about Thea Westra
I live with Greg in Perth, West Australia and I publish lots of positive, upbeat content, online.
I am Dutch (now an Australian citizen) and was born the Caribbean island of Curaçao, and spent my childhood in Holland. I came to Australia at age 8 and returned for two years aged around 16, plus again for a holiday during 2006. I still speak, write and read Dutch. I've also traveled to other places overseas and lived in a few different locations in Australia, as well as touring around.
In a nutshell, I've seen a lot of other parts of the world and done some really cool things including scuba diving, yachting, advanced driving, climbing, paragliding, camping, target shooting, archery, dirt bike riding, ice skating, horse riding, skiing, belly-dancing, juggling classes, Tony Robbin's firewalk.
The hub of my online publication is Forward Steps at www.forwardsteps.com.au. Much of my newest material, and content that takes hours of my time, is now in the Member site www.myforwardsteps.com and at mini sites that I create.
You can do a Google search for "Thea Westra Forward Steps" and you'll find many of my various sites and creations.
I have also written a book titled Time For My Life: 365 Stepping Stones and it's is available as a download version or as a paperback copy. It is even available at iTunes, you can check it out, right here!
Time For My Life was a part of the 2010 Next Top Spiritual Author contest. That was a very special and unique competition, where 271 out of 2800 authors advanced through to Round 2. Time For My life was one of those 271 books that were selected to advance. Read more here...
I have not created my sites and many online gifts so that I can become popular or be anyone's "guru". I am an individual, living a human experience, like everyone else. Each of us has a responsibility to follow our heart and to be the best person we can be. No leader, group or teacher has THE answers for everyone else.
During my years as a life coach, I noticed that a lot of people want someone else to tell them what to do. From my own experience I could see this was taking the easy way out of being responsible. There really is no one person who can give the answer. No matter who you are or what you do in life, you are the answer you have been looking for. Remember who you are and continue working on getting in touch with that authentic core of you. Create the remainder of your life experience, from where you find yourself today.
It is important to recognize that I can only share my version of wisdom and what works well for me, from my personal perspective and based on my experiences or knowledge gleaned over time.
When we come to realize our own potential and grow an urge to share our gifts, it changes our reality just as it certainly changed mine.
Several years ago, at the ripe age of 41 (yes it took me a little while), I came to a stark recognition that I was living a life which appeared like it had been "designed FOR me and not wholly BY me". I began making moves to "create" a life that I clearly would choose (I make that sound simple, and it 'kind of' is, yet it took quite some courage). Here is one of my favorite pieces of text about Integrity.
For 23 years I worked in education and had studied and worked very, very hard. I'd also enjoyed the single life and had terrific male companions at various times through my life. I bought a beautiful home overlooking the bay in Melbourne, on the side of Arthur's Seat and spent lots of spare time revamping the house and nurturing the garden as well as arranging fun weekends and lunches with friends at my home, while continuing to work long hours in my teaching career. I'd trained my peers in the Ed. Dept. for a few years and completed three more university degrees. I'd also had seven years of participation and growth at Landmark Education, successfully completing senior level programs, including TMLP 2 and ILP. All this while working full time as a teacher.
I reached a place that I guess many of us do at some point in our lives, I stood back and looked at all I'd created and all that I'd lived and wondered if the track I was on was the one I wanted to continue following through to the end of life. There were many dreams I had and intuitively I knew that if I did not take a leap, then these would remain mere dreams and never a reality. I was surrounded by people who had done and accomplished all sorts in their lives and it became more clear to me that I did have lots of choice. There are thousands of possible ways to experience our life and we really do get to pick.
From a young age, I was interested in self development and over many years beyond that, with reading, participation in programs, and thousands of creative conversations with good friends who were open to challenging conventional or group thinking. These thoughts with which I'd filled my head needed to be expressed outwardly. Sometimes what can seem to others, a quantum shift, is actually the result of gradual exposure and immersion over time until we are ready to decide and move on the decision. I followed my decision with a firm, no going back now, action.
I had no idea about the "how", or even really the "what", yet for quite some time I was living with this idea that I could live any life I choose. It began to really bug me and niggle away at me till I could stand it no longer. It became a very powerful "Now or when?" question for me. The seemingly mandatory chains of having a mortgage and the secure, steady career could no longer hold me. What I wanted for the rest of my life had to be tested.
