I have just come out of some intense few days recovering from covid. It took over my whole body, the aches and pains and intense feelings I had were overwhelming and all consuming.

What happened during this time shouldn’t have been unexpected, but it was. A beautiful feeling came over me. And that beautiful feeling was love.

Last year when I was going through breast cancer for the second time, I felt the same thing. This beautiful contrast of light and dark and this overwhelming feeling of love and light came over me.

But this feeling hasn’t always felt familiar.

Last year was a great awakening, a shift into higher consciousness and an opportunity to uncover more of the real me. To tap into what I truly desire and feeling called to step into the role I was meant to play in this lifetime.

There are always blessings in every challenge. An opportunity to face your fears and grow from them.

My cancer diagnosis was a great catalyst for change within me. It was an opportunity to overcome deep feelings of guilt and shame after becoming a mother and an opportunity to find deep love for myself.

The last few months have been a beautiful rediscovery of myself. Remembering the true essence of who I am. To be authentic and not care about what people think and to make choices that are in alignment with my highest values.

I think that is the work we are all here to do, spending our life working out who we are.

One of the questions I’ve been pondering since my breast cancer diagnosis last year is why is it so hard to love ourselves? Why did it take getting cancer, to wake me up to loving myself? Love is one of the greatest feelings the universe has bestowed on us, so why do we find it so difficult to love the most important person in the world…ourselves?

For me, loving myself came with facing what I hated most about myself, and that isn’t always an easy thing to do. I spent most of my life trying to fit in and looking for acceptance and validation outside of myself. I held onto my perceived shortcomings, failures, and poor decisions which lead to developing a set of beliefs that were negative and limiting, and I minimised or dismissed many of the good things about myself. When I became a mother, those feelings multiplied, and I avoided spending any time on myself because it was actually too painful.

Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” How true are those words if we applied them to ourselves? When we’re facing challenges, that is when we need to love ourselves so much more, but it seems that is when we are the harshest on ourselves.

Self-love is more than just being good to ourselves and practicing self-care, such as soaking in a bubble bath, or getting a massage. Although these things might help, self-love is an inside job. It has to do with how we hold ourselves and relate to our feelings. Self-love means accepting ourselves as we are. It means finding the strength and resilience to acknowledge all of our emotions. It means finding inner peace so that we can gently embrace our feelings rather than meet them with aversion or judgments. It means being comfortable in stillness, alone with our thoughts and being willing to sit with the pain, hold it and feel it without trying to fix or change anything.

Loving ourselves also benefits others. By being gentle with ourselves, allows us to more easily extend compassion toward others. 

It’s so easy to tell someone “love yourself” and much more difficult to describe how to do it.

So what does the path to self-love look like?

I think it looks different for everyone; we all have a unique way of loving ourselves. My path to self-love took a lot of twists and turns and now it looks something like this:

My morning self-love ritual involves massaging my body. In particular, the scars on my breasts, I rub them with oil each morning and I tell myself how beautiful my scars are. I picture a beautiful golden light shining out of my scars and wrapping me up in this healing golden light. Never in a million years would I ever have rubbed oil on myself. Now I find this ritual so beautiful and healing.

Self-love is being present in my mind and body by meditating each day. To sit with my thoughts, to bring awareness to them and acknowledge them and lovingly let them go. Meditation is not about clearing your mind of thoughts rather than sitting being detached from them.

Self-love is knowing that my body is my temple. Treating my body like a temple means I have respect for it and I’m intentional about what I put into my body, not because I want to look good but because I want to feel good, and I want to have good energy.

Self-love is speaking kindly to myself every day. When I turned my attention to how I was speaking to myself, I was horrified. Self-love is making a commitment to train my brain to always speak lovingly to myself and to have the awareness to catch myself when I don’t.

Self-love is loving myself unconditionally. When I make a mistake or take a wrong turn, rather than criticise myself, I will treat myself like I would a small child. Encouraging myself and practicing self-compassion and kindness.

