Lighten the load

This fine Monday morning, as I reflect on the week just past and I plan for the one ahead, I am reminded of a favourite story of mine.  I can’t recall where I first came across it, possibly this inspiring website but what I do know, is as soon as I read it and understood its message, I felt sure that it was a keeper.

It goes like this:

A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.

The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman. (more…)

Forever and a day

19 years ago today, a wonderful man left this earth but he has never left my heart, nor, I believe, my side.  It took me a long time to accept that he was gone and now that I have dealt with my buried grief, I am able to face the heartache that his departure caused for 16-year-old me; I am able to learn from it, to be grateful for the good times we had together and to smile when I think about him.

This man was my grandad and he was like a second dad to me. I spent weekends and

IMG_0911
My grandad and 2-year-old me

long school holidays staying at the bungalow where him and my nan lived. He was house bound due to chronic illness and had been since I was born but he never let us know about any pain he was experiencing. He was always ready to share the colourful and lifelike photos of that month’s National Geographic or a game of wooden solitaire when we walked through the door.

(more…)

What’s your story?

Today is my first day back in my home office after a week away. I was leading writing workshops and, even though the week was a success, *long exhale of happiness* I am incredibly grateful to be back where I belong.

It was a jam-packed week of work; I led 5 full-day workshops with 15 talented year 9 writers and their English teachers and the feedback was positive and reassuring. The downside, however, was that being away from the home, and feeling stuck inside an uninspiring hotel room on my own (namely without my dog and in-house shadow, Austin), led to the rearing of anxiety’s ugly head.  It was much worse than it’s been in a long time and its arrival shocked me, which I think doubled its impact. (more…)

The key ingredient to life

Screen Shot 2018-06-23 at 16.23.20Gratitude.

It’s something we are reminded about as kids often. Saying please and thank you was a constant in our house growing up.

‘Don’t forget your manners.’

‘What do you need to say to __________?’

Or my favourite, ‘What’s the magic word(s)?’

(more…)

A dash of magic

Friday thoughts.

I am choosing to be optimistic after going on a bit of inner rollercoaster this week.

I’ve got a lot on. It’s all work stuff and I’m grateful for it and yet, as I said in my previous post, by Wednesday my mood was heavy and I woke up feeling quite low.

Blasting music definitely helped; singing aloud and letting the tears flow definitely helped; writing in my diary definitely helped and so did another long walk in the forest later that day, but still, when I woke up on Thursday morning, my emotions felt hard to pin down, my thoughts were flipping from what could wrong to what could go right and honestly, the constant mental chatter was exhausting me.

(more…)

This is me!

Being happy takes work.

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 10.21.27

This morning I am well into my daily working routine and already feeling accomplished by 9am (a bloody good day so far!), but it’s Wednesday and I feel mentally drained from sitting at my desk for the last two days solidly doing prep for upcoming events and tutoring in the evenings.

I’ve got a busy few weeks ahead with my business Story Chefs and it’s exciting work. One job is a first for me as a writer in residence at a university and the other jobs are in schools and at a festival. It’s going to be a great month work wise, I can feel it bubbling and as the years of self-doubt slide away, I am happy to be doing work that lifts me up.

(more…)

Removing the stigma – It’s okay not to be okay

As I drive this new road, sharing the ups and downs of my mental health experience,  I’ve discovered something simple yet mind blowing.

On the opposite side of fear, we usually meet acceptance.

More often than not, when I share how I’m feeling or talk about the emotions I’ve experienced in the past with someone I trust, the person I am telling opens up about a time they felt the same or experienced something similar.

I am aware that the freelance lifestyle I have carved out, and am still continuing to mould, allows me to be more open and I guess, that’s why I started steering this way in the first place – so I could be more me.

(more…)