SYMPTOMS OF ENLIGHTENMENT

This is a load of bullshit to a lot of people. Anyone who hasn’t read “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle will likely have no idea what I’m going on about (which by the way is a book I HIGHLY recommend).

I have been a little under the weather for a while now.

Back in April I came down with the flu. It knocked me around a bit and I couldn’t shake it for some reason. And my insomnia was on crack. I remember one night getting out of bed at 1am and putting on a load of washing. I just couldn’t sleep no matter what I did. I’m never really asleep. I sleep for a couple of hours then I wake again only to think, and think some more. It really is a curse.

I went to the doctor for some medication for my sleeplessness in July. I felt like Tyler Durden in Fight Club.

“No, you cannot die from insomnia” the doctor tells him.

My conversation was a little similar with my doctor.

“You can do yoga” the doctor told me.

I mentally stamped my foot.

“Just give me some friggin tablets” I thought to myself.

“Let’s just do a blood test to make sure there’s nothing sinister going on” he told me.

Four days later whilst I was at work, my doctor phoned me with my results.

“Hi Amy, we have your results back, and you have pneumonia. I need you to come in straight away for some antibiotics”.

I never get sick. I felt as though the floor had dropped out from underneath me. I was almost annoyed with him when he delivered the news.

“Are you serious?” I asked him. He could hear the panic in my voice.

“Try not to worry, but I’d like to see you immediately”.

All of the symptoms I had been experiencing all made sense now. I had put them down to something else.

The weight loss – forgetting to eat; the night sweats – my new beds pillow top was making me hot or I was menopausing; the insomnia – I just wasn’t tired; the cough I couldn’t shake – it was winter; the chest pains – anxiety; my depressive state – I was a bit lonely and of course not sleeping. But they were all symptoms of pneumonia.

My guru had warned me to slow down. I felt so angry with myself for allowing myself to get to the point where I was now falling apart.

Even now, I have a mild kidney infection as the antibiotics didn’t kill the bacteria from the pneumonia and it managed to make its way down there. And again I didn’t realize it. Thinking my lower back pain was as a result of sitting poorly at my desk, and the sweats I was breaking out in were a result of thinking I’m going through early menopause. I’ve had a low grade fever for months now. It’s funny how we sometimes dismiss the obvious signs and symptoms of what’s really going on.

Or is it all linked to something else?

A friend sent me something the other day about “symptoms of enlightenment”.

I have an open mind, so for me I found it to be quite interesting. The “symptoms of enlightenment” are listed below:

1. Changing sleep patterns: restlessness, hot feet, waking up two or three times a night.
2. Sudden waves of emotion.
3. Old “stuff” seems to be coming up, and the people with whom you need to work it out (or their clones) appear in your life.
4. Changes in weight.
5. Food intolerances, allergies you never had before.
6. A range of physical manifestations: Headaches, backaches, neck pains, flu-like symptoms (this is called vibrational flu), digestive problems, muscular spasms or cramps, racing heartbeat, chest pains, changes in sexual desire, numbness or pain in the limbs, and involuntary vocalizations or bodily movements. Some of us have even had old conditions from childhood
7. Power surges: All of a sudden you are heated from head to toe. It is a momentary sensation, but uncomfortable. In contrast, some people have felt inexplicably cold. Night sweats and hot flashes. Your body is ‘heating’ up as it burns off residue after going through wild and vivid dreams, you may wake up in a sweat and have to change your P.J’s.
8. A desire to break free from restrictive patterns, life-draining jobs consumptive lifestyles, and toxic people or situations.
9. Introspection, solitude and loss of interest in more extroverted activities
10. Creativity bursts
11. Seeing a person’s true form or seeing loved ones with a different face.
12. A deep yearning for meaning, purpose, spiritual connection, and revelation.
13. Increased integrity: You realize that it is time for you to seek and speak your truth. It suddenly seems important for you to become more authentic, more yourself. You may have to say “no” to people whom you have tried to please in the past. You may find it intolerable to stay in a marriage or job or place that doesn’t support who you are. You may also find there is nowhere to hide, no secrets to keep anymore. Honesty becomes important in all your relationships.
14. “Teachers” appear everywhere with perfect timing to help you on your spiritual journey 
15. You are moving through learning and personal issues at a rapid pace.
16. Emotional and mental confusion: A feeling that you need to get your life straightened out–it feels like a mess. But at the same time you feel chaotic and unable to focus.
17. Your plans suddenly change in mid-stream and go in a completely different direction.

