My grandmother – mother emu

It has taken me all this time to understand what this meant. I didn’t know my grandmother very well, as I was brought up in a different country to her. However, an image I do have is of her striding down the main boutique street of Zurich, when we moved there from Australia when I was nine. Apparently, she did the same when she got off the plane coming home – strode purposefully across the tarmac to enter the building. And for some reason, that reminded her family of an emu. Quirky!

And why on earth did it come to mind all these years later is a mystery. However, it popped into my head after my big abseil the other day. I literally strode down the side of the 40 story building, resolute, focused with only the end in mind – my feet back on terra firma. Once over the ledge, I took off and there was no holding me back. That is my grandmother did.

Courage. Determination. Strength. Striding out.

It brought back this old memory of courage, determination, strength and get on with it attitude that has been instilled in me. Even though my grandmother and I were brought up in completely different eras, there are still similarities in how we deal with the unknown. She had never even been abroad when our family was transferred to Switzerland. Yet, in her 70’s, she got on a plane with us to support her daughter, my mother, having no knowledge of the language, culture, or food to spend a couple of months helping us to settle in. As an aside, after my grandfather died, my grandmother had driven without a licence for 30 years as he had attended to that side of life. She had to learn how to live on her own and fend for herself.

That takes courage.

Granny’s only real experience with Europeans up until then had been with my French father. In those days in Western Australia, there were very few foreigners and all this delicious culture and food was not widespread and available as it is now. Much to my mother’s horror, Granny and Dad regularly enjoyed a glass or two of red wine, cheese and raw garlic. Mindfully, of course. She loved the newness of it and being open to new experiences going in there head long.

Never before have I been nor felt so mindful, resolute, courageous and determined as I ‘strode’ down that building. I was stepping into the unknown as I had never done this before. What would it be like? How would I feel? Would I even be able to do actually step over? All these questions were running through my mind right up to the last minute.

We all have times like this in our lives when we are stepping into the unknown. It tests our mettle. It can test us to the core. And it can be life changing. It can be scary and exciting all rolled up in one. Let’s not stop ourselves from experiencing life and all that it brings us.

Go forth mindfully and create that adventure you have always wanted to have.

Bon courage as you do so.






meet chantal

Chantal Vanderhaeghen is an intuitive guide, small business owner, creator of an international skincare brand, passionate philanthropist and meditation, reiki, tapping and mindfulness teacher. She works with women ready to make changes, shatters perceptions of beauty and perfection, and inspires people ready to become mindful entrepreneurs. She lives with her talented man in the Perth Hills and can be found online at



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