Posts in Epic Practice
What's in a face?

From the moment we open our eyes, we interpret faces.  We take in shapes, tones and structures and we form impressions, incredibly consistent ones, about the character of others.  Are they trustworthy?  Nurturing?  Will I be safe with them?  It is truly incredible how innately we respond to a persons physical characteristics.  

Face reading has its roots in the traditional Chinese practice of physiognomy and has been brought into a new practice by Mac Fulfer.  It is incorporated as part of the Emotional Anatomy training and is now a key element of the way I get to know and understand others. 

People get great delight in hearing what their features say about them and I often get asked to share insights with people as a bit of a party trick.  I'm obliging because people are interested, but my real passion for the skill applies to the way it can change relationships.  Helping people to understand each other better can have a very positive influence on relationship dynamics because it changes the way they see both themselves and the other person.

Let me share a little bit of my story here with you.  I'm a pretty emotional person.  I'm also very determined, I think a LOT, and I like to communicate. I bear some pretty significant scars from early childhood trauma, and I've had my fair share of professional 'growth' experiences.  My husband (bless his soul) is about as linear, logical and pragmatic as you can get.  He's a data guy.  You know, ones and zeros.  We are your classic case of opposites attract!  Which is great when it's just the two of you and you can focus intently on each other, you've got the extra energy that it takes to operate in close proximity with someone who is your polar opposite.

HOWEVER.  Cue the addition of small children and all that 'discretionary' energy you had is guzzled by the ever-demanding anarchy that comes with offspring.  All of a sudden you're both sitting in your default positions and the space between you is measured in light years.

It can be so easy to believe that you're too different, the distance is too big and you just don't have the energy to 'make it work'.  I get it.  We've been there.  Multiple times.

That is until now.  Being able to see someone's innate characteristics, who they really are and who they are meant to be, reflected in their physical features, is very revealing.  With cognitive approaches we tend to think that the other person is somehow more able to change themselves, that there must be some deficit that makes them behave a certain way and that if they just tried a bit harder they could make the shift and everything would be ok.

This is about revealing your true expression and leaning into that.  Uncovering the ways in which you process information, engage with the world, make decisions, feel your feelings and think your thoughts.  You are forced to work with who you are, as you are.  The key difference between this and other more cognitive approaches to understanding behaviour, is that the body can't lie.  It is the soul incarnate.  Emotions and experience manifest.  And you cannot argue with it.  You can however, take the insights and work with them.

So what are the key tidbits that helped us out?  Here are some excerpts from our readings:

Me.

"..Large, low ears which are left brain. You take in information carefully, you evaluate and analyze preferring wisdom over speed and do not like to be rushed.....Round, full forehead is right brain, you hate being micro-managed, rigid systems, procedures and mechanical approaches......access hairs at the start of eyebrows indicate an ability to tap into your unconscious data bank of prior experiences and get intuitive “hits” through unconscious pattern recognition, making you a good judge of character and quick to spot what others may have missed.....wide space between your eyebrows is a self-will pad. Once you make your mind up you are hard to stop, a freight train line …which would add that your focus is not just like a laser beam but more like a laser beam on the front of a freight train, once you focus on your goals, others should either get onboard or get off your track. You can be intense......large irises show an emotionally open and perceptive person.....full lips show a warm passionate disposition and gift of expression.....the line on your chin indicates that you are an over-achiever and believe you are good when you get feedback from external sources........"

Him.

".....very left brain and his face shows a left brain brilliance. His big ears tell me that he takes in information very carefully, can be literal in listening (listens to the words meaning more than the tone)......Big will pad between eyebrows…once mind is made up he is like a freight train…either get on board or get off the rails he is not going to stop....His angled eyebrows are also a left brain quality… mentally in control, thinks that he is right, may refuse to admit error, can be mentally intimidating, few people would be willing to cross a person who has them........ Analyzes carefully so often, he is right......Straight mouth with thin lips…reserved in speech, has more thoughts than he expresses..Eyes angle down…does not look at the world through rose colored glasses…anticipates problems and sees the problems that others might miss......Left brains can be brilliant but have a harder time establishing relationships that are more than transactional.....his round chin may be his saving grace in that he does consider others when he is taking action......curve line on his chin is a desirability line, also called an “over-achiever” line........ gets his feeling of worth from external sources.......However, he has such thin lips he may not talk about the experience, as he can have a tendency to keep things to himself and compartmentalise problems...."

