Twists and Turns 

Life contains very unexpected moments, not always good. 

I won’t go into detail (people can be sensitive) but I have experienced irregular bleeding for close to five months. It seems to have settled a bit now. 

I went to the doctor. The bleeding went on the back burner so that we could manage the diabetes and blood pressure. We started on the bleeding yesterday. A couple of jokes about the certainty that I am not pregnant (last time I had something similar it was the result of a miscarriage) and then his research. 

It could be caused by a polyp or fibroid (hopefully one of these) or, more disturbingly at my age, it could be uterine, endometrial or cervical cancer. I need to go and have an internal ultrasound and a couple of other things. 

And, I will. 

I updated my family. Not over reacting but conscious that this year seems to really be a turning point for me in this life. 

Life is short. Even if we live into our nineties, in the broader context of humanity, one life time isn’t an overly long time. 

I wasn’t going to post about this yet because it isn’t anything yet; it might become something but in this present moment, it has not filled that potential (and hopefully won’t). However, I slept badly and woke up a little tired and then let my ego take over for a few minutes as I reflected on my work status. 

I know that if I continue to fail to pick up work I can just speak to my Principal and go back to my substantive position. I’m not ready to do that just yet, but if I have to, I can. 

What then hit me, is that so many people play games with the lives and emotions of others. And I’m a tad tired by it. 

For the most part I live my life with integrity and what you see is what you get. I try hard not to visit pettiness or ego or emotionally driven responses on anyone other than my circle (I am only human after all). Before I commit responses in writing or verbally I try to talk sense and logic to myself so that my response is appropriately measured. And I try to see things from the other side. I also try to serve others by being present for them, not always successfully. 

I have launched some business promotions on Facebook. Yesterday morning a man wrote some horrible things about me under the post (I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me) because he didn’t want to read my boosted post in his Newsfeed. 

As a business person, I know that perceptions count – I deleted his comments. I thought about replying in a positive way, and then I thought about messaging him to apologize and to explain how he could turn that feature off, but after thought I decided that I didn’t want to engage with his negativity, even though it stung a little. 

After all, I’m just a girl, standing here, trying to create something beautiful ūüėú. 

This morning, after not much sleep, I recalled hearing that some people at my old workplace have been saying some nasty things about me (I was told this ages ago, it only surfaced today because I’m tired and feeling a little sorry for myself hehe), coupled with the lies that were revealed post investigation, little communication from a lot of work people, and the lack of work situation (yep, because I won’t work in a school where I am abused too many times), I’m feeling raw. 

And I just can’t post the glossy ideal moments of this gap year. That wouldn’t be real. 

And I’m purging it so that I can own it as a small glitch in an otherwise blessed life. Twists and turns, my friends, twists and turns. 

Life is short. This post will be too. An irony that I posted about negativity in a post about life being too short? Perhaps. But now that it is out, I can let it go and continue my day in a loving and peaceful way. 

Life is short. We need to share the small things so that we don’t turn them into bigger things than they are. 

Lesson noted, Tina. 

Have a good one! 

Owning It 

At the workshop yesterday I felt that we were a room of like minds. One of the beliefs that we seemed to share concerns ownership and responsibility. 

Today I was chatting to a mate, and she said that she believed that people always left her and never came back. 

I have had times (many times) when I have made similar sweeping statements that lay responsibility on the shoulders of others. Predominantly through my IVF journey when I often felt misunderstood, sorry for myself and very much alone. I don’t hate or dislike myself for this; it was what it was. 

But, I do think it was important and vital to my happiness that I was able to move on from these feelings. The only way I could do that was to focus on what responsibility I held in maintaining the situation. 

I could not control what my friends and family chose to do, but I could own my part in it. Once I owned my part, I found that I was liberated from expectation. Not in a bad or bitter way, but in a loving way. In turn, I think this made it easier for me to maintain my friend and familial relationships. It has also empowered me to work through my own issues as well as reach out when I need to. Basically, from owning my part, I have liberated myself from unnecessary psychological torment. 

Our host yesterday spoke about this too. If we have a recurring pattern in our lives that is unproductive, unhealthy or unhappy, we need to own our part in it. 

Often in life, things occur that are beyond our control. This is normal. But there is always something that we can control ~ us: our physical reaction, our emotional response, our future choices. 

There is always something. 

