Take the first step!

ifyoustandfornothing

Day 112

One of my favourite quotes from the movie Sucker Punch is this: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!”

It’s true.

Because to make a stand for anything means that you know who you are in this world, and you know where you want to walk.

It’s not easy to do this. You need to invest in yourself and your heart. You need to take time out to think. About the world. And about who you are in it. You need to read books and articles and to listen to the wise and not so wise. You need to make some decisions. About the world. Especially about the kind of world you want to live in. And you need to make decisions about who you choose to be in this world and what you are going to do about that.

Because the greatest decision you will make will be about being brave enough to follow your heart and live the life you know you should be living.

The first step?

Make a stand. For yourself first.

Choose to fight for yourself.

Take responsibility for yourself.

Promise yourself that you will stop making excuses. Then take one step towards dream.

A few steps in the right direction…

  1. Choose a role model – someone who is living the kind of life that you want to live. Someone who makes a stand for the kind of things that are precious to you as well. Someone you can learn from. She doesn’t have to be someone you know. Read about her. Watch her Youtube clips. Watch her movies. Find out as much as you can about her and her journey to become a game changer.
  2. What makes your heart sing? When do you feel the most happy? When are the times that the day seems to disappear because you have been having so much fun, or you are so absorbed in your world? How can you do more of this? It doesn’t matter what it is.
  3. Start reading. Get interested in the world around you. Find the great speakers and inspirational leaders of our time and check them out. Go and play in your local library and talk to the librarians. They are amazing people! Who do you want to be in this world? What do you want to contribute? Open your eyes and get interested in politics. Yes, I said politics! Start with what’s going on in your own community. Go beyond your diet of the 6 o’clock news and find out what’s going on.
  4. Start small with one step. Promise yourself that you will take one step, no matter what it is or how big or small, every day. Try it for 30 days.

The most important thing is to take ACTION!

Just one step.

Please don’t wait for all of your ducks to line up. And don’t allow the fear of failure stop you from trying. You need to be brave and give it a go.It doesn’t have to be fantastic. It just needs to be one step.

Know who you are in this world. Take a stand. Don’t fall for anything!

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inspirescript

Day 111

Some days are harder than others. You can feel a bit deflated. You tell yourself “What’s the use? It’s all so exhausting.” These are the days that you need to remind yourself of the good, the joy, the bliss. These are the days that you need to follow your heart. You know what you are capable of. It’s the story of your daydreams. You take yourself there in your head at the end of the day, on your way home on the train. Your dreams are full of “what if’s?” when you  fall into bed and bury your head in your pillows. In the corner of every hour, every minute, every second your desires call to you, wondering why you have abandoned them. You know in your gut, that you need to go. You know you need to say “yes”. You know that nothing is exhausting and everything has meaning when you are on the path that calls to you.

So choose. Today. Choose to walk another step towards your dream. Choose to answer your own calling.

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” 
― May Sarton

Share It Forward Sunday

Day 110!!

Today I was inspired to read poetry in bed, laugh and giggle with Amelie, have a bubble bath with a ‘dragon’s egg’, feed my skin with coconut oil, cook fresh vegetable and red lentil soup, eat chocolate, talk with my beautiful dear friends and sons, and have a romantic dinner by candle light with my love.

Look up from your phone…

and if you are feeling a bit more inspired, then put your phone down…and change the world…

Hope your week ahead is extraordinary lovelies!

Gala Darling Challenge #7 & #8

Gala Darling Challenge

#7  Cover your entire body in cocoa butter & fall asleep.

#8  Indulge in your “guilty pleasures”, whatever they are. (Old episodes of America’s Next Top Model, ginger ale, chocolate cake, romantic comedies, etc.)

Winter has slowly moved back in to town. The air is icy.  and the rain falls in endless quiet monotony. Silence falls like a blanket of fog, muffling the city close by. Open fires are being lit for the first time in a year and the warmth of fluffy rugs, slippers, candles wrap around us. Today was the perfect day to focus on myself.

I put aside the ‘List of things to do’ and snuggled under the doona a bit longer. My cat, MiMi, cooed contently next to me and wrapped her tail over my arm. Cuba, my puppy, had already burrowed under the blankets and was snoring quietly at my feet.

