How Getting Clear Changes Everything… Because, It’s Time. 

West Cork Whale Watch June 2017-24

Did you all see Oprah’s speech on the Golden Globes last night? WOW. Now, there’s a woman in her glorious power, there is a woman who embodies fierce grace, there is a woman who stands phenomenally in her own fullness and realises that when she shines, she gives permission for other’s to shine too.

This is clarity. This is intention. This is purpose. This is the sacred dance of light and life.

I know Oprah get’s it: that it’s time. 

It’s time for women to shine. It’s time for men to join in the chorus of the feminists and shine alongside them. It’s time for the creative spirit of feminine leadership to rise and shape how we do politics and power, culture and the commons.

Because, by God, it’s about bloody time. That means for me. That mean’s for you too. Yes, I mean it, for all of us. It’s time.

I want to share this personal story with you: curled up by the fire, with my blank pages and intention sheets spread out across the rugs, something deep inside of me had a massive re-configuration over the New Year. In all it can be summarised also as ‘It’s time’.

That means – it is time for me to do the big work that I have been sensing in me for years, it’s time to let my inner light to really shine, it’s time to not let the (perceived) judgements of others prevent me from creating what I want to create or serving in the way I sense I am to serve. It’s also time to stop making excuses for myself, or blaming my thighs, or blaming the way my jumpy brain works, because well, that is not serving anyone- the blame-especially me. This is my one wild and precious life after all, and I want to show up in fullness to this crazy beautiful world which I have the privilege of being a part of.

I’m not saying it is always easy, it’s not. To do the big work we have to look hard in the mirror and ask some big questions, namely:

Who I am being called to be? 

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When we go deep into that question we find that the clue to unravel it is in the ‘be’ .

And when we give ourselves permission to go there- to our beingness– what we find is a great, infinite, connected, wondrous, and powerful self- because that self is already deep inside us, and has been all along. This insight gives us the power to know that we are already good enough, worthy enough and talented enough.  (And, for sure, Oprah lives this).

Knowing this, we can then get to the next set of questions;

  • What am I being called to do? 
  • What do I have to let go of?
  • How am I willing to enter the arena? 
  • How can I really and sustainably resource myself? 
  • And how can I let my intention and attention lead the way? 

You see, the ‘I’ here not small i , it is large ‘I’ -the infinite ‘I’.  It is the ‘I’ which is connected intrinsically to all beings. In understanding this, the ‘I’ is also ‘we’ …

You’ll note that Oprah said in her speech last night

‘When you speak your truth, it is the greatest power we have’

Oprah for the win!

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So, yes, I’ve been looking in the metaphorical mirror too and asking some of these questions. It means that things are undergoing change around here, and I wanted to share some with you now.

Internally, my biggest intention is to nurture positive interior space’ – which essentially means shifting the way I speak to myself- less self judgement, more self compassion.

There are two tools which I know work really well in supporting this:

  • Firstly a regular meditation practice– to create space to tap into the inner infinite.
  • and secondly, the cultivation of a stronger relationship with the future self, the higher self, than to the past self or critical self. This involves developing regular rituals, practices and resources which keep the higher vision alive and clear.

It’s all a work in progress (as always), but what is really clear is that keeping the vision alive is very much a practice which requires daily top up whether that is through journalling, yoga, nature walks, sitting meditation or visualisation.

Then there are the external shifts. And here’s how clarity is changing things for me over the coming year(s)….

Firstly, I’ll be staying on living in West Cork and starting to create immersive learning experiences here for others to engage with the creative and transformative power of this place. There will be solo writing retreats, writing retreats for those who want to bring books out into the world, and there will be creative leadership retreats. I’m just finalising dates and prices, but announcements coming soon. (how exciting is this!)

I’ll be continuing the Living Seasonally online courses, four per year, to honour the wisdom of turning to the seasons and the momentum which is embedded into the celtic cycles (The Spring Edition starts Feb 3rd).

