Share It Forward Sunday

DAY 101

This is an oldie but still an extraordinary speech from an extraordinary man. I hope he inspires you in your week ahead and to make the decisions you need to make to follow your heart.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

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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!

Share It Forward Sunday

Wow! There have been so many stories and articles that have inspired me to be a better person and create a better world around me this week! I have wanted to share all of them! Here are a few to inspire you lovlies!

First up is an extraordinary story about a homeless man who is a beautiful writer. I always stop and try to do something, for people that are homeless, particularly young people. Whether it’s buying a drink, or donating a few coins, something is better than nothing, because you never know what their story is.

I also wanted to let you know about A Mighty Girl’s facebook page. Their aim is to inspire the next generation of history makers and they are seriously awesome for anyone who works with girls or has girls in their lives…all of us right? They are full of resources, books for girls, inspirational stories about extraordinary women throughout our history or currently making a difference today. Well worth the trip to face book land 🙂

Happy watching and viewing!

Vampy moments in the sunshine

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DAY 87

What a relief! I have a vitamin D deficiency.

I’ve spent the past few months feeling ridiculously exhausted, even after marathon twelve hour sleep ins, and erupting into weepy dramatics over kleenex ads. My husband thought it was hysterical to joke about being pregnant. Not so funny if all of your kids have grown up and moved out of home. I love kids. I’m completely fanatical about them, but I don’t want another one full time.

It turns out, after some serious blood tests, that there is a drought in my vitamin D levels.  Hence the wailing and fuzzy brain activity. Underneath of course there are some more sinister consequences. From my research (Googling health sites) I have learnt of a list of dire health issues that start with rickets and finish with heart disease and have plenty in between. None of which is pleasant. Who knew that the seemingly innocent vitamin D was responsible for so much goings on in our bodies right?

Still, not all is lost it seems. Things can be easily fixed. Apparently nobody has died from a vitamin D deficiency – directly that is. My doctor, Kevin, bless him, gave me stern instructions to take a supplement and to make time for sitting in the sunshine exposing my lily white skin for 15 minutes every day. If I do this then things will begin to improve and my risk of, well…getting sicker and more unpredictable emotionally, will be drastically reduced.

Well okay then. This should be simple right?

Well…

The sun and I are not really friends. True, apparently vitamin D and I are not friends either, however fifteen minutes and I am usually burnt to a crisp, and not the salt and vinegar kind! I can’t use sunscreen because we red heads tend to have fair and sensitive skin, and I am allergic to all and any creams.

So how exactly do I sit in the sun (or UV rays) for 15 minutes without covering up, sunscreen and not burn or get skin cancer?

While pondering this dilemma  I started  thinking how sometimes, even when we know how much something would be good for us, we do everything we can to find the wriggle room. The grand excuse to get out of it.

Any change can be hard. Large or small.It takes effort. It means we have to give up something we are holding onto and move into the unknown. You would think that giving something up to move onto something better for us would be easy, but apparently it isn’t. We humans are very good at holding onto the very things that make us sick, angry or depressed, even when we are aware enough to know it.

There are some interesting reasons for this.

Even though we may not like where we are, what is happening to us or the situation we are in, at least we are familiar with it. It’s the ‘devil we know’. We think we know how to handle or control it. We tell ourselves that it’s easier to deal with the negative situation we are in than risk making a change. What if we take the risk and we fail?

We also hold on to things, situations, people because they are giving us something. Often we don’t change or move away from pain until there is no other option because we are gaining something significant. Now right here you might be saying, I’m in a horrible situation and there is nothing to gain from this. But think for a minute.

I have a friend who seems to have a crazy life of drama. Every day there seems to be some major crisis with him or a member of his family. It is as if the universe seriously has it in for this person. In turn my friend spends most of his day complaining or talking about what is happening, getting advice from everyone, colleagues and friends, on what to do, and garnering support to deal with the latest crisis.

Even though his life seems to be a mess, and I am sure he is not very happy at all with his situation, he is getting plenty of significance.

He is the centre of his whirlwind life. His relationships rely on him being both the victim of circumstance and the bearer or martyr of his families on going drama. It’s his jet fuel. Why would he change?

Change not only takes passion – beyond what is in our head. It takes being self aware; being honest with yourself about what you are holding onto. What are you gaining from the situation you are in?

Then it’s about being courageous and letting go. Taking the magical risk and move towards the unknown; the dream, the healthy you, the drama-less life.

What does this have to do with my vitamin D deficiency?