Self-love is connecting to my spirituality. Faith has been the core foundation for self-love. I’m not talking about religion or having religious beliefs; I’m talking about believing in something greater than yourself. Believing in something greater opens up your soul to the beauty of belief and trust that the universe always has your back. It has helped build my intuition and helps me make decisions based on that intuition. It has taken me on a journey to learn things about myself, and from that has come new thoughts, feelings, passions, and raw emotions which has made me appreciate myself so much more and allowed me to be more authentically me.

Self-love is learning to let go of the past and the things I can’t control. When we hold on to things in our past, it can weigh heavy on our souls. The more we let go and surrender, the more we can really live big with self-love.

Loving myself deeply has improved everything in my life— my relationships, the way I show up for myself, the decisions I make, my health and well-being and my ability to manifest my dreams and being able to feel intense gratitude for my life. Self-love is the key to creating a passionate, fulfilled, and joyful life.


If you’re interested in exploring your own journey of self-love, check out our upcoming retreat experiences. A retreat is a deeply healing and transformative experience and gives you the space and time to allow you to explore the deeper parts of yourself so you can reconnect to the authentic you. For more information go to www.hartretreats.com/retreats 




As I prepared for 2022, I gave thought to what my word for the year would be. Last year’s word was Courage, and that word served me so well to help me get through a pretty tough year.

The word that dropped in for me this year was Ease. It’s a word that hasn’t left me and I’ve been sitting with this word for a few weeks now and contemplating how this word will help guide me through this year.

At first, I thought the word meant easy, but now I know it’s not easy. It’s ease. And there’s a difference.

Easy is a passive word and suggests that there will be no challenges, difficulty or effort whereas ease refers to the flow of being on an aligned path and being comfortable with that path.. That state of being actually requires effort.

The opposite of ease is dis-ease and after being diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time last year, living my life with ease is now my #1 priority.

Something that the pandemic and world turmoil taught me was how much I started to worry about things that were completely out of my control and not fully trusting the path I was on. I spent most of last year feeling very uncomfortable. 

I am the person who will over-think and try and control everything. My friends don’t call me team captain for nothing. 

So, as we neared the end of 2021 and no clear direction of where 2022 was going to go, I knew something needed to change, I didn’t want to feel so uncomfortable with what was happening in the world, so I just started telling myself “let it be.” I stopped telling myself that things felt uncertain and hard, and focused more and more on living in the present moment. I reminded myself that worrying about a future that hasn’t happened yet only creates anxiety and worrying about the past is a complete waste of time and energy.

I also reminded myself that I don’t have to constantly strive to do more, be more, produce more and that my success and worth is not defined by how productive I am. The word ease for me still has this feeling that I won’t work as hard or do as much and so ease and worth are still somewhat tangled up. It’s definitely a work in progress so I’m hoping that my word this year helps me untangle myself and sets a clear intention for the year to come.

To allow ease into your life requires faith and trust. Running a retreats business over the last two years has required a whole heap of faith and trust! Ease for me will be less worry, hustle and self-judgement and more mindfulness and a presence of mind that my path is being guided by something greater than me and that all I have to do is set the vision, trust the process and allow my journey to unfold and be at one with the flow of life. 

2022 is my year to  fully lean into my purpose, embrace the ebb and flow of life, trust in the work and effort that has brought me to now,  surrender to what I cannot control and enjoy the beauty of being right where I am supposed to be.

Here are 10 ways I’ll be living with ease this year:

1.  I will put myself first and focus on what matters to me most (yes even with 2 young kids)

2.  I will trust the flow of life and take action when the time feels right

3.  I will find ways to be joyful during setbacks and will look for the blessings and opportunities that arise

4.  I will make decisions from a place of love and abundance rather than fear or scarcity

5.  I will make a positive impact through my work with ease and flow rather than striving and hustling  

6.  I will embrace the richness and beauty of life, just the way it is

7.  I will simplify my life and let go of things that no longer bring me joy

8.  I will find more time to just be, rather than always feeling the need to be productive

9. I will completely let go of things out of my control  

10, I will practice mindfulness and focus on being present every single day 



 Each year I have a word for the year.