I’ll host a weekly community yoga class in Schull (for practice is power, and community is key)

And my coaching/ mentoring work is shifting too. I’ll be developing some group courses and resources online, and my one-to-one work is also more focused.With that in mind, I have taken a long look at my business model, and for things to be sustainable, it’s also clear that I had to raise my prices. So, you’ll this reflected in the new Clarity Sessions package.. So, if you know it’s your time too, and you’d like some support to map out your internal and external intentions, now is a good time to book in.

And then off course, there are books, always the books 🙂 So I am crafting the space to finish Home on the Wild Edge and start the next…

So, folks, clarity- it’s changing, everything. 

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In some part of your life, it’s time too.. 

Time to speak up.

Time to stop holding back.

Time to let go.

Time to hold on.

Time to forgive.

Time to surrender.

Time to do your big work.

Time to step up.

Time to love like you have never loved before.

Let’s do this. Because, you’ve guessed it, it’s time ….

clarity-sessions-rgbThe Clarity Sessions

Would you like to work one to one with me?

The Clarity Sessions are designed to get you clear on your own inner and outer intentions and follow up with focused action.

Let’s give this a month…

Taking bookings now.

 

 

 

PS. I’ve loved Oprah for years but now she is orbiting new levels! So yes, Oprah for President! And is she eligible to run for Presidency in Ireland?!!

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January Questions and the celtic season of ‘active waiting’

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Slowly, slowly, the days are getting longer. The predominate culture at this time of year tells us to go faster, do more, get fit, push harder. But look outside- the trees are bare, the ground is preparing for new growth, the wildlife has slowed to a rhythm which respects renewal. But underneath the surface, there is an active waiting for the right timing.

It’s not dormancy- it’s receptivity.

In the celtic system, we are in this feminine phase of ‘active waiting’, fine tuning our receptivity radar to be alert to callings and new growth while tending to that which serves renewal. The feminine is dream space, depth space, ‘out-of-time’ space. It’s in all of us, male or female, and it has the capacity to tap us into our innate underground source of creativity, and from there springs forth the channel on which we can travel onwards. Time to journal, time to have conversations with your intentions, time to open your heart to your inner world of knowing….

So, two questions as you move through these early weeks of January:

‘What are you ready to receive?’ and…

‘How can you actively participate in your own unfolding?’.

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The Clarity Sessions are designed to help you get clear, get intentional and build the momentum to help you share your gift with the world.

One month of deep conversations, creative practices and follow up support.

If you have some wisdom to share with the world, and you know it is time, but are seeking some space to dream, plot and plan and then these sessions are for you.

Find out more here. 

 

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What to do on a slump day…

What to do on a slump day

 

We all have them- those days we’d rather not. The day the internal weather turns on us and we’d rather hide.

I had one last week. It had started with big intentions-  to get up early, to do yoga, to dive into work and turn up my energy and productivity. It didn’t happen. I fell back asleep. I did a very brief bit of yoga. I felt resistance to being at my laptop. I ate cake.

Working for myself I try to put best habits in place, be consistent and show up to my work with gratitude for the opportunity and the freedom. But that day, quite simply, I didn’t want to. I wanted to hide. I wanted companionship and I started to question it ALL.

What does it matter in the bigger scheme of things? And I doing the real and important work? Does what I do make any difference at all? Who am I kidding?

The latter question in particular is an open door to my inner critic. For me it’s the ‘your so lazy you’ll never get there’ voice. And when that voice starts it gives rise to lots of others. There is the ‘imposter voice’- this is the ‘who do you think you are’ voice. Then there is the voice which is constantly worrying about building my business and finance- this is the voice which says ‘here you go again, it will never work’.  Then there is the more personal one that thinks I’ll be single and alone for the rest of my life- the ‘you’re not good enough voice’. Pretty soon there is a party in my head and the chatter so deafening it is no wonder I want to hide.

It turns out though that most of us have parties in our head. I know of no person who doesn’t experience it from time to time; and of course, I know for some people, the conversation is so loud it challenges longer term function.

