Thursday, July 30, 2009

In summary....

As my own birthday is fast approaching (3 days and counting), I'm starting to be a little overwhelmed by how much has gone on in the past year. To think that on my last birthday I was blowing out candles in my hospital bed, trying to get my head around how to look after this little being that was now with us 24/7. Its so strange to think that I had absolutely NO IDEA IN HELL back then that my life was going to flip upside down (of course I knew that my life was going to change dramatically with the arrival of a baby, but I had no idea of the personal struggles I would face or how much strength I would need to find inside myself). All I  can say is, life is one crazy ride. 

I was reading a blog called 31experiment, and came across this quote that really resonated with me in terms of my journey and how I feel I have changed over the past year:

This is the leap, when you're ready to share your gifts with the world, to take the risk and say "Here. Here is who I am. Here is what I've created". Its a bold time, a brave time, a time full of risk and joy. This is when you embrace the deepest truth of who you are and step fully into what you want to bring to this world.
Jamie Ridler

Amen to that.


I can't believe my Little Man turns 1 tomorrow! It feels as though I have lived a lifetime in the past year, but at the same time I can't believe it has come around so quickly. I just wanted to mark this special occasion by saying a few words to my precious little one:

Thank you for starting me on my journey to find the 'real me' (and for helping me to find her).

Thank you for giving me the wake up call I needed so that I could change my life (and in turn provide you with one that you truly deserve).

Thank you for teaching me to find joy in everything, especially the simplest of things.

Thank you for loving me even when I was not able to love myself.

Thank you for filling up my heart every time you smile at me or touch me with those little hands. 

Thank you for being you. 

X Forever and Always, Your Mummy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I received an email from a good friend of mine this morning that I thought would make the perfect topic for my 100th post (Yeah!).


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay 'them'.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.' And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud.. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6... The tears happen.. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Last weekend I was given an amazing gift from a guest. While she was genuinely interested in buying yoga pants, it became quickly apparent to me that what she really needed was someone to listen to her. She was at the lowest point that she had ever been in, in her life and she was very much questioning whether she had the strength to endure her current circumstances. In addition, the guest revealed to me that she was currently suffering from depression and that she had not bought herself any new clothes for nearly 12 years. Giving this guest the complete lululemon and Bel Youll experience, (ie my undivided attention, authentic conversation, and a sense of fun), was extremely powerful. I helped her find a pair of pants that she loved; I gave her the lululemon manifesto and directed her towards the website; I discussed the importance of her continuing with yoga and suggested she attend the complimentary classes with us; I shared parts of my own personal experience and I gave her an inspirational book of mine called “Learning to Breathe”, which I had just finished reading. After making her purchase, the guest kept hugging me and she told me she couldn’t believe that the universe had brought me to her. Hearing those words and watching that guest leave with a smile on her face and a glimmer of hope in her soul was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received in my entire life. I hope at some stage this particular woman might read my blog and be helped in some way and, if she is reading this, I want her to know that she deserves happiness, that she does have the strength to get through her current situation and that her life can and will be wonderful.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Well done to my younger sister Loz, who, after weeks of hard work, has completed the project I hinted at a little while ago in my blog. Take a look at the following video and keep in mind that she organised every aspect of this from sourcing a choreographer, holding auditions for dancers, booking rehearsal venues in another state, directing the whole thing, dealing with the nightmare licensing for the music, cutting the music and helping edit the footage after the actual event. (Pretty impressive for a 22 year old). Oh, and its her singing in the first track that is used!

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Epiphany.....

Yesterday I completed my EIT (aka Educator In Training) session at lululemon. This session is usually done before you start on the store floor but hey, I'm not phased by a challenge! It was great to finally get a chance to examine and learn more about all the fabrics that are used and the amazing technology that is behind each garment. I could literally spend the next week or more telling you about all the product and the features. If you have not been to a store you absolutely have to visit one. Even if you don't want to buy any clothing its is a great place to go just to wander around, chat to the educators in the store, see what's going on in your community etc and most importantly to inject a bit of fun and happiness into your day. 
Part of the session yesterday also involved goal setting (a number one priority at lululemon). This came at just the right time for me as I have been trying to put together my 1, 5 and 10 year goals to be displayed in the store. I was struggling a bit in terms of what my over-riding career goal is. I know that I am passionate about inspiring others, being the change I want to see in the world, being creative etc etc, and I want to start my own business. Even though I am ready to leave teaching, I have this burning desire to change the world by improving the lives of children and helping them grow up to be the best people they can be. I also know that I have been drawn to lululemon for a purpose that has nothing to do with the need to earn a living, but haven't been able to pinpoint which direction I would like to start traveling in with the company. All of this was starting to frustrate me because I have this need to be working towards something but I wasn't quite sure how to piece it all together. UNTIL NOW!!!!!!!!

