Jacqui Lewis is one of the most beautiful souls and spiritual entrepreneurs around. Jacqui and her partner Arran have created a meditation centre and school for creativity, consciousness and clarity called The Broad Place. Located in Paddington, Sydney, Australia the school gives students the knowledge and wisdom to navigate modern life. Offering meditation courses, private mentoring and corporate wellbeing programs. They also run courses in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles and retreats in India and Japan.
‘I’m a big believer in High Grade Living. I don’t live a life meditating in a cave or forgoing lots of things, and I am not a monk. I am highly-engaged, energised and ambitious. I live in the middle of a busy city, I am a wife, mother, owner of a nutty Jack Russell, employer, business owner and more. I work passionately on things I love and that is teaching people unique and accessible ways in which to live better’.
If you are serious about making a difference in the world, living a life that serves a higher purpose and creating a sustainable profitable business, read on and discover the three great lessons she has learned so far in life.
What inspired you to create The Broad Place? Where did the name come from?
Arran and I created The Broad Place as an answer to what we desired; a platform to learn ancient knowledge and wisdom, for highly engaged modern lives. We call The Broad Place a school, for the type of education that makes you a better, more conscious human being. I truly think, that as modern human beings with lots of opportunity, rather than shying away from it and feeling like we should move to the mountains or an island to cope with the pressures, we need better tools and education to be able to be vibrant and inspired no matter what life throws at us.
This is the essence of what we provide with our education programs, meditation programs, experiences and retreats and products. I take care of all of the education, and Arran is the creative director and creates our products and co-creates our retreats and all of our touch points with The Broad Place. He’s the most amazing and creative human being I have ever met, so to create The Broad Place with him is incredibly fulfilling.
The name actually came from a friend of ours James McCreedy, who created it to describe those perfect moments in life when you were at complete peace, that broad expansive feeling experienced amongst all the noise. I have them when I watch our daughter sleep. When I catch my husband’s eye across a busy party and know we are connected. When I dive into the ocean and when I meditate. We hope to teach people to have more of these creative, conscious and broadening experiences.
In the year before setting up The Broad Place, how would you describe your mental, emotional and spiritual state?
I was studying intensely, I was running a creative communications agency and a restaurant and a café, and my daughter was in her first year of school; so under the pump would be accurate! I was filled with inspiration and expansion, but also experiencing a lot of friction trying to align what I was doing, with what I would be doing once we launched. It taught me everything in regards to living a deeply spiritual life, in amongst the hot mess of juggling many balls and being responsible for many, many people on so many levels. I consider it one of those remarkable educations that you don’t enjoy necessarily whilst it’s there, but you feel forever grateful for after. When my students say to me now ‘I can’t fit in being compassionate and grateful, meditation and creativity amongst family life’ I reply with certainty that you certainly can, and then teach them how.
Was there an event/events which served as catalysts for the work you now do?
There were many moments ultimately. I started teaching my disabled younger brother to read and write from when I started school, as I was nervous he would be behind. He was the best reader in his class when he started school! I loved teaching, but let the idea go to follow my creativity. I had an incredibly intimate relationship with stress and anxiety through my twenties, and learning Vedic meditation changed everything for me. It was my saving grace when I became a divorced single mum before I turned 30, and I really came to know of the intricacies of storing stress and tension in the nervous system and the need for tools to get rid of it! One day, I decided to commit to teaching Vedic meditation and launching The Broad Place knowing with every cell in my body that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to share what I knew worked, and contribute to the world in a greater capacity.
How does The Broad Place bring your unique talents to life? How does it fill your cup and give you meaning and fulfilment?
My talent lies in sharing stories. I absolutely love the telling of experiences, giving analogies to better understand situations and life itself and teaching has been a platform that allows me to do that really well. I also have a gritty sense of humour, and when it comes to anything self development and spiritual, people can really take themselves quite seriously. I have found my sense of humour has really been a point of difference and keeps me and everyone around me grounded and enjoying themselves. Teaching gives me purpose and inspiration and fulfilment like I never knew existed before, it’s the most rewarding experience to share knowledge and tools, and watch someone take that, and shift their whole lives.
What drives you to do the work that you do and keep going?
There really is no lack of strung out people in the world, that know they could be operating at a far higher level, but don’t know how. As long as this is occurring, I can’t see my drive faltering. To help people create in the world, from a creative project through to a better version of themselves, is my passion.
Given the young age of The Broad Place, what has been a highlight so far?
Oh so many highlights! Taking 25 people to India on a mind blowing retreat was a definite highlight. Self publishing our first ever book the Mothers Mind Cleanse, against all odds was amazing. Exploring Japan to write our Tokyo Exploration Manual, a conscious city guide, with my husband Arran and working hard to see that come into fruition. Speaking in front of large groups all over Australia and Los Angeles and seeing them light up. I really love the depth and span of all our highlights.
How does your work serve a higher purpose on planet earth? And how does that make you feel?
There really are so many things as humans that we can do to contribute to a better planet earth. I feel the work starts on ourselves though. Being more compassionate, grateful, expanding our conscious state, understanding our stress and anxiety, embracing our creativity and creating more dynamic things in the world; this is what I feel is our higher purpose, and it has to start within. I aim to help people to increase these things, which in turn I feel serves planet earth and all on it.
What great lesson or lessons have you learnt so far in life?
- Never fear change, there is always something greater occurring. Resistance to change creates friction, and the change will occur anyway, so let’s go with it gracefully. Evolution is the one thing that we can guarantee is always occurring.
- Follow nature’s cues. I am constantly looking to see and feel my way through life where the support of nature is there. I used to smash square pegs in round holes all the time, and make huge messes. It’s one thing to be determined and passionate, that doesn’t go away with following nature’s cues. It simply means that you are in flow with what is meant to be, as opposed to what you ‘think’ it should be. I feel we need to move away from our minds and scatty thinking, and more into our consciousness and bodies, as they are all knowing.
- Always be compassionate. We have an incredibly limited idea about what is going on for other humans, even those close to us. If we think about our own complexities, and how hard it is for us to understand our own responses at times, there’s simply no way we will understand what’s happening for another. Even in the face of anger, frustration and fear, if we can embrace compassion, life gets a whole lot easier. We can live with more love, and see the subtleties not available to us when we reject compassion.
A few of my favourite bonus questions with Jacqui…
Who or what is your favourite?
a) Musician? So many!! Just at the moment, War On Drugs, Active Child, Jamie Woon, and always Bill Withers
b) Author? Alain De Botton, Pema Chodron, Ram Dass, Michael A. Singer, Bill Strickland, Marcus Aurelius, Patti Smith, David Hawkins to name a few…
c) Mantra or Quote? “You deserve the best. Never feel unworthy or not justified in having the best. I tell you, this is your heritage, but you have to expect it; you have to claim it. To do so is not demanding too much” by Guru Dev, a true master in the Vedic lineage.
d) Flow or Grace? Both, always.
How would you like to be remembered?
For being authentic, genuine, and always on a path to create more, explore more and understand more.
Find out more about Jacqui and The Broad Place: