Why ‘VEGAN’ Is Not A Dirty Word (And ‘DIET’ Is Not A Swear Word)!

For some reason, the word ‘vegan’ seems to get peoples defences up.

This unfortunately results in a turning away, or a closing off, from the many benefits of integrating more plant based meals into your life.  (Benefits for us and for the many beautiful animals we share our planet with).

I think ‘vegan’ also often conjures up images of tasteless raw/ plain fruits & vegetables and therefore… very limited options when it comes to nurturing and honouring health and wellness as our MOST precious resource.

A common (even unconscious) fear that might rise up within us, is that we will be left unsatisfied by this way of eating; but this honestly couldn’t be further from the truth!

I want to be clear that the purpose of this blog post is not to suggest you become vegan (although it’s fantastic if that’s what you’re aiming for!) but to encourage you to incorporate more nutrient dense plant based foods into your diet, no matter what it might currently look like. 

Eating well is also about moderation.  We all need (& deserve!) treats!

Overall though when it comes to that pesky word ‘diet’ we should not need to constantly chop and change our eating habits.  How exhausting!

The best approach is to aim for slow consistent, meaningful changes to your diet that are easily incorporated and gradually become your new PERMANENT and healthy way of eating.

If you love the food you’re eating AND it’s providing your body everything it needs to thrive, isn’t this much more fulfilling than yo-yo dieting or unsustainable ‘diet’ meal plans?

So release any pressure of needing to be ‘perfect’ and let’s look at the small gradual steps you can take towards the maintenance of a diet that TRULY serves you + your taste buds!

BEFORE YOU CONTINUE!

I would like to first encourage you to pause… and spend a moment to imagine what better health would actually look like or mean, for YOU?  What would it enable you to do or achieve in your life?  How would you feel?

This ‘WHY’ needs to be so alluring, that it calls you into action, so that each time you put something in your mouth, you begin to ask yourself the question: Is this choice taking me closer, or further away from what I want for myself and my life?

I know that is a little deep, or even harsh, but it is true.  You need motivation to ‘stay the path’ and importantly, you need to know that you ARE 100% worthy of whatever it is you can see for yourself.  (You may even like to close your eyes for a minute or two, focus gently on your breathing, and see what pops in for you here… before reading further).

 A FEW WORDS ON ‘OVER EATING’

Have you heard of the theory that the reason we over eat (aside from thirst/ dehydration or ‘emotional eating’) is because our body’s cells are just not satisfied?

If you think about it this makes sense- the nutrients in the majority of processed foods are few and far between.

So when we STILL feel hungry after eating foods we KNOW aren’t good for us, and find ourselves reaching for more of the same, this is actually what’s happening on the inside.

Or in other words, it’s not that our body wants us to eat more ‘junk’ but that it is literally calling out to us for the nutrients it needs to function at its most optimal levels.

Our cells really are that wise it’s just that often:

  • We haven’t yet figured out how to decipher the messages it is lovingly trying to send us.  OR
  • We have not committed to doing the consistent work in honouring those messages, because our WHY is not big enough OR clear enough!

Clarity + self-belief is key here.

(This is why I completed additional study to become a certified Success Coach and offer an “Intuition In Wellness Success Package”: where I share how to tune in and honour your body’s unique wisdom as part of a comprehensive 3 month+ process).

Our body wants us to be happy, whole and complete and learning how to trust its wisdom is an INTEGRAL puzzle piece for anyone on a wellness and happiness journey.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin

THE JOURNEY (AND EATING OUT)

On my journey so far, I’ve encountered amazing & simple, nourishing recipes and would like to share a few of my favourite delicious, nutrient dense finds with you here.

You have probably noticed the growing selection of wholefoods café’s/ restaurants and juice bars popping up everywhere.

If you feel time poor, or are a little sceptical of JUST how incredible this food can taste, this would be a great place for you to start.  You’ll also find many of these places have a great range of healthy treats and deserts!

For inspiration locally, check out this blog from The Green Goodness Co on the 12 Best Veggie/ Vegan Cafes in Perth. http://greengoodnessco.com.au/article/12-best-vegetarianvegan-cafes-in-perth.html.

A few to add to the above list are Health Freak Café (locations in Perth and Sydney: http://www.healthfreakcafe.com.au/#); The Little Bird Café (Northbridge/ Perth: https://facebook.com/TheLittleBirdCafe); Nood (Leederville, Perth: http://www.nood.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/NOOD-Cafe-Menu-.pdf) and one of my favourites Vegie Mamas (Mount Lawley, Perth: https://www.facebook.com/veggiemama01/).

