My One Big Regret – Not Loving My Body

If I could turn back time, there is one thing I do regret, all the other challenges were sent to me to help me evolve and grow. 

My greatest regret is how little I loved my physical bod when I was growing up and into my 20’s and 30’s. How I judged it, put it down, ridiculed it, punished it, wished it to be something it wasn’t, and never saw how beautiful it was. 

You see, my body didn’t fit into the ideal of a tall, slender, beach body like our idol Elle Macpherson had, instead, mine was strong, compact, and muscular.

I spent almost all my teens and twenties wishing I had another body. This beautiful gift, I never loved or appreciated the way I should have. I should have woken every day and said, “Hello gorgeous, thank you beautiful legs for the great work yesterday,” or “Hello lovely hands, you are tireless workers and I’m grateful.” Instead, I looked at my boobs and wanted them to be fuller, looked at my bum and wanted it to be flatter, sighed at my feet, wishing them to be narrower. I lived in ‘lack’ from the body up!!! I couldn’t see what I had; instead, I chose to focus on what I didn’t have, and that right there, ladies, is one of the greatest makes we make as a collective. Loving our bodies is a great place to start the process of loving yourself, respecting your choices, wants, and needs. 

When we stop loving our bodies, we start to disconnect from the most powerful ally we have. Let me say that again: when we stop loving our bodies, we start to disconnect from the most powerful ally we have. Your body is way more than its physical shape — it’s your antenna. It receives intuitive messages, hunches, feelings that are all information that you can use to move through life, and when we disconnect from our bodies, we disconnect ourselves from all that beautiful information that is available to us. We literally turn off our gut instinct and slowly shut off our natural radar. 

There is something else that happens too. We start to shut down our emotions. Our emotions are incredible indicators of what is going on in our lives and to turn these off is a tragedy. Emotions are ‘energy in motion,’ so imagine switching off the vital energy that transports life around your body. Gals, we need to love them. 

I know young girls have even more pressure on them today than I did all those years ago with the girls at my local beach. You have social media that beams into your life 24/7 insane levels of perfection and comparison. Comparison is the parasite that quietly eats away at your self-esteem. 

Choosing not to love our physical bodies is choosing not to love a big part of ourselves and we no longer know how to connect to our hearts, we become walking heads! Stuck in our heads. We turn down the intuition radar. 

I invite you today to make peace with your body. Start to see how extraordinary it is even in its imperfection. Recognise that it’s looking after so much for you, oxygenating and pumping your blood, regulating your heart, seeing, hearing, eating, digesting, feeling, and trying to tell you stuff! Your body is growing new hair and nails whilst you get on with your life, it heals itself when you cut yourself and it’s your bestie. Your body loves you and takes such great care of you, imagine how your life would change if you afforded it the same love and respect? 

Imagine your body is a beautiful bouquet of flowers or your favourite plant. It needs water, food, love, patience, and care.  

When you start to take care of your physical body, love it, be kind to it, feed it well, appreciate it, let it have the rest it needs, when you start to respect yourself, you are saying ‘I love you.’

Give yourself the gift of ‘being enough’ today. Don’t make the mistake I did, wishing away my days for the days when I was a couple of kilos lighter so I could do X or putting off enjoying today because of Y.

Get out of the future and into the present! See that the grass is green, rich, and beautiful where you are right now. 

Start to see your naked body as beautiful, even if it feels unnatural to start with. Find a way every day to talk to your body, acknowledge it and reconnect back to it. 

Love your body like you want to be loved.

 

Four things you can do today:

    1. See it as a plant that needs tending to, good food, rest, water, and kindness and it depends on you to take care of it.
    2. Every morning and every evening pay gratitude to your body for the gift it gives you.
    3. Start to speak to it like you would your very best friend. If your body hears loving words instead of criticism you too will absorb those loving words and start to believe them.
    4. Accept it exactly how it is. Stop putting off life till you transform it into some ideal of what you think it should be. Accept and see it’s wonderful just the way it is. 