It suddenly clicked to me last night that I am so drawn to lululemon because the spirit behind it represents everything I stand for and believe with all my heart. The clothes and accessories are awesome but the core of this company is the community it is creating and the desire to elevate people from mediocrity to greatness. The clothes are sold so that money can be made for lululemon stores to run free yoga sessions; to hold free community events and information evenings; to pay for employees to attend yoga or other exercise sessions so that they are living breathing examples of what the company stands for; and so that they can continue to set up these hubs of inspiration and happiness all over the world. 
And that is what I am going to do, but with a focus on our most valuable commodity: the next generation. Everything I have ever chosen to do in my life has been focused upon what it is allowing me to do in terms of changing or improving the lives of others. I chose to be a physical education and health teacher because I wanted to help young women, in particular, to have a positive educational experience that would enable them to reach their full potential in life. I have always believed that anyone can achieve anything they want, provided they have at least one person who believes in them, and I have tried to be that person for all the students I have come in contact with. I believe with all my heart that change in the world will only come about if we focus on children (the next generation). For them to really believe in themselves and make a difference they must be given positive messages and their ‘tank of love’ must be filled up every day so that they can then give to others. If children are surrounded by positive and life affirming messages, we can have an enormous impact on their self-esteem, which is the necessary component for an individual to be successful in life. I won't go into anymore detail regarding my business just yet, because I think I have said enough for one post! But I will say that I am putting this out there because thats the only way goals and dreams can come true. Whether it all turns out exactly as I think or hope it will now is irrelevant. The intention is there and wherever this particular journey takes me is where I'm meant to go. For now what I am going to do is throw myself into this with everything I've got so that I can "Be the change I want to see in the world".

Monday, July 20, 2009

I spent the weekend with my stepdad.....

So this weekend was quite a different one for me. I was flying solo as I worked Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the husband was re-visiting his old military life running around and shooting things at an Army Reserves weekend. My Dad and Step-Mum had the little man. They are saints as this is the second weekend in a row they have kindly looked after him for us.

Anyway, in between my shifts at work, I hung out withy my step-dad. He is home alone for 3 weeks as my Mum is out of town on a Navy exercise somewhere off Magnetic Island (another story for another day). Since I would be going backwards and forwards to work which is just down the road from my parents house, I thought I would stay there. You might be wondering why spending a weekend with your step-dad would be classed as 'different'. A valid question since spending time with a parent one on one is a natural occurrence for most people. Let me just say that, trust me, it is 'different'. Anyone who knows my step-dad will be able to vouch for me here, I'm sure. He doesn't exactly 'do' hanging out. He is not 'touchy feely', he doesn't really 'chat' and he isn't a one on one person. When I thought about it, this was the first time in my life where I had ever been with my step-dad without at least one other family member. Initially I thought it would just be me and him existing in the same space for 2 days and 2 nights, doing our own things. But as it turned out, the universe had other things in mind. The internet connection completely stuffed up on Saturday which meant everything I had planned to do with my time on Saturday evening and on Sunday until 2pm could no longer be done. So I decided to embrace the situation and challenge myself to step outside my comfort zone. Here's what we did:
  • Ate fish for dinner on Saturday night. My step-dad had gone down to the markets on Saturday (there is a free bus that takes you down there you know), and picked out some coral trout that he did in a garlic, butter and lemon sauce. His choice would have been pork chops and sauerkraut but I rejected that tempting offer! I have to also say that he brought a tear to my eye when he told me that he saw me in lululemon as he drove by on the bus and he waved to me as he went past but I didn't see him. Despite the fact that I wouldn't have a hope in hell of noticing someone waving at me from a bus hurtling past the store, I thought the sentiment was sweet. 
  • Drank very, very, very strong coffee that he made for us on Sunday morning. 
  • Discussed how 'chuffed' he was with himself for tracking down a dry cleaner who could finally get the stain out of his favourite leather jacket that he got in Las Vegas a number of years ago (numerous trips to other dry cleaners before this had resulted in a whole lot of money being spent to still have the stain on the jacket). 
  • I listened to his take on the impending Master Chef finale. This didn't surprise me as he is a food lover, but what did surprise me was his filling me in on who was romancing who from the show (he normally would find such things to be very trivial and certainly wouldn't chat about it). 
  • We walked around the Aroma festival in Circular Quay and The Rocks (photo of the Opera House taken on the walk is above).
  • We walked to world square where we ate Vietnamese special beef noodle soup (including tendon and tripe. See I really did fully immerse myself in the step-dad experience!). 
Yes he drove me mad at times and yes having 'conversations' with him was still not really my idea of a conversation (it was pretty much, as always, me just listening to his view on topics chosen by him). Would I choose to do it again in a hurry? Probably not, but I'm glad I did do it. All issues and frustrations I have with him aside, he has been a person who, for better or worse, has been in my life for most of it. No matter what, I think it would be pretty pathetic to get to the end of his or my time and not be able to recall a single instance where I had spent time alone with him. So I'm glad to say that I did it. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Brian Tracy - Part 6.....

