Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Worthiness Wednesday #84: just show up

The weather seemed not to know what to do today. And neither did I.

It felt like we were both on the cusp of rain. The weather got hot, then cool, then humid. A few drops here and there. But otherwise, full and heavy and bothered and... nothing.

I was at sixes and sevens today. I felt cranky and achy and tired from the drug I am taking. I was overwhelmed by the reality of living the examined life. My house was a mess. There were things that needed doing. And all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed.

I got home from dropping my daughter off at kinder and there was a moment where I saw I had a choice.

Giving myself a leave pass was a perfectly good option. I'm not feeling 100%. And one day off would not set back the progress of my novel too far. The dishes, the laundry, the toys strewn all over the house could wait. Ditto the emails, blog posts, tweets, instagrams. Spending a couple of hours resting with a book or a DVD would have been a very good investment of my time.

But there was another choice, the one I ended up going with.

I just showed up.

I sat at my desk and wrote. I crawled to 500 crappy boring words (words that likely won't make the cut in the final draft) then I did a word count and decided to show up some more. Two hours and 1,900 [equally unimpressive] words later, I gave myself permission to finish. I then gently pottered around the house, in the name of making a clearing, priming the canvas for tomorrow. Over the course of the afternoon, almost all those things that I didn't really want to do got done.

And here's the thing: I'm not sure that was the right choice. It's just as likely that resting up good and proper would have served me better in the long run. It's very possible that soldiering on will soon prove counterproductive.

But the truth is, I had no idea. And, still now, I have no idea. I'm like that pregnant storm cloud, hovering, lost in limbo in a humid still grey day.

So I just showed up. Dishevelled. Achy. Hot. Cranky. Uncertain.

And, it's likely that tomorrow, I'll do the same.

I'm beginning to see how an entire novel, indeed a whole life, could get written that way. Just showing up. Day by day. Despite not feeling certain that it's the best thing to do. Doing it anyway.

This week, I invite you to choose to show up. Even if you're not certain that's the best thing to do. Even if you know you'll do it badly. Even when you feel lost and lonely and unattractive and directionless.

Just put one foot in front of the other. And show up.

And maybe, just maybe, magic will happen.

I can't say that I felt the magic any time today. But on the way home from collecting my daughter from kinder... it poured.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What's not to love about the School of Life?

Well, put it this way:

It's in an industrial chic (read: hipster trendy) area.

In absence of formal signage, its presence is announced on the street by irridescent yellow wheelie bins with the words "School of Life" stencilled on the front.

The garden boasts succulents and herbs and old milk crates and artisan coffee sold out of a caravan. On each table is a menu of conversation options.

The building itself is a hollowed out warehouse with some plastic moulded chairs and a screen for a powerpoint presentation. There is also a pop-up independent bookstore.

Inside, the walls are adorned with [breathtaking] artwork by one of Australia's preeminent graffiti artists.

My session was titled How to Fill Your God-shaped hole. It was facilitated by Dr Leslie Cannold, who held us entirely in her thrall.

Her presentation included Fatboy Slim's Right Here, Right Now video clip and K.D. Lang's cover of Hallelujah.

She also mentioned a quote of Richard Dawkins' who, upon playing the Fatboy Slim video during his keynote address at a conference, was said to remark [something to the effect of]: "Wasn't that amazing? Once I saw that video I was struck by how awesome it was... and I felt so grateful to the people who made it. And I wanted to thank them for my awe. I think this is why humans invented a god: they felt gratitude and wanted someone to thank for all that was awesome in their world."

During the session we formed a "community of enquiry" around god, organised religion, organisations in general, atheism, spirituality, the mystery of dying, life's big questions.

Discussions during and afterwards -- especially informal chats before the session and during the break and afterwards -- included how we connected to our higher selves, how we experienced awe, how we yearned for deeper connection, how we created ritual, how we sought meaning in our daily lives.

I can't begin to tell you how heartening it was to make a new friend -- like, exchanging phone numbers and setting an intention to catch up for coffee -- on the basis of this sort of conversation.

