Archive | March, 2012

Let’s live fearlessly!

30 Mar

Weeeeeeee!

Fear. For such a small word, it sure has a lot of power.

Fear is what keeps us on our butts, instead of brazenly marching through life.

It sees us firmly fixed to the couch, watching mindless TV rather than challenging our mindset and creating something wonderful.

It prods us in our sleep, so we bolt upright in a cold sweat, worrying about money or friends or work or whether there’s an axe murderer scratching on the door.

Of course fear can be fabulous. It’s what kept our ancestors alive, as fear produces adrenalin to warn us of danger.

But in most cases, fear is paralysing. Our tummies twist and turn as we imagine the absolute worst possible outcome if we do that really scary thing that we probably shouldn’t do because people might laugh or we might fail or we could lose money or friends or love and oh my god what if my leg falls off?

What if I quit my mind-numbing job and can’t find work?

What if I move to the other side of the country and have no friends?

What if…what if…what if…?

When I look back on the leaps I have taken in life, those ‘what if’ moments never arrived. I left a terrible job and founded a business that taught me a lot about myself. I moved from Perth to Sydney and made lifelong friends and met a wonderful man who I couldn’t imagine being without. I used that fear to spur me on, so that I didn’t end up in that worrying ‘what if’ moment.

What this showed me was that fear can be good. Rather than fearing fear (ha!), face it, acknowledge it and then fearlessly jump off the ledge.*

This year, I’m saying to hell with fear and am flinging myself into new experiences. Things I wouldn’t have dared to do in the past. I’m going to trek through India and Nepal to try out traditional medicine and meet healers. Where will I go? Who will I meet? Will my ghd’s work in Delhi? Who knows? Who cares?

I’m willing to leap and learn.

Here’s to living fearlessly! Are you with me?

For more inspiration on living fearlessly, check out this post from The Bold Life.

*Unless you are going bungee jumping. In which case, a rope is recommended.

Wordless Wednesday – oh the places we’ll go

28 Mar
India – colourful. chaotic. magnetic. A place I will roam for 3 weeks in July.

Source: hola.com via Reyes on Pinterest

Koh Samui – a haven. paradise found. I will bathe in her beauty next week!

Egypt – where I long to next venture.

Source: tumblr.com via Rachel on Pinterest

I try…ghost hunting

26 Mar

On Saturday night, I was felt up by a ghost.* No joke. It touched my ankles and swished the bottom of my jeans. Moments earlier, it had prodded our tour guide in the back. She reacted by politely telling it to leave her alone. I reacted by screaming, ‘*$^*@*$! That ghost just #*(#(% my #*# jeans!”

I’m usually not one to swear. But when a ghost tries to get frisky with me, it seems I can’t help but turn into a sailor. A very wussy one.

Months ago, I casually suggested to my former housemates that we venture to Manly’s Quarantine Station for a ghost tour. I stayed there overnight on a work retreat last year and was spooked when the wrought iron bedroom doorknob violently rattled and turned in the night.

Since then, I’ve been watching YouTube clips showing the best bits of Ghost Hunters International. In bed. At midnight. Alone. I don’t recommend it.

The Quarantine Station (now named the Q Station) was built on ancient Aboriginal land. Between the 1830s and 1984, sick migrants arriving in Sydney on ships were offloaded at the station to prevent the spread of disease. It was a bleak and frightening experience marred by despair and death. Families were separated and often children, women and men spent their dying days alone.

A sad and sullen mood sat low like fog over the station. As we huddled on the moaning jetty in the biting chill, our tour guide Sara told us tales of those who lost their identity and their lives during those harrowing times. She spoke of the spirits that haunt the houses, the hospital and the much-feared shower room. Apparently, her tours attract the young children who perished at the station. They like to run and play and even hold hands with tour-goers.

There were no children on our tour. In fact, we seemed to bring out the more angry adult spirits (Sara later told my friends and me over a post-tour coffee that the immature teenagers who mucked around in our group would have been the reason for that).

We entered dark, creaking rooms. Shadows loomed and our eyes frantically searched in the dark for spirits. Girls screamed and Sara had us feel cold spot that disappeared as soon as they were felt. She brought out an EMF reader in the morgue and had us interact with ‘Slimey’, a male ghost who apparently loved women…alive or dead. When I responded by saying, ‘Ewww, Slimey!’ the lights on the EMF reader lit up like a Christmas tree. I didn’t dare speak after that!

I felt incredible sadness in the station’s hospital. My eyes pricked with tears as Sara recounted stories of the sad souls that spent their final days in the stark room. She told us of previous tour groups that had been tormented by the hospital’s matron. Apparently one man had said, ‘I don’t think the matron did a very good job. It’s very dusty in here!’ and suddenly became so ill that he had to run outside to vomit. After apologising to the matron (as suggested by the tour guide), the man was followed around by an eerie voice that asked, ‘Feel better now?’ He refused to continue the tour.