Might be a load of shit, but very interesting nonetheless. And very coincidental. Or perhaps “synchronistic” is the best term to use here (a meaningful coincidence). I have been experiencing “synchronicities” since November 2011, with a burst of these “meaningful coincidences” being amped up as of June 2012. You’ll know what synchronicity is when it happens to you. It’s like a fated experience.

So am I finally experiencing enlightenment after being on a spiritual journey for the past couple of years?

Enlightenment is the catalyst for change. Change is difficult. Change is scary. Change is often painful. But its also necessary for growth. To awaken and realise our potential.

IS ANYONE NORMAL?

My girlfriend came over late last night to give me an update on her date with her potential soulmate.

She came to the door at around midnight. I am never really asleep, so you can always count on me to be up haunting the hallways.

She was dressed beautifully and stylishly, looking like she’d stepped off a magazine shoot for Vogue. If I were a guy I’d tap that.

“I don’t know Amy. He was a bit funny.” She told me. She looked a bit bewildered. Actually she looked a little bit disturbed.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“He told me that his ex wife used to abuse him”.

I listened quietly, a little dumb founded.

“And that his brother in laws used to beat him”

I burst out laughing.

She laughed now too, relaying the story to me.

“She said they used to whip him”

More laughing from me. That’s terrible. I had a mental image of this grown ass 6 foot 3 inch man cowering in the corner in the fetal position, thumb in his mouth, being whipped like a sex slave.

“What the fuck?” I asked incredulously.

More laughing now.

“What did you say to him when he said that?” I asked her.

“All I could say was “wow”. When he was telling me the story, he was very animated, his hands up near his face in the block position as if he was reliving it”.

What a turn-off.

He had ticked all of her boxes. Tall, dark, handsome, well dressed, cultured, fantastic job, wealthy, and the perfect gentleman.

He had opened and closed doors for her, told her very romantically to “order dessert, and I want to watch you eat it”. He paid for the bill and was very attentive, texting her after the date to thank her for a lovely evening. But something was off.

I suppose the fact that he was the family gimp didn’t help, but the main thing was his lack of masculinity. His need to discuss his feelings of inadequacy, and his fear of his ex-wife. His admittance of spending 18 months in therapy to deal with his physical abuse that he endured. He had opened Pandora’s box within 20 minutes of meeting her.

“There was no chemistry whatsoever. Why do we love the bastards?” My friend asked me.

Her and I are both very feminine women. Both very tiny in stature, both into fashion, both very sensitive. Not a day goes by where one of us is not crying over something.

So when we possess these very feminine attributes, it is only natural to seek out the opposite. Feminine women need a masculine man. One who can dig holes, play sport, open jars for us, kill spiders, fight people, make us laugh, listen to our nonsense, call us beautiful, and treat us a little bit mean at times. Feminine women don’t want to date a pussy.

“Why can’t I just date you?” My friend asked. “You’re fun, and jovial, and chilled.”

It would be a lot simpler if we could just date our girlfriends.

“There are so many fucked up people out there. I’m beginning to think they’re the normal ones and I’m abnormal. Maybe you and I are the only abnormal people out there”.

Are any of us really “normal”? Don’t we all have some sort of baggage? I guess the important thing is not to let it define us. To turn us into a person we are not. We don’t need our pain to become our identity.

“He kept on telling me how he eats at the best restaurants, stays at the best hotels, is friends with parliamentarians and how he loves shopping. He was very well dressed but he was so conservative. He was a bit of a nerd.”

“He is obviously very insecure” I told her. “And he’s not for you”.

If you have to convince someone of how great you are, maybe the real person that needs convincing is yourself.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in life, it’s that you can’t have it all. He ticks all of the materialistic boxes, but none of the emotional ones. Stop looking for someone with all the bells and whistles, and start looking for someone you connect with”. I advised my friend.

Women do this a lot. Look for stability in the form of financial security. Money DOES NOT equal happiness. Yes, it makes things a lot easier, but it doesn’t make you happy.
We need to seek someone who can enrich our soul, not buy us a Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Christian Louboutin heels. Yeah that stuff is nice, but that “stuff” is all bullshit. And it’s just stuff.

So my advice would be to not have a checklist of what you think makes a great catch – feel it out with your soul. If you connect, you connect.

Everything else pales into insignificance if you can find someone you have that special chemistry with. Like Elizabeth Gilbert says in “Eat, Pray, Love” – either that mysterious magnet is there, or it’s not.

