The courage, the leap and the bottom line

Nellie Bean. Just because.

The woods are full of deer beds and wild asparagus (actually Star of Bethlehem but round these parts it's always been wild asparagus and only Lenny Tinker [and my stepfather] knew where it grew and would sell it for charity in the pub). Finally, summer weather is here. I always forget that June is technically spring because by this point, like most people, we just want it to. stop. raining.

This seasonal changeover hasn't really been one I've ever struggled with SAD-wise but this year, with its weird weather and All The Flowers seeming to bloom at the same time, has had my natural season-markers rolling around like lost marbles.

But it's all good.

Last week I told my manager that I'll be leaving at the end of July, just as Evie's school year ends. So August will be school holidays, and getting the house and garden sorted out, and actually having a break for the first time in, er, ever.

That's the plan. September will be back to school for Evie, year 5. She has her first school trip away from home for a week at the end of the month and then, on October 2nd, she and I fly to Australia for a 10th birthday reunion with her twin sister and family. She'll be staying with them for all but the last 48 hours and I will be nearby but having a little solo retreat time. At a beach. In a nice hotel. I know, it's going to be hell. Then for our last night, we'll nip back down to Brisbane for a reunion with my beloved Leoniewise who will be just arriving in Aus from NZ for her own reasons.

Charlie is staying home and will be In Charge Of The Dogs. I'm not dwelling on that though. Because panic.

I'll also be starting my studies. I have my Reiki Master course to complete, the Bach Centre Level 1 ready and waiting for me to get stuck in to, and Kathleen Prasad's Animal Reiki Core Curriculum course which kicks off next month. When we're back, I'll start on the animal aromatics course I'm doing (again, three levels to practitioner status), and hopefully start thinking about booking my Bach Centre Level 2. Level 3 will come in 2016, I hope. Along the way I hope to be boosting the coffers with some ad hoc animal care and dog-walking gigs.

Then there's the online part of it all... that makes me gasp in anticipation. Such a geek.

Fifty-two is somewhat late in the day to be realising your dreams but I say it doesn't matter. My main inspiration is being able to do this work: helping to pass the wisdom and healing of plants on to animals. But I'm also discovering that I am excited by the possibility of being good at something after years of being pretty mediocre at a job that didn't stretch or motivate me. While my current employment (and don't get me wrong, I have loved it) would've seen me ageing out of the role before too many years passed by, I am now relishing the idea of being an expert at animal healing by the time I'm 80. I have a whole career ahead of me. Now. For the first time. It's an utterly thrilling prospect!

Also, it can come close to overwhelming so I'm steadfastly moving at an easy pace and spreading all the good stuff out across the coming 12-18 months. My instinct right now is to prep for finishing work so that I handover my role efficiently, while at home I am de-cluttering and making space for new life.

Here's a thing: given my way of being it would be nice to be able to say that this has all happened because I finally started believing in myself. I did 'the work', the meditations and the journeys; had the conversations with spirits and raised my vibration to a level from where I could jump and fly. All those things are true, but they are not the reason for this happening now. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually I have been where I am now for a long, long time.

No, the magic behind this is far more mundane. We got some money. We can afford for me to take 12 months to do this and pay for the tuition etc. Just about.


Of course I've always known this was what was holding us back, and it's true that when you have very little money to play with it's extremely difficult to turn it into more money. And in our case, very little money meant no disposable income. Which meant no monetary investment in ourselves beyond keeping the three of us going. We did - and do - plenty of the other kind.

It's amazing how often you can find people who aren't in that position who talk about 'choices' and 'will' and 'courage'. Well bullshit. I know people who are brave and motivated and talented beyond measure. Who have a vision, a dream and a calling. But simply cannot afford to go further than a certain point in pursuing them.

But rather than this getting spoken about, it gets swept under the carpet. Or ignored because's not spiritual. You don't get a party bag full of £100s from a yoga retreat. Crystals won't clear your credit rating or buy school uniform. Maybe there are people out there who address this and I just haven't seen them. If so, more power to them. They are needed. For SO many of us, what stands between us and our dreams is not low self-esteem, the fear of failure or lack of a decent business plan. It's an empty bank account.

