Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If your heart had a voice, what would it say?

This is a question I came across in an article on Alison Miller's blog, Live Inspired. The crux of the article was that the vast majority of us do not give our hearts the attention they deserve, in the sense that we don't listen to them. In Eastern philosophy the heart is a storehouse of intelligence and insight, yet the heart is usually dismissed as being 'emotional' and we listen to our minds for guidance instead. The problem with this is that listening to the mind generally leads us to feeling scattered and confused - something I am present to more and more in my own life. More and more I am feeling the need for stillness, clarity and peace in order to really understand myself and to make decisions in my life that reflect who I want to be and how I want to live. But because I am still deferring to my mind instead of taking the time to listen to my heart, I cannot find the clarity, peace or stillness I seek.

If I know what I need to do, and know what is not working for me, then why do I continue to tread the same path you ask? (Just as I ask myself.....). Well, probably because listening to your heart requires one to be still. To meditate. To slow down and shut out all the other noise that is going on 24/7 in your head - and that is the challenge at hand for me. I would also hazard to guess that there is a part of me that doesn't want to face what my heart is actually saying.... that I'm scared to hear it and deal with the possible pain and emotion that will come along with it. Having said this, I am committed to going there because I know I won't be able to move forward and live a life I love until I can be open to being loved. Yes, that is my answer to the question at the start of this post. I have been still long enough in the past few weeks to hear that my heart has been saying for the past 26 odd years "I can't be loved. I'm different. No-one would love me unconditionally. In order to be loved or to receive love I need to give up something, to lose myself." I am currently working on how to change this belief because I want to be open to being loved and to experience being loved for exactly who I am, without the fear of losing myself in the process. I want the voice of my heart to speak excitedly, openly and freely. And so from this night onwards I am committing to making time each night before I go to sleep to sit quietly so that I can hear the gentle promptings and feel the intuitive feelings of my heart - to hear the voice of my heart and to be open to being loved.......




Friday, December 10, 2010

"We must be willing to get rid of
the life we've planned, so as to have
the life that is waiting for us".

Joseph Campbell

Dare To Be.....

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you're feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as though you've done your best.
Dare to be the best you can-
At all times, Dare to be!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

And so it begins.....

This week really does mark the beginning of the rest of my life and my new journey. Amazingly, all the things I have been waiting for 7 months for and that have been draining my energy have happened or moved forward and I can finally step into 'my life'. Tomorrow I will no longer be the joint holder of a mortgage and will be financially independent. On Monday this week I went to look at the first apartment I considered renting, loved it and was offered it that night (anyone who has had any experience with the Sydney rental market will know that this is virtually unheard of). As of next Saturday I will move into the apartment which will be the first place ever in my life that has been just my home. I thought I might be hesitant or sad when it all finally came, but what i'm actually feeling is excitement. The excitement of being able to make decisions on my own, to not have to consider another person (apart from my little man of course) and to create my life as I choose. Bring it on!

Missing My Little Man....

I dropped my Little Man at daycare this morning and won't see him again until Sunday morning. Some weeks I'm an exhausted Mum who welcomes the little bit of time to myself but this week I miss him to pieces already (Its only been 6 hours). I just want to drive to daycare and pick him up and listen to all the new things he says and laugh at how cute he is and kiss his little cheeks. Oh and that little voice saying "I love you mummy", before he goes to sleep - that is what I miss the most.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Baby Shower....




Yesterday I attended my cousins Baby Shower. The newest arrival to our family is expected around Christmas. I just had to post some pictures from the afternoon because, as I expected, the event was beautifully styled and decorated. Such a gorgeous setting for a gorgeous cousin. Enjoy every minute of this time Em.......

Empowering Evening....


On Saturday night I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours with an amazing woman named Krista Jane. She is an intuitive and natural healer who helps people identify their limiting beliefs and create a life they love. In my session with her she established with me what she could see as some of my issues and limiting beliefs and that is something i will definitely go back and see her again to work through. What we did do was look at ways to discover what you want from life, what your passions really are and how to bring those things into your life. I was with Krista for a few hours but could have spent a whole day with her she is that insightful, easy to be with and energising. I couldn't recommend her more and my sister and I have already decided to give each other a session with Krista each for Christmas. Her website is Empowering You - head over to get a further explanation of all the wonderful services she offers.

After the session I had burgers, fries and a beer on Manly beach with one of my very best lululemon buddies. A great, great Saturday night.......

Monday, November 22, 2010

Beautiful Day....

What a day.....

Morning coffee and breakfast at the beach with my little man

Fun and more importantly quick grocery shopping

A 2 hour nap in the middle of the day

A run in Centennial Park

Playing at the playground with my little man

Yummy BBQ chicken dinner with a glass of rose`

Huggles from my little man

And.... MY FAVOURITE, ALTIYAN, WINNING X-FACTOR!!!!!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Letting Go.....

