Category: Mindful living

Write an Autumn Bucket List

autumn bucket listWe are halfway through Autumn here in Australia and in Melbourne we seem to have come to the end of our warm weather. The leaves are changing colour and beginning to fall from the trees. Soon, the colder weather of winter will be here.
Do you have a list of things you want to do in Autumn (or Spring if you are in the Northern hemisphere) before the season ends?
I want to take the kids on a picnic, enjoy the dry sunny days while we still have them, take a day trip to another zoo, sit in the park drinking coffee with a friend, play with the kids in the fallen leaves, and get some gardening done.
What is on your Autumn bucket list?

How To Start Journaling

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend and when I mentioned journaling she asked what I did when I said I journaled. I thought maybe there were others reading who might like to know more about journaling so I have written a little about how I journal and how it helps me.

When I was a teenager, I used to have a lockable diary that I would write in. Often, I would write important events in it, but I would also write about how I was feeling and what was going on in my life. I found this useful particularly when I was sad or angry. A place to get my emotions out.

As an adult, I only journaled occasionally, generally when I was going through a difficult time or record events such as when I was going through IVF or when my Dad passed away.

A few years ago I began to journal more frequently. I have found it to be beneficial for various reasons.

I have found journaling can be beneficial in the following ways:

  • As an emotional release, particularly when I am feeling frustrated, upset or angry.
  • An opportunity to clarify my thoughts. Journaling can be a very useful tool to sort through the thoughts, emotions and ideas circling around in my head.
  • It provides an opportunity to reflect on my experiences and thoughts.
  • After writing things out I gain a different perspective or insight in to what is going on for me.
  • I can keep a written record of my goals, ideas, and experiences.
  • It can be useful when my mind feels overloaded. I often use it as a ‘thought download’ – writing down everything that is going on in my head. Sometimes it helps just to get it out of my head and on to paper.
  • Journaling can help me come up with answers that I need.
  • I learn more about myself.

 

All you need to start journaling is a notebook and a pen. I personally like a hard-backed spiral bound notebook, or a hard-backed journal. I like a hard back because I usually write when I am in bed on lying on the couch and find having a hard back easier. I also like a good pen that flows well because once I get going I can write quite fast and hate my pen feeling like it can’t keep up with me!

I like to journal when it is quite so that I can just tune in to my thoughts and write without distraction.

When I started journaling, and even some days now, it can feel like I don’t know what to write. It can feel forced. Honestly, I have found the best thing to do is just to start writing and keep going. After a little while I find that my thoughts start flowing on to the page. Sometimes I just start by writing out questions that I need answered and then the answers start coming after a few minutes of writing out the questions.

I don’t always expect (or get) answers via journaling. Sometimes there is no clear answer. I do find that it helps sort out my thoughts, calm down if I am angry, or at least get my thoughts and feelings out.

Sometimes I use journaling prompts to learn a little more about myself, such as the weekly self-discovery questions that I post for my readers. I find that answering it by writing in my journal lets me explore the answers more deeply than just thinking about it.

 

Some things I find helpful when journaling are:

  • Privacy is essential. Knowing that no one is going to read your private thoughts means that you can feel comfortable to write. If you do not feel comfortable with having a written journal you can use online password protected journaling websites such as Penzu or 750words (I have never used one so not sure which site is best to use sorry) or write it on a piece of paper and burn it.
  • Don’t censor your thoughts. You need to be open to being honest with yourself. This isn’t always easy in the beginning but will come over time.
  • As I mentioned before, a good pen is ideal!
  • Do it regularly. Even if you set aside 5 minutes a few times a week to begin, or even once a week. You will probably find soon enough that that 5 minutes turns in to more.
  • Just keep writing until your words flow and the answers come.

 

Essentially, the key to journaling is just to put words on a page! So what are you waiting for? Grab a notebook and pen and put pen to paper.

I would love to know if you already journal or if you are inspired to start one, let me know in the comments.

What Makes You Feel Alive?

What makes you feel alive? What makes you feel excited, exhilarated, in awe of the world?

Think about and make a list of all of the things that come to mind that make you feel more alive. Can you add more of these things in to your life? When you start to feel like you are in a rut, grab your list and do some of the things that make you feel excited and alive.

Some of the things that come to mind that make me feel most alive are:

  • Being at the beach with sand in my toes, feeling the wind in my hair and hearing the sound of the ocean.
  • Being outside and feeling the sunshine on my skin.
  • Watching my kids play and have fun, or better still, playing and laughing with them.
  • Laughing out loud
  • Sitting under a full moon.
  • When I am fully present in the moment. It might be when I am at the dinner table enjoying a family dinner or when I am having a conversation with a friend.
  • When I achieve something I felt scared to do in the beginning.
  • Doing something I am passionate about.
  • Doing something risky…. although my idea of doing something risky is pretty tame these days!

 

I would love you to leave a comment telling me what you have on your list!

What Do You Love About You?

