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Posts Tagged ‘life’

CBR003054Have you ever asked yourself  ‘What do I really want?’ and come up blank – because it’s been way too long since you had time to think about it. I have.

But yesterday I discovered that finding out what I don’t want can be quite illuminating.

Recently an opportunity presented itself – one I’d tell anybody else to jump at – but (after much soul searching) I didn’t grab it with both hands.

Yesterday, I said ‘no’ to it. And it wasn’t out of fear. I actually felt it would take my life in a direction I didn’t really want to go in right now.

When I thought I should go all Nike inspired and just do it, I felt a huge sense of loss – especially of the freedom I feel I’m getting now, to create the life I’ve imagined. Yes, the opportunity was indeed fabulous – but it just didn’t feel right for me.

What do I really want? Finding out what I don’t want just brought me a lot closer to knowing…

I’m talking in riddles, because it doesn’t really matter what the opportunity was. For me this time, it was a brilliant job in another state/city – but what mattered to me was that I no longer feel I have to jump at every opportunity, even if that’s what I’ve always done.

I’m beginning to understand what I value and I feel like I’m getting closer to my true self. And I know that, because when I said ‘no’ I suddenly felt free again. Free to reinvent myself in whatever way I choose to. I followed my heart – not my ego or the fear of missing out or the $$ signs.

And, I’ll admit it, the $$ signs were starting to dictate my life, thanks to the GFC. No wonder I was feeling off centre.

I’m usually an advocate for the ‘leap and the net will appear’ theory. But that’s about following your heart, your instincts. And it means you’re pretty convinced that leaping (into whatever it is) feels right for you.

I’ll never know for sure if I made the right choice, but I believe I did and that’s enough. So maybe, for me, it’s about passing up a great opportunity to make way for a better one that’s hot on its heels! (Bring it on!)

What do you really want? Find out what you don’t want, and what you do want will become clearer.

Lou

If you liked this, you might like these Art of Moi posts:

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A University of Vermont study has shown that Wednesday – not Monday – is the worst day of the week.

Personally, it’s my most favourite day…except possibly Friday. But in the spirit of furthering (or skewing) research, we’ll be doing a “Wednesday-it is” blog every second week.

For our inaugural Wednesday-itis rant (which is late, we know, but we were having such a great day we forgot to complain), we really really really hate:

a) Stupid drivers who slow down for the warning signs. People, when the sign says ‘hazard 2km ahead’ there’s really no need for you to slam on the brakes!

b) Online bookstores selling the same book under a different name. (Okay, so I’m feeling a little bit stupid not knowing that Karen Joy Fowler’s Wit’s End is the same as Karen Joy Fowler’s The Case of the Imaginary Detective – but there should be a disclaimer!)

c) Microwave popcorn.                               You need a reason? ‘Cause it’s disgusting. That’s all.

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My mother is old enough to have stopped counting. About four decades ago. We were talking today about something she’s never forgiven herself for.

It happened in the last five years and it’s something most of our generation would celebrate… not flog themselves over. Not my mum.

When I said she should forgive herself, coz it’s dragging her (way, way) down, she looked at me as if I was mad. I am, but that’s not my point. To her, forgiving herself was beyond imagining.

I get the sneaking suspicion we are all a bit like that. We’ll forgive most people for most things, but we are so damn tough on ourselves.

So, I now know where I get it from, what’s your excuse 😉

The next time you start to beat yourself up, stop and think:

  1. There’s not a single person on this planet who hasn’t made a mistake. I think even the Dalai Lama would agree with that. We are not perfect. We stuff up. We get it wrong.
  2. You can’t change the past, but you can step in the future – and work on not making the same mistake again (although you’re bound to make different ones!)
  3. If it involves someone you’ve hurt and they are suffering for it, acknowledge your mistake (without making disclaimers!) and ask for their forgiveness.
  4. Don’t spill your guts to an unknowing person just to make yourself feel better – which will effectively pass the pain on to them!
  5. Chances are, that thing you said or did is long forgotten. We tend to have a very powerful magnifying glass when it comes to ourselves…
  6. Admit (to yourself) you did the wrong thing – and make peace with yourself.
  7. And if you’re religious like my mum, make peace with your god
  8. Then…Stop flogging yourself. Take a deep breath. Be kind to yourself.

I don’t think it will work for my mother. Old habits die hard. But it might work for you if you start now.

Coz, wow, by the time you get to be carrying around seven-or-more decades worth of making mistakes and not forgiving yourself, you’re going to need an emotional wheelchair to get around. 

So let’s all be more forgiving. Of each other – and ourselves.

Lou x

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clover

...looking for luck

 

No matter how many disappointments I have in life, I’m still not that great at dealing with them. 

