Browsing Tag

finding alexander

From Benches to Beaches

I’ve been to a lot of benches by the ocean and walked on a lot of beaches in the past year. Majority of them with my camera but I’ve been going without my camera or my headphones, due to a good outside influence.

Going to the beach has always been about winding down from stresses in work and life. During a fairly stressful time this year, I hadn’t been down at all for nearly 6 weeks, and when it was pointed out to me that maybe if I went I’d feel less stressed, and they were right. I needed to “ground myself”, and they couldn’t have been any more right at that time.

Getting to the beach and digging my toes into the sand came with a tingling feeling, it could have been just because the sand was freezing cold given we were in the middle of winter. But it felt like all my stresses were running out of my toes while I reconnected myself.
It reminded me of every now and then when I went to the beach on a walk, I’d come across an elderly Japanese man, still in his business suit from the workday. He would still be decked out but not wearing shoes, and it was only until recently that it occurred to me that he was grounding himself.

I remember as a kid I’d spend my summers down the beach, I’d come home with sand all over me and hair feeling like a wire brush from all the saltwater. I’d sleep in it, and feel sand in the bed and on the floor. As an adult, I get in my car and I brush the sand off my feet so I don’t get it in my shoes, or in the car, or in my bed. When I have that spontanous urge to go to the beach after work, I would pull up my jeans so they didnt get wet or sand on them. It’s just a pair of jeans, I have more pairs, it’ll wash out. It’s not the end of the world if I get sand and water on them is it?

Is this something that changed over time as we become an adult and we start to prevent everything that irritates us that didn’t as a kid? Why did we start caring so much about things like this? Is it the opinion of others because we live that lifestyle a little more carefree than most?

It only took a few words from someone with a big heart to remind me that sometimes I need to get in touch with everything outside of me to remind me the small things in life need to be appreciated on a regular basis.
This might just very well direct me on the path I want and need to be heading.

Ketogenic Unknown

Another long weekend has rolled around and I’m using my Monday day off to continue with the binge watch of Anthony Bourdain’s, Parts Unknown.

While I’ve been watching it to reignite me going into the kitchen and cook, instead of hating the space. It’s also made me think a little more about the food we eat, and that’s besides that I’m trying ketogenic again.

There are a lot of other cultures that make everything from scratch, mostly with natural fresh ingredients. Cuba is essentially an organic country because they don’t have the economy to support pesticides and what not to keep bugs away. So they grow and use everything that’s seasonal. And not much is preserved either.

Some countries and cultures have a lot more time to cook and prepare food, and by having a simpler, slower way of life. They live longer and healthier. Their diets aren’t carbohydrate based like most of the western world.

First came 30 minute meals by Jamie Oliver, then 15 minute meals. Designed so people who wanted to cook still could around their busy schedule. But does any of these people slow down and spend hours cooking something from scratch? Do they grab a can or a jar for the convenience? And has it just become a reflex to do so? And I don’t think anyone ever really stops to think about what’s in that jar of sauce. It’s not hard to boil, peel and turn tomatoes into pasta sauce, add in some salt and pepper, basil and other stuff and you’ll have something that’s not filled with a whole bunch of names you can’t pronounce.

The same goes for that jar of honey soy sauce, have you thought of adding soy sauce and honey to your stir fry? It’s not hard and it’s probably quicker to do when you spend 5 minutes trying to open that jar.

I’m making more of an effort to give myself more free time and dedicate it to cooking better. Lets see how long that lasts though.

Peace be the journey

The last month has been a roller-coaster to say the least, incredible highs, incredible lows. Lots of happiness and lots of sadness.

Three years ago when I took the plunge into getting some counselling/life coaching I didn’t really know what awaited. I know I’d experienced heart break and being stripped down to nothing. But a journey had started, I’ve learnt many things along the way and I continue to do so. I was told I had to get used to “bragging” and talking about the things I do, I was told to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. As I’ve travelled this journey I’ve had something each time that happened that felt like a piece of the puzzle to this journey.

