longer fleeting & scarce. It’s time!