What I say now is directed towards the days when you do feel in a slump, and need to find ways to quite the critic. That voice is so sabotaging, and learning to manage it and speak calmly to it is one of the most valuable learning adventures we can go on.

Here are a some of the few ways I find useful. It’s not a definitive list and quite personal to me, so I’d love to hear yours too… 

 Go for a walk

Nature has so many answers for us. The rhythm of the day, the pattern of the seasons, the crest of a wave reminds us that everything passes. The voice will pass too. When I put my ear up against a gush of wind or the whirl of the sea, the inner voice softens and I hear a deeper wisdom, ‘this too shall pass’.

Open the ‘cheerleading folder’ 

I have a folder in in email account called ‘cheerleaders’. These are emails I have kept on file from friends, readers and clients who say the good things. They are reminders of the small or big ways my work has reached and influenced them. They are like electronic bouncing castles for the spirit. Everyone should have a cheerleading folder!

Name the inner critic

Give that voice a name, an actual name, like Betty or Bob, or Hilda. When the voice arrives, welcome it and say, ’Here’s Hilda again, I wonder what’s up with her today’, then thank her and ask her to leave now because you are busy and have work to do. Naming the voice does’t deny it but does help to put it in its place. It helps to separate yourself from it too and opens some space from a more positive reaction and response.

Do a job on your list that you enjoy 

So maybe the day that your inner critic is speaking loudly is a day you have all the nasty jobs on your list. Scrap that. Instead, do a job that brings you joy, or if it’s not a job, ring a person that brings you joy. Or if not a person, dance in the kitchen, sing in the bath, jump up and down, shake something out. Some action is important. Physical activity really helps. Chats with good friends can work wonders too. Share it, shake it!

Write it out

Journal. Journal. Journal. Scribble. Getting the voice on paper is another way of distancing it. If it is on paper it’s not in your head- or at least not in your head as much.

Shake up your environment, shake up your routine

Walk to work the same route every morning? Change your direction.

Sit at the same place in your house if you are working from home? Move. Work in the garden, or in the bathtub, or on the floor. Changing your external perspective can help to shift your internal perspective. I love to go to a coffee shop and work there too, depending on my mood.

Get off your screens

Turn off your phone, laptop, tv and social media. There are so many messages swarming at us that on days when we are not in great headspace they are amplified and can be so utterly tormenting. Reducing tech stimulation helps to quiet the mind. When it’s not possible to entirely switch off, can you become more aware of your reading and viewing patterns, and limit the time you are using?

Get dressed up

Even if you are working from home, get dressed as if you are going to a really important meeting, or date! Put on the good clothes, put on the red lipstick (or whatever your equivalent is!) , brush your hair. Showing up to yourself, especially on the days when you couldn’t be bothered, helps you to see yourself differently. The inner critic hates that…

Give in (for a day… )

Somedays it just doesn’t budge or you don’t have the energy. Let the day slide. Stay in bed. Go to the cinema. Give yourself permission to have a slow day… the inner critic loves to chime in when you are tired but feeling obliged to be full of energy. Giving ourselves permission is one of the biggest game changers, and one of the hardest to implement… so before you go to bed that night, set some intentions for the following day. Plan your schedule. Set your outfit out and pre-empt some of the critic thoughts. Tomorrow is always another day.

And when all else fails, find a puppy! 

It’s hard to be down when there is a little playful animal around! For me, it’s Milly. On days when I just don’t feel up for anything, she still demands love, attention, cuddles and walks. In giving them I receive then all too… and somehow the slump is de-slumped!

Over to you.. any thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? 

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Thrive School potential 2Thrive School is soon coming to Cork and Dublin. It’s a 5 month programme to build momentum, learn strategies to design your life and business and take your elegant next steps with grit and grace… Find out more over here. 

 

 

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Let go to let come

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Expectations aren’t always met. What we think we need can be rattled into what we actually need, and this weekend I was rattled.

There were five of us. A small but potent elixir, gathered around a fire, to convene with our business ideas, unravel a problem or challenge and see if our collective mind can shed some light on the issues.

