If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to see it, do you hear the sound it makes?

I know I would still be writing. And I would still be reading out loud. I think that if you are any kind of an artist, then validation is just sort of… it can be a result, but you’re going to do the work anyway. Because you’re just wired that way. It’s so engrained, it’s such a part of your personality that you don’t just stop doing it. Eventually I’ll retire on some level, eventually no one will want to buy my books or a ticket to see me read, it’s inevitable that’s going to happen. Uhuhuhuh fake cries But it won’t stop me from writing. I’ll just write about how sad I am all the time.

– David Sedaris on whether he’d persevere as a writer without validation.

If a tree falls in the woods, do you hear the sound it makes?  If you write and write and write but don’t get the feedback or recognition you need to push on, does it matter?

Yes and no.  I’d write anyway, just because it’s the only way I can organise my thoughts and when it’s quiet, I enjoy writing just for myself. I enjoy the tap-tap-tapping on a keyboard, I enjoy writing on a thick pad of paper and I enjoy the solitude writing gives me.

On the flipside, I don’t enjoy the solitude when all I hear are the voices in my head. If I write for myself, sometimes it feels selfish if I’m the only one getting anything out of it.  I would prefer if my writing was doing something for someone.  Probably because it’s been drilled into us in school and uni and whatever that if you love something, you should find a way to share it with the world.

I see how that works, but also … does it take the fun out of what you love, if you put a monetary value on it?

I love to write, but sometimes it doesn’t come easy. Right now I’m on fire, but I’m emoting and I feel like because this is just me on a rant, it doesn’t matter what I write.  I had a previous role where the writing tasks were draining, so much so that one Easter long weekend break I went home alone (while my husband and friends went out for a post-work drink), polished off a bottle of wine by myself, ate a wheel of blue cheese by myself and fell asleep in front of the TV watching old episodes of 30 Rock.  My husband came home and found me passed out on the couch like a chick flick cliche.

It was one of the worst nights of my life, and it was the beginning of the end for me with that role.

Ironically, though, I wrote about that experience in a long and frustrated entry in my journal the next day.

I decided I would write because I love it, and to stop focussing on the money and the recognition.  There is so much around making what you love the thing that you do for a living. It is hard work … but it has to be worth the hard work.  If you come home at the end of the day and the hard work just doesn’t seem rewarding anymore, then … what’s the point?

But writing is different. It’s kind of like a habit now. I’ve come so far from being someone who denied herself the right to finally embrace my love of writing, that I can’t abandon it now.  I wrote for myself before, but now I feel like I can share that with others.

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to see it, does it make a sound?  Yeh of course it does. The reality is, a tree dropped from an upright position and crashed to the ground, and yeh, that makes a loud sound.  Whether anyone was around to witness it or not is irrelevant.

I want to make a sound with my writing though. I want people to hear the crash as a piece or post or article hits the ground.  I want people to come running into the forest to check out the noise, “What was that? Who did that?”.  They don’t need to be rich people. Or beautiful people. Or important people. Because I’m not one of those people.

So I’ve dropped something, which has taken me years to put together as it’s been germinating in my head for a long time.  I’ve finally knocked that tree down.

http://mylocalworld.com.au/

From my welcome note on my homepage:

Welcome to MY LOCAL WORLD, which I hope will soon become part of YOUR local world 🙂 Get outside the world you live in, and discover multicultural experiences right here in your own home.

This is about bringing the world to you, and in the process, discovering that it is, in fact, a small world, after all.

I’d be delighted if you could check out the tiny noise I’ve made. Maybe as more people join you in the forest, the sound, in hindsight, will just grow louder …

The only thing you need for a trip is curiosity

Travel. But not just to “exotic” places.

You’ve got a 9-5′er.
You’ve got kids.
You’ve got debt.
You’ve got no money, seriously.
You’ve got an expired passport.

What you’ve got are excuses.

A walk beyond your front door is travel. The only thing you need for a trip is curiosity.

– Something I read off the Matador Network site

In 2009, I was debt-ridden and living back home with the parental unit (thanks Mum! xxx). While friends and family were traipsing the globe having wild adventures, I was stuck in Sydney shovelling money onto my credit card.

I could have lived like a hermit, but I chose instead to discover all the cultural places, food and events that Sydney had to offer, recreating a kind of mini world adventure in my own city. It’s become the way I explore my city now, and finally I am getting serious about it and sharing these amazing finds via a new blog, MY LOCAL WORLD. It’s not ready (yet), but it’s coming, and I can’t wait to see what else is out there, and discover more places with more people!