So to my sassy, beautiful, feminine friend, keep the door of your heart open – you might be surprised at who walks in.

DO ALL PROBLEMS ARISE FROM “I”?

Ignorance, insolence, insanity, intolerance, idealism, indecision, ideology, idiocy, illness, irritability, immaturity, impatient, impolite, inaction…

You get the drift.

However I do pose this question both literally, and metaphorically.

I am big on the belief in polarities. Everything possessing its opposite.

So if all of these negative “I” words have weight, is there also a solution arising with “I”?

And I don’t mean this in words you can find in the dictionary. I mean this with the solution coming from “I” – ourselves.

We cannot be a victim in our own lives, hoping that someone will rescue us from our own undoing. We must be the change we seek. But how do we change ourselves, and stop being addicted to the drama of our sometimes negative circumstances and thinking?

I do believe that surrounding ourselves with people that inspire and uplift us is a step in the right direction. I know I am filled with self doubt a lot of the time, particularly as a writer who thinks too deeply, and tries to find meaning in everything.

I am a perfectionist in every sense of the word, and nobody is harder on me than me.

It’s important to surround yourself with people who support, and encourage you to enable you to lift yourself higher. And it’s important to be continually inspired.

There’s no doubt that adversity builds character and it challenges you to strive to be better, but it’s not necessary to have people around you that drain your very life force, and who try to make you suppress who you really are. Because that’s got nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Insecurity. Another negative “I” word. Instead we should look for the positive “I” word and celebrate our individuality.

Of course she is biased, but I am uplifted every time I see my Aunty. She is praising me constantly, telling me how smart I am, how gorgeous I am, how easy going I am, how fun I am, what a fabulous writer I am. Is she just being nice, or is she seeing me for how I truly am?

If I fall into the trap of negative thinking, I will quickly label myself as insecure, lacking confidence, shy, emotional, lazy – but I am only those things when my thinking is off balance.

When I am positive, I am confident, funny, hard working, tenacious, impossibly charming, head strong, friendly – the total opposite.

I always go back to the belief that we are all like a mirror. Are some of us so super sensitive that when surrounded by the negativity of others, we inadvertently succumb?

Do we really need to be around those who bitch, complain, judge, bully, and relentlessly bring us down? Picking us apart at the seams with constant criticism?

Of course not. What an absolutely stupid question.

So why don’t we make the switch? Starting with “I”.

AN EVENING WITH THE DEVIL

Well that’s a little harsh I think. I’m just being dramatic.

This is an update on my yoga experience last night.

The “Swami” was a little odd to say the least. I took a friend with me to the yoga class. I’m not one to do classes of anything. I like to exercise in solitude ordinarily. I like to just pop in my headphones and run.

I picked my friend up at 6.50pm for our 7.30pm class, as I notoriously run late to everything and I knew that I would get lost. A self fulfilling prophecy of sorts you can say.

The yoga class – actually it is a yoga retreat centre – was in a remote area of North Western Sydney, and as I had gone to high school in the area, I decided to take a back road. And in my typical fashion, I got lost.

The 20 minute journey turned into 40 minutes thanks to my excellent navigational skills.

My friend was a little anxious at our surroundings. I had grown up in the area, so to me I didn’t think anything of it but I guess being out in the middle of nowhere is usually associated with the set of a horror film. Dark unsealed roads, and bush as far as the eye could see, with only the occasional twinkling of a porch light to indicate one of the sprawling properties that are in the area.

The navigation lady informed us that the “destination is on your right”. I squinted, trying to make out the number on the letterbox. We turned into the driveway and began making our way down the long road to the retreat. The driveway was at least a kilometre long (and around 5 feet wide). Large trees and shrubs flanked us. It was pitch black. I started to laugh. Probably out of nervousness. Where had we come?

Once we finally arrived at the retreat, we walked up to the door.

“Please ring bell if reception unattended” read the sign at the door.

I rang the bell and we waited. And waited.

I decided to phone the number as it appeared nobody was there. A young man answered and said he’d call me back in a moment.

“Swami will be there in a moment” the man told me as he called back a few minutes later.

After a few moments we see a small Indian woman, with ass length black hair emerge from a door a little way up.

We wander up to her and she reprimands us firmly.

“You should have called. I sent other people away this evening because the class was too small”.

“I did call” I explained sheepishly. “I spoke to a man on Saturday morning”.

She seemed to ignore me.

She walks into the meditation room and we follow her in there silently. Our heads hung in a mixture of both shame and confusion.

