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

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

Fail To Succeed

Fail To Succeed

 

For 35 years Diana Nyad had one goal- to swim from Cuba to Florida – a distance of over 177km through waters notorious for sharks, box jellyfish, storms and unpredictable currents.

Four times Diana had attempted the swim and failed. At 65 years of age, and on her 5th attempt Diana finally conquered the treacherous strait last week. It took 2 days and 2 nights in the water – a total of over 53 hours.

 

What struck me most when I read about Diana’s swim was the way she built her success on the back of her failures.

With each attempt and resultant failure, Diana strategically took what she had learned and used it to make changes and adjustments in preparation for her next endeavor. She kept what worked and changed what didn’t. Each new “failure” gave her the next pieces of the puzzle.

She essentially incorporated failure into her strategy for success.

She also refused to give up. Continue reading

Want Your Kids To Thrive? Just Add Some Adversity..

 

Source:Google Images

Source:Google Images

 

Scenario 1: A Time In The Past

“I feel so sorry for those kids.”

The police officer looks at the young pair, his face etched with concern and pity. “Their Mum’s been sent to the psych ward again? It’s so sad… ”

He’s right. These kids have had a tough go of it. Mum has a mental illness and has obviously been using drugs again –  that’s her pattern. She’s been sent off to the city once more for treatment.

The kids are waiting for someone to come and collect them.

Mum’s current boyfriend is in prison.

There are no relatives so it’s the Grandma of one of Mum’s ex-boyfriends who will make the trip down to collect them and care for them until Mum is deemed well enough to take responsibility for them again.

 

In the meantime they sit, busy with their homework, the older sister capably assisting her younger brother with his spelling list.

They are composed, matter-of-fact.

I know these two. They are polite, co-operative, yet guarded and protective of their Mum.

They call me only when they are in serious trouble. The rest of the time I am invisible to them – barely acknowledged.

They know I will not fuss or ask questions.

I know how much it costs them to have to ask for help – they have a fierce pride and sense of dignity.

I have enormous respect for them.

 

Our conversation is polite yet we avoid anything personal or emotional. Sympathy embarrasses them. They do not want pity. The girl sends me a grateful look of relief when I tell the police officer that I will wait with them until the carer arrives.

After all, we have done this all before… 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!

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….

Cheers,

Telene

Tips For Avoiding Overwhelm

can't do, can do

can’t do, can do

Right, back to the topic of overwhelm and what you can do to manage it.(Coping with Overwhelm-Controlling the Uncontrollable) 

How can you care about the world around you, be involved and productive and make a difference, yet still live and function? How do you cope with dealing with the paradox of it all? Of being happy in a world where bad things happen? Of keeping moving when it all seems too much? Of feeling that what you do or say doesn’t really make a difference in the bigger scheme of things?

Well, I have a few strategies that work well for me. Hopefully there might be something here are you too…

Tips For Avoiding Overwhelm

1. Turn off the TV/Phone/Laptop

We live in a world of information-too much (negatively-biased) information. We are bombarded by it all day long. No wonder we get stressed and overloaded. Of course, when it comes to the media there is no drama in providing good news, so most of the news we see is bad. That contributes to a feeling of hopelessness. We become overloaded with bad stuff.

So, turn off the TV or, at least, turn off the news. Skip reading the papers- buy a personal interest magazine instead. Read a good book or listen to music. It’s amazing the difference it makes. Try it for a week and you’ll see what I mean…

2. Take your “Important List” and make it as tangible as possible.

E.g. it is not physically possible for me to be saving the rainforest in Borneo (after all, someone has to stay home and feed the dog!) but I can plant trees for my local Bush Care group and I can pick up rubbish off the beach each week or volunteer at the Animal Rescue Centre.

Then choose a couple of bigger picture “causes” that you feel passionate about (e.g. Save the Whales or Cancer Research-something that has meaning for you ) and support those with donations/ e-mail campaigns etc., knowing that there are other people as dedicated and passionate as you out there supporting the other things you care about. Trust that they have it covered…

3. Break it down into baby steps.

Overwhelm makes us powerless to act and keeps us stuck in our thinking. Sometimes the issue seems so big that we don’t know where to start. That’s when we need to bring our attention right in and focus on one specific thing. “My life is a mess!” So, decide to start by sweeping the kitchen floor… then do the dishes…Or write one letter, or pay one bill or clean one cupboard…Focus on the things you can do rather than on what you can’t.

