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Why ‘coming out’ is so complex (and how we’re all in the closet).

For the most part of my adolescence, I was burning inside, split between two worlds. 

Two sticks inside of me rubbing up against each other, creating such heat, I’d burn on the inside. My inner-world and deeper-knowing telling me I was this way, my inhabited-narrative and the world around me telling me I should be otherwise.

How was I to reconcile this?

You may feel this in many ways also. Something in our reality that simply does not match the story we are told. Some vulnerability on the inside seeking to be seen and acknowledged.

Either I’d give in and live in complete dissonance with myself, shun and ‘other’ a core part of my identity. Or, I’d take the leap, honour my self fully and come-out. Not as gay, but maybe ‘queer,’ if I was to put a word to it. That’s a whole other piece 😉

I’m now 25 and couldn’t be more grateful for the nurturing, loving and deeply-understanding journey I’ve had to being who I am and where I am.

Of course, many who identify in any way other than heterosexual, have not been and are not graced with such tenderness in their journey of coming home to themselves in our world.

This leads me to note that this piece is written – of course – from my experience. Which to note was a fairly comfortable experience with my very accepting and understanding family. It feels important to acknowledge this, to make sure there is space for others who may disagree or have alternative perspectives to my sharing, so please comment and let this be a conversation starter.

Behind the notion of ‘coming out.’

It’s a complex, challenging and quite revealing notion. Telling much about our culture and the core assumptions, biases and dualistic beliefs ingrained into our unconscious social agreements. 

For one to need to come-out, connotes that they are ‘other than’ the norm. Otherwise, it is assumed that they are ‘as everyone else is.’ Wouldn’t it be so pleasant and easy if we were all just like each other. Kidding. It would probably be quite a glib and bland experience I would think. 

So what if we all had to come out? What if, we didn’t have a tightly-held assumed orientation (gender or any identifiers for that matter) at birth?

What if our culture had a compassionate and curious tone. One that might come to know us, be curious about who we are, as we navigate that journey ourselves? What if the messaging instead of attempting to encourage us in one direction or the other was a little more, should I say, open in its nature?

Ok, yes maybe it would make checking those boxes at the doctor or when filling out that government services form a little less ’streamlined.’

The practice of coming out is an incredibly important practice for all humans. The recognition of who we are, the explicit acknowledgment of our identity is something very few of us have felt.

Ancient cultures has practices Rites of Passage ceremonies and ‘rite’ for centuries. When the elders in the community noticed a young teenager become agitated and restless, they would let them know they are to prepare for their ‘ritual of transition.’ This would consist of any number of rituals, ceremonies, group processes and culminate in the individual coming out the other side, and being publicly acknowledged as now being a ‘young adult.’

The social cohesion, the strengthening of identity, the community that is formed when there is a public acknowledgement and ritual to celebrate someone’s identity is incredible. When I slowly started sharing people in my family, friendship circles and wider-community that I was other-than “normal,” each time I felt heard, accepted and seen I felt myself drop further into feeling at home in our world. I felt the hiding drip away.

So what if there wasn’t an assumed ’norm?’ We do all truly exist on a spectrum of identities and the more intimately we get to know ourselves the more we come to know this. My hope is for a world of self-aware, embodied and authentically-expressive leaders.

For this to happen, we need to create space in our culture.

Aren’t we all in the closet about something? 

Whether it’s our sexual orientation, gender, spiritual belief, our sense of loneliness, the truth that we actually don’t know where we’re headed; aren’t we all hiding something? Aren’t we all impacted by the multiplicity of assumed norms that exist in our culture? I would think we are, even in the most subtle ways. 

Now I’m dreaming. Imagine, if as close friendship groups we sat in a ‘coming out, coming home’ circle once a month, and each shared something that we needed to ‘come out’ about. Some vulnerability is inside us that wants to be seen, to be acknowledged? 

Our responsibility as leaders.

Firstly, may we all acknowledge the assumed norms and biases we carry as we walk the world. May we recognize them as malleable, and upon noticing an outdated colonial story running its script, question it and course-correct when we can. 

In Buddhism it is called ‘shoshin,’ beginners mind. Forgetting all that we think we know, allowing the person in front of us to teach us something, even if it is deeply uncomfortable and conflicts many of our beliefs. Can we build the willingness to listen, more than we know to speak.

Secondly, may we all give ourselves the freedom in coming out, and in that, coming home to ourselves. To reflect upon what it is in us that wants so badly to be seen. Then, to share it with one person, a group of people. Coming out is a deeply-courageous, incredibly inspiring and honorable act, offering permission and guidance for others to do the same. 

To a world of individuals who are allowed and confident in themselves. A world where the culture we weave and re-weave in each moment, creates space for individuality and ultimately, that which is our gift, our expression.

Please do share any comments, perspectives or alternative thinking here. This is intended to be a conversation starter, and so I do acknowledge that I have not addressed all the many layers and complexities to this notion in varying contexts.

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Why you need to define ‘enough!’ (and 3 ways to awaken from the trance of ‘not-enough’)

It was 3 years ago I began writing my current book. Here I am 3 years later, still plucking away trying to tidy it up and make sure all my sentences are strong, slightly playful, and everything makes perfect sense.

