The story so far: how One Grounded Angel was born

Woman with angel wingsOne of the questions I get asked from time to time is: “When did you know you could communicate with angels?” I wish I had a dramatic story to share, but unfortunately I don’t. I haven’t had a near-death experience. There was no lightning-bolt moment where I suddenly knew I had the ability to tap into the angelic realm. Mine was a very slow spiritual awakening, and it took years before I trusted that what I was sensing was legit. And it’s only been very recently that I’ve developed the confidence to pass those messages on to others. Here’s how it played out…

By the way, this story is kinda long, so you might wanna put the kettle on and make yourself comfortable. Take off your pants if you want to. (Actually on second thoughts, please don’t do that. I feel weird about it.)
When I was 25 and working for a major national magazine in Sydney, the editor introduced an angel card column, where readers could send in questions which would be answered by Doreen Virtue, a US clairvoyant known as the Angel Lady. If you haven’t heard of her, she’s written a million books about communicating with angels and has even appeared on Oprah. Although I was vaguely aware of the concept of angels before this, they seemed like mythical figures to me. But my curiosity was piqued and I sent in a question of my own, which Doreen answered with startling accuracy. 
Me at Newgrange tomb, Dublin, 2007
Two years later I was travelling overseas when I noticed a deck of Doreen’s angel cards in the window of a Dublin bookstore. On a whim, I forked out about 15 euros and took the cards home to Auckland with me. I started drawing a card whenever I encountered a problem and even though they didn’t always help me resolve things (in hindsight, because I wasn’t listening properly) they were always reassuring.
In late 2013, living back in Auckland, I was going through a low period in my life, feeling stuck, when I saw a Facebook post from Doreen saying she would be leading an Angel Intuitive workshop on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. I was looking for something to bring me hope, and I needed to get out of town. I booked flights and told my friends I was on a “meditation retreat” as I didn’t want them to think I was a weirdo. (I’m pretty sure they’re well aware, haha.)
Doreen’s workshop was awesome and it really taught me how to identify and trust the messages of my intuition. I met lots of normal people who communicate with angels. Yes there was a significant portion of the stereotypical New Age types – you know, the purple hair, the velvet clothing, won’t stop rambling on about how enlightened they are (yawn)...  but connecting with people who dressed and spoke just like me made me realise talking to angels was for everyone, not something reserved for kooky middle-aged women.
It was during this workshop that someone gave me a reading telling me I needed to move back to Sydney. I was annoyed. I did not want to move back to a city I thought I was done with. But, as often happens in angel card readings, it hit a nerve. I realised I was miserable in Auckland. Plus, I’d known for some time I’d needed to move on, because I’d been getting the ‘move’ card in my own readings for the previous few weeks but hadn’t really wanted to face it.
Leaving Auckland
I sat on the decision for several weeks. I knew the move was right for me but I was scared of starting over – particularly since I thought there was nothing ‘wrong’ with my life. (This was a lie I had been telling myself because I didn’t want to overhaul my life – more about that in this post.) It was an agonising decision. Wanting a neutral perspective I went to an angel card reader in Auckland, the wonderful Melissa Bult-Burns. Even though I draw daily cards for myself, I always book Melissa to do readings on the bigger-perspective stuff – it helps to hear the messages relayed by someone who can be objective. She confirmed that if I moved to Sydney my life would transform dramatically. Incidentally, I still have a picture of the cards she drew for me, and everything she pointed out has come to pass. 
After moving to Sydney in April 2014 I continued doing my own angel card readings, and my intuition was starting to nudge me towards the idea that working with the angels would be part of my life purpose. To that end, in November I flew down to Melbourne to attend Doreen’s final international workshop, at which I became a Certified Angel Card Reader. Still I had no plans to read cards for people professionally. At this workshop a card reading indicated I had strong energy healing abilities and would do well to train in something like reiki. The card reader showed me, in a really simple way, how to run energy, and I was amazed by how much heat was coming through my hands. This was encouraging. For some time I had been wanting to change careers. I had been growing disenchanted with the magazine industry and the way it now stifles creativity in favour of a formulaic ‘content factory’ approach. Plus, after 15 years I was bored. A whole new career path was opening up.
(Are you still with me? Kudos if you’ve managed to read this far. We’re almost there!)
At this workshop I also got messages from two separate people that I needed to be using my writing talents to help people. The angels were indicating that my struggle to find meaning in life would resonate with others, and that I needed to chronicle that in a written form. Sceptical but willing to take a chance, I came home and started this blog. I did not want to give the blog my own name because no one can spell it (lol). So I chose the name One Grounded Angel to separate myself from the airy-fairy peopleI wanted to talk about spirituality in realistic terms, with a good dash of humour. My mission was to empower people – without judgment, preaching or rules – to connect with their hearts and souls in whatever way feels right for them. I’m not saying I’m nailing this every time but I’d like to think I’m at least on the right track. I also didn’t want to present myself as any type of authority, so I went with the prefix ‘One’ rather than ‘The Grounded Angel’.
I told no one about my blog at first – I was too worried about being judged. My online following happened organically, and I have no idea how people found me in those early days. As always, the angels were right – my themes seem to have resonated with some of you. It’s certainly helped me, in just about every area of my life. I’ve derived significantly more satisfaction from my content on this blog than anything I’ve ever written in my journalism career.
My practice - lots of purple!
Fast-forward to March 2015, when I completed training in Reiki I, then Reiki II a few months later. I realised I could offer angel card readings and reiki within the same business model – the two modalities were a natural fit. I also realised that I had an advantage because I could easily communicate with clients’ angels to find out where they needed healing. That would be my point of difference. So I opened up my practice in Rozelle, Inner West Sydney, in July.
So that’s how I got here. It’s been a year of monumental change, and as with all stories, the best is yet to come. It’s the same for you, by the way – none of us knows how our stories will play out. The most important thing is that if you want a bigger, more meaningful life, you have to start a new narrative. None of this was planned, but all of this is perfect. Don’t focus on the ending – just start. 

