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Posts Tagged ‘awareness’

Another two weeks have passed since I wrote a weekly update. It’s been a combination of busy work (finally!), waiting to get some photos uploaded, and then a down period in the middle of last week which means that the post I wanted to write would have been more down than it deserved to be. We’ve all had enough of down posts recently. At least I have. I’m starting to worry that you’re all going to think I’m a big puddle of sadness and depression and homesick, when there are moments of fun and happiness and comfort. So, on with the last two weeks:

Funghi on log in Banstead woods. Autumn = leaves and mushrooms!

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This post is perhaps the first one to actually address the underlying theme of this blog: how to create a life that allows you to fly; to be that person you dream of being; to be happy and content and engaged and loved. To have hope. To experience joy. I’m finally back in the headspace and heartspace to be able to write these. Let’s see where this journey leads us. ❤

I consider good, open, aware communication to be the foundation of all relationships. Any relationship. Lovers, colleagues, friends. Anyone you have to interact with. It facilitates understanding, compassion and resolution. It creates understanding where previously there may have been frustration. Hope where there may have been despair.

Much of my experience in this life has been about refining and practicing communication. Learning how to be clear, how to ensure it is heart-felt and compassionate, how to facilitate understanding and resolution. It’s what I do well, when I’m paying attention and coming from a place of love and confidence. (I know this is not always the case, but it’s becoming more the norm, of which I am quietly proud).

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Mr Bunny's first tea partyI’m bubbling over with posts and thoughts at the moment (I’ve drafted another one, which I’ll polish up for later this week, plus the weekly update). This one was going to be part of the Postcards post but that one went in a different direction and I decided to do two.

The idea for the post was originally in response to my friend Molly’s recently created blog which I am really enjoying reading. She has previously been a nanny and is reflecting on how children interact with the world, and how we can frequently misunderstand why they ask specific questions. Molly is over at Mollybailasola

The specific article I am thinking of for this post has the following story in it:

When we were drinking pretend tea, she looked at me and she suddenly said, “what if I dropped the tea set and it broke?”

It’s the sort of question kids ask which is not really about what they say on the surface. It’s about, “what if I mess up, are you going to be angry?” My response was, “I would not be angry, but I would prefer if it didn’t happen.” She smiled and it made me think of Eve as well.

Molly is very wise. So often, it seems to me, the question that is being asked is “Do you love me? Am I OK and safe?”

L did this once, a month or two after I arrived. We were sitting on the floor, doing something together. She stopped and asked in a babyish and plaintive tone: “Do you like me?” I instinctively paused, looked at her for a couple of moments, smiled and quietly answered “Of course I do”. She smiled and we went back to what we were doing.

She was actually asking a much deeper question about whether she had a place in the life Jed and I are creating and whether she was going to be safe spending time with us. Considering I was anxious about the same thing, but from the opposite perspective, and I do happen to like her quite a bit, it was easier to give a heart-felt assurance.

I’ll probably always remember that moment. The connection between two humans who mean something to each other. It’s now in my head with the memory of the first time my Thai host-mother held my hand, letting me know she cared.

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Two other articles I came across today also fit into this overall theme of communicating with children. The end of Jen’s post, which was led to Postcards, reflects on how she’d like to instill the joy of writing in her children and how she might facilitate this.

The other is a post by Jen aka The Blogess, about a home-made zombie survival kit. While the concept is really amusing and has wide-spread applicability for my friends, the underlying theme of the post is about actually connecting with what children are interested in and providing a way to let them express themselves within a specific framework. Even if that framework is a potential zombie invasion.

BTW, the image has nothing specific to do with the post. It’s inclusion was inspired by the tea party story. And this blog has been devoid of images of late.

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About 2 years ago I wrote frequent postcards to friends overseas. Generally they were free postcards found in Newtown cafes, or postcards that I’d drawn myself on these fantastic blank watercolour postcard packs I’d found in an art supply shop. I always had my address book, and appropriate stamps with me, so I could scribble one off very quickly and stick into the next postbox I walked past.

I’ve stopped doing this. Well before I moved here. I suppose I got nervous, thinking the postcards might come across as stalkerish, rather than a gift from a friend. It was partially a symptom of the burn-out associated with constantly projecting myself through activities associated with being an internet DJ, and some of the drama surrounding that. I also moved inwards, preparing for this move. Whichever way I stopped writing them.

Occasionally I feel guilty about this, feel I should reach and then wonder if I have anything to say. It seems to be tied in with the way  I’ve been unwilling to communicate with many people through any medium recently. Why would postcards be any different. Some days it takes a special effort to remember to respond to a text message.