It feels like the narrative of my life up until now upon honest reflection. My incessant trying to make sure I have just a little more of an understanding of where I’m going, just a little better at this before I apply for what I really want. Always just a little more, before I can rest comfortably with myself.

In my talking to others on this topic, I get the sense I’m not alone in this?

With infinite scrolling, a warped perception of ‘happiness,’ advertisements selling us holes in our proverbial walls seducing us to buy gap-filler and islands being built from our consumptive remains; when do we come to realise and rest in the ever-present ‘enough?’ 

Let’s explore how this plays out in our lives and society at large, and 3 ways to begin to awaken from the trance of not-enough.

Firstly, let’s clear this up. We are exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually because the pace of this system we’re in and contributing to is for machines, not a tender, sensitive, divine human being. Our culture, until now has been built on lack. We are already enough, as we are, here. Rest up.

Oh but it’s so hard, I know. The pace of our environment, the familiarity with how it’s always been (since we entered this world), the expectations placed on us and, of course, the expectations we place on ourselves.

There, of course, are many-fold impacts of this thinking that extend well beyond our individual human lives. We just have to look at the rate of forest degradation, landfill overspill and dare I say, population inflation.

Defining and designing around ‘enough,’ seems that it would bring a much needed shift in thinking and the consciousness that is quite obviously causing havoc on many levels. 

Here are 3 ways you can start to shift from not-enough, to enough. 

Define ‘Enough’ For You

It’s not our doing, nor is it our fault – we are products of our environment – that we gauge the growth, success or fulfillment of our lives using external and extrinsic variables. So we can hold ourselves lightly for this, and also of course you’re reading this and know that you can choose a new narrative.

Usually, as Jung would shout, unless we consciously build our own network of beliefs and thinking, we will fall into subscribing to the collective unconscious – in this case, that measuring ’things’ and the external is how we gauge ‘enough.’ Furthermore, I’m not sure we’ve actually stipulated specifically how much financial growth or material possession is enough, so that would be an interesting start. Imagine if new companies had to define what enough growth looked like?

This process of defining enough for you can take many forms. Here are 2 suggestions:

  1. Define your guiding values and virtues. How do you gauge ‘enough’ and fulfillment internally, within yourself? We spend much of our energy and lives chasing and attaching to what is not here. To goals, dreams and ambitions that are inspiring and will be great, when. So bring it in, close to home, to what you can experience now.

    What are your Core Desired Feelings as Danielle LaPorte explains? There are also many online Values-Finder tests, many of them very similar, and all are just a tool to start to understand this for yourself more deeply. So have a Google. Most importantly keep this question alive in you as you navigate the next day or two, then reflect.

    This is a process of de-colonising your narrative around ’success’ and growth, and building your own inner-compass. By defining these core values, can you more precisely navigate the impulses and expectations that come your way?

  2. Literally define all the ’things’ you really need. Bring some Marie-Kondo to your life. Make a list of everything you ‘have’ in your home, office or even, life! Take inventory on one column. On another column, use a ‘+’ if it brings energy, ‘-‘ if it zaps energy, ‘=‘ if it is neutral. Then make some decisions!

Let us practice frugality, even if we may be ashamed of it. Let’s call into question that which we really need, to adjust our style and way of living not to the story we are told, but to our own, found in reflection.

Design Around ‘Enough’

Once you have some clarity on your sense of ‘enough’ internally and externally, then you need to put some structures and systems in place that make it a reality. Otherwise, we get vacuumed back into the default-mode – running around chasing un-examined and un-fulfilling desires.

Some things you might consider:
  • When will you cut-off from work-related tasks and thinking for the day? Give yourself more time and you will always find things to do. So by setting a cut-off time for your, you force yourself to focus on what matters most, and protect time to focus on other life-giving and restoring activities.

  • Decide on the activities that you might do that rejuvenate or restore you the most. Maybe it’s cycling, dancing, being in nature, reading. What are those 2-3 things for you? Where in your week can you schedule them in, and protect them with your boundaries.

  • Schedule in pockets of stillness throughout your day. This not only is great for your sanity, but will also enable you to catch yourself if you might be playing into the trance of not-enoughness. It will help you notice, reflect and re-connect to your inner-compass and values. 

  • Set a note in your email signature that you practice ‘enough’ and only check emails twice a day, or however often. Communicate your boundaries and systems so that the pressures on you are little lighter.

This brings me to the last point. A point that might just help us shift our cultural narrative and operating model.

Talk About ‘Enough’

With colleagues, family, friends. Let them know you have been reflecting on what ‘enough’ means to you. Share with them what you discovered as your inner-compass, and how you’re going to begin structuring your days. Maybe even share this article with them 😉 

Another important note is to pay attention to the content you post (and consume) online – especially Instagram (aka. the comparison engine). If you start the day with a dose of Instagram, it is likely you will fall into the trance of comparing and not-enoughness and this will bleed throughout your day. The trick is to catch yourself in this trance right at the beginning of this day – then remember it’s not true!

