Monday, August 31, 2009

How my life has changed.....

Once upon a time I was fearful of pretty much everything. I have always been ambitious and hard-working but I never really had the ability to take the risk that would also be needed to reach my dreams. The past couple of months, however, have shown me that the new Bel is here and times are a changin'. I have been working on my goals at lululemon and the culture of the company is such that we are encouraged to make huge, exciting and scary goals. So I put that theory to the test and have been emailing Chip Wilson (Mr lululemon himself!) to let him know what my goals are and that they include shadowing/working with him in Canada. Even as I type this I still can't believe I did it. But I figure how can I ever achieve big dreams for myself if I never act big? I can't get anywhere just by talking about stuff. Its time to actually do it. And guess what? Chip emailed me back, and has done a couple of times now. (What a legend - the 'open door' policy is alive and well at lululemon and is very, very inspiring). I've even sent him my ideas for the business I would like to start and he told me 'this is fantastic!'. I've got a long way to go with my goals, and who knows whether they will ultimately involve lululemon or Chip? However it turns out though, I am enjoying the ride and my life and definitely won't die wondering. So my message to all of you is 'Take a chance people and follow your heart - you never know where it will lead'.

Friday, August 28, 2009


One of my fellow lulu's sent me the link to a great motivational clip.

(You can find it here

Be inspired.....

The End of Another Week....

Well its the end of another week (gee they go quickly). Its been another full and rewarding one. Yesterday was a particularly enjoyable day for me. I went to my first staff meeting at lululemon, which was great. A new initiative has been started where every month the team votes for 'educator of the month'. I was extremely flattered to discover that I was the first recipient of this award. Its really touching to be acknowledged like that by the amazing people I work with and I am so lucky to work with a company that brings out the best in me. The highlight of my day was the fantastic conversations I had and the time I got to spend with my fellow lulu's. I admire them all so much and I am blown away with every new and wonderful thing I discover about each and every one of them. Much love to my lulu's!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A New Earth.....

I've just started reading this book, as one of my goals is to finish the lululemon Core Library by 31st December this year. So I'm a woman on a mission! I'm only a couple of pages in and already I've come across some notions and concepts that I really connect with:
  • Only by awakening can you know the true meaning of that word. A glimpse is enough to initiate the awakening process, which is irreversible. If the awakening process has begun in you, the reading of this book will accelerate and intensify it. For some who may not have even realised it, the process has already begun. For some it may have been through loss or suffering.
This is my experience, spot on. I feel as though I have been on a journey and changed so much as a person over the past year, but I didn't realise 'what' exactly was happening or how to describe it. The whole process definitely began out of loss and suffering (which at the time was hard), but I know now that this was a gift in disguise. Its actually very comforting for me to read that this process is irreversible. I can't imagine going back to living life the way I was before ie stressed, totally consumed and affected by what was happening around me, not truly knowing who i am or really living and enjoying life etc.
  • You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.
This is a massive lesson I have learned. I always believed and felt that I had goodness inside me but I felt like it could never truly get out. It could in parts, but then ultimately it would end up being distorted by my ego and materialistic concerns, as well as a lack of belief in myself. In many ways I suppose I allowed the 'real me' to be suppressed because to be that person meant going against most of the examples and messages of how I 'should' exist that are in society. But now I understand myself so much better and have changed my way of thinking to such a degree that I am no longer afraid to be who I really am. The 'real me' is a person I respect, admire and love to be around. The 'real me' knows without a shadow of a doubt that I can and will be successful in whatever I attempt to do and that I am making and will continue to make a difference in this world. I am authentic and I have faith in myself. I can say these things now and they are more than just words - after 32 years I finally believe them and that is what has changed my life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Right On.....

“Go be that starving Artist you’re afraid to be. Open up that journal and get poetic finally. Volunteer. Suck it up and travel. You were not born here to work and pay taxes. You were put here to be part of a vast organism to explore and create. Stop putting it off. The world has much more to offer than what’s on 15 televisions at TGI Fridays. Take pictures. Scare people. Shake up the scene. Be the change you want to see in the world. You’ll thank yourself for it.”
-Jason Mraz

Sunday, August 23, 2009

To Write Love On Her Arms.....

