Sunday, 29 December 2013

Pinocchio and the 'Big Picture To Do List'

How many times have you written down your 'Big Picture To Do List' (which is inevitably infiltrated with little picture, really-must-get-these-things-done tasks) and by the time you get to the bottom of the page you're overwhelmed, exhausted by the sight of it and think you're insane and a complete fraud for even thinking about such grandiose ideas?

Okay... let me take a step back...

How many of us even write a  'Big Picture To Do List'?

For those with an overactive imagination, the need to have a sense of purpose and whose present-moment experience is highly influenced by the direction one is heading (i.e. me) - leveraging the 'Big Picture To Do List' can transform one from bobbing around aimlessly in an ocean full of options, to launching into life like a target-locked missile, gaining speed and momentum with each nanosecond.

Whilst 'To Do' lists are useful in ticking boxes and getting things done, the inherent problem with the 'Big Picture To Do List' is that it is, by definition, 'Big Picture' - which can often take years to manifest. So when one's 'Big Picture To Do List' remains stagnant, and what was written down 5, 10, 15, 20+ years ago is still there today, it leaves one questioning oneself - Who am I kidding? 

But before we judge ourselves, we ought to acknowledge that all 'To Do' lists have a major downfall that severely impacts the psyche of even the minutest of overachievers. They fail to recognise what has been achieved (often in place of what was on the list). Just as living into a promising future shapes our present moment experience, so too does recognising an accomplished past.

For all of us grappling with new-age notions and forbidding the future and past to intrude on the present - let me just tell you here and now that it's bullshit. Reflecting on the past and visualising a future gives context to our now. I don't condone dwelling in either direction, but brief glances to shape our present experience is what makes us human (I have no interest in being divine, sorry).

After yesterday's post many have pledged to write a 'Jumping List'. So with saying goodbye to 2013, and hello to 2014 - I ask that we not only plan our future jumps, but also acknowledge our past jumps. For failing to celebrate our achievements is hiding our truth from ourselves - and that's the biggest Pinocchio lie of all.

Until our next cuppa, start writing... and when you're overwhelmed by the future, take courage from your past.

- Grace xo

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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Are you afraid to jump?

In 1992 I took a leap of faith and booked a one-way flight to London. I had little money and no real plans - my main motivators being freedom, independence and personal growth.

My parents freaked...

Dad: What are you going to do when you get there?
Me: I'll stay with my friend Tarls until I get on my feet.
Mum: How are you going to support yourself?
Me: I'll get a job.
Dad: Why don't you wait till you find a job first and then leave?
Me: I've already booked my ticket - I'm going. Don't worry - I'll find a job and I'll be okay.

And within 2 weeks, I jumped.

The following year I received an invitation to my (then) boyfriend's friend's wife's cousin's wedding... in Jamaica (as you do). Flights to Montego Bay ex London were cheap so how could I refuse?

Our cultural wedding experience was followed by a 2-week adventure that circumnavigated the island. We took advice from locals and ended up at Rick's Cafe in Negril, which is now famous for its high cliff-top jumping platforms that challenge thrill seekers to plunge into the turquoise Caribbean Sea below.

Back then, we were the only non-locals within cooee of this site - and I, the only female. Testosterone filled the air with dares and backward triple somersault jumps. I watched in anxious awe.

My companion urged me to jump assuring me that I'd love it. Instead of starting at the lower jump points - I went straight to the top of the highest platform (35ft /10.7m) .

I looked down at what seemed to be 5kms (3.1mi) below and retreated. My companion continued to jump and climb, jump and climb, jump and climb - he was like a lab rat on speed. With each plunge he assured me that I could do it, and I'd love it.

This immediately took me back to a time when I was a child at my Aunt's beach house. All my cousins would jump from a sandy cliff height of about 1.5m (5ft) onto the soft sand below. Many times I stood at the top with the intention to jump, but I just couldn't do it. Ever.

So here I am (I could hear myself thinking), I have an opportunity to have a breakthrough. Make up for all the little jumps I missed out on as a child. Do it Grace, do it.

My companion jumped in once more and from the water below called up to me, "Come on Grace - you'll loooooove it! Just jump like a tin soldier - keep your feet straight like a pin".

Before I knew it, I had launched myself from the platform.

Utterly terrified I heard a blood-curdling scream echoing all around me. It was mine. I felt myself accelerate through the fall to a point where I hit warp speed - the fastest ever free fall.

In my terror, I had become completely paralysed. I could not straighten my legs and I hit the water with the thud of my butt. It was like landing on a sandpit - from 5kms high.

What followed was years of pain and spinal complications arising from the inability to sit with good posture - what's worse was that my favourite hideout in the guise of a movie cinema, was now a torture chamber. Not a fitting reward for my bravery, I thought.

As time went on and the pain persisted, I began to view my jump as much less courageous and more likely stupid. Why do we do that with 20/20 hindsight? If I'd have had a successful breakthrough and conquered my fear of jumping - then I'd have been a hero. Instead, I deemed myself a loser.

Since then, I have become increasingly afraid to jump - both literally and metaphorically. My fear of perpetuating a 'loser outcome' has kept me safe, but it has also eroded my youthful spirit of optimism and possibility - the same spirit that had me buy that one-way ticket to London in the first instance.

Life continually tempts us with opportunities, presents us with challenges and dares us to take risks. If we are not jumping, are we passively paralysing ourselves and asphyxiating our spirit?

Right now I am on the precipice. I have so many projects that I have yearned to manifest, but my fear of jumping has kept them safely locked away in the pipeline, on the back burner and when I have money, energy and time.

With only two days of 2013 left, perhaps now is the time to prepare my chute and get ready to jump in 2014. Who's with me?

Until our next cuppa, think about where in life you are afraid to jump - and start packing your chute too.

- Grace xo

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Thursday, 26 December 2013

Is the comeback making a comeback?

Hello, is there anybody out there?

It's been near on 3 years since declaring my last post and everything in this virtual landscape has changed (so much). I thought it'd be like coming home, but it's all so different now... or is it...?

Why do we (Ron Burgundy and 1960's, 70's & 80's rock bands) feel the need to make a comeback?

Is it because we are trying to recapture the feelings of success and adoration we enjoyed all those years ago?

Is is because that every 'new' thing we've tried since our departure has failed, or simply did not give us the same buzz?

Is a comeback similar to rekindling an old flame? We go back because of great memories - but in time, will we soon be reminded why we split up in the first place?

All is to be revealed (to myself also).

So why the comeback - my comeback - and will it last?

Truth is, I don't know.

I reinvented myself a gazillion times after Project Grace 2010 in my pursuit of the perfect persona and the perfect blog - but I felt like I was an impostor... of myself.

Weird, I know.

I started Project Grace 2010 with a specific intention of 'finding myself' leading up to my 40th birthday.

The thing is, I am continually evolving (aren't we all?) and I failed to allow my blog to evolve with me.

I held a rigid interpretation of the title, which made it seem odd for me to continue beyond 2010. How silly was I?

Three years later,  my view has expanded. Project Grace 2010 can mean whatever I choose for it to mean. I am the creator, the author - just as I am creator and author of my life... it's time to start writing... again.

Until our next virtual cuppa, where in life can you alter your interpretation and make a comeback?

Grace xo

ps. Thank you Kate for your encouraging words on 6th September 2010.

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