Answering the call of your Purpose with Joanne Harris
Full transcript of call
Luanne: Welcome everybody to Answering the Call of Your Purpose. It’s Luanne Mareen here, I am your host. I have got the beautiful Joanne Harris here as our guest today. Welcome Jo!
Joanne: Hey Lou, how are you going?
Luanne: Hey awesome awesome! Just a quick recap on what this actual podcast is about so pretty much it’s.. I wanted to share and profile inspirational people like yourself Joanne and many others and the way that they kind of you know, obviously answered the call of their purpose but there’s a lot that goes on behind that before they actually answer it right? You’ve got to hear it
then you’ve got to get the courage to go “okay” and so i want to share that with as many people
as possibly i can so that maybe you can be inspired to answer the call of your purpose as well.
So I want to introduce you to Joanne Harris. She is an educational consultant and she is an experienced teacher and she’s taught locally and internationally working in a range of settings for over 20 years. She’s the creator of the joyful teacher program which I absolutely love that name and I love the energy around it. She’s a tapping and reiki impact practitioner and balances her part-time teaching with roles as nominated supervisor and educational leader. So she has taught at tafe, teaching diploma students, hosted parents and teaching workshops and training for local businesses including the Pajama Foundations. Jo was awarded exemplary teacher status in 2018 after completing a vigorous assessment process. So, welcome Jo!
Joanne: Thank you! Wow, it’s really interesting to hear someone talking through all the things that you’ve done. You wear it like an old shirt don’t you? You’re in your own skin all the time but when you hear someone else saying it, it sounds really different thank you!
Luanne: And it’s interesting because it’s what’s obviously all you know and it’s like “gosh that was part of me” and well leads me to my first quick my first question here like that’s part of what you are but what are you doing right now? What are you doing right now?
Joanne: Well right now, one of the benefits of working as a teacher is I’m enjoying a lovely long school holiday after a really challenging year like everybody else. So right now, I’m a preschool teacher and as you mentioned in my intro i do that four days a week and then i have my fifth day my friday to play with on. I’m working on my own business so my business as the educational leader. As you mentioned, I’ve created the Joyful Teacher Program so it’s my it’s been my side hustle for a long time but it’s coming to the forefront in wanting to support teachers and that very important work that they do; teaching children or teaching other adults. It doesn’t really matter, all teachers are doing incredible work and of course it’s come to the forefront with the introduction of a lot more remote learning, online learning and all these various platforms.
So, what I do is all about education, a lot of the valuable skills that I’ve picked up from my teaching practice so I actually work with preschoolers so that it’s called all different sorts of things depending where you are in the world. Here in Melbourne, I could be called a kindergarten teacher or a preschool teacher so I’m teaching the children in the year before they start their formal morning at primary school. All those terms but the one thing is so early in early childhood education so I’ve been doing that now i’m coming into 24 years which is i know how i’ve got such a baby.
Luanne: Before you know before we officially went live when do you remember when because i’m loving your earrings right? And I said you’re probably too young to remember flash gordon and she goes no no no no no no.
Joanne: Yeah 1974 baby!
Luanne: There you go proud of it! So you’re doing the preschool kindergarten teaching and you and you mentioned the side hustle which is I mean for me, this is both work is purposeful right? One’s not more important than the other and it’s where you put your energy but what led you… So I want to go to the side hustle because i think a lot of people who are watching this, they may have been in positions or career and now especially I think at our age, I don’t know if it’s an egg but we’re like there’s got to be more, there’s something more so… But what led you to that “side hustle” which is when I know the story and your story inspires me the way that you want to help teachers stay being teachers. We need good teachers and unfortunately people were losing I think faith or core so what led you to this side hustle?
