Sionara... An Ode to 2013

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Well hello there! It’s a whole new year… in fact, we are half way through month one! 

Welcome to 2014 - clearly, we are not slowing down! So to update you on where I am, in case you haven’t been following my Facebook or Instagram, on Christmas Eve I flew back to Australia and surprised my family for Christmas! It was amazing, and I got it all on film… hilarious! I went to a tonne of effort to make sure nobody found out my sneaky plan. I scheduled posts on Facebook to make it look like I was still in Colorado while I was on a plane, and I had my cousin Liz come and pick me up from the airport and devise a plan to get into the property without anyone seeing us! I even made a video while I was skating on the lake in Colorado with my new Go-Pro - but never sent it out!

I think a serious ode to 2013 and a tip-of-the-hat is in order. Last year was a Tipping-point year. If you had told me 12 months ago to this day that in a weeks time I would be ending my 5.5 year relationship with a man I could see my life unfolding with forever, then take off for a 2 week holiday and never return to an actual home, speak to groups of wonderful people in three new countries, fall in love again, fall out of love again, have a car accident in Cuba, Salsa dance in Chile, skate on a frozen lake in Colorado, party on a rooftop in New York, "find myself” on an Osa Beach in Costa Rica surrounded by the most incredible people I have ever met, have High Tea in London, swim with whale sharks in Mexico, ride a camel into the Sahara desert of Morocco, do a nudie-run up a country road in Northern Ireland with a bunch of friends at dusk, and run my business and live in ten new countries around the world… I’d have laughed at you, and told you to go and get back on your unicorn (note: no unicorns harmed in the writing of this post)… But here I sit in the very same room this all began in 2013, and it did happen… all of it… … quite amusing really.  I laugh at that girl sitting at this very workshop thinking about her 2013 this time last year, I laugh! (I’m hanging out up North teaching some workshops to Teenage girls for my bestie Katie Pitsis at Free Spirit Girl). That girl had no clue what was in store for her. I had last year all mapped out so well… none of it involved what was above. Not because it’s not what I wanted, but quite the opposite.  I have dreamt of taking off and living my life on the road for the last 10 years, but it always felt it was too “big and different” for me to admit that it was exactly what I wanted. "I might lose people. I might not know myself if I let go of everything I know now…" a plethora of excuses, all very usable - There’s an entire post on this coming - and yet what actually transpired last year was way better than anything I even could have imagined.

Mind = blown. 2013 was nothing short of incredible. Completely life-changing. But I’d be blatantly lying if I told you I was finished processing everything that happened, because truly, every time I thought I had some time to rest and reflect, the next pivotal puzzle piece got snapped into place, and the puzzle changed shape again.  That’s what it felt like. Being constantly surrounded by people, and generously adopted into families and friends houses around the world is so mu fun and full of love and excitement, but it does mean you have to be "on" most of the time, and being an introvert, thats challenging for me to sustain when I gain my energy from being solo.

Now in a flash here I am home, a different person - No, not different, just more me - and observing how this new shape fits the hole I left behind when I waved goodbye to my teary mum at the airport, brushing off her angst with a quick wave and, "see you in 2 weeks!".

It occurred to me at once that this was truly the first time I had ever been this alone in my life, and encountered life as nothing but me, and yet I had never felt stronger and more connected. I made decisions that scared the shit out of my friends and family, (and even myself sometimes!) yet I had never been so sure in my life. I left my country with no plan but to follow my heart, completely intuition-guided, and yet I have never felt more like I was surrounded by loved-ones and completely "on-track"... ever.

As I have been slowly catching up with my friends and family face to face, I get asked, “What was the best/ What was the worst part of the trip?” Truly - every single place I went, I met people that changed my life, and had a special experience with them… everywhere was special… everywhere was the best… everywhere was the worst. You’ll hear all about it right here on the blog. I have hundreds of almost-finished posts and videos ready to go for you… Part of me wishes I could have brought them to you in the moment, and I really was kicking myself at the time for not “keeping up" with my “blogging schedule"  but looking back, it’s perfect like this… Retrospect has far more to offer me and you in this context. If I had spent my time making those videos instead of being present, I would have missed so many important moments and it would have been forced… I’m so not into that. So, In review, Here are some of the big moments, the highs, the lows, and a few snaps for you. As you may know if you’ve been following the blog for a while or come to one of my workshops, I believe that everything in your life is simply feedback. On this trip, every step of the way there were special people and experiences that brought pieces of a puzzle together, and I’ll be sharing more about it all as I both process it, and learn from it myself...

