Category Archives: Inspiration

I love him, his smile, and the kitchen sink

Lovers on a hill

You can look at Valentine ’s Day as just another schlocky excuse to buy more stuff that we don’t need. (Although frankly, I ALWAYS need more chocolate and flowers, so even this pessimistic definition doesn’t really hold up.)

And while my boyfriend and I don’t ‘celebrate’ Valentine’s Day in the sense of fancy dinners or long-stemmed roses, we do celebrate it in terms of taking the time to seriously express that most glorious and engaging of all emotions: love.

I love talking about love. I love declaring my love out loud. On a normal day, I would tell my boyfriend I love him about 7 times. At least. I can’t help it – I’m a lexical creature who lives and breathes in words.

It’s not that I sling it around randomly or haphazardly – it took me a long time to build up to saying it for the first time. But as soon as I knew… Well, that was it. The sentence now springs from my tongue naturally, as an organic extension of how I feel.

And I feel love a lot.

Which took him a little while to get used to, not being a fanciful, word-fuelled being like me. He’s more your down to earth, straight-up, practical sort of person. A what-you-see-is-what-you-get, let’s-make-this-shit-happen kind of guy.

Which I love. With all my heart. To parts and pieces.

On normal days, he knows how much I love to say and hear those three magic words. And so he says it a whole heap too, because he knows it makes me happy. Even though he doesn’t need to say it as much as I do. Even though he doesn’t need to hear it as much as I do. (He’s a good egg like that.)

So imagine my excitement on Valentine’s Day. When I can really let loose on the love-laden overtures and the public displays of verbal affection. It’s the one day of the year It’s one of many days of the year where I feel fully justified in stepping up my romantic inclinations. Til they’re full blown and full volume.

Loud and proud, baby.

Luckily Unfortunately for my boy, he happens to be away today. And for the next week. He went back to work yesterday and won’t return til next Wednesday. By which time the roses and chocolates and Hallmark cards will have well and truly disappeared from the stores. (Hell, there’ll probably be a whole aisle of Easter Eggs by then.)

So of course we’ll have a sentiment-filled phone chat tonight. Perhaps a sweet text or two during the day. But that’s really not enough for someone like me, on this most venerable of days.

The next best thing? Declaring my love for him to the blogosphere.

Of course.

Because gushing geysers of love are a good thing. Because sharing love lifts us all up. Because if we all slung more love-bombs, the world might be a better place.

So here goes.

An ode to my Valentine…

He is amazing and wonderful and lights me up in ways I never knew I could be lit.

He cares for me in a way that blows my mind, and he gets me in a way that helps me understand myself.

Sometimes, he looks at me with this gorgeous goofy smile that makes me So Friggen Happy because I know it’s his super-crazy-happy-in-love smile and I know that no one else gets that particular smile. It’s our smile.

He listens to my musings, he makes me laugh til my belly hurts, and he cleans the little bits of detritus out of the kitchen sink hole (which shouldn’t really matter that much and yet somehow seems massively indicative of the kind of beautiful creature and partner he is).

He is generous and thoughtful; he is gorgeous and grounded.

He’s the stillness to my flurry, the ease to my hurry.

He is amazing and I love him.

To parts and pieces.

Stop Wishing & Start Working:
a love-filled guide for writers, artists and other dreamers.

It’s here! I’m so excited to share this here ebook baby with you. It’s something that’s been bubbling away for months, and is now ready to flit its way into hearts, minds and iPads everywhere! (And PS, it’s totally free!)

Stop Wishing & Start Working
This ebook is about overcoming Resistance. It’s about doing the work and making it happen. It’s about getting from Big Idea to Actually Done. But not in a way that you’ve seen before…

Like a lot of creative types, I struggle to get my creative work out of my head and into the world. When I worked at my corporate job, that was fine. A convenient excuse, in fact. Vague assertions that I was partway through writing a book or trying to be a writer were never backed up by any actual action. I was ‘too busy’. During the week, there was ‘real work’ to be done and on weekends… Well, there was red wine to drink.

I clung onto my creative dreams, and belief that I was a writer – that’s what got me through my desk-job dreariness – but very little creative work actually got done.

Except in those glorious-but-fleeting moments when inspiration smacked me in the face with its giant glowstick.

