Learning To say No…and Yes…And No….



(‘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

As Kooky As Gwyneth…and Loving It!



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

Not Convenient? Do It!

life begins….


Some days it seems that just about everything in my life is inconvenient…and I quite like it that way.

It recently occurred to me that the good things in life, the real things, are often those which are the most inconvenient.

They are things that require all those nasty “hard work” words-

Things like:




And Effort…

Things that may require saving, waiting, being patient, co-operating with others, making sacrifices and difficult choices, decision-making and commitment. Continue reading

An Apple Called Noodles

Source:Google Images

Source:Google Images



I used to look out of a Window.

Now I’m running free, on Safari, going OS and exploring the world.

I’ve even spotted a Firefox and a Mountain Lion!

I’ve started my own Garage Band and met Mac The Ripper…


Yes, I’ve seen the light (insert “Hallelujah Chorus” here.)

My creativity has been unleashed and I’ve entered the Brave New World (to me) of Apple Mac.

No more Dinosaurs- (Riding The Dinosaur) Steggie can retire gracefully back to the swamp…


Windows was about structure, something I had to “learn”. My left brain used to hurt. Noodles (my Mac) seems to flow, a bit like a mind-map. Now my whole brain gets to hurt!

At times Noodles makes perfect sense. At other times she makes no sense at all-a bit like my brain really. She has a bit more common sense, a lot more intuition but a lot less logical organisation (which makes it bloody hard to find where I left things….)


My desktop looks like someone vomited all over it.


Sometimes I can work Noodles out all by myself. Sometimes she tells me off with big red exclamation marks if I do something stupid. At other times I have to ring the Apple Help Desk and sob pitifully with highly technical questions. (Like: “Where’s the “off” button again??”)

They humour my cries of desperation and frustration, patting me on the head and reassuring me I’ll get better soon…..and the sooner the better!

(They preface every answer with a surprised “Gosh, no one’s ever asked that question before!”)

She’s taking time….lots of it. I’ve used up a whole year’s internet in a few weeks just doing “Tutorials For REAL Dummies.” I’m having to learn a whole new language- the language of fruit…

I spent 2 whole days trying to work out how to cut out an image. That used to take me 2 minutes. My duck keeps looking at me ‘cos he thinks I’m talking to him. It’s not actually “duck” that I’m saying- just something that rhymes with it…

Noodles does clever things amazingly- it’s the simple things that are keeping me bamboozled.

So, I’m on a learning curve- a steep one with muddy slopes.

If this post comes out upside down, back-to-front with a picture of a jellyfish driving a bus then you’ll know why- it wasn’t me, it was Noodles.

And she definitely has a mind of her own…..

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…”

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….

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….



Time out from time.

I packed my swag and went bush. Jumped in the four-wheel-drive and headed west leaving behind all of the urgent stuff, the important stuff, the have-tos and the must-dos.

No phone coverage, no internet, no busy-ness.

Time out…..

Tucked in behind the sandhills.

Ancient melaleuca and mallee.

Woodsmoke and freshly caught fish.

Reading. Thinking. Sitting.

Indulging in the family tradition of spotting animal shapes in the coals of the campfire for hours on end.

A full moon and a gazillion stars.

Eerie call of the nightjar and the high-pitched bark of a fox….

How often do we put off “time-out” because we don’t have time?

Because it is not convenient?

Because there are too many other things that we have to do?

Because we can’t “afford” the time?

It is when life is at its busiest, when time-out seems least possible, that we most need to make it happen.

To step out of our busy everyday existence, to stop, to reconnect and to breathe. To rest and recharge and to shift everything back into some sort of internal equilibrium.

To simply just be…

(Trust me, the world does not stop if you do……!)

So, it’s worth the effort, the disruption, the plain old inconvenience to simply step outside of our busy everyday lives and give ourselves one of the greatest gifts of all-time…..

Time to simply stop and be.

Make it happen….after all, you deserve it!


The cat is dead…. but curiosity didn’t do it…

They say that curiosity killed the cat.

I’d say it was far more likely that a lack of curiosity killed the cat!

Curiosity is the thing that increases our awareness of the world around us and of ourselves.

It keeps us safe.

It expands our horizons.

It allows us to explore, to pursue and to persevere.

It has been the precursor to every new idea and invention, to new thoughts and philosophies, to human growth and evolution.

I am quite often stunned by people’s lack of curiosity-the lack of interest in anything that is happening outside of themselves. People who have never wondered about the important stuff: why bellybutton fluff is always blue; why the old lady next door never has any visitors; how a Willie Wagtail builds a nest out of cobwebs or whether it’s technically possible to draw a fat stick man…

I reckon there’s a high percentage of people who could walk out and pick the daily paper up off the front lawn and not even notice the UFO parked there.

It seems that as people’s focus has become more internal (I E: it’s all about my wants and needs-it’s all about me-very different to self-awareness by the way) and as our connection to the physical world around us has diminished (because we spend most of our time indoors in front of a screen), the level of curiosity in our world has plummeted.

Curiosity empowers us. It gives us the power to question, to change and to grow.

Curiosity is the thing that saw me thrown out of many “Religious Instruction” sessions at school.

I had questions-lots of them- questions that no one, ever, was willing to answer.

“If God only made Adam and Eve and they had two sons, who did Cain and Abel have babies with? (Ewww, very bad pictures in my head…)

“If all of the animals went on an ark what did they eat and how come they didn’t eat each other? And, as for procreating… (More bad pictures -as above-any country kid knows what happens if you inbreed your stock-the world would be full of two-headed elephants and six-legged sheep… and worse. Ewww again.)

And… The one I used to lay awake at night pondering:

“Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?” (After all, God didn’t actually give birth to them, he just sort of zapped them into existence-sort of an “Abracadabra Alacazam” moment…)

The result of my enquiring mind?

Being told in no uncertain terms I was a smart*rse and to leave the room.

Sitting outside in the courtyard by myself was much more fun anyway and I would lay on a bench and watch the clouds and tan my legs (Yes- there was a world before “Slip.Slop.Slap” :)) and be quite glad that I lived in a family where I could choose to believe in whatever I wanted and at least I could ask questions and get an honest “I really don’t know…” without being yelled at.

For a couple of days a week at present, I get to hang out with young children, the minya mob. I get to re-experience the joy of living in a world of curiosity. A world full of questions that are okay to ask:

How big a hole can we dig in the sandpit before the world caves in? Why do sleepy lizards have blue tongues? How many “googly eyes” can Jane poke up her nose? Why does dog poo stink? Can a snake fart? How come old people get lines on their face?(“Lines like yours Telene… inney?”)

A world of imagination and wonder where bowls of sand become delicious meals, monkey bars become pirate ships and cardboard boxes take us to the moon and back.

A world where every moment brings a new possibility, an opportunity to ask how/why/what, a new opportunity to experience the world without the fear of looking stupid or silly, a world in which we actually get to live.

Curiosity reconnects you with your world, it sparks new growth and it makes life a hell of a lot more interesting and heaps more fun.

So, how about wearing your “curious hat” over the next few days…brush off the dust and the cobwebs and try it on.

 You might find it still fits just fine…..