The things we humans obsess over (Part 3)

I’ve had several conversations about this of late, both face to face as well as online… and if I were to define this aspect of contemporary human obsession it would be “online persona“… let me dig a little deeper here and explain what I mean:

You’re in a room gathered together with a bunch of friends, on the pretence of ‘catching up’ – at any one time you will have:
One person texting, pxting or checking their emails
One person wanting to take pics of you all together to post later (once they’ve edited our their dark circles, wrinkles or spots)
One person checking and/ or sending a snapchat, checking into foursquare (for some reason people still use this?)
Three people posting pics of their food to instagram/ twitter / facebook
One person updating Facebook to tell the world that you’re all there in this location, having SO MUCH FUN, tagging you all to articulate that fact..

You’re all there, together, but you’re not.

Since when did posting about what you are doing, rather than being in the moment and experiencing it become more important?!

We are so obsessed with trying to reassure the world that we lead these awesome, exciting, glamorous lives, that we’re not even living them. 

How do I know this? I’m part of it. I blog, tweet, update, instagram, snapchat along with everyone.. but it bugs me that in a room full of people, I can be the only person who leaves their phone in their bag. It’s a sign of respect, of wanting to actually listen and engage with the people you are physically with. And its amazing what it can do for the quality of conversation.

Why are we so obsessed with creating this online persona? This BEST person that we could possibly be? The one with the flawless pics, interesting social life and outgoing winning personality? We work SO HARD on this, and then spend the rest of the time trying to live up to this unrealistic image and expectation that we have created for ourselves…

And we wonder why people are more unhappy now than ever before?

Perhaps if we spent a little more time barefoot, walking on the grass, or dragging our toes across the sand, and left the smartphone at home for a wee bit, we’d start to experience our lives again in an organic way. We could connect in the ways that humans are supposed to, with conversation, listening, smiles, questions, touch and laughter.

 

Rather than WIFI.

 

 

 

Because I’m HAPPPPPY

Ok this is just about the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while.. vid for Pharrell’s song ‘HAPPY‘ (which just makes you happy!) and also, link to him on the Oprah show reacting to people sharing that joy 🙂 …what a cool chap, and a beautiful song that brings people together as only music can do!

Expectations of interesting-ness

There are few things I enjoy more than quality time and catch ups with my favourite humans… I look forward to these special moments with glee… I often plan and make elaborate things to eat and drink, and create wonderful, welcoming spaces where we can all relax, indulge and enjoy the awesomeness of each others company.

More often than not, however, as the years go by… I have become increasingly flummoxed by that natural conversation-starter “so – what have you been up to?”

UH-OH!

The internal monologue immediately shifts into over drive… “be interesting, be interesting…. ahhhh… what have I done that’s interesting? Think woman, think!”

So this can go one of several ways:
1. Diversion: this can involve jumping up from the table to fetch a new morsel, or opening up a revered and highly anticipated bottle of wine, so that your friend is momentarily stunned by this new deliciousness and forgot they asked a question..

 

2. Evasion: this is where you might say something like “oh bebe, I’ve been so busy, doing all this really interesting stuff bebe, but how about you?” or you could change the topic and divert their attention from the question entirely (see above) whilst you by yourself a little more time thinking up something interesting to talk about..

 

3. Total. Mind. Blank. This is followed by: Complete Honesty. “Um, yeah, just been working. We’re quite busy at work, so we’ve just been working through this busy time. Haven’t really been going out much”

 

I still don’t really know why this question fills me with such dread… it’s like I have a social compulsion that tells me I need to be interesting or something. I know I can be charming, funny, warm, silly, entertaining etc… but the older I get, and the more entrenched I become in my ADULT LIFE… the harder it becomes to let this natural awesomeness come out…

Do I get so wrapped up in creating this warm, inviting space… so concerned with making deliciious food, taking care of everyone to make sure they are having the best possible time… that I forget the reason I wanted to spend time with these outstanding individuals to begin with?

 

Why yes!

 

When did it become more important to be this charming, witty, intelligent, talented, all singing all dancing perceived perfect version of yourself, as opposed to just chilling out, being present, and being you?

Is it because you give yourself so little ‘me time’ that when you have these moments, you crave perfection?

When did having an interesting and perfect life to talk about, become more important than letting go and enjoying the moment?

We are constantly broadcasting our lives to the world via the internet.. social media, tweeting, instagramming, facebooking… you name it. And the images that we present to the world are always this most perfect best version of ourselves… we’re constantly trying to create and shape an interesting and attractive “BRAND ME” for the rest of the world to admire and covet…

It’s little wonder then, that the simple joys of catching up with friends can take on a whole new level of pressure, as we try to ‘be our best me’ for the people we think are great…. But aren’t we forgetting something?

We are perfect, just as we are are.

