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How I plan to manifest energy, joy and intention to make the most of this year

January 19, 2018

manifest energy

This is part 1 of my toolkit for how I plan to manifest energy, joy and intention to make the most of this year!

We all need a magic tool-kit of practical tools, workbooks, teachers, coaches, connections and community. This helps us make the most of our desires, plans and intentions.

First, we need to reflect on where we’ve been and what we’ve learnt. Then we need to plan and set intentions. And then we need to make them happen with practical action steps.

And the magic web that surrounds all of this is the company we keep and the tools we choose to help manifest energy and intention in the best way possible.

I like to think of it as ‘the examined life’. Perhaps it’s my INTJ personality that loves this deep dive into both intuition and structure, but as Socrates wisely said,

The unexamined life is not worth living.

In contrast, I choose an examined life that helps me have creative courage to move in small steps within a plan and vision that gives me direction.

So here’s part 1 of my tool-kit for how I plan to manifest energy and intention to make the most of this year.

Practices I’ve engaged in over time to manifest energy

My manifesting tool-kit for negotiating the beginning of the year has evolved over time. There are some practices I’ve engaged in over a few years that have become key tools for reviewing and setting energies and intention. And making magic! These are all by powerful, creative women sharing their energy to help me manifest mine. I share them with you so we can all manifest our unique energy into the opportunities of this year or any cycle.

Unravel Your Year – with Susannah Conway

I’ve been unravelling with Susannah Conway for a long time and working through her free annual ‘Unravel Your Year‘ workbook for at least five years! The process and workbook take you through reflections on the previous year and works with awareness and intentions to set a magical path for the new year. One of the best aspects of doing this work on an annual basis is that you can see where previous years have taken you. Or where you keep setting the same intentions in line with your dreams but not being in action to achieve them.

As per the oft-repeated quote:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results…

…I found over time that I was setting similar intentions year after year and not achieving them.

Work was the overwhelming priority. I found myself setting the same goals about a creative life and writing, expressing the same desires each year and not hitting them. It wasn’t until I made real change, making space and plans for shifting to part-time work in 2016, that I started to make traction towards my desires. The ‘Unravel Your Year’ workbook and process helps you identify over time how your plans and actions can align to best manifest energy.

Manifest energy

Goddess of the Year

For a few years now, I’ve worked with Amy Palko’s fabulous My Word Goddess Readings. Available until 31 January 2018 for this year, they are a deep and spiritual insight into guiding Goddess energies for the year. It’s a way of learning about Goddesses and their energy too. I’ve just engaged in two inspiring events as part of the amazing Goddess Roadtrip when it came to Sydney. So I am feeling so energised about how Goddesses energy and divine feminine guides can be pivotal in our lives, creativity and businesses.

Last year I worked with Pele, Goddess of Irrepressible Passion, and it was all about getting back to being wholehearted and what I love as the driving force for my life. And encouraging others to honour this same journey. This year, I’m working with the crone energy of Hecate, the Goddess of the Crossroads and Compassionate Witnessing. Goodness knows this is a year of crossroads as my I face redundancy and finally embark on the creative professional career I have been desiring and shaping for so long. My new creativity and career coaching business is fuelled by a spirit of compassionate witnessing. So I look forward to working with Hecate this year in my life coaching and writing work in the world and with you here.

manifest energy

Word of the Year

Setting a word for the year is another valuable practice that helps manifest energy and intention. Susannah Conway has a Find Your Word for 2018! workbook that can support you in this process. The practice is also included in Amy Palko’s Goddess work above, in line with the manifest energy of specific guiding goddesses. Or your word might be something that evolves naturally out of your experiences – something you are searching for or that is searching for you.

My word for 2018 is JOY. After the most challenging of years in 2017 supporting my mother in her tough battle with metastatic breast cancer and with her sad passing away on Christmas Day, joy has been so hard to come by. I just gave Christmas spirit generally a pretty wide berth last year. Balancing even the thought of joy with grief is hard to countenance at present. But I know that finding deeper joy, playfulness, fun, laughter and happiness again are all central to this year’s journey.

This wasn’t a hard choice this year despite the contradictions. I didn’t need to work through a workbook or think too much. My daughter gave me this gorgeous card, made from hand-painted Egyptian papyrus at Christmas so that sealed the deal in the most lovely of synchronous ways. This beautiful card sits above me as I write here at my desk as a reminder of my focus for this year in everything I do.

Manifest energy

So that’s part 1 of how I plan to manifest energy, joy and intention this year. I look forward to sharing more practical tips in my post next week about my toolkit and plan to manifest energy in 2018. This will include coaching, writing, intuitive tools, exercise and the planner I will use – and many other practical resources for making the most of this year’s potential.

I’d love to hear about your Word of the year, Goddess of the year or other supports for how you plan to manifest energy in 2018! Share your tips and plans in the comments or via social media.

Keep in touch & free ebook on the ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

You can download my free 95-page ebook on th36 Books that Shaped my Story – just sign up with your email address in the box to the right or below You will also receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions. This includes personality type, coaching, creativity, writing, tarot and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook and Instagram – keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Practical tools to increase writing productivity

The courage to show up

20 practical ways of showing up and being brave (and helpful)

Intuition, writing and work – eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

Images by me except for:

Feature image of me planning by the fabulous Lauren at Sol + Co

Image of me at the Goddess Roadtrip initiatory sacred circle honouring the Goddess Isis by the wonderful Priestess and Beautiful You Coaching Academy founder, Julie Parker (so honoured)

transition wholehearted stories work life

Embracing a creative life – a wholehearted story

December 30, 2017

creative life

This guest post from Jade Herriman is all about embracing a multipassionate, creative life as the key to more wholehearted living.

This is the fifth guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, with each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am honoured to have Jade Herriman as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. My sincere thanks to Jade for the contribution of her story and the photographs she shares from her work. Jade combines the creativity of art therapy with coaching to help people see themselves and their situation in new ways. Her wholehearted story tells of how she came to embrace the multiple dimensions of a creative life. It is a really valuable reflection piece as we end a busy year and many consider changes in their life for 2018. Read on to find out more!

Building and leaving a career

This is a story of building and leaving a career. It is the story of tasting burnout, choosing healing and moving toward a softer more creative life. Most importantly this story is not finished, it’s still being written.

These days I love the mystery and watching it unfold, without a firm and clear plan but rather trusting intuition and the accumulation of small choices to lead me somewhere new.

Over 15 years I worked hard in various jobs related to environmental management and sustainability. I had been keen on science and environmental issues since I was a kid and wanted to get in there and make a difference. From starting out after uni with no clue about how to apply for work and very little useful work experience to ending up in a senior role in a research organization managing large projects, I had a steady job with long-term career prospects. On the face of it, I was achieving what I had set out to do – so why was it feeling so hollow?

After a while, I began to feel sick of the professional mask required to work in these roles, the way that people came together to speak about work issues but often not what was in their hearts. I felt like the workshops I was running with professionals from different industries were sitting at a very surface level, all about the mind, but rarely about what mattered most to people. I longed to help facilitate more meaningful connection. I wanted to create spaces where people could be honest and share their hopes and fears as well as their competency and their ideas for work.

Over time I started to have a yearning to do something more creative. Our work was deeply creative in a sense – we were always designing and innovating, but I yearned to do something that involved the visual arts and making things. I started studying art therapy, part-time, on my weekends and days off, just in case one day I might find a way to use it.

creative life

Burnout helped me take the leap  

I had always been quite competent but not very confident, terrified on the inside of all that was required of me, but reliable and seemingly calm. I liked doing well and getting lots done but at times the burden of what I was carrying felt too much, and I would eventually buckle under the weight of the stress.

Burnout was a hard teacher. Finally, I learnt that my body had limits and that I could not be in stress mode indefinitely without it affecting my ability to continue. Burnout taught me that downtime is important to balance the busy periods. It taught me that constant worry about the future is not helpful. It also taught me that I still exist without work, without a title, without ‘outputs’.

In art therapy, we often talk about the hero’s journey and the descent into the ‘nadir’. This is the challenging place at our lowest where we feel that part of us is dying a symbolic death – before our ascent back into the ordinary world refreshed, wiser and more enriched by the journey. Burnout was this for me – the worst fear realized and endured – the catalyst that helped me leave my job and past career and take baby steps in a new field.

Feeling my way as an art therapist and coach

When I decided to start my own business, I gave myself permission to try things to see what I liked. In some ways work for me had always been doing ‘what was needed’ or ‘what I had been asked to do’. This was a chance to ‘feel’ my way through life – what actually felt satisfying, enjoyable and absorbing. Without stress fuelling my actions, with time and space to do and not do, I was able to observe what tasks I was able to do joyfully without much effort.

I had to adjust my pace through the first year especially, as my body was still quite exhausted and recovering its energy. I dialled back my expectations and allowed myself to have days that weren’t very productive. More and more I listened to the quiet voice of my body and less to the fear-driven voice of my ego. It felt like Persephone, a popular archetype for the wounded healer, spending time periodically in the underworld before returning to the productive harvest of summer aboveground. I embraced yin and yang, light and dark, productivity and rest.

Starting again wasn’t always comfortable. It was a brand new area of work and rather than being an experienced practitioner, I was a beginner all over again. I had to adjust to no longer having big and fancy projects to talk about or other trappings that made my ego feel secure. I had to sit with grief, loss, self-doubt and feelings of failure that came up sometimes. A book that resonated with me especially at this time was Wild Creative by Tami Lynn Kent, a love song to a life lived intuitively and in tune with our physical selves.

creative life

Bringing together my passions and loves

What my new work brings me is a chance to sit with people in honesty and create a space where all feelings are welcome. In art therapy groups, we speak about all aspects of life – and there is often a bittersweet tone to the conversations, about loneliness, about challenges, about grief, loss, trauma and mental illness. But there is also joy, sweet playfulness, and heartfelt connection between participants. There are shifts and development for individuals on the most humble of levels that are also quite profound – as they stretch their windows of tolerance, as they develop confidence in themselves as a creative person, as they practice speaking and being listened to with respect. In coaching, clients navigate self-doubt as a step forward towards long-held dreams.

I love that my work involves art now – helping other people make friends with art, playing with art materials, attending client exhibitions, making art myself, facilitating spaces where people make art together and reflect on the insights it has for their lives.

It also involves design and creativity in terms of thinking of new workshops, new programs, new writing that might be helpful for my clients. I love problem-solving and brainstorming with my coaching clients. I love the way that each session draws on all that I have to offer and there is a requirement to be in the moment, fully absorbed and focused with that person, responding to the mood, situation, communication styles, needs and more of each client.

creative life

Embracing my scanner self and a meandering path

Another big part of the journey towards a more wholehearted life has been embracing the part of my personality that is enchanted with learning and novelty. After discovering Barbara Sher’s work on scanners (multipotentialites, multipassionates, renaissance folk), and especially her book Refuse to Choose, I have found it easier to be kind to myself about my moving passions. Beyond just kind, I also approach my multiple interests with more respect and curiosity. I look for underlying patterns between the things I am interested in and know that to be happy I must do what I love.

How wonderful when we can give ourselves permission to do what we love, and not be wracked with guilt about being ‘selfish’ because we realize that people doing what they love benefits us all.

I went on to train to become a coach with Barbara Sher. This was face-to-face training over five modules all held in Germany! Geez, that was a lesson in following my instincts to do what I love even if it ‘makes no sense’. Since then I have been honoured to work with amazing multipassionate people around the world as they take steps to bring their dream projects into being.

