Bad Habits

Bad HabitsIf I said it will be okay
Would you believe my smiling eyes
Or would you sigh and turn away
Thinking only of the crime
That life has left you responsible for
Your life in seeming tatters
Yet I’m telling you it’s really just fine
Can’t I see what really matters?

Your lover has left
The bank keeps calling
You’re avoiding all of your calls
Your mother’s concerned
Your friends hear your wailing
There’s no break that you can score.

And yet here I am now
Standing right here
I’m telling you it will be fine
Get away from me, you yell
You demented freak
Can’t you see that you’re out of line!

My life is a mess
My life is a mess
The words repeat in your head
But if you looked up
You’d see a glimmer ahead
A reason to get out of bed.

Yet the words they repeat
On and on
Fate tosses you this way and that
But if you look ahead
Instead of always back
You can get yourself on track.

You’re straining so hard with your body it seems
To move oh so fast forward
But your head keeps on turning
And looking backwards
Your heart is constantly turning.

Stop looking back
It’s doing no good
It won’t help you
Where you are going
Although it is hard
Lord, I know that
To proceed without any real knowing
But trust me there is more, waiting ahead
You just need to keep on going.

It will be alright
Things will change
You can make a difference I promise
But you can’t stay where you are now for sure
Can I even help you move on from it
Off this point where the darkness consumes
The breath and hope from your soul

It will be alright
Just keeping moving ahead
Don’t look back anymore
Don’t focus on the shadows
They’re behind you now
There’s a road up ahead to explore.

A future awaits you
It’s better than this
This place where you now inhabit
I promise you truly
Just look up ahead
It’s time to break that bad habit.

Why Men Are Like Feral Cats…and other reflections on single life

feral catsMy book editing is nearly done. Just one more read-through and it will be ready for final checking by my editor Kristy. She’s been so patiently waiting and encouraging me over the past few months but I think I gave her a bit of a ‘moment’ in our conversation last week when I said I wanted to rewrite the whole thing.

I was half-serious with the comment because when I read through my book now it feels like it was written by someone else. Oh, I know I’ve definitely done all the things in that book and lived through those experiences. But the person I am now is so very different from that 30-something woman who somewhat blindly found her way out of a 10-year marriage, through divorce and into the dysfunctional world of dating.

Take for instance my chapter entitled, Why Men Are Like Feral Cats. Even now it seems like an outrageous statement to make but, back then, I came across a number of men who were exactly like our feline friends. As I wrote, ‘Men couldn’t have anything in common with previously domesticated but now wild animals running the streets with absolutely no sense of responsibility. Could they?’

If you’ve been single for any period of time you’ll know the types of ‘cats’ I’m referring to here. In my book I’ve broken them down into some categories. These include the Never-Been-Faithful Cat who ‘flirts and behaves like the most unattached man with any attractive woman within a five-kilometre radius.’ There’s the Shameless Cat who ‘will chat up multiple women in the same location, within minutes of each other’ (for him it’s purely a numbers game). And of course, there’s the Shady Cat. He’s the one disguised as the nice guy until his partner is out of earshot (or in the next room) and then suddenly he’s all hands and innuendo.

Are you seeing the similarities yet between some men and feral cats? I’ll give you a hint…it may have something to do with their need to copulate with as many females as possible, regardless of their relationship status.

Fortunately, I have also come to know some lovely men who don’t resemble feral cats in any way whatsoever. Ladies they do exist, thank goodness! But the feral cats are still out there and when I look back at the woman who had those experiences, I shake my head ruefully. I was so naïve about men and human behaviour when I ventured into the Land of Single. And learning about feral cats was just one of the lessons I had to learn the hard way.

I’m still single now but, as I read through my book from beginning to end for what is probably the last time, I know how much I’ve grown from all the experiences it describes. I’m wiser but in many ways, when it comes to men, I’m still just as clueless. Does that ever change, I wonder? Or is that just one of the constant mysteries of life…that men and women are such different creatures that we must always be prone to miscommunication, misdirection and misdemeanors while we navigate the dating world?

I’m not sure, but I’m still out there hoping for the best. Except these days, I can usually spot a ‘feral cat’ at 10 paces.