Then I could write. Then the words simply flew out of me. In those wild-and-precious moments, I had a sneaky suspicion that I wasn’t a half-bad writer, and if I could actually get my ass in my chair more often, I could really make a go of it.

But of course, another six months of desk-job complacency drifted by without much change. It wasn’t until I made some Big Decisions – leaving my job, wandering the world, starting my own business – that things started to shift.

All of a sudden, there were no excuses.

I had to write. If I didn’t write, I wouldn’t get paid. I simply had to get it done.

Even with this magnificent motivation, Resistance was still an ever-present friend. It nestled in my neck-nook, telling me all the things that would be so much more fun to do than writing (from watching Law & Order reruns to cleaning out my undies drawer, and everything in between).

But slowly, I learned. Slowly, I figured it out. Slowly, I got my shiz together and got my writing done.

I don’t know about you, but drill-sergeant-style admonitions just don’t work for me. I need more than that. I’ve never been one for whipping myself into obedient action with harsh discipline and self-imposed punishment. (And when I have succeeded in doing so, it’s never lasted for long.)

I need a whole lot more lovin’ than that. I need the soul-sister-medicine-woman-Mama-Nature approach. With a side-serve of tough love, of the pretty-sparkly kind.

And I also need practical strategies.

Basically, I need to understand what’s going on inside my head, then use a carefully-crafted combination of self-love-but-no-B.S.

That’s what finally worked for me. And that’s what I share in this guide.

There’s a lot of love, a lot of myth-busting, a lot of down-and-dirty truths. And there’s real strategies to help you get it all done.

It’s for creative peeps of all sorts, whether you’re a writer, a baker or an organic candlestick-maker. Especially if you’ve got big dreams, a full heart and something to say. In fact, if you’re struggling to get anything done at all, this book is for you. This book can help.

And it’s totally free. My gift to you for being an amazing part of this online community. Sign up in the sidebar, and it will be winging its way towards you in seconds. For anyone who’s already signed up, it should already have landed in your inbox, so go and sink your teeth in.

Thank you so much for being a part of Sparrow & Sea. The amazing women that I meet through this here lil’ blog blow my mind and fill me up with heart-thumping gratitude. I couldn’t do it without you.

Sending cupcake-scented love from here to there,

 

Signature

 

 

 

PS – If you enjoy the ebook, please drop me a line and let me know! I would love to connect, hear your story and find out what’s helped you stop wishing and start working! You’ll find me at jess (at) sparrowandsea (dot) com… All my love!

We’re losing our spaces

Thoughts swirling around

Remember how back in the old days, if you were waiting at the doctor’s surgery, you had to read three-year-old issues of Woman’s Day (Aaaaw, look at Tom and Katie still being robotically-awkward together before she made her Great Escape!)?

Remember when lining up at the check-out counter meant standing there being bored and eyeing off the Freddo Frogs and thinking about what was for dinner?

Remember when those spaces in between other, more important things, were just spent thinking or doodling or conversing or staring off into space?

Yeah, me too.

Now of course, we fill those moments up.

Relentlessly.

With technology. With social media. With frenetic, device-assisted doing.

So many moments, that once would have been vacant, are now filled.

And I am a prime example of this. The other day, my boyfriend and I were going toilet shopping for our currently-being-renovated bathroom. Previously, I had been under the (mistaken) impression that as long as a toilet was clean, white and flushable, then it was fine. But my Boy had other ideas and desires and Very Important Design Requirements. So whereas I would have happily pointed to the first reasonably-priced loo that met my eye, I knew that instead, we’d be up for an afternoon of discussions with salesmen about Bowl Size and Installation Specifications and Poo Ergonomics. (Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the idea.)

In short, I knew it was going to be a long, boring afternoon.

And then, disaster struck: as we set out on our drive to Bathroom Shop #1, I realised that I didn’t have my iPad with me.

And I got upset.

Seriously quite upset.

I began to worry, because it meant that I wouldn’t be able to check my emails, write blog posts, review my Google analytics, stay up-to-date with client communications, read that new book I’d just downloaded, organise my Evernote file or type my random thoughts into my Ideas document. For three whole hours, I’d have none of that.

It was an afternoon wasted.

I was consumed with the thought that I was being inefficient. That I was squandering time, wasting opportunities, that the world was speeding on without me and I would be Left Behind.

