What I learnt this week: Bali times

I never thought I’d visit Bali.  It just wasn’t on my list.  However I went for a writers festival and stayed a little longer for some chillaxing time.   I wasn’t expecting much from the place…But that’s the funny thing about expectations- when they’re exceeded it blows your mind and you can learn a lot!

This is what I learnt:

Bali time is different from regular time and you either learn to go with the flow or risk being constantly frustrated

Be careful what you wish for.  I went to Bali looking for quiet reflection and I ended up in the middle of the jungle with barely any food or human contact.  It was a little isolating (I now know how Jack Nicholson felt in ‘The Shining’).  After being by myself for 5 nights I was happy to move closer to town and enjoy some company!  So you might want something, get it and realise it wasn’t what you wanted after all…

There’s so much beauty in the world (especially Bali) and if you sit quietly to watch it you can’t help but feel the serenity in your bones

Make sure you enjoy the journey because you may never find your destination (even after 3 hours of walking in the blazing sun)

It’s really hard to be angry at Balinese people.  Even if they do something really frustrating- like forget to pick you up from the airport (and you wait for 2 hours)!  They’re so friendly and apologetic that it’s calming.  They don’t feed your anger and you let it go instead

Traffic is crazy but somehow it flows.  There’s no road rage, everyone just finds a way through and drives on

You can meet the most amazing people and have the most unexpected fun. Although that’s travel in general!

The phrase ‘a leap of faith never fails’ rings true when you watch a bunch of monkeys basically flying from tree to tree without hesitation

When you’re lost there are signs that will point you back to the way you were meant to go. They come is different forms- sometimes a tiny Balinese man with a huge smile might be that guide. Even if at first you dismiss him because you think he’s trying to sell you something. Guides are there.  Just don’t miss them!

Your best laid plans will most definitely change.  And that my friends is life all over 🙂

What I learnt this week: Creativity for everyone!

People tell me I’m a creative person.  And yes, I guess I am.  But I don’t necessarily feel like an arty type.  To me those people look like Andy Warhol- totally unique, unmistakable. So it’s funny that I actually am a creative person without feeling like it…

My creativity has always kept me sane.  It’s been there for me for better or for worse.  It never leaves me.  For that I’m incredibly grateful.  Because I’m not sure what I’d do without it.  So it makes me feel sad that others may not have an outlet like me.  OR more importantly think they don’t have an outlet because they don’t believe they’re creative.

I was chatting to my brother and he said- ‘well, not everyone can be creative.’  This isn’t true.  Everyone can be creative!  We just don’t all look like Andy Warhol.  Creativity can take many forms- cooking, gardening, making an inspirational wall (see pic below).  We don’t have to write a 1000 page novel to be considered creative.

You do whatever you want, how you want.  That’s what being creative is all about.  Having an outlet to let the inspiration flow.   And it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad.  Who cares?  It’s for you, no-one else has to approve!

 Finally, your creative thing shouldn’t feel like a chore.  It should feel like something you can go back to any time and have fun with.  And it doesn’t have to lead anywhere either.  It’s just something that takes you out of the ordinary world and let’s you explore.

  Doing your thing should help you feel inspired and a little more connected in your life.   Just make sure you actually take time to do it- instead of binge watching everything on Netflix (which is valid but not every day).   Because in life it’s so important to find that thing which makes you sparkle 🙂

What I learnt this week: Busy?

I’ve been busy for as long as I can remember.  I don’t really get less busy, I just somehow get more busy.  But I’m definitely not alone.  All of my friends are the same- BUSY.  It’s almost like some sort of epidemic these days.  The busy disease…

And it’s like a sickness that takes over you.  One that’s incredibly hard to shake.  Trying to stop yourself from cramming your day with an endless to do list or filling it up with social outings or staying at work that little longer is a seemingly impossible task.

There’s only really one way that the ‘busyness’ can be stopped.  And it’s not by trying.  You can’t write ‘relax’ on your to do list.  Believe me I’ve tried.  The only thing that stops it in its tracks, is sickness.  I’m talking debilitating, black plague, bed ridden for day’s type sickness.  So that even if you wanted to get up, your body will absolutely not let you!

