The price of admission

I’ve worked so hard lately. It’s been a month, maybe even six weeks, since I’ve had a full day’s rest. It’s easy to forget the truth – this too shall pass, everything changes and it won’t be like this forever – because it seems impossible to change your direction when you’re mid-flight en route to Burnout City.

I had a mini melt-down after Zen Thai. I realised I’d really dug myself in and I didn’t want to collapse straight back to the trajectory I’d been travelling on before. I know what lies at that destination and I have no desire to go back there.

So the big question: How do you change your trajectory?

It helps to know how your mind works. What you focus on, you create more of. I’d been focusing on and created ‘feeling drained,’ ‘too busy,’ ‘no time,’ in my life. This path does not lead to Fun Town, Hilarity or Shenanigans.

The mere act of noticing, of becoming aware of your thoughts, begins to change that trajectory. Once you bring the pattern or the thoughts or the behaviour to your conscious mind, there is no choice but for it to change. That’s the nature of energy. And that’s where a good meditation practice can help.

I decided to look for s p a c e. I started to see s p a c e, in the pauses between breaths, in the 10 minutes between work and class, and, one step at a time, I have created s p a c e. Sigh of relief!

What really flicked a switch in my mind was the concept of ‘the price of admission’. The Man showed me a video about relationships, where the guy calls the little quirks and irritations about your partner the ‘price of admission’. That’s the price you pay to get on the ride – to be with that person – and if you don’t like the price, you don’t get on the ride, so to speak.

I immediately applied this to my entrepreneurial rollercoaster ride. Is the constant work, zero days off, inconsistent cash flow, being open and compassionate with people even when I’m drained, teaching when I don’t even know what the lesson is, working 12 hour days on my feet to make ends meet most of the time – is that worth it to me?

Is that price worth the vision I hold in my heart?

The answer is a HELL YES. (Thank Goddess, I always  say if it’s not a Hell Yes, then it’s a no!)

The other issue is it’s easy to lose sight of your focus, your vision. I’d momentarily lost sight of the destination when I took my eyes down to the ground and looked at the week ahead.

As soon as you try to control the process, the steps in between here and there, that’s when you lose track of the vision. And overwhelm ensues. I’ve learnt that you need to focus on the vision while you simply put one foot in front of the other. One step at a time. Always the next right step. That way the process remains simple – it’s always the next right step.

My top three tips to change your destination from Burnout City to Fun Town:

  • Focus on your vision (if you don’t have one, come see me for some coaching – clarity will be yours)
  • Choose your thoughts
  • One step at a time!

If you don’t have a vision, have trouble with your thoughts, or struggle to keep your eye on the prize, my upcoming coaching package and meditation classes will help. Jump on the mailing list to find out more HERE.

I’d love to know if this helps you – let me know in the comments.

Love,

Emma xox

The heart loves space

How can I go back?

There is no return from this place of knowing – only one foot in front of another, move in a new direction.
That breath, that space – the pause is precious.
The heart wants s p a c e.
To much high heart spirits and the bushfire burns out to charcoal. I know this.

The Zen Thai weekend put me back in touch with my heart.

The first question that I asked myself on leaving was: How to maintain this sense of spaciousness in my life?
The pain of being incongruent, the cost of living inauthentically is too high now that I’ve lived in my truth for four solid days.
I feel staying in this heart space will be painful – staying is painful when your heart isn’t happy.
But the only way for the heart to be happy is to stay with it. Hear it. Make choices moment to moment, instead of abandoning it in favour of short term pain relief.

How to maintain this sense of spaciousness in my life? 

I feel like I’m owning my heart. I’m saying, YES, this is how I want to feel.
I can be conscious of the space, the pauses; start to seek and see space, instead of complaining that it’s not there. The pause in between breaths, the transitions – that’s where the space is.
Stay open, as my massage buddy, Pete, said.
Start saying no more. I get a lot of offers. As I say and obviously need to practice, say no to things that aren’t a HELL YES.
Breathe more. Be still, and alone. Space.
May I have the courage to be vulnerable and be with my truth and live it.
May you have that courage too.

