Bronnie Ware: How to Break Through Upper Limits & Live Without Regret | 180 Nutrition

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Bronnie Ware: How to Break Through Upper Limits & Live Without Regret

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy:  This week welcome to the show Bronnie Ware. Bronnie’s calling is to lead by courageous example; a calling she honours with integrity. Having sat by bedsides of the terminally ill for several years, she knows the pain of dying with regret. Bronnie also understands the value of humour and being real. Consequently she exercises her power of choice with consciousness on a daily basis.

While acknowledging how much courage it can take to truly allow all we deserve through, Bronnie believes we are all worthy of joy. Her work and teachings draw on first-hand experience, always delivered with relatable honesty. With a grounded attitude and great sense of humour, Bronnie connects to people from all walks of life.

Her incredible life experience goes well beyond the years with dying people and has taught her how much we are all alike, rather than different. This attitude also connects Bronnie easily and delightfully to her audience worldwide, particularly once they experience her energy in person at live events.

One of her favourite things is getting people off their computers and back to real-life conversations and experiences. Bronnie’s life so far has also taught her how crucial it is to enjoy the precious gift of time we are given, by courageously living as true to our heart as possible. With a passionate love of keeping life simple, Bronnie is also a master storyteller and a powerful teacher of courage.

Her favourite role is as a mother. Her favourite teacher is nature.

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Questions we ask in this episode:

  • What were the top 5 regrets of the dying that inspired you to live life differently?
  • How to we go beyond our fears and self-doubts so we don’t live a life of regret?
  • What 3 tips would you give someone if they wanted to make substantial change in their lives so they don’t live with regret?
  • You have a new book called ‘Bloom’ out. What can we expect?
  • Space is a big theme in your new book Bloom, how has this shaped your life?

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Full Transcript

Guy

Hey everybody. This is Guy Lawrence, of course, of 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions, where we connect with leading global health and wellness experts to share the best and latest science and thinking, empowering all of us to turn our health and lives around.

[00:00:30] This week our awesome guest is Bronnie Ware. And boy, did I love this episode. I mean, it’s a phenomenal story, and if you haven’t heard of Bronnie before, we’re obviously going to get into it well in the podcast. So make sure you stick around for this one. But, essentially she calls herself a fifteen-year overnight success, because she wrote a phenomenal book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” It went on and became a worldwide, huge phenomenon, and sold over a million copies, and then’s gone on to do amazing things ever since. She shares her findings and teachings and how she’s applying them things into her own life as well.

[00:01:30] What I love so much about this message today is that it just reminds us that life is not infinite. We do have a limited time here, and these messages are fantastic to keep us in check and actually remind us and ask ourselves the questions about what are the most important things in life and are we applying them, are we doing them, and to live with courage and step forward and take that on. Because ultimately, like I always remind myself every day, is that all we have is now. All we have is this moment, right? Even though we spend so much time in the future or the past or whatever. And Bronnie just articulates it so well today, and she’s just awesome. And it was a real privilege to have her on the show. So, I have no doubt you guys are going to enjoy. Sit back, and make you contemplate the way we’re doing things, which is great, which is great.

Now, guys, I just want to give a shout out for our latest podcast review. We love them. Please keep them coming in, because it helps with the rankings and helps spread the word so other people just like you can listen to these episodes. But, it’s from Katie Meredith. Thank you, Katie. She said, “I’ve been binge-listening to the guys of 180 for the last month due to a new long commute. I’m hooked. They’re easily the most engaging, informative, and easy to understand podcast about nutrition, exercise, sleep, and everything to make you a better you. All the speakers explain the concepts thoroughly, but also give simple and easy ways to implement the tips into our everyday lives. It’s accessible, real information. I am an exercise physiologist, and I’ve directed many of my clients, as well as my parents, to The Health Sessions, who also reap the benefits. Can’t wait to hear more.”

Big thanks for that review. Like, awesome. I really appreciate it, guys.

And, anyway, let’s stop talking. Let’s go over. You know what I do. Enjoy the episode, and I’ll see you soon. Bye.

Hey, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined by Stuart Cooke, as always. Good morning, Stu.

Stu

Good morning, Guy.

Guy

And our lovely guest today is Bronnie Ware. Bronnie, welcome to the show.

[00:03:00]
Bronnie

Thanks a lot, guys. Welcome. Thank you.

Guy

It’s going to be awesome. I’m so excited about this. Through a mutual friend of Mr. Marcus Pierce … I know he speaks highly of you. And I’ve just been interested, Bronnie, because I’ve just been constantly seeing you come up … Since you’ve been on my, kind of, radar, I’m starting to see you everywhere, and your books and the podcasts and everything, and it was like, Oh my God, we have to get Bronnie on the show. This is phenomenal. So thank you for your time, Bronnie.

Bronnie

Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thank you.

Guy

So the first question I ask everyone on the show, Bronnie, is if a stranger stopped you on the street and asked you what you did for a living, what would you say?

Bronnie

What I did for a living? Okay, well, I’d say I’m a teacher of courage.

Guy

Beautiful.

Bronnie

Yeah. I’ve stopped saying that I’m an author, because then they want to know about your book and then it goes on, “Oh, you’re published. Oh, you’re famous. Oh.” And then they take a completely different approach to you.

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Guy

Yeah.

