Tag Archives: dreams

Leap And The Net Will Appear

19 Dec

Nature loves courage.

Leap and the Net will appear

You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles.
Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up.

This is the trick.

This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood.

This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall.

This is how magic is done.

By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed.

– Terrence McKenna

Books That Changed My Life

6 Sep

This week, I was set an impossible task by a dear friend: create a list of the 10 books that mean the most to me, or changed me, or touched my soul.

I immediately came up with 50 and had to cull ruthlessly. And then cheat, by tucking in 10 more at the bottom. Ahem.

So here are my ten, in no particular order.

1. The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

the-time-travelers-wifeI wish I wrote it. So original, so bittersweet & beautiful. Don’t watch the movie.

2. Daring Greatly, Brene Brown

DaringGreatly_largeWhy vulnerability is a strength, a beauty and a connecting force. This book changed the way I do everything and how I see my role in the world. Watch her Ted Talk for an abbreviated version.

3. Looking For Alibrandi, Melina Marchetta

Looking for AlibrandiI read this as I was starting high school and it was the first time I realised other Australians grew up feeling like they didn’t fit in anywhere, just like me. Informed my first inquiries into identity, family  and belonging.

 4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon Kavalier and Clay

A great friend put me onto this one. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

5. The History of Love, Nicole Krauss

History of LOVE

This one makes my heart ache, just thinking about it. I read it at a critical time and it was so healing. Made me believe again.

6. Wild, Cheryl Strayed

Wild

This memoir reminded me how important it is to go my own way, even if it doesn’t make sense to other people. And how important mothers are, so appreciate them while you have them.

 

7. Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert

eat_pray_love

Spurred my own overseas adventure, guided a different search for spirituality  and helped me realise I wasn’t alone in my wanderlust. It’s popular for a reason.

8. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist

The best 21st gift you can get anyone.

9. Travels, Michael Crichton

Travels

All kinds of journeys, described by an amazing writer. I aspire to his ability to communicate esoteric ideas in a tangible, pragmatic way.

 

10. In Full View, Lily Brett

In Full View

I read this at age 15 and could not believe how honest she was. Oh, to be so brave as a writer! I love the way she lets it all hang out…

And, because I feel GUILTY about not including these life changers…

Freedom, Jonathan Franzen

Incredibly Loud And Extremely Close, Jonathon Safran Foer

Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts

The Little Book, Selden Edwards

Conversations With God, Neale Donald Walsh

A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett

Persuasion, Jane Austen

The Heather Blazing, Colm Toibin

Poser, Claire Dederer

What are your favourites? I’d love to see your lists…

Morning Poem

18 Jun

Zambo Sunrise 3

Every morning the world
is created.

Under the orange
sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches— and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it
the thorn
that is heavier than lead— if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging—

there is still
somewhere deep within you a beast shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted—

each pond with its blazing lilies is a prayer heard and answered lavishly,
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy, whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

– Mary Oliver

How to Find Inspiration in the Darkness

23 Jul

Whenever I feel constricted or confused, I find so much comfort in beautiful writing.

Mary Oliver is one of my favourite poets and this piece gives me such HOPE.

That once again, I will be an “acrobat in the freezing wind…full of gorgeous life”

That these softer, fallow periods of life, these forced rest stops, are opportunities to learn:

“Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, even in the leafless winter, even in the ashy city.”

The final stanza, to me, is the lightness I crave…

“improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing”

Starlings

Starlings in Winter

by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,

even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard, I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

Let it Go

A Letter to My 28 Year Old Self…

9 Jul

From 32 Year Old Me:

You’re about to leave Australia.

Your bag is (over)packed, farewells completed, the disparate advice of everyone you know is ringing in your ears.

You’re scared. You say you’re leaving for six months, but there’s a part of you that knows it’s for longer. This is more than a departure from Melbourne. This is leaving behind the way things were, the way you were – and leaping into the unknown.
It’s time. Take my hand.