What this insight into my personality has mostly given me is lightness in holding onto whatever it is I’m working on now. So for example, while my creative life at the moment looks like being an art therapist and coach, I no longer define myself entirely by my roles. Instead, I give myself permission to always be learning about how I can contribute my skills in the world, and what configuration of work feels good to me. I know that this will change over time, and I am less attached to having a CV that ‘makes sense’ to others than I am committed to listening to my inner voice, my curiosity and my fascination to see what might be the next thing for me.

creative life

What is wholehearted to me?

Becoming more wholehearted has been about embracing my softer side, my fearful side, the side that needs rest and can’t always ‘produce’, my intuitive and heart connected side.

It has been about living through and beyond perfectionism, overwork and burnout. It has been about creating a more gentle and caring way of working that plays to my gifts not just my skills.

In some ways, it has been about letting go of control and being okay with not knowing how the river of my work and life will meander. As a keen gardener, I like to imagine my life as a creative garden, which might be replanted frequently and feature a different mix in the years to come. In part, being more wholehearted has also been about stepping back from work, and having it take up a smaller part of my life, and unhooking myself from the wheel of achievement as a primary driver.

About Jade Herriman

Jade Herriman


Jade Herriman (Dip TAT, BSc and MSocSci) is a creative business owner, art therapist, artist and certified Barbara Sher life coach based in the Inner West of Sydney. She loves using art therapy and coaching to help people see themselves and their situations in new ways, and helping others create, connect and work towards their dreams. For more information, go to


Read more Wholehearted Stories

If you enjoyed this wholehearted story, please share it with others to inspire their journey. You might enjoy these stories too:

Becoming who I really am – a wholehearted story

Finding my home – a wholehearted story

My wild soul is calling – a wholehearted story

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Keep in touch + free ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

You might also enjoy my free 95-page ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’ – all about wholehearted self-leadership, reading as creative influence and books to inspire your own journey.

Just pop your email address in the box to the right or below You will receive the ebook straight away as well as updates and inspiring resources from Quiet Writing on personality type, coaching, creativity, writing, tarot, productivity and ways to express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook and Instagram – keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. Look forward to connecting with you and inspiring your wholehearted story!

transition wholehearted stories

Becoming who I really am – a wholehearted story

November 27, 2017

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you really are.

Carl Jung


This guest post from Colleen Reagon shows that becoming who we are is about connecting the narrative and listening to our heart.

This is the fourth guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, with each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am honoured to have my dear friend, Colleen Reagon, as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Colleen is a long-term reader and supporter of Quiet Writing.  We’ve enjoyed regular connection over time via the creative community of Instagram and recently into the coaching realm, where Colleen was one of my first coaching clients. Colleen and I are kindred souls in many ways and I am so appreciative of her camaraderie on our creative journeys.

My sincere thanks to Colleen for the contribution of her story. I am grateful for the original images Colleen shares in this piece – her photography is such a delight. Colleen’s story is a journey around becoming and connecting knowing and doing. It highlights that whilst there are risks in making change and following through on our desires, it can result in us feeling much more aligned  – read on to find out more!

Beginning the conversation

Although the desire to live a wholehearted life has been with me for a long time, I’ve only
recently stepped onto the path to becoming who I really am.

My husband and I have spent a lifetime in Adelaide — bringing up children, renovating our
bungalow, running a business and pursuing a professional writing life.

About five years ago, the children grown and flown the nest, I found myself out of step with
life. I’d drifted out of working in our business and given up my corporate freelance writing
work, with plans to change direction. Creative non-fiction was luring me. I read books,
completed courses and wrote lists. But I was treading water in a stagnant pond with no way
out. Although I was unhappy with my lot, inertia and halfheartedness kept me company.

My husband and I talked many times about changing our lives. We made decisions, initiated
plans, then allowed our comfortable life to float along. We didn’t have the courage of our
convictions. The smallest obstacle was enough to thwart our plans. Life was too easy.  We
lived comfortably, our business moved along without much effort and we stayed in a rut with
our dreams blowing in the wind.

Until two years ago.

Life was brown — that stagnant pond colour. I felt isolated although I told myself that I
preferred solitude, that I worked well on my own. The trouble was that I wasn’t really
working. I was fiddling around the edges with no real plan and it turned out that my husband
was bored with the business. It was a habit which was weighing him down. We began a new
conversation about changing our life and realised that it was then or never. The change
required stamina and energy and if we left it much longer we might not have the energy.


First steps

That summer we made a real plan. Sell our business and our house, find a parcel of land in
the country near the sea, build the dream house and live a more creative life. We pored over
real estate advertising, planned the dream house, and imagined how our lives were going to
look. The perfect life — just the right balance of leisure, engagement and creative endeavour.
But reality has a way of sneaking in. It wasn’t so easy to sell our business, the house needed
work before we could put it up for sale, the perfect parcel of land in the country was illusive,
and I still had no plan for my work life.

I was a writer but I felt a fraud. There were no clients. I finished my courses but hadn’t
submitted one article for publication. Heck, I wasn’t even showing up to the page regularly!
The more I thought about being a writer the more despondent I became.

Discovering what matters

2016 rolled around and summer turned to autumn. We were no closer to our dream of a sea-change. The business wasn’t sold, the house was still awaiting its repairs and my life continued to blow in the wind. The dream was starting to evaporate like all our previous plans.

Searching for direction, motivation, a guide to change, a spark, I was reading three books at once. Mark Nepo’s book, ‘The one life we’re given’, was a catalyst. He says that we are all born with a gift, we just need to find and nurture it. As I read, I felt wretched and guilty. There was no need to search for my gift, it was there. Had been there all along. A passion for words and writing — and I wasn’t nurturing it. He says,” The ultimate purpose of the gift is to exercise the heart into inhabiting its aliveness.” Not much exercising going on either!

Mark Nepo says, “Our dreams, goals and ambitions are all kindling, fuel for the heart to exercise its aliveness, to bring our gift into the world, to discover what matters.” Well, the kindling was piled up—enough to light a bonfire of epic proportions—but the spark was missing. I read on, looking for a simple solution, something to quick-start my heart into aliveness.

And there it was. The words scintillated from the page:

Aliveness shows itself in response to wholeheartedness, when we can say yes to life, work with what we’re given, and stay in relationship — to everything.

These words brought an awareness of what really matters.


Gathering momentum

The changing season from summer to autumn marked the transition from inertia to action. It
was a busy season.  On our annual Italian journey, I gathered material for travel pieces I
planned to write. We cast our net wider and explored the south coast of New South Wales for
a piece of land, and resumed discussions about our dream plan. We began the work to prepare
our house for market, we put our business up for sale. And I said yes to showing up at my

We dared to make some decisions and our plan was finally gathering momentum.

Becoming a wild writer

Nurturing my gift of writing became my foremost intention. Paying attention to it consistently however, was difficult. I turned to books again. This time, Stephanie Dowrick’s Creative journal writing: the art and heart of reflection’ came to my aid. The title of the first chapter, “Writing a journal may change your life”, was written for me.


Journal writing wasn’t new to me, I’d tried many times but didn’t keep it up. This time however, I felt a new purpose. It was a way to exercise my heart into aliveness.

I bought a beautiful journal, created a morning ritual and sat at my desk every day and wrote. The exercises in Stephanie’s book were liberating. I felt a new freedom to explore what mattered to me, to be creative not only with my writing, but in my thinking about the future. I managed to vanquish my obsession with perfectionism, a hangover from corporate writing and editing days. I became a wild writer. My daily wild writing led me through autumn, in step with our decluttering, repairing and real estate activities. I started a blog and recorded my thoughts as a way to be accountable. I became more present. And I found pleasure in my writing for the first time in years.


A shift in imagination

Autumn moved slowly into winter. I observed my nectarine tree from my desk each morning, the leaves changing colour and slowly dropping to the ground and still some clinging stubbornly to the branches. Then one day, the breeze brought the last of the leaves down, a golden-hued carpet covering the ground. And like my tree suddenly surrendering to what is, I too felt a shift. A shift in imagination. Thoughts which had been cluttering my mind suddenly drifted away and I found myself writing a few simple questions in my journal — the most salient of all: “What if?”.

Asking “What if?” opened the door to new possibilities, and the space created in my mind allowed me to begin to write a new vision for my life.

Writing a journal is an adventure in self-discovery and more: clarity, insight, truth, developing my authentic voice and most importantly, focus, are gifts I have acquired along the way.

And the richest benefit, beautifully expressed by Stephanie:

Writing a journal is a way of honoring your own life, taking it seriously even as you open to the energy and spaciousness that creativity brings.

Mark Nepo was the catalyst for exercising my heart into aliveness. He shone a light on what it meant to be wholehearted. Stephanie Dowrick gave me permission to explore who I wanted to become.


Following my heart

It was another year before our house was sold, the business as well, and a further three months before we made the trek to the south coast of New South Wales. It was twelve months of stressful activity, uncertainty and at times, doubt about our decision to pack up and close down our life. Adelaide was our home for 25 years and to take a leap into the unknown with just a dream and some fragile plans in our pockets was a scary thought if we allowed ourselves to think too deeply on it.

During that time I continued my journal writing — gaining new insights and developing my intuition. I felt a new freedom to extend my creativity. I took more photographs. I started to draw, a desire since childhood which I thought I didn’t have the talent for. It turns out that anyone can draw if taught some basic techniques. It’s like anything you want to master, all you need is the desire and the commitment to practice regularly.

I followed my heart through my journal writing, coming to the conclusion that this new chapter of my life required me to create a new story. One which honours all aspects of my life — freelance writing, travelling and communication professional. It was time to weave all these strands together into an authentic foundation for the person I was becoming.


Creating the new story

I needed help to create my new story and serendipitously another alliance was formed. This time not through books, but in person. Terri Connellan had been busy working on her own major life transition from government employee to coach and writer. As part of her learning, she offered the opportunity of six sessions of career coaching. I believe it was a gift as the result of, as Stephanie Dowrick says, “being open to the energy and spaciousness that creativity brings” — a benefit from writing a journal.

It’s been an invaluable experience having someone to collaborate with, talk over ideas and support me in my quest to find the essence of my new story. I’m weaving the strands of my work life, my travels and my professional writing into this story. It is a strong foundation. When I took the first steps along this path, I was all too ready to discard what came before. Through my journal writing, my reading and my work throughout the coaching sessions, I’ve come to value these rich layers in my life’s story. The process of writing my journal especially, has been fundamental in revealing what matters most to me and has helped me to find a fresh approach to bring these aspects into my new narrative.


On the path to becoming who I really am

Winter has turned to spring, a time of renewal and growth. A perfect season for new beginnings. Our life in Adelaide is a finished chapter. We have moved to our temporary home in New South Wales with its green rolling hills, pristine beaches and clear running rivers. Our transition has been fraught with challenges, anxiety and apprehension. However, our dreams are in place and our plans are spread out before us.

I hold dear many memories of my life in Adelaide — our home with its beautiful garden, children growing up, significant occasions celebrated, the orchard whose abundant harvest I will miss this summer and the rich cultural activities which I probably took for granted. But our new life here has begun. There are summer vegetables planted, we are exploring the treasures this region has to offer and the path ahead is illuminated by our purpose.

