Things I love Thursday

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DAY 44

13th February, 2014

Odd how we can become immersed in the darkness, trapped in a prison made up of our own fears and longings.Our desire holds the key, a step towards freedom and bliss, but we hang back in the shadows, not quite sure which direction to run in.

Listen to your heart. Trust your instinct. Remind yourself about the richness that surrounds you already. You already have much of what you wish for, you just ned to open your eyes to see it.

So today I am practicing gratitude. I am opening my eyes, and my heart. I am being whole hearted. I am being whole hearted and vulnerable and walking out of the prison in my head and I am free.

Today I am celebrating the things over the past week that I have loved: the complete stranger who saved my son, grandson and daughter in law’s lives last night, by alerting them to their house being on fire- he walked off when the fire brigade arrived, before they could thank him properly~ wordless, grateful; not having enough time to catch up/talk/eat with my friend from the UK ~ hysterical, connected; being brought to tears watching my beautiful daughter in law trying on wedding dresses ~ grateful, joy; having a breakfast feast in a favourite cafe ~ sated; relaxing in the cool early morning air before  the summer day heats up ~ peaceful; my grandson curling into me and wrapping his small arms around my neck ~ love, joy ; waking up with my beautiful English Staffy asleep on the bed beside me ~ love; endless “I love you’s” from my sons ~ love, happiness; the mix of creative exhaustion and pride finishing another show ~ creative ; Butterflies. Everywhere ~ soul, spiritual! Views of my home city, Melbourne, from the top of the Exhibition Building – stunning; being kissed until I fall asleep ~ bliss.

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Something beautiful happened today

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DAY 42

11th February, 2014

Today something very beautiful happened.

It was life changing.

The very act stopped me in my tracks and made me re-assess some vital elements in my life. How I go about my work, how I engage with other people, who I love and adore, essentially how I walk in this world and be me.

The very act made me realise a surprising truth about myself.

And it brought me to a breathless moment; a single instance of pure white light; a thoughtful experience in the middle of a manic day.

Today my friend made me a cup of tea.

In my cup.

Two tea bags.

Milk.

Two sugars.

Humph.

A luscious moment of being truly grateful for my friend. Unbearably grateful for a strong, sweet, hot cup of tea.

It wasn’t the being grateful though. Or the way my friend smiled at me when she asked me if she could make me a cup of tea. Or even when I started to get up out of my chair thinking I should really make the cup of tea myself – why was I letting my friend go to all of that effort, going out of her way to make me tea. Who did I think I was right? Who did I think I was to let someone go out of her way to do something for me? Who did I think I was to allow someone to help me.

Because that was it.

I was so tired. My head was a bit foggy, and I was looking at a list of tasks that needed to be ticked off before I went home and lay on the couch in an exhausted, depleted little mess.

I needed some help.

And I needed to let my friend help me.

I needed to allow my beautiful friend to make me a cup of tea. With her smile. And her love.

I often talk about how important it is for us to give to others, to ‘pay it forward’ with acts of kindness and compassion. It’s extraordinary that although we are the ones being kind, or generous, or loving, how life changing this is for our souls.

So we also need to accept, and allow others to care and give back to us, because in doing so we learn how to be grateful. In allowing someone to care for us, we experience vulnerability. In allowing someone to give back to us, we also allow for that person to feel the extraordinary life changing feelings in their soul.

So today something beautiful happened. My friend made me a cup of hot tea, and I gratefully accepted her gift.

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou

A sickly little moment

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Day 36

5th February, 2014

Today I have been feeling pretty sickly, so I thought I would focus on ‘things that I love’ to make me feel a bit better. If you haven’t tried this before, it is an idea started by Gala Darling, who I think is one of the most inspirational bloggers around. She posts “Things I Love Thursday’ on her facebook page and site every, you guessed it, Thursday.

Mine are a little different. I usually post a “Things I Loved this week” on my facebook page every Sunday night. It’s a good reminder of the extraordinary life I am living and how much love and joy I am surrounded by. It’s also a little reminder of how quirky I am, but still good.

