Soup & Rent Inspections

There are a lot of thing shifting in our household at the moment. Summer is leaving Perth, the night and morning air has a nip in it and the sun has turned into a glorious gift we lift our faces to on our morning walks around the dog park.
I am feeling very domestic this week. We have a rental inspection on Friday which means by my own standards the house has to be cleaned and presented to a show room level. I couldn’t cope with a negative report against our name.
So this week I have put aside my study, my work and my writing and my leisure to focus on domestic bliss. Sorting cupboards, clearing, cleansing, decluttering. The atomiser is on constantly wafting Young Livings Purification oil throughout our tiny house. I feel uplifted with every task complete because I shifted my attitude from resenting rental inspections to welcoming the opportunity to put domestic chores ahead of all other tasks.
My week is full with working six days a week, either the carpentry business, the karate club, my studies, writing or healing work fill my days. This week I put our home first. Cleaning house is something that has been tacked onto the end of my day, when good enough is all I have the energy for. This week I made it my priority and I am reaping the rewards.
Soup of the Day!

My tomatoe and veg soup is on the stove:
 Just chop up any vegetables you have- today I used: parsnips, leek, carrots, zucchini, celery – fry in a large pot with some olive oil adding dried herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

Add two cups of re-hydrated Italian bean and veg mix, 1 can chopped tomoates, 2 tbsp tomatoe paste, and a pint of stock.

Simmer until tender and delicious.

Enjoy!

Now the weather is cooler Don takes a flask of soup to work when there is a pot on the go. He is joining me on my diet (sorry healthy eating plan) I guesse the results speak for themselves. I will be back to my fighting weight in another six months, it should only take him three.
Enjoy the cooler days!

Time Management 

I do not have the gift. Time Management. What is it? How do you do it? Is it just a buzz word for success? I don’t know. I do know that I get to the end of every day and think where has the time gone, why do I constantly feel that I am not achieving anything?

In desperation I googled the question ‘What is time management’ and the top result is from wikipedia and says:

“Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities – especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity”freestock_50605498

No my daughter has told me that you cannot trust Wikipedia, they are not allowed to use it as a reference at school and therefore I should just ignore everything it has to say. Well, often I would, but in this case I will accept their definition.

My days are filled with tasks for our Carpentry business, Karate school, Yoga Course, along with promoting, developing my healing work, writing, and the usual everyday living stuff we all need to do to survive. It is a hot mess to schedule.

I previously looked at the Pomodoro technique which advises you to break your work down into 25 minute sessions with a 15 minute break in between. When I gave this a go I had to admit that it works well with similar tasks such as writing and editing. It doesn’t help me on the days that entail driving in the car for a couple of hours delivering or collecting materials for one job or another. It definitely doesn’t help when I have a massage client, can you imagine twenty-five minutes into the treatment I take a 15 minute break? Anyway it does not work for me.

Breaking my day up into segments doesn’t help either, for example, just now I have been re-directed for the last hour dealing with issues from our carpentry business. It is hard to get back into the swing of writing this post and to get back to what it is I wanted to share..

I am as of today trialing Theme Days. This is how it goes, every day I will focus on one specific part of our business and development lives. For example, Monday is Yoga and Healing Study day, Tuesday is Karate, Wednesday is for Carpentry, Thursday is my creative writing day and Friday we are back to Karate as it is the day that I teach my ladies class in the morning and sometimes enjoy a long lunch. My weekends are undefined. Saturday we teach Karate and Sunday we are developing a lovely habit of heading to the beach with the Kayak!

Bearing in mind that amongst all this scheduling, I have clients and on 6 days of the week we run Karate classes. Then there is my daily practice that My Health Yoga course has encouraged me to commit too, at the moment my goal is several rounds of Sun Salutations and twenty minutes of Reiki practise each morning. Plus I hope to squeeze in a daily class from My Health Yoga TV every afternoon before my tribe get home and we head out to our night classes.
I have included a template of my timetable below feel free to download and schedule your week in and let me know how you get on. Life is about balance, in all aspects of our life. There are always things that we have to do, things that we want to do and things, beautiful things that we would be lost without.