I kept this rising panic hidden though. Cos I’m ‘enlightened’ enough to know that it’s ridiculously stupid (but of course not enlightened enough to let it pass in the first place). I quashed my upset and refused to allow the panicky-petulant tantrum within me to burst forth. Instead, I was just vaguely terse and pissy to my boyfriend in that generic way that puzzles him and others of his kind so.

In short, my best credentials as Enlightened Being and Model Girlfriend were on display.

All because I couldn’t be productive for a few moments in between toilet bowls.

Of course I got over it. Of course I knew I was being stupid. Of course I talked myself down and reasoned myself out of it. But not before making myself feel like shit for close to an hour.

It led me to ponder:

When did we decide that every moment has to be productive?

When did we start to think that all our moments, all our spaces, needed to be filled up with doing?

When did we start to think that time spent waiting or in transit or just standing in line was a personal failing?

When I was able to make peace with (shock horror) the fact that I’d have to sit in bathroom showrooms without my ‘busy’ tools, I decided that there was only one thing to do: try to be in the moment.

Well that’s not true, there was another alternative: continue to stress about my lack of productivity, give off an aura of distress and generally make life fun for all those around me.

I took option one.

I looked at toilets graciously, and giggled with my boyfriend when we found ones with funny names, and made enough toilet/poo jokes to make a thirteen year-old boy proud. When Adam was off discussing specifics, I just sat there. Quiet. Still.

And totally, one hundred per cent fine.

I think giving our brains and hearts space around everything else we do — all the busy-ness — is probably really fricking important for our mental health. And although I’m a massive fan of meditation, I don’t even mean anything as structured as that.

I just mean a little revelling in a loose moment.

A little wallowing in mind-wandering, -wondering, -pondering.

A little recognition of the beauty of a random Tuesday afternoon spent doing nothing — something — anything.

And you know how this story ends, right? Nothing bad happened from my afternoon of spaciousness. I’d like to say that something awesome happened (like ‘while I was sitting on the edge of a gorgeous LooMaster Maxitron, staring off into space, a million-dollar idea for my next ebook popped into my head‘) but that wouldn’t be true. I didn’t even come up with an idea for dinner. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a happy ending: nothing bad happened. I felt a little bit of space, a little bit of light and a little bit of free.

And it felt good.

Inner Space

Letting go of the feeling that I need to be productive all the time felt… spacious. But of course — this being life and this being me and me being human — it hasn’t exactly lasted. That familiar, frenetic thought pattern has chased me down and caught me and still clings on piggy-back-style some days.

But that’s okay.

Cos I’m getting better. Cos I know the space is there. Cos I know that it won’t kill me or hurt me and it might even help me.

And it’s all a process…

Are you driven to busy-ness too? Are you searching for space? xx

Thirty, flirty and… fertile

Jennifer Garner is thirty, flirty and thriving

I turned thirty just over a month ago. It (surprisingly) wasn’t that big of a deal, and I didn’t have any breakdowns. (Okay, I didn’t have any major breakdowns.)

And nothing has really seemed that different. Of course. But I kind of expected things to change, even just a little. Mainly because I seem to always read celebrity quotes that say things like ‘When I turned thirty [or forty, or whatever milestone they just hit], I really started to come into my own. You’re so much more comfortable in your body in your thirties, and you just start to feel more confident in yourself as a woman.’

You know what I’m talking ‘bout. It must be in the Celeb-101 handbook: Make out as though your current age is the perfect age, while the rest of Hollywood continues to treat aging as though it were a disease. Bonus points if you can talk smack about Botox and plastic surgery whilst secretly getting collagen implants and a nose job for a ‘deviated septum’.

Deviated septum

But I digress.

None of those ‘I totes feel more comfortable/confident/empowered now that I’m thirty’ things have happened. I’m still as awkward as ever, as self-conscious as ever. In fact, I still classify myself as a ‘girl’, and it’s only when I think about it for a second that I realize it’s probably more likely that I am, indeed, a woman. Despite all internal evidence to the contrary.

But one thing that I have noticed, is that I have started to think about babies a lot.

Not so much in a clucky, desiring way. More in a panicky, oh-my-God kind of way. It’s a three-way panic. Your ‘triple threat’, so to speak:

Panic point number one: Oh my God, I’m running out of time to have babies.