The plan for today? Coco butter, a long hot bubble bath, the rest of the chocolate Easter goodies, perhaps a nap and some of my favourite romantic comedies…

Ahead of me stretched hours of looking after myself. Pure luxury…and pampering and guilty pleasures!

*sigh*

Breathe

abstract-butterfly-blue-gothic-black-wings-280958

Close your eyes

Breathe

Let your body fall against mine

Breathe

Let me kiss your skin

Breathe

Feel your heart and know its mine

Breathe

Take my hand and cry your tears

Feel my breath

Taste my love

Like I taste yours

Breathe

Feel our fingers through my hair

Breathe

Take the time

Were not leaving just yet

Feel what I taste

Taste what I take

Take mine

and

breathe.

 

– Caz Espinoza, 2 May, 2014

Things I love Thursday!

Today I was reminded of how extremely fortunate and lucky I am in my life. I wake up every day to a man who I love to bits, and who loves me back. I go to work with a group of inspirational people who work incredibly hard to make the world a better place for the young people we work with. I am endlessly blessed by four beautiful sons, the extraordinary women in their lives and a grandson who brings us all light and love. I live in a safe corner of the world ~ an educated, free woman who gets to influence the world around us. I have dear friends and an even dearer extended family…why am I telling you this? Because it seems to me that we are taught to live a life from a place of ‘lack’. Our focus always seems to be tuned into what we don’t have. We easily see what is wrong, bad, sad or horrendous most of the time and frankly, it’s crap for our health and our fragile spirits. Things I love Thursdays is about opening our eyes and our hearts and changing our mindset to focus on the beautiful, the blissful moments in our day, the luminous. I get seriously excited looking back over the week and remembering what I have loved. It brings me joy. It makes me happy and reminds me that this is what my life is all about. It reminds me that I am living an extraordinary and beautiful life.

Things I have loved this week: having my little grandson snuggle with me all day long; drawing endless butterflies in my brand new sketch book; getting a phone call from Jaz, one of my sons, after his acting class~the complete joy and excitement in his voice says it all! Putting on my brand new black and white Mary Janes; sitting in my new favourite cafe and having the warmth and hum of conversation wrap around me; popping on my cute new Hello Kitty onesie~so much pink, very kawaii; a hug from my beautiful girlfriend just when I needed it; having my adorable sick husband hunt down a movie for me to watch…such a sweetheart; warm fresh scones, jam and cream-there are no words! An awesome lunch in the middle of a work day with an equally awesome and inspiring friend; getting creative with my journal; writing short stories and poems again; hot milky cups of coffee in the middle of the night with my boys; my beautiful son Paris who is wise beyond words; crying, but feeling better for it; people who are unexpectedly kind and generous to me when I most need it; fluffy monster slippers; dreams of my teenage mutant ninja turtle; having over 200 likes for one of my posts!! WOW! Lush coloured pencils to paint and draw with; Planning overseas trips and weddings…getting a bit excited; and this song…

The Monster in Wellington Boots

puddle-jumper

Shhhh! Quite little one!”

I was trying. Really I was. But my wellingtons were squeaking.

I was sitting on the kitchen table and my dad was dressing me. I had my rain coat on and my wellington boots because we were going to wash the trucks that my dad drove.”

We had to be quiet because at the other end of the house my baby sister and mum were fast asleep. It was hard to sleep with a baby in the house. We were all tired. But dad said that mummy was the most tired because she had to get up all the time. I wasn’t too sure about that. Being a big sister was pretty exhausting.

“Okay, lets go.” said dad, picking me up off the table and plopping me on the floor.

Squeek! There they went again. It was because they were new. We had just bought them at the shoe shop yesterday.They were bright red and dad said that the rubber wasn’t used to having feet inside them. So they squeaked. I looked down at the toes. “Shhhh!” I said.

Dad laughed. “Let’s go Meggs.”

