2020 and beyond

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” John A. Shedd.

What a year it has been. I’m sure you will all agree. When the year began I had just received my certificate in writing and editing. I was wondering where this would take me. It didn’t take long for the answer to come. In February I found an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. An opening to write for a local community newspaper.

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” Zig Ziglar.

Great way to get my foot in the door. Great way to get some experience as a novice writer. I applied for it. A meeting was arranged between the editor and I. I was nervous and thought will I be good enough? I stepped out of my comfort zone. By grabbing this opportunity I started to find my voice as a writer. I now have five articles published. I’m so proud of this achievement. I will continue contributing articles in the new year.

“Everything you need to accomplish your goals is already in you.” Unknown.

This leads me to my main goal for 2021. The plan is to gradually transition out of child care into my own freelance business. I will be self-employed. During the course I completed at the end of last year I did a unit all about setting oneself up as a freelance writer, so I know what is involved. To start with I need to decide what it is I would like to write. What are my interests? I then need to research newspapers and magazines to see which would be the best fit for me.

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“You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis.

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Next (in no particular order and this list isn’t exhaustive) I need to set up my own website, market myself, pitch for work, decide what to charge and be responsible for all aspects of my finances, etc. It will take time. It will be challenging. Baby steps. I’m now in the middle of a short online course. This focuses on freelance writing. This is giving me the inspiration and encouragement I need to follow my dream. Never be afraid to follow your dreams. Be true to yourself and you can’t go wrong.

Happy and prosperous new year to all.

“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action becomes reality.” Unknown.

Christmas

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What kind of Christmas will I have this year? It’s fair to say it will be a Christmas like no other. Regardless of what is going on around us, we always want the same thing. To share this festive season with our families. With those that mean the most to us.

“The magic of Christmas never ends and its greatest of gifts are family and friends.” Unknown.

I’m no different. My family is close. We keep in contact all year round. However this year it has been a challenge for obvious reasons. One way or another we made it work. Thank goodness for technology is all I can say.

“Christmas will always be, as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.” Dr. Seuss.

The tree is up. The presents are wrapped or in gift bags ready for the intended recipients to open on Christmas Day. As I walk down the street I see a flurry of last minute shoppers rushing from one place to another.

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern is very simple. Loving others.” Bob Hope.

Christmas Eve is the one day I don’t venture out. I’ve made a promise to myself to complete all shopping by December 23rd. I may go out for a walk, weather permitting, however no-where near the shops will I go the day before Christmas. I can’t stand crowds. Never have.

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” Alexander Smith.

I have been home from work almost a week now. I’ve started a course. It’s online and runs for five weeks. It focuses on freelance writing. This is one of the goals I have in mind for 2021. I will go into more detail next week.

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.” Agnes M. Pahro.

I would like to express my gratitude for all of you who have taken the time to read my blog this year. It is very much appreciated. My Christmas message is to be grateful for all that you have. Share your blessings with your loved ones. Merry Christmas everyone.

Blessings to all xx

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Am I a writer?

I would ask this question in a moment of uncertainty. Am I entitled to use the word “writer” after “I am?” I’m confused. I’m about to call myself a writer, but something would pull me back. I’d hear a voice in my head, an all too familiar voice say,

“Don’t be silly. You can’t call yourself a writer. It sounds pretentious, self- indulgent, immodest. You are trying to get attention. Stop it right now.”

This voice I call “the Bully.” It didn’t want me to step out of my comfort zone. Bully had been the thorn in my side most of my life. Bully reared its ugly head when I was about eighteen. The year I left school. Perhaps it’s right I thought. It’s just trying to protect me from making a fool of myself.

Bully would go on to say, “What could you possibly have to say that hasn’t been said a million times already? Who would want to read what you have to write? You are only one soul in a sea of seven billion souls swirling around the world.”

I’d respond, “but other people are writing and reaching others with their words. Why can’t I?”

 “You are just not at their level. They know what they are doing. You don’t. Be realistic. You can’t earn a living from writing. So move on.”

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 And so I did. I believed this. I moved further and further away from my dream. I moved away from who I truly was. I disconnected. I became a receptionist, an administration assistant and then an early childhood educator. I convinced myself I was happy. This went on for many years. There was an elephant in the room, but I chose not to see it.

“I needed to be myself and find my own identity.” Bill Skarsgard.

My true self was buried deep, deep down, so far down it would have taken some heavy machinery to drag it out into the open. At school all my material needs were taken care of. I didn’t have to go out and earn a living, so I was able to indulge, explore and experiment with writing. I could express myself freely. The Bully was nowhere in sight. I soaked up books like a sponge. I couldn’t get enough of the written word. I didn’t just do this because it was part of the curriculum. I had a love and passion for writing.

