Just enjoy the process

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This picture from my Facebook feed this morning sums up where my life is right now.
First of all, it’s a little messy – vividly, vibrantly and neon-coloured messy.
There’s the issue of the mess spreading. Don’t think those little fingers won’t be touching anything else. They will!
But then there’s the real problem, which I didn’t really consider a problem at all, until I was hit with a reality check.

I love being creative. I love the process of writing my books. I love cooking for my books. I love taking photo. I love the whole darn thing. There’s not one bit I don’t love. I would do it all day every day without the need for a break, mostly because I find there are so many different things to do and work on that if I get a little bogged in one area, heck I can break out a new thing to do (a bit like the child in the pic with the paints).

So, happily I create. focusing not on an end result, not on any result really, just doing what feels good at the time. Then someone called me out yesterday and told me I wasn’t getting the results I could. Oooh! That hit me hard. I didn’t feel criticised in any way, but I did feel woken up. I felt like someone was delivering the message the universe wanted me to hear. I knew instantly I needed to look at some of my work and revise it.

Yes, I do want some sort of result at the end of the day, but I mostly want to enjoy the process. I also believe in sharing imperfection. It certainly gives people hope. I have never set out to be the best. I gave up competing years ago. But stopping and assessing what we’ve done and what we need to improve upon doesn’t make the process any less fun. It just makes the product better.

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What can you do today to make a difference?

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I found this blog post that I wrote four years ago today…

It takes so little to make a difference. A kind word, a smile, really listening when your loved one is talking to you, not driving if you’ve been drinking, buying the fabric handbag instead of the leather one, telling the truth, picking up that piece of rubbish that didn’t make the bin…  The list is endless.
Know that you can make a difference. You can control nobody else but yourself. You are the one that will make the difference. You might not be able to change the entire world, but you are able to make small changes to your own world.
Small changes add up. They build upon each other and have a way of building momentum as they do, which means those small changes you make can grow into big ones.
All you have to do is decide to be proactive and take control of you.
Step lightly – make a difference today.

I ran it through tagxedo to create the pic.

My new book – a grain free vegetarian cookbook

vegetable-curry-16098447I’ve had trouble writing in here. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent the weekend writing – writing and cooking actually, as I nail down the final couple of recipes for my next cookbook.
This one is close to my heart, because being vegetarian narrowed my food choices, but last year I cut out all grains after seeing the results my husband was getting from following the Wheat Belly lifestyle. Dr William Davis wrote the book and has a great blog, which reminds me of the damage grains can cause to my body. I don’t really care if other people subscribe to it or not, I just know the difference it has made in my life. When I gave up grains, I got my face back and my body is on its way back too. I have more energy and I feel better than ever.
One big drawback – vegetarians who don’t eat grains aren’t left with much to choose from. This actually really highlighted to me my reliance on grains and also how far I had moved towards processed foods. It is so lovely to be making my food from scratch (starting out as necessity, but turning into enjoyment). So, I’m definitely much more on the health track, which is also proven in my annual blood test results, which show improvement in a number of areas.
I had a friend who had seen my progress and decided to try it out. She was doing amazingly until stress at work caused her to grab a biscuit and not be bothered to cook dinner and it wasn’t long before she was bloated and had her skin rashes back and felt worse than ever. One week back on the wagon and the puffiness in her face was gone, the rashes were gone and she was happier! Yes, the mood improvement is definitely real.
There is so much evidence around me, I have had no option but to embrace this lifestyle. My own story, backed up by others I know, means I’m committed. Now, because I’m committed, I have had to find food to eat. So, I’ve put the recipes I use every day into a book. The very beauty of this is they are the world’s quickest, simplest, get-the-food-on-the-table recipes you could ever have. I often do a bake as part of my morning routine, spending just under 5 minutes mixing up a batch of muffins and putting them in the oven to cook while I take my shower. Bonus is I can eat them for breakfast and lunch as they contain only nuts, fruit or cacao, sometimes coconut, a little honey or maple syrup and some sort of oil. They are filling and good for me with less sugar than most people put in a cup of tea and way more nutrients than can be found in two pieces of bread or a bowl of puffed rice.
You’re about to see how long the publishing process actually takes me, because while the copy is finished, it still needs editing and formatting. I always make changes in this process. I need to write the blurb and I need to organise the cover. So, it will be a couple of weeks before the book is out in the world, but it’s coming….

Holiday Blessings

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I’ve just been on holidays. I explored and played. I talked to strangers. I was adventurous, daring and brave. I was alive. It felt good.

