chronicles of a bespoke, simple, adventurous life

Category Archives: how to make change

What’s your heart telling you?

Welcome to your new week, I hope your heart is well and warm.

I’m excited to share that the alchemy of hustle will be launching a new series on following your heart in the next month or so.  I’m building this path of exploration for those brave enough to ask and follow their hearts call.  It will be a gentle invitation of nudge if you feel you’re not living your joy, doing what you love.  So if you’re feeling disconnected and unaligned with dashes of joylessness watch out for this series, it may just be your ticket!

On that note I thought I’d ask a question for you to hold gently throughout the week.  Be present to how you respond to its first saying – to your body, head and hearts response.  And remember no response is a response.

It’s a bit of a barnacle of a question to start a Monday with, but when’s a good time to get downtown with the business of your life, I say.  So in that spirt I’d like you to ask yourself;

What’s not working?  

There are so many layers this question can sit with, fall down into, open up.  Let it sink as deeply as feels comfortable.  And be gentle with it, and yourself.  Hold the dialogue for as long as you want, though giving yourself a space to stretch into – say of a week (or more) allows you to filtrate down to the pebbles at the bottom of the pond versus wrestling with the noise of first response.

I drew this sketch awhile back when I was thinking about what we I cover our my hearts song with.  I imagined my heart was a beautiful lush garden of green and my disconnect-discomfort-unauthentic living was sticky black tar – clogging access to joy.  I imagined the jug’s pour as the conscious, unconscious and gathered-learnt ways of being which guard and block our self’s leap into trust and action – into living our joy.  I imagined that jug as the history we’ve yet untangled ourself from – the story we sold ourself short on.

So again, I’d invite you to ask yourself;

What’s not working?  


Artwork: Sketch by Maree Forbes – me.




celebrate the death of old ways


It’s spring diddly ding and as I wrote here I was happy and ready for it’s arrival.  H. A. P. P. Y !

Trust me I don’t overload the significance of my lives movement based on the passing of seasons, though I do find them comforting and quietly powerful in supporting my joy and growth.   So in amongst springs celebration of light, birthing and newness I feel it’s also important to honour and respect those aspects of self that have been farewelled in the winter, to celebrate their death.   I only say it’s important because they’ve been tap dancing around the periphery of my temporal lobes, wanting recognition.  Wanting acknowledgement, and why not?

As I’ve written about before (and will again) making change and healing takes mother f*cking grunt, self belief, commitment, love and help.  Coal face, stripped back, at sea without a boat/life-jacket/paddle kind of stuff.  Change can also be joyful, light and engaged with ease (I don’t want to give change a bad name as I’m in the business of it).  Though truth be told the human condition, wounds, safety blankets and learnt ways of being can leave us on more occasions than not glancing around for the escape button rather than staying the course.

Which brings me onto celebrating our cycles of death – of the parts of our behaviour, beliefs, actions and self which we have worked hard to release – that no longer serve us.  I think we are so long in the grist that when we pop out the other side into the light of transformation the battle fatigue wearies our celebratory potential.  It’s more ‘thank fuck thats over’ than ‘woo hoo look what I did-created’!  Or worst still you don’t even recognise the difference. Plus I think it also has something to do with how we view celebration in the western world, more geared toward outward achievement and birthdays.

This morning on leaving the house I came across this bird on our driveway lying curled in death, it’s beauty and grace stilled.  It reminded me of what in death gives me cause for celebration.  Shit, I turned up to a situation recently which had a maturation I’ve never felt or acted with before.  It was a slow surprise which had me quietly proud a little after it’s delivery.  Many winters lead to its transformation into the light and I really honour and celebrate its passing-death along with the role it played in my life.  Though I’m over the moon that behaviour has shifted I recognise it was just trying to get a need met and you can’t be down on that.

