Count it all Joy!

« Joy is not in things, it is in us » Richard Wagner.


« Joy is untouched by circumstance. » Unknown

Summer tiiiiiiiiiime, and the livin’ is eaaaaaaasyyyyyyyyy. Especially with a glass of bubbles, fabulous company and a bit of witty banter to switch the neurons off lazy lounge lizard mode.

Ahhh – happiness. Or is that Joy? Or is it both? Oh GoD! What a casse-tête – so out come some more bubbles and the conversation flows freely around our personal definitions of Happiness, Joy, and the art of being fundamentally, achingly alive.

Joy – helping women to immerse themselves in it, feel it, taste it and live by it – is my life’s work. This is what I’ve learnt so far about Joy, happiness, and the intricate relationship that binds them together and sets them apart.

Just in case you were wonderin’ about this yourself.

Happiness is great stuff! But it’s a bit fickle.

Fleeting, it waits for the ideal set of circumstances and conditions before showing up. It needs the right mood, or the fabulous dress/holidays/set of steak knives/house/new thingamabobthatyou’vealwayswanted etc to rock on in. Happiness has the uncanny ability to hijack your senses for the melting moment it takes to savour a sweet sip of champagne with your lover, or pulse through your cells for the entire week of your well-deserved holiday on that deserted beach.

Happiness doesn’t like getting its hands dirty, its feet wet, or sitting in the same room with those ‘negative’* emotions like anger, sadness, hurt, and frustration. It  shrivels up and wilts when a grumpy thunder cloud passes over and tears rain down on your parade. Happiness is a fragile plant that depends on optimal external conditions to thrive. Looking at it that way – you could say it’s a bit high maintenance.

Then there’s Joy… Oh Joy !

Joy is what .you .are! It’s your foundation – the very essence of your soul. Joy is the light, curious, expansive foundation of your True Nature from which you can never be separate. Ever!  Joy pays no heed to circumstances. It’s a bit of a rebel that way.  Joy arises when  you are fully present with whatever is going on around you – even extreme discomfort and loss.

That means that you can be overcome with grief, or have your entire world crumble at your feet and still be held by Joy. Happiness may have deserted the disaster area, but Joy will always be under the wreckage, waiting for you to feel its soft, warm light. You can lose your job, your mariage or your treasured 80s smurf collection, and still feel the brilliant, hopeful, radiance of Joy.


Your connection to joy is as deep and eternal as your Spirit.

During the most heart-breaking passages of my life —financial hardship, house fires, car accidents, unfulfilling relationships with difficult break-ups and shattered dreams— times that your average dictionary would clearly not define as ‘happy’ (E.g. – One dictionary definition of happiness is “a state of well-being, a pleasurable or satisfying experience.”) Times I wondered how I would pull through. Joy was the stable undercurrent.

The Joy of feeling intensely alive, present, breathing. The pure joy of existence.

Happiness is fabulous while it lasts. Take it. Drink it in. Make the most of it. Cultivate it. Appreciate it. Love it!

Joy is your awareness of your intimate connection to life. An inherent sense that life is loving, brilliant and unbounded.
Joy is freedom.
Joy is the path.
Follow it.


Your Wild and Precious 2015


It’s the last day of the year.  In fact… for my Kiwi buddies Dec 31st is already done and dusted!

But for us northern Hemisphere folks only a few more hours separate us from 2014 and the start of a brand spanking new year – at least according to the Roman Calendar.

The way I see it, we get a fresh start every second, every milisecond, every nano second. But hey ! We Enneatype Seven’s will accept, or even invent any excuse for a party, especially if celebrating involves popping open the bubbly! So New Year’s it is!

And let’s face it,  that fresh perspective of a whole new 52 weeks rolling out in front of me widens my horizons no end. All of a sudden the world is full of possibility and spaciousness.

There is room in my agenda. Room to grow. Room for new commitments. Room for dreams to unfold and fulfill themselves.

So as we roll over into this burst of freshness let’s take a look at what the next 52 weeks of our lives might hold. Every second is precious, so what are we going to choose to do with them ?

What hopes do you hold for these 52 weeks ? What projects would you like to get up and running or give a bit of a shove along ?

What places in this gorgeous region, country, world… or within yourself would you like to discover or rediscover ?

Who do you want to share your precious moments with ? What do you yearn to learn ? What new neural pathways will you develop? How will you nourish, nurture and positively fire up your mind and body?

52 weeks go by and, more than anything, fill up faster than …. See! 2014 is gone already.  How are you going to fill yours?