I did something I’ve wanted to do for 30 years. I went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. My sensible self said it would be dangerous and I should be careful, but my trusting self who believes that the universe is actually on my side leaped at the chance. It was, in fact, an interesting example of manifestation. I had always said that next time I was back at the reef (I actually lived there in the 1980s and have returned several times since) I was going scuba diving. Of course, this thought completely left my mind when I planned this trip and while I was there. I got dressed and headed down to catch a boat to visit an island. There were no seats so we were waiting to see if someone didn’t show. As we were waiting my friend said she’d never been to the Barrier Reef. I was shocked and immediately asked if there were any seats available on a boat to the reef. Yes, the boat was leaving in 2 minutes. We paid and ran up the jetty. Still no thoughts of scuba diving. At the briefing, they mention an introductory dive. My friend who has been diving before was in without hesitation. I felt I had no option. I was going diving. I felt some fear creeping in and told myself it would have to be OK. Put all those thoughts of movies about people being stranded, reports of shark attacks back where I actually live, and my fear of coral itself, out of my mind. My greatest fear of course is not breathing. So I listened intently to the instructions. A better student you would never find. When Richie (the instructor) said “All you have to remember is to just keep breathing”, I looked down at my tshirt with “Just keep breathing” emblazoned on the front.

What a wonderful world it is beneath the water and how blessed I was to enjoy the dive at the Great Barrier Reef. I felt so lucky. I am still feeling blessed from the experience.

How I love looking at manifestations in hindsight.

Finding myself outside the box

I’ve been thinking about the box this week. I’ve never liked being in a box. Whenever I meet someone who likes things and people in neat, compartmentalised boxes, we clash. They try to shove me in and an arm or leg goes flying, making its way from the prison in which they would like to hold me.

There have been times when I’ve wanted to put myself in a box. It’s really much neater and you can ‘know’ so much more about yourself, what you want and what you need and what you are like if you are fitting into one of society’s boxes such as ‘good mother’, ‘good wife’, ‘good daughter’, This can be very helpful if you are trying to save thinking space and decision making brain cells.

But I truly am happiest outside the box. I am happy when I’m not defined. I am happy when I surprise myself. I am happy when I can be myself and don’t have to consider any sort of image or pigeon hole to maintain. It’s great for me outside the box. It is true freedom.

There have been times when I thought I was outside any boxes, only to look around and realise I had magically managed to seal the box from the outside! I couldn’t even see the box any more. Getting out luckily only required realising the false walls I had created.

The last box I released myself from was a real revelation to me. I felt that I had no option but to live where I live and work where I do. This partly came from the fact I love living where I live and love the work I do. But when I examined some options, I realised I didn’t have to give either up and there were still options to get out and explore a little more. Goodness know I have a hankering to explore lately.

So, here’s to the boxes that make life easy and save me from too many decisions! And here’s to the fact that all boxes are just temporary holding places that I can break free of any time I want.

Hidden blessings in parenting

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Standing in my daughter’s mess was an uncomfortable moment for me as a mother. I thought I could feel her overwhelm, her disappointment, her frustration, her embarrassment – what seemed like a million feelings, none of which were good. I realised that those feelings were mine. I’d been where she was and I’d felt those things. I had given her my feelings.

I could hear her begging me not to judge. In fact, she may have actually verbalised that. I don’t know, I was too focused on myself at this point to pay attention to what might be happening for her. I also didn’t really want to know what was happening for her as it was all a little too much for me and I didn’t feel I could cope with anything more.

What I didn’t tell her, what I wish I had told her, is I was not judging her, but I was judging me. Oh boy, was I judging me! I remembered all (and I don’t use that word lightly, I really think it may have been all) the dumb things I’d done, the innocent mistakes I’d made, the way my timing sucked so that my life was made very messy, the failings of my life. I wondered long and hard if my parenting had been one of those things to include in the failure list. For a minute I thought so.

But then I had that deep realisation that I’d had when my children were babies – it is my job as a mother to love myself so that they know how to do the same. What would I say to my daughter if she was standing there in my shoes? How would I let her know that she was worthy when she was condemning herself so?

So I took myself aside and gave myself a bit of a butt kicking. I reminded myself of the successes in my life. I reminded myself of my intent as a mother. I told myself that I had not failed, I had lived and learned. I told myself that I was worthy of so much more and I’d better go out there and get it.

So, thanks to my daughter, I have had a weekend of emotional downs, which have left me up. I hope she is feeling the same.

Weekend fun

What a wonderful weekend. I spent time with family. cooked and cleaned. It was exactly what I needed. Luckily today is a public holiday and I will be catching up on my writing.
I had a productive week last week, republishing “Get your kids to eat their vegetables” and beginning a children’s book. I am pleased with my new title and cover for the veggie book. It is so much more appealing than it was. Managing to get the createspace book organised was a real achievement. I now have to make sure to do that for all my books. I think it will be a critical factor in any children’s books. My research this week tells me that children’s books don’t sell on kindle, but they could sell hard copies. Expecting dismal sales won’t stop me here because I have been having so much fun with the process of writing the children’s book, that I want to do it again and again. Aim of the game this week is to finish my first children’s book “The Animals are Talking”, finish my “Easy Vegetarian Entertaining Volume 2” and have both ready for publishing by next weekend. I won’t publish the children’s book yet though. I want to have another one ready to go at the same time. I will put out ideas for the cover and pick a launch date so that I will keep myself on track and line up a couple of reviews, which I know are critical.
Having the family over yesterday was lovely – a bit of a surprise, but lovely. I though five people were coming for lunch maybe or maybe we would be going out. Turned out to be eleven of us at our tiny house. I was so excited we all fitted inside. The weather was definitely winter and we have dirt and mud as far as the eye can see, as the ground has been prepared for cementing. Can’t wait for the cement to arrive.
Because of the quick nature of preparation yesterday, and thinking on my feet, I relied on old favourites, although I did slip one new recipe in, thanks to my neighbour’s homegrown pumpkins and a tin of chickpeas I had in the fridge. If it wasn’t for the very basic herb garden and the local free range chooks, I would have had to add an hour to prep time to drive into town to buy supplies. Yay for this lifestyle! It is exactly what I want. The food is fresh, the water untainted and the air is clean. I am blessed.