She tells us to grab a cushion and sit down on the floor. She comes out and walks behind us and lights a fire.

My inner voice pipes up.

“It’s fucking 25 degrees”

My logic adds to the inner dialogue.

“It is what it is. Don’t judge.”

I turn around to scan the room. The room is very large. The floor is covered with several different rugs, and the walls are adorned with various Indian deities. Ganesh (the remover of obstacles) is ever present on the far right hand wall. Swami lights an incense stick.

“You see this?” Swami asks us, holding up a little dragon statue with an incense stick it it’s mouth.

“I’ve never seen this one. But I know Ganesh” I tell her, pointing to the Hindu God on the far wall.

“What?” She asks me. She’s a little hard of hearing.

She’s quite old. I don’t know how old she is. My friend estimates she’s around 80. She could be 140 for all I know.

She asks us if we brought our meditation beads. We tell her it’s our first time. Annoyed, She disappears into a room for a few minutes before returning with some beads.

And then the madness begins.

It’s starts with her telling us about how the mind is very powerful, but that Western people don’t know how to empty the mind anyway. And if you do manage to empty the mind, then there is nothing in there and what’s the point of that?

She talks and talks and talks.

She talks about how she has cows on her property. And horses. We smile politely at her. And that she has an elephant and a giraffe too. My facial expression now turns to one of confusion.

“Giraffes are good because they eat all the leaves so you don’t have to trim the trees” she tells us.

Is she a mental case? Does she honestly expect us to believe that she keeps zoo animals on her property?

“And I have cows too” she repeats herself.

She then makes us do a couple of stretches. More talking now.

About a woman who was so fat that she took up the whole rug in one meditation class (impossible), about the girl next door who isn’t right in the head because she was once caught wandering around the property naked with a towel as a cape, then her asking if we were with her on her recent trip to Melbourne.

It was plain as day that the Swami was suffering the advanced effects of dementure. The Swami now busts into song. My friend looks at me and mouths to me “I’m going to fucking kill you”. I put my head down to suppress my laughter.

“Are you coming to India with us?” Swami asks.

“Yes” answers my friend. Humouring her. I feel like I’m in high school again. Trying not to giggle.

Swami asks us 3 times how long it will take us to get home. Each time I answer her. And each time it’s as if she’s heard the answer for the first time.

“Do you know I have cows?” She asks us. Oh dear…

A man comes to the door now. He’s a guest at the retreat. He asks Swami a question, and Swami asks if he’d like to join the class. He declines. Swami asks us if we are related to him. It’s apparent that she is completely mad, and we take that as our cue to leave.

She gifts us the meditation beads, and we leave with her forgetting to collect the $14 fee. I didn’t expect her to charge us. I think in her mind she assumed we lived at the retreat with her. Particularly as she said she’d see us tomorrow.

So what did I learn from this? Not much. Aside from the fact that she was a total space cadet, I can only come to the conclusion that a life of seclusion, meditation, vegetarian meals, and cutting out all of the modern evils like caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes, makes you madder than a cut snake.

My experience with Ketut in Bali was uncanny, and she could have been the spit out of his mouth. Being too spiritual has the opposite effect it seems. I think what I did take away from it (taking away the fact that I was emotionally fatigued), was that in life, too much of anything is a bad thing. And that it’s time that the Swami hangs up her meditation beads and has a bit of a rest.

Balance is the key to life.

THE ART OF MEDITATION

At times I feel as though I am being discouraged from writing. Which just makes me more determined. I do get a lot of positive feedback, but it’s the negative stuff that tends to stick in your mind.

I’m too outspoken, or people think I’m weird, or that I don’t think like other people. Not my words. But I have heard this quite a bit of late.

And I naturally go over it in my head.

Why am I outspoken? Because I say what others are too afraid to admit? I think confronting and honest is a more positive term to use.

Who cares if people think I’m weird? So what if I believe in destiny? So what if I am spiritual? So what if I have a guru? I think everyone is weird.

So what if I don’t think like other people? Is that really a bad thing? Wouldn’t it be mind numbingly boring if we all thought the same way?

I don’t want anyone drowning out my inner voice. I have an internal dialogue going on constantly as it is. Surely all of us do. But do we send ourselves crazy at times with overthinking?

My internal dialogue was especially bad one day whilst I was in Byron Bay last week.

It was raining, and I just couldn’t relax. I wrote a blog piece and then decided to go down to the beach for a walk. Actually first I went and bought a coffee (just so I could have some physical interaction), and THEN I went to the beach.