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Once I left school the Bully became a part of my life. I never got the chance to get my dream off the ground. I left school not really knowing (or rather thinking I didn’t know) what I wanted to do. If I had, had the maturity and wisdom then that I do now I would have followed my dream and not allowed fear to get in the way. I knew in the depths of my soul what I wanted to do, but at eighteen I didn’t think or know that writing for a living was an option. The Bully had won.

“Where you are is where you need to be. Learn to trust the timing of your life.” Unknown.

I could just wallow in regret but where would that get me? I can’t get in a time machine, go back and change it. I can see now that life isn’t in a straight line. Life is full of detours and crossroads. Which ever way I chose was right for me at the time. I was always on the right path, only I didn’t know it.

“Identity cannot be found or fabricated but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go.” Doug Cooper.

Now finally after over thirty years I’ve unshackled myself from the chains of Bully. With my life experiences behind me (and more to come of course!) I will be a much better writer. NO I am a much better writer. This is what it’s all been about. This inner conflict and struggle. It was to allow my true self, my identity safely out into the world. Be who I am meant to be. Be comfortable in my own skin. Be true, be real, be authentic. Now when I ask myself, “Am I a writer?” the response is an emphatic, “You better bloody believe it, I AM A WRITER.”

Me proudly holding my certificate

Blessings to all xx

Writer’s Block

I thought what am I going to write about? Train of thought. Ah…. I’ve got writer’s block. Hey why not write about writer’s block? Good, got that sorted. Writers everywhere commiserate with me.

“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”

― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

What is writer’s block? Losing the ability to write anything new. Ideas are hard or seem hard to come by. In my case it was simply being unable to think of what to write. Creative juices have stopped flowing perhaps. Focusing too much or too hard on the idea that one must come up with an idea. This in itself can cause the block. There may be deadlines to meet. We are rushed, being pushed. This brings on stress which brings on this inability to come up with anything new.

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.”

― Hilary Mantel

 If you can step away from it at all do this. Go for a walk. Take deep breaths. Meditate. Do housework. Whatever you need to do to clear your head. Take your mind off this dilemma. This leaves space for new ideas to take shape. When you are ready come back to the task at hand.

“Writing about writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” Charles Bukowski.

Couldn’t agree more Mr. Bukowski! Even if after stepping away you still can’t come up with anything just start writing. Write anything at all, even if it has no bearing on what you need to come up with. Just the fact that you are writing can help you get the better of this block.

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Blessings to all xx

Decisions, decisions, decisions

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” Nelson Mandela.

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Making decisions is something we all do on a daily basis. They range from small, trivial things like what to have for dinner and what to wear through to major life decisions like getting married or divorced, moving interstate, overseas or just to the next suburb. Learning to drive, renting or buying a house, deciding on a career to making a career change and when to retire.

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions than can change your life forever.” Keri Russell.

Some decisions are easier to make than others. Decisions don’t just impact the person making them. More often than not other people’s needs have to be taken into consideration.

“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.” Deepak Chopra.

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We may feel indecisive at times, but I believe we know which choice is the right one for us. Sometimes we just need assurance that we are making the right one. We think we need confirmation from outside of ourselves. However all we need to do is listen to our intuition. Listen to our hearts and we can’t go wrong.

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.” Caroline Myss.

One practical way of making up our mind between say two choices is to write them down. Get two sheets of paper. Mark a column down the middle of the page. Column one is “Pros”. Column two is “Cons.” On the second piece of paper do the same. I find this helps me to make a decision. Happy decision making!

Blessings to all  xx

Metamorphosis

Today I went for a walk as I often do. The purpose for walking was so I could figure out what to write for this week’s blog. I saw a beautiful gold butterfly with black trim on the outer edge of its wings and black spots on the inner part of the wings.  It stopped on a blade of grass.

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It sat there a while flapping its wings so I had time to observe. At this moment I thought write about metamorphosis, because hey that’s what butterflies do. They represent transformation. They mutate from an egg to larva, to pupa and finally to a beautiful butterfly.

”Everyone is like a butterfly, they start out ugly and awkward and then morph into beautiful graceful butterflies that everyone loves.” – Drew Barrymore.

So what is “metamorphosis?” I found this meaning online and I think it describes this process perfectly. “A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one.”

Of course a human being can’t morph physically into something else, unless you have a whole lot of surgery which I don’t recommend. LOL. A butterfly’s transformation is obvious, however when we humans transform ourselves it tends to be internal. Not something that is obvious to the naked eye. A butterfly only does this once in its short life. This is where we as humans differ.

“The butterfly said to the sun, “They can’t stop talking about my transformation. I can only do it once in my lifetime. If only they knew, they can do it at any time and in countless ways.” – Dodinsky.

The basic personality doesn’t change.  Well I’m an introvert and once an introvert, always an introvert. I think experiences have changed me in subtle ways. My perceptions change as I go through life. I’ve learned to be resilient as life throws its challenges at me. I think I’ve become more resourceful, independent and have developed the skills I need for survival.

