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Such Different Skies Turns 4! Let’s Celebrate with an ULTIMATE Giveaway

 

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSEDSuch different giveaway

IMG_6656LINEAbout four years ago now, I was sitting in a camper trailer, my face freckled, my body aching, the old clunky white laptop that Glen I shared – it was sitting on my lap. I was eating salt and vinegar chips, and guzzling my second or third Hahn Super Dry. Thirsty, tired, fatigued, but utterly immersed in page after scrolling page of my friend’s wonderful blog. How the hell did she keep this a secret from me?! – I thought to myself as I kept clicking ‘older posts’ in crazed wonderment.

The next day, picking those mandarins in the middle of nowhere, with my relatively new boyfriend working the tree beside me, I announced through twigs and ripened fruit and way too may spiders for my liking, that I myself was tossing around a faint idea of launching a blog. Even though I didn’t know a thing about them. Even though I thought bloggers were losers. Even though I was of the opinion that everyone should be out there, travelling the world, snowboarding, picking fruit between winters. Experiencing the ups and downs of life, rather than tapping away behind a keyboard (how boring). You know, like me. But this damn blog idea had drawn me in hook, line and sinker. Something about it felt expansive and full of possibility.

 

You would think that climbing up and down ladders for 12 hours straight with 15kgs of citrus hanging from your chest would be a special kind of hell on earth, but actually, the sun always seemed to set rather quickly. Out there, in the country, where the only noises were the snip, snip, snipping of our tools, the rustling of the leaves, the odd ‘Ow!’ when we copped a spiky branch in the face, and the occaisional revving of the tracktor engine as we progressed down our row of mandarin trees, time ceased to exist. Memories never before re-visited would spring to our minds, and they’d consume us for hours. Likewise for future projections – hopes and dreams would scoop us up and carry us off into a silent , busy world of unlimited imagination, as our bodies robotically kept snipping, kept climbing, kept empting our fruit into the half-tonne bins.

And this blog thing- it started to take up every inch of skull. What would I write about? Maybe… maybe stuff like this? Like backpacking? Travelling? Being a seasonnaire? Snowboarding in Japan? Culinary adventures? I could write about hiking trails and pub crawls and music that moves me. Maybe I could even, like, share some photos of my adventures?

But what would I call it? This blog of mine.

One dawn, as Glen and I drove our old Ford out of the township and towards the farm, the sun peaking its head up over the valley; the morning mist slowly rising from the river, I looked up at the clouds – maxed out, zoomed in, fluffed up beyond fluffy. If I was at the top of my ladder amongst the small, sun-ripened fruit, I might even be able to touch them. The clouds were so big and gregarious and ALIVE our there.

‘We see such different skies…’ I said, to the car window, my neck still creaked up, so I could cloud-gaze.

‘Huh?’ replied my sleepy boyfriend.

‘It’s just… you know… we’ve been to a few places around the world together… and the sky never looks the same…’

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Suffice it to say, my friends, that much has happened, unfolded, magically materialised in my life since the day I pressed publish on my horrendously written first post: i am tara. you can call me ta’s. (Complete with disastrous grammar, of course.) I have deleted many of my archived posts, but my first? Well, I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it. The memory is too sweet. The contrast too great. The black hair, the pina colada, her cheeky, sunburnt face… Sometimes we need to be reminded of the road we’ve travelled, and few things remind me more than this bite-sized post created in a caravan park in central Queensland.

Four years on, Such Different Skies has evolved, grown, gotten a little wiser (perhaps), and yet her name has remained because in truth, no other name would do this journey justice. I still look up, every single day, with the same amazement I did all those years ago. I still look up and giggle nervously at freaky storm clouds. I still look up and wipe tears off my cheeks as blazing sunsets leave their last moments of warmth on my face. I still look up and say aloud, ‘Thank you.’ I still look up and think ‘What the actual fuck is my life all about?!’

And here – this place – this strange and wonderful pocket of the internet, has been a container that’s carried my contempations and allowed me to become a woman, a creative, a coach.

And I am more than just a little grateful. (If you can’t already tell)

And so – it’s about bloody time we threw a party around here. An ULTIMATE party. A GIVEAWAY party.

Allow me now, to introduce you to some wicked crazy gorgeous brands (most of them local to me, some have even been featured as Such Different Vixens), that have generously and so very graciously contributed to this outpouring of love and appreciation. They stand here with me, side by side, to say:

Thank you.

One lucky reader (Aussies only, I’m afraid) will receive this soulful bounty. You’ll find the condiitons of entry at the bottom, but please, take your time with this post: soak in these brands (please support them on Facebook and Instagram if you fancy them), enjoy the photos (we went for a real Party Girls Guide to Peace theme – quite relevant, really), and perhaps, as you continue to scroll, you’ll reflect a little on the last four years of YOUR such different life.

Because you’ve come a long way, baby.

Thank you.

(Oh. I already said that.)

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Amés Collective: Such Different Skies Inspired Soul Deck ($200)

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skating

This Divine Child / Wild Child skatey – creatived by the captivating Tess Wilcox – captures the entire feel and energy of this giveaaway. Freedom. Adventure. The wind in your hair. All those cares of yours, melting off your shoulders as you coast on.

And – AND – the wheels light up as you roll on with your own bad self! Sparkly wheels!

For those that don’t skate, let me just say that  – YES – this would be a perfectly acceptable, and undeniably rad, addition to your living room decor. Just sayin.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

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Essence of Living: 3 Months of Unlimited Yoga! ($395)

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My favourite place to practice yoga here on the Gold Coast is Essence of Living.

The energy is abuzz. The community Michelle and the girls have managed to create there is unlike anything. There’s an abundant number of classes per week, and they’re beyond nourishing. The teachers give their whole presence. Is it too much for me to say that this studio has changed my life? It truly has. If you follow me on instagram you’ll know that Essence is my church, a place I ‘pray’ almost daily.

For the lucky winner, if you live locally to the GC, Essence is kindly offering you 3 months of unlimited yoga at the studio in Mermaid Beach. And for those located elsewhere, you’ll instead have access to 3 months access to the online portal – Essence of Living TV.

The Studio: Website | Facebook | Instagram

Essence of Living TV: Website | Facebook | Instagram

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Violet Gray: Solar Plexus Necklace ($99)

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Beautiful angel, Alex, is gifting one of her powerful and dainty chakra necklaces. I’m sure you’ve seen these all over instagram, no? They’re adorning the collarbones of spirited sisters far and wide. 🙂 Such a gorgeous treasure to add to your soul kit.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

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 The Fifth Element Life Mandala Ring ($88)

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So, the first time I lay my eyes on Sarah’s mandala rings, my first thought was: PHWOAR.

These mandala rings are big, beutiful, intentional, and they make a statement. Mine doesn’t shift from my finger. Shower, yoga or sea dip – she stays put. And she tells a story – I like to trace the etching with my thumb, and charge it with my dreams and visions…

Website | Facebook | Instagram

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The Whole Daily: Life Transformation Project ($197)

unnamedlife transformation projectIn the words of creator (and Such Different Vixen), Alice Nicholls:

This is an expansive course.  It’s real and it’s not a quick fix.  It delves and dives deeply.  It feels whole.  

The Life Transformation Project is a four week journey.

Conscious Loving – Self-love, intuition, empowerment, self-care, self-esteem.
Conscious Healing – Food and emotions, physical food choices, eating guidelines.
Conscious Living – Ego, mindfulness, conscious thought, stillness.
Conscious Freedom – Fear and freedom, Letting go of the ‘story’, dreams, passion.

Website | Facebook | Instagram
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Hattie: Mexican Drifter Blanket ($130)

Hattie

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Now, look me in the eye and tell me who doesn’t swoon over a Mexican blanket. Right?

Well, let’s up the ante (and swoon factor) by blanket-gazing at this gorgeous Hattie specimen, complete with carry strap.

Beach hangs, picnics, backyard soirees – they’re all but a sling of the shoulder away. 🙂

Website | Facebook | Instagram

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The Spring Shop: $100 Voucher!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Spring Shop collage

My beautifully creative and beyond talented friend, Catherine, has opened up her online store for you!

Masons, ceramics, finer little details, artsy craftsy sweet little somethings. The choice is yours. Add to cart.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

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The Fix: Coffee Body Scrub ($15.95)

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Now THIS is an experience.

Firstly – nothing exfoliates quite like coffee. It doesn’t dissolve, it’s gloriously granular without being aggressive. It sheds thy dry, lifeless skin.

Then, the peppermint pipes up; the faint scent of it as the scrub hits the steam. Divine.

And finally, as your towel off, you feel the after effects of the coconut oil. Smooth. Supple. So very lovely.

A beautiful product from a beautiful Tasmanian brand 🙂

Website | Instagram
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Lemon Canary: ‘Meditate’ Soy Candle & 2 x Blue Quartz ($74.95)

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Be still my beating heart. The packaging, the attention to detail, the softness of these products.

The eco-consciousness, the hand-made-ness. I could go on and on.

French rosemary, lemon and cedarwood join forces my friends, in a fierce and freeing way.

And these blue quartz (the meditation stone) have been lovingly programmed with the intentions of mindfulness and clarity.

Could this brand be any more divine?

Website | Facebook | Instagram
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Green Nutritionals: SuperGrass Powder & Froggy Glass Straws ($39.95 )

Such Different Giveaway2

green nutritionals

Alkalinity for the win! This potent superfood powder is chockers with grasses of barley, alfalfa and wheat. Add a teaspoon into your smoothie or stir into your morning green juice, and your cells will thank you for it. And the straws? Don’t even get me started. I mean seriously (how rad are they?).

Website | Facebook | Instagram
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Huge big massive thanks to:

:: Sophie from PeppaHart for her styling chops and lovely photos. (Facebook | Instagram)

:: Sarah Truman and the girls from Lululemon Robina for their support, and for clothing me!

(I’m wearing :: Coastal Tank :: Free To Be Bra :: Wunder Under Pant :: Transformation Wrap)

:: All of the contributors.

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Just to recap…

:: Amés Collective: Such Different Skies inspired Soul Deck ($200)

:: Essence of Living: 3 months of unlimited yoga! ($395)

:: Violet Gray: Solar Plexus necklace ($99)

:: The Fifth Element Life Mandala Ring ($88)

:: The Whole Daily: Life Transformation Project ($197)

:: Hattie: Mexican Drifter Blanket ($130)

:: The Spring Shop: $100 voucher!

:: The Fix: Coffee Body Scrub ($15.95)

:: Lemon Canary: ‘Meditate’ Soy Candle & 2 x Blue Quartz ($74.95)

:: Green Nutritionals: SuperGrass Powder & Froggy Glass Straws ($39.95)

For a total value of: $1339.95

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To enter this competition…

1:: Scroll down and ensure that you’re subscribed to my newsletter list. I’ll be announcing the winner exclusively via email.

2:: See that little Facebook box to the right? Kindly click ‘like’. (Thank you)

3:: In the comments below, allow Nostalgia to step in for a moment as you share with me – and us – how much you’ve GROWN in the last four years.

You can choose any one of these qusstions as prompters:

What aspect of my life has radically transformed?

What am I most proud of?

I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…

I am most grateful for this fateful lesson…

And finally.

4:: Share this post with your peeps.

The winner will be announced in my May 28 newsletter.

Good luck, beautiful.

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THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

The winner has been announced in my newsletter.

HEY GIRL!
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168 Responses to Such Different Skies Turns 4! Let’s Celebrate with an ULTIMATE Giveaway

  1. Bonita May 17, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    What am I most proud of?

    I am most proud of BEING MYSELF!! Oh goodness, at 24 years of age with many health battles and family dramas and pressure of society.. I have FINALLY managed to BE ME!! It has taken a lot of dark, awfully painful moments to get here, but I know who I am, where I want to be, and how I am going to get there. I truely believe once you learn to ACCEPT yourself, ACCEPT your flaws and ACCEPT others that is the key to true pure freedom, that is ‘letting go’, being yourself IS choosing LOVE over fear!! No matter where you go, no matter what life puts you through, ALWAYS COME HOME TO..YOU! <3 xo

    • Seigrid May 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

      The last 4 years have displayed many challenges. I’m now in a position where I see me, yes me, for who I truly am and I’m loving getting to know myself. I have surprised myself in many ways, dodging bad decisions, ending toxic friendships, finding out bad news about my Dads health, picking myself up, completing university, falling in love, becoming who I really am and pursuing happiness and wellness in my life! Just re-reading that ridiculous long sentence makes me reflect and I’m so proud of me. Looking after yourself is crucial – if you can do that first, you can help others to do so also!
      Finding inspirational women – whether that be through blogs, books or even Instagram allows people into your life who assist in your growth process without even knowing!

    • Mish May 22, 2014 at 8:23 am #

      An open letter to my former self,

      Hello beautiful, four amazing, yet very challenging and exciting years have past. In this moment you stand strong and confident in an amazing point in your life. You have grown to become courageous, insightful, ambitious woman who radiates passion, love and happiness. And an amazing life journey awaits you, yet this is only the beginning.

      In these four challenging years you will have many ups and downs. There will come a time when you will fail, please do not to mistake this failure for defeat. Failure is a necessary part of reaching success and your failure will result in a huge state of personal growth for you. Instead of wallowing with self doubt and beating yourself up over it, use these challenges as stepping stones to lift you higher. Know that these challenges all have purposeful lessons and power which will ultimately allow you to grow and progress to becoming the strong woman you are today.

      Along your journey you will begin to realise the importance and value of the power of your words and thoughts and ultimately, yoga.

      You will learn to become comfortable in your own skin ditching the fake tan, heavy makeup and other harmful chemical based products for good. Your skin is gorgeous as it is and you will learn that staying out out of the sun, drinking lots of water and looking after it will do you good.

      Timing is everything. In regards to men; stop analysing everything and trust that everything is coming in its divine time.

      Go running, breathe, practise daily gratitude yoga and meditation. it will save you.

      Stop comparing yourself to others you are so enough.

      Don’t be afraid to let your guard down and be exactly who you are.

      We connect when we are able to relate to one another so do not be afraid to ask for help and show your struggle when you need it.

      Look out for your friends. Be there to support them. When someone asks you for help; help them.

      Understand that everyone has a story. Do not be so quick to judge.
      Prioritise acting to serve others before yourself.

      Listen. Give your undivided presence and attention when listening. Listening is not about what you think or have to say.

      Do not follow the crowd. Instead, do what you know to be right, even if you are the only one.

      Act without expectation. Expectations are the root of all heartache, Stop trying to do what is expected and do what you love.

      Born with a warriors heart, you are far stronger than you know. You are about to embark an amazing journey, that is your life. I encourage you to believe in yourself, and allow your passion and your love to guide you.

      May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.

      Sending you all the love that you need.

      X

      Mish

    • Emily May 22, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      I can hardly believe it but four years ago I was …

      Living in the city with eyes cast downwards. Not forwards. There was no momentum in my step like there is today, there was no fire in my belly, I was blissfully unawares of the vixen that lived within me. She was tightly confined with no need to show herself – why would she? I had lived such a cosy, sheltered and protected life – there was no need for me to wave my freak flag! But there has been a yearning, a voice and inner guide that I have neglected for most of my life but these days she steals the show. In just four short years this is how my life has changed – moved to the country with my love, bought a house, became a proud fur mama (totally unexpected but totally smitten), started a blog, fell in LOVE with writing (again, my inner guide had always pushed me back to writing), began yoga, studying holistic health coaching, connected with the most incredibly inspiring women (present company included), got rid of the books I ‘should’ read and marvelled at the words of Danielle LaPorte, Louise Hay, SARK, Robert Holden and Rumi.
      I have such passion and curiousity for life and all that it entails. I live an absolutely blessed life and I have learnt to manifest incredible things.

      If you told me, four years ago, that I would have poured out my heart and soul so rawly and so honestly with oodles of gushing love and light – I’d have slapped you. But these days – I’d bow my head, throw you a wink and say ‘namaste’.

      • Sarah May 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

        🙂

    • Cora May 27, 2014 at 11:59 am #

      Wow – 4 years ago my life was very, very different. I was living in Vancouver and had just finished my BA in psychology. I had just started teaching yoga and had a lot to learn (still do) the biggest thing I have learned in those 4 years is to believe in myself! Love your blog Tara! Xoxo

  2. Leesa May 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…
    under the impressiom that if I wanted to help others that it had to be in a way that someone else said it should be, that I couldnt create my own ways and tools for living, loving, being and healing.

  3. Mandi May 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    I’m most proud of how much I have grown and succeeded. Oh gosh. Four years ago I was a scared, 22 year old who did as she was told and let everyone walk all over her. I never did anything for myself and I was not confident at all. I learned a lot, mostly by growing up and moving away from home, studying what I wanted to do and slowly finding a tribe that would support me and love me for who I am. Death and love has changed me. Just like growing up and realising that I can do anything that I put my mind to. I’ve found the tools that I needed to extend myself and challenge my body, mind and soul and truly accept and adore who I am. I love it.

    Happy four years of blogging, Tara. Here’s to another four years! xx

  4. Kirstie May 17, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was… ready to pull the plug on my life. I was drinking myself into oblivion and regularly hitting the self-destruct button on myself and my relationships with others. I was so miserable. Worse than that, I was sad. You know when little kids have no other vocabulary to describe how they are feeling and the best word they can describe their devastation is, is sad. I was sad. In every aspect of the word. I was lost. I was aimlessly searching for something, whilst mindlessly numbing myself with a myriad of vices. If I couldn’t control a situation/person/event then I hit the terminate button. I was working myself into the ground. All whilst putting on a happy face on to the world. Pretending to be the girl who had everything together.

    I barely recognise that girl, yet I love that girl with open arms and huge compassion, because she made me want to be better. She made me stop and take stock of my life. Made me realise that trying to control everyone and everything was unhealthy and downright madness. That if I kept hitting that self-destruct button, that there would soon be nothing left to salvage. I am so different from that girl I was. Finding girls like you, Tara, and courses such as Party Girls, really helped me see who I really was and inspired me to be who I am today. I can barely believe that it was only four short years ago. It makes me excited to see what the next four years will hold with this outlook, because if that transformation can happen – I am truly destined to move mountains.

  5. Emily Nelson May 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Four years ago… I worked in a chain of horrible reception and retail jobs because I lacked the confidence to work in the creative field that I’d studied hard for at university. I was suffering from terrible mental health and anxiety, which landed me on and off medication and having anxiety attacks in embarrassing situations. I was in my final year studying a Masters in Web Design in a bid to try and make my skills more commercial. I was living in THE worst share house. We had mice, the house was filthy, but dirt cheap and it was a very lonely time for me. I had no self confidence and lacked trust and doubted my worth constantly. And I would get drunk too easily out with friends and stuffed my face with lollies and sweets. There were some really great times mixed in there too…but overall my life needed a big change!

    Now I live with my amazing and supportive fiance! I quit my day jobs and have been working for myself as an illustrator and photographer for 1 1/2 years. I stopped denying my passions and found that what I loved was actually the kind of work that made me money, instead of trying to fit into a commercial mould. I completely changed up my health habits and I walk every morning, have cut out processed sugars and crap, caffeine and alcohol, and practise yoga from home! This for a start has improved my anxiety tremendously!! I don’t take any medication and I feel that I can manage it when I notice it starting to slip with healthy eating, avoiding caffeine and alcohol and lots of exercise and breathing exercises.
    I started out making really healthy breakfasts and that extended to all of my meals and my partner too and has inspired my family to make some changes as well! I work from home in my own studio and it brings me so much happiness knowing that I’m giving my dream a good shot and living a healthy life. It’s absolute bliss. There’s still lots of work to do and I’m still dedicated to being the best person I can be.

    Thank you for your positive and empowering message Tara. Happy 4 years!

  6. Kelle May 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Four years ago I thought I was happy, on paper I had everything I needed. It wasn’t until the birth of my son two and a half years ago the cracks started to show. I realised the superficial nature of my existence which revolved around partying, working too much and putting too much focus on what I was getting in return, I didn’t value my body, and many of my friendships followed the same form.
    After my son was born my love for him
    reflected back to me everything I wasn’t giving to myself. I tried to bury the feeling of how ‘flawed’ I really was, questioned how anyone could actually like (let alone love me) when I was so obviously damaged. Then came the cycle of burying my thoughts so deep that I couldn’t let anyone in to having outbursts at my husband for being so unloved and misunderstood.
    Through the online world I slowly began to uncover the reality that majority of us are struggling with lack of self love and respect and once I started to realise this I began to work through it and heal.
    I now know that I am not damaged at all and what in have been through in the last four years weren’t obstacles at all – but blessings. With the support I have now and a hunger for knowledge, self growth and a desire to nourish my body mind and spirit I am so eternally grateful for the opportunities before me and the chance to live a life full of joy with respect for myself and others. The journey isn’t over yet!

  7. Katherine - The Beauty Of Life May 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    Four years ago I was living in Brisbane working in a HORRIBLE job that made me sick every night thinking about going to work. I thought I was following a dream to work in television, and somehow I’d ended up working at a dodgy, family owned production company making corporate videos for government agencies. I was working my butt off and I making good money but possibly the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life. I hated it so much but I needed the money and while I worked there I was still sure that I was working towards my dream career.

    I know that the journey I’ve been on over the past four years – moving to Sydney, working on a bunch of TV shows in a lot of different roles, meeting lots of different people, starting a blog and then finding what I REALLY wanted to do – has led me to where I am today. I’m probably in the complete opposite of where I was four years ago. In a different city, really happy with my new life as a coach and the people I get to work with every day, maybe not doing as well financially yet, but believing that the joy I’m getting from the work I’m doing is – little by little – allowing me to get there. And the journey is an exciting one that I finally feel proud of (much more than I can say from some of my past jobs).

    I have nothing but gratitude for the experiences that have brought me to this point. The people I’ve met along the way, the lessons I’ve learned, and the fact that discovering the path I was on no longer served me has led me to this exact spot. So excited to see what the next four years brings (for me and for you, TB!)

  8. Jessie May 17, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    What aspect of my life has radically transformed?
    Four years ago I thought I had it all. I worked 50-60 hours a week, got a wicked pay and spent my weekends drinking and dancing the nights away and willing the sunshine away so it didn’t make my head thump any harder in the mornings. And then I woke up from my fantasy land and realised it was all bullshit! None of the my apparent “friends” wanted anything more than a party, my boyfriend of four years only wanted to be my boyfriend when it suited him and I was working those 50-60 hours in a dead end job that didn’t serve me!!
    Since then I have quit that job, I am in my last year at uni about to get my degree in nutrition, I spend my weekends going for walks for with my amazing honey who supports me in every way and I am happy!! I still hope that if I answered this question again in another four years that I could say things had radically transformed again because the biggest lesson that I have learnt from YOU Tara is that I don’t want to settle. I want to keep going deeper, finding out more about myself, challenging myself to dream a little bigger and jump into the unknown every once in a while.

    Congratulations on your 4 year mark and thank you for doing what you do!! x

  9. Jessie May 17, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    What aspect of my life has radically transformed?
    Four years ago I thought I had it all. I worked 50-60 hours a week, got a wicked pay and spent my weekends drinking and dancing the nights away and willing the sunshine away so it didn’t make my head thump any harder in the mornings. And then I woke up from my fantasy land and realised it was all bullshit! None of the my apparent “friends” wanted anything more than a party, my boyfriend of four years only wanted to be my boyfriend when it suited him and I was working those 50-60 hours in a dead end job that didn’t serve me!!
    Since then I have quit that job, I am in my last year at uni about to get my degree in nutrition, I spend my weekends going for walks for with my amazing honey who supports me in every way and I am happy!! I still hope that if I answered this question again in another four years that I could say things had radically transformed again because the biggest lesson that I have learnt from YOU Tara is that I don’t want to settle. I want to keep going deeper, finding out more about myself, challenging myself to dream a little bigger and jump into the unknown every once in a while.

