m1

The Sweetness & Sickness of my Second Trimester

Often you read about the extra energy you get once you reach your second trimester, and I for one can attest to these truth of these rumors.   I certainly have more energy, however, I continue to suffer from nausea and vomiting. Apparently, less than 2% of women are still vomiting as they move through the second trimester, and it appears that I am one of those ‘unlucky ones’. I remember when I was on my way to my first obstetrician meeting during my second trimester, and my husband had to pull over on the side of the highway, both on the way there and on the way back, so I could (very gracefully, of course) throw up on the side of the road. My obstetrician took one look at me and immediately doubled my medication, which worked wonderfully, and thereafter I felt a million times better. She suggested that, by the end of week 18, I should try to return to half of my medication, but as soon as I tried that I was vomiting uncontrollably again, and I could hardly function. My husband, Brad, simply said, “Babe I think it’s best you stay on your full medication”.  The obstetrician and I both agreed with him, realizing that  I might, unfortunately, suffer from nausea for the entirety of the pregnancy.

Then the worst day of my pregnancy to date occurred at week 23, whilst I was enjoying philosophy teacher training in Byron Bay. I thought that by this stage I wouldn’t be as sick, but on this particular day, I couldn’t stop vomiting.  After 13 violent rounds of nausea in the morning, I admitted myself into hospital, realizing that I was starting to get severely dehydrated. The doctor couldn’t believe how sick I was, especially considering the medication I was taking, and said “You have to rest! These two little babies are growing dramatically and are drawing all of your energy and nutrients right now.” I really didn’t feel tired or drained at all, as I was mainly sitting around discussing the Ramayana; however, the babies decided they wanted me to be in bed. Though I have to admit that I haven’t been getting enough sleep, since the outset of my pregnancy I have realized that I need at least 8-10hrs a night, and during my training I was only getting 7hrs. That’s what happens when you go on a training course with 3 of your really good girlfriends, and end up chatting at night instead of sleeping!

I think I’m learning very quickly that it’s not about how I feel or what I want but rather what the babies want and what’s best for them. Whilst they are in the womb, their way of communicating with me, I believe, is to make mummy super sick, so that she doesn’t do anything, and can give us everything we need in order to grow. Once they are born, I think it will be the same story, only I won’t be sick (which will be wonderful), and instead they will be crying for mummy’s milk and cuddles to help them grow and develop into strong babies.

Being able to feel my babies kick has been the best part of my second trimester. It’s so fantastic, to be able to feel them moving around, and I’ve really been able to connect with them on a deeper level. My belly is growing, and I am now able to see their healthy bodies grow in my regular scans, and this has been such a sacred experience. Knowing that they are both super healthy, and above average size for their age, is very reassuring, and makes the nausea and discomfort well worth it.

We are taught, in Tantra yoga, to look for the Shri (blessings) in all of life’s situations; both good and bad. Even though my physical practice has had to take a back seat, my daily meditation practice has deepened dramatically. I have not only committed to my seat but also to my personal studies in traditional yogic philosophy, which has been a beautiful balance of both learning and practice. Without the implementation of the teachings, it’s just arm chair philosophy and I feel like my little babies have guided me on a deeper spiritual journey, beyond the asana. I already know that they will be my greatest teachers, in both Karma yoga (selfless service) and Bhakti yoga (unconditional love and devotion). So many lessons, learnings and ‘letting-goes’ to come.m1