My wholehearted story is being created every day as I put one step in front of the other, one word and then another on the page. I’m holding onto quiet hopes of celebrations of dreams big and small. I’m walking the path, becoming who I really am.

About Colleen Reagon

Colleen Reagon

Colleen is a freelance writer and editor who loves words and how we use them. A communication professional for 25 years, she helps clients—especially small business—communicate effectively. She recently moved to the south coast of New South Wales to further her quest to live a passionate life. She has bibliophilic leanings, believes she was Italian in a past life and is often found with a camera in hand. You can find Colleen’s personal stories at A passionate life and photos of things that give her joy on Instagram


Read more Wholehearted Stories

If you enjoyed this wholehearted story, please share it with others to inspire their journey. You might enjoy these stories too:

Finding my home – a wholehearted story

My wild soul is calling – a wholehearted story

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Keep in touch + free ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

You might enjoy my free 95-page ebook 36 Books that Shaped my Story – all about wholehearted self-leadership, reading as creative influence and books to inspire your own journey.

Just pop your email address in the box to the right or below You will receive the ebook straight away as well as updates and inspiring resources from Quiet Writing on personality type, coaching, creativity, writing, tarot, productivity and ways to express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook and Instagram – keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. Look forward to connecting with you and inspiring your wholehearted story!

inspiration & influence intuition

Aspiring to be what we are and can be – Taurus Full Moon Tarot Reading

November 6, 2017

“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”

Robert Louis Stevenson


The Taurus Full Moon encourages us in aspiring to be what we are. This tarot reading reflects on ways we can step up and empower ourselves at this time.

Here are some thoughts on this Full Moon in Taurus from Mystic Mamma to set the scene for the energies available to us:

She reminds us to ground into who we are and to remember how important our presence is in the continuum of our lives as we savor the moments that flow by at ever increasing speeds.

This Full Moon has powerful energies for connecting with our true purpose and being present. It encourages us to connect with anything true to ourselves that we might have left behind. This might be because it became undervalued or lost as circumstances unfolded in your life. There are messages too about going into the deeper elements of our transformation – areas that may have a darker side or places that are not our natural preferences or functions.

It is an opportunity to ground ourselves into what we truly value and what makes us come alive – as quirky and unusual as some of that might be. Realising our true nature means looking beneath all the layers of others’ opinions and in areas where we might have hidden away our passions because of others’ thoughts. Dusting off these layers and seeing afresh with new eyes is an opportunity at this time to light the way forward.

Taurus Full Moon connections

Working with tarot via Tarot Narrative each day helps me to align with my intuition and with that of others. I’m also working with the cycles of the moon and intentions in each cycle to support my creativity. I’m fascinated with how the messages connect up across these intuitive practices and with those of other people.

Today’s Tarot Narrative was about what’s ‘real and possible’ and tapping into the unfolding narrative of our life in an unstinting way. That message is a central focus for this Full Moon period and beyond.

Cathy Pagano via Mystic Mamma highlights aspects of being true to ourselves in this Full Moon period:

With Samhain falling on this Taurus/Scorpio Full Moon, we have a chance to bring through the veils a part of our soul that can help us on this next stage of our journey….

…Ceres, the ancient Mother Goddess, squares (90*) this Full Moon from Leo, forcing us to look at where we ignore our creative voice and abandon ourselves in the face of opposition, rather than descending into the underworld and allowing ourselves to ‘not know’ for awhile.

There’s a strong message in this Full Moon about getting back to any original plans we might have had for our lives that we left behind. Or any aspect of our voice that we have quietened because we have worried about what others will think. The opportunity is there for a reality check of what is worth pursuing. We can make an action plan for dreams we feel are worthy of aspiring to. And we can let go anything that’s draining our energy and holding us back.

There’s also the possibility that some of this might be shadow work of some kind. Making practical plans and keeping in movement is helpful as we identify what is stopping us from being in flow or communicating ourselves creatively.

For example, we might ask ourselves:

  • What is stopping us from doing the creative work we aspire to?
  • How can we embody right now what we are aspiring to become?
  • What kind of self-care will support us to break through to what we are aspiring to do and be?
  • How do we balance crafting with patience and being in action now, given both are needed?

My focus here at Quiet Writing is on wholehearted self-leadership. These energies provide a special time to reflect on and step into the power of our wholeness. This includes an emphasis on shadow and light, embracing what we fear with courage and self-compassion. Or letting go of any fears or outdated ways of operating instead of letting them override our aspiring plans.

This dramatic, transformational energy has been accumulating and evolving for a while now. There are different emphases in each moon cycle to work with as we transform. As Cathy Pagano explains this Taurus/Scorpio combination: “Taurus’ energy builds a container for Scorpio’s emotional depths, enabling us to really look at what’s in there…” There is an honesty and depth to this time that offers the opportunity to look at what we really want to become.

Taurus Full Moon tarot reading tools:

For my reading for the Taurus Full Moon, I worked with:

This Full Moon in Taurus tarot spread by Sam Roberts aka @escapingstars on Instagram:

aspiringDeck wise, I worked with the Sakki Sakki Tarot deck by Monicka Clio Sakki, my favourite tarot deck especially for questions about creativity.

Tarot reading: 

So here’s the reading:



This is a big spread with eight cards so there are layers of complexity in the reading. THE DEVIL was an interesting card to see arriving straight up. Especially as I had been writing in my Tarot Narrative in the morning about my love of ghost stories and embracing the dark side. This is something I’ve been reflecting on over the past week or so. So this card suggests embracing or at least looking into areas of fear and darkness.

A few favourite and recurring cards appeared for this reading too:

  • SIX of SWORDS suggesting aspects of movement and journey.
  • The HIGH PRIESTESS reminding us about intuition and the wisdom of listening within.

These two cards turned up together only a few days ago in a narrative around soul work and inner and outer resources.

The NINE of CUPS and KING Of CUPS set the tone of dealing with emotion and feelings as challenges we need to relinquish or flow with.

The EIGHT of COINS reminds us of patience in the mastery of skills. The SUN tells us to shine our light anyway while we are learning and not feel like we have to be perfect.

And finally, the THREE of RODS (WANDS) encourages us to start a new plan and approach our aspiring goals with confidence.

This reading, with three Major Arcana cards – The DEVIL up front, along with The HIGH PRIESTESS and The SUN – has strong, archetypal tones. This is fleshed out with cards from each of the suits or elements, providing valuable clues to how to negotiate this time.

As always, a fabulous Tarot Narrative with these initial clues – so let’s dive into the fuller reading.

Tarot reading – card by card:

So here are some deeper thoughts, card by card, in relation to the questions. I worked intuitively with guidance from the Sakki Sakki tarot guidebook Playing with Symbols and Jessa Crispin’s fabulous book The Creative Tarot. Then connected back with the key energies highlighted for this Full Moon via the Mystic Mamma post and aligned posts.

1 What areas in my life do I need to be more grateful for? THE DEVIL

Well, this was an interesting response to the question: be grateful for the Devil! But my intuitive reflections led me to realise it’s about appreciating the extremes in my life. We can easily gloss over fears, hidden desires, emotional depth and even things we love that might feel wrong.

This Full Moon energy invites us to review these areas and see what’s valuable for us to return to and be grateful for. And what might need the heave-ho in our work with ourselves. It’s about working with our fears and seeing what is real and useful and what is not.

Tara Mohr describes two concepts of fear in ‘Playing Big’, based on the biblical Hebrew meanings:

  • Pachad – “projected or imagined fear,” the “fear whose objects are imagined.”
  • Yirah – “the fear that overcomes us when we suddenly find ourselves in possession of considerably more energy than we are used to, inhabiting a larger space than we are used to inhabiting. It is also the feeling we feel when we are on sacred ground.”

You can learn more here. It’s a useful concept as we seek to clarify what we are aspiring to. Being able to identify what is real fear, what is imagined and what is a kind of healthy fear or sense of awe of what we are stepping into are valuable skills. So we need to be grateful for our fears now and understand more about what they can teach us.

2 What do I need to relinquish control over? NINE OF CUPS

This card in this position speaks to me of getting back to the heart of what we want and why. We need to worry less about external validation. It’s a time to get back in touch with what makes us feel fulfilled and true to ourselves. What do we really wish for when all of the unhelpful fear is taken out of it? And what do we really want once we take material issues out of the picture?

The Nine of Cups is often called ‘the wish card’ so it’s useful to contemplate and act on what makes us feel truly happy and fulfilled. And to relinquish control over what everybody else thinks and its influence.

For me, this plays out, for example, in truly embracing my love of tarot as a guiding force in my life and not feeling it’s something I need to hide or keep separate. I need to relinquish control over what people think of it and be fully grateful for its influence in my life.

3 To move forward, what fears and doubts must be released? KING OF CUPS

My personality knowledge came into play for this piece. The King of Cups here is talking to me about not being afraid of my less preferred preferences such as my emotional and sensing side. My Jung/Myers-Briggs personality type is INTJ – Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging and my dominant cognitive process is Introverted Intuition. My weakest and inferior functions are Introverted Feeling (Fi) and Extraverted Sensing (Se).

So the King of Cups is encouraging me here to develop mastery over all my functions and cognitive processes not just my preferred ones. So working from Dario Nardi’s book, ‘8 Keys to Self-Leadership’, I need to release fear and doubt around:

  • Staying true to who I really am (Fi)
  • Immersing in the present context (Se)

So working to ground myself in the here and now is important as well as remaining authentic to what I am aspiring to.

For example, this is playing out as I write my book on ‘Wholehearted Self-leadership’ as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) right now. It’s really pushing my boundaries to write 1667 words on average a day. But I’m finding balance is key. Like staying true to myself and believing in my message, which is helping my confidence as I pound the keys each day. If I’m tapping into Extraverted Sensing as a balance in this process, I’m taking more risks, finding it easier to do many activities at the same time and enjoy more of life’s pleasures. Like getting out the door to walk, swim and be with friends and family and not getting stuck inside.

Whatever your personality type, there’s balance in working with your less preferred functions especially as a way of dealing with fear and doubt.


4 Where in my life can I stand to be more patient?   EIGHT OF COINS (PENTACLES)

The Eight of Coins is a card about craftsmanship, mastery and the development of skill over time. So this card is all about being patient as you develop whatever skills you are working on. We are encouraged to enjoy the process of developing competence, honing our skills and finding mastery.

We might feel like it’s been a hard slog and the odds and conditions are stacked against us. If this is so, then perhaps we should appreciate even more the level of mastery we are attaining. Whatever we are aspiring to – writing a book, making a new life, transitioning to what we desire, learning a pivotal skill, completing a course – we can be patient in the learning and change process. We’re building on our body of work in a new way and this is not always easy. So let’s be compassionate with ourselves and realise it takes time and there’s no rush. And enjoy the process of gaining mastery along the way.

5 What is the best act of self-care that I can do for myself? The HIGH PRIESTESS

The High Priestess counsels working with intuition and the unconscious and remembering that the answers lie within. We are encouraged in our self-care to listen to ourselves, our bodies, and to access our inner wisdom.

Self-care can take many forms; it’s not just about rest and exercise though these are important. It’s also about doing what lights you up and being in tune with that.

So self-care at this time could be working with your intuition and unconscious as well as tuning into it. It’s a good time for accessing inner wisdom in forms like visual collage, through tarot and oracle, through intuitive writing and via following your heart. The key co-ordinating theme across all these areas is listening to your inner wisdom as a form of self-care.

