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

Hey Stupid! (Why Do We Resist Change?)

Procrastination

 

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:

Focus

Perseverance

Time

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…

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“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!

Urgent vs. Important

In my last post I talked about urgent vs. important things.(Stop The World- I Want To Get Off!)

What’s the difference?

Well, urgent things are those things you just have to get done…and, as soon as you do, they are replaced by a huge avalanche of even more urgent things…. It’s a never-ending-story of one thing after another and then you wake up and do it all over again…The more you do the more there is to do!

But, what if you were able to put these so-called “urgent” things aside, just for a few minutes and focus instead on the important things- those things that really matter to you. What might that list look like for you?

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

Now have a good hard look at what’s on your list…and be totally honest with yourself. How many of those important things, the things that really matter at the end of the day, are you actually doing?

(Hmmm, mine’s looking a bit dodgy…)

When push comes to shove, at the end of your life you’re not going to be flashing back to all of that “urgent” stuff like cleaning that bathroom/doing that paperwork/watching that TV program/worrying about your mortgage or making sure your shirt is ironed nicely.

You’re only going to remember the important stuff…the stuff that really matters…..

and all of those things you never quite got around to doing….

Life is always about the important stuff.

Write that list and get to it!

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…..

Swimming the moat…

There’s an old Italian story that goes something like this:

Every day an old man would make a pilgrimage to the top of a hill upon which sat a statue.

Every day he would kneel in front of the statue and offer up the same prayer:

“Please! Please! Please!

Let me win the lottery! ”

And then he would turn and make the long trek back down the hill to his home.

This continued for many years until one day, the exasperated statue, so sick of hearing the same words over and over, came to life and said:

“Please! Please! Please!

…BUY A TICKET!!”

How often in life do we play the “waiting game”?