Thoughts on life

Hidden doors

I'm driving my son to work, well technically he's driving, but being on his L (learner) plates I still need to accompany him to supervise.

We're driving down a road we've travelled on many, many, many times as it's a main road that runs from our house to the city, work and uni (did I mention…many times??)

As we pulled up at the red light, my head was turned to the left, daydreaming a bit and people watching as I often do…(oh, don't worry…my son is "this close" to getting his licence and a very competent driver) when I noticed a new, tiny alley way splitting the familiar shops in two.

The cutest little narrow walkway that linked the main road to the side street behind.

It was actually jarring

WHAT? Where in the hell did that come from??!

Honestly I've lived in this city for 40 years, I've driven down (or been driven down) this road hundreds of times. Heck, I've even walked down this road and right past this section.

So when did this Harry Potter portal suddenly appear?

Truth

The alley wasn't new. Nope, it's always been there…

But I've never seen it
Because I've never actually looked

I just see the same things I always see…each and every time I travel this road

The things I expect to see

Which got me thinking…

What else aren't I seeing?
What hidden alleys, paths and doors am I missing, as I travel down the road of my life only seeing what I expect to see…what I plan to see.

If I started paying more attention and looked a little more closely to the world framing my road…could I actually find things, people, thoughts and feelings that I didn't know existed?

That I wasn't expecting

Travel the same roads if you must
Daydream all you want…

But don't forget to pay attention from time to time

You never know what you'll find

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family, humour, Thoughts on life

Boiling point

I’m not the world’s most patient person. 

Not even close 

Barking dogs in my street annoy me, I get angry when I hear cars being “revved” unnecessarily in my neighbors driveways

I’m trying to relax to my Chillout Lounge Ambience megamix, thank you very much…

and don’t even get me started on my neighbours late night parties with his Doov Doov mus- no, noise (seriously mate, that’s NOT music!) pounding through my walls til 4am!!

I don’t like noise unless it’s my own. I especially don’t like my neighbours noise.

Okay, perhaps I just don’t like my neighbours

which is weird – seeing as I actually married one – but that’s a whole other story…

Anyway, the house next door always emits strange sounds. It is old, and extremely close to our fence line, which also happens to sit along my bead head 

like, literally. 

Our bedroom wall is their back fence

When they walk through their house it’s like elephants on parade. When they slam doors it gives me whiplash. And when they run through their back yard it’s like the whole damn zoo is charging.

At my head

While I’m trying to sleep

Did I mention I don’t have much patience??

They always seem to be up late

Not always partying with late music (which is a shame, as at least I could get the cops sympathy on that one)

No…just living

late

…and LOUD

In fact, it almost seems like they deliberately stay quiet, until just before I’m about to go to bed.

I’ve even considered moving, because – seriously – how do you have that kind of conflict resolution conversation?

Ummm, excuse me mate, would you mind terribly ummm – not walking, using your doors or living? Cheers, thanks, oh, and while I’m here can I borrow some sugar?”

Yeah….right!

But the other day I found sweet salvation

Sitting in the lounge quite late at night, I was rejoicing in the realisation that it had finally gone quiet next door and I could, perhaps, actually go to bed and get some sleep before the dawn chorus woke me (oh I forgot to mention…not only are they late night party animals with no taste in music…they also happen to be tradies who develop elephantisis at 5am as well)

With everyone else in my house either in bed or preparing for said activity, the house went deathly quiet as soon as I switched off the TV

Tick

tick

Tick

That’s when I heard it…
The most beautiful sound in the world!

The most God awful rattling, gurgling, popping, wheezing and just plain ANNOYING sound I’d ever had the pleasure of hearing…

And it was coming from my house.

From the side of my house where noisy neighbours live..

From very, very close to the house where I assumed my dear neighbours would now be peacefully slumbering…

Hallelujah!!!

It turns out we own a defective, loud and just plain irritatingly NOISY hot water system

One that could easily wake the neighbours, their dogs and quite possibly the elephants too…

             * * *

Almost midnight…

Time to jump in the shower!

Thoughts on life

Losing to win

I thought I knew everything there was to know about winning.

As a child I was always the “achiever”, winning art competitions, succeeding in all areas I applied my little self to and bringing home school reports that resembled Alcoholics Anonymous flyers….yes I was your typical “straight A” overachiever. 