 

Sending you love and light,

Carla 

If you want to know how you can live more wholeheartedly, reconnect to your joy, creativity and purpose, click on the image above to join the free training.

A Fresh Start, Energy, Burnout, and Autoimmunes

Dear Lovelies,

In Paris, we are experiencing a fresh start, a moment of excitement, hope, and good energy for what is next to come. Fresh starts require energy and that comes from our wellbeing so in today’s video I’m talking about energy, wellbeing, burnout, and autoimmunes and sharing my story on how I healed Lichen Sclerosus, Graves Disease, and Alopecia Areata naturally.

Over the years, I’ve blogged about this many times, and recently I had numerous people get in touch about their wellbeing so I thought it was time for a little update.

Enjoy…

If you have any questions leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.

Love and light,
Carla x

a fresh start

If you want to know how you can live more wholeheartedly, reconnect to your joy, creativity and purpose, download my Free Workbook here.

Mum, Eliza, Carla Coulson

A Mother’s Day Roadtrip

Mum, Eliza, Carla Coulson
With my niece Eliza and Mum at the back

My Dearest Lovelies,

When I think of my Mother, I also think of my Father.

Mum and Dad were a formidable team and they did everything together. So this Mother’s Day will seem a little odd for my beautiful Mum as she bravely navigates life on her own since Dad’s death. Armed with her enormous capacity for love, change, spontaneity, and belief in the hereafter, I know she will make it a beautiful next chapter.

This summer, Mum, my niece Eliza, and I did what any gals would do when they needed a little respite from heartbreak — we packed the car like my parents have done throughout their lives and headed out West.

We just wanted to drive, to feel the road pass underneath the wheels, see the landscape change and soothe us, and go to all the towns and places that we visited when we were  young and carefree. We wanted to feel the wind and the heat of driving in the middle of an Australian summer.

We needed an adventure of the heart.

The roads and towns of western New South Wales are imprinted in our collective DNA, passed down from my parents and grandparents and the enormous laundry list of towns they have called home for a short while.

Over the Blue Mountains, the Coulson’s feel like they are going home.

Our adventure included no bookings or plans, and we would just pick somewhere on the map (Mum’s suggestion) and head there.

The rolling hills and valleys of Oberon passed as we headed for Mayfield gardens, one of Mum’s recent dreams. We went to Boorowa, Cowra, Canowindra, dropped in to see friends out of Orange and Blayney and jumped back in the car to drive some more.

We laughed, we cried, we remembered, we argued about whether we had taken the wrong road or not and Mum told us our stories, the ones of her childhood, her family, of Dad and Mum when they were young and she passed onto the next generation the curiosity of places unknown.

We slept in pubs, hotels, motor inns, we spoke to strangers, we swam in local pools, ate Chinese food whenever we could like we did in the 70’s when we would put on our best outfit and Dad and Mum would take us out. 

Everything was fascinating, beautiful, new and I passed three of the most hilarious, special days of my adult life with my two road trip buddies. .

We drove and drove and we felt connected to Dad.

My mum has always chosen to make our lives fun from when we were kids, to show us that every day can be an adventure if we embrace spontaneity.

Mum has given more love and care than one Mum is required to do and on our little road trip she showed us that at 82 her spirit of adventure is still alive and her willingness to embrace the new and unknown is a gift.

Mum and Dad on the road at the end of the 60's.

This Mother’s Day, I’m sending all my love to my Mum and to all Mothers whose incredible work and impact is impossible to put into words and will be felt for many years to come.

 

Love and light,

Carla xx

 

P.S. We have a Mother’s Day Free Print Offer for every purchase of 20″ x 30″ (or larger) Limited Edition Print from my Young Girl in Bloom collection you receive a FREE 12 x 18 inch print of your choice so you can share the love. Full details here

grief

How Photography Helped Me With Grief

grief

When I received the word that my father was dying, it was already in a year that had its own share of grief, 2020. 