So clearly 2010 has been a huge year of letting go for me. The biggest one being letting go of a marriage and a relationship that has spanned my entire adult life. A separation or divorce involving a child blurs the lines of letting go. You are letting go of a relationship in a certain form but there will never really be a letting go of that person in your life because your child still binds you together. I've really struggled with this because the early parts of separation are HARD. All that emotion and anger and bad places that can lead you to separation in the first place are still so in your face and all you want to do is cut the ties completely. So it takes a while to work through that and let those things go. Even when you make the decision amicably it doesn't mean you by-pass the hurt, the fear, the heartache, the confusion, the sadness and everything else that goes along with it (I think initially I had it in my head that because I chose this, I somehow wasn't entitled to feel these emotions. Crazy in hindsight......). Its been a tough 6 months up until now and the letting go process is still only in its early stages. But I am definitely feeling like I am stepping into a new place and moving into a phase where I can more clearly see how I can be the kind of person I want to be through this - both for myself and my son. Today marked one of the first steps in this process. Lachlan and I took Bailey to a birthday party together. We wanted to do this for Bailey so that he could have both of us take him to something that was for him and so we could both be a part of this and join the other Mum's and Dad's. I'm really grateful that we could do that for him and hope that it will lead to a lifetime of Bailey being able to have his Mum and Dad supporting him at all the special events in his life.
On the topic of letting go, the ever amazing Danielle Laporte has some very wise words which really resonated with me after today:

7 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT ACTIVE LETTING GO:


1.
There's always more to let go of. It's endless and it's beautiful because it's endless. Just surrender to the endlessness of it.

2.
Typically, letting go is painful – in varying degrees, from wince to damn near crippling, it's gonna hurt. Fact.

3.
Hard leads to soft. Imagine ripping off a bandage; dropping an heirloom off at the thrift store and resolving to not go back to get it; kissing him or her that way for the last time and tearing yourself away because you need to grow in the other direction; boarding the plane with a heavy heart… When you steel the nerve to be tough enough to let go, you crossover over a sacred line. And on the other side, Tenderness is waiting for you, and She's very proud and she's very encouraging.

4. Baby steps are okay, but
you can't avoid the pain that surfaces when you commit to the letting go. (See, you just can't get around the pain part.)

5. From the mundane to the monumental,
letting go hurts. Always has, always will. (Yes, a repeat of #2. It bears repeating.)

6.
Acceptance is medicine. When you just accept that the pain of letting go is part of the deal, your let-go wound will heal faster.

7. Out of, say, 123 people I've talked to about letting go of all sorts of stuff - material and emotional - 88% of them wished they'd done it sooner, and 97% of them have no regrets whatsoever. Only 3% are still confused.
When you let go, the odds are in your favour.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thought Of The Day....

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit". Dawna Markova

A Tear Jerker.....

I just came across an amazingly heartfelt blog called "Enjoying The Small Things". I can't even begin to describe the impact of reading the post Nella Cordelia: The birth story. I wouldn't be able to do it justice so all I will say is that it truly makes you feel the power of love and you MUST head over and read it for yourself. (While you're at it, you should also check out Gwen Bell's blog which is where I discovered the link).

lululemon athletica greatness......

I've just come home from spending a week in Melbourne where I have been helping to prepare and then participate in the lululemon athletica managers conference. This is the second one we have had in Australia and it was such an amazing thing to be a part of. We had 3 nights and 2 days of inspiration, sharing, laughter, tears and fun. I learnt some great things in terms of what I can take back to my team and from a management perspective - but more importantly, I took away learnings that go way beyond that. I learned that I have a voice that is heard and that people want to hear (I already knew this but receiving this feedback from so many people gives me the courage to keep being vulnerable and to keep sharing my story in the hope that it may bring some kind of comfort, support and/or inspiration to others). I also learned that I'm ready to start playing big again. I've been through a phase where I needed to lie low for a while and go day by day. I will still endeavour to take time to be with myself and to be present each moment, but its also time to set some new goals and get excited about the life that lies before me. What I actually enjoyed the most about the conference was being able to interact, connect and re-connect with all the beautiful and insanely fun people who are a part of our company. Being in stores and not all working out of the same place, let alone state, means that we don't all get to be face to face very often. So that aspect was brilliant - the feeling that you could walk into a seminar room and be excited to sit next to any of the 65 people there because they are all so great, is very special and is something that I'm sure is quite rare in most work environments.

Us 'out of towners' were also lucky enough to stay at the Blackman Hotel which is one of 3 hotels in the art series hotels (These boutique hotels feature the artwork of prominent Australian artists and are beautifully designed). The rooms were amazing, as you can see in the photos, and I was so lucky to be able to stay in one for a whole week.

What I am looking forward to now is seeing my Little Man again (a week is sooo long to go without seeing him), getting a new and improved weekly routine going where I make my physical and mental health a priority, and setting some new, inspiring goals that will help me to create my amazing life........


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thought for the day......

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. Lao Tzu

Friday, November 5, 2010

The sweet isn't as sweet without the bitter.....

So I'm coming to the end of my 4 days of self-induced 'me' time. There are so many things that I've learned and have going on in my head after the past few weeks. Its amazing what some time and space can do. A week ago I hit one of the lowest lows I've had in a long, long time. Now I can say that I am out of that space (thank God). Taking time out has been the thing that saved me. I gave myself the space to be able to get clear on what was going on in my head and to be able to see where I need to make changes. Its time to treat myself as I would suggest anyone else treat themselves ie with care, compassion, love and forgiveness. I was expecting myself to be the greatest me I can be, but that was never going to happen because I wasn't giving myself what I needed. It was like expecting a car to run without putting in any fuel. I didn't give myself the space, time or permission to feel all the emotions that I need to feel as I go through a separation from my husband, as I figure out how to be a single mother, as I go through massive changes in every area of my life. I confused being 'by myself' and being 'with myself', and those two things are very, very different. Being with yourself involves letting everything else drop away, all the distractions and the doings that fill our lives, so that all thats left is you and your thoughts and feelings. It is an extremely confronting thing, particularly when you are coming up against strong and sometimes painful emotions. But it is an essential part of being able to work through things, learn what you need to learn about yourself and life and to ultimately move on to the next part of life's journey.

