Learning To say No…and Yes…And No….

 

killer-duck

(‘I Quit– Episode 3)

So I had quit everyday life, gone home and put up the do not disturb sign.

I had created a space for myself. Phew….

Knock, Knock. Ring, Ring…

It began almost at once and came usually in the form of those irritating and pressure-laden “question-mark words”..why? when? what if….??? followed by helpful (doom-laden) unsolicited advice delivered with just a tiny undertone of judgement to help get me back on track…. Toot!!

I realised I had to learn how to defend my “Telene Space” and to protect myself from everything and everyone “out there” who wanted to pull me back into the collective comfort zone…. (where everyone wears sensible shoes and carries umbrellas for rainy days.)

I could not bring the outside in with me. In essence, I had to create a sanctuary for myself without the pressure, (no matter how well-meaning.)

After all, I could do pressure well enough from the inside, thank you very much.

I had to change both how I thought and the way in which I did things and I couldn’t do that with society’s “shoulds “ raining all over me like lava bombs.

 

Hmmm. Defend the space. Time to select my weapons of choice…

Rotten tomatoes? (Fun but messy.)

Unleash the killer duck? (Nah, he was too busy loving everyone’s shoes.)

Good old avoidance-and-hope-they’ll-go-away? (I can only hide in here so long and pretend I’m not home..)

I had to step up and to learn to speak up, to find my voice.

(Use your words Telene, use your words..)

Feeling a little bruised and vulnerable (with a fair smattering of “scared shitless” tossed in for good measure), I kept it simple. It became almost a survival strategy for those first few months and I made it a focus.

I practised learning two words: Yes and No.

Generally speaking, the Yes was for me and the No was for othersContinue reading

Are you Finite Or Infinite?

William Blake

 

 

We create our world and “who we are” through thinking.

There are two types of thinking – finite and infinite.

One is the thinking of limitation.

The other is the thinking of possibility….

 

We think our reality – we have beliefs and understandings around how the world works, how things are, how we see ourselves, how we think others see us and what our role in the world is. We have firm ideas about what is changeable and what is out of our hands.

 

Finite thinking is easy and familiar. It should be, after all, we’re trained to do it from birth.

When we think finitely we limit ourselves to what we know, what we are comfortable with and what we can logically understand.

Finite thinking fools us into believing we’re safe and secure by keeping us spoon-fed with what is trusted and true. It is structured by what is known, can be proven and is a fact.

It keeps us enclosed, encapsulated ……and imprisoned.

Finite thinking is rooted in fear. It is generated within the mind and it is driven by an ego that is desperately afraid of failure and of losing control.

It relies on the misconception that identity and beliefs are one and the same. Therefore, it feels threatened anytime its beliefs are challenged. Continue reading

What Is Truth?

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Truth is a funny thing.

It seems to be as malleable as plasticine, able to be bent and twisted into any shape we require. What is true one day can be found in the bottom of the trash bin the next. Truths we’ve held dear and built lives upon can come tumbling down like a house of cards with a mere puff of wind. A truth that seems as solid as rock can turn to dust beneath our feet.

So, how do we know what’s true and what’s not?

Quite often we believe something is “true” simply because it is convenient to do so. This “truth” fits our agenda and serves us in some way. It aligns with our story about ourselves and about others. It matches up with what we expect from ourselves or others.

We literally pick and choose our truths, keeping what fits and doubting or dismissing what doesn’t. Continue reading

Finding Your Tribe

tribes

 

Who is your tribe?

Who makes up the group you surround yourself with, the group you “belong” to?

Does your tribe consist of the people you grew up with? The ones you went to school with?

Are they the people who live near you?

 

What ties you to your tribe? Do you have similar interests, play sport together or have kids who attend the same school?

 

Lots of factors determine who we spend our time with and who we identify with.

Quite often who we mix with are people who think like we do, who hold similar beliefs and opinions.

Sometimes what we like most about them is that they’re so much like us…..

 

Feeling that you belong is incredibly important to most of us. We have a basic need to feel liked and accepted. We long to “fit” somewhere, to find our place in the world.

 

Some people belong to the same tribe their entire lives. Others spend their lives flitting around the fringes looking desperately for a place to belong and never quite finding it. Some spend a lifetime trying to join a tribe that is never going to accept them into its fold.

And some of us find the need to change our tribe as we grow and change as human beings.

What happens when you wake up one day and realise that you don’t quite fit anymore? That you seem to be headed in a different direction maybe, or simply that your tribe is no longer a place where you can be who you really are?

 

Many of us try to hold on, afraid that if we leave our tribe we will be left alone forever…. (to wander lost and lonely as a cloud…) :)

That terror of being alone is pretty much up there with death on most people’s fear chart.

