Tag Archives: perspective

Quiet as the default setting

Young woman lying on grass

As someone with a tendency to overanalyse, over-emote and overthink EVERYTHING, I have found that it’s best to set up little practices in my daily routine that help me make a little room for peace and quiet inside me. That set me up for space rather than stress.

One such tweak that is super simple and effective is turning your car radio off every time you finish driving.

Seriously!

Background noise is insidious. That’s its entire point – that you don’t notice it. But make no mistake, you’re still taking it in. That’s why radio advertising is a multi-million (billion?) dollar business. Because our heads and hearts slowly take on all the noise that they throw at us through our speakers. It fills us up and we don’t even know it.

Now, I love rocking out to the latest Lorde track as much as anyone. Listening to music while driving can be fun and uplifting and a totally kick-ass way to pass the time.

But I like to make the conscious choice to do it, and to control my consumption.

For example, I never listen to the radio during my commute to work. Morning time is when I am especially porous. I feel just that little bit delicate. Energetically vulnerable. I have to be careful what I’m surrounding myself with in those first few hours, so that I make sure I’m setting myself up for a day of peace and productivity, not stress and rushed-off-my-feet busy-ness. Morning radio does not serve me, and I prefer to drive either in silence, or if necessary, with some carefully chosen, quiet, delicate tunes from my media player (which, of course, are blissfully ad- and chatter-free).

However, if the radio has been left on since my last car trip, and starts up automatically, I won’t even notice it. I’ll get caught up in the chit-chat and the poppy music (and the endless ads), and won’t even be aware of it. My brain will follow it and engage with it and gnaw away at it like a golden retriever with a bone.

And then, when I get to work, I wonder why I don’t feel as centred as normal. As calm. As ready to start my day with focus and energy.

All because I didn’t give myself the mental space that I needed.

(Sidenote: Don’t even get me started on people who watch TV breakfast and news shows! My mum has them on in the background the entire time she’s getting ready. I feel like it’s an especially pervasive intrusion during an already busy period of the day… Can you tell I’m not a natural morning person?!)

I think that incorporating simple things into our daily routines that encourage us to be aware, to be present, can only be a good thing. And this is one such simple tweak that’s worth giving a whirl. Try switching off the radio every time you turn off the car. If you choose to switch it on during your next drive, that’s totally okay. But it will have been a conscious choice, one with just that skerrick more awareness than if the noise had just been thrust upon you.

And it’s those scraps and skerricks of awareness that make all the difference.

How do you protect your precious space? xo

Why I needed a second date with Barcelona

Barcelona has got under my skin. I didn’t think it would, at first. At first it felt too rough and raw. I was a bit… affronted. Confronted. Back-to-fronted. All of which are, of course, the reasons we say we want to go traveling in the first place. And yet the reality of them can be very overwhelming. Disconcerting. Unpleasant, even.

When I arrived in Barcelona, it was to unseasonably cold, miserable, grisly weather. (Oh, and killer jet lag. But that is to be expected when flying from Australia!)

The city seemed so in your face. Waiters and maître d’s who are almost aggressive in their ‘invitation’ to you to look at their menu. Shopkeepers who are so persistent in their attentions that I kept purchasing things more out of wanting them to leave me alone than anything else. And males on the street who pay me far more attention than I ever receive in Australia (seriously, it’s bizarre!).

On top of this, I was openly scolded a few times. A waiter who berated me for sitting at a particular table (which, I might add, another waiter had guided me to). A taxi driver who got remarkably aggressive when I wanted to pay by card and asked for a receipt. And I unknowingly took the wrong orange from a pile in the market, and in my too-delicate jet-lagged state, nearly wanted to cry when the woman scolded me like a naughty and stupid child for a full two minutes.

