The words of a healer: Jeannie Bourke, Paddington
Text KATE PASCOE SQUIRES
Photography KATE PASCOE SQUIRES
Jeannie Bourke is a healer, in all senses of the word. A carer, a giver and oh so generous, but don’t think for a second that means she won’t call you on your issues. Jeannie would rather spend time with her beloved clients than down the rabbit hole of social media – she is interested in real people, real feelings and real energy. It’s as easy and as beautiful as that.
Jeannie has run beauty and body lab Venustus for more than 25 years and magically intertwines her personal and work life seamlessly. She has the ease of someone who knows she’s exactly where she needs to be and it’s sightly contagious – in the best possible way.
Talk to me about your Slowdown. How does that phrase resonate with you?
My Slowdown is feeling and living at my own pace, even though the pace of world is often faster. I love the word Slowdown, by the way. I seem to have mastered my daily Slowdown over the years, but lately I have been working on the art of not being hurried. To trust myself, to trust how I feel and to take the time to feel what is actually happening in my body. I now ask myself “What’s the hurry?” Just take another day when you can.
My daily Slowdown includes gratitude and meditation every morning, then laying under the stars on the hammock to “invest in the calm” – a time in my day to receive information/answers/solutions (as I regularly hand over problems to the universe). Getting out from under my roof at home, work or car and under the sky is key.
Swimming in the ocean every day, unless it’s really, really cold or I have an early meeting.
I take one to two days off a week, with my phone off, only checking it at 11am and 4pm and instructing staff not to call me, but to instead handle any situations that arise with kindness and an open heart. I usually spend one of my days off alone, in quiet, to rest and recoup from the busy week. Nine months of the year, it’s at the beach, the other three months are in pjs at home on the hammock, all rugged up. On the other day, I spend time with Gary and Zac, and usually enjoy a meal with friends.
At the end of the day, it’s a kiss for both Gary and Zac, and then a bath ritual, with essential oils, in darkness.
Have you ever struggled running your own business while being a wife and a mother?
My husband Gary left work and stayed home when our son was born, so my situation was different to most. He has done an incredible job with our son, who is now nearly 18.
When my son was young, I did struggle with not seeing him before his bedtime – because Venustus is open until 8pm, there were many nights when I would be crying on the way home. Gary was pretty strict regarding sleep and would not keep Zac up that late for me. As mothers can imagine, there were a few emotional arguments over this one. I grew to learn sleep is key.
I often say to Gary, “It is difficult to bring up a young man with honour and integrity in a world that does not value that above all things.” Gary replies, “I don’t care that it is hard!”
Gary sounds hard-core when you read this, but you have to laugh! When I met him, he was the typical surfer and snowboarder and his philosophy was (and still is) all about how much fun you can have in your life – we’ve had so much fun over the years, so many motor bikes, dune buggies, bicycles, skateboards, boogie boards, puppies, chickens, rooster and chicken hatching home-made systems that worked! Gary is the kind of person that buys your favourite car and spends the next five years restoring it for you – he’s the guy that helps make all your dreams come true… I know!
As parents, we don’t always consider what other parents are doing – it is about our family ethics, values, boundaries and moral code. “Remember who you are Zac,” is something I always say.
When do you feel you are at your best self?
I feel my best self when I am with my family, Gary (my husband) and Zac (my teenage son). They are the true loves of my life and my whole heart belongs to them. That said, I am very independent and have my own strong opinions.
My tribe also includes my core team at Venustus – Fleur, Haruko and Kayo – who have all done ‘the work’ of getting to the core of self-reflection. My support girls are my friends Robbie, Lucie, Elle and Veda, called in for when I need to bounce around the hard stuff. They are not afraid to tell me exactly how it is, in their own beautiful way, which is the essence of being truly supported and cared for.
Tell us about being a healer.
I believe I am here (in this journey on earth) to live an ethical life and to help as many people as I can, in my own way, by sharing everything I know and everything I have discovered.
I began seeing healers from the age of 18 and, as a result, it has been an incredible life. I have had as many challenges as most people and at times, cried for months, usually in the bath… but after that, I have always managed to get off the mat and keep marching on.
I am truly blessed to have found what I love early in life, because it has allowed me to master my craft over time. Venustus is a space people gravitate to for various reasons – to surrender, to look ten years younger, to decompress after a huge week, to escape their children (who they love dearly) and/or because they feel the need to personally connect with me.
How do you stay truly aligned?
I live by the core values of loyalty, ethics, love, trust and always being authentically me.
These are some of the quotes I use to help myself, my team, my clients and my friends stay aligned:
“Ethics, honour, love and courage”
“Be the truth seeker in your own life, for yourself”
“Help good people be extraordinary”
“You need to be, beyond reproach”
“Behave as though you already have it”
“Hand it over to the universe and wait, just wait”
“Love of self, love of another, communal love and universal love, in that order”
Do you bring these values into your business?
My Venustus team has worked with me for more than two decades, which is extraordinary, considering the standard 2-4 year staff turnover in the beauty industry. To ensure staff longevity and a superior team, I realised early on that I had to put time and energy into attracting the right people who would want to stay and evolve with me and the business. It is incredible when you do find the right person, because you can keep investing, teaching and growing both personally and professionally. What that means for our clients is that every member of the team has a broad beauty and body skillset and can execute every treatment to the highest level, both energetically and physically. I speak a lot about what it is to be an artisan, to give your life to master your craft/skill.
What are you like at identifying your own strengths and weaknesses?
I believe it’s essential to know what you are great at – and be ok with what you’re not.
I am great at my work and I truly love it. I design bespoke treatments to aid the ailments we are feeling as an overstressed culture. I then design and make the products required for the treatments. My darling Gary works with me in the production of these Australian owned and made, cruelty-free, organic products. I give consultations to clients before their treatments to check in with how they are travelling through life. I do card and energy readings to better understand how I can help them. That one on one time helps us provide bespoke treatments that really change people.
What I’m not great at is cooking and keeping my desk and bedroom tidy, although I do love it when someone tidies these for me!
Would you share your morning gratitude prayer with us?
Before I open my eyes, while I am still in bed in the morning, I reach over and hold a crystal and then say either in my mind or out aloud…
I am so grateful I can see
I am so grateful I can hear
I am so grateful for this amazing body with all the bits
I am so grateful for Gary, I am grateful for Zac
I am so grateful for the puppies that lick my face, for the rooster and the chickens
I am so grateful for living in this beautiful country, because I did nothing to be born here
I am so grateful for being a free woman, for being able to do whatever I want – for being able to choose
Then I focus on…
How can I be the best mum?
How can I be the best boss?
How can I be the best partner?
How can I be the best me?
I am thinking about this, seeing it, feeling it, falling in love with it. I decide I will have it and then hand it over to the universe.
I know it sounds like a cliché, but be grateful for everything you have, for everyone in your life. Not just for what you have and where you are, but grateful for what you bring to this world, right now, right here. And always be present.
I live by this and I like to share, to give away everything, I have learnt and gathered along the journey of mine.
For those of us who are walking our own slow down path and searching for the joy, do you have any ideas to share that might assist us in our journey?
Never, ever give up on anyone who wants the opportunity to learn, grow and become their best. Keep seeking your own truth, evolving and try to help everyone you possibly can.