What I am also giving myself is clarity in regards to assessing and identifying exactly what I need to do for myself to fill my own tank - from ensuring I am eating well, exercising, meditating to stay in touch with myself, seeking help from health professionals when I need it and the list goes on. I had gotten myself to a point where my head was so full and the pressure I was placing on myself was so great that I didn't even have a clue what would really fill my tank-which ensured that I was never going to be able to fill it. Being able to fill my own tank is one of the most important things to me. I don't say that in the sense that you shouldn't ask others for help or draw strength from others when you need it - because you definitely should and I would never be where I am now in life if I hadn't. But I believe that ultimately true fulfillment and happiness stem from your ability to fill your own tank; to truly feel as though you are enough; to truly know yourself, love yourself and to be able to give yourself what you need. Then you really do know that you can face anything life throws at you and live to your full potential.

I am getting better and better at not making myself wrong for experiencing any of the things that I experience. I am human, just as everyone else is. We all have our days, weeks or months where we fall down and are not operating at our best. What I can do now is acknowledge it, own it, share it with others and learn from it. I dust myself off, pick myself up and keep on going. My experiences over the past few years have taught me that these breakdowns truly are a gift. When you are in the middle of the breakdown it can be very difficult and sometimes even impossible to see that any good could come from it and all you want to do is escape from the terrible feelings or situation. But the gift comes in the form of the breakthrough that you experience when you get to the other side. When the darkness clears and you are able to see things and feel things in a new way, when you discover you have a greater respect for yourself and what you are capable of doing, when you have greater empathy and compassion for those around you and a renewed commitment to living the most amazing life possible. That is the gift - the gift that can only be achieved by going through the breakdown in the first place.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Your Mind Is The Mountain Before You"....

I came across the quote "Your Mind Is The Mountain Before You" last night and it could not be more apt for me right now. I just read my last post and, sadly, not much has changed in regards to my state of mind since then. If anything I sank a little further and (hopefully) hit the bottom so that I can now come back up. What I'm coming to terms with is just how hard that is proving to be. When I went through post natal depression after I had Bailey, it was the most horrendous struggle to get out of it. And I think that because my life changed so much for the better and I learnt so much from it about myself, that I mistakenly believed that I would never get close to that again, or that I would somehow have the answer the next time one of life's challenges came my way. What floored me this week was the realisation that I don't have the answers in the slightest; that there is no guarantee that I won't go down that road again and that I am once again being tested as to how strong I actually am. Whilst I am definitely not in the pit of depression I was in 2 years ago, I can definitely see signs and symptoms of it in myself and that has been enough to scare the hell out of me. So this week I have been forced to acknowledge my struggle and reach out to those around me in order to get back on top of everything. I'm going to take a little time out to be kind to myself and give myself some space. Funnily enough, I had thought I was doing this all along but clearly I haven't been because I feel completely and utterly worn out and exhausted.

The other funny thing about reading my last post is that I referred to a guy on X Factor, Altiyan, who had really floored me with his singing. Oddly enough this week, I was standing on the side of the road and who should walk up beside me but him. What a small world.....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Black Days....

To be completely honest, I feel as though I have dragged myself through every inch of this weekend. Every ounce of my being seems to be screaming out "I've had enough, this is all too hard and I just can't do it anymore". Everything is a struggle, I feel weighed down and I can't seem to conjure up a feeling of joy in regards to anything. I do ultimately know that this will pass, because it does, but for some split moments this weekend I have really been questioning whether it will.
I didn't decide to write this post to depress myself (or anyone else) even further, but instead I wanted to share a piece of inspiration that just came to me. A tiny sliver, but nonetheless its something - and a sliver is sometimes all you need to get back on track. I was just watching X Factor, which Bailey and I watch every Sunday night. Some of the acts were good but the absolutely outstanding act was the final one. He is a guy who really has, up until now, seemed like the token odd ball of the competition that no-one was really sure of. But last week and this week it has been as if he found himself and his performances have been phenomenal. As I watched him I could feel a smile spread across my face and a lightness fill my heart that has been missing over the past few days. To be transported by someone who has so clearly discovered their gift and who is expressing so brilliantly the thing that appears to complete them is a very special thing to watch. And what it reminded me to do when I am in dark days is to seek out all of these people who exist in the world who inspire me, who live their passion, who love what they do and who have discovered what their gift to the world is - and use their strength and passion as my inspiration to hang in there and keep going, so that I can continue on my path to discovering my gift and get to live those moments where I am being the light and inspiration for someone else.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Old friends in new places....

Today I was working in my store when a strangely familiar face walk towards me. After a split second I realised that it was one of my all time favourite students who I had taught when she was in high school. We haven't seen each other in over 5 years (scary how fast time goes). It turns out she works casually in the same mall as me. What was so great was how easily we reconnected and it reminded me of what I had loved so much about teaching; the connections and relationships I formed with these people who I spent more time with than my own family (and who spent more time with me than their own). This week I have struggled with the lack of familiarity in my life. Everywhere I turn nothing seems familiar and it has left me feeling sad, lonely and lost. But for 10 minutes today I was able to slip back into a time that was so familiar to me and that I will always feel so lucky to have had. The universe must have known that that was exactly what I needed today.....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Even silence has an end.....

I'm currently reading the book "Even Silence Has An End" by Ingrid Betancourt. Ingrid was born in Columbia in 1961, educated in France and England and returned to Colombia in 1989 to become involved in national politics. She formed her own political party, Oxigeno Verde (Green Oxygen), and became a senator in 1998. She was a Colombian Presidential candidate when she was kidnapped by the FARC, who held her captive from 2002 to 2008. This book is is a reflection on Betancourt's time in captivity and on what it means to be human.