Joanne: So well, largely it was my personal health and well-being. As I mentioned, 20-plus years now and that’s continuous and I just wanted to say briefly that it’s really important to me that anything that I do, I need to stay relevant to the people that I work with. So the decision to stay in teaching has been an important one, it’s sometimes challenging because you can’t spread yourself too thin. There’s a reason for that is while i’m working in the industry, I’m still remaining fresh and I can still stay relevant to what people are doing and experiencing.
When I talk about online teaching, I can say it from a point of view because I’ve also done it so I’m not telling people to do something I haven’t done. How I got here, it’s eight or nine years ago, I was teaching and it was coming to the end of another year and the end of the year is just always tiring and challenging because big emotionally for children moving on and all those sorts of things but basically, what had happened is, I was exercising and enjoying life and things like that but I wasn’t getting any fitter and I was feeling really tired all the time. I’m like well exercise is supposed to make you feel good and energetic but it was doing the reverse. I’d been pushing and pushing myself. So I got to the point where I just had this persistent blocked ear and for me, it got really scary and the things you tell yourself “oh i’ve got i’m going to have permanent hearing loss” and of course working with children and working in the noisy environment it doesn’t go too well.
So very long story short, I couldn’t really choose to ignore those physical symptoms anymore and I’ve never been one for doctors particularly. I mean I’ll go, but I don’t particularly want to go to a GP. I prefer natural health options but this was something I really did need assistance with. I hit google as you do and you ask your friends who know who I was working in an area not close to my home. So I thought I’ll see who’s around locally and see if I can sort this year out. So I actually found a practitioner locally who did ear candling because that appealed to me and we hit it off immediately. She was such a wonderful practitioner now, one of my very good friends. She lives in New Zealand now but she candled my ear and then we just had a conversation. I was introduced to reiki and just fell in love with it as complementary therapy and it started this whole other conversation and lifestyle change for me.
So from that, why she has become so special to me is because she was so professional but also drew a line in the sand for me so to speak, a critical friend that said “If you don’t do something about this, there’s not a lot left in your tank, so you’ve got a choice here” and from there, I continued to have reiki treatments and then I actually learned to do reiki and along the way. I’ve always had an interest in complementary therapies and when I experience such a drastic change for myself, and knowing more about my body and my health I’m like “Wow there are actually a lot of people like me just like me”. A lot of teachers like me who are pushing themselves to the limit and probably experiencing a lot of uncomfortable physical symptoms that they don’t really need to and it’s been a long road but a really important one to prioritize my health then understanding more internally. I’m not going to say I’m an expert but my understanding is more in the body and more about the body and understanding your energy and your awareness and your emotions. This whole world opened up then I started to meet different people, I started to look at my lifestyle.
I left my full-time job and started working part-time. That’s when I was intact there was because I wanted to look at how I was using my energy. And there’s one important thing also is, when I was teaching in that capacity, I was teaching two groups of four-year-olds then I just didn’t feel I was getting to the children. Getting to each child in the way emotionally that I wanted to and I felt that if that just set me off on a pathway for what I can do differently because I wasn’t really enjoying my teaching anymore.
The particular thing was with a lot of teachers with a lot of jobs. Actually, all the administration was just draining away the joy about being with children. I was just really desperate to know so to reframe. It was looking at my own health and prioritizing it and really the thing was, I should have been excited about my holidays. I was just so exhausted and then like a lot of teachers, we’d get sick on our holidays and you weren’t enjoying them or you just couldn’t physically relax and something had to change so that’s what drew me. My health, if you can’t listen to your own body, and I wasn’t, I’m a cautionary tale. “Don’t wait till your body’s telling you”
Luanne: Well I think well Jo, I think a lot of people have been to that point. Would you feel that it would call it that was the “dark night of the soul” for you? It’s like well your friend by the sound she said “well you know your tank’s nearly empty woman” so it’s like “well now you’ve got to go within” now you’ve got to really look at what’s happening. And I think a lot of people especially now are going through what just happened last year. What’s happening now, what’s more important. To me it simplified so I was that “your dark night of the soul? And then I’m going to go to the next question.