I started ballroom dancing when I was 11 and from the moment my feet hit that sprung floor and I buckled my first (very own!) pair of silver t-bar heels onto pudgy feet I just knew this would be my passion! 

Each and every dance style moved me in a way I couldn’t describe…the old time music felt so familiar, and made me feel like I was a silver screen starlet who’d found herself somehow thrust 40 years into the future.

With Australian and English blood running under my pasty white skin, I shouldn’t have felt so connected to the Cuban beats my dance teacher blasted each time a Cha Cha or Rumba needed to be practiced but to me it felt like home. 

I desperately wanted to be out on the floor, competing in the amateur division! 

Sequins and feathers

Glitter and makeup

Heels and fake tan

…Heaven!

I tried so many times but for some reason I couldn’t stick at it long enough to make it work.

I so wanted to win but I hated to lose even more.

So instead of dancing

Instead of losing

Instead of winning…

I ran

Ran from the anxiety, ran from the fear. Ran from the chance of failure and the possibility of feeling inadequate 

The overwhelming panic of being judged and ridiculed. 

Of not being perfect 

Of not getting it right

Of not doing better than the others (that couldn’t possibly be allowed to happen!)

Of not being good enough

Fast forward 30 years….
I am sitting here with makeup and tan on, dresses packed and heels at the ready. 

It’s been 5 years since I took up competitive dancing again at the sensible, reckless and determined age of 35.

5 years since I made the commitment to my dance partner that we’d be a team and ride the wave together.

5 years of sometimes losing 

5 years of sometimes winning 

5 years of choosing not to run each and every time the fear, anxiety and self doubt arose.

I have learnt to enjoy coming last

It means I have more work to do and something more to achieve.

It does not mean I’ve failed

I stopped losing and started winning the moment I decided to stop running

So today I will just do my best. I hope to do well and it would be lovely if I win…

But if not? 

That’s okay too because I’ve truly already won

Poetry

Silent scorn

Silent scorn, the page’s torn

It sits unsent, unwritten, unthought…

Atop her chest, a weight it rests

Feelings she has often fought

Correcting talk, perfecting walk

Approval always pending…

The apron ties, judgmental sighs

Bitterness descending

No way to win, words under skin

Punishment delayed…

Silent scorn, the pattern’s worn

The game is lost before it’s played

Thoughts on life

Fear is easy

“what if I fall? Oh but my darling what if you fly?”

It’s easy to be scared

Embracing the new, leaving the old…learning to find yourself and starting again, we’ve all been there (maybe right at this moment) and let’s face it, it sucks

It’s SCARY

It calls upon relying on a strength we may not remember, fully believe or possibly even know we possess…

It’s something we are all born with but sadly many lose somewhere along the way

It’s the very thing that bonds us with caregivers and binds us to life…

trust

The simple yet elusive act of believing we are safe and that the future is too…

It’s a big word despite its minimal letters. 

Those two little constenants surrounding “you” and book ended by two humble and well-worn “t’s” is what we need to believe the next step is coming…even though we’ve lost sight of the ladder

What are we so afraid of?

Afraid to fail. Afraid to fall. Afraid of not knowing. Afraid of making the wrong choice. Afraid to be in the void. Afraid of rejection and afraid of being afraid…

But haven’t we been there before? 

Think about it…before we were old enough to be capable of questioning outcomes we believed in our “selves”. We trusted our journeys, followed our little hearts where they led us, enjoying the adventure of discovering what we liked, who we were and what made our hearts sing (or dance!)

We didn’t chastise or question ourselves if our favourite colour changed from green to yellow, our preference for playing soccer turned to football or we decided we simply preferred English to Math.

We trusted our instincts and our choices, trusted the path we were finding ourselves on and believing with childlike innocence that it would lead us to our future selves…one day

What if we still allowed ourselves this perspective on new beginnings?

Saw ourselves not as adults who question and worry, adults who are afraid to “start again” but instead as children who are still on our trusted journey, which is bound to change but which we still allow ourselves to be simply and happily on regardless!

What if we think of ourselves in this way?
…it actually isn’t easier to be afraid…it’s in fact much more natural and effortless to trust.