As I go through my own personal struggles right now, this book is a great reminder to me of the courage that we have and of just what the mind and heart can conquer and overcome (even when we think we have reached our limit). One particular quote so far has stood out for me. Betancourt says "When you're chained by the neck to a tree and deprived of everything... Well, it took me several years to realise, but you still have the most important freedom of all: that is, the freedom to choose what kind of person you want to be." I've been thinking a lot about this idea of choosing what kind of person you want to be. So many elements of my life are changing right now. Things are overwhelming, scary, sad, difficult and uncertain. I know that this is all part of the process to be gone through and I am trying to accept that I have to just 'be with' it all. I know that trying to fight it will not only drain me of any physical and emotional energy I do have, but will also deprive me of learning what I need to learn the most. Seems really easy to say here but its a daily struggle - every ounce of my being just wants to run and escape it all and get through it as quickly as I can. I do know that this is impossible and not the way it works. So I have to consciously choose each day to keep moving forward and facing whatever comes my way in the best way I can. I have my good and bad days (lately seems like more bad than good), but ultimately I do have faith that I will come out the other side. And no matter how difficult it seems and how hard it is, I know that the only person who can choose who I am going to be each minute, day and hour is me. So even in the face of feeling as though I don't even know who 'me' is, I will continue to make this choice over and over and over again.

Stealing Beauty....


These ads for G star raw have been around for a while but lately I keep seeing them everywhere. Each time I go past one I cannot help but reflect on how beautiful Liv Tyler is.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Falling in love....

Yesterday I spent a wonderful day shopping and hanging out with my sister, Stace. Now that we both have children (and that she recently had her second), the days of hanging out alone are few and far between. So this was a rare treat. Among some of my retail therapy purchases was bath and shower gel from the brand philosophy. The reason why I chose this particular bubble bath was because it is called "falling in love". At first I thought 'Ah, no thanks not exactly in that place right now', but as I looked closer I realised it was exactly what I needed. The quote on the bottle read:

philosophy: falling in love doesn't begin with falling in love with others. it begins with falling in love with ourselves. loving ourselves is healthy and as God intended. learn to deeply and fully cherish your heart, your soul and your body and only then will you understand what it is to truly love another.

I think everyone needs to "falling in love" bubble bath, don't you?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Hardest Thing You'll Ever Go Through.....

Image by the chesire smile via facebook

Today I went to see a psychologist so that I could talk through how best to support my Little Man in this huge transition. It was really great to talk through what's been going on and to just have someone objective to talk to. My family have been so helpful and supportive where they can be, but everyone has their own lives and issues and, at the end of the day, we are all just trying to figure this out as we go along. I got some great advice regarding Bailey but also a reminder of just how huge a thing this is for me to go through. Back when I went through the postnatal depression, that was obviously the hardest thing I'd ever been through. While I really do believe that event has given me the strength to face this one, I need to acknowledge just how huge what I am going through right now is. I am doing my best to keep it all in perspective but it is certainly overwhelming me at times. So it was refreshing to have a reminder from someone outside my 'everyday realm' remind me of what's important. ie:

  • My mental health. Without it, I can't be the best person for my son (or myself). I need to be able to think positively, make rational decisions and stay true to who I am and my values through everything. I must make it a priority to have some time out to devote to self care, to the things I enjoy, to what inspires me and to what brings meaning to my life. and to also just 'be' (I'm a chronic do-er; can't sit still.....).
  • My physical health. Exercising, eating well and getting enough sleep. I thought I was doing my best to be on top of these things but in all honesty, they are the first things that slip when I am under the pump and feeling low in time and energy (which then keeps that cycle going). For me a huge part of this is being organised, so its time to start locking all of these into my diary each week. (This also means letting go of guilt in the areas of life that may just need to take a back seat right now. Trying to do it all and stay on top of work, family, friends etc is also sapping my energy).
  • Take one day at a time and live in the moment. I am going to state that I have been waaaaaay better at this in the past year or so than I ever was prior to the postnatal depression. Having said that, it is a conscious choice I need to make and re-make each day (and minute really). What matters is what I am doing right now, and I need to keep from allowing my head to get too far ahead of me.
  • My Little Man. No, it isn't a mistake that he wasn't the first thing I listed and it doesn't mean he isn't the most important person in my world - because he is. But, if I don't have the things above taken care of, he will suffer. He is dependent upon me for everything and the only way I can support him through this time (and the rest of his life), is to support myself first. If I am anxious, over-whelmed, tired, sick, negative, sad etc etc, he will pick up on that immediately and will be negatively impacted.
So over the next couple of days I will be directing my thoughts to how I can better take care of myself and re-build my strength (I've been flattened by a virus over the past week, which has taken it out of me physically and mentally). Its time to keep it simple and take care of myself so that I can take care of the most precious Little Man in the world.......


Monday, September 13, 2010

Hello Old Friend......

My poor little neglected blog. I think this is the longest time I've gone without updating you. Days turn into weeks in the blink of an eye right now. I'm also at a place in life where a million different things are fighting for my attention and I just can't do all of them. Anyhow, we do what we can when we can..... So to get up to speed with what's been going on for me, I've been in Melbourne a couple of times for work, which has been great. I've been taking on some training and development stuff and it feels so good to get back on my teaching path a little. In the next year or so thats the role I aim to be having at lululemon athletica, although I'm happy managing my store and team for now and soaking up everything I can to be great in that role before I move onto the next one.