Here is a link to my Weekly Time Table Template 

Healthy Writer

I found this post hiding in my drafts – I wrote it back in 2015 and ‘forgot’ to publish it.  Well I am 30kilos lighter, a yoga instructor and feeling better than I have in years.  I still suffer from arthritis and anemia but life is so much more manageable now.  2018 is the year to get writing life in order!


Less Eating, More Movement, More Love

My family and I recently spent five beautiful days in Bali.  I love Bali.  It is my all time favourite holiday destination.  It is close enough to Perth that we can escape for short winter breaks, cheap enough to make it viable and always entertaining.

I love traveling, I love exploring interesting places, people watching and absorbing new atmospheres.   However, all of this is very hard to do when you are unfit and overweight.  I honestly do not know how much further I can breath in before the airplane safety belts refuse to attach.

When you are carrying extra meat baggage on  planes, up stairs, over hills and ranges, it is more than uncomfortable.  I have had enough of puffing red faced behind my family.

I have also had enough of involuntary noises escaping my mouth while bending, I often stop to consider the necessity of picking something up from the floor – do I really need it now?  Could I pick it up with the hoover later?   How sad that at 45 an everyday function has become an ‘exercise’.

Well I have taken up the challenge.  It is not about weight loss, target weight, size or looks.  We are heading to South East Asia at Christmas and we will be traveling through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia.  We will be sleeping on buses, trains and planes.  Walking,  trekking and maneuvering through Angkor Wat ( tough going last time).

I want to be travel fit, and as pain free as my arthritis will allow.

I have just 18 weeks to improve myself.  I started Weight Watchers online this week, I guessed my weight.  I do not own scales.  Weight is not where I want my focus to be.  After two days of counting points I can already see where my trouble lies. Portion sizes and high calorie ‘health food’.  I will be making better informed decisions about what I and my family eat from now on.  I will also be getting my butt off this chair  throughout the day to move!!

Wish me luck!
 

A year later….

My Health Yoga Journal

A brief introduction to my Yoga journey:

Last month I enrolled in a My Health Yoga instructor course. I am working my way though the first module and loving it. Part of the requirements of the course is that I keep a journal as I progress through the course to reflect on changes and break throughs that occur as I learn more about myself through the yogic looking glass.

I have explained in a previous post how my life got sidetracked and how my husband and I are now seeking a more fulfilling life, doing what we know is best for us, our family and our community. Our karate club is steadily expanding and the building work is slowing down. Within our Karate Club my ladies class grows slowly and I look forward to our weekly classes where each week I see changes in my students as they become more confident with their skills and their place in the dojo. It is my first venture at teaching karate on my own, unsupervised and without immediate backup.

In 2015 a students mum asked me to run a ladies class but I wasn’t ready. It was ridiculous, I had not been training in years, I was 40 kilo overweight and didn’t have time to think about it. I laughed off the request, I couldn’t teach, what was she thinking?

Nearly twelve months to the day Vanessa asked me again. This time I was in a better place, I am under the care of a doctor that is helping me get my health under control, I am only 20kilos overweight now and counting, and I had been training again. This time I said yes! I said yes even though I was afraid, even though I had no experience and little faith in myself. Don kept saying I would be alright. I kept asking what proof does anyone have that I am capable of running a class? I am only a brown belt!
Through no effort on my behalf I started with a class of 6 students, Vanessa had spread the word. That first class scared the crap out of me. I have spent the last term writing lesson plans, and brushing up my skills for Friday classes where I have the honour of getting to know these amazing ladies.

