Dare To Live A Life You Love

Over three years ago, my sister Ave Maria, moved from the sunny state of Queensland, Australia to Toronto in Canada. She left behind her home, her family, friends and her job as an architect to start a brand new life. Personally, I thought she was crazy- why leave your high paying job and career? Your newly purchased home? Your friends? Your family? All that you hold and love dear? To move across the globe where no one know you? Where you have no job? And no clue!

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"Fulfillment comes from the journey of self-growth...."

 

But the heart wants what the heart wants, and when we ignore it we come out of alignment and live a life that feels foreign to us. This was certainly no rational decision, but it's one that she felt compelled to follow. For this reason, Ave is one of my greatest inspirations. She was able to create something from nothing and live a life that is authentic to her.

Fast forward almost three years later, Ave is living the life of her dreams. Every day she gets to wake up to do the thing she loves most- making art and travelling the world. Read below to find out more about her journey.

1) When did you start practicing yoga and what compelled you to start?

After leaving a long-term relationship in 2013 I felt very heart-broken and lost. What I didn’t know at the time, was that all I needed was a bit of soul-searching. Yoga was the perfect way to do this and I started trying different hot-yoga classes all over Brisbane. It was the start of a beautiful healing process and important relationship with my higher self, which I continue to cultivate today. 

2) Where did the idea of starting an online art business come from?

I’ve always wanted to run my own business and become my own boss – I just didn’t know what kind or how I would do it. One day, the architect inside me wanted to hand-draw the Toronto skyline on my bedroom wall, so I did. When I shared my art on Instagram it received over 2,000 likes and 200 comments. I realized that my art was worth sharing with the world, and I began exploring ways to sell my art online. In March 2016, I launched my Etsy store and started to create minimalist skyline designs on home décor and travel accessories.

3) How has yoga helped you to create your business and how does it help you with coping with your businesses everyday stresses?

Through yoga, I discovered the art of meditation and how something as simple as breathing can help you to get focused and connected. When I first started I would wait until I had a yoga class scheduled to meditate. But now I meditate daily even when I don’t have a class because it creates the right mindset for the day. When I skip meditation, I notice a big difference in my attitude and energy, so now I always make time for it, even if it is only 10 minutes in the morning. 

4) How do you start your day?

Every morning is different, but I feel like I am at my best performance when my mornings consist of meditation, journaling in my gratitude diary, and doing a simple home work-out. Recently I have been saving money by practicing yoga at home; from simple yoga stretches, to practicing my head-stand.  Although these actions can seem small and insignificant, I believe that small actions of good daily habits can eventually lead to greatness.  

5) What would you say to someone who wants to start something from nothing?

Just do it! Most of us are held back from starting something simply because we believe that there is a lack of resource – no time, no money, no knowledge etc. However, the biggest barrier is simply from the inability to make decisions and act. Resources are always available to us, we just need to look in the right places. So, start looking, learning, and take action!

6) What has been your most important lesson thus far?

I have learned that fulfillment comes from the journey of self-growth. Yoga, meditation and the idea of self-development can sound like a bunch of BS to many. However, I think the world would be a better place if we all just made a little bit effort to be a better person than we were yesterday.  When we help ourselves, only then can we start to help others. This is where real happiness comes from; making a meaningful contribution to the community / family / or the world! 

"Because the more failures you can experience, the closer you can get to success"

"Because the more failures you can experience, the closer you can get to success"

 

7) If you could change one thing about your journey so far, what would that be?

I would try harder to be more financially knowledgeable so that I can make smart investment decisions.

8) Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Inspiration happens when you least expect it, so everyday I am open to any new ideas. However, this does not mean I sit and wait for inspiration to come. It means I am always experimenting with my art, trying new things, even if it means creating something that is a complete failure. Because the more failures you can experience, the closer you can get to success. 

9) Who has been your biggest influence/greatest teacher?

