Category Archives: Friends
It’s usually played at remembrance ceremonies and funerals for soldiers. In some ways, this last post isn’t very different from that of a B bugle call playing in the distance as the sun rises to remember brave soldiers and battles fought.
Only this time around, it is my battle and not those I’d reflected on in remembrance.
In the past ten months, I found out I had cancer cells, had to sit around for six months waiting to hear if they got them all (which they did… I put it down to telling them to f#@* off), sustained an arm injury which tore me away from work and study for six months, was physically assaulted, someone deleted all my websites, I had to move house unexpectedly, couch and floor surfed for nearly four weeks and to put the cherry on top, was in my new house for two weeks and got broken into. And this list certainly doesn’t count all the other lemons, some of them just too damn bitter to recollect in an open forum.
Do you know what it’s like to feel like you’re losing your sanity? And you don’t even know why? To sit on a tram, only to turn around half way on the journey because you just couldn’t be around people? Finding every excuse in the world why you couldn’t, wouldn’t, just damn well didn’t want to see anyone. How going through a box of tissues in a day was normal and you became used to darkness descending at 7am, forcing a day under the covers in the hope you would wake up and it would all just be a bad dream.
I knocked back the anti-depressant prescriptions : I had a tried and tested tool of focussing on the small things that bring us to life. Besides, I didn’t need to add to the GDP to make Australia an even greater country. I withdrew from most of the world, including friends, was careful where I went, who I was with and what I was doing. I continued to sketch, write and outwardly seemed to be alive. Internally I was desperately trying to fight off the insanity of how I was feeling and it was only because I never forgot who was hidden inside that the embers kept alight.
Last year I celebrated my birthday by climbing Mt Agung in Bali, celebrating with friends on the coast and on returning home, had one fun karaoke night with some beautiful people, recognising the awesome of every page within my chapter 39.95. This year’s birthday, I struggled getting out of bed, I didn’t want to see anyone, managed to stretch myself for lunch and at the very last minute braved it in a room full of strangers at a story-telling night. The theme was turning points, and half way through the night, I decided to share a few of mine. You can’t have had a full life like mine and not had some turning points that have whipped your life 360°.
At the height of my stress levels and depression, the assault happened. Talk about hitting you when you’re down. Thank goodness #b03, a daily blog commitment, came along. Every day I sat, sometimes, all day, to pump out a post on something great that happened in the day or a reflection I had on the past. I credit this month, along with #MindfulinMay, for dragging me off the floor and keeping me focussed, on my writing, and my sanity. That, and a very humbling post from a wonderful friend who had taught me about purpose and owning your story and the comments from people when I made it to the final three of a blogging competition. They were all part of my turning point to understand the power of self-responsibility to take control. That and the realisation I was on a collision path.
This soldier was ready to stand up and start fighting. And again, whip my life 360°.
I started this blog when I accepted a challenge. I do have stories to share that could change the world, but this blog was always primarily to help me change my own world. Considering all the lemons that life had thrown at me, at first I wasn’t entirely sure I needed anymore challenges. So the preface was I would keep writing until I, or anyone else, didn’t need it anymore.
That time has come.
Over the past two years, I’ve never written for anyone else nor felt the need to promote my thoughts to the wider universe. It was my therapy. My passion. And my need to focus on the fact that life is unrelenting in its gifts of experience, people, opportunity and self.
I realised wealth and GDP prosperity are definitely not predictors of life satisfaction. We’re spending more money on ‘stuff’, making children’s hospital wards like first class resorts, building multi-million dollar social housing complexes and still don’t have enough, designing more prisons and detention centres, spending big on credit cards, destroying native forests with big trucks and large tools, spending more money on bicycles, house and car locks as theft increases, employing more police, consuming more food, alcohol and cigarettes, spending more money on pokies than on rates in many local council areas, donating more money to charities and yet have more social problems than ever before, destroying our natural wonders with mines and urban sprawl with excess for sale, earning more, still fighting the war in Afghanistan and our spending on anti-depressants is hitting all time highs. Yay : at 1371 billion dollars, we’ve got one of the highest GDPs on the planet. We should be so proud of ourselves spending all that cash so wisely… and happy.
