Matthew Usmar Lauder is one of my favourite people on the planet for so many reasons, not only is he a brilliant man, kind, generous, funny and loving, he is a super talented artist and is an animal whisperer.
I have witnessed first-hand his devotion to animals and art and nothing brings me greater joy than to let you know he is combining his two loves in an art exhibition in London next week called Reigning Cats and Dogs. The solo exhibition is in conjunction with the Wild at Heart Foundation Lesvos project to help fund the people of Lesvos rebuild a shelter on the island to ensure that hundreds of strays can find safe refuge, receive urgent care and medical treatment.
If you are in London there is much delicious art to be seen and had and it will help our furry friends in need and the great people who look after them.
Thank you to everyone that applied for the scholarship and my apologies this is a day late. I had over 60 applicants and it took longer than I thought to watch the videos and read everyone’s story.
Everyone’s stories and dreams are valid, real and achievable. It has been one of the hardest decisions of my life to award 4 places and I was unable to do it, so I have created space for 7 scholarships.
There have been times in my career when people have reached out and helped me and maybe some of them didn’t know it at the time but they changed my life in some way. I hope this scholarship for the following women help them open a new chapter of their life and bring what’s in their heart to life.
So ladies, get ready for a happy dance…
Each of the following people has won a scholarship to the Yes, Yes, Yes Program:
Georgina Lee Jones
You will receive an email from me with all the instructions regarding Yes, Yes, Yes and the open date of our next round!!
For all the other ladies who APPLIED, THERE IS A SPECIAL EMAIL COMING YOUR WAY so look out for it and thanks for your time and stories and I hope our paths cross soon.
When I was a kid, I was attracted to women who had giant rings on their fingers, often glamorously referred to as cocktail rings. I noticed these women seemed to belong to a special club! They were a little louder, noisier, a tad more free-spirited and sometimes downright naughty.
I watched with intent from the front row of my parent’s parties, barbecues and events how different types of people did life, I decided a long time ago I wanted to join the ‘cocktail ring club’. I wanted to be a glamorous woman with cocktails rings, living ‘who knows where’ in the world, doing something interesting and fabulous whilst being slightly naughty.
Even as I kid, that wild maverick side of me wanted to be unconventional. There were so many things that just the thought of made me feel hemmed in. A picket fence (would love one now), a grinding routine and conforming to the norms of society.
I remembered in my late teens announcing if I ever got married I wouldn’t choose a diamond ring I would have a piece of rock instead and I would wear something weird to the wedding. My poor mother would just roll her eyes and deal with my latest rant on whatever I thought about life or my weird fashion moment.
When I was growing up I was attracted to excitement. I guess it was wanting a ‘bigger life’ and excitement felt like that, a little dangerous, a little sexy and a little like the ladies wearing those cocktail rings, doing something you shouldn’t do whether it was going to a party you shouldn’t be going to, hitchhiking to see Barnesy at the Kempsey RSL (sorry mum never told you about that) and being attracted to the funster men (mostly proved to be heartbreakers and very unreliable)!
When my sisters started having babies I was the most excited Aunty on the planet. They did the most amazing job being mums whilst I was still kicking around Sydney single, a little lost in a life that didn’t feel that exciting. How did the girl with the cocktail ring fantasy end up single at 35, in a job with a grinding routine, pretty much conforming to the norms of society!!!!! What happened to that bigger life?
Well, I took my Aunty duties very seriously and packed as much fun into our lives as we could when I still lived in Sydney near these beautiful poppets. We would go to the pool together, dine in Darlinghurst (aka sip a babycino) and I would just love to look at these beautiful creatures and watch them grow.
A lot has happened in between and last night (aka 19 years living in Europe) and one of these poppets was in Paris this week and is now a grown, beautiful woman. I took her on one of my favourite tours around my local area in Paris, starting with a coffee at Caffe Tortoni and little something from Bully, off to see an exhibition of Elliott Erwitt, we dropped into Merci to check the wares and then weaved our way through the cobbled streets of the Marais eating Pierre Hermé macaroons on the hop before delving into Eataly just to please my Italian heart.
We watched Jessica Chastain shooting a movie on the corner of Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe and then we headed to the river and found two empty beach chairs (modern miracle) on 29-degree days and drank Aperol Spritz as the sun went down along the Seine with the whole of Paris.
There was a moment that I looked at my beautiful niece Isabella and got choked up at her beauty, intelligence and kindness and with all my heart and felt grateful to share this moment with her.
I reached down to get something out of my bag and I saw my handful of big rings, you could almost call them cocktail rings on my leopard print dress and I was wonderstruck — sitting on the edge of the Seine in the spectacular afternoon light watching the sun going down behind Pont Louise Philippe, I realised I had become the little girl in my childhood dream without even noticing. I was no longer watching from the front row I was her and ever so naughty!
The spirit of the unconventional girl may have been covered up for the best part of 20 years in the middle of my life whilst I lived the wrong life for me but she triumphed in the end. My spirit kept whispering in my ears all these years and like the words in my own jumbled Cat Stevens song (needs to sung to The Cat’s in the Cradle) I formed my own lyrics as I headed home.