So take a minute to reflect on what’s working, on your interiors achievements and shifts and transformation (realised or in the making or in the planning).  And feel into what came before, of what you have to celebrate in its passing – death.  So hard fought in the battle and little celebrated – remind yourself of your infinite capacity for a light filled life and the remarkable magical process of transformation fuelled by your engine room of desire and love.  Death is the conduit to light and life and transformation its child.

Keep on trucking x


photography: me – maree forbes.  deaths bouquet: made by me – Kauri leaves + moss on stick wrapped in copper and green silk ribbon.


a life of heart and right brained leanings



I’ve spoken about pathways and knowing and following my heart here, and have spoken-written-dreamt about it a zillion times before.  It’s the theme that is my theme and has got to the point where I need to find an accompanying soundtrack, its taken on feature film proportions.

Though all roads lead to follow my heart in work-life-home-food-partner I feel novice in my first steps.  Full blown novice.  I note this because it’s pretty much like that for anyone trying out their chops creating change in their lives.  Its a new muscle that needs flexing, and truth be told my heart muscle is-was rather atrophied.  Poor wee thing.  Previous sailings had me steering the ship from a more control command, left brain approach.  So recent adventures have been test runs as I find out how to let go, be in the moment and release expectations + follow my creative heart.    Let go-be in the moment-release expectations; now theres a cluster fuck magical wonderba of a trifecta.  Any of my old coaching classmates will attest to watching my brain fry as it tried to get itself around the process of having a desire-goal, doing the work and then letting go of expectations (reminds me a little of that quote from Seneca about luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity) .  And five years on from that class I still look quizzically at that trifecta, head tilted, chin cocked, eyes a squinting.  Though now at 41 I’m reconciling that the old ways haven’t bore the fruit I was hoping, and my fruitless bowl has me directing my energies towards a touch of heart-brain surgery (non invasive of course).

Though I would say that in defence of my want it now-control-command-want it now ways it takes a bloody deep well of self belief and courage to forge forward doing your thing in the absence of any evidence your on the right track, that your even in a track (not that tracks are important, that got a bit tracky).  That you really will manifest what you need-deserve whether that be connecting; to the work you love, your life partner, a healthy relationship with finances, your hearts home etc (and yes they are my core desires and yes they are curiously absent).  Please trust me when I say this is not a pity party for moi, I’m just expressing-getting it out, and I wish more people did.  Thats one of the joy’s of writing, on a good day it climbs out of my fingers voluntarily, I have nothing to do with it.

Back to manifesting and living from your heart and right brain.

Yes, I get manifestation can appear on the turn of a dime, and that I am the source and centre of my desired life.  But for anybody who’s been a dollar short and a day late on where you wanted to be with your beautiful hot mess of a life I just wanted to say I get it.  And from all my study-qualifications, reading and discussions with wise-evolved beings it seems all roads lead to bathing in the juices of the right brain while lunging forward in your hearts desire (while living in the present moment, with no expectations, in a vacuum of self belief while letting go).  Phew!

Still seems like a tightrope without a net to me, but doesn’t anything new feel a bit like that?  Reminds me of learning to drive, I just couldn’t get how I would pull up to a give way sign on a hill, slow-halt the car while changing gears into neutral and putting on the handbrake.  It was like fucken Einstein material to me, until I learnt, and now its second nature.

When your sizing up the rest of your life holding the same amount of potential as what you’ve already spent (unless you change it up)……then tightrope it is.  And though I’ve never worn a sequinned leotard I reckon I might just giggle it up a bit while wobbling along the the pretty much non existent line Im putting my life on.

This blog is about mine and all of our walks along the tightrope and onto the lush green grass waiting on the other side (actually underneath our feet right now if we just let go).  And it will include my resistance-fight as I wrestle from an old way of being borne from a trauma handed to me too early (everybody’s got something).  And just so we’re clear, I’m not knocking the left hand side, its got me places,turned me up to work and allowed me to do my job pretty well.  Though operating most of the time from that side of the walnut just hasn’t been conducive to me dancing in my joy.  I’m going for a tad more colour.  And balance.