6 What guidance does the universe hold for allowing me to feel secure in my life? The SUN

Even though you might feel like you’re still learning in developing skills, we are encouraged to step up and shine. No-one expects or wants us to be perfect. In fact, the opportunity to watch us develop our skills and share our journey through its steps and ups and downs can be a great gift to others. We can be secure in our authentic and heart-felt aspiring and our learning to be.

So share your light and shine it far and wide. Enjoy the process, as the Eight of Coins reminds us, and be playful and not so serious. As you embrace your aspiring spirit, you encourage others to do the same. And you also develop mastery in the process of doing.

7 How can I best reconnect with the Earth and its energies? SIX of SWORDS

The Six of Swords is a card of journeying, transition and movement. It encourages us here to get some perspective, exercise detachment and release old beliefs and fears that no longer serve us. This message connects strongly with the messages from the NINE and KING of CUPS.

In getting some distance from fear and old thought processes, it might be valuable to move. This is both literally, in moving away from anything that triggers you as well as valuing movement as a way of grounding into yourself, the Earth and nature. So walking, swimming, getting out in nature and moving are all valuable practices now. Those Extraverted Sensing skills of “Immersing in the present context”, being here now in nature, in meditation, being present to ourselves, our emerging skills and our potential are all highlighted now.

8 What can I do to Empower myself? THREE OF RODS (WANDS)

The Three of Rods (Wands) suggests that focused effort and action is the best way to empower yourself now and into this next cycle. It’s like you need to honour what you’ve already done at this stage and get into action. You have skills and tools – and you know where you want to go, so it’s an opportunity to take these aspiring resources and be in action.

We can sometimes be held back in fear from wanting to be perfect and having everything just so. But it’s fine for us to be patiently developing and honing skill whilst also being in action. In fact, the best way to learn is to practice. And we will keep gathering resources and learning new skills along the way.

So trust your instincts and yourself. The time to realise your long-term goals and aspirations has come, so start a new plan. Set yourself up for movement and action. As the Sakki Sakki Tarot Guidebook, ‘Playing with Symbols’, tells us for the Three of Rods:

Approach your goals with confidence, because you’ve already done the homework. Let your vision be your map, become the ultimate leader, and feed off your achievements.

Ways to step into your aspiring life

So are your thoughts also on how to step into an aspiring life and what we are capable of becoming?

Here are some practical questions prompted by the Taurus Full Moon and reflections on my reading. They build on the recent Aries Full Moon reading and Capricorn Full Moon reading around stepping up into our power and truth. The key focus now is on how we can work with our fears and the pieces we have downplayed or left behind. That way, we can shine in all our authentic and aspiring power.

Journal, reflect or brainstorm around these questions to help maximise your personal self-leadership at this time:

  • Where do you need to be bolder about working with your fears?
  • What have you left behind or downplayed because of what other people thought?
  • Where can you see healthy fear in your life where you are in awe? How can you honour this?
  • Where can you practice getting out of your comfort zone and embrace your less preferred ways of operating?
  • In what areas of your life can you be more patient?
  • What’s the rush you are feeling all about?
  • How can you cultivate joy in the learning process?
  • What’s your inner wisdom saying to you about your current self-care practices?
  • What changes could you make to improve this from listening within and to your body?
  • What’s stopping you from shining your light now?
  • Are you feeling radiant? If not, how can you feel this more?
  • How can you keep in movement to reconnect and ground yourself?
  • Where can you set an action plan in place that serves your aspiring self?
  • How can you power up the tools and resources you have in support of your aspirations?

Wisdom from the Three of Wands

I started with this quote because it’s so apt but here it is in its full glory in the context of the Art of Life Tarot.



May you live the life you are aspiring to, enjoying the process of becoming and not waiting until you feel perfect to shine. And may your wholehearted self-leadership help you be of service to others!

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Finding my home – a wholehearted story

October 30, 2017

Finding my home

This guest post from Natalie Gaul reminds us that experiences of compassion and empathy – and conscious self-acceptance – can help us find our home and a more wholehearted life.

This is the third guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors if you are interested. 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, with each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am honoured to have my special friend, Natalie Gaul, as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Natalie and I met as fellow trainees, now graduates, of the Beautiful You Coaching Academy life coaching program. We made an instant and intuitive heartfelt connection, recognising in each other a deep focus on the practice of being whole, working to embrace all aspects of our personality.

My sincere thanks to Natalie for the contribution of her deeply felt personal story, including the stunning images she has created especially for this piece. Natalie’s story is a journey through the shadow and light of personality. It highlights the sheer relief of finding solutions and experiences that enable self-compassion and taking personal responsibility – read on to find out more!

The weight of my world

For as long as I can remember, I felt an unease deep inside of me. Like I was living in a body that didn’t quite fit my bones and there was a pulling… to where and what, I had no idea, but it was always there.

I was the little girl who was desperate for approval, constantly wondering and whispering, “please don’t be angry with me”, “I’m sorry if I’ve done something wrong”, “I hope you still love me”. I was the classic over-achiever, the “good girl”, you know the type. The one who never questions anything, the one who does as she’s told, the one who could be pulled into line by a glance or the slightest change in the tone of your voice. I was the little girl who entered this world completely and utterly terrified of it, and most of all, of everyone in it.

I was the teenager who never quite fitted in. Who, upon just witnessing an unkind word being said to another felt it on a level so deep that it kept me awake at night, wishing I could take it and make it happen to me instead. I was the teenager who couldn’t rest or sleep. I was the teenager who still felt that pulling and I wanted it to go away.

I was the young woman in her 20’s, clinically diagnosed with a major depressive illness… or maybe it was bipolar? One thing was for sure, I was far too emotional. I didn’t quite fit into any box, under any label and even in my sadness, I didn’t fit in. And still, that pulling was there, getting stronger and stronger and I pushed back at it harder and harder… I wanted it gone.

I was the woman who met her 30’s with the divine gift of a loving husband and two beautiful children. Children I had fought for with my life, as my own body let me down. A life on paper that was picturesque, but in my internal reality, couldn’t be further from the truth.

Falling into the darkness

It was at this time, everything I had ever thought about myself manifested into words from the outside world … you are so ungrateful, you should help yourself, you are so selfish, there are so many people in worse situations, what do you have to be unhappy about? And so… I stopped fighting. I stopped pushing against the life-long pull and went with it. The pull I had felt for so long was into my own darkness. A place built on generations of extreme pain, hate and hurt. Finally, I was at the place I thought I belonged. Finally, I reached the place I thought was my home.

Words can’t really describe the depths of pain I experienced. I was used to pain, it was my normal but this was at a whole new level. To many, I was still a high functioning woman, a loving wife, and beautiful mother but inside, there was a war at play and it was dark and dangerous.

It was the culmination of 32 years of pretence and now finally I gave myself permission to treat myself how I always felt I deserved. The physical and mental self-abuse was violent and cruel but somehow it was satisfying. I was home, I was right where I thought I should be. I sat in the darkness, welcoming it, letting it consume me, all the while the emotional turmoil increasing in its intensity until finally, I was at my end. I couldn’t live like this anymore, I had to make a choice. I asked and pleaded for help, from whoever created me simultaneously cursing them for making me so broken and abandoning me. What followed, some may label as coincidence. However, on reflection, I know it was the outstretched arms of the universe, waiting for me to ask for a light out of this darkness, all along.

Finding my home

A glimmer of hope

I stumbled across Cathartic Breathwork, having no idea what it was but trusting that deep calling inside of me to find out more. I enquired about an up-coming live-in retreat and to my surprise, I wasn’t made wrong for how I was feeling but rather met with compassion, empathy, and kindness. That was a completely new experience! I left my family six days later, consciously deciding, if I could not find any peace or relief by the end of the program, I would find it with my maker and I wasn’t coming home.

You hear people say experiences change their life. That week not only changed mine but saved it. For what may have been the first time in my life, I actually had hope that I could survive in this body, I could survive on this planet. I subsequently committed to 3 years of intense breathwork facilitation and training. My learning curve was vast and steep and my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I was guided and held in process after process, allowing me to unequivocally and unapologetically be me. As my self-relationship deepened, I started to understand how to relate and work with my physical, emotional and energetic body.

An insatiable hunger for this knowledge grew, intrinsically knowing it was the key to unlocking and unpacking my truth. To say it was challenging is an understatement. It was one of the most difficult times of my life but yet, somehow nothing on the pain of before. Taking personal responsibility for my life empowered me beyond belief as now, rather than being a victim of circumstance, I had choice. I was in the driving seat of my own life.

I was experiencing pure emotions for the first time. My own emotions, my own truth. I finally came to the understanding that doing this conscious work wasn’t about becoming somebody else, but rather being able to stand and hold myself with love, exactly as I am. To find true acceptance of me as a whole.

Finding my home

Stepping into my purpose

The natural progression was starting my own breathwork business. This was a monumental leap of trust and faith, however, I struggled with the concept of it for many years. Who was I to think I could hold space for others? After all, I was still on my own healing journey and I didn’t have all of my own answers. I pushed against this for years. The self-doubt, the lack of self-worth, the slipping into relating to myself with unkindness. Yet each time I pulled away, I somehow ended up coming back. This service and space I was holding was bigger than my thoughts, it was bigger than me. It was my purpose.

My study and exploration of the human mind, body, and spirit continued and my relationship with myself deepened. I learned that I am an Empath (oh my goodness! – how this freed and allowed me an understanding of why I feel everything so much). I learned of energy and intuition and what that “ping” in my body is when something doesn’t feel quite right. I learned to work with it and trust it. I studied massage therapy to acquire a greater understanding the physical body. I worked and continue to work with a Core Energetic, Mind and Body Psychotherapist, developing and expanding my relationship with my inner child. I became drawn to investigating my shadow side. Experiencing, that upon allowing myself to bring light to this shadow, there was gold to be found. It was another key to true self-love and acceptance. I studied life coaching and grounded my knowledge of the power of intention and action.

Every snippet I would uncover and integrate had a flow-on effect, not only in my own life, but that of family, friends, and clients. I was creating an ever-deepening space of empathy, compassion, and understanding. I discovered what resonated with me and what didn’t, I realised that I was actually trusting myself and feeling a level of safety like never before. I was becoming aware and confident of my boundaries and I wasn’t trying to please everybody else at my own expense… I was actually becoming clear and stepping into my truth.

Finding my homeI am home

So here I am now, in my 42nd year on this planet – a concept that ten years ago seemed utterly impossible. I am a woman who reflects on the years I have lived with a sense of gratitude, knowing in my heart that everything I experienced has been for a higher purpose, even if in my head I don’t understand it. I am a woman who, when asked how I work with people and their feelings all of the time, can honestly answer that it is the place I feel most energised and comfortable because masks are left as the door, defences are down and one’s truth is uncovered. It is real and true.  I am a woman who is committed to working with my inner child, growing and deepening and healing my relationship with her. I am a woman who, in my personal and business life has unwavering fundamental pillars of personal truth and integrity.

I am a woman who craves, honest and true human connection but acknowledges that it is still one of the things I fear. I am a woman who is saying “yes!” to my god and universe and flowing with the plan for me with the least amount of resistance. I am a woman who is learning to accept my humanness and meet these parts of me with love and compassion. I am a woman who views my vulnerability as my greatest gift to this world as it provides a permission and space for others to do the same. I am a woman who now knows that I am the perfect person to hold space for others seeking self-connection as I have what cannot be learned in any book – empathy and a lifetime of experience. I am a woman who is quirky, disorganised, insanely witty, emotionally messy and imperfectly perfect in all of it.