Where you need more space in your life? Let me know in the comments.
Blessings,
Emma xoxox

Come exactly as you are, and be seen and held and loved.

I had the absolute blessing and privilege of attending a Zen Thai Shiatsu Massage 4 day intensive course last weekend. The course was held at the Mt Ninderry Healing Centre by the inimitable Gwyn Williams, and it was an honour to spend four days with him and 20 other people, learning the art of healing through conscious touch.

I’d had a pretty miserable week before I left town, so I skipped the tunes and did some yogi chanting as I road-tripped. There is nothing quite like the sound of your own voice breaking up the silence with sacred words to bring you back to yourself.

The next day, Gwyn’s beautiful presence began to unpack all the layers I’d begun to build up. The way he teaches and holds space is sublime. Gwyn speaks to your higher self from a wide open heart, so much that you can give and receive with joy as your heart peels open effortlessly.

The style is a blend of Thai massage and Shiatsu, designed to work the energy lines, or meridians, and release blockages. It’s fluid, yet penetrative, mobilising and opening the body of the practitioner and the receiver, using body weight in a pouring-in technique – not force. Together you create a beautiful harmony, and the treatment becomes a healing. The intention and presence you both bring shapes the treatment completely.

The weekend was about more than learning a massage technique. What I experienced deeply was connection – with myself and others.

This weekend, I felt truly seen, truly heard and safely held.

I was able to give wholeheartedly, and it felt so good. What a blessing, a true gift, to see and touch someone with your whole true self and have them receive you.
Sensing someone’s limits, tuning in to their energy moving under my hands and forearms – the treatment became a meditation in motion, a fluid dance of effortless effort.
To be a conduit for all that joy and love was an intense experience. I was able to really see myself – all my pain, my heaviness, my love, my joy – and experience the vastness of myself as a being, not just Emma.
I saw such beauty in others, felt such love and nurturance as I witness their humanity, as I witnessed my own. The experience was one of courage and vulnerability, meeting each other exactly where we’re at with pure acceptance.
The weekend wasn’t without its challenges. The ‘bumblebees’ (as Gwyn called them) of self-criticism and doubt plagued me at times. However, I found that receiving a treatment was the most challenging. It’s easy to lie back and starfish. But to let someone in, to allow them to sense you and explore your limits, to fully engage with the experience was a constant process of letting go. I practiced awareness not just of my body but my heart and mind. Wherever I noticed I was holding on, I breathed into it, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
On the last day we partnered with one person and swapped the full 90 minute treatment. My partner and I shared a similar experience. We both felt a sense of loss whenever we noticed our hearts close off. I don’t know if I can do justice to the experience of being fully centred in your heart space and feeling so much love and joy – and then to feel your heart close for some unknown reason.
The weekend brought me a sense of clarity of who I am and what makes me happy, and a desire to honour myself completely. I saw parts of myself really clearly. In terms of actionable changes I intend to make: my self-doubt needs to take a hike; and I want to include conscious touch more in my life, so prepare yourself for epic hugs!!!!!
You can read more about Zen Thai Shiatsu and Gwyn HERE.
I want to know – have you ever had an experience of being touched really deeply? If you feel comfortable sharing, please comment ❤
Lots of love,
Emma xox
PS I’m offering a limited number of treatments for free, so I can practice. If you’re interested, email me emma.shields88@gmail.com and we’ll hook it up. This offer is limited to 7 spots and only until the end of July.

Her legacy

Back in February, I wrote was to tell my subscribers that I was pulling back from teaching. It was rather abrupt – I’d just announced that I’d be adding classes to my timetable and a week later I was cancelling them.

It was the start of what turned out to be a four month hibernation, where I hardly checked Facebook or responded to emails and spent a lot of time immersed in real life – working, teaching, coaching, and spending a lot of time alone outside of that. I taught three or four classes a week, very quietly.

