Monthly Archives: July 2010

For my friend

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When the night is dark and lonely,
And you’re feeling scared and cold,
Just picture me beside you
As someone you can hold.
The pain won’t last forever,
You know that this is true,
And you’ll emerge much stronger;
This you already knew.
Tough times don’t last forever,
And yet, tough people do.
You’ll find that feeling once again,
This I promise you.

-Melissa Wallace

Today I’m grateful for…

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It’s been a few days but I still have plenty of things to be grateful for…

  1. I am grateful for the chance to go out to dinner with a friend last week
  2. The new yummy tapas place in Yarraville I discovered!
  3. The fact that somehow, despite my parents being away, I’m managing to stay on top of my studies, the housework, and work!
  4. The very cool science mags my (past) obstetrician lent me (we’re friends) with loads of stuff about consciousness and the amazing human mind in it.
  5. The new motivation I’ve found to eat healthier.
  6. The fact that I’ve had a lot more patience with my boys lately; enough to actually be able to sit down and enjoy just spending time with them without thinking of the next thing I need to do.

Through Shane’s eyes

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Thanks to Talia (fellow weheartlife blogger) I was inspired to do this post…

Isn't he perrty?

1. What is something your wife always says to you?
Do you love me?

2. What makes your wife happy?
Chocolate

3. What makes your wife sad?
No chocolate

4. How does your wife make you laugh?
Being funny helps

5. What was your wife like as a child?
Cheeky

6. What is her favourite thing to do?
Eat chocolate

7. What does your wife do when you’re not around?
Write about me on her blog

8. If your wife becomes famous, what will it be for?
Writing

9. What is your wife really good at?
Writing

10. What is your wife not very good at?
House work

11. What does your wife do for her job?
Writing

12. What is your wife’s favourite food?
Thai

13. What makes you proud of your wife?
Writing

14. If your wife were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Tinkerbell, waving the little wands, with the crystals and the magicalness

15. What do you and your wife do together?
Spend time with our family

16. How are you and your wife the same?
Ummm…we’re not?

17. How are you and your wife different?
In every possible way

18. How do you know your wife loves you?
Because she’s still here

19. Where is your wife’s favourite place to go?
Outside this house

My oldest son starts school next year and I’m freaking out

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I’ve been pulling back a notch with my online presence because I’m tired of thinking about what to blog when I should be spending time with my kids. It’s only just hit me, holy hell, my eldest boy starts school next year! That means all that time home with me is practically over! For the rest of his life! This is IT!!

It really scared me when I came to that realisation, especially since for the last 2 years I’ve been saying that I can’t wait for him to go to school so I can get some sort of life back.

So instead of being online, tweeting, blogging and emailing, I’ve been colouring in, teaching small man how to read, kicking the footy, and drawing with him (I don’t do the cars and trains thing, I have a line and it gets drawn there). And I have to admit, it’s fun to be so “in the moment”.

At the end of the day it’s the things you do together that kids remember. We never had much when I was a kid (it was just my parents and me) but the fact that I didn’t have a video player when everyone else did wasn’t a big deal. We used to go for holidays (which I hated at the time), drives (which I also hated), and to the footy (which was kind of boring but fun to go out). When people say to me “I just want them to have the best things in life” I think “but all kids want is for their parents to be there, play with them, do things with them, make them feel important and loved, not stuff.”

Small man’s not going to remember that he had a wii and a play station and a big screen tv. He’s going to remember going for bike rides together and going down to the river to kick the footy. I don’t know why it took me so long to realise this, I guess I knew it all along really. It’s just a shame I only realised it in the last 6 months I have left at home with small man before he belongs somewhere else for 6 hours a day.

Today I’m grateful for…

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  1. A little belated, but I’m grateful for the yummy dinner my SIL and her man made us last week. It was nice to get out, nice to not have to think about dinner, and nice to hang out with them!
  2. The more relaxed pace my life has taken on lately
  3. Seeing my 96 year old nan today
  4. Having wee man back from his weekend away; I really miss him when he’s away!
  5. The extremely productive catch up my friends and I had yesterday arvo. We have big plans!
  6. Going to yoga tonight!! It has been far too long
  7. The nice, tidy, uncluttered house that is a result of my hard work yesterday (live life on the edge, man)
  8. My two beautiful boys, my hubby, my cool jobs and the fact that I do what I love as a job! It CAN happen!

