Welcome to Hello Rebecca Ray, our collective home for courage, growth and human to human connection. I’m your host, Dr. Rebecca Ray, human, clinical psychologist, author, and educator. I know only too well how fear, comparison, and self doubt can stifle your potential. This podcast is all about brave and meaningful living and how you can make your authentic contribution to the world today. And every day.
Hi, lovely ones. Welcome to Episode 51 of Hello Rebecca Ray. And this is our final episode for Season One of the podcast. I’m so excited to end the season with a chat with someone that I deeply admire, Felicity Harley with 20 years media experience Felicity Harley is one of the most respected editors in women’s publishing. In 2017, she launched women.com.au before which she was launched editor of Women’s Health magazine. During her nine-year tenure. She took it to Australia’s top selling women’s lifestyle magazine. She has held the position of deputy editor at cosmopolitan, and features director of Cleo and has worked across Girlfriend, Who, and Also in the UK. She’s also the author of Balance and Other BS, which I’m talking to her about today. And in 2012, Felicity was named one of Westpac Australia’s 100 Women of Influence. For her brainchild, the I Support Women in Sport Campaign, which won recognition from the then PM Julia Gillard plus national and international awards. For the past 12 years. She’s appeared on Channel 7, including weekly on Sunrise, and the Morning Show Daily Edition and Seven News, she has also thrown her hand at presenting for TV shows, including the Brownlow red carpet special, and health and wellness show Live Well. Felicity is an established keynote speaker and panel facilitator and is currently the host of Body Insults Podcast – Healthy-ish. I hope you love this chat as much as I enjoyed it as Felicity and I dive into the topic of balance and what it means for today’s world.
Beck: Felicity Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for your time, I’m so excited to talk to you again after we spoke on your Healthy-ish podcast for Body and Soul. And I couldn’t get enough of your brain then. And now I’ve gone ahead and read your book Balance and Other B.S and I have questions. So welcome.
Felicity: You’d like to question my brain. Thank you. It’s lovely to be here. And yes, I loved our chat on Healthy-ish. And yeah, I’m excited to chat about the book. And yeah, for you to pick my brain as I picked your brain on that podcast.
Beck: And I’m so grateful to have access to your brain after reading your book, because we’ve had a couple of goes at scheduling this podcast recording and one of the things that was showing up for me in your book is that you don’t live a small life. So you mentioned in your book that you’re married to Tom, who is the CEO of the Sydney Swans, you have not one but three kids. And you do a million things in the media, as you listeners would have heard in your bio. And I kind of sat there reading it, and you know the first thing that showed up for me was I actually felt a little bit of guilt for intentionally keeping my life a bit small.
Felicity: Now, I didn’t want people to feel that way. It’s probably a good thing.
Beck: Yeah, I’m not saying I want you to feel guilty. I’m just I just want to make a note, I wanted to make a note about how I was feeling because intentionally, initially, I was like. Look, we intentionally only chose to have one child, mind you, making a baby when you’ve got a wife costs a fair bit of money. And I had a really shitty pregnancy, like the worst thing ever in the history of the world. And I never want to do it again. And then I was thinking, I intentionally keep my schedule, with quite a fair bit of whitespace in it unless I’m reaching the end of the book in which case we can guarantee I’ve procrastinated way too much. And now I’m pushing up against a deadline and I need to write for 12 hours in a day. And I initially stopped and went, Oh my goodness, am I not doing enough. And I had to then step into this kind of psychological place where I thought, hold on a second, the entire message of this book is, it was really beautifully put. Felicity talks in her book about a story where, where did you go? Was it Nepal or India or somewhere in Morocco? Morocco. Okay, so you’re in Morocco, and in the middle of nowhere, and you met Hersan’s sister, who was essentially living a very spartan life, but was such a soul of happiness and a projector of happiness that her way of being stayed with you and has stayed with you for many years. And I stopped when I got to that story. And I went, Whoa, isn’t it interesting that we are so socially conditioned to do more, be more, have more? That my initial reaction when I was reading the book, so we’re talking just the first chapter. Like, oh, my goodness, am I doing enough? You know,
Felicity: Well, I didn’t want that to be like that. But I find it interesting hearing people’s reactions to it.