In my most recent session last week, I explained how my week had been and where my headspace was at. It wasn’t in a particularly great space, and my heart was being pulled in two directions. One, from meeting someone new and having a full unexpected connection to them, to revisiting an old one and seeking answers and closure, of which I had a strong connection with as well.

I’d dipped my toe in the dating world a little over the past few months, coffee, dinner, movies. Whatever at the time to meet someone new. But the date never progressed past a first, and I felt no connection with any of them. It was only until I’d met someone unexpectedly I had the first strong connection since I can remember. It felt like every piece of that puzzle on my journey now fell into place. From the things I had learnt, to the music I had listened to, ideas for the future and things I wanted in life, they were all part of the puzzle as they were mutual between both of us.

I had to “brag” about the things I had done to continue conversation, and get uncomfortable when I do that. I still struggle to do that. But the layers around me came off and I dropped my guard because I met someone who was unexpectedly and whole heartedly themselves and I was okay with that. A wonderful woman with more thought and intent from her heart that I’ve come across. My cup overflowed and every corner of me felt something for the first time in a long time.  We talked about a lot, life, love, music, things that we are passionate about. We watched sunsets, walked on the beach and continued talking about anything until we stared at the stars, which I can’t remember the last time I even did that.

The unfortunate thing was, the timing seemed to be wrong. As much as she said she was broken even though I didn’t think it. A string of relationships had led her to the point where she was overwhelmed at someone treating her differently, and led her not wanting any contact. As much as she said other things as to why we shouldn’t have contact, I think they were just there to distance us from each other so she can protect herself.

But during that process, I felt like I needed to deal with some past issues. So I got in contact with someone who had left an impression on me from a long time ago, so that I could deal with the thoughts that still remained in my head. It’s been weird reconnecting with someone who gave a lot of heart break, but strangely we slotted right back in where we left off, it was a familiar place and comfort.

While talking to my counsellor, she started a diagram of my journey when it’s come to my love life and the lessons it has taught me along the way. I started at severe heartbreak, the next moved onto exercising patience. The next was a new experience and dynamics of a relationship, but also continued to be an asset in my life and continued support since.

The next was a lesson in reminding me what I wanted in a relationship. While we had similar morals, interests and it came from a place of love. There was jealousy and in the same form I’ve seen before and I wasn’t willing to go down that path again.

The most recent is yet to teach me a lesson, I let my guard down when I had someone who showed they cared and listened intently.

By my counsellor showing my this path and contacting my initial place of heartbreak, I had gone full circle in my journey, and I’m waiting on the remaining piece of my puzzle to fall into place. But also that the last person who grabbed hold of me so hard is still there to come back into my life, she’s not done with me yet, and for me to understand that I have all the previous lessons I have learned over the past few years from lovers to reflect on to guide me the right way.

The first layer of my journey has been peeled off, and soon I’ll be starting the next.

Change of the guard

Earlier in the year I stepped down from my duties at a cricket club I’d played at for some time, I lost the love for a game that I’d played for a long time. I found no fun, no enjoyment. People’s attitudes were creeping in and it became toxic. Being a member of the committee meant more time doing stuff for the club rather than playing a game and enjoying myself. Eventually, I stopped enjoying myself, and when insults came from people during a game I simply had enough and walked away.

I sat with the idea of giving it up altogether, or moving to another club. A different environment. I had to be selfish for my own sake for once. So after many months of thinking it over I eventually shifted clubs.

New faces, new places, a whole lot of new everything. A new environment has been a breath of fresh air, I’ve enjoyed my cricket so far this year. I’m getting a lot more of a role which I wasn’t expecting, but also high expectations came when I joined that I would be doing a lot, so personally I don’t think I’ve fired yet. I’m hoping I can contribute more than I have to the team, I’m with a great bunch of guys, and there is a huge cultural difference to the previous one. Going from mostly white Australian players to having half the team from the sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka). They all have a different lease on the game. They have fun, they play hard and they are happy to lift other players, give them encouragement and advice.