    Congratulations on your 4 year mark and thank you for doing what you do!! x

  10. Emma May 17, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    I think the biggest lesson I’ve learnt in the last 4 years came to me about a month ago. It totally shifted the perspective I had on my life and hammered in the final nail of my Saturn Return (thank goodness for that!).

    A friend of a friend popped in to say hey as she was on her way down the coast. When she asked me how I was, I told her how I’d been feeling stuck and frustrated with a situation that’d been going on for at least 12 months now.

    She shared with me a similar situation she’d been in and that was causing her to experience those same anxious feelings and then she goes “and I realised that all those time frames and restrictions that were causing me so much stress and worry were put there by ME… SO. I. JUST. TOOK. THEM. ALL. AWAY”.

    As soon as she said those words I could physically feel my shoulders feel lighter and my heart had room to move again. I just let it all go. All the expectations, impatience, criticism and pressure I’d placed upon myself. I’d put them there in the first place, so I was the one that had the power to take them all away. Too much effort without enough grace… I just let them all go.

    I’d been told “Just let it go” a thousand times by my loved ones, but I guess that I had finally reached a point where I was ready to hear it.

    The next day I watched my first Such Different Skies clip Coulda Woulda Shoulda, which was freakishly coincidental and I’ve been living a truer path ever since.

    Emma xx

  11. Kirra May 17, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    Fours years ago was the turning point of my life. In May of 2010 I worked up the courage, after give years, to break up with my emotionally abusive boyfriend who I had allowed to sap all of my strength and all of my self worth for so long. It was the first time I remember truly being brave and the first time in that five years I had made a choice that allowed me to be the most important one, the one that got what they needed. That year I took my life and my shattered soul back into my own hands and I began to grow into me.

    Since then I have recognized my own strength, made a couple of my dreams come true, met my soulmate, felt my body pulse with positivity, made friends with meditation and I’ve slowly begun to develop an idea for my own business. All things I could never have imagined four years ago.

    It’s incredible that four years is the time you chose for this competition because the four years since I stepped out of the darkness and into the light have been the most transformative of my life.

    Thank you for the opportunity x

  12. S May 17, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    4 Years ago….. I was in a poisonous relationship with a man who had complete control over me emotionally. I had poisonous friendships with people who used me until I was dry. I was bullied at work. I was living in a share house where I was also bullied. I was spending my whole pay-check on cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. I doubted myself every second of the day and my immune system had packed its bags. I rarely slept. I lived a life completely unaligned with my values.
    Today I have a new boyfriend who it caring, funny and kind. I have ditched the old friendships and now spend lots of time with my family (whom I never used to get along with) and I am always open to new friendships (anyone? haha)! I quit my job and am in my second year of a psychology degree, I have just started a Part-time job at a nursing home, I don’t touch drugs, alcohol or cigies. I moved away from the old area I lived in and live with 2 awesome dudes! I actively participate in healing my mind, body and soul ( I even have my own little blog for my friends and fam, maybe one day I will share it with lots of people). I sleep. And best of all, every time I go to do something, I ask myself if it works in with my values. Life is good! I can’t wait for the next 4 years!

  13. Kylie Kaljo May 17, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    What am I most proud of???
    I am most proud of myself and how far I have come in the last 7 years. After losing my teenage brother and my nan within 11 weeks of each other I had no idea how to deal with it and turned to drinking, I fell into a deep depression, started suffering massive anxiety attacks and pretty much just gave up on myself and was beating myself down over everything. I focused my time on worrying about everyone else and trying to fix their problems so I didn’t have to deal with my own and that just made it all worst. I refused to go on medication and started pushing the people that I love away and that’s when I knew I had to do something about it… Enough was enough! I was sick of being unhappy. I started seeing a professional and it has changed my life, that one hour a week to do something for myself is the best thing I ever did! We discovered my inner yellow chakra was completely broken 🙁 I had no self love or worth and it was breaking me apart. As soon as I heard this I started to realise that just because my nan and brother were no longer on this planet it didnt mean that I couldnt be happy. After 2 long years of hard work I am so so proud of myself and how I have turned my life around. MY LIFE IS AMAZING! I am now married to my man of 10 years and we are expecting our first baby which is something I didn’t think would happen as I was pushing him away too.
    Life is beautiful and I am so happy to be living it xxxx

  14. Jasmine May 17, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    These are gorgeous prizes and I know they will go to an amazing girl to cherish – but I just wanted to say Tara :

    Happy Blog Birthday. You are a complete diamond and you will never know how much I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy your presence. I will always remember you when I look back to this time in my life.

    Wishing you many many more years of BLISS. xo

  15. Suzie May 17, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    What am I most proud of? I am so proud of myself for becoming a mum, it is the best and most rewarding experience I will ever achieve in my lifetime.

    I cannot put into words the immense love I have for my little boy, everyday I love him more, how is that possible when yesterday I thought I couldn’t love him any more but today all I want to do is squeeze him and kiss him all over nonstop. Life isn’t easy being a mum as there are always ups and downs in family life but just to hear those four little words come out of such a cute little voice, “I love you Mummy” really makes me feel so complete.

    Whatever career I choose to do in the near future will not be as rewarding or stimulating as being a mum, I know I will love to go to work and to achieve my goals but as soon as that tick on that clock says 5pm I know my head will be out the door and my heart will already be at home with my little one. x

  16. jody buhgaiar May 17, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    I am most proud of my four boys. Three have left home to pursue their dreams and are happy and healthy. My youngest is in his last year of schooling and then he will fly the nest also!. I feel proud that I have taught them well and they are all good boys, respectful to their peers and life it seems looks kindly on them, and they are healthy 🙂
    Four years ago seems like a lifetime ago, yet yesterday. I was studying nursing, all my children were home and I was nursing my sister through breast cancer. Time has healed some wounds and I can be happy to say, i am now a nurse, my sister is in remission and turning fifty doesnt seem so bad after all !
    I cannot wait, good or bad for the next four years and looking back to see what life has to offer. Thanks so much for the post and the giveaway, I very rarely sit down and think about years gone by, but it has been very rewarding, thank you.

  17. Janine May 17, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    I can barely believe it but 4 years ago my values, nonnegotiables and idea of wellness were so so so very different to this moment. My life now…..

    Buying local and organic is on my tick list along with appreciating the passion of the barista at my local coffee shop. Giving to the homeless or tin carrier freely and with less judgment and criticism.
    Making cupcakes for my neighbors at Easter and getting up for our farmers markets every Sunday. Fewer expectations & planning and more I love you’s to everyone I know. Less sugar & packaging and more green smoothies and herbs.
    Sharing a beautiful meal with friends on a Friday without needing a bottle as well to trying classes at new and trendy studios in my area instead of just the gym and sticking with only what I know.
    High fives to 7 hours of sleep each night and dialing back on the self judgment and abuse. More baths and pots of tea, less b*tching about others. Having gratitude in all I can and trust in the universe.

    Intentional movement, positive thoughts, whole foods, sleep and learning are a daily must. Feeling fear and not letting it always stop me in my tracks. Loving myself a little more each moment and falling more in love with my life and journey each day.

    PS Tara your blog and spirited has helped so much along with the other blogs and resources I have found through your site. Thank you for doing what you do and please keep doing it.

  18. Katie Lee May 17, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    The aspect of my life that has drastically changed in the last four years has been my confidence. After moving around the country with my hubby and starting my biz I have grown into an authentic confidence in myself, my marriage, my biz and my gifts.

  19. Kim May 18, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    4 years ago, I was working on a 6 star cruise ship as a chef. Before that I had a very bad breakup and I was a mess, I had worked on ships before and knew I had to get away and start my life fresh again.

    Wow did I ever!!!! I meet so many new friends, from all parts of the world. Each teaching me something different. I got to experience and explore new places, got to see so much beauty in the world, spending 3 months in Antartica was one of the best highlights. The best of all was meeting the man of my dreams, which I was not at all looking for. at all He changed my life, who is now my husband, he is my everything. Life is now looking bright. I am more at peace and happy than I have ever been.

  20. Jule May 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    Radical Transformation

    TODAY, just today made a FB PAGE ! Went public ! SHared, requested! It’s a miracle…

    FOur years ago: wife, mother (one dead, one living) by the beach in very small country town, married to the sea and my dolphins, joint homeowner

    Now: a widow, single parent, living in the CITY (go figure but I love it!) renting, relishing a space where ANYTHING can happen AND finally sharing that yes, I channel angels n archangels n spirit n yes I can handle that responsibility and YES! I freakin love the energy that brings to my life!

    I’m so proud that I FEEL it all! No longer happy just to survive, I am here to shine and thrive ! <3

  21. Helen Walker May 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    What am I most proud of?

    I am proud as punch of myself for committing to my own healing journey and sticking with it, even after roadblock after roadblock hurled themselves in front of me like a wrecking ball (hello Miley reference!)

    Being born with a foot deformity that would’ve left me wheelchair bound had I not undergone several surgeries as a child left me feeling incapable. I was held back from things by my parents who cared, and later when they let me go, it was me who held myself back. Later on, in my early twenties, I was filled with dreams, hopes and goals for my future. I was not meant for average things. I was always looking to the next big milestone. The next big goal. Instead, my body crashed – and I was once again left incapable and held back from working towards what I wanted to happen. My adrenals shut down. My hormones were destroyed – and doctors wanted to put me on lifelong medication that ‘might’ help slow things down. Not cure it. Not reverse it. No guarantees, only a potential band-aid solution. Again, this was not good enough for me.

    As a uni student who was receiving government benefits, my spare money was going into healing. Acupuncture, organic foods, meditation, yoga, health and healing books – I even travelled to Bali to see a traditional healer. All while, my peers were spending their cash on clothes, going out and music festivals.

    I stuck with it though. For a whole two years of little to no hope, a light at the end of the tunnel finally illuminated. And now, that light keeps getting brighter and brighter. My hopes, dreams and intentions are now fuelled by the realisation that I am not being held back. I am free. And I am so, so proud.

  22. Katie Maree Norman May 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    4 years ago- I was searching. Searching for a way to fit in, to look like a super model, to make money, searching for a way to be happy. Searching for a way to be me and not have so many doubts attached.

    Around this time 4 years ago I would have been in Bali with my gorgeous man, we probably would have been hungover, lazing by the pool wondering what the hell I had drank the night before and worse wondering what kind of embarrassing thing I had done! Meanwhile not getting any closer to what I was searching for.

    And today, four years later my search is far from complete- but it has changed. Instead of valuing my life by what I look like or how much money I have- I love and accept it. I am blissfully happy because every person that comes into my life, I appreciate, I love and I accept them. I accept and love me. Because it’s us, the people that make this world go round.

    So my search continues; to meet as many people as I can, because every person out there will enrich my existence and everyone deserves to be heard.

    I hope this seach never ends.

    Thank you Tara, for always allowing me to express myself.

  23. Ashleigh May 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    What am I most proud of?

    4 years ago – May 2010 – I had a hunger for life. However, I was suppressing it with alcohol, drugs, cheating relationships, self-doubt and mean girls (myself included). Every week the same thing – barely make the grades at uni, text the 100 boys in my life to feel worthy, internet search for love and hide the internet boyfriends to the real life ones, binge drink, pop pills or anything to get me high, come down, work, binge eat. Repeat.

    I knew I was better than this, I knew I was smarter than this, I knew I had big things planned for my future – but I was scared. Paralysed with fear I conformed to friends, boyfriends (internet and real life), work, Uni – conforming to society. One that did not serve the REAL me.

    Then, I got TIRED. Tired of living day to day like everything was alright. I was sick and tired of waiting for my ‘moment’, my ‘success’, my ‘fortune’ my ‘desire’. I knew my life would never be fulfilled if I didn’t take action and BECOME the change I wanted to be. December 2010 – my 22nd birthday. One I will NEVER forget. I invited high-school friends, university friends, work friends over to my place for my birthday. The one time all of my friends had mixed together. I was shocked. Who was I? I was 3 different people to each group of friends. None were real. I wasn’t me. I knew this was the moment something had to change.

    That night, I decided to change my mindset. I promised myself that night when Jan 1st 2011 came around I would talk to myself in a POSITIVE way only. I would never speak to certain friends again – the ones that served me no purpose and I would cut loose my internet boyfriends, they weren’t real. I was going to find the REAL man of my dreams.

    I am most proud of myself that night in December 2010. It taught me to be true to myself, think positively, believe, work, take action, bust through fears and be G.R.A.T.E.F.U.L for every. single. lesson that comes my way. Because, 4 years later, I have my own business that is GROWING rapidly, a healthy lifestyle, wonderful & loving friendships with family and friends, and the most beautiful and handsome man that walked into my life 4 months after December 2010. I made the change. I think back to this moment in times of fear and self-doubt. It still brings me to tears of gratitude to think of how far I have come.

    Thank you, Tara for allowing me to recap this pivotal moment of my life. I am so blessed. Happy 4 years. xoxoxox

  24. Roshi May 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    4 sweet years ago..
    WOW so much has shifted and changed and boy oh boy have I grown, expanded and conciously awoken..
    4 years ago I was making the transition back from travelling and partying overseas, post a yoga teacher training stop in Bali and making my way back to the sweet souther shores off Nz and Auz..
    I wanted so badly to unravel straight away and share this LOVE of yoga to the world but I wasn’t ready.. I had shit to process, shit to shift and some layers to peel back… I moved home to NZ, them moved over here to Sydney to step into a healthier way off life and step into a yoga community and city that did now know the old me..
    Once here I settled straight back into old habits as it was easier than unraveling a healthy new me.. I knew the dark me a whole better and it felt a lot safer (at that time) to stay in that space (stuck, contracted, alone and unworthy.. I worked in hospitality, taught a couple of yoga classes part time here and there and lead a double life… I was still drinking and smoking a lot on the weekends, but trying to be all zen and healthy through the week..
    How friggin confusing!
    So one day I woke up with the notion enough is enough I am so done with this double life, I want more and deserve more from myself and for myself so I popped into a lululemon store and scored a full time job there. This opened up my life to wellness in so many ways. I started studying at IIN, meet new awesome friends, become a part of an epic supportive community and set up my own business.
    Now I am self employed supporting new yogi’s on there path to teaching, finding there voice and believing in themselves.. The layers are still being peeled back but the truth of my existence is not so foggy, I am no longer hiding and masking the real roshi.
    I LOVE being healthy and zen every day and sharing this through teaching and mentoring is sooo effing fun and I love rocking this sweet awesome way of bing every single day…. xxx

  25. Jules May 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    Congratulations on your blogiversary and for following your dreams! I can barely believe it, but 4 years ago I was living in Melbourne, working at my “good job” up to 60 hours per week, and on the verge of adrenal burnout. My relationship with my husband was almost broken to the point of no return, and just a few months later he was diagnosed with melanoma. It was the toughest year ever. We needed to make a radical change in our lives. Fast forward 4 years (what a rollercoaster of emotions, growth, letting go and radical trust!) and I’m writing this from my new life in the hills behind Byron Bay. I’m sore from a day of surfing with hubby, we’ve just eaten a nourishing dinner which included local produce and homegrown herbs, and we are enjoying life at a different pace. Oh, how life has changed! It wasn’t easy, and nearly everyone said we were mad for leaving our “successful” lives for the unknown, but what good is success if you’re unwell and unhappy? To you Tara, I say well done on taking the road less travelled, and I’m stoked to be a part of that path too. Much love to you xoxo

  26. Rebecca May 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    What am I most proud of?

    I have achieved so much in the last 6 months to be proud of, by realizing that I have the power to create the life I want! I have put aside all the excuses and let go of the outdated beliefs that were holding me back.
    I was able to buy my first home with my love, rescue a beautiful puppy girl named Kali, start taking real responsibility for my health and have just finished b-school.
    I am on my way towards making my dreams come true and your constant inspiration has been a big part of this.
    Thanks for all you do for us Tara, your bravery and vulnerability gives so many of your readers the strength to do amazing things in the world. 🙂

  27. Lauren May 19, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    Happy Birthday Such Different Skies! Tara, what a beautiful story! It really helps me to remember, just how important the journey is. Firstly, may I just say thank you. Thank you Tara, for showing up and showcasing this wonderful business you have. Thank you to Ames Collective, Essence of Living, Violet Gray, The Fifth Element, The Whole Daily, The Spring Shop, The Fix, Lemon Canary, Green Nutritionals and Hattie. Thank you for sharing your talents, your gifts and your passions. I am all filled up with gratitude right now, which is the perfect way for me to answer;

    I am most grateful for the fateful lesson of trust. How many times had I heard, ‘just trust that the universe has your back.’ ‘Trust the process and trust that you are living the exact moment you are meant to be living.’ That all sounds amazing, but when that moment is full of fear, stress, judgment, comparison and the unwavering question of when and how, the comment of ‘just trust’ can literally drive you crazy! That was me! Lauren the photographer, the business owner, the entrepreneur, the creative of the past three years. I was the one in my own way and I could not sense any way of getting “out of my own way!” How could I trust that the universe has my back when clearly, it didn’t!
    But then… I had my lesson. And then, another lesson, then another… I learnt through meditation, through seeking help, through gifting myself the time to explore who I am and what I have to offer. Through time, I’ve found breath. With breath came space. With space came the unwavering understanding. The understanding that I can actually do it! I can connect with this amazing universe and guess what…! I whole-heartedly trust myself and I know without question that, the universe has my back.

  28. Camille May 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    What am I most proud of?

    My transformation over the last 2 years! It’s been a bumpy ride..As a single parent I’ve had my doubts about myself. But somehow I’ve managed to raise an incredible human being and in the mean time rid myself of toxic unsupportive relationships and friendships and said NO! to all that no longer serves me. I’ve also recently lost my mum to breast cancer and from this especially I’ve grown so much and possess a strength within myself that I never thought possible. I can get through anything!!

    I never thought I was ‘good enough’ to have THAT dream job, that amazing boyfriend, that beautiful house, etc but little by little, I’ve taken steps and risks to fulfill my dreams, no matter how scary they initially were, and I am moving forward toward them and it feels mighty good! 🙂 x

  29. Lou May 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    In 4 years I have become a Mother…. yogini….teacher….healer…..friend. So much more than I thought was ever possible – all by opening myself to the notion that I CAN.

  30. Simone May 19, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    It is the eve of my second emergency c-section that occurred fours years ago….My tiny little preemie baby is turning four and I truly can say that I’m blessed everyday for this little miracle.. The affection and courage this little boy has given me has made me such a stronger person than I ever thought I could be… He is my little pocket rocket and my little surfie dude… He is a free thinker and a water loving hippie… floating away any troubles off the day in every wave that he dives through…Now having my emotions flowing at the moment I think its best that I finish this comment, with a big happy face filled with tears… and I will have happy dreams tonight of my little son Balin and I riding the Ames collective soul deck skateboard with our sparkly wheels tic taking into the sunset with all the worries in the world being left behind us…

  31. Michelle May 19, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    4 years ago my life was about to completely change.
    I had only a year before, left my home state and everything I had known and flown across country to be with my soul mate. In our crazy love filled honeymoon period we fell pregnant. I had gone from being the youngest in my family, living a life in cotton wool due to my auto immune disease to being totally independent and about to become a mother myself. How scary and exciting! Little did Iknow how much this gorgeous little human about to be born was going to change my life!
    Flash forward 4 years and I am the proudest mother of the most beautiful girl on the planet. She has helped me grow and find myself and live a better, more peaceful and grounded life. It has been the hardest, yet most rewarding experience of my life. I have proved so many people wrong, stood my ground on my beliefs and I have so much to show for it! What an amazing four years!

  32. Liberty T. May 20, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    I am most proud of how I have developed and changed in the last two year. I was rather lost career wise after college but after some hard choices I decided to go back to my first love. I was a trained ballerina for 15 years and now I am a teachers and it was the best job in the world for me. I am so thankful for my students because everyday they teach me something new and change the way I look at the world. It has been a fantastic decision and one I am bery thankful for.

  33. Claire | This is Lifeblood May 20, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…

    The ripe age of 23. After a failed stint of trying to move back in with my parents, I was living in regional VIC in a house of burly boys, drinking myself silly and saving every other penny to travel the world. I had big dreams but even bigger regrets and stumbled more than a few times that year! I was also madly in love with a boy, my new bike and hugely immersed in my art; namely painting and writing.

    A creative, chaotic and cherished time in my life! (Thanks for taking me back there – beautiful, stunning giveaway sweet lady!) x

  34. Chenae May 20, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    In these past four years I’ve lived internationally, survived my first heartbreak, boozed myself into oblivion and stained my pillow with mascara tears. I’ve moved around until I found a house that could be my home. I’ve finished my Uni studies, got my first “real” job and decided I didn’t like that very much. I’ve been swooned by the funniest man I’ve ever met and fallen madly in love without seeing it coming. I’ve totally changed my relationship with alcohol and my body. I’ve gone back to study, I’m in meaningful jobs and working bloody hard to establish the career I was born to live. I’ve challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone, to do all things with love and kindness and to treat my body right. I’ve joined a team sport which may well have been the best decision of the past year and I’ve put so much energy into random acts of kindness for others and myself. I’ve got a long way to go but I’ve got plenty of time. After all, I’ve achieved this much in four years!

  35. Nic - A Spectacular Life May 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Tara – HAPPY BLOG BIRTHDAY! Surely four years in blogging is 40 in real life? What a milestone, congratulations – and what a brilliant, thoughtful way to celebrate by giving away this awesome prize.
    I’m most grateful for this fateful lesson – to forgive myself.

    I made mistakes when I was younger, I hurt people (myself included) and wasn’t true to me. If one of my friends had done these things, I would have forgiven her instantly. So why was I beating myself up over things that I had done, that I would forgive anyone else for?

    I learnt that these mistakes didn’t make me a bad person, only flawed as everyone else in this world is! They don’t make us any less of a person, in fact they make us so much more of a person. We are constantly evolving and growing, and it doesn’t make what I did ok – but every action has a consequence and I have definitely learnt that. This is my journey and my path, and look where I am now! Rocking life. Thanks for letting me share!

    What a lesson to learn.

  36. Megan May 20, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    4 years ago I didn’t even know myself. I thought the way through life was to please everyone else no matter what it cost me. Today.. WOW. I now know that its my responsibility to show my inner diamond to this world with love and understanding. Always.
    Thank you for showing ME such different skies.
    Happy four years x

  37. Naomi May 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    In the last four years, I have stepped out of teenage-hood, my comfort zone, and stepped into a new found world of possibility and adventure. Four years ago I was nearly seventeen, had finished school, about to finally get my independence in the form of a little red P plate, and was trying to figure out what my next step in life was to be. I am now nearly twenty one, with one year to go until I have finished my bachelor of nursing. I am studying what I am passionate about – what keeps me motivated and excited for my future. I am working in the nursing field, whilst studying hard and trying to achieve as much as possible. I live with wonderful friends, and a wonderful partner. But most of all, I have grown, not just grown up. I am staying true to myself, learning and loving and appreciating myself more and more each day. I am interested in health and nutrition and spirituality, and how it can co-exist within the very medical and commercial world of public health that I will soon step into professionally. I am immersing myself in all that I love and reaping the rewards. Every day is a new challenge, and a new opportunity, and I hope to look back in another four years time, at almost twenty five, with even more of a sense of achievement, fulfilment and purpose.

