Are your decisions upsetting other people?

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Nearly a decade ago I made a decision that upset a lot of people. I ended my marriage.

My husband Daniel was, and is, a good man. He was reliable, goodlooking, caring, funny and the kind of man everyone loved.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, I stopped loving him. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t recover those feelings. They were gone and so eventually I accepted my marriage was over.

My decision to leave wasn’t popular in a lot of quarters.

Some of my friends were incredulous and even scornful. How could I consider leaving? Daniel was, in their eyes, the perfect man. I must be out of my mind.

Some of my family members were angry, upset and believed for years afterwards that I would live to regret my decision.

But I haven’t.

Leaving the home Daniel and I shared was incredibly difficult. But I knew then, as I know now, that it was what I needed to do for me. I couldn’t stay there anymore and be true to myself. I had a right to be happy and my heart was telling me very clearly that it was time to go.

Dealing with the disappointment, anger and judgement of others in that kind of situation can be hard. You need to have faith in yourself and be truly connected to what is best for you.

Sometimes other people won’t be supportive because your behaviour doesn’t align with what they want, expect or believe is right.

But you can’t let that stand in your way.

Living your life to only make others happy will only make you miserable. You have a right to be happy too.

Sometimes it will feel like being true to yourself just makes you unpopular. And you know what, it might. But the alternative is hardly an option. After all, do you want to live the life you want? Don’t you have a right to do that?

Living your life to make others happy at your own expense is actually kind of nuts. They get everything they want and you get…nothing?

I never set out to hurt anyone. And it caused me a lot of pain to see the people I cared about (including my husband) in pain. But I knew I had to go because that was best for me. Staying would keep others happy but leave me miserable.

And that’s not what life is about.

We must always be true to ourselves. So be brave my friends and live the life that is best for you. Trust your own judgement and don’t live in fear of the censure of others.

Your heart wants you to fly…so don’t lock yourself in a cage that’s been created by and for others.

It’s really not worth it.

Are you stuck in life’s washing machine?

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I had a vision of a friend while I was meditating tonight. She was inside a front-loader washing machine being spun around in the murky grey water, somehow keeping her head up but getting sopping wet in the process. Eventually the cycle stopped and she climbed out. Then she stood for a moment, before walking to the next machine (there was a long line of them), getting in and starting the next cycle. It was a never-ending process.

The key to breaking the cycle was in the brief moment when she stood between one machine and the next. That was the moment when she could change things. But she didn’t stop long enough to hear the message the universe was sending her. She just kept going.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the hurly burly of our daily lives that we don’t allow ourselves the time to stop and ask, “Is this really what I want?” and “Should I be doing something differently?”

Our minds need a moment to become quiet and move to stillness to allow those answers to come. Yet we don’t stop long enough for that to happen. And so the cycle continues and we keep climbing into the washing machine.

It is always useful to give ourselves the time to stop, recalibrate and ask, “Am I on the right path for me?”

Then we have to wait for the answer.

Sometimes we’ll ask the question but all we’ll hear is a deafening silence. If this happens, the trick is to pause a little longer and allow time for the answer to turn up.

Sometimes it won’t appear so we’ll just shrug and jump back into the cycle again because we know how to do that and quite frankly, who has time for all that navel gazing anyway?

Do you know what I mean?

But these days I try to take a different approach.

Firstly, I give myself the time to be still. I allow my soul to help me know my path and allow the inspiration to come from within (trust me, the answers are always inside you).

[You might find that stillness while running, meditating or gardening. Do whatever works for you.]

Secondly, if the answer doesn’t come, that’s okay. I do my best to let it go but be open to the answer showing up. I ask the universe to show me the way. If I’m open to it, there will be signs. It could be as simple as someone making a random comment and a light bulb will go off in my head; a doorway will open and a vague possibility will suddenly seem attainable.

I believe we all have a choice about how we live our lives. And sure, you can stay in the washing machine cycle if you like.

But t prefer to avoid getting concussion in the spin cycle.

Are you sick of waiting for the answers to show up?

What is your path?

I consider it one of the Universe’s more hilarious jokes that often, just when I have abandoned hope and given up on finding the answer to a question – it shows up quietly, without announcement or fanfare. And it’s perfect.

In the last three weeks, that is exactly what has happened. For example, over the past couple of years I’ve been running a business but I’ve only ‘sort-of’ known what my ultimate direction and purpose was. Two weeks ago, clarity about my direction, logo and business name literally arrived overnight.

