7 years ago I walked across the campus of University College Dublin, tears streaming down my face, on the phone to the guy I’d just recently fallen in love with. I had arrived in Ireland to study my Masters of Architecture and from the very first day I knew for sure that

I had chosen the wrong path for my life.

I’d known for about 2.5 of the first 3 years of my undergrad degree, but I’d kept on anyway because I was academic and high achieving, and I didn’t see any other career options out there for me that would be any more fun.

The way I saw it, my options were architecture, law, medicine, or engineering. I honestly didn’t consider any other options,

I was a classic university snob.

So I ignored my gut instinct that urged me throw in the towel and just go travelling again. I ignored it right up until that day in Dublin

The voice was stronger than ever “You don’t want this. You don’t want to be an architect. You don’t want to be stuck at a computer in an office. You don’t want to be bound to one country because it’s the only place you know the building code.”

The voice was stronger than ever “You don’t want this. You don’t want to be an architect. You don’t want to be stuck at a computer in an office. You don’t want to be bound to one country because it’s the only place you know the building code.”

I felt panicked and trapped.

I was completely overwhelmed by the choice in front of me.

But I knew I couldn’t ignore the feeling any longer. It had been around for the last two years of my degree, popping in every now and then to say “this is not it”. But I largely ignored it, because my mind said “Well what the hell else would you do”.

It was on this day that I decided I couldn’t go against my gut instinct any longer.

I pulled out of architecture the next day and spent my 5 months on exchange doing ridiculous subjects like French (though I already spoke French), Spanish and computer programming.

Which really meant that I drank a lot of Guinness and slept in a lot.

Then I moved to Sydney to be with the love of my life. There I worked as a receptionist for an osteopath. I was moody and insecure, one day I was up, one day I was down.

I read eat pray love and started to try out yoga because I wanted to be like Elizabeth Gilbert.

In yoga all the teachers pissed me off and I couldn’t touch my toes, I’d spend the time angrily watching the clock. But I kept at it because I felt like a slightly less moody bitch after every class.

The osteopath I worked for, Cliff, could see how unhappy and caught up in my mind I was, and he bought me the Power of Now. I thought the name sounded like a crock of shit, so I put it on a dusty shelf somewhere and didn’t read it.

Then I started to study a masters of digital media, learnt a few basics about coding, then realised that that was also a terrible idea, then I pulled out of that, taught myself HTML and CSS and designed a few websites for people while back working as a receptionist.

I then had a tumultuous break up with the guy that turned out not to be the love of my life, brought on by my dramatic, insecure self who was hell bent on sabotaging the relationship, and two weeks later sold everything I owned and moved to France to walk the docks.

I got a job on a superyacht as a glorified cleaner and waitress slash slave

(regular slave, not sex slave)

for a russian billionaire on his 80 million dollar yacht with a 60m trailing yacht and helipad.

By now my CV was looking like a papier mache hodge podge of bollocks.

I felt so so guilty. I was earning good money travelling the world drinking way too many mojitos and ironing way too many rich people’s beds…

But back home in New Zealand my friends were scurrying up their doctor lawyer nurse architect career ladders, while I was completely ladderless and still no closer to picking a damn ladder.

It was then that I grudgingly got The Power of Now out of my backpack and started to read it bit by bit.

In hindsight I realised that during my two years on superyachts I had undergone something like the wax on wax off brand of monk training – I was vacuuming walls and ceilings that were already clean day in and day out – and when you do something that mind numbing and pointless every day, with no days off for three months at a time, the resistance in your mind goes crazy. So I ended up having no choice but to practice the mindfulness techniques in Eckhart Tolle’s book to keep me sane.

During that time everything about me shifted. I was previously so insecure I couldn’t call people on the phone. I was moody, one day up, one day down, I broke up with boyfriends and got back with them constantly, and I just couldn’t seem to stop creating drama in my otherwise control-freak life.

But when I learnt mindfulness that all changed, I stopped dwelling on things, I started sleeping better, I could get through long, hard, 17 hour days of ridiculously pointless work without getting angry, and best of all, I started to have real, authentic relationships with the people around me, rather than pissing them all off with my moods and creating random barriers out of insecurities.

It was around the time that my life had shifted so dramatically and I had finally learnt to be happy and content no matter what my external circumstances that I was reading an article on sex and meditation when I came across IIN, a health coaching institute which seemed to be telling me that I could have a freedom lifestyle and start my own business with no business knowledge. I was hooked.

I saved up everything I could and cut down on the mojitos, and a few months later I….

<<Part 2 of this post here

I wrote too much… as usual.>>

If you’re keen to hear more about our upcoming online group stress reduction (and other epic things!) workshop series, click here and I’ll send you more info soon!

I'm feeling so inspired and excited about it, I can't wait to share what I'm brewing up over at Project Self HQ (Aka yoga pants + slipperville)

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