I am a 41-year-old woman who finally feels like I am meant to be in this world and this actually is my home.

About Natalie Gaul

Natalie Gaul


Natalie is a Conscious Life + Shadow Coach, Breathworker, Creative Artist, Group Facilitator, Writer and Published Author and Artist. She is living a quiet, conscious, and connected life with her family on the New South Wales Central Coast, in Australia, beautifully balancing her client work with her creative artwork. You can find Natalie online at or on Facebook and Instagram as @natalie.gaul

 Thought pieces

Ask for help, talk to others

Pieces like this are not easy to write and I thank Natalie for her courage and honesty. They need to be written as there is too much silence. And they highlight the importance of connecting with others. I am aware it may not have been easy to read for some people. If anything in this post triggers anything for you, I encourage you to reach out to others for support. Talk to a trusted family member or friend. Or contact organisations set up especially to provide support. In Australia, key organisations for support are Beyond Blue and Lifeline. International support organisations can all be found here.

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20 practical ways of showing up and being brave (and helpful)

September 19, 2017

You are what you do, not what you’ll say you’ll do.

Carl Jung

showing up

Showing up and being brave

This is all about practical ways to show up and be brave. Because it needs to be talked about so we can all show up more, be brave, share our experiences and celebrate them.

Each time we show up – personally, creatively and in support of others – it gets easier to do it again, more often and in a deeper way. Every time, one of us shows up and is vulnerable, it helps and encourages others to do the same. And it involves action at its heart.

Tara Mohr says that her frustration is:

Brilliant women playing small. Women like you, with dreams they want to pursue and ideas they want to share.

Brené Brown says:

You have to make a choice: am I going to show up and be seen?

So here are 20 practical ways of showing up and being seen. Because each time we act, it makes it easier for ourselves and others to do the same.

I hope that it inspires you to show up and be a little braver each time in all that you are doing. Know too that it’s not a selfish act. It’s a way of helping others, showing the way and opening the door.

showing up

20 practical ways of showing up 

1 Support others who are not well or who are struggling

  • Supporting others and learning with them on the journey has to be one of the biggest and most important ways of showing up.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives, but reach out, do what you can, make time, pick up the phone, send a note or a book. Support people practically and let them know you are thinking of them.

2 Hold space for others

  • Simply holding space for others – listening, witnessing, being there, asking questions – is so powerful.
  • It’s something I’ve learned through caring for my mother and through my coaching program this past year.
  • Having space held for me and holding it for others has been a huge support and source of growth, teaching me so much.

3 Make time for self-care 

  • Showing up for both yourself and others involves an investment in self-care.
  • It might be regular practices like yoga or meditation, exercise, knowing when to rest or making time for what lights you up.
  • Make time for practices that energise you in line with your personality. It could be finding time to read alone if you are a more introverted person. If you are more extraverted, self-care might mean connecting with friends and going out.
  • A huge learning for me this year has been about how self-care is a critical part of caring for others. Just like the adage of putting your own oxygen mask on first, we need to feed our own wellbeing to be helpful to others.

4 Set learning goals and achieve them

  • Identify learning goals that will help you reach your long-term goals and commit to them.
  • You can set smaller goals, like spending 30 minutes each day on an online program you’ve invested in or working through a book to learn new skills.
  • Set your learning goals and work towards them incrementally, knowing the direction.

5 Gain certification or qualifications to strengthen your knowledge and help others

  • Linked to the above, another way of showing up is to study to gain certification or qualifications.
  • This requires commitment and working week by week over time, making sacrifices and putting in the effort, but it’s so satisfying!
  • This past year I completed my Beautiful You Coaching Academy Life Coaching program. A key part of my life transition plan, I’m now a very proud Beautiful You Life Coach.
  • Whatever it is you need to know and develop, look at options to gain the skills you need. They can be in formal or less formal ways; both are important options.

6 Honour your personality and deepen your gifts

  • Honour your special natural attributes and skills, by recognising them, paying attention to them and investing in them.
  • Find out more about your personality and how to work your strengths. Personality wise, it could be introversion or extraversion; sensing or intuition; thinking or feeling. Talent wise, it might be writing, photography, sewing or art.
  • This past year, I learned more about Tarot as a way of honouring my personality and deepening my gift of Introverted Intuition.
  • Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors course helped me deepen my knowledge of tarot as an intuitive tool.

7 Develop your gifts and talents by practicing them consistently

  • Once you’ve identified your strengths and talents, one of the best ways to show up is to practice them.
  • Tarot and oracle have become deep personal practices that I work with regularly, flexing my intuition. I share my Tarot Narratives each day on Instagram, linked to books and quotes.
  • If you are working on writing, show up by writing each day. It might be morning pages, a set number of words, an amount of time, or a unit that makes sense to you. But whatever it is, put it into practice.
  • As Stephen King reminds us:

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

8 Connect on social media as a way of showing up and practice 

  • Social media gets a bad rap as a time waster. And it’s true, you can waste a lot of time there if it’s unfocused. But connecting on social media can be a beautiful way to show up for yourself and your creativity. It can also be powerful in supporting and helping others.
  • I’ve shown up on social media – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter mostly – over time because I value it immensely as a way of connecting with kindred creatives, growing the Quiet Writing community and learning from my connections.
  • Whether it’s sharing creative practices, books, tarot readings, the detail around you, the landscapes or streetscapes of your environment – it’s all a way of expressing you.
  • The community I connect with on Instagram has been such a creative and emotional support for years now. I likewise offer this support to them. Many of us have become close friends even though we’ve never met. Some of us have had the great pleasure of meeting in real life!

9 Commit to blogging, reading or other accountability practices regularly 

  • If you’re a creative, you can show up via commitment to a pattern of accountable, regular practice.
  • Showing up has an aspect of accountability. It might be books read on Goodreads, blog posts on your blog, social media over time or working quietly with an accountability group behind the scenes.
  • I’ve blogged for 7 years now but always struggled with consistency. This year, I’ve posted 1-2 times each week. It’s been a challenge but I’ve committed to it and talked about it.
  • Reading can also be an exercise in accountability and productivity practice.
  • Try to find a practice and metric that works for you and be accountable.

10 Write about your story

  • Be authentic and write your story. This helps others feel less alone and encourages them to do the same.
  • I’ve written about my journey of becoming more wholehearted this year on Quiet Writing, encouraging others to do so too.
  • From that, I’ve encouraged other women to share their wholehearted stories with 12 women coming forward to guest post on Quiet Writing in 2017-18. We will create an e-book together on our wholehearted stories to help others discover and share their own.
  • Each story opens the door for others. It might be a blog post, a novel, a poem or a memoir. Telling your story will help you work out so much – just as it will help others to read your experiences.

showing up

11 Write for others, guest post and stretch your audiences

  • Embrace your ability to draw on your experiences and knowledge to write for others such as via guest posting.
  • It’s a way of showing up for yourself because you have to ask yourself: What do I know? What have I experienced? What can I share? How can I help others?
  • It pushes your boundaries, stretches you and helps makes connections across your areas of knowledge and experience.
  • Powerful stuff, it makes you more visible and builds your audience as well. Here’s a guest post I wrote on a subject dear to my heart: leadership, self-leadership, and solitude.

12 Write and publish or self-publish

  • Write with a view to publishing whether it be on your blog, for a publisher or self-publishing.
  • It’s all valid and more than that, it’s a path to ways of earning income, developing your voice and getting your work out there.
  • Over time, I wrote 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence, a personal narrative of the books that have impacted my story. It’s 25,000 words and is available free for Quiet Writing readers. It’s a gift but I also learned so much from it.
  • Self-publishing is not just vanity publishing anymore; it’s a very real way to be read, build business and skill, and seek further publishing options.
  • As Joanna Penn says on your publishing options:

The publishing world is exploding with opportunity right now…and many authors are finding new ways to build a career with self-publishing, traditional publishing or a hybrid combination of the two.

13 Communicate and connect with others especially kindred creatives

  • Connect with special kindred souls whether it be via your newsletter, in your social media exchanges or through sharing posts and books.
  • Create ways people can communicate with you and be accessible if your aim is visibility.
  • People want to communicate with you as a creative human being however you can make that work for you and others.
  • If you do find someone who you connect with as a kindred creative, reach out to them in some way. It can feel vulnerable, but it’s worth the risk. You never know what might evolve from showing up in this way. Some of my best collaborations and connections have developed from one of us doing exactly that!

14 Commit to working on energy healing and spiritual areas

  • Working on energy healing and spiritual development is integral to personal growth and self-care.
  • I’ve committed to working on my intuitive skills as well as healing and working with guides to support my growth and creativity. I work with the magical energetic healer Amber Adrian.
  • Find what works for you in energy and spiritual realms. Whether it’s prayer, angels, crystals, tarot, oracle, channeling, church or working with the cycles of the moon – working with these connections is supportive in managing our energy, healing, breaking through barriers and being authentic.
  • And it’s time to shed any concerns about what people think about this. As Ruby Warrington says in Material Girl, Mystical World, it’s time to come out of the spiritual closet.

15 Work through a life coaching series 

  • Working through a life coaching series is a fabulous way to show up for yourself and others.
  • Coaching is goal-driven and action-oriented. You’re in the driver’s seat and are responsible for showing up and doing the actions.
  • You can have an excellent coach, but unless you do the work, there won’t be much personal progress.
  • As part of the Beautiful You program, I’ve worked hard on coaching goals of balancing self-care with the care of others and of juggling writing and coaching as twin goals in Quiet Writing.
  • I’ve learned so much too from the experiences of my Pro Bono Life Coaching clients as they have learned through a life coaching series with me.

16 Connect with family members including through family history research

  • Making time for family and ancestry is a way of showing up for yourself and others you are connected with over time.
  • My family and family history is important. I’m committed to understanding the stories of the people who came before me.
  • This helps to keep family, family history research and ancestral connections alive and can teach you so much about yourself and your heritage.

17 Work with or for other people in line with your values

  • Whether it’s paid, pro bono, volunteer, in the home or outside, how are you working with or for other people?
  • How do the experiences and outcomes validate you and show that you are on the right path and have much to give?
  • If it’s not feeling right, how else could you work with and for other people to grow in a different direction?
  • Think about how you are aligned or how you can be better aligned so you can show up for what is of value to you.

18 Work through the practicalities of health and well-being issues

  • Our health is an evolving and changing issue and one we need to honour and show up around, whether it’s in public or private ways. There’s no point putting your head in the sand about your health – physical, emotional and mental health.
  • You don’t have to share what’s not comfortable but on the flip side, if we all stay quiet, what is the impact of this?
  • Consider: How are you showing up on the health issues in your life and how are you addressing them? How are you taking responsibility for any changes and understanding them? What actions are you taking? What support is there? How can you connect with others and with information on health issues? Are you reaching out for help if you need it? How are you showing up for others?
  • As well as caring for my mum who is unwell, I’ve been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, this year as well as osteoarthritis. I’m asthmatic and the flu hit me twice quite badly. I’m usually well so it’s been a challenge all round!
  • Working through the practicalities of all this with tests, learning, treatments, and reading, I’ve aimed to understand the meaning of these changes in my life.
  • I’m not saying I have it all sorted by any stretch, but being authentic, honest and open about these issues will help me a lot more than pretending they don’t exist.