As I reflect on my 158 bloody rippers over the past two years, I realise how so much of what makes life worthwhile is not measured : the innocence and joy of a young child, the strength of our relationships, the beauty of our art, digging out our courage, a breathe of fresh air in the midst of nature’s best, the setting of a sun. If our existence and success were measured by life’s joys, we’d all be abundant. And not just our country.
Despite the lemons, me and life have managed to still walk hand in hand:
- Finding old memories
- Bucket lists
- Completing my first biathlon
- Fridge notes can change the world
- The power of courage
- My first tattoo
- Noticing everything around you
- Letters to Santa
- New found love for sketching
- Top ten travel experiences
- Ten things I value
- The nurture of nature
- New year wrap-ups
- A better planet
- All the bloody rippers
With the setting down of the sun, I will remember them. I may need to come back to this safe space at some stage. But unlike global wars over the centuries that we just don’t seem to be able to learn from, it’s time to hold that mirror up and use every one of my darn lemons to push me into neutral territory.
As much as I appreciate social media for its ability to connect me to so many amazing people I have had the pleasure to cross paths, the doors it has opened, the information it has made available, the world it allows you to explore, and the access it provides to new opportunities, events and people, our friendship is going to take a small hiatus. At its core, it is an incredible resource, but right now, I need to commit to my own projects and not learn about others. I need to open my own doors and not simply peep into others. I’ve explored the world and it’s now time to start exploring my visions. I want photos with my friends because we’re out doing things together. I want to be able to come back from my hiatus taking action on my loves and not simply liking everyone else’s.
It’s time to say goodbye to the external forces and hello to the internal power.
A few years ago, I had a dream about a domain name : www.give.com.au. As a direct result of my experiences overseas, I spent a lot of money and time to build a pretty big fair trade website, working with projects I had visited and researched. I wanted to change the world, or at least make a small imprint on some communities that had made a huge impact on me. Fail. External and internal forces were at play and it’s only recently I came to the understanding I was never going to be able to sell hand bags : I hate shopping.
By understanding the power of my story, it is now I truly understand that before you can give to others, you must begin with yourself. You must be able to stand up in your own power and at the end of your life, whenever that may be, be proud of what you did, what you didn’t do, who you loved, what you let go of, what you accepted, where you went, who you journeyed with and the person you were. All the ideas I have had over the last few years will now be married to create a new www.give.com.au : one that encourages you to give to self, and others. My journey has allowed me to meet the people I needed to meet to make this happen, and for once in my life, I’m putting my hand out to accept some help.
I want to give my writing purpose in a new way, leaving the scope of my life and the joy it brings to focus on some inspiring people that know what it’s like to find purpose. Before I never cared about who read what I wrote. Now I do. I want to start work on my biography. And I want to create some really fun projects allowing others the space to give to themselves… every little part of them and not just a glory box of stuff. www.thedinnertable.com.au is a big part of that : bringing people together to share, connect and create. I still want to change the world in a small way and everything I do will have that as its underlying glue.
The biggest opportunity we have on the planet right now is not to solve any of the world’s greatest problems. It is to inspire a society of change-makers. That change-maker starts with me.
Right now, I’m so glad I’ve had 43 jobs, travelled to 43 countries, have some amazing people in my life, have lost count of the amazing experiences I have had, stood up and fought the battles and now lay down my weapon of choice for the past two years to get on with it.
Three days ago, my friend Richard who had already done so much for me by allowing me to explore purpose in a three day retreat, again put out his helping hand and invited me to a Real Leadership workshop. One of the activities was to pull out from a large selection three pictures that represented three timeframes, one story. With a grin, Rich heckled me for doubling the selection, knowing only too well that in this case, I needed to own my story.