Bronnie

[00:04:00] Very differently. So when I actually say I’m an author or what’s it about, I just say I’m a teacher of courage. Yeah.

Guy

Yeah. I love it. I love it. I know, we could all use a bit of that sometimes, I’m pretty sure.

[00:04:30] So, can you take us back on your journey, Bronnie, for people that are not familiar with you or your work and what you’ve done? Because I’ve been listening to a few of your podcasts lately that you’ve done on other interviews, and your story’s just phenomenal. And I’d love to get the listeners to experience a little bit about that, even what led you to writing the first book and what the book became and everything. Because I’m sure a lot of listeners today are not going to be familiar with it.

Bronnie

[00:05:00] Okay. So, I was working in the corporate industry, in the banking game, and desperately unhappy with it and really looking for work with heart. So, I ended up taking a job as a living carer for an elderly lady in Sydney. And then she became terminally ill, and I nursed her through her passing. And so the agency that I was working for asked me would I like to stay on, that I’d handled it well, would I like more training? And so that became the job that I’d hoped for. The job with heart. And I became a carer in palliative care for about eight years. And during that time I was also establishing myself as a singer-songwriter. So, I was hanging out with dying people during the day for twelve-hour shifts, and then [inaudible 00:05:22] gig at the songwriter’s nights around Sydney and later when I moved to Melbourne.

[00:06:00] So, I sort of did this dual existence for quite a long time. And then I found toward the end of eight years, I was starting to … I needed to work with more creativity, but also to work where there was more hope. And so, I set up … Through one of my dying patients, I met a woman who helped me find some funding, and I set up a songwriting program in a women’s jail and started teaching songwriting in a women’s jail. And hadn’t been a teacher before, hadn’t been inside a jail before. Just had an idea that I wanted to use my music with hope, and songwriting had healed me a lot, so I created this program called Song Writing’s a Healing, that I taught in the jail.

[00:07:00] So, when that was set up, an editor from a music magazine said, “Will you write us an article and tell us about that situation?” I said, “Sure, okay.” So, I wrote an article about how that came about. And after I wrote the article, I though, “Why aren’t I writing more? I love writing.” [inaudible 00:06:28] when I was a kid, and I just let the actual writing side of it go. So, I thought, I’ll start a blog. And then I … Okay, what do I write about? And I got very clear guidance from within, just write what you know. And, so I thought, okay, I’ve just finished working with dying people. I’ll write about how that transformed me. So straight away it was the regrets, because over the course of the eight years, regrets that dying people had shared with me helped me change my direction and find a lot of courage to keep going to get my own message out there.

So, I wrote the article about the regrets. I took five regrets of the dying. I posted it on my blog. And then I was teaching songwriting for quite a while, and then I started burning out a bit.

[00:07:30] I ended up going through leaving the jail and … Excuse me … And then going through a really dark depression, because I … And I didn’t see it coming, I just felt like someone had unplugged me from the wall. I was going to a really low place, because I had been giving and giving and giving for so many years that life was now teaching me how to receive.

[00:08:00] So, in the meantime, the blog was still there, and I kept writing other blogs, and then when I was ready to come out of that and actually said to life, “Okay, I’m ready to get on with life now,” the blog took off. Like, absolutely took off. And had three million views in the first year and [inaudible 00:07:56] first years, and I couldn’t even imagine how many now. And I wrote it in 2009, so eight years ago now.

Guy

Wow.

Bronnie

[00:09:00] Yeah, yeah. So, that led to an agent signing me to write a book, because I’d always wanted to write a memoir in the back of my mind. I think most people have got a book in them. So I wrote a book as a memoir and how those regrets shaped my life. Then that was rejected 24 times, and so I thought, okay, I was an independent singer-songwriter. I’ll be an independent author. Release the book independently. It took off. And then in the meantime, I was getting on with life, and I was in a relationship, and I was pregnant at 44. Conceived naturally and quickly at 44. Got to become a mom at 45. And in the same 24 hours that my daughter was born, the book just took off massively. And so I doing interviews from my hospital bed and put out a very strong [crosstalk 00:09:01]
[00:09:30] I was ready to quit. I was ready to quit. It had taken 14 years of trying to get my message out there to that point for what it means to become an overnight success. And then within that same 24 hours, within 12 hours of my daughter being born, I was contacted by my dream publishing house, and they offered me a publishing deal. And that led to the top five regrets of the dying going into 29 languages, a million copies sold, and a movie in the pipeline. And then that led into “Your Year for Change,” the second book, which is a collection of short stories, and that led into my new book, “Bloom,” which is about where I’m at now.

Guy

My word. Which publisher came knocking?

Bronnie

Hay House.

 

Guy

Hay House. I thought it was, yeah. I mean, they’re huge. That’s amazing, Bronnie. That’s amazing.

Bronnie

Yeah.

Guy

Did you expect it at that point, or had you kind of just let go from the whole …

Bronnie

No, I expected … Well, I had actually two weeks earlier, I was online looking at their website, and I said … I was sitting with my mom, and I said to her, “When are these buggers going to notice me?”

Stu

Yeah.

Bronnie

I mean, I’m doing really well. I’m in their genre. I’m doing everything to get noticed by them, and yeah … So when they rang, it was just phenomenal. Yeah.