Everything’s going to be OK.

Dream Big Start Now

At 32, you’re going to feel more a part of your own life than you ever have. For the first time, your decisions feel free of the weight of other people’s expectations. You see how you’re the creative force behind your life, that you’re responsible for how it all goes. You’ll still have the fear of missing out, but you won’t let it stop you. You have your hand on the tiller and a boat strong enough to weather the high seas.

You’re going to feel more comfortable in your body than you ever have. That crushing awkwardness you’ve had about your height, your face, your size since you were 13 is going to be a big blessing in your life.

Feeling ugly has helped you develop into a well-read, smart, funny, savvy woman. Somewhere in the next couple of years, you’re going to grow into your face, become at ease with your smile and wake up one morning, look in the mirror and be shocked at the attractive woman looking back at you. Enjoy it. You’ve spent enough time picking her apart.

Want to be someone else Kurt Cobain

You think you’re suffering from aches and pains now? That your knees and shoulders are shot? Guess what? In 3 days time, you’re going to slip on a wet footpath in Bangkok and crack your spine. Your tailbone will be dislocated for a long time. It’s going to hurt, a lot. Sitting, let alone yoga, is going to be difficult. It’s going to feel unfair and too much to handle, but it will distract you from the crack in your heart. Then it will force you to meditate and you will feel peaceful for the first time in your life. Yoga will save you. Yoga will bring you to people who can heal you: your body, your mind and your heart. Help you let go of the past. It will teach you tools you can share. Cracking your back will help a lot of people.

Yoga will change your life

You’ll move all over the world for love and it will end in heartbreak and a huge loss of faith in your judgement and humans in general.

Do it anyway.

Pop Love Bubble

You would always have wondered and you will be proud of yourself later. It helps you see what you’re prepared to do, and what you’re not. You lose your fear of looking stupid, going through those disappointments. It will help you realise what you’re worth – even though you don’t see that yet. Right now, you’re letting other people dictate that to you. But there will come a time when you name your price.

Your Value Doesnt Decrease

You know how you’re scared to live alone? It takes a little while to move through this one. But the time will come when you relish yourself as much as people around you and you suddenly realise the quality of your own company. If only you had taken the time to see it earlier. It propels your friendships to new and amazing levels, because when you want to be there, you’re really there.

Love heart hands

You’re going to really care what people think when you stop drinking. You’ll come back to Melbourne and get totally wasted with old friends to keep them happy and comfortable. And you’ll regret it. You’ll realise that friends who need you to drink with them are not real friends at all. You’ll see that people wanted to hang around you because you had a cool job, not because they were interested in who you are. Don’t hang out with them anymore. It’s OK. A bunch of awesome people are waiting to fill that space.

Dont have to do what everyone else is

You’re going to have compassion for your parents, and understand how hard it was to raise you. Mum had two kids by your age. You’re going to see what a blunder life is. How unknown the prospects. How agonising the decisions, the hurts, the collisions. This life thing, eh? Who knew?

They really did the best they could. And they love you. Fiercely. Those things you think they do that keep you from being close? That’s all you, baby. You can change it. Start slowly. They’re waiting for you to get it.

And you will. That, and a hundred other things. You’ll learn that fear doesn’t need to stop you from doing anything. That losing face is preferable to winning a lie. That everyone is muddling along, just like you are, so be careful and particular about seeking advice.

Scary Regret

You’ll learn that you really love simple things and that you feel best breathing clean air deeply; feeling sunshine on your face; watching the way light filters through green leaves. Those quiet moments you’ve been avoiding? That you “don’t have time for”? They are the most magical moments you will experience. They will unlock your heart and help you feel profoundly connected in a way you never knew was possible. Don’t worry that your face is leaking, it just means your heart is open.

More than anything? Strap in for the ride. By the time you’re 32, you will have visited 40 countries and lived in dozens of cities, just like you dreamed of doing as a kid. As hard as it was to leave your old life behind, don’t mourn it. The next 4 years of your life will see you having the greatest adventures of your life.

