“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” – Roger Miller

I was chatting with my Aunty this morning over breakfast.

We were discussing the notion of being “alone”. And how so many people are afraid of it.

I don’t have an issue with being alone. I used to. But that’s all changed.

In fact, I really like it. Because I’m kind of like Maria in “The Sound of Music”. Like trying to catch a cloud and pin it down.

I hate being told what to do. And very often, I hate compromising. I’m so stubborn sometimes I madden myself. And my flippant nature downright infuriates some. I run notoriously late. I often forget to phone people back. My 20 minutes is actually an hour and a half…

I wrote an article going back a few months now titled “Am I Lonely?”.

Pondering whether or not I am indeed lonely.

I acknowledge that I spend a significant amount of time alone. Maybe more than the regular person. But I feel lucky. Because I really enjoy my own company.

Spending so much time alone, helps me to write. I need the quiet. And I restore myself in solitude.

I recall the day my former husband moved out of our home. Over 3 months ago now.

I spent a large portion of the day in tears. I was beside myself.

That’s a funny term. Being beside ourself. I guess because sadness is not our true state. We almost have an outer body experience by being so tormented.

I drank a lot of wine. I ate an entire jar of Nutella, and got that burning feeling in my throat (along with diabolical heartburn). I cooked myself dinner, and spent a few hours on the phone to a girlfriend.

I remember whilst I was preparing my meal that night, I was cutting some potatoes.

The sound of the knife being brought down on the chopping board echoed, and ricocheted off the walls.

My home, now sparsely furnished, making every sound that much more intense.

That’s what emptiness does.

Makes everything seem louder than what it actually is.

Sometimes it’s the absence of things that makes you become more aware of what was already there to begin with. But you’ve filled it with other things as a means of distraction.

That’s what an emptying out of things does. Reveals what was always there.

But emptiness also has it’s polarity.

Space.

As I look back over the past 3 months, I realise how far I’ve come.

Those first few weeks of being “alone” were quite intense.

Particularly after having spent 13 years living with someone.

And then one day, it just changed.

I recall sitting cross-legged on my dining room chair, eating dinner, watching a movie on my tv which now lives on the floor, and I thought to myself “I’m really happy”.

There’s always that moment where that “shift” takes place. That moment of realisation. I say realisation, because really, you’re always there.

The literal and metaphorical space I now have, has made me grateful.

And it really is the simple things I have grown to really appreciate.

I appreciate the friends that have stuck by me. Tirelessly holding my hand (and often drying my tears).

I appreciate sleeping in the middle of the bed.

I appreciate that I never get mad. Never ever. Well, hardly ever.

I appreciate that no one is present to witness my clumsiness.

I appreciate that my neighbour sometimes cuts my grass. He even mows my lawns too (kidding, I’m kidding – no one is “cutting my grass”).

I appreciate the silence.

I appreciate the new friends I’ve made.

I appreciate vacuuming the house, listening to music, whilst waiting for a face mask to dry.

I appreciate that I don’t cry as often as I used to. That in itself is remarkable.

I appreciate coming and going as I please.

I appreciate sometimes eating lollies for dinner.

And I also appreciate that my company is appreciated. I’m a much nicer person these days.

That space has allowed what was always there to shine through.

Having spent over a week in Byron Bay with my Aunty has really made my heart sing.

She has spoilt me like a small child.

Washing and folding my clothes for me. Cooking for me. Bringing me glasses of wine, bowls of fruit, smoothies, and cups of coffee. Giving me those delicious oxytocin hugs. Taking me to concerts and restaurants. To the movies. To her friends homes to visit. Watching tv together and drinking beer. Laughing together. We laugh a lot.

As I sat on the beach this afternoon, I looked up and saw a rainbow out on the horizon.

And of course it made me think.

That whilst we may experience storms, we have to have the rain if we are to ever witness the rainbow.

So the quote I have used in this article title is one full of meaning for me.

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.

Learn how to walk in the rain. Use it. Learn how to appreciate life’s sometimes storms.

Otherwise you’ll never be grateful for all of the colours in that rainbow when it appears.

And after all, the sun after the rain is always so much more excellent than the sun before the rain.

THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH

Today’s article is long as I haven’t published anything in over a week.

Because I am in love.

I am in love with Byron Bay.

