What’s this about?

“What, if anything, do you know about Go Deep Fly High?”

I asked this question in my recent survey to my facebook followers – and the answers are unsurprisingly diverse.

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This is the question I keep asking myself.

To be honest, I was secretly hoping to find some answers in the survey. What I read in the answers was ‘nothing’, ‘not much really’, ‘something about inspiration’, ‘wonderful coaching’, ‘your heart’s project’…

The entrepreneurs and marketeers in and around me tell me to narrow my message down and ‘niche it out’ — be clear and be concise. 

I won’t do any of that in this post, I will be authentic and open and chatty – which is what my heart project is fundamentally about. Heart open and true to self.

Go Deep Fly High is my practice.

The expression of my purpose.

It’s my first book, and all the books after it.
It’s my personal development workshops that I design and run.
It’s hours and hours of individual coaching and processing with beautiful souls who want to see clearer and live fuller.
It is a yoga programme for adults, and one for kids… maybe also one for elders.
It’s a spiritual practice… with incense sticks, yoga mats, meditation, crystals, chanting and all the woowoo stuff that feels like home.
It’s a book club on those books I read and quote because they make so much sense to me.
It’s a bottomless repetition of those inspirational quotes and poems that have been going around for centuries
It’s a beautiful trauma recovery retreat space for all of us who need a raw out to heal and breathe for a bit. Just breathe again.
It’s a community of people coming together and having conversations that matter.
It’s storytelling; a growth environment and a curiosity-fed celebration of humour and learning.
It’s a travel agency that encourages those who want to be encouraged to climb that mountain, or take that midweek, mid-afternoon nap.
It’s a vegan lunch place and a garden café.
It’s a nature reserve bustling with butterflies and bees and wildflowers.
And it is an activist organisation doing its share on keeping fellow humans and all other species and plants safe and sound.

Go Deep Fly High is work in progress.

Connect to your core, live your purpose.

Who is it for? 

Oh ‘find your niche’ they keep saying, the marketeers and entrepreneur mentors, the experienced and the professionals. Be specific. Be clear. Be focussed.
And then be loud about it.

I’ve been working on defining ‘my niche’ for the past six years, believe it or not.
Who is my niche? Who do I work with?

I work with

The dreamers caged in the rational rut.

The idealists burned out in corporate suits.

The travellers stuck in one place.

The regular person living the regular life, with an inkling that regular isn’t quite enough.

Those of us for whom ‘everything is ok’ but somehow not really.

The mothers drowning in maternal bliss and exhaustion. 

The unmarried wives and the childless mothers who never imagined coming home to an empty house at the age of 42.

The lost, who want to be found. 

The busy, wanting time. 

The stressed, wanting calm. 

The leader, wanting to be heard.

The follower, wanting to stand in authenticity. 

The hurt, wanting to heal.

The passionate whose fire is burning low.

The creative, craving expression.

The pacifist, who wants to stand up for themselves without hurting others. 

The heartbroken, wanting to let go of what not longer is. 

The disillusioned, who wants to fathom the courage to start over. 

My niche could be any of these as I am all of these, apart from the enchanted exhausted mother. My story fits into all these descriptions in one way or the other, which makes me compassionate and passionate about us all. 

I work with ‘wanters’ like myself, people who want, yearn, dream, desire, and who are excited about taking steps towards their want, and who are willing to navigate the rough and wild seas and side roads of the unplannable journeys ahead with curiosity and open-hearts.

Hearts at peace.

That was my, what they called, stake in my leadership bootcamp back in 2013. After 10 months training and going inward, with 4 weeks of in-person retreats, my stake, relating to my life purpose (yes, we work on those in my field of practice) boiled down to:
“Hearts at peace. Hearts at peace can’t fathom hurting themselves, each other or the home planet and its fellow inhabitants.”

So who am I and what makes me Go Deep and Fly High? 

I’m the regular and privileged 40-something who believes in steering the sails of her life’s ship herself, and whose ship has not found that home harbour yet.
I’ve learned that sailing is a doddle and a dream on smooth weather days, and that it is close to a battle of surrender and courage when the seas are stormy and harsh.

I was doing it all, life, the right way with a good dose of revolt and resistance all along. I grew up in a nice family with its family stories, I went through classic schooling with satisfactory success and way too many questions and frustrations. I studied communications for management in Paris for lack of finding anything that sounded right to me at the age of 19. I was lucky enough to be able to interlace my life’s obligatory conditioned steps with sabbaticals and travels every now and then, which instantly became my actual and most rewarding studies.

And I finally, to everyone’s relief, got a proper job in 2002. I also got the car. The mortgages. The apartment. I got the big fridge to hold enough food to feed the family I was going to have.

The family never came, it just didn’t happen and those are other stories; then I went vegan and no longer needed the fridge at all. 

I no longer really needed any of it because I realised I was living the right life and doing the right things – alone – feeling unfulfilled. And utterly bored.

The good job had given me as much as it could; a tag in society, safety, something to do, income, learnings, friends, some successes, lots of experience and a burnout.

And then came my turning point

I got a rather painful professional asskick… and mid-air, with an instinct of soul survival of which I still don’t quite know where it came from, I decided to fly instead of fall. 

I hired a coach, I became a coach, I learned to be a yogi and a massage therapist and a group facilitator, I became a growth junkie. I met weird and amazing healers on my journeys through lessons and countries, and I got to meet: me. 

I am Laura.

I am passionate about living this life as we know it, to keep expanding our horizons in self awareness and relationship, and building on all the personal development strides we do: CLIMB THAT MOUNTAIN and make dreams come true.

It will always be a practice of surrender and courage, of leaning in and letting go – and I now know that it is a path we must each walk ourselves, but we needn’t walk alone. 

I join people on parts of their journey, and I bring with me a bag of stories, skills, delight and devotion.

Go Deep Fly High.

We are here for a split second, let’s live out loud and drop dead alive when we do.

Live or endure? Is this as far as I’ll go or will I push on some more?

I don’t know about you, but pretty much every day, in one way or another, I am reminded that life is so short. and life is so precious… And with these overused ‘slapstick’ reminders, I am reminded that in this life, we have all these options.

They kinda keep summing up to: live it or endure it.


Live or endure?

It's your path and yours alone, OWN IT!

It’s your path and yours alone, OWN IT!

By ‘living’ I mean living on personal purpose and the gratification of knowing that I am doing my work and that the lessons and success I reap are mine to celebrate, no matter how big or small.

‘Enduring’, well, isn’t that dodging what comes, suffering circumstances, going through pre-set motions without questioning them – or questioning them from the backseat and staying aboard anyway… instead of grabbing the driver’s seat of your own vehicle?
And then there’s the in-between place, in which we keep going from living to enduring and back again.
 

What will you choose?

And I was reminded just this morning and once again that one of the harshest of all options is choosing to
stay where you are‘ or ‘step into the world of opportunity that awaits‘,
accept that ‘this is it‘ or ‘join the crowd of those who make things happen.’
 
Harsh, because choices like those will always mean taking a stand for yourself, for change, and committing to something.

If where you are is perfectly fine for you, then I will leave you your peace and salute you.

If, however, like in me, there is even
the tiniest spark in you, the softest voice, the gentlest of pulls or even a loud lion roar
suggesting that maybe, MAYBE there is more to the horizon for you,
that maybe, MAYBE you are done with accepting a status quo ‘just because’
and that maybe, oh MAYBE you could step into a grander version of yourself,
then by the love of god or whichever divinity or power you believe in, I encourage you to keep taking the steps.
 

Some steps are easy, many are hard as hell.

And once we start walking, they will keep positioning themselves onto our paths… and every time we get to a roadblock we get to ask ourselves again:
‘Is this as far as I will go?
or will I be that badass and push on some more?’
 
Inner courage and strength are primal and the path is ours to walk. Like Rumi said ‘No one can walk it for you, but others can walk it with you.’
We can help each other, witness each other’s challenges, we can cheer each other on in hard times and celebrate making it through another roadblock and to another milestone.

 


Join the tribe!

We’re putting this morning event on 1 December together for you personally, and also for you as a member of a community.

