For the longest time the last thing I’ve wanted to be called is selfish. Call me a weak, call me stupid, call me lazy, jealous, crazy – call me a bitch or do your worst. But selfish – that just runs so counter to the
When I practise meditation I’m a better person. On that note, you would think I’d practice religiously, but life has a habit of getting in the way, doesn’t it?! Still in my quest to be a better person, I’m going to be more religious! My
I’m not going to bore you with everything I put in my mouth, or how many times I do yoga (or other exercise) or even every recipe I cook. There’s yinyang yum and there’s yinyang bloody boring. In my quest to go from Yogi (that
The first song on shuffle is Mad Season – I laugh because life feels like that – with work, school, birthdays, the general ‘busyness’ of life, and curve balls coming at me left, right and centre. What season of life is not mad? Matchbox 20
Have you ever felt like you were stuck somewhere with no means of getting out of the situation? Pretty scary isn’t it. Here – have a paddle. You’re still in the situation you’d rather not be in, but now you have a means to get
So last night we found ourselves in beautiful Lennox Head, Northern NSW. It was a muggy and overcast Monday night – our family three instead of four. It felt strange. Little Yang enjoyed a promised pink drink as we nursed nerves with our beers and
Happy Valentine’s Day. I’m working today, my parents are staying over tonight and preparations are in full swing for Little Yang’s 4th birthday pirate and pool party tomorrow (although he hasn’t been feeling very well, poor mite) – can’t see any chance for romance and
Have you ever felt so embarrassed you could die? I’m betting you have, in that pre-teen or teenage OMG melodramatic way, when the worst thing in the world that could possibly happen happened, and mortified, you thought you would die (only here you are, years
For the longest time the last thing I’ve wanted to be called is selfish.
Call me a weak, call me stupid, call me lazy, jealous, crazy – call me a bitch or do your worst.
But selfish – that just runs so counter to the caring, compassionate kind of persona I like to think I have.
And if (when) I see myself as being selfish, I get the guilts, big-time.
Sure I can feel guilty for being lazy, procrastinating, angry, envious, but nothing cranks up the guilt-o-meter like my self-perceived selfishness.
So where does this leave self-care?
In the ‘too-hard’, ‘I feel guilty’, ‘I’m not worthy basket’.
She (that would be me) says this after spending $55, and three hours on a Friday night, in a Yin Yoga Bliss-out session – SELFISH – guilty as charged. And even worse, I’m planning to book in for a second session at the end of the month. The shame.
She (me again) says I don’t practise self-care when I recently spent $99 on a pair of sky-high shoes (on-sale mind you) that well, let’s face it, I don’t really need (when do we ever really NEED shoes?)
The thing is, the yin yoga session was not selfish, it was genuine self-care – supplementing my regular yoga and meditation practice that I hope makes me a better person. (ahem, I should mention my annual yoga weekend retreat – a bargain at less than $300).
The shoes, whilst an indulgence, weren’t an outrageous purchase. I probably only buy 4-5 pairs a year – two or three that I probably need, and two that I really want. Not exactly off-the-scale extravagance in the shoe department (well maybe 5 or 6).
I tend to shop pretty cheaply for clothes most of the time these days (Target I will accept sponsored posts).
I did lash out recently with a new IMac, a wall mural and a modest office set-up – but it is for work mostly.
I went to the dermatologist for an annual check-up, having had a little skin cancer cut out a year or so ago. All good, and whilst I’m considering spending the $1000 or so that would help repair (cosmetically) some of the sun damage to my ageing skin, SIGH, I probably won’t.
I don’t want to be selfish.
We do give to charities, don’t dine out very often, I rarely get a massage, manicure or pedicure (although I might need one to go with those new shoes) and I drive a 13–year-old car (SIGH on that one).
Of course there is money for Miss Yin’s dancing, and Chinese lessons, and swimming lessons and kids toys and books and….so maybe I’m not being that selfish with my spending (at least).