The Ones

AdventurersIt is life’s true adventurers I seek
The ones who have thrown themselves into the deep end, almost drowned, then learned how to swim
The ones who have lived through their dark night of the soul before rising to a new dawn
The ones who have gone within, uncovered their passion then shared it with the world
The ones who have a desire for healing and kindness that takes them to destinations where others fear to go
The ones who look repression and judgement in the eye and refuse to bow down before it with grace
The ones who take on men with guns and will not rest until they create a better world
The ones who believe there is always more to do, more to grow, more to give, more to create, more to love.

They are the ones I seek
They are the ones who will change the world
They are the ones who will create peace
They are the true adventurers for they take the overgrown paths
And pave them for others to follow.

The Students

thumbI love them at that age
The uni age.

They stand on the edge of possibilities
Earnest, cavalier, hopeful, dedicated, struggling
Peering into the yawning chasm before them
And mostly, eagerly
Stepping, jumping even, into the depths.

Of course they are, like many adults
Stalked by their insecurities
But usually, hopefully, life’s petty blows
Have not yet pulled them down
Into permanent jaded perspectives
Reliant on cynical world views
And embedded resistance to change.

Some feel the weight of choices
Indecision chases their every move
Not wanting to make a mistake, they stall
Sway a little in place
At each turning
This way?
Is this the way to go?

And what of their peers
Their influence positive and negative
Within moments
Competitiveness, support, undermining
Pressure to conform and pressure to be different
Which way?
Which choice?

Choices between the ‘cool’ or the ‘interesting’
Accepted paths and grooves
Or revolution.

What to wear
What to say
Who to be

Group pressure
Sometimes unhealthy
Yet insidiously active
Glimpsed on the edges
Before it slips back into the shadows
Taking its discontent with peace along with it.

And the teachers watching on
What of them?

Come to class
Believe
Seriously, come to class already
Get off your phones and talk to people
The answers to life aren’t on a screen
They’re in your hearts and minds
Create your life
You’re not sheep in a yard jostling for expected position

Talk to strangers
Don’t be shy
Try new stuff
Travel
Open your eyes
This moment will ever come again
So look up
See the possibilities in front of you
They’re right there

Step
Believe
Trust
Reach for it
Move
Believe
It’s possible
It’s true.

I believe in you.

Are you ‘doing a bush turkey’?

bush turkeyThe intersection outside my university was almost at a standstill this morning but it wasn’t due to the usual peak hour traffic. Instead, at around 7.53am, the cars were slowing to avoid an intrepid bush turkey who’d decided to take that moment to dash across George Street at great personal peril.

The turkey seemed to know where he was heading, kind of, but his route was more than a little random. He set off at rapid sprint from the curb before doubling back, changing direction, stopping, starting, swerving and seeming to change his mind, before moving forward again. He did this several times while the surrounding drivers attempted to avoid turkey carnage and the rest of us watched on, shaking our heads and yes, laughing at his craziness.

That turkey didn’t seem to know what the heck he was doing.

Once he finally made his way to the opposite footpath, he ran headlong into the fence surrounding the botanical gardens (which I presume was his ultimate destination), before doubling back, running a little to the right then the left, then back again before setting off towards the entrance a few metres down. As I passed by, he still hadn’t quite made it and I heard one of the nearby students laughingly say, ‘Those turkeys are soooo stupid.’

The turkey could have taken a direct route across the road. He could’ve waited for the traffic lights and been carried along with the tide of humanity before taking a sharp left turn into the gardens and relative safety. But he didn’t. Instead he didn’t seem to know where he was going. He prevaricated, changed his mind, stopped, started and simply went all over the place in a way that looked quite insane to passersby. His route did not make any sense, and seemed unnecessarily dangerous and time-consuming.

As I walked on to my first class, I laughed a little more to myself when I realised I have also acted like that turkey on a number of occasions. There have been more than a few times in my life when, with a lack of self-belief and no clear direction, I have hurried this way and that in a way that probably seemed mad to the people watching. I would’ve had a goal in mind but I didn’t have a map or a plan on how to get there so I took the most confused road on the way. Most of the time, I eventually got where I wanted to go, but it was not the most seamless or enjoyable journey.

I’ve been observing a friend of mine doing something similar lately and have been shaking my head and thinking, ‘Why doesn’t X just go straight ahead? Can’t they see the signs?’ [It’s funny how life reflects parts of yourself back to you, isn’t it?]