I got down there and started walking along the sand. My mind was going at a million miles an hour.

“I am bored by myself. This sand is cold. The rain hurts when it’s windy. Why didn’t I bring a jumper with me? God I’m stupid sometimes. I wonder if there’s sharks out there? That would suck getting attacked by a shark. Oh look, a shell. I’m going to have a cigarette. I really need to stop smoking. It’s hard to light a cigarette in the wind. Did I just burn my hair with the lighter? It’s been a while since I’ve had a haircut. I look like Neil from “The Young Ones”. Gosh I have muscly legs. If I were a guy, I’d have sex with me. Look at that thong tan on my feet. I hate that spastic toe of mine. My calves hurt when I walk in the sand…”

You get the drift.

Then my guru popped into my head. And the thought pattern changed.

“I should really be doing my self worth exercises” came the voice in my head. And so I begun.

“I am beautiful, intelligent, creative, ambitious, tenacious. I am beautiful…”

But then the other voice chimed in.

“I wish I didn’t walk this far. I’m busting to go to the toilet. Why did I get that coffee? My nose is running because of the wind. If I had a jumper I could use my sleeve to wipe it. I really need to get my hair coloured…”

I reigned my thoughts in back to the self worth exercise, absolutely frustrated with myself for not being able to concentrate.

“I am beautiful, intelligent…”

And then a friend called me.

Thank God. I was sick of thinking. I was doing my own head in.

Whilst I was grateful for my friends phone call, it made me realise that I have a bad habit of not being able to quiet the clamour in my mind, and that I am always trying to distract myself from what is.

So after months of my guru pushing me to start yoga, I am officially starting this evening. My guru has no issue calling me out on my bullshit, and has told me that I’m lazy and to stop thinking and start doing – if I wasn’t so fond of him, and thought that it wasn’t for my own good, I might have cried when he said it.

And I’m not just doing any old yoga – I’m doing it with a real Indian Swami (a religious teacher for those of you who think I’m weird).

I am doing this to kick start myself into action (hoping it will create a chain reaction with all aspects of changes I need to make), and to learn the art of meditation. To quiet myself in every sense.
In fact my guru told me that when he builds his temple, he’s sending me there for a month of silence, which I personally think would be dreadful. No scratch that. It would be torture. But I need to stop the over-thinking and it’s clearly become an issue. Sometimes I think I’m his most challenging client.

Thinking about doing something will get you nowhere. Nowhere whatsoever. Its only a thought. It’s taking action that will get you places.

Let’s liken it to wanting to go somewhere. Let’s want to go to the shops.

You can think about driving to the shops, but if you do not take action and physically get in the car, turn the key and drive yourself there, you will just remain exactly where you are. No matter how much thought you put into it.

In your mind you will win the battle but ultimately lose the war.

So tonight, I look forward to learning from the Swami, and I welcome the kick in the ass from my guru, the universe, or whatever, to finally start taking some action. Really, all my inner voice is saying is “what on earth are you going to wear to yoga?” – but this is the purpose of it all.

And I shall keep you posted…

OBSERVATIONS

I shared an interesting article on my private Facebook wall today titled “7 Things Happen To You When You Are Completely Honest.” http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3955172 

And I must say, I feel as though I have experienced all 7 of these since I have begun my blog.

The points listed in the article were the following:

1. People will stop speaking to you

It’s not so much that people have stopped speaking to me, but more along the lines that they can’t understand my need to express and therefore don’t engage with me in the same manner they used to.

Perhaps they don’t approve of my creative urge, or perhaps I’m just too deep. I have heard this a lot recently.

Or maybe I have created a shift within my universe that has meant I am now in alignment with a different set of rules, and also people. Rules that now resemble the actual path I’m meant to be on rather than the one that was “planned” or “expected”.

This in itself will rub people up the wrong way.

2. People will think you’re going to hurt yourself

Yes, some posts of my blog posts are very journal like, and like all of us, I am not immune to slipping into momentary lapses of bleakness.

I think some of my best writing comes from a place of pain. It’s raw, and totally honest. I’m not too proud to admit what others will not. So many people like to put their head into the sand in regards to what is really going on in their lives.

Does writing about it make it easier? Not really. But to channel it creatively makes it feel as though there’s some purpose to it all. And it helps to acknowledge it too.

Yes, ignorance is bliss, but at what cost? You’re really only being dishonest with yourself.

3. People will think you’re crazy

Most people think I’m crazy anyway, regardless of if I write or not. I don’t really care. I’m not like other women. I never have been, and I never will be. I think I’m fabulous. And I have a good heart.