Panic point number two: Oh my God, I’m running out of time to do all the things that I want to do in life before I have to start having babies.

Point number three: Oh my God, I’m not ready to have babies.

[It should be noted at this juncture that my boyfriend LOVES having ‘the baby conversation’ with me. And by ‘loves’, I mean ‘would-rather-experiment-with-tying-his-testes-in-decorative-macrame-style-knots’. Not that he’s not supportive, it’s just that he kinda knows what he wants: kids one day, not quite yet. He’s happy with that, has no doubts about that, and has made peace with that. Whereas I’m filled with fun emotions like angst and worry and self-doubt…]

It doesn’t help that a friend told me about a year ago that statistically speaking, once you hit thirty, your healthy-baby-making chances drop radically.

But it sucks to start thinking about life in terms of hurry-hurry-baby-hurry. I know for sure that I don’t want one now, that this is not the right time for me to have one now, that this is not the right time for us to have one now. I know all this. So what’s with the angst?

I really do recognise that fertility issues increase as a woman’s age increases. (And I pray to God/The Universe/Vishnu/Gaia that I don’t have such issues.) But I also choose to focus on the fact that statistical averages are based on population-wide research. And I definitely take better care of my health than a large portion of the population, and will continue to do so.

I also recognise that wanting to have a baby is an important aspect of the equation. And I don’t want one right now. I barely succeed in taking care of myself right now. It’s just that I’m feeling this weird pressure from external sources without names and faces. From ‘society’. From what I’m ‘supposed’ to do. From my age.

Healthy girl with all the time in the world

So this angst is unwelcome. Not to mention premature and irrelevant. I don’t need it. And I am going to try to ignore it, and do my best to take excellent care of my health, and excellent care of my relationship, and excellent care of myself. And if the stars align, and I am blessed and lucky, perhaps one day in the not-too-distant-future, I will have the luxury of choosing to start trying to ‘try’.

But right now, I’m giving up the angst. I’m declaring angst defeat. It has no hold over me.

In a refreshing change from the aforementioned text-book drivel of celebrity interviews, I recently read this shining-golden-beacon-of-light from Olivia Wilde, she of the gorgeous almond-shaped eyes and baby-making-aged body:

DON’T feel pressured to pop out kids.

I love kids with a passion I usually reserve for hot cheese, miniature chairs, and Prince concerts, but I feel no stress to reproduce simply because of a fear of withering eggs. Wait for the right partner, and make sure you’re where you want to be in life before picking neighborhoods based on school districts. This is not to suggest you should live irresponsibly for the next 10 years, then expect to get knocked up when your chosen dude finally sneezes inside you. But you’ll never find the right baby-maker or enjoy baby-making if you’re doing it out of anxiety. Relax, be good to your body, and when the time is right, get busy.

This. Just this. Relax, be good to your body, and when the time is right, get busy. I love this. This is  where I’m at. Well, where I want to be at.

Do you have thoughts on self-imposed baby-making pressure? Do you feel it too? Where are you at?

xo

Indian dreaming

Why peeing this morning was so freaking awesome

peeing-rainbows

My car died on the weekend. And when I say ‘died’, I mean flat-out kaput, never to cruise the sunny roads of Brisbane again. Margeurite, my sort-of trusty Toyota Camry, is gone.

Her untimely demise happened when I was in the middle of the Pacific Motorway — a busy eight lane freeway — about an hour from my home. She had been a little funny that day already, which is unusual — normally she’s totally reliable — and all of a sudden, I noticed that the temperature gauge had gone through the roof, so I pulled over onto the shoulder of the road.

With cars speeding past at 110km per hour, it was not the best place for my car to break down. (The tow-truck man would later tell me that in his business, that particular stretch of road is called ‘Death Gully’, because of the number of people who have died in car accidents there, inlcuding five young people in the one accident about a year ago. A high speed limit combined with not-that-great visibility is not the best mix.) I clambered out and went to look under the bonnet.