I came across the TWLOHA site on the Little Gorjuss Things blog. To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. I have included their vision below so you get an even better understanding of what it is all about, but I highly encourage you to check out the website.


The vision is that we actually believe these things…

You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you're part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters.

We live in a difficult world, a broken world. My friend Byron is very smart - he says that life is hard for most people most of the time. We believe that everyone can relate to pain, that all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments. You need to know that you're not alone in the places you feel stuck.

We all wake to the human condition. We wake to mystery and beauty but also to tragedy and loss. Millions of people live with problems of pain. Millions of homes are filled with questions – moments and seasons and cycles that come as thieves and aim to stay. We know that pain is very real. It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real, and that help is real.

You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible, that God is still in the business of redemption. We're seeing it happen. We're seeing lives change as people get the help they need. People sitting across from a counselor for the first time. People stepping into treatment. In desperate moments, people calling a suicide hotline. We know that the first step to recovery is the hardest to take. We want to say here that it's worth it, that your life is worth fighting for, that it's possible to change.

Beyond treatment, we believe that community is essential, that people need other people, that we were never meant to do life alone.

The vision is that community and hope and help would replace secrets and silence.

The vision is people putting down guns and blades and bottles.

The vision is that we can reduce the suicide rate in America and around the world.

The vision is that we would learn what it means to love our friends, and that we would love ourselves enough to get the help we need.

The vision is better endings. The vision is the restoration of broken families and broken relationships. The vision is people finding life, finding freedom, finding love. The vision is graduation, a Super Bowl, a wedding, a child, a sunrise. The vision is people becoming incredible parents, people breaking cycles, making change.

The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead.

The vision is the possibility that we're more loved than we'll ever know.

The vision is hope, and hope is real.

You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.

Drops like stars......

We plot, we plan, we assume things are going to go

A certain way and then they don’t and we find ourselves
In a new place, a place we haven’t been before, a place
We never would have imagined on our own,

And so it was difficult and unexpected and maybe even
Tragic and yet it opened us up and freed us to see
Things in a whole new way

Suffering does that—
It hurts,
But it also creates.

How many of the most significant moments in your
Life came not because it all went right, but because
It all fell apart?

It’s strange how there can be art in the agony…

By Rob Bell

Lessons from an amazing individual....

I am currently reading "Never Say Die" the memoir of Chris O'Brien, who was one of Australia's leading head and neck cancer surgeons. In 2006, he was diagnosed with an aggressive and lethal form of brain cancer. Most people who have this particular form of cancer do not survive past 12 months, but Chris lived with the cancer for 2 & 1/2 years. In that time he was always generous and optimistic, putting all of his energy into fundraising for an integrated cancer centre called "Lifehouse" at Royal Prince Alfred hospital.

From the very first pages of the book, it is clear that Chris is a compassionate, inspiring and quite enlightened individual. His attitude of inclusivity really resonated with me and reminds me alot of the philosophy behind lululemon.

Chris wrote the following about a ritual he introduced to the head and neck team at RPA, early on in his days there:

"The gathering involved sharing a couple of bottles of red wine, sometimes with cheese or other food, for an hour or more at the end of the day with the anaesthetics team and the residents, registrars and fellows as well as the medical students.
During this time we would talk as equals about the day's events or about books, films, wine and anything else non-medical that presented itself. People may sniff cynically at the word 'equals' but I had worked hard over the years to develop a culture of mutual respect and harmony in the unit, based on the principle that we were simply at different stages of our medical careers and therefore had different roles and responsibilities. These little bonding sessions created an opportunity for us to become better aquainted with the junior members of the team and to learn about their lives and ambitions. When we adjourned for home, everyone was cheerful and felt they'd had a good day".

Good Deeds....

