16 Massive Life Lessons I Learned in the Australian Outback

October 12, 2015

Outback Watering Hole


My recent Walkabout adventure in the Australian Outback was truly extraordinary.

Spending a week on deep retreat in that ancient desert with my coach and her husband unleashed massive new insights in me for living an extraordinary life fueled by an embodied mindset of Love.

In many cases, these insights were simply a deepening into that which I already had been waking up to for years. In other cases, I saw completely new realities I hadn’t really seen before that made me literally dizzy when they finally clicked (that actually happened). Shortly after I returned to Sydney, my fingernails still underlined with chalky red outback dust, I journaled about all that magic on my iPhone.

About halfway through typing up my notes, my fingers were suddenly hijacked by aliens (I’m guessing it was aliens) as some weirdly rapid series of pokes and swipes by my spasming fingers accidentally emailed those notes to my assistant, Gina.

The next morning, I awoke to an emotional message from that brilliant, deep, angel of a woman who had just read that which I intended for no one ever to read:

From Gina:

“2:30 am here … I never look at my phone in the middle of the night – now suddenly turned to my night table, my limbs reaching for it seemingly without my consent. I was called to ~ Reading this with tears pouring down my face, my neck, my shoulders … River of tears of joy for the awakening that you bring forth – for your Dharma. So magnificent to hear the voice of your heart – raw and unfiltered, it penetrated deep into every tiny fiber of my being.

But mostly words fail me –
Good thing they serve you so well ~

I love you so much.
Thank you.”

I hadn’t thought to share these notes with anyone until I read her message.

So in honor of my assistant angel, Gina, should you ever find your own longing heart reaching out through idle hands in search of inspiration in the quiet wee hours of your day, I offer you these 16 massive insights from my sacred journey in the Outback.

NOTE: The “Unzip” for each lesson is me unzipping what actually happened to help me really land that particular lesson. You may not understand all the references.

The last location I had wi-fi before my walkabout.


1: Trust that you know what to do next. If you don’t get what you thought you would get, you always get the lesson, experience, gift your soul needs to grow and deepen in love. 

UNZIP: I’ve always known throughout my life deep in my heart what to do in the next moment. Intuition, they call it. I’ve always been connected to it and when I ignore it, I inevitably – and quickly – suffer. This trip was an active exercise in trusting my intuition.

The biggest lessons were:

(1) When deciding to experience more of Kata Tjuta than Uluru: I was instinctively deeply drawn to KT, which was a surprise since Uluru had lived large in my mind since I left Australia 15 years ago. But taking us deeper into KT allowed me to experience in relative solitude the profound beauty of an ancient place where men had come to do sacred masculine rituals for tens of thousands of years.

(2) When we left the manicured, way-too-comfy resort campground to explore the “dangerous” nighttime mysteries of the surrounding desert for a campsite more connected to the land. This tourist campground was an incredible experience in contrast as teacher, as earlier that day I sat feeling sad, almost depressed, on a bench outside registration, watching car after car after car pour into this paved and manicured oasis of comfort. I knew I had the power to change what was happening. But I was believing my thoughts that we had to stay there for various reasons I was only making up in my head. Within a few hours, after we had already set up camp for the night, as sign after sign pointed the way out for us, I made the call to choose love (for myself!) and get us the hell outta there! I immediately felt immensely better as my spirits lifted (and so did everyone else’s) and my heart got excited. What happened next was pure magic, including other wandering nighttime travelers and a car that came out of nowhere to point the way down a mysterious road I knew we had to follow. We easily found the most glorious camp site under the stars by really letting Love (self-love) lead the way.

2: The mind is constantly lying to itself and others. We hear things that weren’t said. We conclude things based on loose irrelevant and even false connections and then we live those conclusions as though they were true.

UNZIP: In my prep for this trip, I made false public statements about who I was going with (aboriginals). Turns out, my ego/mind had taken disconnected stories and created false connections based on what I wanted to be true. Not only was I plain wrong; my ego resisted being called out on it.

3: It’s way too easy to believe what I read/see and then create stories I live in that only bring sadness, judgment, suffering … and that I have no idea if they’re actually true.

UNZIP: Towards the end of the trip, after not seeing as many kangaroos as I expected (shouldn’t they be sounding down the airport runway when you land in Sydney??), I said the following with total conviction after visiting a cultural center that described how Europeans had changed the way humans steward the land: “There are fewer kangaroos and wallabies here because of white men.”

Turns out, there are parts of Australia just crawling with kangaroos! My coach and her husband had just come from there, confirming that I was making an assumption that made me sad even though I had no real idea to what degree it was actually true.

4: I must be willing to lose everything, even my identity, to be truly free.