So.  

We have me - emotional, intuitive, creative, intense, determined, warm, expressive and needing some validation.  

And we have him - literal, determined, analytical, mentally intimidating, reserved, sees risk everywhere, finds deep relationships difficult, keeps things to himself and also needs some validation.

There were no surprises here for either of us, in fact there was a lot of agreement.  The gems though, are these:

  • We both benefit from some external validation (which neither of us would have admitted before), so we now have a daily practice of telling each other three things we appreciate about each from that day.  It genuinely works wonders, because it meets both of our needs in a non-threatening way, that isn't driven by making up after a big fight beforehand.
  • Knowing that he anticipates problems is great, and is a very protective trait.  However, children are like walking risk magnets and they need to be able to take those risks and fail, in order to learn and grow.  He spends much of his waking time preventing risks from being realised, and it's exhausting.  Sharing this conversation means I can gently remind him to let it go, and he can know that I'm coming from a place of understanding his natural instinct, that it is not a fault but that it needs to evolve to adapt to the situation.
  • Oh my god the poor guy is literally surrounded by feminine essence!  Everywhere he goes is emotion, nurturing, sensitivity, communication, expression, creativity.  And that was his path to take in this life.  The universe brought him exactly what he needed to learn his lessons and grow, but holy shit is it uncomfortable for him!  Understanding how innately masculine he is softens my frustration with his lack of expression, warmth and emotion.  I know he's trying and that he will continue to try, even though it's pretty hard work :)
  • Knowing that I don't like to be rushed is great!  Now I understand why I get so frustrated by my children who are demanding something and I need a moment to figure out how I feel about it, and they don't get that concept, so they keep demanding!  My responses to them have softened and I can just say, "give me a minute". 
  • For him, knowing how innately emotional and intuitive I am, helps him to know I'm not just being 'needy'.  He softens and tries just that little bit harder to meet me in the middle.

Do you see?  There are so many ways to know someone, and this is just one of them.  It's fascinating to understand yourself and others from a place of physical manifestation.  What does your face say about you?  If you're interested in this kind of work then take a look at Emotional Anatomy and book a reading, you will be amazed at what you can learn about yourself.

Jo x

An Epic Take on Ditching Stress & Anxiety

Overwhelm - that sensation of being consumed and drowning.

When you're overwhelmed, emotions are running high and rational thought is running low.  Overwhelm is a key signal that you are in the flight or fight response.  When you reach overwhelm you have likely been feeling inundated with difficult circumstances, repeatedly.  Initially designed to get us out of short-term life-threatening situations, the stress response increases cortisol and diverts energy from your non-essential systems (eg. digestion) to your essential systems (eg. respiration, circulation) to ensure your greatest assets and strengths are primed for survival.  

Unfortunately, for many of us our flight-or-fight response is perpetually switched on due to the demands of today's lifestyle.  Let's review the list........

  • Financial burden: mortgages, credit card debt, 
  • Career pressure: am I successful / happy / aligned / contributing / achieving?
  • Parenting perfection: trying to be ALL things, to smALL people - present, nurturing, independent, boundary enforcing, engaged and involved without being a helicopter parent
  • Nurturing relationships with spouse / partner while maintaining indpendence
  • Respecting wellness: it is inordinately expensive to feed your body with organic, whole, sustainable and ethically sourced food and engage in exercise, yoga, pilates.  Have you seen the cost of yoga gear!!
  • Relaxing: finding ways to switch off and  but not with more than two glasses of wine or you're an alcoholic
  • Keep up with the latest research / news / entertainment / technology while switching off your device to limit exposure to wi-fi

Hello downward spiral.  Yep.  It's easy to see how we end up in overwhelm.

There is plenty of information available offering solutions to manage anxiety and stress.  However, I generally find an abundance of advice with limited practical application.  My offering to you is to give practical tools that you can use anywhere, anytime to clear your mind and body of the anxiety that limits us into thinking that we are somehow not enough, right now.

