FEAR AND LOVE

“That’s such an “Amy” thing to wear”.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that…

I love clothes. Love them. I own so many items of clothing, I could actually never repeat an outfit ever again.

I collect bits and pieces from all over the world, and throw them together in an often eclectic fashion. I think that your clothes are an extension of your personality.

It’s another way to express yourself. It’s shows where you’ve been, where you’re headed, and what you’re about.

This afternoon, I headed to my local cafe to grab a coffee. The staff there are often the only people I see throughout the day. My only human interaction.

It takes an enormous amount of solitude for me to be me. And I really need a lot of time alone in order to create.

Which is quite ironic, considering that today’s article is all about how we are perceived through the eyes of others.

“Your hat is really cool” the barista told me.

“Thank you. I only wear hats so I don’t have to do my hair” I responded, jovially.

“I love hats. I just bought one recently, but I’m too afraid to wear it” he went on.

“Why are you afraid? Just wear it! Hats are fun.” I told him.

“You really suit hats. Maybe I’ll start wearing mine.” He said.

Hats are my thing. I wear one 90% of the time. Sometimes I feel as though I wear a hat to hide. I like to remain inconspicuous at times, and it’s almost like my security blanket. Other times, I feel as though it is my most recognisable trait.

I recall a few months back now, running into an old school friend at the shops.

“I recognised you from your hat” she said, as we greeted each other.

So perhaps I’m not as inconspicuous as I think I am.

In my mind later on, I went back to the baristas comment on being too afraid to wear his hat.

A lot of us do things like this.

Suppress our true identities, and passions in order to conform. Too afraid to let the light of our spirit shine through. Fear of judgement from others.

Everything in life comes down to two motivating forces.

Fear, and love.

A few years ago now, when I begun my spiritual journey, I read a quote by the inspiring Kelly Cutrone, about being true to yourself.

“This was when I learned that you have to give up your life as you know it to get a new one: that sometimes you need to let go of everything you’re clinging to and start over, whether because you’ve outgrown it or because it’s not working anymore, or because it was wrong for you in the first place.”

I believe that that’s what all of us need to do. To give up your old life as you know it to get a new one. To sit in our solitude and recognise what’s no longer working for us. And that by letting certain things go, we create space for new things to enter.

The quote on my private facebook wall is also from Kelly Cutrone. It reads:

“Sometimes, if not most of the time, you find out who you are, by figuring out what, and who you are not.”

I think that in life, we need to be constantly putting ourselves out of our comfort zones in order to discover who we really are. And to own who we are.

And if for some reason through that process, we discover who we truly are, by figuring out who we are not? Well… Then be constantly moving, and evolving into that authentic self we are meant to become.

Don’t let fear hold you somewhere you know you can’t possibly be. Literally, and metaphorically.

Fear will hold you back. And love will set you free.

One day last week, whilst I was away with my soul sister, I sat down naked on the chair after a shower, and began to pluck my eyebrows. I’m completely neurotic, and have a penchant for grooming my eyebrows every single day.

Instead of being reprimanded for my nakedness, my friend started taking pictures of me in my most vulnerable state. Because I don’t have any fear of being myself, she too radiated my fearlessness. And the shots she took of me without me knowing, were beautiful. Because I was unapologetically being me.

It is only when we let the illusion of fear slip away, that we can truly see ourselves in the best possible light.

I truly believe that every single person who crosses our path is there to serve us in some way. To reveal another layer of ourselves.

Without having these confronting, and sometimes uncomfortable interactions, we will never be able to get to where we need to go.

One woman I met recently whilst I disappeared on one of my many soul-searching sabbaticals, had an interesting conversation with me on one of my last nights before I temporarily headed back to what, for now, is my home. (Even though I personally believe that we carry our home in our hearts, which we take everywhere with us.)

“I’m so glad I met you. You have given me so much confidence.” She told me.

To me, she was already confident. I was flattered that it took the meeting of our souls to awaken that knowledge that was already there, that I so tangibly felt within her.

And it made me realise something.

We do often need the reflection of our own beauty to be mirrored in the eyes of others, in order to understand what we are all about.

So my message today, is to always be true to yourself.

Seek out those who fan your flames. Let your love be stronger than your fear.

Allow people to see you for who you really are, beneath your disguise, and also, with whatever seemingly inconspicuous facade you have chosen to adorn yourself with. Even if you have to get naked to do that.

Never be afraid of putting yourself out there.

That is the definition of true love. Love of yourself.

When you are able to understand that love of self, only then will you be unapologetic about who you are in your heart.

