How to attract the creative

It is better by far to speak with a person than to a person – J.D. Boatwood

Speak with you darling

Ouch! I am guilty of this one. Sometimes I go into warp speed, all excited about my latest subject and off I go, like a cork out of post Grand Prix champagne. There is no ‘with’ about it. The unwitting listener goes through Continue reading


Yin and Yang

Power tools

I haven’t blogged for a while as my energy seems to have gone into doing up my home. I have heard of the concept of masculine and feminine energy and I wonder which is the more masculine – writing blogs or using power tools! I tend to reject the outside world, including my boyfriend, when I have this huge energy for getting things done so my renovating is a masculine pursuit for me. But what is writing? If feminine energy is being sensual, loving, yearning and preparing for someone else then I would assume that writing is a masculine pursuit.

What constitutes feminine energy? Some people are quiet and softly spoken, good listeners, gentle souls. That’s easy to spot. I look the part, wearing mostly dresses, my long carefully curled hair, make up and love of pink and anything girly but I have a lot of energy (and calloused hands) which surprises people. Sometimes I just want to get things done, so everyone else can bugger off and did I mention that I swear (a lot on a bad day)? I get impatient with pfaffing around, wonder why people don’t just get on with things sometimes and probably come across as aggressive at times.

I actually had a quote about gluttony to write about today but I am so off track I give up on that one for now 🙂 The ultimate digress!

Anyway back to today’s digress. My probably very sexist comments here are just ramblings – exploring out loud, which is why I took to blogging in the first place – a journey not to teach but to discover.

And of what use is today’s outburst to you, the reader if you have gotten this far? I think this has been a reminder to me to become more balanced. I must remember to use all sides of my persona and not head down a masculine path like a woman possessed. Living alone with my kids and not seeing my partner very often (he is another independent creative) has allowed me to indulge my selfish side, which often involves getting things done. But once I am on this ‘kick’ I find it hard to stop. It was Mother’s Day yesterday and I spent the whole day physically working on the home and garden. But I had the best day! And what does it take to commute this energy back to blogging? I committed to myself to at least try today and it’s been hard. This post has been rewritten so many times. I am all over the shop. No beginning, middle or end; no satisfactory conclusion (yet?)

OK here’s the moral of my story. May you remember today to stop and become aware of where you are at – achieving at the expense of human relations, or indulging in love and friendship while the things you should be doing remain neglected and are slowly building up into crisis mode. May your energies be balanced and harmony be restored.



Clear as Mud but Twice as Satisfying

Look around you

The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened – SAKI

When I was younger I dreamed of being many things and not once did I want to be a writer, as I do now. At seven I wrote stories about magical dolls based on my Tiny Tears and ‘April Love’. I wrote about talking bluebells and I even penned a LOT of poems which I haven’t done in years (unless you count the rap song my boyfriend and I wrote together, 2 lines each at a time, as a series of playful text messages recently). I even won a local council writing competition at seven; the pinnacle of my career thus far.

Although my childhood aspirations never came to pass, it’s only because I didn’t want them enough. In fact I never even tried – ballerina, tv actress, hairdresser, air hostess, artist, model, psychologist and more; quite the array. Instead I got an Economics degree and NOT ONCE did I aspire to be an Economist or Mathematician, despite studying those subjects at great length!

So I believe my aspirations are waiting in the wings now that my ‘second life‘ as Barbara Sher puts it, is here. There will be an empty nest someday soon, I am older and wiser, still full of energy and my focus is to a large degree on me now; not on building home and family. This second life is our gift to do with as we please and I am grateful to Barbara for writing a great book on this subject. It’s only too late if you don’t start now.

Anyway I digress. I really picked this quote because I have been thinking a lot recently about how we clean up our reminiscences; or our stories. I have this unfortunate need to tell everyone my life story and also to ‘talk in detail’ when I am not aware of myself, not present. I do waffle, as you would know if you follow my blog! When I am ‘present and aware of myself’, I can summarise, just a little. In order to relay as much information as possible in the shortest time we try to capture the essence of our stories. We miss out details and clean the stories up. Quite often if we are presented with any written evidence of our past such as diaries, we realise that we have changed the story as well as forgotten large chunks, perhaps subconsciously. You only have to hear 5 eye witness versions of the same event to know that they can’t all be right and yet each witness genuinely believes they are recounting what happened.