4. People will get frightened

What I write is at times confronting. Confronting for people in the way that it makes them sit up and pay attention to themselves.

A lot of the time, people have buried these thoughts that they may have so deep within, that the mere idea that someone is willing to go that little bit deeper and not operate purely on a surface level is frightening.

I suppose the theme that features heavily throughout my writing is asking that forbidden question.

Are you REALLY happy?

That is a very frightening thing to wonder. Are you just on auto-pilot, or are you really doing what you want?

5. People will find you entertaining

People love to be a fly on the wall. Why do you think reality shows are so well received?

All of our lives are somewhat mundane at times, so to be able to be a spectator in a sense to the goings on, or thought patterns in somebody else’s life is entertaining without a doubt.

6. People will trust your advice

I don’t know if anyone actually “trusts” my advice, however I do know that I say a lot of the things that people only think, and would never dare to admit themselves. And often, I help put things into perspective.

Although I am on a constant search for advice, and information (nobody knows everything) I have also acquired a lot of knowledge in my 34 years, be it through my businesses, the people I interact with, or my travelling, which as I’ve stated before, absolutely broadens the mind.

So do people trust my advice?

Yeah, sometimes I think they do. Particularly a lot of my younger readers, which I surprisingly have a large following, and who often give me feedback that I have helped them articulate what they could not.

I must be doing something right.

7. You will become free

Isn’t this what we all want? Freedom? It is liberating to be able to construct an opinion piece and to send it out into cyberspace.

“It’s better out than in” as the saying goes (which for me generally relates to when I have drank too much and am hovering over a toilet bowl).

If you feel as though you have something to say, say it. It’s a release and a relief, and can only equal freedom.

So I will continue to pursue what I am passionate about, and try to be as unaffected in every sense as I possibly can to both criticism, and praise.

SOULMATES

I was talking on the phone the other day to a friend.

She went through a particularly difficult marriage separation a few years ago. To me she is a very strong woman. Probably one of the strongest women I know.

Flooded with emotion as she is currently suffering from the effects of PMS, she phoned me in tears. She’s feeling a bit lonely at the moment. And any negative feelings you experience whilst hormonal are on crack during this period. Pun intended.

Being an outsider, it’s always easy to give advice. I actually give great, logical, sound advice. Pity we often can’t do the same for ourselves.

When you are outside of a situation, it’s always so much easier to give advice. And not just any advice. True, helpful, insightful advice. At times your emotions in relation to your situation are all consuming, and you cannot think straight. You are confused, indecisive, doubting yourself. It’s a terrible place to be.

However if you are not in the situation, you are invariably viewing it from a distance. You have no emotional ties to it. That’s why it’s so easy to give advice. And this is where clarity is important. Maintaining distance provides clarity. After all, how much more are you able to see when you are further away?

Back to my friend.

She doesn’t want to remain single. It’s been 3 years, and she keeps on looking back on her life, wishing she did so many things differently. And wishing she was younger.

It’s hard to see her like that. So upset. So full of despair. I want to be able to fix it for her. I want her to be happy. Nobody likes to see others hurting. She deserves something beautiful. We all do.

It’s also important to never abandon our friends in their darkest hours. We all need support. The best gift you can give is to be someone’s rock. It is a kindness that is unparalleled.

The idea that we find happiness in others is a tough one. Ultimately we should be happy and complete on our own, but it does get very, very lonely at times.

I guess the hardest thing to try to remember is that when others reject us, that we don’t also reject ourselves.

You know that there is a legend, that when we were created, our souls were split into two, and we were to spend our days searching for our other half so that we can once again become whole. The search for our “soulmate”.

I’m a hopeless romantic and I am positively in love with this concept, but does that mean we can’t be complete until we find that elusive soulmate?

Because we are all like a mirror, reflecting our innermost states, I think the first step is to find ourselves rather than seeking out another to make us feel whole. It is only then in that state of wholeness will we be able to attract the best possible person into our lives.

Continually strive to be the best possible version of yourself and destinys hand will guide you towards the right person to come into your life, at precisely the right moment.

And allow yourself space. Distance. Only then will you have the clarity to be able to see things for how they truly are.