If you have any suggestions or contacts for anyone wanting to showcase their cultural cuisine, event or spaces, feel free to contact me here or at hello@maysays.com xxx

My Local World ... coming soon to YOUR local world xxx

My Local World … coming soon to YOUR local world xxx

Synthesising Happiness

Why, TED, do you keep challenging me and shaking up my view of the world?

… imagining that not getting what you want could make you just as happy as getting it …

I think this is less about synthesising happiness and more with being CONTENT to play the cards you were dealt.

Not that you shouldn’t stop striving for what you want, but you shouldn’t deny who you are either.

Ahhh, happiness … you’re not an elusive b!tch, after all …

Let me know your thoughts 🙂

Articumalationising

Writing notes for a review (The Zero Theorem, Terry Gilliam’s new film), and this is my best note from it:

Bob, the young guy in the movie, is like the Andrew Garfield character from the Heath Ledger movie in the other Terry Gilliam film.

Written in a dark screening room with very little coffee.

I will refine and it will be brilliant.

 

Living all the days of your life

Maybe it’s because I’m a hundred thousand years old, maybe it’s because I’m sick of wasting time, maybe it’s because I keep looking for more and searching for more, but I’ve started actively looking for ways to improve my overall life. I’m more conscious of the time I spend procrastinating (which is a LOT, thanks Buzzfeed), because I don’t want to be wasting my time doing useless things. At the same time though, I don’t want to busy myself with simply being busy for the sake of it, and I’m more aware of quality downtime too.  I’ve also taken a good hard look at the exercise I do (or don’t do) and the food that I eat (I use the term “food” loosely), and I’m acutely aware of the fact that while I don’t feel the effects of my complete lack of pride in my fitness and health, I will soon, if I keep this up.

So when I wrote about SzeWing Yip’s services as a life coach at Intuitive CoachingI was interested in more than just promoting her business properly. I was looking for some kind of divine intervention.

AN OBJECTIVE PROFESSIONAL

I’d always been open to seeking the advice of an objective professional regarding how I should get my ass into gear and do stuff, but I always thought somewhere in the back of my mind that their services were only really reserved for people who had gone through a major life change or were seriously lost and floundering. Was I floundering? Are my wheels spinning? I suppose so, but what I got out of my time with SzeWing was … totally worth the time.

SzeWing operates her business from the Life & Balance Centre in Glebe, a cute little hub of like-minded practitioners who use the space to offer health and wellbeing services. SweWing herself is very bubbly and outgoing, has a lot to say, and has a lot of ideas about things she wants to do and what she wants to develop.  It’s very clear she’s passionate about her work as a life coach.  I’ve read somewhere (in a lot of articles of late, actually) that when a person is passionate about something it will show in their work, and this is SzeWing to a tee. She’s a dancer and a teacher and it’s obvious she’s a people person.

COACHING INTUITIVELY

I didn’t know what to expect when I went to meet SzeWing for the first time. She was dressed smartly (not like a banker) but casually (not like a uni student). Perhaps because I already pre-associated this to her, I was already assuming her to be the picture of someone who has her shit together. She looks it. She looks healthy (also in no small part to her dancing). I guess this is what you want in a person who’s made their career into helping others. Coz if they don’t look like they can help themselves …

A majority of Intuitive Coaching’s client base are in their 30s-50s, mainly women. Most of them are well-educated, upwardly mobile, professional.  Most of them are looking for “something more”. Ironically, SzeWing says a lot of her close female friends are in this age bracket to. Instantly, I’m impressed by this – to me, it shows that SzeWing is “of the people”: she can relate to anyone of any age.

During our session, we discussed my career (actually, she asked me about my career.  Actually, she asked me, “Tell me about you”, and then I launched into my career).  Without giving all the ins and outs of what I told her, I was basically just dumping all my niggling thoughts and doubts that had been swirling around in my brain into the session.  I really thought that SzeWing would turn around and say, “yes, you should follow your passion”, but she didn’t.  She told me that what I do now will help in the bigger picture of how my career will unfold. She used a mix of straight out pragmatic coaching techniques and even some Angel cards to communicate this to me.  I found this comforting, somehow.

PERCEPTION

One of the most poignant pieces of advice SzeWing gave was about perception. Because most of the session was about my career, she said my perception of my role needed to change, so I could be objective and look at the skills  I was gaining in the role, rather than thinking of my role as an all-encompassing career. I liked that. It made me see that there was a time for everything, and it helped me organise, albeit in my head, what I needed to focus on right now and when to know that I’d had my fill.