Beck: Yeah. And I know, you didn’t intend that, because that’s not the vibe of the book at all. That was my own personal reaction. And I think it really speaks to the fabric of our conditioning at a social level, on what makes worthiness. What lands with um, how will I be judged? What makes me productive as a contributing member of society?And that really concerned me because I then had to stop and go. Hold on a second, you’ve made these choices in life, from a very conscious and intentional perspective, because busyness just adds anxiety to me and I don’t do well when I’m anxious. I can’t create, I can’t think straight. And when you explained your essentially explaining balance from a feminist perspective. One of the things that you spoke about was the next thing that was so therapeutic for me to read, which was, “We wanted to have it all and now we do, and we’re paying for it with our mental health”. I was like, Well, okay, call me out. Because here I am now. I was sitting at that uncomfortable emotion to kind of go, oh, my goodness, am I doing enough? And you then just answered that with exactly why I feel that way. And I wanted to then start by sharing that with you, certainly as a clinical psychologist, because I think it’s really important that we speak honestly about the fact that you can be trained to, to the hilt with psychological strategies, and still not escape the social conditioning that we experience on a daily basis as women. And so as I start with that, I want to know, my first question is where do you land with balance right now?
Felicity: I love that. I love that you were honest about that, especially as you know, an expert in this field. And I think, you know, that just your reaction just plays into the whole societal norm that we’ve created that we have to do more or be more or be different to who we are to feel accepted and okay and, which is also worrying. I find it worrying too that you feel like you have to be like you’re questioning whether you’re enough because Are you busy enough? Yeah, but I’m also questioning whether I’m enough because I have to keep busy and do more. And that validates my own self esteem. So we’re coming at it from different angles, but it’s the same problem, isn’t it? In a nutshell. Yeah. Um, so back to your question about what balance looks like. I did write this book when I had three small children so I was in a world of pain of overwhelm. My kids are you know, that was two years ago I wrote that so my kids are two years older, and obviously COVID I think has, I wonder what life would that that overwhelm that I was in, would it be different if COVID hadn’t happened? I think COVID is probably stopped a lot of that, made me reassess do I want to keep on like this? You know, like, even yesterday, I went and met up with my best mate. And she said, Oh, you know, are you on with book number two now? And I said, You know what, I just put pause on that for a moment. I just need to regroup after this crazy year that we’ve all had and have six months of not stress, no stress, no overwhelm just just a bit of calm in my life. So do I, what’s balance look like for me, I mean, I think balance ebbs and flows. And I think I talked about that in the book and I still probably believe that, that at times you can be absolutely overwhelmed, and at other times, it can be all fine. It’s like a roller coaster, you’re riding waves, you’re up and down and up and down. And, I think you get better at embracing that overwhelm as perhaps you get older or you become, you perhaps I realised after writing this book that I need to push things away, and I definitely learnt things while writing this book. From the experts I interviewed, you know, this one could, there’s one thing I learned that we should guard our time, boundaries, which I’ve learned from you. Yeah, that we, you know, have to be more choosy with people that we, that we want to spend time with, because their time is so precious. And perhaps I was more of a Yes, I’ll do that. Yes, I met you. Yes, a bit more of a yes person. And now I’m perhaps more of a no person. Yeah. So I think, yeah, perhaps balance is, it still ebbs and flows for me. There’s still being overwhelm during COVID with homeschooling. I mean, we travelled around the east coast of Australia, because of my husband’s job. So we were living in hotel rooms. And, but you know what, I’m incredibly grateful that we still had a job, and I could still do the podcast, and we still have food on our table and yeah. I think, yeah, it’s a good question, because I’m probably not as overwhelmed as I was before COVID. But now, perhaps, there is more balance in my day, because I’ve got less going on in my day.
Beck: Yeah. I love that answer. Because I’ve always believed around balance. And we still actually started this conversation, our last conversation. Where I said, I thought balance was bullshit, and actually really don’t like the word and I had no idea you’d written a book.
Felicity: That’s right. And I was like, I’ve wrote a book on that.
Beck: Yeah, yeah. Like really convenient. I was like, this is brilliant, get me on this book. But in my experience, as well, Ben is now three and a half. And I, I prefer to think of it as like, rhythm, life rhythm, sometimes the rhythm is actually like the cadence is really fast. And it has to be, because of the life demands that you experience as a result of having children and when they’re small and more dependent it’s just harder. Versus other times where, you know, you might end up happily retired one day and your day is as you want it to be, you know, it’s not scheduled by the demands of the next gig or whatever Tom’s doing on his schedule. And as I think about rhythm that allows me to be more accepting of the times when it is a little bit more pressure filled. And I, you speak a lot in the book about mindfulness and the the importance of being able to bring a sense of awareness to your experience on a daily basis, rather than talking about necessarily changing your life so that you have some kind of miraculous panacea that we then call balanced. I loved so much that actually the, it was rare for you to come across an interview in the book, where someone actually said yes, I think balance is possible. Normally, they actually had an answer that implied their own theory, or philosophy or way of living around balance, and one of them I loved was by Tanya the labour, I can never pronounce her name.