I’ve even had some coaching (see: advice from a mate) on my batting. In the years of playing cricket at my last club with a paid coach I never got any. I got a few minutes with someone who isn’t a coach but I took their advice and I’m playing better than I have in years.

I’m looking forward to how much more I can do this year, even it’s a little bit.

Your friends limit is exceeded

I came to the revelation the other day, that life itself has a limit for your friends list. I’m not talking about Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. But you’re actual real life, and occasionally if you stick your head up from your phone, you’ll see great graphics and dynamic game plays, difficulty setting on high and you can’t change it.

2017 has been one of those years where I’ve sat back more and observed, mainly the people in my life. Those who come, those who stay, and those who only drop in like it’s a pit-stop. I got tired of those who come and go as they please, the ones I’d text, call, or message on some format and see how they were doing. I got rid of Facebook nearly two years ago, barely anyone noticed and my parents still seem to think I’m on there despite multiple times telling them I’m not.

I’ve had people come and talk to me about their life problems, how crap it is for them, and ask for advice. Then leave, only to ignore anything I said in the first place and for me to watch idly on the sidelines while it happens over and over again. I stopped engaging with these people and now I don’t hear from them. There’s also the toxic ones who are no longer there as well.

But it feels like at some stage life got an error message “Your friends limit is exceeded”, and nothing was going to change from there. But by seeing what happens when I don’t be myself, who usually checks in on people and see’s how they are doing. I found no one goes out of their way to contact me, it’s been somewhat of a purge. But in that process I’ve removed people off that friends list, and been able to allow good, and great people come flooding in, and now I’m more selective about who I let in and who gets my time.

I guess this is my version of being selfish, I changed cricket clubs to a new environment where I’m enjoying a game that’s given me a lot of joy. When I’ve had no joy in it for such a long time. I’ve changed my environment to allow good people in, and those who pay no attention to the world around them, and make no effort have drifted out and unaware of what’s going on. They don’t understand there’s bigger stuff than themselves going on.  But sometimes we need to be selfish to those people.

I guess the other thing is, I’m only putting as much time into people as I feel they deserve. There’s only so much I can ask people about catching up until eventually, I give up and stop asking. Despite being told I shouldn’t be the person who gives up.

What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

I came across this post sometime early in 2017, and it made a lot of sense. I thought it’s worth reposting, not only for others but also to reference for myself at some stage. Just in case the post disappears I guess.


What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?

What if I all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between. Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?

The world is such a noisy place. Loud, haranguing voices lecturing me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. For bigger and better. Sacrifice sleep for productivity. Strive for excellence. Go big or go home. Have a huge impact in the world. Make your life count.

But what if I just don’t have it in me. What if all the striving for excellence leaves me sad, worn out, depleted. Drained of joy. Am I simply not enough?

What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up – beyond mom and sister and wife. But these people in my primary circle of impact know they are loved and that I would choose them again, given the choice. Can this be enough?

What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship. What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough.

What if I don’t want to write a cookbook or build a six-figure business or speak before thousands. But I write because I have something to say and I invest in a small community of women I care about and encourage them to love and care for themselves well. Because bigger isn’t always better and the individual matters. She is enough.

What if I just accept this mediocre body of mine that is neither big nor small. Just in between. And I embrace that I have no desire to work for rock hard abs or 18% body fat. And I make peace with it and decide that when I lie on my deathbed I will never regret having just been me. Take me or leave me.

What if I am a mediocre home manager who rarely dusts and mostly maintains order and makes real food but sometimes buys pizza and who is horrified at moments by the utter mess in some areas of her home. Who loves to menu plan and budget but then breaks her own rules and pushes back against rigidity. Who doesn’t care about decorating and fancy things. Whose home is humble but safe.

What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up. And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, Spirit, Soul healthy. Am I enough?