In Paris, our freedom had been taken away almost overnight with only hours of warning. The previous day I’d had the intuition to buy some black cardboard and as many flowers as I could get my hands on in different varieties. 

When the news came the following day that we would have 8 weeks without all shops, parks, theatres, restaurants, cafes and only 1 hour outside a day with a document, I constructed a little space in my office to take photos. 

Each afternoon at the end of the day, I would take a single flower and photograph it as though I was shooting a model and this single flower was a woman. I’d look at it from every angle, reimagine the petals into being gowns, the stems into long necks or legs. Some of them I imagined for the first time singing or shouting, standing proud or others dancing.

In all the phases of living and dying, I stayed with them till the smell of the water became unbearable. As the lockdown worsened, they became more and more precious, my escape every afternoon into a world of wonder, shape, form, light, and magic. In those hours I was with my flowers, I felt good, free of anxiety, lost in their details, and pushing myself to find something new I’d never seen before simply by moving a couple of centimetres. 

Then I got the call no daughter or son ever wants to get, that it was time to say goodbye to the first man I’d ever loved without knowing whether it would even be possible to get from Paris to Sydney with the restrictions on every part of the planet. 

Thanks to my beautiful friends Domenica More Gordon and Claire Lloyd who suggested printing my Covid project onto fabric, I could take it with me into a quarantine hotel for 2 weeks in Sydney whilst I passed the days waiting to see my father and add another layer.

On the two ‘weekends’ I was in Quarantine Hotel, I spent two days straight embroidering my flowers, adding little bits of gold to them like they were couture gowns or just paying my respects to the creativity of mother nature. The stitches felt like I was sewing it all together, my story, the past, the present, the old, the new, and bits of me that needed to be healed. In the quietness of embroidering (not that well), the hours passed quickly and each day I would wake, I would be one day closer to seeing Mum and Dad.

Dad waited for me and over the coming weeks when all Dad needed was to be loved, to share thoughts on life and have his favourite foods (oysters and mangoes) as he dozed in his chair, I would embroider quietly as the hours passed. 

Some of my flowers were in the stages of dying just like my father. I saw them as beautiful just as they were when they were in full bloom. I saw my father as an old man at the end of his life still beautiful as the lines blurred with the tall handsome man I knew as a child. I saw life in all its stages as beautiful and everything in the world seemed to hold wonder.

On the day before my father died, I stayed in the apartment all day, it was a hot day and something told me to stay. I made this flower, Mum had suggested which petals to embroider and I loved sitting quietly embroidering whilst Dad dozed. 

Grief cracks you open, like someone dropped a giant rock from high above you and smashes a part of you that you normally can’t access. Your senses are on high alert, and your antenna grows, you see more, feel more, and smell more. You feel a heightened awareness for everything like you’ve taken a magnifying drug into your feeling body.

Creativity gave me peace and mindfulness in a world that felt out of control, grounded me into the present instead of letting me ‘future trip’ into a scary place, invited me to see the details not only in front of me but around me, and that even in heartbreaking circumstances, there can be beauty, dignity, and creativity. 

Grief is every individual’s journey, everyone grieves differently but without photography and creativity, I’m not sure I would have managed quite so well. This little project of the heart will always have special meaning to me for keeping me sane during Covid, showing that there is true beauty in living and dying and that even an old dog like me can learn to do things differently.

If you are grieving, maybe there is a little creative project that will gently accompany you through this time.

Sending you love,

Carla x

P.S. Grief can take away our rudder and if you have recently lost someone and are wondering what is next for you, you can watch my FREE training on Reconnecting to Your Joy, Passion, and Creativity. x

Mum and dad

Saying Goodbye to Dad and 2020

carla coulson, dad on the beach, saying goodbye

Dear Friends,

On the 30th November, just days after his 91st birthday my beautiful father left, as he called it, ‘the land of the living’ to continue his journey with all his mates, ancestors, and family in another land. 

I take great solace in the fact that I know he is in great company. 

You are never really prepared to say goodbye even when you know it’s coming.