Felicity: Tanya Plibersek.
Beck: Thank you. And actually, I don’t think I’ve heard it for a while pronounced out loud. So I just couldn’t, thats why I wrote it for you.
Felicity: I’ve got it right for you. I’ve said it many times now.
Beck: Thank you so much. I need a pocket version of you for all the hard names from now on. She said that it’s about gratitude and expectations. And sometimes I think about living from a place of abundance on a daily basis, rather than a place of scarcity. And I mean that around personal resources, like time, love, energy, attention, and money, but not just money. And it always comes back to gratitude for me, and she talked to you about being able to change your expectations. And one of the things I wanted to ask you is, as someone who, again, and I’m not saying this, as you know, since we’ve started the conversation, I said, I feel guilty around. I’m not saying it as something where I’m putting you up on a pedestal, but what I am saying is, you have a lot of demands on a daily basis. And as someone that lives with that, and chooses to have this rich, amazing career, as well as three kids as well as a thriving relationship with a husband who also has a role that’s incredibly demanding. How do you work with your expectations or on a daily basis in order to be able to come back to centre?
Felicity: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think, you know, going back to what Tanya said, she lowered her expectations in some ways of her of her life, her expectations were family and job. And that cut out friends, time with friends, she was really clear, again come back to, you know, boundaries, she was really clear that this is where my expectations lie. And this is where I want to meet those. I suppose for me. I got clearer about my expectations as well. And,
Beck: Is this part of the clarity that you talk about? So you also talk about, it’s kind of really knowing your and living your own truth. And what’s important to you from a values perspective?
Felicity: Yeah, yeah. So so that is Yes, that’s it, basically. So I am really clear. Now, and this is something I’ve only learned probably late 30s, early 40s, is just becoming really clear on what is important to me right now in my life. And that changes. I mean, I think, you know, values, we hold that set of values, obviously, all through our life. But I think what’s important to us right now changes and I probably just revisit those every six months. Saying okay, so at the moment, it is kids, and it is work or whatever up to a certain degree. Or it is health and fitness or whatever it may be. And I suppose I just keep coming back to those and I’m really big on journaling and writing things down. And if I see them and come back and visit them regularly, it helps me just be clear on what my days will be filled with, rather than getting sucked into things that perhaps are time wasters. I mean, I’ve always lived by the motto and it’s probably, it’s something that we’ve been brought brought up on as a family. I’m one of four kids I have, you know, my sister is an extreme sports photographer in Canada. My brother works in France, he works for an NGO so we have been brought up to live a full life, you only get one shot of life at life, live your dreams, do everything now, that kind of mentality. And I think that has got us all into a spot of bother at times. Obviously because I think we get overwhelmed. We, you know, my my sister’s chosen not to have children. Because she lives this amazing, you know, she hikes, skis, mountains in Alaska and takes photos and but now I think that’s she acknowledges that that’s come at a cost because maybe now she’s over 40 she would have loved kids. So I mean, I suppose it comes back to all the choices you make and, I know this is a roundabout way of answering your question. But it, things have to give and I would say, you know, in all honesty in my relationship, it’s great. Well, I mean, we’re married but it could be better we don’t
Beck: I mean, “we’re married so must be alright”
Felicity: No, but you know, there’s, I would love to do more things with Tom because I really miss that, like I miss you know, our time, like I miss when we used to just hang out together and we just don’t do that anymore because he’s got work pressures and I try and fit in my work around. I mean, my work probably reads a lot more amazing than it actually is, only I try and only work three days a week. Yeah. I’ve said no to a lot of things. I mean, I’ve taken in some ways my career has taken a backseat, because you can’t have two partners in a relationship going full throttle at their careers and that’s fine. Like I’m absolutely fine with that I’d rather spend time with my kids and be there for someone. Someone has to be there for them emotionally all the time. Um, but yeah, so there’s probably, I probably don’t see my certain friends enough or call them enough and I’ve probably closed my friendship circle a little bit. So just spend time with people that I really want to and that actually came out from talking to experts in the book just be clear on who really fills your cup up when you see them and meet them and I want to walk away you know high on life when I see someone or feeling like I help that person or whatever that may be. So maybe I’m just a bit stricter with the things I do but there’s many other things I’d love to do if I had more time but I just don’t.
Beck: Actually, that’s, it’s a barm that is a barm to my ears. Because what you’re actually saying is you don’t have it all. You’re not doing it all. And the choice and neither am I and by choice I’m not doing it all. But I’d also like to be living in Africa and working in an orphanage with little kids and I’d also like to be living in some kind of castle in Ireland for some reason, I don’t know some random fantasy to kind of just go over there and live with the Irish. There’s a whole series of things that I’d like to be doing but I’m not doing and possibly will never do, I’m not sure, depends on how life plays out. But it’s a conscious choice to just do this much right now because of the number of resources that we have available to us. And those things are always finite especially time. You say this really beautiful thing in the book I’m just gonna read it because I want to I want to get it right but you said that I love, sorry, you said “awareness is such a powerful thing when we are stressed so to apply when we are stressed, so that we’re more, sorry, to be aware that we’re more susceptible to being sold fake wellness via consumerism”. So you spend some time in the book addressing the bullshit around wellness and how it’s kind of evolved beyond wellness now and essentially it’s a billion dollar industry, a multi billion dollar industry that means that we are sold so much hype as solutions to our problems around balance and when we’re stressed and in a place, where perhaps our invisible load like Libby Weaver talks about is higher than we’re actually more susceptible to buying into wellness as being the answer. Can you please talk to me about your invisible load and perhaps the wellness fads that you’ve bought into not just for stories that you are researching but you legitimately thought that they might provide an extra perhaps dose of peace but they didn’t.
Felicity: Yeah, I went into the whole wellness thing in the book because I feel like it came along when you know, feminism sold us we can have it all and do it all and then you know well we tried to have it on do it all, or many of us did and then we fell in a heap and I feel like wellness came along as this kind of crutch and, to help us all, you know what you’ll be alright you can do it all but guess what you have got vagina scented candles. You know you have got massagers and cheap face masks and meditation and green juices and you will feel better you know that will help. Well that’s B.S, oh some of it helps, some of it helps. But I think, look I’m a sucker for everything wellness and I you know, as the editor of women’s health for many years I watched that whole industry grow. We launched Women’s Health at a time when health and wellness well being was still so much a preventative measure but now you know during that time it became part of our lifestyle and so yes, I’ve tried everything.
Beck: Perhaps, sorry to interrupt, perhaps when you launched women’s health it was also when wellness was actually very much informed largely just by science and not by every life coach and their dog and random kind of spiritual practice that has been appropriated from another culture
Felicity: Yeah absolutely, I mean, well being was you know going to see a psychologist and talking about whatever was on your mind and making sense of your thoughts and I think it is and then you know, we, and then businesses saw they could make money out of it and so they started wacking you know, wellness smells in cars and I’m just trying to think of some of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever ever come across.
Beck: Essential oils that you roll on your wrist and
Felicity: Yeah, and look I get it. Some of those do work and whether it’s placebo or not, I think go for it if that works for you, you find what works for you and you embrace it. Because I have seen people’s well being changed by surrounding themselves with crystals so I can’t deny that those things don’t work for some people. But I do fall back on the science and we know, you know meditation and there are things that are scientifically proven to work. Yeah, look I’ve done some great things and especially for stories where I’ve drunk so called moon, like left water outside and the moon juice is supposed to be, have these amazing healing properties if you leave water outside during a full moon. But look I’m a sucker for wellness so it’s, I love it like it makes me feel good, I buy into it. So I think you just choose what works for you. But fundamentally, yeah, I think things like obviously exercise. Motion changes emotion is my favourite mantra at the moment. Sleep, plant based or plant predominant diet and meditation, like they’re kind of the key things that will always be there. Interestingly, Bec you might actually know this. So over the past year I’ve interviewed like, nearly 200 experts over 150 experts and they’re the things that everyone just comes back to, I feel like the common thread whether you’re a psychologist or a doctor, or whoever, like an athlete, or whoever it may be, it comes back to X’s movement, a plant like plant based food, and water, obviously. And, and yeah some meditation, they are really the four things that people commonly mentioned
Beck: As being the hallmarks of what we might call wellness, if we were going to define it. Or at least the things that consistently work and work for numerous, like kind of myriad conditions that you can mention or think of really, all of those things apply. There, they’re really really powerful. There’s another thing that I wanted to bring up with you thing, okay, thing, person. Can we talk about Miranda Kerr, please.