I don’t know what it is about this place. It has this magnetic, and energetic hold on me. I’m myself when I’m here. Whole. Complete.

The little hippy, with the messy hair.

The more time I spend here, the more I am silently pulled towards staying longer, and longer.

I love Byron Bay. The beaches, the people, the smell of the air. My Aunty (especially my Aunty). Just everything.

Everyone is stupidly friendly here. And I seem to make friends effortlessly.

Although I try not to be judgmental (because I hate being judged), I couldn’t help but notice that there are a lot of what people may refer to as “drifters” here.

What do I mean by “drifters”?

People that are somewhat gypsy like in their lifestyles.

They’re neither here nor there. But they’re all happy. I think there’s a little secret they have.

The secret of balance.

I look at myself.

At my carefully and meticulously constructed life that I had built for myself and my future.

The life without balance.

And it made me reflect and question myself – did I get it all wrong?

Was I, like the saying goes, so busy making a living that I forgot to make a life?

Yes, and no.

I mean, you can’t have everything can you?

If I wanted financial security, I felt as though I had to sacrifice certain aspects of my life in order to create what I wanted.

With my eyes firmly focused on the prize, I manifested it.

But everything comes at a cost.

The cost of time that I cannot get back.

My late teens, all my 20’s, and half my 30’s spent working tirelessly and diligently like a woman possessed with a drive and ambition unparalleled.

Looking back, particularly in the relaxed state I’m currently in, I don’t know how I did it. And there are moments I even question myself WHY I did it.

I read somewhere the other day that the most successful people say no to most things. Actually Warren Buffet said that.

But what are you rejecting by saying no? What are you missing out on?

And now I come back to not being able to have everything.

I know first hand that you can’t have everything. At least not all at once.

There’s a price you pay for everything.

My Aunty wants me to move to Byron Bay and live up here with her.

She wants me to write and write and write.

“I’ll be your patron” she told me.

“My patron?”

“All the artists and writers had patrons back in the day. Someone who supported them so they could continue with their craft”.

Relocating to Byron Bay, the happiest place on earth, the place where I have been the happiest in what seems like an eternity, is something that I’m mulling over. Or perhaps I’ll alternate between Sydney, and Byron Bay…

I love the people here. They’re so interesting. So eclectic. So free-spirited. And so happy.
I love the stories I get to listen to from the people I’ve met. I love to silently, and curiously observe people. Question everything. Probe that little bit deeper.

I was fascinated by the story I heard over breakfast about my Aunties friend who went to school at a convent. Who sometimes had to clean the nuns bedrooms where she would go through their drawers, finding sexy lingerie, and dildos.

I was beyond flattered when this group of friends discovered I am recently separated from a 13 year marriage, and was met with the surprised look, and the excellent question of “you don’t look old enough to have been married that long. What were you when you got married? 10?”

I laughed when another friend recounted an Anzac Day where she carried a flag through the RSL Club, and it got caught in the ceiling fan spinning above her.
I contemplated not being able to see the forest for the trees when a man told me that he grows marijuana plants at his house, but because he has them scattered here and there, no one ever really sees them. All they can see is green, at his leafy property.

That last conversation made me question illusions, and perhaps ignorance being bliss.

But also, that if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re never really going to find it.

Is it better to be blissfully unaware, or to be tirelessly searching until you find what it is you’re looking for?

I would have to say the latter.

Don’t we all want to hit our target? Don’t we all want the “prize”?

The earthly possessions I have collected through my 34 years have little meaning now.

My ambition now lies in the pursuit of happiness, and clinging blissfully to wherever I can find it. That’s the prize I desperately crave. To hold onto this feeling of bliss.

In her memoirs, Elizabeth Gilbert writes the following on happiness:

“People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you are fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.”

I do strive for happiness. I do insist upon it. Is relocating the way to fight for it?

I don’t know.

All I know, is I’m AT the happiest place on earth.

Whether that comes from within, or as a result of our surroundings, I guess makes no difference at all. So long as you’re there. That’s all that really matters.

So to wrap it up, I implore all of you to fight, to strive, to insist upon maintaining that level of happiness.

And keep balanced. Even if it means being a “drifter”.

LIKE A ROOM WITHOUT A ROOF

That’s a lyric from Pharrell Williams song “Happy”.

