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Are you worth it?

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“Make your self a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary”

Do you want AND believe you deserve time away from your family, just to focus on your own needs and wants?

If I were to be honest with you, I would say that in the past, I definitely wanted to have some quality time to myself every now and then,  but I didn’t truly believe I deserved it. I think I felt that I should be happy and content with all that I had in my life (and believe me I am grateful for the all the blessings I have) and I remember feeling guilty for even thinking to myself that wasn’t enough, and feeling I would be seen as a ‘bad mum’ if I even acknowledged that I wanted time away from my family life sometimes to just be ‘me’.

But over the last few years, I have made many changes to my life, and acknowledging my own wants and desires (along with ditching the mummy guilt) has been high on the priority list!

When I look back on the past year, I am proud of myself for believing I was worth it, and saying a wholehearted ‘Yes’ to:

  • Leaving my children behind and travelling to Greece with my husband for 2 weeks
  • Spending a full day focussed on my self care and creative wellbeing at a local workshop
  • Enjoying a relaxing week in Bali with my girlfriends for our annual getaway mumcation
  • Attending two local inspired networking days with a group of amazing speakers and connecting with other inspiring entrepreneurs

‘Yeah, well that’s all well and good for you’, you may say. ‘You’re obviously lucky enough to have the money and support around you to allow you to do these things’.

To which, my answer would be, ‘well, kind of’.

Yes, the trip to Greece was a wonderful one off opportunity, but I really had to work on myself to leave the guilt behind and say yes to going, and it took a lot of logistical planning to make it happen.

I really ummed and ahhed about spending the money on myself on a self care day, but then I told myself you need this, and so I prioritised it and made it happen.

I realised that I wanted the in person connection with other life coaches to uplift and inspire me, so when the Sydney day was announced, I told my husband I wanted to go, and I made it happen.

I knew that a week in Bali with my friends would be restorative after a busy year working on my business, so although there was a massive amount of planning, you guessed it, I made it happen.

I recognised that one of the downsides of working from home, was a lack of in person connection with other entrepreneurs, so when I read about the Inspired Networking days, I bought my ticket, and made it happen (even when my son smashed a window on the morning of one of the events: I took a deep breath, quickly boarded it up, took the kids to school and off I went, better late than not at all).

With any of these events or opportunities, I could have easily said no:  that it costs too much money, that I don’t know who could look after my kids, that my life is busy enough without trying to plan and organise the logistics of attending any of these events.

But what I have grown to realise on the other side of forty, is that I have a choice. I can choose to automatically say no to the things that are hard, or I can choose to see if there is a way to manage it if it is something that I truly want to do. I can choose to prioritise spending my money on things that light me up, and I can stop spending it on things that aren’t as important to me (farewell takeaway coffees and impulse clothes shopping!) I can also choose to ask my friends and family for help with my kids (and be ok with whatever the answer is).

I can also choose to remind my husband and family, that I am a happier more centred person, when on occasion I prioritise myself and recognise that I am worth it.

Now, I completely understand that a 2 week trip to the Greek Islands isn’t on most of our radars very often, (which is a damn shame really!) and there have been plenty of events that I would have loved to attend in the past year but haven’t been able to. However, maybe a self care day or a weekend retreat is possible for you. Maybe you just need to acknowledge what you want and need to yourself, and then ask your loved ones for help and see if you could make it happen.

Indeed, you might forget about the guilt, work out the cost, and really value the benefits of giving time and space to yourself, because you know what… I believe you are worth it.

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Fabulous Women on the Other Side of Forty: Michelle Marie McGrath

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HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED FOR YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FORTY?

I can wholeheartedly report that I was delighted to turn 40 and close the door on what was an extremely challenging decade in my 30’s. It was not pretty and for many years I felt as though I was in a never-ending dark tunnel. To say it was a period of exploring my shadow would be an understatement.

I experienced many life changes in my 30’s including an unusual type of miscarriage (molar pregnancy), cancer scare, divorce, depression, insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks. The end of my marriage was a huge catalyst for me. I felt incredibly betrayed, but really it was a great metaphor for where I was not listening to my own inner wisdom.

I was depressed for a number of years and I learnt what it really meant to start to learn to love myself. Many of my close friends also fell away as I experienced some huge internal shifts. I explored and studied many healing modalities during this time too. Although it was painful, these were invaluable experiences that brought me so many gifts and different perspectives. Many blessings came from these experiences and it gave me more compassion for other people. Our biggest challenges are often hiding our greatest gifts. That’s the short version.

I feel this is really the best time of my life and I’m very excited about what’s happening in my life currently and what’s to come. I have so much more clarity and confidence in who I am and what’s important to me. I also care so much less what other people think and I don’t have the same desire or need for external validation. What a relief!

