Are you there yet? Getting clear on what you really want.

Feeling good is life’s primary intention…

 ‘The having-it-all pressure can drive you crazy when things aren’t so perfect. Like it did for Missy, who told me, “Hell, I had it all, on the outside. My business took off, my husband’s a great guy, I had two perfect toddlers. I even had the marble kitchen counter tops. But I was boozing it up in the pantry every afternoon because the pressure to be perfect was getting to me.” She went on: ”Ya know, sometimes I wanted to show up at our mommy walks without a great attitude, or without my makeup, and with my filthy kid, and just say, ‘Ladies, this is all I fuckin’ got to give today!’”

The Desire Map

Amen Missy. A. Men.

The above is an excerpt from an amaze-bomb book I’ve been pouring over the last few weeks: Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul.

Danielle’s a super star in the divinely-led blogger world. Her website, DanielleLaPorte.com, has been referred to as “the best place online for kick-ass spiritualty” and Forbes named it one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women”.

The girl is good.

There’s a bunch fields of quotes, personal stories and let’s-be-real advice that I’ve felt compelled to share with you. But I couldn’t deny my immediate connection to Missy’s story and it’s relevance to the message I’m trying to send here: Perfect ain’t always perfect.

For some of us, we unconsciously play the roles we think we want. Keyword: unconsciously.

We buy the house, study the degree, stay at the ‘good’ job we secured years ago and possibly in the same relationships that went with it. We set the goals and go after them. It makes sense to do this. It’s easier to do this. Until it’s not.

‘…Missy had a breakdown that turned out to be a breakthrough. She moved her family to the country, doubled her business, and quadrupled her peace of mind.’

The Desire Map

Like Missy, it starts with an undeniable feeling (or behaviour – e.g. pantry drinking) that eventually reaches a peak within us that we can no longer handle. We crack. We cry. We act-out or withdraw. We get conscious.

That – right there –  is your soul calling an intervention.

Why? Because…

Feeling good is life’s primary intention.

The brilliance of Danielle’s book is her ability to show you that achieving the ‘goal’ doesn’t always guarantee the ‘feeling-good’ aspect. As she explains:

‘You’re not chasing the goal, you’re chasing the feeling you hope reaching the goal will give you.’

The Desire Map

I get that. I believe that.

Exhibit A: I was a good girl, got good grades all through school and graduated with even better results at Uni. I got every job I ever applied for. Career pathways were offered to me by my boss-ladies and men. I was even part of a pretty cool ‘we’ and together had multiple houses, cash in the bank and lived (and bought) like we wanted. I’d say to myself over and over, ‘This is what you worked for. You have it. You can start feeling complete now please.’

I couldn’t make it happen. In fact the striving to-feel-complete sent me into a sad and messy state as I tried to talk myself into being happy with where I was.

 

Knowing when something’s not right for you (even when it’s ‘perfect’) is one of the best and worst things about being human. It’s called intuition.

It torments us when we’d rather just accept current reality and tread water. Yet, thankfully, it also guides us when we’re brave enough to start stepping on to a new path. It feels what it wants to feel. And if you’re subscribed to listening to it it’s undeniable.

How many times have you heard yourself say: ‘I can’t wait until <insert your seemingly far-far-away life goal here> so I can just feel…’. Sorted? At home? Like I’m qualified? Skinny? Whatever the feeling you’re yearning for, how many times have you declared that you ‘can not wait’ to feel this way?

The Desire Map light bulb moment for me? You don’t have to wait.

‘Small, deliberate actions inspired by you true desires create a life you love.’

The Desire Map

Whether you’ve arrived at your said goal or you’re still busy striving for it stop and reflect – use your intuition. Are you moving towards what you really want? That is: how you really want to feel?

If not, then shift the focus. Change the gears. Walk towards the feeling. In any way.

Do something that reminds you of what your real desire feels like. If affluent, knowledgeable, influential, ease or energised are in your desire vocabulary then do one thing today that makes you feel that way – however small.

 

Test drive the car you can’t yet afford, post a thought-provoking comment to influence conversation, do yoga to feel at ease or blend-up a green smoothie to spark the energy you’re chasing.

The Desire Map’s concept brings the future into the present. Most of us know pretty well whether moving closer or further away from how we really want to feel in our day but having the guts to do something about it has always, ALWAYS, been my sticking point. For this reason I ignored trampled on my something’s-not-right feelings for years.

The truth is we don’t have to wait. There’s no risky moves, resignations or eloping involved. Just small, intentional acts that edge us a little closer to the feelings we crave and in turn the true goals we aspire for in our life.

And while these small life-affirming gestures may seem insignificant they’re a nod to your soul. You hear it. You’re honoring the feeling today. And in that moment you’ll feel a little more positive about working towards where you really want to be. You’ll see possibilities your tormented and teased mind couldn’t comprehend before. You’ll let go of perfection and hold onto pursuit – of feeling good.

