Making A List, And Checkin’ It Twice….

Well, as the year draws to a close I’ve taken some time to reflect on these past 12 months. I wrote myself out a few lists:

A gratitude list of all the wonderful things from 2012- good things that happened, new learnings I’ve had, the wonderful people I’ve encountered, the new memories I’ve collected and the positive choices I’ve made. It was a big list!!

I also wrote a list of things I’d like to leave behind old patterns and behaviours that I’ve recognised and that don’t serve me well, old emotions that are past their use-by-date and even some old “truths” that I discovered were untrue. ( Like how heavy workbenches are….. (See Duh) :)

I had a lovely time ripping that page into shreds!

Finally I wrote a list of what I’m looking forward to in 2013- (not “New Year’s Resolutions” which are generally a list of unrealistic “wishes” that we fail to follow through with and then beat ourselves up about!) – but things that I really want to do or have and that I fully believe are possible- (even though I’m not entirely sure how yet…!) I know that they will happen because I’ve already begun putting the time and energy into making them happen and I’m willing to follow through with that.


In reflecting I also had the realisation that I’ve learned more in the past 10 years of my life than I did in all those decades before- (Yep, just call me Moses!)


Thought I might share some of my “insights” with you:


  • I learned that a lot of what I believed to be true about the world, about others and about myself was wrong. That many of the “truths” about life, the universe and everything are concoctions designed by others to keep us in our place- to keep us mediocre and happy with being mediocre!


  •  I learned that the world doesn’t change, we do. The world simply is- it’s how we choose to see it that makes the difference.


  • I learned that change is the natural order of things- and that if we are willing to accept that, change will often take itself, and us, in the right direction.


  • I learned that “thinking” too much keeps us from truly experiencing life. That real living involves our head and our heart. That real living involves “feeling” -the good and the bad. That the best “thinking” involves imagination, not logic.


  •  I learned to live the concept of YOLO (You Only Live Once) more fully. To take more risks and let go of concerns about what others may think; to be prepared to leave safety and security behind, to leap into the unknown and to be prepared to “fail”.


  • I learned to stop and be grateful. To realise that I already have all that I need and always will have…and to acknowledge that.


  •  I learned to remember the joy of play. To walk barefoot, to explore, to nurture my curiosity and to take delight in the simple things. To also remember that we already know all of the important stuff- we’ve just been “educated” away from it.


  • I learned that I am much more than my job, my behaviours, my body, my thoughts, my emotions or my past. I am much, much more than that….


I am very excited about 2013 and would like to wish you all a Happy and Abundant New Year!! Thanks so much for dropping in for a read and for your support.

Thank you,

Telene xNew Year 2013

Just add a dash of risk….

Cliff Adventure

“I thought I might go on an adventure tomorrow”, said my brother….

“Are you game?”

Now I had woken up on Christmas morning with a really sore throat, swollen glands and a bit of a fever- a reaction, I theorised, to the fact that I had taken it easy for a couple of days- put my feet up and even read a book – and my body had gone into complete shock!

But this was a challenge that could not be overlooked.

I grew up in a family where we spent most of our time in the outdoors doing weird and wonderful things- the more challenging and interesting the better- so my answer of course was “Count me in!” (Followed cynically by “Why, won’t your car make it??)

So, there we were, early on Boxing Day, precariously making our way over the edge of the highest cliff I had seen for a very long time. The aim: to make our way down to the “inaccessible” beach we could see in micro-miniature far below.

It was a looooooong way down and it wasn’t long before we both realised a couple of things:

a) that neither of us was as fit as we thought we were (and quite obviously the wrong side of 45) and:

b) that neither of us was going to be the first to admit to that fact!

My legs had turned to jelly long before I struck the steep crumbly bits with the loose rocks – not helped by the knowledge that each hand placement was near vegetation that quite probably housed a tiger snake much like the ones we’d seen on the way in….. Adrenaline is such a handy hormone!

By the time we finally reached the beach I had concluded that there was no way I was ever going to be able to make it all the way back to the top. I had a quick scout around for a suitable spot for my helicopter retrieval- if they ever found me that was!

After collapsing in the shade of a rock and moaning and groaning for (quite) awhile, we eventually revived enough to go off exploring and to eat the Xmas leftovers we had lugged down. Then we sat and chatted and absorbed the spectacular beauty of the magical place around us and talked about how lucky we are to live where we do and how we appreciate our parents for instilling in us a love of the world around us, a spirit of curiosity and adventure and a willingness to challenge ourselves and take a risk or two, and how that seems to be so lacking in many people these days….(Or as my brother so fondly put it “You are the only other person I know crazy enough to come and do this with me!”)

