How to have an honest chat with yourself

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Still your body

Settle your thoughts

Focus your attention on the clean, white page before you that will soon hold all of your answers.

Wait,

I feel you scuttling away

To get some tea, to tidy up , to quickly attend to another matter.

We circle, but rarely land.

It’s time now, to come home.

The answers you are seeking are right before you.

They are hiding in the empty lines, buried under the surface of that crisp, white page.

Until you mark them with your thoughts, your own truth will remain untold.

Stay seated right where you are, in your own dilemma,

For without this commitment you will continue facing a crisp white page that has much potential,

But no answers.

 
 

How To Exchange 15 Minutes Of Your Time For Something Of Value

Michelle iphone photos July 2014 033If we don’t consciously choose how to use our time, those precious spare moments or hours will be lost to unrewarding filler.

Time slips away, whether or not we choose to use it wisely. Even a window of 15 minutes can bring rich rewards if spent consciously. Whilst there are some more obvious ways of spending 15 minutes wisely, like meditation or perhaps  breathing exercises, there are other activities just a little outside the box that I know you will find worthwhile.  Here is a list that I think is a good trade for 15 minutes of my valuable time.

Pick from the menu below to find your own fair exchange. Perhaps you are looking for connectedness, stillness, efficiency, fitness, love and more. They are all available at the very low price of 15 minutes of your time. Ready to trade?

1. $15 for 15 minutes

I recently went to one of those drop-in-for-a-quickie places for the first time. I had 15 minutes to spare before collecting the after-school gaggle and, in desperate need of some body work, I scanned the menu for 15 minute options. Fast forward a mere 15 minutes and I was transformed. The quiet, the smell of rose-geranium, the firm but nurturing hands of the therapist made this a value-packed 15 minutes.

2. Write.

No planning, no over-thinking, just start. Blurt it all out. Have a whinge or have an epiphany. It is all great. Writing helps us sort and order our thoughts. It also helps us get in touch with ourselves and ourfeelings. By expressing ourselves in an unedited environment we can tap into self-guidance and experience the therapeutic effects of journal writing.

3. Write a love letter.

This helps you to get in touch with the positive feelings associated with love and gratitude. Dwell in those feelings for 15 minutes by writing a love letter to someone. You may choose to deliver it (in the mail or tucked into a lunch box) or not, but by spending the time and staying in this mind space for 15 minutes you are reinforcing these loving experiences and pathways in the brain.

4. Trade 15 minutes with a friend.

This works well over the phone on days that you need a pick-me-up, someone in your corner who is cheering you on when you can’t do it for yourself. Let them know in advance you need some loving-kindness, or a good laugh or a boost of ‘I-know-you-can-and-here’s-why’. This works best with friends who know you well and whom you can be vulnerable with.

5. Spend 15 minutes ONLY on a task from the to-do list.

It is often when I have a small window of time left before I need to walk out the door that I notice the place needs a tidy.  I can somehow make a mere 15 minutes incredibly productive. I move like a woman whose mother-in-law is heading down the driveway and can get a huge amount done knowing that it will all be over in 15 minutes when I need to leave. The daunting task gets done in  a much less imposing time frame.This is also a good time to make that appointment you have been putting off or clearing out ONE drawer. Less time to contemplate means the mind is less of a hindrance in the process of attending to stuff.

6.Take 15 minutes to photograph your kids, your pets, your neighborhood.

This is an active way of appreciating and actively noticing the ones we love and our surroundings. It helps the mind become more present focused when you fully engage with your subject and look a little more closely. Take the time to dwell in the small details.

7. Take 15 minutes to put together an outfit for the day.

Our clothes are like costumes. When we wear our old jeans and most loved t-shirt we are setting ourselves up for comfort. And whilst this is exactly what we need some of the time what about setting yourself up for an adventure, for being noticed, for self-expression, for trying a new approach (wearing heels always makes me feel like someone else, and I like her). This 15 minutes can breathe freshness into your whole day and maybe even beyond.

8. Done right,15 minutes of exercise can pack a punch.

1 minute squats + 1 minute pushups + I minute plank + 1 minute skipping + 1 minute back extensions. Repeat x 3. Done.

9. Draw to quiet the mind.

No artistic qualifications required here. Take the time to just involve yourself in the process and let your mind relax. Take a pencil in your left hand, close your eyes and slowly make lines all over the page. When you are done open your eyes. You may look for images amongst the lines and flesh them out, or enjoy coloring in your doodle. You may also enjoy doing this activity to music.