And I was scared. So scared. Of everything, but mainly pick-pockets. Let me tell you, if you are a chica travelling alone to Barcelona, be warned: do not trawl through travel blogs devoted to the subject of personal safety in this enchanted city. For it will scare the bejeebers out of you. Be-JEE-bers. Endless tales of stolen wallets, handbags and luggage may have you regretting your decision to travel there on your lonesome ownsome. There’s a reason for this plethora of pick-pockets, by the way. Laws against personal theft are lenient – non-existent if the offender is under 18 – making it difficult for police to enforce. Combine this with the fact that the economy has been hit hard and unemployment is presently at 26 (twenty six!) per cent. All factors combined, pick-pocketing is not so much an act of mischief, but an accepted profession. Whilst violent crime is low, your belongings are more likely to be nicked in Barcelona than any other European city.

But slowly I figure it out. I ignore all beggars. As much as that breaks my heart. I get better at simply leaving a store (without parting with any dineros) when a shop assistant is being pushy. And I lock the zipper of my bag every time I use it.

And I get off the Ramblas, which is key.

La Ramblas in the morning

The Ramblas is the main strip of Barcelona. It’s lined with bars, restaurants and stalls; theatres, churches, museums; a market, the metro and numerous street performers… Basically, it’s a traveller’s mecca. All of my guidebooks had said it was a fun place to hang out, that the bars were great, that there were heaps of exciting things to do. And even more convincing, I had had two separate, unconnected friends tell me that La Ramblas was their favourite place, that it was likely where I’d end up every night because it was the coolest, funnest, most adjectivally-abundant part of the city to hang out in.

Heeding such exuberant advice, I booked my accommodation right next to the famed strip, an excellent central position, and proceeded to explore it, expecting wonders and marvels and a truly Catalan experience.

What I found, however, did not float my boat. Sure, there is plenty to see and do, and you should indeed visit La Ramblas during your time in the Big B. However, you should then just as quickly get off it. I spent two days trying to take in all its pleasures, as my friends had assured me this was the best Barcelona had to offer, but I found them distinctly wanting. It felt like a superficial hammed-up imprint of Catalan culture. Spanish culture, even (which is very different to Catalan).

This was not the character-filled gothic city of my imaginings. This was a highly touristic area where you could easily find yourself in a bar where more people spoke English than Catalan. Where all the menus have paella and sangria on them, neither of which are native to the region, but which are served anyway to satisfy unaware-and-insistent tourist demand. Where party-ready lads from other parts of Europe come for testosterone-fuelled bucks’ nights (Hola Niels and Lewis!)…

In hindsight, I should have realised way earlier that it was not what I was after, that it was a manufactured version, that it was not-quite-real. It was – for those of you from the land of Oz – akin to visiting the Gold Coast and spending all your time on Cavill Avenue. Sure, it’s fun for a bit, and plays an iconic role in the identity of the GC, but the real beauty of that city can only be experienced by getting away from that touristic zone and out into the more truthful places.

My enjoyment of the city skyrocketed as soon as I began exploring beyond the tourist-and-English-language-friendly borders of the Ramblas – the trendy El Born district, the upmarket Passeig de Gracias, the many sites of Montjuic…

But it was the Gothic Quarter in particular that sang to me. I experienced a moment of near-cathartic peace and pleasure inside the unexpectedly tranquil and amazing cloister of the Church of Santa Anna. I had an orgasmic cultural conniption over the impromptu guerilla opera concert I stumbled upon in a random alleyway near the Arc de Bisbe. And I re-visited the 13 geese inside the cloister of Barcelona Cathedral five times (one goose for each of St Eulalia’s torments!). (Ummm, in case you can’t tell, I love cloisters, they are my new favourite thing!)

The cloister inside Barcelona’s Cathedral

I fell in love with the dark and twisty old city. This Barcelona is one where every twisting passageway gives way to an amazing church or plaza or Roman ruin. The street corners are populated by millennia-old fountains, twisted-and-gnarled iron work and street performers of every persuasion. I stumbled into hidden courtyards and hidden tapas bars. I saw walls covered in glorious decorative tiles and walls pockmarked by civil war artillery and walls covered in urine. In short, it was everything that I had imagined, and more. I devoted a large amount of time to just wandering through its wonders, each time seeing something new, each time slowly finding my way a bit better and also getting that little bit more lost.

