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

Personal benchmarking…redefining success

The boys played with intensity, few errors and as always, played above themselves. The team I coach struggles for lack of height and by the end of the game not only could we not buy a basket, we simply couldn’t hold their three talls out any longer. The scoresheet shows we lost. Though narrow, an L is an L. Yet for me, the team played a fantastic game. As ever, sport teaches valuable life lessons: we can’t always win, we do make mistakes and even when we play well, “success” must be measured in other ways. Continue reading

When all hell breaks loose, how do you stay anchored?

During storms, during conflict, during stress, how do you remain centred, stay calm with a strong sense of security, and retain your sanity and the substance of who you are?

Wondering how you can build (or perhaps rebuild) values-based resilience and wellbeing?

Looking for a listening ear and need competent confidential counselling?
Need a life coach to walk with you through transition and change?
Need someone anchored to reality during uncertain times? Continue reading

D…is for damn, where does time go?

Confession and explanation time, particularly to those who have graciously chosen to follow my blog.

I’m new to this, and oddly I feel conflicted between wanting to blog in order to somehow offer something of value to you the reader, partly to disseminate so many of my random musings and eclectic (some say extensive) experience(s) – and feeling bad (a false guilt thing going on) because I strangely feel like I’m letting you down (whoever you are); and at the same time knowing that it’s been a somewhat busy season of life and finding time to write consistently on top of work, study – and the deadlines for assessments, running a home, juggling shared parenting, coaching my eldest sons basketball team, trying to keep up with friends who are likewise juggling and balancing life’s often competing demands; and so telling myself that I can’t do everything…and that’s ok!

There are times & seasons in life when cutting myself some slack is important (for those who know anything about being a first born, a Leo (if you’re into that sort of thing), with an over-developed sense of responsibility and an ever-unfolding, but still ever-present perfectionist streak, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So, I’m back. I’ve completed the last of my assessments for my semesters study (woohoo!!) and now have some head and time space to catch up on my blogging.

Before I do get back into it and pick up on my previous blog…in my travels I’ve met some incredible people over the past month or so.

I met one woman who spoke about hope in the midst of a battle zone.  She was a Palestinian Christian living in East Jerusalem. She was inspiring and full of laughter as she spoke about what life is really like without citizenship, living under suspicion and constant conflict.  But I was saddened when I asked her how she was going to go transitioning back into ‘home’ after travelling Australia.

After her 4 weeks here, she said I was the only person who’d asked how she was, and was going to cope.  Way too often, people are seen for what we can get from them, including guest speakers, and we de-humanise them into a commodity and our interactions become transactional, often without intending to and realising that’s what we are doing.  I’ve worked in public non-for-profit education/awareness/fundraising roles for over a decade and know the delicate tightrope of this dynamic.

I met an incredibly vibrant young woman working in the medical field.  As we chatted over coffee (ironically she doesn’t normally drink coffee and this 5pm catch up kept her up until after 3am…for those avid coffee drinkers, what an amateur! lol – we did laugh about it!) she told me a story that nearly flawed me. I wasn’t expecting it and 2 weeks on find myself still reflecting on it.

She was diagnosed with cancer 5 yrs ago, a rare cancer. As she shared a little of her struggle through chemo, including how her cat would sit on her lap while spending hours on the toilet throwing up (and now gets ticked off when toilet breaks aren’t nearly as long!); and it reminded me of way too many people (including my own dad) I know who’ve battled the many murderous malicious and bastard strains of cancer – if you haven’t picked it up, I hate it!  But this woman, her courage, her tenacity, she was, no, is inspiring. Her goal whilst receiving treatment came to her through a picture, she would live to walk the New York Manhatten climb. She is well on her way to achieving this goal. She’s so aware that she’s been gifted a new lease on life, but she needed a goal, a reason, to help navigate the darker days.

There’s a saying that I love “Shit happens, keep living anyway”. Finding hope is so important in the face of adversity.  Having something, or someone, to pull you through the dark night of the soul (keep an eye out for an upcoming blog on this) is critical to simply surviving times of trauma, tragedy, and even terror.

The final conversation was one with a church leader, a pastor.  Someone I’ve known for years who recently has gone through his own dark patch. He inspires me because of his perseverance, patience and prayerful disposition in dealing with difficult (massive understatement!) people and political dynamics in which he works – I question whether I would be as tolerant. As we chatted he made a couple of remarks that both saddened and amused me.  The first was this: “I don’t see the point in counselling, always talking about things of the past, just get on with life.” And yet he recognised that at this point, for reasons he couldn’t identify, he was stuck. The second comment came immediately after: “But funnily enough perhaps I should see you.” The irony wasn’t lost on me.

As someone undertaking a Masters in Clinical Counselling this was encouraging, but not a new thing. I’ve had people make similar comments over the years in all sorts of different contexts. In a recent essay I referred to research that showed that most people don’t have a friend that will sit and listen to them for any more than 20 minutes. Having a listening ear, someone to share life with, who genuinely takes an interest and tunes in is a rare thing. I hope that you have someone who listens to you.

When (not if, I assume most people have had to deal with something) you’ve had your own battles with life, what have you found has got you through?