Watch how you do it

Weighing it up

It’s a fairly regular occurrence it seems. You see it on TV and in the movies and you even do it yourself. You have an item you need to place somewhere else, say a piece of paper or an item for the laundry basket. Unfortunately you are not close to the bin or basket, but you are within throwing distance you reckon. So what happens next and what does this say about you? There is even an app or a game for your phone to chuck paper balls in the bin. It’s so satisfying, a little win in your day if it gets there. A little excitement, a little risk. A little finality. Think how nearly all sports involve getting a ball of some sort into a final resting place. Final, done, no questions asked (usually). Some certainty in this otherwise very uncertain life.

Anyway, there I was this morning, throwing dirty sexy lingerie (I’m joking, boring cotton underpants) into the laundry basket….. I assessed the distance, the wind speed, how hard I would need to scrunch the undies so they wouldn’t unravel in flight and slow themselves down. I looked at the direction, considered underarm and overarm throws and other items they might bounce off on the way. I aimed carefully at the basket and….

Waste paper

Do we often take this much care in life when doing things? Do we prepare ourselves for ‘flight’, decide how we will make our next move, aim ourselves in the right direction and give ourselves just the right propulsion, not too much, not too little? Or do we take no risk at all and simply walk over to the basket, using perhaps more energy than we need to do the same work and without the excitement? What if we throw the item and fail? What if we miss? Are we resigned, laugh, decide it was worth the fun and then walk over? Do we leave it for next time we are passing by or hope someone else will clean up after us?

There seem to be signs everywhere about who we are, how we do things, what mood we are in. We manifest in every little thing we do and I mean every thing, even as simple as this. Take a look at how you do things and wonder perhaps if there’s another way…

As for me I missed the basket. I forgot to factor in my unco-ordination. It was off to the right and fell short of the basket. All the more reason to try again next time 🙂

paper slam dunk



Minute to Minute, Lock it in!

Up and Down

What a day-to-day affair life is – Jules Laforgue

I like this quote but I would like to change it to ‘what a minute to minute affair life is’. I’ve heard that each day is like a mini lifetime, between waking up and going to sleep. I’ve appreciated and pondered on that too. However, recently I’ve been getting caught up in my own head again, trying to attain goals and reach destinations instead of appreciating the day to day or the minute to minute or even second to second. The first step to ‘recovery’ is awareness so I’m going OK.

Over Easter and the last week while housebound with my daughter who has just had a tonsillectomy I got this idea to have a huge purge of my belongings so that if I ever rented out my house as a holiday home, I could hide or remove what’s left of my stuff in an instant at short notice.

It makes you take stock of where you are at in this minute – surrounded by old projects, unworn ‘fat/thin’ clothes, sentimental keepsakes, inherited items, things which might just be worth something if only you knew who to ask, old tapes and DVDs of home videos etc . The list goes on. I once read a fascinating article on why we keep stuff that isn’t ‘beautiful or useful’ and it made so much sense. I have plenty in each category.

So I did well. A lot went to the tip and a similar amount went to the local Op Shop, Salvation Army. I was as ruthless as I could be given my thrifty nature, huge imagination for what something could be used for and a history of having lived in 6 countries, each with their own collectibles and memories.

Where the quote comes in is that I had to keep remembering that short of getting a skip and having someone else just come take it all away, I would never reach my destination as such. The best I could come up with was blocking off a larger bedroom and creating a store room out of it, which I think is the way to go.

I have moved house enough times to know that what looks like a few books on a shelf translates to loads of very heavy, large boxes. I just had this story playing in my head that I would be able to purge it all, live out of a suitcase, take off and travel the world again. I don’t need anything! But then I would pick up one item at a time and find reasons to keep it. I am still going and learning now to enjoy each minute, each item discarded. Joy is now after all 🙂 Each item I discard only makes a fraction of a difference with all that I have accumulated but it’s a little win each time; a little victory to let it go.