It was wonderful.

I also fell in love with everything Gaudi, a man who designed such beautiful and bizarre and over-the-top architecture that it gave us our English word ‘gaudy’. Yet somehow, his work manages to exist absolutely perfectly – harmoniously, even -  in the Barcelona streetscape.

Gaudi’s Casa Battlo on the right. This house is kah-RAY-zee!

So the message of all of this is that if you are traveling somewhere and staying within your comfort zones, then you’re not doing it right. That if you’re not enjoying a city, venture further, deeper, wider. And that Barcelona is wonderful. Just wonderful.

It wasn’t love at first sight. But sometimes a second look is well worth it.

Have you been to Barcelona?

Very happy selfie. In Park Guell, a park designed by Antoni Gaudi and filled with crazy awesome architecture…

String Theory

Back when I had depression, one thing I did was detach from the world. From everyone, except a very, very few family members, and about two friends. Instead, I just curled up in a proverbial ball (sometimes I curled up in an actual ball) and hid away from everyone. I was sick, and I couldn’t deal with the world, and so I withdrew to the extreme.

I actually developed extreme social anxiety too. I remember once being out shopping, and a random boy started chatting to me, and sweat started to pour off me in such rivulets (dripping down my back, my legs, my arms) that it actually looked like I had wet my pants. Didn’t matter whether I’d known someone for two minutes or two decades, I didn’t want to engage with them, I didn’t know how to, and I would have extreme physiological and emotional responses to such situations.

The reasons and scope and extent of my social detachment are a story for another day. But let it suffice to say that my world became very, very small. Immediate family, two friends, that’s it. Everyone else I completely cut out. (Which, I will freely and honestly tell you, is one of my biggest regrets. I lost a heap of wonderful people from my life. When I Got Better and tried to reconnect, a bunch of them totally understood and graciously welcomed me back into their lives with open arms. Others did not, which I found very difficult to accept at the time, but which I came to understand. It was gut-wrenching, but eventually I was able to accept their decision with love and understanding. Albeit still with a wish that one day in the future, we will somehow become friends again…)

So, now that I am Well, and have been for some time now (about three years maybe? Four? Either way, it makes me happy and proud and still a little bit sad). But despite all this time being Well, social connections are still something that I have to actively work on. I have to actively cultivate them and nurture them and occasionally force myself into them. It still doesn’t come entirely naturally to me.

However, I was struck by an image the other day. I had spent three hours having coffee and awesome conversation with my Dad on New Years Day, then the next day had a similar length coffee and similarly awesome conversation with another awesome friend, then the next day had got this amazing email from my best female friend who lives faraway. All of these interactions made me absolutely glow in my insides. They filled me up. They made me so very, very happy.

And I was struck by this image of string. Sometimes I feel like I am tying string between myself and those around me that I love. Connecting us. Giving us a relationship. Positioning myself with reference to the other. And I realised that I have so many strings now, connecting me to the world, and to people and to life. More strings than I have had in at least ten years. Maybe even more strings that I have ever had.

And I am so heart-burstingly grateful for them. At one stage, it would have made me feel panicked and trapped and burdened. And lost.

Now it is what fills me up, and makes me so very, very found, so very much here. I don’t define myself by my relationships, but they certainly help. And there are so many amazing beings out there who I am connected to and who are feeding and lighting up my heart-strings, as I hope I do the same with their strings.

So now I am tied up and tied down and attached. String is my new thing. And I love it.

This is me steering…

 

So I have exciting news. Very exciting news. I wrote a post a little while ago about how I wanted to go traveling next year but was having trouble committing to where and when and for how long.