My life lessons so far

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Hello lovely people. I discovered another blog yesterday, by a US girl in her late teens and I think it’s a riot. Very insightful and intelligent, her posts make me laugh every time, and if, for some reason, she’s decided to be serious for a post, these serious ones are eye opening. So, I’ve been inspired by this post of hers to write this post of mine, on the lessons in life I’ve learned so far, the ones that I will pass on to my children.

Lesson #1: Life doesn’t end at VCE
When I learned this: Age 21
How I learned this: At my school we were taught that if you don’t succeed in VCE you were pretty much screwed for life. Without good VCE results you wouldn’t get into university, and without university you wouldn’t get a good job. Because of this attitude and the fact that we were strongly encouraged to choose subjects that were “useful” rather than ones we enjoyed, I did not do well in VCE. I did not get accepted into any university courses. So I worked in hospitality (oh no!) full time for four years, then I went overseas for two years, then I came back and applied for university as a mature age student and was accepted. They didn’t give a crap about my VCE marks. They wanted life experience. Yet here these poor kids are, freaking out because they think it’s all about VCE. Shame.

Lesson #2: No matter how much of a lost cause you may think someone is, there’s always a possibility of change
When I learned this: aged 21
How I learned this: along the lines of the above story, my parents thought I was a lost cause in more ways than just educational. I’m pretty sure that most of the people I knew thought that. I, however, knew otherwise. And only I knew how I felt inside, which rings true for everyone. The only person who knows what’s going on on the inside is that person.

Lesson #3: You just can’t tell some people what to do, they have to learn it for themselves
When I learned this: Age 21
How I learned this: Through all the crap I went through in high school and my first few years out my parents were constantly telling me what I should be doing, who I shouldn’t be hanging out with, who I shouldn’t have as a boyfriend and who I should. But I was never one to be told, having to learn things for myself. This is relevant in any part of my life; at work I have to be allowed to do something myself when learning, rather than have someone do it for me and the same applies for studying or basically learning any new thing.

Lesson #4: Never rely on anyone but yourself
When I learned this: throughout my life
How I learned this: This hasn’t been a lesson learned through people letting me down, this has been a lesson learned through the need for independence. At the end of the day there is only one person in control of your life. Only one person makes these decisions, and only one person is left at the end of the day to pick up the pieces. The sooner you realise this the sooner you can take responsibility for your own life.

Lesson #5: Happiness is more important than money
When I learned this: Aged 27
How I learned this: I figured out that I needed to be doing what I was passionate about when I was doing what I thought was my ideal job and I was still unhappy. Once I figured out what truly made
happy there was no problem dropping the other job, and very soon I was far happier, albeit poorer, than I had been.

So they are my life lessons. I’m sure I’ve missed some important ones and I will continue to add to this as I remember. What have been your life lessons?

Hooray for the psycho, crazy bus driver

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One crazy bus driver

So. The trains weren’t running (again) on some lines in Melbourne today. I took small man (4yo) to the Planetarium with the promise that we would catch the train home (yay! for us!), so he was excited about that. Only, it turns out that the train dudes are doing track works, so there were buses only from Spotswood to Werribee. Yay. Again.

Now I don’t mind buses really, but this bus driver was a NIGHTMARE! You know those people that drive with their foot on the break? As in, once they get a little bit of speed up they hit the breaks a bit to stop themselves from going over that speed? Well he was the opposite. He would hit the accelerator a bit, until we were going a speed in which he felt comfortable doing (about 20km below the speed limit), then take his foot off the accelerator. Once we dropped about 5 km below what we were doing he’d hit the accelerator again. Hello? Do people not know there’s a happy medium?

So, not only was he tap tap tapping the accelerator, he was apparently unaware that you can also ease your foot onto the breaks, rather than pushing them down quickly. Hence, several times I had to grab small man to keep him from lurching out of his seat and smashing his teeth on the bar in front of him.

Mr bus driver man also decided that it was appropriate to hit the accelerator while we were going around (or should I say over around) the tiny roundabouts in the narrow streets. I was so petrified that the bus was going to tip each time we went over that I held onto the seat for dear life with one hand, while wrapping my arm around small man with the other.

Then there was his choice of music and radio station. Or rather, lack thereof. It seems as though he couldn’t make up his mind between 3AW and static, so he’d decided to pick a nice half way point and listen to both. He also seemed to enjoy it so much that he just had to play it loud enough so the people on the bus couldn’t hold a conversation with the person next to them without yelling over the noise. And then when we stopped near train stations with all those lovely power lines over head the noise was just divine.