12421558_10153874463939533_976475732_n

My first trimester with twins

My first trimester has been my greatest teacher. Not long after our wedding, Brad and I had a ‘discussion’ (as he likes to call our serious conversations about important decisions) about whether we want to have children or not. Together, we lay everything out on the table, including all the pros and cons to starting a family, and decided we would go for it. Considering we both have busy schedules, getting us under the same roof during ovulation was an interesting process. However, as Brad always said, when we are ready we will catch straight away. I had been tracking my ovulation for a few months before we started trying, and it was all over the place, changing month to month according to the Maybe Baby saliva test I was using. It was after our ‘discussion’ that I had my strongest reading, super early on day 7 of my cycle and miraculously we were both under the same roof, just as Brad had predicted. We were in Hawaii for Brad’s work, when both my intuition and my body were telling me I was pregnant. Brad was excited, as usual, and said that he thought it would be twins. For as long as Brad and I have been speaking about babies, which is for a few years now, he had always said he wants to have twins, and that he had envisioned that we would have twin boys. My response had always been, that I thought it was a long shot, because neither of us have twins in our family. Despite this, I never wrote the idea of having twins off, and, of course, loved the idea of having twins. Sure enough, we did a test and found out that we were pregnant. Interestingly, Brad’s Platinum Property group that we were in Hawaii with, have a party one night a year, wherein everyone dresses up and pretends to be themselves 5 years in the future. Brad and I wore active wear as we will both still be super active and following our passions in health and fitness in five year’s time, plus we were saying we would have kids. At the party, I was saying that we would have two children in the future, but Brad was saying we had four; we compromised at three. Brad’s boss, Dympna, asked me “So what have you got?”, and without even hesitating, I told him that we had three boys, and that the first two were twins. I think Brad’s strong intentions, and constant mantra about twins, had trickled into my subconscious, and it simply blurted out. After Hawaii I came home, and Brad stayed in the States for another two weeks, to compete for the World Championships for all natural fitness modelling. He represented Australia, and ended up coming 6th, which was amazing, and a momentous achievement. It was during this time, that I went to see my GP to let him know the good news. He suggested that I go for an early scan in order to confirm the day of conception. Naturally, following doctor’s orders, I got my scan, only to discover that Brad and I were having twins! I couldn’t believe it. All I wanted to do was tell Brad straight away, but I had to wait another 30mins for my scan to finish. I instantly texted him, from the reception area, and he couldn’t believe his ears. When we FaceTimed, and he could see that I was serious, we were beside ourselves and overjoyed with this blessing and miracle that was given to us. When the hormones began to kick in, I had seven of the worst weeks of my life. I was so sick, vomiting continuously. After one night of none-stop vomiting for 6hrs straight, until nothing but blood and bile was coming up, I decided to go to hospital, as my body couldn’t take it anymore. I was put on medication, due to my high levels of hormones. I couldn’t really read, write, email or talk to anyone during that time, and because Brad was away most of that time, I decided to move back in with my mum and dad. No one knows how to look after you like your mum when you are really sick. Mum and dad did a stellar job looking after me, and I ended up putting on 10kg in the first trimester, thanks to mum’s delicious cooking. I am so grateful to all of my staff at Essence of Living, who picked up my slack during that time, and kept the wheels on the buses going round and round. If I had a traditional job, I would have definitely had to quit, as I was literally bed bound for 7 weeks. I learnt, very quickly, to give up any ideals that I had about what I thought I should be doing during that time. I thought I would be meditating, reading, walking and doing yoga everyday, but I simply could not do anything. I had to surrender to my body, and find peace with not being able to do my daily practices. I learnt to be ok when I am not ok, and I am learning to let go my control, which is a huge pill for me to swallow. Being completely out of control with regards to your body, is something very new to me, and something I shed a few tears over. I’m so used to being super fit and clear minded, and to then be balancing nausea, vomiting and immobility 24/7 was a complete shock, both physically and psychologically. My mantra has always been, ‘Nothing lasts Forever’, and I spent seven weeks praying that my hormones would reduce significantly the second trimester. Luckily, I have just entered my second trimester, and the clouds are starting to part. I am starting to feel better than I have in a couple of months, and I am excited to start teaching a few classes again. Also, we just got the chromosome results back that said that the babies are in excellent health, and we are having one little boy. The sex of second baby is going to be kept as a surprise. Brad’s manifestation and powerful visualisation is half way there; the next exciting step is to pick a baby boy name.