On Friday my sister and I returned to St John of God hospital to talk to the 10 women who are currently there, about our experiences of Post Natal Depression and to provide them with two real examples of people who have been exactly where they are now, and have come out the other side. This is so important because when you are there and in the depths of what is essentially a living nightmare, you cannot even fathom that you will ever be different or enjoy life again. But to actually see people who have been there, done that, and have even improved their lives for the better, gives some hope to women when they really need it. Looking around the room and hearing little bits of these women's stories, I just wanted to hug them all and tell them it would be alright. I was really proud of how well my sister spoke, especially since she probably hasn't spoken about her experiences openly as many times as I have up until this point. The women and the staff seemed to be really thankful that we had volunteered to do this. I have to say it was absolutely our pleasure and we will be going back in another 4 weeks or so.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Latest Party Trick....

The Little Man's, not mine. I love watching the Little Man do new things every day, but I will definitely say the latest trick is one we could do without. He is fascinated with sticking his fingers down his throat until he vomits. Even after the second and third time he still goes back for more. My husband and I are horrified but the more we say 'No!', the more he seems to keep doing it. How can it be fun for him? I can assure you its not fun for me, especially when he does it lying down so that the vomit comes up like a fountain and then falls back down going all over his face and in his hair and eyelashes. If anyone understands the hidden message behind little ones testing their gag reflex over and over and over again, I would love to hear from you. Crazy kid.......

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Power of Now....Finished!

I finished The Power of Now today. I probably enjoyed the final chapters most in the book. I am still amazed at how this book so accurately articulates my journey over the past year and how well it reflects my new outlook on life. Here are some snippets for you:
  • Do you truly know what is positive and what is negative?Do you have the total picture? There have been many people for whom limitation, failure, loss, illness, or pain in whatever form turned out to be their greatest teacher. It taught them to let go of false self-images and superficial ego-dictated goals and desires. It gave them depth, humility, and compassion. It made them more real.
  • Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it, although you may not see it at the time. Even a brief illness or an accident can show you what is real and unreal in your life, what ultimately matters and what doesn't. 
  • To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them - while they last. All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. Life flows with ease.
  • Who you are is always a more vital teaching and and a more powerful transformer of the world than what you say, and even more essential even than what you do. 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Power of Now....

I am currently reading "The Power of Now" before I attempt to read "A New Earth", which is one of the core books in the lululemon library. I'm finding it really interesting but can see how it would only be a useful tool if you are at the right stage in your life for it. Earlier in my life I probably would have wanted to read this and would have tried to, but I would have struggled to have any of the concepts truly resonate. That's not to say that I can get my head around everything in the book right now, because I can't, and maybe I never will. But there are writings in here that are so spot on in explaining some of the feelings and changes I have experienced over the past year, that its quite extraordinary. 

One of the concepts that I can really relate to is the idea of what true fulfillment feels like. This is something that I have experienced at certain times in the past year but I never knew how to define it or explain it. Ekhart Tolle describes it as a state of freedom - from fear, from suffering, from a perceived state of lack and insufficiency and therefore from all wanting, needing, grasping, and clinging. It is a freedom from compulsive thinking, from negativity, and above all from the past and the future. This is not an easy state to achieve and some people may never experience it. I have had fleeting glimpses of it and it is such an amazing way to exist (particularly since I have spent most of my life being constrained by all the things mentioned above). When you can experience being free of these things (ie fear, wanting, compulsive thinking, negative thinking, the past, the future) you are completely and utterly focused on the present moment and it truly does feel as though the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders. You are actually aware of how amazing everyone and everything around you is and you just have the greatest feeling of contentment. 

The challenge is to achieve that state most of, if not all of, the time. It is not easy and often it is only experienced at or after a time of suffering, great sickness, near death etc. I'm starting to think that it occurs at this time because in those very dark moments, when you have absolutely no answers left or no energy left to fight with, you surrender. And it is this ability to truly surrender to life, accept whatever comes, and know that you will be okay that helps you achieve fulfillment. 

A Wonderful Day.....

Image by KC Reflections via Flickr

Yesterday was such a great day for me. It was one of those days where I just felt content and happy all day and was enjoying what I was doing. I had so many lovely conversations with guests at lululemon and I always enjoy spending time with my fellow lulu's at work. I'm learning so much about business and myself at lululemon and its really where my heart is at the moment. Taking a step back from other things has made such a difference this week. 