Could I do more to help others? Of course. Could I be less self-absorbed at times (like maybe now)? You bet.
But… I think it’s about time I redefined selfishness and not just when it comes to what I spend my money on, but the time and care factors too.
I think I’m just going to ban the word from my vocabulary, and hopefully it will skulk out of my head for good too. See ya later selfish. How bout you and guilt go on a long trip together and leave me alone!
My new word (for that word I don’t use anymore) is self-full.
This is distinct from ‘full of oneself’ – that not so flattering term for a vain pain in the ass.
Being self-full is about ensuring you have the energy to live life to the fullest. And in living life fully you are a better person for those around you, for all you seek to serve.
Being self-full is about stopping to top up your reserves before you run on empty, investing in things that bring you peace, creative challenge, meaning and joy.
It is about building up your worthiness, because you are already worth it.
Being self-full is not extravagant and indulgent or self-centred and uncaring.
What do you reckon – like my new word?
I made it up my-SELF, he, he (although others on the interwebs have apparently thought of it already).
Will it be your new word?
What do you do for self-care?
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.
PS – if you haven’t already I’d love you to check out my latest kid’s meditation video – we all want calm kids.
When I practise meditation I’m a better person. On that note, you would think I’d practice religiously, but life has a habit of getting in the way, doesn’t it?!
Still in my quest to be a better person, I’m going to be more religious!
My goal is to make March a month of meditation – I did this last year too – road-testing different meditation and mindfulness techniques (you can read about them here).
Last March I also posted to You-tube two kids meditation videos I created – one a Clouds & Rain meditation and the other a Rainbow themed meditation. Both are between 4-5mins. It’s hard for kids to concentrate beyond this timeframe.
My theory is that our kids are soooo stimulated by visual mediums on a myriad of devices, that they find it even harder than many adults do to just close their eyes and simply listen to guided meditations. They get bored, they fidget, they can’t concentrate. Thoughts assault them, like they do us adults.
Kids want their meditation with rainbows and fairytales, lots of movement and bright, colourful images. They want to engage with meditation like they would a favourite game or TV show.
Well that’s what I think. I reckon most kids don’t think about meditation at all, don’t even know what it is, or the benefits.
I’m on a quest to change that.
The good news is, my two children’s meditation videos have had a combined 12,800 views on Youtube in the last 11 months (do little happy dance) – while they aren’t exactly viral videos, they’ve obviously resonated with some people (and hopefully some kids).
I’ve got some other ideas bubbling away in my head – a customisable kids meditation app amongst them….bubble, bubble.
In part inspired by working with Miss Yin to overcome her anxiety issues, I’ve put together a new video, designed to help kids get rid of the bad feelings (fear, worry, sadness and anger) by getting rid of/or making peace with ‘monsters in their heads’.
Hope you like it – and please spread the video links and the word – I’m sure we all want calm kids.
Linking up for FYBF With Some Grace.
Thanks & Cheers
You want the latest – plus my FREE e-book + video of yin yang affirmations, then Subscribe to our newsletter!
I’m not going to bore you with everything I put in my mouth, or how many times I do yoga (or other exercise) or even every recipe I cook.
There’s yinyang yum and there’s yinyang bloody boring.
In my quest to go from Yogi (that would be me right now, a yoga enthusiast who has practised yoga for the last 15 years, somewhat on and off but more recently regularly) to Yogini (that would be me, 10kg lighter, rockin’ or at least comfortable in a bikini) I will share some of my favourite recipes and whatever tips I think might be useful (from the mat, not from the teacher’s pedestal).
BTW – my teachers at Fireshaper don’t put themselves up on any kind of pedestal. Their feet are firmly planted on the mat – which is why I’m so keen to do my teacher training too. I want to be like them, only a better version of ME!
It is always yoga practice, not perfect. It is always about honouring the soul and the body, and believe me, my ‘a bit overweight’ body rocks the yoga room, in some asanas, on some days. And my yoga breathing practice – well that is deepening, along with my spiritual practice, and that’s what really counts. Not calories. Or handstands. Or actually (ever) getting my feet flat in downward dog!
