Society is changing. We are realising that the same old health habits and exercise regimes are still not making us feel the way we long to feel; HAPPY. Genuinely, authentically, really freakin’ happy. Happy within ourselves, yes from the inside out, without relying on things, people, habits, beverages, to ‘make’ us happy. Taking responsibility for the way we feel.
And in terms of health and exercise, we are starting to accept that maybe there’s something missing beyond just the way we move and what we choose to eat. Something missing from the old ‘energy in vs energy out’ equation. We focus on the body, we want to change our appearance, we try all these different diet tips, training techniques, take supplements, and still seem to fall back into the same place we began! Yeah, frustrating. We don’t have time to keep doing the same things without meaningful changes.
What on earth is missing?
The mind. The emotions connected to our thoughts. The hard-wired and old belief systems behind our thoughts. The contracted awareness that restricts our ability to see another way. The way we perhaps identify with and defend our beliefs and actions, closed to the notion that there may be another way, stuck in old habits. Bah. You knew that was coming too, didn’t you. We’d so much rather ignore that internal stuff.
Nah, not me. It’s my favourite. I’m weird like that.
The mind-body connection. Body awareness. Self awareness. It is huge. It is powerful. And damn it’s exciting.
Traditionally, the eastern worlds’ natural health practises and words like ‘holistic’ and ‘spiritual’ have been shunned, ignored, feared even…. Understood. I used to be on that team too.
Why the change? It’s not generally something we just fall into, it’s something we find.
I’ve come to believe that our holistic health absolutely dictates our ability to authentically enjoy our lives.
So please allow me to take you on a little journey. Maybe you can relate. Yes, this is the ‘short’ version of how I came to appreciate, love and offer holistic wellbeing. And, why I will never look back.
Despite a love for health, from year 12 and beyond, body image was my saviour. Even though I was actually really good at most things, I never felt pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough, blonde enough, anything enough at school, with a long history (as with most kids) of being bullied. Then we got a treadmill at home. It was the first thing to help me feel any sense of power. It allowed me to gain a sense of control. I figured out I could change my body and restrict my food. I was finally being noticed, I was finally the best at something.
It’s safe to say… prior to personal training qualifications, life was a little dark. Actually, a lot dark. Lonely, unhappy as hell. Mum would lovingly leave self-help checklists out on the kitchen bench that pissed me off even more… yes now I see why they called me stubborn. I was excited to escape school. Then skipped from one university degree to the next, finally finding Human Movement and some sense of passion and belonging in health and fitness. Then came personal training study. The light turned on. Another saviour was born. I loved it.
My career in health and fitness began as the body gal; a Personal Trainer who looooooved the industry, her job and her clients, and high-intensity athletic training. A PT with a rock-hard identity; the fit chick, the treadmill junkie, the girl who could rep bodyweight chin-ups, the core queen, walking abs. Yes, I’m going to use the third person, it feels better.
This energetic young thing just loved to train. There was never a day off. She trained 7 days a week, hard, for a number of years. The treadmill obsession still alive, spreading to all corners of the gym. Yes, she genuinely loved movement, growing up dancing from the age of 2.5, expressing herself through her body, but despite body changes, that deep-seeded insecurity still remained; she never felt good enough, worthy, like she mattered. In fact, beneath the muscles, the 6pack and quest for acceptance, power and love hid a small child, so scared to connect with herself for fear of being rejected, fear of being seen as a fraud. Not training was not an option.
She started skipping meals to melt away non-existent body fat, avoiding major food groups for fear of what they might do to the size of her body. She tried to make herself as small as she could; a literal metaphor for how she felt emotionally. Each glance in the mirror was an illusion; she could not, would not see the physical reality. This shrinking girl turned a blind eye to what her exercise addiction and disordered eating were really doing to her health, to what her self-abusive thoughts and behaviours were doing to her soul. A soul disconnected from herself, from her friends and family, from the earth, each part of herself fragmented and fighting so damn hard to keep escaping truth, beauty and authenticity.
However, with a developing love for health and helping others, this fear grew and was linked to a deeper need and vision; to be the ‘Oprah’ of health and happiness. To be a TV trainer, but to do things holistically, her own way. A beautiful thing to want to give to the world, but a horrible goal to link to her worthiness. In her mind, and within every fibre of her being and belief, she always had to be within 3 days of being ‘photo ready’. Anything that took her away from this ability and vision created great pain and great anxiety. Including real love, real life and real responsibility.
Regular panic attacks, suggestions and interventions from others did not impinge; the pain of not being the fittest, skinniest, stronger chick around town was far more painful than the symptoms that were starting to show through the cracks. Despite her personal belief, she was not superhuman. One too many power workouts in a row and she felt the effect of overtraining. So instead of resting, out came the swissball, her core and abs got hit up for an hour. Injuries started to flair up. She just fought harder, her ego growing in ferocity. Petrified of any alternative.