And because all of us all like mirrors, constantly projecting, and reflecting, you will see that love is all around. Because you ARE love.

So is my style “such an “Amy” thing?”

Maybe.

But I think “Amy” is tops.

And because of that, all that I radiate is love, and I am devoid of the polarity of fear in terms of putting myself “out there”. I really don’t care what anyone thinks of me, aside from me.

Let love be your motivation, and accept yourself for who you really are, and then everyone else will see you for who you unapologetically are.

(And to that barista in the cafe today – wear your goddamn hat. Stop letting fear of judgement stopping you being who you are.)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“When I was a child, an angel came to say,
A true friend is coming my warrior to sweep you away,
It won’t be easy the path because it leads through hell,
But if you’re faithful, it will be the greatest story to tell,
You will move God’s daughters to a place of hope,
Your story will teach everyone there is nothing they can’t cope,
You will suffer a lot, but not one tear will you waste,
Because for all that you do for me, you will be graced,
For I am bringing you someone that wants to travel your trail,
Someone you already met when you passed through heaven’s veil,
A warrior, a friend that whispers your heart’s song,
Someone that will run with you and pull your spirit along,
Don’t you see the timing was love’s fated throw,
Because I put you both there to help one another grow,
I am the writer of all great stories your chapters were written by me,
You suffered, you cried because I needed you to see,
That your faith in my ending goes far beyond two,
It was going to change more hearts than both of you knew,
So hush my child and wait for my loving hand,
The last chapter is not written and still in the sand,
It is up to you to finish, before the tide washes it away,
All that is in your heart, I’ve put their for you to say,
This is not about winning, loss or pain,
I made you the way you are because true love stories are insane,
I wrote you in heaven as I sat on its sandy shore,
You know with all of my heart I loved you both more,
There is no better ending two people seeing each other’s heart,
Together your spirits will never drift apart,
Because two kindred spirits is what I made you to be,
The waves and beach crashing together because of– ME.” – Shannon L. Alder

MY HEART, MY MIND, AND MY BALLS

I’ve taken off again like a gypsy.

I am currently in a small town in Northern Thailand, called Pai, in Mae Hong Son province near the Myanmar border which lies along the Pai river, staying with my soul sister.

This is the second time I’ve visited this region.
I was here for a few days back in June where I did all the touristy things.

I visited the hot springs, the waterfalls, the canyon.

Yet this time upon my return, I’m having a totally different experience.

My friend, whom has been living here for a little while now, lives in a quaint little bungalow in the jungle.

The sound of the insects keep us awake each evening. There is nothing but the stars and moon that illuminate the night sky.

There is a bizarre stillness in the air that has this palpability to it. I’m not sure how to describe it other than this place contains an intoxicating energy.

It’s certainly one of the most unique destinations I’ve visited throughout my years of travel.

This small town has a close-knit community feel to it, and attracts artists from all over. Each with an interesting story to tell. You couldn’t dream up these characters if you tried.

Hence the appeal that magnetically draws all of these impossibly creative types to this magical place.

As my friend lives here, we are now interacting with the locals that reside here.

The other night, we went to an open poetry night at a place called “Art and Chai”.

Our new friend got up to read something that he had written.

For me it offered an interesting insight into the minds of men.

I often write about the battle between our heads and our hearts.

And now, I understand that men have an added complexity to them. And I found his poem not only amusing, but also endearing for some reason.

I love nothing more than honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability. And a lot of men are afraid to be as candid as what our friend chose to be that evening.

So let me introduce our new friend.

His name is Damien Pitw. He is a Frenchman living in magical Pai.

Having left his steady job in finance, Damien is living a life dedicated to passionate simplicity.

Sparked by curiosity, he has delved into the creative arts of baking and poetry. He has been engrossed in perfecting Kombucha (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombuchabread) and pate with his own unique touch of love and care.

Damien is a proponent of locally produced food and constructive conversations that contribute to a morale society and evolve the human mind, especially these two intertwined over a glass of wine.

“This poem was inspired by Grand Corps Malade. Thanks to him.

My Heart, my Mind, and my Balls

I’d like a word with you ladies who haunt me day and night,

A word of secret stories about us guys’ everyday plight.

Our love for you is cursed and tainted by a mystery

Sometimes even worse than that of your femininity

The male body is a haven for three organs to rule,

Three desperate leaders making me look like a fool.

Forever a fight of fearless fiends and foes
has been raging within my heart, my mind and my balls.

Please ladies excuse us all the nonsense we display,

When we make a fuss of love and then push you away.