The cottage was the essence of quaint, buried in the Cotswolds, complete with adjacent stream and interior design straight out of a country living magazine.  Outside horses trotted by and a flurry of springer spaniels had the look of pheasant in their eyes. This was hunting territory and I too had entered with my hunter mantle on. I was in search of direction, focus and answers- clear, direct and fast ones.

We were all women, each with our own businesses who wants the best for ourselves and those around us. There was a very healthy dose of entrepreneurialism in the mix, but what surprised me, a raw, rich and at times a radically cutting honesty also. It is so easy to hide our true selves from each other but somehow that was not available this weekend. Good thing though that giggles helped to ease the edges.

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We called it #ladybossretreat but in so many ways we weren’t retreating from anything. When we take some time out and when the questions are right and the conditions are safe, what we need to see gets amplified.

For all of us, our choice to run our own businesses is a choice too to plot our own path, but being the boss of ‘moi’ is not without its challenges. When working alone we don’t always see what we need to see and we need need others to help us look around the corners.

Over the weekend, Sas was driving one of those hybrid cars with a fancy rear camera which beebs when you are about to hit something or are close to a corner. The closer you are, the louder the beep. The metaphor strikes me as apt. Without the rear view, you can do the manoeuvring but it is tricker and the risk is higher. It can take more time and be more frustrating. But while the beep can be annoying at times, it can speed up the process. The things around you tend to say intact too. Which in a way is what coaching is like- someone who has ‘got your back’, offers an appropriate beep and guides you to a safe and faster path.

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We sat around the fire and visioned. We called in the future and questioned how were are in alignment now with that vision. Then the was the literal, ritualistic burning of some limiting beliefs and then the calling in of the things we need to take us there. Over the course of the weekend my own buttons were pressed on several occasions. I did not want to hear the beeps, especially the warning ones. But I know they were offered with love.

As I returned home, the hunter in me lies dormant. I did not hunt down anything in fact, because in the way the realisations were in me all along, my body knows and it just took some space and beeping to get me to listen. I come away like a spaniel though, with a different wag in my tail, a slighted altered course and an insight into myself which I had not expected just a few days ago. As for strategic plans and financial maps? Well.. they will have to evolve, but now on a slightly different track. And as for my dawning it was a deep sense that I need to let go in order to let come. We exhale to inhale. We ebb to flow again. It is all part of the cycle and the unfolding. It is all part of the real hunt.

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(Thank you to Sas, Tamsyn, Dee and Shauna who were my #ladyboss companions, fellow beepers and retreaters. Onwards, to us all… )

 


Learning to Ringmaster.

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Being a creative or social entrepreneur is akin to circus performance. You are learning to balance on tightropes as you juggle all your plates. Sometimes you feel like a bit of a clown as you put ideas out into the world not knowing if people will laugh or cry. Then there is the jumping through loops and hoops as you preform miraculous acts holding on by the skin of your teeth. Not to mention battling all the lions and tigers which enter the arena and the acrobatics you have to do with limited resources. And there you find yourself as ringmaster learning to co-ordinate it all with flair while selling tickets at the same time. Yes, a circus.

Am I mad, I ask myself? There are frequent moments when I wonder why I ran away with the circus. Shouldn’t I just get a proper job and when did lion taming become part of my remit? But once in the arena there is a charm and a huge sense of gratification which keeps you showing up again and again.

Brene Brown speaks about the power of being in the arena in her recent book, Daring Greatly and hinges inspiration on this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man*who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

(*or woman, obviously)

The arena, I have learned, while a place of daring and rich learning, can also be a lonely and a hard place too. There are so many times I have wanted to leave but only with the support of friends, mentors, coaches and leadership training have I been able to stick it out. And I am glad I am here.  It is through the strength of support and having people to bounce ideas around and who offer insights into my blind spots that I have been able evolve and keep learning. Which is how my own coaching offerings have grown and why I am doing the work I am doing. I believe in the arena and I believe it doesn’t have to be such a lonely place. 

