You could say I started young. As a child I was always the banker in Monopoly. Funny how labels stick. My first job out of college was an auditor for a bank – NationsBank. I also took the job because it paid $2,000 more than other job oers. Which taught me a great life lesson at an early age; never chase money. Let money chase you. I was an auditor for 366 days, 5 hours, 22 minutes. I remember this because it was the first and last job where I stared at my watch waiting for 5pm “quitting time”. My next position was in marketing for the bank and that opened the door to my creativity. After 7 years running their Olympic Sports partnership program, I visited my brother in San Francisco and fell in love with the intellectual stimulation and diversity of the West. I quit my secure job with the bank to jump into the internet boom by helping to lead a dot com, Quokka Sports, through their IPO. Next I tried my hand as CEO of an Adventure Travel company, Adventure Collection. In 2002 though, my mum was out visiting, and she and I got to talking about what it was that I TRULY wanted to do. What would get me jumping out of bed every day? What would make great use of my skills and passions? Within a few months there I was – opening my own vintage home furnishing business, Maison Rêve www.maisonreve.com
Like I said, there I was as the perpetual banker in Monopoly. I also used to sell icicles every winter. We grew up in Montreal, Canada and snow magically fell almost every day forming mountains of fresh snow right outside my front door. A child’s dream. I loved knocking icicles down from rooftops and displaying my collections on snow banks to trade with something one of my friends in the neighborhood had collected. When I reflect now on why I loved doing this, it was the way I could use my imagination to tell stories about each icicle and how mesmerized my friends were when listening to the stories. If we all think of moments in your life when you are “in the zone” using your gift, you will realize your true purpose in life meant to be shared. Only recently have I realized mine is as a storyteller who inspires people to see the wonder of life in simple things all around them.
My favorite three words have always been Belief, Imagine, Inspire. Just typing them gives me goosebumps. I think they carry so much power and magic and are aligned with my values. So I hope I can continue to use my imaginative storytelling to inspire people to believe in something greater than themselves that awakens their soul and brings love and goodness to the world.
Choosing love over fear. Living with compassion, kindness, joy and reverence for life. Inspiring my two young children, Finnegan and Delphine, and my husband David, and others in my community to define their own beliefs and live courageously by them. When we look at conflicts within ourselves, within marriages, communities, races, nations, between species, between our planet and us most everything can be resolved by each of us choosing to live by the values of love (compassion, kindness, truth, forgiveness, joy, hope…) over fear (anger, jealously, frustration, sorrow…). This is what really defines success rather than anything externally pursued. Having once pursued external rewards at the expense of my own values, I know first hand it doesn’t lead to personal fulfillment. And choosing love over fear throughout the day is easier than it sounds. It’s waking up each morning and making that simple decision “I choose to act in love over fear as best I can throughout my day.” I bet you will start connecting with people you maybe never have before. Doors will open up to you as the Universal force works through you to bring more love into the world. Life basically gets more peaceful and joyful.
When I don’t learn from experiences that are here to teach me and grow my soul. When I react in a contracted state, not open to learning from each experience and repeat the same responses that aren’t working for me. My soul fails to grow in that moment and I postpone bringing the next stage of enlightenment to myself.
Thank goodness, yes, many. For these have taught me the greatest lessons, far greater than the successes. Lesson like not chasing money but trusting the right amount will chase me when I pursue my purpose. Learning not to compare my success to others or to our culture’s current standards of success but rather be guided by my own values. Most of the mistakes I have had in my career happen when I am not clear about my personal beliefs. So I now have my beliefs written down and I chose experiences that are aligned with them.
That when I was living a crazy fast paced life and found myself way off course with my values, which was a good couple times, I found the courage to course correct. It took belief. Trust. Slowing down so I could reconnect with myself and hear my inner voice. It’s never easy. But I know first hand that that is exactly when you gain the most enlightenment. These pivot points in my journey have always reminded me how worthy I am. How connected we all are to one another as ONE humanity. How everyone is born out of purpose, no life is an accident. How sacred our planet is. It helps me feel the magic of the Universe. When I reconnect with myself the world always brings me opportunities that are in alignment with what I was meant to do during my time on earth. So I hope everyone course corrects when their inner voice whispers they are sailing away from their beliefs and purpose.
Great question. To look for, practice and apply the tools that will enable me to stay in touch with my authentic self, not my ego. Meditation. Yoga. Taking walks, connecting to nature. Write down my values so I have a clear guide to make decisions.
Marianne Williamson for having the courage to speak from her heart on issues our country needs to hear. Oprah for leading a spiritual movement. My mother for inspiring me to live with simple, joyful values and keeping that wonder for life. She is so amazing especially given she grew up from her infancy to age 18 in an orphanage in Switzerland during WWII. Yet she never lost that wonder.
Well that one’s not easy either, but I have found that if I focus on clarifying exactly what are my true values, then stringently stick to making decision by them, then balance can’t help but come. One of my values is living every moment. Really living and breathing in every one. I recently learned this requires creating “white space” around moments rather than packing in one To Do after another throughout my day. This way if a moment grows — say I run into a friend and we get into a deep connection – I make time to be present and enjoy it. Let it grow. I used to always be thinking of all the things I had to do each day so there was little white space left. I missed lots of spontaneous opportunities for fulfillment and chances to share and receive gifts with others.
I remember as a child always looking forward to the page in Goodnight Moon where I could say “Goodnight Mush”. I think its because my Mum made boule (French for porridge) and seeing it on that page, all by itself, with nothing else around it, well it always just felt like home. It’s the simple things in life isn’t it?!
Exploring a new culture with our kids so they learn how to relate to all cultures, appreciate diversity, and feel the expansiveness of our world. Our family recently returned from a month vacation at a farmhouse in France. We didn’t connect to TV, Internet or do all the touristy stuff. We just became locals in the culture, tasted all they had to oer (the food was amazing on a daily basis), read a lot of books after the kids went down (see list below) and enjoyed simple moments like watching the sun going down every evening. A perfect vacation.
1) Healing the Soul of America, by Marianne Williamson
2) The Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav
3) French Kids Eat Everything, by Karen Le Billon
4) The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents, by Deepak Chopra
5) Clean, by Alejandro Junger, M.D.