Well this morning I decided to let go of my reputation for being the family vampire (sun disliker) and all of the significance I have attached to it over the many years. I dragged a chair out into the back yard along with my ipad. I also took my husband…because this little vampire loves company. And I sat in the sunshine with everything covered but my forearms. These of course were exposed dutifully to the sun.

Hmmm. I looked up at the deep blue sky. The world buzzed around us as we read. Our dog slept under our chairs in the shade. A jet flew over our house. Birds called to each other across the neighbourhood.

 

I breathed in the smells of our garden and felt oddly connected to the world. Fifteen minutes and I was not only still alive and building my vitamin D reserves, I was really enjoying being outside and hanging out with my husband in the sunshine.

Wow! Who knew right?

“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”
― John GreenPaper Towns

Share It Forward Sunday

Hello Lovelies,

A little late due to a spot of sickness, but I hope this makes your week a little more inspirational.

This one is from TED talks. If you haven’t checked out their site it’s a must. TED talks are full of inspirational and informative talks from all walks of life from many different people of all ages and cultures…it’s an awesome community to visit or participate in.

So today I wanted to share this talk from Maysoon Zayid. She’s a beautiful, funny smart woman, who also happens to be a standup comedian, a writer, an actor, a co- founder of the New York Arab/American Comedy Festival, and an advocate for refugee children amongst many other things. What I love the most? In spite of everything she has had to work with in her life her motto is her father’s motto: If I can, can – you can, can. Love.

100 Things to do when you’re upset: The Gala Darling Challenge

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DAY 78

In case you haven’t realised I really like a challenge.

I love the way they get me out of my own headspace, and basically stop me from being bored or lazy or just feeling sorry for myself. It’s one of the reasons I like training days, or attending workshops, or simply giving things a go. I am slightly addicted to testing myself, and questioning the status quo. My addiction has seen me standing on top of a gigantic tree with a flying fox, in spite of being petrified of heights; running on the sand for hours in the sun competing against another team, in spite of disliking sun and sports equally; taking up challenges like#100happydays and attending events such as otaku cons or Neko Nation just to meet new folk and broaden my world. It’s also a way to breathe some quirky, wild fun into my life!

This week I went back to work and felt like I had been hit with a sledge hammer. Within days I was dealing with last minute reports that had to be written for the Director within absurd timelines, staff issues coming out of my ears, deadlines being demanded and a ridiculous amount of emails to respond to. The hours were long and I struggled to find any joy. Yep, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I had also managed to stress my immune system out again by triggering another dose of chronic uticaria. Fun! I had tried the usual stuff: my favourite pink pyjamas, wine, talking with fiends, sleeping in that extra five minutes. But really I was down in the dumps big time! It happens to the most positive of us. There are times we all struggle to change our mindset, even if we have the tools. So I went back to my heros. The ones that will always give me something that reignites my heart, inspires me or just listens. I have a beautiful friend who brought me my favourite cup cake (red velvet sparkle) and just listened to me for 20 minutes while I sooked. I have a son who just seems to know when I need that extra hug or a text message telling me what a great mum I am. I have another beautiful friend who reminds me every day that I need to look after myself. He’s also very good at giving me books to read. I have a husband who adores me, and when I am flat lining he instinctively brings me hot cups of tea in my favourite mug and strokes my hair.

I also have role models who aren’t physically in my life and some are no longer walking this earth. But they are my go to people when I need a good pep talk: Richard Branson, Gala Darling, Danielle LaPorte, Eleanor Roosevelt, Audrey Hepburn and Brene Brown.

This morning as I hid under the doona feeling like a smacked kitten, I instinctively I looked up Gala’s Radical Self Love section. My mood needed some serious medicine, and she never fails to shift my perspective. While I was reading and journalling I came across one of her famous lists: 100 Things To Do When You’re Upset (The Sad Trombone List). I got to thinking, what would happen if I tried everything on her list? Everything. Even wearing a fake moustache for a day? I have never done or even thought of doing much of what is on her list. Ah, my addiction is piqued! So I have decided to take on the challenge. 

The challenge will be that every Saturday I will try at least one of the tips on Gala’s List. I’ve included the list to her site and list so you can follow along or take up the challenge yourself. I will document the task with photos, a small post or a video through Instagram and it will be posted on my DBM facebook page to follow. Some days I may be brave and try two, or three. But the challenge will be to try at least one!

Perhaps you might like to try it with me. 

“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.” 
― Chuck PalahniukInvisible Monsters

The Game Changers in our lives

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DAY 76

‘I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving up.’ Rosa Parks

What makes a leader?

Who inspires us to be better than we are?

Who calls to our hearts to step forward and be accounted for?