To make your visit a success, select the most appealing options for you and take it from there.

Eating at these restaurants will also help/ educate you:

  • To more easily identify and understand the healthier food options, when it comes to selecting a meal from a more ‘traditional’ restaurant menu.
  • On the types of flavour combinations that go well together so you can gain confidence in making your own colourful creations that taste as good as they look!

If budget is an issue, then it is much more economical to source and prepare the food yourself, at home.

For online inspiration, check out the Meat Free Mondays website at: https://www.meatfreemondays.com/recipes/ for hundreds of FREE recipe ideas.  (I also encourage you to go meat free more than once per week!)

TIP: In the past where I would finally have the courage (& time) to introduce a new meal or two, I would often pick these long winded recipes.  I diligently completed all the prep, followed all the steps & 90 or so minutes later produced a great dish.  Even though the meal would be gobbled down in appreciation, I couldn’t help feeling disheartened over the amount of time it had taken to source/ prepare the meal.  This in turn put me off trying another new recipe anytime soon as I just was not THAT enthusiastic about cooking!  So my first tip in encouraging you to regularly choose & try new recipes, is to start with ones that are simple + quick.

If there’s ingredients you don’t recognise, like quinoa, cacao, or coconut oil don’t be scared!

  You’ll easily find these ingredients in the ‘health food’ section in your local supermarket.  (And on quinoa, I recommend always cooking it with stock to add extra flavour.  You can also batch cook it and freeze in portions for later use- a massive time saver!)

COOKBOOKS

The best wholefoods cookbook I have ever been introduced to is ‘The Oh She Glows Cookbook’ by Angela Liddon, released in 2014.

Some of my favourites include her tangy ‘glowing mojo-ito green monster’ (p. 59) – a green smoothie with mint, avocado, lime, & frozen watermelon that I have regularly for breakfast; and her ridiculously delicious ‘soul soothing African peanut stew’ (p. 129) – a combination of sweet potato, spices, peanut butter, chickpeas and more that leaves your stomach (+ your cells!) singing.

Everyone I’ve introduced to her recipes has loved them to bits – more often than not they ask for the recipe too! Angela also has a heap of recipes on her blog: http://ohsheglows.com/

More recently (and after having her first child) Angela released her second cookbook ‘Oh She Glows Every Day’ which I excitedly received just last week!

In it, Angela explains all recipes “were tested by many kids from one year old to teenagers.”  Resulting in over 50 recipes being identified as ‘kid friendly’ PLUS ‘make it kid friendly’ tips are included for many additional recipes.  Both books are available for around $30 each (including postage) from Booktopia (https://www.booktopia.com.au/).

OTHER RECOMMENDED COOK BOOKS INCLUDE:

  • If you are still skeptical that plant based food can taste great and/or you have a partner who is ‘closed off’ to changing their diet, then ‘Thug Kitchen – eat like you give a f*ck’ is the book for you!  The description on the back of this hilarious + informative book says it all: “We know you want to give a damn about what you eat, but it all just seems to difficult or expensive.  Well, we’re not buying that and you shouldn’t either.  We’re not going to lecture you or complicate sh*t.  We’re just here to help you eat your f*cking vegetables.”  LOL!!
  • ‘Good + Simple’ by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley. Some recipes do contain meat and fish but they are all centred around “whole foods and affordable ingredients (to) show how tasty and achievable eating well can be”
  • ‘Bondi Harvest’ by Guy Turland and Mark Alston: Seasonal, sustainable, Simple, Shareable Food created by two Bondi beach surfers with a shared passion for food. Again some recipes contain meat and fish but all are nutrient dense.
  • ’15 Minute Meals’ by Jamie Oliver: Contains a Veggie section as well as many other options for “delicious, nutritious, superfast food.”

You can also search their websites for more great ideas!

VEGAN DAIRY ALTERNATIVES

Dairy is known to be mucus forming, so if you have asthma, a post nasal drip, or regularly feel like you have a level of nasal congestion that just will not shift, dairy could be one of the culprits.  Dairy has also been shown as a contributor to acne.

Personally, I never really liked milk but would indulge in ice-cream even though I noticed my body produced mucus in response – something I just got used to.  (Hello coconut ice-cream, made with coconut milk and in a range of flavours, sooo good!!)

It wasn’t until I started to become educated on the dairy industry along with deepening my relationship with animals through meditation, that I got serious about eliminating dairy, although I have to admit cheese has been the one place where I’ve faltered.

