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Self Publishing Diary : Opening up is on the cards - promote that picture book

Updated: Jan 3

We are starting each month by writing our own horoscope. Why? Because planning is boring and everyone wants a magical manifestation pill… As a career strategist I know that there is nothing spooky about 'manifesting' outcomes; it comes down to setting goals, having a plan and working systematically through it. But yes, it can sound all too a bit too boring and a lot of work. So make it fun and instead of coming up with a list of goals and a to-do list, write a horoscope. Here's what I will 'manifest' for our children's publishing house in October, as we set out to create beautiful picture books that plant seeds of wisdom and make early childhood learning effortless.

The back story on 'cards'

I have a deck of tarot cards called the Dreams of Gaia. Beautifully illustrated, they are a 'new-age' interpretation of the traditional tarot cards. This was an impulsive purchase on a girls 'spa weekend' at Daylesford, an eclectic country town in Victoria with natural mineral springs and that has long been regarded as a place for healing.

My sister and I had come across a quaint 'crystal shop' whilst window shopping in the local village when the Gaia deck caught my eye. I had heard of but never used nor had a tarot reading before. My sis I discovered to my surprise was totally into it! She urged my to buy the Gaia deck; it would be our evening entertainment.

I hesitated. There were so many different types of tarot cards, I felt a little overwhelmed with the choice, felt like I needed to do some research and besides, I didn't quite believe in them...

I walked up to another 'Angel' tarot deck and randomly picked up a card from the display deck. Sure enough the angel on my card was Gaia...

Choosing to ignore all the logic on coincidences and probability, I immediately made up my mind to buy the Gaia deck and scored a crash course in reading tarot from the store owner on the way out. That evening after dinner, I did my first two readings (my sister insisted that I do my reading first to see if I was any good before she would let me do hers...)

Don't know if it was the Daylesford effect or beginners luck but both readings turned out to be spot on! It led to some soul searching conversations, insights and confessions. Slightly spooked, we both quietly went off to bed.

Designed to resonate

The experience at Daylesford piqued my curiosity. I took the time to read through the guide book and realised that Tarots are very cleverly designed around the psyche of an individual.

They breakdown aspects of our selves and our lives into component parts, with each card highlighting a different aspect. Collectively the deck of the cards talk to the human condition.

Regardless of the card we pick, there will always be something in there that will resonate, at some level. Sometimes the cards will talk to the very aspect of self or life that we are dealing to at that moment - spooky coincidence. At other times it serves as a reminder of other elements that may not be top of mind but cause us to think more deeply.

It's easy to dismiss tarot cards at this point but I could see that this can serve as a useful tool for self examination and personal development over time - and that is how I use it.

Every now and then I brush off my deck of cards and do a reading. Depending on the card that I draw, I use it as an opportunity to examine that aspect of myself or my life - see where I need to bring my attention, focus and perhaps change things.

'Cardspiration' for October

As I sat to write down my outlook for October, I thought I would draw inspiration from the cards. The last few months have been so unpredictable with the ever changing COVID lockdowns that it's anyone's guess what the next few months hold for us - I needed some help!

I drew two cards that had never come up before and strangely both talked to the same thing - a sense of self. The general message was to open up to embrace all aspects of self - the light and the shadows - listen to one's own voice and not be swayed by others expectations, speak your truth and follow your own path.

The reading left me a little underwhelmed. There wasn't really anything in there that I didn't know already. Besides anyone looking at my life, wouldn't for a moment think that I don't live on my own terms!

I've cut my own path as soon as I could; moved overseas, studied, built up a good career, became financially independent, travelled widely and bought my home. In the process I upended generations of traditions that women had otherwise 'adhered' to in my very traditional family and more broadly in society.

So what more did I need to do?

Digging deeper

I let this stew in my mind for a few days and it began to dawn on me that whilst the headlines (mentioned above) paint a compelling picture, even when working to my own terms, I have 'played it safe' and ultimately conformed to a different set of social narratives rather than write my own.

When I studied, I chose subjects that would guarantee a job (accounting) rather than studying something that I really loved and was interested in learning (archeology). Similarly given the choice, I would have chosen a safe job (auditing) but thankfully the universe intervened and set me on a different path (strategy). Even so I took very little chance through my career, staying in jobs that I had outgrown longer than I should have ... this was the source of a lot of discontent and resentment through my 20s.

I may have seen through the 'marriage and kids as a way to fulfilment' narrative but I had grasped onto 'a successful career' narrative instead. Looking back now, I can see that both are just as empty as each other. Sure each brings some measure of joy but neither provides a lasting sustenance.

My personality did flow out from time to time and what I repressed in one aspect, came out in another.

My travels is probably where I found the most freedom, took the most risks and had the most fun. If only I could live like I travel.

Cross roads

Two years ago, the universe intervened again and I found myself on an entirely different path to what I had previously been on - trying to climb the proverbial corporate ladder. Today I am a co-founder of a new business, Wise As Stories, on the cusp of launching our first product, a new picture book series for kids, Willow the Wonderer, written by yours truly.

I am working in an industry that I always loved - story making, books, publishing. The mission of our company holds true to my values. Our product is a realisation of