Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The making of a miracle

Well here I am, 35 weeks pregnant and counting...counting down to the day we'll be holding our little one in our arms! 

Amazing really that we're in the home stretch now - excuse the pun, because stretching is what I'll be doing as this bub chubs up!

Anyway, as I alluded to in this blog, it took us some time to collect all the ingredients we needed to get this little bun in the oven.

Only a few months shy of 3 years in fact.

I thought about blogging about it so many times, as a release and to also let others in the same boat know they're not alone.

But then it was all a bit raw, confusing and so often painful. And I think I didn't want to tell the world to avoid those knowing looks accompanied by "oh you're 'trying'..." thoughts/words!

So going back the few years, our big decision came about like this...

I woke up at a friends house having had a really vivid dream where the punchline was that I was looking at things around the wrong way.

Cue the kerplunk...

Turn to Nathan excitedly and say, oh I get it - we can have kids, then go overseas again! 

But boy I never realised that this one decision would then unleash a whole host of changes and challenges.

Physically, mentally and emotionally.

Physically, it wasn't as simple for me as stopping taking the pill after more than 10 years and bingo I'm back in sync. (Which also had to do with the mentally & emotionally bit, but more on that later).

Stopping taking it was definitely a cracker decision in itself because it had positive effects on my body and mind.

But I didn't go back to a 'normal' cycle and then the year later when I came across Ayurveda and lost almost 15kg and shed a bunch of mental weight as well, that had repercussions and it turned into 3 month cycles rather than a bit over a month.

(And being a bit over a month wasn't actually that big a deal but I was still suffering from perfectionist tendencies at the time so I made it into one!)

I kept looking at myself thinking what's 'wrong' with me...and so I tried a few different approaches, a few vitamins and things to see if that would 'fix' it but then that lead to other issues. Mainly because they were intended to fix something that wasn't really there to begin with.

I went to see a Gyno and almost immediately was offered a drug that'd fling a bunch of eggs out to give us a better shot at getting pregnant.

But that didn't compute with me because it wasn't going to make my cycles more regular or bring my body into balance. Yes it might fix a symptom, but the cause would still remain. That and if it lead to me getting pregnant - would the issue still be there again once I'd had the bub?

Deep down I also knew that there wasn't anything wrong with me as such and I didn't need the drugs.

And that if I really believed in the mind-body connection and that everything happens at the right time that I'd been duping myself out of a chance to follow that through.

Fortunately for me, Nathan was on the exact same page so I had his full support.

So I stopped taking my plethora of vitamins, stopped seeking interpretations from different practitioners and decided I needed to do this myself. (And with Nathan by my side of course!)

From there, I did my best to simplify and kept trying to figure out what mental & emotional blocks were there that were manifesting physically.

Then last year I went almost 6 months without a period and that was the catalyst to leave full-time work and get my health back on track.

I'd been asked so many times whether I had stress in my life and while I didn't really think I did, for me a little bit can go a long way.

I realised that I just had too much going on and hadn't actually stopped for 6 months to recharge and renew...and my body was echoing that.

Amazingly the day after I resigned was the day my new cycle started, funny that!

The other aspect to the physical side in the last year or so was what came to be dubbed the uterus of fire!

Sorry if you get a bit icked by bodily things, but my last few periods were accompanied by astonishing cramps and pain, almost passing out and not being able to function until drugs kicked in. (And no, I didn't like having to resort to drugs but got over that too!)

Again, being such a strong believer in the mind-body connection, I think the pain was heavily linked to guilt and not wanting to have my period. Because having it meant I wasn't pregnant, which was bad because we really wanted to be! Hence the strain and pain. Meow, even thinking about it now brings it back and it really was awful!

Mentally. Ah mentally. Like I said, I didn't realise that the one decision would expand out so much.

I also didn't realise how many different beliefs I was carrying about getting pregnant and having kids!

But true to form, I had to peel the many layers back to get to the core, just like I'd done with other big things in my life.

At the start, Nathan & I didn't tell anyone that we'd decided kiddies would be cool, because we'd wanted it to be a 'surprise'. But then also because I think at the time I didn't want the pressure of others knowing and I'd wondered what others would think of me (yep that old chestnut was still around then too!).

Early on I also went through waves of being excited then flipping that on its head and thinking nooooo! If I get pregnant my life will end...aka work will stop, I won't be able to travel or do other things I'd planned, I'll be the one looking after the bub, etc etc.