Who captures our imaginations and our strength, compelling us to strive for a new day?

For a long time I thought leaders were special people who stood out from the crowd. The type of people who gave grand speeches, stirring the troops before they marched into an un-winnable battle. I often imagined being a female version of Captain Kirk bravely urging the Enterprise into the far reaches of the galaxy to do what no ‘man’ had ever done before. You can imagine my excitement when Captain Janeway was introduced to the cast of Star Trek: Voyager! It’s true that many of our great leaders are just like this.

Sometimes they are artists who stir in us the passion to rise up and change the world around us. As a little girl I would lay in bed before sleep came for me, thinking of the day I might write a song like ‘I Am Woman’ by Helen Reddy; a song that I sang religiously every day for months on the way home from school and that generations would continue to sing.

At fifteen, my perspective on leadership shifted to lead singers of pop bands; they were the ones that stood up front and led their band to greatness. The ones that were the first to answer the questions while the members of the group nodded silently behind them. My obsession with good looking boys aside, these lead singers often showed us a side of leadership that is perpetuated in much of our culture. The image of a leader who knows it all and the followers who look to them for guidance and support. Our work cultures are often based on this model of leadership. So are our education structures.

I was convinced that leaders were born to be front runners until one day there was a fire at my school. We were sitting in the science lab that had a wall of windows looking over the school courtyard with a view of the triple story building and the newly built gymnasium and sports complex. Giant red orange flames and black plumes of smoke and billowed out of the roof of the gym and smoke was quickly filling the courtyard. The alarm bell rang across the school intercom. We could already heard the terror and mayhem in the corridor outside. Our teacher went a distinct shade of white and into shock. Not realising what she was doing she walked to the classroom door and locked it, essentially locking us into the room to await our fate. She told us to sit at our tables and not to move. In those days, you pretty much did what your teacher told you. In those days we were rarely taught to think for ourselves. So we sat. Quietly. Waiting.

Until one of my class mates got up and walked up to the teacher and held her hand and told her it would be alright. That he would take care of everything. He walked towards the door and calmly unlocked it, still holding our teachers hand. Then he told us all to stay calm and line up in pairs. We didn’t hesitate. Although we were scared of both the fire and our teacher, we lined up holding onto each other. Our eyes focused on the fire and our friend Wayne. Wayne smiled at us and told us it would be alright. Our teacher nodded along with him. Then he asked us to follow him down the hallway and out into the fresh air and safety of the school garden on the other side of the school. Wayne was not just a hero that day, he was an extraordinary leader. He was prepared to stand up for what he knew was right and prepared to challenge what he knew was wrong. He was prepared to risk himself for the sake of others. He was prepared to stand up and show up.

One of my favourite stories to talk about is the one of Rosa Parks. Rosa was a 42 year old African American who worked as a seamstress. One day in December, 1955, she got on a bus to travel home from work. Initially she sat in the ‘blacks only’ section of the bus, right behind the ‘whites only’ section. When the ‘white section’ filled up the bus driver told the  black Americans to move down to the back of the bus to make way for the white people. Rosa refused. She was arrested. But on that day Rosa started a revolution for her community; quest for freedom and equality. She didn’t make a grand speech and rally the troops. She didn’t have a position of power in her own life. She just stood up for what she believed in. In that one single act, she showed up for what she believed was the right thing to do.

Perhaps you have leaders in your life, or leaders from the past who inspire you?

I believe that we are all leaders. We all have the capacity to stand up for what we believe is right, and to act on it. Sometimes it’s a small act, a drop in the ocean. But the consequences of these acts are extraordinary.

Here’s the thing: All of us are game changers.

‘You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.’ Rosa Parks

Things I love Thursday

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20th March, 2014

Yay! It’s things I love Thursday. So much to love this week!

A heartfelt gift of a single fresh red velvet cup cake-my total favourite *sigh*; amazing and inspirational feedback from followers of my blog…completely overwhelmed – thank you; hugging my crazy and beautiful giant sons; late night games of Weiss cards, pizza, movies and loads of laughs with friends; yummy Japanese lunches with my man; another enlightening desire mapping session; kisses in the late afternoon summer heat; butterflies, real and imagined; snuggles with our moosh of a dog, Cuba; building sand castles on the Williamstown beach with the awesome people I get to work with every day; beautiful orange and yellow roses on my desk; #100 happy days! birthday wishes to my gorgeous sister and my best friend…Heathcote and New York are too far away; a shared bottle of Brown Brothers with my love; walking to work under the light of the early morning moon; sinking into my panda slippers and hot pink pyjamas and falling asleep!

