Friday, 13 December 2013

All that glitters

I love this time of year. Everything starts to slow down a little. It's such a relief after the mad build up of intensity and hurried planning. Work is crazy in December but the last week or so before Christmas break - everything starts to slow down.
I love the city streets lit up with Christmas lights and the people hurrying to their planned events, and shopping in time for the Big Day.
There is excitement in the air.
Around this time of year I often reflect on the year that has been, and what I've done and how far I've come. I love looking at photos I've taken over the last 12 months and think over where my life has taken me. This year is no exception. In fact this year, I've possibly come the furthest it's possible to come in a year.
It's been a wonderful one. It's had ups and downs. To the extreme. But there is absolutely no part of this year that I'd change, even if I could.
My life has taken turns I never imagined it would. I should let go of the surprise for that one, but it always surprises me where life can lead. 6 months ago, there's no way I could have predicted exactly where I am right now, in so many ways. But I cannot even begin to describe how happy and content I am to be right here.
Right now.
In this place.
With everything that comes with it.
Courage has been my word this year. Derived from Latin, "cor" means heart. Courage, for me, doesn't mean no fear. It means the opposite. Throwing yourself in despite your fear with all your heart can muster. And that is what I've done. 
It's been an incredibly empowering year for me in so many ways. The kind of empowering that people notice, and comment on. Often it isn't easy to embrace and accept yourself exactly the way you are but after a very long journey I feel like I'm here. I had this moment, earlier this year when I travelled to Japan. In that moment I truly let go of everything I thought I should be and everything I had imagined my life would be, and embraced the here and now. Embraced life and emotion for what it is. And threw away that idea of control.
So raise a toast with me, for all that has been this year, and all that will be next year, whatever that is. Let it all hang out. Be afraid of the mess but embrace it anyway.
And above all, everything with yourwhole heart, and a ton of courage.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Liptember 2013

Doing Liptember again this year!!!!! 

It is a wonderful cause - one I support wholeheartedly. 

If you're interested in sponsoring me (and the friend with whom I'm doing it with this year) chech out our sponsorship link 

Friday, 23 August 2013

To Japan!

I simultaneously love and hate travel. Usually I'm a creature of routine. Work, coffee, paper, friends, family, movies, and tv. Obviously, these comforts for me take a hiatus during travel, in one way or another. It usually takes me around a week or two to adjust to another routine, of strange places, strange food, strange language and culture - all of it I guess. But then I do enjoy myself. 

I still read The Age online though... 

So I'm in Japan. I've dreamt for many years of coming it and it hasn't disappointed me. This trip wasn't exactly what I imagined it would be but I'm having a ball. 

I've a bike at my disposal here in Japan and I looooove riding it to Ikebukuro (a local hub for me) and then I figure out the maze of the subway to get to all things incredible. I've had fun figuring it out on my own (with a little help from our friends at Google and some directions here and there). 

Starbucks is my dear friend here. I miss Melbourne coffee like you wouldn't believe and Starbucks is as close as it'll come. It's no Palate (on Greville St in Prahran), but it has good iced coffee (literally a latte with ice) and free wifi. Yum and yay.

I've visited Shibuya and Shinjuku - both incredible and very Japan. I crossed a cat cafe off my bucket list (kawaii) and I think I've filled my spare suitcase with shopping... 

I also enjoy trying out a few words of a foreign language, here I've said "nihongo ga hanasamasen" more than anything else. It's "I don't speak Japanese". I thought it was a silly phrase to learn in all honesty but it's the most helpful one. "Sumemasen" and "domo" are also equally as helpful. "Excuse me" and "thanks". People here will speak Japanese to you until you say that magic phrase and will probably continue in Japanese afterwards but with pointing, so it's a phrase worth knowing.

In a local restaurant I pointed to a dish I thought I might like, not having a clue what it was (thank goodness for pictures). The serviceman asked me questions in Japanese and even when I told him I didn't speak his language, continued without any English. We managed by pointing and with a handy calculator to show me the price. While I was waiting a lady who quite coincidentally worked there (I know her through a friend) saw me and offered me the English menu. Haha. I'd ordered twice cooked pork. Quite delicious. 

Some of the young children here wear squeaky shoes. Handy for mums in such a densely populated city. Endearing too. 

My feet are blistered beyond recognition - even the massage lady giggled when she saw all my bandaids. My hair looks like a birds nest. Everything is so foreign. But I'm enjoying my time here. I'm loving the pointlessness of meandering around a new place, for no other reason than I want to see what it's like there. I love having a cold bath and resting my sore feet at the end of the day. 

I'm truly happy I came here - Japan you haven't disappointed. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The friendships that keep on giving

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately. And how wonderful friendships can be.

Friendship being just one of the many different types of relationships we all enjoy. Of course family relationships, romantic relationships, working relationships and any times of relationships are all incredible and many also overlap, but the friendship relationship is what has been on my mind lately.

People that aren't in your life for any other reason except joy and love. 

I love my friends and I know they love me. I try to tell my friends I love them in lots of little different ways...with words and gestures. And they do the same same with me. I'm told a hundred different ways that I'm loved. 

Sometimes it's in huge and frequent ways and sometimes it's in smaller ways as well. But equally as imporyant and valued. I love all my friends for their warmth, kindness, laughter, tears. I love their beauty and their flaws. 

Friends, I love you all. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Power lines

I remember as a little girl being fascinated by power lines.

In my parent's car, I would stare out of the back seat window just following those power lines.
As the car sped along highways and roads those power lines would dip and rise and then momentarily the flow would be interrupted by a wooden power pole and the lines would dip and rise again.

So graceful.

I used to love wondering why birds could sit on them, unaware of the power and unaffected by the danger.
I loved that those lines carried this magic that powered our house.