Happy Wednesday

It’s Wednesday morning and I’m kicking it. I had no internet connection yesterday, which turned out to be a mega bonus as I got stuck into re-editing my getting children to eat their vegetables book. This morning I’ve finished it and am on track to re-release it on the weekend. Yes! That is a massive accomplishment.
I have also been plugging away at a children’s book, which I am so much enjoying. If I’d realised it would be this much fun, I would have done it sooner. It’s bringing out the child in me and I’m finding it great relaxation.
On the other hand, back at my ‘real work’, I have found some of my buttons pushed. Basically just people being rude to me, but I’m surprised how it makes me feel. I have decided I don’t need to wear that. I can wear whatever I want. That stuff is not going to stick to me. I am wearing appreciation and good thoughts. Yes, it’s going to be a happy day at work today.
Hope your day is happy too!

Monday morning

How I love the weekend, when I get to do all the things I love doing in my free time, especially writing, spending time with people I love, spending time with the dog I love, and spending time a home.
How I love weekdays when I get to go to my ‘real’ job as a teacher. I find the work so satisfying and I know I am doing the work I should be. It is also a wonderful playground to explore my relationships with others. Lots of fun and games.
So, as I leave the weekend behind me, I am feeling more like I want to bring a little of that to every day of the week. I have always written poetry and this weekend I began to write some for children. I have decided that that is a nice project to continue with during the week. No pressure, fun writing and none of the messy businessy type stuff of having everything set out correctly and making sure I’ve got the links correct.
I have a plan for forward action. That feels good.

Deserving success

I’ve been thinking about why people always recommend having someone else to be accountable to. I’ve had this type of accountability in the past and to be honest, it made no difference whatsoever. I have always relied on myself. Be accountable to me and that is strong enough to motivate me to do what I need to do for me.

I have been thinking I might be in need of some outside reinforcements lately as I have found myself (on more than one occasion) knowing what I need to do, but not really bothering to do it. I know that if I really wanted something, I would take the action I need to get it.

Then I find myself wondering why I don’t really want something. Why wouldn’t I just tweek a formula that’s making some passive income for me and turn it into something that could make plenty of passive income for me? Laziness? No, I’m not really lazy at all. I certainly keep myself busy. Not enough time? I would like to believe this one, but I know it isn’t true because I find plenty of time to watch Madmen for the second time and to sit around playing games on my iPad. Scared of failing? Nope, not at all. I’ve failed enough to know there is nothing scary in that one, just the pleasure of learning. As I scroll through the list of things that could be preventing me from taking the action I know I need to take, I come to the biggie, the one where I know the truth lies – I’m afraid I could be really successful. Being really successful is quite scary. I’m not sure I deserve it. And there we have the place where my attitude needs its adjustment. Here goes.

Why I deserve to be successful. Actually, I don’t think I’ll start there. I’ll start with a core belief of mine – that I have an obligation to live my life as fully and lively as I can. That means filling it up with stuff that creates growth and learning. It means pushing myself and extending myself. It means having everything I want and more. In many ways, this is my definition of success and I believe it is my job (my only real job) to make this happen in my life. So, whether I believe that I deserve success or not, I am bound by more core belief to pursue it. I also know that I deserve as much as anyone else. If I could get my head around that, I would start to understand my warranting the blessings of the universe. I love watching others be bestowed gracefully with growth. I get a kick out of their creativity. I am excited that they have the means to do what they want – go where they want, live what they want and have what they want. As I write this, I realise how blessed I am to no longer struggle through growth. In recent years, the struggle has gone and there is grace in my growth. I realise what a kick I get out of my own creativity. And I realise I live where I want and have so so much of what I want. I am blessed and, yes I believe I can say it, already successful. I just don’t want to stop at this. I don’t want to settle.

So, today I will pledge to myself to keep living the best life I can, to push myself that little further and to keep expanding. I will be accountable to no other soul but myself. I will love myself through it. I will define my success and I will grasp it with both hands, because I earned it, because I deserve it, and because I want it.

Ah! Sunday writing sounds like a plan to me.