I believe in the power of women and community and it has always been my wish and desire to give back where I can and I am so excited to launch my SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM to the YES, YES, YES group – there are 4 places available.
I have seen the power of what a group of women can achieve moving forward together to bring what is important into their lives and I want to help women who are powerful and have big dreams but are currently not in the position to pay for this program.
It has been my greatest joy seeing women achieve some of the following in the past 5 months:
Heal their chronic illness
Write a book
Start painting and working towards a solo exhibition
Improve their relationships
Launch a creative business
Move to Italy
Kick their ‘worn out stories’ to the kerb and start a fresh
Raise their rates and transform their money story
Embrace their worth and beauty
Enter a photographic competition for the first time and end up a finalist
Get their love for life back after a divorce
And so much more…
What the scholarship includes:
4 places with Lifetime access to the Yes Yes Yes – The The Year You Say Yes To Yourself program where you hone into what you want to bring into your life and go after it in a supportive like-minded community.
10 transformational modules including videos, audios, and worksheets to help you move through each phase of the program.
Access to all live group calls and the Private Members only Facebook Group.
A one-hour one-on-one private call with me.
To see full details of what Yes, Yes, Yes is about, click HERE.
TO REGISTER, COMPLETE THE SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION. You’ll find the link to the form HALFWAY DOWN THE YES, YES, YES MAIN PAGE.
If you know of a mother, sister, friend, daughter, niece or colleague that this program could benefit and transform her current situation, please share this LINK or post it on your social media.
Here’s how to apply:
READ what Yes, Yes, Yes – The Year You Say Yes To Yourself is about and if it is something you need in your life at the moment.
Optional – Create a video (maximum of 5 minutes) introducing yourself and where you are at in life and why you would like to win the scholarship, what is holding you back or had held you back from achieving this in the past. Feel free to share with us any part of your story, creativity or otherwise.
A requirement is to be open-minded, coachable and committed to doing the work.
To understand what Yes, Yes, Yes is about, click HERE and share this page with your friends.
The scholarship winners will be announced on Monday, 22nd July 2019 on my blog.
Light and Love,
PS; If you would like to bring to life a project, start over or learn how to say YES to yourself you can DOWNLOAD my New Beginnings Workbook HERE
I am so excited to present to you today another fab interview in Magic Is In the Doing series with a creative making her dreams happen, this time it’s author Louisa Deasey.
Louisa has recently published a memoir titled A Letter from Paris and it is a very special book for many reasons. Louisa went on the ultimate creative journey, she followed her curiosity and had the chance to get to know her long lost father’s hopes, dreams, loves and adventures after a mysterious letter arrived from Paris.
Over to Louisa…
You recently published a memoir A Letter from Paris… which unfolded after you received a letter out of the blue from the granddaughter of a woman in Paris who once knew your father.
This was the ultimate creative journey, you used your curiosity and allowed it to take you on an adventure that ended with you writing a book about it. Can you tell us about ‘the trail of breadcrumbs’ you kept following to bring this journey to life? When did you think it had legs?
Pretty much as soon as I received the email from Coralie (in Paris), I had this feeling of impending doom – lol! You know when you just know you’re going to have to follow something through no matter how or where or what it takes from you? It was that intense and that immediate. It was about my dad, who I’d never known, and I just had this immediate feeling that it’s now or never. If I don’t pursue this now, it won’t just be me who never knows dad, but none of my siblings and their children or this family in Paris who had apparently been wondering about him for decades. I felt like I was the only one who could tell the story, and research the story, and that was a huge responsibility; a huge thrill, a huge fear, a huge risk.
Like anything creative and authentic! It was just ‘huge’.
I should also add that I’d been fruitlessly pitching a fiction novel, I’d worked on for 6 years, to various publishers for about 18 months when A Letter From Paris landed in my lap. Before I’d even written a synopsis for A Letter From Paris I had an offer from a publisher, so I also had this feeling then that – my god! this story was a gift. As much as I knew it would take out of me, it was a gift if I wanted to write another book.
A Letter From Paris is a creative project of love, sweat and tears; it embodies the ultimate sense of ‘creative living’ – using your life as an art form. How did this project enrich your life, what experiences, people or insights did it give you? What were the challenges?
This is the whole thing about a memoir that I love – we are creating art from the material of our lives, which is oftentimes from pain. It also unites us with people we may never have met. It is a very intimate and personal form of writing. The whole thing was just miraculous. Not only did I find my dad’s memoir (of life in France in the 1940s and 1950s) when I started to research it, I also connected with people who’d known him all across the world; through letters, diaries, and social media accounts.
I opened my self up a lot, writing this book. It was quite painful, which I write about in the book – having to keep repeating that I didn’t know my dad and asking if anyone had any memories or letters to share I would be grateful. 99% of the time they were open, but the ones that didn’t really hurt, because I had put myself in such a vulnerable position to ask.