  • Every single part of our self image and self esteem is tied up and expressed in the quality of our relationships with others. 
  • Over 80% of the satisfaction and joy we achieve as human beings comes from our interactions with others. Therefore, if we can increase our ability to get along with others we can increase our satisfaction with life.
The Law of Indirect Effort:
In our activities with other people we get almost everything that we want and desire in an indirect rather than direct way. 
  • Happiness is not a destination. 
  • A person will only truly feel happy when they are engaged in activities that give them a sense of personal growth and achievement. 
  • Unhappy people are doing things every day which are lacking in purpose, meaning and relevance. 
  • We never achieve happiness by going out and trying to get it directly. 
A Healthy Personality:
  • An individual has a healthy personality to the exact degree that they have the propensity to look for the good in every situation. 
  • An individual has a healthy personality to the exact degree to which the can get along with the greatest number of different types of people. 
What can we do on a day to day basis to improve the quality of our relationships with others?
  • Raise the self esteem of others. We cannot do anything to raise the self esteem of people without simultaneously raising our own to the same degree.
  • Spend your time making others feel good and valuable about themselves and you will automatically feel good about yourself and value yourself.
How do we ensure that we have superior human relations?


Acceptance: Total and unconditional, with no judgement. Do this by smiling at people.
Approval: Praise people. Praise a specific act or actions that you want to see repeated. Praise immediately.
Appreciation: Express gratitude by saying 'Thank you'.
Admiration: Admire character traits and possessions. (Never criticise).
Attention: Listen. This conveys to a person that you value them.

  • Anything we say directly or indirectly about another person will come back to you with double force.
  • Start with your family, friends and work colleagues.
  • The kindest and most generous thing that partners can do for one another is to always expect the other to be successful; to continuously tell the other person that you believe in them, that you trust in them and encourage them to go for their goals. This is the kindest, most generous and fruitful thing that you can do for your partner. 
The role of parents:
  • Is to nurture high self esteem.
  • If your child comes out of their teenage years with high self esteem, you have been a successful parent.
Tell your kids you love them by:
  • Making your love unconditional (this is the most precious gift. Kids need to be loved even when they are the most exasperating).
  • Giving physical contact (hugging and kissing).
  • Giving eye contact and smile at them (kids fill up their emotional tanks with love filled eye contact).
  • Giving them focused attention (Uninterrupted, quality time). 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Smooth tunes....

I downloaded Maxwell's new CD tonight and it is awesome. For anyone who likes their R'n'B or some smooth tunes to chill to, then this is for you. At the moment I'm particularly loving this tune, called Pretty Wings:

Brian Tracy - Part 5.....


  • Children are taught from a young age that its not smart to get off the beaten track, to be innovative, to colour outside the lines etc, but in many ways this is the opposite of what we should do.
  • The Law of Use: With any human faculty we either use it or lose it. The creative faculty is never truly lost though. You can trigger it again later on (Therefore, don't ever think or say that you are not creative. Everybody can be).
The superconscious mind:

  • The more decisive and clear we are about what we want, what we want to accomplish, about what we want to resolve, the more rapidly our superconscious capability goes to work to bring the answers into our lives. 
  • Men and women who are continuously talking and thinking in an excited, positive way about the goals they want to accomplish seem to have a continuous stream of energy, enthusiasm and ideas that move them towards the accomplishment of those goals.
  • The superconscious mind will give you every single idea and solution that you need in the exact order you need it. Once you have programmed the goal in and taken the first step, the superconscious will give you the next step to take and it will solve the problem.
  • The superconscious mind has the ability to take us through the lessons we need to learn in order to achieve the goal. 
  • The superconscious mind does not work when we are mulling over our problems. It will only work when we are concentrating on our goal 100% or when we are not thinking about it at all. 
  • When the answer comes to you, you must act on it immediately. Immediately implement the intuition or the flash of insight, answer or idea that comes to you. So when you have programmed a goal into the subconscious mind and you get an intuitive flash of what to do to move yourself towards that goal, it is essential that you act immediately, without hesitation.
Difference between winners and losers:

  • Winners accept and believe absolutely that they are destined to be successful and that every single thing that happens between where they start and their ultimate success is either a step forward or a valuable lesson that has been sent to them to teach them something that will enable them to be ultimately successful.
  • When 'losers' reach set backs or obstacles, they quit or they deviate or they settle for something far, far less.
  • Therefore you should expect that every single thing that happens to you is happening for your benefit. It is up to you to find the benefit hidden within it.
6 techniques for stimulating creativity:

  1. Solitude: Go into silence and do nothing for 30-60 minutes. Don't read, drink, get up or do anything. Sit perfectly still and silent. The first 20-25 minutes will be difficult but after that things should begin to become clear to you. When you feel you have the least time to do this is the time you most need it.
  2. Deep relaxation and meditation: Close your eyes, let your mind go calm and count backwards from 100 to 1. (Take 10-20 minutes).
  3. Surround yourself with a natural environment: Go for a walk, sit next to the ocean etc.
  4. Listen to classical music: Let the music play through your mind.
  5. Mind storming: Sit down and write your problem at the top of a page as a question. Force yourself to write 20 answers to the question. Just let your mind flow. You will often find that the 20th answer is 'the one'. Do this first thing in the morning and implement one of these answers immediately.
  6. Systematic problem solving: Concentrate on 1 single goal at a time. Maintain an open mind and look at all the possible ways to approach a problem. Approach every single problem as though there IS a logical, workable solution. Change your language from negative to positive (don't call it a problem, call it a challenge). When you fret about a situation, the problem solving section of your brain shuts off.
  Clearly define the problem on paper. What are all the possible causes that could have triggered this event? Write them down and prioritise them. Clearly identify all the possible solutions. Determine what is right before you say whether it is possible. Think and talk only about the solutions.

Make a decision (this is better than no decision at all). 80% of all decisions should be made immediately. Assign specific responsibility for implementing the solutions. Who is to do it? In what way? With what resources etc? What is the deadline?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


These illustrations by Nicoletta Ceccoli are simply breath taking...........

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I came across the following quote today and think that it is so true. A great reminder to find happiness in the everyday, to find joy in the simple things and to not take anything for granted. It also reminds us that everything is not limitless so if there are things you want to do in life, don't wait. Do them now!

"....we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon from your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty, yet it all seems so limitless."
Paul Bowles   
(Picture taken by me on a walk in Los Gatos, 2007)

Today was a great day.....

I had such an awesome day today. Here's what made it so great:

Dinner last night with new friends from Lululemon (and the lovely husband).

Sleeping in until 8:20 am (yes, this is a sleep in to a person with a young child. Thanks to my Dad and Step-Mum for having the little man for a sleepover, thereby making the sleep in for his parents possible!).

I ran to work.

The first hour of my shift at work was doing yoga (Cool huh? Lululemon have free community yoga sessions on a Wednesday and Sunday morning). 

Had lots of lovely guests in the store today.

Got to see my 'Ivy peeps' today at work. (At the moment I feel as though my work is the thing that energises and recharges me, so I feel very lucky).

I walked from work to my sisters house where I got to visit my sis, brother-in-law and niece.

On the way to my sisters' place I stopped off and had a latte in a gorgeous little patisserie, where I read some great design/interior magazines.

I got hugs from my little man.

I had dinner with my husband (a novelty for us as we are usually just ships passing in the night).

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend too!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Clever Art....

Isn't Kate Gabrielle's interpretation of Klimt's The Kiss so clever? Love it! (found via SwirlyGirl)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Brian Tracy - Part 4.....

  • Every peak performing man and woman is an obsessive goal setter. They are motivated by compelling internal goals.
  • When we program a goal into our brain we have a cybernetic goal seeking function that begins to move us automatically and rapidly toward its accomplishment.
2 steps to success:
1. Decide exactly what it is you want to accomplish (most people never take this step).
2. Determine the price you are going to have to pay to accomplish what you want and resolve to pay that price and to make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish it.
  • Every person is capable of achieving excellence in at least one area. Every person on earth has a purpose; something valuable and special to offer. You must decide where your area of excellence lies. to do this, look at what interests you, what attracts your attention, look at what you would do if you weren't being paid at all, what you would do if there were no limitations on your ability at all. 
  • You can only become excellent doing what you love to do.
Finding your area of excellence
  • Our major opportunities in life usually come disguised as hard work. Our opportunity to accomplish all that we want in life usually occurs under our own feet. So when you set goals, look right where you are and start there.
  • You have to have a balance of goals for a balanced life. Set 3-5 goals in each of the following areas: 1. Family and personal goals; 2. Business and career; 3. Self improvement.
  • Goals have to be in harmony with each other and they must be congruent to your fundamental values. 
Answer the following questions to give you an insight as to what your major goals should be:
1. What are the 5 things that you value most in life?
2. In 30 seconds or less, write down the 3 most important goals in your life right now.
3. What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery tomorrow?
4. What would you do and how would you spend your time if you learned that you had 6 months to live?
5. What have you always wanted to do but been afraid to attempt?
6. In looking back over all the things you have done in your life, what things or certain circumstances gave you the greatest feeling of importance? The greatest feeling of mental well being and self esteem?
7. Imagine that you received one wish. What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?

Once you have answered these questions, pick one major, definite purpose in life. Pick the thing where the accomplishment will lead to the attainment of many other minor goals. Commit all of your effort toward this one thing.

Goal setting method:

Step 1: Desire. Set a goal you intensely desire.

Step 2: Belief. You must absolutely believe that you can achieve this goal. Set a goal that is realistic and believable but at the same time challenging.

Step 3: Write it down. Essential!!! Write it in complete detail, exactly as you wish to have it.