Juliana-Bec and I spoke about this the other week. About being scared of communicating with people. The crippling guilt because you’ve been lax in keeping in contact with people you love and respect because of life circumstances and the subsequent fear that people have stopped caring, or will make a big deal of your lack of communication when you do reach out to them, such that it’s easier to not communicate. It helps to know it’s not just me.

This is starting to shift. I’ve added a signature to my personal email which says this:

Disclaimer: despite my best intentions I don’t respond to emails as often as I like.
If you want to keep up with what’s going on in my life then I recommend the following:
Blog: http://www.verdarun.wordpress.com
Twitter: misskrin
Also on Facebook

Which removes some of the fear and guilt. I’m trying to shift the way I phrase things in my head from an “I should send xxxxx a text about next week” or “I should respond to that email” into an “I’d LIKE to send xxxx a text about next week as it would be fun to catch up” and “I’d LIKE to respond to that email as then I get to go to an exhibition” (which reminds me, I need to respond to Flick’s email… see, there I go again, it’s hard to break the cycle).

Then, today I read Jen’s recent post about writing letters. How she enjoys the act of writing them, and more importantly the joy of receiving letters, much better than bills. The imagery of her poor neglected mailbox was especially poignant. A good reminder that one of the things I used to love about writing postcards was imagining the surprise when people opened their otherwise empty mailbox to see the short message from me. Thanks Jen!

I remembered that Dee has pinned one of my postcards to her wall. That poki has posted his delight at receiving a postcard from me on his FB wall. That Lars always expressed how much he enjoyed getting random coffee-related postcards and has sent one back to me. That there are people I miss so much in Australia, and what I miss is simple communication, the small gestures to remind someone that you like them. Postcards can facilitate this feeling much more than online communication.

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My uncle, who also worked as a public servant for the NSW government at the same time I did, has a slogan which he repeated ironically everytime we discussed our work:

“Working to make the state of New South Wales a better place for the people of New South Wales”

Now, irony and self-deprecation is appreciated in our family, so it was always delivered in a slightly sarcastic, political patter, so you didn’t take it too seriously. But now I wonder.

My work ethic has substantially dropped off. I’m just not really interested in what I am doing at my current position, and every so often I wonder why, as this place does have the potential to be fantastic, so there must be something specific.

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It’s almost 6 months since I arrived in England (arrival date: 27 March).  In some ways I feel like I’ve been coasting through, and getting grumpy with myself about why I am not balancing my life as I did a year ago.  One theory is I don’t have enough energy to do anything much following the BIG MOVE. Which may be true. However, midway through last week I realised that this is actually what’s been going on:

Realisations Normally I can juggle many areas of my life successfully. Working on each are as they need to be addressed, confident that I’ve got most of it under control.

Recently I’ve had a nagging worry that I should be doing better (note the use of the word should – guilt word). I should be taking action to get a more enjoyable job, I should be taking action to get us into our own house, I should be more active, more sociable, more…

Then I had a realisation, that in fact I have been doing as I normally do, it’s just that one of those juggling balls, namely my relationship, and the related ball the relationship with L, have been taking up most of my concentration. There’s a secondary one, coping with change, which is taking up most of the rest of the concentration. Such that I’m really only able to do the minimum to just keep the job/career, finances, fitness, social life, etc. balls in the air.

This is starting to change. Thankfully.

Last week we made a firm decision that it’s time to move. So I took a crash course in house hunting in London. Decline gave me some excellent advice during our fortnightly catch-up.

So I started the difficult task of working out which part of London is we should focus on, and how much we should be willing to pay. Online rental sites (hooray rightmove.co.uk) are useful to get an idea of standard house prices, availability, quality… Knowledge I take mostly take for granted in Sydney. As an aside, this might also be the reason that Sydney’s population generally remains so static, once you are familiar with the peculiarities of an area and have found your best fit it’s a lot of effort to regain the knowledge.

London has a few more variables to throw into the mix when deciding what price range you are comfortable to pay. There’s rent, of course. Also Council tax (equivalent of rates) which is payable by the residents of the property, not the owners, and can change by over 100 pounds per year. And travel expenses as an additional zone adds to the cost of a seasonal travel pass. It’s all very confusing.

Once this is decided, then you have to work out what the neighbourhood is like. A very fraught excercise for non-Londoners.

We wanted to spend Saturday looking at potential flats. In the end we only saw two. This is mostly because you need to make an appointment with an estate agent to view a property. A complete contrast to my usual Inner West experience where house viewings occur in 20-30 min blocks for as many people as possible. So now we have to take a day off work and get very serious about looking at as many properties as possible so we can be comfortable with our chosen compromise between price, quality, features and space.