In fact, was one of the most rich and satisfying Sunday mornings I have spent in ages. And I would recommend it highly.

PS It feel no small amount of pride in my home town that Melbourne is the first and only (so far) international outpost of the School of Life. Its future is not guaranteed but, given most sessions have sold out and many are being repeated, it does bode well for the community of enquiry we already are... and seek to be.


And I most sincerely mean that.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday is for savouring

This week, I have been grateful for...

1. A week of intense emotion. It was unsettling and difficult to navigate and culminated in a very intense session with my therapist (after a two month break) that saw me scuttling into bed at 7 o'clock that evening. Knowing that the next day's blues were all part of the process. Feeling greater spaciousness today.

2. This wonderful article: Nine Practices to HelpYou Say No courtesy of my bff.

3. Brave emails from brave friends, sharing their vulnerabilities. I am constantly awed by the women in my life. They give me hope.

4. This beautiful comment on my last Worthiness Wednesday post, from my friend Mesa aka The Deranged Teen. She made me see something I had totally overlooked. I love this girl's wisdom and perspective.

5. I know I have mentioned this before but I am totally smitten by The Wild Unknown tarot deck. I have started pulling a card a day and it has been completely -- and lovingly -- accurate. For example, the morning I was due to see my therapist, I drew The Hierophant. Yesterday, nine of wands. Today, two of wands. Love.

6. Clomid. Yup, I'm going to put it out there. I have started taking this "dirty drug" as a means of helping the fertility process. I have not felt any major side effects so far (other than a little hot and bothered, which hardly puts me in the minority in this week's Melbourne heat wave!) and a recent scan has indicated that it is doing its job. The rest is really up to the Goddess and I remain optimistic.

7. My mum and sister agreeing to put in some dollarage towards the leather jacket I have fallen in love with, for my birthday present. I feel I should add: it is a lot softer and less shiny and more flattering than it appears in the photo. It fits perfectly and will be brilliant for Melbourne in late Autumn and Winter.

8. Knowing that it is the last week of Summer! It has truly been a mild one: we've rarely had a day over 40 degrees Celsius, and the cooler evenings have been a boon. But these past couple of weeks have been trying. I love Autumn. Bring it on!

9. A wonderful skype session with my dear friend Phil aka Skinny Latte Strikes Back. We're working on keeping each other accountable with our various writing projects this year. I find every interaction with Phil to be inspiring and heartening. She's a true kindred spirit (one of the many reasons I think she's the bees' knees!)

10. I am saving this for last but it is my no means the least. My pal Cam aka CurlyPops had a lung transplant last week. The sheer idea of this just blows my mind, but her attitude towards her recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. If you're not following this gal on instagram then you really should: her courage and tenacity and sheer love for life humble me every single day.

As always, I am linking up with my dear friend Maxabella and her magnificent 52 weeks of grateful project. You really should get in amongst it: it'll hone your vision during the week for all the things you're grateful for; and you'll meet some completely delightful kindred spirits along the way. Promise!

Friday, February 22, 2013

I am not on effing holiday

OMG. I just realised something.

I was typing out an email to my friend, and launching into the usual litany of how I must be "doing something wrong" because I am not "enjoying" my holiday. Sure, the writing is going well -- and that's one of the major reasons for me taking this time off my day job -- but the rest has hardly been a picnic.

I'm hardly reading for pleasure, there are a stack of DVDs I'm dying to watch that I haven't even taken out of their plastic wrappers, I have hardly socialised (let alone blogged), I rarely take photo walks, I've never sat outside in the sunshine to drink my coffee, I've been running myself ragged on the domestic To Do list.

In fact, I felt more rested when I had a day job to go to two days a week.

I really honestly thought it would be different.

And then, it hit me.

My "holiday" is 10am to 3pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays while my daughter is at kindergarten. That's ten hours a week, at least four of which is devoted to the act of sitting at my computer and churning out words.

The remaining six are crammed with replying to emails, drafting the occasional blog post, making phone calls, scoffing lunch whilst listening to a podcast, making lists upon lists of more things To Do, paying bills, following up medical appointments, tying up loose ends at work, getting organised to cook dinner.

