On the weekend I was reminded of the powerful effect of something seemingly quite simple: showing up. Sometimes by choosing to go, rather than to stay; to buy it rather than saving the money; to take a leap rather than consulting your drag-net list of “shoulds”, you can make profound changes to your life.

My decision some weeks back to commit to two very full days of the Big Hearted Business Conference at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne, scheduled for a weekend when I had literally 25 other things I “should” have done, when my little poppet had begun teething, and when my bank balance was a bit scrawny, was one such decision. Encouraged by two kindred spirits and my golden-hearted husband, I bit the bullet and bought a ticket. Thank goodness I did.

I woke up yesterday morning with a beautiful, cleansing sense of clarity. I felt a renewed certainty and ownership over my life direction. I had a list of 10 or 15 incredible women to follow up with and a date in April for the inaugural “Awesome Women’s Get-Together.” (I also had a hangover, thanks to drinking champagne in a convent – God strike me down for my sins – before ironically enough kicking on at Naked For Satan‘s incredible rooftop. But that was the only downside.)

The brainpop of Clare Bowditch, flame-haired and witty songstress, actor, life coach, mother and all-round Venus, BHB’s tagline is “do what you love, make money, save the world”. For something so profound it’s nice and simple, eh? What can you say but halleluja?

What the BHB tagline couldn’t describe was the magic that Clare brought to the occasion (keep an eye out for her Australian Story profile. You will see her directing, yet floating among, 200 of us attendees as we sing Nick Cave’s Ship Song in the Abbotsford Convent chapel – in harmony, no less). It couldn’t describe Clare’s genuine passion for this cause; her gift for bringing the best out of people, and for making a stage feel like her lounge-room. That tagline couldn’t predict the tear-bursting power of hearing men and women, including Clare, who have made their living from their passion, talk about how they did it; how possible and profitable a life bound by creativity and following your dreams can be. Is. 

It couldn’t tell of the many belly laughs and the fearlessness that speakers like writer and comedian Catherine Deveny inspired. (“Live your life in such a way as the Westboro Church pickets your funeral.” “I never ordered hummus until I knew it existed.” “A tiger does not lose sleep over the opinions of sheep,” among other gems.) Raw food advocate and all-round lioness, Kemi Nekvarpil, had the knack of drawing tears from my eyes when she spoke about motherhood and inspired me to take care of myself PROPERLY.

Rachel Power sharing her wisdom at BHB, with Clare Bowditch listening in

I immediately wanted to be friends with writer-mother Rachel Power – a well-placed surname if ever there was – and author and craft-queen Pip Lincoln, whose humility, positivity and wisdom reached down deep within me. (I will be writing about Pip’s 10 rules for a good life in another post.) PR and meditation non-profit guru Jane Martino reminded me of the need to cut the crap and to write a business plan. Lucy Feagins from The Design Files and Darren Rowse from ProBlogger inspired Sarah and I – with Laura in London – to make The Bulb even better. To be proud of what we do and to promote it better – as well as a ream of other things that we will tell you about soon.

And that’s not to mention the effect of sitting, mingling, eating, laughing, crafting, talking and singing with 200 other people with a similar, burning desire to live a creative, inspired life. Of seeing a woman (or man – there were a few) stand up, take a deep breath and exhale her story, her dreams, with enormous courage. Of the sound of the trees in the lush gardens of Abbotsford Convent whisper through the cloisters and windows of that very special, spiritually-infused place.

Beautiful food and divine surroundings in which to meet kindred spirits

I just let out a big sigh. I’m not sure if I’ve done justice to what happened to me – and the rest of us – on the weekend. But what you ought to do is make sure it happens to you. If in Melbourne, show up to BHB next year – make a start by signing up for BHB’s weekly “Inspiration Bombs” – or if elsewhere, attending that other event or special occasion that you could accidentally miss. Because if you show up, you’ve done the hard bit. Then all you need to do is open your mind and watch as the rest happens.

(Written by Julia)

*Image of Rachel Power courtesy of her blog, The Rachel Papers

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2 Responses to “The power of showing up: Big Hearted Business Conference with Clare Bowditch”

  1. Deni says:

    How inspiring. Sounds like a great conference, and reminds me of how much I enjoy hanging out with creative people with a few dreams!

  2. [...] when I heard the vivacious and incredibly inspiring Kemi Nekvapil speak at the Big Hearted Business Conference last month about her practical health advice and refreshing philosophies, my ears pricked up with [...]

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