We reflected on how easy it is to get caught up in the mundane, the comfortable and the safe, never even realising that, on the other side of discomfort, lies the real richness of life….

We stayed down there on the pure white sand for hours marvelling at the unique rocks and caves and the sea-life on the reef until we couldn’t pretend any longer- it was time to face the awful truth- if we were going to ever get home again we would have to climb back up that humongous cliff that seemed to be growing higher and higher each minute. “Actually, I really like it here”, I decided. “I could build a cool little shack with all of that driftwood- could you just do me a food drop once a week?”

A quick dip in the ocean and we began the steep ascent, much of which for me was done on hands and knees (and yes, I’m hearing you body- we need to get a lot fitter!!)

So, it’s been all about ice packs and Deep Heat and dodgy knees in the day since, but it’s also been about laughing and teasing and a deep sense of shared accomplishment. It was a wonderful reminder about all of the “important stuff” and already we’re planning our next adventure- for something challenging but safe enough for the next generation to come along on, because it may be one of the most important things we need for them to know: that just outside of our comfort zones are the places where real magic takes place….

One Dead Dragon

sorry, cant hear a thing

Yes, I know it’s been a week since I posted anything- put it down to the frantic end-of-year chaos that seems to hit at this time every year.

A time of finishing off one year and preparing for the next and dealing with all of the emotions that tends to elicit in people. (Plus there’s the end of year Christmas Party gatherings- just for the record- I am officially Christmas partied out!)

But, to be perfectly honest, I have actually had time to jot down a few things. The real issue has been that, after my last post ( My Pet Dragon) extolling the virtues of “Dragon”….the bloody thing died!! The very same day in fact!?

How often does that happen? You give something or someone a good rap and then they go and let you down…things like: “I’ve never had an issue with Telstra/ my car runs like a dream/ she’s always been lovely to me/ well my TV reception is perfect…” and then it bites you on the bum…Some people get so superstitious they never say good things- “ Just in case…”

I like to think that the Universe has a sense of humour, likes to keep us on our toes. In regard to me I think the message is clear:

 “Hah, thought you’d got away with it didn’t you? Thought you could be a writer and not have to learn how to type? Well I have news for you princess- suck it up and learn- no more excuses!”

So, it’s back to “Typing Tutorial 101 For Dummies” for me this summer.

Unless of course, there’s a new “Dragon” in my stocking….. :)

My Pet Dragon.

learning journey

I have a program called Dragon Naturally Speaking.

I have it because I cannot type to save my life.

When it comes to using a keyboard my hands suddenly become cloven hooves and I develop horns of frustration. I painstakingly type with my two fingers and an hour later I have a single page… which suddenly disappears into the vast depths of cyberspace never to be seen again-simply because I sneezed at the wrong moment.

So, I bought Dragon. I talk into my microphone and Dragon types for me. (How amazing is that? It still blows me away!)

Dragon has become my best friend. I still like to write using a sharp pencil and a blank page (no authoritarian lines for my free-spirited imagination!) But Dragon helps me to turn my squiggles and sketches into something that I can share with other people.

Dragon has been living at my house for over a year now and he has gotten to know me well. He has learned how to recognise my Aussie bush accent and he now knows all of my swear words. He is also bilingual and knows quite a few aboriginal words-(he even knows aboriginal swear words- smart huh?)

So, how come I can’t type?

Well, it’s not because I wasn’t taught how. I did a whole year (that seemed more like 10 years….) of typing lessons on these amazing things called “typewriters”…(Now I’m showing my age…) The course was designed for those who were to become secretaries and office workers. Now, I knew I was never going to work in an office as I was definitely going to be a park ranger/vet/archaeologist/artist so therefore decided I had no need to learn how to type. (Yeah, yeah-so how was I to know that 20 years later everyone would have a personal computer….) As far as I was concerned there was really no need for me ever to know how to type… Not such a smart move in hindsight. :)

So, what’s the point I’m making? Well, quite often obviously, our best learning comes when we have a reason to learn. When there is a reason to know something we are more motivated and more willing to persevere and see something through, even when it’s challenging or difficult.

But, other times our valuable learning experiences come from taking the opportunities that are presented to us, even though it may not seem very relevant or useful right now. Sometimes those opportunities will lead us to places we may never have even contemplated.(I once took a course based purely on intuition- it ended up not only being life-changing personally but it became the basis for a whole new career.)

While we are learning we are growing and evolving-it is a journey of destinations we have not yet even imagined.

As for me, sometimes I look at that little certificate that I received after 12 months of daydreaming and drawing pictures and being sent outside for not paying attention….

“This certificate is awarded to Telene Clarke

 for attaining a typing speed of 13 words per minute at 100% accuracy.”