Tap out of Overwhelm-2.png

When you are feeling stressed, try essential oils that help to open the airways so you can breathe deeply.  Deep breathing is still the most effective, clinically proven method of reducing stress.  Adding essential oils makes it far more effective, particularly if you have trouble expanding your lungs - because you're so uptight!  Easy Air, Peppermint, Cardamom or Lemon all support deep, oxygenating breaths that slow your heart rate, body and mind.  Once you're breathing well apply some oils that ground, centre and calm the nervous systems such as Balance, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Frankincense or Patchouli.  Add some oils to uplift your mood such as Wild Orange, Bergamot or Melissa and you'll be feeling like your old self in no time.  Once you've taken some deep breaths and let your body and mother nature do their work, it's time to delve a little deeper into other ways you can support yourself.

Emotional Anatomy provides remarkable insight into your natural characteristics and tendencies.  For example, if you're a Vata type you'll need to regularly ground yourself to ensure your flighty nature doesn't succeed in running away with you.  Faced with a crisis or the pressures of consistent high load, Vata types can experience an excess of thoughts, darting around in their heads and creating a lot of noise.  Standard response is to take flight. Regular grounding using essential oils, yoga or getting out in nature with bare feet will work wonders.  Pitta types on the other hand thrive on high levels of activity, both mental and physical. But we all have limits and if there is too much rigid structure, and not enough flexibility and choice, then the Pitta will end up stressed, tense and likely have digestive issues.  So keeping options open and doing meditation to clear the mind and body of excess energy will support you in the day to day.  And ditch the coffee, you don't need it!  Kapha types tend to go a little more slowly, they take their time to digest and need to maintain close links to their tribe in order to keep on an even keel.  During times of high stress you need to take time to connect with loved ones, and slow down. 

EFT Once you understand where your stress and anxiety is coming from, then you can get into the nitty gritty about why YOU'RE CREATING the environment that perpetuates the problem.  Yes, we all do.  You have control over far more than you think.  Understanding your behavioural patterns will give you enormous leverage in changing your life.  Whose expectations are you trying to meet?  What are you trying to prove?  Why?  The questions and answers are different for everyone and shifting beliefs that don't serve you will position you for far greater success, and peace.

I find it extraordinary that we are killing ourselves with stress.  The World Health Organisation reports that more than half the deaths that occur worldwide each year are the result of lifestyle choices.  'LIFE-STYLE'.  As in, how you style your life.  Do you want to style a life for yourself that results in stress, disease and death?  

I sure as sh*t don't!

I want a life that is full of joy, abundance, heart-warming connection, humour, intimacy, beauty and wild success.  I want to leave this planet knowing I did everything possible to give the most I could, and live the best I could be.  I want to know that my children, future women of the world, know fundamentally that they are connected to the planet, the universe, each other, me and most importantly themselves.  And that they nurture those connections of mind, body and spirit.  My job is to model HOW to do that, enough so that they get the picture and then grow up to go out and find their own ways of doing it, and contribute that to their world. 

So I do the work everyday to improve myself, to better my practice, to lighten my heart and to share that with others.  Because we learn through experience, we must take action.  Ain't nobody gettin' nowhere sittin' around thinking about stuff.  It's called 'contemplating your navel' and it's an incredibly indulgent behaviour.  Progress, momentum, change, growth, expansion - all require action.  So get up, learn about what's best for you, grab some oils and start tapping.  I love to hear how you use these tools in your daily life, post a comment below!

Jo x

The Holistic Triad
Holistic Triad-3.png

Ooohhh, I was always fascinated by triads when I was a kid.  The organisation, effectiveness and efficiency appealed to me regardless of the crime!  They were focused on their goals, they utilised the tools necessary to execute them and they were successful.  Triads have an organisational structure that works.  Sure it's not very humane or pleasant but it remains effective over time, and I honour those fundamental characteristics.  And maybe there was a certain element of bad-assery about them :)  

Emotional Anatomy, EFT and essential oils are a match made in heaven when it comes to personal change.  The complexity of human behaviour is such that a single-focus approach will never, ever be the answer.  Think about it.  

Take the medical approach to managing depression, you get prescribed anti-depressants that block the re-uptake of ONE of your happy neurotransmitters so you've got more floating around in your system and you start to feel better, sure.  But you haven't identified the cause of the decline in neurotransmitter, you haven't dealt with the events or relationships that contributed to your despair and you definitely haven't engaged your innate energetic intelligence to release any blocks that are underlying your state of being, allowing you to grow, expand and receive joy.

