Hold lightly

1a68f7b2088aacebd485b4059dd8eb46

I know… I’ve neglected my blog. I had a big year in 2013, and I neglected a lot of things, including my blog. And me. But here I am, and it’s 2014 (or even, Version 2.014 as I like to call it) so I’m starting fresh.

I’ve been quietly (and not so quietly, for the poor people involved) working through some stuff. And this past week has been huge for me. HUGE. A really important week. And I finally (thank god, say the poor people involved) dug myself out of my little pit and Got. It.

You know how we hold so tightly to the things we love, and guard what’s important to us? Ferociously. Yeah, well, sometimes that doesn’t work out so great… does it.

I was holding so tightly to something I was so determined not to lose, or allow to shift and morph and evolve as it needed to, that not only did I almost bleed the very life out if it but I also hurt my hands (and heart and soul) in the process with my very rigid grip. And I only have myself to blame.

And yes, because I was so tight-fisted about that One Thing, I also had no room for anything else. Which is never good, I know.

It was only when my hands were shaking sooooo friggin hard from holding on too tightly for too long (we all know that feeling!) that I was forced to let go. And in that letting go, I – very thankfully – found my own freedom. And, funnily enough, space for that thing to still be in my hands in a whole new way.

It’s amazing what you find in your letting go. Which is easier to say than to live out, I know, especially if you’re anything like me – which is a super stubborn independent control freak Aries. (Apologies again to those who deal with me on a regular basis.)

Open hands. It’s still physically the exact same two hands.
But they look completely different. And their function and role changes too.
There’s so much more space in two open hands than in two closed fists.
Space for light. And air.
And space for things to grow. And be.
Space to breathe…

Open hands. Open heart.
The same principles apply.
And when you can do it with your hands, you can do it with your heart.

First the natural, then spiritual. That’s the way life works.

“Hold everything in your hands lightly… it hurts when you finally have to pry your fingers open.”

Selah. (Pause, and think calmly on that.) xxxx

 

 

let me introduce you to joi.

Not misspelt, it’s Joi. Not Joy. Although joy is definitely something she brings me.

Joi ‘oodlies’ – it’s a thing…

I met her about 2 years ago, on the internet. It’s what all the cool kids are doing these days. We mucked around on twitter for a long time, telling silly jokes. And then we switched to emails – which sometimes got more serious. And texts. And whats app…. And suddenly I had a really good friend I was sharing my life with every day.

And then when I met her in real life for the first time, it was to have a sleepover at her house in Melbourne. A sleepover? With someone you’ve never met? Why YES.

So maybe I hadn’t *met* her in real life, but I knew her as well as if we’d been chatting over cups of tea for decades. And maybe even more so. Because sometimes the ‘safety’ of the internet means you can be more of yourself. Know what I mean? The person can’t judge your outfit, or your hair, they’re simply taking your written words, and building their understanding of YOU. Without all the fluff. I like it.

Admittedly, you could be creating a nasty online persona, and yes, those people are out there and we should be wise… but for the most part, people are people. You’ll be able to work out whether they’re your ‘type’ of people once you get chatting… And friendships can build online just as much as they can in person.

So I had a sleepover at Joi’s house. It was ridiculously good. I slept on a huge couch in the living room, and I even had a soft teddy bear friend to snuggle with. And I’ve had more sleepovers since. And we talk. Every. single. day. Online… we’ve laughed through different situations, we’ve cried through others, but she’s THERE. Always.

She’s my friend.

And the bonus of our online worlds is that she’s always in my pocket.
And everybody wants to go through life with a friend in their pocket…

 

Six inches. Cos that’s how I roll.

What do you do when you’re about to hop on a plane for twenty four hours, and you haven’t packed? Oh, go to the hairdressers, get your grey hair(s) deleted, and get six inches cut off…

all the greys have been deleted! #winning 

Because why not? But seriously, why not? Thing is, it’s funny how we wait until there’s *something* we need to look good for. Like, 24 hours on planes?! So off I raced to the hairdresser, while my emails kept pinging through to my phone, I hadn’t sorted out where my car would be ‘parked’ for a few months, my suitcase wasn’t unpacked from my last trip yet, and my passport… well, one of the two of them is expired… !!

So I screeched into the hair salon, in a mild panic. Thinking I couldn’t have timed it all worse if I tried. Which is exactly the point. I didn’t really try.

But a wonderful thing happened. Which is just how life works sometimes…
The hairdresser offered me tea, and talked to me about her recent trip to Fiji, and her visits to some of the poorest villages and her work with some of the children there. So inspiring. Such wonderful breadth and depth of LIFE, and all of it’s facets. And suddenly I was feeling calmer, and relaxed… and inspired by her story, and by people’s tenacity, and bravery, and grace in the midst of sometimes awful stories…

And then came a ten minute head massage!!! SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!
And, a hot towel wrap on my head. Best thing ever. There’s something very grounding and stabilising about a hot towel wrapped around your head, covering your ears, blocking out the sounds, stilling you, and warming you… I’m sure there’s a science somethin somethin behind it all, but hey, I know it makes me feel good!

So the thing is, by the time I walked out, I was feeling a lot better than when I walked in. There’s still time to pack, my car is sorted, and my hair is looking good too!