The Little Man is also contributing to my happiness this week (as always). He has more and more personality and he is hilarious. He is walking so much and seems to show us something new every day. (The spitting food out of his mouth trick I could probably do without, but he has such a cheeky grin on his face after he does it that you can't help but laugh!). 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Goals Update....

So today I completed the last of my goals that I set for July. Yes, I am a bit behind in getting them all done but the fact that they were challenging to complete makes it even more satisfying. The goals changed  slightly from the ones I originally posted but the majority remained the same. Here's what I have accomplished this month:
  1. I listened to all my Brian Tracy CD's for lululemon training.
  2. I finished my "in the fish bowl" e-course.
  3. I am able to run continuously for 3o minutes (after just starting to run again).
  4. I completed 1 new artwork/drawing.
  5. I visited St John of God hospital to donate 8 wall hangings and 8 cushions that my Step-Mum made for the rooms there. She has also completed a blanket (pictured below) to give to one of the Mum's at the hospital - with more to come. I was blown away by how wonderful these gifts were and am so thankful for my Step-Mum's generosity.
Extra: I also listened to another set of 3 CD's called "Goals" by Brian Tracy (also for lululemon).

Just what I needed....

I came across this video on the "Wake up Sydney" website. Its amazing how things come to you exactly when you need them. Ellen has the right mix of wisdom, humour and, of course, dancing in this speech - I laughed out loud. I hope you do too!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Asking for what you need.....

This is one I struggle with. Even though I know asking for what you need is the sensible thing to do and is what keeps my life balanced, I seem to not be able to do it until I reach crisis point. Every now and then I will know that I am starting to get overwhelmed by things and that something has to give, but those old feelings and thoughts creep back in and prevent me from doing what I need to do, ie reach out for help. Primarily it is the feeling of guilt that gets me the most. The idea that I should always be able to cope with things, that its self indulgent to need time out, that I should just keep keeping on because everyone else seems to, that I have somehow failed when I lose my spark. I know that these ideas and thoughts are wrong and self destructive and that to listen to them only makes things worse. But boy once they start, they take over so quickly. I think I've also been slow to react to my current situation because I really have been very happy prior to the past week or two. So then to suddenly feel as though I'm falling in a hole just makes no sense and makes me feel pathetic for feeling so down when I have every reason to feel great. 
So anyway, today I went to my GP just to touch base with her about how I am feeling. She suggested that I need to give myself a break and take a step back from everything. It was amazing how much better I felt even after making the appointment to go and see her. Sometimes just being able to share how you're feeling with someone who won't judge you and who has a 'neutral' perspective can be really helpful. I was also reminded today of the importance of being proactive in regards to my mental health. Its very easy to just think, hey, its been a year now, I'm coping with things, everything is fine, I don't need any help. But perhaps what I do need to do is check in with a psychologist or counsellor every now and then so that I can stay on top of things (rather than just end up going to see someone once everything goes pear shaped).
My sister is reading a book at the moment that says turmoil in your life means you are about to learn a lesson or that the universe is trying to teach you something you need to know. I know that what I need to do now is sit still for long enough and take some time out so that my lesson can be revealed.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ray of Sunshine....

I've been having a difficult past week or two. There haven't necessarily been any major incidents or terrible events happen to trigger this, but I just seem to feel as though I am barely keeping my head above water in every aspect of my life. I really wish this feeling would disappear soon though, because its a complete pain in the butt . I keep telling myself that I have the power to control my thoughts and to turn things around but no matter how hard I try, nothing appears to be working. Thank God for my precious Little Man tonight. He was so sweet and adorable that I wanted to kiss him to death. Every day he reveals more and more of his personality (I've got a feeling we have a cheeky little monkey on our hands here!). He was, and is, my little ray of sunshine in what is proving to be a tough week. I'm so lucky to have him.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Goals: Brian Tracy

I just finished listening to another 3CD set from Brian Tracy on goal setting. A lot of what he says re-emphasises what I have addressed in earlier posts but it is so helpful to refresh your mind with this information time and time again. I have been going through some 'blah' few weeks so Brian has been just the kick up the backside I need to get myself moving again!. Here are some of my take-aways from "Goals". 

