Stories from the Classic Women blog

Life in transition – classic women’s stories of transition Wikipedia defines ‘classic’ (adjective) as: judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind. Its synonyms are ‘definitive’, ‘authoritative’.

On this page, I will share my story and the stories of generous women who have agreed to share their stories of transition. So many women believe their story is not interesting to others and this is frankly untrue. The value of sharing our story is immense. Do you remember a time when you were perhaps struggling with raising a teenager, training a new puppy, cranking up a new business, settling into a blended family?  These were typically times of transition and change for you. And do you remember the relief you felt when you heard about others who were dealing with similar challenges? Yes, you felt more ‘normal’, perhaps less alone. This is something we can do for each other. We can share and we can listen, and sometimes we can offer support or advice. It all costs nothing.

So many platforms…

Today, more than ever, we have many ways to connect – social media has given our stories wings. We can share through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. We can talk through the ubiquitous mobile phone, even see each other while we chat across Facetime or Skype. I believe there is still a place for tales and I offer this platform for you to share your story beyond a quick post or tweet or snap.

So what’s involved?

Yes, I hear you! Where to start? Some of us are natural storytellers and it’s easy to sit and share with others or perhaps jot down some ideas. I love these people and naturally defer to them relating a story because I know they’ll do it more justice than my potted version. If this is you, please send me your story!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR STORY OF TRANSITION OR DO YOU KNOW A CLASSIC WOMAN WHO SHOULD HAVE HER STORY TOLD?

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Some of us like to be guided through a discussion with some careful and thoughtful prompts to expand (that’s me!) If this is you, please contact me and let’s get going! Some people are most comfortable with an outline, a framework, an agreement of what it’s okay to ask about and what needs to be left alone. If this is you, please contact me and we can develop a plan!

The birth of the Classic Women blog

A big thank you to the of you who followed my Classic Women blog from its first, shaky steps. In January 2017, I took a trial break from my paid job. I launched the blog, Classic Women. My qualification??? I love writing. I know about being a 50+-year-old woman. I have experienced lots of personal transitions. So I focussed on what I consider to be useful information:

  • tips about how to form post-workforce relationships
  • solutions for maintaining fitness and health
  • inspiring stories about women who daily balance their roles as mother, daughter, grandmother, partner, friend and volunteer
  • the perplexing financial challenges of older women.

During the same period, I wrote a piece about my recent ‘transition’. Through social media giant, Facebook, I was introduced (by someone living in the UK) to the (Victorian-based) editor of online Broad Magazine. Editor Casey invited me to submit my story, and to my absolute ecstasy, I was published!!!

 

One of the goals of this evolving blog, Classic Women, was to share the stories of how women handle periods of transition in their lives. I believe there is great value in storytelling and that we can learn from the experience of others. For your enjoyment, here are the transition stories of three women who generously allowed me to share with you. Read about Cherie, Lisa and Barb below. If you still have time to read on, you’ll find my story at the end.

Cherie’s story

I met Cherie Bombell through work over twenty years ago. She was born and grew up in America and has been married to Australian Ron for more than forty years. Cherie and I grew closer following her Sudden Arrhythmia  Death in 2005. She was unable to drive for a period and I would swing by on my way to work to give her a lift. As you would expect, we got chatting. We discovered we shared some fundamental values about social justice, human rights and equality of opportunity. I have come to know Cherie as an inquisitive and deep thinker, a strong friend and a sensitive listener. She left our workplace  and in 2017, I asked her if she would like to share her post-paid-employment journey.

Introducing classic woman Cherie Bombell

Thank you for agreeing to chat with me, Cherie. We’ve known each other for many years now. After meeting at work, we became friendly, sharing very similar values and interests. About two years ago you started talking about maybe leaving work, or retirement. What started that thinking in your mind?

I didn’t really think about it. I was about to turn 68, I was really, really tired. Mum had moved in with us, and I just couldn’t maintain the pace. Working, looking after Mum, five kids, six grandkids ….

Leaving work – more a resignation than a retirement

I recall you being very firm that this was not retirement, more a resignation from work. Do you remember that? Would you like to say anything about why you were adamant that this was not retirement?