What prompted this pulling back, this hibernation? My dear friend Jess passed away at the end of February. Some of you would know Jess as the Wellness Warrior. I spent a fair chunk of my wellness career as her customer care person/VA, as well as coordinating and spending close to a month on the road, travelling all over Australia, as part of the team behind the Wellness Warrior Tour.

Jess was the first person who really inspired me to love myself. I followed Jess’ blog avidly and I was a total fangirl of hers, before I eventually met and started to work for her. It was a dream come true to work as part of her team and an honour to call her a friend.

When she passed away, my heart broke, a wide open wound, messy around the edges. A broken heart is a portal for grief, not just for the dear friend but for all the past sadness I repressed. It’s the place where the fucks I used to give about shit that doesn’t really matter purge from.

A broken heart demands attention and when you give it attention, take care of it, lovingly hold it without stemming the flow, it whispers its deepest desires to you.

True to form, Jess inspired me with her passing. I stepped back and took really good care of myself.

I came to the realisation that there’s no way I can escape my calling. I’m meant to be out here, owning it, sharing my particular brand of light with the people who are drawn to it. To be myself, to do what I love, to serve others – that’s her legacy.

Much love, always xoxo

I wandered into a nest

I had to hook up internet last week. I whinged and stomped my feet about the price, and I’m still waiting for the connection to go live. Rockhampton is so behind the times! #firstworldproblems

Despite the childish behaviour, this act signified the start of a new chapter in my life. My friend/housemate is leaving, and, as of July, I’m renting my own place. With my own wifi.

I’m finally a grown up.

 

I never thought this would happen to me, but apparently I have the same look on my face when I’m looking at floor cushions as I do when I’m about get laid. I’m surfing the net for organic bedlinen with the same fervour I had for shoes about five years ago. Oh, don’t even get me started on The Bed. (It will be a Karton frame with an organic eco-friendly latex mattress. King size, with a divine duvet, a couple of cute cushions and a thrilling throw. Neutral colours with a pop of print.) I’ve never wanted to drop the cost of a short overseas holiday on anything home-related before.

++

Now, it’s still going to be very minimal. I actually have zero furniture and I intend on keeping it that way as much as possible. I won’t have a TV; in fact, the living room will be the yoga and meditation room, complete with bolsters, rugs and floor cushions. Effortlessly stylish and comfortable, of course, so I can entertain – I’m thinking pots of chai or mulled wine, candles and salt lamps… such cosiness!

I’ll convert the spare room to a treatment room for the energy healings I’ll offer from July 1. The dining/kitchen area will have an art station, a mini island table so I can sit on the bench seat to eat, and a few other things to make it pretty. Every single piece will be lovingly and intentionally placed.

This is the first time that I’ll be living in a space I’ve created purely for myself. I’ve rented and lived with other people or in furnished places since I left home, and even at home, my room was furnished for me. I’ve moved five times in the last three years. As a Cancerian, supposedly the homemakers of the zodiac, this is highly unusual behaviour.

However, I had an astrology reading at the start of the year and apparently Cancerians are born into one of two extremes. They can be homebodies, or they can feel lost and ungrounded, never feeling safe and secure or knowing where home is.

I fall into the second category. I’ve never really felt at home anywhere. I’ve always just had this knowing that I’ll move on from wherever I am, in search of new and exciting adventures. I think I’m a wanderer at heart. I still have that knowing, that sense of impending travel, now. The difference now is that I’m choosing to make a home, instead of thinking it will find me (and settling for other people’s choice in decor.)

Creating my own nest feels incredibly grounding. I feel able to truly express myself and own my space and so damn THRILLED to buy stainless steel saucepans (WTF). I can’t wait to see how my business and creativity takes off once I’m settled into my own space.

What about you, dear reader? How do you feel about the space you live in?

If you enjoyed this post, I’d love to hear from you! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Lots of love,

Emma xo

 

 

Filled up and overflowing

I had one of those magic days last Friday. I had my first sleep-in in over a month; spent the day creating big, beautiful projects with a wonderful friend; and had the most amazing, deep, ecstatic sexy-time with my man. Before I floated off to sleep, as I reflected on the day, I realised it’d been a long time since I’d felt such effortless, peaceful bliss. It was a big realisation for me. My base level is pretty good most days, compared to how I used to feel, but this new feeling took me to the next level.