I'm faced with challenges every day in regards to my family/personal life but just keep focusing on being the best me and mother I can be for my little man. The guilt of how my decisions could be affecting his life is getting to me a bit lately. I know that deep down I have made the best decision for myself, Lachlan and Bailey but that doesn't stop those 'what if?' thoughts entering your head. Last week was really emotionally draining for me as my little man cried every time I took him to daycare. I also found myself second guessing everything and wondering whether behaviour he was exhibiting was normal 2 year old stuff or whether the separation is affecting him etc. Boy, its tough..... All I can do is keep trying to do my best each day and trust that things will be ok.

On the note of trying my best, thats something thats been a real focus of mine in the past few weeks. I've read two amazing books that have had a huge impact on me. The first being "The Leader Who Had No Title" by Robin Sharma. Such a brilliant book about personal responsibility and being the CEO of your own life and whatever role you have, regardless of your 'title'. Really empowering stuff that makes you think about how you are choosing to live. I've recommended it to so many people and have added it to our library at work. The second book is "Linchpin" by the phenomenal Seth Godin. Its all about your choices, your future and your potential to make a huge difference in whatever field you choose. He discusses that there used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labour. But now there's a third team: the linchpins. These people invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They love their work and pour their best selves into it . Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organisations and in today's world they are the people who will get the best jobs and the most freedom. I cannot agree more with Seth's views on society and the workplace and what really excites me is the fact that I work in a company who supports this view and that I recognise myself as a linchpin. As such, the only limits to what I can do in my role and in my life are the ones I put on myself. Anything is possible and I can make a difference in the world - and thats such an amazing way to look at your life and to live each day.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In the midst of sadness comes joy......


Its a sad night in this household tonight. Why you ask? Because its the last night of Dancing With The Stars. I know some of you may have just done a double take or be thinking "What?". I've never really been an avid watcher of the show but somehow I got hooked on this series. In particular, I got hooked on watching Tamara Jaber. No doubt I really connected with the fact that she has been going through a separation from her husband at the same time as me (albeit a much more public one than mine). No matter what has been going on in her private life each week she has retained her dignity and still remained committed to a competition that would be daunting even if everything else in your life was going smoothly. To go through what is probably one of the hardest things you can go through and experiencing all the emotions that go along with that and still being amazing each week shows such a strength of character. In addition to that strength, what she has shown is that it is possible to find joy even in your darkest days (which is a lesson I have learnt before). The joy that she has been able to find in dancing is so obvious and I love being able to watch people doing something that they are passionate about and that they enjoy so much.
Which leads me to the thing or should I say person, who has brought me so much joy in my life no matter what else is happening. And that person is my little man, Bailey (or should I say my blonde haired, blue eyed Rastafarian!). No matter what else is going on for me when I think of him or see a photo of him or see his gorgeous little face, a feeling of joy spreads through me. If I'm having a tough day I think of him and all I care about in the world is being able to go home to him and hit a ball around and watch our shows and have him fall asleep with his little arms around my neck. No matter how low or sad I have felt over the past few months, I am constantly reminded of how extraordinarily lucky I am to have been blessed with this amazing little man to take care of. At times, it really hits me that I don't get to have my little boy living with me every day and I miss him like crazy. But when this happens I try to focus on making every minute I have with him count and I never take any of them for granted. I love him with all my heart and my greatest wish in the world is that I can be everything he deserves and more.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Feeling good....

The past couple of days have been great for me. The weather here in Sydney town has been AMAZING. Today my Little Man and I went for a long walk then met my family for lunch to celebrate my Mum's birthday. We then hung out with my family (and got to see my new baby niece, Camille). I know there is still alot of hard work and ups and downs coming my way amid this separation from my husband, but I've finally found a little space to breathe and enjoy the simple things in life again. I have to say I'm so grateful for my family and the support they have all given me, as well as my lululemon family - I would never have been able to get through all of this without them. I'm very, very lucky.......

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Colombian Death.....


I've just started reading this book and I can hardly put it down. What's even more satisfying is the fact that it didn't cost me any money (I have joined the library in order to support my reading addiction as my bank balance can no longer keep me in the literary manor to which I had become accustomed)!

Matt Thompson travelled to Columbia in 2006, in search of the life he 'might' have lived. Once upon a time his father was offered a post which would have taken the family to Bogota, but he turned it down because it was too high risk. Instead they came to Australia - low risk, and the land that nearly drove Matt to a slow death from boredom.

One day Matt quits his job as a journalist and decides to go and experience life in a country that is possibly the most dangerous in the whole world. This is the story of what happened next.

Attitude of Gratitude and the Apple Man....

Last week I purchased a usb modem from Optus. What should have been a simple procedure to install turned into over an hour long phone call last Friday night with Optus tech support (who says I don't have a raging social life?), which ended in them telling me they couldn't do anything and I would need to take it to an apple store. So today I went into the Apple store at Bondi Junction where I got to spend another hour of my life trying to sort this out. Eventually we rang Optus tech support from the apple store to discover that whoever I spoke to last week had not asked a particular question which should have come at the start of the conversation and, as such, had done one simple step incorrectly. Evidently, I could have had my internet working a week ago, didn't need to spend an hour on the phone to them last Friday night and definitely hadn't needed to go to an Apple store at all today on my precious day off.
Ordinarily my frustration and anger levels would have sky rocketed at this point and all of my focus would have been on the wasted hours of my life and huge inconvenience I had experienced with this process. However, I have been practicing an "Attitude of Gratitude" recently and this changed my whole reaction. My focus shifted to what I was grateful for in this situation. And that, primarily, was the interaction I had with the guy who served me at the Apple store (which would never have occurred has Optus not sent me on a wild goose chase). From the minute I walked into the store, this guy (whose name I sadly cannot remember) was so friendly, helpful and understanding. Seriously, the poor guy sat with me for over an hour for no real reason. We chatted about how great it is to work in places where we love going to work in the morning, he emptied the trash can on my computer, he got me the stores phone to call Optus on and said 'no problem whatsoever' that he had essentially been hanging out with me for an hour for something that really had nothing to do with my apple computer after all. So instead of leaving angry and bothered, I could laugh at how crazy the whole thing was and be grateful to have experienced the kindness of a stranger on this beautiful day. On the flip side, the Apple guy had a pleasant morning with me instead of one where he could have ended up bearing the brunt of my frustration and annoyance. So next time you are in a challenging situation, think "Attitude of Gratitude" and see what happens......