This translates to ways of thinking also. We have accumulated our stories, beliefs, ways of looking at things and things which stress us, and our lives will never be ‘problem free’. Silly things pop into my head when I first wake up. So I can only let each little stressor go. My daughter will eventually want to get a job in her spare time around her studies when she has something she really wants to save for. My son will stop playing computer games and join the world when the course of nature demands he become interested in getting to know the (opposite) sex. And these stressors will be replaced by other ones I’m told. My elderly friend John, with his age 50 and 60 something kids said the kids’ problems just get bigger as they get older. They could marry someone who treats them badly, go broke, get divorced etc etc.

Thus I will never arrive. My house will never be completely fixed (think leaky taps, rotting wood and every noxious weed present in my garden). My kids will never live life the way I do. My finances will never be such that I spend with abandon and without guilt. I happen to have just whipped my body into shape, thanks to my other blog but that can change in an instant 🙂

So Jules, if life is a day to day or minute to minute affair, in this minute I am proud of myself for letting small things go. I am proud of not letting the messy rooms stress me, or the holes in my sofa covers, or curtain linings. I am enjoying purging one item at a time, getting organised and decluttering. As long as I have the energy and will to even do this, life is great! That’s what happy is to me; being engaged.

This day’s affair then is to be filled with as much laughter as possible, as much letting go as I can manage and as much simplicity and peace as I can create.

do more

The Invisible Swimming Pool

Invisible swimming pool

It’s going to be 43 degrees here in Sydney today, so I thought I’d take the chance to swim before work instead of blogging! At 7am now, it’s already roasting.

I guess as long as I remember why I blog (makes me happy) and keep some perspective (swimming when the pool is this warm makes me even happier) I can’t lose.

What’s your invisible swimming pool? Has it tempted you away from blogging anytime recently?

Digging the dirt

When you dig be careful where you throw the dirt – WGB

This seems a little sinister after my tale of love and self acceptance but I wanted to explore this. It seems like a little quip – being clever with the metaphor of digging but I can see an extraordinarily valuable lesson here.

I want to share an experience I had years ago where my partner was cheating on me. I became a super sleuth, thinking I was so clever by winkling out every piece of information on who, when, where what! Well I might as well have taken a very large plank of wood and beat myself over the head with it!! For every time I found something I would almost go into shock. It was like a stabbing pain in my heart, the blood would drain from my face and I would get really cold and start shivering. The worst thing that happened was that I forgot basic maths skills. I would add two and two and make five, or two hundred and even a thousand! Seek and ye shall find. I sought, I dug; dug with my bare hands in effect and smeared that dirt all over myself, before I continued digging.

Imagine if we had some milk and it was off. Getting a rancid mouthful is not nice but it’s useful information. We deal with it. Continually testing that sour milk in every coffee, or on cereal or to make smoothies once we know the milk will probably give us a sore stomach, is just madness. We have our information. We dug and we found dirt. Lay the dirt gently aside and process what you have found. Stop digging.

Indulging an awful addiction is the only way I can describe it the sleuthing and was one of the bleakest times of my life. It was not because of the events – yes he was troubled enough to think that chasing other women would help him escape his woes. I don’t judge him for that. The problem was my reaction and the need to keep attacking myself with all the details which clearly hurt deeply. I didn’t see that then. It was like I enjoyed this heightened sensitivity. I was full of rage; self-imposed I now realise. I told myself wild stories about what a monster and a liar he was and that I was undeserving of this treatment. However he wasn’t doing it to me. He was just doing it to himself. In the same way I was just doing this to myself; looking for further proof that I had a right to anger and misery. But we probably all have a right to anger and misery if we relive our past and judge an event as worthy of self pity. Of course I was actually afraid – of my life changing with the split; of being unlovable, alone and broke.

But all good things come to pass. And I say good because ultimately we were fine and good friends and better off apart. What I have learned from this quote is once you have dug and found what you are looking for, process it, and let it go. Don’t take the dirt, roll in it, smear it on your friends with your rants, fling it at everyone who comes near. Step outside and see it objectively or seek help to do this, as if it were happening to someone else, because your own health, mental health and wellbeing are at stake. It is extremely difficult to do but you get the ultimate prize – the strength to deal with crises as they arise, and more importantly the knowledge that you have that strength when you need it.

Which way to success?