I go through my day afterwards, looking a bit vague as I have those ‘what if’ conversations in my head!

 

You know all about that head-chat, I’m sure! You go ’round and ’round, thinking about the things you could’ve done differently, the cool or smart things you could have said, the dumb things you actually did say…

Thank goodness for all those fabulous, uplifting quotes, truisms and other isms (optimism springs to mind). Most involve picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and moving on. Like these:

  • When one door closes, another door opens – or a window. Usually high up and small, and you’ve got to scramble through. But it’s there.
  • When opportunity knocks at the front door, don’t be out the back looking for four leaf clovers. Or sitting on bees. Which also like clover.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. Except if you’re a stalker. Then you should stop.
  • Failure is not in falling down, it’s in not getting up again. But if you’re 25 metres from the marathon’s finish line and you’ve collapsed with dehydration, don’t feel bad when they bring the stretcher. (PS. For me it would be 25 metres from the start line)
  • If you’re going through hell, keep going. Also when walking on hot coals.
  • Face the sun, so the shadows fall behind you. But don’t forget the sunscreen.
  • Experience is the toughest teacher because she gives the test first, and then the lesson. Is it playtime yet?
  • Only those who risk going too far can possibly know how far they can really go. This is really annoying when you miss the exit on the freeway and end up at Gympie.

I’ll leave you with these wise words from Yoda: “Do or do not there is no try.”

My case I rest.

🙂 Louise

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...hounded by the black dog [Photo: Ashleigh Ralph]“]
…hounded by the black dog [Photo: Ashleigh Ralph

There are times when you can take on the world. You’re bursting with energy and nothing seems too hard or too ambitious.

You know you can finish (or start) that best selling novel, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, pack up and move to France, finally shed those 5 kgs, or just get those pesky cupboards sorted…

Then there are those days when the black dog is sitting just watching you. Or the Planets are converging – on you, apparently.

You wonder how you’ll pay your mortgage this month or finally shed your credit card debt – or all those other bills that hang over your head like an axe. The work stuff you sailed through last week is an anchor pulling you down this week.

And you’re taking everything personally, because your sense of humour just evaporated. Cracking up laughing is out of the question when cracking a smile is impossible.

I used to believe those emotions were real, based on the stuff in my life that I couldn’t deal with (aka being a victim of my own life). But then I realised not much had changed since last week – or yesterday. What had changed was something in me.

Often it was associated with PMT (another black dog – this time, the Rottweiler with lipstick). Which  made me realise the thing that changes is the chemicals flowing through me – which dictate my highs and lows.

Chemicals help you go to sleep and wake up. They make you smile or cry about the same thing. They help you cope, or knock you flat. They keep your body functioning, actually.

My Buddhist friend tells me they see feelings as part of an impermanent or unstable inner landscape. I found this article on it today: The contemplation of feelings in Buddhism…

So these days when I feel the black dog breathing down my neck, I don’t immediately scour my life for all the reasons why I feel like crap. Instead, I take it as a sign… that I need to slow down and carve out a bit of me-time. Even when I’m too busy. Especially when I’m too busy.

I’m not talking about sitting on a cushion contemplating my breathing patterns, because I really suck at that (besides, it makes me hyperventilate and that’s probably counterproductive!). But I do soothing things, like making a nice brekky for myself, or a coffee, tea or vino (depending on the time, of course!). Or I just get outside.

It usually hits me in the morning, so sitting in the garden watching the day unfurl around me really works. I watch my curious cat chasing a bug I can’t even see. I hear the crows talking. I watch the bees sucking nectar from blossoms. I hear the tradesmen shouting at each other as they renovate the old Queenslander house next door. Okay, that’s not soothing.

Some days I’ll find something to read that makes me feel good – like an article on confidence or happiness, or a book I’ve been meaning to get to. Or I go all Zen and start thinking about all the stuff I’m grateful for. Often, I’ll do a ‘brain dump’ in my journal, and sometimes I even write blogs…

For the day to day highs and lows, it really works. Because I know this will pass. And soon I’ll be ready to take on the world again!

And let’s face it, if you haven’t got time to fall apart, then you can’t afford not to take the time to look after yourself.

cheers, Lou

If you liked this, read Bistaari Bistaari, Slowly Slowly

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Hi there! Every Friday we’re going to post our five favourite ideas for doing stuff – like getting started, keeping going, creating ideas, loving yourself, and more.

You’re always welcome to add your own favourite tips, or give us ideas for other ‘five for friday’ posts.

This week, we’re into getting started. Because, let’s face it, that’s half the battle.

We’re both as bad as each other. We take forever to get started on anything, but when we get going, we’re hard to stop. Make that impossible. We’re (over)doers, but sloooow starters.

Here’s our tips for getting started. You know you can!