Step 4: Determine how you will benefit from achieving your goal. The more reasons you have to accomplish a goal, the more desire and belief you will have.

Step 5: Analyse your position and measure your current status.

Step 6: Set a deadline. Determine the latest date for achieving this goal. You have to be able to clearly measure the beginning point, the end point and the steps in between. Otherwise you will lose motivation.

Step 7: Identify the obstacles you will have to overcome in order to achieve your goals. 

Step 8: Identify the knowledge you will need in order to achieve your goal. 

Step 9: Identify the people, groups and organisations whose cooperation and assistance you will need in order to attain your goal. 

Step 10: Take all the details from the last 3 steps and make a plan. Make it complete and detailed, including all of the activities you will have to complete in order to achieve your goal. Itemise these in terms of priority and time. Commit this plan  to paper and repeatedly go back to it, review it etc. Rewrite it over and over until it is perfect. You can change it as you need to. 

Step 11: Get a clear mental image of your goal as already attained. Hold this in your mind and think about it all the time. 

Step 12: Back your plan with determination and persistence and resolve to never, never, never give up. 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Musings of a new lulu.....

I am proud to say that I am now officially a 'lulu' after having started at lululemon on Tuesday. I have done two shifts to date and will be working there the next 3 days as well. The working environment has definitely lived up to my expectations, as my fellow 'lulu's' are awesome and the ethos of the company really does shine through in every aspect of daily life in the store. As part of my own education and training and in a bid to reveal some more of life at lululemon to you all, I thought I would share some of my first impressions.

Things that gave me a 'wow' feeling:

1. That one of my fellow lulu's told me that I brought amazing energy to the store and that it was going to be so great to have me there. 
2. That many of my lulu's welcomed me by saying they had heard so much about me.
3. That there is no 'ego' in the store. It truly is a supportive, team environment where everyone works together to achieve common goals and all lulu's are given the opportunity to be involved and to feel that they 'own' the business.
4. The diversity of each lulu is celebrated and appreciated.
5. That the law of attraction truly is at work.  The guests who come in are walking examples of healthy, happy and passionate people. Lululemon aims to help people live longer, healthier and more fun lives and that is clearly taking place. 
6. We are having a positive impact on people in so many ways. A number of guests came into the store while I was there and said they were drawn to us by the positive messages in the window display. You can actually feel the change in people as they walk around the store and take everything in - they can't help but feel good after the lululemon experience.
7. I felt like part of the team from the first minute I started (actually from the first moment I decided I was determined to get a job there).
8. As part of each day we are encouraged to think of an 'intention' or particular goal/aspect to focus on. For example your intention might be to be present in each moment so that you are truly focused on each interaction or activity that you are involved in. I love this idea because it helps you to be more mindful of things and to fully experience your life instead of just going through the motions and having your mind always being 10 steps ahead of you (which is not really living). 
9. I didn't work at lululemon today and I missed it! 

Above: Just a little pic of one of the lovely lululemon Om bottles. So cute!


It's my lovely husband's birthday today so I want to wish him a happy day filled with love, friends, laughs and joy. I had to include this amazing looking birthday cake from Martha Stewart. I only have one word, and that is YUM!

Banana Split Cake
This gooey trifle overflows with layers of vanilla cake, vanilla pudding, whipped cream, bananas, and drippy chocolate sauce.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


As part of the school curriculum in Year 7 and 9, we cover mental health with a particular focus on depression. The other week my Year 7 class and I watched a very moving episode of Australian Story called "The Girl Least Likely". The episode is quite confronting but I am so glad we watched it because young people and their families need to be aware of the issue of teenage depression and just how serious it is. Hannah's story highlights so well the fact that depression can affect anyone. The background to this story is provided below:

This episode of Australian Story deals with a story of teenage suicide.

It is a sensitive and delicate issue. On the one hand, media silence about this important issue can lead to ignorance, and failure on the part of families, schools and communities to recognise the factors that lead to tragedy. On the other hand, any coverage of suicide can lead to fears of triggering ‘copycat’ behaviour in others, or of causing undue distress to friends, family and the broader community.

The Australian Story program team carefully weighed up all these factors in deciding to tell this story.

In the first instance, the story was born out of a determination by the family involved to tell its story. They were encouraged in this determination by the grief counsellor from the Coroner’s Court who worked with the family, and who felt it was important both to the immediate family and to the wider community that the issue be confronted and openly discussed. The key issue is that adolescent depression, if untreated, can kill. It was this hidden depression that led to suicide in this case, and it was a desire to prevent that happening to another family which has driven this program from the beginning.

I have provided the link to the episode is here. I really would encourage everyone to view it, particularly parents of teenage children. 