In short, the past is represented by the darkness of which I believe is an important part of my story as well as the strength to stand up from the battle and move forward. The loose threads of my life have been ripped apart to now allow me the ability to bring them all together as a conduit towards the future. I can’t do it alone, I need variety, and I welcome everyone else’s playlists to inform and inspire the future journey. No matter how far apart, how little time we spent together or how close we are, I thank those deeply who have travelled with me on the journey so far and welcome those who are yet to come. And as for the future? One of my favourite films is “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring”. Through stunning cinematography, it is a journey through life’s lessons and at the moment I feel embedded in the contrast of those seasons. I want to continue that journey, knowing I have some handy tools to keep the weeds at bay and there’s going to be one garden I am now ready to focus on… and I want it to flourish.
As for right now, it’s off into the spring sunshine to sit and design “A Beautiful Day” and a gratitude project as required of my Masters in Wellness and then plan to make them happen. Who ever thought when you decided to study at university for the first time in your life, you would be allowed to write about what you’ve written about for two years… just when you’re playing the last post.
Life… it can be so
you bloody ripper!
To Richard, Angie, Glenda, Gregory, Michelle, Steph, Damien, Dani, Yvette, Nynke, Inge, Aaron, Carol, Adam, Diana, Jarrod, Kal, Mike, Annie, Linnet, Calm in the City, Mindful in May, #b03, SLAMALAMADINGDONG! Poetry Slam, Arts in Action, Stillwaters, Enchanted Evenings and The Holos Group. Thank you for being my brakes.
Travelling broadens the mind. Travelling takes one to new places. Travelling allows new experiences. But for some, a journey abroad is part of an inner journey – a journey that takes one deeper than that into an exotic jungle or into the narrow alleyways of a new city. It is a journey taken within. It is a journey of inner growth, personal motivation and inspiration.
A few years ago, I had the incredible privilege of taking people on challenge trips around the globe, away from their comforts, their securities and their every day lives.
Vicki’s story is one that I lived, heard and researched, both during the trip and after, particularly as I taped her feet each night and encouraged her to push through whatever it was that was holding her back.
Not only did Vicki embark on a journey to a foreign land, but she took a journey within and come back inspired, determined and with a new found belief in what she could achieve.
I thought it was about time to share her story, particularly as I plan on writing more bios of some inspirational change-makers.
Through this journey, it is hoped that you too will find your inner strengths, follow your dreams, harness your potential, find your passion and live every day vividly.
Be inspired by this journey within to live a life less ordinary, for the extraordinary is within us all.
There once was a woman named Vicki who for the first 15 years of her adult life spent it home alone. Work, then home, then bed, too scared to even go out to the pub for a drink with her work mates. Vicki used her family and her dog as an excuse to go home. Until no one asked anymore.
In January 2005, Vicki decided to undertake a challenge – to fundraise $5000 for Guide Dogs and complete a challenge trip in China. In May 2006, Vicki travelled 80km on the Great Wall of China and climbed one of China’s five holy Tao Mountains, Hua Shan. The following are five chapters of Vicki’s journey within.
My life has always been unremarkable. In fact, it was boring. If I were to describe myself before the trip, it would definitely have to be lifeless. I have lived in Perth all my life, and worked in the same job for eight years. A self confessed couch potato weighing in at 140kg, I didn’t know what the word exercise meant. I was afraid to go out and mix with others. Why would I when I didn’t like myself?
On reflection, I am not sure why I didn’t like myself. I have always been extremely shy. I grew up in a very isolated environment, looking after my pop and grandma. They were my world. I guess I never developed on the social level like most people. So I simply shut myself off from everyone, becoming more isolated and insecure the older I got.
I decided to go on the Challenge after seeing it advertised through Guide Dogs. It seemed like a great way to see a part of the world I had always wanted to go, the pictures made it look easy and it seemed like a worthwhile reason to support a very worthy cause. However, not only did I find the fundraising was a lot of hard work, but the hardest part was yet to come.