I’m so obsessed with Pharrell right now. In fact, I’ve fallen in love with him (sorry Ryan Gosling, but you’re now my number two).

That interview he did with Oprah the other day just melted my heart. Particularly when he cried.

I cried with him.

I was so moved by his honesty. By his overwhelming emotions. Every single hair on my body stood on end as I watched him watching his video of his song “Happy” being played. In one part where the camera pans back to him, you can see the humbled expression on his face. You could see he was fighting back tears already. And then the floodgates opened.

“Sometimes there’s just no way to hold back the river.” – Paulo Coelho

And this is where I’ll begin, dedicating this piece to the inspirational Paulo Coelho, and his life changing book, The Alchemist.

Knowing that Mr Williams is a fan of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho sealed the deal for me.

That book changed my life too.

It made me realise the importance of following my heart. Following it blindly. Following the signs. Trusting that it will lead me to what is most important in life – my hearts desire.

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Pharrell says “you have to be unafraid to dream, and you have to be even more brave and gallant about blue printing what you’ve envisaged. You gotta be brave about that”.

It’s also important to surround yourself with people who believe in your vision. Who uplift, and support you. Who are in awe of the light you possess within. Who can see the passion you hold in that heart of yours. Who drive you, and push you, and never let go of your hand.

And it teaches you to never give up.

“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.” – Paulo Coelho

Surely, if you truly desire something, a set back is not going to make you give up on your dream?

The book also teaches that there’s only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve – the fear of failure. And like my Aunty always teaches me – we must feel the fear, and do it anyway. We must never give up on our dreams. We must also recognise everyone in our life as teachers. We learn something from everyone.

So whilst I haven’t written a lot of my own words in this particular piece, and have merely quoted, I do want to drive home the importance of having a dream, and knowing what it is that you want, so the universe can conspire to help you to achieve it.

After all, that’s all that it takes. A thought. A desire. A wish. A dream.

That’s the most famous quote from The Alchemist.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho

One of my biggest, and most avid supporters, who has been the greatest source of inspiration to me, sent me this quote the other day about Alchemists. (Oh, and for those of you who don’t know, Alchemy is the art of turning lead into gold).

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.” – William H. Gass

She pushes me to write, and write, and write. And I am so thankful. My heart is full of gratitude for her relentlessly pushing me to follow my heart, and having so much patience with me, being the complicated woman I am. And to that special friend of mine, I promise I will change the world into words.

So to wrap it up, be like a room without a roof. Let the sky be your limit, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Cause they’re full of shit.

And Happy Easter xxx.

NOTHING IS PERMANENT BUT CHANGE

There is something poetic about the change of the seasons.

One day, the weather just changes.

Friday last week was 28 degrees. Warm, and sticky weather. A thunderstorm was looming. The clouds hanging heavy and threateningly in the sky. That strange, palpable charge to the air that it creates.

Saturday afternoon, that all changed.

I was sitting inside for a change, writing. I heard the wind whip up outside. I looked out the window. The leaves were swirling about. That’s the only way we can see the wind really. By the effect that it’s having on our surroundings. Otherwise, wind is invisible. You can’t see it. You can only feel it. I guess its not too dissimilar to faith. In the sense that having faith in something really doesn’t make sense. You can’t see whatever it is that you believe in. Yet you still feel it.

I wandered outside. The temperature had dropped about 10 degrees. Such a change from an hour earlier.

It’s then when you get that thought – what am I going to wear? What on earth did I wear last winter? Oh, and #FirstWorldProblems.

It’s funny how quickly we forget what its like to feel a certain way.

In the heat of summer, we can’t imagine what it’s like to feel cold. And then one day, it changes. Just like that.

Life is like that too.

Sometimes you can go on, feeling a certain way for the longest time, and then in an instant, everything changes. Something shifts within us. And suddenly, we can’t even remember the way we used to feel. We only know how we feel now.

Feelings are a funny thing. And surely, by acknowledging the fact that we do have feelings that are so mercurial and changeable, and so easily altered by outside influences, it has to make you wonder if there is a lot more to us than what meets the eye.

A lot of the time, the way that we feel is hinged upon that of how another person perceives us to be. How THEY make us feel. Which is not necessarily a good thing.

In fact, if we do only rely upon outside opinions to determine the opinion we have of ourself, then how much power do we actually have?

None. The power lays in the hands of the other person. Which means they possess the power to destroy us as well.

