how to get set up for a great year ahead

big dreams

This time of year offers up a precious space that needs to be embraced before it slips away. Your regular day job has wrapped up for the year, you have closed up shop or the kids are off school so the routine has eased up, and you now have some space to breathe, reflect and most importantly here…dream.

The holiday season is our opportunity to recover from the busyness, reflect on the year gone by, and build energy and vision for the year almost upon us.

Being with my beautiful family and friends at this time of year helps me clarify my values and perspectives and I always emerge brimming with inspiration. Reconnecting with what holds meaning for you is key to establishing a more centred starting point from which to plan the year and base your goals, dreams and decisions.

Whilst I am with the people I love, respect and trust the most I have conversations about the year to come and our future dreams and desires. We also do it consciously as a family as a New Year ritual. These conversations, coupled with time to read, see art, watch movies and be inspired more broadly, help to form the fantasies that shape the dreams that become the more tangible goals. I also like to take time to reflect – so I journal and draw and this helps me to unselfconsciously get in touch with my most honest thoughts and feelings and my quieter voice that can get drowned out in the day-to-day noise.

From the time I was a teenager I would make time to get quiet on New Year’s Eve and write resolutions in my journal.  These were essentially a list of wishes of how I wanted my life to look.  It really just resembled a process of finding fault with my life and myself and trying to create an alternative picture.

I thought I just needed more discipline to make the changes that would bring me happiness.  This is not the way to set dreams into motion.

This process is about so much more than finding new ways to commit to resolutions. This is about re-evaluating your life. It’s about creating a life that is tailored to fit you better.  It’s about listening into what makes your heart sing and what your soul desires and letting that shape all aspects of your life – relationships, income, health, etc. It is only when your goals truly reflect your values, loves, dreams and deep passions that you can begin to create a life that has a positive, sustainable sense of purpose.

This is the point at which I pull out my coloured pencils and begin to draw up my plans. I take much pleasure in creating colourful little wheels in a dedicated journal that help me map my projects throughout the year.

It feels so much better to begin my year moving toward being happy, content and vibrant rather than away from shame, fear and self-criticism.

Here’s to a wonderful year ahead,

xMichelle

A lesson in being brave

big yes

Some time ago now I took a personal pledge to say YES to more things in my life.

YES to opportunities, YES to invitations and YES to all sorts of offers that came my way. I felt that this would be a gentle, effortless way of introducing more joy and spontaneity back into my life.  This small move was just the beginning, and I had no idea what was in front of me when I set out.

My Say YES project was not prompted by a craving for more excitement in my life. It was my planned route out of stress and mounting anxiety. The long stretches of busyness that I can indulge in causes the kind of stress that eventually takes its toll on a sensitive soul. There had been many a morning where my waking moments were met with a host of ‘must-do’, ‘must-change’, ‘must-stop’ directions. I would wake with my internal self-talk at full volume and it would shake me awake.

Perhaps you have recognised  with your own version of internal roadblocks. Self – doubt or fear can prevent us from moving forward, taking action and making decisions.  It surfaces as the overly critical self-talk behind procrastination, not feeling deserving or qualified enough, avoidance tactics and more. It comes in many flavours and all manner of disguises.

Whilst other parts of my life were in check I knew that what was missing was gentleness and space. I needed to lighten the load and add back more time for play and nurturing.

So rather than having to go out actively seeking anything I chose the more passive route of waiting for opportunities to find me. All I then had to do was say YES and jump.

What I discovered was that saying YES actually took lots of courage.

Sometimes it’s much more comfortable to say NO (to others as well as ourselves) –

  • not today
  • I think I’ll stay home thanks
  • I would rather not deal with that right now
  • I can manage just fine on my own
  • it’s lovely, but I couldn’t
  • sorry but I don’t have time for that
  • I’m not sure that’s my thing

I was struck by how challenging it really was and I didn’t realise that I was learning a profound lesson. I was rediscovering ways of feeding my soul –  warm baths, time with friends, art making, connected conversations, a big wide world, fun, vulnerability and imperfection. I listened, and let them into my days and into my life. I invited them in whenever they were on offer, by saying YES.

Being brave has opened so many wonderful doors for me and it can for you too. It has taught me so much about living a rich and joyful life .

Perhaps you feel that you too could benefit from taking some courageous steps but don’t know where to start.

Shortly I will be setting out on my Playground Add-Venture where we will be visiting courage and bravery, and I would be honoured to have you join me.