When we don’t have strong self-belief we take longer to get where we want to go because we undermine our choices along the way. We don’t think we deserve that thing we really want so we question ourselves, sometimes seek the conflicting advice of others (which confuses us even more), think we can’t make it, and so on. It makes our journey very challenging, sometimes painful and, to an outsider, we can look a bit like the bush turkey– indecisive, a bit out of control and clueless.

But, here’s what I’ve worked out. Sometimes we just need to believe we deserve what we want, and then we have to go for it. We need to keep that goal clear in our minds and give it everything we’ve got. Backing yourself in this way takes courage but we’ve all got that inside us (even if you’ve buried it for years and years, you can still dig it out if you’re determined). Once you believe you deserve something, a lot of the angst disappears. You will of course have moments of doubt on the road but they won’t derail you and you’ll be less likely to put yourself in dangerous (mental or emotional) situations because you will be clear on what is best for you. Your progress will be a lot less traumatic as a result.

I think the turkey this morning had his goal in mind but his internal monologue was probably something like this…

‘There it is, that’s where I want to go. But, hang on, I can’t. There’s too much in the way.

‘Ooops, sorry, didn’t mean to get in your way. Sorry to inconvenience you. Yes, I know you really are more important than me. Sorry. Maybe I should go back? Yes, you’re probably right. Sorry. I should just go back where I was.

‘But hang on, there it is. I can see the gate. No. I can’t. I don’t really deserve to be there. But I want it. But…no.

‘Hang on. There’s a gap there. Can I get through? Oops, sorry. They’re laughing at me. I’m such an idiot. Why didn’t I get up earlier when there were less people to see me being such a loser…’

Does any of that sound familiar?

Imagine instead, self-talk that went something like this…

‘Okay. I can see where I want to go and I know I deserve it. I know I’m going to make some mistakes on the way, but that’s okay because I’m human and I’m learning.

‘Now, what’s the best way to get there. Mmm. Okay, don’t panic. I got this. Just need to stay calm. Oops, must remember to wait for the green pedestrian light next time, lesson learned. Time to take a breath over here in this safe spot.

‘Hang on, excuse me, you seem to know where you’re going, can I walk along here with you? Thanks. By the way, can you tell me the best way to get to the gate? Oh, this way? Right. Thanks, have a nice day.’

So, my point is this. Sometimes when we’re working things out, when we doubt ourselves and so on, we can look a bit like a bush turkey. And that’s okay. But maybe next time you could be a little kinder to yourself and use positive self-talk instead of the negative kind to help on your journey.

And the next time you see someone ‘doing a bush turkey’ maybe you could cheer them on from the footpath for at least giving it a shot, and maybe give them some helpful directions (or a handful of birdseed).

Psychic Connections: Undercover Psychics

undercover psychicI’m often struck by the paradox of being a modern psychic. I live in the world typing on my laptop, Googling, Facebooking and using other technologies every day, yet I also receive messages from the Universe in a way that cannot be explained by traditional science or rational understanding. It’s a strange world to inhabit and on the weekend something happened that hilariously (to me, at least) illustrated how these two contradictory ways of being, co-exist.

I was catching up with a wonderful friend of mine. She is a powerful psychic channel and also a high-level corporate executive. Of course, the people she works with don’t know about her ‘extra gifts’ because they would be unlikely to take her seriously and she has important work to do. So instead she shares her gifts surreptitiously, making the world a better place by shifting organisations gently forward and helping people to realise their potential through mentoring and insights. But it’s all undercover and for her, that’s the way it needs to be.

It’s kind of sad my friend can’t be completely open about who she is all the time because her capacity to help others is extraordinary. But as we talked about this, she did something that made me laugh so hard I nearly fell off my chair.

We were seated at my kitchen table with our mobile phones in front of us (because everyone has their phones with them all the time days) and the conversation went something like this:

Me: ‘It’s a shame we can’t all be open about this stuff.’

My friend: ‘Well, I can hardly say [as she lifted her hands to the ceiling and said in melodramatic tones] “I have received messages from the 10th dimension and been told this is what we need to do to improve our business processes. They’d never take me seriously again!”’

