The side of anxiety nobody talks about

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“I was scared I’d kick my grandfather in the stomach as he lay in the hospital recovering from bowel surgery”.

“I was terrified I would throw my baby over the balcony’.

“What if I tipped my boiling hot tea over my baby’s head?”

“What if I drive into the concrete barrier on the freeway?”

“I was scared I would hurt the children in my care”.

“I could not get the thought out of my head that I could smash my baby’s head against the corner of the coffee table”.

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All of these statements are words that have been shared with me by clients and friends, or they are thoughts I have had myself, the last one is mine. I have never shared this before apart from with two people closest to me. It was a big deal to write this and share it with the entire world. However if I can help someone, anyone to realise that they are not alone, then this discomfort is worth it.

What are these awful, terrifying and unbelievably hideous words about?

These words are examples of intrusive thoughts. They are by far the worst, most insidious part of living with anxiety, at least for me anyway.

The thoughts that come to us; so unwelcome and unwanted, plague and taunt and leave us feeling like the most worthless human beings on the planet. In fact less than human. What kind of person could possibly have these awful thoughts? How could someone who loves their children so much that it hurts possibly have these thoughts running through their mind?

What is an intrusive thought exactly? An intrusive thought is an unwelcome involuntary thought, image, or unpleasant idea that may become an obsession, is upsetting or distressing, and can feel difficult to manage or eliminate.

Thoughts ruminate over and over and the more the sufferer tries to stop thinking them, the more they persist. Thoughts may be repulsive, scary, vulgar, or anything that the sufferer feels is inappropriate. Because these thoughts are unwanted, it creates an enormous amount of anxiety trying to get rid of them.

Intrusive thoughts may also occur in flashes, and often cause significant anxiety when they enter your mind. Many people experience intrusive thoughts with anxiety, and they may cause significant distress. Generally, these are thoughts where the person imagines themselves doing violent/aggressive things.

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The thing is – not many people speak openly about this, and yet there are so many people living with it – every single day. I have been having thoughts like this for all of my life and thought that there must have been something wrong with me, so terribly wrong. I didn’t realise there was even a name for it, to me I was just a bad, awful, terrible human being. It wasn’t until I met a few people who shared their own and when I started working in mental health I felt such a huge sense of relief that this was a part of living with anxiety. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t a bad, terrible person.

We feel ashamed, embarrassed and upset that these thoughts come from our mind, and because we identify with our mind, we think we must be flawed.

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Jessica Rowe, the Australian newsreader bravely spoke of her intrusive thoughts following the birth of her daughter and her subsequent diagnosis of post natal depression.

The small silver Tiffany’s clock that I used to time breastfeeds became a weapon in my mind. I wondered how easily the clock could crack my baby’s delicate skull. My eyes would be drawn to the sharp carving knife in our second draw in the kitchen. I wondered if such a knife could pierce my little daughter’s soft skin. I knew I would never hurt my baby but these bizarre thoughts, of turning everyday objects into hazards, kept going around in my mind.

I wrapped the knife up in newspaper and threw it away. I did this at night, so the neighbours wouldn’t see me. I hid the silver clock. It didn’t matter that these objects were out of sight, as they were very much still in my mind.

So what can we do about it?

  • Importantly, as with any mental health issue or potential mental health issue, I highly recommend seeking professional help. Start with seeing your GP and you can then ask to be referred to a specialist from there. I can’t stress this point enough. There are many schools of thought and therapies available to manage intrusive thoughts and I will leave that part to the experts.
  • Ensure your self care is of the highest priority. Self care is something I feel strongly about as my regular readers know. When my self care is lacking, I find myself much more vulnerable to the symptoms of depression and anxiety so please make yourself your top of your list. Self care can be whatever it means to you, and my personal top 12 hints are in my book but in basic terms mine are: Sleep, Move, Nourish, Hydrate, Breathe, Meditate, Gratitude, Be Kind, Give, Time Out, Educate and write.
  • I read this in a forum and found it helpful: It’s a nurturing instinct on overdrive. Your mind conjures up the worst thing it can so you can prevent it from happening. But with OCD sufferers it takes on a new and distressing form and gets stuck. So these thoughts don’t mean you’re ‘evil’, quite the opposite actually.
  • Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is in simple terms – paying attention on purpose without judgement. The goal is not to suppress or repress the unwanted thoughts as they arise, but to accept their place in your mind and make no effort to control, analyse or change them. There are many wonderful free mindfulness meditation apps programs available, if you want to start with one you can use on your phone try Smiling Mind.
  • Know that you are not your thoughts. It is a hard thing to comprehend as we act and make all of our decisions from our mind, but these thoughts are not you and you are not your thoughts. You are not bad, terrible or flawed, never forget that.