My name wasn’t Meggs. Dad just called me that after the comic strip Ginger Meggs. It was because I had red hair just like Ginger Meggs and dad liked both the comic strip and my hair. Ginger Meggs was always pretty naughty…and a boy…but I didn’t mind. I liked my real name, but I liked dad calling me something special too. And I guess I was a bit cheeky too. Maybe it was because I had red hair?

Anyway, dad and I were on a mission. We snuck out of the house, squeaky wellingtons and all, and headed for dad’s truck which was parked down our street. I always got excited walking past the Chew’s house with all of their boys hanging out the window watching us climb into the truck. They were the biggest Irish family in the street with the most boys, and I knew that they were all jealous that I got to ride in dad’s truck, especially because I was a girl. Sometimes I would look back at them all and wave goodbye with a big smile.

Pretty soon we were at the truck depot. Dad got all of the cleaning equipment out of the store; buckets, sponges, a big broom and the hose. Then he started soaping up the cab – that’s where the driver and the passenger sit. The back of the truck was as big as a house and dad had to use the old broom to wash all of the panels.

Dad gave me a sponge and a bucket of soapy water to wash the tyres. Truck tyres were huge and much bigger than me and pretty soon I was covered in water and soap suds. Tyres were hard to wash because they were black and it was hard to see if the dirt had come off, so I scrubbed them as hard as I could just to be sure.

Dad came over to inspect my work. I jumped around in the puddles while I waited. My wellies had stopped squeaking now that they were wet.

“Good job Meggs.”

I looked up at him beaming. Dad always thought I did a good job. He always saw how hard I tried. Then he got down on his haunches and handed me the big industrial hose.

“Here you go little one, take the hose and wash all of the suds off. I’ll just be on the other side soaping up the back.”

This was the best part of washing trucks. The hose. You had to hold the hose with two hands, especially if you were little like me. Otherwise it could escape like a big snake and spray water everywhere. That wouldn’t be good because the boss yelled at dad for making a mess and wasting water even though it was my fault. So I was extra careful to hold on tight.

I washed down the tyres, then the doors, then the big side panels of the body. All done. No more soap. The truck looked pretty clean to me. I looked down at my wellingtons covered in suds and washed them off with the hose. Then I saw some suds up near the roof of the truck. No problem. I pointed the hose up so the stream of water arced over the truck to rinse off the roof.

“Aaaargh!!!”

I nearly dropped the hose.

Who screamed? Was that Dad?

I stood still, holding the hose down on the ground. “Dad?”

Something squishy was coming around the truck. Maybe a monster had gotten dad? It sounded really big and huge and…

“Carolann what are you doing?”

Dad stood in front of me dripping wet. What had happened? Had the monster licked him?

“I’m washing the truck dad.” Maybe dad had forgotten I was helping him. Maybe the monster took his brain? Michael Chew said that’s what monsters did. They ate brains and people and naughty kids. I looked past dad and then behind me waiting for the big squishy monster to come and get me…after all I was named after a very naughty kid.

Dad came up to me and took the hose away. Oh no, now I wouldn’t have anything to protect us with. Didn’t dad know that water melted monsters? It was in the bedtime book that Michael Chew had. Water melted monsters and goblins and witches. We didn’t have to worry about goblins and witches, just a big monster.

Dad crouched down next to me. Well that was good. Now I could stand in front of him and protect him by punching the monster and kicking it really hard. I put a big scowl on my face and made a fist like Michael taught me. Come on monster. Just try to get my brain!

“Honey, you wet me with the hose.”

I looked at dad.

“See, when you point the hose up on the roof of the truck like this, the water went over the truck and drenched me.”

I watched the water fly over the truck and heard it hit the concrete on the other side.

“Oh.” I squeaked.

Oh no. I looked down at the ground and my lip started to move like I was going to cry. Oh no, the monster was me!

The dad started to laugh.

“Funny thing! Trust you to drench me with the hose!”

I looked up at dad. He was laughing.

He threw his heard back and laughed again.

I giggled. Oh dear. I had soaked my dad through with the hose. Hahahaha!

We laughed until dad wiped the tears from his eyes.

He looked down at me.

“Little monster, ” he said as he ruffled my red hair. But he said it with a big smile on his face. Like being a monster was a good thing. Maybe it was. Maybe it was ok to be a bit of a monster sometimes. As long as you didn’t eat brains. Just made people laugh.

