Here's a quick glimpse into where I came from and how I got to be here with you today.
"I LEFT CANADA IN MY TWENTIES, READY TO CONQUER THE WORLD."
I bought a one way ticket to Bangkok with plans to travel the world. I vividly remember arriving into Bangkok with only a backpack and a dream. It was torrential down pour but I was blissfully happy as I walked the streets looking for a sensible place to stay. As I turned the corner, I almost walked directly into …… the back end of an elephant. I still remember that exhilaration of experiencing something so out of the ordinary and the sheer surprise of such an encounter. Anyway, this was the beginning of my journey.
After some time travelling, I realized that although I loved adventure and the idea of backpacking, I craved more of a deep dive into a culture and I loved to have a quiet place to reflect and a place to call home, even if only a short time. I ended up in Bali.
I settled into a villa called Villa Ujung, Ujung meaning ‘on the edge’. It was at the end of a very rough road that I rode everyday with my scooter. It was a constant reminder to me of where I was, and I was thrilled to be there. I laid in a hammock a lot, drank Bali coffee (basically sweet black coffee with the sludge left at the bottom) and read. I planned and wrote my ideas.
My mind was exploding with thoughts and ideas that I was dying to bring to the world.
Then I ran into an old friend that I had met on my first trip to Bali a year prior. This kind, beautiful soul took care of me when I got deathly ill the year before. We ran into each other at the supermarket and I invited him over for some Mac and Cheese. (Really, I did) Needless to say, he thought it was horrible.
"BUT THE MEETING SPARKED THE BEGINNING OF A PARTNERSHIP, BOTH BUSINESS AND PERSONAL."
Hariyono was a creative soul. Always trying something new. At the time, he was designing leather shoes and bags. Any visiting friends or family seemed to always order from him.
This was the birth of my first international business. BauXo. Actually means meatball soup. The story behind the name is a totally different story, one for another time….. but the soup is delicious.
I formed a business partnership with my best friend Diana and we continued celebrating and marketing Hari’s design for 15 years. It seems impossible actually, that it was that long but the years went by so quickly.
The brand was young & bold and meaningful. The jewelry and accessories were hand crafted using leather and metals, often recycled, and the collections grew and expanded over the years. Hari designed new collections every 6 months and we expanded across North America with over 650 retailers carrying our product. We had showrooms in New York, LA & Toronto and we went to exhibitions in the major cities to exhibit our new collections. We were featured in multiple larger chains like Holt Renfrew, Macy’s, Freepeople and Sundance as well as noted in publications like the Oprah magazine, Elle, Nylon and Star Style.
I ended up marrying Hari within the first year of the business. We spent day and night together. We were earning so little at the beginning that I remember eating Nasi Bungkus (small bundles of rice, shredded chicken and vegetables), which were only $0.35, for every meal for about 3 months. I loved every minute of it!
It never seemed like a sacrifice. Ever. I got frustrated but I was always so grateful for the experience and how much I was learning along the way.
We ended up having 2 beautiful children, Java & Khiana (who are now 19 & 16 respectively). They were both born in Canada but they have lived in Bali all their life.
About 12 years into the business, growing children and a newly built home, I found myself getting a bit agitated and on edge.
"I WAS ACHING TO FEEL THAT EXCITEMENT AND ENTHUSIASM THAT I FELT ARRIVING IN BANGKOK YEARS EARLIER."
We made some changes in the business. We hired a coach, we kept re-visiting who we were as a brand and what we were doing. I finally concluded that my time in the business was finished. It didn’t light me up anymore and it just wasn’t giving me what I needed, which frustrated and saddened me, and no amount of searching was making it better.
So, after moving to another country, an inter-cultural marriage, 2 children, a home and an international business, I had lost who I was as a person and what made me ‘me’.
I was trying to make decisions, but it was hard. Nothing felt right. My ‘gut instincts’, which I had trusted all my life and had never steered me wrong, had vanished.
I tried so hard at this point to make something shift, so at the same time that all of this was happening in our business, we decided to list our house for sale and we pulled our kids out of school. We thought that when the house sold, we would travel with the kids. (I was also hoping this might trigger something in my ability to make decisions for my life or develop a sense of purpose)
In doing this, we found an online Self-Directed Learning program. We enrolled the kids and we began.
"OUR FAMILY WENT ON AN EPIC JOURNEY."
The program challenged everything we had been taught to believe as right and it really tore us all down to our most basic selves. We asked ourselves every question, we challenged every theory, we struggled with schedules and structure but in the end, it was a fundamental building block for developing each of us individually as our authentic selves. We learnt about how we work best, what we value, what energizes us, we learned to be curious and explore interests, what motivates us and how we can thrive as a family.
Our house didn’t sell right away but it ended up being one of the BEST YEARS to really learn about my children and what lights their souls on fire. In the process though, I also began to re-examine what lit mine on fire too!
After a total of almost 4 years of reading, researching, developing, and 'walking down a hall of mirrors', I have found the fire in my soul again.
I have started this company, FLRSH360 based on these life principles;
- we need to re-set and remind ourselves of our inner core so that we can design our lives with intention and according to our true values and beliefs.
- We, as parents, can guide our children to self-direct and can support and nurture them as they explore with their innate curiosity to find ways of being in the world that works and feels good for them.
"AND SO BEGINS THE JOURNEY. A NEW PATH."
I’m thrilled to be here and share with you what I have learned on my own epic adventure and to help you and your family self-direct and design a life that lights your soul on fire.
Together on the journey.