ON YOUR WEBSITE ’SACRED SELF’, YOU HAVE CREATED SOME GORGEOUS PRODUCTS THAT ARE DESIGNED TO REMIND YOU TO LOVE YOURSELF UNCONDITIONALLY. WHY DO YOU THINK SELF LOVE IS SO IMPORTANT?

To me, self-love is THE answer to most challenges. It’s become quite a buzz word in the past few years and I think there is often confusion about what it means. It’s not all about green smoothies and coconut oil, nice though they are. It’s about self-responsibility, being truly honest with yourself and taking ownership of your life.

When I embarked on my personal quest to open up to 100% self-love about 15 years ago, it was so foreign to me that I didn’t understand what it meant. I was depressed for several years and kept asking myself what was wrong with me and what I most needed. The answer was self-love. It was just an intellectual concept and I had to dig deep and keep asking myself some very confronting questions. Gradually I started to see the external shifts that came as a result of deep self-reflection and making different choices.

My business never started as a business. It was really my own personal exploration and the start of listening to the intuitive guidance that I was receiving. As I turned inward I started to have a lot of clairvoyant and clairaudient experiences that often meant I didn’t get much sleep. The more I listened and trusted this wisdom, the more unfolded and most of it was a surprise to me.

The alchemical oils in particular took on a life of their own and started coming through in 2003. 9 years later and there were 33 that created a self-love range. I felt like I was just observing really and sometimes wondered if I was crazy (I still do!). This expanded into a busy face-to-face energetic healing practice, then distant healing and intuitive readings, self-love cards that have just been reprinted, roll-on perfumes, coaching and my podcast.

YOU ALSO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL PODCAST TITLED ‘UNCLASSIFIED WOMAN’ WHERE YOU INTERVIEW WOMEN WITHOUT CHILDREN WHO ARE LEADING INTERESTING AND AMAZING LIVES. CAN YOU TELL ME A BIT MORE ABOUT THIS AND HOW IT CAME ABOUT?

This has been another one of those experiences that I wouldn’t really have foreseen but it was the seed of an idea for a couple of years. I felt like the subject chose me and I did have some resistance to it as it just felt like such a HUGE and sensitive topic. The idea just wouldn’t leave me alone though and I’m so glad that I listened to my intuition and let it lead the way. It’s been so enriching for me personally and I receive so many messages from women thanking me for creating the podcast.

Ever since I was a little girl I was never convinced that I would definitely have children. It seemed like one option but I never felt excited by the idea, in the same way I did about other forms of creation. I got married when I was in my mid-20s and it seemed like there was lots of time to think about it. I never felt any urgency or need though to ‘make it happen’ as I was always (and still am) interested in so many other life experiences.

However, through my own family and our society, it is how we are culturally conditioned to believe that being a mother and wife should be a central driving force of our lives as women. If it is not something that you feel strongly about then there can be misunderstanding and judgement. There are soo many reasons for this and so many outdated stereotypes that are unsupportive for ALL women. We need to all support each other’s life choices as women, mothers or not. Every woman’s life is sacred. Your body, your life and your choices.

These conversations, that I am so grateful to be having with podcast guests, are living examples of women all over the globe, who are creating lives of meaning beyond traditional paradigms. I wanted to create this resource for women who may not necessarily have women like this in their immediate circle and for them to feel understood, supported and inspired. Each woman has so much wisdom and so many gems to share. I love it. There is nothing that I find more inspiring than working with women who love themselves enough to express their truth and set themselves free to live a life that is truly theirs – and not one that is ‘expected’.
WHAT ARE SOME SIMPLE THINGS THAT YOU DO FOR SELF CARE?

I’ve learnt to make this a priority and start each morning with lighting incense or a candle and contemplating my intention for the day. Most mornings I go for a short walk and connect with nature. I find if I don’t do this then my day doesn’t really feel as productive as it can. I use my oils daily and I’m a longtime lover of vibrational essences. I also love some EFT and hypnotherapy. My partner and I also go for massages regularly. I find travel really inspiring and nurturing and over the past year I have started to make time offline more of a priority. This is only going to increase moving forward.

I AM BIG BELIEVER IN FINDING THE FUN AND JOY IN EVERYDAY LIFE. WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY?