12167034_10153719681179533_1847174175_n

The Wedding Day

So many people tell you that your wedding day is going to be the best day of your life, and I honestly never used to believe them until the day that I married Brad Cassidy. I have lived a very blessed life thus far, traveled all over the world, am surrounded by inspiring and beautiful people everyday, and get to do what I love for a job, allowing me to express both my creativity and give back to my community. I seriously couldn’t imagine how a wedding could make my life any sweeter… but it did. For me, the magic really resided in the special people who shared our love day with us, because each one of those sweet souls occupies a small place in both Brad and my hearts. The fact that they were all together to celebrate our commitment of love was such a delight. It was also a privilege to have so many old friends come together to help us create such a magical day. Each one added their sparkle dust to the day, from the fire dancers (Fiesta Creations), to lead musician (Matthew Barker), to the celebrant (Rachel Harwood), the head chef (Ronaldo Fulieri), the flower stylist & wedding planner (Kimberley Harvey), the first dance chorographer (Csaba Szirmai), the hairdresser (Golds Barber Salon), the makeup artist (Micheal Huxley), the photographers (Corne & Lara Lategan), the videographer (Andre Lategan), the drummers (Three Worlds), the tipi providers (Samikata Tipi), the waitresses (Vicky, Fleur and Amy) and the beauty therapists (Nadia Nails and Belle Pelle), who helped make our special day one that we will never forget. We were also lucky enough to enjoy the company of new friends on our wedding day, especially the property owners of Dreamridge Retreat in Currumbin Valley. These incredible human beings shared their sacred space with us and allowed us to enjoy their very special sustainable home, that they built with their own bare hands. I really believe in the importance of creating community and surrounding yourself with like-minded people, who share the same values and morals as you do, and my wedding day was the epitome of that. You can imagine what the energy and emotion was like with over 100 aligned people celebrating our wedding under a super moon. Powerful! I wish I could have invited everyone that I love and adore, but unfortunately the space was only so big, and therefore, in honor of all of you that I love so much, that could not be there to share our special day, here is a short video of the best day of my life.

10978513_10153133865884533_3358944020318231784_n

The Engagement

Last weekend I took my beloved boyfriend Brad to O’Reilly Rainforest Retreat to celebrate his birthday. His birthday is actually this weekend but because we are opening the new Southport studio over his birthday weekend we decided to have an early celebration. O’Reilly’s is a World Heritage Lamington National Park site and a nature lovers paradise. We stayed at this family owned and run business for just one night but enjoyed two full days of activities that definitely left us feeling blissfully connected to both Mother Earth and each other.

On the first day we flew down the 25m high flying fox and naturally I couldn’t help turning myself from upside down and doing some awesome aerial yoga tricks much to the eco rangers delight. We then went on the Segway tour and for anyone who hasn’t been on one of these two wheel motorized transport devices they are super fun. O’Reilly’s is fully equipment with the state of the art off-road electronically powered two wheeled vertical standing device that can handle cruising through creeks, up and down hills, rocks and other loose debris. It was during the Segway tour to the waterfall that I saw the biggest goanna I have ever seen in my life. It probably stretched about 1.5 meters long and if I hadn’t been on my Segway I think I would have been much more terrified as it was less than 5m away from me and I was alone at the time I saw it.

Later that day we fed the famous birds of O’Reilly’s and after dinner went on the magical glow worm tour where I saw my first ring tailed possum which now has a special association for me. It was here that I learnt that glowworms are actually older than dinosaurs, which I think is a pretty cool fact!

Early the next morning Brad and I set out to do the Binna Burra to O’Reillys hike, which is 23km (6-7hrs) one way route if you take the traditional Border Track. However typical Brad and I wanted to go on the scenic route, which took us past countless waterfalls and creek crossings. We decided to take the Coomera Circuit then connect back onto the Border track then divert off onto the Toolona Creek and Mount Wanungra track adding an extra 12km of class 4 hiking. For those that don’t know what class 4 hiking means in Australian standards it means:

•    Distinct tracks with junctions sign-posted, rough track surfaces with some exposed roots and rocks.
•    Variable in width; muddy sections, steep grades and steps may be encountered.
•    May be extensively overgrown; hazards such as fallen trees and rockfalls likely to be present.
•     Caution needed at creek crossings, cliff edges and naturally occurring lookouts.
•    Moderate fitness level with previous experience and ankle-supporting footwear strongly recommended.