You could take the psychological approach and seek therapeutic counselling for support.  You'll feel some improvement because you're engaged in a supportive relationship, and hopefully make some behavioural changes to improve life over time.  Standard psychological techniques take a considerable amount of time to work and generally rely on your long-term engagement in a therapeutic relationship.  In the meantime, your biology continues to influence your daily experience through it's reactive neuro-chemical conditioning (the chemical state of our bodies are constantly responding to external and internal stimuli, so while you are continuing to feel and behave in your depression, your body continues to operate in it's matching neuro-chemical soup).  Again, you haven't embraced and addressed the soul aspects of your experience, so you will continue to be confronted with the same lessons, over and over and over again.  Sound familiar?

Or, you take the energetic approach and seek the support of a healer and balance your chakras - you feel very zen for a short period until the root cause of your imbalance which is manifesting as depression reappears (because it will, until you address it) and bam, you're all out of whack again.

Don't get me wrong, each of these tools are a wonderful support and I admire every single person that takes brave action to help themselves improve their life, period.  Action is ALWAYS better than no action, even if it turns out not to be the right action, we learn and we keep taking more action, moving forward.

What I am advocating is a truly holistic approach.

Body. Mind. Soul.

Essential Oils. EFT. Emotional Anatomy.

The Holistic Triad.  Combined, these three tools address your biological state, your emotional baggage and your soul fractures.  In the form of completely pure, organic compounds that work in symbiosis with the human body (as opposed to synthetic drugs which are antagonists by nature), clinically proven psychological techniques that engage human energy systems and, the practical physical manifestation of your soul's developmental journey.

Whhaaaaatt?  I hear you say.  It's a lot to take in, I know.  But it's also really simple.  As long as you are open to to a couple of possibilities: 

  1. Everything is ENERGY
  2. Everything is CONNECTED

If you accept that everything is energy, and everything is connected, then it makes perfect sense that we can use these tools to change our lives.  If we take the example of depression above - using the natural chemistry of essential oils we can shift our mood, improve sleep, calm nerves and increase energy.  Using EFT we can identify AND process the experiences that lead to your current feelings so that you can release the related emotions that are keeping you in a depressed state.  Again, essential oils emotionally anchor your growth and provide stability through the process.  Using Emotional Anatomy we can uncover your innate characteristics and traits that help you to understand how and why you made the decisions you did, and change the way you relate to your Self, so that you make decisions that are better aligned from here forward.  When you act from a place of alignment then you make decisions that work for you, that add value to your life and allow you to serve your Self and others well.

What tools do you use to support yourself through growth and change?  Leave a comment, I'd love to know.

Jo x

Surviving the Journey: Control to Chaos and Out The Other Side
  Nimbin

Nimbin

I am no expert but I am blown away by the profound shift in my life, my self, my being, since I tuned into the subtle energies of my existence.  There’s a little backstory here, and it’s buried in my journey into motherhood but it starts way back when I was a little girl and we lived in a town called Nimbin for a while.  You may have heard of it.  A hippy commune in northern New South Wales, Nimbin is known for it’s alternative approach to living.  Nimbin was our haven, a place of safety against a backdrop of significant traumas in my life at the time.  I was 9 yrs old when we moved there for a year and I had no idea what was surrounding me, still too young and introverted to notice.  But what I did know, was that for the first time in my life I felt connected.  I was connected to Mother Nature.  She whispered to me in the trees, shone brightly at me in the sun and grass, tickled me through the hairs on the end of the cows nose and woke me rudely through the roosters crow.  She held my fractured little soul sacredly and touched me with hers, imprinting me with her truth, deep, deep, deep in my core.  Now don’t worry, at the time it was all cow pats and friendship rings.  It wasn’t until much, much later that I recalled those connections, that felt presence of our divine source, that I realised what I had experienced.

In my teens, twenties and much of my thirties I strived against all things spiritual.  I studied hard, drank lots and worked my way up the corporate ladder in a very successful public service career.  I thought I had my life ALL FIGURED OUT.

And then along came my first born.

