Tag Archives: family

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

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

All About My Mother

12 May

Oh, mothers.

They push our buttons, drive us crazy, and somehow still love us after we’ve screamed and ranted and never picked our clothes up off the floor.

What is it Baba Ram Dass says?

“If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family.”

I stood at a card rack this week, sifting through dozens of schmalzy pink Mother’s Day cards with saccharine poems inside. The girl next to me sniggered at one and rolled her eyes at me. “Seriously,” she said. “Does anyone buy this shit?”

Mother’s Day can sometimes feel like such platitudinous crap.

But as I prepared breakfast for my family this morning, I noticed the way I cook comes from my mother: how I crack eggs, measure flour, clean the kitchen as I go. That all came from hours of Mum’s patient training.

And it's all 99% fat free!

And it’s all 99% fat free!

It makes me think of thousands of those other things my mother has done for me: wiped my nose and tied shoelaces for the 1000th time, brushed my hair while I shrieked, taught me how to read and write and appreciate words, posted me my favourite chocolates, trekked endlessly to help me choose shoes to match yet another bridesmaid’s dress, listened to me sob on the phone after another broken heart.

Encouraged me endlessly to chase my dreams even though they take me so far away from her.

I don't have a spare hand right now...

I don’t have a spare hand right now…

My relationship with my mother is perfect, in that I come to stay with my parents and am promptly reminded just how much work I have to do on myself. That it’s easy to feel calm and centred teaching yoga and meditation in the jungle, not so easy not to react to someone who pushes all your buttons.

So it’s nice to remind myself what it is I’m here for. How can I communicate better? Connect with more love and compassion? Give myself a break for reacting and speak with kindness when I do react?

This piece by Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar helps me connect with that. I’m so, so lucky my Mum is still alive and in my life and committed to us having a relationship.

Next time you find yourself wanting to revert to your 16 year old self, take a moment to read this again:

“Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.
When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t ‘mean anything’ because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.
The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.
One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.
Say thank you.”

Thank you, Mum. I love you. 

Mumma Eka Pada Adho Muka Svanasana

Mumma Eka Pada Adho Muka Svanasana