To honour the students in my class I sought to advance my skills in teaching, but resources are limited with only a short weekend course dedicated to teaching Karate provided by the Australian Karate Federation. It’s not enough, I needed more structure and content. I looked outside of Karate. A Certificate III in health and fitness course was too vague and is suited more to running a class in a gym and of no use to me beyone a piece of paper at the end. I want a teachers qualifications yes, but I want something in an area that will enrich my life, my knowledge and my teaching skills.

I have learnt that I am capable of sharing what I love, I strive to understand people and I take their learning as serious as my own.

I love Yoga, and I want to teach Yoga for its soothing, restoritive properties. When we move house later this year I will again have a full time treatment room for massage, reiki and aromatherapy treatments and I like the idea of running small group yoga sessions from home too.
The journal requirement could be a private affair but I want to share what is happening with you I hope something may resonate with you and maybe inspire you to make a change, fulfill a dream and take a leap. I started this blog to share my journey back to health so I believe this journal should be part of it.
Namaste 💕

Setting my My Intentions
 

 

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop

I cannot deny that I am a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert.  I have long been a fan of her work and I  elizabeth-gilbert-quoteenjoy listening to her talk. I was lucky enough to see her speak at the Perth International Arts Festival in 2014. Elizabeth is an inspiring, honest, non-sugar coating inspiration. Like Big Magic this course talks directly to the artist within.   Elizabeth is generous in sharing her treasured truth will all creatives.

What is the truth we all seek?  Just do it! Accept all that you are, write, paint, photograph, cook, garden, sew.  Whatever your soul wishes you to do to add to this world. Just do it.  Do it without looking for success in whatever guise you think it should come in.  You may never write a best seller, you may never be able to quit your day job, but you can create.  Write around the edges of your day.  Make a date with your art as Elizabeth suggested in her podcast.  Stop waiting for the muse, get to work.  Work on your  gift and as Elizabeth says the muse will show up. Stop being a chicken shit and get it done!

elizabeth-gilbert-udemyElizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop is presented in five sections.  Each section contains a talk surrounding the topic of creativity and also addresses a specific question from someone seeking help to improve their creative life.  The sections are then followed by a workbook, that asks the tough questions and encourages you to get your answers down fast without too much interference from your right brain. (That interfering nay sayer).  I like the workbook, it helped to reiterate where my writing is going, that I am still on track, even with one foot in the creative sphere and another in the real world, and I am okay with that.

I highly recommend this course for all creatives, spare a couple of hours to sit and listen and work with Elizabeth Gilbert.

Here is where you can find the course:  Udemy  

Here is where you can find more information on Elizabeth Gilbert.

 

 

Overcoming Stage Fright

I have just delivered Miss 9 to her first dance competition.  I have left her in the capable hands of her  dance teachers for hair and makeup.  Two hours from now I will see her along with two others from our school dance their first competition.  A Lyrical Trio.

Our local arts centre is a buzz with young dancers, anxious dance teachers and mothers.  We all want the best for our daughters, we have all invested a considerable amount of money and time getti536ng them there.  The atmosphere is tainted with external competition and internal questioning, judgement, being good enough, being better.  

I admire my daughter, she is not a diva and I am no dance mum, should that be mom?  Miss 9 has overcome terrible stage fright.  Her father once jumped up mid concert to collect her from stage during a catatonic fit of hysterics during an early performance of Robot No 1 – her first tap number.  She went on to finish the concert with great success and we told her right there and then that she didn’t have to dance another step.  We would find her something else to do.  Our five year old should not be stressed over a two minute tap routine.

Miss 5 wanted to dance.  While she did not give up we did change dance schools.  Miss 9 finished last year performing a solo jazz dance at the end of the year concert.   We were all nervous, and so proud when she finished it beautifully.  Perhaps proud is not the right word because I was already proud of her for not giving up.  For dancing because she loved to dance.  Finishing the dance, performing on that big stage all by herself, that was her battle won.  No one, not me, her dad, or even her teachers could of helped her once she stepped out centre stage.  She did it, all by herself.