Now, thanks to my childhood I held a very strong belief that I didn’t not want children.  I couldn’t fathom how I would give a child a good experience, when my own had been so hard and hurtful.  It just didn't compute.  But one day, I woke up and felt different.  I literally felt different.  I opened myself to the possibility.  I realised that I actually had everything in place to give a child a very good life, and that I had created that.  So if I could create a great life for myself, then maybe I could do the same for a child and if that was the case, then yes, I would like to be a mother.  And so I fell pregnant.  In my mind, I had it all worked out.  Pregnancy, birth (maybe c-section if I didn’t feel like birthing was my thing), maternity leave and back to full-time work to further my career.

I’m sure those of you who have been down this path can sense what’s coming?  Well, the shock of my life came - literally - when it came time to birth my eldest daughter.  

I was terrified.  I had no confidence whatsoever that I could birth a baby.  I had no idea about the process, about what my body could do, about my eternal connection to this new life.  I did not feel like a woman.  I felt like a vessel.  I booked an induction to make sure my angel of an obstetrician was on hand.  And it was horrendous.  I was not prepared in the slightest for the visceral experience that is birthing.  The physicality, the primality was too much for my analytical mind to bear.  I had no idea that during that process my spine would undulate to awaken all the energies of my soul in bringing this being to life.  That I would energetically imprint her with all my terror, anxiety, fear, overwhelm and grief.  I felt completely at sea, abnormal and not at all grateful.  I was sooooo disconnected, I could have been on Mars.  My labour was very quick which did not help.  I left the hospital 5 days later in tears, not knowing how to feed my baby properly.  I struggled through those first few weeks and eventually gave up, switching to formula so I could have some control, some order in the madness.  And promptly slipped into post-natal depression.

The weeks and months slid by and I hid under a cover of tiredness.  Until eventually I started to wake up. Something in me stirred, started stoking the fire in my belly to get better, to find a path out, and to definitely not go backwards.  Now as someone who had been diagnosed High Functioning Asperger’s at 30, after a long and winding diagnosis route, I was not a fan of medication.  I had been on and off it for years, and at the time, I was on it.  I figured it wasn’t really working because I was depressed, on anti-depressants.  So I started looking for alternative pathways out of this mental mess and I discovered the gut-brain connection.

  Lacto-Fermented kraut is a daily dose in our home

Lacto-Fermented kraut is a daily dose in our home

As an innate researcher I scoured all the sources I could find for information and found a wonderful nutritionist.  I did a DNA Wellness Test (which spoke to my need for evidence) and discovered amazing facts about my genetic makeup that helped me target a nutritional program to manage my physical and emotional wellbeing.  My eyes were opened to the influence of toxins, how the body works, what we know and what we don’t know.  I was introduced to the magic of fermenting - veggies, kraut, yoghurt, kefir and kombucha, where I found more links to my childhood.  The whole foods my mother cooked, her medicinal chicken soup (now the oh so fashionable bone broth!) and her understanding and respect for natures bounty.  That the natural world held all the solutions and if we got out of the way, we’d be able to receive them.  It worked.  I had great results, got off the medication, was healthy and well.

Then I went back to work. 

A whole new raft of questions came up.  Who the hell was I now?  I missed Eadie so much it was unbearable. I wasn’t supposed to be this person. I was supposed to be the other person. The one who took it all in her stride - leadership, bottles, nappies and negotiations.  But as much as I thought I should be that person, it was starkly evident that I was not. I had to listen, I had to face the questions and I had this niggling feeling that the answers were not going to be what I wanted to hear.

Pregnancy number two decided to answer the questions for me.  We’ll leave the details of that journey for another post, suffice to say it did not go smoothly and it forced me to confront the questions of purpose and life. 

Fast forward and my second daughter is 1 yr old and I am contemplating my second return to work.  Every time I thought about it I wanted to run, madly in the other direction.  I physically felt myself back-peddling away from the structure and soulless nature of my career.  I decided to take some further time off, this time just for me.  So I could dive deep and figure out who I really was now (or have always been) and how I could go about being that person - so that I could continue to feel the love, joy and contentment that had awoken in me.

And here’s the thing.  When you get present to yourself, when you get real and you open up, you make space for the Divine to flow into your life.  Strange shit happens.

First, essential oils found me.  Like in a gigantic way.  When I opened the first bottle my whole body sensed it, it was like I could see molecules travelling in the superhighways of my neural networks and they were HAPPY and FREE!  I couldn’t put them down and I had to know everything I could about them.  I bought books and would wake up at 4am (having already been woken multiple times during the night) with excitement to learn.  I was obsessed.  And when I discovered I could build a business with these oils, despite never having worked in retail and only ever attending two previous product ‘parties’ - it was a revelation.  Finally, I found something I could do that actually 'lit' me up.