She also said during my angel reading that I need to give myself time to step away and think, perhaps take a holiday, or meditate, or do something. I am thinking she is talking about re-grouping or taking some time each day.  Not sure I can take the break I would really love to have right now (seriously wondering if I can convince my fiancee to sell all our stuff, pack it all in and chill on a beach in Bahia, Brazil for 6 months!), but since this session I’ve been acutely aware of how much time I take daily to clear my mind, get some exercise in and shake it off. As a result, I’ve taken steps to try to be more active. I’ve looked at jogging as a form of exercise and I’ve become better at even just stepping away from my desk at work. SzeWing was spot on though – meditation and clearing your mind is fast becoming an important part of my daily routine.

YOUR LIFE’S DIRECTION

The most striking piece of advice SzeWing gave, and which has pretty much remained embedded in my mind since my session, was about the difference between direction and goals, and how thinking of your life as a whole in terms of the direction you want to go in, rather than thinking of the goals you have to hit, you’ll be much better placed mentally and spiritually to be happy about the path your life is on. Going by goals may stop you from going further, and can limit you from other opportunities and experiences around you. Goals should be thought of as milestones, each milestone in line with your life’s direction. Your direction is a wider path than goals, so you can think of taking steps to keep you on your direction, rather than focussing on the steps as if they weren’t part of a bigger plan.  If someone had told me that after uni …

I felt really uplifted after my mini-session with SzeWing, particularly when she said everything I was doing career-wise was all joined together and it would all fall into place.  I felt more hopeful about my situation.

JUST KEEP GOING

Maybe because I’m more attuned to it right now but I’ve been picking up a lot of these helpful notes of late. I read something online regarding the phrase, “Just keep going”, when you’re feeling helpless or fading. Perhaps that person also got that from “Finding Nemo” (just keep swimming). But I think it ties in with SzeWing’s point above about direction. Just keep going in the direction of your life’s path. Just keep going …

Maybe it’s also because I’m in the middle of reading The Happiness Project that I am totally open to everything SzeWing has told me.  I find this complements my own exploration of personal wellbeing and happiness.

I’m still on that path, still striving daily to live a full life, but I’m glad that I can finally recognise that this is a much better way to live than only focussing on one area of life.  There are a lot of things I need to do and want to do, but now just remind myself about my life’s direction, and whether the choices that I’m making are in line with my direction. Which may or may not lead to the fridge door.

 

The Body Beautiful is real.

As in, it’s a real body. Designed to, you know, DO STUFF. Like move one foot in front of the other and propel you forward. Like get your brain to tell your arms to lift up into the air, and wave around like you just don’t care. All that kind of stuff.

SONY DSC

 

Lately I’ve been pressing my nose a little too close to the mirror to scrutinise the wrinkles around my eyes and the size of my pores on my nose and little blemishes on my face. When I’m done with that, I take off my shirt and stand in my undies, turn sideways and bemoan my little pot belly and my nothing boobies and my everything that is wrong with me. 

But what the hell is wrong with me?? 

Bloody nothing, except for the fact that I do not look like anyone from Who Weekly, or these women in the pics above (who I’m sure are lovely people). I shouldn’t care, because for the most part I am healthy and well fed, and anything that is unhealthy about me is my own fault because I over-indulge in lazing about and eating lots of stuff that does my body no good (there’s a tub of Cookie Cream Commotion in the freezer whispering, “Graaaab a spoooon … do it nooooooow”). 

So nothing’s wrong with me, body wise. I can run and jump and walk and see and hear and smell and taste and all the rest of it. 

So it was with great pleasure that I found a post by young mum N’Tima Preusse called Babies Ruin Bodies, and what she says is that her body is NOT ruined by the birth of her baby, but enhanced because of it. Because her body is now a mother’s body, one made to give nourishment and care and support and shelter to her baby. 

I’m not a mother, and I’m not even really thinking about motherhood in the immediate future, but I am so happy that there is someone out there who hasn’t lost the plot and gone the way of thinking that the only beauty out there is artificial or Hollywood-inspired and that if you don’t fall into that category you are not beautiful. It’s made me hopeful that the future isn’t doomed to superficiality, and beauty isn’t always based on a Kardashian’s paparazzi shot. 

I’m hoping it won’t get to the point where aesthetic plastic surgery becomes the norm and everyone gets it, and then in generations gone by we won’t even know what “real” looks like anymore, or we will know it so well we won’t want it. 

So really chuffed I found N’Tima’s blog and post. The world is safe. I’m not bikini model beautiful, but I’m cool with that. My body is in reasonable working order and it’s up to me to ensure it continues to run on all cylinders. 

 

 

SBS circa mid-late 90s was right. The world IS an amazing place!

I could’ve started today immediately thinking, “Today is a sh!thouse day”. For a lot of my friends and everyone around me, it’s back to work day right after the holidays.  Technically, I was back at work on 2nd January (which in itself was imminently horrible), but I liked getting wrapped up in everyone else’s idea of bleccccch.

