Meeting Jack Canfield was on my list of 100 things I wanted to do before I died. I’d even photoshopped myself into a photo with Jack at a celebration evening for a Success Principles course! So when the email came through inviting me to spend five days with Jack and Patty Aubery in Bali, it seemed as though the Universe had been paying acute attention!
The retreat seemed like mana from Heaven. Not only was I going to meet Jack, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul which he co-authored with Mark Victor Hansen, but I was going to spend time with people I hoped were like-minded, with dreams, visions and goals to help make the world a better place.
What transpired were five of the most incredible days of my life.
As it took place in beautiful Bali, I thought I’d share some of my journey with you, and some vignettes of the wonderful men and women I connected with.
The day I met Jack
Feeling like a little kid about to meet a superstar, I was nervous as we headed toward the retreat where I was to spend the next five days. I paid careful attention to my feelings, knowing that these would serve me as I delved deeper into self-imposed limitations as I worked with Jack and Patty. Was I good enough, a fraud, a poser, deserving, likeable…whoa! The list was getting a little long, so I focussed on just making a good impression. Nope, that made it worse as it was focussing too much on me! Breathe, relax, tap. As I used the Emotional Freedom Technique, the anxiety slowly abated and I let my sense of excitement take over.
I’d already had inadvertent contact with Jack through his team Alice and Jesse. As I lived in Bali, they’d approached me to get advice on a few logistical issues. I couldn’t help them enough, they were delightful ladies and it was a pleasure to get to know them better before the conference started. My newsletter for Things you need to know about Bali had been sent out to all the attendees, which had been a real source of pleasure for me!
I walked toward Jack who was waiting at the entrance to the retreat. I somehow managed not to skip, but calmly approach him, expecting him to shake my hand. Instead, he gave me the biggest bear hug of all time and I knew I was in good hands, and the right place.
How to do a Jack hug
Jack’s hugs are legendary. I really don’t think I’ve ever had a good hug until Jack hugged me! He taught us that if you hug from right shoulder to right shoulder, your heart connects. Hold the hug for as long as possible, and then pull back, still touching the person you are hugging. Look into their eyes and smile.
Every morning, we would spend 10-15 minutes hugging each other, moving from person to person and spreading love and joy. I am positive that this increased the energy of the group at a higher level than we can possibly know. But more on that later.
I enjoyed getting to know Jack and Patty better. Both of them were open with their hearts, mind and time. Jack clearly loves teaching, it’s his ‘thing’ and it shows.
We made our way down to the pool area where we were to meet the other attendees. I can’t say I have ever met such a motivated, smart, warm and loving group of people. Before I go on about my own journey, let me share some of them with you. I’m sure they won’t mind!
It’s because of the influence of these people, that Bali Soul Journals and the Soul Journals brand now exists. So it’s fitting you learn a little more about some of this incredible group. I can’t mention all of them because of space, but here are a few of my new found friends.
Top of mind comes Sandy Forster. For Australian readers, you may have heard of her, or at least, her work. She masterminded the company Wildly Wealthy Women, empowering women to transform their lives. Sandy and I quickly became friends. Here was this wildly successful woman, strolling in straight off a plane from Queensland in thongs and a pink Roxy tee-shirt! Sandy is down to earth, a real person who has a sense of humour, a beautiful soul and truly is one of the most inspirational women I have met. After a divorce and finding herself $100,000 in debt, with two young children to raise and on welfare, Sandy knew she needed to make changes in her life. Harnessing the Law of Attraction, she found that everything was about to change.
She launched a home-based business and her prosperity grew, she paid off debts and focused on creating a life where she literally went from welfare to millionaire. In 2008 she was awarded Mentor of the Year – selected from some of the most influential and successful business women on the planet and in 2010 won Australian Business of the Year.
Chris is a ball of energy! She is incredibly bright, moves like a rocket and lights up a room. Sandy and I bonded with her immediately and we became the ‘three sisters’, me, little sister, Chris the middle sister and Sandy the older sister.
Chris is author of A-Z Blueprint for Success and a sought after speaker with a list of high-profile clients as long as your arm! What she doesn’t know about business is possibly not worth knowing, but it’s her genuine love for people that shines through. We spent so much time laughing that my stomach ached. Chris shares her passion for life without trying and it’s hard to not feel motivated to achieve great things after spending time with her.
Ade and Kate
This couple is inspirational with a capital I. Ade suffered a stroke a couple of years ago and is slowly but surely re-learning his ability to speak, walk and do the simple things we all take for granted. From Melbourne, Australia, Ade and Kate touched the hearts of every person there, including Jack. Kate is his soul mate and her love and care for Ade runs so deep, many of us were moved to tears when Ade publicly thanked her for all of her support.
Ade has authored a book, cheekily entitled The Little of Hope for Stroke Survivors, Care Givers and Anyone Else Going Through a Really Shit Time. (Click here to see the video clip of Jack’s endorsement.) His sense of humour and drive to beat what would defeat most captivated all of us. It was meeting people like Ade and Kate that made me realise that although Things you need to know about Bali was important for travellers to Bali, I needed to do more. I needed to connect more with Bali and share this, so that other people could experience the heart and soul of Bali.