Joanne: Absolutely without a doubt. And I obviously won’t go into detail now but in truly connecting to myself on that deep level, because reiki literally fills your cup; your energetic comes back up and you understand more about your emotions and the language that your body is giving you, what it allowed me to do was to deal with the things that had been on the back burner. A lot of suppression so… I’d had a couple of significant people in my life who’d actually passed away. I hadn’t dealt with any grief and absolutely, there was just this massive wake-up call. So absolutely you said the “dark knight of the soul” absolutely.
Luanne: And this is where we all have to be woken up somehow. All shaken up wake up shake up and make up. It’s like we just have been programmed to just go along with whatever and I think it’s a good thing. It’s so many cliches for the breakdown right? But thank you for doing it and I love reiki. It’s probably similar to and that was my first real introduction. I remember the spiritual world and I just wonder what’s going on. I can kind of feel things in a different way. I’m like “oh okay” and it’s beautiful. I quite often forget to go and get some reiki here but you teach reiki as well. So you’re a master! I only did one and two and that was enough for me. So I want to go to the next question, what do you believe is your purpose?
Joanne: Oh well it’s the big one! I know it but to explain it in a brief way is the challenge. But what I believe… Well actually, after having a reading with you and understanding one of my aspects is trailblazer. When you identified that for me, it made a lot of sense because I am a person that doesn’t like to necessarily go with the status quo. So I’ve always wanted to do my own thing. I always thought that was because I’m the third child and I’ve been told what to do my whole life. So when I was 22 and traveling the world, that was the ultimate in freedom.
And back to my purpose, well, it’s really now that where I am today, my purpose feels like sharing what I know. I’ve gathered all this experience. I’ve had a whole lot of experience in my life with my travels and I’ve worked with hundreds of children and families and my feeling now is to use everything that I’ve got and to really highlight the need for understanding our emotions and our emotional awareness.
I’ve learned a lot about that from the children because I’m not a parent, but how many people say “Children teach.” You think you’re teaching them and they’re actually teaching you.
Luanne: Oh yes so true! And you get them at just that beautiful age before to see!
Joanne: True! Well my students are eternally five years old, Lu!
Luanne: Oh I’m getting goosebumps they’re just so yummy and open and just like they’ll call you on your stuff too!
Joanne: Totally! And not in a way that another adult can do.
Luanne: No, he’s beautiful innocent right?
Joanne: Yeah! So to try and put it into a few words, my feeling is as much as I can just to send the message out to the world if we’re happy adults then we’re going to have happy children. Happy children be adults or vice versa and each generation is here to learn from the next one. So I feel like everything that I can do to move people forward into their emotional awareness and to understand how much choice we actually have in our life, it’s not new from me. But who I’m influenced by, it reminds me of this beautiful brain, this beautiful heart: we actually have so much more than we need.
We think that happiness is out there but it’s actually in here. It’s one of the easiest things, and healthiest things that we can do is to look after our emotional well-being. So my purpose now is to help people find their joy and come back to the joy of teaching. Because we’ve lost a lot of it all, we’ve given over to it and it’s time to come back and say “I chose this career for a reason and I want to find what I love about it again and bring it in every day”
Luanne: Well that’s beautiful! I think to be a teacher, it is a calling. It’s a calling like no one. Well, I am a teacher in a certain way but not of the kids and I’m thinking that people teachers must just love kids and stuff like that. I mean, I have two children but I was waiting for that motherly thing to come in and I did and then i had this like “oh my god i love children now” I’m like “come here” like children animals. Like just before i was “no i’m just so funny”.
Joanne: They keep it real Lu!
Luanne: So then that comes with the next question, so how did you answer the call of your purpose?