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gogo Mama....


Another big week. (It feels as though there is no such thing as a quiet or slow week anymore!). I had the opportunity to go to Melbourne to run some training for work, which was great since one of my goals is to move into a training and development role with lululemon. It was so much fun to work with and see lulu peeps from other parts of the country and to have a change of environment, even for two days.

I know I've been a bit quiet on the old blog front lately but all the things that are going on for me right now are draining me big time. So apart from working and trying to get through each day, there hasn't been much energy left for anything else. I can say that I'm reading a great book at the moment called "Gogo Mama" by Sall Sara. It is a journey of discovery into the lives of 12 very different African women. They include the survivor of a brutal attack by Ugandan rebels; an escapee from slavery in Ghana; Zanzibar's most famous living diva; a former child soldier from Liberia; a grandmother fighting AIDS in South Africa; and a pioneering midwife from Timbuktu. While these stories are heart breaking there still manages to be a sense of hope and spirit in them and its a great reminder for me right now that even though it feels as though things are quite dark in my life right now, it is nothing compared to what so many others in the world go through.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Birthday Party Fun!

A Little Man and His Fairy Bread

Me with the light of my life

My niece - watch out for her, NIDA is calling!

Images courtesy of my cousin Emma, who, as usual, saved the day with her photography skills. x

One step forward, three steps back.....

Tonight I've been seeking guidance from life coach and author Cheryl Richardson on how to help circumvent the emotional battering that I am experiencing going through the separation from my husband. I know that logically I will get through this and it won't be as draining as it is right now, but at this time I am so over the backwards and forwards and emotional rollercoaster.

Cheryl offers some interesting advice. In an article of hers she recommends asking yourself the question "If this person was sent here to teach me a lesson about myself, what would that be?". By being objective in this way you can identify lessons, life skills or qualities of character that need to be developed as a result of your interaction with this person. I can say that in my case I am learning to trust my feelings and instincts, to stand up for myself, how to set boundaries and how to back up these boundaries with action. This is a huge work in progress for me and right now I feel like its one step forward, three steps back. But I'm having faith that putting one foot in front of the other and persevering will eventually get me to where I need to be. (In saying this, it isn't about being right or wrong, its about being aware of what is true for me and having integrity around what I am or am not willing to accept in my life).

Another thing that Cheryl touches on that really resonates with me is the idea that seeing your partner as a positive catalyst for change for yourself doesn't mean you don't have a right to feel anger or pain. In actual fact it is important to vent your powerful emotions when they come up, before continuing to do any work on gaining a new perspective. I worked this one out for myself about a week and a half ago, when it dawned on me that not allowing myself to express these feelings was actually doing me more harm than good and would prevent me taking proper care of myself. Cheryl suggests that being willing to express all of your feelings is a vital act of extreme self care and I couldn't agree more. Other examples of things that you can do to express all your feelings and take care of yourself are:
  • Making sure you have a safe place to vent the full expression of your feelings-and it cannot be your ex. Finding someone you can trust who will listen without offering advice or hooking into the drama is recommended eg a colleague, friend, therapist, spiritual advisor etc. The purpose is for you to give yourself a place to express your feelings so that you don't incite a lot of problems.
  • Make a list of self-comforting strategies, all those little things you can do to make yourself feel nurtured, comforted and safe. It could be taking a warm bath, having a great book beside your bed to escape with on a regular basis, renting a movie etc. Initially I shied away from tears because I wanted to keep going and to be strong. However, as Cheryl suggests, crying is the soul's way of communicating with us and it helps to move through the healing process more efficiently and effectively (believe me my soul has definitely begun communicating with me!).
  • Identify a strong ally who can prop you up and fuel your courage. It needs to be someone less emotional than you, who has a reputation for standing up for themselves eg a lawyer, colleague or friend. This person can help you to see when you need to take a stand for yourself.
Looking at these strategies, I am grateful that I can say I have most of, if not all of these in place. My family have also been amazing in being there for me and being patient with me through all the ups and downs. I know its not easy for them to see me going through this either. Identifying a strong ally has been the hardest thing for me to do because standing up for myself is my area of opportunity-I have found this person though (once again with the help of my Mum and sister). I also have some amazing friends and work colleagues who allow me the freedom to go through whatever I need to, whenever I need to and who encourage me every day to be true to myself and to believe in myself.

Even though I have these strategies at my disposal all the time, when you're emotions are charged and your sadness, anger and frustration is so great you think they will overwhelm you, it can be hard to think clearly about what to do to get you through. So having a list to refer back to is quite a good idea. For now I'm off to escape into a bubble bath followed by some meditation.......

Sunday, August 1, 2010

To Live....

"To Live - to live as though each day, each moment, each passing hour is a blessing, and an opportunity to live a great life, a life in full volition and command of my personal power, but with reverence for the unknowable. That, I believe, is a good life, a life well lived...."

Chief Tecumseh Shawnee Nation Statesman via The Happiness Project

A "Thrilling" Sunday....


