<![CDATA[Magnetic Hub - Blog]]>Fri, 19 Jul 2019 07:27:38 +1200Weebly<![CDATA[mid year checkpoint - what has magnetic hub been up to?]]>Thu, 18 Jul 2019 08:56:03 GMThttp://magnetichub.co.nz/blog/mid-year-checkpoint-what-has-magnetic-hub-been-up-to2019 has been a whirlwind so far! Surely we say that every year, but it still seems true. 
This has been the year of transition and change for Magnetic Hub.
I shared some news in February that described my reasoning for the way Magnetic Hub is now operating. You can re-read that blog >>> here.

We are now a free community model - no more fees, no more guest visit bookings. Just come along if you wish and find out about meetings and topics via our closed Facebook group >>> here.

So how has it all been working out? Well, I'd say very nicely.
Here's a mid-year checkpoint, a round up of our topics so far and a bit about what we have been up to.

The first sign of strength is that all the groups that used to run, still run. This is a lovely validation of our model and the desire amongst women to come together and have meaningful conversations. Hamilton (two groups), Cambridge and Tauranga - we are alive and thriving. We've met new members and seen lots of familiar faces as well. Attendance ebbs and flows (it always did, even with a fee-paying model) and this seems to work just fine.

The wonderful people at YWCA really saw something in what I am trying to do with Magnetic Hub and came on board as a venue host for all our Hamilton meetings. Cambridge Community House are equally wonderful as hosts and the Tauranga group get to meet at the University of Waikato's satellite campus - flash!

We created some colourful posters to share around. A tiny bit of creative work that was a great investment of time and looks fabulous. We made one for each group.
Our topics have been delightfully wide-ranging. A cool development from (and improvement on) the old model is the way we share resources ahead of meetings. Every month I post about the topic we are going to discuss and share resources and links in the comments below. It becomes a rich and informative thread where other women can chip in their own ideas and favourite resources, quotes or images. What's so handy about the Facebook group is that it's a very searchable space and so we can all go back and find resources very easily - and they are there forever now. No more lost emails in the inbox spaghetti jungle!

Here's what we've talked about so far and a few cool resources.

February - CHANGE, change at work, change in our personal lives, change we choose and change we are forced to move with whether we like it or not. One of our own members shared this great blog about creative change management >>> here.

March - CHARTING YOUR PATH, How do we figure out where we are going? Do we even need to know our path, or can we roam? Once we set our sights on a direction, how do we stay on the path and what can set us off course? We re-shared a great TED talk about being a multipotentialite and not needing to choose one path >>> here.

April - DEATH AND DYING, we looked at the practicalities and the profound. Pouring some light on this topic may help us to normalise, demystify and prepare for the inevitable. We shared many valuable resources, including the Death Cafe website >>> here.

May - RELATIONSHIPS WITH WOMEN IN MY FAMILY, which women in your family are vital to you? What role do you play for other women in your family? We shared a taonga from our family that became a talking point for a special women in our family life. This Marie Forleo video on family drama was a good resource >>> here.

June - APOLOGIES, good ones, bad ones...apologies come in many forms. Sometimes they never come. We explored the components of an apology and the social place that saying 'sorry' holds for us all. We will all have different requirements for an apology. This topic linked to forgiveness and integrity. We laughed out loud at these memes for how the different star signs apologise >>> here.

And now it's July and we are going to talk about money and finances. I can't wait!

If you want to get in on the conversation, we'd love to meet you. Head to our group on Facebook or follows us @magnetichubnz.

If there is no group in your area, but you think you could begin one, get in touch!
magnetichubnz@gmail.com

Michelle x


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<![CDATA[Guess what I did this summer?]]>Thu, 07 Feb 2019 11:00:00 GMThttp://magnetichub.co.nz/blog/guess-what-i-did-this-summer​On my wedding day, nearly 12 years ago, my Dad made a memorable speech. He said something like this, “Michelle is known for her GUESS WHAT?! phone calls. Every time she calls and the opening line is ‘Dad, guess what?!’ I know she’s got something big to tell us and it will be out of the blue.'“
​On my wedding day, nearly 12 years ago, my Dad made a memorable speech. He said something like this, “Michelle is known for her GUESS WHAT?! phone calls. Every time she calls and the opening line is ‘Dad, guess what?!’ I know she’s got something big to tell us and it will be out of the blue.'“

He’s right. Over the years, I have called and said things like;

‘guess what? I’m moving to Devon to become a teacher!’ 

