Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Organising life

Why does the process of organising anything worthwhile take sooooooo much longer than we ever thought it would?

And when we're in the midst of our organising frenzy, why does it always look much worse than before we started?

What about when day goes into night, we don't seem any closer to the end and we cannot bear the sight of it any longer - how do we stay motivated to finish the job?

I'm well experienced to know that if I don't see it through till the end right now, it could take MONTHS before I get back to it - and that could lead to more clutter and chaos than my brain can handle.

Well, I am right smack bang in the middle of organising three trillion documents, check lists, brochures, leaflets and forms care of Thermomix. OMG!

I keep thinking I've only got an hour to go, and have had those thoughts for over five hours. Scary.

So it's short and sweet from me tonight and back to the pile of paper ahead. It's not all bad though, there's a sense of satisfaction each time I make, find, borrow or steal a home for each piece of sacrificed tree (so much for a paperless society).

Until tomorrow, remember that if you're not organising, you're disorganising.

Grace xx

Monday, 29 November 2010

The path ahead...

Today I did my first Thermomix demonstration at my Mum's place in Frankston.

I went for a jog along the beach in the morning and went to the end of the jetty (pictured) and back.

I couldn't help wonder about the path ahead... Where is it leading? Will it be rough seas or smooth sailing?

I don't know.

All I know is that I've started something new. Something that is challenging me beyond my comfort zone. A mystery journey.

As I sit here in my car awaiting a team meeting to commence in a few minutes, I just want you to know that I am thinking of you... And what this future ahead will bring to you in terms of blog fodder.

We shall see.

Until tomorrow,

Grace xx

TV fy BBC b f bf r SSS brevet

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sunday Sentence

"All misfortune is but a stepping stone to fortune."
- Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

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Saturday, 27 November 2010

Saturday Quiz No.10

It's baaaaaaaaack...

Saturday Quiz - woohoo!

Today's quiz is a little bit fishy, so good luck ;-)

Until Monday, have a whimsical Sunday.

Grace xx

ps. It's been so long since we've done a Saturday Quiz. Perhaps it was because no attempts were made to answer Saturday Quiz No.9 - so if you're up for a challenge, have a go at both. The virtual prize is still up for grabs.

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Friday, 26 November 2010

Meaningful goals matter

After finishing yesterday's MTS [Moving Target Syndrome] post, I was less than enthusiastic about heading outside in the rain to return a DVD (which by the way was The Soloist - a fabulous film).

This was a classic case of MTS manifesting and thankfully, I managed to nip it in the bud.

I knew that if I wanted to really get ahead in my health and fitness, it was high time to set a meaningful goal that mattered - one that stirred a fire in my belly and inspire me to spring into action, no matter what the weather was like outside.

There have been a few things that I've long fantasised about, but have never had the courage to pursue them. I jumped onto Google to do a bit more research and learned that what I envisaged was in fact possible for me. I felt a thrill of excitement pulsate throughout my body.

With images of possibility playing in my mind, I put on my running shoes, grabbed a spray jacket and darted out the door. As I did the 'Cliff Young shuffle' for 55 minutes in the drizzling rain, I felt a sense of purpose. I wasn't returning a video nor was I going for a run. I was taking the first steps towards my new goal - the one that matters.

Now before you scream out wanting to know what that goal is, I have decided to keep tight lipped about it. I have a tendency to deflate my enthusiasm by being too verbose about certain things. So for the time being, it's just my big dream that I've shared with Patrick and have his full support.

I am now in the process of devising an action plan and will be seeking the advise of experts to help me achieve my goal, which is big. In fact, it's huge. I am so excited.

Until tomorrow, set the wheels in motion by aiming for something that matters to YOU!

Grace xx

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Thursday, 25 November 2010

MTS [Moving Target Syndrome]

Does anyone else out there suffer MTS [Moving Target Syndrome]?

I thought I'd just invented that term, but a Google search revealed otherwise. Nonetheless I will continue with my own definition.

I was once very good at setting goals and achieving them. However over recent years my goals have become moving targets, which has made reaching them all the more difficult... if not impossible.

How did I contract MTS? Does knowing the answer solve the problem?


Let's first look at a couple of big goals that I achieved and explore why I was unstoppable in achieving them, perhaps that'll reveal some insights:
  • Winning $15,000 in a Body Transformation Challenge

    I wanted to win the money for our home loan deposit, which was down $15,000 after a car purchase. I was highly motivated and I would chant "home loan deposit, home loan deposit, home loan deposit" to get me through tough times (like running in the rain, riding into headwinds and getting up at 5.00am). The goal was never about loosing weight - it was about buying a home, which we did five months after I'd won the money.