And we aim for it to be light and fun in all its meaningfulness 🙂
More information and registration here: Highway to the High Dream

‘You don’t need to make a living out of everything you learn’

Featured

My Disclaimer for laziness or permission to have fun?


I remember sitting poolside with my friend Romain at a crew hotel in Chennai in February 2016 – I was on the India part of my sabbatical leave from work, he was on a layover. He lived on Reunion Island at the time, I lived in Luxembourg, this was one of those serendipitous alignments of time and space for us to meet there and then.
And this is where he gave me one message I have been pondering and working with since.

‘You do not need to make a living out of everything you learn.’


Serendipity - when a friend shows up in a random place somewhere in the world with the exact right words at the exact right time

Serendipity – when a friend shows up in a random place somewhere in the world with the exact right words at the exact right time

See, I had just graduated from a one month yoga teacher training in Kerala.

I did this teacher training because I enjoyed yoga but found my actual practice unstable. I’ve defined myself as a somewhat ‘creative perfectionist’, which means I get excited by lots of things, and I hold myself back from doing things if I don’t know how to do them, or if I feel that they, or I, aren’t ready…

Perfectionism is a dream killer

Perfectionism is a dream killer – Facebook brought this quote to me in May 2013, I remember when and where I was, and I remember suddenly ‘getting’ it.

growth - when suddenly you find yourself inverted...

growth – when suddenly you find yourself inverted…

So the obvious thing to do if one doesn’t feel comfortable doing sun salutations alone in one’s living room is to take a few months off work, travel to India and learn all about the philosophy of yoga AND how to do the sun salutations… among many other moves and poses.
I now have a RYS – registered yoga school 200-hour yoga teacher certificate, I’ve done 108 sun salutations in a row more than once, I’ve massively evolved my practice and, like any true yogi…

I know that I know nothing.

However I do feel comfortable doing yoga in my living room now.

And while I didn’t have the intention to practice my yoga as a teacher, this certificate, coupled with witnessing my talented fellow training mates setting up courses around the world, did put out the evident questions: ‘What are you going to do with your new skills and knowledge? How are you going to share them?’ and of course:

‘How will you make money with your yoga?’
(at least enough to cover the training costs)

AS soon as I was home and full of fresh elan and deep desire to touch people with my newfound gift, I went out and bought yoga mats and blocks. Then it all slowed down when I had to do the stuff that I don’t enjoy, I half-heartedly researched what one needs ‘to do legally’ to be a teacher in Luxembourg (insurance? taxes?…) and thought about suitable locations and timings that align with my day job, it would be a bit of a struggle. Typical doubts came in as well, ‘so many people are such better yogis with way more experience than me’… and soon enough, my drive had quite organically… frizzled away, and my efforts on this project halted.

For a while I beat myself up as being lazy and purposeless for not setting up my school, which seems to be the accepted response: ‘If you’re not working hard, you’re lazy.’

But that attitude of guilt really didn’t help me with my drive or creativity, and I’ve really worked hard at taking myself out of circumstances that made me feel ‘not good enough’.

SO what was going on here?

I enjoyed the yoga, I enjoyed the teaching… why wasn’t I doing it?

It started to dawn on me that maybe I plain enjoy the learning; it extends my horizons and my friend network, it colours my experience and fills my storytelling… and mostly, it gets my pride buzzing.

““Happiness,” wrote Yeats, “is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
Contemporary researchers make the same argument: that it isn’t goal attainment but the process of striving after goals—that is, growth—that brings happiness.”
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

Figure out what makes you happy - and do it!

Figure out what makes you happy – and do it!

One reads about these things – and I read this particular book in 2013, and many similar ones since – but the claims only really land when one truly feels them. And to me, this has been proving true.

I get a kick out of learning new stuff.

So here I was in Southern India, my curiosity was fed and… my curiosity was hungry for more.