What do you love about you? Seriously, it is important to think about it. I know people avoid thinking about it because it can feel uncomfortable. There is the ‘I don’t want to seem like I love myself’ fear from our teenage years. We have a cultural norm where we are supposed to put ourselves down and not talk up the good parts of ourselves. I certainly thought this way. You should have heard the negative self talk that used to go on in my head! I never really stopped to contemplate what I actually liked let alone loved about myself… it felt too uncomfortable.

This week, write about or think about what you love about you. For some of us it might be hard. You might have one thing to begin with but keep thinking and listing things. Maybe it is as simple as you like your smile or you like that you are a kind person. You don’t need to show anyone or tell anyone, although I would love to know if you want to share.

DO NOT let this question get you down! Do not start comparing yourself to others. Do not start thinking about all of the things that you don’t like.

This post is part of my weekly self discovery questions. You can find the others here, here, here, and here.

Reflections And 2017 Plans

We are a few weeks in to the new year but I wanted to write about the reflection and the planning for the 2017 that I have been doing.

According to numerology 2016 was a 9 year, which means it was the end of the nine-year cycle that began in 2008. Some would say that this was why 2016 was a difficult year for many people. Clearing out what needed to fall away to make room for new things to come in to our lives.

I used the last week of 2016 to reflect on the past nine years. A lot happened for me in those nine years. 2008 brought a separation from my now husband, a new job, a move back to be near family, my daughter moving schools and suffering anxiety.

The years between then and now saw me move homes twice more, reconcile with my now husband, leave my job as a Social Worker to work from home in a family business. I married, had two more children, brought a house. I have watched my Dad suffer from a devastating terminal disease which took his life in 2011 while I was six months pregnant. I lost my Gran to cancer. I have supported other family members through breast cancer and other illnesses. I have had two miscarriages that left me devastated and been through multiple rounds of IVF. I have also grown a lot as a woman, mother and partner.

A lot happened over those nine years and it was good to reflect on everything I have gone through, the good and the hard times. It made me aware of how resilient I am and how much I have grown through my life experiences.

I am hoping that the next nine-year cycle brings a little more of the happy times and less of the sad times. But, life is a mix of experiences and each experience teaches us something. Honestly, I am grateful to be alive and to experience whatever life sends my way. These last nine years have certainly taught me to enjoy life now, not to be constantly waiting for life to begin. We never know how much more time we have left here.

My 2017 Plans

When I sat down and thought about what I wanted to feel in 2017 (like I wrote about here last week) a few things came to me:

  • I want to feel connected and present with my family and friends.
  • I want to feel that my life flows better. For this to happen I know that I need to de-clutter my house and put some routines and systems in to place.
  • I want to be me. Let myself be seen and not worry about what other people think of me.
  • I want more pleasure in my life. More experiences that make me feel pleasure like massages, sitting by the ocean, more fun, more dancing (pretty sure my sisters wedding later this year will take care of that).
  • I want to nourish my body better with healthier food, more movement and weight bearing exercise.

This year I my 5-year-old is starting school, my 3-year-old starting 3-year-old kinder, and my eldest starting a new phase in her education after finishing year 12 last year. I thought I would join them in their new adventures and have enrolled in a Life Coaching course beginning in May. I am really looking forward to using my Social Work Skills in a new way later in the year. Lots of good stuff happening in my family and my life this year. It will be busy and challenging. I am sure the feeling I want of my life flowing better will be difficult to achieve with all the changes, but I think that is how life goes… full of challenges and good moments. It ebbs and flows.

Do you have any exciting things planned for 2017? Have you thought about how you want to feel this year?

 

Write A 2017 Bucket List

 

Do you write a yearly bucket list? A list of all of the things big and small that you want to do, see, visit, and achieve in the year. In last weeks post I told you that I am going to post a weekly self discovery question for you, my readers, to ask yourself each week. I will be journalling about it to, or perhaps have done in the week prior. This week I want you to think about, and write down, a list of things that you would like to do this year.

I want you to write all of the little things you would like to do this year, all of the places you would like to visit, things you want to see, things you want to achieve, all of the big dreams you have for the year… even if they don’t feel achievable right now you never know, they may be later in the year. Think of it as your 2017 bucket list. I want you to try to get at least 50. 100 would be even better! If you cannot think of 50 you can always add to it as the year goes on. Write your list and keep it somewhere you will remember it so that you can revisit your list during the year and add or tick things off.

Last year I aimed to write 100 things that I wanted to do in 2016, I think I only wrote about 70. I probably only completed about 40 to 50 of the things on the list but just the process of writing the list was motivating for me. Without my list I suspect I would have only done half of what I did. Last year I included lots of little things like have a coffee with a new mum at kinder, have a pedicure, go to a yoga class, paint something, read a complete book (it had been years since I had read a complete fiction book). I also included a few bigger things which other then starting this blog I didn’t get to tick off… BUT it was motivating and felt good to have some big dreams.

Have fun with it, dream big!