Walking in nature, yummy food and of course even better quality chocolate! I have always been a bit obsessed with crystals, soy candles, chai tea and raspberries. Preferably all at once! I am a Piscean so I tend to have all my best ideas in a candlelit bath or at the beach. I meditate in the bath and elsewhere and I’m also a complete bookworm. There is nothing quite like diving into a book. I spend a great deal of time in the library. I also love travel and exploring new places. I’ve got some great travel lined up over the next year and I’m excited with the direction of my life and who is in it. Live music and stand up comedy are also extremely enjoyable for me.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

Listen to your intuition as you know what’s right for you. Your opinion of you is the only one that matters! The only time I’ve ended up in places where I didn’t want to be, were the times I didn’t listen to myself. There were so many times in my 20’s and early 30’s that I look back on with compassion as I became an expert at ignoring some inconvenient truths. Keeping busy, slapping on a smile and saying everything is fine can only keep you going for so long before you crash and burn. Commit to being your own best friend and watch the miracles unfold…..

 

michellemariemcgrathbeloveMichelle Marie McGrath is a Self-love Mentor to women who are committed to having a lifelong, loving relationship with themselves. She’s the host of “Unclassified Woman” podcast series which features inspiring childfree or childless women around the globe, creating lives of purpose and meaning beyond traditional paradigms. Part story sharing, part myth busting these conversations explore what it means for a woman to create a life on her own terms once she knows that having a child is not going to be a part of her story, whatever the reason. Michelle is also a co-author of “Love and Oneness” alongside luminaries such as Marianne Williamson and Danielle Laporte. Michelle is passionate about falling in love with all parts of herself, and creating tools that assist others to do the same. She creates Sacred Self’s self-love range of alchemical oils, self-love cards and I ❤ MY LIFE Organic Perfume Collection. 
Download your FREE ebook “100% self-love” – 7 weeks of self-love reflections at http://www.sacredself.com.au and tune into her podcast series at http://michellemariemcgrath.com/category/podcast/

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It is time to love your body

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Oh yes, once again it is my favourite time of the year. When all the magazines pop the Kardashian’s away for a couple of weeks and excitedly reveal their best celebrity bikini body makeover stories for 2016 (actually forget that,  there is probably a Kardashian in there somewhere!)

Yes, after a few weeks of eating cheese, Christmas pudding, pavlova, and more cheese, I can’t wait to scan the supermarket shelves and indulge in a bit of body self loathing as taut bikini bodied celebrities tell me how I too can be happy and successful, if only I was ‘half my size!’ Hmmm, if I was actually half my size, then I would spend my Summer in hospital, but don’t let that get in the way of a good story!

Well, I am sorry ‘Woman’s Who New Weekly Idea Day Magazine’ I won’t be joining in your ‘fun’ and berating myself for not looking like Elle MacPherson, I’ll be too busy actually enjoying my life.  Because guess what? She’s got her genes (tall, long limbed, lean and tanned) and I’ve got mine (tallish, medium limbed, pear shaped and white as a lily). She makes her dietary choices and I make mine (mine would probably involve more carbs I’d hazard a guess). She has her exercise routine and I have mine (or I will do when I actually get moving for the year).  I’m also reasonably sure that even if I follow Elle’s 4 week diet plan that I saw on a recent magazine cover, I will still look a lot like me (albeit a little more miserable from depriving myself of pasta).

My body is that of a woman in her mid forties who has given birth to three children and god damn I am proud of it. Here are but a few reasons why:

  • I can still wrestle and pin down my 13 year old son to land a kiss on him (although this is getting admittedly harder)
  • I can still jump and bounce on a trampoline with my daughters (providing I have been to the toilet first)
  • I can still dance the night away like I am 20 (although unfortunately I can no longer ‘drop it like it’s hot’)
  • I can still comfortably walk, hike, jump, and even run short distances if need be (but not skip: I never have been able to skip for some reason)

In other words, my body works pretty darn well: I certainly have a few aches and pains brought on with middle age, but on the whole what a blessing this body of mine that gives me life is.

So why would I care if my tummy isn’t perfectly flat, my thighs have a bit of jiggle, and my bum is of the biggish variety: I am ok with that. My husband is ok with that. My kids are ok with that. I’m pretty sure my friends are ok with that. I’m guessing what they wouldn’t be happy with is a wife, mum, and friend who hated the way she looked, who sat on the sidelines of life because she cared what others might think of her. Who won’t ever get in her bathers in case someone sees those jiggly white thighs of hers. Fuck that for a joke. Life is for living, for having fun, for diving into the ocean…and for eating cheese.

Except, for one thing. The media tells me I shouldn’t be ok with that. Instagram tells me I should be thinner to feel good, people on Facebook fat shame normal sized women all the time, and those god damn magazines tell me that the celebrity bikini lifestyle is what I crave,

But I know one thing they don’t know: I know myself. I am Melissa, I am on the other side of forty and I choose not to give a shit what anyone I don’t love thinks about me.