Heart image: Ann Bond card, photo of card taken in Father Rabbit store.

Brain image: Mercedes Benz graphic.

making from scratch


I hand squeezed oranges today and made a glass of its goodness to coddle my feelings of rundown.  It was fun.  The orange tree lives on my mums property and every year produces the most divine juicy tasting oranges.  Ever.  It felt nice to walk outside, pick oranges, slice and squeeze them and enjoy my efforts.  It felt particularly nice knowing that what I was drinking was exactly what I was seeing, nothing added.  There is something so satisfying and enjoyable about making from scratch; the process, your involvement, the end result. And for me, the simpler the cooking the more enjoyable and honest the taste.  I’m passionate about making good simple food, and my glass of orange juice falls well and squarely in that category. Simpler you cannot get.  Take orange, slice it, squeeze it, pour into glass, drink it.


God, if only life came with a simple recipe like that, now that would be something.  Though sans the recipe its a great reminder that simplicity and the power of alchemy to make something from scratch, is all around us.  If we look.



pathways and knowing


I remember being lost in a huddle of Hutongs* in Beijing. I had been circling a spot on the map for an age with little reward, the underground museum still an elusive cache of propaganda I had yet to see.  I was where I was meant to be according to directions and yet under very hot sun I was lost and alone with a compass and a map (which on every other occasion had proven useful).

These two items were essentials on my travels.  I think I had unconsciously chosen them as amulets to accompany my uncertainty and fears as I made my way through China’s mainland, followed by Vietnam and Thailand.  I had a roaring passion for travel, housed in an introverts’ body and though it never stopped me, I do find it funny that my fear and logic chose a map and compass for protection.  Little shield against the imagined threat.

I had been wandering through countless alleyways that everything had started to look the same, and this mixed with intolerable heat had me near the point of giving up. I then found myself at the end of another pathway demanding I turn left or right, and It’s interesting that nine years on I remember the next moment as clear as day, like I was there.  Out of the blue something came over me and my body was like a tuning fork, calmly providing the answer – I felt a strong pull and a deep knowing.

I just knew which way to turn, which way would take me to where I needed to go. Indecision, exhaustion and a loud mind were silenced.   And sure enough the museum followed with ease.

It’s worth noting that there was a significant distinction in how I felt in my body.  If I could describe how ‘knowing’ feels I would, but in my abilities absence I would say you go from knowing to believing to doing in quick succession.  It makes the way ahead so obvious.  I would say it does feel solid and calm, if that’s any help.

A couple of days ago I found myself meandering through the beautiful dunes and sand spilled pathways of Palm Beach, NSW.

And even though wave frolicking dolphins entertained us, and the limestone cliffs brought me the strongest sense of security I’d felt in awhile (truly), it was the pathways that held my attention the most.

I was struck by their beauty, and the way I felt inside them.


Walking along them, inside something that was taking me somewhere.  Those tracks of fence line and sand were gently firing off my synapses, connections made that I don’t know about yet.  And it was while looking over the photo’s I’d snapped that the memory of nine years earlier sprang into my consciousness.

I find it all rather serendipitous and magical how a series of moments from past and present can knit together and invite you to revisit, look, enquire.

And here I now sit looking at my way ahead, asking myself which path to take.  Thinking I know which one I’m resisting, what my options are, how it may look.  It’s been SO long on the table and in the run up I could paint this picture by numbers from memory, colour perfect.  And there partly in lies the problem, being so chummy with what’s not working, though handy at the beginning has not beared any fruit.  And will not.

Truth be told it’s diving into the fear and resistance that surfaces you into knowing.  Into following your hearts desire.

So, to Hutongs, pathways, being lost and found, limestone cliffs, hearts desire and friends I say thank you before the dive.




*A narrow lane or alleyway in a traditional residential area of a Chinese city, esp. Beijing.