It wasn’t planned – it was a sudden decision. Probably part of it was that I wasn’t mentally prepared for retirement, and retirement seemed so final, like ‘the end’, there’s no turning back, there’s just forward and what does that mean? You stop being ambitious and using your creativity.

When you were preparing for retirement/resignation, what steps did you take?

I could isolate five steps, which took two only working days to enact! I’m usually a planner, but not for this. It was the right decision. The way it happened for me was the way it had to happen for me.

Did you have some preconceived notion of what this resignation from work would be like?

I expected to have a lot more time because I was giving up a big chunk of my week to paid work. I was hoping to have free time to write or be involved in other activities. Even before that, when I went part-time, I didn’t tell a lot of [non-work] people, because I was afraid that my time would get swallowed up if people knew that I wasn’t working. I was very protective of this time, because I didn’t want to get filled up by other people, and I didn’t want to be judged by that.

I remember how important it was for your work friends and colleagues to give you a loving farewell and how touched you were when so many people filled the room to say goodbye. What do you recall about that event? How did you feel at the time?

I remembered feeling very, very loved, accepted, appreciated and also very uncomfortable. Even though I talk a lot, I don’t like being the centre of attention. My team put on a whole stage show! All the people that were attending were sitting behind me and I couldn’t see them all. I wanted to be able to touch base with everyone and thank them for being a part of it – my co-workers, people from non-government organisations, even people I have had a challenging relationship with in the past. They even produced a ‘This is your Life’ book!

2005 – a life-changing experience

I know you are very curious about genetics. Would you like to say a little about how you participated in some genetic screening in the past?

Yes. Ron and I participated in some genetic tracking conducted by National Geographic that placed Ron very firmly with his Italian heritage. Mine was northern Europe. The most recent testing was prompted by a Sudden Arrhythmia Death (SAD event), twelve years ago, when my heart just stopped beating. They can’t find any medical cause for it but I do have some relatives who suddenly died in their 50s. So they’re testing to see if there is a chromosomal link, which I feel is important for my children to know.

After your cardiac arrest, there would have been a big adjustment for you and your family.

It was a pretty traumatic time for Ron, who found me on the floor, and for the kids, who resuscitated me. The SAD event didn’t screw with my brain too much. But when I was shocked unnecessarily, repeatedly, by the implantable defibrillator wired to my heart – it was like torture. I never knew when it was going to go off. I wasn’t afraid of dying so much – more of being hurt if this thing went off unexpectedly. 180 volts to your heart is pretty freaky!

June joins Cherie and Ron

Your mum, June,  is in her 90s and I remember you used to go and visit her at her home after work each day to see if she was okay. I remember thinking how amazing you were. Since leaving work, your mum has sold her home and is now living with you and Ron. I recall she is about 94 now and while you honour and encourage her independence, you have assumed more of a caring role.

I was going there every day to see if she was okay, and then I’d see something that needed to be done and another hour would go.

Mum used to spend a lot of time in bed when she was in her own home – I figured she didn’t have a reason to get up. She still stays in bed a lot. I think having her with me means I’m conscious of her all the time and I worry about her all the time and I check on her.

Then there’s the complexity of this being Ron’s home too. Mum’s dog came with her. When she lived alone, it was reassuring for Mum when Suzie would bark. But now Ron might be on a late shift and catching up on some sleep during the day when someone comes. Suzie barks, and he’s woken up.

Other new things we’ve had to adapt to include having a range of new people coming to the house – Mum’s therapists, the hairdresser, her friends. We’ve had to have some difficult discussions. Also, we needed to remember that Mum had lost her home, and there’s grieving in that. Plus lots of additional ‘things’ in our house that she brought with her. Then she has special diets, so the way we would normally cook had had to change. They’re all little bumps along the way.

And there’s different family cultures, including notions of humour. Ron’s Dad lived with us for many years and I had to get used to his quirks. Now Ron sometimes thinks my Mum’s being serious when I know she’s not!

