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

Hey Stupid! (Why Do We Resist Change?)



Hey Stupid!

Am I talking to you??

Well, maybe…..”

Are you one of those people who knows exactly what you should be doing when it comes to your own health, wellbeing and happiness….but you don’t actually do it?

One of those people who should exercise more, eat more healthily, stop worrying so much, get more sleep…


I ran into a young man I know recently.

“You look amazing!” I said.

“I should, I’ve lost 50 kilos,” he replied.

I raised an eyebrow in surprise. “How did you manage that?”

He gave me a rueful smile.

“I got diabetes….”


How often do we wait for the crisis rather than making change by choice? What is it that allows us to become essentially blind, deaf and mute when our body, our heart and our mind are shouting at us?

What allows us to block out the whispers that let us know change is due?

And why does it often require a whack over the head with a sledgehammer to finally wake us up?


We all know what we need to do to be healthy and happy. We read the books, go to the courses, watch the TV shows and the TED Talks from our comfy chairs. We get all motivated, have great intentions, buy all of the associated crap that will make us happier, healthier, thinner and much more beautiful….and then we…we….well, can’t be bothered really….yawn..

I know my health is at risk, that my habit is killing me, my lack of movement is crippling me, my relationship is suffocating me, my job is sucking me dry…..but…maybe tomorrw….

Why is it that we spend so much time, energy and emotion resisting, when the changes we could make are often quite simple, frequently pleasurable and definitely in our best interests in regard to our own wellbeing and happiness?

Why are we such a bunch of donkeys when it comes to making simple changes in our lives?


Imagine if instead of thinking about it, agonizing over it, worrying about it, punishing ourselves for it or postponing it, we instead decided to let go of our resistance and simply do it…

Now there’s a radical idea!


I have a friend who refused to stop smoking until the day she walked into the dentist’s office and was told that if she didn’t quit now  she would lose all of her teeth. “I’m vain,” she told me. She walked out of his office, threw her pack of fags in the bin and hasn’t touched one since.


I wonder what it would take for you?


As for me I’m off for a walk…

Or I would be if it wasn’t raining… :)

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

My New Job- Watching Daytime Television And Drinking Vodka…



“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…”

Making A List, And Checkin’ It Twice….

Well, as the year draws to a close I’ve taken some time to reflect on these past 12 months. I wrote myself out a few lists:

A gratitude list of all the wonderful things from 2012- good things that happened, new learnings I’ve had, the wonderful people I’ve encountered, the new memories I’ve collected and the positive choices I’ve made. It was a big list!!

I also wrote a list of things I’d like to leave behind old patterns and behaviours that I’ve recognised and that don’t serve me well, old emotions that are past their use-by-date and even some old “truths” that I discovered were untrue. ( Like how heavy workbenches are….. (See Duh) :)

I had a lovely time ripping that page into shreds!

Finally I wrote a list of what I’m looking forward to in 2013- (not “New Year’s Resolutions” which are generally a list of unrealistic “wishes” that we fail to follow through with and then beat ourselves up about!) – but things that I really want to do or have and that I fully believe are possible- (even though I’m not entirely sure how yet…!) I know that they will happen because I’ve already begun putting the time and energy into making them happen and I’m willing to follow through with that.


In reflecting I also had the realisation that I’ve learned more in the past 10 years of my life than I did in all those decades before- (Yep, just call me Moses!)


Thought I might share some of my “insights” with you:


  • I learned that a lot of what I believed to be true about the world, about others and about myself was wrong. That many of the “truths” about life, the universe and everything are concoctions designed by others to keep us in our place- to keep us mediocre and happy with being mediocre!


  •  I learned that the world doesn’t change, we do. The world simply is- it’s how we choose to see it that makes the difference.


  • I learned that change is the natural order of things- and that if we are willing to accept that, change will often take itself, and us, in the right direction.


  • I learned that “thinking” too much keeps us from truly experiencing life. That real living involves our head and our heart. That real living involves “feeling” -the good and the bad. That the best “thinking” involves imagination, not logic.


  •  I learned to live the concept of YOLO (You Only Live Once) more fully. To take more risks and let go of concerns about what others may think; to be prepared to leave safety and security behind, to leap into the unknown and to be prepared to “fail”.


