S2 Ep5: Erin ashley

Erin Ashley felt on top of the world. She had a husband and two young daughters who were the light of her lives and they were living life to the full. With no outward signs of illness, Nico passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, turning Erin’s life upside down and leaving their children without a father.

Erin Ashley felt on top of the world. She had a husband and two young daughters who were the light of her lives and they were living life to the full. With no outward signs of illness, Nico passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, turning Erin’s life upside down and leaving their children without a father. Erin searched for the truth as to why Nico had died, but when answers weren’t forthcoming, she chose to harness the power of yoga and meditation to change her perspective and begin to heal. This allowed Erin to find love once more and she is now a premier mindfulness coach, yoga and meditation instructor and her live and online Transforming Stress Into Peace programs have supported thousands of people to reconnect with their authentic and empowered selves again. Her interview with Roxanne McCarty-O’Kane will be sure to tug on your heartstrings and show you that no matter how dark your life may become, there is always a way to the light.

You can watch the video on the link above, or read the full transcript below.

Roxanne – Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us for another edition of the Phoenix Phenomenon. My name is Roxanne McCarty-O’Kane, and this is where we interview high profile Australians and share the incredible journeys that they’ve gone through and challenges they’ve overcome in their lives to go on and help countless other people to achieve the best they can in their own lives. Today I have with me Erin Ashley. Welcome, Erin.

Erin – Thank you, Roxy. Thank you very much for having me. I feel very honored after that introduction.

Roxanne – Thank you, I haven’t even finished yet.

Erin – Oh, keep going.

Roxanne – Erin is a premiere mindfulness coach and yoga and meditation instructor, and her Transforming Stress Into Peace programs has supported thousands of people to really change their outlook on life, take the time for themselves, and to really, I guess, appreciate the things around them. So, I would love to find out a little more, Erin, about how important of a role yoga and meditation has played in your life, ’cause I understand you’ve been practicing for quite some time now.

Erin – Yeah, it’s 20-plus years, and I’ve been saying that for a few years now, 20-plus. I discovered it in my uni days, up in Townsville where I was studying as a marine scientist at James Cook University, and went to my first yoga class on the recommendation of a friend, and do you know, even though I was an active child and teenager, I loved netball, other sports and everything, I just had never felt so welcomed into my body as after that class, plus I felt very calm and relaxed afterwards. And as a uni student, I didn’t have a lot of money, so instead of continuing to go to those classes, two friends and I just started to each each other in a nearby park, near to where we lived. We used to just take it in turns trying to say the sequences, and it’s funny, because now, 20-plus years later, all three of us have all gone on to become yoga teachers. So it’s a funny story that we share there. And it was really something that I just loved keeping in my life through studying as a student. Then coming into my professional career as a marine scientist, I ended up working for government. and really, as a marine scientist, I was essentially sitting there at a desk with a computer in front of me doing lots of remote observations instead of actually getting in the water. So it was a desk job, and yoga just kept me really supple and my body healthy throughout all of that. And not only has it benefited me in my body and mentally with helping with staying relaxed and calm over the years, but it’s also helped me to overcome and, well, manage some more challenging situations. And that starts with even just being a parent to three kids and learning to be patient and all those beautiful qualities of mindfulness where you trust and you accept and you let go and have a beginner’s mind again and non-judgment, and I’m really loving those kinds of attitudes that I’m bringing into my daughter now who’s a teenager, and I’m loving her teenage journey. I can openly say I’m loving it, because while I’m guiding her and nudging her around the edges, I’m observing her instead of judging and feeling like you shouldn’t do that and you should do this, and I just love that I’m affording myself to experience her as a teenager rather than, you know, the classic, oh, the teenage years. I don’t know, I’ve got a while to go, so we’ll see. I know you’ve got two younger kids, and those early years can feel like they’re forever, but one of the great thing about the practice of yoga and mindfulness and meditation is that it helps you to appreciate the now, and it’s by moving your body, and then you have to get in touch with your breath, and just those two things, when you marry the body and breath, they pull you out of any kind of past stories that you’ve been in or future thinking, even the shopping list that’s gonna come in benefit for you after the yoga session. And you land in the moment right now, and so, it’s like you buy yourself time back once again through this art of yoga. I could go on.