A key to making successful dietary changes is to replace one food with another similar food.  Yet, disappointingly, I found the majority of cheese alternatives available in Australia tasteless.

Until, that is, I discovered Sprout and Kernal and their ‘Herb Nut Cheese’ – Yum! An Australian owned family business, their “vision is to spread the wholesomeness of their hand made cultured nut cheeses to Australians everywhere.”

You can find a fantastic review of the full range of Sprout and Kernal cheeses and a link to their stockists here: https://veganmiam.com/travel/sprout-kernel-tree-nut-cheeses.

Additionally, Angela Liddon includes a wonderful Cashew Cheese + Cashew Cream Cheese recipe in her Oh She Glows cookbook (p.281 which is amazing with her ‘crowd- pleasing tex-mex casserole’ p. 149) and in her Oh She Glows Everyday cookbook, an all-purpose cheese sauce (p.251), homemade vegan mayo (p. 269) and coconut whipped cream (p. 275) that I’m excited to taste test soon!

A QUICK WORD ON SUGAR

I think it’s worth mentioning that as my journey has progressed, my sensitivity to sugar has continued to increase – meaning that I want MUCH less of it.

I had never previously realised just how sickly sweet chocolate bars are.  Or taken the time- it actually takes less than a week- to consciously reduce my refined sugar intake and gain control over my cravings for sweets. (I have to say, not bringing chocolate into the house, really helps too!)

BENEFITS

We all know that the more nutrient dense whole foods and the less processed/ refined foods we consume the better.

But did you know that there are environmental benefits to consuming more plant based foods too – like a huge saving on worldwide water consumption?  (If you’re interested in learning more on this topic, I recommend the documentary ‘Cowspiracy’ – from executive producer Leonardi DiCaprio – you can view the trailer here: http://www.cowspiracy.com/)

This article from the Australian Cancer Council may also be of interest if you (or someone you love) need/s some additional motivation to cut down on red and/ or processed meat consumption:
https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/1in3cancers/lifestyle-choices-and-cancer/red-meat-processed-meat-and-cancer/)

Changing your diet to one that is more healthy and fulfilling is a process, so just start where you are at, add in more whole food options gradually (so that it will be sustainable for you) and most importantly, be kind to yourself in the process.

Xx Carolyn

Ps: Do you have a go-to plant based recipe or resource?  Share your favourites in the comments!

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Signs, Synchronicity And The Sweetness Of A Song (Travelling With Leilani in My Heart)

I have recently returned from a month away, spending time with my husband who is working overseas. It was special to be together again and to have time to grieve our loss of Leilani, together.

In the weeks before I came away, I was seeing double, triple & quadruple digits constantly. For example, every time I looked at the time it was 11.44 or 2.22 or 5.55.  Even my luggage departing Perth weighed 33.3 kg’s! (I was bringing food and supplies for Neil- wasn’t all clothes and shoes!)

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl

Once I arrived in Doha, Qatar, I was sharing these signs with Neil, while he looked at me in his usual way when he thinks I’m talking crazy- lol!

Pictured: View from our accommodation in Doha, looking out to the Persian Gulf.

Later that day, we headed to the nearby shopping centre to grab some food for dinner. We stepped outside and were only metres away from our apartment when a bus drove by- number 777.  I quickly pointed it out to Neil.

We continued to the shops, and it was only after we got home that I looked at the receipt. Our food had cost 111.11 Qatar Riyal! It was becoming difficult for Neil to ignore my ‘crazy talk’!!!

A few days later, we left for a holiday to Spain. Originally this trip had been planned for the 25th of June, the day after Leilani unexpectedly passed away. We had cancelled the trip to return to Australia and lay her to rest, but our Barcelona hotel had let us change the dates even though the rate we had booked was non refundable. (Thank you Hotel Regina!) It was very compassionate of them, and I had brought a framed photo of Leilani in my hand luggage, to share with the staff.

As we checked in at the hotel lobby, there was a song playing in the background. As I listened to the words sung sweetly by a gentle female voice,

 “…Got a feeling most would treasure – And a love so deep we cannot measure – Ain’t nobody – Loves me better – Makes me happy – Makes me feel this way – Ain’t nobody, loves me better than you…”

I held back tears. It felt in my heart like a message from Leilani and I couldn’t bring myself to pull her photo from my bag, as I knew it would result in me being a crying mess!

Pictured, left to right: QAR 111.11 receipt. Hotel Regina receipt $1,111.25. Leilani in Barcelona.