So here I am at the beginning of 2016, I’ve got my mum bathers on and I’m whooping and dive bombing into my swimming pool with my kids. You may not see a photo of it on Instagram: but that’s ok, I’m having too much fun to get my phone out anyway!

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P.S. When I first saw this photo of me from my holiday to Greece (which is now one of my favourites of myself) my immediate thought was how my billowing top made me look so huge. Is this the first thing you noticed? I’m guessing you saw the beautiful scenery and a woman who is loving her life. If I had listened to that little voice, this photo would have never seen the light of day. Remember we always have a choice in whether to listen to those negative stories we tell ourselves, x

 

 

Sanity Savers for Surviving the Silly Season

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Less than two weeks from Christmas…

Have you completed all your Christmas shopping  and lovingly wrapped your gifts in delightful eco friendly paper and matching ribbon?
Have you RSVP’d to the Christmas drinks at the neighbours/the local sports club/Aunty Beryl’s house?
Have you bought those $10 Kris Kringle gifts that are witty, fun, and not too cheap looking?
Have you lovingly made the organic Christmas Pudding by hand (and don’t forget you have to buy a Gluten Free one for Aunty Beryl)?
Have you hand written beautiful messages on gorgeous Christmas cards for your closest friends/relatives/Facebook acquaintances and put then in an actual postbox?

Have you dreamt about hiding under your doona until December 26 with a large box of Christmas Lindor balls and a Ryan Gosling DVD marathon in the hopes that no one will ever find you?

If you answered yes to only one question on that list (and I’m pretty sure it was the last one if you are like me) then welcome to the Silly Season: a crazy construct of society that forces us to eat with, drink with, and buy presents for just about every single person we have ever met. conversed with, or walked by on the street in the past 5 years.

Now before you go and call me out as a scrooge (I say ‘bah humbug’ to that), I’ll have you know that I really do enjoy socialising: I love a drink or two or three with friends, I enjoy eating home made rum balls, and I will even happily sing along to “All I want for Christmas is You (and you, and you, and you)”. But why oh why does it always have to be all crammed into 2 weeks when the kids are still at school and exhausted, work is winding up but still busy, and there is a godforsaken concert of some sort every second night!

However, even at this late hour I truly believe there are some sanity savers that can help you cross the line on December 25 feeling (mostly) in control and ready to put your feet up, relax and enjoy the dregs of a champagne bottle and some of the kids leftover mince pies (because as any Aussie kid will tell you, ‘yuck, there is fruit not meat in these pies mum!’)

So without further ado here are my top Sanity Savers for Surviving the Silly Season (saying it with a lisp is optional!)

Take One Day at a time

It is very easy to let overwhelm sink in at this time of the year, so for me I focus on simply taking one day at a time. I plan my weeks like a mother (literally!) and have everything I need to do written in my daily planner which is my bible (amen). I don’t sweat the small stuff at this time of year (clean laundry lives in laundry baskets in December) and takeaway comes a little more often than usual. Most importantly, at the end of each day when I roll into bed, I let the day go: no going over incomplete to do lists in my mind: my positive affirmation is ‘I am doing the best that I can’ shortly followed by ‘There are gin & tonics by the pool in my near future: keep on going girlfriend.”

Just Say No

This holiday season say goodbye to FOMO and hello to JOMO (Joy of Missing Out). You do not need to go to every single event you are invited to, and nor should you feel guilty for simply saying, sorry I won’t be able to make it. Put your mother guilt out with the reindeer’s carrots this Christmas, you do not need that sack of drama in your life!

Schedule some Me Time

It will come as no surprise to hear me say get your self care on this silly season. If you are super busy then schedule looking after yourself like you would anything else: block out an hour in your diary to have a bath and read a book, or go for a 20 minute walk listening to some uplifting music before you hit the shops to get those last minute purchases. You are just as important as anyone else at this time of the year so look after number one first, the rest will follow.

Lower Your Expectations

This one is easy actually. I want you to repeat something out loud after me…ready?

“Christmas does not have to be perfect.”

Ah, doesn’t that feel better! No one expects you to be Nigella Lawson, so focus on being in the moment and the blessings you have in your life rather than all that you could have done better if only you had more time/money/patience/helper elves…

Finally, if all else fails, I leave you with these wise and immortal words…

AjDS8eV

I wish you and yours a joy filled Christmas and a safe and relaxing start to 2016

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If you would like to start 2016 getting clear on your goals and what you want to achieve, then don’t just make a new year’s resolution, make a booking to see me! I am opening up some limited times in January for some one hour goal power sessions, so email me at melissa@melissajeffcott.com to find out more x