‘With babies, life makes sense’

Since leaving work, your son and his wife have had their first child – your first biologically-connected grandbaby, even though you’ve been Nan to several other grandchildren. Would you like to share a little about what it means to you to spend time with Bonnie?

photo of Cherie, her son, her mother and her baby gran daughter
Four generations of Bombells. (Pic: Stacey Keating)

It feels great. Bonnie’s middle name is June, in honour of Mum, which is wonderful – it shows the continuity of love in our family. When we’re looking after Bonnie, we need to keep a lookout both ways. Since Bonnie became mobile, we’ve been careful with Mum’s medication; on the other hand, there can be toys on the ground that Mum might not see.

Spending so much time with my mother and seeing her decline is balanced out by seeing Bonnie growing and discovering. I realized that with babies, life makes sense.  I see Bonnie’s curiosity and willingness to engage with people as a reflection of Mum who still has a zest for life when she can.

With Bonnie, I see myself; I see the generations that came before me, and the generations yet to come. It’s a bond, an invisible connecting thread, that can never be broken – that blood bond.

So you have a blood connection with Bonnie. You have a much longer connection with your other grandchildren.

Yes, and I think that my special connection with the step-grandchildren is that I see them as a biological extension of Ron, and I love Ron. I don’t think that love is something that is quantitative. Love is love and it’s there for all the grandchildren.

World travel triggers an emerging novelist

You and Ron have always loved to travel to other countries.  I remember you taking Spanish lessons prior to your last trip to South America. Probably the most memorable souvenir you have brought home is the commitment to re-telling the story of some people you met overseas and you have committed to writing a book. Would you like to talk a little about that?

We met ‘E’ who told me a story about her first husband, now deceased and his survival in a Jewish ghetto during the Holocaust. He went to Dachau and then subsequently to a Displaced Persons’ Camp and eventually to Australia by way of Israel. It’s an incredible story of survival that you wouldn’t believe, but also about coincidence in life. They say that truth is stranger than fiction. How people can have some sort of fleeting contact and then twenty years later have another contact and not even know there was already another connection that’s so remarkable and so absurd that you’d think it had been made up. So it’s a story that really needs to be told. E had never told her story and I hope to represent it with respect.

And you have a passion for oral history?

Yes.  I tried to do that with Mum, but it has been a struggle as she tires so easily. Mum’s going to a respite centre next week and I’ve asked them if they have volunteers who might help her tell her story. She might be inclined to show a bit more stamina if she’s talking to a volunteer.

The book-group ‘tribe’

I know you as an avid reader, and along with four other lovely friends, we have come together for breakfast over the years to discuss which books to read and review them. Well, ostensibly, we meet to review them, but we’re not always 100 percent committed to sticking to the topic! What gets you excited about meeting up with the book group?

Photo of six women who form the book group Cherie belongs to.
Cherie and her book group friends – a special tribe!

Oh so much. I love the diversity of the group; every woman is different, in age, or sense of humour or wittiness. We have different cultural backgrounds too. I feel honoured to belong to the group  – they are so intelligent and creative. We have seen each other branching off and doing new things with our lives – travel, public speaking, developing an online business, studying…It’s inspiring to see people evolve. We’ve been through a lot together without being too intimate with each other – we give each other space, but we’re still there.

The busy-ness of retirement

So you’re on the precipice now of downsizing – selling your house, and all the organisation that goes with that; you’re trying to write; you’re caring for your Mum; you’re caring for your grandchildren. So this leaving 40 hrs a week work so you can have some free time – it hasn’t quite worked out that way, has it? I don’t think I’ve ever known you so busy.

It’s true. Busy-ness is okay. The hard part is not sleeping and its possible effect on my health.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Final advice: 

In my twenties, I was getting ready to move to Aspen. I had to save money and I had to be disciplined to have the freedom to take off. I wrote this in my diary –  ‘to be truly free, strict discipline is required’.

Are you feeling that way now?

Sadly I’m not as disciplined as I’d like – some things are out of your control!

Thank you Cherie for sharing your story and inspiring the readers of Classic Women!