Don't get me wrong...if we'd come into this money ten, even five years ago, I'm not certain I'd've known what to do with it or, if I'd had a plan, that I'd've had the ovaries to follow it through. The spiritual and emotional work I've done and the path I follow have without doubt also enabled me to be here, now. They will continue to inspire me as I move forward. Because of them, I know what to do with this money and I know that this is how I am best fulfilled and best embodying who I am.

It just interests me that what finally made me leap was a combination of two things: financial ability and, after a particularly frustrating day at the office, anger! The combination of a big, pissed-off push in my back and the knowledge there was both a safety net for my family and funds for training gave me a level of clarity that has remained. I found that a decision I made in that hacked-off, 'oh fuck it, why not?' moment was one of the truest things I ever did. The vision is not one I've had before - not in this form - and suddenly it makes perfect sense. But without the financial freedom to think, 'Right, I can book this course, do that course, train here and over there...take a year...' I'd've been back at my desk scanning Pinterest. No doubt about it.

I spent years feeling like a loser, a wuss, a coward because despite all my conversations with spirit guides and creature teachers and inspiring people I still stayed put. But I can say hand on heart that I was none of those things. I was just a 40 something woman with responsibilities and demands and no budget. And as I got closer to 50 the chances of ever being able to do anything about it seemed to melt away. So I put less time into dreaming and thinking about it.

What am I trying to say? Never give up. We have been fortunate (and to be fair, Charlie paid a shitload of money into a pension at a job he hated for 20 years) and this doesn't happen for everyone. But, if you're still waiting, there may be other ways and other magic available to you.

What was needed for me to unleash a new vision and new courage was a bright flash of possibility. Maybe, as western astrology would have us believe, as a Taurus I am rooted in the earth, practicalities and a connection to money. Maybe that is where I needed to see my possibility. Maybe yours is somewhere else and will come in a dream, a meditation, a conversation, a novel, a smile, an asana or a prayer.

Just don't let anyone tell you that you're not making the correct, 'brave' choices. Or you're not sufficiently 'fearless'. While those things can be truths, more often the answers are duller and heavier. And they are not your fault.



  1. I am really happy for you that things have taken a turn for the better--the good--the direction you have longed for for so long. Huzzah for that "bright flash of possibility"! I wish you all the best on your new journey!

    1. Thank you Tracie. Fresh starts all round : ) xx

  2. I'm 57 and I say it doesn't matter either. More power to you!

  3. Sounds good. Glad you're spreading things out as it looks like a lot of change (including leaving the dogs:) ) And yes, it doesn't matter how much you visualise & motivate, if you haven't got the basics covered, it's hard to make changes. And we each have our own level of risk we are ok with.

    1. Exactly Alison. And I'll be risking it not just for me but for others. I spent most of my 20s and 30s living a happy life but one that involved lots of new starts and very little money. Doing that with a young child is just not on. Not for me, anyway : )

  4. I punched the air in jubilation and recognition at least half a dozen times through this post. I am so happy for you and this is such a thrilling and exciting time.
    I have been in my current job for 10 years and I am also an artist on the side. I am now at a point where I can't expand my artist career anymore without cutting some hours back on the day job and that's just not going to happen right now. Whenever I read about how someone started their business, I don't often feel like I see the whole picture, like how they paid their rent when they were just starting out, how much credit card debt was racked up. It's all a bit too bright and shiny. This is so refreshing and encouraging to read and I haven't given up yet!