Anyway, hopefully it inspires you. If you are having a tricky day or not feeling too good for whatever reason, remember to breathe and that your life is very precious.

Things I LOVED this week: a kind text message from a very beautiful friend, who really has no clue how beautiful she is; endless cups of tea in bed with my favourite, turquoise and crimson china tea cup; creating my Dream Board and realising that I have already accomplished quite a few of the goals on my bucket list in just a month! Watching my beautiful niece get married to an equally beautiful young man in the Royal Botanical Gardens, and dancing at their wedding to a Syrian band; realising that I am ridiculously fortunate to be working and playing along side some incredibly gutsy and talented women; meeting a few of our awesome fans who follow our YouTube Japanese pop culture show, ‘It’s Japan, Man!‘ Cuddles with my sweetheart of a cat, Mia; big conversations with the little people in our family, Sienna, baby Jordan and baby Cruz; escaping from the 40+ heat, to a lovely little restaurant on the banks of the river, and having an unexpected lunch with friends; finding another quirky film that I love ~ Warm Bodies ~ who knew zombies could be sooo cute! Sleeping. A lot! Hanging out with a room full of entrepreneurial and creative women at the League Of Extraordinary Women’s breakfast; Having a pedicure and a foot massage, there is something incredibly luxurious about being taken care of; holding hands with my sweetheart of a husband and falling asleep, again, in his arms. These are the things I loved this week.

By the way, how are your Gratitude Jars, or your Bucket List Jars going?

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”  – Maya Angelou

Buckets, jars and other inspirational vessels to love

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Day 34

3rd February 2014,

Over the past month I have noticed many of my friends and family setting up different strategies to achieve their goals, or inspire themselves. There are many ways to inspire and motivate yourself to achieve your dreams, or to realise that you are perhaps already living your dream, you just didn’t know it. Of all of the ideas, I really love the ‘JAR’ idea.  Here are some ideas that my beautiful friends have used that involve a jar and a list of sorts.

It starts with a jar!

The first thing you want to do is find a jar. Now if you are like me – you probably have some beautiful empty jars in your cupboard. But if not, there are all sorts of empty jars to buy at the supermarkets, markets, second hand stores or $2 shops. You want to make sure that it’s relatively big though, so you can fit lots of bits of paper or little cards inside!

When you bring it home, it’s time to decorate it. Yes…there is a craft project, sorry I wasn’t up front about it! You are going to be looking at this jar all year, so make it beautiful and make it reflect your own personality! You can cover it, past jewels on it, use stickers, or print off a picture and place it inside the jar. If you are really adverse to craft project, then by all means, keep your jar plain and un-bedazzled! Next step is naming your precious jar: Happiness Jar, Things I love Jar, Kicking Goals Jar, or whatever the purpose of this jar will be.

Now it’s time to set up the …

1. Gratitude Jar

Every morning before breakfast, and every evening, you are going to write down one thing you are grateful for, and pop it into your jar. So make sure you have a stack of coloured paper, or love heart shapes, or something inviting to write on. Equally important is to have something special to write with. Remember that this is a new habit you are forming. So commit to writing morning and night for the next 30 days. That’s all. Just 30 days. When you get to the end of 30 days empty out your jar and read the 60 things that you are grateful for. Make sure that before you do you create some space for yourself, find a spot that you like to sit, make a drink for yourself, wrap yourself in your favourite blanket, or sit under the stars…celebrate how rich and full your life is. Savour how beautiful and incredible your life is – every single day.

Then pop your pieces of paper back in your jar and recommit to writing down one thing you are grateful for every morning and every evening for the next 30 days. Don’t open your jar in 30 days though. Try to recommit to your task every 30 days until you are up to New Years Eve. Then on New Years Eve, find a magical space in your part of the world, empty your Gratitude Jar, and celebrate your abundant and full life! You will be amazed at how rich and exciting your life has become!