In short, there ain't no holiday. Suddenly, sitting at a desk that's not in my home and thinking about something other than the mess in my mind for 16 hours? Now that feels luxurious.

I'm totally starting to bore myself with this, so I promise this will be the last I'll say on this topic. [For now, heh.] Suffice it to say, once that shitty first draft of my novel is done -- around Easter, or thereabouts -- things are going to change around here.

I've worked for fifteen years to earn this holiday.

I want an effing holiday.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Worthiness Wednesday #83: you will be OK

[Apologies this is a day late! Life conspired against me yesterday. I'm sure it's still [Worthiness] Wednesday somewhere in the world.]

Recently, I was presented with the option of increasing my daughter's days at kindergarten from two to three. Initially I had been keen on this idea, now I am less sure. In addition to her two days at kinder, she spends one morning a week at creative play. This leaves us with two days for just the two of us, and this will be the last year we have this luxury before she starts school.

This time feels precious.

But certain questions have been niggling at me.

Am I selfish in holding her back? What if she is the only one not attending three days? What if she misses out on something? What if she finds it harder to make friends, with the kids attending three days forming closer bonds?

I know these questions are not about my daughter. I see that they are about my own fears. My fears for her (What if she feels rejected? What if she feels lonely?) and my fears for me (What if I get it wrong? What if I am not enough for her?). These fears have been making it hard for me to make a definitive decision... and then to be happy with the decision I have made.

I held a little birthday party for my daughter on Monday. We usually have family parties for her birthday but I also wanted my little 'un to have the opportunity to celebrate with her two best friends: W (a lovely little lad from kinder) and E (as sweet little lass from creative play).

Before W and E arrived with their mums and baby siblings, I discussed what was about to happen with my daughter. "The thing is," I ventured, "W and E don't know each other. So it will be important for you to introduce them. But also to make sure that you play with them both at the same time."

Monday afternoon was extremely hot, like, 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 Fahrenheit hot. And being at the end of a few days of building heat, it was 27 degrees C (80.6 F) inside the house!

But my littlie and her friends, and their baby siblings, did really well. They ate, they played, they dissected their treat bags, they sang happy birthday. And generally didn't mind being cooped up indoors in the dark with only one standing fan to offer relief.

On reflection, I noticed that it was rare that my little 'un managed to play with both of her friends at once. Her friends were understandably a little shy of one another. What tended to happen was that she'd play with them in turn while the other amused themselves with her toys. In the absence of her attention, they were fine.

I also noted that she tended to play the same games with each of them as she usually did when they visited (i.e. playing Lego with W, making pictures with E). That is to say, she assumed the role that she had cultivated with that individual friend. And she seemed to slip between roles with ease.

She is so much like me, that little girl. And in this realisation, this space, there is room for an exhale.

She is instinctively drawn to a certain type of person. She knows how and where she wants to spend time with them. She is aware of the roles she plays, with individual friends and in groups. She is learning when to lead and when to follow.

She'll be fine.

And so will I.

This week, I invite you to step into that place of knowing: however you choose to relate to people, whatever your fears are (of being rejected/misunderstood/lonely), whenever you feel that you are getting it wrong over and over and over again.

You will be OK.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Start: right now

Right now, your brain might feel full to bursting. Right now, you might not know where to start.

Right now, you might be wondering how baking a lasagne could take an entire afternoon. Right now, you might be smiling because you forgot to add the secret ingredient to your béchamel sauce because you were interrupted too many times by a budding Batman-girl with detailed questions about how she might defeat Darth Vader.

Right now, little Batman-girl might be chatting to her dinosaurs in the bath while you tap out a blog post on your laptop. Right now, you might be conscious that if you leave the blog post any later you might not get around to it, or you might spend an entire evening on it at the expense of spending time with your husband... and neither of those things feels right.

But right now, you are exhausted from cramming activity into every available nook and cranny of your day.

Right now, you may be chewing over some game-changing questions. Questions such as Where is the ease in not knowing? And What invites an exhale? Right now, you may be frustrated that the answers to these questions are almost frighteningly clear... and that you seem to be avoiding them at all costs.