Today I got to do something out of the ordinary and attend a Dance Workshop where we learnt a section of the dance from Michael Jackson's Thriller film clip. (It was organised as a goal party for the lululemon team from the ivy store as a reward for our hard work in April and May. As I was still there then, I got invited as well, which was wonderful). It was lots of fun and so great to do something that I don't normally do, ie dance classes or workshops.

The class was followed by lunch in Surry Hills and a chance to catch up with my lululemon gals again (always a pleasure). What I particularly savoured about the day was the chance to see Desirae (a Canadian lulu who we have had the pleasure of having in Oz for the past few months). She is heading home shortly which will be wonderful for her but sad for us. She wasn't with us for a long time but boy has she left a huge impact on me. For someone her age, she possesses such a strong sense of who she is, and is true to that each and every day. I feel so lucky that I was able to have her brilliant light shine on me and that I could play a part in her adventure in Australia. I admire her positivity, her enthusiasm for life and her ability to find and share joy in everything. I have no doubt whatsoever that she will succeed at whatever she puts her hand to in the rest of her life's journey. Today she paid me the ultimate compliment - she told me that she thought my guest experience at lululemon was phenomenal and I was floored. For anyone who has met Desirae, she is the epitomy of amazing lululemon guest experience, so I want her to know how much her words meant to me. Have a safe journey home my lovely. x

Friday, July 30, 2010

The yin and yang.....

A day of stress, chaos, depletion, emptiness, inadequacy, overwhelm, sadness, frustration. A night of calm, peace, compassion, softness, kindness, love and warmth. Thank you yin yoga class - you saved me today.

How much do I love you? Let me count the ways....


To My Dearest Little Man,
On the eve of your second "Happy Birthday" (as you call it) I wanted to record all your amazingness and convey just how much you fill my heart with joy. Even though your independence is challenging your mummy alot lately (trying to get you to understand that you do not require a hair straightener at this stage of your life is a daily battle), I love that you have a fiery spirit and a will to learn and do things for yourself (those Leo characteristics really are shining through right now!). When you wrap your little arms around my neck to huggle me as you go to sleep, my heart bursts. When you sneak into my bedroom and climb up onto my desk to get chocolate, I laugh at how sneaky you are. When you make me do duets with you singing the theme song to Two and a Half Men, I can sing a rainbow, and Baa Baa Haveeanywool (your pronunciation, not mine) into our makeshift microphone, I want the moment to last forever (even though there are only so many times a person can sing Men men men men manly men men men over and over again without going insane). You are really coordinated at hitting and throwing, although our apartment and furniture are bearing the brunt of your need to throw everything, regardless of whether it should be thrown (ie throwing the tv control at the tv is never going to end well). You love horses, particularly saying "Horse Poo" (I blame your father). My favourite time of the day is when I come to daycare to pick you up and you see me and proclaim "My Mummy!" and run to me - breaks my heart every time.

There are so many other wonderful and funny things I could tell you about yourself here, but I would be here all day. So I will finish up by saying you are the most magical person who ever came into my life and I am so privileged that you chose me to be your mummy. I will always be here to love you and support you and that will never ever change. I can't wait to have an amazing Happy Birthday Party with you tomorrow. x your mummy

Today I am Grateful For....

Having the time to get some 'life admin' done.

Doing an extremely sweaty Power Yoga class.

Getting some hot new lululemon gear.

Receiving the cutest gifts from a friend who has just returned from a trip to Japan.

Inspiring conversations with people on my team and different guests at work.

Having 1 sleep to go before my Little Man's 2nd Birthday!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The lulu's have my back.....

What better way to begin your process of standing in your own power than by surrounding yourself with your amazing gal pals? I got the opportunity to do this last night, with 7 of my bestest lululemon girlfriends. We had a dinner together at one of our houses as part of a farewell to our lovely Sue. As I sat at the table and listened to them speak I stopped to appreciate how lucky I am that these women have come into my life and how grateful I am to each and every one of them for what is is that they give to me through who they are. I know that I have the strength to take myself through whatever will come my way, but it sure does help to know that your lulu's also have your back. Much love to each and every one of you. x

P.S. Kimmy Kimmy I am holding you to going on Master Chef - you are a cooking genius!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Revolt

My lack of posts in the past week is due to illness. My body is in revolt it seems. The flu, followed by tonsilitis followed by the current sinus infection (Never had one of these before and Good Lord, never, ever want one again). I firmly believe that all the trapped emotions that I have been experiencing due to my current life situation have blocked the flow of energy in my body and it is quite simply telling me this cannot go on. My body knows it and I can also say that, finally, my mind knows it too. This week sooooo many light bulbs have been turning on for me and I will definitely be sharing them here as soon as I can drain my sinuses (oh, did I mention that the best way to clear your sinuses is to have hot, steamy showers and that the shower in the apartment has been broken for the past week? Kind of sums everything up at the moment......!). Seriously, the univerese is definitely telling me "You are in a bad place and its time to stand in your power to get you to where you need to go". Stay tuned for 'Operation Power'...........

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Manifesto of Encouragement...by Danielle Laporte

right now:

there are Tibetan Buddhist monks in a temple in the Himalayas endlessly reciting mantras for the cessation of your suffering and for the flourishing of your happiness.

Someone you haven't met yet is already dreaming of adoring you.

Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life.

Nun's in the Alps are in endless vigil, praying for the Holy Spirit to alight the hearts of all of God's children.

Someone wants to kiss you, to hold you, to make tea for you. Someone is willing to lend you money, wants to know what your favourite food is, and treat you to a movie. Someone in your orbit has something immensely valuable to give you - for free.

