Welcome to Week 32 of The 52 Week Love Project – Acts of Kindness. The project designed to recognize 52 inspiring humans who are giving back to our community – whether in a small way or by creating a movement for change and inspiration.
The project showcase’s LOVE at it’s finest, share their stories – what they do and why they do it! It’s an opportunity for us to find out what inspires them and what keeps them going when challenges or self-doubt assail them.
What can possibly happen when you ask the question ‘what’s next’ and you are receptive to hearing the answer?
Nicole the Founder of Rogue & Rouge Foundation and Published Author of ‘Love out Loud’ asked this very question when sitting quietly meditating in Ibiza.
Read Nicole’s story to find out what happened next!
WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?
Growing up, I was hyper-creative, had a varied upbringing and went to several high schools as a result of living between the UK, Australia and other areas of the world.
The effects of living in different countries and attending several schools – I felt segregated and misunderstood which manifested into anxiety. At the age of 12, I did not understand what was going on and how to effectively communicate it. I experienced early battles of mental illness and instability, and by the time I hit 14 wanted to leave school as I didn’t enjoy the structure.
From there, I attended an arts academy and majored in Theatre. It allowed me to find a way that I wanted to express myself and it was neutered in this environment.
I still had a mental illness that I was battling and struggled with wanting to be the best I could be. As part of this, it ended up escalating to an eating disorder.
Looking back, it was the greatest lesson. It gave me a deep understanding of the world and forced me to be my own strength. It gave me a sense of self and helped to be clear on what I wanted to do. I never want another teenager to feel isolated and misunderstood.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
That’s when I started The Rogue & Rouge Foundation – specialize in running school-based mental health programs and outreach mental health in communities – looking at it in grassroots – how to do we start the conversation and help on a preventative level. Mental Illness terms are common now – but when the Foundation started it was hardly conversations that were being had. I wanted to create safety for people – that’s where the healing needs to happen.
‘Love out Loud’ the book was published last year. I decided to publish the book, at the end of 2015. I experienced heart broke and it was the first wave of pain that I went through since I was 16. But it was different – this was nothing within my control. I had to surrender to the pain and let go. I knew I had to remake myself and took a journey across the world. I found myself meditating in Ibiza and asked myself ‘what’s next’ and leaned into it. I was receptive to listening to something bigger than my own ego.
At that moment, my phone rang – and it was a book publisher that called and said ‘I have been following you on Instagram and would like to support you through the book writing process. ‘
It was like a yellow brick road appeared in front of me. Love Out Loud is a guide to self-love and how to express it into the world. I would get writer’s block if I didn’t integrate what I was expressing. As I finished the last sentence, I broke into tears – it was such a healing process.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
It was my own journey. As the journey progressed it became other people’s stories. Growing up with a lot of luxury and privilege I thought everyone was the same.
I worked in communities where domestic violence was more normal than not – working in the outback, I travelled in a van and volunteered in communities for over 2 years and I started to learn about others and walk away learning about these communities and my own humanity was depended.
HOW DO YOU GET PAST SELF DOUBT?
Self-doubt is always there – like failure, criticism – I don’t think you are free from it.
Fear – used to make me feel paralysed. I utilize that tension to propel myself forward. If you can curate that in yourself – that’s what it means to be unstoppable. The doubts are an important part of being human. They keep me humble.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE/CHANGE IN THE WORLD?
The biggest piece of advice is not taking anyone else’s advice. Don’t seek it. That results in getting further away from your own compass. My greatest achievements are when the most magical situations have happened.
Everyone wants to know the steps e.g. ‘The 7 keys to Happiness ‘. One person’s empowerment is not yours. You have to do the work for you!
DO YOU HAVE A QUOTE OR EXPRESSION THAT YOU LIVE BY?
‘You are not your pain’
‘Love is not finding the perfection, it’s the unconditional permission to explore the imperfection ‘
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
I am a speaker, Author and Facilitator. Organizations often ask me to do cultural work with them. I do a lot of work with government departments to help them become human-centric.
When speaking at a conference in July, I was approached by an investor that wanted to transform ‘Love Out Loud’ into a broader well-being company that we are currently setting up – with an online course, workshops and retreats and training.
HOW CAN OTHERS HELP/GET INVOLVED?
The first step: read the book ‘Love Out Loud’ – which can be found: here. There is an online course – the first chapter is free and you can get an understanding of what it’s all about.
You can also choose to do the ‘Love Out Loud’ course online – the first module is FREE and can be found: here
Donate to the Rouge & Rouge Foundation or Volunteer: find out more: here
Follow us on Facebook: Here
Follow us on Instagram: Here