Last year, my word was “Courage”.

Little did I know that 2021 was the year I needed a whole heap of courage. Not only was I running a face-to-face business during a global pandemic, dodging snap lock-downs and managing all the uncertainty, it was also the year I suffered a lot of loss. My husband lost his mother and stepfather, I lost 4 friends to cancer, my sister-in-law lost her cousin and many close friends lost loved ones as well. I have never experienced so much loss in a year, and it had a significant impact on me. And then in July, I was given the news that I had breast cancer for the second time. Yet another experience that required a whole heap of courage.  

When I look back on 2021, the word ‘Courage’ seemed a very appropriate word which helped me get through a really tough year and helped me end the year with an incredible amount of grace and gratitude. And the thing that got me through such a tough year was resilience.

So, I thought my first blog for the year would be on how to build resilience in the face of continued uncertainty, worry, stress and overwhelm.  

As women, we tend to carry a very heavy emotional load. Constantly meeting the needs of others, needing to be resilient for our kids and often not having very much left for ourselves. Pandemic depletion is real, and many women are feeling less resilient in the face of uncertainty, leading to increased stress and worry and having a negative impact on our overall wellbeing.

Resilience is like a muscle you can build over time. With practice and dedication, anybody can become more resilient. I like to think of resilience as a state of being. 

So, when we talk about what we can do to build our resilience, it’s not as simple as saying: Do these 10 things every day and you will become more resilient. Instead, it’s about doing a variety of things consistently over time.

When we are more resilient in the face of uncertainty, it can lead to incredible personal growth. Challenges often presents themselves as necessary roadblocks in life to challenge our personal growth. My terrible year actually turned out to be an incredible year of profound growth.

So here are some ways that helped me build my resilience muscle over the last year and these are things that I will continue to prioritise over the coming year.


1. Connection with others 

If the last 2 years have shown us anything, it’s the importance of connection. Isolation has meant that we have felt very disconnected and lost. Our sense of belonging has been threatened in more ways than one. Belonging is one of our basic human needs so when that is taken away from us, it creates a great amount of stress and fear in the body. One of the best predictors of how we go in the face of adversity is the connection we have with others. So, this year, make it a priority to connect more with others. The more connected you are to other people—the more people you care about and who care about you—the more resilient you’re likely to be.

2. Self-Love

Self-love was something that I really learnt to cultivate in 2021 and has had an incredible impact on my life after my breast cancer diagnosis. Self-love is key to building resilience, but it’s also one of the things that tends to fall by the wayside when we’re feeling stressed or depleted.

When you love yourself unconditionally, which means the way you talk to yourself and treat yourself, the more resilient you will feel because when you have a bucket load of self-love, you are telling yourself that you are worth it. Lack of self-worth is a huge problem for women, feeling like we are never enough. The more you can cultivate self-love and telling yourself that you are worth getting through the tough seasons, the more resilient you will become. So, this year find ways to shine the light on yourself and shower yourself with love every day.

 3. Self Care

This follows on from self-love. When we love ourselves, self-care becomes easier and we learn to prioritise ourselves better, because we know we’re worth it. When it comes to self-care, there’s so much we could talk about. So, let’s focus on the core three: sleeping, eating, and moving. There’s a lot we know about how taking care of our bodies through proper sleep, movement, and nourishment can impact our mental health. This is about focusing on the mind-body connection. If we’re not taking care of our bodies, it impacts us not just physically but mentally and emotionally, and that impacts our resilience. Self-care is not selfish, nowadays it is absolutely necessary!

4. Acknowledge opportunities for personal growth

We didn’t experience everything from the last 2 years for nothing. Every situation has the ability to teach us a lesson, remind us why we’re here and further our growth. Even traumatic experiences can teach us how to cope when bad things happen.

 I’ve managed to learn many valuable lessons about myself through my experiences. I have healed the trauma from some very deep wounds that I had ignored for years. All the experiences over the last couple of years have enabled me to have some significant personal growth. So, take some time to reflect on the growth you have experienced over the last couple of years. You are not the same person you were a year ago. Think about how you have changed into the person you are today.  

