Action Stations!

Action is the foundational key to all success โ€“ Pablo Picasso

now clock

The best time to take action

Pablo Picasso โ€“ he brings up such images that he must be an exciting fellow, right? This quote seems so obvious and boring but because it’s him, I will use it. Plus of course it means something to me today. Blogging has made me more aware of many things โ€“ which is always a good thing. One of those is my moods over time. Weeks where I am subdued (for me anyway, just call me Tigger!) and weeks where I am the most energetic person on the planet. As I prefer that last one and consider it a form of success, I have decided to ‘fake it until I make it’. By being that person of action, even though I don’t feel like it, hopefully I will find my next ‘thing’ which grabs my attention and I will be off. I read recently that to be happy, you need a project and a community. You are my community (you’re low maintenance, guys, thanks!) so now I am on to projects.

I am soon going to be taking some major ‘action’. I am gathering my holiday leave and some serious savings to go and spend 5 days at a retreat in France (from here in Sydney) with the great and wonderful Barbara Sher (please look her up). She is a no bullshit, hilarious lady who will help you find ‘success’ (achieve the essence of your dreams), even when “you have no goals, no character and are often in a lousy mood”. Barbara is an arch enemy of magic thinking, positive thinking and chanting slogans.

She says she sees people like ‘gardens’, each one a genius in their own right because we are all unique and have our own way of seeing and doing things which nobody else on the planet can do. We deserve it to the rest of the planet to spend time doing what we love so that we can develop those innate skills and share them with the world. Take action!

So I am hoping she will see through me and sort out this grab bag of a person! It is thanks to her already that I am blogging, meeting you people and realising that it’s OK to be a Scanner; a jack of all trades and master of none. She calls us Ideas Factories, I guess as we can link our different interests together to come up with ideas in the real world. Where do you find a suitable career for one of those?? Diva-ish art director at an Ad Agency? Entrepreneur or inventor? I may not necessarily find a new career but will hopefully find a group of people who will be lifelong friends (10 people only on this retreat) and hold each other accountable for following up on making things happen.

Anyway, back to the quote. Who doesn’t have things, ideas, must do’s in their heads? And how often do we take action on them? Or on what percentage of them? This is where Barbara comes in. She has also been called the Resistance Whisperer. She knows full well how you get on a high with an idea, think you’re brilliant and then crash and think you’re stupid. She talks about the third phase, which is where you get back to normal and go find all the detailed notes you hopefully made while on your high and pick them up again. She says it’s a ‘sin’ not to share your gifts and take action on them. Do what you love, even if only for 5 minutes a day. Isolation is the dream killer so have someone else hold you accountable to do what you love.

To be continued…..

 

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Why don’t you?

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A house is a machine for living – Buckminster Fuller

Bucky, if I can call him that has a point here. A house is a machine with parts that are connected and hopefully relate to one another, with fuel that is added to it so that it may fulfil its function of being of service to people. Or are we the fuel? I guess we are ‘inputted’ into our homes and hopefully leave it calmer, fed, organised and ready for the big world again.

But what kind of machine do you imagine this house to be? What do the jolly colours imply; about the people who live here, what could be inside, where it is and how happy they are?

For to me this is nothing but a happy house, with jolly people, crazy goings on, holiday type living and much laughter. I would like to paint my house like this. Seriously!! But why don’t I? Why don’t you?

At age 18 I went to Bali, Indonesia for 2 months and was so taken with the colourful clothing that everyone wore. I brought many items home with me to wear in London and give to friends but the clothing really looked so out of place. ย I think I may have worn something twice and that’s all, but only because I lost my nerve, not because it wouldn’t have been great to wear, I now realise.

Obviously if I lived here:

Colourful Mexico

I would have whipped up a suitable palette for my home in a heartbeat. But I don’t live in Guanajuato, Mexico ๐Ÿ˜ฆ and I haven’t yet had the nerve to even fill my living room with all things pink, orange and tropical lime, this Summer, like I planned, let alone repaint my outside walls and stairs.

