A New Year & a Bit of Reflection

Where were you – personally, mentally – one year ago? Five years ago? Are you facing the right direction?

Recently I’ve been working with some clients who have been pure inspriration. Each is entering or re-entering the workforce. Each h
as their set of challenges: panic/anxiety, hearing impairment, back pain, & sleep-disturbing bubs. Everyone is pushing themselves, everyone is challenging their self or imposed limitations. As I walk beside them, I am inspired to continue challenging my own limitations & boundaries.

How are you finishing this year & starting the next? How are you starting each day?

What direction are you facing?

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Taking time

There is an interesting state of affairs that I haven’t quite yet mastered the art of:

doing too little, we can end up feeling exhausted

doing too much we can end up feeling exhausted.

How do we work out what is ‘too little’ and what is ‘too much’? Wouldn’t it me nice if we had a wrist-strap that let us know how much expendable energy we had left in a particular day before we move into the territory of creating exhaustion for the next and following days?

The thing is, when we have energy, we sometimes just don’t want to slow down – we want to capitalise on it! We want to get done all those things that we feel need doing but never have the energy for. But what is the price when we don’t tune in and pace ourselves, even in these more energetic times?

Exhaustion. Almost directly proportional to the amount of extra energy expended. Or worse, two days of activity can result in the need for three to five days of rest.

So, next time you are feeling really energetic and enthusiastic, I’d like to suggest that you do capitalise on it, but also find the time SIT and have a cuppa… and maybe even spend an hour reading…

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Declutter and LET GO!

Be honest, how much STUFF do you have?

Photos, cards, journals, old school work, ornaments, picture frames, clothes you don’t wear anymore, computers that you don’t use anymore, broken things that you will fix “when I have the time” and a whole myriad of other bits and pieces that you “might just want one day”.

Now, how much of this would you remember that you had if you did open the closet drawer or peer into a box? How long would it take you to notice that it were gone if it suddenly disappeared?

This week I’ve delved into yet another round of de-cluttering. I’m sick of STUFF. I’ve been doing this for years, but I find that each time I manage to get that bit more ruthless… I ask myself:

  • Will I really fix this item at some point?
  • Will I really wear this one day?
  • Do I really need this item to remember that part of my life?
  • Can I keep this in a memory, or do I feel like I need the item?

We hold on to so much. So many of us are so terribly un-practiced at the art of “letting go”. We often feel that by discarding something or passing it to a new home, that we are losing a part of ourselves. Who are we if we don’t have all these things to define our journey, our phases, or to prompt our memories?

We ask ourselves “but what if I forget??” It’s a good question: what if you do forget? Obviously the answer will depend on the person and the particular thing that we’d like to hold on to. I suppose the greater or more real question that I’m asking here is whether we need all of our “stuff” in order to know who we are.

I propose that sometimes in the collection of stuff that we can get caught up in the past and hold on to stories of who we were – that at times, we can actually hold ourselves back by these histories that we grasp to. I propose that through going through our stuff and keeping only what we really need or want, we may potentially free ourselves up to move forward in ways that we haven’t before.

To clear out clutter can not just clear out a living space and make it more pleasant to live in, but that it can also help us to let go of stories, memories and ideas that we hold of ourselves. Stories that might be preventing us from growing in different areas of our life.

I can’t tell you both how difficult but also how liberating I’m finding the process of throwing things out. The question that seems to come up the most for me is “do I really need this, or am I just finding it difficult to let go?”

Some times though, the letting go – even when painful – can feel like a weight lifted. Each time I let go of something, I feel like there is an extra degree of lightness in my step… It is that lightness that propells me to keep challenging myself!

I wonder how it is for you?

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Pick yourself up

What is it that you have let slip lately?

Eating on the run? Haven’t really moved your body in a bit? Fallen into a routine of computer and couch and bare necessities? Could your diet be more balanced, your homework tended to or garden weeded? Is there a friend that you’ve been meaning to call or an instrument that you “should” be practising? Have you become a bit slack with your physio exercises?

We all have something.

What’s the price you’re paying for it? Maybe it’s just creeping up on you… Usually it takes some time before it really hits you.

How is your energy? How does your body feel? What kind of state is your mind in at the moment?

How would things change if you started doing what you need and / or want to do again?

I dare you to pick one thing this week that you’re going to work on – that you are going to get back into the habit of!

For me, it is movement and physio… What is it for you??


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Community… where’s yours?