Funny seeing as I'm looking forward to that all now!

At that time too I was still running a few anxiety habits - mainly that I wanted it to happen quickly so it all be over with and I wouldn't have to go through anything. That's a good one that one.

There was also letting go of the dream of going back overseas before kiddywinks, something I always thought I'd do and in part had let that define me. And so that created the lesson of 'no decision is absolute - you can always make a new one'!

Right throughout it too, we had the fun task of holding on to our belief that the Universe has got it all under control and we just have to keep the faith because everything happens at the right time.

But I tell you what, there was many a teary moment of 'I know it's going to happen at the right time, but I'd just like to know when that's going to be'!!!

And the blame and shame moments, they were fun too. It can be a difficult thing not to blame yourself when you find out that everything's fine & dandy with your partner from a physical perspective, so then clearly, it's all my fault.

But of course that's a crock, because there's sooooo many elements that need to be in place to get pregnant. When you think hard enough about it, it's phenomenal that so many little tackers are born because the timing does have to be perfect!

There was a bunch of other stuff too, but I'm blaming pregnant brain because nothing else is coming to me at the moment! (Oh and yes, pregnancy brain is real, even though I'd hoped it was a myth!!)

Emotionally, wowee what a rollercoaster!

Excitement, frustration, shame, happiness, sadness, wonderment, anguish, guilt, blame, embarrassment, anticipation, you name it, I had it all.

Even right to the end. The weekend before we found out was Easter and we were at a friend's place having a great weekend.

One of the conversations I had with the girls was about babies and where we were at. Finding out that another one of my friends had fallen pregnant in just 2 months seemed to tip the balance for me.

Which was interesting because right throughout the process I never got sad, angry or upset if someone else got pregnant - I was always super excited for them. Mainly because I think I knew that everyone has a different set of circumstances that lead them to getting pregnant so no point comparing.

But that night I ended up sobbing on Nathan's chest saying 'I don't understand what we're doing wrong and what I still need to learn. Why does this have to be so hard?' (Not for the first time!)

At this point in time I was a couple of weeks late, even by my irregular standards. But I'd thought that I'd managed to 'do it to myself again', and despite my best efforts, even though I'd stopped work some stress must be lingering still.

So I did end the sobfest with, yes it would be funny if I'm getting hung up about this and it turns out I am pregnant now.

Well as we found out that next Thursday - YES I AM, YIPPPPPEEEEEEEEE!!!

So there you go - all's well that ends well!!

Looking back on it all, it definitely did play out exactly like it was supposed to.

We've both said numerous times that thank goodness the Universe is much more clever than us because if we had fallen pregnant when we first decided we wanted to then yikes!

It would have been a very different pregnancy, and we definitely weren't in the position we are now physically, mentally, emotionally or even financially.

And I think the timing itself was geared around a few defining beliefs that Nathan & I had, including...

I wanted to be physically fit and as balanced as I could be before getting pregnant. Tick.

While we knew you can never be truly ready for kids from a money or a maturity perspective, we'd like to be in a decent position. Tick.

I called the last few years my research phase where I was finding out more about looking after babies and kiddywinks so we'd have some idea of what to do. Tick.

I used to be of the school of thought of dogs after kids, but then decided to swap sides. Tick.

And one that really stands out for me - I distinctly remember sitting at a naturopath appointment about midway through this journey. Through tears I said 'I don't want to pass on my anxieties to my child'...which meant I'd wanted to deal with all of that and not have it as part of my life when I got pregnant. Big tick!

So there you have it. I hope you made a cuppa before embarking on this thesis! And while for some this might just be a story, I'm sure it'll hit a bit closer to home for others.

If you are someone who's been keen to have kids and it hasn't happened as quickly as you thought, then I feel for you.

What I learnt is that it is a big burden to carry yourself and that while you don't need to scream it from the rooftops, you might be surprised by the overwhelming amount of love and support you get even by telling just one other person.

And that there's actually a lot of people who are just like you.

And that you're not weird or somehow defective.

Lots of love xoxoxox

PS If I'm the person you can tell about it, I'd be more than happy to listen, provide tissues and help any way that I can.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What would Louise do?

Last week I had a great coaching session with the lovely Kath Newland at New You Coaching.

I walked in there curious to see where it would take me, because I figured I'm pretty happy with my life at the moment!

Anyway, in chatting to Kath, I said that while yes I am happy with how life is progressing, I guess I am missing a piece of the puzzle...


