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You know when you meet people who are truly living their lives with purpose. You can tell that they have walked through that invisible barrier that we all put up. Rachel Davies Burrows is one of those people.
Rachel is the founder of The Joy Sanctuary, a beautiful oasis of peace in the Perth Hills town of Kalamunda. This vibrant single mother of two had to experience a few tough years before she started listening to the inner nudges, “I wasn’t living my authentic truth before I got sick,” she said. Rachel said that she had always been a happy and positive person, but she never really lived that with feeling. “I realised that we don’t get forever…if I don’t give it a go then what’s the point?” she said. Like many people, Rachel needed a catalyst to get her to move into authenticity. “I needed cancer to motivate me to live my dream, it’s almost ridiculous to say, but it’s true,” she said after being diagnosed with leukaemia in 2011. Rachel feels stronger from her experience with the disease. “I could be a victim to it…but it’s given me the fuel to push me to where I really wanted to be…it wasn’t an easy ride.”
Rachel opened the space in May 2015 and it has had a steady build-up of business for the eclectic collection of products in the retail section and the courses run by people who have just walked into the shop. “It’s amazing how it draws the right people in. I have an amazing interaction with every person,” she said. The Joy Sanctuary really is about bringing together all the things that Rachel loves. “I love being a part of other people’s journeys…I feel like I am facilitating some place where others can do what I have done,” she said. “That brings me my highest joy.” “I have had so much synchronicity in my life since I’ve taken that leap,” she said and has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have come into her new life.
“There’s no question that I’m doing the right thing.”
There have been a number of lightbulb moments for Rachel and, like many of us, often needs to hear to things multiple times before she listens. One of the more significant illuminating moments was when she returned to her administrative assistant job and realised that the life that she had been living no longer fit who she was.
“I couldn’t live like that anymore,” she said.
Rachel uses the analogy of crossing a bridge to describe what it’s like to take that leap of faith. “You can’t see where you are going and trust there will be something on the other side…and once you start you can’t go back,” she said. There have been a few scary moments along the way but it helped her to realise where her passion was. As for the future of the business, Rachel is not sure where it will go “but that’s okay, I don’t need to.”
Rachel says that her whole life had not been about being empowered. “The Joy Sanctuary is a place of empowerment…being within myself.” She is doing it for herself because she loves it and it brings her joy.
And I think that is the secret to the success to making the leap into the unknown. Like Rachel needed cancer to prompt her to take action, not everyone has to have cancer! Some people struggle with relationships, jobs, health, accidents, drug use and, in my case, having no money is my catalyst to start following that inner nudge inside. Following the things that you love and are passionate about, even if it means taking one step at time, after all as Martin Luther King Jnr said “you don’t need to see the whole staircase, you just need to take the first step.”
Synchronicity happened while I was writing this and it was affirmed by a video and article by the amazing philosopher Alan Watts who also affirmed that it is passion that you need to follow. Watch this link to a Steve Jobs/Alan Watts combo: http://youtu.be/3yFiqdCjNMk
On the TED Talks series, there is a lawyer and philosopher, Ruth Chang who had a great 15 minute talk on “How to make hard choices”. Please take the time to wrap your head around it. In it she speaks about the values we place on decisions, but also making decisions based on what you feel inside, not what society expects of you and its values. She calls people “Drifters” when you don’t put yourself into it. “Drifters allow the world to tell the story of their lives,” she said. I have been a drifter, professionally speaking. I have gone where society says I should be and I have never had enough money, even when I was on a great income. There was never enough. Maybe it’s time to put my agency behind what I’m called to do and to trust in who I am, how I think and my own divine uniqueness and most importantly the things that bring me enormous joy. I admire those people who don’t need a catalyst and trust in the path.
For me, I felt the strongest urge that my job was not working for me, pretty much the moment I started it. Here we are nine months later and I am officially “unemployed” in three weeks. But that’s the best bit, I am so excited about the infinite possibilities for me and I have spent the past year really meditating on how I want to live my life. There are so many possibilities that I love so many things that Rachel’s idea of putting all of her joys in one place appeals to me. I don’t have to do ONE thing. I can do and BE multiple things and create my world how I want it by following my bliss, the things that bring me joy.
Rachel (and Andrea from previous blog) are inspirations to me because they are living, breathing examples in my world of how following your bliss brings so much joy, happiness and synchronicity into your life. There’s an enormous amount of faith that is required to do this, but it feels so right to follow the inner callings within you and to step out of the hamster wheel where our authentic selves are smothered or lost by jobs, relationships and expectations that we value over our own intuitive whispers and knowing. Maybe it’s time to stop “drifting” and step into my divine authenticity, not just cognitively, but in real faith and action. See you on the other side.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015
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