The clerk discussed the bill and handed the original receipt to Neil, processed back in June when we originally booked. I immediately noticed the amount printed, showing a conversion to: $1,111.25 AUD!

The following day I could not remember the song, although I knew I had heard it before, and was mad at myself for not writing it down.

On our way out, I asked at the front desk if they happened to know what the song was? I discovered a DJ creates a song list for them every month and that the same song would be playing, at the same time, each day. They gave our check in time as 4 PM.

2 days later, we were on the second day of a hop on/ off bus tour, with plans to return to the lobby in time for the song.

Suddenly, Neil noticed we were at an unanticipated stop right across from our hotel- so we jumped off about 3.25pm and got to the hotel ready to listen out. As we entered the song was playing- so had he not noticed we would have missed it!

Pictured, left to right: Regina Hotel spotted. Room 111. The beautiful spiral staircase of the hotel, which was built in 1917.

The song was ‘Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)’ by Felix Jaehn, ft. Jasmine Thompson (the vocalist). You can listen to the song on you tube by clicking this link or read the lyrics here.

Earlier that morning, at the hotel breakfast, I overhead for the first time (apart from when our own was requested) a staff member asking for a couples room number. The man replied “one hundred and eleven, 111.” Triple digits again!  That night on our way up the hotels beautiful staircase to our room on level 5, we took a detour so I could grab a photo of room 111 for this blog. :)

It was in Spain I realised how many little strands of hope existed within me that Leilani was, somehow, still alive. That when I returned, she would be there to greet me, as she always had been when we had traveled in the past.  That there was something I could do to miraculously bring her back.

The grief within me was rising up and I noticed, not for the first time, the part of me that was bargaining with the universe.  To take away the beautiful signs, the holiday and give me Leilani back instead.

My rational acknowledgement that this was ludicrous only made me cry.  Refocusing on being present and in the moment, on my breath, helped to gently ease my grief.

Knowing our other cat Roger (Leilani’s brother) was having fun on his own holiday at my mums house (she had started affectionately referring to him as ‘Roger the lodger’) allowed us, gradually, to relax, move forward and carry Leilani’s warmth and sweetness in our hearts as we explored new places.

Pictured: Hop on/ off bus tour in Barcelona. With Neil at one of the stops, overlooking the coast.

After lots of sightseeing, and indulging in amazing food (like our first taste of Gazpacho – Spanish Cold Tomato Soup- which was sooo much better than we ever imagined!) we returned to Doha for one night, before getting back on a plane this time to Montreal, Canada.

Neil was attending a conference so that first day I headed out to explore, starting with a nearby street we had discovered after arriving the previous night.

I was drawn into a shoe store and within a minute of being in there, what song should start playing but that same version of ‘Aint Nobody (Loves Me Better)’.  Beautiful!  Intuitively I felt there were some shoes in the shop for Neil, but when he went later didn’t find any he liked.

Another day I took a day trip out to the Laurentian Mountains, about a 2 hour drive from Montreal.  It was beautiful to see this part of Canada- I recommend this tour if you are ever there!  (Or better yet stay a few nights at Mont Tremblant, giving time to zip-line down the mountain- a 3 hour adventure that looked like heaps of fun!)

Fast forward another week, we were back in Doha and had driven out to visit a new large shopping centre.  I popped into a shop and Neil said he would be in another.

After a quick look around, I headed out and walked into another store which looked like one Neil might be in, to find “Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)” was playing!

The 3rd time, in 3 different countries in 3 weeks (well 22 days but close enough!), and it was not even a recently released song!  My heart smiled.

Pictured, left to right: Mt Tremblant, outside of Montreal. Neil’s new shoes- from Leilani!

Neil wasn’t in the shop so I went back out, and he soon appeared.  I said to him, you have to come into this shop, Leilani’s song is playing!

We went in together and as the song played he was drawn to some shoes… a grey pair with white shoelaces (is it a coincidence these were the same colours as Leilani’s fur?!)  After trying them on he bought them.  Leilani had helped Neil get his new shoes after all!

A few days later as I was preparing to head home, I was saying to Neil he would have to try and grab a photo of the 777 bus for me.

My flight out of Doha wasn’t until 2am, so Neil and I headed by foot to a local hotel for some food/ drinks.  On the way there, a bus headed towards us – it was the 777 (this was a different street to where I had originally seen it).  I grabbed my phone but it was too late, it had already sped past.

Pictured, left to right: The 777 bus. Doha city view.

Afterwards as we walked back to our apartment, on that same street, there just happened to be two 777 buses, one coming from each direction!  This time I was able to capture a picture!