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I think this week marks the start of phase 4 of this journey: Moving on Together. We know we’ve made the right decision to share our lives, now to make those lives betterer. (yes, a deliberate typo)

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Autumn has arrived. There’s a chill to the air in the morning, the sun is getting up later, I’m remembering to not leave the house without a coat or a light scarf (which had been mostly unnecessary for Summer).

To be honest, I’m enjoying it. I was a bit over the extended Summer I’ve just had. My body and senses wanted a break from the warmth and brightness. It was craving a chill to the air, cold noses, rugging up in coats and blankies. I know that in winter I will absolutely hate these things, but, I have a very strong sense of cycles and rhythm and my body and subconsious were constantly trying to tell me that it was supposed to be cold and they’d like a break from heat and humidity now. Please.

This may seem odd in a society which is devoted to following the sun, and to comfort. I’ve had a few strange looks from people here when I’ve mentioned I’m sick of my extended Summer (although this may be because I am ignoring the complaints about the weather heirarchy). However I feel that cycles are important. Change is important. Relishing each season for what it brings is important. Trying to cheat the natural cycles, or getting frustrated because it’s not always warm is pointless and stressful.

Leading on from the advent of Autumn is shopping! Maybe this is why I’m enjoying it. I’ve not spent any money on clothing during Spring and Summer knowing that I would need to purchase heavy coats and boots and scarves and gloves and layers and hats and trousers and socks and all things to stop me getting desperately cold in my first winter in England.

Last week was the start of this process. I now own a couple more merino wool jumpers and a long cardie, argyle socks and stockings, a merino wool smock dress, stripey long-sleeved tops, plain long-sleeved tops and a faux sheepskin hooded coat, all courtesy of UniQlo (we love UniQlo). We probably spent more than we meant to in the store, but they are all good quality, simple items that will last us for a number of years, even with heavy usage, so in my book that’s entirely OK.

I’ve also acquired a pair of black brogues, to wear on rainy days when I’m sick of boots, an angora cardie, and a gorgeous maroon silk, empire line, knee-length dress. With pockets! It’s lovely. (I meant to take a photo yesterday after wearing it to work, but was a bit worn out after my commute home).

Still on the list is a pair of knee high, flat soled boots (or two). Ankle boots (casual pair, and a work pair). Warmer fabric trousers to wear to work. Heavy knitwear that I was covetting last season in Australia and never purchased, but were out of stock when I arrived here. A long sleeved, floral dress to wear under various layers. More leggings and a pair or two of wool tights for the keeping warm of legs. A warm waterproof hooded jacket.

The question I’ve been meaning to ask: what do you deem necessary to get through a Northern Hemisphere winter? What really obvious thing am I possibly going to miss and regret not owning?

(we did some other stuff as well, including me staying in London unexpectedly overnight and having a very lovely breakfast with Mikki and J the next morning, and building of lego towns with L. But weekly update posts do not always need to be in the format of monday, tuesday, wednesday etc. )

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Like many people, I accumulated a lot of stuff over my twenties. Gifts from family and friends, aspirational things I thought I needed while trying to work out who I was, things I kept for fear of needing them at some stage in the future. Mostly functional things, as didn’t have the slack in my budget to allow me to think I could have non-functional things.

The weight of this stuff was apparent every time I moved house (6 times in 9 years). By the time I moved into a place in Newtown in 2007 I’d already realised that I wanted a lighter life, but the process of letting stuff go was difficult, as I’m sure many people have found.

Tiny Colanders

Luckily the perfect solution came along: move halfway around the world! An impetus, a catalyst. I decided to reduce my belongings to only what was entirely necessary, or that had a very special significance.

It wasn’t easy, and took a lot of emotional, physical and mental effort. At the stage I had to get rid of some of the more essential items, I was surprised at how much it affected me to give up the rugs that had been on my floor through 3 moves. I realised they were the first things to go down when I did move, and created a sense of homein a new space. Something that had become very, very important to me. Seeing my belongings in the house of a dear friend who needed furniture and kitchen items was also strange, but good. A perfect example of reciprocity.

In the end I moved here with 19 boxes (most of those were archive sized boxes) and 3 suitcases. That’s it. It’s wonderful 🙂

We’re going to be moving again soon, and I’m starting to prepare myself for the mad packing sessions to come. However, I keep happily reminding myself that I no longer have 2.5 lives worth of stuff, more like 0.5 a life’s worth. Most of the things in the house we currently live in do not belong to either Jed of myself, as they are accumulations from previous occupants of the house. So they will remain, if our flatmate wants them, or will need to be re-housed (hooray freecycle!).

It’s nice to relish in this feeling.