 

Queue cheesey well-timed quote: “today you are you, that is truer than true, there is no one alive who is you-er than you”

 

I guess I want to tell my friends that my life is perfect, that I am challenged by my work fabulously each and every day, and it plays to my strengths, that I have the chance to be creative and express myself openly through my words, food, music and art, that my sex life is phenomenal every day, I look and feel fabulous because my body is hot and exactly the size and shape I want, that everything is wonderful.

But life isn’t like that. Each day I might feel tired and bored and just generally “BLAH” because although my work is busy and sometimes it’s fun and I have a cool team… its just exhausting some days. And because I’m tired I might not have the energy to be awesome in other areas of my life either… shit happens. Life gets in the way of really living… but its OK. Every day doesn’t have to be a perfect instagram moment.

 

You just need to keep joy in your life. To make sure the life you live doesn’t suck the energy out of you .. that if you are actually depressed and really low – you make change.

 

The point is… it’s YOUR life. For you to enjoy, to take the piss out of, ruminate on, share, not share, enrich and just bloody well live. With a little reflection, cognisant decision-making, deep breathing, lustful gluttony of joy, laughter and living in the moment… your life, your experiences can and will be rich and interesting.

 

Now, can I interest you in a glass of this delicious vino? How about you? What have you been up to?

BOOM!

I constantly remind myself that my happiness is my decision!


…and I’m pretty good at snapping myself out of a bad day or melancholy thoughts… But sometimes (if you listen!) the universe sends you little gifts to remind you of life’s fabulousness as well….

I was rushing from a to b the other day… busy busy busy… thinking on something I’d done, working myself up about things I hadn’t even started yet… when I heard a lady laugh, and looked to my right…. I saw two women walking side by side, smiling and laughing and carrying the first bunch of daffodils of spring.

You know that magic moment in the sharp chill of a winters day, when you’re rugged up with boots, scarf, hat, coat… and you see the first bunch of daffodils, heralding the coming of spring? The promise of warm days to come… sunshine on your face… the glorious-ness of bare feet on green grass…?

Well that’s what those flowers, that laugh and those smiles bought me on that crisp day… And it was just what I needed. That reminder that nothing is permanent.. all things have their cycles.. and even at the busiest of times, where you can’t see the forest for the paperwork… this too shall pass…. and sometimes you just have to stop and smell the flowers.

Remembering to stay awake

Ironically after a 11.5 hour day at work, where I was so caught up in the NOISE and BUSYNESS of my working life, it took a kindness to remind me that I am in charge of my mental and emotional state.

 

Taxi-ing home this evening, my head full of busy-thoughts and busily tapping away at my iPhone, I tipped my lovely taxi driver (we don’t tip in NZ but I always round up my total) when he leaned over and said to me “have you seen the moon?”

 

“Oh yes! The super moon? It’s beautiful” I replied.

 

“My daughter told me that this moon happens only every two years, and even if you can’t see it because of the clouds, it still up there shining”

 

…….

Still puts a smile on my face now, hours later… And just the little reminder that I needed. Even you’re busy being BUSY… life is there waiting for you to pay attention.

 

 

Regina Brett: 49 life lessons

Stumbled upon another great little piece of writing the other day and it made me smile… link is here.

49 life lessons
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry because God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, and then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone, everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
49. Yield.

(recently updated when Regina turned 50)

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

 

The paradox of our time in history (by Dr George Moorehead)

This seems to ring true more than ever. Something to think about as you decide how you want the next year of your life to pan out….

A wonderful Message by Dr George Moorehead:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but
shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more,
but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and
smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees
but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more
problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little,
drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too
little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our
possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and
hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to

life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but
have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer
space but not inner space.

We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air,
but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold
more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less
and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small
character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of
two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one
night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer,
to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the
stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time
when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going
to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to
you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your
side.

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you because that is the only
treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent. Remember,
to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all
mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep
inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday
that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak
and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

 

Reflection.. feminine mid-life crises?

Ok serious question: why does it take until we are sick, and HAVE to stop, to allow us time to make us put on the brakes and reflect on our lives?

I’ve recently been diagnosed with menorrhagia and fibroids and quite literally been forced to stop over the past 6 weeks. For someone who is constantly on the move thats tricky to say the least… It’s been a harrowing and stressful time (mainly because of how long it’s taken to get a diagnosis and treatment plan) and for what is actually quite a common problem for women.

It’s not until I had to explain why I’ve been off work and barely left the house that I’ve realised how many of us really suffer to some degree with this stuff. Up to 25% of women at some stage in their lives will have these symptoms and issues.

I didn’t know any of this until it started happening to me…. (and it’s quite simply one of the scariest experiences I’ve had..) so why don’t we know about this? Why do so many so many women suffer from varying degrees of this but no one talks about it?

….and why on earth does it take a catalyst of this degree before we stop and really assess our general health and well being?