Creative coaching is a whole array of tools and processes I have developed and use for working in the circus (metaphorically of course). From visioning exercises, to branding and communications strategy I offer one to one support to keep you thriving in the arena. It is like having an accountability buddy to keep you on track and a fellow ringmaster to help co-ordinate a masterful performance. 

I’ve been working with a wonderful woman recently called Sharon Green, who runs a company called Queens of Neon. Sharon shared some words recently which captures some of the creative coaching process:

I have been feeling my way along for a very long time, taking creative projects that come to me through word of mouth and throwing myself into them whole heartedly.

But I always wonder how I can get more of the projects that I love, how do I word my website properly to reach out to clients that have the projects that really make me tick. I was recommended Clare by a friend and she all at once made sense of my confusion. She made me see that it is a waste of my energy always trying to change the copy on my website until I understand what my dream and my vision is. To start back at the beginning feels very freeing and exciting.

She asks the right questions and listens intently picking out the words and phrases that make sense and always paying attention on an energy level so notices when things excite you. She helps you see your dream scenario and gives you structure and homework to help manifest it. In my case she is also bringing me out from the shadows to feature prominently on my website, honing in to what it is that makes my business unique and that is me. Its true therapy for the creative business person. I would highly recommend Clare to anyone, who like me, feels like they are close to filling their true potential but for reasons just can’t seem to just get there.

Pow! Thank you Sharon.

So if, like Sharon, you have big visions, creative goals, dreams of possibility but you would like some support to help clarify your direction, perhaps some creative coaching is for you. I offer a number of tailored packages. You can find out more over here. If this sparks interest, I offer a free 20 minute Skype call where we can figure if we are a fit for each other and what areas of the arena to focus on so that 2016 will bring you closer to it all.

May the games commence… (*insert circus theme tune!)

END of circus analogy now, I promise!

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The above photo was taken in Cambodia at a circus I went to. I had totally forgotten about this image until I used the new ‘Camera Roll’ feature on flickr. AMAZING. Any flickr users still out there? This tool is amazing…


Creative Islanders: Mari Kennedy

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Photo: Clare Mulvany

The Creative Islanders is a new interview series showcasing some of Ireland’s brightest creative talent and enterprise. It is about people who are stepping into their dreams, purpose and possibilities and embracing their one wild life. 

The interviews give a rare ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into creative practice, motivations and mindsets- shining a light on what makes people tick, and how, collectively, Ireland is alive with creative possibility.

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Transformational leadership coach, yoga and mindfulness teacher, and facilitator, Mari Kennedy has been a pivotal friend and colleague in my own life, and in the lives of many. Her creativity spans many ventures including The Ireland Iceland Project, The Yoga Salon, and my own collaborations with her through Be Retreats.

Mari has a special knack of sparking fresh conversations and insights, and creating learning spaces for rich and lasting change. She is always real, ever honest and just through her being inspires creative responses to life. She is great craic too and has been the brightest treasure of a friend anyone could wish for. It is such an honour to be able to include my creative collaborators in this interview series. So, go make yourself a cup of tea and dive into these rich words from the radiant, Mari Kennedy….

(All photos by myself, apart from Cliff of Moher Retreat Centre, by Mari)

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What keeps you in Ireland?

I ask myself this question all the time. Certainly for the first 30 years of my life it was a combination of being very close to my family and fear of the unknown. I was a funny mix of someone who dreamt of travelling and new experiences and a total home-bird, safety junky. The latter always won out. Deep down I was afraid of change and loss. Life threw me a few curve balls over the last 10 years, reminding me there is no such thing as safe, and ensuring that I understand that change and loss are the very essence of living- rather than fearing them they are to be danced with. Now I choose to stay here with a willingness at any moment to leave. I am in Ireland today because I am excited by what I see around me – friends, colleagues and clients who are asking bigger questions, choosing to live in a more courageous conscious way, desiring a different future for this particular corner of the earth and its inhabitants.