What if I am too religious for some and not spiritual enough for others. Non-evangelistic. Not bold enough. Yet willing to share in quiet ways, in genuine relationship, my deeply rooted faith. And my doubts and insecurities. This will have to be enough.

And if I have been married 21 years and love my husband more today than yesterday but have never had a fairy tale romance and break the “experts” marriage rules about doing a ton of activities together and having a bunch in common. And we don’t. And we like time apart and time together. Is our marriage good enough?

What if I am a mom who delights in her kids but needs time for herself and sometimes just wants to be first and doesn’t like to play but who hugs and affirms and supports her kids in their passions. A mediocre mom who can never live up to her own expectations of good enough, let alone yours.

What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same. Accept that all I really want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough.


Source: https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/want-mediocre-life/

Even music can soothe the savage beast

I’ve been surrounded by music for as long as I can remember, I guess that’s what happens when the house you grow up in has a recording studio attached to it. I got a guiatar for my 16th birthday, although that didnt last long and I broke 3 fingers. Now I play it badly. I can pick up the drums, and play that badly too. But I’m still surrounded up until now, there isn’t a moment where I don’t have something going. The realisation is that I listen to a lot of music since a teenager through to now is to block out the noise, either the outside world or the torment that goes on in my head on a daily basis. It’s a good block for mental clutter.

It’s funny how certain albums or artists come along at times of need though. I remember having to deal with a lot of heavy stuff through 2013 and 2014, and I spent most of that listening to Deftones ‘Koi No Yokan’. It got me through a tough time in my life.

I hit another tough time in my life recently, and I thought maybe it would help again. But this time it didn’t, being a long-time Deftones fan usually any of their music can settle me down and put me back in good headspace. But this time it didn’t.

It’s been harder this time around, but I’ve found some comfort in Northlanes new album ‘Mesmer’.

I still struggle with a lot, but I guess listening to music helps me push through. But sometimes a string of lyrics and words can remind you of people, lost loves, lost friends and hard times you’ve come upon through life.

I can only imagine what will come the next time I need music like this again.

With a little help from my friends

I’ve found over the past few years I have a lot of people who come to me for advice, more specifically relationships, mental health and dealing with situations they’ve run out of ideas with. I’ve been told a few times I think a bit more than other people. Higher capacity? I’m not sure, I can’t really think of the words right now.
I’ve always been the one who holds up to be strong and still able to think when there’s disaster. Even with my own life, but that’s not always the case. While these people are friends, it got to the stage where I felt like an emotional drop in house. People would have no contact with me for a while, and then I’d get a text, a call or something out of nowhere because something in life has caused them a problem. After a while I had to say no, it was costing me friendships and relationships.

It’s probably cost more recently, because I’m that person everyone comes to for advice they seem to have this expectation that I can always help and always give advice. But there’s no forethought that I too, can be dealing with my own issues.

It’s like I guess that because of who I am, I’m not allowed to have a break down, ever.

For the first time in a long time, I struggled to handle something in my own life. But all those who were dependant on me when they needed help, have shut me out. I already had very little friends at that stage, and I guess that shows who the people are in your life. Whether they are there to support you when it gets tough, or they are ready to run.

Mirror mirror on the wall…

There should always be time for self reflection, be it how you go in a job, your personality, your goals, and even relationships. It’s easy to get caught up in the busy parts with life, people pulling you left and right, the constant stream of work that needs to get done because of demands. Always make time for yourself to wind down, and always make time to reflect on how these things are progressing, and if they suit you.

It came to the forefront of my mind recently, that while I’m busy doing other things that I feel I need to do, prioritise or want to get done. It can come at a sacrifice to others, their well-being, headspace and health in general. Three things come to mind now, my commitments to the cricket club, voluntary commitments to others that I may help in some form or another, and also my own headspace being caught up with whatever may be bothering me. Those examples are that I was tipping a lot of time into getting the cricket clubs season up and running, I was also helping a friend who was doing some fundraising for Beyond Blue to create awareness of depression and anxiety, and I was also stuck in a place where I felt I had no control over my health. Waiting on a magical pill or doctors to find some way that my Fibromyalgia could have it’s symptoms reduced, instead of trying things on my own.

