There’s Peace in Process

I’ve held back on this post since typing up it’s title in June. Back then I had this overwhelming need to write about surrender and acceptance, presence and patience. I felt like I was just on the brink of reaching it. Just.

I’ve held back on this post since typing up it’s title in June. Back then I had this overwhelming need to write about surrender and acceptance, presence and patience. I felt like I was just on the brink of reaching it. Just.

See I returned home to the lovely Apple-Isle of Tasmania at the end of 2011 after spending seven glorious years in sunny Queensland. I was convinced that I’d be here ‘just for a little while’ until my husband finished out his fly-in-fly-out contract. I was sure his work would return us interstate in a year or so. While it wasn’t my first choice to come back home I resided to the fact that I should settle-in to enjoy being closer to family and old friends and discover a new romance with Tassie’s well known unique island lifestyle.

I hated it.

For a long time. In fact there were probably two whole years I spent completely absorbed by a mindset that had me pointing out everything I didn’t like about my location and circumstance. I struggled through the darkness and freezing temperatures of winter. My job wasn’t giving me the kicks I needed to feel progressive in my career and I felt a complete disconnect from mainland Australia the rest of the world. And without detailing too much of my inner Negative-Nancy’s stories let’s just say in a nutshell Tassie’s lifestyle is typical of that in most regional areas  – it’s just not for me.

Naturally my mental state took a battering in this frame of mind. Nancy crept into any space I’d let her. I saw very little good, every bit of the bad and spotted the ugly (and unfortunate) a mile away. I have to say, while my friends are reluctant to, I know this attitude turned me into a real drag to be around. Who wants to go out with a chic who’s all about telling you how crap the town is that you choose to live in? Yep, draaag.

I knew it was happening. I could feel my good vibes and optimistic outlook on life flying out the frosted door. But my wish and will for things to change was so strong and no match for a few self-help books and positive inspiration feeds I grappled with.

All because it wasn’t perfect. The situation wasn’t my ideal. And ultimately, what I wanted wasn’t happening when I wanted it to. Tutt, tutt, tutt.

In the moments we feel like we’re at battle with ourselves and our lives I think it’s pretty hard to do what we know is right and ‘trust the process’. And in my experience most people choose to mutter these words only when there’s a positive opportunity in the mix. Rarely are they spoken when you’re in a completely screwed up situation e.g. after the four hour drive to Falls Festival you realize you left your ticket at home (true story!), not cool and pretty hard to see why ‘trust’ in that process would benefit you.

So yes, it’s harder than it sounds but evidently it can work out. It does work out.

When I drafted this post back in June I’d surrendered to trusting in the process. It’s all I had left. I’d spent so much energy on wishing and willing things to happen a certain way that my ‘wishing’ well was at an all time low – I was tired.

But with fatigue came surrender. Surrender grew acceptance and acceptance let me just be. And just being (in it’s simplest form) is the most blissful state I can be in regardless of it’s geographic location.

Surrender started small. Rather than resent all the big things that triggered my Negative-Nancy attitude I focused on the act itself. I opted out of criticizing the limited night-life options that drove me crazy and focused on the opportunity of actually having a girls night instead. I was after all lucky I to have my good girlfriends around me. Gratitude grew. And rather than curse the cold weather, I treasure-hunted hearty and healthy recipes, learnt to light a fire and devoured Pinterest for winter outfit inspiration.

They were small (but deliberate) changes in my focus and kept me exactly where I needed to be and discover what I needed to learn: presence and patience.

Then, it happened.

Last Thursday, my husband greeted me at the door with words I’d been waiting so long to hear: ‘We’re all on for Newcastle.’

In seconds after he gave me the news I wish I could tell you that that I had a cathartic outpouring of relief, excitement and gratitude for what was now finally happening. There was no such moment.

And a quote comes to mind:

“Peace is in the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.”

Wayne W. Dwyer

And that’s the only explanation I have for my reaction; I’m at peace with the process.

I truly believe that when you totally accept your moment in time, when you unashamedly learn the lesson and give complete acknowledgement to the feeling – effortlessly – things will start to make sense. Life will seem to fit and striving will stop.

Like I said – it’s harder than it sounds – but if you’re beating yourself about because things aren’t flowing and life just isn’t panning out as planned do the thing that you’re most fearful of: surrender. Trust the process, see the simple and let the Universe catch you the way it’s meant to.

Images: BustBright, Wokisnotajob.com, Best Quotations 4 UCoffeeinthemountains.tumbler.comJoyreactor.com, alohatides

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

 

{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