Similarly, after struggling with the editing of my book for a very long time, the answer just showed up. A friend suggested I hand it over to my editor and, for the first time, my brain comprehended that it was time to do that. The book is not perfect but my editor is the right person to help me get it done. It was time for me to let it go. Miraculously (for me), the next day I finished my changes and sent it off.

A few days later, I came home from a walk and wrote the first chapter of another book that has been on my mind for some time. I have no idea where the words came from but they snuck in when I wasn’t looking for them.

While my intuition often delivers the answers, sometimes it is the other signs and information I am given (by my friend for example), that help me see the way. The key is being open to all signs, however they arrive.

But I also believe we are here to seek the answers. Our role is not to passively wander our path up to the end. Rather, we must explore and question along the way. The trick is to balance our seeking and questioning with our inner knowing.

We all have intuition. It’s our own inner guidance system and I really believe it is worth us all developing. If we can be open to our inner knowing and to the signs the Universe delivers, then imagine how much faster and less frustrating our progress would be. There would still be lessons to learn but the aggravation that comes from trying to force things would be absent. Imagine the relief of that feeling. Imagine not having to try and make things happen. Instead we could just trust that we were on the right path and keep going.

So my challenge for you is this. I want you to try three things if you are feeling like the answer to your problem just won’t come or something just isn’t progressing as you want it to (no matter how hard you try).

Firstly, let it go. Stop trying to make it happen. I know it can be really hard, but try taking the pressure off yourself.

Secondly, I want you to sit quietly, ask yourself what the next step is and accept whatever answer comes. Maybe the next step is, go and buy yourself a coffee, see a movie or take a nap. Whatever it is, just go with it. If you feel inspired to take a particular step, then do that. Or if you feel inspired to do nothing at all, do that instead.

Thirdly, know that everything happens with perfect timing. Perhaps the answer isn’t supposed to show up right now. Perhaps you don’t have enough information yet. Maybe something entirely different, that you don’t expect, needs to occur.

Whatever happens, listen to your heart and know you are on the right path for you.

Let me know how you go.

Every crisis contains an opportunity…where is yours?

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‘Always remember – “The Chinese word for crisis is made of 2 characters – one means danger and the other means opportunity.” Where is your opportunity?’

About nine years ago I was in a state of crisis. I had a husband but I discovered I didn’t want to be married any more. I’d always tried to be a good girl and do the right thing so this realisation was a huge shock for me.

Like most life-changing events it came out of the blue. It was triggered by a conversation with someone I barely knew and suddenly I was thinking about a different life altogether. A life where I was no longer married.

This realisation was horrifying to me. Suddenly I was seeing a side of myself that I didn’t know existed and I spun into crisis.

Over the next two and half years I tried to ignore, fight and deny my true feelings. But the more I tried to push them down, the more they reared their heads.

I had fallen out of love with my husband and it didn’t matter what I did, I could not reclaim the feelings we once shared. So one day I left.

There was no acrimony between us. Just lots of pain and mourning for what had once been strong, solid and joyful.

All of it became nothing more than ashes.

It was during the first few months of my crisis that my good friend Liz gave me a powerful book called The Wisdom of Florence Scovel Shinn. On the first page she wrote, ‘Always remember – “The Chinese word for crisis is made of 2 characters – one means danger and the other means opportunity.” Where is your opportunity?’

I don’t know where Liz found that quote. But I do know those words, and the book, helped me countless times over the next few years while I tried, sometimes desperately, to understand who I was and what I truly wanted.

My marriage crisis completely turned upside down everything I thought I knew about myself and was a huge turning point for me. In hindsight, it was also a huge opportunity to create my world in a way that better suits who I am and what my soul desires.

Over the past nine years I have grown in every possible way. I have learned more about myself and discovered depths I didn’t know were there. I have explored other countries on my own and connected with my spirituality. I have learned to own my decisions – good and bad, made mistakes, fallen down and yet found the strength to carry on.

That single crisis changed my world in so many ways, it threw open doors and slammed others shut. But above all, it provided me with many opportunities I didn’t know I wanted or needed.

And I am so very grateful for that.

Are you shouting at the moon?

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Someone once suggested that, when I’m feeling frustrated and lost, I tend to shout and rail at the moon.

I have to confess they were 100 percent right.

When I feel like I’ve given everything in a situation and it still doesn’t work out, I have been known to shout at the moon and ask, “Why?! What else do you want from me? What else do I have to do to make this work?”