‘Community’ gets tossed around a lot these days, but in my opinion for good reason. We talk about “the breakdown of society”, or “not knowing your neighbour” and being “disconnected in a digital age.” All these things are fair enough, but do they really deal with how we find or create community in the age that we live in?

Community is a concept that I think about a lot. It is something that I consider essential to one’s health and well-being. Do you have a place you can call home? Do you have people that you feel connected to? Are there people you can call on in times of need, or offer support when they’re doing it tough?

I don’t think that there is one size, or one way. I don’t think that there is a right way or a wrong way. Some people find a strong sense of community and belonging on-line (click here a beautiful illustration of this as Ze Frank presents a TED talk). Some people find it through their church or religious affiliations. For some people it is a town, a suburb, a studio, a school, a club or a gathering of like-minded people.

I watched an interesting documentary last night about the boom and collapse of Detroit, a once thriving city that was primarily born out of and depended on the big-car automotive industry. These days, following the collapse of this industry, 1/3 of the city is abandoned. The poverty level is extreme, as is the crime rate. Despite this, growing out of the ashes (literally in some cases), are small and hopeful pockets of community. Where once houses and factories and schools stood, people are growing vegetables. Houses that are abandoned and broken and breaking are being turned into pieces of art (or being reclaimed by nature). Old generations are re-building something new and something different, and a small flock of creative and hopeful souls are moving in to use the space in these new and different ways. Community is once again being created and found in this war-zone like city.

A lot of us feel disconnected. A lot of us lack a solid feeling of “community” or “belonging”. My questions to you are a) If you do have it, where is it that you find it? How did you find it? or b) If you don’t have it, what could you do to begin to create it?

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Get Moving

Movement is a powerful thing. Movement is my preferred word for ‘exercise’..

‘Exercise’ appears to me to be a concept that we’ve come up with since we’ve become more sedentary as a product of time and ‘progress’ – since the incidental movement has been reduced in our lives. Now, for many, ‘exercise’ has become a necessary component of life in order to maintain health and well-being. I doubt it was always so; can you imagine spending the day ploughing a field and then going to the gym for some ‘exercise’ on your way home? How things have changed!

I have a gym membership, and what is more, I use it. I use it for strength and for cardio health. The thing is – and this is just what works for me – is that I don’t just use the gym. Each day I tell myself that I need to do something that will make me ‘move’ that day.

Last Saturday I’d planned to go to the gym, but the weather was GLORIOUS and the outdoors was calling. So, I ditched the gym for that day and headed to the beach. I waded through the shallows and I walked on the soft sand (there’s a workout if you ever wanted one!) I felt like I needed a bit of an upper-body work-out so I commenced building a sandcastle. While patting down the sand, I smiled to myself – in that moment I was completely content and there was no where in the world that I would rather be. What better way was there to ‘move’ on that particular day?!

The next day, I went to the gym. Working my body at that intensity felt brilliant. Once you break through the more challenging first ten minutes, the endorphins get going… I did everything on my program and even pushed myself that little bit further. I left feeling strong and capable and smiling – re-invigorated. That was what I needed on that particular day.

Other days, I play my Wii Fit. I’m particularly fond of boxing and of the bird warm-up, where flapping your wings (arms) really done work them!

So what is my point here?

My point is to have options. My point is to have balance. My point is to find what works for you and what you enjoy. Movement (exercise) in our lives is essential for both physical and mental well-being. My point is that there is no one way to do things.

When you mix and match and when you’re moving in ways that you enjoy, you’ll keep moving; you’ll stay fit, you’ll be more likely to maintain a healthy weight, your brain will be happier.

So, tell me, how are YOU going to ‘move’ today??

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The way that we connect and make connections…

I love writing this blog, and I love that people read it.

I love even more when people feel prompted to send me a message or E-mail responding to something that I wrote. I think it is fabulous and fascinating that we live in an era where such communication and information and experience sharing is possible.

Have you found anything that I’ve written helpful? Has it given you pause for thought? Do you know of anyone that could potentially benefit from working with me?

Life and Study are my two main branches. Do you know of anyone that is a bit stuck in either of these areas?

If so, then I would encourage you to help me out by sharing my links and to share your knowledge of what I am and what I do with those around you.

For those referred through a friend – or a blog follower! – a discounted fee for service will apply. And of course, they always have a first no-obligation session free to check me out and see what it is that I have to offer!

Your on-going support and help is much appreciated – keep reading!

Kind regards,

Amy Kathleen

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