About a month ago, I finally made the decision: At the end of February next year, I am going to Spain, France, Italy, Austria and Hungary for just under three months. By myself. Which is slightly scary.

As you can imagine, I am super excited.

 

 

And then, when I get back from my overseas traipsing, I won’t be returning to my job. I am going to be starting my own business. Finally doing something that sets my heart aflutter and my innards on fire. It is still taking shape in my mind, but it all revolves around writing. And this is almost more exciting than the travel itself. This will be me shaping my career by myself, my way. Which is slightly scary.

And, as you can imagine, I am super excited.

For so long, I have felt like I haven’t been making decisions actively. I have felt very much like I’ve been at the mercy of the swirling tides around me. I’ve felt like I’ve been acting at the whim of the surrounding forces – whether that was having an ex-partner with strong ideas about what he wanted, or doing a uni course just because I could get into it, or sticking around at a job that didn’t challenge me at all because it was convenient.

I think that a lot of this was based on not knowing what I wanted. Except, truth be told, I think I did know what I wanted, I just didn’t want to admit it. Because it’s not the path that I am supposed to take. Because it means not using my university degree. Because there is a whole lot more risk following creative pursuits. Because admitting meant that I could fail.

So this not knowing – or not admitting to myself what I did know – meant that I just didn’t make a whole lot of decisions full stop. I just went where the wind took me. I do not know how I came to miss out on this piece of Most Important Information, but here it is: I did not realise that I had the power to not only influence my life, but to actively create it. I just kind-of floundered along.

In fact, I have only realised that there was an alternative to this method of life-living in the past year or so. At the grand old age of 29, no less. And let me tell you, it has opened up a whole array of possibilities and opportunities that I had not let myself even hope for previously.

It was my wonderful boyfriend who actually illustrated this point to me. He wanted something really bad in his career. He had no experience, no skills and not really any contacts at all. And yet he made it happen.

And at first, I couldn’t figure it out: “But how did you do it?”

Him: “I just did it. I decided what I wanted and just did everything that I could do to make it happen.”

“But weren’t you scared?”

“Yeah.”

“Weren’t you worried that you might run out of money or that it might take forever or that it might not work?”

“Yeah.”

“Weren’t you worried that you might just fail and all of your efforts would have been for nothing?”

“Yeah.”

“And?”

“And just do it anyway.”

“But how do you do it?”

“You just do something.”

“Hmmmmmm…”

Somehow, watching him achieve what he wanted to do over the past year has helped me figure out that I can actually do that too, in my own life. He was super scared and risked a whole bunch and had to spend a lot of money to get there. But he still did it, and I can too. I don’t have to keep going on doing things that aren’t fulfilling me. I don’t have to spend my life in a supposedly ‘good’ job that makes my heart sink just a little more each day. I don’t have to settle for what is.

Instead, I can actively make choices and steer my life in the direction that I wish it to go.

These two decisions – travel and career - are so massive for me, and they are filling me with enormous amounts of hope and excitement. What I love about my life is that I am creating it. I may not have figured out all of the nuts-and-bolts yet, but my course is finally set in a direction where I want to go. Where I choose to go. This is me steering…

 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

A mission statement is a clear and succinct statement of purpose or philosophy. Lots of businesses and organisations have them – schools, teams, units, companies etc, but have you ever thought about having one as an individual? A statement of your personal ethos – why you do what you do - can be a useful tool for determining which tasks, goals and activities align with where you want to go and who you want to be. It is particularly helpful for narrowing down and cutting out things that are not actually serving you – once you have a clear statement of intention, it is easy to identify those things which are extraneous and are not amplifying your goal.

Some good examples of mission statements for big-time global companies are:

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream: ‘to make the best possible ice cream, in the nicest possible way’.

(I really like this one. At my work, I suggested that our mission statement should be ‘to give the best possible policy advice in the nicest possible way’. Unsurprisingly, this was not adopted. Instead we ended up with lots of boring business-sounding words like ‘stakeholder’ and ‘agenda’ and ‘dynamic state of strategic alignment’!!)