  1. Fool the resistance. Tell yourself (or those voices in your head) that you’re only going to do one small thing, like write a sentence or two of your novel or sand one little bit of the wall you’re going to paint.
  2. Start easy. What’s the one thing you can do right now to make progress? It might be 10 crunches or a walk around the block to kick off your fitness regime (which is always on the to-do list, isn’t it?), or you might do some web surfing to research something in your novel…
  3. Give yourself permission to fail. Remember Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’ speech?  ‘…who at the worst, if [she] fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that [her] place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat’
  4. Shut down the critic (or if you’re a writer, the editor!). You don’t need to get it right, or have everything perfect, you just need to do it
  5. Think about how you’ll reward yourself… do you need to take ‘progress payments’? A reward for beginning. A reward for getting started. A reward for making it halfway. A celebration when you’ve finished!

Remember, the longest journey begins with the first step. So think about how great you’ll feel when you make it to your destination…  and get started.

Okay, we’re off to reward ourselves for finishing this blog!

Cheers.

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… or, my friend just ate my weekend.

I’m going to keep it short because, as I’ve just pointed out, there’s not much weekend left. What I’m wondering, is how do we go about managing our friends in a world where friendships have become so important but don’t always have the same resilience that being family (and therefore stuck with each other) can have.

And it’s not that I have a problem with my friend eating my weekend. It’s more about, what do you do when other people’s problems are beyond you? When you don’t know what advice to give, or sometimes even what to say?

I have a friend who takes on too many of her friends’ problems – she manages it by staying single and therefore able to give them her all. Not a great long term solution for her.

I have another friend who shuts herself off from other people on a day to day basis – she manages it by being absorbed by her own family. Not many of her friendships endure.

My own tactic? I hadn’t thought about until now. Until deciding that my life had to take priority, sometimes. Previously I’d manage it by taking it all on, and trying desperately (not always successfully) to keep too many balls in the air. Not something I can survive long term.

So what do you? What are you tactics? Suggestions?

Perhaps it’s time to apply a touch of that family-type honesty to our family of friends. If they can handle it, I guess you’re stuck together forever.

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Right now, I’m feeling totally strung out and overwhelmed. Deadlines whooshing past, contracts falling over, sick kids, renovations in progress (including moving office), bills making ugly piles around me.

I’m so crazy, I even sprayed Rescue Remedy on my cheeks instead of my tongue, because I was in too much of a hurry to aim straight. It’s okay though. I have really relaxed cheeks now.

So I decided to take five – but here I am, still multi-tasking (I should pay more attention to Dean Jackson’s 50-minute focus finder!). Why can’t I ever just stop multi-tasking? Why can’t I learn to sit? Hmmm, let me try that…

Uh oh. Just glanced at the sun sliding out of sight – which makes me think about washing on the line. Which reminds me I’ve got another load to hang out.  Perhaps I should have a windowless office?

I leap to my feet, then pause. Plant my butt back down. I’m taking five, remember? So far, I’ve made it to 1 minute 45 seconds – and I’ve already planned my next 15 moves.

Wait. My daughter races in, terrified by the huge lump in her throat. I investigate, only to discover it’s her voice box. Emergency Response Vehicle temporarily parked.

A reminder pops up. Meeting in town to get to. When did I decide I didn’t have enough to do and should agree to join the Board of my professional association.

I’m over the rushing and the madness, so I’m going to sort my life out. Again.

Either that or buy shares in herbal calming potions.

I’ll keep you posted.

cheers and beers

Louise

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There’s a picture of your life… and you’re somewhere in it. Um… aren’t you?

When did your life become all about everyone else? When did you start forgetting about what you need, what you like, how you want to spend your time? When did you slip out of the frame?

It sounds selfish and slightly narcissistic to even consider making it ‘all about me’. After all, our earliest lessons were about sharing and giving – giving in, giving out, giving up.

Then there’s school, where you spend all your time blending in – even when you go goth or punk you’re flat out blending in with a group. And if you’ve got talent or brains or personality, you’d better learn to keep a lid on it, or you’ll hear about it from your peers.

We learn those lessons well and we carry them into adulthood. No wonder we don’t feel quite right inside, we feel slightly off centre, we’re careful not to ‘rock the boat’. We’re afraid that if we let the real person come out, everything would change.

We’d no longer be able to ‘settle’ and we’re pretty fearful about how the people we care about would react to that – and to us. They might be nice to our face, but secretly wish our heads would explode. They might want us out of their lives.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love (1992)

Isn’t it time to take back your life? And we’re talking about doing it in a healthy way. We’re talking about the one life that is yours – no hereafter, no second chances, no dress rehearsals. This is it. So what are you waiting for?

It’s time to put yourself back in the picture…

Snap! 

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