Sitting in judgement

Listening to some new and newish mums talking today I am feeling frustrated. Why are women so ready to sit in judgement of other women? So willing to participate in their own subjugation and of others? All three women are committed to bringing up their children with love and respect. Instead of loving kindness and support they are awash in a sea of judgement.

The judgements that fell harshly on them? One co-sleeps, one had such a difficult time and lack of support breast feeding that she changed to bottle and the other likes to still work part time.

What do I see? Three amazingly strong women juggling children; managing parents, in-laws, friends and “well”-meaning bystanders telling them how they “should” be doing things; coping with sleepless nights; meeting partners needs and wants; all while trying to keep just a little bit of sanity.

What do I think? It’ll take 25 years to know who raised their kids the “right” way. And who are we to judge or wish for a definitive. Think about it. In wanting to be right that means a child is going to grow up unable to function in society. In wanting “your” way to be the “right” way (the only correct way) you are wishing an unhappy life full of suffering on a child.

I co slept, bottle fed, and worked. I was the original party girl too. Dragged my kids from pillar to post pursuing my career. Everyone tut tutted me. My kids have turned out fine. So if you are struggling with people passing judgement on you, ask them to come back in 30 years. Inside yourself lock away the knowledge that you are being the best parent you can be. This is your journey, your path. So long as you make conscious choices, STEPUP when required and own all consequences then you will live a life with meaning and you will pass this attitude and skill on to your children. And that is the greatest gift you can give.

Optimism, realism and pessism

We all know the glass half full story, or rather stories … half full is the Optimist, half empty is the Realist. I would like to introduce the Pessimist who knows the glass is half empty and full of germs. And don’t forget the Opportunist who drank it while we were working out if it was half full or half empty.

As a metaphor for life it works pretty well. There is also the Pragmatist who doesn’t care whether it’s half full or half empty but will take what is available, roll up her/his sleeves and use it to get on with the task at hand. Occasionally,  someone asks, how do I get my glass to be half full instead of half empty? And this is the person you want to be.

To be a half full person you don’t need to overdose on positivity and I’m not going to drown you in cheerleader type exhortations. I am not going to teach you to be an Optimist. We are going to embrace the Pragmatist that takes what is available to build the next step. In our case, the next step is to be a person who lives life on equal terms, meets challenges with equanimity and, through that, finds a balance between life’s demands and life’s joys. Finding contentment rather than the hypomanic happy that is euphoria.

We cannot go through life attached to a feeling as powerful as having won Tattslotto or climbing Mt Everest. This is not a natural state. Neither is sadness or depression so we shouldn’t spend too much time there either. 

What you are going to do is become your own censor. You are going to filter the messages that your brain receives from your eyes and your ears. You are going to look and listen for negative and self defeatist messages and think about how you can reframe that message. And then reframe it. This doesn’t mean sugarcoating.

Some events are disastrous. Acknowledge that something bad happened but reframe, ie, that job interview or that presentation or meeting could have gone better; or, I could have managed my staff members lateness better. Never say I blew that interview/presentation/meeting and then beat up on yourself. Don’t berate yourself for overreacting to a staff members poor performance or for letting a staff member walk all over you. .. acknowledge that it was not your best performance and …. This is not where I tell you to walk on … This is where I suggest,  most strongly, that you sit with a pen and paper and do some really thorough analysis.

What were your expectations before the event? What role did each actor play in the event? What could you control? What couldn’t you control? Then step up and own the actions that you could control. Consider whether right in that moment if you could have chosen a different path and what that path might have been. Decide that you will behave that way in the future. Then chalk up this incidence to experience. Acknowledge that you are building resilience, take your learnings and continue to wander your path with a little more knowledge and a better understanding of yourself. The next time you are in a similar situation you will view it differently because you have taken those lessons on board and you know that the outcomes will be better … glass half full … and who knows .. One day it might be a full glass!

Happy wandering!

There is NO magic pill!!