Now, I know very little about cars. I can check oil and coolant, and that’s about it. (I can also pump up my tyres, but I prefer my boyfriend to do all of the above for me anyway!) So when I popped the bonnet, it was not really with the expectation that I would actually be able to do anything to my car. Perhaps I was hoping for something ridiculously-and-glaringly obvious — you know, like a bright red arrow pointing to a loose cap that I could screw back on and be done. Alas, no such luck. What I did see was red coolant everywhere. Splashed all over the place, sizzled and boiled dry. Probs not a great sign, my inner mechanic told me.

When the tow truck man arrived to rescue me from my roadside misery, we quickly established that it was quite serious. Like, not a roadside fix. So I decided to get my car towed straight to my mechanic (an hour away, and despite the hideous cost, actually the most cost-effective solution of all the options).

Broken down car

As we were driving, I was sinking into that melancholy particular to anticipated financial pain. The tow truck man could sense my distress (don’t know what could have possibly given it away — my near-hysterical voice on the phone? My red-and-flustered face when he found me on the freeway after an hour of waiting? Can’t be sure!) and took it upon himself to cheer me up. To distract me. Bless.

We discussed our families — he had six kids total, a motley Brady-Bunch-style blended family; our work — he was about to head up to the mines; and his parenting philosophy — any old asshole can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a dad. Despite being entirely not in the mood to engage, I found myself drawn into the conversation, and forgetting where I was for tiny little stretches at a time.

When we finally arrived at my mechanic’s garage, and he had unloaded my car, he walked around to me and said ‘what did you learn from our trip together?’ and I mumbled something about silver linings, and the people we love being important, not the money (or cars) that we have.

He said “Look, there’s one more thing I want to tell you. My sister was born with spina bifida. So ever since she was a baby, she’s been deformed, and life has been a fight. It takes her hours to do everything, even the simplest things that I do without thinking. So every morning, when I wake up, and go into the toilet to take a piss, I think to myself ‘I’m standing and I’m pissing’ and I know it’s a good day. If you can stand, and you can piss, you know it’s a good day. Hell, you know it’s a good life.”

And with those words from my scruffy, smiley tow truck man, the door in my mind crept open and perspective crept in. Not to say I was ‘happy’ with the situation — that night, I still went home and had myself a private pity party (the only invitees were myself and a giant bag of M&Ms). I still got slightly teary on the phone to my boyfriend when I told him how much it would likely cost. But there was space and peace around those acute emotions. There was the beginning of an inner knowing that none of it mattered and it was all gonna be alright.

It’s so easy to let events like a dead-car-at-a-financially-inconvenient-time to derail us from living life wholeheartedly, with gratitude. Events like this seem to give us a free pass to spend the day (week?!!) in a shitty mood, and to eat junk food, and to whinge and moan to anyone who will listen about how hardly-done-by we are by the Universe. But with just a dash of perspective, we can connect with the truth of the situation.

So when I go the confirmation phone call this morning from my mechanic –”Jess, the car’s done. She’s dead. It’s not even worth fixing,” — there was space and peace and okay-ness around that. Because this morning, I stood up, and I went and peed. And that means that I’m having a good day. Hell, it means I’m having a good life.

In fact, I got out of my warm bed, in my warm house, and stood on my two walk-for-miles gorgeous legs, and peed in my toilet. Then I wrapped myself in my favourite fluffy bathrobe and spoke to my gorgeous-loving boyfriend on the phone. Then spoke to my gorgeous-loving mum and gorgeous-loving sister. Then I sat and ate a delicious healthy breakfast in the sun. There is no way — car or no car — that I’m not living a massively blessed life.

All it took was the loss of a $5 000 car to hammer the lesson home. I hope it sticks this time. Really, it would be cheap at twice the price.

What are you grateful for today? xx

Life is good

 

Link Lovin’

Hola, lover!

This week has been crazy-but-good, frustrating-but-mind-opening. The process of launching my business is still in full swing, and I am slowly, slowly, step-by-step getting to where I want to be. In general, over the past seven days, I have had assumptions challenged, I have had spectacular  failures in the kitchen (ummm, there’ll be a post coming soon about my sweet potato ice-cream) and I have continued to learn more about myself than ever before. So all in all – life is good. I feel like I am where I should be. I feel like I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And I’m getting better at accepting that the Universe’s time frame may be slightly different to my own!

In the meantime, here are some awesome links to fill your daily quote of internet procrastination!