It’s because of all this mess in our body:

The heart, the mind and the balls discuss, but they never agree.

My heart is an open door letting everyone in,
but my head always thinks fore and doesn’t fall in.

When my jewels jiggle for a desire that calls,
My mind gets in the way, and it’s breaking my balls.

My head told my heart in would not give up its crown,

If my cock had a heartache it would even let them down.

My bollocks didn’t like the heartless tone of the brains,

But since my heart doesn’t have the balls, in power the mind remains.

My balls don’t think so much but have a hearty appetite

And if my heart wouldn’t mind, they would party every night.

Sometimes my heads fucks it up and my heart bleeds,

It hurts more than a kick in the nuts, I know how it feels.

I painfully love all women as I playfully fear them,

Now you know why my life around them is such a mayhem.

But as long as the fight goes on there’ll all kind of loves,

So I remain under the control of my heart, my mind, and my balls.”

CONTINUE TO THRIVE

Yesterday, I got a surprise phone call from an old friend of mine, whose infectious laughter has never failed to bring a smile to my face.

She’s one of those people with “the best laugh”.

I love to laugh, and I have a great sense of humour, and I often do my best to see the funny side of life.

I think it runs in our family. Seeing the humour in things.

“Sweetheart, if it isn’t funny, I’m not interested.” – my Aunty once told me.

It’s always best to see the good in everything, even when we think we can’t.

Anyway, as usual, I’ve gone off on a tangent.

So I get this phone call from my friend.

“I have something for you, if you’re interested”, my friend told me. “I have a spare ticket to see Arianna Huffington speak tomorrow morning, and seeing as though you write for the Huffington Post, I thought you’d like to come along”.

Ummm…..are you fucking kidding me?!

So I met with my friend early this morning.

I haven’t seen her in over 10 years.

She is still as gorgeous as ever, and that infectious laughter was still firmly intact.

It was as if no time had passed at all, and we chatted comfortably, and incessantly the entire time. Laughing and joking, whilst I somewhat terrorised the wait staff (I do that sometimes – I like to see what makes people tick).

It was a breakfast for business women.

I am very much a recluse, and I’d actually never been to anything like this before.

But let me go back a little.

I decided to take a bus this morning, as I’m not a great driver, and I actually really like public transport.

There’s something nice about taking the bus. And being a bit of a people watcher, I find it fascinating to attempt to mentally unravel all of the different faces I see.

I had to be there by 6.45am, so I took the 5.31am bus to ensure I had enough time to walk to the venue from where the bus dropped me.

It was raining this morning, and I was mildly annoyed that I had gone to the trouble of straightening my hair, purely on account of the fact, that this was one occasion where I most certainly couldn’t wear a hat.

Upon arriving a little dazed at the bus stop from a lack of sleep, I saw the bus at the end of the bus stop.

I turned to a young man who was waiting for his bus.

“See that bus? That’s the city bus, right? Is the bus going to come to me, or do I walk up there to get on it?” I asked him.

“No, no. It will come to us.” He responded politely.

Now as I mentioned, I don’t get out all that much.

I have owned my own businesses with my former husband for the past 13 years.

Six of those years were spent in a restaurant, and the next 7 were spent working in pyjamas from a home office.

Which was excellent.

However, social interaction wise, I kind of missed out.

My only interaction during the past 7 years, was with clients and affiliates over the phone, so I’m a little naive when it comes to the way the world now operates – even if I am incredibly switched on.

So back to this dude at the bus stop.

I love to talk. I love it. And I love picking people apart and finding out what moves them. Why they behave the way they do. Where they are from. What their backgrounds are.

I guess the writer in me really is that perpetually curious child.

I chatted with him the entire way.

I extracted an enormous amount of information from him. Because I have an uncanny knack for getting people to drop their guards.

Ironic, seeing as though I am impossibly guarded.

I soon established that he was the younger brother of one of the friends of my younger sister.

There really is only that six degrees of separation, and we are more intrinsically connected than we think. Everything in life is this way I’m discovering.

As I’m not afraid to admit my flaws, I was also not embarrassed to ask for directions as to where I needed to get to. Which is quite embarrassing being as worldly as I am, and being a resident of Sydney for my entire 35 years.

He graciously offered to walk me to my destination once we had arrived into the city, even though he was going in the opposite direction, was heading to the gym, prior to meeting with his boss for an 8am breakfast meeting.

I accepted his kind offer, and he walked with me, in the rain.