But perhaps our surroundings have a far greater impact on us than we give credit. Only we seem to forget, that we have ultimate control of how we choose to react.

I go back to a couple of months now, when I was being abused on Twitter over a Huffington Post article I wrote.

I felt physically ill. I felt like a fool. I felt a sense of injustice. I cried (and i drank a lot of wine). But I also realised I possessed the power to change it, and I was taking it all way too seriously.

So whilst it was kind of like a car crash, and I simply couldn’t look away from the computer screen, and ignore the fury I had managed to incite, I did consciously decide, to try not to take it all so seriously.

These people don’t know me, and ok, sure, I may have pissed a lot of people off with that particular article, but it doesn’t make me a bad person.

So I wrote a brief response article, and let the storm pass. They’d move onto the next person soon enough.

And they did.

All storms pass.

Like Kelly Cutrone says, “Sometimes in life, seasons don’t come in order. Instead of fall, winter, spring, summer, we get three winters in a row. But that doesn’t mean spring won’t come eventually.”

And if life is all about balance, I think in order to retain a sense of humility about us, it’s important to encompass both the things that make us feel good, and the things that make us feel bad. Because it teaches you gratitude. It teaches you how to reflect. It teaches you how to stand up for yourself. It teaches you to love yourself.

It teaches you how to believe in yourself.

Because it creates a feeling.

How do you feel when someone pays you a compliment? It feels good right?

How do you feel when someone disrespects you? It hurts.

But it also makes you pay attention to yourself, and to perhaps ask yourself what you can do to change the situation.

Perhaps you need to stop being so self-centred and try to see things from the other persons perspective. Perhaps you need to ignore them completely. Perhaps you need to embrace them warmly, and thank them for bringing you to the attention of yourself. Only you can decide.

But the most important thing is to follow your heart, and pay attention to the way certain things, or people, make you feel. Like Saint Anthony said, you can only differentiate between the angels and devils by the way you feel after the creature has left your company.

If I go back to that law of polarities that I often write about, that something cannot exist without the opposite, then it’s undeniable that outside influences are going to move us in some way.

So if our surroundings have the ability to make us feel a certain way – hot, cold, sad, excited – then perhaps we should pay a little more attention to what, or who we are surrounding ourselves with.

One would assume it would make sense to only surround ourselves with people who support, and lift us higher. Who make us want to be a better person. Those who care enough to push us, and call us out on our bullshit, but hold our hand regardless of the mistakes we make.

But we also need the other stuff too. To push us to become the best, and most authentic version possible of ourselves. So we can learn to fight for what we believe in. So we can fight to save ourselves.

Which is why the change of the seasons are so important.

Its a physical reminder of what life will throw at us constantly.

Change.

Nothing is permanent, but change.

And sometimes, you really do need to have a really long winter, in order to be able to appreciate the beauty and sweetness of the springtime when it finally comes.

Or better still, a hot, sticky, relentless summer, to appreciate the heat literally being taken off you, when that cool change graces us with its presence.

So today, I guess the lesson is, to embrace change. You can’t fight it anyway. You either remain stuck and stagnant, or you go with the flow, and welcome with open arms whatever comes your way.

And above all, let your heart be your compass, and guide you towards what you truly desire.

I’M REALLY LOVELY UNDERNEATH IT ALL…

I’ve come to the conclusion that I know a lot of useless information.

Really interesting stuff of course, but nothing of monumental importance. So todays article is about nothing in particular.

Like for instance did you know that pine nuts come from pine cones?

I know. Weird, right?

Or that we can fall in love from a long hug? Or why hugs are just so good in general?

Apparently it goes like this.

“The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds. But researchers have discovered something fantastic. When a hug lasts 20 seconds, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. The reason is that a sincere hug produces a hormone called “oxytocin”, also known as the love hormone. This substance has many benefits on our physical and mental health, helps us, among other things, to relax, to feel safe, and to calm our fears and anxiety.”

Or that we are born with a certain amount of breaths?

This one I personally find particularly fascinating, although it is a little “head in the clouds-ish”. I don’t know if its actually true, but its a very interesting theory regardless.

You know how you hear people saying that someone has “taken their last breath”, or to not “waste your breath” on someone? Or that something that moved you deeply, “took your breath away”?

