Move over 2013, there’s a new kid on the block!

I am forever grateful for the adventures and lessons of 2013. It was a year that at times felt like a decade, yet other weeks flew by in days. It was twelve months in which I worked harder, yet smarter and learned more than I could imagine possible.

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I am so lucky to have travelled widely this past year – to new places and to revisit old favourites, close family and friends.

I am glad I found music again – choir, guitar, ukelele.

I have learnt (and continue to learn) the value of good health through ills and dis-ease; and feel better, stronger, more “real” for the lesson. I’m embracing all my imperfections, and just trying to value the little things that go a very very long way to securing my happy equilibrium.

I cooked and ate and drank merrily through 2013.

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I am blessed to have met new inspiring folk. I have found more inspiration in places I didn’t think to look. I have read well – devouring novels, memoirs, non-fiction, journals and food magazines alike. I have de-cluttered, recycled and downsized my worldly possessions from 3 separate interstate locations to one (well, almost).

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But the biggest lesson has been finding my own space and time.
Space to just exist and have fun and cook, laugh, sing, sit, drink coffee and write.
Space also to reflect and truly learn from the hard things that are thrown my way – not just to shove them deeper and deeper down and just go on “coping”.

Space in nature to nurture (and be nurtured). I am busy each day cultivating a little parcel of space that allows me to grow, create, and push the boundaries.

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I found time to celebrate birthdays and milestones and new beginnings. Time to feel sadness and disappointments. Time and space to live in the hustle and bustle of a city paced life; to watch and feel the throng of busy-ness around me. Other times to relax in good company. Or time to be alone.

2013 was the first year in my life that I thought about myself (my bliss, happiness, hopes and dreams) more than others. Not in a selfish “the-world-revolves-around-me way, but more accurately I committed to looking after my self before I gave over to anyone else. There is reward beyond what I could imagine when you bravely place the highest value on your own self and what brings you happiness. So, I have finally made peace with myself and 2013 has taught me there is no shame in walking away from something that isn’t the right fit.

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One week into 2014 and the priorities are shifting further…the dreams and visions are becoming clearer, my inner voice is calling me to let go and live a more AUTHENTIC existence. 2014 will be about further refining my world, not being afraid to leave behind stale beliefs and old worn-out dreams. It will be about bucking my life-long habit of avoiding commitment and seizing each new day. There will be more travel, more reading, more time for singing and talking and of course eating and drinking well.

It will be more adventures to discover a stronger and leaner body. But a softer, gentler mind. And an open, grateful heart.

Welcome 2014.

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Thankful.

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The other day I caught my mind running off on a little self-pity bender.

A well-frequented path, I was stuck and beat up – finding excuses, blame and yet more excuses.
No matter what the concern, it seemed to all boil down to a disconnect between where I was and where I wanted to be.

Overwhelmingly, it would seem at every turn I didn’t know enough, or have enough, or dare I say – deserve it all.

(whatever that was)

Then I remembered……

I have a roof over my head.

I have a dry, comfortable bed to sleep in.

I have clothes to wear.

I have delicious, fresh food to eat – three square meals a day.

I have a job.

Dollars in the bank.

A car.

Family and friends who I love dearly.

And a safe, truly blessed country to call home.

I stopped in my [mental] tracks….overwhelmed and grateful. Thankful for all these luxuries and more.

I am blessed to live without the threat of violence or war around me.
I am so thankful to have the opportunities I do to travel, and learn and help and share.
I am grateful to know the true value of good health, taught only by overcoming the state of dis-ease.
To live in a beautiful city, with a natural wonderland just beyond my doorstep.
To grow my own food, and buy what I don’t locally.
And of course, be surrounded by inspiring and talented individuals being their best.

 

Suddenly I feel blessed.
Me and my little spot of paradise are – dare I say – enough.

 

What are you thankful for?

Two perfect winter days.

Time and Space.

Space and Time.

It’s all I need really….time to heal, to reflect and recharge. Space to feel, to breathe, and to explore. To recalibrate and grow new ideas. Or simply, the opportunity to spend some quality time immersed in the pristine, calming world of Mother Nature.