Felicity: Oh, do you didn’t like that bit, Right?
Beck: It’s not that I didn’t like it. I was just, one of the things about Miranda Kerr is that you mentioned her in the context of, you’ve met a zillion famous people and the the one person that exuded kind of balance or a sense of kind of inner peace was Miranda Kerr. And I kind of sat there and went yeah, but she had, was having a private chef make you breakfast at the time. Like I would probably have extra inner piece if I had a private chef. And so I was thinking, can you tell me about a non Miranda Kerr person that you know, that is the closest person, you don’t need to disclose who they are, but is the closest person that would kind of look at least outwardly balanced to you. Because I’m wondering about, what about the non celebrities that don’t have access to those type of resources to help that kind of sense of peacefulness?
Felicity: Yeah, look I did throw in that Miranda Kerr story because it was Miranda Kerr. And I actually interviewed her the other day for Healthy-ish and, she’s still the same. I hate to say it, she, I know she gets a bad rap for being really woowoo. But I, she just kind of lives a truth. I know she’s got chefs and everything, but I do, I don’t know. I don’t know, I liked her. Anyway.
Beck: She obviously has an energy that’s really nice to be around because you’ve been around her multiple times. And there’s this sense that you’ve taken away from her that whatever she’s doing is right for her, so much so that she appears balanced.
Felicity: Yeah, absolutely. And I think actually, you made a good point there because I think it’s about finding what’s right for you. And that could be trialling certain things. And I think so much we look at other people, don’t we and think, she looks really balanced or that person, you know, doesn’t look stressed and they’ve got six kids, and how does that happen? Or whatever it is, but I think it comes back to you know what works for you. Like eating, drinking green smoothies every morning might not work for you. So don’t do it. Yeah. As, coming back to who is really balanced, I have a so my mum. I think she is always, she had four kids. And I never really saw her stressed. She was a great stress absorber she still is. She walks every morning with dad. They do a 6km walk. She’s got a faith, which I think carries her through the hard times. And I think, yes, she’s retired now so obviously, she’s got less stress. But I don’t, yeah, I just think she has a really balanced sensible view on things. And for me that’s and she doesn’t really pass judgement on what her kids do. But she might occasionally say, smell the roses or something.
Beck: Just a tiny bit of wisdom to drop into your experience.
Felicity: I know that’s probably not the age gap, when I was trying to think of a friend of mine who’s quite balanced. But um yeah, there’s another friend of mine, I think she’s very self aware and I think that’s another key trait of, and actually that’s another thing that comes up a lot in podcasts and I think is just self awareness. So feeling your emotions knowing, when you’re caught in that moment of overwhelm or stress and I mean, you know this and being able to talk yourself down from any negative self talk or any negative self talk cycle. And I think I’m probably better at that now when I’m overwhelmed going, I’m overwhelmed right now, it’s a really overwhelming day, just have to get through it and it will be okay. So um, yeah, probably my other mate Dana, shout out to her. She’s very good at self awareness and knowing when she’s overwhelmed and what to do about it.
Beck: Yeah. The reason I asked about that versus Miranda Kerr is because I look outward for people that I want to live like. And celebrities don’t cut it for me because they just feel so unreachable. But my best friend is a psychiatrist. She actually lives in Sydney, and she has three kids, and just a lot going on. And I always feel like she also lives her truth, you know, like, she doesn’t go to bed before midnight, or at least it’s really rare that she does and yet she’ll get up at like, bloody five o’clock the next morning to be at the hospital to see a patient or to do ECT or whatever it is that she’s doing. She drinks condensed milk in her coffee and has all these little kind of tiny practices that are just her particular quirks and yet, when I think about what would Jen do in this situation, it actually really helps me to anchor myself and be able to go, actually, her perspective would be that this is not the end. You know, this particular moment is not the end. In whatever doomsday fashion, my mind wants to make it be the end. And it helps me to also look at giving myself permission to be able to do it my way. But also to not get dragged down a particular anxious part of thinking. My mind has a tendency to overthink and it has a tendency to get kind of caught up in a snowball of if this, then that and on and on and on we go.