Robina, Gold Coast, April 2017

Lisa’s story

I met Lisa at the women’s gym we both attended. I was drawn to her honest, humble outlook on life and deep care for others.

Introducing classic woman, Lisa and her transition to retirement. Lisa is having fun experimenting with a range of past times. She has many interests, and is open to exploring more. I hope her story inspires you to be open to all types of post-work avenues.

Lisa and I met through our yoga practice at the local fitness club.

Lady on a yoga mat holding a pose
Yoga practice

I used to watch how Lisa interacted with other members of our yoga group and soon came to view her as a very empathic and caring person, always ready to listen and to help others. We got chatting. Lisa said that she was working part-time, transitioning to retirement, and exploring the range of recreational and learning opportunities in the local area. I told Lisa I was keen to chat with her about how she thought she would adjust to retirement after a long career in health care. She invited me to her home for a chat, and here is a little of our catch-up in May.

The working Lisa

Graphic of nurse's uniform

Lisa, a Taswegian, now lives in the Gold Coast. As a nurse of over 30 years, including work in the intensive care department of a local hospital, she specialised in the care of patients receiving renal dialysis for 14 years. I could see the passion in Lisa as her face softened when she spoke about interacting with the people on dialysis, how they were dealing with their kidney disease, and how debilitating and controlling it can be for a person to be reliant on specialised medical treatment three times a week.

What happens in a dialysis unit?

I asked Lisa to describe her role and she gave me a ‘cook’s tour’ of what happens in a dialysis unit. I had imagined that people visited the unit, were ‘plugged in’, dialysed for a few hours and then unplugged. But as Lisa explained some of the intricacies and complexities of the process, I became aware of my ignorance and I was impressed by the both technicality and the immense responsibility of her role . The process she described is individualised, requiring a full assessment at every visit – an analysis of the person’s weight, their diet, general health, medication regime. These patients, who usually attend dialysis three days a week, are sitting with the machine for up to five hours.

Additional stressors on the dialysis unit

As the population ages, and public expectations shift, dialysis nurses are  treating much older people, sometimes in their 90s, and sometimes people living with dementia and kidney disease. Nurses, already squeezing in long days, also  have to fit in online professional development into their already pressured schedules.

So about five years ago, Lisa started to reduce her nursing hours. During this period, she did some causal agency nursing work, including two five-week stretches in the bush – at Fitzroy Crossing and Yuendemu – working with indigenous patients.

The transitioning Lisa

Two months ago, Lisa took the plunge and separated from her government position. We talked about how women who have been in the workforce can sometimes feel a bit lost in the post-work years. We have been identified by what-we-do. Lisa says she now tells people, “I am retired, but not from life!” You will be fascinated by the different roads she has travelled, and I hope a little inspired.

Transition idea – wearing the gold and red uniform

Photo of red and yellow SLS flag on beach

Lisa had a go at becoming a lifeguard on one of the Gold Coast’s most beautiful beaches – Tallebudgera. This meant preparing for and passing the Bronze Certificate in swimming. She loved the concept of volunteering at the beach, but felt a bit under-engaged, waiting for someone to need assistance. This is when she realized she is very much a ‘doing’ person and moved on to explore other opportunities.

M Braining, or multiple brain integration technique

M Braining logo

Lisa was looking for ways to identify goals in her new phase of life,  and attended a presentation run by author and local Master mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Technique) trainer, Bill Lee-Emery.

‘The mBIT process can help people establish deeper more intimate relationships with their 3 brains (head, heart and gut) and that can send ripples throughout their lives, families and communities. The intention is that their lives continually evolve to higher levels of awareness and consciousness.’ http://www.relaxationcentreqld.org/presenters/bill-lee-emery/

Lisa told me, “I think I am now more aware of how I make decisions; instead of leaping in, I am now more likely to step back, sit, and just think about things for a while. It’s a whole wellness principle.”

Transition idea – Reiki practice and meditating

Image for reiki

Lisa took up the opportunity to do a one-day introduction to Reiki. She came away really excited about her new experience, saying it aligns well with her focus on wellness for herself and others.

“I ‘ve discovered I’m looking for something in the wellness field rather than the acute health care system.”

