The Stuff of Life: Balancing the Good With the Bad

Hell yeah

I’ve written before about how I write Morning Pages and how the act of writing out what I am thankful for has made a huge difference to my wellbeing. You know, sometimes you just wake up in a funk. My husband calls it waking up ‘with a bag on’ – meaning you feel like you’ve got a bag over your head. A little cryptic, but I think it describes how I sometimes feel.

On those days, this is when I benefit most from writing out my Morning Pages, but in particular, writing down the three things that I am thankful for. I’m not going down that path of banging on about practicing gratitude. It’s a bit over-talked I think, but I guess it’s because it works. It really can improve your outlook on life.  [Read more…]

Womenfolk Series: Jo Langhorne, Life Coach and Mentor

jo_headshots-39785Jo Langhorne is the Founder and Director of Jo Langhorne Coaching for the Soul – a life coaching practice that is underpinned by an ethos that if your soul is nourished and you look within, you will move closer to finding what you seek.

Jo has always gravitated towards people and is naturally inclined to make connections. She’s had a successful career in travel but always struggled working in a world driven by ‘the bottom line’. She left this behind to try and have a baby. During this time she contracted back to the travel company that had employed her, but worked in a different capacity, by providing training and mentoring. She discovered her greatest satisfaction came from seeing the staff she was working with grow, both personally and professionally.

[Read more…]

Morning Pages Will Change Your Life

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One of my long term goals is to write everyday. But I’ve always found that life just gets in the way. I just couldn’t find a way to make it happen. I’m not sure if it was procrastination at work, a long term crisis of confidence or something deeper, that was holding me back from making this happen.

But something shifted within me. I’m not sure what caused it, perhaps me just waking up sick and tired of looking at my long list of things I want to make happen and finding that none of it was.

Consciously, I knew that I was the only one who could turn these dreams in to a reality, but it’s much easier to blame external factors. My biggest one was that I have three small children who take up ALL of my time, anything left over was for me, and my fella. But really, this approach didn’t get me very far. [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.

Confession: I am not the go-getter the world wants me to be!

Ok, so we’re on the cusp of February. And finally my inbox and news feed has stopped bombarding me with rhetoric on setting goals and intentions for 2015. I’ve never felt so paralysed by the onslaught, ever. So the result was literally, to do nothing. Which I am sure is the opposite to what it is meant to do.

I think all the articles on goals at the start of the year really are well-intentioned, but surely there is something in the editors check list that says – ‘publish stuff that’s not being covered anywhere else’. I’m sure their job description doesn’t say ‘make sure you cover a seasonal topic because every other media outlets is doing it and we don’t want to miss out’. I’m pretty sure that’s not a directive.

But come December and January the mandatory articles appear. Worst and Best Christmas present lists, festive ways to wrap a present (huh?), new festive recipes, how to say good bye to the year that was, how to stick to your new years’ resolutions (as if!), setting meaningful goals for the new year…yawn. Or rather, STOP!

If I wrote an open letter to all editors of media outlets I’d say:

‘Dear Editor,

You’ve just f***ked up the beginning of my new year by placing such intense pressure on me to set goals and make affirmations, to change my morning routine, to change the way I work, the way I clean my house, the way I think…the way I do, well… everything.

Holidays are meant to be about resting, relaxing, imbibing, enjoying. Chilling out, chewin’ the fat, just being. Please allow me to just BE. Leave me be. Please.

Yours,

Collette’

So, I didn’t get very far with improving my life for the better. But I did come up with a very gentle solution to my inaction, which made me feel a whole lot better about not being the go-getter the world wanted me to be.

I chose a word that will underscore my life this year. My word will inform all my decisions – from day to day choices, to life-changing decisions. I know we’re only four weeks in, but it seems to be working really well. There are things that I want to achieve this year, some things are left over from last year and some new things, as well. I already know what they are, but working towards them with my word in mind helps me feel that I am closer to achieving them.

So my word for 2015 is COMPLETION. I chose it because I always feel that things are in disarray – lots of half-finished things hanging around. Making me feel unsettled. So with an over-arching goal of ‘completion’ informing all of my decisions, it’s really helping me get things done. The upside of that is a sense of achievement.

Funny thing about this, once I’d settled on my word I felt much less bound up by the goal-setting issue. So in the end I did sit down and set some goals, some long-term and some short-term goals. What was great about it was that I don’t feel any pressure because I know that completion is what is driving me, so if I keep that on my agenda, I’ll always achieve my goals in the end.

Do you have a word? Please share.