‘guess what? I’m moving to New Zealand to be with Shawn!’

‘guess what? We’re getting married!’ (approx six months after arriving here…)

It was a gorgeous speech and a beautiful day. Here’s my favourite photo from our wedding day. 
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But it’s been a while since I had a ‘guess what?’ announcement. And at the fine old age of 39, I don’t call home to make these announcements any more, even though I can still recite the landline number of my childhood home backwards…! No, now I have insights and epiphanies of a different kind. And this latest one is about Magnetic Hub - and this ‘guess what?’ announcement is for you and it’s happening here in this blog. Are you ready??

Guess what? 

Magnetic Hub meetings are no longer for members only - this year, Magnetic Hub is FREE!

Here’s what you need to know:​
  • Meetings will carry on in 2019, same awesome topics, but some changes to when/where etc
  • There is no longer a fee to join Magnetic Hub as a member and you don’t have to book a guest visit anymore either
  • All the women in our existing Magnetic Hub community know about this change and have heard it first, from me
Join our Facebook Group
​If you are liking the gist of this announcement so far, then great! I had hoped you would. To stay in touch with us and join the community, please click the button above and request to join our closed Facebook group. This is where we will start the conversation and build our community. It’s where topics and resources are shared for the month and where you can see when meetings are happening near you.

Magnetic Hub is here for the love of meaningful conversations with other women. We know we’re a bit different, our community tells us this is why it’s so cool - there’s really nothing else like it. We blur professional and personal growth, we show up as our whole selves, we learn to listen to others and use our own voice.

If you’ve read this far, you might be wondering what has happened to make me want to shift from a paid model to a free community. It’s a valid query and I’m happy to answer.

See, all that stuff above about conversation, voice, community and whole self? - that’s what I love, that’s what I do best. And I do it best with women. Until recently, I was sitting in a place of tension with Magnetic Hub because many components of the ‘old’ model were not my natural space and not bringing me joy. I took the business on from its founder, Rachel, and for a long while I changed nothing at all. This summer the blister burst. The lack of change I brought to the business finally crescendo-ed into a huge wake-up call, ‘This is not you! This is not feeling right! Make it your own and make the change!’. It would be wrong to paint this as a fast process, it was a slow-building blister with much pain and angst along the way. I tried to avoid many unpleasant feelings and I dodged accountability many times. But then I got there. And I’m pleased I did.

I’m excited for the year ahead and what new learnings this phase will have in store. I want to deeply thank the women who have affirmed this move and shown loving support to me over the last few weeks. I can’t wait to meet the new women who might identify with this change and I can’t wait to get into a meeting this month and have a great conversation. That’s what it’s about.
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<![CDATA[TEDx Ruakura 2018]]>Wed, 05 Sep 2018 12:00:00 GMThttp://magnetichub.co.nz/blog/tedx-ruakura-20183123253On Sunday 2 September 2018, I stood on a stage and talked for about 15 minutes. It was pretty hard, but also pretty awesome. I spoke about bothering - how we often don't - and why, maybe, we should.
​On Sunday 2 September 2018, I stood on a stage and talked for about 15 minutes. It was pretty hard, but also pretty awesome. I spoke about bothering - how we often don't - and why, maybe, we should.

It's easy to not bother these days. Lots of things in life would make you believe it's not worth it, that it's too hard, or someone else will do it and so you don't need to.

People used to bother more and this really becomes obvious when you look at the time and effort that women poured into the suffrage movement. 125 years ago, New Zealand became the first country to pass a bill in Parliament that afforded women the equal right to vote. It took 15 years to achieve that political goal. 15 years of petitions and attempts that failed.

In the UK, the suffrage movement began well before New Zealand cottoned on to it - and it continued well past our success on 19 September 1893. All up, it took 46 years. 46 years of bothering. Does anyone realise this? It's a remarkable fact. 