She is planning to do a follow-up Reiki workshop. She meditates each morning, using an app on her phone to take her away to a quiet place, saying, “it’s all part of the journey.”

Travel, languages, bike riding

Lisa and her husband enjoy overseas travel . They were totally enthralled by the story of a gentleman who had toured the Moselle region of Germany – “he showed us such enthusiasm that we were inspired to go to Europe.” Before heading off, Lisa took German language lessons from a local lady at the Currumbin Eco Village coffee shop every Sunday morning.

Photo of Lisa standing at a lookout way up above the Danube River.
Looking out to the Danube.

This photo was taken in September 2016, on Lisa and Dennis’s last trip to Europe…where they biked 1200kms along the Danube River from Donaueschingen to Budapest. During the section from Passau to Vienna, they climbed up to this amazing lookout over the Donau, way above the valley floor. “You can tell by my apparel..its not as warm as it looks!” Lisa recalled.

Later this year, Later this year, Lisa and her husband are heading off to Europe where they will participate in a various bike rides through Germany and the Netherlands.  Lisa and Dennis are regular cyclists, joining in the Bicycle Queensland 550km rides in the country region. When I asked Lisa how often she cycles, she said ideally three times a week, “but I wouldn’t call myself a lycra lizard!”

Photo of Lisa and her bike with ocean in the background
Cycling in the Netherlands, 2016

Lisa on her bike on a track in New Zealand
On the road again!

Lisa and her bike
New Zealand, 2016

Transition idea – Toastmasters

Lisa is an active member of the local Toastmasters group. She invited me to a meeting to see if I might like to join. At that point, I perceived Lisa as a quiet achiever;  I couldn’t picture her standing before a group in a formal role.  The Lisa I saw at the Toastmaster’s meeting was a confident, smooth and warm presenter. (https://www.facebook.com/PBCToastmasters)

Entrepreneurial bent

When Lisa first conceived of retiring, she looked around for ways that she could keep active in her community and help others while also bringing in a small income. She had been visiting her mother in a retirement village and noticed that some local villagers struggled to get broken appliances repaired or replaced. Lisa conceived a brilliant idea to help them. So she took her laptop with Internet connectivity to the villagers and assisted them to select and order replacement appliances. Unfortunately for the retirement village residents, she didn’t pursue this enterprise.  She was concerned about building the business, and then leaving people high and dry when she and Dennis were overseas.

Lisa conceived another creative idea from looking around the local ‘op shops’ . She had a go at re-purposing some of the donated garments with a bit of creative TLC. Creating this clothing line is still developing, pending a Lisa arranging a dedicated space to set up her sewing machine.

Ride-sharing (aka Uber)

While seeking a way to bring in a little money while allowing her freedom to travel , she decided to find out about Uber ride-sharing and has gone through a long process to become registered as a commercial driver. She will soon embark on this new venture. When I asked Lisa if she feared for her safety, she explained that she had looked into it carefully. This a safer option than taxi driving:

  • No cash changes hands.
  • Riders and drivers rate each other.
  • Uber monitors the time on the road .
  • Drivers can refuse a ride if they have concerns about people they are picking up.

Lisa loves to drive and enjoys chatting with people. “Nobody should be taken at face value because we all have something interesting to share.”

Wouldn’t you love to share a ride with Lisa?

End-note

When I asked Lisa to sum up her approach to transitioning from working to retirement, she described it as “moving with the flow – being open to new opportunities”.

After years of caring for others, she is finding out more about how to help others be well.

One of the goals of this evolving blog, Classic Women, is to share the stories of how women handle periods of transition in their lives. I believe there is great value in storytelling and that we can learn from the experience of others. 

Barb’s story

Barb, Psychic Medium – part one

An amazing STORY OF TRANSITION

Barb and I have known each other for more than 15 years. At one point in her life, she thought she would never retire – partly because of the financial security she needed but also because she had only ever seen herself in the role of full-time worker – working long hours for someone else. Now she is a leading and respected psychic medium, running her own business.

New transition

I knew Barb as a colleague through our work in human services with a Queensland Government department. Then she mooted a possible change of direction and a few months ago, Barb left our office to pursue another stage of her life. I asked her if she would be willing to share her story with readers of Classic Women. She graciously accepted and we caught up in May, shared a cuppa and a fascinating tale.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR STORY OF TRANSITION OR DO YOU KNOW A CLASSIC WOMAN WHO SHOULD HAVE HER STORY TOLD?

Please contact me by signing up to this blog (see boxes below) or via the Classic Women FB page

https://www.facebook.com/beverleystreaterclassicwomen

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Barb, Psychic Medium

Several careers

Barb originally trained as a darkroom technician and then worked in the fields of drug and alcohol rehabilitation, disability services and domestic violence (women’s refuge). Barb is certain her rich and varied life and work experiences have assisted her readings.

I started by asking Barb to tell me about discovering her psychic abilities.

‘Look, I stumbled into this. Looking back now, I am aware that I had a gift, but I thought everyone had it. Everyone is born with it – it just depends on whether you want to use it or not.’

Barb shared some stories about times when she followed her intuition where listening to her inner voice led to good outcomes for her family.

Reaching out to the Universe

One day, Barb was prompted by a friend to visit a psychic, and during that meeting, Barb mentioned she was thinking about how to start up a home business. Her children had moved out of home, husband Bernie often worked shifts, and she had some space in her life to explore other interests. The psychic suggested Barb might like to attend some psychic development classes that she was offering. Barb went home and mentioned it to husband Bernie and he was immediately positive. Barb explained to me that when she originally met Bernie, he had been travelling his own spiritual journey for many years, and had connections in several spiritual churches. However, when he sensed Barb didn’t have similar leanings, he moved away from those communities and chose to prioritise his relationship with her. Naturally, when Barb met her spiritual guides, Bernie was delighted and very supportive.

‘It’s got me into a new community, and Bernie loves it too.’

The course took about three months and Barb loved it. She thought about using one of the now-free bedrooms to create a place to perhaps do an occasional reading. She set it up as a peaceful, private place and Bernie found her a ‘conversation table’ on eBay.

Early readings

Barb started out by offering free readings to about a dozen people – not people who knew her.

Bronze statue of Buddha
Statue of Buddha

‘I did the first ten readings for free and even when I started charging, I set a really low fee.’

She wanted to test her talents and asked her initiates for honest feedback, which was really positive and helped to build her confidence.

Barb started noticing themes across the people she read for. For example, there was a group of people where the theme of disability was a common link; later, she encountered a number of individuals, each of whom had been affected by a of reportable write-offs (cars that have been written off and are uninsurable). She explained that she discussed this with her fellow-psychics and it turns out that this happens also for others.

Coming out at work

I remember this period in Barb’s life. She was very private about her new-found interest in the spiritual world. She explained to me that she was concerned about her reputation at her workplace, where she prided herself on being a solid, reliable worker who got things done.

‘To go into this industry when 99% of the people out there don’t believe in it, I felt as though I was going against the grain. This is why it took some time to come out at work – I didn’t want people to think I’m a nutter.’

Barb ‘outed’ herself accidentally one day at work while attending an emergency meeting concerning a new client who was in critical need. Only one participant in the meeting knew the client’s name and as she was struggling to pronounce it, Barb spontaneously said the person’s surname – it seemed to just come from nowhere. Of course, the group queried as to how she knew it.

‘They were floored and asked how I knew that. I said, “you don’t want to know”.’

They pressed her for an explanation and she told them that it was a chain of events: during the meeting, Barb’s hair fell forward; she thought of her hairdresser who works at Sorrento; she saw an image of her mum; her mum used to live in the street whose name corresponded to the client’s surname! They were amazed until one of her colleagues said, ‘well you do know she’s psychic’. Barb said it became easier from that point on.

Family support

Bernie continued to be a strong advocate for Barb’s growth as a psychic, then more support came from other family members – her niece was visiting, and Barb was tentatively mentioning she had started to do readings. On the spot, her niece grabbed her phone and set up a webpage for Barb, even naming it herself – ‘Barb’s Psychic Readings’.

