Monthly Archives: February 2016

Beige Cars, Yellow Butterflies and the Monkey Mind

Beige cars and yellow butterflies

We know energy consists of electrons, protons, neutrons, leptons, and other particles ending in ‘on’. Of course I’m barely touching the surface of this massive field of study, but I do know everything consists of a moving mass of particles in some form or other.

One Christmas several years ago, Santa gifted me a book called E-Squared by Pam Grout. Full of good humour, E-Squared is an easy to read and follow self-help book about creating the life of your dreams through nine experiments with energy.

There are many names for this energy, some might know it as:

Ki
Chi
Prana
Weirdness
Life force
Life energy
Quintessence
Spooky stuff
Subtle energy
Universal energy
Quantum Physics
Mana (Polynesian)
The Force (Star Wars fiction)
The Od, also known as Odic force (Norse)

This energy is the ingredient I used in creating my two intentions below.

First Intention

Armed with the simple instructions set out in the book I started with the intention that I wanted to see as many beige coloured cars as possible over the next few days (I assumed they were rare). On the same day, barely did the wheels of my car leave my driveway when I spotted five beige cars in quick succession.

Second Intention

Early next morning I wrote that I wanted to see yellow butterflies because apart from the blue and brown butterflies, no yellow-winged insect graced my garden. Okay Universe give me yellow! Thirty minutes later three yellow butterflies fluttered outside my window pane.

Seriously, if this is how intention setting works out then show me the money!

My little experiment with the Universe highlighted my assumptions about beige cars and yellow butterflies (yes I know – never assume anything). It also highlighted that when I set clear intentions (admittedly they were easy) with none of that wobbly self-doubt, I’ll hit a bullseye.

Now moving away from intentions, my little experiments highlighted something else…

The Monkey Mind

During this research I discovered how much negative mind chatter had managed to sneak in and make itself at home in my head (What a pest! I bade it good riddance years ago and here it was again). I won’t bore you with the details but it was enough to get my cranky pants on when I uncovered the outrageous fun my monkey mind was having in the background.

Negative mind chatter is insidious – like mould; it slowly creeps in and before you know it there it is spread out on the ceiling of your laundry.

It seemed to me that my overly busy life or  twiddling thumb times had become the monkey’s playground. Its chatter began with a whisper, gradually got louder until it wore me down with its screaming. The chatter consisted of:

  • moaning and groaning about life,
  • doubting intention setting
  • short-sighted decision making,
  • scatter-gun finger pointing rather than self-reflection and stepping up
  • shrivelling under comments from hater’s
  • wants, must haves, no time to relax and so on.

It was time to don my battle fatigues…

 What I did next was…

  • eavesdropped – I tuned in and listened to what was going on in the background.
  • I became crystal clear with my intentions, then stopped and listened.
  • challenged the nasty mind chatter, and with hands on hips told it how wrong it was and kicked it to the kerb.
  • accepted some intentions would take a while to bake, while others would simmer for years before they’d be ready to eat.
  • listened to my intuition and the sage advice of those who have been there done that and learned from it.
  • pushed through walls of resistance

Me = winner ♠♣♥♦

Now and then the mischievous negative monkey pays me a visit, but knowing how energy works, it’s no match for positive monkey magic 🙂

 

 

When Life Gives You Lemons – Refocus

Sometimes life rains lemons, and when they come raining down there are choices. One: you can drown in them, or two: do something about them, get creative and change how you look at them, lest you find yourself activating an SOS beacon in what has you now treading water in a sea of lemons.

The car breaks down, you fall down, you fall up, trip sideways, then you get a speeding ticket, redundancy happens, you forget your wallet, your website isn’t playing nice, you forget it’s date night, worse still you forget it’s his/her birthday/anniversary/the in-laws are coming to stay. Yep, sometimes the unexpected happens and life will give you lemons (for those who have never had one of those days – I want what you’re having).

What to do?

Refocus. Take a trip to the beach, local park, go hiking, get reading, begin that writing project you’ve been talking about since time began, belly dance, draw something – anything, call your BFFs or support group, learn something different – bird watching, astronomy, find a MOOC that grabs your attention – it doesn’t matter, or finish what you started and start afresh.

This much I know, there’s no denying life can be harsh (a backup plan is a good thing to have when things go pear-shaped). Life is a big classroom and every challenge a lesson for the spirit to grow, so the gold in these experiences is to look for and learn from them, try on a different perspective and dance to a new beat.

When life gives me lemons I find ways of using them, this doesn’t mean I don’t jump up and down, rant and rave, cry, or pound my pillow flat in frustration because change isn’t immediate. Far from it, it just means I go into problem-solving mode and find better solutions to allow me to get my zen back on. Mind you not all solutions have worked out, some required me to start over again – the agony of it all! Also, because we’re all unique individuals what works for me may not necessarily work for you.