Something is being invented this year that will change how your generation lives, communicates, heals and passes on.

The next great song is being rehearsed.

Thousands of people are in yoga classes right now intentionally sending light out from their heart chakras and wrapping it around the earth.

Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and that it will always be that way.

Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they will be thriving like never before. They just can't see it from where they're at.

Someone who is craving to be partnered, to be acknowledged, to ARRIVE, will get precisely what they want - and even more. And because that gift will be so fantastical in its reach and sweetness, it will quite magically alter their memory of angsty longing and render it all "so worth the wait."

Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche - this luminous juju is floating in the ether and is accessible to you.

Someone, just this second, wished for world peace in earnest.

Someone is fighting the fight so that you don't have to.

Some civil servant is making sure that you get your mail, and your garbage is picked up, that the trains are running on time and that you are generally safe. Someone is dedicating their days to protecting your civil liberties and clean drinking water.

Someone is regaining their sanity. Someone is coming back from the dead. Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable. Someone is curing the incurable.

You. Me. Some. One. Now.


All I have to say is 'Wow'. Read Danielle Laporte's blog today. It will change your life.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crazy Busy Week....

A crazy busy past week for me. I am now actually sick, which is probably no surprise given how busy I've been (and that the little man has also been sick). This morning my lululemon team and I went to a 6:15am power yoga class at Power Living so we could propose to a potential ambassador. For anyone who doesn't know, every lululemon store has Ambassadors who are yogi's or PT's etc who are guru's in their field. They are like an extension of the lululemon family but they don't actually work in the store. Anyway, today's potential Ambassador said yes, which is awesome because she is amazing. If anyone who is reading this has the chance to check out Tobie's class at Power Living Manly, you should! The class was followed by a staff meeting and then me dashing off to work to open the store. A productive morning but I've now reached my threshold and am going to take the next two days off due to sickness. Time to slow down and get over this flu/chest infection thing I have had going on all week.

This has also been a huge week of realisations for me (to be honest most of my weeks lately have been full of mental challenges and lessons). For the past two weeks I've been a person I don't want to be and this week I realised that it was all due to fear. Whilst fear is not something we can eliminate from our lives, it is something that can be transformed depending upon our reaction to it. Last week I let it get the better of me and slipped back into my 'act'. I reverted back to being the Bel who questioned or even denied her strength, and I let everything get on top of me. I knew that I was sabotaging myself and letting myself down right when I needed to take a stand the most. Luckily for me, the universe conspired to help me recognise this in the form of some very inspiring e-magazines on fear and, primarily, through an amazing email from my sister. The change in my twin sister over the past few months in particular has been so great. She was great before this but recently, she has just made such awesome progress in terms of looking after her own mental, spiritual and physical health. This is reflected in how grounded she is and in what she is able to give to others (particularly when she is 9 months pregnant and no-one would expect her to have anything to give). If anything though, she has been my rock over the last 3 months or so and I am basically in awe of her. She also suffered from postnatal depression with her first child but rather than letting this weigh on her the second time around, she has been so proactive in doing yoga and meditation and getting acupuncture etc. She acknowledges that the fear is there but rather than letting it get the better of her, she has asked herself what she can do to turn the situation around and has used this as an opportunity to learn something and to grow. So even though there will be some fear within her, she has control over it, and that makes all the difference. I don't know whether the postnatal depression will elude her this time (though obviously I'm praying for her that it will). But what I do know is that whatever happens, she is going to get through it, she will continue to be an amazing mother and that I will be right by her side every step of the way. Much love sis. x

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Become Incredible.....

image by rogvon via flickr
The GM of Store Operations for lululemon athletica Australia has offered to mentor/coach me. I feel really privileged that she is giving up part of her already ridiculously busy life to include me in it in this way. One of the first tasks she asked me to complete was a questionnaire regarding my life and different aspects of it, which really required me to think quite hard and challenge myself to go deeper in some areas. She is so great though because she doesn't let me 'get away' with anything and will call me on things, especially when I'm being mediocre.
The second thing I have done is to read a book called "Become Incredible" by internationally acclaimed self-made millionaire, Jordan Wirsz. There were some great exercises in the book to to get me clear on what motivates me and the 'whys' that are behind my passions in life. Part of this process involved me writing my mission statement. It felt so good to get back on track with this, as I have been missing having this strong sense of 'me' and how I want to live my life. So here is my mission statement. I'm putting it out into the universe because speaking it makes it real. Also, feel free to hold me accountable to being the person I describe here!

I, Bel Youll, choose to live my life being the most amazing person I can be each and every day. I am unique, creative and powerful and I am destined for greatness. I am a leader who leads by example at all times and I use my talents to inspire and empower people all over the world to live their lives to the full. I am a strong female role model for my son and I am the possibility of unconditional love and inspiration for everyone around me. I choose to live my life with passion and positivity and I love every minute of my extraordinary life.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Shift That Makes A Difference.....

Enlightened society happens one by one...You shift. I shift. My neighbour shifts. Someone in Angola shifts. A person in Russia shifts, someone in the Philippines shifts. A gang member shifts. A Parliament member shifts. A mother shifts. A child shifts. A news commentator shifts. A prisoner shifts. A warden shifts. A homeless person shifts. Once you realise this, peacefulness and a deep respect for human beings are natural. The help that's needed is to help each person shift, and as they shift, they help the rest of us shift, too. There is no real recipe, except working with what the world presents from the point of view of basic goodness, compassion, and courage. The key is never to make a separation between your practice and your everyday life. - Cynthia Kneen (Author of the book "Awake Mind, Open Heart").

I like to think that my blog is one of those things that will help everyone shift. I hope you do too.