  • When you are absolutely clear about your goal, you don't even have to know where it is or how you are going to achieve it. By simply deciding what it is that you want, you will be able to move toward your goal and your goal will start to move toward you. At exactly the right time and in exactly the right place, you and your goal will meet. 
  • The biggest single obstacle to setting goals is self-limiting beliefs.
Remove the roadblocks:
  • Most people give up on their goals before they even make the first try. This is because of all the obstacles, difficulties, problems and roadblocks which appear when you decide to do something you have never done before. Successful people fail far more often than unsuccessful people, because they try new things, fall down, pick themselves up, try again, over and over before they win through. Expect to fall down and fail many times over before you achieve your goal.
  • 80/20 rule: 80% of your constraints will be within yourself - only 20% are outside of yourself (contained in other people and situations). It is you personally who is usually the major roadblock to obtaining your goals. The two major obstacles toward success and achievement are fear and doubt. 
"The great tragedy of the average man is that he goes to his grave with his music still in him"
  • Most self made millionaires often say they never 'worked' a day in their life. What they did was work out what they really enjoyed and then did more of it. 
Identify and determine your special talents:
  1. You will always be the best and happiest at something that you love to do. If you could afford it you would do it without pay. It brings out the best in you.
  2. You do it well - natural ability.
  3. This talent has been responsible for most of your success and happiness in life up until now. 
  4. It was something easy for you to learn and do.
  5. It holds your attention and absorbs you. It attracts you. 
  6. You love to learn about it and become better at it.
  7. When you do what you are ideally suited to doing, time stands still. You can work in this area for long periods of time without eating or sleeping because you are energised by it.
  8. You really admire and respect other people who are good at what you are most suitable to do.
  • If any of these descriptions apply to anything you are currently doing or that you have done in the past, they can lead you to the thing that you were uniquely put on this earth to do. 
Associate with the right people:
  • Every honest effort you make to help others will come back to you in some way and at some time, often when you least expect it.
  • The more you give of yourself with no expectation of return, the more that will come back to you from the most unexpected sources (be patient!). 
  • Associate with people you look up to. The choice of a goal oriented reference group can do more to supercharge your career than any other factor.
  • Always treat people with kindness, respect, courtesy and compassion. Treat everyone you meet like they are the most important person in the world.
Fear and doubt:
  • When we are tired or unwell, when we are not physically fit, we are more predisposed to fear and doubt than when we are feeling happy or energetic. Sometimes you can totally change your attitude toward yourself and your potential by getting a good night sleep or taking a vacation so that you can recharge your mental and emotional batteries. Rest and relaxation build courage and confidence as much as any other factors. 
  • When you avoid the thing you fear, your fear grows; whereas if you move towards the thing you fear, your fear will diminish. As fear increases, your self esteem, self respect and confidence diminish accordingly. If you do not do the thing you fear, the fear controls your life.
  • All of the best advice in the world will only help you if you can motivate yourself to take persistent, continuous action in the direction of your goals, until you succeed. 
  • It is impossible for us to evolve and develop to our full potential except to the degree to which we face adversity, and learn from it. All the great lessons of life come from set backs and temporary defeats which we have done our utmost to avoid. Without adversity, we will not be able to become people who can scale great heights.
  • The way you respond to disappointment is usually an accurate predictor of how likely you are to achieve great success. 
  • Your greatest success almost invariably comes almost one step beyond where everything inside of you says to quit.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Milestone Reached.....

Image Courtesy of Emma Keating 
So we have reached yet another milestone in our lives. Yesterday we held our first "Children's Birthday Party". A huge thank you needs to go to my Mum who did an amazing job organising all the food and drink. I also want to say thank you so much to My Lovely Husband who surprised me and more importantly, the kids, with a jumping castle for the occasion (Note: As I am now the proud new owner of said jumping castle, if anyone should want to borrow it, feel free). When I looked around the room yesterday at all our friends and family who had come to help us celebrate, I was struck by how incredibly lucky we are to have all these wonderful people in our lives. To know that our Little Man will grow up surrounded by so many people who love him and care for him is such a blessing. I hope everyone who was there knows how much we appreciate having them in our lives and how blown away we are with all the gorgeous gifts The Little Man (and I!) received. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.