It turns out it wasn’t just his driving skills that were lacking, but also his people skills. One poor guy was trying to find out if the bus was stopping at Aircraft and the bus driver yells at him. “Don’t talk to me while I’m driving! I need to concentrate!” he yells (understandably, considering how loud the static/music is) while driving 20km below the speed limit. When the guy tried to ask him again he was shushed angrily and waved away. I desperately wanted to tell the driver that maybe turning the radio down a notch or 40 might reduce his stress a little, but it wasn’t worth the risk.

We finally made it to Werribee, teeth intact, hearing a little worse for wear, and I wondered to myself how a person so lacking in people skills, driving skills and hearing could have possibly landed a job as a bus driver. Sita Coaches, you have some explaining to do!!

Hooray for the bus driver, the bus driver, the bus driver
Hooray for the bus driver, bus driver man.
He’s crazy, he’s cruel, he drives like a bloody fool,
Hooray for the bus driver, bus driver man!

Today I’m grateful for…

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  1. Hubby’s gone to play with cars (again) and this time he took 18mo and left 4yo with me, so I took 4yo to the Planetarium and Scienceworks today, which was really nice to spend quality time with him, so for that, I am grateful.
  2. My friend Cassie giving me my first ever acupuncture session!
  3. The chance to take some cool photos today with my new 35mm f1.8 lens.
  4. The peace and quiet now that gives me a chance to get some study in
  5. The chance to go ghost hunting again last night in Williamstown, and learning about the extremely colourful and interesting history many of the old buildings have.
  6. The fact that it was an incredibly still, mild night last night, so not cold walking around Willy
  7. The fact that I’m lucky enough to have a 4yo son that is so good I can take him to an acupuncture session (i needed it desperately and had no other choice) and know he’ll behave himself for a whole hour!!
  8. The fact that tonight I can sneak 4yo into bed with me and cuddle up with him, something I haven’t been able to do in ages and I miss very much!
  9. My life that is perfectly balanced with things I’m passionate about, a bit of work, and much time to do what I choose
  10. My slowly returning motivation

How to de-clutter your life to get what you want

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This is a long post as it is a step-by-step guide on how to de-clutter your life to discover what you are passionate about and what direction you should be taking. If you want to pass on the fluff just skip to half way down the post where the list starts.

I learned the hard way that if you’re not doing what you’re passionate about and what truly makes happy then eventually you will begin to question your path in life.

I’m sure this isn’t relevant for everyone, but let’s face it, we’re so busy focused on what our ego wants- money, materialistic things, holidays, houses- that we never give thought to what our true selves want. We are motivated by money when we should be motivated by passion, joy and happiness. If we remove the money factor and concentrate on the latter then over time (as I will prove to you later in this post) the money will follow anyway. It is amAZING the things that happen once money isn’t your motivating factor.

If, eventually, you do find yourself in that depression where you don’t know who you are and what you want in life, I can try to help by sharing with you what I did when I reached that stage one year ago. It’s a step by step, very easy process, but you have to be brutal and honest otherwise you’re wasting your time.

So, to try and get to that point where you have a clear idea of who you are and what direction you truly want to take, you need to de-clutter your life and your thoughts. You need to get past all that crap you think you want, to unearth your true desires. I did this process over a period of a few weeks and I cannot tell you how much it helped me.