Again, why would we do this?

Because feeling good is life’s primary intention.

So thank you Danielle. For me, getting clear on what you actually want to feel like and being able to feel that way TODAY is the best I’m-not-there-yet medicine I can think of goin’ round.

P.S If you’re intrigued by the book and end up buying it I’d love to know what you thought in the comments below!

Images: via Pinterestbohemianbeyou, daniellelaporte.com

{Found + Shared} Link Love

Link love, of the online kind, is something I chase. When I find a brilliant website, blog, online store or app I feel like I’ve been let in on a new secret. Over the years I’ve stored a gazillon links in bookmarks on my phone, home PC, work PC, tablet and laptop. Partly because I enjoy trolling back through my finds but, more realistically, because I haven’t figured out the whole sync-your-settings-across-multiple-devices thingy.

Given I’m a multi-enthused creature I jump on and through many trends as they serve me. Hence these links jump from home-making to health-seeking, worklife to spiritlife and fitness to fashion – a jumbled mix that’s very much me.

So as it’s winter and you might be spending a little more time inside (and online) I’m here to share the best the online spaces I’ve come to know, love and link to.

 

– P.S. Over the next 8 weeks I’m taking part in the Bright-Eyed + Blog-Hearted eCourse.

I started tofindandshare to lift the load from other perfection-pressured women, to shake that gorilla riding on their back, to break perfection’s spell and its rules. To. Let. It. Go.

And since launching this space I’ve felt pulled towards ramping up it’s offerings, getting more purposeful in it’s message and steering it along a mapped-out, and intention-driven, course.

I’m ALL in for this one.

So I’m keeping it short + sweetend with {Found + Shared}  posts like this one while I’m busy delving into the course work. 

I’d be so grateful for your patience and can’t wait to share with you the new-and-enlightened tofindandshare

  xxx – 

Where it all started and where I like to come back to…

Inspacesbetween

The first blog I ever read. Ever. inspacesbetween.com is Rachel MacDonald’s heartfelt, service-driven and gratitude-soaked online home. Rach and I worked at the same organisation back in 2010 and I had no idea that this PR-chic-from-level-2 had such divinity within her. I’ve watched her blossom from welcome-to-my-cool-hobby to welcome-to-the-home-of-my-six-figure-business. She’s the real deal. If you’re at all into life inspiration, blogging or just like to pick-up positive vibes in online places then head on over. Warning: you’re eyes may get food-drunk – it’s a visual feast!

 

When I want some feel good food…

SarahWilson2

and

IQS

 

sarahwilson.com.au and iqs.com are really great references if you’re trying to live a life less sweet. It’s great for dessert and morning tea recipe inspiration if you’re wanting to find ways of eating goodness while still enjoying the feeling of a treat.

I don’t subscribe to the whole world domination of the eradicate-sugar movement but I do think there’s benefits in knowing how much you’re putting in your body and what it actually does to your body. I’ve also bought (and cooked the hell out of) Sarah’s latest book I Quit Sugar For Life. I haven’t but I certainly learnt a lot!

 

When I’m stumped for what to where…

Pinterest

Ok here’s my tip: search for a piece you already have (a leather jacket, red handbag, burnt orange skirt) and watch all your new ways of how to wear it pop up. Sometimes (in the incredibly privileged western life we live) I forget about the clothing, jewelry, shoes and hats I have. So this is also a great way to weigh-up whether to throw something out. Before you do see how others are wearing it. You might fall in love with it all over again.

 

When I want personalised stationery…

Etsy

I was addicted when I found Etsy. Probably at the best/worst possible time – planning my wedding. It’s how I found the lovely Jess Bates from Jack & Ella Paper Press. Jess WILL go the extra mile! This comes from a picky bride who stalked her by email for months (yes, not my proudest moment). You can check out her store here.

 

When it’s raining outside and I need to move…

Yoga

I love this site because you can search a quick class by difficulty and time. Sometime I feel like busting out a few hard warrior poses, other times I’d like a long hour of sun salutations and stretching. Here, the choice is yours. My tip: Kim Wilson’s classes are perfecto.

 

When I’m into a TV show or feel like zoning out…

Offspring

It’s rare that I find people who are not into Offspring. And if you’re as shocked as I am to hear these people exist then, like me, tenplay.com.au is probably your new best friend. If you’ve missed an episode jump online and stream it or if you feel like re-watching a few other classics (Neighbours, Glee, a-hem Being Lara Bingle) then they’re there too. Perfect for a rainy zone-out-Sunday.

 

and lucky last: when I need some new bedside friends…

Book depository

Free delivery. Timely service. A million and one books. The Book Depository is my one-stop-shop for all things written.

Happy clicking!