  • Publishing 'Nubsy McNoodle Wanted A Poodle'

    I made a promise to two children who'd helped write the manuscript, that I would publish our work and launch it by Christmas. I found the process terrifying yet I would remember my promise and push through the challenges. In nine months and four days, our story was edited, illustrated, printed, bound and launched by Bud Tingwell on November 28th that year. Publishing that book was about making good on a promise to young siblings who had been repeatedly let down by their biological father. I wanted to restore their faith in people, and promises. It was never about the book. I have since written another four manuscripts and have illustrations for two of them, however I've not been able to take further steps in having them realised - perhaps I need to make a new promise(?)
Now that I have written all this down, it is crystal clear. A bit like staring into those magic 3D patterns and the picture appears.

Worthy goals are solid. They do not have moving targets. They mean so much to those that set them that no obstacle can stand in the way. The goal is the priority. It ignites a fiery passion that is worth sacrificing and striving for, no matter how big the challenges are.

It's been years since I've had a goal that has stirred me that way.

In the absence of a worthy goal I've made a whole lot of superficial ones and, truly, they've been as inspiring as choosing what type of coffee I want to drink. It's no wonder the targets are constantly moving - so are my coffee preferences.

Does MTS lie in the types goals I am setting myself?

This begs the next question (or questions) - Am I setting uninspiring goals because I've become too afraid to set big worthy ones? Or is it because I have no idea what I really want to do and why I want to do it? If the truth be told, the first answer is the honest one. I do have big goals, only I have become too scared to declare them and action them.

That's enough for now, I'm off to return a DVD (in the rain and without a car). I'm going to use this time to do a bit more soul searching. I need to revive some passion into my life, and that'll start with defining that illusive juicy goal. Perhaps then my MTS will resolve.

Until tomorrow, see where you can ignite passion into your life and declare a worthy goal.

Grace xx

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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

My beloved Nonno

Today marks the first anniversary since the passing of my beloved Nonno. I've already shed a few tears and plan to visit his resting place today, where I'm sure more will follow.

Nonno was my last surviving grandparent and I ensured that I spent quality time with him each week. We would play a traditional Italian card game called 'Scopa', which we turned into a championship tournament (he won 30 games to my 20). I savoured each moment.

When Nonno was admitted into hospital for the last time, I had a knowing that this would be 'it'. I was with him for his last conscious moments and earlier that morning, I was able to show him photos of my parent's 40th wedding anniversary we'd celebrated two days before.

We had embarked on a minibus trip down memory lane and visited all the places that were significant to them and their lives. Their family home where each of them lived as children, the church they were married in, the town hall that hosted the reception and their first home as husband and wife. It was a great day, that produced great happy photos.

Nonno's smile was so big. Seeing us in front of these places was as much a reflection for him as it was for my parents. I couldn't help thinking what it meant to him to see his one and only surviving child (my Dad) with children and grandchildren standing in front of all the places that were of great significance in his life. Nonno was happy (and very grateful) that we shared the photos with him.

Soon after the slideshow, Nonno's eyes closed and he remained unconscious for most of the day. He miraculously opened them briefly for but a few seconds when the rest of the family joined us. He even managed a smile as he focused his gaze on his great grandchildren.

It was getting late and we were making plans about what to do overnight. I was reluctant to have my Nonno be alone so I volunteered spending the night in his expansive hospital suite. We were discussing our plans as we waited for the hospital staff to bring in something to make me more comfortable, like a blanket. All the while, I was holding his hands.

Then something unusual happened.

Nonno opened his eyes and looked as though he was attempting to raise his head and shoulders off his pillow. Within a millisecond of this happening, I had the strong feeling that this was to be his last breath. I kissed and hugged him with all my heart and said "Bon viaggio Nonno, I love you, salut' a Mamina"... and that was it. He departed.

After the fact, I reflected on those last moments. What it must have felt like for him to have left this life in such a way. I think it would have been lovely. I am really grateful that I went with my feelings and prohibited my head to talk me out of it. I am often so fearful of doing something wrong and making mistakes that I regularly talk myself out of doing things that are instinctual (then later finding out that it would have been the better option).

I'm signing off now, it's time to visit Nonno.

Until tomorrow, allow your instincts to lead you despite your head thinking otherwise.

Grace xx

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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Not so alien after all

Firstly, a great big thank you to all the comments, emails and personal messages after yesterday's comeback post.

It was such a big realisation for me to learn just how much blogging has positively affected my life... and a bigger realisation to discover how much it also touches yours. Very humbling.