On the 21st of September 2020, I was one of the very lucky people who boarded a plane out of Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris heading for Australia to spend time with my dying father and my family. I called him from the empty airport lounge in case something happened to both of us in between and I howled down the phone that ‘he did a great job as a father and I loved him dearly.’ He reassured me that nothing would happen to him and I boarded the plane a blubbering mess, I prayed he would wait for me. Dad waited, he always did.

Hector coulson Carcoar with family, saying goodbye

My Dad, as my brother said in his eulogy, ‘was the kind of man that there isn’t enough said about.’ Dad saw it an honour to devote his life to his family from the day he married my mother and he was unwavering in his mission with my mum to give us a safe, secure, simple, and joyous life.

Dad was a quiet man but he knew who he was, stood by his values, and took great pride in passing them onto us. He found pleasure in the simple things, he tended his garden every day of his life no matter where we lived. Each time we would pull up sticks and move again to a new town, the first thing Dad would do was plant his new garden where we would always find sweet peas, petunias, pansies, and an array of veggies.  

Mum and Dad Carla Coulson, saying goodbye 

Mum and Dad were an undividable team no matter how hard we tried. It was this love and care that I had the joy of witnessing in the last months of Dad’s life. There was beauty in dying, in the love that my mother showed my father in the tiniest of daily rituals to ensure he was comfortable, the deepest loyalty in the promises to Dad that he would end his last days at home with his beloved garden just a glance out the window. 

In preparing to say goodbye, everything becomes precious, the sweet smell and taste of mangoes that Dad only wanted to eat for breakfast, the pristine white of the first magnolias that bloomed from the tree he planted in front of their window, shared discussions with my sisters and brothers about what to do next. The hunt for fresh oysters when that’s all he wanted to eat or to track down a culinary throwback such as ‘curried prawns and rice’ when the rare request was made. 

For me, everything was an honour, to do the smallest of tasks, to place a knitted blanket over him to keep him warm as he dozed off to sleep, like he did for me at the other end of my life. The smallest of tokens for the love and care my sisters, brother, and myself have been shown throughout our lives. 

hector coulson

There is so much talk about leaving a legacy, some families leave legacies of wealth and share portfolios. My father (and mother) left another kind of legacy, they worked every week of our lives to make our childhood an adventure, rich with barbecues late into the night on the beach when others may have packed it in for the day, picnics with our extended family that included card tables, flasks, eskies, fishing rods, cricket sets, and our beloved family dog. Road trips around Australia in our Valiant with wide eyes and big hearts singing ‘que sera, sera’. What will be, will be. 

It’s a legacy of family and beauty, of appreciation for a perfect gardenia and the rush of pleasure its heavenly scent elicits, for the simple joy of being outdoors laughing our hearts out and being part of this big, beautiful world we live in. A legacy of family I see in the faces of my nieces and nephews, my brothers and sisters. Going through our photos cemented another legacy, a life well-lived. Dad maxed out his life in his own gentle way and created so much love. 

 

Mum and dad

What remains? Love. Dad’s on another ‘plane’ now, but the love remains, so much love. I count myself as one of the luckiest gals on the planet to have inherited a gentle legacy that feels large and wide, perfumed with the simple joy of a garden, an incredible family with so much gumption and echoes of laughter floating away on a windy beach. Over the past months, I’ve spent so much time with my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, friends and family friends and it’s this fabulous tribe created by Dad and Mum that brings comfort and security. 

So on the Eve of the close of 2020, a year like no other, a year that gifted us the opportunity to tune into what is important to us, I thank you for being a valued part of my community and wish you loved times with your family and friends. 2020 has been kind to me, many wishes came true, so please don’t be sad for me, I’m filled with gratitude and thanks for all that I was able to experience and share. 

2020 has been a chance for all of us to ask ourselves the deeper questions about what’s really important to us and I hope that 2021 is the year we get to realise some of those dreams

Que, sera, sera (what will be, will be)

Carla x