Well, it all comes back to the theory of being born with a certain number of breaths.

Apparently the yogis up in those remote areas in those communes, live till they’re pretty ancient, because they conserve their breaths through the art of meditation.

They say that dogs only have a lifespan of roughly 10-15 years because they take on average 24 breaths per minute.

Tortoises take an average of 4 breaths per minute and live up to ages in excess of 200 years.

Elephants live until around 70 years of age in the wild, and take just 12 breaths per minute.

As humans, we take an average of 12-20 breaths per minute.

That’s why meditation is important, and not getting so worked up about such silly things.

That’s why stress is the number one killer.

Think about if you have ever had a panic attack. If you have ever gotten so worked up during a heated argument. If you had stressed yourself out so much over the silliest of things.

I recall phoning my friend in London one night in tears (not just any tears either – snot running down my t-shirt, choking and coughing, foetal position type tears), trying to catch my breath, trying to tell her what I was crying about. I’d had an argument with someone.

“Calm down. Take a deep breath. You’re having a panic attack.” she calmly told me. “Don’t let anyone make you that upset again and waste your breath like that.”

And then she told me the story about our breaths and the number of them being numbered, and the importance of conserving our breath. I snapped myself out of it, and calmed myself down.

Thats why people are always telling you to go with the flow.

Slow down. Relax. Keep calm. Don’t overthink. Don’t get upset over silly things. Don’t get mad. Don’t waste your breath.

Another thing that is a totally useless bit of information that I have been quite curious about this week, is whether or not men actually fall in love as easily as what women do.

I’m impossibly curious. I talk a lot. I ask a lot of questions. I never claim to know all the answers. Just a little about a lot of random things. So I asked my friend for the answer.

My friend tells me that not only do men fall in love just as easily as women (sometimes easier), but they also fall harder. Which I think is kind of sweet.

And then I stumbled across this quote today from Rachel Cohn, about fairytales:

“You think fairy tales are only for girls? Here’s a hint—ask yourself who wrote them. I assure you, it wasn’t just the women. It’s the great male fantasy—all it takes is one dance to know that she’s the one. All it takes is the sound of her song from the tower, or a look at her sleeping face. And right away you know—this is the girl in your head, sleeping or dancing or singing in front of you. Yes, girls want their princes, but boys want their princesses just as much. And they don’t want a very long courtship. They want to know immediately.”

And to me it was a sign, and the answer, that yes, men do indeed fall in love just as easily as women, and do want the “happily ever after” just as much as we do.

So to wrap this article up, I hope you learnt some useless information today. Its nice to have an open mind and to stay curious and be like a sponge – absorbing everything around you. It makes for interesting conversation at some stage.

Now I have to add this end bit in today.

As I was writing todays article, I was listening to music.

I listen to music all the time. In the shower, while I’m cleaning, when I wash my car, when I do the gardening, at the gym, while I’m cooking. But never whilst I’m writing.

Today though, I thought I’d switch it up a bit and attempt to listen to music whilst I wrote.

And I failed miserably. Becoming distracted by playing the air drums when the beat kicked in, or by typing out the lyrics to whatever I was listening to, instead of listening to the dialogue that was going on in my head.

I complained about this on Twitter, and one of my followers suggested I creatively combine one of the lyrics into my article.

Now I’m still listening to music as I type this, even though its driving me mad, just so I can find the inspiration to write this little bit for you @Gemmasparkle.

I love the band No Doubt. So I hit shuffle, and listened out to what message the universe was trying to tell me (because I’m a dreamer, and a hopeless romantic, and love finding meaning in things).

The song began. “Underneath It All”. And so here’s those lyrics for you:

“There’s times where I want something more, someone more like me. There’s times where this dress rehearsal seems incomplete. But you see the colours in me like no one else, and behind your dark glasses you’re…you’re something else…”

And I thought to myself – that’s it. Don’t we all just want someone to see the colours in us, like no one else?

So even though I’m a little off the wall at times, probably talk a lot of shit, and ask too many questions, I’ve gotten the message today that, I’m really lovely underneath it all.

PRACTISING AN “ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE”

I think all of us have minor meltdowns over the most trivial things, and looking back on the shit I mentally complained about through the week, really made me slap myself, and think – I am so ungrateful sometimes.

“First world problems”.

You see memes of these all the time on the internet.