I won’t sweat the small stuff, even though I will sweat a lot in the hot yoga room.
A Yin Yoga BLISS-OUT workshop put me right in the mood to start my ‘yogi to yogini’ challenge. Aside from being blissed-out, the workshop helped release a whole lot of stuff that had been holding me back. Or at least that’s how I felt afterwards. So already feeling lighter, I can make that feeling register on the scales.
A quiet Sunday gave me the chance to cook up a storm – aside from the coconut flour and chia crackers that crumbled rather than baked. Getting a bit adventurous with my cooking is going to be (please hold me accountable) a secret to falling in love with the right foods (which I do love, it’s just the ease/laziness/comfort/consolation of reaching for the wrong stuff that’s the problem).
Here’s a trio of good stuff (as opposed to just ‘goodies’). Shredded poached chicken (with celery, cucumber, capers and a healthy yoghurt and dijon mustard dressing). Great for a wrap or salad. NOTE TO SELF – MUST TAKE BETTER FOOD PHOTOS.
Black (Forbidden) Rice with red capsicum, celery and corn and a Japanese sesame dressing (yum) – going to stuff some big mushrooms with this good stuff and eat it as a salad too.
Protein balls for snacking – made from coconut, cacao, natural peanut butter and Medjool dates – power-packed for an afternoon pick-me-up if I can keep Mr Yang away from them. Plus I made healthy artichoke hommus for snacking with celery and carrot sticks.
Going to yoga, meditating, writing, spending quality time with the kids – all secrets to stop me reaching for a glass (or too many more) of wine after an ordinary day at work. That’s the plan. Hold me accountable.
And work is going to me more than ordinary (in my mind and motivation at least). Another secret.
In 4-5 months I want to have reached my goal and be rockin’ (or something like that) a bikini (which I’ve noted will be the middle of winter, so I won’t be rockin’ any old bikini for a while after).
Mostly I want to be truly ready for doing yoga teacher training – it is both my goal and will be my reward! CAN’T WAIT.
Did I mention I’d love you to hold me accountable?
I’d love to share tips I learn along the way, and would love to know any of your tips for healthy living and healthy weight loss.
*featured image may not be a current photo of me!
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.
Subscribe to our newsletter and I’ll share some secrets, promise!
The first song on shuffle is Mad Season – I laugh because life feels like that – with work, school, birthdays, the general ‘busyness’ of life, and curve balls coming at me left, right and centre. What season of life is not mad?
Matchbox 20 your are right, ‘I feel stupid…I’m lost and I’m hopeless.’ Well at least some of the time.
Then Missy Higgins grabs me by the throat, or by the hand – she challenges me ‘See’, she sings, ‘now you can steer’! Things might still feel pretty mad around here, but I can steer my way through.
This is the profound sense of control she promises – ‘hold this feeling like a newborn’ – could anything be more precious?
Driving back from a pre-cautionary trip to Lennox Head, concerns about our daughter’s anxiety alleviated at least for now thanks to her resilience – nothing is more precious.
And then suddenly I’m in New York, in a mellow state of mind and Billy Joel is invoking memories, his and my own, our fondness for the big apple. I feel a sense that anything is possible, the power of connection with the whole world. I’m excited and somehow lulled at the same time.
Get back to serenity (Vargo) is a ‘yoga’ track in my mix and the lulling overwhelms after the ‘excitement’ of New York. I’m back in the arms of peace. I’m ‘letting my soul unwind’.
I hear the waves rolling in and my peaceful place has become the ocean as Jack Johnson leads me back – To the Sea.
Then just when I think I’ve left the worries of the world with the tide, Marvin Gaye reminds me that ‘everyone wants somebody to be their own piece of clay’. Why do we do that to each other? And how do we strike the right balance as a parent between trying to mould our children and just being there for our little people as they take shape?