I am succeeding just by being on this journey – Tama Kieves

We hear in many different quotes about how the journey is more important than the destination (see my explorations on 24th September on this subject). It is often repeated not just because it’s true, but because we need constant reminding of it; that it’s not a race to the end. The end is our passing, so what’s the hurry? You don’t get a final score at any stage and if you took a mental snapshot of your life at any time to see if you were happy with it – kids, relationships, money, health, fame – for example, what would you then do with that information? Would it change your mood to happy or sad? It’s just a story, your own judgement of your own criteria. Whatever power is has is what it gives you.

This ‘quote’, which I read in Tama’s new book, Inspired and Unstoppable (book review to come) speaks to me because I was/am currently on a particular journey to quell the hunger in me. I couldn’t name that hunger exactly. It was a hunger to ‘succeed’ and with all the books I’ve read, I know that I need to define what success means to me if ever I am to get it. But that definition is written in sand with a stick at the water’s edge and has to keep being redefined. Until I finally got it, as Tama did. ‘I am succeeding just by being on this journey’. By allowing myself to follow my DNA, my passion, my heart’s desire – to connect with others – I am succeeding.

Today I would define success as waking up at 5.30am every morning and reading, but then leaping out of bed because I can’t help myself, even if it’s cold and dark, and rushing over to the computer to look up something, or write something or check my stats for the blog (which is only in the last 8 days as I didn’t get any views before then, so thank heaps to the 15 followers!).

Success is waking up and busting to start your day, whatever it is you’re doing. I am going to work of course and by western standards I am no success there, in an entry level job, but it is still a success because I enjoy it.

Tama explains about feeling like a misfit (the tune from ‘There once was an ugly duckling’ keeps going round my head this morning). I think we all feel like a misfit in some way.  I really do! Tama talks about this hunger and energy to do something, which leaves the contented others scratching their heads. I get it. I have this hunger. I see the hunger as a source of joy as I keep enjoying trying to satisfy it, with whatever I am drawn to. You can’t get enjoyment from anything unless you like it so I am glad that I have so many interests. Far more potential for fun. When you are depressed you have no interests.

It’s OK for me to jump from activity to activity, like a crazy person and not finish anything. It’s OK for me to sit for hours doing a jigsaw puzzle, completely hyperfocused and oblivious to distraction. It’s OK to do anything at all! We are all OK. I am succeeding because I am following my own path and accepting it.

How do we not succeed, not be on a journey? We don’t. We are all on one whether we like it on not. So we are a success. We can be successful at acting, singing, being a parent; or successful at losing our money as a gambler, or our looks to anorexia. We succeed at whatever it is that we put our focus on. That part of our lives thrives in some way. The outcome may not always be something you think you want, but you are doing it for a reason, even drugs.

I think Tama was referring to her personal hunger to be rich, famous and recognised but I think she then came to realise that she had already succeeded because she allowed herself to admit her need to herself and others without flinching, and to chase it unabashedly. She accepted herself, which is what I keep coming back to. There is a place for everyone, there is a tribe for everyone and just by turning on your computer each day and seeking out anything new, personal and of interest to you, your journey is proceeding in the direction of your choice.  No one else’s.  It’s a little mirror to your soul.

My taking up blogging recently is both the catalyst and the byproduct of succeeding. It fulfills a need I have always had for seeking connection with others. I am lucky that blogging exists and that I finally found it. Your reading blogs (or any kind of information seeking and learning) is also the catalyst to and the byproduct of your succeeding. You are choosing to enrich your mind on a subject that interests you; you are taking time and allowing yourself to enjoy what works for you, and to clarify and confirm what you probably already know. You are being the authentic you, on your authentic journey.



Needlessly Happy

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

Unknown Author

Today I am a staggeringly rich man. Only I am not a man and I do not have a huge bank account. But according to this quote, I am a billionaire. I am so happy, that as my undiscovered artist friend Leanne Wilkes says ‘Sometimes Stella has so much love that she could hug the world’. Leanne has a beautiful sketch to go with that but I don’t know how to put up pictures so all I can do is link to another image of her cartoon character Stella having the completely opposite day to mine today.