Right now, you may be on holidays. And right now, you may find that somewhat ironic.

Right now, you would be justified in wondering why you are not enjoying your holidays more. Although right now, you might also know -- in a deep almost cellular way -- that enjoyment is a loaded word and that happiness comes in many forms. Right now, you also may be open to the suggestion that enjoyment can diminish when there is an expectation that it should be present.

Right know, you can feel justifiably proud that you are showing up. Right now, it is perfectly safe to share that your task, your calling, your writing is progressing well. As you always knew it would.

Right now, you can also make space for the idea that how you spend your non-writing time really is up to you.

Right now, you know you have no choice but to surrender to the mystery of what is (or isn't) happening inside your body and what that might (or might not) mean for how the rest of your year pans out.

Right now, it is a good idea to listen to that prickle you feel when someone [albeit kindly] calls you a "hero" for going the extra mile. Right now, you cannot ignore that all those little extra miles are accruing in a way that feels deflating.

Right now, you see that you are still settling in to this skin. Right now, you know that it is still early days. Right now, you may even be able to accept that you will always feel slight panic that time is passing too quickly... because it is. Right now, you are wide awake to the fact that this glorious messy thing we call life is short.

Right now, you are wise to open your heart and your mind to -- at least -- the idea of more rest, and more play. Right now, your stumblings are held with grace and compassion. Right now, you are welcome to claim your status as a work in progress.

Right now, it's a good idea just to start.

Start where you are: right now.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday is for savouring

This week, I have been grateful for...

1. The above trailer for Finding Vivian Maier (discovered via Andrea Jenkins' twitter feed). To say that I am excited about this film would be the biggest understatement in the history of the universe and beyond.

2. A beautiful night of champagne and canapes and art with my beautiful li'l sister at the National Gallery of Victoria's annual Midsummer party for members. Yup, I reckon that would have to be the perfect combination: sister + Paris + champagne.

3. Looking forward to some more sister time tonight, as well as some mindblowing live music.

4. Savouring the delicious ache I feel every time I drop my little 'un off at kindergarten. Sounds melodramatic, I know. And counter-intuitive: after all, she's been attending creative play sessions since she was two. There's just something different about this time. She's growing up, and growing more and more independent of me.

5. This fantastic campaign to remove the luxury tax on tampons in Australia. I know, I know. Luxury?! Huh. And we have a woman Prime Minister (although in fairness, it wasn't her idea. Still...)

6. The gorgeous frisson that comes from sending secret squirrel parcels to beloved friends and family.

7. Mum forwarding me this fascinating review from The Guardian of Laurie Anderson's new shows, both of which I am going to see at the Adelaide Festival.

8. This exquisite book cover collaboration between Lisa Congdon and Anna Dorfman. You had better believe I ordered it and not just because I judged a book by its cover.

9. Today's lunch with guests going very well indeed. I spent yesterday busting my hump, cooking and cleaning so that we wouldn't be sweltering in front of the oven this morning. Thank goodness I did, as my husband came down with a tummy bug this morning, leaving me to hold and fort and juggle three littlies and two other adults on my own. Let's just say, there was tremendous comfort in the chaos. Chocolate ice-cream with sprinkles helped too.

10. Thinking through the reality that I am not enjoying my long service leave as much as I think I "should be". Sorting through the murkiness of shoulds, and seeing how -- despite the writing part going really well -- I am craving more rest and more play. More on this soon...

10. +1 And something I am grateful for in anticipation: your indulgence as I switched on the "members only" function of this blog's comments. You should be able to sign in with any of your accounts (e.g. blogger, wordpress, whatever). I am just so sick of spam! And it was either that or word verification. Keep me posted, though: if it gets too onerous, I'll review.