I loved black outs on stormy nights, stumbling around in the dark for candles and a match.

I wondered if the tension wires that anchored all of the last poles to the earth were live.

Suburbs with underground lines seemed different, missing something somehow. I wonder what those children look at from their back seat windows.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Another word on Yoga

A few days ago I wrote above movement and Yoga.

A friend of mine via Yoga Pop suggested I try out Yoga Glo, this fantastic website that offers a yoga studio via their website. You can practice at home, their varied and amazing yoga techniques.

If you're not sure about whether you'll like it, you sign up for free for 15 days, and if you don't like it you just withdraw before the first payment. It's very easy to sign up.

You can choose your level, and style of yoga - and you're on your way.

I tried it out this morning, and it was a great session of contemplative soul flow yoga poses, our instructor encouraging us to drink up the juiciness of the soma (moonlight). I thought it would be difficult to get the most of the instructor via watching it from my laptop - but I found it not a lot different to being present in a studio.

Often yoga brings emotions up in me and sort of 'clears' out my head a bit, and this session was no different.


I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will give it another go tomorrow.

Thanks Yoga Pop!

Now I'm off to do some gardening!  

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

We love yoga

One of the things I find most helpful when feeling a bit funky is movement. Physical movement.

The extent and type of the funk will dictate the extent and type of movement...however generally speaking I prefer gentler forms of movement, rather than full on "exercise". I am not and am quite unlikely to ever become a gym junkie, it's just not my thing.

...for a start the word "exercise" for me conjures up all things associated with pain, which can be off putting, so I lately I've been trying to think of it as increasing movement.

So let's go with my list.

Walking. Is. So. Good.
Riding my bike. And usually at a casual pace with my head in the clouds (and apparently I sing aloud when I ride...I'll get to that).

That's my basic list. The forms and frequency of these ebb and flow with time. Walking is probably my most consistent activity.

...and I would walk 500 miles...
For years I didn't own a car and so I would walk (or ride my bike) everywhere. To the tram stop to get to work. To the train stop to visit my parents. To the grocery store with my little red hand trolley. To the laundromat when I didn't have a washing machine. To Ikea (and home again, yes with furniture) on one memorable occasion.

I have a car now, but I leave it home (a lot, 5 days out of 7 in fact) because I:
a) am a bit of an enviro head; and
b) I just prefer moving on my way to work - as I live quite close it just seems a waste to drive when I could be using my body and a bit of PT to get there (have I ever mentioned my love affair with public transport?).

I walk to the tram stop in the morning, jump on a lovely old green and yellow tram, chug along for 20 minutes while I read my book, ahhh the bliss. Often after work I will just walk home. Wave at me if you see me dawdling down Chapel Street with my nose stuck in a book! )Yes, reading and walking simultaneously is very possible - your peripheral vision picks up much more than you'd think. Although I don't encourage jogging and reading.)

Often I end up catching my morning tram with the same passengers every day. There is a lady who gets on with her little girl most mornings (same time as me). Her little girl would be around 3 years old. She has the cutest, loveliest little voice. Sometimes she sings to herself. Sometimes her and her mum have little secret conversations. It's all very sweet. Hearing her little singing voice never fails to make me smile.

Apparently I sing when I ride my bike
I used to live around the corner (literally one corner) from someone I worked with. At the time I was riding my bike to work every day. Now when I say I ride my bike, it's at quite a leisurely pace. You see, I enjoy riding, a lot. And so I try not to waste it by going all hard. I just enjoy pushing the peddles round and round, and letting my thoughts go wherever they want. Usually when I ride, other cyclists (real cyclists, haha) whizz past me like missiles.

Anyway back to my workmate. Turns out he was riding his bike too, only I didn't realise it until one day he came up to me at lunch and said, "You ride to work yeh? I ride past you in the mornings, I know it's you coz of your pink bike and how you sing to yourself."

Well. That was news to me. I never even realised I was singing aloud. *blushes*

...shoulder stands are without a doubt my favourite yoga poses...
I have been an on again off again yoga devotee for many years. I started attending yoga classes when I was 19, in Townsville (of all places, when I lived there for a few years) - as I lived next door to the most amazing yoga studio ever (I've never found anywhere quite the same), The Yoga Space. I don't even know if it's still there, but it was right next door to me, so I used to go every week.

Then I got my own mat and a DVD and started "doing it at home". Sort of.

More recently I've been doing yoga with my friend C in Melbourne. There are some great yoga studios around, but we stopped doing it for some reason around 8ish months ago (ish...maybe closer to a year). It might have had something to do with some issues I was having at the time with my ability-level (I am possibly the least flexible person in the universe) and my body image (this is improving). Actually there's no might about it. I pushed myself too hard for a while, and was very hard on myself for not being able to do some of those crazy poses, so I think I gave up. I'm not strong enough for the advanced classes but I'm not a beginner either, and finding the right intermediate class has proved a bit tricky.

I'll get there.

Lately, I've been receiving some inspiration, thanks to one of my mates who just started a blog called Yoga Pop. Check it out here. Reading through her blog has reignited my passion for yoga. And, although C and I have been pledging to go back to yoga for what seems like months now, I feel like it's time to start studio-hunting again.

In the meantime, I might go home and dust off my mat and that ol' DVD...

Just get moving

There's something so defunkifying (and if you've no funk to defy, you can expect to feel even more energetic) about movement. Getting the blood flowing, and really let's face it - it does not matter how, is good for our bodies and our brains. And if you're like me and hate the thought of a treadmill or weights session, there's nothing wrong with keeping it gentle. The last thing you want to do is dive headlong into something you end up hating, and as a result it puts you off all movement.