Then she lowered her hands, picked up her phone, and all I heard was the bip bip bip as she rapidly typed a text message to a friend.

The bizarreness of our conversation did not escape me and I honestly couldn’t stop laughing for quite some time.

To most people looking in from the outside, the exchange would have seemed very odd indeed – a high level executive talking about messages from another dimension, business processes and using a mobile phone all within less than a minute. How can that co-exist and make any sense?

My friend and I could definitely appreciate the ridiculousness of it all.

But the truth is, there are people with psychic ability in all walks of life and at all levels of our corporate, government and industrial world. We walk among you and we’re not really that strange. And the reason we have these gifts is to help others and make this world a better place, whatever our unique purpose is.

My friend is, I guess, an undercover psychic, helping people in subtle ways to reach their goals and realise their dreams. She is a magical person dressed in a corporate suit.

Perhaps one day she will be able to ‘come out’ but that time is not now. Instead she will continue her valuable work, making a difference while the many people who benefit from her wisdom will be none the wiser.

What a strange world it is indeed.

Mothers, Sex and the Generation Gap

Sex baby
‘…Let’s talk about sex, baby

Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
Let’s talk about sex
Let’s talk about sex
Let’s talk about sex
Let’s talk about sex

Let’s talk about sex for now to the people at home or in the crowd
It keeps coming up anyhow
Don’t decoy, avoid, or make void the topic
Cuz that ain’t gonna stop it
Now we talk about sex on the radio and video shows
Many will know anything goes
Let’s tell it how it is, and how it could be
How it was, and of course, how it should be…’
Let’s Talk About Sex, Salt ‘n’ Pepa.

Mum has always been very supportive of my writing. She’s the one in my family who asks how it’s going, wants to read my work and encourages me to follow my writing dream (even when the going gets tough).

Last year, I showed her a chapter from the latest draft of my book and she loved it. She said it made her feel emotional and she wanted to cry a little. This was high praise coming from Mum.

Fast forward a year and that draft has morphed and changed into a far more refined version. And Mum’s been supportive the whole time. ‘When do I get to read your book?’ has been her regular refrain followed by, ‘Is it finished yet?’

About a month ago I was finally able to say, ‘Yes, it’s ready enough for you to see it. I’ll email to you.’ Would she like it or hate it, I didn’t know. But it was time.

Four long days crept past with no word from Mum. Was my book complete crap?? My fears started to bubble a little. Surely all was fine. Maybe she was busy and hadn’t read it yet.

Finally, I rang her on another pretext and as the conversation drew to a close she said, ‘By the way, I read your book.’

‘Oh?’ I said. ‘What did you think?’

‘I thought it was very well written,’ she said. ‘But I don’t really think it’s for my generation. And, as your mother, I don’t really want to read about all the men you’ve had sex with.’

Oh. My. God.

‘Mum, you do realise I haven’t slept with all the men I mention in the book. That’s why it’s called The Men I’ve Almost Dated. And besides, even if I had, it wouldn’t actually be many by most people’s standards…for my age.’

‘Well, that’s not always very clear,’ she replied. ‘But I thought it was good and very well written,’ she added hastily.

Awkward!!!

Now, my Mum knew the subject matter of my book before she read it. Lord knows she’s been privy over the years to many of my ridiculous dating and male-related stories. And trust me, there really isn’t much graphic content in my book. But I think  Mum was a little shocked and, as I now look through some of my stories, I guess I can understand why. My writing is pretty open and I tend to say it like it is. If you’re single and you’re dating (or not dating), the subject of sex is going to come up. It is 2015 after all.

But my Mum is 70 years old and from another generation; a generation that definitely wasn’t as open about things as we are today.

When I next saw Mum, she made a point of saying (again) how good she thought my book was and I know she is still really supportive, regardless of the content. But, as I plan its launch for later this year, I’m starting to wonder if I need to include some sort of age-related warning label like, ‘Contains some semi-shocking content and should only be read by people aged 18-60 years.’

Hopefully my second book (planned for early next year) will be a little less shocking for Mum and she’ll feel comfortable handing it out to her friends. For obvious reasons, I’m guessing it’s unlikely she’ll proudly distribute copies of The Men I’ve Almost Dated to her friends in the mostly 60+ age group at her weekly yoga class.

Love you Mum. xo