  38. Alanna May 20, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    I am most proud of myself for the first time in my life… While I’ve always had a “good job” it has certainly never been my passion or even something I enjoyed. This year, after more than ten years in the same “good job”I have finally begun studying in a field that I am completely passionate about! I can’t wait to be one of the lucky people who bounce out of bed each day, excited to go to work xx

  39. Lucy May 20, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    Congratulations Tara!

    I am most grateful for this fateful lesson in… depression.
    For as long as I remember I had struggled with depression and was terrified of addressing it. It became so regular for me, I was seeking comfort in the sadness, I let it rule me. I never wanted to appear depressed to others, false happiness seemed the easy way out. I would then punish myself for being fake and inauthentic. The most frustrating thing was that I led a healthy lifestyle and further blamed myself when that green juice or that exercise trip or that day at the beach did not make me feel any better. Perhaps being the happy girl was not for me, I was the brooding one, the mysterious one. Labels help no one.
    My sadness was driven by unhelpful thoughts, my doubts, my self-limiting beliefs. I realised that if I had the power to make myself feel so terrible then I definitely had enough power to create the change. My thoughts could transform my reality, I had to risk discomfort in order to change. Much reading, watching, listening and communicating led me to life of self-acceptance. The present moment. Forgiveness. Gratitude. Love. I recognise my gifts, my talents, I focus on my strengths and my honour my vulnerability. My external circumstances are often difficult but I know I am okay, I have trust. I thank my depression, I may never have grown so much without it.

  40. Lisa May 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    Can I just start by saying what we’re all thinking…FOUR years?! My gosh, time flies! It’s easy to recall WHERE i was, WHAT i was doing and WHO i surrounded myself with back when i was a youthful 22 year old, but what fascinates me is where my MIND and HEART were, and how challenging it can be to place yourself back into an unconscious ego-based space when your present moment is in such stark contrast. Once you have seen you cannot un-see. It relays to me that becoming mindful and aware is a momentous and continual journey, and while my younger self thought it was an overnight shift following reading The Power of Now, hindsight and the blessing of conscious space over the past 4 years has taught me how important it is to nurture ourselves, take each day as it comes and relish the blessed opportunity we have each day of becoming our true selves once again. My purpose here manifests itself in music and writing and i have resolved over the last few years to never give up on following my dreams, and to pour my heart and soul into every piece of music or literature i create, knowing i am fulfilling my part of the greater plan. Learning to treat my work as sacred, and as something that flows through me from the Divine has been my greatest achievement, because it pushes me to keep going for the best and highest good of all. I would LOVE to win this prize for my girlfriend of 5 years as our Anniversary approaches and it would be so special to kickstart her Such Different journey with Love into the bliss-full unknown! Love & Light to all <3

  41. Sophia May 20, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Four years. What a perfect timeline for me to reflect on. Four years ago I was about 30 weeks pregnant with my first child. The pregnancy was a surprise. I was between jobs, found out I was pregnant at 13 weeks after a month skiing in the French Alps. My life had changed very very quickly and was about to change even more. Actually changed is an understatement. It’s been a crazy ass ride to say the least but I’m now happier then I’ve ever been!
    I am grateful for every single thing that has happened in the last 4 years. The good, the bad and even the really ugly. Life is so so good xx

  42. Evelyn May 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    I am most grateful for this lesson in embracing the future. I have always been someone who has struggled with letting the past go and have too often let it influence decisions that affect my future. The importance of letting the past go and using it as a stepping stone to grow, reflect and forgive has been a difficult yet important lesson to learn. As a result I have noticed changes not only in myself but in my relationships with others. I feel lighter and happier like a weight is lifted off my soul at the end of everyday as I leave what’s happened behind and embrace what’s ahead and yet to come.

  43. Laney May 20, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    4 years ago I was a new Mum to a baby girl. Newishly married to a handsome farmer. 300ks away from my family and life long friends. I met the boy, packed up my bags and left everything I knew behind. I like to think I grabbed life by the balls and ran with it.

    Now.. I have TWO beautiful daughters. The people who surround me in this crazy rural area of Australia ARE my family and my BEST friends. Im learning to trrrrrrry and breath through the crappy & scary Mumma moments. And you know what, I am freaking proud of myself, my children, my marriage, and my home.

    Can not WAIT to see what the next four years brings. Hopefully, some more rain 🙂 xxx

  44. Nicolle May 20, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    What a magical journey you have been on Tara. What I love the most about this is that it is the perfect reminder that there are twists and turns which lead us so far from where we saw ourselves going. To take a moment to stand, look back and see that winding road is just beautiful! Thank goodness you wanted to blog about your travels is all I can say!

    What am I most proud of? I’m going to declare it loud and proud, I’m most proud of me. That wasn’t the case four years ago. I am proud of my courage, strength, determination, trust, honesty, faith and asking for/reaching out for help. I am also proud of the times I’ve struggled, felt weak, felt lost, overwhelmed, haven’t been so honest (with myself and others) and have not asked for help. All of these things, good and bad are what makes me, well, me. I haven’t ‘got it all together’, I haven’t got to my ‘fairy tale ending’ and although I look forward to continuing my path (with a few calmer seas) and to let the good times flow a little more often, one thing I’m starting to understand is that there is no destination other than when it’s all said and done. My fairy tale is less about the ending and more about my unique story which will continue for the rest of my life. I will continue to evolve and change and you know what, I can’t wait.

  45. Sarah May 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    Wow four years, as I look back, what a journey it has been! It has been a series of events that has lead us to where we are today and although I wouldn’t want to live through some of them ever again, they have made me the person that I am today and for that I am truely, eternally grateful. Four years ago we were trying to pick through the pieces that was our life after having it forever changed with the Christchurch earthquakes, I worked at a day spa in the centre city as a therapist and who would have thought that on what seemed like a normal Tuesday morning as I set off to work that Mother Nature would have such a devastating event planned for us. Now the earthquake itself isn’t the scariest part of the day although that was terrifying, it’s the not knowing where my partner, the love of my life, father to my future children was at the time. Nothing can prepare you for the gut churning, soul destroying wait as you hope that this phone call, this text will connect through and you will hear his voice and know that he is ok. I thank my lucky stars every day that I wake up beside him that he was ok and we both are still here. Fast forward a year later after dealing with constant earthquakes, constant fear and PTSD I have packed the both of us up and we moved to Australia. This is by far one of the hardest most challenging things that we have done to date, packing up your life and moving to another town is daunting let alone another country!! I couldn’t have done it without Michael by my side, he’s my best friend my soulmate my missing piece. There have been tears when it’s all just a bit too hard, when going home seems like the only option that we have but it has made me realise that I am stronger than I think and I need to follow my intuition more often as it won’t let me down. taking a step back and being grateful for my life here and every opportunity that we have been given is what makes it all worth it. We have so many beautiful, giving, amazingly wonderful people around us that we class as family, a family that I couldn’t be without. I am very lucky to call this beautiful country home with my beautiful man by my side and I am excited to see what the future holds for us both. Your past isn’t what defines you, it’s what you do to over come the obstacles that matters. Xxx

  46. Sharon Fawcett May 21, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    What am I most proud of?
    My job! 4 years ago my husband decided to take on a mature aged apprenticeship so with 2 youngs kids and mortgage to boot I decided that I should find myself a job. I spent the first year doing relief work which was really challenging at times as I’d often get phoned an hour before I needed to start and would madly run around finding someone to care for the kids. After that I found myself a job at the local welfare agency as a parent tutor which I loved but this came to an end after 18 months as I was on a contract. I’m now working for the same organisation as an executive assistant to one of the senior managers and I love it! Every day is a new challenge and I’m so proud of myself as I’ve never worked an admin role before and at my annual review they told me I was going fantastic!

  47. Amelia {Nurture and Shine} May 21, 2014 at 8:31 am #

    4 years ago I was…
    Starting a blog too. A “Mummy blog”, I think they call it. My daughter was 6 months old, I felt lost and alone as I tried to navigate my way through the new world of motherhood. I adored this little person who had come into my life, but I longed for connection, and wondered what on earth was next?
    So I wrote. I had no idea what I was doing, and who I was writing for, or if anyone would ever read it. But I kept writing.
    I read blogs. So many blogs. And realised that out there was a world full of other mother’s who kinda, just maybe, “got it”.
    That blog is no longer up. As I grew, I also outgrew the blog. But I am eternally grateful that I opened that blogspot account all those years ago. It was through that one click, that a whole new online world opened up to me. I felt confident enough to start the blog and website that was always in me (the one I have now), I was able to express myself, be creative, find those connections I so longed for, and ultimately find and truly love the person I am.

    Blogging brought me love, light, connection, purpose, friendship, creativity, healing and freedom.

    So much of your post, had me nodding along in agreement.
    Happy bloggy Birthday my beautiful friend. Thank you for sharing your words (and these amazing brands) with the world. xx

  48. Linda May 21, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…living overseas, an international flight attendant, partying like a rock star, eternally single, struggling with my ego and obsessing over guys that I believed I wasn’t good enough for or out of reach. The ones that liked me of course weren’t good enough for me. Catch 22 really…. my life was completely out of balance, I was unfulfilled…wondering where my life was heading, unclear on my career aspirations (stuck in a comfortable no responibility bubble )and under the belief I may never settle and down and miss the boat having children.
    Fast forward and I am 2 months shy of 39, have been in the same relationship for 3 years (after I stepped out of my comfort zone and had the courage to admit I actually liked this guy), expecting my first child in September, a certified health coach, have a routine and a good night’s sleep every night, eating healthy home prepared meals from produce grown in my backyard, reconnected with my family, haven’t seen the inside of a nightclub for a very long time and living back in Australia….
    Yep a total 180….Thanks to my gorgeous kineseoligist Kim, shamans Cesar and Pedro in Peru, connecting with like minded peeps, recognising sign posts from the universe and practicing the skills I have learnt as a Health Coach on myself to continue moving forward in life with new experiences nurturing myself on both a physical and spiritual level. I am really grateful for being in this place right now and thank you Tara for giving me the opportunity to acknowledge where I am at and how much I have achieved in such a short period of time 🙂

  49. Steph W May 21, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    The biggest, most rad transformation has been in my LOVE life. Not only externally, but internally as well. Divine timing had me cross paths with my deepest soul mate AND at the same time awakened a truth in me….that I AM LOVE!! That moment of realizing the whole universe is inside me BLEW. MY. MIND. Cue eyes open, heart open, weight lifted, deep breathing, light beaming mothereffing sparkle that is only ever a present moment consciousness away. Joyyyyyyyy and high five sister!

  50. Monique May 21, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Four years ago, where does that take me?
    It takes me back to high school – year 12 at an all girls boarding school.
    Grey dress, blue socks pulled high, ribbon in hair and T-bars buckled.
    Life in Toorak was a whole world from life in my little country town at the base of the mountains…
    Mercedes, BMWs and Porches would deliver precious packages to school each day, mothers driving with their freshly blow-waved hair, manicured nails and over-sized sunglasses. I thought to myself, I want to be like that. I want to have all the money in the world and send my future children to immaculate boarding schools (scholarship or no scholarship). So I thrashed myself for a year and made myself sick with stress. I spent nights in hospital, weekends in my room “studying”, not living, turning down social outings and 18th birthday parties because “you have to get into that great degree so you can be like everyone else here”. So I got the score I needed and got into that great degree, Chemical Engineering, believing I could be one of those engineers that saves the environment instead of destroying it. I spent my following gap year depressed because I had nothing to stress about, nothing to focus on, nothing to pour all my energy into. I got sicker, and unhappier and I ran away overseas to escape. Let me tell you now, if you run away from your problems, they follow you and scream louder than they did before! I then studied chemically engineering for a year, very unhappily, arguing with my lecturers about the possibility that genetically engineering enzymes in washing powders is not in the best interest of the environment, even if they do make your denim jeans look “washed out” in certain areas…
    Finally I listened to my heart.
    I started a degree in something I loved but my family was skeptical about. What is “natural pathy?” they would ask, I would sometimes correct them with “oh, its a science degree” so I would stop being questioned and doubted. Now, in 2014, I am studying the degree of my dreams. Naturopathy – herbal medicine, how I love thee! It brings a smile to my face every day, and offers me a bright, happy and healthy future, regardless of blow-waved hair and BMWs. I’ve learnt to trust my instinct. Listen to my heart, that little voice that sometimes gets lost in the banter of my mind. I’ve learnt to relax, stress less, take things as they come – as they are meant to be. I’ve learnt not to worry about money, there’s always more of it if necessary. I’ve learnt to love and be loved, take pride in myself and my choices. I’ve learnt to be free and connected at the same time. I am still learning, and that makes me so excited.
    Tara, you’re an inspiration to young (and old), Aussie women who wish to seek a spiritual side of life without the need for dreadlocks and hippie pants (although, I won’t lie, I love my hippie pants!). Thank you for your honesty, your passion and your knowledge. xxx

  51. Kylie May 21, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    What aspect of my life has radically transformed?

    Four years ago I was working in a job I didn’t care too much for. I just started dating my now beautiful husband. I moved out of home and I was partying and drinking like no one’s business, needless to say the weight stacked on at this point in time.

    I always knew I wanted to work for myself and I have always loved helping people, but I was a lost little puppy in the big wide world. Scared, frightened and didn’t know which way to turn.

    I now have an amazing personal training and wellness coaching business along with my fabulous blog. I have married the man of my dreams. We own our own home. I lost 10kg by embracing healthy living, by moving my body and eating beautiful fresh healthy food. I have embraced my psychic sensitiveness and am so blessed to be able to allow my spirit guides to help and guide me. I appreciate every single day no matter what happens. I love like no tomorrow. And I smile from my heart. <3

  52. Kayla May 21, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    What aspect of my life has radically transformed?

    One aspect – that has had a major butterfly effect, gently shimmy-shaking and transforming what my life looks like today. It starting with being honest with myself about what I REALLY wanted, allowing myself to feel what every fibre of my being already knew. This was in contrast to constant worrying about what my life ‘looked like’ to others; fear of not reaching a certain standard, fear of doing it wrong. A statement that really unlocked me from that ball and chain of anxiety and doubt was uttered to me by a wise woman whom I will never forget as long as I exist; “What if I told you that from this moment on, everything you do, say, think and feel is OK? Now walk out that beautiful open door, and see what happens.”

    So far I quit my job, packed up and hit the open road caravanning around Australia fruit picking with my fiancé (what a blast), then came back home and witnessed real life magic on our wedding day. I have let go of relationships that were sucking the life from me, and found new ones that are filling me to the brim. My previous value for material things and ‘image’ is by far out-shined by my need to be authentic, nourished and balanced. I am leading and being lead into a fulfilling career.
    I still have fears, I still have doubts, I still get stuck.. but I trust that it’s going to be OK.

    Three years ago I happened upon Such Different Skies, and to this day Tara, your words give me gentle shakes that transform my life a little bit. My goosebumps, teary eyes, warm heart and deep exhales are testament to this. Thank you xoxo

  53. Kali May 21, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    Four years ago today? I had started full-time work in a CBD office 3 weeks before, leaving my screaming baby and tearful toddler at daycare. I had just lost my second court case a month before. I was fearful and full of rage at the Family Court system. we had been living in a s*hole for 3 months after leaving the homeless shelter. In 8 months time that s*hole was going to be flooded and we lost most everything. I was about to end the 5 week relationship I was in, and indeed the last relationship I have had to date.
    All of it so wonderfully worth it for the life I live today. I have my own mortgage in a rural area, I am stay at home, studying for my dream job on my Divine path. I intuitively feel the love of my life is about to walk into my life. And every morning the kids and I have cuddles in bed.
    xx

  54. Aleisha Cowan May 21, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    Four years ago I found my life suddenly change direction the moment I saw the positive on the pregnancy test.

    I have evolved since that day, now a mother soaking up the precious moments of my children Phoenix & Astro and holding them close to my heart to keep forever.

    I adore these two incredible little human beings and it still blows my mind every day that my body created these two! Wow! It’s just incredible what our bodies can do, I have never appreciated my body so much.

    Although this has led me to find a few missing piece’s to my life’s “puzzle” there are still many out there somewhere for me to collect and I am currently on the search for the little piece I like to call “my-self” and look forward to the day I come face to face with all of ME!

    What a wonderful journey your have been on Tara, I love reading your posts. congrats 🙂 Happy Birthday Such Different Skies~

  55. Nicole Wood May 21, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was… doubting my dreams and visions as an Artist, and wanting to also become a Marriage Celebrant. I was feeling sorry for myself thinking they would not happen. But I have pushed through the veil of illusion and kicked myself in the (butt) so to speak and realised I CAN DO IT!!!! I have since been commisioned to paint on canvas for my customers, and painted a 3metre tree house mural at my local Doctors surgery. I have Face painted and dressed in my faerie attire and faerie smile delighting the kids for Kidz Biz cafe Tweed Heads. I have had my artworks and written material published in the Sphere’s Spirit Guide Magazines. And only just a few months ago I finally said YES! to studying Celebrancy IV so I am able to become a Registered Marriage Celebrant! I guess you could say I am now well on my way to achieving what I thought was impossible. Thankyou ~ and wishes for a sparkling day Nicole Wood

  56. Lauren May 21, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    Four years ago I was outwardly a happy, bubbly kinda gal that seemed to have everything going for her, when in reality on the inside I was anything but. Four years ago I had a mental illness so debilitating that I started to wreak havoc on my own precious body through extreme restriction of food and obsessive exercise. The fact that I can even call my body ‘precious’ is a massive win for me and makes a smile break across my face just realising this. Four years ago I was a stranger to my friends and family, a shadow of my former self. But nether the less had a steely determination to conquer the world all whilst continuing down a road of personal pain and destruction. I was flying the superhero cape Tara, big time!

    Today I am ridiculously proud and grateful for the place I have found in this gorgeous Universe of ours! Years of soul searching, reading, yoga and most recently meditation have transformed my life into somewhat of a good book (or blog) and a lovely cup of tea, figuratively speaking. My life is about warmth, connection and my people. The balance is back baby and it feels amazing!

    I have just returned from an 8 month overseas adventure that turned my world upside down in the most beautiful, butterflies in the stomach, soul soaring sort of way. I no longer participate in that punishing routine that held no honour for myself and my loved ones around me. And I am happy. Really and honestly happy.

    An eating disorder is a crazy, twisted, black hole kind of a thing. In hindsight however, it was the making of me on my journey so far. Life isn’t all about sunshine, butterflies and daisies, but hell it sure is a wonderful ride. A huge congratulations on four years Tara! Your raw honesty and kind words mean more to others than you could ever imagine.

    Love and hugs xx

  57. Grace May 21, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was living everybody else’s dreams and goals except my own. Now with Tara’s support via her emails, Spirited and Party Girl’s Make Peace it feels wonderful to be living my dreams and creating a life I love. Fundamentally, the most importantly thing Tara taught me was to have self-respect and love for myself. Congratulations Tara and I look forward to the next four years too ox

  58. Elizabeth Rose May 21, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Being brave enough to pack up and move cities for the 7th time in 13 years (yep!) to follow my heart back to my hometown has been my greatest growth and victory in the last couple of years.

    I was living in Melbourne, and although I loved this city and all my friends there, something was missing from life and I felt lost and lonely. I had been toying with the idea of moving back to little ol’ Perth for a good 4 years, but I was scared of giving up my dream of being an actress, even though I had started a business in the health & fitness industry. I felt that moving home symbolized ‘failure’, and although I knew my family and friends didn’t think this and were proud of me no matter what, that’s what was going on in my head.

    Two years ago, I finally listened to the voice in my heart that was crying out for family, old friends, a quieter life, a loving relationship with a Perth fella and the ocean & sunshine, and made the move back home. I silenced the ego mind, and followed my heart and intuition. Best. Decision. Ever.

    I also decided to stop procrastinating and finally launched my blog a couple of weeks before I left Melbourne. Now I’m working towards being an online health & life coach (woo!) and living my dream of coaching women from Oz and abroad!

    And that Perth fella I was crying out for? I found him too ☺. Amazing what opens up for you when you’re willing to take risks in life and just go for it!

    Thank you for the opportunity of entering your giveaway Tara! Such gorgeous prizes!! Congrats on your 4th year blog anniversary xx

  59. Sheila May 21, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    I am most grateful for this fateful lesson…

    I am home.

    Through my life, friendships, relationships, have always been my comfort. I’ve travelled a bit and met so many beautiful people, always connecting closely to a few, within a large group of special souls. I even moved myself across the world for a relationship, jumping in with both feet, yep this is surely the right thing to do, we MUST be together. I know people are drawn to me, and trust in my listening, whether they are after advice or just and ear. I ALWAYS need an ear, I need to talk everything through, get it out of my head and into the world, and my beloved friends are always there to return the favour. I love company…I’ve realised I get bored entertaining myself after too long…sometimes silence even weirds me out a bit…and so yep- I talk to myself;) But not too worry, there is almost always someone to call, to hang with- even if in each others presence there is silence, there is always someone there for me. In this knowledge I find comfort, foundation, almost like family, home.

    So that’s how I’ve been most of my life, and it seemed totally normal, like, I was just a social personality who liked being with people. Nice, right? Loving having people around you is surely a lovely thing!

    19 months ago my world was rocked. Turned upside down and spun in a million and one directions and I could not find which way was up.

    Very long story, way too short, my father took his life. My family is in Nova Scotia and I live in Brisbane. As you can imagine, the news of this, followed by the longest plane ride to the other side of the world, three weeks spent in Canada, dealing with- well, the most horrible but especially beautiful three weeks you could think of, and THEN getting on a plane to leave my family and return HOME to Brisbane…it was the most taxing time I hope I’ll ever have to go through.

    Everyone was wonderful. Friends, work colleagues, family, partner…we split up six weeks later.

    There’s a certain awakening, a bravery that you don’t realise is happening when you’ve been through a trauma or a tragedy….and even though I didn’t admit it at the time, it was my courage to ask the question “is this really where we both want to be” that led him to answer “no”… and that was that.

    I will spare the details, but the next 12 months were a roller coaster- I have never been so surrounded by love and felt so alone. My friends didn’t allow me to spend a second alone if I didn’t want to, for fear that sadness would creep in, take over, and never go away, if I wasn’t engaged somewhere else. Bless them all….but I couldn’t and still can’t sometimes shake the feeling of transience, like I am just floating through.

    I own no home, in fact I barely own anything. I am not held here by a serious relationship. I have left my job and now float as a freelance yoga instructor as I try to create the life that I dream of. I never wanted to move back to Halifax, but am I meant to stay in Brisbane?

    I don’t know. But I really like that I don’t have much to hold onto. All of my friendships are serious, I am surrounded by support and love, everyday. As long as I love what I do, I can give a little goodness to people through yoga and being ME, and hopefully allow them to reflect or tap more into THEMSELVES, I am fulfilled. hehehe….but it’s not always so simple.

    Sometimes, like right this second, I can calmly remind myself… I am home.
    Sometimes, I need to get on my mat, breathe, move, and leave the entire world behind to realise…I am home.
    Sometimes, I am having the time of my life and laughing and dancing and teaching and loving, despite all the heartache, and I know, this is it…I am home.
    And sometimes, through bucketloads of tears, sitting in the uncomfort, pain, sadness, I can come out on the other side and I know, in that moment, that I am home.