Later, bags packed, Neil ordered an uber for us to the airport and we waited for it to arrive.  As we got in I couldn’t help but notice the time displayed on the cars dashboard: 11.11.

xx Carolyn

Deepen your relationship with the animals, learn how to share meditation with them at my next class!  Details here, or under the ‘LEARN’ tab on this website.

‘LEILANI’S LEGACY’ is a FREE online resource designed to both celebrate Leilani and honour the hearts of animal lovers, everywhere. (Contents page found under the RESOURCES tab of this website).

The Echo Effect

At the spritely age of 8 years old, Echo is one of THE most powerful and wise healers I have ever met.  His ability to almost instantly open wide the hearts of everyone he meets is truly, a beautiful gift.

First there are those eyes.  Look at them!  Echo’s adorableness draws you in as soon as you even glance at him.

That’s exactly what happened the first time we met, a few months ago. 

Echo was sitting at the front of his condo silently staring at me.  It was impossible to resist saying hello.

A stray, Echo had contracted FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus- and means there’s a few extra things you need to know about his care) but this didn’t faze him at all, nor did the shelter environment.  His sweet eyes pleaded for a pat and some TLC, yet he simultaneously radiated immense gratitude for being back in the care of humans.

I opened his condo door and was immediately rewarded with cuddles and purrs from one friendly, handsome and present cat. 

I felt my heart open wide.  Love and gratitude poured in- Echo was sharing his heart so freely.  How lucky I was just to meet him!

Soon I discovered Echo had won over many more shelter staff and volunteers at Cat Haven.  Offering Reiki to various cats in the shed he resided in, I witnessed how others too could not resist his magnetic pull.  I saw how their hearts opened wide, how they softened and relaxed as they shared a brief moment in their busy days with him.  How precious!

Even cuter- once you opened that door Echo made it clear he did not want you to leave him.  He would firmly press his head against the closing condo door and swiftly extend his paw, preventing you from closing him in. This behaviour only brought more smiles. 

I also experienced a gentle, friendly nip to my hand.  All I did was imagine closing the door and the next split second as I moved to do so he took action to prevent me, followed the ‘head and paw movement’.  How could anyone say no to such a persuasive character!?

Echo- you have made a lasting impression!  You have SUCH a radiant glowing heart; you are so excited for life and for whom you will next meet.  Your enthusiasm is infectious and your open heart is so powerful that words simply can’t do it justice.

I know you must have a special job to do and that whoever adopts you will be amazed at the special and unique being you are and at the happiness you will bring to their life.

Thank you for sharing your sweetness, your joy, your softness and your love.  The world is a better place with you in it.

Echo has been in Foster care with an ear infection that has now resolved and is finally available for adoption.  FIV cats require special care.  Please contact Cat Haven (Western Australia) on 08 9442 3600 for details.  *** UPDATE: ECHO HAS BEEN ADOPTED! ***

xx Carolyn

Unexpected Messages Of Love

Today (13 July 2017) I had the most beautiful experience.

Leilani, my sweet cat who is now in spirit, has been continuing to let her powerful presence be known and it has me (and now my neighbours!) in awe.

Today my neighbour asked if I could pop over to babysit quickly while she dashed to the local shops for something urgent. (I haven’t babysat for her before!)

I’m not that familiar with kids (more cats!), but was assured I just needed to sit and relax and only attend to the 3 kids (aged 5 and 2) if one of them started screaming- LOL!

I sat on the couch and a few minutes passed.  Then the kids approached me with a box.

The box had 3 cat puzzles, they wanted to do them with me.

As I helped them understand how a puzzle works, I was trying not to tear up at the puzzles they had chosen.

My neighbour Bec arrived home soon after and I showed her the puzzle, trying to stop it but I couldn’t, tears came to my eyes.

Bec was visibly taken aback at the significance… she hadn’t known they even still had that puzzle, and hadn’t seen it for over 6 months, having no idea where they had even got it from!

Expressing she was amazed that they hadn’t been playing with anything, but within minutes of me getting there they somehow found and brought this puzzle over… Bec had goosebumps!

Later that afternoon there was a knock on the door.  It was Bec and she had her daughter in her arms, who handed me a bag- with one of the puzzles as a gift- the grey cat.

More tears!

Even more beautiful, Bec shared she believed in the presence of people after their death, but had not thought about this with animals until today.

xx Carolyn

PS: Have your animals sent you messages to let you know they are with you and at peace?  Please chime in below in the comments- I would love to hear from you!

