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

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

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

The perfect deadline

Writing this was like jumping off a cliff. Returning from a fun-filled, long overdue girls’ weekend in Sydney I’m coming off a high. It’s a slow descend from wining and dining, ice cream indulgence, make-your-eyes-water belly laughs, late night chats and dancing until kick out time. A complete disconnect from my normal routine and seemingly exactly what I needed to finally press ‘publish’. I’ve been given a deadline. An ultimatum to save me from myself. ‘Publish by Friday or I’ll do it for you,’ said my girlfriend. ‘Seriously.’ Tofindandshare.com has slowly been developing in the background for over a year. Why so long? Because I suffer from the killer disease known as Perfectionism. And apparently you might too? It might not seem like a big deal at first but I stumbled across this article from Cindy Ratzlaff and Kathy Kinney (a.k.a Mimi from The Drew Carey Show) who say it’s the leading fatal disease among women 18 to 100. So pretty much everyone. And they’re right, it does kill. At the top of the Perfection spectrum is the slow and inevitable death of confidence, flow, trust and good old-fashion fun. These life essentials are shot down in an effort to keep things ‘just right’. Instead perfection thrives on thoughts like “I’ll wear it when I have the right shoulders for this dress,” or “I know she said it was good but I really should’ve done it better,” and my personal favourite I’m very guilty of: “No, I’ll do it when [enter your ridiculous milestone here]”. And you know what…

 

I’m making the commitment. I’m letting-go. And I’m giving a big F you to the pursuit of perfection. Why the drama with being perfect you ask? What’s so bad about trying to do things right- ALL the time? Put simply, it’s killing me.

At the end of a whirl-wind 2012 I found myself involuntarily taking a crash course in stress management – a.k.a  breakdown. I lay bare most of the gory details here but essentially it took a physical and mental hold on my ability to function before I could stop and check-in with my health and reality. I’d let perfection take over my life. It’s standards ruled every aspect of it and anything less than meant I was too. It meant failure and being vulnerable to judgement. I needed approval and delivering perfection usually gave it to me. If it didn’t I’d convince myself I’d done something wrong or that next time I had to do it better. The standards were always there, in big things like graduating uni or small things like how I’d pack my suitcase. Yes, a suitcase. When I’ve felt brave enough to share this experience and the mind-set that drove me to crash I’ve found I’m not alone. I get lots of “I do that,” or “I think that too,” and “I know, why do we do it to ourselves?”. So it’s left me to realise that trying to be perfect is something most, if not all, women struggle with – just to varying degrees and in different aspects of our lives. So here goes…the launch of my own little cyber baby. You’re reading its first words. All of which are put together with complete sincerity and a hope that sharing my story might resonate with another girl out there who needs saving from a little insanity of her own and ultimately know that it’s ok to let-go of perfection. She feels the pressure. It pops up everywhere. Dominant in some places, a little less in others. Maybe at work where she must be ‘doing really well for herself’ and where ‘good enough’ is just an indicator she needs to do more. Or at home, where the just-in-case-visitors-pop-in mind-set has her vacuuming at midnight and forever at the sink. Her effortlessly fabulous housewife-look is turning out to be a full-time job. Her gym workouts are out of guilt, never for fun and always for work. How else is she gonna get that Miranda Kerr body without back-to-back Pump and RPM classes 5 times a week and complete deprivation of any food that resembles carbs or sugar, right? She tries to be perfect. Life happens and she fails. She feels bad…judged. She tries harder and she’s back chasing a first-class ticket on the Perfect Express. tofindandshare.com is about my journey to find and share ways to stop the perfection pressure and start enjoying who, what and where we are right now. Right now. Let’s start the journey. This moment, this day, this weekend try letting go of just one thing and let it be perfectly imperfect – whatever that is to you. If you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down or just curious about this little space I’d love to send my posts to your inbox every Friday (head on over to the right). Here’s to sharing some imperfection love! Image 1: missmerimac Image 2: mina jafari