Just start.

It’s worth it.

Birthday Card Yogi

What To Do When You’re Thwarted

25 Jun

A couple of nights ago, newly returned from an inspiring visit to Bali, the supermoon rose and bathed the sky with light.

Supermoon!

Full moons always feel like a special time to me, more than the new moon. They seem powerful, life and energy giving. An opportunity to pick yourself up and try again.

To reinvent. To renew. To recreate. Renovate! Innovate!

Yet here I sit, only a couple of days later, feeling utterly thwarted.

All great changes...

I’ll admit, I naturally grate against those conversations where people encourage to “go with the flow.”
These past few years of my life have been a practice in learning to be more flexible, to let things lie, to be calm about what I cannot change.

When things aren’t moulding into the shape I want, I used to go out with my sledgehammer and MAKE them into what I wanted. With brute force or sheer force of will, I would doggedly attain a goal. It made me stressed and rather unhappy.

Nor does my current lifestyle seem to serve me. The nebulous plans, constantly shifting and changing, being without a base – it’s hard to grow anything without roots.

 I’m straddling the divide of two lifestyles: one where I wake up in the morning and don’t need to be anywhere doing anything in particular and one where there are expectations and deadlines and juicy projects.

This year was going to be about putting down more roots. Putting my head down and working in a more intentional way. Focussing energies.

Yet this last month has seen several of the doors I thought I was going though, close. Events and projects I have been organising have been thwarted or cancelled or had cars run over their feet.

My usual course of action, if I’m honest, would be panic.
Then I would roll up my sleeves and DO, DO, DO: whatever is needed to make it happen.

But I’m noticing for the first time, I’m not panicking. Instead, I’m watching the situation with more than a little curiousity. Why is this happening? How did we get to this space?

I’m lightly exploring alternatives, but mainly, just sitting with the situation as it unfolds.

One Way Or Another

Coach and therapist Martha Beck calls these kinds of moments in our lives “rumble strips”.

“What virtually always happens is that when destiny swerves, we proceed straight ahead. We step on the gas, ignoring the fact that we feel trapped in the dead relationship, stifled by the secure job. We go blind to the landscape and the road signs, steering by our assumptions about what life should be, as unaware of those assumptions as a sleeping driver is of her unconsciousness. 

Et voilà: rumble strip. 

Suddenly, everything’s shaking, jolting, falling apart. We have no idea what’s happening or why, only that all hell has broken loose. It gets worse and worse—until we wake up, see through our false assumptions to the deeper truth of our situation, and revise our life maps. This isn’t punishment. It’s enlightenment dressed as chaos.” 

You can read her full article here. It’s certainly helping me make sense of what’s happening right now…

And when we’re in it? Driving down a rumble strip? Beck advises we stop. Take a breath. Take stock. Look around you. What are you missing?

Be Still and Know

Could this be that balance? The space between dynamism and passivity? Between stress and apathy?

I don’t know yet. But I feel calm about big changes for the first time in my life, and that has to count for something.

The Secret to Living The Life You Want

3 Jun

Who Says? 

Who says you have to stay in that job? With that partner? Who says you have to have a mortgage? Work 9 to 5 every day? Buy a fancy pants, top-of-the-line TV? Only take 2 weeks holiday a year? Get married? Have kids?

If you want to do all that – GREAT! Have at it! Enjoy!

I’ve spoken to so many people this past week who say they feel stuck. In their marriage. In their job. In their LIFE.

Zappa Life

People look at what I’m doing and say, aren’t you lucky?! Aren’t you talented! You get to do whatever you want.

Here’s the secret: SO CAN YOU.

I’m not saying you have to throw your old life in, sell most of your possessions and take to the road. That was just my choice.
But it’s just that.

A choice.

Are you behaving like someone has a gun to your head and that you HAVE to go through the motions of what you do every day?