 

PHOTOS – TOP TO BOTTOM, LEFT TO RIGHT

Photo 1: A pic Bec sent me of the puzzle box, as I’ve been documenting the messages from Leilani that continue happening in unexpected and beautiful ways.

Photo 2: Text from Bec.

Photo 3: Leilani in her younger days- tail up!  (2002/2003 in our first home together).  Leilani was forever walking over to us with her tail up, as soon as she saw us, so cute!

Photo 4: Leilani and I would often hold our foreheads together.  Such a beautiful memory to have.

Photo 5: The completed puzzle.

Photo 6: Chilling with my girl :)

If You Have An Elderly Animal, Or Have Ever Lost One Of Your Beloved Animal Friends, May You Find Comfort Within ‘LEILANI’S LEGACY’ – Found Under The RESOURCES Tab Of This Website.

The significance of Dakota Avenue to Animal Reiki Western Australia

Occasionally life surprises you with synchronicities. 

Often they are easily disregarded as ‘coincidence’, and are soon behind us- we may forget they even happened. 

Sometimes though, there are too many indications of fate and you can’t help but pay attention. 

This story is undoubtedly one or those instances.

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2010

After offering Reiki to my mother and father in laws beautiful cat Xena (to help her arthritis) around Christmas 2010, and realising how much she enjoyed it, I was immediately inspired to google ‘Animal Reiki’.  I was amazed and excited to find Kathleen Prasad who I discovered attributed her work in the field of Animal Reiki to her beloved rescue dog Dakota, who had spent 16 years by Kathleen’s side.

I loved learning that Dakota, an Australian Shepherd mix, would sit at Kathleen’s feet each time she undertook her daily Reiki practice (meditation and contemplation practice) and helped her understand the ways in which animal’s sense, enjoy and draw upon the peaceful space created.  

As a result Kathleen then worked on transforming her life, from school teacher to a now world leader in the field of Animal Reiki, through her business Animal Reiki Source and later her non-profit (co-founded with Leah D’Ambrosio in 2008) Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA).  SARA is dedicated to the memory of Dakota and most recently SARA has commenced an annual celebration named ‘World Animal Reiki Day’ yearly on February 5- Dakota’s birthday.

2013

In August 2013 I fulfilled a dream to travel to the United States to meet and train with Kathleen.  The training was held at the most beautiful animal hospice and sanctuary named BrightHaven founded by husband and wife Gail and Richard Pope who have dedicated over 22 years of their lives to this mission..  

I left with my heart filled to the brim with gratitude for the experience and for the level of love, care and compassion provided to the animals that were lucky enough to have found their way to BrightHaven , where Reiki forms part of every animal’s treatment protocol.  (Alongside veterinary care). 

My commitment to helping animals was more than cemented!  As my husband Neil and I waited at the airport for our flight back to Jakarta, Indonesia (where we were living in 2013 for his work) I found myself constantly holding back tears as I didn’t want to leave – I wished that Kathleen and BrightHaven were not so far away.  

Poor Neil it must have looked like he had done something wrong- when we had shared the most amazing trip of our lives!!

Rewind to earlier in 2013, when I received shocking news (over the phone in Jakarta) from an Australian doctor I had only seen once for some simple blood tests.  I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure at age 34. 

After completing comprehensive research on this condition (aided greatly by my studies in complimentary/ holistic medicine) and travelling back to Australia for further testing, my diagnosis was confirmed.  Before Neil and I had even started trying to have children, we found ourselves being told it was likely that donor eggs might be our only option. 

Still digesting this news, in May 2013 we travelled for the first time to Hawaii to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.  Enjoying the seclusion of Maui we were surprised to step out of a gift shop and practically straight into an old friend of ours, Eden. 

Eden and I had lost touch when I changed my email address around the same time Eden had lost her phone.  Eden was on her honeymoon and it was so great to reconnect with her and hubby Gianni over dinner at such a special time. 

2014

After moving back to Perth (Western Australia) we sorted a catch up with Eden & Gianni, planned 2 months in advance due to our conflicting weekend schedules!  When we finally caught up, mid 2014, we had our property on the market and they had just moved from one home in Maylands to another. 

Eden & Gianni shared how much they liked Maylands as a suburb leading us to think ‘maybe we should look at Maylands’.  A suburb we had not even thought to consider!  The next day we found a property online that had just come onto the market in Maylands.  It was on Dakota Avenue.