I spoke about Magnetic Hub in my talk too. I really wanted to. 

​Here's a quote from my talk:

"We do a lot of bothering at Magnetic Hub. Magnetic Hub started out as a group for high performing women, but over time we stripped away those labels, making it accessible for everyday women. Because I turned up as a guest one night, not corporate, not feeling very much like a high-performer, hardly knew anyone there, wasn’t really sure what it was all about. I can remember the doubt, the uncertainty of showing up, looking around the room for clues that I belonged. And I remember women bothering to include me, bothering to get to know me.

Three years on and my role has grown significantly. I am now Head Botherer! I love what we do and the environment we create in our face to face meetings. I feel very blessed to lead this community of women. When we meet at our monthly groups it looks so much like an ancient thing, women gathered in a circle, talking. Whilst women today might not be shelling the peas or sewing clothes, we are still drawn to gather, in a circle, and talk.  Magnetic Hub is a mechanism for meaningful discussions.

Women get a chance to hear their own voice spoken aloud. And other women get the chance to play audience and listen deeply to someone’s story. We bother with each other. There is trust and connection, women feel safe to speak and they have such beautiful stories to tell."

​Bothering is about making an effort, taking the time.

It's about love and caring.

Are you a botherer?

I'm trying to be one - and I reckon the world needs botherers now more than ever. You don't have to be perfect at it, you will sometimes get it wrong (I sure have!) but it's worth having a go. Just start, just join in.

Love, Michelle x
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<![CDATA[Leadership and the invisible contract]]>Wed, 04 Jul 2018 12:00:00 GMThttp://magnetichub.co.nz/blog/leadership-and-the-invisible-contractSo you've ended up leading a team. You know how you got here, you were complicit, there was an offer and an agreement. This is your first leadership role – perhaps it's paid or perhaps it's not. I've had both kinds of leadership roles, both count. You did make this choice, so how come it is not quite as it seemed? Time has gone by and 'stuff' has started to creep in. 

What has happened here? 
So you've ended up leading a team. You know how you got here, you were complicit, there was an offer and an agreement. This is your first leadership role – perhaps it's paid or perhaps it's not. I've had both kinds of leadership roles, both count. You did make this choice, so how come it is not quite as it seemed? Time has gone by and 'stuff' has started to creep in. 

What has happened here? 

Did someone hide the facts from you? Was there a second more-accurate version of the job description that never saw the light of day? 

No, my friend. You are simply a leader now. It's a lived experience and you've simply lived it long enough to begin to see the full shape of it emerge from the darkness and come into focus. You are starting to realise the full extent of leadership, the full commitment. There's an invisible contract and you've signed it by taking on this role. You've signed on the line in an ink you did not choose, with a pen you did not hold. You have agreed to this, but you only got to read the first page of the terms and conditions. 

It's daunting to behold, the full shape of it. The scrutiny, the responsibility, the rawness, the power, the emptiness, the joy. 

You were groomed for this perhaps, encouraged to apply, emboldened by support from other leaders. You thought, I can do this. And you can. But it's taking you to new heights and new depths – all in one day. It's not quite what you expected. There's hope out there, there's some training for you, some mentoring perhaps. But how do you know what to ask for when this journey has taken a massive detour into uncharted territory? How do you confess that you're not actually enjoying it every day...and how do you lead your people during such a storm of uncertainty within? 

Because they watch you, your team. You are beginning to realise that your actions are on camera, recorded and replayed by those who look to you for guidance and direction. So what you do really matters, because someone might copy your actions. So if you mess up and have to say no, don't copy me, that was wrong, you're also on camera. It's very hard to be a human and a leader some days. People can be unforgiving. People can be hurtful and their behaviours will shock you. Every effort and every strategy you could possibly learn will not reach some people. Only your love will reach them – and even then, you may never realise it.  

Some days you will nail the presentation, be lifted aloft when the deal is signed, be awarded a big smile from the shyest team member. Some days you will cry alone in the toilets at a cruel comment, receive three resignations in a row, fail to meet a deadline and lose all your budget spreadsheets to a computer virus. All of it is your job. 