    Someone I love told me recently that there was nothing more beautiful and alive then when I was fully lit up, being myself completely. Not barred by worry, confidence, ego, just right there in the present moment. It was probably one of the nicest things anyone’s said to me. I see it in the people I love as well.

    At the end of the day, no matter what we are surrounded by, the only thing that remains constant is our soul. Home is where the heart is, right?

    Congratulations and happy birthday, SDS! Thank you so much for evoking these thoughts, allowing the chance to share, and for your generous offer to your merry band of followers;)

    xxxSheils

  60. Kazzlyn May 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    What am I most proud of?..

    I am most grateful for this fateful lesson..

    The truth is, the thought of writing this has me in tears from fears and doubts. I think.. “I’ve done nothing to change my life in 4 years” however I know deep down this is far from the truth. I went through the most amazing transformation 2 years from ignorant meat eater to compassionate vegan and animal rights activist. This lesson came first in small signs and got bigger and bigger until I could not ingore it anymore and BAM..It hit me.. Life hit me.. Now my life has changed in many ways- and not just in what I don’t eat but in how I shop, how I see the world and my place in it.

    I also learned that I am a sensitive and a powerful creator of my life, I haven’t learned how to use this information but I know this is a journey of discovery, a journey that has many lows and many highs. I’m over coming major anxieties connected to childhood trauma, one of the hardest thing is giving yourself permission to heal, learning your self worth. Sometimes I feel like I’ve come so far, and other times I feel like I’m in the same terrible place and made no progress… This is the learning process. I’m proud that I have enough sense to hear life’s lessons… Even if life has to keep telling me over and over again to remind me.

  61. Stephanie May 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Four years ago I thought I was doing pretty good. It’s not until it all came crashing down that I became so acutely aware of how stressed, lost and broken I actually was. I was buzzing up a corporate ladder that I thought would give me all the acceptance and approval I would need to ‘make it’ in the world. I had a stupidly sick ‘Not until ALL work is done THEN you can play’ mentality. I needed to have the cleanest house, be home to cook my husband brag-worthy meals, graduate with the highest grades, deliver my boss the most researched and well presented reports while pushing myself at the gym to gain the fittest figure all in preparation for a wedding that would not be perfect unless the guests had had the most fabulous time. Super Girl? Stupid Girl. I was pursuing perfection of every nook and cranny of my life. Anything less-than meant I’d failed. And eventually it broke me.

    It’s taken a lot of tears, a few therapy sessions and a hell of a lot of self-acceptance but I feel well and funnily enough inspired. I’m so glad that this year I let go of it all, was brave enough to share it and started my own blog to help other girls in the same situation. So screw perfection and cheers to growth! Congrats on your anniversary Tara! Steph xxx

  62. Elise May 21, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    Wow..Beautiful post Tara, thank you.

    My story isn’t dramatic but it really makes me realise how the seemingly smallest decisions can create such a massive ripple effect in our lives. Four years ago I couldn’t have imagined where I am today. Almost 4 years ago exactly I was in a poisonous relationship, uncertain of what I wanted but knew I felt stuck and stagnant in my life in Vancouver. I quieted my inner voice that was longing for more with alcohol and distractions.

    One day I literally woke up knowing I couldn’t ignore this deep seated discontentment any longer. I broke up with my longterm bf, enrolled in nutrition and threw myself into yoga even deeper. Now here I am, with the love of my life living across the world in Brisbane, teaching yoga, doing what I love and thanking my blessings every single day that I had the courage to just listen to MYSELF, that inner niggling voice that I used to think was such a nuisance!
    Who would have thought it had the key or rather WAS the guidance to my souls purpose in this life! It’s truly the everyday miracles that create the big miracles in our lives..

    PS… I am delving into the SOMM and LOVING it, thank YOU for bringing that into my life.
    xx

  63. Katie May 21, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Four years ago I was a stressed-out working mother of two, with an unsupportive husband, and one day when someone told me to take a break and go and do something for myself I was at a complete and utter loss. It wasn’t until said husband left, that I realised I seriously had to find Me again. But first I found you, Tara, and you have helped me on my way to finding the real me – the nature-loving, free spirit who doesn’t want to waste a second of this life. Everything I had ever wanted to achieve I have set about achieving, starting with (and inspired by you) self-love and self-care. And I check your blog weekly because this journey is not easy, your regular emails and posts remind me to stay true to myself. Thank you babe x.

  64. Marlo May 21, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    Wow, such beautiful, amazing journeys everyone’s been one. Loved reading all the gorgeous stories!!

    I can barely believe it, but 4 years ago, I was over 110kgs, tired, grumpy & depressed. I am now 85kgs, happy, healthy, fit, inspired & loving life. Everything in my world has changed – I discovered fitness & wellness & meditation. I learnt a little about Buddhism, I started exercising, at first – out walking with my little girls in the pram & then 6 months in, I started doing boot camps sessions. I then discovered all these amazing people online, espousing raw food, coconut oil, gratitude practice, maca powder, meditation, self love, personal development, super foods…..I tried lots of things, found my own version. Last year my little family & I moved to the country to further immerse ourselves in a more wholesome lifestyle. I have found a great new group to exercise with, I’ve started a mediation group with new friends, I can’t eat ‘normal’ chocolate ever again!!! But can devour raw chocolate!! My life has been transformed & I am so grateful!! I even got a tattoo on my arm – Gratitude is the path to Happiness – to remind me of this journey! Thanks Tara, love your site – so glad I recently discovered it!! X

  65. Meagan May 21, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    4 years ago…….

    I was engaged, living in Switzerland and living “la dolce vita”.. I thought I had it all on track, I was to be married by 27, children by 28/29… Fast forward to 12 moths ago when everything came crashing down… I found myself alone, lost, tired and completely directionless… Everything I had thought was my future had disappeared….

    THEN CAME THE EPIPHANIES….

    I was exactly where I needed to be, I got up, dusted myself off, & I took CHARGE of my life.. I enrolled in a Life Coaching course, something I had put off because I didn’t have “Time” or the passion for.. I moved house, I got FIT, I found my community, online and off and I dared to actually LIVE again…. I am currently working my way up to opening my own wellness clinic with a friend and life could actually not be ANY sweeter right now…

    I love your words and your passion Tara, thank you for being amazing and authentic x

  66. Sophie- Charmed Heart May 21, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

    Four years ago, wow wow wow. I can picture that stranger right now. Scared, tired, unable to see a future or a way out of that silly anxious monkey mind. Looking back I just want to give her a huge hug and tell her that soon, in her darkest moment, she will finally see the bright light within her and everything will change, more than she could ever imagine. While I was already an adult four years ago, looking back I was still just an anxious, hurt child. Now I am…I can’t even write all that I am, I have become so much, experienced so much. In short I am whole yet endlessly evolving in a more positive, meaningful way and I love it. Life is so beautiful when you finally see the light or as you say the such different skies, that its impossible to return to the former dark except to embrace your shadow self and keep growing. Thank you xx

  67. Samantha May 22, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    When I stop to look back at where I was four years ago I am so incredibly proud of myself for how far I’ve come. In 2010 I had just started to come out of my shell, I’d recently married an emotionally and physically abusive man and for some reason within me I knew enough was enough! I was very overweight and depressed and alone, and everything he did to me left me completely isolated. So I got a job and saw a holistic doctor and over the course of a couple of years I lost 29kgs, which my husband despised – he became more violent and controlling. So I left him with nothing because I he had me sign a prenup, divorced him a year later and now I’m studying with Institute of Intigrative Nutrition with the view of helping other women become happy! Because becoming happy changed my life. I know I would have died in that situation had I not become happy enough in my own skin to build the courage to leave. I love my life now! And I also have a new man that adores me 🙂

  68. jazziefizzle May 22, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    Whoa such an amazing prize pack and it is so wonderful to see you collaborating with a bunch of my favourite shops and brands. So lovely reading about your journey and even reflecting on how far you have come since I first discovered your magical little online space.

    Wow, the last four years is the entire of my university degree. I started off on day one fresh faced with my lover by my side, excited about what I was about to begin and thinking I had it all figured out. I was with the man of my dreams and we were both going to smash this uni degree and become doctors. Little did I know at that point that the next four years would be such a time of personal growth in addition to studying a bunch and gaining a ridiculous amount of knowledge. I have laughed (A LOT) both at myself and others, I have cried both tears of sadness and frustration, I have been there when someone has taken their last breath on this earth and have also been present while someone takes their first. I have learned so much about medicine but even more about life and interacting with other humans. I have found connections with strangers and formed the strongest bonds with my fellow students who I know will be lifelong friends. I have been put under immense pressure and stress without even acknowledging that it was there. I have seen my ‘perfect’ relationship fall to pieces and picked myself back up again to keep on moving. I have gotten to know myself better than ever before.

    I will be finishing the year ridiculously proud of my achievements, standing on my own two feet, completely excited about the opportunities the universe will send my way. I am not the same person that I was four years ago, that I was yesterday or that I will be tomorrow but that is OK, it is all about the journey.

  69. Belinda May 22, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    Radical changes and life long lessons that once were so painful i could hardly breathe.
    I was in my mid 20’s four years ago, raising my son, working hard and trying to mend my broken relationship with my partner. It was beyond broken – he left. I held my son tight and pulled myself together. I went through every emotion possible. After travelling overseas alone with my little one i realised i am a total boss! I have provided for my son soley on my own and given him everything he needs, in being lost and alone i realised with that little guy by my side i’m never alone. Best 4 years to date!

  70. Mish May 22, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    An open letter to my former self,

    Hello beautiful, four amazing, yet very challenging and exciting years have past. In this moment you stand strong and confident in an amazing point in your life. You have grown to become courageous, insightful, ambitious woman who radiates passion, love and happiness. And an amazing life journey awaits you, yet this is only the beginning.

    In these four challenging years you will have many ups and downs. There will come a time when you will fail, do not to mistake this failure for defeat. Failure is a necessary part of reaching success and your failure will result in a huge state of personal growth for you. Instead of wallowing with self doubt and beating yourself up over it, use these challenges as stepping stones to lift you higher.
    Know that these challenges all have purposeful lessons and power which will ultimately allow you to grow and progress to becoming the strong woman you are today.

    Along your journey you will begin to realise the importance and value of the power of your words and thoughts and ultimately, yoga.

    You will learn to become comfortable in your own skin ditching the fake tan, heavy makeup and other harmful chemical based products for good. Your skin is gorgeous as it is, and you will learn that staying out out of the sun, drinking lots of water and looking after it will do you good.

    Timing is everything. In regards to men; stop analysing everything and trust that everything is coming in its divine time.

    Go running, breathe, practise daily gratitude yoga and meditation. it will save you.

    Stop comparing yourself to others you are so enough.

    Don’t be afraid to let your guard down and be exactly who you are.

    We connect when we are able to relate to one another so do not be afraid to ask for help and show your struggle when you need it.

    Look out for your friends. Be there to support them. When someone asks you for help- help them.

    Understand that everyone has a story. Do not be so quick to judge.
    Prioritise acting to serve others before yourself.

    Listen. Give your undivided presence and Attention when listening. Listening is not about what you think or have to say.

    Do not follow the crowd. Instead, do what you know to be right, even if you are the only one.

    Act without expectation. Expectations are the root of all heartache, Stop trying to do what is expected and do what you love.

    Born with a warriors heart, you are far stronger than you know. You are about to embark an amazing journey, that is your life. I encourage you to believe in yourself, and allow your passion and your love to guide you.

    May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.

    Sending you all the love that you need.

    Mish

    X

  71. Karla May 22, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Hi Tara, 4 years ago I was an over weight, acne faced, violet crumble munching mumma.

    Like you I had a moment in a camper sitting surrounded by my delightful family thinking is there more to life? I knew of people who blogged and I loved reading theirs but I never quite had the guts to do it myself…that was THEN but I am doing it NOW.

    4 years ago I made a massive shift in my focus and direction after I attended a GP for what I thought was a routine check up, which didn’t go to plan and I left feeling like I had swallowed sour grapes and I found myself sitting in the car, crying but knowing so very clearly what I needed to do.

    I needed to gain control, lose wight and really start loving living life.

    So that I did, I started a fitness/nutritional program, joined a gym, bought some trainers and lost 45kgs over an 18months and I am proud to say I have kept it off also. So in May 2010 I had an awakening and starting living life and I re learnt how to love myself. The fours years has been filled with trials, tears and tantrums but I am living a dream life now. Way back then I didn’t know how great life could actually be. I was too bogged down in a bad food eating haze to know. When I started my journey I wanted to share my travels via a blog but sadly didn’t have the confidence and lacked in the SELF LOVE department. Thankfully I didn’t ignore the pull the second time and 9 months ago Straight & Narrow was born. Again sitting in my camper, enjoying a family holiday I said to my husband ” My journey will never be over, I need to keep on the Straight & Narrow to survive don’t I ?” as I said that I felt that I was meant for greater things.

    I am so grateful for what blogging has given me and I can only dream that in another 4 years, like yourself I too will be offering a fun giveaway to my readers. I am currently a student at IIN and loving the learnings and hope that over the next year I can be helping other love less mumma’s regain their love of themselves so they can nurture their babies with wholesome living.

    Thanks very much for the opportunity to share my story, I forget where I started and occasionally I take for granted how wondersome life actually is these days. I don’t want to re walk my steps because life 4 years ago was a real drag, however I need to value the love I have of life these days and remembering where it all began is a great lesson. So thank you.

    I live by and a chant of Remember to LIVE LAUGH LOVE every day and life will be sweet.

  72. Phoebe Hook May 22, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    4 years ago Chris and I had just arrived in Darwin from our beach town house in Mackay where we lived the ultimate couples life. Motorbike trips to Airlie Beach, staying up late and drinking a little more than we should with great friends and for me, working as a sales rep for a steel company and Chris, still working in the Coal Mines.

    We moved in with my parents so we could find a place of our own, and to be closer to my mum and dad for the support to start a family.

    Today, we have 3 beautiful children, a just 3 year old and 2 almost 1 year olds, we’re still living with my mum and dad and it turns out our place of our own is back in Queensland, so within the next 12 months, as soon as Chris finishes his electrical apprenticeship we’ll be taking our tribe back to where we fell in love and putting a flag in the ground to give our family the chance to grow our own identity and network.

    I have started 2 businesses, one that didn’t quite align so I let go of it, and one that is so perfect it scares the shit out of me. My greatest teachers have been my kids, and I have grown so much as a person in 4 years I am delighted to see what I am capable of in another 4 years.

    I am more connected to my Soul and Spirit that I thought was possible, I am less people pleasing and more pleasure seeking, I know forgiveness is a path that must be taken for release and freedom, and I believe in play and rest which is a feat in itself for any mother. I have stepped up to the plate to be the person I wish my kids to become.

    Grounded, Strong, Free, Vibrant and Joyful.

    The curtain is about to lift on my new business, and I couldn’t be more proud of what I have accomplished.

    I have loved watching you grow Tara, here’s to many more years of expansion! xx

  73. Kristen May 22, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    4 years ago I was gearing up for a night on the town. Pass the vodka lime and soda, party pills? yes please, what chu got? The come down? Nothing a few hits from the bong couldn’t fix.

    I worked a job that should have been creative, but it was sucking the life out of me and I was responsible for letting it.

    So what aspect of my life has radically transformed you ask?

    My love life, my job, my perception, my words, my heart, my health, the way I walk (taller and more confident). My weed habit, non existent. Late nights and vodka? Their memories, i’m sober.

    What am I most proud of?
    My will and courage to make a change that would steer my life in an unknown direction. Would the relationship survive? I hoped so but couldn’t be sure. Quit without another job to go to? Where would I work? I had no idea but I quit anyway and I held a lot of trust in my heart.

    And in all of this I am most grateful for this…

    Myasthenia Gravis, the autoimmune disease that showed up at just the right time and had me spiraling into my world of wellness. This is where I met yoga and healed spiritually, mentally and physically

  74. Shenaye Thomas May 22, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    In the last four years I’ve gone from the girl who had no idea who she was, who partied every weekend, and took attention from anyone who would give it to me.
    I’ve grown so much since then. I’m still growing and learning, but I’ve definitely gotten better. I’m comfortable with being by myself, and I’m in a super supportive, growing relationship. I’m confident and I love myself. It feels amazing to actually be able to say that!

  75. Ashlee May 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…

    Working full time as a Group Fitness Manager, Sales Consultant and Group Fitness Instructor and absolutely MISERABLE.

    I kept trying to ‘fit in’ but it just never felt right to me going against everything I believed in to simply be liked by others and gain their approval of me.

    I hated myself – my body, my looks even my voice would annoy the heck out of me, and then came a huge amount of debt that totally flipped my world upside down… for the BETTER!

    I left the toxic job that was draining the life out of me and I began to learn to listen to my heart and intuition. The more I would do this, the more louder and clear the messages became that I would receive.

    It took me a couple years of ‘finding my feet’ until I finally said YES to something that was calling to me and my soul after losing a family member…

    I said YES to Jessica Ainscough’s Lifestyle Transformation Guide without hesitation, and from this moment in November 2012 to this very day it has opened my heart and life up to SO MANY AMAZING people, experiences and lesson’s that have all helped me to grow and move forward to living the life I desire.

    Jess showed me a whole new world that felt like ‘home’ to me. The world I would see in my dreams. The people she introduced me to have changed my life in ways I never thought possible.

    One of those people was our very own Tara Bliss. I have openly called Tara my Earth Angel and I sincerely mean this. Her coaching skills helped me to step boldly into the life that is mine for the taking, and for this I will be forever grateful to her for.

    So, Jess lead me to Tara, B-School, The Daily Love, IIN and the list goes on.

    I no longer take crap from others that really just do not respect and appreciate the person I am , and I know these people no longer bother me as I feel so much stronger and courageous and I LOVE THE HECK out of myself now.

    Four years ago if anyone told me I would be doing something for a living I had only ever dreamed of in the past – I would have shrugged it off and then gone back to the ‘easy solution’ and searching for others approval.

    Now, the only approval I need is my own and I am so proud of how much I have grown, learnt and what I create in my life – debt free and all!

    The best part is that I get to share this with the world and inspire others to do the same, just like Jess and Tara have for me.

    I’m a seeker and LOVE learning so life is mt favourite thing ever – as this is what it is all about. And doing it with so much courage, love and laughter of course.

  76. Lisa H May 22, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    I can hardly believe it but 4 years ago I had la 6 month old baby and a toddler at home with me. Life was T.R.I.C.K.Y. I had been made redundant from my job as an interior designer just before giving birth to my youngest son. We had not long before that taken out a loan and signed a contract with a builder to renovate our house so that we could fit our growing family. And then following the birth of my son, my husband’s business got into financial difficulties and we were in it DEEP. I became extremely overwhelmed and felt like all my fears about no financial security were coming true. I spent a lot of time at home – not going out – not spending any money – trying to sell off everything I could so that I was making some kind of financial contribution. I went job hunting when my youngest was only 8 months (not my ideal). And after finding a job back in the industry I went about working my guts out trying to prove to everyone that I could help us out of our tough spot. My health failed, my kids suffered and life was very very stressful for all of us. I felt as though I had jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. I set up a pattern of doing everything for my job, then next on the list were my kids, then hubby and friends/family, and of course nothing left over for me. But now everything is very different! After some hard learnt lessons -aka thyroid cancer – I quit my job and my career, took back some space for me and found out what I love and what I am passionate about. We have less money coming into our household now – but I am extremely abundant – my children are happy, my husband is happy and they are most certainly loved. I have my life, I have my passion and I can stop and appreciate everything around me. I am blessed. I am free. I am loved.

  77. Ness May 22, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…

    1. At my heaviest weight ever – how the fuck could I weigh over 100 kilos;
    2. Unhappy with my career – we had moved to Brisvegas and I had gone backwards in my career in title and salary; and
    3. Unhappy in my relationship, which I was only six months married, so we should still be in wedding bliss and the so called honeymoon phase. So why the heck were we constantly fighting.

    So many things were going wrong and I felt completely along. I had no family around and my best friends lived 100 – 1000 kms away.

    Over the next few months, things seemed to get worse, but I somehow found some motivation to start exercising and I proceeded to lose 10 kilos. Things were still fucking awful around me, but I managed to feel a bit better clothes.

    Then the amazing happened, one night my husband and I had a fight, followed by some make-up loving and a several weeks later, I found out that I was pregnant.

    THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED AND THE NEXT FEW YEARS WERE AMAZEBALLS (well most of the time!).

    • My husband and I got counselling and have gone from strength to strength;
    • I have had two beautiful children;
    • I started and completed my Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine;
    • Lost 25kilos;
    • Took up running and completed several events;
    • Moved closer to my family;
    • Started my Life Coaching course; and
    • Started my blog.

    I am so proud of what I have achieved and I am happy that I now am in a position to help others with their journeys.

    Ness xo

    PS What an amazing giveway!

  78. Vivien May 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    Wow four years ago I had a 12 month old baby boy and had just found out that another bundle of joy was on it’s way. This joy unfortunately I did not share as the pregnancy was unplanned and did not align with my rigid ‘life plan’. I had also made the decision to close my online fashion store I ran with my best friend as the workload was totally overwhelming me and was causing issues in my marriage and the cashola had not been flowing at all! This decision to split from the store had also caused a split in my relationship with my business partner and best friend for 10 years. Unplanned pregnancy, fighting with my bestie, isolated from my support (my parents and sister who moved away just as my son was born), I cringe at the thoughts and judgements I handed to myself over and over again. This path lead me down pre and post natal depression, hashimotos and chronic fatigue. My relationship with food was horrible, I was obsessed with loosing weight and hated by body, my digestion reacted to every food possible, my skin was terrible, I looked terrible, I felt terrible, weak, lost and like a shell of a person!

    Convinced that I could ‘fix’ myself from my hashimotos and chronic fatigue if I could just find that food I was reacting too (gluten? dairy? fodmaps? nightshades?) or perhaps a supplement that I could take that would make these symptoms disappear and magically make my life worth living again. So long as I searched for the external cause and reason I couldn’t deal with the real reason I was going through all this – I had gotten myself in a really bad place and treated myself worse that I would ever treat anybody else.

    That journey continues until last year when I finally decided I needed a plan to flick my government job (which worked around my kids and was a good income but made me miserable) and do something creative. I studied graphic design and committed to my photography. A massive year in growth from always comparing myself to others and never being enough, pushing my fatigued body through cross fit workouts and tough mudder races, still suffering chronic fatigue and self sabotaging thoughts but somehow managing to graduate with a top portfolio.

    Of course this path of seeking the external answer didn’t work and it was not until I worked on the mind, chakra and emotional health and release that I found progress. Also finding Tara and so many wonderful and empowering spiritual woman that I got the slap across the face that I so needed.

    Fast forward to this year we have moved to rural WA, I have started the SOMM course, I am meditating every day, doing yoga regularly, have a beautiful loving tribe of women surrounding me and have started my photography and graphic design business where clients seem to be flowing my way without effort.

    I have allowed myself to have a break, breathed through the thoughts that cross my mind that I need to go back to work, need to achieve something and instead allowed myself to be me. In that time I have found me, found the beautiful loving relationships that I longed to have with my children but never had time for and resparked the love and passion I have with my husband. My chronic fatigue and hashimotos feel non existent and more than anything my connection with myself is there. I feel my way through life. I trust my intuition and I back myself. I searched so long and hard to find my place and career in life and finally realise that connection with myself and the universe is more rewarding than any career or external achievement I could ever have.