As always, I am linking up with my dear friend Maxabella and her magnificent 52 weeks of grateful project. You really should get in amongst it: it'll hone your vision during the week for all the things you're grateful for; and you'll meet some completely delightful kindred spirits along the way. Promise!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Worthiness Wednesday #83: plant a seed but grow roots

In my Sunday list of gratefuls, I mentioned how inspired I was by Pia Jane Pijkerk's efforts to self-publish her book. Like many, I adored My Heart Wanders and have since followed her story with interest. I was partly attracted to her hallmark style and grace and partly intrigued by her innovative campaign. (I gather pozible has been around for a while, but it was the first time I'd come across it.)

Then, I read her update. With a week to go, she had only reached half of the AUD $30,00 required to launch her project. As planned, she contacted various luminaries of the blog style world. To her surprise, she was mostly ignored, dismissed and rejected.

What happened next should probably have been less of a surprise.

Although I do not have anywhere near Pia's profile, let alone a best selling and highly regarded book under my belt, I can say that could completely empathise with her experience. And I'm willing to bet that you know what she's talking about too.

You know that thing when you think, If I send it to her and she blogs about it, then I've got it made. Or If I make friends with him then I'll get to hang out with them and then I've got it made. Or If I sign up to her e-course/retreat/whatever, then chances are she'll introduce me to her publisher/agent/licensing company/whomever and then I've got it made.

In my experience, it's more likely that the person will never respond to your email. Or they will, and they'll half-heartedly agree to whatever it is then never follow through. Or they'll let you do that guest post or whatever, but make a point of not supporting it in the way that every other guest post has been supported (with tweets, mentions, kind words, maybe even a thank you) so that the whole thing ends up feeling like an embarrassing anti-climax. Or you'll meet in person and realise that although it feels like you know heaps about that person from their blog, you're not actually friends and they really couldn't give a shit about you.

Sounds harsh, I know, but the point I'm making is that the big players are not really where it's at.

Because the ones that will always show up (or, at the very least, show an interest) are the ones who are truly in your corner. The ones who are just like you. The ones who are still making their way, haven't yet cracked the "big time" or maybe -- wow -- have no aspirations in that regard. The ones who read your stuff and go Wow! That is so me right now. Your grass roots, if you will.

That's exactly how Pia's project got off the ground. She posted on instagram how devastated she was that her project was looking unlikely to fly, and why, and her grass roots troops rallied. They posted incredible stories like this one. They tweeted, they facebooked, they interested, they whatevered.

And they sent her a juicy big message: We get you. We want you to succeed. Your creative project is worthy of our support.

You are worthy of our support.

I invite you to plant this seed so that the next time you need help with something, you will remember. It's only human to hope that a shortcut via an influential contact will be the thing that gets us there, the thing that makes us. But the truth is -- however daunting and exhilarating it may seem -- is that we are what makes us.

Together, we make us. Our grass roots kindreds and our vulnerable hopeful selves.

We are worthy of this glorious, freeing truth.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


There's a line by the Italian writer Carlo Levi that I think is apt here: "The future has an ancient heart." I love it because it expresses with such grace and economy what is certainly true -- that who we become is born of who we most primitively are; that we both know and cannot possibly know what it is we've yet to manifest in our lives.


I hope you will be surprised and knowing at once. I hope you'll always have love. I hope you'll have days of ease and a good sense of humour. I hope one of you really will bake me a pie (banana cream, please). I hope when people ask what you're going to do with your English and/or creative writing degree you'll say: Continue my bookish examination of the contradictions and complexities of human motivation and desire; or maybe just: Carry it with me, as I do everything that matters.

And then smile very serenely until they say, Oh.

Cheryl Strayed
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice of Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday is for savouring

This week, I have been grateful for:

1. My little 'un settling in so beautifully to kinder. Missing her so much while she's there, despite being focused on other things and happy that she's where she needs to be. She's almost four and an extraordinary little human being.

2. Finding the above little gem buried deep in a box in my wardrobe. Showing it to my little 'un, and asked if she thought her ma was cool. She replied, "I don't like my mummy when she was little. I like her now that she's big." Fair enough.

I want to mention that the photo was taken at Highpoint Shopping Centre circa 1983, where I was one of three kids selected from the crowd to have their photo taken with Darth Vader (signed, no less!). As you may gather, it was a promotion for a certain medical product. Invariably the question gets asked: what's that bloke on the left doing? I recall it clearly to this day: he was trying to avoid tripping over his microphone cord. Plonker.