It's OK to say, this is not what I thought it was. I am not up for this.  
It's not OK to try and change leadership to suit you, because the fundamentals are inarguable and people will suffer if those fundamentals scare you too much to deliver on them. You have to change to suit leadership – no other option.  

The fundamentals are this: leadership is akin to parenting. You are raising people, hoping they will grow and develop to be more than you ever dreamed possible for them. You believe in their full potential and you believe in the family. You will provide education and discipline where it is needed. You will create and communicate safe, loving boundaries and hence there will be trust. The buck stops with you and you accept that. 

Leadership is not reserved for those who are actual parents, indeed, some parents are not natural leaders. Leadership is fantastic preparation for parenting, but there is no requirement to ever follow through if you don't want to! It's a simple analogy – so simple that it really works. 

Re-framing my leadership roles and viewing them through the lense of the parenting analogy was a leap-forward moment. It was also sobering. Would I really do anything for my team? Do I care enough? Are my discipline skills empowering or actually punitive? Do they trust me? How could I measure that? Do I trust them? How could they measure that? When was the last time I truly stopped the buck and shouldered all of the consequences? Am I accountable? Why am I doing this? 

Ask yourself your own questions – define your leadership and decide whether this is the right contract for you. 

Read more: https://startwithwhy.com/learn-to-lead?ref=home (Simon Sinek)
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<![CDATA[Big hot mess - being an anxious woman]]>Mon, 11 Jun 2018 12:00:00 GMThttp://magnetichub.co.nz/blog/big-hot-mess-being-an-anxious-womanTell me if you disagree with this statement: we are all a fabulous hot mess of contrasts, not a single one of us has life fully sorted. Right? Life is not an insta story of highlights and filters. It's also about washing up and sitting in traffic and not getting the job. We can easily lose sight of the balance of things, so here's my raw look at my month
This blog is taken directly from a newsletter sent to Magnetic Hub followers in May 2018. It touched a raw nerve with a lot of women and due to the number of replies we received, thanking Michelle for writing about anxiety, we decided to post as a blog.

Tell me if you disagree with this statement: we are all a fabulous hot mess of contrasts, not a single one of us has life fully sorted. Right? Life is not an insta story of highlights and filters. It's also about washing up and sitting in traffic and not getting the job. We can easily lose sight of the balance of things, so here's my raw look at my month.

This month, I spent more time as a worrier than a warrior - and this is my 'dear diary moment'. I want to share some learnings that really drove home for me the beauty of just embracing who I am and letting go of all the expectations and yardsticks I carry around like some kind of excess baggage, serving no purpose and costing me a fortune at the airport ;)

Here's the thing. Anxiety is quite a natural state of mind for me, I'm really good at it! I'm the light sleeper, the deep thinker, the thin-skinned big feeler, the spiralling problem dweller...sometimes it gets too much for me.

I was recommended a book by Sarah Wilson, the woman behind I Quit Sugar. This book, her latest, is called "First, we make the beast beautiful" and it's about her exploration of anxiety and loneliness. I liked it for many reasons:
  1. I could relate
  2. She mentions heaps of do-able healthy reminders
  3. There's a good dose of science and research

But this bit really got me. There was a passage about midway through where Sarah re-tells some findings from Dian Fossey, the American primatologist and conservationist known for undertaking an extensive study of mountain gorilla groups in Africa in the 1960's. Dian had observed a troop of chimps for some years and identified some anxious chimps, the ones who seemed agitated or depressed and hung around the outskirts of the troop. Dian decided to remove these chimps to see what would happen. Six months later, the whole community was dead. The suggestion here is that these anxious outsiders had been pivotal to survival. They had been the light sleepers, the ones who made the first noise when danger was sensed. The other chimps needed them and their heightened senses as an early warning system. Hyper-sensitive and vigilant, these worrier chimps had played a part that was misunderstood in the community's dynamic.

Sarah arrives at a similar conclusion about her own quirks and anxieties. Let them be, maybe they are serving a purpose. Yes, manage them and know how to keep them in check when their appearance is wreaking havoc in your life, but also give them some credit. 

So my month of worrying led me to some good reading (a lot of it at 3am) and some inner peace. I'm a worrier. It's part of who I am. I do some of my best work in the middle of the night and I've learnt to let that happen. 