So we can give ourselves the benefit of the doubt in many cases, due to an unpredictable memory, and in other cases we have to forgive ourselves for rearranging the story to protect our egos, our image of ourselves.

My story of my marriage and its eventual dissolution is quite different to my ex husband’s. The story of our current financial situations are so different that you would hardly know we were the same two people. Of course it’s how we see things.

So how do you want to see things? What image of yourself are you clinging to? Battler, Tragic, Lucky, Brave, Unlucky, Martyr? See how your stories are shaped by this.

Have you ever been at some course where you have to turn to the stranger next to you and tell them your life story in one minute only? Try it. What are the bones you pick out? Your age, marital status, kids, job, tragedies or triumphs that changed your life course? Now try it again but relate the essence of who you think you are inside, what your hobbies and aspirations are, your current joys and anxieties. Your face as you recount this second version will more likely be real, showing emotion, being present and aware. That’s how connection is really made; between real, vulnerable people.

I think I digress again but my point is to be aware of our selective memory and the fact that things aren’t always what they seem – for others or ourselves. Our stories are as clear as mud; as fake as the imperfect egoic mind they are created and rearranged in. For they are arranged to satisfy the ego, whether to say Look at Me or Poor Me or Lucky Me. Each has its purpose.

It’s only when we are here, now that everything is real and true. Look around you. Enjoy this moment and the clarity of what’s around you. You can’t doubt that lovely colour you see, or the friends near you or your home, or the sky or the music you hear. The smells are real, the tastes and the feelings. Clear as a bell and music to your soul, if only you realised it.



Loving Words

Loving the written word


I used the word love as a verb, not an adjective but both will do.

I found this great advertisement by Australia Post on Pinterest yesterday and I rushed to save the image because I love the written word, as I assume all bloggers do.

I have also saved every love letter that I have ever received, back in the days before marriage, when I specialised in long distance relationships.  There are quite a few! When I got each letter, the first thing I would do is rush to the end, like cheating when reading a book. All I really wanted to hear was how much they loved me, how secure our relationship was. Only then could I start reading, feeling safe. They could have saved the bulk of the letter, really.

I did once get a ‘Dear John’ letter from the first chap in Sweden who was supposed to emigrate to Australia to join me, having been together for 2 years at University in England. He wrote ‘I love you but I don’t think I could live with you’, which gutted me. Remember that feeling where the blood drains from your face?

Luckily I had a housemate with actual self esteem who said ‘What kind of weak rubbish is that? Move on immediately’ and that’s what I did, throwing myself into dating again. When he eventually called to follow up three weeks later, I was like Who?? So easy. All that worrying and letter cheating was so daft. I guess I was so afraid of not being lovable. Age sorts that one out hopefully. I’m good now 🙂

Anyway this blog is supposed to be about learning from the Masters, not from advertisements so I leave you with this. As writers (and readers), this little reminder goes without saying.

learn to read



Who’s singing now?

Birds Singing

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song – 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!





You owe me for this!

Owes me Big

As a kid, maybe thanks to fairytales I had this general idea of karma; of good winning over evil; of cause and effect and people owing something to other people if they did something for them.

So for example with my penpal, I sent her a letter and then she owed me a letter. Simple, right? I think we often still live by this rule; some people more than others and in more ways than others. Take a minute to think about where this may be true for you; what your hidden agendas are. If you make your partner a cup of tea, does he then owe you the next one? Because you’ve sacrificed to bring up your children, do they owe it to you to look after you in your old age? If you go to work for someone do they owe you money?

Aha! Yes, one would expect to get paid for going to work. But here’s the difference. It is clearly laid out, hopefully; what you will and won’t do for that money. There is no hidden agenda, it’s quite visible. We may need that money to live on, so we make sure we receive it. Society has made this quite acceptable and we are stressed if we don’t get paid.

So many hidden ‘you owe me’ agendas are exactly that – hidden. Things come unstuck if the other person doesn’t know that they owe you. Trying telling a teenager that they owe you because you pay the bills, do all the gardening and upkeep of the house, or gave them a lift! I do try but it doesn’t really work, to be honest.

This ‘You owe me’ attitude can lead to a lot of heartache, especially if you are too anxious about what others think, to lay down any ground rules first. I have to question why I do stuff ‘for’ my kids and be sure that I am doing it in the right headspace, without them owing me anything. I say ‘for’ because for example when I was cleaning the pool and sewing bench seat cushions over the weekend, I realised it was actually for me, not them. I have to do it because I want to, to be at peace in my own head. And when I don’t want to, I simply don’t. I might go on cooking strike for weeks on end, or refuse to give them a lift again until their room is tidy. You find your own way and your own boundaries.