    Tara your inspiring words and love of life has helped in this journey. Thank you for all you share. Bless xxx

  79. Emma May 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    I am most grateful for this fateful lesson…
    4 years ago, my head was in the sand, I thought my body was the enemy and I had absolutely no idea who I was outside of the connections I had with others.

    My marriage was over and I didn’t think I would ever cope without a solid primary relationship with a man. How wrong I was.

    The last four years have taught me to cherish my girlfriends, lean on them when necessary and be there in their time of need. Man or no man. To be authentic, that I am beautiful in my own whole, raw, messy way and that I have so much to offer. I am now following my dreams of helping others do the same.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share Tara and happy blog birthday!

    love x

  80. Katie Tankard May 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was an 18 year old surrounded by somewhat toxic friends, had a ‘lacking’ mentality and viewed the world through skeptical eyes. I blamed others and never took responsibility for my own sh** … and on weekends aimed to keep up with my toxic friends, filling my body with toxic substances, go figure! I was a uni student with little drive for life, and have now transformed into a 22 year old with a business and the ability to now help others along their path to awareness and wellness. I run my own personal training and health/life coaching business which is thriving (excuse the pun, my business is called Thrive).

    I’ve totally embraced the ‘start before you’re ready’ and ‘feel the fear and do it anywyay’ mentality, and as frightening as it all is, it is so worth it. I learned to turn down the volume on fear (my nasty little ego) and amp up the volume of my hearts guidance. Never in a million years did I see myself waking to do meditation, play with my angel cards, exercise and then train and coach my beautiful clients? I didn’t think jobs you loved existed.

    I have resonated with you so much Tara, and your Party Girls Guide to Peace assisted me so incredibly much, and will indefinitely assist me along my journey (as will Spirited). You created an online community and safety net for a somewhat taboo topic which I am ever so grateful for.

  81. Jade Duncan May 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

    Four years ago my younger sister died in a car accident. As you can imagine my world collapsed around me. Full of survivors guilt I immersed myself in binge drinking and drug taking. My body and soul were devoured in a toxic wasteland where I was only existing.

    Looking back, I can say I’ve come a long way from that despair. I’ve learnt so many things things which I thought I would share:

    It does get easier:
    At the start my grief was the first and last thing I would think of everyday. It was weighing me down, this heavy cross I was burdened with. People would ask me how I am and in my head I would be screaming “are you serious? Don’t you know what I’ve been through?!” But as time passed the weight of my grief lifted and it now doesn’t feel like a burden but apart of my story and what makes me, me.

    Being strong:
    I get told all the time how strong I am and I don’t refute this claim. I am strong, I am independent, but with this I have built a wall up. How can I relate to anyone who hasn’t experienced the trauma I have? This mentality is hard to shake even today. I always have to remind myself that everybody has experienced trauma and it is only through the support and compassion of others that such a dark cloud can be lifted.

    Faith and love:
    I guess the biggest thing I’ve struggled with is trying to maintain my faith. Not in God, but in that everything will be okay. When the good times roll in the back of my mind I’m always waiting for the rug to be pulled from under me, which it has. Many times I have shouted “haven’t I been through enough? Can’t I have what I want?” The answer is no. Life will play out how it does and all you can do is make the most of the cards your dealt.

    In four years I have experienced the utter pits of despair to the peaks of acceptance and acknowledgment that my sister would want me to live a happy life. Which is what I’m now trying to do. I’m writing this post on my last day backpacking around Europe for two months. Happiness is a choice and I choose to be happy for me and my sister.

  82. Janelle May 22, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    Hi Tara,
    Well…to be honest, it’s only been this last week…perhaps even these last 2 days that I have felt a shift & a sense that I have complete control over my future. It might sound silly to say, however over the past 9 years I have been going through the ups & downs of an amazing yet challenging relationship with so many positive lessons in tow, however also the concern of speaking my truth & potentially hurting my other half. I feel this great sense of centeredness recently that no matter what happens there will be love between us & I can spread my wings & speak my truth without concern.
    4 years ago I was travelling in India after completely my health studies and searching for a new home. I then chose to ground myself in WA (loving my new beginnings) only to find I was swept back to my original turf where I have since built a Naturopathy business. Ain’t life grand when you reflect back with such a question as you have posed 🙂 Thank you for being your authentic self Tara xx

  83. Emma May 22, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    You know I never saw myself as a creator, until this very moment. Thank you Tara for bringing my awareness to the awesomeness of my creative spirit right now! Feeling damn powerful in this moment!

    4 years ago was the very beginning for me too. I had made a big leap and opened up my very own natural therapy clinic, I was opening myself up to the possibilities of the universe. I was beginning to forge friendships after being so incredibly lonely for years as a newcomer to Sydney. I was 22, had been on a soul searching journey for 4 years already (I started my kinesiology course at 18 straight out of school) and felt like an alien on the world. I knew the world had possibilities for me- I just didn’t know how to get there!

    Most importantly over the past 4 years I have truly given myself over to love, to caring and to sharing. I have built a beautiful community of souls who share the same path and have learnt to put my faith in the right places. I have learnt, (like truly!) spirituality.

    I have seen lives falling apart, hearts break into pieces – for me and for others.
    But the most beautiful thing was seeing the Phoenix rise from the ashes time and time again.

    The most thing I am proud of now is feeling confident in my purpose and place in this life. I am accepting and peaceful with the tidal waves and the calms life brings.
    That and being a new mum! My beautiful boy is 6 months old now.. And I feel so blessed to be in a place where I can care for him, love my partner, be a business woman and share my soul with the community all at the same time.

    You know it’s funny, sometimes you look back and think of the all the mistakes or the hold ups. To look back and really see the truth and honour yourself – I’m going to make a commitment to do that on a regular basis from now on!
    Thank you Tara, I’m off to write a blog about this experience!
    Warmth and joy.

    • Nicolle May 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      YAY Emma!!!! Congrats honey on your beautiful journey xx

  84. Tahl May 22, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    4 years ago I was 9 months pregnant with my third child, I had been home with my children for 5 years, I loved every minute of it, but there was work to be done. I thought I was allot of things I wasn’t…

    I’m proud of myself because I believe in possibility, I know that I’m amazing and that I can and will inspire others to be amazing. I know I have a creative spirit and I’m just as talented as anyone else out there who thinks they are talented.

    I know that life doesn’t happen to me anymore, but i make it happen.

    LOVE.

  85. Bianca - Free & Nourished Life May 22, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    I am so proud of how far I have come. Looking back at me four years ago I was such a different person. I had come off medication for anxiety and depression and thought I was completely better, everything was going to be great no more problems that my mind couldn’t handle. I was now married and life was great. It was time to start a family. I had my first daughter and life was great until sleep deprivation set in and the anxiety started to come back. From there the next couple of years were up and down then I had my second daughter and again the anxiety came back but even worse this time.

    So I decided to start clean eating firstly for weight lose then the more I researched this lifestyle that surrounded clean eating the more I wanted in. I worked with a couple of health coaches and have been amazed at how much what we eat can affect so many aspects of the the body and mind. My wellness journey has been incredible I am so inspired to help others to feel amazing and live a healthy life that I am starting my health coach course with IIN. I am starting my own health blog and also would love to dive deeper into the spiritual side of things. I have stared meditating, yoga, positive affirmations and gratitude lists but there is so much more I would love to learn.

    I now have started to tell myself daily that I am worthy of a free and nourished life, which is so different from what I felt four years ago.

    Tara thank you so much for what you do, you are incredible. Happy 4 years! One day I am going to work with you and I can’t wait.

    Bianca
    -xoxo-

  86. Sam May 23, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    What I’m most proud of is being given the opportunity to live my life as I see it. If you told me four years ago I would be studying with belinda Davidson, blogging with pip, bridging course with AIHM and looking at enroling with IIN I would have laughed. I still can’t believe it when I read it I’m a single mum of a two year old who was in a very absive relationship who was left in such a terrible situation financially and emotionally but I’m not here to tell you my sob storey I’m sharing to help inspire becaus blogs like these inspired me and I’m on a mission to create the same opportunities for women in my community as I have created for myself and my little shining star who competed my life and got me back to myself.

  87. Sam May 23, 2014 at 12:19 am #

    What I’m most proud of is being given the opportunity to live my life as I see it. If you told me four years ago I would be studying with belinda Davidson, blogging with pip, bridging course with AIHM and looking at enroling with IIN I would have laughed. I still can’t believe it when I read it I’m a single mum of a two year old who was in a very absive relationship who was left in such a terrible situation financially and emotionally but I’m not here to tell you my sob storey I’m sharing to help inspire becaus blogs like these inspired me and I’m on a mission to create the same opportunities for women in my community as I have created for myself and my little shining star who completed my life and got me back to myself.

  88. Danika Jane May 23, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    Four years ago now, I was sitting on my deck, in the sun, with my mac book open and the words “how to find my own thing” “how to find a passion” “how to find a hobby” written into Google, were staring at my face.

    It was the beginning of my curious soul seeking journey. I had a fire in the belly feeling, but I wasn’t able to to fully articulate it out into the world. I can vividly remember the deep frustration, impatience and pain I felt.

    My wings were ready to spread and soar off into the universe, I just didn’t know what my true unique calling was. It was as though my stuff was locked inside and the world couldn’t see it.

    I needed and wanted to feel complete. I felt like apart of me was missing and I didn’t know how to piece it together.

    I remember screaming inside “I just want my OWN thing”.

    I decided to invest in mentors and coaches to help & guide me through this incredible journey. And WOW did I discover things about myself I never knew were holding me back. Not only did this journey help me release some inner BS. I also met my entrepreneurial soul sister AND the beautiful lady who supported and encouraged me through my goddess weight loss.

    Over 12 months ago, I got the courage to start my own blog. Little did I know how passionate I am about writing and poetry.

    Last Saturday I married the man of my dreams. And I am so grateful that I have learned about and practiced being PRESENT over the last four years – because I was present every moment of that day.

    If I could sum it up…

    – I am present.
    – I focus on how I want to FEEL every day. Not how I want to “look”.
    – I am self compassionate. I talk to myself, how I would to my best friend.
    – I creatively self express myself and it feels AMAZING.
    – My sacred ambition was to write poetry… I let that run wild & free. I’m proud!

    Wow. What a ride. I’m so grateful for my big, bright & beautiful life.

    Thanks Tara.

    With bright love, Danika.

  89. Ellena May 23, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…I had just arrived in Arusha, Tanzania. I had left 6 months after graduating university (6 years of studing, every cell in my body was craving an adventure and to simply come alive) with a one way ticket to Spain and 6 months after backpacking through Europe I found myself following my dream and intuition (despite my fears) and landed in East Africa. Bound for a volunteering stint with The School of St Jude, I had no idea what I was in for or for how long I would be living in Africa for. As an ambious 24 year old, still unsure of her place in the world, I was embarking on a journey that would change my life forever. So many experiences, sensory overloads and awe-inspiring moments of humanity, nature and this beautiful globe we have the privilege of inhabiting in our life of ours, I was so grateful that I decided to trust my intutition and live out a dream of mine, not knowing where the path would lead to next. I have reminded myself of this so many times since. I returned after 16 months in Tanzania and embarked on a whole new journey…leaving behind my qualificications in Law & Psychology (well this came in handy still), I dived heart first into another dream of mine…Life Coaching. I continue to follow my feeling, despite the twist and turns and fears and tears…I have come to realise Life is a playgroud for the soul to express itself through. We are all seeking to be our true authentic selves and express our inner feeilngs onto the canvas of our lives. Most importantly, the juice is in the journey not the destination. To the journey, with love, Ellena xxx

  90. Joanne Poon May 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Four years ago …

    Me : Chained to my desk, working in a fast paced corporate office
    Feeling : Stressed, nervous, low self confidence, timid, listening to negative self talk.
    Diet : At my desk during micro lunch breaks, addicted to potato cakes and junk food
    Health : on medication for an underactive thyroid, acne on skin, my normal routine did not include exercise of any kind and I wasn’t interested in “spirituality” in any way.

    My Turning Point :
    I got off track and found myself feeling drained emotionally and energetically. I was also in a relationship that took me so far away from who I had the potential to be.

    I lost my motivation to become inspired and as a result, I kept running from one goal post to the next, hoping that each “success” in work and life would bring me closer to the joy I was seeking.

    BUT … I realised that I was just fulfilling someone else’s definition of success. It wasn’t what I truly wanted for myself.

    So I made a commitment to myself. To be my own best friend in this path of discovery. I began listening to myself – to my intuition and inner voice. And from this, I started my own mindful journey.

    And today …

    Me : Now working at Loving Earth as the assistant product and packaging manager.

    Feeling : Intuitive, creative, inspired, connected and authentic – These are my core desired feelings!

    Diet : I have transitioned a vegetarian diet, making my own nut milk, green smoothies, green juices. I moved home so that I could be right next door to my organic grocers!

    Health : Am at 1/5th of my previous dosage for hypothyroidism, and working with my naturopath to get off this medication completely. I love yoga and started up running again! I have embraced meditation as part of my mindful morning ritual.

    Quest for Discovery : I have just finished B School and Rach’s Blog Hearted course. And will be learning Level 1 Reiki next month and life coaching with Julie Parker on the cards for 2015. I live to learn and grow from every challenge and out-of-my-comfort zone experience.

    Finding My Purpose : My purpose now is to inspire young women to live with mindful awareness so that can bring joy and intuition into their lives. For me, this helped me get to where I am so I started a blog, called The Mindful Morning to help spread this message.

    It is the result of all my passions coming together to fuel a bigger, wide eyed intention to help bring mindfulness to people’s lives.

    My Outlook : Amazingly positive – its like the sun is shining through my soul!. I am so grateful for the last four years that have gotten me to where I am today. Without these little forks in the road, I would never have arrived where I am here, right now, in this moment.

    Congrats Tara on your 4 year anniversary. Continue to brighten our days with your inspiring and beautifully authentic posts – I love love love them!!

    X

    Jo

  91. Felicia May 23, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    What aspect of my life has radically transformed?

    My life has radically changed so much, especially in the past 4 years.
    I endured depression, anxiety attacks and lack of self-love. I was in an unfulfilled relationship, abusing my body with bad foods and bad substances, and on a path to no where.
    I was lost.

    Since then I made small positive changes at a time which created ripple effects throughout my life and gave me the courage to be brave and live a beautiful life.
    I have packed up and moved to the snow, felt true independence and freedom, expanded my mind and discovered more than I ever would of anticipated. I found love while I was away, both love for myself and someone to love and to love me.

    All the challenges and experiences I had faced and overcame over the last 4 years have shaped my life today and who I am in this present moment. So in all honesty, the aspect in my life that has radically changed would have to be my perception to life, to circumstances and to the present moment,

    Happy 4 years Tara! Keep up the kickass work!
    Love Felicia xo

  92. Irena May 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    In the last four years….what am I proud of?

    Quite simply I am proud of being raw and authentically ME. Learning to accept who I truly am and being brave enough to SHOW my true colours instead of tucking them away. I’ve learn to not give a sh*TTTT about what anyone else thinks of what I say, how I dress or what I do but listen to my true self and give her everything she wants. I stopped putting limitations and labelling myself as not pretty, smart or good enough. I finally realised what an amazing original and beautiful soul I am. Through all this I have learnt not only to accept myself completely but others also. From constantly comparing myself to other women I thought were much more beautiful, intelligent and driven then me I have learnt to celebrate their beauty and success instead of feeling as though there isn’t enough room for us all to shine BRIGHT and be our true beautiful selves. I have learnt to BE…simply BE. Wake up and smell the air, listen to the birds chirp and the waves roll by. Finally….I have learnt that I will never stop learning and that everyday I will find out more about myself and this beautiful world…and the most exciting part is that I trust that everything will be exactly how it’s supposed to and i’m perfectly okay with that.

  93. Annabelle May 23, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    I was lost. Now I’m found.
    I was in my head. Now I’m in my heart.
    I was fixated. Now I’m free.
    I was seeking. Now I’m present.
    I was forcing. Now I’m allowing.
    I was shunning. Now I’m accepting.
    I was dark. Now I’m light.
    I was hiding. Now I’m authentic.
    I was judgmental. Now I’m grateful.
    I was looking at the destination, now I’m all about the journey.
    Though you may not know it Tara, you were guiding me every step of the way, and for this, I am eternally thankful and soul-sizzlingly proud.

  94. RB May 23, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    Woww holy incredibleness congrats on four years for your online digs Tara! i have loved evolving and changing with you! This community is so wonderful I could not have made the four years without you.
    I can barely believe that four years ago i was a total mixed bag of roller coaster emotions and bad choices i was what you call an utter mess. I worked in a 12 hour soul destroying job for money. ( this is not worth it! ) i was sooo exhausted physically and mentally from years of hammering my body with self hate eating disorders since i was 13, drinking way too much taking recreational drugs every weekend, hello hell over exercising and working to the bone… wow not fun when i write it out. finally i fell apart a wake up call to say the least.. niggling me you were born to be great and do great things I finally heard you loud and clear universe…. fast track to today the journey these four years i have loved you every minute of it today i shine, I love my Body, I actually think it is a wondrous creature. I am an aspiring health coach and personal trainer. I am so grateful to have been through everything in my life and for the open raw connections I have with people. I honor my past and revel in how far I have come. I look forward to my future and find waking up to greet the day so joyous!

  95. Skye May 23, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    I am grateful for
    Finding spirituality, finding amazing inspiring people like yourself, finding my passion and ultimately finding the greatest love for myself and life.
    I’m incredibly proud of myself for challenging and ultimately beating all those negative and limiting thoughts and beliefs. I am free I am loved I am safe.
    Thank you Tara for sharing yourself and your story, you are making such a difference in so many lives 🙂
    I’m just about to start my diploma in satyananda yoga. I’m so excited to be on this journey
    Take care
    Skye

  96. Sarah May 23, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    I am grateful for….’impact’……with the uprising of light beings like yourself who are just grabbing us by the heart and filling us with so much truth we open up…the clouds lift and this powerful energy shift happens…there is no going back…..I watched a documentary on plastic in our oceans…….impact…….I now can’t walk along the beach without picking any rubbish up that I see….there is sooooo much……why did I not see it before…impact…heart open…..I am now driven with purpose…I have to educate….I have to create an ART sculpture with rubbish…I am obsessed…..and I am not an “Artist’…more like a missionary with something to preach….I am grateful …

  97. Amanda May 24, 2014 at 12:59 am #

    Gosh, four years ago I was living in Taiwan on a soul journey struggling with depressing and the “what the hell am I doing with my life.” Since then I’ve moved back home to the states, been married, travelled all over the world and now in the middle of a divorce but one thing has been consistent — my desire to connect on a deeper level to who I truly am and live from that place as authentically as possible.

    When I was living in Taiwan I was having so much anxiety from the unknown and now, as I sit here once again faced with that familiar friend, I have learned to embrace it as an opportunity for adventure, growth, excitement and to do whatever I feel is true to me and my life’s purpose.

    I’m diving deeper into what spirituality means for me and connecting with so many wonderful and inspiring people in the world. Life is good. 🙂

  98. Jodie May 24, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Four years ago I was living on a boat in Bali at the tail end of an amazing 3 year adventure through South East Asia with my husband and soul mate. We were on our way home but the universe had different plans for us. We were blessed with the amazing news that I was expecting our first child and made the heart wrenching decision for me to return to Australia without him as he sailed our boat home. I was 37. We had spent every day for the last 3 years together and we had thrived. Our relationship was stronger than ever. We were part of a whole. Leaving was the hardest part, my husband was sick, we later found out it was Dengue but he came through it and began the long sail home. We communicated through text messages and the occasional email and text when service was found in the remotest of places. I updated him on the progress of our child, we found out we were having a girl, we named her Willow Summer. He made it home 5 months later, in time for the birth. She has changed our lives forever. We sold our boat the Makani Kai, our home for years and we promised ourselves we would keep hold of the values we had gained from our travels. We started our own business so that we could both spend as much time with our daughter as possible. We live on an island so we are still surrounded by the water. So in the last 4 years I have lived, I have come home, I have birthed, I have loved, I have sacrificed and I have turned 40. The next journey is about me. Somewhere along the way I became a wife, a mother, a worker and lost track of myself. I lost some of the lessons that I’d learnt, I began to worry, to get caught up in everyday dramas, I didn’t look after myself, I doubted myself and I missed the carefree person I was. My new journey has already begun. A focus on nourishing myself physically, spiritually and mentally. I am casting aside the fears and doubts that have somehow crept into my life and starting anew. I need to do this for myself and for my family. I am turning my face to the sunshine of the future with happiness in my heart.

  99. Rebecca May 24, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    I’m most proud of coming out the other side of pre/post natal depression, finding my happy place in yoga, reigniting my passion for enjoying live music and finally being completely comfortable in my skin! I’ve come a long way baby!!

  100. Annie May 24, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    I can hardly believe it but 4 years ago I was pregnant with my son and didn’t know it yet.

    These 4 years have allowed me to grow in ways I never believed possible. Having my beautiful son enter the world in a very scary way and almost cease to exist opened my eyes to the fragility of life as well an immediate and unbelievable love that I didn’t even believe was possible.

    I’m now nearly 5 months pregnant with my second child and the knowledge I have gained since having my son has allowed me to feed my body and soul with the right things and give this child the best nutrition I can.
    It’s still a challenge to give myself time and self love and I know it will be a lifetime of ignoring maternal guilt when I choose to put myself first. But…I must make time to do it in order to be the best mother and woman I can be.

    I would love to win this competition, to put myself first and feel spoilt would be an amazing feeling.

  101. Karli May 24, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    Well four years ago seems like a lifetime (almost)…

    I was 23, had just married my love, bought a house in the country and then it was all turned upside down by my husbands work moving us to the big smoke a year later. While I saw opportunity in this I was also scared. I got a job which was sold to me as being the next step in my career and there were so many opportunities that lay ahead… How I was wrong.

    My boss was a bully and really got into my head even though I was a strong willed and confident person. This year long saga left me feeling like I wasn’t capable of being amazing or smart or good enough. I kept telling myself that it would get better because sometimes it did, there was so many ups and downs so my life played out like that too. I hit rock bottom when I was told that I was the odd one out in the business and that I clearly had no passion and no desire to make his business better. This was the light bulb moment for me because I was not this person and I knew that but I had let someone get to me and inside my head which made me believe what they were saying about me and telling me.

    Since then I have focussed on being the best me and removing the negativity from my life that once took over. I have focussed on my health, my passions and surrounding myself with the people I love. I have come so far the past four years because I was once what I thought was a strong person who feared nothing but I know now that I am so much a better person because I have gone to a place that I never want to go back to and will fight for that no matter what. I now don’t let negativity take over my life and I don’t care what people say about me because I know that that is their opinion and not mine. Our plan was to start a family four years ago and we will still do that but I’m glad that I haven’t done it yet because I honestly think that what I have gone through and the person that I have become will help me bring the best little people into the world and so much better that I would have four years ago. I have changed so much that sometime I pinch myself just to see if I’m dreaming.

  102. Camilla May 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    What an ultra generous giveaway Tara!

    The last 4 years have held a massive amount of significant changes for me. More broadly, I moved cities. Packed up my life and started again beach side!

    I’m back to studying to be a naturopath, a goal of mine for years but which was side lined for a while there because I didn’t recognise the value in taking care of myself properly (so how could I ever take care of others?).

    I’ve found the love of my life and we’re currently planning and creating our own DIY wedding for later in the year.