 

Images: lsueszabo,

Seven for yourSelf on Sunday

 – We all have them. Bad weeks. And in the name of practicing what I’ve been preaching I said ‘no’ to a few things last Friday – blogging being one of them. So Lovely, this week it’s all sent from a well-rested and heartfelt place. And if you’re feelin’ me on the bad week then this post is ESPECIALLY for you (and the up-coming meltdown you may be fighting off!). – 

I read a lot about self-love, mindfulness and taking care of yourself. There’s a lot of good, practical advice out there. But there’s also a lot of stuff that makes me cringe. You know, the build-a-shrine-for- yourself type stuff. Or the say-you-love-yourself-in-the-mirror-three-times-a-day kinda practices. While I completely believe this kind of thing works for those kind of people it’s just not me.

What is me and what I can manage on a weekly basis is a little Sunday afternoon/night ritual – in the name of self-love. It makes me feel good and sets me up for a week that’s Teflon to any signs of feeling overwhelmed.

I think there’s a reason why Sunday has always been declared as a ‘day of rest’. We’re like any other processed-orientated being. Unless we use our down time to re-fuel, re-boot or re-whatever-the-hell-you-want-to we just can’t sustain our focus, speed or efficiency that our working week has come to indulge in. I think sometimes Sundays get taken over by family-obligated events, grocery shopping, sports, bad TV, household chores that can’t wait and even I’ll-get-that-done-before-Monday work tasks.

Try to be conscious in your down time. There’s no point in rushing through a list of ‘relaxing’ things thinking at the end you’ll be delivered with an unplugged and chilled-out feeling. The zen is actually in the time it takes you to do these things. The time you wouldn’t or couldn’t allow yourself before. Admittedly you’ll get to enjoy the smooth and soft feeling some of these things leave you with but mindfulness about why you’re doing them is key.

So here they are…

1. A good-ol-fashioned Sunday casserole

Dice it all up and chuck it all in. No browning of the meat or caramelising of the onions (I personally can’t tell the difference on a 4 or 8 hour cook) and all with a can of tomatoes and some fresh herbs. Having this simmering away in the background means you’ll not only avoid the 5pm rush hour (and the onset of Sunday afternoon Mondayitis ) but you’ll also have one less meal to cook during the week. Try this super-simple recipe from The Whole Daily for Slow-Cooked Sweet Balsamic Lamb Shanks. Last Sunday I threw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and walked away – it was da-bomb.

photo (2)

2. Leave-in conditioner (because it can ‘…happen overnight’ and it does ‘happen’)

The next best feeling to that just-had-my-hair-cut glow. Whether you’re a morning, night or both kinda shower person, on Sunday, spray or dollop some leave-in conditioner into your strands. It adds a whole 2 minutes extra to your shower routine but leaves you with glossy locks that’ll last all week (if you do this regularly). Your hair will feel smoother, softer and you’ll look in the mirror and curse at it less – promise! My favourite is De Lorenzo’s Instant Reconstructurant. It’s a perfect spray-n-go and a little goes a very long way.

photo (3)

3.Change the bed sheets.

Nuff said. I’ll admit I don’t always get to it every single Sunday (is that gross?) but if the weather’s been kind for washing and I get a smooth run in the afternoon it’s the biggest pay-off: smooth, crisp and fresh sheets to dive into Sunday night.

4.Nail polish  – take it alllll off.

I know, you were thinking a top-up coat weren’t you? Well if you can make time – go for it! But personally by Sunday any nail polish I’ve skimped on quickly during the week is pretty cracked and peeling. It’s a sore sight and a constant reminder that ‘I need to do my nails’… so I take it off. A clean slate, an a-la-natural feeling and the added benefit of giving my nail beds some time to breathe and avoid them drying out.

5.Re-pack your hand bag.  

Actually, this is more of a sort-out-all-the-crap-you’re-carrying-around-with-you than a pack-situation. I gather so much stuff during the week: receipts, baby toys, fruit-I-mean-to-snack-on, more receipts, pens and there’s usually a half-drunk bottle of water swishing around in there too. And for anyone who’s tried to call me and always gets message bank…I missed you because I was elbow deep looking for my phone! Take it all out, put the necessary back in. It’s a sure way to get lighter and less chaotic when you’re out-n-about.

photo (4)

6.Read or Write

This one is about mental renewal (I know it’s a random book collection we house at our place!). Mindfulness. Creativity. All the good stuff we often don’t let ourselves indulge in during the working hours. I don’t think you have to get too woo-woo here on the mindfulness stuff but just find something that completely absorbs you. This is what actually gives your mind a break from the guzillion thoughts you usually have running through your head. It’s one book with one story for one moment.

There’s also a bunch of proven benefits to reading too.

