Saturday, January 21, 2012

Keeping it real


When I first read this weeks "assignment" the very first word that came to me was RespectEach time that I have thought about what are my five top values, that has been the first to come to mind...

What does Respect mean to me? Its not just about respecting me, or treating me with respect, but its about respecting so much more... life, humanity, the planet, other human beings. If we treated each other with respect so much hate, violence, evil would disappear. Treat others how you would like to be treated.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" Most people will associate that saying with Christianity, but the concept has been around long before Jesus was a boy. To me it encapsulates what respect means.
When I was 19, I made the conscious decision that I wasn't going to live my life in the manner that I had seen and experienced growing up. I didn't know how I was going to live it, just how I wasn't going to. Consequently I went on to invent a personality, and in doing so, denied my authenticity. It took me 13 years, and losing the plot and a stay in a psyche ward to reclaim it.  I won't lose it again. By being authentic I am being true to myself. Its my inner compass and guide. Being authentic means not false or copied, genuine and real. It means embracing the uniqueness that makes me ME - freak flag and all!

Being authentic means being honest. Something I despise is lying and liars. Lying to someone means that its not only them that you are lying to, but to yourself as well. The truth may be disappointing, hurtful, at times even devastating. But at least it is real. Being honest has got me into trouble on more then one occasion. Lying, it is little seeds of deceit that blacken your heart.

Practising gratitude is something that keeps me both authentic, and honest. Even on days when all I feel is grey, with a little bit of seeking, I can find something to be grateful for. I believe in the Law of attraction... If I think it, I'm inviting it into my life. I would rather invite good stuff in, then bad stuff. It helps me to change perspective, to see that even on grey stormy days there is good stuff happening, you just have to peel back the clouds to see it.

Gratitude highlights hope. When Pandora opened the forbidden box and everything flew out, the only thing that remained in the box was hope. I lost hope once. And very nearly lost my life. I never want to lose it again. Practising, and believing in respect, authenticity, honesty and gratitude means I will never lose it again. For me, they perpetuate hope, fan it into being, in all its magnificence,  potential and mystery...

Narrowing down the things that are important to five core values is a difficult exercise. Harder then I originally thought. There are many other things that are important to me - knowledge, family, resilience, joy, laughter to name a few, but essentially what I identified was that the five that spoke to me the loudest ultimately lead to the others. And like any strong house that will withstand anything that is thrown at it, a good foundation is imperative.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Victim or warrior?

Abuse, in any form, leaves an indelible mark on your heart, your soul and your psyche. Being on the receiving end of abuse as a child leaves a scar that runs so deep that only another person who has experienced it can truly understand. I, unfortunately, understand.

We either become a victim, or a warrior. (I don't like the word survivor ...yep I survived it. So what? So does a victim that still lives in it. I'm a warrior. I fight every single god damn day to be better then where I came from.)

A victim is someone who continually blames every thing that has gone wrong in their life on someone else, their abuser, anyone but them, never taking responsibility for any of their behavior, stuck in an endless loop of 'it's not my fault', allowing the abuse to be the excuse for, and be excused from, anything that they do as a grown up. Well in my opinion that's a cop out. That's the easy road.

A warrior, recognizes and acknowledges the things that happened that were beyond their control at the time, and in spite of those things, fights to become a better person. A warrior takes responsibility for the things they do as an adult, and owns their behavior. A warrior feels in a state of exhaustion a lot of the time. They are fighting a war after all - a war within.

I use my experiences to educate. I can recognize someone that has or is being abused, be it a child or an adult, without them telling me. I use my experiences to illustrate that you don't have to be a victim to them. You can be a warrior instead.

When I'm feeling exhausted, from fighting the war within, I look for words for inspiration, for soothing my soul, or to champion me on to fight another day. Ralph Waldo Emerson (leader of the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century and champion of individualism) is someone whose words speak often to my very core.

'Be not the slave of your own past ... plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old.'

My past will always be there. It just doesn't shackle me. Instead it empowers me to be bold, forthright, passionate, and not to be afraid to fly my freak flag!!

I have another Emerson quote tattooed down my side...

What lies behinds us and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us

It's a visual reminder that I'm doing OK.... In spite of.... Because of.

If you have been abused, as a child, or as an adult, or as both, to stop the cycle from perpetuating, you have to stop being a victim, dig deep, and become a warrior. Look for inspiration, seek assistance, use your experiences to educate, fly your own freak flag! It can be done.