In other words, not for the faint hearted especially because it rained most of the way. Which was actually very beautiful with the low set clouds coming through the trees, the only problem was the leeches. We motored for over 9.5hrs without a break, eating on the go as we realized after 5hrs of hiking we hadn’t even reached 1/3 of the distance. From then on we really pushed the pedal to the metal moving into a slow jog the rest of the way as it was very unstable under foot due to the rocks and over grown paths. I was desperate to get back to O’Reilly’s before dark so the last 1hr between 6pm to 7pm Brad was like Commando off Biggest Loser giving me 5 minute interval runs leaving me huffing and puffing.

With no reception and poorly signed paths it’s pretty easy to get lost out there especially when there are a lot of fallen trees blocking the path. We got really confused from one fallen tree, as when we climbed through the forest to the other side we couldn’t find the connecting path! We looked for ages and after 30 minutes I realized we had to cross the wide creek to the other side, as the path wasn’t even connected one the same side. It looked as if a number of people made the same mistake which was obvious from the all the well worn path to nowhere!

Once we finally reached the Tree top walk at O’Reillys we were both exhausted, wet and cold Brad decided to completely catch me by surprise and tell me he had a present for me. I said “Its your birthday I don’t get a present” and before I knew it he was on one knee asking me to be his wife. I could hardly believe it and after 4 years of him telling me he never wanted to get married I was in complete shock. Next thing a ring tailed possum drops down right beside us in the trees as the night sky set in and I said “yes”. I couldn’t think of a better adventure or way to be proposed to. We both love hiking in nature and are very resilient, hardworking people so the unforeseen challenge to hike over 35km before dark with no clear signs and a rough terrain was a great testament to how well we work together through trying times.

We are planning to get married in the middle of the year and hopefully make babies as soon as possible. We are also partnering up with O’Reilly’s and will be hosting annual weekend yoga retreats encouraging more to get connect with nature and explore the great outdoors. We are just scheduling dates this week and will release them very soon. 2015 is proving to be a massive year!

62654_10153041719039533_1171835172012369349_n

Ayurveda And The Mind by Dr. David Frawley

I have been training with Mark Togini consistently for the last 6 months or so, which has been a breath of fresh air. It was such a gift to walk back into his class again after 8 years to see not much had changed other than the small tree that used to be as high as my knee is now as high as the ceiling. This tree represented both Mark & my personal development & growth over the years, which was a nice analogy, we discovered on my return.

Mark suggested I read Dr Frawley’s book of Healing the Consciousness after asking him some questions on Samyama and I have to admit this book took me a long time to read. I read three other books in-between finishing this book, which is very unlike me. However I felt that I could only process so much at a time as I really wanted to embody the teachings not just intellectualize them. I’m not suggesting that I am practicing everything that I read in Frawley’s book however I have taken the time to contemplate his teachings and question them. Some of the teachings are really confronting and challenging to process when we are honest with ourselves and there is no doubt that yoga is far from an easy path to travel authentically.

Samyama can be translated in many ways but one of the easiest ways to shine light on this deep subject would be the harmonious control of concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and integration (samadhi) fused into one process by which the yogi or yogini can know the inner cause of anything concentrated upon. But to even get to this level the one needs to do a lot of preparation processing and purifying all the layers of their sheaths (koshas) and nature (gunas).

Ayurveda and the Mind is a must read for any serious practitioners and teachers alike who want to go deeper and be more than a great asana practitioner or teacher. It’s one of those books that you will have to read over and over again as its so detailed that its impossible to gather all the richness first time round, no matter how slow you read it. There are a lot of great tables at the back of the book that helped me clarify complex information on the deeper teachings of yoga also.

I recently just bought another of Dr Frawley’s books at the Chopra Centre in California Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization as suggested by Mark to read next, which I’m excited to read. The vast ocean of yoga is so deep & wide, so it’s paramount to have great teachers, resources and books to learn from when you feel like you’re sinking or lost at sea. We can use these ancient teachings to help keep us afloat and navigate us in the right direction.