Because, as Meryl Streep reminds me, they slip through your fingers so quickly – her daughter’s character in Mamamia (I have an eclectic music collection!) and Miss Yin in my own trembling hands. She just keeps growing up, my ‘funny little girl’, despite the tears that well in my eyes as I wish she would slow down, and as I know that I should slow down so that I can ‘catch her every minute, the feeling in it’. Hold it precious, like a newborn. Hold Little Yang precious too.
U2′s Pride (in the name of love) comes on and I feel proud of my deep love as a parent and as a partner…’but (somehow) I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’.
Then it is Miss Yin’s song – Carrie Underwood warbling Angels brought me here- ‘it was a long and winding journey…(BUT) my dreams came true’ – it was the only way I could feel when I held Miss Yin in my arms that first time. Amidst the pain, she was the ‘answer to my prayers’. I chose the song for her adoption video. Cue happy tears.
Just when things turn all schmaltzy and sentimental, Neil Young mellows the mood, singing of new possibilities for love, under a Harvest Moon.
And then the late, great Barry White, he of the big bass velvety voice (I did mention I have eclectic tastes) croons and woos me - Can’t get enough of your love baby.
Finally, as we near home, U2 return in an ode to Grace - a woman and a virtue of kindness, elegance, charm and dignity – ‘grace finds goodness in everything’. And I know I need to cultivate the grace to move through life with contentment.
The journey is over (from Lennox Heads at least) and the random shuffle through 379 songs on my IPhone has delivered me so many words of wisdom (and the realisation that my music is a bit all over the place)!
Of course they are all songs in my collection, but somehow the selection was randomly chosen to speak (or sing) to me, with the music I needed to hear, lyrics that could soothe.
This is not the first time I’ve hit the shuffle button on life - I reckon it’s good for the soul. You should try it.
What songs might pop up in your random shuffle selection?
Linking up with My Little Sunshine House Sunshine Sunday, inspired by the theme, music.
Have you ever felt like you were stuck somewhere with no means of getting out of the situation? Pretty scary isn’t it.
Here – have a paddle.
You’re still in the situation you’d rather not be in, but now you have a means to get out of it – makes all the difference doesn’t it.
Well that’s my take on the power of ‘positive psychology’. Read more
So last night we found ourselves in beautiful Lennox Head, Northern NSW.
It was a muggy and overcast Monday night – our family three instead of four. It felt strange.
Little Yang enjoyed a promised pink drink as we nursed nerves with our beers and a pub meal.
Nearby our family’s missing limb was playing games with her friends, laughing, telling stories (or so we imagined) and tearing up only a little.
She’d ventured off that morning dry-eyed as she’d prepared to get on the bus, having pushed through tears and fears at home, our repeated refrain ‘You can do it’ ringing in her ears.
We didn’t phone the teacher and we didn’t wait for her call – we hoped, believed everything would be alright. And it was!
The dreaded ‘A’ had reared its ugly head that second week of school as the prospect of camp and separation from us loomed large and near.
We hadn’t expected camp so early in the year and Miss Yin must have felt she had no choice but to come clean on the fears that had been growing for a year or more, that we’d seen manifest in her reluctance to have sleep-overs and a major meltdown or two.
What resilience our little girl had shown in finding herself adopted by strange-looking people (that would be us) aged 12 months – her whole world turned upside down.
What resilience she’d shown in moving to Canada for a year, aged 7, leaving the familiar behind and making new friends.
What courage our cautious-by-nature girl has shown many times over as she’s taken on new challenges.
What bravery she is showing as she slowly comes to terms with her own story, her own losses.
What reserves of resilience she’s built up because we’ve tried so hard to instil it in her. Along with empathy (and love of course), resilience is all important in my parenting book.
Still we sought professional help, and we are so proud that she made it through the first night of camp and will make it through the second, no doubt. (Update – all good, home safe and sound)!