(I have to add this side note. I wrote this piece over 2 days. I try to carefully construct my articles like a work of art. I like my words to convey meaning and depth as I am a perfectionist in every sense of the word. With all my heart and soul I sent my hopes and best wishes for my dear heartbroken friend out into the universe that she will find happiness. Empathy is a trait that overwhelms me at times and i could not bear to see her in pain. Late yesterday afternoon my friend phoned me to let me know that she has quite possibly met a special someone that not only ticks all of her boxes, but that she connected with on an emotional level. I could not be more pleased and happy for her. I hope that she has finally found her “something beautiful”.)

MY RANT…

I’m not one to bitch, but I am positively annoyed at something I experienced last night.

Judgement. Something I detest.

I was out to dinner with a girlfriend. I had gotten my hair coloured during the day, and I like to dress nicely and wear make-up when I visit the hairdresser. It makes me feel good.

I was wearing a tight 3/4 length singlet dress. I had styled it up with a leather biker jacket and an oversized scarf.

As we were drinking wine with our meal, I got hot, so I removed my jacket and scarf.

My friends 6 year old son made an odd comment upon me removing the extra layers.

“You’re not allowed to dress like that” he told me.

I quizzed him on this and he became shy and wouldn’t answer my question.

Why did he say that?

It must have been the night for women to have a “girls night”. All of the tables surrounding ours were full of women in their late 30’s and early 40’s. They were all married. All of them wearing wedding rings.

Now in no way am I a prude, so looking around at these women, to me they all resembled librarians. Very conservative women. All with practical shoulder length bobs, all in smart twin sets and ballet flats. All wearing “Mum jeans”. All suburban housewives.

I cannot help but to observe the way other people are. It also baffles me how people are so predictable in their cookie-cutter image of how you are expected conform to society – all the way down to how you dress. Which I personally believe to be an expression of your personality. To me they were like extras out of “The Stepford Wives”. Bear in mind, I am not judging. Just observing.

Once we had finished our meal, we got up to settle the bill.

“Look at the daggers those women are shooting at you” my girlfriend commented to me.

I turned around to see most of the women staring at me in contempt, and I can only assume it was on account of my figure-hugging dress.

Maybe this is why my friends son told me that I’m “not allowed” to dress this way.

He picked up on the fact that I was not dressed like the other women.

I have said many times that I am not a conformist. I refuse to not be authentic to myself and become a version of what society tells us we should be. And it’s so much more than the way we dress.

Like I always say though, we are constantly projecting, and perhaps I brought out feelings in those women of not being able to truly express themselves in the manner they wish. And I think at times we all intuitively pick up on people’s energy.

A very close friend of mine once told me that I was “magnetically infectious”. Perhaps my energy, as well as my attire, had unnerved them.

My guru once asked me an interesting question. He said “What do you do with something you can’t control? You beat it into submission.”

They could sense that I am not like them. Not part of their safe little “clique”. Maybe they were subconsciously attempting to beat me into submission.

Or maybe, like the inspiring Kelly Cutrone says in her book “If You Have To Cry, Go Outside”, I should consider relocating to a place, both literally and proverbially, where I am accepted for who I am.

So again I leave you with a quote to ponder:

“If you cannot see yourself fairly or accurately represented in the community where you live… and nothing there makes you feel awake or alive, I suggest you start doing some research on some other communities”
― Kelly Cutrone

MY RELIGION? MY SOUL

I love Paulo Coelho. I think he is a visionary. His books have so much depth and meaning to them and he inspires me to reach deep within myself to be a better writer.

I am reading a book at the moment by Paulo called “Eleven Minutes”. It’s about a prostitute called “Maria” who comes to the understanding that the act of sex only takes eleven minutes.

She is very jaded from her experience and says that when she goes to work, only her brain and heart go with her, and she leaves her soul in the safety of her home. She builds invisible walls around herself to protect her soul from being destroyed.

We all do this. To prevent ourselves from being hurt.

I think when I write, my walls are completely down, as I am not writing from a place of malice or judgement, but rather of deep reflection and introspect. Of honesty. I feel as though I write from my soul. Perhaps mine, like Maria’s, is safely locked away as a self preservation method too, only resurfacing for what I am truly passionate about.

When it comes to letting my walls down with people, there are only a couple of people that I trust enough to be completely vulnerable with.

Walls are put up to protect us. They act as a barrier against pain, but also against love. The same can be said of letting that guard down.

Being vulnerable allows us to experience love, and happiness – and also it’s polarity – grief, shame, hurt.

So what is the lesser of the two evils? I cannot say for certain.

By keeping out the bad, you are forcing out the good, but by letting in the good, it is inevitable that the bad will come also.

This is life.

Black is not able to exist without white, nor night without day, joy without pain.