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When I was a child and into my teen years I lacked self-confidence. I was very quiet and reserved and rarely if ever spoke my mind. In fact I went through this well into my twenties. I wondered how I could overcome this. The only way was to push myself out of my comfort zone. I started doing dance classes as a way to help me with this.

I think it did help to build confidence within myself. Once I felt comfortable around new people I started to speak up a bit more. Even now meeting new people is nerve wracking for me. Family and friends started to notice this shift. I was still me in essence, but I was changing as I said earlier in subtle ways.

“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.” Franz Kafka.


This was my metamorphosis. My transition into the person I was meant to be and into the person I am today. This is the journey I’m on. Learning lessons on the way. Meeting different people, experiencing all life has to offer.

Blessings to all xx

Self-care

“An empty tank will take you exactly nowhere. Take time to refuel.” Unknown.

This week I will be focusing on self-care. When one thinks of the phrase “self-care” what immediately comes to mind? I’ve got no time or I will seem selfish. This isn’t true. It’s easy to think if I take the time looking after myself then that takes time away from everyone else. If I burn myself out how does that benefit others?

“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.” Katie Reed.

“If you feel burnout setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.” Dalai Lama.

It’s important to take time out to focus on me. What I do with that time is up to me, as long as it nurtures my mind, body and spirit. Anything that makes me feel good about myself and restores my well-being.

“The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.” Diane Von Furstenberg.

It can be something I buy myself – flowers, a beverage and my favourite sweet, a facial, a massage, skin care, perfume, etc.

It can be spending time at my favourite location – a park, the beach or out on my verandah on a cloudless sunny day.

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It can be something I enjoy doing – Going for a walk, meditating, writing in my journal, listening to my favourite music as well as singing and dancing to it. Watching the sun rise or set.

“Take time to do what makes your soul happy.” Unknown.

Whatever it is make it something that makes you happy. Something that raises your vibration and makes your heart and soul come alive. Once you’ve engaged in self-care you are in a better place to be of service to others. With equal amounts of giving and receiving it brings equilibrium to your life.

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Blessings to all xx

“Self-care is one of the best forms of self-love.” Flora Sciarra.

Water

This is the last instalment of The Elements.  It’s a transparent, colourless, odourless liquid that shapes oceans, lakes, rivers, icebergs.

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If there’s a light rain. If the river flows smoothly and calmly all is well.

If there’s a storm, tidal waves and choppy seas, all is not well.

Water reflects back to us what we truly are. Water represents the emotions in dreams and tarot cards. Water is calm. Water is tempestuous.

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” Loren Eiseley.

Water is different shades of green and blue.

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It freezes, it melts. It rises, it recedes.

It’s a precious resource that is taken for granted. I know I do at times.

“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” Benjamin Franklin.

It feeds our forests, our plants and trees. It nourishes and sustains us. We can survive without  food for 30 days, but can only last without water for three days.

Without it life on earth would cease to exist. About 70% of the earth’s surface is made up of this precious liquid.

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“Water is the driving force of all nature.” Leonardo Da Vinci.

Blessings to all xx

“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” Jacques Yves Cousteau

Fire

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This week I will be talking about fire. What does it mean to me.

“The most tangible of all visible mysteries – fire.” Leigh Hunt.

Fire – yellow, orange, red. Burning, burnt, scorched earth. Heat, all consuming.

“Fire is never a gentle master.” Proverb.

Can be comforting – a fireplace. A fireplace cozy in the winter.

Can be scary – bushfires. Bushfires not so welcoming in the summer.

“Where there is smoke there is fire.” Proverb.

Get moving. Light a fire under someone. A flame of an idea. Light a spark.

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After a fire regeneration and renewal. New life.

“The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.” Carl Jung.

Next week – “Water.”

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Blessings to all xx

Earth

Welcome to my second instalment of “The Elements”. This week Earth takes centre stage.

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Earth – Mother Nature, Mother Earth, soil, sand, desert. Crystals, minerals, fossils, clay, mud dirt.

“The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.” Ernest Hemingway.

Grounding (terra firma). Feeling the earth under my feet as I walk around. Planting crops to sustain life on this planet.

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Earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, droughts. Burning, then regeneration and renewal.

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” Gaylord Nelson.

Colours of the earth – blue, brown, green, red and orange.

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Forests, beaches, deserts.

“We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.” Barbara Ward.

The name “earth” is derived from both Old English and Germanic “eor(th) e/ertha” and “erde” which mean ground. One interesting fact. Earth is the only planet not named after a Greek or Roman god or goddess, although it is connected to the goddess Terra Mater (Gaea to the Greeks). She was the first goddess on earth and mother to Uranus.

Blessings to all xx

“The Earth is what we all have in common.” Wendell Barry.

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