The things we complain about, looking back on them, really do seem so trivial at times.

Here’s a 35 point list of the first world problems I encountered last week:

1. When I went to turn the corner at the traffic lights, I put my wipers on instead of my indicator, and I smeared my clean windscreen.

2. I had to shampoo my hair 3 times before I was able to work up a lather because I went 8 days without washing it.

3. I burnt my schnitzel one evening because I was daydreaming.

4. A pug dog jumped up on me and dirtied my white jeans.

5. I locked myself out of the house, because I was daydreaming (I daydream a lot).

6. I was bitten by a spider (because I gardened barefoot).

7. I pulled a door off it’s hinge.

8. I got stuck walking in the rain, and the hoodie I was wearing became heavy as a result.

9. The supermarket ran out of the bread I like.

10. I bought an outfit that I need to get altered.

11. Throughout the week, I ate several things off the kitchen floor, as I’m incredibly clumsy, and very much live by the 20 second rule (no….wait….I think I have that wrong…).

12. I couldn’t find my purse, and was late to my friends place because I placed it in the cutlery drawer (again, as a result of daydreaming).

13. I accidentally sucked up coins with the vacuum cleaner.

14. I couldn’t wear a helmet while I was quad bike riding on the weekend as I was rocking a top knot.

15. I have no good books to read right now.

16. I had epic heartburn one night due to wine, and I was too drunk to drive to the shops to buy antacids.

17. The supermarket ran out of broccolini. And I really, REALLY felt like it.

18. I got a savage attack of hiccups and there was no one around to scare me.

19. I broke a power point.

20. I had to “excavate” my detergent from the box, as it had all compacted due I the recent downpour of rain, and subsequent humidity.

21. My doors were also sticking due to the rain, and as I result I needed to use two hands and a yanking motion to exit whichever room I found myself trapped.

22. I had to clean my glass table with maroon serviettes because I’d run out of paper towels.

23. I wondered why the girl I saw at the gym was there with her hair perfectly blow dried and a face full of makeup (but then I remembered I come home from training and drink wine, so it’s kind of the same thing – counter productive).

24. That I couldn’t find accessories for a new outfit I’d bought.

25. I lost my favourite hat. The one with the feather in it. And I’m beside myself.

25. That telemarketers call me. Constantly.

26. That I went to sleep on Saturday night at 10.30pm, forgetting that daylight savings finished the next day, and I was wide awake from 5am the next morning.

27. I killed a cockroach after I’d vacuumed and mopped (seriously, come and grace me with your presence PRIOR).

28. I spilt red wine on the kitchen bench and I had to bleach it clean.

29. I spent 30 minutes searching for parking the other day. God I was mad…

30. My rubbish bins were too full to put all of my gardening mess in.

31. The rain all week has prevented me from washing my sheets. I have OCD, and this particularly bothered me.

32. The Hollywood tape I used on Saturday was somehow not as adhesive as usual.

33. I cannot get past level 37 of Candy Crush (how I hate that game).

34. My TV is on the floor.

35. I secretly wondered why Ryan Gosling hasn’t pulled his finger out and asked me on that date yet.

And…….I am so ungrateful.

So today I ask you to ask yourself, what on earth you are really complaining about?

Is it a “first world problem”? Or are you truly not feeling blessed with all of the wonderful things you have going on?

Why not be grateful for all of the great stuff, instead of concentrating on all the negative shit, that really isn’t negative at all. Looking back, it’s quite comical.

Stop bitching and complaining. Stop rolling your eyes and sighing, and think about the important things in life. None of this crap should even so much as cause a blip on the radar.

So an exercise today – let’s practice an “attitude of gratitude”, and see how quickly things turn around for us. You’ll actually be really surprised…

CONNECTEDNESS AND PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR DREAMS

I love photographs. I’ve always loved them. Not so much having my photograph taken, but looking at photos. Moments, and memories captured.

I think I got this from my Grandfather, who would go and retrieve the family albums with excitement each time i would pop over for a visit.

“Who’s this girl?” he would say to me cheekily, as he pointed out old childhood photographs of me.

He would always tell stories too.

He would sit there telling me the same stories each time about how his nickname at school used to be “Blossom”, about the ocean that his home overlooked, that its “ever-changing, and never-changing”.