Being Brave in a deathly life

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DAY 74

Being brave is bloody hard.

So hard, that we will do almost anything to avoid it. Including dancing with the devil. By that I mean that we will hold onto the devil we know, even though it makes us completely miserable, and often sick.

I’m sure most of you have experienced a situation where you had to make an incredibly difficult decision which perhaps involved some vulnerability and risk on your behalf. You knew in your mind that if you could just make that decision, bite the bullet, jump off the cliff, whatever the analogy, you would be putting yourself in the best place possible. Perhaps you would be literally giving yourself the best possible chance of a fantastic life.

Perhaps your decision was about ending a relationship that was clearly not a healthy one. It would mean you would be alone, or a single parent. It might mean that you would have to be financially responsible, because you would be the only one bringing in the bacon.

Perhaps it was about leaving your 9 – 5 day job and full filling your dream career. Maybe this would mean you would have to go back to study, or survive on a lower salary for a while, or perhaps you could make the income but it would mean that you wouldn’t have the safety net of a secure job to pay the bills.

Perhaps it wasn’t about leaving a job at all, it was just about following your heart, and putting your ideas out there. Risking everything to write that great Australian novel, paint that picture, become that wedding photographer, direct that smash hit musical, produce that Academy award winning documentary or go on that round the world trip.

Maybe it’s about putting yourself out there in the first place and actually going on a date, or allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to have an intimate relationship. Maybe you just need to be brave enough to move out of home and set up your own home with your friends, your cat and a single bed.

Whatever it is, being brave enough to take the steps towards your dream, the steps that you know will give your dream the best possible chance, is a huge investment.

It’s true. Being brave and vulnerable is frightening and scary. There are a lot of ‘what ifs’. What if I can’t pay my rent? What if I write that novel and people hate it? What if I put myself out there and I get my heart broken? What if I go after my dream career and it doesn’t work?

Yep. Lots of stuff to be scared about.

But let’s ask ourselves another question. What if I keep doing exactly the same thing that I am doing right now for the rest of my life. Where will I be? What will I be thinking? How will I be feeling? What will I have achieved?

If I don’t change anything; if I’m not able to risk anything or be brave enough to give ‘it'(whatever your ‘it’ is) what will my life be like? Will it be better or worse?

If you are in an unhealthy relationship, it can only get worse. Unhealthy relationships destroy people. They mess with your head, and make you sick in many ways. The longer you are in an unhealthy relationship the more you will convince yourself that you are trapped. And the longer you are trapped the less likely you are to believe that you even deserve to be in a healthy relationship. It’s a never ending spiral. Downwards.

If you are in a job that you don’t like, that doesn’t make you feel like you are contributing, that you don’t bound out of bed every morning to get to – then it won’t get better. You will just become one of the corporate zombies. One of the living dead. The less you feel good about what you are doing, the more you will lose your confidence and struggle to find any joy. The less passionate you are about your work, the less you will invest in it, the more likely you are to be at risk of depression and anxiety. No amount of job security is worth your soul. Ever.

If you don’t actually go on a date, or give relationships a chance, then you won’t learn the intricacies of intimate relationships. There is only so much you can learn about relationships without getting involved with someone. It’s a bit like riding a bike. You can read about how to ride a bike, but you have to get on one to understand the ‘feel’ of a bike and how to balance your body and the bike so you can actually ride it.

If you don’t write that novel, direct that musical, or paint that picture, how will you even develop the skills to become that great novelist/director/artist? We don’t tell babies to get up and run. We encourage them to give it a go. We expect them to fall down all the time. But it’s in the falling down and getting back up again, in an environment of encouragement, that we have all learnt to walk…and then run. Some of us have become Olympic champions! But none of us would have become great walkers or champions if we hadn’t fallen down a fair bit, and gotten back up again.

And if you are still at home in 20 years…dude…what are you doing?

When you read the autobiographies of people like Madonna, Richard Branson, Kylie Minogue, INXS, Martin Luther KIng, J.K. Rowling and Oprah (just to name a few), none of them had their careers or achievements handed to them on a silver platter. They all took massive risks, fell over quite a bit, then rose up to achieve and live extraordinary lives.

They all talk about being afraid. But they were all brave enough not to live a ‘safe’ but deathly life and fight for what they deserve: An extraordinary life filled with passion and joy.

In 20 years time, if you had a chance to travel back in time to speak to your younger self today, I hope you would say something like: “Don’t ever give up on yourself. Because your life is all that you want it to be – be brave.”

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

― Theodore Roosevelt