I even have an outside wooden staircase I am soon to paint and as it’s my home I can do what I darn like, yet I will probably stick with the pale grey/green ubiquitous in Australia as reminiscent of the gums. BORING!! Or will I? Watch this space. I just went and had another look at it and am beginning to imagine the staircase above…

So why don’t I really do what I think I want? Why don’t you? Am I afraid of being too happy every time I come home and see the jolly colours? I made a similarly colourful large butterfly collage recently and I smile every time I see it on the wall facing my bed. It’s proof that colour changes your mood. I even studied colour for a whole year just to prove it!

Am I worried that others will think I’m a lunatic if I do the whole house? It hasn’t bothered me so far. I look forward to being the eccentric old lady, but perhaps I don’t ‘look old enough’ yet to think I can get away with it.

So for now my home remains neutral, pretty monochromatic and peaceful inside, all pastels and cream, interrupted only by the brights on the walls in the form of paintings, and flowering plants along a windowsill. They are hints at the colourful past I’ve had and even more exotic thoughts I entertain.

But if you ever hear of a dastardly delicious multicoloured house such as the one above, nestled near a national park, about 45 minutes from Sydney, you will know I have gathered my courage and come alive; as vibrant as the colours themselves.

And I will be inside with a ridiculous grin on my face, being wickedly creative day and night and eating these for breakfast every day with hazelnut coffee, living the life I was born to lead, irreverent and happy, childishly so!

Brownies kebabs

So that’s my Happy Life but what about you? Are there any colours you long for, things you wish you would dare to do, or could your ‘machine’ possibly be running on empty these days?

 

You made me jump!

Snake tongue

Two weeks ago I had a rush of energy and decided after work to clear the branches that were scratching my car along my driveway. You know how a five minute job stretches to over an hour? As I was clearing everything in sight I saw this large worm disappear into the ground and thought nothing of it. My housemate came back while I was in the middle of this job and I cleared as much as I could so that she could drive past. The next morning on my run though, I found the ‘large worm’ squashed and dead on my driveway so it must have gotten closer to me than I thought. And it was a 45cm snake, of some venomous description apparently.

So now when I run down my 100 metre driveway each morning, I get the heebeegeebees. I am not particularly afraid of snakes for some reason, or of anything that doesn’t sneak up on me, really and that’s good because there are lots of nasties here in Sydney. In fact a bull ant or leech on me will probably spike my adrenalin more than anything deadly because I’ve felt the effects. ย But now I am sensitive for no real reason and it’s affecting part of my morning exercise.

Give it a couple more weeks and I won’t even think about what lurks on my property any more, much less have a physical reaction. I was triggered by my snake encounter so I pay more attention to the rustling in the undergrowth now but after a while it won’t be a trigger anymore.

Similarly, a friend’s recent burglary shot a little fear into me for a while there and I was careful to hide my valuables. It passes and we get complacent. And typing up interviews about pedestrian deaths as a job a few years ago has made me more careful crossing the road, but only to a certain point now.

So how is our day to day life affected? What’s top of mind and how do we neutralise all those fears that come and go? There are a million things to stress about, if we want to go looking for them.

For me, some hazards, like the snake, come and find me but the rest I choose to avoid. It’s too easy to get trapped into thinking the world is a terrible place by following the news regularly. So I don’t.

I did read instead a lovely blog this week with a little story about how a mother told their child that when watching disaster stories on the news, to always look for the helpers in each situation, because there are always helpers. I’m sorry I forget which blog or post I found that in, but I am so grateful someone shared that and it surely will neutralise rather raise my fear level.

So now I am curious to look for both fear triggers in my life however small and consequently for the ‘helpers’ that alleviate the disquiet in whatever form they take โ€“ a quote, a blog, people, police presence, human kindness. And you can bet which one I will be focussing on. Are you aware of the ‘helpers’ in your life and do they outnumber the triggers?