How fast I move in turning these moments around determines how long I remain in the foetal position sucking my thumb before I’m up and at ’em again.

So when life gives you lemons – turn up the music and get your groove back on!!

Blessings to you xx

Shapeshifting Bird Days

“Shapeshifting is not just transforming yourself into some beast as is often related in ancient myths and tales. It is a matter of controlling and utilising your energy to the fullest to meet whatever the life situation requires.” ~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

There are bright days where I soar like an eagle,

Where I am sharp-eyed and swift like the falcon,
Where I glide through the day with the grace of a beautiful white swan,
Or laugh hysterically like my neighbourhood friend, the kookaburra.
These are the days when I am as wise as the wisest owl,
Trill and tweet the melodic birdsong of the canary,
Become the ostrich and outrun those around me with the cry ‘Catch me if you can!’

These are the days when nothing is too difficult, everything is achievable, life is good and as it should be.

Steven Seagull by the river

Steven Seagull always makes me smile…

Flipping the coin to the darker days where I shapeshift and become the lyre bird, and all is not as it seems,

When I eat too much and waddle like a penguin,
I become the fierce cassowary, and with it the warning – do not approach!
I squawk and screech like a sulphur-crested cockatoo,
I’m a prisoner of my own making, until I shapeshift and become the Great Indian Hornbill,
When I scavenger hunt like the vulture,
Or I morph into the Bush Stone-Curlew while I grieve a loss.

These are the days when it’s difficult to get out of bed, motivation finds another, and life is a bumpy ride.

But the Wheel of Life keeps turning.

It may turn slowly, then gather speed, or slows to a trickle, and seemingly a standstill.

But the Wheel of Life keeps turning, through both the darkness and the light.

Guest Post from Level Up Health and Fitness

Level Up Guys!

Exercise – you regularly hear about its benefits from reduction, prevention and disease management, to weight loss, muscle tone, bulking up, and the ever so popular, body-sculpting and bikini modelling. It’s a big yes to all of the above-mentioned, and rightly so. Anything that gets your ticker ticking through correct exercise techniques has to be good!

There are also other benefits. There’s lots of research backing up that exercise can help reduce mild to moderate depression.[1] Through moving the body hormones serotonin and endorphins are increased – helpful for lifting the mood and getting a good night’s sleep. Exercise can also helps with anxiety,[2] low confidence and self-esteem. There are also social benefits to be had. Friendships can be forged through meeting others in exercise groups, bringing a buddy along, and connecting with like-minded individuals.[3]

Imagine this, you start exercising regularly when after a while, you have more energy, you start to feel better, your body is in better shape than when you started, and you’re achieving a goal! How awesome is that?

In a nutshell, exercise helps with overall wellbeing – sport’s elite will tell you the same thing but ask anyone who’s been at it for a while.

As a trainer I see clients for different reasons. Most of the time they want to increase their peak oxygen uptake (VO2 Max), increase fitness levels, lose weight, and sometimes they see me to help motivate them, to act as their cheerleader – something I love to do, and to have someone neutral to confide in.

Because a client’s reason is unique to them I would suggest that individuals respond differently to certain exercise types. For example, they may present with chronic conditions, have injuries, are unable to complete certain exercise movements for whatever reason, or it’s their preference.

As no one size fits all, and to achieve a win/win outcome for the client, their training program is customised according to their preferences. I gradually introduce different styles to change the session up so it doesn’t become boring, with the added bonus that the client gets to experience something new – sometimes repeatedly 🙂

At the end of their training session, they’ll leave with either sweat beading everywhere, sore legs/arms (basically wherever there’s a muscle), but the one feature that stands out is the smile on their faces, their shoulders are pulled back with the chest out, and their head is held high. This is that feel good hormone in action – you can see confidence written all over them.

Weeks will pass with my ongoing clients then we revisit our first session. I place a mirror in front of them and show them the difference. Remarkable changes physically – posture pretty much on-point. We then discuss overall emotional and physiological wellbeing. That newfound sense of confidence appears again in that mirror – something not apparent from the first meeting.

Whether your goal is to power lift 150% of your body weight, be more flexible, beat your partner to the finish line in the next run (did you say you never ran before?) or complete more burpee reps, you’ll need to delve deep to step out of your comfort zone, and hard, if feeling depressive and anxious.

Find a personal trainer you know you can trust – Nine times out of 10 they’ve been where you are. The trainer you choose will allow you to experience various styles of physical activity; he or she will be able to tell through observation and talking with you which will be the most appropriate.

We want this to open up a positive and fruitful win/win exercise routine!

In my book, confidence and self-esteem can be dramatically increased through correct exercise prescription from your personal trainer. So, what are you waiting for?

Level Up!