Just make it one simple thing at a time, which leads us to…

4. Take Action, Keep Moving, Start!

Override your head (which is busy telling you all the reasons why it can’t happen/ won’t happen/ won’t matter if you do/ is not worth the effort) and simply stand up and do one thing! Quite often this unblocks the flow. One of the biggest problems we have is our inability to get off our bum and actually start to do something. (Knowing vs. Doing)

5. Yes or No?

Sometimes it’s the little things that tip us over the edge and into overwhelm. Say no to anything that depletes you, overloads you (or makes you silently groan inside!)

On the other hand, say yes to anything that lightens you, empowers you or allows you to grow.

6. Be realistic, gentle and focus on the good things.

Care for others starts with you. Nurture yourself and be realistic in your own expectations of yourself. It’s not your job or my job to save the world but, if we all focus on our little bit, it’s a job we can do together. Imagine what we could accomplish if each of us was willing to just do a tiny part…

Search out the good news stories of others who make a difference. There are plenty of websites/blogs/forums/facebook sites dedicated to those who make a difference, each in their own way. Join them and fill your mind with good news. It starts to change how you see the world. Read inspirational biographies or watch “feel-good” movies.

Remember to take good care of yourself- (We need people like you!) Good self-care has a huge impact on our ability to cope and to thrive.

Hope these are helpful for you and love to hear some ways that you deal with overwhelm!

Telene

Coping With Overwhelm- Controlling the Uncontrollable

journey 1000miles

In the last month or so I have repeatedly heard people speaking about being overwhelmed – (by life, the universe and everything….) Not just people in my community but people interstate and overseas – from friends and colleagues to strangers I’ve chatted to in airports and coffee shops. It’s a theme that keeps reappearing….. Possibly because I’ve been feeling a bit the same way! (Funny how that happens don’t you think….:)

Recently I wrote about putting aside the urgent things and focusing on the important things. (Urgent vs.Important) If you look at my list from then you’ll notice that all of the things on there are well within my control – I can do them all quite simply if I so choose. (Even though I may make excuses about why I “can’t”!)

Important Things: (My list)

Doing things I love like:

  • Hanging out with my family and friends
  • Spending time in my garden and growing my own food
  • Creating stuff
  • Writing every day
  • Laughing ‘til it hurts- often
  • Learning new things- investing in me
  • Being outdoors- fresh air and exercise
  • Camping and going bush

But what happens if those important things, those things that really matter to you, are big things that are out of your control?

If my list contained things like:

  • world peace
  • protecting my community from mining
  • stopping unsustainable fishing practices
  • preventing animal cruelty
  • eliminating child abuse…

Phew. Different sort of list, different sort of feeling…One list makes me feel good….and one doesn’t.

Now, all of these things on the second list are important to me but if they were the things I focused on in my personal “important things” list, then I am immediately in trouble. My feeling when looking at my list is one of overwhelm and powerlessness. These are all issues that I can definitely have an input into, but in the big scheme of things they are, in all probability, pretty much out of my personal control.

When our attention moves from those tangible things we can directly influence to the big picture issues (and there are more and more of them each day) one of the dangers for us is that we can become swamped with the crush of overwhelm and we are stopped in our tracks. Overwhelm robs us of our momentum, our motivation and our resilience. It robs us of the ability to function in a way that serves us well. Overwhelm is the lead weight that sits on your shoulders or the helpless feeling that makes you want to retreat to the Bat Cave and pull the covers over your head… Overwhelm can contribute to anxiety and depression-both of which seem to be out of control in modern society.

Two other side-effects of overwhelm are ignorance and apathy-the inability or reluctance to “see” and the unwillingness to take action-and, if you check out the world around you, you will notice that it has become an all-pervasive issue. We live in a world of “It’s all just too hard…..pass me the bottle/smoke/pills/remote/chocolate ice cream…”

Now, I’ll admit, having a global or “big picture” preference in my thinking style, overwhelm and the feeling of hopelessness that accompanies it, are something I have encountered. (The more abstract and generalised thinking becomes the harder it becomes to take action- ie: lots of “thinking” taking place and not so much “doing”! :)).

Also, if you care about people and issues, if you have compassion and empathy, a desire to do good, to save, help and assist the world and its inhabitants (and I hope that is most of us to some degree) then you’re pretty much a sitting duck when it comes to overwhelm. You look around and see so much that is broken, so much that doesn’t seem to be working effectively, so much that needs to be fixed-that you don’t know where to start, so you don’t.…

So, what can you do about it?

In my next post I will share some of the strategies that work well for me and for some of the people I have worked with.

Telene

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! :)