Felicity: So how do you stop that snowballing? That snowballing self taught, because that is hard.
Beck: Yeah, it is. It’s hard. And what I do is, first by reducing my life, like that’s what I was saying at the very beginning. I have very intentionally done some major things to reduce the amount of stress I’m exposed to on a daily basis. One is, I was born and raised on the Gold Coast and we moved to the Sunshine Coast when we secretly knew that we were going to try having a baby. I didn’t want to raise a baby on the Gold Coast, because it’s not the place it was when I was a kid. It’s too busy. I didn’t want to sit in traffic, it was just no. And so we live in the hinterland on the Sunshine Coast now in a little town of 3000 people where we pass cows on the way to Bennett’s kindy and just the, we don’t have a traffic light in our town, you know, just little things like that. I never sit in traffic. I now work from home, and I go to a clinic and everything is kind of reduced, including my inner circle and who gets my energy on a daily basis. I am also very proudly and no person. It’s hard to get. In fact, sometimes I think I don’t say yes enough.
Felicity: No, that’s, I love that bit in your book, where you just, you know, teach us how to say no,
Beck: Yeah, and I very much say no, only because of those resources. But when it comes to thinking, I honestly think age has really helped me. I love being 42 it’s just, I feel so free in terms of being able to just not take it all so seriously. Um, but there was also many of the things that I read in your book where I was like, ah, you are so right, and I didn’t realise even still how much I had been drawn into this western style conditioning around just how much needs to get done in a day, how much should be done in a year where I should be in my career based on some kind of bullshit timeline that I made up in my head when I was 10 and have stuck to unless I bring some awareness to it. And so my way of being able to manage it is, obviously I’m a big fan of self help, but I also write it, read it, you know, all the things. But I also come back to a place where now I check in with my 80 year old self. So one of the things that I do to come back to a sense of groundedness is, what would she say about the choices that I’m making on a daily basis and at this point I think she might say you’ve added a few years to our life by not living from a place of burnout like I used to and just go go go all the time for some weird ass attempt at striving to be acceptable or worthy or good enough or productive or fit the definition that I you know exists in the ether, around what women are and should be. But I also think that she would say you’ve got work to do and that’s the thing I don’t think we ever really get there as the case may be, as judged by my first reaction to your book, but as I read it, and as I went through and heard your voice talk about your daily experience, I was so heartened then to have you land on values and to have you land on mindfulness especially. Because I was like oh, she’s speaking my language. Okay, I’m doing it okay, I’m doing the things that most people agree that you interviewed, are the things that make a difference for us to come back to how it is that we want to live even when something arbitrary like balance is impossible. And so I want to access your wisdom and ask you to finish up, if your 80 year old self could talk to you right now what would she say?
Felicity: Well, I think for me she would probably say relationships are the most important thing and human connection is the most important thing and I want to get to 80 and feel like I don’t want to live any, I don’t want to have any regrets that I didn’t put enough time and effort into my close relationships. So I don’t want to be 80 and look back and think I should have, went down to mum and dad’s more often or I should have called my sister more often in Canada or I should have spent more time with my nieces or my own children so, that’s probably first and foremost for me and I probably didn’t say that in the beginning but you know as we know and you know, research connection is, there’s that Harvard study the longest running study in the world into well being where I think it’s nearly 100 years is it? Where they’ve interviewed first men and then women thankfully and they just studied what makes you know, what makes you live a long fulfilled meaningful life and the most important thing is connections. Like they, you know, family and friends will help you through the rough times and the hard times and the joyful times and so I suppose my 80 year old self says to me don’t forget, don’t get so caught up in the busyness of the day, the washing that needs to be done the whatever and the kids saying mum, can you play snap with me again? Put down the washing go and play snap! So that is what I’m telling you. That’s what I think she is saying to me. So yeah, but I think I just want to make a comment about your last one. I do think getting older has helped. Like I’ve been, and I wonder if you like, I was so driven in my 20s and 30s and you know, I never, super ambitious but like I never wanted to be an editor it just kind of happened and oh yeah, great when it happened! But perhaps in the 40s you become more okay with saying I actually give a shit. So I want to do things that I want to do, I’ll only say yes to things in my career. I mean, I have my fingers in a few little pies now, obviously. But I only want to say yes to things that really align with my values and the things that make my soul feel good. And I think I’ve done things in my career that haven’t, that haven’t aligned and I look back and I think why did I do that for but I think it’s all learning isn’t it and then when you, I feel like when I hit 40 I became really clear on all that. And perhaps we don’t talk about that enough as women. I think as we get older, we get more nervous that we’re going to get pushed out the job market or we’re going to get wrinkles or like whatever it might be. And I just think we just need to,
Beck: We’re going to age out of our industry or whatever it is that we’re trying to do. However we’re trying to make an impact on the world.
