Text and photos by Julie Moir Messervy
I’m very lucky. Over the past forty years, I’ve enjoyed a creative work life that allows me to do all the things I love. When my dear father died in August, I realized that it was time for a true break from my usual productivity. As I thought about where in the world would make me happiest during a time of mourning, it was the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia, where my daughter Charlotte and her fiancé Michael have been living for the past two years. Thanks to a visit last year, I knew it was a place—and a climate—in which I could recover from my loss by completely changing my point of view.
So in early November, at the onset of our winter, I flew across the world to enjoy early summer Down Under in my own little Airbnb next to the Pacific Ocean. Every day I read, wrote in my journal, swam, walked for miles, and attended yoga classes at Qi Yoga’s beautiful studios in Freshwater and Manly. And for the first time in my life, I turned over all decision-making around the business to my talented team, who collaborated seamlessly during my absence.
I expected nothing of myself, but received ample gifts in return. Every morning I would read a chapter of Donna Farhi’s 2003 book, Bringing Yoga to Life. An immaculate, elegant thinker and writer, Farhi uses the ancient yogic texts to explain how yoga can become a complete life practice and a path to self-awareness. By the end of my six weeks, I had re-read her book three times, each time understanding more about myself and my life. At the end of my daily yoga sessions, during Savasana (corpse pose), I was able to slow down my usual train of thought to concentrate on just breathing. And on my long walks and daily swims, I could look outward at the beautiful landscape to see inward and understand myself—and my ideas—with new eyes. The result, from my six weeks of being back at work again, is that I now micro-manage less and accomplish more. My reaction times are slower and my big picture vision even broader. And I turn to my colleagues for help more often, so my decisions are more informed. Thanks to such a major change in my point of view, I am now, in Donna Farhi’s words, “becoming the world in which I wish to live.”