I made a life altering decision, taking some much needed time off. I challenged my status quo and the tracks on which my life seemed to run. I jumped out of a 23 year career in education, sold my home and moved across country on my own with one question to guide me, "Who am I, without the house, the career, and any other badges or labels bestowed by society?" It was soon afterwards that I would start THE journey which definitely began to answer that question. It is a journey that has not ended yet.
The time off did not really eventuate. Shortly after arriving in Perth from Melbourne, I met my life partner Greg, I began painting and met a few new artist friends. I had some money behind me so I formed a non-profit group for artist because I discovered how challenging it was for new artists to exhibit. We were invited to manage a gallery space, which we did for a couple of years. I'd also sold several of my own paintings at good prices, during that period.
The gallery was very demanding of time, money and energy. I was bemused at how I'd landed myself as chairperson of a non-profit, so I decided to step away from that too. The steep learning curve of managing more than 150 artists and organizing regular exhibitions gave me the courage and confidence to set up my solo business.
I had taken myself by the scruff of the neck and challenged many personal beliefs over the years, that I wanted to support others in seeing greater possibility for their own lives. I loved soaking up self improvement information and reading many "how to" books related to personal transformation. Friends would often approach me for advice when they felt a bit stuck. That began my brief journey as a life coach.
I set up a one page website which served as a business brochure online. Over time I saw the huge opportunity that is the internet. The possibility of creating content once and having it have an impact repeatedly, rather than trading my time for dollars and sharing my knowledge one person at a time. I saw the power of the internet for connecting with many people, all at once, without needing to run seminars and get in front of a room (a road I'd traveled and did not want again). This prompted me to start writing a blog and delivering a newsletter online.
The regular expense of having a web designer making any changes to my site got me interested in learning how to do those things myself, and that part of my education continues today. I googled anything that I needed to know and learned step by step. I now do all my own websites and online creations.
I'm always on the look out for new and effective ways to present ideas and inspiration that might be a catalyst or trigger for change or for awakening empowering thoughts. Now, I create positive, empowering self improvement content, solely internet-delivered. I share inspiring, positive, thought provoking content for helping us to discover and to move toward what we really want, rather than feeling stuck, trapped or in a rut, knowing that any of us can change our experience of life in an instant when exposed to a fresh perspective. We can then choose to make that vision tangibly real by taking forward moving action followed with continued forward steps in our desired direction.
My ideas are created from a foundation of having read many self improvement books and thousands of articles over the past 30 years, of having participated in many and varied self development programs where I've been coached and I've coached others. I trawl the internet for new ideas and sometimes I feel like I have seen just about every website out there! Plus, I source from my own life experience. I am now just over 50. For those of you who think that is oldish, I can divulge to you that I feel positive, upbeat, optimistic, and feel that I have mountains of learning ahead, even more than I have ever felt it before, and I've always been a high energy, positive Pollyanna type! I absolutely love what I do now and can't see why or when, I might ever trade it.
I've also contributed chapters in books by other authors, I've published a few of my own books, produced a monthly ezine for a few years, maintained multiple blogs for several years, have many websites where I present a myriad of resources for self development (a few are related to web development or online business) plus, when I make the time for it, I participate at numerous online communities.
One favorite saying that I keep at my desk, is "Whatever you focus on, WILL expand". It is one of the range of reasons that I love to share positive messages and resources. We are often enough, distracted with the focus being away from empowering conversations and are often enough, directed toward paying attention to a mire of negative perspective (go to any news or television site for a sample of evidence).
It is for that reason that I wrote Time For My Life: 365 Stepping Stones.
As humans we are very automatic and driven by habit. If we allow it or we become a little lazy, we wake with similar thoughts we had the day before and we take our first step into the day with the same step we did yesterday. It keeps us rolling forward, from one day into the next, without conscious and deliberate direction. The trajectory of our life will never change if this is maintained over months and years, unless we experience a cataclysmic event.