I’d gone and booked myself on a Challenge, and I couldn’t hide anymore. I had to get out and meet people. I had to be the one doing the inviting. I organised wine tours, dinners and auctions. I had to force myself to go and talk to people, to open myself up, to not be afraid of being seen and to come out of hiding. My challenge had started before I’d even set foot out of the country. It became even more painful when I got to China and realised I no longer had a valid reason to hide away. I had to conquer my insecurities. I had to become someone I had never been in my life.
Physically, the trip was extremely difficult for me. At 140kg, walking such long distances during the day with little training hurt with each step. Every night I would tape my swollen feet and knees and cover the new blisters and sores appearing all over my feet with padding and bandages. This wasn’t a holiday. This was torture.
Aside from the trip being physically difficult, the greatest pain came from me acknowledging what my life had been like prior to the trip and the fact that for its entirety, I had hidden myself away. Most people I knew thought I had a great life and just didn’t have any time for them. Little did they know I kept myself prisoner behind the barriers of my own fear and insecurities.
I still get so nervous that I am sick before I go out. I still drive around and around before I can make myself get out and go in. But there is a difference. I don’t turn around anymore and go home. I go in. I am enjoying myself more. I don’t let myself stop and think too much or I will talk myself out of doing and going places. I don’t want to go back to the way I was. It would be too easy. It would have been easy to stop walking. The pain would have eased. But I would not have felt the sense of achievement, and the sense of self worth that I now feel.
Now, when I reflect on the trip and think about the Wall, the physical pain seems but a distant memory. I find myself remembering the beauty of the wall instead. I guess it has taught me that we have to go through pain in our lives to appreciate the beauty around us.
The pain from the mountain is a little different. There have been many things in my life that I didn’t think I could do. At 39, climbing the mountain is one of the first major things I have accomplished in my life, so the pain should stay with me forever. And I don’t really want it to go. It’s a constant reminder that no matter how bad a situation I am in, there are many others worse off than myself, and to get on with my own life. I guess it has taught me that when we go through pain in our lives and come out the other side with a smile, that we will be much better people for it, as I am now.
The pain was worth it. And I no longer fear it.
One of my greatest weaknesses in life has always been that I feel I have to do anything to get a friend. I think it manifested itself in the way I have always been passionate about helping other people. It was the only way I received any recognition or appreciation in my otherwise unenthusiastic life. Considering the protective barrier I placed around myself, I don’t think I even had a real idea what a true friend was. Since the trip to China, I believe I am starting to realise. I believe that I have had many friends with me all my life, but I just didn’t know how to see or appreciate them.
On the trip, I constantly didn’t want to let anyone down because I saw myself as an embarrassment to others on the trip. I was very self-conscious about always being last and always being in so much pain. My insecurities were discernible every day in the nos, the I cant dos, the anguish and the tears.
However, there were a few special people who supported me on the entire walk. Although continually embarrassed, I was extremely grateful to have their company. Even when I cried and said I couldn’t do it, they believed in me. Even when I begged to stop, they didn’t doubt me. They kept me laughing and singing. They kept pushing me. They made me push myself. I was happy that for the first time in my life, other people thought I could do it, and I am forever grateful they wouldn’t let me stop.
I am now feeling a little more comfortable in asking other people for help. I realise that it isn’t embarrassing. I realise that to have people around me and having friends support me through the hard times is not something I should fear or be ashamed of. No longer do I just try and make friends with people so it gives me a feeling of self worth. No longer do I think I need to put on a face so that people like me. No longer am I afraid of what people think of me. I make friends with people so I can be there for them, knowing that they will be there for me when I need them. I have learnt not to take friends for granted. And I have also learnt that it’s okay to ask for help, be helped and not to be embarrassed.
Even though I may never again see some of the people I shared this journey with, it has highlighted to me that people do come into our lives for a reason. There were people on the trip who will always be a big part of my life, for without them being there during the hard times, I know I would never have made it. Not just in China. But in my future.