Roxanne – No, it’s great. Maybe I might sort of direct a question at you if I may. So you did mention in passing that yoga and meditation and the practice of mindfulness have helped you through many challenges in your time, but I guess the biggest one and the one that stands out, and a lot of our viewers may not know this about you, Erin, but you did actually lose your first husband in 2009, and I’d really love you to share the story of how you met Nico and what it was that happened on that day.

Erin – Yeah, sure, and look, the whole journey of Nico and I, kudos to following that instinct and that feeling that you have when you have a calling to do something bigger in life. And so, as a marine science student, I saw that there was an exchange program that my Australian university was offering to go and study in the States, in Miami, and I’d never been overseas yet, but I thought, this feels expansive. Let’s jump onto this program. The States was probably the last place I thought I’d end up. I was thinking more the Amazon, South America or something like that, but okay. I got into the program really easily, and I found myself in Miami, and that’s where Nico and I first crossed paths, and Nico was from Argentina. And although I was studying, I found myself a bartending job on South Beach, and it was just such a cool experience. I’m young, I’m single. I meet this Latin American guy, and we really hit it off, and after spending a year there in Miami and then deferring for a year so Nico and I could end up traveling the Amazonian forest and the rest of South America, funny how things work out, we returned to Australia so I could finish off uni, and once I had done that, then we ended up moving to Melbourne where I was from originally, had our first baby. We decided that we loved the Sunshine Coast, though. We wanted that beach lifestyle, so we moved up to the Sunshine Coast. A few years later, had our second baby, and just on a day like any other day, we’re living our dream life at that point in time by living right near the beach, walking distance. I’m working in my job for the government, fulfilling my marine science degree and desires, and Nico and I are walking through a shopping center, just Sunshine Plaza here on the Sunshine Coast, and Sasha’s only four months old, nearly four months old at this stage, and she’s in one of those Baby Bjorn baby carriers, and Lucia, our eldest daughter who was nearly four at that stage, was staying at her grandparents. So we’re just walking through the mall, like any other day, walking and talking, and then Nico suddenly falls to the ground by my side, and he grabs my shoulder on the way, and as I look around, I can see that his eyes have already started rolling into the back of his head. It’s like he’s not even there anymore. But he’s grabbed my shoulder so his body’s turning so as not to fall on Sasha. And so he falls on his back, and it’s lucky that we’re in a public shopping center, because there’s lots of people straight on the scene, and I direct someone to call an ambulance straight away. There’s two people who say we’re first aiders, can we help? And so we get Sasha off Nico, and I’m holding her, and they’re got him in recovery position, and after, I don’t know, a minute, two minutes, he just, his breath expired, and it slowed down and it expired. And so they commenced CPR on him, and the ambulance took about eight and a half minutes to get there. When they arrived, they started defibrillating him and doing everything they could. They said, Erin, let’s get in the ambulance, head to the hospital. Great, I’m thinking. Cool, we’re gonna be in the best hands possible. Let’s just get this situation handled and move forward about our day. Like, oh, Nico, what a freak thing to happen to us today. Let’s just get home and move on. And so we get to the hospital, and they’re working on Nico for I don’t know, maybe half an hour while I’m tending to Sasha in another room. I’m breastfeeding her at that stage, get her nappy changed. I’m just feeling like I wanna get her handled so then I can get Nico handled, and then we can just keep moving on with our day. There was never a moment where I thought it was gonna be any other kind of pathway.

Roxanne – Did you think it was an element of shock? Do you think you were in shock with what was happening?

Erin – In hindsight, absolutely, and I now understand what my stress response in my own body is, and understanding that stress is a natural reaction, biochemical reaction that occurs in the body, and my classic thing to do is to freeze. I feel like I turn a little bit robotic. And having become aware of that from this instance, stress is natural. It’ll arise in a small scale and a large scale. Whenever it arises, I work on that freeze mode, on becoming aware of it, but there’s times I need to take action. I witnessed a motorbike accident the other day, felt myself going into that freeze mode, yet I was able to recognize that stress had entered my body, and this is all within milliseconds now that I’ve been practicing it for a while. And I was able to logically think, make a phone call, 000, and then I was able to go and help the people who were involved in the accident. So I was able to buy myself a space to choose my response from being aware of my own stress reaction. Otherwise, I think, as I look back at what had happened to Nico on that day, and I think, why didn’t I jump in and give him CPR, or why didn’t I? You know, I beat myself up for a long time with a lot of lies, which isn’t helpful, isn’t helpful. Yet it was a freeze kind of mode, and on that day, I saw that other people were tending to him and caring for him, so I felt like that was handled.

