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

228132_10151259923316159_1323529902_n

(“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!

kermit-383358_1280

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!

 

 

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

What Is Wealth?

footprint

Is wealth about the number of plasma television sets you have hanging on your walls or about the logo on the back of your t-shirt?

Is it the type of car you drive or the size of the diamond on your finger?

Is your wealth measured by the bulge of your pay packet or by which luxury island you go to for your annual holiday?

Maybe true wealth is what you are left with when all of your money has gone….

Continue reading

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

My New Job- Watching Daytime Television And Drinking Vodka…

181385_431948703543521_1744215352_n

 

“You can get so confused

That you’ll start in to race………….

Headed, I fear, for a most useless place.

                               The Waiting Place.

…..for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go

Or a bus to come, or a plane to go

Or the mail to come, or the rain to go

Or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow

Or waiting around for a Yes or a No

Or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone just waiting…..

(‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’ by Dr Seuss)

 

 

For the first time in my memory I woke up today free, with nothing I have to do, nowhere I have to be. Nothing in my diary, nothing planned….
Sure, I have a multitude of possibilities but each is sitting there as a choice to be made…or not.
There are of course, things that will crop up but essentially, from this moment, I get to choose what I do.

I quit.

 
I stepped out of the waiting room, out of waiting for the “right time”, out of the “have to/ must do/ should do/ urgent things” and into what I really want to do…

(Even if I’m not entirely sure what that is yet…!!)

 
Yes, it is inconvenient (for me and for others), it is scary and apparently it’s also “stupid/a failure/not sensible/ insane/ selfish/ another mid-life crisis/ and all-right-for-some!” but…..

I’m doing it anyway!!

 
I shut the doors, closed my business, finished my studies, said “No” about 500 times and I stepped out of the “World of Obligation” and into the “World of Possibility”- my favourite place in the whole world. A place very few of us ever give ourselves permission to  fully explore.

In fact, we spend our whole lives finding excuses about why we can’t go there- why it’s just too hard, why it’s not possible or sensible and why we just plain can’t!
Yeah, I have those too, but I’ve done it anyway and I believe I’ll be 100% okay.

 
I would never like my life to be one of regret- to wake up one day and utter those awful words….  “I  wish I’d……”

 
So, excuse me while I step out of life as it’s “supposed to be” and into a life of possibility.
Anything might happen, we might end up anywhere (and, let’s face it, you could be hearing my stories about being a checkout chick at the local supermarket in a month or two :) ) but I want to take some time to nurture myself, to be creative, to explore new ideas, to learn new things and to be fully present in my world.

And that sounds okay to me!

Do you love what you do?

thoughts and actionsDo you love what you do?

What if money didn’t matter? Would you still be doing what you’re doing now?

Or would you be doing something entirely different altogether…

I guess at some stage we’ve all done the old X-Lotto question:

“What if my numbers came up?”

I’m always fascinated when I come across people who genuinely love what they do. I’m more fascinated by the range of jobs that they do. From the recycling man standing beaming in the pile of garbage to the nurse in the Accident and Emergency ward who thrives on the challenge. From the mechanic who does up cars on his days off to the tiler who proudly but surreptitiously leaves her mark on every bathroom she tiles.

People who have chosen to do what they love… or, to simply love what they do.

Then there are those who have had the courage to step out of the safe, the familiar and comfortable and into the great abyss of the unknown in search of their dream. People who have a purpose, a passion and a drive to do what they really want to do: to take a risk, to face uncertainty and to be prepared to fail.

Like the lawyer who starts an online cupcake business, the cop who retrains as a teacher, the psychologist who starts a dog grooming business or the accountant who enrols in drama school.

What is it that stops us from following our hearts? What stops us from doing what we really want to do?

It’s easy to roll out the excuses about why we can’t but what is it that is really standing in our way….besides ourselves?

 

What if, just for this week you were to pretend that your winning numbers had come up- (not in a materialistic “things” sort of way but in a choices and actions sort of a way.)

What sort of difference would that make to your thinking?

What new doors would open up for you?

What might you start to do differently?

And just notice how that makes you feel…

Every action begins with a thought….and the courage to dream……

“What if…”