Monday, July 6, 2009


"Tweak" is the book I am currently reading. In this autobiography, Nic Sheff details his battle with drug addiction, his many relapses and his road to recovery. A little while ago I read Nic's father's memoir "Beautiful Boy", which describes Nic's addiction from a father's perspective. As I have been reading lately, I've been struck by just how much I admire anyone who is able to overcome drug addiction. It is so easy to dismiss people who find themselves in this situation and for people on the outside to just say "They made that choice so they have no-one to blame but themselves". I do believe that there are many sides to a story and that ultimately we are all responsible for our own lives, but the courage and determination it must take to pull yourself out of that kind of situation is enormous. To have nothing left in life, to have burnt all your bridges, to feel so alone, to not know how to get back into 'the real world', to have to deal with the physical pain of coming off drugs, that takes real guts. To know how difficult getting clean or sober is and to still choose to do that, rather than take the easy way out, takes enormous strength. 

I have no experience with drug addiction but in some ways I feel as though I can relate to the feeling of utter hopelessness, of feeling alone and misunderstood, of your life being completely out of your control, of reaching that moment where the choice is 'do or die'. So many things that Nic writes about in his experience of working through the 12-steps have struck a cord with me, in the sense that it is quite similar to strategies I have tried to use to get myself through post natal depression. The idea of surrendering yourself to a Higher Power is something I haven't spoken much about, but it is a concept that I believe I fell back on in my darkest time. In the nightmare days before I could be admitted into St John of God hospital I remember getting to the point where I just kept repeating to myself over and over again "God will never give me more than I can handle, God will never give me more than I can handle". I am not really religious and am not sure who or what I believe 'God' to be, but on that particular day I believe that surrendering to a Higher Power was the only thing that got me through. When I had absolutely no answers and nothing left to try and felt that I was standing at the edge of a cliff, my final option was to throw my hands up and have faith that something bigger than myself would step in and help me.

Taking one day at a time is another theme Nic talks about when discussing his recovery. I too fully believe in the power of this strategy and the way in which it can change your life for the good. It takes considerable practice to learn to keep your mind in the here and now, but it can be done and it gives you such a sense of peace when you can master it. It has enabled me to feel that the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders and it is something I am working on all the time.

The final thing I want to discuss from the book, and the thing that resonates most with me, is the life changing effect that giving to others has on your own life. In the book, Nic's sponsor in the 12-step program tells him that:
"....the only thing that ever really gives us any genuine satisfaction is caring for other people. It doesn't matter how popular we are or anything. The only thing that actually makes life more fulfilling is our love for others. When I help you, I'm really helping myself - saying yes to humanity and to the connection that exists among all people. And the results speak for themselves". 

Nic begins to see this more clearly in his own life as he puts all his effort into staying clean and following the 12-steps. He realises that the times he has known some sort of inner peace in his life, has been the times when he focused on helping others more than himself. Volunteering, helping at a school, cooking dinner for family, talking to a friend on the phone and just letting them vent without judging or offering an opinion. These are the moments when he can stop obsessing about himself and really feel a sense of liberation. Nic says this is something that he never really understood before, but now he does.

When I read this section of the book I was amazed at how well this summed up my feelings. Prior to the past year I too had never fully understood this concept. Yes, I have always wanted to help others and make a difference but I haven't been able to do it on a level where I could completely remove all thoughts of myself or my own life. I feel very lucky to have come to truly understand this concept now and to have experienced the feeling that comes from living your life in such a way. I believe wholeheartedly that the more you give to others the more gifts you receive. When I help people and they offer their gratitude or thanks I am the one who actually feels so grateful and thankful because they are doing me a favour. They are allowing me to experience the amazing feeling that comes from helping someone. 

And on that note, its time for me to stop my ponderings for the night and grab a couple of precious hours of sleep while I can. 

Goal update.....

Despite not being able to get out of bed until midday (before you start thinking that I must lead a life of such leisure, picture my lovely husband and I being up from 2:30am with the little man who WON'T GO TO SLEEP!!!!!), I achieved quite a bit today. I was supposed to do the daycare run this morning as I am semi on holidays (break from school but starting at lululemon). I was so tired I felt sick to my stomach but I didn't want to ask the husband to do it because he always does it and he hasn't been well himself lately. So I was lying in bed wondering how on earth I was even going to get out of bed let alone get dressed, dress the little man, drive to daycare, converse with daycare ladies, drive home, walk up the stairs to our apartment..... I think you get the idea of just how tired I was. Then low and behold my WONDERFUL husband says out of nowhere, "Bel if you help me get the little man ready I will take him to daycare". More beautiful words have never been spoken. I was so grateful I could have cried.

Anyway, I was quite disappointed with the fact that I didn't surface until midday because I had been very keen to get cracking on my new goals. Despite the late start I'm pretty happy with what I managed. I did some menial little tasks I have needed to do and then I rang St John of God hospital re helping out and staying involved with the mums and bubs unit. The lady who runs the unit is hoping to get back to me this week about what I can do or when I can come in. It can get a bit frustrating because it takes so long to get things moving. But I am determined to keep plugging away because of the difference that even the smallest things can make to the women at the hospital. 