    I’m starting a blog. 4 years ago the idea of sharing my inner world on such a public forum as a personal blog would not have appealed to me in the slightest, but now I feel like I have something to share with the world and I have the confidence to do it (thanks to trailblazers like Tara and her kinfolk!).

    I’ve started meditating. I recognise the power of listening to my body, through movement, food, stillness and presence rather than privileging the world in my head. I value interacting with the world through the more experiential medium of my body.

    I’m rediscovering my own spirituality and I’m looking to connect with it daily.

    Basically I feel like i’ve really grown into myself in the last 4 years. I forgive myself more, I value myself more, I recognise the power of my thoughts in creating my world around me and I believe in myself (this last one’s a biggie!).

    I can’t wait to see what the next 4 years brings!
    xox

  103. Colette May 24, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    Four years ago, so much has happened, so many life changing events, so much growth.

    It is difficult to put it all down in words. But as I look back, on all the changes, I realise that they have all brought me to where I am now, I have accepted them as part of my journey, my search for my inner self and my life purpose.

    I have been battling depression and anxiety, after the birth of my beautiful children, postnatal depression, as well as various gut issues. I have struggled to be the best mother I can be, with my self confidence at rock bottom. My marriage has been dragged through hell and back, and if I wasn’t blessed as I am with a husband who has stood by me through all the hard times, I would also now be doing it alone. My friendships have suffered, my life long friends proving to be not so present as I had thought. I have engaged in many self destructive behaviours along the way, with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, to mask my dark times, now I realise these behaviours have contributed to the un-stability I have felt.

    Although I have been working towards getting myself better, its been a slow process. But the reality of my situation and my need to make changes NOW came about when I fell asleep at the wheel due to my exhaustion from life and wrote my car off (kids not in car thank god). Luckily I was the only person involved, but I took out a large fence and ended up down a ditch. I walked away unscathed, I really believe my guardian angel is responsible for saving me, because lets just say, I was very lucky. That day, I realised that life is short and could be taken from me at any moment, I needed to be there for my children and also I needed to get better. So has begun my wellness journey.

    I have consulted a good friend of mine, who is a naturopath, and she immediately changed my diet and is also helping my son with various gut issues. Since then, I have been actively searching for wellness and enlightenment. I have found some wonderful inspiration through blogs such as yours, Tara. My pathway to wellness has given me a new lease of life, a purpose and Im finding myself spending hours soaking in all the wonderful advice, recipes, inspirations, spiritual guidances. I am on the way to learning so much more about me and my life purpose. I have accepted my recent challenges and forgiven myself for my self doubt. I am now actively choosing to find my inner sparkle and make positive changes that will bring only sunshine and laughter to this beautiful life Ive am blessed with.

    Congratulations Tara on inspiring so many xo Your emails and blogs are very much a part of my happy days xo

  104. Mary May 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm #

    Four years ago I was sitting in a rehab center in South Florida at 23 years old. I was exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually. I felt like at 23 years old I was tapped out. I was in the grips of an alcoholism, prescription drug addiction and an eating disorder. Dramatic, I know – but the reason I chose to share this is that is it vital for me to share my story in order to help others. Now in the last four years I have stayed completely sober (no drugs or alcohol), I have recovered from an eating disorder and I continue to work on my sobriety daily. Add to this two parents who have both gone through cancer and the fact that when my dad was diagnosed earlier this year – instead of running and hiding like I did with my mom’s cancer I was able to step up and be the rock for my family. That is the gift recovery gave me – I am not rich or famous but I have the best relationships in the world. I have a brother and sister who now have their sister back and my parents have their daughter who is now 28 and able to help them and give back to them. I really was shocked when my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma earlier this year and thought he was not going to make it. It made me savor EVERY SINGLE MOMENT with him and others. I no longer am a victim but a survivor and thriver. By being a good example for other girls struggling with issues, I know that recovery is possible and happiness and peace can be achieved. I choose not to be quiet about my sobriety because of the stigma that is presented in society – it is a disease that needs to be treated, not just once but on a daily basis. I have grown to see that the world is a beautiful place and am now reaching out to show that to others and with my sobriety anything is possible. Always looking for new people to inspire me, I came across your website Tara. You were the first person who created a program that rang true to me with the “Party Girls Guide to Peace.” I finally said, someone got it – so I’ve been following since! I hope everyone here has a great day and if you think recovery isn’t possible from certain things – just do some research, find someone who has been through what you are going through and see what they did and do that. xoxox Mary

  105. Nikki Simpson May 25, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    I have learnt to stand alone and surrender, not as in to give up, but rather to flow.

    To break through the self imposed rigid barriers that caused me to conform in an unnatural way.

    To let go of anger and the powerlessness than anger masks.

    To develop self awareness and in doing so connect with my essence…. because that is where the beauty is found.

    In spite of all the pain and suffering endured I choose strength and freedom from the burdens that shackled my heart.

    With a happy heart and a contented soul I approach my new life…. in this year of death of old and the birth of new beginnings.

    Love

  106. Meg May 25, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    What aspect of my life has transformed?
    My self-awareness. And as a result the way in which I react (or don’t react) to my environment has dramatically changed.

    I am now constantly observing myself – my thoughts, my feelings and my actions. Four years ago I was living unconsciously. I didn’t understand why I was acting in certain ways. My emotions were an absolute puzzle to me.

    Now in each moment I try and stay present. I try and think each thought, move each movement and feel each feeling with the utmost consciousness I can.

    What does this mean?

    Well, now I am living. Four years ago I was simply existing!

  107. Darci May 25, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Wow, the last 4 years hey?

    I cannot pinpoint exactly where i was 4 years ago but most probably some far away land running towards something big whilst questioning myself if i was, actually, running away.

    Ive always been on the move. The idea of settling, staying in one place never appealed to me and my free spirited ways and love of change.

    When i came back to the Gold Coast almost 2 and a half years ago, I remembered back to the time i had left running, middle finger up, swearing i would never come back. That was 14 years ago, when i was 19 and more than slightly off the rails. Never in my wildest dreams did i think i would settle, let alone come back HERE and settle.

    I remember riding my bike over the isle of capri and seeing these amazingly massive trees that i had never seen before. Forget the fact that i had sat under them copious amounts of times swigging back alcohol amongst other things. As i looked around i noticed this beauty i had never seen before, here on the Gold Coast. It dawned on me how much i had changed. How much of this beauty i saw outside of myself, was actually INside myself.

    As i settled into the Gold Coast and made new friends i was surprised at how many people of the past i didn’t see. I was also surprised at the people from the past that did walk back into my life. Clearly, like attracts like.

    I was scared of falling back into old patterns. Scared that i wasn’t strong enough. As i dedicated myself to my practice, my path became clearer and clearer. That fear of falling became less and less as i started to feel my roots growing down. My relationships changed. My practice changed. As i fell in love with the fact that life is always changing, i started to understand that i could settle, allow my roots to grow, whilst still experiencing a whole lot of change and travel.

    As i made one huge commitment to myself of creating and allowing D’Yoga to grow, I told myself i deserved this and had worked hard for it. That i could help support others through learning to not only accept change but learn to love it. To feel the support of mother earth beneath them as they took huge leaps of faith towards their dreams. So this is what i did.

    I made a commitment. Geez… I had never even signed a lease before through fear of being tied down. I made a commitment to myself. A commitment to free myself by doing what i loved and what flowed. D’Yoga was born. As i allowed this commitment to take place, other commitments started to emerge easily. I also signed my first lease 😉

  108. Liz May 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Wow happy four year bloggerversary! Well four years ago I was pregnant with my very much awaited for and very much wanted baby after years of infertility. I had dreams and a wonderful future planned. Then it all came crashing down, my beautiful baby was born, but life changed in a massive way, on one hand I was thrilled to bits with my bundle of joy, on the other hand I was sad and unwell, my health physically and emotionally was in tatters. One day I woke up unable to actually walk as I had done some damage to my back and over the following few years my health deteriorated so much that in my sad mental state I spent most days in bed not coping with life. Over time the man I married changed from happy and a lovely person to an angry, sarcastic person. One day early this year things changed….he never returned home one day and neither did my child. Frantically I searched for them and found that he had left me. In the aftermath of that while I thankfully was able to negotiate with him to have access to my child, he treated me awfully, I learned the definition of emotional abuse in the extreme. In the last few months I have gone from living in a tiny space paralysed by life, afraid of leaving the house, to having my own unit, working full time and spending as much time as possible with my kid. I still struggle with being treated badly by the person who I thought I knew but I am working on realizing my worth. Am I happy? Not yet…but I hope that I will be. Reading blogs like ‘Such Different Skies’ remind me of how important it is to live life, look after ourselves and reminds me that I can have a brilliant life despite all that I have been through and suffered. Thanks Tara for your wisdom!

  109. Rachel May 25, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    Oh my goodness.

    I can barely believe it but four years ago I was…so confused about what I wanted in life, who I was, and how I could get where I wanted to be.

    I had just finished a degree in Dance, tacked on an extra honours year for clarity and still come away nervous and confused. I was in a destructive relationship with someone who was suffering a mental illness and no matter how much i desperately wanted to HELP I was constantly berating myself when what I had to offer didn’t seem like enough and he’d turn to pot instead.

    I’ve come a long way since then.

    I’m stronger in myself and I’m softening the barriers by which i define myself. I’m being kinder, gentler, showing myself a hellava lot more grace. I’ve learnt to self-restore; and in doing so, seen that i’m able to be even more generous and giving to others because i’m not living on a tank that’s half empty. I stopped living so far outside of myself trying to make a difference and ironically have made that difference three-fold by looking inside to project outward again.

    I understand that I can be a creative soul without needing validation for artistic output. I’ve learnt that pushing my body to burnout doesn’t always mean i’ve “given all I have to give”. I’m grateful to the time, space to breathe…

    And the four years in which to learn and grow a little bit wiser.

    Happy four years Tara!

  110. Amy May 25, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

    Wow! What a beautiful giveaway…little bit jealous as not in Oz 🙁 But most of all Tara, thank you so much for this insight into your blog journey and sharing once again that very first blogpost! Hearing your before and after journey has really inspired me these last few days. Until I embarked on Rachel’s BEBH course…I was very much in a similar ‘newbie’ mindsight of what is this blogging world all about?! Is this really where I will find my creative calling?! Bit by bit I am starting to make those first steps.

    But to see how you CAN turn your life around the way you have in the space of 4 years is truly mind-blowingly inspiring. I think too for me it is a poignant timeframe. My daughter has just turned 4 and I was thinking back to my life before I was a mum, and I know truly how much life can change in 4 years. I also know how fast that time can go! xx

  111. Bec May 25, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    Congrats on 4 years Tara! My most radical transformation was learning to love myself and treat myself well, which has led to me paying off $16k of debt (from too much partying and buying too many clothes!). I no longer have debilitating anxiety attacks and I am also back at uni at the age of 34. After much persistence I found a job I love and a man I am about to marry. I can barely believe that in four years so much has changed and I am super proud of myself. I am most grateful for having had this experience as I truly appreciate all that I have. I am wiser, more compassionate and I am motivated to help others.
    I love this quote from Goldie Hawn:
    The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.
    I think the quote perfectly describes this community full of so much growth and kindness and compassion, let’s keep striving to grow as lotuses x

  112. christiana May 25, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    What am I most proud of? What a question and where do I start. I know that this is supposed to be based on a 4 year period of your life but I am so very proud of how I have turned my entire life around throughout my life. I mean the past 4 years have been both painful and eventful but my life is a novel waiting to be told and I am only 26 years old.

    Cutting a life story short as much as possible, I will just briefly explain: I spent my entire childhood being mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually abused along with my sister and two brothers. We endured so much along with my mother from my father and really never knew what it was like to live a normal life (whatever normal is). We were lucky to have someone come and help us escape from my father and spent two long years in a shelter hiding from my father… At the end of all this I would say I was 13 – during our entire childhood/upbringing my mother was not allowed to touch us, love us, feed us or teach us. I spent a lot of my time growing up and becoming mother to my siblings. We ended up finally getting to attend school, only to be picked on and struggle badly as we had never spent time with other children and had not been taught anything about school. My siblings either ran away from home, struggling with my mothers new partner who also struggled with anger, or just dropped out of school. During this time I had promised myself that I would never allow myself to let my father get the better of me or let myself get the better of me. I promised myself to complete school and to get a good job and to find someone who would never abuse me

    This brings me to the past four years of my life, I can not pin point exactly where I was but I do know that I was not happy. I may have succeeded in areas of my life, such as work. I was an office manager for a neurosurgeon practice and had previously worked as a high school counsellor. I had completed study after school, year 12 and was now studying Business management. I may have succeeded in having plenty of friends which I had never had as a young person and I was in a relationship with someone that I thought I was going to marry. Having all of these things did not help me with that feeling I felt every day when I woke up and lay staring at my roof just thinking about how hurt, sad and alone I was. I spent many, many years like this, I would cry a lot, fight a lot with my partner and I would fight with myself a lot as well. I used to look in the mirror every day thinking how ugly I was, yet I modelled, thinking that I was worthless and that I didn’t deserve anything and also drinking and smoking myself into even more sadness. I mean I had great moments, enjoyed good times and loved those in my life, but I was so unhappy within myself. I eventually realised that I was not where I was suppose to be, it took me a good 9 months to finally build the courage to leave my partner in the house we had together, to move out and live alone in a little unit and to get a completely new job. Having done this (after crying a lot) I felt amazing, I had finally made some decisions for myself and I started getting my independence back. I finally had some strength.

    Moving on…. the past two years have probably been the most amazing two years of my life. I would not have said this two years ago but I sure do feel that way now. I have met the love of my life, got engaged in New York, lost my full time job, lost all my belongings in a flood, found a new place to live, suffered from back problems and nerve pain, lost friends, made new friends, found a new job, and much more, but something I am mostly proud of is that during all of this I finally learned how to let go and to love myself. I think it all started 12 months ago when I started yoga teacher training; I was going through so much with my body constantly being in pain from an as yet undiagnosed issue with my nerves, and I was also working through a lot of internal emotional distress stemming from my childhood. Throughout the process of learning yoga I really started to learn about myself. I addressed many old issues that I had been battling with my entire life and I also learnt how to communicate with not only my partner but my friends and family. I let go of the worry that I was going to somehow be punished for everything I did in my life and allowed love to shine and overflow. This will be a constant journey for me but everyday gets easier and I feel happier and brighter knowing this about myself. I am now getting back into helping others through counselling and yoga, I teach them but I am also teaching myself. I am realising that things are just things and they have no power over my now and my future and that all I want to do is be happy and surround myself with happiness, love and light.

    Thank you for letting me share and I look forward to being more involved in this community of loving people xo
    Christiana

  113. Kace May 26, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    Over the past 4 years, I have been gaining momentum in my search for my true self. I have struggled with mental health issues and tried many things that didn’t quite breakthrough the negative cycle. I found your page, along with others with similar content which I have been an avid follower. Reading these posts has made me stop, look at my life from a different perspective and start to take time out for myself to look after my own health instead of others all of them time. My health came to a point approximately 2 years ago when the stress from my job was making me physically ill and my mental health concerns were taking over my life. That was the fateful lesson I endured to encourage me to make serious changes in my life. I have since found a new job within a supportive workplace where I have found confidence in myself again to be who I really am. Most recently I have started meditating and plan on participating in yoga. My aim is to be calm, centred, positive and free of anxiety & OCD. I know I am only at the beginning of my journey, but I am determined to learn as much as I can and be the best version of myself.

  114. Emily May 26, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    ‘Your thoughts create your reality’. That is a lesson that I am most grateful for. 5 words that have such a profound impact on me on a daily basis.

    It dictates how I treat my body, the way I nurture my relationships, it steers me in the right direction and brings me back to my intuition when I’m feeling off kilter and it fills me to the brim with excitement when I dream about all of the possibilities that I can bring to my reality.

    4 years ago I was living in my head. Totally disconnected from body and soul. Feeling lost and torturing myself because of it. Today, I invite awareness and stillness in, I feel my feelings and take note of how they are taking place in my body. Yeah I do have days were its hard to climb out of the self destructive vortex, but the journey out is softer, sweeter and easier.

  115. tegan May 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    Dear Tegan,
    I know you won’t believe me but in 4 years from now you’ll be expecting your first child!!!
    yeah, crazy right!!! you proved all those doctors wrong and despite suffering from unexplained ammennorhea for 8 years you fall pregnant naturally.
    You believe in miracles and your miracle is growing and kicking and thriving inside of you. You feel so proud and so full of love that your hearts about the burst.
    You’ve changed, your a woman now and you see life through different eyes.
    Sometimes its been shit, real shit! but your strong and you always pull yourself through, just as you will again and again when struggles and challenges arise.
    You look back now on the incredible journey you’ve been on and you accept it all, it’s part of who you are and who you’ve become.
    Let yourself be happy, love who you are, let go and surrender, everything will turn out ok.

  116. Asja May 26, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    Over the last four years I have transformed my fort to fortitude.

    My brain has a natural propensity (I think that a lot of brains do!) to want to see all sides of situation, to work out how to piece together all the thoughts, ideas and concepts that are brewing, get it on paper and then try put it together to mean something. I mean I even imagine the little fort (It was doodled on the page), alongside the twenty times I wrote fortitude. Fort-i-tude. Fort and attitude. You see how I can get lost and nerd out 🙂

    I digress. This analytical propensity has crippled me, my brain and my life. They have been intense. Happy to say that it has passed. The lightness is evident in the flow of my life, which is easier and easier to stay in every day.

    I thought that this was a strategic (read: controlling) way to try and work out the sadness, frustration and at times such empty despair that I felt in my heart and in my stomach. That I could think and mind map my way through it all and that this process was going to leave me with a series of clear modifiable patterns, answers and ultimately an insurance that I would be protect myself in the future. I honestly wanted to control (read: stifle) the business in my head and the messes of the past, I wanted a guarantee that I could protect myself from damaging my self esteem and self confidence any more, and have a grandiose master plan on how to master myself and move on bigger and better than ever.

    This all built from a notion that I was protecting myself from the external something out there, but the sad thing was is that I thought that there was something deeply fucked up at my core that it was imperative that I protect myself from myself. Trying to manage those thoughts, as I am sure you know, is similar to trying to catch a cake of slippery soap in the shower when you have coconut oil all over your hands.

    The harder you try to hold the easier the cake slips from your hands. It took focus, energy and mental chatter.

    I was using all the energy I had to build a fort around the bits that really fucking hurt and try hard as fuck not to break. At no stage was I fully honest in my own dealings with me. I was working in my comfort zone.

    Being honest with yourself can be difficult, answering the questions and giving a voice to the things you are scared of no matter how ridiculous or valid they may be is no small feat (but absolutely worth it). Maybe I didn’t want to be scared of the things I was, or thought ‘oh no it couldn’t be that’, or ‘I don’t think that all of this hurt comes from simply that..’.

    Who knows, but I knew I felt so incomplete, broken and no idea what I was supposed to do. It really felt like a good solution to try and understand myself so I could do more than get through life, feel that I was doing more than surviving. I was honestly, genuinely, trying really hard to feel good, break this shitty cycle. I just didn’t know I was doing it all wrong.

    As with any fort under a crap load of constant stress there will be cracks, I could go through periods of ‘managing’ all of this, until my brain would get away from me and I would implode or leave. Lose my shit some would say, Sarah Wilson terms it the ‘clusterfuck of shitfullness’.

    I know that each time the clusterfuck has happened a little bit more of me has surrendered. I had to let go more. Open more. I had to deal with the shit as it came up, not go looking for answers where there weren’t any (the perspective I was looking at it from was skewed anyway!). I had to learn to accept and eventually love my gorgeous self.

    That fort has slowly given way over the last four years to fortitude.

    Just as the fort was my strategic place to protect me and provide the necessary defensive works and armoury to protect against attack, fortitude works on the strength of my heart to encounter pain, danger and unknown, with courage. It is about aligning myself with the awesome inside me and letting that shine through, having more moments of truth in a day feels great, and the feeling as more of them link together feels pretty special too!

    I know I have been taking steps in the right direction for a while but I also know that I was doing the work on the bits that I could handle, not the bits I couldn’t, that being said the last few months have been a breakthrough for me, and the shifts inside me feel so good. Really effing good.

    Sometimes the mending just needs you to do a little bending!

    xx

    Congrats on four years

    xx

  117. Ingrid May 27, 2014 at 7:08 am #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was a recent graduate ready to take on the hotel + business world. So much has changed and my views have shifted. My goals now are geared towards health (physical + mental), happiness, love, family and entrepreneurship. I soak up inspiration like a sponge and I am always wanting to learn more, be more, do more. It’s a great place to be in and I am truly happy with my life. It’s great to feel like I’ve come home!

  118. Kimberley May 27, 2014 at 7:36 am #

    Firstly beautiful, a huge warm congratulations hug. This space is so inspiring and helping so many women. I couldn’t be more proud of you for living your truth and sharing it with the web. Thank you.

    Four years ago I was taking the frightening plunge into working for myself. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew the corporate world was slowly destroying my soul. I knew deep down that there was a part of me which was strong enough to build something authentic, something I really believed in – so I dived.

    Over the past four years I have lost 11kgs of what I like to call “low self esteem weight”, I have connected with a world of incredible women through blogging and BSchool, I have built a business from the ground up that lights me up each and every day, I have pulled the pin on the most significant relationship of my life and travelled like the wandering Saggo that I am.

    The biggest thing I have taken out of the past few years though is my strength. My inner Amazon. She is a total babe with the most brilliant energy and guides me to make the best decisions (which are in truth often the hardest). She pushes me to be my best self and I feel so blessed to have been able to find her and connect with her recently. She makes me shine and allows me to be proud of all I’ve achieved. She silences my Ego for a few moments a day so that I can breathe easier and move forward. I am eternally grateful for each and every milestone that brought her to me. I know many women aren’t so lucky and can’t see that they have a warrior inside of them too but damn it I am going to help them find her!

  119. Katie Smyth | Creative Communications May 27, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    I can barely believe it, but a bit over four years ago I was in a long distance relationship with a guy who was emotionally abusive and I was without a job. I’d just graduated from uni a few months before and didn’t know where my life was to go next. I knew the relationship was wrong so built up the courage to end it. What I was left with was a room at my parent’s house, and days on end of job hunting.

    Fast forward 4 years and I’ve left the dream job I had hunted down in those long days alone at my parent’s place. It wasn’t such a dream after all. I did however find the dream guy – and he continues to be the dream guy 4 years on.

    4 years later I have started my own business, which was in no small part, fuelled by the entrepreneurial fire I saw and felt on blogs like Such Different Skies.

    I’m working towards a new vision. A vision I couldn’t of even imagined 4 years ago.

  120. Caitlin May 27, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was… In year twelve, hung up on school marks, what life after school would bring and other peoples opinions and expectations of me. I was aware of self love but didn’t realise at the time that some of the things I was doing and thoughts I was thinking in the name of self love were anything but loving. I had big dreams to travel but didn’t know how a small town girl could and I was working in a job where looking back I was taken for granted. But that was all four years ago, life has a wonderful way of bringing about lessons and experiences when you are open to them. I’ve learnt since to live your own life, how you want and I’m learning to not stress about the opinions of others. I’ve realised that even though people say school is the best time of your life for me while it was good things have gotten even better since leaving. And I made my travel dreams come true, a small town girl travelling solo, and I’ve stood up for my rights in my old job. As for the self loving it’s a constant practice but loving yourself makes so much difference. What the last four years have taught and given me has lead to NOW bringing the best time ever, and that’s how I want to keep it, living in the present, learning, growing and moving forward. Here’s to the next four years xoxox

  121. Jess May 27, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    Jess four years ago:

    Living overseas by myself, pursuing my dancing career, pushing through life, suffering with an eating disorder, feeling like a failure, ruled by my ego, so much determination in my heart, following my dreams, could never trust that the universe always had my back.