For that reason many people stay with their tribe long after it no longer feels right. When those people who surround us no longer reflect who we really are.

 

Transitioning between tribes can be a terrifying experience. Knowing that you no longer fit the old but having no idea how to find the new.

Knowing that there must be people out there like you.

People with similar beliefs and ideals.

People who think and feel like you.

People with fresh new ideas.

People willing to embrace you on a whole new level. Continue reading

Teachers Come in All Shapes And Sizes

Teachers

 

Our teachers come in many forms….

 

They wandered into the shop I was browsing in, carrying inside with them a friendly banter and bright smiles. They’d just been out for their weekly coffee together.

The aunt wore a t-shirt which declared ‘Nobody is perfect…except for me!’

The niece wore a mischievous grin and her cheeky “Hello!” lit up the shop. The store manager and I were soon drawn into the pair’s hilarious ribbing of each other. Their dry humour and snappy come-backs had us in stitches.

 

I’d seen them before on the “Special Bus.”

Our society of labels would call them “intellectually disabled.”

 

Their love for each other was apparent as their comedy routine became more and more wicked.

Every time I thought I couldn’t laugh any harder I did.

Through the tears of laughter I happened to look past them out of the window into the bright sunshine and saw there a world of scurrying suits all too focused on “work” and “doing’ and clock-watching to even notice the blue sky above.

At that moment I had a blinding insight. Continue reading

As Kooky As Gwyneth…and Loving It!

chalkboard

 

You know those kooky people I used to laugh at?

Those airy fairy-types who used words like energy and intuition and who planted by the moon cycles and talked to their plants?

 

Well I recently realised that I’ve become one of them.

It happened when I came across a scathing newspaper article about Gwyneth Paltrow. The full two-page character assassination was based around providing proof of Gwyneth’s supposed descent into nuttiness.

As I read through all of the “evidence” proving how unbalanced and wacky she is, I realised I was in serious trouble. Gwyneth’s outrageous list of ideas about health, nutrition and happiness all sounded perfectly reasonable to me, or, at the very least, something to consider….

 

Uh oh… Continue reading

6 Reasons Why We Should Celebrate The Good Things That Happen To Other People

good job

 

Are you one of those people who celebrates the successes of others?

Do you get a thrill of excitement and joy watching a lucky lottery winner claiming their prize?

Do you get goosebumps and a lump in your throat when someone achieves their dreams- even if you don’t know them?

Are you overwhelmed with emotion watching someone being presented an award or a prize?

Do you feel genuine happiness when a friend excitedly tells you about their pay rise/ their fabulous new house/ the trip to Europe they just won with the ticket you gave them for their birthday / or their gorgeously perfect new girl/boyfriend?

You do?

Well guess what?

You’ve just become part of a minority group. Continue reading

Listen Up! I’m Busy Telling You What I Most Need To Hear…

The Expert

The Expert

 

Have you ever taken the time to listen to the words that come out of your own mouth?

The advice you’re always giving others?

The pearls of wisdom that fall from your lips to be eagerly seized and added to someone else’s jewel collection and treasured forever?

 

How much of it did you actually hear?

 

I’ve spent years handing out “good” advice to others. (Sincere apologies to those who received some they didn’t actually ask for!)

Shortly after I entered the therapy field I realised something important:

The suggestions I was handing out to others at any given time, were exactly the suggestions I needed to be hearing myself. Continue reading

What if ………

What if...

 

What if ….you’d replied when I enquired about how your day was going instead of turning away? You might have enjoyed hearing some stories about my adventures growing up in a place far from here. Those stories might have inspired you forward into your own possibilities…..if you’d seen me.

 

What if ……you’d thought to smile back when I lifted your pram up the bus steps for you and asked you whether I could help in any way as you struggled to climb aboard? I might have sympathised with you about how hard it is to raise children as a single Mum and shared some funny stories about my own children’s escapades. I could have offered to entertain your “busy one” while you collected yourself and settled the baby. It might have made your day a tiny bit easier….if you’d seen me.

Continue reading

Do You Assume Or Ask?

Driftwood

 

He ambushes me as I come up from the beach.

He always has an opinion to share.

I hardly have time to say good morning when he points to the driftwood in my hand.

“You shouldn’t burn that in your wood stove,” he lectures sternly.

“Oh, okay then,” I say agreeably.

“It’s a stupid thing to do- it’s full of salt.”

“I guess it would be.”

“I’d have thought you’d know better than that?”

“I’ll keep it in mind” I say.

He snorts in disgust and marches off, shaking his head and I hear him say scornfully to his companion “Guess some people have more money than sense if they can afford to rust out their wood stoves..”

Continue reading