I'm definitely enjoying the work I'm doing. I love that it's not full-time (ha ha!), its flexible and fits around my life and I can do it from my own home. I really like being able to help others by using my writing powers for good and I love the different people I'm meeting. Some of their products and skills are incredible and I'm stoked I now know about them!

And I'm feeling rather content with my personal life.

With the perfect bloke by my side for 10 years, an awesome bunch of family and friends, great health, a funny little pooch to hang out with each day and a little one to welcome into our family in less than 3 months time.


But what it's time for me to include again is more of what lights me up inside.

And part of that is getting a few different ideas underway and putting the wheels in motion to start a new business that's more geared around what inspires me...ooohhhh...but more on that later!!

When Kath asked what's holding me back, all I could really come up with was just starting!

So in amongst a bunch of great ideas and strategies, one question Kath asked me was who could I model my actions on?

Who could inspire me?

Instant though - Louise Hay!

She's built her empire in the mind-body/new age arena, but not solely for financial gain - because she's passionate about helping others.

So Kath then suggested if I'm thinking about something to do with my new business (or life in general I guess) I could ask myself...

What would Louise do?

I was able to apply it instantly and get results - it lifted me out of my own head and helped me see life from a different perspective.

And I realised that I've also got a bunch of great examples around me that I can use for 'What would...do?'

There's Tania at BizEez.

Tania's grown a part-time project into a thriving business doing what she loves..and it only keeps getting bigger for her!

There's my soul sister Kylie.

She hosts Wellbeing Workshops each Friday to introduce the 5 year olds at her school to meditation, yoga and affirmations - I love how open and confident she is about sharing her passions!

There's my Grandma and Nanna. 

Grandma kept it simple and said thank you many, many times a day for everything in her life...and my Nanna was an expert at making lemonade out of life's lemons and always figured that there was someone worse off than herself (keeps life in perspective!).

Not to mention my family.

My fabulous husband and the McEachen 5 all live by do what makes you happy.

And I know if I thought about it - there'd be excellent models scattered all throughout my life!

It's been a great week since meeting Kath, because it's gotten me recharged about following my passions and life purpose.

And most importantly, doing that by just starting to bring it back into my life a little bit at a time.

I'm going to print this photo of Louise & I out and stick it on my wall to remind me to ask myself when I need a bit of help to move forward...

What would Louise do?

So now the question is...to help you move forward with something in your life, or just to put a different slant on things...

Who can be your model?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Testing...testing...is this thing on?

Well hello there and yes it has been quite some time since you've seen this little blog in action!

7 months and change, and it feels nice to be back on the blogging bus. But boy does my life look a bit different to what it did back in February!

So without further adieu, here's a quick wrap up of my life at the moment...

I'm 27 weeks pregnant!

This is definitely the biggest and most obvious change to my life this year. And one I'm super excited about! Our little beebee is due 12/12/12 and yep, we're hoping its got a sense of occasion and comes out on that day - talk about a cracker birthdate!!

It was a good few years in the making (we definitely didn't fall into the category of Nathan only having to look at me and I'd be up the duff!) but that's a-whole-nother story I'll get to in the coming weeks.

Being pregnant has taught me plenty of things...but best of all, it's been a fabulous journey for me which I've absolutely loved, and I've felt fantastic the whole way along.

We have a pooch!

Not long after I wrote the last blog, we fell for a little Kelpie X with funny little ears at our local petshop...and decided to make Lola part of the McCliffy family.

Well that definitely had its lowpoints at the start, but it rocks now and we love our little pupster!

I now run my own successful business from the comfort of my own home

And how. Giving up full-time work and becoming my own boss was definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.

I get to use my writing powers for good for a variety of people, do it when I want to and add to our bank account - noice!

Ah, but I know what you're thinking...that's all great Jess, but what have you learnt this year? Plenty!


This has been one of the key parts of my year this year - simplifying my life. As you know, I used to have lots of ideas and plans flying about, and liked to fill my time with a myriad of stuff.

Well this year, I've been doing the opposite! Deciding to leave full-time work was the first part, and it was all about getting my life and health in better balance.

And just quietly - once I became pregnant, I didn't have a great deal of choice but to do less! I found out that there would be days that I'd just need to lie on the couch for 3 or 4 hours because I was pooped...because you know, my body was doing an absolute world of stuff!

That and my brain just didn't have the room. Getting my few bits of work done each week, looking after the pup, making time to rest and watching the changes to my body was well and truly enough.