10. Brainstorm

Pick a prominent nagging dilemma and spend 15 minutes coming up with a list of creative solutions. Whether the problem is work related, organisational, social, creative, etc. give your self a big piece of paper and a time limit and without the opportunity to procrastinate or perfect you will have created the ideal environment for your ideas to flow.

11. Organise fuel for the day

Eating wholesome, nourishing food is key to our health and feeling at our optimal best. Nourishing ourselves helps our mind and body function well but it is also an act of self-care. Many of us intend to eat well but never quite follow through. Preparing healthy food needn’t be a roadblock to health and feeling great. A 15 minute investment in the preparation department here can mean the difference between a sugar and coffee fueled afternoon slump and ending the day with some pep still in your step. A fair and worthy trade here I think.

I would love to hear what you find is a rewarding exchange for 15 minutes of your time.

Drop me a  comment below.

my holiday crush

Michelle's photos - Jan 2015 308I am a city girl who has a very solid relationship with the hustle and vibe of city life, but I do have a quiet crush. I try to resist acting on my heart’s wondering affections, but as often as I can I just acquiesce. I have a longstanding and not-so-secret crush on a little town that pulls at my heart in ways unrivalled by any others.

Every so often I have a yearning and, as a family we are off, northbound, to a place that my soul recognises as home. A place where one feels safe, embraced and unguarded.

Upon arrival the quiet stillness washes over me and into me and I am reminded that I am in the presence of my mentor, my teacher, my shining light.

This small town wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s unashamed vulnerability and rawness is on public display for all to see -hand-drawn shop signs and unbrushed hair are all part of its honesty.  This little town in the Northern Rivers region of NSW is not known for its Opera House or even a Big Banana. Intimate, open conversations with strangers are, in my eyes, its main tourist attraction.

Whilst I love my life in the big city this is my place of refuge and respite. This is my go-to place when I need to recharge, heal and renew. It is like returning to the family home when the outside world feels hostile and demanding – mum’s cooking and your childhood bedroom provide a familiar comfort, and there is no self-consciousness required.

I am inspired by its humanity. Its causes and community values are paraded through its small streets and humble homes. There is unwritten local lore here, but even as a visitor I am amongst my tribe, and I get it.

I love it, and here are some of the things that make my heart smile and my soul sing….
  • I love when you go to the local store looking for Aloe Vera to treat sunburn but they have run out, someone suggests you walk down to the community garden and pick some fresh.
  • I love that you can only borrow 5 items from the local library to leave enough on the shelves for everyone.
  • I love the menu at the local pool – Miso soup with gluten free toast, or a dandelion tea with soy.
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Menu at the local pool.

  • I love that the large-chain supermarket (hidden away in the back street) has a ‘trade-in’ system set up for the latest set of cards they are giving away to kids, as part of a reward scheme. Bring in your ‘doubles’ and trade them in for cards you still ‘need’.
  • I love that the guy in front of me at the local store asks Sharon, on the checkout, how her birthday party went. (It was a blast!)
  • I love that the pierced, tattooed doctor at the local hospital (it’s a long story) refers to his patients as ‘brother’ (and ‘ sister’ presumably).
  • I love that the community takes it upon themselves to erect their own street signs.
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Dear trucks and tradies, please slow down. Kids, pets and wildlife at play.

  • I love that the lovely man who has lost one eye stops to help me as I precariously juggle arms full of shopping, all whilst sharing stories of the flood on his property and his family Xmas.
  • I love that the pool at the house we are staying at has a little makeshift ramp so the frogs can get out after a swim.
  • I love that the woman at the local herbal shop that I go to get some ‘Itchy Scratchy cream’ for a mysterious rash that one of my children has developed in the heat reminds me to check her gut-health. A woman of my own heart.
  • I love that my kids aren’t the odd-ones-out when snacking on fresh fruit and nuts when out.
  • I love that even the street art has soul.
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Enbrace the power of our consciousness.

How can I be a better human.

How can I be a better human.

  • I love that the local gym offers their community free access to their filtered water (so when a bandicoot dies in one’s water tank one does not need to drink it!!).
  • I love that this same local gym just makes up the Xmas timetable from one day to the next. It keeps one’s yoga practice flexible and prevents attachment.
  • I love that the lifeguard at the pool knows everyone by name.
  • I love that pronouncability is not THE major consideration when naming ones cafe.

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  • I love being surrounded by rainbow colours everywhere you look. It lifts the spirit.

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  • I love that as you drive into town at night you are greeted by a small, heart-shaped refector attached to the tree on the side of the road.

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For now I say goodbye to Mullumbimby, but I know I will be back soon.