Your Heart Wants You To Be Boulder [not a typo]. Here's how to prioritize your life.

abundance body compass coaching life coaching more joy personal development personal growth prioritise prioritize soul's calling wayfinder life coaching wayfinder mastercoach your soul filled practice Apr 03, 2024

Dear Reader

 [Pssst! Extremely special announcement for May/Jun 2024 in the PS’s in this blog. Put a star by this email to read later.  Can't wait like me? Click this link now  I think some of you will be extremely excited! I am.]


A little story for you...




You’ve heard the story about the rocks, pebbles and sand in the jar, right? Well, it’s been rummaging around my head for a while, and I wanted to share it with you today. If you're new to it, it goes something like this… (if you're not new, feel free to scroll a little)


A professor once filled mayonnaise jar with small rocks, then asked his class was it full? Just in case you haven’t here it is [feel free to scroll down to my thoughts below]


“Yes”, they said.


He then put some small pebbles into the jar and gave it a shake to let them fall between the rocks.


“Now, is it full?” he asked.


“Yes”, they replied.


He finally put sand into the jar and shook it to allow it to fill all the gaps. Guess what he asked? Yep - “Now is it full?


“Yes” came the reply.


Next, he tipped out the contents and put the sand in first. This represents those little things in life that don’t matter much or that are small, necessary jobs.. You know, the mindless scrolling, watching 3/10 TV, buying stuff that doesn’t really add to life, spending time with people you don’t like, entering your receipts into your bookkeeping system or paying off your credit card bill. What things do you have in your life that feel like a waste of time?


“Is the jar full” he asks,


“No” the students observed as the jar is about half full at this point.


He then put in the pebbles which come nearly to the top. These represent the fairly important things in life, but things you could do without. The nice new jumper, time at work that you enjoy to a degree, but maybe working too hard so it takes up a lot of time and space, binge-watching a good TV drama. I’d call it a positive body compass feeling, but not high. Can you think of things that fit this bill in your life?


“Is the jar full?” poses the professor,


“Pretty much” say the students.


Finally he picks up the rocks, which represent the things you might love to do and value highly in your life. Quality time with your partner or children, watching an incredible sunset, doing the work of your heart, playing a sport you enjoy, going on the holiday to Costa Rica or hiring the Cotswold Holiday Cottage, giving yourself permission to take the programme or do the workshop, reading the book on spirituality that opens your mind and heart.


This time, the rocks just don’t fit. The sand fills the first half of the jar, and the pebbles most of the rest, with these being prioritised first there just isn’t space for the good stuff.


So What Do I Think Of This Story?


 (if you were scrolling, stop now)


This year I have had to do things differently. I have prioritised my heart.


My heart is the best tool, the wisest neural network in my body (which just happens to be about the size of a cat’s brain, about 40,000 neurons) for choosing rocks. But this year I went further… I’m putting in some BOULDERS.In fact. I think I need a bigger jar!


Sometimes they looked like pebbles. I just wanted to read a novel on the sofa in January. I couldn’t think of much more I wanted to do. So that’s what I did. Then I was ready for more inspiring reading - Bruce Lipton, Joe Dispenza, Peter Levine, to name a few.


Then the pottery idea arrived.


This was challenging because it meant clearing my diary on Tuesday mornings. Aren’t I supposed to work then? I did it anyway.


Then the Pilates and Yoga ideas happened. They weren’t there before, but following the smaller pebbles gave rise to insight into bigger ones. Again - eek… I’ll have to clear my diary for a couple of hours on Monday and Thursday mornings. But shouldn’t I be working? Is this too much? Won’t I stop earning? I did it anyway.


Then I had an idea. I’m going to Arizona in April to do the next 4 days of my Equus Coach training… what if I could get some work experience out there so when I come home I’m REALLY ready to start working with people. That felt… AUDACIOUS. DELICIOUS. DELIGHTFUL. But OMG could I really? I mean, childcare, cost, it’s not set up, I don’t know anyone etc. So I followed the little breadcrumbs of my heart. One email led to a call, led to “someone knowing someone who…”. Now, incredibly, I’m going to San Diego for a week to do this work experience. With a free stay in a yurt. (Can I just pinch myself?)


I just had to be bolder. 


Or should I say… 


(pun coming up - you have been warned…)


I just had to be BOULDER.


And what if I run an in person retreat?! I’ve only offered zoom since lockdown - it feels strongly like time to change. To share my heart’s ways with you, in person, with stories shared over coffees and in corridors, with people chatting while they queue for lunch! That feels so sweet to my heart.