Friend, I ask you… (as did Mary Oliver)…

“What will you do with your one wild and precious life ?”

Love and effortless effervescence (and overflowing bubbles)


PS. My theme word for this year? FOCUS! No mean feat for a 7… Who else is up for a challenge?

Don’t Ask!

Seriously ! Don’t !

Don’t ask!
If you have an amazing idea or something that your soul is tugging, nudging and screaming at you to try out, FOR GOODNESS SAKE don’t ask anyone what they think about it. Because chances are it will be nipped in the bud quicker than bare feet across hot sand.

Why ? Because 99% of people don’t have any more idea than you do. Really. They don’t.
What they probably do have though is a lot more apprehension around the idea than you might. And what does that mean ? It means you’ll drown those dreams of yours in a rocky sea of fears and doubt.

And damn ! That fragile, delicate idea ; the one that makes your soul sing and fills you with optimism, hope and energy? Well, it just plum disappears in a shower of ‘Oh, you think so’s ?’ and ‘Maybe you’re right’s’ or even, ‘I’m probably not even cut out for it anyway’s.’ And you slink away, energy low, shoulders slumped, dejected but ‘reassured’ that your place is where it always has been : right with the people you asked.

Don’t ask anyone who has never thought of leaving their own village whether you should backpack through Asia then settle down for a new life in Singapore. They don’t know.

They don’t.

Don’t ask someone who’s always worked for a big company (maybe even the same one for their whole career, bless ‘em) or in the public service, whether or not you should start your own business. They don’t know. They aren’t doing it and, for their own very valid reasons, they prefer the security of a monthly salary from an employer. They are not cut out for the entrepreneurial life, which is why you shouldn’t be asking them in the first place.

Don’t ask … ANYONE…whether you should: travel, start a business, row across the Pacific océan, join pole dancing classes, go vegan, live out West of Woop Woop, past the Black Stump (insert your dream here…)’ unless…

…Unless they have already done it. Unless they are a beacon of inspiration and hope. Unless they are the very best in that exact, same field or have succeeded in something similar themselves. Or even if they have failed in something similar because in the end it wasn’t their thing but they tried, then went on to succeed in something uniquely them and equally as interesting.

But still, don’t ask.

Don’t ask WHETHER...

Maybe ask…’HOW ?‘ There’s nothing wrong with learning from someone’s experience.  But there’s a lot wrong with asking someone who has NO EXPERIENCE in the matter, wouldn’t have a sparrow’s fart of an idea more than you, and who for the life of them couldn’t figure out why on Earth you might want to do (whatever it is you want to do), because they want to do other things – or maybe even NOT.

If you really want advice on HOW to do something, learn from the best. Ask the champions, the pioneers, the leaders and the explorers. Or, if that seems too scary, get the biographies of those who’ve challenged themselves, challenged prevailing beliefs and actually taken the risk of failing. Ask those who have followed their talent to the brilliant but sometimes dark place where it leads. Ask those who have felt the sting of rejection/defeat, but had the courage to rise again and overcome.

Don’t ask your parents (unless maybe you’re under 18 – are you?), your sister in law, your hairdresser, your best friend’s dog, the boy next door, your cheese man, the local hedge trimmer…

Because THEY. DON’T. KNOW.

You do.

A deep part of you knows exactly what you should be doing. That deep part of you is called your soul. It has its own agenda, its own purpose. And it just KNOWS.

So possum, the only person you should ask ‘whether or not to take the leap,’ is yourself.

And you will only find an answer by following your heart, your gut, your intuition and your joyful curiosity about life, then taking the said leap, or even any small action that moves you a tiny step in that direction.

AND (again), let’s face it, you don’t need permission from anybody to do that.
What you do need is stillness, courage, resilience and resourcefulness.

You have it in you.

How do I know ?
red shoes

Don’t ask ;-)

The case for ‘Discipline': Why we all need a dose of ‘D’


It’s 6:15 am and I’ve been toying between sinking back into a blissful sleep (after all, I don’t have to wake the kids up for another hour) and springing out of bed to kickstart my day before the rest of that noisy, demanding world wakes up. What would you do?

There’s a magical, clear quality about the early morning calm that infuses me with energy – once I’ve finally shaken myself awake that is…Sometimes that means putting my alarm clock under a whole pile of mess, across the other side of the room, to make sure I actually get out of bed. I gotta have sneaky strategies and tactics like that to resist the tempting arms of Morpheus.

C’mon Ange – suck it up and throw off the covers.
Choices. That’s what life’s all about. Choices, and knowing what you really want most.

