Sage

Okay. This is my first blog in a long time and I’m doing something I don’t usually do and posting without drafting first. This is a bit intense-sort of like public speaking without practicing but if I don’t do it I never will. I probably wouldn’t advise this as a long term public platform strategy because we’ve all witnessed the toe curling awkwardness of an ill planned speech so let’s think of this more like karaoke. After all, we can all forgive a poor but heartfelt rendition of Adele’s, Someone Like You.

I have found it so hard to write. So hard to do something I really enjoy. What’s with that? Am I alone? Are you artists not painting, are you fitness fiends not at the gym, you singers missing choir to watch Netflix, you cooks ordering take away? We are in a funk people. And just for your information funk is being in a bad space, avoiding things out of fear, you get the drift. Funk!

I’ve been avoiding my computer. I’ve been locking it in a cupboard. Not because I’m bonkers but because I’m living overseas and my guest house is not equipped with four star safe security. So I cover it with my undies to keep it and my passport safe. This of course means every day when I go to get fresh pants-and lets be honest sometimes not so fresh-I see it. Staring expectantly up at me, eager for attention like a tiger dog. I ignore it, not because I think it may be rabid but because I don’t know where to start.

But today is the day. Fear, self-doubt, uncertainty, have made me jumpy and the irony is, when I get in such a mindset it is hard to grasp and action the things I know make a difference.

So why post today? Good question. It has to do with another of my great passions-food. There is the most delicious restaurant right down my road. Sage. Fabulous name on so many levels. Gourmet vegan cuisine. And when you order, around a napkin and your utensils is wrapped a little message.

This was mine.

You will get there when you are meant to get there and not one moment sooner. So relax, breathe, and be patient.

It was exactly what I needed. I have been patient and all the time I’ve not been writing I’ve been doing other things. So if you find yourself in the midst of an inner struggle do not underestimate the efforts you make to regroup and the self reliance you gain in the process. When the time is right you will be ready to re-embrace your passions. See I’ve already started a story…

Before you embark on a massive life change you cannot possibly imagine what your life will be like two, three weeks after the event. Where will you be living, how will you get around, what will the weather be like. And this is only the tip of a relocation iceberg. Lurking in the deep blue waters of life change are bigger questions and darker answers. Feelings and emotions, you had absolutely no idea you’d feel. So, as Eliza Stipend sipped her bitter coffee it should come as no surprise she burst into tears. The tears of -what the hell am I doing-gulped out of her. But for Eliza and so many who forge out into the unknown solo there was no one there to give her a hug.

Better post before I edit!

Positive Reflection

untitled-design-2The end of the year is often a time for self-reflection.

We can all be super critical of ourselves and while analysis of what we didn’t do can move us forward it can also pull us down. So in pursuit of optimism and to see 2016 out with a bang instead of a fizzle, I’ve pulled together some ways to reflect on the year with a softer, kinder lens. Take a moment to reflect on what you did do, not what you didn’t…

  • I bet you loved unconditionally.
  • I bet you learned things you didn’t know last year.
  • I bet you have supported someone other than yourself.
  • I bet you maintained, rekindled or developed a friendship which brings you joy.
  • I bet you have got through a personal challenge.
  • I bet you indulged yourself and didn’t feel guilty about it.
  • I bet you accomplished different things than you intended. 
  • I bet you got knocked down but you got up.
  • I bet you had a really good laugh.
  • I bet you did many acts of random kindness.
  • I bet you were braver than you thought you could be.

Imagine reflecting on your year as a friend would and I bet you’ve done a pretty awesome job…

Are you paying attention? Trying to develop that mindfulness habit…

 

Trying to start, let alone maintain, any new habit isn’t easy. Good habits are tough to develop and bad ones are even harder to break. So with that said I’ve recently begun a Mindfulness and Meditation course to quieten my mind and help me better manage my anxiety.

So what actually is mindfulness? Like many non-concrete things there are many definitions. And just like the practice you may stumble on the one which suits you best. According to Psychology Today, “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

People who successfully practice mindfulness my have started with courses, developed it from another spiritual practice, read and watched clips about it. But however they came across it they maintain the habit. Daily commitment is important and that is a lot harder than I thought. It sounds ridiculous but it’s been tough to find even ten minutes a day to sit and be still. And it’s been even harder to ask to be left alone for that time. While mindfulness techniques can be applied all through the day the focused meditation seems best done at a regular time. I tried in the mornings but my head was too full of my to do list. I tried at night but just fell asleep! So I’ve settled on late afternoon and now I really look forward to shutting myself away, being silent or using a guided meditation. And I honestly feel so much better for it.

I have a beautiful little book which I keep by my bed. I was given it when I was lucky enough to hear the Dalai Lama speak. It’s rich in wisdom about life, happiness and the benefits of a mindful spiritual practice. “The greater the level of calmness of our mind, the greater our peace of mind, the greater our ability to enjoy a happy and joyful life.” The Dalai Lama’s words are something to aspire to and the beauty of the practice seems to be there is no external judgement. No one is involved but you. There is no right or wrong, now or never, in how you develop your own personal habit. Just the fact you begin to practice is a start.

I’ve attached a few links in case you fancy more information…

http://mindfulnessworksaustralia.com.au/     http://mindfulnesscentre.com/

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Celebrate the people you love because who knows when things might change?

We can’t help ourselves pushing forward with our own wants and desires but we have to make time for love. Love for partners, family, and friends. Whoever makes your heart crack when you think about missing them.

Without giving our love we are just bystanders in life, not really committing, and if you’re not present then you do miss out. So if you’ve been forgetting to tell the people you care about how much and why you love them, do it today. Every day is an opportunity to acknowledge and be grateful for all the love in our lives.

Feeling Overwhelmed

IMG_0968 (2)It was funny, I hadn’t realised I wasn’t coping until I went to my weekly yoga class and just burst into tears. Nothing awful had happened, nothing tragic or life threatening had occurred only that my mind and body were allowed to stop. All the pent up frustration and stress I’d been hanging onto just flooded out. I was embarrassed and almost ran out but I was glad I stayed. My yoga teacher had seen my distress and as we were lying in relaxation she came over and wordlessly placed her hands on me, relaxing and easing the tension in my head, neck and spirit. It was such a simple yet powerful gesture that acknowledged it’s actually okay not to have it all together and that we are part of something bigger.

I was so grateful for her touch which allowed me to put the brakes on but it did get me wondering how I’d got myself into such a state in the first place. If I can put it in one word I was overwhelmed, like a king tide all the individual stressors had surged together and swamped me.

The family or community we live in is part of our identity but can also be a source of stress. If bad feelings and unresolved emotions go unchecked they can balloon into something too big for us to handle. So if you feel yourself coiled like a spring its time to stop and take a step back because a massive meltdown is not good for home or relationship harmony. Try and deal with one thing at a time. I’m not even looking at the big picture.

No matter what work you do if you don’t apply boundaries bit by bit it will take more of you. If you’re fine with that no matter but if you find yourself thinking about work, playing the what if scenarios, worrying, then like me you may need to clarify your role and expectations. After all work is only a part of us and we don’t want it consuming our down time.

But sometimes it isn’t family or work which overwhelms us it is our own selves. Our own dreams and desires are not being met, our expectations of ourselves are not being realised. I like this quote from Antonio Banderas, “Expectation is the mother of all frustration.” By pulling back on unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others we can actually say no; at work, at home and to our inner voice and so ease our tension.

I’ve realised I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed. It is something we all experience at different times and in different places. So if you know somebody teetering on the edge perhaps we could all be like my yoga teacher; acknowledge their discomfort, be kind and give them the chance to stop.