Thank you my angels.
Quite often we rush through life and miss out on special things, or even just the simple things. I realised this especially while walking on the Wall one day when the tour leader reminded us that the walk was not a race. That we would never be there again and that we should enjoy and savour every moment. I took the time to sit down and enjoy the view, soaking up the remarkable history in front of me.
Back in Perth, I find I want to enjoy my life more and I want to try new things. For the first time in my life I am inviting myself to places and events. I am reflecting more on what I want to achieve in my life and am setting goals to ensure these happen. All things I had never even tried in the past.
One of the greatest lessons I learnt from the trip is that I can get through the hard way and feel a total sense of achievement once I have completed it. No longer am I doing what is expected of me. Not in my work, nor in my personal life. I now have more control over my emotions.
I’m learning about myself. I’m trying to make decisions and stick with them so I don’t slip back into bad habits. I don’t want to go back to the way I was.
I am talking about the experience to anyone who wants to listen. Even to the ones who don’t. I have taken up a newspaper drop with my sister and walking every day. In two months, I have already lost 10 kg since arriving back home.
Now I am planning my next challenge to Ladakh in northern India in May 2007. One of the goals for next year’s trip is to help someone like myself to make it to the finish.
There is so much to be achieved by having a dream, and then living it.
Before leaving home, I didn’t believe I would complete the challenge. In fact, I never believed I could do many things in my life. No one else believed I could either. My upbringing did not encourage self confidence, and I guess the gene pool just doesn’t take into account our looks.
Looking at the photos of the mountain scared me shitless. I had a terrible fear of heights, unable to even climb a step ladder. Getting me to go up the Wall on day one was a challenge in itself as it was an extreme effort to even leave my room. I woke up every morning feeling physically ill and worried.
I remember a point on the mountain when I begged to stop. I didn’t want to let anyone down. But I was pushed until it was too far to go back. I dug deep as I figured that I hadn’t died yet so it wasn’t going to kill me, and I pushed myself to keep on going.
I’m not afraid of trying anymore, and am more open to giving things a go. I even mowed the lawn on the weekend, something I had never done before. It wasn’t so scary after all. I used to worry so much in the past about doing everything that I didn’t even give things a go because I was scared of failing or of being embarrassed.
But courage can take us to places that we never thought we might reach. I know. I’ve sat atop a mountain.
On the trip to China, I met someone who not only knew I could climb the mountain, but knew I had to climb that mountain. Somehow they knew that I needed to do this more than anything I’ve ever done in my life, for if I didn’t, I would never achieve anything.
They were right. For not only have I found the courage to give things a go, but I have an inner belief that I can do what looks impossible.
I still get scared, but I have learnt to not think things over as much as I did in the past. I make decisions a little easier. I don’t spend too much time anymore thinking about what others are thinking.
I like myself now. Most of my work colleagues think I’ve gotten tougher since China. I say no more often. That’s a start. I am more out there and going out more. I’m starting to put myself first.
I am starting to believe in who I am and what I can achieve in my life.
THE NEW PATH
So what has changed? After China, you can see I look at things very differently.
The biggest thing I gained from the journey is my new perspective on life. Through my own experience and journey I believe that we too often look at all the obstacles in our path to achieving our dreams. We make excuses. We believe it’s too hard. We blame our past. We don’t live enough in the now. We don’t appreciate the small things around us. We don’t ask for help when we should. We aren’t honest with our feelings.
But by having dreams and giving things a go, pushing through the pain when it happens, having the invaluable support of friends, finding our inner courage and believing we can do it, the summit of a mountain is achievable, even for a 140kg couch potato. Instead of looking at the bottom and considering all the obstacles in my way and saying I can’t do it, I remember what it was like to be at the top and looking back at what I had done. I know I can do it. Mowing the lawn was just the start.
I’m a work in progress. It’s why I’ve joined up to climb the Himalayas in 2007. I know that I climbed 5 500 steps in China and walked 80km of the Great Wall of China. I know I can walk plenty more on my journey within. It will be one step at a time.