I know a lot of people don’t believe that we are a “soul” and probably think I’m going on with a bunch of nonsense. That is only coming from a place of intolerance, fear, lack, and judgement, which i believe is a flaw within that person rather than an observation about myself.

I’ve always said that there is much more that animates us than a brain and a beating heart. For me it’s not possible to think of it any other way. We are a soul inhabiting a human body.

Although I was raised a Catholic, the idea that there is a “God” up in heaven that we pray to in church makes no sense at all to me. Nor has anything ever happened to make me believe otherwise.

There is actually a saying that the less you know, the more you believe.

I guess if you choose to remain close-minded you will only ever follow the herd rather than exploring all the possibilities and coming to your own conclusions from there. And I am not saying this without having educated myself. I have read the bible 3 times, which no doubt is 3 times more than the majority of people who deem themselves “religious”.

My Aunty said an interesting thing to me the other day in regards to religion.

“Unless I can see it, touch it, eat it, smell it, fuck it – it isn’t real”.

And I have to say, I agree. Which may seem like a contradiction because you can’t see your soul. But I am real. And I know how I feel.

I think the act of praying is actually praying to that higher self that resides within us. Why do you think in church they say God is everywhere? The priests that preach that have no idea how very profound that statement is. The truth that is behind it.

God is everywhere because you ARE God. We all are.

So I leave you today with a quote from another visionary – the late Steve Jobs.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” 

― Steve Jobs

QUIRKS AND ECCENTRICITIES

We all have our many quirks. I am well aware of mine.

I only wash my hair on Fridays. I’m in a hat most days. I rarely wear a bra (although my Aunty has given me some valuable advice to start wearing one because “even small tits sag sweetheart”), I only ever wear black nail polish, I pluck my eyebrows every single day, and I have worn the same perfume since I was 14. I’m sure I have many other quirks however sometimes it takes someone else to point them out to you.

My Aunty has made me laugh all day.

It begun with watching her in astonishment as she washed out some plastic bags from the supermarket and then hung them on the clothesline to dry.

She’ll probably kill me for writing this.

She also has little containers on the sink which she puts all of her fruit and vegetable waste in. All week we have been filling them up and I’ve been wondering what she does with it.

That is until today.

After an early morning walk and coffee, I spent a solitary morning on the beach sun baking. The sun had finally returned due to cyclonic winds which had blown away the cloud cover from the day before, so I happily sat on the beach enduring the sand blasting and the warm weather whilst my Aunty cleaned the house. It seems my own OCD I have in regards to cleaning my own house is an inherited family trait. She said the mess in the house was cluttering her mind. It appears we are the same person.

After returning from the beach and showering, we got in the car to head out to Bangalow for lunch.

And the compost containers came with us.

“I dump these in the bushes on the way to Bangalow. But don’t tell anyone” my Aunty sheepishly explained.

We turned into the road towards Bangalow and my Aunty pulled over to the side of the road. She promptly emptied out all three containers (one which was not compost at all, but the contents of her vacuum cleaner, which she explained to me that dust is the same as the earth), and we hopped back in the car and began driving again.

As we pulled out to begin our journey again, there was a large Water Dragon on the road.

“Oh look!” She excitedly exclaimed upon spotting the lizard.

Only the reptile failed to move. There were cars behind us and cars coming in the opposite direction. There was nowhere to go but straight. Straight over the top of it.

We heard it flick up underneath the car and then that dreaded little bump of running over the top of it.

“Oh no!” My Aunty cried.

I burst out laughing.

My Aunty burst into tears. Gripping the steering wheel and sobbing uncontrollably.

“I’ve never killed anything! That poor little lizard! It was only trying to enjoy the sun!” She was now beside herself, her breath hitching in her throat.

I couldn’t help myself. I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, rubbing her back and attempting to sound sincere in my attempt to console her. I just found it funny. I don’t know why.

Maybe because my eccentric, hippy Aunty had driven all the way out into the bush to be a greenie and correctly dispose of her organic waste, and has annihilated the local wildlife in the process. I’m still laughing about it as I type this. Probably because I’m a little drunk.

And I’m a little drunk because after that little episode my Aunty promptly announced that she’s going to need a bottle of wine as her nerves are frazzled. Which is even funnier as each morning she has sworn herself off alcohol as we have drank every single night with dinner and woken up with headaches.

Our quirks and eccentricities seem completely normal to ourselves. They are there to help us make sense in a world of nonsense. And to observe someone else’s version of “normal” is at times sensationally amusing.