Sometimes it may just be that we control whether we take another breath. The important think is to own the choice. Once we can control one thing, it becomes easier to believe that we can control more things. 

Like with anxiety, focus on what can be controlled rather than what can’t be. Own what we can, because yes, we can’t control everything. 

Saying it makes it sound so easy. It isn’t. Like with everything, it is a process that requires consistent effort, stuffing it up, and then trying again. But it’s a worthwhile process. 

For me, it has resulted in an unrivaled and unprecedented happiness/wholeness that I am also owning. 

Living Your Best Life 

I ran a successful workshop a few weeks ago. Yesterday we had a catch up to see how everyone was going. It brought to light something I have learned in my quest to live my best life. 

Last November I made the decision to drop to part time for this year, and ultimately in December, decided it needed to be all or nothing, so took most of this year as leave without pay. The day I made this decision I sat with it before I informed my boss. By the end of the day I was ecstatic. 

I sat in this happiness until January. In January, anxiety set in about money. I kept moving forward, acknowledging the fear but not bowing down to it. This fear has since passed and I know that I was right to not return to work this year. My time in Western Australia has reassured me that I am on the best path for me. 

I am at peace and trusting that all will be provided when I need it. I am loving my life. I am living with minimal stress and happier than I remember ever being. 

However, as my catch up highlighted, living your best life is a journey, a process, and there will be glitches, moments of doubt, and fear at times. And this is all okay. It is also okay if your journey has no complications or glitches or doesn’t move as fast as someone else’s. 

Every journey, every process, is unique. Even within your own life. 

The important thing is to acknowledge the glitch, manoeuvre through it, and to keep going. Moving forward is vital to the success of living your best life. Availing yourself of opportunities for support is also vital. 

Take a deep breath, take some time out, re-evaluate the steps, and when you’re ready, keep moving forward. 

It will be worth it, I promise. 

Synchronous Moments

It is the first of February. Thirty one days of 2017 gone. Thirty one days into my reckless gap year. And January was an emotional rollercoaster. 

After tutoring yesterday afternoon though, and missing the kids at school, I have remembered how much I absolutely love teaching. The act of teaching fills my soul with warmth and love, connectedness and vigour. And, I love writing. The ability to weave lessons and beauty and truth into a tapestry of words – man, nothing like it. 

I start February calm again, with restored focus and stronger trust. Lessons from India and the beauty of Hobart rolled together into one last night in the guise of a film, that everyone should see. If only for the artistry and sophistication in how the story is told. 

Lion.

Dev Patel must be my favourite contemporary actor. He can tell any story authentically. No words. 

Lion. A reminder to me of all I desired achieving this year. A reminder that life is short and that suffering mindfully yields a beautiful life, ultimately. And, a reminder that life happens and that we should embrace it with compassion and purpose. 

India and Hobart. The last two places I have travelled to. Together in one film to remind me that this year was still about service as well as telling stories. The goals I had gently pushed to the side in the anxious flurry of not working and excitement in organizing travel. 

I trust that I have needed to work through something and that is why I have been anxious, and I am at peace with that. 

Yesterday culminated resolving my sense of value and worth, and the love for teaching that I possess, as well as remembering the different things that I set out to explore this year, and trusting that this is all a process and was never meant to be easy … or everyone would do it. 

Maybe this is why a couple of people have called my gap year brave. 

Maybe I am. 

Showering by Candlelight

On Sunday my anxiety was a twenty on a scal that goes up to ten. Monday it was probably at a thirteen/fourteen. This morning it started at an eight. Dropped to a five/six after moving my office back to English. A zero after yoga. 

Calm again, feeling a little India bliss (my yogi has just arrived home after her own Indian retreat), drove home, decided to shower in candle light. 

Amazing serenity. The light was bouncing off the walls and reflecting in the mirror. No noise apart from the boys playing. Just calm. Peace. Quiet. Happy play. Water washing away a forty plus degree day. 

Reflection on the relaxation. An image of me leading my first workshop for next year. Now needing to write the program, advertise it, find a space to run it in, find a date, and done. 

This world truly can be your oyster. Courage. Patience. And more courage. And it will be. 

Namaste. 

Rollercoaster

Wow. From calm, serenity, peace on Saturday to overwhelming anxiety and the physical manifestation of that yesterday. I was so churned up last night that I have had to call in sick today. I won’t go into detail about how my body physically manifested. I’m sure you can imagine. 

