With 2016 coming to a close; a time when we reflect on the year that has been and start to collate our aspirations for the year ahead, I thought it was pretty timely when my story was shared in Sunday Life Magazine.
When I was asked to share my story I was so excited and hoped that just one person might read it and be inspired to follow their dreams, not be afraid for the unknown, make that change and believe that when you love what you do and share that with people, wonderful things happen.
So I end this year passing on what inspired me, and hope to add some more aspirations to your bucket list.
Here is an excerpt from the ‘Eat Pray Love’ piece in Sydney Morning Herald’s Life Magazine, with a little about how Hills & West begun.
SMH: Ten years on, three women tell how ‘Eat Pray Love’ inspired a life change.
It’s been 10 years since Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, Eat Pray Love, shot to the top of best-seller lists around the world. The book detailed Gilbert’s decision to end her marriage and embark on a journey: to Italy (to eat), to India (to pray), and to Bali (where she ultimately finds love).
According to the author’s website, the book has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and has been translated over than 30 languages. It’s easy to see why it’s struck such a chord says clinical psychologist Dr Lara Winten.
While the book follows Gilbert’s travels, Winten says it’s just as much about the author’s “psychological journey” as she embraces concepts like self-compassion and acceptance and makes life choices based on values rather than fear of discomfort. As well, Gilbert isn’t afraid of change.
Since reading Gilbert’s book, hordes of people have been inspired to follow in her footsteps. We spoke with three women who boarded the Eat Pray Love bandwagon, and never looked back.
Aisha Hillary-Morgan, 38, founder of Hills & West lifestyle accessories, from Sydney
“When the film of Eat Pray Love came out, I saw it and went, ‘God, wouldn’t that be an awesome thing to do? I wish I had time to do that.’ Then, 18 months ago, I picked up the book.
I’d had a professional career in a corporate role for 15 years and I was burning out. When you burn out, you lose your passion, just like in the book. The concept of going on a journey to discover what you’re passionate about really appealed to me, so the book was my catalyst to travel and reprioritise.
I started by doing Vipassana, the 10-day meditation course where you don’t speak, to clear my mental ‘fog’. Then, I trekked along the Annapurna [in Nepal’s Himalayas] and spent days thinking. Seeing the people and the poverty and how happy they are made me reflect on my own life and how lucky I am.
While I was away, I realised I love being creative. I kept thinking about a handbag course I did in Milan the year before. I thought, ‘I could make that into a business.’ At the end of my trek, my Sherpa introduced me to a woman who’s part of the Rainbow Children’s Home for orphans. I thought, ‘I’m going to raise money for her.’ I realised I could start a new business creating lifestyle accessories while raising money for charity and making room in my life to volunteer.
I ended up travelling for almost six months. My husband couldn’t come with me, but he gave me a little rule. He had to be the ‘love’ part of my Eat Pray Love experience, and he wanted to meet up with me every five weeks.
We’ve been together for 10 years but when he met me along the way, I got butterflies in my stomach. He loved my stories and my passion and said, ‘Each time I see you becoming more you again.’
Eat Pray Love helped me recalibrate my life. I sleep seven to eight hours a night now; I’m much more creative and productive. It’s not like my life was bad before; I’m just so much happier now.
You can also read the other two inspirational stories here.
What is your ‘Eat Pray Love’ story going to be for 2017?