The essence of 100 has always been powerful. It can represent a perfect score, a major milestone, and a sense of wholeness. This month we celebrate the 100th edition of Holistic Bliss Magazine, and who better to feature on the cover, than magazine founder and publisher Vanessa Finnigan, who has shone the light on the work of those who are impacting our planet and its citizens, for nine years.
Like many of us working in the healing arts, it can be quite a journey to uncover our unique gifts and explore ways we can make a difference for the greater good. Vanessa’s love of creativity and personal development, plus deep desire to facilitate change in herself and others, have led her on the Holistic Bliss path.
Vanessa began studying psychology and some journalism subjects at university, but after finding it extremely theoretical, embarked on a Lifeline telephone counselling course, and by 19 was on the phone as a volunteer counsellor while she continued her studies. She knew she wanted to be part of people’s change processes and was interested in her own growth and development, and became a registered psychologist in her mid-twenties.
“I was just continuing to be blown away by the change that I witnessed, the people that I met. I was starting to meet people from the holistic wellness fields that were creating really dynamic change, either in their own lives, or in other people’s lives. It was like a switch turned on inside myself. I can remember going to workshops and talking to a variety of international speakers, and at times being in tears with what they were sharing about the change that was occurring. There was just a real knowing in me that was like yeah, this type of dynamic change is possible, and transformation is possible,” Vanessa explains.
For years Vanessa devoured spiritual, self-help and personal development books and became involved in meditation. She took time off psychology, and honoured a deeper calling. Vanessa had given away her worldly goods to friends and family and moved to New Zealand where she meditated full time for three months. “After nearly three months of meditating, I received the inner message to experience life more fully,” she says. It was time for a new experience and some more travel. “I moved to Taiwan and taught English to these gorgeous Taiwanese children and continued to meditate. I wasn’t actually sure which direction I wanted to go in. I just wanted to create more. I started writing. And after a year of living in Taiwan, I moved back to Brisbane and the first article that I wrote got published in a magazine and got paid for. So my journey as a freelance writer began, having holistic articles published in Australia and overseas.”
A few years later Vanessa moved to the Sunshine Coast for a job opportunity but it didn’t work out, and so her partner and close friend suggested the possibility of starting her own publication. Vanessa reflects, “I wanted to create a forum for people to share their uniqueness. I wanted to include as many modalities, as many inspiring stories as I could. I also wanted to be able to write myself, I wanted to be able to interview, and share those stories. So I thought, I could create a magazine. It was very exciting just thinking about all the potential. I had a little bit of savings, and I thought, I’m just going to create it, and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Surprisingly, when Vanessa began the magazine, she had no concrete goals or expectations of what things were going to look like. What she did have was a sense of excitement around what was possible.
Her willingness to trust in her awareness of energies, allowed her to perceive a golden colour and a lightness when she sat with the idea of creating a magazine. To this day, Vanessa says she moves in the direction of experiences, stories and people that are energetically congruent with that initial energy. She knew that the magazine would involve many people and that it would contribute to transformation and change. By trusting in this process, Vanessa has allowed the magazine’s journey to unfold, evolve and to organically grow. She remains focused on what the magazine requires from her, rather than what she requires from the magazine. “When things start to get too hard or heavy, I move in another direction, or I change my attitude, I do some physical exercise and then some type of energy work, I focus on what I am grateful for, and I remember why I started the magazine. I get out of my own way, and this provides the magazine with the freedom to weave its own magic.”
“I didn’t know I could do the magazine until I actually did the magazine” says Vanessa, who is also quick to point out that it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Vanessa has faced many of her own personal challenges, requiring vulnerability and courage and the willingness to change perspectives to allow the magazine to move in the direction it needed to. Vanessa explains that being okay with getting uncomfortable has been a necessary part of the magazine’s evolution. “Self-doubt does show up, but there has always been something driving me as well – this is really important, and I really want to keep going with this. This is part of creating, or contributing to the change process and for people to see that true change is possible.”
Further exploration of the woman behind the Holistic Bliss name, reveals intelligence, humility, wisdom and an unwavering enthusiasm for personal and global transformation. The processes involved in putting an edition of Holistic Bliss Magazine together run deeper than simply filling advertising and article space. There is an entanglement of facilitation that occurs for all involved, from the advertisers, to the distributors, to the readers, and even for Vanessa. Each edition is a treasure trove of new possibilities and Vanessa attributes this greatly to her commitment to constantly ask questions about what is required, what is possible and who is ready to show up to be a part of the change process.
Despite her unassuming nature, Vanessa Finnigan together with Holistic Bliss Magazine, create a powerful platform for conscious transformation. Her diverse background in journalism, psychology, spiritual teachings, healing modalities and her commitment to contributing to individual and global transformation, drive the creation process; and her gentle, warm nature makes her more than just an editor to those who contribute to the magazine.
As the magazine heads into its tenth year, Vanessa has been exploring its expansion and creating new offerings. “I’d like to step back more from the production side of things, and move more into the creative expansion and multi-media whispering sessions that I’m offering. There’s been more flow happening and I am so grateful to Ros Jackson’s creativity and our dedicated team. I think the changes will allow me to move in a few more different directions. I would love for more and more people all around the world to access the information that’s in the magazine.”
The magazine hit the New Zealand stands in March and has plans for Bali in the near future, and the online app has been downloaded in 21 countries. It is a testament to what can be created with a pure intention, inspiration, and flow. The future looks bright.