How to de-clutter
PART 1- De-clutter your life

  1. Get yourself a brand new diary, journal or notebook. This is the first day of the rest of your life and it will help immensely if you have somewhere to write down this sudden flashes of insight which you will get once you start de-cluttering.
  2. Go for regular walks or find a space to sit and spend some time alone. I’m lucky to be living near a river so I went down there most days for a couple of weeks. Try not to think about anything, just watch what’s going on around you. Don’t allow your mind to rest on any thought for too long, just notice it and let it go. If you find you simply can’t stop thinking about things, then make the subject of your thoughts this step-by-step guide. Don’t think about work, what you think you want, the house, the chores, money, children, anything. Observe the types of thoughts that pop into your mind. Yes, this is a form of meditation, and it’s vital for clarity.
  3. Make a list of all the things you are currently doing in your life, and next to each thing write the reason you are doing them. My list went something like this (motivating factors in brackets):
    – Studying (MA Writing & Lit)- because I love reading and writing and learning new things (passion).
    – Doing PR for the Williamstown Lit Fest- because I need money (money) but also because I like the Lit Fest as it gives me a chance to network in the industry of writing and publishing (money & passion).
    – Real Magazine- I love writing and combining this love with being able to help teenagers (passion) and because I thought it would look good on my CV (money).
    – Travelling in Aust Magazine- because I love travel, writing and mags and this is the perfect opp to get published as a travel writer (passion- at the time I was not getting paid for it)
    – Helping other people with PR stuff- to earn extra cash and to network and meet people that could help me in the future (money)
  4. Next, write a list of the things you are doing that you don’t really want to be doing. For me, it basically meant removing the ones that had only money as a motivation. Just, for a moment, forget about money, and concentrate on which ones are making you happy. I know this is hard to do if you have a mortgage and bills to pay and mouths to feed. But think about it. If you’re happy doing what your doing then money isn’t a factor.
  5. This is the hard part. The things you’re doing that you don’t want to be, get rid of them. Be brutal. Now, if your job is included on this list then you can hold off on that one for a while, but everything else must go. If you can’t do this then you’re not ready for the next steps yet, so come back when you are. When I did this part it meant letting down some people. But by then I’d decided that my happiness and sanity was far more important, and that these people would get over it. If they held it against me then they weren’t the kind of people I wanted in my life. If they’re worth having in your life then they will be supportive and encouraging. And let me tell you; the relief of letting those things go that I didn’t want to be doing far outweighed the guilt I felt for letting people down.
  6. The next step is to write down the things that you want to be doing that you’re not. This can be anything from your ideal jobs to your relationships to hobbies. All the things you want in your life that you don’t have, put them down. In this list you can include money, because we know that money is necessary for survival. But the thing is, you can make money from doing what you love, so this is where you need to differentiate. My list looked something like this:
    – Part time job as an Editorial Assistant
    – Make a veggie garden
    – Yoga and meditation
    – Getting paid to write
    – Playing with my sons without being impatient and mean

    PART 2- De-clutter your emotions

  7. Write a list of every single thing that you worry about. Be thorough. Every. single. thing. A few on my list were:
    – That I will never figure out what it is that I truly desire
    – That I will always live in this suburb
    – That I will never be able to learn all the things that I want
    – That I will be a terrible mother and wife
    – That I will never have enough money to do all the things that I want to do in life- travel, study, etc etc
  8. Burn that list, and with it allow your worries and fears to be burned away with it. This is a little abstract, but try and let go of all these worries and have faith that the universe, or God, or your strengths will take care of those worries for you. Then, any time you find yourself worrying about any of these things, remind yourself that you burned them so they’ve been taken care of.
    Now let me share my experience of this step. My list was long, consisting of 19 worries. I did this step, and burned the list and every time I found myself worrying about any of them I reminded myself that the Universe would take care of them. A week later (it happened very quickly, and I know it was a week later because I’d been diarising all of this) I realised something. I was no longer worried about any of the things on that list. Not one single thing. How? Because my entire perspective had shifted. I’d had a paradigm shift, where things that I thought were important were no longer so. This shift in perspective had allowed me to let go of all my previous worries, because I’d realised that the things that were most important to me were already right there in front of me. That moment of realisation that I was no longer worried about those things was a true shivers-down-my-spine moment, and a testament of the effectiveness of this process.
  9. Diarise everything you do, how it makes you feel. Whenever you go to spend time on your own, take your diary. Thoughts will come through that you need to remember. Once I’d begun de-cluttering I got I guess you could call them messages, who knows where from, the universe, my guides, God, whatever, it’s all the same. By this time, too, I was volunteering at the Centre for Mind, Body and Spirit, to get a bit of peace and calm in my life. My counsellor had suggested I do some volunteer work to get out of the house (because part of my depression was that I felt like I didn’t have a life). But I didn’t want to go down the usual Red Cross, St Vinnies or whatever road because I felt that wasn’t true to who I was. So instead I thought I’d volunteer somewhere I actually resonated with.  Through this and my moments alone I began to get very clear ideas of what I needed to do. I will share some of these moments of clarity with you:
    – Stop lying to yourself: I’d been so focussed on finding that glamorous, well paid job with lots of interesting people, travel and money that I had lost what it was I really wanted. This is why sometimes your ego can be your worst enemy.
    – Defer my Masters for 6-12 months to focus on what I want: during this time I would do courses on meditation, practice yoga, learn about crystal healing and basically indulge my spiritual desires.
    – The reason I have changed my mind about what I want to do so many times (NFP PR, business management, corporate PR, journalist, writer, editor, photographer, consultancy) was because none of these jobs were considered important enough for me to hold on to. They were all missing an element, or I was missing an element. There was something I was overlooking.
  10. Find someone to inspire and motivate you, a role model, someone you aspire to be like. And find a quote or philosophy to live by. I have tonnes of people who motivate and inspire me, and my two quotes/philosophies are:
    “Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?”
    “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams; live the life you imagine!”
  11. If you just can’t see what you’re supposed to be doing, ask some very close friends what they see you doing. Often they have a very good idea of what would “suit” you without being distracted by ego. Example 1: Years ago, when I told a friend of mine that I was studying BA Public Relations, she replied “Really?? I pictured you doing something like philosophy or psychology.” Example 2: another friend has recently started studying Environmental Management. This suits her to a T, it’s exactly what I picture her doing, and she’s happier than I’ve ever known her to be in the 9 years we’ve been friends. You know when you look at someone you know really well and you can just picture them doing some jobs amazingly, and others just don’t suit? That’s what I’m talking about.

