Ok I will admit it – many years ago I used to be a workaholic who ran around like a crazy woman trying to get it right for everybody else. I think if you were to look at a pendulum with selfless being at one end and selfish being at the other, my pendulum was definitely swung permanently to the selfless side. In other words I abandoned myself in order to please others.
So I found out the hard way that this is not a healthy or effective way to live as I almost burned myself out. I was running a Wellness Centre, teaching and facilitating groups, was co-founder of a foundation (where I put in a lot of energy and hours) was in private practice as a Gestalt therapist and I think in amongst all of that I was studying. Wonder woman! NO not really – more like crazy woman. I coped and had lots of energy and in all of that did some amazing work, but other areas of my life suffered, being my relationship with my partner, my connection and time with my adult children, my health and I definitely lost my PASSION for my life – no room for joy and passion when you are such a busy woman!!
I was never diagnosed with a breakdown or burnout but it felt very much like that. One day I just woke up and thought, ‘I can’t do this anymore’. I ultimately ended up selling the Wellness Centre, cut back on seeing clients and eventually made the decision to close the Foundation (which could have ended up being a full time job). I retreated into the back of the valley where we live – a beautiful, serene place where I had an opportunity to STOP and smell the roses. I took time to potter in the garden and have a cup of tea in the sun and spend some quality time with my partner, my family, my friends and ME!!
At that stage I could not have cared if I never saw another client again. I liked the serenity and was actually scared of heading back out into my career again for fear of falling back into my well-worn pattern of being that woman who can do anything. It was through supervision where I explored the possibility of it not having to be one or the other. To completely pull my energy back and withdraw from the world and my career OR being the ‘rat on the wheel’. I could make a conscious choice to have more balance in my life. After all I love what I do and I love supporting my clients.
So I experimented and gradually put myself out into the world again, but on this occasion I set very clear and concise boundaries on how and when I would work AND how and when I would make time to enjoy my life, living as my true self and to direct my passion towards me! Wow- initially I felt so selfish and then I reminded myself that “I” do matter and it’s not selfish, but self-care!!
So that was the beginning of my self-care regime. By making me a priority in my own world, it is amazing what a difference it makes. I feel alive, refreshed, balanced, calmer (my partner says I am nicer now!) and I love my life. Now I love the fact that I can support others in how to find their passion and how to embrace life fully. What an amazing world we live in and what amazing opportunities are available to us to live a fulfilling and enriched life. I have so much gratitude for all that I have in my life – my health, my partner, my family, my friends, my work – wow what is there not to feel passionate about AND I just love that I can see this now, whereas before I was so caught up in my busyness I missed all of this.
So what does it mean to live a passionate life? I certainly was all too aware of what had robbed me from living passionately. The only way to figure this out was to start trying things. Now WITHOUT FAIL I look after my emotional, physical and mental wellbeing, because I do matter. As a result of my new found regime, I love my life and I live every moment of every day like it could be my last. I feel blessed that I am modelling to my children, my family, my friends and my clients, how they too can live their life with passion and enthusiasm.
As strange as it may sound, I used all of the skills that had led me down the path of being a workaholic and directed my organisational skills to efficiently manage ME!! I looked at my 168 hours in the week and really looked at how I was managing my time. I looked within to seek the answers about what lights my up – what gets my juices flowing – what ignites my passion for life. I feel so inspired about life and so excited that I can now pass on this wealth of knowledge and what I have learned from my own life experience and share strategies on how you too can fall in love with your life and how to live your life with enthusiasm and passion.
I feel so much excitement to announce that I am running a ‘Reignite your Passion for Life’ retreat in Bali in April with my dear friend and colleague, Penny Brenton. This retreat is tailored to address YOUR PASSIONATE desires and offers experiential opportunities to experience and let your passionate side out to play.