Another ball of energy, Anne and I were destined to become friends. Anne is an author’s coach and she is passionate about writing and all she does. We bonded on the first day when we did an exercise together. We had to repeat over and over the same phrase, taking turns. Asking her “Who are you?”, Anne said, “I am married to the extraordinary man of my dreams, I waited 25 years”. She described her life as amazing, and is truly grateful for everything she has and that she creates.
Owner and founder of So, you want to write!, Anne helps people get their books out of their head and onto paper, something I admire due to her genuine desire to help people achieve their dreams.
What an incredible lady. Mercedes has a doctorate in phycology, which is amazing in itself, but her journey there is incredible. Mercedes comes from a large family in Mexico, with parents who did not believe in education. Mercedes wanted to learn, but she would need to do this herself, without familial support. So, she did just that, putting herself through high school and then university. Like Anne, she is madly in love, married to a dentist in Chicago. Mercedes has a way of believing in people. Her modesty and keeness to learn from others is endearing and it was with sadness we said goodbye to this woman with the biggest heart.
Too many to mention but all so special
From Gerard to Michael to Imelda, Joyce, Mary Ann, Ramona, Ayse, Wendy, Dawn and Tom, Nilgun and Mariam – special and beautiful people I connected with, thank you. Here now is my story, inspired by all of you. Collectively in a cocoon of love and trust, joy and hope, you all helped create Soul Journals, born of the need to connect with the planet and the souls who inhabit it, to create a better world. Thank you for helping me to dig deep and create something truly worth getting up each day for.
Please enjoy my very personal letter to Jack.
My letter to Jack (edited)
Here I am about two weeks out from the retreat, and I thought I’d start my letter early, as things have begun to move quickly and I don’t want to forget anything.
But firstly, I want to acknowledge how the retreat has turned my life around in every possible positive way. When a group of special people come together with similar intentions and love, led by two people who truly want to make a difference on the planet, the result can only possibly be amazing. Powerful. In a visual sense, I could almost see connections with our higher purpose above our heads, communicating on a whole other level. I could certainly feel something outside the physical realms at work.
For me, the last day was the most powerful. My purpose in writing the book(s) and creating a publishing company became clear. I have known for a long time that the book was right, but something was missing. So I trusted and just ran with it, (or, as you say, leaned into it everyday), hoping that the reason would become clear as time went on. I’d hit hurdles and objections, and gone through some dark days when I really questioned why I was doing it. What good could possibly come of it?
Patty helped me affirm that my purpose was creativity and vision. It just feels so natural and is no mistake my company name has been Creatavision since 2003.
But when you told me what type of book you would buy…well, that changed things forever. Not because you said you would buy it in a heartbeat (laughing!)…but because I realised what the missing something was.
And now with the events of the past 10 days, with the speed of what is happening, it confirms that by knowing my intention, my soul intention, the universe will move rapidly to make it happen.
On Day 1 after the retreat, I wrote out the five things I could do to get closer to my goal of having a magnificently successful publishing company. I had forgotten that with my marketing training and life purpose (skills), articulating a vision was fun! I love doing brand plans!
So, in that ‘fun’ zone, the words began to flow. Suddenly, the company mission (how we do things around here) was in front of me, with a logo. Creatavision DREAMS literally appeared in front of me:
For all books, the seven elements of Creatavision DREAMS™ will be present, making them memorable:
- Credible (to all stakeholders)
- Distinctive (from competition)
- Responsible (to the planet and others)
- Enduring (with market trends)
- Authentic (at all touch points)
- Motivating (to customers)
- Strategic (in-line with objectives)
Creatavision DREAMS™ is a distinct relationship between the reader and the connections between humanity and the planet and me, built on the Chinese symbol for credibility. They are the foundation of all brands owned by Creatavision Publishing.
Wow Jack, I even came up with a logo to capture it!
The vision then flowed and my purpose became clear as I wrote what Creatavision would become.
Creatavision Publishing exists in order to bring authors’ visions to life and to share the wisdom of others with a greater reach, helping them connect with the heart and soul of the planet to create a higher vibration of learning, love and acceptance.
The brand Things you need to know facilitates this by providing books and resources that are segmented by geographic location and by interest. The fundamental purpose of TYN2K is to give the conscious traveller information that will heighten their experience with the planet, whether they travel to the countries covered, or do so from their arm chair.
But then something happened that I hadn’t anticipated. A friend from school messaged me to ask how it went with the retreat. She told me she had a book in her head that she hadn’t been able to shake for a year. It was to photograph and capture stories of inspirational women.
Well, about a year ago, I had had a similar vision. But to write the stories of people who had been given a helping hand in Bali and what their story was 10 years on. And to meet ordinary people who had incredible stories, because I believe every person on the planet has a story to tell that can inspire others.
I felt that stories could be a way to help the people of Bali. Stories weren’t being captured.
This is after having come across information about the Conscious Traveller, a phrase you used.