I'd love this space to become more interactive and perhaps I can respond to things that you might be interested in knowing about me, my life, what I've learned, what amuses me, humbles me, scares me, annoys me, uplifts me and empowers me (you get my drift).

You might want to ask questions about how I've managed to cope will all the dung AND confetti that life has flung at me. Best experiences. Worst experiences. Travel. Health. Fertility. Anxiety. Depression. Self esteem. Weight issues. Grief. Bigamy (yes you read correctly, bigamy). The list is endless. Whatever you want to know, just ask.

I think if you and I sit down to a virtual cup of coffee, or a smoothie, we'll probably discover that we're not so alien after all.

Until tomorrow, let's start a conversation.

Grace xx

ps. The photo was taken 9 days ago when I went on a Sunday date with my 5 & 11/12th year old nephew. Yes I know it should be 'were here', but there's something nostalgic about writing 'was here'... so that's why I did it at the risk of having taught my nephew poor grammar - tut tut tut.

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Monday, 22 November 2010

My head, my prison

You might be wondering, "What's happened to Grace?" "Why don't we have regular blog posts anymore?" "What is she doing, where has she been?"

While my physical body has been frolicking about with friends, learning what it is to be a Thermomix consultant and hosting Patrick's grandmother for a week, my mental self has been in a dark, self-imposed prison.

Since writing 'The Blues Strike Back' over a month ago, I haven't managed to shake them off. There have been moments of glee, but mostly it's been very unpleasant living with the contents of my head.

This morning I woke up and asked myself "Why am I like this again?" What happened on the 10th of October that has taken me from feeling happy for weeks on end, to feeling chronically anxious and despondent?

My first answer: I do not know.

Then I took time to reflect...

I noticed how my hectic schedule with two trips to Adelaide, a trip to Bali, a wedding, 3 significant birthdays and my upcoming 40th translated to blog posts becoming increasingly shallow. This has happened before, but I've been slow to recognise the pattern... and the impact.

The initial plan for Project Grace 2010 was that November 3rd (my 40th birthday) would mark the completion of the project. Yet it has been and gone and I feel completely incomplete. I've been hovering in shallow conversations and uncertainty for weeks, and it's only making matters worse.

Then last week, I had a meltdown. My anxiety levels had redlined and I rang a girlfriend in desperation. She called back when the household was asleep, so I tiptoed to the bathroom and spent over an hour atop of the toilet seat talking at low volume so Pat and Gran couldn't hear.

Releasing rancid thoughts had an instant calming effect. Though I'd been harbouring so many for so long that it took several conversations with a number of friends over a few days to liberate me (thank you Marsie, Special K, Tarls and mon Cherie).

This morning I felt lighter and more optimistic. As I roused from bed I had the biggest 'aha' moment...

Remember the post titled 'Virtual Shrink's Couch'? Well that's essentially what my blog is for me. Sure it's had a fair share of being a quiz corner, travel diary and fun house, but essentially it's a place where I can 'talk' about things as they occur, thus releasing it from the confines of my torturous head.

What an incredible insight.

I recall many moments of feeling instantly and permanently better after having written things that had plagued me for years, like:
As soon as I had externalised what I was feeling, I was free. Amazing. I've learned that keeping poisonous thoughts in our heads is toxic and can cause self harm - which can be in the form of drinking to excess, eating illicit foods, taking mood altering substances and even go as far as self mutilation and suicide.

So in order to maintain my sanity, I am back.

When marvellous Mikey McCorry (who has been blogging for over 10 years) responded to 'I am Revolting' by saying "the only really important stakeholder is you", I now concur.

Having once thought it was self indulgent to dedicate time into making myself a happier 'me', I realise that other people benefit from my state of being. When I am happy and in a balanced state, I am a significantly better wife, daughter, sister, aunty, niece, friend and colleague. In order for me to be that way, I need to continually invest time into 'me'... and Project Grace 2010 is that investment.

Society is quick to slap the term 'self indulgent' on anyone bold enough to take time out for themselves. Yet the same society is bewildered over people abusing themselves and, or, taking their own lives. The fact of the matter is that we are humans and we need connection. Sharing ourselves - good and bad - is not only for our well being, but for others. When we share, we not only provide opportunities for insight, but we encourage and inspire others to do the same.

For me, my blog is my life saver. I make no apologies for being 'indulgent'. I am, at the end of each day, the most important stakeholder.

Until tomorrow, take stock of your life, be indulgent and set yourself free.

Grace xx

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Celebrating a new chapter

I finished my Thermomix training today and am ready to start demonstrations, which involves cooking 6 fresh food dishes LIVE in front of an audience.