But I met this incredible French family and I made new friends in France, London and Australia. One of the most special connections was a woman whose dad had written a very long eulogy for my dad, which was never published. I found the full eulogy in the library and went on a wild hunt to find his children (the author is no longer alive). After a strange bump into a long-lost friend on my way home from the supermarket, I sent an email to someone he suggested, who then forwarded it to the children of the man that night. By morning, I woke up to three emails with recalled memories of dad and their phone numbers. Two of the children lived just streets away from me!! I called one of them up and she was home, looking through her family photo albums and invited me to come over. I saw all these photos of my dad I never knew existed, because I’d dared to take the risk.
She’s still a dear friend and has been a huge support in this journey!
But the writing was tough. It’s so emotional – excavating your family history. Unravelling stories that do or don’t have truth in them, exposing yourself on the page. At the same time, I felt in some ways I didn’t have a choice, as the story fascinated me so much. I was quite obsessed!
I have a saying that ‘magic is in the doing’. That we can all take our dreams to reality if we take inspired action. What were 5 key things or actions that you did to bring this project to life?
Listen to your gut. Like I said, the moment I received the email from Coralie I felt this buzzing in my stomach, I knew I had to pursue it. Follow those feelings.
Start wherever you are. I had very little information about my dad when I began. I had to just start with that…
Find understanding friends – even one could make all the difference. A lot of my most understanding friends have come from the internet! It’s easier than ever to make connections with like-minded people, thanks to Facebook and Instagram and the incredible world wide web. It’s like a global portal! Not everyone gets how difficult the creative process is. I really learned who I could trust when I was working on this book – it’s so personal. Creativity takes a HUGE amount of risk and it may not pay off in the ways you expect (it rarely does!) but you have to do it for your own reasons. Find friends that believe in you or also value these special projects.
Keep going, but have breaks when you’re getting overwhelmed
Remember that creative work lasts a lot longer than any momentary agony that you might feel during the process. I have this funny quote from Leo DiCaprio while he was filming Romeo and Juliet with Baz Luhrmann: Pain is temporary, film is forever. Yes, you’ll have to mine the depths to bring forth your best and deepest work. But when it’s out there and finished you can rest and know that you’ve made the most of this one wild, beautiful life you’ve been given. You’ve created something that’s going to last longer than you!
How important was it to get your message out there? What were 5 things you did in those moments of difficulty that kept you moving forward and what did you learn about this process?
I wanted to get a publisher because I needed a deadline. If I didn’t have a deadline I could have researched my dad’s life for twenty years!! His material is in over a dozen library collections and who knows how many private collections across the world. So even though I didn’t even know the end of the story, and it was intensely personal, I pitched it to an agent and a publisher within weeks of hearing from Coralie. This was really emotionally tough as I felt so exposed. I found an agent for this reason as I needed someone to negotiate the money, business and contract side of things that wasn’t me (ie. grappling with accepting the value of the story and of my own writing.) A friend had said to me after I was made an offer on the book (before even writing the synopsis!) it was the only time I would have any power in the process so I should get an agent at that moment. So I did, and I’m grateful to her for that advice, as I’m not that comfortable with being in a position of ‘power’!
A Letter from Paris has now been published in Australia, the United Kingdom and will be released in the US in October – the ultimate creative dream!!! How does it feel to look back to that first email and now hold a book in your hand and see it on bookshelves or photos of them from around the world?
It’s pretty beautiful actually, but what makes me happiest of all is that the French family (Coralie’s family) love the book as they feel it’s brought their grandmother back to them. And Coralie read her initial email out on the BBC London podcast, which was amazing! I love hearing how it’s received in different countries. The English response about my obsession with European trains was funny – they don’t understand how bad our train system is in Australia! I’m really curious to see the response in the US. Dad wasn’t famous, and none of the book is set in the US, but there was a strong American contingent in Paris in the 1940s and 1950s (on the GI Bill) who dad associated with. So it will be exciting to see. It’s a dream come true!
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone else who wants to follow their dreams?
Have a vision and keep driving forward. If it feels right in your gut then you have to pursue it – until completion. Don’t give up when it gets tough! Have a break, sure, but don’t give up.
How do you keep saying YES to your dreams and what do you do when fear strikes?
I get scared all the time, but I also know that I can trust myself when I give myself enough time to listen to my intuition and check in with what feels right. It has to feel right. If it’s not authentic I just have no interest in doing it. When fear strikes, I just try and be a bit gentle with myself and see if it’s because of a valid reason or if I’m just feeling vulnerable. I put myself out there a lot with this book, and all the publicity around it, and the kickstarter to publish dad’s French memoir! So I’ve needed to just take lots of ‘cocoon’ breaks and get back to my study/cat/house and remember who I am: a writer who loves to sit and tap tap tap at the keyboard, and communicate with beautiful people across the world. I love writing – emails especially!
A huge thanks to Louisa for sharing her story and her creative process with us. You can follow Louisa on Instagram HERE and get her regular blog updates HERE.
Love, light, and creativity,
P.S. If you would like to know more about how you can realise your dream you can download my video series on how to Get What You WantHERE.