So back when I was a kid, I would get quite upset at all sorts of things which now no longer bother me. Nobody owes it to me to keep in touch or to return

my phone call or text or email, or make me a cup of coffee. I am far from perfect though. My weak spot can still distress me. If someone owes me money I generally want it back unless I can rationalise it in my head with all they’ve done for me. I’d like to lose that one, one day.

Owe me money

Blogging taught me a lot about letting go of ‘you owe me’. I hope you realise you don’t owe me a thing by the way! If anything I owe you – eternally. I owe you life lessons which will hold me in good stead. I owe you thanks for giving me any attention and your precious time. I owe you for your lovely comments and support.

We don’t owe it to each other to follow those that follow us, or to read everything another writes. I selfishly try to blog each day for myself, and I can’t possibly demand that anyone takes time out of their precious life to read my ramblings every day! If I comment on your blog, you don’t owe me a reply. I comment if it solidifies something for me and makes me happy to comment at the time. If I get the bonus of a reply, that’s a gift; not something you owe me.

Have you looked at your internal beliefs and rules of where you think you owe other people? Sometimes we are pretty harsh on ourselves. We think we owe something to someone even if we would not expect it of them, should the roles be reversed. Watch out for that!! That is surely the path to being used or feeling guilty and stressed all the time, wasting valuable memory with a balance sheet of what you ‘should’ do.

So I hope you realise you don’t owe me. No one actually owes me anything and life is a lot calmer and simpler that way. No hidden agendas, only nice surprises.

Do me a favour


Do you mind being called a ‘Control Freak’?

Alone in a boat

A committee of one gets things done – Joe Ryan

I just couldn’t blog on Friday. I had the requisite hour, wasted ages looking at Pinterest, ran out of time and decided that a great photo and one quote would do it – and then the Universe wouldn’t let me upload the photo! That was my sign. No blog. Blogger’s block or something.

So it was time to do something different. I chose this quote at complete random out of a desk calendar and went with it. The point of these is to stretch my mind. Thank goodness I liked it because I wonder how well bloggers go with a subject they don’t like? Do we freeze up? Would I have made myself write if I found the quote boring? 

Anyway I digress. So why would a committee of one get things done? There are many other quotes about teamwork and ‘two heads are better than one’ and ‘standing on the shoulders of giants‘ etc. But then you get ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ and quotes like this.

This boat photograph inspires a good example. I once had the biggest fight with my best friend when we were 14 on a lake in a rowing boat. We soon grasped the whole rowing thing but when we tried to do it together we went round in circles. This added much merriment at first and a lot of embarrassment being at that age (in a public park in Paris I might add) and we eventually managed to progress, but when it came time to get back to the rental by a deadline so that we wouldn’t lose our deposit, it all went horribly wrong. Communication was lacking, co-ordination was lacking (mine) and we shouted, splashed and zig zagged along until we decided that one person alone would be better despite the combined strength of two. A committee of one.

I do like to work alone. I could not possibly blog with someone else. One person decides what to write. There is no room for discussion except with yourself and you just go for it. It would take too long to brainstorm and discuss other ideas each morning. I wouldn’t want to interrupt my ‘flow’ when I have it and I decide what I write, how I edit and when to hit publish. It’s a great feeling of control, this blogging thing isn’t it? Perhaps as writers/artists we are drawn to being in control. Are you a control freak? Do you mind being called that any more, now that it’s so commonplace?

I accept that side of myself now when it appears. And yet the answer to happiness I have decided this week is to be as easy going as possible and not let anything bother me if I can possibly help it. You might think the ultimate easy going people are all ‘peace, love and brown rice’ and live simply and rather poorly, which is too depressing but here’s the thing – they are happy! They have let go of wanting everything. I haven’t. I want all my creature comforts and lifestyle and to still be happy. Are they so hard to combine? Or do I have to be part of the rat race to keep this up and therefore likely be more stressed?

Anyway, I went to see the ‘movie’ Samsara yesterday, which was really thought provoking. It’s basically just footage of short videos from around the world and music to go with it, for 1 ½ hours. I thought it would be like spectacular armchair travelling (and leave me with a sense of wanting to get on a plane immediately) and it started out that way with volcanic eruptions and a monastery perched on a rock; the monks making sand Mandalas. But it progressed to disturbing images among the incredibly beautiful ones. It left me with a feeling of how lucky I am to be here. The rat race is doable for me because it’s what I know. Appliance factories in China and abattoirs and prisons and armies and tribes in Africa are too out of my experience. We all cope with and ultimately accept what we must.  Such is the human spirit.