19 Identify your body of work in the world

  • Whether it’s the job you are in now or the job you are heading to or if you are self-employed or working for others, identify your skills and body of work in the world.
  • Consider: How have you shown up over time in roles and with skills that matter? How have you made a difference? What are the special skills you bring to the world?
  • Think about how you can develop and take this body of work forward to help others.

20 Identify the core themes in your business or life’s work

  • I’ve worked on my new Quiet Writing business and its core concepts – its focus, key tenets, proposed offerings, how I can serve people.
  • I know its focus is ‘wholehearted self-leadership’ based on my own experiences.
  • Being connected, creative, flowing, intuitive and poetic are core values of my brand.
  • Consider: What are the core themes in your business or life’s work? What are the threads that tie this story together? How can you serve others from all that you have learned?
  • Think about how you can show up in your business or creativity to help others.

showing up

Showing up is not just about us

It’s not just about us and our own experiences. Self-leadership is where it starts but each of these actions impacts and enables others. We can never know our full influence. A key part of showing up is trusting that our work makes a difference to others. Whether it’s what we write, our intuitive work, tarot readings shared, social media inspiration, communicating with and caring for loved ones or holding space.

My Tarot Narrative work started as a practice just for me but as I was doing the work, I thought I might as well share it. Each day I receive messages of how my intuitive work helps others. This means so much to me and deepens my commitment and practice.

It starts with each one of us but it’s not all about us. It’s about being of service to others and inspiring others as well.

So share your story…

How are you showing up in the world?

  • Where have you stretched a little this past year to show up, hold space, reach out, learn, put your creative work into the world?
  • When you have showed up and been vulnerable, how did it help others?
  • How could you be a little braver?
  • Where would it be of benefit to show up more?
  • How could your showing up more be helpful to others?

Share your story in the comments below or on IG or Facebook!

Feature image and open door image from

Clivias are in my garden and the flowers were from my mum x

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If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and connected #12 – the courage to show up

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

How to write a blog post when you have almost no time

coaching personality and story

Creative and connected #11 – on the special value of self-leadership

August 25, 2017

 “Become a scientist of your own experience.”

Elizabeth Gilbert quoting her guru on The Good Life Project


Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed this week on self-leadership and how we work towards being wholehearted through taking personal action.

My guest post on How To Become The Heart Of Successful Leadership featured recently on It celebrates the art of self-leadership and knowing yourself as a leader. It was based on the recently published book, Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude by Raymond M Kethledge and Michael S Erwin. My personal experience as a leader, introvert, life-long learner and committed autodidact also influenced my thoughts and reflections.

Two key threads underlie Quiet Writing: one is being wholehearted and how we create our stories; the other is self-leadership and how we work towards being wholehearted through taking personal action. The key to taking action and knowing which actions to take are:

  • knowing ourselves and what we value and desire
  • learning to listen to our inner knowing
  • understanding our innate personality, including its strengths and what is challenging for us
  • seeking out, incorporating and acting on influence and inspiration from others.

My thoughts on wholehearted self-leadership stem from being a leader in the workplace and learning from this experience. The leadership of creativity and my impact on others’ ability to be innovative has been a key theme in my life’s work. I’m interested in how this lens can now be applied more broadly so that self-leadership is a way of promoting self-driven approaches to more holistic career and creativity.

The key aspects I have chosen to focus on in Quiet Writing are:

  • Life Coaching – for wholehearted self-leadership
  • Writing – to discover our wholehearted stories and in this how we strive for creative lives and careers
  • Personality assessment and exploration – to be able to explore our personality stories through Jung/Myers-Briggs frameworks and other perspectives to help us in our quest for understanding, accepting and knowing ourselves.

These three threads interweave throughout Quiet Writing. Today, let’s focus on the special value of self-leadership: what it means to me and what’s in the literature about this idea so that we can build on it together.

Podcasts on aspects of self-leadership

It was difficult to find podcasts specifically on this subject. This made me reflect on what self-leadership is and how my listening and reading choices and influences now and over the years are part of self-leadership. How I’ve decided to spend my time, who I’ve decided to engage with and listen to and read and who I’ve decided to learn from and study with – are all part of my self-leadership choices, especially as a self-directed learner.

I wrote many years ago about My Seven Stars and it’s amazing how these stars still influence me today. They have reappeared in critical podcasts this week, with themes that reappear over time. This week seemed to be all about these influences coming together in new ways.

Susannah Conway on Building a Heart-centred Business – on The Priestess Podcast with Julie Parker

This podcast felt like two parts of my world coming together – both centred around building a heart-centred business. Susannah Conway is one of my seven stars from my 2010 post, so I have been connected with her for a long time. I have done just about all of Susannah’s fabulous ecourses and each has been a critical part of my life, especially Blogging from the Heart. She has inspired my notions of building a heart-centred business.

When I made a plan to pursue Life Coaching as a new wholehearted career, I was naturally looking for a program aligned to my goals of being heart-centred. It was such a thrill to find Julie Parker and the Beautiful You Coaching Academy. I have just finished this life-changing program and am now a Beautiful You Life Coach working with clients. To hear Susannah and Julie talk together on this podcast – their first chat together – about building a heart-centred business was amazing. It’s a fabulous example of self-leadership in action as they follow their hearts in business. And it’s not with a business plan, but with a passion and desire to make a difference and connect authentically with people.

Curiosity and the Passion Fallacy – Elizabeth Gilbert on Jonathan Fields’ The Good Life Project

Jonathan Fields is another person I’ve followed for many years. He is a big fan of the examined life and what makes a good life. Elizabeth Gilbert is another major influence on writing and creativity and especially how we can give ourselves permission and take charge. This conversation was full of gems about self-leadership in life and creativity and especially the role of curiosity and learning. I love the quote that heads this post that Elizabeth cites as advice from her guru: “Become a scientist of your own experience.” I love that thought of having self-compassion as we learn and not beating ourselves up too much as we try new things on our journey. I need to listen to this one again with a notebook in hand.

Feels like the first time – on Personality Hacker with Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge

Knowing our personality type and its strengths and challenges is a key part of Quiet Writing. That’s why I’ve gained certification in personality assessment given the impact that knowing more about my personality type had on me. It was another life-changing step on my self-leadership journey. On the Personality Hacker podcast, Joel and Antonia talk about their recent experience of learning more about their personality and how, even as experts in this space, it felt like the first time. They talk about how we can resist integrating parts of our personality and that it may take time to absorb the information, especially for the more challenging aspects. This podcast highlights how learning about yourself is an ongoing and open-ended adventure which can be so enlightening.

How to be a writer: traditional publishing to indie and hybrid – with John Birmingham on The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn is another of my seven stars and not a week goes by when I don’t learn something from her! So much of being an indie author is about self-leadership and self-learning. This chat with Australian author, John Birmingham, was a fantastic insight into the publishing industry. It shows how, even for experienced full-time writers, indie publishing offers a self-directed alternative that puts control and resources back in the author’s hands. It’s an honest and fascinating account of how John Birmingham took himself through this shift to being hybrid for practical reasons. Great to hear an Aussie voice on the show too!


Lead Yourself First

Books and reading notes

My reading week

In line with my recent post on reading more productively and the accountability here, I’ve been reading a few books concurrently. I’m reading Sharon Blackie’s If Women Rose Rooted: The Journey to Authenticity and Belonging in hard copy and also Spitting Blood: The History of Tuberculosis by Helen Bynum as an ebook. Both very different reads, but fascinating in their own way.

I’ve also been listening to Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No Luck Required Guide to Self-publishing Success) by Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant with David Wright, as an audiobook. The authors make their living as full-time indie authors and tell you how they did it and make money from it. And yes, there’s a lot of self-developed knowledge and self-leadership in there – including a heap of mistakes they’ve learnt from. There’s a lot of swearing and honest fun in this practical book based on years of experience.

I’ve also been really hard at work reading my own ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ as I prepare to send it out into the world to Quiet Writing subscribers! There’s been so many practical stumbling blocks and so much learning as I go through my own first self-publishing journey. My plan is to launch on 3 September so make sure you sign up to Quiet Writing so you can receive it!

Book and blog notes on this week’s theme of self-leadership

First mention goes to the fabulous ‘Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude‘ by Raymond M Kethledge and Michael S Erwin. Reading this book intensively over a weekend as for the guest post, How to Become the Heart of Successful Leadership, was a deep, immersive read on the aspects of self-leadership at the heart of being a successful leader. This was something I had long known and felt myself, as the post explains. This book really helped to understand these aspects of self-leadership in a new and thorough way.

Based on case-studies of leaders and interviews with contemporary leaders, it is full of grounded advice on managing the self as the first step in leading others. It’s about how people need solitude to be clear and in touch with themselves as they lead. And it’s not just about introverts; the case study examples show that extraverts also need to check in with themselves through solitude especially in challenging leadership circumstances. I highly recommend this excellent book. More in my guest post – so hop over to and have a read!

To be honest, the idea of self-leadership has been with me for quite a while. It was there before I read ‘Lead Yourself First’ and before I found anything online about it. It emerged from my own thinking and experiences, especially ‘wholehearted self-leadership’ as a central focus of Quiet Writing.

It’s been interesting to see what is already out there about self-leadership. So here’s a snapshot of some information.

Self Leadership International which provides the definition:

Self-leadership is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviors on the way to getting there.

The article What is self-leadership reinforces the central role of self-leadership in leadership and making a difference. The article postulates that self-leadership begins with self-awareness and self-management then shifts to awareness and management of others.

Derek Lauber provides 8 principles in The zen of self-leadership, based on the premise that:

Self-leadership is your ability to masterfully lead yourself so you can create the success you want for yourself, your family, your business and your life.

In Self-leadership and success, Brett Steenbarger’s thoughts are most in line with what I am thinking about. He says:

Think of your life as a diversified organization. You are in the business of living….

When you think about it, you are the CEO of a rather diversified enterprise. Any such business requires capable leadership.

His key message is that:

Self-leadership begins when we stop prioritizing tasks and start prioritizing the elevated state in which we are most productive.

This is very valuable advice! I see our personal productivity as a key piece in being positive self-leaders.


Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

A favourite blog read this week was Nicole Cody’s post on healing stones and their energies, something I am exploring more. I sought out a few key stones this week that were calling me: amethyst, citrine, black tourmaline, amazonite and carnelian.

On Instagram, there’s been plenty of activity around Susannah Conway’s The August Break focused around noticing, community and inspiration. My photo for ‘silver’ this week featured the shimmering waters of the beach beckoning me. I haven’t been there as much as I would like and need to get back after being unwell. One thing I’ve learnt about self-leadership is that self-care and exercise is a huge part of it! I need to honour this.


On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

On Quiet Writing, it was busy behind the scenes as I worked on my 36 Books ebook. I also prepared for our next ‘Wholehearted Stories’ post on Monday in partnership with the author. I can’t wait to share this beautiful story with you from a very special guest blogger.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have continued to be a rich source of inspiration and insight for my journey. Thanks for all the creative interactions. It was so lovely to celebrate the arrival of Lisa McLoughlin’s Life Design Cards along with my healing stones this week. It’s a deck focused on tools and practices for self-leadership and ‘weaving a different story’. It was lovely when #28 ‘Enjoy the lush and flourishing’, popped up to say hello with the message:

Through the simplest of pleasures, be more present to the warmth, colourfulness and juiciness of life. What is holding you back from making pleasure a priority?”