I asked myself: ‘What would it take for me to feel like this every day?’ How can I feel this overflow of bliss, this joy, this purpose-full, so that I can GIVE effortlessly to my partner instead of need him to fill me sexually, so that I can GIVE to the humans of the world, so that I can BE the light instead of looking for it?

I want to be the light so profoundly and completely that there’s no question in my heart that I’m full.

I want to give spontaneously with delightful abandon.

My needs and desires have changed a lot in the last four months. That day really helped to create positive contrast.

To be honest, most of the time, I feel average. My average seems to be better comparatively than the social norm, but more often than I like to admit, my attitude has been, ‘Gotta go to work to pay my bills to keep myself going.’ I seem to flow from work to home to class to supermarket to kitchen with little passion. I feel like social media makes it really easy to create the appearance of an amazing, joyful life and I, too, select the best moments to share (hello, #instamorning), but these moments don’t last and what I’m left with is a heartfelt desire for MORE.

I feel amazing after I teach, and that is the only thing that’s allowed me to maintain this spark in my heart while I put in the hours to keep myself afloat. I teach what I most need to practice, on the mat, with a room full of strangers… each of us finding our own way, together, in the dark.

Right now, I’m walking in two worlds. One foot is in in the old world of a day’s work for a day’s pay, and the other foot is leading me in the direction of my heart’s desire, my dreams. I go from flatlining to high vibing and around again so many times in the space of a week that I hardly know which way is up.

This in-between stage has taught me so much about what I need and what I want. I’m going to take what I can from this time and really embrace the nitty gritty, the baby steps, the stumbles and the small wins, because this incongruent phase is about to end, and I want to be the best I can be as I move forward.

I am saying YES to my heart’s desires in my plans for the next six months. I’m heading to a yoga festival in India and a tantra retreat in Bali. I’m enrolled in Flourish with Painting & Creativity. I’m teaching yoga at workshops and co-hosting several events with co- conspirators. In three weeks, I’ll be living on my own, in my own Zen Garden. My life is being created by design and it feels bloody brilliant.

I choose to see opportunity and potential and SPACE where I used to see problems, uncertainty and hesitations.

I’m finally practicing patience, trusting in Divine timing.

Love,

Emma xo

Your permission slip to let go

I shared this in my last newsletter, dated 2 March 2015:

I’m writing to share some bittersweet news with you.

I have chosen to discontinue some classes from my schedule. Classes will no longer be at Holistic Health or Body N Soul, after this week. I’ll still continue to teach at Activ Gracemere for the time being.

Why? I’m getting close to burnout – 8 classes a week is a sizeable workload. I recently injured myself and although it wasn’t serious and I made a full recovery, my body was giving me a clear indication to slow down. There’s been other signs too.

This was not an easy decision to make. I love teaching. I know the benefits of yoga and how much you all love it, and I want to continue to share my understanding and experience of yoga with you.

However, when I lose my passion, when I don’t have the energy for my own practice, when I continue to push myself past my own limits in a way that feels constrictive and draining (not expansive and exciting), what am I really teaching?

This article sums it up, much more succinctly than I could (I cried sweet tears of acknowledgement reading it).

I haven’t had the energy to send an email to you before now, or finish an asana challenge I started two weeks ago. This is not the effect that yoga has had on me, it’s the effect of over-doing it.

Maybe you’re familiar with that feeling – fatigue, dragging your feet, feeling resentful, constantly hungry, anxious, and, in my case, starting to hope no-one shows up so I can go home and sleep or eat.

If so: here’s your permission slip to let go. 


I only want to hit my targets if the aiming and the hitting both feel good ~ Danielle La Porte, The Desire Map


I hope this inspires you to listen to your intuition, the wisdom of your body, and your heart.

Lots of love,

Emma XO