Photos taken at Palm Beach, NSW.


Spring into it



I love this saying from Leo Tolstoy, because it’s SO true.  Spring magnetically pulls me forward and has me renewed in faith.  Weather in Auckland at the moment is warm, clear and crisp and from September 1 I’ve felt a little different, more ignited.  I mark my seasons entries by the equinox which is September 22, though regardless I was so chomping at the bit that I heralded it in on the first!  I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and a new lease of space has been granted my person and plans, it’s all rather curious and exciting.  Thank you Spring I say!

Of plans and projects I have a bundle to keep me busy, focussed on – work, home, love and creativity (the small stuff!).  Though given experience too many on my mind means nothing moves forward, so I’m lightly holding them all with love.  And tending one garden bed at a time, a new approach for me which I’m finding a lot more enjoyable.  And doable.

I’m also right in the throws of making a Zine on creativity which I’m really excited about and can’t wait to share, heres a pic of the draft cover – its all to do with living with heart!


I hope this Spring time finds you well and engaged in a little forward momentum.  What project or plans have you got your gaze fixed on?  I’d love to hear xx

Image credit: Good Magazine, Sept/Oct 2013 Issue.


How to push through ‘stuck’

When building a life of heart there will be times when the path can get a bit sticky.  There just will be, no two ways about it.  And I thought why not write about that, so I did, and here it is.

Change, new behaviours, digging deep, pushing outside of what you know and needing to be ‘ON’ can rattle the cage.  And in the rattle we can want to hold tight, burrow down emu like in our defiance.  In the blink of a second you go from frustration at wanting change, to being its co creator.  The transition, though exhilarating and one of the most rewarding things you can ever do can feel a bit like being out at sea. On a raft. Without an oar.

Your feet aching for the touch of ground.

So how do you push through the stuck of the burrow?  Those days you wake up and it all feels rather hard and blahrish and fuzzy and shite, can’t put your finger on it, but it’s just crapsville.  To provide one of a thousand possible push through techniques I came across this piece of writing from earlier in the year on just this topic.

Archives of March 25, 2013

Today I’m trying to write a business plan – I got my period – it’s day one of my detox – plus I’m feeling sorry for myself (wishing I had a partner – thinking about the last person).   You get the picture.

It’s like a cluster fuck of nostalgic melancholy, sugar cravings and blank brain.

It was starting to go a little ‘woe is me’ –  I can’t do this / it’s all stupid / I myswell just give up now.  It was starting too, until I stopped and paid attention to my noisy negative brain, to what I was feeling.  In stopping, I stepped back a little.  Away from the heat of the cluster.

My day is not special, we all wake up or walk into days that are unforgiving.  Old stuff – thoughts/behaviours lacing your view, dragging down the beat.  An unspoken fear tightening clenched fists around your feet’s move forward.  Your cheer leader squad having left the building leaves you performing all the roles to put on the production – main act, back up, support, lights, audience, cleaner.  It just all becomes a little bit too much.  

Then I listened to this and I felt better.  I was transported away from myself.  

That wee tune was the diversion I needed.  In my experience there is rarely a time when we rise from the ashes of a cluster fuck of blah and put right to all that feels wrong.  When your stuck and the road ahead is blacker than the dead of night, visibility zero, your options feel exhausted.  The position you sit in is all consuming and globule glue like in its hold.

I’ve found moving away from  its centre and getting out of my head helps.  Music, going for a walk around the block, watching blooper outtakes from my favourite shows help.  You have too break its hold and breathe some fresh unpolluted air.  That’s what I’ve found.

The break, the distraction provides perspective. And allows your super fabulous unending resources to resurface.  Your feet find some ground.

That’s one of the things I’ve found that works for me.  And by the way, I’ll be writing and sharing more on the topic of being stuck and of the blocks you may experience on your path to living your heart.  My coaching toolkit and my own personal experiences of the big bad block and hanging out in stucksville will be mashed into future posts, which I hope help you when you’re stopped at a green light.