And then, through the gorgeous nature that is dōTERRA, I came across Emotional Freedom Technique.  Now as someone who had studied psychology and then spent 15 years in behavioural management (first with criminals, then with staff - same, same!), I have always had a keen interest in ways to shift human behaviour.  Seeing as we all seem to find it so difficult :)  EFT appealed to me because it’s a tool that empowers people, and doesn’t make them dependent on a long term therapeutic relationship.  It combines eastern medicine with western psychology, the evidence base has exploded in the last 10 years and it’s simple and effective.  So I completed my certification to become a practitioner.  In doing that work, I discovered there were a few traumas still lurking around in the dark recesses of my soul, preventing me from stepping out into my fullest potential.  I was able to clear a lot and fully understand the bits that remained.  I knew I was not done, and while google searching information about energy psychology, Emotional Anatomy dropped into my results.

Now, I had zero idea about Emotional Anatomy, and even less intention of making a significant time and financial investment taking a course that I had no idea how I could use in my life.  But it nagged at me.  It nagged and nagged and nagged at me until I picked up the phone and made the call.  The beautiful Tess was very helpful about what was covered in the course, but it was still vague and I definitely did not have the $$ at the time to afford it.  So I "ummed" and "ahhed" and told her I would get back to her.  A few weeks went by and I could not let it go.  I felt this incredible pull to do this course, to sign up, knowing that I needed it.  There was something that I needed to learn, and it was fundamental to my being, foundational to my experience and pivotal to my future.  So I said yes.  It felt completely right.  

When the time came to commence the course I was really quite relaxed.  I was intrigued and open, but I also knew I had done a lot of inner work in my previous 20 years so I thought I would be in a fairly knowledgable seat of power.  Bahahahaha!  I could not have been more wrong.  The Emotional Anatomy course was life-changing.  To see myself from the perspective of my soul, my potential, was indescribable.  Barriers were broken, beliefs identified, distilled, discarded and new ones formed.  And healing came.  Because up to this point I had cleansed a lot of the emotional trauma from my childhood, but I knew deep down that I had not forgiven the various perpetrators in the story.  I could not quite get myself to do that.  Through the growth I experienced I was able to truly see and accept that everything is energy.  EVERYTHING.  Not just all the good, nice, happy stuff, but also all the bad, painful, hurting stuff and the people that went with those feelings.  EVERYTHING.  And if everything is energy, then I can accept that my perpetrators were experiencing and acting our their own energetic journey, that was clearly full of pain, sadness, shame, guilt and grief.  I accept that they were not bad people, there is no such thing.  And just like that, it evaporated.  The last little remnants of trauma that I was holding onto, just pffft.  And forgiveness came in their place.  

Now, I recognise that this may be a long bow for anyone else to draw, and that’s ok, because you don’t have to - it’s my journey and yours is yours.  There is no judgement here.  But I can tell you since going through that expansion, I relate to those memories so differently and I am beginning to reclaim my sovereignty.  And THAT is powerful.  Because for a child that has been sexually abused and grown up in violence, the long term effects of losing personal power are dramatic, constant and compounding.  Without personal power, I lived a life that was not mine.  Always looking to please others and for external validation lead me to the place that despite being quite functional (great job, house, marriage, dog etc) it was not happy, fulfilled or connected.  

Through using essential oils, EFT and Emotional Anatomy I found that I am a creative, nurturing woman, deeply connected to my Self and my lineage. It pours out of me now. I am so different. I am completely at peace with that. That doesn’t mean that everyday is peaceful - I have small children, a business, a job, my day’s are anything but peaceful. But I am in touch with who I am. My authentic self. My truth. And that has made finding my purpose easy. I fought it and made it waaaaayyyyy too complicated, but it kept standing front and centre until I did the work to clear the view so that I could see. I am a healer. A nurturer.  A leader.  I am practical, efficient and focused. All my experience and skills to date have led me to this point.  

I use emotional anatomy, EFT and essential oils to help people heal. I'm a creator, problem-solver and change-maker. It’s that simple, and I love it.