In no time, if someone shouts ‘Snake’, this is the only kind I want to be be thinking of. ๐Ÿ™‚

Snake tie

 

Who’s singing now?

Birds Singing

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song โ€“ Lou Holz

What does it take to make the birds sing every morning? Will they sing, good mood or bad, cold or wet, tired or afraid? I suspect they will, because they have a song and nothing will deter them from it. They are preprogrammed to sing. They know that’s what they do and it doesn’t occur to them to do otherwise as the sun comes up each day. And it probably makes them feel great! I learned that even faking a smile raises your happiness levels so those birds are probably on to something.

 

Let the Birds Sing

 

The birds in Sydney are noisy. The Kookaburras compete with the screeching Cockatoos, who drown out the Whip Birds and I think the rainbow coloured Lorikeets make a terrible racket, to be honest, much as I am in awe of their looks. With flowers, the sweetest smelling seem to be the plainest and perhaps so it is with birds; that the most beautiful make the worst noise and vice versa.

Anyway, back to the premise of this lovely quote, which is that we all have a song within us somewhere; a talent, a love for something, a gift perhaps. How often do we sing though? What stops us? What increases our confidence to new heights, full of ideas and certainty and inspiration one minute and then whips it all away?

I think that finding what you love, be it reading blogs or books, or admiring painting or photography etc will eventually lead to getting the confidence to create your own. Baby steps, a few notes which hopefully burgeon into a song or even an album.

I’ve read this morning of some people starting their blogs because they just enjoyed reading others’ blogs and wanted to have their own, and having to look for a subject to ‘sing ‘about. They found their voice and sung. Yay for them.

For others like me, it’s an outlet, a voice. I must sing, I simply must. My song is unfolding.

 

Find your song and sing it

Wishing you all a lovely song today and a bumptious and joyous rendition!

 

 

 

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?

Unlimited Imagination

…Do not imagine there is anything
Limited about you – ย Damon Gautama

http://becomingfullyhuman.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/beloved-3/

How can something be limited ‘about us’? We usually say we are limited ‘by’ things โ€“ time, money, physical attributes, energy, connections etc. How we see these limits is up to us.

I went to a talk last year in Sydney where young artists in different fields talked about how each of their art was limited by something and they said it made them more creative, not less. For the first (video) artist, the limit was time. He and his little team had to come up with 30 seconds of prime time TV each day โ€“ which of course took 24 hours to complete. He said the limit forced them to focus, nut out the most important thing to do next and think on their feet. It fuelled their creativity, having to make quick decisions and brainstorm together!

What he said stuck in my mind so I tried it recently. As writing is crowding out my painting time at the moment, I decided to limit myself and paint for only 5 minutes a day. For now I paint only essences, not things. No detail. I have to drop my perfectionism. It forces me to look for essences in life, not only in art. I can always go back to studying detail later.

(See the difference in images โ€“ I am a beginner, by the way).

Anyway I digress. The other artists were limited by money (using crowdfunding forced them to think about what they were trying to achieve and put it in writing to attract funds), technology and safety issues (a large spaceship like installation at a music festival had to be interesting, large enough to be a meeting point and impervious to drunk climbers), and space โ€“ a massive installation in the reception of a corporate office.

The point was that all of them welcomed the limits, which surprised them and dispelled my beliefs. It gave them confidence in a way and forced them to focus; to find their own essence. They welcomed being limited ‘by’ things.

But back to the quote. Damon is saying that there is nothing limited ‘about us’. Huge difference.

We may imagine that we are limited both by things and ourselves but we are not. He says not to imagine it which suggests it’s all in our imagination.

How freeing, how powerful it makes me feel, when I think about having nothing in my way, not even myself. I will concentrate now on getting out of my own way!

Thank you Damon for showing me that this invisible barrier, my limits, doesn’t exist. It existed only in my imagination. It’s up to me to realise my own potential now that there is nothing stopping me.