We played with names, did checks, and very quickly came up with a name and a plan:
Soul Journals is a series of books that connect with people. It showcases the beauty of people around the planet and helps the conscious traveller to see the beauty in this diverse world and appreciate how and why we are different. It creates and inspires understanding, tolerance, love, empathy and inspiration and throughout a series of vignettes and interviews, gains insight into how people not only cope, but thrive under their weight of perceived circumstance. And for the conscious traveller, whether in the country or in their armchair, brings understanding and connection, and a mindset of hope, abundance and inspiration.
Within two days, Trish was booked on a flight to Bali, arriving on July 9 for three weeks to photograph the book, while I will write it. It will likely be several books.
So many other things have happened, milestones that to be honest have rapidly appeared as quickly as I’ve articulated my vision, and got in touch with my life purpose. Or rather, the authentic intention behind what I started.
People are appearing from all over. Not just the amazing people I met and connected with this month, but a Balinese driver (Mercedes recommended him) who can accompany us on our trek in July and ensure we respect customs, and also translate (many Balinese older people cannot speak Indonesian).
That’s a lot about what’s rapidly happened. I think you promised that, somewhere in the communication!
On a personal level things have also changed, to the point that my husband has noticed a different person. He feels I am confident, more authentic. I’m certainly moving with more purpose.
Back in January, we were mugged. At the time, I knew it was for a reason, even though it was traumatic. I had a terrible time with some who slammed me for organising a public safety seminar on self defence, and at that point honestly thought about cancelling it. I couldn’t comprehend how people could come from such a place of hate, but deep down I knew it was all for a higher reason. Perhaps to open my eyes to another side of Bali, that then needed to be balanced and brought back to the spirit of Bali? If tourism is a fact of life now for Bali, how can it continue in a positive way? What are the fears of those who have lived here for centuries?
I’ve noticed subtle shifts in other areas of my life as well. One is relationships. I needed to accept myself fully, take 100% responsibility. In doing that, which I ‘got’, ‘problems’ went away. Acceptance of others has become my focus, and also recognising that sometimes, people are just on a different page and that this is okay. Your incredible love for others, demonstrated in every word and every action is something I will keep referring back to on a regular basis. It’s a lesson I truly want to become second nature.
What else? Personal goals are one area I haven’t looked at in detail yet, so am making it a goal while away this weekend to go back through all the material I learned. I still have a way to go setting schedules and remembering to do things, but am being kind to myself…being organised is a huge shift for me! But I am remembering and loving to ask for help!
There are so many shifts happening. I wanted to share some of these and hope I haven’t bored you too much with detail! I don’t think I can ever go back after the experience I had. I feel comfortable hanging round successful people, another limiting belief I had. I was petrified meeting them! – what if they thought I was trying too hard, saw I was a wanna-be…aaarrrggghhhhh! It was quite the opposite. In communications with them after the event, they saw things in me that I have not considered for many years – joy, inspiration, love, selflessness, generosity…wow. Somewhere along the line I smashed these out of my consciousness.
I also saw such incredible qualities in the people I met, without exception. This is possibly the most powerful aftermath for me. I keep thinking back to deep beauty of Ade and Kate, the energy of Chris, the confidence of Ann, the person Ramona showed us to be, vulnerable, while being a hugely successful personality in Ireland, Mercede’s incredible journey, Mary Ann’s youthful zest for her new project, Joyce’s spirituality, Gerard’s wit, Michael’s perceptions and insights, Wendy’s vision, Imelda’s blossoming…all of these women and men showed me that everyone has a wonderful story. That I am connected with these people, with these stories, and that I know that I need to bring more stories to life, somehow, in Bali, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia, Thailand.
Jack (and Patty, Alice and Jesse), thank you. This is the start of incredible shifts that I energetically feel are coming quickly as I open myself to them. Even as I write this, my chest is heaving as I breath in something I’m not sure if I’ve been able to convey accurately here.
So as I close, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. This was a true life step for me, the changes that have already happened are wondrous and I am seeing a new world, a potentially amazing world, through the mentorship and teaching of you and of Patty.
I know my world is as I create it, and thanks to you, have seen far more potential than I ever dreamed possible. And, I know as I am part of this Creation, I deserve it.
Thank you, blessings and I hope to meet again.
Well, that’s my journey. Here are some images from that amazing week. If you ever have the chance to do it here, in Bali, with Jack, I promise you that you will love it, be inspired, and want to live a life of purpose that you love. That’s Jack’s gift. The gift of helping you find the best within, the talents you were given, and in so doing, help create a better planet.
Clare and Sandy have a swim at lunch time with Jack!
Little did I know that Jack hates hats, but he agreed to wear one to our “Five years in the future” cocktail evening.
The stunning retreat. Truly blessed to spend a few days here with so many amazing people.
Sandy with her successful book, Wildly Wealthy Women
Jack and Patty agreed to wear traditional dress to help me visualise success in five year’s time…one million books sold! Well, if you’re going to think, think big!
Visualising a big goal!
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/souljournals.com.au
- The Power of Focus book (olwilegu.wordpress.com)
- The Aladdin Factor by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (edtp6q9j.wordpress.com)
- Dare to Win (jstamilbookhouse.wordpress.com)
- Bali’s best kept secret? (balisouljournals.com)
- Weaving hope for women (balisouljournals.com)