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 (Mari speaking at Body & Soul Festival, Trailblaze event)

What makes you tick? What motivates you?

The mystery of life and attempting to show up to the adventure and the crazy complexity of being human. That excites me and terrifies me. I have learned to love the fact that everything is always changing, transforming and evolving. Everything! Think about it – in the utter bliss of kissing someone for the first time is the loss and ending of that relationship, whether it happens a day later or at the end of a lifetime of kisses. Isn’t that amazing and painful and beautiful all rolled up together? That’s what we have to deal with as humans.

I love working with others developing and designing transformational experiences, events, programmes, retreats. Collaboration brings me alive. And yet it’s the most challenging thing I do because it always brings up shadow (the parts of me I prefer not to see or more significantly don’t want anyone else to see!).  It also demands that I stop trying to control people and situations. When we collaborate we are invited to stop relying solely on our own intelligence and trust in the bigger collective intelligence. Its pure magic but it is guaranteed to unearth the small self. My first attempt at collaboration was with Kathy Scott in the ireland:iceland project in 2011 and we’ve been playing with collaboration and learning ever since. More recently we created The Yoga Salon which allows us to bring other great creatives and yogis together.

Inquiry and questioning is also something that makes me tick. Both self-inquiry and asking questions of how we are living as a society are essential to our evolution. I became a coach because coaching provides a place to safely question and open up new possibilities. The world I grew up in did not encourage questioning and it’s taken me a long time to relearn the questioning that was so natural as a 2 year old.

The change I see happening in the world motivates me. It’s really exciting. One thing that really struck me in the last 12 months in my work in Leadership and Mindfulness is how mindfulness and wisdom practices are been taken on by organisations. I have been amazed at how deep people are going in the practice of meditation and how committed they are even in the middle of a busy office and hectic work load.

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Photo: Cliffs of Moher Retreat Centre, Mari Kennedy

What does the creative process teach you?

Perfection is overvalued, impossible to sustain, and ultimately cold and clinical. Imperfection and brokenness are rich with potential and full of beauty.

Play, curiosity and kindness are some of the forgotten portals into creativity.

Mistakes are part of the process and to be celebrated as opportunities to encounter my small limited self (who hates them!). It teaches me to respect and revel in cycles, make friends with the unknown, listen and celebrate.

That loss, confusion, discomfort when given space give rise to hitherto unimaginable possibilities.

There’s a time to listen and there’s a time to act – and that is the process.

How do you get unstuck? Any secret tools?

Sit in the stuckness, stay close into the stuckness and inevitably it will open up. As our Celtic ancestors knew, everything begins from darkness.

 

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What do you do just for the love of it?

Jump off rocks into the sea. For the pure joy freedom and craic of it!

My morning meditation- it connects me to larger belonging every day, keeps me close to my heart and to what really matters.

I love words and I find myself collecting them like beads with the hope that some day I will string them together into a couple beautiful pieces.

Making food–put me in a kitchen with music to sing along to, a fridge full of fresh beautiful food and I’m happy out.

Reading poetry -Rilke, David Whyte, Hafiz, Rumi. I just got introduced to Marie Howe when someone recited “Annunciation” to me, standing in a field during Body and Soul and it blew my heart open.

 

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Where do you find inspiration? Any hidden gems?

Amazing women and men in my life who are stepping up, dealing with their shit, taking personal responsibility for their lives and speaking their truth. Having them accompany me at the edge of my own comfort zone as my friends is a daily inspiration. (You know who you are!)

My Dad’s legacy of gratitude and seeing the good in all situations.

Clients who sit opposite me and say “I’m lost” or “something needs to change in my life and I don’t know where to start”. I celebrate those moments of honesty as doorways to potential.

Integral Theory makes sense of this complex world for me, and Theory U and the work of Otto Scharmer at MIT inspires me to live in the unknown.

The research and work on mindfulness, empathy, compassion, neuroscience and the heart by people like Tanya Singer, Kristin Neiff, Richie Davison, Dan Segal, and The Institute of Heart Math inspire me to believe that we humans are evolving our capacity for compassion and empathy which potentially could enable us to create a caring society.