Read what makes you feel good – but check-in on yourself with this. Be honest. Don’t pick up a trash-mag because it’s a mind-numbing, easy, exercise that you know will just end up making you feel crap because you’re obsessing over the pictures and all the lumps and bumps you can’t see. You’re doing damage here. This is a small part of a Sunday you’ve chosen for yourself remember? So read something that honestly serves you, gets you feeling inspired, excited, hopeful or just relaxed.

Or if reading isn’t your bag then try writing it out – journal your thoughts, write an email to an interstate girlfriend or a cheeky lunch-box note for your partner. Pen-to-paper is gold.

Trust me, when you find the thing to read or write you’ll want to draw on this in he not-so-inspired moments of the week.

7. Skip X-Factor…get an early night.

Yeah I know – it’s not rocket science – but how many actual early Sunday nights do you get? Heading to bed at 8.00pm to only settle in front of the tele doesn’t count. Sleep is one of the best ways to nourish our bodies and if you’re going to kick-ass all week then you need to load-up. Sleep allows our bodies to restore and detoxify given they don’t have to worry about keeping up to our daily functions.

And if that’s not enough reason to get you into bed then think of all the cellular renewal that you’re not getting – Hun, it’s a free wrinkle cream!

So this Sunday be a little gentler, kinder and self-loving and set yourself up for a great week.

 

Images: via Pinterest,  Butter with a side of bread.com, Stephanie Hudson, Stephanie Hudson,iStockStylecaster.com, Stephanie Hudson, Gianmacro Giudici

Fears of a Working Mum

Nerves. Expectations. Answers. Avoid looking like an idiot.

These words seem rightly placed based on the expression on Marilyn Monroe’s face as she met the press back in 1956. While she may not be the poster girl for working mums I think this snap captures the feelings many women conjure up when we feel a little under the spotlight.

And by spotlight I mean situation. It’s that moment when we feel just a little bit judged. Like all eyes are on us. And our families, the houses we live in, the jobs we do or just our decisions about our ‘next move’. There’s a concern that what you do (or say) next is going to be scored, commented on and repeated in detailed descriptions by those close to you when they’re asked cookie-cutter questions like: ‘So how’s she doooooinnnng?’.

The feeling? Fear.

Personally I think it’s a pretty strong word for what most would describe as being ‘just worried’ about what others might think. But after scouring through articles about female fear and it’s ties to failure, perfection, self-doubt and life-paralysis it’s a serious description for a serious problem.

Bryce Covert’s article for The Nation details US statistics that indicate women are self-selecting out of ‘hard fields’ like Science, Technology, Economics and Math for fear of delivering imperfect grades. Catherine Clifford’s article at Entrepreneur.com talks about the fear of failure that stops women keeping pace with men in the entrepreneur stakes.

While I’m not lining up at uni to take on  astrophysics nor am I looking to kick the boys outta a self-start-up business I do get this trend.

My most recent fear-moment (and I have many of them) came this week when it reared it’s ever-so-fricken-huge head in a delayed realization of what returning to work from maternity leave meant for me.

(Hold in there for a sec for those without kids…)

Essentially in this situation – you’re again – the new girl. You’ve been out of it a while so you’re new in the sense ‘you weren’t here’, as your colleagues say, when that major event that seems to be consuming everyone (else) happened. You’re playing catch-up.

Fear 1: You’re behind in your job. And others know it.

You’re also forever working to a deadline. The deadline to leave home, arrive at work, finish that report, get to that meeting and finally run out the door (while still looking like a committed employee) before your child is the last one left at childcare. Gone are the days when you can stay back to ‘catch-up on a few things’ or have brilliant networking chats in the hallway. Let’s face it: a working mum is a walking egg timer.

Fear 2: You’ll never be able to perform like you used to.

Then when the work days are over and you return to the sanctuary of your home you cant help but see the tired-toll smeared across your little one’s face.

Fear 3: I’m doing more damage than good.

Judgement. Perfection. Guilt. It’s all rolled into a messy lunch box that gets carried off to work and still stinks after you’ve washed it.

Now I’ve written before about the ‘having it all’ saga before but mother-of-two and PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi, gave a beautifully refreshing take on something that this week was driving my fears. (The 2 minute video really is worth a watch if you’re want a bit of a laugh).

“We’re screwed. We can not have it all.” Nooyi says.

She explains that the biological clock and career clock are in total conflict with each other. We must make choices between being a wife and mother everyday, multiple times a day and find coping mechanisms to do so.

I took comfort in this. If we’re screwed what do I have to be fearful of? If Nooyi’s observation is true then there’s a pretty high likelihood that, yes, at times my fears will be realised. I might have to play catch up for a couple of months at work, I’m probably going to have days (and weeks) that are far less promotion-worthy than those before I had a child. And yes, there’s probably some form of loss, damage or missing out that’s happening on some level of my little girl’s growing awareness.

And I actually feel better already.