Here we Go! A Snapshot of everything....

::: Brought in the New Year with a gang of my favourite friends and my little sister on Bondi beach. I kart-wheeled from Bondi to Bellevue Hill to the after-party and almost threw up... but so worth it. ::: I was the maid-of-honour at my best friends most gorgeous backyard wedding. ::: I ended my almost 6-year relationship with a man who both changed and saved my life. (This one is still a little too raw to post all about, but there are tonnes of lessons here that I'll surely be sharing with you in the future) ::: I decided NOT to compete at the upcoming Karate World Cup and Defend my Titles. ::: Hung out at an Ashram with my cousin for a weekend and worked on an organic farm ::: Did a skydiving and life-planning workshop with my friend Peter Shaw and jumped out of a plane with zero fear, zero adrenaline. Bliss. ::: I cut off all my barbie-hair. You know what they say, "A woman who changes her hair, is about to change her life..." I got my first little bit of fame - someone recognised me from my blog in the local shopping centre while I was shopping for stationery! ::: I found a message in a bottle! ::: I moved out to my own apartment - living alone for the first time in my life, ::: I went through B-School again, and this time got to coach some incredible women through the process... ::: My darling friend Nicola Chatham came to stay while she was on her road trip down south. I got to meet her beautiful Jordie dog before she passed away. ::: Did my first Photo shoot ::: Finally met the gorgeous and oh-so cool Tara Bliss in person at the Self love & sisterhood event after swooning over one another via the interwebs for almost a year. We piggy-backed. It was rad.

::: I “decided" to go on a little holiday, to NYC and Mexico - shopping and laying on a beach… No idea at the time there were much bigger plans that lay ahead... ::: I attended a "5 years from now" party, where we all dressed up and played our 5 years-from-now-selves. I adore interesting parties! ::: I decided to stay a little longer in New York and give myself a taste of the location independent lifestyle... ::: I met Jackie at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Live Conference in New York. We are almost the same person growing up on different sides of the world. She told me to go to Cuba. So I did. ::: I went to Cuba. on 45 minutes notice. ::: In Cuba, we had a run in with the police, a car accident, and I almost didn't make it out of the country. But I learnt a lot. The family I stayed with still hold a place in my heart to this day, their generosity and love blew me away, and it truly made the trip (along with my Aussie travel companions who I met in a 1950’s style cab at the airport!) I’m aching to get back there and see them.

::: Mexico. Whale sharks, scooter-gangs, full-moon beach parties with german friends, foot massages, life-affirming and inspirational conversations with new friends, and ceviche... ::: I lived on Jackies couch for a month and had the time of my life in New York City. Her generosity and friendship at that time blew me away. I've truly found a sister for life. :::  I went on my first "American-Style"date. Actually the first date I have been on probably ever. It's a whole different ball-game in New York City! ::: I spontaneously agreed to go to Bermuda over a few drinks one evening. 'Cos you can do that in New York. So off I went to Bermuda! Tick! ::: Jackie and I got ourselves some fresh ink. The Freedom tattoo. ::: I took off to London to run a workshop with my friend and mentor, Peter Shaw. Then we went to Ireland and did the same thing! ::: We stayed and partied and nudie-ran up the country road while staying in an incredible house in Donegal by the water in Northern Ireland with the gorgeous Eileen, whose hospitality and generosity blew me away. ::: Simple pleasures: we were gifted a bag of Scallops by local Fisherman Gerry, and cooked them up to perfection learning how to open them from a youtube video. Perfect. ::: My clients became world Champions at the tournament, while I was rugged up in a rocking chair at a beach house in Ireland. The team of champions I usually train with back in Australia made me this video.... It made me cry...

::: I worked from a Villa in Spain. ::: Took a quick holiday to Morocco. Sweated my buns off in 49C heat, Surfed in Agadir, Climbed Mount Toubkal, Fell down it, Rode a camel into the Sahara Desert, and made 7 incredible friends that I will never forget. Oh, I also received my first marriage proposal from a berber Nomad... hmm... got the nomad part right?! ::: Drank High-tea and partied in London with my gorgeous family-friend/long-lost sisters that I met when we billoted them for the first Karate World Cup in 2000 Australia. Lifelong friends. ::: Had a life-affirming conversation over 9 hours of dinner and drinks in London's Soho with a lifelong mentor from karate days that I now consider part of my "international sister posse". <3 ::: Spend 10 days solo in a gorgeous apartment in Berlin. Total solitude and lack of language skills meant a lot of isolation. Got a lot done that week! ::: Spent a spur-of-the-moment night being shown the bright lights of Dusseldorf, before flying out of Frankfurt for Costa Rica. Thank-you Travel-hacking!

::: Spoke and listened at The Trailblazers Retreat. This week was nothing short of transformational for me. I met 20 of the most incredible people I have ever met, who are going to change the world. There were too many significant moments there to mention, but I walked out having shed walls, a creacked-wide-open heart, and with fresh perspective. Solid. ::: Nude Photo shoot. It was on the list at the start of 2013. happened organically, and I shall say no more ;) ::: My friend Jen came to visit me from Australia in Costa Rica before she began her new adventure in Florida. We had one of the best weekends I have ever spent. So much belly-laughing I can still feel my 6-pack. ::: My sunglasses got lost in crocodile infested waters... and when I went back in to get them a croc swam over my foot! ::: I decided that this is the way my life will be from now on. No more going "home". The trip got extended and I flew to Chile 3 days later.

::: Living in Chile for 3 months. Attending Exosphere. The people, the tension, South America, The Chileans, The Honesty Club… ::: Celebrating my 28th birthday in Santiago, Chile - at a French restaurant! Coming home to a bunch of flowers on my doorstep.

::: Long-Distance Love ::: Long-Distance Disappointment. ::: Primavera Fauna festival in the Andes mountains, and seeing MIA perform live, with 5 fabulous friends. Pinch me! ::: Being introduced to Voxer App. Walkie-Talkie hillariousness here we come. ::: Lake-Skating over a frozen lake on Colorado, USA ::: Re-enacting a scene in Estes Park from a Dumb-and-Dumber movie... surprise life-goal ticked off... hillarious!

::: Discovering my manifesting powers. I had a car I needed to sell, but didn't want to do it. So while I was in Chile, the universe arranged a car-accident involving 3 children kids in Australia, where nobody gets hurt, and I walk away with insurance cash. Without lifting  a finger except to type "LOL" to my poor friend who was looking after the car... Thankyou! ::: Exploring streets and cafes of Denver, Colorado with friends and family, and experiencing snowfall for the first time in my life. My aunt and I had a snow fight in her backyard, and I made a snow angel. (typical!) ::: Surprising my family in Australia on Christmas Eve. I called them on skype and rolled through the front door when they answered. I adore surprises, and it was such a delight to be able to have the freedom in my life to give them that. There were tears!

Yikes! Now, here we are in 2014: Quick as a flash. All of that actually happened...whoah. Let me pause... breathe... ok... and I’ll be sharing stories and everything I’ve learnt with you as we tread forward into the year. But its time for me to let it all go in paradox… in order for whatever is about to happen, to now unfold, space needs to be made. Last year fell together so perfectly it was almost as if it were written into my DNA to happen somehow. It was like a collection of stories and lessons and unfolding right before me that are going to serve me for the rest of my life! (And now my hope is for you too with my sharing them!). I’m so grateful to have had the experience, And yet to look anywhere but to right now, through a filter of the lessons I got, would be filling up some of that fresh space with what’s not needed. I feel that would be disrespecting it. So, onward we go, and here’s my promise to you, dear. I promise to be here and now; Not in what was, but what is. Actions over Intentions. I even chose a word to remind me.Engage.Engage in the present. In the person. In the activity. In the moment. In the Action. In the nothing… with absolute enthusiasm. Let’s see how this goes. Join me? If you had to pick a word for this year, what would it be?(I’d love to see you Engage in this one! ;) Next week I’ll be sending you my guide to the biggest lessons and life-themes I learnt from 8 months traipsing the world like a gypsy, and how you can apply them everywhere in your own life. Hint: These themes will make you cooler than a cucumber and "Happy as Larry" (as we like to say in Australia!) even if you live behind a desk this year. Until then darling, keep it real and do life well...

Love, Hayley x x x