    Jess today:

    Living back home in Sydney, pursuing my dream to help women with disordered eating, flowing through life, thriving with a normal balanced approach to eating, feeling enough, ruled by love, so much determination in my heart, following my dreams, trusting the universe always has my back.

    Thank you Tara, for this giveaway but mostly for this exercise. I don’t think I have ever truly looked back and seen how far I have come. Four years ago I thought I would never feel normal and comfortable around food. I thought I would never be able to balance out the yoyo dieting that was my life. I thought I’d never feel enough.

    Now here I am, using my experience and genuine empathy to help other women who feel trapped in this world of hating their bodies and punishing themselves with food. I just want to give give give.

    Four years on and my energy feels centered, I feel like I’m stepping into my power more and more and finding my happiness in the now.

    Happy four years to you beautiful lady, thank you for inspiring me and helping me on my journey.

    xo

  122. Becs :: Think Big Live Simply May 27, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    What aspect of my life has radically transformed?

    SO MUCH. 2 years ago I was a research scientist, living in a city, on the treadmill of earning more to spend more and wondering how the F I was going to get out, scrambling to find something that would grab my heart and move me forward. Now, I’m producing organic food, aligned with my heart and living a life where I wake up each day smiling with delight that THIS is my life. It ain’t all peaches and cream everyday, of course, but man am I grateful (and surprised- that woman 2 years ago would never have expected this path to open up!)

  123. Renee May 27, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    What aspect of my life has radically transformed?
    I am so not afraid to be exactly who I am – a bit of a hippie and I bloody love it!
    I am committed to making my dreams come true and have stepped up taking care for myself – I have a pending 2 month volunteer trip to Africa booked which was huge for me!! it’s the second time I would have been on a volunteer program overseas and there were many people and signs telling me ‘no’! They can all watch me succeed baby! 🙂

    What am I most proud of?

    Probably booking in the above trip, helping others even though sometimes Im learning that I have to say no, being able to do what my heart tells me and just book trips whenever I can (quick trip to QLD to see my cousins, roadie up the east coast in a wicked van, intrepid tour through Cambodia and Vietnam for my 21st, and the list goes on and on and on :)). And being committed to creating (which I something that is me) – painting huge map of the world canvas, making coffee tables that store books, making rag rugs, hippie pants, doing henna!

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…
    Just out of school, hating on the world (well most of it anyway), no idea what I was going to do, listening to everything my parents told me, not knowing how or being afraid to express myself, and holding onto a few toxic friendships.

    Looking back this is awesome to see what has changed in such a short amount of time, I am about to finish my university degree in social science so I’ll be getting payed to do what I love!!! And the countdown is on before AFRICA!! 🙂

  124. Danielle May 27, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Four years ago I was just starting to find my, um, well… I was starting to find myself. My true self. I don;t even like writing that for how cliche it but it’s true. I was learning that I didn’t have to please everyone. All. The. Time. I was learning that I can let my crazy personality and weird sense of humour shine, and that they were even adored by someone. I was learning that there are foods that can help me, and others that can’t, overcome my chronic fatigue. I realised that I really love life, just the way it is and it’s ok to take more time out to enjoy with my partner and travel, rather than settling down to have children. For me, this is what I wanted, what we want.

    In a nutshell, four years ago I married a man (we were engaged after 3 months!) that loves and respects me in every way and we have the most soulful relationship. I have grown closer to some of my friends and others have wandered down another path. I have learnt to relish the times that family gathers, for it won’t always be this way when the older generations have finished their time walking on this earth. My partner and I have become acutely aware of just what is good for the body, mind and our spirit and we try to balance these practises in our daily lives.

    I don’t feel as lost anymore but I am still trying to work out my destination, where I see myself and what I will be doing on a daily basis. I am letting years of being a formal, corporate person in grey and black suits wash over me and let my pastel pink hair and flowing organic cotton skirt shine.

  125. Morgan May 27, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    I am the most proud of who I have become and the things that are important to me. Not too long ago if you would have asked me what I wanted to accomplish this year, I probably would have said: travel, party, maybe eventually settle down and go to law school and become a high paid lawyer.

    Now a days, I have changed my tune. I made a conscious decision a few years ago that if I wasn’t going to try to make the world a better place, then I had no right to be here. I decided I was all in, threw my cards on the table. Instead of following my original plan, after studying my bachelors degree in political science, to go to law school, I moved across the ocean to a far away land and started to study Human Rights. After graduating I felt stronger then ever that I needed to make a change on this planet that we live on.

    I find through my journeys that there are three kinds of people: the ones that need help, the ones that want to give help, and the ones that think we are too far gone for anything to be done. I vowed to myself, I would never become the later, and would instead, devote myself to helping the world, even if it is one smile at a time, one project at a time, one person at a time.

    I was awarded an incredible internship to work at the UN in Geneva, advocating for Refugee Rights (a topic that is near and dear to my heart). There were eight of us, and boyyyy were we new to this world! We all banded together, and through the incredible guidance of our professor and director, we were able to understand and observe the way things worked over there. I had toyed with the idea of being a Human Rights lawyer, but felt that not enough was being done, that lip service happened to often, and that bureaucracy seemed to be the name of the game. This is when I decided I would work for small Non-Government Organizations (NGO), or that I would have to come up with something myself.

    During my time in Switzerland, I not only learned a TON, but I also met some pretty incredible life long friends, one of which (my roommate), ended up passing away less than a year later from a tragic fire in Paris (where she was studying). At her memorial, one of her best friends came up to me (I still don’t know if she remembers this), I told her who I was and how sorry I was that we all lost such an incredible young woman and friend, a woman who without a doubt would have impacted this world in a way nothing less of miraculous. Her friend told me “everything Louise would have done in her life, you have to do now.” And so it was…

    I moved to Africa and started running an NGO working on water and hygiene training. I lived in Malawi for 6 months and I can tell you, this was the single biggest moment in my life. Not only did I now have the conviction to want to change the world, but I had the experience and the knowledge of working in the field, getting your hands dirty. Although times were tough, yes, probably some of the hardest moments of my life were out there in the middle of nowhere in those villages, but every time I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore, I thought of my friend and those words “everything [she] would have done in her life, you have to do now…” and it gave me the strength EVERY time.

    What I take from my experiences is what has made me who I am today. I am proud to say that I will live this life I have been blessed with, to help others, in any way, big or small, here or there, at home or abroad. I will live my life to the fullest because there are some angels in these skies that didn’t get the chance to.

    x

  126. Kate May 27, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Over the last 4 years, my sense of independence has radically transformed.

    I am most proud of consistently showing up for my education, and achieving beyond what I thought possible.

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was about to fall in love.

    I am most grateful for the lesson of joy – whatever I chase from a place of fear or anxiety will eventually exacerbate the problem – when I come from love and joy, all will fall into place with so much ease.

    Congrats on your anniversary Tara, I have loved being a part of Such Different Skies xx

  127. Tania May 27, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Four years ago I was on all fours spewing up in a gutter, being picked up by an ambulance. Lost, riddled with guilt and shame and wearing a thousand masks to disguise the wounds that were meandering around inside of me. I looked the part, the Marketing Manager and the Personal Trainer, but then there were those parts of me that were eating me up inside and I had no idea how to peel them away. It was a scary place.

    From chronic binge drinker “life of the party” (my mask), to peace.
    From chronic binge eater “pro weight load junkie” (my mask), to peace.
    From a woman who thought that everyone judged her, to peace.
    From a woman who thought that everyone controlled her, to owning ‘me’ and my choices.
    From a woman who thought that she would never be able to ‘make it’, to starting my own soul-aligned buz.
    From a woman who thought she needed a man to provide and take care of her, to a woman who is committed to loving herself and not needing to reach for her man to fill up her hole (and as a side note, I’ve manifested the man of my dreams along the way).

    Now, I am free. I’m aware of who I am not and also, who I truly am. Every day I work on that pesky limiting voice in my head that keeps me stuck in my old story and dedicated to a practice of reconnecting with my true self. It’s a daily practice, a moment by moment practice even, of shining a light on her, snuggling her with love and then giving her a boot out the window. It’s not who I choose, or want, to be anymore.

    Holy moly it’s been a challenging, but liberating ride and one that will be a continued evolutionary process of healing. But damn, I am so very proud of how far I am come. I truly feel free. I am finally home. Home to the truth and the love that has been within me all along. I see her now. I know she is in me and when times get tough, I know it’s time to reconnect and heal some more.

    Thankyou hun for giving me the opportunity to write this. It’s such a beautiful healing opportunity and I absolutely love you xo

  128. michelle May 27, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Four years ago

    Four years ago I was fighting cancer
    Four years ago both my parents were fighting their own battle with cancer
    Four years ago we were only a small family of four
    four years ago I was working a nine to five job
    Four years ago I did not know what a blog, blog community or anything related was

    Today I am cancer free, as well as uterus ovaries and breast free
    Today both my parents have passed away but both are free of pain and sickness
    Today we are a larger family of six, two beauties came into out life through all the pain and heartache that cancer can cause
    Today I work from home, working for myself and use it as a huge creative outlet
    Today I am part of this community

    In four years time I hope to be cancer free
    In four years time I hope the pain of losing my parents is less
    In four years time I hope that we are an exanding family as older siblings find love and commitment
    In four years time I REALLY HOPE I have retired and no more bills to pay and all the work is for fun
    In four years time I hope this community doesn’t change too much

  129. Suzannah May 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    Holy wow – huge congratulations Tara! Thank you for sharing your story above and for sharing yourself with us on your blog each week. You are a gorgeous soul and inspiration. And the talented, creative beauties behind the magnificent gifts in your giveaway – oh so generous and passionate about celebrating this momentus milestone that is your blogging birthday! Isn’t it amazing that this community and support exists through the interweb? I am blown away.

    It is difficult for me to reflect on my past. I very much live in the present. I don’t dwell on who I was and what I have done – however I understand the importance in looking back and appreciating who we were and who we now are. We have all come such a long way. For me, my journey has been more inward. My life hasn’t dramatically changed, but in saying this I am a completely different person! I have developed mentally; creating confidence in myself, focussing my energy on the people most important to me, discovering the benefits of clean eating and exercise, sharing my passion for life with others, investing my time in relationships and creating a balance, discovering like-minded people and being inspired by their stories and lifestyles, learning to be my own #1 fan and appreciating the pleasure of my company, expressing gratitude in all life’s wonders and most of all SHARING THE LOVE! I have embraced who I am. My individuality. What makes me different. We should never compromise any part of ourselved. The world would be missing out on something so unique and special! So I am an avid supporter and ambassador for all people willing to be themselves, and I’m so excited to see such talented beings and life-lovers sharing themselves and their creations with anyone and everyone! What a treasure. Congratulations to everyone. And thank you again Tara. I think you have left everyone leaving this exercise feeling like a winner. That’s the real prize 🙂

  130. Helen May 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Four years ago I was a dreamer.

    I was the corporate high flyer, the ‘got it all together mama’ of two gorgeous girls, living in my dream house with my wonderful man. Except I hated putting on my suit of armour for work each day, I was struggling with post natal depression and I never saw my wonderful man, a workaholic. I used to dream. A lot.

    Three years ago we were all on a flight from Dublin to Sydney, one way. New beginnings, new life. For my girls I acted brave, deep down I was petrified.

    Two years ago I started seeing the signs. Really listening to them. First it was the odd article online, a new blog that captivated me (thanks Tara!), new friendships with women ‘doing their thing’, offering advice and amazing support. Then it was my health, deteriorating for no medical reason.

    Just over one year ago I broke my knee (smashed it real good!). Eight long weeks laid up on a couch. And amazingly, the sharpest and most active mind ever. My business was born. Bring it on! I could do this and with a passion (and crutches!) I started taking small shaky steps with my biz.

    Today I’m back running and the knee is great. My business is growing but more importantly, I am too. I love that I get to experience wonder again and what it feels like to really feel alive and full of anticipation. Life, I can’t wait for you.

    No longer a dreamer. A doer.

    Happy Anniversary Such Different Skies.

    Helen
    xx

  131. Sharyn May 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    4 years ago I never would have thought I would start my own creative business. I had just relocated from my Sydney hometown to Brisbane for a more relaxed life. We definitely achieved that! My life has radically transformed in these past 4 years. I made space for creativity. 2 years ago I made my life long dream to release my inner Artista and she came to life. This has been an amazing transformation from incubation to emerging to metamorphosis. I feel free. I am empowered by the choices I have made. It’s been a rollercoaster ride and I dealt with delayed post trauma, but I’m here now and with a healed spirit and big ideas to unleash. Thanks for the opportunity to share my answer and for the chance to win an amazing prize!

  132. Kate May 27, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    Four years ago, (and for many many years for that matter), I was suffering from serious depression. And although it may never fully vanish, it may always be a small little bug on my shoulder, I can now say that I know how to flick that bug off. That I know how to breathe deeper and see clearer through what used to be a black cloud. And that I can thankfully move forward in my life in my love in my passions in my career. For that feeling of being perpetually stuck, dark, heavy …. has been lessened.
    I will by no means pretend in the past 4 years there is a complete drastic change. Instead, a real life shift. In the past years I have learned
    to be present in my own skin
    to breathe fully
    to love fully
    to be grateful. period.
    to feel the love that is around me when I never thought I could.
    to not care about fitting the mould of society.
    to nourish beyond measure … with food, with love, with joy, with creativity.
    to stop running.

    and it is my hope that this perhaps simple, yet ever so poignant list, expands in the years to come.

    thank you for allowing me to take a moment in my day to reflect on these very things. we all need to P A U S E and remember where we’ve come from, how we’ve changed, and accept where we are at.

    much love to you ALL x

  133. Gabby May 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    I cant believe it but four years ago i didnt know what chia seeds, quinoa, green smoothies, green juices, or really even what “organic” even was! Although it has been tough changing the things i had been taught about food my whole life, it has been the most eye opening experince ever and i cant thank you Tara enough for all your blog posts and videos to help me along the way 🙂 I am very proud to say after learning about using food as medicine i was able to get off anti depressants & the pill and now know how to listen to my body, not try and shut it up with pills. Happy four years! xxx

  134. Marta May 27, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    Four years ago I was celebrating a year spent in Melbourne, Australia. Before I landed on the Southern hemisphere with one suitcase and heart full of excitement, my friends were telling me I’m a bit crazy. I quit my stable, safe but no longer challenging and satisfying job in Warsaw, Poland as I heard my heart calling. Australia was always my dream. The only option for me was to come here on student visa – I didn’t want to come here for holidays only, I wanted to experience the ‘real life’ with all its struggles and glories.

    So year later, my life was about school, work, school and…more work to earn for school fees and visa extensions. I had to step out of my comfort zone many times, from joining college at being no longer in my 20’s (the years when I did my Master’s in Poland seemed like ages ago 😉 to taking up a food attendant role at one of the busiest Melbourne venues with no previous waitressing experience whatsoever (I dropped something only once – tomato sauce bowl landed on the lap of one of rugby players at the gala dinner, he was sitting in a first row and the event was broadcasted live. Hahaha ;-)). Pushing heavy trolleys, setting up gala dinners for thousands and holding a tray full of beer bottles was something quite different from what I used to do in my life back in Poland. I was often dead tired but never ever regretted my decision. I knew my heart was right about Australia – there was a reason for me to be here and I was about to find out.

    Four years later I find myself living in an amazing Brisbane and developing my own small business that has been evolving from my passion for painting, buried away somewhere long time ago and rebirthing now. I started creating hand painted jewellery using reclaimed materials, and I paint on salvaged timber blocks. I sell my works at markets and in four shops in QLD and NSW and I’m constantly working on new exciting projects. Doing what I love I feel fully alive again, happy and grateful to have reconnected with what makes my soul sing.

    Apart from my creative journey, my life today is about clean eating, organic veggies, lots of bike rides, walks along the beach, learning yoga and meditation, self-enquiry, connecting with the spirit, learning self care and living from love. I am totally in love with my life now and I am excited about what’s there still to explore on my path ahead.

    This is how I’ve grown in the last four years…

    Thank you so much Tara for letting me share this story and for wonderful inspiration I receive reading your blog. Happy anniversary!

    Much love
    Marta xxx

  135. Mel H May 27, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    The last 4 years have been quite a ride – and everything I’ve worked through, has made me the person I am. I think the culmination of this has come this year, when finally I’ve been able to celebrate my own strengths, and accept my flaws. I’ve learnt, through a wonderful online community (I really do credit Instagram and all the beautiful people it has introduced me to) how to live a happy life, and find bliss in the small things. I may not be where I had wanted to be 4 years ago. But that won’t stop me fighting my way to get there, and enjoying each day of the ride. xx

  136. Vienda May 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    4 years ago I was sitting in my office in Fox Studios, Sydney, suffocating from my choices: a relationship that drained me; a way of life that I had always promised myself never to fall into; + a 9-5 job that bored me.

    But dissatisfaction is such a great motivator to step into your truth a find a way to fulfil your dreams!

    A year later I had left the relationship; moved close to the beach so I could feel more free and worked hard, using he jib that bored me to support my intentions: to develop my own creative, abundant business that supported my gypsy wanderlust type nature.

    And now, it’s all happening! I have a wonderful coaching business working solely with incredible creatives from all round the world and have travelled all the while, covering Central America, Europe, the States + India in the past 2 years.

    Life is such a wonderment. A joy. + above all, a miracle. xo

  137. Cheyenne May 27, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    Four years ago I was completing my final year of high school, so a lot has changed since then! Today, I’m different in so many ways yet still the same. My goal of doing well in school to get into the course I want to study, has no become do well at uni to finish the course. Between then and now, I’ve spent months travelling the world, moved to another state, lived in numerous houses, had various jobs, met awesome people and had amazing experiences. I feel like every week I;m presented with another amazing opportunity that I can’t turn down (something I need to work on, as I’m currently over stretching my self!). While not everything has worked out as I’d hoped, I wouldn’t change anything as it’s made me the person I am today. In times of struggle I just remember- ‘the world is on my side as long as I am true to the best that is me’. 🙂

  138. Melina May 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    Four years ago my partner and I had relocated to the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane .. I was such a different person…. Felt like I needed to prove to the world that I was acceptable and ok!!! Moving up here was the best thing that could happen to us, I love the slower pace of the Sunny Coast … I finally feel like I accept my lovely stress free and quiet life and that’s ok …. Nothing to prove anymore!!

  139. rachel May 27, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    on april 22nd 11:38pm, my first son was born. on aprill 22nd 11:40pm, my second son was born. in the span of 2 minutes, my life was beyond radically changed. it became unrecognizable. who I thought I was, this free spirit yogi goddess, this urban gyspy, this strong willed, feisty, independent woman…gone. replaced within those 2 minutes was, well, a stranger. no book, website, blog, friend, or family member could have ever prepared me for what lied ahead for the next 1 1/2 years. i cried. a lot. i cried all the time. over anything and everything. i loved my boys. i loathed my boys. what the hell did i do to my life? my marriage was crumbling before my eyes and i felt completely helpless. i sought therapy. some days good. some days a disaster. my only relief was my home practice i had 45 mins to complete during nap time then a quick shower. i started work again and buried myself in the culture. familiar. comforting. empowering? selfish. New years day 2014, my husband told me he was moving out. i had become the statistic i feared. i created my victim state and lived there for a month. and slowly and surely, with a lot of coaching from friends who stood me, i made a choice. and i chose this life. i chose the life i have always wanted. strong marriage. beautiful healthy children. living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. a job i absolutely love with people i absolutely love. the lesson of being in choice is the most powerful lesson of life. it is the secret. i chose all of the above. it was all mine. i own it and i love it. the good the bad and the sweet ugly. i chose me. this me. i actually really love this girl. x

  140. Christie Fischer May 27, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    They may have been subtle. Some have been loud. Like this evening balling my eyes out seeing how the Dad I saw as a little girl isn’t the same Daddy I see as a grown woman.
    Four years ago I started my own blog, finished a Coaching course, began a Nutrition one which was always my passion, and had only been with my man a few short months.
    I’ve learnt love over fear. Choice is always an option. The choices may be tricky, but the choice is always ours. People may not always be what they appear to be or what you wish them to be, but they are there, in your life, for good reason, and even if it’s painful, they are there to lift you, break you, make you the better YOU, you are here to be. And for all those moments, I am grateful.
    Study can be hard, hell life can be. But when was easy any fun? I remember the moments everything was lost, and I wanted out, but friends, family, close ones, even strangers now nearest and dearest reached out to give a hug, a smile, a breath of new air.
    Four years ago, right now, here today, being present, and four years from now, I hope to continually choose. Question everything… as everything is just an interesting point of view. This has been a huge lesson for me and one I am breathless with still. Perception is everything. Questions open to possibilities… Conclusions keep us locked in.
    Life is a journey and one in which I choose to skid to the finish line covered in mud with a smile on my face, over a conservative walk there without a mark on me. xx

  141. Anita May 27, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…well, I was a girl who didn’t know her own worth. I found comfort in calling myself a chameleon who could blend in with anyone and be ok with anything, but that’s just because I learned to tone myself down so much that I could reflect whoever I was with, and years of doing that led plain and simply to a girl who didn’t even know what she wanted. Never acknowledged it. Cried when friends helped her because she didn’t feel worthy. Ran away OFTEN to see the world and got mega sad when back to reality. Worked in jobs that didn’t fulfill creatively, not required much commitment or skill. Felt anxious. Like, all the time.

    But now? Haha how to say it better than to tell you a huge smile just spread itself across my face? I know myself. I love who I am. I’ve got my own back. And it feels damn sexy to be at peace with my circumstances, while knowing I can choose to make this life whatever I want. I deeply understand my connection to everything and the fleetingness of all things. I want to give life a bear hug. Of course I still mess up but the ah-ha moments make it all so worthwhile. X

  142. Sam May 27, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    Four years ago, I landed a dream job, finally, something that I had been working towards for so long & so hard. I was then made redundant. Tail between the legs, I went back to doing what I “knew” whst I had been doing for 15years, but what I knew was my heart was not in it. I needed that time to know for sure, to rebuild, my confidence & bank account. To dig deep, close my eyes, breath & believe. I left full time work for full time study. I believed in myself & amazingly opportunities presented themselves like never before both in work & in life. Part of me is still waiting for “the other shoe to drop” but the other part of me, the part that is loving this journey knows that I set this in motion & it is only the beginning. I just have to breathe, believe, & be thankful.

  143. Jasmin Schult May 27, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…

    22 years old, living in a small country town in WA where I grew up. I had just dropped out of uni taking a break from the teaching degree I had started studying to pursue my interest in the hotel industry. I worked long hours and late nights. When most of my friends were out partying I was working hard living religiously by the idea that if only I worked hard for long enough I would become successful, rich and ultimately happy. In the coming months I moved to Perth, among the hustle and bustle of city life I became even more immersed in trying to climb my way up the corporate ladder. A few months later I started studying a business degree at uni juggling my part time job and drinking endless coffees every day to just get by. I had become detached from my life and my reality nothing mattered more to me than becoming successful and well… rich, not because I was money hungry but because I was hungry for happiness.

