— By Lauren Trend

John Berger, Confabulations : Scan of illustration from p.120

John Berger, Confabulations : Scan of illustration from p.120


Just like you, I learn at leastt one new thing (product, podcast, app or view-point) from every single one of our contributors. This morning I have a face mask on, a hair mask in, and am working away on a Sunday - editing a soon to be published Community Profile of one of my favourite designers. It was a major, wow-how-crazy-we're-here?!-pinch-me moment…

Less than six months ago, I was waking up at 4 am to work on SP before my day began at my day job (which often bled far outside of the hours of 9-5). Today, on a weekend, and even on a/every weekday, this, Self Practice, gets to be my main focus. Last December, I knew it was time to take a chance on myself, on my business, but I had no (logistical) idea how I was going to make it work.. 

At the beginning of 2016 I got swept away and swallowed up in the word of personal development. I was lost and found and lost and found and lost and found all over again. Those closest to me at the time will attest to the fact that I lost my marbles. I had what Oprah calls a ‘spiritual-shit-storm’. I had left a life I thought I wanted, an identity i'd brilliantly created, in search of a more aligned personal and professional trajectory. 

I picked up countless books belonging to the same shelves as The 4 Hour Work Week, The Big Leap, Grit and The Gifts of Imperfection, and absorbed all the wisdom they had to offer. I was a self-help-junkie. Though, as time passed and I was still working harder for someone else(‘s business) than I was on my own goals and dreams, I began to resent their content, call it B-S, and resided to the fact that I would forever have to rely on someone else to feed me, or put a roof over my head. 

What I didn’t realise, or see at the time, was the concept of groundwork. The foundational roles that these years of hardship and soul searching played.. I have learnt that sometimes we can obtain information but not truly *absorb* it. Or more likely, we're not yet strong enough, or feeling worthy enough - to physically and figuratively hold the big things in life that we're asking for.. I was reading their pages, but not putting the concepts into practice.

And so came to me, the concept of, and my pledged commitment to, “self-practice…”

Looking back, the way that things have happened over the past four years is the work of some greater force. I will never, ever deny that. But what has been integral to it all - is the/my commitment to my growth. My commitment to courage. My commitment to vulnerability.

I remember the day that the idea of SP came to me. It was sent in a meditation. I saw it in its infancy right through to it’s political and philanthropic role in ten years from now. It was as close to an outer-body experience as I think I'll ever know.. 

And so, last April, Self Practice became an inspired idea, then a tangible creative side project, then a business that allowed me to live the way I do, today. In complete dedication to it's and my growth. In complete support of my creative peers and community. In service and inspired to create change that begins with individual belief but nurtures collective thought and activism. 

I have moments that I turn to my partner in disbelief and drowning in gratitude at the idea that I get to do ~this~ for work. This supports me/us, and in turn supports countless others. She’ll often remind me, ‘But, of course you do. You’re never not working on or considering SP. Even a moment of decided rest is an act of service to it and the people who gain so much from it. Of course it’s supporting you in return.’

For anyone thinking its not possible. I can assure you it is. However and whoever you want to work for, if you have access to the internet you have access to literally unlimited resources and your education (even and especially if self-lead) will move mountains both within and outside of you.

I’m so grateful I had the courage to act on the idea to create this space.
I’m so grateful that I am committed to constantly showing up, and letting down my walls, here.
I’m so grateful that my focus on myself has inspired and encouraged others to focus on themselves.

Imagine if I hadn’t.. done any of it?
Imagine if engineering my smallness was more important to me than taking colossal risks..

Before I pressed launch on this very website my internal dialogue was this:
- No one will read it.
- You’re an academic researcher put this self-help shit down.
- Who on earth do you think you are?
- You’ll be onto the next project in a few months, you can never finish anything.
- What a waste of time. Focus on your professional growth not this stupid blog.

Sound familiar?
Thank god I knew that the above what just my brain’s hard wiring to keep me safe. To keep me from failing. But If there’s anything the mountainous pile of self-help-books has taught me.. It’s that when the noise gets loud, you’re doing something worth doing…

I'm the cliche queen, but if I can, you can. In my 26 years I've known hurt, heartache, homophobia, suicide attempts, chronic illness and crippling anxiety/depression. Just like me, you have the power to choose. We may not get to decide how the world interacts with us, but we do get to decide how we interact with the world.

You have the ability to work hard for a life that you want. It is your duty to take advantage of opportunities because there are people who would risk their lives, fled their homes and gamble quite literally everything to have access to that which we do.

It all begins with being brave enough to trust an idea, and risk failure. Your comfort is a privilege. Your unwillingness to be uncomfortable is your privilege in action. I have everything I've once dreamed of, and I've never worked harder for it. Because the more I have, the more I can offer.


So today I ask you - how much is your disbelief costing you? How much is your knee-jerk reaction to shut down any inspired idea costing you? How much is your avoidance of hope and joy because ‘the-worlds-fucked-anyway’ costing you?

Time? Money? Happiness?

Get close and comfortable with where your playing small is costing you?
And ultimately, how that is costing those around you…

To create, to move on an idea, is an act of hope.
Move. Act. Create. What the world needs, is hope.