Google:  ‘Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful’.

Microsoft: ‘At Microsoft, our mission and values are to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential’.

Technically, this is Apple‘s mission statement: Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

However, when Steve Jobs’ had to take a leave of absence due to illness, the acting CEO made the following statement, which I think is much more inspiring than the above:

We believe that we’re on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We’re constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple, not the complex.

We believe we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can focus on the few that are meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross pollination in order to innovate in a way others cannot.

We don’t settle for anything other than excellence in any group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.

 

Developing a mission statement for yourself can help keep you focused and on task. You can have a mission statement for different parts of your life (for example, one for your career, one for your personal life, one for your creative work etc).

For my blog, for example, my mission statement is:

To inspire through truth and whimsy, in a way that is truly me.

As a writer in general, my mission statement is:

To tell a damn good story, and the truth.

As a person… well, this one is constantly changing and evolving. At the moment:

To live boldly and truthfully, to embody my highest ideals, to love fiercely.

It can also be really enlightening to find out other people’s mission statements. My beautiful boyfriend, after much prodding and encouragement (!) said that his mission is to be ‘happy, loyal and determined within himself; and generous, honest and respectful with others’.

So now it’s your turn! Don’t worry if your words don’t sound particularly profound or literary – merely the process of getting your highest priorities onto paper can be enlightening. Start by just writing a few key words and sentences down, and go from there. I kept finding the words ‘truth’ and ‘authentic’ popping up for me – it’s clear that living in a way that is fully aligned with my truth is important to me. That’s good to know! On the flip-side, you may realise that things you thought were important to you, are actually not at the top of your list. For example, I assumed that ‘being happy’ would be part of my personal mission statement. But it turned out that other qualities rang more truthfully for me, and were more in line with where I actually want to be.

So once you’ve written your mission statement, how do you actually go about using it? Well! Start by writing or printing it out and sticking it someplace where you see it a lot. Say, next to your computer monitor or on your bathroom mirror. Read it every day, and remind yourself of the awesomery you have within you and that you want to align with.

Then, use it as a practical guidance tool. If I am struggling to determine, say, if a certain article will work on my blog, or if a certain chapter is right for my book, comparing it to the criterion of the mission statement is very helpful.

As a short, clear statement, it is also excellent for explaining clearly to other people why you do what you do. If you’re often told you need an ‘elevator pitch’ in your line of work, then your mission statement is an excellent place to start. And as for creating loyal customers/readers/employees etc, starting with the why can be the best tool. If you are doing what you are doing for the right reasons (which people can tell, by the way, regardless of the wording you use in your mission statement – insincerity smells loudly), if they believe in why you’re doing it, then they will willingly follow wherever you may lead. The flipside to this, of course, is that you have to follow through on your word. You have to actually tell a damn good story, and the truth. Or be bold and truthful and loving. If people can smell that you’re really writing to achieve money, fame or accolades then they will not be loyal followers or consumers. [Note: there's nothing wrong with money, fame and accolades. Go for them. But not at the expense of your true vision (or else adjust your vision!). You'll usually find that these things are natural flow-on effects from a job well (and authentically) done.]

So, do you have a mission statement? Have you ever used one before? Or do you wanna write your first one and share in the comments below? Your mission statement, should you choose to accept it, can stoke your heart-fire and guide your progress in a really amazing way. Give it a try!

This post first appeared as a guest post on the gorgeous Jessica Nazarali’s blog Live Healthy Simply.