10928757_10153066013314533_431316770_n

Retreating In Mexico

10933091_10153066013159533_931103683_n  I have recently been blessed to go on my second yoga retreat I have ever been on, the first being an Ashtanga Intensive at Purple Valley Retreat Centre in Goa, India and most recently a Yin Yoga Teacher Training at Haramara Retreat Centre in Sayulita, Mexico. Normally I go to courses that aren’t held at beautiful retreat centres so I felt very lucky to be able to enjoy such an exotic experience.

Haramara is voted by Yoga Journal as one of the best retreat centres in the world and it certainly lived up to its reputation. Haramara means Mother Sea and this jungle retreat has been created with deep thought and consideration, the placement and location of every structure at Haramara has been done so as to remain “at-one” with the spirit of the land, the jungle and the beach, with minimal environmental impact. Haramara has been built without mechanical equipment compromising the virgin jungle and every structure has been hand-built using traditional construction methods. There is no electricity or wi-fi service to ensure guests can truly disconnect. This however for many of us was not an option considering we have businesses and loved ones to stay connected with so we would all walk down to the next resort to get online.

The feeling of “at-one” was very apparent with no walls in the cabanas it wasn’t unusual for iguanas, spiders, snakes, scorpions, birds, bugs and geckos to be found in our rooms. This definitely added to the raw and real experience which made Haramara a memorable get away. Walking at night through the jungle by torch back to our cabanas at first was a little scary but I soon got comfortable with the star studded sky and wildlife noises of the night. What I loved tremendously were all the amazing Mexican birds that lived in the virgin jungle.

I also have to mention the food was fantastic together with the light hearted wait staff. Everyday we were fed 3 course meals from morning to night that were made from local produce and served with a smile. It definitely was not a detox retreat, but I certainly enjoyed the colourful creative dishes that were prepared.

10933200_10153066012864533_477098803_nThe course itself was fantastic and I learnt so much more about yoga. I have done lots of teacher training courses and delivered a lot too, but what I was super impressed by was Paul and Suzee’s professionalism and ability to pass on knowledge in a clear, succinct manner to make it easy to understand. Paul and Suzee specialize in anatomy and I definitely walked away feeling like I knew my body on a much deeper level. There is a lot to be said about Yin Yoga as after 2 weeks of practicing twice a day I walked away with a more flexible pain-free body and a much deeper sitting meditation practice. The power of practicing gently and slowly is transformational and a fantastic gate way to be able to sit in stillness whilst meditation. For me it felt very sattvic (balanced) as I already have a very Ragastic (busy) life so this suited me perfectly. If you only practiced yin you wouldn’t develop the most athletic looking body but your parasympathetic nervous system would be fully charged, which ultimately equates to a state of calmness and contentment. Yin yoga is not designed to be the only practice and its should be a complementary practice to your yang exercise whether its Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga or going to the gym.

Yin Yoga is not a new practice but rather an old practice with a new name. Before the Ashtanga Vinyasa revolution of the 1980s the yin yoga method or attitude towards the asana practice was to maintain a state of relaxation, to never strain or force the body into a position, the body should remain absolutely motionless for an extended period of time. I’m excited to come home and share this new method I have learnt to cultivate a more balanced body and mind for everyone to enjoy.

10929968_10153047964079533_5940915899023367617_n

Yin Yoga Principles & Practices by Paul Grilley

So I am currently in Mexico doing my Yin Yoga teacher training with the dynamic duo Paul & Suzee Grilley, it has been a tremendously educational and inspiring experience thus far. Considering I had never taken a Yin Yoga class before attending the teacher training I wasn’t 100% sure of what I was getting myself into. I have watched Paul’s Chakra Meditation and Anatomy DVDs and loved them so much I knew I wanted to learn more from him. So when I did my first class and postures like shoelace or giraffe where being instructed to do I had no idea what I was doing & even caught myself judging is this even yoga? But as Paul gently suggested the postures don’t have traditional Sanskrit names & typical English translations because they consciously decided to give them other names so we don’t assume that they are the same as the traditional postures as taught by other styles of yoga.