Were we being too protective in our precautionary overnight stay in beautiful Lennox Head? Is it in the nature of adoptive parents, or those parents who like us have fought so hard to have their kids (through infertility etc) to be over-protective? In being prone to worry, am I passing on my anxieties, if not my genes? Was I reassuring myself as much as Miss Yin?
I’ve read many stories on adoption forums that make me think many adoptive parents are too hyper-vigilant for problems. We’ve always tried to parent without searching for problems, but without running away from them either. We’ve always tried to parent by believing that resilience is a big part of the solution. And I guess in surviving infertility/IVF and the long adoption process we’ve demonstrated what we’ve tried hard to teach.
Still Lennox Head offered up more lessons.
Little Yang sought his Dad’s shoulders as we prepared to climb the steps to the lookout, before showing us he’s a big (well small actually) four year old now. ‘You can do it’, Little Yang.
The sign at the top of the headland reminded all that there is always hope and help against the worst worries, the deepest despair.
The gorgeous views and the endless ocean reminded us of the beauty and possibilities of a future unclouded by anxiety (even on an overcast day).
The ducks on Lake Ainsworth (stained brown by the tea trees) showed resilience against a blue green algae bloom that Ballina Shire Council warned prevented swimming, fishing and water sports (oh dear, hopefully camp activities aren’t curtailed too much).
And then on the beach Little Yang showed ‘super-strength’ to pick up some rocks he found on the dunes – the rocks reminding us that sometimes things that seem real (like fears) aren’t, that the weight of our worries will never be as heavy as they seem if we only have resilience as our strength.
Our cautionary/precautionary excursion cost us a tidy $300 by the time we stumped up for a motel room ($120), dinner and drinks ($85), breakfast ($45) and petrol ($50) but the reward of seeing resilience in your children is truly priceless to a parent. (Oh and we found a great little cafe/tapas bar for breakfast – Cafe Marius – if you are ever in Lennox Head, which did I mention is beautiful, even on on a grey day).
Linking up late with the lovely Jess for IBOT who is showing resilience big time at the moment in her decision to move across the country!
Sign up for my newsletter and some great yin yang affirmations in my free Ebook + video
Happy Valentine’s Day.
I’m working today, my parents are staying over tonight and preparations are in full swing for Little Yang’s 4th birthday pirate and pool party tomorrow (although he hasn’t been feeling very well, poor mite) – can’t see any chance for romance and I doubt there will be sex.
I’m tired. We’re tired. I’d go so far to say worn out but I know it’s just a stage. Isn’t it?
Last year I wrote about doing 18 years to life - on the occasion of our 18th wedding anniversary. Marriage felt like a balance between intimacy and distance, peace and battle. Coming up to 19 years not much has changed – if anything I’ve become grumpier, more of a nag. If anything, we take each other for granted more. I know that has to stop.
But love, maybe not the schmaltzy, greeting card variety is there, even in the cracks.
Inspired by our recent trip to Japan I thought I’d write an ode to the sort of love that gets weary but doesn’t wear out and comes back refreshed and does that whole cycle of the seasons of love over again.
So it’s a Haiku poem, 3 lines, 17 syllables in the traditional 5-7-5 form.
By nature love grows
old in Autumn and Winter
Spring is new again
Yep, short and (bitter)sweet. But sweet still.
Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m not a poet and I know it.
But then I remembered I did write a poem (this being an extremely rare thing). I wrote it over a year ago, reflectively, to kick off my then brand new notebook – and it was all about love.
So in the spirit of NOT avoiding embarrassment that I showed in my last post, here goes:
It’s eternal but in what form?
Does it hold its shape around a relationship
Fixed in a firm embrace?
Is there are pulling away
Less skin, less touch, less feeling?
Does it tatter at the edges
An old, comfortable jumper
worn, worn out?
Old slippers, taken for granted
until the holes let in the cold
Does it fray away?
Does it shiver alone?
Does it find warmth again
against the bitter chill?
Pull close in a new embrace?
Is there a coming together?
Old skin, new touch, familiar feeling?