Mary Oliver

If everyone you loved would die if you didn’t live you life how you really wanted, if you didn’t follow your passion, you’d find a way, wouldn’t you?

Life is a series of choices. Sure, we can talk about luck and privilege and money. But you’re reading this. You’re already better off than most of the world’s population.

Maybe it’s time we stopped pretending to be so small. Pretending to be stuck. Pretending that other people can have the life they really want…but not me.

Recognise that fear might be what keeps us here…and that we make up all those other reasons so that we don’t have to take responsibilty for our own choices, our own mistakes. Our own happiness.

Maybe it’s time we started…

Cross the Ocean

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

The Pain of Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve…

20 May

“We seem to have evolved into a society of mourned and misplaced creativity,” writes brilliant classical pianist James Rhodes in his recent blog for the Guardian.

“Find what you love and let it kill you,” he says, quoting Charles Bukowski. It’s a wonderful, inspiring piece about hurling yourself into the creative abyss.

His journey has been extreme and harsh and total – and he’s a truly, truly phenomenal pianist.

“Is that not worth exploring?” he asks us, recounting how he pushed his dream away, burying it beneath the pursuit of security and self-worth.

“…only when the pain of not doing it got greater than the imagined pain of doing it did I somehow find the balls to pursue what I really wanted…”

Follow that Dream

Years ago, one of my teachers, Arion Light, told me to find the flavour or “essence” of whatever it was I was wanting. At the time, I felt sad and trapped; as though I was an actor who had wandered onto the wrong stage. I told him I wanted a better job, a bigger apartment, to be more successful, more important, more, more, more. I thought that in order to be loved, to be worthy of it, I had to be “someone”.

The essence – what I really wanted underneath that – was to feel loved.

 The irony was that I was using all these things that I didn’t really want to try and show “the real me.” As though once I hit a certain level of success, it would be ok to take some time off to do what I really wanted to do.

The “real me” actually just wanted to relax. To step off the mouse-wheel of crazy she had created for herself. To take long walks and indulge her baking habits. To have enough time to play on her yoga mat, to sit in meditation without an alarm set, to not be rushing all the time.

Next Vacation

It’s amazing to me the things I have denied myself because of this kind of thinking. I love to sing but for years, I kept it as a secret little side project. I was afraid of the life that I thought a singer would have. I didn’t want a life of touring and endless practice and being told what to do. I was convinced people would tell me to lose weight and change my appearance to be successful. That I would be judged.

So I didn’t sing.

But when I look at the essence of singing, of what it is to me – it’s connection. I want to sit on warm beaches and sing harmonies with people. To re-capture the feeling of singing in four parts like my family used to in the car on holidays. To look into the eyes of people in the audience and see that they too, connect with that song.

I love encouraging groups of people to sing from their hearts, with passion and freedom. Especially people who say they can’t sing. To see their faces crack with smiles as they start to feel what I do: that they are a source of love and energy.

I had these misguided ideas about what needed to happen in order for me to be able to “be” a singer. To “be” a yogi. To “be” happy.

Reading Rhodes’ piece reminds me that we always have the opportunity to challenge our idea of what we think we “should” be doing.

“What if rather than a book club you joined a writer’s club? Where every week you had to (really had to) bring three pages of your novel, novella, screenplay and read them aloud?”
 
“What if, rather than paying £70 a month for a gym membership that delights in making you feel fat, guilty and a world away from the man your wife married you bought a few blank canvases and some paints and spent time each day painting your version of “I love you” until you realised that any woman worth keeping would jump you then and there just for that, despite your lack of a six-pack?”

What are you making yourself feel badly about? What secret closet do you keep shut tightly, for fear of exposure?

What joy could you surrender to, what gift could you share with the world, if you just got out of your own way?

“So write your damn book. Learn a Chopin prelude, get all Jackson Pollock with the kids, spend a few hours writing a Haiku. Do it because it counts even without the fanfare, the money, the fame and Heat photo-shoots…”

It’s your life. Isn’t it worth it?

Having a rough morning?