Joanne: Yeah well the first thing I did was, it’s a continuous journey of course but I’ve seen the challenges. How did I? Well I see challenges as learning opportunities and one of the very first and most important things I’ve done is to spend time with like-minded people. So it’s a small part of it but it’s a big part of it. It’s about who you are around and if people are willing you and encouraging you then, it’s not so difficult. You don’t feel like you’re doing anything hard.
I play a lot with this word JOY and words carry energy and absolutely isn’t that one of the highest. I integrated more things into my life that were around what I wanted to do that becomes really.. I’m not saying i know it all or there’s not more to learn but it becomes really infused in your life and you start to see how it changes. So one of the things is to answer my call has been to be with people who have helped me develop my skills.
My focus has been about really taking that time when I had that message inside me. That compulsion when I felt like my ear was blocked, that was enough for me to change and say no. This is it, I’m not doing this anymore. It really completely petrified me… the thought of losing hearing and I’ve got myself so wound up. It was a blocked ear, so it wasn’t permanent damage but that’s what I was telling myself. And when you start to understand that your thoughts and circumstances are linked, you can’t ignore that anymore. So it became part of my life and the more that I’ve opened myself to understanding myself and seeking professional help to help me understand myself better.
So what I did was, I take the signs now. I listen to what’s being said and there’s something inside of me that keeps saying “But if you know how to do something and it would make someone else’s life easier, wouldn’t you just do it?” I feel like that now because professional people and my friends and my support group have been able to show me who I am, so then you want to give it back. And when you’re feeling good you want to pass it on. It’s when you’re not feeling good or you’re feeling at a lower energy, you don’t feel like you’ve got anything. A lot of support, a lot of encouragement and but also knowing that on reflection any time that you’ve listened to yourself and made a decision that’s been about you, it gets easier to understand yourself. Then you feel a bit more trusting and you’re like “okay so this is what i need to do” and doesn’t always necessarily work out but the more that I’ve chosen to look at life as glass half full, the easier it’s become.
Luanne: I love that Jo, and it’s just the little steps. Answering the call is because we’re talking about your block deal, like you had to unblock it first so you can hear and then it’s like “oh okay I can hear where it needs to lead me you know? So it doesn’t have to be this huge big lunge into things. Some can do it, we can always take little steps or you can dance and skip joyfully to that so I love that. So why do you think it’s so important to do your purposeful work?
Joanne: One thing stands out for me here that a lot of people that I’ve spent time with are often 10 to 20 years older than me. I’ve benefited from their wisdom and experience. They haven’t told me what to do but just learning and being around them. So what it feels like to me is, you want to pass that along. So, when people have said to me “don’t wait to live your best life” it’s not the dress rehearsal this is it! So why is it important? Well because the only time is now.
And also because there’s an urgency. We’ve said before, lots of people are crestfallen, they’re leaving in droves all these dreams or they’re panicked and why would you want your profession to suffer in that way? Why would you want a person to suffer in that way? So why is it important? Well to help people get to their happy place sooner and also because it’s not serving anyone if you’re not happy. It’s if you can help people get to what makes them happy, why wouldn’t you? And it doesn’t feel difficult for me. It doesn’t feel why it’s important now, is that it feels like a part of me.
Actually sometimes, I’m getting brazier and I’ll just say what I think. Sometimes I just feel like I really think about having this person see how they could be happier. And because I have found it, doesn’t mean that I’ve got everything worked out but it actually just feels like I have to. And as I mentioned before I’ve lost significant people in my life, and in some ways I feel like I’m doing it for them because it’s compelling me. The spirit, the legacy and what I got out of those relationships when those people were here with us, it makes me feel compelled to do it.
Luanne: And you also said before earlier today was like the children right? You’re raising these amazing children or and the next generation so you are passing it forward. I just think the children are coming forward these days are just very special. Each generation has paid well as you would know, I mean I only get to see a few of them but you must be in total and I can see you probably see the work that has to be done too. Because there’s parents of those children that you come into contact with as well. But anyway that was my thought.
Joanne: The game has certainly changed Lu.