When we are forced to exist outside of our comfort zone, it forces us to change. Your life is a cycle and if you think about the life cycle of a caterpillar and the changes it endures over a period of time to eventually emerge as a beautiful butterfly, the change we are going through doesn’t seem so bad.

Sometimes stress, pain and worry can create beauty on the other side of it all. Let 2022 be the year that you rise above it all. When we start to see our hardships as opportunities for self-growth, this will help build your resilience muscle.

5. Have things to look forward to

All the uncertainty of the pandemic has made it difficult to plan for the future, which means it’s extra important to plan things that you can look forward to. Even little things to look forward to can go a long way. Whether that’s regular catch up with friends, a weekend away, family over for a dinner, a trip to the beach or a hobby you’ve always wanted to pick up, having things to look forward to can help us make it through the day.

6. Cultivate more joy in your life 

It might feel strange to find moments of joy in your life when there is so much suffering in the world right now, but one way to build resilience is to redirect your focus from the outside world and put more focus on your internal world. Focusing on those small moments that bring joy to your life. That could be laughing with your kids on the playroom floor, watching a sunrise or a sunset, cuddles with your pet on the lounge. There are so many ways to cultivate joy and enjoy the precious moments that make up each day, which ultimately make up your life. If we are constantly distracted by all the noise of the outside world, we will miss those opportunities that can bring so much joy into our life.

7. Connect with your passion and purpose

Having a strong sense of meaning or purpose is another key in helping build resilience. This year, spend more time focusing on what gives meaning to your life. This can be small things or big things. If you’re not sure what gives you a sense of meaning, now is a good time to start trying to figure it out. A global pandemic can really put things in perspective. Now is the time to think about what is really important to you and what are the things that you value most in life. Write it down in a journal and take time to reflect on whether your life reflects those things. If not, now is the time to make some changes so that your life feels more in alignment with your passion and purpose.

8. Re-frame your negative thoughts

It’s very easy to get caught up in a negative thought spiral and this can severely impact your resilience. Your mind does not control you; you have the ability to control your mind so when you feel yourself spiraling with negative thought patterns, awareness is key. Having a mediation and mindfulness practice to help bring your awareness back to the present moment will help turn those negative thoughts into more positive ones. As humans we are incredibly skilled at ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. It’s time to take back control of your mind and stop focusing on the negativity around you and focus more on the positive things in your life – this is key to building resilience!

9. Practice gratitude

It’s a tiny habit to pick up, but a little gratitude goes a long way in feeling content and emotionally and mentally healthy. Find a way to practice gratitude each day, whether that’s ending each day by writing a sentence in a gratitude journal or committing to running through a list of three things you’re grateful for while having a shower. Gratitude is the golden key to happiness and when you’re happier, you’re going to be more resilient.

10. Practice self-compassion

You’re going to have bad days, days when you don’t feel very strong or resilient and want to stay in bed and hide from the world. That’s not only okay; it’s completely necessary. When we give ourselves some space to have a bad day, take time to acknowledge our feelings and emotions, by the following day we’re probably able to do a little bit better. But if we keep pushing through and being hard on ourselves, we can find ourselves in a deeper hole. So it’s time to be kinder to yourself and learn how to talk back to that inner mean girl that loves to put you down. Every time you hear that voice in your head telling you you’re not doing enough,  stand tall and take a moment to breathe. Say to yourself, ‘Yes this is really difficult for me right now, so how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment to help me through this time?’ Remind yourself daily that you are worthy of self-compassion.

While this time in our lives is an opportunity to build skills that support our resilience, the last thing we want to do is put pressure on ourselves. Part of being resilient is being forgiving of yourself and allowing yourself to not always be the most productive or always on top of it all.

Sometimes all we need is the chance to just be.  

If you’re looking for an opportunity to build more resilience this year, why not join us on retreat. A retreat is a unique experience that allows you to go on a beautifull journey of self-discovery. You can check out our retreat offerings at www.hartretreats.com/retreats