Ok third person is getting weird now. Back to KW.
A lot of things happened. I moved to Sydney to work on a weight loss TV show just after taking a 12-week meditation/spiritual awareness course (which saw the panic attacks settle down), did my Reiki level 1 training, and became addicted to self-help and spiritual books. There were always five on the go at once, and I was still very deluded and escaping reality, but learning more about myself bit by bit, day by day.
Over-training became a regular battle. But instead of resting, I just toned down the intensity, until I felt I could go hard again and would ultimately over-train again; a vicious cycle of pain management, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I did my knee in one day from running outdoor over Christmas holidays (how dare the gym be shut) and from then, couldn’t run for a year. Stepping up onto the bus became an ordeal in itself. Still I fought. Sprints on the exercise bike became my fix. I still had my power, my abs, my admirers, my sense of worth and acceptance.
My profile kept building, I was so wired to what I wanted that I just naturally manifested situations to bring my goals closer to reality. Writing weekly for Body+Soul magazine, training a Spice Girl, X-Factor contestants, I had reason to believe the dream was alive.
I left Sydney for half a year to live in Las Vegas, convinced I was gone for good, surely my ticket to world change? Not this time KW. That was a knock off the perch and a beautifully life-enriching reminder that there was still a lot to learn first. Perhaps the first major ego crack.
I moved back to Sydney, starting everything from scratch again. Still reading spiritual books like they were going out of fashion, meditating, finishing all my Reiki study, but back to the same old tricks. Escaping reality through addictive spirituality and exercise. Training, training, and more training. ‘Operation Shred’ was a thing. And I was rewarded by being photographed and pictured as the model for Body+Soul’s ‘Victoria’s Secret Angel Workout’ issue, becoming their regular go-to trainer for workouts. Media work became a priority and I signed up with an amazing agent.
Years later, the Universe took control. I finally fell.
No one can keep up that kind of abusive body treatment forever.
All in the same week. My adrenal glands gave up. My right shoulder gave up. My right hip gave up. I couldn’t move, literally. Not just for my injured body not able to hold me, but also for the non-existent energy, the chronic fatigue. I could barely walk. I had nothing.
What a sh*t fight. What a blessing.
It was time to start over, from scratch.
However, without stripping back all the layers and truly addressing the root cause, my self-worth, the fearful ego still persisted. My addictions remained. I kept trying to train, kept trying to maintain the show that had kept me feeling better about myself, but without the physical ability to do so.
Clearly there were a lot of layers and lessons to sort through, because it took a whole year until I stopped trying to exercise through the fatigue, essentially stopped trying to fight myself, stopped playing the victim card. I initially sought out help from massage, physio and acupuncture, but essentially I retreated, not just for financial restraints (it’s challenging to work when you have no energy) but mostly just determined to do it on my own. Really, I was afraid to not be good at something, but I wouldn’t change a thing; I learnt so, so much. When I wasn’t taking clients, I was healing. Yes, healing literally became a part-time job. It became my everything. I needed to feel better. There was no time for anything else.
It gets interesting though. I learnt a lot during that first stubborn year; I learnt the other side of the equation…
Without the safety blanket of exercise (as I knew it) to avoid myself, I started turning my addiction into food. Friday nights on my own, comfort, episode after episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother’, red wine, a block of dark chocolate, the best carrot cake ever from Edgecliff station bakery. Sometimes pizza. And chocolate night started to spread to Wednesdays too. I didn’t even realise what I was doing. Suddenly, I’d put on weight, but unlike before, I was no longer able to ‘train it off’. Yes, I hated my body. I didn’t feel like a personal trainer anymore. I had no idea who I was.
One year after what I used to call ‘The Accident’ and now call ‘The Miracle’, my body just straight wouldn’t allow me to move; nothing except stretching and yin-style yoga. I gave in. I finally surrendered. My identity was finnnnnally being broken. I was finally emotionally strong enough to feel the pain and start to transcend it.
This was the rock bottom I needed to rebuild every single part of my life, from the ground up.
You learn a lot when you have space. You learn a lot when you can no longer indulge in the distractions from your true self. I had lost all my muscle tone. My pants didn’t fit. Who was I without the body? It was a huge blow to my ego, with no option to fill up on meaningless avoidance behaviours, a beautiful start of melting the illusion that I had hard-wired to my every thought and belief, and to my every decision and action.
Piece by piece, I started from zero. It was like a forced un-learning of everything I knew. An opportunity to rebuild from the earth up, on an energetic level. A chance to break the patterns and find balance, in every sense of the meaning. Balancing hormones, balancing work with play, balancing nutrition, water, breath, balancing the opposing nervous systems.