If you have, or are experiencing abuse of any kind here are some links to help you on the road to becoming a warrior:



If you are a warrior, and know of an organisation, or information that can help someone, please share it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


For the last week or so I have had swirling around in my much needed-to-be-recharged-brain thoughts about why people view the world through either a positive or negative lens.

I actively try to view it through a positive lens. When I feel myself slipping into the black hole, and the lens darkens to one full of negativity, I dig deep into my tool box for whatever is going to help change the view.

This morning serendipity (god I love that word) occurred, and I fell across Justine Musk's beautifully articulated words about letting your freak flag fly. I couldn't have said it better if I tried. So I won't. Because I'm still waiting for the RACQ to come and recharge my brain.

Do yourself a favour, and head over to  her place . You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Does the RACQ recharge brains?

The start of a new year is like opening up a new note book... stiff, shiny, new, clean. Sometimes the writer can leap into the book, and can barely contain the words rushing to spill out. Other times the blank page stares up at them, beckoning to be written upon, yet the writer falters, sighs, and closes the book.

I'm finding myself faltering, sighing and closing the book.

Words and pictures are spinning through my head at a magnificent rate, yet putting any of those things into action is like turning the ignition key, and the motor doesn't even turn over. My battery is dead I think.

So I will sit, and rest, and try not to give myself a hard time because I haven't launched into the new year with vitality. .... and go and book my annual blood tests (that are quickly becoming overdue!) for tomorrow. .. Just to make sure that nothing physical is going on, that my lethargy and fatigue are post Christmas holiday blues related...

Are you bouncing with vitality, or are you like me, waiting for the RACQ to come and recharge my battery?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

what went right in 2011

52 weeks to simplify your life challenge

Its a brand new year. Full of infinite possibilities and opportunities.  I fell across this, 52 weeks to simplify your life  and decided that I wanted to participate. Considering that a lot of the time my blog is my dumping ground for the bad stuff going on around me or in my head, the opportunity to use it as a positive space couldn't be ignored.

While so many of my friends where experiencing not so great things happening for them in 2011, I was having a relatively great 2011. Yes there were moments or days where everything felt overwhelmingly bad, but for the most part it was a great year. I had a list of things that I wanted to do before I turned 42. While I haven't completed all of those things, I have done a lot of them, at least two thirds of them. I don't feel like I have failed because I didn't complete the list. In fact, quite the opposite. It's a record of all that I have achieved.

There are so many things that energised me - clearing out toxic things, people, places hugely energised me, simply because I was no longer wasting time and energy on things, people and places that sucked life from me. I learnt to recognise and ACT on that recognition of when that is happening, and not feel guilty about it. My time and energy is precious. And I can't fix everyone - especially people that don't want to fix themselves.

I met a man that is my best friend, and it is the biggest thing to make me feel happy in 2011. I can look at him, smile and feel joy in my heart. The time we spend together is precious, and whether we are cooking up a storm, playing with the kids, watching a movie, looking at the stars, or just laying holding each other I feel peaceful, and hopeful, and calm. But most of all, happy.

I am finding that it is easier and quicker to return to that place where I feel peacefulness now. When anxiety claws at my body and mind, it is becoming easier to let it pass over me. Ironically, it is from not fighting it, but instead I almost surrender to it. Like when you are caught in a rip in the ocean. Instead of swimming against it, I lay back, float, breathe and end up out of it quicker, and less exhausted, then if I furiously fight it.

Going on holiday to Daydream Island was amazing. Not only being there, and doing all the wonderful things that we did, but GETTING THERE! I did it!! I saved, and scrimped, and juggled. But I did it! It was the first real holiday I have had in a long time. Achieving that was monumental in itself. I felt very proud of myself.

There are so many things I am grateful for.... Having the ability to live on a shoestring... the gift of my three children, that I constantly learn things from every day... my beautiful friends that are my family... a man who loves me and my children... and then there are the "little things" - the things that are so easily taken for granted - clean water, food, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, easily attained medical assistance, the view from my bedroom....

Learning how to practice mindfulness has probably been my most positive lesson in 2011. The only moment I have any control over is the one I am currently in. Learning to let go of looking anxiously forward, and regretfully backward is a big lesson to learn. I'm glad that I have finally got it!

Thank you 2011 for all that your brought me. Here's to 2012 and all that will come....


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