We are like those chimps. Some of us sleep soundly and cruise along with a natural ease. We need you people. Some of us need to have someone close when a bad dream wakes us at 4am. We need you people too. A community is stronger for its diversity, if we all look at the world through an identical lense, we will miss important details.

And so it is in our Magnetic Hub community; diverse ages, diverse backgrounds - women who just come together they want to have meaningful discussions.
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<![CDATA[Don't go changing...you are already enough]]>Wed, 27 Dec 2017 11:00:00 GMThttp://magnetichub.co.nz/blog/dont-go-changingyou-are-already-enoughAnyone else feeling a bit odd?

It's a slightly weird time of year, Christmas has been and gone but we're not quite counting down to midnight on New Year's Eve yet.

It's a media-soaked time of year: photos from beautiful beaches, photos of food and family and friends. Adverts for product sales and brand deals so painfully good 'you won't want to miss out'. News recaps from the year that has so nearly ended, reflections, #bestnine, memories shared. The self-help industry is busy helping itself to sell you a diary, a journal, an online course, a book.
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Anyone else feeling a bit odd?

It's a slightly weird time of year, Christmas has been and gone but we're not quite counting down to midnight on New Year's Eve yet.

It's a media-soaked time of year: photos from beautiful beaches, photos of food and family and friends. Adverts for product sales and brand deals so painfully good 'you won't want to miss out'. News recaps from the year that has so nearly ended, reflections, #bestnine, memories shared. The self-help industry is busy helping itself to sell you a diary, a journal, an online course, a book.

I feel a shift this year, less inclined to feel pressure about 2018 but still a little bit aware that I am supposed to play this game and make grand plans, dream big and set resolutions.

In years gone by I have written many a resolution and stuck to very few of them. I usually slip into the familiar vortex of hopes...good intentions...disappointment...guilt...self-loathing...failure.

This year I haven't really settled on a resolution, nothing is written down - maybe I won't commit to anything. I've got some loose thoughts about seeing more friends, having more fun and being less serious - but it won't start in January because I've already kicked off and asked one friend to have more coffees with me. She said yes, phew.

Then I saw this blog post from the amazing Taryn Brumfit at Body Image Movement and she really summed it up. I recommend reading the whole blog here, but this bit stood out.

"There is nothing wrong with who you currently are. We love that person, that person is perfect as they are...
...Rather than begin this year the way you have most others, resolving to change the way you look/weigh/eat while confetti flies in the air on New Year’s Eve as the clock strikes midnight, why don’t you make this the year to try something a little different? Rather than believe you need to change who you are, why not do the radically opposite and lean in to that person – recognise that you’re already enough?"


Taryn's gig is body image and she does amazing work in that area, but it would be easy to add in other resolutions to change the way you love/who you love/what you love. Or to wish for new work/hobbies/leisure/income....

But she's so right. I am already enough. And what I have is already enough.

If I embrace that bold statement, I evaporate the media marinade around me and I am returned to a simple state of gratitude. Is it easy to do? Er, no - well not for me at least. I've written about self-love before. But the effort to try and accept myself gets me closer to feeling 'enough' than ever before.

If you're a long-time Hub follower you may be thinking that this language is all a bit familiar. You're right. The very first statement in our Code that we ask members to honour is this:

Believe in yourself and your ability to connect, challenge, create and develop, knowing at all times that 'you are enough'.

Where does this phrase 'I am enough' come from? Well, it's a common affirmation used by therapists, practitioners and anyone working on self acceptance. The video below is one we have used many times to help new members understand what we mean in the Code. Here it is again for posterity...enjoy.

See you in 2018, Michelle x
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<![CDATA[Only for women, here's why...]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 11:00:00 GMThttp://magnetichub.co.nz/blog/only-for-women-heres-whyAt the start of a speaker event we held this year, I stood chatting to some women who had come as a group from a large corporate organisation in town. One of the women was attending a Magnetic Hub event for the first time and raised the topic of how events and meetings that are for only women are perceived. She re-told the discomfort she felt when invited to a lunch for women in leadership recently, how she had hesitated and felt disinclined to accept the invite. She said, 'if I knew the guys at work were all going out for a lunch and I wasn't invited because I'm a woman, I'd be banging on the door of the restaurant demanding to be let in!'