Kristen Hine, Personal Trainer at Level Up Health and Fitness

[1] http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/getinvolved/exerciseyourmood.cfm
[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/exercise-and-mood/201110/exercise-anxiety
[3] http://www.livestrong.com/article/477451-social-emotional-benefits-of-regular-exercise/

Fate, Destiny, and Synchronicity – An Echo through the Ages

It is said some lives are linked across time. Connected by an ancient calling that echoes through the ages. Destiny.

These word are written during the opening scene of the 2010 American action fantasy film Prince of Persia. Mesmerised I slide back in time to a land of parched deserts, scorching heat from an unrelenting sun and waves of ochre sands. And destiny. Romance. Kismet.

The romantic notion of destiny and fate and prod me for answers. Are fate and destiny one? In Homer’s classic The Iliad, fate is often mentioned, destiny not so much. Are there differences? I wondered.

I research fate and destiny in greater detail when coincidence and synchronicity pop up and are duly placed on my research list. Sure there’s the usual short dictionary version, but I wanted to know more.

The following post reflects my thoughts in a nutshell. Continue reading

Tale of the Empty Nester

Smearing butter on his toast with single-minded focus, he drops the bombshell, “Mum, I’m going to live with dad.”

The moment I’d secretly been dreading had arrived. The glass, coffee plunger I held slips from my grasp and shatters on the tiled kitchen floor. I fumble about for the dust pan and broom under the kitchen sink, and sweep up shards of glass and my broken heart. “When are you leaving?” I ask.

He stops crunching on his burnt toast to look at me, “I’m moving after the grad ceremony tonight. Dad said he’d help me.”

“Tonight?!” Horrified, I take a deep breath and plaster a fixed smile on my face “What are you taking with you?”

He mumbles something about clothes, laptops, new job and university but all I hear is my heart as it continues to split in a million pieces – I wonder if he can hear it too. My throat tightens and I squeeze back tears, ignoring the bitter taste in the back of my mouth, telling myself it’s for the best.

My last baby was leaving home, and I had nothing to fill the emptiness with. I look over to the letter rack and see the torn, food splattered page of his favourite recipe – tears well in my eyes.

Back in his room he opens his wardrobe and pulls out clothes, books, electronic gadgets, and bits and pieces onto the floor. God, was it so awful with me? He can’t wait to get out of here! I cry in my head.

He was ready for his new life, I wasn’t.

The front screen door slams shut and I hear plastic garbage bags being dragged along the cement path towards the bin. Alarmed I call out “Hey! What are you throwing out?”

“Stuff I don’t want.” he shouts back.

When he was newborn people described him as an old soul. I believe that. Wise beyond his years – and that grown-up humour that shows through unexpectedly, I shall miss our debates, his kindness, his slant on life.

I shall simply miss him.

After graduation I will be alone in a too big house for one, with only echoes of memories for companionship.

My urge to rummage through the green bags was strong, For Pete’s sake wait until he’s gone, so instead, I busy myself with doing nothing in particular.

Today is his high school graduation night. We pile into the car and drive to school, arriving at the school hall with minutes to spare. My eyes scan the crammed auditorium with its wall to wall families gathered together for a night of speeches, awards, and reflections. My imagination hijacks me and my heartache spirals deeper as I imagine these surrounding families head home with much backslapping at their superior parenting skills.

At last the ceremony is over and I see my son weaving through the crowd towards me. Clutching his award with his mile-wide smile, he hugs and kisses me, handing me his award for safekeeping.

“Sorry Mum, can’t stay – gotta go, bye!” and with that, spins around hurrying off to his new life and new home. There’s nothing left inside me. It’s just a huge hideous void of nothingness as I watch his retreating back disappear in a sea of families and school mates.

I arrive home numb with grief – sounds clichéd but that’s how I feel, and I sit on the well-worn couch in silence wondering whether plucking wings from flies was an option. Then I remember the garbage bags in the wheelie bin.

I trot outside and pull the heavy bags from the bin, dragging them back inside. I sort through the eclectic mix of contents in the lounge-room, Salty tears drop on his old magazines, unopened gifts, books, trinkets, calculators, stationery, and his Year 12 jersey. I blow my snotty nose and sort into ‘keep’ and ‘bin’ piles. The keep pile grows; barely an item makes the bin.

In his bedroom I straighten the crumpled quilt, with its sailing ships and cloudy sky, plump up the matching blue pillows, and howl bitter tears of loss and disappointment.

The time of the empty nester had arrived as it always would, and with it, my new normal.

Epilogue

Time is never static although it might feel like it, as the saying goes time waits for no man (or woman). Time doesn’t stand still, it continues to move and memories begin to fade into the background.

Months and years passed, new memories were created with family dinners and get-togethers, movie dates, new friendships formed and outdated ones left behind, there were white-knuckle driving lessons, and attendance at his university graduation ceremony.

I’ll be there for him one day in the future when it’s his turn to become an empty nester.