It’s been a big few weeks. I think sometimes we forget that our bodies and souls need to process our lives and that takes longer than it takes our minds to decide or process things.   

India was life changing. People say I seem different now. I have integrated I think. I feel whole. But it was also life changing because I’ve taken big steps to change my life. I have worked out what I would like my life to look like, to feel like (moreso, I think I’ve used courage to just own that my life wasn’t bringing me joy) and I’ve taken steps to address that. 

Big steps. 

Then, two funerals within eleven days, one close and one not as close, resolution on the investigation, deciding to take leave without pay next year, and organizing some big travel plans, all in like two and a half weeks, and, man. Of course it was going to catch up. 

So I’ve chosen to be kind to myself, to sit with myself and let everything settle. Again, I’m choosing myself first. That I am doing this, putting my needs first, with minimal guilt, still surprises me. 

I have grown. I do value myself. I embrace my worth. 

Our society tells us that doing this is wrong. That selfishness is a bad word and is wrong. 

But, it’s not. Everything in balance. I give a great deal. I am no use though if I am depleted. I need to give to myself first. 

So do you. 

Are you? 

Email Inboxes 

Going through a bit of a tumultuous transition at the moment – interesting impact on my sense of self. Well, that probably isn’t correct – me working out how to be me in a system that works against my core beliefs is probably more accurate. 

Anyway, have been feeling burdened by tasks not completed, choices not embraced, etcetera etcetera. So, yesterday and today I have spent some time, in bursts, cleaning and sorting my various email inboxes. 

Therapy to the max. 

If you feel you have little to no control, do yourself a favour, clean and sort your emails. 

Wow! 

First Day 

Ohhhhh what a week it has been! If ever I needed a lesson in the importance of maintaining balance in life, the last week has been a good one. 

Last term was horrendously busy. Horrendously. I dropped the ball on my own wellbeing more than I have in a very long time. As a result, the last week has been spent battling all sorts of stomach issues, head colds, lethargy, and a spiral into depression (avoided by listening to my body). 

Yesterday I decided it was time to get a massage. It has been too long. Having said that, with the combination of yoga and Body Talk I haven’t been feeling the tension in my body like I used to.

I don’t like driving to Campbelltown if I don’t have to. My body and mind are rebelling against anything associated with work. The mind will take a while sorting through those issues! I booked in to an unknown masseuse in Mittagong. 

Yep. Great choice. I could feel the lesser stress being held in my body but the firmness was helpful in soothing the mind, and allowing my mind to regain perspective about my way forward. 

I will be cancelling all engagements for the upcoming week. The stress of having to go out and be what is known as me is causing me anxiety. I really need to be by myself and reconnect with my vital life energy and core. If I don’t, this next term will become a mess. And quickly. 

I think my breakdown with the boss last week, whilst ultimately therapeutic, was a significant breakdown. And I need to nurture myself to become healthy. 

Amazing how much guilt I associate with putting myself first. Ridiculous. I struggle to do what I advise everyone else to do. Shaking my head in wry disbelief. I am reading, at the suggestion of a friend, Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*#k. 

I have read the introduction and first chapter. If nothing else, I’m enjoying reading a book written by someone who says f*#k a lot (if not, too much even), and it will empower me to reprioritise my time by giving me permission to give myself permission to do so. 

I do want to be able to spend more time being social and hanging out with the people who are important to me. I do want to have time to write regularly, meditate, commit to yoga, study, garden. 

To achieve this will require a complete life overhaul. I need to start with my physical space. I need to declutter the entire house and I need to organize the spare room to create a sacred work space. I need to reintroduce my juice reboot. I need to commit to ritual by turning the tv off, going to bed earlier, writing more regularly, creating space in my life through living a balanced and healthy life. 

And yep, I go through this every holidays. The desire to regain my life. Success is made more possible this time with some renegotiation of my role, yet to be worked out and made manifest. I feel hopeful of success in a way I haven’t before. At least I won’t be working against the system to achieve this change. 

That last few days of work I fought for myself. It was empowering. It was also very, very hard. My heart still feels very fragile. I’m proud of myself but also tired. I’m usually very accommodating but I have reached my limit as a door mat, as the giver, the nurturer, the protector, often to my detriment but always for the greater good. I’m over feeling guilty for being selfish, for putting me first, for trying to create the life that I want and that I deserve. 