1. I love this open letter from a daughter to her Mumsy. As someone who has had a very… interesting… weight and body image journey my entire freaking life, this letter smacked of truth. Not because my mum ever passed on bad body images issues to me (in fact, quite the opposite), but because I am so aware of the fact that I never want to pass on my issues to my future daughter.

 

2. I am still in a slight post-travels funk. Meaning, at least a few times a day, I will be transported back to that time I was wandering through the twilight markets in the Marais in Paris. Or that time we were all at that crazy-awesome rooftop bar in Florence. Or that time when we were hanging out with my best friend and her husband drinking Aperols in Austria. And I’ll get a pang of longing to go back. Like, rightthisverysecond. Anyway, I am assuaging my longing for wandering by reading travel stories online. And this one by Kate Northrup, about what she learned while visiting Paris, hit the spot – WTF America?!!

 

3. I used to be a massive Buffy fan. So when I saw that Joss Whedon (creator of the best show in the Universe!) had delivered a commencement speech to a bunch of graduating students, I knew I had to watch it. In typical Joss-fashion, this is funny and relaxed AND profound. I’m sure it ain’t what the kidlets were expecting (“You are all going to die.”), but I’m sure that they walked away from it with their minds just that little bit more cracked open.

Speaking of the “contradiction” between the body and the mind, my man Joss said:

It never goes away. And if you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think a career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not. If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better.

Check out the full video below. There’s more goodness within!

YouTube Preview Image

Have a great weekend! XX

 

Patience is a virtue

So I may have mentioned that at the end of February, I’M LEAVING MY JOB! AND GOING TRAVELING! AND STARTING MY OWN BUSINESS! (Phew! Fist pump! Exhale!)

The point of this musing is not to ramble about my various new directions, but to talk about patience. Because I have another few weeks at my job before I leave. And if I succumb to the enormous impatience that is periodically raging and swelling inside of me, then I ain’t gonna be a very pleasant person to be around for the next few weeks.

It is no coincidence that the first self-growthy goal that I am tackling for the new year is meditation. And I consider this pursuit somewhat of a community service (big of me, I know!). I am embracing meditation and the calm, centred, peaceful feeling that it brings, hoping that it will balance out the insane levels of burbling excitement that occasionally threaten to spill over and consume both me and everyone around me.

Not that I think that there’s anything wrong with excitement and anticipation. In their way, they can be totally delicious. The last few days before my boyfriend and I are reunited each time he comes home from his fly-in-fly-out job are sometimes really quite sacred moments of heightened awareness and love. (Sometimes, however, they are just freaking frustrating.)

And I am really grateful to have so many things in my life at the moment that I am looking forward to. It is an amazing, amazing time, and I haven’t felt this excited for I don’t know how long.

But this excitement and anticipation also makes me kind of wary. John Demartini talks in a few of his books about every feeling, by necessity, and by their essence, having an opposite. What goes up, must come down. You can’t experience joy without sorrow, bravery without meekness, elation without despair.

And I suppose I would really like to be experiencing these insanely exciting times without being quite so attached or emotionally heightened. Because I am so excited right now that I am a little bit scared that I might just burst or bottom out or blow up. I’d like to have just a little more of the ‘observer’ in me and be a little less of the fully-succumb-to-every-fleeting-emotion-like-a-crazy-hormonal-teenager type gal.

Hence the meditation.

Hence the practical action steps that I am trying to tie myself to, in order to sink my energies into actually achieving travel-related things rather than just swirling in an excited thought-vortex. You know, like ‘book train ticket from Girona to Paris’. And ‘buy a camera’. And ‘decide how many pairs of undies you’ll actually need for three months, noting that you’re not great at doing laundry’.

And hence the recognition that patience is necessary. And it is necessary to practice presence now. And that I do indeed believe that presence takes practice. And the word ‘practice’ implies that there will be ups and downs, fanfares and failings in the process. And it’s all okay.

I think that if I don’t start flexing the patience-slash-presence muscle now, I may find myself in Paris yearning to already be in Rome, or to be home, or to be in the arms of my boy, when I have spent the preceding three months longing for nothing but chocolate croissants and real champagne and cheesy-cheesy pizza.

What I am saying, my sweets, is that if I’m not frickin’ careful, I may end up spending the next four months not being where I am.

Which is less than ideal, to say the least. Especially when there are croissants to be savoured and schnapps to be sampled and pizzas that I have not yet met.

