My name is Donna Lo Bartolo Shiel, and this is my side-hustle (because I do the nine-to-five thing too).
I have a busy (anxious) mind, and questions like the ones below have often slammed around in my head:
Sound familiar? Or like a train wreck? Read on…
My answer to that first question up there, came to me in my mid-20s, when I was in a meditation class that I was taking to help me manage my depression which had manifested from my crippling fear of disrupting the direction of my life (long story, I call it my Quarter-Life Crisis). The message that came through was:
‘I will protect you.’
It may not sound like much, but I can tell you, it was profound.
Immediately, my fear began to dissipate, and I became acutely aware that inside of me, I knew I had everything I needed to move forward and live on my own terms - that I had to be me, and do what I was called to do. Or in the words of Dolly Parton, ‘Find out who you are, and do it on purpose’. Thanks Dolly. You’re an ICON.
So, I did. And it led me here – to starting my business, Black Conch.
The inspiration behind the name 'Black Conch' comes from a conch shell mum used to have on her dresser. She used to let me press it up to my ear and listen to the ocean in it. At some stage I realised that what I was hearing in there was in fact not the ocean, but an echo of myself. And from here I started to realise the importance of stopping to listen to myself more, of exploring my shadows more (that's the 'Black' part), and seeing that in these places are where the greatest growth can occur.
At Black Conch, I teach Meditation and Mindfulness to people who are looking to be gently guided to connect with themselves so that they can lead transformation in their own lives, whether that be big external changes, finding purpose and meaning, shifting stuck emotions, management of pain, anxiety and overwhelm, or to find some rest from an otherwise chaotic world.
As well, I practice the art of Tarot Reading, something I have been working with since my teens. The guidance the cards offer is gifted to me intuitively and as it comes through, I offer this to my clients to take what resonates and leave what doesn’t. In my experience, Tarot can provide perspective which may otherwise be hidden, guidance when feeling trapped, direction when in doubt, and is good for those wishing to explore things in a little more depth.
Mother Earth is my greatest teacher and my constant source of wonder, inspiration, nourishment and courage. She, along with my ancestors, guide, support, and enable me, to walk this path, and for this I am beyond grateful.
The Wurundjeri People of the Woi Wurrung language group, Melbourne’s Traditional Owners, kept and nurtured this incredible place, the place where I work and call home, for tens of thousands of years. I offer here my respects to the Wurundjeri People; their Elders, Women, Warriors, and all those yet to come. As a modern day custodian of this land, I acknowledge and speak aloud the truth that their land was never ceded, but was taken, with force, at colonization. This is still an open wound, and I offer my support for Treaty and healing.