It’s easier for me to think of what’s wrong with everything than to think of what’s right.  I have to make a conscious effort to look for the good.  I think coz I was brought up to be really cautious a lot of the time so now I go from either blind faith, no consequences involved to sit on my hands, don’t make any decisions.

But I found this Buzzfeed post and now I believe the world is inherently a good place after all.  I still think about the time SIX MONTHS AGO (I am weird) when this guy yelled at me on the street for bumping into him while he was rushing to the bus stop.  Like, he got really upset with me and even now when I relive it I still feel hurt and angry (because, like I said, I am weird).  But these 35 Pictures That Prove The World Isn’t Such A Bad Place are proof that I need to build a bridge and get over myself, because the world is good if you look for the good.

Today (because it may change each time I revisit this post), my favourite image is no. 9 (Dan and his Coffee Runs), because it reminds me of this clip below.  And I CRIED OPENLY when I watched this.

Don’t get emotional over this – I DARE YOU.

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you!

happy

The start of the new year and although I’ve got a lot of goals to hit this year, I am happy – yes, there’s that word again – that I am beginning the year not a slovenly, drunken mess who got out of bed at 3pm after an all-night bender.  I feel fresh and in the zone.

So happy to be happy. So happy to be content.

Also, I took the Facebook app off my phone. Met up briefly with a buddy earlier and she said she did the same thing, prompting me to do it too. She said she already feels like she’s not wasting time on the phone checking her newsfeed. Brilliant, it’s amazing how just the simplest action can achieve so much. On the other hand, it’s scary how monumental this action is for me. Ha – Crackbook addict that I am.

Had the best day with friends at the beach a few weeks ago. My fiancee reminded me that our friends are our family, and that we’re blessed to have wonderful people in our lives. It was just a nice day out, a nice way to reaffirm the theory I believe will lead me towards a more meaningful life.  That I have to be happy to allow happiness into my life.  That gratitude is the key to being happy regardless of your circumstances. That you have to revel in the positive in your life to let more happiness in. That happiness doesn’t have to be elusive to you just because you’re not “successful” (in whatever defines success to you).

So I’m starting to feel a little better these days, knowing that I can allow myself to be happy even if there are still goals I want to hit.  I’m also finding (LOL “finding”, as if I’ve had all this time to digest this information and put it into practice, but in actual fact it’s just been the last two weeks. Although, what a great fortnight it’s been since I planted this into my brain) that allowing your default temperament to be set at “happy” doesn’t mean you’re deliriously ecstatic all the time.

But then I thought about why I wasn’t allowing myself to be “happy” lately and it was mostly because of career stuff.  I was associating my worth and my happiness so heavily against my career trajectory that I forgot that I can be happy AND still have career ambition.

I recently revisited an article on the Tiny Buddha site called 4 Myths about Doing What You Love for Work.  I think I read this at the time when I was questioning my career. I feel like I’ve already solved that mystery now, but now I’m grappling withhow to grow in my career without making work all-consuming.

The first point in the article talks about that old adage, “Do what you love and the money will follow”. I interpreted that as saying that because we associate so much of our career success on how much money it will generate for us, perhaps we need to redefine our idea of success, and make it more about  doing what we love, career-wise.  Instead, if you want a career in something you love doing, but it’s not financially lucrative, then success can be about how fulfilling the role is. I mean you might have to make up the finances in other areas or cut down on some things that don’t fit the budget (which we can all do), but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you are doing something worthwhile with your life.

So this is how I’m going to view my career. How personally fulfilling it is for me and how much of my talents I am using to make myself useful.

I tried for so many years to stick to New Years resolutions but I don’t think I’m going to make a list this year. This time, it’s not so much a New Years resolution – it’s a life-changer. I’m going to do things that are good for me, things that benefit me. If it won’t benefit me in the long run or won’t be useful to me or anyone around me, then I’m not going to bother with it.

Living life happy! 🙂

have less

Inspiration never gets old …

Reviewed a play on Thursday night called The Westlands at the Riverside Theatres in Parramatta and aside from it being incredibly moving (for me, anyway), it was also really inspiring to be in the vicinity of people (the cast and crew) who have such a love for artistic endeavours and are creating and promoting and producing these pieces for us all to enjoy and be moved by.

Whenever I feel disheartened by the mundane and ordinary aspects of my life, I remind myself that there are people out in the world who are creative, motivational, entrepreneurial, “glass half full” and big picture types who don’t let the little things in their lives get in the way of something bigger than themselves.  They live as creators rather than consumers and I love that there are people like that to aspire to.

There's always something more you can do.

There’s always something more you can do.