Walking through the swamp

Day 118

I love this TED talk from Brene Brown where she talks about being vulnerable and dealing with our shame. She talks about how it’s the only way to being brave and to reconnect with each other. Take a wander through the swamp with her…

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Share It Forward Sunday

Today I thought I would share a clip from an interview series with Brene Brown on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.

It is a small section of an extraordinary interview with Brene on her work on vulnerability and her book Daring Greatly. If you haven’t read her book you might like to check Brene’s TED talk out on Youtube. She is both inspiring and challenging, but above all her work encourages me to think that I am enough, and know that I am good enough.

Hope this kick starts your week lovelies!

5 Ways to start with your heart

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DAY 83

24th March, 2014

When Brene Brown talks about being worthy it gives me goose bumps. Like Danielle LaPorte, she doesn’t speak about worth as something you earn or deserve. Being worthy is unconditional. Brene simply states that we are each worthy, even though we are not perfect. Danielle adds that we are all important. Incredible. Loved. Even though we are not perfect. We still deserve to be loved. Our presence is needed here.

Think about it. It’s like looking at your life hanging upside down on the swing while all the blood rushes to your head.

To say that we are worthy even though we are not perfect goes against much of what we are taught as children and adults. How many of us think – if only I am good enough, then I will deserve a good life. If only I am perfect enough, then I will deserve a perfect kind of life. Or if I do this, then I will get that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself thinking “But I was so good!” “But I did the everything right!” while the bubbles disappeared down the drain and my world fell apart around me. I’m sure that I am not alone. I have heard plenty of others say, “But I’ve been good, why has my car broken down now?” “Why did my house get broken into, I’ve been good.” “I’m sick again, but I have been so good – I don’t deserve this.”

I’m sure that I am not alone. I have heard plenty of others say, “But I’ve been good, why has my car broken down now?” “Why did my house get broken into, I’ve been good.” “I’m sick again, but I have been so good – I don’t deserve this.” 

Of course our heads know that being good has nothing to do with some of the things that can happen to us or around us. Bad things can sometimes happen to good people. It’s just life.

What’s important though is how we respond to these very same things. Your car breaking down, or the house being burgled, your loved one dying or the relationship you hoped would work but didn’t, isn’t about what you deserve as a human being. And it’s not based on how good or perfect you are. You are a human being.

The nature of being a human being is that we are pretty flawed. Sometimes, no matter how good or lovely we are, we say horrible things or we do stupid things to people we love. Sometimes no matter how good or great we have been, other people can be mean or horrible to us. We know better, but sometimes we make mistakes. Often we fall over. But we are still worthy of being here.You are worthy of being here. Making mistakes doesn’t mean that you are no longer worthy of good things happening to you.

Being worthy, also doesn’t mean that you are entitled to everything. There is a difference. We are talking about being worthy in a healthy way.

So, let’s start with your heart.

Here are some questions to think about first:

What is the story you hold deep inside of your heart that you tell yourself? I don’t deserve this because…

I don’t belong here because…

I can only belong here when or if I work really hard, or prove myself in this way…

If you think that you don’t deserve to be here or you are not worthy, then no matter what you do you will always feel empty. You will always be chasing your dream and pushing it further out of your reach at the same time. If you don’t think you deserve something in your life you will be the first one to sabotage yourself. You may just simply give up because it is too hard, or you will make it overwhelming, or perhaps you will stop making time and space for your dream to happen. “I just don’t have the time to attend that class, build that business, create that painting, direct that film…” Sound familiar?

Or perhaps you think the opposite way? I deserve everything no matter what…

I should be given everything because the world owes me….

I only do things for people when they do something for me…why should I go out of my way for someone if they don’t give back…

I only do things to look good, get some mileage….

Both Brene and Danielle would link this kind of story to fear. Shame. And a distinct place of lack. This is a place where you believe that only some people are entitled to the good stuff, and that there us not enough to go around. It’s not a good place to be. Mainly because if you are playing in this sandpit you are likely to be very conflicted and find yourself very lonely and wondering why.

So lets start with your heart. Lets start with loving yourself. Really love yourself – no strings attached!

One of  Garla Darling’s activities is to start with a Radical Self Love Journal! Yep. It’s pretty radical!

You can check out her other self love programs on her website, but I think that this is a great idea to start with, because it makes you create some space for yourself and focus on you; even if it’s just for half and hour.

Her first step for creating your radical journal?

1. Purchase yourself a beautiful notebook and while you are at it, find some good pens, pencils, stickers, magazines, glitter…whatever makes you feel like your five year old creative self. And don’t forget the glue and scissors! You don’t need to have heaps of money to do this either. You can find some beautiful and inspiring stationery supplies in K-Mart or your local $2 shop these days. I bought a gorgeous pack of purple notebooks from K-Mart with inspirational messages on them. I also picked up a great little journal with a red leather cover and completely blank pages in a small news agency. Or you can go all out and head to KiKi or Smiggle. But get something that you love and that you can carry around with you in your bag.Your journal is moving in with you for the next month!