3. This flippin' brilliant post from Alexandra Franzen. Killer insight, sage advice and Ru Paul. What's not to love?

4. One very special fifth wedding anniversary dinner. Gorgeous food, amazing wine, phenomenal sunset, a lass walking past the window where we sat and mouthing "Great dress!" at me, brave vulnerable conversation, a dreamy walk home. Nothing missing whatsoever.

5. Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things. There are no words to describe how I feel about this book. You just gotta get it for yourself. No, seriously. Just do it. NOW.

6. After the intensity of last week, experiencing a day when I just felt grateful for this beautiful messy painful exquisite life. Savouring it (as I know it doesn't come around often). Feeling full, deep, open.

7. This very touching and extremely clever campaign to publish a beautiful book.

8. This super cute photo of the best coffee in the world (via@_AmazingPhotos). "Best coffee in the world" is a big call so I was skeptical as I opened the link. But, nope, that would have to be the best coffee I've ever seen and enough to make me smile. (Who cares what it tastes like?)

9. My Wild Unknown tarot pack arriving this week. Seriously blown away. But I'm going to take my time getting to know this baby.

10. A beautiful moment this morning -- after a night of heavy rain and a night of being up in three-hourly intervals with a little girl who had a temperature and a runny nose -- when I had the house to myself and all the windows open. The breeze and the silence felt sacred, precious. And best honoured with a candle, a cup of Earl Grey tea and a dose of Maira Kalman.

10. +1 A lunch and movie date with my mum and li'l sis today. Going to see Quartet, which was simply delightful and also happened to centre around my all-time favourite piece of opera music ever. (Particularly exquisite was Ronnie Hughes' jazz trumpet interpretation of Bella figlia dell'amore which, sadly, does not appear on the soundtrack.) A lovely, fun, easy time. Special.

I’m playing along with my sweet friend Maxabella’s 52 weeks of grateful challenge. I really love the way it encourages me to keep my eyes open for tiny moments to be grateful for, all week long. Be sure to stop by and add your gratefuls!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Our mothers, our daughters

It has been a hard week for mothers of daughters.

Over the weekend, a dear colleague lost her daughter -- a beautiful lass the same age as me -- to a rare and extremely malevolent form of cancer. Her mother is a senior colleague of mine, whom I have known for over ten years. A fiercely independent fiery woman, she raised her two daughters alone. They were so close, they might have been sisters. In the obituary she wrote for her daughter, she honoured her memories and thanked her for the precious times shared.

She signed off "Mum xx".

Then she added, almost in a postscript:

Rest now, my darling.

Those four words undid me today.

In those four words, she was no longer a colleague or friend. She was no longer the strong one, the one holding it together for everyone, the one staying optimistic and grateful.

She was a mother: tender, loving, protective. Grieving. In those four words, she conveyed all she had seen: the suffering she witnessed; the pain that would never heal.

On Monday, a little friend of my daughter lost his baby sister. It was known while she was in utero that she would be born with heart defects, but modern medical technology gave cause for optimism. The entire family (and community) braced themselves for a difficult time. But they gathered around hope.

That tiny little girl did not survive the multitude of operations she had to endure in her first weeks of life. Incredibly, her mother brought her son in to kinder on the first day of term. She sat on the couch and cried, held by a beloved mentor and friend.

I share this today not to be ghoulish or sensationalist. Or disrespectful. And please forgive me if reading any of this has touched tender spots in you. I am still trying to process my grief, and understand the role it is playing in my general sadness. I didn't know my colleague's daughter, though I am attending her funeral this afternoon, to show my respect for her amazing mother. I don't know the mother of my daughter's playmate very well at all.

Something in these stories touches me profoundly. Perhaps because they are about mothers and daughters. Perhaps because they remind me how much I have to be grateful for.

Perhaps because I will never be able to understand or rationalise them. These losses are unfair. Unfathomable.