Stu

Why do you think they did? What was the catalyst, do you think, that connected you two together?

Bronnie

Well, I signed … I published independently through an arm of them, through …

Stu

Right.

Bronnie: … that they’re associated with sole intention — sole, as in only, and soul, as in spirit — you know, the sole intention of being noticed by them.

Stu

Yeah.

Bronnie

[00:11:00] But that wasn’t actually how they noticed me. They noticed me because The Guardian in the UK, who I just love because they’ve supported me so many times over the years and have actually shown a lot of integrity in their reporting, which I’ve learnt to discern about … And so they wrote a really good rap about it, and then the boss of Hay House, UK, got in touch with the boss of Hay House globally and said, “Hang on, we’ve got,” what are they called, “subsidiary authors here.”

[00:11:30] Yeah, so, once I realized I could actually be signed for an independent release, they just got onto it. Because it had created so much momentum, “Five Regrets” then became the fastest foreign rights seller in Hay House history, which is … I didn’t hear about for a couple of years. And I was like, “Oh, okay.”

Stu

Yeah, it’s a big deal. It’s a big call. Crikey.

Bronnie

Yes. Yeah.

Guy

That’s incredible.

So let’s talk about the book, hey?

Bronnie

Okay.

Guy

[00:12:00] Because regret is … You hear it often and it’s … I think, for me, especially as I’m getting older, it becomes more and more relevant in life. And when I first heard your story, it really started making me contemplate my own life. You know, and where I’m at and what I’m doing and moving forward as well. So, would you mind just sharing a little bit about what the five regrets of the dying were? Like, and put a little bit of context around the book as well for us, Bronnie?

Bronnie

Yeah, sure.

[00:12:30] So, the most common regret was people wishing that they’d lived a life true to themselves, not a life that other people expected of them. So they came from all sorts of angles and created a lot of anguish for people. Whether they’d been shaped by society or family or peers or whatever, they realized that they had lived a life according to other people.

The second regret was people wishing that they hadn’t worked so hard. It wasn’t about not loving their work. This one actually got slammed in The Financial Times when the article first took off, because people were saying, But I love my work and a lot of people love their work, and I was thinking, “Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.”

Stu

Yeah.

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Bronnie

It’s not about not loving your work. What the dying people who had this regret said to me — they just wished they’d left space for other things in their life as well and not had their whole identity shaped around their …

Stu

Yeah.

Bronnie

Because once their work was removed, there was nothing left.

Guy

Of course.

Bronnie

Yeah, and wishing they hadn’t worked so hard.

[00:14:00] The third most common regret was people wishing that they’d had the courage to be honest. And so that sort of came from two different angles. One was wishing they’d had the courage to tell loved ones how much they loved them or to tell family or to express their love to whoever. But it also came from people wishing they’d expressed love to themselves. So, wishing they’d expressed their feelings in self-care, rather than just, you know, telling people they loved them, but to actually say, “Hang on a sec, I don’t like the way you’re treating me. You know, I need to express these feelings.” And so, in self-love as well as love of others. So it came from two different sides.

[00:14:30] And there are people wishing that they had stayed in touch with their friends. Because as they were dying they, the family was often already in a place of grief and sadness, and people who are dying want to live right up til they’re dying. And a lot of friends have memories that came from before the patient was a parent. So, say if someone is 80, they might have fifty-year-old children, but they’ve also got the friends who knew them when they were 20 or 30, and so they’ll want to reminisce about those times, and … A lot of the people I looked after were 50, 60, 70 … I’m not saying we all live til 80, but in that example … So it’s about just the value of friends and how much humor friends can bring in at the end, because, like I say, people want to keep living for as long they can and reminisce in a positive way.

[00:15:30] And the fifth regret was wishing that they hadn’t … wishing that they’d exercised their power of choice. Wishing that they’d allowed themselves to be happier. So the realizing that happiness is actually a choice, and it wasn’t about denying sad times and hard times and anger … All of that has its place. But it was realizing that there comes a time when you can actually choose to change direction on what you’re focusing on. So rather than someone saying you don’t deserve this, and playing that role, to actually say, “Oh, actually, hang on, I’m going to choose happiness here. I’m going to choose joy instead of fears. Not give that the power that I have given it.” And actually choose a happier thought [inaudible 00:15:42].

And yeah, so, it was heartbreaking. It was absolutely devastating seeing the pain that … Not everyone had regrets, but more did than didn’t. And it was just, it was heartbreaking. For me, it was transforming, life-transforming, because …

Stu

Did you address your regrets prior to writing the book? Or did it take the book for you to then understand that, “Boy, I’ve got all of these regrets that I need to work on”? How did that work for you?

Bronnie

[00:16:30] Well, it was a process of all the years of looking after dying people. That was already underway. I was learning a lot of gentleness of myself through the process because I could see that that was an area that would have stopped a lot of the regrets for dying people. But certainly writing the book was healing for me as well. Definitely.

Stu

Yeah.

Bronnie

[00:17:00] Yeah. But I’ve learned that regret is … Or I’ve decided that regret is just a very harsh judgment of ourselves. And so we’ve all got mistakes. We can all look back on things we would have done differently. But rather than judge ourselves so harshly, we can look back and think, “Okay, well, I’m going to have compassion for the person I was then, because I did what I did as who I was then, or I said what I said, or didn’t say what I said and didn’t say.”