UNZIP: Who am I? I’ve been asking that question for ages. The answer has changed throughout my years, over and over and over, as I shift from one profession to another, from one relationship to single and back into another (or the same) relationship, and so on. “Who I am” has never been stable even in my own mind.

On this trip, as my coach began to question the veracity and authenticity of my writing, I became very guarded. After all, I’ve built a compelling reputation on the raw truth and authenticity in my blogs. I have experienced firsthand that few stories can be told perfectly true, if only because one must take a perspective, and besides, memory often changes things, anyway.

However, true freedom is being willing to be wrong about absolutely everything … even the truth of my art and who I think I am. For if “I” am not willing to let go of even that which I hold as the most precious part of “me,” then I can only be prisoner to my own tyrant ego.

5: To truly love, I (my ego) must be willing to be slayed over and over and over again.

UNZIP: see number 4

6: Look for the signs! Intuition reveals herself and spurs you on through her signs, symbols, chance encounters, the white rabbit (or white truck driving down the previously unseen path into the bush right behind you), or even in deep knowings, sadnesses, excitements. Ignoring those signs always hurts. Following them guarantees nothing other than the thrill of feeling alive.

UNZIP: There were so many signs we should leave that cozy tourist campground, and of course even more signs once we actually did. I almost couldn’t believe it. It was surreal. The first sign, of course, was my own deep sadness borne of stories we were all believing that had actually no basis in reality. Once I decided (and the group agreed) to take action in the direction of our excitement – getting out of that camp – everything began to shift. My body came alive. Life started cooperating in that direction and signs pointed the way, from the two French guys pulled over looking for their own bush camp to that wild white truck that appeared out of nowhere and turned around in front of us only to then disappear down that bush road we hadn’t even seen until that moment. It was extraordinary, and I’m excited now to pay attention to the signs that are always present, always illuminating the path of heart.

7: There is no right or wrong, just lessons and blessings. Choices. This way or that. Either path ultimately brings you Home. To yourself. It’s just a matter of how quickly you want to get there (and there’s always an instantaneous option).

UNZIP: We could have easily stayed in that campground. Nothing wrong with that if we had. We would have had a shower and been relatively comfortable. Might even have met some nice people. Who knows? But it felt heavy and sad. As long as we were there in that cozy city-in-the-desert when the glorious bush outback lay all around us with its silent sunrise mornings and infinite starry skies (which we couldn’t really see in that city), I would have felt the disconnect of living separate from my path of heart’s truth. It only took one moment to choose to come back home to myself: the choice to leave and venture into the mysterious nighttime bush.

8: To truly surrender to Life’s call, you must take your shoes off! (i.e. be vulnerable and allow Life to overwhelm and delight you in her own mysterious ways)

UNZIP: Our second campsite was a sandy area by a cool, watering hole. I could feel my body’s discomfort walking across the soft rocky ground. I would bristle at the sand encroaching my shoes and how awkward my legs felt as the ground shifted uncertainly beneath my feet. I was aware I had come there to connect with this land, but now my body was rejecting it. Insane! So I took my shoes off and allowed the land to wrap itself around my feet. I got naked and dipped into the chill waters at dawn. Charcoal from blackened firewood burrowed beneath my fingernails and ancient red dust infiltrated my body through every pore, including little bits of dust floating atop my morning coffee. It was glorious!!

9: Love is the most powerful force in the universe. The Feminine is the transducer of Love energy. The Masculine is her servant and protector.

UNZIP: This was my biggest epiphany of the trip. Watching my coach hold a profound vision for the week as her husband secured the details and drove us around, I puzzled over what I was seeing. I had watched my dad do the same for 30 years following my step-mother, Ilonka, around the planet, except he seemed to struggle with it a lot more. I believe now that my dad struggled with his own ego-resistance. For as I watched those two, it suddenly clicked that the highest masculine purpose in life is to serve the unfolding mystery of the feminine heart connected to Love. Anything less and masculinity is merely indulging in its own arrogance and insanity … which is indicative of the world we live in today.

10: I’m not here to make temporary friends. I’m here to serve the truth: Love.

UNZIP: I heard my coach say this and it really struck me. I get a lot of advances from people wanting to be “friends.” It’s flattering, but I barely have the time and energy to nurture the wonderful friendships I already have. I realized that what people really want is to experience the expanded consciousness and love that Life has been cultivating in my own being, and that I can best serve most people who want to be my “friend” by inviting them to step deeper into the profound awakening that their own soul is clearly yearning (and ready) for.

11: The masculinity in every man (and woman) yearns to be king. Most men, however, get caught up in pursuit of the trappings and spoils of being king. Few learn how to be a king whose heart serves in genuine devotion to the Queen (i.e. Life, Love).

UNZIP: see 9 above.

12: The Feminine leads by intuition, feeling, love energy. Masculine leads in service to that love energy.

UNZIP: see 9 above. To expand a little more, I do realize this is not merely about a man serving a woman’s feminine connection to love, but about a man – or rather simply me – learning to use my masculine force in service of the love (feminine) also coming through me. In other words, it’s important to learn to humble my otherwise domineering masculine force so that it learns to serve my own inner feminine essence (and thus the feminine essence in the world outside).

13: Many women live in their fear/ego. Most men, the same. When no one brings feminine love and energy connected to heart to the relationship, everyone suffers. 

UNZIP: In leaving the campground, we went to get a refund. I could feel the fear and tension and anxiety in the woman behind the computer. My coach later confirmed that this woman was consumed by fear for our well-being as we were leaving after dark. She literally said to us: “Your car will hit a kangaroo and you will die.”

Although surely there was love inside her fear, she was overwhelmed by her own ego fear, the stories she wanted us to believe because she believed them. She wanted us to stay in the campground. Surely her only interest in us staying was that, in her mind, if we died, she would feel horrible. She didn’t want to feel horrible … even though she clearly already did in her fear.

Naturally, her fearful energy only furthered our resolve that we didn’t belong in this campground. And turns out we were not in ANY danger of hitting anything, as we drove slowly with big headlights and never saw even one animal and found the perfect campground.

I can see from most of my past relationships, particularly the chaotic ones, that my girlfriends operated overwhelmingly from ego and fear. Which is why I always resisted them. And of course the only thing keeping me in those toxic situations was my own ego and fear.

14: “Love” is always right.

UNZIP: It just is. (love can be fierce, too, when it cuts off the head of ego’s insanity)

15: “I wouldn’t have found that if I didn’t follow my heart.”

UNZIP: Even when mind/ego finds what it thinks it wants, it can’t enjoy finding it for long because it can’t feel. Mind/ego can only rationalize. It lives only to solve problems. In fact, it will soon create more problems just to be needed or have something to do. The ego-mind in service of the heart’s truth brings into manifest form the unmanifest, and intros way both mind and heart can rejoice. The heart experiences magic/love. The mind enjoys the accomplishing / solving the problem. But accomplishment without connection to the heart’s true longing is empty and dissatisfying, always.

The simple fact that I find myself in the middle of Australia on a walkabout adventure to Uluru, at a time when my ego would tell me “I don’t have the money” to do what I am in fact actually right now doing … well, it’s proof I could only have gotten here by following my Heart. My ego would never have gotten me here. Same goes for the desert campground we found by betraying the ego’s rational fears and leaving the safe tourist campground … and of course same goes for pretty much every other magical moment I experienced on this trip … or throughout my entire life, really.

16: Masculine access to love is through the feminine. Most men and women deny the feminine therefore deny love therefore suffer.

UNZIP: just another way of language-ing what I’ve already been pointing out.



* A sign at Stuart’s Well (quoting legendary explorer, John Stuart, the first white man to walk across the Outback … and survive):

“The romance is in the chivalry of the achievement of difficult and dangerous, if not impossible tasks. An explorer is an explorer from love.”

Sunrise at Uluru, Australia.

Related Posts

MTW Guest Artwork - Kelly Gardner

Mastering Fatherhood w/ Kelly Gardner (090)

  • Congratulations on your journey, and one can see how grateful and excited you are for the opportunity to explore so much in such a short time. The idea of being repelled by fear/ego based relationships and interactions really resonated with me, and I think that also goes hand in hand with not fighting your intuition. I find it most difficult to follow my intuition when in an interaction with someone who is passionately arguing from fear and ego. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoy your posts!

  • I giggled out loud at kangaroo comment. I couldn’t help it. I have heard similar things said when I tell people crocodiles are not found where I live, and deer are as common as kangaroos in places, sharks aren’t really circling out in the waters waiting to eat us all, and it’s been a few months since I’ve seen a snake that wanted to attack my car! (I recall a very poignant moment when I lived in America, walking through a field of long grass, looking up at the trees and sky and enjoying the day. I realised I hadn’t looked at my feet for a good half hour… and certainly wasn’t thinking about snakes. It was then I decided I’d MAYBE been in America tooooo long!)

    This was a fantastic article. Everything you write is an inspiration, I recommend your writings to people all the time, especially some of my male friends because I feel like we can all benefit from it. I just downloaded your “Diet” book as it jumped out at me during a pondering moment where I had decided that I needed to do an impromptu “lent” and take 40 days off dating/men/pining for love, and focus on me (recommended also by a male friend of mine who has done similar). So I will read your book as I journal my own journey, and look forward to what is to come. Thank you for sharing.

  • >
    Send this to a friend