I also went for a bike ride in the park. Note to self: don't ride 20km first go when you haven't ridden a bike in about 20 years and you are riding your husbands bike that is too big, and it has a seat that KILLS YOUR BUTT!!!!!! Today was definitely a situation where my competitive nature got the better of me. I should have taken it easy and just completed 10km at the most. But oh no, each time I finished a lap of the park I thought "I better do one more".  I was in so much pain after my 5th lap of the park that I didn't know how I would get home (don't even talk to me about walking up the stairs once I got home. OMG!!!!!). When my husband asked me how many laps I did I thought he would tell me I was a wimp and that I didn't do enough (this is his usual approach with me. He pushes me quite hard and I have to remind him that he is not in the Army anymore and that it isn't a good idea to order your wife around as if she was some 20 year old private - but I digress). Anyway, I told him I did 5 laps and he says "Bel, you did 20kms you know!". I said "Yes, I know and my butt has felt every inch of those 20kms". And he says "Three laps probably would have been a good start". Mmmmm, that is information that my backside could have done with hearing ooh say, BEFORE I set off on my lovely ride. I can definitely say that for now bike riding will be a once in a while thing!


If this face is new to you, you have been missing out. I happened to catch some of the Oprah show today and Charice was on singing her song "Note to God". It was an absolute blessing that I happened to tune in at just that moment because watching Charice and hearing her song made my day (and week and year...). I had one of those moments where time just seemed to stop because I was so captivated by what I was watching. I was reminded of the incredible talent and beauty that exists in the world. If this performance and song doesn't touch your heart, then there is something very, very wrong. Click here to watch and enjoy. I'm off to download the song now from itunes......

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Goals are set.....

Tonight I finally got around to setting myself some new goals (you may remember that I spoke about this two weeks ago after I went to my follow up LMA meeting. I achieved my goal to run the next day but didn't quite get to addressing the more long term things). Anyway, in an effort to inject some motivation and purpose back into my life I have come up with 5 new goals for the month of July. They are:

1. By 12th July 2009, I will have listened to the remaining 3 Brian Tracy CD's for lululemon.
I start at lululemon this week (exciting!!!) and really want to get cracking on completing my 'by when' goals that every new employee needs to do. There are so many interesting elements of the training process that I just want to finish things so I can try the next one. Its such a great feeling to be doing something for work that I would actually choose to do of my own accord anyway.

2. By Sunday 26th July, 2009, I will have visited St John of God Hospital to donate some more items and speak to the women there.
I haven't spoken to the nurses or been back to the hospital since I donated my first items back in May. My mum said she would give me some money to purchase more items and my step-mum is going to make some wall hangings and items for the mums and bubs, which I am very excited about. My sis and I still really want to go and speak to some of the women so I am going to get my butt in gear on this one and ring the hospital tomorrow. I'm keen to buy some trays for the mums to use in their rooms for having cups of tea or coffee and snacks etc (this is one of the things the nurses told me might be useful). 

3. By Friday 31st July, 2009 I will have completed the July assignment for my unravelling group

I officially finished my 'Unravelling' course a few weeks ago but many of us have become so attached to our group that we want to continue to 'meet up' online and set our own monthly photo and writing assignments. The topic for July is 'The city where you live' (what's great about it, why do you live there etc). I think it will be so interesting to see what everyone else posts since there are people from all over the world. (Although none will come close to Sydney I'm sure....!).

4. By July 26th 2009, I will have completed half the 'taking flight' book.

I recently purchased a book called 'Taking Flight' - Inspiration and techniques to give your creative spirit wings, by Kelly Rae Roberts. I really want to set time aside each week to work through this book as I have been neglecting my creative side lately and want to try some new things. Sometimes taking your cues from others makes it easier to get going. 

Kelly Rae has some beautiful art work and her blog is a wonderful read.

5. By 31st July 2009, I will be able to run continuously for 30 minutes.

I know I feel soooooo much better when I exercise so its time to make it much more of a habit. I want to be able to practice what I preach at lululemon and to keep my mental health as positive as possible. Over the past few months I have struggled big time with motivation so I am hoping that by choosing a variety of activities I can keep things interesting (stair running, cycling, interval running at the track, yoga, weights, endurance running). At the moment I'm not even that worried about 'what' I am doing as long as I try to do 'something' each day. 

I will keep you all up to date as I accomplish each goal (There's positive thinking for you!).

I hope my goals inspire you to set some goals of your own for the coming months (feel free to leave a comment or email me if you want to share them). 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Inspiring quote........

"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle; and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared".

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cuteness of all cuteness.....