Indeed. It’s a good time for getting unstuck in many ways.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

Life Design Cards

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday and the previous posts are below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

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Subscribe via email (see the link at the top) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon – so sign up to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #9 – on the art and love of reading

Creative and Connected #8 – ways to honour your unique life blend

coaching creativity planning & productivity work life

Creative and Connected #7 – how to craft a successful life on your own terms

July 28, 2017

Once we trust that we are giving it 100%, then we can trust that every day 100% looks really different.

Jen Carrington

successful life

Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected – this week with a focus on how to craft a successful life on your own terms.

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms on crafting a successful life on your own terms. This includes looking at how we structure our working week and how we define our success.

Imagining a different lifestyle

I started a transition plan for a new career and working life one year ago now. I worked with a coach and identified my professional development goals including Life Coaching. Shortly after, I shifted to a part-time work program. My beautiful mum was diagnosed with a serious illness just as I started on this journey. It’s been challenging time as I negotiate a life transition and provide important care and support.

A key part of this journey has been imagining a different lifestyle. This involves balancing self-care and care for others. It also means learning how to craft a successful life on my own terms through:

  • working on what I love, centred around my passions of writing and creativity;
  • enabling a self-sustaining creative lifestyle;
  • making a difference via teaching and Life Coaching, inspiring and sharing resources and learnings from my whole life, not just my work life;
  • having writing and Life Coaching as the twin hearts of a creative, flexible working week; and
  • changing my definitions of success.

I’ve just completed my Life Coaching training this week and am now a Beautiful You Coaching Academy Life Coach. This was the key centrepiece of my year plan. I’m working with pro bono clients at present and hope to start working with paying clients later this year. I also see writing as a stream of income into the future.

My learning over the past year has been about crafting a successful creative lifestyle. In fact, I’ve been preparing for a long time on how to be a creative entrepreneur.

In this post, I dive deeper into this theme of crafting a successful, self-sustaining creative lifestyle. A key focus is how we manage our time and structure our working week and how we might define success differently.

Podcasts on crafting a successful life on your own terms 

Creating your ideal working week, with Jen Carrington on Sara Tasker’s Hashtag Authentic

This podcast is a fabulous conversation between Sara Tasker and Jen Carrington, coach for big-hearted creative business owners. I recommended this podcast in 6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers post and I listened to it again today. It’s such inspiring listening.

It covers:

  • the intuitive work week – learning to work differently as a creative, self-employed person;
  • self-care as self-employed creatives;
  • working in ‘ebb and flow’ and in seasons, of hustle, rest and struggle, knowing we can’t always be ‘on’ all the time;
  • learning how to define success in different ways from the traditional work ethic model and managing what Jen calls ‘work week baggage’; and
  • women as self-employed, creative breadwinners.

Both Sara and Jen are successful creative entrepreneurs and their learning is based on experience. It’s so heartening for me to hear young women having conversations about living a successful, creative life on your own terms.

You can also listen to Jen’s podcast episode Redefining your work week, which explores the intuitive work week and scheduling an ‘impactful, joyful and productive work week’. It encourages self-employed, creative people to look at current schedules and how to get in the flow and be more productive. The concept of ‘work week baggage’ and the stories we tell ourselves about work is also discussed.

Jen’s The Intuitive Workweek course is an awesome resource and e-course for deeper personal work on this theme.

Money, Writing and Life – with Jane Friedman, on The Creative Penn, also explores creativity as a ‘proper job’, and specifically, business models for writers and being an author entrepreneur. This is a way of living a successful life on your own terms as a writer.

Books and reading notes

I’ve continued reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity on work and identity. I’m savouring this book in a slow, delicious read. In the flip side (or precursor!) to some of the creative business models above, David talks about ‘the haunted house of insignificant success’:

The house I had built from my work was busy, but in the way a haunted mansion is busy, full of wails and rattling chains. All the time, I refused to acknowledge my core work, I was turning into a ghost on the surface. (p126-7)

We’ll be exploring this book next week on Quiet Writing, so stay tuned!

I finished the audiobook of Joanna Penn’s Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur. It is a comprehensive overview of how to be successful as an author. It’s recommended reading for learning more about operating as an author and business person. It also shows how living life on your own terms as a writer is possible through self-publishing.

I also started reading The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon, by Scott Baker as an audiobook as part of my self-development and sustainability as a creative entrepreneur. I so love writing by hand and especially with my fountain pens and Japanese inks. But being able to write more and without pain is definitely a long-term goal I’m investing time in.

successful life

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

In Defining your own success, Sara Tasker discusses success and how women are defining new ways of working based on creativity, community and connection. She announces that her husband is leaving a secure job to become a member of Sara’s team. In reflecting on this, Sara says:

So I guess that is what success means to me: the freedom to choose, and to keep choosing, and to craft whatever kind of life we want. To be so blissfully contented in those choices that we don’t even care what anyone else is measuring us by, or give it a second thought.

In How I intentionally schedule my week as a creative business owner, Jen Carrington provides an update on learnings from her experiences. These include:

  • working outside the home more
  • making client days more fun
  • personal development as a daily habit

Successful entrepreneurs are more likely to have these two personality traits highlights the role of intuition in entrepreneurship. This is a theme I have found weaving through so many of these podcasts and reads. Intuition is a personality trait I rely on more as I work to live a successful life on my own terms.

I wish to give a huge and grateful shout-out to the awesome Beautiful You Coaching Academy as I successfully completed my Life Coaching training this week. Beautiful You is dedicated to training heart-centred life coaches who can build the unique business of their dreams. The number of highly successful businesses that the Academy has spawned is testament to the excellent quality of the program and the inspirational leadership of Julie Parker, the CEO, founder and lead trainer. Julie is a shining example of how to craft a successful life on your own terms.

successful life

I will write more soon about my experience in the course and what it has taught me. Beautiful You has fabulous resources for creative business owners interested in living a successful life on their own terms. And really, life coaching is all about encouraging and supporting people to do exactly that! For example, How to breakthrough negative core beliefs and build the business of your dreams focuses on building a Life Coaching business. The advice is transferable to anyone looking to build a self-sustaining, creative business and focuses on mindset.

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

My post on Quiet Writing, How to make the best of introverted strengths in an extraverted world, explores ways to work and influence as an introvert to make the best of natural strengths.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have continued to be a rich source of inspiration and insight for my creative journey. Thanks for all the creative interactions. On crafting a successful life, in a recent post, Eleanor Roosevelt in ‘You Learn by Living’ reminds us:

Maturity also means that you have set your values, that you know what you really want out of life. What are the things that give you great satisfaction?…To be mature you have to realise what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them” (p72)

And here’s the beautiful orchids continuing to come out in my garden. We’ve been blessed with a bumper crop through no great effort for which I am grateful.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

successful life

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday and the previous posts are below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

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Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

creativity inspiration & influence planning & productivity

Creative and connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

July 21, 2017

 An entrepreneur creates value from ideas.

Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn

creative portfolio

Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected – this week with a focus on being a creative entrepreneur and portfolio careers.

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms with a focus on how we can make a living from our creative skills.

I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading about being a creative entrepreneur and making a living from creativity for years now. It’s been part of “the long runway” – as Elizabeth Gilbert calls it in one of her Magic Lessons podcast – or preparation for this transition I’m now more actively embracing.

In this post, I share recent podcasts, books and posts on this theme as well as resources and contacts I have found valuable over time. A key focus is how we can work as multi-passionate people on portfolio careers with a number of income streams. These streams can include activities such as writing, coaching, speaking, self-publishing, workshops and online courses.

Podcasts on creativity and money

Real Artists Don’t Starve. Creativity and Money with Jeff Goins – on The Creative Penn

I loved this recent chat with Jeff Goins on my favourite podcast, The Creative Penn. It focuses on Jeff’s new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the new Creative Age. Jeff summarises key themes around creative success: showing up, discipline and taking a portfolio or multiple streams approach.

Key takeaways:

  • Jeff’s writing practices – his goal is “to write 500 new words every day”. He has a writing routine called the three bucket system. Each day, “I start something new, I finish something old, and I publish something. And so the three buckets are ideas, drafts, and edits. My work is every day, to move something from one bucket to the next.”  I’m so inspired by this idea of structuring work into a pipeline of action!
  • portfolio ways of working as a successful model for creatives and the benefits of having multiple streams of income. These streams include writing, workshops, online courses, speaking, coaching, as well as other revenue sources like property.
  • timeless strategies for creative success – the focus of his new book – about 12 things thriving artists do to achieve success.

How to be a Badass at Making Money – Jen Sincero on Your Kick-Ass Live Podcast with Andrea Owen

This podcast chat is about limiting beliefs around making money. It’s based on Jen Sincero’s latest book, You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth. This is a fun, energetic conversation that explores mindset issues that can stop us taking action.

Books and reading notes

I’ve continued reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity. It’s becoming heavily underlined as each page speaks to me around work and identity. We’ll be exploring this book in more detail here soon on Quiet Writing.

I’m nearly finished Joanna Penn’s Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur which I’ve been enjoying as an audiobook. This is recommended reading/listening for anyone keen to learn more about operating as an author and business person.

Joanna is a creative entrepreneur who has built up income over time from multiple sources. She generously shares her tips and experiences via her books, blog and podcasts. Her recommended books and resources on creative entrepreneurship include:

  • How to Make a Living with your Writing – where Joanna shares practical tips based on her ability to earn a six-figure income through blogging, writing books and marketing ethically. I listened to this as an audiobook and it made fantastic learning.
  • Making a Living with your Writing – a page full of resources based on Joanna’s experience including practical tips and lessons learned on her entrepreneurial journey.

In terms of creativity and money, my thinking over time has been stimulated by Chris Guillebeau. Chris’s work is full of practical, grounded advice. His books on creative entrepreneurship include:

creative entrepreneur

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

In 7 Reasons Creative People Don’t Talk about Money, poet and coach for creatives, Mark McGuinness talks about the love/hate relationship creatives often have with money. The post includes resources about money and creativity, especially around banishing some of the stereotypes.

Turn Your Creativity into a Career provides a guide for creative professionals interested in turning their creativity into a career. The perspective is around mapping your future as an independent creative entrepreneur and shaping your body of work.

How to Launch a Successful Portfolio Career, an article by Michael Greenspan in the Harvard Business Review, is targeted at corporate and executive level leaders and argues for a pragmatic approach to professional transitions. He advises: “The more specific and unique your skill set and experience, the more valuable your portfolio will be.”

In The idea of  “one true calling” is a romanticized lie, Emilie Wapnick explores the myth of the true calling and whether you might be a ‘multipotentialite’ or “someone with many interests and creative pursuits“. Emilie talks about the spectrum of being a multipotentialite and provides some models for managing multiple portfolios and career strands. She also has a book, How to be Everything, which explores this issue in more detail.

My post on Quiet Writing, How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine,  looks at the power of finding the thread that connects through your passions and career journey; in my case, writing. It also provides suggested strategies for finding your golden thread or authentic heart to guide you.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have been a rich source of inspiration and insight for my creative journey and I hope they are connecting with you too. This has been a consistent daily intuitive practice since 1 June now and I haven’t missed a day! Thanks for all the creative interactions.

And here’s the beautiful orchids coming out in my garden. Have a fabulous creative weekend!

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday – previous posts below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

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Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

creativity inspiration & influence personality and story writing

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

July 18, 2017

authentic heart

Knowing the authentic heart of you, the centrepiece, helps you to focus, prioritise and combine your unique threads so you can shine.

There are some central components of you that come together that are pivotal to how you want to work and shine. And there’s often that one piece that lights up the others from within and makes sense of them all.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the authentic heart lately, this unique core that coalesces all the others. It seems the energy is right for getting clear on what really matters: the piece that spins and drives all the others. The one that makes you shine and polishes everything else into a shiny constellation of stars and planets.

Sometimes it takes a little searching and reflecting.

The journey back 

About a year ago, I began a journey of transition back to a life that more fully reflects me. Work had taken over and important pieces of me were missing in action. I’m reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea right now. These words I read last night described how I felt when that time hit:

When you get to the bottom, you’ll find everything you’ve disowned and thrown away from yourself lying around on the ground. (P126)

I’ve talked about wholehearted and how this means so much to me. It’s about being whole and finding our meaning, whether it be in work or other contexts. For me, this time was the opposite. You could call it stress or burnout, but I reached a point where the person I was, day in, day out, was not what I wanted to be.

So I began the search to gather back the pieces that were missing.

Beacons of light and stepping stones

In the solitude spaces of my busy days, I searched for the authentic parts that were missing in action. My long commute became the kernel of the way back.

I listened to podcasts that kept my writing ambitions alive especially The Creative Penn. I’ve enjoyed this podcast for years as a beacon for the life I want. Its host, Joanna Penn is the role model who shows me it’s possible. I know I can achieve this – living a writing life, having a self-sustaining creative lifestyle. So when unable to do this immediately, I learned about this way of being and writing as much as I could, every day on my way to work. It was a practical way of keeping the dream alive.

Elizabeth Gilbert, her Big Magic book and Magic Lessons podcast were also lighthouses that helped me find my way. Driving through the national park where I live, heading to the train, I had moments of realisation that kept the trail bright. In one episode, there was a conversation about being on the runway for a long time which hit straight to my heart. I felt like I’ve been preparing forever. The reminder that ‘the action is here’ was poignant. I realised that the time for creativity is now.

My friend, Victoria Smith kept me going through this period via her course Softly Wild. It helped me connect pieces I had lost and discover new ones. I also reached out to Victoria for help with life coaching through a coaching series. It was time to identify the transition path back to my wholehearted self. Victoria had been through similar experiences. With her experience and skill, she could help light the way and hold my hand on the journey.

authentic heart

The authentic heart of me

I identified a path back about nine months ago. It involved transitioning to a self-sustaining creative lifestyle. It had as its core tenets: writing, life coaching, personality/Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification and intuition skills via tarot.

I identified the key elements of learning as:

  • Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy course
  • Certification in personality type assessment (MBTI) via the Majors Personality Type Inventory based on Jung/Myers-Briggs theory
  • A deep dive into the intuitive art of tarot (via daily practice, study and Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors e-course)

And the central element and authentic heart of it all was writing. Quiet writing: my practice, my discipline and the sharing of this; the ability to produce books, blog posts and other pieces that reflected my heart. Writing as quiet influence, as voice, creating my story and sharing it.

In recent weeks, I’ve been circling back to writing as the authentic heart as I finish my Beautiful You Life Coaching course and refine my business focus. And coaching has helped me to define this. As part of completing our Beautiful You certification requirements, I chose to work with writing coach Caroline Donahue to make sure this authentic heart of Quiet Writing was not lost in transition.

Writing daily as my creative practice and working on larger creative non-fiction pieces and writing a novel is central to my business. If I’m not authentically and creatively me – writing day in and day out, showing up, making time for the longer pieces I have outlined or the ones there in my heart, it’s not genuine. I am only able to help others with their creative lives and careers through my own writing and coaching practice of living this every day.

Writing as creative practice

So as I further craft my coaching and writing business, its brand and focus, I know that writing is the authentic heart. It’s why my business name and website is Quiet Writing. The twin hemispheres of writing and coaching, joined by the thread of creativity, are at the centre. But writing is the heartbeat and leader. It’s about the process of becoming, of artistry, of being more wholehearted in the every day, crafting and creating ourselves and our lives. And if I am not doing that myself through my own creative practice, it’s a hollow story.

I’m always writing in my life in some way but recently, I’ve started showing up to writing more. I start the day with journaling via Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages now. It’s been calling to me for a while and I knew it was what I had to do. It’s a kind of first principle – the first lesson in Susan M. Tiberghien’s One Year to a Writing Life.

The first step towards a writing life – and its foundation – is journal writing. To write well takes practice….Your daily life calls you in a thousand directions; journal writing centers you.

It seems so obvious and so simple. And as Julia Cameron explains, it is:

Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

The power of writing these three pages before doing anything else is immense. I’m connecting deeply, I’m resolving things, I’m writing poetry which I haven’t done for a while and I’m freeing myself up for other writing.

I’ve committed to Tarot Narratives each day on Instagram. This is writing centred around tarot and oracle and crafting a creative, intuitive message linked to a book or other influence. It’s a practice I was doing anyway each day so it made sense to share it to inspire others’ creativity. The synchronicity and creative connection have been amazing. It’s now a deep part of my creative practice, linking intuition and writing.

I’m writing two blog posts a week here and I’m working on guest blog posts as well. This practice of showing up here at Quiet Writing in a committed, deep way is helping creative flow. I feel I am hitting my writing stride more comfortably now. I’ve struggled with this: is it better to wait till inspiration strikes or commit to two days a week? Well, I’m doing both and seems to be working well for me right now. I am a writer so I need to be writing!

Working on guest blog posts is another way of honing my voice in areas close to my heart: personality, leadership, introvert strengths, intuition, self-leadership, creativity and being wholehearted. Writing for different audiences and contexts is stretching my writing muscles. I’m studying my readability, the headlines I choose and watching my tendency to overuse the passive voice so I can get my message across more clearly.

And in a big shift last week, I’ve realised I have to make my longer creative projects a higher priority. For example, there’s the book I’ve nearly finished for Quiet Writing subscribers on the books that have influenced me; the novel that I want to write that was actually the genesis of all this; and the signature pieces for Quiet Writing that I have outlined, ready to be written and created. Through listening to this podcast and working with my writing coach, Caroline, I’ve committed to making the longer pieces a priority, like an appointment in my calendar.

So writing is my creative practice and I’m finally finding a place for it in my days as a priority.

authentic heart

Discovering our authentic centrepiece

There’s a lot of messages around right now about finding your authentic centrepiece. This week’s post from Nicole Cody is about reclaiming your dreams:

Inside, our dreams continue to burn. Ideas flicker, waiting for a breeze to fan the flame. Our long-neglected interests and hobbies need only a ray of sunshine and a little fresh air to spring back into being.

This week those dreams and longings begin to come back into focus. A little more of ourselves is restored. Our courage grows.

That’s exactly what it feels like for me as I refocus on writing as my centrepiece.

No matter what it is, keeping that light of you burning brightly as your authentic heart will help make sense of so much.

There are so many ways we can discover – or rediscover – our compass or centre around which everything else pivots.

Practical strategies for finding your authentic heart

Here are some practical strategies for finding that centrepiece and authentic heart:

1 Journaling, morning pages, dialoguing with the self

Make time for journaling, morning pages, dialoguing with yourself or any other form of writing to tap into your inner voice. That ability to hear your voice on the page and settle yourself is the source of so much wisdom. The solitude afforded is in itself is a valuable teacher.

2 Working with a Life Coach

As you can see from my story above, working with a Life Coach is such a valuable way to be supported in hearing your inner voice. A coach holds space for you, asks questions to enable reflection and suggests resources and options to explore to help make change. This is a gift of personal investment to enable powerful discovery and behaviour change in line with your goals.

3 Reflecting on the threads that reoccur in your body of work

Identifying the threads that reappear in your life’s work across its manifestations is a valuable way to reflect on your journey and story. As Pamela Slim defines in Body of Work:

Your body of work is everything you create, contribute, affect, and impact.

Taking this broader view of all your contributions and creations enable you to step back and see the passions that drive you. You can identify the common connections and from this, gain a new perspective on life, career and creativity options.

4 Thinking about your shadow career

As Steven Pressfield explains in Turning Pro, sometimes when we’re afraid of our real calling, we’ll follow a shadow career instead. This might mean living the writer’s lifestyle without actually writing or writing in a corporate context when you really want to be writing a novel. My work life in recent years has featured strategic policy writing, speech writing and writing for the media. I enjoyed this writing but it wasn’t the work I really wanted to be doing or the writing of my heart.

As Pressfield says:

If you’re dissatisfied with your current life, ask yourself what your current life is a metaphor for. That metaphor will point you to your true calling. (P13)

5 Thinking about the books you love as clues and evidence 

Think about the books you love as a form of evidence. Look at your bookshelves. What’s the predominant story and style? What’s the genre? Has it been lost along the way? What ignites your heart?

6 Brainstorming and visual maps to find the common threads

Mind-mapping, journaling, vision boards, Pinterest, brainstorming and writing lists are all valuable tools to get to the common threads of your work. Some are more right-brained and some are more left-brained. So mix it up so you can access different angles and see your work from a number of views to uncover the golden threads that connect.

7 Intuitive work such as tarot or oracle to tap into your inner voice

Tarot and oracle are great intuitive tools to tap into your wisdom and listen to your inner voice. Intuitive writing or any other stream of consciousness approach is another way to access your intuition. Regularly making time for the practice of intuition in whatever works for you helps tune into the heart of your creative energies.

8 Writing down what your ideal day looks and feels like

Writing what your ideal day looks like is excellent for insight into what you really want. I’ve done this a few times over the years and the core threads are pretty similar over time. Find out how you really want to spend your time. This helps you recognise it when you start to get glimpses or finally achieve a measure of success. You might have already achieved your ideal day in some respects that you can build on.

9 Tuning into what others are saying about you and your gifts

We get a lot of clues from what people say about us but often we are not fully listening or keeping track. What are others saying they appreciate about you? Your calmness, your ability to listen, your creativity, how they relate to your writing, your use of colour? Pay attention to feedback, keep a record and notice what is being reflected back as insight into your gifts and purpose.

What’s your authentic heart?

So what’s your authentic heart? The practice, the creative work, the combining principle, the thread that ties it all together?

That sense of cut-through to the new idea or recurring touchstone that will help shape everything. It may have already arrived or might be in the process of evolving. It might be an awareness, a piece around self-belief, maybe a forgotten love, that’s become buried in the busy layers of your day.

It’s about finding our passion, our fire and being open to it. It’s true all this integration can be a little tiring, so take a rest when you need to. Just stepping away and resting or exercising, can be clarifying and help the central narrative or missing piece fall into place in a practical way.

So I’d love to hear:

Where are you keeping a light in your heart?

What are the beacons in your day showing the way back to?

What are the shadows showing up and highlighting?

What’s the authentic heart and centrepiece for you?

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and whole-hearted self-leadership. This includes personality skills, Jung/Myers-Briggs personality type developments, coaching, creativity, writing and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. You will also receive my free 95-page ebook 36 Books that Shaped my Story with thoughts on creative influence – so sign up now to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook and Instagram – keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community.

If you were moved by this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Intuition, writing and work: eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

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