We packed up the cleaning stuff and climbed back into dad’s truck to head home.

“Squeak!” said my wellingtons.

Dad land I laughed.

Yep. I was the monster in wellington boots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My top18 favourite kissable dates!

my_gothic_love DAY 104 He lent in to kiss me and for a minute my heart was beating so fast, I thought I might faint. Then I kissed him back. It was perfect. The perfect end to a perfect day. The sweetest first date ever. We had met on the steps of the old Melbourne GPO. I honestly didn’t think he would be there. Later on he told me that he didn’t think I would come either. He had asked me out in a minute of madness thinking I would say no. But in my own minute of madness I said yes. I still, to this day, have no idea why, but eighteen years later I’m really happy that I did. Our first date started on the steps of the old Melbourne GPO in the city. His suggestion was that we take each other to our three favourite haunts. It turned out to be one of our best dates. We went to Minotour, his favourite comic/book/anime store and ended up in my favourite cafe drinking coffee and talking as the Winter day stormed around us. In between we visited the Virgin Mega Store, checking out underwear and CD imports from the UK, Myer (a family favourite) and a few more book stores. We talked all afternoon and we learnt a lot about each other. By the end of the date we both hung onto each other until I literally had to run for the train. The kiss happened when he pulled me back, not wanting to let me go. In that moment we knew, and we have rarely been apart since. First dates can feel incredibly stressful, as if it’s your one chance to make an impression. There can be a lot riding on what you choose to do and how well you can get to know each other in a short amount of time. You want enough time to test the waters to see if the chemistry is there, and a chance to find out if you have some things in common. You also want to have a bit of fun and a few giggles. So it needs to be something that has you both curious and laughing out loud! So here are some of my favourite ideas for first dates…and perhaps the second, third and fourth. I’ve tried them all, and there was definitely some kissing in the mix!