My recent red dust wanderings have seen me lose about 20 kilos in weight. I didn’t starve myself and I didn’t exercise like an olympic athlete. In fact, the most I would do in the beginning was a gentle 20 minutes on a mini-trampoline in front of the TV. I do none now but I walk more often and am more active generally so I manage about 5000 steps a day. So many people have commented on how well I look and want to know my “secret”. They are so disappointed when I tell them. Most are  expecting some gimmicky magic diet pill that allows them to keep eating the same and behaving the same. So here’s the bald truth. I chose to follow a plant-based eating lifestyle. That’s it!

I confess to being an accidental vegan. I wasn’t motivated by the wholesale abuse of animal rights, nor was I inspired as to this being an appropriate lifestyle for my spiritual beliefs. Rather, I had become so ill that I could barely keep anything other than soy/almond milk or vegetables down. Despite the nausea I didn’t lose any weight. So I decided to step up and commit to taking charge of my health. I decided to practice being vegan for six months and see what would happen. A friend of mine put me in touch with a great vegan program as I was nervous I would end up malnourished and hungry. Never been healthier, happier or fuller. When I was on the formal program I struggled some days to eat the allocated food. And, yes I did a juice fast. Ten fabulous days. Four litres of the most beautiful tasting organic juices (except the cabbage juice!) plus a fabulous detox drink every day. I’m planning a 60 day fast for September.

Did I have detox symptoms you ask? Well there’s the kicker. I had a guaranteed way to relive the symptoms … organic coffee enemas. Yes! You heard correctly, coffee enemas. I was shocked at first too but quickly mastered the art. Well, there were a few accidents along the way, but I kept my sense of humour. You need to when you are placing a hose connected to a litre of coffee to a place where the sun doesn’t shine.

I became so happy with my lifestyle that I have thrown in my career as an Analyst and am studying to be a Health and Nutrition coach and learning some other healing techniques along the way.

If you are thinking of making some changes I strongly urge you to follow a plan or get some good vegan cooking books from the library or the bookstore. One I love in particular is Oh! She Glows! A great cookbook, filled with scrumptious recipes that turn out exactly as they should. Each recipe comes with a great allergen guide as well.

Some pointers about my plant-based eating lifestyle, no animal products at all, this includes dairy and eggs, no gluten, no peanuts, and wherever possible, I choose organic produce. There are some vegetables that are so laden in pesticides, let alone genetically modified that I won’t eat at all. We are lucky here in Australia but if you can, buy organic. I also don’t drink alcohol, but there are organic wines and beers on the market now and the key to all things is moderation.

Lastly, some people find that making gentler changes works for them. I’m an all or nothing kind of person, but I do think that you can make small changes like changing your portions. Rather than committing to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, commit to ahealthier you and your family. Make meat the smallest portion on your plate and coloured vegetables the largest portion. Try scrambled eggs on a bed of spinach instead of three pieces of toast and cut out the bacon. Try a couple of vegetarian dishes each week. Who knows, you might like them. And, simplest of all, grab and apple instead of the chips.

A couple of blogs you might enjoy.

http://ohsheglows.com/

http://rawganicvegan.com/

Happy meanderings my fellow Red Dust Wanderers

Getting Over Procrastination – The New Yorker

http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/a-procrastination-gene?utm_content=bufferc2e90&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Hello my fellow Red Dust Wanderers. I have shared this article as I know many of you suffer from procrastination; whether occasionally or chronically.
I get crippled by procrastination. I have a 3500 word paper due tomorrow and have done nothing so far. I will cram and work without sleep to make the deadline, because that is what I am good at. The “deadline” warrior should carved on my headstone, if I was getting buried rather than scattered to the winds.
I never connected my impulsiveness with my procrastination before.  It is like a light has gone for me. I am heading for a 10 day meditation retreat in June with no idea of a focus. Now I have one self – control!  It will address both conditions that continually land me in hot water.
Owning it! Stepping up! Taking charge of the path I am walking.
I hope at least one of you has a light bulb moment reading this article and that it brings you closer to implementing mindfulness and meditation into your life.
** LoveAndLight * *