I asked Miss 9 how she felt today she told me that she was nerv-cited, a mix of nervous and excited.  She knows that we love her no matter what.  But  I think that because she loves herself,  that she wants to test her own boundaries and face her own fears that she is going to have a great time at comps this week.  She wins in  my book just by turning up.

What have I learned? Show up!  Love yourself enough to give yourself the chance to do the things that you want to do.  Silence your own inner critic long enough for your song to play.

 

 

How do you deal with self-doubt?

The short answer is that you don’t.  Doubt will always remain.  Sure it has different guises of fear, criticism, insecurity and panic.  It is still doubt.   Self-doubt is the killer of many a good idea that never got to see the light of day.So what if you are not good enough?  Who cares.  You are only writing.  This is not brain surgery.  It is just words.  A variation of twenty-six letters typed in a variety of patterns.  No one is going to die because of your thoughts, your ideas, or your stories.  They will either be interested or not.  It is that simple.  People will read what you are writing or they  won’t.
Some readers will comment, that comment could be either negative or positive.  The comment could come from someone close to you or from a stranger you will never see.  So what does it really matter?

How many questions of self doubt will keep you bogged down with a head full of wonderful ideas and no outlet.  Ideas will die if they do not get to see the light of day.  If you as a writer, an artist, a creator fail to give them life they will simply die unattended like a dead mans garden.

So dear friend, do not wait for the absence of self doubt before putting yourself out there.  Ride with it.  Maybe you are writing crap, but at least you are writing and as every writer knows somewhere amongst the crap something beautiful can grow.

Clearing Out!

It is a stormy day here in Perth. I sit by the window in our little blue fibro house ploughing my way through stacks of magazines. One by one I am bagging up old copies of Frankie, Smith, Womanhood, Better homes and Gardens and yes even those free magazines dispensed monthly by my local Coles and Woolworths stores.

Why have I kept them? I kept Frankie, Smith and Woman because they are beautiful no bullshit magazines. I seriously do not care whose marriage is on the rocks or which celeb has recently been blighted or botoxed. FS & W magazines have substance. They are interesting and look nice on the coffee table, then stacked up against the fireplace, then stacked in hoarder worthy piles on the sideboard.

The others I keep because I have this other persona, this woman inside that wants to keep the perfect house, feed the family nutritious ‘easy’ to prepare meals following epic shopping trips without turning my kitchen into a disaster zone. Thank goodness for dishwashers and canine floor cleaners.

So the plan of late is to comb through each loved copy and let go. I have to ‘comb’ to be sure that I did not miss anything the first time through.

In this the day of the digital and failing eyesight I plan to let go of the old ways. The days of delicious printed pages that clutter up the house and attract dust in favour of the electronic versions of my beloveds.

It has not been easy. I have not bought a hard copy magazine this year. I may linger at the newsagents, fondle a page or two, but bravely I walk away empty handed.

I will not pretend that it has been easy. I donate each copy to the local St Vinnies with the good thoughts that someone else will find joy in their find. Maybe a hoarder with more space than me and with no plans to reduce their clutter will give my lovelies a home.

Liz Byrski, In Love and War

I was very fortunate to attend a talk presented by Liz Byrski at the Ballajura Community Library last weekend.  Liz shared with us the journey of writing her wonderful new book In Love and War.

I have been a fan since I picked up a copy of Belly Dancing for Beginners several years ago.  I fell in love with her as an author when I read Remember Me.

Liz is a truly gifted story teller, a hero to women, to me.  In her latest non-fiction book In Love and War Liz shares her journey in writing this post war tale of heroes and heroines with remarkable candor.  We are allowed an insight into the writing process, along with her own fears and misgivings.

I couldn’t help but cheer her on until the end even though the outcome of Liz’s journey home was clearly in my hands.  After many years the book is complete.  Thank you Liz Byrski for you honesty, perseverance and prose.