The following weekend as we were driving to the ‘home open’, along Peninsula Road and minutes away from the house, I glanced at our satellite navigation and saw Kathleen Avenue.  How funny- both Kathleen and Dakota in the one suburb and only streets away from each other!!

The second I stepped through the front door I knew it was our new home.  The few things we were looking for were all there (including the perfect space for my home office) and we were sure we could complete most renovations within our budget.  The only problem was that we hadn’t yet sold our existing home!

We placed a strong ‘subject to sale’ offer which was accepted, aside from a 48hr clause being added.  (This clause, should the seller receive a subsequent cash offer, would mean that we would have 48 business hours to decide to go ahead with the purchase unconditional, i.e. we would have to get a second mortgage and cross our fingers that our own home sold quickly – something we were not keen to do).

After a few weeks, on a Friday afternoon we got the call.  The 48 hour clause had been activated and if we didn’t sell our home that weekend, we would be forced to make a difficult decision.  Given the ‘Dakota’ and ‘Kathleen’ signs and the serendipitous meetings with Eden & Gianni I was sure the house was meant to be ours!  And then there was one more promising sign.

During that week our real estate agent reported he had found himself fielding calls from a couple who lived ‘up North’ and had seen our home on the internet and loved it!  They had been looking for a while and advised they would send their family through the home open that weekend and one of them would try to fly down for it too.

That Saturday was a beautiful day and we had something like 22 lots of people through our property, including the relatives of the couple- who we were informed took lots of photos and had been very impressed!   Unfortunately the potential owner’s flight had been cancelled, so they were relying on their family to help them decide what to do. 

We didn’t need to worry as no sooner was the home open finished than our agent received a call from the couple and by the end of the weekend we had accepted an unconditional/ cash offer, allowing us to confirm our purchase of Dakota Ave- yay!

What made it even more special, was when we found out our new owners were working away due to one of them being in the WA Police Service.  Neil had previously been in the police for a number of years and this seemed a fitting ending to the story of how we ended up living on Dakota Avenue.

Most of all, I am so very grateful that the universe even thought to look out for me, that it was able to somewhat miraculously place me on this path.  In the midst of my health challenges I connected with my passion and my lifes work.  

Trusting this journey, one step at a time, also allowed me to tap into the infinite gratitude I have for my many blessings in life, providing great comfort on the many numerous times I became disheartened, depressed and anxious about the future.  

Having the courage and faith to pursue the road that opened before me has helped me to heal on such a deep level.  

I could NEVER have got there without the compassionate and loving teachings, guidance and support provided by the traditional Japanese system of Reiki and my beautiful teachers Kathleen Prasad and Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki or the love and support of my husband Neil.  

Special mention goes to our two precious cats, Roger and Leilani who have travelled with us since they have been kittens, except for in 2013 when they lived with my mum Lesley (love you mum!) while we lived in Jakarta.  (This arrangement made due to the rabies risk in Indonesia and not wanting to put them through the experience of quarantine).

They have been our solace and wise teachers, bringing joy to our hearts for the past 15 years and we love them immensely. I am infinitely grateful to be able to support their health and wellbeing with integrative measures as they approach the later years of their lives.

Since then: 

In March 2014 I was blessed to have my request to share Animal Reiki as a volunteer at Cat Haven WA  (a cat shelter/ rescue organisation here in Perth) granted by CEO Roz Robinson.  I continue to volunteer weekly, sharing the gentle power of meditation with hundreds of shelter cats in need.

I am so grateful to every single one of the cats I have met along the way- they have taught me so much!  (Special mention to ‘Sir Binky’ and also ‘Scrappy’ and ‘Autumn’ who I will blog about in 2017).

2015/2016

In October 2015 I travelled to Sydney for the Australian Reiki Connection conference on the fantastic topic of The Future of Reiki.  There are so many misconceptions about what Reiki is and it is SO important- now more than ever– that those fears are allayed so that greater levels of peace can exist in this world.  Directing your energy towards your own healing first is the most powerful thing you can do and your efforts will flow out the longer you stay that path.  

In searching just now for the exact words of a particular quote that came to mind, I instead discovered Marc & Angel Chernoff’s website Hack Life and this great article 40 Quotes That Will Quiet Your Mind.  Numbers 3, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 30 and 40 are especially interesting.

In February 2016 I traveled again to the states (California & Florida) to complete further Animal Reiki teacher training with Kathleen and also a Reiki workshop with Frans (around his most recent book: The Inner Heart of Reiki Rediscovering Your True Self).  I brought with me a large framed picture of the image shown in this blog as a gift from my heart for Kathleen.  It took up almost half my suitcase with all the bubble wrap but made it there safely which was the main thing- though it took Kathleen a while to get to it- lol! 