It lasts forever but does it stay the same?
Loosening its hold on relationships
Letting in, letting go
Settling into companionship
Making spaces for silence
Yet never alone
May you be surrounded by love this Valentine’s Day in whatever form from those you love, and may you feel it welling up from inside, because that’s where it starts.
Perhaps a good place to start is to write a love letter to yourself, as I did in this post.
As Brene Brown wisely says, our love for others can never be greater than our self-acceptance.
Linked up with a loved-up Grace for FYBF.
Have you ever felt so embarrassed you could die?
I’m betting you have, in that pre-teen or teenage OMG melodramatic way, when the worst thing in the world that could possibly happen happened, and mortified, you thought you would die (only here you are, years later, alive and kicking).
A ‘heavy period’ accident springs to my mind and I cringe and feel myself redden even still.
Of course that prickly, uncomfortable sense of shame has struck since, but I’ve managed to realise that I will probably survive.
And sometimes I’ve even realised that I have nothing really to be ashamed of.
Right now I’m red-faced a lot from hot yoga (I managed a nine-day straight marathon of classes, before breaking for a couple of days and I’m now back into it).
So I thought I’d post my red faced photo, by way of saying I’m a little bit embarrassed about my blog of late, or my inability to come up with inspiration for it (perspiration on the other hand is flowing freely – I apologise to my yoga class if my sweat released the following toxins: wine, chocolate, wine, wine, chocolate and the odd Japanese fried bun).
This lack of inspiration motivation is despite setting up a new home office for myself in our bedroom, complete with brand new IMac and don’t you just love my snowy forest wall mural! I should be oozing calm and inspiration, especially after our Japanese holiday.
I’m convinced that inspiration ebbs and flows, in a yin yang way, and right now is just a particularly low tide. A high tide will follow.
So apart from some rather lame thoughts (how embarrassing), I thought I’d offer a montage of photos that will no doubt prove suitably humiliating for Little Yang should they surface (as they likely will) on his 21st birthday.
We are celebrating his 4th birthday this week.
Oh the shame (and lots of fun) of having an older sister. Here’s Little Yang, red-faced from the lipstick he was encouraged to smear all over his face.
This one remains a firm favourite from 18 months ago (love those ballet hands).
Love the tongue-poking-out look when you ride your first ferris wheel.
I don’t think he’s so sure about the crazy hair, which didn’t really cheer him up from his cold.
And not too sure either about hamming it up – like father, like son.
And the piece de resistance.
I wonder how long it will be before embarrassment kicks in to stifle Little Yang’s imagination, spontaneity, fashion sense? Why do our kids become so inhibited by our world?
Would’t you rather be imaginative, spontaneous, even quirky and embarrassed than none of those things?
I can’t believe where four years have gone (well 3 years, 3 months with Little Yang in our lives). As always, I think of his birth parents. I wonder how time, life has moved on for them.
Happy Birthday Little Yang. When I am truly present with you, you give me so much inspiration, and all the motivation I need to be a better (spontaneous, imaginative if slightly embarrassing and/or embarrassed) mother. What more could I want?
Love to hear any of your embarrassing moments and those uninhibited times with kids that delight. Don’t be embarrassed to live life like a kid sometimes.
Linking up with Jess for another IBOT.
Your flow is the thing (or things) you were meant to do. When you are flowing, time stops, you get the feeling that you could stay in the moment forever. You are completely and absolutely engaged and your energy and drive don’t dissipate.
When you flow you literally get lost in what you do, and yet you find yourself.
I think I’ve found what makes me flow, but I have to admit I’m not following it all the time, or even most of the time.
Sorry to disappoint.
Like most people, I get stuck in everyday life, in financial and family responsibilities and in the vicious thought whirlpool of ‘I can’t do it, I’m not good enough’ that sucks me under the eddy.
I do the hustle.
Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning.
But when things flow…..