  1. Take it in turns to take each other to your 3 favourite places to visit in the city…or in the country. Try to end up somewhere were you can talk with each other and grab a bite to eat or a drink.
  2. Go to a night football match (or similar sport), preferably where neither of your teams are playing. Take a good rug and organise a picnic dinner of finger food and beer/champagne. Have some fun working out the rules, and which player is which. Make sure you cheer for both teams so ultimately you win!
  3. Book a personal encounter with the elephants at the zoo. Believe me you will get big brownie points! Make sure you book lunch/brunch or morning tea afterwards, so you can both check out the photos and talk about the experience together.
  4. Have a royal dinner at the Queen Victoria Night Market. (Hopefully you have a similar market in your city or town). Every summer our local city market runs a mid week art and craft market with live music, food from around the world and art and craft stalls. It has grown to be a huge cultural event that Melbourne loves…You can literally have a 3 course meal with some great wine or sangria and a live show for under $20 each! Depending on your date you could go wild and taste different foods from each stall. There’s everything from fresh paella to organic ice cream! It’s a foodies paradise!
  5. Go and see a Burlesque Show. Treat your date to a night of circus performers, comedians, the odd magician and some very tasteful burlesque. Some shows also have dinner or pre-dinner drinks. Completely decadent and so much fun!
  6. Book a half hour dance class. Put on your dancing shoes and try some rock and roll or street Latin. You might like to meet for a cocktail beforehand to get rid of the jitters, and afterwards take your date out for burgers and a shake. Make sure you dress up a little to get into the theme.
  7. A night at the symphony orchestra. Melbourne has some fantastic orchestras and often there are free concerts in the parks throughout the Summer months. Pack a picnic and a rug and hang out under the stars or book in to a live concert. Once we flew to Sydney for the day to see our friends play in the Eminence Symphony Orchestra (well known for A Night In Fantasia concerts) and then went out for Japanese food in Chinatown.
  8. Take your date to your favourite spot in the city. Perhaps it’s at the top of a building with an amazing view, a bar with a view over the river, or an exquisite garden. Share your headphones and listen to your favourite tunes while you eat snacks, or drink hot chocolate.
  9. Visit your favourite exhibition or arts centre. We love going to ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Images), or to the Melbourne Museum. They always have some awesome and inspiring exhibits, from some fantastic creators and artists. We always see an exhibition and then go out for afternoon tea or dinner to talk about the exhibit.
  10. Take a circus class. This doesn’t have to be about hanging from a flying trapeze! Many people circuses have tumbling, juggling, diablo, or basic intro to circus classes for adults. They’re lots of fun and a little bit quirky~so make sure your date is up for it!
  11. Perhaps this is a date for later on, but grab some fish and chips, drive to the beach, pop on your favourite music mix on the ipod and watch the waves. If it’s Winter you could go for a walk or stay snuggled up in the car together. If its Summer sit out on the sand and watch the sun set.
  12. Go rollerblading or get your scooters out and ride along the beach, or promenade. This is a great one for late summer nights. You can always finish with fresh ice-cream or hot chips on the beach.
  13. Cosplay at a Con! Seriously it’s just so much fun to pop on a wig and dress up. Go as your favourite super hero, or comic book character at one of the great Western Con’s like Supanova or Oz Comicon. Or you could be a little braver and transform yourself into one of the Japanese anime characters. There’s always a competition or two to watch, and plenty of people watching to be inspired by!
  14. Dress up in your best gear and take your date out to a fancy cocktail bar…at midday. Take it in turns to choose the next place to visit…make sure you eat something! Oh and have money for a cab home!
  15. Dress up in your Sunday best and head to one of the many five star hotels for a posh afternoon high tea. My two favourite’s are the Sunday high teas at the Windsor Hotel or the Langham in Melbourne. They provide a spread that ensures a completely decadent afternoon of chocolate, champagne and yummy morsels that will have you moaning in no time! Normally these events run for a few hours and come with some live music such as a pianist. The more up market hotels are great because they usually include a stunning view of the city. Just a heads up, there is always plenty of food so don’t eat lunch beforehand!
  16. Hunt down a good local book store that encourages reading. Find your favourite childhood books and share them with each other. Check out the travel section and talk about the lands and cultures you each want to visit. Head into the recipe books and discuss your culinary prowess! Buy each other a copy of one of your favourite books to read…then head off to a local cafe, preferable one with an open fire place and good coffee, to sit and read by.
  17. Organise a night in with a few good movies (you could each choose your favourite one) and each bring some food to share. You could add to the fun by wearing your favourite slippers, dress up in a onesie, or your best pyjamas and have a sleep over…sleeping of course!
  18. So hopefully you will get to celebrating an anniversary of sorts with your new love. Make sure its a special celebration for both of you. Book a really good hotel for the weekend, (in either the city or the country) and make sure you book the CLUB option. Apart from the endless food and access to the business centre, most CLUB options usually have evening drinks with canapes. It’s seriously fun meeting new people, who are usually celebrating something and there for the free food too, over a few glasses of bubbly and some yummy finger food. When you have had enough socialising on the 85th floor, you can always head back to your room for a bubble bath and a game of backgammon…

The trick is to leave the movies and dinner option for another day. Get to know the person you are dating, have some fun and don’t be afraid to be you. Who else are they going to fall in love with?

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” 
― Dr. Seuss

** Pic by Deviant Art!

Gala Darling Challenge #6

gratitude

“Write a list of things that you appreciate right now, in the present moment. Focus on each of them & let the love inside you well up. Even when things appear to be going really, really badly, there are always things to be happy about.”Gala Darling 100 Things to Do When You’re Upset (The Sad Trombone List)

I love this challenge. It’s a great way to focus on the positive things in that are in your life right now. It doesn’t matter how small or big they are. People, events, things that surround you, achievements, quotes, songs…there is so much to manifest and draw your positive energy from.

The trick is not just to write down what you are grateful for, but to also write about how each thing makes you feel. What memories are evoked, what feelings you have welling up inside you. Focus on the here and now. Be brave an open your eyes. You may be feeling sorry for yourself. Be grateful for what you already have, no matter how minuscule it seems. You may be richer than you think!