He didn’t have an umbrella, (I did – see http://chasingamy.com.au/2013/12/shit-to-keep-in-your-handbag/), and he chivalrously explained that he loves to walk in the rain so I needn’t be concerned (as I clumsily attempted to share my umbrella with this gentleman who was towering over me, even in my 6 inch heels).

He walked me to where I needed to go, before bidding me farewell, and me thanking him profusely for his random act of kindness. There are so many people out there with such generously big hearts.

So to you, kind soul, I thank you.

Now, back to the event.

Arianna Huffington is beautiful. She has the body of a 30 year old, and she is groomed impeccably. She is the epitome of class.

But it wasn’t that, that made her beautiful.

She was so open and honest. She had “no air or graces” about her, which I adore. She spoke candidly, and confrontingly.

And she touched upon many issues that we are faced with in this modern world.

Arianna spoke about mental illness.

That it’s becoming a major threat. And the fact that one in five Australians are now suffering from it.

That there is a need for wisdom. That wisdom is different to being smart.

And it totally is.

To ensure we don’t lose our sense of wonder.

I personally believe it’s so important to never lose our childlike innocence.

That we’re so busy, perpetually multi-tasking, and that it’s all an illusion. That by multi-tasking, we are missing out on other things.

So many things in life are an illusion, and I’ll touch on that when I wrap up this long article.

That people learn things, by learning, and sharing other people’s stories.

I can say for myself, that through sharing my own personal stories, that are sometimes fraught with such emotional turmoil, that I have learnt a lot about myself. And that the constant support I receive from my dedicated readers, that I, in turn, are also helping them to understand aspects of their own life.

About giving.

That giving is a short path to happiness. That there is no better networking skill than being a giver.

At one point, she sent away the waiters that were clearing the tables as they were making too much noise.

I loved this.

That she was so present within herself that she wanted all of us to be within the moment.

It’s funny.

I had a reader message me the other day to tell me that he had met with Arianna Huffington, and that she was “rather awesome, and rather scary”.

I think she is fabulous.

Because she IS awesome. Because she is present. Something that so many of us aren’t.

And to a lot of people, rather than being “rather scary”, it’s rather confronting.

And I think it takes a lot to be honest enough to confront someone.

She spoke about the dangers of little sleep (something that resonated with me), to the issue of being addicted to technology. Which we all are in this modern age.

Hell, it’s the very reason that I’m able to connect with my readers. In fact, it’s the only way.

However, I’m not being “present”, in terms of living my life.

And I’ve personally found that when I “disconnect”, that I’m truly able to live in the moment, and appreciate all that this life has to offer.

It is only then, that I’m able to draw upon my own life experiences which happen to help me actually “thrive” (pun intended), and live my life to the fullest. To be present.

To drop resentments.

Anything that no longer serves us, to let it go.

That is a big thing in this relatively short life we lead.

To let go of which no longer serves us.

It can be anything from a hobby that we suck at, to a piece of clothing we have held onto for longer than necessary, to a relationship that has passed.

It takes an enormous amount of energy to hold on, when it’s so much simpler to let go. My summer water-skiing experiences have shown me that.

That by letting go, we make room for something else to take it’s place.

Arianna likened this to an old piece of clothing that we no longer wear, but we hold onto because we are attached.

Make room for new things in your life.

To appreciate what’s still going right for us in our lives.

That there is always a struggle for grace.

That no matter how blessed your life looks from the outside, there is always adversity.

And I come back to the law of polarities with that statement.

You can’t have one, without the other.

But it’s important to appreciate what you do have in your life, and not dwell on the negative. A powerful trap that we all get sucked into from time to time.

That in planes, in the case of an emergency, we are told to affix our own oxygen masks before assisting anyone else.

This comes down to that elusive self love that we are all in search of.

We are no good to anyone else, if we don’t love ourselves above and beyond anyone else.

Only when we are whole, and complete within ourselves are we able to care for others effectively.

That is a personal struggle I am attempting to deal with.

That life is shared from the inward, out.

This, I believe, is fundamental to enriching the lives of others.

About asking ourselves what we can do right now, rather than thinking of ways we want to be remembered.

Again, this comes back to being present.

How are we better able to enrich other people’s lives by what we have to offer in this present moment?

Now I come back to reason.

A journalist asked a question of Arianna as to why their bloggers are not paid.

As a blogger for the Huffington Post, I found her answer insightful.

The Huffington Post have 97 million unique visitors to their site.

Her words, and I quote, “self expression is the new entertainment”.

Being a blogger for almost 2 years now, I absolutely agree.

