The Art of Disconnecting and Reconnecting

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Trentham to Lyonsville walk

This week we’ve been away at a friend’s farm in Trentham, Victoria. There is nothing quite like the feeling of the crisp frosty morning and the glow of the fire that has been burning all night, keeping the living room toasty for when you get up to make your morning cuppa. I love the smell of the air in the country; crisp and clean but punctuated with the smell of log fires and home baking.

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For us city-dwellers, the novelty never wears off. Every time I come to this part of the world, I feel revived and inspired. Our kids also get the benefits. They love that we do things as a family that we don’t do at home. Not out of choice, but because our day-to-day lives are so full of activity that we are constantly in the throes of football, netball, gymnastics, soccer, school, work… you get the idea. [Read more…]

Give Yourself Something Worth Celebrating!

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The end of the financial year never really had much significance for me; June 30 meant checking the letter box for my group certificate and making an appointment for my tax return. But I was reflecting on the fact that half the year had gone by (and so so quickly) and I realised that if I didn’t stop and consider things, the rest of the year would disappear without warning. I didn’t (and don’t) want to get to Christmas 2015 and think to myself ‘damn, I wished I checked in to see how I was travelling’.

Of course, I can say that now. Now that I’ve done it. I pulled out my lined journal that I wrote my goals in for 2015 and had a little look-see to check on my progress. What I found was very illuminating! [Read more…]

Taking stock, whimsy and 200 Cartwheels

Thanks to Pip from Meet Me at Mikes. She posted this  blog post earlier, in May, about taking stock and I loved its simplicity and it is particularly relevant to me today. So I’ve decided to share my list of things that I’m taking stock of this long weekend. Because sometimes a bit of whimsy in our lives is a great thing.

I was thinking how important it is to take the time to take really take stock of our lives (and that was before I stumbled upon the lovely post by Pip at Meet Me at Mikes – so a little bit of serendipity thrown in to!). It has just been so lovely to have the time and space to actually wind down, enjoy my family, enjoy being home – not rushing from place to place. [Read more…]

The most important lesson my Mum’s absence has taught me

It is a tortured life, the life of a writer. Or so the cliches will have us believe. Ernest Hemmingway said ‘Writing is easy. You just sit down at a typewriter and bleed’. I have identified with this a little; it’s a perfect alibi for procrastination and avoiding the hard stuff. There are many untruths around doing something you are passionate about. From my experience it doesn’t involve pain. It’s more about truly living. Living with your whole being.

Unfortunately, there are too many stories where people wake up and realise that time is running out. We all consciously know that our time on earth is limited and we only get one go at this, but do we really understand the essence of this? [Read more…]

Four things to consider when engaged in introspection

As I’ve reached middle age, my life is lived through an altered lens. I think anyone who has lost someone will have some recognition of this. I seek to live a better life. Not in the sense that I’m chasing the unattainable, but in the sense that I try to recognise those things that aren’t making me happy, or enriching life’s over all experience.

One of the most common things I’ve noticed, due to my altered perspective, is how many people watch life, rather than live it, and indeed I was one of these people (sometimes I still am).

It’s useful to check in with yourself every now and then, to make sure you’re actually living life, not just witnessing it from the sidelines.

Here are some thoughts to help you consider if you’re satisfied with how you’re you living your life:

Social Media – I’ve written about social media before, you can the article here. This one is a double-edged sword. It can provide amazing communal support, a means for meeting like-minded people, provide opportunities for learning and research. It can connect people who feel unconnected, which is a great thing.

But it is also a connection with great limitations. What us humans actually seek are real and meaningful connections – not virtual connections.

It is a constant flow of information that can be like a vortex that you can’t escape from. And sadly, sometime’s people aren’t honest.

If you can’t wait to get online and see what all your ‘friends’ are up to, you probably need to recalibrate. Work out how much time you spend looking at other people’s photos and commit to actually seeing these friends in real life for that same amount of time. It’s a sure fire way to guarantee you’re actually living life, not watching it. 

Television – Is your TV on for most of the day? Do you plan your life around the box set release of the latest drama series? Are you addicted to a television program and forget that the characters are just that? (Errrrm, Patrick from Offspring anyone?)

Ask yourself why you have so much invested in these ‘people’? I’ll admit, I felt real remorse when Patrick died, but it was also my aha moment. When ‘Patrick’ died, Offspring and I broke up. It was liberating. Try it.

Video games – so when the Wii first came out, everyone was enthralled. It’s amazing, you can play tennis, do yoga, go bowling, play soccer…the list is endless. And all in the privacy of your own lounge room.

The one flaw with this is, well, it’s all in the privacy of your own lounge room. If you want to play tennis, call a friend, go with your partner or your child. Same goes for yoga, go to a class, you might meet a real person, who you actually like! You get my drift.

As for Candy Crush. Just go to bed, get some sleep and stop sending me invitations to play it with you. If you really want to connect with me, let’s have a coffee.

Magazines – ok, I confess, I am a total mag junkie, but I also have the legitimate excuse that it’s part of my work. But nonetheless, I have wasted (and will probably continue to waste) hours of time reading magazines. I especially like the aspirational home and lifestyle magazines, so yes, this advice is directed 100% to myself.

There are so many more interesting things to spend my time on, than looking at photos of other peoples homes. And I am well aware, when these photos are taken there is an army of stylists on standby to pick up after the children, sweep up after the dog, touch up the lady of the house’s make up. It’s not real, but it is addictive.

The biggest issue with all this voyeurism is that it generates comparison. Even though in our conscious minds we know the characters aren’t real, nor the scenes that have been created, or the impression someone is trying to make on Facebook with their montage of photos.

None of it is real. But it does generate real thoughts. Theodore Roosevelt once said that ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ We make assumptions about others’ greatness and compare it to the worst parts of ourselves.

Try not to. Life is passing you by when you do this.

Forget about looking outwards. Look inwards, you’re much more interesting.