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

Sh*t Happens

Oh well!

Oh well!

Sh*t happens.

To me, to you, to the stranger down the road.

Special things break, pipes leak, relationships finish, jobs end and quite often there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. There’s nothing it seems we can do to change things.

But we do have one choice. We can remain a victim of circumstance or we can let it go and get on with life….but that, of course, is much easier said than done…

Being able to practise acceptance and to acknowledge that sometimes things simply are what they are, can be a tough ask.

But, give this a go.

Write up these two simple words and whenever the poo hits the fan and you’re feeling hard done by say them out loud:

“Oh well..” Continue reading

Stressed? Take Your Shoes Off!

Jan 2009 083

How often do your bare feet touch the ground?

How long has it been since you took your shoes off and walked on a beach, across some grass or squished your toes in a mud puddle?

I’m guessing for most it may have been a while…

Often it’s the simple things that can make the biggest difference in life.

I spend pretty much all of my time at home barefoot.

If I can get away with not wearing shoes I won’t.

Even if I’m running a workshop or attending a course you can guarantee the shoes will be gone by lunchtime.. :)

 

If I am stressed the first thing I do is to get my feet on the earth and “ground” myself.

I once read about a Swedish study that found those who took their shoes off under their desks at work lived an average of 3 years longer than their shoe-wearing office counterparts.

(I actually can’t find that study on Google so perhaps I made it up- it sounds good anyway…)

So, why should we get our shoes off?

Continue reading

Challenge: Do Three Nice Things For Yourself…Easy Huh?

classic_blue_gift_certificate_l

 

How many of you were led to believe that it is selfish to put your own needs above others?

 

That it is wrong to put yourself first?

 

 

One way to tell is to ask yourself a couple of questions:

“Do I feel guilty when I take time for myself?”

“Does it feel okay to spend money on myself or do I do a mental checklist (But Henry’s been asking for a new jacket and Amy really wants a new ipod…) and then talk my way out of it?”

“When was the last time I treated myself to something frivolous or extravagant that was just for me..?”

 

 

Women in particular are really good at believing that focussing on ourselves is selfish.

Often we are brought up to believe that our role is to take care of the people around us – that it is compulsory, a fundamental part of our role in life as nurturers. Continue reading

Metal Man

what you see...

Last week I ventured bravely into “Men’s Territory.”

I found a space in the car park between all of the trucks and tradesmen’s utes and stepped inside.

Not simply a hardware store – no this was hardcore – “Metal World”…galvanized steel, corrugated iron, grinding and cutting as far as the eye could see.

I stood at the lonely counter trying for the umpteenth time to make sense of the long list my builder had so patiently explained- it had to be spot on:

2”x1”x1.6mmx 1.8m of RHS

30x30x2.0mmx.08m of RHS

10x50mm Steel Hexhead Fasteners…..etc…etc…etc…

Blah, blah…um, yeah, whatever…

A giant appeared. He must have been two metres tall and was the size of a small army tank. He wore steel-capped boots, a hard-hat and huge leather gloves. He looked like he was going to use my bones to bake his bread…

“What can I do for you?” he asked.

“Umm….I need some…ummmm…”

I began my faltering, stop/start journey through my page of gibberish.

When I had finally finished I looked up in hopeful expectation.

Metal Man just looked at me.

My mind began to panic and fill in the silent blanks:

“Did I get it wrong?

Is it that apparent that I have no idea what I’m talking about?

Am I in the wrong place? Maybe they don’t even sell OHS or whatever the hell it is here….”

“Have you just had a massage?” the giant suddenly asked.

I looked at him in surprise.

“It’s just that I can smell the green oil. I use it when I do massages….”

“Uh…right…”

My mind was now whizzing all over the place trying to imagine this man mountain’s hands doing gentle massages- he could pick me up with just one of them!

“I notice you’re wearing chakra colours,” he continued, “I do reiki and aromatherapy and ear-candling as well and….” He launched into a knowledgeable spiel about alternative therapies.

Twenty minutes later and I had all of my steel supplies and a business card from my new friend… He shook my hand …..and his were as soft and gentle as a child’s….

It’s funny how we make assumptions, even when we think we’re being mindful.
I love it when my assumptions take a shake-up and I get to remember that things are not necessarily what they appear to be.

It’s a good reminder that what you “see” is not necessarily what you get!

Suck It Up, Buttercup…

exercise

I’ve been uncomfortable lately- very uncomfortable…..