Listening to myself. Slowing down. I was forced to stop, to listen, to understand my true needs rather than the ego demands I’d been telling myself.
Dropping my own self-created defences. Becoming aware of attachments, accepting myself, letting go of self-created resistance to life and to love. It took 6 months to be able to exercise very gently and slowly again, a gift that was awarded to me after self-acceptance started to kick in.
One muscle fibre at a time, one organ, gland, hormone, trigger point, yoga posture, inhalation, thought process, belief, memory, relationship at a time, everything you can imagine, I worked through the self-destructive behaviours and lessons as they arose, learning to truly and intimately understand the mind-body-spirit connection. And, developing an incredible depth of energetic understanding within our individual and collective holistic experience.
And, I took up yoga.
I later realised that everything I felt I needed in order to be happy was at one point, removed, taken away. Everything I was gripping onto and allowed me to feel in control. I needed to learn how to be happy without it. I needed to learn happiness within myself first. Until I was happy without it, I would never be happy with it, and it would not be gifted back to me until I could experience and enjoy it without attachment.
My blonde hair. My fitness. My strength. My body. My speed. My energy. My power. Even my voice. I couldn’t sing tunefully for a long time. My my my me me me. I needed to undo this separation and re-learn one-ness.
Moving back home to Adelaide toward the start of 2015 was one of the best decisions of my life. Another humungous time of healing and up-rooting. Sydney was a massive lesson of the EGO… insecurity, boundaries, self-acceptance and love. I placed myself in the heart of it so that I could understand and when I was ready, (eventually) transcend it.
The shift home gave me the opportunity to press reset, but not out of escapism anymore. Not escaping or numbing or controlling my reality with food, exercise, thought patterns, spirituality, travel. This time, I was happy to ground myself, be in one place, rebuild my life physically to align with and manifest the internal re-mapping that had been taking place. For the first time, I had enough self-belief to say words like Universe and chakra out loud. I was able to break away from the identity and profile I had created for myself as my centre of worth. I didn’t care what others thought of me anymore. I cared what I thought of me. The next journey forward was about trust and authenticity.
I took the time, space and energy to reconnect with myself, my family, create new relationships, feel the things I’d been craving yet weirdly running away from the whole time.
And the Universe rewarded me abundantly.
Not 7 months later, Conscious Movement the studio was born.
The culmination of everything I have ever learnt about myself and continue to learn, about life, about health, fitness, wellbeing, movement and connection.
This is my new home. Welcome to my home.
A place of healing and guidance, of love and compassion, a place where we all grow in strength and support together, with passion and with fun. A place where you are free to be yourself, where together, we learn to love ourselves more and more each day. We do this through CONNECTION; with each other, and through movement, meditation and the breath of life. Conscious Movement is a place that is real, down-to-earth and internally current.
I LOVE THIS STUFF. I have found my passion. I have discovered my purpose.
How we move and hold ourselves, the way we talk, what we say, every single outward behaviour we make tells something about our beliefs, our psyche and where we may be disconnected from ourselves. Yes, our physical body is a product, a mirror, of the relationship we have between our mind (mental chatter) and our spirit (us). Are they disconnected? Are they hardened? Inflexible? Inflamed? Or are they open and free to move? How do we think and feel about ourselves and our body? How are these thoughts and beliefs manifested in our lives? These questions are IMPERATIVE, RE-DEFINING even, if we are to truly improve our health and wellbeing, for real.
The more we can effectively tune into the messages our body gives us, the more control we have over our own health and happiness.
Wow. Health just became that much easier.
When we learn to tune in, rather than ignore and zone out, we understand what WE NEED, not what society thinks we probably need. Not what worked for the body-builder chick or the dude who lost 30kg with a magic protein shake, not even what works for me. Because you are not me.
Yes, this is the short story. No kidding… can talk!
This is why I am passion-filled to share, to coach, to inspire, motivate and educate. To teach others self-awareness so that they may change their lives, and feel greater happiness and fulfilment every day. There is no need to keep avoiding ourselves, escaping, fighting ourselves and our right to peace. WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT AND DESERVE TO FEEL HAPPY, SAFE, BEAUTIFUL, ABUNDANT, LOVED, TO LOVE OURSELVES AND THE LIFE WE CREATE FOR OURSELVES
My intention is to empower and guide you, whoever may resonate even just a little with these ideas, to open yourself up to a higher potential for living and being, for personal expansion and excellence. And to simply remember who you are. One step at a time. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s a pretty cool process. And it’s real.
Of course it’s real. It is you.
I dare you to see yourself how I see you.