Due to my lack of experience I quickly dived into Pauls’ easy to read little blue book and got myself up to date with the Yin Yoga lingo. What I deeply appreciate is Paul’s fantastic facilitation as an educator backed up by his beautiful wife Suzee. Their ability to pass on complex detailed knowledge in an easy to understand manner is not something everyone can do, Paul is a master at it and his book is no exception. I read it in just 2hrs covering a lot of topics that I was already familiar with however my ocean got a little deeper with a whole new insight on chakras and bandhas that I had never encountered before. Paul also has a very simple explanation of the three bodies; physical, astral and casual which I found every helpful in my own understanding.

Paul draws a lot of his information and inspiration from Taoist Yoga, Dr. Motoyama and Dr. Parker who have influenced him greatly over the years together with his own personal practice and life long dedication to yoga, anatomy and philosophy. He believes that Yin Yoga is a complementary practice to all forms of Yang practice whether it is Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, running, swimming or Pilates. He believes life is about cultivating balance and that the world is currently yang dominant and that we could all benefit from integrating more yin movements and thoughts into our lifestyles. I know from my own personal experience I had adopted a yin self practice from simply listening to my body and what it needs. When I work so hard y body just wants to be nurtured sometimes not tortured. I have enough rajastic (fire) nature I need to cultivate more sattvic (balanced) practices to soften my nature.

He also believes in the power of cultivating, directing and reserving our chi (prana) energy. We are all made up of this energy; however how we create, move and loose this life force energy is often from our own unconscious awareness. Chi moves through the body in channels called Meridians, these channels have a central channel called Sushumna Nadi which has seven special centers known as chakras in which the chi flows. Ultimately Yin Yoga is designed to open up your Meridians & chakras to allow you to maximize your life force, you don’t have to be super flexible to have chi running through your body. I think everyone could benefit from practicing Yin Yoga 2-3 times a week & I’m excited to say we will be offering it very soon in the studio

1461653_10152992023714533_5876937706744731789_n

California Dreaming

It has been over ten years since I spent a decent amount of time in California and it was Brad’s first time to visit the West coast of America so we were both super excited to visit. 2014 was a big year for both of us and like most we were very happy to be able to have some quality time together. Initially however we started our trip in southern California staying with our good friends Diana & Jeff House from Tiny Devotions & their dog Coconut in their family’s holiday home in Del Mar. One of the best things about staying with Diana & Jeff other than their super chilled vibe was the great hike they took us on, the amazing organic restaurants they introduced us to like Urban Plates and Tender Greens and for me finally being able to see the Chopra Centre & the Self Realization Centre which have been two places I’ve always wanted to see. We didn’t get to go into the Self Realization center but being able to see it was really cool because The Autobiography of a Yogi was a super inspiring pivotal book for me to read 8yrs ago.

After our stay in Del Mar we caught the train up to Los Angeles to our next stop Venice Beach. As we were driving in Venice Beach both Brad and I looked at each other a little shocked at the difference between the beautiful, clean safe feeling Del Mar gave us compared to the built up, grungy, unsafe feeling of Venice Beach. But after a day and a bike each to ride we soon got comfortable in our new surroundings finding the best places to train. Brad was in heaven at the world famous mega Gold’s Gym which became his happy place and I found Exhale an amazing Yoga & Barre studio with fantastic Barre teachers that taught me at least one new move every class! Plus the stars have aligned and they are offering a 5 day intensive Barre training two days after my Mexico course so I have extended my stay to learn from the founders of the Exhale Barre Method which I’m super excited about & can’t wait to share with everyone when I get back.

Over the two weeks we stayed in Venice Beach we rode our bikes up and down the beach to Santa Monica everyday watching amazing street performers and the vast array of different people expressing themselves. We also did the tourist things like the Hop On, Hop Off bus tour, Malibu celebrity homes tour, visited Hollywood and went to Disneyland. The one thing that took us both by surprise was how cold it was. We experienced record-breaking temperatures as low as 4 degrees, which neither of us was prepared for. Luckily due to the time of year everything was on sale and we picked up some great jackets and jumpers to keep us warm.