I remember a time when that would have caused me distress- now I am quite comfortable with it-(now there’s a paradox!) It can even give me a bit of an excited buzz.

Can you remember a time when you felt really uncomfortable?

It’s quite likely (if it wasn’t a time when you were wearing a too-tight pair of undies..) that you were probably doing something that pushed you out of your comfort zone. Now that it’s all done and dusted, you can possibly look back at that time and acknowledge something positive or something useful that came from it….no matter how difficult and uncomfortable it seemed at the time. It may have been uncomfortable in a physical sense, in  an emotional situation or a social encounter. It may have been due to an intellectual challenge or something that you felt was outside of your skills and capabilities or your capacity to cope. It felt uncomfortable…

Remember a time when you learned something big, did something challenging, experienced something completely new, put yourself in a new situation, gathered up your courage to try something or did something you hadn’t done before? It is highly likely that it involved some level of discomfort- maybe quite a lot of it.

The truth is that if we stay comfortable we don’t grow.

I’m creating some massive changes at present, on lots of levels and in lots of areas of my life. It’s requiring a fair deal of effort, lots of difficult decisions, heaps of courage and a fair amount of risk.

That doesn’t always feel comfortable….and that’s okay!

I have learned to link discomfort with growth and the expansion of my world. I realise that it is temporary and that in experiencing it I will come out with a new understanding or resource that I didn’t have before- so for me it will be worth it. (Even if the learning is “I won’t do that again!!”)

One of the things that I notice constantly is how unwilling human beings are to experience discomfort of any kind. In fact, people will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it at all cost. They build their lives around avoiding it: especially if it involves other people…

To grow and progress we need to be willing to face the uncomfortable questions, the assumptions and judgments of others. We need to be willing to be upfront and honest despite the fact that we may not be liked for doing so. We need to risk conflict instead of running from it. We need to be willing to “have our feelings hurt” or to be told “No!”….

The irony of course is that in running from discomfort we actually create a toxic pool of it that we immerse ourselves in….we never find the courage to step through it and into growth. Sure it may not always be pleasant but that’s okay!

Listen to the people around you- too many seem to have the same encyclopaedia of excuses- “Too hot/ too cold/ too far/ too much effort/ too dirty/ too inconvenient/ too much trouble/ too hard/ may upset someone…….”

They give it labels like “anxiety” or “Insert your own latest trendy word :) disorder” and treat it with drugs and a myriad of therapies.

They complain endlessly about being stuck, overweight, unhealthy, unhappy, bored and miserable.

They whinge, moan and complain endlessly about never reaching their full potential.

They want a “quick fix”, someone to show them how and someone else to do it for them.

They want it all to change but they’re not willing to actually do anything….

In the end, it’s often all the same thing- a plain old unwillingness to experience discomfort.

So ,how uncomfortable are you willing to get?

Just askin’…. :)

Stop The World- I Want To Get Off!

Stop the world-I want to get off!

If you’re human I’m presuming that you have, at some stage, gotten to the point where life becomes almost too much.

Where your brain overloads and begins to malfunction and there is a distinct smell of burning oil emanating from both ears.…

It’s called stress and it can be a sneaky bugger-creeping up on you even when you think you’re doing okay, that you have it all under control,  that you’ll cope because you have to really….

Stress has become such a common part of our everyday world, that we actually become oblivious to its presence. It becomes part of our definition of “normal.” Some of us actually become addicted to stress and its chemical effect on our body-the adrenaline rush and the associated buzz that brings.

Stress in small doses can be a useful thing. It is designed to move and to motivate us, to keep us safe. But, it is intended for short-term use because it puts such a huge strain on us-on our bodies, our minds, our emotional capacity and our ability to cope.

Too much stress distorts our capacity to see things clearly, to have a sense of perspective and to make wise decisions. It impacts us physically in relation to our health, our sleep patterns and our own self-care.

Eventually the cup overflows completely and we are overwhelmed so we stop, become stuck, anxious, depressed or worse.

We are stressed even when there’s nothing to stress over! Stress becomes our default setting and we have forgotten where the off button is.

But I believe that one of the biggest impacts for us that people  tend to overlook, is the fact that stress is a “joy-sucker.”

It robs us of time, energy and happiness. Stress saps our ability to enjoy and to truly live life.

Essentially, stress sucks big time.

One of the best bits of advice I ever received about stress was this:

 

Forget about the urgent things

and focus on the important things

 

Will talk more about what they are next time! :)