Stu

Yes.

Bronnie

And if you can recognize that you would have done it differently, well, you’ve already grown and changed from that person anyway.

Stu

Right.

Bronnie

[00:17:30] So, for me, I don’t have regret now, because I … there’s things I’d do differently. If I could come back again, I’d do a lot of things differently. But instead, I’m just going to look back on my former self and my younger self and just think, “Well, bless you, Bronnie, you know, you were doing the best you could as who you were then. I’m going love you with compassion and forgive you and move forward from there.” So, that’s how I deal with the regret of the past.

Guy

[00:18:00] When I think of regret, sometimes … I think I wrote it in a question a bit later on, but there’s a lot of fear wrapped around making changes or choices that are going to point you in a new direction moving forward, that will take you away from regretting that you never did these things. But for every time we tried to step into that, quite often we can have, we can be intimidated by the choices we made. Because even like you said, you’re a messenger of courage, as well, and I think about that. What would you suggest to people to start to move through that regret or to let it go in the first place?

Bronnie

So you mean regrets they’re already carrying or to avoid regrets in the future?

Guy

To avoid regrets in the future.

Bronnie

Okay. Okay, because for the past, it’s definitely self-forgiveness and compassion.

[00:19:00] For the future is … We need to talk more about death as a society. We need to face the fact that we’re all going to die and stop sweeping it under the carpet, because it’s inevitable. So, if we can actually have the courage to contemplate death, then rather than be petrified of it and not even deal with it at all until the end, if we actually think, “Okay, hang on, I am going to die. I am. So I’m on limited time. So every bit of … Every single day I get up now is one day less of my life.”

[00:19:30] But rather than that be horrific, let it be empowering. Think, “Okay, I’m going to use death as a tool for living here. I’m on limited time. I need to get courageous here, and I need to start making changes.” So, use death in a very powerful way. And then start making … Consider, okay, if I was to die in a month, what would my regrets be now? And that’s the area you need to start healing and start working towards. So, it’s a step by step process.

[00:20:00] Any major change, especially huge changes that take courage, we can only do it one step at a time. So rather than think, “How am I going to do this?” and talk ourselves out of it because it seems too overwhelming, just think, “Okay, well, what’s one step I can take today towards this, towards creating a regret-free life? What am I going to regret? What are my potential regrets? What can I do now, in the present day? What’s one small step I can do towards that?” Don’t worry about the next step and the next step. “What’s one small step I can do?” Do that step, and then the next step will reveal itself.
[00:20:30] And then keep asking yourself, “What’s another step I can do?” And then if you do die suddenly, at least you know you started working towards this. It may not have got to the point where you tick something off your bucket list or you had complete healing in a relationship you’re trying to heal or whatever. But at least you know you were trying, and that is going to get rid of regret, because you know that you’re actually making a courageous effort towards a regret-free life.

[00:21:00] So it’s a small step-by-step process, and we get better with practice. So, as we take each step, using death as a tool for living, thinking I don’t have all the time in the world to fix this or to do this, then we get a little bit braver and then life starts supporting us because we … I find that life rewards courage.

Guy

[00:21:30] Yeah. Yeah, it totally makes sense. And you mentioned, as well, about the regrets that can hold us, because the past choices that we might have made and we’re still carrying those regrets with us. So, what would your tips be to overcome them as well for people because … I never thought of it like that, because I was think in just a future context, but of course we’ve got the regrets of the past as well.

Bronnie

[00:22:00] Yeah, to look back with gentleness on ourselves, and actually just stop beating ourselves up and judging ourselves so harshly and to say, “Okay, well, I’m going to forgive myself here. I stuffed up. I did something that I wish I had done differently. I’ve learnt from it. I’ve obviously learnt from it if I’ve got regret around it.”

Stu

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bronnie

I’m going to just take that as a lesson and have compassion for my humanness, because none of us are perfect. None of us have done things … We all have things we wish we would have done differently. So have compassion for our humanness, and just say, “Okay, well I’m going to do my best to forgive you and love this part of myself that did that and learn from it enough to never do it again.”

Guy

Yeah. I hear the saying “Wisdom is being able to look at your past without an emotional charge.” And I thought that was quite good as well. So, you’re detached. So, then you learn from it and it becomes wisdom moving forward.

Bronnie

Yes. Yeah, with loving kindness. With detachment. That’s … yeah.

Guy

Yeah. yeah.

Stu

Do you have a daily routine or a practice to address regret in terms of maybe a few steps that you make sure that you do at the start of the day or at some stage?

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Bronnie

Well, I’m a meditator, so I meditate every morning.

Stu

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bronnie

[00:23:30] And that’s not centered around regret, but it’s centered around connection with myself and that part that was part of myself that will hopefully steer me away from creating further regret. So certainly there’s always that. At the end of the evening, I do a gratitude journal, which I’ve done for probably 20 years now …

Stu

Okay.

Bronnie

… where I write things to be grateful for.

Stu

Yes.