Felicity: But we actually step into our power I think.
Beck: I think we do, that’s been my experience as well is that ageing has actually been the biggest gift, it’s been the biggest gift for feeling comfortable in my own skin and comfortable in my own psyche with my own quirks and idiosyncrasies. I just couldn’t give a shit like that is literally the way I live now. And from a very, from a very consistent place like it’s, hard to shake me from that.
Felicity: Yeah, I like that word consistent.
Beck: Yeah, I was really easily shaken in my 30s. And especially in my 20s. I feel like 20s is like the adult adolescence, like you just have a second adolescence, but you’re legal and you can just mess up your own life the way you want it, you know, by the time you’re in your 20s. But ageing, definitely is it. And I think one of the beautiful things that you did in your book, it’s kind of an upside down triangle where you are able to, so eloquently capture the struggle. Because it honestly is a struggle, like the struggle to be what it is, we’re told we should be or what it is, we perceive we’re told we should be. And you narrowed it down to land at that pointy, solution is not the word that I want, because I don’t think there is any solution, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But to land at a place where, what it comes down to is who are you? Who are you and who are you giving yourself permission to be? And what is it that’s right for you in terms of what it looks like, and what it feels like. What it feels like to live day to day because that is your choice. You talk about how we have the power to be an agent of change in our own lives and if it’s not working, then we have the power to actually enact change to make it work. And that really stood out for me as something that speaks to my truth. Which is, this idea that I don’t think anyone’s coming. You know, no one has the instructions. You can be the best journalist in the history of the world and tell me all about the research that you know, and all the experts that you’ve spoken to and we still land on quite a few things and different opinions about the way it should be done. But you, ultimately we have to make the decisions for ourselves about how we’re going to live this one wild and precious life. Thank you very much, Mary Oliver. And I just think you did that really beautifully in the book, which is to come to a place where you gave permission for us to make that choice but also encouraged the responsibility to make that choice. It wasn’t just you know, you don’t need to do anything differently, you can just like continue and it’ll all be okay, if you’re a bit mindful. It was very much like, we need to take responsibility for the choices that we’re making on a daily basis. Otherwise we do get swept away with consumerism and bullshit wellness and the feminist idea that if you’re actually going to be worthy as a woman, then you need to do, be and have it all. But we’re not doing that because it doesn’t work. So ultimately, I just want to say thank you, for writing such an impactful piece and to put no pressure on your shoulders, I’m actually looking forward for the next book because I want to read it. Okay.
Felicity: Well, I think, well thank you that is really lovely that’s, um yeah, I really appreciate those especially coming from you. And yeah, I look, you know, I would like to write another book and I think, for me, that was definitely a real learning. I mean, my book is full of experts and other women’s voices and because I don’t have all the answers. Yeah, and I never wanted to be that kind of author like a writer that says, I have all the answers because I don’t and I don’t have the answers and yeah, you know, like I’m not the best journalist out there and I’m not the best, like I’m just navigating it my way. But I do my best. And I navigate it my way and if someone could read the book and I’ve got lovely feedback, where a lot of women just saying I feel heard because I feel like we’ve been sold this life that we should have, we should have balance, we should have it all going you know all perfectly and be drinking out green juices and walking around in active wear and, but no you shouldn’t. Yeah. And no we can’t but I think it does all come back to choice. I mean when you’re in the moment you’ve got to remember that I made a choice to have three kids. I made a choice to keep working. And so you’ve got to suck it up, I think you do have to suck it up sometimes and get on with it and change your choices and I know that’s easy said when you’ve got money coming in the door and food on the table and I absolutely know this is coming from you know, I think we’re taught a pace of privilege. Yes, so I’m aware of that. But I did write this book specifically for that audience.