We would wander up to the “seat of knowledge”, where he would tell us about the local fisherman, and the hang gliders that would glide off the adjacent cliff top at Turrametta Beach. About the light plane that he once watched fall and crash into the ocean, whilst the pilots wife was watching in horror from the grassy headland. So many stories…

When my Grandparents passed, one thing I wanted was the family albums. Those moments captured forever in time.

I hadn’t looked through them for a while, until the other night.

My Grandfather often features heavily in my dreams, (which I will come back to a particular dream in a moment) and I decided to go and grab the photographs out of the cupboard.

As I flipped through the yellowed pages, I couldn’t help but notice the uncanny resemblance between myself and my Aunty, and also my sister and my Grandmother.

 photo 1

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And it got me thinking about what my Grandfather says about the ocean.

Are we really as evolved as we would like to believe? Or are we, like my late Grandfather says “Ever changing, and never changing”?

Now in the physical sense, its quite obvious that this is true. We change, yet somehow remain the same. Through generations spanning decades. How else can you explain the similarities that tend to sometimes trickle down through a blood line, creating an almost clone?

In the spiritual sense, however, I think the same elements are at play.

Do you believe in history repeating itself?

Repeating itself, again and again, until the lesson is learned?

Do you follow the signs that the universe sends you? Do you trust your gut? Do you listen to that uncomfortable pull in the pit of your stomach, and follow it blindly to where its meant to lead you?

Or do you just conform, and follow the crowd, unable to connect with what it is that you heart is trying to tell you? Do you follow a rule book that you had no hand in even writing?

Why not question everything? Why not question why the things that happen do? Why the people that come into, and go out of your life do? Why lead a life of complacency, and ultimate defeat? And most importantly, why not pay attention to your dreams?

So here’s where I come back to the dreaming part.

Soon after my Grandfather passed away a few years ago, I dreamt of him one night.

In my dream, my father had told me to go to my Grandparents house, and take what I wanted as a keepsake.

I wandered around the empty house, only there was nothing there to take.

I went back outside, and to my surprise, I saw my Grandfather sitting in a chair in the front garden.

He looked younger and plumper. Like how I remembered him in his 70’s. Not like the frail, forgetful old man he became in his late 80’s when he sadly passed. Speaking of him being forgetful, he often confused me for his daughter in his last days. My Aunty.

Anyway, back to the dream.

“Grandpa! What are you doing here?” I asked him in shock.

“I just wanted to let you know that they’re looking after me where I am, and that I’m happy. And your Grandmother sent me these for you and Brooke (my cousin)”.

He hands me a green sequinned pair of wooden clogs, and a gold pair for Brooke. I remember looking at them in my dream and thinking “where on earth am I supposed to wear these to?”

A few days later, I told my Dad about my dream.

His face went as white as a sheet.

“When your Grandmother passed away (she passed a couple of years before my Grandfather), I went looking through the house for a pair of shoes that she had brought back from a trip to Vietnam. They were a green and gold sequinned pair of wooden clogs, that were intricately carved through the wooden part. I was always intrigued by them as a child, and they were something i wanted. I haven’t seen them since I was about 30, so you have certainly never seen them. And I could never find them. I have no idea where they are.” he told me.

I think I was just as floored as he was.

Later that day, I get a text message from my Aunty. My Dad had phoned her and told her about my dream (which is what I love about my family – they never think I’m kooky or whimsical. They know i have my “little ways”).

“I have those shoes. I was fascinated by them as a child, and so I took them. You know those shoes are magic shoes. I have them up here in Byron Bay with me, and they are yours when I pass.”

So do you believe now in signs? In dreams?

Because I do.

And I don’t care if people think I’m a nut job. Because I’m not. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

Truth is often times, much stranger than fiction, and I guess this is what makes me the story-teller that I am. Because I do pay attention. My eyes (and heart) are wide open.

I do see the beauty where others may not. I do see the invisible connectedness of everything at play. I see the serendipity in all of lifes’ circumstances. I see the physical memory of our genetics being kept alive through the generations. I pay attention to my dreams. To my hearts desire. I believe in magic. And most importantly, I am myself (even if I do look like a clone of my Aunty Gael).

So today, if you can, I ask you to try to connect with what your dreams (and your heart), are trying to tell you. You may get a surprise and discover that everything is more intrinsically connected and is loaded with more meaning than you ever dreamed possible.