Really, I wish to be exactly where I am, wherever that may be. That is my wish for me.

I want to savour these last few weeks at work in all their frustrating glory. It is because of those feelings of frustration that I finally had the courage to make this book-a-ticket-and-leave, consequences-be-damned decision. I want to marinate in those feelings and bottle them up. Then I can unstopper them during the inevitable moments of frustration in my new working life and remind myself why I made my decision.


And I definitely want to be where I am on my travels. Be it at an airport waiting lounge or the Eiffel Tower or mid-mouthful of flaky chocolate pastry. Because to not be exactly where I am would be an unfortunate missing-of-the-point. A wasted opportunity. A cause of regret somewhere down the line.

And I am reminded of this:

‘No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it. The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.’ (Barbara Brown Taylor)

I don’t need to go anywhere, none of us do.

Traveling is super exciting and definitely important and crazy growth-inducing.

But all of this is also true of standing still…

 

Goal the first: Meditation

I have not yet finished my goal setting for the coming year. I need to feel that the juju is just right before I break out my magic moleskine and light my special candle (coconut and elderflower scented – definitely the scent of success!!) and so far, the right mood just hasn’t struck me.

However, one goal that I know will be on my list (it always is) is meditation. ‘Develop a meditation habit’. Along with ‘reach goal weight’, this little beauty is a repeat appear-er (or repeat offender) on my list of New Year’s resolutions. I have spoken about my meditation battles in the past.

As always, I believe that this year will be different.

However, unlike previous years, I am actually going to approach this baby from a different perspective this time (what is it that Einstein said? That to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result is the definition of Jessica?!)

Anyway. I am reading Danielle LaPorte’s wonderful The Desire Map. And she asks you to focus on your ‘core desired feelings’. If you work towards feeling those desired feelings every single day, then you will be creating a more fulfilling life for yourself, regardless of whether you actually become the Gold Medal Winner or Editor-in-Chief or General King Ding-a-ling.

Why is it that I want to develop ye olde meditation habit?

Because sometimes when I do it, I feel amazing.
Because sometimes when I do it, I know that I am a better person.
Because sometimes when I do it – just sometimes – I feel bliss. I reach my very innards in a way that electrifies me and calms me and ‘whole-ifies’ me. In a way that is so singular yet universal, and entirely, frustratingly ineffable. All at the same time.

But I suppose, mainly, it is because I want to feel centred. I want to feel calm and peaceful and present. I want to feel that I am fully living in the present, and meditation has always been a wonderful tool to help me do that. Even if I have raged and railed and struggled against it from time to time.

So this year, I am going to develop a meditation habit because I desire the feeling of calm, peaceful centredness. Not because I think I should. Not because I need to. Not because my grandfather had Alzheimers and studies have shown that meditation increases brain health/power/longevity and bloody-well-just-do-it-already-you-procrastinating-idiot-of-a-time-bomb. (Yes, because if self-guilt and self-placation don’t work, you should definitely try self-beration.  It’s super fun and garuanteed to work!)

I’m going to do it because I desire to feel centred and peaceful and myself.

This month, I am attending a group meditation session and I am meditating everyday for five minutes. Because goddammit if anything but babysteps just leave me feeling overwhelmed right now! But five minutes I can do, five minutes I can handle. Starting small seems like the way to go. And I am doing it for a feeling.

I will keep you posted.

 

PS – In line with the whole idea of reaching health goals this New Year, my gorgeous friend Jessica Nazarali from Live Healthy Simply is a holistic health coach who is kicking off 2013 by offering a limited number of lovely ladies a free discovery coaching session. These sessions are designed to help you make those lifestyle changes that have seemed just-out-of-reach for oh-so-long. Jess is great at chunking things down so that even the most veggie-averse person can see how implementing small, simple steps can add up to a life of wholehearted health. And if you’re already a green-juice-guzzling-gal, she can help you push it to the next level. If you would like to learn more, click here or email Jess at jessica@livehealthysimply.com.

 

So much goodness…

 

Reading good writing makes my innards sing and my heart flutter and my stomach sigh. Occasionally accompanied by a stab of jealousy (until I remind myself that There Is Enough Pie, Jessica. More than enough. Oodles, in fact. And whilst you might sometimes yearn for key lime or pumpkin pie, your particular brand of coconut-cream pie is just fine, thank you very much!). But usually just with that glow of having read and experienced something just that little bit transcendent.