The problem with these is that while I was helping someone to raise awareness of depression and anxiety, I wasn’t paying the attention I should have to the woman I love and care about. Going through the same battle herself, it drips in irony. While I wasn’t completely shut off from this, sometimes taking action may be what’s needed to help them, to show that you’re paying attention to what’s going on with them and know that they are fighting a battle. But that they aren’t fighting the battle alone, they will have the support, love and care they need behind them through a tough time. They can’t see an end to it, that’s what the people for love and support are for, to show them that there is light at the end and things will be better.

Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up. – Alfred Pennyworth

It’s these kind of events that you need to take a step back, and realise that family, and people you love. Come first. They will, and have been the ones there when you’ve needed it. The ones you’re comfortable with, the one you can laugh and cry with. The one who will tell you during the bad times that things will get better, and enjoy the moment when the good times are there.

I was caught up in my own headspace trying to fix myself, knowing that there was nothing I could do to control it and didn’t offer any logical support, and that was a shitty thing to do. It’s something to learn from, something to take on board and self reflect from.

This is certainly the first relationship where I’ve found something close to “opposites attract” and is actually true. While there isn’t a great deal in common when it comes to hobbies and things we enjoy. There’s a certain comfort that comes from it, no expectations to be anyone we are not. Just ourselves. It’s fun and a good place to be in. Enjoy the simple things, like tea and custard tarts, and the odd arse crack and fart on Snapchat.

Swoots are for Snoots

Success… should mean never having to wear a suit. I hate suits, they are uncomfortable, expensive, impractical and wearing a tie is just plain horrible.

Why should success in a business-world be determined by what we wear? Why should our success be determined by likes, looks, or how much money we make? Maybe our success should be determined by our happiness, the value that one can get and give out of our day jobs. You could be earning millions, but still not be happy or find yourself fulfilled and satisfied with your job.
Maybe a dollar sign isn’t what drives you to do what you do, maybe seeing a smile on someone’s face is. We all do the nine to five grind because it is comfortable and familiar.

Are people too caught up in producing a brand that they have forgotten about identity? Have we forgotten what a human touch is? There is too much in the world now that has a lack of face, a lack of humanity to it. It’s a sterile and uncomfortable environment.

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” – Horace Mann

Don’t be ashamed to be selfless and do something that makes you happy. If sitting in front of the white backlight of a computer screen no longer makes you happy, then change the things around you. People sacrifice doing what makes them happy to do what they think is right. That job as an accountant might pay well, but you’re busy dreaming about building things in your shed out of timber and getting paid to do it. The smells of the hardwoods, the oils and machinery, every time you cut into the grains and ready to create your next piece that lasts a lifetime. Now back to the reality of that co-worker who marinated in cologne this morning, people demanding you like you have a clone so you can be in two places at once. It’s nice being in demand, but not too unrealistic expectations. This is not Star Wars and this is not Attack of the Clones, there is only one of us.

When I was five years old, my Mom told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.” [-]

With an impending career change on the horizon, the motivation behind it comes from personal experience. I no longer want to meet peoples unrealistic demands, but I’d rather do something I enjoy that has a positive impact on those I want to work with. I want to make people smile when they feel like they are helping the greater good, and reaching their full potential. It’s my own personal agenda, to help everyone reduce today’s footprint for tomorrows little feet.

The whole idea of a career change is to cultivate a career around my wants and needs of a lifestyle. The wants of a career to what and who I deal with, as well as the needs to be flexible for my health and working with like-minded passionate people. At the end of it, I’ll feel happy when I can work contently in a location that does not have the interruptions of the busy city, nine to five grind. Somewhere I can work quietly amongst the green scenery.  I prefer the quiet over chaos, I want my own time and not to be everyone else’s time. The perfect fit, not the perfect result.