The Academy is the culmination of over 35 years of real-life personal transformation, filmmaking, online creating, housebuilding, permaculture designing, educating and martial arts training. In offering this affordable membership model, I get to bring women together to heal and grow by sharing ideas, and heart-to-heart connecting. In doing so, I help them build a different future for themselves and their children.
We transform ourselves, we change the future, it’s that simple. Kindness to the planet begins with kindness within.
I’m in the business of helping women cultivate their most fulfilling lifestyles by helping them learn simple, nurturing habits. Members of the Academy can feel more like themselves again, go outside more, sit with their feet in the grass, make easy fermented foods, deepen connections with those they love and heartily pursue their dreamiest life.
It is an immense privilege to facilitate these slow and lasting changes for mothers. Though it is in its early stages, already I see the effect it is having on members who commit and participate. I could tell you so many inspiring stories of women who have gone from feeling alone, depleted and lost to more connected, healthy and grounded. From there they can choose their paths forward with confidence and curiosity.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
In the pursuit of balancing work and family, I’ve found what works, and I do more of it. I practise a Korean martial art called Hapkido and also teach a women’s class. I eat organic vegetables with every meal. My partner and I have found a synergy in our ambitions that allows us to build on the things we love, separately and together.
I’ve stopped seeking balance so much, and now rather protect spaciousness by carefully selecting the work that I do (and, more importantly, the work that I do not do). I schedule buffer appointments into my calendar so that there are generous spaces between commitments, and put money into a special account that is solely for my own rejuvenation – think massages, facials, and nights away in hotels with our daughter.
And perhaps most important of all, I make time to spend with each one of my children individually. All these things keep me grounded, connected and discerning.
The drive: What challenges have you overcome?
Perhaps the greatest obstacle that kept me from starting this business was a lack of belief in myself and my own ideas largely arising from adverse early-life experiences. This underpinned a reluctance to lead and be visible – in community, in business, and in life in general.
So, like any self-respecting, uncrystallised yet intelligent woman, I embarked on a multi-decade-long marathon of ‘procrastilearning’. This is a phenomenon I have observed amongst capable women who lack the self-belief or self-confidence to achieve long-term job satisfaction. It involves multiple courses, degrees, even post-graduate qualifications – each one seemingly more crucial than the last – taken in the hope of attaining the elusive ‘one job I was born to do‘.
Over time, and with the support of friends, family, my husband (and a shedload of personal development and healing), I was able to see that maybe, just maybe, what they were all saying was true. Perhaps I did have something unique to offer other women who, like me, felt stuck, alone, or lost.
The most common expression I hear now is ‘…that’s such important work, it is so needed’. Almost everyone I meet has known someone that struggled to feel themselves and find the support they needed after having children.
I have my own support networks, and personal practices now that remind me of these facts when my self-doubt creeps back in – which it does, quite regularly.
For better or worse: What are the pros and cons of running your own business?
Being a business owner provides a measure of freedom. It means afternoons on the beach, or chilling at home after school. Conversely, I can also find myself writing in bed whilst one child rests their weary head in my lap.
It is crucial to set limits on late-night hours so as not to disrupt sleep and feel the flow-on effect for days to follow. Through learning to work smarter not harder the ideas come more easily and actioning them is simpler and quicker.
By far the best part of this business is the women I serve. Our members are astounding in their honesty, their gentle determination, and their generosity of spirit. They inspire me.
Hopes and dreams: What next?
As I’ve been saying to the women in the Academy lately, no step is too small, no dream is too big. The hope is to continue to innovate ways to serve this under-rated need so many mothers have: to feel connected and whole and happy despite our isolation, despite our traumas (all too often triggered by childbirth or early parenting challenges); and to move forward towards our further roles out in the world with confidence as our children grow up.
Soul Mama provides simple, accessible ways for mothers to have more fun, feel less lonely and walk confidently towards their life’s work. It offers a new way to feel deeply, tread lightly, and along with a team of collaborators worldwide, is set to support more and more mothers who could do with a daily dose of this special magic.