Tell us about your business or creative pursuits?
I founded Brooke Cefai Wellbeing after 15+ years working in government and community welfare/counselling roles where I was witness to a great deal of suffering & trauma. I decided I wanted to create a service that not only catered to women’s psychological & emotional needs but also supported them as they integrated spirituality& self-care into their daily lives. I found this spiritual element often helped women reconnect with their stories & experiences in a deeper more profound way and was often a vital component missing in their journey towards wellness.
I also feel its important we start challenging the existing stigma around ‘seeing a therapist’. I encourage women to embrace therapy as they might a personal trainer, a nutritionist or a yoga class, where therapy forms a part of their weekly or fortnightly wellbeing routine and isn’t only utilised when in crisis or dealing with a problem.
What inspired you to get started?
It’s been a long time coming. I think seeing the need for more specialised services targeted to women and their emotional and spiritual development was a huge inspiration
What is your biggest goal?
To open a luxury wellbeing clinic that brings some of Australia’s most unique healers, medical & allied health professionals together to offer an integrated mind, body and spiritual service.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
I had struggled all my life with schooling and academia, I only just managed to get through my higher school certificate and was unable to complete my university studies at the time because I could not keep up. For many years after and into adulthood, I felt totally weighed down by this
After living with this regret and shame that I wasn’t as ‘qualified’ as those around me I decided to enroll into a post-graduate counselling program as a mature aged student and crazily sought recognition of prior learning based on the years of on the job experience. I was told not to get my hopes up as the reality is I would not be accepted. To my surprise, the university accepted my application. This was a huge turning point for me and was probably the biggest and most difficult few years of schooling I have ever put myself thought.
From the Graduate Diploma I went on to successfully complete a Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy with a research thesis that explored women’s abortion experiences. For someone who didn’t even know what a noun was at 20, achieving these qualifications was most certainly my biggest achievement. It also showed me that no matter how many times someone says you can’t, you’re not capable or you don’t have the ability; that if you are determined enough you can achieve anything you set your mind too!
During the times when you feel lacking in motivation, what helps you get motivated?
I love walking, living inner city I tend to walk everywhere. It’s a real motivator and gets me out and about, giving me plenty of time to reflect on the world around me & get plenty of sunshine and air.
What is your favorite song for getting motivated?
I have two & perhaps I’m showing my age here:
The first is Flash dances ‘What a feeling’ mostly because I am a hopeless uncoordinated dancer and this song allows me a moment of pure foolishness were I can break out into some awesome 80s dance moves without a care.
Another favorite is ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by The Journey. An oldie but a goodie. Listen to the words next time you hear it playing J
Who inspires you?
I have a few past and present. I am a big fan of Marianne Williamson who is such a humble and grounded woman, her spiritual teachings have inspired and strengthened me over and over again. I’m also fascinated by Carl Jung (the founder of analytical psychology) and would have loved the opportunity to get inside his head and ask him all sorts of wonderful soulful questions about life and love and how the mind operates.
What is your magic place, where you go to relax and unwind?
My bed. Odd right! It is my haven and sanctuary away from the world.
There’s something very supportive about snuggling into bed when I feel down or need some inspiration. Another odd place is in an airplane. Strangely I find the hummmmm of an airplane very soothing and relaxing.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To spend more time focusing on the journey rather than the destination 🙂
To get out more, meet people, make new connections and not worry so much about what people might think!
What is your life motto or positive affirmation?
I have carried around a poem written by Marianne Williamson since I was 17. I cut it out of a magazine and had it laminated (back in the day when laminating was really cool) and have had it with me each day for the last 21 years. It is now taped to my fridge.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
What was the key for you to overcome a challenge?
From a very young age, I was consciously aware of a spiritual presence or something much greater than myself. In my youth, it became something that really called me, a curiosity to understand spirit better and this intuitional connection, which I went on to later develop and explore more deeply. It was and still is this spiritual connection and belief in something much greater that guides and sustains me and has been my key to overcoming many of life’s challenges.
Another powerful key was having supportive role models, mentors and trusted friends I could call on. I totally lacked this in my adolescence so as an adult it has become a priority in my personal and professional life. Community is very important when overcoming obstacles or healing from any trauma life throws at us, to know you are not alone and to share honestly with other women has been tremendously empowering and supportive.
Have you ever had a disappointment that ended up leading you to something wonderful?
Yes, way too many to count!
With hindsight, I can reflect on the beauty of many of these disappointments now seeing them for the great lessons they were and how integral they were to get me to where I am today.
What do you like to do with your free time?
I read a lot. I am a crazy book woman. I tried a Kindle but it’s simply not the same as lugging around 3 different books at any given time!