Deserve. Yep, I deserve the life that I want. Now though, I have to be consistent and create it. I need to stop making excuses and I need to stop doing what I’ve always done. Change will only come if I create the environment for it. 

I think ritual is the key. 

Today I started my bullet journal; Page 1 = Bucket List. I will create and write every day. The tv will go off at 9.30pm and I will read before bed. I will minimize my time on Facebook and reclaim those hours. I am committing to yoga this term. It is my priority. It felt good and I liked myself consistently. A fourteen day juice reboot will start on Monday. Fourteen days minimum. I will meditate each day. I will be less available to others and more available to myself. Once a week I will leave work at 3pm. 

I have a plan. One step at a time, I will manifest the plan. 

Nodding vigorously. 

Writing = Sanity

And, so I stopped writing regularly. 

And, now I realise the extent to which writing keeps me sane. 

And, I laugh because I stopped writing as I commenced workshops focused on writing to heal. 

Maybe that choice was just some action research. 

ūüė≥

I cried all the way to work on Friday. I hadn’t done that since my anxiety days. I felt anxious again too. I have a huge To Do list for work. I didn’t cross a single thing off on Friday, and this has become the norm. For the first time in my whole career, last week I advised a student against teaching as a career unless they were truly passionate and committed to it. The admin work is relentless and soul destroying. Enough on that. 

As a result of crying all the way to work, I had an interesting day. My walls were well and truly down, and I was vulnerable, and two of my staff members embraced me in love. I was able to get through Friday, and still accomplish wonderful things. 

My Year 7’s had to present speeches. They had to read out a poem and, amongst other things, tell us why they selected it. A usually very confident and cocky boy stood up, read out a beautiful poem with loads of dramatic flair, oozing his usual confident charm, and when he started to express why it was a favourite (because he was bullied relentlessly for being different when he first arrived in Australia) he started to sob. Little boy crying. 

Oh, my heart. 

Tears came out instantly for me and his pain was so real that I cast my pen away from me and went to push the desk so that I could race to him and just hug him. I don’t think there were too many dry eyes in the classroom. He eased his own tears though, with a crack about him being okay because he is half-American. 

I praised and thanked him for his courage. We all did. 

And, also on Friday, a newer student to our school has been acting out and was exceptionally rude to one of our casual staff (also one of my friends but that doesn’t impact this) on Thursday. I spent a period with her. The cycle of life and the importance of corporate knowledge. 

I had taught one of her uncles almost ten years ago when a family crisis arose. Knowledge of that history became vital. 

She has lead a fractured life. How she gets up each morning with the strength to keep living is a testament to the human spirit. 

She trusted me. Or started to, felt that she could, or wanted to, or something like that. There was a strong connecting moment. And I know she did because she asked me later in the day if I could read some of her personal writing. Obviously I said yes. She had a very open and genuine smile across her whole face when she asked. 

And then she truanted my class. 

And then when she was caught, she felt the rush of guilt and everything else. 

She wanted to tell me why when I asked. I think she was raw from the morning and the work we are doing is emotionally confronting and it was too much … But the words wouldn’t leave her head even though she tried, and instead the tears came, and she felt vulnerable, and had to flee … With me yelling after her that no damage has been caused repeatedly, like a nutter. I only hope she heard me. 

What a day. 

And what an important reminder that writing is healing. Writing enables us to feel less alone, and it allows us to give time to our own selves, and it allows us to process the events and trauma of our lives. 

And even I needed to be reminded of that. So, I’m back here. Safe in the arms of my blog; the most consistent refuge I have had in my life. 

Day 9

An unusual gratitude this morning. As is normal at the moment, I woke very early. Rather than toss and turn I thought I had better use my time productively so I decided to catch up on my reading of others’ blogs in my reader. 

Anxiety makes you very selfish. And that’s okay – we all have to do, and have to be what will keep us alive, functioning and hopefully happy, eventually. I have enjoyed reading the blogs. I have not been very connected or present. 

There is a community here. And I miss it when I’m not connected as much as I miss my real life friends. 

It was nice catching up.

I feel a little guilty, but know that I need to push through that. A time for everything. 

I am grateful that I started my blog. I am grateful for the cyber connections I have made along the way. I am grateful for my IVF journey because many of those connections would not have been possible without it. 

Today, I am just grateful …