I’m pretty sure I know when I ‘flow’ best – when I’m writing, video editing, interviewing interesting people, crafting and telling stories that I believe (or hope) could make a difference.
My ideal job work career would be creating great content that informs, inspires, motivates, empowers, supports causes I believe in, and maybe, just maybe, changes lives.
I’d love to create emotive videos, documentaries and engaging feature articles.
I’d love to speak and share great stories, campaign for causes and inspire people.
I’d love to share the lessons life has taught me in an empowering and motivating way.
I love playing with words, mucking about with video editing. I’d love to hone my skills in video, photography and design and yet…..
I love the power of words and pictures together to tell powerful, emotive stories, which sort of brings me back full circle to my days as a TV journalist (those days of the horrible hair-dos and mostly pedestrian stories). Ironic really.
I feel like I know what makes me flow with the power of universal energy (along with yoga, and I’d also like to become a yoga teacher, you know, in my spare time!)
One day I’d love to lead writing and yoga retreats where words, wisdom and a profound sense of freedom flow, and maybe, just maybe, lives change.
Finding flow can be hard, following it even harder. You would think things would just flow, but nah!
For Find Your Flow February I’d like to explore ways to unlock your flow pursuits and get and stay ‘in the zone’ in a series of posts.
There’s quite a bit of positive psychology theory, led by a guy with an impossible sounding name Mihály Csíkszentmihályi that describes the best or necessary conditions for finding flow, plus there’s a whole lot of Eastern wisdom around the concept.
I think a simple exercise is a great place to start.
Pick 3 or 4 things you enjoy doing (preferably by yourself or with a willing volunteer, and not sex – by yourself or with anyone else!)
Make them things you can realistically do within the space of the next few weeks.
They should be ‘creative’ activities you can spend a short block of time actively engaged in (for example an hour) and be able to ‘achieve’ something in that space of time (probably not complete what you start).
They could be existing hobbies or work-based activities you like (even if you don’t enjoy all aspects of your job). Think of things that give you intrinsic joy but also a sense of challenge.
They could be activities you’ve tried a few times before and enjoyed but don’t do (or get the chance to do) very often but feel you have a degree of skills to undertake.
They can’t be passive pursuits (like watching TV, listening to music or reading) – they need to be endeavours in which you create or produce something over time.
Painting, writing, designing things, decorating, cooking, craft, analyzing statistics?!, counseling, teaching, fitness training.
Maybe a potential ‘flow’ activity/career is something that you need to learn more about, get some additional skills or qualifications. For example you might really enjoy giving massages but need some sort of qualification to be able to ‘do’ this flow activity as a ‘flow’ career.
Now apply the time test to the potential flow activities you try – which activity really stops time for you – which hour-long period of activity feels like it flies by the fastest?
I’d love to know what makes you flow or if you are still searching for it. And this post, about letting go to find your flow, might help too.
Linking up With Some Grace for FYBF.
Have you ever travelled somewhere, got there and realised you forgot something important?
Have you then realised that the thing you thought was so important (excluding your passport) wasn’t that vital after all?
Travel is great like that for putting things into perspective – for instance my life-saving hair straightener (which I couldn’t use because for some reason the power adapter didn’t fit) wasn’t really so essential. My hair didn’t even frizz that much in the cold.
Travel takes you from hot to cold (or the other way around) from quiet to busy (and vice-versa), familiar to foreign and it’s only when you get there that you realise things (and mostly people) are so much the same!
So we went to Japan but forgot to bring Laughing Buddha (well any one of the set of three wooden ones we have). I think it was the ten thousand other things we had to decided to pack! This was a shame, as our Laughing Buddhas like to go on adventures.
But thanks to the magic of Photoshop one of the Buddhas (the one that can see no evil) has been transported to the ‘land of the rising sun’ to help me share some memories and lessons from what was a wonderful trip.
Atop the Tokyo Skytree (which stands 642 metres high and was certified in 2011 by the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest tower in the world) you get a 360 degree panorama of an amazingly clean and efficient city.