2. Make a promise to yourself. Gala has a number of first steps here, but the one that spoke to me was from her first ever video tutorials from the Radical Self Love project. You can check her out on You tube, but essentially the first thing you are going to do is write a promise to yourself for the month. “I promise to love myself this month.” “I promise to commit myself to my own personal growth.” “I promise to see the good in people.” “I promise to look for the beauty around me.” It can be anything that means something to you.

3. Find a totem. Gala also suggests that here you might like to find yourself a totem. Something that will remind you every day of your promise to yourself for the month. It can be a necklace, or a gem stone in your pocket. Perhaps it’s a scarf or a hat or a special ring? Something that you can preferably wear every day so that when you see it or touch it you will be reminded of your commitment to yourself. I bought a heap of love heart and angel wing necklaces in all shapes and sizes. My sister in law found an awesome website where we could pick up gorgeous heart and wing jewellery for only a few dollars. I haven’t stopped wearing them since. Every day they remind me of my commitment to not only myself but to others. They remind me of what I have to give to this world.

4. Write down every compliment you receive for the next week. Every single one. And when you receive them, say thank you. That’s it. Thank you. Nothing else. “Your hair looks awesome!” ‘Thank you.” ” I love that jacket.” “Thank you.” “You are so funny, you should be a comedian.” Thank you.” And write it down. When I started doing this I realised that I wasn’t too good at graciously accepting compliments. I felt awkward and would generally say something along the lines of “Don’t be silly”, or “you don’t know what you are talking about” I had no idea how offensive I was actually being to the person who was taking the time to compliment me. But I also had no idea how, with every denial, I was sabotaging myself and strengthening my story of not being good enough.

5. Write down all of the things that are amazing about you. Of all of the activities that I love, this is one of the best. I have used this when I am coaching or working with young people and it is an eye opener. Often people start out struggling to come up with just one thing that they think is awesome about themselves. It can be a mix of really not thinking that there is much to like/love. It can also be about feeling like we are being conceited or stuck up if we consider what may be awesome about who we are. I’m not asking you to walk around thinking you are better than everyone else. I am asking you to think about your own uniqueness. Who are you? Because you are beautiful. Special. You are definitely incredible. Important and you deserve to be here. If you get truly stuck with this one, then ask your best friends. What do they think is amazing about you? Perhaps ask your parents? Or your favourite teacher or coach.

That’s just the beginning of the process. It’s a start to realising that you deserve to be loved. That you deserve to be here. Even though you are not perfect; you are worthy.

Acts of kindness

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DAY 60

1st March, 2014

So today I woke up and decided it is time to step the DBM project up.

It has been 60 days of giving, thinking and learning.

I am inspired to change the world around me, even if it is just one person, or one day at a time. Or in some instances, one small act at a time.

I have learnt that it is easy to give up and get distracted by everything that is wrong with our world. We are all overwhelmed and immersed in the day to day busy-ness, and sometimes it feels easier to let go of our dreams and drown in the never ending noise.

I’ve also learnt that it’s not as hard as we think to change the running dialogue in our heads. It takes practice, yes. And determination to think differently. Absolutely. But it’s not hard. Its about being committed and holding onto a vision that you have for yourself. it’s about swimming up to the surface and taking a big breath of fresh, life giving oxygen!

Over the past 60 days I have learnt to think differently. To think beyond myself. To be less self absorbed, and more aware of the world around me. I look into people’s eyes now. I smile a hell of a lot more. I see the goodness around me. I notice the acts of kindness.

I have been reading so much more. Listening to inspirational speakers, learning new skills to inspire myself to become a better person. To grow into the human being I aspire to be. I am learning new ways to set goals and challenges, and new strategies to support myself and my passion. I am learning about what it means to create something new. That sometimes you will be criticised for what you are doing. But that in the end ‘it’s not the critic that counts’. It’s about getting into the arena and daring greatly!

Over the past 60 days I have focussed on giving. I am endlessly surprised at how much I seem to receive back. No matter how much I give, the return is always much more than what I have offered. But most of my giving has still been what I call, ‘playing small’. There is not much risk attached to what I have been doing. It’s essentially easy. Don’t get me wrong, to take time out of my day to speak to a sick colleague, or open a door, help someone onto the tram, help out with directions, make a cup of tea for someone who needs it, cook a meal, send a text or leave a gift, all of these things, I’m sure, these things have made a difference in people’s daily experience. They matter, but they are the first small step towards a greater purpose.

Today is the first day of changing it up a little more.

I want to make a clear difference in peoples lives. So I am undertaking 30 days of acts of kindness. Acts that have a longer term effect. I’m not going to post 30 days of acts…just a few, but I hope that you might be inspired to join me. And if you do, I’d love to hear about it!