This week after an extreme period of being busy I was struck with tonsillitis.  It almost killed me to cancel work for 4 days straight.  Alas, I had no choice.  I was forced to stay in bed- shaking and shivering, feeling sorry for myself.   Knowing I’d let myself get so run down that I’d brought it upon myself.

Day 2 I felt a little better and I was able to indulge in a little Netflix therapy.  I watched the latest season of ‘Jane the Virgin.’  It’s funny, that show  always comes into my life just at the right moments and season three taught me what I needed to know in a big way.

I won’t spoil it for those of you who watch the series.  I’ll just say something horrific happens and Jane needs to go to therapy because she’s having panic attacks.  The therapist tells her about a technique she can use when she feels the attacks threatening to take over.  It’s called HALT.  You put your hand on you heart, breathe and check in with yourself.  Are you- Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Or Tired?

Usually these are the triggers for the attacks.  Of course this may not always be the case but I thought it was an interesting concept.  And I applied it to my busy life.  I asked myself why I’d been keeping myself so busy recently.

When I got the answer it wasn’t what I expected and I cried.  And cried and cried.  I got it all out.  And I realised I was lonely.  Not in the regular way.  I have a wonderful group of friends and an amazing family.  There’s never a shortage of things to do or people to be with.  But it was more than that.  I missed my ex but I hadn’t wanted to see that or deal with it.

I’d been strong for so long.  Not thinking about it.  Saying I was better off.  Attempting to move on with someone new.  Just fill that hole in my heart right up.  Hahaha.  Well, it doesn’t work that way.  Worst of all when you can’t find someone to try to be with, you start filling that hole up with something else…Like being busy.  Yep, you distract yourself from the real issue.

However this week I beat ‘busyness.’  Getting sick was the best thing that has happened in a long time.  Because I had to stop and find out what I was running from.  Feeling all my sadness and loss was really hard.  However now I feel the best I’ve felt in a long time.   I’m still tired but a heaviness has definitely lifted.

So, will I stop being a productive person?  No.  But I will be more mindful about cramming my days so full that I don’t even want to get up in the morning.  That’s why HALT is my new best friend.  My check list for when I feel like I’m heading into ‘busyness’ overload and beyond!  I’m going to HALT and see what’s really going on!

What I learnt this week: Life and Death

I just finished reading ‘The Bright Hour,’ by Nina Riggs.  It’s a true story about  her journey from being diagnosed with terminal cancer to her treatment and finally death.  Sounds like a real happy read I know!  But although it’s about death, it was beautiful in the way that it made me think about life…

Nina was a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  His writing has been quoted all over the joint.  And most definitely on my blog somewhere along the way.  The poetry they both created with their words was extremely profound, yet steeped in such realism as they shared their experiences of the world.

In ‘The Bright Hour’ Nina didn’t give up and despair but embraced the time she had left.  Even the most normal things like watching her boys play or taking a ride on a motorbike and feeling the wind in her hair were cherished.  She spent time with the people she cared about the most.  And took the opportunity to grieve for all that she would eventually lose.

Yes, Nina’s book is about moving closer to death.  But we all die, we just don’t like to talk about it.  Which is funny because we’re surrounded by death.  All you have to do is turn the TV on or pop onto your phone and bam it’s there!  The truth is death is something most of us can’t imagine ourselves doing, yet it’s the only inevitable thing in life.

And it’s healthy to regcognise it will happen and we don’t know when. Reading the book made me more aware of how I’m living my life.   It made me to look more closely at the doing the things I wanted to do rather than the things I thought I ‘should’ do.

When I finished reading the book tears streamed down my face.  But in some weird way I felt comforted.  I saw that dying wasn’t the worst thing- not living your life truly is way more scary.  Nina was someone who really loved and really lived, though she knew death was knocking on the door.  And that’s something we could all do a little more of- really living and really loving.