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