Hold lightly

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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

 

 

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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!

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

‘life only sucks if you do’. But really?

I read an article last year called ‘life only sucks if you do’. It was an interesting read. You can find it here if you’d like to have a sticky-beak. I read it because the title intrigued me, and admittedly, prickled me a little.

I’m not writing to give feedback of my thoughts on the article as a whole, but one of the paragraphs really stuck with me that day.

We have two choices: the pain of staying the same, or the pain of growth. If we stay the same, we will have subtle pain our whole lives until we die wondering “what if?” Or we can choose the pain of growth, which can be intense, but it is temporary. On the other side is the goal, result and life we desire.

And followed by this question:

“So, what empowering meaning can you give to the challenges of your life?”

I like this bit. I don’t think life sucks if you do. Because sometimes life sucks regardless of what you do. BUT, either way, we DO have those two choices, so as much as sometimes there’s a feeling of a lack of control over the happenings of our lives, there is full control over how we choose to respond, and move through the experiences we’re faced with.

We can choose to see each challenge with new empowering meaning.

Perspective changes everything.
Perspective is essential.

 

stream of consciousness

Did you ever do this in school?

Teacher says a word. You write. LITERALLY. You just write. So whatever comes to mind. Only rule is: there’s NO RULES. You. just. write.

I used to freak out. And freeze. Because when there’s open and endless opportunity, I don’t always cope so well. I need only one or two options, or very close parameters, and then I can usually run with an idea. But this? JUST WRITE? Madness.

Then I’d start. Our teacher gave us ‘mushrooms’ as the starting word once. WHAT THE.

Mushroom. Um, fungus? Ok, it’s messy. Reminds me of a forest. Oooo, enchanted forests! Yay. Ok, now I’m having fun. So I went from mushroom, to forests, to dress ups, to faraway lands, to pirate ships, to fishing, to beaches, our holiday house, my house, school, the bus…. yeah. It’s all connected.

Key: IT IS ALL CONNECTED.

We are all connected. Everything is connected. How you behaved in the coffee shop this Continue reading

my life as polyfilla spackling paste

I’m going to tell you a little about polyfilla. No, this is not a sponsored post… stay with me please!

Spackling paste, commonly known as polyfilla, is typically used to fill holes, small cracks and other minor surface defects in wood, drywall, and plaster. You can get a regular paste, a lightweight, or a light-bodied polyfilla depending on your needs. (You’re so welcome).

Polyfilla itself (as that well-known particular brand) was considered revolutionary because it didn’t crack or shrink, unlike other spackle based fillers around at the time. Over the years, other ‘Poly’ products were introduced, resulting in the now well-established brand.

Poly have products for painting, stripping, cleaning, wall papering. Quite the variety.

Notice how it’s a product that ‘fills gaps’. Essentially. Which is really what I’m on about, in this particular blog post. And I’ve written about this concept a little bit before, here.

Because that’s what I reckon we’re sometimes supposed to be in life. Gap fillers. At least, that’s how I see it.

A supporting role if you will. A ‘whatever you need in this particular moment’ person.
The gap filler. Not always the wall…

There’s incredible power in setting aside our ego, our ‘rights’, our attitudes, and just doing what needs to be done. For the greater good. Often we struggle for our position and our

Continue reading