My life is no longer lifeless. My life is now beginning.
you bloody ripper!
Today, I had to ensure I got my application in for #blogforgood so I had plenty of time to tell you all about it.
As I had some prearranged things to do that have kept me busy since I found out about the competition, tonight I had to get it finished. Six hours scouring photographs, playing with animations, finding the right stories. And I’m finally done – upload complete – here’s the final slideshow (albeit less my animations that aren’t supported…. technology).
you bloody ripper!
You may not see them every day.
Likely you won’t see them every year.
They may not live in the same city as you.
They may not even be in the same country.
They always make you laugh.
You feel connected, despite the distance.
You deeply wish they were here.
They are never far from your thoughts.
you bloody ripper!
Have you ever met a person that lives life exactly the way they want to? A person who thrives on fun, generosity, health and constantly inspires others in their ability to exude pure joy in the pursuit of pleasure and experience?
Nic is one of those people. He makes people smile. He makes people believe they can do anything.
Critically injured in a kite boarding incident, Nic has severe head injuries and has been placed in an induced coma. This is where I ask for your help.
It would be really bloody ripper if you could send a positive thought to help pull him through. Healing energy does work, and along with the thoughts of his family, friends, anyone who has ever been inspired by him (me included) and your small thoughts of positive healing, Nic will continue to prove life is for living. He’d be going crazy doing nothing.
Repeat after me: “Nic, you really will hate the hospital food when you wake up. There’s much to be done, so get up and on with it. Positive vibes, healing and love heading your way”.
There is power in the mass.
you bloody ripper! (with your help)
For someone whose middle name is spontaneous, this was up there in the top ten of turn ons.
So to my room I went. It was some serious struggle to stay put when there was a fair bit of shuffling and sounds coming from the lounge room.
The wait was worth it. When I was allowed to open the door, there in my lounge was a cinema. And this wasn’t simply a screening of just any old Hollywood blockbuster. It was a preview of one man’s screenplay that was years in writing and development.
I admire people with vision. I appreciate people who make sacrifices and choices to ensure that vision comes to life. I value those who understand failure and success walk hand in hand. But what I love the most are those that are so dedicated to their vision and passions, their energy has a flow on effect to give others a kick in the arse to follow their dreams; to value their life.
We could have gone to a bar and drunk mojito cocktails until dawn and forgotten the entire conversation the next day after we’d woken up mid-afternoon. We could have headed to a restaurant amidst a crowd of people eating, drinking, conversing and thinking about what they should have done today or were going to do tomorrow. Perhaps a comfortable cinema seat could have been on the cards with a choc-top in one hand, popcorn in the other.
Instead, I valued the thought of not being a prisoner of the mundane for an evening, learning more about a friend and seeing first hand how amazing it is when hard work is replaced with end result.
The unexpected will never carry predictability as its partner. In the clash of thought vs mundane there is only one winner.
Surprises are guaranteed to ensure moments of happiness, not because we take hold of them, but because they take hold of us.
you bloody ripper!
How about a really bad red nose day?
I was invited to a 40th birthday. Theme: starlets, harlots and madmen.
As the birthday girl had some very clear thoughts on one of our nation’s leaders, I thought it was an obvious costume choice. The foreboding airport sign was perhaps an indication it was not.
On arriving at the party, I realised there was a benefit of owning a television, which I did not. Knowledge.
The beehives and 60’s frocks were a dead giveaway that I’d totally missed the mark with my budgie smugglers and chest hair.
Perhaps it was a hint of satisfaction that madness, creativity and fun co-exist… in the right kind of way.
you bloody ripper!
Is your alarm set for the same time every day? Do you take the same route to work? Have you had the same colours in your wardrobe for the last five years? When is the last time you spoke to a stranger in the street or on a crowded tram? Have you done anything spontaneous recently when there was a blank slot in your schedule? Do you even leave a blank slot in your schedule?