Business name sorted! Website en route!

Flyer showing Barb's contact details
Contact Barb

‘My daughters were really supportive, and I’ve read for their partners who were shocked at some of the things I described! For example, I described an office in a  building that one of them subsequently came across and rented.’

I asked Barb if there were any rules about doing readings for family members.

‘No, not really. I did a couple of readings for my younger daughter about two years ago, and she recalls that I picked the date and year that her baby girl was subsequently born. I don’t remember that.’

Working two jobs

I recall Barb working long hours, holding down a full-time job while building Barb’s Psychic Readings. She committed to building her profile through social media, developing her website, using Facebook to its full potential, building her clientele. On some Mondays, I knew that she had spent most of her weekend working in her business as well as on her business. She experimented with a range of platforms such as regional show days, psychic fairs, etc.

‘I worked very hard on my website; then I was doing one or two readings a week; it grew to about four, and then I’d do a show. We were doing about 15 show days a year. Around this time, a workmate put me on to a TAFE course on business planning which helped me to develop a 5 year business plan. This gave me some direction and I was so excited when I exceeded the three-year mark only 12 months after I started!  By the time I left work, six months after the TAFE course, I’d hit my five-year target.’

Barb engaged a wonderful web designer who improved her web page and added an automated booking system, which has freed up much time.

So many ways to reach out to people

As well as speaking to groups at spiritual church meetings, Barb conducts one to one readings.

Logo for Night Quarter

‘I do readings at the Helensvale Night Quarter, and radio interviews. Bernie and I travel to regional expos – we have 70 this year! I write e-Magazine articles and was invited to write for the Spiritual Event Directory. I also write for UK magazines – they set the theme and I write about my experiences and discuss strategies that people can use, such as the 3 Cs – cleansing, clearing and channeling.’

Barb does readings for business people and this year even attended a Children’s Expo.

‘We did a kids’ expo recently – I was flat-out, 18 to 20 readings a day! Not the children and parents – it was the other stall holders! I expect this at Psychic Fairs, but not at a kids’ expo’.

Her phone readings are about to expand because Barb has just been accepted to work on an international psychic line. She explained that it is very competitive to be accepted and not many people are chosen. After two rigorous phone readings/interviews, the selectors liked her style and chose her.

‘I’ve been doing phone readings for a while…For people in the US, the peak time is our 11am-5pm.’

She expanded her reach through 21st-century technology … Skype and Facebook Live.Out of curiosity, I watched one of Barb’s Facebook Live sessions. I saw a different Barb, somehow detached and, well, spiritual. She exuded calm and peace, totally focused and in a zone. I asked if this had been an easy step for her.

‘It has had its challenges. For example, I am 20 seconds in front of everyone, and the delay can be disconcerting. I set a theme and start talking, and then the questions fly through! I see a question come up, and stop to respond to it, then move onto the next one. People acknowledge my readings, by sending replies, but it all moves so fast that I might not see their responses until it’s all over!’

Pic of spiritual cards and crystal ball
Spiritual cards

I mentioned I wondered why Barb augments the live reading by using spiritual cards.

‘Yes, people like to see something. I do psychic parties too  – get people to put flowers or jewellery into a paper bag they’ve touched – I pull one out and then start a reading. That’s fun – people like it – it’s cold turkey stuff that a lot of psychics avoid.’

Are people wary of her because they are fearful of her engaging her psychic abilities when talking to them?

‘There can be a stigma about saying you’re a psychic in some places. People say “what are you seeing?’  But unless they’ve asked me to do a reading, I don’t have permission. Technically I could, ethically I won’t. I have strong ethics behind me.’

Advice to women in transition

I encouraged Barb to tell me what she would say to other women who are contemplating following their heart to pursue a venture outside of their regular routine.

‘I acknowledge people being scared about retirement, however I believe there’s so many ways to approach it! It took about six months after leaving full time work for me to not feel guilty about not being at work.’

Next week, Barb describes what it is like to be a psychic medium and how she helps herself develop professionally.

