Archive | May, 2013

How To Be Brave

31 May

You’re right. It’s not always easy.

The road might be difficult or rocky or scary. You might trip, or fall or have your foot run over by a car. You might look stupid. These are all possibilities.

A head full of fears

But you might also kick ass. You might succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Meet amazing people. Grow yourself. Expand your heart. Change your life and the lives of those around you.
You might wake up every day and spring out of bed because you are so excited about what’s going to happen today.

And so. It’s time to start.
You might think you will actually DIE, but you won’t.

Fear is a Liar

First, you start taking little steps, moving outside your comfort zone.

You climb more trees.

Sometimes it seems impossible and daunting and those lower braches call out to you with their comfort and familiarity. Sometimes you spend time clinging to the trunk, weathering yet another storm, praying you can hold on until it passes.

And then you get better at climbing. You start looking for more interesting and challenging trees to climb. You start to see that there’s a whole forest for you to explore and climb and play in.

Your world becomes bigger.

Treetops

Notice how you speak to yourself, as you climb. How do we speak to a child as they take their first steps? Try their first words? We respond with wonder and laughter and praise! Even if they fall or make mistakes, you are kind, encouraging, gentle. Be the same with your dreams, in their infancy.

Because that encouragement will keep you going. Guide you on. Pull your heart to its rightful place.
And one day you will stop, and look out across the tree tops and realise you have the most beautiful view in the world, stretched out below you. You feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face and stretch your arms out above the canopy and thank God/the universe/the planet that you’re alive.

That you get to be where you are and who you are.

And you spy that first tiny sapling you were afraid to let go of and realise you would never have seen any of this if you hadn’t taken those first little steps.

Leap of Faith

THAT’S how you find courage. By realising the end point, or something along it’s way, is worth facing your fears.

“Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.”
– After Earth

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

– Mary Oliver

Shiny Song #9

30 May

“Always say “yes” to the present moment.”

Let Go Jump In

“What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now?

Surrender to what is.

Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”

― Eckhart Tolle

Where Are You From?

30 May

Frequently Asked Questions…

There’s also a really interesting discussion about this on Quora:
Is it racist to ask “where are you from originally?”

Let’s keep the conversation open and curious. And respectful.

Setbacks

29 May

We-would-never-learn-to-be-brave-and-patient-if-there-were-only-joy-in-the-world

Oh, the delicious irony that I wrote yesterday about finding contentment with your circumstances as they are.

You may remember last week I had a little run in with a car while riding my bike. Unfortunately, it’s caused a bit more damage than I originally thought.  It’s certainly thrown a spanner in my plans and I’ve had to push back the Melbourne workshop series until July.

It’s so easy to immediately react negatively and blame everyone else for this situation:

“But you don’t understand! Someone ELSE ran over MY foot! Now I am not getting to teach what I LOVE when I want to! I’ve had to change my plans! It’s inconvenient! I have to change flights! And dinner dates! Life is not going how I want!!! WOE IS MEEEEEE!”

Oh, life.

Can't Stop Waves…Learn to SurfI’ve also had set backs enough to realise that when things like this happen, there’s golddust in the experience. (Is this the getting of wisdom? I certainly hope so…)

Whether it’s noticing how I react under difficult circumstances to considering that I’m just not supposed to be in this place at this time. Who knows? Think of something that empowers you and trust that it’s all going to work out, however it happens.

I notice when I let go of the disappointment or anger at things not going the way I wanted, it frees me.

More lightness rushes in. I stop straining against what ISN’T and surrender to what IS.

That’s not to say I can’t change my circumstances again. But in this moment? I surrender. My foot is hurt. I’m not coming to Melbourne. I’m not going to see people I love and have been missing and looking forward to seeing.

What’s the expression? No grit, No pearl?

Man, it’s going to be worth it when I get there!

Patience

Moral of the story? Don’t be attached to outcomes.

Stop trying to control everything.

And always get the details of someone who hits you with their car.

Secrets to Contentment

28 May

I went to a fancy dinner the other night – the kind with set table spaces so you end up sitting next to someone you don’t know.

I’d come to this dinner with my parents and had assumed I’d sit next to them but I’m so glad I ended up next to the man I did. The conversation was enlightening.

You can travel the world, seeking answers, but there’s always going to be some guy who has never left Australia who understands life, love and the universe better than you do.

He practices love and acceptance in a way you strive to, but don’t succeed.

happy pic

He quit his Fly-In, Fly-Out job because he saw his colleague’s toddler fail to recognise his father when they all arrived back home, and push his father away in fear. He swore he would never let that happen to him and his boys.

He dreams of travelling the world, sure. But he dreams of doing it with his family. The family he adores and devotes his time and life to. He lives in a cul de sac and loves the fact the kids can play in the street. He reads books that inspire his dreams of adventure and talks about his wife with such love and respect.

The conversation stood out for a couple of reasons. Firstly, don’t be so arrogant as to assume your experiences make you better equipped for life or happiness than someone else’s. I’m really talking to myself here. You might be chasing truths across the planet, but this guy right here? He gets it. And he’s happy.