How To (Not) Get What You Want….

know what you want

That’s NOT what I wanted… So how come I got it anyway??

When we were kids my dad told us often that we were not to get a tattoo-no matter what.

Every time he said it (“You will not get a tattoo!!”) guess what I saw in my head-yep, a tattoo… I used to think about the tattoo I was (not) going to have and where I was (not) going to have it. I thought about what it would (not) be of, what colours it would (not) be and about how it would (not) make me feel. Needless to say, I got a tattoo…

How much of our focus in life is directed upon what we do not want? And how come not wanting it doesn’t seem to make it go away?

It still surprises me that the “anti/not” brigade don’t quite get it yet. (Who is advising our government on this stuff?? Hire me for your advertising campaigns!!):

-Do not speed (Yeehah!!)

-Do not binge drink (Hic!)

-Do not drive fatigued (Snore….The pictures of those big, red tired eyes hits me with a wave of fatigue every time.)

(Any smart parent will tell you how well the “don’t” command works- quite often all it does is fill our little darlings’ heads with exciting new suggestions. Just like “Don’t Touch-Wet Paint” is ALWAYS a winner for me! :) )

I’ve had lots of people who, when I have asked them what they want, answer “I do not want to be fat any more” or “I do not want to eat junk food any more” or “I do not want to smoke any more.” (What pictures are you getting – a fat person with a Maccas in one hand and a fag in the other?)

If your head is full of what you do not want how on earth will you get what you do want? It’s a bit like looking backwards, walking forwards and hoping you actually get somewhere near where you’d like to be (without hitting a brick wall or falling off a cliff in the meantime.)

Focusing on what we do not want generally gets us more of the same-after all that’s what’s in our awareness.

Many people get so obsessed about diets and food  that is all they think about all day long-( imagine what might happen if they thought about a healthy body and fresh air and exercise instead?)

So, start to have a bit of a listen to yourself and to the people around you. Are you using the negative language of what you don’t want or the positive language of what you do?

Do you want to “not smoke” or “not be fat” or do you want to be “fit and healthy?” Which one puts the most effective picture in your mind? Which one feels best??

Do you “Not want to work here anymore” or do you “See myself in a job I love”?

Do you “Not want any more dramas” or do you “Want a harmonious relationship”?

One perspective and focus delivers you more of the same whilst the other opens up possibilities and opportunities for something different and something better.

So, do you “Not want to be stuck anymore” or do you “Want to get moving?”

Isn’t language a most curious thing!

Hello, hello… Is anyone out there?

on the right trackIn my NLP training one of the things I learned to do was to ask specific questions so that I could gain a better understanding of the person I was talking with. Questions that helped me to understand important things about them, like what motivated them, how they made choices and how they “saw” the world. In NLP they are called Meta Program questions-they identify the mental filters that we use to experience the world and they uncover our unconscious preferences – how we process information and how we behave.

A few days ago, when I sat down at my computer and opened up this page, I asked myself one of those questions: “How do I know when I am doing a good job?”

I am a recent blow-in to blogging. (I’ve been too busy building a business and running on the endless treadmill that a lot of us call “living” to be sitting around and doing what I love ie: writing.)

Now I have created space to write. I’m loving what I’m doing. I’m going to be writing a lot more. But… how do I know I’m doing a good job with this article writing?

For me, I have what is known as an internal frame of reference with an external check when it comes to judging how well I am doing. (ie: I write something that I think is kick *rse and I get a great feeling inside-you know, that warm inner glow you get when you just “know” you’ve done a good job? Then I do the external check to make sure that the outside world also perceives it in a positive way-that it’s had the desired effect. (ie: someone actually read it and enjoyed it or found it useful in some way).

In things that are familiar and comfortable for me, quite often the external check is not so important. If it feels all okay I’m happy to go with it, to trust my instincts and simply enjoy the personal satisfaction I get. If I get positive feedback that is a bonus but I’m not reliant on it-a little bit of feedback goes a long way.

But, when you’re starting something new (and maybe something a bit scary) the external feedback becomes a little more important so, when I don’t get feedback of any sort, my fear response kicks in and that sneaky little bastard we know as “Self Doubt” raises its ugly little mug and whispers “Hmmm, no one’s commented on your blog. Obviously it was a pile of crap…”

Then the internal dialogue starts “Maybe I’m off track? Maybe what I’m writing about is not relevant/useful/interesting? What could I do differently?…”

Now, for most of us, this is where the wheels start to fall off our little red wagons and we go traipsing off down the old path we know so well straight into the spooky forest of fear….(insert spooky music here! :) )

We start to make all sorts of assumptions (negative of course), we start to feel all naked and vulnerable and exposed and we begin to personalise it (no one likes my blog… (ie: no one likes me!)… I’m a failure… I’m useless…)

Then we begin to make excuses -to start covering up our perceived failure and to save face. (“I really wasn’t enjoying it anyway/it was taking too much time/I have a new more exciting project that I’m working on…” – all crap of course!)