After returning, I started teaching a class ‘5 Powerful Meditations To Help Heal Your Animals’ at Cat Haven, donating 25% of the course fee. (This donation element will continue to apply for all future Animal Reiki classes which will be held at various animal rescue and sanctuary organisations). Special discounts for taking the course are offered to shelter staff and volunteers in recognition of the selfless work they do everyday: caring for thousands of amazing animals each year.  Animals who, through no fault of their own, have discovered themselves without a loving home.

I also started the mobile Animal Reiki component of my business and have met some incredibly dedicated animal lovers through my work including a wonderful Veterinarian Michael Taylor, who is part of the amazing team at Your Pets Vet in Mount Lawley.  Michael volunteers every 2 years at an animal shelter in Rajasthan, India.

In July 2016 I finalised studies in Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Medicine (for people) at the Australian Institue for Holistic Medicine.  Wellness consultations will commence 1 April 2017.

Nerium International and Pause

Most recently, my business Pause has become a rep for a fantastic American company Nerium International, that offers 2 innovative plant and research based anti-aging products.  Nerium opened in Australia on 20 October 2016 and have a bright future ahead of them.  

I am excited to announce that 30% of the dollar income generated by Pause through Nerium will be set aside to create an animal based non profit to provide much needed support for an issue that is very dear to my heart.

Currently available in Australia via this unique Pause link are the Nerium Optimera Age Defying Day Cream & Age Defying Night Cream. Sold with a 30 day money back guarantee.  

These 2 fantastic products are dermatologist tested, suited to ALL skin types, ALL ages and the same product applies for men/women.  These products contain:

  • NO parabens;
  • NO propylene glycol;
  • NO DEA;
  • NO fragrance;
  • NO colourants; and
  • Are not tested on animals.

Great skin care does NOT need to be complicated!!  Just wash your face as normal and then use these awesome creams.  GO PAUSE :)

(For more details please visit the ANTI-AGING tab).

 

I now feel ready to invite children into the life my husband Neil and I have worked so hard for.  I believe 2017 is going to be a very special year.

I would also like to acknowledge these 5 amazing people in the hope that these additional resources might help you on your journey.
1. Marie Forleo – an American “Multi-passionate Entrepreneur.” Marie says on her about page  “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been insatiably curious about human potential.  I wanted to know, what exactly is it that makes people genuinely happy, successsful and creatively fulfilled?”  I have learnt SO MUCH  from Marie’s You Tube Channel “Marie TV- THE place to be to create a business and a life you love”  and I know you will love it too!  Most of all- I LOVE Marie’s mantra: “The World Needs That Special Gift That Only YOU Have”.  Thank you Marie!!

2. Lissa Rankin – an American ‘physician, speaker, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute and mystic’ who I discovered online just before I moved to Jakarta .  Lissa’s books including Mind Over Medicine. Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself are supported by dedicated research, for example peer reviewed medical literature, including the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of The American Medical Association, and are invaluable resources.
2.  
Shola Richards – an American corporate trainer and incurable optimist. If you have ever experienced bullying and particularly workplace bullying, his blog The Positivity Solution is a great place to start.  Shola has also recently released his first book Making Work Work.  I so love this beautiful African Proverb Shola references: “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  Shola’s book trailer video which you can view here (it is just over 2 minutes long) is especially powerful – I look forward to reading his book!
3.  My brave friend Heather Jean, a spiritual teacher of sacred feminine wisdom who is passionate to reawaken and remind women of the power we have within, to bring new ways of living through the heart in peace, love and joy. Heather has also created a fantastic range of programs for sensitive children available through her website The Magic of You.
4.  Last but definitely not least, Kristie Dean. Kristie is an amazing friend and inspirational Leukaemia survivor who has a powerful message for this world.  Kristie has been medication free and in FULL remission for the past 10 years, following 5 years of drug treatment AND has the evidence to prove it.  Her book “I am Now. Listen. Act. Survive.” will be released in 2017. You can stay up to date with Kristie’s adventures via her Facebook page.

BRAND NEW: The 2017 Animal Reiki Perth educational program will be released SOON!!  Join the PAUSE MAILING LIST to stay up to date and to receive your FREE copy of the heart based e-book from Pause: TOP FIVE THINGS YOUR ANIMAL FRIENDS WANT YOU TO KNOW

Xx Carolyn

Photo credit: Marlies Loescher– of Animal Soul Photography