Roxanne – Yep.

Erin – And at the hospital, they called me into the room to see Nico, and I was like, oh, finally, good. I hope he’s okay, let’s get this handled. When I walked into the room, it was just a room full of doctors and nurses standing there with their heads bowed, and the main doctor said, I’m sorry, and just shook his head. I look, and I see Nico just laying on a trolley motionless, and yeah, that was when the real shock set in. I’m holding Sasha, and I’m just tying to piece it together. We’ve just had this baby. He was fit and healthy, 35 years old. There were no pre-warning signs that anything like this could happen. Our kids are fit and healthy. His family in Argentina, there’s kind of nothing really even in his family of tumors, cancer, anything like that. Following autopsy and 10 days of investigations, they couldn’t determine a cause of death, couldn’t give me an answer as to why Nico had died, and it really took what had happened to a whole ‘nother level of disbelief. I just needed something to be able to, I guess, come to an acceptance of what happened. So we started doing some genetic testings of Nico’s body, of the girls, of his family, and we spent about a year looking for any kind of medical reason that we could find, and nothing ever turned up. Through my previous practice of yoga and application of mindfulness and meditation, there was just a point where I realized, I could keep searching forever, but the reality is that this event has occurred. Nico has died, and any reason or blame or excuse or justification that I try to attach to it, it’s really not gonna change anything. If I could find a reason, and I feel I looked and searched thoroughly, then maybe there’s some preventative that I could apply for my girls in terms of genetically, but really, at the end of the day, maybe this was just his destiny. It obviously was, because it happened. So I can either battle with this and force this and struggle with this for the rest of my life, or I can accept this and come to love what’s happened and find acceptance with what’s happened. The way that I was able to do that was really seeing the gift in what had happened, and as a lot of people do when a situation like this plays out, it really makes them question everything.

Roxanne – Yeah, of course, yeah.

Erin – Purpose of love. And what it did for me really quickly, because I had two young girls who were very quickly growing up and having milestones, teeth falling out and starting to eat food and crawling and starting school and ballet. There was just so many steps ahead that I had to look forward to with them was that I very quickly saw that I can choose how to design my life around this, or I can be defined by it. Like I experienced in the early days, whenever people would ask, hi Erin, or I’d just meet them, how are you, it was at the forefront of my mind. Like, I couldn’t wait to tell them what had happened. My husband’s just died, I’m a widow. It just felt so huge in my world, yet for everybody else, even as shocking as the news was, life goes on, and I had a chance to either be stuck by this event and look through the filter of that lens for the rest of my life as someone whose husband had died on her, because it happened to me, or perhaps this had happened for me, not only for me, but even for my daughters and for everybody that he affected in his life, in a way that it helps people to enrichen their experience of life now knowing that it’s gonna be over for all of us, and you don’t know when or how. And it’s really what it boosted me to do. It’s really that underlying reason why I ended up coming out of my office job as an environmental planner a couple of years later, because it provided me with good financial stability in those early days, and I did love what I did, but my real burning passion in life, what stoked my fire, was the yoga, and now I had really experienced the healing benefits of it and the application of mindfulness, which comes in the formal practice of meditation or just everyday perspective, like what’s great about Nico having died. What’s great about it is that we got eight amazing years together. Most people don’t even get that once in their lifetime.

Roxanne – Yeah.

Erin – That’s an informal practice of mindfulness right there.

Roxanne – Okay, and I guess, you know, you mentioned you did go on this journey of trying to seek answers and trying to, I guess, get a reason for why, why it happened. Why is the big word here. But was there a trigger point for you, or was there something in particular that you remembered that helped you to make that mental switch to, I mean, those are huge realizations that you came to, and they really impacted the rest of your future of your life. But was there a trigger point as such, or was it just a growing realization that I have the tools for this; I just need to reengage them?