Thank you for joining me on this journey  xx

In praise of writing. How to make every moment count

Woman on bed with coffee and laptopIf you’ve read my weekly Tuesday lists, you’ll know that I am a big advocate for using writing to acknowledge and celebrate what’s going on my world. Last week I used a similar approach to tackling a feeling of flatness and general life dissatisfaction. Instead of writing about external elements, as I do on Tuesdays, I sat and wrote down all the ways that I'm a more connected, more resilient, gentler and generally more likeable person than I was a year ago. I did this because I believe, as Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner declares, that “if you can write, you can change your life”.
At the end of this experience, I felt like my compass had returned to true north. Like I had twisted the end of a kaleidoscope (kids, ask your parents) and was suddenly dazzled by captivating colours and patterns. Colours and patterns which had, of course, been there all along. But I had not seen them because I was too preoccupied by the darkness. I was looking at the hole instead of the doughnut.
Even if your washing hamper is overflowing and your fridge contains only expired mustard and a mutated chilli*, you have much to be proud of. You are doing better at life than you realise. You are succeeding in ways that you likely do not recognise. You are learning more about yourself and your place in the world. You are contributing to the lives of strangers and acquaintances in ways that you will never fully understand. You are making choices to expand yourself and your world, and, ideally, learning from them. You are caring for yourself and the people around you – and this is no small thing. This is the biggest thing of all. This is what we are here to do.

Writing is how we can bear witness to that growth and also account for the actions that might be taking us far away from the people we want to grow into. It’s through the act of recording our experiences that we recognise that at any given moment, there is always more right than there is wrong. It’s how we hit the pause button on a world that seems to spin faster every year. It’s how we celebrate all that we are and all that we have. It’s how we can make the little moments count.

In a letter to her younger self, Cheryl Strayed – aka my spirit animal – writes: “The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.”

And it’s through writing that the becoming comes to light.
Woman writing in notebook
If you feel lost, putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard, can help you find your way home. This blog does that for me. I have to be totally honest with you at this juncture: this blog is not always a joy. It steals sleep and leisure time from me, and it yields precious little in terms of bankable business. BUT the act of diarising my attempt to find meaning in my life has resulted in me discovering that meaning, every day, in ways big and small. By translating my observations and disparate thoughts into tangible and (hopefully) fluid articles, I am living more consciously and less on autopilot. Writing can do that. I highly recommend it.

*Me, currently.