Bronnie

[00:24:30] And I’ve got always at least five things, even when I was in my darkest time. It might have been, “Thank you for clean water.” You know, sometimes it’s got to be as simple as that. So, but what I find is if I’m facing a really big decision, regret always comes back to me. And even small decisions. I’m very conscious in my decision making, so that is the daily practice, I guess. I’m very conscious about how I make my decision. So if I’m pressed with a very big decision, even though I could see an easier way to go or what seems to be an easier way to go, if I know in my heart it’s really not the way my heart really wants to go, then I’m going to think, okay, like, this might be easier, but if I go this way, am I going to live with the pain of regret at the end? And it’s like, well, yeah. So, it’s not worth taking the easy path, but sometimes I have to go the other way and take the harder path. Because I do question myself sometimes and say, “Is this going to cause you regret? Think about this before you do it.” And so it certainly shapes things.

[00:25:00] And I think regrets have also shaped me a lot subconsciously now because I’ve been working with regrets for so long that I make so many decisions now based around knowing what’s good for me and what is creating a regret-free life.

Stu

Right. Understand. Excellent.

Guy

You mentioned there, as well, Bronnie, gratitude, and … How important do you think that is to have that in our daily lives?

Bronnie

[00:26:00] I think it’s the secret to happiness. I really do think it’s the secret to happiness. None of us will ever have it all perfect. Or we might, but it will be fleeting, because life is ever-changing. So by using gratitude, we find the blessings in disguise. So even though we may still be dreaming about something or trying to achieve something or whatever, it brings us back to a place of presence where we think, well, okay, sure, I’m working towards that, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m a human, I’m a dreamer, I’m ever expanding into my dreams. But right now, I don’t want to miss this moment either. This is life, here and now. So if we can find gratitude in the here and now regardless of the circumstances, regardless of how hard it is to find that gratitude, then it brings us back to presence. It makes us see that we always have plenty of things to be grateful for. There’s so many things to be grateful for. And then it’s just a force that carries us through then.

Guy

[00:26:30] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because it’s so hard. Like, even myself and Stu running a business and what we’ve created at 180, you can get caught up in this world of stress and pressure, and then all of a sudden your world becomes very narrow and you can miss out on so many magical things that can be happening at the same time. I mean, we live in Byron Bay. I mean, we live in paradise, right? But we could still miss that point, because we’re so plugged into things on the internet and actually stop and look around and take a minute to go wow, I’m actually … This is a great day. I’m happy to be here and …

Bronnie

And this is life. Like, this is actually it.

Guy

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bronnie

This is it.

Guy

There’s no dress rehearsal at all.

Bronnie

No, no.

Guy

Yeah. Sorry, my bloody phone was buzzing in. I’m just … I’m back.

Stu

Don’t regret it, Mate. Just use it as a lesson for next time and put it on silent.

[00:27:30] So, tell us … I wonder if you could expand a little bit on self-care. You mentioned self-love, self-care. Tell us a little bit more about it and what we can do perhaps to understand the importance of that and a little bit of everyday care for ourselves moving forward.

Bronnie

[00:28:00] Okay, a big part of self-care is enjoyment. Not always striving. So to leave space for fun, to commit to fun. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard from an Ayurvetic doctor was to commit to one fun thing to do every single week. And so rather than say, “Oh, I’ve got a holiday in a month’s time,” or whatever, just think, “Okay, every single week, I’m going to commit, not just hope to do this, but I’m actually going to commit to something really fun every single week, no matter what.”

Stu

Okay, yes.

Bronnie

[00:29:00] So, enjoyment is a big part of it. For me, self-care is space. Space is my biggest medicine, and I just love it. I’m very committed to leaving space in my life for time offline, for spontaneity, and to do things without stress, because stress is just as much of a killer, if not more, than a bad diet. I’m very much into healthy living, but I’ve found that when we’re living in this fight or flight mode and this stress mode, it’s so detrimental to our health and also to our well-being. So every Tuesday, I don’t make plans at all. It’s a day with my daughter. If I have to make plans, it’s got to be something that will bring value to our lives and something fun. Otherwise, Tuesdays, for at least fifteen years, I don’t work on Tuesdays. It’s just the way it turned out. When I was in the corporate world and I was fighting Monday to Friday and that sort of thing, Tuesdays is a really lovely day to have off because it’s very quiet out and about.

Stu

Yeah.

Bronnie

Yeah, so for me, leaving space and knowing that I have limits. And we all do, but we can learn the hard way if we don’t honor them. And we need time, we need space, we need downtime, and so I’ve learnt the hard way that I have to leave space for downtime. So, I don’t schedule in more than I can handle. I say no without guilt. I consider whether what I’m doing is going to be good for me, because if it’s not good for me, I can’t serve in a good way. So by nurturing myself and looking after myself, I can then nurture others and help others in a much more healthy way than from a place of martyrdom or whatever and self-sacrifice, which leads to burnout or resentment or regret.

[00:30:30] So for me, space is a huge, huge part of my self-care routine, and learning to say no without guilt. I’m one woman. I have a beautiful teen that supports me, but at the end of the day, I’m still one person who needs her family time, her solo time, her work time, her well-being time, spiritual time, you know, all of it.

Stu

Yeah.

Guy

[00:31:00] It’s interesting you say that. We had Dr. Mario Martinez on the show last year. He’s just been signed by Hay House, actually. And he interviewed centenarians all around the world. But they were fit, healthy, and strong, and over 100 years old. And he said one of the common things was they’d learned to say no to people without any remorse or guilt or anything, and they were quite stubborn in their approach to life. And that was …

Bronnie

Yes.