So today I spent some time breathing and writing. I wrapped myself up in my largest and warmest winter cardigan. I popped on my fluffy Japanese house slippers and made myself a huge mug of milky hot chocolate with cinnamon. I sat myself down on our couch, lit all of the candles I had in the house and placed them on our Jarrah wood coffee table in front of me. I lent against a pile of soft white cushions and I wrote for over an hour in my journal about all of the things I am grateful for right now.

When I finally stopped I was amazed at how much I had written (3 pages!) and how much better I felt about myself and the world around me. If you are having a difficult time at the moment, or just feeling sad – this is such a good activity to try.

Create the space and time in your day to think. Surround yourself with some things that nurture you. Maybe pop on some music you love that inspires you. Sit yourself down in your garden or your favourite cafe. Treat yourself to a warm drink and some solid nurturing food, like fresh scones or biscuits. Now breathe. Look around you. What do you see? Who is in your world? What do you have? Focus on the good. Open yourself up to the blessings, great and small, that are in your life right now. Today.

Like me, you may find that your life is much fuller and richer than you first realised. You may find yourself feeling much more optimistic and happier than you thought!

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Immortal Lives

DAY 102

So just a head’s up. This post is a bit morbid. I have been thinking about death quite a lot these days.

Mostly I think about death in the context of the DBM project. The thought that everyone I meet may be dead before midnight can be the ultimate leveller.

A few months ago, when I began this project, I struggled to imagine that someone might be dead. It felt like I was forcing myself to imagine a fantasy. It felt like a lie somehow.

Like most of us, I have lived my days smug in the knowledge that life was endless. I had years ahead of me to achieve what I wanted to achieve and so did everyone else. That trip to Ireland that I had been putting off since I was fifteen would happen one day, just not today. Perhaps not even this year. But I had plenty of time to make it happen.

It’s an interesting fantasy that we have woven around ourselves. The truth of course, is that people die every minute, every hour, every day. People we don’t know. People we do. People we love. People we don’t. They are all ages, all genders, all nationalities. Death happens to us all. And one day I will die too. One day you will die. It’s our one common denominator.

We would like to think that we will be roughly 100 when our lives finish. However this is also not true. We know that most of us will be lucky to reach eighty and many people die young. Some will be very young.

We would also like to think that we can buy more time with our lives. If I live a ‘good’ life then I should live longer. But we know this is also not true. There are plenty of good, kind and generous people, both young and old, who die, and plenty of people who are monsters who seem to have tapped into the spring of everlasting life.

Here’s the thing: We cannot barter for extra time on this earth. We can only use the time we have, the best we can. We can eat well, exercise and be good people, but at some point all of our lives will come to an end.

Which brings me to immortality.

It is said that when we die we essentially have three deaths.

The first is when we breathe our last breath and our lives leave our bodies and this earth.

The second is when our bodies physically break down and return to the earth. We are physically no longer here.

The last however, is the one that interests me most. The last death is when our name is spoken for the last time in this world.

With the first two ‘deaths’ we may extend our lives by looking after our wellbeing and physical health, however the reality is that one day we will still die. Our innate being and our physical bodies will still pass.

Our immortality, however, is bound up in the legacy we leave behind. Who we are and how we have lived our lives will influence our third death.

Now here I should say that many of us will influence our immediate families and communities. Our children, our nieces and nephews, our grand children, and great nieces and nephews will be the ones who speak our name beyond our physical death. They will be the ones to pull out the family photos and tell stories about us, in a similar way that we talk about our own grand parents and ancestors. Or don’t.

Our communities will talk about our contributions. The local organisations and clubs that you are a part of, the people you work with every day, will talk about your influence and speak your name depending on your contribution. Depending, of course, on who you are. Depending on what you contribute.

Your legacy doesn’t have to be world wide either. You may not change the world. Like the story of the little boy and the star fish, you may change the world for just one person.

To me, that’s immortality; living beyond your own life on earth.

We may not have full control over the kind of death we have or when we may die, but we do have complete control over the kind of life we live, the people we influence and our own immortality. We have control over our third death.

Who you are every day, every week, every year will decide who will be the last person to speak you name.

Live your life in a way that decides the outcome of your third death.

Be immortal.

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” 
― Ayn RandAtlas Shrugged