What I also found interesting, was that once I found out about becoming a mum, a lot of the other things I'd be rushing to do or cram into my life just kind of dropped away.

I became really quite content knowing that this year was about our little family growing and that the other things that I'd like to do (be it study, travel, start new enterprises) - well they'll all happen at some point, but I don't need to think about it for now.

Not that it happened instantly - I do distinctly remember a conversation with Kylie where I was saying about feeling like maybe I need to be doing more (be it study, starting up ideas I'd had, etc) and she said the best thing...

Jess, growing a baby is enough for this year!!!

But I think this has now given me a reference point...knowing our little one comes into the world late this year then sort of plots out the timing for a few other things. And it'll all unfold when its supposed to.

Trust...everything happens at the right time

Boy oh boy, was this one that got tested the past few years. Exhibit a) was wondering when on earth it was finally going to be the right time for us to become parents!

This year, I've become a lot more relaxed about timing in general, holding onto my belief that everything happens exactly when its supposed to, and that the Universe always, always brings us what's best for us.

It's affected the little things, eg not stressing if I'm going to be a little late for an appointment - I'll get there at the perfect time. And who knows why I need to be there then?!

Also knowing that we'll keep getting the clues we need to move forward with what we're doing.

Oh and another big thing was trusting I'd made the right decision to leave work...and then, that work will keep flowing in.

And it was, and it has!

The other big part of trust this year has been trusting myself and my intuition. Bodywise, this has meant going with what I feel like eating and doing, knowing that body and beebee know what they need. Took some getting used to, but hey - why fight it if you want to eat chocolate!!!!

Also I've become soooo much better at trusting the little intuitive nudges and ideas I get - and I've been doing pretty well to act on them, even if I don't know where it's all leading to!

Live in the now

This is definitely the best thing that Lola has taught me this year - yep I've now got a pup as a teacher too!

Anyone with a dog (or any animal really) will know that they only live in the now, they don't know any other way.

So Lola coming onto the scene was perfect for me, because she reminded me so many times to just focus on whats happening in this instant.

That and we've had lots of fun this year, playing in the now!!

It's all about balance

Again, the whole reason I made the decision to leave my job last year was to find more balance in my life and as it turns out, I've managed to achieve that!

I went to an Ayurveda appointment a month or so ago to check in and find out about the Ayurvedic approach to being pregos is...and the dude was most impressed that my doshas were all so in balance. Look at me go!

It's definitely what I credit for my current situation...for me, I think being able to bring my body and mind into a pretty good state before I became pregnant has lead to having an awesome time of it.

No morning sickness (which has made many friends want to kick me!) and none of the other side effects a lot of other people get...just feeling balanced and if anyone asks me how I'm feeling/going, I can honestly say 'I'm excellent'!!.

So getting back to balance, I'm doing pretty well with the work part and rest...although as I've found this last month, I do need to remember that while I'm in the glory stage of being preggas (aka 2nd trimester and start of 3rd) where you have the most energy - there's still a lot going on inside and I do need to make time to rest each day!

My focus at the moment is just weaving a bit more play back in, which I include as doing things that make me smile and light me up inside.

Just like this blog!

So yes, you will be seeing more of me on here which I'm quite excited about. I really haven't done much writing at all this year for myself personally - it's turned out to be a year of dealing with things as they occur by thinking or speaking about them.

But I still heart words in a big way, so I'm back baby!!!

PS I love this pic of Lola - I was playing around with my new fandangled Digital SLR and she walked right up to the lens...huh, what's all this about?!

Friday, February 10, 2012

What did you say?

The eagle eyes amongst you might have noticed that I started my last blog by saying that I'm finding insights, rather than the traditional Elmerism of hunting.

That's because I've been watching what I say and write of late so that it matches what I really mean, or more importantly what I'd like to project into my future.

Because as the legendary Louise Hay puts it...

Every thought you think and every word you say is an affirmation.

Some call it creating self-fulfilling prophecies...others say 'be careful what you wish for'...but all in all, I believe that the words you use shape your future experience.

Anyway, getting back to choosing your words wisely, here's two examples to get you thinking...

I can't wait!

I noticed a few weeks back how much I used to say 'I can't wait' a lot.

It was generally because I was excited about what was going to happen - but not that I literally couldn't wait for it happen.

When I thought about it, I realised that it implies wanting to jump ahead and not experience the moments that lead up to it.

It makes sense too, because I am working on releasing the need to be impatient!

As Louise puts it, impatience is just resistance. In many cases, it's resisting what you need to learn or experience along the way...or in my case, it was often not relaxing and having faith and just letting it all unfold as it needs to.

It used to manifest in a negative way back when I was having many an anxious moment - I would just want something to be over now so I didn't have to go through it.

But I think now, it had just become a habit.

Well not any more!

Since I noticed, I've worked on picking myself up anytime I go to say it and changing it.
Instead of I can't wait for... 
I now use I'm so looking forward to...

Semantics I know, but it does make a difference.

Saying 'I can't wait' brings in a sense of frustration and impatience...trying to pull it into your experience quicker.

Versus 'I'm looking forward to' which is about hope, excitement and being happy for it to happen when it does.

It almost makes me feel like I'm going to be unwrapping a present...ha ha ha I just realised that I would be - the present moment!


This one little word is an absolute cracker. The first time I was introduced to what should means was when I did an anxiety workshop many moons ago.

In essence, the moment you mention should it creates right or wrong

It can also establish a rule or a standard that you think you're supposed to live by...and if you don't, watch guilt come in!

Or if the should is pointed at another person, enter anger or annoyance for them not living up to your standards.

My solution: ditch it! 

Getting back to Louise Hay, she puts it briliantly in her book You can Heal Your Life, where she says that any time you feel a should coming on, replace it with I could or I could choose to...
I should do that today.
I could choose to do that today.
See how much lighter it feels!

What other body changes do you notice? Shoulders lift? Head lift? Anything else?

In a great article that my lovely friend Ellen sent me, when you use 'should' in relation to another person - whose rule are you using?

And are you trying to put responsibility onto that person when in fact it's not their rule or standard and the way the other person acts is out of your control.
He should have let me know about that.
I would have liked it if he let me know about that.
There's a bunch of other words that I could talk about here...

In my opinion, never and always get bandied about way too much without actually being true...'knowing my luck' is just a great way to keep bringing more of the same into your life...'things always happen in 3's' even though plenty happen in 1's, 7's, 300's...and I could go on!

But anyway, your homework for this week is to notice what you say and what you write.

Don't become obsessive about it, but just notice if you say something often and how it makes you feel.

Does it make you feel good? Do you actually want that to come true? If not, is there another way to say it?

Are there any sayings or common words that you use as a habit, but don't actually mean?

Kick them to the kerb and replace with something better!

Have fun!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Be very, very quiet...I'm finding insight!

When I left you last, I had just taken the huge leap and resigned from my job to focus on my studies and myself in 2012.

Well I'm pleased to say that I have done it and I'm loving it...without doubt it's the best decision I've ever made!

Not because I didn't like my job, but because now I have the luxury of TIME!!

My whole mindset has changed, because I'm no longer trying to cram my whole life and what I really want to do into the few hours after coming home at night or on a weekend.

I just feel so much more relaxed! It's amazing what's already come to fruition, now that I've got the space for it to happen. And now that I'm just following the bread crumb trail one step at a time.

Anyway, getting back to my original sentence (which I hope you read using your best Elmer Fudd voice) and why I'm finding insight.

I'm currently giving life time to unfold and show me exactly what I'll be doing this year. 

Because despite my original decision being based on a firm desire to go back to study and finish the course I started, that may not work out as first planned.

Exhibit a -  a week after I wrote the last blog, I found out that due to a technical issue they're no longer offering the course I had resigned to study in the form I started it in!!!

Cue the massive EEEEKKKKK moment...oh my goodness what have I done?!

Full scale panic set in and instead of just seeing this as a potential fork in the road that could lead to something even better, I went into crisis mode.

But I resigned to study THIS course...so what will I do now? People will think I'm completely stupid that I resigned without first enrolling. But then why would I have, because I didn't see this coming!!

I needed to have a reason as to why I was leaving my full-time job...and one that didn't sound as self indulgent as 'well I'm just going to see what comes up'!!

And look I'm really just starting to let go of 'having to study' because that's what I said I'd do

At the moment I'm realising that while yes initially that was the plan...and I've held fast to it over the past few months despite being less sure about it...it's ok to change plans!

It's ok to be taking on different work opportunities this year and doing a whole bunch of other stuff. Boy do I have a gazillion projects that I'm looking forward to getting off the ground this year.

I'm still going to be studying - just not in the formal setting where that's my only focus. There's so many courses I'd love to do this year, books I'd love to read, speakers I'd love to listen to...

And fortunately for me, I have an uber supportive husband who can see through my palaver, give it to me straight and support me in whatever will put a smile on my face. A recent conversation went a little bit like this...

Jess: I'm not sure about study now, I just don't know what I want to do.

Nathan: Stop worrying what others think. You don't need the piece of paper. Why don't you just take it one subject at a time - if you decide you like the sound of something, do it. 

Ah yes, he is great at cutting to the chase! 

And he was dead right. I do like the thought of having the piece of paper. 

Because then that says that I know what I'm talking about if I want to help someone else.

Why would someone want to listen to me if I don't have any credentials?

So there inlies the first part that I need to let go of. 

Because first of all, I'm not actually planning to go into private practice as a counsellor, and secondly - who says people won't want to listen to me...I might just have something interesting to say!

I think I get caught up in having to be an expert, or at least having someone else's teachings to back up what I'm saying.

Ha ha - perhaps this is the end belief of studying at Uni where you couldn't have your own opinion in an assignment...unless that is someone else had had that opinion first and you could reference it!

Anyway essentially I've worked out that I was identifying with the course, rather than the end result.

Which is that I want to help people heal...but by that I mean that I want to empower others to heal themselves. 

And what I really want to do - is help others connect to the ways that will help them do just that.

I don't want to profess to know everything - I actually really like just being a student of life and telling people about that.

The part of my own journey that I love is the brainstorming...why is this happening, what can I do to change it, what will help me do that??

And I just love learning!

Also, as I've said before - I'm happy to stand up on stage and say this is what I've done and it's worked for me...maybe it will work for you to? To help people realise that there's other people just like them who have had the same issues, they're not big fat weirdos and things can always get better!

The other part is - I really love introducing people to other people. 

The thought of putting on events that bring together a range of speakers, or having my own radio show where I can interview others is super exciting!

I love talking to others who are just as passionate as me about changing parts of yourself to let go of something, or make something better in your life.

And you know what I've worked out, perhaps this course isn't the best way for me to do what I really want to do, for now. (Ha ha, notice I said 'perhaps' and 'for now' - part of me still wants to cling to it as a life raft!)

Yes I've loved the subject matter, and perhaps I'll just keep chipping away at it. If it feels like the right thing to do.

But it's not a diploma I actually need to get started on my next job opportunities.

I've got everything I need already to start those off. (And you'll just have to stay tuned to see what they are!)

Part of me also wants to finish it, because aren't you always supposed to finish what you start?

Turns out I'm actually not great at that - and it's probably something you've picked up just from reading this blog or having any conversation with me.

I'm a tangent girl...and while I may hop from one thing to another, it all seems to come together in the end!

You want to know the funniest part about all of this - I actually started tapping this very blog out on my iPhone a week after I wrote the last one.

But I didn't want to share it until now because I think I was embarrassed.

Which shows I've forgotten the golden rule...there's always someone else who has gone through the same thing who can help. I don't have to do it all by myself!

And that I really do need to let go of needing others approval to make my own decisions right!

Anyway, as this photo clearly shows, I am absolutely free as a bird and I'm really looking forward to seeing where this year takes me...yippee!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What are your big rocks?

Have you heard the story about how to fit the big rocks & small rocks into a jar?

Essentially where unless you put the big rocks in first they won't fit?

Of late I've done a bit of thinking about what my big rocks are, and whether or not they're getting a look in.

And I've established that I'm letting a lot of the small rocks and sand take up my time (aka fill up my jar), so the big rocks are sitting on the side just waiting patiently.

I've gotten soooooo much better with this at work, where I plan my whole week out so I make sure I keep moving with tasks big and small.

Which means the big rocks aren't mounting up in the corner threatening to cause an avalanche!

But I haven't yet seemed to have mastered doing this in my life.

I'm not sure why really.

As I know I've blogged about before, I love being organised. I love having things to plan for and look forward to. I love having a list and ticking things off my list. I love having a variety of activities in my week. I love writing. I love studying. I love creating. And in general all work and no play makes Jess a dull girl!

But the more I think about it, in the past 6 months or so, I've become really reactive to life rather than creating it.

Which brings me back to the point of this story - figuring out what are my big rocks and whether they're in or out currently.

What I've realised is that work has become somewhat of a boulder...or maybe a slab of concrete!

I've allowed it to dominate my time and brain space, and so my study has gone on the back burner for a while...as in my course, my own soul-searching and reading in general.

So have all creative endeavours and hobbies in general. Not to mention writing my beloved blogs!

This is in keeping with what I was writing about above where if I don't plan my week in my life outside work, my big rocks just sit there with no movement.

As I'm sitting here typing this I feel a bit disappointed in myself...like I've wasted time.

But I guess there's no point on dwelling on what's happened this year. I've certainly learnt a lot from it and the whole way along I was doing the best I could with the knowledge & experience I had.

And it's not like I've been sitting idly twiddling my thumbs!

That in itself has been one of the reasons that I haven't progressed with study or had a variety of activities in my week...a big lack of thumb twiddling or down time in general.

It's been a full on year this year, and it's only recently that I sat back to say wow, I've had a lot on this year! (And a lot to be grateful for!)

Anyway as Louise Hay's thought for November 4th said:

All obstacles are stepping stones.

And ain't that the truth.

The realisation about work being an obstacle forced me to reassess my life and say what is it that I actually want? What are my big rocks that are sitting outside of my jar?

And it didn't take me long to work out.

I miss the world of holistic health. It's my passion. It forms a big part of my life purpose.

And I want to immerse myself in it. I want to live it. I want to study and learn more and get excited about it all.

I want to have conversations with others who are just as passionate about it. I want to meet teachers who can impart their own experience and wisdom onto me.

And did I mention that I want to learn more?!

I want to move towards my dreams of helping people heal and live happier lives...through writing books and blogs, holding seminars and workshops, collaborating with them on how to improve their own health and wellbeing, interviewing others about their ideas...and oh the list goes on.

The moment I think about all of this, I feel lighter and a smile starts to form - hence why I know it's the right step.

Of course, along with this kerplunk moment came the stark realisation that it means wholesale change.

But I had to do it.

So a couple of weeks ago I handed in my resignation, saying that I'm going back to study next year.

Was that scary? Yep and it still is!

Tonight I've been wrestling with a weight in my chest and a bunch of eeekkk...will this all work out? Where will I end up?

I think because people have been asking me what I'm doing and where it will take me and I tend to feel like I give a bit of an inadequate explanation of it all.

But then if I take a breath and stop trying to justify it, I feel completely calm and just know that despite not entirely knowing what all the steps are, it's all going to work out just fine.

So I think I'll focus more on that part, and less on the worry part!

Because just like I wrote in one of my last blogs, it's just a signal that I'm busting through my comfort zone, so that's a good thing!

I'm also super fortunate to be surrounded by such a huge amount of love and support, as well as people who will challenge me if I look like I'll attempt to slip back onto easy street...ie not change!

All in all I'm really looking forward to being a student next year and working part-time.

Which by the way is one of the unknowns...I've handed in notice to my current job on a leap of faith that the perfect job will present itself at the right time.

Looking back, I've always found it easy to get work and I don't expect it to be any different this time around.

And who knows what other doors will open once I've got the space in my life for them to do so!

Of course, if you've got any suggestions or contacts for part-time jobs in the Gawler area or what I can do from home from February onwards - let me know!

Anyway, back to the point of this...

What are your big rocks?

Are they in your jar or on the outer?

Are there any changes you want to make so that they can fit in?

There's no right or wrong answer to this, but it might be interesting for you to ponder...and you might be surprised by what comes out.

I was going to put a picture of a jar of rocks, but then I thought I'd use a photo of a South Australian big rock...aka one of the ones at Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island that Nathan and I visited in July 09.

Which I've realised is fairly poignant, because another big rock I want to make sure I slot in is travel!

But that's another story!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Look out comfort zone, I'm coming through!

As most of you know, in the past few months I've had the opportunity to unleash my inner Princess!

And I thought that was the perfect segway into talking about getting out of my comfort zone.

Because despite the fact that I'm a fairly confident person - I still have plenty of moments where I go eeekkk...do I really want to get myself into this? Maybe it's safer just to stay here!

Generally my hesitation revolves around lovely little doubts like...
  • Will I be able to fit this in?
  • It'll take too long!
  • Will I be able to commit to this fully?
  • Do I really want/need to do this?
  • I'm happy staying here!
  • Can I be bothered?!
Sometime I notice and think - aha! The perfect reason to do this is to get out of my comfort zone and prove that I can do it.

After all, how can I grow if I stay the same and not try new things?

But then there's plenty of other times I haven't noticed that I'm putting things off because of little fears and doubts...sneaky, very sneaky!

Anyway, back to letting my inner Princess out because it's such a great example of how I've had to go charging through my comfort zone several times these past few months and have definitely grown as a person because of it.

Not the least of which was just putting my hand up to do it!

But first of all, for those reading this that aren't Adelaideans, I really should explain what I'm talking about!

I work for Police Credit Union who are a proud sponsor of the Credit Union Christmas Pageant...a huge, iconic event on the Adelaide calendar that heralds the start of Christmas here in SA, and is such an amazing event to be part of!

Anyway, one of the traditions is to have Princesses from the different sponsoring credit unions (and now Princes!) and you go through an interview process to potentially become Queen.

In the past, I'd always been on the interview panel at work to pick our royalty, but with my change in roles this year I was free to put my hand up...although it took some serious thought on my part as to whether I wanted to do that!

Do I really want to? Will I have enough time? Am I someone who wears a puffy pink frock?! What will people think of me?

In the end I thought you know what, if I'm picked as Princess it'll definitely put me out of my comfort zone.

Yes I'm good with the public speaking and have plenty of community spirit...but acting like a Princess and hanging out with a whole bunch of kids will be new things for me!

At any rate, I'm so glad I nominated because it's been great fun - even if I have had to take a few big leaps since.

The comfort zone was flashing red (or should that be pink!) the day I had to do media training - the crux of which is being put on the spot and having to answer mock questions from a journalist.

Yes I know I can talk and talk and talk, and I'm even one of those weirdos who enjoys public speaking. But I much prefer knowing the questions in advance and rehearsing!!

Anyway, deep breaths, smiling, adrenaline, quick thinking and marketing speak pulled me through there and it wasn't so hard after all.

The next encounter with the old c-zone happened when the PR company called to say did I want to be on TV for a short news story?!

Of course I was a bit nervous, but I jumped at it thinking it'd be something completely different to anything I'd done before. And I'm really glad I did!

I even got told I was a media natural by several people so I was chuffed! See what you think - can you tell I'd had to crash through the zone...

A big part of our royal duties is going out to schools and hospitals to visit kids and sprinkle a little bit of Pageant magic into their lives. Yet again it's been an opportunity to jump over a comfort zone hurdle (particularly learning the lines for our little play!).

But again it's been so much fun!

I think the fortunate thing for me is that I am able to push through fear and use my nervous energy to my advantage.

And it's also fortunate that I only tend to blush slightly now so apparently it's not so obvious that my heart is beating at a rapid rate of knots!!

Another thing that spurs me on is a very clear memory I have from when I was 4.

I was asked if I wanted to do a little spin on the catwalk for a local fashion parade and my first reaction was one of terror! No I don't think I can do that...how will I look? What will people think of me? (Oh yes, I had anxiety issues way back then!)

I quickly said no thanks, but then as I watched the little girls moseying up the catwalk later, I realised I could have done it easily.

It's provides such a good reminder to me that I don't want to regret not trying something because of a few butterflies (whether they're small or large!).

And I'm sure you'll agree with me that it's never as hard as what you thought it would be anyway!

Lastly, another reason I like getting out of my comfort zone - either by doing new things, or going first at something - is that I like to inspire others to do the same.

After all, if I can do it - you can too!

I think it's part of the reason I was put here, even if it sounds trivial.

Despite what my head sometimes tells me, I really don't mind being up on display (exhibit a is this blog!), particularly if it'll help someone else realise what they are capable of.

Oh and the other check I now do when I'm kicking off 'Operation: Bust through CZ' is to check am I actually nervous or excited??

My fabulous friend Kylie introduced me to this little trick and apologies if I've written about this before.

On the surface, fear and excitement can present as really similar physical sensations...ooohhh, that's  right you say!

So if you go into your physical feeling a bit, or stand back from it for a second, you might just find that you're not actually experiencing anxiety - you're just excited with the anticipation of it all!

Anyway, the next time you're faced with an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, just think of me in my pink Princess frock and...


Speaking of comfort zones...the day I had to get frocked up, pick from a bunch of props and ham it up for our glam royal shoot definitely propelled me out of mine. It was like free choice writing at school...aaahhh, don't tell me I can do anything, give me a structure to be creative within! Anyway, after a deep breath and thinking 'I can do this!', voila the butterfly Princess was born!!

A big thanks to the very talented Liam West who took this pic, the man's got skills with a camera.

© Lightly Salted/Liam West 2011