Guy

But coming from the heart. Not just an egotistical way. Yeah.

Bronnie

Yeah.

Guy

It’s great.

Bronnie

Well, a lot of what we say yes to is driven by fear anyway, and so the more we step into our grounding and get to know ourselves and know what works for us, then we do, we can actually recognize, “Okay, I’m saying yes from a place of fear here, I’d rather say yes from a place of love.”

Guy

Yeah.

Stu

Yes.

Guy

Yeah, I got no problem saying no to Stu. A lot more often these days.

Bronnie

Well, and I can tell from here, so …

[00:32:00]

Stu

Yeah, I can … Nothing coming from me, Guy. Nothing coming from me.

Tell us about your new book called “Bloom,” because I can kind of sense where it’s coming from, but I’d like to know what it’s all about.

Bronnie

Okay. “Bloom” is my favorite book. My personal favorite of my three books.

Stu

Yes.

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Bronnie

[00:32:30] It picks up where “Five Regrets” finished, so it’s also a memoir. So “Your Year for Change” was in the middle of that. It’s 52 short stories, “Your Year for Change.” I was very ill at the time. I had a baby. And it’s for time poor people, little snippets of inspiration of short stories for time poor people. But memoir writing, I think, is my strength, even though it’s not actually my love. I don’t naturally want to share myself as honestly and openly as I do in my memoirs. What I want to do is honor my heart, and my heart calls me to do this. So, it’s a very honest, open memoir. It’s the subtitle sums it up: it’s “A Tale of Courage, Surrender, and Breaking Through Upper Limits.”

[00:34:00] So straight after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, within a month of her being born. And I was really strong and healthy before that. I mean, I’d just had an incredible pregnancy and got right through to being a 45 year old first time mom, but it was obviously, it triggered a lot of strain on my body. So I’ve been through this massive journey with rheumatoid arthritis, and going completely down the natural path first, and then having to surrender to the pharmaceutical path, and then thankfully being able to let go of that and finding peace, finding my healing through the Ayurvedic path, and a big part of the Ayurvedic path is about enjoyment, leaving space, it’s the whole lifestyle thing. It’s that wellness isn’t just you diet incredibly well, but it’s about self-care and the lack of stress and the lack of striving. And so what I learnt through … “Bloom” takes us through that tale. It’s also got some love in there. You’ve got to have a bit of that. There’s love, some sort of craving for home, and other elements: family relationships and different things of healing.

So there’s something for everyone. And it’s really taught me … The whole process of “Bloom” has taught me about surrender and just allowing myself to accept what is in that moment.

[00:35:30] And so being ill has taught me that sometimes we just have to let go of bands, and that’s why I’m such an advocate for space and simplicity, because for me, that’s honestly, it’s where the magic is. So “Bloom” is all about surrendering and how to build that faith and letting go layer by layer. And I use my own example to teach that. And what I found through surrendering, which it takes a lot of courage … Surrendering is not doing nothing. It takes immense amount of courage to surrender. But what I found is if you surrender, which is letting go of the control of how things have to come to us … So if you dare to surrender, step by step, life then actually provides short cuts for you. So instead of you thinking, “Right, I’ve got to get from A to B. I’ve got to take this step, this step, this step, this step.” If you sort of think, “Okay, I’m at A. I need to get to B. I’m not quite sure that this is how I’m going to go. I’m going to just take the first step and see where life guides me.” Life will … There’s a good chance it will take you in a completely different direction. You’ll still end up at B, but the amount of fantastic stuff supporting your ongoing journey that you pick up along the way is astronomical.

Guy

I love it, yeah.

Bronnie

Yeah, I just find that allowing is so much more important than striving.

Guy

[00:36:00] Why do you think we have to have that control? Because I was thinking, “Right, I need to get to B. I’m going to use my past experiences to get me to B, because that’s all I know and that’s the way I’m going to do it and I’m going to blinker off any other opportunity. I could come my way, because I can already control this outcome.” That’s what I’m telling myself, and I’m going to get to B. And I think a lot of us actually operate like that.

Bronnie

No.

Guy

Why do you think that is?

Bronnie

[00:36:30] Well, I think we give a lot of power to logic, and so logic tells us this is the way we’re going to go. But we forget that life is actually mysterious and that it can actually bring things to us in ways that we can’t even fathom yet. So, even though we think we know the exact steps we’re going to take …

[00:37:30] I mean, how many of us get from A to B without some sort of hurdle or hindrance along the way? We can’t control every step of the way. Luck always throws surprises. You know, I didn’t know I was going to get ill with a really challenging disease. I thought I had it all sorted. I was going this way. But I think it’s just the fear and logic that we think, “Okay, this is the most logical way to go. I’m going to do that, and dare I step out of that, I might get lost and I may never get to where I want to go.” But if you do let go, if you truly want to get to where [inaudible 00:37:17] you will, but it will be such a better journey. Or you’ll get along the way, as I have often, and realize, “Oh my gosh, I don’t actually want that. This is what I wanted. I thought I wanted this. But my heart actually wanted that.” And life just then takes you off.