See, there is a leadership model on stages of competence. It was brought to me on Day One of my coach training in November 2012.
1 – Unconscious incompetence‘I don’t know what I don’t know.’
(if I don’t know it’s out there, I can’t miss it)
2 – Conscious incompetence‘I know what I don’t know.’
(I know it’s out there, but I don’t have the competence of is – such as speaking a language; I know I don’t speak Japanese)
3 – Conscious competence‘I know what I know.’ (I speak and write English)
4 – Unconscious competence‘I intuitively know what I know.’
(when I drive my car I mostly don’t even realise that I am shifting gears when I do)

Where I was personally just then, in India in February 2016,

the Yoga Teacher Training had given me a taster for the intricacy that is the human body, and the magic that is the art of healing through connecting body, mind and soul.

My coaching and leadership skills had me dive into the often underused realms of mental power, and here I was now in front of this other thing we all have – and don’t seem to use to its full potential either: our body!

And I was suddenly very aware of how little I knew about the human body and anatomy.

Conscious incompetence is a driver for me…

Thoughts came up around taking up nursing, or medicine. I shared them with my dear Auntie Pam weeks before she passed away and at her hospital bed. She’d always been an eager supporter of my craziness, and I remember her whispering to me ‘You’d make a lovely nurse.‘ She would also always repeat to me that ‘it would be a shame if you didn’t use your skills, you are so talented.‘ She was, and still is, one of my angels and teachers, bless her (Read my post ‘Meandering about in Wonderland‘ for my thoughts on who we meet and why).
I’d often thought I’d quite like to know more about the caring side of humanity. I’d, actually, often seen myself as a flying doctor out in a faraway adventurous bush somewhere someday, though I am neither pilot nor doctor – I am a flight attendant and a mental coach, however, similar paths I say.

Back to my thought process at hand; because over time a lot of my most inspiring yoga teachers had also given little neck, head and foot massages during Savasana, and yoga retreats often include massage treatments, massage therapy seemed to be a rather logical next step for me, and most reachable as an introduction to human anatomy in the immediate present.

Also, massage is a very daily normal thing in India, like yoga, it is a part of the omnipresent Ayurvedic living.

And I was in India, massage was everywhere and so the flirt with massage began.

Once again, the thought alone on the rational level brought me further off whatever my track was:
I’d kind of left the normal track when I left the corporate job (and potential-yet-not-happening career) to become a flight attendant, and then some more when I left a full-time job for a part-time job, and then some more when I started spending my non-work time and my savings on learning, and getting certified in, new random things such as photography, diving, coaching, leadership, yoga…

And the saboteur voice in me, you know, that voice of reason, and that voice that says ‘be rational’, ‘this is not safe!’, ‘what will people say?’, ‘you’re not good enough’, ‘what are you thinking?’, ‘why?’ and ‘you’re weird!’ was yelling: ‘how about setting up your coaching and leadership training practice before starting something new again? And how about teaching yoga after that? What are you hiding from when you hide in your trainings?’ And the loudest ever ‘you do all these things but you don’t get anything done!

And this is exactly the conversation I had with Romain in Chennai, when he looked at me with the love that only someone who sees right through you and knows and cherishes exactly what dreams and depths you have and he said to me:

‘What makes you think you need to make a job or a living out of these trainings and certificates?
What if you do these things because they are fun and you enjoy the learning part of them?’

This perspective is one I have been pondering since, and it has given me a lot of freedom.

See, I have a feeling we all talk a lot about ‘being in the moment’ and ‘following our heart’, yet we live more ‘rationally’ (a word I have actually banned from my vocabulary because it means little to me now, that is another story) – I have a feeling we make up a lot of our limitations by glorifying society-rules and self-invented rules around what is the accepted norm for ‘safety’ (that job that pays the bills) and how to ‘spend time’ (make sure it is useful and you can make money off it).

I will not disrespect the luxury of knowing where the next meal comes from or knowing that I have a roof over my head and a blanket on my bed. I am not talking about the very basics of survival and comfort, however I will always and again challenge what we think is all-important and that stops us from living out just for the sake of living.

I found a bodyworks training school, Jing Advanced Massage Therapy. In Brighton. It was recommended to me by one of my yoga holiday organisers, AdventureYogi. Encounters, encounters.

Practicing the healing touch

Practicing the healing touch

The school was brilliant, right up my alley. I signed up for a 10-day initiation called Bodyworks Beginnings, and yes, oh, that healing touch is a gift – not only is it a gift, it is something we all have if only we gave it some attention and space.

