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

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The only way to change your life is to do it yourself!

I think I’ve forgotten this!

There’s a few things that I’ve been wanting to change about  my life, but have realised I’ve been waiting for it to magically land in my lap…or if I whinge enough then someone else will do it for me. Ha ha!

And whinging really isn’t my style. In fact it feels awful!
It's made me feel so unbalanced, and it just feels unnatural…not the happy, laid back being that I like to be!
I much prefer being positive, looking at what I want, putting it out there and following the bread crumb trail the Universe lays down for me…

Backed of course by writing often to celebrate my wins, delve further into my life and let go of any old patterns – staying in my head with my thoughts is a crowded place, the instant I put it on paper it’s amazing what comes to light!
And did I mention keeping my thoughts focused on the positive - it's amazing how much lighter I feel when I stick to this simple little trick!

But I’ve allowed myself to get dragged into the quagmire of stagnant thinking by my ego who’s role is to keep me from changing, improving and in general getting out of my comfort zone!
I don’t like this, I don’t like this…I wish this would change…why are they doing that…it’s not my fault (ha ha, my own personal favourite!)…

All in all I’ve been doing way too much in my head and not getting it out. The sneaky thing is I hadn’t realized how much was hiding until the last week or so when I started saying it out loud.
So what now?
#1 - Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change

This little saying has had such a profound effect on my life any time I’ve thought to apply it!
You know when you feel stuck about something and suddenly you see that little glimmer of light that there is another option…

How much better do you then feel when you realise you can change something about the situation!
The simplest flip is to look for the positive in something rather than the negative.

Quickest way to do that – in the midst of whatever’s happening, say ‘I’m grateful for…’

You can always find something to say thank you for even if not everything’s going ‘right’ for you.
It could be ‘I’m grateful that this is showing me exactly what I don't want'!! Or 'I'm grateful to be learning something new about myself...'

Another other good trick - taking a step back to say all in all my life is great, and there's definitely stacks of people who are worse off.

Not to mention lifting up from the problem to see how in the grand scheme of things, this is a very small part of my life!

Don't believe your ego when it tells you it's a life threatening issue...chances are it isn't!!

#2 - Be the change you want to see in the world

I’ve done a cracking job of acting like a victim of late. Blame’s a powerful tool of the ego, trying to convince you that it’s not your fault!
But who’s the person making each choice in your life…no-one else can think for you!

Yes they can give you plenty of input, giving you ammunition to say ‘well it’s not my fault…they convinced me…’
But at the end of the day – you are the only person who can think for you. You are the only person who can make each choice, take each step etc etc.

So time for this Princess to suck it up and start taking full responsibility again!
And that in itself is a great feeling.

Saying to myself ‘I take full responsibility for my life’ makes me lift straight away.

Taking responsibility for my own life has such an empowering effect. It brings me back into the realm of solutions, rather than focusing on the problem.

#3- Choose to choose your thoughts!

I’m a big fan of the law of attraction, it just makes sense to me.  In it’s simplest form, I see it as creating self-fulfilling prophecies.
Hence why I’m often heard to say ‘well if you think that’s going to happen, then it will’!

How I feel and what I say creates my life…and I haven’t been guarding my thoughts and statements enough lately.
I’ve been letting a bunch of sludge hang out in my head and come out of my mouth!

As the lovely Louise Hay says – every thought is an affirmation.

So by complaining, you’re affirming that you’d like more of that in your life.
Conversely, by choosing your thoughts and making them positive, the results are instant…more things to be positive about!

And so now I’m sure you can connect the dots… by focusing purely on what I don’t like – I’m creating more off that!
#4 - Stop trying to stop the flow, just sit back and enjoy the ride!

In the past month or so, I’ve just felt like I’m either swimming up stream, or just been trying to jam the oar in to stem the flow.
I’ve had the lovely combination of either trying to force things and being impatient…or sitting back and whinging about what isn’t changing.

So now I've decided to get out of my own way!

Stop taking life so seriously...relax...and whenever I feel like I'm forcing things, I'm going to put up the white flag and say universe, your move!!

Because after all, I know that everything is happening in the perfect order and it will all be revealed just at the right time!

So I thought I'd leave you with a photo of me sitting on the beach at Byron last week...a great example of where I had a few moments of aaaahhhhhh.....and boy was I grateful for it...

And PS - Kristin & Lisa, this one's for you! Thank you for reminding me of my now 5 week old promise to write more blogs again!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm back baby...bigger and better than ever!

I hadn't realised it had been so long since I posted my last blog, but it's nice to be tapping away at the keyboard again...and you'll definitely be hearing from me more often.

Boy have I had some great kerplunk moments these last couple of months.

There's been plenty of great lessons, plenty of unravelling and 'oooohhhh that makes so much sense now'!!! 

I've also had so much to smile about!

In general I feel like I'm at a much more contented place which is nice. 

It was funny because I hadn't realised quite how much had been simmering away under the surface until it all came spilling out in a few conversations.

Anyway, I'll stop speaking in riddles and get onto one of my kerplunks.

Lesson # 364 - Just because I have the time doesn't mean I have to fill it up!

In my last blog, I said about how I was going to work on identifying where I was overcommitting....say it out loud...and make a change.

And I'm proud to say I've achieved all of that. Not to say I'm perfect now, but my life is a lot different to the couple of months ago!

Anyway, getting back to lesson #364 and something I noticed fairly early in the unravelling...

Just when I started to create a bit of space for myself I seem to fill it back up again, and not with something for me.  

So why did I need to do this? Well I came up with a few ideas... 
  • Because I can 
  • I've got the time, so why not help someone else 
  • So others don't think I'm lazy! 
  • I enjoy helping 
All of which are quite valid reasons, but this knee-jerk reaction to fill up my time for someone else's benefit was keeping me away from doing things that I wanted to do for myself, or as Sonia Choquette puts it - doing what feeds my soul.

It was only a week or so before my last blog that I heard the Dalai Lama say...you need to look after yourself first. 

And that he makes sure he takes care of himself first so that he has the energy to help others. 

So if it's good enough for the Lama - it's good enough for me!! 

Another part of lesson #364 has been learning when to say 'I'd love to, but maybe later'.

This was given a huge helping hand when my fabulous soul sister Kylie set me a challenge:

To not take on any more new things this year.

Sounds simple doesn't it. And as soon as she said it I said 'you're on'!! 

I love it - it makes so much sense, yet it took Kylie saying it to realise that it's exactly what I needed.

The best part is - I've stuck by it.

What I've set about doing these past couple of months is just ticking off what's already on my plate rather than adding more.

It's all about clearing the decks!

And so far it's been working a treat - exhibit a) having time to sit down again to write my blog.

Another huge shift in my life has been changing my expectations.

What I realised was that I'd been putting sooooo much pressure on myself and spinning myself into a frenzy...an internal one of course! 

I'm a bit clever really because I hadn't even noticed myself, then it all came tumbling out at a great rate of knots! 

In my mind, everything had to be done now.

And of course, good luck with that! 

What it turned into was having a huge to do list every single day...not knowing what to start next...or just beating myself up for having not done things I said I would.


Now I'm making it my mission to be realistic about the time it takes for me to do things...and more importantly being open about that and telling the people involved. 

Because for a long time it's been the source of stress and why I end up overcommitting and underdelivering. 

What I figured out was that it's a bit hard to know what I can do in a day/week/month/year if I don't know how long it all takes me.

Oooohhhh - why didn't I think of that before!

This little insight has literally revolutionised my whole working life and home life!! 

The final thing I've cottoned on to of late - I only need to take the next step.

Not the next 7, just the next 1. 

It was another thing I hadn't realised I was doing, but when I took a step back I could see why I was getting a bit frazzled over things - I wasn't breaking it down enough and was trying to do it all at once.

Aren't I a good little Gen Y - I want it and I want it now!!

Anyway, the good thing is, I've worked out how it feels when I'm jumping ahead to the next step...or 50 in front! 

And the good news is I've been listening to those intuitive nudges and taking a deep breath!

Speaking of the next step - I've started running.

Yep me - a runner! 

I was asked if I wanted to do the City to Bay a couple of months ago and I said sure, why not! I've never ran in my life (darting about on a netball court doesn't count), so I wasn't really sure how I'd go.

But I've loved it!

In itself, it's a great lesson in just putting one foot in front of the other rather than thinking too far ahead.

And more importantly - that you never know what you can do until you try!

So I thought I'd leave you with the photo of me before my first run - which by the way was a whole 2km without stopping, look at me go!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I have overcommit-itis!

Overcommit-itis is also known as overpromising and underdelivering...trying to be superwoman and not achieving it...doing things by halves...spreading myself too thin...

And unfortunately, I've realised that I've been doing this in every aspect of my life.

So how did I realise this?

Well funnily enough, it was while I was at my yoga class tonight that I suddenly came to me.

In actual fact, it was one of the biggest kerplunks I've had for a while!

I love that about yoga - for me it's a case of the stillness speaks. (Aka my mind stops, so there's room for answers and guidance to come in!!)

That and I'm becoming more attuned to my body, so when I have some sort of pain or tension, I tap into it and unravel the sensation, emotion and then thoughts (and thank you Dr Susan Bernstein for teaching me this great trick!)

But more on that later.

As I was saying - I realised that I do currently suffer from overcommitting, in every sense of the word.

In no particular order, I overcommit my:
  • Time
  • Resources
  • Money
  • Time
  • Body
  • Mind
  • And did I mention time!
So how have I realised this?

Well in the last week and today in particular, I've had a few really healthy reality checks about how I am overcommitting.
  • I've realised with a shock that my budget hasn't been complete or accurate enough to achieve everything we want to do - hello overcommitting and spreading ourselves too thin!
  • I've realised that another symptom has been getting to work late...which has all stemmed from overcommitting my time in the morning to try and fit in yoga, making lunch, getting ready...and all when I'm struggling to get out of bed by 6.10 to leave at 7...yep, you do the maths!
  • I've realised that at work I'm not setting realistic enough expectations for how much I can do in a day or week, so deadlines go by.
  • I've realised that while my heart's in the right place, I've overcommitted the amount of time and resources I can allot to helping out in my community service roles.
  • And you know what, I think more the I think about this, the more I'm going to go...oooohhh, there's another way I overcommit!
I don't do any of this with an intention to mislead, or with any kind of malice, in fact whenever I commit to something, I really think I can achieve it.

What I'm learning though is - I'm great at coming up with ideas, great at making plans (and making them look pretty!), but my problem is that in general I either don't make the deadlines realistic enough, or I just put too much on my plate at once because I...yep you guessed it, overestimate my abilities to achieve it all!

And while I like to think of myself as someone who doesn't do things by halves, I've been giving myself no other option than to do just that.

Perhaps it is just what I was writing the last blog about - needing to learn how to say no to things? 

Meanwhile, apologies if this sounds like cryptic, but it makes sense to me!

The best part of this realisation is how neatly it flows on from my last blog about releasing the need to be superwoman, because I think this kind of answers part of the how to do it.

So now what?

Well I think I'm going to spend the next week or so identifying everywhere that I am overcommitting, and putting my hand up to say 'sorry, I know I said I could do this, but it turns out I was wrong. I'll just need to change/stop...'

Because that's another symptom of my overcommit-itis, I tend to keep it all to myself until I have gotten very close to or over the deadline...and then say eek or try and be superwoman!

And you know what, I think people will be pretty receptive to this kind of honesty.

Then from there, I need to work out strategies on how I can change the way I approach my life.

But at least I've got the hardest bit done now - identifying what the problem is!

Phew - told you this was a big kerplunk!!!

PS I was going to make my own version the above image with it saying kerplunk...but realised this would be overcommitting my time tonight as it's after 10 and I need to go to bed so I can get up on time tomorrow morning...he he, look at me go!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I've got one word for you...






So there you go - I am good at saying no, I can say it normally, in slang, elongate it and I can even say it in different languages!

But apparently I'm not great at saying it in life.

Well at least that's how it appears looking from the outside in.

In the last 4 weeks I've literally had 4 people in separate conversations say to me 'soooo, you just need to learn how to say no then'...in response to me explaining how my life looks currently.

No prompting, they've all come out with it of their own accord, much to my surprise and bemusement!

I've quickly replied 'But...I can! In fact I'm heaps better now then I used to be!!'

But upon closer inspection, perhaps that's not the whole truth and nothing but.

Yes I've definitely got a lot better with saying no to different outings, even with my closest friends I can say 'you know what, I might pass on that'.

But then when it comes to new opportunities...particularly with something I've wanted to do for a while or will give me a new experience, I tend to say sure, add it to the mix.

I'm such an Aussie - the 'she'll be right' attitude is alive and well in me!

Oh and did I mention helping others? Because I'm a sucker for that. If it's something that will help another person, add it on!

Clearly it's not a bad thing to help others - I really enjoy it - but when it's at the expense of your own self, probably not so great.

So as my lovely and wise friend Ali said to me the other night...

Perhaps it's not about saying no as much as saying 'I'd love to but I can't right now, my schedule won't allow it', or words to that effect.

This is a concept I've struggled with lately - it's not so much that I'm a sadist and want to cram my schedule.

I just think I've been showing my Gen Y'ness by wanting it all now...rather than taking a step back to say ok I'll do that now, then I can do that later this year, next year etc etc.

Actually, more to the point is that I haven't had any sort of long range plan and flying by the seat of my pants isn't the best way for me to do things.

The other thing I need to do is let go of the need to be superwoman for everyone else and remember to make time to feed my soul!

As I heard the Dalai Lama himself say just last week - you need to make sure you take care of yourself first so then you're able to help others.

And yes, I know there's been quite a few of you saying this to me lately - it's definitely a lesson for me at the moment!

The question I find myself asking is why do I have to be superwoman anyway?

And since when did I become the person who can't stop or take time for myself?

I'm not quite sure really, but I'd like to let both go because neither is doing much for me.

So now my mission...and yes I choose to accept...is to take the cape off and put my undies back on the inside!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Food, glorious food...

Over the past year, I've had a real change in relationship to food, kicked off by my introduction to Ayurveda, where their belief is that food is medicine.

Before that, I'd sort of stumbled along, going with what I'd always eaten, or what seemed to work for me or other people, or just following general principles of moderation.

Essentially my theory was, go with what you want to eat, but at the same time use your brain! Feel free to eat cake if it's someone's birthday at work (and don't feel guilty about it), but it's probably not great to eat it breakfast, lunch and tea. Maybe have a salad for lunch!

But I never considered specifically what was good for me or not, the effect it was having on my mind-state and overall health, the source and preparation of food, the impact on the globe etc etc.

Ayurveda really opened my eyes to how the preparation and types of food you eat can have a big impact on your life.

And it also made me actually pay attention to how my body felt after specific foods, creating many a revelation of 'ooohhh, it's that food that makes me feel bloated / gassy / tired / lethargic / on edge' and so on.

As my best friend Lucy has said to me before - most people don't realise that they're not supposed to feel like that after food. (Lucy is one of those people born being in tune with her body and nutrition in general, and has always set her own rules on what food is good for her!)

I was definitely one of those. I just assumed everyone felt like going to sleep after eating a bowl of pasta...or that your tummy mightn't be all that great after ice-cream.

You mean that indicates that perhaps it's not best for keeping my body running at optimum performance levels...what?!

At the moment I'm studying Life Nutrition, which looks at nutrition and food using a holistic framework...it certainly goes beyond the food pyramid - much beyond that!

And I'm loving learning more and more about it, because nutrition isn't something that has come naturally to me - not an innate knowing or interest.

So back to the original topic - is it a case of food, glorious food for you? Or is it just fuel to keep your body running?

Is it just something you stuff into your mouth to silence the hunger pains and give you enough energy until the next snack?

Do you eat on the run or do you like to sit down and enjoy your food? Do you eat alone or with others?

Can you actually remember what your last meal tasted like?!

Does food have real cultural significance for you? (I was at lunch with 2 Italians yesterday who were so saddened that some people just see food as fuel!)

Do you link food with your overall health, both in the short-term or long-term? Do you think it can cause illness or other issues?

Have you ever taken a step back after you've eaten to assess how it affects your mind and body?

Do you consider the source of your food when you buy it...as in do you like buying locally or organic? Maybe you have your own vege patch in the backyard?

Is freshness important, or do you like cooking up a big meal and freezing it for later?

Do you have any ethical ideas about food...are you vego or vegan...or do you only buy fair trade?

No criticism for whatever you think, I'm just finding the whole topic more and more fascinating because I personally had never considered that what I eat and why I eat it can have so many dimensions!

And I'd never really considered any of the questions above.

Unfortunately I think I've been a great example of how a lot of people think about food now - in short they don't!

I think the vast majority of people are disconnected from their own nutrition.

And it's not really hard to see why.

Food confusion is rife, because there's so many mixed messages that come at you every single day from magazines, TV, food packaging, recipe books and people you speak to.

Not to mention the incredible array of diets, all claiming to be the best, or the right one for you. (Don't get me started on shakes!)

All of it disempowers you, leaving you to believe that only someone else - be it a celebrity, doctor or a friend - can tell you what's right for you.

Really? Are they living in your body with you?!

I think I've definitely always been one of these people, and it's only in recent times I've realised the true benefit of looking within to see what works for me. And I'm still learning!

In general, we live in such a fast-paced society, that convenience and quick fixes are the norm.

Then there's the ever-increasing stress and pressure that plagues our country - so the fact that many people choose foods that make them 'feel good' in the short-term, but cause health problems in the long-term isn't surprising either.

I find it really funny at work when I'm heating up my lunch and someone walks into the kitchen and asks me what I'm having.

Invariably it's a curry, dahl or soup I've made that morning and they say...

'Ooooh that looks healthy' or 'Oh that's right, you eat really healthy now don't you'

And I suppose the answer is yes to both questions, but what makes me laugh is that eating something involving vegetables or 'being healthy' is so weird!!

Then if I go on to explain that I don't eat wheat, dairy or red meat - some people's heads almost explode with the shock of that statement!!!

Oh and don't get me started on trying to rid the world of the statement 'it's expensive to eat healthy'...that could go on for hours!

At any rate, if you haven't given food any thought before, I hope this has got your brain ticking over a little bit.

And lastly - I hope you enjoy whatever meal is on your plate next! 

I know I will - here's my home-made hommous with carrot...and I've got homemade hot chips coming in the oven...using organic veges of course as that's now the norm for me...yum!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stop thinking so much about your life...

...and start living it!

This was a great quote my husband Nathan relayed to me from a TV show last night and boy oh boy does it sum up my last couple of weeks!!

I've been a victim of my monkey mind of late...getting too caught up in every which way my thoughts bounce around! 

I love getting to the bottom of things, loving knowing why, love the fact that everything happens for a reason...but lately I think I've just got too wrapped up in trying to figure it all out and have ended up with a bit of overload happening.

All in all, it really is a bit tricky to keep up this charade when the world keeps turning, and there's a zillion things happening every second...so all I've wanted to do is yell STOP...LET ME CATCH UP!!!

But life doesn't stop does it - and without realising it, I've gotten a bit, well overwhelmed really.

Although not openly!

Nope, I didn't actually realise how much was flinging around in my head until the last few days when I've remembered how to talk/vent and cry of course!

It's just been simmering away under the surface, and even the tennis matches have been quite subtle. I just really hadn't stopped for long enough to say hang on, what's all this about!

Then there's been the good old fear vs faith aspect...you know the one. I know everything's working out for my highest good, but seriously can't I just know how, when and why?!

And my personal favourite - not wanting to think or say anything negative or be focused on what I don't want, because I don't want to bring that into my life. Just quietly, not an easy task!

Yikes! All in all I've had many a moment of wanting it all to just go away. But then, that wouldn't be learning now would it!

Reading back over this, I get this funny feeling of deja vu...oh that's right, I've been here before! 

Yep, this does seem to be a bit of a cycle of mine. I swing between being upbeat, living in the now and just letting life happen...to wanting to know why it's all happening and in general deciding that everything I'm doing isn't enough.

Oh well, I guess the upside is that I can see all of it from an objective perspective. And it reminds me that I'm still very much a student of life.

So, here are some of my lessons from this that I still need to learn!

  • Don't forget to let it out!! Writing is a great way for me to get perspective, and I feel so much better once I do it!
  • Lighten up & stop taking life so seriously
  • It doesn't matter if I miss one turnoff, there's always another one
  • I don't need to figure it all out, just be glad it's all working...and that I don't have to run the Universe!
  • Look at the forest...not just the trees
  • Don't forget to talk to others...and ask for help!
  • Every decision I make is perfect
  • I'm always exactly where I need to be
  • Be grateful for all of the great things I have in my life
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify
  • Give myself a break!!

And another great one - I love writing blogs, so I don't want to have another 2 week hiatus!! I've had many an idea floating in my head...but supposedly not the time to do it.

Ugh, time management...yep that's another blog entirely!

Anyway, when I take the time to step back, I realise that my life is still great, and these are all just blips.

I thought I'd leave you with a pic of me a couple of weeks ago when we cleaned up our area at work and found a bunch of wrapping paper and other goodies and couldn't resist mucking around with it.

I thought it was apt seeing as it's what I need to do...

Live in the present!!!!!! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

10 things I love about...

Firstly - Happy Mother's Day for Sunday to all of the wonderful women I know who are loving, caring and amazing mums!! I hope you were all been spoiled by your biggest fans.

Back to the topic...this year I suggested to my two brothers that we put together a list of 10 things we love about our Mum to put in her card.

Boy did it quickly blow out past 10!!

And while we could have kept going, we ended up capping it at 25. Here's a selection of why we think our Mum is the best Mum around, and why all 3 of us admire and adore her...
  • #1   Fanatacism for all Aussie Sport...Collingwood, Australia cricket, netball et al (and hearing about it from 10 miles away)
  • #3   Your sense of adventure and that you're always up for a bit of fun
  • #10 Selfless devotion to immediate family
  • #13 Letting us make our own decisions...and mistakes!
  • #15 Bringing out the best in others and making whoever is in your presence feel special and important
  • #17 3 words. Machine. Gun. Kisses.
And many more.

#25 kind of sums them all up - Being such an amazing example to all 3 of us in how we should approach our lives and treat others.

It's no wonder I love my Mum so very much!

The "10 things I love about you" theme has been on the agenda for a while now.

Nathan & I have been playing the game quite a few mornings, listing off one or two things we love about each other.

It has been as simple as 'I love that you do the dishes'(!!) to 'I love how when you say you're going to do something, you do it'.

It's been a fun and really nice thing to do!

So I laughed the other day when as part of an email from Kylie, she gave us girls some homework...that we had to write a list of 10 things we love about ourselves.

Clearly, I'd had a head start on this topic!

She went on to say about a sentiment she'd heard on Hayhouse Radio was that with women in particular, we can often find a squillion things we want to change about ourselves or our bodies, but don't often step back and say 'you know what, I love...about me'.

So your mission, should you choose to accept, is to write down 10 things you love about yourself...and then your mum, partner, friends and whoever else you like!

But start with yourself first, because it's likely to be more of a challenge if you've never given it any thought.

It can be as simple as your ability to make a mean cheese toasted sandwich...or your generousity towards others...or that you've got really long, luscious eyelashes!

And boys, you're welcome to join in the fun too.

Feel free to share your list here...what's that? Oh, you want me to go first...chickens!

10 things I love about me...
  • I have the guts to keep spilling my inner world via an international blog!
  • I'm always happy to help others
  • I'm willing to change anything about myself that doesn't work for me anymore
  • The colour of my beautiful olive skin
  • My blue eyes that sparkle when I smile
  • My laugh - it's loud and infectious!
  • The way I dress - it's definitely unique to me and eclectic
  • My sense of adventure
  • I'm open and honest
  • I'm always quick to support and encourage others
  • I can cook yummy, healthy food
Oops, that's 11. See it's really not that hard!

Here's my Mum & I on my wedding day a few years back before we jumped in the car to go (I love that we haven't got shoes on!) 

I've got such great memories of hanging out with Mum the whole day before I said I do, so I thought it was a great photo to use.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What a beeeeautiful day!

It is such a gorgeous day here in Adelaide - sun's shining, barely a cloud in the sky and it's 27 degrees. Perfect Autumn weather!

I woke up this morning just feeling really good. Excited, hopeful, healthy, loving life in general.

Makes for a much better start than the last week where I'd wake up a bit flat or had a bit of anxiety bubbling under the surface about what the day would bring! (Or as I alluded to in my last blog/vlog...I was too focused on the "have to's" and whether I would do "enough" for the day!!)

This great feeling has continued on throughout today and I'm feeling quite chipper!

Just had a delicious lunch and am about to go soak up some rays, but I thought I'd pass on this prayer that I got given to me recently by my fabulous Naturopath/Spiritual Guide Di Goulding.

As always, feel free to substitute God for the Universe, Divine, Goddess or just delete it entirely depending on your own beliefs!

Saint Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow yout soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

And because St Theresa is the little rose - I thought this pic I took at the train station matched perfectly!!

Hope you're having a stellar day...and if you are, feel free to share it with me!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ahhh...that's better!!

Well, here I am on the last day of my week away from work...and finally am feeling on holiday!!!

I've been in a bit of a fog this last week - with a few old habits taking over.

But today I'm feeling light and free and have a smile on my face.

But rather than write about it, I thought I'd talk about it...so here it is, my first video blog...hope you enjoy it!!

I'm a bit of a novice at this, and when I first tried to upload it to YouTube, the sound was right, but the movement was at chipmunk speed!!!

Yes it looked funny, but I thought it was best to have it all in sync!!!

I've learnt something new today!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I am sensitive...and that's ok.

As I was writing the last post about the power of the exhale, I had a bit of a kerplunk moment.

Perhaps my lack of honouring the exhale is a good way to describe what’s been showing up physically for me of late.

Backing up a step, I got hives last week for the first time...and then the second...and I've still got a few lurking. Big flat red blotchy things, on different areas of my stomach, back and now even arms and legs.

And seriously, how much do I want to be itchy of late!

When I got the first bout of hives, I wasn't sure what on earth they were! So off I went to the Doctor and she quickly diagnosed me. Phew, I don't have meningococcal!

Then when I went on to list off my other skin conditions...itchy scalp...yeast rash on my back...she said to me...wait for it...

I think you might just have sensitive skin.

Wow, why didn't I think of that!

I know that doesn't sound earth shattering, but I'd actually never considered that. Hadn't put all of it together I guess.

So how that ties back into the exhale post from yesterday....

Of late, I’ve been so caught up in what I don’t have or still need, how I’m not good enough, not doing enough, should be further along, bigger, better, different...I’ve been forgetting to honour my exhale.

As in what I’ve released, how far I’ve come – honouring and appreciating everything I have done. That who I am, right here, right now is perfect, and I'm exactly where I need to be.

In short, that’s lead to me being uncomfortable in my own skin.

And gratitude, what gratitude?! Yes I’ve been doing it in fits and starts, but it's usually based on something external to me, not about myself.
Kind of funny really – as I mentioned, one of my skin ailments that I’ve had for yonks is a yeast rash on my back. I can't see it, so I've kind of let it just stay there!

I look it up in Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life and it says:

Denying your own needs. Not supporting the self.

And when does this flare up? When I'm trying to do everything for everyone else, and putting myself last. I'm trying to run with the crowd and do what everyone else does, even if that doesn't work for me.

More to the point - why is it not going away? I’m persisting with not supporting myself!!

It gets funnier when I read about what shoulders and back mean...not to mention hives...but if I write all of that, this will turn into another epic post!
So now back to the sensitivity (they don’t call me the Queen of Tangents for nothing!)...

After the sensitive skin statement, I took a step back and went actually, I'm sensitive in general!

Now that I've removed so many physical and mental layers thanks to Ayurveda and releasing a whole bunch of other beliefs and habits, I really am quite sensitive.

My lungs definitely are - being around smokers is a no-go for me now, and any kind of chemical or cleaner quickly gets me rasping. As does dog and cat fur I've found - dogs are what kicked off the hives!

I remember a homeopath saying that your lungs and skin conditions are often linked - as in that's the external way it shows. And in saying that to my fabulous friend Kylie, she also informed me that apparently liver and skin can be linked too...makes sense, seeing as liver is the seat of emotion, and quite often has anger issues linked to it too! In this case...angry inside...angry outside...tada!

My digestive system is a lot more sensitive now...or it could be that I just pay more attention to it. But at any rate, if I eat something that's not best for my body, I know about it quickly!

And I'm sensitive emotionally. I find more and more now that I can pick up on other people's vibes, and if I'm not careful, I take them on as my own! And you know what, I don't like watching icky things on TV, in fact I avoid it like the plague.

I'm also sensitive to stress (yes I can tend to create it for myself!). But I find now, that I can reach overload quicker if I don't get enough sleep, put myself under pressure at work, don't exercise at all etc etc. 

Doesn't mean I still don't give it a go, just to keep up with everyone else. But gone are the days of burning the candle at both ends without repercussions!!

Actually speaking of which - the Doctor said to me, it sounds like you just need to be somewhere you can do yoga each day and have no stress.

Ha! I laughed and said 'well I do practice yoga each day and it is one of my dreams to have my own yoga and wellbeing centre where I can relax and be stress free every day'!!!!!!!

Back to the sensitivity again, there's no doubt that my body is sensitive to my thoughts. I'm a huge believer in the mind-body connection, and I'm getting more and more great examples of it in my life where I can practice and learn...great case studies I guess!

Bottom line - I think I really need to work at appreciating how sensitive I am.

After all – how good is it that my body reacts to crap quickly and tells me it's out of kilter…be it what I’m eating, thinking, wearing, breathing in…not having a high tolerance for what can pollute my body is actually a good thing!

Or better yet, not having layers on layers on layers that hide how sensitive my body actually is, is a really good thing.

So instead of going ‘Good lord, what now? What am I doing/thinking wrong now?’, I’m going to remind myself to think ‘thanks body, you’re out of balance for a reason, and I’m going to try and remove that factor from my life’.

That feels better than the criticising and getting annoyed at my body, essentially telling myself to suck it up!

This sentiment is echoed in Inna Segal's new version of The Secret Language of your Body (which has also made me laugh with how spot on the mental descriptions of my current ailments are!)

"Your body is a feedback system...You need to look at the problem your body is experiencing as a metaphorical representation of the challenges you are dealing with in your life."

Right you are Inna.

Because apparently ignoring it and hoping it will go away doesn't actually work....ahhh that old chestnut.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before - I actually love the discovering of what's the cause...so why do I resist doing that?!

I think I need to stick this up in my house somewhere...it doesn’t go away if I ignore it! And I love getting to the cause! 

Because in fact, as my body is now, once it’s risen to the surface and is at a conscious level…as in one where I can notice it…it’s not going away until I fix the cause.

It's quite patient you know. Happy to hang out until I finally get around to dealing with it.

Like I had to do with the chest infection that month or so ago, I now can't ignore the skin conditions any longer. I'm sure this is going to be a doozie too, and be about much more than I'm currently thinking...

So let's dance sensitive new age girl!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The power of the exhale...

I had a really interesting chat with my fabulous yoga teacher Denise from Wellbeing@Work before class yesterday...she always has a pearl of wisdom to offer, and last night was no different.

Make the exhale active.

This was the succinct message that came out of a meditation course that she attended on the weekend with a Swami...yep a real Swami!

So what does that mean?

Well as Denise said, we put so much emphasis on the inhale - particularly in yoga. 

And usually, the exhale is all about relaxing and letting go so you can sink further into the posture. We just let that happen.

If you use the same analogy for life, usually we put the emphasis on the bringing in...getting more and more and more.

And we don't tend to put as much focus on the exhale, which is letting go and releasing...be it of possessions, commitments, beliefs, memories, addictions, habits etc.

I think it's also about appreciating what you've exhaled into your life. What have you finished and achieved, what stuff have you actually gotten? What have you put out there, and then seen the result of it come into your life?

And the exhale is also about what can you give back to life. Whether it's on a personal level - who can you help? What can you impart on the world around you? Or on an environmental level...having your own compost and vege patch, recycling, less waste. Or on a community level, be it as simple as getting involved in your sporting club or donating to a charity.

So what if you turned it around? What if you put more focus on the exhale?

Right now, take a deep breath in, then really focus on the exhale, emptying out your lungs completely.

And just let the inhale happen.

You don't have to make that happen - your lungs will do it automatically, you don't even have to try.

See how much power you feel when you make that exhale active? I certainly did. 

It was like I was making way for the next breath, clearing out my body completely - and then the inhale could sort of float in, bringing in the new.

So bringing that back to life now, if you take the focus off of the inhale for a while, then it's not all about what's next, what more do I need, what don't I have enough of. Not about what you can take from life.

Because really - how much stuff do we all have...and better yet, how much of it do we actually need?!

When you focus on the exhale in your life, you can focus on what you can release from your life, what you no longer need.

That could be getting rid of any possessions that you no longer need in your life.

Whether that's cleaning out the pantry, your wardrobe, the crap drawer...I've done the first two of those, and boy does it feel good! Crap drawer - you're next!

It could be simplifying your busy schedule...something else I've done in the last month. I've let go of all commitments throughout my week - so now I've got a bare week, ready to be filled with new activities...which does feel a bit odd really!

But I think I'm just going to enjoy having it to fill!

Or it could be letting go of some old beliefs or habits that no longer serve you - and just watch the difference it makes to your mental and physical self.

Geez have I had a whole bunch of that in the past few months!

Now that I've thought about this a bit more, I've realised that I've been doing a bunch of exhaling/releasing this past year, on all levels of my life...but I haven't really sat back to appreciate just how much.

Which is a great segway to my next point...

How often do you stand back, just to appreciate how great your life just as it is?

Believe me, I've got some practicing to do in this arena. As I've written about in a past blog, I love the good old Attitude to Gratitude, but it's something that I've been forgetting about lately.

And like anything, practice makes perfect. If I don't use my Gratitude muscle for a while, it gets weak and flabby!!!

I've gotten to caught up in what I don't have (and in turn how that makes me not good enough, or worthy of criticism from myself!), instead of appreciating all the fabulous things in my life.

That can be as simple as having a great night's sleep in a comfy bed, to having enough milk in the fridge for your cereal, or even just having air to inhale!

The third part of the exhale - what can you give back?

I personally love getting involved in the community. Something that I've forgotten these past few years, but am trying to bring back into my life more and more.

When I was a kid, I loved making muffins to sell at church to raise money for someone. And I loved getting involved in fundraising events - something I still love doing now. I was always more than a player at netball too, and didn't really think twice about.

I'm lucky, because my parents were/are both really active in the community through different things, so it's something that was encouraged from a young age.

And come to think of it, now that I've got spare time coming back into my schedule, I think giving back is going to rise up the list so it's part of each week.

The other thing with letting things go - then you've got room to bring in the new.

It's really not healthy to focus on more, more, more all the time. Or me, me, me.

Because if all you're trying to do is layer things, stack things, cram other things into the corner and still bring in more things...pretty soon, you're on overload.

Whether it's not having room to move in your house or head - hoarding isn't healthy!

If you're life's already full - where can the new come in?

The last great point that Denise made last night...once you've exhaled in life, what if you just step back and allow in what you need.

Like the next inhale, know that it's going to be there. Not forcing it, not going looking for it. Just trusting that what you need will be there.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of this, but it definitely struck a chord with me. And I'm amazed how long this post ended up being!

Here I was at the start thinking I was going to say a few words on "instead of focusing on what you can get, focus on what you can release."

But now I've realised that the exhale is a little bit more complex than that...turns out the breath is a lot more holistic than I first thought! I love delving into stuff like this!

So now my challenge for this week is to take my focus off of the inhale/bringing in (because I've got plenty of toys I don't use already!), and to focus on the exhale/releasing/gratitude/giving.

In fact, I think I'll take it one step further...

This week, I take the time to honour the exhale.

And to finish off, I'm going to invite you to do the same thing as Denise suggested last night...

Just take a moment to ponder this, you might be interested to find what comes up.