2. Things I Love Jar

This one is similar to the gratitude jar, although it is coming from a slightly different place. Every Friday night or Sunday morning look back on the week and write down all of the things you have loved. It could be playing with your new kitten, learning how to make cheese sauce, going to see your favourite band, holding hands with your love, laughing at your friends hysterical story until you cried, baking cup cakes, eating cupcakes, kissing in the rain, wearing soft multicoloured socks, swinging in the park, lazy barbecue lunches with your friends…the list goes on.

Or, you can write a list at the end of the day, every day, for the whole year.

The idea is that you open your jar on New Years Eve in the same way as the Gratitude Jar, but you are celebrating a year that you loved!

3. Happiness Jar

Another version of the Gratitude Jar and the Things I Love Jars, the Happiness Jar is a little simple. Most people feel really comfortable having this one on their desks at work. It’s pretty straight forward. Whenever something makes you feel happy, write it down and pop it in your jar! You can be a bit more disciplined if you like, and at the end of every day write down one thing that made you feel happy.

Again, if this is a new habit for you, then just commit to writing down your happy moments for 30 days. Read the contents of your jar at the end of the first 30 days to remind yourself why you are doing this. We are very well trained to look for the worst in our lives. This is partly because we are wired to protect ourselves from danger, and also because drama and disaster sells (think 6 o’clock news). Writing down the things that make you feel happy is about reconnecting with the goodness in the world. It’s about finding the joy and beauty that is already happening in your life, you just haven’t noticed it because you haven’t been looking for it. Once you have read the contents of your Happiness Jar after 30 days, pop everything back in your jar and commit for another 30 days. But again, don’t open your jar of happiness. Wait until New Years Eve. Then truly celebrate how happy and extraordinary your life has become.

4. The Bucket List Jar

This one is a little different. It’s focused more on achieving goals. First you are going to write what is commonly referred to as a Bucket List – as in kicking the bucket. Essentially these are all of the things that you want to achieve before you ‘kick the bucket’. This may seem relatively simple, however I would advise you to give yourself a bit of time.

Find yourself a large piece of paper and some textas.

Start listing all of the things that you want to accomplish, experience, have, or give back. Write everything down and number them as you go. Nothing is too small or too big! For example, you might write down ‘Have coffee with Zoe on Friday.’ or ‘Run in a New York marathon.’ Write down everything in your head. Don’t stop yourself.

Try and cover areas of your life from the following: health, travel, relationships, money/finance, learning, fitness, wellbeing, family.

When you have run out of steam, go for a walk or take a break. Leave your list somewhere you can see it and over the next 3 – 5 days add to it. You should find that as your list gets longer you become braver at writing down what you really want.

You want to write at least 100 things down on your list.

Then this is where it is a little different from the previous ‘jar’ ideas. Put up your list on your wall, fridge, wardrobe or bathroom mirror. Next to your list place a pile of post it notes, or cards with a pen or texta.

Over the next 30 days your aim is to do one thing every week on your list. Some items on your list may take a little longer, and you may be able to achieve a few things quite quickly. That’s ok. But aim to do at least one thing EVERY week.

When you achieve your  goal for the week, re-write that goal on your post it note and pop it into your jar. By the end of the month you should have at least 4 goals that you have achieved. Woot Woot!! How awesome does that feel? Now increase that aim to achieving TWO goals off your Bucket List every week. By the end of the second month you will have achieved 12 goals. If achieving two goals is enough to manage in your busy life, then stick with that, but if you think you can achieve a bit more, then increase your aim to achieving THREE goals a week. The idea is still to achieve at least ONE goal – this is your minimum commitment to yourself, with the other one or two goals being a bonus. At the end of the year, on New Years Eve, celebrate the way you have planned, and open up your jar to read all of your achievements for the year. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you are on a mission, one task at a time.**

Most of all have fun with it! You may want to have a few types of jars going. Or one at work and one at home. Just remember to start off one step at a time, and focus on getting through the first 30 days!

When you get to the end of your first 30 days I’d love hear how it went! And I’d definitely love to know how you go on New Years Eve!

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

Ayn Rand

 **Just remember, in terms of all of the goals that you have written down, there are many ways to ‘have a family’ or ‘become a movie star’ – you may just need to think slightly outside of the box to achieve them.