The last stop on our tour was an old workers’ cottage. Two ghosts are apparently known to haunt the home. Even my friend John, who is a little on the sceptical side, felt uneasy in the small, musty space. The hair on the backs of our necks stood on end in the pitch-black bedroom. We stepped out into the tiny, dusty living room to listen to Sara explain the history of the cottage. She then stopped, turned around and said, ‘go away!’ as one of the spirits had apparently poked her.

And then it went for me. I was leaning against the doorway, my head resting on the frame and my legs crossed in front of me. Suddenly, I felt a tug on my jeans and a strange sensation swoosh and swish at my ankles. There was nothing there. Sara quickly ushered us out of the house; we weren’t welcome there.

There are many stories about Australia’s history that sadden me. Though the shame and despair I felt touring the Q Station was unlike anything I had felt before. I hope the spirits that haunt the weary walls find peace. Yet they deserve so much more.

* Note: Friends say I was felt up. I like to think of it as light petting.

Would you REALLY help a stranger?

22 Mar

Picture this: you’re walking down the street and a small child tugs on your sleeve. They tell you they are lost and ask if you can call their home. Would you help?

You would, right?

According to a recent social experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram, only 46% of us city dwellers would. The rest would give the kid money, ignore them or say, ‘Your mum is in that restaurant. Go in there.’

Shocking, isn’t it?

Well, it is to me.

I’ve always strived to help someone before I help myself. It’s just what I do. It feels right.

On a recent windy day, I saw a woman struggling to cram three packages into the post box, while trying to keep her skirt from flying up and revealing her frilly knickers. I jumped in and held the parcels, so she could complete her mission without flashing the whole of Elizabeth Street.

In the bus queue, if the person in front of me doesn’t realise the fare is pre-paid, I will dunk my card twice.

It’s no big deal. It honestly feels like the thing to do.

So I would hope that when a child asks for a helping hand, the majority of us would oblige.

Yes, there may be some danger in it. That kid could be part of some stealthy ring of under-aged thieves who distract passersby, while their buddies raid their pockets. Or they could be hopelessly lost in a sea of faceless people and have no idea where mum is.

That man asking you for $2 for a train ticket might end up spending it on a bottle of scotch. Or he may be desperate to get somewhere.

For many people, asking for help isn’t easy. It requires humility. It’s risky. After all, you could be the dangerous one!

My friends have been telling me that I will struggle on my impending trip to India. They reckon I’ll want to help everyone and simply won’t be able to. I can see that will probably be a challenge. But my heart is my heart, and it will always pulse with a desire to help.

My feeling is this: help out the person next to you, because you never know how much they need it.

Are you surprised by the stats that only 46% of people in the city would help a child in need? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Just post a comment below:

I’m inspired by…my new writing space!

20 Mar

They say change is as good as a holiday. As I sit here admiring my new white writing space, I would have to agree!

I’ve bid farewell to my teeny tiny, cramped desk and welcomed a glossy white Freedom trestle, Eames leather chair and complementary kikki.K stationary.

There are still a few finishing touches to make – I’m searching for a lovely lamp and a little vase to boast bright flowers. But until then…I hope you like my new space!

 

 

Monday Mantra – I am my healthiest self

19 Mar

Like many women, I’ve fought some serious body battles over the years. As I get older, I am beginning to appreciate my body as a strong instrument that carries me through life, footstep by footstep. I am learning to nourish it, to nurture it, to protect it.

Of course, I still have slip-ups. Occasionally I overindulge and have to waddle my way to bed, wondering why I had those extra mouthfuls of vegetable korma!

But on the whole, I am learning to treat my body with respect. With love.

(Plus, I will be in Thailand in 3 weeks and the thought of spending endless days on the beach is an incredible motivator!)

So this week’s Monday Mantra is about building your body to be in perfect health, so that it can lead you through a long, fulfilling and purposeful life.

Here it is:

“I am my healthiest self. I nourish my body with fresh, wholesome foods.”

Today I…say yes

15 Mar

‘No’ can be such a naughty word. I’ve noticed that I say it quite a lot. No to an impromptu dinner invitation, no to the gym, no to my alarm when it bleeps incessantly for me get up and meditate or do yoga. It’s just so easy to say no (except when I’m offered a Tim Tam).

‘No’ doesn’t require any effort, any risk. But a life without risk means a life without rewards.

A few months ago, an old school friend mentioned she was throwing herself back into travel and asked if I would like to join her in India in July. Immediately I said no. A million excuses raced through my mind: ‘I won’t be able to get the time off, I won’t be able to afford it, India is scary, I might get mugged, my hair will go frizzy, it’s easier to just stay at home in my normal routine and let everyone else gallivant around the world, they don’t have Tim Tams there…’

Two days ago, she asked me again. ‘Come and meet me in India in July. I’ll be taking photographs and wandering the streets. You could come along and write.’

YES!

Why the heck shouldn’t I just say YES? Yes to throwing myself in the deep end. Yes to leaving my life behind and seeing what awaits me in one of the world’s spiritual hubs. Yes to opening my heart and my journal and seeing what flows forth. Yes to frizzy hair! YES!

I’m ready to get real, to get raw and to descend on a foreign land and see where it sweeps me.

I’m ready to live!

What have you said yes to today?

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