When life coaches Lucy Sheridan and Jo Westwood met online, it was the catalyst for a spiritual collaboration that is inspiring a new generation
Life moves incredibly fast, and contemplation, mindfulness and spirituality rarely fit alongside social media, corporate life and complex relationships. But for two media professionals, the desire to achieve a more meaningful existence within a modern lifestyle is the driving force behind their social media platform, an innovative event and now a book.
Lucy Sheridan and Jo Westwood met online, while chatting on a Facebook group. “We struck up a friendship,” says Sheridan. “It’s often challenging to find your spiritual mates but we really connected. We used to have Skype dates and hang out, and we shared the same outlook.
“We were chatting about events we’d like to go to but they were either too expensive or too far away, and in the end we thought why not put on the event we wanted to go to ourselves?”
They did, and the result was #HigherSelfie, the first Spirituality un-conference for millennials which attracted a sell-out audience and sponsorship support from Lululemon Athletica.
“The un-conference concept is well-known in the tech industry,” says Sheridan, “and part of the format is that the content is voted on by participants, and people decide which speakers they want to hear as they arrive
“Our intention was to unite the community and bring people together, and so the event was free – it was fantastic, it felt like being a big sister host. We talked about outspiriting and created a rallying cry.”
At the event, the pair was approached by a book publisher to turn the concept and ethos of the event into a book, and the resulting title, also #HigherSelfie, is a modern day manual to mastering spirituality in the digital age. The title complements the website, higherselfie.co, which Sheridan and Westwood have built as an online self-help destination.
“We wrote it in eleven weeks, just the two of us,” says Sheridan. “and we wanted to make it accessible, easy reading, with a touch of humour. It’s the most current self-help and spirituality book out there – we cover Tinder dating gone wrong, and how to start a meditation group at Canary Wharf, for example – and we’ve had people say they’ve had to binge read it from cover to cover, just as if they’re watching Netflix or a box set.”
Binge viewing, whether on TV or online, is another modern day habit which has the potential to drive us deeper into ourselves. Sheridan writes for national press on the ‘compare and despair’ culture of social media and how to be happy. “I’m a big advocate of ‘notice what you notice’,” says Sheridan.
“What I mean by that is create a healthy relationship with social media. Find people that challenge and inspire you, not people who drain or flatten your spirit. Know that what you post will be seen and respond without creating negativity.
‘It works for me,’ is the ultimate shutdown as it’s not offensive but closes the conversation. The thing to bear in mind is that when people are being aggressive, it’s usually because of something else going on in their lives, not because of you.”
The culmination of the site, event and book are just rewards for the pair who have managed to ditch corporate life to create careers from their passion for spirituality.
It’s a path they know others, who have attended their event and contacted them via higherselfie.co, want to achieve, and they aim to guide others towards finding the life they really want. “We’ve done it and we want others to take action and listen to their soul calling.
“No-one gets to ditch the hard work, but it is possible to change the world to get the life you want. Recognise it’s a journey and start today to make the future you want – email that person you’ve been meaning to contact, invest in that course that will be pivotal to your future. Technology is here to help you and there are so many resources out there to look to for pointers.”
With their book now putting them into the hands and minds of a wider audience, the #HigherSelfie duo are now looking at a second un-conference in the autumn, with a tour of workshops also scheduled in the coming months.
Radiating positivity and empowerment, Sheridan and her soul mate Westwood have the power to lead the next generation in a new era of personal development.
#HigherSelfie by Lucy Sheridan and Jo Westwood is available as a digital book and from all good bookshops.
To find out more, visit higherselfie.co