And so many times I’ve thought, “Thank goodness I didn’t get what I wanted. Thank goodness, because I’ve got something so much better and so much more perfect for me that brought joy on levels that [inaudible 00:37:46] getting to B was never going to get. Yeah.

Guy

[00:38:00] And do you … Sorry, it’s just got me triggering a few thoughts here. How do you know when you’re listening to that? So, you’re surrendering, and then you’re guided by more, I guess, your heart and intuition to let things go. So, is it a process that you can kind of tune into that and listen? Or is it more just everyone’s got it? Because if I thought, “I’m going to surrender tomorrow, I’m just going to go through my day and see what happens.” And then as things show up, I know that that’s the right sort of thing to do or not. Is that like muscle you train, or is that …?

Bronnie

Yes.

Guy

Right.

Bronnie

Yep. Exactly. It’s a muscle you train. So again, it comes back to that step by step process of it. But you actually did … So often we might not know what we want, but we almost always know what we don’t want. And so, even if we can’t listen to our heart to say, Okay, I don’t know exactly what I want or what the next step is, we know in our gut if we’re doing it wrong, if we’re in the wrong situation. We know it. We might reason against it and still do it, because our head’s saying do it this way. There’s a feeling inside of us that if we dare to stop and allow some space and some stillness, we’ll just think, “Okay, I know this is wrong, but I’m so scared, and I’m so in need of controlling this that I know it’s wrong, but I don’t know any other way. I’m going to force it. I’m going to go this way.” Whereas at moments like that, that’s when we’ve got to say, “I don’t know what to do. [inaudible 00:39:24]I’m going to do something nice for myself today. I’m going to go for a walk on the beach, or I’m just going to go out with a mate. Whatever. I’m not going to think about it for a minute.” I’m not going to sit there for an hour an say, “Righto, Life, I’ve got an hour. I’m surrendering.” You know. “Hurry up.”

Stu

Yeah. Force it. Force it. Yep.

Bronnie

It doesn’t work like that.

Stu

Yep.

Bronnie

[00:40:00] Surrendering is really just letting it go and saying, “I don’t know what to do. I really don’t know what to do. I’m going to hand it over here. I’m going to go and do something really nice for myself instead, because it’s much more important that I enjoy this day and do something kind and happy for myself than to get tied up in knots when I don’t know what to do. And I’m going to trust that a solution will come.” And the more we can do that, we put ourselves into a happy space, then we meet the right person, or we get the idea while we’re out walking, or we have a conversation with a stranger who says one line and you think, “I know what I’m going to do now.” Yeah. So, if you don’t know what to do, we often … That’s not as important as honoring what you know not to do.

Guy

Yeah.

Bronnie

We often know what we don’t want before we know what we do.

Guy

Yeah, fair enough. And that goes against everything we’ve been taught, doesn’t it, growing up? Basically.

Bronnie

[crosstalk 00:40:44]

Stu

[00:41:00] Just had a thought, as well. Another thought popped into my head, Guy. How does exercise or motion factor into what you’ve just told us about, perhaps, not trying to force the outcome? Because a lot of the time when we’re sitting in front of our desks and we’re trying to force things to happen, nothing ever happens. Yet if we walk around the block or get out in nature, it puts us in quite a different space and we tend to then become more receptive to thoughts and ideas. Does that factor into the way that you operate in terms of “let’s just get out and go for a walk” or “take our shoes off, walk on the grass”? That kind of thing.

Bronnie

Absolutely, Stu. But it has to be exercise that’s exercise just for the enjoyment of it. It’s not like, “Right, I’ve got 20 minutes on my push bike now. I’m just going to ride a quick 20 minutes.” And you might not be focusing on looking for the solution, but you’re pushing yourself because you’ve only got 20 minutes. It’s about, “Okay, I’m just going to take a couple of hours. I’m going for a ride.” And then it’s go for a ride [inaudible 00:41:48], go for a jog, go for a walk, whatever. And when we’re in that space of movement … I mean, movement is just … Well, as you guys know, it’s crucial for our well-being. But it’s a great antidote for finding our solutions, providing, again, we don’t have an agenda. Providing we’re not trying to force an agenda like, “Right, I’ve got to burn this many calories,” or “I’ve got to find this solution in this time.” It’s more like, “I’m just going to go and go for a walk or go for a bike ride or jump on a trampoline.” Whatever. Just for the love of it. Just for the love of it. You guys know, it just clears your head straight away and makes us more receptive to whatever thing wants to come our way.

Stu

[00:43:00] It does, and we had another guest on the show as well, who likened his fondest memories to always being outside in nature. He said your fondest memories in life — talking about regrets and things like that — will not be attributed to “Boy, I had a great time in the office last year.” You’d always think, “Ah, when I was out on that beach on holiday or when I was in the forest or swimming in the ocean.” You realize there is such power that comes from the outside world that you’re probably not going to get from …

Bronnie

Sure.

Stu

… just being stuck in your workplace in the grind.

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Bronnie

Absolutely. I mean, it’s part of who we are. We’re animals, aren’t we?

Stu

We are. Absolutely. Yes, we are.

Guy

[00:43:30] It’s funny how you’re even talking about, yeah, I’ve got 20 minutes to get on the push bike quickly and blast it out. Because I meditate every morning, Bronnie, and when I first started, it was like, right, I set my alarm, I get up at 6:00 am, my meditation’s done by 6:10, and then I can go and eat my breakfast. You know, and I had all these little rules set around it.