For many years, my life was far from a routine schedule, filled with random, ridiculous and raunchy events. I created, invited myself, rarely thought of consequence, said yes, spoke to strangers, braved opportunities, side stepped conformity and lodged protests at stagnation. Due to my willingness to flirt with randomness, my personal story is filled with stories. With life.
I have one tattoo on my body. It says ‘no ordinary life’. It defines me as an individual along with my approach to randomness. For it is in randomness that one can find great opportunities to discover, extend and learn about one’s self, share interesting conversation, break routine, provide spontaneity and convey balance into an otherwise predictable life. An ordinary life.
And yet yesterday, I said no. I said no to randomness.
Lately, I’ve been making a concerted effort to say no to jobs, requests and people that don’t connect to my passion and purpose. And yet here I was saying it to the right place, to the right person, to the right opportunity and to the right reasons.
As I began to question my choice to dispel randomness from my life, after half an hour of driving my ‘tough love’ friends were ready to push me hard by turning around the car and taking me back to the source of my battle. I said no. I laid down at the front line. I went silent. I cried.
I realised my loss. Of randomness.
And comtemplate this loss I did. all night. The conclusion?
I believe in living a life outside the box: for in this space, there are no boundaries. I realised that of late, I had pushed myself back inside the box. I was trying so hard to say no for the right reasons, I was also saying it for the wrong reasons.
I realised I was slipping in my strategies to ensure a life filled with awesomeness, and dare I say it, life. Yick. It’s a bit uncomfortable inside that box.
If coincidence and randomness cause you to feel that you may be part of something important and special to your life, say yes. If you fear that it comes with disappointment, seclusion or grief, push through it. And say yes. If it ends up that way, so be it. Learn. Grow. Experience. What’s the alternative? Comfort, the been there before, excuses, the safe route, routine, regret, missed opportunity, an unknown, ordinary.
Don’t be afraid to show your bold, passionate and random self to the world by being pulled outside the box. You, and the rest of us, needs it. Stir up all the stagnation and add some colour back into your life. Imagine all the places you can go, the experiences you will have, the people you will meet, the life you will have.
Which direction will you choose? Are you willing to turn a blind corner and see where it will take you?
Are you willing to hold the sliding door open a little longer, and step inside?
you bloody ripper!
It’s been a while. I guess I stopped writing because you stopped listening. I understand you may have had a little trouble finding me over the years so I’m letting you know that I’m finally settled in Melbourne, Australia (just in case you’re heading my way). I’d really like you to have a think about my Christmas wish as it’s a pretty big one and will definitely make up for the years when we’ve missed connecting.
Let’s face it Santa, the last few years I’ve been on my own little sleigh ride of emotion and personal discovery. There were times when I’ve seriously felt let down. Times I let others down. And definitely a whole lot of time where I let myself down. I’m realising that now I’ve finally grown up, like a young child, I feel a sense of excited anticipation as I prepare to tear off the redundant wrapping and ribbons to expose the gifts underneath. Let’s see if I’ll find what I ask for.
I wish I may:
Carry a light in front so that my shadow will fall behind, even though I carry it with me always.
Learn about my friends, family and those who are important to me so I don’t need to wait for them to tell me what they really want.
Make a fire and burn unkind thoughts that do not allow my internal flame to flicker.
Believe that love is the strongest emotion in the world.
Be, so that I am truly able to give.
Find the courage to commit, leap, stretch, dream and believe.
Be mindful, appreciate and take pleasure in the journey of attainment and success, and not just grasp.
Admit that the only good reason for my existence is not what I am going to get out of life but what I am going to put into it.
Commit to inter-generational equity by making small differences in my own backyard. Perhaps it may even be greener than it is now.
Instead of finding security in a job or partner, find security in my own abilities.
Ignore what others owe to me and think of what I owe to others.
Ensure there is no disconnect between thought, talk and action.
Close the book of complaints against the cosmos and sew a few stitches of happiness and fun on all negative patches that may appear.