So why today? And how can I capture this feeling, put it in a bottle and take a large spoonful whenever I need it? I am having one of those days where you are so excited that you start ‘spinning’. You know, where you start to walk towards one corner of the room to make a coffee, say, but then you think, ‘Oh I will just wipe down that sticky surface’ and as you go to find a cloth you find yourself turning again to go do something else, until you end up literally turning on the spot with a huge smile on your face? That is the best feeling. You are enthusiastic for everything, even cleaning!! I have so much to do and I really want to do everything. I don’t even know where to start. I realise this is as good as it gets. Life does not get any better than this. Joy is Now. This is all I could ever hope for in life. Having billions and getting to meet Barbara Sher could not even improve on this mood. If I felt like this every day, you’d probably buy me one of those awfully long sleeved, tight fitting white jackets that only do up at the back. I have actually arrived at that fabled destination somehow without passing go and without enjoying the journey along the way, and I wish I had the coordinates on my GPS to work out how on earth this happened!

It doesn’t happen everyday. I don’t take drugs (or smoke or drink) and I have not eaten anything special. In fact I forgot to eat until 11am today which was so unlike me that I can’t ever remember doing that before. Everything seems to be falling into place for me and yet nothing in particular has. I have the same financial obligations, house and garden chores; everything that can stress me when I am in the wrong frame of mind but today it’s not wrong. It’s all right! It’s the opposite of getting out of bed on the wrong side. So I remembered this quote and sought it out on the internet instead of finding a quote in my calendar and forcing myself to examine it for its inherent wisdom.

Therefore today’s post may be a bit different but I am still looking for answers. Capture this feeling, examine it, be able to recreate it, Emma!! I know from experience that feelings are like quick sand. You can cup the sand in your hands, and do things to hold on as long as possible but one by one the grains slip through your fingers and get replaced with new feelings. Life would be boring if they didn’t and we wouldn’t be able to know just how good a good day was unless we referenced it to a bad one. So that’s OK but I can’t help being greedy.

One piece of advice I found when I was looking for answers to my depression a few years ago, was to keep a journal of when you were happy, and not just when you were sad. You had to write out exactly what you were feeling, what had happened to make you so happy, what you had just done that day etc. It was good advice and I still have some of those journal entries. The objective wasn’t to recreate exactly what you had done that day (and today all I did was wake up and read for a bit in bed), though it could certainly help because we all forget what makes us happy. The reason to write it down was to read it again when you were sad to remind yourself that you would be happy again. This too shall pass. And knowing and believing that I wouldn’t always be depressed was the best comfort ever!!  When you are depressed you somehow think ‘this is it, this is all I have to look forward to, more of this’. No wonder people get desperate. I had my ups and downs and still do (the full moon has a lot to answer for) but I observe my moods rather than jump into them. I have not had ‘depression’, nor taken the drugs for them, in 7 years and nor will I need them again now that I ‘self-medicate’ with healthier thinking.

Anyway, I digress. I think the answer for capturing some of that richness, (well happiness really), could be in this quote perhaps.

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

What is the direction, the cause and effect? I am happy as it states because I don’t need anything right now. I need the least and I am therefore ‘rich’. But it also works the other way.  Because I am so happy I then don’t need anything more in my life in order to keep enjoying this happiness.

So how do we make ourselves ‘need the least’ in order to feel rich and happy? I think perhaps I am happiest when I narrow my focus down to my immediate surroundings and activities. Joy is now, here.  I realise for example that I am reading a book in order to be relaxed and happy while I am reading it. I am not reading it to get to the end! There is no special prize for finishing it; in fact I will be sad when I do. By remembering that I get happiness from reading, I enjoy reading it even more.

I feel rich by forgetting or not focusing on the things that I sometimes think I need. I only seem to need an amazing holiday involving hot black stones and Frangipani flowers when I look at a Luxury Travel magazine. I don’t need them today because I can see how happy I am without them and that they could not add anything more to my life.

So what have I learned today from the unknown author?

I have learned that if I take a moment to observe my happy moods and appreciate them while they are here, then in these moments I learn that I truly don’t need anything else in order to be happy. And if I can hang on to that wisdom when I am being tempted by glamorous things I can’t ‘afford’, then I am less likely to think I ‘need’ them in order to be happy.

It is a great mood to learn from yourself in. Get out your pen or computer next time you are happy. It’s a really good investment.