The Fairy God-mother syndrome

Fairy God-mother
Fairy God-mother

Do you suffer from the Fairy God-mother syndrome? If you don’t, congratulations! So many people are curled up in the foetal position letting life walk all over them. All the while waiting for someone or something to come into their lives and suddenly make everything better. Waiting for the proverbial fairy god-mother to wave her magic wand and turn them into a prince or princess so they can go to the ball/live in the palace (a metaphor for the perfect life they imagine they are missing out on)

If you are suffering from Fairy God-mother syndrome, what you are not doing is living your life. You are not looking at what you did or didn’t do to get you to the point you are now at. You are not acknowledging the choices you made, and you are certainly not stepping up and owning your life. You are not accepting that the only person that can pick you up and put one foot in front of the other is you. You are failing to understand that the only person who can create the life you want is you. Not your partner, not you friend, and definitely not your children. If someone tries to pick you up and you are not ready for it you will not be able to stand. And if you stay upright, it will be them manipulating your feet and direction like a puppet meister. If you follow a path that someone else says you “should” follow then you will find another cliff to fall off. That cliff may be an abusive partner, a dead end job, a manipulative friendship, or the bottom of a bottle.

Getting the life you want takes effort, takes focus. It takes a desire to receive everything you deserve, and a matching mindset that set the bar high on what you think you deserve. If your life is crappy, it’s because somewhere deep down you believe you deserve a crappy life, or you are so locked down by fear of what your different life might really be like that you are paralysed. Sometimes when our life changes we will lose people that are close to us, but we will also gain new people. We may need to cut or reshape family ties, and this is scary and we worry about hurting those people as much as they have hurt us, and fear retaliation. Once you make the choice to own your life you will breathe easier, think clearer and see for miles. There will be high moments and low moments, but each step you take, each decision you make increases the highs and decreases the lows. One day something will happen and you will think, “if this had happened to me before I would have given up” or “I would have yelled/cried/got angry/sullen”. You will be surprised and pleased at how the little trivial things no longer bother you because you are living a big full life.

As a coach I will offer my hand to help you up as you reach out and grasp that hand. When you make the conscious choice that you want life to improve,  I will assist you. And I will happily, and encouragingly, walk alongside you, offering tools and health and wellness guidance, as you, the most important person, determine what is the best life for you. And then together we will work to achieve that. My happiest moment will be when you own your life and walk away from me.

Over 40, unfit, and fat …

That was me, over 40, unfit and fat. And so far from the Red Dust Warrior of my inner me as could be possible. I ignored every signal my body sent me until the night I walked into the emergency department at Queanbeyan Hospital and said, “I think I only have indigestion, but I’d hate to wake up dead because I ignored something.” They never really did find out what caused it. My blood pressure was 165/90. Later they were keeping me in because my blood pressure went so low I set all the alarms off. Now, I have to say that I didn’t listen to that message straight away but it did bubble at the back of my brain. I put it down to stress and went back to my workaholic ways. I continued in my stress filled job for another year before I begged my boss to release me. I thought I’d get a transfer and get some work life balance. Unfortunately you can’t just walk into the supermarket and buy a box of work/life balance off the shelf.

Three years later I was still unhealthy and generally unwell and really unhappy in my job. I had had another couple of “mysterious” heart incidents and seemed to have an immune system that attracted every bug and virus within a 20 kilometre radius. I missed so much work and then my back collapsed on me completely while on long service leave. I spent 9 weeks almost constantly in bed barely able to move or walk and definitely unable to sit. I still didn’t listen. I kept eating bad food and, and as soon as I could manage a reasonable distance (100metres) I went back to work even though I hated my job with every fibre of my being.

Mid last year  I started vomitting everything I ate. First meat, then dairy, then fish and finally eggs. I was getting terrified to eat. I was making smoothies out of silverbeet from my backyard and organic apples and almond or soy milk. I did this for 2 months and lost barely any weight. I had developed trigeminal neuralgia and was in constant pain and weighed in at 95 kilos. After this massive change in diet and dramatic decrease in caloric intake I had only lost 1.5 kilos. I had two lumps on my thyroid but my tests showed everything was okay. I was not okay! My doctor was concerned because she felt the weight should be falling off me if I was eating so clean. But I wasn’t really. I was still loading on some gluten free junk food, and gluten free pizza, some fairly highly processed foods and tonnes of coffee daily. Although by this time I had given up Coca Cola and alcohol so I still should have been losing weight.