Hear that? It’s acceptance. And I think it’s just the ticket women need to cope with fear. Whether yours is tied to kids, your job, your relationship status or bank balance I think accepting what we’re afraid of, in fact, makes it less scary and helps us take back the power.

Enter ACT.

Not our nation’s capital but an emerging therapeutic activity known as Acceptance and Commitment Theory. ‘Act’ as it’s pronounced is basically about building our resilience to failure and fear by accepting the, well, shitty feelings. Accepting what’s out of your personal control and committing to action that improves the situation – your life.

This makes sense to me. Accepting the fear, the out-of-our-control and committing to doing our best to get the job done is enough. And better yet, it’s freedom. If we stopped putting so much energy into avoiding what we fear most and put more energy in to what we want more you’d see a lot more female entrepreneurs around the place.

We can let go of fear. You have at some point before. We all have. If I had never of let go of fear I’d never have gone back to work. I’d never of had a child, started this blog, moved interstate, traveled overseas or married my husband! So accept your fear, find it, feel it and let it lead you to what you really wanna do.

Images: via PinterestLamsweerde and Vinoodh MatadinZephyrance Lou

 

Why my flu might make you feel better

I was taken down last week. Completely floored. I staggered around my home from my bed to the couch to my baby’s bed to the couch and back to bed until I couldn’t stagger anymore. So I shuffled. A barking cough kept me up at night (as well as a blocked nose – the ability to breath is pretty important), 2am sweats and 5am chills had me reaching for hot water bottles and wet face washers. When I finally got vertical to carry my seven-month-old around every muscle in my body ached to drop her. I’d forgotten how merciless the flu was.

There’s nothing like being sick sedated to give you an instant hit of gratitude and a new perspective. A lesson, if you will. And seeing as though I tend to be a hard learner of my own capabilities, when the lessons are flowing life usually is not.

A lesson-learner for me, and hopefully, a gift-giver to you. My flu was what I needed to shed some light on a few home truths I’d been avoiding about myself. So it’s confession time. And hopefully you feel better for hearing them.

Lesson 1: I’m clearly not in that great shape: If I was, I wouldn’t have been struck down ill. I know this because the last time I caught this strain of flu (blacking out from dehydration and needing a fluid drip) I was 5 months off a break-down. Heading back to work from maternity leave and arriving in the thick of Tasmanian winter has seen my struggle with the Food and Exercise Dance taking it’s toll on my body. I might have lost weight (Perhaps one advantage of the flu?) but having your jeans hanging around your butt is not a good, nor my preferred, look. I believe in saying no to habits that are purely motivated by winning brownie points on the skinny-scale. But it has to be balanced with keeping up daily rituals that secure a clean, energised and strong body. I haven’t done this. It’s time to let-go of the toast and coffee for breakfast and get back to my blueberry oats and apple-cider vinegar teas.

Lesson 2: It takes me forever to ask for help. It wasn’t until the eighth day of my flu that I asked someone for a break. There were six days and seven nights before that which I spent saying “I’ll feel better tomorrow. I can get by for now,”. Why put myself through the pain? I’m embarrassed it took as many sleepless nights and all-day-pajama days as it did to get the picture. With a rational head on my shoulders today it’s just crazy. And not smart.

Asking for help is probably the most effective way you can use your time when you’re down and out. Whether you’re a mummy or a manager taking the long way around trying to figure shit out for yourself, just to avoid asking a question or feeling like you’re burdening someone, only looks like a better option in your head. Trust me on this.

So I’m kicking this habit. You too? Let’s ask for what we need: help around the house, a baby-sitter, someone to show us how to [insert that thing you’ve been trying to work out how to do for ages here]. Girl, if you don’t ask – you don’t get.

Lesson 3: I watch too much TV. The first few days of my flu consisted of lying on the couch, cruising through the Foxtel channels and trying to sleep with TV ads blasting at me. It wasn’t until I turned the TV off, took myself to bed and forced myself to ponder my own thoughts until I fell into the deep sleep my body needed that I started to restore my energy levels. Some might argue with me on this but it’s gotta be said: watching TV isn’t rest. We need real rest, daily, to keep that beautiful body of yours in fighting condition. My problem is the time I actually have to take that rest I’m spending in front of the tele. You know the drill: you get home from work, get dinner sorted, retire to the couch, watch a ‘little’ TV then head to bed waking the next morning only to feel tired as when you went to sleep. Hun, we’re all doing it wrong.

Sleep specialist and Author of The Power of Rest: Why Sleep Alone Is Not Enough, Dr Matthew Edlund, says watching television is ‘passive rest’ and leaves our brains buzzing. Instead the sleep guru says active rest is the ticket to take if we want to be more alert, effective, reduce our stress levels and generally live a healthier life.

Sign me up! What’s active rest? Apparently chatting with friends (real ones you can touch, not on Facebook), concentrated tasks, meditation and conscious breathing. In a nutshell look for social, mental, physical and spiritual ways to do this.