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I hate to overuse the work “perfect” – but that’s what it was. Last week, I spent two nights at Wilson’s Promontory for the first time in about 20 years…when I was last there you could still buy a big bag of bird seed from the general store to feed the birds. Holidays as a kid were chaos in tents, icy cold swims and (equally) icy cold showers. Changeable weather, adventures up the creeks and across squeaky sand.

As a kid this was an endless wonderland.
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This trip it felt like I was transported to a different era – where the measure of time was not a watch but the waves carving into granite cliffs. Or the tidal river engulfing moss-covered boulders and trespassing into the wetlands. The sun peeking up over the mountains, fanning out to light the sky and sparkle on the seas. Where your eyes cast out across the ocean…to nothingness – so close to the edge of the universe.

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If you haven’t been there yourself, do. Put it one your list to visit and soon – winter is kind to this part of the world (if you bring your woolies and hiking boots!!).

The days seemed to start brighter and crisper than what I am used to.

The sun rises gently but firmly, changing the landscape and bringing the world to life.

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It really was just me and the birds on the beach that morning.

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Squeaky beach wasn’t as squeaky as I remembered, but I had it all to myself.

I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, or stop thinking just how lucky I am to live in this part of the world.

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If you’re blessed as we were, the weather will be kind. The days will feel long and glorious. The views will not disappoint.

We chose an ambitious 17km day walk, and didn’t regret a minute of it.

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There were chats and laughter (mostly on the downhill parts). Jokes and some serious debate.

A lunch picnic in the sun.

Wildlife spotting – poor little thing, didn’t like being the centre of attention really!

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Many beach strolls – the water blue and the sky bluer. The clouds all pretty and wispy.

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Obstacles to negotiate, icy waters to test.

Photos to take, and [more] food to eat.

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And sunsets to melt your heart and give strength to weary legs.

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Time and space – two days in paradise really is proof that the simple things in life give such pleasure.

How blessed I truly am.

When your body speaks, listen well.

I’ve been laid low in recent weeks, and last Monday everything came to a head.

I found myself sprawled across my bed, barely able to move. The whole right side of my head, face and neck felt hot and inflamed; like it was on fire.
My brain fogged and my limbs were heavy.

My back had locked up – just one spot right behind my right shoulder blade.
And my digestion stalled – I was experiencing some not-so subtle signs from my body, highlighting what I have tried so hard to ignore over past months.

I had it coming my way for sure – a result of hectic travels on my recent holiday (3 states in 7 days), the long work days here on the farm, and ignoring the transition in weather this chilly autumn. My body was trying to speak to my mind: stop running and deferring, start dealing.

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So I gave into my body’s demands – I shed the “everything’s OK” story, lost my “brave face” and HAD to rest.

I must admit it was very very hard to hear what I was being told; as a perfectionist and meticulous analyser I find it hard to admit when I’m gone wrong. I also find myself regularly paralysed by indecision and fear – so hard to act when I’m so caught up in the “what ifs” and making the “right choice”. But my body insisted that my mind needed to LET GO.

LET GO OF IT ALL.

Let go of others’ expectations for me.
Let go of right and wrong, black and white.
Let go of things that no longer serve me.

Ironically, the only way forward to recovery was to relax and seek more space in my life. Where I would normally go into overdrive to fill my days with busy-ness – to do more, be more, see more – I was forced to stop and watch. To retreat and listen not to others’ but to my inner self (a hard thing for me always!)

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A little over a week on and I’m feeling more centred. More content. And there’s definitely more space and time in my life. But I’m working hard at it – meditation, lots of sleep, staying warm, and [most importantly] good eating. No caffeine, no grains, limited dairy. Plenty of fresh and greens.

Now that I write all this down, it seems like a simple lesson. But one that I’ll cherish – I am reminded how enriched our lives can be with the addition of conscious “pauses”; to reflect, assess and recalibrate. For that, I am grateful I chose to listen well to my body.