    My wakeup call came when out of the blue I began having panic attacks in my lectures at uni and I became very ill. A long term relationship which had just ended suddenly and a hospitalisation had definitely taken their toll on me. I had sacrificed my health and my body in my (almost obsessive) pursuit for happiness and longing for a successful career. I had been so focused on trying to attain a successful job, relationship and ultimately a perfect life that I forgot what it meant to actually be alive. I lost sight of who I was and what I deeply craved from this one precious life.

    Fast forward to today and I have graduated as a Primary School teacher, met a boy, been promoted in my part time job, started studying at IIN to become a health coach, about to launch my blog and business all whilst battling anxiety, chronic fatigue and depression. I no longer live my life by society’s expectations of having this so called “perfect life”. Today I choose to be present living each day in the moment, showing immense gratitude for what I have been through and where I am headed with my life. I spend my days focusing on building a life that is balanced and focused on nurturing and loving myself so that I can be there for others. I do what I love and will hopefully share this with the world very soon.

    Now more than ever I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Whilst in no shape or form do I think that I have my life figured out heck I am nowhere near it, but I have come to accept that life is a journey. We are all here to learn, to grow and to help others on their journey. I am bursting with energy and love and cannot wait to share with the world what I have learned on my journey so far.

    Thank you Tara for you guidance and wisdom and for bearing your soul to the world the way I only dream to in the future xx

  144. Joscelin // Self Health Wellness May 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    Wow!! I could have spent hours reading these awesome responses! Tara, what a beautiful tribe you’ve bought together.

    For me, Four years ago my life could have been summed up as Chaos. The past four years has been all about learning to love myself, connecting to my soul and learning to trust it’s guidance.

    I love the mystery of the next four years too! Happy Birthday Such Different Skies xo

  145. Kat Harding May 27, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    I can barely believe it but four years ago I had just finished my business degree, was single after a 4 year relationship, was just turning 21 and entering the full time workforce.
    That’s not to say I want happy, I was happy, I was closed of and perhaps not as confident as I am today (or maybe just confident in different ways) and I was feeling free and moving into the next phase of my life.
    Within that four year period of time, my life has changed substantially.
    I learnt to love again, and more successfully and happily than ever before, I learnt to love my life, I learnt to spend less time at work and more time enjoying work when I was there, I learnt that anything I put my mind to was achievable, I learnt about different lifestyles, I moved overseas, i moved back, I fell in love every day, I became a yoga teacher (whilst still a continuing student) inspired by my mother who also became a yoga teacher, I became a stand up paddle board teacher, I started teaching stand up paddle board yoga.
    Whilst I still work what I call my ‘normal’ job during the week and learn and teach and enjoy the rest on weekends I have finally after four years found my passion, my something that I love doing and that thing that I will always strive to be a part of and share with the world.
    The comforting thing is that there are a million other people in this world who are also finding their passion and sharing it with the world through blogs, instagram, Facebook, Twitter and although I’m sure I’m meant to feel tempted to be in competition with everyone I get too much inspiration and that too is something that is vastly different from who I was four years ago.
    So thank you to you Tara, and to so many other inspirational women and people who make a difference by just being and sharing yourselves with the world!

  146. Jess May 27, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    I can barely believe it but four years ago I was an emotional wreck. I was there, standing in front of you, but never fully present.
    I had payday advance loans, material possessions that I got no joy from and debt collectors knocking on my door. All because of my greed to be “the best” and keep up appearances.
    I hid everything from my amazingly compassionate boyfriend, who to this day still knows nothing. I was embarrassed and extremely ashamed to ask someone to please catch me out and slam the brakes on for me because I couldn’t reach the pedal!
    Eventually, after not having enough money to even afford two-minute noodles for dinner one night, I broke down and howled heart out. After my pity-party subsided, I grabbed a eon and paper and faced what I owed and what I’d have to sacrifice to get to a happier place. I scrimped and saved, sold what I could and made excuses to not go out with my friends. Lucky for me, my man liked to stay in and for six months we had the craziest, comfiest movie nights and that in itself made me realise that money can’t buy you the special, intimate things.

    But now, well heck! I’m not on a pretty pay packet but I am a comfy girl. I don’t take anything for granted and appreciate everything that’s given to me. We’ve just built a house and yep, I can make my mortgage repayment every month.

    Sometimes it takes a fal to know which step to start climbing from again x

  147. Natasha May 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    What an awesome giveaway Tara, and thank you so much for offering it to us – Happy 4 Years!!

    Wow, 4 years ago seems like a long time ago now, but as I look back, I cannot believe all that has unfolded in that time. I was in my second year of uni in Melbourne, navigating study, a fairly new relationship, and was having a grand time partying it up! It was 4 years ago that the girl group that I was singing with made it to to the final four groups on X- Factor. I got whisked to LA and met Snoop Dog and came back from an absoloutley surreal experience to face the reality of studying again. I went on my first big overseas adventure and did a Contiki tour around Europe with my sister. Looking back it was a time of excitement, exhaustion, fear, uncertainty and it was one hell of a ride!!

    I can’t believe that throughout all the set backs from the past 4 years, I graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science and started a Masters of Social Work, only to realise that that wasn’t the path that I was supposed to be on. My man moved to Brisbane at a time when I was so unsure of myself and my career, and we survived a long distance relationship. Last year I made the move to Brisbane to be with him and started a new exciting chapter. It was incredibly hard leaving my family and friends, but it was time for a fresh start. This year I’ve signed up to do my life coaching course (something that I have always wanted to) and am teaching dance classes (a re-discovered passion) all whilst learning to keep facing my fears and following my heart. I’m finally learning that it doesn’t matter what others think, as long as I feel good about my decisions that’s all that matters. I am so proud of getting out of my comfort zone, moving interstate and allowing my dreams to come true! I cannot wait to see what the next 4 years bring x

  148. Jacinta May 27, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    First up, thank you for the chance to reflect. I think we get so caught up in ‘what’s next’ that we forget to sit and reflect on where we have been.

    So me, four years ago? I was 20 kilo heavier, miserable inside, focusing on everyone else so I could ignore myself, freaking out about being in the last year of my twenties, wishing and desperately hoping that my man would marry me, working a job that I enjoyed but hammered my body and constantly unwell and rundown. I had not yet been diagnosed with the severe and extensive food allergies that made me start searching for a way to turn my life around. I had not yet stumbled upon the amazing world of wellness and the beautiful souls that inspired me to begin the journey. I had not yet found my soul sistas. And while I am still searching, still learning, still growing I am more ‘me’ than I have ever been. I inspire others to be more themselves. Life isn’t always easy but goddamn it is good even the shitty bits.

    Thank you again. So cathartic to to reflect.

  149. Katie Pitsis May 27, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    Wow!!!! It’s mind blowing to look back over the last four years at how much I have grown and expanded within myself, my life and within the world.

    Four years ago I was 18 years young, I had just graduated high school and was in the Caribbean searching for work on the biggest most luxurious super yachts in the world.
    After getting some temporary work I looked around at the lifestyle and people I was surrounded with and realised that this DREAM was not what I had expected or hoped for. I hadn’t expected to be surrounded by image orientated party people. I had signed up for freedom, for adventure, health and happiness. And it broke my heart to realise this was none of that!

    Yet I felt stuck in the fear of failure and what people would think if I came home after only a month of being away. Secretly deep inside I was afraid of what I might think (and say to myself, at that time I was my own worst critic)
    After lots of tears, fears and thinking I decided to follow my heart and my gut and come home.

    At the time it felt like the biggest failure and ego breaker of my life, but now as I look back I have a smile on my face and overwhelming gratitude in my heart for having had the courage to follow my gut and do what was right for ME! As it led me to a life that is amazing beyond what I could even begin to perceive (and that’s getting even more amazing each day!)

    That decision 4 years ago has led me to starting my dream business. I am now blessed to work with teen and tween girls supporting them to eliminate their own limitations and fears, empowering them to gain confidence and unwavering self-belief, to have the tools to create the life of their dreams. I get to speak in front of thousands of girls per year, in schools and at my own Free Spirit Girl workshops and camps. I get to hang out with positive likeminded, life enthusiasts who support me. I am healthier and happier than I have ever been before and in a relationship that is so secure, beautiful and deep. I have the most amazing friendships and I can honestly say that there is no-where in the world that I’d rather be that right here, doing exactly what I am doing.

    YEAHHHHHHHHHH LIFE!!!!! It will be amazing to see where we are all in another 4 years! (YAY!)

    BRING IT ON!!! (all in due time of course!)

  150. Claudia May 27, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    What am I most proud of?
    I am most proud of my growth this year. I have flown over 1000km from my home, family, friends and boyfriend to go to university, which took a lot of courage. I am proud that after being here for two months, I realised that the degree I was enrolled in is not for me and isn’t something I’m passionate about but I didn’t quit! I didn’t pack up and go home and say it’s too hard. I’ve said to myself this is just a hurdle that I need to jump over in order to end up where I want to be, doing something I’m passionate about and surrounded by the people I love. I’ve found ways to convince my very stubborn self that this is good for me and that forking out this money for a degree I’m not even going to finish will help me in the long run. I’ve written out lists of the skills I’ve learnt that will help me throughout the rest of my life and I’ve allowed myself to make friends in a foreign land when I felt so sad and alone.
    I’m proud of the effort I have put in even though this isn’t the way it was supposed to work out and I know now that it’s okay for things not to go according to plan and that’s how you grow and learn. I am proud of myself.

    I love your blog!

  151. Steph May 27, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    My entire life has built up to my present existence.

    Throughout the first 23 years of my life I created a story that I was a victim. I lived off an unhealthy diet of self loathing, regret, hatred, anger, loneliness, and fear.
    I was scared. So scared of everything.
    Even though I have no desire to pity myself, I must remember that I still deserve and require compassion and empathy. And I need to remind myself that I am healing.

    But the truth is: I am a fighter. I always will be.

    I have taken many leaps of faith; and through pure love and awareness I have set my soul free from the chains I bound myself with.
    I now live in an awareness that all us human beings are a family from the same whole; I have only love and kindness that I want to spread around. I do it with no judgement and no expectation. I strive to choose my thoughts, decisions and my actions so they are aligned with my truth. I do not steal; not from myself and not from others. I have opened my heart to love again, as if I have never been hurt before. I see love, I feel love, I create love. My mind is an open space allowing for the universe to surprise me constantly with new experiences.

    I feel the white light of this universe surging through this physical body of mine, and I could cry with joy for the beauty of this life.

    And now I am blessed and grateful for my truth takes me down a path where I may help other people feel such freedom and love.

    Your blog calls out to me, so here I am bearing my soul.

    Namaste

  152. Nicole R May 27, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    I am most proud of…

    Learning to step out my front door and face the world again. And with a huge smile on my face!

    4 years ago I was too terrified to even go to my letterbox and retrieve my mail. I suffered from severe depression and agoraphobia and I was utterly trapped by it everyday. Over the past 4 years I have been on a journey which has allowed me not only to overcome this disorder but to learn from it and now put myself in a place where I can help other people do the same.
    i have learnt so much on this journey, so much about my own health and how I came to be so trapped that I am now so grateful for experiencing all tht I have good and bad. And it’s been through an online world and blogs such as yours Tara that I have been able to grow and find the will to reach out and get out. So thank you for giving us all such a wonderful sanctuary to turn to and share (:

  153. Molly May 27, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Oh, beautiful Tara. As if Such Different Skies needed to give anything material away! It gives so much beautiful insight to all our souls every week, that this ginormous bunch of goodies is just the icing on an already-iced cake.

    I read this post when it first got published and i thought i’d let it settle for a few days. Dwell on it, and actually think hard about the 17 year old me. Oh, how nostalgic. I almost don’t like being there, it is a little cringe-worthy and a little “hey, sister! get some self confidence into you!”.
    But let’s delve into that gangly-tall, gelled-centre-part-pigtailed girl, desperately trying to find her place in the world.

    What aspect of my life has radically transformed?
    Hoh! Goodness! What hasn’t changed? How much has changed in the last 6 months, let alone 4 years! The BIG ONE (!) would be that little, tiny thing called SELF-WORTH! Holy moly! Man has it changed my life, and still is, each and every day. Confidence and a concrete-sense-of-self has gotten this girl to where she is. And, world, I haven’t even started making my mark yet (so WATCH OUT!).

    What am I most proud of?
    Ebbing and flowing with the universe. Sometimes with ease, sometimes (and, let’s be honest…most of the time) dragging my heels and crying my way through life’s transitions. But hey! Looking back now, I look at each and every little moment and see that they were actually defining moments. I look at each and every little moment like “Ohhhhh, universe that’s where you were going with that curveball! Why thankyou!”. And you know what Tara? I take that wisdom into every day now. Because if i could do it all again with what i know now, i would have done it so differently. But considering I can’t go back, i might as well listen to my freaking higher-self and go with the ebs and flows of the now! Yin power, baby!

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was…
    Peer pressured – not into drugs, alcohol, sex and all that jazz – but into something so much more crippling. Low self-esteem, judgement, critisms, comparisons, not-good-enoughs, you name it! It’s probably just the teenage years and the whole ‘time to find yourself’ pressure, but man, the girls I spent my time with – we were all so young and naive. What happened to empowerment? What happened to owning your god-damn individuality! For so many years I played small to be safe, and i’m still paying the consequences.

    I am most grateful for this fateful lesson…
    Ahh Tara, you know what, this has been such a wake up call. Haha, I can’t even beleive it! “Girl’s competition entry, turned journal entry, turned girl realising underpinning issues”. I played small for so long, so-so long! And now, that I know my passion, and I know the steps I need to take to make that passion my world..i need to stop playing small. It’s not going to be easy, but I think that’s half the fun. I need to break out of my shell and move into something bigger – like a hermit crab hah, just growing into the person/crab it’s becoming!

    Ahhhhh what a weight off my chest. One I didn’t even know existed! Holy!
    Ahaha i’m crying and laughing, this is hilarious.
    I don’t even need to win the giveaway (although that would be amazing!), I feel like i’ve just won the lotto with that comment!

    So much love and light you gorgeous being xx

  154. Meg May 27, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    What am I most proud of?… Being still and silent enough (after many year of spiritual enquiry) to hear my inner voice say to me just now 10pm, 27th May “Get out of bed and go and enter Tara’s blog competition… just like all the other women who have entered you too deserve a chance to be heard and be a winner!” What? I said to myself, now 10pm… I just got into bed! But the voice wouldn’t let up so here I am… you see Tara I did write an entry for this 3 days ago but I had another little voice in my head show up that day that said ” who wants to hear you go on about how much struggle you’ve had over your 40 years on the planet…blah blah blah…” But tonight that voice showed up differently and that I’m REALLY PROUD OF!! It’s true I have had many tough times but I will say being part of your tribe for the last 3 years has brought me to this very moment to have enough (Chakra 3 Warrior energy!) to now know I do deserve to be a winner… not necessarily the winner of this competition but for me to be the cheerleader of my own life (no more victim, no more depression) and set my sights on putting me first so that I may be the best mother, wife, daughter and friend that I can possibly be! Here’s to being the winner, with the prize of coming home to my own soul and I wish that for you and every one of your readers. P.S Tara I just wanted to let you know and thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting me to Susanna’s sacred dance party a few weeks ago… that was scary as hell to commit to going but on the last day I looked at your ‘fear’ post (again!) that nudged me over the ‘fear’ edge and I bought my ticket…. “The Power of Love” was playing I actually was standing next to you in the closing circle and sending you much love and gratitude ( I was at that time too nervous to say anything in person to you…): I now wish I did of course!) Thanks so much for this opportunity. Now off to bed! x

  155. Jenny May 27, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Dear Jenny,

    Wow, these past four years sure have been a roller-coaster.

    You thought you were living your dream life. Four years ago you were engaged to be married, owned a house, were running your own business, studying university and working for a not-for-profit.

    Life SEEMED pretty good huh?

    On the outside it sure did.

    That inner voice that popped up from time to time – yes, HER, you were pretty good at silencing her weren’t you? Somehow, you believed it was normal to push it away…to drown out the voice, silence it and ignore it oh so much…Perhaps you really were just so frightened of listening, of speaking up, of things changing so much.

    Until, things can’t be silenced any longer and the Big C decided to enter your life.. thyroid cancer was your first wake up call wasn’t it dear Jenny?

    But you decided to not listen to that either..pushing it all down, and instead, you turned against your body, you shut the door so tightly shut and you began the near deadly decent back into the clutches of a very old monster…Anorexia Nervosa.

    There are not enough words of gratitude that this inner voice of yours is what led you to treatment in the United States. Without that knowing, without that voice, you would not be here today. It was that voice that ultimately saved you.

    My heart breaks for all that you’ve been through. The lessons have been so monumental for your growth – for your purpose – and for you to truly re-connect with what matters most.

    The connection to your soul.

    You for one couldn’t go on living to society’s standards – to not knowing what you were truly worth.

    In all that you’ve been through, now, you know your worth and I am oh so proud of you.

    You have found your voice, your strength and your courage, but most of all, you grabbed hold of that six year olds hand – the child within that battled from such a young age and you told her you would never ever in a million years leave her again.

    You found home, and home is where you will stay.

    The journey has not ended, it has only just begin.

    And whilst life has not turned out to be how YOU envisioned it four years ago, it is all absolutely perfect in all it’s imperfection.

    You may have a tough past, one tainted with depression, anxiety, anorexia nervosa and thyroid cancer, you may be 29 and divorced, but my God Jenny.

    You have come home to yourself.

    Reconnected with your truth, your power and your soul.

    Your future is bright. I oh so know it. And I have so much faith and belief in you now being the creator of your dreams.

    I am so proud of you.

    With gratitude, wiser-older-Jenny
    xo

  156. Eliza May 27, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    Congratulations on 4 years of blogging Tara and thank you for the opportunity to win such a fantastic array of prizes.
    The thing I am most proud of at the moment is my unrelenting courage. I am willing to keep ‘doing the work’ and I am so excited and deeply grateful that I am seeing and feeling the amazing miracles that are available to me (and to us all).
    Four years ago I was in a black cage of depression and loneliness and I have steadily and lovingly dismantled my self imposed jail and each day I step more radiantly into my power. I freak out often but I love this life I am living – 4 years ago and could/would never have written that.
    E x

  157. Nuran Yalcin May 27, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    I was subtly unconscious, curled up on my parents bed wishing there would be a way to make it all stop. I had been unwell for the past year. Countless visits to doctors and hospitals left me drained with pharmaceuticals and ineffective outcomes. If anything, with each day that passed I was feeling more pain, new and old – and loneliness almost doubled in feeling. My tummy was distressed, that is where it all began. It spiraled into mineral deficiencies, which in turn made me loose weight, and look considerably dreadful. Medical professionals kept telling me, there was nothing wrong and that I was ‘stressed and paranoid’. Needless to say this upset me more, to know that people would think I could be making this up. This dark moment of pure intense agony, how could I possibly be making this up?

    After numerous visits to hospital, with the same outcome each time, I took matters into my own hands. I had been reading up about the concept of food as thy medicine. I stumbled upon Miranda Kerr’s KORA organics Blog, and began divulging into every single post. It was a wellness hub of all sorts, for beauty, skin, internal happiness and mental happiness. I began learning about using food for regenerating and preventing disease. I learned about the implications of sugar, gluten and dairy, and began to really understand the mechanics behind what we put into our mouths.

    Soon after indulging in the world of wholefoods and holistic bio-chemistry, I began eliminating things from my diet. Instantly feeling better, and continuing to eliminate more foods which were potentially wrecking havoc on my already distressed system. I got in contact with a nutritionist soon after, and began my journey to a healthier, and more vibrant being. She was incredible! Her name was Cheryl, and she changed my life. As I sit here and type this, I’m welling up. Her impact was so huge to me that I still find it overwhelming to write about, let alone talk about. She supported my dietary changes, and educated me into how I could best provide my body with the essential vitamins and minerals. She took me through an anti bacterial treatment plan, and we completely reversed my over loaded digestive system. She ran allergy and mineral deficiency tests, and approached each problem with a solution. I had never felt so good in my entire life, or so I thought. She not only helped me get healthier again, she helped me mentally. She was a dear friend. She encouraged me to open up about any pain, or memory which was making me angry and or frustrated. I began to let go, release, cry and shout and then sit in silence. I felt incredible. And I can never ever find a way of thanking this beautiful soul.

    Since then, I have fallen of my routine a few times, I am human and I still find it hard to control my feelings. However when these moments pass, I turn back to my path and I acknowledge the power it gives me and my body. I never want to loose this. EVER.

    I am so incredibly grateful for this journey, old and continuous, and I am so overwhelmed with emotion to share this with you all. I am so proud of my courage, my power and my vulnerability, it has made me who I am today, and will mold me into who I will become for the remainder of my life.

    Love from tears of accomplishment,
    Nur x

  158. Jody May 27, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    The eve of the competitions end, and I have pondered, struggled & edited how I would describe the past four years…and still I may not have found the ‘perfect’ words, and there you have it, that is just the thing…perfection!

    My life was ruled by the desire & need to show up to world – perfectly. It is only on reflection you can appreciate just how crippling this is. No doubt there have been so many amazing, life changing events over this past four years but when I stopped & sat with this, the past four years have thought me, unconditional love, acceptance and compassionate ownership of all my vulnerable bits, all of my own very humanness.

    Today, I am the Jody that will smile knowing my skin looks better bare, my front tooth may always be a little crooked, my house will not always be sparkling clean and the world may not see me as this shiny perfect being. And that makes my heart swell, more than straight teeth ever could 😉

    Today, my heart beats to the drum of self love, self expression & soulful living. I crave authenticity, freedom and LOVE.

    So, on the eve of the end of this beautiful competition, I am able to bare my imperfect journey with you, calm my beating heart and smile knowing I will continue to peel back the layers, dig a little deeper and be….just me. And I stand for love, self love. And THAT is perfect!

    Tara, congratulations on 4 glorious years – thank you, you hold the space so gracefully for so many women. Your blog is my safe space, your ‘hi guys’ comforts me & ‘you-ness’ rocks my socks!

    x

  159. Bianca May 28, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    I was young when I first moved out of home had one little fight with my mother & that was my escape to move in my boyfriend when I was 16, 3 months later I was pregnant & on my 17 birthday found out I had lost my precious little angel, part of me wanted to fall pregnant straight away even though I was still so young, I am now 20 and still with the same partner as before, we live each day as it comes & have just brought our first house (& adorable little labrador puppy) I am passionate about my career and am highly successful in what I do! However 3 years ago I would hate myself & not want to go anywhere or do anything because I felt like people we’re judging we I have grown so much as a person with my life experiences & can say that I finally feel free…. Which is a massive accomplishment for me!! Free to do what I want when I want, want a trip to hawaii, let’s do it! Want to study nutrition, sure sign me up! As much as I am successful in my career I will not let the everyday normal way of life control me, I will be who I am & that is what I am most proud of today!!

  160. Meg May 28, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    I can barely believe it, but four years ago I was struggling to get through high school. I had anxiety, depression and perfectionism. Over the years I had gradually lost all my friends and I wanted out. Real bad.

    But, I stuck it out. I achieved good grades, I graduated and then I entered university. I am very proud of myself for surviving all that. And for finally coming to my senses and finding who I am in this world and what I am passionate about. Life doesn’t feel so heavy anymore.
    And you are part of that Tara Bliss – thank you!

    X

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