Or, just turn off the TV and see what happens.

Lesson 4: I’m not organised. Really, I’m not. I have many good-girlfriends that often say ‘You’re so organised Steph, I’d never think to do that,’. Well, truth is, that’s on the outside. I’m ‘seemingly-organised’ and my flu caught me out. The week previous to getting struck down I’d procrastinated on a bunch of stuff. This is a huge problem for me, procrastination. Book work, paperwork, online grocery orders, paying bills (ah-hem blog posts!) and just getting back to people were ‘on-my-list’. As Monday came around, and the the outside world got back to work, the phone calls and emails started flooding in. Voicemail full. Inbox outta control. Being chased by people is a personal bug-bare of mine. I feel suffocated and anxious when I hear people on my voicemail asking me for something I said I’d give them and haven’t. Worse is knowing they’re going to have to wait longer because you’re just too sick to get it sorted.

And to top off the chasers, no food in the house to nourish me. No food when you’re sick is not cool. There’s no gourmet meals pre-prepared in my freezer, no fresh fruit in the bowl and nothing that hasn’t gone mouldy in the vege drawer. As I dug out copious amounts of meat packs, loaves of bread and one-day-I’ll-use-that half-cups of frozen vegetable stock I was cursing myself for having nothing at-the-ready. So it’s eggs on toast for this sniffling black duck.

I can no longer kid. I’ve tried to be the super-organised, Pinterest-perfect, Martha Stewart Housewife and I’m just not. But I don’t think I have to be. Good news is the above can all be avoided and not by being super-organised.

I procrastinate. Usually because there’s something I want to get it right. Get perfect. Whatever I need to do there’s usually a sequence or a process that I’d like to be followed. Sometimes it’s a work/play thing: “Get your housework done then you can blog,”. Or sometimes it’s an idealist thing: “Before I respond to that I just want to read up on it a bit more so I know exactly what I’m asking for,”. Of course life gets in the way of all the steps I put in front of myself  that ‘must be done’ before doing the thing I actually need to do. I end up being late, being chased for something or hungry (like above).

How do we avoid this? Just do it. A job done shitty is better than a job not done at all.

Lesson 5: I need to let-go of the small stuff. Which kind of relates to the previous lesson. If I’m less focused (and more realistic) about the small things I think must be done I’d have more time for the meaty stuff. You know, that DIY project you’ve wanted to start, the garage sale you’ve been meaning to sort out or holiday research you’ve been going to do.

The flu saw no washing done in my house for 10 days. This might sound normal to some of you but anyone with a baby and a husband will get what my laundry was looking like on the tenth day (and by the way, bless my husband who was busy working full-time, cooking, looking after bub and running for cold-and-flus during this time. He did his fair share). The floors were covered in lint and crumbs, the shower was growing mould and there was just general crap everywhere. But you know what? What needed to be done got done. We ate, we showered, we had clothes to wear and most importantly we all got the rest we needed. While I won’t be making a habit of letting my house get to the state it was I’m really getting focused on letting go of this fictitious need to get all the small stuff done, it’s just not that important.

Which is all I’m sayin’ really. What’s really important? Are your daily rituals serving what’s important to you in your life? Or has the day started to run you? Has your mind started to play tricks on you about what must be done and what must command your attention? Don’t let a disabling flu get you down before you realise it. It’s a bitch of a way to learn the lesson.

Images: Justin Pumfry/Getty Images, All Posters, Shutter Stock via Pinterest, Roxalne.com via Pinterest, MelissasheartandhomeGillian Zinser, Intimateweddings.com

The Food and Exercise Dance

They’re two of the most powerful forces in my life: food and exercise.

For me these two are at the forefront of most decisions I make during the day. My inner-dialogue sounds like this: “I should just stick with oats for breakfast – it’s the most nutritious option in the cupboard,” or “What’s the best thing on this menu (in leafy green terms)?” and “I didn’t get to the gym this morning – fail – maybe I could squeeze in a walk in my lunch break? No, I’ll go to Pump tonight instead – that’s a whole hour – double brownie points.”

This might seem a little OTT but my health is important to me. Food and exercise are at the core of that, so, everyday I have these types of conversations with myself. Our minds and bodies know nothing else but to be honest and when I fuel and move mine correctly I feel the truth every time; nourished and strong.

This is the dance. When the song is playing good food and moderate exercise put everything in sync. Life just flows. The body is fueled to go the distance and my mind operates with clarity. It feels natural, easy… even effortless. The nutrition packed meals slide onto the table (and into my handbag – I’m super organised with healthy snacks when in this phase) and the movement enters my life from all angles: walks, gym classes, runs on the beach, pilates and yoga. My body laps up the endorphins and sound sleep that comes when I’m in the zone.