Boy I am off the subject today! But at least I am flowing again.

Apologies for rambling on, to anyone who gets this far (or who stopped reading immediately). Blogging is for me to explore my beliefs and I’ve enjoyed that today. I rest my case – a committee of one.



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?


Finding the Artist in You

Life is Art


Hear, hear! Here’s to unique, creative, artistic people! Wow, I guess the part about decorating your home seems obvious but now I think about it, the rest make perfect sense too, even the way you love someone.

I guess we were brought up thinking that art is only paintings and it has subtly been expanded to encompass many things, even graffiti. Andy Warhol comes to mind in this regard.

So why are all these other things considered art by this unknown author? (I found this on Pinterest). They seem to be talking about style but I agree that style is art. And everyone has their own style. Style is neither good nor bad.

If we agree that you each have a certain style and that what you are creating is art, what then makes us stylish and creative? It’s those million and one little decisions we have to make each day, even about what to put on our grocery list. Each decision is a personal choice, an expression of who we are. We are creating our world every second. We are creating art.

I think this is a great way to look at the mundane and not so mundane in our lives. It’s a way to see things differently; to appreciate ourselves more. We are out there, we are doing this, it’s not a rehearsal. If we can appreciate as we go about our day that we are putting ourselves out there, taking risks and creating something unique to us, that tells the world about us, we may grow a little in confidence.

And if you’ve gone one step further and created a blog, showcasing in essence who you are, then there is no doubt you’re an artist. Congratulations!



Where will you be at 103?

dont compare your beginning to someone else's middle

I could have just used the quote ‘Don’t compare’ and stopped there. Using comparison is a natural way of learning so it sticks with us but it can paralyse us also if we feel insecure and therefore feel a yearning to compete. I once read that the Amish people made incredibly beautiful things because they couldn’t see what else there was in the world and be intimidated by it. So they worked on their own styles, developing their beginnings into middles.

When I started blogging I was afraid to read others’ blogs because I knew I would be intimidated. But I had missed the whole point and therein lay my lesson. Not that my outpourings suck and that I am quite immature compared to other bloggers but that it was needless to compare my beginnings to their middles and of course I could learn so much from other bloggers, like having lots of wise aunties and grandparents, or creative and fun young people around to converse with.

How is your middle looking? Are you a newborn, child, teenager, young adult or oldie in this world of blogging? Have you started just the one, focused blog or had ten previous ones which fell by the wayside as you tried to work out who you were or what you really wanted to write about?

It doesn’t matter what you’ve posted on your blog or where you are now. And nothing you’ve posted in the past needs editing. If you’re blogging, you’re moving. Moving into yourself, taking detours, learning, growing, surprising yourself and learning more than you ever could about life, than from a book or a lecture or a wise person. Writing your blogs teaches you more than reading them. It teaches me about myself, my insecurities, my strengths, on good days anyway, and what I am capable of bearing in feedback from others. It teaches me to keep going, try things anyway, let go of the external outcomes and focus on the internal ones.

Spending time at the computer may seem like a waste but the world is right there at your fingertips. A world of thoughts, images and ideas, memory joggers and fresh views. And as you seek out like minded people or even completely different people if you want something completely new every day, you are still becoming more you. It’s like a case of ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ because you don’t know what you are looking for but this is a much faster way to see it.

So how are your beginnings looking? I feel like I begin anew every day. I have no clue what I will write about. Sometimes what I find inside makes sense to me and sometimes it seems to make more sense to others. Perhaps I am helping you become more you when something I write reinforces a belief of yours, or jogs your memory, or best of all, makes you curious and question your own beliefs.

So to all you curious bloggers out there, enjoy your beginnings, be proud of your middles and may we all end up together, still blogging until we have to blog in whatever way we can. I will try voice recognition software one day! May I get to blog about incontinence and retirement and dating the only centenarian for miles. Or maybe make up stories and live in a fantasy world completely removed from the trappings of being 90.

That would be an awesome way to spend my ‘old’ age! Surrounded by a world of friends of all types and ages on the internet, I can continue to evolve and become the real me. Might take me till I’m 103…..

Will you still be at it?