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This post was inspired by recent thoughts, but also a blog post I just came across: How to let go of possessions as it reminded me of the process I went through to get rid of my stuff to worthy homes. I worked in sustainable waste policy, just hiring a skip to send to the tip was not an option.

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If you’d asked my opinion on myself at the beginning of the year I would have claimed to be an enlightened communicator. Maybe I still am.

But, I am currently learning about the gaps in my communication styles and assumptions. Which can be quite confronting. At least I also have the patience to know I (we) will get better and better. I (we) already have.

Following this evening’s episode of mis-communication and assumptions I found this site, an ebook on communication skills. Well, technically I found it before the episode, I just didn’t get a chance to look at it. Then I flicked to the contents page to see if it was worth reading. Spot on for the current lesson (as it often is). The section I read, talks all about the way we assume everyone is like us. Short, pithy, but with a powerful point.

You can read the entire thing online, download a PDF, or order a paperback copy. I’ve already added it to my amazon wishlist for future purchasing. Unless I print it off first.

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I’m a big fan of writing lists. Of dreaming and planning how things could be better. Tinkering around the eges as well as making big changes.

Last week I found the list I wrote last July of things I’d do ‘Upon turning 30’. Here’s reflection on the results:

  • QiGong Exercises – I found a book that detailed Tai Chi type excercises. I’ve done Tai Chi in the past and loved it, but I’m no so good at actively finding a school and showing up for classes. I want the perfect teacher and situation to show up, or I like to think that I will become immediately able to practice such things at home. Not happened yet. Maybe one day. Or maybe I should just start…
  • Yoga – ditto above. Love Yoga, it’s really good for me. I once had a wonderful teacher and a regular practice and then I moved and it fell apart. Really, really need to pick this one up again for all sorts of reasons, not least that I couldn’t sleep last night because my shoulder was really tight and painful.
  • Swimming – ditto the first three. It’s good for me, and I mostly enjoy it, but getting motiviated to find a regular time, getting out of the house vortex after I get home, buying swimmers, and looking after female waxing requirements means this is all too hard.
  • Regular removal of stuff – this was quite successful. Moved myself to England with 3 suitcases and 14 boxes of stuff. there’s been some purchasing since I got here, but realistically I’m now better at getting rid of stuff and have less stuff overall. I even managed to find a decent home for almost everything I used to own. Yay planning!
  • Seasonal cooking – this has been fantastically successful and is even easier here, as the impulse to cook is stronger now that the lure of King St is so far away.
  • Notes on UK/EU – I assume this was future job related. Didn’t happen. I do have a slim Moleskine notebook which I am slowly filling with notes of fun and interesting things to do in England. More socially focuessed, less professional.
  • Notes on Sustainable Production & Consumption and Product Stewardship – again I assume this was future job related. Didn’t happen, but that’s OK
  • Drawing/Art – this fell away in the last half of last year, and hasn’t really picked up again. I suspect I have an inverse relationship between stress and creative output, and last year was insanely stressful.
  • Money! Money! Money! (implement Your Money or Your Life) – I had my financial life reasonably settled and well on track to being fantabulous when I left Australia. Understandably, this has slipped quite a bit since I’ve been here. I’ve been busy setting up all sorts of things, emotionally, and I’ve neglected the financial side. There’s too many details to get my head around, it’s a bit scary. Not having a guaranteed income hasn’t helped either as the structures I’ve developed for my finances rely on regular fortnightly income.
  • Cycle charting – this came from a book I read last year, The Pill. I made the intention to start paying more attention to physical and emotional swings throughout the month. Quite useful and enlightening.  I’m a bit more gentle with myself, acknowledging that my baseline emotions do actually subtly change on a relatively predictable weekly basis, and that “blankie days” should be enjoyed rather than ignored. I highly recommend the concept, and the book as a tool of self-awareness.
  • People, not things – hard to know how this one went. It was a strange year in relation to people.
  • Contemplation, and pursuit of, La Dolce Vita – getting there. This is probably a life goal, rather than something to be attained in a year. Especially last year.
  • Cycling – hmmmm, see first 3 points.
  • Get better at food: unjade palette; bring lunch from home; get routines set up – tick for the first one. Cross for the second, although I’m not sure this will ever happen, I like a fresh cooked hot lunch; Maybe for the 3rd, depends what I meant by routines. What I have become better at is experimental cooking to use up stuff in the fridge. I’m rather proud of that practice.
  • Details are important – I suspect this one related to people and their lives. Still not good at this one, could do much better at remembering important information and dates about friends and relations and following through on actions that would help and indicate love and affection. On the other hand, I really, really needed to not worry about other people’s details this year, as I sorted out the deluge of details in my own life.

I’ll update the list for being 31 in a separate post. I need a little while to decide what might be important in this coming year.

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