It’s good. It’s rewarding. But let’s be honest – it’s freakin’ hard to keep up.

The winter season has set upon my little piece of the world, the most southern (and I believe the most consistently cold) state in Australia, and I’m feeling ‘meh’. This week month I’ve been berating myself for the fact that I can’t be arsed lost my mojo for the Food and Exercise Dance. Despite knowing how good it is for me, knowing what it feels like to be in flow, I’ve forgotten the steps, the rhythm, heck I’ve forgotten the god damn song.

The new dance? ‘White’ is a fair description of what’s been on my plate of late: bread, potatoes, oats and diary, they’ve become my new staple. My green smoothies have lost their pop, my clean cut meats and steamed veges taste like cardboard and I’m craving drawn towards hearty, heavy, hot meals that are low in greenery and high in the Italian-comfort-food category. And exercise? Well swapping Pump classes and sprint sessions for a walk every-third-day is an even deal right?

If you’re joining me in a case of the winter blues (which I/we will get over and eventually find my/your mojo  underneath the bed covers, couch or fluffy dressing gown – wherever it was last year) it’s got me thinking: What’s healthy motivation to stay, well, healthy?

Some might describe my behaviour (a.k.a lack dancing) sheer laziness. Weakness might get a look-in and perhaps even a good old-fashion case of dog-ate-my-workout-DVD excuses? Laziness, weakness, excuses I’m sure I’ve seen these ‘motivational’ words somewhere before…

or this…

 

Oh… and this one makes me feel really good…

I used to pin these images, as ‘motivation’, to a fitness and health board I thought was destined to keep me on track. Then I started to scroll back through the images and quotes, this time with a clear and reduced need-to-be-perfect mindset, and was numb. “It’s just stupid,” I thought.

Let me ask you this: if I called you lazy, put a bunch of french fries in front of you and told you to do a thousand sit-ups whilst lifting up my top (exposing my perfectly photo-shopped abs) and saying “What did you do today to earn this?” you’d laugh and mime a WTF at me right? There’d at least be one hell of an awkward silence mortification. Moving past that situation I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be at the top of your she-makes-me-feel-good-about-myself list.

My point:

Just because you ate a burger or skipped the gym doesn’t make you less than the girl who didn’t. 

Berating and scolding yourself about how well you did the ‘dance’ this week is not helping you on your way. I really believe it is so-so dangerous to assess how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you were today with how much you worked-out or ate. You’re essentially attaching your worth to this assessment. You’re comparing. And human nature tells us you’ll almost always see yourself come up short against someone else.

Now I’m not giving you a free-for-all here. I’m not endorsing a self-destructive but ‘feel-good’ lifestyle. Food and exercise are at the forefront of managing your personal health BUT (and I really like to avoid this word) should not be at the expense of damaging your inner-self.

Remember her? She’s your feel-good compass. She’s that butterfly feeling in your gut when you’re excited or embarking on something new: “Keep, going,” she whispers. Your inner-self lifts the mental load when you’re down and high-fives you when you’re doing awesome. But she’s also fragile, like a child. When you berate yourself for not doing (or doing) something she takes the hit too. And not to get too woo-woo on you here but Louise Hay does explain this best:

It doesn’t matter how old you are, there is a little child within who needs love and acceptance…There is a parent inside each of us, as well as a child. And most of the time, the parent scolds the child—almost nonstop! If we listen to our inner dialogue, we can hear the scolding. We can hear the parent tell the child what it is doing wrong or how it is not good enough. We need to allow our parent to become more nurturing to our child.”

healyourlife.com

The message? More nurturing, less berating in the food and exercise dance. The routine needs to come from a place of respect and love for you and your body if you’re to motivate your life, not just your love-handles. Get-off the Instagram and Pinterest guilt trips. Where you are is just a point in time, it doesn’t define you. After all, you’ll do it when you’re ready.

Images: witchymoo.tumblr.com, Commentsmeme.com, via Pinterest, creatina10.com

{Found + Shared} My ‘Feel Good’ Finds

It’s rare that I let myself stop to do this. My personality doesn’t lend me to go back over old ground. My mind is usually so focused on getting the next thing done and ticked off the list that in my busy haze it seems like reminiscing is wasted time. Of course this is the crazy kicking in. In fact, sometimes, slowing down, being present and taking a look at where you are now and recognising where you’ve come from is all the therapy you might need.

I remember when I first had the idea of starting this blog… I wanted to be of service. I wanted to add value to a girl’s screen time by finding and sharing the things I loved, coveted, made and struggled with (the good and the I-can’t-believe-she-actually-admitted-that bad). I wanted to relate to that girl’s good vibes: inspiration, encouragement, connection and the kind of excitement you get when you find the last pair of Tony Bianco shoes, in your size, at half price AND with a red ‘take 50% of the marked price’ sticker on the bottom. Yep, that’s fate in my book.

