Learning To Speak Your Truth (or: Oh F*ck, Did I really say That Out Loud??!)

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(“I Quit”– Episode 4)

It felt like my whole life had been spent being available to others, helping others, caring for others….and listening to others.

Now it had to become all about me.

I turned off my outside ears and turned on the inside ones.

Instead of listening to others I slowly learned to listen to me. To be honest I think “me” was initially in shock when I started doing this, after all I had always pretty much put myself last.

Me and myself had to learn a whole new way of going about things. I had to slow down a little bit, to be still and to start tuning into the me that sat behind the “busy mind’ version of myself.

I learned to sit.

Quietly.

(Sometimes for even more than a whole minute at a time!!)

And I began to listen.

I learned that behind the do-gooder, self-talk that had always run the “Me Show ” there was another Me, a more authentic Me, who had other things she wanted to say….

(Warning! Warning! Trouble Ahead…)

Yes, it appeared that finding my yes /no voice around boundaries with others was not the end of the vocal emergence.

It appeared there was more to come.

Quite a bit more in fact…

Uh oh….

Authentic Me and my mouth were about to join forces, to start working in sync…. and they made a most interesting duo. Continue reading

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

Creating A Futureless Future

prissy

(“I Quit- Episode 2)

So, I had quit, walked out on work.  Now what?

I had a small parcel of shares. They were “for a rainy day”.

I looked out the window. The seagulls soared high in the cobalt blue sky and the geraniums flashed their happy, red smiles in the perfect summer sunshine.

Whoops.

Now, this is where I had Insight No.1:

 

If I was going to do this I had to completely change the way I looked at things, and that meant not giving any space to old, freedom-crushing beliefs, particularly all those around THE FUTURE. (*Please feel most free to insert your own “All Powerful Lord Of The Universe” music piece here.)

 

THE FUTURE is that mythical, illusory, fantasy place that has the sneaky knack of holding us hostage under its powerful spell – often without us even realizing.

It is a place of the unknown, a powerful, paradoxical mix of ominous doom interspersed with dancing little rays of hope and promise. Continue reading

Creating A Space For Me – The Story Begins…

Gone fishing...

 

(“I Quit” Episode 1)

One day I woke up and decided that I was never going to go to “work” again.

Ever.

I guess most of us have toyed with that dream at some point or other, hiding under the blankets and spending a minute or two lost in a blissful fantasy world where words like boss and deadline and cheap office coffee don’t exist and imagining 500 creative ways to utter those two simple words that unlock the gate to liberty and freedom – I Quit.

But instead of following up with the usual Oh yeah, I wish, and getting up and putting the kettle on, this time I did something different…

 

It was the end of 2012 and my life was going wonderfully. Five years of hard work and my coaching/therapy practice had taken off. I had scored a couple of bonus days a week working with children in a great workplace.

I’d completed five more years of study and just finished an intensive (and expensive) 12 – month course (The Use Of Clinical Hypnosis In Strategic Psychotherapy – impressive huh?) that was about to launch me into bigger and better things.

In short, life had finally come together in all the right ways.

Just like I’d planned…. Continue reading

20 Ways To Remind Yourself That You’re Still Alive!

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Where did all of the silliness go?

How come people don’t seem to have plain, old fun anymore?

And just when did life become so damned serious?

Maybe it’s time to play…….

When was the last time you:

 

  1. Slid down a slippery dip yelling “Wheeeeee!!”?
  2. Had a serious phone conversation into a banana?
  3. Flicked your peas across the table at someone?
  4. Lay down on soft grass and watched clouds passing overhead?
  5. Accidentally-on-purpose fell into water with all of your clothes on?
  6. Totally-on-purpose jumped into water with all of your clothes off ?!
  7. Spun around in circles until you fell over?
  8. Stood on a warm rock with bare feet?
  9. Stuck your head out of the car window and barked like a dog?
  10. Blew a raspberry on someone’s tummy?
  11. Dared yourself to do something scary?
  12. Built a sandcastle?
  13. Played hopscotch with an ice-cream in your hand?
  14. Laughed uproariously at your own joke until you cried?
  15. Rolled down a hill?
  16. Learned something new just for the hell of it?
  17. Walked in the rain without shoes?
  18. Tried to lick your own elbow?
  19. Read your favourite childhood Dr. Seuss book out loud to someone?
  20. Had a long (loud) conversation with an invisible friend?

 

Chances are it’s been a while..

So, why are you still sitting there?

Pick one and go do it!

Yes, right now…..and then let us know how you went. …please!! :)

PS. Photos most welcome!

 

 

What If That Challenge Is Just What You Need?

What if everything that happened in your life- the good and the bad- was a gift? A wrapped gift created and packaged especially for you, individually tailored to meet your needs and to give to you what you most need in this lifetime?