I was inspired by the following post I saw on Suspended Coffees from the Boston Magazine folk about Cathy O’Grady and her 318 Random Acts of Kindness. Wow! what an extraordinary and amazing woman. To turn her grief into something incredibly strong and beautiful.

I am inspired by people who want to create something new. Who want to be amazing people in a brave new world. They challenge me to do better, to aspire to be greater than who I am right now. They also inspire me to be prepared to ‘show up and get my ass kicked” as Brene Brown puts it.

30 days of 30 acts of kindness…imagine if we all did that?

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
― Desmond Tutu

 

The secret to success

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DAY 57

26th February, 2014

“Here’s the secret to success: find something you love to do so much, that you can’t wait for the sun rise to do it all over again!” Chris Gardner, author of The Pursuit of Happyness.

It took me a long time to work out what I loved doing. For a long time, my head was very full of what I thought I should be doing. I worked incredibly hard doing what I thought the world expected me to do. I worked in areas where I had the skills but not so much the passion. I also struggled through the endless list of tasks and jobs that I have had to do to make ends meet.

Every now and then though, I got a break and I got to do the things that I loved the most; acting and writing…and generally creating.

But it never lasted for very long. Mainly because I was my own worst enemy. It wasn’t that I couldn’t act or write or create. I could. It was that I was quick to put everyone else’s needs before my own. I found myself saying things like, “Oh I can’t take that role, because I would need to move interstate, and I can’t do that.” “Oh no, I don’t have the time to write a noel, I’ll just stick to the short stories.” “I can’t attend the audition, because I have a baby.” “No I can’t take that role because I have a shift at my day job…as a waitress.” Really, it was more like, I can’t take that next step, because I might fail. I was shit scared that I might not be good enough. What if someone tells me I can’t act? What if someone tell’s me I can’t write?

I don’t think I am alone.

I know so many people who are incredibly creative and talented. They are artists and entrepreneurs in their own right, teachers, public speakers, performers, filmmakers, authors, business gurus, singers, doctors…the list goes on. Many of them only get so far and then it’s as if someone has popped that bubble of enthusiasm inside their hearts. POP! Everything deflates and all of a sudden it’s too hard, there were more important and responsible things to do.  All of a sudden someone questioned their ability to do that thing that they loved, and they believed them. They stayed small.

I think that the secret to success is about finding that one thing you love beyond anything in the world, but also about backing yourself 100%. Be your own number one fan. So when people question your ability or your motives, or wonder why you are not living your life to a certain formula, or are just plain mean, you can stand your ground and stick up for yourself.

I think we are given a taste of this as we go through adolescence. Amongst all of the other body/brain/hormone changes, we find ourselves thinking differently from our parents, often for the first time. As teenagers we struggle to forge our own identify; our own lives. Sometimes the energy and passion behind our ability to be who we want to become can be frightening. But we don’t back down. It’s as if this energy to achieve something great, and to become someone great, drives us on. No matter how frightened we are. It teaches us confidence in ourselves, and in our emerging ideas and abilities.

Instinctively, as teenagers, we surround ourselves with like minded friends, who cheer us on and are passionate about similar things. They are there to congratulate us, to chat endlessly on the phone into the night about what we love most. They are their when we fall over and know how to pick us up and keep us going.

My best friend would drag me out of bed, make me get dressed and drag me back to my acting class. She was also the first one to read my stories and poems, and who stood on the side of the stage the first time I sang (shakily) and performed (forgetting half my lines), clapping me on, with a huge smile on her face.

So here’s my recipe for success:

  • Find that one thing that you love, more than anything. It doesn’t matter if you don’t earn a living from it yet. But get really clear about that thing that makes you want to get up in the morning.
  • Make time for that thing every single day. Not now and then, not when you have time. Not next week/month/year. Every single day.
  • Promise yourself that you will be your own number one fan. Make a pledge to yourself and say it out loud.
  • When ‘haters’ give you a hard time, I like to remind myself what Theodore Roosevelt said: ‘.It is not the critic that counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of good deeds could have done it better. The credit belongs to the person who’s actually in the arena; who’s face is marred by blood and sweat and dust. Who at the best, in the end, knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, he fails daring greatly.
  • Brene Brown would also add: “If you are not inn the arena, getting your assed kicked too, then I am not interested in your feedback!”
  • Surround your self with people who will cheer you on. Who will stand by the side of the stage and smile and clap, even when your voice is shaky. Who will be there with an ice pack when your bum is kicked, and will be just as excited as you are when you get that book published.
  • And finally, have the courage to show up and get in that arena. If you don’t show up, then I promise you, your dream will never happen. Show up. It’s ok if your ducks don’t line up! If what you are doing isn’t 100% for 100% of the time. It’s actually awesome if you fail sometimes! The very people that you admire, or who are your role models in life are not perfect either. They have failed too! They’re just regular people, often frightened too, who are passionate about something they love, giving it a go. Backing themselves.

And sometimes they get to change the world.

You can too..