Last night I was driving home from a photoshoot and listening to RN ABC’s ‘The Philosophers Zone’ where Laurie Paul was being interviewed by Joe Gelonesi about how “having a baby, taking that job, moving country, (is a bit like as she puts it) becoming a vampire. When faced with life’s big choices what do you do? Well, you might seek counsel, weigh up the facts, find more evidence, or just sleep on it”…hmm interesting conversation…sure got me in! 

Many transformational experiences are certainly deliberate. Others, just seem to leap into our lives at the very hint of opportunity. We’re talking big changes here, massive. Those gushing life happenings that sweep in like metamorphosis over us body/mind/soul (or all three) and leave us new, changed, never to be the same again.

Listening intently as I was, I got to thinking about what’s really shaped me into the person I have become! Below are a few of my transformative experiences to date…

  • Becoming a SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) Christian. I’ve written very little about my faith here on my website, and even less in the media, as I haven’t wanted to come across as ‘bible bashing’ anyone with what I believe, as great as it all is! I’d rather live out the universal principles of Him who I see as my loving Heavenly Father through my life daily. I’ve put this experience at the top of this list, as it’s been at the very core of who I’ve become and shaped most of my major life decisions. Choosing to surrender my life to God’s will at a young age through until now has filled my life with a great sense of purpose, trust, love, hope and acceptance for others. It also means there’s certain things I won’t do, to get ahead, no matter how enticing an opportunity may be!
  • Having a baby! Or three to be more precise! This is certainly the biggest transformative experience I’ve ever accomplished, if I can use that word? I don’t think we ever feel like we’ve arrived or accomplished what we began when we choose to become a mother. Being a mother is forever! It’s been the most incredible, wonderful, exhilarating, amazing, exhausting, heartbreaking, and in every sense fulfilling experienced of my life as a woman and human being. Becoming a mother really does open your eyes to…absolutely everything, it seems!! It’s utterly indescribable. You must experience it to understand.
  • Maybe you’ve heard the caption “only a surfer knows the feeling”…well it’s so true! There’s absolutely nothing on this earth like the feeling of riding a glistening wave, along with dolphins and sea-spray and the feeling of the wide, living ocean all around you and beyond. Surfing also been another one of those transformative experiences for me. I went through a bit of a conservative stage when the children were babies. Maybe it was me wanting to be all that I could to be the perfect role model or protect them from things I didn’t want them to know about until they were older. I’m not sure. Of course we still had loads of fun! But looking back, I feel I should’ve dressed a bit cooler in my 20’s, maybe even posing for a few cute bikini snaps with my great big baby-bellies! But then, I wouldn’t have been the ‘me’ I was at the time, and they (my children) may not have been the ‘them’ they are now. Anyway, one day at the beach after watching my daughter catch her first wave ever, I started surfing at 28! That was it, I was hooked! After this, I bundled up the kids, boards and everything else we needed and we surfed together at least twice a week until my mid-thirties. In review I can see how it really pulled me into more than just the sea, glorious rides, and exhilarating experiences with my family and friends. Surfing did something to liberate me entirely. I also felt more in touch with the world around me, the community.
  • Another life changing decision for me was made along with my husband at 32 that I should begin fashion modelling! It was mostly his idea initially but I went with it, thought it couldn’t hurt to earn a few extra dollars although I did feel a bit odd to be beginning a modelling career then. Earlier (when I was 16) I’d actually wanted to become a model, after receiving the offer of contract by Australia’s leading agency at the time, no biggie…but similarly my husband and I then decided against it. Funny hey, the way life goes! I wouldn’t switch those decisions for anything! I’m so happy to have enjoyed those beautiful early years with our children living the dream in the country, growing wheatgrass, homeschooling, baking fresh sourdough loaves of bread together, picking our own fruit and vegetables. As it turned out we probably haven’t done too badly at the modelling game on our own terms either! And it’s not over yet.
  • Moving to Sydney. We decided to leap in and experience city life for one year as I was flying a lot back and forth from the Far North Coast of Aus to Sydney for modelling work, and being such a close-nit family that wasn’t as fun as it sounds to type it now. So in 2008 we all up and left our gorgeous country home near Byron Bay to head for the big smoke. It was like moving to another world to us! We were off to the city, kids, dog, birds, rats (sorry, but our boys really love rats), and my new Chic Management portfolio, full of new test images. It was such an experience for us all! I quickly learned the grind of the modelling world. Meeting and working with incredibly talented people, the elations, nice pay-cheques, the glamour (and of course on the other side the very un-glamour) of it all. Lots of work. That’s what modelling is! Unless you’re super young, fit the trending mould and are willing to do anything and everything, modelling is extremely hard work. So that’s what I did for a couple of years. I worked really hard. We moved back to our family home the following year, but I continued to fly, drive, attend castings, and work devotedly for as much time as possible without compromising spending the most important time with my wonderful family.
  • Writing, inventing (the recipes), photographing (food images), and self-publishing Model Chocolate. Phew! Ok that was huge. I’m sure many of you already know a bit about my book, maybe some of you even own a copy. It’s certainly taken a nice chunk of my creative energies, body/soul and spirit. It’s been all love, passion, fun and games! It’s been absolutely incredible and I’ve learned so very much along the way. If someone would’ve tried to explain to me how many hurdles I would have to cross and how much work Model Chocolate would be to complete, release, and then share with the world, I know I would never have understood! Maybe I wouldn’t have begun. It’s passion in your bones that makes you do something crazy like that. Dream a little dream! If this is speaking to your heart let me say it’s been worth it, yes, but you won’t be the same person you are now (afterwards), or even the ‘you’ you imagine you could be! You’ll be better, stronger, even successful perhaps, but quietly so. Entrepreneurial success is a strange thing. It’s truly wonderful, and if it all comes off, you feel a huge sense of achievement, but also much wiser.

Reflecting, I can’t help but wonder where the experiences I’m choosing right now, and into the future will take me. Hopefully dedicated yoga practice will fill the next space! It’s a little bit scary to create change in a way that seems to altogether reshape you as a person. Don’t you feel? Love to hear about your transformative experiences! Leave a comment below if you feel like joining the conversation, or feel free to share this post with others if you’ve found it in any way encouraging or inspiring. You can listen to the radio feature I heard recently here. Food for thought.