Perhaps because they remind me that holding a space for this grief, this loss, connects me to mothers and daughters across the world. This exquisite pain feels timeless and universal.

And completely and eternally mysterious.

We are all daughters. We all have mothers who have loved us and whom we have loved in return (be they our biological mothers or other older women who have fulfilled that role). We are all mothers, even if we have never physically borne a child ourselves. We becomes mothers in our roles as aunts, older sisters, mentors, friends, creative beings.

And in typing these words, and in reading them, I see that our love is illuminated and that we are all touched by its gracious light.

Even in the mystery.

May love guide you in all of your choices today. And, if you have the chance, hold your beloveds extra close.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Worthiness Wednesday #82: drop out, tune in

I had a ticket to see Bat for Lashes at the Palais Theatre last night. It cost me $80. And I didn't go.

At this point, you'd be justified in wondering whether I was insane.

The truth is: I'm not.

I'm just sad.

I have been feeling sad for a little while now. But I've been ignoring -- actually, denying -- it.

Because I am not supposed to feel sad right now. I am starting the process of living a long-held dream. And it's going well!  I'm coming to the end of two intensive years of therapy. All my relationships feel healthier, more productive and more spacious than they've ever been. I've just paid off my Christmas debts. We've made heaps of progress on decluttering our home. I have a fantastic support tribe that has helped me get my energy levels back on track. We're making plans for a family holiday in the US in a few months. So many things are coming together and falling into place. All my beloveds are safe and happy and healthy... as am I.

Except, for some reason, I haven't been able to stop stuffing my face with chocolate. I also haven't been sleeping very well. And enjoying more glasses of wine than usual. Oh, and started drinking coffee again, even though it gives me headaches. My calendar is starting to bulge with social occasions that are starting to feel like obligations. I'm reading too much personal development stuff and it's overwhelming me. I'm highly anxious about my daughter's shoes, which are too small and she keeps tripping over (but she refuses to wear anything other pair). Everywhere I look, I have not done enough.

So, I got to 8.30pm yesterday -- the appointed time to pull on a dress and get in the car and drive across town to see this show -- and all I wanted to do is crawl into bed.

I discussed the Fors and Againsts with my husband.

Fors: I will enjoy it when I get there; I paid $80 for the ticket; live music has a transcendental, healing quality; I'll kick myself if I don't go; it shouldn't be too hard to get a park; I'm so curious about this girl; and her performance has got rave reviews; I'll be sitting down at the show.

Againsts: I just want to crawl into bed; I'm tired; it's a painful drive across town; it'll be a late late night; I'm going on my own (so won't be letting anyone down if I don't show); I'm not that familiar with her music; I'm going on my own (so won't have anyone to share the experience with); I just want to crawl into bed.

In the end, I just want to crawl into bed won. And I was sound asleep before 9pm.

But not before I sat with my husband and opened my heart and heard myself admit that I was feeling sad. Even though I wasn't supposed to be. Even though I have so much to be grateful for. Even thought it wasn't cool and altogether rather boring (again). Even though it defied logic.

The truth is, I am not as cool about stuff as I make out to be. The truth is, a lot of things don't come easy to me (even though it might look like they do). The truth is, I am struggling with this "trying to conceive" business, even though I am so well supported and know that everything will be OK, whether I have a baby or not. The truth is, that I am so busy making other plans that I can be so naive about the life that is happening in the meantime... until my body refuses to get changed, jump in a car, drive to St Kilda and listen to live music.

So, this week, I invite you to drop out. Go on, I dare you. Cancel out of something. Say no to something that doesn't make your heart sing, something that you may be doing just to keep someone else happy or maintain a particular appearance. Make that space for yourself. 

Fill it with nothing.

In the silence, listen. What is it your heart truly yearns for? What are your fears around this? How are you acting out some of those fears right now, albeit unconsciously? How would it feel to name those fears and sit with them for a while?

I can hazard an answer to the last one. This morning, I felt lighter. And not just because I was asleep before 9pm. (Actually, it you want to know I was awake at 2.30am, clenching my jaw and thirsty as hell.)