I trekked through the few short years it took me for me to find the courage to start this little online piece. I trekked and I stumbled. On stuff. Stuff I thought worthy of sharing. Pretty things, useful things, great-buys, beautifully written and inspiring articles, quirky books or just a few tried and tested practices that my girlfriends noted were ‘a really good idea’. But away they went, in a file far-far away or banished as another bookmark in the ‘when I start my blog’ folder.

Today I decided it was time to share some of my collection of ‘feel good’ finds. And by this I mean sharing the feeling I found when I first read, heard, watched, touched or started to practice these little gems. To me they represent pit stops on my journey, my learnings, ergo a wee bit of wisdom (can I say that at 28?). Maybe they’ll help you to? So here’s five to start…

1. Journaling: Because it works.

I was lucky enough to be given a beautiful journal by a gorgeous, and very wise, friend. In it was a heart-felt message of all the lovely things we never say or acknowledge about ourselves. I start here every time I open it and before I pour the day’s thoughts onto the page. It sort of grounds me.

I can not begin to explain the magic that can happen in these little A5 bound trees. Something happens when you physically write down thoughts. It’s like a compass. Suddenly the path you were taking inside your head looks god-dam-awful once it’s on paper. Avoid making yourself write in it every day (unless you need to, of course). We’re human, we rebel against rules. Treat it like the treasure chest it will become and write (and unload) your most heaviest of bundles. I promise (and to coin a term from a girlfriend) the world on that day will feel less ‘wah, wah, sad’.

2. Indulge in curiosity and new age philosophy

Now not to get too woo-woo on you here, stay with me. I just can’t help but seek out a little bit of divine direction. While I don’t claim self-help books solve problems I do think it can be a case of horses-for-courses. If you read your horoscope you’re teetering on the same lines as Dan Millman’s book  The Life You Were Born To Live. A Guide To Finding Your Life PurposeIt’s based on determining your birth number (my birthday is 08/02/1986 so my birth number is 0+8+0+2+1+9+8+6=34 and 3+4=7, 34/7) which essentially highlights your life path (or at least the issues and challenges you’ll face). Gotta say this book was spot on for me. And like I’ve said about personality testing, this just gave me a little peace that I’m wired in a particular way. This time it’s my stars that are placed in exactly the way they’re meant to be. If you’re curious, lend it (yes, from one of those things called a li-ber-ary). If you want to work on it, buy it.

3. Accept the fear. Then lean into it.

My. God. This was the most amazing discovery for me. An entire blog of women putting it out there for all to see. What they would really do if they weren’t afraid.  I first came across this in the December 2013 issue of Marie Claire magazine and was moved by the article only to be floored by the raw honesty of the blog posts. It all started from a speech given by Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg,  who asked graduates of Barnard College: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? A message that has since rung hard in the ears of women around the globe.

Real women, real fear. I felt comfort, connection and a little less weird after delving into the Lean In project. Fear was at the absolute crux of why I procrastinated for years before starting tofindandshare. Fear that it wouldn’t be right, that others would judge and ultimately that I would fail. If you’re planning a new somethin-somethin or holding on to old stuff because you fear the new, screw it. SCREW. IT. And then visit the blog.

4. Focus on wellness, not abs.

And if you can get pass that, I think you’re half-way there. This is where I try to stay. Admittedly I fall off the wagon and start eating less and exercising more for the wrong reasons. The Wellness Guys help me stay get back on track beautifully. It is my favourite, favourite way to spend a morning getting in a quick half hour brisk walk while listening to (and learning from) these weekly podcasts. No. 56 ‘The myth of perfection’ and no. 98 ‘From Stress to Strength’ are a couple of beauties.

5. Plan. Just a little

I’m about to pick-up (for the second time) Shannah Kennedy’s Simplify, Structure, Succeed. The practical tool kit for modern life. One might say that if I have to pick this up again, clearly it didn’t work. Here’s the thing, like I said before, horses-for-courses and this time around the track I’m clearer and more motivated than ever to take another look. Yes, the pretty pictures do keep drawing me back and Shannah’s effortlessly simply and structured way of explaining things suits my linear personality. But the main reason I want more is because last time Shannah helped me clarify my values. I’d never been able to do this before. Shannah calls it The Values Game and mine are Happiness, Achievement and Health. This is what drives me. Turns out they can drive me a little crazy, but never the less, these are my drivers.

Now to plan where they’ll take me…

 

 

Hey hun, I hope you liked this week’s post? I’ve taken a little va-ca from deep ponders this week and would love to know if you found this useful. Thanks for taking your time-out here xxx

 

Images: Amelia Sieber, Stephanie Hudson, Stephanie Hudson, Karina Eibatova, Stephanie Hudson, Sweetwildwellness.comshannahkennedy.com