This afternoon I ran to daycare to pick up the little man and then we walked about 15 minutes to meet the lovely husband where he was coaching athletics. And I have to say, it was one of the loveliest walks of my life. My little man was so happy, hooked onto me and looking around at everything. And not once, but twice in the journey he lay his head down on my shoulder (his new trick), and I could have eaten him alive he was so cute. Just when I thought I couldn't love him anymore he put his face towards mine and kissed me on the lips. At first I thought it might have been a fluke, so I tested him by saying "Kiss" and he did it again. Bless! The first "everythings" are the best aren't they? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Time for an injection of humour.......

This week just feels like my entire universe is filled with sickness; my son is sick, people at work are sick, all the kids in my homeroom and at school are sick, I'm getting sick.... There is no escaping it. So to take my mind of this, and the thoughts of another sleep deprived night ahead, I feel the need to inject a bit of humour. And what better person to turn to than Heather B Armstrong, writer of my current read "It sucked and then I cried". I've only got a chapter or two to go and can't decide who in my life I should pass it on to because I want to pass it on to everyone at once. Before I get to the humour though, I do want to touch on Heather's description of her postnatal depression - because I can relate so well to her experience (as may many other women who have been in this situation). Here is how she describes it:

"My daily life felt like torture. I struggled to make it from hour to hour. I felt like I didn't know what I was doing. I was trying to find the humour in all of it, but I couldn't ignore the crushing misery any longer.
There were many things about parenthood that I understood intellectually. I knew that this period of her life was only temporary and that things would eventually get better. I knew that I was a good mother and that I was meeting her needs as a baby. But depression isn't about understanding things intellectually. Its about an overshadowing emotional spiral that makes coping with anything nearly impossible.
I just couldn't cope with the screaming, I couldn't cope with her not eating. I couldn't cope with the constant pacing and rocking back and forth to make sure she didn't start crying. I was sick with anxiety. I wanted to throw up all day long. There were moments during her screaming when I had to set her down and walk away and regain perspective on life, because in those very dark moments of screaming I felt like I had destroyed mine.
.....I was throwing up my hands. I couldn't do this unmedicated, and it was a decision I did not make lightly......But I felt like I didn't have a choice, the hopelessness was just too overwhelming. I wanted to look back on that time fondly and remember her smiles, not her screaming. And too often I didn't even notice when she was smiling."

Now for the humour! I have to include this passage from the book where Heather describes how drastically your perception of 'free time' (ha, ha, ha) changes when you have a baby:

"Once I became a mother I realised that free time was one of those many luxuries people give up when they decide to procreate. I kind of understood this going into parenthood, but its not something that you TRULY appreciate, like everything else about parenthood, until it drops on your head like a piano shoved out of a window eighty stories high.
Free time was the four minutes it took John to change Leta's diaper; it was the one minute I had to use the bathroom after I set her down in the crib; it was the thrity seconds she would remain calm in the car seat after we returned from the grocery store. 
Before Leta was born I used to hate to run errands, and I would put off going to the grocery store until the milk was so expired that it had grown arms, legs and a fully functioning liver. But all that changed, and I wanted to go to the grocery store every day if only to see other human beings who spoke in sentences and could wipe their own asses. It reassured me that there was a living, breathing life outside of the twilight zone existence of taking care of a creature whose primary means of communication was through her bowels.
One night Jon let me go to the grocery store alone, something a new father should be very wary of letting a new mother do, because once I was behind that steering wheel I became drunk with the freedom. I honestly thought that the car might sprout wings and take off in the air, and I was flooded with grand ideas of escaping to Montana where I could assume a new identity and drink martinis and sleep in until 8am. It would have been so easy to have kept driving, forever. Maybe no one would even notice I was gone!
But five minutes into shopping at the grocery store I started to miss that little screaming baby at home. WHY WAS I MISSING HER? That was MY time. Why was I thinking about her little cold feet and her fuzzy hair and the yummy creases in her baby thighs? WHY WHY WHY?
  So I didn't gas up and drive to Montana, but instead came back home and immediately went into the house to smell the back of her neck". 
I think that sums up the crazy rollercoaster ride that is motherhood just perfectly. I will be so sad to finish this book but the greatest thing is that I don't have to go without my daily fix of Heather's hilarity as she has her own blog, dooce, which YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO CHECK OUT!!!!! Heather just gave birth to her second daughter so there is bound to be plenty of laughs as she describes adjusting to life with another little one. This one has to go to the top of your daily blog read list (after - of course!).

Little Man update....

Finger and toe crossing is highly over-rated ie, it doesn't work. Last night was HELL (to put it bluntly). The little man lasted in his own bed until approximatelty 7:3opm and then it was all over. I have now officially moved through the parallel universe and into the twilight zone. My brain feels so fuzzy that I'm surprised I can even remember my own name. We have had to send the little man to daycare as clearly this teething thing is going to last a while and we can't go weeks on end with someone taking days off work (all whilst continuing to pay $88 per day for the privelege of not having our child at daycare). All I can think of is that someone there better be giving him cuddles and not just leaving him to cry.... :(

Clearly an intelligent post today is merely a pipe dream......