I recommend you do these steps over a period of a few weeks. You need to have spent some time alone before your thoughts will begin to clear. I shit you not, once you’ve cleared your mind of all that chatter then insights will begin to come through.

It’s now a measly 11 months later and oh.my.god so much has changed. I realised that all this time in my life I’d been denying a very important part of myself, the spiritual part that yearned to help people, to grow spiritually and to learn. I’d always been interested in this kind of thing but never thought I’d make a career out of it because, you know, it’s not…real or something.

But I started volunteering at the Centre, and all of a sudden my spirit was being fulfilled. I stopped thinking about money and all of a sudden this voluntary position opened up opportunities to make money through teaching meditation and doing Reiki and crystal therapy. I am now doing everything I want to be doing and the money just came along with it. Somehow it just all worked out. And it’s because I’ve found a balance between nurturing my spiritual side and the desire to help other people with my love of reading and writing and literature and photography and travel. I’ve found a way to balance all aspects of my personality.

The most important lessons I learned from this process was:

  1. Don’t let money be your motivating factor
  2. Don’t deny any part of your personality or desires
  3. Don’t think you have to sacrifice happiness for money or vice versa. You CAN have BOTH.
  4. DON’T LET ANYBODY DISCOURAGE YOU! EVER! People will try to tell you you can’t do that or that won’t make you money etc etc. Don’t let them talk you out of it. Just take pity on them that they don’t have the positive, hopeful outlook you do, that they’ll probably be cynical and pessimistic until they hit the bottom.

Now, I know everyone is different, and that this spiritual side does not apply to everyone. But you can still follow the steps keeping in mind what it is that you do that makes you happy. THink about the moments in your life you’ve been happiest. What were you doing? Who were you with? Ask yourself why you are doing things. Why, why, why. Be HONEST. Be BRUTAL. Surround yourself with people who ARE doing what they love, people who are positive and optimistic, people who love life and all it has to offer. The more you focus on these people, the more they will come into your life. The more of these people in your life, the faster your own perspective alters, and the faster your own perspective alters the more good things you will draw in. I PROMISE. It is much like The Secret says. Stop focusing on what you don’t have. Focus on what you want and feel gratitude as though you’ve already got it. Make a vision board by cutting out pictures of things you like and want and sticking them on paper to get a visual of the things you want in your life.

And remember,  you do NOT have to sacrifice happiness for money. You CAN have both. In fact, if you’re doing what makes you happy, money is just not important anymore, and somehow, when you’re doing what you love, the money just flows anyway. If you have a mortgage, work something out. Put it on hold for 12 months while you spend that time exploring different options. A mortgage is the biggest obstacle in allowing people to do what they want in their lives. If you’re bank allows you to put it on hold for 12 months (as I know some do) then take that option. Spend that time doing different courses, studying, whatever you need to discover what makes you happy. Take up that hobby you’ve never had time or money to do. Do whatever you have to.

I really hope that this advice find the people who need it, and I would love for you to share your own experiences, or down the track if you follow this advice please share how it went. If you have any questions on how to do something or what to do next please feel free to ask. Or, if you have any advice you’d like to share that worked for you, those The Secret moments that have come true, then share! The more stories we hear from people we actually know (as opposed to a friend of a friend) the more inspired we are and the more faith we have that it can happen to us!! But have faith that life is awesome and you don’t have to accept things the way they are. You can change them.

Much love!!!

xo