Images from Sarah Eileen + Twiddler House

Wednespiration

 

1. Reading about the early failures of massively successful people always inspires me. It’s an excellent lesson in persistence. Think Oprah, Michael Jordan, Tim Ferriss…

2. This video went viral a while back, but I only just discovered it. If you want to hear an amazingly authentic and intelligent woman talk about the power of vulnerability, step this way…

YouTube Preview Image

I have a weird academic girl-crush on Brene Brown. I think she’s amazing – warm, genuine, intelligent, and yes, wholehearted. If you liked the above vid (or had already seen it) her follow-up Ted talk on listening to shame is well worth a viewing. I recently had to do a dumb totally interesting work presentation on resilience, and I decided that if I had to take up 30 minutes of my colleagues life, I was bloody well going to make it worthwhile. I showed Brene’s speech on vulnerability, and linked that back to resilience. I also made a helpful print-out for everyone, which you can see below. It is now pinned up on my desk to remind me, in stressful situations, to drink limoncello (and some other stuff of course. But yay for limoncello!)

 

3. I just discovered the writing of Oriah Mountain Dreamer. This poem is amazing, and speaks directly to my innards.

The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

 

Images from Here we go Edinburgh + ThirtyThr33

Because every little thing is gonna be alright…




Stop trying to avoid your pain and suffering. Feel it, don’t fear it. Not to ruin the ending for you, but everything is going to be okay. There’s no need to continually distract yourself or numb yourself from the realities of the present moment. Life might be feeling really shit right now, but that’s only because you just need to learn a lesson or two first. The worry and the pain and the hurt wrapped up in this present moment is necessary. It’s helping you grow. Even though you might not be able to see how or why just yet.

 

Face the shittiness and the challenges. Face them front on with an openness of heart and mind and spirit. Forever fleeing or numbing or distracting yourself means that you’re not facing them fully. And you need to, because these challenges will never go away until they have taught you the lesson that the Universe is trying to teach you. Only then can the next step be unfurled in front of you.

 

And worrying about them is not serving you. Not to ruin the ending, but the big yellow guy is gonna keep popping up every morning. The little sparkly guys are gonna keep shining away every night. And those big, incessant waves are going to keep kissing that shoreline. Most of what we worry about will not matter in a week, a month, a year, a decade’s time… It’s time we started living our today in alignment with that fact.

 

So give yourself permission to just let it go. To stop letting it get to you. To allow everything to just be.


Not to spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to be okay…

 

 

 

This week on the blog, we talked about how difficult negative thought spirals can be, and some good ways to climb out of them (and a bunch of you left some really kind, thoughtful messages, thank you) and I declared my travel plans.


Also, I did a guest post on the gorgeous Jessica Nazarali’s blog Live Healthy Simply. Check it out.

 

Have a great weekend, lovers!

 

 

Images from Here + Kind over Matter

Friday lovin’

 

Hola my munchy honeycakes!*

 

(*Apparently ‘munchy honeycakes’ is an in-joke on ye olde kids’ classic TV show ‘Bananas in Pajamas’. I am not a regular watcher of this show, however the phrase tickles me and sounds so gosh-darn happy and delicious! Are you thinking what I’m thinking B1? If what you’re thinking is that munchy banana honeycakes would be super delicious, then I think I am B2!!)

 

Munchy Honeycakes, topped with fresh-sliced B2

 

But enough of my weekend-is-nigh silliness! Today, I wanted to share with you a few things that have really floated my boat this week. This week has been a trying one at my end, particularly at work, where a bunch of people lost their jobs and are leaving (including my bestest desk-buddy whom I love bucketloads). Morale has been low, even for us lucky ones who kept our jobs.

 

I’ve found myself craving beautiful things – needing to see loveliness and be outside and somehow disconnect from the low, sad, kinda resentful energy that is enveloping our workplace. I’ve been keeping my solitary-silent lunch breaks in a hidden corner, which has been really important to my sanity. And I’ve tried to enforce boundaries, saying ‘no’ to things that were stretching me beyond my limits. And I’ve been seeking things out on ye olde interwebs that are peace-filled and beauty-filled (umm, beautiful?), just wanting to jam some goodness into my brain and some calm into my mind.