Over my Christmas holidays, I read a few things that I thought were worth sharing. They are varied in their content, but all similarly wonderful in their quality.

Enjoy.

1. This is an article from the New Yorker magazine about a pickpocket. Sounds random? It is. It is also wonderful.

2. Sarah Wilson is one of my favourite writers. Here, she smacked me in the face with her words (again). This time, on the perils of the festive season and the heightened emotions that it brings.

3. Leo Babatua’s piece on how he changed his life isn’t flowery or fancy or filled with big words. But it is an awesome example of truthful writing, and all the more powerful for its simplicity. Which, really, is what he’s all about

4. And finally, not words but images. I recently discovered this Tumblr account, called Fit Girl in the Real World. The lovely Camelia curates beautiful images of health, wellness and some crazy awesome yoga. Take care if you are looking at this whilst at work, cos a lot of the yoga pictures are a little bit lacking in clothing…!

2013 is the year of the ship…

[Aaaand she's back! Thank you all for sticking around despite my Christmas hiatus. I hope you all had a wonderful festive season, and are ready-and-raring to kick ass in 2013. Honestly, seriously: all my love!]

 

For the past month, I have felt this insane level of resistance every time I sit down to write. Crazy strong resistance. Like, there is a petulant teenager inside me who is kicking and screaming and chucking a toddler-worthy tanty.

“But I don’t wanna write!”

“But I don’t feel like it!”

“But I’ve been at work all day”

“But I deserve the day off”

“But blah-blah-blah blerg…”

And really, I have let all of my writer’s tools desert me. I have given in to this annoying beast. I have spent the past month feeling guilty about not writing. Which is super fun, let me tell you.

After feeling super resist-y for all of early December, I finally yielded to the feeling and proceeded to give myself two weeks off over Christmas where I didn’t have to feel guilty at all. Permission was granted. I could let it all go. And damn it has felt good. It has been a release, and apparently, I really needed it.

Sometimes brains need vacations. They need time to prance and twirl and sway freely in the coconut-scented breeze. Mine was singing out for it, but it took me quite a while to listen. I think for those of us living the double life of a really-not-right-day-job whilst trying to create the ‘life of our dreams’ in the off-hours, it can be really tiring and emotionally overwhelming trying to get it all done. (Hmmm, first world problems, hey?! And yet it is real to me, and I need to acknowledge it, and I definitely do not need more guilt in my life…) Trying to create the space to do it all – the time space, the physical space, the inner space – can be… well, trying. Seriously, it takes a lot of spaciousness to create. And more so when your brain is overloaded at the end of a workday with a million things that you don’t really care about, which aren’t getting you anywhere, but which you need to do anyway. You know, so that you get those things called ‘pay cheques’ in order to pay those pesky little men known as ‘Bill’.

So in recognition of this time of Resistance, and in the knowledge that I want to steer myself towards achieving my desires, most of my New Year’s Resolutions are about Gettin’ It Done. Because I have spent far too long living in the awesome world of ideas that is my head, but not actually delivering. And to be a writer, you must write. You must deliver. You must ship.

I have always been someone who is supremely ideas based. I love the abstract, the wild, the surreal. I can brainstorm a million ways to combine a teaspoon, a turnip and a totem pole into a weapon of mass seduction. And this is a super excellent quality that I love about myself… HOWEVER, now I want to back it the frick up! With actions, with achievements, with real-life words!

So, in essence, this is the year that I ship. I will explore my inner world of ideas and wonder, but then I will translate that into tangible, ship-worthy deliverance. Shippin’ my shiny innards to the world. It is all I want to do, and I am so excited. And now begins the learning process, the trying new things, the gettin’ it done…

I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, let me leave you with these words of Mr Pressfield, he who wrangles with Resistance more eloquently than most:

Resistance and Love

Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you’re feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there’s tremendous love there too. If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.

The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you – and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.

Oh Mr Pressfield, sometimes you get me all hot and bothered when you just get me like that!

Oh, and in the interests of honesty and accountability and ship-worthiness, yesterday I wrote 2134 words for my book. Booyah!

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