​She was raising the question, is it OK for women to gather and exclude men? Is it unequal? 

At the start of a speaker event we held this year, I stood chatting to some women who had come as a group from a large corporate organisation in town. One of the women was attending a Magnetic Hub event for the first time and raised the topic of how events and meetings that are for only women are perceived. She re-told the discomfort she felt when invited to a lunch for women in leadership recently, how she had hesitated and felt disinclined to accept the invite. She said, 'if I knew the guys at work were all going out for a lunch and I wasn't invited because I'm a woman, I'd be banging on the door of the restaurant demanding to be let in!'

She was raising the question, is it OK for women to gather and exclude men? Is it unequal? 

I think this is an important topic.

I think she was looking to me for some guidance, some explanation of why Magnetic Hub is a community for women. So I thought it was about time I responded to that.
  1. We need to be less apologetic about women-only gatherings. I don't feel the need to 'balance the books' and invite men along to a girls' night out. I don't commonly question what men discuss while out playing golf. It's natural for humans to seek out company with like-minded peers, so I am completely passionate about our women-only status.
  2. It is an unavoidable and ugly truth that our society is far from equal. We should be talking about that more. Talking about our lived experiences as women, with women, feels safe and some of us are drawn to those kinds of conversations. Others of us discover those conversations later in life as PledgeMe Founder Anna Guenther described well in June 2017 in this article about why feminism is still needed.
  3. When I run a discussion with a new group of women and draw on familiar Magnetic Hub material, I am often awe-struck at how quickly women will go deep, share openly and savour listening attentively to each other. Women are thirsty to talk with one another about meaningful topics - and Magnetic Hub enables that to happen.
  4. As I have previously blogged, a circle of women is an ancient construct. Why change something that is as old as the day? Bring it into the modern context, change the topics a little, but essentially it's always happened.
  5. We meet up for more than solidarity and frivolity at Magnetic Hub. We want to grow and develop ourselves. We want to share and support, but we also want to learn and take away practical strategies to try for ourselves.

Do I think that one day Magnetic Hub will no longer be needed? That women will be so empowered and connected that a community like ours will become redundant? Maybe so. I can also imagine a future for this community where we learn to evolve and welcome anyone who wants to talk about these topics. I think men are starting to recognise their thirst for meaningful personal growth conversations too.

So over to you. What is your take on Magnetic Hub community for women? How should we respond if that future comes calling a little early and I am approached by a man seeking to join our circle?

What value do you discover in women-only settings? How do they differ to mixed gender discussions? Please, tell me. Your comments are very welcome and I invite you to continue this conversation with me. I'll leave you with this powerful quote...

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
— Desmond Tutu
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<![CDATA[Good Vibrations]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 11:00:00 GMThttp://magnetichub.co.nz/blog/good-vibrationsEverything is energy. From chocolate to Chernobyl – everything is energy, right? 

At our August speaker event, Lee-Ann Jordan shared some amazing insights on intuition and the growing body of evidence from quantum physics that confirms our hunches and gut feelings have a solid base in science. At a very base level, we are all made of the same stuff. Neil de Grasse Tyson says it well: 

We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.
Everything is energy. From chocolate to Chernobyl – everything is energy, right? 

At our August speaker event, Lee-Ann Jordan shared some amazing insights on intuition and the growing body of evidence from quantum physics that confirms our hunches and gut feelings have a solid base in science. At a very base level, we are all made of the same stuff. Neil de Grasse Tyson says it well: 

We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us. 

I'm vibrating, you're vibrating – no wonder we can feel each other's energy. We can 'read' the mood in a room. Some people lift up our energy and we vibrate together in resonance when we are close to them. Some people have the opposite effect! 

Well, if we're all still friends and in general agreement that this is the case, then what do you think about male energy versus female energy? Different? Or universal? 

At the weekend I conducted a wee straw poll, just for you. I found it fascinating, here's what happened. 