Do I really want to sleep in? Will that help me get the most out of my day? Seriously?


What will help me get the most out of my day is Vitamin D! Discipline. The Discipline to get up earlier, knowing that I’m always most productive in the quiet of the morning, before everyone else starts laying claim to my attention.

My writing, my art, my sport, my wellbeing, my business, my dream life… Their relative success is directly proportional to the amount of Discipline I can muster up to push the rest aside.

Without my daily dose of Discipline, I could spend the whole day sorting through the orphan sock basket, cleaning the top of the fridge and vacuuming under the sofa cushions rather than working on a business that I’m deeply passionate about.

No Discipline and I’m saying yes to that second glass of wine and sweet dessert when in fact what I really want is to feel lighter and clearer.

No Discipline and I find myself living vicariously through Pinterest or Facebook, rather than actually living my own life – working on my mailing list, improving my calligraphy techniques, training for that trail run, sharpening my mind with meditation… writing this blog post. ;-)

Without a big dose of vitamin ‘D,’ everyday Life has a sneaky habit of getting in the way of what I really want. Life is messy and intrusive like that.


The big D is a powerful combination of energy, willpower and strength. Ain’t nothing better than a Discipline high! Inject some Discipline into your life and you get an immediate sense of purpose racing through your blood.

Discipline is what helps us reach into the depths of ourselves and achieve great feats.

Discipline is what helps us create a business, body, mindset and/or life we love, and keep battling on when it feels like we’re pedaling through yoghurt and we’d rather be having a coffee with friends. Especially when our pirates tell us our dreams won’t work and that we be better to “Get a haircut and get a real job.” (Remember that song?) Really – your dreams won’t work… unless you do!

Discipline, consistency, IMPECCABILITY – and being unequivocally committed to my own clear, defined desires makes me a writer rather than a reader, a doer rather than a dreamer, a business woman/entrepreneur rather than an employee and an athlete rather than a couch potato.

Discipline is Effort and Consistency’s best friend.

Discipline means knowing the difference between what I want now (or what I think I want now) and what I really, TRULY, deeply want. It’s the difference between a healthy mind and body and one that falls prey to too much temptation. It’s the fine line between flimsy excuses for procrastination and knowing my real limits.

Discipline is long term happiness over short term pleasure…

Discipline is the backbone of sustained creativity. It ensures the ‘essential’ work actually gets done and provides solid grounding for spontaneity, rest and play.

Discipline is the the ant that allows my inner cicada to live!

Most importantly, Discipline supports my process of becoming an eternally better version of myself.

Someone more famous than me, whose name I can’t recall, once said that Discipline is the horse you ride. I think Passion is the horse you ride and Discipline is what keeps you on its back.

Yeah, I fall off my Passion horse a little too frequently. What can I say? I’m human… and epicurean by nature. Consistency is not my middle name – yet!.

In the mean time… ooh look! It’s 7:30 already, time to wake up the rest of the world…

Giddy up!

The Art of the Start… or the start of art… or revving up your creative power. The answer is yes! You do have it in you!

Theoretically it’s not great to write long titles like the one I wrote above. Theoretically. Theories are just begging to be tested and retested, refined and rewritten.  I say, never (or almost never, as in the case of ‘theoretically you shouldn’t walk out in front of a bus,’ but we’ll not take this to extremes now, shall we?) take a theory at face value. Never take your self image at face value either, pun definitely intended ;-)

Find out for yourself. Throw caution to the wind,  the waves, or over your right shoulder if you so desire.  Test, try it out, push the boundaries and evaluate for yourself. Get your hands dirty and take a risk.


That’s what the participants at the Opening Doors workshops have been doing over the last few months: testing out their personal theories, scratching away at the flimsy and flawed verity of those self-llimiting images and beliefs they have of themselves. Underneath the surface they reunite with just how resourceful, talented, creative, brave and amazing they really are.

I say reunite because it’s not so much a discovery as a rediscovery. Deep down inside, an essential part of you already knows you’re BIG. And capable. And strong. And immensely, infinitely innovative, resilient, resourceful, determined and creative. Should I go on? …


We’ve recently finished two Opening Doors workshops, one in French and one in English, so go check out this gallery and inspire yourself with some of the cool ‘Words on Wood’  the girls have made up to keep their flame burning and their focus on feeling strong.

Now it’s your turn!
What’s one limiting idea you have about yourself and your talents that you could put to the test today? Go on! Look it straight in the eye and give it a nudge.

Then come back and tell me what you discovered!

Love Ange