One of my favorite things about this trip was that we rode our bikes everywhere, which made me feel so free and grateful to have the luxury of time to be able to ride from place to place, which is something that doesn’t happen when I’m home. I also love the street art of Venice Beach, which is found on almost every building with a huge variety of murals from past presidents to Arnold Swareznigger to a reoccurring blue gorilla that randomly pops up in unexpected walls.  Plus if you ever visit Santa Monica and you like crepes Brad & I discovered the best crepe restaurant called Caffe Crepe, which will blow your taste buds, we went three times its that good! All in all California was great xxx

4170217

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

This pocket-sized collection of Oprah’s personal life’s stories and reflections lets you intimately into her head and heart. Oprah expresses the ups and downs that she has endured through life’s wild ride of twists and turns. As you move through the pages of her experiences she welcomes you to read exactly what she was thinking and feeling at that time in her life.

For me ‘What I Know For Sure’ isn’t one of my top ten personal development books to read. However some small stories definitely helped me to build clarity around certain situations as I move through similar processes. I think parts of this book will resonate with everyone as she shares all of her human qualities making the book very relatable. She shares what she has learned along her journey and within the pages reflects on how to be the best version of you, which is one of my favorite topics.

Oprah is truly connected to her higher power and her higher self, there is no doubt that this woman knows her life’s mission and is living with both passion and purpose. Oprah is a lighthouse of hope and inspiration for millions of women around the world and I feel so blessed to have grown up under her influence as a young woman. She has taught me so much about not only believing and trusting in myself, but in believing in my higher purpose and trusting in my divine guidance. I have always felt deeply connected to source and being able to watch Oprah live from that place inspires me more than she will ever know. She is one amazing human spirit, who has overcome and risen above some of life’s most challenging circumstances but never cries victim but rather practices gratitude for all of her blessings. I love this about her!

What Oprah has created and contributed to the world will be remembered for hundreds of years, her legacy will be timeless. She has ignited monumental change around the world thanks to her daytime television show and network. I absolutely love her mission, vision and passion to make the world a better place. I believe she is one of the leading lights creating a worldwide shift in consciousness through education and connection to spirit. Oprah has such a unique ability to connect and influence millions of people because she is her authentic self and genuinely cares about her viewers.

I think we can all learn from Oprah on many levels. If I could ask just one person to dinner who would it be? It would be Oprah Winfrey.

great

Great Work by David Sturt

I love the notion that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard because I definitely have never seen myself as a talent person and my family will back that up. However what I do have is an amazing work ethic and I am always endeavoring to be the best version of myself so I can better serve others by inspiring them to be the best version of themselves.

So when I saw the book title Great Work: How to make a difference people love I was instantly hooked and based on Sturt’s note worthy credentials and impressive contribution to Wall Street Journal and Forbes I knew that time would not be wasted investing in this piece of research literature.

What I loved about this book was that it was all evidence based and nothing was just opinions or ideas but rather simple hard facts and how they came to those outcomes. We’ve long been told our ability to succeed depends on our IQ, talent, education level, gender, job title, or when and where were born. Great Work turns that conventional thinking on its head to reveal that innovation can come from anyone, anywhere.

Here is a brief summary of are five main concepts that Sturt discovers that difference makers do, but I encourage you to buy the book and learn the details behind the dot points. Like anything the deeper you dig the more you will discover and transform.

1. Ask the right questions

  • Take the time to ask what people might love
  • Tackle a problem
  • Consider what you’re good at
  • Think out on the edge

2. See for yourself

  • Observe everything that affects your work
  • Watch what people do
  • Look at the process
  • Explore other disciplines
  • Examine the details
  • Look back
  • Look to the future

5. Talk to your outer circle

  • Have conversations with people in your inner and outer circles
  • Invite others to join your great work expedition
  • Make sure one conversation leads to another
  • Gather all you can from every conversation

4. Improve the mix

  • Work with ideas to find improvements that are worth making
  • Add something new
  • Remove
  • Check for fit
  • Watch for signs of a great mix coming together

5. Deliver the difference

  • Be obsessed with outcomes
  • If your work isn’t loved at first, fine-tune it for success
  • Make one difference lead to another
  • Create great work that inspires others