I headed up to South Auckland to spend Sunday morning at the national home birth hui. Women gather from across Aotearoa once a year to come together in the name of home birth and share a korero. This is a familiar world to me and I have been part of hui before. Both our babies were born at home here in NZ. Let's not detract from the story, if you want to know more about that then get in touch. 

Every home birth hui is opened with a beautiful ceremony that we call kei a wai, which is where the tears usually begin to flow and the vibrations gear up a notch. It was while sitting in the circle, listening to woman after woman use the opportunity to speak, that I realised two things: 
  1. I am truly blessed to be working in a woman-centred community like Magnetic Hub. It just feels right to me. Women, in all their unique definitions, are utterly incredible. 
  2. The energy in the room was intense. Feminine and emotive and intense. If it was a colour, it was a throbbing purple/red/pink. Emotion was palpable – we were literally hearing women speak their emotions and openly express emotions – but anyone who walked into the room with no warning would have felt it too. 

The energy mirrored the words women spoke. Some called for kindness and love, everywhere and all the time. Some spoke of the fight and the grit needed, in order to be heard. Both are true, both are female energy paradigms. Many more exist along the spectrum. 

I left after morning tea. Driving south on the highway I felt pumped and also heavy. Female energy can be overwhelming and I'd just been to the energy equivalent of Glastonbury! 

Walking through the door at home, I saw a completely contrasting sight. Boys, boys, boys! 

My husband and two sons, sitting at the table eating lunch, all turned and beamed their smiles upon me – what a feeling, to be so welcomed! I got a big hug from my eldest son then they dived straight into the plans for the afternoon. I don’t think anyone even asked me how my morning had been. It's like my arrival home said it all, you were gone and now you're back...great, let's move on. They were in the moment, in the place of action – and pretty much focused on themselves! 

I marvelled at the two energies I had moved between in one day. So, so different.  

So whilst the science in this experiment is amateur at best, it's kind of interesting to me. My boys keep me 'doing' and in the moment – which is a good balance for my tendency to live in my head...And I got to experience a clear affirmation that being part of a circle of women is also where I belong. 
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<![CDATA[Being Part of a circle of women]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:00:00 GMThttp://magnetichub.co.nz/blog/being-part-of-a-circle-of-womenMagnetic Hub is effectively a circle of women. We bring our whole self, we bring our triumphs and our roadblocks. We share, we listen and we help one another. We definitely improve the situation for women in our community, month after month after month.
Art credit: Arna Baartz

Circles are the means through which women have improved the situation for women.
— Jean Shinoda Bolen


Magnetic Hub is effectively a circle of women. We bring our whole self, we bring our triumphs and our roadblocks. We share, we listen and we help one another. We definitely improve the situation for women in our community, month after month after month.

In August meetings, we opened the sessions by talking about the personal symbolism we attach to a circle. Some members brought in an item, or image that helped illustrate what they wanted to say.
  • the symbolism of a wedding band
  • the grounding nature of children and the sense of completion their arrival represented
  • a gift from a female relative - the tree of life as a hanging pendant - given at a time of worry and uncertainty to bond seven women together
  • the recollection of joining a bellydancing class as a young woman
  • time spent as part of La Leche League, a mother-to-mother support group
  • the sense of support from elder women in the family, the cycle of grandmothers, mothers and daughters

For me, I love to picture the ancient permanence of women, gathering in a circle. Women peeling spuds, women shelling peas, women tending babies. Women drawing together over their grief, over their joy, over issues and triumphs.

It's not such a common occurrence in 2017 - the peas are in freezer bags, the spuds are peeled by people standing alone at their sinks. Similarly, our individual lives and the loss of collective community ways can mean that even grief and joy are experienced alone.

I believe a lot of women are feeling this shift and we are seeing it manifest as a global thirst for connection and meaningful conversation.

Women are the connectors, we talk and share. When women come together in a circle with the sole purpose of sharing, listening and growing - magic happens.