    1. Right? Even the people I know who started with no money, no job, no resources but themselves, and no support ended up with massive debt to clear even if they achieved success. If I were child-free and younger that's a risk I might take, IF I could ever borrow that kind of money. Loans aren't even an option for many people. I'm glad you're not giving up, your work is so beautiful! x

  5. well. if that just didn't prompt a case of severely watery eyes.

    i'm so fucking JAZZED for you! god know, this couldn't have happened to a more deserving person...and such a perfectly wonderful "fit". it's all kinds of thrilling and exciting and i'm so looking forward to watching you blaze. :D

    also -- you are totally singing my song....which is part of where the watery eyes came in. which is, i think, why the Shiny Live Your Dream Movement gets right on my tits...because it utterly lacks the reality...or at least, only pays it the slightest lip service. this needs to be talked about more...and i'm glad you have talked about it because i, personally, am taking courage from your experience.

    such good stuff. all the good stuff.


    1. Yes, to all that Mel says. I am so pleased for you, Jo. To hear your happiness, and your excitement is wonderful - because I do hear it, even though I don't know your 'official' voice and couldn't pick it out of a crowded room. I love that you have a plan, and one that you're comfortable with, and that you're going to have time to yourself in Oz, and that Evie will see her sister, and that you will be able to learn and discover new talents and expand your many existing abilities. It's wonderful, and I hope it's every bit as good - really, deep-down to the bone good - as it sounds.

      Actually, I'd amend Mel's watery eyes to big, ugly tears because I really needed to hear this. (The dogs qre looking quizzically at me, and Dave's ignoring me because he's cooking his dinner and, face it, nothing's more important than food, not even a runny-eyed, snotty nosed wife mopping her face over her laptop at the kitchen table!) I agree with both of you - and I will quite probably steal M's perfect description of how the SLYDM makes her feel because that's the gaping chasm I've never been able to bridge. Living your dreams is fine if you can afford to be penniless, but when you have dependants, that's just not an option. It's just such a bloody relief to hear someone say it. Thank you so much! I've been looking at different courses - big, change of life and career courses - and the thing is that, even though we're not completely broke, and even though there is a bit of disposable income, it's all predicated on the next pay packet. For me, it's not just paying for the course and the books and the tuition, it's also paying the mortgage each month, and paying the bills. It's all there and available, opportunity-wise, but it's not something I can do at present. I am trying to remember that thiis doesn't have to be an immediate, twinkly, shiny change. It may take another decade or more before I can do anything about it. It's a journey and I know I will be of use somewhere in the interim.

    2. Well I don't know that I've done anything to deserve it Mel, but thank you : ) I do worry that the SLYDM is only available to those who can afford it but I understand the concept of business so I have no idea really what to do about it! I mean, I will be pitching my services as a therapist. Could *I* afford to pay a therapist for my dogs? Nope. So therefore I'll be aiming at people with cash to spare. It's a tough one. I hope to balance it out with voluntary work for shelters/rescue orgs, free info online and the like. But I would just like to see someone with a high profile acknowledge that money can be a real issue and not one that we should feel shame around (it's not as if I have a gambling habit and a Ferrari). But we're talking about a group of people who by definition won't be paying for coaching or ecourses or even books. Perhaps it's time for a non-profit coaching organisation to be born : ) Where people donate back when they've 'made it' : ) xxx

    3. Oh Vicky, you will never find my voice or any part of me in a crowded room : D
      You are where we were and it is soooo frustrating. And it feels a hundred times worse when you feel as if it's only you. I cannot tell you the shame I have felt having to say no to so many things and opportunities. Not because we made crap decisions, but just because that's how things panned out for us despite best efforts. And dependents...exactly. Anyone mentioning effing oxygen masks in that context will be shown the door.
      Be ready for when possibility strikes because it will. There are so many little bits and pieces we can amass for the future. So much work we can do on really nailing down our values. You are waaaaay younger than me and I'm here to tell you that doing it now, at my age, is still awesome. xxx

    4. On the people affording your services thing, that's something that I frequently struggle with (in a hypothetical sense for now!). It's like artists who choose a bohemian lifestyle, criticise the mainstream culture, but then only become successful at making money for what they do by people with lots of money buying their art. I'd love to buy handcrafted items more but when a wooden spoon costs £40 it's like, gulp.

      Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent. In terms of non-profit coaching I think in coaching this tends to happen in relation to offering voluntary services to charities. Certainly I did that as a trainer. In the counselling world it is common to offer a low wage rate. I'm not sure that has happened so much in coaching but I could be wrong. There's also then the question of do we charge a lot more for full paying clients to subsidise the low paying/voluntary and what are the ethics of that (I could get into a long ramble about this as it is something I worried over). And when we are working for ourselves, what we charge ultimately is defined by what lifestyle we need/want to have (which gives me a whole other ethical quandry).

      If only we could go back to I'll swap you some beans for your services and the utility companies take payment in carrots ;)

    5. Oh Alison, I KNOW! It's very complicated. Personally I understand the pricing of artisan work and accept that they're mostly out of my reach. I know that on the odd occasion when I've created something I loved, that I think could earn me much-needed money, working out a price that seemed viable meant I'd been working for about 25p an hour to make something unique and personal : )

      I was thinking yesterday about the non-profit coaching comment and how what I actually meant was training. As in, training to gain qualifications. It was an off-the-cuff remark but wouldn't it be great if schemes all offered scholarships or free places? Or if some incredibly altruistic 'I can help you live your dreams' type life coaches (I know that's only a fraction) were inspired to set up a training fund for people who aren't able to afford professional training in something. Even on the understanding it was paid back when possible. I guess there's no reason it has to be coaches. Maybe I should do it when I can : )

      I'm so going to offer the electric company carrots.

  6. i couldn't agree more! and i'm ever so pleased that the seed money has come to you now, and i think 50-something is just the right time for a new start!

    1. Thank you! I think you may be right! x

  7. ah crap. It ated my comment.


    Jo, I love this - every which way. Good to hear I'm not the only one here getting all watery of eye as I'm reading.

    And re the spiritual blaming-and-shaming-you're-not-thinking-abundantly-enough, well ohgodyes. Such fierce brilliance, and you nail it on the head. Thank. You.

    But most of all, I'm just really happy for you Jo. It's people like you who shine a light and give me courage.

    Wishing you the very best with your beautiful plans. xx

    1. Thank you so much. Oh I got the book you recommended and thank you! Isn't it wonderful? xx

  8. Ah, Nellie Bean, good to see her. Such a lovely picture too. I know all about "Your life, live your dreams" thing inasmuch as the "That's all very well but affording petrol to get to work to pay overdue bills is a bit touch and go this month" which rather puts paid to skipping off into the distance to follow any calling I may have (which, for a long time, I didn't know what it was and certainly didn't have the dosh to pay someone to divine, coach or mentor me into finding out, nor shell out even more once they had). This is all good to hear. Very good indeed.

    1. Yep. That's exactly it. I know there are a lot of things one can do that don't need coaching, training or divining - you can just get on and DO - but in my case I do need actual professional training and for that I need time and money. But the petrol/work/bills thing you so tidily sum-up always had to have priority. I'm thankful that I get to explore for a while now. And work harder than I ever have : )

  9. Brava! I'm 53 and am just now following my dream path as well. It takes this long sometimes for just the reasons you named. Primarily, money. It wasn't until I built up a nest egg in the form of investment shares in the company where I worked (and got sick from stress) that I had the financial ability to break out on my own. Like you, I've been taking a lot of courses and training, training, training. I'm four months into it and am so grateful to have the financial means to give myself this year as I put together my fledgling business. The inner work and spiritual journey came first with me, too, and then the big angry at work. I sense a pattern here. I send you a deep bow and many blessings to you and your new path.

  10. I could have sworn I commented on this post before. Anyway, awesome stuff, I'm so happy for you! And thank you for all that you wrote. It's a real bugbear of mine, the whole "you just have to want it enough" or "manifest it into reality" bullshit. Unfortunately, resources matter - money, time, and so much more. One of the most heartbreaking things is watching young people come to terms with this.

    And I won't say I'm super jealous of you getting to meet Leonie ... but yeah, I am.


Thank you, I love it when we talk.