Erin – The realization happened pretty quickly, I must say, like, I would say within weeks of Nico dying. Maybe I even knew it straight away, yet I had to deal with the human being element of it with the biochemical stress response that was happening still, and yet, I guess it was really after I worked with Brisbane’s leading cardiologists and was taking the girls in for sessions, and I remember looking at them all hooked up to the machines, and I started to feel like that if I persevered with this with them when we’ve already been given that we’ve got no medical reason, that I could be instilling some kind of fear in them that this might happen to them as well. And I went through every medical procedure with them, and even now, we kind of go back to the hospital every four years to get checked out, just once every four years. But it was really at that point where I found that acceptance with it and need to no longer look for a reason.

Roxanne – Okay. Sorry, there’s a bit of a lag there. We’ll have to try and work through it. Yeah, and so you mentioned you were able, or the next step for you once a few years had passed was to pursue yoga and meditation, and I guess from my perspective, it’s like you’ve had I guess a whole new world open up to you since you took that step.

Erin – Oh, absolutely. So, I was still working for the government when I did my yoga teacher training, and at the end of that yoga teacher training, I finished it off with a retreat with the yoga training school, and they had a guest speaker in who I’d never met or heard of before, and he had come in to teach us about the business of yoga. And as yogis, when we’re beginning, we tend to struggle with asking people for money. We feel like it’s just this karmic service that we should be providing, yet to continue to provide that service, you need to be financially stable.

Roxanne – Yeah, yeah.

Erin – And able to provide that space for people. So this speaker was really awesome, and I was super inspired. I bought a copy of his book, he signed it for me, and we had the photo taken, and it was a few months later when I messaged him and I was reading his book, and it really helped me to even find the next level of acceptance for what had actually happened in my life with Nico dying. And that was How Would Love Respond by Kurek Ashley. And we had a little bit of a back and forth on messages, but it wasn’t until a year later that we messaged again and realized that we both lived in the Sunshine Coast. He had a child, I had two kids. He said hey, why don’t we catch up, great. We caught up and a great friendship evolved for a couple of months before we finally went into a relationship, and now here we are at three years married. It was really after about six months of being with Kurek, we just were so aligned on all levels, including on a working level, and just me opening up into that world of personal development, where yoga and mindfulness and meditation really now became tools. I left my job as an environmental planner and we came to work together, and now here we are, super happily married. We’ve got three beautiful children, live on the Hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. We run retreats and events and workshops all over the world, empowerment retreats and helping other people to see the gifts in their life and reach their own highest potential as well. It’s a dream life. It all came from that point of really making that decision to not be defined by this unpleasant event that had occurred in my life. Instead, I was gonna choose to design my life and use it to empower me and push me forward in life in richer, deeper ways, in more loving ways.

Roxanne – Was there ever a point where you felt, I know that you had done a lot of work on yourself in that period between Nico’s passing and meeting Kurek, but was there ever a point where you felt any fear or any uncertainness about starting another relationship?

Erin – Yeah, definitely. I felt like, well, now that I know that this is possible, what’s to stop is happening again? I probably gave that thought two seconds, though, to be honest.

Roxanne – That’s great.

Erin – Like, it came up for me, and I just didn’t feed it. And this is really the key behind managing how we think and feel in life, which is really the key to any success in area of your life, is knowing how to manage how you think and feel, and the first step is to become aware of your thoughts and your feelings. The reason I continue to love yoga, because as I move my body and breath, thoughts and feelings just naturally arise. It’s like sieving for gold when you collected all this sediment, and as you move the pan, the gold rises to the surface. First you have to work through all the dirt and sediment. And in the mind, a very high percentage of our thoughts are not worth investing in, not worth feeding. They’re natural, those thoughts, yet we need to know which ones are serving us and which ones aren’t. And so, that thought that came up for me about not being open to love again, it probably took me a couple of years to be open to going into a relationship again. You know, I probably wore my wedding ring to Nico for that amount of time as well. Another decision that I made was to let go of that and be open to love again. So I recognized that thought, and I let it dissolve, and I moved on anyway.