Luanne: Certainly oh my goodness!
Joanne: And you need to be well equipped for it if you’re going to make the most of your life. You know? It’s also about… I’ll just add one final thing. It’s in the work that the personal development of professional development that I’ve done, it’s been really apparent to me. What’s your legacy? What do you want to leave for future generations? Because you see who you’re inspired by and you think they were just doing their thing but look at the conversations that happen way after that person hasn’t been here anymore.
So yeah a personal legacy, when you understand that you can leave something and I have three adult nieces who are incredibly important to me to create a pathway for them. And they’re watching me, so that compels you as well.
Luanne: It does! And which is one thing like many years ago I’m thinking, anything that I put on Facebook, I’ve got to be okay with my child reading that when they get a bit older. Don’t be that person the whole way through which is not always easy but it’s like “well yeah because the crown tilts sometimes but just put it back up and with people like yourself and who you’re surrounding yourself with” so knowing your purpose is one thing.
So, I want to go into knowing because you can know it through whatever form you know it, but then you’ve got to embody it in a certain way so can you share one of your practices and there’s many, right? I’ve got like many things that I do, but what’s one thing that you’ve done to help you that you think would help a person express their purpose? Or you?
Joanne: There’s the knowing and then there’s the doing. There’s a phrase that has really influenced me and asked about the legacies that people have left so there’s an educator called Loris Malaguzzi and an Italian educator. And one of the many things that he messages that have been left and still carried today is “the feeling of nothing without joy” so what the knowing is one thing as you say but it’s the doing it’s the finding the joy. So if I’m going to talk about joy then I need to be that. So I’m lucky because I am a naturally enthusiastic person.
Anyway I realize that the sensitivity as a child, I always thought was a hindrance but it’s actually a gift and I didn’t really understand. I felt like I’m so different from everybody else all the time but that it’s using what makes you uniquely you. So practice is what I choose to wear and how I present myself. I do things that I like for me, I like to have my own style. It’s very joyful. I try to live my life in a way that is, I do things that make me feel happy that make me feel joyful. So if that’s a pair of earrings or I don’t really like to act my age. And some of the things that I like to do? Well I like to do things that make me happy.
So if that’s singing really loudly in my car with all the windows up that’s what i’ll do. It’s fine doing the things that make you feel happy and enjoying the simplicity of life really changes your point of view. I think it’s really important to look at the times that I’ve felt I’m too much for people or I’m too different, you come back and it’s more finding out.
Big thing that I learned was about self-loyalty and loving yourself enough. And even the things that you don’t particularly know about yourself just it’s fun just to kind of laugh at yourself and to keep trying new things. Keep trying new things; if it doesn’t work, start again. Don’t pay there and get worried that’s not a lot to do with the people that are around me but it’s… don’t stop being playful and joyful and celebrate it, share it.
Luanne: I think that’s beautiful. You’ve given like simplicity joyful playful “don’t act your age”. I mean a lot and I know a lot of people watching this would be the same, resonating with you like who cares if we’re different? Because we’re all kind of little. We all feel like we’re where’s that…
Joanne: In our own way?
Luanne: But it’s all that inner child works right? So you’re actually… I love that we want to have the hearing in a child eventually but you’re like “oh I am that already” you know this beautiful joyfulness it’s so good.
So I know we’re getting to the end here, but I always want to like who is your favorite person that you’ve worked with? Like a client you know and why? Like yeah that’s pretty much it.
Joanne: Well I have been thinking about this one it’s almost impossible because one that did come to mind when I didn’t press too hard was a woman just a couple of years older than me who came to see me for some tapping and I witnessed a change in her.
To watch someone grow who felt like she actually used to look at herself in the mirror and she was feeling ugly and scarred. She’d had adult acne and skin challenges and she felt like she was really overlooked in her family particularly with her husband. She’s not that much older than me and you’re thinking of this person… physically, she’s beautiful and she’s like a little pixie. She’s just beautiful but she was hiding away and you know this visibility conversation that we had.
