beyond reach…restless ramblings

It’s 9:15am on Tuesday, Easter Tuesday. It’s a long weekend and I’m sitting listening to the cyclic waves crashing against the sandy shoreline no more than 20 metres away from the comfort of my camp chair.

Numerous boats rock gently moared 100m from shore in front of me, behind me our trusty Sunliner campervan, within which my partner snores. (Ok, poetic license on that one…she’s not snoring, but has fallen back to sleep).

I’m wrestling. This should be a place of comfort, contentment, of relaxation…yet I find myself strangely agitated, circumspect and unable to settle into a headspace of calm peaceful rest. I’ve flicked between my book, my sudoku, my phone (upon which I’m currently typing). I’m aware that this state of unease is most unusual for me.

Questions percolate: am I avoiding something I’d rather not think about? Is there something troubling me that I’m unaware of? Is this energetic agitation gearing me for directed activity and unknown but needed outlet – for which I’m currently oblivious to?

As a counsellor my mind locates strategies for bringing me back into the here-and-now; I attend to my thoughts, acknowledging and accepting them, yet the restlessness remains. Have I seriously been this wound up for the past few months?

I’m reminded of wisdom shared from an old mentor that it often takes 3 weeks break to fully unwind and allow the internal bodily systems to dissipate stored adrenalin and cortisol created from carrying excess and accumulated stress. I’ve been enjoying this current road trip for a mere 3 days, hardly 3 weeks. I find this somewhat reassuring and comforting.

Stop. Breath. Look up. Breath. Listen to the waves. Breath. Look at the boats. Breath. Watch the seagulls. Breath.

Energy to burn? Agitation to soothe? Peace to find? Motivation to direct? Pause.

In silence and solitude is the souls rest. I’m surrounded by stimulation, perhaps that’s what’s stirring this discontent?

Yesterday we spotted a sizable bird of prey standing over a dead kangaroo. Alas our u-turn and pulling over to get a photo stirred this bird to take flight into the security of the surrounding plantation forest. And whilst we waited patiently with the engine off the bird failed to return.

Still, we saw the expansive wing span of this majestic creature and were awed by its beauty and grace as it flew. I love birds of prey – this was seriously sizable, much bigger than a field hawk, likely an eagle, the largest I’ve seen live. I smile as I recall this, knowing this memory will eventually fade.

Waiting. Watching. Hoping. Perhaps this encounter is reflective of my current self? Longing for a glimpse of something that is within visual reach, yet cannot be captured?

My internally conflicted ethical dilemma…a personal reflection

What’s with all this self-promotion?

I have to be honest. I really struggle with narcissism, not mine, but others. I laugh regularly with my step-son with his tendency to post selfies…like seriously twenty times a day!!! What’s with that??? I get that it’s a generational trend and he uses it as a way of socialising with his friends…but for me, I find it both amusing, and somewhat mildly disturbing. But that isn’t the essence of this blog…this is about my own struggle with self-promotion.

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Introducing Anchored for Life

It’s been a long road putting together Anchored for Life. A road with many twists, turns and even a few dead ends. Completing my Master of Clinical Counselling at the end of 2017 was no mean feat!

Along the way I’ve been reminded “Why” I chose to do it; been tempted to “cut and run”; had moments of self-doubt and way too many occasions when the financial implications of study, both in terms of overall cost (they don’t come cheap!), but more so the loss of income and cash flow due to employment changes made to accommodate the needs to complete the course and it’s required placement hours, took a hefty toll!!!

At one point I faced the hard conversation that nearly resulted in my inability to cover my mortgage. Talk about stressful!

Yet, I remained dedicated, driven even, in my efforts to finish. There was merit in finishing in and of itself. But there was more to it, at least for me anyway. I’ve long had people joke about me being a psych; psych friends who said I was more psych than they were; others who after talking to me about some concern, challenge or dilemma they were confronted by would comment about how helpful I’d been, how gifted even. Others used phrases such as calling or destined to be a counsellor.

At the end of the day, others opinions, affirmations and accolades, whilst lovely to hear, aren’t my motivation, nor my reward.

I’ve tried to do a one-take video describing the basics of how the unfolding story of Anchored for Life came to be. This blog was really the first “testing the waters” of my larger vision and dream.

It’s now been several years since I was involved in a cause-based role requiring me to advocate the needs of others. Now it’s my turn. I hope that after watching this short video explaining the logo, values and meaning underpinning Anchored for Life that you may give consideration to a concept I call “Community Counselling Fund”.

Simply, would you contribute to the cost of others accessing Counselling who may otherwise be unable to afford it?

Check it out and let me know what you think.

YouTube video: Introducing Anchored for Life

The art of trying…again. 

I’m enjoying a coffee midway into a 50km ride. It got me thinking. I ride to be healthy. I ride to maintain my middle age weight. I ride coz it’s good for me. I ride coz I can. I ride coz it’s free. I ride coz it’s freedom. There are time I don’t feel like riding. I can prepare, fuel my body, ensure my bikes in good order; yet if I don’t get out & ride it counts for nothing. Knowledge alone cannot and will not bring about change.

Academics and industry specific experts would have us believe that science, evidence and data are the essence of improvement, advancement and progression. It’s true that there is merit in monitoring, reviewing and tracking specific indicators that indeed can enhance and explain performance. Yet, motivation, persistence and sheer stubborn determination remain a mystery. The handle of hope after a fall from grace, a failure in business or relationship or the bruising of ego following a demotion or retrenchment can leave an individual questioning confidence, capacity and sense of identity and worth. Therein lies some of the mystery of being human that goes beyond measurement. 

Resilience and overcoming adversity are closely aligned. The more adversity one faces the greater the capacity to overcome and build resilience. Whether it’s a teenager confronted by social exclusion; or worse, bullying; an employee constantly overlooked for promotion or those on the dating merry-go-round going on yet another possibility, there resides an ounce of hope that things will change for the better. 

Mindfulness teaches us to BE HERE NOW. Accepting our circumstances, status, limitations as well as our dreams & hopes provides the platform for change. Denial of our thoughts & feelings simply perpetuates the dynamo of resistance. Acceptance & persistence facilitate change. The art of trying…again. 

Beyond broken…was it worth it?

Anytime we embark on a new venture, whether it be in business, job, sport, hobby, study, relocation or relationship we have times we look back and pose the question “was it worth it?”

Question-asking is important. Questions help explore, unpack, uncover and dig deeper beyond what presents itself as obvious. Questions can be comforting “How are you coping?” Questions can be inquisitive “I was wondering…” Questions can be creative “If there was one thing you’d love to be doing…” Questions can be confronting “What were you thinking?” Questions can give voice to the mysterious “What the hell is going on here?” Questions can be asked of questions “Why is that important?”

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Beyond broken…life lessons from my bar fridge

I hate throwing things away – not that I hoard, but I’d rather reshape, repair or re-purpose than simply go out and replace. It’s why I love restoring old furniture – giving it new life. It’s a core value that I seek to hold true.

My fridge died. My lawn mower died. My dryer died. All within weeks of each other. There were moments of exasperation “You’ve got to be kidding me!”; “You can’t be serious!” and “WTF!?!?!”

Reality is things have a lifespan.   Continue reading