Roxanne – Excellent, that’s amazing. I’m hoping that viewers who may find themselves as widowers or who have lost someone will take great strength out of those words and help them with progressing in their lives as well.

Erin – Yeah, I really hope so, Roxy, and look, we’ve just had our beloved pooch Milo die a couple of days ago, and the same feelings honestly came up for me. As we know, our beautiful pets, they’re family members as well, yet the way that I’ve really been allowing myself to grieve for our dog that has just passed is by observing what I’m experiencing in my own body and my own breath about it. My heart feels a little tight and constricted, and my throat gets a little tense, and I’ve been really teary, and to not be hijacked by that, though, so that it stops me from being here in the moment, and my daughter comes home from school with an award that day, or whatever it is. We’re just about to head away on a beautiful family holiday, and I want us to have a really wonderful time and immerse ourselves in that experience. I’m still in that grieving mode for Milo, and I can feel it in myself, but because I’m acknowledging it and I’m meeting it, allowing it to be there, and I can still be here in life as well.

Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely, and I guess, you’ve obviously imparted some of your wisdom and knowledge on the children. What advice would you give to people who are watching to help strengthen and help children through grieving processes like this?

Erin – Keep the communication channels as open as you can, and it’s so tough for yourself as an adult if you’re already grieving. Particularly because in my experience with kids, my daughter Lucia was nearly four when Nico died, and they can be so black and white with their observations on it. So, Lucia wanted to know every night before going to bed that the detail of what happened the moment that he died, because she wasn’t there. She didn’t get to see it. And as tough as it was for me to replay that over and over again, and I cried every time I told it to her. She asked for the information, and I gave it to her, pretty tactfully, like no gruesome details for a four-year-old, for example, but now that she’s 13, if she asks me that question, I’ll probably tell her with a little bit more elaboration, ’cause I know she can mentally manage it. Keeping the communication channels open, allowing them to draw about it, to talk about it, to share stories about it, I think this really helps with them not bottling it up and suppressing it and it coming out sideways later on in life, as tough as it is for you as an adult. I went to the library and just got every book out on grief that I could find and grief with kids and managing it and just really ended up studying it, and even Sasha, who was just a baby, four months old at the time when he died, she’s now nearly 10, and she’s probably the one who struggles with it the most at the moment. She, sometimes when her resilience is down, that’s what comes up for her, this story about her dad dying. For her as well, though, it’s just an event that happened, and any other story that she attaches to it is just a story. But I’ll hold space for her and I’ll be there for her and listen to her. I’ve learned recently that if I try to reframe it for her, like I’ll say to Sasha, but what’s great about it, or what’s the gift in it? If she’s in her emotions and she’s upset about it, then she’s not gonna wanna hear me, so I just sit there and I listen to her, and I ask her, where are you feeling it in your body, and where are you feeling it in your breath, and within minutes of getting her in touch with her own system, it’s almost like she’s out of that hijacked mode of the emotions, and she’s also observing it. And then I can say, well, what’s one thing that’s going really well in your life right now? We can start to rewire the systems of the brain that way, and hopefully, she comes out of it through her younger years with a positive perception and positive outlook on life. That’s my best hope.

Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely. Mind you, if you don’t mind me saying, with yourself and Kurek as her parents, I think she’s doing pretty good.

Erin – You know what, though, they don’t wanna hear it from you. It’s by demonstration. So we just have to be really congruent with everything we teach ’em. We read our goals and our affirmations every day, and I meditate and practice yoga in the lounge room when they’re around having brekkie, and I’ve learned not to preach it to them. You know, my eldest daughter Lucia, she said, oh, mom, it’s enough about yoga stuff. I’m trying to nail her on the drive home from school. She’s like, I know your philosophy, mom. Can we turn on my playlist, get it off the beautiful mantra music I’ve been listening to or whatever, and you know what, through demonstration and backing off with the preaching, all of the sudden, she’s got her affirmation list in her room and she’s incorporating some of the teachings that we teach as well without us having to tell her to do any of it.