Sometimes life is like that. We feel like we’ve tried our hardest and given it our best shot. But all we end up with is disappointment and discontent.

Of course, shouting at the moon doesn’t change anything. And it only makes you feel better for a short period of time. So I’ve been trying to train myself out of the habit and I think I’m getting better.

A good friend gave me some really great advice on how to take a more constructive approach. “Step back,” she said. “Step back and try to see the bigger picture. Maybe there’s something you’re missing or you need to take a completely different approach?”

It sounds so bloody obvious, doesn’t it?

I implemented her advice the other day and, surprise, surprise, it worked. Suddenly I realised there were other things I could do and other directions I could follow that would help me get where I wanted to go.

It was a revelation.

I haven’t fully resolved the situation yet, but I’m definitely on the right track now.

Gaining perspective when you’re in a situation you don’t like can be really difficult. But my friend was so right.

Sometimes you just need to step back and look at things differently. Don’t just look into the problem. Look around it, above it and below it. Turn it on it’s head if you have to.

After all, if your current approach isn’t working…you probably need to do something differently.

Is it time to hand up your problems to the Universe to solve?

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I have a good friend who often says, “When it gets too much and I don’t know what to do, I just hand it up and let the Universe take care of it.”

Man, I have such wise friends.

Sometimes we spend so much time worrying and thinking about what we should do, think or achieve that we completely lose sight of life and the path we should be treading. And we make things so much more stressful and complicated than they need to be.

Example number one: Me. A while ago I had worked myself up into quite a state about something. I didn’t know what to do and was worrying myself silly.

“What should I do? What should I do?” I kept asking myself as I paced around the house.

The more I paced, the more stressed out I became (did I mention I’m a bit of an over-thinker?) and it wasn’t getting me anywhere.

After 10-15 minutes of this craziness I stopped, looked up and simply said, “Tell me what to do.” In that moment I just handed it up to the Universe because I realised my current approach was getting me absolutely nowhere.

I let all the worry go while I waited for an answer. I stopped trying to figure it all out on my own. The answer wasn’t in me. I needed to make room to allow it to arrive.

So I handed it up.

A few minutes later, the solution to my problem popped into my head. Suddenly I knew exactly what to do and it was so simple. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it earlier. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it months ago.

I’m constantly surprised at how much simpler things are when I just let go and trust that the way will be made clear. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a slow learner in that department.

Anyway, I implemented the solution and things were soon back on track again. And I feel much calmer and happier.

It was just another reminder that sometimes I need to get out of my own way. Sometimes we just need to let go, hand it all up to the Universe and wait for the answers to arrive.







Are you giving your dreams a voice?

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I bumped into my friend Kieron* at a party last week. We’ve known each other for a couple of years now and always end up chatting about the same thing – his current job and what he wants to do in the future.

Kieron’s work environment is pretty unstable and the threat of redundancy or restructure has been hanging over his head for a while now. It’s not surprising that he wants to get out and start his own business.

But Kieron won’t tell me what he really wants to do. I don’t think he’s told anyone. Instead when I ask, he dismisses it with phrases such as, “It’s just half-formed ideas” or “It’s silly, don’t worry about it.”

It feels like he’s too scared to give a voice to his dream. And because he won’t give it a voice, it can’t begin to become a reality. So he remains stuck where he is.

Now Kieron’s idea may be completely crazy for all I know. It might also be crazily amazing. But he will never know if he doesn’t give it a voice.

We need to give air to our dreams. They are like fire – they cannot burn and generate energy without oxygen.

Sure, someone might laugh at your dream. Others might say you’re deluded and you’ll never make it work.

But they said that to Einstein too and we know what happened to him.

The first step to realising your dream is to give it air. Believe in it, and yourself, enough to talk about it. Just by sharing it with someone you can start bringing it to life.

Others can help you make your dream a reality. They can give you different perspectives. Some might judge you but hey, they’re not worth worrying about.

Your dream is yours. But it’s up to you to give it a voice. You must have the confidence to put it out there. You must have confidence and faith in you.

Otherwise when you’re on your deathbed you’ll be kicking yourself and thinking, “Why didn’t I give that a shot?”

If you have a dream, start believing that you can make it real. Be brave enough to talk about it to someone you trust. And in doing so, know that you will be giving it the oxygen it needs to thrive, put down roots and become your reality.

Maybe you can start by sharing your dream anonymously in the comments section on this blog. What’s your dream?

*All names changed.