More about Me – ShreeDharma

More about Me

MY PERSONAL STORY 

I know sharing some snippets of my life journey will help you  decide if I am the right one to help you. When you see that I am just a "normal" woman with her own challenges, some I've mastered, others still a work in progress, maybe you will trust me to join you along your path.

Let me pour you a cup of homemade chai, kick your shoes off and take some time to relax...

Our past experiences mould who we are...


As a child of the seventies, life was one of those "come home when the street lights come on" but not an idealic one, a guarded secret. Living in fight or flight with an abusive, alcoholic father, who controlled the money in this single income house, meant I viewed life as a very serious matter - there was no laughter, nothing to joke about, no fun, no play. Those who have been there will know that having friends over is not advisable with the state of the walls, and unpredictability of the family dynamics. 

My two brothers and I had our own ways of coping, and we all relied heavily on sport. Fortunately I was good enough to make rep teams in a number of different team sports. And fortunately this was seen (for the most part) as being worthy enough to support financially by my parents. This meant I got to travel away - although this brought its own stress as I was constantly worried about my mother's safety.

I started experiencing unbearable stomach pains which the doctor couldn't explain, and who advised "she'll grow out of it". My exposure to alternative therapies came when mum took me to a naturopath at about 13. I had up to 10 herbal tablets a day but the pain persisted. After more time passed, I ended up having a general anesthetic to have a gastroscopy done (getting a scope down into my stomach to have a look see). Once again, no cause was found. The pains disappeared 'miraculously' when my parents separated - my insight and personal experience into how stress can be expressed through the body.

We were all teenagers when mum felt she was strong enough to leave, with as many safety measures in place as possible. And she hasn't looked back. 

This very much guided me on my career path, in a subtle way, as I eventually found myself working in Child Protection, helping to support mums with bubs and children to see the patterns, take steps necessary for safety, security and a quality of life that is not fear-based. Thankfully the laws and systems have changed markedly in the 30 years since I was a kid. 


My upbringing heavily influenced my self esteem, my self confidence and self belief. 

I was desperate to choose wisely for my life partner, as I didn't want to repeat the same pattern. It's interesting the social conditioning isn't it? The expectation that you finish high school, get a career going, get a boyfriend, get married, buy a house, birth children etc... It all seemed to flow in a slip stream aka "this is what life is." Where does a conscious choice come into it? For me to have chosen differently, awareness would be needed. And I wasn't even awake.

So, I conformed. At the old age of 18, I felt I had been left on the shelf. And of course my childhood made me feel that I was damaged goods, and needed to have someone. I met my future husband just before our 19th birthdays, and the course was set. I toed the line and did what was expected of me, actively participating in this life course.  

Over 25 years, we all change. There were crossroads and I stayed the path - until I couldn't anymore.

There were signs this was not a union that was serving either of us - the most hard-hitting was an affair I uncovered after 6 months. We didn't pull the pin though - we decided to work through it and with a heart that has never felt the same, I did everything I thought would help to solidify the ground. My personal growth continued as I had my self respect grow, realizing there is a difference between wanting and needing someone in your life. 


After this time, I decided to leave nursing and have a career change. I felt that more that could be done to help people be well, the traditional "take this pill" just wasn't cutting it. My mum was concerned and not very supportive of this. You don't leave a 'solid' respectable job, especially with government employment, to run your own business. None of my family have never been self-employed (rellies are farmers) so this was all risky business in their eyes. 

I wanted to offer complementary and integrative health options (the other side of the healthcare coin) and opened the first yoga & wellness studio in town. It gained a wonderful reputation and attracted teachers and practitioners. And I haven't looked back.

 It amazes me how many say to me they wish they had the nerve to do that. My answer is "It's just a decision. If it turns out to be the wrong decision, just make another decision." But I know how fear about scarcity can influence our thoughts. How we feel paralysed when we don't have the finances to choose what we truly want, rather than what we can afford.

I challenge that thinking - as I stand on the edge and sometimes it's a leap of faith, other times it's a very timid step - all the time trusting that everything will work out exactly as it meant to and that I will be supported by God, the universe, Grace, Creator (whatever you name the higher power). And it was always been true. 


Life is what happens when we're making other plans. 

As women, we grow into ourselves (if we choose) as we age into our 30's, 40's and beyond. I learnt more about myself, I connected with a deeper wisdom and this has been guiding me since. As my personal spiritual growth grew stronger, the signs were hard to ignore. My eternity ring snapped, I had two minor car accidents (second one worse than the first), and a health scare...

In December 2014 I discovered a breast lump. I went through the whole process - ultrasound then biopsy. It was interesting how I reacted - I didn't freak out, I just took all the steps but truly believed I would get the all clear. Which I did. Thankfully.

I remember saying to my husband in the early days that I couldn't see myself as an old woman, which I interpreted as I would die young. But now I think it's that I wouldn't be old with him. The chapter was to complete and close when I couldn't pretend anymore. It's said that women emotionally leave relationships long before they physically leave and that was certainly the case for me.

It was around our 22nd wedding anniversary. I was 44 years old and the thought pop into my mind - I've been married 50% of my lifetime!! I don't think we will reach 23 years. With the eldest leaving for uni, I had time to lift my gaze - Is this what my life will be? About 6 months later, I walked away.

The easier thing would have been to stay. But I don't think that "easy" was a good enough reason to stay. And I needed to be the one to do it - for myself, as well as to show my children (a son and a daughter) that we don't need to settle for, to sacrifice our happiness, because it's easier than change. And it was also not fair for my 'wasband' either - the humdrum housemates existence which represented our union shouldn't be months rolling into years of fulfillment. Life was planned out - but not by me. I was just a passenger and sometimes could choose to be a co-driver on this ride. I could see the direction - predicable, safe, and pleasant enough. But is that all life should be? 

However, it went deeper than that. I realized as time went on that the breast lump was a warning shot - if I stayed where I wasn't serving my heart and soul anymore, I would manifest a serious disease. I would become sick. It was not a choice I wanted to make. 


I stood on the edge for ages. It was not an overnight, spontaneous decision, nor one I made lightly. Once I got my head around the fear of unknown when stepping out on my own, I chose to see this new path with infinite possibilities. My choices, according to Me. I was amazed it took ages for me to make a decision about the simplest things - I had always considered and melded into what the family wanted, my desires were put last - even by me. I was a devoted and dedicated wife and mother - to martyrdom status almost. Why are we conditioned like this? It's a question I will continue to hold a mirror up for. We don't need to feel guilty for asking for what we want - for having the last piece of cake, for missing a kid's game occasionally, for taking a break away from family responsibilities with a night out or a weekend away (or longer). This is what helps to keep our cups full so we can continue to give to those we love.

Don't get me wrong... I am still a work in progress - this is not perfect. But the experiences I've had since taking these steps I would not trade for anything. 

I encourage you to follow your heart - it will not guide you wrong. 

I encourage you to hold the space and explore what areas you feel you are not being authentic. 


Then dare to take a leap. Trust. And just watch and wonder.