By Liz Bryski

Podcast Developers – I Thank You.

I love podcasts, they make my working day bearable. Like most writers, I constantly strive to learn new things. Any random subject can hold my interest for a while but writing podcasts are my life blood to sanity.

Without the soothing tones across my car stereo or in my apple budded mobile ears my writing ambitions would be nothing more than a distant glitch out there on the horizon. A someday career that I will continue to study for and work towards once all the family raising and getting by stuff has been dealt with.

Podcasts let me continue to learn my craft from familiar teachers, experienced, knowledgable men and women to whom I would happily pay a small fortune to for the chance to bask in one of their classes, courses or workshops. Podcasts keep my dreams, no my ambitions alive more than any university course, workshop, seminar or conference I have attended in the twenty-something years that I have been pursuing my writing goals.Lessons on the Go

My Top Writing Podcasts:

So You Want to be a Writer – presented by Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo

Rockin’ Self Publishing – presented by Simon Whistler

The Creative Penn – presented by Joanna Penn

A Little Bird Told Me – presented by Philippa Willitts and Lorrie Hartshorn

Blogging with WordPress – presented by Shawn Ozbun

So you want to be a Photographer – presented by Valerie Khoo and Gina Milicia ( not writing I know, but still very interesting, useful and inspiring)

I guess I am lucky that my day job allows me plenty of alone time to think, ponder and create even while I am away from my desk. Podcasts are reassuring me that I can still live a creative life while I am busy doing other menial but necessary things. Running our business has it challenges but they are challenges that I can cope with as long as I can build my writing career around the edges of my day.

Incidentally “writing at the edges of my day” is a quote from one of the podcasts listed above, I am almost certain I heard it during an interview on So you want to be a Writer, however I can’t be completely sure where I heard it.  I wrote it down and it has been my mantra ever since.  I should of known better and made a note of the origins, I know.  I am tutting and shaking my head now and letting out a deep sigh.  Watch this space, I will seek out the information I should already have and post it here.  Promise.  I am putting it on my to-do list now.  More sighing.

Find the above mentioned Podcasts at iTunes or PodOmatic.

Until next time, Happy Writing.

Line Edits – Just Do It!

I admit that I am procrasti-blogging.  I know it is not a real word, but it is a real state of mind.  I need to be line editing Allison Song Bird, I need to move along, get things done, get it going, get on with it.  I just need to do it!  Plain and simple.  What good are two unedited manuscripts  collecting cyber dust in my aging computer?  Don’t answer that,  I know that it is none, nada, nothing, zilch.  I am not afraid to release my creative outbursts onto the world, am I?  I don’t think that I am but my lack of action might say otherwise, perhaps? I don’t know.

I spent the  weekend absorbed in literary learning at Perth’ s Writers Festival where I had the opportunity to sit and soak in the expertise of Elizabeth Gilbert, Liz Bryski and Hillary Mantel.   I am painfully aware that aside from their talent, experience and creative genius the one thing that all authors have over me is that they saw it to the end.  They finished what they had started. They went ahead and did it.

‘Do it’  is now my motivational mantra.  My writing, skill and imagination may never come close to these three talented, adored  writers, quite frankly I do not care.  I just want to write, tell stories and get them out of my limited space and into the world.  So with that I make a pledge to bring Allison Song Bird (working tittle) out of the darkness and into the light of day.  I am going old school,  the printer is whirring and ticking away beside me as I type this.  I want ASB out on paper, in a ring file, red pen clipped in the pocket.  I want it out in the open, where I will see it, where it will remind me daily that it is here too, that it needs my attention as much as the dog sleeping on the couch,  as much as the back log of paid work waiting in my in file, the dishes crusting in the sink or  the washing melded with the floor.  This is how I will finally get ASB out into the world.  Time this baby was free, so watch this space, I am sure to be procrasti-blogging again soon. xx