My intrusive thoughts come and go and I suspect they will always be a part of my life. The key to living with them is taking care of me, asking for help when I need it, and reassuring myself that no matter how heinous the thoughts are, they can never take away the essence of me.

And lastly and most importantly – you are not alone.

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How to be polite in Bali

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As everyone who knows me or has ever read anything I’ve written knows well, I love Bali – a lot. I’m privileged to have a little villa here and I consider it my second home and feel very protective of it, like it’s somehow mine.

I spent the day today wandering the streets of Ubud as I enjoy doing and some of the things I saw and have seen this trip and on previous visits made me feel like I want to talk a little bit about manners. If I am completely honest, and I usually am, I sometimes feel embarrassed to be an Australian visitor to this glorious place.

So, here are a few things I would like to suggest to do and not to do when visiting the magical island of the gods, to make your holiday enjoyable and leave the locals smiling after you leave.

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  1. Please do not walk around in shorts that show parts of your anatomy that should be kept private, and that goes for boys and girls. Believe me when I say I am no prude, but seriously we don’t need to see butt cheeks and other bits and pieces hanging out. I saw a girl wearing a pair of shorts the other day that looked and fitted like underpants that were a few sizes too small, and half of her backside was hanging out, it was so not a good look. Oh and girls, please wear more than a bra or bather top when walking around the streets of Ubud. I find it very disrespectful to see some of the scraps of material barely covering anything on the streets. Yes it’s hot, but a tank top and shorts or skirt are just fine too and probably just as cool.
  2. Please barter, but don’t go over the top. I hate seeing people haggling for the sake of 50 cents or $1. Really? Let it go. I enjoy haggling, it’s good to treat it like a bit of sport and fun and always stay good natured about it. Be fair.
  3. Please use your manners. Please and thank you are not hard to say and they go a long way. If you really want to go the extra mile, say thank you in the local language. Everyone here speaks Bahasa Indonesian so you can say terima kasih for thank you. If you know for sure that the person you are talking with is Balinese, then try saying suksma (sook some mah) and you will really make their day. They will respond with a happy smile and suksma mewali. If you really want to build rapport you can say sing ken ken when you want to say no worries or no problem.
  4. Please tip where you can. I know we Aussies don’t come from a tipping culture but it’s a lovely thing to do to leave a little extra if you have the means. I have been horribly embarrassed when I have been with people waiting for the waitress to return with their $1 or $1.50 balance from the meal. Seriously, what’s a dollar or two a day on the average two week holiday? Not much to us, but a lot for them. So round it up by a dollar or two if and when you can.
  5. Yes I know the constant cries for ‘transport’ ‘taxi’ ‘massage’ and the rest can be overwhelming after a long day of it, but remember this is someone’s livelihood. I have seen so many people be disrespectful and rude, and it’s unnecessary. I try to smile politely and say thank you where I can. Trust me it’s appreciated. Can you imagine trying to get a job all day and being completely ignored or attacked? Be kind.
  6. Remember you are in a developing country where things will never be the same as home, no matter how many Starbucks or McDonalds pop up. Also when communicating, remember English is not the native tongue, so please bring your patience, understanding and respect. I heard some women outraged they weren’t able to get a coffee somewhere the other day and another time a woman was horrified there was no wifi in a tiny ice cream shop. I’ve seen a woman screaming at a confused attendant in a supermarket as she herself didn’t understand the currency and I had to intervene. Enjoy what is available, when and where it is available, and hey why not try something new – you never know, you just might like it.
  7. While wifi is common here, we certainly don’t have it at home, so don’t act like it’s the end of the world if it’s not available. If it’s important to be connected, buy a sim card, they are only a few dollars.
  8. When the toilet has a sign asking you not to flush, please respect it. The plumbing systems are not built to cope with our copious use of toilet paper as the locals use water. In fact, why not give the bum hose a go, I am a complete convert and have bought my own. Read about my experiences with it here. There is nothing quite like having cool nether regions when you are stinking hot everywhere else.

I’d like to finish with the most important thing of all. Enjoy, relax, take a load off. Look around and appreciate the beauty of this magical island of the gods and it’s incredible people.

It’s paradise.

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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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How is your sleep?

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I love sleep. I always have. Sleep is first on the list of my top twelve self-care strategies in my new book and if I was forced to choose just one, it would be sleep.

There’s a very good reason why sleep deprivation is the most effective form of torture, without it, we basically fall apart.

So how is your sleep? I work with a lot of clients who struggle to get a good nights sleep and rarely wake refreshed, as we should. The good thing is that there are some simple, low and often no cost changes you can make that will improve the quality of your slumber. I won’t go into all of the reasons why this is so important to every single physical and mental function of our body, I am sure you know that already and if you don’t there are plenty of articles already out there on this.