And then we simply QUIT. We take the easy way out. The way of “Oh well, at least I tried… I gave it a shot…”

As for me, I gave “Self-Doubt” a brief moment of my time then decided “Stuff it-this is fun and I’m doing it anyway!”

Ironically, soon after, the phone rang and someone told me how they’d read that particular post,(Tips For Avoiding Overwhelm) burst into tears and had a life changing moment of awareness.

Later in the day another person explained how she had read the post and finally understood her father after all of these years and how her whole way of interacting with him had shifted as a consequence.

Then yet another call just this moment with someone who said they’d shared this post with six others and they’d had a group discussion about how simple it all was and to say thanks.

So, I just wanted to share that with you and to say thank you to all of those people who are taking time to check in and read my offerings (including my new readers in Bangladesh-how cool is that!?) I hope you’re enjoying reading them as much as I’m enjoying writing them.

And to remind us all that if you’re doing what you love then you’re always on the right track….



Tips For Avoiding Overwhelm

can't do, can do

can’t do, can do

Right, back to the topic of overwhelm and what you can do to manage it.(Coping with Overwhelm-Controlling the Uncontrollable) 

How can you care about the world around you, be involved and productive and make a difference, yet still live and function? How do you cope with dealing with the paradox of it all? Of being happy in a world where bad things happen? Of keeping moving when it all seems too much? Of feeling that what you do or say doesn’t really make a difference in the bigger scheme of things?

Well, I have a few strategies that work well for me. Hopefully there might be something here are you too…

Tips For Avoiding Overwhelm

1. Turn off the TV/Phone/Laptop

We live in a world of information-too much (negatively-biased) information. We are bombarded by it all day long. No wonder we get stressed and overloaded. Of course, when it comes to the media there is no drama in providing good news, so most of the news we see is bad. That contributes to a feeling of hopelessness. We become overloaded with bad stuff.

So, turn off the TV or, at least, turn off the news. Skip reading the papers- buy a personal interest magazine instead. Read a good book or listen to music. It’s amazing the difference it makes. Try it for a week and you’ll see what I mean…

2. Take your “Important List” and make it as tangible as possible.

E.g. it is not physically possible for me to be saving the rainforest in Borneo (after all, someone has to stay home and feed the dog!) but I can plant trees for my local Bush Care group and I can pick up rubbish off the beach each week or volunteer at the Animal Rescue Centre.

Then choose a couple of bigger picture “causes” that you feel passionate about (e.g. Save the Whales or Cancer Research-something that has meaning for you ) and support those with donations/ e-mail campaigns etc., knowing that there are other people as dedicated and passionate as you out there supporting the other things you care about. Trust that they have it covered…

3. Break it down into baby steps.

Overwhelm makes us powerless to act and keeps us stuck in our thinking. Sometimes the issue seems so big that we don’t know where to start. That’s when we need to bring our attention right in and focus on one specific thing. “My life is a mess!” So, decide to start by sweeping the kitchen floor… then do the dishes…Or write one letter, or pay one bill or clean one cupboard…Focus on the things you can do rather than on what you can’t.

Just make it one simple thing at a time, which leads us to…

4. Take Action, Keep Moving, Start!

Override your head (which is busy telling you all the reasons why it can’t happen/ won’t happen/ won’t matter if you do/ is not worth the effort) and simply stand up and do one thing! Quite often this unblocks the flow. One of the biggest problems we have is our inability to get off our bum and actually start to do something. (Knowing vs. Doing)

5. Yes or No?

Sometimes it’s the little things that tip us over the edge and into overwhelm. Say no to anything that depletes you, overloads you (or makes you silently groan inside!)

On the other hand, say yes to anything that lightens you, empowers you or allows you to grow.

6. Be realistic, gentle and focus on the good things.

Care for others starts with you. Nurture yourself and be realistic in your own expectations of yourself. It’s not your job or my job to save the world but, if we all focus on our little bit, it’s a job we can do together. Imagine what we could accomplish if each of us was willing to just do a tiny part…

Search out the good news stories of others who make a difference. There are plenty of websites/blogs/forums/facebook sites dedicated to those who make a difference, each in their own way. Join them and fill your mind with good news. It starts to change how you see the world. Read inspirational biographies or watch “feel-good” movies.

Remember to take good care of yourself- (We need people like you!) Good self-care has a huge impact on our ability to cope and to thrive.

Hope these are helpful for you and love to hear some ways that you deal with overwhelm!