Maybe the gift was a learning, a new awareness.

Maybe it was the opportunity to let something go in order to allow space for something new to bloom and flourish.

Maybe it was a possibility, a chance to step through a door you didn’t even know existed.

Perhaps it was the chance to resolve an old issue, to finally heal an old wound.

Or maybe it was a reminder, a chance to see with fresh eyes and remember what’s really important in life.

It may have been an opportunity to experience something new.

Or maybe the chance for you to discover something important. A hidden resource you didn’t even know was there. Inner strength, courage or compassion perhaps? Something that had been waiting a long time to see the light of day. 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

50 Again!? The Art Of Growing Old Disgracefully….

A recent birthday card from a so-called friend....

A recent birthday card from a so-called friend….

 

“‘You are coming to my 50th of course?” asked my friend Tim.

I was having a meal at his place the other night.

“I wouldn’t miss it!”

I’ve been to a few of Tim’s 50th’s. They’re always a fun weekend. Maybe there was one of them where he actually turned 50 but I’m not sure…

The older I get the more noticeable it becomes that we all age differently and that the biggest difference is not about the wrinkles, grey hair or saggy bits we start to get. Instead it all boils down to how we see ourselves and the story we tell ourselves about ageing.

I’ve met young people who are “old.” Not in that wise “old-soul” spiritual sense but in a life-weary let’s-just-get-this-over-and-done-with sense. They have a picture of life and their duties and obligations in it and they put their head down and simply get on with the job of ploughing through it just like they’re supposed to. Ageing becomes a series of tick-the-boxes milestones. You feel worn out just talking to them and can’t believe it when you find out they’re only 22…

At the other end I’ve met a host of 90+ers who are younger than me. You know the ones who run around having all kinds of adventures and learning new things and when they tell you their age in numbers it’s almost impossible to believe. My 101 year-old Great Aunt whips her car through city traffic with a confidence that I’ll never have. Her Dad died in his sleep at 88…after a night out dancing.

 

So, what is it that creates such a vast difference.

What is it that makes us “old” or “young”? Continue reading

The Ultimate Personal Challenge Is Not What You Think…

 

(Source:Google Images)

(Source:Google Images)

 

 

If I were to tell a story of personal challenge I might choose to talk about those things I’ve ticked off the bucket list.

I’d tell you about flying a powered hang-glider or zipping down the world’s longest zip-wire.

I’d talk about diving with the great white sharks or the time I backpacked through China and ate something that may or may not have still been alive…

I might recount how I free-fell over a waterfall whilst white water rafting or rode thousands of kilometres on a motorbike…

 

But I won’t.

 

I wont because the most difficult personal challenge of all is not only about adventure sports or dangerous animals. It has to do with a simple choice – the choice to be yourself.

 

We live in a world tied up in knots. A world where we arrive full of hope only to become quickly enmeshed in a tangle of societal pressures and the expectations of others.

We are born pegs of all different shapes and sizes who soon learn that we’re supposed to fit neatly into the rows and rows of uniform round holes laid out before us. “Life” becomes a constant quest to knock off our corners and rough edges, to sand ourselves down, smooth ourselves out and make ourselves “fit”.

It is a desire to belong, a need for acceptance that motivates us.

 

It takes courage to be different. To step out of the mold and stand alone. It can be a scary experience standing vulnerable and exposed, being frowned upon for making the place look untidy with your non-conformity, sometimes looking longingly at the comfortable space you’ve vacated, knowing how easy it would be to slip back in and pretend….

 

Being yourself requires having space around you.

It requires being with yourself, knowing yourself, accepting yourself.

It requires stillness, honesty and the willingness to face the unknown.

It involves risk and the ability to embrace failure.

It requires letting go of worrying about the opinions of others or the shoulds or supposed to’s of life.

But most of all it requires the courage to make the choice.

The choice to be the person you were meant to be.

 

That is the ultimate personal challenge….

 

You may enjoy this story of personal challenge and adventure about my fear of heights :)

https://open.abc.net.au/contributions/bird-plane-or-supergirl-32pw4yg/in/contributors/telene+clarke

How To Change Your Life In 3 Seconds.

gifts...

 

It only took 3 seconds….but it must have seemed  a life-time.

The accelerator jammed stuck and the car shot across the road before he even realised what was happening.

 

He’d just dropped his wife and son off for an appointment.

Now he saw he was heading straight at them.

He wrenched the wheel frantically and made the split-second decision to point the car into a brick wall to his left. The car slammed into the wall, ricocheted back, bounced forward and then his wife was lying apparently lifeless on the bonnet in front of him.

 

He remembers running up and down the street yelling, his First Aid training forgotten and inaccessible to him.

His son took charge.

“My son became the parent and I became the child”, he tells me.

They both believed his wife was dead. Continue reading