And if it weren’t for the freedom of self expression with the Huffington Post, I’m not sure I’d have as large a following as I do.

And most certainly on that one occasion, Paulo Coelho would not have stumbled upon one of my articles.

So to wrap it up.

That same reader that said that Arianna was “rather scary”, also asked if I ever take a bad picture.

Of course I do.

Because like most things in life, everything is just an illusion.

I went and purchased a copy of Arianna’s book “Thrive”.

I love signed copies of things, and today was no exception when it came to getting a book signed.

I lined up patiently with all of the other women, and finally got the opportunity to speak with the inspirational Arianna Huffington (where my nerves overwhelmed me, and I was shaking like a leaf).

She proceeded to sign my book. I thanked her, and told her that I write for her site. She in turn, gracefully thanked me.

I handed my phone to the homeboy who was taking snaps, and got him to take a picture of the pair of us.

And here it is. #NoFilter (look how unimpressed that woman behind me looks lol).

arianna

To that reader that asked me if I ever take a bad picture? Here it is my friend. Because homeboy #NailedIt.

And please, never ever forget, that everything is just an illusion.

Just continue to be authentically you, be present (even if you happen to look like shit), and continue to thrive.

A LETTER TO MY EX HUSBAND

 

You phoned me this evening to ask if I was on Tinder.

I told you I’m not. And I’m not. I’m not desperate. And the last thing I want is another relationship.

However, let’s call a spade, a spade here. That’s not your concern. We are going into the eighth month of being separated here. Both of us are well within our rights to start seeing other people if that’s what we choose.

And I’m undertaking the difficult task of finding myself.

I recall you telling me once that if I need to find myself, to go and look into the mirror, and I will find myself.

I wish it were as simple as that.

What we see reflected back in that mirror is not necessarily a true indication of who we are in our hearts.

I personally believe that getting into a relationship whilst you are emotionally immature, will stunt your spiritual development.

I know you don’t believe in spirituality either.

But I do.

Which is probably where a lot of the problem lies. We are two very, very different people, on two very different journeys.

I believe in following your heart.

We made a great team for the longest time. But I also believe that was on account of my silence. 

Of my ignorance.

I feel as though I did myself a disservice in so many ways, by not exploring what moved me. Of what I really wanted from this relatively short lifetime we have.

Financial security is a fabulous thing. I know that, and you know that.

It affords you so many things that others cannot have.

But what about if you’re spiritually bankrupt?

I’m sure the thing that drew you to me initially was that I’m a free-spirit, and very much “off the wall” compared to you.

We came from parallel universes.

I was a 15 year old girl when we met. 

I was still in high-school. I was immersed in the arts. Drama school, singing lessons, modelling, dance classes. So different from yourself.

We started dating, and when I was just 20 years old, we got engaged.

I was so excited.

You were the love of my life.

We got married 3 months before my 22nd birthday.

We started businesses together. We almost went bankrupt together. We hired and fired staff together. We built an empire together. We were an unstoppable force.

Yet, romance, respect, and passion were a missing part of the equation. And everybody has their breaking points.

We paid the ultimate price for our outward success.

We paid the price of complacency.

Expecting the “other half” to be around no matter what.

And we were. 

Until we weren’t.

Life is a journey, and this is by far the most difficult path I have had to take in my 35 years.

Yes, It was me who initiated the separation. 

Most women do. 

And it’s me, that stands by the decision that I have made.

We could have worked harder, but I was unwilling. I had had enough.

And with everything that has transpired within the past eight months I only have one message for you.

Let it go.

Let me go.

I have spent countless nights being consoled by my faithful friend, alcohol, and my girlfriends who have not left my side, no matter how impossibly emotional, and irrational I have become.

But it is time now to let it go.

Stop concerning yourself with the fact that I am a writer. 

I am.

Nothing is going to stop me from pursuing my passion. I think I have worked long, and hard enough to afford myself the opportunity to explore my hearts desire.

Stop worrying about whether or not I’m going to be ok.

I’m fine. I’m a big girl.

Twenty years has passed since we first started dating.

I am no longer the 15 year old that you once pursued.

I am now a 35 year old woman. And I am all good.

I’m a smart girl. And things always have a way of working out exactly as they should.

Know, that I will always love you, with all of my heart and soul, and I will always care for you.

All of my memories are with you.

But you have to let me go.

I will leave you with a quote from Paulo Coelho to ponder:

“One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.

Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?

You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened.

You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that.

But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister.

Everyone is finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home.

Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.

Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them.

Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.

Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.

Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.”

Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back.

Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need.

This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life.

Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.

Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.”