I've always loved having an audience and have been known to cook at my friend's houses once or thrice, so this sounds like the perfect place for me until I figure out what I want to do when I grow up ;-)

When I returned home this evening (after 11 hours training), I wanted to celebrate and cracked open a bottle of Mo√ęt & Chandon that I got for my 40th.

Chin chin.

A new chapter. A new adventure.

Until next time, celebrate what's new and changing in your life.

Grace xx

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The birth of an alter ego...

I can't say anymore other than - click this!

Grace xx

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Dinner for one

There's something liberating about going out for dinner on your own.

Patrick was called into work this afternoon and I attended our evening appointment with our health care practitioner solo.

I took advantage of the situation and visited my brother's family on my way home. After a quick cup of tea, I took a further detour and stopped by Andy's Yum Cha in Essendon.

This fabulous establishment was founded by one of the chefs that worked at Melbourne's top Chinese restaurant, The Flower Drum. It's the closest thing I have to a 'local' and is only 12 minutes from home.

I decided to dine on one of my FAVOURITE dishes of all time, minced prawns on silken tofu. To die for.

I am now chewing on my greens as I wait for the delicious dish to arrive.

I am comfortable in my skin. I don't feel the need to explain myself by carrying a sign that says 'I have friends, I just like my own company'.


Until next time, enjoy solo moments.

Grace xx

ps. Below is my favourite dish of all time. OMG - Amazing!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The day after the storm

I feel I've burned the candle from both ends these last few weeks and last night was the climax.

Today there was a quietness that inspired me to continue with my clearing and organising, which has been in suspension since Bali.

Unfortunately my enthusiasm was not matched by my energy levels and I've been stop starting all day.

After several cat naps on the couch I realised just how exhausted I was. Having battled Bali belly and persisted through flu-like sniffles, not to mention my mental self-torture over turning 40, my body is screaming for time out.

I gave myself permission to do, or not do, whatever it takes to get over all my bugs and get myself in peak condition for something completely revolutionary...

I plan to leave my suitcases unpacked for a while and sink some roots before we head to Europe in June 2011 (another Tour de France tour).

In the meantime, I plan to stay put. I intend to stay home and develop a routine that has me feeling more stable [gasp!].

Without distractions, I want to create space to make decisions and be clear about my direction.

I will continue to blog until then.

Until tomorrow, rest when necessary.

Grace xx

ps. Thank you for all the birthday well wishes and encouragement to keep blogging. Mwah!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Life begins...

I had a wonderful day and a superb evening celebrating 40 years of life.

I've been on a roller coaster ride these last few weeks and I'm now on the way home (literally typing in the car), where I anticipate getting off (the roller coaster).

It feels premature to end Project Grace 2010 today. I still have so much to say, so many insights and so many acknowledgements to make. So while the official project is finished, I am going to take the liberty to take the time to communicate everything I want and need. Let's just say I'll be making up for all the posts I missed out on.

Until tomorrow take liberties to finish off any incomplete business.

Grace xx

ps. This photo is a self portrait of me in the car on the way home after a day of celebration. I'm wearing my fabulous Desigual coat, which is an amazing piece of artistic attire that I first saw in Galleries Lafayette, Paris, for 500 Euros. I thought it was a bit too extravagant for this fledgling author and soon gave up on the idea of owning it (despite fantasising about it for over a month). After unexpectedly finding myself in Penang (due to my failed attempt to visit India), I stumbled across the same coat on sale in a department store (yes, it is an original). All along I thought this technicolour dreamcoat would make a great 40th birthday present to myself though the price had me give up on the idea. However after seeing the price tag reduced by 75%, it was time to bring it home. So here I am on my 40th birthday wearing my dream coat, and it got me thinking... isn't my life supposed to begin today? According to popular culture, the answer is 'yes'. So I will take a further liberty and call this gorgeous piece my birth-day suit.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends...

Last night we celebrated my impending 40th birthday. Here I am (pictured) surrounded by friends I went to school with. I love them all.

In 11 minutes I will turn 40 years old. These are the last few minutes of being thirty something.

My recent posts have been short. I have been crazy busy. I am looking forward to life taking on a slower pace.

Tomorrow marks the end of my project - Project Grace 2010 - and the beginning of a new chapter.

I am interested to see where it goes from there.

All my love and gratitude to you for being with me along the way.

Until tomorrow, savour the last few moments whenever impending change is upon you.

Grace xx

PS. Thanks Sam for the gorgeous photo, I lifted it from Facebook ;-) xx
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