Bronnie

Yeah, yeah.

Guy

And I was actually defeating the whole purpose of what I was doing. It took me a long time to create that space, to go actually, I’m going to create more time than I actually need and then just allow it to happen.

Bronnie

Yes. Yes, exactly. You can tap into your meditation so much better, and you may not sit for as long as you set your alarm for, that longer length of time. But at least you’ve given yourself the freedom to drop into it properly. Yeah.

Guy

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Your new book, “Bloom,” it basically sort of talks about the surrendering and the process from that. Is that the main theme of it?

Bronnie

Yeah.

Guy

Okay.

Bronnie

[00:45:00] And also about breaking through our upper limits, because so many of us … If we want to see our dreams arrive in our life, we’ve got to realize that just as there’s a level of pain we can get to where you think, “I cannot deal with any more pain or heartache or despair” or whatever. Like the depths. There’s often … Most of us have heights, as well, so we can get to a certain point where we think, “I don’t know how to allow in the unlimited flow that wants to come to us,” or “I don’t know how to allow in more happiness or more joy.” So it’s also about, as we step up and as our life gets better, not sabotaging ourselves by blocking that flow that wants to come, but actually knocking our head on a gray cloud every step up we take, but actually breaking through that and realizing, “Hang on. It’s okay to have whatever wants to come our way.”

Guy

Why do we do that? Like, why do we self-sabotage a lot if we hit that ceiling and you go, “Actually, this feels so uncomfortable. I’m not worthy. I’m not going to do it.” And we don’t allow it in?

Bronnie

[00:45:30] Well, I think because we’re scared of how amazing we can really be. Yeah. I think that our potential is phenomenal, and when we get a glimpse of this, it’s like, “Holy … how am I going to live as that person?” But what we need to remember is that we don’t just arrive as that person one day. We grow into it. And so every step we take towards that and getting rid of these upper limits and surrendering and making courageous decisions, it’s growing. It’s helping us grow into our readiness. So, we do a lot up there. We don’t just wake up there one day. And then it’s not so scary.

Guy

Yeah, I love it. I’ll be ordering that book today, Bronnie. I love the idea of this. That’s fabulous.

So, we ask you a couple of questions on the show, Bronnie, that we ask all our guests.

Bronnie

Yeah, sure.

Guy

And we’ve kind of touched on it before, but I’d be interested to hear this. What are your non-negotiables these days to be the best version of yourself?

Bronnie

Meditation, bike ride, and space. And healthy diet, yeah.

Stu

At the same time?

Bronnie

And week massages. Yeah.

Guy

Yeah. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

Bronnie

Yep.

Guy

And what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Bronnie

I actually wrote a song with this title, it was such a good piece of advice. Let yourself be surprised. Yeah. We think we have to know all the answers. We don’t. Let ourselves be surprised.

Guy

Fantastic.

Stu

I like it. Yeah, no, I do like it. I does make sense, doesn’t it? We’re trying to force everything in lives, and a lot of the time, when we force everything in lives, we’re actually hindering the process that allows us to accept outside stuff.

Bronnie

Yes. Instead of focusing on the how all the time, just let go of the how for a minute and think, “I’m going to let myself be surprised.”

Stu

Yeah. I like it.

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Guy

I love it.

Stu

Brilliant.

Guy

And are you on a book tour at the moment? Or is it music or both?

Bronnie

I’m on a book tour at the moment. It’s just about finished, though. It finishes in the next couple of days. And so I don’t know when this is going live, so I’m in Sydney as this interview happens for my event tonight. And then Perth. I’ve already done Melbourne and Brisbane.

Guy

Wow.

Bronnie

And then I’m actually taking some time off. Next year … “Five Regrets” is going into a film, and next year’s going to be really big with the film [crosstalk 00:47:55]

Stu

Oh.

Bronnie

Yeah, I’m just taking some time off not to allow my creativity to flow without it having to necessarily become a product. And just to see where it wants to take me next, and good chance it could become a product or not. But I’m giving myself a bit of time off after this tour.

Guy

Love it.

Bronnie

A couple months. Few months.

Guy

Wow. There’s a lot going on, hey? Absolutely. Yeah, good. Perfect.

So, if anybody wants to learn more, Bronnie, where’s the best place to send them?

Bronnie

Sure. It’s bronnieware.com. So W-A-R-E. Yeah. Just .com. Bronnieware.com.

Guy

And that was W-A-R-E for Ware.

Bronnie

Yes. Yeah. Bronnie Ware.

Guy

Yeah. Beautiful. And your books are available on there, too, right?

Bronnie

Yeah. They’re available there. They’re available at all good bookstores.

Stu

Fantastic.

Guy

I have no doubt.

Stu

Well, look, we will dump all of that info in our show notes as well and just share the bejesus out of this article, because there is some great stuff. Certainly makes you think.

Bronnie

Thank you.

Stu

Stop and think, which I think is important.

Guy

Yeah.

Bronnie

Good on you. Thank you. Thank you.

Guy

Thank you so much, Bronnie. That was just tremendous. Thank you so much.

Bronnie

Thank you, Guy. Thank you both.

Guy

Cheers, guys.

Stu

Bye-bye.

Guy

Bye.

 

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