The moral of the story for me is HOW GOOD ARE HEAD MASSAGES!

my life as a swinging bob

Not *that* kind of swinger…

So, what is a pendulum anyway? (please please please click on that link just to laugh with me at the quirky graphics and the ‘bob’) (also, go to that link to find out who ‘bob’ is…)

A quick summary… something hanging from a fixed point which, when pulled back and released, is free to swing down by force of gravity, and then out and up because of inertia…

Bobs on pendulums swing. That’s just how it is. Scientifically. The bob can’t fight it. It just has to go with it. When you pull the bob as far as you can to one end, and then release, it will swing down(because of gravity) and across and out(because of inertia).

But whatever. They swing. And then eventually, they slow down, and stop swinging completely, IF AND WHEN THERE’S NO MORE EXTERNAL FORCE WORKING ON THEM. 

Such is life I find… something hits you, you swing, you finally feel like you’re settling, and something hits you again. Rinse and repeat. And then you die. And there’s no more external force working on you.

I’m a bob. Well, I’m a Jo, but also, most definitely a bob. And so are you. Life comes at us, with external pressures, and we’re forced to swing. It is what it is. If you try to fight it, you’ll crack and break. Pretty much.

It’s all crazy and manic initially, and the swinging is wild and high and extreme. But, as we settle in, we ease into the swinging, and even, perhaps, begin to enjoy the rythmic lull, until we come to a stop, and it all starts again….

The important things to remember are that the swinging will stop, and if we go with the flow, we’ll find our rythym…

Bob with me.

how to travel through europe, by someone who’s never been…

Ok so I’m hardly qualified to write this post, but I’m writing it anyway. And since I am an Aries, I can’t possibly be wrong. Ha! More on the not-so-great qualities of my star sign later…

Oh, and I guess I have been to Europe… I’ve been to the UK a number of times, and I’ve spent 8 hours in Paris once. And, the last time I was even on that side of the globe I was 19. But that still counts right?! I have also travelled the States, and a few other places, and I’ve been floating around Australia for almost a year, so the tips I learnt from those trips apply here too!

Thing is, I’ve posted a few photos of places I’m going on Instagram, and Twitter, and Facebook lately, and a bunch of people have been asking where I’ve found the great deals, and HOW CAN EUROPE BE SO CHEAP?

Things like this: 3 nights in a 4 star hotel on a cliff on the Amalfi coast (complete with private elevator down to the private hotel beach below) for $200. Laughing.

Or this – 3 weeks on a Greek island in an apartment on a beach, for $250 a week.

So, I’m spilling (my version of) the beans for you!

General bits and pieces.

Check out The Best Time to Visit. This is a great little site which helps you pick where to go when… you either pick a month, and it lists where is fab to visit that month, or you pick a continent, country, town, and it tells you when to go there.

This is wise. You should be picking places for their seasons – no use going somewhere during tornado/monsoon season… but the flip side of the ‘in season’ thing is that you also need to be aware of spikes in prices of everything at those times…and crowds! I try to visit in shoulder seasons – you generally get the best prices, and less crowds(my favourite bit) and you still get decent weather.

While I’m on the topic of seasons, watch out for ‘out of season’ closures… European winter is cold, so unless it’s a snow town, lots of places shut down. Public transport sometimes is also limited, so just check your options before you go somewhere out of season…

Travel books and guides. Well, I’m a visual person, so books like the Lonely Planet guides don’t work for me. Too much writing and not enough seeing of where I’m going to be. But, they’re packed with great info, and lots of people swear by them, so if you’re into Continue reading

a gypsy update. from a room with a view…

Well hello!

So I’ve been ‘gypsying’ my way around the East coast of Australia since last November… it’s gone quickly that’s for sure (especially when I realised my last login to wordpress was MANY MOONS AGO…)

gypsy dreaming

I wasn’t so sure I’d love a gypsy lifestyle. I’m pretty transient by nature, but I do also like being settled, and having MY STUFF around me. But when I got back from six weeks in Africa, I walked into my bedroom and felt claustrophobic. I’d been loving carrying only what I could fit in a case, and suddenly the weight of all my STUFF was so much heavier than before. Metaphor much? Probably, so anyway…

My theory on that is also - first the natural, then the spiritual. And when you’re making space in your physical practical tangible world for things to change, the spaces open up across the rest of your life too.

So, I downsized. Big time. I rented my room out to a friend. Sold some furniture, gave some furniture away, loaned some furniture to friends on a ‘who knows if I’ll ever want this back’ basis. It was blissful. I loved it all. I moved out, with one suitcase, my bike, and my car, and trekked up the coast to Queensland.

And since then, I’ve been floating the Eastern side of this great land quite happily. With no planned agenda further than a few weeks ahead. Which is hard for a CONTROL FREAK Continue reading

the humour mill: why our brains make us laugh

I’m hearing rumours that humour is intimately linked to thinking. Bonus! Because I like to laugh. I’m hoping this means I’m uber smart!

A new book (2011) called “Inside Jokes: Using Humour to Reverse-Engineer the Mind” has the following premise:

our brains make sense of our daily lives via a never ending series of assumptions, based on sparse, incomplete information. All these best guesses simplify our world, give us critical insights into the minds of others, and streamline our decisions. But mistakes are inevitable, and even a small faulty assumption can open the door to bigger and costlier mistakes. Enter mirth, a little pulse of reward the brain gives itself for seeking out and correcting our mistaken assumptions.

A sense of humor is the lure

that keeps our brains alert

for the gaps between our quick-fire

assumptions and reality. 

Coauthored by three scholars, the book started as an undergrad term paper. Matthew Hurley took a course on humor, and started wondering why humans find anything funny. Why have a sense of humor in the first place? Continue reading