Resident of Yarraville
Born to teachers
I was born in Melbourne into a family of teachers – both sides of my family were all teachers. They are retired now. Apart from the first few years of my life spent in the country, I grew up in Camberwell in Melbourne.
One morning when I was eight, my mum collapsed in the kitchen while we were having breakfast. She went into the hospital for a couple of weeks and was diagnosed with lupus. I credit my mum for getting me interested in complementary medicine.
Mum went along the western medical pathway to help herself get better, but down the track, she also began exploring other alternatives. She did yoga, meditated and learnt reiki at some point. So as a child, I was exposed to the idea that there were many ways to approach health and wellbeing.
I remember as a teenager, Mum was friends with people who worked in the complementary therapy space, and they would say to me that I’ve got healing hands. When I first heard this over 30 years ago, I didn’t know what it meant.
I had always wanted to be a teacher like everyone else in my family, but when I was in high school, I began considering other options as I had good grades. I did consider medicine, but I hated chemistry so scratched that path.
I have always been interested in the health space but didn’t consider a career in natural medicine until some time after I completed my psychology degree. I soon worked out I didn’t want to be a psychologist and decided instead to use my skills within the Human Resource space.
My first professional job was in management consulting. It was a great experience, and I was flying everywhere. It was very glamorous when you are 23. However, I never loved the work and I eventually got sick of travel. I have always liked my home space and wanted to be able to feel more settled there. I left and went into recruitment, and that spark of ‘I want to do something in the natural medicine area’ hit me again.
I don’t remember there being a particular reason why I felt it. I just knew it’s my calling. I was telling myself ‘I’m going to do it now.’ And I did just that and began pursuing a part-time five-year naturopathy degree.
In 1998, my now ex-husband David and I wanted to buy a home but we were priced out of Camberwell, where we had both grown up. My parents had moved to Queenscliff by then. We wanted to be close to the city and were looking at the western suburbs. My parents specifically said ‘Why don’t you consider Yarraville?’ We bought our house at 103 Chirnside Street. To this day, apart from a new coat of paint, it still looks the same.
In 2000, I began following David around the world due to his work in management consulting and we had rented the Kingsville home out. In 2002, I realised I was pregnant with my first child. I was still studying then, and it diverted me from my studies. I never went back to it, and looking back it was a bit of a waste.
We had originally wanted to renovate our home but decided it was all too hard. In the end, we bought in Browning Street in Seddon, and it was the best street I’ve ever lived in. It’s such a community street with Christmas parties held every year. I was lucky to live next to families with little kids. I’m still friends with all of them. I did not ever want to leave there. In the end, we left for financial reasons when our second son turned one.
When my first son was six months old, David and I decided to start a mortgage broking business – we had always wanted to work for ourselves as we had very complementary skills sets, and his background was in banking and finance. We worked from home to start with and then set-up shop on the corner of Charles and Victoria Street for three years.
Over time, we realised we had overcapitalised on our businesses and we considered moving to the Bellarine Peninsula where we had always dreamt of living, however, I didn’t really want to leave the fabulous culture of SKY and all my local friends. So when I saw a property in Julian Street for sale we jumped on it as a little piece of country in the city! The house was a tiny two-bedroom brick veneer, with a massive yard including two huge (hideous!) sheds. We effectively rebuilt. During the renovation, we rented in Newport and went back to running our business out of our home.
Change of career
We kept running our business, but David had fingers in many pies and was getting bored with writing mortgages. Eventually, we got another franchisee to take over the management of it. Years later, David sold the business.
No longer managing the back office of a mortgage brokerage, I began looking for a job for the first time in many years. I went back to HR, working for the Australian College of Optometry (ACO).
Over the years, there had been times when I wanted to end my marriage but I didn’t have any financial power. Earning my own salary changed this. When we separated in 2011, David didn’t want to leave the house. I’ve always felt the house is more his energy than mine so I was quite happy to leave.
David insisted on having the kids half the time, which was difficult as I had always been the primary caregiver. It was really hard for me. David always worked really long hours, so over the years, I was happy with my primary identity to be ‘Mum’. I never wanted my kids to be in full-time childcare, so I had always been around for them before and after school. It was really hard not to have them half the time all of a sudden.
I was not sad about my relationship with David ending. I was sad about our family and what it meant for the kids, especially with the shared care arrangement.
Thankfully, ACO gave me extremely flexible hours, and even after increasing my hours there, I was able to effectively manage work and family. It worked well. In 2012, after failing to sell the Julian Street property, David moved out and I moved back into it with the help of an early inheritance from a very special and dear family friend.
In 2014, Airbnb was just coming along and I decided to rent out the front of my house. It was just too big to occupy by myself. I’ve been lucky and it’s been pretty much always booked out.
2014 was also the year I did my first Reiki course, after putting it off for about 20 years. There are three levels of Reiki, and I completed Reiki 1 and 2 with a Reiki master in North Carlton. All along, I was telling myself to practice Reiki as a business and got it up at the end of 2014. In 2016, I completed my Reiki Master qualification under a different Reiki Master.
I realised I had all this HR background and recruitment skills which I wanted to flip around and use to help people get into the right jobs for them, so I also began offering a Career Wellbeing consulting service. I effectively had two arms to my business – a reiki arm and a resume writing arm. Halfway through 2017 when I had been full-time in my business for 6 months, I decided to swallow my fears and follow my heart and just focus on the Reiki side.
Reiki is all about energy. It’s not at all about me ‘healing’ you. I am helping you to be in a state of energetic balance, but if you are doing terrible things to your health – eating poorly, not moving your body, not looking after your mental and emotional wellbeing – then energetic balance cannot be retained. I want my clients to be ready and willing to make holistic changes and not expect me to wave a magic wand.
I am constantly learning new things about the best approaches to health and wellbeing, especially how to live as low-tox as possible in our crazy modern world and I always want to pass on my knowledge to my clients and the wider community.
I’m moving to Ocean Grove this year, and there’s a calling for me to go there. In 2018, I am following my heart.
I was recently up in my roof, sorting my boxes. I have kept every piece of artwork my kids have ever done and now I’ve got to get rid of most of them. My recycling bin is constantly full a few days after recycling day!
Looking back, I would not be where I am now if I were still married. I definitely would not be doing the job I am doing as David doesn’t have time for what I do. You cannot be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t share your values and have respect for your passions and what you do.
I like variety and change. For my business, it’s good to be forced to take it outside of my home, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue servicing my clients in the West by working out of Feeling Healthy Wellness Hub in Yarraville Village. It’s easy working from home – I don’t need to get anywhere on time, so moving away will be different and challenging. Now I feel like I’m beginning my own adventure.