 

So without further ado, feast yourselves on the following…

 

1. Have you ever been on a virtual retreat? I hadn’t either, until this week, but it was really fun! The gorgeous Rachel from The Red Tent invited me to join her love-and-relaxation-and-just-let-go-already virtual retreat. And by that, I mean she invited everyone. Including you.

 

 

2. I think I might be late to this party, but have you listened to The Wellness Guys yet? They are these really great podcasts by three Aussie chiropractors discussing various aspects of health and wellness. My Mum put me onto them (I think she was really chuffed that she had discovered a technologically-advanced [for her!] form of social media all be herself!), and I’ve been listening to them non-stop – at the gym, whilst driving, whilst walking, whilst cooking… At this rate, I’m going to run out of episodes pretty soon! I love the laid-back, motivational-without-being-corny vibe. My favourites so far have been the fit-2-fat-2-fit guy, the ‘get more energy’ episode, and the interview with Cyndi O’Meara.

 

3. Excuse the poor quality, but i found this book a few weeks back in a second-hand book store in Maleny (on the Sunshine Coast). Made me giggle-snort-galumph.

 

 

Only-semi-related sidenote: A teacher at my old high school told his biology class that he liked to make bird call noises during sex. Ca-caw! Ca-cawwww!!!

 

4. This Ted Talk is called ‘Minding your Mitochondria’. It’s by an American doctor, Dr Terry Wahls, who got MS and started deteriorating rapidly. Despite undergoing the best medical treatment around, she kept getting worse. Eventually, she realised that she would have to venture forth alone and treat herself like a guinea pig. She researched as much as she could, experimenting on herself, until finally she found a way to reverse her condition. Through her food. It’s not the flashiest, most gung-ho Ted Talk, but damn, this woman is inspiring. As she says, she is the canary in the coal mine warning everyone else of what may come if we continue down our current path. If you don’t have time right now, bookmark this and watch it.

 

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5. And finally, *this*. Just this.

 

 


 

 

 

Images from gPassion + HereRed Tent + Tea with Mary + Here.

Wednespiration

Good morning lover-peeps!

Welcome to this week’s edition of Wednespiration, where we refuse to let people put their negative ‘hump-day’ connotations on another fresh day filled with endless potentiality. Instead, it’s so much better to focus on the positive, inspiring things that life has to offer. Actively choosing to focus on what you want out of life - and what inspires you to feel better and create change – is a far better way to achieve happiness than intensely dwelling on that which you don’t want. So without further ado:

 

1.
The end of winter!
Winter-time is drawing to a close here in usually-sunny Queensland. The super chilly winter mornings (well, super chilly by our standards!) are behind us, and at the moment, the sunny, crisp, head-clearing air of nearly-spring is upon us. Whilst I do love Winter and the excellent wardrobe possibilities it brings (capelets, beanies, and coats – OH MY!), plus of course, its endless opportunities to snuggle (!), it is really delightful to have Spring in the air and that marvellous feeling of summer being just around the corner, and soaking in all the possibility of what the new season may bring.

 

Winter is a time where your body craves rest, warmth, and hearty foods. In Spring, I always find myself gravitating towards lighter choices that still keep you feeling as light as the proverbial seasonally-appropriate chicken. Check out this delicious war-enough-for-winter, light-enough-for-spring breakfast …

 

This is what I take to work:

 

 

The bottom container has my oats and a few chopped dates. I cook these with boiling water (not milk, not a milk fan).
The second container has goji berries, crushed almonds, chia seeds, and some LSA mix. I sprinkle these on top after cooking. Sometimes I add a touch of honey.
And on top of that is a peach. This gets chopped on top. Lately I’m doing it with berries or stewed rhubarb or apple etc.

 

The resulting deliciousness looks like this:

 

 

 Such a delicious brekkie, and really easy to prepare the night before and then have at my desk the next day.