First of all, I’d like to say that there is no ‘right’ amount of sleep, we are all different, but if you are in tune with your body, you will know when you have had enough, and you’ll most definitely know when you haven’t.

Things that I have found useful for myself and clients include.

  1. Switch off all blue light emitting devices at least 90 minutes before bedtime. Blue light is often referred to as the new smoking. Blue light devices are basically anything that emits a light on the blue light frequency. Think TV, computers, iPads and tablets and yes, your mobile phone. Blue light emitting devices interfere with our melatonin release that occurs naturally when the sun goes down and in our primitive days this signalled time for sleep. We have been overriding this natural function for some years now, but in recent times with the development of smart phones, we have taken it to a whole new level. How many times have you found yourself ooking at your phone wondering why you aren’t falling asleep? It’s because you are looking at your phone! I promise you this is one of the most important things you can do. Read an old-school printed book instead. Did I mention I recently wrote one? (insert shameless plug here)
  2. Before switching off, and also if you really must stay connected, reduce the blue light emissions you are exposed to. There are several ways you can do this. On your laptop, I recommend installing the software flux. This free software mimics the sunset amber tones that our eyes and brains are accustomed to and allow for cortisol release to slow down and melatonin release to increase. If you must use your phone, you can install similar software to flux to minimise the blue light emissions. On Apple devices there is an inbuilt feature you can find in settings called night shift. On Android devices, you can download different apps which do the same job. You can buy blue light blocking glasses. They range from spectacles designed specifically for the job to basic orange safety glasses. You can also have blue light blocking lenses put into your regular prescription glasses, which look just like regular lenses, but protect you from emissions when on line and also when reading by lamp light. I started having these lenses put in my reading glasses about a year ago and I will never go back. Try reducing the amount of white lights in your home, and increase your use of amber lighting such as salt lamps, candles and even amber spectrum globes.
  3. Have a warm shower or bath. Imagine the days thoughts, worries, to do lists and the rest washing away down the drain with the water and soap.
  4. Try meditation. There are some great free apps out there for new and experienced meditators. My two favourites are insight timer and smiling mind.
  5. Do a brain dump. Before you sleep is the time your brain will choose to think of all things you have ever wanted to do in your life and need to do tomorrow, next week and for the rest of your life. Get it all out.
  6. Try magnesium. Most of us are magnesium deficient and magnesium is well known for its relaxing properties and helping to enhance sleep quality. You can take it in tablet or powder form, but the most effective delivery system is actually via the skin. I developed my own range of high quality and affordable magnesium products after finding that most on the market are incredibly expensive.
  7. Keep your bedroom dark, cool and device free. In order to sleep soundly, we need to have complete darkness and our body temperate needs to drop a little. Even tiny standby lights and digital clocks can interfere with melatonin release. Remove all devices from your bedroom and if you must have your phone in the room if you use it for your alarm, switch it to airplane mode before you sleep so you don’t get any interruptions from notifications during the night and leave it at least 1.5 metres from your head. If you can possibly manage it, remove all EMF emitting devices from your bedroom and go back to a simple low EMF or at least battery operated alarm clock. Keep your bedroom for sleeping, reading and loving only.
  8. Make your bedroom your sanctuary. Make your bed every morning. Keep your linen fresh, clean and and the best quality and most comfortable that you can afford. Keep your bedroom clean, clear and clutter free at all times. It should be welcoming and somewhere you look forward to retreating to every night.

So, now it’s over to you. See if you can use some of these tiny tweaks to make a big difference to the quality of your sleep, and ultimately your overall health and life.

Let me know how you go!

p.s. It’s only a few weeks until my Art of Mindful Living Retreat in Bali, and there are still a few places left. Why not join me? You know you want to!

Rae-Anne x :)

 

 

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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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Simplicity is The New Black

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I am loving the current trend of people downsizing, minimising, decluttering and simplifying. Have you noticed it? It’s everywhere right now! I suspect it’s been amplified by the new year and the promises it brings and the feeling of freshness people are looking for.

I began downsizing many years ago and have had three major downshifts so far. The first was in 2004 when I moved from a massive four bedroom home with two dining areas, two living areas and everything that opened and shut to a small and simple three bedroom home that with one living area that I built. This was meant to be my forever home. This was a well intentioned move, but I took a bad marriage, moved it 300kms away, and built a house and bought a busy seaside hotel in the middle of tourist season – it didn’t end well. I had already downsized significantly then and did it again when the marriage ended and I took far less than half of 28 years worth of stuff. I didn’t want it, I wasn’t attached and was happy to begin again.