Beck: Yes. And I did actually, I mentioned that in my notes and forgot to mention it to you while we recorded this. One of the things that I also experienced as I was reading, was the sense of privilege guilt that I knew that you might have been experiencing as well as your writing. Because sometimes when we talk about our own experience of the world, it just feels so important now, from a place of acknowledgement and awareness that we constantly have to keep marking the fact that we’re privileged, and that we’re coming from this place with all these resources available that other people don’t have. And I heard, I don’t know whether, I mean, you nodded so I’m guessing that was the same, but I do experience privilege guilt. And there was quite a bit in the book where you would stop and mark and identify your own privilege, as you said those things, and I knew that the audience that it was targeted at had the same privileges as you and you were addressing the struggle that still exists for that audience. But it’s a hard conversation to have, isn’t it to try to have it in a balanced way, where you do identify that?
Felicity: Yeah, you know, I had a long long chat with my editor about that we like an hour or two about whether, how we treat this because I knew this was a book for, you know, middle class women. And in some ways, I hate that, you know, because I think the people we really, I’m actually doing my Master’s in Public Health and I think the people we really need to help are actually the people who are not middle class, let’s just put it straight. In all aspects of health and well being they need the true help. But I suppose we just decided to leave, leave it out, because it was best just to keep it in there and then I just put a nod to that. And then I actually spoke to an expert, actually a psychologist, and I don’t know if you share this view, and she said to me, because I was really I was actually quite worried about it. And she said, look, you have to fix yourself before you can fix others. Fit your own mask before you can, you know that analogy. And so once you know, are feeling good about your emotional state well then go and help someone else and I think that just gave me permission to feel okay about it.
Beck:Yeah, absolutely. And I do firmly believe that. And I also firmly believe that it actually doesn’t matter where you are in terms of privilege, because the task of being human is so hard for all of us from an emotional perspective. And so, there are struggles that we share across the human experience that still need to be addressed. And one of the things that your book did beautifully was to just address feminism as large and what it’s guilty for, really, in terms of the promise that was sold to us that we’re not living. But also then, too, as we shift, you know, two years, it’s been a long two years in terms of what’s happened in in terms of the zeitgeist around privilege, and I think it’s a conversation that has to be had, but that’s probably a whole other book as well.
Felicity: Yeah, and that, I did write this before COVID. So I do think I’ve probably got, you know, grown and shifted through COVID, as we all have, and probably, I think, I don’t know about you but COVID has grounded me a lot more than perhaps I was before.
Beck: Absolutely. It turned our lives on its head Nyssa lost her calendar of work as a full time musician overnight. So, lots of things changed and for us, some things changed in a very powerful, positive way in terms of coming back to having the space to be able to evaluate, are we living the life that we actually want to be living?
Felicity: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Beck: Yeah. I’m conscious of time, I could talk to you all day. First and foremost, I want to thank you for your voice. It brought up such powerful things for me, hence why I was like, I could just keep talking and talking about these concepts because this book really made an impact on me. And I just really want to thank you for promoting such important topics in a voice that was so relatable, but also making me think and making me consider and then finally, making me feel hugged at the end of the day, for just being a woman and trying to, trying so hard. Even though I try less hard now that I’m 42. Please just allow yourself to age because it’s so incredibly powerful for all our listeners that are buying anti ageing creams and trying to avoid it like the plague. It’s not something to be avoided because it’s bloody wonderful. But let’s chat again, because there’s so much more to chat through and I’m so looking forward to the next book but to finish up can you please let listeners know where they can find you?
Felicity: Oh, yes. Well you can find me on Instagram @Felicityharley all one word or listen to Body and Soul podcast Healthy-ish, or yeah. But um, they’re probably the main two places.
Beck: Yeah, such a great podcast, too. Thank you so much for being with me today. Felicity
Felicity: No, thank you for a – reading my book, b – buying, oh, a – buying my book, b – reading my book, and c – chatting to me about my book. So yeah, lovely to chat Bec.
Beck: My pleasure. We’ll catch up again soon. Lovely ones. Thank you so much for joining me for Episode 51 of Hello, Rebecca Ray. The very final episode in season one of the podcast. I hope you loved this chat with Felicity as much as I did. I’ll be back with Season Two of Hello Rebecca Ray very shortly. Lovely ones. Thank you so much for listening to Hello, Rebecca Ray. If you’ve got something meaningful from this episode, then the most meaningful thing you can do is jump on over to wherever you listen to your podcast episodes, and leave a review. Because it’s those reviews that help this podcast stay here. Make sure to subscribe and if you’re generous enough to share this episode, thank you so much! I love seeing your shares on social media. So please tag me catch you next time.