 

 

2.
 I love Anais Nin. She sets my heart aflutter. Here are some reasons why:

 

 

 

 ♥

 

3.
The following is a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek. Simon is an author/teacher/inspirational speaker who has identified a thinking-and-communication pattern common amongst great leaders and innovators – whether in the business world, politics, science or just life in general. I find his main idea – which he calles the ‘Golden Circle’ – absolutely fascinating. The basic premise is to ‘start with WHY’ (also the title of his book). Don’t tell your audience what you have or how you do it (“we produce the highest quality personal computers with the fastest digital technology for the best price”). Instead, tell them WHY (“we believe in innovation, cutting-edge design, and revolutionising the use of digital technology. We just happen to sell computers”).

 

It’s a really interesting idea that he communicates simply and effectively. Well worth a watch. I also love to troll his blog for some good ideas.

 

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What to do when work is really shit – Part One

1. Be grateful. When your work is really shit, it is an impetus to actually create meaningful change. If instead your work was merely almost-kinda-maybe-bearable-but-not-really, then it is easy to fool yourself into thinking that circumstances will eventually change (more money, a promotion etc) and that things will get better, without you ever actually doing something about it. Be grateful for the shittiness, because it is telling you something. You might be in the wrong place, the wrong time, the wrong job or just be surrounded by the wrong people. Whatever it is, be thankful for receiving such a clear message from your gut/your soul/the universe. Many people don’t have this clarity and will forever persist in doing half-assed work in a not-right job.

 

2. Make peace with your present. It’s only by doing this – surrendering to where you are, right now, as crap or as wonderful as it may be – that you can begin to make positive, constructive change. When you think about this from a law of attraction perspective, it’s about changing your thoughts and feelings from resonating so strongly with what you don’t want, to being directed more positively to what you do want. For me, I think this step is the trickiest step, but it has absolutely worked for me in the past. For example, a while back, I was quite overweight. It was only when I finally accepted myself as I was – exactly as I was – that I was able to actually go about creating change in my body. If you’re struggling with making peace with a job that you hate (or any situation, really) it can help by simply starting with things that you are grateful for about the job: I am grateful that I have a source of income. I am grateful for the awesome ladies in my little pod. I am grateful for easy parking. I am grateful for the new skills I have learned. I am grateful for my small commute. I am grateful for the super-clean kitchen we all share (hey, I’ve worked in places with scungy-as kitchens, this is definitely a thing to be grateful for!!!)

 

3. Identify what you do want. Think – really think – about what it is that you do want in a job and in a lifestyle. Is it that you want more time, more flexibility, greater creative control? Write this down. Let your mind go wild thinking of all the things that would add up to your perfect job, your perfect day. You can be quite high-level at this stage.

 

4. Break it down. Quantify the above abstract ‘wants’ into metrics that you can use to inform your transition. Say you’ve identified that you want more creative control. What does this mean? Will you ever be happy working for someone else or do you need to start working on your own business plan? If you are happy working for an employer, what extent of creative control do you need to feel fulfilled? What sort of creative vision would you be happy working towards? What sort of employer would allow this to happen?

 

5. Make a mini-plan for IMMEDIATE next steps. It is really hard, mentally/spiritually/emotionally, to deal with hating your work and still having to rock up every day. Knowing that you are in control of your future is an enormously empowering feeling, and being able to immediately do two or three little positive steps towards your goal will make you feel really good and that you are already on your way. Examples: email that friend you know who knows someone in the industry/company you’re interested in and ask for their contact details; find your old resume and update it with your current position; enter a search string into a job-search website and subscribe to that search (new jobs matching your key words will arrive in your inbox every day), ring that person who you’ve always thought is ‘doing it right’ and ask if you can take them out to coffee and pick their brain, buy the domain name that you’ve been thinking of to start your own business.

 

In quick, take-away form:
    1. Be grateful for this message and this chance for change.
    2. Accept where you are.
    3. Figure out what you want. In detail.
    4. Take a forward step (no matter how tiny) immediately.

 

 

 

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