After moving to Ghana in West Africa for a year in 2010, I returned home and found my small possessions at that time to be excessive, so I downsized yet again. We live very simply and our home has just enough of everything that we need, and enough of everything that is beautiful and brings us joy. We love to travel so a simple life frees us up to do that. As an aside, we will be downsizing again in 2018 as we plan to move to Bali. I will be spending the next year reducing what we have down to a few boxes to put in storage and we will move with just our suitcases and a few books – well that’s the plan anyway.

Downsizing in physical terms is relatively easy and there are plenty of resources and places you can check out here on the wonderful and wise world wide web that can assist you, if you are unsure of where to start. I highly recommend doing it, and there are more benefits to it than I can possibly count, but think about freed up time, energy, money, resources, space, less cleaning and organising, greater abundance and the list goes on.

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Decluttering and downsizing is actually an incredibly inspiring process and once you begin on your physical environment, you may find that you start to seek the same freedom and clarity in other areas of your life. One of the great benefits of decluttering is that you have the space to bring in abundance in every area.

Here are some other ways you can begin to declutter;

  1. Email – check the lists you are subscribed to, are they still useful, do you read the content or just hit trash as soon as it hits your inbox? It’s sometimes quicker to delete than unsubscribe, but in the long run, setting aside some time to unsubscribe is a powerful decluttering process. Clean out your inbox – I am down to an inbox of less than 10 and intend to keep it that way. I prefer 0, but I have a few things I like to keep as reminders when I am working on them.
  2. Facebook and Social Media – how many accounts do you have, and how many pages do you follow, like and how many groups are you in? Are your friends people you are aligned with or wish to remain connected to? I recently did a full declutter and it’s still a work in progress, but I like my newsfeed to be inspiring and uplifting, and I was in way too many groups. I turn notifications off when I join groups too, as those little red notifications can be so time consuming if they aren’t necessary. I also had over 700 saved links in Facebook of posts I was going to read later. I spent some time going through them and am down to 170, my goal is to have less than 20, so every day I clear a few more. I have saved some great stuff, so I didn’t want to just delete them all, so step by step I’m getting there.
  3. People – do you spend your time with people who uplift, inspire and bring you joy? Are your relationships serving you? Decluttering relationships can be a very healthy self care strategy. Sometimes you don’t need to do anything at all, it just happens all on its own – if you let it.
  4. Money – there are many ways you can declutter to bring money in, but a few simple ones I like are; keep my handbag clear of junk, keep my purse only for money and cards, and clear out old receipts, bits of paper and loyalty cards I’m no longer using. You need to allow the physical for money to flow in, and this is one easy way to make it happen.

There are many other ways you can declutter your life and I will write more in part two. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your favourites, let me know in the comments below if you have some to share, or if you try any of my suggestions.

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This post originally appeared on my other site, I’d love to see you over there where I share information to help you live a flourishing life.

51 times around the sun

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Today at lunch with my love

Today is my 51st birthday. Even as I write this, I still can’t quite fathom it. All of the regular cliches come to mind – time flies by so fast, it only seems like yesterday, life is short, where did the time go, I’ve heard myself say them all and with great frequency recently. Seriously where the hell did 2016 go? I swear the planet is spinning more rapidly this year and it’s not just me who feels this way.

But – it’s true. I am 51 years of age. I have been on this spinning blue planet for 51 cycles as it circles the sun. In my head I still feel just as I did when I was in my teens, of course with more wisdom and knowledge and I only have to look in the mirror to know that I am no longer 19. I still feel like everyone on TV and in the media is older than me, but the reality is they are all younger than me, or mostly anyway.

At 51, I am proud to have raised two incredible men, Josh now 30 and Matt who is 26. I am grandma to two amazing human beings, Ella 5 and Jake 3 – me, a grandma! Seriously? In my day grandmas wore petticoats, stockings and frocks, had blue rinses and never left the house without their face on. No matter my age, I can’t see myself ever doing any of those things.

At 51 I am freer than I’ve ever been, happier than I’ve ever felt and think I finally know what I want to do when I grow up. Well, maybe anyway. One of the great things about living life with freedom and curiosity is that anything can change at any time. I might find something new and exciting that calls to my heart and I might do that instead. Who knows, and how awesome is that!

At 51 I have nothing to prove to anyone other than myself.

At 51 I have all that I need. I live a simple life, surrounded by simple pleasures that bring me great joy. I don’t want for anything. I am rich beyond measure; in love, health, family and friends and experiences that teach me lessons that I could never have learnt at school.

At 51 I am content.

At 51 I am wise. I am free. I am loved. I am happy. I am enough.

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