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It's not all about Keith.....

Last night is my favourite night of the year. For those of you that know me, you know what’s coming.

My favourite night of any year, is the night I go to see Keith Urban perform. Now don’t assume that this post is going to be about Keith, it’s not. He has merely been the catalyst for some huge realisations in the last 24 hours and hopefully some future shifts. I love the head space going to see him puts me in, and if I could, I would see him once a month. It's like a shot of Vitamin B…or whatever bloody vitamin clears your mind and gives you energy and insight.

This time round I’ve been subdued about his upcoming concerts. Yes, I had a little bit of a rant on Facebook over the weekend, but usually the countdown begins much earlier. This time round I’ve been distracted. And there in lies the first realisation. My mind, body and spirit has been so engrossed in setting up my own business, which is perfectly normal for those of us that have done this. But what I realised mid song and dance last night, was that I haven't been engrossed with excitement, but more with task completion, panic and a whole lot of fear.

“what if it doesn’t work”

“what if it fails”

“what if people think the price is too high”

“what if I can’t sell the tours”

and ultimately what will happen if I don’t have it set up by the planned date, time and location? I mean really, will the sky fall around me? Probably not. Last night as he was performing, he told us all to forget about our lives out there, what you are supposed to be doing, who wants something from you and just be here right now. And that was when it hit me. I have been so focused on Soulful Escapes and everything that I want to do with it that I have not been living my life each day. My son even said to me last week, “you are always working Mum” but it took a Keith concert to once again take me out of my daily life and finally get it.

Expectations that I have about this business are self-created. I’m self-employed. I longed for this 10 years ago and here it is. Yes, I have goals and deadlines I want to achieve, but I want to live whilst I’m achieving them, and I don’t want to wake up each morning with a list of tasks so long that I lose the joy and love for what I am doing. That’s no way to create success. What also ends up happening with this endless list of tasks is that I find myself saying I’m busy to anyone that asks, I stop answering calls and texts because I’m overwhelmed and I forget to communicate with those around me, particularly Mark and Charlie. I answer them, but not with complete recognition of what they just said. I’m also home with Charlie every day after school and every night but am I present?

Charlie came to the concert with me last night. I wanted to share my passion with him and for someone who also loves music to see a real, energetic live show. Ed Sheeran was good but he’s no Keith in terms of energy on the stage. Now this was a risky move on my part. I am single minded in my focus when at a Keith concert. Just ask my bestie Lannie who came to Canberra with me last time and laughed her pants off as I sang every song and knew every beat. Taking Charlie could split my focus and we all know how kids can change things just because they are kids. Countless trips to the bathroom, complaining about standing, walking, the heat and anything else that distracts them. So, I covered my bases and got us a ticket on the floor but in a chair, not standing. Great seats that cost me a pretty penny. If that wasn’t enough assurance, I bought myself a 2nd ticket for tonight in the mosh pit...or as us Keith fans call it “the pit“ just in case I missed anything first time round. I was more excited to take him than he was to come with me. It’s interesting when you love something how you want others you love to love it too.

There was another lesson. Just because I loved it didn’t mean he was going to. He enjoyed it and I have some video of him singing along to the songs he knew, but he struggled on a warm school night to stay awake and I know he is probably falling asleep in math’s class as we speak. However, what I learned from that experience was how frequently through the night my mind battled being Jo – obsessed Keith Urban fan, and Jo – Mother of a 10-year-old. I frequently found myself considering taking him home, then shook it off and reminded myself that tonight was about me, not about him. Now how many of you mothers out there, ever think like this? The reality is very rarely do Mothers put themselves first and if they do their kids aren’t usually standing next to them. But doing that last night reinforced two things for me. Firstly, my dreams matter too and it’s important for kids to know that their parents have dreams, and in this current client climate of unequal pay,

I believe they should especially know this of their mothers. I spent 2 days telling Charlie that yes, I was taking him to the concert, but the night was about me, something I wanted to do for myself, so we wouldn’t be coming home early or complaining. I believe he needs to learn this, because particularly as an only child, the focus is always on him and he needs to learn that sometimes you must let others go first and be 2nd in line. I heard Shane Crawford on that Celebrity show the other night speak of his mother and how she gave up everything in her life for her 3 boys. It was being spoken of with pride and admiration and I couldn’t help thinking to myself, there is something not quite right about that. Our kids are our life, there is no debate there. But do they have to be our whole life?