Roxanne – Oh, that’s incredible. And I guess if we look at, you mentioned earlier that the retreat that yourself and Kurek do, the Find Your Fire retreat. I’ve been a participant myself. They’re absolutely powerful and really, really amazing experiences. But I wanted to ask you. I don’t know if a lot of the people come in. It’s a good mix of business and the mindfulness, but I know the world is opening themselves up more to the idea of mindfulness and taking time for space in order to grow, but do you find that you still get a lot of maybe the business-orientated participants a little bit surprised at the power of what’s possible when they engage in it?

Erin – Yeah, really. And it is amazing, those Find Your Fire retreat weekends. On the Friday, maybe the husband that come with the wives, or yeah, the business people who think they’re there just for the rah-rah motivation side of things, how they end up just walking away really embracing the power of stillness, and we do certain activities with them over the weekend where we really help people to shine their habits, their ways of mind and just in all their operating systems to the surface, even the way that they move their body, and we provide them with the space to observe it. What this does is that it starts pulling people out of that busy mode where there’s so much to do, there’s so much on the agenda, there’s so much to think about, and we buy space in the mind, and we literally start rewiring the neuro pathways. So, the neuroscientists say that the nerve cells that fire together wire together, and if you just keep repeating your same old patterns every day and your feeling of business, what you think is going to help you to succeed in life, but you’re not there yet, then I saw pare back.

Roxanne – Mm.

Erin – Keep things really simple. Shine the light, have a really good look on what your current habits are, and then learn to discern whether they’re helping you or whether they’re not. And when we pare back, this is what we do at the Find Your Fire retreat. Like, to be able to find our fire, we have to just dust off some of those old patterns, those old ways, and then really dig deep so that the fire burns from a place that can be sustained for the long term and not just some short, burning motivational weekend seminar kind of hype. And so, once we find that creative space, that space in the mind where creative thoughts and new ideas are allowed to be recognized, you know, these are the million-dollar business ideas. These are the life-changing ideas where you realize you’re not in the job that you love, and this is what you love instead, and this takes off. This is where you open yourself to love again. This is where you realize that you’ve been holding onto a story that’s been holding you back all your life, and now, by letting it go, you’re ready to catapult into happiness again. So, yeah, everyone always has an amazing journey on the retreats, yet there’s always those couple who come thinking that they’re not gonna get anything out of it, and they’re the ones who get the most out of it. I love it.

Roxanne – It’s just about letting your guard down, isn’t it? It’s about opening yourself up to all possibilities, really.

Erin – It’s opening yourself up to all possibilities, every possibility, infinite possibilities. You get to design who you wanna be in this life. I mean, I pinch myself every day, you know? I’m living on a beautiful 40-acre Hinterland property, just a short drive to the beach. I’ve got the most empowering, incredible husband, three beautiful children. I teach yoga and mindfulness and meditation for a living now and run retreats, get to retreat in Byron Bay and on North Stradbroke Island for the calendar this year, and worked in the States, and just doing everything that I love right now. And you know, if I was on my deathbed looking back and asking myself what would I have done differently, everything that I’m doing in my life right now is giving me an experience of love and joy and peace and calm. That’s really what I wanna be here for in this life. And you know, I have no regrets. This is all by design. This is all by making those decisions along the way in my life just have manifested this kind of life.

Roxanne – Mm.

Erin – And gosh, from a girl who grew up in the ‘burbs of Melbourne, uni student, you know, I’m just like everybody else out there. I’ve had challenges that have happened. You’re full of infinite possibilities. Which possibilities do you wanna choose? It’s possible to get there without working out what you want and then discovering a way to get there.

Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely. So, some of the latest developments for you is being invited to be a yoga teacher at the Chenrezig Institute. So that’s a really huge honor in itself, isn’t it, Erin?