So to witness someone’s transformation now from a very quiet and shy person who felt invisible to her husband, the biggest transformation and it was so unbelievably special to be part of someone, to work with someone in just a short time, she came back to me after doing some tapping work and a quick but long lasting change in her movement, she came back to me and she said the very same day a couple of hours after I’d seen her that her husband started paying attention to her and told her how beautiful she was.
They were at a point where she thought “my marriage is over he just doesn’t see me anymore, we don’t have that love in our relationship, he’s not finding me attractive”. She was maybe even worrying that he might be playing away and he wasn’t. It’s really hard to sum that up but the energy of watching someone who felt invisible to now, she’s made tremendous changes in her life. She and her family have actually packed up and just moved to the Gold Coast. They’re living their best life, she’s just wants to be seen now and not in a massive way, she’s like “I’m not even the same person”
Luanne: Oh I love that! And it’s almost like, well you’ve made her see herself right? You’ve made her see herself oh i loved it! One of my favorite pizzas.
Joanne: Yeah it’s beautiful, really incredible!
Luanne: Yeah, so Jo, where can we find you? I know you’ve got your website there and we’re going to put a link below here too for a special opt-in that we’re going to send you but where can we find you at the moment?
Joanne: My website’s called “little worlds in a big world” and there you’ll find some information about the modalities that I use and I also create blog posts and I’ve got a little freebie there which is focusing on self-care. There’s more information about how to feel better quickly because that’s one of the very first things that was passed on to me. You don’t have to feel dreadful you just don’t!
Luanne: No and I love the cheat sheet! It says one page and printed out, put it up and just took off as you’re going and I think yeah we are busy but it’s like, oh I feel it’s like you’re giving us a piece of joy of everyone so what’s the website again?
Luanne: Okay so there’ll be a link below here and then while we’re ending the interview, I always like to kind of end on… It doesn’t necessarily have to be funny. Can you tell us something that no one knows about you? So like a job you did or a habit you have or just something? There’s been some doozies. I love them!
Joanne: Now if you know me, you’ll know I can be an overthinker for someone who wants to be more spontaneous. Actually I loved roller skating as a child.
Luanne: We are made from the same era!
Joanne: I still love to roller skate. I don’t do it nearly enough but I still love roller skating. I just love the joy that it brings and if this was anything that made you connect back to yourself, I think that would be it. And I was a pretty cool speed skater in my day.
Luanne: I just had this vision there is this thing… What’s that one where they would be when the women were roller derby? I’ve just got this vision of like “oh i wouldn’t want to mess with you” but speed skating?
Joanne: That was when I was like 10 11 12 and it was just part of I guess just to break it up and also to appeal to the masses because you know there were all kinds of abilities of skaters. So I’m more xanadu and less whip it unless I whip it right. That’s just my fantasy world and I loved Olivia Newton. She’s one of my heroes.
Luanne: Well she’s australian too
Joanne: Yeah! I don’t know if I feel like roller skating and I need to go and get back out there. I always say that i’m going to do it because the other thing I found like it was, I used to run and when I was running or when I’m skating, you just get that acceleration and it’s just so cool!
Luanne: Funny because where we live you have been up to Karen I think it’s in Karen Downs is the skate place there and about the last time I put on rollerskates was about four years ago with the kids when they were little. I went around once in my arm out because those kids were just going around by fall. This is going to hurt but I don’t know you have to go there adults only. But the music… I love the music a little bit so cool this feels really playful!
Well Jo, thank you so much for this beautiful interview Answering the Call of Your Purpose and for stepping up and stepping out there and sharing your joy everywhere. Everyone, thank you so much for watching. You can go to all the links below to go and find Jo and we’re wishing you an amazing day wherever you are on the planet right now. Okay, bye.
Joanne: Thank you!