I make it a daily habit to listen or read to material from a person in the creative industries that inspires me; whether it is a life coach, inspirational speaker, oran author I love.So, I have many role models that I admire. However, I think the biggest influence would have to be founder of Kikki.K brand Kristina Karlsson. I read about Kristina’s story & her success with Kikki.K when I first moved to Canada in 2014. She inspired me to look for opportunities to create a business & life that I am excited about. Without the inspiration of how she started from humble beginnings, to a global boutique empire, I may have never begun my art venture.

10) Where can we buy your art?

On social media, I am mostly active on Instagram, but you can also find my art on Facebook. Link to my web pages below:

www.avemariabell.com

www.avemariabell.etsy.com

www.instagram.com/avemariabell.designs

www.facebook.com/avemariabell.designs

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Mothers Day Reminder

Recently my youngest  daughter and I had a conversation about what she wanted to be when she grew up.

I found myself thinking back to what I had dreamt about when I was younger and found myself feeling lost and a little bit sorry for myself. My first memory of deciding my future was around seven years old. I had just begun ballet lessons and I was convinced I needed to be a prima ballerina. My ballet lessons ended before high school when I decided ballet wasn't cool anymore.

After that I was sure I wanted to be a lawyer, I was a big fan of Ally McBeal you see. And it wasn't that I had a desire to champion legal causes for the greater good of society and help those in need- I liked that Ally (Calista Flockhart) rocked a mini skirt, she was a super bad ass in the court room and after every working day, Ally and her entourage hit the bar and sang karaoke  (it made total sense at the time).

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So I reasoned with myself and thought that the more sensible route would be to become a Britney Spears back up dancer (as you can see I was completely reasonable!)

Normally my sweet girl talks to me about her desire to become a doctor. Doc McStuffin (you Mamas out there will know all about her) is her hero, and as a Mama I couldn't be more proud. I must admit, I frequently day dream about introducing my daughter, Doctor Lana and feeling smug as I emphasize the Doctor part.

On this particular day however, Lana told me that what she wanted  most was to be a Mama.... just like me (queue the tears). Here I was thinking I had missed out on greatness because I hadn't fulfilled my life wishes and here Lana was, showing me that my greatest role is the one I am living right now- being a Mama to her and her sisters. I know that her desires will change again and again over time, but in this moment my heart melted because it took a four year old to show me not to mourn what we think we have lost! But to celebrate all that we currently have. Happy Mothers Day to all the beautiful Mama's out there xx

32 Life Lessons

Today marks 32 trips around the sun and to celebrate I'm excited to share 32 of the most important lessons I've learnt so far. How many can you relate to? And what have been your most important lessons thus far?

1) It's okay to say no

2) Not everyone is going to like you and that's okay

3) Gratitude makes life better

4) Exercise patience (mostly when children are involved)

5) Speak less and listen more

6) Self education is the best education

7) Trust my intuition

8) In a long term relationship, love is not a feeling, it's a choice

9) Anything that is worthwhile takes time and considerable effort

10) Being a working mum benefits my children in more ways than one

11) Appreciate the little things and the big things will come

12) My failures do not define me

13) We don't have to be happy all the time

14) Everything is temporary, just ride the wave

15) Meditation makes life better

16) Being loud does not always equal being heard

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17) Self love is the best love

18) Give more than you take

19) Early nights and early mornings are the secret to getting shit done

20) Invest in your health, it's worth it

21) Ask your boss for the money you are worth

22) Don't be afraid to talk about money (again with the money!)

23) Yoga doesn't take time, it gives time

24) Comparison is a bitch

25) Do what you love every single day

26) Passion is the fuel for energy

27) Surround yourself with good people (say goodbye to the toxic peeps)

28) Become a morning person (more on this later)

29) Read books that teach you something (don't get me wrong, I love me some Harry Potter and it's great for down time! But books can change your life if you pick the right ones)

30) Be careful with words you say to others, and more importantly be careful with the words you say to yourself

31) The energy you put out, is the energy you get back

32) The present moment is all we really have