We loved the fact that Tokyo seemed to mix old and new so comfortably. We got no sense of the old left to become rundown and forgotten – the traditional streets were clean like the modern ones, with not a bin anywhere in sight. It seemed a contradiction, but we deduced it to be the Japanese way – when you embrace order and cleanliness there is no need to cater for chaos and mess.
Of course there was a certain smell about the fish market, but it too was a picture of busy enterprise where some kind of order was at play amidst the fish guts and some of the strange bounty of the sea that we weren’t so sure about.
That night we tried a traditional Sashimi – complete with sea cucumber, arc shell (Akagai) and squid (Ika) as well as the more usual tuna and whitefish. What is a holiday without a little culinary adventure!?
Japan does food so well, not only the exotic tastes, but the presentation. The Japanese are HUGE on presentation from exquisite looking salads in a display cabinet to gorgeous sweet treats that are showcased beautifully – and everything is hand-wrapped and packaged carefully for consumption.
The contrast with the hordes tramping all over the Imperial Palace in Beijing, hawkers at every gate, couldn’t have been starker with the peace and order that prevailed in the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo (although you can’t actually access most of the site as the imperial family live there)! On the day we visited, some kind of relay run was in progress. We saw very few race officials – it was like the runners would follow the course without any kind of direction and without diverting – order would simply ensue. A solitary guard stood at the entrance of the bridge to the ‘forbidden’ palace grounds (and didn’t seem to mind the dance moves done for the cameras in front of the moated monument).
And you have to experience the toilets to believe them. We did encounter traditional pit toilets at a railway station, but almost everywhere we went, from shopping centres to the smallest restaurant, guests are treated like kings and queens when it comes time to sit on the throne – heated seats, music playing (to encourage the waterworks, disguise the ‘unpleasantness’) and with built-in bidets for maximum hygiene – these technological conveniences more ‘western’ than ‘western’ (like a lot of Tokyo it seems, but refreshingly without a proliferation of western convenience food).
We headed to the mountains, and the snow and the skiing in a traditional village called Nozowa Onsen (the toilets here were pretty much as sophisticated as in Tokyo, warming you right where you need it).
The powdery snow was gorgeous, the snowy scenery beautiful, the village quaint and everyone so polite and friendly (there was a slight over-run of Aussies but you get that).
The town is famous for its onsens (hot spring baths), with a number of free public paths where you must bathe nude. Such embarrassing exposure would not wash (excuse the pun) with Miss Yin or the other children in our group. So we found a family onsen where swimwear was required and soaked away the sore and tired muscles from days on the ski-fields.
We tried Little Yang on cute little skis, between our legs, down a long, gentle slope. It was all a big adventure for him and at one stage he actually fell asleep on a quad chair – Mr Yang had to ski off the lift with a sleeping almost-four-year-old in his arms.
Travel is like that – it tires you out, challenges you sometimes (although I have to say that things could not have run more smoothly in Japan). The train system must be the most efficient in the world (and believe me, we got LOTS of trains).
I’ve spoken of the prevailing order, but I reckon it goes deeper – there’s a real respect for everyone – for what they have to do, where they have to go.
No-one seems to make themselves more important than anyone else (although there was some ‘important’ guy who parked his Maserati in the middle of the road near the fish market before proceeding with his entourage).
There is a profound sense that you get somewhere quickly not by rushing but by simply knowing where you want to go.
(And when we didn’t know where to go, people were always happy to help).
There is flow that comes through order – the rules allow individuals to pursue the direction each person wants to take without others getting in the way.
I think it comes close to balance.
Suffice it to say I loved Japan – its scenery, its traditions, its people and the lessons that are sinking in slowly now. I loved spending time with the beautiful friends we were lucky to travel with and I loved the break that I needed so much.
Linking up with the lovely Jess for IBOT this week – Sayonara.
Love to know what things you’ve forgotten to take with you on holidays (and did it really matter), what lessons you’ve learned (particularly any about balance).