Dale Keys Dancing Pants

Secondly, it made me notice how people often talk about their lives. How negatively they talk about their partners and kids and jobs. We all vent, of course, but strangers have even become angry with me about my life circumstances, all the while trashing the life they’ve built.

So often I talk to people who feel trapped in their lives – by their circumstances, by choices they’ve made.

How does that Sheryl Crowe lyric go?

“It’s not having what you want; It’s wanting what you’ve got”

In yoga, we call that “santosha” – contentment.

There are so many interpretations of this niyama (or yogic observance) but I like the view that happiness can be present no matter what your circumstances. That you don’t require more than you have to achieve contentment.

“The renunciation of the need to acquire and thereby the elimination of want.”
– Patanjali

My new friend at the dinner table  reminded me of what’s important and that it’s often sitting right next to you at the table: family, love, connection, dreams you build with other people.
Amazing who you meet when you least expect it.

Be as Happy as Possible

Image

Start the week with Positivity

27 May

Gandhi

Shiny Song #8

23 May

Bike Mark TwainI had a run-in with a car this morning.

Or more accurately, a car had a run-in with me. The driver was slowing down for the red light and didn’t see me on my bike, already stopped at that red light.

Aside from a bruised leg and a run over foot, I’m fine and feeling very lucky that I am. Today on the radio we had dozens of calls from people who have broken bones and been hospitalised after run ins with aggressive drivers or drivers who simply aren’t aware that cyclists share the road with them.

Bike Hemingway

Here’s to sharing space with love and respect – from drivers AND cyclists. Hopefully this tune helps us all lighten up.

Mark Ronson – The Bike Song from Kairos Mosaïque on Vimeo.

Keep Calm and Bike On

Walk & Be Happy

23 May

A friend of mine recently came out of a very long relationship.

They had been together the better part of a decade, and she’s struggling.
“All the little things feel so hard…” she wrote to me this week. “I just can’t seem to get over this.”

It’s so hard to know what to say to someone in these situations. I just want her to feel better, but I don’t want to be flippant.
Telling someone in pain, “there, there, plenty more fish in the sea,” – it’s almost cruel.

I remember a time, several years ago now, when a long relationship I was in ended. It coincided with several other life upheavals and was compounded by reporting on some particularly traumatic events at work.

I remember my housemate at the time telling me that one day I would wake up and I would feel ok. I remember thinking, I would be carrying this anvil around in my chest forever. That the weight of it would prevent me from ever being able to love or taste food or feel anything ever again.

Walk Feet

“The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.”
Charles Dickens

I started walking home from work, mainly because I couldn’t bear the thought of arriving home quickly to spend yet another evening occupying the couch with my tears.

I started taking detours: down back roads, through parks, circling the lake. My walks started getting longer. They became the kind of aimless wandering that allows your feet to take you in any direction while your mind climbs whichever hills it needs to.

I would rug up against the wind and put sad songs in my ears and trudge, despondently, until I found myself back home.

Somehow, it just got me out of my head. Sometimes, I found a song that I could hum along to. Sometimes it was a song that made me cry. Sometimes I would wrap my scarf high around my mouth and sob into it and the wind. I would grip my arms around myself, pretending it was the weather that made me feel so cold.

All the while, one foot in front of the other.

RoadWalkingQuoteUnknown

I discovered some amazing albums, during that time. Music I had loved and forgotten, new albums I thought would lift me out of my funk, sad songs I used to indulge my misery. Even now, when I buy a new album, I go walking  to hear it through for the first time. It’s my gift to myself, to my feet and my mind and my ears.

It was over a year later that I remembered what my housemate had told me and realised that she was right.
I did feel better.
Happier; more myself and more centered than I had ever been. The mended cracks had made me stronger than before.

I remembered laughing, almost in relief, at the memory of that sad girl, trudging the lake, tears staining her cheeks.

 Maybe sometimes, that’s what’s needed? To give yourself permission to feel sad or angry or whatever else is coming up?

To be with what’s there but know that this too shall pass.

“You are loved,” I wrote to my friend. “You will love again.”

In the meantime, maybe it’s time to go for a walk.

walking-away

Shiny Song #7

22 May

Just rediscovered this fab tune…

Feed_Me_and_Crystal_Fighters_Love_Is_All_I_Got_cover_artwork

Always a good one for reconnecting with what’s important!

“We can soar with love in the morning
Feed your soul with love to the evening
Expand your soul with love on the weekend
Cause love is all I’ve got.

My Darling I can give you what you want
If what you want is love…”

Feed Me & Crystal Fighters – Love Is All I Got from Us on Vimeo.

The Best Drug…

21 May

awe

Pronunciation: /ɔː/

noun
[mass noun]
a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder:
they gazed in awe at the small mountain of diamonds
the sight filled me with awe

– Oxford English Dictionary

“Awe is the best drug in the world.”
– Jason Silva

The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck – by @JasonSilva from Jason Silva on Vimeo.