As I walked home from dropping my little 'un off at kinder, I could almost see my sadness walking alongside me. It was palpable and strong but no longer confusing or overwhelming. It was just there. Named. Seen.

For the first time in many months, I pulled out my camera and took a couple of photos of the morning light and vibrant colour flowers. For the first time in weeks, I felt free.

This week, give yourself the gift of space. See what sits there, waiting. And see how it can be separate from you.

Because you are worthy of vibrant flowers and live music and real conversation and a life free of subconscious tyrannies. You are worthy of life.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pram cam on the tram!

Giving my little 'un the point and shoot camera from my bag is a sure-fire way to liven up an otherwise ordinary tram journey! The folk siting nearby were cacking themselves as they witnesses the surreptitious silly selfies. I've said it before and I'll say it again: love that kid.

Check out past pram cams here and here! It's becoming something of a series... who knows, it may even evolve into a blog of its own some day.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Saturday is for savouring

I am just going to put it out there. I am absolutely NOT savouring this Saturday. I am hormonal, I am crabby, I am grouchy at everyone, and just about everything is giving me the irrits.

And as counter-intuitive as it feels right now, I know that it is more important than ever to show up for my gratitude practice today. Humph! So, here goes.

This week, I have been grateful for...

1. The wonderful responses to my post about jealousy earlier this week. The truth is, the overwhelming majority of people in my world are kind and generous and always ready to cheer me on. And endearingly protective! I am so blessed to have so many kindreds in my corner.

2. An excellent first session for 2013 with my creative coach, Satyavani Fiona Robyn. It bodes so well for the year ahead, especially for my plans for my novel and this blog and who knows what else! I'm open...

3. Choosing to write "writer" in the Occupation box when filling out forms. After all, it's the truth.

4. This lovely recipe for lavender honey lip balm, all the more delicious for being written by a fella!

5. My little 'un's delight in her new Lego Batman jammies. We are not a brand-conscious house, as a rule, and have a deep-seated aversion to commercial television and radio, as well as franchised movies, music, toys and snacks. And yet, my littlie loves playing Lego Batman on the Playstation with her dad and her sheer exuberance when she wears these jammies puts a massive smile on my face.

6. Getting to February without a day over forty degrees Celsius. And having two or three days of hot weather followed by a cool change and a string of cooler days. It makes me so much happier when we can open the blinds and windows and allow the house to cool down. That said, February is usually a stinker! But we're on the home stretch to Autumn, my favourite month of the year.

7. Colette Baron-Reid's Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much. To say this book is a revelation is an understatement. And I don't just mean about food and weight-related stuff. Fantastic to learn new strategies too. I'm only half way through, and it's whupping my hide in the best of ways.

8. My friend Julie's beautiful new Great Round Mandala e-course. Oh my goddess, I cannot wait to get lost in this one.

9. My sweet man doing a hasty last-minute pre-work dash to the supermarket on Friday morning to buy a jar of Vegemite. Our little 'un has a cheese and Vegemite sandwich every day for lunch and we'd run out but the first day of kindergarten was likely not the day to try and convince her to try something else.

10. Our little 'un's courage on her first day of four year old kindergarten. And me not inhaling my body weight in chocolate cake on the way home (despite hundreds of cafes tempting me) from the pure emotion and relief!

10. + 1 Returning home from dropping her off at kinder, switching off the modem and my phone, gluing my bum to my seat and writing! Just as I said I would. I came up for air and an hour and a half had passed in a heartbeat... and I'd written 2,330 words! Pretty stoked, seeing as 1,000 words is my daily minimum. You better believe I bought a bottle of bubbly on the way home from picking her up.

I’m playing along with my sweet friend Maxabella’s 52 weeks of grateful challenge. I really love the way it encourages me to keep my eyes open for tiny moments to be grateful for, all week long. Be sure to stop by and add your gratefuls!

P.S. Do I feel better? Hmmm... no. A marvellous week is not enough to turn my frown upside down. The truth is: I am pretty happy within myself and with my life right now. Even cowgirls get the blues. Especially when they have PMS. Today, I'm just going to go with it. This too shall pass...