To continue on the path we’ve always been walking…allowing the wisdom of adulthood to help, not hinder, the journey.

But, what if I fall???

“Oh but my darling…

…what if you FLY!!”

Thoughts on work

Moving people

Someone once told me that the way to move your company is to “move your people”

I sat in awe of this man’s wisdom, and his words – delivered so confidently and succinctly  – seemed to make perfect sense.

He spoke about how important it was to motivate employees to do the work that would result in the company’s success.

It seemed so simple!

I am no longer with the company, but the experience of witnessing first hand the harshly enforced unrealistic expectations, declining morale and subsequent mass exodus of employees has made me question this statement or more specifically, the notion of the word – MOVE

Move your people”…what does that mean?

In the physical sense, if we want to move something we exert force against it. We push, pull or re-locate to get the item to get it where we want it to be.

We can do this with people as well, with our words, rules and punishments

– this is NOT acceptable
– this MUST be done
– there WILL be consequences
– do this NOW

Placing fear and expectation onto employees will surely get movement. It will certainly illicit action as subordinates fear the ramifications of non compliance.

Oh yes it will work. For a while…

But it is not sustainable and will no doubt lead to resentment and cynicism. Actions become robotic, joy disappears and the subsequent knock on affect to other employees and even to customers cannot be underestimated.

What would happen if we actually did MOVE our people?

If we were courageous enough to emotionally connect with them as people, understand their needs and ensure they feel valuable…

– I really care about your success
– you are so valued by our company
– I believe in you
– we are all in this together

Could we be human enough to admit we are vulnerable too and share ownership of the collective challenges with our teams? Invite them to collaborate, have a voice and believe they could be a part of the solution?

Do we want employees to wake up each morning feeling a sense of pride and belonging? To believe they are important and valuable to the company?

– I LOVE my job, and the people I work for
– I BELIEVE in what I am a part of
– I WANT to succeed

Or is it acceptable that they only feel anxious and inadequate

Which is better?

Submissive, fearful employees who feel the constant “push” of expectations which creates a reluctant movement away from discomfort…

…or happy people who are organically moved by an inner desire to succeed…creating the momentum required to achieve greatness?

We want activity, yes and productivity too but we need to question what is more valuable to an organisation…employees who simply jump or employees who happily ask “how high?”

Thoughts on life, Thoughts on work

Don’t let me die now, ok?

I’m driving through a green traffic light and thinking…

I’m only forty and I could get hit by a red light runner right now and die…

…and my life would end while I’m feeling like I haven’t really lived yet

what a shame

It occurred to me that for the past 9 years the happiest I’ve ever been in my career is when I’m leaving jobs I hate…
It doesn’t bare any significance for me that I have actually been very good at all these jobs.

I’ve earnt great money, held the impressive job titles, worked for companies others desired to be a part of and yet…

…I’ve been miserable.

Empty, disconnected and dragging my tired, yearning soul through meaningless days

It’s hard to express in words the heaviness that fills your limbs, the lack of clarity or interest in tasks you once used to like…

it’s as though your very essence is blocked, nothing feels right and it seems you are playing a role without believing the script…

And here I am again

2 days from a final goodbye that will bring familiar feelings of regret and relief, sadness and satisfaction, chaos and closure.

I both love it and fear it

I know this game so well yet I feel compelled to change course…it’s as though some quiet voice of reason is telling me to be brave.

“…you are destined for more, you’ve only scratched the surface my dear…you are different to them and better than all this and you just don’t belong here…”

One minute I’m playing a game of poker and holding the biggest pile of chips…the next I’m doing a jigsaw puzzle with a million pieces and no picture to guide my hand.

My eyes are wide open but I don’t know what to focus on

I’ve brainstormed, quiz-completed, friend-talked, book-read, passion-hunted and mind-mapped every single possibility to the point of exhaustion..

I sense the void of unemployment nudging itself over the horizon and into my peripheral

I feel the thrill of new beginnings and new possibilities…but I carry the burden of decisions I am not yet able to make and questions I can’t answer

“So what now?”

(Shrug) I don’t know

“What do you want to do?”

(Sigh) I honestly don’t know

“Yeah but, what do you want to BE when you grow up?”

I actually have no fucking idea

So please don’t let me die yet

Ok?