But.. again, the thoughts! This is too daring! What if no one comes? Isn’t it too short a lead time? Do I know enough? My heart says yes I do, silly, 20 years of experience, new tools and ideas, and so many wise teachers that I’ve learned from… so do it anyway. It’ll be fun. Relaxing. Inspiring. I’ll meet incredible people in a real room with real legs! I loved teaching shamanic workshops in person, this will be even more accessible and will change people’s lives for the better. Besides, what’s the worst that can happen?


So I’m doing it. Boldly. Joyfully. Heart-centred and Heart-led. [Details are in the PS by the way]. And guess what. A beautiful retreat centre just ‘happened’ to have a weekend free that fits my schedule… and there are no more until next year! So I’ve grabbed it. Thank you, Universe. (If you’d like to join me, it’s in the UK 31 May -2 June with easy travel connections).


This is what I’ve learned. 




Pick up the bigger rocks when they are shown to us. Even if we can’t work out how on earth we’d lift them. Even if they don’t fit our lives (get a bigger jar… or break them into smaller pieces and fit them in first). It’s not necessarily travel, classes, or stuff. It’s also been meditation, prioritising food that’s best for me, choosing to walk away from grumpy teens, spending ‘work time’ with my Mum.


Because I was ‘boulder’ I’m also riding a beautiful horse every Friday that I get to groom, tack up, muck out and pretty much treat as mine for a few hours. I have a better relationship with my children and I enjoy their company more (which I’m guessing is a virtuous circle).  I quit alcohol (it wasn't a problem as such, but it just added to the sand).


It turns out my greatest fears haven’t materialised (there’s no stockpile of sand I can’t fit in at all) because now I no longer yearn to do Pilates or yoga. Those pebbles have yielded to bigger rocks. And much of the sand has just been laid to rest back where it belongs - outside of my jar.


I’m not writing this to brag. I’m writing this to show you it can be done. I had no idea what I wanted. I couldn’t create any intentions for 2024 other than follow my heart. The biggest dream I could manage was to read a crime novel. And it’s taking me to San Diego!


What I now know for sure is that, for a joyful, heart-filled life, I have to put the rocks in, or the biggest pebbles I can find. As soon as I see a boulder, despite all the disbelief in myself, in life and what’s possible, I need to grab it with both hands. I have never felt so at peace, so joyful. Because I’m following my heart in the big things the smaller things are more joyful. I’m more at peace with my children. Dog walking in the rain is beautiful. I somehow get most of my admin done. I’ve put the ‘when I have more time I’ll…’ story to the side and I’m doing it before the ‘when I…’.


So what are your boulders?


Sometimes we don’t have to move mountains, but we do have to shift a little bit of rock. It might take some effort. It might involve using muscles you’ve never used before, or haven’t used for years. It will involve wiring and firing new neural pathways together (which is great for your health and wellbeing and switching on helpful genes, by the way). It will involve you making your life better than you can imagine.


Sometimes we don’t have the scope. We need space, time and reflection after grief, for example. May I suggest, allowing yourself to feel big feelings is a rock. Shoving them down and getting on with it, or working them over and over in loops is definitely sand. So it’s not really about the size of the action or choice or thing or experience as far as the external world is concerned. It’s about the meaningfulness of the action or choice or thing or experience to you.


So what boulders can you put into your jar? Do write and tell me! I’d love to hear and I’ll be happy to cheer you on as you roll this big beast into your life - first, front and centre. Or what boulder, rock or pebble do you think you’d like but aren’t quite sure if it’s possible, or if it’s coming from your true self, your heart, your essence. Let me know that too - I have ways to help you discern.


With love


Joanna x


P.S. In the way that these things happen when we’re on track with our heart’s path I put an information page together last night.  It's for my heart experiment, the ‘Live Your Authentic Heart-Led Life Retreat’, 31 May - 2 June at the Ammerdown Retreat Centre. It’s truly the first of its kind. You’ll learn all about the how of living from your heart and come away gently changed. You’ll be inspired, meet amazing people, eat wonderful food, soak in the rural vibes, get shed loads of fabulous extras and we’ll hang out together in our shared heartspace so you step away from the familiar environment that keeps us stuck, and be in a space to open to something you love more. (We’ll work with your doubts, too). If you don’t want to go for yourself, go for your family and friends, because you’ll end up being happier and more fun to be around. Check it out hereBy the way, as this is the first, and the notice is short it’s less than I will charge for a rerun, and there’s an early bird discount (sometimes our inner jar-sand just needs a little incentive ;) )


P.P.S. Introverts and extroverts are catered for with this retreat. Any questions, just ask. But most info is here. 


[Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash]