Finding home…

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Tonight I found home. It’s been a while and I’m so happy to have found it again.

But before I talk about where I found it, let me explain a few things. I haven’t written in a while, and my last few posts have been quite ranty and tanty. I have felt like my head is spinning and to be completely honest (which I always am) I’ve felt overwhelmed, and a little bit lost.

When I get overwhelmed I tend to shut down, scroll Facebook and watch nonsense on Netflix while occasionally walking from room to room shaking my head at all the things I have to do, furiously making lists that have too much on them, before making another cup of tea and scrolling once again.

Anyone who knows me will attest to fact that I do a lot of things. Some people say I have too many interest/businesses/things in my life, but I am the epitome of a multi passionate person. It’s not about money, I just love doing lots of things and for me it’s so liberating to be cubicle free. I want to do all the things. All of them.

I have six businesses, a charity, a social enterprise and many creative pursuits that I love. I have been considering cutting back on some, but apart from one, which is my app, I honestly love each and every one of them and don’t want to give them up, well not right now anyway. When it comes to money, I believe in abundance and never quite know where my next income will come from, but I always have enough and know that I always will. Always.

So back to the spinning head and overwhelm. It’s not from all of the things I do, none of them are full time and all are passion projects. I feel like it comes from a place of not taking time to listen and find home. Yes I know that scrolling Facebook and watching Netflix isn’t finding time to listen but that’s how I deal. For a long time I dealt with my stuff by writing and I’ve missed that, so it’s nice to be here sifting and sorting out the thoughts in my head via the keyboard and the inter webs.

In addition to not taking time to listen, there is a part of me that is feeling distressed, dismayed and almost helpless about the state of our beloved planet, and the level of distress has left me reeling and and with that awful sense of hopelessness that comes when we feel like we have no control over our situation. As a control freak I can tell you this is a dark place for me. The way I’ve figured out I can dealt with it is to remind myself of the fact I can only do what I can in my own space, with the resources I have and do my best to be a source of information and inspiration for people who want to know more about how to look after our precious one and only home.

It also comes from a feeling that I have so much more to offer the world than what I have been doing and want to find that place of deep authenticity where I am living, loving and giving from my heart space.

So that word – home. Tonight I found home again.

I found it at yoga. I am a long time yoga lover and tend to come and go to classes for various reasons relating to my physical and mental health, maybe that’s another post, and I’d like to think I’m back on the mat for good this time.

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Home isn’t a place, an address or a country. To me anyway.

Tonight I found home on the tip of my nose as the air gently passed by my face. I found it in the soles of my feet as they held my body strong in mountain pose, it was there in my spine as I did gentle compassionate back bends. I found it on my skin as we were encouraged to hold ourselves with love. I found it in my heart as I held my hands in prayer pose.

I found home, deep inside of me.

Right where it has always been.

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Why would you keep a bird in a cage?

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I am in Bali right now for a month, my beloved second home and enjoying taking time out for me, catching up with friends and relaxing. On my own. While I am very happily married, up until meeting my husband 7.5 years ago, I have never enjoyed the freedom I currently have and I love and appreciate every single moment of it.

On the day I was leaving home, I bumped into an old friend, Sandra. Sandra was my first true friend when my family and I relocated from Sydney to Adelaide in 1981. At the tender age of 15 we moved so my family could begin a new life, following my parents separation, it didn’t work but that’s a whole other story, but ultimately we were dumped in Adelaide. Leaving lifelong friends and family behind across the other side of the country I found myself starting in a new high school and in the unfamiliar situation of knowing nobody. Sandra took me under her wing with another beautiful soul Melissa and we soon became close friends and spent all of our spare time together.

Anyway fast forward 36 years – say what??? and we bump into each other putting petrol in our cars. We’ve seen each other only once in the last 20 or so years at a shopping centre and added each other on Facebook so we each had a vague idea of what the other is doing.

Sandra said something to me that I loved while we briefly discussed life, travel, marriage, careers and how the hell we have become 51 years old in the blink of an eye. She said to me with great admiration in her eyes ‘you have really re-invented yourself haven’t you?’. I wholeheartedly agreed with her at the time as yes, I have.

However, the more I thought about this fabulous compliment the more I realised that yes on the outside it may appear to be so and sometimes I feel as if that is the case, but you know what I realised? I haven’t reinvented myself, I have rediscovered myself and maybe I could even go so far as to say I have discovered myself.

You see at the age of 15 I met the person who was to be my first husband. At 15 I thought I knew it all, but in fact I knew nothing. Nada, zip, zero. Rather than continue to blossom and find my own direction, and place, I somehow became melded into one combined entity. I recall a psychologist saying to me once when talking about our family structure, that it was as if one of us breathes in and the other breathes out.

So when you are with someone from the age when you are still figuring out who you are, where you belong, what you love and don’t love, your belief system, your everything,  if you are not strong enough to hold your own, you soon lose that part of who you are and somehow deep inside I buried that little girl. Her hopes, dreams, visions and ideals. I am not saying it was all bad, no not at all. I raised two incredible sons to be amazing men, traveled, and had a wonderful life in many ways. But deep inside I buried the real me. The free peace loving wild crazy hippy woman who wanted to fly and be free.

Getting deeply personal here, cos after all this is my blog, I recall the day I finally decided after years of arguments that at the age of 33 if I wanted to pierce my nose, well fuck me I am hold enough to decide that for myself. So I did. Now this may seem like an insignificant something, but it was something I had wanted to do from about the age of 16, and was forbidden to do so. I won’t repeat the names I was called at that time, but let’s just say nobody deserves to be called them. I had also long wanted a tattoo and made the decision at 40 it was about time I did what I wanted. Divorce was threatened but I finally decided that if I could not express myself outwardly in my physical appearance at that age, then seriously what else was I repressing. So I got my first tattoo. It was tiny and I absolutely loved it.

Fast forward a few years and I started to do things to please me. Little old me. Outward some yes, but mainly internal. Spiritual work, some healing and deep soul searching. I woke one day and decided that I was no longer able to be in the same situation I had been for 28 years, and so it was time. Time for the bird to be let out her beautiful gilded cage and fly wild and free. Without going into too much detail here, it was not an impulsive decision, it took several years of trying and failing and then the realisation came that I needed to fly, for my heart, mind, body, soul and spirit. So much hurt, pain and trauma that cannot be told in a short blog post. Perhaps the details can be left for another story. Please note, I don’t want to bag or talk negatively about anyone else here, but the reality is that my story was so deeply intertwined it is impossible to talk about this without involving the story of another.

So fly I did. And wonderful magic things have happened. I now listen to only one voice, mine. My inner voice. My heart. My intuition. My internal compass. She guides me in every direction, with every step I take and every decision I make. She is wise and she is now wide awake and ready to shout from the rooftops, embrace every moment and squeeze every last single juicy drop out of this one short life.

So, reinvented perhaps.

Rediscovered, uncovered, invigorated and on purpose and free – most definitely.

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On the mat, as in life

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I woke up feeling like hell this morning, I had a headache you could photograph, my neck was killing me and I felt a little bit like I’d been hit by a bus, not that I’m suitably qualified to know what being hit like a bus feels like, but permit me that little bit of artistic freedom.

Anyway, I had some plans that I was really looking forward to that I had to cancel. One was a writers group Skype and another a coaching group Skype. I felt bad doing it, but my usual sparkling wit and charm were well hidden behind the headache and I couldn’t have concentrated in any case.

So what did I do? I laid on the mattress in the lounge room that we moved out from our bedroom after a series of 41 degree days. We have beautiful air conditioning in the lounge, but not the bedroom. We haven’t bothered moving it back since as it’s been a bit like having a camping holiday and we’ve enjoyed it.

So there I laid all day and we binge watched The Outlander on Netflix, gees it’s good! I had planned to go to yoga tonight, as I promised myself to recommit to my practice and so far I’ve done it, after all it’s been a whole week and a bit since 2017 began and so far I’ve stuck to my goal! Cue pat on the back and puffed out chest.

As I felt so revolting I sent a text to my girlfriend who also happens to be my favourite yoga teacher (I have the BEST and most talented friends in the world I tell you, the BEST!) and asked what kind of lesson she had planned for the evening, which would help me decide if I could get my backside off the mattress or remain firmly planted. She asked me what I was craving, can you imagine? My request was for nurturing, stretching and reflection. Later she sent me a text telling me to get my arse on the mat at class tonight. How could I not go?

By about 4pm I could barely keep my eyes open, but given I had a special yoga class ahead of me, I really had no choice, I actually fell asleep about half an hour before I was due to leave.

So, off I went and walked my tired body into the studio and flopped onto my mat. Whenever I make the effort I’m so thankful. Yoga is so nurturing, delicious and full of goodness that no matter my mood, it soothes my soul and heals my wounds. We had a lovely practice that was exactly what I needed and I loved every moment. I’m still getting to know my new body due to my weight loss, changes in flexibility due to getting a tiny bit older and respecting that my capacity is different every time I approach the mat. Every. Single. Time.

That’s one of the biggest lessons I learnt from yoga. Flexibility. Just because last week I could forward bend with ease, doesn’t mean that this week I will. Just because last week I was able to sink into savasana, doesn’t mean that today my monkey mind will settle easily. Just because I was meant to do things today, doesn’t mean I couldn’t change my plans and honour my body.

On the mat, as in life. We need to accept that every day we are different. Emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. It’s a good thing really, imagine if every day was the same. What would we learn? How would we learn to take care of the most important person in the world otherwise?

So tonight, I went with what my body needed, what my spirit called for and where my mind wanted to take me. It was blissful, healing and all things wonderful. We did lots of lovely stretching and great poses where we contemplated opposites, yin and yang. We ended with supported child’s pose, with a slightly weighted blanket on my back, it was soooo good, followed by a wonderful savasana, I never wanted to move again. Ever.

I’m home again obviously, and still feeling tired, and back on the mattress that we really should move, maybe tomorrow….but I am feeling a whole lot better than I did this morning.

Tomorrow is another day, and I wait with eagerness to see what lessons it brings me.

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11 days of down time…

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I have been back in Bali for 11 days and I’ve done pretty well two thirds of nothing. I’ve only written one blog post prior to this one and I’ve almost finished reading one book, I haven’t even had a swim.

So what have I been doing? Sleeping (at least 10 hours a night!), chatting and posting on social media, talking with friends and my hubby, catching up with good friends here, watching nonsense I downloaded on my laptop, pottering around, a tiny bit of shopping, relaxing, eating, having massages and treatments, and that’s about it.

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When I came I had grand plans that included finishing writing one of my books and breaking the back of another one, planning my business offerings for 2017, going to yoga and meditation, walking for kilometres each day and I have done none of those things. Not one.

But it’s ok.

It’s really ok.

The negative should part of my brain tells me that I could have done these things at home, but in reality I wouldn’t have.

The positive part of my brain tells me that I have done what I needed to do for me.

And I have.

What I needed to do was nothing. Time out, quiet time, nothing time, to relax and decompress.

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You see before I came here, I had had a crazy few months of flat out work, travel, a trip to Africa to start building a women’s shelter and a whole lot of craziness and stress leading up to it, too much busy-ness, one very unpleasant experience that impacted hugely on my ability to fall asleep, leaving me with about five hours of sleep a night (I am a minimum eight a night girl) and to top it off I had bronchitis for almost four weeks. By the time I left home I was beyond exhausted. I was so tired I didn’t even know myself.

Being back in Bali has, as usual, been wonderful. I feel so at home here and I easily slip back into the laid back tropical lifestyle that only Bali brings me. It only takes a day or so and I feel as if I am breathing out, and time doesn’t matter any more.

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I am heading home tomorrow and have planned to do almost no work until the end of January and I aim to keep it that way. I am taking this opportunity to reassess my schedule, look at different ways of working and reintroducing myself to the hardest word of all for me to say – no. 2017 is already shaping up to be very busy and I want to enjoy all it brings me, while maintaining optimal physical and mental health.

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I plan to do a closing off ceremony for this year and look forward to taking time to reflect and give thanks. 2016 has been one of the most challenging, difficult and yet exciting and wonderful years, full of growth and opportunity, filled with so many contrasts and for all of them I am very thankful.

So, as I head off to sleep for the last night in my beloved island home, I wish as you much rest, relaxation, breathing out and down time as you can take.

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Self regulation?

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Yesterday a client came to see me and had her two teenage sons with her. Their family home schools, read tons of books, play loads of games and choose not to have a television, though they do watch movies. It was actually really lovely to see her two boys playing a card game rather than looking down at phones or screens for the time they were there.

After a couple of hours one of them asked me if he could turn the TV on. Of course I said, assuming it was OK with his mum. He said to me “we don’t have TV at home”, without any hint of regret, resentment or anything remotely other than matter of fact, and clearly based on the things they do in their life, no sense of missing out on anything either.

My instant reply was “oh I wish I didn’t have a TV either”. I imagined all of the things I could get done; books from my massive reading list that could be finished, projects completed and writing and study accomplished. It’s not that I watch TV all day, but as we have a smart TV and I work from home regularly, I will often turn it on to Netflix or YouTube for company and background noise, but find myself distracted and abandon whatever it is I’m working on at the time and get sucked into the shiny sparkling vortex, a lot like the black hole of Facebook.

I left my husband in Ghana about four weeks ago and in my mind I was filled with all of the wondrous things I would achieve without his presence to distract me.  I was wrong. I downloaded a few of my favourite TV series and rather than read, I started watching them for company in bed each night.

Anyway back to my “oh I wish I didn’t have TV” comment. I realised as the words came out of my mouth that it was an absolutely ridiculous statement. It’s not as if the TV turns itself on and forces me to sit there glued to it. It’s not as if it calls me, entices me or reminds me of its presence, as chocolate and biscuits do regularly. I can hear them calling from the pantry – is it just me or do other people find that too?

So I got to thinking. Why I don’t I act like I don’t have a TV for a bit? When I am in Bali I never watch it, I never turned it on in Ghana and I never watch it when with friends, unless I am there on holidays. Clearly I like it for company and it makes for a great procrastination tool, you can read more on some of my hot tips for avoidance here. I also like music, but there is something about the instant gratification of mindless TV that seems to hit the spot.

Self-regulation is not one of my greatest strengths, and it was interesting when I completed the unit on strengths when studying positive psychology to have this confirmed by one of the instruments we used. I completed the VIA strengths inventory and was not at all surprised to find humour to be my most often used strength and self-regulation sitting right at the bottom as my least used at number 24. This applies to all areas of my life and something I am well aware of.

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So, I’m going to give it a try. I’m going to go back to turning on music and not getting sucked into mindlessly watching TV. I’m going to pretend, at least during the day that I don’t have one and see how I go. I am sure I will be much more productive and enjoy the things I am doing as I will be completely present to them all, so I’ll let you know. You never know I might just start using my office that I completely overhauled recently.

However, my biggest distraction returns home tomorrow –  let’s see if I can regulate myself when he is back too.

Wish me luck!

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Unfriending a friend

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Since the advent of social media, the notion of what constitutes a friend has changed significantly. I have almost 700 friends on Facebook as well as many in real life who aren’t users of the platform. I have met many of my friends solely thanks to the beauty and wonder of social media, and many of them have become my closest confidantes. I love the fact that geography plays no role in the making and maintaining of relationships these days. It really is a wonderful thing when you think about it.

Along with making friends, occasionally comes the decision to ‘unfriend’ someone. This can be as a result of the friendship coming to an end, and I’ve had some rather spectacular instances of this happening this year (as an aside, with the benefit of hindsight I am so grateful that these so called friendships are no longer part of my life). But this isn’t always the case.

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I have unfriended when I felt that we no longer shared views that were compatible. I don’t expect to agree with everything my friends post, as sometimes that’s what makes life interesting, but if my views and beliefs are at complete conflict with those of a friend, and things they share are challenging to my moral compass, then unfriending is a necessary step for me. I feel it’s more authentic to step away, physically and virtually.

I have also unfriended people because I care deeply for them. This might sound incongruous at first, and it’s not necessary that I go into graphic detail, but I’ll give you the gist of it. On several occasions, friends I care about have been in relationships with people who had been cheating, and continued to cheat on them, and/or behaving in ways that I felt were disrespectful to the women they were and how I felt they deserved to treated.

It was just way too painful for me to stand by and watch what was happening, while knowing the truth. I felt it was out of integrity, and integrity is right up there for me in terms of what I value. Of course it’s none of my business when it comes down right down to it, but I’m a fiercely loving and loyal friend and it hurts me deeply to see friends suffering. I also find it hard to keep my mouth shut if I see injustice occurring and part of my protective nature is to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. Best for all concerned that I don’t see what is going on. I actually unfriended one person the day she got married, I simply could not be complicit to what was happening to her, so I quietly unfriended and walked away. I was grateful that her wedding was in a time and place where it simply wasn’t an option for me to attend, so I never had to have the awkward conversation about me going or not. Oh how I wished things were different for her and for me, and I really miss her, but ultimately it was her choice to make with her life, and I truly hope the person she chose to marry changes, but I highly doubt it, and I suspect I’ll never know.

My friends are like family to me and I place great value on all of my friendships. I love hard and fierce and I’m open, authentic and genuine to those who love me back. There is never any doubt about my feelings when you’re my friend.

My husband and I have a saying in our house that sums up our marriage pretty well and I like to apply it to all of my relationships. No bullshit  – only love. Works for me!

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Only the Good Die Young

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Megan – the embodiment of joy, love and light.

I’ve lost too many wonderful people in my relatively short life. Amazing souls taken much too soon. They are always the bright ones, the shiny ones, the ones that light up the world.

The ones that make us better people for having known them.

Cancer, suicide, accidents and illness have stolen them from those who need them the most.

They are the true earth angels, brought here to show us the way, guide and teach us what we need to know.

Today I am feeling so sad at the loss of yet another beautiful soul who truly lit up the world. From the moment we met, Megan and I connected, and as we were on a personal development course, we shared some deep truths, pains and growth with each other. I felt privileged to have been able to share that space, time and healing experience with her and from then we had a beautiful heart felt connection.

As I was reading and processing this devastating news, through my tears I found myself reading that yet another beautiful earth angel I’ve been inspired by is soon to make her departure from this earthly plane.

It’s unfair and it makes me sad, angry and so many other emotions I am unable to adequately express.

Losing earth angels is always devastating and hard to recover from. We grieve, cry and talk of the unfairness of it all. We feel the deep pain that grief gouges into our hearts and souls, leaving scars, deep wounds and gentle reminders of love, life and lessons never to be forgotten.

We use platitudes such as “life is short” “do what you love” “live each day as if it’s your last”. I use them myself, but how many of us truly live this way?

Whenever I’ve lost someone, and as I said it’s happened too many times in my life, I take the opportunity to pause and reflect and ask myself some questions. What am I doing to make a difference? Does what I do every day help others? Does the way I live my life adequately serve others? What impact can I have in the short time I’m here? Does everyone in my life know how much they mean to me? What else can I do? What else can I learn? Who else can I help?

So today, while I am incredibly sad and feeling the loss of yet another earth angel, when my heart is ready, I will ask myself these questions and see what it is I need to do next.

As Mahatma Ghandi so wisely said; ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow, Learn as if you were to live forever’. Because you just never know.

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