I reached out to a friend who practices a vegan lifestyle. I wanted to make sure that if I was going to adopt this lifestyle that my body was forcing on me, I would do it properly. I had watched Joe Cross’ movie, Fat, Sick and nearly Dead, and absolutely knew that juicing was the way to go. The movie was really powerful. My friend also put me onto Liana Shanti, the RawganicVegan, see link below. I went on her 66 Day reset (8 week reset), which is started with a 10 Day juice fast and daily coffee enemas. Yes! Enemas. I know, I was shocked too. Although not half as shocked as when I did my first one.

I cannot tell you how different the reset made me feel. I have always been about stepping up and owning your life, owning your decisions but I had let myself become a giant couch potato. I justified the disgusting diet of potato chips and chocolate and 2 litres of Coca Cola a day. I was drowning in self loathing, far far far from my usual “happy dancing feet” persona. And although nobody in my personal life knew it, I was becoming seriously disaffected with life. Really struggling to find pleasure in the small things. I had always been able to pick myself up and dust myself off no matter what happened. Always able to just suck it up and get on with it. Now I just seemed to wallowing in a giant cess pool of angst.

I now welcome that vomitting. It changed my attitude and my life. I have taken all my business acumen and organisation skills and totally reframed my life. I am comfortably below 80 kilos, and it has been a gentle steady loss, which at times I put a hold on to explore the wonderful world of vegan, high raw foods (especially the desserts) and I am now undertaking a Candida Protocol. Along the way I have been “releasing” emotions and deeply exploring what I want from life. The answers have been truly suprising on some levels.  I have quit my extremely well-paid unhappy job as a Business Analyst and commenced on a new life as a Health and Wellness Coach.  And, I am finally studying something just because I want to, Applied Buddhist Studies. Although I intend incorporating many of my Taoist and Buddhist beliefs into my coaching. My marriage, which was always good is now great, and we are contemplating a tree change. I am reconnecting with my children on a whole new level and have so much energy for my grandkids. And for the first time in many years I am now able to meditate. I am so much more mindful of the world around me and my place within it. I am truly manifesting my inner Red Dust Warrior.

If you have ever though of undertaking a juice fast I highly recommend it. Who knows, like me it could be just what you need.

http://rawganicvegan.com/

PS. I receive no income from promoting these links. I do it only to share what I believe in. Paying it forward …

PPS. If you would like to become a Red Dust Wanderer and join me on my journey I will be taking on new clients after May (2015).

ROLE MODELS! ARE YOU GOOD OR BAD?

We are always role models. Every single moment of each and every day. Whether someone is watching or not. All our choices result in actions or inactions that other people are aware of, either at the time or later. If we have influence over another person, especially children, we need to acknowledge the impact our choices have on them.

We frequently fail to understand how much like our parents we are. Who always swore they’d never do something their mum did and then 20-30 years later say “I sound just like my mother!” and shudder? Of course we often examine that event and realise that our mum’s were actually right at the time. We may even tell her. What we also know upon that reflection is that our teenager (it is often a teenager that triggers it) will in all likelihood grow up okay because we did. Shouldn’t our ultimate goal though, to have our child grow up fully functional and able to realise their full potential? Just a thought.

 What if you grew up in a time when the odd smack was administered? For those of us with odd smack parents we actually do NOT know how to parent in an alternative way. In a legal way. In fact many who grew up since smacking became illegal don’t know another way. This is part of the reason why we are compelled to ask our friends and families (except our mothers 🙂 ) how they manage or handle things. Of course we also then allow people to sit in judgement of us and our choices. Something you should always resist! Personally I recommend that you read. And read a wide variety and watch You Tube and parenting sites with vids. Find a style that suits you. There is no universal style, only one universal right, to be Nurtured and Loved. We have one single fundamental duty – to raise a child in loving kindness so that child may become an adult who is strong, independent, resilient and able to express and receive love.