A bit like what I thought when I began my coaching track, and anything I find brilliant, I kept wondering:

‘Why isn’t everyone doing this? It would make the world such a nicer place if we all knew this!’

One thing led to another, they always do, I continued the Advanced Clinical Massage Training for treatment of chronic pain, again, not because I intended to make a business of it, but because it sheer interested me; and I enjoyed the courses, I loved coming home to a family I hadn’t known I had once a month for a year, and I got a right kick out of being local in Brighton for a while.

I trained alongside a group of brilliant and practicing therapists in Brighton, and some of my most encouraging and brave friends and family members accepted to be my practice clients at home. I enjoyed it all, and I took and succeeded all the courses.

The courage to ‘not finish’

When the time came to get ready for the final exam, I was called to check in with myself on what my priorities were… while the training was hands-on and about showing up, the exam really did require a lot of studying, i.e. home-time invest. Acknowledging that I was still not intent on building my own business around it just now, that my actual practice had not allowed me to apply my learnings in between courses, that my job was full-on at the time, and I had committed to a rather big trip just before the exam: I dropped out.

Just before the end, I dropped out. I did not take the exam.
I do not have the final certificate.

Can you hear the voices of guilt and shame and… disappointment chanting?

And this is when I remembered, once again, you do not need to make a living out of everything you learn. You do not need a certificate to prove anything to anyone (unless, of course, you do, in which case the circumstances change and: I can still take that exam).

On a street in Brighton: What did I miss? And: what did I choose?

On a street in Brighton: What did I miss? And: what did I choose?

The reactions I got to this choice reflected every single thought that banged about my head.
They always will.

There will always be a good reason and argument for any single thing we do because Life is full of missed opportunities.

As I wrote in my article on this very thought:

“Every single moment in this, our, life is an opportunity.

So if that is the truth, whatever we decide to do is a YES to one opportunity and a NO to another.

We can’t be everywhere at the same time, therefore life IS, indeed, filled with missed and taken opportunities.”

Had I only gone by ‘do I want to be a massage therapist now?’ I would never have embarked on this journey, and I would have missed out on a lot of fun, new friends, new skills and that glorious growth that has me buzz!
I preferred doing it my way, i.e. doing it anyway, to be honest, and I just can’t help but wonder how many of us are not doing things we might enjoy, that may lead to somewhere, or not, just because ‘it isn’t sensible’. How many of us take up studies because ‘it is the right thing to do and will lead to a good job’ versus fuelling creativity?

Once again, and always, I remember Steve Jobs’ thought:

‘Trust in something (…), because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even if it leads you off the well-worn path… and that will make all the difference.’

And as my favourite author and creative-critical life contemplator Elizabeth Gilbert points out in her book Big Magic, I’m not suggesting we let go of all things we consider security; keep something going that pays the bills, so that we can feed the creativity and fun-lover in us without pressuring THEM to have to pay the bills.

But: keep feeding the creativity and fun-lovers within, just because!

The dots will connect in hindsight, and for the very least, we get a kick from the growth and so many colourful magic moments on the way.

All of this is mere food for thought, as always, an ongoing process. One day, maybe, I will open that school and sanctuary – it is still not entirely off the bucket list.

Love x

if you want to be happy, then be happy

I came across this one and it pretty much sums it up.
Picture Credit goes to POSITIVE OUTLOOKS BLOG.

make your choices

if you want to be happy, be happy.

If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose.

There are no two ways about it.

I keep running into that wall myself, of waiting-and-seeing and hoping and expecting and wishing… and it just doesn’t work. Those are all very passive stances.

If you want to be happy, you must TAKE OWNERSHIP!

If you want to have a good day, work towards MAKING it a good day!
If you want to get a project done, you have got to WORK ON IT.
If you want to be happy, you have just got to open your mind, thoughts and actions to being happy – appreciate what is around you, let yourself be delighted, glorify what makes you smile and yes, ‘pay it forward’.
And let the rest blur away, consciously choose what you pay attention to.

Make the choice, set the intention, get up and live on purpose…

– note to self as much as anyone x