Here in New Zealand, in 2017, Magnetic Hub offers a new way for women to come together each month. We are a mechanism for the meaningful, we are a circle of women.
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<![CDATA[Self-love for busy people]]>Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:00:00 GMThttp://magnetichub.co.nz/blog/self-love-for-busy-peopleWe're all working on stuff, right? We all know (either in a blindingly obvious conscious way, or in a niggling hunch sub-conscious way) what we need to work on. I liken it to a mirror in our soul. When we glance at our mirror, we see a true reflection of who we are – and sometimes it's terrifying. Sometimes we shudder and look away very, very quickly. The inner 'me' is not very polished, it's all of me, even the ugly raw painful parts. Sometimes the 'me' we are projecting outwardly is a more comfortable version to stick with. It's familiar, it's got lots of layers, the corners are soft and nothing pokes at us.  
We're all working on stuff, right? We all know (either in a blindingly obvious conscious way, or in a niggling hunch sub-conscious way) what we need to work on. I liken it to a mirror in our soul. When we glance at our mirror, we see a true reflection of who we are – and sometimes it's terrifying. Sometimes we shudder and look away very, very quickly. The inner 'me' is not very polished, it's all of me, even the ugly raw painful parts. Sometimes the 'me' we are projecting outwardly is a more comfortable version to stick with. It's familiar, it's got lots of layers, the corners are soft and nothing pokes at us.  

We all know that the mirror exists, that our true nature is a reflection we can search for whenever we choose. We also know that time spent staring into the mirror will never be wasted and that it might just result in a shift forwards, or sideways, into new territory. But that's hard to prioritise and even harder to face in a world that most definitely sends us clear messages about how we are supposed to look, feel, think, act and shop. Because we don't all stack up against these ideals. Indeed, these messages are a kind of handy soma for the masses that distract us endlessly from the inner work that could lead us to enlightenment. 

Don't have the right body for that jacket?  

Don't have the right budget for that tropical holiday?  

Don't have the perfect relationship to meet that biological clock's timer? 

Those questions land heavy. They hurt, they cut deep. I have felt that pain from the questions that society shouted at me in my 20s and 30s. Now heading into the later 30s (where I have way fewer f*cks to give) the questions that hurt me have changed tack. So you post/blog/talk/write about identity, and self-acceptance – how's your own work on that going Michelle?  

Ouch. 

I can't lie, I'm not very far along. The mirror is there and it calls me. Moana has a cute set of songs that tell her tale of identity discovery. Simple sentences about who she is trip off the tongue; I am girl who loves my island, I am a girl who loves the sea – it calls me. She describes her paradox, the struggle of duality, the delight to be shown her heritage and the layer of logic it neatly pours over her clashing thoughts. I am so totally obsessed with Moana and the messages about identity – another handy Disney distraction from my own inner work....sigh. 

With the loving help of Rachel, I've begun to look within recently. It's been hard work, revealing hurts and memories I thought were long-buried. But it's been worthwhile. A common denominator through our sessions is my inability to fall in love with myself. I am fortunate to be very loved and respected by key people in my world. My cup is filled by beautiful people who love me. I just need to work on filling my own cup, because without that crucial input I'm left in a pretty vulnerable place when the world is quiet and I'm all alone. And that sucks. 

So! What have I been up to? 

It's been hard. I am very much 'in my head' not 'in my heart' so I get lost in the daily spin of tasks and giving to others. Here’s a few ideas I have been trying, they might just make sense to you too. 

I have been trying to write myself single sentence love notes. I keep a journal in my car and try to jot things down as often as I can (remember). 
On the topic of thin skin, I was introduced to the term empath recently. This now makes a lot of sense to me, try reading this article to learn more. 

I have tried in vain to build daily mantras into my life, despite really responding to the affirmations and their intent. So I have built on the theme of journaling in my car and decorated my driving field of vision with printed affirmations. My car is a smart place to work on myself. I am alone in the car twice a day and I sit in the car with relatively little to occupy my thoughts during the school run commute. So now I literally can't escape their messages for at least 30 minutes twice a day. That should help
​My plans are to also start the day with some focused breathing or chakra cleanses...and I'm still using the moon cycle to honour the new and full moons... 

let go and release with the full  

intend and manifest with the new 

(Any excuse to burn something outside, he he) 

If this resonates for you then feel free to get in touch, I'd love to talk with others who are on this journey. 

Michelle xx 
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