On 2015: A Year In Review

On 2015: A Year In Review

I'm not really one for big New Years Eve parties, and to be honest I hope to spend the night at home with a couple of my besties watching Madonna movies and drinking Sailor Jerry's in my pyjamas.

But before any of that happens, I like to spend some time reflecting on the year that was. I think that this is really important, because it's really easy to just allow the days to float on by with indifference, but when I stop and take stock I'm always struck by just how much has happened.

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On The Artful Business Conference 2015

On The Artful Business Conference 2015

Thank you so much to everyone who has made Artful 2015 so awesome! Thank you for the hugs, the high fives, the inspiration and encouragement, the thoughts, tears and the belly laughs. I appreciate everything we shared and learned together over the last two days.

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On Letting Go of Fear: Dead Weight and Pink Balloons

On Letting Go of Fear: Dead Weight and Pink Balloons

And as the conference started to loom closer, I could feel myself starting to slip back into some of those old patterns - although thankfully, I've kept to my limit of two coffees a day, and I haven't taken up smoking again.

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On Relationships, Self Care and Role Models

IMG_3501_2Last Saturday morning, Jordan and I loaded up the MINI and drove out to Seville, which sits in the Warburton Valley, just beyond the urban fringe of Melbourne. While everything about the weekend could very easily have set the scene for a sneaky romantic weekend away, we actually went away to celebrate my Lil Sis's Wedding Day. Every part of the weekend was beautiful, relaxed and joyful for all involved. Jordan and I arrived in Seville nice and early and ate a lunch of pasties from the local bakery. We then met up with my Dad, checked into our accommodation at Dalblair Bed & Breakfast (Jordan and I stayed in the beautiful apartment @ Waters Edge), and enjoyed a lazy swim in the pool, before getting ready for the main event of the afternoon.

The view from the window of our accommodation at Dalblair.

The wedding was held at Killara Estate, which provided the perfect backdrop for the Lil Sis and her new husband, to celebrate their marriage - with all three of their beloved staffies in attendance. I don't want to spend too much of this post describing the wedding, as I feel that it's a story the newlyweds to share should they wish to - aside from saying that it was such an honour to share in their day, and to celebrate with them.

What I really want to share with you all, are a few thoughts I've had brewing over the last fortnight since posting about Self Care Sunday - and what even is the point of practicing Self Care?

Last weekend was actually the first time that some of our family and friends had really gotten to hang out with and get to know Jordan properly - and definitely the first time they'd gotten to see us really messing around and having fun together as I kicked off my shoes and we started dancing around, giggling and pretending as if we knew how to lindy-hop. I have it on good authority that a few happy tears were shed by those who've known the Lil Sis and I since we were born, at seeing us both so puke-worthily happy.

IMG_3440Now, the reason I'm sharing all of this, is not to be all, "OMG we had this amazing weekend away! Look how perfect my life is!" After we got home on Sunday, and I'd allowed the events to really sink in, I couldn't help but reflect on how much has changed - and funnily enough, I happened to have a photo which totally highlights that.

Partying on our last night of Art School - Back when we both smoked, and were still just mates who shared a studio space.

This rather unflattering photo of me and Jordan was taken at a time when neither of us were particularly healthy, nor very healthy. To be fair, we'd just pulled an epic couple of weeks at Art School, getting our folios together for submission and assessment at the end of our Third Year of our Painting Major Studies towards the Bachelor of Fine Art, so delirium and sleep deprivation, combined with alcohol, and regular job responsibilities had pretty well hit their peak.

At the time, I was in one of the "On Again" stages of the toxic On-Again-Off-Again, non relationship I had with my ex, I had spent three and a half years dealing with ongoing and complex health issues, and I drank too much too frequently. Shit was very much about to hit the fan, and the next year was to be one of the toughest I've ever experienced.

It strikes me now that so many people (and I know that they're saying this out of love - and partly because they may not have seen me for a while) comment on how happy Jordan makes me. This kind of bothers me a little.

The reason being that while I'm totally happy with Jordan, and I love that he challenges, encourages and supports me, I've worked my freakin' arse off to create a life which supports my own happiness - and I was happy as a Single Crazy Cat Lady.

This, I guess brings me to my thoughts on WHY Self Care Sundays (and self care in general) is so important. For me, self care isn't just about doing one small thing, once a week to make yourself happy. It's about accepting everything about yourself - including the stuff you kind of suck at, and building from there. It's about being the kind of person you love spending all of your time with.

While the purpose of self care is NOT attracting a partner - nor is it about creating the space and opportunity for a partner to come into your life, I have to admit that had I not put the time, effort and consideration into learning to really love the person I am, then I wouldn't have the kind of relationship that I do with Jordan now.

 

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Thus, bringing me to the other big event I attended this week. On Wednesday evening, I headed straight from work to Circa @ The Deck in St. Kilda, for 'An Evening with Lisa Messenger' presented by Suzanne Chadwick of The Connection Exchange.

I actually had the good fortune of seeing Lisa Messenger speak at The Artful Business Conference last year, but missed the opportunity to speak with her one on one.

At that stage (early September), I had literally just started studying Health and Wellness Coaching, and hadn't even set up a blog or Facebook page yet. Lisa was so generous with her time, and her words, and was keen to hear about my journey while she signed my fresh new copies of both of her books. I had already read Daring and Disruptive, but I spent this morning getting stuck into Love and Life, and I've already found myself nodding along with Lisa's story, and feeling as if it reiterates so perfectly what I'm trying to say here.

While I'm not the CEO of a publishing group, nor am I the Editor in Chief of a magazine which is currently sold in 37 countries around the world, one of my favourite things about reading Lisa's work, and especially about having met her in person, is how open she is - and how strongly she believes that anything is possible for any one to achieve - but most of all - how honest and true it feels to hear her say these things.

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When rich white dudes in suits with private school educations speak about achieving success, my eyes honestly glaze over and I feel like poking myself in the eye with a fork. When Lisa speaks about possibility, it FEELS genuinely accessible, and those rich white dudes in suits seem less intimidating - she is an Entrepreneur FOR Entrepreneurs after all!

The reason I wanted to share about meeting Lisa, and reading her books, is that she talks quite openly and honestly about establishing and practicing self care as a non negotiable, as it has formed the foundations for her success within relationships, life, and in her businesses. While I have very different goal and aspirations, it's genuinely inspiring to be able to look towards someone like Lisa Messenger and know that her past experiences are not THAT far removed from mine, and that she's just further along in her journey than I am.

Having Rad Bitches to look towards as Role Models, is something we talk about quite a bit within The Girl Gang, and I'd love to know - who are the women who inspire you to live at your biggest and at your best?

xx

Kym.

PS: I highly recommend checking out The (Renegade) Collective, as well as Lisa's books. They're fun, empowering, and easy to read - even if entrepreneurship isn't something you're interested in.

PPS: I haven't even had a chance to talk about the other amazing people I got to meet and learn about over the last few weeks, but I'm well over a thousand words now! Suffice to say, I've spoken with some incredible women who are up to big things!

PPPS: I've been getting back into hosting coaching sessions, and I'm totally loving it! Speaking with everyone I've held calls with has been so inspiring, and knowing that coaching is totally my jam has really empowered me to get myself out of that icky-funk I'd been in!

 

I Made A Thing

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It's been a really interesting couple of weeks here at The Kitteh Palace, as always, I've been pretty busy, and to be completely honest with you, at times things have felt just a little hectic. There have been a couple of nights when I've crashed into my armchair after work, given up on the idea of cooking dinner. Having battled extreme fatigue levels, anxiety and depression at various times during my life, I'm now extremely aware of my needs, and the importance of incorporating self care in my day to day life, so I've been working at holding the ship steady, while zipping along.

The very night that I published my 'About' page on this blog, I received a phone call from a friend who I used to work with when I was about 20. Back when we worked together, I was pretty much at the messiest time in my life. I was working at three different, physically demanding jobs, being under-paid, attempting but failing my teaching degree, dealing with full-blown insomnia, and partying WAY too many nights a week. I had also gone from one ridiculous boy situation, to another, even MORE ridiculous boy situation - which went on for the next five-or-so years (Yes, I'm serious. Like I said, MESSY).

Now, the interesting thing here, is that even at that time, despite the mess I was creating around me - and despite of our age difference (she was in her 30's at the time), I often found myself supporting my friend in the very same way I do for clients now! Talking with my boyfriend after I hung up the phone, took me back to those days, and somehow in spite of the hangovers and sleep deprivation - the memories of our personal struggles, and the pain I was trying to numb were super vivid. I sat with them for a few minutes, before realising that memories like these are EXACTLY why I believe in the work I'm doing.

I honestly believe that we're given this decade known as our 20's to try shit out, fall down, destroy some stuff, and learn what works and what doesn't, (and even as I'm typing this, I'm worried it will come out sounding super dull and boring) so that by the time we hit our 30's, we have enough of an idea of what serves us (As well as what doesn't!) so we can seriously kick arse and really make the most of our time here.

And believe me, I know just how challenging this shit can be to sift through. But what happens if we get to the end of our 20's, or even to the end of our 30's, 40's or even the end of our 50's, not having learned these lessons? Do we just keep on repeating the same patterns, living out the same (in my case, destructive) behaviours? I truly get that sometimes, all you need is someone to hug you while you cry it out, and others you really need to hear is, "Harden the fuck up, and sort your shit out already!" from someone who genuinely gets you.

I want to tell you, that even though over the last two weeks, I've had moments where I've bordered on overwhelm with my workload, not only does it feel worthwhile when I know that I'm working with Rad Bitches and Girl Bosses so that they don't keep living out the same stories over and over. It feels worthwhile when I remember that I now know and understand my limits, and that the work I'm doing is challenging me in ways I genuinely enjoy. I'm growing, and I'm learning every day, and the challenges are nowhere near as overwhelming - let alone soul crushing, as the ones I used to go into battle against every day.

IMG_3738In light of all of this, I sat down and wrote an ebook, which you can download for FREE!

 

I've included some of my most favourite pieces of wisdom, which have helped me get through some of the most challenging times in my life!

I'm sharing this with you all, in the hope that if you’ve come across this little book at a time when you’re feeling stuck, or maybe even find yourself screaming, “LIFE, WHY YOU BE SO HARD FOR???” that you’ll be able to flip through it, and know that you’re not alone!

I'd love to know what you think of it!

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In other news, Jess and I have been working hard behind the scenes to put my first coaching package together; I've been completing my course work; joining in on practical coaching sessions with my classmates; as well as participating in a new project with the amazing Elle Roberts (stay tuned, I'll be announcing the details of this in the coming weeks!).

I sat my Level 1 Health and Wellness Coaching certification exam yesterday, before Jordan and I headed into the city for an Art Gallery and Bagel Date to celebrate.

We visited ACCA, the NGV International, and Anna Schwartz, before walking down to the (still essentially abandoned) Docklands precinct for the exhibition opening at D11.

Thanks again for stopping by, and than you to everyone who has shared their support and words of encouragement over the last few weeks and months. I really appreciate your thoughts!

Until next time,

xx

Kym