  • I learned to stop and be grateful. To realise that I already have all that I need and always will have…and to acknowledge that.


  •  I learned to remember the joy of play. To walk barefoot, to explore, to nurture my curiosity and to take delight in the simple things. To also remember that we already know all of the important stuff- we’ve just been “educated” away from it.


  • I learned that I am much more than my job, my behaviours, my body, my thoughts, my emotions or my past. I am much, much more than that….


I am very excited about 2013 and would like to wish you all a Happy and Abundant New Year!! Thanks so much for dropping in for a read and for your support.

Thank you,

Telene xNew Year 2013

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….

One Dead Dragon

sorry, cant hear a thing

Yes, I know it’s been a week since I posted anything- put it down to the frantic end-of-year chaos that seems to hit at this time every year.

A time of finishing off one year and preparing for the next and dealing with all of the emotions that tends to elicit in people. (Plus there’s the end of year Christmas Party gatherings- just for the record- I am officially Christmas partied out!)

But, to be perfectly honest, I have actually had time to jot down a few things. The real issue has been that, after my last post ( My Pet Dragon) extolling the virtues of “Dragon”….the bloody thing died!! The very same day in fact!?

How often does that happen? You give something or someone a good rap and then they go and let you down…things like: “I’ve never had an issue with Telstra/ my car runs like a dream/ she’s always been lovely to me/ well my TV reception is perfect…” and then it bites you on the bum…Some people get so superstitious they never say good things- “ Just in case…”

I like to think that the Universe has a sense of humour, likes to keep us on our toes. In regard to me I think the message is clear:

 “Hah, thought you’d got away with it didn’t you? Thought you could be a writer and not have to learn how to type? Well I have news for you princess- suck it up and learn- no more excuses!”

So, it’s back to “Typing Tutorial 101 For Dummies” for me this summer.

Unless of course, there’s a new “Dragon” in my stocking….. :)

My Pet Dragon.

learning journey

I have a program called Dragon Naturally Speaking.

I have it because I cannot type to save my life.

When it comes to using a keyboard my hands suddenly become cloven hooves and I develop horns of frustration. I painstakingly type with my two fingers and an hour later I have a single page… which suddenly disappears into the vast depths of cyberspace never to be seen again-simply because I sneezed at the wrong moment.

So, I bought Dragon. I talk into my microphone and Dragon types for me. (How amazing is that? It still blows me away!)

Dragon has become my best friend. I still like to write using a sharp pencil and a blank page (no authoritarian lines for my free-spirited imagination!) But Dragon helps me to turn my squiggles and sketches into something that I can share with other people.

Dragon has been living at my house for over a year now and he has gotten to know me well. He has learned how to recognise my Aussie bush accent and he now knows all of my swear words. He is also bilingual and knows quite a few aboriginal words-(he even knows aboriginal swear words- smart huh?)

So, how come I can’t type?

Well, it’s not because I wasn’t taught how. I did a whole year (that seemed more like 10 years….) of typing lessons on these amazing things called “typewriters”…(Now I’m showing my age…) The course was designed for those who were to become secretaries and office workers. Now, I knew I was never going to work in an office as I was definitely going to be a park ranger/vet/archaeologist/artist so therefore decided I had no need to learn how to type. (Yeah, yeah-so how was I to know that 20 years later everyone would have a personal computer….) As far as I was concerned there was really no need for me ever to know how to type… Not such a smart move in hindsight. :)

So, what’s the point I’m making? Well, quite often obviously, our best learning comes when we have a reason to learn. When there is a reason to know something we are more motivated and more willing to persevere and see something through, even when it’s challenging or difficult.

But, other times our valuable learning experiences come from taking the opportunities that are presented to us, even though it may not seem very relevant or useful right now. Sometimes those opportunities will lead us to places we may never have even contemplated.(I once took a course based purely on intuition- it ended up not only being life-changing personally but it became the basis for a whole new career.)

While we are learning we are growing and evolving-it is a journey of destinations we have not yet even imagined.

As for me, sometimes I look at that little certificate that I received after 12 months of daydreaming and drawing pictures and being sent outside for not paying attention….

“This certificate is awarded to Telene Clarke

 for attaining a typing speed of 13 words per minute at 100% accuracy.”


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….