Just as habits can keep us stuck, even though we say that we want change, shifts in our habits can move us in a direction of our choosing. Our habits might well be really excellent ones, like going for a jog each morning and having a healthy breakfast or mediating for an hour each day. Yet it is still vital to challenge ourselves, even just a little each day, for opening up fresh perspectives or new experiences, if we want to grow, expand and develop beyond status quo.
I knew that this supported me in my own life yet I had trouble finding something which "hit the spot" for me when it came to a tool that I could use each day for that purpose. Getting daily inspiring quotes from various places wasn't quite "it". Many of the "dailies" I found available at other sources didn't quite have enough teeth for me and much of the generic content often provided minimal impact. I wanted something with more bite, and that could give me somewhere more powerfully new to focus each new day as I moved forward with my goals. I was looking for something that might support me in not falling into a groove again and keep me on my toes with "right thinking".
The other thing I was searching for was something easily accessible and would help counter all the negative stuff that bombards us every day in the news media, through advertising or in some of the conversations we find ourselves. Again, I did not find anything that satisfied. Once you "see" something, you cannot not see it, and I'd been through many personal shifts, been exposed to lots of powerful training, I wanted short bursts of powerful content which I could take into each day with me. A place to stand for the day and a new place to look for keeping myself open for change.
Since I found nothing that had the "oomph" I wanted, I decided to create my own. This book gives me just what I wanted for starting each day and is great to share with others too, who might also be looking for such a tool. My own paperback version is well worn and gets read each day, it only takes a moment, powering up my thinking from a very positive place each morning. It also gives me specific actions for any days that I might feel a little directionless.
Each page in my book Time For My Life has a Life Power Tip, which is a short, simple message with a focus point that gives me poignant food for thought or a deliberate piece of powerful life advice. There's a Life Question, which is a conscience squirmer that encourages me to look at what is currently going on in my life, and these questions perhaps will be a catalyst for making some changes. Every page has an Affirmation as a place to stand, something to take aboard. Enabling me to deal with all the circumstances that show up during the day within a specific, and uniquely designed context. Each page also has a Power Quotation added as daily food for thought. These quotes carry teaching lessons, or call me into taking different action. I've included a Daily Challenge, an activity that I can choose to take on board, to take on as a practice or to take up as my personal challenge for the day. Then there is a Daily Action which help expand my experience of life, or get me in touch with others, to nurture myself or others, generally these have a “feel good” factor. Plus every page has a Clearing Task, this is a brief exercise related to my personal environment. Doing one of these each day help me to be a little more on top of being organized. As well as that, each week there are 6 website links, a total of 288 recommended books, feature length movie suggestions, online videos, personal development sites, links to humor and to inspiring music. Those are for the weekends.
A great by-product of the book is how it connects me with people far away. I know that family and friends, overseas or in Australia, might be reading the same page as me that day. We share it in common, a bit like looking at the same moon each night when we are far away from someone. I really love giving this book as a personal gift for that reason.
Whenever I'm looking for a quick answer too, I will pick up my book, flick through the 425 pages, like a deck of cards, then read where it opens up. I immediately find something that triggers an idea for stepping forward with the issue. Take a sneak peek inside the book. Book purchasers also have the option of getting the pages of the book sent by email each day, I subscribe to that series myself! After one year, those daily pages are automatically sent only once each 7-days, as a little reminder.
Change happens when we do, and we change when we take action in the face of fear, along the journey you find opportunities to work on debunking beliefs firmly entrenched over time, those beliefs that might be keeping us pinned down. Every time doubt creeps in, take another step forward (even if small) and bust it loose!
The key is wanting that change, if you love the status quo then keep doing what you've always been doing.
When facing in the right direction, all we need do is keep on walking and each forward step enhances the value of our first step. Continued forward movement in an intentioned direction has an exponential, compounded effect over time. My own history exemplified that and it's for that reason that I named my business, Forward Steps.
Well, that does it I think, I believe I have now given you enough background about me. We can always write much more and go deeper into history!
I continue to learn and to expand what I provide for you online. Since I discovered the wonderful Veena and Ravi at Digital Access Pass I created myforwardsteps.com as my unique Membership area too. I'd love to meet you in there soon. Till then, keep stepping forward!
P.S. Go to this link to discover more about My Forward Steps.