Classic Woman Barb part 2

Barb, Psychic Medium – final

An amazing story of transition from public servant to a psychic medium.

As a mature woman, Barb realised she had gifts that would change her life. She tentatively started doing some readings while maintaining her full time public sector role. She came to understand that there was another calling that she needed to pursue. Many people are very appreciative that she did. Read on to see how Barb describes what it is like to be a psychic medium and how she helps herself develop professionally.

The nitty-gritty of how it all works

When I asked her to describe what it is like to deliver the readings, and if she recalls them after it’s over, she said,

Yes, I hear things, picture things, feel things. I don’t remember the readings afterwards. It’s like you channel. Sometimes, before a reading, I experience some preliminary messages or images.

Does she have any no-go zones?

She explained, she hadn’t really been too challenged, although, ‘I have heard some unusual stories that have me taking a deep breath.’

Does she ever draw a blank?

No. I just turn up to a reading or a party – I can’t pre-empt the questions.

It took a while for Barb to deal with critics and sceptics. Now she just accepts that there are disbelievers and tells them this is fine.

It’s funny, I’ve had that scepticism at shows, then after a 15 minute read, they ask for my card and book a reading!

Are people wary of her because they are fearful of her engaging her psychic abilities when talking to them?

There can be a stigma about saying you’re a psychic in some places. People say “what are you seeing?”  But unless they’ve asked me to do a reading, I don’t have permission. Technically I could, ethically I won’t. I have strong ethics behind me.

Professional development for psychics

A couple of years ago, Barb travelled to the UK to seek her own spiritual development and will go again in 2017. She attends a course at the Arthur Findlay College, a learning centre of spiritualism and psychic sciences, often affectionately referred to as Hogwarts. She’s there again right now!

Photo of Arthur Findlay College
Arthur Findlay College

She describes the course as:

two weeks thrown in the deep end. They really push you and you have to just channel. Last trip, I eagerly jumped up on stage and then was asked to bring a loved one through for someone who was sitting in the audience. I stepped on stage and when I lost my spiritual connection, I was rescued by the tutors, many of whom are in their 80s and have been mediums all their lives. They helped me re-connect with the spirit, telling me to physically step back into her on the stage.

I felt myself shift into the spirit and could describe even what she was wearing. As I was describing what I was feeling and seeing, a lady up the back raised her hand saying, “I think that’s my aunty!” This time, I know what I am up against this time.  There will be two groups of 30 participants. I’m attending an advanced course where you practise for 3 weeks, 7 days, 9am-9pm every day! 

Next steps – perhaps this is for you too?

Flyer advertising Barb's classes in psychic development
You can book in to Barb’s classes in psychic development

I asked Barb if she has plans beyond her trip to the UK. She explained that husband Bernie is helping to set up space where she can do some teaching; she might even run online courses and giant Skypes. Here is a brochure showing ow you can contact Barb for more information.

I coaxed Barb to share some final words:

I started off on this journey accidentally and was a bit scared of it – not old enough to get the Aged Pension, I knew I had to do something, and wanted to do something I love that doesn’t cost money. I’ve found something to do that’s a hobby. I can do this from anywhere at any time! I feel like I’ve gone round the world in a night when I’ve talked to someone in the UK and America. 

Because of my own personal journey, I now believe there’s an afterlife; I can’t deny it. I always sort of believed in reincarnation but now I just can’t deny it – it’s great to bring that relief to people, which is why I enjoy what I do.

There are so many ways in life to spend your time. I’m having an amazing time and I know I’m in a lucky spot. I am grateful; it’s fun.  I also thrive on seeing other people having success around me.

 Advice to women in transition

I encouraged Barb to tell me what she would say to other women who are contemplating following their heart to pursue a venture outside of their regular routine.

I acknowledge people being scared about retirement, however I believe there’s so many ways to approach it! It took about six months after leaving full time work for me to not feel guilty about not being at work.

I encourage people to recognise that the transition into retirement is a journey in itself. You think you’ve had a journey in life getting to this point, but every transition is a new journey.

 Thanks so much for your story Barb Meynell, from darkroom technician to enlightened spiritual guide.

 

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