What happens though when you had crappy role models? Firstly, let me say it is not okay to say “my dad gave me floggings and I turned out okay.” That is a cop out. Try and remember the little person (yes person!!) you were. Curled up in terror screaming and pleading not to be hit. There is NOTHING you could have done that was so bad to deserve being beaten! Especially by someone out of control in a violent rage.

What about me? Yes I smacked my children. Both of my daughters were smacked twice in their entire lives. My son was a different matter. He was smacked regularly, but not beaten, but that does not make it right. And I wish I had managed his behaviour in a different way because I know that one day my son may be tempted to smack his son, because that is what he learnt from me. I know now that you should never hit someone more than half your size, or anyone of any size for that matter. You are setting that person up to be a victim or a bully. Neither of which gives a rewarding life. And don’t think I didn’t justify what I did. I had rules. Never hit in anger. I would warn three times and then I would smack. I thought it was okay because I was hitting him with something ( a wooden spoon) not with the part of me that was meant to love and cuddle him.

Fortunately for me and my son I had a broad range of disciplines. I mainly taught him to sit in trees until he could calm down; a practice he utilises to this day. In fact it is what makes him so successful. Whenever he feels that hyperactive urge no matter what the meeting, or maybe because the meeting is so important, he just stands up and calls a meeting break. He pats his tummy and says, sorry bad curry. He goes to the bathroom and calms himself down. This gives him the edge because negotiations never get out of his control. I also put him into every sport I could and minimised junk food. In fact my kids thought slices of cucumber were mini wagon wheels (a chocolate treat in Australia) until they went to school. And on their school holidays I always found somewhere cheap and far away from the city to camp so that he could roam free and express himself. Although he did once get chased by a male kangaroo so he learnt not to roam too far or to hit golf balls at herds of kangaroos!

Mostly, we muddle through without considering the enormity of the role we have taken on. That is to give life to an individual. We must also remember that one day that individual will grow up and we cannot tell them what to do anymore. This is something that many people seem to have a great deal of difficulty with. I regularly see women telling, quite forcibly, their adult children how to live, where to live, and my personal favourites, when to have kids and how to raise them. Please remember you may make suggestions but you should never forcibly tell another person how to live. But that is a blog or seven for other days.

Talk again soon. Till then remember that your decisions are choices, they matter and you should own them! Even the bad ones.

Wandering the Red Dust Ways

The begining of this part of my journey …

This blog is just me commenting on the world. One day it might be something small, one day it might be something big. If it provides you with an insight into your daily wanderings then great, if it amuses you then terrific, if it bores you then scroll on past – but do come back another day!

It is important that I tell you why I chose the blogger name I chose. The Red Dust Way is in the Taoist tradition. What it means is living life in The Red Dust, ie the dust of life. It is not about retreating to a cave in a cool green mountain to achieve a perfect state. It appealed to me as a metaphor on the way to live life.

So often you see people living for some moment in the future, or saying if only XX would happen or if only HH were different. So often people are not present in their daily lives. They’re in the future, or, more frequently, drowning in the past. Me, I am always present; always here, always now. I think that’s what makes me happy.

What is also important is that it is MyWay. So often there are claims that if you do it this way or that way then your life will be perfect. Rubbish! We, each of us, must find our OwnWay and, this is the most important bit, respect the fact that other’s have to find TheirWay.

It is your OwnWay because you own it! So, step up. Own the life you live. Own every thought and every action. There is ALWAYS a choice. It may not be a pleasant choice but there is always a choice, whether you make it from a position of strength, compromise or weakness. When you own it, really own it, then you value it. When you value it, then life improves.

I will introduce you to many wonderful people who let me share their ways with them, the highs, the lows, and the beautiful calm comfortable in-betweens. Or I might share something I hear on the radio, or sitting in a cafe, or travelling on the bus, and tell you what I think. I encourage you to engage with me positively and provide your thoughts.

PS, I’m a girl from the West at heart, so the odd impassioned f-bomb does not offend me, however, my readership might be a bit hesitant so please use it sparingly. Remember we have options like I AM REALLY UPSET, or I disagree!!!! or Yippppeeeeee!!! :))))))  My personal favourite is **BIG SMILES**