DATE: Saturday February 22nd

TIME: 1 – 5pm (ish)

WHERE: Sprout Studios – 123 Auburn Rd. Hawthorn VIC

COST: $70 (includes yoga session, all art materials and delicious, nutritious refreshments – of course)




Taking steps toward change requires courage, and the first step can be the most challenging. Say YES, jump on board and make this today’s commitment to being brave and creating a better life.

For further enquiries get in touch on 0414 441 824 or thelivewellplayground@bigpond.com

I hope to see you there.

a new year’s gift for you: 10 steps to making your dreams come true in 2014

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The new year is about to knock on the door to your future and it is a wise person who greets it fully prepared.  Whether you are a firm, decisive partner in the process or not 2014 will impolitely move in and take over all aspects of your life, and move them forward in some fashion. By getting clear about how you want 2014  to look,  you have a better chance at steering its progress. Of course life doesn’t always go according to plan but there are also many occassions where life waits for us to intervene and choose what comes next. These are the times we want to be prepared with answers, guidelines, a mission staement or a plan. By taking the time to consider our options and dreams we are rewarded with a life that is custom made for us, by us. If you leave it to chance you deny yourself the opportunity to create a life of great health, happiness, joy and satisfaction. ‘Start as you want to finish’  and right here at the beginning is your fresh chance to start well.

I love new beginnings. I love mornings and Mondays and the New Year. I see them as a delicious opportunity to dream (BIG!) and create a new picture of the future but I have not always acted boldly. I spent many years just hoping that life would look after me and guide me well. I did not have the courage to intervene as often as I could have and should have in order to create the life I truly dreamed of. Too often I allowed those dreams to be intimidated into submission by rejection, setbacks, or by the lack of vision of others. I could see the stars but settled for however close I got.

I now have the skills, support and internal strength to know how to follow through, stand back up after rejection and not allow set backs to derail me . It is not always easy of course, and like everyone I have my good days and bad, but one thing that is always clearly humming along in the background these days is my own voice, my inner wisdom. It is there to guide me, and you, and I have learnt to trust it!

So if you are eager to take charge of your own life and create a more fulfilling, tailor-made version that really excites you, here are your guidelines…

10 STEPS TO CREATING THE LIFE YOU DREAM OF

  1. Give yourself some quiet alone-time to dream big. Ask yourself to imagine your own version of ultimate happiness and joy. Don’t judge, just take notes. Now let this list inform  your decisions.
  2. Spend less time listening to the noise outside – others stories, posts, opinions, achievements. These are fine in the inspiration stage but at some point you need to sit with that blank page and make your own plan. It is important to develop an ‘ear’ for your own inner  voice. If you keep reading and watching and listening to others you will be constantly bombarded with alternatives and new shiny things that will distract you from it.
  3. Don’t let the past keep punishing your future. You are the one who is perpetuating the old story. Write a new story.
  4. You don’t have to start with a complete, well formed picture. Don’t let this stop you from beginning the journey. You may just start with a feeling. Plan just the first step from there.
  5. Your own unique vision is what will help you custom design your own steps to happiness and success. Your nearest and dearest may not share your vision so it may be important to find outside support and mentoring in order to stay accountable and follow through. This may be a paid professional or a trusted friend.
  6. Don’t let fear have the loudest voice. Our comfort zone is a safe and tempting place to hang out. It is easy to be intimidated by a lack of acceptance or approval from others as they mirror our own uncertainty. Recognize that fear is at play and that strenth and resilience are developed through practice.
  7. Make happiness, purpose and living a great life  your priority. This is not a selfish pursuit. The loved ones in your life will benefit. Take everyone along for the ride by mentoring others to do the same.
  8. Life will not always make it easy. Be clear, be flexible and when you hit a dead end try a new route. Remember the saying ‘fall down ten times, get up eleven”.
  9. Make a mission statement of sorts and pin it on the wall. It may be a large painted word , an affirmation, a saying, a picture or anything that is a quick but constant reminder about your bigger goals. It will keep the overarching plan in your attention when life’s smaller issues become distracting.
  10. There may not be time to do everything and you may need to prioritise. In the same way that clutter accumulates in our homes, it also accumulates in our lives. You may need to do a clear out and take stock of time wasting activities that do nothing to feed the soul or progress your goals. Look at times of day where time is lost, wasted or unproductive. Could you make better use of this time?

I hope this leaves you feeling inspired and equipped to realise some of those dreams that have been on the backburner for too long. May you take charge of your happiness and create the fantastic life you deserve. Life change happens one step at a time. The first is always the intention to change. Start there and then keep going. You can do it.

Here’s to a fabulous year ahead.