What do you use to break the spell of stuck?





doing a personal stock take + getting my citrus on!

This week there is no regular ‘my week of alchemy + hustle’ post.

‘Why’, you all ask in gasping shock and horror (i joke).

Because I realised I needed to do a little stock take of where I’m at, of what I’m doing to get where I need to go.  Thats the beauty of committing to a weekly ‘check in’ after a few weeks you start to see if your moving or not, it forces you to evaluate if your on track, off track……..not even on the track.  And I’m a bit of all three at the moment……a bit of all bloody three!

So I shouted ‘ENOUGH ALREADY’ things don’t feel right, I need to recalibrate.  And I did a wee cleanse of my space and things – put things into ship shape order and burnt some mandarin oil.  Yes I did.


The power of smell to refocus and clarify works a treat for me.  And for countless others I might add.

So next week I’ll let you know how my stock take went.  And I’ll share the deets on how you can do a stock take.  How you can check if your on track to kicking some of your personal goals.

So until next week I shall be bathing in the glow of my mandarin oil haze + getting on down and dirty with ‘what I’m doing to make my dreams my reality’.  You know, that small thing.

Love and light x



do you wake up in the morning happy to go to work?

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like – ‘If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right’.

It made an impression on me… and since then, for the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself – ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today’. And whenever the answer has been, ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything: all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure… these things just fall away in the face of death… leaving only what is truly important.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked; there is no reason not to follow your heart”

steve jobs, stanford university graduation speech, june 12, 2005

I’m sure you’ve seen this quote before, but I thought it was worth posting. When I first read it, it striked my malaise of work unhappiness right between the eyes. It got me thinking differently.

So… you get up in the morning jumping with joy for your working day ahead?

Hello to you and 2013….heres what’s coming up!

Hello to you (I say rather meekishly and mightily) after an eleven week incommunicado absence from writing on this blog.  I last posted on the Alchemy of Hustle near three months ago from New York, at the tale end of my 30 day American adventure.  Luckily the places, faces and food of the States has not faded from my memory and I have juicy stories and pictures to share from that fabulous little big trip which will include posts on New York, San Francisco, Sonoma, Santa Monica, San Luis Obispo, Carmel by the Sea and maybe a revisit of my original post on the crazy Las Vegas.

After the United States holiday I put on some big pants and made some grown up decision’s…….as a result I now find myself living in a new country – my old home town of New Zealand.  After eleven years of living away (six of those in my last home of Sydney) its rather novel, new and fabulous being back.  And it feels right for now, but more on that later.

Taken on my morning walk between Milford and Takapuna Beaches.  It is one of my favourite places in the world and makes me smile.  ALOT.

Taken this morning on my walk between Milford and Takapuna Beaches. It is one of my favourite places in the world and makes me smile (ALOT). It is where I was born, raised and currently live……a full circle of sorts.

2012 was a year full of dips and some delightful highs with bold lashings of change, and all that hard yakker has paved the way for a ‘stand up and be counted’ 2013.  I’m excited with a side order of meekish nerves, truth be told.  Stand up and be counted means building up The Alchemy of Hustle and my own business.  It means creating and living the life I want in the style and way I want over different geographical terrains.  It means implicitly trusting and believing in myself and the tremendous powers of community, hard work and the universe.

In short I’m getting my serious on about The Alchemy of Hustle and giving it a lot more energy. This year will also see the inclusion of ‘Others Stories’ where I ask others how they created and sustained lives doing what they love.  I’ll be sharing their learnings, journey’s and tips with you.

I’m brimming with loads of ideas and inspiration (thanks in no small part to the fantastic Blogacademy workshop I attended in New York).  I hope you enjoy the upcoming posts and pictures of inspiration to support you on your paths of brilliance.

Love and light  and welcome to the New Year of 2013 and the Snake.