Erin – It’s a really big honor. It’s a beautiful Buddhist temple and training center that’s in Eudlo, in the Hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. Happens to be 10 minutes up the road from me. It’s world-class training. Like, I was going there for training from the beautiful teachers for many years, and I had always thought, gosh, it could be really handy to teach here. It’s so close to home, yet I had other things on the go, and just after coming out of a teacher training course up there on mindfulness with the amazing Corey Jackson, I said, you know what, I’m ready to teach at Chenrezig. Now it’s just about working out how. I’d spoken to a couple people about it, nobody at Chenrezig. Within a couple of days, there was an email in my inbox from the spiritual program coordinator at Chenrezig saying hey, Erin, we hear you’re a new yoga teacher and you live nearby. We’re after a yoga teacher. Would you like to teach yoga at Chenrezig? Honestly, this is the power of infinite possibility, when sometimes just the thought can start turning the seeds of creation and manifesting your reality, right here and now. It’s incredible how quickly it can work, but you have to make that decision. That’s what starts the seeds of creation turning. It’s not a, how am I ever gonna do this? Who am I to teach at Chenrezig? It’s more like, how can I? They were the questions that I was starting to ask. So you could get all logical about it, and you know, well, the spiritual program coordinator, married to one of my teachers up there, he knew me, that I was a yoga teacher. Sure, we could put it logically together that way, yet I believe there’s a much greater reason behind it, and that when you’re open to receiving, and you make a decision, that the universe has got your back, the whole way.

Roxanne – Absolutely, that’s beautiful. And I just wanted to give you a bit of a chance to let everyone know about your retreat that you’re hosting as well this year. I believe you’ve got one coming up in June.

Erin – I do. At the beginning of this year, I thought, if I’m gonna hold a yoga and mindfulness retreat, where in the world would it be? Another really great question. When you ask yourself great questions, you get great answers. Byron Bay was my instant answer. So yes, I’ve got my Power and Peace Retreat coming up in Byron Bay on June seven to 10th, and it’s three nights, four days at Tallow Beach, just a little south of the town of Byron. So it’s still very close, yet it’s secluded and very private, and that’s where I’m heading this weekend, actually, to scope out a few of the activities that I’ve got planned. And we’ll have yoga, mindfulness. I’ve just landed Australia’s top vegan caterer. She does amazing things, like you won’t even know that it’s all vegan, and it’s so delicious. And some really exciting activities planned in this beautiful natural setting. So all details about that are on my website, erinashley.com.au.

Roxanne – Perfect, now that’s amazing. Thank you for sharing that. I’m a bit excited. I’ll be having a look. So I just wanted to I guess maybe wind it up for our viewers, just see if there were any pearls of wisdom, any advice you would want to impart on them if they’re looking at perhaps taking the first tentative steps into a mindfulness practice, looking at yoga and meditation for the first time.

Erin – Yeah, sure. There’s so many resources online now and meditation audios to guide you. I find most people that I come across don’t meditate because they believe that they haven’t got the time for it. If you do go to my website, I’ve got a free five-day meditation challenge. You get three-minute meditation audios, five-minute meditation audios. I think the longest one might be 10 or 12 minutes. It doesn’t have to take long to buy yourself some space, whether it’s through that formal seated meditation or whether it’s just via sitting on your chair inside or outside your house and noticing your breath for 30 seconds. Just grab as many of those moments with yourself as possible, and what this does is it starts welcoming you back into your own systems, your body, your breath, your thoughts, your feelings, and as much time as you can grab improving the relationship that you have with yourself again, you’re gonna improve every other relationship that you have with everyone around you in life and with life itself. So it’s really worth investing the time, 30 seconds. I mean, start with a minute a day, just by sitting there with yourself and your breath, and you’ll be amazed at how much more time you’ll end up having in your day to notice life.

Roxanne – Oh, that’s incredible. Thank you so much for your time and for everything that you’ve shared with us today, Erin.

Erin – Aw, pleasure, Roxy. Thanks so much for having me on.

Roxanne – Yeah, not a problem. And so for those of you who have checked in to listen to Erin and all of the amazing things she’s shared with us today, we do have a few more episodes of the Phoenix Phenomenon yet to come with many more great amazing people sharing these incredible stories and imparting the pearls of wisdom that they’ve gained on their own journeys to really help you strengthen yourself and empower yourself in life. Thank you again for joining us. Make sure that you like and subscribe so that you don’t miss any of the amazing people we’ve got lined up, and yeah, we look forward to continuing to bring them to you. So thanks again, Erin, for your time.

Erin – Pleasure. I’ll be tuning into the future episodes too. Thank you. You have an amazing day.