So I’ve been reflecting on my habits, my lifestyle and just generally taking a good long hard look at myself. I think in our 20’s there’s a general feeling of invincibility… the ageing process hasn’t really even begun and we can take our bodies for granted, knowing full well that they will bounce back with the vigour and vitality of youth…

Not so in your thirties! With all of the wisdom, financial stability and vague smugness of our personal sexual revolution… brings the inevitable process of coming to grips with our own mortality. (be that a rogue wrinkle that appears overnight and forces us to accept the aging process, or a medical issue typically associated with those childbearing years…)

And so we reflect….. and OH BOY once you start down that road it feels like you are getting to know yourself all over again… “but I survived my twenties and I’m really together now – why am I here again? Haven’t I figured this all out already?”

Do we call it a mid-life crises? If so why do we go all introverted and reflecting instead of buying a big red penis extension sports car? As women are we destined to forever question ourselves until the day we shake off this mortal coil?

I hope so.

It’s far too easy to take things like your health (mental, physical and spiritual) for granted, and get so caught up running around trying to do all the things, and be all the things that we tend to lose ourselves in this noise and activity.

  • When was the last time you did something purely for YOU, for your own pleasure – for the simple enjoyment of it?
  • When was the last time you spent time relaxing, meditating and just generally stopping to enjoy being alone with yourself?
  • When was the last time you thought gentle, loving thoughts about yourself, or reminded yourself just how awesome you are?

The irony is these things are free.. And take less time and effort than your morning bathroom routine. And if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will?

So as I move towards my milestone birthday, followed closely by surgery that will hopefully get me on my feet and kicking butt again…. I’m using this time where I am literally stuck in bed to reflect… to spend time focussing on the things that make me happy, to visualise myself enjoying things to come, and to put in place the things I need to continue looking after my mental, physical and spiritual health well into the future.

Hey, it’s not a bright shiney red sports car, but something tells me I’ll get more mileage from it.

Meditation

One the most effective and tangible ways to combat stress & fatigue is the use of meditation in your day to day life…

It’s a way to calm and focus the mind, reconnect with the body and remind ourselves to be PRESENT in our lives.

And it’s easier than you’d think to get started.. I used to meditate a lot when I was younger, and really enjoyed meditation as part of yoga practice.. I wanted to bring this back to my life again, but really struggled initially…

Isn’t it always the way..? When you most need to calm yourself/ slow your mind you end up winding yourself up more with thoughts of: “am I doing this right? how come I can’t still my thoughts? did I get any meat out for dinner? crap! I forgot to call that client!”

So, ever the organiser and seeker of more efficient and effective approaches to everything, I stumbled upon an easy way to get back into, or start bringing meditation into your life: download a guided meditation audio, or a meditation app from iTunes.

Seriously – they work. I use the apps and they are great.

I have one that I can set for anywhere from 7-15 minutes that’s designed for a work break, a sleep app that has specific guided meditations for insomniacs like myself, and a specific app for ‘simply being’.. it’s wonderful actually.

One of the biggest barriers people put up about meditation is not having the time or space to do it.. the guided mediation creates a space through sound and music – and honestly if you don’t have 7 minutes to spend on yourself there is a serious issue.

Meditation has been proven to help concentration and even boost creativity – but the biggest benefit I get from this personally is the ability to be present – and not caught up in the noise and irrelevant stresses and dramas of day to day life. I feel like I am calmer, and I have better energy to put out into my world – which means I’m getting awesome stuff back.

Even if you do this 5 minutes a day, for 10 days… you will notice the change. Such a small investment for such tangible returns..

 

meditation-by-the-beach

Attitude of gratitude

One of the best, easiest and most simple ways of rising above stress, drama and pain in your day to day life, is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

By being thankful for what you have, you change your state, you change your focus and you lift the pressure from your weary shoulders..

One thing I try to do at least a couple of times a week, is to mentally or physically list all of the things in my life that I am grateful for.. counting your blessings gives you context that you simply don’t have when you’re caught in the drama of the moment.

When I’ve shared this insight with people in the past, the common objections are: “where do I even start?” and: “Oh I feel silly!” etc etc.. The idea of gratitude is that it’s a way of valuing even the smallest blessings in your life – because once you acknowledge them they become somehow more real, more tangible.. And the thing about joy, is once you start letting it into your life, it grows.

Today my list goes something like this:

Today I am grateful for blue skies and daylight savings giving me the chance to sit in the park on my way home.

Today I am grateful that I took the time to make healthy nutritious food for lunch, and I feel energised because of this.

Today I am grateful that I have a job where I can laugh and enjoy the company of my workmates.

Today I am grateful that I can live the lifestyle that I want, and I am grateful for the ability to make choices and change in my life.

The list goes on… and the point is, once you make a conscious decision to be grateful, even for the smallest of things, life seems brighter, shinier and more full of promise than ever before..

…… so what are you grateful for today?