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How do you get through tough times? What sustains you?

I recently read a quote “When somethings goes wrong in your life just yell “plot twist and move on”. I found myself smiling and wanting to yell. I recently lost my home and that was really tough. I had to face fear, vulnerability, grief and shame. I was so grateful to have a practice that allowed me to meet and face all those feelings and allowed me to catch my tendency to fall into, ‘poor me, nothing ever goes right…’ You know the script!

My practice of sitting with myself in meditation and inquiry got me through – it helped me to ultimately see that I have a choice to be the victim of this ‘plot twist’ or turn it into a jumping off point to a new and different life, one that is more real I suspect. One thing I know there is always gold to be mined in the challenge of plot twists. The steadfastness of my family, the extraordinary generosity, support and love of friends, and uncovering some shocking limiting beliefs are some of the gold I continue to mine.

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What key lessons have you learned about doing business or being a creative practitioner along the way ? What have you learned from your ‘failures’?

Pausing is one of the most creative (and courageous) acts you can perform. We are so conditioned to be busy and always in our strategic mind. Pausing summons our creative mind.

Right now I am experimenting with just that. I’ve been testing my capacity to press pause – and failing often – since I first realised, eleven years ago, that I was perpetually over-functioning and never ever stopped. When I first tried to stop back then I saw that I actually didn’t know how to even slow down. So here I am now, down in the West of Ireland, without a schedule, without a plan, with the intention of not filling up time with busyness. Sounds quite idealistic and dreamy but it’s actually excruciating at times not to reach for some distraction but to be in the nothingness of nothing to do. In that nothingness I see the panic that drives the busyness. The more I have learned to stop the more creative my life has become.

Over-achieving and trying to be perfect or create perfection is exhausting. The more you allow yourself to be human and stop worrying about being right or “the expert”, the more innovative and creative you become.

Through my failures I have learned how hard I am on myself and how that unconscious self-rejection has hijacked my life. Self-compassion and friends with a sense of humour REALLY helps.

I have learned that curiosity keeps mind and heart open and that the capacity to take multiple perspectives creates connection and invites possibilities that otherwise would have been missed.

Collaboration is immensely difficult for us humans at this stage in our evolution but hugely rewarding and essential for the future of humanity.

Do you have a morning routine? Or other creative habits or rituals?

Yes – I try to spend 60-90 minutes practicing. I pour (but don’t always drink!) a litre of hot water with some cider vinegar, and I always sit. Then I do one or two of the following depending on time and what’s going on – yoga, dance, running hills, journaling, inquiring.

Silence, setting intentions and checking in are some creative practices I also use. Silence connects us to something bigger, attention as a rule follows intention, and checking-in inspires empathy and connection.

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What books have inspired you? Or what websites do you turn to? 

These days I listen and watch as much as read. I think Ken Wilber’s Kosmic Consciousness changed my life and my perspectives and I loved his dairy One Taste.

Rilke’s Love Poems to God.

Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights

Roger Housden’s Ten poems to Change your Life

Pema Codron’s When Things Fall Apart

David Whyte’s The House of Belonging

I love the writing of John Moriarty but I have yet to finish a book of his.

Integral Life for all things Integral and the work of Ken Wilber.

Tara Brach Darma Talks

Sounds True Insights at the Edge – some of the great leading edge thinkers in evolution.

Yoga Glo –  great for home practice.

The Love Revolution – Matt Kahn

Mystic Mamma for bite sized pieces of wisdom and great images.

 

What advice would you give to your future self?

I suspect my future self would have more interesting and useful advice to give my present self than other way around. So if I can turn it around my future self would ask me four questions:

What’s asking for your attention?

What really matters to you?

What do you want to create?

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

….

Thank you so much Mari! xx

Mari’s links:

The Yoga Salon

Cliffs of Moher Retreat Centre (Regular Guest Teacher)