Consider little people and encourage them to not live a life based on rules and restrictions, but one that encourages freedom of expression, the ability to keep on asking, the desire to learn and the faith to leap.
Place value on the common life over the individual life, so that loneliness, anxiety, depression, anger, disappointment and isolation can be kept at a distance.
Find my own way to not be invisible and continually reinvigorate the soul.
Understand the need to plant a seed, cultivate it, and ensure the branches are left long after I have gone.
Invest my time in taking stock of who I am and what I have, then share myself with those who are important. The returns will far outweigh those of any investment in stocks and shares.
Stop asking people how much they care for me and ask myself whether I care for them or not.
Accept the things that others have to accept in their hearts, minds and souls, and make no judgment.
Not have to say sorry after the deed is done, as I have been more cautious to ensure the deed never happens.
Find consistency in an inconsistent world.
Santa, if on one day of the year, I can receive all of these things, I’m thinking it should be easy to embrace them for the rest of the year. And that is my wish.
Every day, have a wonderful Christmas.
you bloody ripper!
On the way home, I stopped to grab a few groceries and was walking past a store with an eco t-shirt sale. How could I refuse? “You have to decide what kind of difference you want to make”. I handed over my $9.95. I put it on. It got me thinking.
Those who know me well, know that I tend to give, usually to the point of exhaustion. And then I simply stop doing anything for anyone. I think it’s funny I had a dream about a domain name, and it just happens to be give.com.au. Of course I want it to make a difference, and am trying ever so slowly, to work out what kind of difference it will be. And how this difference can have the greatest impact and reach as many people as possible. Not just to give, but to inspire giving, especially to self. Perhaps that magic wand will come in handy after all?
Have you ever thought about making a difference to someone? And for whatever reason, it hasn’t quite happened? If I let myself reflect on the past week, I’m reminded of an outstanding handwritten thank you card, a gift for a friend’s birthday, an email to a beautiful friend I haven’t connected with in NZ for many months and a phone call to a friend with apologies for an unfinished project. I’m sure there would be more, but I’m a bit afraid to delve too much.
And then there are the things that I told someone I would do. And I put them off. Well I thought about it, but nothing happened. Does that count? Do the homeless people at Port Phillip really notice if I don’t donate to Father Bob’s campaign, and instead of sending the donation I thought about, proceed to have another massage and sit in Nanjing Noodles for some tasty sweet and sour fish?
And then there is the friend that is going through a difficult patch at the moment, but with the long working week, my selfish need for time out, massages and quiet, I thought, I cared, but I didn’t call.
Considering 51 hours of my last week was spent either at work or getting there, it makes sense that to all of these, I thought I’d do it another time when I was more focused, had more time and not so exhausted.
It was then that I realised that thinking about someone doesn’t mean anything. They don’t know you are thinking about them, and thinking certainly doesn’t mean you are helping them, making them smile, providing them with thanks or appreciating they are in your life. How could you ever make a difference?
You have to fulfill commitments to not just think, but do. And realise that we can only impact the life of another when our thoughts translate into actions.
So back to the inspiration – the simple t. Making a difference is not simply about global poverty, climate change, natural disaster response and donating $20 a month to your favourite cause. It’s about the difference you can make to those around you: family, the old lady next door, friends, the store assistant, neighbours, the person crossing the road, colleagues, the bus/tram/train driver and especially the thoughts to make a difference in your own life.
I actually don’t think we need a magic wand. We simply need to do. If not, that pile of unactioned thoughts will become even higher. And no one will know the thought existed, because unlike the magic wand, they are not filled with glitter and sparkles for a hand to find. But actioned, could they provide sparkle? Could they be remembered, years on?
Where’s that blank card?
Dear Glenda. Thank you for providing an ear, a sounding board and always present friendship. What you do, does make a difference to me. x
How much difference will you make in the world today? Whose life will you impact?
It doesn’t matter what you don’t do.