And there was the second realisation. A reinforcement of why I created Soulful Escapes and why my hosted trips are for women only. There aren’t many places where women, take time out for themselves, to fulfill their dreams, to see things they want to see and be their own person just for 2 weeks without their responsibilities of home. Soulful Escapes for women was originally designed for this purpose and no matter what it ends up looking like there will always be trips, completely for women, whereby they can be transformed by travel.

Vision reaffirmed. Thanks Keith, thanks Charlie.

And just when I thought my 24 hours couldn’t get any better, I scored the perfect 10 at Yoga Nidra this morning. Once a week I attend a Yoga Nidra class with the inspiring Helen Foster from Whole Beginnings and a group of kind, funny, and delightful women. This group started last July, I think as an 8-week trial and 8 months later it is a like a little bit of bliss in your week that you crave and long for. We’ve all heard of the perfect game in baseball or the seen footage of a gymnast who scores the perfect 10, well this morning in Yoga Nidra I gave myself the perfect 10. I was relaxed, present, grounded, my mind didn’t wander and if it did it was to process an insight. I was fully aware of what was happening yet completely in a different universe. I was able to listen to Helen’s voice, whilst take in surrounding noises and sensations, and to be honest after 22 years of meditation I think I experienced a little bit of Nirvana. Firstly, this is not the intention of Yoga Nidra I believe. There is no perfect practice, each one is unique and is what it is. But today, it was text book and I’ve meditated thousands of times. I’m not excited because I feel like I achieved something, but because I learned so much in the experience. There was a voice, my voice, my inner voice giving me one insight after the other. My resolve was “I live with a sense of joy and wonder” and the message I got loud and clear was “let go of the panic and fear and see this opportunity to create a new business as joyful and wonderful.” How lucky am I to do what I do and help people transform through travel? To be able to see new places myself and research not in a library, but in a country like Bhutan, or India and experience and learn for myself. To then take open minded, courageous women with me so they too can feel this for themselves. Whilst at the same time have a group of regular and loyal clients who trust me to organise their families holiday experiences. I mean it’s so bloody obvious, but I have been so caught up in the panic of making it work, setting the prices, doing a website and getting all the outward stuff sorted, that inside I was treading water and anxious as all hell.

Today the list is still there. I have a couple of clients still waiting to hear from me on something and I still haven’t done the website. But it will happen, and I know myself and trust myself enough to know I will get it done. My lesson is to learn to approach it from a place of joy and excitement rather than panic and fear. The same list must be done regardless of how I feel about it but being anxious only hurts me and impacts those around me. Being joyful only impacts me and those around me.

As you can see the post wasn’t about Keith after all. Perhaps inspired by Keith, but aren’t we all inspired by something? Being still today in that class has given me so much and couldn’t have come at a better time. I was on a hamster wheel of stress and that is no place for anyone, especially when it’s self-created and you are someone with high blood pressure. You can’t go to the supermarket and buy a kilo of stress. We design it, we create it all from how we choose to perceive what is going on around us. Life can be challenging, and it seems to be getting busier for everyone. If we don’t take these moments such as a yoga class, or a walk on the beach, a run, a chat with a friend or even a Keith Urban concert, to stop and get out of our daily routines, we lose our awareness of self and become robotic and thoughtless. So much of our life is automatic instinct. We wake up and brush our teeth with the same hand, choose the same clothes, make the same meals and buy our coffee from the same place. This is all fine, but it’s programmed and until we change it up, do it differently and challenge ourselves to think differently nothing will be different.

Like my favourite writer and speaker Wayne Dyer used to say,

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Six hours till show time!!

Love and light



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