So check the content you are consuming. Is it selling you the story of not-enough, or is it reminder you that you are already enough, as you are? Whilst we build this internal muscle and until we can simply see the world around us through this lens, it is best to curate and moderate your intake 👍 

The more we bring this conversation to those around us, the more likely it is that the cultures we move in will start to take on at least a mild-form of enoughness. 

Let us learn to increase our self-restraint, to curb luxury, to moderate ambition, to soften anger, to quieten comparison, to soften into what is.

I’d love to hear, what spoke to you loudest, felt most useful or resonant in this piece? Is there anything you take away that feels most beneficial? Let me know as a comment, or send me an email to

Here’s to remembering our ‘enoughness’ and freeing ourselves from the trance.

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Why We Must Learn to Hold Pain (for the good of our lives, our communities and our planet)

“I don’t have a lot of words, but I have a lot of faith. I know the road feels low and winding, and we seem to need the pain to cut to the core, to emerge from the sleepwalk of despair and feel through the numbness of disconnect and indifference. But if we let ourselves feel this, we will be better for it.”

~Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams

Like every other morning here in Bali, I spent the first 30 minutes of the day in my room meditating, moving and reading. Starting my day slowly, giving myself the opportunity to ‘catch myself’ to become familiar with how I was showing up today before I step into writing mode. 

I finished reading, but this time as I stepped outside and closed the glass door behind me, the glass kept shaking. “Surely I didn’t close the door with that much force,” I thought to myself. It kept shaking, the roof started shaking, bits of straw falling to the ground. Cats and dogs started making their calls, phones ringing in the distance.

At this point I realised, this was an earthquake. Shit! A deep-bellied rumble, vibrating through my body. I could feel an all-mighty force coming through me, all the way from the belly of the Earth. It was unavoidable, unmistakable and deeply reminding. We are not the ones in control here.

So I quickly stepped outside into some open air, away from any structures that could have fallen. Slowly it came to rest, sirens sounding and lots of loud chatter in the surrounding houses.

I immediately, thought to myself, “we cannot hide from the rumble any longer. The pain, the challenge of our time.”

Ignorance seems easier. 

To meet the challenges in our lives and our communities, first requires us to acknowledge them. We must feel them, let them move us toward change.

So how can we hold the challenge and suffering in this time? 

Has being slammed by news items everyday, telling us of the prejudices, the violence, the inequality and the ecological degradation that exists in our world made us more sensitive to the matters of our time, or desensitize from these realities?

It is becoming very clear that to mobilize our communities in the ways we need, we’re going to need more than a newspaper headline, a viral tweet and a passionate conversation with a friend who cares.

We need to care.

We need to be moved, emotionally-driven, from the inside-out. Even if the carrot isn’t quite clear yet, we need to feel the proverbial stick. The carrot will become clearer as we begin moving beyond avoidance altogether.

I avoided my loneliness and my depression for the better-part of my teenage life. It ate away at me like maggots to a house. I’d make myself busier and louder to distract myself from my inner-reality. I’d chase more awards, try and fill the gaping holes I felt on the inside with badges and remarks of “going well thanks, just super busy.” It was simply too overwhelming to face. 

The rumble was most-definitely there, but I’d put my noise-cancelling headphones on and go about my life.

“The most radical thing any of us can do at this time is to be fully present to what is happening in the world.”

– Joanna Macy

Until it bursted and I had no choice but to get to know it head-on. Either I could avoid it some more, allowing it to find more cunning, confronting and oft-timed ways of signaling my attention, or I could feel it. 

From avoidance, to acknowledgment, to acceptance, toward action.

I chose to do that which I’d dreaded for almost 5 years, to come to know myself in this rumble. As I moved from avoidance, to denial, to anger, through patience and practice, arriving at acceptance; I became lighter, connecting myself in a new way. Connecting to what is here, instead of the endless dance to try and avoid it at all costs.

Acceptance doesn’t mean that I’m ok with it being how it is and I’m not going to actively try to mitigate or heal it in some way. Acceptance, means I’m no longer wishing it was some other way, no longer ‘othering’ it. From this place of ‘befriending’ I can then begin the process of healing.

When we deny or repress our pain for the world, or view it as a private pathology, our power to take part in the healing of our world is diminished.

To be honest, I’d say that I’ve only emerged from the other side of this journey in the last 6 months. With it has come a profound sense of empathy and compassion for the collective manifestation of this pain within me. 

As I allow myself to feel the loneliness in my, I feel the loneliness and isolation in the world. As I feel the ways I’ve been shaped or influenced by a culture with certain views on queer-ness, I feel the weight of our cultural inequalities. 

Holding even when it seems all too much.

I don’t have too many answers for this inquiry just yet, but am compelled by the question. What I do know is that by coming to open to the pain and difficulty in our own inner-lives, and learning to hold ourselves with compassion, we will naturally build a compassion and resilience that extends far beyond the confounds of our individual lives.

So a question to you:

How can we let ourselves open to feeling the realities, be present to them and allow them to move us and galvanize us into action? What might this do to healing our own lives and the planet we share? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts, feelings or experiences. How important is it that we come to touch and sense the challenges we face? Leave a comment, or email me at

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